View Full Version : The Bruce Wells Collection

Steve Holmes
10-31-2011, 12:17 AM

I received an email a few weeks back, out of the blue, from Bruce Wells. It simply read; "I have a collection of photo's (around 900 of) that were taken in the sixties mainly at Oran Park, Catalina Park, Warwick Farm and Bathurst. If they are of use to your site let me know and I will put them to disc and post them to you. Regards, Bruce Wells". As you can probably gather, I couldn't type my reply fast enough.

Some of you will be familiar with the name Bruce Wells, as Bruce was regular photographic contributor to various Australian car magazines, most prominently, Motor Racing News. The collection of photos he has sent me cover the years 1962 - 1967. As Bruce told me "I had the negatives stored away and after all this time I noticed a deterioration in the quality, so quickly copied them to the computer to save what I could".

What I love about this collection is that Bruce doesn't just focus on the leading lights, his collection also includes many of the 'Specials' that were so popular in Australia at this time. The collection is large, and I will be splitting it over several parts, so the importance of each image isn't lost in the crowd. Bruce has split the images into folders, based on the tracks, and the dates for each race track he covered, and for the most part I'll create the threads in a similar fashion.

So each part will be as follows:

Hume Weir
Catalina Park
Oran Park
Silverdale Hillclimb
Warwick Farm

There is also a stunning collection of driver photos.

Kicking things off though, is this folder of miscellaneous images, which Bruce has separated out as they don't fit within any of the other folders. Most photos in the collection are b/w, but this part is predominantly in colour.

Please feel free to jump in and name names, as I certainly don't have all the answers. Bruce has named some photos, and I've managed to track down a few further details.

So here it is, The Bruce Wells Collection, Part 1.

Steve Holmes
10-31-2011, 12:23 AM
Note the opening image, featuring a very young Kevin Bartlett, in the 'works' Lynx. Bartlett was only 19 years old when he got this drive. All of these shots are from Hume Weir.






Steve Holmes
10-31-2011, 12:35 AM
Kickings things off here is the Syd Howard Nota, followed by a couple of shots of Ash Marshalls stunning D Type. The two touring car photos are from the Bathurst 6 Hour race in 1962. This was two years before Bathurst took over from Phillip Island in hosting the Armstrong 500, which became a regular annual endurance event. The cars pictured are the Don Algie/Kingsley Hibbard Studebaker and the Bill Buckle/Brian Foley Citroen.






Steve Holmes
10-31-2011, 12:50 AM
More from the 1962 Bathurst 6 Hour (the first two photos at least), including the Geoghegan Daimler, and the Harry Firth/Bob Jane Falcon. I believe this was the same car Firth/Jane drove to outright victory in the 1962 Armstrong 500, although placings were based on Class results, rather than overall. The engine photo is listed by Bruce as "Dailmer SP250", so could be that of the Geoghegan car.

The yellow 'humpy' Holden FX is that of Des West, who finished 5th in the single race Australian Touring Car Championship in this car, behind the Jaguars of Bob Jane, Bill Pitt, and Bill Burns, and Ken Brigdens Peugeot 403. Can anyone ID the black FX chasing West? Is it the Geoghegan car?






10-31-2011, 01:29 AM
What a great start to a fantastic collection of photographs.

Steve Holmes
10-31-2011, 01:55 AM
First up here is a Le Mans start for a sports car race at Catalina Park, 1962. The engine shot is of the Holden Waggott powered Centaur of John French which won the 1962 Australian GT Championship. Any info on the MG special in the third shot? Nice team shot of the Neptune Racing Team, including the Beechey Mustang, McKeown Cortina, and Manton Mini. Last up is a fantastic shot of Spencer Martin winding up his FX at Catalina Park.






Steve Holmes
10-31-2011, 03:11 AM
OK, here we have Bill Slattery, in another of the Studebakers which were so popular in Australian production touring car racing in the early '60s. Following this is another Le Mans start at Catalina Park, this time in 1963. Then we've got Bill Burns cranking up the MkI Jag. This car was the ex-David McKay factory-built Jag which won the inaugeral 1960 ATCC at Orange. Burns then finished 3rd in the car in the 1962 ATCC before writing it off in a crash at Longford in 1964. The Mercedes Benz is that of Bo Seton, at Catalina Park. Is this the same car Firth/Jane won the 1961 Armstrong 500 with? Note the twin exhausts. Last shot in this post is the Lotus 22 of Leo Geoghegan.






