Archive for January, 2018

(I Smith)

James Hunt, Elfin MR8C Chevrolet F5000, ‘Rose City 10000’ November 1978…

James Hunt ran true to form whilst on a short sojurn to Australia after the end of his Marlboro Team McLaren season in 1978, he had a very good time and won the race! He was also the supreme professional as he went about mastering the circuit and a car unfamiliar to him. Winton short circuit ain’t exactly the Nurburgring mind you. Nor was the ’76 World Champion new to F5000’s- he had Eagle and Lola experience of these 500 bhp roller-skates ‘Stateside.

I’ve covered this meeting in an earlier article on Garrie Cooper’s MR8 design, these photos by Ian Smith were too good not to share, click here to read the article;

No other Elfin model had so many world class drivers steer them- Hunt, Vern Schuppan, Didier Pironi, Larry Perkins and Bruce Allison is not a bad roll call…

(I Smith)


Ian Smith


(I Smith)





The wild ‘Mana La’ solar car contrasted by the utilitarian functionality of a cement mixer. Stuart Highway, Northern Territory 1 November 1987…

The John Paul Mitchell sponsored car designed by Jonathon Tennyson is heading for Adelaide, 3005 Km away, sadly the brilliant vehicle DNF’d the race won by GM’s ‘Sunraycer’.

The genesis of this first Darwin to Adelaide ‘World Solar Challenge’ was critics telling adventurer Hans Tholstrup that Australia could not be crossed by a solar powered vehicle.

In 1982, together with Australian F1 driver Larry Perkins and his brother Gary, Tholstrup developed a car in which he became the first person to drive across Australia. The 4,000 Km journey in ‘The Quiet Achiever’ took him 20 days.

The Perkins Engineering- Larry and Gary Perkins built 1982 ‘The Quiet Achiever’ or ‘BP Solar Trek’ car. Rudimentary design which is deceptively clever and a precursor to the much more sophisticated, mega-buck cars which followed (NM)

Criticism of the car sparked what became the first World Solar Challenge five years later. In 1987 23 teams from Europe, the US, Asia and Australia entered the event with over 40 taking part in 2017.

The Danish born Australian’s desire to develop solar energy came after years of being a self-confessed fuel guzzler. ‘I was doing my penance…because I flew around the world, rode in race cars and powerboats, I did everything that used finite fossil fuel’ quipped Tholstrup in a recently ABC interview. He noted that solar panels are half the size they were in 1987 with the cars doing the same speeds.

One of the ‘big buck’ entries won the inaugural challenge, the Paul MacCready designed and built General Motors ‘Sunraycer’ was victorious in 44.90 hours at an average speed of 66.90 km/h.

At the wheel was ever-versatile Australian champion racing driver John Harvey who was also involved in testing the car at the GM Proving Ground in Arizona. Second into Adelaide two days later was the Ford Australia entry and the Ingenieurschule, Biel vehicle third.

The GM Sunraycer on day 3 of the 1987 challenge, 3rd November. Car is on the Stuart Highway 100 Km south of the Devils Marbles. Car took 5.5 days to complete the 3000 Km journey (P Menzel)

In some ways the most radical entry, the John Paul Mitchell Systems car ‘stole the show’, visually at least, albeit the car was out of the race way too soon.

Jonathan Tennyson designed and built the car funded by John Paul Mitchell Systems. With the help of James Amick, the inventor of the ’Windmobile’ Tennyson developed a vertical wing design to exploit the wind to help mobilise the car in addition to its primary source of power- solar energy. By covering the resulting arched wing of the ‘Mana La’ (power of the sun in Hawaiian) in solar panels the idea was to be able to expose the panels to the sun at all times of the day.

The radical machine is 19′ long, 6 1/2′ wide and 6 1/2′ tall. Its built from urethane foam, carbon fibre and vinyl ester resin weighing circa 250 Kg. An onboard computer distributed power to ‘NASA-grade storage batteries’.


