Archive for March, 2015

rcn surfers 1968

We all have our favourite local motoring and motor racing publications...

When I was a youngster here in Australia it was ‘Sports Car World’ for fast road cars, the monthly letter from noted NZ born but global motoring journo, Eoin Young on the European and American racing scene was not to be missed nor the column of Romsey Quints, a crusty curmudgeon who wrote about ye olde days.

And for racing it was ‘Racing Car News’ supplemented by the global giant ‘Autosport’ which required a tram trip into the big smoke as it wasn’t carried by my local newsagent.

RCN was the bible tho.

It was national, maybe a bit Sydney centric, edited and owned by Max Stahl, an ex-racer who knew everybody from clubbies to visiting World Champions in Australia annually for the Tasman Series. It was chock full of local to global news and events with ‘Stringers’ all over the place making its coverage remarkable at the time.

Delivery of information digitally takes the sense of excitement out of the visits to the newsagent eagerly anticipating these monthly publications arrival instore…having said that the ‘democratisation of the media’ means even ‘Schleppers’ like me can ‘have a go’.

There was not a page of RCN to be missed from Stahls’ editorial upfront to the classifieds up ze back, the paintings by David Atkinson, Colin Anderson and others reason alone to buy the thing.

This cover by David Atkinson captures the action of the 11 February 1968 Tasman Series Round at Surfers Paradise. It depicts Graham Hills’ Lotus 49 DFW leading Leo Geoghegans’ ex Clark Lotus 39 Repco from the Piers Courage McLaren M4A FVA around the ‘Repco Hill’ section of the circuit.

Clark won the race from teammate Hill, Courage in second, a great performance on this power circuit in the little 1.6 litre Ford FVA engined M4A and Leo G, first local home in third place.

RCN survived into the ’80’s but was never the same after Stahl sold it, somehow the thing lost its soul…these days there are print and digital Australian ‘publications’ but none are as good as Racing Car News…

clark and amon surfers

Stunning Roderick MacKenzie shot of Clarks’ Lotus 49 leading Chris Amons Ferrari 246T, Surfers Tasman 1968. Clark won, Amon DNF with an engine failure. Tweed Ranges in the background. Clark won the series and Amon returned in 1969 winning the it in a Dino. (Roderick MacKenzie)

leo g lotus surfers

Leo Geoghegans Lotus 39 Repco ‘740’ Series 2.5 V8 being given a big push, John Sheppard at the wheel and Geoff Smedley at left. ‘Castrol’ colors, Repco installation replacing the Climax FPF 4 cylinder engine lead by Sheppard creating just about the best looking 60’s single seater ever, this is not the cars best angle however! (wolseley680)

hill surfers loading up

Surfers dummy grid. Hill #5 loaded up, the Lotus behind awaits Clark. You can just see the #11 nose of Rodriguez BRM P126 (10th) a Ferrari nose amongst the crowd and the nose, far right of the Courage McLaren. (wolseley680)

Tasman 1968 Highlights…

Photo Credits…

Roderick MacKenzie http://www.rodmackenziecollection.com/ , wolseley680

Finito…

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Yes the F1 cars are fast, the ultimate and marginally less ugly, let’s not say attractive, than last year…

One of my sons is not a big race fan and hadn’t been for 2 years, and seeing and hearing the F1’s for the first time turned to me and said, and sadly it’s easy to have a conversation whilst the cars are circulating now, ‘What the fuck have they done to the cars!’

Precisely.

Still it was a fun day, the AGP program is packed with events and displays; support categories include V8 Supercars, Carrera Cup, Historics with Brabham the featured marque. And the F1’s, let’s not call them Grand Prix cars, ‘Petite Prix’ cars perhaps.

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Many car club displays, not much stuff we haven’t all seen before but still adds to the show and Albert Park is huge so there is lotsa space to fill!

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Touring Cars aren’t my thing but the V8 Supercars are interesting these days with Mercedes, Volvo and Nissan part of the show and providing diversity in addition to the local tribal followings of Holden and Ford. The cars are fast, loud and spectacular. Arguably the third best ‘Taxi’ series in the world behind NASCAR and the ¬†German championship.

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Mad. And fantastic.

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Really good historic display, as noted above Brabham are the featured marque paying respect to JB with his recent passing. BT19 Repco, his 1966 Championship winning mount and well featured on primotipo in the past is the star of the show.

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/13/winning-the-1966-world-f1-championships-rodways-repco-recollections-episode-3/

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RAAF ‘Roulettes’ elite squadron flying Pilatus PC9 aircraft and the McDonnell Douglas F/A 18 Hornet ‘demo’ are always much anticipated.

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This shot is of the V8 Supercars and shows the proximity of the City of Melbourne to Albert Park, it’s a walk or short tram ride depending upon where you stay. Gritty, trendy St Kilda my pick as a local especially for the young or young at heart. It’s an easy walk to the circuit being on its doorstep with plenty of pubs, bars and restaurants as well as being right on Port Phillip Bay, if the weather is beach friendly and it usually is in early March.

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Elfin Owners Club Display, from ‘black to back’ cars; F2 622 Ford, 600 FF, 500 FV, pink nosed F2 600 Ford, red ‘Mallala’ Ford Sports. Superb cars they are too!

Most of you are from far away, it’s a race and place worth visiting.

If you had 2 weeks leave I would; arrive in Cairns and visit and dive ‘The Great Barrier Reef’, have a few days in Sydney and then ‘back to back’ the Phillip Island Historic Meeting with the AGP doing some touristing out of Melbourne in the week between. Hope some of you come next year let me know if you do, happy to be a tour guide.

 

walker sandown

Robert Davies took this amazing shot of John Walkers’ F5000 Lola T332 scything at very high speed the Sandown Park horserailing on lap 1 of the Tasman Round, 23 February 1975…

Walker survived the accident and lived to fight another day, eventually winning both the Australian Grand Prix and ‘Gold Star’ the national championship for drivers in 1979 in another Lola T332.

