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1957 Repco Holden Special

Racing Past Presented by Shannons Insurance.

The Repco Holden represents the last of what was a dying breed: front engined, drum braked, single seater race cars. It was a one-off special and a direct copy of the Tom Hawkes Cooper Holden which started life as the more famous Jack Brabham Cooper Bristol aka the Redex Special.

When the Repco Holden raced here at the Melbourne Grand Prix at Albert Park in 1960, the rear-engined, disc braked cars were already miles in front.

Car # 22
Engine: 2.4 litre Holden “Grey” with Repco crossflow head
Driver: Nick McDonald

The photo here shows the car at its ‘shakedown’ meeting in Lowood QLD in 1957 and with builder/driver Glyn Scott at the wheel the car did win the Queensland State Championship and raced very successfully.

After it became superseded in the early 60’s it lay unused for many years, changing hands several times until being rescued and restored by Ian McDonald in the early 80’s.

It’s raced at historic events ever since, winning more than 100 races and holding numerous lap records in the pre-1960 category.

With a full-house race motor pulling 7500rpm at Phillip Island, the car’s top speed is around 150mph in the old scale. At 225hp and weighing about 650kg the “Repco” is quite quick even by modern standards.

In 2005 the car was shipped to England to compete at the Goodwood Revival and by way of comparison was comfortably quicker than the swag of Maserati 250F’s that were there.

So this hand-built example of Aussie ingenuity, created under Glyn Scott’s house, wasn’t a bad thing at all.