Friday, June 3, 2016

1956 Ampol Trial diorama - update 2

We now have the beginnings of a blue Peugeot 403

And we have a driver and navigator in position in the interior.


Here are Wilf and Alan, the Peugeot-driving winners, at the big presentation night, where the prize was 14,000 pounds, which was a heck of a lot of money back then. They also won a replacement Peugeot 403, trips around the world and lots of other goodies. It was the richest motor racing prize in Australia at the time, by a long way. One thing I've realised with my little model Wilf and Alan is that I've got their ultra-short hair all wrong!

And here's a pic of Wilf and Alan somewhere during the rally, with a busted windscreen. They look a whole lot cooler in this photo than they do at the prize-giving. Based on this photo, and the notorious story of the 1956 Rally's extremely muddy roads, I plan to grunge up the 403 with more mud and dirt than I used for the Peugeot 203 in the Redex diorama.

As for the other entrants, in the VW and the Morris Minor, I've got a little bit lucky, but I'm also out of luck for good reference photos of the cars themselves, so I'll have to ad lib how the cars look in terms of livery, etc based on the few stills I have from the colour DVD.

This is the cheap Corgi model of the Morris Minor that I will base my diorama car on. It's actually a later Morris Minor 1000 from the 1960s, but I am going to "add" a split winscreen bar to the windscreen. Fortunately, the later Series II Morris Minors of 1956 did have the horizontal grilles of the later Morris Minor 1000s of the 1960s, so I can leave the grille as it is.

Where I ran into some good luck was with the Morris Minor team, father Cyril Davidson and his 16-year-old daughter Lesley, who as the youngest entrant and also a female entrant attracted lots of press attention, including these cheesy photos:

The Davidsons' car was entered by his garage, "Zane's Drive Yourself Cars", a car hire place in Melbourne which advertised Holdens for 8 pence a mile or Morris Minors for 6 pence a mile. So that gives me a few ideas for the car's ivery, which isn't very distinct in the stills I have taken from the AmMpol Trial colour DVD documentary.

Also, in the newspaper article, Cyril Davidson says he chose Lesley as co-driver because he weighs 15 stone, and she only weighs eight stone and she could also drive well, so in a little Morris Minor saving every pound of weight was crucial. Onya, fat Dad!

Sadly, their car #46 failed to finish, but it wasn't Cyril's first Round Australia Rally. He was also in the 1953 Redex trial (in a Holden 48/215, which also didn't finish).

Also failing to finish in 1956 was the green VW I spotted, #78, driven by Jack Witter. But the good news with that car is that Jack Witter won next year in the the 1957 Ampol rally in a VW, so he has a good story attached to himself as well. Even though Jack DNF'd in the end in 1956, he was in second place behind the Peugeot 403 at the half-way point at Alice Springs, so his 1956 Rally performance wasn't too bad at all.

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