The other cars in shot are also Lola’s ; Max Stewarts’ T330 left, Graeme Lawrences’ T332 centre and Kevin Bartletts’ similar car on the right. In fact it was in Bartletts’ T332 ‘HU22′, later owned and raced successfully by Bruce Allison before passing into Martin Sampsons’ hands in which Walker won the AGP and Gold Star in 1979.

The battle for the ’75 Tasman was decided in this race.

Going into the Sandown final round Walker, Warwick Brown and Kiwi 1970 Tasman Champion, Graeme Lawrence all Lola T332 mounted could all win the series depending upon how ‘the cards fell’, with 30 points apiece from 7 prior rounds.

Sandown in February was typically hot throughout practice, Walker took pole from Brown, Max Stewart third and Lawrence 4th, their was nothing between the title protagonists, it was anybody’s race.

lcca shot

John Walker, Warwick Brown and Graeme Lawrence pictured at the Light Car Club, then the Sandown promoters, a day or so before the race. The Melbourne ‘Sun’ was a good paper in which to wrap yer fish n’ chips but had no merit otherwise, much as the Herald-Sun does now. The article rabbits on about Alan Moffats new ‘Cologne’ RS3400 Capri, indicative of the Aussie fixation with ‘taxis’ (touring cars), making no mention of the Tasman finale…nice shot tho!

wb sandown 75 pits taright

Warwick Brown, razor sharp after a series of races in the US in 1974 in ‘HU27’. He had been racing the car a full year, he and engineer Peter Molloy understood all of the cars nuances, this chassis the very first of the T332’s, made its debut in the ’74 Tasman. This shot is on the old Pit Straight, the car ‘nose up’ under acceleration in 3rd gear. (Robert Davies)

Brown was perhaps the ‘form driver’…he broke into F5000 in the ex-Alan Hamilton McLaren M10B which was engineered by the very experienced Peter Molloy, Molloy having prepared the sister M10B to this when owned by Niel Allen.

Molloy knew the car intimately and was equally adept as a driver mentor/coach. Brown was immediately on the pace in what was an old car in 1972. He then jumped into the ex Allen/Muir Lola T300, a quicker but twitcher, more challenging conveyance than the M10B and was very competitive in the ’73 Tasman but became a ‘Lola Limper’ in an horrific high speed accident at Surfers which could have taken his life. It was not the last Lola ‘big one’ in Warwicks’ career either.

When he recovered his Patron, Pat Burke, bought the very first T332 which he ran in the 1974 Tasman Series doing well enough to win the final Adelaide round, he competed in the first round of the domestic 1974 Gold Star series, which Lawrence and Walker also contested. Browns’ team then shipped ‘HU27’ to the US successfully competing in several rounds of the ’74 Series before returning for the AGP at Oran Park in mid-November. Warwick ran the final US round in the Talon nee McRae GM2, he would contest the ’75 US Series in. Brown was well and truly ‘match fit’ by the start of the series , his confidence buoyed by his competitiveness in the ‘States.

Max Stewart won the ’74 AGP from Kevin Bartlett, KB also a ‘Lola Limper’ by virtue of his awful leg-breaking Pukekohe Tasman ’74 shunt. Graeme Lawrence was 3rd in his T332 ‘HU28’ which he also raced in the ’74 Tasman and the whole Australian Gold Star series, he was well familiar with the car by the commencement of the ’75 Tasman.

lawrence sandown 75

Graeme Lawrence in his T332 Chev ‘HU28’. GL raced this car successfully over several seasons. (Robert Davies)

Graeme Lawrence won the Tasman Series in 1970 in the Ferrari Dino 246T ‘0008’, also Chris Amons’ 1969 Tasman winner…1970 was the first year F5000’s were eligible to compete for the title. He started in F5000 in a Lola T300, that car short lived after Lawrence was involved in an horrific high speed, ‘nobody’s fault’ accident with countryman Bryan Faloon in the ’72 NZ GP at Pukekohe, Faloon losing his life and Graeme breaking both legs and sustaining other serious injuries. Like the other ‘Lola Limpers’ described herein he continued his passion for the sport. After he recovered long time sponsor Air New Zealand supported a Surtees TS15 Ford F2 car he ran in the ’73 Tasman and in South East Asia, before returning to F5000 with the T332 for 1974.

Bartlett and his great friend Max Stewart were not as competitive ’75 Tasman contenders as they hoped. The great friends were the first customers of Lola’s F5000 latest- the trick, schmick but not ultimately quick, rising rate suspension T400.

Bartlett’s 3rd at Levin in the opening round flattered only to deceive, the cars were reasonably reliable throughout the series but not as quick as the T332’s. So unimpressed with the T400 were they, that both contested the Adelaide and Sandown rounds in their old cars. Bartlett his T332, his T330 rebuilt around a new 332 tub after his Pukekohe prang and Max the very first, very fast, very successful T330, ‘HU1’, the prototype tested and raced in the UK in late 1972 and honed to a fine pitch before handover by Frank Gardner to Stewart prior to the ’73 Tasman commencement. It would have been very interesting to see how this pair would have faired had they run their well proven older cars, but there was no reason to believe the T400 would not be a quicker car than the successful previous Lola F5000’s had been. Each one quicker than the previous model.

The T400’s ended up being winners in the hands of Count Rudy Van der Straatens ‘Team VDS’ in Teddy Pilette’s and Peter Gethin’s hands in Europe and by Max Stewart in Australia but were otherwise shunned by most Lola customers who continued to modify and develop their T330/2’s- the T332C was surely THE definitive F5000 car.

jw sandown practice

John Walker in his Lola T332 Repco in Shell Corner or turn 1 onto the old Pit Straight in practice, Saturday 22 February. Lola T330 ‘HU23’ B, rebuilt as a T332 after the first of its numerous shunts, unique in fitment of Repco Holden F5000 engines. These were ‘carry-overs’ from JW’s previous Elfin MR5 and Matich A50 both cars designed for the Repcos’. Repco withdrew from racing in 1974 but continued to provide parts support to their many customers. JW car fitted for Sandown ’75 with the last specially prepared ‘flat plane crank’ Repco engine developing circa 520bhp in addition to the Repcos’ legendary ‘truckload’ of mid range torque. (Robert Davies)

In many ways the least well prepared of the ‘Tasman Finalists’, at the Series commencement was John Walker.

