A passage worth noting
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  1. #1
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Default A passage worth noting

    That outstanding (alongside his peers) motor racing journalist of the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties, David McKay has died.

    He fell ill some short time ago, apparently, and at 83 never recovered.

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    David was most notable for being outspoken and honest about his writing, having the backing in most of this of Sir Frank Packer... owner of the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph for whom he principally wrote.

    I don't know what the obits will say this week... they spent a whole page of The Australian when Mike Kable bundied off, claiming he was the 'doyen of motoring journalists'... so what was David, as he outsripped Mike every time?

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    1000+ Posts Warwick's Avatar
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    Being in the business Ray, what journo's do you like reading/think are worth their salt ?
    I don't read car stuff anymore, but the only one I enjoyed was Tuckey.
    "Now my dream lies shattered like the shards of a broken dream"

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    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Tuckey was good reading for his humour in the sixties and seventies...

    But when his graphic descriptions of the whites of the eyes of contenders for the 1960 Australian Grand Prix at Lowood are considered, and then you learn that he was once on a bus going out into the Laidley area and saw a sign that said 'Lowood 22kms' and he said, "Is this where Lowood is?" then the shine starts to disappear.

    Bob Jennings has my total confidence. Mike Kable was a strange type, David McKay totally trustworthy, Peter McKay somewhat superficial but with some integrity, Wayne Webster not worth reading and the junior set from Melbourne a pack of juveniles.

    Except for Mark Fogarty, of course. He could never be elevated to that level.

    There may well be some out there who are worth their salt still (apart from Bob, that is) but I read so little these days that I wouldn't know.

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    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Default A passage worth noting

    Sad news, the passing of David McKay.
    I've just taken down from the shelf my copy of his book "Behind The Wheel".
    It covered a great period in Aus. racing history. In it he speaks highly of the 203 and 403 Peugeots. There is also a chapter, well thumbed, on his time spent racing a Simca Aronde against what would be considered then as strong opposition.
    At the moment I am reading Bill Wood's "Legends of Speed". In it David McKay gets a mention as being a mentor to Larry Perkins in his lean years.
    Some years back I visited Sydney as part of a Volvo service award, part of the activity took place at one of Scuderia Veloce's workshops. I was shown a basement workshop that had a Ferrari under wraps. At the time I wondered if this same workshop didn't at one time house David McKay's Aston DB3S or the beautiful LM Ferrari that I was to see racing at Caversham in the sixties. The Aston's story has been documented elseware.

    Your other posts on current motoring writers mentioned Peter McKay.
    While reading out aloud your post on David McKay, my other half, bless her, said,"is that the hair man?". She of course thought it was Peter!
    The reference to the "hair man" goes back to the 1979 Repco Round Aus. Trial. Peter McKay was in the Volvo Dealers Team where it seems his most important piece of kit was his hair dryer! Say no more.

    Ray,
    The Dunkerton, McKay, Jones Volvo came in 4th behind the HDT Commodores
    No Controls Missed as did the 11th placed Peugeot Diesel of Watson and Harrowfield.
    Last edited by Wildebeest; 28th December 2004 at 05:31 PM. Reason: Add text.

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    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    No, the Scuderia Veloce cars were prepared (up until about 1968, at least) under the back of a Shell service station on the Pacific Highway at Wahroonga.

    David later did own the 250LM for some time (in partnership with Spencer Martin), so it might have been there.

    Was Peter McKay in with that dreadful (but nice...) Ross Dunkerton? I think so... they came in last of the cars that finished the whole course, or did they beat the slug diesel 504? Anyway, about tenth or twelfth.

    Here's a note, by the way, sent by David to Graham Gauld in England just a month or so ago...

    Sorry to tell you it is unlikely I shall be around much longer - Christmas seems the end-off point - my mid-year operation for Stage III melanoma ( reminds me of the MG Tuing booklet!) was not successful..............................Still it has been a good 83 years.......I shouldn't be greedy.......Death can be inconvenient at times, other times a blessing........enjoy your 70th and all the best for the future : David
    Apparently he was guest of honour about five or six weeks ago at a Wakefield Park Historic meeting and gave a speech there. The book you mention is to be reprinted with the benefits from its sale to go to his young (my age) widow.

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    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    From the Atlas F1 Nostalgia Forum...

    Originally posted by Dick Willis
    I too was at Wakefield just on a month ago, we had heard David was coming and guessed that he would be using his opportunity to bid everyone a final farewell. He read from a prepared speech, with difficulty, reminiscing of his past and one could not escape the feeling that he felt he had had a fortunate life, which indeed he had.

    A large crowd had gathered and we had a feeling of sadness that we would not be seeing this legend of Australian Motor Sport again.

