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Idle Torque: WA racer mixed with best
Charlie Mitchell with his TS Special. Picture by Gerald Moscarda/ The West Australian

Nearly 50 years have passed since the legendary WA-built TS Special competed against some of the world's greatest racing cars and drivers in the 1962 Australian Grand Prix at Caversham.

Bruce McLaren, Jack Brabham and Lex Davison were all there with their light and nimble rear- engined Formula One cars.

Then there was the TS Special, powered by a front-mounted 4.7-litre GMC engine from a World War II-era Staghound armoured personnel carrier.

Charlie Mitchell, the car's current long-term owner who discovered, rescued and restored the TS Special more than 20 years ago, said it nonetheless finished seventh in the 1962 GP.

The car is best remembered for its racing success during the 1950s in the hands of the Victoria Park dentist Sid Taylor, who commissioned brothers Rod and Cliff Style to build it in 1949.

Mr Mitchell said he was still regularly approached at historic race meetings by people who remembered the car from that period.

There is one pit-lane conversation though that he will never forget. It happened about 10 years ago when the man who drove the car in the 1962 Australian Grand Prix walked up and introduced himself.

Taylor had retired from racing around 1961, but the TS Special hadn't and was driven in that race by Dave Edwards.

"I didn't know then that Dave Edwards was still around," Mr Mitchell said. "I was up at Barbagallo (Raceway) one day and he was there with his sons.

"He said, 'I'm Dave Edwards' and I nearly fell over backwards," Mr Mitchell said.

"We were talking so much I actually missed an event. All I had to do was compete in that event and I would have won the State Championship for that year.

"But because I was just so intensely talking with Dave, I missed the event and I copped some rubbish over that.

"It was a small price to pay.

"The knowledge and memories of those guys is disappearing and when you get an opportunity to talk to them - what they did and how they ran the race - that's priceless."

Next week, from November 9-11, the TS Special will make its way back to Barbagallo Raceway, along with countless other historic racing cars, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Australian Grand Prix in the Perth International Historic Challenge.

The big event is being run by the WA Sporting Car Club, which also ran the national GP at Caversham half a century ago.

See wascc.com.au for details.

MOTOR MOMENTS


TOMORROW
Rotary Italian Car Day, Mulberry on Swan, Caversham.
Phone 0412 108 011.
All Triumph and Standard Day, Stirling Square, Guildford.
Phone 0488 033 191.
NOVEMBER 9-11
Perth International Historic Challenge, 1962 AGP 50th Anniversary event, Barbagallo Raceway. Visit wascc.com.au.
NOVEMBER 10
Perth Classic Car Auction, Claremont Showground.
Phone 0407 193 699 or visit perthclassiccarauction.com.au.
NOVEMBER 11
Maurice Brockwell Port to Whiteman Run, display from 8.30am to 10.30am at Wilson Park, South Fremantle.
Phone 9249 9457.

Send event details to acforro@gmail.com