Archive for March, 2015

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.

bss in cooper monaco

Stillwell happy in victory, Cooper Monaco, Mallala October 1962. He took wins that day in this car and the Gold Star event in his Cooper T53 Kevin Drage)

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’.

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)

Etcetera…

(Sparks Family)

Another successful Mallala weekend for Stillwell, this time after winning the 19 August 1961 ‘Mallala Trophy’ Gold Star round.

Looking very natty in his BRDC badged blue blazer, it’s perhaps a posed BP publicity shot, whatever the case, a top shot.

(P Skelton)

Stephen Dalton reckons this shot of the Monaco is at Calder in January or February 1962.

Credits…

John Ellacott, Kevin Drage, Ray Bell, James Allington cutaway, Ken Devine Collection, Reg Sparks Collection via Craig Sparks, Phillip Skelton via Tony Johns 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/

m8f cutaway

Werner Buhrer cutaway drawing

m8f mosport

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

denny and peter 1971 m8f

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…

henton toleman

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.

berger

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.

alonso monaco 2008

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!

team lotus

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…

kimi 1

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 .

romain

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)

clark monaco lotus 25

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

hill winner

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.

Clark and Chapman

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

Clarks 1963 Championships…

Clark Zandvoort 1963

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…

 

 

 

jaf gp 1969

Leo Geoghegan victorious in the 1969 JAF (Japan Automobile Federation) Grand Prix. Lotus 39 Repco.

One of Australia’s racing greats of the 1960’s and early 70’s, Leo Geoghegan died of cancer aged 78 on 1 March…

Leo won the Australian GT Championship in 1960, (Lotus Elite) the Australian Formula Junior Championship in 1963 (Lotus 22 ) the Australian Drivers Championship, the coveted Gold Star in 1970 in Lotus 59 Waggott and the AF2 Championship in Birranas’ 273 and 274 in 1973 and 1974.

Internationally he won the JAF Japanese Grand Prix in his Lotus 39 Repco in 1969. It was in this car, raced by Jim Clark in the 1966 Tasman Series in which Leo stepped into the premier 2.5 litre ‘Tasman’ class, initially Coventry Climax powered and later with Repco V8’s that Leo more than held his own against the visiting Internationals in what was progressively an older car.

The Geoghegans’ held the Lotus franchise in Australia for many years, it was in a new Lotus 59 powered by one of Merv Waggotts’ 2 litre DOHC engines in which Leo finally won the Gold Star in 1970 after years of plugging away in the evergreen ’39.

leo g wf

Hamming it up for photographer Bruce Wells at Warwick Farm, before the ‘WF 100’ Tasman round February 1966. (Bruce Wells)

Leo and his brother Ian or ‘Pete’ were crowd favourites throughout the 60’s in particular, Leo mainly in open wheelers and Pete in Touring Cars in which he was 5 times Australian Champion.

Most of you outside Australia (85% of you by the way) won’t be aware of the Geoghegans’, this lovely period movie by Castrol ‘The Racing Geoghegans’ positions them nicely into the pantheon of Australian Racing in their day.

 

Leo was concentrating more on Touring Cars as the lead tester/driver for Chrysler into the early ’70’s in their Valiant Pacer/Charger ‘Series Production’ program but returned to open wheelers when offered the ‘works drive’ by Birrana’s Malcolm Ramsay, these jewel like cars a story in themselves, in AF2 in 1973 and in 1974.

The 1974 AF2 series was one of the most competitive domestic Australian open wheeler championships ever (series sponsorship attracted both the top up and comers and F5000 stars) Leo winning the title against the very best…to watch him in these cars, I didn’t get to see him in his Tasman days, was to see a bloke at the top of his game, a very smooth, precise line driver and aggressive with it. His battles with Bob Muir in another Birrana in ’74 spring to mind especially a very soggy Calder. A magic driver for sure.

leo g lotus 32

Leo in the ‘Warwick Farm 100′ Tasman round February 1966. He finished 7th in the 1.5 litre Ford/Lotus engined Lotus 32. Race won by Jim Clarks’ Lotus 39 Climax, the car Leo acquired at the end of the series. (Bruce Wells)

Ray Bell ‘in period’ journalist with ‘Racing Car News’ had this to say about Leos’ commitment and precision, writing in ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ in 2002.

‘It’s time to look at Leo a little more closely. Maybe at Warwick Farm, his real home circuit and in the Lotus 59, equipped with a nice toey Waggott TC4V engine and good enough to win him the Gold Star… let’s wander over to Homestead Corner… the cars are whistling through, taking that line that clips the two apexes and is so important for their speed down Hume Straight.

Lap after lap, Leo is precise and fast. But look there, on the outside edge of the circuit, where he drifts to between the apexes… see the white line, and then the drop of two inches or so where the bitumen’s been laid over an old entry road? Watch Leo’s rear tyre as he drifts out there…

The wheel had only a couple of inches on the white line… the rest of the tyre was hanging out there with two inches between the tread and the bitumen… two inches from disaster at that speed… every lap!’

