pete

‘Pete’ Geoghegan in the SV Ferrari 250LM, Hell Corner, Easter Bathurst ‘Gold Star’ meeting April 1968, crowd listening to the howl of that V12 on the downchanges. (Dick Simpson)

Pete’ Geoghegan  hard on the brakes of the Scuderia Veloce Ferrari , before he leans it into Hell Corner, the left hander out of Pit Straight and onto Mountain Straight…

David McKay signed the brothers Geoghegan, Leo and Pete to share the car in the Surfers Paradise 12 Hour race later in ’68 , Australian spectators treated to the spectacle of the multiple Australian Touring Car Champion extracting all the ‘Red Lady’ had to offer in a series of sprint events earlier in the year to familiarise himself with the car. Over the years some fine drivers raced it, but McKay rated Geoghegan over most.

Pete

Pete Geoghegan 3 wheeling ‘6321’ into ‘The Dipper’ , Bathurst Easter ’68. Up ahead was teammate Bill Brown in the SV Ferrari P4/350 Can Am (Bob Jane Legends)

McKay’s ‘Scuderia Veloce’ was arguably the first of Australia’s professional racing teams, initially McKay was the driver but later SV’s entered cars for others including Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and nurtured the careers of local drivers including Spencer Martin, Larry Perkins and John Smith.

McKay was a remarkable man. He was a World War 2 veteran , a world class driver, the most influential motoring journalist of his day and a successful businessman with both SV the racing team, and Scuderia Veloce Motors, retailers of  Volvo, Porsche and Ferrari, for whom he was the NSW concessionaire.

martin

‘Australian Autosportsman’ magazine July 1965. Shell ‘Advertorial’! Spencer Martin on the cover in the SV Fazz 250LM, picture taken at the Easter meeting, i think, ‘Hell Corner’, which leads onto the uphill ‘Mountain Straight’ having gone past the pits. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

In some ways purchase of the 250LM didn’t make a lot of sense as the car was a heavy endurance machine, locally it was competing with lightweight sports-racers built for sprint events, it was competitive in 1965 , but into 1966 the appearance of Frank Matich’s Traco Olds/Elfin 400 and other similar cars made the going tough. By then the car had been sold to Kiwi Andy Buchanan but was prepared and entered by SV.

Its forte was long distance events, for which it was designed!, McKay and Spencer Martin, the young star McKay was nurturing, won the Caversham 6 Hour race in Western Australia in 1965. The Swan Valley event did not have great depth of field in the outright class ,’6321′ winning by 12 laps from Ron Thorp’s AC Cobra.

Here is a link to an article about Spencer Martin and David McKay which also includes additional pictures of the 250LM and Martin’s driving impressions of the racer; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/30/spencer-martin-australian-gold-star-champion-19667/

caversham

David McKay & Spencer Martin won the Caversham 6 Hour race in ’65, opening the 250LM’s long distance success ‘account’ (Terry Walker)

martin

Evocative Longford shot of Spencer Martin, Long Bridge, 1966 (Alan Stewart Collection)

Keith Williams was a great promoter of his new circuit at Nerang outside Surfers Paradise, the LM winning his 12 Hour Enduro  3 years on the trot; in ’66 driven by Buchanan and Jackie Stewart, ’67 by Australians Greg Cusack and Bill Brown, and in ’68 by the Geoghegans’, all of the victories against cars which were faster on paper but not ultimately having the LM’s combination of speed and reliability.

In 1968 McKay had pleasure and pain; victory for the LM but defeat of his Ferrari P4/350Can Am car, acquired earlier in the year with the express aim of victory in a race he thought was by then beyond the old LM. For those interested in the P4, click on this link to an article on the full history of this car; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

surfers

Scuderia Veloce’s team in the Surfers dummy grid, 12 Hour ’68. The winning Geoghegan Bros 250LM at left, 275GTB of Phil West/George Reynolds centre, and P4/Can Am 350 ‘0858’ of Bill Brown/Jim Palmer on the right (DNF accident) (Photo Rod MacKenzie)

lm

The Roxburgh/Whiteford Datsun 1600 being rounded up by the LM, and Hamilton/Glynn Scott Porsche 906 Spyder , Surfers 12 Hour 1967 (Ray Bell)

