Overtaking was allowed, the Argentinean Pur Sang 35B recreation comes up on Antony Simpson’s Bugatti Type 57
Lobethal Grand Carnival,
South Australia, 11 & 12 October 2008
Photos and Story by Vince Johnson
Sixty years after the last races were held there in 1948, the town of Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills once again heard the sounds of racing engines as 87 vintage cars and 35 bikes lined up for the Lobethal Grand Carnival.
The original 8.7 mile track still exists in its entirety. The surface is newer of course and the corners are wider in places, being public roads as they were during the racing days of 1937 to 1948.
With 47 corners and formidable straights, this undulating road circuit was a favorite of the drivers and riders of the day. Doug Whiteford, who won the Australian Grand Prix three times in the fifties, acknowledged it as the greatest racing circuit in Australia. Allan Tomlinson won the 1939 Australian Grand Prix at this track, with its sharp crests followed by blind curves. After the race he had commented â€œWhat we had to do was turn the car before we got airborneâ€.
In his nineties now and living in New York, Allan Tomlinson was in Adelaide during the planning of the Carnival and organizers are hopeful that he will be returning in 2009. Lobethal racers Gavin Sandford-Morgan and Ray Pank were there as were eight cars that had raced on the circuit over half a century ago. The roads were closed while the cars and bikes went out though drivers were advised at the briefings that the event was a â€˜spirited demonstrationâ€™. Entry categories included more recent machines with a sporting background. Separate sessions were held for cars and bikes, flagged off from the Main Street start line in packets of twenty by Glen Dix, Adelaide flagman for many of the 1985 â€“ 95 Australian Formula 1 races.
Understandably, Australian Specials and UK makes dominated the paddock. Cars with Lobethal racing pedigrees included Ral Rainsfordâ€™s(South Australia) ex-Ron Uffindell Austin 7, Tom Robertsâ€™ (Victoria) Kleinig Hudson Special, Phillip Bradeyâ€™s (SA) ex-Prince Bira MGK3, John Ellisâ€™ (SA) MGTC Tillett Special, event director Tony Parkinsonâ€™s (SA) Bedmore Special and Frank Mooreâ€™s (Queensland) Ford powered â€˜Black Bessâ€™ and his Ballot-Oldsmobile.
Mooreâ€™s Ballot is based on a shortened and heavily drilled Ballot chassis; this car ran in the 1939 Australian Grand Prix, in the hands of builder Jim Gullan. In his book â€œAs Long As It Has Wheelsâ€ Jim remembers it getting airborne approaching the town at 110 mph. Frank drove the six cylinder powered car more sedately.
Three Bugattis and a Pur Sang 35B recreation featured in the entry list. Kent Patrick (SA) had his Type 37A GP sharing paddock space in packet 1 with Adam Berrymanâ€™s (Vic) Type 37. In packet 3, Antony Simpsonâ€™s (SA) rebodied Type 57 sat next to the Adelaide based Argentinean built Pur Sang car and showed just how tiny the Type 35 racers from the twenties were.
The most original French car was undoubtedly Angus Mitchellâ€™s (SA) 1927 Amilcar 998cc Grand Sport S. Bodied by Duval in France, it was imported new to Australia by the New South Wales distributors Chapmans and still sports its cast firewall and original bodywork. Sold to a shearer by the name of Colin McGinnity, it spent much of its rust-free working life in the Australian sun taking its owner to sheep stations around the country. Angusâ€™ grandfather bought it from the shearerâ€™s family in 1960 and it has been with the Mitchells ever since.
Italian cars were notable by their absence. Peter Smeets (SA) brought his Milano MG Special with its Ferrari 750 Monza style body and Tony Cullen (SA) had his recently completed Alfa Monza type. This well finished car is built on a FIAT chassis but its Jaguar six has a couple of â€˜extraâ€™ exhaust headers to give it that straight eight look.
At the speeches in Lobethalâ€™s Centennial Hall on Sunday afternoon, Tony Parkinson hoped that the Carnival would become an annual event, attracting cars of the calibre of the P3 Alfa that ran there at the 1939 Grand Prix. With an atmosphere authenticated by vintage bi-planes from the nearby Woodside airstrip flying overhead, markets, local winemakers and brewers, food groups and other merchantsâ€™ stalls, a movie night (Anthony Hopkins in â€˜The Worldâ€™s Fastest Indianâ€™ â€¦what else!) and a Saturday night concert, it certainly deserves to be a yearly event.
An original Australian special, the Ballot was raced in the 1939 Australian Grand Prix by Jim Gullan.
The Ballot is currently owned by Frank Moore, and is powered by a six cylinder Olds.
This “Monza” is not an Alfa, it was built over the last few years by Tony Cullen in Adelaide.
And very good fun on the road for both the driver and spectators.
View of the road from the “Pur Sang” Bugatti T35B, which is a recreation by the company “Pur Sang”, located in Argentina.
There are a few of these ’35B’ “Pur Sang” cars in Australia, this is the first to come to Adelaide.
The “Pur Sang” is created at their factory as a direct copy, hollow forged front axle, 2.3 litre straight 8 supercharged etc but it runs a distributor not a magneto, and an electric fuel pump, starter motor and radiator fan.
The “Pur Sang” enjoying the Adelaide event.
Kent Patrick’s car is a Type 37A GP, has some replaced parts to original specs. Eighty years is a long time.
While the Type 35 has an eight cylinder engine, the smaller Type 37 ran the four cylinder–this one is also supercharged.
The Type 37A GP around Mill Corner.
Antony Simpson’s Bugatti, chassis serial number 57627, was originally a Type 57.
The Type 57 was a straight eight as well but with dual overhead cams.
Simpson’s Type 57 was rebodied by the Vintage Motor Engineering Company in Adelaide.
The most original French car was undoubtedly Angus Mitchellâ€™s (SA) 1927 Amilcar Grand Sport S.
Mitchell in the 1927 Amilcar on Woodside Road, approaching Lobethal. His family has owned the car since 1960!
The Amilcars were as popular as Bugattis but much less expensive.
The 998 cc engine is tiny but willing.
The “Milano” runs a supercharged MG engine…
..with a tubular frame and a fibreglass body built in Australia by JWF (Sydney) in the late fifties.
For more information go the the website at www.lobethalgrandcarnival.com.au