Grand Prix cars; Ferrari 156/63 F1 1963, red Lotus Climax FPF, at left a Lotus 18 Climax FPF and Lotus 33 Climax FWMV (M Bisset)

The Ferrari 156/63 holds centre-stage at the Musee National de l’Automobile, Mulhouse, France in July 2019…

When I saw it I didn’t recognise the car at all.

The 156 went from 1961 World Champ to 1962 World Chump. Then, to me, along came Ferrari’s ‘Aero-framed’ semi-monocoque 1.5-litre V8 engined 158 with which John Surtees won the 1964 championship in a great battle with Jim Clark’s Lotus 15/33 Climax and Graham Hill’s BRM P261.

Not so fast. Between the 156 and 158 were the T56, 156, 156/62P, 156/63, 156 F1-63 and Aero 156 depending upon your source as to model names, the 156/63 is one of those cars.

Ferrari raced on with the 156 largely unchanged in 1962 given their sudden paucity of team leaders. Mr Ferrari had a mass-departure of top executives, including 156 designer, Carlo Chiti, that winter. Their exodus to Automobili Turismo e Sport (ATS) was an unmitigated disaster, that story is here; ‘Automobili Turismo e Sport’ : A.T.S. F1… | primotipo…

But Ferrari had depth in the ranks, young engineer, Mauro Forghieri set to work on a series of cars more akin to British chassis design orthodoxy, and ultimate success in 1964.

Forghieri (born 13 January 1935) joined Ferrari in 1960 after completing an engineering degree at Bologna University the year before.

The key team which took the Scuderia forward included engineers Rocchi, assisted by Bellei  – with oversight provided by Vittorio Jano – on the new V8 (1964). Ing Salvarini looked after gearboxes and suspension with Bussi doing dyno engine testing and development.

The Flat-12 (1964-65) design was Forghieri’s, as was the at circuit role and liasion between the race-team and technical group. In short, he was team-leader.

John Surtees, Ferrari 156/63, 1963 US GP at Watkins Glen. Grid three and DNF valve failure was his haul that weekend (MotorSport)

With time short that winter, there was little time to develop the existing 156s. Before Chiti left, V6 developments included a two-valver with twin-plugs, a two-valver with three-plugs, a three-valver with two-plugs and a four-valver with one-plug (!), for which 210bhp @ 10,000rpm was claimed.

Chassis changes involved a move towards a lower polar moment of inertia which was achieved by moving the masses within the a wheelbase. A new 6-speed gearbox was also available. It could be mounted conventionally, overhung behind the rear axle, or within the wheelbase, albeit the former was preferred.

That year Forghieri tried wide track 156s, but lost top-speed wasn’t exceeded by greater cornering ability. In effect, Ferrari had a stand-still year as Forghieri developed a more competitive ’63 car and established the foundations for mid-term success.

Mauro’s early cars, the spaceframe 1962 156/62P and 1963 156/63, and semi-monocoque 156 Aero, were still powered by the trusty Tipo 178 1.5-litre, twelve-valve V6, by then Bosch direct fuel injected.

This engine was well trumped by the British Coventry Climax FWMV and BRM P56 V8s in 1962, but Forghieri’s chassis’ were much nicer modern affairs than the 1961 156. Gradually Ferrari bridged the opposition’s gap in 1962-63 setting up its driver and manufacturer titles in 1964.

Lorenzo Bandini in Forghieri’s new Ferrari 156/62P #0008 during the German GP, Nurburgring August 1962 (MotorSport)

Ferrari 156/62P…

Ferrari had built nine 156s by the end of 1961, they built another three in 1962; #0007, #0008 and #0009. #0007 was a new 156 of evolved design as mentioned above, while #0008 and #0009 were Forghieri’s new 156/62P experimental machines.

These two cars were smaller, neater small-tube spaceframes with rear suspension practice and geometry akin to the British opposition, albeit the archaic, heavy, and beautiful Borrani wire wheels were retained.