The Adelaide crash repair business proprietor came into F5000 from F2, swapping his Elfin 600 for an MR5 Repco, the first of Garrie Coopers’ Elfin 5 litre single seaters.

John hadn’t raced the car for long before deciding to compete in the ’73 US F5000 ‘L&M Series’, and bought a Matich A50 to do so, the Elfin lacking the ‘bag tanks’ required for that series and the ultimate competitiveness Walker sought.

matich watkins gelen walker

Walker and team on the Watkins Glen grid. Matich A50 Repco ‘004’. JW finished 8th in the race won by Jody Scheckters’ Lola T330, T330’s filling the first 6 places, such was their dominance that year. Mind you Scheckter won the L&M US title that year mainly driving a Trojan T101. Mechanic clearly has had a shopping trip to San Francisco…(Chris Parker)

He did well in the US, finishing 8th at Michigan and Watkins Glen in the limited campaign returning to Oz for the ’73 Gold Star series a notably faster driver- and with a Lola T330 he bought from Carl Haas to which he fitted the Repco Holden F5000 engines which had nestled in the back of both the Elfin and Matich. Both cars were designed for the Repco engine, the Lola was not and whilst JW was not at the top of the ‘Repco food-chain’ initially, sponsored driver Frank Matich was- the Lola was always a ‘jet’ with the lighter, torquier, albeit slightly less powerful than the best Chevs, Repco donks.

walker mid ohio

John Walker looking longingly at fellow Aussie Bob Muirs’ Lola T330 ‘HU4′ in the Mid Ohio paddock on 3 June 1973. He was mightily impressed by the T330s’ he had been chasing around the US circuits…by 24 July Lola had invoiced him for ‘HU23’ in ‘Viking Orange’, the car delivered in the US, the Repco fitted there, but first raced in Australia at the Adelaide Gold Star round in October 1973. (Terry Capps)

JW contested the ’74 Tasman in the T330 winning at Levin and in the first rounds of the ’74 Gold Star series but pranged the car in the second heat at Surfers Paradise doing sufficient damage to require a new chassis. This car had ‘more hits than Elvis’ over the years, as the oldracingcars.com history shows!

T330 ‘HU23’ was then rebuilt around a T332 tub, whilst Walker didn’t do any of the remaining ’74 Gold Star rounds he had done enough test miles around Adelaide International in his new car to be competitive from the start of the ’75 Tasman.

old Sandown circuit map

Circuit map of Sandown in its original guise. JW accident occurred at the fast, downhill lefthand kink after ‘Mobil’, the approach top speed in 5th gear, before braking…

By the time the ‘Tasman Circus’ arrived at Sandown in February the 7 rounds had been won by Lawrence (Levin and Adelaide), Brown (Pukekohe and Oran Park), Walker (Surfers Paradise) with Chris Amon winning at Teretonga in his Talon MR1 Chev and Graham McRae Wigram in the Talons cousin, McRae GM2 Chev. (the Talons were cars built in the US by Jack McCormack to the GM2 design sold by McRae to McCormack)

And so the scene was set. There was much excitement in Melbourne with the mainstream media, usually only interested in Aussie Rules, Cricket and Donkeys (horse racing), providing substantial coverage to the cars and drivers for a wonderful showdown of ‘local drivers’ Graeme Lawrence a Kiwi but much admired and respected by local fans as a driver ‘from over the ditch’.

The day dawned bright and sunny, it was with a great deal of anticipation and interest that we fans ventured out to the circuit. I jumped the pit fence gaining my ‘students discount’ to the paddock and took in pre-race preparations and watched the start from the pit counter, JW went past in 2nd behind Brown, John Goss taking 2nd from Walker on the run uphill…

Photographer, Robert Davies described the bellowing field of cars heading up the back straight …’I was pre-focussed on the track at my favorite vantage point at ‘Marlboro Country’ (the top of the back straight on the outside of the corner) ready for my usual shot of the leading cars on the opening lap. JW lost control of the Lola and slid at very high speed along about 100 metres of the fencing that separates the horse racing track from the motor racing circuit. He was very lucky, the fence posts snapped like matchsticks and the water pipe that ran along the top of the fence (to water the horse racing grass, you can actually see the water pipe atop the rail) passed over the top of his helmet’.

Walker was unconscious and was removed from the car and taken to nearby Dandenong Hospital, discharging himself shortly after arrival.He escaped serious injury from what was a very nasty accident with the best of outcomes, some years later Garrie Cooper went off after a wing-post failure at a similar spot in his Elfin MR8, he broke limbs but again was lucky to survive, Sandown is not without its perils.

The reason for the accident has never been clear, mechanical failure ruled unlikely by post race inspection of the wreck.

brown marlboro country

WB on the downhill plunge from ‘Marlboro Country’ to Dandenong Road in his T332 Chev, past the orange colored remains of Walkers’ car on the way to 6th place in the race and the Tasman Series win. The only occasion on which an Australian won the Tasman title. (Robert Davies)

A good deal of interest in the race was removed with JW’s demise but it was tempered with the knowledge that he was ok, and the subject of mass media coverage in the days which followed as a consequence.

