A racing car with number plates, this is one of only a few Centaurs ever produced here in Queensland under the then ‘Group A’ regulations of the early 60’s.
The Centaur sports racing car was the brainchild of Queensland based mechanical engineer, Tim Harlock who built several Centaur race cars over the years. The first two built were Tim’s original Centaur and the Mk1B currently for sale.
Often mistaken for a Lotus 11, the front end of the Centaur was the result of an unlikely accident. During the early days of the Lakeside raceway in Kurwongbah, Queensland, there was a lake in the centre of the circuit between KLG “Hungry Corner” and the main straight into which Charlie Whatmore accidently launched his Lotus 11 into. This of course caused considerable damage to the body work in which Tim Harlock saw an opportunity and proposed a deal between Charlie and himself to take a mold from the front end of the crashed Lotus and essentially make some spare bonnets into which became the Centaur’s body shape.
Following on from the Mk1, the Mk1B was designed and build as a collaboration between Tim Harlock and Keith Turner who were good friends. Keith at the time was the technical representative of the Shell Oil Company and intended to race his Centaur competitively in Group A.
Keith Turner first debuted the MK1B in early 1962 at Lakeside with a Ford Prefect 100e engine which proved to be highly unreliable, it was soon replaced with the Ford Anglia 105e engine which proved to be a great success for reliability. The general specification of the Mk1B in 1962 was a Ford 105e Anglia 997cc engine mated to a four speed Anglia gearbox sending final drive to a BMC “A” series rear differential. Braking was taken care of by 9” Morris Major front drums with 7” Morris Minor drums in the rear.
During it’s early racing life, the Centaur was upgraded several times, eventually finishing up with a Ford Cortina pushrod 1500cc motor that was prepared by Dick Johnson. It was in this configuration that Peter (the current owner) and the Centaur won the Australian 1.5 Litre Sports Car Championship at the Surfers paradise International Motor Racing Circuit in 1967.
Unfortunately, in 1971, the Centaur was stollen, “trailer and all” when it was left outside Peter home after a long day of racing. The car was unheard of and almost forgotten until a fortunate circumstance after police raided a home and the remains of the chassis and some body panels were discovered in a pile. Peter was given the news that the remains had been found and were given back to him in the summer of 2013. The restoration of the Centaur started soon after in 2014. Peter wanted to honour the memory of the owner/builder Keith Turner and set about restoring the Centaur back to its configuration as it was when it first hit the lakeside International Circuit in February of 1962. The restoration took just over 4 years to complete with great thanks to Bevan Batham who had just coincidentally restored the third Centaur built known as the Centaur Waggott GT owned and raced by John French. Keen observers will notice that the Centaur carries the same registration plate as it did when Keith Turner had it registered in 1962 ‘NNS375’, as a homage to Keith.
Since the restoration the Centaur has run in GEAR days, mid-week sprints at both Lakeside and Queensland Raceway and has run in the HRCCQ Historic meeting at Morgan Park. The Centaur has been in continual use being used what it was originally built for – racing.
This Centaur has all nessasary CAMS log books and COD (certificate of description), paperwork history with photographic history as well, some spare parts, car trailer and second seat for a brave passenger.
This is a very rare opportunity to purchase essentially a road going historic race car with rich local history. The owner, Peter is hoping the next custodian will use and enjoy the Centaur as much as he has.
1962 Centaur Mk1B - SOLD
Engine: 997cc inline 4 cylinder - 4 speed manual