One of the greats. RIP.

leo fuji speedway

Leo G in the racesuit, Fuji paddock JAF GP 1969. Lotus 39 Repco. Engine here is Repco ‘830 Series’ 2.5 Tasman V8, the ‘ultimate version’ of the Tasman Repcos’ , circa 295bhp@9000rpm. Packaging of this later Repco engine not as ‘neat and cohesive’ as the exhaust between the Vee ‘740 Series’ pictured below. (Unattributed)

lotus 59

Leo in the Lotus 59 Waggott at WF approaching the ‘Northern Crossing’. AGP November 1970. 3rd in the 2 litre Lotus behind the winning Frank Matich McLaren M10B Repco F5000 and Graeme Lawrence’2.4 litre  Ferrari Dino 246T. (Rod Mackenzie Collection)

lotus 39 stanley

Quintessential combination for many years, Leo G and Lotus 39 Repco…1969. (John Stanley)

leo g

Wonderful portrait of Leo G by Rod MacKenzie in 1970. (Rod MacKenzie Collection)

Tailpiece…

Wonderful ‘Alec Mildren Racing’ film about the 1969 JAF GP won by Leo Geoghegan and contested by several Australians including the Mildren Racing pair, Kevin Bartlett and Max Stewart.

Etcetera…

lotus 32 hordern trophy

Black helmet and black T-Shirt…Leo G Lotus 32 Ford 1.5, Hordern Trophy, Warwick Farm December 1964. This was a huge win, the little 1.5 beating the big 2.5 Climax engined Tasman cars in this ‘Gold Star’ round. (Richard Austin)

leo and jackie wf

Leo G (left) & Jackie Stewart Warwick Farm Tasman round February 1967. JYS won the race in his BRM P261, Leo 5th and holding the trophy for first local resident home in his Lotus 32 Ford 1.5. (Dale Harvey)

leo wf tasman 1967

Leo, Lotus 39 Climax heading for 5th place during the 1967 ‘Warwick Farm 100’ Tasman round, Kevin Bartlett? perhaps behind, Brabham BT11A Climax 6th. (Unattributed)

geoghegans surfers 1968

Leo and Pete Geoghegan won the Surfers Paradise 6 Hour in 1968 in the Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM

mr annual

Leo G in his Lotus 39 Repco & Chris Amon Ferrari Dino 246T on the cover of MRA 1968. In this form the car was about as good as a 60’s open-wheeler looked. The conversion from Coventry Climax 2.5 FPF to Repco ‘740 Series’ 2.5 Tasman V8 was done by Geoghegans’ crew lead by John Sheppard, the marriage between chassis and engine superbly executed.

leo and max jaf gp

Leo Geoghegan leading his compatriot Max Stewart during the 1969 JAF GP. Lotus 39 Repco 2.5 & Mildren Waggott 1.6. Race was F Libre. (Unattributed)

lotus 59 wf

Leo campaigned this Lotus 59 Waggott in 1970 and 1971, winning the Gold Star in the 265bhp 4 cylinder, DOHC injected four valve engined car in 1970. Here at Warwick Farm (lyntonh)

leo charger 1971 wf

Geoghegan manhandling his Chrysler Valiant RT Charger around Warwick Farm in October 1971. These cars were powered by 265cid in line 6 cylinder OHV, triple Weber 45DCOE engines…together with the Ford Falcon GTHO and Holden Torana GTR XU1 comprised a much loved period of Touring Car racing in Australia. Shortcomings of the Charger were its 3 speed ‘box, 4 speeder from 72’ and under-developed relative to the opposition. Leo G chief test driver/developer and lead driver for Chrysler, cars built at a long since closed factory in Tonsley Park, Adelaide. (Jeff Nield)

leo and enno birrana 273

Leo Geoghegan and Enno Buesselmann, Sandown 1973. Both Birrana 273 Hart Ford T/cam. (autopics)

Photo and Other Credits…

Bruce Wells, theroaringseason.com, lyntonh, Dale Harvey, autopics.com.au, John Stanley, Rod MacKenzie Collection

The Nostalgia Forum, RayBell, Motor Racing Annual

Ascari Cooper Jap

Alberto Ascari looking dapper in shirt and tie but a little uncomfortable at the wheel of the new-fangled mid-engined Cooper…

Its rare to see the 1952/3 World Champion in anything other than an Italian car. The Cooper must have seemed tiny in comparison with his Grand Prix Lancia D50 but the opportunity to have a steer of Gilomens’ car during a Racing Driver School in Switzerland in 1954 was too good to miss…his critique of the car unrecorded.

See the article i wrote about these fabulous 500cc/F3 cars a while back.

https://primotipo.com/2014/12/08/cooper-mk-v-jap-penguin-hillclimb-tasmania-australia-1958/

Photo Credit…

Rodolfo Mailander