Archive for December, 2014

Ickx

The halycon days of politically incorrect advertising, doncha’ miss-em!?

That is Jacky Ickx under that fine femine form. Ickx arrived from Ferrari at Brabham at the end of’ ’68 and left to go back at the end of ’69 but not before winning two Grands’ Prix in the BT26, its fortunes transformed by the replacement of the troublesome 4 cam, 32 valve Repco ‘860 Series’ 3 litre V8 used in 1968, with the ubiquitous 4 cam, 32 valve 3 litre Ford Cosworth DFV V8 for 1969.

One of Grand Prix Racings’ interesting historic footnotes would have been to see if Repco could sort the problems of the ‘860’ to determine if the engine could match the world championship winning pedigree of the Repco ‘620 Series’ and ‘740 Series’ engines which won titles for Brabham and Hulme in 1966 and 1967 respectively…

Ickx won at the Nurburgring and Mosport Park, Canada in the BT26.

The return to Ferrari worked for him, he narrowly missed out on the 1970 title won posthumously by Jochen Rindt, mind you Brabhams’ 1970 car, the BT33 was every bit as competitive as his Ferrari that year.

As to the Castrol missy, Brabhams’ oil company was Gulf in 1969, so not quite sure where she fits in, but who cares!?

Jacky Ickx, Brabham BT26 Germany 1969

Jacky Ickx Brabham BT26 Ford winning the German GP at the Nurburgring from pole and achieving fastest lap, Ickx an acknowledged ‘Ring-Meister’. Jackie Stewart was 2nd and Bruce McLaren 3rd, Matra MS80 Ford and McLaren M7 Ford respectively. (Sutton)

Photo Credit…

Sutton Photography

stan longford

Wonderful shot of Stan Jones winning the 1959 Australian Grand Prix. Tannery Corner, Longford, Tasmania. Maserati 250F (B Dunstan via Ellis French)

The Ascaris’, Jones’, Hills’ and Villeneuves’…

When Alan Jones won the 1980 Australian Grand Prix at Calder, he and his father Stan joined the Ascaris as the only father/son combination to win their home Grands’ Prix.

Antonio Ascari won the 1924 Italian Grand Prix in an Alfa and his son Alberto won it in 1949, 1951 and 1952 for Ferrari.

Stan won the 1959 AGP at Longford in his Maserati 250F, the last AGP won by a front engined car.

Graham and Damon Hill both contested the British Grand Prix, Damon winning in 1994 aboard a Williams Renault, whilst Graham came close he never had a hometown win. His luck in the UK as bad as it was good in Monaco where he won five times!

Similarly, Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve both contested the Canadian Grand Prix but only Gilles took a win, for Ferrari in 1978.

Sadly, all four fathers had one thing in common, they all died before their sons achieved Grand Prix success. Alberto and Gilles in testing/race accidents, Graham in the light aircraft he was piloting together with his team and Stan of natural causes at the very young age of 49.

Foreword…

Like so many of my articles, the one on Stan started with a photo, the one above at Longford. I figured the article would be short but the more I dug, and there is not a lot of information available on Jones, the more interested I became in him and the series of Maybach cars which were such an important part of his career.

So, it’s ended up rather long! but I hope of interest to some.

I leaned heavily for the information on the Maybach phase on Malcolm Prestons’ great book ‘From Maybach to Holden’, sadly, Malcolm died a month or so ago. He was very kind and helpful to me with the article on John McCormacks’ McLaren M23, that article in many ways the inspiration for starting this blog, so I dedicate this article to him. RIP Malcolm Preston.

Stan Jones…

stan 2

Famous shot of Stan Jones shaking hands with Otto Stone, his engineer after the 1959 Longford AGP victory in his Maserati 250F. Alan is 12 in this shot, John Sawyer, the other technician wears the flat cap…Stan a justifiably happy-chappy after so many years trying to win this event! (Unattributed)

Much has been written about Alan of course but not so much about Stan, one of the great drivers and characters of Australian motor racing in the immediate post war years until the dawn of the 1960’s.

He was raised in Warrandyte, then a rural hamlet 24Km north-east of Melbourne, still semi-rural now, by his mother and grandfather. He served in the Australian Armed Forces based in Darwin during World War 2. He married Alma O’Brien circa 1940, Alan was born on November 2 1946.

Stan commenced motorsport after being encouraged by Otto Stone, a racer and engineer who would later make a great contribution to his success as an elite driver. He competed in his MGTC at Rob Roy Hillclimb, at Christmas Hills, not far from where he grew up in 1948.

Stan was soon a keen competitor in all forms of the sport including trials twice winning the Cohen Trophy awarded to the best trials driver of the year by the Light Car Club of Australia.

His MGTC was supercharged, as so many of them were, his first circuit meeting was at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne in late 1949. He did well, finishing seventh against more experienced opposition. In need for more speed, he bought an HRG chassis to which a local monoposto body was fitted, achieving success with the car  in 1949 and 1950. His first road racing event was at Woodside, in the Adelaide Hills, he finished 2nd in the ‘Onkaparinga Class handicap’ in November 1949. ‘Australian Motor Sports’ reported that it was the first appearance of one of the new production monoposto racing HRG 1500’s.’

In 1951 he also bought an Allard J2.

These faster cars were funded by ‘Superior Cars’ a dealership he opened in Richmond, yards in Coburg and South Yarra followed, northern and inner eastern Melbourne suburbs respectively.

Stan Jones Allard

Jones Allard J2 in the Bathurst paddock, 1951. (Ray Eldershaw Collection)

Charlie Dean, Repco and Maybach…

Maybach Carlton

Charlie testing Maybach circa 1950 on the road, in the grounds of ‘Willsmere’ the hospital for mental illnesses in Kew not far from Charlies home. His other testing venue was’Princes Pard Drive’ behind the Melbourne General Cemetery in North Carlton. This ‘track’ was conveniently close to Repco Research in Sydney Road, Brunswick. What a super car it was/is! (Dacre Stubbs Collection)

The turning point in Stans’ career was the association with Charlie Dean, the ‘Maybach’ racers which Dean built and the ‘Skunkworks’ at Repco, which continued to develop the car and its successors after Jones acquired it.

Charlie’s business named ‘Replex’, manufactured large industrial transformers. He became involved in the Australian Motorsports Club, and using his wartime knowledge of sophisticated German engines, sought a suitable motor to form the basis of a special. A friend who operated a war surplus wrecking yard was briefed and Charlie was soon the owner of a ‘Demag’ half-track armoured personnel carrier. Critically, it was powered by a Maybach 6 cylinder 3.8 litre SOHC, cross flow engine. The block was cast-iron, the head aluminium, the crank ran on 8 main bearings, and in standard form the engine produced 100bhp at 2800rpm but the engines performance potential was clear to Dean.

Initial modifications involved fitment of twin Amal carbs to a fabricated manifold, increasing the compression ratio to 8:1 by planing the head, fitment of a Vertex Magneto and a re-ground cam to increase valve lift and duration.

At about the time Dean started to build ‘Maybach 1’, he sold his business to Repco, being retained to run it, this gave him both time for his hobby and access to Repco’s resources…

The engine was fitted into a tubular chassis, the basis of which was 2 4 inch diameter 10 guage mild steel tubes to the front of which was mounted suspension mounting framework. Front suspension comprised a transverse leaf spring with suspension arms and stub axles from a 1937 Studebaker Commander. Rear suspension was of conventional semi elliptic leaf springs, Luvax lever-arm shocks were used. A Fiat 525 gearbox drove an open prop-shaft to a Lancia Lambda 7th series rear axle. A Jeep steering box was used.

Standard Studebaker brakes and wheels were used at the front, and Lancia brakes, hubs and wheels at the rear.

It was a quick sports car and was soon developed further for competition use, Charlie debuting it at Rob Roy Hillclimb in 1947.

The car was clothed in a metal body built by fellow Repco Engineer Frank Hallam, the body made from surplus metal ‘Kittyhawk’ aircraft fuel belly-tanks. (made by Ford)

Charlie raced the car in the 1948 AGP at Point Cook, an ex-RAAF base in Melbournes’ inner West. He retired on lap 12 from magneto failure in a race of attrition in searing heat, victory going to Frank Pratts’ BMW 328. ( in those days the AGP was Formule Libre and handicaps were applied)

Maybach Rob Roy

Charlie Dean with Jack Joyce as ballast competing at Rob Roy Hillclimb, Christmas Hills, outer Melbourne in March 1949. Maybach 1 ‘evolution B’ in the cars never ending developmental cycle. (Dacre Stubbs Collection)

The development of Maybach was constant and ongoing, the ‘program’ having strong Repco support due to its promotional value and development of its engineers. In 1950 Dean was appointed to head up a Research Centre for the Repco Group, located at the ex-Replex premises at 50 Sydney Road, Brunswick…from acorns do great oaks grow.

In June 1951 Jones, looking for an outright class winning car, bought the car for a nominal sum, the Repco involvement continued with the cars preparation, development and use by Repco for product development and testing. The car was engineered at Repco Research. Deans business and family commitments had made ongoing motor sport participation difficult. Jones lived in the Melbourne eastern suburb of Balwyn, in Yongala Road, not far from Dean’s home in Kew so communication was easy despite the lack of email and iphones…

By the time Stan bought ‘Maybach 1 Series 3’ the body was still a 2 seater. 3 feet of rear chassis rails had been removed from the original, it had rear axle mounted trailing quarter elliptics with radius rods.The engine was 4.2 litres and used 3 2 3/16 inch SU carbs, had a compression ratio of 9:1, and a reliable (sic) Lucas magneto. After the SU’s were fitted the engine developed 200bhp @5000rpm. Tyres were 16×6.50 touring type.

A 1922 American truck ‘Power Lock’ ‘slippery diff’ was adapted in the Lancia housing which was modified to suit. The brakes had also been changed substantially using 16 inch/ 14 inch drums front/rear.

Racing Maybach…

southport 1954

Doug Whitefords’ Lago Talbot leads Jones’ Maybach  onto the main straight at Woodside in October 1951, Whiteford won the race, Stan second. Just look at the nature of this road circuit; telephone poles, fence posts, railway crossing etc. A tragic accident in a motor-cycle handicap race where an early starter completed his first lap before the scratchmen had gotten away, killing 2 people in the starting area caused the ban on racing on public roads in South Australia (Clem Smith via Ray Bell)

Stans’ first race in the car was at Gawler, South Australia, the main scratch race setting the pattern for the season with Jones and Doug Whiteford in the Lago Talbot fierce rivals, the two cars passing and repassing before Whieford won the event.

Jones then raced the car at Bathurst in October 1951, winning a 3 lap scratch race but finishing second to Whitefords Talbot-Lago in the 50 lap handicap. The following week Jones again finished second to Whiteford at Woodside, a road circuit in the Onkaparinga Valley in the Adelaide Hills.

ralt and mybach

Stans’ Maybach chasing Ron Tauranacs’ Ralt Jap through Parramatta Park, Sydney on 28 January 1952. You can see the energy being expended by the drivers in getting everything from the two, dissimilar cars. (Unattributed)

He adapted to the car quickly and well having progressed from a low powered road going TC to one of the fastest cars in the country in less than 3 years, his money allowed it but he still had to extract all the car had to offer. Which he did from the start.

He next raced the car at the Ballarat Airstrip in rural Victoria, winning both the Victoria and Ballarat Trophies from Lex Davisons Alfa P3.

