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Thread: The Bruce Wells Collection

  1. #1

    The Bruce Wells Collection

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    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.

  2. #2
    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.

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  3. #3
    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.

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  4. #4
    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?

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  5. #5
    What a great start to a fantastic collection of photographs.
    Last edited by Kwaussie; 10-31-2011 at 03:58 AM.

  6. #6
    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.

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  7. #7
    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.

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  8. #8
    Great evocative photos - keep them coming.

  9. #9
    Great photos ,I notice a couple of candidates for the pre 60 saloons there

  10. #10
    Great photos I agree - but it is the Nota that really catches my eye. What powerplant I wonder..

  11. #11
    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.

  12. #12
    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.

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  13. #13
    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.

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  14. #14
    Semi-Pro Racer pallmall's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Auckland. New Zealand
    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.

  15. #15
    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.

  16. #16
    What a front row Stewart, Clark and Hill. Did not get much better. Good old days when they came down for a holiday.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Grimwood View Post
    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

  18. #18
    Outstanding photos - thanks for posting

  19. #19
    Just looking at the trophy table for the 67 AGP, when did wreaths stop being awarded to drivers?

  20. #20
    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

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