In 1932 Jack Murray moved to Sydney, where he set up a service station in Bondi with his brother, Ray. Largely a taxi service and fix-it shop, the Murrays ran their business on either side of World War II, during which Jack served with the 2nd AIF.
The Redex fuel additive company started holding 1000-mile cross-country rally-style events around New South Wales called Reliability Trials, which eventually led to the first Round-Australia Trial in 1953.
In 1953 he rolled his car, and for the next years race, he chose, of all vehicles, a taxi.
A 7 year old Canadian-built 1947 Ford Super Deluxe with a flathead V8 and 75,000 miles as a taxi that he bought for 700 quid.
As Jack explained in an interview the car’s advantages were its generous ride height and advanced Houdaille shocks.
“It was a V8 and it had a lot of punch in it and it had the right springing, transverse springing; the front spring and the back spring transversed, and up very high. There’s a lot of clearance under a Ford, and they had a very strong chassis on ’em.
“We picked that one because they had [special] shock absorbers. Called a Houdaille, it’s a hydraulic shock and it’s a circular arrangement. They are French-designed, beautiful shocks.
“There’s no shock absorber that would last you ’round Australia; they hadn’t made any good enough yet. The body was better than the ones they make here – but the shocks were the main thing.”
In 1954 the taxi Jack named Grey Ghost won the Redex Round-Australia Reliability Trial. He led the race almost all the way around and somehow managed to get back without losing a single penalty point – a feat that was never repeated.