(J Manhire)

Tony Gaze in his HWM Jaguar ‘VPA9’ at Ryal Bush in New Zealand’s South Island on 11 February 1956…

Isn’t John Manhire’s photograph a fantastic one? He has captured the car, the physicality of hustling these machines around a road circuit, and of course the crowd so well to add some drama and perspective- its a beauty which inspired an article.

Later in the day Tony was second in the first ‘Southland Road Race’ run over forty-one 5.87km laps of a course laid out around the hamlet of Ryal Bush 20km north of Invercargill, at the very south of New Zealand’s South Island. He drove his ex-Ascari Ferrari 500 powered by a 3 litre 750S sportscar engine, in front of him was Peter Whitehead in a similar car.

By 1956 Australia’s first Formula 1 driver was a committed HWM pilot having first raced an ex-Moss 2 litre HWM Alta F2 car in Grands Prix during 1952 with good results given the nature of his privateer campaign. This chassis was later acquired by Lex Davison, fitted with a Jaguar XK engine it won the 1954 Australian Grand Prix at Southport on Queensland’s Gold Coast, its still in Australia in sportscar form but very original in terms of its componentry, in the loving hands of the Hough family- article pending.

Tony aboard his HWM Alta at Charterhall in October 1952- the ‘Newcastle Journal Trophy’. DNF in the race won by Dennis Poore, Connaught A Type. Gaze’ last race in the car as it transpired.

 

Tony was despatched to New Zealand by John Heath and George Abecassis together with the supercharged GP HWM Alta 2 litre in the Antipodian summer of 1954 with a brief to win a race or three and then sell the Formula Libre car before returning home- whilst he didn’t win any races he did well and also fulfilled the second part of his brief, the lucky Kiwi’s had the machine for the rest of its ‘in period’ racing life- click here to read a story about that tour and background information about HWM; https://primotipo.com/2019/12/13/tony-gaze-hwm-alta-new-zealand-1954/

Sportscar racing, make that every type of racing exploded in England as the shackles of war were progressively cast aside with grids of Jaguar, Aston Martin, Lotus, Cooper, Lister, HWM and other marques making sportscar grids every bit as large and competitive as the single-seater categories.

Faced with the difficulty of finding a competitive car for the 1953 GP season- the reliability of the Alta engine was a major concern for Gaze- Enzo Ferrari would sell Tony a Ferrari 500 but without works support that would have been a very expensive proposition, so he looked to sportscars for the next phase of his career.

Gaze was invited to be part of a pre-Le Mans 24 hour test of the Aston Martin DB3 at Monza- in the snow, at the end of which he and Graham Whitehead were offered cars, Tony recalled ‘Wyer stitched us up. We were promised that Aston Martin wasn’t going to come out with something new to make us obsolete the moment we got these things. So the first race meeting I go to Reg Parnell turns up in a works DB3S which was a lot lighter and more powerful!’

Tony Gaze, Aston Martin DB3 at Dundrod during the 1953 TT- excellent fourth place sharing Graham Whitehead’s car. The Collins/Griffith and Parnell/Thompson Aston Martin DB3S were first and second (Gaze)

 

Tony and Kay Gaze with Tony’s new Aston Martin DB3, looking immaculate, before the off at Oporto, Portugal (Gaze)

 

Gaze’ Aston Martin DB3 chassis #9, or the charred remains of it, in an Oporto Street after his high speed contretemps with a Ferrari and a stout tree- a lucky escape during the 1953 Portuguese GP (D Coelho)

He first raced his car, chassis ‘DB3-9’, one of ten DB3s built, at the Silverstone International Trophy meeting in May finishing fourth in his class. He then took the car to the Cote d’Azur for the Hyeres 12 Hours in June, that race was held on the Iles d’Or 7km road course- sharing his car with Graham Whitehead the pair ran fifth in the pouring rain but retired after two hours with a broken timing chain.

His small equipe then headed south to take in the Portuguese Grand Prix which was held on 21 June on the 7.4km Boavista street circuit in Oporto.

The race started badly for the contingent from the UK on the very first lap when Duncan Hamilton’s Jaguar C Type ‘was punted off by an amateur driver who was apparently banned for life’ but got considerably worse when Gaze came close to losing his life in ‘DB3/9’.

Italian sportscar specialist, Pietro Palmieri’s Ferrari 250MM collided with the Aston on lap 3 catapulting it into a tree, at which point it broke in half and burst into flames leaving our former fighter-pilot ace semi-conscious in the middle of the road ten metres from the remains of his machine which was completely destroyed- absolutely rooted, it was written off (and somewhat surprisingly has not been re-birthed all these decades later). Palmieri’s Ferrari lasted until he had completed 7 laps when engine failure intervened, the three hour, 60 lap race was won by Jose Nogueira Pinto in a Ferrari 250MM Vignale Spyder. Click here for a piece on the DB3; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/19/1952-goodwood-9-hours-and-aston-db3/

After his recovery, Tony sought to buy a works Aston from Wyer who refused to sell, after attempts by the insurance company to purchase a second hand Aston DB3 to replace the destroyed car failed- and he received his money, Tony then tried to buy a Jaguar from Lofty England but could not agree terms- and so it was that he approached his buddies at HWM who had just built a Jaguar engined car for company co-owner George Abecassis to race. The racer was immediately quick with Heath’s triple-Weber fed Jaguar engines and ‘Indianapolis style quick change Halibrand spur-gears’ to allow easy change of gear ratios to suit the demands of different circuits, were both competitive aspects of the cars overall design.

Tony in HWM1 during the very wet May 1954 Aintree Daily Telegraph International meeting heading for fourth behind Duncan Hamilton, Jaguar C Type, Carroll Shelby’s Aston DB3S and Jimmy Stewart’s C Type (Gaze)

 

Tony Gaze during the 1953 Hyeres 12 Hours in HWM1- shared with George Abecassis (S Lewis)

 

Tony in VPA9 during the British GP sportscar support race, Silverstone, July 1954. DNF with the Collins, Salvadori and Shelby Aston DB3S up front of the 118km race  (Gaze)

Whilst VPA9 (the first registration number of HWM sporties is generally the number by which they are recognised) took a while to be built so Tony raced Abecassis’ ‘HWM1’ at the Aintree opening meeting in May where he was fourth in the sportscar ten lapper- Duncan Hamilton’s C Type won.

In the Hyeres 12 Hours in early June he co-drove with George- they ran second until pinged and disqualified for a minor pit infringement by Abecassis- Trintignant/Piotti won in a Ferrari 250 Monza.

‘VPA9’ (‘CH 105′ is the chassis number attributed to the car by John Blanden and some other sources online) is the third HWM Jaguar built, the first was built by Oscar Moore who converted his Alta engined HWM- fitted with a 3.4 litre, and then later a 3.8 litre engine, the package was mighty quick, managing to stay in front of Abecassis’ works Aston Martin  in the Jersey International Road Race until the engine broke. Gaze car was finally delivered to him in June 1954 just prior to the Reims 12 Hour, which he contested with Graham Whitehead as co-driver.

