Son of a play­boy

Australian Muscle Car - - Mail -

Roy Samp­son had his own en­gine re­con­di­tion­ing busi­ness in South Mel­bourne – where young Brian learned his trade – and owned some fancy sports cars, in­clud­ing an MG TD and an Austin Healey 100/4. But he was more in­ter­ested in chas­ing girls than track glory.

“He was re­ally just a poser I think,” Samp­son says. “He was more in­ter­ested in the women. He wasn’t a bad dad, but a bit of a play­boy.” Not sur­pris­ingly, his wife soon left him.

Brian was 20 years old and keen to race when some­one sug­gested that Roy let him race the Healey in the Moomba TT 100-mile sports car race at Al­bert Park in 1955. Brian quickly or­gan­ised a li­cence, painted num­bers on the car and went to work on the en­gine. He did a good enough job to qual­ify 15th out of 33 starters, but the old hands warned of po­ten­tial trou­ble in the rst cor­ner with the Le Mans start and gave him some ad­vice:

“I was told that the best thing I could do was to wait un­til all the other cars had passed me be­fore head­ing off slowly,” Brian ex­plained. “I did ex­actly what I was told, but af­ter run­ning to my car, start­ing the en­gine, sit­ting and wait­ing, and see­ing a Singer Nine pot­ter past, I re­alised that I’d been conned!”

De­spite strug­gling with an over­size hel­met that was try­ing to ei­ther rip his head off on the straights or blind­ing him un­der brakes, Samp­son nished his rst race 10th. He was hooked.

Two years later, he nished third at Al­bert Park driv­ing a lit­tle red Mor­ris Spe­cial he’d fallen in love with while watch­ing a Fish­er­mans Bend meet­ing.

“A cou­ple of months later I was in Syd­ney Road, Bruns­wick and saw a lit­tle red tail stick­ing out from un­der a tarp. It was a place called New York Car Sales, which turned out to be Bob Jane’s. He picked from a mile away that I wanted the car badly and would do any­thing to get it. He played me very well be­cause I of­fered him a ridicu­lous 400 pounds.”

The car of his dreams quickly turned into a night­mare, though. It had no wa­ter pump and boiled four times just get­ting home, only six kilo­me­tres away! Still, the in­no­va­tive young­ster soon had it sorted and pro­duc­ing much more power with a su­per­charger, and he en­joyed two years of suc­cess be­fore get­ting mar­ried and sell­ing the car to buy one of those new TV set things.

Brian Samp­son in the Mor­ris Spe­cial he bought fromt Bob Jane in the late 1950s at Tem­plestowe hill­climb (above) and the Gee­long Sprints (be­low).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.