By ’68 the car was owned by Sydney businessman Ashley Bence but Mckay soon repurchased it and kept it as a much cherished road car. I missed its racing heyday but saw McKay drive it at the Sandown meeting in late 1978 at which Fangio demonstrated/raced his Mercedes Benz W196. Unfortunately an oil line came adrift causing McKay to spin and hit the fence at The Causeway. Graham Watson, later ‘Ralt Australia’ and a ‘Gold Star’ national champion himself repaired the car.

bridge

McKay in ‘6321’ tootling across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the late ’70’s. This shot was part of a ‘Sports Car World’ magazine article McKay wrote about the car, the trials and tribulations of delivery amusing…

A share in the car was sold by McKay to Spencer Martin, its original driver in ’65, the car contested some international historic events before ultimately being sold to Ralph Lauren…its life now a good deal easier than being taken to its limits by the likes of Pete Geoghegan.

ad

Racing and Development of the LM In Period: Letter from Ferrari’s Mike Parkes to David McKay dated 1 February 1966 about ongoing development of the cars in Europe…

‘…Passing now to your LM you will no doubt be pleased to learn that the car has been homologated in the 50 car GT category, as has the 4.7 litre Ford GT, although infact neither they nor us have made 50 cars.

We are still making one or two LM`s, David Piper has probably given you all his ‘gen’ on modifications. He has gone up to 7″ front rims, also I think 8″ rears, and has increased the top speed considerably by lengthening the nose and making it similar to the 1962 GTO.

He has had quite a number of gear-box failures, some of which I suspect may have been due to Fax, his mechanic, but it is clear that the crown wheel and pinion should be changed after between 18-24 hours use, depending on the ratio employed, and the same applies to the pinion bearings.

I incidentally cannot recommend in the interest of liability, attempting to fit other than ex factory spares. My research incidentally, reveals that Fiat 500 bearing shells should not fit.

We have introduced a somewhat complicated modification to improve the gearbox life which includes machining out the bearing housings in the casing to take bigger bearings. I can probably send particulars if you decide that it is worth while.

We do not official recommend the use of ‘M’ tyres, and infact suspect that customers gear-box failures were due to their using ‘M’ tyres, but my own view is that the introduction of the ‘M’ tyre coincided with the limit of fatigue life of many peoples gear-boxes. You should use 550 front and 600-660 rear and probably reduce the camber a little at the rear and should find the car faster.

You can obtain variations of the intermediate gearbox ratios by using some of the ratios from the Targa Florio box should you find the standard LM ratios not suitable for your circuits.

For an engine overhaul, as I think I told you, you should definitely change valve springs checking carefully to ensure that you have the correct fitted length. Bearing shells need only be changed where they appear necessary, also rear main oil-seal. Valve seats should not be changed unless absolutely necessary, this being determined by how far they have sunk into the head. I would not think that it was worth changing the big end bolts.

I am at a loss to understand why you have to grind down the rear pad, but can assure you that you have the correct calipers. We have never carried out compression checks ourselves but your system seems very sound, the engine presumably being hot. I can give you no indication of the valves to expect.

I would be most interested in hearing about any sort of racing programme you could offer me in Australia for 1966-67. Yours, Mike Parkes’

image

‘6321’ now part of the Ralph Lauren Collection

250P & 250LM…

Ferrari’s rebuff of the sale of his company to Ford in 1963 resulted in a ferociously competitive response by FoMoCo in sports car racing; Eric Broadley’s GT40 design in the prototype class and Carroll Shelby’s Ford engined AC Cobras /Daytona Coupes the response in the GT category.

In ‘GT’ the dominance of Ferrari’s ‘250 GTO’ was being challenged by the Cobra’s, Maranello’s  response was essentially to add a roof to its championship winning ’63 Prototype, the 3 litre V12 ‘250P’, call it the ‘250 LeMans’ and seek to homologate it into the ‘GT’ class. The CSI were onto Ferrari though, only 32 cars were built rather than the 100 mandated by the rules, so the cars raced as Prototypes until the CSI eventually relented and agreed to ‘GT’ homologation.

All but the first few cars were built with 3.3 litre V12’s, the first were 3 litres, but the 250LM name stuck, rather than 275LM as Ferrari naming convention dictated. (250 cc x 12 cylinders is 3000cc…275cc x 12 cylinders is 3300cc).

The McKay car, chassis # ‘6321’ was one of the last cars built.

The 250 LM’s were popular customer endurance racing cars but not considered outright contenders for ‘Blue Riband’ events but the race failure of the Ferrari P2 and Ford’s GT40 and Mk11 resulted in a famous victory for ex-F1 driver Masten Gregory and future World Champion Jochen Rindt at LeMans in 1965 .

