Archive for January, 2017

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SPA 1907 GP car, 14.75 litre, 4 cylinder engine

Ernesto Ceirano and his mechanic race their SPA during the Brescia road race on 2 September 1907…

The 1907 running of the Coppa Velocita di Brescia was 8 laps of a testing, dusty, gravel 23.4 mile course.

1907 was the second season of Grand Prix racing, events organised that year were the French Grand Prix, Targa Florio, Moscow-St Petersburg, Kaiser Preis, Ardennes Circuit, Coppa Florio and the Coppa della Velocita.

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The road race started in Brescia, Lombardy and then passed through the towns of Montichiari, Castiglione, Lonato, Rezzato and then returned to Brescia. The Automobile Club of Milan organised the event which took 1,100 volunteers to run, it gives some idea of the resources required to run these road events even by the relaxed ‘safety standards’ of the day.

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Cagno in the winning Itala (Getty)

Held on September 2 1907 the race was won by Alessandro Cagno’s Itala from Victor Demogeot in a Darracq with Rene Hanriot third.

Born into modest circumstances Cagno was said to be the third FIAT employee with roles as test driver, Giovanni Agnelli’s personal driver and works racer. He also competed successfully in powerboats and was an entrepreneur-an aviation pioneer who survived to a ripe-old age, he died in 1971.

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J Alezy, Clement Bayard during the Coppa di Velocita. A 1905 Gordon Bennett car- 12.8 litres, T-head developing circa 120bhp @ 1200 rpm (Getty)

Adolphe Clement was a wealthy businessman who owned the rights to manufacture Dunlop Tyres in France. In 1896 he was part of a partnership which took over the Gladiator Cycle Company. A motorised cycle soon turned into the manufacture of cars in 1899, by 1907 the company was building nearly 3000 cars per year

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The CB race team was lead by Albert Clement, Adolphe’s son, who died whilst practising for the French GP in May 1907. The 1907 GP cars used in the Coppa were those built originally for the Gordon Bennett races in 1905. They were 12.8 litre, T-head engines developing a reputed 120bhp at 1200rpm.

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Victor Demogeot, Darracq. Engine 15,268cc, 4 cylinders ‘ bi-cylinder’ blocks, OHV, brake on transmission (Getty)

Pierre-Alexander Darracq (1855-1931) was one of the first to mass-produce cars, his first fortune made from a bicycle business named ‘Gladiator’, the business later acquired by Adolphe Clement and others. In 1904 Darracq were the most successful manufacturer in the world building 1600 cars, but he never learned to drive! For Alfisti his Italian subsidiary is significant in providing the origins of Alfa Romeo.

He sold the company to British interests in 1913 having lost significant amounts of money with cars powered by a Henriod rotary-valve engine design which failed dismally.

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Caricature of M Darracq dated 22 December 1901 (Emile Cohl)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Demogeot’s Darracq at speed (Croci)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Felice Buzio, Diatto-Clement. These cars were created by a partnership of Clement and Diatto, Turin coach builders, between 1905 and 1909. They were Clements built under licence, specification of this car unclear. In 1909 C-B left the business, the cars were renamed ‘Societa Fonderie Officine Frejus’ catchy innit! (Getty)

Etcetera…

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Cagno, Itala

In 1904 Matteo Ceirano left the company he founded with his brothers to create his own marque, Itala. In 1906 he left Itala to create ‘SPA’ Societa Piemontese Auomobili with chief designer Alberto Ballacco. I am not certain of the specification of the car pictured in this articles opening shot, perhaps the car is one of two 6 cylinder models they produced that year, perhaps 4 cylinders. Contributions as to spec gratefully received.

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Credit…

Topical Press, Getty Images

Tailpiece: Cagno again in the victorious Itala, grandeur of the occasion clear!…

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Some of Ferrucio Lamborghini’s artisans completing the chassis of the prototype Lambo P400 Miura in Sant ‘Agata October 1965…

The car was famously shown as a chassis only, this very one, at the Turin Show in 1965 and was a ‘starlet’ even unclothed. It made its bow ‘dressed’ by Marcello Gandini at Geneva in 1966, only four months later.

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Credit…

Keystone, Klemantaski Collection

Tailpiece: The new Lamborghini factory near Bologna in 1963…

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Smile for the camera boys! The presence of local lads Bobby Unser and Mario Andretti at Watkins Glen in 1968 must have added 25,000 punters to the gate?…

A good deal of interest was added to the end of season 1968 races by the participation of American aces Mario Andretti and Bobby Unser at the Italian and US Grands’ Prix on 8 September and 6 October.

