Archive for July, 2014

 

cutaway

Superb Tony Matthews cutaway drawing of ‘HU18’ in 1973 spec…

The first instalment of Peters’ restoration of the Lola was its history, acquisition of the car and its journey from Portland, Oregon to Melbourne, Australia…

Once unloaded, there was no doubt, not that there ever was, that the chassis was completely hors’d combat, so the big initial question was who to get to repair it. This months account is essentially  the first 8 months of work…

tub

HU18 tub as it arrived in Melbourne. Note delicate placement of Hewland bellhousing, general state of tub, RH front aluminium melted by workshop fire and ‘fried’ state of steering rack. Original Lola wheels crack-tested ok, ‘wets’ use perhaps.

Monocoque…

unpicking

‘Unpicking’ the old tub at Borlands. Fire damage clear, side pontoons in front

‘My choices were the Kiwi’s,  Mark Bahner (in the US) or a local. Price-wise their was little difference between the US and NZ once exchange rates were taken into account but I wanted to be involved in the actual build itself. I was never going to be happy just sending $ overseas, then there are airfare costs to keep an eye on things so I settled on Mike Borland of Borland Engineering. He had done tubs from scratch for 2 mates and some great work over 10 years on a range of other cars and he was happy for me to be involved. His workshops in Mordialloc are a helluva lot closer to home than the West Coast of the US!’

Borland Racing Developments are a renowned local builder of Spectrum Formula Fords, and a whole lot more, rather than go off on that tangent here is a link to their website…

spectrum

http://www.borlandracing.com/

Tub 1

Measuring assembly of chassis

‘Decisions needed to be made regarding its construction, the original alloy sheet was 1.3mm, no wonder they were called the ‘flexi-flyer’! We decided on 1.6mm, marginally heavier, but they are my legs!’

‘The task was a big one though, the RT4’s I have rebuilt have been relatively simple. In essence the tub is laid on the floor, templated, holes punched and popped into a folder. The Lola was far more complex, we ‘unpicked’ the tub, what a mess. We were never likely to be able to salvage much of the ‘tinware’. There was a huge amount of work to duplicate the inner support panels. Everything is handmade. There are metal bits inside the tub, which are beaten, riveted works of art. Internal brackets are then solid riveted to external panels’.

fabrications

Fabrications, old & new

‘We borrowed the wrecked tub of ‘HU1’ off Darcy (Darcy Russell owns the ex-Stewart T330 HU1, and had Chas Talbot build a new tub for it having destroyed the old one in an Eastern Creek accident some years ago) to help with key measurements and reference points. We kept the front and rear roll hoops of HU18 but the rest was rooted. All internal bulkheads had to be remade, new front suspension ‘top-hats’, gearshift linkages etc.’.

The process commenced before Christmas 2013 and took around 8 months.

stteering mount

Steering mount/roll hoop. Front master cylinder bulkhead in front

 

tub 3

Continuing assembly, constantly measuring and checking images as reference, steering mount/roll hoop original.

 

tub 2

Carefully squaring the chassis up pre-drilling rivet holes

 

chassis 2

Front of new monocoque

 

chassis 1

Chassis workmanship apparent, front bulkhead in situ. Centre section cross beam also in place. Steering mount/roll hoop on the floor behind.

 

mount

The rear attachment point for the lower front wishbone is weak in a frontal impact, this in period ‘Lola Limp’ brace connects the two pickup points and minimises the risk of part of the A arm /wishbone piercing ones leg…

 

front

Dummy fit of steering mount/roll hoop, roll bar, suspension top mounts, nose-cone support. Roll-over bar leg just visible in far left middle of shot.

fuel cell

‘Harmon’ 60 litre fuel cell sourced in the US. Front & rear rollover fabrications original.

Suspension…

‘The suspension was all pretty good. All the wishbones are made of T45 steel, we oxide blasted, then crack tested using magnaflux the lot, Paul Faulkner helping us out. The cross beam which mounts the lower ‘A arm’ or wishbone was remade, as was the anti ‘Lola-Limp’ cross beam, refer to the photo above.

‘Finally we nickel plated the lot, all new spherical bearings used throughout of course’

‘The uprights both front and rear were also all good. Oxide-blasted, crack-tested, then re-diechromated. This blackens everything and gives a nice finish, but also protects the magnesium to which we apply WD40 regularly to keep it  (the magnesium castings) moist.’

Hewland DG300…

box before

Hewland had been reputedly rebuilt 30 years before and then unused…as was the case

‘As I had been told, it had been rebuilt years before but it was all good. No surprises. We still had to pull it apart to diechromate it but that was just time not bulk $.’

bax after

Shot of dismantled DG300 courtesy of Motorsport Solutions NZ

Fuel Cell…

‘People who have never taken on one of these projects before would be stunned on how much stuffing around there is just on the relatively small things.The Marston fuel cell was useless of course. One of the poor bits of the original design is that whilst the cells hold 100 litres of fuel, the last 20 litres in each isn’t picked up. Our historic races are short so in the end we sourced a cell from ‘Harmon’ in the US , 1 60 litre cell on the left handside only.’

