Archive for October, 2016

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Love these patinated CAMS Logbook shots of the Cooper MG with Greg Smith at the wheel in the mid-seventies. Top shot giving it plenty at Dandenong Rd, Sandown, the bottom ‘Tin Shed’ at Calder, both circuits in Victoria (Smith)

A warm welcome to Greg Smith, Australian racer/engineer who is writing ‘A Trilogy of Australian Specials’, on cars which captured his imagination, the first of which is the Cooper MG…

Greg is a gentleman (some would dispute that descriptor!) of a certain age, suffice to say he started competing before mufflers were mandatory and seat belts were worn at the drivers own discretion!

An historic racing engineer based in Bayside Melbourne, he has had a successful career restoring and preparing cars as diverse as a 1904 TT Maudslay to a 1967 Quad Cam Ford V8 Indycar. He lists his highlights as his years working on ERA’s and GP Bugattis, looking after a 6CM Maserati for a season and multiple preparation and management jobs at the Mille Miglia and Tour Auto modern classics.

Greg has competed at , been a mechanic at, or team manager at, over sixty different venues world-wide, but declares his enduring passion as front engined ‘Australian Specials’ and local tracks.

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Smithy fettling a Bug T57 3.3 litre straight 8, supercharged engine. It received a new crank and ancillaries in a comprehensive rebuild of both engine and car (Smith)

Definition: An ‘Australian Special’ is a racing or sports car, most commonly built by an impecunious owner/driver from gathered parts and assemblies, then engineered to reflect his own thoughts, abilities and intellectual property to the point where no two are alike and every one has its own hallmarks, eccentricities and foibles-unique vehicles indeed.

In this trilogy I’ll write about three cars which have passed through, or remain in my ownership.They have given me great pleasure during my 40 odd years involved in Historic Racing and, as you will see, are all front engined and constructed prior to 1960.

The Cooper MG…

This amazing ‘giant killer’ of a little car started out life as an example of that most mundane genre of racing vehicle, a factory production car!!

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Arthur Wylie, Cooper Mk4 Jap, Bathurst, Easter 1950 (Blanden)

It was delivered as a JAP 8/80 engined long wheel base Mark IV Cooper and was a very early example, maintaining the forged Fiat Topolino 500 lower wishbones. It was the factory demonstrator for Cooper Car Distributors in Melbourne, Australia and had some early success when lent to noted driver, Arthur Wylie. In 1952 it was sold to George Pearse of Sydney who ran it consistently for two years in its original form.

So far nothing ‘Special’ about it. George, a renowned tinkerer and engineer, had other ideas though.

The Cooper, although a light and sure footed mount, lacked the punch, power and acceleration of George’s previous car, a supercharged MG-TC square rigger which George retained.

Why not an amalgamate the cars and get the best of both worlds, he thought?

George un-bolted the J.A.Prestwich  power unit from the rear of the chassis, shoehorned his blown MG-TC motor and gearbox into the front of it and moved himself rearwards!! A Ford V8 diff with a pre-war American style Casales three pinion drop box on the front allowed the driver to sit low and took the power out to the original Cooper  drive and suspension.

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Diff as per text (Smith)

Brakes and wheels remained the same at 8” diameter and 15” diameter X 2 ½” wide respectively, the whole was clothed in a light weight alloy body of agricultural, but pleasing proportions.

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Great shot of the red Pearse Cooper at Mount Druitt, Sydney, 4 September 1955 (TR0003)

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Bathurst October 1955; The Cooper MG was a potent piece of work, like Dorcas full of good works, concealed by a bonnet bulge. It’s Cooper basis is evident. It lapped in 3:04.5, outed in the 50 miler when the carbon brush in the distributor disintegrated (Medley)

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Bathurst October 1955; The Bryden TA/TC Spl had blitzed its MG competitors at Easter only to be out-engineered by Pearse’s all independently sprung Cooper MG (Bernard Coward/Medley)

George debuted his new creation at Bathurst in October 1955 and lapped in 3:04.5, slower than the Cooper Bristols and the V12 OSCA, but still a contender on this oh-so-fast road circuit!

A ‘smack’ at the AGP circuit at Southport led to the sale of the car, in damaged form, to Sydney speedway exponent and Offenhauser guru Ray Revell. Ray set to and replaced the Cooper box chassis with a spaceframe of his own design whilst using all the remaining serviceable components and upgrading to a stronger Peugeot 203 alloy rack and pinion.

He had it back on song and entered for Bathurst in October 1956.

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Bathurst October 1956; Ex-Pearse Cooper MG rebuilt after it’s Southport accident now owned by speedway driver Ray Revell (Medley)

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October 1956 Bathurst; Under 1500cc scratch race; Col James #7 Barclay MG from #18 Revell Cooper MG, #15 John Ralston MG TC Spl, #88 Doug Chivas Lotus and Harvey Clift MG TC Spl into Hell Corner (Medley)

Now looking like a true ‘Special’ it was within seconds of the big ex-Bira OSCA  and the D type Jaguar.

Ray eventually moved on to an Offenhauser powered Fiat and sold the car to up and coming Queenslander Lionel Ayers who lengthened the nose and added a more Vanwall type screen. He also fitted a 1500cc XPEG engine with a steel crank, Italian Nardi conrods and a Laystall-Lucas alloy head. This was all fed by a new Marshall J100 blower set up to deliver 22lb boost.

Ayers had great success with the car and raced it on equal terms with Jaguar D Type, Lotus 12, Repco-Holden and Ferrari cars.

