Archive for November, 2014

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John Surtees clipping the apex in Mexico in his North American Racing Team ‘NART’, factory, Ferrari 158. Ferrari was in dispute with the Italian national automobile club over its refusal to homologate his 250LM sportscar into Group 5 despite having not built the minimum number of cars to do so…the hissy-fit reflected in the cars being entered in the blue/white of Luigi Chinettis’ American NART rather than Italian national red…(Bernard Cahier)

John Surtees pilots his ‘NART’ Ferrari 158 to second place in the 1964 Mexican Grand Prix, clinching the drivers World Championship for him and the Constructors Championship for Ferrari…

On the day that Lewis Hamilton won the 2014 Championship i was flicking through some old magazines and reflected on the remarkably diverse career and achievements of Surtees.

In similar fashion to 2014 the 1964 title was also decided at the last race, in Mexico that year.

Graham Hill, Jim Clark and Surtees were all winners depending upon who finished where. In a race of changing fortunes Clark lead from the start, and was on track for the race win and his second title when his Climax engine started to lose oil and seized seven laps from the end. Surtees engine misfired early but sorted itself, teammate Bandini allowed him into second and the points he needed to defeat Hill, who had been given a ‘tap up the chuff’ by Bandini earlier in the race, causing a pitstop and damaged exhausts ruining his chance.

Mexico 1964, Surtees and Bandini

Surtees in his Fazz 158 ahead of teammate Bandini in the flat-12 1512 early in the Mexican GP (unattributed)

Dan Gurney won the race in his Brabham BT7 Climax and Surtees the title. He was to win only six Championship GP’s throughout his long career, 1960-1972, not reflective of his talent, but indicative of team choice, he wasn’t always in the right place at the right time.

Drivers Mexico 1964

Gurney, Clark, Surtees, pensive as always and Phil Hill prior to the ’64 Mexican GP. Looks like Brabhams’ haircut behind Clark? (Bernard Cahier)

Famously the only driver to win World Championships on two wheels and four… he was born into a motor-cycling family and progressed from his fathers’ sidecar to solos and many Norton victories, before too long signed by Count Agusta to MV.

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Surtees bump starts his MV350 prior to the start of his run around the daunting Isle of Man, Senior TT 1957 (unattributed)

The departure of Gilera and Moto Guzzi allowed Surtees and MV to dominate the bigger classes, he won 350cc titles in 1958/9/60 and 500cc championships in 1956/8/9/60.

Before too long he wanted to race cars, making his GP debut for Team Lotus at Monaco in 1960, he mixed cars and bikes that year his best result second in the British GP.

Surtees on the road Riverside 1960

Surtees being blown off by a Ford Fairlane…on the way back from Riverside, USGP practice 1960. Lotus 18 Climax. 2.5 FPF Climax an incredibly tractable engine! (Bernard Cahier)

Surtees Portuguese GP 1960

Surtees made his F1 debut with Lotus at Monaco 1960, mixing a season of F1 with winning the 350 & 500 titles on bikes…here at Oporto in the Portuguese GP, he retired on lap 36 having qualified on pole on this challenging road course. Lotus 18 Climax (Bernard Cahier)

He drove a Reg Parnell/Bowmaker racing Cooper in 1961 and a Parnell/Bowmaker Lola in 1962 commencing a relationship with Eric Broadley’s marque which continued for most of his career in categories outside F1…although the F1 Honda of 1967 was famously a ‘Hondola’, being the marriage of in essence the Lola T80/90 chassis with the big, powerful 3 litre Honda V12.

Surtees AGP WF 1963

John in the Lola Mk4A Climax enroute to 2nd behind Jack Brabhams’ Brabham BT4, both 2.7 Coventry Climax FPF powered. Australian GP, Warwick Farm, Sydney 1963 (John Ellacott)

The most productive phase of his career was with Ferrari from 1963 to mid 1966, winning in both sports cars and in F1…

The Palace Coup and Purge of key Ferrari staff in late 1962 gave Surtees his Ferrari chance, joining them in early 1963. Arguably he was a good chance for the 1966 Championship won by Jack Brabham but inept, political management by team-manager Eugenio Dragoni resulted in his departure from the team mid season, his talents rewarded with two wins for Cooper that season, he then moved to Honda.

Its ironic that Ferrari intrigue gave him his Ferrari chance, and Ferrari intigue got the better of his sense of fairness in the end…read the Motor Sport article below for Surtees’ own version of these events.

Surtees and Hill Monaco 1963

Surtees (4th) leads Graham Hill (1st) at Monaco 1963, Ferrari T56 and BRM P57 respectively (unattributed)

Forghieri and Surtees Ferrari 1512

Surtees looks typically concerned, there are not too many smiley shots of ‘Big John’, this was a serious business and all too often he was far from happy with his mount! Mauro Forghieri adjusts his ‘wedding tackle’. Ferrari 1512 1965, circuit unknown…look at all those coils trying to spark the high revving 1.5 litre flat 12. Technically interesting car with the 180 degree flat-12 used as a stressed member, years before the much touted Lotus 43/49 deployed the technique in 1966/7 respectively. Look closely and you can see the engine attachment point to the cast rear chassis bulkhead. Chassis still semi-monocoque tho. And lovely V12 still a 2 valve engine, rev limit and higher-frictional losses of the 12 and power developed  did not outweigh its complexity and higher fuel consumption relative to the 158 V8 in 1964. By the end of 1965 Surtees considered the car to have a decisive advantage over any other car but time had run out…Ferrari expected the 1.5 F1 to continue on, this engine needed to peak 12 months earlier than it did. Ferrari won no GP’s in 1965, Lotus and BRM had the edge that year. (unattributed)

Ferrari 158 cutaway

Surtees 1964 championship winning Ferrari 158. Chassis semi-monocoque, aluminium panels welded to tubular steel frame. IFS front by top rocker, lower wishbone and coil/spring shock unit. Rear by single top link, inverted lower wishbone, twin radius rods and coil spring/damper units.Adjustable roll-bars front and rear. Dunlop disc brakes , 468 Kg total. Engine ‘Tipo 205B’ 1489cc 90 degree all alloy V8. Chain driven DOHC, 2 valves per cylinder. Twin plugs fired by Marelli coils (4) and distributor. Bosch direct fuel injection, 10.5:1 compression ratio, circa 220bhp @ 11000rpm. 5 speed transaxle with ratios to choice,’slippery diff’ (Bruno Betti)

Surtees Spa 1966

John avoided the multiple spins and accidents caused by the lap 1 deluge of the Belgian GP at Spa in 1966, winning the race. He was shortly to walk out of the team and with that action ended his, and Ferraris’ hopes of a World Championship that year. Camera crew handily placed on the Eau Rouge apex… (unattributed)

Surtees Ferrari 312 Monza 1966

Happy JS testing his F1 Ferrari 312 at Monza in 1966 before the Monza 1000Km race. Cars behind are Ferraris’; Dino 206S and P3. The event was in April ’66, Surtees had a win in a P3 partnered by Mike Parkes…Bandini in the drivers overalls and brown sweater ? (unattributed)

1966 was capped with a dominant win in the first CanAm Championship in his self-run Team Surtees Lola T70Mk2 Chev, defeating Mark Donohue in a similar car and Bruce McLarens’ own M1B Chev…the McLaren CanAm steamroller commenced the following year.

Las Vegas Can Am 1966

John Surtees in his Lola T70 Mk2 Chev leads the field into turn 1 at ‘Stardust International Raceway’, Las Vegas 1966. The hi-winged Chaparral 2E Chev’s of Jim Hall and Phil Hill stand out. #98 is Parnelli Jones, #18 behind Hill George Follmer, #43 Jackie Stewart and #6 Mark Donohue are all in Lola T70 Chevs. #4, 5 , 88 are McLaren, Amon and Masten Gregory all driving McLaren M1B Chevs…Surtees victorious that year in a field of great depth (unattributed)

The Honda RA273 was a big heavy car, the marriage of Lola chassis and Honda engine, the RA300, was more competitive winning Surtees his sixth and final Championship Grand Prix victory at Monza in 1967, just pipping Jack Brabham in a last corner tactical battle/sprint to the line.

Surtees South Africa 1967

Surtees in his Honda RA300, the big V12 ahead of Graham Hills’ Lotus 49 Ford. Clarks’ Lotus 49 won the race, his last GP victory. Surtees 8th, Hill 2nd Kyalami , South Africa 1968 (unattributed)

Honda withdrew from F1 to reappear in the 1980’s, Surtees F1 season with BRM in 1969 was a poor one, the Tony Southgate designed BRM P153/180 were competitive cars but John was a season too early…

Surtees BRM 1969 Spanish GP

JS 5th in the 1969 Spanish GP but 6 laps behind winner Stewarts’ Matra Ford in a debacle of a race when Rindt/Hill Lotus 49’s lost their rear wings…hi-wings banned at Monaco several weeks later. BRM P138. (unattributed)

Chaparral 2H Laguna 1969

The truly wild Chaparral 2H Chev 1969, Surtees wrestling with the beast at Laguna Seca. An article in itself deserved on this car, composite chassis, low, low driving position, raised at Surtees insistence, De Dion rear suspension and more…here in search of downforce with what, even by Jim Halls’ standards, is a BIG WING! (unattributed)

His 1969 Chapparral CanAm season was even worse, Jim Halls 2H Chev an extraordinary car of immense innovation, but was totally uncompetitive, despite the best efforts of development of both Hall and Surtees. The 2J ‘ground effect sucker car’ of 1970 was even more avant garde…and competitive but Jim Hall and Surtees was not ‘a marriage made in heaven’, a second season was not going to happen.

Jim Hall and Surtees Can Am 1969

Communication breakdown…Jim Hall and Surtees, Edmonton Can Am 1969, John in the seat of the recalcitrant, avant garde Chaparral 2H Chev. Franz Weis looks on (unattributed)

Surteees Nurburgring 1970 Ferrari 512S

All is forgiven…back in Scuderia Ferrari in the 1970 512S squad…here at the Nurburgring in front of the much more nimble and victorious Porsche 908/3 of  Elford/Ahrens. John was teamed with Niño Vaccarella, they finished 3rd. (unattributed)

It was time to control his own destiny, build his own cars which he started to do with the Len Terry designed TS5 F5000 car in 1969…the Surtees TS7 Ford F1 machine made its debut in Johns’ hands in 1970.

Surtees Cars won the European F2 Championship with the works TS10 Ford driven by Mike Hailwood and the 1972 US ‘L&M’ F5000 Championship, Sam Posey driving a TS11 Chev.