Maybach Rob Roy

Maybach 1 at rest. Rob Roy Hillclimb early 50’s. (unattributed)

As Stan became used to the car he became quicker and quicker, it was a considerable step up for him in terms of the performance of his preceding cars, he was the favourite to win the AGP at Bathurst in 1952, but excessive tyre wear resulted in a victory for Whitefords’ Lago, Stan finishing second having stopped 6 times to replace rear tyres, the 6 ply touring tyres used on the 16 inch wheels, running hotter than 4 ply racing tyres.

The racing Pirellis on order had failed to arrive on time, it’s interesting to reflect on ‘supply-lines’ in those far off days between Australia and Europe.

Stan Jones Bathurst 1951

Maybach at Bathurst, October 1951, exiting Hell Corner and heading up Mountain Straight (Malcolm Preston)

The car won three Victorian Trophy’s, the big race on the Victorian calendar, all at Fishermans Bend, another airfield circuit in Melbournes’ inner West. The first was in 1952 the car beating Whiteford with specially made 4 ply tyres for Maybach.

In 1952 stan also raced a newly acquired Cooper Mk 4 Jap 1100, successful on both the circuits and the hills.

On New Years weekend 1953 the new Port Wakefield circuit opened with Jones taking another win, he had been unbeaten in all but a couple of minor handicap races since the ’52 AGP, the sensation of the weekend the blowout of a tyre on Davisons Alfa and multiple roll over.

He was a lucky boy as only a week later Davo, Jones and Tony Gaze set off to Europe to compete in the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally. The racers were competitive, finishing 64th, at one stage having been in the top 10 amongst much faster cars in a field of 440 far more experienced teams in a Repco prepared Holden FX or ’48-215′.

Graham Howard describes this as ‘one of the great feats of Australian motoring, this trio clean-sheeted from Glasgow to Monaco and then finished 64th after minimal reconnaissance, in the final elimination, with Jones working stopwatches while sitting sideways across the front bench seat so he could use his feet to brace Davison behind the wheel’.

Stan Jones Monte Carlo Rally 1953

Jones/Davison/Gaze Holden FX,somewhere in Europe…Monte Carlo Rally 1953 (unattributed)

Stan lead the 1953 AGP at Albert Park… its inaugural meeting, by lap ten he was ahead of Whiteford by thirty seconds, by lap fourteen he and Whiteford had lapped the field, indicative of both their pace and dearth of outright contenders in Australian racing at the time.

The Maybach needed fuel and a replacement water pump drive belt. Jones then had to vacate the cockpit when he was splashed by methanol. Sluiced with water he rejoined the race, only for clutch failure to end a brave run, Doug Whiteford won in his Lago Talbot.

Some compensation for Jones was fastest lap at 2 mins 03 seconds, an average of 91.46MPH, imagine that Victorians who can remember the ‘circuit’ in its pre-modern era format?

image

L>R front row: Davison HWM Jag, Jones Maybach, Whiteford Lago Talbot, start of the 1953 AGP at Albert Park, its first meeting. Cec Warren #6 Maser 4CLT, Frank Kleinig #7 Kleinig Hudson, W Hayes #10 Ford V8 Spl and a smoking Ted Gray #11 Alta Ford V8. (Peter D’Abbs)

Stan Jones AGP 1953 Albert Park Maybach 2

Profile of Maybach 2 during the ’53 race (unattributed)

New Zealand Grand Prix Victory 1954…

rebuild

The tension on the faces of his team is palpable as Jones fires up the engine after the monumental job in rebuilding it onernight. 10.30AM Sunday January 9 1954, Shorter Bros workshop in Auckland. Team is Don Busche, Dean in tie!, Bib Stillwell and Jack Joyce (Malcolm Preston)

Stan was said to be hard on his cars, but he also had poor luck, but everything finally came together for Jones and Maybach with a win in the first NZGP at Ardmore in 1954.

He beat a class field which included Ken Wharton in the BRM P15 V16, Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125, Horace Gould and Jack Brabham in Cooper Bristols and Lex Davison and Tony Gaze, both driving HWM’s.

It was a triumph over adversity as the car threw a rod in practice punching a sizable hole in the crankcase and damaging a cylinder bore. Dean ‘phoned Australia for spares which could not be delivered in time. Undeterred, the team; Dean, Otto Stone, Jack Joyce, Bib Stillwell and Don Busch scoured town, patched the crankcase and machined both a GMC rod whose weight was carefully matched to the originals, and a new cylinder liner.

The engine was running by 10.30AM on Sunday morning. Stan catching some ‘beauty sleep’ to be raceready, the races duration 2 hours and 45 minutes, the patched Maybach and Jones doing justice to the ingenuity and resilience of their small team.

stan nz

The spoils of victory for Jones, winner of the 1954 NZGP. Close up shot showing the quality of fabrication and build of the car . ‘Maybach 1’ in its ultimate form (KE Niven & Co)

Maybach 2…

stan 4

Stan, Maybach 2 and Charlie Dean, venue unrecorded, but early 1954. Big drums by Patons Brakes a Repco Subsidiary, big ‘Lago’ SU’s, exhaust not fitted in this shot (Unattributed)

When they returned from NZ the team began work on a new monoposto, the chassis similar in layout to Maybach 1 but adapted for the narrower and lower body.

The rear axle was of ‘speedway type’ which allowed a lower propshaft and easier change of gear ratios. Monroe Wylie tubular shocks were fitted at rear. Front suspension used Chev upper control arms. The new rear axle was attached to quarter elliptic springs but with revised control arms and a Panhard rod. Les Tepper built the chassis, Brian Burnett and Bob Baker the body.

Great attention was paid to reducing weight, aluminium was used for the body, the cars’ weight reduced from 19.5 to 16Cwt.

The engine was rebuilt with a capacity increase to 4250cc by increasing the bore to 91mm. Power was 257bhp @ 5200rpm and torque 288lb ft @ 3000rpm. The compression ratio was 11:1 and the 110 octane fuel was an intoxicating brew of 60% methanol, 20% benzol and 20% av gas. The fuel tank fabricated by Burnett held 25 gallons.

The same brakes were used with the addition of air scoops to the front backing plates and a dual master cylinder supplied by Patons Brakes.

Peugeot rack and pinion steering replaced the earlier Jeep cam and roller setup.

The first race for Maybach 2 was the Victorian Trophy at Fishermans Bend in March 1954. Jones won the race lapping the entire field with Brabhams’ Cooper T23 Bristol 3 miles behind!

stan 2

Jones victorious Maybach 2 in the Victorian Trophy at Fishermans Bend, an airfield circuit in Melbournes’ inner industrial west. March 1954. (VHRR Archive)

Further preparation for the AGP was the ‘Bathurst 100’ at Easter, 18000 spectators attended the event, one of the ‘most successful meetings ever stage at the circuit’ according to ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’. Jones won a preliminary race on Saturday but broke the gearbox in a handicap event late in the day. W Clark’s HRG won the handicap ‘100’ from Brabhams Cooper Bristol and Stan. Jones won a 3 lap scratch race in the morning, the Maybach was timed at 132.6 mph over the flying quarter-mile. Not a bad reward for the mechanic who drove back to Melbourne overnight to collect a spare ‘box!

Maybach 2 was also raced at Altona twice and again at Fishermans Bend in October in the lead up to the AGP, achieving success in the first of the 2 Altona meetings in May. He lost to Brabhams’ Cooper T23 Bristol in the handicap at Altona in June and had gearbox failure at Fishermans Bend in October.

Demonstrating his versatility as a driver, Stan competed in the 1954 Redex Round Australia Trial in the Repco ‘prepped Holden FJ navigated by CAMS co-founder Don Thomson, finishing equal fifth.

He also continued to compete in the Cooper with at least 3 wins on the circuits and again success in the hills, including lowering the Rob Roy record which had stood for 3 years.

1954 AGP…

Stan Jones Maybach 3, AGP Southport 1954

Stan Jones drives Maybach 2 onto the main straight at Southport 1954 AGP, early in the race. A road course and a very rough one at that. These now well paved roads can still be driven. (Malcolm Preston)

The 1954 AGP was held on public roads at Southport on the Gold Coast not far from Surfers Paradise.

The roads were bumpy, were recently sealed, having loose gravel shoulders some humps and two defined ‘no-passing’! sections. The crcuit was 5.7 miles long with a race distance of 155 miles or 27 laps. It promised to be a tough event.

Jones lead from the start, initially from Davisons HWM Jag and Brabhams Cooper , Malcolm Preston in his fantastic book ‘From Maybach to Holden’ records ‘…Jones was reportedly maintaining a furious pace and consistently lifting all four wheels off the ground over one of the humps…On lap 14, whilst negotiating the S bends the Maybach ran onto the gravel. As Jones endeavoured to steer the car back onto the road it spun and careered backwards into the roadside trees at an estimated 100mph…passing between 2 large trees, one tree caught the side of the engine, ripping the carburettors and front suspension from the car, whilst the body containing Jones continued a little further on its side . Jones emerged uninjured from the wreckage apart from a small cut on his lip’.

Their are mixed accounts as to the cause of the accident, those sympathetic to Repco suggest that failure of a front suspension frame weld did not occur and that Stan made a driving error. Graham Howard in his book, ‘The History of The Australian Grand Prix’ concludes, drawing on contemporary sources, that a weld failure caused the accident.

Brian Burnett who built the chassis at Repco ‘explained that the two main chassis rails, of 4 inch 16g chrome molybdenum alloy steel , passed through holes in the diaphragm-type front crossmember and were completely electrically welded into position. These welds crystallised and cracked, and in the course of the Grand Prix one chassis tube eventually broke away and touched the ground. It was a problem as simple, as enormous, as unfamiliarity with new materials and techniques’ Howards book says.

Jones was tight lipped at the time, and it was a gentler age when journalism did not go hard at a large corporate such as Repco. From Stans’ perspective it made no sense to bite the hand which fed him and be forthcoming in a manner damaging to Repco.

The race continued and was won by Davisons’ HWM, the first of his four AGP wins, from Curly Brydon and Ken Richardson in MG Spl and Ford V8 Spl respectively.

Brian Burnett, Maybachs’ body builder, Preston records, told Jones at the team de-brief at the Chevron Hotel that ‘he had driven too fast and recklessly’, Jones responded by flooring him with one punch! Out of character for a bloke who was generally the life of the party and a favourite with the ‘babes’, but perhaps reflecting Jones view that the destroyed car was not his fault.

Jones was awarded the ‘Australian Driver of The Year’ in 1954 for his NZGP, Victoria Trophy, Bathurst 100 and Victorian Hillclimb Championship title wins.

prang

Maybach 2 on the trailer for the trip back to Melbourne. Car was destroyed by the voyage backwards through the Southport trees at high speed Main frame members clear, front suspension torn from the car. Mechanical failure or driver error? (‘History of  The AGP’ G Howard)

Maybach 3…

Shortly after returning from Southport Charlie Dean hired Phil Irving, already a famous engineer for his work on Vincent motorcycles and later the designer of the Repco ‘RB620 Series’ V8 which won Jack Brabhams 1966 World Drivers/Manufacturers Championships.

Whilst Maybach 3 was being built Stan bought Jack Brabhams ‘Redex Special’ Cooper T23 Bristol when Jack left for the UK, his businesses continuing to prosper and funding some wonderful cars.

superior cars

At Fishermans Bend in February he qualified the Cooper on pole but finished third behind Davisons’ HWM and Hunts’ Maserati. He ran the car again in the Argus Trophy at Albert Park in March finishing second to Hunts’ Maser and Whitefords’ Lago.

He also raced the Cooper 1100 and a Cooper T38 Jaguar in sports car events, winning in the latter at Fishermans Bend in February and also racing it on the hills.

