crowd

1967 was one of the most intensely interesting years of Sportscar Racing; the last year of the ‘unlimited cars’ saw the 4 litre Ferrari P4 and 7 litre Ford GT40 Mk4/2B’s and Chaparral 2F at it tooth and nail in a battle for dominance before new rules came into force rendering the cars obsolete at the stroke of the rule-makers pen…

I’ve written a couple of long articles about the Ferrari and Chaparral which also cover that seasons racing in some detail, click here to read them;

Chaparral 2F;  https://primotipo.com/2014/06/26/67-spa-1000km-chaparral-2f/

Ferrari P4;  https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

coppers

This article is largely pictorial using as it’s base the phenomenal work of American Dave Friedman.

He was a still photographer on movie sets after serving in World War 2. His passion was motor racing though, he was soon engaged by Ford and others to document their racing history. The photos I have chosen are from an archive of nearly 900 of this race alone!

The race was famously won by Fords ‘All American Boys’ Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt, the latter adapting rather well to road racing given his oval background on both dirt and bitumen.

The images are all monochrome and all the more evocative for it!

paper

Race Entries…

Ford won the 1966 Le Mans classic taking the 1st three placings after the failings of 1964 and 1965. In 1964 the GT40 was simply too new and lacked the necessary development, in 1965 cracked brake discs from unforeseen levels of heat were the problem which eliminated most of the 7 litre Mk2’s.

For 1967 FoMoCo entered 4 new, fabulous 7 litre Mk4’s, 2 prepared by Holman & Moody and 2 by Shelby-American. They also fielded Mk2’s designated Mk2B’s, these beasts also powered by the same 530bhp V8’s as the Mk4.

ford interior

Business end and cockpit of the Hulme/Ruby Ford Mk4 chassis ‘J8’. Aluminium honeycomb chassis, Ford 7 litre OHV cast iron V8 fed by 2 4 barrel Holley carbs. Circa 530bhp. Suspension; single top link, inverted lower wishbone, 2 radius rods, coil spring/damper unit, cast magnesium upright, adjustable roll bar. Ford Kar Kraft T44 4 speed transaxle.

Ferrari entered 4 litre cars; 3 new P4’s and a P3/4, these cars powered by the latest 450bhp 36 valve, fuel injected V12.

Two Chaparral 2F’s were entered, despite 7 litres of Chev V8 they were lighter than the P4’s.

The P4 weighed in at circa 2200lb, the 2F 1980lb, the Mark4 2200lb and the Mk2B, without the benefit of the lighter honeycomb construction of its newer sibling, was about 2500lb.

The 2 Lola T70 Aston Martin’s tipped the scales at 2320lb, the Aston 5 litre V8’s fuel injected since the April pre-race Le Mans trials at which they had been very fast.

lola

Lola T70 Mk3 Aston Martins’ a big disappointment. #11 John Surtees/David Hobbs car engine shat itself on lap 3 with piston failure , #12 Chris Irwin/Peter de Clerk lasted till lap 25 also withdrawing with engine failure.

In the 2 litre class the Porsches’, always outright contenders such was their speed and reliability, would do battle with the Matra BRM’s. Ferrari chose not to race their Dino’s focusing on the ‘main game’ and Alfa withdrew their T33’s as not being not sufficiently ready for the rigors of la Sarthe.

jochen and nina

Jochen Rindt with the lovely Nina Lincoln, Finnish fashion model and daughter of racer Curt Lincoln, he married her in ’67. Jochen raced Porsche 907 #40, (above) he and Masten Gregory famously won the race in a Ferrari 250LM when the factory Ford GT40 Mk2’s and Ferrari P2’s failed in 1965. The other Porsche #41 is the 5th placed, 2 litre class winning 907 of Jo Siffert/Hans Hermann.

ford and babes

#2 McLaren/Mark Donohue 4th and #1 Gurney/Foyt 1st Ford Mk4’s with friends before the start.

Ford had windscreen troubles in practice but this was remedied with a fresh batch of correctly tempered screens which arrived pre-race.

As if to assert Ford’s authority Bruce McLaren took a Mk4 out and lapped at 3.24.4, an average of 147.316 mph and topped 215mph on the Mulsanne, in the dark. It gave him pole, McLaren was Ford’s victor in 1966 in a GT40 Mk2 he drove with fellow Kiwi Chris Amon.

mc laren

Bruce McLaren jumps out of his Ford Mk4 ‘J5’ during practice. Bruce the pole sitter in this car.

