Mildren’s Winged Victory

The 1960 Australian Grand Prix

This would become Alec Mildren’s ultimate moment of glory – one he had been tirelessly working toward. Stepping up to the podium in June 1960, he accepted this trophy for his thrilling win of the 25th Australian Grand Prix (est. 1928). It was official, he had the fastest car in Australia.

Engraved with his name, the trophy was sponsored by the German high quality tool company, Dowidat. A gold-tone spanner (symbolising motorsports) and outstretched wings adorn the trophy – striking symbols of victory.

A car dealer and Australian motor sport champion, Alec Mildren (1915-1998) seems to have always loved cars but his early experiences would suggest a different story. In 1930, he experienced the trauma of losing both his parents in a car crash. It’s clear that the accident and difficult circumstances that followed did not deter him from driving, and instead may have fuelled his determination to succeed.

The race was held at Lowood Circuit, a former wartime airfield in Tarampa, QLD. He had driven his forest green Cooper T51 with its powerful 2.5L Maserati rear-fitted engine. Though he had raced Coopers before, this was the first time he had raced in a Grand Prix specification car.

Sixteen cars started their engines at the grid, and then they were off, tearing along the dusty track. Mildren accelerated hard alongside the other race favourite, Lex Davison, in his large Aston Martin. The two green cars duelled for the lead, sometimes reaching speeds of 170 miles (nearly 275 kilometres) per hour.

At one spot, Mildren lost control and went for a spin in the outfield, denting the Cooper’s nose. Recovering quickly, he chased Davison, passing him again, but by the last few laps, Mildren’s engine was overheating badly. Finally, after thirty-six laps and just over one hour of racing, Mildren beat Davison to the chequered flag by one twentieth of a second. The spectators were spellbound.

Race officials described it as ‘the greatest grand prix ever staged in Australia.’