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Surtees in his own TS8 Chev F5000 car Australian GP 1971, Warwick Farm. He was running second behind Frank Matich’ winning Matich A50 Repco, then had a puncture DNF. Here he is leading Max Stewart’s 2 litre Mildren Waggott DNF engine. (Dick Simpson)

In F1 the cars were competitive over the years, the TS19 ‘Durex franger’ sponsored chassis of 1976-7 perhaps the pick of them albeit results were still not great, John finally gave up due to the difficulty in funding in 1978.

Surtees retired from F1 as a driver after the Italian GP, Monza 1972, fitting as it was the scene of his final championship F1 victory in 1967. He was competitive to the end winning two F2 races in his Surtees TS10 Ford that year. He continued to test the F1 cars, much to the annoyance of some of his drivers who would have preferred the ‘seat time’ themselves…

He is now 80 years old, happy in retirement and still a respected commentator on the current scene…

Surtees Italian GP 1972

John Surtees contesting his final GP, Monza 1972 is his TS14 Ford. He retired on lap 7 with fuel vaporisation problems, teammate and fellow ex-motor cycle champion Mike Hailwood finished second in his Surtees TS9B Ford..his and the marques best ever championship result. Emerson Fittipaldi won the race and the Championship in his Lotus 72 Ford (unattributed)

Etcetera…

Motor Sport

Read this fantastic article, John Surtees on working with the ‘Italian Racing Aristocrats’, Count Agusta and Commendatore Ferrari…

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/august-2009/46/count-and-commendatore

Read this fantastic article on the Surtees Racing Car marque…

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/halloffame/john-surtees/keeping-the-name-alive/

Surtees and Count Agusta

Signing on the dotted line for MV, a very youthful JS, 22 years old, with Count Agusta 1956 (unattributed)

Surtees Longford

Winning the ‘South Pacific International’, Longford, Tasmania, Australia March 1962. The ‘Yeoman Credit’ Cooper T53 Climax 2.7 is exiting the Viaduct. He beat Jack Brabham and Bib Stillwell also in Coopers (Keverell Thompson)

Enzo, Surtees and Ferrari 158 Modena

Enzo Ferrari, John Surtees with crossed arms in the driving suit behind him. Surtees grumpy, perhaps early tests of the 158 at Modena are not going well…(Bernard Cahier)

Surtees and Bandini Monaco 1965

Love this shot of Surtees in his Ferrari 158 chasing teammate Bandini in a 1512 in the 1965 Monaco GP. Bandini 2nd, Surtees 4th and out of fuel, Hill victorious in his BRM P261 (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

Surtees pits Can Am 1966

Team Surtees 1966 CanAm Champions…the way it was. Racer, truck, mechanics, driver, ‘works car’ and a series win! Surtees supervising @ rear, circuit anyone? (unattributed)

Surtees and McLaren Can Am 1966

John Surtees ahead of Bruce McLaren, Lola T70 Mk 2 and McLaren M1B, both Chev powered. St Jovite Can Am Canada 1966 (unattributed)

Lola T100 Surtees

Testing ! the Lola T100 Ford FVA F2 car at the Nurburgring, 1967 (Alexandre Willerding)

Surtees TS7 Ford cutaway drawing

Surtees TS7 Ford, JS 1970 & 1971 F1 contender. A well executed ‘Cosworth kit car’ of the period, general layout by JS, detail design by Peter Connew and Shabab Ahmed. Aluminium monocoque chassis, Ford Cosworth DFV 3 litre V8, circa 430bhp @ 10200rpm in 1970. Hewland DG 300 5 speed ‘box. IFS front by top rocker, lower wishbone and coil spring/ damper units and rear by single top link, single top radius rod, twin parallel lower links and coil spring/damper units, F5000 TS8 of the time a variant of this chassis. The car won some championship points and the Non-Championship Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1970. (cutaway by Bill Bennett)

Photo and Other Credits…

The Cahier Archive, Alexandre Willerding, Keverell Thompson Collection, John Ellacott, Dick Simpson, Bruno Betti, Bill Bennett, Rainer Schlegelmilch

Finito…

 

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Mildren ‘LHD’ GTA, Kevin Bartlett, Lakeside, Queensland 1966 (John Stanley)

Kevin Bartlett explores and exploits the laws of physics in the Alec Mildren Racing Alfa Romeo GTA , Lakeside, Queensland, Australia, circa 1966…

Some years later American F5000 driver, Sam Posey competing in the Tasman Series and observing KB’s Lola  at close quarters described Bartlett as the ‘master of opposite lock’.

It was an aspect of his driving which worked for him and we spectators throughout his career regardless of car he drove ; sedans, sports cars or single seaters.

Alec Mildren Racing and Kevin Bartlett…

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Team Mildren Warwick Farm 1966, not 1967 i think…Big Professional Team 60’s Style! Cars are Mildren LHD GTA, TZ2 and  the Brabham BT2/6 Ford raced by Bartlett at that stage. WF Tasman Meeting 13 February 1966. (Allegerita)

AMR were one of Australia’s first professional teams, the basis of the team formed around a nucleus of talented people who fettled Alec Mildrens cars during his own single seater campaigns, he won the Australian Gold Star Championship and Australian Grand Prix in a Cooper Maserati in 1960.

Shortly thereafter Mildren retired from driving to concentrate on his business interests which primarily involved the retail car trade, he was the first dealer of Alfa Romeos in New South Wales, and his race team which employed great drivers including Frank Gardner, Kevin Bartlett and Max Stewart.

Mildrens’ passion was single-seaters but the team also raced Alfas, notably 2 GTA’s, TZ2 and later ‘105 Series’ Coupes of various capacities in ‘Series Production’ events as those grew in stature in the late 1960’s.

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Alec Mildren Racing and the laid back nature of the Tasman series circa 1967…Bartlett is sitting on the wheel of his Brabham BT11A Climax 2.5 Tasman car, the Alfa is the prototype TZ2 referred to in the B &W shot above. The smiley chap at right rear is a young Fred Gibson, then racing a Lotus Elan 26R. Circuit is Warwick Farm, New South Wales. (Peter Windsor)

Kevin Bartlett started racing in his mothers Morris Minor and very quickly the young mechanic made a name for himself as a fast driver with strong mechnical knowledge and sympathy.

By 1965 he was driving an Elfin Imp FJ owned by the McGuire family and an Austin Healey Sprite and TVR for others. He recalls that ‘Alec and Glenn Abbey (Mildrens Engineer/Mechanic) were always on the lookout for talent, Ralph Sach and Charles Smith who drove for them at the time were getting older and i performed well against them in cars with much less capacity. They also took into account that i could drive different types of cars and do as well as i could’.

‘ I got to race the Alfas’ and then the little Brabham BT2/6 which was powered by a pushrod Ford engine and in mid 1965 the Mildren Maserati, which was the first really powerful car i drove, racing it at Lowood and then winning the 1965 Victorian Sportscar Championship in it at Sandown’.

The Mildren Maserati was a car bulit by Bob Britton of Rennmax Engineering, essentially a Lotus 19 clone using some of the running gear from Alec Mildrens 1960 Gold Star Championship winning Cooper T51 Maserati, particularly the gearbox and 2.9 litre 250S Maser engine.

KB made his presence felt in that race beating Bib Stillwells’ Cooper Monaco Buick V8 and Spencer Martins’ ‘Scuderia Veloce’ Ferrari 250LM amongst others. He had well and truly ‘arrived’.

Mildren GTA’s…

There were two, first a LHD and later a RHD car, Bartlett drove both in their competitive ‘heyday’ and both ended up racing in WA…

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Bartlett in ‘LHD’ entering the Viaduct at Longford and leading Allan Moffats’ Lotus Cortina, 1966. (Ellis French)

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Bartlett at it again…Leger Corner , Warwick Farm 1966 ‘RHD’ Mildren GTA (autopics)

Autodelta…

autodelta works

The Autodelta factory, Milan circa 1967, car is a GTA ‘Stradale’ or road spec GTA. (Pinterest)

The original ‘step front’ Alfa Giulia Sprint GT was penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone and has to be one of the most beautifully balanced, delicate designs of the 60’s.

Autodelta was the factory Alfa racing subsidiary, formed by famed ex-Ferrari engineer, Carlo Chiti and Ludovico Chizzola in 1963 after the closure of ATS, the Grand Prix team formed by ex-Ferrari staff after a purge by the Commendatore in 1961.

In 1964 Alfa acquired Autodelta and moved it to Milan, near its HQ.

The Giulia sedan was race developed and did well, in Australia winning the Sandown 6 Hour in 1964, but it was too heavy against the Lotus Cortinas so development started on the Giulia Sprint GT in 1964.

The GTA was built to compete in Sedan racing globally, ‘Group 2’ under FIA rules, which boomed in the 60’s. On 18 February 1965 the first Giulia Sprint GTA was unveiled at the Autosalon in Amsterdam.

It was followed by the GTA Junior 1300 in 1968 and later the 1750/2000 GTAm.

GTA 1600 Tipo ‘105.32’ Specifications…

The car featured lightweight bodies, utilising ‘Peraluman 25’ a light alloy comprising aluminium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc. The superstructure remained steel, including the sill panels. The roof, bonnet, boot lid, rear inner support panel and spare wheel well, dash, parcel shelf support panels and rear seat support were all made from the material.

Lightening continued with minimal sound deadening, Perspex side and rear windows on Corsa (race) cars, the GTA lost 205kg compared to the Giulia Sprint GT for a total of 820kg.

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Interior of Australian owned GTA ‘Stradale’

Alfa had to build 1000 cars to qualify for the FIA’s Group 2 Touring Car regulations, the Stradale (road) version helped, being built on Alfas normal, Arese production line. Race prepared cars were taken after completion at Arese, to Autodelta, exact specifications of each car built to the order of customers.

The cars engine was a twin-plug highly tuned version of Alfas famous DOHC engine. The head was ported and polished, higher compression pistons, high lift cams, lightened flywheel were fitted and all reciprocating parts were balanced,  increasing power to in excess of 175BHP. An oil cooler and deeper sump aided reliability.

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The engine/bay of the ‘RHD Mildren GTA’ as restored. Philip Island 2013. (Flickr)

A limited slip diff and ‘sliding block’ rear axle locating system was fitted. The standard 5 speed gearbox had a greater range of ratio choices, similarly the diff ratio was ‘to choice’ from homologated alternatives.

Front suspension was modified with adjustable top arms to allow negative camber to drivers choice.

The cars were immediately and immensely successful winning the first round of the European Touring Car Challenge in March 1966. Andrea De Adamich winning the Division 2 Drivers Title and Alfa the European Manufacturers title. In the US Jochen Rindt won the SCCA Trans American Sedan Championship race at Sebring, many championships throughout the world followed.

The GTAm won Alfa’s last championship for the ‘105’, the ETCC Manufacturers Championship in 1971, the cars competitive for a long time with ongoing development.