Fords times gave them 5 of the 6 top slots. Frank Gardner and Roger McCluskey qualified their Holman & Moody Mk2B 6th, here is FG before the off, the race not quite so successful, his co-driver became part of an accident not of his making…

frank gardner

The Race…

race start

Dan Gurney is the bolter at the start in #1, #2 McLaren Mk4, #7 Chap Spence putting on his full harness, alongside him #3 Andretti and #4 Hulme both in Mk4’s doing the same.

start 2

A second or so later; Spence, Andretti and Hulme still ‘belting up’ whilst #62 Mike Salmon DNF fire and #11 Surtees Lola Aston, #23 Attwood Ferrari P3 and #21 Scarfiotti Ferrari P4 come thru.

start 3

Love this start shot as it gives a sense of the depth of the field but also the speed differentials for which Le Mans is infamous; #42 Robert Buchet/Herbert Linge 14th Porsche 911S 2 litre, #48 Roger Delageneste/Jacques Cheinisse 10thAlpine A210 Renault 1.6 litre, #60 Andre Wicky/Philippe Farjon DNF Porsche 911S and the rest…Mike Spence just away in the winged Chap 2F at far left.

300,000 people attended the race on 10 June in overcast, warm weather, Henry Ford 2 and wife arriving by ‘chopper shortly before the race…

After the traditional start Pedro Rodriguez led initially in the NART Ferrari but was quickly passed by the Paul Hawkins Mk2B, who led at the end of the first hour by which time both Lola’s were out; Surtees with engine trouble after 3 laps, Chris Irwin on lap 25 later with fuel pump problems.

early laps

#21 Scarfiotti in the 2nd placed Ferrari P4 from the #4 Hulme Ford Mk4 during the early laps. Below is the Surtees Lola also during the first 3 laps…

After the first pitstop the Chaparral 2F took the lead, the Fords getting about an hour out of a fuel tank, the Fazz’ and Chaparral about 15 minutes longer.

chap pitstop

The Hill/Spence Chap 2F circulating fast at this point doing 3 min 29 sec laps…

After the second refuelling the Gurney/Foyt Mk4 lead from the Hill/Spence Chaparral followed by the Andretti/Bianchi and McLaren/Donohue Ford Mk4’s.

rodriguez

Oopsie; Ricardo Rodriguez (no relation) in the ‘kitty litter’ on Lap 30, the NART Ferrari 365P2 retired at this point. Car shared with Chuck Parsons. In the background in the lower photo is the works Austin Healey Sprite of Clive Baker/Andrew Hedges which finished 15th, first British car home.

andretti

The ill-fated Andretti/Bianchi Mk4 ahead of Chris Amon/Nino Vaccarella Ferrari P4 DNF puncture/fire and Denny Hulme/Lloyd Ruby Mk4 DNF accident, in The Esses in the first quarter of the race.

fireman

‘British Racing and Sports Car Club’ fireman in the latest gear.

After 4 hours the Gurney car was still ahead, this time from the Andretti Ford. 3 Fords led from the Chaparral, with Ferrari further back, the leading Ferrari’s driven by Amon/Vaccarella P4 and Rodriguez/Baghetti, P3/412P.

chap 8

The #8 Bruce Jennings/Bob Johnston Chaparral 2F in the pits for its final pitstop on lap 91, car out with battery and starter failure.

butt shot

2 P4’s, the white car the NART P Rodriguez/Baghetti P4/412P entry chasing the Jennings/Johnston Chaparral 2F and a 911S about to be ‘swallowed’ by all 3.

After 6 hours the 2nd #8 Chaparral failed to restart after a pitstop, Hill pitted at about the same time in the #7 Chap with the transmission, the cars weak link checked leading to speculation about its health. The stop lasted 9 minutes, the car rejoined in 7th place.

Rindt (below) retired his Porsche 907, having over-revved its 2 litre flat 8.

rindt 2

jo

The #7 Chaparral 2F Chev of Spence and 5th placed Porsche 907 ‘Langheck’ of Siffert/Hans Hermann with Jo at the wheel. Car also the 2 litre winner.

At 2 am it was still 1-3  for Ford but the pattern of the race changed hugely after Andretti took over his car from Bianchi, it was fitted with fresh brake pads. As he approached The Esses and braked 1 disc grabbed, pinging the car instantly between the unforgiving earth banks until finishing in the middle of the track with bits of ‘Big Henry’ scattered all over the place.

Roger McCluskey arrived in the Mk2B he shared with Frank Gardner, braked, spun and hit the banks wrecking another factory Ford. Schlesser then added to the party arriving in the Ford France Mk2B  he shared with Guy Ligier and spun in avoiding his teammates; 3 Fords were out on the spot!

rooted fords

Rooted Fords #3 Andretti Mk4 and #5 McCluskey Mk2B. (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

foyt 2

The winning Mk4 of Gurney/Foyt ahead of #57 Ronnie Bucknum/Paul Hawkins Mk2B DNF and #14 Mirage M1 Ford of David Piper/Richard Thompson,DNF .

ferrari dead

Dead Ferrari’s atop the transporter in the middle of the race, both with piston failure; #22 Jean Guichet/Herbie Muller Ferrari P3/412P #25 Pedro Rodriguez/Giancarlo Baghetti Ferrari P3/412P

foyt 3

AJ Foyt aboard the winning Ford Mk4 chassis ‘J6’.

