Club Arnage

Club Arnage => So You Think You Know About Le Mans => Topic started by: Lazy B'stard on December 17, 2010, 06:54:29 pm

Title: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lazy B'stard on December 17, 2010, 06:54:29 pm
Do any of you eagle eyed sportscar fans know what car this is?


The photo was sent to me from a friend in Fairfax, California and was taken in the mid 50's.

here is the note attached...

A few weeks back, Joe Breeze went to accept an award to honor his father from the SCCA and he was accompanied by Bob Winkelmann. Bob's in his 80's now, living in Muir Beach. In the 60's-70's he had his own line of Formula Fords he sold out of his Sausalito shop. The cars were called Palliser's in England, I guess through some kind of partnership. Anyway, Bob worked for Joe"s Dad BITD and he sent this picture to Joe the next week without identifying the car. The Mechanic standing on the left is Bob Winkelmann and the guy standing on the right was Joe's Dad. They are in his Dad's shop in Sausalito in the mid 50's standing next to what we think is a Cooper.


 Joe himself is one of the infamous Repack pioneers who invented the sport of mountain biking in Marin County in the early 70's. He was one of the first inductees into the MTB Hall of Fame as it was Joe who built the very first 10 mountain bikes, the Breezer Series 1, from the back of that shop in Sausalito. A fantastic engineer himself, his early hand built bikes are pure works of art and are now highly prized by collectors.

 His father Bill Breeze was a real hotshot driver in the 1950's and often raced against his good friend Phil Hill until an accident in a works loaned Jaguar at Reno curtailed his career. He Then set up Sportscar Centre at Sausilito where he went on to prepare many a race car, some of which ended up at Le Mans. A young Pete Brock was also a regular visitor the the workshops and saturday odd-job boy, and has cited the experience of hanging around there as one of the big influences in his life's acheivements- his work on the body of the Daytona Coupe and a large hand in designing the Corvette being two big milestones in american sportscar history.

 So, can you guys help us identify the car in the photo? I'd love to track it down and find out if it still exists.


Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lorry on December 17, 2010, 09:45:41 pm
There's not much to go on, but its almost certainly a Cooper.  The curved chassis tube over the engine and transverse leaf spring are pure Cooper.  I can't make out what the engine is at all, as you cant see much of it, and there's very little bodywork to help, although it appears to be a two seater.  It not a Monaco as the chassis is the single seater type.  I regularly see a car like this, with a central driving position, and a passenger seat outside the chassis and under the bodywork. However, this is Climax powered, and the engine would be clearly visible plus the chassis is much skinnier too

I see that in 1957 Cooper shipped two "Bobtail" sports cars to the states, one for Lance Reventlow and one for a Mr Windward

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lazy B'stard on December 18, 2010, 10:11:48 am
Thanks Lorry.

I think it is T39 Bobtail rather than a Monaco, the Monacos chassis top rail is straighter and lower down.
I have seen pics of Climax engines sitting quite high in the chassis and well above those curving top tubes, but also this one where it looks to sit much lower. the car looks to have been modified, check out the slight flare on the front wing.


Lance Reventlow was a Californian resident at that time though based in Los Angeles. Im sure there would have been preparation outfits nearer to LA than up in the bay area. Carroll Shelby had a few Coopers in the late 50's but they were highly modified and had coil rear suspension, so that rules him out.

So, who is the mystery Mr Windward? I can't find any mention so far in the SCCA archives. Time for more detective work methinks.

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lazy B'stard on December 18, 2010, 10:16:15 am
This is from the SCCA website.

Bill Breeze

[1910 – 1980] - Bill Norwood Breeze was born in San Francisco four years after the great earthquake of 1906. He began his relationship with automobiles at the early age of fourteen when he purchased and old, open-top touring car with a friend. Breeze and his friend took many tours through the city streets without his parent’s knowledge. He went to high school in San Francisco then onto Stanford University to study business. In 1934, at twenty-four years old he bought a Ford Roadster and drove it to Los Angeles to have Edelbrock heads fitted to the car. Around this time he astounded his friends by driving to Salt Lake City in one day, a distance of about eight hundred miles which was quite a feat in those days considering the condition of the roads.

