Buchanan racecars
Buchanan Cobras
DB3S wiring diagram
Rhode Island Wire
Lucas colour guide
SCW Fast Future Fiat
"Works" racecars
Bolwell Slipstream
Bolly Blog

Custom Kitcar
Queensland MG club


3.8.16 Buchanan Racer, unfinished restoration for sale Wal Mitchell's old Buchanan racecar is looking for a new garage to call home. After languishing for many years, the unfinished restoration is available for sale for $32,000. It's run a number of engines over the years but started out as a MG "Y" type chassis with body number 38. At one stage it was fitted with a Grey Holden 6 cylinder engine. Anybody looking for a historic racer would have a good basis to start here.

According to the owner Matt: " The car is not finished but we have all the major components including correct close ratio gearbox and grey Holden "core engine". Fibreglass body work is 80% complete, chassis is rolling. It has approval in principal from CAMS to be certified for historic racing and just needs to be finished in the selected race period and configuration. We have race records. Pictures and history on this car and it's driver. $32000 AUD. For more info Please call Matt 0434088757 Or email goodtimesnotlongtimes@hotmail.com

7.7.14 Buchanan HRG restoration Mike White, owner of the only Buchanan in the UK, has been giving his HRG Godfrey Special a big birthday. It's undergoing a restoration after years of hard use on the hillclimbs. The gearbox and brakes have been rebuilt and a roll hoop installed to protect the driver.

9.23.13 New Buchanan article published
Things have been a bit quiet in the Buchanan world of late. I've just had an article published in the Aston Martin Owners Club Quarterly magazine that has raised a few eyebrows. Seems very few Aston people knew of the Buchanan and it's origins. The record has now been put straight! Read it all here: AMOC Quarterly Summer 2013 3 pages  -  Fibreglass Flier

1.21.12 Unfinished Buchanan project *****SOLD****
Based on a 1948-51 Talbot chassis; brakes, hubs and suspension are also Talbot sourced. It features a bored out Holden Grey motor, triple SUs and a MG gearbox. Instruments are fitted and working.

All that is needed is some fettling to finish off the project and get another Buchanan back on the road where it belongs. Now sold.

12.12.12 Buchanan MG needs a good home *****SOLD****
After great deliberation, Neil Marshall has decided to put his Buchanan up for sale. "Too many toys, another son's wedding this year (one last year), helping another son to buy a house, etc, etc, etc, etc."

Here's all the details:

Buchanan MGA The classic Aston Martin DB3S body shape. One of only 72 known Buchanan bodies and only 20 being MG based.

This car has a complete MGA chassis with period BMC engine, gearbox and running gear.  The original Buchanan body is complete and includes genuine Buchanan: detachable hardtop, windscreen and seats. Other genuine Buchanan spares are included with the car.  These will not be sold separately.

Now sold.

J:\Motor Cars\Buchanan\Buchanan Pictures\Buchanan Nov '12\20121104162924\PB040850.JPG J:\Motor Cars\Buchanan\Buchanan Pictures\Buchanan Nov '12\20121104162924\PB040852.JPG

28.11.11 Repco Holden Buchanan racer
John Marano contacted me recently with more details of his dad's old Buchanan, the HRG "Godfrey Special" that now resides in the UK. It had been rebuilt in 1963 and also featured some unusual engine vents; additionally there had never been confirmation it had a Repco head.

Re: the rebuild.

Apparently the subframe that held the front suspension was cracked and moving around. Dad removed the body and had new and stronger subframe fabricated and refitted. He rebuilt the engine at the same time.....rings, bearings, etc. He actually did his mechanical apprenticeship at Holden way back in the late '40's I think so he knew those old grey motors inside out.

The engine was already fitted with a Repco Hi-Power head when he bought it. He sold the Buchanan to a car dealer friend in Brisbane called Blair Shepard who was also a well known speedway racer but he on sold it to someone out near Toowoomba we believe. We also heard that this fellow then removed the Repco head and fitted it to a speedboat.....what a waste. I was only 3 when this happened.....

As a note, he Always referred to the car as the Repco Holden rather than Godfrey Special.

Re: side vents.

They were also already fitted to the car before dad bought it but he was never really sure why. He said that it was all open into the engine bay in the area behind the vents and he could only guess that someone thought cutting the vents in would allow the heat to escape easier and possibly increase airflow and therefore aid in cooling.

