Bruce Walton built one of the most successful Australian cars, assisted by Ken Gayfer, with numerous wins to it's credit. When it first appeared in July 1953, the lightweight chassis was made up from lower box section with triangulated tubes above, similar to Cooper with Rudge front wheels, strengthened Austin wheels at the back, Norton gearbox and Ford 10 steering and hubs. JAP engines of various capacities were used and the suspension followed Cooper lines.
Between 1953 and 1967 it is recorded as having 58 first places, 10 second places and 53 third places. It had 23 FTDs and 9 outright records. It ran in 24 race meetings with 8 first places. Walton attacked speed records at Fishermans Bend in 1957. His two way times of 13.69 & 13.09 seconds produced an Australian record average of 13.39 seconds over a quarter mile but CAMS would not recognise this as a record distance. The major hillclimb title successes were:
At Albert Park on 21 November 1953 Walton gained pole position in practice against Stan Jones Cooper Mk IV JAP 1,100 and Lex Davison's Monoposto Alfa but unfortunately retired in the race. The 1000 c.c. JAP was replaced by a 500 c.c. engine early in 1954 as Walton wanted to run in 500 c.c. class races and anyway he felt he needed to learn to drive with less power on tap. In 1954 the car competed in numerous races– on 21 March it came 3rd in the Victorian Trophy at Fishermans Bend while on 18 April it crashed at Altona. Meanwhile it went to Collingrove for the first CAMS Australian Hill Climb Championship at Easter, winning its class. Then at Templestowe on 16th May it set a new class record. In 1955 there were more hillclimbs and races including the October Port Wakefield Australian Grand Prix in which it didn’t finish.
In February 1956 the 8/80 JAP engine was refitted with the aim of focussing on hillclimbs. Walton took class wins at every meeting he entered but couldn’t match Lex Davison’s larger, supercharged Cooper-Vincent for outright honours. In October 1956 a cabin-blower supercharger fed by a big S.U carburettor was added and outright records at Hepburn Springs and Rob Roy followed. In June 1957 an 1100cc alloy JAP engine was installed and after that only one DNF at Silverdale in September 1957 spoiled a run of what would otherwise have been 22 consecutive first or second FTDs. Bruce describes beating Lex Davison for the 1957 Victorian Hillclimb Championship as the “sweetest moment of them all”. In the final run of the final round at Rob Roy he took the title from Lex by the single bonus point he earned for setting a new hill record.
When Walton bought a Mk VIII Cooper in 1958 the car was sold to John Fish with the 500 cc JAP. The 1100 c.c engine and blower were retained and fitted to the Cooper in which he won the Australian Hillclimb Championship each year from 1958 to 1963. Fish continued to record class wins at all venues including a second place behind Walton in the 1960 Australian titles at Collingrove. He later fitted another 1100 c.c. JAP which he sold to Bruce Walton when the car was sold to Bill Perry in 1960.
Perry only used it rarely and usually with John Fish still driving it. It eventually dropped out of the spotlight. Nothing further was heard of the car until Phillip Smith was reported with it at Templestowe in July, 1964 and later at Tarrawingee where it got a 3rd placing. Ownership changed to Jack Godbehear late in 1964. Max Agius was the next owner when he bought it late in 1965 and gained a 3rd at Winton on 13th March, 1966, a class win at Lakeland Hill Climb in February, 1967 as well as another Lakeland appearance on 10th December, 1967, its last recorded ‘period’ appearance.
Our thanks to Terry Wright, who owns the Walton Special, for the photos and history. Terry produces a newsletter "Loose Fillings" dedicated to air cooled racing cars in Australia.