Bandini’s 156/62P in the Nurburgring paddock. Behind him are Phil Hill’s #1, and Giancarlo Baghetti’s #2 normale 156s (MotorSport)

Forghieri’s 156/62P #0008 was finally ready and raced by Lorenzo Bandini in the German GP that August, he qualified 18th but was out after an accident on lap five.

Mauro Forghieri was further empowered late season when John Surtees joined the Scuderia. His engineering knowledge and interest, and fierce determination to effectively use Ferrari’s vast resources ensured significant progress was made that winter and into 1963.

Willy Mairesse at Monza during the 1962 Italian GP weekend in 156/62P #0008. He did well, fourth place. Note the changes to the rear bodywork in the shot below compared with the car as appeared at the  Nurburgring a month earlier

Willy Mairesse was given the car at Monza. He qualified 10th, finished fourth and was the best placed of the 156 Dinos on the grid and in terms of race results. Clearly progress was being made.

That weekend Willy also tested #0009, it had only just been completed with its beautiful hand formed aluminium body still unpainted (below)

Apart from differences in the nose of the car compared with its 156/62P sibling #0008, the rear suspension of this car is completely different. Gone is the top link and wide-based lower wishbone, in its place is a multi-link set up more akin to contemporary British practice, viz; single top link, inverted lower wishbone and two radius rods, adjustable roll bar and coil spring/Koni dampers.

Big Ferrari news for 1963 was Surtees recruitment, latterly of the Bowmaker Lola Team. During this period of change, Surtees tested at Modena, including a drive of what appears to be 156/62P #0009, above.

The photograph is dated November 26, 1962 (Getty Images’ dating of shots is often wrong). Note that the rear suspension of the car at this time is different to that over the Italian GP weekend when Mairesse tested it.

Ludovico Scarfiotti, Ferrari 156/63 at Zandvoort, 1963 Dutch Grand Prix. The young Italian was sixth in his first championship GP (MotorSport)

Ferrari 156/63…

Forghieri worked over the winter on the 156/63, another neat multi-tubular spaceframe car of small gauge tubes. An evolution of the existing V6 was bolted to a new six-speed gearbox with lightweight, magnesium alloy Campagnolo wheels part of an attractive package. As stated Mauro was greatly empowered by Surtees arrival, progress was enhanced.

Ferrari 156/63 cutaway, technical specifications as per text (Vic Berris)

Willy Mairesse displaying the beautiful lines of his new Ferrari 156/63 at Monte Carlo in May (MotorSport)

Business end of a 156/63 (MotorSport)

In 1963 spec the two-valve, fuel injected DOHC V6 gave a claimed 205/210bhp. Michael May adapted Bosch direct fuel injection to the motor.

Noteworthy is that by the end of 1963 F1-was-fuel-injected by Lucas and Bosch. There were still downdraft Webers to be seen on customer V8s, but up at front fuel injection was the go.

The gearbox had six speeds, front suspension the usual outboard fare of upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/shocks. At the rear the regime was again period typical, single upper link, a lower inverted wishbone and twin radius rods with coil spring/Koni shocks and adjustable roll bars front and rear. Steering was rack and pinion with Campagnolo magnesium alloy wheels finally replacing the Borrani wires. Brakes were Dunlop disc, inboard at the rear.

Three 156/63 machines were built; chassis #0001, #0002 and #0003, the team missed early season non-championship races to focus on testing at Modena and Monza.

Surtees started the season strongly in Monaco, qualifying third and finishing fourth, Mairesse was Q7 and DNF with a final drive failure. Up front Graham Hill won for BRM.

At Spa Mairesse qualified third at home but failed to finish with fuel injection problems. Surtees qualified 10th, he too had fuel injection problems, a faulty pipe. Jim Clark won and commenced an amazing run in his Lotus 25 Climax which saw him take his first World Championship.