Jones Cooper Jag

Jones added a Cooper T38 Jag to his stable winning in it on both the circuits and in hillclimbs. (motorsportarchive.com)

Early in 1955 construction of the new Maybach commenced, to lower the bodywork the engine was canted at 60 degrees, offsetting the engine and driveshaft to the right, allowing a driving position left of centre.New rear axle housings and steel gearbox housings were built to Irvings’ designs.

The remaining stock of 110mm stroke cranks were cracked, so a 100 mm one was used, with a 90mm bore the engines capacity was 3800cc. The special SU carbs could not be readily replaced so 6 Stromberg side draft carbs were used, the engine developing 240bhp @ 5000rpm.

A similar suspension layout to Maybach 2 was used. Brakes were made from flat plate steel rolled into circles and then welded at the ends, the drums were machined internally and externally for attachment to the hubs. Brian Burnett again built the body which was inspired by the contemporary Merceds Benz W196 GP car.

The car was finished in April 1955 and entered for the ‘Bathurst 100′ at Easter.It was timed at 145mph but had severe handling problems causing a spectacular spin, and finishing second to Hunts’ Maserati A6GCM. The car also had a severe flat spot and was not run in the ‘100’, Stan winning the Group B Scratch race in his Cooper 1100.

It was found that the front cross member was flexing under braking affecting the steering. Irving rectified the flatspot by devising a fuel injection system using the Stromberg throttle bodies, part throttle flow regulated by a Lucas ignition distributor with fuel delivered by an aircraft fuel pump, when dynoed the engine produced 250bhp.

Dean tested the car at Templestowe Hillclimb and Jones won the A.M.R.C Trophy at Altona, Melbourne in May from Ern Seeligers’ Cooper Bristol.

Jones raced the Cooper Bristol at Mount Druitt in Sydney in August, losing a wheel in practice but winning the preliminary race only to have the cars chassis snap in the 50 mile main race, fortunately bringing it to a halt without hurting himself.

1955 Australian Grand Prix, Port Wakefield, South Australia…

AGP 1955 Port Wakefield

Start of the race with Hunts Maser A6GCM and Stan in Maybach 3 alongside, front row. Jack Brabham and Doug Whiteford on the second row in Cooper T40 Bristol ‘Bobtail’ and Lago-Talbot (Malcolm Preston)

The car was fully rebuilt prior to the October 10 race and run in a preliminary event at Fishermans Bend the week before, Jones second to Hunt but happy with the cars performance.

Jack Brabham was racing a Cooper Bristol T40 he built himself and hitherto fairly unreliable, won the race from Hunt, who had lead in his Maser A6GCM before breaking a rocker and Jones whose clutch failed. Doug Whiteford was third in his Lago.

gnoo-blas-stan-jones-website

Stan competing at Gnoo Blas, Orange in the ‘South Pacific Championship’. Maybach DNF with a broken conrod in the race won by Hunt’s Maser 250F from the Brabham and Neal Cooper Bristols. (Gnoo Blas Classic Car Club)

Maybach was next raced at Gnoo Blas, Orange, in January 1956 in the South Pacific Road Racing Championship meeting. Hunt took the lead by a small margin, Jones second having lapped the field, Brabham a distant third. On lap 23 the Maybach broke a conrod, locking the wheels the car spinning down the road. Hunt won from Brabham.

Upon examination the block and crank were badly damaged, there were little of Deans’ original cache of spares left and in any event the more modern cars from Europe, readily available at a price meant it was increasingly difficult to develop the Maybach to the required levels of competitiveness.

After all those years Dean and Stan decided the cars ‘elite’ racing days were over.

Maserati 250F…

caversham 2

Stan Jones applying some gentle correction to his Maserati 250F ‘2520’ , AGP Caversham WA 1957 (David Van Dal)

Maybach 3 was never really competitive and Reg Hunt ‘upped the local ante’ when he imported an ex-works Maserati A6GCM in late 1954. Lex Davison followed suit with his ex Ascari/Gaze Ferrari Tipo 500/625 3 litre, Stan having the resources, invested 10000 pounds to acquire a Maserati 250F, chassis #2520 and spare 3 litre 300S engine.

Stan despatched Charlie to Modena to do the deal, ‘2520’ was built in late 1955 to ’56 spec and used by Frolian Gonzalez and Pablo Gulle in the 1956 Argentinian and Buenos Aires GP’s respectively, (DNF and 8th) before being shipped to Melbourne arriving on the ‘SS Neptunia’ on April 22 1956.

In a 1981 issue of ‘MotorSport’ magazine Alan Jones describes his joy in ‘unwrapping the car’ at Port Melbourne but also his disappointment as a 9 year old that the car was a Maserati, real Italian racing cars being Ferrari’s…

In any event Stan had the ‘ducks guts’, the most competitive customer Grand Prix car of the period, a tool with which he would demonstate his mastery over the following three years.

Australian Grand Prix , Albert Park 1956…

Jones raced the car for the first time at Port Wakefield, coming second in the wet to Stillwells’ D Type in the ‘SA Trophy’. He raced the car again in September at Bathurst winning both the 3 lap curtain raiser and ‘NSW Road Racing Championship’ later in the day setting a lap record in the process.

Stan Jones & Owen Baileys cars AGP 1956

Jones’ 250F in the foreground and Owen Baileys’ ex-Whiteford/Chiron 6 plug Lago-Talbot @ rear of the Albert Park Paddock, AGP 1956. Young mechanic in the brown overalls is noted Australian engineer/fettler Ian Tate ( Rob Bailey Collection)

Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games in 1956, the AGP at Albert Park that November is still regarded as one of the greatest ever, certainly the best to that point in the races long history. Its the event which changed the face of motorsport in Australia, such was the calibre and competitiveness of the entry and scale of the event.

The meeting was a ‘double-header’ featuring the ‘Australian Tourist Trophy’ for Sports cars on the first weekend and the AGP the following one, with support races of course, the AGP still famous for those!

The overseas entry was headed by the factory Maserati team which brought 5 cars, 3 250F’s and 2 300S sports cars for Stirling Moss and Jean Behra. They based themselves at the Esplanade Hotel nearby in St Kilda, (still there, the ‘Espy’a great pub and band venue) the cars themselves housed in Maserati driver and local Holden dealer Reg Hunts’ premises in Elsternwick, also close to the circuit.

Moss Maser AGP 1956

Moss heads out to practice the spare 250F…3 chassis came to Oz, 2 of the latest spec cars with offset driveline, lower seating position and revised bodywork, and this earlier car. Hunt tested it in practice and Brabham was entered to race it but ran his Cooper T39 Climax instead.(unattributed)

So close that the 300S were driven to and from the track, adding to the cosmopolitan atmosphere. The large local Italian community, many of whom migrated post-war turned out in force to support the red cars.

Other Maserati 250F’s were entered by Ken Wharton, Stan and Reg Hunt with Kevin Neal in Hunts’ old A6GCM. Ferraris were entered for Peter Whitehead and Reg Parnell, 555 Super Squalos’ with 860 Monza 3.5 litre 4 cylinder engines.

The strong field would test the local talent who were in cars in more or less equal performance to the vistors; Jones and Hunt in their 250F’s, Davison in his venerable 3 litre Ferrari Tipo 500. By that stage Whitefords Lago was long in the tooth, but he ran his 12 plug 26C as did Owen Bailey in Dougs’ old, successful car.

Behra and Moss AGP 1956

Jean Behra, Stirling Moss and cuppa tea! Albert Park pits AGP 1956 (unattributed)

Moss disappeared into the distance from Behra with local interest the battle of the ‘Melbourne drivers’ Jones, Hunt and Davison. Moss initially lead Behra, Whitehead, Parnell, Davison, Hunt, Neal and Jones. Baileys’ half shaft failed on the line. Jones was fast early, passing Hunt with Wharton, Parnell and Davison dropping back.

Rain started to fall with the Jones/ Hunt dice continuing until Jones eased with smoke coming from under the Masers long bonnet, post race this was found to be a broken crankcase breather pipe leaking onto the exhaust. Rain started to fall heavily with 10 laps to go Neal crashing the A6GCM into a tree breaking both of his legs and the those of the official he collected in the process. Moss won by nearly a lap from Behra, Whitehead, Hunt, Jones, Parnell and Davison.

The duel between Hunt and Jones was the first and last in similar cars, Hunt shortly thereafter retiring from racing, neither Stillwell or Glass as competitive in the car subsequently.

Jones continued to also compete in Rallies finishing second in the ‘Experts Trial’ and getting hopelessly bogged in the wastes of North Queensland in the ‘Mobilgas Trial’ co-driven by Lou Molina, legendary Melbourne racer, restauranteur and raconteur.

Jones and Hunt AGP 1956

Jones and Hunt during their spirited early AGP race 250F dice. Such a shame Hunt retired shortly thereafter, the battles between Jones, Hunt, Davison and Ted Gray in the Tornado Chev would have been megga. The other ‘maybe’ would have been Doug Whiteford in an ex-factory 250F rather than the ex-factory 300S he bought from the Maserati Team immediately after the meeting…Bob Jane bought the other 300S and sadly all 3 250F’s left the country. (unattributed)

1957 Australian Gold Star Series…

Stan shipped the Maser to NZ for the Grand Prix at Ardmore in January hoping to repeat his earlier success, the race included internationals Reg Parnell, Peter Whitehead and Jack Brabham, Stan qualified well and in a tough 240 mile race of 3 hours 7 minutes !, finished third in a typically gritty drive from Parnell and Whitehead both in Ferrari Super Squalo 555’s fitted with 3.5 litre ‘Monza’ engines. Stans 250F, 2.5 litres.

Bib Stillwell raced the ex-Hunt 250F, Reg having retired and depriving the sport of more Hunt/Davison/Jones battles.

The Maserati also gave Stan a lot of unreliability grief, his fortunes in it changing when Otto Stone took over its preaparation after the 1957 AGP held in searing 104 degree heat at Caversham in WA.

Jones was initially awarded victory after a stunning drive, on a lap count back, 2 days later, Davison got the win albeit with Bill Patterson as his co-driver, tough-nut Stan driving the distance on his own…Alec Mildren also thought he (Mildren) had won the race.

caversham

Stan Jones in practice , AGP Caversham WA 1957. Superb David Van Dal shot…makes the car look very long and low. Maserati 250F. Davisons year 1957, winning the AGP, Gold Star and Victorian Trophy in his Ferrari Tipo 500 (David Van Dal)

Lex Davison won five rounds of the championship that year winning the Gold Star from Tom Hawkes Cooper T23 Holden and Stan. Jones only Gold Star win for the year was in Queensland winning the ‘Lowood Trophy’ in August. At Bathurst a UJ broke, at Lowood a spur gear, at Bathurst the clutch failed.

Stan entered the Maser in the Victorian Trophy meetings, over two consecutive weekends in March, winning a preliminary event from the Davison Ferrari 500/625 and Brabhams’ F2 Cooper T41 Climax, but his engine let go in a big way in the 100 mile ‘Trophy’ race whilst chasing and catching Davison in the lead. A conrod broke carving the block in half after setting fastest race lap on this ‘big balls’ circuit.

Davison won from Brabham and Hawkes.

Stans businesses continued to expand, he was awarded a Holden franchise, ‘Stan Jones Motors’ was located at 408 Victoria Street, Richmond/Abbotsford. Many of his fellow ‘elite racers’ were also motor-traders including Bib Stillwell, Lex Davison, Bill Patterson, Alec Mildren, Arnold Glass, Stan Coffey and Reg Hunt.