Powered by a works Jaguar 3.4 litre XK experimental engine the pair finished seventh in the 270bhp machine ‘despite extremely poor handling’ which was finally diagnosed twelve months hence as front shock absorbers which were fading- the problem was cured by adding some friction dampers. Up front the Peter Whitehead/Ken Wharton Jaguar D Type won- it was an historic day as it was the first of many wins for Jaguar’s most famous racer.

In July, Tony’s car, which was always entered by HW Motors, was twenty-second in the British GP sportscar support race at Silverstone, with various problems- up front of this 25 lapper which concluded the day’s proceedings was a trio of Aston Martin DB3S’- Peter Collins won from Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby.

In a very busy August Tony won at Crystal Palace from pole, but he missed a gear leaving the tell-tale at 6900rpm.

VPA9 crossed the channel to Zandvoort on 15 August where Tony failed to finish after a huge spin at Hugenholtzbocht behind the pits- he then took a shortcut to the other side but the grass was so wet the car became bogged- when he stopped he could see Duncan Hamilton in the pits overcome with laughter at his plight. Ninian Sanderson’s C Type won that day with three other C Types in line astern.

On 22 August Gaze took VPA9 to the French Southern Brittany seaside resort town of La Baule to contest the sportscar handicap race finishing sixth- two D.B. Panhards were up front, then Jacques Peron’s 1350cc Osca MT4 with Duncan Hamilton fourth in his Jaguar C Type, then Jean Lucas in a small D.B. Renault with Tony next best of the ‘big cars’.

After about an hour, with 9 laps completed of the demanding 11 September RAC TT at Dundrod, sharing the car with John Riseley-Pritchard, VPA9’s engine dropped a valve- with nowhere to exit the circuit- surrounded as it was by slab walls the engine was fairly rooted by the time Tony came upon a cross-road to exit the track. Mike Hawthorn and Maurice Trintignant won in a works Ferrari 750 Monza and Piero Taruffi/JM Fangio Lancia D24 were second in this 1000km World Sportscar Championship round.

Tony oversees the preparation of his Ferrari 500/625- ‘500-05’, or as re-numbered by the factory when modified as Formula Libre machines ‘GP.0480′ in Australasia during 1955/6. Gaze’ car, when fitted with a 750S engine later in 1955 had a flat spot which was not cured until Alan Ashton (at right) ade some new jets for the Weber carburettors during the early period of Lex Davison’s ownership circa later 1956. Reg Hunt at left ‘top’ (MotorSport)

 

Tony in the Oulton Park paddock prior to the British Empire Trophy sportscar practice in May 1955. #44 is the Bertie Bradnack Cooper T33 Jaguar and the car behind that is George Abecassis in HWM1. Archie Scott-Brown won in a Lister Bristol (Alamy)

 

Tony Gaze in the Aston Martin DB3S he shared with David McKay to second place in the May 1955 Hyeres 12 Hours. With DB3S/102 he also contested the 1955 Circuito do Porto, Monsanto, Charterhall International, Snetterton International, Goodwood 9 Hour and Tourist Trophy meetings that year (Gaze)

It was time for an engine rebuild back at Browns Lane and whilst a replacement was provided Tony never did get back the trick engine, the motor he used at Goodwood during the BARC Autumn 25 September meeting ‘was not the original but Jaguar’s worst old engine’.

The team asked Tony to race the HWM 54 Jaguar GP car instead, this was the Alta engined car Lance Macklin raced in the July 1954 French Grand Prix- DNF after 10 laps on the day Mercedes Benz arrived back in Grand Prix racing in rather emphatic fashion. Gaze was to race in the Formula Libre Woodcote Cup, and after some confusion with the pedals in practice (which were clutch/throttle/brake rather than the clutch/brake/throttle of his sportscar) or a mechanical failure got to the bottom of Lavant Straight into Woodcote the car wouldn’t stop, ‘Whatever the reason it wasn’t going to stop so i spun it down the escape road and hit the eight feet high dirt wall and got tossed over the top of it and ended up in the crowd’ Tony recalled. Peter Collins won the race in one of Tony Vandervell’s Thinwall Ferraris whilst MotorSport observed that ‘Practice was notable for Tony Gaze ground-looping the HWM Jaguar when going too fast into Woodcote Corner, thereby bruising himself, and incidentally providing Fairman with another drive’.

‘The car was a write-off. There was a bit of a joke about the car because they salvaged what they could of it- the engine and things- and put the rest of it up against the factory wall ready to try and straighten it and sell it to some unfortunate bloke. But the scrap metal man arrived and took it without asking!’

Jack Fairman raced VPA9 whilst Tony was recovering from his Goodwood shunt, a week later John Riseley-Pritchard used it at Aintree- committed to other race commitments in 1955, primarily his ex-Ascari Ferrari 500-625 F Libre/GP car in the early months of the year, and ‘Kangaroo Stable’ Aston Martin DB3S races (a story for another time), VPA9 didn’t race in Europe again, Tony’s final entry in it, at Oulton Park, for the British Empire Trophy meeting in April 1955 met with mechanical failure in practice which precluded racing.

‘John Heath had found a cheaper way of doing up Jaguar gearboxes…George Abecassis had a problem in practice with HWM1 and had changed the box, using the team’s only spare’ so when Tony changed down to third for Old Hall corner…everything locked up. He thought the engine had seized and let the clutch out which didn’t make the slightest difference and then found himself spinning around and around about five times. The corner marshall didn’t know which flag to wave so much was happening…the gearbox had slipped into two gears at once and solidly locked up…’ Gaze recalled.

Tony and Peter Whitehead raced their ‘twin’ Ferrari 500/625’s in New Zealand with great success in early 1956, by then fitted with 750S sportscar engines- both took two-seaters along for the ride to use in the support events and to raise some cash at the end of the tour by selling them, Tony took VPA9 and Peter the very first Cooper T38 Jaguar (CJ-1-55) he and his half-brother Graham raced at Le Mans in 1955- using VPA9, at Ardmore Gaze was third and took a win at Christchurch during the Lady Wigram Trophy meeting at the RNZAF airfield the following weekend. (happy to hear from any of you Kiwis who may be able to fill in the gaps of the HWM’s placings in other events that summer)

The tale of this tour is told here; https://primotipo.com/2019/09/05/the-gp-aston-martin-dp155/

