MONSTERS & MAVERICKS MALAYAN/SINGAPORE POST-WAR SPECIALS

A Ford Aquaplane Zephyr-powered Malayan Special at the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix.

Last Edited 22 December 2021

“Here, here, here’s an excellent place:

here we may see most bravely:

I’ll tell you them all by their names as they pass by”.

Troilus and Cressida: Act; Scene II.

The Malayan-built “Special” was always an integral part of the racing movement in this part of the world. Yet it is one aspect of local motoring heritage that is least understood and often neglected. Monsters & Mavericks and the Malayan Special attempts to address that void.

I have always been fascinated by the home built Special and have written about the Malayan/Singapore Special in Rewind Magazine previously [Monsters & Mavericks, Rewind Issue 007, July 2011] but that 12-page article (and subsequent offprint) barely scratched the surface of this vibrant aspect of motor sports in the Far East that surely merits a book on its own. And this is just Malaya and Singapore. Hong Kong, the Philippines and Indonesia have their fair share of Specials but nothing compared to the extent of Specials that raced in Malaysia and Singapore between 1938 and the early 1970s.

Rather that produce an unsalable 200-page book on the Malayan/Singapore Specials for which I do not have the necessary credentials to undertake, I have gone with the trendy low-attention-span-approach of simply listing the Specials that I have come across in my research on Far Eastern motor sports. Technical details and race-by-race accounts have been omitted as this is a simple listing. There may be at least another 20-30 or so entries that would count as Specials, including those created during the golden age of the Super Saloon/Silhouette (1970s-1980s).

The Golden Age of the Malayan Special – Race 1 to the 1952 Johore Grand Prix was for Cars 1,500cc and under Unsupercharged, 1,100cc and Under Supercharged over 10 laps or 20 miles 1,100 yards. On the front row L to R: Lim Peng Han in his KK Supercharged Special (Fiat 1,098cc S); Chia Eng Quee in his Airhen Special (1486cc Jowett Jupiter flat four); and Phil Caroline in his L.A.-MG XPAG Special.

WHAT IS A SPECIAL?

WHAT IS A SPECIAL? So what is the definition of a Malayan Special? I use the term Malayan to denote the cars constructed/fabricated/modified in both Malaysia and Singapore. The term Special is a bit more complicated. In our context, cars that had their front bonnets replaced (popular amongst the Austin Healey Sprite owners) are not considered Specials. An exception is made with Yong Nam Kee’s Austin Healey 100-4 BN1. This car had major front bodywork following a crash at one of the Malacca Sprints. I’ve included this car as a Malayan Special for that reason and because everyone referred to the car as Fatso’s Delight.

Freddy Johns’ Hitam Manis MG TC might had sounded like it was a Malayan Special, seeing how Johns acquired the ex-Nyan L.A. Special and renamed it Black Ghost earlier, but his Hitam Manis was a mildly tuned MG TC so does not feature in this listing. The Chan brothers MG TCs raced with wings removed and are not Malayan Specials, but Lim Peng Han’s MG TC with a whole new body is considered a Malayan Special because Lim didn’t stop at just the bodywork, he tweaked the braking system, suspension and engine as well. The Warrior Bristol is a Malayan Special – because not only was the entire front bodywork reworked locally, so was the back end, the engine, brakes, hubs and wheels while it resided in Malaya and Singapore.

Dick Willis, former owner of a Malayan Special (the Cooper Jaguar – see JUNGLE WARRIOR – The Warrior Bristol in South East Asia), is another of those Specials experts who has written extensively about the Australian Specials (Optimism – The Enthusiast’s Guide To The Great Aussie Special Racing Cars representing the Golden Age of Australian Motor Racing. 7th Edition, January 2021). Willis hit the nail on the head in the introduction to his book: “OPTIMISM because the creators of these great Aussie specials firmly believed, because of their ingenuity, they could create a better product than those available from the European factories or in many cases, at a cost more affordable to them.”

