1963 - 2005

Alpha Sports 

Information about Alpha Sports 

Born from a shared passion for sportscars, Alpha Street Productions, later known as Alpha Sports Productions (ASP), emerged as an iconic Australian manufacturer of kit and racing cars. Founded by Ray Lewis and Rory Thompson in the early sixties, this brand would later construct vehicles that marked a notable departure from their early Lotus Seven-inspired designs, carving a distinct identity for itself in the realm of sports and open-wheeler cars.

Ray Lewis, who partly owned Lewis Brothers Buses among other businesses, facilitated the operational space for ASP at his family home, Alpha house on Alpha Street in Kensington Park, Adelaide. His counterpart, Rory Thompson, contributed the technical prowess, having earned mechanical engineering qualifications from the South Australian Institute of Technology. The duo’s initial project involved working on a Lotus 7 for Derek Jolly, an endeavor that prompted Rory to conceptualize a new chassis design, christened the Bacchus. This chassis was the cornerstone of ASP’s first attempt at building an entire car, addressing what Rory identified as design limitations in the Lotus model.

Significant transformations in ASP’s automotive line-up were witnessed after Ray Lewis returned from an overseas trip. Development work commenced on the Mk4 Bacchus Clubman, which underwent subsequent name changes, eventually becoming the ASP 320A—the brand’s first road car. Its connection to the Savings Bank of South Australia, via its owner Paul Hannon, led to the car’s feature in an advertising campaign, effectively driving sales for the B-spec version of the new ASP Clubman.

The ASP 320B signaled the brand’s foray into the construction of race-specific vehicles. With the production of four such units, ASP successfully branched out into the high-octane world of racing. Subsequently, ASP developed a short wheelbase version known as the 340A, which gave birth to a series of racing Clubmans. By 1971, ASP expanded its scope to include open-wheeler Formula 2 and Formula 3 cars with the introduction of the ASP 330.

By 1972, a completely new design had been put into play with the production of two 340B cars, one of which, Chassis 23, remains in racing condition today. Following closely was the 340C, produced between 1972 and 1973. These cars abided by the Clubman Formula of the time: front-engine, two-seat racing cars with a single camshaft engine of no more than 1.3 liters capacity. Powered by either Toyota Corolla 3K or Datsun A12 engines, they proved to be highly effective and affordable sports cars.

However, not all journeys are without bumps. By 1974, it was apparent that ASP was facing financial struggles. This led Ray Lewis to wind up the company, and both founders parted ways. Despite this, Rory Thompson continued to build road-going ASP Clubmans under a new venture, Alpha Sports Productions.

In summary, Alpha Sports Productions stands as a testament to Australian automotive ingenuity. Although the passing of Ray Lewis in 2005 and Rory Thompson in 2020 marked the end of an era, the brand’s innovative spirit, born out of a garage in Adelaide, will forever be etched in the annals of automotive history.

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