1965 Year In Review

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Oldsmobile Tornado
425ci V8 and front wheel drive can mean only one thing, the beautiful 1965 Oldsmobile Toronado.

Holden HD
The all new HD Holden, contentious then but now rare and highly collectable.

Sunbeam Tiger
Caroll Shelby once again managed to squeeze a V8 into the engine bay, but this time the donor car was an Alpine.

Honda S600
When the S600 was released in Australia, it represented a complete break-away from the traditional Brisith sports cars with their iron-block engines. The S600 featured a half-litre 4 cylinder, quad carburettor, water-cooled, double-overhead-cam, four-cylinder aluminium power plant spinning all the way to 8000 rpm.

Gordon Wilkins interviewing Captain Archie Frazer-Nash during the Jubilee of the Sports Car
Gordon Wilkins interviewing Captain Archie Frazer-Nash during the Jubilee of the Sports Car held in the UK in 1961. The car is, of course, a Frazer-Nash.

The Oldsmobile Toronado

If we can exclude the beautiful Cord’s from the 1930’s for a moment, the huge and stylish Oldsmobile Toronado became the first car of its kind to bring front wheel drive to the U.S market. Sitting on a massive 119 inch wheelbase, and weighing an enormous 4,366 pounds (the size and weight counting against it if you were looking for a true sports car) the new generation "muscle" car used the mighty 425 ci V8 producing 385 bhp as standard, matched to an aggressive style and wonderful flowing lines that somehow belayed its sheer mass.

1965 also ushered in the replacement for the ever popular EH Holden. Many considered the new HD Holden to represent 'Holden's Disaster' – and most considered it an ugly duckling after the public's acceptance of the EH's shape. The new look, while thoroughly modern, proved to be contentious, with the biggest criticism being reserved for the leading front guard design, a design that saw the front edge of the fender extend past the front headlights. Debate grew concerning pedestrian safety and even headlight effectiveness. Certainly they proved susceptible to car park damage.

Nevertheless the HD did represent progress over the EH, featuring self adjusting brakes and the use of a ball joint suspension system up front rather than the previous King Pins. Safety improvements were not overlooked, with the HD being the first model Holden to offer disk brakes as standard on the Premier, and optional on all other models.

The HD had a completely new body, making it wider and longer than previous Holdens. Engineered entirely in Australia, the new model offered substantial increases in passenger and load space. Although in later years the HD would probably be the least favourably remembered Holden, the early demand was exceptionally high. During the first few months HD sales actually outstrippedthose of the record-breaking EH. In fact, May 1965 would see the General post a record, with HD registrationsexceeding 19,000.

The most interesting mechanical feature of the HD wasthe more powerful “X2” engine. Availableas an option for all models, it developed 105 kw(19 kw more than the standard) by virtue of twin carburettors, a modified camshaft, new manifolds anda low - restriction exhaust system. On the transmission front, the Hydramatic three-speed automatic transmission was replaced by the Powerglide two-speed.

With achoice of three engines, two gearboxes and an expandedoptions list (which included the latest fashion,the vinyl roof), the HD gave the Holden buyer thegreatest choice yet. Unfortunately, the new model'searly promise was not realised. A downturn in themarket was compounded by a general cooling of publicaffection for the appearance of the HD.

Captain Archie Frazer-Nash

The following obituary by Gordon Wilkins was published in the July 1965 edition of Sports Car World. THE last time I saw Captain Archie Frazer-Nash was when he came down to Bristol in 1961 to appear in a television program called "The Jubilee of the Sports Car", organised and presented by Television West and Wales. He drove a 1935 Frazer-Nash, which he designed, and I interviewed him during the program. He was not in the best of health then but joined in the event with great enthusiasm. He has now died at the age of 76 at his home in Kingston and another link with the pioneering era of motoring has been broken.

He was born in Hyderabad, India, in 1889 and was first interested in cyclecars. Then in 1910, two young engineers, H. R. Godfrey and A. Frazer-Nash, became partners and produced a really simple and inexpensive car with an air-cooled twin-cylinder engine and belt transmission. This was the GN, and it was quite successful. During the 1914 - 1918 war the design was revised to include four-chain final drive and it went into production in 1919. Maximum speed was 50 mph and some owners claimed 70 mpg; all for the price in 1921 of £250. Special versions such as the Mowgli and Akele were made for competitions and in 1921 Frazer-Nash won the 1100 cc class of the 200 miles race at Brooklands.