NZ GP, Ardmore Airfield, Auckland 8 January 1955- that’s Bira in the #1 Maserati 250F ‘2504/2509’ on the way to a victory with Lex up front in his ex-Moss/Gaze HWM now Jaguar powered, with Tony in his ex-Ascari Ferrari 500 and soon to be Lex’s in March 1956. Bira won from Peter Whitehead and Tony in their identical Ferraris. Lex must have been eternally grateful to his great mate Tony as three of his four AGP wins were courtesy of cars Tony sold him!- 1954 at Southport in the HWM Jag and 1957 Caversham and 1958 Bathurst in the Ferrari. Mind you that HWM Jag was in many ways quite a different machine to the rolling chassis Tony sold to him in early 1953(unattributed)

 

Tony Gaze applying a touch of opposite lock at Albert Park in March 1956, this meeting his final one in VPA9. He was a big tall bugger! I only ever saw him as an older man- and a mighty imposing bloke he appeared- he had a real presence about him, he always looked friendly enough but I was never game to say gedday- I’ve always reserved my awe for real heroes, and that he most certainly was. That shitty background is hessian trying to stop free-loading Melburnian’s checking out the action without paying but nicely stuffs up the background (G McKaige)

At the end of the NZ Internationals Gaze shipped his two cars across the Tasman Sea to Port Melbourne contest the Moomba Meeting at Albert Park over the March Labour Day long weekend, winning the 48 lap 150 mile Tourist Trophy event from Bib Stillwell’s Jaguar D Type and Ron Phillips’ Austin Healey 100S.

He was third in the Argus Cup, also at the park, a week later behind Stillwell’s D and Stan Jones ex-Whitehead Cooper T38 Jaguar, before this meeting Lex had acquired both the Ferrari and HWM from his great mate- Lex’ first meeting in the Ferrari was this weekend.

Graham Howard wrote that Tony’s only condition upon sale of the cars was that ‘he urged Lex to have Alan Ashton, from AF Hollins, (A.F. Hollins Pty. Ltd. were motor engineers with a workshop at 694 High Street, Armadale, the building still exists not too far from the Orrong Road corner) who had been preparing Tony’s Australian racing cars since the 1940’s and who had been looking after the Ferrari in New Zealand. The combination of Lex, Alan Ashton and the Ferrari was to become one of the great partnerships of Australian racing.’ Lex placed second twice in the Ferrari to Reg Hunt’s Maserati 250F that weekend.

Davison was a busy boy in 1956 racing the Ferrari, contesting the Mobilgas Round Australia Trial with Peter Ward in a Peugeot 403, racing his Phil Irving fettled Cooper-Vincent at Collingrove Hillclimb and at Part Wakefield, Templestowe and at Mount Panorama where he defeated Bruce Walton to win his second Australian Hillclimb Championship. Then there was the small matter of the AGP being organised by the Light Car Club of Australia, of which he had just been elected President, his ‘Paragon Shoes’ business to run and a large family!

Lex raced VPA9 in the 32 lap Australian Tourist Trophy at Albert Park in the November/December 1956 ‘Olympic Meetings’, a wonderful fortnight of racing in which Stirling Moss won both the Australian Grand Prix in a Maserati 250F and the Australian Tourist Trophy in a 300S- Lex was seventh in the HWM.

During it’s lay-off the HWM had been modified by fitment of a fibreglass ‘Ausca’ body bought from Paul England in place of the aluminium alloy original in an endeavour to make it a tad lighter and more slippery.

Davo got caught up in the avoidance of Bill Patterson’s Cooper Climax’s attack upon the Park’s straw bales finishing the first lap in fourteenth place- Lex did well from that position finishing third of the local residents and lapping a couple of seconds quicker than Tony had in March, but the two D Types of Bill Pitt and Bib Stillwell were 2 laps ahead of the HWM at the races end. Moss won from Jean Behra, both in 300S Maseratis from the ill-fated Ken Wharton’s Ferrari Monza then Pitt, Stillwell and Davison.

‘The HWM was the only racing sports car Lex ever owned, and it was becoming daily more outdated: he ran it just a few times more, its best performance being a class record 27.08 seconds at Templestowe in mid-1957’ Howard wrote.

Lex aboard VPA9 in the Caversham paddock during the 1957 AGP weekend- note the fibreglass ‘Ausca’ body, the styling of which was heavily influenced by, if not a direct copy of the Maserati A6GCS body (K Miles)

 

Caversham AGP sportscar support race. #10 Ron Phillips Austin Healey gets the jump from Davison #30 HWM VPA9 and Derek Jolly, Decca Mk1 Climax, #24 Austin Healey raced by Anderson (austinhealey100s.com)

Davison took both the Ferrari and HWM across the Nullarbor to contest the March 1957, Caversham, WA AGP.

Lex won his second AGP, sharing his Ferrari 500/625 with Bill Patterson on a scorching hot summers day and after a lap-scoring dispute with Stan Jones- who had taken the chequered flag having driven solo in his 250F fitted that weekend with his spare 3 litre (300S) engine.

The HWM finished well back in the Saturday support sportscar race but looked the goods for the 40 lapper on the Monday where the temperature was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade by the time the event started in the early afternoon.

‘Lex had only a ten second lead when he bought the HWM into the pits after 15 laps, the car overheating so badly onlookers said the engine was almost visible through the bodywork. Unscrewing the radiator cap released a geyser of steam’, and Patterson (his relief driver in this race too) rejoined the contest and very soon to retire.

Not long after returning to Melbourne the car was damaged in an accident on the way back to town when driven by one of the mechanics from Templestowe Hillclimb- taken to Lyndon Duckett’s workshop in Toorak the car’s body was removed, where the remains, ‘including the bent front end, suspension and buckled wheels’ stayed until acquired by Gavin Sala in 1974.

Sala started the process of acquiring the missing bits, the project progressed through the hands of Simon Ramsay, Noel Robson and Julian Phillips in Perth who engaged Cliff Byfield to finish the project which created great interest when it made its ‘public debut’ in the inaugural F1 AGP at Albert Park in 1996.

In 1998 ‘VPA9’ left our shores for the UK where it makes regular appearances in historic events inclusive of a demonstration by Tony Gaze in the Goodwood reopening meeting in September 1998.

Technical…

(S Dalton)

 

(S Dalton)

John Bolster puts the first HWM Jaguar ‘HWM1’ to the test for Autosport magazine in April 1955.

Of conventional construction, the chassis was a twin-tube affair with independent front suspension by upper and lower wishbone, coil spring/dampers with a de Dion rear axle again suspended by coils and coaxial shock absorbers.

Engines were all Jaguar XK of varying capacity as was the gearbox which used ‘C Type’ ratios, Bolster gives a comprehensive explanation of the ‘quick change’ diff.

Girling provided the brake drum componentry, Borrani the wire wheels and the somewhat slab-sided body- all of the HWMs were drawn and styled by the talented Abecassis, was constructed in aluminium.

(J Ross)

 

(Autosport via S Dalton)

HWM Jaguar awaits its body in the factory at Walton-on-Thames————————.