The visually arresting arch is covered by 140 solar panels. Sixty-four silver-zinc batteries retained the power collected and fed a pair of 2-horsepower, brushless direct-current motors. Each engine utilised two windings, one for lower speeds and higher torque, and another for higher speeds at lower torque.

Nicknamed ‘the hair dryer’ given its sponsor, the US$250,000 Mana La qualified second starting behind Sunraycer on ‘pole’. By 4 pm on the first day of the event, the car was out of the race. The crew ran too hard through the hills trying to catch the Sunraycer, exhausting their batteries in the process and were never able to harness the wind the car was designed to exploit. Their battery specialist estimated it would take 40 hours in the sun to recharge…what a great mighta been this quite stunning machine is.

In 2010 the car was donated to the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation,

Photo Credits…

Getty Images, Australian National Museum, Petersen Museum, Peter Menzel


Richard Attwood hooking his big Grand Prix BRM P126 2.5 V12 into Longford’s Viaduct during the ‘South Pacific Trophy’ weekend, 4 March 1968…

He was fourth in the very soggy race, this shot is in the dry earlier in the meeting, won by Piers’ Courage McLaren M4A Ford FVA F2 car from Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P261 2 litre V8 and Frank Gardner’s Alec Mildren owned Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 2.5 V8- a varied lot don’t you think?

I wrote a short article about this meeting a couple of years ago but have just ‘upgraded it’ to feature length due to the large number of photographs of this meeting released in more recent times by Lindsay Ross and Rod Mackenzie. Click on these links to check out their archives. and

The photos really needed a nice home to make them accessible. So you can thank them for this extended piece! Click here to read it;

The big BRM was far from the car of the series- the Lotus 49 Ford DFW was, but the championship was successful in giving the Bourne outfit valuable testing miles of their new ’68 F1 championship contender albeit in 2.5 litre form.

The BRM design and engineering team led by Tony Rudd were ‘up to their armpits in alligators’ after two fraught seasons in 1966/67 trying to get the BRM P83, or more particularly its complex, heavy, wonderful H16 engine to race fitness.

BRM chief Louis Stanley therefore briefed Len Terry, latterly of Eagle and Lotus to design and build a new F1 car. Three P126 chassis were constructed by Terry’s ‘Transatlantic Automotive Consultants’ concern powered by the brand new ‘sportscar customer’ P101, chain driven DOHC, 2 valve, Lucas injected 3 litre V12 which initially gave circa 370 bhp @ 9750 rpm, behind which was fitted a Hewland DG300 transaxle.

The Type 101 BRM engine- 60 degree all aluminium V12 with two chain driven overhead camshafts per cylinder bank operating two valves per cylinder. The compression ratio was 11.5:1, the bore and stroke 74.6mm/57.2mm, fed by Lucas fuel injection the power output during 1968 was initially 370 bhp rising to 390 bhp @ 9,500 rpm. The 2.5 litre variant was designated P121 and gave circa 340 bhp (unattributed)

Bruce McLaren had some good results with the first of the engines in late season 1967 F1 races bolted into the back of his M4B chassis. He was therefore more than happy to thrill his home crowds and assist the BRM lads testing and racing their new car in the New Zealand Tasman rounds before heading back to the UK and completing his own 1968 F1 machine, the Ford Cosworth DFV V8 powered M7A! When Bruce returned to the UK Attwood took over the car for the Australian rounds with Pedro Rodriguez racing P126/01.

In fact Bruce’s somewhat lucky win in P126/02, after Jim Clark’s late race excursion at Teretonga was the only race victory the P126/P133 (two cars designated P133 were built at Bourne to Len’s design) chassis ever had. But don’t discount this series of racers though.

