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Thread: Eldred Norman - Eclipse Zephyr

  1. #21
    The centrepiece of the original grille was from an industrial fan...

    When Eldred sold the car to Keith Rilstone, according to Keith, he said, "You'll make this car really go!" He acknowledged his own shortcomings and recognised Rilstone's abilities.

    There were some handy helps came along through the racing-oriented people at Repco. Mention was made of Vanguard brakes, but that's not actually what it had. They were Holden drums with Vanguard internals to give two leading shoe operation. Repco had purchased a Raymond Mays head for study when they were preparing to build the Hi-Power head for Holdens and Keith was given that. Also, the tube which makes up the centre of the chassis was more than 6" in diameter, more like 8" or possibly 9".

    When the car appeared at Port Wakefield for the first time there was a serious suggestion that it would break in half. So eldred pushed it under a truck and put a jack on that centre piece and lifted the truck.

    It's also not true to say that the Holden crossmember was bolted on to the timing cover. A piece of solid steel, probably 1" thick, was milled out to the shape of the timing cover and a plate welded across the front of that to enclose it and to mount the crossmember. I'm sure they used bigger bolts too.

    The 'Double 8' (as it was known within the Norman family) was sold after its fine performance at the AGP at Narrogin in 1951. It had two high-powered fuel pumps, by the way, to spray water over the front brakes to prevent them getting too hot. The buyer was Syd Anderson, and he raced it for several years including one trip to Singapore for the Grand Prix there. Later it deteriorated under the ownership of another Western Australian, Tony Carboni, and finished up being dismantled and destroyed.

    One reason for ridding himself of this car was the mooted adoption of FIA F1 and F2. Clearly, with 7.8 litres it was not going to fit in, and those truck wheels might be a bit heavy. It was for this same reason that the supercharger was removed from the Maybach of Stan Jones, which diced for the lead with Doug Whiteford's Lago at the '51 (or was it '52?) Woodside meeting.

    I don't know the fate of the double-engined Essex Norman built, but the short life of his TR2 was interesting. As noted, he took plenty of high-octane fuel to Southport for the '54 AGP, driving there on pump petrol with a decompression plate in the engine. He won a sports car race in that form, IIRC, and then removed the decompression plate and poured in the jungle juice for the best AGP performance he ever had.

    Later in life he started to build a sports sedan for his son, Bill. This used a Hillman Imp shell but was space-framed and had a Rover V8. Apparently it still exists and races, though Eldred never finished it.

    His money-making trips with war surplus gear were full of interest. Somewhere I have a photo of one load, 83 tons if I recall, with a low-loader carrying two Blitzes and with a trailer on behind, the whole lot packed with tyres and fuel drums, stuff not freely available in Australia at the time but not in short supply at all in New Guinea with the departure of the forces.

    Nancy and their daughter, Bronnie, told me a multitude of stories about Eldred when I did a feature about him in Motor Racing Australia, Mike continued to make the superchargers at Noosa and Bill was involved with the running of Speed on Tweed, which is where the pic of Graeme Snape in the car painted yellow was taken I'm fairly sure.
    Last edited by Ray Bell; 05-31-2019 at 02:04 PM.

  2. #22
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    Great info Ray, cheers.

  3. #23
    Bill, by the way, went on to build his own Clubman-type car much later...

  4. #24

  5. #25
    i like the part where he nails the tablecloth to the table and his wife uses the camshaft to break rocks....just needs a bit more lift and a bit more overlap and they will never catch me
    Last edited by John McKechnie; 06-02-2019 at 08:50 PM.

  6. #26
    However, it wasn't Steve Tillett, or at least I don't think it would have been...

    The story as I got it from Bronnie was that two non-Club members addressed the Club at a meeting an announced their intention to start camshaft grinding, for which they'd acquired a machine. It was they who went to the Norman household and saw Bill walking on the piano keys, and for whom Eldred retrieved a very dirty cam from the pile of rocks.

    What a wonderful subject Eldred was for a story, and how good are the extra details that 'Harv' has in that thread.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell View Post
    However, it wasn't Steve Tillett, or at least I don't think it would have been...

    The story as I got it from Bronnie was that two non-Club members addressed the Club at a meeting an announced their intention to start camshaft grinding, for which they'd acquired a machine. It was they who went to the Norman household and saw Bill walking on the piano keys, and for whom Eldred retrieved a very dirty cam from the pile of rocks.

    What a wonderful subject Eldred was for a story, and how good are the extra details that 'Harv' has in that thread.
    That whole 15 page thread is a great read, Harv's details priceless.
    "Eldred was known to keep himself awake by butting cigarettes on the back of his hand. "

  8. #28
    World Champion Roger Dowding's Avatar
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    The Zephyr - for sale !!

    From Graham Edney - Old Motor racing Photographs - Australia Fb page.

    Name:  Cars #305 B Eldred Zephyr Graham Edney  (800x544).jpg
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Size:  158.8 KB

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