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Lionel Ayers, beautiful colour shot of the Cooper, note the longer nose, at Lowood, Queensland in 1959 (Davies)

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Lionel Ayers in the Cooper MG ahead of Curley Bryden’s Ferrari 125, Bathurst, 30 March 1959 (Ayers)

The car was fitted with the larger Cooper Bristol brakes and wheels when the donor car (the WM Cooper) got its disc brakes and wobbly wheels, and prior to its sale to Hugh Gilroy about 1962.

Don Webster was the next owner and he did a prosaic re-commissioning of the car, running it in an emasculated form with twin 1 ¼’’ SU’s. It was in this form I first saw the car at the inaugural ‘All Historic’ Lakeside meeting in 1978.

During after race festivities I asked if I could try it on for size and once I was in, I wasn’t getting out until a purchase was completed!!

Imagine my delight when it was delivered to my home 1200 miles away in Melbourne when it was discovered that the garbage bag in the driver’s seat contained all the original supercharger, manifolds and drive which had not even been mentioned during our negotiations! A complete restoration commenced immediately and the car took me, and subsequent owners, Ross Hodgson and Brian Gerrard to many victories in the ensuing days of historic racing in this country.

The car is still extant in slightly modified form but new owner, Graeme Louk, is enthusiastically returning it to its correct historic specification and recently had his first outing with it to great acclaim by all as it was 22 years since its last appearance.

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(Smith)

Driving Impressions…

From a handling perspective the car had early ‘Cooper flop’ side to side with negative/positive camber change but if you divorced that seeming death wish from your left brain and just drove the car, it handled very predictably. The 10″ brakes were superb and initial understeer could easily be overcome by power application.

The supercharged engines torque was adequate and with only 3 1/2″ rims running Dunlop 4.50-L- 15 tyres, wheelspin and grip had to be closely managed, not the least reason being the cost of tyres!

The best, and most memorable feature of the car was being able to go one gear deeper into a corner, and brake one marker later than cars it competed against. This delivered rewards time after time.

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(Smith)

Technical Appraisal/Specifications…

Chassis; a lightweight centrally disposed monoposto spaceframe front engine racing car.

Suspension; All independently sprung using transverse leaf springs centrally located on bolted towers of the early type but not modulated in roll by the later roller support system.

Front lower wishbones are Fiat Topolino. The top shocker points were relocated by me from under the spring in 1978, the original front sway bar is still fitted.

The rear lower wishbones are Fiat Topolino with the original light series 1100 Hardy Spicer shafts increased to 1300 series. The original style rear sway bar is fitted to the car.

Steering; 203 Peugeot rack and pinion

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(Smith)

Engine;

During my ownership 1360cc (previously, in period and now again, 1500cc) it was fitted with an iron head (previously ,in period, and now again an alloy head is fitted)

My last dyno sheet from 1978 says we achieved 142 BHP at 12 lb boost and 9.3:1 static compression but I think camshaft technology will have eclipsed that figure, although it was sparkling in the day.

‘In period’ the car ran stub exhausts but an extractor system and muffler are now fitted for modern competition.

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(Smith)

 

Transmission; The original Ford V8 diff and drop box were replaced by me with a Halibrand unit in 1978, the original is still in my possession

The original panels include the tail, sides, bonnet and the later model fibreglass nose. A driver roll over bar and seat belts have been fitted.

Checkout this wonderful YouTube footage of Gnoo Blas, Orange, NSW…

Look carefully in the first two minutes of the footage for Pearse’s elegant, red, Cooper MG #18 which appears quite a few times.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK7zXyWexr0

 Bibliography…

‘Bathurst: Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’, Turton & Armstrong , John Medley

‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ , Turton & Armstrong, John B.Blanden

Lionel Ayers, public domain article, TR0003, Stephen Dalton, Robert Davies

Authors archive-Greg Smith

Finito: Next article in this series soon features Wal Anderson’s 1957 Repco-Lotus-Holden sports-racer…

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Colin Bond finessing the Holden Dealer Teams Holden Torana GTR XU1 Repco thru Murrays Corner, Bathurst, Easter 1973…

In fact ‘twas as much Brocky’s as Bondy’s as they tended to drive this Repco Holden F5000 V8 engined ‘Sports Sedan’ (Oz anything goes taxi category) in their home states. Peter Brock in Victoria and Bond in NSW, I suppose Holden Dealer Team chief Harry Firth worked out who drove the thing elsewhere.

By that stage Sports Sedans were starting to get a bit more scientific, check out my article on John McCormack’s Chrysler Valiant Charger Repco F5000 which provides both era context and some car specifics;

https://primotipo.com/2015/06/30/hey-charger-mccormacks-valiant-charger-repco/

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This press shot a couple of days before the cars Sandown race debut in April 1973 shows the mid-mounted location of the cast iron Repco Holden F5000 V8, and change for the 4 speed Borg Warner ‘box, the engine cover provided some heat absorption, but not much! (M Bisset Collection/Melbourne Herald)

Harry decided to chase the ‘Toby Lee Sports Sedan Series’ $ at Oran Park and cobbled together this car which was the marriage of an LJ Torana chassis with a Repco Holden 500BHP injected F5000 V8 which was mounted right next to the driver to keep him warm.

Other specifications included a Borg Warner T10 four-speed tranny, Rose jointed, solidly mounted, coil-sprung Watts linkage rear end and wishbone and coil spring front end were the suspension modes. Brakes were F5000 issue calipers clamping HQ Holden rotors front and rear.

