The Nota Files

This is a transcript of an article by Chris Buckingham destined for the April 2007 edition of the Clubman Drivers Club of Australia Inc. newsletter.


Engine option for Nota FI

Just before we get started on the book launch, here is news that we are offering the Nota FI with the new Toyota Aurion engine in either natural aspiration [205kw] and later in the year with the supercharged engine [265kw].

We have also increased the ground effects on the FI by redesigning the rear venturi.



"The NOTA Files" Book Launch.

“The Nota Files”  a book written by Rod Moore and Bruce Bloodworth and published by Paul Manson Books.

The initial launch was at Singleton Library on Wednesday 22nd November 2006, primarily for the people involved in the writing and the production of the book.

Nota Consul and Nota Le Mans at the Singleton Library front doorRod and Bruce asked me to come along and bring the Nota Le Mans. There it took pride of place in the front of the Singleton Library along with Rod Moore’s Nota Consul, two fine examples of our cars relating to over 50 years of Nota’s production, the Nota Consul being produced in 1956 and the Nota Le Mans one of our current cars. There, wine and nibbles were served along with various speeches by Rod, Bruce and the Publisher. I was also asked to say a few words.

Front view of Nota Le MansWhilst there I was introduced to the Dealer Principle, Evan Teasdale of Teasdale Mazda, who wanted to talk to me about the Le Mans and particularly what engine we were going to use in it. He said he had a Turbo charged 2.3 Mazda outside and would I like to go for a run in it. What a magic engine, 85% of its torque is on tap from 2000rpm and it achieves 190kws at 5,500rpm [without even turning the wick up]. It goes like a blur in the Mazda MPS which weighs 1415kgs. Imagine Rear view of Nota Le Manswhat it would be like in the Le Mans which weighs just 560kgs. Looking at that scenario, if you put the 2.3 Mazda Turbo into the Le Mans it would end up with a power to weight ratio of 2.9kg/kw, that’s better than the supercharged Arial Atom at 3.3kg/kw, or the Lamborghini Murcielago V12 at 3.6kg/kw or the Lotus Exige [Super charged] at 5.7kg/kw. The Le Mans has around double the power to weight of the Lotus and our Le Mans, with all new components, has a turn key cost of less than half of the Lotus.

Further to this we have changed the rear venturi and exhaust exit to improve under floor ground effects. Also the front splitters have been removed and the nose redesigned for better air flow and down force, with an across the car wing mounted on stanchions ala Nota FI.

The second stage of the launch was at Eastern Creek’s Tasman Historic Meeting in the Paul Manson marquee. Again I was asked to bring along my Nota Le Mans as part of the promotional display for the book’s sale release. A lot of signing transpired, most of the people who bought the book wanted me to sign it. Also a lot of interest was shown in the Le Mans which I thought was pretty good considering how many other interesting cars there were there.

From racing cars such as a Formula 1 Ferrari, The Beartrice Lola, Thierry Boutsen’s Honda, Jackie Stewart's Matra, the Dawson Damer F1 Lotus, F1 Brabhams and sports cars like a Ferrari 206 Dino, the SR3 and SR4 Matichs, a Carrera 6 Porsche, an early front engined Lola as well as one of their GT sports cars. The Nota had good company indeed.

206 Dino Ferrari
206 Dino Ferrari

F1 Ferrari now owned by the boss of Transfield
F1 Ferrari now owned by the boss of Transfield

Beatrice F1 Lola - ex Alan Jones car Beatrice F1 Lola
ex Alan Jones car

Lola showing how engine & gearbox support the suspension
Lola showing how the engine & gearbox support the suspension as the tub finishes at the firewall

Lola Le Mans car Lola Le Mans car

SR3 Matich SR3 Matich

F1 Matra
ex Jackie Stewart

Yardley McLaren F1

Rare Porsche Carrera 6

Aside from the cars on display there was some spirited racing. The Tasman Revival race had John Smith in the Dawson Damer Gold Leaf Lotus 49 leading away from the start followed by Spencer Martin in the Alpha V8 engined Brabham then Phill Harris in a BT23C, Ken Bedggood in a BT16 and 20 or so more making it a pretty good race, not to mention a good photo opportunity with around 30 historic Tasman cars all assembled together in one race; perhaps our own version of the Goodwood Revival. Sorry, I just couldn’t get into a position to get a picture of the whole field together.


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Review of “The NOTA Files” by Rod Moore and Bruce Bloodworth.

Reviewed by Chris Buckingham

I have been asked by the Hon. Editor of the Clubman Drivers Club newsletter to review the book on Nota which is rather hard as I’ve been a little humbled by someone wanting to write a book about my company, my family and myself. So I’m going to do it in a little different manner, starting with a brief summary, it’s a dam good read too, I strongly recommend it.

The book starts by looking at my father’s early years in the RAF where because of his clock and watch making and being a member of the Royal Horological Society, the RAF decided to train him as an aircraft engineer. This put him in good stead for his racing car designs of later years which almost started as soon as he left the Air Force.

Rod relays how in 1952 a team of Guy’s cars contested the Silverstone 6 hour against the likes of Jaguar, Aston Martin, Healey, Lotus and many more, Guy’s team won it.