Arnaldo Tonti, Autodela mechanic attributed the success of the car in ‘Octane’ magazine to ‘… a perfect balance between a very good chassis, with a very low centre of gravity, and a very strong, powerful and reliable engine. The Autodelta sliding block for the rear suspension was a work of art lowering the car and making it quicker and more stable through the corners and giving its characteristic raised front wheel. The engines were capable of 6800/7000 RPM…’

In Australia Mildrens’ LHD car Landed in Mid 1965…

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Bruce Wells shot of Kevin Bartlett at Warwick Farm in 1966, in LHD Mildren GTA

The car was raced in the Sandown 6 Hour race in November 1965 by Alfa factory driver Roberto Businello and Ralph Sach, Businello testing the car at Balacco before it was shipped to Australia. It was a ‘trick’ GTA, very light having an aluminium floor which relatively few had.

It lead the race until lap 99, victory going to Bartlett and Gardner in the Mildren Giulia Super Ti which was also victorious the year before.

Businello Sandown 1965

Businello in the GTA, Sandown 6 Hour 1965 (cooper997collection)

Gardner and Bartlett then raced the car in supporting events during the 1966 Tasman Series, Gardner winning outright at Warwick Farm and Sandown and Bartlett first in class at Longford.

‘It was a pleasant car to drive, KB recalled recently. We ran the car at Bathurst, had a win there against Bob Janes’ Mustang on that power circuit. I preferred the LHD car (to the RHD car) as it had the right-hand change which was what i was most familiar with given the sports-car and single-seaters i was racing.

Their was not much difference in the performance of the two cars, although the LHD was a semi-works spec car.

We could knock off the big cars at Warwick Farm but it was much harder at Sandown and the like’.

‘The under 1600cc closest competitors to the GTA were the Mini Coopers who were giving away capacity to us, they were great handling and very quick with the right guys such as Brian Foley and Peter Manton at the wheel’.

‘The LHD was sold as it was getting a little long in the tooth in terms of miles, Alec sold it to a guy named Stephenson in WA’.

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Kevin Bartlett coming off Long Bridge, Tasman meeting, Longford, Tasmania in early 1966 (Ellis French)

Used mainly in State level events the car also contested the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1966, in those days a one race championship. In 1966 the event was held at the Easter Bathurst meeting Bartlett doing well to finish third to the big V8’s of Pete Geoghegan and Norm Beechey in Ford Mustang and Chevy Nova respectively.

The race was run over 20 laps or 75 miles of Mount Panorama, what the GTA lacked in top speed up and down the mountain was largely made up across the top and under brakes.

KB was victorious at Warwick Farm in May and that month also won the Queensland Production Touring Car Cahmpionship at Surfers Paradise. He also took a race win at Lowood, Queensland in June before  the car was sold to Frank Cecchele, a Perth Alfa dealer and raced for him by Gordon Stephenson. It was rolled at Caversham in 1967.

caversham 2

Wonderful, evocative Caversham shot by Paul Boxsell in 1968. Stephenson in the ‘LHD Mildren GTA’, gridding up with Kitz Kohout and Jeff Dunkerton in Porsche 911S and Mini Cooper S respectively, the rest of the field moving forward out of shot. This was the last year for Caversham. (Paul Boxsell)

‘LHD’ competed regularly in WA state events and the annual 6 Hour race held at Caversham ; ’67 DNF Stephenson, ’68 DNF Stephenson, and at Wanneroo Park ’69 DNF Stephenson/ Cooper,  ’70 7th Ricciardello/Zampatti, ’71 DNF and finally in 1972 4 th outright and 1st in the ‘1600’ class for Ricciardello/Cooper.

The car was all but destroyed at Mt Brown Hillclimb and from the remains Ricciardello built a V8 engined Sports sedan, initially Ford 302 and later Chev 350 powered, Cooper buying the ‘RHD Mildren Alfa’, which he later owned in partnership with Ricciardello.

Current ownership is unknown.

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‘LHD’ , 1966 at Mount Brown Hillclimb out of York where it was in later years all but written off, this was the end of the car in its original form (Allegerita)

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LHD at Caversham in 1967 when raced by Gordon Stephenson (Allegerita)

The Mildren RHD GTA, Chassis # 752 561…

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Brian Foleys’ Cooper S chasing Frank Gardners’ new ‘RHD Mildren GTA’ at Warwick Farm in early 1967…Foley acquired the car 6 years later. This shot a wonderful example of oversteer and understeer respectively! (Bruce Wells)

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RHD in the Surfers Paradise 12 Hours 1967. DNF, KB driving with Doug Chivas, KB has passed the Munyard/Crawford/Calvert Holden FJ!, at rear the winning Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM of Bill Brown/Greg Cusack approaches (Ray Bell)

The LHD chassis number is lost in the mists of time…RHD was built in July 1965 and first raced by Gardner at Warwick Farm in December 1966. He then raced the car in numerous supporting events for the 1967 Tasman Series, winning at Warwick Farm and Longford. Bartlett then took the car over and had wins at Bathurst and Surfers Paradise.

Bartlett again contested the one race 1967 ATCC, that year held at Lakeside, another power circuit, and whilst Pete Geoghegans Mustang won again, this time second and third places were secured by the Cooper S’ of Brian Foley and Peter Manton.

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Bartlett fourth in the 1967 ATCC held at Lakeside, Pete Geoghegan victorious in the one race event (Graham Howard History of the ATCC)

ad

‘Racing Car News’ Ad for the sale of the RHD GTA, March 1968 edition. The Brabham Intercontinental is a Brabham BT11A Climax…prices are right! (Racing Car News)

The car was sold to John French in Queensland in 1968 who raced the car and continued to develop it until bought by Brian Foley in 1972.

french

Mildren RHD GTA further developed by John French in terms of wheel/tyres, roll bar, and engine (Unattributed)

Foley had raced an Alfa GTAm in 1971 in the ATCC , and in 1972 as a Sports Sedan, converted from LHD to RHD and fitted with an Alfa Tipo 33 2.5 litre V8, rather than the 2 litre, twin plug DOHC 4 cylinder engine of this factory GTAm.

The T33 V8 was from Mildrens Brabham and Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ single seaters raced by Gardner and Bartlett. I will write about the GTAm separately.

The GTAm was a ‘pork-chop’ compared with the GTA, as it lacked the earlier cars aluminium panels, it was around 200 Kg heavier.

Foley, a Sydney Alfa dealer reasoned a more competitive mount for 1973 would be a lightened and modified GTA , so off to Bowin Designs the car went for major surgery by John Joyce to its suspension, structure, brakes, engine mounting etc. When completed, the car powered by a 16 valve 2 litre Alfa engine developing 225BHP, weighed 636Kg.

See the Bowin Website for ‘P9’ the Foley GTA Project…

http://www.bowincars.org/mediawiki-1.6.12/index.php?title=%28P9%29

bowin

Brian Foley in the RHD Mildren GTA now further developed and lightened by Bowin Designs and raced as a Sports Sedan in 1973. Its very easy to confuse this car with Foleys GTAm which raced in the same livery, and was converted from LHD to RHD when converted to Tipo 33 2.5 V8 in 1973…(autopics)

The car was fast, but V8’s were coming into the category in increasing numbers, so after a prang at Oran Park in late 1973 the car was sold to Peter Brown in Canberra. Foley essentially retired from racing after a fine career.

Brown, an Alfa racer from way back fitted a Mazda Rotary engine then sold the car to Neville Cooper in Western Australia, where all exotic Alfas’ seem to end up! The ‘LHD Mildren GTA’ having been damaged too much in race accidents to continue with it. A Ford V8 was fitted, the car was then sold to Peter Gillon who raced it for two years before being acquired by Ricciardello and Cooper in Partnership.

It was raced very successfully including a win by Cooper in the 1979 Wanneroo 300Km race, the car was always competitive in WA Sports Sedan competition during this period.

cooper 2

Ultimately the much raced GTA was acquired by a Sydney enthusiast who had owned GTA’s before and was aware of the cars provenance, a long restoration followed, the car is now a regular entry in Historic events across Australia.

p island

For the Sake of Completeness…

It appears there were two other GTA’s which raced in Australia ‘in period’.

The ‘MW Motors GTA’ was raced by Syd Fisher and Frank Porter for MW who were the Victorian Alfa Distributor, sold to Mario Marasco, who raced the car as a Sports sedan and wrote it off at Hume Weir. It is presumed lost.

The ‘Gulson LHD GTA’ was restored from a ‘fire wreck’ in Western Australia.

porter

Frank Porter driving the MW Motors GTA at Sandown, Melbourne for a successful challenge on a 12 hour national record attempt in 1968 (Allegerita)

 


 

Etcetera…

 

homologation

Copy of the first page of the long homologation papers for the GTA (Allegerita)

cutaway

autu

Autodelta factory 1965, GTA’s and a Giulia Super Ti on ‘the line’.Completed cars were delivered from Alfa’s Arese production line and then modified to customer order. (Pinterest)

balacco

Alfas’ test track Balacco, circa 1966. TZ2’s and GTA’s, drivers unknown…(Pinterest)

Etcetera ‘LHD’…

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Roberto Businello in Pit Straight Sandown Park November 1965. The car lead the Sandown 6 Hour for 2.5 hours, retiring at 99 laps (Allegerita)

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The start at Longford 1966. Pete Geoghegan Mustang, Bartlett in ‘LHD’ and Allan Moffat in the Lotus Cortina (Ellis French)

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‘LHD’ at Caversham, WA 1967 (Allegerita)

Etcetera ‘RHD’…

bartlett wf rod mackenzie

Kevin Bartlett in ‘RHD’ , Warwick Farm 1966 (Roderick MacKenzie)

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‘RHD’ in Mildren ownership, the old Sandown Paddock circa 1967 (Flickr)

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John French to a large extent made his name in ‘RHD’, here at Lakeside early in his ownership in 1968 (Unattributed)

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John French in ‘RHD’ , Lakeside 1970, sandwiched by two Torana GTR XU1′ s, Dick Johnson in his formative Holden days! on the nearside. (Alfa Bulletin Board)

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Brian Foley in ‘RHD’, Oran Park 1973. This is post Bowin modifications, car has later single headlight ‘1.6 Junior’ front clip rather than early ‘Stepfront’. Very easy to confuse the car with the ex-Foley GTAm which by this stage was in Perth…(Dale Harvey)

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‘RHD’ in Neville Coopers hands, WA. (Wells/Neville Cooper)

 

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Special thanks…Kevin Bartlett

For his recollections of the two cars

Sources and Photo Credits…

The Nostalgia Forum, Alfa Bulletin Board, John Stanley, autopics, Bruce Wells Collection, The Roaring Season, Howard/Wilson ‘History of The ATCC’, peterwindsor.com, Paul Boxsell, Roderick MacKenzie, Neville Cooper Collection, Yen Yoshikawa cutaway, Dale Harvey, Ellis French, Ray Bell, ‘Allegerita’ by Tony Adriaensens

The End…


 

 


 

 

Denny Hulme and Jackie Stewart, Levin NZ Tasman 1967 (Digby Paape)

Denny Hulme Brabham BT22 Repco and Jackie Stewart BRM P261, the natty tartan attire of the BRM Equipe a contrast with the more casual Australian approach…Hulmes’ engine is Repco ‘640 Series’ 2.5 litre; original ’66 series Olds ‘600 Series’ block with the ’67 F1 Championship winning ’40 Series’, exhaust within the Vee, heads. Definitive Repco 1967 F1 Championship winning variant is the ‘740 Series’, Repco’s own ‘700 Series’ block and aforementioned ’40 Series’ heads. Early and very important 1967 F1 testing days for Repco, engine making its debut the weekend before at Pukekohe (Digby Paape)

Denny Hulme and Jackie Stewart awaiting adjustments to their cars setup, Levin, New Zealand, Tasman Series 1967…

Digby Paape took these fantastic, evocative shots of Stewart, Hulme and Jim Clark…’I was 22 at the time, my father had been president of MotorSport NZ, and though I was unknown on the North Island I felt I could go anywhere with my Contax, i was masquerading as a journo for the ‘Hutt Valley Motoring Club’, I took all the shots @ F8 @ 250th of a second. Each car only had a couple of mechanics, it was hard to know what was being said. Later on I was the Radio NZ and TVNZ commentator for these and other events, Levin was always hot and the action was close. Close enough for good shots without a telephoto lens’.