Steering Rack…

‘The steering rack was a complete pain in the arse, i couldn’t find one anywhere in the world. Its Lolas own rack, in the end it turned out Jay Bondini, a mate in Melbourne had one. It was bent but I was able to create one good rack using Jays bent one, the centre section in all Lola’s racks are common, they then have different ‘ends’ to suit the particular application…and the centre on my ‘fried’ one was ok’

steering

Radiators and Additional Ducts…

‘The radiators were an interesting exercise as I think we may have worked out the reason the car was fitted with the odd additional ducting to keep the thing cool. My bloke is a racer himself, ‘Aussie Desert Cooler’s in Thomastown. When Norm looked at them he found there were no dividers in the radiators so that the coolant goes across the core, and down and back the other side. The coolant was going straight down and not through the core and therefore not working effectively. No other 330 seems to have had a cooling problem so i think we have idntified what they did not in 1973-4’

rad ducts

This shot is of Lella at Brands at the 1974 ‘Race of Champions’ in which she finished fourth. This close-up shot shows the additional aluminium panel (the mirrors are mounted to it) made to inprove airflow into the radiators, which 40 years later trnaspired to be radiators which were not properly made…(Unattributed)

 

radiators

Wheels…

‘I got a swag of wheels, original Lolas’ which all crack-tested ok and may be alright for wets. I looked at the available alternatives , in the end Noel Robson and I had some centres cast and machined and then had Whitehorse Industries ‘spin’ the outers at their Lilydale facility’.

Addendum…

lola heritage

‘Lola Heritage’ shot of assembly of the T332, late 1973 or 1974, Huntingdon factory.

works 2

‘Lola Heritage’ shot, again assembly of T332

Lola Heritage…

lola 3

http://www.lolaheritage.co.uk/

lola 1

 

lola2

Episode 3 in late August…

The chassis is completed, assembly of the car begins, and the engine, ‘Old Midnight’ comes in for some attention.

Photo Credits…

Lola Heritage, Tony Matthews cutaway drawing, Peter Brennan

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

image

Designed by Paolo Martin, Pininfarinas’ Dino 206 Competitzione was one of the more influential designs of the 1960’s…

Based on an unused, unraced Ferrari 206 S chassis, ‘206S-034’, later renumbered  ‘10523’. Pininfarina unveiled ‘The Yellow Dino’ at the 1967 Frankfurt Motor Show, after many years in ‘Farinas’ own collection it is now in private hands in the US.

Martin was 23 when he designed the car, his CV also includes the Ferrari Modulo, and Alfa 33 Roadster concept. He recalls, ‘i used to work on the 1:10 scale model on my house’s small balcony, spreading wood shavings in the underneath courtyard…i was working for Pininfarina secretly for contractual reasons’.

des

The final shape was created in aluminium, two prominent wings were added late in the project by Pininfarina, Paolo said, ‘they were added only at the last minute, since the management thought the design had to be enriched. I was always against it, anyway this was the final decision’.

Its a pity, the wings are ‘imposed’ on an otherwise fluid combination of compound curves. The car was widely hailed one of the ‘show cars’ of the decade all the same.

image

 

engine

Whilst chassis ‘206S-034’ was unraced the car is fitted with an ex-Le Mans 12 valve race engine which still has its ACO affixed scrutineering tags. Circa 218BHP @ 9000 RPM.

 

interior

 

Pininfarina Ferrari Dino Competitzione 206S

Pininfarina advertisement in ‘Automobile Year 16’ 1968 year review

 

pinin

 

villa

Villa D’Este Concourse 2008

Ferrari 206 S…

Ferrari showed its 1966 World Sportscar Championship contenders, the P3 4 litre V12 Prototype, and 206 S, 2 litre V6 Sports Car at the 1965 Paris Auto Show.

To be eligible to race as a Sports Car, Ferrari had to produce a minimum of 50 cars, due to industrial troubles in Italy at the time only 18 were produced, the 206S was therefore forced to compete against much more powerful cars. It still sold well to privateers and was entered on occasion as a ‘Works Car’, the fastest 2 litre car of its day.

It was powered by variants of the Jano designed V6 which won the F1 Drivers Championship for Mike Hawthorn in 1958. Engine capacity was 1987cc, it was fed by Weber carburetors and later Lucas fuel injection. 2, 3 and 4 valve heads were developed, with both single and twin-plugs, the engine produced circa 218BHP @ 9000RPM.

A 5 speed gearbox was utilised, the chassis was Ferraris’ typical space frame of the time with welded on aluminium panels creating a ‘semi-monocoque’ structure. Some exterior pnaels were fibreglass.

Suspension comprised wishbones and coil spring/damper units at the front, and lower inverted wishbone,2 upper links and 1 radius rod, again with coil spring, Koni shocks at both front and rear. Disc brakes were by Girling. 7.5 and 8.5 inch wide (F/Rear) Campagnolo wheels were fitted, the whole lot weighing 654Kg. Very light!

The stunning cars were styled either in-house, or by Piero Drogo, depending on the source document, the bodies built by Piero Drogos ‘Carozzeria Sports Cars’ in Modena.

The shape is ‘mouth-watering’, the production 206/246GT road cars clearly took their styling from these cars.

 

rod

Nurburgring 1000Km, 1966. Rodriguez/Ginther 206 S (Pinterest)

 

bisc

Targa Florio 1966. Biscaldi Ferrari 206 S (Pinterest)

 

246

Ferrari factory shot at Maranello shows the 206 S stunning profile to good effect and just how close the road-going 206/246 GT was to its competition brother (Ferrari SEFAC)

 

dino 206 prototype

Ferrari Dino 206GT Prototype 1967

More Information on ‘The Yellow Dino’…

http://www.carbodydesign.com/archive/2007/09/21-ferrari-dino-berlinetta-competizione/

Photo Credits…Pinterest unattributed, Paolo Martin sketches, Ferrari SEFAC

 

spain

Peter Revson on his way to fourth place in McLaren M23/2 in the 1973 Spanish GP, Montjuich Park, Barcelona (The Cahier Archive)

Background…

No other car has raced in F1, F5000 and CanAm championships before conversion back through F5000 to original F1 specifications. McLaren M 23/2 is that car.

The McLaren M23 was one of the marques most successful designs, winning Grands’ Prix from 1973 to 1977 and Drivers and Manufacturers World Titles for Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt and McLaren in 1974 and 1976  .