Bruce McLaren on the way to Teretonga International victory on 27 January 1968. Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW was 2nd and Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT23D Alfa was 3rd (I Peak/TRS)

Whilst the car’s Tasman Series was somewhat fraught, the best P126 results other than Bruce’s win were Dickie’s 6th in the Australian Grand Prix at Sandown and 4th at Longford- Pedro Rodriguez had the design leading two Grands Prix in 1968 and generally it was a front third of the field car, if lacking a bit in luck/reliability. These results included a front row start and leading the Spanish GP, 2nd at Spa, 3rd at Zandvoort, lead of the French GP and 4th in Mexico.

Lets not forget that sometime GeePee driver and 1970 Porsche 917 Le Mans winner Attwood took second place in the ’68 Monaco GP aboard a P126 too.

The late sixties BRM’s are often maligned but the P126/133’s results in 1968 F1 in a sea of Ford Cosworth V8’s (well five or six of them anyway in the hands of Lotus, McLaren and Ken Tyrell’s Matra International) were not too shabby at all, in part due to the learnings of the ’68 Tasman…

Etcetera: Attwood, BRM P126 ’03’ Monaco 1968…

The ‘King of Monaco’, Graham Hill won in the principality as he often did in the sixties but Attwood was a very fine second in the third of the P126’s built, a chassis he raced at Spa, Zandvoort, Rouen, Brands and the Nurburgring that year.


The high photos are beauties to show the key design elements of Len Terry’s car. The aluminium monocoque is a ‘full monocoque’ as against a ‘bathtub’, in common with his Lotus 38 and his Eagle T1G’s. Front suspension is period typical top rocker and lower wishbone with an inboard mounted coil spring/shock to get the mechanical gubbins outta the breeze.

See the spoiler on the nose- ’68 was the ‘Year of Wings’ with BRM being slow adopters and behind the eight-ball relative to other teams mid-season, but that is all to come. No seat belt yet for Dickie, which is interesting, six-point harnesses were not mandated until the start of 1972, but belts were common by Watkins Glen towards the 1968 seasons end.


Love those mag-alloy wheels, brakes are Girling, engine is carried by the chassis and is not a stressed member as the predecessor P75 H16 engine was in the P83 BRM tub. The Type 101 V12 was originally developed as a customer motor for F1 and sportscar use so its fitment needed to be ‘universal’ in multiple applications.


Beauty of a shot showing Attwood caressing his P126 through a delicate slide- it shows the effectiveness of the period typical rear suspension popping around 390 bhp to the tarmac. What was a leading Terry design trend are the parallel lower links which found their way into other designers lexicon circa 1971. The norm was an inverted lower wishbone. Otherwise the coil spring/shocks, single top link, twin radius rods and adjustable roll bar are ‘the usual’.

A Varley battery is vertically mounted beside the Hewland DG300 5 speed transaxle- the P126 design is notable as the first BRM without a Bourne ‘box. It was a good choice, these tough old jiggers are still for sale and in use with 550bhp Chev V8’s tearing away at their internals.

The power of that lovely V12, as stated above, around 390 bhp at this stage of the engines long evolution into the four-valver V12 success stories of 1970-2.

Photo and Other Credits… Keep, Ian Peak/The Roaring Season,



Craig Lowndes dropping into Mount Panorama’s Skyline/Esses, McLaren MP4/23 Mercedes V8, 22 March 2011…

Australian Formula Ford has been a factory for the creation of V8 Supercar Drivers for a couple of decades now. Every now and again one escapes to international racing success, Mark Webber, Will Power and Daniel Ricciardo spring to mind. I’ve not forgotten Larry Perkins I’m just referring to more recent times. But in the main V8 Supercars and to a lesser extent Porsche Cup racing has given local aces a place to ply their trade as well paid professionals.

The popularity and commercial success of Touring Car Racing in Australia relative to Single Seaters began circa 1960 and has continued unabated since. Even very popular single seater formulae such as the 2.5 Tasman and F5000 classes did not put a dent in the rise and rise of ‘Taxis’. Why? Its a topic for a whole series of articles but perhaps fundamentally the cars are easier for the average punter to understand and relate to, are spectacular to watch and have had a succession of ‘characters’ racing them. The absolute professionalism in the way V8 Supercars has been managed for so long now has widened the gulf further.