Stewart beat Clark in the first Tasman round at Pukekohe the previous week, winning the NZ Grand Prix, the two drivers the class of the field at Levin as well, despite intense pressure Clark won the 50 mile ‘Levin International’ by less than a second from Stewart’s BRM. Richard Attwood was third in another BRM P261 and Frank Gardner fourth in the first of the four cylinder cars, a Brabham BT16 Climax. Denny Hulme retired with ignition problems.

It’s interesting to reflect upon the year to come for each of the drivers?…

Denny Hulme, Brabham BT22 Repco, 1967 NZ Tasman, Levin

Denny Hulme, Brabham BT22 Repco, Levin NZ, 1967 (Digby Paape)

It was a tough Tasman for Denny and his team leader Jack Brabham… they had great unreliability from the new, exhaust between the Vee Repco 640 Series engines, mainly centred around fuel injection and ignition dramas, but the object of the exercise was really to get the engines race worthy for the 1967 GP season in any event.

Jack did have a good win at Longford, the power circuit in Tasmania and last round of the Series.

Repco sorted the problems, the new Repco (as against the 1966 Oldsmobile blocked 620 Series) blocked 740 Series Repco reliable early in the GP season.

Denny broke through for his first GP win at Monaco, but there was no joy in the victory as Lorenzo Bandini perished in his Ferrari in a gruesome fiery accident, which, finally helped galvanise action to improve safety standards on the worlds’ circuits.

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Hulme en route to his first Grand Prix victory, Monaco 1967 in his Brabham BT20, still fitted with the ’66 series ‘RB620’ engine. Jacks car was fitted with the new ‘740 Series’ the engine blowing early in the race. Hill and Amon second and third in Lotus 33 BRM and Ferrari 312 respectively (unattributed)

In a season when five different drivers won a Grand Prix, his consistency paid off, he won the title from Jack with Jim Clark third in the epochal Lotus 49.

1967 CanAm Road America

Can Am Road America 1967 parade lap: #4 Bruce McLaren, Hulme alongside in the other McLaren M6A Chev, Dan Gurney Lola T70 Ford behind Bruce, Jim Halls’ winged Chaparral 2G Chev easy to pick…and the rest maybe some of you can help me with the caption? Denny won the race from Mark Donohue and John Surtees , both in Lola T70 Mk3B Chevs (unattributed)

In a full season, Hulme was recruited by his compatriot Bruce McLaren as his teammate in the CanAm series. Robin Herds’ McLaren M6A Chev was a stunning car and started the teams domination of the series which finally ended when Porsche joined the series, and ruined it! with its 917/10 in 1972.

Denny narrowly lost the series to McLaren but the relationship started a commitment to the team by Denny which endured to the end of his career and saw him race the teams’ F1, CanAm and Indy Cars through to the end of 1974, when he finally returned to NZ.

Jim Clark, Lotus 33 Climax, NZ Tasman, Levin 1967

Jim Clark, Lotus 33 Climax, Levin 1967. ‘R14’ was the last of the trendsetting Lotus 25/33 series built, the first ‘modern-monocoque’ making its debut in Holland 1962…Clarks 2 litre V8 was giving away some power to most of his serious competition, the 2.1 litre BRM’s and 2.5 litre Repco’s but his driving abilities were more than up to closing the deficit (Digby Paape)

Clarks Lotus 33 ‘R14’ was a chassis which had been kind to him… he first raced it at Brands Hatch in July, and fitted with the super, trick, only 2 litre version of the Coventry Climax FWMV V8 had served him well in 1966, he drove the car when the heavy ‘H16’ engined Lotus 43 was unsuited to the circuit or circumstances. His best result against the new 3 Litre F1’s was a strong third in Holland.

He won theTasman series in ‘R14’, assisted greatly by the unreliability of the Brabhams and the BRM P261’s which had been so dominant the year before.

He raced a Lotus 43 in South Africa, the first GP of 1967, then ‘R14’ for the last time at Monaco, finally getting his hands on the Lotus 49 at Zandvoort. By that time he was a British Tax exile so the first time the Scot saw the car was when he drove it in Holland, he hadn’t even tested the thing!

Jim Clark, Lotus 49 Ford, Dutch GP June 1967

Jim Clark on his way to a debut win with the Lotus 49 Ford, Dutch GP, Zandvoort June 4 1967…both engine and chassis changed the face of GP racing in an instant…(unattributed)

The car was ‘right’ from the start, he won on its debut, and a further four 1967 races, but Dennys’ consistency got him over the line that year.

The Lotus 49 package was dominant in 1968, but sadly Clarks’ ’68 South African GP triumph, off the back of his 1968 Tasman Series win , was his last, he died tragically in a Lotus 48 FVA  as a consequence of probable tyre failure in the Hockenheim F2 race in April.

The king of the 1.5 litre formula proved he was also king of the 3 litre formula in 1967, and anything else he drove!

Graham Hill heroically galvanised the team after Clarks death, winning the title in 1968, and provided leadership Chapman initially did not, grieving for Clark as he understandably was.

Jackie Stewart took two Tasman Series wins…but mechanical woes, particularly weaknesses in the cars crown wheel and pinion cost him victories, but his speed was apparent and close to Clarks.

Unlike Jim, who had the F1 Lotus 49 to look forward to, BRM persevered with the heavy, complex and slow ‘H16’ engined BRM P83/115 in 1967.

It was to be a long, character building year…a second and third in Belgium and France respectively but retirement in all eight of the other championship rounds.

Jackie Stewart, BRM P83, Nurburgring 1967

Jackie Stewwart wrestling his big BRM P115 ‘H16’ BRM, Nurburgring 1967. He was running fourth when the transmission failed, ‘yumping’ hard on the ‘tranny at the ‘Ring! Hulme won the race in his light, nimble Brabham BT24 Repco (unattributed)

He had won his first Grand Prix in the little P61 BRM in Italy in 1965 but it was then a ‘long time between drinks’ in F1, his undoubted speed finally reflected in wins when he departed to Team Tyrrell which started running Ford DFV engined Matras in 1968, his first title coming in 1969.

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Team Tyrrell ran Matra F2 cars in 1967, Jacky Ickx taking the Euoropean F2 title, and Jackie Stewart, pictured here in an MS7 FVA at ‘Oulton Park’ took one championship win…and critically the team took the view the cars would be successful in F1…(Eddie Whitham)

What duels there may have been as Stewart matured as a driver and took on his friend and countryman Clark?…mind you we saw it in the 1967 Tasman as they were in essentially cars of equal performance, albeit JYS BRM often did not run for long enough for the duels to occur…

As Digby Paape says ‘how lucky we were to see the international drivers in current F1 cars as we did in those wonderful 2.5 Tasman years, the equivalent of seeing Schumacher in that years winning Ferrari’…

Photo Credits…

Digby Paape, Eddie Whitham, unattributed

Senna Mc Laren lambo

Ayrton Senna testing the McLaren Lambo at Silverstone ‘in secret’ 20 September 1993…

By Sennas’ standards 1993 had not been a successful year. He won five races in his McLaren Ford as a customer Cosworth user, Schumachers’ Benetton with the more powerful factory Ford Cosworth engines only won a single event.

Even worse, arch rival Alain Prost won the title for Williams Renault.

Scrambling to find an engine deal to keep its star driver happy and with the team for 1994, Ron Dennis signed a test contract with Chrysler who then owned Lamborghini.

McLaren modified one of its MP4/8 Ford chassis to take the jewel like little 3.5 litre V12.

Lamborghini 3.5 litre V12 F1 engine

Mauro Forghieri designed Type 3512 Lambo V12 first used in F1 in 1989. Larrousse, Lotus and Minardi used the engines in the following years. New engine for ’93 the smallest, lightest V12 ever, circa 750bhp @ 14500rpm, without pneumatic valves, more than the Cosworth V8 of the day.

Senna tested the car at Silverstone twice, and wanted to race it in Japan but Dennis would not allow it given the contractual arrangements already in place with sponsors and the like.

Mika Hakkinen was the teams test driver that year, Sennas’ race teammate Michael Andretti. Hakkinen was also faster in the Lambo than Ford engined car.

Senna suggested to the engines designer, Ferrari legend Mauro Forghieri, that the V12 would be better with a less brutal top end and more mid range torque, these changes were made, the engine producing around 750bhp.

Prost resigned, Senna won the last two races of 1993, Australia and Japan in his MP4/8 Ford, McLaren did a deal with Peugeot and Senna went to Williams for 1994…and the rest as they say is history, a sad one at that.

McLaren MP4 8 Lamborghini Silverstone 1993

Mc laren MP4 8 Lambo test

Photo Credits…

Sutton Images

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Kevin Bartlett eases his McLaren M10B Chev into Torana corner, Sandown, February 1972

My First Race Meeting…Sandown Tasman F5000 Meeting February 20 1972…

We can all recall the meeting or event which hooked us on the sport, right?

For me it was the 1972 Sandown Tasman Meeting, the Australian Grand Prix no less, contested by Formula 5000 cars.

I was up for it mind you, one of my friends, Simon Roberts’ father Ron worked for Castrol and amongst his responsibilities was the racing budget in some shape or form.