Breeze was initially employed by Crocker Bank in San Francisco but with his interest in all sorts of mechanical things, he decided to change careers and became a machinist, a job he kept through World War II. After the war, with his enthusiasm for cars undaunted, he became friends with Kjell Qvale who had set up a car dealership in Alameda and in 1948 would become the MG Distributor for Northern California. Naturally Breeze bought an MG-TC and no doubt joined the MG Car Club which subsequently led to his becoming one of the first members of the newly formed San Francisco Region of the SCCA in 1948. From this point forward, Breeze would become an active racer and club official whose guidance and influence would help spur the growth of sports car racing in the area.

In the spring of 1949, Bill Breeze won a car race in his MG-TC on the oval track at San Jose Speedway and while not a road race, it was the first organized race won by a sports car in the area. Breeze was actively involved in club planning and helped organize and participated in what is recognized as the first road race in the Western U.S. at Buchanan Field in November, 1949. There were twenty entries in the five lap race which was won by Bjarne Qvale, Kjell’s brother.

By May of 1950, membership had grown to seventy-five and the second race at Buchanan Field was held with thirty entries with Breeze finishing second to Sterling Edwards. He continued to participate in club races and rallies whenever possible and also was elected to the position of the Region’s Activities Chairman. With the success of the first two races at Buchanan Field, there was a desire to add more events to the schedule so Breeze and the SFR Board organized the first race held at Pebble Beach on November 5, 1950. The Pebble Beach races fueled interest in sports car racing and the SF Region in these early years. By the final race held at Pebble Beach, entries had grown from thirty-five in 1950 to one hundred and forty in the final year of 1956.

Breeze was elected to the position of Regional Executive in 1951 and 1952 and it was under his leadership, the region staged the most successful sports car event on the West Coast for years to come, the races in Golden Gate Park. While Pebble Beach was a great success, it was the races in Golden Gate Park that brought sports car racing to the average person and created more local and national publicity than any other sports car race during this period. Over 250,000 spectators attended the races during its run from 1952-54, exposing sports car racing to many who had never seen a race before. Considering the region had only staged a handful of races, the Golden Gate Park events exhibited a high level of organization for such a young club and generally, the races went off without a hitch and received nationwide praise. There was even some suggestion by the media that GGP should become a Grand Prix circuit.
Also in 1951, Breeze’s had an accident while driving a Jaguar XK120 at the race in Reno. He suffered a broken arm and with four small children and a wife at home, the decision was made to retire as a driver. However, this only shifted his involvement in racing from being a driver to a businessman.

Breeze had already opened The Sports Car Center (SCC) near the Richardson Bay Bridge in Sausalito. The SCC employed several talented individuals including Bob Winklemann, Mogen Skov, Jack Dalton and a very young Peter Brock. SCC also worked closely with master fabricator/car builder Nadeau Bourgeault who had a shop nearby. Along with Breeze, all these individuals would leave their mark on the local racing scene.

There is no question that Breeze’s Sports Car Center played a vital role in the growth of sports car racing in Northern California. It offered a professional, knowledgeable business where racers and would be racers could get advice, parts, service, race-preparation or even a race car. The Sports Car Center was the forerunner of the many, racer oriented specialty shops that would spring up around the San Francisco Bay Area in the years to come.
In the mid-1960’s, sports car racing had grown to a major spectator sport nationwide and was becoming a big business with factory teams beginning to appear. At this point, Breeze decided to close the SCC and move on to other pursuits including bicycling and astronomy, a hobby that included building an eight inch reflector telescope for Tamalpais High School.

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lorry on December 18, 2010, 10:41:13 pm
What you can see of the front wing doesn't look right for a Cooper, as the wheel arch is flared, but as you say, the Yanks modified these no end, as they have a tendancy to fit V8s into anything, plus for crash damage to the bodywork, it was probably easier to make something completely new and "stylish"

The Monaco chassis widens for the cockpit, but you can still see the similaries


Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Nordic on December 19, 2010, 09:53:02 am
I dont have any idea myself, but have asked on another forum.

Hope that ok?

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Nordic on December 19, 2010, 10:16:06 am
Is Bob any releation to Roy Winkelmann?

He owned a Cooper Bristol.

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lorry on December 19, 2010, 09:12:40 pm
I dont have any idea myself, but have asked on another forum.
Its found someone who can recognise a Climax inlet manifold, when I can't even see one.

