The year is 1967, no spec engines here! Ferrari, Gurney, Matra, and Honda all had V12 engines. BRM had an H16. Brabham had a V8, as did McLaren and Lotus, the last year before wings, then ground effects took over and changed automotive racing forever. It is considered by many, that the late ’60s was the era when Formula 1 was the purest of racing and is often referred to as the time when racing was at its “most beautiful”. It certainly was the era when the design was paramount, both reliability and safety were somewhat a second thought. Lotus’s Colin Chapman has been often quoted that the ideal car would fall apart at the finish line.

Meet Robert and Phillip Island Race Cars, the company formed to recreate that time in history when famous names like Dan Gurney, Jack Brabham, Denny Hulme, and Jim Clark ruled the tracks around the world. As an engineer, Robert looked at the possible ownership of an F5000 but realized that he could not justify the cost of owning such a racecar and more importantly, had major concerns regarding the safety of such cars. So he built this own.

It was set in stone that these three factors, safety, reliability and cost would be the corner stones of my new racecar build. 

Pure Race Car Construction

Safety, my highest priority, was fundamental in the design of a space frame chassis made from CDS roll cage steel. It has a FIA approved cage and I am currently working on FIA approved wheel tethers which will be available on all subsequent builds. The chassis is also 15% larger that original and this allows us to have drivers up to 6’4″ fit the car and still have their ankles behind the front wheel centre line. The Lola limp is a thing of the past. 

Suspension and brakes are the next area of safety and the suspension is made of chrome molybdenum and brakes are supplied by Willwood and AP Racing. Cost and reliability was covered by using a crate motor from Ford Motorsport. This we breathed on slightly with an 8 barrel injection system, using a MoTeC management system and a dry sump. The 6 speed gearbox is built by ZF for Audi, another cost effective and highly reliable option

The chassis is a common platform and we have made the following tribute – look alike bodies from this era, to fit that platform :

– Gurney Eagle

– Ferrari 312

– Lotus Type 49

– Brabham BT24

– Honda RA273

– BRM P115

– Matra MS7

– Cooper T86

– McLaren M7A

With 420 hp, over 400 ft/lb of torque and a weight of only 1700 lbs, it certainly will focus your attention.


It certainly was the era when design was paramount and both reliability and safety were somewhat a second thought. Lotus’s Colin Chapman has been often quoted that the ideal car would fall apart at the finish line.

I grew up in this era and I always ‘just wanted one’. As these cars are just not available for us mere mortals, I looked at Formula 5000 cars as an alternative. A friend of mine had a F5000 and he told me that “they are completely safe until you switch them on and then they try to kill you”.

The car was fast ‘out of the box’ and was much faster than a F5000 and just one second a lap slower than a F3. Development of the prototype car is almost completed with some high speed work to be completed at our local race circuit on Phillip Island. On completion of this work, the car will be shipped to Los Angles where we have been invited to race with VARA. It is hoped that we will be running a one make series by 2022 and VARA has offered full support for this venture.

I believe that the car is ideally suited to owner / drivers just wanting to do the occasional track day without the normal costs involved. This is exactly what I plan to do with my own car. I also believe that the car is also highly suitable as a drive school car.

The only thing for you to do is to choose your favorite body style, your favorite livery and get racing. As Steve McQueen said, “Racing is life, everything else is waiting. “


Garage 41 TV Show Debate

A still from the first “Garage 41” car show that will be on channel 7-3 or 7 mate at 3pm on Saturday 18th April. Hope you will all be watching, I really enjoyed the show, just great banter and a fantastic balance regarding the presenters. Robert April 6, 2020


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