Louise and Graeme Raper @ The Australian Grand Prix

28.Feb.23 | Physiotherapy

Physiosports Group clients Louise & Graeme Raper are participating in the Historic car demonstration at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix in their Aussie Specials the 1948 ‘Monoskate’ and the 1947 ‘So-Cal’.


The Historic “Aussie Specials”. (Photo credit to Chris Carter). The older photos – the origins are not known – however they show So-Cal competing at Bathurst in the 1950’s and Monoskate in 1951.

The 1948 Monoskate (Silver/Blue) & the 1947 So-Cal(White/Red) are 2 classic examples of Australian ingenuity.


George Reed of Bathurst NSW built four “Skates”, all Ford V8 Specials in his career as an owner, builder, driver, during the 1940’s. A replica of “The Red Skate” is proudly on display at the Bathurst Motor Racing Museum, while “The White Skate” and “Monoskate” are still raced today and are held in the loving custodianship of Graeme and Louise Raper.

The name “skate” was given to George’s cars as, given their shortened chassis’, they were said to look like roller skates. Monoskate, a monoposto and The White skate, or she is affectionately known as, So-Cal.

So-Cal was created in 1947, using a Ford chassis, a Mercury V8 engine and a standard 4 box as a basis. When Jesse Griffiths took it over, he added the Wilson pre-selector gearbox. Frank Walters started driving The White Skate in 1953 – he absolutely loved the car and during the next 2 years competed in between 70 – 75 races and winning the 1954 Racing Car Championship at Mt Druitt. However, when he became custodian of the car in 1955, he really started to improve its performance. With the help of American Alex Xydias, who ran the SoCal speed shop in Burbank, Southern California (the So-Cal name was born) Frank and Alex developed the car totally by postal correspondence. It was during this performance partnership that the Edelbrock heads were installed, followed by a Kong ignition. The next piece was a purpose engineered camshaft that was specifically designed to match So-Cal to the Mt Druitt circuit. Alex completed the project by sending out an Edelbrock Triple manifold setup. This setup is still run to this day.

So-Cal has been continually raced since 1947 by George Reed & Jesse Griffiths, Frank Walters, Ben Sellars, Kevin Powell, Eric Worner, and since 2011, Louise Raper drives So-Cal in Regularity events, Sprints and Hill climbs. 74 years of continuous competition. It should be noted that So-Cal also competed in both the 1952 and 1958 Australian Grand prix events which were held at Mount Panorama, Bathurst.

Monoskate’s origins can be traced back to 1939, when it raced as the “Ben Tarr, Rajo Ford Special” at Mount Panaorama. It then went through its next edification as the “Alec Mildren Ford V8 Special” finally in 1949, George created the edition that we have come to know today.

It was built on Ford Model A Chassis rails, split (independent) front end and fitted with a 4.5 Litre Ford V8 engine. Developing approx. 180 bhp. Offenhauser heads, twin Stromberg Carburettors, Scintilla Vertex magneto, and three speed close ratio ford gear box. This car has serious grunt with 100mph attainable in second gear and 145mph in top.

Monoskate has had a long and significant career and successes at circuit races, sprints and hill climbs. It was raced by George Reed between 1948 and the late 1950’s and then Ray Nottson. In 1977 it was rediscovered by the Reid family (no relation to George) who restored and raced her with much success over the next 20 years. Mal gave Monoskate a ground up restoration in 1998 and in 2003, Graeme Raper became custodian. Graeme continues to run at the front of historic racing in his class of the Group J & K. He also gives the Group L cars a run for their money in the Historic Winton Long Track and Historic Sandown events.


Most notably, Graeme and Monoskate currently hold lap records, in their class, for each of the Victorian race circuits – Sandown, Winton long and Winton short track and Phillip Island. Not bad for a car with origins back to 1939.

Graeme and Louise thoroughly enjoy taking both Monoskate and So-Cal out on the track and are normally at most of the Historic circuit and hill climb events in Victoria. Luckily being married and having “all things cars” as a shared passion, has given these wonderful Australian Specials the opportunity to continue to keep George Reed’s vision and memory alive and winning.

At the next AGP at Albert Park in March 2023, both Louise and Graeme will be participating in the Historic Demonstration 3 of the 4 day event.