Critically, he went to race meetings and gave me Castrols’ copy of ‘Racing Car News’ each month after it had done the rounds of their execs. It was always a month or so outta date and well thumbed by the time I got it, but I lapped up every word.

Finally i was invited to my first meeting.

We cruised out to Sandown from North Balwyn in Rons’ metallic brown Valiant with the big ‘265 Hemi’…not a bad ‘Dad Car’ at the time. The Val joined the endless stream of weekend traffic on Warrigal and Dandenong Roads, my excitement building seeing lots of performance cars of the day; GTR’s, XU1’s, GT’s, GTV’s, Monaro’s and plenty of souped up EH’s and HR’s ‘chromies’ gleaming in the sun amongst the other weekend warriors heading to a Mornington Peninsula beach on that hot summers day.

Reading RCN didn’t prepare me for the sheer visceral thrill, excitement, speed and ground shaking, gutterall thunder of the 5 Litre 500 BHP V8’s.

In those days the paddock was in the infield, inside Shell Corner, or turn 1 and extended across the track to the inside of Peters or Torana Corner, now turn 3, or the Corner onto the back straight. It was lower than the surrounding infield and was like a private little Mecca for racers and enthusiasts alike.

I recall 2 things vividly from that weekend all these years later.

The first was walking from the carpark behind the grandstand, the excitement building hearing cars being warmed up in the distance and crossing the track into the dusty, gravel paddock area and seeing Bob Muirs beautiful, exotic, automotively erotic, concours, gleaming blue Lola T300 just about to enter the scrutineering bay.

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Bob Muirs ‘concours’ Lola T300 having the tyre temps taken, lanky Max Stewart about to board his yellow Elfin MR5 behind with Robbie Francevics’ McLaren M10A Chev being pushed towards the pit lane exit. (stupix)

I was stunned, gob-smacked. I couldn’t move I was so awed by its amazing combination of wedge shape, curves, fibre-glass, chrome tipped exhausts, scoops, ducts, wings and oh-so-wide tyres! It was immaculate, yellow pinstriping contrasting the blue bodywork, the finish of the racer a ‘Von Dutch’ work of art.

Lola was as curvaceous as Raquel Welch who adorned my bedroom wall. Her appeal was far more carnal, but the compound curvature of both car and screen siren was undeniable.

Fairly soon a poster of Lola was alongside Raquel. Dad related to Raquels’ charms, more than once we compared and contrasted her ‘on screen’ attributes with Sophia Loren but to me she was too old, I took his point all the same. He did find the car thing more of a challenge than babes.

Eventually I regained my senses and did a slow lap of  Lola taking in every bit of it. ‘Drinking’ visually every feature. The T300 was a new design, none of my old RCN’s had pictured it. Most racing cars then were still cigar shaped, Lola took her cues from the radical 1970 F1 Lotus 72, not the cars of the 60’s.

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Raquel, no comment required or appropriate…

We wandered off to the Castrol tent meeting Peter Brock and Colin Bond and whilst the Touring Cars were of interest they didn’t really float my boat. Moffat’s Mustang raced that weekend, it was and still is impressive. Surely the best looking ‘taxi’ of all time?. With an honorable mention to Brian Foley’s Alfa GTAm.

The beauty of the old Sandown setup was that you could see most of what you wanted within a 500 metre walk. Watch the cars coming down the main straight and into Shell Corner on either the inside or outside of the track. This was a great spot to watch braking manoeuvres and hear and work out the best practitioners of the ‘heel’n toe art’.

old Sandown circuit map

My other favourite spot was coming into or exiting Torana/Peters from the inside of the circuit. This was the place to watch and hear the cars accelerate away from you, always impressive to watch an F5000 doing that on its own bellowing up through the gears on it’s way up towards ‘Marlboro Country’, the fast combination of corners into ‘Dandy Road’, it was and still is a great part of the track to drive.

Access and egress from the Paddock was via a pit pass or jumping the fence for the impecunious. The Light Car Club guys always turned a blind eye to this teenage activity, proper chaps those blokes.

My preferred locale though, was in the paddock. You could wander around seeing as much as you liked, talk to the drivers and get an autograph if you picked your moment, watch the cars form up on the dummy grid, see them take off, and watch them from the pit counter, on circuit until told to ‘piss-orf matey’ by the ever polite LCCA officials.

It was from that pit counter that the second indelible memory of the weekend took place.

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Kevin Bartlett in the Sandown pits. M10B McLaren, the other car further back and to the left is David Hobbs, M22 McLaren, 3rd in the race. The pit counter was a good place to watch, the approach was alternately to either ‘look like you owned the joint’ or ‘duck in and out as the LCCA officials came and went’. It was a wonderful spot to spend the weekend, you could see all that was worth seeing within about 500 metres

We watched the cars grumble, crackle, spit back through their intake trumpets and ‘pig-root’ their way past us… down the pitlane, the exotic sound of Hewland gear whine audible and onto the circuit, the pack disappearing in one massive rumble of fuel injected thunder as they accelerated up to The Rise and down into Dandenong Road.

The first car to approach us exiting Shell was yellow.

It was Kevin Bartlett in his McLaren M10B, he kicked the car sideways…teasing the thing on the throttle, the engine note changing minutely but perceptibly as he balanced the beasts sticky, wide Goodyears with throttle and steering. I was stunned, it looked and sounded so fast and spectacular and easy. It wasn’t of course, but he did it lap after lap in this third gear corner. To see the thing accelerating hard past us and then almost as quickly the wonderful sound of the big Chev on the down-change into ‘Torana’ all too much.

I was in sensory overload, Raquel did that to me as well mind you, but in a different kinda way.

But I was hooked as a Bartlett, F5000 and race fan for life.

I don’t remember too much of the race itself but Graham McRae in his own car (Leda aka McRae GM1 designed by the recently deceased Len Terry) won the AGP from Frank Gardner’s Lola T300 and David Hobbs in a McLaren M22. KB and Bob Muir were both retirements with gearbox and engine maladies respectively.

But the race didn’t matter to me, i lived that wonderful weekend for months, I had found my lifelong interest and passion, it’s been my sport as a competitor and fan ever since.

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DNF for Bob Muir, the Lolas’ Chev engine failing on lap 19. This shot also Torana corner, still exists as the corner onto the back straight, whatever its called this week…

Etcetera…From my scrapbook all those years ago

babe and lola

sandown 3

sandown psoter

Photo Credits…

Thanks to Chris Parker and his archive for some of the shots, Stupix

Finito…

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Jim Clark explores the limits of adhesion of his Cortina during the Sebring 3 Hour Enduro in March 1964, he finished first in class…

MotorSport magazine road test of the car from January 1964, this Bill Boddy road test of the car ‘in period’ well worth the read.

‘A £1,100 competition saloon which is also a very practical road car, possessing extremely usable acceleration, very powerful Girling brakes, a top speed of over 100 m.p.h. and good handling qualities.

Soon after that man Chapman had been signed on by British Ford, Dagenham announced the Lotus-Cortina, which was to have a 1 1/2-litre twin-cam 105 b.h.p. engine in a Consul Cortina 2-door saloon body-shell using light-alloy doors, bonnet top and boot-lid, a close-ratio gearbox, modified suspension with a properly-located back axle with aluminium differential housing sprung on Chapman coil-spring struts, Corsair-size servo-assisted front disc brakes, larger tyres and other modifications to improve performance and handling. This Lotus-Cortina was announced enthusiastically in Motor Sport last February, when I remarked that it sounded like the most exciting British car since the Jaguar E-type.

Team Lotus were to run a trio of these Fords in saloon-car races, but the project was a long time coming to fruition, probably because the twin-cam engines were needed for Lotus Elans before they found a place in Cortina body-shells. And competition work with these exciting new cars, for which a top speed of 115 m.p.h. and 0-100 m.p.h. in around 30 sec. is still hinted at in Ford publicity material, was not possible until they had been homologated, which meant that at least 1,000 had to be built. Ford Dealers, promised these fast Cortinas, grew restive, the Ford Board wrathful, but gradually these outwardly normal-looking Cortinas with the colour-flash along the bodyside began to appear on the roads and, occasionally, by the date of Oulton Park’s Gold Cup meeting, on the circuits, while Henry Taylor drove one in the recent R.A.C. Rally.

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(James Allington)

At last, late in November, a test car was placed at our disposal for a brief period, and let me say right away that we were not disappointed! The Lotus-Cortina is a very commendable all-round car of truly excellent performance, the acceleration being an outstanding feature, very usable from the low speeds at which the average motorist drives, and going on and on most impressively as upward gear changes are made, so that overtaking is rendered not only safe but a positive pleasure!

This Ford is not a 100 m.p.h. car in the sense that the “ton” can be attained almost anywhere, but it achieves an easy 85-90 m.p.h. on give-and-take roads and certainly has a three-figure top speed. Such performance will leave behind, say, a Porsche 1600 Super or Mini-Cooper S or Alfa Romeo Giulia T1, and it is accomplished without sense of fuss or stress, merely that nice “hard” sound of busy but efficient machinery associated with a twin o.h.e. engine. However, although the r.p.m. limit is set between 6,500 and 8,000 r.p.m., the engine in the test car would not go beyond the first of these figures.

Road-holding is another strong feature of Colin Chapman’s modified Cortina, the standard being extremely satisfactory, remembering that the basis of the exercise is a low-priced family saloon. The back suspension creaks a bit but the combination of coil springs, tying up the axle and reducing its weight has transformed the mediocre handling of the bread and margarine Cortina.

Cornering is mainly neutral, with a tendency to understeer. probably accentuated by the small-diameter wood-rimmed steering wheel, which makes the steering ratio seem rather low geared on acute corners; in fact, the wheel calls for 3 1/2 turns, lock-to-lock, including some sponge not noticeable when on the move. On normal bends the gearing feels just right and the steering very accurate and positive. Roll on fast corners is very moderate. The front-end feels softly sprung if sudden changes of direction or a heavy application of the brakes are made, when the weight of the twin-cam engine tends to be noticeable, but even over bad surfaces the front wheels retain firm adhesion with the road and the ride is comfortable. Even at 80 m.p.h. over a bad road the ride is very reasonable and the car in full control. At high speed there is a slight weaving action, accentuated by rough going, as if the back axle resents the restraint Colin Chapman has wisely put on it, but this does not develop into anything serious. Round fast, wide-radius bends the Lotus-Cortina holds the desired line most commendably, even with the inner wheels running along a rough verge, while the car goes exactly where it is directed when tucking in quickly after overtaking. There is some lost movement in the transmission, probably another product of restricting rear axle movement, just as the absence of a propeller shaft accentuates harshness of take-up in rear-engined cars. Had Chapman been allowed to instal i.r.s. this tendency to weave, and transmission of noise from the road wheels, might have been eliminated. As it is, there is very little judder through the rigid Cortina body shell but the axle does build up some shudder or mild vibration, which releases a number of body rattles. Reverberations from the engine can be cured by using the two lower gears when pulling away from low speeds.