    On arriving home I just had to re-read his last book, David McKays Scuderia Veloce, which I thoroughly recommend as a testament to his career and as a history of Australian Motor Sport, especially the decade from the late fifties, through his eyes.
    Very David... all of it... very David!

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    Ray (& others),

    I can only but agree with you all as to the esteem in which David Mckay was held as a motoring journalist.

    Growing up in the 50's & 60's in a family which was very much french car oriented (Renault & Peugeot), I would follow the road tests & reports of all the then journalists, but especially David's.

    At the risk of being accused of having rose coloured spectacles, it seemed that David McKay's reports were always honest, praiseworthy, and constructively critical when appropriate. He obviously had no ties to any manufacturer or badge upon whom his daily bread depended! May he rest in peace in the great auto-museum of the hereafter.

    Yes, the Peugeot 504 diesel of Bob Watson & Gary Harrowfield (Peugeot / Renault dealer principal at Ballarat) was numbered car 11, and finished 11th outright. A lot of the preparations (additional underbody & sump protection etc) were carried out at the Renault Moorabbin workshop under the scrutiny of another doyen of rally car preparations, Enzo Dozzi. Enzo worked as a Renault / Peugeot service representative, and had some legendary results with rally cars.

    I recall that Gary Harrowfield attributed much of their success in finishing 11th to the abilty of the 504 to be driven flat out under all conditions, enabling them to off-set the straight line speed of some of the other competitors. In addition, not much actually broke on the car!

    Cheers,
    Kim.

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    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Good job they didn't have to change rear shocks every few hundred miles like Dunkerton and McKay did!

    I've been told that David McKay's body has been cremated privately and that there will be an invitation-only service next week.

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    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Default A passage worth noting

    I don't think David McKay would mind us drifting off topic.

    Yes, shock absorbers were one of the Volvo weaknesses, particularly on the rear where they not only absorbed shocks they also limited the suspension travel. Back then [is it 25yrs ?] I was involved with the preparation of the South. Aus.Repco entry including a tour of Australia with the "servicescrew".
    Our car No 58 came in 20th among the "cut and runners". We were using Bilstein shocks that shat themselves early in the event, they were getting so hot they blistered the Bilstein label. It was found that the Volvos using OE Boge shocks only had half the problems!
    To partially cure the rear shocker problem I made up some "kick straps" and utilising the car park of the local Mt Isa KFC, I installed them. The idea was to limit the rear axle travel and let the shock absorbers do just that.
    I wished I had thought of that back in Adelaide.

  10. #10
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Ah yes... there were many made mistakes with shocks...

    When I looked at Colin Bond's Cortina 6 before the event, I couldn't believe that he had two shocks for each wheel... And fat ones too!

    Just imagine what that was doing to the body as it crashed over the bumpy roads with the suspension tied right down...

  11. #11
    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Default A passage worth noting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell
    That outstanding (alongside his peers) motor racing journalist of the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties, David McKay has died.

    He fell ill some short time ago, apparently, and at 83 never recovered.

    David was most notable for being outspoken and honest about his writing, having the backing in most of this of Sir Frank Packer... owner of the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph for whom he principally wrote.

    I don't know what the obits will say this week... they spent a whole page of The Australian when Mike Kable bundied off, claiming he was the 'doyen of motoring journalists'... so what was David, as he outsripped Mike every time?
    The Sunday Times 2nd Jan '05 ran an obituary on David McKay.
    Headed."Pioneer ran a good race". It was written by John Smailes. I presume it would have been the same as in Eastern states papers.

    I've been told I must read his later book, Scuderia Veloce.
    Ray, I've been pulled up on the pronunciation of Scuderia Veloce. The first part I pronounce, "Skudeeria". I'm told it is "Scooder-reeya, two syllables?
    Can you add to my education? Thanks.

  12. #12
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    I've heard both and don't actually know which is right...

    Interesting aside... Mike Kable used to be one who claimed 'Scood-areeya' and proclaimed that he knew a little about the Italian language... but in his obituaries (there was a page full of them in The Australian) every one of his peers wrote about his fetish with Italian people, countryside and language and explained that most Italians could never understand him!

    The article you cite is probably a reprint from the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday. That was Smailesy's fault too...

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    Fellow Frogger! Decca's Avatar
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    One for you Ray.

    Snippet of an article, And, enjoying getting there in a BX. ( had to split due to file size limits)

    Interesting assortment of cars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell
    a sign that said 'Lowood 22kms'
    wouldn't it have been in miles back then Ray?

  15. #15
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    No, that was many years after racing ceased at Lowood... some time in the eighties, I believe...

    Metrics came in during 1974.

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