Lowndes, Van Dieman RF93 Formula Ford, Oran Park August 1993. Craig won 5 of the 8 ’93 rounds including OP (autopics)

Sponsors re-prioritised their spend over time away from the purer form of the sport to tourers. Drivers chase the dollars of course. So Taxis grew and grew. Its not that simple but its not much more complex either.

Back to the point of the article which is to discuss young talent and progression into the professional ranks.

It wasn’t always the case though, a career path into tourers. Often guys won the AFFC right into the nineties and none were picked up by professional touring car teams- the class was a bit of a closed shop with the young thrusters not especially welcome. Tomas Mezera is perhaps an exception but he ended up at HRT after he came back from his sojurn in Europe, so too did Russell Ingall make the transition after he returned from Europe.

Cameron McConville, the 1992 AFFC champ looked as though he may set a trend when Dick Johnson recruited him to race the second DJR machine at Bathurst in 1993 but then he boofed a fence and that was it for him, so it seemed. A 1996 win in the Australian GTP Championship in a Porsche 993 RS CS saw him brought back in from the cold- he beat Jim Richards in the Warwick Fabrics car that year, I remember being hugely impressed by his speed and professionalism.

None of yer poofhouse single seater stuff in here matey! Peter Brock was a great mentor to Lowndes early on , this shot of an HRT Commodore circa 1996. Brocky had an all too brief sojurn into ANF2 circa 1973 with a Birrana 272 Ford (unattributed)

Lowndes was the one who really paved the way for the guys who followed- most of the V8 Supercar champs have been Karting and Formula Ford graduates since Craig showed the way.

Out of Karts of course, initially he raced an old RF85 Van Diemen Formula Ford in 1991 and then won the AFFC title aboard an RF93 in 1993. Longtime openwheeler racer and enthusiast (and 1975 Bathurst 1000 winner with Peter Brock) Brian Sampson threw him a lifeline by giving him some drives in his Cheetah Mk9 Holden Formula Holden in 1994. It wasn’t the latest bit of kit by any stretch, in fact it was and IS the very first FH built. But Craig made the thing sing, I recall some very good drives in the car against Greg Murphy in a much more recent Reynard.

Lowndes, a motor mechanic by trade, didn’t have much money but he had ability, a likable and engaging personality and ability to communicate and some contacts via his Dad, Frank Lowndes who had been in and around motor racing forever as a car/engine builder and scrutineer.

Holden Racing Team tested him and he was immediately quick, consistent, and easy on the equipment getting a drive in the 1994 Sandown 500. Soon he was team-leader and won the V8 Supercar title in 1996. He hadn’t lost the fire in the belly for open-wheeler success, and even though he had the local scene at his feet he negotiated a year in the European F3000 Championship via Tom Walkinshaw who by then owned HRT.

Lowndes, Lola T96/50 Zytec Judd F3000, Silverstone 1997 (LAT)

Lowndes had a shocker of a year being comprehensively blown off by Juan Pablo Montoya, his teammate at RSM Marko aboard the mandated Lola T96/50 Zytec. To be fair, he was coming back into single-seaters after an absence of some years into a group of the best F1 aspirants in the world straight out of F3 or doing a second or third year in F3000. Lowndes did not get a fair crack of the whip in the team with minimal testing, Marko ran Lowndes to settle a debt owed to Walkinshaw- and focussed, not unnaturally on the fellow who was winning races- Montoya.

What Lowndes needed was another season, but back to V8 Supercars he came and a couple of other titles, six Bathurst 1000’s and all the rest. Of course he is still racing at the top level too. It would have been interesting to see how far he could have progressed with another season in Europe.