10-31-2011, 06:26 AM
Great evocative photos - keep them coming.

bob homewood
10-31-2011, 06:39 AM
Great photos ,I notice a couple of candidates for the pre 60 saloons there

Michael Clark
10-31-2011, 07:30 AM
Great photos I agree - but it is the Nota that really catches my eye. What powerplant I wonder..

Steve Holmes
10-31-2011, 07:59 AM
What little info I could find on the car is this Michael: "..........Sid Howard's front engine Formula junior that was equipped with a MG XPEG engine blown to 17 psi". This being from the Nota Sports Cars website.

Steve Holmes
10-31-2011, 11:19 PM
OK, winding down towards the finish of this first part. Kicking off here, the engine shot, Bruce has simply labelled it as "MG PB 848cc Glanville". Any help at all with this? The next is more FJ action, with Barry Collerson being chased by Kevin Bartlett at Oran Park. Next is a crowd shot from Oran Park. The next shot of the Triumph is simply labelled as "T Rich (fatal)". I assume the driver lost his life in this accident? Can anyone shed any light on this? Finally, a nice shot of one of the BRMs at the '64 Tasman race at Warwick Farm, being towed by a Scuderia Veloce motors MkII Zephyr.






Steve Holmes
10-31-2011, 11:48 PM
And finally, the last four photos for this part. All are from the Warwick Farm, the last three being the 1967 AGP meeting, which The Farm was hosting for the second time. Note the trophies! I absolutely love the final photo, the grid shot. There is just so much happening in here, its really enjoyable to see.

Thanks again to Bruce, for allowing me to share this amazing collection. Part 2 will follow soon, and will be from Hume Weir, from both 1962 and 1964.





11-01-2011, 02:29 AM
The BRM on the trailer is interesting, it is an early season 1962 car with the stack exhausts. This car never raced in Australia, so possibly a publicity visit for Shell after it won the World Championship.
The last shot shows Hill in the F2 Lotus alongside Clark in the 2 litre Lotus 33 Climax, showing the potential of the new FVA Cosworth when it could get a third on the grid ahead of many 2.5 cars. Pity we didn't see Hill and this car in the NZ part of that years Tasman.

Super photos.

Steve Holmes
11-01-2011, 03:10 AM
Gavin, good post! I wondered about the BRM myself. I think you're probably right on the money. The trailer looks set up more as a publicity float rather than a functioning trailer. And the Zephyr seems to be towing it around the track during a break in the racing. Note the kid standing on the guard rail.

Rod Grimwood
11-01-2011, 08:56 AM
What a front row Stewart, Clark and Hill. Did not get much better. Good old days when they came down for a holiday.

bob homewood
11-01-2011, 09:32 AM
What a front row Stewart, Clark and Hill. Did not get much better. Good old days when they came down for a holiday.

Rod,yes plus a few beers and the odd cake fight .also a first hand look at how the colonials kept stuff going

nigel watts
11-01-2011, 09:58 AM
Outstanding photos - thanks for posting

Steve Holmes
11-01-2011, 07:29 PM
Just looking at the trophy table for the 67 AGP, when did wreaths stop being awarded to drivers?

John Medley
12-03-2011, 01:21 PM
Great pics!
Some identifications:
122 Sid Howard Nota MG XPEG s/c - currently being rebuilt
71 Kevin Bartlett Lynx
53 MG Vauxhall ?Ron Davis? - as MG P won an Australian Grand Prix
35 Jaques Sapir Nota Sportsman
70 Bob Healey Riley Coupe
21 George Murray Austin 7 chassis BMC A engine
Don Glanville's MGP s/c became Geoff McGrath's now Ian Mawson's
17 Tom Rich red TR fatal at Catalina park

Steve Holmes
12-08-2011, 08:17 PM
John, thanks heaps for posting those captions, its much appreciated. Great to have your input here.