At Zandvoort Surtees was a great third from Q5, and Scarfiotti sixth from Q11. At Reims John was out with a split fuel pipe failure from Q4, a good effort after fuel injection problems in practice which were sorted by Bosch technicians. Scarfiotti didn’t start after a practice crash.

At Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, Surtees qualified fifth and finished in the same spot while Scarfiotti wasn’t entered. Up front, it was Clark’s Lotus all the way.

(MotorSport)

On that most challenging of tracks, the Nurburgring, the teams hard work was vindicated with a dominant win from Surtees from grid two (above), while Willy Mairesse was out with an accident.

A fortnight after the German GP, Ferrari contested the non-championship GP del Mediterraneo at Enna where Surtees took a pole to flag victory.

Then, tails-up, it was off to Monza in September where the Tifosi were ecstatic with anticipation after Surtees plonked his new 156 Aero on pole, sadly he was out with engine failure during the race. Bandini started sixth in a 156/63 but was outted with gearbox failure, Clark’s Lotus 25 won again.

Let’s deal with the specifications of the 156 Aero – an interim model put together with great attention to detail due to the 158’s V8 engine running late – in a little bit.

Surtees shows the massive 1963 Monza crowd his new Ferrari 156 Aero in September 1963, the ultimate expression of the 156 type, or family of cars first tested throughout 1960 (MotorSport)

Beautiful 156 Aero at Monza, key elements as per text but note entirely paradigm rear suspension, injected V6, inboard brakes and long-overhang 6-speed transaxle (MotorSport)

Butt-shot of Surtees’ 156/63 at Watkins Glen (MotorSport)

At Watkins Glen, Surtees qualified a strong third aboard a 156/63 on the fast, challenging Watkins Glen course but had valve failure in the race. Bandini started ninth and finished fifth. In Mexico Surtees 156 Aero was disqualified after receiving outside assistance from grid two, while Bandini had engine failure from seventh on the grid.

John Surtees’ consistently strong performances yielded 22 points, placing him fourth in the 1963 drivers championship behind Clark’s Lotus 25 Climax, then Hill G and Richie Ginther aboard BRM P57s. The Surtees/Scuderia Ferrari combination approached 1964 with plenty of optimism and two new cars, the 158 and 1512.

Bandini on the way to victory on the Zeltweg Airfield circuit, Austrian GP, Ferrari 156 Aero in August 1964. He is passing Trevor Taylor’s abandoned BRP Mk1 BRM, broken suspension. It was the only GP win for the Italian and the 156 Aero Ferrari (MotorSport)

Ferrari 156 Aero…

Despite the arrival of the Aero semi-monocoque chassis 158 and 1512 the venerable 156 still played an important role in 1964.

As we have seen, with development of the new V8 behind schedule, a 120-degree V6 was adapted to Forghieri’s new Type 579 chassis to allow its debut at Monza in September 1963.

The chassis was based on a simple un-triangulated tubular internal frame to which were riveted stress bearing aluminium skins. This hybrid monocoque was unlike that pioneered by Len Terry and Colin Chapman at Lotus, but served Ferrari very well for nearly two decades.

“Two parallel fuel tank pontoons, each of which was fabricated and riveted aircraft style over a sketchy framework of two tube longerons staggered slightly in the vertical plane” wrote Doug Nye.

“These tubes doubled as water and oil feeds between engine and coolers. The completed pontoons were then united laterally throughout their length by a stressed floor panel with angle stiffening plates, and at each end were riveted to transverse bulkheads.”

“That at the front was doubled to sandwich inboard coil spring damper units operated by top rocker arms like Lotus’s, while the entire hybrid monocoque terminated behind the cockpit in a hefty fabricated rear bulkhead.”

