Archive for April, 2015

duetto champs

(Bruce Thomas)

The little Alfa Duettos’ DOHC 1570cc would have struggled ferrying this lot, even for a lap…

It’s the victory parade after the 1968 ‘Warwick Farm 100′ won by Jim Clarks’ Lotus 49 Ford DFW from teammate G Hill, with Piers Courage third in his little McLaren M4A Ford FVA.

What driving talent aplenty in this car!

Driving the car is 1960 Australian Gold Star Champion Alec Mildren, Mildren also an Alfa Dealer and incredibly successful and generous race team owner of the 1960-1970 period, the Dutto immaculate in white and wearing a set of ex-GTA wheels, I wonder who owns it now?

Behind Alec is a youthful Alfredo Costanzo, first local home in an Elfin Mono Ford 1.5 and later to be very successful in Australia’s latter F5000 days and the Formula Pacific era in cars owned by Porsche Cars Australia’s Alan Hamilton, another very generous benefactor of the sport.

Brabham, Moss and Clark needing no introduction…

Clark won the race, the Lotus 49 the F1 standard from its ’67 Dutch GP launch, reliability cost Lotus the titles that year, the light, nimble beautiful handling Brabham BT24’s did the trick a second time, Denny Hulme pipping Jack for the Drivers Championship and Brabham Repco winning the Constructors laurels.

In 2.5 litre ‘DFW’ spec the Ford Cosworth powered cars were formidable Tasman weapons, Clark winning the 1968 title and Rindt the fastest man of the series in 1969, if not the most reliable.

clark wf

Jim Clark, Lotus 49 DFW, WF 1968. (Peter Windsor)

The Tasman Series entries in 1968 were as interesting and diverse as ever, the interesting shot below taken as the cars line up for practice in Warwick Farms pit lane shows the business end of the new Len Terry designed 2.5 litre V12 BRM P126. Its Hewland DG300 gearbox just visible behind the Lucas fuel pump mounted to the rear of the ‘box, the Shell ‘el cheapo’ oil catch tank is a nice ‘in the field’ touch!

Richard Attwood in the hotseat retired from the race with gearbox dramas.

Two of the P126’s were entered in the Tasman, Bruce McLaren racing a car in the New Zealand rounds took a win at Teretonga, the cars in the Southern Hemisphere to be race proven, after the abortive H16 program, before the European F1 season but there was always a scramble to drive the old, but light, nimble and reliable 2.1 litre V8 P261…Pedro Rodriguez raced it at WF finishing 6th in a car which had so much Tasman success, Jackie Stewart taking the title in a P261 in 1966.

In front of the BRM is Frank Gardners’ Alec Mildren Racing, one off, Brabham BT23D Alfa. This magic little car powered by a 2.5 litre V8 developed via Alfas’ endurance racing Tipo 33 program. Its twin distributors, fired 2 plugs per cylinder a distinctive visual element of the little DOHC, 2 valve, injected engine. Later in 1968 the car won the Australian Drivers Championship in Kevin Bartletts’ capable, quick hands.

Forward of Frank is Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A Ford FVA. Piers came to Australasia with this car, two engines and did incredibly well, perhaps its not unfair to say he re-launched his career with this self funded Tasman effort. Numerous podium placings were surpassed by an heroic win in hopelessly wet conditions on one of the ‘biggest balls’ circuits of the world, Longford a fortnight after his strong third at WF ahead of many more powerful and equally nimble cars as his little F2 McLaren.

This McLaren stayed in Australia after the Tasman being bought by Niel Allen, and was also raced successfully by Warwick Brown in the formative stages of his career.

WF pitlane

WF pitlane Tasman Series 1968. (Brian McInerney)

Graham Hill was perhaps not as focussed on a win as teammate Clark…get your hands off that young woman you bounder?!

gh pitlane

Graham Hill and friends, Warwick Farm paddock 1968. (Brian McInerney)

Was there ever a bloke from ‘central casting’ who looked more like a dashing, debonair driver than G Hill? He did not have the absolute pace of teammates Clark, Stewart or Rindt but was a driver of incredible ability, the only winner of motor racings World F1 Title/LeMans/Indy ‘Triple Crown’ of course.

His greatest moments were to come in 1968 when he picked Team Lotus up by the scruff of the neck, despite the loss of his good friend Jim Clark, providing the leadership the team needed whilst Colin Chapman recovered from his own grief at losing his driver, friend and colloborator in April, only months after this race meeting.

Lotus’ wins in the Drivers and Constructors Titles in 1968 owe a lot to Hills character as well as his determination and speed.

hill amon courage wf

Hill from Amon and Courage. Lotus 49 DFW, Ferrari Dino 246T, and McLaren M4A FVA. 2nd, 4th and 3rd respectively. WF 1968, the majesty of the place clear in this shot. (Unattributed)

 Jack Brabham had a short 1968 Tasman, his Brabham BT23E was powered by Repco’s latest 740 Series SOHC V8 and competed in only the Warwick Farm and Sandown rounds.

In fact Repco, for all their F1 success didn’t ever have much Tasman glory in their own backyeard…to be fair the primary reponsibility of the Repco Tasman program each year was to sort out the engines for the coming Grand Prix season, but all the same, a few local wins should have been achieved given the resources deployed?

This fabulous car stayed in Australia, acquired by Bob Jane at the Tasmans’ duration, it was raced for him by John Harvey who was always fast in it, but also unlucky, surviving a high speed accident at Bathurst after a component failure, the low point for the team.

jb wf pilane

Brabhams BT23E Repco all ready to qualify with a fresh set of Goodyears. Car in front is the BRM P261 V8 of Rodriguez, Courages’ McLaren body on the deck behind Jack. WF pitlane 1968. (Brian McInerney)

moss Wf 1968

Stirling Moss tells Clark about the fast way around ‘The Farm, both drivers loved the place and won there. ‘Lucas Opus’ spark-box prominent between the Vee of the Cossie DFW. Ford DFV famous as a load bearing member of the car, this shot showing the suspension componentry and its attachment to the engine and ZF ‘box. Suspension itself conventional for the day; inverted lower wishbone, single top link, twin radius rods and coil spring/damper, adjustable roll bar. Front suspension inboard; top rocker visible. Nice. WF Tasman 1968. (Brian McInerney)

The Eyes Have It, Chris Amon absolutely focussed on the task at hand. He came back with another two Dinos’ he ran with the assistance of David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce in 1969, lifting the title in a tremendous and very popular fashion.

In 1968 he was very competitive, winning the first 2 Kiwi rounds at Pukekohe and Levin but did not ultimately have the speed of the Loti of Clark and Hill. The car was a Ferrari 166 F2 (1.6 litre formula at the time) to which was fitted the 2.4 litre DOHC, 2 valve, injected V6 engine from the cars used at the start of the 3 litre Formula 1 in early 1966.

In the 1968 Australian Tasman Rounds Amon mixed the racing of the Dino single seater with a P4/CanAm 350 Ferrari i wrote about a week or so back.

https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

amon eyes

Chris Amon, Ferrari Dino 246T, WF, Tasman Series 1968. (Brian McInerney)

 This shot captures the atmosphere of the Tasman Series generally and Warwick Farm specifically…there is no hassle of the drivers by the appreciative crowd and vice-versa, there would be uproar these days of course. Piers Courage looking relaxed and happy about his 3rd behind the 2 Lotuses of Clark and Hill, and Amon 4 th, still figuring he could take the title with 2 rounds remaining at Melbournes’ Sandown and Tasmanias’, Launcestons’ Longford. Ultimately he fell short of Clark by 8 points, Amon taking 2 wins to Clarks’ 4.

tasman 68 warm down

Piers Courage and Chris Amon on the WF warmdown lap. McLaren M4A FVA and Ferrari Dino 246T. Australian summer male ‘fashion’ of the day on full display. (Bruce Thomas)

Jim Clark savouring the plaudits of the crowd and one of his last wins, Lotus 49 Ford DFW, 18 February 1968…

jim clark wf lotus 49 1968

Jim Clark, Lotus 49 WF 1968. (wirra)

Grid and Results…

RCN 68 WF Tasman 01

Etcetera…

amn pilane

Chris Amon in the WF pitlane. Ferrari Dino 246T. (Peter Windsor)

fg wf 68

Superb John Ellacott shot of Frank Gardner in the Mildren Racing Team Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo. WF 1968. (John Ellacott)

gh wf 68

Graham Hill. WF 1968. (Brian McInerney)

1968 WF Tasman cover

1968 WF Tasman event 5

Photo and Other Credits…

Bruce Thomas, Peter Windsor, Brian McInerney, Wirra, John Ellacott

Stephen Dalton for the race program and ‘Racing Car News’ material

Finito…

lobethal 1939

Terraplane Special at Lobethal in January 1939, with three enthusiasts watching from the ‘Grand Stand’ whilst sheltering from the hot summer sun…

Some of these older shots blow me away and take me back to a time of racing well before my own…It’s not possible to identify actually which car this is. The shot is more about the ‘atmospherics’ of the most challenging ‘race track’ in Australia than the car in any event.