A second series car, perhaps Heath’s ‘HWM1’ 1956 ill-fated Mille Miglia car, which was the second time the plate was used.

Simon Taylor said that a total of nineteen HWM’s were built of which six were sportscars- four ‘First Series’ machines, the Gaze car is one, and two ‘Second Series’ cars styled by Abecassis along Aston Martin DB3S lines.

(J Ross)

de Dion axle housing being fettled in the machine shop with what appears to be the remains of a transmission in the container under the ‘Webster & Bennett’ turning and boring machine. Any ideas as to the technician?

(J Ross)

I wonder if it’s some type of press occasion or John Ross there taking his shots and ‘interrupting the troops’.

Perhaps John Heath at left and George Abecassis well rugged up behind what I think is the new chassis of ‘HWM1’, the completed car is Abecassis’ ‘XPE2’, given the front air intake as shown in the photograph below- it evolved from the cars first meeting in May 1955 this group of shots were taken in early 1956, most certainly it is winter!

I really must buy Mr Taylor’s two volume book set, if any of you have a copy, assistance with chassis numbers would be considered very favourably by The Editor- a complete list would be wonderful.

‘XPE2’ displaying its lissom lines outside the Hersham and Walton Motors Ltd Aston Martin Dealership and workshops, the company is still a very successful Astons dealership having first taken on the concession in 1951.

(J Ross)

Do watch this ‘interview’ of Simon Taylor by Steve Cropley about HWM generally as part of the promotion of his two volume tome ‘John, George and the HWM’s’ on the marque, a couple of years back.

Held at Brooklands, the thing runs for one and a half hours but stick with it- very entertaining and chockers with facts and anecdotes Taylor is a natural story-teller.

Australian’s of a certain age will remember Steve Cropley as one of the ‘Sports Car World’ magazine guys which helped get us interested in cars- his career has been very much in the UK since the late seventies mind you.

 

Etcetera…

(S Wills)

Another ropey background shot at Albert Park during the 1956 Moomba meeting- Southern Command Army HQ in the background. It’s still a nice angle of a car- is it that the HWM is very low or Tony very tall, or both!?

Arcane and sorta relevant…

An afterthought really but too good a colorised Gaze photograph to waste!

Tony Gaze #6 (chassis ‘F2/1′ according to his book) and Gordon Watson’s Alta F2 cars in the sunny Silverstone paddock during the 5 May 1951 BRDC Daily Express International Trophy weekend.

Not a good time for the Alta boys as Tony DNS and Gordon DNF in the race won by Reg Parnell in one of Tony Vandervell’s Thinwall Ferraris- in fact it was Gaze’ first race in the car, the start of his season.

The shot is included to show the car Tony Gaze raced throughout 1951, his results in brief were as follows- 5/5/1951 Silverstone Intl Trophy F Libre 13th in heat 2- DNS final, 13/5 GP di Monza 12th, 20/5 GP Centenario Colombiano- Genoa 8th, 3/6 Eifelrennen Nurburgring 8th, 10/6 GP di Roma- Circuito Caracella Roma DNF, 24/6 GP di Napoli- Posillipo Naples 16th and DNF, 1/7 AVUS-Rennen AVUS 17th and DNF where the engine threw a rod, punching a nice big hole in the block.

The DNF’s appear as Tony’s short, two month season moves on and the equipment was perhaps getting a tad tired. Gaze’ book records that the Avus blow up was the end of his season as the two HWM Altas of Stirling Moss and Lance Macklin also had broken cranks and they were further up the Geoffrey Taylor repair queue than Gaze.

The class of the F2 fields, whenever they appeared, were generally the Ferrari 166F2/50, then Alberto Ascari raced the Ferrari 500 for the first time at Modena in late September and the die was cast for the next two years!

Beautiful cars- the very keen eyed will spot the ‘Light Car Club of Australia’ badge on the lower edge of the grille of Tony’s Alta- a little bit of Oz onboard far from home- see below for a better shot. Luvvit, but despite trawling through Tony’s results I can’t work out where the photograph below is, assistance welcome.

Look how far he sits outta that cockpit, gotta be a 500rpm penalty on every straight!…

(unattributed)

Bibliography…

‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden, ‘Glory Days Albert Park 1953-1958’ Barry Green, ‘Almost Unknown: Tony Gaze’ Stewart Wilson, ‘Lex Davison: Larger Than Life’ Graham Howard, Supercar Nostalgia, F2 Index, oldracingcars.com, MotorSport, racingsportscars.com, John Ross Motor Racing Archive

Photo Credits…

John Manhire, Tony Gaze Collection, George McKaige from his book ‘Beyond The Lens’, Spencer Wills, Ken Miles Collection, Duarte Coelho, austinhealey100S.com, MotorSport, Classic Auto News- ‘CAN’, Adam Gawliczek

Tailpiece…

(CAN)

Kids just wanna have fun. Just offloaded from a ship, the racing cars get plenty of attention in a Wellington, New Zealand back street in January 1956.

Gaze’ VPA9 is at left alongside Peter Whitehead’s Cooper T38 Jaguar, David McKay’s first Aston Martin DB3S and Stirling Moss’ 1956 NZ GP winning Maserati 250F.

The Cooper Jag is the first T38 built, chassis ‘CJ-1-55’ it was raced by Peter (and his half-brother Graham at Le Mans as a Cooper works entry) during 1955, and was sold to Stan Jones who quickly moved it on after not too many drives- Ron Phillips and John Ampt did well with it ‘in period’, beautifully restored by Ian McDonald in the eighties it is still in Australia but rarely seen.

The Aston is the car raced by Gaze and Gaze/McKay in 1955, chassis ‘DB3S-102’ before being acquired in full by McKay for use in Australia and New Zealand; see this story for details of the racer/Scuderia Veloce supremo/journalists two DB3S; https://primotipo.com/2017/09/28/david-mckays-aston-martin-db3ss/

The Moss Maserati is the family 250F ‘2508’, the performances in which throughout 1954 won him his spot beside Fangio at Mercedes Benz in 1955, the car returned to England after its Ardmore win.

Finito…

(I Smith)

Bob Skelton looking as pleased as punch in the Calder paddock in 1972…

Of course these days there will be some type of law against exploitation of the fine, feminine form in such a gratuitous, crass commercial manner. Now ‘yerd have to equalise things by having some blokes in the mix, somebody of trans-gender not to forgot a blend of souls with a range of colours from around the globe.

Skelton won the 1972 Driver to Europe Series in this Bowin P4A- here he is with car and some TAA ‘hosties’ during one of the Calder rounds.

Australian Formula Ford buffs will recall the days when Australia’s ‘second domestic carrier’ was Trans Australia Airways before it was logically rolled into Qantas whereupon the whole lot was privatised a cuppla decades ago. For a wonderful period TAA sponsored the ‘Driver to Europe Series’ and in the process aided and abetted the overseas careers of drivers including Larry Perkins…

And so it was the ‘hosties’ airline attendants or cabin crew attended meetings particularly the one at which the annual award and ‘kingsized’- in physical dimensions if not the amount of the cheque was handed to the winning driver.

