Stories, facts, accomplishments and history of Members If anyone has articles of past and present members that could be included on this page by all means email me with write ups, photos or what ever you have that could be of interest This one is about John Hickford
Here is a translated extract from the Italian Book that John gave me…..
Then suddenly an amazing change! a private Australian John Hickford has built and the word is, with the pieces of his Lambda a single-seater for uphill races, mounting the front suspensions and the original mechanics at the front, but with the engine, obviously very well thought of prepared, positioned at the centre of the car, behind the Driver Of course for us conservative fans this is something a little frightening, but so be it. Passion knows no limits, not even between Lambdists! However the car still seems to exist and was timed at a maximum speed of 117 mph, which is 190kpm.
John was introduced to the father of Touring Car ace and six-time Bathurst 1000 winner, Larry Perkins, through Ron Chandler, the Lancia dealer and wrecker, who built a Lancia-based special of his own in the early 1950s. As a teenager, John worked at Chandler's Hawthorn dealership on the weekends, so he knew in advance through Perkins' regular visits of what he was building. John's first look at the 'Perkins Special' came in 1951, when Eddie brought the racer down to Melbourne from his home at Cowangie in Victoria's Mallee. In an impromptu test run in what was then Melbourne's semi-rural outer suburb of Templestowe, I am sure John remembers a piece of the car's custom aluminium bodywork parting company with the car and wrapping itself around Eddie's head! s a rich It was Eddie Perkins' Perkins Special built in 1950 around Lancia engine, transmission and suspension parts on a bespoke chassis so it could be rear engine.
It was rebuilt, after some racing derangements, by John Hickford who changed the engine to an Austin engine in Healey 100 spec and renamed it ‘Lancia Austin Special’. One of Hickfords other changes, which we can see in the photo, was to replace the Lancia transverse leaf spring at the rear with "coil-over-shocks" so although the engine isn't visible it must be Hickford's version of the car historLearning from past mistakes, John fitted a transverse leaf spring rear suspension this time, as per the Perkins original, while a quirky touch on the re-born Lancia Special is the fuel tank made from a genuine 1950s jerrycan! After some issues around the engine purchased specifically for this vehicle, John cannibalised his 1925 tourer for its engine and radiator to give the new Lancia Special its first competitive run at Rob Roy in August, 2011 - 53 years after his last run there! Since then, some fine-tuning has followed, along with runs at Mt. Tarrengower and this year's Historic Winton, where the car drew a LOT of attention
Some photos of Johns
Warwick Beanland purchased the car and overhauled it with father-in-law John Hickford