A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland

1954

Reliability Trials

1954 The Redex Reliability Trial attracted huge crowds leading to traffic jams in the streets of Norwood. Competitors’ cars were parked on the playing surface of Norwood. I have a memory of being amongst the car at he Norwood oval, along with listening to report of the Trial progress on the Radio, no live Television broadcasts.

A series of reliability trials in the 1950s, sponsored first by Redex and later by Ampol and Mobilgas, were among the earliest forms of organized national car rallying in Australia. There were three Redex trials – in 1953, 1954 and 1955. The first was run over 6,500 miles in two weeks, from Sydney north to Townsville, across to Darwin, down to Port Augusta, then back to Sydney via Adelaide and Melbourne.

In the boom years of the 1950s, motor cars became more affordable to the working class, and it was during that decade that the majority of Australian families purchased their first car, particularly the young people who were the parents of Baby Boomers. 

A series of reliability trials in the 1950s, sponsored first by Redex and later by Ampol and Mobilgas, were among the earliest forms of organized national car rallying in Australia. There were three Redex trials – in 1953, 1954 and 1955. The first was run over 6,500 miles in two weeks, from Sydney north to Townsville, across to Darwin, down to Port Augusta, then back to Sydney via Adelaide and Melbourne.


 
Morphettville

Many car makers saw the rallies as a golden opportunity to introduce their vehicles to this new generation of car buyers and some, like Peugeot, had multiple entries in the rally. Eleven Peugeot 203’s were entered, the third largest representation (after Ford and Holden), and the crew’s optimism was rewarded when Ken Tubman and John Marshall (photo right) won outright – all eleven 203’s finished.

The Redex trial captured enormous media and public interest, and in 1954 it was run again, this time going right around the continent but allowing only four extra days for the trip. It was won by a six-year-old Ford Mercury; its driver, “Gelignite” Jack Murray became a household name for his habit of carrying gelignite to get rid of obstacles and announcing his arrival in outback communities! The previous year’s winners were hot on his tail – Bill Patterson placed second outright in a Peugeot 203, one of many that competed.

https://www.australiaforeveryone.com.au/motoring-fifties.html https://www.holtsauto.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/8117955663_46ca24f9bd_o-1.jpg

Leave a comment to continue the story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore other stories

Nash-Pipeline-logo-177KB
In the early days of the Surfing craze Big old, cheap sedans with a multi board wrack were the must have transport.
Weekend away, unexpected rides in unexpected cars.