Look carefully at Surtees’ 156 Aero chassis at Monza in 1963. You can see the rivet lines where the aluminium skin is attached to the tubes underneath. Visible also is the boom extension to the tub on this side to support the engine, it also carried the V8 which was never a fully stressed part of the chassis as Forghieri originally intended. Note the the twin-plugs and Bosch injection with the metering unit between the Vee, also the inboard Dunlop calipers rotor/disc, and six-speed transaxle (MotorSport)

Ferrari 156 Aero cutaway. It’s not so easy to quickly pick the spaceframe 156 from the semi-monocoque Aero. The most obvious difference in addition to the chassis, is top rocker front suspension on this car as against the wishbones of the earlier 156/63 (James Allington)
156 Aero front detail at Monza in 1963. Top rocker and hat of coil spring/Koni, note the bulkheads on which the rocker pivots, water radiator/cap and oil tank behind, master cylinders for brakes times two, and clutch. Under these is the steering rack and arm attached to a cast magnesium upright.

The design of the V8 and Flat-12 engines was radical in that their blocks were cast to allow them to form stress bearing components of the car, rather than the engine being attached to pontoons or an A-frame in the more traditional manner. That is, the motors bolted to the rear chassis bulkhead and accepted suspension loads.

Using the engine structurally then was rare. Vittorio Jano designed his 2.5-litre, quad-cam V8 as a stress bearing member of his front-engined Lancia D50 in 1954. BRM achieved it with Big-Bertha, the 1966 BRM P83 H16, so too did the similarly engined Lotus 43.

Forghieri and Ferrari team did so in 1964 with their Flat-12 Ferrari 1512. They didn’t persevered long enough with the V8 crankcase/block design to achieve the feat with the 158.  Jano was retained by Ferrari as a consultant during this period, this path was perhaps a suggestion he made to Forghieri and the design team?

The new V8 was running late in its development, so, as related, the V6 was adapted to allow testing and racing the Aero chassis.

Support trusses were added to its rear to carry the V6, which had not of course been designed to be a stressed member. Mind you, some references have it as “partially stressed”. The Aero’s front and rear suspension was contemporary standard British design practice.

Lorenzo Bandini aboard his 156 Aero in the Brands Hatch paddock during the 1964 British GP weekend. Note the different wheels to ’63. #1 is Jim Clark’s winning Lotus 25 Climax, #24 is Peter Revson’s Lotus 24 BRM (MotorSport)

The 156 Aero raced into 1964 in Bandini’s hands as the definitive 158 was made competitive and reliable by Surtees and Forghieri. Until then the 156 was reasonably kind to him.

While ‘Il Grande John’ won the German GP in a 158, Bandini popped a 156 Aero on the outside of the front row and finished third. He went two better at Zeltweg winning the race run on the rough-as-guts broken concrete airfield surface as other cars, including Surtees’ 158, were shaken to bits!

It was the last win for a V6 engine in F1 until the turbo-charged Renault V6s a decade or so hence. It was rather a nice last hurrah for engines which had delivered so much for so long since 1957.

Not that it was over yet for this family of Ferrari engines. An engine adapted for the 3-litre F1 Formula, the 246 raced in Bandini’s hands in 1966. Not to forget the 246 Tasman Formula engines for Chris Amon, Derek Bell and Graeme Lawrence fitted in multiple different specifications to 246T chassis from 1968 to 1971…

Chassis numbers…

Doug Nye provided the following explanation of the chassis numbers attributed to the 156/62P, 156/63 and 156 Aero.

“According to the hand-written chassis allocation record which Mr Ferrari’s Lieutenant Dr Franco Gozzi sent me in 1978 when I was compiling the ‘Dino book’ the chassis numbers are as follows.”

“1962 German GP – Bandini – chassis ‘0008’ – which was a number identifying the prototype ‘Sharknose’ chassis in which Baghetti had won at Syracuse and Naples in 1961, then crashed by him in the British GP and quite badly damaged. It was then – by inference – rebuilt into the ‘P’ form (156/62P) in time to reappear at the Nurburgring in 1962.”