24.10.11 Orange Austin A40 Buchanan
One of the great pleasure I get from this site is when I hear back from current and past Buchanan owners, There stories are very enlightening and help fill in some of the missing histories on the cars. One such ex-owner is Colin Connaughton from Orange, NSW.

I'll let him tell the story:  ... here are a couple of pictures for your excellent website - brings back lots of memories ...

This car was built by Henry van Schaik of Orange NSW, probably in 1957 - I can only recall that Henry ordered the body soon after seeing a magazine article about Buchanan bodies which featured a Buchanan MG TC - possibly in Sports Car World. His car was built in the workshop of the VW dealer in Orange, Norm Campbell, which was the meeting place for many of the local road and race enthusiasts at the time. Paintwork was done by the resident spray man, Ron Howarth.

I think the choice of an Austin A40 as a base was dictated more by cost than any thought that it would be superior to a TC. Nonetheless, the car was well finished, with dark green paintwork and a light tan hood, and the A40 wheels had the usual pattern of holes painstakingly drilled in them, though whether for lightness, brake cooling or appearance I'm not sure! As I recall, the A40 chassis presented some problems in getting a low enough floor line and seating position, and an additional "bump" was moulded into the bonnet, alongside the standard air scoop, to give clearance for the A40's downdraft carburettor. As the pictures show, it was road registered in NSW as BJF 210.

The first picture shows a rear view of the car, taken in Lords Place, Orange, opposite Robertson Park, but probably more importantly, outside the Royal Hotel! Note that the original wire-spoked A40 steering wheel is used. Also, it has what were called "winter tread" tyres on the rear - many of the local roads were not tar sealed in those days.

The second picture shows the car competing in a hill climb run on the property of local enthusiast Don(?) Pilbeam - the property was known as "Pilbeam's Perogative" and the hillclimb was simply a reasonably well graded dirt/gravel section of one of the tracks on the property. A number of events were held there by the Orange Light Car Club in the 1950's.

All of the above is according to my memory only (I was 11 or 12 years old at the time), so my apologies if I have any of it wrong. Sadly, Henry van Schaik died some years later, in a light aircraft accident I think, and I have no recollection of what had happened to the car by then.



29.7.11 Triumphal return, TR3 Buchanan for sale
Alan Mitchell in Orange has finished the restoration of his Triumph TR3 based Buchanan. He's looking at selling it as he has retired from work and racing. It's currently unregistered and fitted with a 2 litre TR engine that was rebuilt and used on road in a TR3A for 3,775 miles. It also has extractors, disc brakes, HS6 Carbs, rack & pinion steering, roll bar, chassis gusseted for extra rigidity, spare set of wheels and tyres. Many of original parts as extra's, including windscreen & hardtop, spare worked engine. Repainted in Monza Red. Offers around $22,000. Alan Mitchell (02)6361-4732 (Orange NSW). Used in historic racing from 1991-2002. email: alan.mitchell4@optusnet.com.au

21.12.10 I'm back
Apologies for no updates for a while, been busy writing a 2000 page Aston Martin book! In the meantime the Buchanan world has seen a few more cars appear. Gavin Black has built up a Triumph Herald Vitesse based special with a new body resembling the Aston Martin DB3S.  You can read an article on it here: Bolwell Slipstream Magazine Buchanan Article

07.5.10 Another Buchanan wakes after 30 year slumber
Yet another Buchanan has arisen from a long slumber and taken it's rightful place back on the road. It's even better when a father/son team put the car back together.  Mark Wells from Melbourne dropped us a line to tell his story.