At half distance the Gurney/Foyt Mk4 had a huge lead but there were then 3 Ferrari’s and a Chaparral between Gurney and the next Ford.

At dawn it was Gurney/Foyt 7 laps ahead of the Parkes/Scarfiotti Ferrari, the Hill/Spence Chaparral then Ferrari-Ford-Ferrari, it was anybody’s race at this point.

At 5.30am Hill’s Chaparral pitted for investigation of an oil leak; and stayed for 3 hours whilst the mechanics heroically removed the transmission and fitted a new oil seal but the car was finally retired with an oil-less transmission.

spence

Chaparral council of war in the middle of the night. Jim Hall , Phil Hill and Mike Spence curse the cars auto gearbox, its weakness that year. The one bright spot for the fastest, most innovative and stunning sports/prototype of 1967 was its season ending Brands Hatch 6 Hour victory in July.

With 6 hours to go the Gurney/Foyt Ford only lead by 5 laps! But it was 1 Ford from 3 Ferrari’s with the Italian cars being driven very hard, Mike Parkes said ‘I have never driven a car so hard for so long’ of his Ferrari P4 after the race.

lini

What am i going to tell The Commendatore!? Franco Lini, Ferrari Team Manager ponders the teams prospects late in the race. It was an honorable defeat, to say the least, against the onslaught of the then second largest motor manufacturer in the world.

With less than 2 hours to go the Ferrari’s were lapping 10 seconds a lap quicker than the leading Ford, with 90 minutes to go both cars stopped for fuel for the last time, Ferrari’s only hope a Ford failure but it was not to be…

finish

Car #24 the 3rd place Willy Mairesse/Jean Blaton Ferrari P4 and winning #1 Mk4, ‘victory lap’. Small shots; Franco Lini, Bruce McLaren Mk4 pit, ‘pit popsie’.

It was the first ‘All American’ win ever; car and drivers. Ford were both 1st outright and won ‘The Index of Thermal Efficiency’, which seems somewhat of a contradiction in terms for a car powered by a 7 litre cast iron, OHV V8!…

The first 6 placing were;

1st.Gurney/Foyt Ford Mk4 388 laps

2.Scarfiotti/Parkes Ferrari P4 384 laps

3.Mairesse/Blaton Ferrari P4 377 laps

4.McLaren/Donohue Ford Mk4 359 laps

5.Siffert/Hermann Porsche 907 358 laps 2 litre winner

6.Stommelen/Neerpasch Porsche 910 351 laps

winner

Winners are Grinners… the winning Ford covered a record distance and was pushed hard all the way. Dan Gurney (L) and AJ Foyt.

dan

Mike Parkes (L) and Ludovico Scarfiotti looking suitably tired after fantastic drives in pursuit of the Ford Juggernaut!

parkes

Henry Ford 2 and his wife Maria look well pleased with the results of their teams work. Its interesting to reflect on how different automotive/motor racing history may have been had Enzo Ferrari not withdrawn from the final stage of negotiations for the ‘Boys from Dearborn’ to buy his Maranello outfit in July 1963.

Whatever the case, motor racing had a friend in Henry Ford 2. Without his patronage and support of racing to build Ford’s global brand we would not have had many of Ford’s programs which enriched racing during his tenure of either direct or indirect control of FoMoCo.

mr ford

Tailpiece; The Morning After the Night Before…

rubbish

Photo Credits…The amazing Dave Friedman Archive, Rainer Schlegelmilch

Bibliography…

Team Dan WSC Archive, Automobile Year 15

Finito…

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Comments
  1. Joe Armour says:

    I was surprised to see my ex-works Austin Healey Sprite #51 in the background of the photo of Ricardo Rodriguez stranded in the Ferrari 365P.
    The Donald Healey Motor Co. entered Sprite was awarded the British Motor Prize ( and again in 1968 ) as the first British car to finish. The GT.40s being considered as US cars.
    This Sprite has a considerable race history as it also ran a LeMans in 1966 & 68 as well as the Sebring 12 Hours in 1966 & 67. ax. speed was 150mph and it averaged 99 mph for the 24 hours
    The car has been in Australia since 2000 and is garaged with the ex-works Healey 3000 driven by Paul Hawkins in 1965

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