Lim Peng Han’s first Special was created circa. 1938 and road registered for family jaunts upcountry.  Its history is detailed in GENESIS & THE WINDS OF WAR.

The Lim Peng Han-built L.A. cars are all bona fide Specials. Lim was a prolific builder of Specials, his L.A.s usually commissioned by expatriates (such as Peter A. Laws, Mike Evans, Phil Caroline, etc., etc.) but on occasion, by friends and a well-off local or two (Chia Eng Quee, Lim Wong Nyan, Mobarak Ahmad, Nagle Yap, etc., etc.). The Lim Peng Han story has been written about extensively by Singapore’s motor racing gurus but a detailed study of the cars he built from 1938 till the late 1950s has never been properly undertaken and would be a monumental undertaking.

Lim Peng Han’s creations were often workmanlike, cobbled together with whatever was available in his workshop or down the Victoria Street scrap yards. His 1950 Special, for example, had a Maserati chassis, pre-war 3-litre Lagonda motor and suspension components from a variety of cars. 

How do you get from Singapore to upcountry for the Seremban Sprint in your Malayan Special in 1949? The newly-constructed Moncrieff-Kendall Kudensay MkI gets a tow from Singapore Motor Club Secretary Peter Liddell’s 1911/1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost from Moncrieff’s home on Grange Road. That this didn’t materialise was because the tow bar could not be hooked up to the vintage Rolls. In the end, SMC’s President and Senior Police Officer Paddy Darnell came to the rescue with his modern Chevrolet, “so at least the RR was saved such an indignity.”

THE MONSTERS

THE MONSTERS: The one take away from all of this is that there was a thriving culture of fabricators, machinists and fitters in Singapore and Malaysia that existed from 1938 onwards (an estimated population of Singapore at the end of 1940 was 570,217 though these figures were likely distorted following the large influx of British/Australasian troops). From the formation of the first of the regional motor clubs in 1948 [see JOY BY DESIGN] through to the mid-1950s, this fad exploded, a consequence of the annual Johore Grand Prix (1949-1953). There was a resurgence towards the end of the decade (by 1957 Singapore’s population was 1,445,929, compared it the 1947 census of 939,144.

The total population of the Peninsular had grown to 6,279,000 with urbanization constituting 1.66m). The fad soon ebbed as did the supply of pre-war scrap Fiats and Fords that lent themselves as donor cars evaporated. The popularity of production sports cars soon overwhelmed the romantic desire to build a better mousetrap (or a cheaper, locally available alternative).

A local Special with its Ford transverse front leaf springs and quarter elliptic rear springs. Peter Liddell built this Ford 10 with 1,172cc motor and a Rootes (or Marshall) supercharger. The project was put together at his home at Dalvey Road in Singapore but mothballed in March 1953 when its owner was posted Bangkok. Said to have returned to racing in the mid-1950s.

During the late 1940s and 1950s, workshops littered the outskirts of the main towns in Seremban, Kuala Lumpur, George Town and Singapore. Many were skilled at gas welding aluminium, panel work (using sand bags and black and white photographs as guides), sand casting, and white metal bearing remetalling. Engines generally came from a seemingly endless supply of pre-war 1,100cc and 1,500cc Fiat and V8 Ford units while ladder-type chassis frames were obtained from discarded (not always) Fiat and MGs.

Owners with resources often simply lightened existing production cars such as the MG TC and modified MG’s XPAG motor to produce 70+ BHP through supercharging and the occasional dosage of witches’ brew. It worked (the MG T-type run, not the brew) for the first two years of the post-war Grand Prix in Johore! The brave ones who went for the glory of Grand Prix victory chose the grunt offered by Fords ubiquitous pre-war V8 but they usually had some form of engineering or mechanical background before committing to the school of high displacement, though there was never an instance that a V8 Special won a post-war Grand Prix in Malaya or Singapore. In fact, Jaguar XK120 aside, it was usually a highly tuned MG, Cooper JAP, two-stroke Auto Union, Lola Mk1 Climax or Lotus 23 that stole the show (between 1949 and 1963) in Johore.

