Historic Car Brands
in 1952, Nota Sports and Racing Cars was founded in Australia by Guy Buckingham. He was an English aircraft engineer and used his expertise to build triangulated space-framed performance cars.
Notas were said to be Australia’s first space-framed cars, in an era when only imported racing cars used that construction method.
In the late 1950s the company produced Formula Junior cars in both front and mid-engined formats. Nota also made a series of specialist monoposto racing cars for the track and hill climbing events.
In 1958 the company built a series of aluminium streamlined sports cars that were first called ‘Streamliners’ and later called ‘Mazengarbs’. In the two years to 1960, eleven of those were made.
By 1960 Nota was making sports and racing cars that won championships – notably Barry Garner’s NSW hillclimb championship winning Nota Major. In 1961 came Nota’s first mid-engined Formula Junior racer.
In 1963 the company made a series of Mini-powered sports cars that later led to the famous Fang model.
In 1964 Nota launched the Nota Sapphire, road-going, aluminium-bodied sports and coupe designs, powered by Ford, Fiat and Coventry Climax engines.
In 1965 Nota started producing Formula Vee cars and produced 34 in the first year.
In the 1960s the company formulated the Sportsman, Lotus 7 look-alike that morphed into a mid-engined version for modern transversely-mounted engines.
In 1968 came the Nota Fang, mid-engined sports car, powered by a Mini engine – 850cc, 1100cc or 1275cc Cooper S – located behind the driver and in front of the rear wheels.
Nota Fang and Super V
Like the 1963 Nota Mini models it used the Morris front suspension as its rear suspension, with the steering swivel hubs locked. The front suspension and steering was Hillman Imp.
The Fang’s side panels were aluminium and the front and rear sections were FRP mouldings. Rear mudguards were integrated with the body mouldings and the front mudguards were cycle style.
The chassis was a steel multi-tube space frame, with an integral sheet steel belly panel.
The Fang’s cockpit was spartan and the seating was a deeply double-dished front bench.
The Fang was Nota’s most popular car, with some 100 examples being produced to date. Guy Buckingham returned to the UK in the mid-1970s, but his son, Chris, carried on the Nota business.
In 1973 Nota launched the Marauder range of cars, on the same mechanicals as the Nota Fang. At the same time they were making the Nota Levanti front-engined, twin-cam coupe.
In 1975, the Fang was equipped with Lancia two-litre, twin-cam engines, then Toyota engines and was finally fitted with Toyota’s V6 quad-cam supercharged engine, developing more than 400bhp.
Another engine choice was the Leyland P76 V8, fitted to Marauders using a Nota-made trans-axle, with the gearbox next to the driver and the engine behind. That was followed briefly by Ford’s 351 V8, with a 4WD driveline.
Nota FI and Le Mans
The Fang eventually became the more stylish F1 model.
In 2003, Nota developed the Le Mans, powered by a Suzuki GTi 1300cc or 1100cc motorcycle engine. For road use it could also have a Toyota 1800cc VVTi or 3.5-litre V6 quad-cam engine, with a six-speed transmission.
By 2012 Nota redeveloped the front-engined Nota clubman chassis and fitted a transverse engine behind the driver. It looked just like their front-engined Clubmans but with the advantage of a mid-engined design.