The 2 drivers flogged the NART LM # ‘5893’  to within an inch of its life, to their surprise winning the event, Rindt famously expecting to be back in Paris early enough for dinner.

That victory was Ferrari ‘s last at Le Mans…

nart

North American Racing Team ‘NART’ victorious 250LM ‘5893’ at Le Mans ’65. Drivers Masten Gregory & Jochen Rindt (unattributed)

lm cutaway

Ferrari 250LM cutaway showing its 3.3 litre V12, 5 speed transaxle, spaceframe chassis and all independent suspension by wishbones and coil spring/dampers ( G Beht )

Etcetera…

spencer at sandown

First race meeting for ‘6321’, Sandown Tasman meeting 21 February 1965. Spencer Martin at the wheel. A win after Frank Matich retired his Lotus 19B Climax. (Ray Bell)

 

martin

Fabulous shot of Spencer Martin in the LM, Warwick Farm, August 1965. (John Ellacott)

 

caversham

Spencer Martin ahead of Lionel Beattie in the Byfield Ayres Repco Holden Spl during the ‘Le Mans 6 Hour’ race at Caversham, in WA’s Swan Valley in 1965. Martin drove to victory sharing with car owner David McKay. (Alan Yates)

 

spencer caversham

Another Caversham 1965 shot, by the look of the helmet perhaps David McKay at the wheel. LM ‘6321’. (Lionel McPherson)

 

LM Launch

‘Automobile Year’ coverage of the 250LM launch at the Paris Show in October 1963

Race History (inaccuurate & incomplete ) of 250 LM ‘6321’…

http://www.barchetta.cc/english/all.ferraris/Detail/6321.250LM.htm

Photo and Other Credits…

Dick Simpson, Roderick Mackenzie, G Beht cutaway drawing, Bob Jane Legends, Terry Walker, Automobile Year, John Ellacott, Alan Yates, Stephen Dalton Collection, Ray Bell, Lionel McPherson, Mike Parkes Letter from ‘The Nostalgia Forum’

Tailpiece…

scud

Finito…


 

Comments
  1. […] Stewart returned from the beach for the second weekend of Williams ‘double header’ to drive the Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM with Kiwi Andy Buchanan, I wrote about this car a while back….https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/ […]

  2. […] Jackie Stewart at Su… on Pete Geoghegan : Ferrari 250LM… […]

  3. […] Ferrari P4/CanAm 350… on Pete Geoghegan : Ferrari 250LM… […]

  4. […] about McKays’ Ferrari 250LM, one of the most evocative cars ever raced in Australia. https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/ , the other about his Ferrari P4/Can Am 350, an equally stunning car […]

  5. Rob says:

    The caption “Spencer Martin ahead of Lionel Beattie in the Byfield Ayres Repco Holden Spl during the Caversham 12 Hours” should read “….during the Caversham 6 Hours” or more correctly “…..during the Le Mans 6 Hour Race at Caversham”

  6. Rob says:

    Mark,

    The story of the stoush between Ferrari and the FIA over the homologation of the 250LM is an interesting one. My understanding is that the FIA never did approve the car for GT racing, the 1966 homogation being into the new (for 1966) Group 4 Sports Car class which required a minimum production of 50 units as opposed to the (now) 500 for the Group 3 Grand Touring class.

    I base this on the 250LM page in the book The World’s Racing Cars (1971) which states that “In 1966 the car was at last homologated into the new Group 4”, together with the 1966 FIA Appendix J regulations at the following URL

    argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.nsf/1C934FC03532F5F4C1257A40002D04E9/$FILE/1966%20Annexe%20J%20de%20la%20FIA%20(version%20compl%C3%A8te_fran%C3%A7ais).pdf

    Cheers,
    Rob

    • markbisset says:

      You may well be right, by ’66 it had well and truly ‘missed the boat’ , only circumstances gave it the ’65 Le Mans win, but 2 of my favourite drivers and nice for both to win that classic.

      I never did see David McKays car in Spencer’s hands in period, before my time, that would have been special. I was at Sandown the day David boofed it in ’78 or ‘9, so sad but Graham Watson did a beautiful job repairing it.
      Years later I looked at a Modus for sale in his ‘shop in Gosford, he recalled the car with great affection and respect for the quality of its build which he saw close up in the rebuild of it.
      Enzo built em strong and to last!, maybe not light but tough!
      Mark

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