Coppuck’s Design…

m23 cutaway

Gordon Coppuck was responsible for the teams  innovative and successful CanAm and Indycar designs, Ralph Bellamy’s return to Brabham gave him his F1 design chance.

The car followed the conceptual path blazed by the Lotus 56/72 in having a chisel nose, side radiators and rising rate suspension, rather than the Tyrrell ‘bluff nose’ alternative aero approach of the day. McLarens very successful M16 Indycar followed the 72 so it was a logical step for Coppuck, using the well established McLaren interactive design approach, with many on the shop floor having input into the conceptual stages of new car development.

The M23 was a typical British ‘kit car’ of the period with its Cosworth DFV 3 litre V8 and Hewland FG 400 5 speed gearbox. New deformable structure rules mandated for ’73 allowed a fresh approach to address M19’s shortcomings which were a lack of straight line speed and weight. The chassis was formed in 16 gauge aluminium sheet, all joints bonded and riveted, the radiator sidepods an integral extension of the structure. Fuel tankage was centralised to promote ‘Tyrrell like’ low polar moment of inertia, the driving position pushed forward relative to the M19.

Front suspension comprised rising or progressive rate linkages, a large lower wishbone and top rocker actuating inboard mounted spring/shock units. At the rear a reversed lower wishbone, adjustable top link and twin radius rods were used, spring rate progression was achieved with the winding of the coil springs.

mac Front

Front bulkhead, nose-cone support, master cylinders, wide-based lower wishbone, top rocker & inboard spring / shock, workmanship clear…(John Lemm)

Brakes were Lockheed ‘CanAm’ calipers, rotors 10.5 inches in diameter, outboard at the front & inboard, beside the gearbox, at the rear.

The bodywork was ‘all enveloping’, the airbox neatly covering the engine aiding airflow to the rear wing.

The wheelbase was 101 inches, front track 65 inches, rear 62.5 inches, length 170 inches, the whole lot weighing a claimed 1270 pounds distributed 34%/66% front to rear.

’73 Grand Prix Season…

4 of these ‘original spec’ cars were built for 1973, the prototype M23/1 was tested at Goodwood by Denny Hulme before setting off for the season opening South African GP at Kyalami. He was immediately quicker than in the M19, rapidly adjusting to the ‘far forward’ driving position. Hulme put the car on pole at Kyalami and lead the race before puncturing on debris.

Other McLaren team drivers were Mike Hailwood and Peter Revson in his first fulltime Grand Prix season. Revson started his grand prix career in the early 60’s before returning to his native USA and making his name in the CanAm series which he won in ’71 in a McLaren M8F. He was also McLarens Indy driver.

revson

A relaxed Peter Revson prior to the start of his successful British GP at Silverstone ’73…his first GP win (unattributed)

M23/2 debuted in Revsons’ hands on 8 April 1973 at the Silverstone International Trophy, finishing 4th, it was to be his car for most of the year, his promise as an F1 driver fulfilled with a tremendous victory at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix. McLarens ‘cub driver’ Jody Scheckter, in another M23 famously causing a multi-car pileup after losing control at Woodcote at the end of lap 1 and proving the strength of Coppucks design.

Revson British

Peter Revson en-route to victory in M23/2 , Silverstone ’73 (unattributed)

M23/2 was used by Scheckter later in the season in Canada and the US before being sold to South African ace Dave Charlton.

Dave Charltons’ Championship car in 1974 & ’75… 

charlton 2

Dave Charlton delicately drifts M23/2, South African GP Kyalami 1975. He finished 14th in the race won by countryman Jody Scheckters’ Tyrrell 007 (reddit.com)

The McLaren replaced Charltons’ Lotus 72D for the South African National Championship, it was incredibly successful winning 8 races and Championships in ’74/5. Charlton set a Kyalami lap record in the 1975 Rand Winter Trophy which stood for years until broken in the ground effects era.

The cost of F1 cars was getting out of hand, so Charlton offered the car for sale with the introduction of Formula Atlantic as South Africa’s Championship class from 1976.

charlton

Dave Charlton in M23/2 Brandkop circuit, Orange Free State, South Africa ’74…2 SA Championships on the trot in ’74-5 in M23/2 (David Pearson)

charlton portrait

Rob Ryders’ shot of Dave Charlton at the 1972 British Grand Prix, his Lotus 72D retired with gearbox failure. (Rob Ryder)

John McCormack…

o park

Oran Park Gold Star round 1978. McCormack, Graham McRae, McRae GM3 Chev, Elfin MR8 at rear (John Shingleton)

Aussie F5000 racer John Mc Cormack was the eager purchaser, ’Charlton was a terrific bloke to deal with, I bought the car, 20 wheels, multiple sets of front and rear wings, bodywork, 2 types of airbox, less engines, which I should have bought and sold later, then the exchange rate moved in my favour so it was a really good deal..McLaren were still racing the car when I bought it, I had contacts there and they were used to dealing with customers so it all made good sense, as long as we could get the engine to play its part….’

mac

John McCormack promoting the ‘Racesafe Wool TT’ racesuit circa ’76

McCormack started racing in his native Tasmania breaking into the national scene with the purchase of Jack Brabham’s ’62 AGP car, a Brabham BT4 Climax. He proved he could mix with the ‘big boys’ in an Elfin 600C, very competitive when fitted with a Repco ‘740 Series’ V8 in place of the old Climax. He bought the first Elfin MR5 Repco in 1971 and via his connection with PIARC’s John Lanyon did the Ansett sponsorship deal to create the 2 car Ansett Team Elfin with Elfin owner/designer/driver Garrie Cooper. McCormack and his team developed his car to be very competitive, winning the Australian Drivers Championship, the ‘Gold Star’ in 1973 and the NZ GP, part of the annual Tasman series of 8 races run in Australia and New Zealand every summer, in 1973 and 1974.