(B Moxon)

Jenson Button and Craig Lowndes, car a 2008 spec (champion that year in Lewis Hamilton’s hands) McLaren MP23/4 Mercedes 2.4 V8

Lowndes nipping a brake into Hell Corner (unattributed)

The opportunity to get to drive a contemporary F1 car was too good to be true and came about due to Vodaphones sponsorship of both McLaren and Triple Eight Racing who ran VE Holden Commodores that year. The day, just before the AGP at Albert Park involved closure of the Bathurst public roads- the circuit is just that, roads for most of the year with Lowndes and Jenson Button swapping seats between their respective F1 and V8 Supercar racers.


For misty eyed open-wheeler fans it was also an amazing ‘if only’, for Bathurst is indeed, in the words of Australian motor-racing historian John Medley ‘The Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’ and is where the Australian Grand Prix should be held. What a spectacle that would be! For that to occur the circuit would be destroyed to meet F1’s safety requirements, so of course it will never happen.

But for one day it was a reminder of what could be for enthusiasts and what might have been for Craig Lowndes had the racing cards been dealt or fallen a different way…

Comparo- F1 McLaren MP4/23 Mercedes Benz (2008) and V8 Supercar Holden ‘VE’ Commodore (2011)…


YouTube footage…


Vue Images, LAT, Bruce Moxon, Motor

Tailpiece: Imagine 26 of them zipping past…



Charles and John Cooper, Cooper Climax and Babe, late fifties…

I’m a big fan of the Getty Images archive, there are so many photographs there to inspire thousands of articles but Joisus the captions are usually pretty blardy useless. Good enough for the mum and dad recipients of the newspapers they were most often published in but lacking the detail anoraks demand!

This one is a case in point, it reads as follows: ‘Building Cooper Formula 2 racing cars for British racing. Charles Cooper (left) with a fitter at (sic) a Cooper Formula 2 car’, no date of course.

I’m not a Cooper expert but am keen to date the shot, identify the Cooper’s type and the name of the lissom young lass on the workshop wall!

Some hints: the Cooper has coil spring (when fitted) rather than transverse leaf front suspension. The Coventry Climax FPF engine is fitted with twin-SU rather than Weber carbs. The chassis is of no help to me in terms of distinctiveness, it’s the same ‘offensive to purists’ but ‘perfect in practice’ curvy Owen Maddock designed spaceframe which went into all Coopers of the period. Having said that an expert will see what I do not.

My guess, and its no more than that, is a 1958 Cooper T45 Climax. Mind you, that fuel tank is a biggie, matched by another on the other side- none fitted at the moment its more likely an F1 Cooper T51. Or maybe an F2 Cooper running in Gee Pee events as the T45 did with 2 litre FPF’s fitted in 1958.

But most importantly what is the name of blondie-locks, she really has the looks to lift the mood of even the snarliest mechanic on the coldest of Surbiton, winter mornings…


 PA Images



Stirling Moss guides his works Jaguar C Type through Fordwater on his way to 5th place at Goodwood sharing with 1951 Le Mans winner Peter Walker…

Britain’s first night race took take place at Goodwood on 16 August 1952. The British Automobile Racing Club hoped to emulate the commercial success of Le Mans, that classic a race of 24 hours duration of course.

The Goodwood enduro was a 9 hour event with a 3pm start to allow the spectators to see the cars in all their spectacular glory in the half light and full darkness.

Modifications were made to the circuits infrastructure by fitting floodlights to illuminate the grandstands and pits, the kerbs were given a coat of luminous paint and a beer tent was laid on, although due to post-war licensing laws it had to stop serving grog before the race ended! Sponsorship and plenty of pre-event publicity was provided by ‘The News of The World’ newspaper inclusive of £2,500 in prize money which represented a powerful incentive for the ‘local’ works teams and privateers to enter in force.

Jaguar and Aston Martin entered three car teams of C-types and DB3’s in the field of 32 cars. Both teams had much to prove. The C-Types were quick at Le Mans in June but all three cars retired with engine cooling related issues. The new Ferrari 250S and Mercedes Benz W194’s had been faster than the Jags, victorious at Le Mans in 1951, at the Mille Miglia in May. As a consequence Jaguar had designed a more aerodynamic body with a slightly smaller radiator. Jag’s cooling problems became apparent in practice, despite hasty modifications, solutions were not found pre-race. Peter Whitehead/Ian Stewart retired with a failed head gasket during the second hour, Stirling Moss/Peter Walker with engine problems in the third and the remaining Tony Rolt/Duncan Hamilton car with a head gasket failure in the fourth hour.