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The clutch of the Lotus-Cortina is extremely heavy, but engages progressively. The short remote gear lever is splendidly placed, and has a neat wooden knob. It controls a gearbox with the most commendably closely spaced and high ratios I have used for a long time, bottom gear being as high as 9.75 to 1. Chapman has clearly designed this gearbox for enthusiasts and doesn’t intend you to use a Lotus-Cortina for towing a caravan up Porlock.

The gear change is very quick and positive but the action is notchy and the synchromesh can be beaten if very rapid changes are attempted or the clutch not fully depressed. I rate this a good but not a superlative gear change. Reverse is easily engaged by lifting the lever beyond the 2nd gear position and the gears are quiet, but at certain speeds the lever rattles. The synchromesh bottom gear is as easy to engage as the rest of those in the box, which enables quick use to be made of the lowest ratio to keep the revs. up on sharp corners and steep hills.

The Girling brakes, 9 1/2 in. disc at the front, 9 in. drums at the back, with a suction servo on the n/s of the engine, are just the job for a car with Lotus-Cortina urge. They are light to apply, yet not too light and never sudden, and stop the car very powerfully and progressively with no vices, except for a tendency to pull to the right under heavy applications, on the test car. The hand brake is a normal Ford pull-out and twist affair. The combination of speed, acceleration particularly, road-clinging and powerful retardation possessed by this remarkable Ford enables 60 m.p.h. averages to be achieved on British roads effortlessly and safely, the Lotus-Cortina being easy to drive, no special techniques being called for, while its only notable disadvantages are some rather tiring engine noise and an uncomfortable back seat. However, the outstanding impression imparted by this excellent saloon car is of willing, purposeful acceleration, which goes on and on with no trace of hesitation or flat-spot. For this I feel quite certain the two twin-choke, side draught Weber 40DCOE18 Carburetters deserve most of the credit. The performance does not come up to the publicity estimates, as our figures show, but even so the Lotus-Cortina is a very rapid vehicle by 1.6-litre standards, quite apart from the fact that it is a 4-seater saloon! Because bottom gear can be held to nearly 50 m.p.h. and because acceleration commences to be really effective from around 3,000 r.p.m., a snick into 2nd gear produces extremely useful acceleration that leaves loiterers far and cleanly behind! Especially when it is realised that the rev.-counter needle only just touches the red mark at 70 m.p.h. in this gear, or at over 90 in 3rd gear!

clark, lotus at the wheel

The ‘light hands’ of Jim Clark at the wheel of a Lotus Cortina (unattributed)

In spite of its racing-type engine this Ford is perfectly docile in traffic, although if you motor through the thick of the rush-hour it is seemly to use 1st and 2nd more frequently than the 3rd and top gears, the water temperature will rise to 90˚ C but will stay at that, and your clutch leg may get rather tired. Starting from cold presents no problems.

I have dealt with the performance and controllability aspects of the Lotus-Cortina first, instead of commencing, as I do usually, with details of controls, instruments and decor. This is because anyone contemplating this particular and so very acceptable version of the popular Ford Consul Cortina sill regard these aspects as of major importance, and also because in general layout the car is like the normal, staid Cortina.

The separate front seats are comfortable and offer good support; they adjust in two planes, forward and upwards, in one movement. Upholstery is in matt black p.v.c., with a light roof lining. The dials are on a neat hooded panel before the driver, as on the latest Cortina GT models, but the instruments are better contrived, and in this case the background simulates metal instead of grained wood. The 110 m.p.h. speedometer has trip with decimal and total milometers, the tachometer is marked in red between 6,500 and 8,000 r.p.m., although the engine peaks at 5,500 r.p.m. The small fuel gauge is properly calibrated but shows a very definite zero some 30 miles or more before the 8-gallon tank empties. There is a combined oil-pressure gauge and water thermometer matching the fuel gauge in size; the oil pressure reading shows barely 40 lb./sq. in. at normal engine speeds, and falls to a depressing 5 lb./sq. in. at idling revs., although the green warning light does not show. In view of the fact that the twin-cans Harry Mundy-designed head has been grafted onto a standard Ford engine-base, this low pressure may prove disturbing to sensitive-minded engineers. No doubt proprietory oil-coolers will soon be offered to owners of these cars! Normal water temperature is 80˚ C. The two main dials are notable for steady-reading needles, white against a black background and moving in the same plane, which, with the steady-reading small dials and black interior trim, imparts an air of luxury, not found in lesser Fords. The usual Ford fixed r.h. stalk carries lamps and winker switches, the lamps control faired off, unlike that on other Cortina models. This makes it even less easy to use. That no lamps flasher is fitted is a serious omission; the horn push on the wheel, which is inoperative, might well be employed as such, enabling the push on the stalk-extremity to be used as a lamps-flasher.

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On this Ford the screen-washers knob is adjacent to the starter-key, and the wipers knob, on the other side of the dash, pulls out to start the single-speed wipers. There is the usual choke knob. The bonnet is opened from outside the car and has to be propped up, although the self-locking boot-lid is self-supporting. The bonnet opens to reveal the neat twin-cam engine, with those big Webers on the o/s and a 4-branch exhaust system dropping away efficiently on the n/s. The ignition distributor is inaccessible beneath the carburetters. The latter have a cold air box led through a flexible pipe from a filter in the grille. The dip-stick is close to the dynamo bracket, but accessible. Blue cam-box covers signify the 105 b.h.p. version of this 1,558 c.c. Ford engine, but for competition purposes the “red” 140 b.h.p. engine is available.

This “blue” engine has a 9.5-to-1 c.r., so 100 octane petrol is called for. On a last run from Hampshire to Somerset and back this was consumed at the rate of exactly 25 m.p.g. The absolute range on a tankful, which holds within 1/20th of a gallon what the makers specify, was 200 miles. The horizontal filler pipe is unsuited to refuelling from a can.

The Lucas 60/45 watt sealed-beam headlamps enable most of the Lotus-Cortina’s performance to be used after dark and the illumination provided in the dipped position is to be highly commended. There is nothing else to mention that distinguishes the car from its less powerful brethren, except that the spare wheel lies on the boot floor, the battery and two strengthening struts are found in the boot, the boss or the 15 in. racing-type steering wheel and the gear-lever knob are endowed with Lotus badges, which are repeated on the radiator grille and on each rear quarter of the body, and that the 6 in.-section Dunlop tyres look imposing.

We obtained the following performance figures, two-up, using an electric speedometer on the test track (average of several runs, best time in parenthesis, best Cortina GT acceleration times within square brackets):—

If these figures disappoint anyone, there is the Cheshunt-built 140 h.h.p. race-tuned 1,594 c.c. Lotus-Cortina to bring smiles of satisfaction – if you can afford £1,725 or get your hands on one of the 30 to be constructed! But for all practical purposes the ordinary Ford Lotus-Cortina (or the 125 b.h.p. Special Equipment version) should provide amply sufficient speed and acceleration and, with its good road manners, will soon be giving joy and rapid travel to many discerning sportsmen. It is a much better car than I had dared to hope and there is something very pleasing in the knowledge that Lotus racing “know-how” has been handed on to this outwardly sober Ford saloon, which goes so well, is such great fun and so safe to drive, and which enjoys the widespread Ford spares and servicing facilities. Under the circumstances this Ford Lotus-Cortina is a good car to buy for £1,100 3s. 1d., or £9 10s. extra if front-seat safety belts are specified. (Other extras are a 4.1 to 1 back axle and a reversing light).

Time will show just how reliable this combination of Ford and Lotus components proves but in 600 hard-driven miles the only failures were the Smiths tachometer, which just couldn’t believe the engines high rev.-limit, and a loose bolt holding the carburetters intake box in place. The rubber fell off the clutch pedal. Twin-cam engines are sometimes thought to consume oil but none was used by the Lotus power unit in 600 miles.

In conclusion, I approve very strongly of Colin Chapman’s idea of a British Giulietta, which Ford sells at a price poor men can afford! As for the race-tuned version…!! – W. B.’

Credits…

James Allington, MotorSport January 1964

 

 

 

Jack Brabham Oulton Park Gold Cup 1966, Brabham BT19 Repco

Jack Brabham wins the Oulton Park ‘Spring Cup’ 1966. Brabham BT19 Repco (Brian Watson)

The second episode covered the design and building of the 1966 ‘RB620’ V8, the engine which would contest and win the World Constructors and Drivers Championships in 1966, this is a summary of that season…

Brabham BT19 cutaway

Cutaway drawing of Brabham BT19 # ‘F1-1-65’, JB’s 1966 Championship Winning mount. Produced in 1965 for the stillborn Coventry Climax Flat 16 cylinder 1.5 litre F1 engine and modified by Ron Tauranac to fit the ‘RB620’ engine, which was designed by Phil Irving with Brabham/Tauranacs direct input in terms of ancilliaries etc to fit this chassis. A conventional light, agile, driver friendly and ‘chuckable’ spaceframe chassis Brabham of the period. Front suspension independent by upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/ damper units. Rear by upper top link, inverted lower wishbone, twin radius rods and coil spring/ damper units. Adjustable sway bars front and rear. Hewland HD500, and later DG300 ‘box. Much raced and winning chassis…still in Australia in Repcos’ ownership (Motoring News)

The 1966 South African Grand Prix…whilst not that year a Championship round was the first race of the new 3 litre F1 on 1 January. In December 1965 the first 3 Litre RB620 ‘E3’ was assembled and with slightly larger inlet valves, ports and throttle bodies than the ‘2.5’ produced 280bhp @ 7500rpm. After six hours testing it was rebuilt, shipped to the UK and fitted to Jacks ‘BT19’, a chassis built during 1965 for the stillborn Coventry Climax 16 cylinder engine, the rear frame modified to suit ‘RB620’. Brabham started from pole and lead until the Lucas injection metering unit drive coupling failed. He achieved fastest lap but was the only 3 litre present.