THE MAVERICKS

THE MAVERICKS: But it was the enthusiasts that really drove the sport as a whole. Many of those who raced were from the trade, working for auto distributors such as Borneo Motors, Wearne Brothers and its subsidiaries and associates, Champion Motors, Federated Motor Garage etc. This was in evidence from the very early days of motoring in the region but once the sport of reliability trials to prove the superiority of one’s vehicle had waned, it was time for the real enthusiasts to modify/construct their own Specials for the hill climbs and sprints that followed.

Men such as Neville George Reddish, Geoffrey Richard Maund and Oliver Billingham-Smith of Borneo Motors, Alfred Giles Faber, Eugene John Parsick Joaquim and Charles Vernon Crowther-Smith of Federal Motor Garage, were all active in the sport, and many utilised their positions in the trade to construct Specials or modify their own cars for racing before the war. At the other end of the spectrum was Lim Peng Han. Lim operated his own Lim Automobiles, a garage like no other in the region. Lim is credited as father of the Malayan Special and it was through the doors of his Veerasamy Road/Hamilton Road/Penhas Road workshops that his famous Specials (and commissioned race cars) emerged before WWII [see THE GHOST OF MALCOLM ROAD as well as GENESIS & THE WINDS OF WAR].

Post war, the complexion of the sport had changed dramatically once the Automobile Association of Malaya and its constituent branches handed control of motor sports events to the regional/national clubs such as the Singapore Motor Club, Selangor Motor Sports Club/Malayan Motor Sports Club, Perak Motor Club etc. And just like before the war, it was the enthusiasts in the automobile trade that spearheaded the growth of the sport and continued building Specials.

An early Lim Motor Garage advert dating from 1949.

An artist’s rendering of Lim Peng Han’s badge as found on his Kieft Mk1A-Lim Special.

From Lim’s garage came Chia Eng Quee. Chia joined Land Rover, Rover, VW and Jowett distributors Champion Motors after the war. His initial foray was with one of Lim Peng Han’s Fiat-engine L.A. Specials. As his confidence grew, he created an attractive looking Special that was referred to as the Airhen Special – powered first by a Jowett Javelin motor (1,486cc alloy block flat four) then later on by a Jowett Jupiter motor.

The Eng Quee Special followed soon after, another attractive special but cobbled together with a VW front end, Land Rover motor and a smartly executed body. Chia and Lim soon spawned others like Tan Ah Bee and Chew Chek Leun, Tan from the school of Lim, went on to turn Dr Freddy Marshall’s Ford Zephyr Sports into the Zephyr Special (road registered SR7339), and then the Ah Bee Special. Chew, a construction engineer who owned Ban Sing Engineering, created his Ban Sing Specials. There were others of course (all featured below) – Freddy Pope, who had his own workshop business; Stephen Seow of Cycle & Carriage, a motor engineer who created his MG TC engined S.S. Special; Yap Swee Kit (S.K. Yap) who took a Singer tourer and fashioned his SM Special, etc. etc.

That motor trader element never waned – Borneo Motors’ Fitzroy William Newman and Edgar L.G. Bailey continued the tradition established before the war, Newman often seen in his Allard-Ardun Special while Bailey, a Service Manager at the Company’s Oldham Street office, conceived the idea of turning an Austin A40 Somerset into a Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica Special with the help of his in-house panel beater Low Cup Kee. The car carried Malaysian road registration (Bailey had been posted to Kuala Lumpur in 1953). Finally, there was Australian Bill Wyllie, a Wearnes employee stationed in Malaya. Wyllie obtained a Buckler DD2 chassis from Derek Buckler, installed a Triumph TR motor into the spaceframe, purchased a Microplas fibreglass Mistral body for it and raced his Wyllie Special to great success in the region. The story of that special was written up in BAMBOO & BUCKLER.