Graeme Lawrence had fuel metering unit dramas and Warwick Brown slowed and had a quick ‘splash and dash’ with low fuel and finished 6th, gaining the vital point to win the title, it was a fitting victory for a driver who jumped back into these awesome cars after an accident as horrific as the one shown above but with far more dire consequences 2 years before…

John Goss won the race, his first F5000 victory in the Matich A53 Repco, the last of Franks’ superb cars…It was to be the last Tasman Series, the Kiwis and Aussies ran F5000 Series in 1976 of 4 races each back to back but the New Zealanders then changed their National Formula to Formula Atlantic/Pacific from 1977 Australia soldiering on with F5000.

goss sandown matich 1975

John Goss on the way to Sandown victory in his Matich A53 Repco (007). Sandown was a happy F5000 hunting ground for JG, in addition to this, his first F5000 win, he also won the 1976 AGP in a very close race with Vern Schuppans’ Elfin MR8 Chev, Goss victorious in his other Matich, A51/3 ‘005’. Goss started racing in his native Tasmania in sedans and then the ‘Tornado Ford’ a self-built sportscar. But for some FF races in the first Birrana F71 he made his name as a touring car driver in Ford Falcon GT’s…but he became an awesomely quick F5000 driver, immediately on the pace in Matichs’ fantastic cars from mid-’74. Here he is descending the hill below ‘Marlboro Country’, the horse railing mown down by Walker, and the destroyed Lolas’ orange airbox clear to see. (Robert Davies)

So that was that, a wonderful series of 8 races in the Australasian Summer which started in 1964 and had seen the best in the world compete in the Southern Hemisphere annually was at an end.

Both countries continued with summer International Series but the magic of the Tasman was forever lost…the Australian Grand Prix is superb but it isn’t 8 wonderful races in 2 months!

jw with lola lcca

John Walker pictured in Roy Street Melbourne behind the old Light Car Club of Australia premises during a pre-Sandown promotional shoot in 1978. Car is the Martin Sampson/Magnum Wheels owned Lola T332 Chev ‘HU22’ in which Walker won both the 1979 Wanneroo Park, WA, AGP and Gold Star Series. (Ian Smith)

Etcetera…

walker paper 2

john walker paper article

Lola T330 Chev…

Those with an interest in what makes these cars tick may find this series of articles on Peter Brennans’ restoration of the ex-Lella lombadi T330 ‘HU18’ of interest.

https://primotipo.com/2014/06/24/lellas-lola-restoration-of-the-ex-lella-lombardi-lola-t330-chev-hu18-episode-1/

Photo and Other Credits…

Robert Davies- check out Roberts’ other amazing shots on Flickr

https://www.flickr.com/photos/robsretroracing/

Ian Smith, Terry Capps, Chris Parker

Thanks to Rob Newman for reading the draft and correcting some facts

stillwell cooper monaco wf

Bib Stillwell leans his Cooper into Homestead Corner, you can see and feel the energy being expended in extracting all the performance the car has to offer in this John Ellacott shot…

Stillwell was four times Australian National ‘Gold Star’ Champion from 1962 to 1965, his early sixties battles with rival Frank Matich in both single-seaters and in sports cars, Matich in his Lotus 19 or 19B, were legendary.

Both were Australian champions in both types of car and fierce rivals- Stillwell the Melbourne motor dealer/semi-professional racer and Matich, the Sydney based, and perhaps first truly professional Australian driver.

stillwell monaco lakeside

Stillwell in the Monaco just ahead of Frank Matich, Lotus 19b Climax, Lakeside, Queensland, perhaps the 1963 Tasman Meeting. (Peter Mellor)

In Sportscars Stillwell won the ‘Australian Tourist Trophy’ aboard the Cooper Monaco in 1961 and 1962. Matich won it in 1964 in a Lotus 19B Climax and in 1966 racing his almost brand new Elfin 400 Olds (aka the ‘Traco Olds’), then in 1967 in his first self-built Matich SR3 Olds and again in 1968 in a Matich SR3 Repco.

The ATT was not contested in 1969 but Frank’s Matich SR4, powered by a 5 litre quad-cam Repco ‘760 Series’ V8 was the fastest car in Australia of any sort that year. It was built to contest the Can-Am Series in 1968 but was too late in completion to compete so Frank used it to destroy the opposition at home a year later instead.

Bib acquired this ex-Moss car in the UK. The chassis number is uncertain but Doug Nye believes it to be the car ordered by Moss in April 1959 as a kit of parts ex-factory which was then built up by Keele Engineering.

The Monaco was lightly raced by the great Brit, commencing with the British GP meeting at Aintree in 1959, DNF after qualifying on the front row. He took the car to Scandinavia in August winning races at both Karlskoga, Sweden and the Roskilde Ring, Copenhagen, Denmark and it was then put to one side as he focussed on a Lotus 19 to which the engine and ‘box from the Monaco were fitted.

Bib bought the car off Moss during a trip to the UK in 1961.

At Stillwell’s Kew, Melbourne Holden dealership workshops it was fitted by Gerry Brown with a 2.5 Litre Coventry Climax FPF four cylinder engine and gearbox out of one of Bib’s Cooper single-seaters upon arrival in Australia and was soon ready in time for the 19 September 1961 Warwick Farm meeting.

Starting a familiar pattern, the Stillwell transporter left its Cotham Road, Kew, Melbourne base to go to Adelaide with two cars- Bib raced both his Cooper T53 in the Australian Grand Prix at Mallala in October 1961 finishing second to Lex Davison- Lex in Bib’s older Cooper T51, and the Cooper Monaco that weekend.

The Monaco arrived in Australia with the standard leaf spring rear suspension configuration but Alf Francis had modified the rear chassis bracketry to also allow the use of a coil spring/damper set-up- both were used in Oz.

cooper monaco sandown rear end

Stillwell Cooper at Sandown 1963. Coil spring rear suspension in this shot (Kevin Drage)

 

cooper monaco ray bell

Cooper Monaco during the Warwick Farm International meeting in 1961. Transverse leaf spring rear suspension configuration in this shot. Look at all those curvy bits of tube, offensive to engineering purists but effective all the same! Coventry Climax 2.5 or 2.7 FPF engine. Citroen Ersa gearbox (Ray Bell)

In Australia the car also raced with a 2.7 ‘Indy’ Climax FPF with which it was timed at 160mph on Longford’s ‘Flying Mile’ in 1963. In a quest for still more speed, in October 1964 the car was fitted with an ex-Scarab RE/Arnold Glass BRM P48 Buick V8.

