Charles Occhipinti’s Elfin Mallala leads Brian Reed in a Cooper Monaco, followed by Leigh Maquire in the Magnolia at Calder, March 23, 1969.
One of the enduring aspects of vintage racing is the camaraderie that develops between racers. With cars and racing as common ground to begin a conversation, a first-time meeting often develops into a lasting friendship. It is also possible for friendships to develop when owners become acquainted during the sale or purchase of a racecar. However, it is somewhat unusual for two parties, even with similar interests, to develop a friendship when located half a world apart. It is even more unlikely for two parties to conclude a transaction, which involves a one-off racecar built in Australia, then for that car to find its way to a new home in Northern California. This is the story of one such friendship and the very special, Magnolia Climax sports racing car.
AN AVID ENTHUSIAST
Gavin Sandford-Morgan became interested in automobiles at an early age. Raised in Sydney, he was fascinated by the many unusual and interesting cars in his neighborhood, imported from America, England, and Europe. He also became familiar with motor racing during his younger days, having attended several events in the area including the 1936 South Australian Centenary Grand Prix at Victor Harbor. At this race, he saw a 1928 Vauxhall 14/40, modified for racing, which he eventually purchased and entered in his first race, the Glen Osmond Hill Climb near Adelaide in 1946.
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