END OF THE BEGINNING

By the early 1960s, the fad had begun to die off as attractively priced production sports cars made their appearance in the region. There was no turning back now but one or persisted – the Ban Sing MkII, with 3.4-litre Jaguar motor, continued to made its appearance, as did Eric Cooper’s evolving Austin Healey Sprite (three suits in a lifetime of racing!). The Warrior Bristol, now known as the Cooper Jaguar, must be counted as a Malayan Special because its form had changed dramatically in the hands of James Watkins and Eric Cooper and when it last raced in the Sports & GT class for the 1971 Singapore Grand Prix, it was perhaps one of the last remaining Malayan Special on the race track that weekend.

While international motor racing evolved, local expertise simply didn’t have the capacity to keep pace with the science of racing car design and development in a country that was grappling with how to eradicate the last vestiges of colonial domination and rule. Barely a decade after racing had been banned in Singapore, the cottage industry of specialists had all but disappeared. While one country slowly slipped towards a dark age of motoring, its neighbour blossomed, once the permanent circuit at Batu Tiga opened its gates in 1967.

This listing is not meant to glorify the past but simply to highlight the rise and fall of what was once a flourishing subset of motor sports history – The Malayan Special.

I have omitted the Specials that raced pre-WWII as this is a separate article presently being tidied up for publication. However, should you wish to know a bit more about the pre-war Specials in Malaya, see the following articles that feature some of the cars: GENESIS & THE WINDS OF WAR as well as THE LOST CREAM CRACKER and THE GHOST OF MALCOLM ROAD.

This compilation has been a very slow work in progress for several decades. The listing is in alphabetical order except when the vehicle ownership/name has been changed. For example, the Lim/L.A. Specials are grouped together as not all of the cars bore the L.A. moniker. Many do not have a photograph associated with the entry and some entries require further research.

CODEX MALAYSIANA

Alvis Speed 20 SB “Zagato” Special (coachbuilt in Singapore in 1973). Henry Stonor. Period raced: 1950s until circa 1978.

Allard-Ardun Ford V8 Special (3,622cc) – Fitzroy William Newman. Period raced: 1954-1956

Fatso’s Delight Austin Healey 100-4 BN1 – Yong Nam Kee.

Period raced: July 1954 (first owner Peter Carey-Rees) to circa. October 1961 (Yong Nam Kee). Modified with Ferrari-style nose for Yong following accident at Malacca Speed Trial 12 April 1959.

Austin Seven Brooklands Super Sport Gordon England Special – Fitzroy William Newman.

Period raced: 1938-1949

Austin A40 GS2 Special – built by Edgar L.G. Bailey.

Period raced: From 1953 onwards

Photo from Klang Hill Climb, mid-1950s

Bamboo/B.B. Special – Bill Wyllie/Yap Ah Shong/Andrew Heng.

Period raced: October 1959-July 1961

[see BAMBOO & BUCKLER]

Ban Sing Special Mk I Simca 1,220cc – Chew Chek Leun.

Period raced: 1959 onwards

The Ban Sing Special at the 1962 Malaysia Grand Prix in Singapore.

Ban Sing Special MkII Jaguar 3.4 litre – Chew Chek Leun/Tan Ah Bee.

Period raced: 1964 onwards [see Zephyr Special – possibly the evolution of the Zephyr Special into the Ban Sing Special MkII.

Bentley Derby 4.25 litre/3.5 litre chassis (1936) Special – John Charles Whitehead/Henry Stonor. [Mulliner Chassis B-30-GA, Engine W9BK. Reg CXD383 in UK then JB894 in Malaya]

Period raced: 1961-1963

Rebodied to open tourer with Lim Peng Han’s Maserati 4CS wings by John Whitehead.

Bentley 3/ 4.5 litre – body built by Chia Eng Quee. Paul J. Gibbs Pancheri.

Period raced: 1950- circa. 1961

Black Draught MkI – Cyril Oswald ‘Mick’ Jennings.

Period raced: July 1949 onwards

Black Draught MkII – Cyril Oswald ‘Mick’ Jennings.

