Archive for February, 2020

Vanwall Cutaway…

Posted: February 28, 2020 in F1, Fotos
Tags: ,

Lawrence Watts quite beautiful cutaway drawing of the 1957/8 Vanwall Grand Prix car…

Simply superb, as is Max Millar’s effort on the car, and Vic Berris’ work on the engine.

I wrote a feature a while back on the Thinwall Specials, Vanwall Special and the Vanwalls, click here to read it; https://primotipo.com/2014/09/05/vanwall-cars-and-the-moroccan-grand-prix-1958/

Do take the effort as that piece is my feature this week!

Over the last ten days i have converted my 1500 word ‘whacky-dacky’ which started as a short piece on the 1958 Moroccan GP and then morphed over time into a ‘quickie’ on the Vanwalls into a 10,000 word feature with a crazy 80 or so photographs.

So check it out even if you read the old version a while back.

Mechanical specifications of the 2.5 litre, DOHC, two valve, fuel injected, four cylinder spaceframe machine- winner of the 1958, and first, F1 Constructors Championship are as per the text in the feature article.

Credits…

Laurence Watts, Vic Berris, Max Millar

Finito…

(Theo Page)

Perhaps MG saved the best till last?

EX181 was the marque’s final record breaker, which commenced with the 1930/1 EX120…

The famous company, in part built its brand very cost effectively by setting a number of Land Speed Records down the decades. Stirling Moss did 245.64 mph and 245.11 mph for the flying kilometre and flying mile respectively in August 1957, and Phil Hill 254.91 mph and 254.53 mph over the same distances in October 1959 with EX181’s engine increased in capacity from 1489cc to 1506cc- this allowed the sneaky Brits to bag both under 1500cc and under 2000cc records, both at Bonneville.

Twin inlets in the cars nose pushed air thru ducts either side of the driver and flow to the radiators, carb inlets, the engine and transmission- outlet ducts clear (unattributed)

The Roaring Raindrop was not just a teardrop shape known to give minimum aerodynamic drag at subsonic speeds- in side elevation it also had the cross section of an aerofoil to a wing section of Polish origin which was identified by MG Chief Engineer Syd Enever as ideal for the task. His theory was tested by Harry Herring in the Armstrong Whitworth wind tunnel.

The Morris Engines Experimental Department in Coventry developed an MGA twin-cam, two valve engine which had many trick lightweight competition internals ‘off the shelf’ and a massive Shorrock supercharger driven by a spur gear from the front of an extended crankshaft fed by two whopper 2.5 inch SU carbs. The fuel mix was one third each petrol, benzol and methanol.

The 1957 1489cc engine developed 290 bhp @ 7300 rpm and 516 lb/ft of torque @ 5600 rpm using 32 psi of boost. Cooling of the motor was achieved by the use of two curved radiators from an Avro Shackleton marine reconnaissance aircraft.

(mgaguru)

 

(mgaguru)

EX181 was built under the supervision of Terry Mitchell using a bespoke twin-tube chassis with MGA derived suspension at the front- wishbones, coil springs and lever arm hydraulic shocks and a de Dion rear setup deploying quarter elliptic leaf springs and again lever arm shocks.

Cooling for the single Girling disc brake was provided by a small hinged rear flap on the central spine of the machine aft of the cockpit, this popped  up when the driver pushed the brake pedal and also acted as an air brake.

The final essential element in the cars record breaking specification was Dunlop 24 inch diameter tyres capable of inflation to in excess of 100 psi.

Snug in there, Moss Bonneville 1957

Etcetera…

(S Dalton Collection)

Credits..

Autocar, Theo Page, MotorSport article August 2008, mgaguru.com, Stephen Dalton Collection

Tailpiece: Phil Hill, EX181 Bonneville, 1959…

(unattributed)

Finito…

 

(HAGP)

Stewart, Hill, Clark, yellow nosed black bodied Gardner, Palmer looking like Clark, Martin in red and Geoghegan white- BRM P261 by two, Lotus 39, yellow nose Brabham BT11A, Lotus 32B of Palmer, red Brabham BT11A of Martin (all but the BRM’s Coventry Climax FPF powered) and Leo’s white Lotus 32 Ford. AGP- the off 20 February 1966 and what a marvellous vista Lakeside is…

The front row of the grid pretty much summed up the 1966 Tasman Cup, the two BRM P261’s driven by Hill and Stewart, two of the finest racers of their time were the class of the field powered by 1.9 litre versions of the ‘P56’ V8’s which won so many races during the 1961-1965 1.5 litre F1, they were quickest cars on the circuit throughout the weekend right from the first session on Friday having recorded laps of 55.5 and 55.8 for the Brit and Scot repectively.