mac brabham

Tasmanian Gold Star race success. Mac second in the 1967 Symmons Plains event to Greg Cusacks’ Repco engined Brabham BT23. Car is McCormacks’ ex Brabham BT4 Climax (oldracephotos)

In search of ‘the unfair advantage’ over the heavy Holden and Chevrolet engined cars, Repco’s Phil Irving spotted the new Leyland P76 family car engine, a 4.4 litre aluminium block V8, at the Melbourne Motor Show. Elfins John Lanyon quickly did a deal with Leyland and Repco to jointly fund development of an F5000 variant of the new engine for a car specifically designed for it to distribute the weight in a fashion more akin to an F1 car, rather than the ‘ tail happy’ F5000’s. McCormack characterised the beasts as ‘like having a pendulum in the car’. Coopers ‘Little Car’ was the Elfin MR6, a new design which debuted for the ’74 season.

MR6 Oran park

John McCormack debuts the Elfin MR6 Repco Leyland # ‘MR6L 6741′ at Oran Park on 30 January 1974. A big panic as the car was running late and was launched in NSW, at Oran Park near Leylands’ Zetland HQ, a long way from Elfins base in Edwardstown, Adelaide… Mac was not happy with the Tasman Series starting in NZ several days later but the car did manage a few laps despite not having ever turned a wheel before…MR6 small by F5000 standards and very 1973 Tyrrell 006 like in appearance.

Repco developed an engine with a capacity of 4931cc, a 94mm bore and 89mm stroke. As originally developed  the engine used the P76 cylinder block fitted with special liners and main bearing stiffening plates, the cast iron crank was replaced with steel units after initial failures. Cylinder heads were P76 with flowed inlet and exhaust ports and larger valves. Pistons, con-rods and bearings were Repco, as was the dry sump setup which utilised 3 stage pressure and scavenge pumps. Fuel injection was by Lucas and a Repco Lorimer dual point distributor fed by coils provided the spark.

Critically the engine weighed only 160kg, compared with the Holdens 220kg, however the claimed power of 425 bhp @ 6800rpm and 375 lb ft of torque at 5500 rpm was far less than the circa 500bhp of a Holden or Chev. Elfins Dale Koenneke quipped that the engine when first raced in early ’74 had ‘no more than 365 bhp’ when installed in the MR6. History tends to support the contention that the horses were ponies rather than stallions!

The engine had many teething problems, the fragility of the engines blocks and cast iron cranks together with consistent overheating were exacerbated by Repco’s withdrawal from racing.

Mc Cormack used both the MR5 and MR6 in ’74, before converting the MR6 to accept the Repco Holden engine. ‘Dale Koenneke said enough!, we put in all this effort and the thing just shits itself, lets put the Holden into it’ in this form winning the ’75 Gold Star.

McCormack, an independent thinker was still convinced the Repco Leyland could be a winner in the right car, the question was finding one!

And so, M23/2 came to Australia, sans DFV but with plenty of spares…

McCormacks team of Dale Koenneke and Simon Aram did a beautiful job installing the Repco Leyland into the car without ‘butchery’, the engine, after modification of the harmonic balancer and relocation of water pump and oil tank fitting neatly into the tub albeit as an unstressed member, the engine supported by traditional tubular ‘A frame’s.

car

Engine sans exhausts, neat installation of the Leyland engine where a DFV was designed to go apparent. ‘A Frame’ engine mounts, side rads, inboard discs, conventional parallel lower links, single top link and coil spring/ shock units in contrast to inboard front set-up…(JohnLemm)

McCormack engaged famous Aussie engineer Phil Irving (ex Repco, Vincent) to further develop the engine from its Repco base. Irving designed new heads cast by Comalco, which eliminated separate valve guides and seats.The design also featured a ‘bent’ pushrod to allow more room for straight inlet ports. John said ‘Power increased to around 435bhp and 410 ft/lbs of torque, more mid range punch than the Repco Holden. An alternate cam delivered 470/380, but this stressed the overall package causing many block failures. All the talk on Friday night at the Horsepower Hotel never won races, it was about torque as well as power and whilst we were light on power we had plenty of mid range punch and a well balanced overall car package’.

The Hewland FG 400 gearbox was marginal in F1 , the torque of the beefy Repco requiring new gears cut by Peter Holinger’s now famous Holinger Engineering concern in outer Melbourne.

rear

Another of John Lemms Coongie Avenue , Edwardstown shots …outboard rear suspension, Hewland FG400 box…fragile in this application given the engines torque, radiators in a constant battle with heat…and off to the left side you can just see the nose-brackets of the Elfin MR6 tricked up as a display car at the time

The Repco and Chev engined Lola, Matich, Chevron and Elfin chassis’ had more power but the McLaren was lighter, the superb balance, handling, and braking of the design maintained as the DFV and Repco Leyland were similar weights. John was convinced he had his ‘unfair advantage’….’the drivability of the car with its long-stroke engine was great, it was an excellent high speed car, it wasn’t quite so good on slower tracks where it lacked feel at the back due to fixed length driveshafts. The car had quite a high roll-centre and was very sensitive to aero tweaks on fast circuits, it was flat into turn 1 at Phillip Island, really quick!’

