PTRACER wrote: ↑
1 month ago
Looks great! I saw one in the flesh at Goodwood about 15 years ago. I bet Vern drives it properly too.
You betcha Vern drives it hard, despite being now 75 I think.
A quote from the VHRR (Victorian Historic Race Register) who promote the PI race.
At the Phillip Island historics it was a joy to
watch one of Australia’s greatest international
aces, Vern Schuppan, four-wheel drifting his
1948 Talbot-Lago 4.5 litre grand prix car though
turn twelve in the J, K, Lb and Invited races.
Interviewed after one of the races, Schuppan
said he was having problems with the preselector gearbox and future outings would
mainly be demonstrations and regularity, but
he had made an exception to race the valuable
($1m plus) car at Phillip Island, which he
described as one of the best tracks in the world.
By the final race on Sunday he had overcome
the gearbox issues to finish in second place,
only shaded by the much newer 2.5 litre T50
Cooper-Climax driven by Adam Berryman
A bit of the cars history here, and also comments from Vern about why he had to buy it:
For Schuppan, who has his extensive and impressive career CV headlined by a victory in the 1983 Le Mans 24 hour in a Porsche 956, it will be a boyhood dream come true when he gets behind the wheel of the post-war French racer.
It is believed there were only 23 Talbot-Lago racers built and, like Schuppan, the car not only had grand prix consistency, but also a Le-Mans 24 hour victory in 1950.
Schuppan,who was born on Booleroo Centre and raised in Whyalla South Australia, travelled with his parents and sister Patrea for more than four hours in a Vanguard to attend the 1955 Australian Grand Prix at Port Wakefield.
“The 1955 Australian Grand Prix at Port Wakefield was my first ever motor racing event,”said Schuppan.
“Jack Brabham won the race from Reg Hunt, but I always had a fascination with the Talbot-Lago which Doug Whiteford drove to third place.
“There was just something about the car that has stuck with me all these years.
“Dad actually shot the race on an 8mm camera and I still have the footage.”
Whiteford also contested the 1956 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in the car and finished eighth in the 22-car field behind the works Maseratis 250Fs of Stirling Moss and Jean Behra after overheating problems crushed his chances.
Schuppan’s car had its debut in the 1948 San Marino Grand Prix and ran in Europe until being shipped to Australia for the 1955 season.
On debut at the 1955 Argus Trophy race at Albert Park Whiteford beat Stan Jones, the father of future world champion Alan Jones, to the chequered flag.
The race, which was open to Formula Libre Racing Cars, was contested over 32 laps, a distance of 100 miles (160km).
It was organised by the Light Car Club of Australia and sponsored by The Argus, a Melbourne newspaper.
The car actually ran in the Bathurst 100 as part of the Australian Drivers’ Championship in 1957 at the hands of Ralph Snodgrass, who finished third behind Arnold Glass (HWM-Jaguar) and Jack Robinson (JRS-Jaguar).
It has its last start at Sydney’s old Mount Druitt track later that year and did not officially race again until an historics meeting at Sandown International Raceway in 1985, after being totally restored by Reg Hunt.
The car was most recently owned by long-time racer and enthusiast Ron Townley, who will also be competing in another of his vehicles this weekend despite his 80-plus years.
“I always loved seeing the car at Phillip Island or Albert Park and always made a point of going and talking to Ron and looking over the car,” said Schuppan.
“At Phillip Island last year I was told the car was for sale and I knew I had to do a deal.
“There were a lot of guys from the UK and other parts of the world and the last thing we needed was this car heading back to Europe after being here all its life.
“We cut and deal and here we are.
“It is really cool and I have to pinch myself when I think about personally owning this car.”