He took his prize and the very first Bowin P6- #P6F-119-72 to England late in the year and contested a couple of meetings including the Formula Ford Festival at Snetterton in which fellow Aussies- Buzz Buzaglo, Peter Finlay, John Leffler and Larry Perkins all had a run, a story told in an article about the Bowin P6/P8 I will finish soon. In the meantime there is a bit about the 1972 FF Festival in this piece about Buzz Buzaglo;

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/08/buzz-buzaglo-australian-international-racing-driver-and-the-eternal-racing-story-of-talent-luck/

Dick Simpson’s shot at Calder during the 21 March 1971 DTE round shows Skello in front of Larry Perkins Bib Stillwell owned Elfin 600 with another 600 all cocked up in the background, perhaps Michael Hall? Larry won the round by the way (oldracephotos.com/D Simpson)

 

 

Bob Skelton in a works MG Midget at Bathurst in 1968 (D Simpson)

Skelton won the 1972 DTE with Bowin P4’s taking the top three placings- Skelton won with 57 points, two points ahead of John Leffler (the 1973 winner aboard a P6F) with Bob Beasley third in the Jack Brabham Ford P4X on 53 points- the best of the Elfins was Enno Buesselmann’s 600 in fourth place.

Out of sportscars, Skelton had his first FF season in 1971 in a Bowin P4- he managed to convince Bryan Byrt who had advertised for sale the car speedway ace Garry Rush had been racing (P4A-106-70) with Byrt Ford support, to hang onto it and allow him to race it rather than sell it managing to finish runner-up to Perkins that year. It was a great performance coming to open-wheelers ‘cold’.

Skelton got more got serious for 1972. He acquired a new P4 from John Joyce (P4A-115-72) and invested in the also new- eligible from that season, Capri XL ‘uprated’ Kent engine- still 1600cc but stronger in certain respects. In fact he was the only driver to use the motor from the seasons outset, but he missed the opening Warwick Farm round due to illness, Bob Beasley won in the Jack Brabham Ford Bowin P4X about which I have written in the past.

Bob made amends at Sandown but Beasley won at Calder and by the fifth round at Hume Weir, John Leffler (P4A), Beasley and Enno Buesselmann (Elfin 600) all had ‘Kents’- Leffo’s was prepped by Bruce Richardson, Beasley and Buesselmann’s engines by racer/engineer Graham ‘Tubby’ Ritter in Melbourne- all these years later Tubby’s son Michael Ritter continues the family Formula Ford preparation tradition!

Despite that, Skelton won at the Weir and Oran Park but throughout the year John Leffler, a very successful Cooper S sports-sedan racer who initially tasted FF in Alan Vincent’s Bowin P4A, was on the march. He had a new P4 of his own and secured Grace Bros sponsorship mid-year which would take him through Formula Ford and ANF2 (Bowin P8) all the way to an F5000 Gold Star win in a Lola T400 Chev in 1976.

Skelton from Enno Buesselmann’s Elfin 600 in one of the two Sandown DTE rounds in 1972 (AMRA)

 

A Bowin front-runner in 1971-1972 was another guy who had come out of sportscars- Clubmans was Bob Beasley, here in the Jack Brabham Ford P4X at Oran Park on 19 September 1971(L Hemer)

 

Leffler won the penultimate Warwick Farm round from Beasley and Skelton setting up a ‘winner takes all’ showdown at the Amaroo Park season-ended where, depending upon where they finished, either Skelton, Beasley or Leffler could win the title.

Further spice was added to the mix by the entry of Larry Perkins in the new side-radiator Elfin 620 Larrikins was shortly to ship to the UK to contest the Formula Ford Festival at Snetterton.

Larry was the 1971 FF title winner but took his prize a year later to amass a bit more experience before going ‘over there’, notably aboard Holden Dealer Team circuit and rallycross cars and picking up the 1972 Australian F2 Championship in Gary Campbell’s Elfin 600B Ford twin-cam. For Larry the meeting was valuable race testing and for Elfin’s Garrie Cooper a good run by Perkins would help fill his order for 1973 book which had taken a dent with so much Bowin P4 success.

The pressure showed too- Skelton missed a gear in practice, bending a valve and taking the edge off his engine- without a spare, a standard head was fitted overnight. Larry made Skelton’s job easier by having a huge lose in The Loop taking out Bob Beasley- who, closely following Larry, hit the Elfin head-on. As a consequence Leffler had an easy round win, Skelton took the title- and the trip to the UK, with David Mingay third in Birrana F71- the very first Birrana built by Tony Alcock in Sydney before his partnership with Malcolm Ramsay, this car was first raced by John Goss.

(Wirra)

Amaroo final round with John Leffler’s Bowin P4A in front of an Elfin 600, Enno Buesselmann or Bob Kennedy perhaps? and then Skelton’s P4A.

(Racing Car News)

The first photograph is not on the same lap as the latter two but you can get the drift (sic).

The end result is a rather sick P4X Bowin and perhaps a bit of repair work for Elfins in Edwardstown on the new, very first Elfin 620 before Perkins popped it on a plane to the UK- the 620/620B was a successful series of cars taking Driver to Europe titles in the hands of Terry Perkins in 1974 and Jeff Summers in 1982. I will always have a soft spot for them, my first drive of a racing car was in one of the four Bob Jane-Frank Gardner Race Driving School 620B’s.

Amaroo Park victory parade with the TAA hosties which is about where we came in!

Bob on the XA Falcon GT whilst John Leffler and Bob Beasley make do with Fairlanes…

Other Formula Ford Reading…

On the early days in Australia and Bowin; https://primotipo.com/2018/08/30/bowin-p4a-and-oz-formula-ford-formative/ and Jack Brabham and his Bowin P4X; https://primotipo.com/2019/01/16/jacks-bowin-again/ and the FF Race of Champions at Calder; https://primotipo.com/2018/10/30/calder-formula-ford-race-of-champions-august-1971/ not to forget a bit about Skelton towards the end of this article on Peter Brock; https://primotipo.com/2019/02/01/this-is-hard-work/

Bibliography…

‘AMRA’- Australian Motor Racing Annual 1973′, Paul Newby, Terry Sullivan

Photo Credits…

‘AMRA’, Ian Smith, oldracephotos.com/Dick Simpson, Wirra, Lynton Hemer, Racing Car News

Tailpiece: Skelton, Bowin P4A, Oran Park September 1971…

(L Hemer)

Bob Skelton progressed from Formula Ford to ANF2 in 1973- converting the P6F he raced in England to F2 specifications over that Australian summer, he was mighty quick too, that story told in full in the upcoming P6 piece I mentioned earlier.