After much media interest McCormack raced the car at the Oran Park Gold Star round in September ’76 putting it fourth on the grid, a valve failing on lap 22. A win followed at Calder in October then pole at the ‘Island, leading until a tyre deflated, despite this the car finished 3rd in its inaugural Gold Star Series.

o park

Oran Park Australian Grand Prix ’77 (unattributed)

Car sponsor Budget Rent a Cars’ Bob Ansett convinced John to hire Frank Gardner to assist with Team Management in the Rothmans International series but a poor championship caused by unreliability was succeeded by a Gold Star win at Surfers. At Sandown the car gave cooling problems but the final round at Phillip Island showed its true pace, 2 seconds a lap clear of the best Lola on this circuit which is a test of power and handling. McCormack was well in the lead when problems again intervened, John pitting for 2 laps then limping home picking up enough points to win his third Gold Star Series. The year was capped with a win in the ‘Rose City 10000’ at Winton.

grid

McCormack and John Walker, Lola T332 Chev, Oran Park Gold Star round 1978…’lift off’… (John Shingleton)

1978 started poorly with Rothmans Series unreliability followed by an Oran Park Gold Star round win. The Sandown AGP was a terrible race with multiple accidents, the McLaren out virtually from the start with head gasket failures. John dominated at Calder only to run out of fuel with a lap to go. The Phillip Island round was cancelled, John finishing second in the Gold Star.

The season ended again with the ‘Rose City 10000’ at Winton. Amongst the competitors was James Hunt, the 1976 World Champion making a one-off appearance in Australia driving an Elfin MR8 Chev. John was second on the grid to him, Mac having an unfortunate event in which a stone jammed a brake caliper causing a pit stop, he finished fourth in the race won by Hunt.

mechanis

‘Perick of a thing, will it last ?’, F5000’s were brittle and the Leyland Repco was never left alone for long…McCormack and team Adelaide International Raceway ’78 (John Shingleton)

1979 also started poorly with 5th the best result from 4 Rothmans International Series meetings ,Larry Perkins won the title in an Elfin MR8 Chev.The cars last F5000 race was the 1979  AGP at Wanneroo Park, Western Australia where a gear broke.

McCormack entered 20 F5000 events for 3 wins and victory in the 1977 ‘Gold Star’ ahead of cars much younger and more powerful than his 1973 McLaren! Unreliability was an issue with 10 DNS/DNF results, mind you the Chevs and Repco Holdens were also brittle.

Can Am 1979…

can am

M23/2 Can Am, Mid Ohio ’79 (Mark Windecker)

By 1979 F5000 had been ‘destroyed’ by Eric Broadleys fantastic, dominant Lola T330/332/332C series of cars. The Tasman series was over, the Kiwis adopted Formula Atlantic/Pacific and Australia persevered with F5000, somewhat against the global tide. The US F5000 series had died and morphed into 5 litre single seat CanAm sports cars…and McCormack, a professional racer, converted the McLaren from an F5000 to a very attractive CanAm car, M23/2 travelled back over the Pacific again!

‘It was time to have a look at what was happening in the US, things were quiet here so Simon Aram and John Webb designed and built an attractive body and off we went’.

paddock

US paddock shot, circuit unknown. Body designed and built by Simon Aram and John Webb (‘From Maybach to Repco’ Malcolm Preston)

He was taking on a big challenge, the CanAm series in 1979 included Keke Rosberg, Jacky Ickx, Alan Jones, Geoff Lees, Vern Schuppan (Elfin MR8), Bobby Rahal and Al Holbert amongst its competitors. ‘Its true there were some top teams but the quality of the fields rapidly fell away. No one knew the series was on wherever we went, it was poorly promoted, the Americans were much more into Nascar and Indycars, you had to leave the circuit to go and buy fuel at some of the tracks!’

The McLaren competed in 3 rounds for a best result of 12th at Watkins Glen in a series dominated by Lola’s with Ickx winning in a T333CS. ‘There was a weight advantage if you ran 4 litre engines, we did 2 of the races with the 5 litre Leyland and one, the final round, with the 4 litre which gave around 400BHP, the weight thing was academic as the cars were never weighed’. It was no disgrace in this company in a 6 year old car run by a small team far from home. In the end money was tight and it was time to return to Australia to compete in a Jaguar Sports Sedan his team had built, and at the instigation of sponsor, Unipart, the 1980 AGP being run to F5000 and F1 rules!

hill

McCormack in M23/2, Mid Ohio Can Am ’79 (Mark Windecker)

Back to ‘Oz F5000 & finally Home to Woking…

John Mac

John McCormack at the Winton, Victoria, Historic meeting in May 2013, interested, interesting and intelligent. McCormack was outside the mould, successfully going in his own direction throughout his career. I suspect the Leyland engine would have got the better of all but someone like him who applied his experience and pragmatic engineering approach and knowledge to making the thing work despite its fundamental structural weaknesses as a race engine. (Mark Bisset)

Alan Jones was on his way to winning the 1980 World Championship, so the 1980 AGP rules were amended to attract the new champion and his Williams FW07 to Australia, the race allowing both F5000 and F1 cars.

Also making the trip were Bruno Giacomelli and his Alfa 179 and Didier Pironi, of Team Tyrrell who drove an Elfin MR8 for Ansett Team Elfin. McCormacks’ team converted the McLaren back into F5000 form, he was looking forward to the race.’ The McLaren was not a light car it then weighed about 1430 lbs, because the AGP was being run to F1 rules we lightened the car enormously by about 200 lbs. I normally flew to meetings but we a were running late with the preparation of the car so I travelled as a passenger with my mechanic to get some sleep. There was some fog about, he dozed off at the wheel near Keith (in rural South Australia) hitting a tree having glanced off an earth mover which made an horrific accident slightly better than it may have been! I got a brain injury in addition to the physical ones, I have about 70% of my mental capacity, not enough to race again’.

mc laren m23

McCormacks car awaits the driver, Calder paddock AGP 1980…rare shot showing the car in its ‘Resin Glaze’ livery for the event it never started, John badly injured in a road accident in rural SA enroute to Calder (Chris Jewell)

Sadly, that was the last race for both McCormack and the much used M23.  John went on to build a number of successful sports sedans for others and today has property, retail and mining interests near his home town of St Helens on the Tasmanian East Coast.