By 1955 Guy had moved to Australia and started to build cars here, utilizing the aircraft engineering principles he had learned in the RAF. He was probably one of the first to build multi tubular space frames and put these concepts into Clubman sports cars and Monoposto racing cars. These Clubmans Nota are still producing today; 50 years of production, 7 Clubman Championships, 40 complete clubman cars have been produced and many more have been made in component form.

Nota built Australia’s first Formula Junior and followed it up with the first mid-engined FJ as well, then went on to build the mid-engined Nota Formula IIIs and Formula Fords. Nota also built many purpose built single seaters such as Barrie Garner’s and Ralf Sache’s Hillclimb Championship winning Notas.

Then there were the Notaphiles, the characters that either owned, drove, or worked on the Notas. The Howard Pyrotechnic Company’s family was one; they owned and raced all manner of Notas. Sid in his Blown MG engined Nota earned the nickname of Sideways Sid as he used to pass the other cars going side ways into the corners, arguing that not only did that slow the car down quicker but it also set him up better for exiting the corners. [They were the Company that did the fire works in Sydney Harbour for our Bi Centenary.]

Streamliners have a chapter devoted to them and the book discuses not only the pure Notas but the hybrids as well, with Nota making chassis and mechanicals for JWFs, Milanos and Prados as well as making chassis/mechanical packages for the KMs of Spencer Martin and others.

When the Americans embraced Formula Vee as an entry level formula Geoff Sykes of the AARC and Guy discussed its introduction to Australia and the AARC commissioned Nota to build them 3 Formula Vees to get the ball rolling. Peter Finlay, John Smith and Jason Bargwana all contesting in Formula Vees made by Nota.

Aside from the information on Nota’s early years, Rod talks about the days after Guy, about my exploits, my penchant for design and aerodynamics, initially when Guy was still here then later when he left .

Rod discusses initially my involvement in the low line Clubmans then the Formula III and Formula Fords and in some ways their sister car, the similar mechanicaled Nota Chimera. Unfortunately the Chimera was still birthed as Guy felt it was going to be too expensive, he then traded the prototype for a Rover - upsetting stuff!

Next Rod talks about the Fang and what I wanted it to be and how Guy talked me into a different form of the car saying it had to be more affordable and changed the mechanicals from the Cooper S engine and gearbox with Spitfire uprights and discs on Nota wishbones. What Guy felt was that the car should have a more affordable Morris 1100 engine/gearbox and a Hillman Imp front suspension. It was still a good car, but not as good as it could be, fortunately most of our customers agreed with me and the disc braked and Cooper S mechanicals format Fangs ended up being the most popular.

When Guy left, it wasn’t easy. Almost straight away the Parramatta Council decided that they wanted Nota out of the Smith St workshop which we’d been in for nearly 20 years. The National Trust came to the rescue and said Nota didn’t have to leave as there was a preservation order on the premises. All to no avail, Michael Martin and I were in the workshop one morning and heard terrible crashing, out side the bulldozers were starting to knock down the building with us in it. We managed to stop them for a while saving most of our cars, components and equipment but some things were lost, like those smaller bits in the back pigeon holes. Bloody Councils!

We moved to Blacktown; enter Sunnyholt Rd the new Nota home. Production of Fangs continued including the TS and TSS and their use in production car racing much to the annoyance of the Porsche, Pantera and the expensive car set who didn’t like the little 1300cc Fang, as it nearly always won the 1300cc class and picked up some out right points as well and ended up leading the point score half way through the season. CAMS, due to pressure from “the big end of town”, decided to drop the 1300cc points and just run an under 2000cc class.

All was not well on another front as well; Leyland was closing up. Blacktown was the birth place of the Nota Marauder, initially with Cooper S engines and Lancia Engines, but Leyland and Lancia could no longer supply engines and componentry. Nota looked like getting over this by using common componentry from Nota Formula 5000 bits for the Marauder. Unfortunately it didn’t come to fruition when both the V8 P76 engine, which was initially chosen, was withdrawn and then Ford decided to drop its V8 range. After the Cooper S, Lancia, P76 and finally the Ford engines all were withdrawn from the market, Nota decided to take another path and sold the Blacktown workshop and moved operations to Dural.

Chris went to England and worked for Teal Engineering, Lotus and Aston Martin then came back to Australia and started the Nota FI project, assembling a team of aircraft and engineering personnel to get it all together and what a car it is. A V6 engine in a light weight mid-engined sports car, embracing the minimalist concepts of the Clubman cars was a worthy successor to the Fang and to some degree the Clubman although both are still available as well.

Nota have introduced the Le Mans, initially built for 2C Super Sports racing. The car caused such interest in the workshop from people wanting one for the road, so much so that a road going version was made as well. The first prototype was made with a Suzuki GTi engine then a 560kg road version was fitted with either a Toyota Celica or a Honda Integra engine and now the Le Mans is available with a 2.3 Turbo Mazda engine. The V6 Chimera is still on the drawing board with the Aurion engine.

Rod goes on to discuss the proceedings at Nota’s 50th, what Guy and Chris are doing today as well as looking at some of our build sheet and an insight into the early Formula Junior records.

I hope this has given you a little insight into the book but it is really best if you read it in its entirety, a summary can hardly do it justice. It’s a really good read, it talks about a Company which is part of Australia’s Racing History. You’ll have to excuse me if I’m a little biased though.

The book can be obtained from Rod Moore, or Paul Manson Books or I have a few copies.

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