With increased mass production of small cheap cars by the bigger firms, the policy of the firm changed and in 1923 the two founders of the firm left and soon after the GNs ceased production altogether. Godfrey left car production until he introduced the succesful HRG in 1937 and Frazer-Nash set up on his own to make a sports car based on The GN. Production started in 1920 with an ohv engine known as Powerplus. A touring version with an Anzani 12 hp engine was tested by the motoring press the same year and it gave 70 mph and 40 mpg. Frazer-Nash became the foundation for many specials and remained in limited production until 1939.

Motorsport in 1965

One of the most tragic days in the history of Australian motor racing occurred in 1965, when promising young driver Rocky Tresise and Sydney photographer Robin D'Abrera were killed during the Australian Grand Prix at Longford. D'Abrera was killed instantly when struck by Tresise's out-of-control Cooper Climax, and Tresise died a few minutes later in the ambulance. Their deaths brought to four the number of fatalities at Longford in two successive meetings in 1965.

Tresise, 21, was Lex Davison's first protege. Ecurie Australie withdrew from the AGP meeting after Davison's death at Sandown the previous weekend, but decided after consulting with Davison's widow that they would compete as a mark of respect to "The Boss". It seemed singularly appropriate that moments before the start of the AGP the secretary-general of CAMS, Mr Donald Thomson, should announce that CAMS had inaugurated a perpetual trophy for the race and that it would be known as the Lex Davison Trophy.

Tresise had been racing for four years and had revealed great promise in his handling of first a Lotus 18 and then an 1100 cc Elfin. He adapted himself well to the Cooper, which was always a difficult car to drive, and said just before the Australian Grand Prix that he felt happy with the car despite trouble with locking brakes and gear selection. He went to the start determined to drive as Davison would have wanted him to drive - cleanly and well.

D'Abrera made very little money out of his motor racing photography, which he regarded more as an absorbing hobby than a business sideline. Some of his work did appear in Australian motoring magazines, such as Sports Car World and the Australian Motor Racing Annual, the latter featuring some of his shots declared to be the best motor racing pictures of 1964.

Get Smart

1965 is remembered by many as the year Maxwell Smart appeared on our screens in the NBC TV Comedy series "Get Smart", but a somewhat silent star of the show was undoubtedly the Sunbeam Tiger. American Caroll Shelby, (perhaps more famous for the AC Cobra) carried out the primary engineering, but all successive work was done by the parent company Rootes. The much bigger engine required widespread re-engineering, and rather than choke up the high volume Alpine production lines with the new car, Rootes subcontracted the job to Jensen. Today the Tiger is highly sought after and quickly appreciating in value.

In other motoring news, the Nissan Prince Gloria would become the first six-cylinder Japanese car to be sold in Australia, while Alfa Romeo would announce its return to motor racing for the 1965 season. 1965 also saw Honda release the fabulous little S600 sports car in Australia.

The two-seat roadster borrowed its styling and its front-engine/rear-drive architecture, but not much else, from British roadsters. While other Japanese carmakers used cast-iron engines, Honda developed a water-cooled, double-overhead-cam, four-cylinder aluminium power plant, fed by four carburettors. The half-litre engine spun to 8000 rpm - Honda hadn't gone grand prix motorcycle racing without learning a few things about high-revving engines. The engine drove the rear wheels through an innovative chain-drive system.

Formula One Championship:

Jim Clark (Britain) / Lotus-Climax

1965 Bathurst Winner:

Bo Seton & Midge Bosworth / Ford Cortina GT500

NRL Grand Final:

VFL/AFL Grand Final:

Melbourne Cup:

Light Fingers (R. Higgins)

Wimbledon Women:

Margaret Smith d. M. Bueno (6-4 7-5)

Wimbledon Men:

Roy Emerson d. F. Stolle (6-2 6-4 6-4)

The Movies:

  • Dr. Zhivago
  • The Sound of Music
  • A Thousand Clowns
  • Darling

Gold Logie:

Jimmy Hannan (Saturday Date, Nine)

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture - The Sound of Music
  • Best Actor - Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou)
  • Best Actress - Julie Christie (Darling)

The Charts:

  1. Que Sera Sera - Normie Rowe & The Playboys
  2. Walk In The Black Forest - Horst Janowski & His Orchestra
  3. Daytripper - The Beatles
  4. The Carnival Is Over - The Seekers
  5. Help! - The Beatles
  6. 20 Miles - Ray Brown & The Whispers
  7. Pride (Say It Again) - Ray Brown & The Whispers
  8. I'll Never Find Another You - The Seekers
  9. Il Silenzio - Nini Rosso
  10. I Told The Brook - Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs


  • Winston Churchill (former British PM)
  • Nat King Cole (Crooner with a silky smooth voice)
  • T.S. Eliot (Poet)
  • Adlai Stevenson (American Statesman)
  • Malcolm X (Black Nationalist Leader)
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