Stan Jones 'Victorian Trophy' Albert Park 1957

Wet practice session for the Maser, ‘Victorian Trophy’ at Albert Park in March 1957. (Rodway Wolfe Collection)

AGP pit entry

Australian Gold Star Champion 1958…

Stan won at the Victorian Tourist Trophy Meeting at Fishermas Bend in February 1958 from Arnold Glass in a Ferrari Super Squalo and Doug Whiteford in an ex-works Maserati 300S sports car acquired from the Maserati team after the ’56 AGP.

In a consistent year with the now well prepared and reliable Maser Stan also won the final round of the championship, the Phillip Island Trophy race, and scored second places at Gnoo-Blas, (Orange NSW), Longford and Lowood, Queensland and won the title from Alec Mildren and Len Lukey in Coopers T43 Climax and T23 Bristol respectively.

Jones and Gray AGP 1958

Jones leads Ted Gray across the top of Mount Panorama, AGP 1958. Maser 250F from Tornado Chev. (Alan Stewart Collection)

Davo took the AGP at Bathurst in October 1958 in a thriller of a race, Jones lead for the first 17 laps with Davo in close company until the Masers’ clutch failed, and several laps later the engine. Ern Seeliger finished second in Maybach 4 (see below for specifications) with Tom Hawkes third in his Cooper T23 Bristol

AGP Bathurst 1958

Start of the ’58 GPs’ preliminary race: Ted Grays’ Tornado from Davison # 12 Ferrari Tipo 500/625 and Stan. (Bernie Rubens)

In a year of relative consistency Stan amassed enough points to win CAMS coveted ‘Gold Star’ for Australias’ Champion driver.

It was a fitting reward for one who had contributed so much to the sport and been a drawcard from the moment he stepped into Maybach 1.

agp 1958

Grid of the 1958 AGP Mount Panorama, Bathurst. Front row L>R Davison #12 Ferrari Tipo 500/625, Tom Clark Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, Ted Gray blue Tornado, row 2 L>R, Alec Mildren Cooper T43 Climax, Merv Neil Cooper T45 Climax and Curley Brydon Ferrari Chev, Tornado red clad crew well to the fore. (David Van Dal)

Jones AGP 1958

Jones, Hell Corner Bathurst AGP 1958, this shot taken from the inside of the corner the following one from the outside. These shots show the truly challenging nature of the place in the 50’s in 250bhp plus GP cars…(Ed Holly Collection)

Jones Maserati Bathurst 1958

Jones wheels his 250F into Hell Corner Bathurst 1958 AGP (Bernie Rubens)

The Australian Grand Prix win he had strived for for so long… was finally his with a win on the power circuit of Longford in Tasmania 1959.

Stans 250F was at its peak, lovingly and skilfully prepared by Otto Stone, Stan beat Len Lukeys’ Cooper T43 Climax at just the right moment…

The day of the front engined GP car was over in Australia, a bit later than in Europe. Stan was fortunate their were no 2.5 litre Coventry Climax engined Coopers in Australia at that stage, Lukeys’ little 2 litre did not quite have the ‘mumbo’ to do the job on Longfords long straights, but if anyone deserved some luck Stan certainly did!

Stan Jones AGP Longford 1959

Stan being pushed to the start in front of Arnold Glass in the ex Hunt/Stillwell 250F. Otto Stone beside Stan, fair haired Sawyer pushing Masers’ pert rear…(Walkem Family/Ellis French)

Jones lead from the start followed by Lukey and Whiteford, Whitefords Maser 300S did not survive the landing off the railway line spraying copious amounts of oil over Lukey.

Start, Longford AGP 1959

Ellis French shot as the flag has dropped catches all the ‘fun of the fair’ of country Tasmania in much simpler times…Jones from Lukey, Glass and Whiteford in the 300S. Blue colored sports car at rear is Ron Phillips’ Cooper T38 Jag…F Libre event (Ellis French)

The lap record was taken by Jones, Lukey and Glass. Lukey lead for 6 laps, Jones regained the lead , tapping Lukeys’ Cooper past the Prince of Wales Hotel. Glass made a bid for the lead, getting right up to Jones, but had to use the escape road at Mountford Corner, his brakes locking. He recovered, joining the circuit still in third in front of Mildrens’ Cooper.

Jones worked his away back to the front again, and built a small lead over Lukey, winning by 2.2 seconds from Lukey, Glass 2.5 minutes behind them and Mildren 39 seconds behind Glass.

Ted Grays’ Tornado, the other outright contender had troubles in the qualifying heats and ran a bearing in the fabulous Lou Abrahams built Australian Specials, Chev V8 on lap 4.

Jones jumping at Longford 1959

Amazing shot of Jones and Lukey ‘yumping’ their cars over the railway line towards Tannery Corner on the outskirts of Longford township (Charles Rice)

stan and len

Stan Jones and Len Lukey in their epic 1959 AGP Longford dice, the cars touched here on lap 9 (oldracephotos-ed steet)

Stan contested the Gold Star Series again in 1959 winning at Port Wakefield in Maybach 4, the car, still owned by Jones, was modified by Stans friend Ern Seeliger by fitment of a Chev Corvette 4.3 litre V8, de Dion rear suspension, a 30 gallon fuel tank and less weight.

The dry sumped Chev was fitted with 2 four barrel Carter carbs and developed 274bhp at 6000rpm and 300ft.lbs of torque.

The last victory for the car was that race at Port Wakefield, in March, in back to back wins with his AGP triumph.

port w

Stan in Maybach 4 Chev alongside Alec Mildrens’ Cooper T43 Climax. Stan won the Gold Star round at Port Wakefield in March 1959, mixing drives in the Maser and Maybach that year . Relative size of the ‘old and new’ apparent, Mildrens Cooper tiny in comparison! (Kaydee)

The 1959 Gold Star Series was very long at 12 rounds Len Lukey winning it in Coopers T23 and T43 Climax from Alec Mildren in Coopers T43 and T45 Climax and Stan.

stan and al 1959

Alan and Stan Jones, Phillip Island circa 1959. Car is Maybach 4 Chev, still owned by Stan but modified by fitment of the Corvette V8, fettled and mainly raced by Jones’ mate Ern Seeliger. PI track surface not quite what it is today…(Fan.one)

Coopers…

The Maser was advertised for sale at 4500 pounds (selling some years later for circa 2000 pounds) , Maybach 4 pressed into service at the AGP held in 1960 at Lowood, Queensland in June. The Chev engine failed after four laps, Alec Mildren taking a fanastic win by less than a second after a race long dice with Lex Davisons’ Aston DBR4/300.

Mildrens’ car was a clever combination of Cooper T51 chassis and Maserati 250S engine taken out to 2.9 litres, deservedly, he finally won the Gold Star that year, and then retired, forming a race team and over the following decade putting far more back into the sport than he ever took.

The mid engined way forward was clear, Stans new Cooper T51 2.2 Climax arrived in time for the NZ Grand Prix at Ardmore in early January 1960. Stans’ practice times were fifth quickest of a grid which included Stirling Moss, David Piper, Denny Hulme and Len Lukey all driving Coopers.

Jones finished fourth behind Brabham and McLaren in works Cooper T51 and T45 Climax 2.5’s, and Stillwell, like Stan in a new Cooper T51 but 2.2 Climax engined

Stan contested the ‘Craven A International’ at Bathurst in October 1960. He retired the car in a lap one accident, the race won by Jack Brabham, also Cooper T51 mounted.

Bathurst International 1960

Merv Bunyan photo

Bathurst Gold Star 1960

50000 people turned up to see Jack Brabham win the ‘Craven A International’ at Bathurst in 1960. Front row L>R Jones, Mildren, Brabham. The red car on row 2 is Stillwell, the yellow behind Austin Miller, the white behind him Patterson..all in Cooper T51 Climax’. The Glass 250F is clear, third row outside. (Australian Motor Racing Museum)

Grand Prix Racing changed from a 2.5 to 1.5 litre Formula in 1961 but many internationals contested our summer races…bringing 2.5 litre ex-GP cars, the ‘Tasman Series’ still 3 years away. Stirling Moss, Innes Ireland, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill, Ron Flockhart as well as our Jack raced in Australia that summer.

Stan missed the opening Gold Star round at Warwick Farm but was the fastest of the locals, making a particularly big impact on Dan Gurney at the ‘Victorian Trophy’ meeting held at Ballarat Airfield in mid February.

He was fourth, bested only by Gurney and Hill in their BRM P48’s and Ron Flockharts’ Cooper T51 Climax 2.5. Jones lead home the locals Stillwell, Mildren, Glass and Miller all in Cooper T51’s.

The oldracingcars.com commentary of the ’61 season asserts that Jones was the quickest of the Australians at the start of ’61 but only won later in the year at Lakeside in July.

coopers

Stan in his Cooper T51 Climax alongside Bib Stillwell in Aston DBR4/300. Stans’ BRDC badge proudly displayed on the Coopers side. Longford practice, March 1961 (Ron Lambert Collection)

At the ‘Longford Trophy’ in March he had a DNF on lap 4, the race won by Roy Salvadoris’ Cooper T51 Climax. At the ‘Queensland Centenary Road Racing Championships’ at Lowood in June he finished 3rd behind Bill Patterson and Mildren, both Cooper T51 mounted.

In April he contested the ‘Craven A Gold Star’ event at Bathurst finishing 2nd to Pattersons winning Cooper T51, Pattos’ Cooper and the 4 behind Jones 2.3 Climax all 2.5 litres in capacity or bigger.

But for Stan difficult times had begun…In 1961 their was credit squeeze in Australia as the Menzies Governement tightened monetary policy to control inflation with the usual brutally fast consequences of an instant drop in consumer demand. Cars included.

Sales on Jones’ multiple sites dropped and continued to decrease as consumers kept their wallets in their pockets or could not obtain consumer credit, nowhere near as sophisticated or as common as it is today. Superior Motors was sold in 1960.

If you were highly geared, as Stans businesses were, you were in trouble, his assets were progressively sold as his cashflow could not keep up with creditors demands.

Stan initially raced on and won the ‘Lakeside Libre Race’ in the Cooper in July, ahead of Arnold Glass’ Cooper T51 Maser and the Lotus 18 Ford FJ of Bruce Coventry.

He didn’t start the 1961 AGP at Mallala, South Australia, the race won by Lex Davison in a Cooper borrowed from Bib Stillwell, David Mckay was penalised for a jumped start and lost a race many believe he should have won, Davos’ AGP luck legendary!

The Gold Star was won by Patterson from Davison, Jones equal third with Bib Stillwell despite not competing at most rounds and having his mind on much bigger issues, his financial survival.

That unfortunately was the end of Jones’ racing career, he simply no longer had the financial means to compete, the fastest Australian at the start of 1961 was effectively retired twelve months later.

Stan Jones, Calder 1962

Stan Jones, John Sawyer and Otto Stone with the Cooper, Calder 1962. A drive of the car at this stage was no doubt some relief from the financial issues Jones was dealing with. (autopics)

Jones retained the Cooper, racing it at local Calder, Victoria, events several times into 1962. Whilst for sale, the 250F had not sold, Stan ran the car in an historic demonstration event at Sandown in November 1963, which seems to have been his last competition outing. By 1965 the car was sold and running in historic events in the UK.

Stan was ‘ a player’, his marriage to Alma ended in divorce, Stan gaining custody of Alan and moving to The Boulevard in Ivanhoe, a more salubrious address than Yongala Street, Balwyn. By the mid-sixties all of Stans businesses had been sold and he was struggling to find an income, all of this tumultuous for Alan, by then in his late teens.

