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by Matt Brogan

Bugatti Bonanza for Winton Historic

Following our drive of the breath taking Bugatti Veyron earlier this year comes news on some slightly more mature Bugattis racing in this year’s Winton Historic to be held May 24-25 at Winton Motor Raceway, Winton, Victoria.

This year’s event also celebrates some key milestones in both motoring and motor racing history with Ford’s model T and General Motors (brand) each celebrating a centenary, Holden’s 60th, Monaro’s 40th and a raft of others.

Bugatti Bonanza for Winton Historic

During the 1920s and 30s, Grand Prix Bugattis experienced unparalleled success around the world and have been credited with winning more Grand Prix events in their day than any other make during the long history of motor racing.

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Bugatti cars achieved many thousands of victories in just a few decades. The little Bugatti Type 13 famously swept the top four positions in the Grand Prix de Voiturette at Brescia, Italy in 1921 giving rise to the name ‘Brescia’ for the model.

The 1924 Bugatti Type 35 is probably the most successful racing car of all time with over 2,000 wins. Bugatti’s final racing success at Le Mans is well remembered, Jean-Pierre Wimille and Pierre Veyron won the 1939 race with just one car and meagre resources.

Bugatti racing cars were also instrumental in helping to establish the fledgling motor sport industry in Australia. In a six year period between 1928 and 1933, half of the first three placings in Australian Grand Prix events went to Bugattis and they won outright four years in a row.

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The type 37A Bugatti driven by Arthur J Terdich in 1929 had a runaway victory. It averaged 99km/h over a distance of 336km around the then rough and unsealed Phillip Island circuit.

The vehicle had been imported into Australia in late 1928 without the rear half of its body, to avoid paying duty. It was then fitted with a wooden tail which was painted with a copy of the Light Car Club of Australia badge.

This was the first Bugatti to win an Australian Grand Prix and it initiated the winning success of Bugattis in local events during the early 1930s.

The vehicle, which now resides in the Powerhouse Museum, was the work of brilliant Italian designer Ettore Bugatti. Ettore Bugatti was reputed to be the greatest designer of world famous racing cars until fellow countryman, Ferrari appeared on the scene in more recent years.

Between 1909 and 1939, more than 10,000 Bugattis were built spanning 36 different models. The make is easily recognised by its exquisitely designed tapering body and distinctive horseshoe radiator.

As part of the extended celebrations for Bugatti, a wonderful collection of these beautiful old racing cars will be on show at 2008 Historic Winton, with the majority of them appearing in competition events. This will be the biggest line up of Bugatti vehicles at any historic race meeting for some years.

Holden Celebrates 60 Years & GM 100 Years

This year celebrates the centenary of General Motors and close to home the 60th anniversary of Australia’s own car, the Holden 48-215 or FX as it was to later become known.

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Gary Poole, Derrinallum will have his FX Holden on display at this year’s Winton Historic. One of only 650 ever made, this is one of two are known to still be racing, the second raced in GB and Australia two years ago by the late Peter Brock.

The Green Hornet

In the late 1950s, Arthur Cornelius (the ‘special builder’) came up with an ‘Austin and Morris beater’ for Stan Mills.

The hybrid consisted of A Model Ford mechanicals sitting on a 1927 Willys-Knight chassis which had been inverted and slung underneath both axles. In suitable period fashion the engine, slightly warmed, was fitted with a Ford 97 carby and stub exhausts. A body was considered unnecessary weight.

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Stan competed and became well-known in the district with his A Model ‘bedstead’ and after about a year, he and Arthur realised a dream by opening a new and permanent circuit at the Wahgunyah Recreation Reserve.

Stan again conferred with Arthur and arranged for a body to be constructed to his own design. Around 1958, the Green Hornet emerged.

With its altered FX Holden bonnet topped with a radical and contemporary fin for a tail and its two-tone green and white livery, the car cut a dashing profile and complemented its unique stub-exhaust sound. It became for a time the ‘signature vehicle’ for the Wahgunyah Circuit.

Stan Mills raced the car with a reasonable amount of success until approximately 1963. It changed hands a couple of times until 1973 when Bruce McLoughlin of Albury Car Parts purchased it and used the car for promotional purposes in his Albury business.

It remained there until 1984 when Dan Claridge obtained the vehicle. The car still ran and appeared to be in the same condition as when it last raced, but was very weathered. Dan restored the car over the next year or two and, apart from a couple of demo runs, it has sat in his shed since. In May 1985, CAMS granted Group L(b) classification to the car.

Austin Healey ‘Bug Eye’ Celebrates 50 Years

Often described as the greatest little sports car of all time, the Bug Eye Sprite was designed to fill a rather large hole in the market for those that were seeking a small, low cost sports car.