Straight after the race the car was flown to Melbourne and fitted  with  Repco 2.5 engine ‘E2’ for the Sandown Tasman round on February 27, Repco’s backyard or home event…

BT19 on the factory floor in Melbourne

Roy Billington prepares BT19 for fitment of the’RB620′ 2.5 Tasman engine in place of the 3 litre used in South Africa on 1 January 1966 (Wolfe/Repco)

Brabham and Frank Hallam, Sandown 1966

Jack Brabham with RB Engines GM Frank Hallam at Sandown 1966. Publicity shot with BT19, long inlet trumpets give the engine away as a ‘Tasman 2.5’. Car sans RH side ‘Lukey Mufflers’ exhaust tailpipe in this shot ‘, sitting across the drivers seat. Rear suspension as described in cutaway drawing above, twin coils, fuel metering unit, HD500 Hewland, battery and ‘expensive’ Tudor oil breather mounted either side of ‘box (Brabhams World Championship Year’ magazine)

During a preliminary race the car set a lap record but an oil flow relief valve failed, causing engine damage which precluded Jack starting the championship race. Upon dissasembly, it was found a sintered gear in the pressure pump had broken. The engine was then rebuilt for the final Tasman round at Longford Tasmania. In a close race, the engine overheating, the car ran short of fuel and was beaten by the two 2 litre BRM P261’s (bored out 1.5 litre F1 cars) of Stewart and Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart easily winning the 1966 Tasman Championship for the Bourne team.

Brabham BT 19 refuelling, Longford 1966

BTT19 being filled with the sponsors product, Longford paddock 1966 (Ellis French)

In early January the engine operation was transferred from Repco’s experimental labs in Richmond to the Maidstone address and factory covered in episode 2 where the operations were ‘productionised’ to build engines for both BRO (Brabham Racing Organisation) and  customers in Australasia.

So far the engine had not covered itself in glory but invaluable testing was being carried out and problems solved.

Meanwhile back in Europe other teams were developing their cars for 1966…all teams faced the same challenge of a new formula, remember that Coventry Climax, the ‘Cosworth Engineering’ of the day were not building engines forcing the ‘English Garagistes’ as Enzo Ferrari disparagingly described the teams to find alternatives, as Jack had with Repco.

Ferrari were expected to do well, as they had done with the introduction of the 1.5 litre Formula in 1961, they had a new chassis and an engine ‘in stock’, essentially a 3 litre variant of their 3.3 litre P2 Sports Car engine, the ‘box derived from that car as well, the gorgeous bolide looked the goods but was heavy and not as powerful as was claimed or perhaps Repcos’ horses were stallions and the Italian’s geldings!

Ferrari 312 1966 cutaway

Hubris or too little focus on F1 in 1966…on paper the Ferrari 312 shoulda’ won in ’66…when Surtees left so did their title hopes, Ferraris’ decline in the season was matched by Brabhams’ lift…

Cooper also used a V12, a 3 litre, updated variant of the 2.5 litre engine Maserati developed at the end of the 250F program in 1957 when it was tested but unraced.

Cooper T81 Maserati engine 1966

Coopers’ 1966 T81 was an aluminium monocoque chassis carrying a development of Masers’ 10 year old ‘Tipo 10’ 60 degree V12. DOHC, 2 valves per cylinder, Lucas injected, and a claimed 360bhp @ 9500rpm. The cars were heavy, reasonably reliable. Surtees and Rindt extracted all from them (Bernard Cahier)

Dan Gurney had left Brabham and built a superb car designed by ex-Lotus designer Len Terry. The T1G Eagle was to use Coventry Climax 2.7 litre FPF power until Dans’ own Gurney-Weslake V12 was ready. Again, the car was heavy as it was designed for both Grand Prix and Indianapolis Racing where regulation compliance added weight.

Denny Hulme stepped up to fulltime F1 to support Jack in the other Brabham.

The dominant marque of the 1.5 litre formula , Lotus were caught without an engine and contracted with BRM for their complex ‘H16’ and were relying also on a 2 litre variant of the Coventry Climax FWMV 1.5 V8…simultaneously Keith Duckworth was designing and building the Ford funded Cosworth DFV, but its debut was not until the Dutch Grand Prix in 1967.

BRM, having failed to learn the lessons of complexity with their supercharged V16 1.5 litre engine of the early 50’s, and then reaping the benefits of simplicity with the P25/P48/P57, designed the P83 ‘H16’, essentially two of their 1.5 litre V8’s at 180 degrees, one atop the other with the crankshafts geared together. They, like Lotus were also using 2 litre variants of their very fast, compact, light and simple 1965 F1 cars, the P261 whilst developing their ‘H16′ contender.

Honda won the last race of the 1.5 litre formula in Mexico 1965 and were busy on a 3 litre V12 engined car, the RA273 appeared later in the season in Richie Ginthers’ hands.

Ginther Honda RA273 , Monza 1966

Richie Ginthers’ powerful but corpulent, make that mobidly obese Honda RA 273 at Monza, the heaviest but most powerful car of 1966…it appeared too late in the season to have an impact but was competitive in Richies’ hands, a winner in ’67 at Monza…(unattributed)

Bruce Mclaren produced his first GP cars, the Mclaren M2A and M2B, technically advanced monocoque chassis of Mallite construction, a composite of balsa wood bonded between sheets of  aluminium on each side. His engine solution was the Ford ‘Indy’ quad cam 4.2 litre V8, reduced to 3 litres, despite a lot of work by Traco, the engine whose dimensions were vast and heavy, developed way too little power, the engine and gearbox weighing not much less than BT19 in total…He also tried an Italian Serenissima engine without success.

Bruce McLaren, McLaren M2A Ford Indy, Riverside 1966

Bruce testing M2A Ford at Riverside, California during a Firestone tyre test in early 1966. M2A entirely Mallite, M2B used Mallite inner, and aluminium outer skins. Note the wing mount…wing first tested at Zandvoort 1965. L>R: Bruce McLaren, Gary Knutson, Howden Ganley and Wally Willmott (Tyler Alexander)

So, at the seasons outset Brabham were in a pretty good position with a thoroughly tested engine, but light on power and on weight in relation to Ferrari who looked handily placed…

Brabham contested two further non-championship races…with the original engine in Syracuse where fuel injection problems caused a DNF and at Silverstone on May 14 where the car and engine achieved their first wins, Brabham also setting the fastest lap of the ‘International Trophy’.

Brabham , Silverstone Trophy 1966, BT19 Repco

First win for BT19 and the Repco ‘RB620’ engine, Silverstone International trophy 1966 (unattributed)

Monaco was the first round of the 1966 F1 Championship on May 22…Clark qualified his small, light Lotus 33 on pole with John Surtees in the new Ferrari alongside. Jack was feeling unwell, and the cars were late arriving after a British seamens strike, Jack recorded a DNF, his Hewland HD 500 gearbox jammed in gear. Mike Hewland was working on a stronger gearbox for the new formula, Jack used the new ‘DG300′ transaxle for the first time at Spa. Clarks’ ‘bullet-proof’ Lotus 33 broke an upright, then Surtees’ Ferrari should have won but the ‘slippery diff’ failed leaving victory to Jackie Stewarts’ 2 litre BRM P261.

Richie Ginther Monaco 1966

Richie Ginther going the wrong way at Monaco whilst Jack and Bandini find a way past. Cooper T81 Maser, BT19 and Ferrari 246 respectively. Nice ‘atmo’ shot (unattributed)

Off to Spa, and whilst Brabham was only fourth on the grid…he was quietly confident but a deluge on the first lap caused eight cars to spin, the biggest accident of Jackie Stewarts’ career causing a change in his personal attitude to driver, car and circuit safety which was to positively reverberate around the sport for a decade.

image

The rooted monocoque of Jackie Stewarts’ BRM P261, Spa 1966. He was trapped within the tub until released by Graham Hill and Bob Bondurant who borrowed tools from spectators to remove the steering wheel…all the while a full tank of fuel being released…(unattributed)

Surtees won the race from Jochen Rindt in a display of enormous bravery in a car not the calibre of the Ferrari or Brabham, Jack finished fourth behind the other Ferrari of Lorenzo Bandini. Denny Hulme still driving a Climax engined Brabham.

At this stage of the season, the ‘bookies pick’, Ferrari were looking pretty handy.

BRM P83, Stewart, Oulton Park 1966

Another major new car of 1966 was the BRM P83 ‘H16’…love this shot of Jackie Stewart trying to grab hold of the big, unruly beast at the Oulton Park ‘Spring Cup’ 1966. The car got better as 1966 became 1967 but then so too did the opposition, the message of Brabham simplicity well and truly rammed home when the Lotus 49 Ford appeared at Zandvoort in May 1967…free-loading spectators having a wonderful view! (Brian Watson)

Goodyear…

Dunlops’ dominance of Grand Prix racing started with Engleberts’ final victory when Peter Collins won the British Grand Prix for Ferrari in 1958.

Essentially Dunlops’ racing tyres were developed for relatively heavy sports prototypes, as a consequence the light 1.5 litre cars could compete on the same set of tyres for up to four GP’s Jimmy Clark doing so in his Lotus 25 in 1963!

Goodyear provided tyres for Lance Reventlows’ Scarab team in 1959, returned to Indianapolis in 1963, to Europe in Frank Gardners’ Willment entered Lotus 27 F2 at Pau in 1964 and finally Grand Prix racing with Honda in 1964.

In a typically shrewd deal, Brabham signed with Goodyear in 1965, it’s first tyres for the Tasman series in 1965 were completely unsuitable but within days a new compound had been developed for Australian conditions, this was indicative of the American giants commitment to win.

By 1966 Goodyear was ready for its attack on the world championship, we should not forget the contribution Goodyears’ tyre technology made to Brabhams’ wins in both the F1 World Championship and Brabham Honda victory in the F2 Championship that same year.

Equally Goodyear acknowledged Brabhams’ supreme testing ability in developing its product which was readily sought by other competitors at a time when Dunlop and Firestone were also competing…a ‘tyre war’ unlike the one supplier nonsense which prevails in most categories these days.

Dan Gurney Eagle T1G Climax, Spa 1966

Dan Gurney, Eagla T1G Climax, Spa 1966. In my top 3 ‘GP car beauties list’…Len Terry’s masterful bit of work hit its straps 12 months later when the car, by then V12 Eagle-Weslake powered won Spa, but in ’66 the car was too heavy and the 2.7/8 Climax lacked the necessary ‘puff’…Goodyear clad cameraman exceptionally brave!, shot on exit of Eau Rouge (unattributed)

The French Grand Prix was the turning point of the season…Brabham arrived with three cars, Hulmes’ Climax engined car as a spare and finally an ‘RB620’ engined car for the Kiwi. Perhaps even more critically for Brabham, John Surtees had left Ferrari in one of the ‘Palace Upheavals’ which occurred at Maranello from time to time, fundamentally around Surtees view on the lack of F1 emphasis, the team still very much focussed on LeMans and the World Sports Car Championship, where the marques decade long dominance was being challenged by Ford.

Surtees was also, he felt, being ‘back-doored’ as team-leader by team-manager Eugenio Dragoni in choices involving his protege, Lorenzo Bandini. The net effect, whatever the exact circumstances was that Surtees, the only Ferrari driver capable of winning the ’66 title moved to Cooper, Bandini and Mike Parkes whilst good drivers were not an ace of 1964 World Champ, Surtees calibre…

Rheims was the ultimate power circuit so it was not a surprise when four V12’s were in front of Brabham on the grid, the Surtees and Rindt Coopers and the two Ferraris. Surtees Cooper failed, and Jack hung on, but was losing ground to Bandini, until his throttle cable broke with Brabham leading and then winning the race.