The car began life in ’71 as an HDT Bathurst 500 Series Production car and in ’72 was Frank Kilfoyle’s rally car before being gutted for its new role, Chris De Fraga reported in ‘The Age’ before the cars debut as a Sports Sedan at Sandown on 13-15 April 1973. It didn’t win too much in the way of major events but was a massive crowd pleaser and fast with two of the countries best steerers twiddling its MoMo.

Back to Bathurst Easter in 1973. Col Bond won all three of his races over the weekend in ‘The Beast’ with Peter Brock, in a good meeting for the Holden Dealer Team, sharing the Production Touring Car wins in an XU1 with John Goss’ Ford Falcon GT Coupe.

Credit…

Nigel Tait Collection/ Repco Ltd

Tailpiece: Brock at Calder, LC/LJ Toranas’ such a great looking car, the bellow of this injected V8 one not to be missed. Wheels are by Mawer Engineering in Sydney, very popular on Touring Cars and Clubmans of the day…

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Finito…

 

 

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Who is the Coolest Cat?! 

Freddie Agabashian lookin’ a million bucks with his lean build,  fag, Ray Bans and ‘GI Joe’ haircut. He is aboard his Kurtis Offy Champcar at the San Jose Fairgrounds Speedway, meeting date uncertain but the photo post is dated 1 January 1950…

Of more technical note is the ‘Offy 255 or 270’ cid, 4 cylinder, DOHC, 2 valve twin side-draft Riley carbed 300-350 bhp engine, hand brake and rear suspension of his Kurtis Kraft chassis.

Northern California Racing Association Champion in 1937, against drivers such as Duane Carter, Lynn Desister and Paul Swedberg. Post war Freddie took 3 Bay City Racing Association Midget titles from 1946-48 driving for Jack London and George Bignotti from 1947. He then turned his attention to Indycars.

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Troy Ruttman left and Freddie at the California State Fairgrounds, Sacramento,  in Kurtis Offy Champcars, October 30 1949. Aga won this AAA event with Troy 3rd (Racing One)

 

Born in Modesto, California, Frederik was the son of a genious Armenian mathematician who began racing in his teens. He won in Champ cars and Stock cars as well which earned him a ride at Indianapolis for the 1947 race.

He competed at Indy from 1947-57 and is best remembered for his pole winning effort in 1952 in the unique Kurtis Kraft Cummins Diesel. Frank Kurtis’ revolutionary first Roadster chassis carried the equally innovative 400cid, alloy headed, magnesium sumped but still very heavy cast iron blocked 360 bhp turbo-diesel engine. The oil burner was tipped onto its side 5 degrees from horizontal to lower the engine and as a consequence its bodywork and aerodynamic drag.

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(Steve McKelvie)

 

 

Despite the cars bulk, it weighed over 3100 pounds Freddie and his team knew they had a fast car.

They ‘sandbagged’ in practice, never putting together a full quick lap in the month of May being fearful of the rulemakers changing the equivalence formula if the cars speed were clear. At the time the capacity limits were 6.6 litre diesels, 4.5 litre ‘petrol’ normally aspirated and 3 litre supercharged engines.

But come Pole Day at 5.45 with 15 minutes to go Agabashian gave the big heavy beast its head and popped it on pole! The race was not so happy, the turbo air intake became jammed with rubber and other track borne shite on lap 71 causing the interesting cars withdrawal but the promotional aims for Cummins were well and truly achieved.

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Agabashian and team during Indy practice, Kurtis Cummins 1952 (unattributed)

Freddie’s best finish at Indianapolis was in 1953 when he placed 4th in another KK roadster, this time a more conventional Offy powered 500B chassis.

After he retired from racing Freddie was an Indy special comments broadcaster, he died in 1979.

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Agabashian at Daytona in 1978 during his broadcasting days (Racing One)

 

 

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I like this close up shot which shows the build, fabrication, panel fit and finish quality of these Kurtis cars, Agajanian again in ’52. Cripes it’s big! (Racing One)

Check out this YouTube footage about the unique, pole winning, the only time a diesel engine did it, Kurtis Cummins 1952 car;

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1952 Indy start; Agajanian in red from #4 Jack McGrath Kurtis Kraft 3000 Offy (Racing One )

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Credit…

Racing One, Historic Racing, Steve McKelvie

Tailpiece: Just watch me go fellas! Freddie, Kurtis Cummins, Indy ’52…

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(Racing One)

 

 

french ickx

(Rainer Schlegelmilch)

Jacky Ickx warms up his Bugatti T35B prior to the start of the 1969 French Grand Prix at Clermont Ferrand, 6 July 1969…

He qualified his Brabham BT26A Ford fourth (below) and finished third in the race won by Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS80 Ford. He had a good season with Brabham taking two wins; at the Nurburgring and Mosport but the lure of Ferrari was too great, he returned to the Maranello squad in 1970.

french brabham

(Rainer Schlegelmilch)

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

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9200 rpm and breathing very heavily thru it’s oversized for GP racing ports…

Bruce McLaren at rest and considering setup changes to his first GP car, Robin Herd’s Ford Indy V8 powered, ‘Mallite’ chassis, M2B at Watkins Glen in 1966.

These shots are from the Dave Friedman Archive; the tachometer snaps are at the US GP, the balance of photos from the following, final 1966 Championship round in Mexico City.

