The Keep­sakes

Australian Muscle Car - - Mail -

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.”

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