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Andretti checking out his nice, new Simpson Team Lotus overalls, Hill convinced the Hinchman product the better Nomex choice! Monza 1968 (Peter Darley)

Mario raced a third works Lotus 49B and Unser a factory BRM P138 vacated by Richard Attwood. Both did quick times at Monza before returning to the US to race in the ‘Hoosier 100′ at Indy but were precluded by racing back at Monza due to a rule which forbade drivers competing in another event within 24 hours of a GP.

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Bobby Unser and Mario Andretti enjoying each other’s company prior to the ‘Michigan 250’, at Brooklyn, Michigan International Raceway on 13 October 1968. Ronnie Bucknum won in an Eagle Offy with Mario 2nd in a Brawner Offy. Its clearly not the chassis Mario is sitting in here which is Ford engined. Unser DNF in another Eagle Offy  (Upitis)

Unser was primarily a USAC racer whilst Mario mixed road racing with a diet of speedway events on dirt and champcars as well as the occasional NASCAR event. I wrote an article about the greatest all-rounder a while back, click here to read it; https://primotipo.com/2014/10/24/the-most-versatile-ever-magic-mario-andretti/

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Unser during the USGP at Watkins Glen 1968, its a pity he didn’t seek other F1 opportunities, his speed and ‘tiger’ potent down the decades, BRM P138. DNF engine (Upitis)

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Mario put the ‘cat amongst the pigeons’ by plonking the Lotus 49B Ford on pole ahead of all the aces of the day. Unser’s weekend didn’t start so well, boofing the P138 in the first session of practice, he qualified 19th. His cars engine failed in the race on lap 35.

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Andretti jumped away from the start well but was headed by Jackie Stewart by the end of the first lap, on lap 14 his Lotus was losing its bodywork causing a pitstop which dropped him to the back of the field. The Lotus’ clutch failed on lap 32. Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS10 Ford won from Hill’s Lotus 49B and John Surtees’ Honda RA301.

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Graham Hill at the pit counter whilst Colin and Mario arrive at a pole winning setup, Watkins Glen 1968 (Upitis)

Andretti impressed Colin Chapman bigtime with his speed, mechanical feel and sympathy. It wasn’t until 1976 that the ‘planets aligned’ and eventually the two great men worked together again. The Lotus 77 and 78/9 wing/ground effect cars the result, not to forget the 1978 World Championship of course!

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Osterreichring 12 August 1979, DNF clutch failure without completing a lap in the race won by Alan Jones’ Williams FW07 Ford (Schlegelmilch)

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Lotus 79 Ford, British GP, Brands Hatch 1978. Checking the tyre temps, Andretti famously brought ‘stagger’ to F1, DNF here with engine dramas, Carlos Reutemann took a Ferrari 312T3 win (Schlegelmilch)

Credits…

Alvis Upitis, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Peter Darley

Tailpiece: Hi-winged Lotus 49B Ford, Watkins Glen 1968, Andretti…

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There has to be an interesting article in evolution of the GeePee cockpit and controls over time, does there not? Here its the tiller of the Johnny Herbert’s Stewart SR3 Ford on the grid of the 1999 Spanish GP at Barcelona on 30 May…

He retired from the race with transmission failure on lap 40 of the 65 laps, the event won by Mika Hakkinen’s McLaren MP4/14 Mercedes. Rubens Barrichelo was generally the quicker of the two Stewart drivers that season but Johnny broke through for the teams first and last Grand Prix win at the Nurburgring on 26 September.

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(Adoc/Corbis)

Fifty years before, the state of the art is demonstrated by one of the Talbot Lago T26C’s, being fuelled on the Albi GP grid on 10 July 1949, quadrant for the pre-selector ‘box and chassis plate clear below the wheel in shot. Wonderful image isn’t it!?

Credits…

Tobias Heyer, Adoc/Corbis

richie

(Schlegelmilch)

One of the BRM mechanics shows his mates some naughty pictures on his iPhone 6S, Zandvoort, Dutch Grand Prix July 1965…

The shot says everything about the regard the BRM team had for their old driver. By that stage Richie was driving for Honda, famously the American won the very last race of the 1.5 litre F1 for Honda in Mexico City that year.

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Stewart #12 and Hill #10 BRM P261’s in the 1965 Zandvoort paddock (Schlegelmilch)

At Zandvoort the growing competitiveness of the RA272 was again on display, Richie qualified the car 3rd and finished 6th, the race won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax.

The BRM’s finished 2nd and 4th, Stewart in front of Hill, both in P261’s. Dan Gurney was 3rd in a Brabham BT3 Climax.