This article is another of my ‘nutso’ ones in terms of its order…

I found a swag of photos in Friedman’s archive a while back and planned a pictorial of Bruce and his first McLaren GP car at the 1966 US and Mexican Grands’ Prix, the events where Friedman snapped away prodigiously. I put it to one side and largely forgot about it. Subsequently I decided on something more substantive; so the first bit is the original pictorial, the second is about Bruce’ progress in his first two years as an F1 marque jumping from engine to engine until the DFV provided the definitive McLaren F1 moteur from 1968-1983.

And boy, wasn’t there a lot of water that passed under the bridge between 1968 when the design for the Cosworth powered McLaren M7 was laid down to John Barnard providing both the dimensions of the DFV and its means of attachment to the chassis amongst his ‘mandatories’ of design specifications to Hans Metzger at Porsche in 1983. The TAG/Porsche 1.5 litre twin-turbo V6 was the result, the McLaren MP4/1E TAG-Porsche first raced at the 28 August 1983 Dutch Grand Prix. Back to 1965/6 though!

Remember, the tachometer snaps are at the US GP, the balance of photos from the following round in Mexico City, there are no captions in the first part of the article.

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As a GP engine the Ford Quad-Cam Indy V8 engine was a huge, beefy, heavy and notoriously raucous unit. Visually it was a ‘big busty blonde’ as well with its whopping Hilborn injection trumpets and huge ‘between the vee exhausts’, it looked ‘the goods’…

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The Ford Indy quad cam V8 in its earliest form fitted to a Lotus 34 at Indy in 1964. Jim Clark and Dan Gurney contested the race, this is Clark’s chassis. Engine 4195cc DOHC, 4 valve, Hilborn injected, methanol fuelled giving circa 425bhp @ 8000rpm and useful power from 6000-9000rpm. ZF 2DS 20 ‘box (TEN)

McLaren developed and tested the engine during the winter of 1965/6, notably at Riverside, California but missed the European non-championship F1 events with which the season commenced. In a portent of the season to come John Surtees won the 1 April Syracuse GP in his Ferrari 312 whilst ‘Black-Jack’ won the BRDC International Trophy in his Brabham BT19 Repco at Silverstone on May 14.

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McLaren looking pretty chilled at this stage of the ’66 Monaco weekend upon his teams GP debut, color of the car a function of doing a deal with John Frankenheimer’s crew as part of  filming of ‘Grand Prix’ . Inboard rocker front suspension and outboard loacation of spring/shock at the rear. Checkout the prostrate ‘snapper behind the car (unattributed)

McLaren made its debut as an F1 marque in the May 22, 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, the first championship round that year. Bruce raced the car he concepted together with Robin Herd, the brilliant young designer specified ‘Mallite’ as the primary material for M2B’s monocoque chassis. (noting the M1 series of car are CanAm machines)

Mallite is a composite sheet aerospace sandwich material comprising end grain balsa material filling between thin sheets of aluminium. The resultant chassis was incredibly stiff for its day at around 11000 lb/ft per degree of deflection compared with a good conventional ‘ally tub which came in the range of 4000-5000 lb/ft per degree.

The Indy Ford 4-cam V8 was reduced from its USAC mandated 4.2 litres to the 3 litre F1 limit (95.3mmX52.4mm bore/stroke-2999cc) which prevailed from 1 January 1966. For F1 use the engine was first modified by Klaus von Rucker in England, then later Bruce involved Traco Engineering in Los Angeles.

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All hands to the pump! Bruce, Tyler Alexander and Wally Willmott hard at it, Monaco 1966. The Indy Ford V8’s Hilborn fuel injection, between the Vee exhausts, full monocoque chassis, ZF 5 DS25 gearbox and conventional rear suspension; inverted lower wishbones, single top link, coil spring/dampers, twin radius rods and adjustable sway bar all clear in this shot (unattributed)

Click on this article for a brief history of the Ford Indy V8 amongst the Lola T90 stuff which is the main substance of this piece; https://primotipo.com/2015/06/12/graham-hills-american-red-ball-spl-lola-t90-ford-indy-winner-1966-2/

At Monaco the new McLaren qualified 12th, Bruce withdrew with mechanical ailments on lap 9, the race was won by Jackie Stewart’s 2.1 litre ‘Tasman’ P56 V8 engined BRM P261. This car was his 1965 1.5 litre F1 mount with a bigger version of the P56 V8 with which he won the 1965 Tasman Series.

Bruce and his small Colnbrook team, (near Heathrow an area in the midst of the motor racing industry of subcontractors 3 miles from Slough and 18 miles West of London) crew quickly realised the engines massive ports and valves didn’t give the sort of gas flow speed needed to produce competitive power at 3 litres. Mind you, its 300 horsepower was the sort of output the World Championship winning ‘RB620’ Repco V8 developed in 1966. It was enough to win Jack’s ’66 title albeit the Repco engine was light, very torquey and reliable. By contrast, Bruce’s Ford was heavy and gave its punch over a narrow rev band, the deficiencies of which were exacerbated by the 4 speed ZF ‘box they used which ‘left lots of gaps’ in the power band.

The team had much work to do on the Ford, in the meantime Count Volpi’s new Serenissima V8, designed by Ing. Alberto Massimino, who was part of the Lancia-Ferrari and Maserati 250F 1950’s design teams provided another ‘ready made’ alternative engine to try.