Stan Maybach early 60's

Stan and Jack McDonald in Maybach 1, mid 60’s in the Calder or Sandown paddocks. Fit and well at this point pre-strokes. (Graham Thompson Collection)

Jones suffered two debilitating strokes in the mid-sixties. Alan, after an initial trip in 1967 moved to the UK to pursue a racing career in 1969, Stan moved there to live with Alan and Beverley, AJ’s first wife.

He died in a London hospital in March 1973 just short of his 50th birthday. He was a shadow of his former self but a family friend who visited the Jones’ in London spoke on the ‘blogosphere’ of Stan using two walking sticks but still looking dapper and smart.

Sad as this was, he would have been proud of Alan as 1973 was his breakthrough year in the UK. He had been competing in F3 for several years, winning a lot of races in a GRD 373 in 1973 and finally broke free of F3, getting his first F1 drive in the Harry Stiller owned Hesketh in 1975…

Champion Racers both, Stan and Alan…and in elite company with Antonio and Alberto Ascari.

cooper bathurst

Stan Jones Cooper T51 Climax Bathurst Gold Star , March 1961 (John Ellacott)

Where Does Stan Jones rate in the Pantheon of Local Australian drivers of The Period?…

It is much harder to rate the drivers of the period as they raced mainly cars of different performance. It isn’t like today when drivers come through controlled junior formulae and into controlled senior formulae including F1! Telemetry and the like making the job of picking who is fastest easier.

The competitor set includes Doug Whiteford, Lex Davison, Jack Brabham, (whom i have excluded from this analysis given he went overseas) Reg Hunt, Ted Gray, Alec Mildren and Len Lukey. Guys like Bib Stillwell peaked later and David Mckay wasn’t in single seaters until the very end of Stans’ career so lets say that is the ‘elite group’, based either on results or speed. (Ted Gray an example of the latter)

Whilst their is some chatter about the merits of Jones on the ‘blogosphere’ of more relevance are contemporary reports of those there in the day and assessing the drivers of the day in the context of the day.

‘Australian Motorsport Yearbook 1958/9’  refers to Jones ‘two most important overseas appearances have done more to put Australia on the map than many other drivers’. His ‘finest achievement must still be driving an Australian Special against International drivers in works cars in the first NZ International GP.’ ‘On the results of these experiences (the other being the Monte Carlo Rally) Jones should then have spent one season overseas; his potential as a racing driver, was superior, at the time to Jack Brabham’.

This did not happen primarily due to his family and business commitments so ‘..it is therfore not surprising that when he has recently driven against overseas drivers, he has been unable to match their skill…’

‘It has been suggested Stan is a car killer. This is not true. Jones is the first to admit that when he began motor racing he had little knowledge of what went on under the bonnet, but on the credit side he has the ability to give the mechanics details of incorrect symptoms…’

‘It must be admitted Jones is a hard driver…This determination to win has been one of the most important factors contributing to Jones’ success…his record shows he has rarely been unplaced when completing a race.’

‘Jones has been a complete all rounder…He is not temperamental and like many similar drivers his easy friendliness off the track is only matched by his determination once a race has started.’

Stans adaptability is mentioned above, that was not unique at the time as circuit events were not as common as now so drivers with the means had to be prepared to travel interstate and to do trials, rallies and hillclimbs to get their ‘racing fix’.

Jones had the financial means to race, but so too did the ‘competitor set’ above, all sucessful businessmen/racers with the wherewithal to match their skill.

As the oldracingcars.com analysis earlier states, Stan was the quickest local driver in 1961…Dan Gurney stating after racing against him at Ballarat Airfield, ‘wow he is some driver that Stan Jones’. He successfully made the change from front to mid-engined cars, he was as adept in his Cooper Climax as Maybach 4, both entirely different beasts raced successfully in the same year.

Ray Bell, noted Australian motor racing journalist and ‘Racing Car News’ contributor talks about Jones on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ as ‘..the dominant figure of his day. He probably won the 1957 AGP at Caversham denied by poor lapcharting by the organisers. He stood out amongst drivers of the fifties, Brabham shot off to the UK to really make an impact’. ‘At Albert Park in 1956 only two drivers took Golf Links Bend flat, Moss and Jones’

Was he our fastest of the period? Probably.

Its a pity Whiteford bought a 300S rather than a 250F from the visiting Maser factory team post the ’56 Albert Park GP, equally its a shame Hunt retired…those battles would have been interesting and perhaps conclusive.

Was he the best in the period? Possibly.

Perhaps mechanical sympathy, important at the time a slight negative.

With Davison the other ‘best’ contender and an honorable mention to Hunt who really wasn’t around long enough in outright cars to call it, he definitely had a car advantage when the A6GCM arrived, raising the bar and forcing others to buy ‘Red Cars’.

The final word to John Medley another racer/enthusiast of the period also on ‘TNForum’. He said of Stan, ‘He was an impressive operator, a determined and at times exuberant driver and usually with good equipment. Alan Jones was not the only goer in the Jones family. Stan was a serious goer full of fire and brimstone.’

Jones Maybach 4

Jones returns to the pits, final victory in Maybach 4 Chev, Port Wakefield, SA Gold Star round March 1959. (Kevin Drage)

 


 

Etcetera…

Charlie Dean…

Charlie Dean c 1972

Repco PR shot of Charlie Dean circa 1972 (Malcolm Preston)

The importance of the Research & Development ‘Skunkworks’ Dean created at Repco post-war is important to recognise.

Its existence and focus on development by racing attracted an incredible number of talented engineers who graduated from the ‘Repco University’ and achieved much within Repco or more often outside it.

Repco engineering alumnus include Ivan Tighe, Paul England, Peter Holinger, Nigel Tait, Michael Gasking, George Wade, Don Halpin, Frank Duggan, John Brookfield, John Judd, John Mepstead, David Nash, Ian Stockings, Ken Syme, Brian and Norm Wilson and many others. Phil Irving is not on this list as he was already of world renown when he joined Repco.

This unit within the company lead to the Coventry Climax FPF maintenance program in the early ’60’s, this and the capabilities of the engineers made possible taking on the Jack Brabham request to design and build the 1966/7 World Championship winning ‘RB620 and 740’ Series of engines, a program supported and sponsored by Dean, by that time a Repco Board member.

Board membership was a considerable achievement in Deans career as Repco were for many years an Australian Stock Exchange Top 200 company. Even though by then he wore a suit, by thought, word and deed he was a ‘racer’ to his core and a fine engineer to boot.

As a Repco Director he retired compulsorily at 60 in 1973, then doing a variety of engineering projects, and some property refurbishment work. He died suddenly in 1984 after suffering a fatal blood clot following surgery after a fall moving a concrete slab at his home.

To my knowledge his story has not been fully told but it is well covered in Malcolm Prestons’ great book referred to in the bibliography.

c dean maybach 194 geo thomas

Charlie Dean, Maybach 1, Rob Roy 1948. (George Thomas)

Etcetera…

Gaze, Davison and Jones Monaco

Tony Gaze, Lex Davison and Stan Jones with their Holden, Monaco quayside, Monte Carlo Rally 1953 (unattributed)

1958 AGP Bathurst

1958 AGP, Mount Panorama, Bathurst…Stan in his 250F from Ted Grays Tornado Chev and Davison in the Ferrari 500/625, first lap. Hell Corner from the inside, beginning the run up the mountain…(Peter Wherrett Collection)

Bibliography…

Barry Green ‘Glory Days’, Malcolm Preston ‘Maybach to Holden’, Graham Howard ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’, ‘Australian Motorsport Yearbook 1958/9’, ‘The Nostalgia Forum’

Photo Credits…

David Van Dal, John Ellacott, Ron Lambert, oldracephotos.com, Rodway Wolfe Collection, Merv Bunyan Collection, Bernie Rubens, John Ellacott, Charles Rice, Ellis French, B Dunstan, Ed Steet, Walkem Family, KE Niven & Co, Peter Wherrett Collection, Australian Motor Racing Museum, Rob Bailey Collection, Kevin Drage, Dacre Stubbs Collection, motorsportarchive.com, Graham Thompson Collection, Ray Eldershaw Collection, Alan Stewart Collection, Ed Holly Collection, fan.one, George Thomas, VHRR Archive

Finito…

Ferrari Dino 246 Alps

When I started this blog in May I hadn’t thought about the global nature of the thing, I figured I would be writing for an Australian audience. I started it to give myself something to do during the week ‘with all that useless information in your head’ as my partner so delicately put it, as I live in Melbourne but work in Adelaide, an hours flight away. I have some time on my hands.

So, I understand that many of you in some parts of the world don’t celebrate Christmas but seasonal salutations to you all. I hope wherever you live the period is an enjoyable family one and time to reflect and relax a bit.

In Australia it’s also our summer holiday so pretty much the ‘whole joint’ closes down for January and goes to the beach. It’s a time to watch the comatose excitement of cricket, a most peculiar activity, a ‘Test’ takes longer to complete than a Grand Prix weekend, and even then there is sometimes no victory. Only the English could have invented the game, bless ’em.

At Christmas my mind always turns to the Ferrari Dino 246GT, still my favourite road car.

The book which piqued my interest in motor racing was ‘Automobile Year 18’, the 1970 season review. I can pretty much remember every page, I used to borrow the book from the school library over and over again. Its no surprise that some of my favourite racing cars are from that season; the Lotus 72 F1, Ferrari 512S Sports Car and McLaren M8D CanAm being three of them.

These photos of the Dino and a road test featured large in the book, I fell for the cars perfect, pert Pininfarina lines well before I saw my first one in the metal.

Every year since 1971 I have asked good ‘ole Santa for a Dino in ‘Fly Yellow’, clearly I have been a naughty boy as said Italian temptress has never appeared. Still, many of my automotive and racing dreams have been realised although the # 1 seat at Ferrari seems to have passed me by.

May your dreams and aspirations for 2015 be realised.

A happy, healthy, wealthy and wise year to you all.

And thankyou for reading the blog!…

Ferrari Dino 246 profile

Photo Credits…

Automobile Year 18

Belgian+Grand+Prix+-+Spa+-+August+1962_DP+638+-+12+R+Rodriguez+-+Ferrari%2C+9+Phil+Hill+-+Ferrari.jpg.small

Phil Hill and Ricardo Rodriguez, 1962 Belgian Grand Prix, Spa. You can hear the crowd and smell the Ferraris’ in these magnificent John Ross shots…

Ferrari ‘stole the march’ on the competition in 1961, they were ready with a squadron of 156’s, whilst the British teams laboured with their 1.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF four cylinder engines until the BRM P56, and Coventry Climax FWMV V8’s were ready…

Only Stirling Moss provided much in the way of opposition to the Ferraris’ in 1961, Phil Hill winning the title. By 1962 the 156’s were as uncompetitive as they had been the class of the field the prior year.

Colin Chapmans monocoque Lotus 25 made its debut at Zandvoort in 1962, and Coventry Climax and BRM V8’s were plentiful, Graham Hill winning the title in his BRM P57, Clarks 25 suffering unreliability it was not to have in succeeding years…

Hill and Rodriguez duelled throughout the race, Hill pipping the Mexican by a tenth of a second from Clark and Hill, first and second!