Much of the pre-race press interest centred on the strong BRM presence which included three chassis ‘Graham Hill driving the same car with which he won the 1965 Monaco and US Grand Prix’ and a team of three mechanics, Rivers Fletcher doing public relations all led by Team Manager Tim Parnell- lets come back to BRM’s Australasian representation in a little bit.

Lakeside razzmatazz included girls dressed in chequered flag bikinis, a bagpipes group and a brass band in addition to the on-circuit attractions which included international drivers Clark, Hill, Stewart and Gardner.

David Harding, secretary of the Queensland Motor Sporting Club, quoted the total value of the cars at $A300,000…

Stewart had a huge points lead going into the Lakeside meeting with much expected of Clark after his first win of the series at Warwick Farm the week before.

In New Zealand Graham Hill showed BRM’s form early, winning the opening round, the NZ Grand Prix at Pukekohe on 8 January by 1.5 seconds from Stewart, in P261 ‘2616’ before returning home to the UK to continue tyre and other testing duties. He travelled back south arriving at Mascot for the first of the Australian races, the ‘Warwick Farm 100’, on 13 February.

Richard Attwood won at Levin the following weekend after Stewart had gearbox selector problems having completed 9 laps- Jim Clark was second and Spencer Martin third, Jackie Stewart continued the Bourne boys great form and won the Lady Wigram Trophy at the Wigram RNZAF base the following weekend of 22 January.

Stewart completed a clean sweep of the first four races for the P261 before crossing ‘The Ditch’- the Tasman Sea for Australia- Jackie won the Teretonga International from Frank Gardner and Jim Palmer- the latter had a great season of speed and reliability in the Lotus 32B chassis aboard which Clark took the Tasman Cup twelve months before.

Teretonga wasn’t such a great race for Dick Attwood, as his car ‘2617’, was tagged from behind in the first corner ‘The Loop’ into soft earth whereupon the it rolled trapping the hapless Brit underneath- Spencer Martin and local driver Ian Dawson, also involved in the melee, jumped from their Brabhams and helped marshalls right the car and release the driver.

In fact a ‘switcheroo’ in the cars of Jackie and Richard took place at Wigram. Attwood had his ‘2614’ going like a missile in practice thanks to some judicious testing of bars, tyre pressures and ride-heights with Alan Challis, at which point, Jackie, getting the hang of this Number One Driver caper in Hill’s absence said ‘I’ll have a crack in that’- and so he did winning The Lady Wigram Trophy’ in ‘2614’ the following day.

He kept the same car at Teretonga so the machine, the front bulkhead of which was badly bent, was off for a rebuild to Bourne. It was the car Jackie had raced throughout the 1965 F1 season- ‘2617’ the strength of which would save his life at Spa in mid-1966. We will come back to the individual chassis’ later in the article.

Whilst the drivers flew to Sydney on the Monday after Teretonga Tim Parnell supervised the shipping of ‘2614’ and ‘2616’ to Sydney whilst ‘2617’ headed back to Liverpool, and thence Bourne into the tender hands of the boys in the build shop.

Gardner at left, Attwood, Stewart- Brabham BT11A and two BRM P261s- the off at Wigram 1966. Stewart won from Attwood and Jim Palmer with Frank a DNF after an accident on lap 4 when his brakes failed and he cannoned into Jim Clark, taking them both out of the race (Wigram)

 

Under the Tote building, Pukekohe. JYS’ P261 chassis ‘2617’, in all of its elegant glory, 1966. Which of the BRM mechanics is it folks? The car is fitted with a P56 type 1930cc engine- inlets between the Vee and exhausts exiting thru the ‘letterbox’ orifice in the side of the monocoque, in BRM speak. Note the colour of the car, red nose band, big BRM badge and air relief ducts atop the nose and tail section leaning up against the wall (CAN)

At Warwick Farm Jim ran away and won by 21 seconds from Hill, Gardner, Stewart, Martin and Palmer, click here for a piece on that meeting; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/03/1966-warwick-farm-100/

Clark had carburetion problems with his 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF engine throughout the Lakeside weekend but still managed to pop the car onto row two of practice on the two by two car grid together with Frank Gardner’s similarly powered Brabham BT11A. The Lotus 39 was another mighty car from the Lotus 25/33 continuum but the good ole FPF was struggling a bit from 1966 given the entry into Tasman racing of the BRM and Repco V8’s.