Period raced: August 1951 onwards

Black Draught MkIII – Cyril Oswald ‘Mick’ Jennings.

Period raced: 1953 onwards

Buick Special [L.S.3 Buick Special – Peter A. Laws].

Period raced: 1952

Possibly built for Peter Laws by Lim Peng Han’s chief mechanic Lee Chong Tuck in early 1952.

Eric Cooper Special (Austin Healey Mk1 Sprite, pictured behind Bruce MacRae-Smith’s Big Healey) – Eric Cooper. It certainly looked like it had the streamlined front-hinged aluminium kit offered by Speedwell Performance Conversions in 1959 (and priced at £69). By the 1980s, this car had had three different bodies.

Period raced: 1960-1980s

Deena Mk I (1,490cc unknown origin) – Heng Sze Kiat. First registered November 1961.

Period raced: 1962-1963

Dysken Special – Dr Bill Dyson/Paddy Kenny/Ron Armstrong (later on, Ferrari body installed by Ron Armstrong).

Period raced: 1956-1959 (possibly even earlier, but not owned by Dyson/Kenny).

Photo shows Ron Armstrong in the Dysken Special, 1956 Seremban Sprint.

Emmgee /Jayarr Special – John Reed/Tan Ah Bee. Period raced: 1958-1959

Eng Quee Airhen Jowett Javelin/Jupiter Special – Owned by Champion Motors’ H.M. Brown (and raced by both Chia and Browne earlier as a standard Jowett Javelin), built by Chia Eng Quee with Fiat underpinnings and a tuned Jowett Javelin motor (initially).

Period raced: August 1951 onwards

What looks like Chia Eng Quee’s Airhen Special is actually S.K. Yap in Ted Holloway’s 1500cc Special (road registered SR8359) at the 1960 Johore Coronation Grand Prix. Chia had long since abandoned the Airhen for his Land Rover/VW/Fiat Eng Quee Specials.
Chia Eng Quee poses in his Airhen Special in the early 1950s.

Eng Quee 1,997cc Land Rover Special – Chia Eng Quee’s Rover-engine Special at the Gap Hill Climb in Singapore, April 1956.

Period raced: February 1956 onwards. Chia was workshop foreman for Champion Motors, Jowett, Land Rover and VW distributors in Singapore. This car had VW front suspension, front wheels and brakes.

Chia Eng Quee’s Rover-engine Special at the Gap Hill Climb in Singapore, April 1956.
The cockpit of the Eng Quee Special in April 1956.
First issue of the Singapore Motor Club Gazette (Oct. 1958) shows the Eng Quee Special at the 1958 Dover Kilo.
The #10 Eng Quee Special, 1962 Malaysia Grand Prix (Singapore).

Fiat Special – Giam Moh. Period raced:  1958-1959

Franbar Fiat 1,098cc Special – Francis Baruch. Period raced: 1958-1960

Fribus Riley 2.5-litre Special – Francis Jan Bussell.

Period raced: 1959-1969

FP23/Fiat Taxicab Special – C.F. Pope.

Period raced: 1949-1961

Ford Special 1172cc (linered down to 1100cc) – Peter Liddell. Eventually referred to as the H.T. Special – shared between R.S. Howard and Alan Tydeman. Period raced: 1952-1957

Source: Autosport 22 September 1953, pg. 344 & 356

Ford V8 Special 3,600cc – Peter E. Woodworth.

Period Raced: 1964

Zephyr Sports Special 2,553cc – Dr Freddy C.B. Marshall’s Ford Zephyr’s Aquaplane engine and gearbox was sold to Tan Ah Bee following the 1960 Johore Grand Prix . Marshall died 17 July 1962 in Singapore, aged 53. Tan used the Zephyr’s 2,553cc 6-cylinder motor and gearbox (with overdrive) to create his Ah Bee Special (also known as the Zephyr Sports/Ford Special).

Period raced: 1961-onwards.