I thought I had some photos of a T39, due to the odd seating arrangements, and found this instead.  I'm sure these are the wheels with integral brake drums, hence no drums in the photo


For more Cooper T39s in the US look at

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lazy B'stard on December 20, 2010, 12:10:25 pm
I got an email this morning.....

It turns out that car was a Cooper T39-(Bob Winkelmann called it a Mk. 9). It was owned by Merle Brennan and his race team out of Reno. I searched and found that Merle raced it at the Cotati Rose Festival and Road Races on May 26th, 1957. The other guy in the pic is named Banta. It seems that car had a Coventry-Climax FWB 1500cc engine, although it could have had an FWA 1098cc., but probably the larger engine was installed at the time.

 Now I would like to find the chassis number and see where it is now.

Thanks for your help guys ;)

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lazy B'stard on December 20, 2010, 12:24:33 pm
Heres and interesting aside to this story. As i have mentioned, Bill Breeze's son Joe was one of the pioneers of mountain biking and a member of Velo Club Mt Tamalpais. A cat One road racer, he was one of a crop of super talented riders to emerge from Norcal in the early 70's.
 As these road racers began to explore the firetrails of Mt Tam on their converted Schwinn Excelsiors in the mid 1970's, it was only a matter of time before things got competetive. On 22nd October 1975, the first ever competetive Mountain Bike race was held just above Mill Valley on a hill that they cristened Repack. It was so named because it was so fast and long that the grease would vapourize out of the old Morrow hub brakes they were using and before you could ride again you would have to repack the bearings. The Repack races became a regular feature of the early days of Mountain Biking and have entered cycling folklaw and is a pilgrimage to many.

 Take a close look at the sign that they made which was placed next to the startline. Sadly the sign was long since stolen. Being a great fan and student of the early days of mountain Biking i was thrilled when i found this picture and saw the graffitti in the top corner. The two passions of my life united 8)


Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Nordic on December 20, 2010, 02:39:49 pm

Maybe Banta was the driver as well, or the original owner?

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lazy B'stard on December 20, 2010, 05:25:43 pm
Good work fella! 8)

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Nordic on December 20, 2010, 06:57:13 pm


I like to think that was hand carved by Steve McQueen taking a break during an Enduro ride.

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lazy B'stard on December 21, 2010, 07:46:17 am
It might not be as daft an idea as you might first think....

McQ was hanging around with Mert Lawwill at this time and also had quite a few Schwinn and Colson pre war newsboy bikes. Around this time Mert was working on bicycles- his Lawwill- Knight Pro Cruiser being a big 26" wheeled BMX which later got gears and can be classed as an early evolution of the mountain bike.
We all know McQ was a thrill seeker and the Marin Fat Tyre scene was all part of the Bay Area counterculture thing- band members of The Gratefull Dead and The Sons of Champlain were all involved, so i guess the new sport was on his 'cool kicks' radar??

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Canada Phil on December 22, 2010, 02:40:10 am

Maybe Banta was the driver as well, or the original owner?

Towards the bottom of that article it mentions countries where the car has raced:
 We all know where USA is for 6 but where is BS for 2 ?

Well done on finding so muh detail about your picture.

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Truck on December 22, 2010, 12:28:41 pm

Nassau Grand Prix, Bahamas, its in an earlier post

Does anyone know about this, and why it stopped

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Andy Zarse on January 04, 2011, 04:43:10 pm
Is it front wheel drive? Is that a front drive shaft? ???

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Lorry on January 04, 2011, 09:52:34 pm
Is it front wheel drive? Is that a front drive shaft? ???
That confused me, but you're looking at the back of the car

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Andy Zarse on January 05, 2011, 12:28:00 pm
Is it front wheel drive? Is that a front drive shaft? ???
That confused me, but you're looking at the back of the car

Ah roight Ted!

Title: Re: Mystery Car??
Post by: Winkster on May 31, 2014, 05:14:51 am
The car is a Bobtail Cooper 1100cc Climax.  It was run by the Reno Racing Team consisting of Harry Banta, John Barneson and Leo Bourke.  I was the mechanic who rebuilt the engine and prepared the car.  Leo is the only surviving member of the Team and I saw him last Sunday 5/25/14 at a Birthday Party in Novato, California.
Bob (winkster) Winkelmann