Spencer Martin in the Scuderia Veloce BT11A, and Leo Geoghegan going like a jet in his Lotus 32 was the first of the ANF1.5 twin-cams, a mighty impressive performance on this power-fast-100mph lap average circuit.

Jim Palmer and Greg Cusack shared the next row and the rest- Bartlett, McDonald, Harvey, Andy Buchanan Denis Marwood, Mel McEwin and local boy Glynn Scott rounded out a small field after ‘CAMS cut the grid from 20 to 15 cars’ in the interests of safety.

Graham Hill alights his BRM whilst Spencer Martin’s Brabham BT11A Climax enters the paddock- Glynn Scott, Lotus 27 Ford twin-cam 1.5 approaches in the distance. This is the damp Saturday afternoon session (K Drage)

 

Clark in the very sweet Lotus 39 Climax on Saturday afternoon in the wet- exiting The Karussel (K Drage)

 

Lakeside 20 February 1966. Dunlop’s Vic Barlow at left, Hill suiting up and ‘Dobbin’ Challis beside Graham’s ‘2616’ whilst Jimmy Collins and Stan Collier look after Jackie’s ‘2614’ behind (BRM 3)

Sunday dawned cloudy and hot, the crowd got a magnificent days motor racing on this, the first occasion Lakeside held an AGP, for their four-dollar entry fee!

In addition to the feature race there were two 10 lap heats for the Tasman cars both won by BRM- Hill won the first from Gardner and Martin and Stewart took the second from the Clark and Geoghegan Lotuses.

Stewart and Hill settled into their front row grid slots and howled away from the off- Stewart, Hill, Clark and Gardner led the high speed train, then Martin, Palmer and Geoghegan.

Cusack got by Geoghegan on lap 5 with ‘Hill tied to Stewart as if by string’, Stewart set a scorching pace from the start, thrilling the crowd, despite this Hill was close behind and always within striking distance.

The race developed into three tough fights between Stewart and Hill up front, then Clark just ahead of Gardner and then a flying wedge of Palmer, Cusack and Geoghegan.

’The race pitch at this point had the crowd running from vantage point to vantage point, a rare thing in open-wheel competition, and to really set the seal on the excitement, the tail closed up and made a magnificent show as Marwood, Harvey, Buchanan, McDonald and Scott raced wheel to wheel’ Des White wrote in his HAGP race report.

Stewart’s gearbox cried enough on lap 28- it was this element of the BRM P261 which became its weak link at 1.9 litres and even much more so at the 2.1 litre capacity the Bourne team raced these cars in the 1967 and 1968 Tasmans.

’Stewart was very hard on gearboxes…Hill suffered persistent clutch slip in the last two races, but otherwise the BRM’s were very reliable. So they should have been too, with the massive Owen group effort which included a public relations man’ wrote Bill Tuckey. Bill is a bit hard on Jackie, the ‘box was the problem not JYS lack of mechanical sympathy.

Then Cusack clipped Palmer in the Eastern Loop when Jim braked a little early and Leo kissed Greg causing Cusack to spin and Geoghegan to re-enter the circuit 100 metres down the road- both retired with bent or busted suspension components shortly thereafter.

Frank Gardner in one of two Brabham BT11A’s Alec Mildren Racing raced that summer, Climax engined, the other was Maserati 2.5 V12 powered and ran in Warwick Farm and Sandown practice- pre-race hype promoted the Brabham Maserati at Lakeside but the car did not make the trip from Sydney (unattributed)

 

Jim Clark from Frank Gardner with Spencer Martin’s Brabham BT11A just back a bit- third, second and DNF clutch (autopics.com)

Frank Gardner was still pushing Jim Clark hard- he had a great summer in Mildren’s BT11A with better FPF reliability than some- but FG was mighty quick too, i’m not implying his results were solely due to reliability. Then Jim’s Climax took a turn for the worst- losing its edge further so Frank was through to second from Hill up front- Hill won at an average speed of 94.9mph from Gardner, Clark and Palmer.