Fiat D.B.M./Flying Susah (Fiat 1,098cc) – Donald MacIver/Mark G. Spragge/Bruce MacRae-Smith. Period raced: 1954-1956

Hayward Special – Sgt. William Hayward. [unknown engine – initially Ford 3,917cc, then 1,10cc. Period raced: 1950-1952

Holloway V8 Special – January 1949 – Ted Holloway. Basis of the Kudensay MkI. Period raced: January 1949

Holloway Riley 12/4 Dragster (1,496cc) – Ted Holloway/Peter Liddell.

Period raced: 1960

Holloway Special 1.5-litre Supercarged – Ted Holloway/S.K. Yap.

Period raced: 1960.

Jaguar Tourer Special – Freddy A. Johns.

Freddy Johns’ [b. 1921] wife Gladys entered a 2,512cc Jaguar Special (a 1936 or 1937 Jaguar Tourer, race number #36, road registration A2584) for her husband to race in the 1950 Johore Grand Prix. Sadly, Johns “turned turtle” on lap 15 of 20 as he came by Jail Corner. Johns was taken to the Johore General Hospital for minor injuries.

Period raced: 1950

Jaguar XK20 Monoposto Special – Brain Hawes then Freddie Pope (retained monoposto body).

Period raced: 1951-1952

Kudensay Mk I 3917cc Ford V8 – Neil Moncrieff/Roy Kendall.

From Ted Holloway’s 1949 V8 Special. Holloway competed in the car minus body in January 1949. The car had a tubular frame, Fiat 1100 front suspension, Ford rear end with quarter elliptic springs. The motor was a Ford V8, from a truck. Transmission was three speed, the gear lever beneath steering wheel.

Period raced: 1949-August 1950

Kudensay Mk II – Neil Moncrieff/Roy Kendall.

Period raced: 1951-1952

Malayan Airways Pilot Brian Hawes bought the Kudensay MkII from Neil Moncrieff and Roy Kendall in February 1952. Hawes perished when he crashed the car at the Gap Hill Climb on 11 May 1952.

L.A. Special Ford V8 3,917cc – Lim Peng Han’s first post-war car.

Period raced: 1949

L.A.- MG -Bugatti Special (MG T-Type chassis) – Lim Peng Han.

Period raced: 1929-1963 [the Type 37 Bugatti was rebuilt by Lim in 1959]

L.A. Special (Fiat pre-war S6 OHV 1493cc) – Yip Peng Yin.

Period raced: 1950

L.A.-MG Special (#44) – MG TC XPAG – Phil Caroline.

Period raced: 1952

Photo shows #68 – Kok Kum Woh’s old K&K Fiat 1,098cc Special in front of Phil Caroline’s L.A.-MG., Race 1 for Cars 1,500cc and Under, 1952 Johore Grand Prix.

L.A. Special – Fiat for Peter A. Laws.

Period raced: 1949

L.A.-MG Special – Lim Peng Han. Registered SC4833 and listed with 1464cc engine

Period raced: 1952-1956

Possibly MG Lester PB rebodied and with XPAG engine.

MG Lester PB – Lim Peng Han. [No details on the Lester MG]. See above.

Nyan L.A. Special 3,917cc Ford V8 (also known as Lim-Allard Special with Allard-Ardun OHV conversion) – built by Lim Peng Han for Lim Wong Nyan. This L.A. Special became the Black Ghost [October 1952, Freddy A. Johns]

Period raced: 1950-October 1952

Nyan L.A. Special 3917cc Ford V8 – ASP Mobarak Ahmad (shred with Lim Wong Nyan).

Black Ghost – See Nyan Special. Note four-branch exhaust headers, a trait of the Ardun OHV conversion, eliminating the siamesed middle ports with four equally spaced ports.

Kieft Mk1A – Saw Kim Thiat/Ian Jansz/Lim Peng Han.
Period raced: 1953
Lim Special – Lim Peng Han.
Period raced: April 1953-November 1964
T.T.B. Triumph Thunderbolt Special (built by Lim Peng Han) for Nagle Yap. Eventually to Teddy Wong in Kuala Lumpur.
Period raced: 1954 onwards
Nagle Yap in the T.T.B. Triumph Thunderbolt Special.