“1962 Italian GP – Bandini drove chassis ‘0006’ – which was another 1961-series ‘Sharknose’ serial first identifying the car which Ricard Rodriguez drove in the ’61 Italian GP. Into 1962 it became Willy Mairesse’s Brussels GP winning chassis, then Bandini placed it fifth at Pau and second at Naples. Ricardo Rodriguez was then sixth in the German GP before Lorenzo raced it at Monza…There, ‘Wild Willy’ drove the rebuilt ‘0008’ – or at least a car entered under that identity.  Remember this is as prepared from the Ferrari records supplied to me back in ’78.”

“Incidentally, the ‘0008’ serial derives from the preceding front-engined Dino 246 F1/156 F2 family of chassis IDs.  They ran from ‘0001’ to ‘0007’ front-engined, with the rear-engined 246MP (‘Motore Posteriore‘) given its sole F1 outing by Ginther at Monaco in 1960, then being converted to 156 F2 form to be raced by Trips, winning the 1960 Solitude GP before finishing fifth overall and as F2 winner in the dual-class 1960 Italian GP at Monza.”

“I believe it is highly likely that the ‘0008’ prototype F1 which ran at the Nurburgring 1962 was a different and brand-new entity probably exploiting the team’s existing old Customs carnet so far as the serial ID is concerned.”

“The 1963 cars launched a whole new chassis number sequence, three 156/63s being built serialled ‘0001’-2-3 (surprisingly enough).  The prototype 156/63 ‘Aero’ was given the same-series chassis ID ‘0004’ promptly qualifying on pole at Monza.”

“For the US GP Ferrari works records indicate that Surtees raced ‘0004’.  Without checking further I don’t think that’s right. A wishbone mount pulled out of the chassis in practice and John raced the spaceframe car instead (Doug’s conclusion is consistent with race photographs). This was perhaps ‘0003’ rebuilt after Willy’s Ring crash, or entirely replaced under the same serial.” 

“In the following 1963 Mexican GP both John and Bandini drove ‘Aero’-chassised cars, with John listed by the works as having been in ‘0003’ and Bandini in ‘0001’.  I would lay good money on them having simply used the old spaceframe-series chassis numbers – and Carnets – for those cars, and for this having been dutifully entered in the factory records by the pen-pusher responsible.”

Etcetera: 1963 Ferrari 156/63…

Giulio Borsari tops up the Ferrari 156/63 125-litre fuel tank, with a dose of Shell’s finest Avgas at Monaco in 1963. Oh to have a pair of those overalls!

It looks like Surtees’ car, #21, he was fourth in the race won by Graham Hill’s BRM P57. Note the leather bound steering wheel and chassis cockpit bracing tubes. What sort of Dunlop in 1963, R5 perhaps?

(G Goddard/GP Library)

Graham Hill chasing John Surtees at Monaco in 1963 aboard a Ferrari 156/63 and BRM P57 or P578 depending upon your preference. Graham won from Richie Ginther in the other Owen Racing Organisation entry from Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T66 Climax, then Surtees.

They are such pretty little cars these 1.5-litre GP machines, mighty fast of course.

(unattributed)

Surtees’ 156/63 failed to finish with an inert fuel-pump, perhaps he is seeking to diagnose or rectify the problem, concentration not so easy on this high speed part of Reims.

Clark won from Tony Maggs and Graham Hill aboard Lotus 25 Climax, Cooper T66 Climax and BRM P61.

