With great sadness we bring the news of Guy Buckingham’s passing this week. His son Chris has put together a lovely story about his role in the history of motorsport and his achievements with Nota, so read on, and thank you Guy for all that you’ve done for the community and sport.
We will follow this story up with an extensive reflection on Guy’s achievements in the near future, also to appear in The Oily Rag.
My father Guy Buckingham passed away yesterday after a brief illness. A number of his friends, Nota owners and business associates suggested I write a brief description of his involvement with motor racing.
Guy was born in 1921 in England. During the second World War he spent time with the RAF, where he was involved with their aeronautical engineering.
On leaving Guy utilised those skills in building light weight sports racing cars. In 1952 a team of his cars won the 6 hour race at Silverstone against the likes of Jaguar, Healey, Aston Martin, etc.
In 1955 he came to Australia and set up Nota Engineering using those aircraft skills to build sports and monoposto racing cars. Building these cars from the former Ice Works behind David Jones at Parramatta. From there he and Michael Martin introduced tubular steel space framed car with lightweight aluminium cladding.
Initially they were Clubman-style cars but when Guy employed Jack Wiffen, a former Rolls Royce craftsman, Nota started to build a number of alloy Streamliner cars which Guy very successfully drove. Along with the KM200 Notas in the hands of drivers like Spencer Martin. These cars are still being used today in historic racing with drivers such as Bruce Richardson racing them.
Another venue Notas did very well in was with hill climb cars, winning the NSW Hill Climb Championship on a number of occasions with people like Barry Garner and Ralph Sach.
Nota then decided Formula Junior racing cars were the way to go and built the first of these in Australia. Initially these were front-engined, evolving into mid-engined cars using Reno and Ford componentry. John McCormack ran a mid-engined Nota very successfully in Tasmania. This car is now being raced in England at Goodwood and other historic events in the hands of Philip Venable’s son.
Guy lent his hand to other things as well, designing the circuit at Oran Park. He drove around the fields in what he deemed to be a good circuit layout with George Murry following him pegging out the initial design of what was to be Oran Park Racing Circuit. Through the years many racing victories by Nota’s were made there. While this was going on Guy had his own a show on Channel 9 discussing automotive design and technology.
Warwick Farm Racing Circuit and its manager Geoff Sykes convinced Nota to make Clubman-style cars and have their own series with cars like Lotus, Elfins and Notas, rather than run with the likes of MGs and other production sports cars. Geoff sorting out the Clubman series, in which Nota did very well winning the championship seven times through the years.
Geoff Sykes asked Guy if they’d make some Formula Vees, so Nota made three for Warwick Farm and then went on to build 38 in all. These cars did very well in the hands of Peter Findley, Jason Bargwarner, John Smith and many more with many still being used in historic racing today.
Some of the last cars Guy was involved with were the very pretty Nota Formula IIIs and Formula Fords before he went back to England. Once there he set up Teal engineering, producing Formula IIIs, Clubmans and Hillman Imp-based sports sedans. He then returned to his roots getting involved with restoration of Second World War planes. Something he was working on until very recently.
Nota is still making cars today in the hands of his son Chris Buckingham.