JAGUAR: A RACING HISTORY IN NEW ZEALAND. PART 5 1958
1958 – Jaguar ‘Mk1’s, the Tojeiro Jaguar, the Lister Jaguar, XK120s, and the RJR-Jaguar Special
Ardmore 11 Jan 58 – The 1958 NZIGP meeting was held at Ardmore on 11 Jan 58; Event 2 on the programme was a Saloon Car Handicap Race held over 10 laps. There were five race classes in the race, and in the 2001-2600cc class entries included #3 Dr R.B. (Doc) Langley in a Jaguar 2.4 ‘Mk1’, and #22 Mrs J. Monk in a Jaguar 2.4 ‘Mk1’; in the 2601-3500cc class, #14 G.T (Gavin) Quirk entered his Jaguar 3.4 ‘Mk1’. Gavin Quirk finished 1st in the speed section of the race, from R.A. Smith’s Porsche in 2nd place, and J.M. Hayes’ Ford Zephyr was placed 3rd – and Hayes won the handicap section of the race.
Following the two GP Heats (Events 3 & 4) was Event 5, the Ken Wharton Trophy Race for Sports Cars, raced over 25 laps from a handicap start. In the ‘over 3000cc’ class were Frank Cantwell of Christchurch in the #6 1956 Tojeiro Jaguar 3442cc sports racer (chassis TOJ-4), and Bob Gibbons driving the Jack Shelly-entered #26 Jaguar D-Type (chassis 534). (Cantwell’s car was the prototype short wheelbase 1956 Tojeiro-Jaguar made in UK for Englishman John Ogier, and known by its English registration 7 GNO). Bob Gibbons won the Speed section of the race in the D-Type, from Frank Cantwell’s Tojeiro Jaguar in 2nd place, with Ken Harris in the ex-Ken Wharton #29 Ferrari 750 Monza in 3rd place. Alf Bell and K. Sandbrook both entered their Jaguar XK120s in this race, but results for them are unknown.
Event 7 on the programme was the 1958 NZIGP and Scotsman, Archie Scott-Brown, drove a ‘works’ Lister Jaguar 3781cc sports racing car (chassis BHL 2 and registered in UK as MVE 303, the first ‘works’ Lister fitted with a Jaguar engine). Archie had finished 2nd in the 20 lap Heat 1 for the GP to Stuart Lewis-Evans in a Connaught B3-Alta, and Archie qualified 7th for the GP. When lying in third place in the GP, Scott-Brown retired on lap 72 of 75 laps with a king pin failure in the front suspension of the Lister Jaguar.
Also entered in the NZIGP were Frank Cantwell in the Tojeiro Jaguar, and Bob Gibbons who was driving Jack Shelly’s Jaguar D-Type. For the GP, Gibbons qualified 12th in the D-Type, and Cantwell was 13th in the Tojeiro Jaguar. Cantwell was delayed in the race when he ran out of fuel on lap 36 of 75, and he finished 14th with a race time of 1hr 53m 35.6s. In his last race in Jack Shelly’s D-Type, Gibbons retired on lap 44 with another big-end bearing failure in the engine. The D-Type was sold in June 1958 to Hawkes Bay farmer, Angus Hyslop.
Jack Brabham won the 75 lap NZIGP in his Cooper T43-Climax in a time of 1hr 53m 24.3s. In 2nd place was Ross Jensen in his ex-Stirling Moss Maserati 250F (chassis 2508), from Ron Roycroft’s Ferrari 375 in 3rd, with Pat Hoare’s Ferrari 625 on 4th.
Levin 18 Jan 58 – At the 1958 Levin International meeting held on 18 Jan 58, Archie Scott-Brown drove the ‘works’ Lister Jaguar again – he was 2nd in Race 2 over 8 laps for ‘Formula Libre’ cars behind Jack Brabham’s Cooper T43-Climax, 2nd in Race 4 over 8 laps behind Brabham again and ahead of Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T43 Climax, and, an excellent 2nd in Race 13 the Levin International behind Brabham and ahead of McLaren. The big Lister Jaguar was not at all suited to the short and tight Levin circuit, so Archie’s skill as a driver was paramount in the results he achieved.