Hill and Stewart both did equal fastest laps of 55.9 seconds- one second adrift of Clark’s 54.9 second lap record set in the Lotus 32B the year before. Kevin Bartlett’s Alec Mildren Racing Brabham BT2 Ford was the first of the ANF1.5s home in another drive which convinced Mildren KB was ready for the step up into the more demanding 2.5s- something he did with great aplomb later in the year.

Clark’s carburetion problems persisted throughout the series and were solved by John Sheppard when the car passed into his care after Leo Geoghegan acquired it by the simple expedient of solid carburettor mounts.

Jackie fires up the now ‘Central exhaust’ P68 powered ‘2614’ before heading out of the Lakeside paddock. Jimmy Collins, Vic Barlow and Tim Parnell watched by a group of local enthusiasts (BRM 3)

 

(HAGP)

Graham Hill nose up at Lakeside in a car that was so kind to him- the BRM P261, a machine with which he was synonymous, not the BRM he used to win his 1962 World Title but one he raced from 1963 all the way into 1966 with the H16 BRM P83 duly recognised.

 

BRM and The Antipodes 1966…

The Owen Organisation had extensive business interests in Australasia (it would be interesting to create a list of the British transnational’s subsidiaries in this part of the world at the companies height) and had of course raced here before- Ken Wharton thrilled Kiwi crowds in a P15 V16 in 1954 at Ardmore and Wigram and Ron Flockhart did all of the NZ Internationals in a front-engined P25 in 1959 whereas the 1961 campaign was a full works representation of two P48 mid-engined 2.5 litre F1 cars- these were raced by Graham Hill and Dan Gurney and on this occasion the visitors came to Australia as well as New Zealand. See here; https://primotipo.com/2019/11/18/ken-wharton-and-brms-grand-turismo-south-in-1954/ and here; https://primotipo.com/2018/03/16/bourne-to-ballarat-brm-p48-part-2/

The local promoters led by Ron Frost (NZ) and Geoff Sykes (Oz) had been doing their job in trying to seduce BRM back here and had a ‘red-hot go’ for 1965 given by that stage BRM had an 1880cc ‘P60’ version of their P56 V8, it was thought the P261 so powered would have been competitive with the 2.5 litre (mainly) Coventry Climax engined ‘Tasman Special’ Brabhams and Lotuses.

In essence Tasman races were 100 miles and had no minium weight limit whereas GP’s were 200 miles in duration and the cars had minimum weight limits so Ron Tauranac’s ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams, for example, were designed and built to the Tasman formula or rules. Tony Rudd, backed by Graham Hill, felt the P261 at 1880cc would not be a competitive Tasman Cup mount in that the cars would be too heavy and not powerful enough- underlying their opposition (in a document reproduced by Doug Nye in BRM 3) was the (correct) belief that the Tasman program would detract from their 1965 F1 program in the same way Sir Alfred Owen’s BRM-Rover turbine Le Mans racer grabbed scarce resources in 1963 and 1964- it too was foisted upon Rudd and ORO (Owen Racing Organisation) at short notice.

However, in late 1965 Sir Alfred was resolute, the broader commercial needs of the Owen Group (the establishment of an Austin-Morris production facility in NZ, with Owens to provide the necessary components) were met by having ORO’s presence in the 1966 Tasman Cup and as a consequence the team had to ‘make it work’ despite being up to their armpits in the new for 1966, immensely complex, BRM P83’s H16 engine.

Ron Flockhart, BRM P25 during the 10 January 1959 NZ GP on the Ardmore airfield circuit- DNF oil leak, the race won by Stirling Moss’ Cooper T45 Climax FPF 2 litre (Ardmore)

 

Dan Gurney on the way to the BRM P48’s only International win, the Victorian Trophy at Ballarat Airfield, Victoria 12 February 1961 (unattributed)

Geoff Johnson and his engine design team squeezed the P56 V8 up again from 1880cc to 1916cc and then 1930cc- the latter became the definitive 1966 Tasman spec engine used throughout that summer.