It’s a photo i found in the State Library of South Australia Archive marked ‘Terraplane Lobethal 1939’. Ace researcher/historian Stephen Dalton reckons its the AGP meeting held at Lobethal on 1 January 1939, ‘The SA Junior GP’ had 3 Terraplane Specials entered for Les Burrows, H Beith and Bob Lea Wright..take your pick…

Terraplane Spl…

Terraplane was a car brand built by Hudson between 1933 and 1938 and were ‘rich pickings’ for special builders throughout the world as the 8 cylinder cars were supposedly the highest power to weight ratio production cars of the day…and favoured transport of US Gangsters John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson.

lobethal cicuit

From AMS December 1947

Photo Credit…

State Library of South Australia, Stephen Dalton research

moffat capri sandown

Robert Davies captures Alan Moffat is his Ford ‘Cologne Capri’ RS3100, exiting ‘Dandy Road’ upon its Australian debut, at the Sandown Tasman meeting February 1975…

Whilst Alan Moffats’ car is well known by most Australian enthusiasts, the factory RS2600 campaigned by David Mckay in the 1972 Dulux Rally is a bit more obscure, we will come back to Moffats’ car, McKays’ was the first to appear.

mc kay 2 finish of dulux

David McKay with Ford RS2600 Capri, Dallas Brooks Hall, Melbourne at the end of the 1972 Dulux Rally. (David McKays Scuderia Veloce)

David McKay was an ex-racer of world class, the most influential Australian motoring journalist of his time and boss of Scuderia Veloce, retailer of Ferraris’ and other exotica and a team which ran some of Australia’s’ best cars and drivers. https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/ and https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

The Dulux Rally was a unique event in the World, whilst influenced by the Tour de France was different in that competitors faced both the challenges of dirt rallying and circuit racing. The Rally only lasted 2 years, such was the cost of running an event over 2 weeks commencing in Queensland and finishing in distant Victoria.

The Dulux was promoted and run by the Sydney based ‘Australian Sporting Car Club’ and worked commercially due to the support of ICI Australia, whose research showed the most effective way to promote the name change of ‘Balm Paints’ to ‘Dulux’ to the trade in 1971 was via motorsport. Re-finishers, panel and paint shop proprietors were interested in motorsport, so the key commercial support to get quite a radical event off the ground was made.

dulux rally route

Not exactly the same events as 1971 but similar in 1972, and a lot of ground to cover!

McKay very successfully ran an Alfa 1750 GTV powered by the 2 litre race engine out of his friend Brian Foleys’ ex-factory GTAm circuit racer, a veritable 210bhp wolf in sheeps clothing in 1971…McKay finished 2nd to Colin Bonds’ factory Holden Torana ‘LC’ GTR-XU1. No mean feat as Bond was one of Australia’s most versatile drivers; a winner in open wheelers, on the dirt and on the circuits as both multiple Australian Rally Champion and a winner of the Bathurst 500 and many other circuit races.

mc kay hume weir

McKay racing to victory at Hume Weir circuit near Albury. Compare the ‘race or tarmac spec’ of the RS2600 with the rally shot below. Car sans front spoiler in this shot. (David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce)

For 1972 McKay was keen on a more competitive mount, the nature of the various hats he wore and his capabilities meant he was attractive to all of the local manufacturers/importers. McKay was invited to breakfast with Fords CEO Australia, Bill Bourke, on his departure from Australia who asked if there was anything he could do for McKay in his new appointment elsewhere in the Ford empire.

McKay recalled ‘Ford were running V6 Capris’ in European Rallies and perhaps Bill Bourke could collar one which wouldn’t be missed in time for the ’72 Dulux? This he did together with a mechanic to look after a car which had been run by Ford France. Howard Marsden (head of Fords racing program in Australia) was enthused and turned on his Ford works crew’.

rs 2600 cutaway

Evolution of these cars explained in the text. 1972 spec RS2600; pushrod OHV, fuel injected V6 engine modified by Weslake in the UK. Ultimate race engines produced circa 320bhp@7300rpm from 2995cc, the standard engine 2637cc and 150bhp. 5 speed ‘box, LSD. (Bruno Betti)

hermann mt mc ginn 240z

Edgar Hermanns’ factory Datsun 240Z, the Japanese factory a big supporter of Australian Rallying for a decade or so. Navigator Roger Bonhomme. Here the car is being serviced at the Mt Ginn stage outside Canberra. (Green Machine)

The 1972 Dulux entry was not large at 27 carsbut included International, Edgar Herrmann in a factory Datsun 240Z, Colin Bond and Peter Brock in factory Torana GTR XU1’s both of whom were equally at home on tar or dirt, Australian Rally Champion Bob Watson in a Renault 8 Gordini, Stewart McLeod, XU-1 and Bruce Hodgson, Ford Escort Twin Cam and many other top drivers.

The rally commenced after a run from Brisbane to Grafton at Surfers Paradise Raceway.

The Capri had a high speed miss which cost power, McKay finished 3rd on a track tailor made for the car. Due in Sydney on the second night, David organised the SV Team to be on hand to rectify the problem, there, out of the rain which had accompanied the rally since it’s start, a condenser was identified as the cause of the misfire and fixed.

With full power the car won the Silverdale Hillclimb and night racing at Oran Park, then a circuit on Sydney’s Western outskirts. This put a smile on Ford fans faces and gave General Motors Holden and their Torana’s cause for concern…

McKay also won the Dapto Hillclimb, having time to divert to visit his ailing mother in Bowral Hospital enroute to Canberra!

mc kay mt mc ginn stage

Chassis number of this car unknown but campaigned by Ford France before imported to Australia by Ford Australia for McKays’ use in this event. Car is being fettled to ‘dirt spec’ for the Mt Ginn stage. Note difference in tyres and ride height, later to be an issue. McKay concerned about the surface, tar had been laid on top of dirt elected not to contest the Mt Ginn event which was won by Colin Bonds’ XU-1 Torana. (Green Machine)

brock from hermann

Hermann and Brock had fun, the 240Z in front of Peters’ Holden Torana XU-1. Torana like the Capri, a versatile car at home on track or trail.Winner of both the Australian Rally Championship (Bond) and Bathurst 500 (Brock). Mt Ginn, Canberra. (Green Machine)

McKay ‘passed’ as he put it on the Mount Ginn event, ‘spitting the dummy’ over the condition of the track surface, even protesting the organisers conducting the Mt Ginn activity at all…he could do so as the Capri was comfortably in the lead at the time.

Based in Albury, on the New South Wales/Victorian border for several nights the car won the circuit events at Hume Weir, another lost circuit, and several nights of rallying. ‘The Capri was very quick on dirt surprising both (navigator) Garry Connelly who was doing the navigating and myself but it wasn’t to last’.

‘Apparently the wide Goodyear Ultragrips should have been fitted with tubes to give some protection against deflation over the rocky outcrops and we had tyre problems on one section. On another a rear coil spring became detached from its mountings and pierced a tyre. The final blow was hitting a rocky ridge in the middle of the dirt road with the front cross member and pushing the lot back out of alignment. ‘

‘No-one else had noticed the ridge, all driven safely over it as we had expected to do. In our jubilation after the wins at Hume Weir earlier in the day we had inadvertently forgotten to reset the ride height, consequently we were rallying with race track settings and it took the Ford boys a long time to straighten out the mess’.

rs 2600 warragul

This shot of the Capri being fuelled at Warragul, Gippsland, Victoria, en-route to Phillip Island shows the ‘fun of the fair’ and the interest in the cars during the events long trip from Queensland to Victoria. (motorsportarchive.com)

The Torana’s therefore skipped off into the distance. On the final leg towards Melbourne the Capri won a 20 lapper at Phillip Island, lapping the Torana’s, McKay finally able to use its ‘moonshot 5th gear’ on the Islands’ long main straight.

The event finished at Melbourne’s Dallas Brooks Hall, the two ‘works’ Holden Torana ‘LJ’ XU-1’s first and second from Stewart McLeod third, McKay and Connelly seventh in the exotic Cologne Capri.

The car does not seem to have been rallied again but passed into the hands of Melbournes’ Graham ‘Tubby’ Ritter, a noted engineer/driver who mated the car with donor parts from the March 751 F5000 left in Australia by John Cannon, the engine, gearbox, suspension, and brakes all used in the cars conversion to a ‘Sports Sedan’, the March tub was attached to a VW transmission and sent to New Zealand to deal with the import duty issue which otherwise arose…

If memory serves the cars injected 5 litre Chev was later ‘twin-turboed’, if any reader knows of this RS2600’s ultimate destiny i am intrigued to know.

big_6184_N_Ritt_77

Ex McKay ‘Cologne Capri’ RS2600 after transformation into a ‘Sports Sedan’ by Graham Ritter in Melbourne. Sports Sedans in essence an unlimited Sedan class. Major mechanicals ex-John Cannon March F5000 car. 1977 Sandown Park. (oldracephotos)

1973 RCN cover

RCN’s January 1973 cover featured the ’72 Dulux Rally, cars featured the Bond Torana, Hermann 240Z and, hard to pick RS2600 night racing at Oran Park. (Stephen Dalton)

Moffats RS3100…

Alan Moffat made his name in Australia as one of our greatest touring car drivers but was born in Canada and emigrated to Australia with his father who was posted here for career reasons in the early 1960’s.

Moffat commenced racing in Australia in a Triumph TR3A and progressed to a Lotus Cortina bought from Team Lotus at the end of 1964, Moffat having worked with the team in the United States.

His racing of the Cortinas in both Australia and in the US is a story in itself, suffice it to say that at the end of 1967 he was competitive enough to be invited to join Ford’s KarKraft as a development driver.

moffat lotus cortina texas

Moffat in his ex Allan Mann Racing Lotus Cortina contesting the TransAm race at Green Valley, Texas in 1967. Aussie Lotus Cortina exponent Jim McKeown was assisting Moffat at this stage. (Jerry Melton)

Ford was fully committed to the TransAm Series to promote its image. It was a hotbed of competition with Shelby American representing Ford. Allan co-drove the first two rounds (Daytona 24-Hours, Sebring 12-Hours) of the 1968 Trans Am, with Horst Kwech, the car did not finish either race.

He returned to Australia to work for Bob Jane after Jane purchased a genuine 1968 ex Shelby Trans Am Mustang, Allan returned to Detroit in early 1969 and met with Jack Passino, Ford Racing Director who organised a brand new 1969 Trans-Am Boss Mustang.

Moffat brought the car to Australia and with support from Coca-Cola in one of the first commercial deals of its type in here and raced the car as a professional becoming one of the most iconic car/driver combinations in Australia.

Moffat and the Trans Am won 101 of its 157 starts but ironically not the coveted Australian Touring Car Championship for which it was intended, ATCC rule changes forced the Mustang into the Sports Sedan category. The Mustang was competitive but with new rule freedoms during 1974 wins became fewer, against the mid engined cars now being developed. Moffat, to his eternal credit chose not to ‘hack the car about’, one of only 7 genuine factory 1969 Trans Ams’…but he needed a competitive mount to replace the famous car. His immaculate Ford connections secured one of the works Capri RS3100’s at the end of Fords successful 1974 European Touring car championship campaign…

This is a slightly truncated version of Mark Oastlers tremendous article about the car in ‘Shannons’ magazine…if you have a hankering for Touring Cars its worth signing up to the Shannons site just to get access to Oastlers’ excellent articles, http://www.shannons.com.au/club/

moffat mustang

Moffat in his TransAm Mustang leads Bob Jane in the almost equally iconic Camaro, the latter powered by an aluminium big block Chev…and whether in 427 aluminium or 350 iron block usually had the legs on Moffats smaller, lighter and better handling Boss 302 Windsor  engined Mustang. Occasional 351 outings noted! Oran Park , Sydney circa 1971. (Unattributed)

Why Ford built the ultimate RS

‘The catalyst for creation of the RS 3100 was the 1973 ETCC, when BMW fended off a gallant season-long challenge by Ford’s less powerful RS 2600 Capris to win the prestigious title.

BMW had caught Ford by surprise that year by equipping its 3.5 litre CSL coupe with a huge boot-mounted inverted rear wing, made even more effective by a full-width scoop mounted along the rear edge of the roof to feed it clean air flow for maximum downforce. Not surprisingly, the big CSL coupe soon earned the nickname ‘Batmobile’!

Ford rightly figured that to overcome the CSL challenge in 1974, the Capri would firstly require more power. However, the RS 2600’s German 2.6 litre V6 engine, which had already been bored out to 2.9 litres capacity and was producing around 320 bhp, had reached the peak of its development.

By comparison, the capacity of BMW’s potent 3.0 litre in-line six had been increased to 3.5 litres under the FIA’s liberal Group 2 rules, providing a big power advantage over the Fords. The obvious answer was a switch to the larger capacity 3.1 litre British-built Essex V6 as used in UK-built Capris.

The CSL’s inverted rear wing also provided a considerable edge in traction and high speed stability so Ford had no choice but to join the aero wars with a large rear spoiler of its own. Wind tunnel and track testing of various designs proved how effective a large ducktail spoiler could be.

As a result, Ford committed to production of a ‘homologation special’ called the RS 3100 that would serve as the road-going production basis for its full-house Group 2 competition cars for the 1974 ETCC attack.

Built in a batch of 250 (the minimum number required for FIA homologation) the British-built RS 3100 came with front and rear spoilers and the 3091cc Essex V6. Use of this engine of course would allow the 1974 race car to increase its engine capacity to 3.5 litres to match the BMW.

The small batch of RS 3100 road cars went on public sale in November 1973 with FIA homologation approved on January 1, 1974. Surprisingly perhaps, these rare homologation cars proved hard to sell. Evidence of that fact is that 50 of the 250 built were shipped to Australia as late as June 1974 where they were eventually sold through selected Ford dealers.

ford gaa v6

Ford Cosworth GAA 3.4 litre DOHC, 4 valve fuel injected V6. Circa 420bhp @ 8500 rpm and 280 lb/ft of torque at 7000rpm. Cast iron block, aluminium Cosworth heads.

Cosworth to the rescue

Michael Kranefuss was the man in charge of Ford’s ETCC program. Given Ford’s long and successful association with Cosworth, in particular its 3.0 litre V8 DFV Formula One engine, he approached the Northhampton firm to design the new RS 3100 race engine. Initial discussions between Ford and Cosworth about this engine had started back in 1972.

The Group 2 rules required use of the manufacturer’s standard cylinder block, but a timely change that allowed use of alternative cylinder heads for 1974 left Cosworth with the task of designing new aluminium heads with dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and an initial power target of 400-plus bhp.

The Cosworth GAA-V6 was designed by Keith Duckworth and Mike Hall, featuring cast aluminium heads that could be used on either bank. The four overhead camshafts operating 24 tiny valves were belt driven by toothed pulleys at the front of the engine, with one spark plug per cylinder and Lucas mechanical fuel injection.

Cosworth needed to increase the cylinder bore size of the Essex block, but wayward casting tolerances meant that few of these mass produced blocks survived the machining process.

It settled on 3412cc as the safe limit. Cosworth also beefed up the bottom end with rugged four-bolt main bearing caps.

In-house dyno testing of the new 3.4 litre GAA-V6 began late in 1973 and it produced 420 bhp straight up, instantly meeting Ford’s 400 bhp plus target. With on-going development these engines reached 450 bhp at a spine-tingling 8750 rpm.

The RS2600’s five-speed ZF gearbox was carried over and matched with a rugged Borg & Beck triple-plate clutch in a feather-weight magnesium bell housing.

gaa v6

Ford Cosworth GAA V6 engine detail in Moffats restored car. (spooky21)

The RS 3100 Cologne Capris were built with a win-at-all-costs approach at Ford’s German competitions department in Cologne, under chief engineer Thomas Amerschlaeger. The exotic materials, quality of workmanship and attention to detail evident in the construction of these factory race cars was beyond belief.

The emphasis was on minimising weight, as the lightweight fiberglass doors, bonnets and boot lids used on the RS 2600 were no longer allowed and the new Essex V6 was slightly heavier than the German engine. This resulted in a 50 kg weight increase in the new cars, which would be offset somewhat by the more powerful 3.4 litre Cosworth engine.

They started with standard LHD steel body shells taken from the production line which were rumoured to have spent time in an acid bath to remove some excess metal before they arrived at the workshop.

Large aerodynamically shaped fiberglass wheel arch flares were installed at each corner to shroud huge wheels and tyres and lightweight laminated window glass was fitted throughout the cabin. The large front and rear spoilers, which under Group 2 rules had grown considerably from the road car versions on which they were based, were fitted front and rear.

The increased weight of the Essex V6 altered the car’s critical front to rear weight distribution, which Amerschlaeger’s team addressed by mounting the engine’s dry-sump lubrication oil tank and fuel injection pumps inside the boot area, where the battery and huge 120-litre long distance fuel tank also resided.

Oil cooling radiators for the gearbox and rear axle were also moved to the tail end and mounted directly behind the rear wheels, with oil circulation controlled by a pump driven directly by the tailshaft via a toothed belt and pulley arrangement. The engine oil cooling unit was mounted in the nose where it was fed fresh air through the grille.

The engineers also experimented with a rear-mounted engine radiator but found that there wasn’t sufficient air flow available because of the effectiveness of the huge front spoiler in stopping air from flowing under the car. Amerschlaeger eventually opted for twin side-mounted engine radiators mounted just ahead of the rear wheels.

sandown

Moffat hooks the Capri into ‘Shell Corner’ at Sandown showing the cars exotic bodywork, ducts, rear mounted radiators, LHD format. Superb. (Unattributed)

The standard dashboard pad and door trims had to be retained but the rest of the interior was stripped bare, leaving a full set of competition gauges, remote switch panels, massive roll cage, on-board fire extinguisher system plumbed to every corner of the car and lightweight Nomex covered driver’s seat.

To minimise weight, many suspension components were made from aluminium or magnesium.

Under Group 2, a touring car’s suspension had to keep its original ‘architecture’ so the RS 3100 was equipped with strengthened front suspension towers, Bilstein aluminium McPherson struts with gas-filled adjustable dampers, a wrist-thick anti-roll bar, magnesium hub carriers and solid aluminium replacing rubber in all suspension bushes.

Likewise the Capri’s live rear axle and leaf spring design had to be retained, but Ford got very creative in its rule interpretation. It complied by fitting leaf springs, but they were made from lightweight composite materials and had no springing function at all.

This was performed instead by big coil springs and adjustable gas-filled Bilstein shocks. Ford’s homologation paperwork stated that these coils were simply ‘additional springs’ and the FIA duly agreed!

The rear axle was located fore and aft by upper and lower trailing arms and laterally via a Watts linkage that also allowed adjustment of the car’s rear roll centre.

The brakes were huge with four wheel discs permitted under Group 2, even though the road car had rear drums. The ventilated front rotors measured 12 inches (305mm) in diameter and more more than 1.0-inch thick, clamped by powerful servo-assisted calipers.

The front brakes were also fitted with an automatic water cooling system connected to a large tank in the cockpit which could spray a fine mist onto the disc rotors to cool them down each time the brake pedal was pushed. The rear discs were slightly smaller 10.5 inch diameter units.

The racing wheels and tyres were enormous given the size and weight of the car, capable of generating such huge cornering forces that the works Capris were often seen in the ETCC cornering with their two inside wheels clear off the deck.

German BBS composite rims (magnesium centres with aluminium rims) were secured by a single central locking nut and fitted with tailor-made Dunlop tyres that measured a staggering 16 inches (405mm) wide at the rear and 12 inches (305mm) on the front.

With top shelf drivers the calibre of Niki Lauda, Jochen Mass, Toine Hezemans and Dieter Glemser on the team, Ford was ready for all-out war.

capri sandown

Alan Moffat again at Sandown upon the cars debut in Australia, February 1975. Car limited a bit by the use of locally mandated wheels of no greater than 10 inches in width. Cars lack of power and especially torque relative to local 5 and 6 litre opposition, torque important on our more ‘stop/start’ circuits rather than the fast, flowing circuits for which the car designed a disadvantage. (Robert Davies)

The 1974 ETCC

‘Unfortunately, the timing could not have been worse for what promised to be the battle of all battles for the ETCC crown between Ford’s new RS 3100 Capris and BMW’s mighty CSL ‘Batmobiles’.

The world’s worsening energy crisis, which had been triggered by the Arab-Israel war, forced car companies to quickly change priorities in their marketing and product development strategies. Motor racing programs were hit particularly hard during this time, including Australia where Ford withdrew its factory support in January 1974.

Sadly BMW also began to scale down its racing activities during the ETCC which left easy wins to the new Capris at several rounds. Even so, despite these outright victories and the vast sums of money spent designing, building and developing the new RS 3100s, it was the German Zakspeed-prepared RS 1600 Ford Escorts which ended up winning the manufacturer’s title for Ford due to a points system that was heavily weighted in favour of smaller capacity cars.

The last time an RS 3100 Cologne Capri competed in full works guise was when Jochen Mass and Toine Hezemans were sent to Kyalami in South Africa to compete in a gruelling non-championship 9-Hour endurance race as part of the Springbok series that featured many sports cars. The Capri was fast and faultless again, winning the touring car class and finishing an outstanding fifth outright.

The same car – chassis number GA ECPY19999 – would not return to Germany after the race, though, as it was destined for a very different life in Australia.’

motor racing oz

The Moffat era

‘In late February 1975, GA ECPY19999 arrived at Allan Moffat Racing in Melbourne after being shipped directly from its last race as a works car in South Africa.

Although the stunning European thoroughbred won first time out at Sandown it soon became apparent that the Capri, which was built for long distance racing on high speed European tracks, was going to be doing it hard against lighter and more powerful V8 competition on Australia’s tighter tracks in short sprint races.

Its V6 engine just couldn’t match the explosive power and torque outputs of rival V8s. And it was restricted to the local maximum wheel width of 10 inches, which was a substantial drop in traction given the car was designed to race on massive 16-inch wide rears and 12-inch fronts in Europe.

It was also comparatively heavy given its touring car racing origins, competing against increasingly sophisticated purpose-built local designs that featured mid-mounted V8 engines, space-frame chassis, Formula 5000 suspension and featherweight composite body panels.

Moffat had his sights set on winning the inaugural Australian Sports Sedan Championship (ASSC) in 1976, so when it became clear he would need V8 power to do it he sourced a state-of-the-art DeKon Chevrolet Monza from the US. With 6 litre Chevrolet V8 power, it was immediately more than a match for the best sports sedans in the land.

Even so, the RS 3100 Capri still had an important role to play as the controversial Monza was sidelined midway through the ASSC due to questions over its eligibility. So while that was being sorted out, Moffat dusted off the Capri for two crucial rounds at Wanneroo in Perth (which he won) and A.I.R in Adelaide (where he came second). The Capri proved it was still highly competitive, effectively sealing the title for Moffat and finishing its Australian career on a high note.’

Moffat retained the car, as he did the Mustang for decades before finally selling it to a lucky collector in New Zealand.

gaa v6 2

Another view of Moffats restored Capri in New Zealand. (spooky21)

The Kiwi Connection…

For the sake of completeness there were only two other, I think, ‘Cologne Capris’ which raced in Australia, both originated from the ‘other side of the ditch’, the colloquial name we Australasians give to the Tasman Sea, which separates Australia and New Zealand.

Grant Walker raced the ex-works RS2600 imported into New Zealand by Paul Fahey which won the NZ Touring Car Championship in 1975 converted to Cossie GAA power.

Don Halliday raced the GAA powered car he and his equally talented brother built up in NZ with many factory parts as well as local ingenuity.

Both scored points in the 1976 Australian Sports Sedan Championship, ironically won by Allan Moffat in the Chev Monza which replaced his Capri, as Mark Oastler points out above the Capri did play a vital role in that series victory.

The story of these cars is well told by Steven Holmes on his ‘The Roaring Season’, click on this link for an interesting read.

http://www.theroaringseason.com/showthread.php?1274-Article-Recreating-The-Halliday-Capri

Etcetera…

1975 Sandown Capri

 

Credits…

Robert Davies, Jerry Melton, autopics.com, spooky21, Green Machine, Bruno Betti, oldracephotos

‘David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce’ autobiography, Mark Oastler/Shannons for the RS3100 article, snooksmotorsport.com

The Roaring Season

Stephen Dalton for the research assistance and material

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Phil Hill, Ferrari Dino 246, Italian GP Monza 1958. His debut GP for Ferrari.

Phil Hill looking fairly relaxed on the occasion of his Ferrari Grand Prix debut…

Hill had been part of Ferraris’ sports car squad since 1955 and ‘shamed’ the chief into promoting him by making his Grand Prix debut in the French GP in Jo Bonniers’ Maser 250F.

He justified Ferraris faith in him placing 3rd in his Dino 246. Tony Brooks Vanwall won the race.

Love Hills’ natty race safety attire! Check, short sleeved blue shirt his first line of defence against fire, mind you the prevailing wisdom of the day was to be thrown clear of the car in the event of a ‘big one’. It’s interesting to reflect on how far safety advanced in the following 10 years. In cars; monocoque chassis, roll bars, 6 point harnesses and fire extinguishers. In terms of driver safety; ‘Nomex’ fire retardant ‘suits, Bell introduced the first ‘Star’ full face helmet in ’68.

Mind you the cars were far faster over that decade, the GP field was ‘winged by the end of ’68 with another leap in performance as a consequence. The circuits hadn’t kept pace though, the Jackie Stewart lead Grand Prix Drivers Association crusade to improve circuit standards and safety was just underway. He was a pariah in the views of some but many drivers lives were saved as a result.

We lose some of the visual splendour of classic circuits and Phils’ striped blue shirts…

enzo

Enzo Ferrari & Phil Hill Monza 1958…’just do as i say and you will be fine…'(Jesse Alexander)

italian

1958 Italian GP Start…# 28 Tony Brooks & # 30 Stuart Lewis-Evans, both in Vanwall VW57’s & Mike Hawthorns’ Ferrari Dino 246. Brooks the winner of the race from Hawthorn & Hill. Lewis-Evans DNF. (Unattributed)

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Phil Hill Ferrari Dino 246 Italian GP Monza 1958…that steering wheel is so ‘period’! (Jesse Alexander)

Photo Credit…

Jesse Alexander

davo nuri 1949

This fantastic shot of Lex Davisons’ Alfa Romeo P3 ahead of Doug Whitefords’ Ford V8 Spl ‘Black Bess’, Nuriootpa, in South Australia’s’ Barossa Valley on 23 April 1949…

Look at the hay bales, stone houses characteristic of South Australia, the ‘Stobie’ light poles are still a feature of SA streets and the relaxed crowd. Captures the flavour of the day doesn’t it?

It’s funny where you find stuff. I was researching my article on Alf Barretts’ career and Alfa Monza a while back and tripped over this shot of Davo on the ‘South Australia History Hub’, but no details were provided. I knew who it was but not exactly when or where, Stephen Dalton fellow enthusiast/historian identified the place, date as well as the event.

‘The Vintage (as in wine vintage, the Barossa is a world renowned wine region) Festival Championship’ was a 25 mile event, 8 laps of the Nuri road circuit, it was reported in Graham Howard’s biography of Lex Davison, from which this article draws heavily.

As you will see from the cars described, the bulk of our elite fields were Australian Specials in the main, we are still several years away from a reasonable number of European GP cars on our grids and 5 years away from the ‘Red Car Period’ of the mid to late fifties, the factory cars then dominant.

The last AGP Win for an Australian Special was the 1951 Narrogin event in WA, won by Warwick Pratleys’ Ford ‘Flathead’ V8 powered George Reed Special. The last AGP win for an Australian built car was John Goss’ victory at Sandown in 1976 in a Matich A53 Repco F5000 car…Australian built but not a Special in the sense meant above!

nuri

‘The Vintage Festival Championship…’

‘Non-starters included Jack Days Talbot Darracq, Barracloughs Delage and Alfa Mercury. Cars were marshalled with the fastest at the back, Whiteford made the cleanest start. On his hammer was Jim Gullan Ballot Olds with Davison, Neale Ford V8 Spl, Wilcox Dodge Spl and Robinson Sunbeam Mercury, his car the 1922 GP Sunbeam fitted with a Ford V8 and with a body reminiscent of the Segrave 200mph car.’

‘In the next lap Davison passed Gullan and was right behind Whiteford, whose Ford V8 Spl was going very well, this car winning the 1950 AGP at this circuit, I covered this car a while back. Wilcox was close to Neale and behind Robinson.

Davo passed Whiteford by lap 4, the order remained unchanged from then. ‘Doug Whiteford did everything but tie knots in the Ford keeping up with the Davison Alfa and it was the first time he has been seeing really trying. The two leaders outstripped the rest by over a minute and a half and lapped the last man home…’

A great race and a portent of things to come from the two Melburnians… Davison the wealthy industrialist from Clendon Road, Toorak in the aristocratic GP Alfa and Whiteford the garage proprietor from Carlisle Street, St Kilda in the self built/developed but incredibly clever, quick Ford V8 Spl…several suburbs and poles apart but very much racing enthusiasts and champion drivers both.

4 AGP wins for Davison and 3 for Whiteford, some splendid racing was to follow in the ensuing decade from these two great competitors…

Credits…

SA History Hub, Graham Howard ‘ Lex Davison:Larger Than Life’, Stephen Dalton research

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‘This is the prettiest car i have ever snapped’ said Dick Simpson. Hard to argue…

This is one of four Ferrari P4’s built; chassis numbers ‘0856’, ‘0858’, ‘0860’ and ‘0846’ the latter a converted P3.

At the end of the 1967 endurance season two of the cars were lightened and modified to run in the ’67 CanAm Series in the US. Chassis ‘0860’ and ‘0858’, the latter was then acquired by ‘Scuderia Veloces’ David McKay for one fabulous season in Australia. I wrote an article a while back about Scuderia Veloce, David McKay and his 250LM ‘6321’, have a read of it rather than repeat the background here.

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/

Simpsons’ shot is of Aussie Bill Brown at the wheel on 5 May 1968, the shot taken at the left hander after Warwick Farms’ (Sydney) ‘Shell Bridge’, it captures the curvaceous beauty of the thing!

The photographers and their artistry inspired this article…acknowledgement of them all but especially Dick Simpson, John Ellacott, Roderick MacKenzie, Ellis French and Lindsay Ross.

le mans 67 start

As Mike Spence buckles up his seatbelt in the Chaparral 2F Chev, he is surrounded by FoMoCo vehicles; #1 the victorious Gurney/Foyt, #3 Bianchi/Andretti and Hulme/Ruby Mk4’s, and the #5 Gardner/McCluskey and Schlesser/Ligier Mk2’s…not a Ferrari in sight! (Unattributed)

1967 was a halcyon year of sports car racing, the high point of the ‘Unlimited Formula’…a 5 litre limit for sports cars and 3 litres for prototypes was imposed by the FIA for 1968 so Ford had 1 more year to race their 7 litre Mk 2 and 4’s.

Chaparral returned to Europe with the fabulous 2F Coupe after an exploratory endurance year with the 2D in 1966, Lola competitors struggled with engine reliability to match the excellence of the chassis and Ferrari returned with 4 litre engines but with 3 valve heads after a year of austerity in 1966. Ferrari mainly entered 1 P3 at each race also coping with widespread industrial unrest in Italy that year.

The season wasn’t all about just the big 3; Alfa raced their T33, Porsche the 907, Matra their M630 V8 BRM engined cars, but in reality the seaon was about the big outright cars, an unforgettable year of sports car racing arguably caused by Enzos’ rebuff of Fords’ desire to purchase the Italian autocrats’ company 5 years before and the Lola GT/Ford GT40 program which followed.

The Ford Mk4 incorporated all the learnings of the company, the early failures of the GT40 and Mark 2 in 1964/5 and the triumph at Le Mans in 1966, Kiwis’ Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon ‘winning’ over the Ken Miles/Denny Hulme Mark 2 in the farcical ‘Form Finish’.

The Mark 4 was of aluminium honeycomb construction and had much more advanced aerodynamics than the Mk 2 developed from extensive testing of many variations of shapes to get the appropriate mix of top speed/downforce. The mechanical package was largely carried over and incorporated a 7 litre OHV Ford V8 fed by 2 four-barrel Holley carburettors giving circa 530bhp@6200rpm. The 4 speed Kar Kraft gearbox was again used after experiments with a 2 speed auto. Weight was circa 1100Kg.

All of the major contenders suspension layouts were similar; upper and lower wishbones at front with coil spring/damper units and adjustable roll bars. And at the rear, single top link, twin radius rods, lower wishbone, coil spring/damper units and adjustable sway bars.

All 3 cars also had rack and pinion stering, and of course cast iron disc brakes at front and rear.

 

ford mk 4

The Chaparral 2F Chev was the most exotic of the three cars despite its pushrod OHV 7 litre Chev V8. Fed by 4 58mm Weber down-draught carburettors, the engine developed 575 bhp@7500rpm. The chassis was made of fibre-glass, weighed 793Kg dry, the advanced specification extending to its 3 speed General Motors automatic transmission and advanced aerodynamics including distinctive high rear wing. The Texans had incorporated all they learned on their European campaign in 1966 with the 2D

 

chapp 2f
The P4’s ‘Aero’ chassis had slightly wider tracks than its P3 forebear and was the result of evolution over previous seasons, Ferraris’ first mid-engined sports car was the V6 engined 246SP of 1961. Doug Nye records that chassis ‘0796’ was cut up and lengthened slightly to accomodate a 2 cam 3 litre Testa Rossa engine, the 1963 Le Mans winning 250P evolved from this successful prototype. So too did the 1965 Le Mans winning 250LM, essentially a 250P with a roof and 3.3 litre engine, making it, in the eyes of many the 275LM…

The 3.3 litre 2 cam 275P followed in 1964, 275P2 and 4 litre 4 cam 330P2 in 1965. The P2’s departed from earlier Ferrari space-frame practice by utilisation of the ‘aero’ tube-frame semi-monocoque structure whereby the frame is stiffened by rivetted sheet steel panelling. The model range is more complex than this as it also includes different engine/chassis combinations for customers, i will stick to the works cars for the purpose of this article.

The 4 litre P3 followed in 1966 with much improved suspension geometry to address inadequate camber control and to suit the latest generation of ever widening tyres. The 4 litre engine, adapted for Lucas fuel injection developed circa 420bhp@8000rpm. As outlined above, Ferrari’s 1966 season was impacted by industrial problems in Italy as well as John Surtees midseason departure which impacted both the sports car program and probably the World F1 Titles which were theirs to take with an ace at the wheel. And some luck with reliability.

The stiffness of the chassis was improved as Nye describes ‘…previous P series Ferraris had carried their engines on four simple mounts plus plus two for the gearbox, the new P4 engine featured a stiffer crankcase and could be mounted as a semi-stressed structural member, picking up on four carefully triangulated mounts at the front, two each side and four at the rear.’

The engine, the block stressed as above, featured the 3 valves per cylinder (2 inlet and 1 exhaust with the inlets between the 2 camshafts of each bank) layout developed by Franco Rocchi in late 1966, as developed for the F1 cars. There were 2 plugs per cylinder still fired by good old fashioned coils, 4 of them. Lucas fuel injection fed the fuel. The engines capacity was 3967cc and developed 450bhp @ 8000 rpm.

Also new was a 5 speed gearbox made by Ferrari to replace the earlier ZF unit, the ZF5DS25 units as used in the Ford GT’s had been unreliable in 1966. Weight was 965Kg.

Firestone replaced Dunlop as the teams tyre supplier.

And so the scene was set…the prototype completed 580 laps at Firestone tyre tests at Daytona in December 1966, Amon the quickest ahead of Parkes, Bandini and Scarfiotti, the P4 timed at 338kmh along the back straight.

Quick, but as it was to transpire, not quick enough.

fazz p 4 cutaway

1967 Endurance Season…

p4 monza

The Parkes/Scarfiotti P4 ‘0858’ passes the # 18 Casoni/Martini Ferrari Dino 206S, pursued by the Mike Spence/Phil Hill Chaparral 2F Chev, DNF with driveshaft failure. ‘0858’ 2nd, the win taken by Bandini/Amon in another P4 ‘0856’. (Unattributed)

In the first race of the season, at Daytona the new car was immediately successful leading the race from the 4th hour and taking the first 2 places, Amon/Bandini ahead of Scarfiotti/Parkes and a modified P3/4 entered by Luigi Chinettis’ NART . All the 7 litre Fords retired or were delayed by maladies.

The Scuderia did not enter Sebring, but Amon and Bandini won again at Monza with Scarfiotti and Parkes second, the factory Fords did not enter the race.With practice laps only three-tenths of a second apart, Bandinis’ Ferrari and Spences’ Chaparral raced wheel to wheel from the off.

Spence retired early leaving Ferrari the rest of the race. Bandini took the lead with Scarfiotti in second in ‘0858’, Rodriguez third for NART and Vaccarella in the Filipinetti car in fourth. Ferrari’s four-litre prototypes now dominated the first four positions. A failed attempt by Rodriguez at overtaking the second-place works Ferrari resulted in his retirement. ( Note that RM Auctions in their sale dossier of the car several years ago claim Bandini and Amon won driving ‘0858’,  other independent sources say ‘0858’ finished 2nd)

spa p4

Parkes and Scarfiotti 5th and best of the P4s at Spa in ‘0858’. Ickx won in a Mirage M1 Ford. (L’Automobile)

At Spa, ‘Rainmaster’ Ickx prevailed in John Wyers 5.7 litre Mirage Ford, Scarfiotti and Parkes could do no better than 5th in ‘0858’.

Vaccarella crashed out of the Targa lead in his P4 at Collesano, his home town…

And then came Le Mans.

As noted above this was the last Le Mans run under the unlimited formula…Ford won the previous year but at Daytona they were well and truly beaten by the P4’s.Ferrari missed the Nurburgring 1000Km to be better prepared for La Sarthe 3 P4’s were entered by the factory the 4th an Ecurie Francorchamps entry.

The big V8’s had the legs in practice as proved to be the case in the race.

The Scarfiotti/Parkes P4 ‘0858’ was never far behind. A crash eliminated 3 Fords, the Mairesse/Beurlys P4 moved into 3rd with the works cars chasing the leading Ford Mk4 of Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt. That vastly experienced pair drove a superb race taking Fords 2nd Le Mans. Nye noted ‘…the race was decided on the Mulsanne. All the 7 litre Fords topped 320kmh. The 330P4 could not better 310kmh, and the poorer breathing of the 24 valve 412P’s left them gasping, slower still’.

The works  Ferrari finished 4 laps behind, the 1st Ford and 2nd and 3rd placed (Mairesse/Beurlys) Ferraris covered a distance unprecedented at Le Mans.

Mike Parkes said to journalist/Le Mans Winner Paul Frere after the race ‘Never in my life have I driven a car so hard for so long’.

le mans 67

‘0858’ on the way to 2nd place at Le Mans in the hands of Ludovico Scarfiotti and Mike Parkes albeit 4 laps behind the winning 7 litre Ford Mk4 of Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt. (Unattributed)

The Brands Hatch ‘BOAC International 500′ was the final race of the endurance season and was to determine the championship for the year. Jackie Stewart joined Chris Amon in the works team to bolster the Ferraris’ chances, Mike Parkes having badly injured his legs in an F1 crash at Spa.

Both chassis ‘0858’ and ‘0860’ had been converted to  Spiders by the factory, removal of the roof and lightening the body saving around 40Kg in weight. (Two independent sources claim ‘0858’ was driven by Jonathon Williams and Paul Hawkins to 6th in this race, and that Amon/Stewart raced ‘0860’ to 2nd)

The race started at noon on Sunday under grey skies. John Surtees took an initial lead before Paul Hawkins replaced him in the third of the P4s. After the first hour, Stewart had Spences’ Chaparral in his sights. Scarfiotti was behind him in another P4, followed by the Swiss Jo Siffert in a Porsche 908. With regular driver changes and pit stops, the running order was continually evolving over the ensuing four hours. In the final hour, Amon was second.

With ten minutes to go, Stewart took the wheel, held the position and finished the race, securing the Manufacturers’ Championship for Ferrari, its 12th, defeating Porsche. Mike Spence won the race, the Chaparral finally taking a long promised win.

350 can am front

Factory CanAm 350 3/4 front . (Ferrari)

From P4 to Can Am 350…

With the Endurance Season over and regulation changes precluding the cars competition in the 1968 Endurance Championship the factory modified two of the P4’s; ‘0858’ and ‘0860’ to better compete in the Can Am Championship by lightening and modifying the cars, naming them ‘350 Can Am’ to contest the prestigious series in their most important market.

The cars were lightened considerably by becoming curvaceous Spiders instead of more curvaceous Coupes! Weight was reduced from 792Kg wet to 700Kg wet.

The engines capacity was increased to 4176cc raising the engines power to 480bhp@8500rpm, the cars mechanical specification is as described above otherwise.

Fundamentally it was not enough.

fazz

Its 1 September 1967, Brit Jonathon Williams is about to test an F1 Ferrari 312 for the first time at Modena. In the background is one of the P4/CanAm 350’s, still with headlights fitted, also on William’s menu for the day. Lucky boy. The first CanAm round was at Road America on 3 Sept, the CanAm 350’s first raced at Laguna Seca in William’s/Amon’s hands on 15 October, there was much work to be done yet! (Pete Coltrin)

Bruce McLaren had been contesting sports car races in the US since his Cooper days in the early 1960’s, his first M1 McLarens were quick cars hampered by light but not powerful enough aluminium Oldsmobile engines. For 1967, he and Robin Herd designed and built the monocoque M6 powered by 5.9 litre, circa 525bhp iron Chev V8’s and rewrote the record book in terms of dominance of this series.

‘The Bruce and Denny Show’ of the following years was underway, the Ferraris’ contested the series entered by ‘Harrahs Casino’ also Ferrari distributors, were comprehensively blown off…along with the rest of the grid.

350 can am rear

Factory 350 CanAm ‘butt shot’. Absence of lights clear in the weight saving process. Ferrari ‘box in P4 replaced problemmatic ZF unit of P3…gorgeous if not as much so as P4 parent! (Ferrari)

can am vegas 1967

McLarens’ papaya M6A Chev looms in Jim Halls’ Chaparral 2G Chev mirrors. #21 is Parnelli Jones Lola T70 Ford and Dan Gurneys’ partially obscured Lola T70Mk3b Chev, ALL DNF! Race won by Surtees Lola T70Mk3b Chev. (Unattributed)

‘0858’ From the US to Australia via Italy…

David McKay had raced his 250LM ‘6321’ in Australia since 1965 but the car was getting older and ‘she was often racing out of class and racing against pure prototypes…During a visit to Maranello I broached the subject with Mike Parkes and the factory’s General Manager Ermano Della Casa. I had seen the P4’s at Le Mans in 1967 where Mike and Scarfiotti had finished a gallant second to Fords’ 7 litre steam roller and had fallen in love with the car’.

‘To me it typified all the art, beauty and grace of the old world pitted amongst the brashness and might of the new…In due course I received word that I could buy ‘0858’ for the considerable sum of US$30000.

riverside 67

Riverside CanAm 1967. #12 Roger McCluskey Lola T70 Chev, #27 Williams Ferrari Can Am 350, #19 Bill Amick McLaren M1C Chev, Jerry Entin McLaren M1C Chev. (Unattributed)

The car which raced unsuccessfully in the States at Laguna Seca, Riverside and Las Vegas would be fully rebuilt and shipped to Sydney by Christmas 1967. This would be in good time for the Australian Tasman Races where Amon would conduct it and surely set a cat amongst the pigeons…’

Chris Amon raced a Ferrari 246T looked after by McKays Scuderia Veloce during the Tasman Rounds that summer and in 1969, the year in which he was Tasman Champion.

McKay ‘The less charitable said the factory wanted the car as far away as possible so that they could forget the ignominy of the CanAm venture. The car had managed a 5th at Laguna Seca, 8th at Riverside and a DNF at Las Vegas with Amon who had surely wrung everything out of it’.

Note that some sources say Jonathon Williams raced ‘0858’ and Amon ‘0860’ in the Series, another source suggests Amon raced the car twice, at Laguna Seca and Riverside and by Williams at the final round at Las Vegas. Australian ‘Sports Car World’ magazine in a feature about the car published 1985 says that who drove which car cannot be accurately determined.

Take your pick…i am inclined to either uncertainty, or, I imagine Amon would have related directly to McKay at the time which car he drove, and by the time McKay wrote his autobiography he had no vested interest in the car his financial investment in it having ended in 1968, vendors or their agents and their claims should be treated with the Caveat Emptor dictum in mind…).

riverside 67 2

The 2 350 CanAms’ at rest, Riverside paddock 1967. #23 Amon #27 Williams 8th and DNF…’0858′ and ‘0860’ or…’0860′ and ‘0858’ take your guess. (Unattributed)

amon riverside

Chris Amon using the big twelves horsepower to good effect at Riverside 1967, 8th. All the drivers who raced the P4 commented on how sweet the chassis was. (Unattributed)

McKay ‘This should have turned me off but I comforted myself with the thought that there were no 8 litre McLarens in Australia and certainly no Bruce or Denny to worry us.

Alas, it only required a local in his own device powered with a local 4.4 litre V8 to unravel our dream. (Frank Matich in his Matich SR3 Repco 4.4V8).’

In fact the performance of Frank Matich in his self built car should not have been a surprise to either McKay or Amon.

Matich had contested most of the 1967 Can Am season, including the 3 events in which Amon participated and was also flogged by the McLarens, Matich didn’t finish a race in fact…but the Sydney built, space-frame chassis, 400 bhp Repco 4.4 litre V8 engined Matich was slightly quicker than the 350 Can Am and ‘match fit’ after a tough season in the US.

The Ferrari was not to have it easy in Australia.

matich riverside

Frank Matich, wife Joan his team and Firestone technicians on the pit apron at Riverside, 1967 CanAm. Grid 20 DNF accident. Matich SR3 Repco; space-frame chassis car powered by Repco ‘620 Series’ 4.4 litre SOHC V8 400bhp@7000rpm. Surtees Lola T70Mk3B Chev behind. (Unattributed)

Again David McKay picks up the story ‘As starting money was imperative for such an expensive undertaking I sounded out all the major circuits. All were enthusiastic and all promised to pay a modest enough $350 a start. It goes without saying that when Geoff Sykes (Warwick Farm boss) set the standard, a ‘yes’ on the phone was sufficient to seal the agreement’.

‘There was great excitement at the wharf when the open crate carrying the plastic wrapped P4 was lowered over the liners side. There were a couple more huge wooden crates I hadn’t expected. These turned out to be another engine, gearbox, transaxle, suspensions, disc brakes, all manner of rose joints and sixteen wheels-in reality a second P4 apart from the simple tube-chassis and the brief, skimpy fibre-glass bodywork. That US$30000 was immediately halved in our minds and much of my initial disappointment at seeing the rather unattractive Can Am bodywork evaporated’.

Ferrari_330_P4_68_01

‘0858’ shortly after its arrival in Sydney at SV’s workshop, Wahroonga. (WOT)

‘Engineer Bob Atkin and I were keen to get the crate and boxes home to Wahroonga to prod the beast into life. This we did and again I felt disappointment. Where was the distinctive wail I heard in the cold air at Le Mans? It was now deeper, throatier but somehow more common, less exciting.

Unfortunately I never felt any warmth for the P4, certainly not its fault for the car was out of its milieu, away from the understanding hands which cared for it and probably thinking it was back in that coarse country, America, of which it had nothing but bad dreams.

I hoped a reunion with Amon would be beneficial but Chris was more involved with his Tasman Dino and his forthcoming battle with Clark and Hill in their Lotus 49 Ford DFW’s.’

clark and amon

Jim Clark, Chris Amon and their respective mechanics share a joke around Chris’ Ferrari 246T at Longford, March 1968. Clark won the series in his Lotus 49 DFW, Piers Courage the race in a gutsy wet weather drive in his McLaren M4A FVA F2 car. Clark 5th and Amon 7th. Clark killed that April and Amon returned to take the 1969 Tasman Championship…the P4 by then sold. (oldracephotos)

mc kay and amon

‘Don’t pick your nails Chris!’ Amon and McKay in the cockpit of ‘0858’ at Sandown, Melbourne, February 1968. Mckay first assisted Amon in the 1963 International Series, Amon driving the SV Cooper T53 Climax. (Roderick MacKenzie)

sv at WF

Scuderia Veloce Team at Warwick Farm 1968; 250LM ‘6321’, Brabham BT23A ‘1’ Repco and the P4/CanAm 350 ‘0858’. This shot was taken at the 18 February Tasman Meeting, 250LM i am guessing was not raced, Greg Cusack in the Brabham DNF in the Tasman race won by Clarks’ Lotus 49 DFW, Amon raced the P4. (David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce)

Australian Race Record of ‘0858’…

Ray Bell was a journalist for ‘Racing Car News’ magazine in the 1960 and 1970’s, he wrote evocatively about the cars race record on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ in 2002…

surfers p4

Amon gets the drop from Matich in the SR3, Surfers Paradise, February 1968. Ordinary crowd numbers, surf up at Main Beach maybe? (wolseley680)

‘The first race for the car in Australia was February 10 at Surfers Paradise. It was the Saturday and it was clear that there were some shocks headed for the lap record after Matich recorded 1:10.2 in practice.

Matich dudded the start, however, but scorched around to be the first to take the lap record over the 100mph mark with a 1:10.6 (101.98mph) to Amon’s 1:10.7, reeling the Ferrari in after four laps and diving under it when a slower car baulked Amon.

Two more 5-lappers were scheduled for Sunday, with Matich and his 4.4-litre tube-framed SR3 leading away and getting a full second advantage on the first lap. The record was equalled as he took another win. In the second, Amon was a non-starter.

surfers start

Rod MacKenzies’ shot of the Surfers race 1 start from a different angle. ‘Spare tyre’ on Ferrari mandated by dopey Australian sports car rules of the day. The Matich carries its spare under the drivers ‘screen’. Beefy spoiler on the SR3, its ’68 the ‘Year of Wings’

ellacott p4 wf

Superb John Ellacott shot of Chris Amon looking as relaxed as he can be with Frank Matich ‘up his clacker’! Homestead Corner Warwick Farm, February 1968. (John Ellacott)

A week later at Warwick Farm came the race I speak of so often. The report says Matich ‘left the Ferrari breathless…’ as he led Amon a merry chase. That they came past us side by side, with a Tojiero between them being lapped and grass clippings flying on one lap in the race shows that it wasn’t all that breathless!

Again, Matich was pressed to a new circuit record (these are outright records, faster than the Lotus 49s and the Amon Dino managed on the day) of 1:28.5 in staving off the Ferrari. Amon retired with reported ignition trouble on lap 7 or 8.(McKay advised the ignition leads were plucked off one bank of cylinders having been taped carefully out of reach of a half-shaft)

Check out the YouTube footage of this race…

wf start

WF start. Both Matich #1 Matich SR3 Repco and Niel Allen in the white Elfin 400 Chev get the jump on Amons Fazz at the start. WF a horse racing facility still, ceased as an International car race venue after the ’73 Tasman Series. (Wirra)

sandown p4

Amon leads Matich into Shell Corner, lap 1 , Sandown Tasman Round Sports Car race, 25 February 1968. car with white stripe down the nose at left the Bob Jane Racing Elfin 400 Repco. (Rod MacKenzie)

The opening gambit of the Sandown Park report, the next week (February 25), was ‘This was the first time the Sandown crowd has had a chance to see Frank Matich really trying. The reason was, of course, that he had Chris Amon and the P4 Ferrari to worry him.’

Matich bogged down at the start (‘nearly burned a hole in the startline with wheelspin…’) and Chris led away, but after a lap or two ‘braking late for Peters, Frank closed on Chris and went under him as they accelerated out onto Peters (the back straight).’ Matich won by four seconds, took the Sports Car record down to 1:07.2 (Clark nobbled the outright record in the Australian GP on the same day with a 1:07.1) and Matich bowed out of any further contests. He wasn’t happy to go to Longford.

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Matich SR3 Repco in the Sandown Park paddock. (Mike Feisst Collection/The Roaring Season)

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‘Longford March 1968. The wet Monday morning after Amon set off a lap down on the field after battery failure on the grid. The road was wet from the first shower of the day that turned into a deluge later for the Tasman race (won by Piers Courage in his F2 McLaren M4A FVA). The overcast conditions, wet road and river in the background combine to give perfect lighting to highlight the car. Location is coming off Kings Bridge, shot taken from the old Longford pumphouse station. The 1880’s railway bridge is in the background’ So said ‘austmcreg’ on The Nostalgia Forum, photo credit Jim and Pat Smith. Amazing shot and commentary!

There, Longford, of course, Amon had the fastest time ever through the trap on the flying mile and lapped at 2:14.4 in practice to easily take pole. In the Saturday race Amon set a new outright lap record of 2:12.6, four tenths quicker than Clark had done in the earlier preliminary event for the Tasman cars in the 49. This was 12.2 seconds better than the previous record, held by Bob Jane.(Elfin 400 Repco 4.4)

At that stage, it was only reasonable to conclude that Amon wouldn’t hold the record over the whole weekend, but the heavens opened and deluged the circuit for Monday, his P4 suffered a battery failure (McKay wrote that mechanic Bob Atkin simply overlooked to charge the dry cell Varley battery)  and didn’t even start the soggy sports car race and the openwheelers paddled round with Piers Courages’ McLaren M4A FVA 1.6 taking the win.

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Longford pit counter scene with the curvaceous CanAm 350 centre stage. Both Amon and Bill Brown drove the car at this meeting. Matich did not enter, having safety concerns about the circuit in the SR3. Atmospheric shot taken by Ellis French. Little yellow stickers on Fazz rump say ‘Gatto Verde’, gifts from Alf Francis to David McKay. (Harold Ellis)

In his book, McKay (David McKays autobiography ‘Scuderia Veloce’) describes the torment of choosing a driver for the car for the ensuing year. His choice might have been big ‘Pete’ (Ian) Geoghegan, but there was pressure to give Bill Brown a go. There was also the possibility that Pete’s huge frame might not fit… he was put into the team’s 250LM for the year.

David Mckay again picks up the story ‘After the Tasman Series and Amons departure I decided to put Bill Brown behind the wheel despite certain misgivings. I liked Bill, he was a pleasant, and helpful fellow who could be faster than some but rather more accident prone than others. He damaged the LM rather too frequently through overdriving…Yet I hoped Bill would mature, the red mists would disappear and he would conduct the P4 in accordance with my instructions. I had no illusions he would run with Matich, Amon hadn’t managed to…I had chosen the easy option rather than taking a chance and putting in perhaps the only local who would have given Matich a run for it-Pete Geoghegan.

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Here is Pete Geoghegan hustling McKays 250LM ‘6321’ around Bathurst at Easter 1968, in the manner the SV boss liked so much. (Dick Simpson)

Pete was already four times AustralianTouring Car Champion and was sweeping all before him in his Mustang. More important, was his driving of the ‘old red lady’ (McKays 250LM) in which, despite his big weight disadvantage (Pete was a very big lad, morbidly obese, the medicos would describe it) he was re-writing her lap times. Perhaps had I not been so occupied with other events that year, had not been out of the country so much I would have bitten the bullet, asked Bill to step aside and given Pete the hot seat-but could he have fitten into that little space? We’ll never know now but in the light of subsequent events I was wrong and I am sorry Pete…’

Pete Geoghegan in that car would have been worth travelling a very long way to see, a driver of awesome world class ability as McKay alludes to, if you go back into the early days of Petes’ career he drove the Geoghegan family Lotus single seaters and 23B but in essence most of his career was spent in Touring Cars and other cars with roofs

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Another of Dick Simpsons’ stunning shots. Bill Brown, Mount Panorama, Hell Corner ,Bathurst , Easter 1968. (Dick Simpson)

Ray Bell…’Bathurst was the first outing on April 14 & 15, which I would have thought daunting enough. With wire fences, rough surface, two serious crashes injuring top drivers in the Gold Star event’s practice sessions and all, one might be a little careful in such a fast car.

But Bill was out to show his stuff. The first race was a 3-lapper mixed in with the open-wheelers. Bartlett won that in the Brabham BT23D Alfa with Bill second about 11 seconds adrift and just 1.6 seconds clear of Niel Allen in the Elfin 400 Chev after Allen had spun on the first lap. Bartlett had fastest lap in 2:19.1, Allen did 2:19.4 and Brown 2:21.6. Maybe he was being careful after all…

As the report points out, ‘The last time anyone went really fast on Mt Panorama was back in 1962, when both David McKay and Bib Stillwell equalled Bill Patterson’s flying eighth time of 169.81mph. It has been said often since that it would probably take a sporty car to better it.’

As mentioned above, Brown took the speed up to 181 mph, a big hike, but he was in pursuit of Allen at the time. The Elfin lapped in 2:18.4 but was parked at the top of the mountain when Brown scored his lucky win, with Geoghegan second in the LM, which improved its personal best time from 2:34.2 to 2:30.8 this first time the big fella got into it. Brown lapped in 2:19.6, just shy of the 100mph mark.

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‘0858’ in the Warwick Farm paddock February 1968…the start of ‘wings’ on the front, added since original factory build. (WOT)

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Bill Brown in the RAC Trophy, Warwick Farm, May 1968. sand in the throttle slides of the car so DNF. (Roderick MacKenzie)

Warwick Farm’s annual RAC Trophy race was on May 5. This was a prize event on the best circuit. Matich lapped in 1:29 for pole, Allen did 1:32.9, Brown 1:33.0 for the outside of the first row. But the Ferrari managed to get ahead of the Elfin off the line and was second into the first corner and stayed there as Matich built up a lead of about ten seconds over the early laps. Sand got into the throttle slides of the V12 engine, however, and the Ferrari retired to give Allen second spot.

This was the race where Matich ‘unwound a blinder on the last lap just to prove the car was still ‘with it’, chopping 1.2 seconds off his Tasman meeting record and leaving the new time at a staggering 1:27.3′

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‘0858’ sans rear bodywork, shot at SV workshop in Sydney. (WOT)

Lakeside on May 12 brought a pair of Scuderia Veloce 1 – 2s, but the opposition had died in the pre-race buildup. Matich cracked the lap record in practice with a 53.7 in his first appearance at the circuit since his crash there in 1965. Allen did a 55.3, Brown a 57.2.

The minor race came first, with Allen scoring a win and Matich fastest lap (55.2, new record anyway) with the Elfin taking the lead from the start as Matich eased away with a sick engine. Matich pitted, but continued, the Repco suffering a loose valve seat, which prevented him getting top horsepower as he nailed it to get that record in the book. Brown finished 1.5 seconds behind Allen and actually lapped two tenths faster at 56.3, both of them under Allen’s old record.

The main event was a twenty-lapper, and in the minutes before the race Matich declared himself a non-starter and Allen trickled back into the pits with a bolt out of the steering. Brown was able to walk it in (best lap 58.4) as Geoghegan showed all his abilities at the helm of the 250LM to fill second ahead of a Lotus 23B. His best lap was 59.3 and he was less than nine seconds behind at the finish.

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‘0858’ cockpit shot taken at Surfers Paradise by Rod MacKenzie. ‘Momo’ steering wheel, Veglia Borletti instruments all very Ferrari ‘period’. Note venting of wheel arch to release air pressure. (Rod MacKenzie)

There was yet another race, an eight-lapper, at the end of the day, with the 2.5 open-wheelers combining with the fastest sports cars. The report doesn’t clearly explain how Allen got to be behind Phil West’s Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT23 Repco, but he was and seemingly couldn’t do anything about it. Btrown won as he liked, scoring another SV 1 – 2 with West second this time.

I would say that West got away best, then the brute force of the bigger engined cars overpowered him, only Allen was stuck behind him as Brown got through to the lead. Anyway, Allen spent the rest of the race back there in a frustrated third, ‘perhaps over-flushed with determination, hounded West in the best showing of brute tactics seen for a long while, the big Elfin almost running over the Brabham into BMC lap after lap as West stopped to look at the view and Brown scampered up over BP. Allen tried to go under into KLG, avoiding disaster by a hair’s breadth, and pushed the Brabham wheel to wheel round the Eastern Loop. This excitement was too much, added to by Geoghegan who forced the 250LM to the front of Scott’s Lotus 27 to fill fourth spot.’

Des White wrote well, didn’t he? He pressed on.. ‘The big battle looked worse as the backmarkers were lapped, disaster being forever imminent as very slow cars found themselves caught up in the 140mph battle between Allen and West, the Elfin being stopped and pointed with a dexterity seldom seen these days. Allen failed to get through, perhaps through trying too hard, and it was disappointing to see him slipstream to the flag. Should the big power of the Elfin have carried it from Shell to the flag first? Maybe, and there been breathing space for the initial build up.” Best lap to Brown, 56.6, Allen did 56.7, West 55.9, winning margin less than two seconds (1.6, actually).

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SV lined up on the Surfers dummy grid prior to the Surfers Paradise 6 Hour 1968. L.R; Leo and Pete Geoghegan 250LM which won, Des West/ Bill Reynolds 275 GTB 9th, and Brown/Palmer 350 Can Am DNF accident. (Rod MacKenzie)

Ray Bell, ‘Probably the event dearest to McKay’s heart was the Surfers Paradise 12-hour…

And he had Jim Palmer over from New Zealand to co-drive with Brown. But Palmer wasn’t up to it, lapping over five seconds slower than Brown in practice and wearing himself out in the process. Matich, who was racing quite a lot during this year, even entered the SR3 in this race with Glynn Scott as co-driver (only 2.3 seconds behind Frank’s times), so this car was the pace as the race got going, Brown following it through the field after both started slowly (Le Mans start). Lapping slower cars soon after the start, Brown was pushed off line and ran over some tyre markers on the edge and holed the radiator. The P4 was out…

David McKay saw the race slightly differently ‘…I had asked NZ Champion Jim Palmer to co-drive with Brown. Jim was a fast, safe driver very much in the Spencer Martin mould. I erred by not having Palmer start the race…The field as in the past, was composed of fast and slow open and closed cars and as always the onus is on the overtaking car. A second or 2 lost by backing off the throttle to make sure the tortoise knew he was about to be swamped was sensible driving…Less than 15 minutes into the race, Brown came up behind a Fiat 125 saloon, on the approach to Firestone, a fairly quick left hander. The Fiat driver, unaware Brown was diving down the inside held his line. The P4 had nowhere to go but over the grass and a white tyre marker demolishing the nose and oil cooler…Brown bought the  mortally wounded P4 to a halt in front of our pit’.

Bell, ‘Matich’s Repco engine dropped its bundle very late in the race and Geoghegan and his brother Leo won the race in the Scuderia Veloce 250LM.

That was the end of the P4’s racing in Australia, as far as I can see. Matich was to debut his SR4 with its 5-litre quad-cam engine in November, cementing his position as top dog in the field and enabling him to go on and take more outright records.’

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‘0858’ in cigarette company ‘Team Gunston’ colours in Bulawayo, South Africa 1969. Note the car now has lights re-fitted, installed in Australia for the Surfers 6 Hour. (Unattributed)

Sale of ‘0858’ to Paul Hawkins…

Due to an error in paperwork the car was invoiced to McKay rather than in Amons name, bringing forward the impost of import duty, the Customs Department provided extensions of time with the assistance of the Italian Chamber of Commerce who wanted the car to race in the Surfers 6 Hour and form the centre-piece of a trade show in Sydney.

Under pressure to pay the duty, close to 100% of the cars purchase price! or export it McKay put the word out ‘…dear old Paul Hawkins had heard about the car being for sale from Chris Amon at an Oulton Park meeting. I was in the workshop when ‘Hawkeyes’ call came through ‘Is the car for sale?’ ‘Yes’, ‘How much?’ ‘US$30000’. ‘If I buy it will you go me halves in a return ticket to Sydney?’. ‘Yes, ok’. ‘I’ll be there the day after tomorrow’. ‘Ill meet you Paul’

‘Simple and straightforward. Paul was making a name for himself as a successful sports car and GT racer and had been a favourite of Firestone…The car was to be shipped right after the 6 Hour for Paul would drive it in South Africa’s sports car series with tobacco sponsorship and he would win’.

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350 CanAm in the East London pits, front lights now faired. car won this 500Km race. (royckdboats)

Paul raced the car in South Africa from November 1968 to January 1969 winning the Cape Town 3 Hour, GP of Bulwayo, Pietermaritzburg 3 Hour and the East London 500 Km.

As McKay mentioned above Hawkins was an Australian International plying his trade via his own team and as a ‘hired gun’ by works teams. He was racing a Lola T70 Mk3B Chev during the Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park, his car ending up in the trees, after probable suspension failure, poor Paul dying in the particularly gruesome accident and ensuing fire.

Both Hawkins and Alberto Ascari, the only 2 drivers to ‘Scuba Dive’ at Monaco both died on May 26, in an arcane bit of trivia.

Mike Hailwood raced ‘0858’ at Magny Cours, 1st and Dijon DNF in May.

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Gearbox fettling?, prior to the East London event. 4.2 litre DOHC 3 valve per cylinder Lucas fuel injected V12. Ferrari 5 speed ‘box with ZF limited slip diff. Battery of coils clear to see. (royckdboats)

The car was sold in the realisation of the Hawkins Estate, through David Piper, who raced so many mid sixties Sports Ferraris’ of his own, and occasionally as a ‘works driver’ to Alastair Walker who raced the car back in South Africa in November-December 1969 with sometime GP driver Rob Widdows as his co-driver.

The car was uncharacteristacally unreliable, perhaps ‘tired’, ‘0858’ failing to finish the Kyalami 9 Hour, Cape Town and Bulawayo 3 Hour events. ‘0858’ was 2nd at the Lourenco Marques, Mozambique.

In 1971 David Piper bought the car from Walker, still with its extensive inventory of spare parts, enough as McKay states to make a second car less chassis…which is what Piper did. Ferrari provided Piper all the necessary P4 blueprints in 1974, Piper, Nye says ‘had the chassis made by the original people in Modena. Ferrari gave it the number ‘0900’, a serial number also applied to a Chinetti parts built 312P in the US’. Several ‘run-on’ cars have been built by Piper since.

David Piper sold ‘0858’ to US collector Walter Medlin in Florida in 1971, he retained the car until offered for sale via RM Auctions in 2009, the car eventually being restored by Talacrest in the UK, somewhat controversially in the eyes of some to its Spyder/Barchetta specification.

Check out this website in relation to that process which has been supervised by David Piper. http://www.talacrest.com/Latest_News/Talacrest_Ferrari_330_P4_Chassis_No._0858_-_New_Videos/101.htm

At the outset i stated that 4 P4’s were built, 3 P4’s and one converted P3 ‘0846’...In the best traditions of historic racing there are now more P4’s than in period…there are 3 or 4 ‘run-on’ cars built by Pipers concern and ‘0846’, written off by the factory after a crash and fire at Le Mans in 1967 has been reborn, recreated or replicated depending upon your view of it.

If you like a bit of light entertainment look at this exchange between subject matter expert DC Nye and said vehicles’ owner, the fun and games start at about post # 62. http://forums.autosport.com/topic/59074-ferrari-330-p4/page-2

I’m not suggesting the ‘experts’ know it all either.

Lets go out as we came in, with a fabulous shot, this time by Ellis French of Bill Brown, the sun gleaming off ‘0858’ before blasting down the Longford public roads, big V12 howling at 180 miles per hour in February 1968…

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Etcetera…

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Bill Brown, who drove the car after Amons’ departure back to Europe also drove the P4/CanAm at Longford ’68 in both practice and a preliminary race. (David Keep)

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That ‘Australian’ spare tyre. Fitted as a consequence of our local sports car regs at the time. SV solution a neat one even if the weight is well outside the cars wheelbase…where else to put it!? Yellow stickers ‘Gatto Verde’ a gift from Alf Francis to McKay, McKay makes mention of it in his autobiography but not actually what the stickers mean/represent. Ideas anyone? (Rod MacKenzie)

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p4 cutaway

Bibliography…

David McKay ‘David McKays Scuderia Veloce’,  Paul Frere ‘Cars in Profile 246SP-330P4 Ferraris’, Doug Nye ‘The Potent P4…A Ferrari Fierce and Fine’ Sports Car World July/Sept 1982

Thanks to Stephen Dalton for the assistance in research material sourcing

Photo Credits…

Dick Simpson, Roderick MacKenzie, John Ellacott, wolseley680, WOT, Jim and Pat Smith, Ellis French, The Roaring Season, David Keep, oldracephotos, royckdboats, Mike Feisst Collection, Pete Coltrin, Harold Ellis

Finito…

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF-15T. Malaysian GP 2015. (MotorSport)

Mark Hughes in his usual insightful way explains why Ferrari gave us a welcome change of colour at the chequered flag…

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/reports/2015-malaysian-grand-prix-report/

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1-W06, Malaysian GP 2015 (MotorSport)