Frank Cantwell drove his Tojeiro Jaguar to 1st place in a time of 6m 8s in Race 3 for Sports cars over 6 laps with a Le Man start; Frank was 2nd to Merv Neil’s Cooper T39 Climax ‘Bobtail in Race 11 Sports Cars over 6 laps, and, 1st in 8m 3s for Race 16 Invitation race over 8 laps for the 10 Fastest Sports cars.
Wigram 25 Jan 58 – Event 2 on the programme at Wigram on 25 Jan 58 was a 12-lap ‘Open Car Handicap Race, ‘For Open Cars Not in the Trophy Race’. Alf Bell from Palmerston entered his dark green ex-Archibald #3 Jaguar XK120 3442cc, and K.S. Sandbrook his blue #14 XK120, but neither was placed in a race won by late entry B.J. Kilkelly’s MG, who was the first car to start. In 2nd place was B.R. Blackburn’s Citroen Special off 2 minutes, and D. Edmiston in a Morgan Plus 4 who started on a 4 minute handicap.
The next event on the Wigram programme was the ‘Redex Sports Car race’ held over 24 laps from a Le Man start, and entries included four Jaguars, and one Jaguar-powered car. J. Brown from Christchurch entered his cream #2 Jaguar XK120, Alf Bell his green #3 XK120, Frank Cantwell his green #6 Tojeiro Jaguar, N.A. (Norm) Masters from Balclutha his green #11 ex-Bruce Hay XK120, and K.S. Sandbrook from Waipara his blue XK120. Cantwell led the race in the Tojeiro Jaguar until he punctured a tyre with just two laps to run, leaving Ken Harris in the #22 ex-Wharton Ferrari 750 Monza to win in a time of 39m 42.9s, from Merv Neil’s #20 Cooper T39 Climax, and in 3rd place was Graham Pierce in his ex-Ross Jensen Austin Healey 100S.
For the 1958 Lady Wigram Trophy Race over 150 miles/241km, Archie Scott-Brown was on pole in the Lister Jaguar, 1.1 seconds faster in qualifying than Stuart Lewis-Evans in the Connaught B3-Alta, and 1.6 seconds faster than Ross Jensen in his Maserati 250F. Frank Cantwell qualified his Tojeiro Jaguar 6th fastest, so was placed in the middle of Row 2 on the start grid. Archie Scott-Brown finished 1st in the Trophy race in the Lister Jaguar, covering the 71 laps in 1hr 47min 33.4sec. In 2nd place was Ross Jensen in his Maserati 250F, and Stuart Lewis-Evans in the Connaught B3-Alta was 3rd. Frank Cantwell finished 7th on 66 laps in the Tojeiro Jaguar.
Ray Archibald won the 12 lap 25.3mile/40.23km Saloon car race at Wigram from a handicap start in his maroon-coloured #14 Jaguar 3.4 ‘Mk1’, from Gavin Quirk in his #3 Jaguar 3.4 Mk1 in 2nd place, and J.M. Hayes in his grey #5 Ford Zephyr in 3rd. Ray Archibald’s average speed was 69.41mph/111.70kph.
Dunedin 1 Feb 58 – In the 1958 NZ Championship Road Race held at Dunedin on 1 Feb 58, Archie Scott-Brown qualified a lowly 9th of 17 cars in the Lister Jaguar, but he retired from the race after only 7 of 36 laps with a broken differential brackets. Doug Nye wrote in ‘Powered by Jaguar’, page 112, “….MVE 303 was in trouble on the rough and dangerous street circuit. Archie qualified on row 6 of the grid, climbed to fifth during the race and finally retired on lap 23 when the aluminium brackets attaching the diff casing to the chassis fractured……In a radio interview he freely admitted he had seen nothing quite like the Dunedin circuit before, and it was later reported that the Dunedin police were anxious for nobody to see racing there ever again.”