"Hi, thought I would let you know about my car. It was purchased by my father Ian Wells roughly 30 years ago I think, as a very rough body on what I believe is a TF chassis, can't find any id plates.
It sat behind the garden shed for 10-12 years before work was started. We have not been particularly faithful to its original form, as Dad was starting to suffer from Parkinson's Disease, the decision was made to build him a reliable toy with some modern touches. Dad's great friend and gifted engineer Peter Tucker, as well as myself spent many weekends over many years getting it going and also adding the Aston style nose.
Engine: Toyota 18RG twin cam
Gearbox: 5 sp steel Toyota
Diff: Datsun R160
I realise these modifications will probably not please the purists, but frankly don't care, they were after all a kit car!
As to previous history, I have no information, but do not think it would have competed or we would never have made the radical modifications we did.
On my fathers passing the car became mine and I am continuing the process of completion, however it had it's first competition run at the VHRR hillclimb at Rob Roy on the weekend, running in the invited sports car class. Despite Michelin XVX tyres that are probably nearly as old as me, some pretty dodgy suspension and fuel starvation issues, I managed to break 30 seconds (however by how much is a matter of some contention as the official times were not posted by the time I left).
More development is planned, however the car is basically a weekend toy that will have to prized form my "cold dead hands", to paraphrase Charlton Heston."
Mark Wells

27.4.10 EBuchs on EBay
There's not 1 but 2 Buchanans currently on EBay. The first is David Hutton's MG TD based car mentioned here a few weeks ago. It's body number 55 and still wears the original Buchanan Body ID plate in the engine bay. Here's the link Buchanan MG

The second is an engineless Buchanan on a homebuilt frame with Holden mechanicals. It used to run a Holden Grey motor 25 years ago. The wheels are from a FJ but with wider offset rims and the body has had flared arches grafted on to cover these. More details here: Buchanan Body

29.3.10 Buchanan Fiat returns to the track after 50 years
"The second of the "Works" built Buchanan racecars, the Buchanan Fiat, made a visit to the Phillip Island circuit for the historic races this month. In the hands of owner Peter Albon it completed the drive down and back from Melbourne without any problems.  Peter commented "I was surprised (and grateful) of how well she went. However the wind and sun on your face gets to you after a while! It was great to see some great cars and be a part of it. The Island was great this year and I got to see a real works 3s in the flesh. Very Cool!"

21.3.10 Mystery MG Buchanan
David Hutton owns a MG TD based Buchanan that he is searching for some history on. It runs a MG engine/gearbox/rearend on a TD chassis but with seats from an early MGB. The chap he bought it from had purchased the car in SA. If any knows of this Buchanan David would be most grateful for any details.

11.2.10 PRAD 2 Single-seater based Buchanan Amilcar
In the early 1950's Clive Adams and Jack Pryor of "PRAD" converted an old Amilcar chassis into an alloy bodied single-seater sporstcar that became known as the PRAD 2.

The midget like single-seater, which was raced extensively by Clive Adams in the early fifties, was thought to have been dismantled and discarded in the mid fifties when the partners moved onto later PRADs. However the PRAD did have another life being fitted with a Buchanan body and Ford Zephyr engine in 1957/58. It was restored in the 1973/85 period in Sydney, later moved to Canberra and eventually to WA where it was eventually sold at auction to Noel Robson who was John Surtees mechanic back in the day.

Noel passed away last year and his widow has finally decided to sell the car as she has moved into a smaller home and has nowhere safe to store it other than in the carport. The Buchanan is complete and running with a spare motor and in Busselton in WA. The car is advertised in the latest Unique Cars, page 233, with an asking price of $25,000 ONO. Mrs. Robson and her deceased husband were friends of Nat Buchanan when he was building the bodies in the late 1950's.  There is a article on the car in the August 2002 Classic & Sports Car.

8.2.10 On the road again
Peter Albon, custodian of the Buchanan Fiat, reports it's passed the RWC and is now registered for road use in Victoria, This was the same car campaigned by Bruce Maher at Bathurst, Mt Druitt and Schofields back in 1957/58 and one of the factory entered racers of the period.  Look closely and you can see the new "Buchanan Body" badges mounted on the grille and steering wheel!  the BRG paintwork looks superb and really suits the car, well done Pete.

2.2.10 Bolly Blog
John Low over at the Bolly Blog keeps unearthing photos of South Aussie Buchanans from his archives. They are all of the variant without the cutaway in the front wheel arch. It seems six or so cars were built like this and at least 3 found their way to the Adelaide area.

Buchanan Triumph, ex Jim Wright...raced at Bathurst 1958/59

Buchanan Pontiac, built by Peter De Mac...Pontiac V8 on Morris 10 chassis

Buchanan MG

Buchanan Skoda, hit with the ugly stick at birth!