Finito…

Coronavirus…

Posted: March 23, 2020 in Who,What,Where & When...?
Tags:

Guggenheim Bilbao (M Bisset)

About the only funny aspect of the Coronavirus is the various the adaptations of The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ to ‘My Corona’ but otherwise its a long, hard haul we are all engaged in.

We primotipo mob are a global lot with lots of our readership buddies in Spain and Italy- our hearts and thoughts are particularly with you guys and your families at the moment.

I was lucky enough to visit Spain again in mid 2018 and had another two week blast through Italy last July. My partner is Italian and still has family in Montebelluna and Treviso in the Northern Italy ‘lock-down zone’, it is very distressing talking to these older folks at the moment and to see the scenes on television.

Here in Australia the progress of the virus is a little behind in its ‘maturity’ but we have gone from a business trip- Melbourne to Brisbane on 12-15 March to the Australian borders closure and most of our state borders closed or announced to be so from tomorrow.

We are now working, if we can at all, remotely, from home, its great to see the Italian toll decline for the first time overnight- anyway, thinking of you guys, we are in it together, the Chinese Wet Markets must be eliminated to avoid the next global killer.

Stay well my friends…

Varenna, Lake Como (M Bisset)

 

(P Maslen)

Paul Hawkins’ Lola T70 Mk3 Chev rounds Repco Hill bend during the 1967 Surfers Paradise 12 Hour enduro on 3 September…

‘Hawkeye’ shared the 5 litre Chev V8 engined car with its owner, Jackie Epstein, to third place behind the victorious Greg Cusack/Bill Brown Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM and Alan Hamilton/Glynn Scott Porsche 906.

I did a quickie on this race a while back but it’s now a 3800 word feature thanks to the upload of many photographs on social media by Peter Maslen and Lindsay Ross (http://www.oldracephotos.com/content/home/) and discovery amongst my magazine collection of the September 1967 issue of ‘Racing Car News’, which has a beautifully written race report by Des White- click here to read it; https://primotipo.com/2018/08/28/1967-surfers-paradise-6-hour/

Credit…

Peter Maslen

(R Thorncraft)

Kevin Bartlett and Frank Gardner, McLaren M10B Chev and Lola T300 Chev, ‘Warwick Farm 100’ F5000 Tasman round, 13 February 1972…

 

Great mates both and former members of Alec Mildren Racing where FG was a mentor to KB in his formative days in the team from 1965. Both the Brabham 1.5 Ford and Mildren Maserati sporty Kevin first raced were cars FG also drove so he had much to pass on to the youngster who had raw talent, speed and car control to burn. Here the guys are deep into the Creek Corner braking area at the end of Hume Straight- the noses of their steeds close to the bitumen as the pitch angle increases.

 

By 1972 Gardner was about to step back from single-seaters, in fact he ‘retired’ from them after the following weekend at Sandown selling the works machine to Gary Campbell and sitting out the final Adelaide round. Mind you he did a race in the prototype T330 in late 1972 (third at the October Brands European F5000 championship round behind Redman’s Chevron B24 and McRae McRae GM1) just to make sure this masterpiece of an F5000- the greatest ever, was behaving as its designers intended. That chassis T330 ‘HU1’ is well known to Aussies as Max Stewart’s car, a very successful machine which is still in Oz.

 

(R Thorncraft)

 

Whilst the benchmark F5000’s from 1969 through 1971 (M10A and the refined M10B) the ex-Niel Allen chassis ‘400-02’ was getting a bit long in the tooth by the time KB acquired it after the 1971 Tasman Series from Allen. But the 1971 NZ GP winner was an astute purchase by KB as a trick/schmick M10B with all of the works and some home-grown developments and which had been beautifully prepared by Peter Molloy.

 

Bartlett pedalled it hard too, he was the only M10B driver to take a ’72 Tasman round win amongst all the newer kit- the Teretonga round at Invercargill. Thirds at Wigram and Warwick Farm were his other best results with four DNF’s out of the eight rounds. F5000’s always were brittle things, it was only unreliability which cost him the ’71 Gold Star Series, a championship won by his other Mildren Racing mate, Max Stewart in a reliable 2 litre Mildren Waggott TC-4V. By the start of the 1972 Gold Star in mid year a new T300 was in Kevin’s workshop back in Oz but not before he took in the first US ‘L&M’ round at Laguna Seca in the M10B (fifth) before switching to the Jones Eisert Racing T300 for subsequent US races.

 

Gardner didn’t have a great Australasian summer in T300 ‘HU1’- he boofed it during the AGP weekend at Warwick Farm in November 1971, after repair he won the NZ GP in it at Pukekohe in January 1972 and then his engine cut-out at high speed causing a big accident at Levin. He missed the balance of the Kiwi rounds whilst the car was re-tubbed around a fresh monocoque flown out from Huntingdon. The car was plenty fast though- he was second at Surfers Paradise, Warwick Farm and Sandown.

 

KB from FG on the exit of Creek (R Thorncraft)

 

The ‘Farm round was won by Frank Matich in his Matich A50 Repco from FG and KB but ‘the star’ of that series was Graham ‘Cassius’ McRae in his Len Terry designed Leda GM1 Chev aka McRae GM1. His Louis Morand Chevy powered car was both reliable and fast with wins at Levin, Wigram, Surfers and Sandown. It is fair to say the GM1 was the most successful F5000 car of 1972 with McRae also taking the US ‘L&M’ F5000 Championship- he was also third in the European title taking five of the fourteen rounds despite not contesting all of the them. More of the Warwick Farm Tasman in 1972; https://primotipo.com/2018/11/02/australias-mr-and-mrs-motorsport/

 

 

(R Thorncraft)

 

Credits…

 

All photos by Russell Thorncraft

 

Tailpiece: FG did get in front- KB’s McLaren from FG in front of a marvellous crowd…

 

(R Thorncraft)

 

Finito…

 

‘Start ya bastardo’ seems to be the expression on Glen Abbey’s face…

He and the other Alec Mildren Racing boys are trying to get Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT16 Climax alive for the start of the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe on January 7 1967.

It was a tough series for the Sydney crew- 1967 saw the V8 engines multiply that summer, the poor old, venerable Coventry Climax FPF 2.5 litre four potter- Tasman engine de jour for so long was overwhelmed by Repco-Brabham, Coventry Climax and BRM V8’s, the trend started the year before of course.

More would come in 1968 with the Ferrari V6 and BRM V12 adding to the onslaught but by then Mildren had a supply of Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 V8’s- not that they ever quite did the trick in the Tasman, but they were pretty handy at Gold Star level.

Wigram 1966, FG’s Brabham BT11A Climax 2.5 DNF accident, being hosed off by the 1.9 litre BRM P261 V8’s of Dick Attwood #2 2nd and Stewart #6 winner (unattributed)

 

FG and BT16 in New Zealand 1967, circuit unknown (E Sarginson)

In fact the little F2 based BT16 gave Gardner his best Tasman result ever, equal second.