Ray Bell
03-19-2016, 10:17 AM
Originally posted by John Medley
Great pics!
Some identifications:
122 Sid Howard Nota MG XPEG s/c - currently being rebuilt
71 Kevin Bartlett Lynx
53 MG Vauxhall ?Ron Davis? - as MG P won an Australian Grand Prix
35 Jaques Sapir Nota Sportsman
70 Bob Healey Riley Coupe
21 George Murray Austin 7 chassis BMC A engine
Don Glanville's MGP s/c became Geoff McGrath's now Ian Mawson's
17 Tom Rich red TR fatal at Catalina Park

The Thomas Rich accident occurred in May, 1962. That was in the Le Mans-start race on the wet track in another pic.

Other unanswered questions:

The Cusato/Seton Mercedes was a rebuilt wreck if I recall correctly. I did a story about this car for Motor Racing Australia and I'm pretty sure that's what Bo told me. It is NOT the Jane/Firth Armstrong 500 car.

The pic of the carbies and (somewhat rough) manifold on the Daimler is NOT the Geoghegan car at Bathurst. I don't know if the Geoghegans ran this car elsewhere, but that 1962 Bathurst race was for production cars only. And it was only one year before Bathurst became the home to the 500.

The pic of the Neptune team cars is almost certainly at Warwick Farm, there wasn't that much level ground in the Catalina paddock.

The Repco V8 in the '67 AGP batch is of Brabham's car, I believe.

The centre trophy is the Tasman Cup, the lower left one is the Lex Davison Trophy for the AGP.

I would think that the '62 BRM on the trailer behind the Zephyr would be at the October meeting in '62, though I was there and I don't immediately remember it, but that would coincide with it maybe being on display at the '62 Sydney Motor Show. Then again, the sheer number of EJ Holdens in the background really auger against this. Maybe the December meeting? Or even the '63 International meeting? Not later than that, I'm sure, as it was definitely a tour promoting Hill's title successes for Shell and Rubery Owen.

The Shell connection would have been the reason for the SVM ute.

Ray Bell
03-20-2016, 02:57 PM
This one had me a bit foxed...


I was pretty sure it was the start of the '63 Australian FJr Championship at Warwick Farm, but the Greg Cusack Elfin Catalina is on the front row as well as Greg Cusack in his Brabham. However, reference to the race report shows that Jim Palmer is in the Elfin (while Greg is so slow away that he was fifth to the Western Crossing).

Kent Price is in the other black and Total-striped Lotus.

The Hume Weir meeting with Bartlett in the Lynx was about September '62. That would be Wally Mitchell in the Lotus 20 behind him and one of the Birchwood 18s next, likely Jack Hunnam driving.

The Nota Sportsman dicing with Jacques Sapir is likely Les Howard. I never saw this car but they were involved in a race at the same meeting.

The black Holden in this pic...


...is probably Bo Seton, but of more interest to me is the FC on the outside. If anyone has the programme it is either 33 or 35 at the August '62 meeting.

Ray Bell
03-20-2016, 11:28 PM
Looking at the Bathurst 6-hour cars... apart from the Geoghegan Daimler, of course...

I feel sure the Lark is the Don Algie/Kingsley Hibbard car, that seems to fit best with what little can be seen of the names on the front. It won its class and also headed the 'Teams Prize' winning team on 99 laps.

The Citroen is the Bill Buckle/Brian Foley entry, which wasn't placed, and the Falcon is the Jane/Firth FoMoCo entry which Firth had the misfortune to put on its roof. I can't identify the MGA, but two were entered, one for John/Caldecott, the other for Owen/Wear. I'm guessing that the latter was Pedro Owen and Colin Wear.

Whoops! There were also MGA Twin Cams entered for Claydon/Gibson and two others. Is that a Twin Cam?

07-09-2016, 12:12 AM
Hi Ray, Car 35 was entered by the Bannockburn Service Station and driven by W Porter

Ray Bell
07-09-2016, 11:53 AM
Thank you, that fills in another blank...

I gather you're the owner of one of the infamous 179M 225 S4s?

02-09-2017, 07:26 AM
For want of a better place, I think this compliments Bruces photos


Ray Bell
03-12-2021, 10:48 AM
Don't you hate it when you come back five years later and find you've made a mistake?

Originally posted by myself
The Thomas Rich accident occurred in May, 1962. That was in the Le Mans-start race on the wet track in another pic.....

It was May, 1963...

It was actually the first time I went to Catalina Park, the accident happened just before I got there that day. It can't have been 1962 as I didn't go to any race meeting prior to October, 1962.