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The Bug Eye was launched exactly 50 years ago and went on sale at a price of $699. It used a tuned version of the Austin A series engine and many existing components from the Austin A30 and Morris Minor in order to keep cost to a minimum.

The Bugeye had coil springs and wishbones in the front, semi-elliptical leaf springs at the back, rack and pinion steering, drum brakes and a four speed manual gearbox. This simple vehicle with its 948cc engine and twin SU carburettors was generally acclaimed as being capable of 80mph and 30 miles to the gallon.

Some 48,987 of the original series-one Bugeye were produced between 1958 and 1961 before the body shape was altered and the distinctive headlight profile became more conventional. Most went to the USA and almost half are claimed to be still in existence.

In 1977, the first Bugeye Sprite entered historic racing in Australia. Others quickly followed and soon Bugeye Sprites were amongst the most popular of the pre-1960 production sports cars participating in historic meetings around Australia.

Amongst the many attractions at this year’s Historic Winton is a dedicated group of Bug Eye competition vehicles competing for line honours, and well-supported by a large attendance of Bug Eye spectator vehicles on display in Shannons Classic Car Park.

Ford Model T Celebrates 100 Years

Launched in 1908 with the primary aim of making motoring affordable for the working class, the T Model Ford is legendary in motoring history. More than 15 million of these iconic vehicles were produced between 1908 and 1927 and it pioneered the art of production-line assembly.

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Picture courtesy www.SDpics.com

The T Model Ford celebrates its centenary this year and motoring enthusiasts can witness a large group of these old-timers at 2008 Historic Winton.

A few of them will take part in trackside events throughout the weekend, the most notable being the Wikner T Model Special which has a competition history dating back to 1922 and is one of the oldest known Australian race cars.

A special viewing area is set aside in the Classic Car Park at Winton Motor Raceway for a Ford T Model Club display, and most of these vehicles will take part in parade laps early on Sunday afternoon.

Historic Winton is very fortunate to have the opportunity to showcase these wonderful old historic vehicles. Ford’s involvement in motorsport dates back to October 1901 when Henry Ford competed in his first and only official car race event.

Earlier that year, with the help of others, Henry Ford constructed a new vehicle nicknamed ‘Sweepstakes’, which was capable of 72 mph and he decided that racing was the ideal way to promote his name and business capabilities.

A crowd of eight thousand spectators gathered at the track to witness more than a dozen race cars, including the early favourite driven by Alexander Winton. Winton was not only a well-known local car manufacturer, he was also a most celebrated and competent race driver.

Because of mechanical problems with many of the vehicles, the finale to the day’s program became a showdown between Alexander Winton’s ‘Bullet’ and Henry Ford’s ‘Sweepstakes’. ‘Bullet’ produced about 70hp, nearly three times that of ‘Sweepstakes’, and the event was considered by many to be a total mismatch.

Ford’s inexperience as a driver did not help as he continually backed off in the corners and Winton soon drew ahead to a commanding lead. However, half-way through the 10 mile race, Winton’s car started to splutter and falter.

Ford, the underdog, eventually swept past Winton in front of the crowded grandstand and went on to win the event.

In 1925, the first Australian Ford plant opened in Geelong, producing Model T Fords. In 1927, the Model T was superseded by the Model A.

Wanderer Race Car

During the early 1920s, German car manufacturer ‘Wanderer’ sent a series of twelve incomplete vehicles to their Australian distributor, Wagner Bros Engineering of Melbourne for completion, as was the custom of those days.

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Wanderer based chassis WW6261 was fitted with an attractive 2 seater racing body which was built in 1924 by Terdich Bros in Collingwood, and extensive modifications were made to the running gear and motor using various Wanderer parts

The Wanderer race car competed at Aspendale circuit, Wheelers Hill Climb and Melborne metropolitan speedways before being entered in the 1928 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

This is the very same Wanderer vehicle that you will see in all its glory at this year’s Historic Winton.

During its 84 years of existence, the vehicle has spent 50 years in storage and is believed to be the oldest unrestored Australian Grand Prix entrant and the sole surviving Wanderer race car in the world.

It was in regular use until 1939 in the hands of its original owner, Mr A Wagner. The car had little activity during the war years and lay in storage from 1948 until 1962, when it was sold to Arnold Terdich, who was extremely active in motor sport at the time.

The Wanderer race car was subsequently road registered and competed in a multitude of events for a long period before eventually being retired. It lay under covers from the late 1980s until it was purchased from Arnold Terdich’s estate in 2006 by his nephew Chris Terdich, the current proud owner. Since then, the vehicle has had only a sympathetic general clean up and a much-needed mechanical overhaul.

2008 Historic Winton is proud to showcase this most important part of Australian motorsport history. Matt and Paul from CarAdvice will be attending the event again this year so if you make it up there, please come say hi.

For further details on the Winton Historic, please contact www.historicwinton.org






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