The McPhee family, Wyong Motors crew members and Monaro enthusiasts today retain many personal mementos and items of memorabilia from #13D and its successful assault on the Mountain.
David McPhee, son of Bruce, retains the crown jewel, his father’s AGV race helmet.
“I reckon he used the very same helmet throughout his career,” David says. “I also have the watch that sponsor Bardahl gave Dad when he won the race; a Tissot watch. And there are the silver trays and the trophy. I remember sending the trays off to a silverplater to have them tidied up. And I remember the guy asking if we wanted the engraving taken off!”
One quirky but authentic item that lives on today is the cord that was wrapped around #13D’s steering wheel on October 6, 1968. Bruce presented a ball of this cord, a product known as Cutteyhunk, to Canberra-based Monaro enthusiast Michael Catanzariti in the late 1990s. Bruce drove Michael and his wife Vanda’s Warwick Yellow GTS 327 at Winton Raceway. Today, the steering wheel of the Catanzariti’s pride and joy is proudly wrapped in exactly the same manner as 13D’s was with the same cord.
Bruce, in an interview in AMC issue #17 of 2005, explained why he used the cord.
“It’s called Cutteyhunk,” he told AMC founding editor Mark Oastler. “It’s a very hard cotton cord about 2mm in diameter. They used it on the handles of tennis rackets and cricket bats, because it would soak up the sweat from your hands but still give you enough traction to grip it rmly. I never used to wear gloves when I was racing, so it was very useful.”
Race mechanic Mark Levenspiel, son of Wyong Motors’ owner Phil, retains what he terms a brake spoon, which he says proved crucial in the victory, although in the aforementioned issue #17 interview it was stated the car didn’t require a pad change.
“The brake spoon really allowed us to win,” Mark Levenspiel says today. “My father made a ‘brake spoon’ which allowed us to push the pads
back into the callipers very quickly. And it was that that put us in front of Des West, because we changed pads much quicker than anyone else. David McKay saw us using it and wanted us to go to his pit and do their brakes. We watched them struggle for several minutes and we did ours in a minute and a quarter.
“Dad made the spoons. They were just at pieces of steel bent and heat-treated. And we practiced the pad changes. It wasn’t the modern way of changing them, you pushed one pad at a time. I would push my new pad in and then on the other side Allan Howard would push a pad in, then I would push a pad in. Obviously if we tried pushing the calliper pads in at the same time we’d get nowhere. We practiced that.”
Mark retains his father’s stopwatch used during the race and the entrants trophy.
We understand that the other race mechanic Allan Howard still has the tool kit and spanner trophy he won.
As to the ultimate keepsake, the race winning Monaro GTS 327 itself, we address its whereabouts overleaf.
Top left: Mark Levenspiel changing #13D’s pads midrace. Note the used brake pad near his knee. Inset: Mark retains the ‘brake spoon’, his father’s stopwatch and the entrants trophy he held at the presentation! Top right: McPhee gave Michael Catanzariti the roll of Cutteyhunk in the late 1990s. McPhee drove Michael and wife Vanda’s GTS 327 at Winton in 1998. Below: “This is the tool box that Allan Howard received for being the winning mechanic,” Anne Lee says. “There’s Allan with his trophy and prize and tray. I always remember Dad received a box of Bacardi for being on pole.”