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Serenissima ATS Spider, Sauer/de Mortemart. Le Mans 1966. DNF with gearbox failure on lap 43. It raced in the prototype class, the race won by the McLaren/Amon Ford GT Mk2 (Smuckatelli)

This project is a story in itself but suffice to say Bruce tried the engine whilst simultaneously developing the Indy Ford V8 in an attempt to get it to where it needed to be. Most of you will be aware that Bruce’ Ford connections were immaculate at the time as both a development and race driver of the GT40 program, those cars developed by teams on both sides of the Atlantic. It was Bruce’ hope that he may have been able to get FoMoCo’s backing for his F1 variant of their Indy V8. In the end, via Ford UK’s Walter Hayes, Ford supported the Cosworth developed DFV of course.

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Weber 48IDA fed Serenissima all alloy V8 in the back of Bruce’ M2B during the Belgian GP weekend, 1966 (unattributed)

The Serenissima engine was designed as a sports car unit and gave little power. The ‘M166’ engine was an aluminium, chain driven, quad cam, 2 valve V8 displacing 2996cc (91.5X57.0 mm bore/stroke) 350 bhp was claimed for it but most of the horses seemed to have jumped ship between Italy and the UK, the actual output was more like 260bhp.

M2B was modified to take the side exhaust Italian V8 in time for the Belgian GP, at Spa. The team had great trouble just getting the thing to start, then run and to add insult to injury it ran its bearings after its first exploratory laps having qualified 16th. With no spare engine Bruce was a non-starter.

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Bruce in the winning Ford Mk2 he shared with Chris Amon at Le Mans 1966. The Ferrari is the Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 365 P2 driven by Richard Attwood and David Piper (GP Library)

Bruce and his young intended McLaren F1 team-mate Chris Amon (who raced M1B Chev CanAm cars for Bruce in 1966) then departed England for France and returned as Le Mans winners in a factory Ford GT Mk2. That contentious win or perhaps ‘first over the line’ is still the subject of discussion and debate amongst enthusiasts and historians alike even all these decades later.

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1966 British GP, Brands Hatch, M2B Serenissima V8. Bruce was 6th, scoring a championship point, the teams first. Jack Brabham won in BT19 Repco from pole, he was 2 laps up the road to give the gap some perspective. Bruce in his ‘Pete Aron’ Grand Prix filming helmet (unattributed)

Jack Brabham won both the French Grand Prix at Reims and the British at Brands Hatch in BT19 Repco. The M2B-Serenissima contested the Brands race with more success, the engine was reliable. Bruce started superbly on a damp track on wets running in the top six. As the road dried he dropped back but inherited 6th scoring McLaren’s first World Championship point. A significant day in Grand Prix history indeed.

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Bruce, Serenissima engined M2B in practice ahead of Jo Siffert Cooper T81 Maser DNF and Dan Gurney Eagle T1G Weslake DNF, Zandvoort 1966. He didn’t start the race (unattributed)

At the Dutch GP the Serenissima engine again failed, the McLaren F1 program was set aside pending development of the Indy Ford V8. Amongst other changes the engine was fitted with Chrysler Hemi inspired induction tracts which lifted its output to around 312bhp at 9500rpm.

The beast re-appeared in the United States GP at Watkins Glen, Bruce finished 5th by surviving a race of mechanical mayhem but in the final race of ’66, won by John Surtees’ Cooper T81 Maserati, the Mexican GP, the engine blew after 70 laps having qualified 14th.

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McLarens interim 1967 contender, the 2.1 litre P56 BRM V8 engined M4B makes it’s debut during the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch on 12 March 1967 (Getty)

Bruce cast around for a better alternative engine for 1967 and was a happy customer of BRM’s prospective 4 cam, 2 valve V12 which was designed as both an F1 and sportscar unit. The prototype (Group 6) capacity limit at the time was 3 litres so it made good commercial sense for BRM to build customer engines to replace the P56 V8’s which raced in endurance events as well as Grands Prix. BRM’s complex H16 was their factory F1 unit at the time but it was problematic to say the least…not available to customers (post Lotus) and probably not wanted by Bruce in any event!

A new one-off M5A monocoque chassis was designed for this engine designated ‘P101’, but the BRM V12 was running late, the M5A didn’t appear until the Canadian GP at Mosport in August.

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Bruce testing M4B BRM in the UK before the ’67 season started, circuit and date uncertain. The exposed monocoque chassis is that of an M4A Ford FVA F2 car upon which M4B was based (unattributed)

So a gorgeous little car was used in the interim; the McLaren M4B BRM V8 was based on Bruce’ M4A F2 car but instead of Ford’s little 1.6 litre FVA the engine bay carried a 2.1 litre version of BRM’s venerable, powerful, small and reliable P56 V8 which had won Graham Hill’s 1962 World Championship, countless GP’s and Tasman Series events. This Tasman BRM V8 engine gave circa 280bhp. ‘Belly’ fuel tanks gave the F2 derived F1 car sufficient fuel for 200 miles.

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The business end of M4B BRM at Monaco 1967. P56/60 V8 one of the great GP engines, 2.1 litres, 2 valve, Lucas injected, circa 245 bhp. ‘box is a Hewland DG300, beefy and under-stressed for this application, rear suspension period typical (unattributed)

M4B BRM made its debut in Bruce’ hands in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch on 13 March. It finished 4/6th in heats one/two but then its engine blew after 1 lap of the final after Bruce muffed a change in heat two. 5th places followed in the two heats and final of the Daily Express Spring Cup at Oulton Park and in the International Trophy at Silverstone on 15 April where Bruce was again, you guessed it, 5th!