Belgian+Grand+Prix+-+Spa+-+August+1962_DP645+-+12+R+Rodriguez+-+Ferrari%2C+9+Phil+Hill+-+Ferrari.jpg.small

Hill and Rodriguez into the downhill plunge before Eau Rouge during their long duel (John Ross)

Ferrari 156 arrives at Spa - transporter

Phil Hill #9, and Willy Mairesse #10 156’s arrive from Maranello atop the Fiat transporter, a third car is underneath, Ferrari entered cars for Ricardo Rodriguez and Giancarlo Baghetti as well, we may well need 4 car teams in 2015 to swell the diminishing list of solvent entrants in GP racing! (unattributed)

Credit…

John Ross Motor Racing Archive

collins

Peter Collins photographed by Louis Klemantaski aboard their Ferrari 335S during the ill-fated 1957 Mille Miglia…

This stunning, evocative shot, one of motor racings’ most famous, was taken by acclaimed photographer Louis Klementaski who ‘navigated’ for Collins capturing the essence of the event and times which seem so long ago.

Klemantaski picks up the story in ‘Automobile Year 44’…’In the fateful Mille Miglia of 1957 I was in the Ferrari Team in the car driven by Peter Collins, a 335 Sport. This model was the ultimate achievement of Ferraris’ creativity of that period. Peter said it was the best handling sports-racing Ferrari he had driven so far. It was certainly the most powerful and I had to adjust my course notes accordingly’.

‘ This photograph was taken as we went through a series of hairpin bends in the Abruzzi Mountains on the way to l’Aquila and Rome. There were no trees around and Peter could see the whole road for quite a way ahead, so I was able to take some time off from giving him signals as to the severity of the next corner and take some shots of the cockpit and him in action. As the G-forces were considerable, I had to make the exposure on the right-hand corner, so that I would be thrown outwards and away from him. We had no seat belts in those days and it was very difficult not to impede Peter on occasion. In those very tight corners first on one lock and then the other, Peter could cope without changing the position of his hands on the wheel, which was just as well, as the corners came up with remarkable rapidity. This is my favourite Ferrari photograph because it was of a Ferrari in action, taken from a Ferrari cockpit- and how much closer to the spirit of these wonderful cars can you get?’

Scuderia Ferrari entered five cars in the 1957 event... 315S models for Piero Taruffi (his car fitted with a 335 engine) and Count Wolfgang ‘Taffy’ von Trips, and the latest 4 litre quad-cam 335S models for Collins/ Klemantaski and Marquis ‘Fon’ de Portago and Ed Nelson. Finally, a 250LWB was entered for Olivier Gendebien and his navigator M Washer.

Taruffi won the race and then retired with Von Trips in second. The Collins car retired at the 5 hour 3 minute mark with a broken driveshaft. Sadly, and infamously de Portago/ Nelson perished in a gruesome accident also which took the lives of nine spectators, five of whom were children in the village of Guidizzolo, Lombardy, 110 Km east of Milan.

Some reports say de Portago should have changed his tyres earlier, a blowout the cause of the accident. The race was banned as a consequence, and so ended a tradition which commenced in 1927, the event run 24 times from then until 1957.

on root

The view at speed…somewhere in Italy! Klemantaski shot from the Collins 335S (Louis Klemantaski)

The Mile Miglia was started by Count Aymo Maggi and Franco Mazzotti… after the Italian Grand Prix was moved from their home town of Brescia to Monza. They chose a race from Brescia to Rome and back, a figure-eight course of 1500Km or 1000 Roman Miles.

mille

1957 Mille Miglia course, the race won by Piero Taruffi, Ferrari 315S, from Taffy Von Trips in a similar car and the Scuderia Ferrari 250GT LWB of Gendebien/ Washer

de Portago Mille 1957

Fon de Portago/Ed Nelson in their Ferrari 335S go thru the Futa Pass on their fateful ’57 Mille run. (Yves Debraine)

Various courses were used over the years with many of the greats of the day winning. Tazio Nuvolari Alfa 6C 1750 in 1930 and 8C 2300 in 1933, Rudy Caracciola in a Benz SSK 1931, Achille Varzi Alfa Monza 1934 and Alberto Ascari in a Lancia B24 in 1954 included.

Over the years Italians won the race the most, from 1953 to 1957 the event was a round of the World Sports Car Championship, Stirling Moss famously winning navigated by ‘Motor Sport’ magazines’ Denis Jenkinson, the pair setting the fastest ever time of 10 hours 7 minutes and 48 seconds.

The team covered six reconnaisance laps, Jenkinson making ‘pace notes’ on a scroll of paper contained in an aluminium housing. Dennis ‘calling’ the corners and the stunning ability of Moss resulted in an emphatic and famous 1955 victory in their Mercedes Benz 300SLR.

brochure

The 1957 Ferrari 335S…was a development of the 860 Monza and 290 MM sports racers of 1956.

le mans 5

The Collins/ P Hill Ferrari 335S at Le Mans 1957, DNF engine failure on lap 2 (Unattributed)

A tubular steel chassis frame was fitted with independent unequal length wishbones, coil springs and hydraulic shocks at the front. A de Dion rear axle located by twin radius arms, transverse leaf spring and hydraulic shocks was fitted at the rear.

Drum brakes were used all round, steering was by worm and sector. A strong 4 speed transaxle took all the torque of the big V12 with 6X16 inch and 7X 16 inch tyres fitted front/rear, the whole lot weighing a relatively light 880Kg dry.

The 335 Sport was the height of development of Ferraris’ complex but powerful 4 cam front-engined sports cars which won the World Sports Car Championship in 1957, defeating arch rivals Maserati in the process.

Ferrari 335S cutaway

hawt

Side profile of the Hawthorn Ferrari 335S on the exit of Tertre Rouge corner Le Mans 1957. He shared the car with Luigi Musso, and again DNF due to engine failure (Louis Klemantaski)

pitstop

4 litre V12 engine of the Collins 335S during a Mille Miglia pitstop (Louis Klemantaski)

The engines of the 290, 315 and 335S were primarily designed by Vittorio Bellantani…the ex-Maserati engineer received assistance from Vittorio Jano, some elements of the engine having a passing design relationship to Janos’ fabulous D50 Lancia V8 of 1954/55. Jano of course came across to Ferrari from Lancia in the deal which ‘saved Ferrari’s bacon’, devoid of a competitive Grand Prix car at the time.

The 60 degree all aluminium V12 displaced 4023cc with a bore/stroke of 77X72mm. DOHC were deployed with 2 valves per cylinder. Six Weber 44DCN carbs fed the engine with twin plugs and four coils providing the spark. Maximum power was 390bhp @ 7400rpm.

The Klemantaski Archive quotes Phil Hill as saying ‘the 335S was the best front-engined car ever built by Ferrari and certainly the fastest’.

cockpit

Cockpit of restored 335S ‘0764’ . 4 speed rear mounted transaxle, worm and sector steering. (Unattributed)

 


 

Etcetera…

scud

Scuderia Ferrari in Brescia before the 1957 MM start. #534 Collins/Klemantaski, #531 de Portago/Nelson, #417 Gendebien/Washer, #532 Von Trips and the privately entered Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa of Gino Munaron

taruffi

Piero Taruffi in the winning 335 engined Ferrari 315S. MM 1957. This very successful driver retired after winning the event then writing ‘The Technique of Motor Racing’, a rather good book! (Unattributed)

cuta

portago

De Portago and Peter Collins in colored beanie before the MM start. Louise Collins in the striped blouse at the rear (Louis Klementaski)

image

de Portago and Nelson leave the Rome control in 4th place (Louis Klemantaski)

Photo Credits…

Louis Klemantaski Archive, Yves Debraine, G Cavara cutaway drawing

Tailpiece…

fon

An equally stunning shot as the one at the start of this article. It reflects the fanatical Italian crowd and their proximity to the cars. Its poignant for that reason as it is one of the last shots of ‘Fon’ de Portago before the fatal accident which took his and ten others lives. Ferrari 335S ‘0676’ Mille Miglia 1957. (Unattributed)

Finito…

Rally of The Midnight Sun

Frolander and Lundstrom jumping their Austin Healey 100-6 in the 1956 Swedish ‘Rally to The Midnight Sun’…

The rally was first held in 1950 and is the antecedent event of ‘Rally Sweden’, since 1973 a round of the World Rally Championship, the ’56 event was won by Harry Bengttsson in a VW.

The big Healeys were effective rally tools, never European or British Championship winners mind you but an Austin Healey Sprite won the RAC British Rally Championship in 1959 in the hands of John Sprinzel and Stuart Turner.

Healey 100 6

Healey 100 6 specs

Credits…

Photo B Grunlund, Automobile Year 4

Ginther Spa 1965

Richie Ginther in search of the La Source Hairpin apex, with photographers’ assistance, Honda RA272, Belgian GP, Spa 1965…

Soichiro Honda was a talented engineer who created the largest motorcycle manufacturing company in the world, it could be said that he helped mobilise the masses in many ‘Third World countries’.

He was a passionate racer himself and in the early 1960’s started to challenge the dominance of the European motorcycle marques, notably MV Agusta on the circuits of the world.

Tom Phillis

Aussie Tom Phillis broke thru for Hondas’ maiden GP win in the 1961 Spanish 125cc GP. Honda entered all the 125/250cc events from 1960, Honda won both titles that year. Honda entered 500cc racing in 1966, and took 138 wins in its ‘first sortie’ to the World Championships, before taking a break in 1967 (unattributed)

By that time Honda R&D already had a Cooper T53 Climax, a 2.5 litre F1 car to tinker with and study, they announced their entry into Grand Prix Racing in 1964, a sensational 1.5 litre transversely mounted V12 stressed-skin chassis car their weapon of choice.

image

Honda had started building road cars, the S600 and S800 sports cars and by 1972 built their first Civic, a car which didn’t revolutionise the class but bought amazing standards of refinement and performance into the market for the time. It was the first of many outstanding mass market cars which would define the marque as the ‘Japanese BMW’ in the eyes of many.

Honda were on a climb and motor racing was a part of the plan to develop innovative technology, resilient engineers and promote and build the Honda brand.

Soichiro Honda

Soichiro Honda watching the performance of one of his ‘bikes, at close quarters! during the 1960 Isle of Man TT (unattributed)

Honda RA271…

The chief engineer of the project was Yoshio Nakamura, later to become the CEO of Honda.

The initial prototype, the RA270F was a space frame car, derivative of the Cooper, and was tested extensively at Arakawa on 6 February 1964 and then Suzuka, by many including Jack Brabham. Brabham and his partner Ron Tauranac were to race Honda 1 litre, 4 cylinder engines in their F2 Brabhams, winning the European F2 Championship in 1966.

In fact Honda had decided to be an F1 engine manufacturer, not the builder of their own chassis and had entered into a partnership with Lotus, but problems with Lotus’ existing Ford agreements precluded contract execution by Lotus…so Honda built the chassis after all.

Honda RA270F prototype

Soichiro Honda with the RA270F prototype spaceframe F1 car in 1964, he was one of many who tested the car. (Honda International)

The definitive RA271 used a stressed skin monocoque chassis which ended at the rear of the cockpit to which was mounted the transverse 60 degree 1495cc V12.

A tubular subframe picked up the rear suspension assembly which could be unbolted and wheeled away.

The engine used DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder and was fed initially by 6 Keihin carburettors mounted across the frame behind the cockpit. Fuel injection was being developed and was soon adapted to the engine. Power takeoff was by spur gears from the centre of the crankshaft driving directly into a transverse shaft 6 speed transaxle.