Le Mans 1952: #26 the Poore/Griffith Aston DB3 Spyder alongside the Parnell/Thompson DB3 Coupe, all three factory cars DNF (unattributed)

The new Aston DB3 ‘Spyders’ also failed to finish- Dennis Poore/Pat Griffith in the third hour with water pump failure and Lance Macklin/Peter Collins towards the finish with an accident in the twenty-second hour of the long, unforgiving race. The works DB3 Coupe driven by Parnell/Thompson retired in the second hour with gearbox dramas. The ’52 Le Mans was won by the Benz W194- Hermann Lang and Fritz Riess from the the sister car of Theo Helfrich and Helmut Niedermayr.

The chance to make a good showing on home turf was therefore ‘manna from heaven’.

Jaguar used the same driver combinations they deployed in France whilst Aston’s pairings were Reg Parnell with Eric Thompson, Peter Collins and Pat Griffith and George Abecassis with Dennis Poore.

Other strong entries included Pierre Levegh’s Talbot-Lago T26GS, famously for being so nearly the winner driving solo at Le Mans in 1952 before missing a gear very late in the race. Ferrari 225S’ were entered for Tom Cole/Graham Whitehead and Bobbie Baird/Roy Salvadori, a works Allard J2X for Anthony Hume and George Thomas plus a swag of Healey Silverstone, Frazer Nash Le Mans Rep, Jag XK120, Cooper T14 MG, HRG and HWM cars. In short, an interesting field that lacked only works Ferrari and Mercedes entries.


At the start Moss, at right, as usual, won the sprint to his car, but Tony Rolt, to Moss’ right led on lap one, but he was soon overtaken by Parnell’s Aston…

At the end of the first hour the order was Parnell, Rolt, Abecassis, Moss and Baird, Ferrari 225S, then Whitehead.

Then the weather started to improve and as the track dried, the Jaguar’s pace became apparent with both Rolt and Moss passing Parnell. So, Jag, Jag, Jag, Aston, but then Whitehead crashed his C Type.

Disaster struck the Feltham team on lap 91 during a routine refuelling pit stop when Parnell’s car caught fire, burning two of the crew and team manager John Wyer. Parnell showed great leadership and strength of character, whilst his race drive was over he stood in for the injured Wyer to take over the critical team management role.

Eric Thompson came into the pits 3 hours into the race with smoke pouring from the rear of the car. Wyer and mechanic Jack Sopp pulled up the seats to investigate whilst Fred Lowndes refuelled. Spilt fuel from the last churn went onto the tail of the car and ran down onto the undertray where it was ignited by hot oil from a leaking fuel seal- within seconds the car was engulfed in flames and smoke. Wyer and Sopp suffered bad burns, Lowndes not so much but all 3 were taken to hospital whereupon Reg Parnell took charge. Aston DB3/3 was destroyed- and later rebuilt, Parnell, drove it to 5th in the 1953 Mille Miglia (unattributed)


At half distance the Moss/Walker Jaguar C Type led from the sister XKC of Rolt/Hamilton. The third C-type had crashed at Madgwick and retired whilst the DB3 of Abecassis/Poore had also dropped out of contention.

By 9pm the drivers had switched their headlights on, the spectacle of racing at Goodwood at night was fantastic but within half an hour of that a half shaft broke on the Rolt/Hamilton C Type which , allowed the remaining Aston of Collins/Griffith through, that car was then overtaken by the quick Ferrari 225S driven by Bobby Baird and Roy Salvadori.