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Bruce contesting the Oulton Park Spring Cup, 15 April ’67 M4B BRM, 5th. Brabham won the final in a BT20 Repco (Watson)

So, the little car had plenty of race miles on it as the team transporter headed to Monaco, the little M4B was tailor-made for the tight street circuit, but Jim Clark and Graham Hill were in similar hybrids; 1.5 F1 Lotus 33’s with stretched Tasman V8 Coventry Climax and BRM engines respectively.

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Bruce rests on his M4B armchair before the off, Monaco 1967. Its ‘done the rounds’ this shot but its such an atmospheric beauty i popped it in, this cars best view is its arse! where everything is very pert, taut and tightly packaged (unattributed)

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Bruce in M4B with truncated ‘Monaco’ nose ’67 (unattributed)

‘But Bruces’ battery was running flat – forcing a dramatic pit stop – Bruce could well have finished second behind fellow Kiwi Denny Hulme’s victorious Repco Brabham. Some of the spirit of Formula One in those days is typified by the pit stop as Bruce believed his misfire was fuel pressure and bawled as much at his crew. But Jack Brabham, friend and rival had come into the pits and was shouting ‘it’s your battery – it’s your battery!’ As Bruce wrote: Good old Jack. It was the battery and we quickly whipped another one on. He rejoined and finished fourth – three further championship points … thanks in part to a rival team chief!’ records the Bruce McLaren Trust.

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Dutch GP, Zandvoort 1967. Bruce in M4B BRM ahead of Pedro Rodriguez’ Cooper T81 Maserati, it was the debut of the Lotus 49 Ford, Clark won the race in Chapman’s jewel. Note the different nose compared with the earlier shots especially the ducts to ease the flow of air after its passed thru the radiator, reducing front lift in the process (Watson)

The M4B was then badly damaged on lap two of the Dutch GP at Zandvoort as Bruce went off on spilled oil in the fast Huzaren Viak corner. After repair he was testing it at Goodwood when it caught fire out on the circuit, he then watched it burn to death! The ’67 Dutch is also remembered of course for the debut of the Lotus 49 and more importantly the Ford Cosworth DFV V8 which powered it.

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McLaren assists with a plug change on his Eagle’s Weslake V12. French GP, Circuit Bugatti, LeMans 1967 (Getty)

Without a car, Bruce did a deal with Dan Gurney to drive the lanky Californian’s V12 Eagle T1G Weslake, Dan was in sparkling form in an All-American dream week having won two significant races in the Le Mans 24 Hour classic (Ford Mk4 with AJ Foyt co-driving) and at the Belgian GP in the Eagle thereby following the footsteps of Brabham as a GP winning driver of a car he built. It was a path Bruce would also traverse in the 1968 Belgian GP in his Cosworth powered M7A. Bruce was quick in Dan’s car, at the Circuit Bugatti Le Mans he qualified the big car 5th to Dans 3rd but they were both outed in the race, Bruce with ignition problems and Dan with a fuel line issue.

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The unfamiliar sight of GP cars at Le Mans, fortunately the Circuit Bugatti was only used once, the French having a wonderful selection of road circuits at the time to choose from. Eagle T1G surely the best looking F1 car of the sixties!? Bruce sets off for some laps in his unfamiliar mount (Cahier)

Two weeks later at Silverstone Jim Clark was in sparkling form and convincingly won the British GP. Bruce and Dan qualified 10th and 5th with Bruce this time outed with engine problems and Dan a failing clutch. Consistency in build and preparation of the Weslake V12 were amongst its issues, its fair to say the demands of two ‘Number Ones’ perhaps placed much more pressure on the resources of Gurney’s small team, than getting one machine ready to a high standard. I’ve never read anything about what Bruce, like Dan, one of the supreme engineer/tester/drivers thought of the T1G or its engine. I’m intrigued to know if any of you have something of that nature published ‘in period’ in your collections.

The supreme test of the Nurburgring followed on August 6 where again both drivers qualified well, 5th and 4th for Bruce and Dan respectively but again both failed to finish; Bruce with unspecified mechanical mayhem and Gurney’s superb bolide with driveshaft failure.

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Bruce and M6A Chev, Mosport CanAm 23 September 1967, Denny won with Bruce 35 seconds behind (Friedman)

Later in 1967 was a busy time for McLaren. Whilst the F1 program was still formative its CanAm challenge was very mature. Bruce and Robins Chev V8 engined M6A was the result of learnings of the previous years, in both Bruce’ M1’s and other cars he raced. The ’67 Can Am commenced on September 3 at Road America and finished in Las Vegas two months later, the ‘papaya cars’ took 5 of the 6 rounds and Bruce the title, a remarkably well deserved one at that.

The Colnbrook build team had the Can Am cars well clear of the workshop by the time they mated the late arriving BRM V12 to the M5A chassis. Bruce was ‘razor sharp’, his driving buoyed by both the competitiveness of the team ‘Stateside and his individual performances in these oh-so-beautifully designed, engineered and executed sports-racers.

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Bruce at Monza in M5A BRM V12 1967. Q3 and DNF with an engine failure, Surtees the Italian GP winner in a Honda RA300 V12 (unattributed)

The M5A monocoque chassis abandoned Mallite which was considered too complex to shape and heavy in favour of aluminium sheet, the car having a fully stressed section enclosing the drivers legs, the area above his kness left open for maintenance access. The gearbox was the DG300 Hewland also used in the smaller BRM V8 engined car.

