those mid week lunch jokers have gone and done it again….. (Pics - Click here)
they got a bunch of old dudes together and went to Ron
Townley’s little beach house in Safety Beach (with views to
knock your eyes out) and went underground into the inner
sanctum with the black and white check Italian ceramic tiles
on the floor to have a look at what Ron has done this time.
We managed to safely negotiate our
unsteady way down Ron’s 33 degree declining driveway into
his garage that is big as the shopping Plaza at the Pines in
Frankston, from where he obviously got the idea. Once we
got down below ground level we saw all these IOBs
(Interesting Old Blokes) must have been a dozen of them in
the company of only one lady and most of them were milling
around the coffee pot and the cake table, but some were
peering very closely at Ron’s eclectic collection of
We had a glance around and saw a couple
or three blue cars, a green one and a cute little truck,
photo boards hiding the air conditioning system and a nice
little room with his tools and several machines in. The
whole shebang being very well lit, clean and very tidy.
Well there is this old blue French racing
car from the late 40s or early 50s, depends on who is
telling the story and it is a Talbot Lago or a Lago Talbot,
depends on who is telling the story, which used to belong to
Reg Hunt and Ron has been haunting him for decades trying to
do a deal. Ron has obviously sold off several of his
suburban Shopping Centers and a couple of his racing cars
and done the deed.
The Lago Talbot has a very interesting
history and started off its life as a racing car in 1948 as
a lago Talbot Type 26C number 11002, the second car built.
In 1948 it was driven by M. Raph and
initially competed at the grands prix at San Remo, Europe,
De IÁCF, de Commings and de Albi varying success. It then
changed hands and was driven by M. Chaboud, Mairresse and
Raph who ran it in seven various GPs and other meeeting with
In 1949 it competed in thirteen events
including GPs and other international events and was driven
by M. Mairesse who managed to finish out of the podium on
In 1950 M. Mairesse drove in 2 events and
M. Giraud – Cabaniuos drove in 4 other events all without a
In 1951 M. Mairesse drove in a further 6
international and G.P events and managed a 2nd at
CC de Doullens.
In 1952 11002 competed in only 2 events
driven by M. Blanc and Levegh and managed only 1 finish.
In 1953 was not much better and only
competed once with M. Etancelin at the wheel and managed a 3rd
at GP de Rouen.
In 1954 things looked very quiet for
1102, when it didn’t managed to do anything at all.
In 1955 it changed hands to Doug
Whiteford and was transported to Australia for its sins.
In 1955 and 56 11002 competed in 9 local
events in the hands of Whiteford and all in all did very
well with 5 podium finishes out of the nine and finished in
all events including the AGP in 1956 when he finished 8th.
In 1957 Ralph Snodgrass bought the car
from Doug Whiteford and competed in 4 events including 2 at
Bathurst when he finished 3rd in both events.
Snodgrass then apparently decided to do a rebuild and the
car was stripped and stored under his house in bits from
1960 until 1980.
In 1980 11002 was bought by Reg Hunt and
restored at enormous cost, which included importing two race
mechanics from Masserati for a lengthy period of time, and
they completed the restoration on behalf of Reg Hunt.
The car remained in Reg Hunt’s hands,
apparently did not compete in any motor racing events and
was regularly started and run around in one of his several
factories until it finally fell into Ron Townley’s hands in
The car was viewed at Ron’s nice little
garage on Monday last by a bunch of I.O.B.s from the
Wednesday lunch group and other unmentionable areas and we
were all very impressed by the condition of the car which
looked as if it had just rolled off the production line in
Ron was so impressed by the turnout that
he opened up his cellar and produced a number of cheeky
little reds and a couple of beers for the assembled elderly
throng. He then overwhelmed us all with a number boxes of
offerings from his local Pizza Shop. It is quite obvious
that he is a regular customer of this particular eatery and
it probably shows.
All in all a very interesting time was
had by all.
After lunch the I.O.Bs moved a short
distance away to Richard Bendall’s factory/ toyshop where
Richard is producing Cobra Daytona coupes by request.
Richard, who also partook of the pizzas at Ron’s, squired
the whole lot of us around his very impressive factory that
was formerly the Roaring 40s production line and sales
center. The factory is a very impressive edifice with the
strongest set of front gates that have ever been seen in
this neck of the woods.
It would seem be very difficult to get in
or out with the gates shut. An obvious security function
needed in that part of the world.
Richard showed us the number of Cobra
Daytona coupes in various stages of production and informed
us that if we wanted one of these treasures that we would
have to part with something in the vicinity of $90k to
$130K, depending on what sort of goodies we wanted and we
would have to wait about 15 months for the pleasure of
having one of these amazing little beasties in our garage.
Richard also showed us around his current
projects underway which number in the dozens. They ranged
from a couple or three early Yankee Indianapolis cars to a
number of Japanese offerings such as a Godzilla, hot RX7
Targa Tassie car, an MGB missile and an MGB engined TC
special and other projects too numerous to mention.
Richard is planning to live to the ripe
old age of 145 to complete all of the projects.
We also noticed a box containing a NEW
twin cam Coventry Climax 1500 which may be destined for the
Lotus Sabakat that just happened to be sitting on the floor
in his projects area.
We managed to take a couple of snaps
whilst we were there and I will send some of them along,
just for interest’s sake.
It was a very interesting day and thanks
go out to Ron Townley and Richard Bendall for their
hospitality and patience.
It really does extol the virtues of being
Over endowed with interest and free time.
All of the above.
not a contest)
We look forward when we can next foray
out into the big world and look at some one else’s