Jaguar MKI Racing History

01 October 2012
David McKay's famous 'Grey Pussy' Mk1 3.4 in action at Albert Park, 1958. (Image from: autopics.com.au)

David McKay's Mk1 3.4
The Jaguar Mk1 3.4 may have arrived in Australian motor sport with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer in 1958, but its immediate superiority over the stripped out, stove-hot Humpy Holdens of the era really should have come as no surprise.

Sure, it was heavier than the local heroes, but the combination of its teardrop-like aerodynamics, extremely rigid unitary body, large capacity DOHC engine, superior handling and powerful four-wheel disc brakes far outweighed any weight handicap.

The Mk1 was an immediate success in circuit racing and rallying in the UK and Europe, in the gifted hands of famous names like Mike Hawthorn, Duncan Hamilton and Sir Gawaine Baillie to name a few.

Arguably the most famous Mk 1 to race in Australia was the factory-prepared 3.4 driven by racing driver/motoring writer David McKay, affectionately known these days as the 'Grey Pussy'. It was also later raced by Ron Hodgson and Ian 'Pete' Geoghegan with considerable success.

It was this car which broke Holden's dominance of Australian touring car racing in the late 1950s, at a time when highly modified 48-215 and FJ Holdens driven by local heroes like John French and Leo Geoghegan were the cars to beat.

McKay's victory over the Humpies at Bathurst, during the big AGP meeting at Mount Panorama on the Labour Day long weekend in October 1958, sent a shockwave through the sport. For here was a basically standard British import, loaded with polished walnut and leather trim, which in one fell swoop made the hottest of hot Holdens look luke-warm by comparison.

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