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Thread: The Jeff Law Collection

  1. #1
    Weekend Warrior
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    The Jeff Law Collection

    I am posting some of my photos from NZ motorsport in the early 60s, which may interest some.
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    These three are of Bruce Watt, my employer in those days, in his Farina A40 - not as fast as Kerry Grant's first one, but a joy to drive, as I did around Palmerston North most days (not always in obedience to the law)!
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    The other two are of Chris Amon's (home-built, I believe) A40 Special. I have never seen any other photos of this car, so these may be found to be of interest. These were taken, of course, at Levin.

  2. #2
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    Some unexpected racers

    Here we have some, perhaps, unusual cars to be seen racing at Levin.
    R Redmayne in the Wolseley 1500 ...
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    Syd Jensen in the Triumph Herald, followed by a DKW ...
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    A Standard 10 ...
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    D Mullins in the Singer Gazelle, followed by Ivan Segedin in the (damaged) Zephyr ...
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    P Welch in the Riley, followed by H Buchanan in the Simca ...
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    Kerry Grant in his first racing saloon, a Ford 100E Prefect ...
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    Kerry Grant was nicknamed 'Two Wheels' back in those days, due to his propensity for negotiating Lake Bend on two-wheels!
    ... I hope these bring back memories?

  3. #3
    Thanks for posting the photos of Chris Amon in the A40 Special.

    Some background on the car : it was built in 1947 by my great uncle Des Herrick as a speedway midget and was very successful in speedway and in hill climbs. In 1950 it was sold to Herb Gilroy who had Ralph Watson convert it to a circuit car with the midget Terraplane engine, a Bugatti gearbox and a Model T diff converted to IRS. In 1956 it was badly damaged in a Wellington hill climb and was totally rebuilt by Bruce McLaren and a few mates. In 1960 it was sold to Chris Amon as his first race car and by that stage it had a very hot A40 motor - Chris replaced the Bugatti box with a Singer one. The car then had many owners and was "improved" over time. It ended up in a Wellington warehouse for 20 years where I found it in 2005 and returned it to family ownership. It has now been de-modified back to 1960s configuration and I race it from time to time but currently it is having trouble keeping oil in the engine after about 3 laps!

  4. #4
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    Roger Redmayne died climbing in the Himalayas. And people say motor racing is dangerous!
    What a great collection of photos-obviously taken very early in Levin circuit's development.
    Last edited by rf84; 04-27-2014 at 10:08 PM.

  5. #5
    These are fantastic period photos. I know the pre 61 saloons would like to use some of these to show what we are about. PM sent!

  6. #6
    World Champion ERC's Avatar
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    Oh how I wish I still had my 1955 RME Riley... Maybe I would if I'd had the skills (or cash) to restore it all those years ago. Bought for just 20 pounds - with knackered big ends in 1970 - and sold for 70. Sob, sob. One of the nicest cars I have ever driven.

  7. #7
    Weekend Warrior Ross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ERC View Post
    Oh how I wish I still had my 1955 RME Riley... Maybe I would if I'd had the skills (or cash) to restore it all those years ago. Bought for just 20 pounds - with knackered big ends in 1970 - and sold for 70. Sob, sob. One of the nicest cars I have ever driven.


    What fantastic memories from Levin.
    I had forgotten how rough the edges of the track were !!
    In some places it is hard to tell the where the track ends and the "rough" begins.
    The 44gal. drums and No.8 fencing wire being the only containment for errant cars would make current safety stewards shudder.
    I remember spending many Saturdays at the circuit with my father (Vic. Hudson), painting these drums in the lead up to the first Levin race meeting in January 1956.
    I also remember Chris in the A40 Special at Levin but don't recall it being particularly reliable.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Oldfart View Post
    These are fantastic period photos. I know the pre 61 saloons would like to use some of these to show what we are about. PM sent!

    2nd that, great photos

  9. #9
    Jeff has sent me a bunch of other photos which are simply stunning. I am hoping he will post them as they need to be aired.
    What a set of memories! I feel very privileged to have been sent these, some of which will be great for promotion of the Pre 61s.

