Mus­cle Ma­niac

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents - Paul Newby

The car that won the first two Sandown clas­sics is alive and well. We’ll tell you where on page 17. There’s also new Aussie slot cars; Brock’s Monza goes on the auc­tion block; a Serbian Monaro; and Bathurst Co­bra hiss-teria.

Ques­tion: When was the first all tour­ing car en­durance race held in Aus­tralia? Hint: The op­er­a­tive words are tour­ing car. An­swer: Novem­ber 29,1964, when the first of two Sandown In­ter­na­tional 6 Hour races was held. The se­cond took place on Novem­ber 21, 1965.

No, we haven’t over­looked the Arm­strong 500s held at Phillip Is­land and Bathurst, but they were pro­duc­tion car marathons for cars in show­room spec.

In con­trast, the Sandown In­ter­na­tional 6 Hour was held for FIA Group 1 tour­ing cars, where ho­molo­ga­tion re­quired a min­i­mum build of 500 pro­duc­tion cars. Two (mod­i­fied) Group 2 cars, the Lotus Cortina of un­known Cana­dian Al­lan Mof­fat and the seven-litre Ford Galaxie of Sir Gawaine Bail­lie were al­lowed to com­pete in the 1964 af­fair, though not el­i­gi­ble for out­right hon­ours.

Group 1 in­cluded a brace of fac­tory Mini Coop­ers and their Euro­pean rally aces, Paddy Hop­kirk, Rauno Aal­to­nen and Timo Maki­nen. Other in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors here in 1964 in­cluded fu­ture For­mula 1 World Cham­pion Jackie Ste­wart in a Lotus Cortina and Indy 500 win­ner Rodger Ward in a su­per­charged Stude­baker Lark.

The pres­ence of a non­de­script white Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia Ti Su­per, en­tered by im­porter and for­mer racer, Alec Mil­dren, didn’t at­tract much at­ten­tion. The boxy ‘white­goods ap­pli­ance’ had a 112bhp (84kW) twin-cam 1600cc all-al­loy en­gine fed by twin 45mm We­bers, a five-speed gear­box and, im­por­tantly, four-wheel disc brakes. Driv­ers were fac­tory Ital­ian works ace Roberto Bussinello and Mil­dren stal­wart Ralph Sachs.

The 1964 race was a real tor­toise and hare af­fair. The big Galaxie, co-driven by Lex Dav­i­son, and Mof­fat’s Lotus Cortina streeted the field at the start, but both suc­cumbed to brake prob­lems. The Galaxie fa­mously de­mol­ish­ing a fence as it ca­reered off at Pe­ters Cor­ner.

Brakes have al­ways been a Sandown bo­gey. But the Alfa’s four-wheel discs, its un­burstable en­gine and sur­pris­ingly aero­dy­namic body al­lowed the Ti Su­per to lap con­sis­tently all day. It com­pleted 220 laps to win the 6 Hour by an im­pres­sive mar­gin of seven laps over the Peter Man­ton/Brian Fo­ley Mini.

For 1965, Mil­dren dou­bled his ef­fort by en­ter­ing his win­ning duo in the new Gi­u­lia GTA coupe; and Frank Gard­ner and new sign­ing Kevin Bartlett in ‘old faith­ful’. The GTA had a more pow­er­ful twin­plug en­gine and light­weight al­loy pan­els and was the race favourite against the Lotus Corti­nas and Mini Coop­ers.

In the race, Bussinello/Sachs man­aged to see off the Al­lan Mof­fat/Jim Palmer Lotus Cortina only to suc­cumb to en­gine fail­ure be­fore half dis­tance. This left Gard­ner and Bartlett in the Ti Su­per out front and lap­ping con­sis­tently. There was a late race scare when the front-right tyre needed to be re­placed (the only tyre changed dur­ing the race), but the Alfa still man­aged to fin­ish four laps in front of the Hong Kong Lotus Cortina of Al­bert Poon/ Steve Hol­land, cov­er­ing 231 laps.

This would be the last Sandown In­ter­na­tional 6 Hour race. In 1968 a pro­duc­tion car race, the Dat­sun 3-Hour, was held at the metropoli­tan Mel­bourne cir­cuit. Within five years the race had mor­phed into a 250-mile tour­ing car en­counter.

This first decade set the tone for a half cen­tury of stop-start, mostly Septem­ber events, with last year’s Wil­son Se­cu­rity Sandown 500 the 45th run­ning of the Sandown tin-top clas­sic.

To sum­marise, the very same chas­sis won Sandown’s first two tour­ing clas­sics. It’s worth putting the spot­light on this lit­tle car given, firstly, that the 50th an­niver­sary of its back-to back vic­tory was clocked up with lit­tle fan­fare late last year. Plus, with the Sandown track likely to give way

to a res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment in the near fu­ture, it’s im­por­tant we cel­e­brate the colour­ful his­tory of a sig­nif­i­cant, if un­likely, Sandown tour­ing car clas­sic win­ner.

Be­yond the two 6 Hours, the Ti Su­per only did a few races in Mil­dren’s hands be­fore be­ing sold. The Alfa wasn’t com­pet­i­tive in Im­proved Pro­duc­tion. Its forte was long dis­tance events.

Tas­ma­nian Peter Cazarro raced the Alfa for two years be­fore it was badly dam­aged in a rollover. It then dis­ap­peared un­til Mel­bourne en­thu­si­ast John Emery, father of cur­rent Nis­san boss, Richard, chanced upon the car in 1977. Ap­par­ently there had been plans to turn it into a speed­way car with a Chevy V8!

With the as­sis­tance of re­stor­ers Cliff Bills and David Smith, the Gi­u­lia Ti Su­per was re­turned to its for­mer glory in 1980 be­com­ing el­i­gi­ble for the emerg­ing Ap­pen­dix J (Group Nb) his­toric cat­e­gory. Emery used the Alfa spar­ingly, in­clud­ing a re­turn to Sandown in 1989 for the 25th an­niver­sary of its land­mark first win.

The his­toric Alfa was sold in 2003 to a Bri­tish col­lec­tor, Richard Springett, based in Tokyo, Ja­pan, where it has lived for much of the last 13 years. The well-trav­elled lit­tle car is cur­rently in stor­age in the UK hav­ing had its orig­i­nal en­gine over­hauled by the owner’s ‘go to’ me­chanic.

Richard sent us a shot of the car on the back of his pe­riod trans­porter – a 1960s-vin­tage Alfa Romeo light truck – when it was be­ing de­liv­ered to a Tokyo dock ahead of its ship­ment to the Old Dart. The Gi­u­lia Ti Su­per has less than 20,000 kilo­me­tres on the clock.

Al­though it would be nice to think that one day this sig­nif­i­cant car – Alfa Romeo’s long tra­di­tion of class-win­ning tour­ing cars started here – will re­turn to Aus­tralia, at least this win­ner of the first two Sandown clas­sics sur­vives, un­like the win­ning Cortina from the 1963 Arm­strong 500 at Bathurst. Spe­cial thanks to Alfa Romeo his­to­rian Barry Ed­munds for his as­sis­tance with this story.

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