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The BRM P101 V12 in the back of M5A at Monza in 1966. Lots of ‘Aeroquip’ lines, Lucas injection, Hewland DG300 transaxle, ‘Fram’ oil filter below the oil rad popped up in the breeze. Engine, non-stress bearing,  is 4 chain driven cams but 2 valves. Engine evolved over time into the 4 valve engine which gave competitive service especially in 1970/71 in the back of BRM’s P153 and P160 (Schlegelmilch)

BRM’s 24 valve P101 V12 was originally designed for sports-prototype use by Geoff Johnson. The engines bore/stroke were 73.8X57.2mm for a capacity of 2998cc with a compression ratio of 12:1. The Lucas injected, chain driven 4 cam, 2 valve engine produced 369bhp at 9750rpm on 14 August, engine ‘P101-003’ put to good use by Bruce during the Canadian Grand Prix.

During the race the hot oil tank cooked the battery, Bruce gained on the leaders till spinning in the greasy conditions.

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Bruce in M5A BRM fighting Jack Brabham for 3rd, before retirement. Brabham won the Canadian GP, in his Brabham BT24 Repco (Laymon)

At Monza the combination showed just how competitive they were; Bruce popped the thing on the front row, with 20 laps to go he and Surtees were racing wheel to wheel for a dash to the flag when a BRM cylinder liner dropped, the car withdrew on lap 4 with Surtees and Braham running to the line, Jack was outfoxed by John on the last corner of the race.

The M5A retired in both the US and Mexico and was used by the reigning World Champion, Denny Hulme in the first race of 1968, the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami.

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Bruce in M5A BRM at Mexico City 1967. Q8 and DNF lap 45 with engine failure. Clark won in a Lotus 49 Ford from Brabham and Hulme, the latter took the ’67 drivers title Brabham Repco mounted (Cahier)

But the F1 world had changed late in 1967, by Walter Hayes decision to make the Ford DFV available to customers; he convinced Colin Chapaman to waive the exclusivity agreement Lotus had to use the engine which allowed Bruce and Robin Herd (and Ken Tyrrell in 1968 as well as Lotus) to design a bespoke chassis to suit the 408bhp DFV.

The bathtub aluminium monocoque M7A made a splendid debut winning the ’69 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch with the boss taking the win from pole and jagging the fastest lap to boot!

A new chapter in McLaren history was underway, DFV powered McLarens won World Titles for Emerson Fittipaldi in 1974 and James Hunt in 1976, stories for another time…

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Bruce in the papaya M7A Ford DFV winning the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch upon the models race debut (Ed Lacey)

Bibliography…

The Bruce McLaren Trust, ‘History of The GP Car’ Doug Nye, The GP Encyclopaedia

Credits…

Dave Friedman Archive, Cahier Archive, Ron Laymon, Ed Lacey, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Ron Laymon, Getty Images, Brian Watson, GP Library, Nigel Smuckatelli, The Enthusiast Network

Etcetera-Engines…

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Bruce, Teddy Mayer, Monaco, 1966 McLaren M2B Ford Indy V8, both above and below shots (Schlegelmilch)

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M2B Serenissima at Spa 12 June 1966. Compare and contrast the Ford Indy V8 installation in the shots above, the car designed for that engine and then adapted to suit the Italian V8, ZF 5 DS25 box used in both cases (Schlegelmilch)

Tailpiece: ‘BRDC Intl Trophy’, Silverstone, 29 April 1967. From small acorns do big things grow. Bruce, Teddy and the boys, a few passers by. Perhaps it’s Friday, and M4B/1 BRM P56/60 V8…

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Lordy that’s a big grid! Its the Formula Vee race which supported the 1967 German Grand Prix, the Nurburgring of course. I’ve no idea who won the race or the names of any of the competitors but that’s not really the point of this article. Mind you, if any of you do know get in touch and I will add the details.

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FV served a useful function by providing entry level racing for future world champions Emerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg. Emerson was the first FV graduate to win a world title, for Lotus in 1972. That wasn’t really the point of the class which was fundamentally to provide thousands of enthusiasts globally the chance to compete cost-effectively. Me included.

Formula Vee gives me ‘Summer of ‘79’ smiles and recollections of fun, carefree times of long ago.

My Monash University years were lost really. The clever guys chased the babes, I saved my part-time factory work income, skipping dates with expensive sheilas to fund a Venom Mk2 Formula Vee in March 1979, the same month in which I joined the ‘real world’ of permanent work.

Scuderia Schitt-Fite was born! (SS-F)…

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SS-F works driver M Bisset at the Venom’s test session #1 (the only test session the noted team ever did) at Winton in February 1979. Copious sponsor decals on the drivers ‘Race-Safe Wool TT’ overalls indicative of his market worth. 1975 Venom Mk2 FV

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Nurburgring 1967 (ullstein bild)

The Venom was a secondhand but front third of the field car when acquired (for A$2350 with some spares including a ‘tall’ Phillip Island ‘box and trailer), it continued to go well until my impressive mechanical skills were applied to said vehicles preparation. Memorable were the Scrutineers discovery of loose rear wheel nuts at Winton on one occasion and the steering column thru-bolt popping onto the Venoms aluminium undertray with a neat mechanical ‘pop’ sound just as the car was pushed onto the concrete scruts’ inspection slab at Sandown…we just kept pushin’ the car straight thru into the paddock to fasten said nut and bolt. ‘Me an me mate Tilly used to ‘prepare’ the car in the carport of my parents house, lack of a light and ever present wind and rain were obstacles to engineering excellence. Ignorance another.