Teddy Wong in the ex-Nagle Yap T.T.B. Special.

DelRep L.A. Special 3,917cc (also referred to as the Del/Rep and Delcrept Special) – Peter A. Laws.

Period raced: 1950-1952.

Photo: Peter Laws in his Delrep L.A. Special at the Lim Chu Kang half-mile and flying quarter mile sprint in February 1951. Laws set FTD.

Source: Straits Times 19 February 1951, pg 5.

Lincoln V12 L.A. Special – ASP Mobarak Ahmed [built by Lim Peng Han for Mobarak Ahmad].

Period raced: 1955

ASP Mobarak Ahmad in the Lim Peng Han-built Lincoln V12 Special at the Lornie Kilo in Kuala Lumpur. The building in the background, beyond Klang River is Bangunan Pejabat Jabatan Warisan Negara (National Heritage Department Building).

Lim-Dawood 3,917cc V8 Special – Shaik Alaudin Dawood. Built by Lim Peng Han for Dawood. This car had the Allard-Ardun OHV conversion. Period raced: 1952. [Also referred to as the L.D. Special]

L.A.-MG Special – Peter Laws. Period raced: 1950

L.A. MG Special – Chia Eng Quee. Raced by Paul Gibbs Pancheri & Peter Laws. Period raced: 1950

L.A. Fiat 1,493cc Special – Mobarak Ahmad. Period raced: 1949

L.A. Special Fiat OHV 1098cc (Supercharged) – Raced by Chia Eng Quee & Lim Peng Han (April 1950). Period raced: 1950

Maserati 4CS DeSoto Special – Lim Peng Han/Ted Holloway. Edward ‘Ted’ Holloway bought Maserati 4CS chassis 1126 from Lim Peng Han san engine and body. He fitted it with a supercharged DeSoto Hemi V8 motor. Holloway then obtained the Maserati motor from Lim and restoration commenced, but never completed. Ft.-Lt Ken Painter found an article the Maserati (chassis 1126) in a back issue of a local club magazine. With a bit of detective work he found the owner. Painter finally obtained the car and restored it to its original pre-war state. Period raced: 1952 onwards.

L.A. Special for Lim Peng Han (1950 Johore Grand Prix) – Lagonda 3-litre engine (unknown vintage), Maserati 4CS chassis (ex-Wong Chek Quee), and aluminium body fabricated at Lim’s Penhas Road workshop. Period raced: 1950

L.A. Fiat Special – Mike Evans. Fiat 1,098cc taxi with a light aluminium body built by Lim Peng Han hotelier, Lim Wong Nyan. Evans later sold the car to Malayan Airways pilot Brian Hawes. Period raced: 1950-1952

Lea-Francis 1,767cc Special [late Fiat powered] – Mark G. Spragge.

Period raced: 1955-1959

Lola Mk1 RAF Special – Lord Angus Clydesdale. Rebuilt following 1963 Malaysia Grand Prix (Singapore) accident.

Period raced: 1963-1965

Lotus 15-Ferrari [Ferratus] – Stanley Leong/Rodney Seow.

Period raced: 1961-1964

J.D. Special (Dollin Special)– Cpl. ‘Fred’ Frederick Joseph Dollin (1,493cc Fiat S6 OHV pre-war motor). Period raced: 1950

J.D. Special (Ford Mercury) – also referred to as Junk and Dump Special. Jimmy Milne/Dennis Humphriss/Gordon Arthur Linney.

Period raced: 1949-1952

K.K. Fiat (1098cc) Special – John Keene & S.R. Knight (Kight pictured with Lim Peng Han). Modified and supercharged by Lim Peng Han.

Period raced: 1951-1954

Continued as Tiger Special, raced by Rajasingam Chellathurai/Francis Baruch.

Period raced: 1954

K & K Fiat 1,490cc Special – Kok Kum Woh/Khoo Yeow Khim.

