Tuesday, August 08, 2017

the Redex Round-Australia Reliability Trial and the 7 year old 77 thou mile 700 quid taxi that won, driven by a taxi driver that carried explosives to move obstacles. Maybe it was the triple 7 combo that gave him lots of good fortune

In 1932 Jack Murray moved to Sydney, where he set up a service station in Bondi with his brother, Ray. Largely a taxi service and fix-it shop, the Murrays ran their business on either side of World War II, during which Jack served with the 2nd AIF.

The Redex fuel additive company started holding 1000-mile cross-country rally-style events around New South Wales called Reliability Trials, which eventually led to the first Round-Australia Trial in 1953.

In 1953 he rolled his car, and for the next years race, he chose, of all vehicles, a taxi.

A 7 year old Canadian-built 1947 Ford Super Deluxe with a flathead V8 and 75,000 miles as a taxi that he bought for 700 quid.

As Jack explained in an interview the car’s advantages were its generous ride height and advanced Houdaille shocks.

 “It was a V8 and it had a lot of punch in it and it had the right springing, transverse springing; the front spring and the back spring transversed, and up very high. There’s a lot of clearance under a Ford, and they had a very strong chassis on ’em.

“We picked that one because they had [special] shock absorbers. Called a Houdaille, it’s a hydraulic shock and it’s a circular arrangement. They are French-designed, beautiful shocks.

“There’s no shock absorber that would last you ’round Australia; they hadn’t made any good enough yet. The body was better than the ones they make here – but the shocks were the main thing.”

In 1954 the taxi Jack named Grey Ghost won the Redex Round-Australia Reliability Trial. He led the race almost all the way around and somehow managed to get back without losing a single penalty point – a feat that was never repeated.



  1. Smart man, Houdaille shocks were much loved by racers because they were adjustable. Packards and Studebakers had them as we'll.

  2. I remember those Redex trials, in particular a celebrity (Possibly Jack Davey) prepared a car, took off and quickly discovered someone had forgotten to refill the gearbox with oil.
    In 1956 we rebuilt a flathead Ford V8 for a Hydroplane. bored it out, used alloy Offenhauser heads, double valve springs, Quad manifold with four Strombergs. Oh They were the days;

    1. Thanks for the info! Do you still have any photos?