1.1.10 Buchanan Press
It's been a while since Buchanan has had much press but lately coverage has come thick and fast.  The NSW Bolwell club ran a 2 page article in their September 2009 issue of Slipstream and the Bolly Blog ran a segment on the Buchanan Gladiator.  Australia Custom Kitcar magazine scooped them all in November with a 10 page article by Buchanan MG owner Neville Daniel. 

Additionally I've come across some colour archive racing photos of Buchanan MGs on the Queensland MG car club website. The first shot is Buchanan's QLD dealer the Swift Service Station. The second is Bill Weekes in the very first Buchanan to hit the race track, at Strathpine in March 1957, where Bill placed 1st. and 4th. There are also some photos of Ian Michels' Buchanan hardtop racing at Lakeside in 1961.

Gold Buchanan at Buchanan's QLD dealer Swift Service Station

Bill Weekes Buchanan MG TF 1957

10.11.09 Buchanan Body Badges available
After a few years of pottering around I finally have the "Buchanan Body" badges in my hands.  Based off the original "Buchanan Cobra" badge made 50 years ago, they are ready for shipping to any Buchanan owners.  Like the original they are domed to fit the curvature of the car bodywork.


Cost will be AUD$45 (numbers are limited so get in early) with shipping of AUD$15.  ID plates are also available at AUD$30, they are an exact copy of the stick on metallic plate fitted to the cars by Buchanan back in the late 1950's.

Original ID plates

Reproduction ID plates

Your body number or type can be printed on them if you want.  Anyone who would like to order can contact me via email

08.10.09 On the road again
After some surgery and the addition of coloured vinyl tape my Buchanan is back on the road again. New tyres have raised the ride height and make the car look more proportional now.  Just waiting on a new steering wheel hub so I can finish the interior off before enjoying the rest of the summer driving the car.

08.10.09 RIP Arthur Rizzo
Another link to Buchanan's history has passed away.  Arthur Rizzo designed the chassis for the first Buchanan, the stillborn Zephyr engined coupe.  His twin tube chassis, of which he built 12, was the basis for at least 8 Buchanan bodies including the Gladiator.  More details here RIP Arthur Rizzo

04.09.09 The "Works" racers
I'm just finished a new section on the "Works" racecars, Buchanans built at the factory and entered by them in events. I posted the following on Atlas F1 Nostalgia Forum: "The second of the "Works" built Buchanan racecars has resurfaced in Melbourne. The Buchanan Fiat was the second racecar built up by Nat Buchanan and Bruce Maher at the Buchanan "Works" in Annandale. It raced at Bathurst in 1957 in the NSW Championship for Sportscars, winning on handicap. SCW Feb 1958 Fast Future Fiat  It was on a Rizzo twin tube chassis with Fiat 1100 engine, mechanicals and suspension. The Buchanan "Works" built up 3 race cars in total, all driven by Bruce Maher. They were the 1957 Buchanan MG, 1957 Buchanan Fiat and 1958 Buchanan Holden hardtop. All competed at Bathurst. There were plans for a fourth racecar, a Buchanan Standard, but these were shelved and the Buchanan Cobra built using Standard mechanicals, a new body built by Stan Brown and chassis designed by Jack Pryor."

04.02.09 Progress at last
Apologies are in order for the lack of updates on my car, it's taken longer to get some of the bits together to complete it.  I fabricated a new fuel rail in copper nickel to look more period with the restored SU carbs, I had to get the brass banjos in from the UK to silver solder onto the fuel line and find some brass "t" fittings to join it together. While I was at it I fitted an aircraft style fuel cut-off valve mounted on the floor in front of the passenger and a pressure regulator to the fuel line.

The dash is installed and most of the restored instruments fitted. To go along with the uprated ignition system I've hidden an adjustable digital rev limiter under the dash.  The old Holden grey motor has a habit of snapping cranks if revved over 6000 rpm so I figured this was a good way to prevent an expensive engine rebuild. It's set at 5800 rpm to give a bit of leeway but still extract maximum horsepower from the engine.

04.02.09 In from the cold
Seems Bruce Maher's old racing Fiat may have resurfaced in Melbourne.  Peter Albon, current owner of a Buchanan Fiat special on a twin tube Rizzo chassis, thinks it may be his car.   He's been watching this site and after comparing his car with the Fiat racer in the old SCW magazine article has noted the similarities between the tubular chassis, the Fiat 1100 front suspension and back end, original dash layout, Triumph door latches and fuel filler position in the boot. 