Lance Reventlow sold one of his engines to Arnold Glass after the one off appearance of his mid-engined Scarab RE Buick Intercontinental Formula car raced by Chuck Daigh at Sandown’s opening meeting in March 1962. Glass replaced the somewhat temperamental BRM 4 cylinder engine with the lightweight, 3.9 litre aluminium, pushrod V8.

In Stillwell’s hands the car won the 1961 and 1962 Australian TT, the Victorian Sports Car Championship in 1962 and 1963 and the South Pacific Sports Car Championship at Longford in 1962.

Stillwell at Warwick Farm in the Cooper in 1965, at this stage fitted wth the ex-Scarab/Glass Buick V8 (R Austin)

 

The Cooper Monaco with the ex-Scarab/Glass Buick V8 behind the car and ‘George, a mechanic at East Malvern Motors where we both worked for Ray Gibbs’ quipped Mike Kyval. This is during the period Tony Osbourne owned the car. Gibbs was one of the cars drivers in that period of ownership- and prepared the car (M Kyval)

Sold to ‘Pitstop Motors’ Dick Thurston, he first raced it at Calder in January 1966- shortly thereafter he was fifth in the 1966 Australian Tourist Trophy at Longford- a race won, as mentioned above by the Matich Elfin 400 Oldsmobile.

The car was was soon sold on, still in Melbourne, to South Yarra’s Tony Osbourne of ‘Argo Racing’- as in Argo Street South Yarra, who raced it at Calder in May 1966 and then contested the first Surfers Paradise 12 Hour race together with Murray Carter and Ray Gibbs- the beast completed 96 laps of the race won by the Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM crewed by Jackie Stewart and Andy Buchanan.

The car subsequently passed through many owners hands including Fred Wheelhouse, Peter Nielson, Charles Dominelli before acquisition by Pat McLernon of Dandenong, Victoria who fitted a new body built by Ted Proctor in Sydney, by this stage a Ford 302 V8 was fitted. Stan Rumble owned it for a while before the wonderful machine fell into the loving hands of Paul Moxham who restored it to original Coventry Climax engined form.

In 2000 Frank Sytner and John Coombs acquired it, the car has raced in Europe since then.

scuderia stillwell

Mallala is a wonderful, challenging shorter circuit built on a former RAAF airfield 60 Km North of Adelaide. (Kevin Drage)

‘Scuderia Stillwell’ arriving and unloading the Monaco and Cooper T53 at Mallala- South Australia Gold Star meeting in October 1962 after the long haul from their Kew.

mallala map

Mallala is a fabulous little 1.6mile/2.6Km circuit 55Km north of Adelaide. It was built on the site of former ‘RAAF Base Mallala’, which was acquired by a group of enthusiasts in 1961..the opening meeting in August 1961 was won by Bib Stillwell in a Cooper…

Stillwell had a good start in life…

He attended Trinity Grammar and Scotch College in Hawthorn and at 22 had parental support for his original small MG dealership in 1949, but over the decades grew his business.

He was awarded a Holden franchise in 1953 operating from Cotham Road Kew, and later as a Ford, BMW and other prestige marques dealer building a large group with his own talent and entrepreneurial flair which prospers in his families hands today long after his death.

His management skills were world class, his interests included aviation. After success in that field from the mid-sixties in Australia- distributing Beechcraft and later Lerjets he was appointed President of the Lear Corporation in the US in 1982, a position he held for 3 years before returning to Australia to a ‘second motor dealing career’ in luxury franchises and historic racing. He died on June 12 1999.

I rather like this observation Michael Lynch made in his obituary of Bib published in the Melbourne ‘Age’ newspaper; ‘The links between business and sport, and the characteristics required to succeed in both, have often been drawn. Drive, determination, persistence, talent, luck, the ability to think outside the obvious and seize opportunities that others don’t see – and then make them work – are all characteristics shared variously by top sportsmen and the leading lights of the business world. Stillwell, who died suddenly last weekend from a heart attack, had all of them in good measure, showcasing them in both his sporting career, which ran until the mid-1960s, and then his business career, which was still being developed at the time of his death’.

bss in cooper monaco

Stillwell happy in victory, Cooper Monaco, Mallala 1962. (Kevin Drage)

Winners are grinners!

Stillwell in the Monaco at Mallala, October 1962, he took victories in both cars at this meeting, winning the Gold Star race in his Cooper T53, his first Gold Star Championship was won in that year.

Cooper T49 ‘Monaco’ Specifications…

Cooper monaco cutaway

The Cooper Type number is 49- the car was given the ‘Monaco’ name in recognition of Jack Brabham’s victory in the 1959 Monaco Grand Prix, his first GP win on the way to his, and Coopers first World Championships as driver and constructor.

Of typical curved Cooper space frame construction, the car owes most of its hardware to its single-seater siblings. Front suspension is by upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/damper units with an adjustable roll bar. At the rear top location is provided by a transverse leaf spring, with a lower rear wishbone. Brakes are disc all around, steering rack and pinion and typical Cooper alloy wheels of the period were used.

Most of the cars were fitted with Coventry Climax FPF engines of varying capacities, Stillwell’s mainly with a 2.5 but it was raced with other engines as recorded above. Gearbox was the Citroen ERSA or Colotti units- the Moss/Stilwell car was first fitted with a Cooper CS5, 5 speed transaxle.

stillwell cooper monaco lakeside

Stillwell again at Lakeside. Cooper Monaco 1963. (Peter Mellor)

Credits…

John Ellacott, Kevin Drage, Ray Bell, James Allington cutaway, Ken Devine Collection

The Nostalgia Forum, Richard Austin, John Blanden ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’, Mike Kyval

Tailpiece: Equipe Stillwell during the November 1962 Caversham AGP weekend…

(K Devine)

The open-wheeler is a Cooper T53 Climax- Bib was third in the AGP behind Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T62 and John Youl’s T55 at Caversham off the back of winning the Gold Star from Youl and Patterson- he took victories at Bathurst and Mallala on the way to the title.