These motors gave between 260 and 270 bhp, which despite the weight of the P261 chassis, was more than enough to trump the circa 240bhp ‘Tasman Specials’. These motors and P61 Mark 2 chassis ‘2616’ Graham’s regular 1965 F1 car first raced to a win by him upon its debut at Watkins Glen in 1964, Jackie in his normal ‘2517’, the last P61 built during the winter of 1964-5 for JYS debut season, and old ‘2614’, first raced by Graham in the 1964 Aintree 200 and used as the team spare throughout 1965 were sent to New Zealand on the SS Tasmania Star which left Liverpool on 29 November and arrived in Auckland on 23 December.

Of interest is that ‘2616’ lives as does ‘2614’ whereas ‘2617’ whilst destroyed and scrapped after Jackie’s death defying 1966 Spa crash was recreated for Richard Attwood as ‘2617R’ in the late nineties- a lovely bit of symmetry given Richard rolled it at Teretonga in 1966 when he was part of others ‘moment’. Finally, for the record, a total of one P61 Mk 1 was built, chassis ‘611’ and six P61 Mk 2’s- chassis ‘2612’ to ‘2617’. The P61 Mk1 ‘611’ was scrapped in 1963 but all of the P61 Mk2’s live, thank goodness.

Despite broken ring problems in testing at Bourne, with a very careful running regime when a motor was first used which involved abnormally large amounts of engine oil in the fuel- the motors proved very reliable throughout that summer- a bonus for Team Manager Tim Parnell and the mechanics- Allan Challis, Jimmy Collins and Stan Collier, the later seconded by Parnell.

One of the compromises made to meet the needs of preparation for the new 3 litre F1 as well as being competitive in Australasia was the appointment of Tim Parnell as Team Manager and secondment of Stan Collier into the ORO group for the trip rather than Tony Rudd and another BRM mechanic make the trip.

Son of Reg- Tim was a racer to the core who had stepped very ably from the cockpit to running his fathers F1 race team upon Reg’ sudden death in January 1964 and was well known to BRM as a customer using BRM V8’s and cars for some years.

And so the scene- cars, engines, drivers, technicians and team management were put in place for an immensely successful summer in competition and commercial terms- seven of eight championship rounds and nine of ten races won with the Tasman Cup secured by Jackie Stewart bolstering even further BRM’s ‘cub’ drivers confidence who had already won his first GP in his first F1 season of 1965 at Monza no less.

‘Technical Tim- plug changing on Graham’s ‘2616’. Very popular, avuncular Tim had spent his entire life in racing and farming- thanks to his father- former BRM V16 driver and pig-breeder Reg Parnell. Tim had been a racing driver before his father’s untimely death in 1964, whereupon he had taken over full-time management of Parnell Racing’ wrote Doug Nye (BRM 3)

 

(B Betti)

BRM V8 Engine Types/Designations…

I wrote an article about the ‘Stackpipe’ BRM P57/578 in which Bourne and Graham Hill won their 1962 titles and covers the P56 engine in a bit of detail which still stacks up ok, see here; https://primotipo.com/2016/02/05/motori-porno-stackpipe-brm-v8/

It is a bit wanting in terms of the ‘P56’ engine derivatives though, so, having picked over ‘BRM 3’ Doug Nye’s treasure trove of all things Bourne here is a summary of the motors if for no other reason than to provide myself a simple list to refer to the next time i tangentially cover this amazingly, long lived series of race engines.

‘P56’ 1.5 litre V8

Initial design as per the link above- 68.5mm bore and 50.8mm stroke for 1497.7cc. DOHC gear driven two-valve Lucas injected with ‘conventional’ cross flow disposition of inlet and exhaust valves

The engines first drawings of 300 in total were issued in January 1961, the first batch of components received in April 1961, assembly of the engine commenced that June with the first one fired up on 12 July 1961

170bhp was produced by the end of August with the engine first tested against the competition at Monza over that tragic September weekend. Racing began in 1962 with the ‘Stackpipe’ exhausts fitted- 185bhp

Ongoing development gave rise to the 195bhp ‘Monza’ spec which won the 1962 championship

For 1963 a single plane crank version was developed, this allowed the use of a coupled exhaust system which gave the engine a broader power band- with development this produced 205bhp

‘P60’ 1.9 litre V8 1964

1880cc engine developed at Richie Ginther’s suggestion for the 2 litre sportscar class in the US, in original form it produced 240bhp