McLaren built 13 M23’s. M23/2 competed in 54 events, more than any other and winning more races than any other M23 chassis as well, 54 starts for 12 wins. 1 F1 Championship GP, 8 South African Championship rounds and 2 Championships, 3 Australian Gold Star rounds and 1 Championship. Only a CanAm win eluded it in its multi-faceted life.

McCormack was focussed on his health and rebuilding his life, the car was offered locally for sale around 1982, without any takers as F5000 had been replaced by Formula Pacific.

It was just an old uncompetitive car at the time! And then along came McLarens’ Ron Dennis ‘hoovering up’ cars for the factory collection where M23/2, converted back to its Yardley McLaren F1 spec, takes its Museum place in the pantheon of the company’s rich, ongoing 50 year history!

M23/2 travelled the globe as an F1 Car, crossed the Atlantic to South Africa, the Pacific to Australia, back across the Pacific to the States, back to Australia and finally to Woking in the UK, just down the road from Colnbrook where it was built all those years before…a remarkable journey from class to class and back again, competitive all the way throughout!

museum

Monterey Historics : the car in front is an M26 but the rest are M23’s, M23/2 the second car…

 


Etcetera…The story of the McLaren is not complete without delving a bit more into the Engine and its Parentage…

donk

Irving/McCormack/Repco Leyland F5000 engine: drives for oil pumps, dry sump, metering unit, Lucas fuel injection,…all ready for installation into the M23 at McCormacks’ Coongie Avenue, Edwardstown, Adelaide workshop (John Lemm)

Coventry Climax , the ‘Cosworth of their day’ caused chaos for British Grand Prix teams when they announced that they would not build engines for the new 3 litre F1 commencing in 1966. They had been engine suppliers to most of the British teams since 1958.

Repco had serviced the 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF 4 cylinder engines, the engine ‘de jour’ in local Tasman races, but were looking for an alternative to protect their competitive position, Jack Brabham suggested a production based V8 .

He identified an alloy, linerless V8 GM Oldsmobile engine, a project abandoned due to production costs and wastage rates on imperfectly cast blocks. He  pitched the notion of racing engines of 2.5 litre and 3 litre displacements using simple chain driven SOHC heads to Repco’s CEO Charles McGrath.

GM developed a family of engines, the Oldsmobile F85 and Buick 215 almost identical except that the F85 variant had 6 head studs per cylinder head rather than the 5 of the 215 and was therefore Brabhams preferred competition option.

Brabham had seen the engines potential much earlier, racing against Chuck Daighs’ Scarab Buick RE in the cars one off and only race appearance at Sandown in early 1962. The car raced in 3.9 litre form and had plenty of ‘squirt’, albeit the underdeveloped chassis was not as competitive as the Coopers under brakes or through corners.

The engines competition credentials were further established at Indianapolis that year when Indy debutant Dan Gurney qualified Mickey Thomsons’ 215 engined car  8th, the car failing with transmission problems after 92 laps. It was the first appearance of a stock block engined car at Indy since 1945.

scarab

An idea is born…Jack Brabham checking out the 3.9 litre Buick engine in Chuck Daighs’ Scarab RE in its one-off Australian appearance at Sandown in early ’62, its only race experience…(‘Jack Brabham with Doug Nye’ Doug Nye)

Whilst the engine choice was not a ‘sure thing’ its competition potential was clear to Brabham, as astute as he was practical. At the time the engine was the lightest mass production V8 in the world with a dry weight of 144kg with compact external dimensions to boot.

Repco acquired 26 of the F85 blocks and won the 1966/7 World Drivers and Manufacturers Championships as well as countless other races globally with engines using these and later, from 1967, Repco’s own blocks.

repco workshop

Repco’s Maidstone workshops producing the RB620 3 litre F1 engine, 1966

GM sold the production rights of the engine to Rover in 1967. When Phil Irving saw the Leyland engines at the Melbourne Motor Show he thought he knew them well. The original GM design had suffered in its transition to Rover and then to Leyland. In essence their were fewer head bolts on both the inlet and exhaust sides of the heads, the block and heads were sand rather than die cast which made them weaker and less uniform. Finally, the heads had smaller ports than the originals.

The fundamentals of the engine to take increased operating loads and power were lacking. Irving made changes by adding material to the block and head castings which also facilitated the installation of main bearing strengthening bars, such changes homologated by Leyland in accordance with F5000 rules.

Repco claimed 440 BHP with an absolute rev limit of 7500 rpm and a crank life of 1 hour. It was soon found that the fragility of the block and cranks required a maximum of 7000 rpm.

leyland repco

Repco publicity shot of the Leyland Repco engine in its original form as fitted to the Elfin MR6 in 1974 (Repco)

With further development post Repco, McCormacks’ team with the new Comalco heads, different valve sizes, inlet port shapes inspired by Honda and shorter exhaust primaries, John had a vaguely reliable engine consistently giving 435BHP and 410lb ft of torque. Not a lot but enough to do the job, much like the Repco Brabham ‘620 Series engine’ in F1 in 1966, that engine not the most powerful in the field but it did the job, albeit much more reliably than its F5000 relation!