Honda RA271 Monza 1964

Honda RA271, Monza 1964, the fuel injected version of the engine appeared for the first time. The engine developed circa 220bhp@11000rpm in 1964, more than was claimed for the BRM and Coventry Climax V8’s and about what Ferrari claimed for their championship winning V8 that season. (unattributed)

Front suspension was by top rocker operating inboard mounted coil spring damper units and lower wishbone. Rear was by reversed lower wishbone, single top link with outboard mounted coil spring damper units and two radius rods providing lateral location. Sway bars were adjustable front and rear.

Dunlop disc brakes were used and Goodyear tyres, Honda and Brabham the first users of Goodyear in F1.

RA271 rear

‘Things Go Better With Coke’… cheap oil catch tank! RA271 rear end showing upper and lower wishbones, coil spring damper units. Rear mounted battery and alloy casing of the 6 speed Honda transaxle mounted aft of the engine where it was parallel with and driven from the centre of the crankshaft. Rear Dunlop discs inboard. (unattributed)

Ronnie Bucknum…

Bucknum and mechanics Monza 1964

A Honda mechanic, Yoshio Nakamura and Ronnie Bucknum working things out upon the RA271 race debut…Nurburgring pit apron 1964. None of the ‘flash surroundings’ for mechanics of the modern era. (Bernard Cahier)

Somewhat bizarrely the Japanese, as if to emphasise the experimental nature of the car chose Bucknum, a little known American sports car driver to pilot the car, his family owned a Honda dealership in the US and he raced an S600 at home. These days a ‘Superlicence’ would not have been issued!

He tested the car extensively in Japan before the cars first race in the German GP, at the Nurburgring, what a baptism of fire for car and driver in August 1964!

Bucknum qualified the RA271 slowest, no disgrace and then drove a steady race in the wet, the power curve of the engine somewhat peaky, and was in 11th place when a steering problem caused him to crash out of the race.

Bucknum German GP 1964

Ronnie Bucknum during the 1964 German GP upon Hondas debut. He drove the RA271 sensibly in difficult, wet conditions, crashing out after steering problems (Honda International)

The team missed the Austrian GP but returned with the definitive fuel injected version of the engine at Monza, qualifying mid grid and racing in fifth before overheating problems intervened.

In the US he retired with a blown head gasket to finish the teams truncated first season.

1965, Final Year of the 1.5 Litre Formula…

Ginther Spa 1965 RA272

Ginther in the RA272, wet Spa 1965, not for the faint hearted!

Honda were more serious about its 1965 campaign building a new car, the RA272 and signing Richie Ginther ex-BRM and Ferrari, and a noted test and development driver to lead the team, retaining Bucknum for a second year.

The team were based in Amsterdam, the centre of their distribution operation in Europe.

The power of the engine was increased from circa 220bhp@11000rpm to 230bhp@12000rpm with chassis weight reduced by 30kg.

Minimising heat build up became key as the engines lost power significantly as the races wore on, Ginthers ‘bonzai’ starts came to nought as the engines lost grunt.

The cars appeared at Monaco, qualifying up the back and both dropped out, Richie with a UJ failure and Ronnie with gear change maladies.

Ginther RA272 Monaco 1965

Ginthers’ RA272 Monaco 1965. Ginther DNF with a driveshaft failure in the race won by Hills’ BRM P261. Note the evolution of the cars rear suspension compared with the RA271 above. Much neater and ‘conventional’ single top link and inverted lower wishbone. (unattributed)

The Belgian GP was typically wet, Ginther qualified fourth and finished sixth, Bucknums’ transaxle failed. Both cars failed to finish at the French GP with ignition problems although Richie qualified 7th.

Spa 1965 Belgian GP start

The sheer majesty of Spa…treacherous wet ’65 GP won by Clarks’ Lotus 33 Climax. From the start its Hill and Stewart in BRM P261’s, Ginther, Honda RA272, Siffert, Brabham BT11 BRM, Surtees, Ferrari 158, Dan Gurney, Brabham BT11 Climax, Bruce McLaren, Cooper T77 Climax, Jo Bonnier, Brabham BT7 Climax and the rest…(unattributed sensational shot)

The Honda was well suited to the wide open spaces of ex-RAF airfield Silverstone, one car was entered for Ginther, he duly qualified 3rd and lead from the start, the Honda yowling its way out front, he ran third for much of the race but again ignition problems ended his race.

British GP 1965

British GP, Silverstone start 1965. Ginther is 3rd on the grid. Clark is on pole in his Lotus 33 Climax, Hill alongside in BRM P261, then Ginther RA272 and on the outside Jackie Stewart in the other #4 BRM P261. Ferrari 1512 #1 is John Surtees. (unattributed)

He again qualified 3rd at Zandvoort and lead the race but then spun twice and finished 6th.

Honda missed the Nurburgring but reappeared at Monza with engines mounted lower and using sleeker bodywork, Bucknum qualified 6th and Richie 17th after various dramas but both ‘popped engines’ again failing to finish.

Both cars finished for the first time at Watkins Glen in the US Grand Prix, Bucknum an uninspired 13th and Richie 7th having again qualified 3rd.

And so onto the last race of the season and of the 1.5 litre formula. The Magdalena Mixhuca circuit at Mexico City was the venue for the Mexican Grand Prix, famous for the difficulties caused for engines at a height 7500 feet above sea level.

Ginther again! qualified 3rd and Bucknum tenth. At the drop of the flag Richie simply took the lead and ran off into the distance, the little jewel of an engine never missing a beat scoring Hondas’, Goodyears’ and Ginthers’ first Grand Prix victories.

Bucknum was a strong 5th. Hondas fuel injection system, problematic at times was one of the reasons for the Mexican success, thriving at the higher altitude.

And so Honda won a famous and well deserved win and would be back late in 1966 with a heavy but powerful 3 litre V12 engined car, the RA273…

Ginther Mexican GP 1965

Richie Ginther lead the Mexican GP in 1965 from start to finish, heat and altitude notwithstanding. He is swinging his RA272 into Horquila Corner, the hairpin. (Bernard Cahier)

As an enthusiast i love those marques which have racing as part of their DNA, for that Honda have their founder to thank.

Soichiro Honda gave the following press conference speech after the Mexico win, i love the insights it provides into his thinking about how ‘racing improves the breed’.

He said, ‘Ever since we first decided to build cars we have worked hard and been willing to take the most difficult path. Now we must study the reasons why we lose, and do the same when we win, so that we can use that knowledge to improve the quality of our cars and make them safer for our customers. Thats our duty. Once we had established our goal, we decided to choose the most difficult path to get there. This is why we entered the Grand Prix series. We will therefore not be content with this victory alone. We will study why we won and aggressively apply those technologies to new cars’.

image

Honda RA272 cutaway

Honda RA272 cutaway drawing by Yoshiro Inomoto

Etcetera…

Honda Team Nurburgring 1964

Honda unload their RA271 at the Nurburgring upon their GP debut, German GP 1964. (unattributed)

Ginther and Hill Zandvoort 1965

Graham Hill and Richie Ginther dicing at Zandvoort, Dutch GP 1965. Hill 4th in his BRM P261 and Richie 6th in his Honda RA272 in the race won by Clarks’ Lotus 33 Climax, Clark the ’65 Champ. (unattributed)

Honda RA272 engine

Honda RA272 engine; 1495cc 60degree, transversely mounted DOHC, 4 valve, fuel injected V12. Circa 230bhp@13000rpm in 1965. (Bernard Cahier)

Honda RA272 cockpit

Honda RA272 cockpit. (unattributed)

Ginther celebrating his Mexico victory 1965

Ginther and engineer Nakamura celebrate their 1965 Mexican GP victory. (unattributed)

Sources…

Doug Nye ‘The History of The Grand Prix Car 1945-65’, Honda International

Bernard Cahier, Yoshiro Inomoto

Finito…

Alfa Sprint Veloce Sebring...

Todd Treats’ fantastic, evocative, fun shots of a very happy Alfa driver and his mechanics, doing his best to maintain focus under extreme pressure…

The shot was taken at Harewood Acres, Ontario, Canada.

Uncertain if the Giulietta is ‘750’ or ‘101’, positive the young temptress is ’36/24/36’…

Alfa Giulietta Spyder Veloce

Gone but not forgotten i suspect.

Not so sure a ‘pit crew’ such as this is conducive to quick lap times, mind you if one had a ‘pit crew’ such as this lap times may not be the top race weekend priority. Wonderful shots.

Alfa Giulietta…

Giulietta

A comprehensive article on the Giulietta and an interesting website is below:

http://www.automania.be/en/cars/alfa-romeo/alfa-romeo-history/1954-2004-the-giulietta-sprint-is-50.html

Photos…Todd Treat

image

Jock Walkem and his mate ponder changes to their Cooper and it’s moody Jap ‘V-twin’ engine before the next run…another of those ‘just so period’ shots…

Lots of interesting details to grab the eye…the gear lever for the ‘positive stop’ motor cyle ‘box, mirror mounted on the transverse leaf, equipe logo on the cars side, i wonder whose it is? Relaxed look and feel of the event and the formal clothing of the kids on a Tasmanian Sunday compared with today…

Penguin is a tiny village on the North-West Coast of Tasmania, the Hillclimb still holds race meetings.

Cooper MkV/41/51 is significant in the pantheon of the many air-cooled Coopers which came to Australia in the 1950’s. Perhaps the most successful, it was owned and raced by Tom Hawkes and ‘Gold Star’ (Australias’ national drivers championship) winners Stan Jones and Bill Patterson earlier in their careers.

An interesting article about this particular car is in the magazine ‘Loose Fillings’, which specialises in these air-cooled racers.

http://www.hsrca.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LooseFillings-44Print.pdf

F3 racing in the UK provided both the training ground for some of Britains Champions of the 1950’s…Stirling Moss, Peter Collins, Stuart Lewis-Evans being good examples, and also for engineers. The class also accelerated the growth of the infrastructure of subcontractors which formed one of the bases of Britains global dominance as a manufacturer of racing cars which continues today.

500cc Clubs

Those with an interest in these cars should check out the ‘500 Owners Association’

http://www.500race.org/index.htm

Technical details…

Cooper Mk5 cutaway

Chassis is box-sections, with transverse leaf springs and wishbones front and rear. Burman steering, Lockheed hydraulic drums front and rear provide the stopping power. Chain drive. Circa 520Lb in weight. Cast alloy wheels 4 or 5 X 15 inch diameter wheels. (Vic Berris)

Cooper Mk5 sales ad

JAP 8 80 drawing

The Walkem MkV was fitted with a ‘JAP’ 8/80 V Twin, 996cc, pushrod OHV, engine. Circa 76.5 bhp@6300rpm. The 500cc ‘ JAP’ single produced around 40bhp, both engines used compression ratios of 14:1 and used alcohol fuel provided by Amal carb(s)

Etcetera…

Cooper Mk5 Motorsport article

Photo Credits…

Check out the archive of oldracephotos

http://www.oldracephotos.com/content/home/

Vic Berris cutaway drawing, MotorSport Magazine

Finito…

Watson McLaren MP4 Ford Silverstone 1981

John Watson wins the 1981 British Grand Prix at Silverstone…a confluence of events lead to the first carbon-composite chassis Grand Prix car, the McLaren MP4 Ford…

Ron Dennis commenced his Grand Prix career at 18 as a mechanic with Cooper…he was immediately recognised as a man with talent, star driver Jochen Rindt taking him from Cooper to Brabham in 1968. When Jochen decamped to Lotus at the end of the year Ron remained and was Chief Mechanic for Jack in his final year, 1970, Brabham a competitive race winner in the BT33 that season.