P56 1.5 litre V8 ‘Stackpipe’ nestled in one of Graham Hill’s P57/578 chassis during 1962

 

P68 1.5 V8 in the 1964 Monza paddock

‘P68’ 1.5 litre V8 late 1964

Between the Vee exhaust layout- exhaust ports in the Vee, inlets located between the cam-boxes. The space around the engine was unobstructed by exhaust pipes which allowed a stiffer tub to be built and an extra 5 gallons of fuel to be carried

First appearance Monza 1964- first win at Watkins Glen- work over the winter of 1964-5 led to engines giving 215bhp

By the end of the 1.5 litre Formula the best of the engines gave 220bhp and weighed 264pounds

2 litre V8

1916cc and the ‘definitive’ 1966 Tasman engine of 1930cc in capacity

T56 variant gave 260bhp and T68 version 270bhp- both types were used in ORO’s successful 1966 Tasman campaign as close scrutiny of some of the photographs demonstrates

1998cc sportscar version for Matra in 1956 was P56 type with the taller P123 blocks. Fitted to MS620 coupes- these engines with alternators etc designated P100

One of the P261’s in the Warwick Farm paddock in February 1966- P68 1930cc (B Wells- The Roaring Season)

 

One of the BRM mechanics persuades the P56 2 litre V8 fitted to Peter Arundell’s works Lotus 33 to start during the 1966 US GP weekend at Watkins Glen. He was sixth in the race won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 43 BRM H16- famously that wonderful, complex, mad engine’s only win

P111: 2.1 litre V8

1967 Tasman and beyond specifications

Two engines built initially of 2070cc and gave 287bhp and 292bhp- used the taller P123 blocks

Six engines were converted by the time of the 1967 Tasman – 2 P56 type and 4 P68 exhaust within the Vee type. Engines very reliable, the weakness of the package was the magnesium cased lightweight  P72 six-speed gearboxes which were never designed with the power and torque- and tyre grip by then being produced

Type 80: 1.5 litre Straight-four cylinder Formula 2 engine

’Half’ of one of the 2 litre V8’s – soon gave in excess of 130bhp.

P80 1 litre, four cylinder F2 engine the size of which is ‘overwhelmed’ by the bulk of the P72 transmission

 

Etcetera…

 

(M Bisset)

JYS was ‘top of the pops’- on the cover of ‘Australian Racing Annual’ for 1966- these annuals are much treasured and were a useful pot-pourri of the season just gone, they were published by the ‘Sports Car World’ magazine people.

Shots show Stewart on the way to victory at Longford on the entry to The Viaduct, and wearing one of the many garlands popped around his neck that summer. The shot below is Jack in BT19 complete with brand-new Repco-Brabham 620 2.5 litre V8 also at Longford.

(autopics.com)

Graham Hill on the outside of Kiwi Dennis Marwood’s Cooper T66 Climax during the Sunday morning warm-up at Lakeside- DNF oil pressure in the feature race.

(unattributed)

Stewart and Clark off the front row of the grid during the second of the Sunday morning heats.

BRM P261 ‘2614’ and Lotus 39 Climax ‘R12’- they had some titanic dices during their Australasian summer but plenty of fun off-track and shared accommodation throughout, parsimonious Scots as they were.

(autopics.com)

Like a rat up an aqueduct- ‘2614’ from ‘2616’…

GH has his nose shoved right up JYS gearbox which is not helpful as that unit was the weakest link of an otherwise bullet-proof remarkably fast racing car into 1969 generally- and into 1968 specifically when the one P261 which was sent to Australasia- as a support or back-up car to the new P126 2.5 litre V12 was a very popular machine particularly with Pedro Rodriguez who took any excuse he could to pop his bum into the ‘old darlin’ rather than its much younger sister.

(D Cooper)

Pedro Rodriguez in good ‘ole ‘2614’ on the very last weekend a P261 was entered by the factory.

Rodriguez was second in the very soggy ‘South Pacific Trophy’ Longford Tasman round on 4 March 1968, won in fine style by Piers Courage in an F2 McLaren M4A Ford FVA 1.6.

A view is that the only thing between Graham Hill and another world title or so at the time was Jim Clark and the Lotus 25 and Lotus 33- lets make that the only thing between Hill and another title or so was Jim Clark’s God-given other-worldly skills- the gifts that only one driver seems blessed with every decade or so.