Jim Clark won in a Lotus 33 Coventry Climax FWMV 2 litre, his yield was five wins, three in Tasman Cup championship events and 45 points, whilst equal second were Jackie Stewart, BRM P261 V8 2.1, two wins, Jack Brabham, Brabham BT23A Repco ‘640’ V8 with one and Frank who was winless but consistently quick throughout.

He was third at Lakeside, Warwick Farm and Sandown- three weekends in a row actually, and fourth at Levin, Wigram and Longford- his only DNF’s were in the NZ GP opening round at Pukekohe and Teretonga with engine and oil line problems respectively. Click here for Tasman 1967; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/24/1967-hulme-stewart-and-clark-levin-new-zealand-tasman-and-beyond/

So the paddock photo is representative of dramas which came in the 21 lap preliminary on GP morning when a valve and piston came into contact- that was it for FG’s weekend. Stewart won the NZ GP from Clark and Richard Attwood’s BRM P261.

Back to Mildren and Gardner’s plans for the 1967 Tasman.

Frank and Alec figured they needed something light in all the circumstances so an F2 frame into which they could pop their FPF and Hewland HD5 gearbox made sense- FG had raced Alec’s Brabham BT11A’s in the 1965 and 1966 Tasmans, one of them was raced by Kevin Bartlett. In fact 1967 would be KB’s first full Tasman, as against just running the Australian rounds.

Frank’s European commitments didn’t extend to full F2 seasons in 1965 and 1966 but he did a ‘halfa’ season or thereabouts in 1965 racing several cars- a John Willment Lotus 35 Cosworth SCA, Ken Tyrell Cooper T75 BRM P80 and Midland Racing Partnership Lola T60 BRM P80. In 1966 he raced MRP Lola T60 and T61 BRM’s.

Whilst Mildren’s were a ‘Brabham and Alfa Romeo Shop’ (yes i know not exclusively) and the chassis selection may have been a foregone conclusion, perhaps FG’s closeup view- ‘up the clacker’ of Jochen Rindt’s Winkelmann BT16 at Reims for an hour and a half in July 1965 convinced him Ron’s chassis was the go. Jochen won the Reims GP in 1:33.55.7 from FG on 1:33.55.9 in the Midland Lola.

And so it was they did a deal to buy the John Coombes ‘F2-8-65’ BT16 which had been raced by Graham Hill in 1965 and 1966 in Euro F2 until Coombes replaced it with a new-fangled monocoque Matra MS5 midyear. Click here for articles on Euro 1 litre F2;

Lotus 35, SCA and P80 engines; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/06/jim-clark-lotus-35-and-the-cosworth-sca-f2-engine/

and Brabham Hondas; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/30/xxxii-grand-prix-de-reims-f2-july-1966-1-litre-brabham-hondas/

and the F2 Matras; https://primotipo.com/2019/05/24/surtees-matra-1966-and-thereabouts/

FG in Brabham BT19 Repco ‘740’- Jack’s 1966 ‘620 Series’ powered championship machine during the Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1967 (M Hayward)

 

Gardner, Ford GT Mk2, Le Mans 1967 (D Friedman)

‘F2-8-65’ was soon in Australia and made race ready by Glenn Abbey for the Hordern Trophy, for some years the traditional Gold Star Championship final, December, Warwick Farm round. Frank won from Kevin Bartlett and Spencer Martin in ‘identical’ Brabham BT11A’s entered by Mildren and Bob Jane.

The 1967 Tasman result was outstanding for FG and Mildren’s, it was again a reminder of his speed, consistency and maturity.

At the end of the summer off he went to Europe for what by then had become his ‘usual cocktail’ of touring cars, sports-prototypes and sportscars, F2 and occasional, usually non-championship F1 drives. To me FG had it all-what a mix of cars, and paid well to do it!

Bartlett in the Mildren Brabham BT11A Climax at Warwick Farm during 1967

The BT11A was one of Kevin Bartlett’s all-time favourite cars so it was no surprise Mildren sold BT16 instead- KB and Spencer went at it hammer ‘n tongs again in 1967- a battle between two mates told here; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/27/kbs-first-bathurst-100mph-lap/

Niel Allen was the purchaser albeit the car was usually driven for him by Fred Gibson. From Niel- I think he sold it when he bought Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A Ford FVA at the end of the ’68 Tasman, it went to Col Green then Neil Rear in Perth, in the US now innit for quite some while?

Etcetera…

(D Logan)

FG has crested ‘Lukey Heights’ and is plunging left towards Dandenong Road during the 26 February 1967 ‘Sandown Cup’, he was third behind Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8 and Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Climax FPF 2.5.

Credits…

Doug Shaw Collection, Euan Sarginson, Duncan Logan, oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece; c’mon baby, please!…

Glenn, Stu Randall and Ian Gordon (?), note the nose of the ‘Scuderia Veloce’ 250LM at left, at that stage the custodian was Kiwi racer Andy Buchanan.

Its a period typical Brabham, skinny (albeit not at all so by the standards of a modern Formula Ford) and sturdy spaceframe chassis with upper and lower wishbones and outboard coil spring/shocks with an adjustable roll bar. Alford & Alder steel uprights- you beaut cast magnesium ones arrived with the 1967 BT23/24.

Wonderul bits of chuckable kit straight outta the box- design by Tauranac and final suspension settings by John Arthur Brabham.

Finito…

(Getty)

HRH Prince Phillip during a ‘cooks tour’ of Coventry Climax Ltd, Widdrington Road, Coventry on 21 June 1966…

I tripped over these photographs searching for shots of the FWMV four-valve heads- that 1.5 litre V8 was the engine Jim Clark used to win his 1963 and 1965 F1 titles in the rear of Lotus 25 and 33 chassis, the second of his cups was won using the four-valver.

Unsuccessful as i was in my search for an image of one of the final iterations of this lauded engine, i did find this beauty of a ‘normal’ two valver with HRH alongside- who are the technicians exchanging cam timing details with the chief i wonder?

(Getty)

The one below of the Prince wandering towards the 1.5 litre, still-born, FWMW Flat-16 made me chuckle as it reminded me of a DC Nye anecdote which goes along the lines of the Climax hierachy showing off the ultimate expression of their design and precision engineering capabilities- which was singing its supreme song on the test bed, but conversation was impossible, so Climax Managing Director Leonard Lee instructed revs to be cut back- a fatal mistake as 5000rpm or more was needed, below that critical number savage torsional vibration caused the quill shaft to break with plentiful mechanical mayhem following shortly thereafter- which it did. Whilst not an engineer the royal understood that something was amiss, making soothing sounds of sympathy, he wandered further along the corridors.