Checkout my article on the early Honda GP cars;

https://primotipo.com/2014/12/12/honda-ra271272-1-5-litre-v12-19645-gp-cars/

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpiece: Richie Ginther’s Honda RA272 during the Dutch GP , 18 July 1965, Rainer has captured such an unusual view of the North Sea circuit…

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(Schlegelmilch)

 

 

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(VHRR Collection)

Murray Carter blasts his Carter Corvette sporty across the top of Mount Panorama in October 1961, just before the daunting drop into Skyline. The cars fuel injected, 5 litre, 300bhp V8 echoed between the eucalypt trees and into the valley below…

Its such a wonderful shot, he looks lean and lithe-he is only a little bloke, you can see the injection trumpets and ‘maggie’, sitting proud of the unpainted, aluminium bonnet fashioned by Murray’s own hands.

Murray was running 2nd in the 75 mile Australian Tourist Trophy on 1 October, behind Bib Stillwell’s 2.5 litre Cooper Monaco Climax and Frank Matich’s Jag D Type before retiring on lap 8 with diff failure in the 19 lap event. Look closely at the photo and you can see the smoke from a differential which is about to cry ‘enough’!

It was a classy field of great depth, the competitiveness of Murray’s self constructed car amongst the factory built Jags, Aston’s, Coopers, Maserati and Lotus’ clear; as was its top speed, 154mph down Conrod during practice! Stillwell won from Matich and Bob Janes Maserati 300S.

Carter has been around forever. Born in 1931, i thought he looked like an old codger at the first race meeting I attended, the 1972 Sandown Tasman round, the ignorance of a 14 year old. He raced his Ford Falcon GTHO Phase 3 at that meeting in the ‘South Pacific Touring Car Championship’, a series of races held throughout the Australian Tasman Rounds.

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Carter racing his Ford Falcon GTHO Phase 3 351 V8, at Hume Weir on the Boxing Day weekend in 1971, this is the car in which I first saw him race at Sandown a month or so later (Dick Simpson)

An out and out racer, he still runs a Corvette C5 in Victorian race meetings the car prepared in his Moorabbin workshop, in Melbourne’s southern bayside suburbs, where all of his cars have been built down the decades.

Murray raced other cars but for years was a Ford stalwart, never a factory driver but the recipient of plenty of assistance from Broadmeadows. He was no slouch either, 2nd in the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1975 in a Falcon GT 351 Coupe and 4th in 1980 in a similarly powered Ford Falcon XD, his best performances. At Bathurst his best finish was 3rd in 1978 in a Ford Falcon XC GT Coupe this time sharing with single-seater ace, Kiwi, Graeme Lawrence.

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Carter pictured in his Ford Falcon XB GT351 Hardtop/Coupe at Hell Corner, Bathurst in 1975. He was 2nd in the ATCC that year in this car, the title won by Colin Bond in a Holden Torana LH SLR5000/L34 5 litre V8. At Bathurst he shared his car with Ray Winter, a very quick F2 driver, Murray qualified the car 7th but DNF after only 53 laps. Brock and Brian Sampson, another driver who has raced until a road accident put paid to his racing, forever, won in an L34 Torana (unattributed)

Like so many drivers he started racing bikes, campaigning a Triumph Tiger 100 at circuits like Fishermans Bend in 1948, aged 17 before switching to cars with a Jaguar XK120.

In search of more speed but as a panel beater unable to afford a factory car he set forth to create a more competitive mount. His original intention was to build a mid-engined single-seater to compete in Gold Star events, Australia’s National Drivers Championship, which was run to F Libre at the time.

Unable to locate a suitable transaxle to cope with the 283cid Chev’s power and torque, Murray placed the relatively light, small block Chev well back in his space frame chassis locating the 4 speed box behind it. He achieving 50/50 front/rear weight distribution that way.

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Murray aboard the car in its original single-seater form at Phillip Island in March 1960. The car was all but destroyed at this meeting after Murray and Bib Stillwell swapped contact. Note the Cooper wheels, vestigial body and short exhausts. Very simple-and fast. Spaceframe chassis, upper and lower wishbone front suspension with coil spring/damper and well located solid rear axle again with coil spring/dampers. Other car on the grid anyone? A Cooper Bristol perhaps? (autopics.com)

The car raced in chassis form with vestigial panels to support a race number at Fishermans Bend in October 1959. It was immediately competitive, even achieving 4th place in the Philiip Island Gold Star round, behind the Coopers in December 1959.