The Lotus 25 deserves every accolade accorded it as the first ‘modern monocoque’- the car to which every F1 machine which followed is related. The BRM P61 Mk1 and P61 Mk2 aka ‘P261’ followed the ‘original’ but in almost every respect, other, perhaps than in traction, putting its limited power to the road the BRM was the equal of the 25 and 33- and the BRM ‘P56 Family’ of engines the equal of, if not superior motor however many valves Coventry Climax deployed in its FWMV V8! Tony Rudd, biased as he undoubtedly was, makes this case on pages 232 and 233 of ‘BRM 3’.

Whatever the case, feast your eyes on all of the mechanical gubbins which comprise the whole of a very well rounded package. The car shown is Graham’s F1 P261 during the Mexican GP weekend in 1964- its powered by a P68 1.5 litre V8.

The chassis is an aluminium ‘full monocoque’ made of 18swg ‘half-hard’ duralumin with extension horns supporting engine/gearbox and rear suspension assemblies . Note the period typical inboard front suspension- lower wishbone and rocker actuating a coil spring/damper unit, brakes are solid 9 inch discs outboard- these are light cars remember, brake lines are rubber, we are still a couple of years away from the use of braided steel lines in Europe.

Distinctive BRM steering wheel- who supplied them? Gear lever at left. The engine we have done to death but note the slide Lucas fuel injection, beautiful expressions of the exhaust pipe benders art- you can just see a heat shield beside the radiator cap to keep the hot gasses away from the fuel metering unit which is right behind the roll-over bar.

The rear suspension is again period typical and in contrast to the front is fully ‘outboard’- magnesium uprights, inverted lower wishbone, single top link, twin radius rods to look after fore and aft forces, coil spring/dampers and adjustable roll bars both front and rear. Plumbing for the needs of lubricants is ‘bitsy’ rather than ‘cohesive’ and the lack of shine to the nickel (?) plating doubtless reflects a long hard season- this was the last championship meeting of the year after all. Note the beautifully made splined driveshafts, solid brake rotor and caliper.

I’ve always thought BRM’s gearboxes- i’m not sure if this is a six-speed Type 62 or 72 look a bit butch compared with Mike Hewland’s products of the time but that may not be the case upon having details of said products dimensions and weight. Whilst the boxes’ were the weak link in P261s powered by 1.9 litre V8’s and above that was not the case when 1.5 litre V8s were used which was of course the engine around which the gearboxes were designed at the outset.

Beautifully concepted, designed and built, robust, prodigiously fast cars the performance of which could be accessed by ‘newbees’ and exploited by ‘the gods’ alike.

 

(S Dalton Collection)

 

(S Dalton Collection)

Stephen Dalton contributed these pages from the February 1966 Queensland Motor Sports Club newsletter which gives the organisers perspective- note the attention to O,H & S as Stephen points out!

Photo Credits…

‘HAGP’- ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and Others, Kevin Drage, ‘Ardmore’, autopics.com, M Bisset Collection, Getty Images- Bernard Cahier, Alvis Upitis, ‘CAN’ Classic Auto News, BRM 3, Dennis Cooper Collection

Bibliography…

‘Australian Motor Racing Annual 1966’, ‘BRM 3’- ‘BRM: The Saga of British Racing Motors Volume 3’ Doug Nye, various articles by Ken Blair in ‘The Canberra Times’ on 8, 15 and 21 February 1966, Bruce Sergent’s race reports on sergent.com, ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and Others, 1966 Tasman Cup review by Allan Brown in oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece: Clark, Lotus 39 Climax, Lakeside 1966…

(unattributed)

Jim gulps a big dose of Queensland air as he snicks a Lakeside high-speed apex.

Finito…

 

(FF Oz)

Phil Revell eases his Lola T440 Ford into Torana Corner at Sandown during his successful ‘Driver to Europe’ assault in 1981…

This little jigger has to one of Australia’s winningest FF’s ever? Stephen Brook won the DTE in it in 1980 taking six of the eight rounds and Revell did similarly in 1981, winning five of eight.

Warren Smith was third using it in 1982 winning a round, as did Lyndon Arnel taking the final round in 1977- the car’s first season in Australia.