Frank Cantwell qualified the Tojeiro Jaguar in 7th place, but he retired on lap 5 with broken de Dion tube securing bolts in the rear suspension. Ross Jensen won the 36 lap race in his Maserati 250F, in a time of 43min 34.2sec, from Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T43 Climax, and Syd Jensen’s Cooper Mk X-Norton 500cc. Cantwell’s fastest lap in the Tojeiro Jaguar was 1min 19.7sec, compared to Jensen’s 1min 15.5sec.
Front row – on right, 19 Ron Roycroft Ferrari 375 just heads 9 Ross Jensen Maserati 250F
Row 2 – from left side 42 Syd Jensen Cooper MkX-Norton, 47 Bruce McLaren Cooper T43 Climax, Merv Neil Cooper T43 Climax
Row 3 – 2 Dick Gibson UK Cooper T43 Climax
Row 4 – 23 Pat Hoare Ferrari 625, 6 Frank Cantwell Tojeiro Jaguar, 51 Geoff Mardon RA-Vanguard
Out of photo – 1 Archie Scott-Brown Lister Jaguar – Photo Scott Thomson’s book ‘Up to Speed’
In the Sports Car Race, Frank Cantwell in the Tojeiro Jaguar took 1st place, ahead of Ken Harris in the ex-Ken Wharton Ferrari 750 Monza, and Merv Mayo’s Buckler 90.
From right – Frank Cantwell Tojeiro Jaguar, Merv Neil Cooper, Merv Mayo Buckler 90, Ken Harris Ferrari Monza, Ian McKellar Cooper T39 – photo Jim Bennett
Teretonga 8 Feb 58 – At the 1958 Teretonga International meeting held on 8 Feb 58, Event 1 was an 8 lap ‘Racing Car Handicap’ race. Although entered to race, the two Jaguar-engined cars of #1 Archie Scott-Brown in the Lister Jaguar 3800cc, and #6 Frank Cantwell in the Tojeiro Jaguar 3442cc, were both scratched.
Event 2 was a Sports Car race over 12 laps from a Le Mans start and #1 Archie Scott-Brown took 1st place in the Lister Jaguar, from Merv Neil in his Cooper T39 Climax, and Frank Cantwell was 3rd in the Tojeiro Jaguar. Three Jaguar XK120s were in the race, namely #25 Alf Bell from Palmerston South, #32 Norm Masters from Balclutha, and #59 J. Sandbrook.
Event 5 was a Saloon Car handicap race over 10 laps, but the only Jaguar entered, #31 R.B (Doc) Langley had scratched his Jaguar ‘Mk1’ 2483cc.
Event 6 was the main race of the day and held over 40 laps; Archie Scott-Brown in the #1 Lister Jaguar qualified 4th, behind Ross Jensen in his #18 Maserati 250F, and #4 Jack Brabham and #47 Bruce McLaren in their Cooper T43 Climaxes. Ross Jensen won the 40 lap race in 49min 19.1sec, ahead of McLaren and Brabham, with #54 Merv Neil 4th in his Cooper T39 ‘Bobtail’ Climax 4th, Ron Roycroft in his Ferrari 375 in 5th. Archie Scott-Brown finished in 6th place in the Lister Jaguar after a spin on lap 15 that cost him a lap – he left the track, crossed a drain and brushed a sandbank before getting back to the track to finish the race!
Frank Cantwell qualified the Tojeiro Jaguar 9th of 13 cars, but he was soon out of the race. The book ‘Teretonga 25’ reported, “The event was not without drama however, as Cantwell rolled the Tojeiro in the Loop on the first lap throwing himself clear, but the car then caught fire. The Southland Times again reported that the bodywork was badly damaged and a stub axle was broken but it could all be repaired, after all a Tojeiro Jaguar costs $4000!” [Photos below show little fire damage]
Event 7 was an 8 lap handicap race for Sports and Saloon cars, and entries included the two XK120s of #25 Alf Bell, and #32 of Norm Masters in the ex-Bruce Hays car, plus the Jaguar Mk1 2.4 of ‘Doc’ Langley. No results are to hand for the race.