Half an hour later Jaguar’s collapse was complete when the leading Moss/Walker car entered the pits with a broken rear radius arm that would take nearly an hour to repair. It is said that Jaguar boss Sir William Lyons was blissfully ignorant of all of the dramas which befell his team as he had retired to Goodwood House from the pitlane to enjoy what appeared to be a certain win!


The doomed Parnell/Thompson Aston DB3/3 earlier in the race prior to its demise (Getty)

In a race of rapidly changing fortunes the Baird/Salvadori Ferrari 225S had gone from from 4th to 1st in little more than an hour, but in a final twist of fate, on its last pit stop, the jack intended to lift the car sank into the patch of tarmac, softened by the earlier Aston DB3 fire! The loss of time was sufficient to let the Collins/Griffith DB3 into the lead with just an hour of the race to run. That pairing duly won despite an exhaust valve breaking an hour before the events end, from the two privateer Ferrari 225S’ driven by Cole/Whitehead and Baird/Salvadori.

Collins in the winning Aston DB3 early in the race (unattributed)

The Telegraph reported that ‘The Nine Hour had all the ingredients of a classic race; the changing weather, the drama of the pit fire and a dramatic fight for the lead, not to mention the fact that so many of the cars were competing on home soil. Yet the spectators were distinctly unmoved, many only arriving once the night racing began, and few staying for the duration. These were people who attended Goodwood for a grand day out – a nine-hour endurance race, where the leader wasn’t always obvious, was simply too long’.

‘When the Nine Hour race returned the following year it did so without any newspaper sponsorship to offer pre-event coverage. Spectators numbers fell as a result and with them the carnival atmosphere that made Le Mans such a success. Those who did go frequently left when it got dark, defeating the event’s raison d’être. It didn’t matter that the racing was first class (Aston would win again in ’53 and, after the race skipped a year, scored a third victory at what would be the last Nine Hour race in ’55) if nobody was there watching it. Perhaps the British will always see night racing as too good an excuse for a holiday abroad.’ the Telegraph concluded.

There was no World Sportscar or Manufacturers Championship in 1952, that competition started in 1953. However the classic race spoils went to Mercedes Benz W194/300SL at Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana with a Ferrari 250S victorious at the Mille Miglia and a Lancia Aurelia B20 at the Targa Florio

Vaino Hollming Jag XK120 leads Pierre Levegh Talbot-Lago T26GS then the Lawrence Mitchell Frazer Nash High Speed, Goodwood 9 Hour (Getty)

Aston Martin DB3 Technical Specifications…

Ex-Auto Union design team member Robert Eberan-Eberhorst first worked for ERA when he come to the UK post-war. He was contracted for 3 years from November 1930 to design a sports-racer for Astons which was to use the AML LMB 2.6 litre 6 cylinder engine and a David Brown 5 speed gearbox.

He chose a period typical ladder frame chassis design, the main members made from 16 guage, 4 inch chrome-molybdenum tubes with substantial cross bracing by three 14 guage 5 inch tubes.

Front suspension was similar to the DB2- trailing links, transverse torsion bars, piston type shocks and a roll bar. At the rear a more sophisticated De Dion rear axle was deployed. This was constructed from three steel sections welded together and was located by a Panhard Rod and parallel locating links. The upper links ran fore and aft, the lower links angled. Each of the lower links engaged by serrations with a transverse torsion bar. Armstrong double piston dampers were used. The car weighed circa 2165 pounds/980Kg with 9 gallons of fuel.


Steering was by rack and pinion with 2 turns lock to lock, brakes were Al-fin drums, inboard at the rear. Spoked wire wheels were of course used with Rudge-Whitworth knock-off hubs.

The DB3 first raced in 2580cc form, with triple 35DCO Weber twin-choke carburettors. The alloy, DOHC, 2 valve head engine developed 133bhp @ 5500rpm. The gearbox was a DB S527, 5 speed with overdrive top gear, from July 1952 a DB S430/63R 4 speed box was used.