Finito…

 

revson m8f close up

Revvie manhandling the big brute to victory in the 1971 CanAm Championship with the required levels of finesse, touch and strength these big, heavy oh-so-spectacular cars required…

Revson won the title by 10 Points from Denny Hulme having won 5 of the 10 rounds.

The M8F was the last of a line of cars which commenced with the 1968 M8A, the new for ’67 M6 and new for ’72 M20 being sufficiently different to be treated outside the M8A/B/D and F 1968-1971 ‘works cars’.

The cars were of course the fastest road racing cars of all at the time.

revson m8f riverside

This shot was taken by noted American journalist/photographer Pete Lyons at the Laguna Seca hairpin in October 1971. Days later Lyons was ‘given the ride of his life’ in this car at Riverside! Lucky boy. Revson won at Laguna from Jackie Stewarts’ Lola T260 Chev and McLaren teammate Denny Hulme. (Pete Lyons)

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Tex Hopkins greets Revson, victorious at Watkins Glen July 1971. He won fron Denny Hulme and Jo Siffert Porsche 917PA (Todd Treat)

Revsons 1970 and 1971 seasons in CanAm, in 1970 with the Carl Haas factory Lola T220 Chev, and his Indy performances vaulted him back into F1 with McLaren, his ‘second bite at the F1 cherry’ having done a few races in Parnell entered Lotus BRM’s in 1964. He quickly showed it was right where he belonged.

Such a charismatic driver and tragically talent unfulfilled, his performances in the M23 McLaren in 1973, not just his two GP wins at Silverstone and Mosport showed he was a regular winner if not a champion in the right car. A versatile driver as well, quick in TransAm, CanAm, F1 and Indycars, different disciplines all.

Check out this link for an article on Revsons’ 1973 McLaren M23…

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/24/macs-mclaren-peter-revson-dave-charlton-and-john-mccormacks-mclaren-m232/

and on the 1970 CanAm M8D…https://primotipo.com/2014/08/01/peter-gethin-mclaren-m8d-chev-can-am-1970/

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Werner Buhrer cutaway drawing

m8f mosport

Mosport 1971…Denny Hulme and Peter Revson, team and 2X ‘Big Macs’ : McLaren M8F Chev groundshakers. (Unattributed)

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Denny Hulme left and Peter Revson McLaren M8F Chev 1971, the ‘ole Mclaren 1/2…circuit unknown. (Unattributed)

Credits…

Wener Buhrer, petelyons.com, Todd Treat

 

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Gerhard Berger starts the long walk back to the Interlagos pits, Brazilian Grand Prix 1996…

Teammate Jean Alesi passes in his Benetton B196 Renault en-route to second place in the race won by Damon Hills’ Williams FW18 Renault,the Brit won the title that year. It was a great weekend for Hill, he started from pole, won the race, set fastest lap and lapped his mate Mikey in his new Ferrari F310 10 laps from home.

Gerhard qualified 8th and pulled off the circuit with hydraulics failure.

Schumacher joined Ferrari after his two Benetton World Championships on the trot at the start of 1996, the F310 commenced the season poorly but by the end of the year with hard work all round the car was competitive. Benetton were never a force after Schumachers departure morphing into Renault in 2002…Schumi left with Rory Byrne, Ross Brawn and other key players at the time.

Team Morphings…

At the same time i tripped over the shot above i looked at the prospective F1 team list for 2015, depending upon who actually lobs in Melbourne in March!

Of the 11 potential entrants this year only 3 have ‘unbroken lineage’ as marques; Ferrari, McLaren and Williams. Sure there have been changes in equity ownership along the way of these 3 but in essence the marques are ongoing.

All the other teams started as something else, often many years ago.

Benetton are a good example of a team which ‘morphed’ into a few different teams along the way.

Toleman Motorsport…

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Brian Henton in his 1980 European F2 championship winning Toleman TG280 Hart. The team which designed, built and raced this car were the core of the team well into the Schumacher era of the team in its various iterations. (DR)

Ted Toleman, a transport entrepreneur became involved in motorsport initially as a power boat competitor and as a sponsor, initially of South African Rad Dougall in FF2000.

They progressed to F2 with Rad racing customer March and Ralt cars and became a manufactuer with the fantastic Toleman TG280 Hart, this 2 litre ground effects F2 machine designed by Rory Byrne, late of Royale for whom he had designed some great cars, the 75′ Royale RP21 one of the alltime best FF cars.

Brian Henton won the 1980 European F2 Championship from teammate Derek Warwick, the whole team including its drivers progressing to F1 in 1983, and famously launching the F1 career of Ayrton Senna in 1984.

Toleman attracted Benetton as a sponsor in 1985, the clothing manufacturer acquiring the team and renaming it in their own image with effect the 1986 season.

senna monaco 1984

Senna drove the underpowered but fairly explosive in its power delivery, Toleman TG184 Hart to 2nd place with great, deft precision. Only an eagerly waved red flag stopping the Brazilian from passing an a slowing Prost…with Stefan Bellof also coming home strongly from the rear of the grid in his Tyrrell. Bellof was making similar progress to Senna as Senna was to Prost…what a finish it could have been. To be fair there were a lot of accidents, the red flag was justified..if only it went out a few laps later! (Unattributed)

Benetton Formula Ltd…

Over the years the team used BMW, Ford and Renault engines with Flavio Briatore, Tom Walkinshaw and David Richards having key management roles along the way.

Drivers included Gerhard Berger, Jean Alesi, Sandro Nannini, Thierry Boutsen, Nelson Piquet, Roberto Moreno, Michael Schumacher and Ricardo Patrese.

The teams most successful period was in 1994/5, with Schumacher taking the drivers title in 1994 with the Ford V8 Zetec powered B194 and both drivers and constructors titles with the Renault RS7 V10 powered B195 in 1995.

Renault acquired the team in March 2000, leaving its name as Benetton in 2000/1 before changing the name to Renault F1 Team…Equipe Renault Elf the earlier incarnation of the Renault F1 team as a constructor from 1977-1985 before withdrawing as a constructor but continuing as an engine supplier to the likes of Williams and Lotus.