Truly a triumph of development over design on a tiny budget!…

leyland 1

Letter from Leyland Australia to Repco confirming the commercial arrangements to develop the engine, happy days, no lawyers and complex legal agreements! (‘ Maybach to Holden’ Malcolm Preston)

leyland 2

Acknowledgements…

John McCormack for the considerable time he contributed

Malcolm Preston, thanks for your written submission

‘The History of the Grand Prix Car 1966-1985’ Doug Nye

‘Maybach to Holden’ Malcolm Preston

Photographs…

The Rolling Road/John Shingleton, Mark Windecker (CanAm), Autosport TNF, John Lemm, Greg Flood, The Cahier Archive, Greg Falconer, oldracephotos.com, David Pearson, reddit.com, Rob Ryder, Chris Jewell, Werner Buhrer cutaway drawing

 


A few more M23/2 Shots…Addendum…

revson krussel

Peter Revson, German GP 1973, Nurburgring. 9th in the race won by Jackie Stewart (Unattributed)

scheckter & cahrlton

Ian Scheckters Tyrrell 007 in front of Charlton in M23/2 Kyalami 1975 (unattributed)

Sandown

M23/2 Repco, Sandown Park 1977 (unattributed)

winton

winton 78

Rose City 10000, Winton 1978. This race was won by James Hunt in an Elfin MR8 Chev (unattributed)

mac on grid

McCormack on the grid, on the far side is John Walkers’ Lola T332. Oran park Gold Star meeting 1978. (John Shingleton)

mac beside car

‘Don’t let me down baby…’ Adelaide 1978 (John Shingleton)

adelaide

Adelaide 1978, entourage a contrast to the Birrana 274 F2 and Stephen Frasers’ Cicada further back…(John Shingleton)

winton 3

Winton Dummy Grid much the same today, there is a shed where the nifty Dunlop Bus is though. McCormack ‘Rose City 10000’ 1978 (John Shingleton)

mid ohio 3

Mid Ohio CanAm round (Mark Windecker)

mod ohio 4

Wonderful Mark Windecker Mid Ohio shot shows the attractive one-off body fashioned by John Webb and Simon Aram in Adelaide. Still some Repco support, car ran the last Can Am round for the team at Watkins Glen with a 4 litre version of the Repco Leyland, exploiting a weight advantage afforded smaller engines by the rules (Mark Windecker)

t  shirts

And finally, Unipart Merchandising 1978 style…the T-Shirts @ $3.20 are a snip….

Finito…


 

 

 

 

image

Starting Grid of the Le Mans 24 Hours 1959…

# 5 is the winning Carroll Shelby/Roy Salvadori Aston Martin DBR1/300, # 4 the Stirling Moss/Jack Fairman sister car, and # 3  the Innes Ireland/Masten Gregory Jaguar XK’D’ Type, both DNF.

1959 was the only Aston Martin Le Mans victory so far, Astons’ also won the World Sportscar Championship that year with wins in 3 of the 5 rounds; LeMans, Nurburgring 1000Km, and RAC Tourist Trophy at Goodwood. Ferrari and Porsche were second and third in the Championship respectively.

Aston DBR 1 Allington cutaway

The DBR1 was one of the greatest cars produced under the 3 litre sports car formula, in addition to its 1959 successes it also won the Nurburgring 1000Km and the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood in 1958.

Its essential elements are laid bare in this James Allington period cutaway drawing for Automobile Year.

The engine is an inline 6, all aluminium, the crankshaft supported by 7 main bearings. Two valves per cylinder were fitted at an included angle of 95 degrees operated by twin gear driven overhead camshafts. Fuel was provided by 3 Weber carburettors, the ignition fired by 2 Lucas distributors driven off the end of each camshaft, 2 plugs per cylinder.

The engine was ‘undersquare’, bore and stroke 83X90mm for a capacity of 2932cc, the engine produced circa 265bhp@6500rpm on a compression ratio of 9:1.

Aston DBR1 300 cockpit Le Mans 1959

Cockpit of the Moss/Fairman DBR Le Mans 1959. (unattributed)

A five speed gearbox was mounted transversely at the rear in unit with a ZF differential.

Front suspension was by twin trailing links springing by transverse torsion bars. At the rear a De Dion rear axle was used with twin trailing arms, a Watts linkage and again torsion bars were the springing medium.

Girling disc brakes were used and rack and pinion steering. The car had a wheelbase of 90 in, a track front and rear of 51.5 in, a width of 64 inches and a height to the top of the scuttle of 38.5 in…the whole lot weighing 1760lb.

Astons at Chateau 1959

The #4 Moss/Fairman and #5 Salvadori/Shelby Aston DBR/1’s at rest. Chez Aston, Le Mans 1959. (Unattributed)

image

Carroll Shelby, AstonMartin DBR1/300 Le Mans 1959 (unattributed)

Shelby Salvadori post 59 win

Carroll Shelby driving, Roy Salvadori, David Brown the owner of Astons’ and Stirling Moss post victory. (unattributed)

Etcetera…

Le Mans grid 1959

Front of the Le Mans grid 1959. #8 Flockhart/Lawrence Tojeiro Jaguar, #1 Bueb/Halford Lister Jaguar, #2 Hansgen/Blond Lister Jaguar and #3 Ireland/Gregory Jaguar D Type…all DNF. Stirling Moss is talking to the photographers priod to the ‘start sprint’. (Unattributed)

Le Mans 1959 start

Le Mans start 1959. # 8 Flockhart Tojeiro Jag, # 1 Bueb Lister Jag, # 6 Trintignant Aston DBR/1, #2 Hansgen Lister Jag, # 5 Salvadori Aston DBR/1 and the rest. (Unattributed)

Aston refuelling Le Mans 1959

Trintignant/ Frere Aston post fuelling Le Mans 1959, the pair finished 2nd a lap behind the winning DBR/1. (Unattributed)

Aston BP ad

Le Mans poster 1959

Photo Credits…

Jesse Alexander, James Allington cutaway drawing

Finito…

gurney

Dan Gurney heading for third place in his Ferrrari Dino 246 despite running up Trintignants’ chuff…

The organisers moved the race from Oporto to Monsanto Park, Lisbon, the circuit also very dangerous, there were tram tracks, uneven surfaces and plenty of telegraph poles to hit.