Peter has owned the car for over 10 years and has been methodically restoring it. The accompanying photos show the car looking stunning in BRG. He hopes to have it registered and roadworthy soon. It's great to see another Buchanan lovingly restored to its former glory.

Update Having just spoken to Peter and going back through some previous emails from past owners I'm 100% sure this is the old Bruce Maher Buchanan Fiat that raced at Bathurst in October 1957, as well as other NSW circuits.  It was a factory car built up by the Buchanan Motor Company to promote the bodies.  The original engine was removed by Fred Grant in the late 1980's and replaced with a Fiat 124 engine and 124 front brake discs were also fitted.

02.10.09 A Peachy find
Ex-pat Aussie Ted Newsome in Connecticut, USA emailed details of a Buchanan he used to own. According to Ted: "I discovered it under a peach tree in the North Adelaide suburbs (photo attached).  I towed it back to Melbourne, had it a few months but did nothing to it other than to clean it up a bit, as I was too busy with my Turner group D racing car at the time. I sold it to the guy that made the racing suits (cannot remember his name). He intended to go historic racing with it.  It apparently had some racing history as it had some notes and details written in pencil under the bonnet. It had a Holden grey motor with twin SU's and allegedly was on a HRG chassis with a XK120 gear-box. I never did confirm the chassis, but it seemed too long a wheelbase for an MG. I remember the shifter was impossible, it was almost under your right armpit. Hope that this is of interest to you, and maybe fills in some gaps." 

It is indeed the old Godfrey Special, a HRG chassis based Buchanan with a lightweight racing body similar to the Gladiator's. It raced at Bathurst in the hands of Jack Edwards and also at Lowood and Strathpine in QLD. The car now resides in the UK.

The "Godfrey Special" as discovered under a peach tree in the mid 1970's

02.08.09 Aston failure, Buchanan success
I've been doing some research on the Aston Martin DB3S the Buchanan body is based on.  It appears Aston Martin tried building fibreglass bodies for the DB3S back in 1953/54. Unfortunately it was an abject failure and the only 2 bodies built were scrapped. They laid the fibreglass up over a wooden body buck, rather than building a mould,  and then had to sand down the outside of the body to get it smooth. The first body didn't have enough hardener in the mix and the body collapsed.

Terry Hadley, a mechanic in the racing department at Astons back then, filled me in on the details. Seems no one had any experience working with fibreglass so they were starting from scratch. The only completed body was extremely heavy and had no door or bonnet openings, it was fitted to a chassis but never went on the road. 

After the DB3S race cars were wrecked at Le Mans in 1954,  they removed the glass body and fitted a used alloy body to the chassis to continue racing that season.  AM never used fibreglass again. 

Two years later and Buchanan's body first appeared, a much more professional job than the factory effort.  Aston Martin never found out about the fibreglass wonder from Down Under!

The DB3S at Goodwood not long after the fibreglass body was removed and an alloy one fitted

01.29.09 New Discovery
Just received an email from David Homburg, he's recently picked up another Buchanan from Little River down Geelong way. He found it on EBay, it's a Holden Grey engined car on a homemade box section chassis with Holden front and rear suspension.  The bodywork has had some interesting mods around the dash cowl and tail but everything seems to be there. It's sat since the 1980s but will hopefully be back on the road soon.

More progress on my car today, turned on the battery and electrified all the new wiring for the first time. No smoke to worry about but the electric fan seems to blow fuses. Will put a relay into the circuit to solve the problem...other than that all systems are go! Carbs should be back next week after restoration and hopefully will fire the beast up for the first time this year and test out the revised ignition system.

01.25.09 Racing Fiat Unearthed
A chap from Melbourne contacted me over the weekend with details of a Buchanan Fiat he used to own that is still in the area. With a bit of research into some old magazine articles I suspect it is the ex-Bruce Maher Buchanan Fiat that competed at Bathurst in 1957 and 1958. You can find the article here: SCW Feb 1958 Fast Future Fiat

While I was finding the article I figured I may as well scan in all the old magazines I have that feature the Buchanan. In total there's 11 from 1956 to 1959 with stories on the car. This is the list, it may not be exhaustive, but covers quite a few cars.