Back at Phillip Island in March 1960, he had an argument about local real estate with Bib Stillwell and came off second best, rolling the car and all but destroying it.

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Murray racing the Carter Corvette in a support event, at the international meeting held at Ballarat Airfield, Victoria in the summer of 1961, 12 February. Is that George Spanos’ Elfin Streamliner Coupe in the pits-he still owns that car 60 years later! The feature race, the Victorian Trophy was won by Dan Gurney from teammate Graham Hill, both in 2.5 litre BRM P48’s (autopics.com)

Looking at the plethora of Cooper T51’s coming into Australia and at the growth of sportscar racing, he decided to rebuild the car as a sportscar constructing the functional aluminium body himself. The Carter Corvette reappeared at in October 1960.

The car was immediately successful, winning races and holding lap records around the country.

When CAMS adopted Appendix K, GT Racing in Australia, Carter modified the car with vestigial coupe bodywork. Whilst it looked as ugly as sin it remained fast finishing the one race 1963 Australian GT Championship in 2nd place at Calder. The event was won by Bob Jane in his factory built LWT Jaguar E Type, a car acquired with rather a greater budget than Murray’s beast!

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Carter in the ‘orrible looking but fast Carter Corvette after the addition of a roof to allow it to comply with new regs introduced by the CAMS. Windscreen thought to be an FE or FC Holden rear window mounted upside down. The boy from Moorabbin was a clever improviser! (Dalton)

Eventually the car fell into disuse but still exists, wonderfully restored by the talented Lou Russo in 2007 or thereabouts, and driven by his son Michael in historic events. Meanwhile, Murray Carter, forever young at 86, races on…

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Carter pictured with one of his old ‘HO’s lovingly restored, in recent times. Car is the Phase 3 HO pictured above at Hume Weir, in its war paint carried during the 1972 Bathurst 500 in which Murray was 10th. Globe alloy wheels homologated not long before the ’72 500 made these beasts look a treat! (carcavalcade.com)

Credits…

VHRR website, Stephen Dalton Collection, Peter D’Abbs/autopics.com

John Medley ‘Bathurst: Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’

Tailpiece: Bob Jane’s lightweight E Type leads the Carter Corvette at Calder…

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(Dalton)

 

 

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Tony Rudd and one of the BRM crew either sorting a problem or firing up Harry Schell’s P25 so the Bourne engineering chief can get back to his hotel, Monaco 1959…

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Behra’s Ferrari Dino 246 you can just see on the left then Moss and Brabham, both Cooper T51, #48 Phil Hill Fazz Dino, #22 McLaren and #32 Trintignant Coopers T51. #16 and #18 Schell and Bonnier in BRM P25’s outside Brooks Dino. #20 Flockhart P25 BRM and behind him Graham Hill’s Lotus 16 Climax (unattributed)

In a sign of the times Jack Brabham won the race from Tony Brook’s front engined Ferrari Dino 246, Jack and third placed Maurice Trintignant in mid-engined Cooper T51 Climaxes. Jack of course took the first of his drivers titles that year and Cooper the constructors.

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Jack on his own on the Monaco quayside in 1959, on his way to his first championship GP win, Cooper T51 Climax. His last the 1970 South African GP at Kyalami (Cahier)

It wasn’t a great weekend for the BRM boys; all three cars retired, Ron Flockhart, Jo Bonnier and Harry with a spin, brake’s and an accident and a split fuel tank the causes respectively.

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Stunning shot of Tony Brooks’ Dino chasing Harry Schell’s BRM into casino Square, Monaco 1959 (Heritage)

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BRM P25; spaceframe chassis, 2491cc DOHC, 2 valve, Weber fed 4 cylinder engine developing circa 275bhp@8000rpm, 4 speed ‘box. Suspension; upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/dampers and De Dion and coil spring/dampers at the rear. Front disc brakes, single disc on the transmission at the rear (C La Tourette)

The team broke through for its well deserved first win in 1959, Bonnier took the next race, the Dutch GP on 31 May, beating Jack and Masten Gregory in Cooper T51’s.

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BRM babes; hard for the mechanics to focus surrounded by this lot. The photo has done the rounds but i’ve never read the identity of said poppets if anyone can advise, BRM P25, Monaco 1959 (unattributed)

Credits…

Klemantaski Collection, Cahier Archive, Heritage Images, C La Tourette

Tailpiece: Harry Schell’s BRM P25 clips the inside of the kerb on entry to a corner in his pursuit of Cliff Allison’s Ferrari Dino 246 at Zandvoort in 1959, JoBo’s P25 took a famous win, Harry DNF, Allison 9th…

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