and Tony Farrell. Davies was in charge of administration and finance, while Farrell was the designer. Davies was manager of Davies Craig Pty Ltd, a business making thermatic fans for fans, which survives and thrives today. Farrell had worked for the Bristol car company in England and, upon moving to Australia, became a noted circuit racer and the designer/builder of clubman-style sportscars.
The pair had workshops in South Melbourne and liked to have a beer at a nearby pub and talk cars. It was over such an after-work beer that the Ilinga was conceived.
The initial concept was for a four-person luxury coupe capable of accelerating from zero to 60mph in under eight seconds, with a top speed of 135mph (217km/h). It had to be capable of travelling between Sydney and Melbourne without refuelling.
That top speed was exceeded at Ford’s You Yangs proving ground during testing.
After $200,000 had been spent on the two prototypes, one of the project’s major backers pulled out, and the company was unable to finance ongoing development and overcome the inevitable hurdles that popped up.
Australian motoring history is littered with similar attempts to create independent car companies. Inevitably, the high cost of design and manufacture could never be spread over the small production volumes that the local market could support. If it was difficult last century, imagine the impossibility of the task today.
If multinationals like GM, Ford and Toyota can no longer afford to build cars in Australia, what chance a tiny independent?
Ilinga is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘towards the horizon’.