Archive for May, 2015

cranky

Sad news is filtering through that one of Australias’ greatest drivers and constructors, Frank Matich died this evening…

Matich won in small bore single seaters, 2.5 litre Tasman cars and of course F5000, a class in which he was ‘first among equals’ in Australia until his untimely retirement in 1974. He was similarly dominant in sports cars- front engined C and D Type Jags and a Lotus 15 in the 50’s before success in mid-engined cars including Lotus 19, 19B, the Elfin 400/Traco Olds and his own very successful SR3 and SR4 series of cars.

I chose the Shane Lee shot above last week for an article i am drafting about the Traco Olds, it captures the essence of this great competitor pondering setup changes to find more speed ftrom his Matich A50 Repco F5000 car at Wigram, New Zealand in 1973.

Matich on many occasions showed he was more than a match for the best in the world in equal cars, one of Australias ‘motor racing maybes’ is what impact Frank would have had in GP racing had he accepted one of the offers made to him in the early 60’s. Family and business priorities meant he never made the move to Europe, achieving success in Australasia and the US instead.

Rest in peace.

fm c type leatons servo

FM in his Leaton Motors owned Jag C Type, in flat hat on the forecourt of their Stony Creek Road, Kingsgrove, Sydney ‘servo’ in 1958. (John Ellacott)

Fantastic article about Matich by Michael Stahl in ‘MotorSport’ published in 2012…

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/september-2012/73/frank-exchange-views

matich 1

Its fair to say FM’s cars were very soundly designed and built but conventional for the period. But he was always tinkering…Derek Kneller, FM’s mechanic said of this twin rear wing setup, in advance of its trial in F1 ‘it was balanced at the front, it allowed the top wing to run with less rake and drag, it worked very well, an early blown diffuser’. FM in driving suit, NZ Tasman Series 1973, Matich A50 Repco. (Derek Kneller/Bryan Sala)

 

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Frank Matich in the US ‘L&M Series’ 1973. Matich A51 Repco. (Tom Rosenthal)

 

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FM in his Lotus 19B Climax, Lakeside circa 1965. (Peter Mellor/The Roaring Season)

 

bp ad

 

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Frank Matich, Matich SR4 Repco, Bathurst Easter 1969. (oldracephotos.com.au/Dick Simpson)

 

They don’t issue these like tram-tickets!

For quite some time FM was the only non-GP driver who was a GPDA member, quite an accolade from his peers indeed.

Tailpiece…

matich lotus 15 bathurst

FM delicately places the Leaton Motors Lotus 15 2.5 Climax into Forrests Elbow, Bathurst, Easter 1961. Matich further proved himself as one of the countries top drivers in this car. It was later fitted with an F85 Olds aluminium V8 before being restored by Mike Ryves and raced successfully by him and Paul Samuels before its inevitable departure to Europe a few years back. (John Ellacott)

Credits…

Shane Lee, oldracephotos.com.au/Dick Simpson, Peter Mellor/The Roaring Season, Derek Kneller, Bryan Sala, John Ellacott, Kris Matich

Finito…

The Girl in Red Glasses…

Posted: May 10, 2015 in Fotos

the girl in red

The artistry of Jesse Alexander, but where and when?

It appears to be a sixties Ferrari reflected in her ‘glasses, she will be a granny by now!

(Jesse Alexander Archive)

baghetti lotus 49

Giancarlo Baghetti relaxes during the Italian Grand Prix weekend, he had a ‘one off’ drive of the Team Lotus spare ’49, backing up Jim Clark and Graham Hill…

He qualified well back on the grid, 17th, and retired on lap 50 whilst running 6th with an engine failure. John Surtees took a fabulous last corner win from Jack Brabham, winning Hondas’ first Grand Prix since Ginthers’ victory in the last race of the 1.5 Litre Formula in Mexico, 1965.

Baghettis’ career started with immense promise, famously winning his first championship Grand Prix, the French in a great dice with Dan Gurney (Porsche) in a Ferrari 156 in 1961….

Baghetti French GP 1961

The stone chips on the nose of Baghettis’ 156 bear witness to the closeness of the race, third place went to Jim Clarks’ Lotus 21 Climax. (sutton images)

French GP finish 1961

Toto Roche waves the chequered flag for Baghetti, winning a famous victory over Dan Gurneys’ Porsche 718, French GP Reims 1961, his championship race debut. (Unattributed)

Baghetti started racing in 1956 in an Alfa Romeo 1900Ti and built a solid reputation as he moved into Formula Junior in 1959. In early 1961 he was selected to drive for the Italian FISA team, an organization formed to promote young Italian drivers by entering them in Non-Championship Grands’ Prix.

FISA struck a deal with Scuderia Ferrari to run a 1960 F2 Ferrari Dino 156 (in effect the prototype of the 1961 F1 car) in the first non-championship races of 1961. The results were amazing, Baghetti, not necessarily the best credentialled candidate won on his GP debut in Syracuse in front of Gurney, Surtees, G Hill, Brabham, Moss, Salvadori, Ireland and Bandini.

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Giancarlo Baghetti ahead of Dan Gurney Syracuse GP April 1961. Ferrari Dino 156 from Porsche 718. The first of Giancarlos’ wins against stong opposition. (Unattributed)

He followed up with another win in the Napoli GP in May beating Ashmore, Lotus 18 Climax and Bandini Cooper T53 Maserati 2nd and 3rd as well as Roy Salvadori, Andre Pilette and Tim Parnell.

FISA persuaded Ferrari to hire them a 1961 ‘Shark Nose’ for their driver to make his championship GP debut at Reims, he was allocated the car which was to be driven by Equipe National Belge driver Olivier Gendebien, the car quickly repainted from yellow to red.

Phil Hill took pole from Ferrari teammates Von Trips and Ginther, Baghetti 12th fastest. The 3 works Ferrari’s disappeared at the start, only Moss managed to stay near them. Even a quick spin by Ginther dropped him behind the Lotus, but he was soon able to re-pass Moss such was the Ferraris’ power advantage.

Baghetti had made his way to the front of the chasing pack. When Moss was forced to pit with brake problems, the four Ferrari’s lead, this didn’t last as Von Trip’s engine died in the heat.

Hill spun on the melting road surface. The American lost over 2 laps as he tried to restart his hot engine. This left Ginther in the lead with Baghetti fighting the Porsches of Dan Gurney and Jo Bonnier to hold on to second place, a battle that became even more significant a couple of laps later as Ginther pulled off the track with no oil pressure.

Baghetti recounts the last laps …’It was a very hard race. It was hot. The asphalt was melting, the radiator was blocking up and I saw the temperature starting to soar. Luckily I was behind the two Porsches of Gurney and Bonnier and relied on getting a tow along the straights. What you must remember is that this was my first Grand Prix and both Gurney and Bonnier were trying to frighten me by running on either side of me, but I thought that if they could do things like that and get away with it, then I could do it too.

Three laps from the end Gurney and I were fighting for the lead and I realized that to finish first I needed to be in the perfect position to slipstream. Going into the last corner I was right behind Gurney so that as we came out I was on his tail. He sat right in the middle of the track because he obviously knew what I was going to try to do. I waited and when I saw him glance in his mirror when I was on his left, I quickly switched to the right and got past him to win the race.’

Giancarlo Baghetti became the first man in history to win his debut World Championship Grand Prix.

ferrari 156 cutaway

James Allingtons’ cutaway drawing of the 1960 Ferrari 156 F2 car, chassis ‘008’ the car used by Baghetti at Syracuse and Naples was the prototype 1960 car fitted with ’61 ‘Sharknose’ body. Multi-tubular spaceframe chassis, suspension by upper and lower wishbones front and rear. 1476cc 65 degree DOHC 2 valve Weber carbed V6, 185bhp@9200rpm. 5 speed ‘box. Later spec ’61 cars had the 120 degree V6 190bhp@9500rpm. (James Allington)

Baghetti qualified mid-grid for the British GP, spinning off the wet Aintree circuit during the race. For his home GP at Monza he qualified 6th, the other four Ferrari’s were faster. This was the day that von Trips was expected to win the world title, but it was not to be, ‘Taffy’ crashed to his death after contact with Clarks’ Lotus 21, the car flew into the crowd killing 11 spectators on lap two. Baghetti raced at the front until his engine blew on lap 14 and Phil Hill won the race to seal the first World Championship for an American driver. Giancarlo set the fastest lap.

His season ended with his 4th and last GP win, he took victory in a little known event to decide the ‘Prima Coppa Italia’ (Italian Championship for Drivers) at Vallelunga, Baghetti won the 2 heats in a Porsche 718 when his Ferrari was not available for the event. Lorenzo Bandini and Baghetti were tied for the Championship , this event was organised to decide the winner.

What a debut GP season!

ferrari 156 drawing

1961 spec Ferrari 156. (Scuderia Ferrari)

For 1962 Baghetti joined Phil Hill, the ’61 champion in the works Ferrari team (Rodriguez driving a third car occasionally). Enzo rested on his laurels thinking that the 156’s didn’t require evolution to continue their dominance but the Brits had caught up.

BRM, Lotus and Cooper produced cars to beat the Ferrari’s. Lotus debuted the epochal monocoque chassis Lotus 25 at Zandvoort and Coventry Climax produced their FWMV 1.5 V8 in quantities, the BRM team also built a V8, the Type 56 available to customers as well as the ‘works’ BRM P57’s. The British teams shortcomings in 1961 were their engines, the relatively old 1.5 litre variant of the Climax FPF not ‘man enough’ for Ferrari’s powerful V6. It was different in 1962 when their engine power was equivalent to their chassis mastery…

Baghetti scored points at Zandvoort and Monza, but Ferrari was in total turmoil and for 1963 he joined Hill in the mass exodus to Carlo Chiti’s ATS team, an unmitigated disaster for all involved, it effectively destroyed his F1 career. Baghetti drove Centro Sud’s old BRM P57 in 1964, he returned to race in F2, F3 and sports and touring cars, also making an annual apperance at the Italian GP, his last in the Lotus 49 in 1967.

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‘Hitchin a ride’: Baghettis’ BRM P57 gives Phil Hill and Bob Anderson a lift at the end of the 1964 Belgian GP, Spa. Giancarlo was 8th in the race won by Clarks’ Lotus 25 Climax. Hill raced a Cooper T73 Climax and Anderson a Brabham BT11 Climax (G Clayton)

baghetti brabham 65 italian

Brabham entered a third car for Giancarlo at the 1965 Italian GP. He qualified the BT7 Climax poorly in 19th, the engine failed on lap 12 in the race won by Stewarts’ BRM P261. (Unattributed)

baghetti targa 1965

Baghetti at the wheel of a factory Ferrari 275 P2 during Targa 1965, DNF with Jean Guichet. (Unattributed)

After a huge accident at Monza in a Ferrari Dino 166 F2 car in the ‘Monza Lottery GP’ in June 1968 he retired from driving, working as journalist and photographer. He succumbed to cancer in 1995 age 60.

No-one has ever repeated the feat…a quasi factory Ferrari drive on the results of a ‘journeyman’, won his first 3 GP’s, 4 for the year, one of them a championship event and then so rapidly disappeared from sight…

baghetti italian gp 1966

Baghetti at the wheel of a Ferrari Dino 246, Monza, Italian GP 1966. Q16, raced Spences’ Lotus for 5th until the car failed in the race won by Scarfiottis’ Ferrari 312. Car was lent to him by Scuderia after his Parnell  Lotus BRM failed in practice. (Unattributed)

Baghetti Ferrari 156 1962

Giancarlo Baghetti, Ferrari 156 1962. The class of the field in 1961 were at best also-rans in 1962. He is smiling so it must be at the seasons commencement… (Unattributed)

Photo and other Credits…

Mel Turbutt, motorsportretro.com, Sutton Images, James Allington, Scuderia Ferrari, The Auto Channel

Finito…

black bess woodside

(State Library of South Australia)

Doug Whiteford’s Ford V8 Spl ‘Black Bess’ leads the MG T Specials of I. Jackson and J. Martin  in the ‘Woodside Handicap’ on the Woodside, Adelaide Hills road circuit on 10 October 1949…

Whiteford commenced his racing career on motor bikes and prepared cars for others. He decided to convert an ex-Victorian Forestry Commission Ford ute which he bought for £67. Based entirely on parts salvaged from the utility, it was carefully rebuilt in an Albert Park, Melbourne back yard utilising sophisticated building materials including bed iron frames and panelling from the Footscray tip!, with the chassis lowered and a 2 seat body made.

A coat of black paint provided its name.

John Blanden reported that Bess ran for the first time at Albert Park on 15 December 1939, it’s first meeting was at Lobethal, SA on New Years Day 1940. The car popped an engine at Wirlinga, Albury, having boiled at Lobethal as well and was placed into storage during the War, Doug enlisted.

When Whiteford returned from service a Mercury engine was fitted, initially standard, it was progressively modified, benefitting from US Hot Rod experience. From 1946-52 the car was one of the fastest in the country as it was continually developed, winning 29 races from 40 starts, the statistics vary with the source, inclusive of the 1950 AGP win at Nuriootpa.

Doug Whiteford and Bess at Rob Roy Hillclimb in Melbourne’s Christmas Hills, early 1950’s SLV)

 

Graham Howard wrote in his summary of Bess in his ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’…’Whitefords’ successes with Black Bess came as a direct result of his fanatical devotion to preparing, modifying and maintaining the car, which was complemented by his outstanding driving ability. Progressively, Whiteford changed the braking system of the race car from mechanical to hydraulic operation, added telescopic shock absorbers, bored out the engine, fitted twin carburettors, a Scintilla Vertex magneto and high compression cylinder heads. A modified camshaft was imported from America, the cooling system was improved to stop overheating, brake fade was reduced by fabricating special air scoops and the steering gear was reworked to provide a faster response for racing.

Clocked at Bathurst exceeding 210kmh Black Bess was now a formidable and reliable race car, nobody was really surprised when Whiteford won the 1950 AGP at Nuriootpa…’

bess engine

Ford Mercury V8; 84.1 bore X 95.2 mm stroke, 4236cc. Sidevalves, 2 vp cylinder, 95 Kw@4500rpm. Ford 3 speed gearbox. (G Howard ‘History of The AGP’)

As imported racing cars appeared in greater numbers Bess became steadily obsolete, Doug started to drive a Lago Talbot T26C owned by Geelongs’ Tom Hawkes in 1951 eventually buying the car and winning the 1952 Bathurst and 1953 Albert Park AGP’s in it.

Whiteford retained the car, it appeared occasionally in his hands and sometimes others, having sold the Lago he drove it in the 1954 AGP at Southport on Queenslands’ Gold Coast. ‘Bess’ raced in 3rd for many laps, amazing given its age and the improved quality of the field, engine maladies eventually caused its retirement in the race won by Lex Davisons’ HWM Jaguar.

‘Bess was sold to Granton Harrison who raced it in both Victoria and South Australia and then passed through many hands deteriorating progressively. After many years in the wilderness, ‘Bess’ was tracked down by Greg Veitch and sold to the very same Granton Harrison who raced it years before…and was restored before her debut in the 1977 ‘City Of Sydney Trophy.’

The car is still very much a part of the local historic racing scene.

bess

‘Bess’ in the Woodside paddock, the formal fashion of the day in evidence. Bolt on wire wheels, 1934 Ford mechanical brakes converted to hydraulic operation. Weight 991kg. (State Library of SA)

‘Woodside Handicap’…

Woodside is a village 40 kilometres from Adelaide. The race, as so many in Australia were at the time, was a handicap, 12 laps, 36 miles in total. In this day and age of a lot of ‘one make racing’, diversity of cars and their differential performance and the need for handicaps to ‘make a race of it’ seems odd. But in the immediate post-war years when money was tight and racing cars scarce across a big continent, it was necessarily the approach.

‘Australian Motor Sports’ report of the event has Whiteford lapping very fast as one of the limit men, finishing 2nd, and Jackson, the car behind Whiteford above ‘…lost his brakes at the Pines and had to extricate his car from the strawbales costing him a lap’. The race was won by the MGTC of W Smith, Whiteford 2nd and D Harvey in another MGTC 3rd…MG’s and MG Spl’s the lifeblood of Australian racing for so long and a good future story in itself.

Of some interest for those who read my article on Stan Jones a while back. https://primotipo.com/2014/12/26/stan-jones-australian-and-new-zealand-grand-prix-and-gold-star-winner/ . Stanley made his road racing course (as against circuit) debut in his new HRG ‘Bathurst’ 1500 at this meeting, this car perhaps convincing Jones he had the makings of a future champion…Stan, relatively inexperienced diced with Tony Gaze’ similar HRG for much of the race. Gaze was 4th, Stan DNF with steering dramas.

bess woodsise

(State Library of SA)

Whiteford Ford V8 Spl, ‘Black Bess’.

Derived from a Ford Ute or Utility, simple beam front axle suspension located by trailing radius rods, transverse leaf spring and telescopic shock absorbers. Rear suspension comprised a live rear axle located by leading radius rods and torque tube, transverse leaf spring and telescopic shock absorbers.

Doug was a talented driver and fettler, the car continually evolved over a decade or so and was indecently fast beyond the sum of its parts- it gave many more exotic imports a hard time. Whiteford raced this car to a 1950 AGP win and then the more aristocratic Talbot-Lago T26C for his 1952 and 1953 AGP wins at Bathurst and Albert Park respectively.

bess cockpit

‘Bess’ restored cockpit. (G Howard ‘History of The AGP’)

 

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Black Bess at a recent Australian GP at Albert Park. Car a regular historic event attendee. (Falcadore)

Etcetera…

(T Johns Collection)

Advertisement for Whiteford’s businesses published in the Australian Motor Sports Review 1958-1959.

The photograph is Doug in his Maserati 300S leading Len Lukey, Cooper T23 Bristol under the Viaduct at Longford during the March 1958 Gold Star round won by Ted Gray’s Tornado 2 Chev.

Photo and Other Credits…

State Library of South Australia/Victoria, John Blanden ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’, Graham Howard ‘History of The Australian GP’, Falcadore, Lobethal Museum, Tony Johns Collection

Stephen Dalton for the research and AMS article

Tailpiece: Bess at Rest…

(Lobethal Museum)

Black Bess at roadside during the 1948 ‘South Australian 100’ meeting at Lobethal.

After setting the pace Whitefoed was out after completing three laps, the race won by fellow Victorian, Jim Gullan’s Ballot Oldsmobile.

Finito…

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A warm but gloomy Autumn day greeted the entrants of the Ferrari Owners Club annual concourse in Melbourne this morning…

Racing Ferraris’ are fairly thin on the ground in Australia so the cars were predominantly road cars with a bias towards later models of the last 15 years.

The most interesting entries for me were both replicas; one in the style of a Ferrari Dino 246 Sports Spider and the other a Maserati 450S, both racers of the late 1950’s. Some of the latter cars donor parts were from a Quattroporte road car of the 60’s by the look of the ‘Tipo 107’ plate on the dash.

Neither car is allowed to race in Historic Racing in Oz given our strict period compliance rules but both would be mighty fine and fast track day and road cars…

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Ferrari Dino 246 Sport Spider replica

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Maserati 450S replica

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Workmanship of 450S replica evident. Both cars built by Vintage and Historic Restorations in suburban Melbourne.

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Replica Ferrari Dino on the left and Maser on the right.

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