Renaults’ Grand Prix heritage stretches right back to the Edwardian period with Ferenc Szisz winning the 1906 French Grand Prix in a Renault AK90CV, they have been in and out of the sport as corporate marketing and engineering needs changed over 100 years.

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Gerhard Berger, Monaco 1986 in the Benetton B186 BMW. Gerhard qualifed 5th, wheel drive peg failure causing his retirement. Alain Prost won the race in a McLaren MP4 TAG. (Unattributed)

Renault F1 Team…

The teams sweet spot was with Fernando Alonso in the mid-2000’s, the Spaniard winning the drivers and constructors championships in 2005 and 2006 with the R25 and R26 powered by Renaults RS25 3 litre V10 and RS26 2.4 litre V8 respectively.

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Alonso Monaco 2008 in his Renault R28. He qualified 7th and finished 10th in the race won by Hamiltons’ McLaren MP4/23 Mercedes. Tight lines as far as the eye can see.(Unattributed)

The teams competitiveness waned with the departure of Schumacher and other key players to Ferrari at the end of 2005.

Kubica monaco 2010

Robert Kubica added some firepower to the team in 2010, here in Monaco he qualified his Renault R30 second to Mark Webbers’ winning Red Bull RB6 Renault, the pair finishing the race in that order. Kubica replaced Alonso after he left for Ferrari at the end of 2009, his promise unfulfilled after the rallying accident which seriously broke his arm, preventing his return to an F1 cockpit.(Unattributed)

Lotus Renault GP…

In 2010 Renault sold a 75% stake in the company to Genii capital , a Luxembourg based investment company given road car commercial pressures. Renault announced its plans to scale back its F1 involvement, Toyota, Honda and BMW withdrawing from the sport for similar reasons.

Lotus Cars entered into a sponsorship agreement till 2017 with the team renamed Lotus Renault GP for 2011 but the cars themselves still called Renaults…and competed with Team Lotus (modern) who had acquired the rights to this historic name from former World Champ James Hunts’ brother David Hunt.

So, essentially there were two Lotus’ competing in 2011, the ‘Lotus Renault GP’ Teams Renault R31 and the ‘Team Lotus’ Lotus T128 Renault…will the real Lotus Renault please stand up!

It could only happen in modern F1, Lotus fans wept and Chapman turned in his grave…at least the Lotus sponsored Renault R31’s were competitive but the Lotus T128’s were shit-boxes at best.

Crazy!

petrov monaco 2011

Vitaly Petrovs’ Renault R31, entered by Lotus Renault GP. 10th on the grid and DNF after a collision on lap 67. Monaco 2011. Compare and contrast with the other ‘Lotus’ of Trullis’ below…(LAT)

Team Lotus (modern) raced in F1 as ‘Lotus Racing’ in 2010, that entity a group set up and funded by a group of Malaysian businessmen lead by Tony Fernandez who had secured a licence to use the name from Lotus Cars owner, Proton cars, a national Malaysian road car manufacturer.

This ‘dual Lotus’ naming situation was resolved when Fernandez acquired Caterham Cars, see the paragraph below, renaming the team Caterham F1 Team, the cars, wait for it, also Renault powered!

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Jarno Trulli, poor sod, in the Lotus T128 Renault, entered by Team Lotus, Monaco 2011, 13th in the race, 2 laps down on Vettels’ victorious Red Bull RB7 Renault. (Unattributed)

A bit of history here…Team Lotus (old) was the entity under which Colin Chapman competed in Grand Prix Racing…in simple terms, and its not quite this simple; in the Chapman Lotus World ‘Group Lotus Ltd’ built the road cars, ‘Lotus Components’ built the racing cars and ‘7’ until sold to Graham Nearn in 1971, Nearn rebranding the cars ‘Caterham’ as he wasn’t allowed to call them Lotuses’ under the deal he struck with Chapman, and ‘Team Lotus’ raced the cars…simple isn’t it!?

Renault, as stated above continued to supply the chassis (for the Lotus Renault GP team) from the Enstone, UK base which dated back to Benetton days, with Renault branding featuring in black and gold livery which echoed the ‘glory days’ of the Lotus ‘John Player Specials’ of the 70’s. Whilst the visual links were clear the innovative designs and race winning ability were not!

From 2012 the team has been known as Lotus F1 Team…

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Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus E20 Renault, Q8 and 9th in the race won by Mark Webbers’ Red Bull RB8 Renault (LAT)

Kimi Raikkonen, having returned to F1 from a two year stint in rallying and Romain Grosjean really made the E20 Renault RS27 engined cars sing in 2012 .

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Romain Grosjean at Monaco in the 2014 Lotus E22 Renault, like most of the 2014 cars ‘as ugly as a hatful of arseholes’ as we colloquially put it in this country… he finished 8th in the race won by Nico Rosbergs’ Mercedes W05. (Unattributed)

And so to the present. The Lotus F1 team have entered the 2015 season with their Lotus E23 Mercedes to be driven by Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, the long relationship with Renault as engine provider over for now at least.

The Administrator of Caterham, an administrator to the company being appointed in October 2014 due to funding deficiencies, have provisionally entered the season with dispensation being provided to run the 2014 chassis to improve the potential of the companies sale. ‘Crowdfunding’ being used to raise some working capital. The ‘CF1 Caterham team’ would therefore use the 2014 Caterham CT05 Renault with drivers TBA…

The next morphing of Toleman/Benetton/Renault/Lotus Renault/Lotus F1 will be interesting but far from the last! It begs the question as to which team has ‘morphed’ the most in F1 history…Minardi or Jordan maybe?

