Go back to the Marques and Men PageMini Moke

Bill Dunlop raced American Miller-Chevrolet midgets on dirt tracks when the formula flourished in South Africa in the late 1940s and 1950s. When this form of racing began to fade he decided to turn his hand to circuit racing and inspired by the Cooper F3 cars he built a 500 cc special using two Fiat Topolino chassis placed back to back. It was initially powered by a 500 JAP speedway engine but by the time it appeared on the track a 500 ohc Norton had been fitted.


Clothed in a makeshift body it made its first appearance at the 1952 Junior Coronation at Alexandra Park, Pietermaritzburg in April 1952.
 

 

In May 1957 Bill was running in a strong 4th position during the Union Day Handicap at Grand Central Circuit, near Johannesburg when a rocker arm snapped on the last lap.

I jumped out and pushed the car to the finish thinking I might still get a place. But by the time I got there three or four cars had passed me. He recalled.
 

Bill pushes his car to the line, May 1957

In 1958 he sold the Moke to Charlie Randall, a top motorcycle rider, who was looking for a little car for his daughter Desiree to drive in micro-midget events. Desiree Wilson was later to become one of the best female racing drivers ever. Bill then acquired (from Mitch Mitchell) the ex-Tony Fergusson Cooper Mk. IX and eventually upgraded it to 1100 JAP power.

In 1961 Bill acquired a 1958 model Mk. II Cooper and fitted it with an 1500 cc Alfa Romeo engine. This car, with distinctive wider bodywork, had originally been a project by Rob Walker and Stirling Moss and used a 2 litre BRM loaned by Sir Alfred Owen. Moss only raced it once, in the Aintree 200, but retired due to a malfunction of its special Colotti gearbox when leading comfortably.

Our thanks to Andrew Reed and Roy Young for this profile

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