It was Jacks’ first Championship GP win since 1960, and the first win for a driver in a car of his own manufacture, a feat only, so far matched by Dan Gurney at Spa in 1967.

It was, and is a stunning achievement, but their was still a championship to be won.

Jack Brabham French GP 1966 Brabham BT19 Repco

Brabham wins the French GP 1966, the first man to ever win a GP in a car of his own construction. Brabham BT19 Repco (umattributed)

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Brabham’s BT19 leads out of Druids at Brands Hatch, ’66 British GP. Gurney Eagle T1G Climax, Hulme’s Brabham BT20 Repco, Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax and the two Cooper T81 Masers of Surtees inside and Rindt, then Stewart’s BRM P261 and McLaren’s white McLaren M2B Serenissima and the rest (unattributed)

At Brands Hatch Ferrari did not appear…victims of an industrial dispute in Italy. Cooper were still sorting their Maser V12, the H16 BRM’s did not race nor did the Lotus 43, designed for the BRM engine. BRM and Lotus still relying on 2 litre cars. Brabham and Hulme were on pole and second on the grid, finishing in that order, a lap ahead of Hill and Clark.

At Zandvoort, in the Dutch sand-dunes

Brabham with beard Dutch GP 1966

Jack was tough but had a sense of humor…he had just turned 40 a month or so before, there was a lot in the press about his age so JB donned a beard, and with a jack-handle as walking stick approached BT19…much to the amusement of the Dutch crowd and press (Eric Koch)

Brabham and Hulme again qualified one-two but Jim Clark drove a stunning race in his 2 litre Lotus leading Jack for many laps, the crafty Brabham, just turned forty playing a waiting game and picking up the win after Clarks’ Climax broke its dynamic balancer, the Scot pitting for water and still being in second place when he returned, such was his pace. Clark fell back to third, Hill finishing second, the Ferraris’ and Coopers’ off the pace.

Brabham in BT19 Repco, Dutch GP 1966

Bernard Cahiers’ famous shot of Brabham ‘playing with his Goodyears’ in the Dutch sand-dunes is still reproduced by Repco today and used as a ‘promo’ handout whenever this famous car, Jacks’ mount for the whole of his ’66 Championship campaign, still owned by Repco, is displayed in Australia

German GP grid 1966

German GP grid, Nurburgring 1966. I like this shot as it says a lot about the size of 1966 F1 cars and the relative performance of the ‘bored-out 1.5 litre cars vs. the new 3 litres at this stage of the formula. The only 3 litre on the front row, is Ferrari recent departee John Surtees Cooper Maserati #7, Clark is on pole #1 Lotus 33 Climax, #6 Stewart BRM P261, # 11 Scarfiotti Ferrari Dino, all ‘bored 1.5’s. Row 2 is Jack in BT19, and #9 and #10 Bandini and Parkes in Ferrari 312’s, all ‘3 litres’. The physical difference in size between the big, heavy Ferraris, and the little, light BT19 ‘born and built’ as a 1965 1.5 litre car for the stillborn Coventry Climax Flat 16 engine, is marked (unattributed)

The Nurburgring is the ultimate test of man and machine…Brabham qualified poorly in fifth after setup and gearbox dramas. Clark, Surtees, Stewart and Bandini were all ahead of Jack with only Surtees, of those drivers in a 3 litre car!

The race started in wet conditions, Jack slipped into second place after a great start by the end of lap one and past Surtees by the time the pack passed the pits, Surtees suffered clutch failure widening the gap between he and Brabham, Rindt in the other Cooper finishing third. Hulme was as high as fifth but lack of ignition ended his race.

Hill and Surtees were still slim championship chances as the circus moved on to Monza.

Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme, German GP 1966

Denny and Jack ponder the setup of Hulmes BT20, practice conditions far better than raceday when Jack would triumph (unattributed)

Ferrari traditionally perform well at home…and so it was, Ludovico Scarfiotti winning the race on September4.

Another power circuit, Brabham was outqualifed by five v12’s, the Ferraris of Parkes (pole) Scarfiotti and Bandini, the Cooper of Surtees and the Lotus 43 BRM of Clark in third.

The Ferraris lead from the start from Surtees, but Brabham sensing a slow pace took the lead only losing it when an inspection plate loosened at the front of the engine, burning oil, the lubricant not allowed to be topped up under FIA rules. Hulme moved into second as Jack retired. The lead changed many times but Surtees retirement handed the titles to Brabham, Scarfiotti winning the race from Parkes and Hulme.

The cars were scrutineered and weighed at Monza, the weights of the cars published by ‘Road and Track’ magazine. BT19 was ‘Twiggy’ at 1219Lb, the Cooper T81 1353Lb, BRM 1529Lb, similarly powered Lotus 43 1540Lb and Honda RA273 1635Lb. Lets say the Repcos’ horses were real at 310bhp, Ferrari and Coopers (Maserati) optimistic at 360 and BRMs’ and Hondas’ 400’ish also a tad optimistic…as to power to weight you do the calculations!

Jim Clark Lotus 43 BRM Monza 1966

Jim Clark jumps aboard his big, beefy 1540Lb Lotus 43 BRM whilst Jacks light 1219Lb BT19 is pushed past, ’66 Monza grid. Love the whole BRM ‘H16’ engine as a technical challenge…(unattributed)

Scarfiotti and Clark Italian GP 1966

2 of the ‘heavyweights’ of 1966, Ludovico Scarfiottis’ Ferrari 312 leading Jim Clarks’ Lotus 43 BRM at Monza, Scarfiottis’ only championship GP win (unattributed)

Jim Clarks’ Lotus 43 BRM achieved the ‘H16’s only victory at Watkins Glen…the Scot using BRM’s spare engine after his own ‘popped’ at the end of US Grand Prix practice. Jacks engine broke a cam follower in the race, Denny also retiring with low oil pressure.

jack us

Front row of the Watkins Glen grid. #5 Brabham’s BT20 on pole DNF, Bandini’s Ferrari 312 DNF and Surtees Cooper T81 Maser 3rd (Alvis Upitis)

The final round of the 1966 was in Mexico City on October 23…the race won by John Surtees from pole, in a year when he had been very competitive, and perhaps unlucky. Having said that, had he stayed at Ferrari perhaps he would have won the title, the Ferrari competitive in the right hands. Brabham was fourth on the grid, best of the non-V12’s with Richie Ginther again practicing well in the new, big, incredibly heavy V12 Honda RA273. Surtees’ development skills would be applied to this car in 1967.

Surtees finished ahead of Brabham and Hulme, despite strong pressure from both, whilst Clark was on the front row with the Lotus 43, the similarly engined BRM’s mid-grid, it was to be a long winter for the teams the postion of many not that much changed from the seasons commencement…

Mexican GP 1966, Surtees, Brabham and Rindt

John Surtees, Jack and Jochen Rindt, Coopers T81 Maserati X2 and BT19. Mexican GP 1966. Ferrari missed Surtees intense competitiveness when he left them, the Cooper perhaps batting above its (very considerable!) weight as a consequence, Rindt no slouch mind you. The Coopers’ competitive despite the tough altitude and heat of Mexico City. (unattributed)

Malcolm Prestons’ book ‘Maybach to Holden’ records that 3 litre engines ‘E5, E6, E7 and E8’…were used by BRO in 1966, in addition to E3, all having at least one replacement block.

Some engines were returned to Melbourne for re-building and at least three were sold in cars by Brabham to South Africa and Switzerland, whether Repco actually consented to the sale of these engines, ‘on loan’ to BRO is a moot point!, but parts sales were certainly generated as a consequence.

Detail development of the ‘RB620’ during the season resulted in the engines producing 310 bhp @ 7500rpm with loads of torque and over 260bhp from 6000-8000rpm.

Brabham team with BT19 1966

Back In Australia…

The Tasman ‘620’ 2.5 litre engine was not made available to Australasian customers in 1966, they were in 1967, a Repco prepared Coventry Climax FPF won the ‘Gold Star’, the Australian Drivers Championship in 1966, Spencer Martin winning the title in Bob Janes’ Brabham BT11A.

4.4 litre ‘RB620′ engines were built for Sports Cars, notably Bob Janes’ Elfin 400, we will cover those in a separate chapter.

Development of the F1 engine continued further in early 1966 in Maidstone, whilst production and re-building of the ‘RB620’ for BRO continued, we will cover the design and testing of what became the 1967 ‘RB740′ Series engine in the next episode…

Meanwhile Brabhams’, Tauranacs’, Irvings’ and Repcos’ achievements were being rightly celebrated in Australia where ingenuity, practicality and brilliant execution and development of a simple chassis and engine had triumphed over the best of the established automotive, racing and engineering giants of Europe…

Repco 'RB620' 3 Litre F1 V8

‘RB620’ 3 litre V8 in Brabham BT19, 1966 F1 World Champions (Bernard Cahier)

Etcetera…

Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme , Mexican GP 1966

Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme, 1st and 4th in the World Drivers Championship 1966. Mexican GP 1966, lovely Bernard Cahier portrait of 2 good friends. Graham Hills’ BRM P83 ‘H16’ at rear.

Brabham 'Championship Year' magazine

BT19 cutaway

BT19 Repco cutaway (unattributed)

london Racing Car Show 1967

Brabham BT19 Repco on ‘centre stage’ at the 1967 London Racing Car Show (unattributed)

RB Nose

Brabham after Rheims victory 1966

A fitting photo to end the article…the joy of victory and achievement after his Rheims, French GP victory. The first man ever to win a GP in a car of his own manufacture, Brabham BT19 Repco (unattributed)

Bibliography…

Rodway Wolfe Collection, ‘Jack Brabhams World Championship Year’ magazine, Motoring News magazine, The Nostalgia Forum, oldracingcars.com, Nigel Tait Collection

‘Maybach to Holden’ Malcolm Preston, ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye

Photo Credits…

The Cahier Archive, Brian Watson, Tyler Alexander, Ellis French, Eric Koch, Alvis Upitis, Rodway Wolfe Collection

Tailpiece: The Repco hierachy at Sandown upon the RB620’s Australian debut, 27 February 1966. Phil Irving leaning over BT19 and trying to grab another fag from Frank Hallam’s packet. Norman Wilson with head forward leaning on the rear Goodyear, Kevin Davies and Nigel Tait in the white dust coat…and Jack wishing they would bugger ‘orf so he could test the thing. Nigel Tait recalls that the car probably had 2.5 engine #E2, had no starter motor and he the job of push-starting the beastie…

sandown

(Tait/Repco)