Brabham was saved by one of said poles. Having spun avoiding a twice lapped car, a pole saved him from going down a ravine, but spat his Cooper T51 back onto the circuit, he was then thrown out of the cockpit and nearly mown down by teammate Masten Gregory zipping past at the time…he always rated that prang his greatest escape.

Tony Brooks in a Dino was 4 points adrift of Brabham in the drivers championship at that stage, the margin he won the title from Brooks by at seasons end.

The mid engined era was underway, the gorgeous Dino passé, the last front engined car to win a title in Mike Hawthorns hands in 1958 and the last to win a Grand Prix, the 1960 Italian, a race boycotted by most of the teams as it was run on the Monza Banking…The Italian Race Organizers doing so to advantage Ferrari, in 1960 still racing the Dino 246 which was way past it’s useby date but still had straight-line speed, scallywags those Italians.

Moss won the race at a canter leading all the way in Rob Walkers Cooper T51 Climax…

gurney & hill

Phil Hill, Luigi Bazzi, Carlo Chiti, and Dan Gurney discuss the need for more speed at Monsanto Park, Lisbon 1959. (Getty Images)

hill porto 1960

dino

Ferrari Dino 246 cutway showing, ladder frame, front engine layout, 2417cc 65 degree DOHC V6, 4 speed gerabox, double wisbone front suspension, De Dion or IRS at rear, this car appears to be IRS

 

cooper

Cooper T51 Climax cutaway showing space frame chassis, mid engine configuration, Coventry Climax DOHC 2490cc 4 cylinder engine, Cooper/Citroen 4 speed gearbox, wishbone front independent, and wishbone and leafspring independent rear suspension (James Allington/Tony Matthews)

Photo Credits…

Pinterest unattributed, Getty Images, James Allington/Tony Matthews cutaway

Iimage

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/reports/2014-german-gp-report/

 

 

hunt

Reg Hunt, Murrays Corner, Bathurst, Bathurst 100 in April 1956 driving his recently acquired ex-works Maserati 250F ‘2516’. Hunt set fastest race time, the race a handicap won by Lex Davison’s Ferrari 500/625.

Reg Hunt, Bathurst 100 April 1956…

Many Melburnians will recognise the name as a very successful retailer of Holdens and many other makes from his acreage’s of dealerships fronting the Nepean Highway in Elsternwick.

He was also a very successful racer in the 1950’s who retired in his mid 30’s. Little has been written about him. He was ‘up there’ with all of the businessmen/motor dealer/racers of the day; Stan Jones, Lex Davison, Bib Stillwell, Alec Mildren and the rest .

His last racer was an ex-works Maserati 250F  ‘2516,’ a car driven by Moss and Jean Behra early in 1956. In this car he was as quick as any of the locals, a great ‘mighta-been’ is what he could have achieved had he not retired to focus on family and his expanding automotive empire.

This interesting article about the little known Hunt, was written by Richard Batchelor and published in the Maserati Club of Victoria magazine;

https://www.google.com.au/#q=reg+hunt+article+maserati+club+of+victoria

gnoo-blas-reg-hunt-Jan-29-1956-2

Hunt winning the ‘South Pacific Championship’ at Gnoo Blas, Orange, NSW on 30 January 1956. He beat a class field in his recently acquired Maserati 250F, Brabham was 2nd in his Cooper Bristol. Fantastic shot of this road circuit. (Gnoo Blas Classic Car Club)

Reg Hunt Unsung ace of the 1950’s…

Reg Hunt 'Sports Cars and Specials'

Reg in his 250F on the cover of the October 1956 issue of ‘Sports Cars and Specials’ magazine

Etcetera…

gnoo-blas-reg-hunt-maserati

Reg Hunt, Maserati 250F, Gnoo Blas, Orange 30 January 1956. (Gnoo Blas Classic Car Club)

port wakefield

Start of the 1955 Australian Grand Prix, Port Wakefield, SA. Reg Hunt Maser A6GCM  and stan Jones Maybach 3, on the front row left and RH side. Jack Brabham and Doug Whiteford, Cooper Bristol and Lago Talbot respectively on row 2, the race won by Brabham. (‘From Maybach to Repco’ Malcolm Preston’)

port wakeforedl grid

Hunts’ Maserati A6GCM on the AGP Grid Port Wakefield 1955. Hunt was leading this race by 23 seconds in this 250F engined car, broke a cam-follower and then slowed allowing Brabham’s Cooper T40 Climax through for the win, finishing second. Saltbush country, Port Wakefield, 80 Km from Adelaide was a shortlived circuit but the first permanent circuit built in Australia post war (Max Fotheringham)

a6gcm

Hunt’s A6GCM Maserati prior to the 1955 AGP Port Wakefield paddock, this model was the precursor to the 250F, it was an interim car using the chassis of Maser’s F2 car and the 250F engine…4 or 5 built (Kevin Drage)

cockpit maser

Cockpit shot of Hunts Maser A6GCM in the Port Wakefield paddock, 50’s driver safety to the fore…4 speed box aft of engine, 250F’s transaxle mounted at rear in front of De Dion tube giving much better traction (Kevin Drage)

prep

Hunt supervises preparation of the 250F in his Elsternwick, Melbourne, workshop. He was close to the factory team who based themselves here during the 1956 AGP at Albert Park…2493 cc straight 6, 2 valves per cylinder, twin ‘plugs, 3X Weber DCO3 Webers, circa 250BHP in 1956. ‘Space frame’ rails can be seen, ditto front wishbones, roll bar, big 14 inch finned alloy brake drums and the rest…(Garry Baker Collection)

Photo Credits…

Garry Baker Collection, Kevin Drage, Max Fotheringham, ‘From Maybach to Repco’ Malcolm Preston