No event held at Ohakea in 1958 – As with 1957, there was no racing at Ohakea in 1958 because the airfield was required for full use by civilian aircraft while the runway at nearby Milson, Palmerston North, was being sealed.
Levin 12 Apr 58 – Gavin Quirk raced his Jaguar ‘Mk1’ 3.4 litre, in the Autumn Meeting at Levin, scoring 3rd place in a 6 lap saloon car race.
1957/58 Summer Season Championship Results – Ross Jensen in his Maserati 250F (chassis 2508) won the NZ Gold Star Championship, from Bruce McLaren in his Cooper T43 Climax in second place, and Merv Neil (Cooper T39 Climax) and Ron Roycroft (Ferrari 375) were in third place being tied on points. Although Bob Gibbons raced the Jaguar D-Type with some success up until his final race at the NZIGP meeting at Ardmore, there was no championship for sports cars until the 1959/60 season.
Teretonga 15 Nov 58 – At the Teretonga Championship meeting held on 15 Nov 58, Ron Roycroft entered his ‘RJR Jaguar Special’ (alias the Symonds-Halliwell, or SH Special). The original SH Special was built in the early 1950s and fitted with a Vanguard engine; Roycroft purchased the car in 1954 and fitted a Chevrolet 6-cylinder engine until, in 1957, he fitted the Jaguar engine from his Bugatti T35A Jaguar. At Teretonga Ron qualified 4th of 10 cars and finished 4th on 38 laps behind Tony Shelly’s #15 Cooper T41 Climax – who finished the 40 lap race in 53mins 39.6sec. In 2nd place was pole-sitter Frank Shuter’s Maserati 8CM on 40 laps with a time of 54min 42sec, and in 3rd place was Neil Herrick’s #26 Herrick-Austin Special (or Austin 20/6 Special) on 39 laps in 55min 5sec. Both Frank Cantwell in his rebuilt #6 Tojeiro-Jaguar, now with a 3.8 litre engine, and David Young’s #23 ex Jack Tutton Jaguar C-Type were also racing at the event – Brian Watson said in his book, at page 178, that David won two races in the C-Type.
Napier 22 Nov 58 – The first Napier Street Races were held in conjunction with the Napier Centennial Celebrations on a track at Ahuriri, Napier, on 22 Nov 58. Ron Roycroft entered his RJR Jaguar, but it is not known if he raced. In Race 5, a Formula Libre handicap event over 10 laps, Bruce Webster, driving Angus Hyslop’s now white coloured ex-Jack Shelly/Bob Gibbons-driven Jaguar D-Type, started on a 130 second handicap and finished in 12th place of the 15 starters.
In Race 7 Invitation Sports Car Handicap over 6 laps, Angus Hyslop was 2nd in the Jaguar D-Type to Graham Pierce in his ex-Ross Jensen Austin-Healey 100S. On track again in Race 8, a Formula Libre Scratch over 6 laps, Angus in his D-Type was 3rd to Brian Tracey in his ex-Roycroft/Mansel Alfa Romeo Tipo B ‘P3’, and John Birkett’s Cooper MkIX 500cc.
Levin 29 Nov 58 – At the 1958 Levin Spring Meeting held on 29 Nov 58, Angus Hyslop in the Jaguar D-Type had a busy and successful day recording:- a win in the over 3000cc class of Race 1 a 6-lap Sports Car race with a Le Mans start, a win in the over 3000cc class of Race 5 Sports Cars Scratch over 6 laps, a 4th in Race 7 Sports Car Handicap over 6 laps, a 3rd in Race 16 Sports Cars Handicap over 6 laps, and a 2nd in Race 17 an Invitation race over 8 laps for the 10 Fastest Sports Cars behind George Lawton’s Cooper T39 Bobtail, and ahead of Graham Pierce in his Austin-Healey 100S, and Roly Levis in his RAL Special.