Brabham and Dennis 1970

Brabham Racing Organisation council of war around the BT33 in 1970, Jack and Ron Dennis to the fore.(unattributed)

Dennis and Neil Trundle formed ‘Rondel Racing’ to run customer Brabham F2 cars in 1971, Ron Tauranac cutting a deal which provided for payment of the teams BT36’s at the end of the season, after they had been sold. Projects 3 and 4 were also racing teams running customer cars in F3 and F2 throughout the 1970’s, including drivers sponsored by Marlboro, one of his customers in 1980 was Marlboro sponsored Andrea de Cesaris, for whom they ran a March BMW.

Over at McLaren things were not going so well, they won world titles with Emerson Fittipaldi and James Hunt in 1974 and 1976 with the long-lived M23 but had achieved minimal success with their M26 and even less with the cars which followed.

Colin Chapman made life complex for all other designers circa 1978 with his ground-effect concepts and his Lotus 78/79 race-winners. In those days understanding aerodynamic concepts and successfully applying them was part science and part ‘black-art’ and experience, McLaren were not alone in struggling…

The team had been sponsored by Marlboro since 1974. By 1979, John Hogan, the enthusiast and executive responsible for the sponsorship program was getting decidedly ‘toey’ at the lack of success despite McLarens’ generous budget.

Watson, Zandvoort 1979

John Watson leads teammate Patrick Tambay, Dutch GP , Zandvoort 1979. The Mclaren M29 Ford ‘ looked the goods’ but was far from the best Lotus 79 ‘copy’ that year. The Williams FW07 was, albeit the Ferrari 312T4 won the title in Scheckters’ hands. (unattributed)

Dennis’ own programs had been successful commercially, he had built all but one of the M1 ‘Procars’ for BMW in a very short period, he was keen to take the next step to F1 and fulfil a dream which commenced with his Motul F1 car in 1973, a project sold to others and raced as the Token in 1974 when the fuel crisis hit and Motul withdrew their sponsorship.

Dennis asked Patrick Head, Frank Williams design partner in Williams Grand Prix Engineering, for suggestions of a potential designer for his proposed car and F1 program. Head suggested John Barnard whom he had met at Lola and had most recently designed the ground-effect 1980 Indy 500 winning Chaparral 2K Cosworth DFX for Jim Hall.

Chaparrall 2K

‘Lone Star JR’ Johnny Rutherford during his victorious run during the 1980 Indy 500. The ever innovative Jim Hall/ Chaparral team built John Barnards’ ground effect design. 2K had teething problems in ’79 but came good in 1980, by ’81 the bigger teams jumped onto the ground effect bandwagon and the little team was over-run. Beautiful looking car, the looks did not deceive. Rutherford also won the USAC Championship that year, winning at Ontario and Indianapolis. (unattributed)

When Dennis met Barnard he was staggered to learn that Barnard wanted to build the first carbon-fibre F1 car.

At the time the biggest F1 design challenge was to build an aluminium monocoque chassis, which was light but also torsionally stiff enough to withstand the considerable forces generated by the new generation of ground effect cars. Ground effect tunnels were all important to the success of these cars but as the tunnels grew wider, the chassis became narrower and sufficient torsional rigidity, using the aluminium alloy construction material and techniques of the day, was a big challenge.

Barnard saw a chassis of carbon-composite as the solution.

It was a big risk for Dennis as it hadn’t been done before, carbon was being used for wing-endplates and the like but not a chassis…and their were many including Colin Chapman, himself building a car, the twin-chassis Lotus 88 partially of carbon-composite but not wholly of the material as he was convinced that it would not be strong enough in a major accident.

Dennis and Barnard pitched the MP4 ‘Marlboro Project 4’ design to Hogan, initially on the basis that Marlboro dump McLaren and provide the funds to them to build the MP4. Hogan, impressed, to his credit chose not to ‘shoot McLaren’ in whom they had much invested, but with little to lose, engineered a ‘shot gun wedding’ of Dennis/Barnard with McLaren in September 1980.

Teddy Mayers shareholding in McLaren was watered down to 50/50 with he and Dennis appointed Joint Managing Directors. Barnard received some of the equity from Dennis who didn’t have the cash to pay him….Within a year Dennis took control of the team when Mayer said ‘this isn’t working’, Ron paid him out with an advance on his fees from Marlboro.

But that was all in the future, they needed to build the car, and the carbon-composite capability did not exist in the UK.

McLaren International launch

Marlboro PR shot at the launch of ‘McLaren International’, Barnard, Mayer and Dennis pose with the scale model of the ‘Marlboro Project 4’…they may be ‘McLaren Project 4’ now but thats not the way it started! (unattributed)

Hercules Aerospace, Utah…

MP4 chassis nude

Mclaren MP4 Ford…Hercules chassis in all its naked glory…its 1981 and not so different from what we see now, all current GP tubs were born here…with apologies to the Lotus 25. (unattributed)

Whilst carbon-composites were in use in the aero industry in the UK, their was no company with the capability to build a car. A contact of Barnards’ from his Indycar days pointed him in the direction of the Hercules Corporation in Utah. The company had an R&D facility, Barnard jumped on a plane with the quarter scale model of MP4 shown above, and together they worked out how to build it.

Hercules were contracted to design and build the cars chassis with input from Barnard.

They lacked the technology to create curved pieces so the first monocoque was formed with five major components, each with flat surfaces. The internal front suspension bulkhead was aluminium but otherwise the chassis was carbon-composite, McLaren themselves describe it as a bit ‘rough and wrinkled’, but by any standards it was a stunning bit of kit.

The rest of the car was the ‘ground-effect’ Cosworth paradigm of the day; Ford Cosworth 3 litre DFV V8 engine, Hewland FGA five-speed gearbox and inboard suspension front and rear to maximise the flow of air into and out of the cars GE tunnels.

MP4 monocoque launch

Its all about the chassis…MP4 Ford laid bare for the media. The flat surfaces referred to in the text clear. Front suspension comprised wide based lower wishbone and top rocker actuating coil spring/ damper units inside the carbon tub. (unattributed)

Racing the McLaren MP4…

In the last race of 1980, the US GP, McLarens star recruit, 1980 F1 ‘newbee’ Alain Prost had a massive accident blaming it on suspension failure, Mayer cited driver error and Alain left for Renault…he would be back mind you, but for the moment an important element of Dennis’ immediate plans had been lost by Mayers’ inept management. The error didn’t help Teddys’ failing stocks with Marlboro either.

McLaren signed Andrea de Cesaris, whom Ron had run in F2 the year before, and who had the support of Marlboro Italy, and John Watson entering his fourth season with the team and in need of a win, he had been pretty much ‘blown off’ by Prost in 1980.

Dennis, Barnard and Watson

Dennis, John Barnard and John Watson wrestling with a knotty problem by the look . Watsons faith in Dennis and Barnard not to be understated, it was a brave new world, had MP4 not withstood the impact of Watties’ Monza 1981 shunt the outcome may have been different…as it was he proved the ‘shuntability’ of the material by having one big prang bigger than de Cesaris’ many smaller ones that season. (unattributed)

The team started the season with the M29, now in C spec, but no quicker than the year before…

In the first two races, the sole MP4 was raced by Watson qualifying 11th and 7th and finishing 10th in the San Marino GP.

At Zolder he qualified 5th and ran 4th until gearbox  dramas dropped him back to 7th. He qualifed 10th at Monaco and was up to 4th when the DFV went ‘bang’.

Then things started to improve. 4th on the Spanish grid and a 3rd place finish. From the front row in France he finished a strong second behind Prosts’ Renault, his first GP win, and then Wattie won the British GP …

British GP Arnoux and Watson 1981

Arnoux lead Watson for 30 laps, and the Regies’ engine lost its edge…letting John thru for the first carbon-composite chassis victory, Silverstone 1981 (unattributed)

The Renaults’ of Prost and Arnoux lead, Wattie held up by a prang involving de Cesaris, Jones and Villeneuve. Then Watson ‘tigered’, Prost dropped out with a burnt valve, Watson was second to Arnoux, things stayed that way for 30 laps, Arnoux’ engine note changed, the car slowed and Watson took the lead on lap 61 and the win.

The first for carbon-fibre and McLarens first since Fuji in 1977.

The competitiveness of the car was now not in doubt but there were still concerns about the materials abilty to absorb major impacts, although de Cesaris was doing his best to dispel these.

The car had a tendency to ‘porpoise’, as airflow through the GE tunnels ‘stalled’, the aero far from resolved and whilst quick, MP4 was a reasonably unforgiving chassis, which was ok for a relative veteran such as Watson but much more of a challenge for Andrea, who proceeded to have a lot of accidents.

‘de Crasheris’ a nickname which stuck. In 1981 he had 5 accidents in races, 2 spins into retirement and in Holland the team withdrew his entry from the race after an almighty prang in practice.

Having said that, the ‘big one of the year’ was Watsons Italian GP shunt at Monza when he went off at high speed in the Lesmos’ corners, running wide on a kerb at the corners exit at over 140mph, backing the car into the armco and carving it in half, the engine, ‘box and rear suspension, torn from the car but leaving the tub itself intact, with John in it.

Much to Murray and James delight he jumped out unharmed…Barnards’ faith in the material, and his engineering of it was vindiacted, the doubters were silenced as they realised a new paradigm was upon them.

Nelson Piquet won the World Championship for Brabham in his BT49 Cosworth from the Williams duo of Carlos Reutemann and Alan Jones, scrapping with each other and denying them both, and the team the titles which were theirs to take with more aggressive team management.

‘Wattie’ finished sixth in the MP4s’ debut year, the cars success forcing all to build their own cars of the new material.

MP4 was, in the modern idiom, a ‘game changer’.

Into 1982 Niki Lauda, bored with retirement and needing money,  joined the team, replacing de Cesaris and bringing his strong testing abilities to extract the best from the chassis, but that is another story…

Watson Monza 1981

Watsons MP4 Monza 1981…destroyed in a big accident the following day…the chassis forward finished beside the armco where Watson jumped out of it, the engine, box and rear suspension being partially collected by Alboretos’ Tyrrell on circuit…(John Shingleton)

McLaren MP4/1 Ford Legacy…

When you look back on it, the idea of the ‘carbon car’ was audacious, Dennis had not run an F1 Team before nor had Barnard designed a GP car. But they had nothing to lose, nor did Marlboro who needed wins quickly.

Whilst the plan was audacious the execution of it was outstanding in a way the GP world was to come to expect from Ron Dennis.

From a drivers safety perspective the development of carbon-composites as THE chassis material for all but the junior classes means fewer lives have been lost than in any previous era, since 1981.

The advent of the modern aluminium monocoque in 1962 by Lotus, the mandated use of safety belts, on-board extinguishers and ‘bag’ fuel tanks were all postive safety steps but surely no single change in any era of motor racing has made as big a safety impact as Barnards’ pioneering use of the material in MP4?

For that we should all be thankful.

McLaren MP4 cutaway

Cutaway drawing of McLaren MP4/1B, the 1982 car driven by Watson/Lauda. Essential elements the same as MP4/1 as the first car was called retrospectively. Carbon fibre honeycomb chassis, Ford Cosworth 3 litre DFV V8, circa 490bhp@10750rpm in 1981. Hewland FGA400 gearbox. Front suspension inboard, top rocker actuating coil spring damper units and wide based lower wishbone. Rear wishbones actuating inboard mounted coil spring/damper units. Steel discs (they experimented with carbon in 1982), rack and pinion steering, circa 585kg in weight. (Bruno Baratto)

McLaren MP4 Ford profile

Credits…

McLaren International, John Shingleton, Bruno Baratto

Finito…