|THE MINI MAG. Volume 2 No.4|
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Many of us who are fortunate enough to recall the golden era when Minis monstered the larger cars, fondly remember the exploits of Peter Manton.|
Peter Manton was an engineer prior to the war and, after being ruled unfit for combat duty, took the alternative of working at the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation.
In 1952, he decided to give up life as a planning engineer and join John Ould at Monaro Motors, the local MG dealer. As a sideline, car racing captured Manton’s interest and he took an active part in trials and hill climbs before and after the war.
He ran various cars including a Morris Minor with a supercharger and twin SUs.
Manton found a number of people interested in his twin carby setup and, as a result, took up the manufacture of this as well as other components for the enthusiasts needing upgrades for their cars.
This was virtually the beginning of the speed shop industry in Australia.
Having successfully raced a supercharged Morris Major and Sprite, Manton was offered one of the first 20 Minis in this country for evaluation.
This led to the foundation of Peter Manton Motors, a well respected supplier of parts to Mini enthusiasts.
The Mini Manton originally raced was an 850 which was taken to 1000. He then bought a 997 Cooper , the first in Australia. In 1963, he imported a 1071 Cooper S and raced it once at this capacity before upgrading it to 1275.
Although his cars were always front runners, it was not only a power advantage that he had but a combination of good preparation, handling and brakes.
He would admit to a power output of 135 bhp. The later cars ran hydrolastic suspension because he believed that they handled better.
During the years of the Neptune, Total and Shell racing teams, Manton’s cars were the yardstick other Minis were judged by.
The years rolled on and rules changed and Minis gradually became outclassed, but for those of us who saw the contests on the tracks, Peter Manton was The King.