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My $8500 per annum graduate accountants salary didn’t run to motel accommodation on weekend trips away so luxurious, old, ‘on site’ caravans had to do. Liz, my girlfriend of the time, I’d found one by then, used to come away with me.

These 20 year old monuments to design bad taste were quite something replete as they were with shag pile orange carpet, extensive stains on all of the sumptuous synthetic material clad couches and lashings of Laminex as far as the eye could see. Which was not far as these luxurious caravans were not exactly generous in size. The mood lighting comprised lots of missing globes so my toolkit always carried a couple of 45 watters to make up for what the van park proprietors  were reluctant to provide.

The final straw to the use of this cost-effective accommodation for the impecunious racer was the presence of bugs in the bed, I’m sure Liz’ scream that night could have been heard in Melbourne.

I was a sophisticated boyfriend of course, a Saturday night out at the suburban North Balwyn chinese joint with some good tucker washed down by a bottle of Lindemans ‘Ben Ean’ Moselle (such nectar of the gods was the vignerons equivalent of Coca-Cola, something not to be missed then and not missed at all now) very metro-sexual. A dude taking a bottle of Ben Ean to a gig was definitely going places, just not so sure exactly where.

Liz was a ‘real trooper’ happy to help unload the Venom, wash, polish, change wheels as well as take care of the drivers emotional and physical well-being. A bonus was her taking charge of the big, roaring Ford Fairmont towcar at meetings end for the long trip back to Melbourne, the ‘tired hero’ asleep alongside after the physical demands of the weekend.

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SS-F on tour, here we are at Lorne on Victorias Great Ocean Road, we did a hillclimb, Mt Leura at nearby’ish Camperdown that weekend. I’m 21 and this shot shows my total net worth; the $2600 Fairmont which had been my dads company car and the $2350 Vee & trailer. No spare cash, no margin for error. A 1981 Sandown shunt took 1 1/2 years to fix as i couldn’t afford the repair, boy we had some fun tho!

Jackie Stewart famously won Grands Prix by applying a policy of sexual abstinence the night before a Grand Prix. JYS felt it gave him a little extra raceday ‘edge’ rather than the sated, chilled feeling most of us have after ‘relieving the tension’, as we say in polite society.

My parents didn’t have a relaxed attitude about us kids ‘horizontal folk-dancing’ under their roof so every opportunity for passion away from Almond Street was to be enthusiastically embraced. Liz took a strong leadership and teaching role in relation to such matters, the little minx!, i wonder what became of her?

Its probably drawing too long a bow to suggest the differences in speed between Jackie Stewart and my good self are entirely due to his maintenance of ‘raceday edge’ by adherence to the Popes no-nookie dictum, and my more relaxed ‘shagadelic’ approach.

But its nice to think that had one made such sacrifices in the quest for speed that the great Scots achievements could easily have been surpassed.

Anyway, that’s my theory as to my own lack of competitiveness, and I’m sticking to it!

I suspect my ‘Summer of ‘79’ smiles are shared by many FV’ers not just Emmo, Niki and Keke…

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Venom, Calder 1979

History of Formula Vee…

http://www.volkswagen-motorsport.com/index.php?id=411&L=1

Credits…

Getty Images/ullstein bild

Tailpiece…

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Nurburgring 1967 (ullstein bild)

 

 

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Eric Comas contesting the Monaco Grand Prix in his Larrousse LH94 Ford, 15 May 1994…

Comas qualified and raced this aging car and engine to 13/10th, good going in the tough F1 world of the mid-nineties. Up front, the race was won by Schumacher’s Benetton from Martin Brundle’s McLaren Peugeot.

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Comas came to F1 in 1991 via French F3 and European F3000, he was champion in 1988 and 1990 respectively. He contested 63 Grands Prix making his debut at Phoenix, the USGP on 10 March 1991 for Ligier in a JS35 Lamborghini V12. He scored a total of 7 championship points racing a Ligier JS37 Renault, Larrousse LH93 Lamborghini and Larrousse LH94 Ford in 1992, 1993 and 1994 respectively. His last point in the 1994 German GP was also the last for Larrousse.

Post GP racing he moved to Japan to contest the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship winning the GT500 title in 1998 and 1999 for Nissan racing a factory Nismo Skyline GT-R. He shifted to Toyota and continued his run of success and later raced privateer Nissans before creating Comas Racing Management to nurture the careers of young up and coming, mainly French, drivers

Comas has now effectively retired, running Comas Historic Racing, which provides paying customers rides in Alpine Renaults in historic rallies.

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Comas in his Lola T90/50 Mugen F3000 car at Donington in April 1990 (Ingham)

Imola 1994…

A bizarre incident in the horrific ’94 Imola weekend involved Comas and his Larrousse’ departure from the pitlane during the red flag after Senna’s accident, click here to read about the incident and its poignant circumstances.

http://viewingperspectives.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/imola-at-20-why-did-erik-comas-stop-at.html

Credit…

Getty Images, Darrell Ingham

Tailpiece: Monaco 1994…

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Mountain Women…

Posted: October 2, 2016 in Compound curvature, Fotos
Tags:

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A couple of young fillies making good their Bugatti, at least I think it may be a Bug but it’s no more than a guess…

Another magazine shoot by Heinz von Perckhammer whose photographic speciality was mainly nudes, nice work it is too. Google away.

This series of photos was published in issue 14 of  ‘Sieben Tage’ in 1935. There are no caption details about date, place, car or models names sadly, all input in relation thereto gratefully received.

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Credits…

Heinz von Perckhammer

Tailpiece…

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