A modified version of the A50, the A51, was taken to the US series in 1973 but the moment had passed and the A51 was not competitive. Two further variants would follow over the next year but Matich retired after the 1974 Tasman and no further cars were built. The sole A51 was modified to A53 specification and was used regularly through to the end of the Australian F5000 series in 1982.
This car, and the two A52s that followed, were built on monocoques built by Commonweath Aircraft Corporation (Melborne, Australia) to drawings supplied by Frank Matich.
This research was originally conducted by Aaron Lewis but has been extensively reworked in May and June 2003 with the assistance of Bryan Miller in Australia and Milan Fistonic in New Zealand. Thanks also to Wolfgang Klopfer for spotting omissions and to Terry Walker for the picture.
All and any further help would be gratefully received. Please email Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can add anything.
The A51 was designed for the 1973 US season but did not work well. The December 1974 edition of Racing Cars News carried an article about Matich's retirement and said this about the A51.
'No one in Australia saw the A51 run, although Matich regards the car as probably the best suited to an average local circuit. "It was the ultimate in development of our car as a front radiator car. It was the lightest car we built and it didn't behave on the bumpy American tracks as well as I would have liked. Our suspension didn't have sufficient movement, especially with heavy fuel loads." (We've seen it [the A51] recently, of course, in the hands of the brilliant Lella Lombardi.)'
John Goss later bought the A51 to join his A53 and raced it extensively.
Sources include Autosport 14 Feb 1974 p8 (Oran Park Tasman report) and 7 Mar 1974 p12 (Adelaide Tasman report). Added details taken from "The official 50-race history of the Australian Grand Prix" (R&T Publishing 1986) include pp402-403 (Matich 005 & 007 story), p383 (1974 GP report), p411,415 (1977 GP report). "The Formula 1 Register Fact Book: Formula 5000 1972-1981" (Paul Sheldon, 1994) has been used for most post-1977 race results.
These histories last updated on 16 July, 2012 .