Into 1952 the engines ran Weber 36DCF carbs making 140bhp @ 5200rpm, still way too little. By the 1952 Monaco GP a 2922cc engine developed 147bhp @5000rpm but any increase in capacity of the LB6 engine was impossible as each pair of bores were siamesed.

163bhp was achieved from an engine with 35DCO twin-choke Webers and connecting rods with offset big ends at the Goodwood 9 Hour in 1952.


Article by Chris Knapman in ‘The Telegraph’ April 2011, ‘Aston Martin: The Racing Cars’ Anthony Pritchard

Photo Credits…

Getty Images, Klemantaski Archive, Don Price, Autocar




Jochen Rindt awaits the start of the Australian Grand Prix, Lakeside, Queensland on 2 February 1969…

Alongside the Austrians Lotus 49B is Australian Niel Allen’s ex-Courage McLaren M4A Ford FVA F2, the bi-winged device behind Jochen is the Piers Courage Frank Williams owned Brabham BT24 Ford DFW.

Jochen’s switched his engine off, as it tightened before it went ka-boom, having had problems in practice, on lap 43 whilst in third. Niel was 5th and Piers had an accident on lap 5 after a passing move on Graham Hill went pear-shaped at BMC bend. Chris Amon won in his works Ferrari 246T Dino.

Rindt’s Lotus 49 during dry, Saturday practice at Warwick Farm. He and Chris Amon’s Ferrari 246T had an electrifying duel for pole, won by Jochen in the final minutes of qualifying that day (R MacKenzie)

Allen Brown’s summary of the 1969 Tasman Series is a great one, it says a lot in the minimum number of words. I like that!

‘Chris Amon was back for 1969 and taking it much more seriously with two Ferrari 246T/69s for himself and teammate Derek Bell and four 300 bhp 24-valve engines. Despite the loss of Jim Clark, Lotus were present with a two-car team of Lotus 49Bs for Graham Hill and new teammate Jochen Rindt. BRM did not enter so the only other overseas entry was Frank Williams who had a Brabham BT24 for Piers Courage’.

Rindt, Brabham, Amon, Hill and Courage on Sandown’s pit straight with Rindt hooking into Peters Corner for the run up the back straight. Lotus 49 Ford DFW, Brabham BT31 Repco, Ferrari 246T, Lotus 49B Ford DFW and Brabham BT24 Ford DFW. Sandown International 100, 16 February 1969- Amon won from Rindt, Brabham and Gardner (unattributed)

‘Rindt proved to be Amon’s closest rival but spun away the lead at both Pukekohe and Levin, leaving Amon to win both races, before the Austrian took a comfortabe win at Wigram. A dominant victory at Lakeside’s Australian GP for Amon meant Rindt could no longer catch him and when Amon and Courage tangled at Warwick Farm, the Kiwi was champion’. Rindt had a stunning weekend in both practice and an amazing wet weather drive which blew the minds of the Sydney spectators and his rivals.

‘He (Amon) rounded off the season with victory at Sandown, his sixth in two seasons’.

Rindt mesmerised 16,000 soggy Sydney-siders with his raceday drive during the ’69 Warwick Farm 100 on 9 February. He ran away and hid after Amon and Piers Courage collided on the first lap (R MacKenzie)

Now that the visiting British teams were using F1 cars and then taking them home, there was no longer the annual influx of new machinery for the locals. Alec Mildren had the funding necessary to commission specials but the number of competitive 2.5-litre cars was definitely dropping. David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce was the nominal entrant of Amon’s Ferraris but no longer ran their own car. This season, Mildren had installed his Alfa V8 in a car designed for him by Len Bailey and constructed by Alan Mann Racing in England’(the monocoque Mildren Alfa ‘Yellow Submarine in addition to his ’68 Tasman Special, the Brabham BT23D Alfa driven by Kevin Bartlett’).

Bibliography & Photo Credits…

Allen Brown on, Rod MacKenzie

Tailpiece: Moody Rindt shot, Warwick Farm 1969- check the mirror folks…

(R MacKenzie)