*Click on the description for the article
Modern Motor 1956 October  -  New Plastic Car Built Here
Wheels 1956 November  -  Sports Cars Made In Australia
Modern Motor 1957 May   -   Buchanan Body how to
Australian Motor Sports 1957 August   -   Buchanan bodies
Modern Motor 1957 October   -   Buchanan MG test
Sports Car World 1957 November  -  Fashioned in Fibreglass
Sports Car World 1958 February   -   Buchanan Fiat review
Motor manual Monthly 1958 March  -  Local Fibreglass Bodies are real beauties
Sports Car World 1958 May   -   Buchanan MG Gladiator review
Sports Car World 1958 June   -   Buchanan Holden review
Modern Motor 1959 April  -  Australia's Fastest Unblown MG

One thing I've always wondered about is the origin of the bonnet scoop on the Buchanan bodies.  I know Nat changed a few things on the mould to differentiate it from the Aston DB3S and always thought he used the Lagonda (an enlarged DB3S) for his inspiration.  It seems he initially used the scoop in 1956 on the very first Buchanan car he built, the red car in the cover picture from Modern Motor in May 1957.  Whatever happened to the first Buchanan, it wasn't the prettiest of vehicles and wouldn't have sold as well as the "body", but it is an important piece of Aussie motoring history.

01.18.09 Back To Work

It's been a few years since I've done much work on my Buchanan Holden, last major job was fitting a roll cage under the bodywork and sorting some cooling problems with an alloy radiator and electric fan.  I also discovered the hood scoop was causing a pressure bubble in the engine bay and preventing the hot radiator air from exiting.  I had my fiberglass guy remove the scoop and smooth out the bonnet line.

I also got back to work on the website and with the help of John Medley's excellent book "Bathurst:  Cradle of Australian Motor Racing", I put together a list of the Buchanan racecars that competed there and elsewhere. I've also uncovered a few more cars that have been added to the Register as well as a section for the Buchanan Cobras.

I decided it was time to sort out the electrics on my car, I'm pretty sure they dated back to when the car was built in 1958 with a few bits spliced in since.  As the Buchanan was based off the Aston Martin DB3S I used it as a reference for rewiring my car. Using the DB3S wiring diagram I ordered all new Lucas wiring from Rhode Island Wire using the Lucas wire colour guide

All the old wires were removed and I built up a new loom using the wiring diagram as a guide. Any connections were done using Lucas bullet connectors and after laying out the loom in the car to check for length it was wrapped in 3M electrical tape.  I took the opportunity to update the Bosch distributor and replaced the points with a Pertronix "Ignitor" unit, Part # 1864A, a "Flamethrower" coil, Part # 40511 and 7mm high output spark plug leads.

The original NASCO bypass oil filter was getting a bit worse for wear so I replaced it with a remote unit with a spin on filter for ease of use.

Over the years I have been collecting a set of DB3S instruments to fit to my car and, as I had the wiring out, now was as good a time as any to install them. Fortunately I have a few mates with real DB3S's who took templates off their dashboards so I could replicate one for my car. I had a company in the UK make up a new 15" diameter wood rim wheel and hub to fit my steering column.


The DB3S used a mechanical rev counter with a takeoff from the back of the cam cover, as the Holden Grey motor didn't have an overhead camshaft I had the rev counter converted to electric to run off a connection on the coil.

When Nat Buchanan took some drops off Tom Sulman's DB3S to make the Buchanan bodies he changed a few key features. He enlarged the cowl over the dashboard and added one to the passenger side. On some of the bodies he built for racers this was deleted.  The dash cowl is the same shape as that on the DB3S but has been extended up, by carefully cutting it back the original shape can be replicated. I also removed the cowl on the passenger side as it never looked quite right, it was more MG TC than Aston!


Currently I am fabricating the dash panel in alloy and fitting up the instruments and connecting the wiring loom. A new Perspex windscreen is being made along with a cover for the passenger side of the cockpit. I also want to redo the fuel line to the SU carbs and sort out the linkages and accelerator pedal.  The SU's have been sent off for a full rebuild and a set of new tyres ordered ready for the race season.  The radiator hoses need replacing and a set of leather bonnet straps will finish off the engine bay nicely.