Cornering at 1.5G
plus at Mt. Cotton Hillclimb in Brisbane, Queensland,
Australia - the local hill of the MG Car Club.
1987 through 1989
saw three friends gathering one night per week and at
least one day each weekend, to discuss, design and build
the DBF1300. The three comprised John Davies, the owner
and driver, together with Denis Backhouse and Ian Fettes.
The trio are shown from right to left in the photo below.
All three contributed in numerous ways to the final
outcome. The car's name derives from their surname
initial letters and the capacity class in which the car
factors were of primary concern to the trio, and many
hours were spent weighting the pros and cons of each
before final decisions were made.
- Use of a
readily available and strong engine;
- Light weight,
but using materials that eased repairs if damaged;
handling based around the best tyres available
and low unsprung weight;
- Minimum cost
using fabrication rather than purchase of many
Very few teething
problems occurred with the constructional aspects of the
car, and within a couple of years of its inauguration, it
became a winner. Initial problems were experienced in the
fuel delivery system, the standard carburetters not being
up to the cornering forces. With fuel injection fitted
the problems went away.
The car then
quickly gained a reputation as a giant killer, for it is
very competitive outside its class. It has been very
successful pitted against professionally built 5 litre V8
open wheel racing/hillclimb cars.
details of the car are as follows:-
||Suzuki EFE 1100, fitted with
big bore kit to yield 1265 cc. Haltech fuel
injection used with Aviation gasoline. Alternator
removed to permit free revving of engine to 12,000
rpm. Suzuki 750R cylinder head fitted and
compression ratio adjusted to 12:1 with
appropriate piston style. Crankshaft welded.
||Standard Suzuki gearbox with
||External electric starter
used with direct drive to crankshaft. Gear
reduction starter motor adapted from Toyota Dyna
||Chain drive from gearbox to
offset fabricated open differential using gear
components from Datsun 1600.
from Volkswagen Kombi, one full length, one
||Arc and gas welded space
frame chassis using normal steel tubing.
Incorporates rollover protection and strengthened
||Removable home built
fibreglass/Kevlar body, side panels and engine
built aluminium and fibreglass wings front and
rear, designed for optimum low speed behaviour.
||Rear - inboard motorcyle
discs. Front - outboard motorcycle discs. Master
cylinders adapted from Land Rover clutch
||Spun aluminium rims on
aluminium centres. Front - 13 x 8 inch. Rear - 13
x 11 inch.
||Avon slicks. Front - 13 x 7.2
inch. Rear 13 x 10 inch.
rack and pinion, one turn lock to lock.
independent with inboard rockers. Rear -
independant outboard. Non-adjustable pivots
fabricated from Delrin plastic, with Heim and
spherical joints used elsewhere. No anti-roll
gas, carefully selected for balance with spring
fabricated using Datsun 1600 bearing carrier and
centres. Front - completely fabricated.
||310 kg (684 lb) excluding
Here are a few
photos taken during construction of the car
||This is a view showing the
fabricated front hub assembly. The front mounted
brake caliper is not visible as it is on the back
side of the view.
||The driver's feet share the
footwell with the inboard spring damper units in
this view. The fabricated rack is also shown.
||In this rear view, the
fabricated differential and its carrier are seen,
together with the brakes and shortened left
In addition to a
number of successes within its class in local Club
competition, its results obtaining in major outright open
competitions have been:-
Hillclimb Championship 1992
Hillclimb Championship 1993
Hillclimb Championship 1994
Hillclimb Championship 1995
Hillclimb Championship 1995
While not the
first car to use a motorcycle engine in this way, its
success has certainly engendered a number of similarly
strongly in the home-grown approach to motor racing, and
the hill climbing sport allows freedom in design coupled
with financial economy. Professional motor racing is just
A number of innovative concepts are presently
brewing, and the next few years may see another car
emerge. Watch this space.
Despite good intentions,
John never managed to develop another car, and sadly, he passed away
in July 2012, followed in August 2013 by friend Denis.
The DBF was then taken over by Neil Lewis, who made it fully operational again
and rebuilt the engine with a different ECU yielding a better power
spread. A further change was made to modernise the tyres.
These changes allowed Neil to obtain his best time in September 2014 at the Mount Cotton Hillclimb
of 39.40 seconds, bettering John's best time of 39.50 recorded back in June 1995, some 19 years earlier!
Neil now plans to store the car for historic purposes and bring it out on special occasions.
||This photo from Steve Johns shows Neil in recent action at the Mount Cotton Hillclimb.
on 3 December 2014
© Ian D Fettes 1997, 1998, 2000