(LAT)

At first glance I thought it was Surtees at the Nürburgring in 1963. But it’s 1964, he’s aboard a Ferrari 158, he won the German GP in both years. It’s a Cooper T73 Climax behind, either Bruce McLaren or Phil Hill. Surtees won from pole ahead of Graham Hill’s BRM P261, with Lorenzo Bandini’s Ferrari 156 Aero a splendid third. See here for a short piece on the Ferrari 158; N.A.R.T. Ferrari 158’s… | primotipo…

Photo and reference credits…

Getty Images, Sutton Images, GP Library, LAT, Bernard Cahier, Ferrari website, grandprix.com, racing-reference.info, James Allington, ‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye – special thanks to Doug for his note on the chassis number details

Tailpiece…

(unattributed)

Pretty as a picture at Silverstone, British GP 1963. The driver looks to sit quite far forward, or is it an optical trick?

Surtees’ 156/63 among the Silverstone fields with perhaps not quite the mumbo to really challenge Clark’s winning Lotus 25 Climax. The BRM duo of Graham Hill and Richie Ginther completed John’s V8 sandwich, in P56 V8 engined P57s.

Finito…

Comments
  1. George says:

    “Surtees 156 failed to finish with an inert fuel-pump, perhaps he is seeking to diagnose or rectify the problem- concentration not so easy on this high speed part of Rouen.”

    Slip of the keyboard? I believe you meant to write Reims.

  2. Gerry LaRue says:

    I have always thought the 156/63 V-6 was the most beautiful F1 Ferrari–better looking to my eye than the Aero design which seems to be the preferred choice. Glad to see it get some love! Wish I knew it was in the Mulhouse Museum as I used to go a town nearby for work once a year but never made it to the Museum.

    • markbisset says:

      Gerry,
      Definitely worth a look, it’s grouped in the section with the other F1 cars, so good to see in context amongst a group of cars spanning about 80 years.
      Mark

    • David E.M. Thompson says:

      Gerry, the 1.5L F1 cars were, all of them, the most beautiful rear engined F1 cars. And the cars in the rest of the 60s – before wings – were second. The tall wings were the very end of beautiful F1 cars. And very nearly the end of Rindt and G.Hill.

  3. DIDIER LOURDE says:

    In 1963, Dunlop introduced the R6. It was an all weather tyre.

    The R 6 shows 5 per cent advantage over the 1962 R5.
    Drivers found this R6 difficult to drive in the dry because too stiff.
    This was overcome by mating the R5 construction to the wide tread of R6.
    The cornering forces broke the 1 G barrier for the first time

    In 1965, Dunlop introduced the R 7.

    (source : 1,5 l Grand prix racing – Low power, high tech – Mark Whitelock)

  4. DIDIER LOURDE says:

    Yes, very interesting (F1 and Indy)

    In 1964, Nurbürgring, Phil Hill (Cooper T73) and Mc Laren (Cooper T73) had engine trouble during the race..

    Only one lap for Hill and four laps for Mc Laren (DNF).

    So it is possible that the Cooper behind Big John is Mc Laren’s car…

  5. […] do check out this article, Ferrari 156/62P, 156/63 and 156 Aero… | primotipo… I’ve re-written it and doubled the number of photographs. Hopefully it’s now a decent […]

  6. Roger Clark says:

    A couple more links in the chain:

    Denis Jenkinson wrote in his report of the 1962 Italian Grand Prix: “There were three brand new cars at the factory with rear suspension like a Lotus but a major error had been committed in copying the geometry and there was not time to correct it, so these cars had to be left behind.”

    These may be the cars that Mairesse and Surtees are pictured testing (unpainted) in the article. We can see that Mairesses’s car has the radius arm attached to the top of the rear hub carrier while Surtees’ has it at the level of the drive shaft. The cars raced like this the cars were raced like this in 1963 and throughout the 1.5-litre formula although BRM and Lotus switched to higher attachments when Dunlop introduced wide tyres.

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Roger,
      Interesting, three cars.
      I thought the two unpainted ones may have been the same chassis with two different evolutions of rear suspension thinking, but, together with the Nurburgring/Monza car that makes three.
      I wonder if any of these chassis became a 156/63? Otherwise, in the best of 156 tradition, perhaps they were destroyed?
      Mark

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