Check out the engines below- FWMV show engine, FWMW 16 in the right foreground, an outboard to the left of Lee, but what is the Amal fed four in front of the Prince?

Coventry Climax MD, Leonard Lee, HRH, Wally Hassan with hands in suit pockets behind and others- any clue folks? (Getty)

 

Prince Phillip sussing a CC dyno before sixteen cylinder carnage sets in (Getty)

None of the four FWMW engines laid down ever found their way into the cars designed for them- oil drainage, pumping and windage losses and time pressures ensured that- the 1.5 litre formula ended and Climax decided not to continue in racing so the Lotus 39, Brabham BT19 and Cooper T80 never raced with the sixteen cylinder engine for which they were designed but with a 2.5 Climax FPF four, 3 litre Repco Brabham 620 V8 and 3 litre Maserati V12 instead.

Theoretical advantages of higher revs, greater piston area and better breathing of the sixteen were never realised, but that FWMV four valve V8 delivered the goods even if its advantage over its more conventional sibling was marginal, mind you, in 1.5 litres 5 bhp makes a difference particularly if Clark J was behind the wheel of the car to which said engine was fitted.

(MotorSport)

What a jewel of a thing and what might have been had the 1.5 litre formula lasted another year? FWMW 16 on the test bed in 1965.

The antecedent engine of the Flat-Sixteen conceived by Climax Technical Director Wally Hassan and Chief Designer Peter Windsor-Smith was the 38hp ‘Featherweight’ 1020cc, SOHC four- from little things do big things grow. The two men set about design and construction of a 1.5 litre, twin-cam, two-valve, fuel injected sixteen cylinder engine with central power take off with projected power of circa 240-250bhp @ 12,000rpm after extrapolating the power of the best of the FWMV’s to the greater piston area of their proposed new engine.

Whilst twelve and sixteen cylinder engines were considered, the sixteen modelled best using the bore/stroke ratio of the successful Mk3 FWMV of 0.76:1- this provided for a bore and stroke of 54.1mm by 40.64mm giving a piston area of 23cm. Using the previously achieved 4.5bhp per square inch of piston area gave the 250bhp projection.

Lets not forget competitive pressures were the cause of this exciting engine’s birth- both Ferrari and Honda were racing twelves which showed promise, but 1964 ended up a battle of V8’s- Ferrari, BRM and Coventry Climax of course, with John Surtees’ Ferrari 158 taking the titles by the narrowest of margins.

The design influence of the Ferrari Flat-12 engine showed in that Climax contemplated the motor being used as a stressed member so chassis mounting points for the combined crankcase and cylinder block were provided on the crankcase and heads, of which there were four- four sets of four cylinders.

The crankshaft had central take off to minimise the torsional vibrations of such a long piece of exotic metal- the crank was laid out as two, four-throw single plane-units running in five main bearings but turned through 90 degrees to each other with their inner ends shrunk onto a central spur-gear. The spur gear passed power to an output shaft running below the crank at 80% of engine speed to suit the gearing of the ZF and Hewland transmissions used contemporarily.

1954 ad for the Coventry Climax Featherweight powered firepump unit. In 1951 the prototype 1020cc OHC, two valve, single carb, inline four produced 36bhp @ 3500rpm and delivered twice as much water as an existing unit which weighed double the weight of the Climax FW

 

Vic Berris cutaway showing the elegant simplicity…of the Climax FWMW Sixteen- oh what mighta been! Specifications as per text

The heads, as described above, used two valves and a single plug- the included angle between the valves was 48 degrees with inlet tracts designed for the port type Lucas fuel injection with which the designers were well familiar- Lucas also provided the transistorised ignition system.

Trains of spur gears running off the central power takeoff drove oil pressure and scavenge pumps down below and and the twin overhead camshafts and auxiliaries above the takeoff. Auxiliaries were located outta the way atop the crankcase comprised twin fuel injection pumps, the distributors and alternator- whilst the motor sounds huge it was small- only one inch longer than the FWMV at 30.9 inches and 22.6 inches wide.

Design commenced in 1963 with the first run on the dyno in late 1964- the major problem, as Prince Phillip will attest, was severe torsional vibration at low revs. A stronger replacement took too long and also failed- the best seen on test was 209bhp, none of the problems were insurmountable but the 1965 season was underway with developments of the good ole FWMV good enough to do the job.

Richie Ginther’s Honda RA272 V12 win at Mexico City in the very last Grand Prix of the marvellous 1.5 litre Formula in late October 1965 was perhaps a portent of what may have been an amazing battle between the Ferrari and Honda twelves and Climax sixteen in 1966 had the Formula run one more year, ignoring the small matter of Climax’ withdrawal from racing of course…

Etcetera…

(M Hewitt)

Further research- not exactly the shot of the heads I was after but a great view of the four-valver’s camshafts, plugs and gear driven cams which were characteristic of this Mk6 engine used by Clark and the Mk7 allocated to the Brabham Racing Organisation- the two only 1.5 litre FWMV four valve engines.

The mechanic (who is it folks?) got the Lotus 33 back together in time for Jim to win the Dutch Grand Prix the following July 1965 day from Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 and Dan Gurney’s Brabham BT11 Climax.

(MotorSport)

Denis Jenkinson eliciting information on the specification of the three Lotus 33’s at Spa in June 1965.

The #17 machine is Jim’s race car fitted with the four-valve engine- note the low level exhausts fitted to his two cars whereas the #18 Mike Spence 33 has a much earlier spec Climax fitted with two-plane crank and crossover exhaust.

Jim won come raceday from Stewart and McLaren’s Cooper T77 Climax with Mike seventh on a circuit where the extra 10bhp or so would have made a hellluva difference.

(unattributed)

Still in the Spa paddock, note the distinctive ribbing on the cam covers of the four valve engine compared with the two valve motor shown in the drawing below. Low level exhausts, Lucas fuel injection- output of this FWMV Mk6 was quoted as 212bhp @ 10,300rpm and 119 lb/ft of torque at 8,900rpm.

ZF five speed transaxle, rubber donuts at the driveshaft inner ends, outboard non-ventilated disc brakes and rear suspension comprising single top link, inverted lower wishbone, two radius rods, coil spring/damper unit and magnesium upright- period typical and oh-so-effective, the rear end bite, traction of the 25/33’s was said to be one of the performance differentiators compared with the BRM P261.

Lotus 25 and early FWMV Weber carbed Mk1 or 2 V8 drawn (unattributed)

Credits…

Getty Images, Doug Nye, M Hewitt, MotorSport, Vic Berris, Coventry Climax, ‘1 1/2 Litre Grand Prix Racing: Low Power, High Tech’ Mark Whitelock

Tailpiece…

(Getty)

A capable pilot, Prince Phillip about to leave Coventry, no doubt he had promised the Queen he would be back in London before afternoon tea- Westland Wessex ‘chopper?

Finito…