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Simplicity the key to success

Former staffer Steve Cropley briefly returns to Australia after nine years away and takes a Commodore road trip

Simplicity the key to success

Phil Irving summed up his engineering philosophy in Australian Motor Sports & Automobiles (June 1967): “In my view, blind worship at the shrine of the super complicated is a thing to be eschewed with vigour – the simpler a thing can be made, provided it gets results, the better.”

In defending his simple Repco-Brabham V8 against engines like BRM’s hugely complicated H16 and the heavy Maserati and Ferrari V12 engines, the ever pragmatic Irving argued that a broad spread of torque was more important than top-end power.

Before the new three-litre formula arrived in 1966, the pundits had talked about the need for at least 350bhp. Phil called this “printer’s ink” power and made the point that Brabham still scored three pole positions on his way to winning four of the ’66 season’s nine races, en route to clinching the world championship and manufacturers’ title.

To honour Irving’s “great achievements”, CAMS named its highest engineering award the Phil Irving Award.

Irving died in 1992 at the age of 89.

ALSO IN WHEELS, February 1974

As the oil crisis bites, Robbo visits Europe and finds major cities carless on Sundays; Ford Falcon 500, Holden Premier, Audi 100, Mercedes 450 SEL, BMW 2002 Cabriolet, Fiat 124 Sport and Lamborghini Urraco tested; Steve Cropley gets the inside story on the planned Aussie Ilinga sports coupe; Turbines investigated; Small cars compared – VW Beetle, Subaru 4DL, Renault 12 and Mitsubishi Galant; Leyland P76 styling analysed

WheelsMag.com.au/classic READ THIS STORY AND HEAPS MORE CLASSICS AT

THE WAY IT WAS 7 ’ 4

Primed for success

John Howard, a 34-year-old Sydney solicitor, is elected to federal parliament. He would go on to be Australia’s second longest-serving Prime Minister (1996-2007).

Chew on that

The humble barcode (or UPC, for Universal Product Code) is used for the first time, on a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum. Its commercial debut takes place at Marsh’s Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, near the factory producing the scanning equipment.

Ready to rumble

Muhammad Ali regains his world heavyweight crown in the most famous fight in history – the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire – knocking out undefeated George Foreman.