Period raced: 1949-1953

68 Sports Racing Special – Colin D. Williams. Fiat chassis/engine.

Period raced: 1953-1956

MG TC Special (SB4315) – Saw Kim Thiat.

Period raced: 1951 onwards

MG TC Special (SB4315) – Saw Kim Thiat.
MG TC Special (SB4315) – Saw Kim Thiat.

Rover Special – Robert Lee.

Period raced: 1960-62

Horlicks advert in the Straits Times of 20 April 1962 (Grand Prix Supplement)

showing the Robert Lee Special in action in the 1961 Singapore Grand Prix.

Riley 2½-litre Special (#61) – Chew Chek Leun.

Period raced: 1961

Rojak Special – R.M. Rogers. Period raced: 1955-1956

S.L. Ferrari – Stanley Leong. MGA chassis, 1,985cc Ferrari engine. Body built by brothers Tan Ah Bee and Tan Ah Hoong for Stanley Leong.

Period raced: 1960

Silver Arrow I – Wong Loong Cheong. Photo shows the Silver Arrow Mk1 on the left, start of 1950 Johore Grand Prix support race.

Period raced: August 1949-1951

The Silver Arrow MkI on the left, start of 1950 Johore Grand Prix support race.
Period raced: August 1949-1951
The Silver Arrow MkI at a speed event in Singapore.

Silver Arrow II – Wong Loong Cheong.

Period raced: 1950-52

Silver Arrow III – Wong Loong Cheong.

Period raced: Unknown

SS100 Tourer Special (2.5 litre) – Fl.Lt. Paul Miller. RAF Changi – Flight Lt Paul Miller, Flying Officer Bruce Handyside and Medical Officer Flight Lt David Brewin restored it for the 1971 Singapore Grand Prix to be driven by Miller.

Period raced: 1971-1972

Singer SM Special (SM 1500, road registered SB6049) – Yap Swee Kit.

Period raced: 1954-1956

S.S. Special (MG TC) – Stephen Seow.

Period raced: 1960.

Turner Climax Special – Capt. Leslie F. Howell/Eric Cooper.

Period raced: 1961-1964

The car (Singapore road registration SU4132) was rebodied locally following the sale by Eric Cooper in 1964.

Three Bits Special – Teddy Wong. Period raced: April 1951

Junk de Luxe Special – Teddy Wong. Period raced: 1952

Wong Special – Teddy Wong. Period raced: May 1953                                                                    

Teng Special – 3,917cc V8 – Norman Chow Ah Teng (1949). Period raced: October 1949

TT Special – 1,496cc Fiat – Norman Chow Ah Teng (1952). Period Raced: 1952

Tifor 1,172cc Ford Special – Superintendent Thomas ‘Tim’ Blair (ASP in Malaya, later Perak Chief Police Administrative Officer 1963). Period raced: 1960-1961

Warrior Bristol/Cooper Jaguar – Bernard Arnold.

Period raced: 1956-1971 (in Asia)

[see JUNGLE WARRIOR]

Wyllie Buckler DD2 Triumph TR3 Special – Bill Wyllie.

Period raced: May 1958-April 1960 [see BAMBOO & BUCKLER]

Compiled by Eli Solomon, Rewind Resource Center, December 2021

To contact the writer email: Eli@rewind-media.com

REFERENCES

Willis, Dick. Optimism – The Enthusiast’s Guide To The Great Aussie Special Racing Cars representing the Golden Age of Australian Motor Racing. 7th Edition, January 2021).

Brown, Les. Special Obsessions – A History of British Specials 1947-1961. Vol. 1. Kirkdale Press (2017).

Pritchard, Anthony. Specialist British Sports/Racing Cars of the Fifties & Sixties. Osprey (1986).

Solomon, Eli. Lost Circuits – Motor Racing Tales From The Far East. Unpublished.

BAMBOO & BUCKLER

JUNGLE WARRIOR – The Warrior Bristol in South East Asia

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