  10. #10
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    Love to see some more Jeff, thanks for sharing these with us...
    Quote Originally Posted by Oldfart View Post
    Jeff has sent me a bunch of other photos which are simply stunning. I am hoping he will post them as they need to be aired.
    What a set of memories! I feel very privileged to have been sent these, some of which will be great for promotion of the Pre 61s.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by RogerH View Post
    Thanks for posting the photos of Chris Amon in the A40 Special.

    Some background on the car : it was built in 1947 by my great uncle Des Herrick as a speedway midget and was very successful in speedway and in hill climbs. In 1950 it was sold to Herb Gilroy who had Ralph Watson convert it to a circuit car with the midget Terraplane engine, a Bugatti gearbox and a Model T diff converted to IRS. In 1956 it was badly damaged in a Wellington hill climb and was totally rebuilt by Bruce McLaren and a few mates. In 1960 it was sold to Chris Amon as his first race car and by that stage it had a very hot A40 motor - Chris replaced the Bugatti box with a Singer one. The car then had many owners and was "improved" over time. It ended up in a Wellington warehouse for 20 years where I found it in 2005 and returned it to family ownership. It has now been de-modified back to 1960s configuration and I race it from time to time but currently it is having trouble keeping oil in the engine after about 3 laps!
    Thanks for this information, great to hear the car is still alive and well (for 3 laps anyway!) How about a photo of it as it is today please.

    Thanks also Jeff fantastic to see these photos from that period, please keep posting them.

  12. #12
    The story Chris told me about the acquisition of that car was told in the book I did on him for the 2011 Festival. He planned a bigger engine and is pleased it never happened because it would have almost certainly not ended well!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by tonttu View Post
    Thanks for this information, great to hear the car is still alive and well (for 3 laps anyway!) How about a photo of it as it is today please.
    .
    A40 Special at Leadfoot 2013 : http://www.rpmphotography.co.nz/inde...-2013/IMG_4634

  14. #14
    Superb images Jeff, thanks so much for posting.

  15. #15

    A40 Special

    Quote Originally Posted by RogerH View Post
    Thanks for posting the photos of Chris Amon in the A40 Special.

    Some background on the car : it was built in 1947 by my great uncle Des Herrick as a speedway midget and was very successful in speedway and in hill climbs. In 1950 it was sold to Herb Gilroy who had Ralph Watson convert it to a circuit car with the midget Terraplane engine, a Bugatti gearbox and a Model T diff converted to IRS. In 1956 it was badly damaged in a Wellington hill climb and was totally rebuilt by Bruce McLaren and a few mates. In 1960 it was sold to Chris Amon as his first race car and by that stage it had a very hot A40 motor - Chris replaced the Bugatti box with a Singer one. The car then had many owners and was "improved" over time. It ended up in a Wellington warehouse for 20 years where I found it in 2005 and returned it to family ownership. It has now been de-modified back to 1960s configuration and I race it from time to time but currently it is having trouble keeping oil in the engine after about 3 laps!
    The A40 special gained its name when Herb Gilroy acquired the car and fitted the Austin A40 engine with the help of Ralph Watson. I recall talking to Herb about his choice of engine when visiting Ralph and he was confident that the A40 was stronger than any equivalent BMC unit. He used to take it to 7,300 RPM. Details can be found here in the book Ralph Watson Special Engineer, refer to the section covering Miscellaneous Work. ----

    http://ralphwatson.scienceontheweb.net/

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  16. #16
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    I grew up with a photo album of Jeff's photographs, I have posted these previously in one of the Barrie McBride threads. It was only after I started posting some of these that I learned they were Jeff's. Anywhere these are from Ohakea, Jeff can give you more info.

    Doc Cowie
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    Allan Freeman Lago-Talbot
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    Bert Jones Cooper Bristol
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  17. #17
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  18. #18
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    Tony Lawrence
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  19. #19
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by seaqnmac27 View Post
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    Post 17, 5 down from the top, would that be the Masserari at Levin with a Carkeek Citroen at the rear?

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