I was particularly interested in your comments regarding the appearance of two ex-Australian Maseratis on English circuits in your report of the Silverstone meeting on April 24th, June issue.
It appears that there is some misunderstanding regarding the history of these cars and I would like to clear this up.
You mention that both Colin Crabbe and A. C. M. Millar claim their respective cars won the 1959 Australian G.P. Let it be clear that you are correct in stating that the Crabbe car won that race, driven by Stan Jones. However, you are not correct in saying the same car came second in the 1958 Australian G.P., in actual fact it came second in a preliminary heat, however, and retired in the final with valve trouble.
The history of these cars may be of interest to your readers. The Colin Crabbe car was previously owned (and driven) by Stan Jones. It is car number 2520 and was originally supplied with both 2 1/2- and 3-litre engines. (The 20th built.) It was first used, as a factory team car, in the Argentine G.P. in January 1956 and driven in that race by Gonzalez. The car arrived in Australia on April 22nd, 1956, and its first appearance was a demonstration run at a 1-mile sprint meeting at Geelong, May 27th, 1956. Its first race, Pt. Wakefield June 1956, was followed by several successes, including the N.S.W. Road-Racing Championship. On November 24th, 1956, the first of two days’ International racing took place, drivers including Moss, Behra, P. Whitehead, Wharton, Parnell and Brabham. The start of this race was rather disastrous for Jones as he lost control while accelerating from the line and hit a tree. The car was repaired for the 1956 Australian G.P. the following week, for many laps he diced with Reg Hunt in another 250F (now A. C. M. Millar), the first time the two cars had met—Jones eventually gained the upper hand and pulled out a lead of several seconds before smoke coming from the engine caused him to slow to save the car. Hunt passed again to take fourth, with Jones fifth. The smoking was later found to be caused by a breather cap having come off.
The 1957 Australian G.P. was held in March 1957 and Jones won his heat, but in the final, after having been flagged in first, was relegated to second place by protest. The 1958 Australian G.P. has been referred to earlier. The 1959 Australian G.P. was held on the public roads of Tasmania and Jones had the culmination of his career in winning both his heat and the final of the Grand Prix.
Following this race the car was used only occasionally, the last appearance in Australia was at Sandown on November 3rd, 1963, in a historic car race.
The A. C. M. Millar car was previously owned by Reg Hunt, Bib Stillwell, Arnold Glass and Jim Broadley. It was the 16th 250F produced and its official number is 2516. This car was built in mid-1955 and was delivered to Reg Hunt in Modena, where he first drove it watched by Maserati officials; following this Hunt was appointed a “works driver”—supposedly.
Its first appearance in Australia was at Orange on January 30th, 1956, where it won the South Pacific Championship. It had great success during 1956, only being beaten once, although it must be appreciated that its only meeting with the Jones 250F was in December.
Following the 1956 Australian G.P. Hunt retired, although he lent the car to Bib Stillwell for the New Zealand G.P. in January 1957, where it finished eighth. Stillwell decided to buy the car but before arrangements could be completed the Customs Dept. took a hand and the car was returned to Italy, where it was overhauled prior to its return to Australia, where it arrived in September 1957.
Stillwell, Australian Champion 1963 and ’64, and leading 1965, first drove it in Australia on October 13th, 1957, at Fisherman’s Bend. In February 1958 at Fisherman’s Bend, while dicing with the Jones car, the motor blew—once again the car was shipped back to Italy.
It was returned to Australia in November 1958 sporting all the latest 1957/8 body and engine modifications. Its first race in this form was the Melbourne G.P., December 2nd, 1958, where it finished fourth.
In January 1959 it was sold to Arnold Glass, who had his first drive at Tasmania on February 28th, 1959, in the 1959 Australian G.P., finishing third to the Jones 250F and Len Lukey’s 1.9 Cooper-Climax; Glass made fastest lap.
Glass used the car consistently, however, with little success, as by this time Coopers were making their presence felt.
It was sold to Jim Broadley in early 1961 and it was only used on one or two occasions before being sold to A. C. M. Millar.
John B. Barrie.