Photo Credits…

D Reinhard, LAT, DR

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The beautifully finished and trimmed cockpit of Clarks’ Lotus 25 at Monaco 1963. Leather bound Mota-Lita steering wheel, a dash full of Smiths instruments including its famed chronometric tach and right hand change for the 5 speed ZF ‘box. Naked aluminium of the monocoque chassis below the shift lever. (Yves Debraine)

The tell-tale on Jim Clarks Lotus 25 after his retirement from the 1965 Monaco Grand Prix is at 9500rpm…

He was comfortably in the lead of the race by 14 seconds when the car engaged 2 gears at once on the entry to the Gasometer hairpin. Graham Hill inherited a lead he maintained to the race’ conclusion.

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Clark in classical pose. Lotus 25 Climax. (Eric Della Faille)

The Lotus 25, the first ‘modern monocoque’ appeared at the Dutch Grand Prix in 1962 and was much copied for the 1963 season. For ’63 the car remained much unchanged other than small details and power increases from the Coventry Climax FWMV 1.5 litre quad cam, 2 valve V8.

Lucas fuel injection was adopted and a changed bore/stroke ratio allowed higher rpm and power.

Lotus retained the ZF gearbox but also tried a 6 speed Colotti-Francis ‘box and later in the season a Hewland 5 speed transmission which would soon become ubiquitous.

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Surtees gesticulating at the fast approaching Ginther. (Marti)

John Surtees and Richie Ginther in Ferrari T56 and BRM P57 respectively scrapped for much of the race, this shot is on the entry to the Gasometer hairpin. Ginther tries to pass with Surtees gesticulating in protest.

Ginther finished second to teammate Hill, with Surtees, sitting in a pool of oil and with falling oil pressure finished fourth and set fastest lap on the last lap and the lap record. McLaren was third in his Cooper T66 Climax.

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John Surtees eyes focused on a Monaco apex, Ferrari T56/156. (Yves Debraine)

Ferrari competed with interim cars for much of the season using the V6 engines which won the World Championships in 1961. The 1964 car appeared at Monza powered by a V8, the development of the car in ’63 setting up Surtees’ tight title victory in 1964.

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Surtees again, here chasing winner Graham Hill’s BRM P57. (unattributed)

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Clark enroute to what seemed a certain victory, before the intervention of gearbox dramas in his lithe, lissom utterly luvverly Lotus 25. (Unattributed)

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To the victor, the spoils. Graham Hill ‘The King of Monaco’ after the first of his 5 wins in the Principality. (Getty Images)

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Lotus 25 Climax cutaway drawing by James Allington…

This short article makes no attempt to put into perspective one of the most successful and influential racing cars of all time, the first ‘modern monocoque’ includes amongst its relatives all monocoque racing cars built since its debut at Zandvoort in May 1962.

‘Monocoque’ construction by riveted ‘D section’ light alloy longerons attached to fabricated steel bulkheads front and rear.

Front suspension by upper top rocker operating inboard mounted coil spring /damper unit, lower wishbone and adjustable sway bar. Rear suspension by upper top link, inverted lower wishbone and coil spring/damper unit and adjustable sway bars. Cast alloy uprights front and rear.

Girling disc brakes, rack and pinion steering.

Wheelbase 91 inches, track front 51.5 inches, rear 51.75 inches, overall length 146 inches, dry weight 990 pounds. Wheel sizes 5X15 front and 6 or 6.5X15 inches at rear.

Coventry Climax FWMV 1.5 litre 90 degree V8. Bore 67.8mm, stroke 51.6mm, 1496cc, Lucas fuel injection, compression ratio 10.5:1, weight 290lb, 194bhp @ 8500rpm.

ZF gearbox mainly used in 1963 but Colotti and Hewland also tried.

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Clark and Chapman with a ’63 spec 25, its essential elements as described above. (Unattributed)

Clarks 1963 Championships…

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Jim Clark, Dutch Grand Prix June 1963. Jim zooms his Lotus 25 between the North Sea sand dunes at Zandvoort on his way to victory. (Yves Debraine)

That Jim Clark and the Lotus 25 were the fastest combination in 1962 was not in doubt but Coventry Climax reliability was not as great as BRM’s that year. In 1963 the promise of ’62 was realised with Clark winning five Grands’ Prix and both the Drivers Championship for himself and the first Manufacturers Championship for Lotus.

Clark finished second in a Lotus 29 Ford in his first foray to Indianapolis and further demonstrated his versatility with wins in cars as diverse as the Lotus 23 sports car and Ford Galaxie touring car/saloon that year.

Clark became the standard by which other drivers were judged in 1963, if not earlier.

Auto Year 13

The cover shot of Clark is at the Dutch Grand Prix, Clark won on the 25’s debut there in 1962 and in 1963 and 1964, all in 25’s and in 1965 in the updated Lotus 33 also Climax FWMV V8 powered.

Oulton Park Gold Cup 1963…

clark winning oulton gold cup 1963

Not only did Jim Clark win the Oulton Park Gold Cup during 1963 but he also recorded some stunning in car footage at the Cheshire circuit in his Lotus 25, such footage very rare at the time.

There were four Non-Championship F1 races in the UK alone in 1963, lucky Brits! The footage is amazing on so many levels not the least of which is a drivers eye period view of the circuit; typical track edges, the lack of run off areas and the topography of trees, ditches and the like for the unwary…and this is a circuit devoid of the ‘special obstacles’ of the ultra dangerous road circuits of the day on which Clark raced. The Nurburgring, Spa, Reims, Pescara and Longford here in Australia spring to mind.

Ok, he is not racing but the precision and accuracy for which he was renowned is also on display…

An ace in every sense of the word.

clark atop 25 oulton park 63

Etcetera…

Lotus 25 camera car

Clark tootling thru the Oulton paddock in his ‘camera car’, its a bit hard to pick out the beefy mount against the dark background. And to think in the day of the ‘GoPro’ this was how it was done only a short time ago. Even when the specialists at Channel 7 in Australia popularised in car footage in the ‘Bathurst 1000’ in the late 70’s the heavy rig occupied a good percentage of the rear seat area…progress! (Unattributed)

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Photo Credits…

Yves Debraine, Eric Della Faille, Marti, James Allington cutaway drawing, Automobile Year 13, Peter Windsor

Finito…