If memory serves (dangerous) Bob Holden imported the car for Lyndon- a protégé who had done very well in Escort twin-cams and RS2000s prepared by Bob- the T440 was his foray into single-seaters.

The second round of the DTE in 1977 was at Sandown- the Tasman meeting, I just thought, and still do, that it really was the sexiest of Formula Fords, man that car looked great! A decade or so hence I raced against it in Historic FF many times when it was owned by a lovely fella called Tony Harper- my own car was a T342, the model prior to the T440.

This contemporary shot of a T440 rebuild illustrates the chassis-gearbox/engine spacer nicely, see the big hole between the rear of the engine and front of the Mk9 (aeroyacht.com)

What was different about it was better aero, look how slinky it is with the full, front to rear all enveloping body- inboard front springs and shocks actuated by a rocker and big wide based lower wishbone- and the use of a tubular spacer between the engine and Hewland Mk9 gearbox to push the weight of the car forward. The Hawke DL17 was another FF of that year which did the same thing- Richard Davison and Russell Allen raced such cars in Oz then.

The chassis of the T342 was as stiff as a centenarian’s todger- with the spacer the T440 was said to be worse.

This particular car didn’t go well until until Stephen Brook got his hands on it- he had first raced in FF (Bowin P4 and P6) in the early seventies so was an experienced set of hands but when he took it over it was the jet it always looked…

They are simple liddl thangs but there are still lots of bits and pieces…T440 rear suspension assy (Lola)

Credits…

Australian Formula Ford, aeroyacht.com

Tailpiece…

(unattributed)

Stephen Brook aboard the T440 (what is the chassis number BTW?) in front of another sexy little FF- David Earle’s one-off Elfin Aero, at Amaroo Park probably in August 1980.

The tail out attitude ‘defined’ Oz FF during the ‘Bridgestone RD102 Road Radial Era’, of which this was the final year.

I shoulda bought the Aero- I travelled all the way out to Sydney’s Hills District on a Biz Trip from Melbourne to Sydney to have a look at it at Peter Verheyen’s workshop when it was owned by Rod Barrett but ‘choked’ coz it wasn’t quite historic at the time but ‘me mate John Benson bought it so it went to a good home and I could drool over it on a regular basis.

But that T440, sweet little jigger- great car! Fast car.

Finito…

 

 

(B Miles)

Edsel Falconer during the first race outing of a Ford Falcon in Australia- Middle Ridge, Toowoomba, Queensland, during the annual ‘Carnival of Flowers’ weekend, 17 September 1960…

This road circuit through the suburbs of Toowoomba was used in 1958, 1960 and 1961 once a year during a local carnival weekend through the beautiful rolling countryside of Queensland’s Darling Downs district.

Whilst researching his book ‘The Toowoomba Auto Club:1950-1965’ author John Evans was able to re-write history by showing that the first Falcon to race was that of Falconer- son of the Dealer Principal of the Toowoomba Ford Dealership of the same name on 17 September rather than as has hitherto been the orthodoxy- the Falcon XK raced by Bob Jane and Lou Molina to third in Class D of the 1960 Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island on 20 November 1960. Edsel placed fourth in the Saloon Car Handicap at Middle Ridge, two places ahead of Bill Pitt’s Jaguar, I wonder who won?

Whilst Edsel Falconer may seem a cute ‘Ford’ nom de guerre in fact it is all kosher- Hugh Falconer started the family business in 1919 with Ford, Fiat and Hupmobile agencies and became an official Ford dealership in 1925- Edsel, one of his sons became the Dealer Principal during the 1960s, the family sold the business circa 1980.

A cursory Trove search doesn’t tell us too much about Edsel ‘a well known Toowoomba motorist’ but there are some references in late 1953 of him rallying/trialling a Ford Customline and plenty in the Brisbane Telegraph and Courier Mail social notes of the many weddings attended and family holidays to Surfers Paradise and other such exotic places. It does not seem that Edsel was one of the regular racers in the area, all information will be gratefully received inclusive of how Edsel’s XK performed at Middle Ridge.

In an address to the Toowoomba Rotarians on 14 November 1955, reported in the St George Shire ‘Balonne Beacon’, Edsel, back from a stint at a ‘Ford Motor School’ in Detroit advised his fellow Queenslanders that ‘Australian’s standards of living, ethics and morals were higher than those of Americans…Americans were earning more and spending more than Australians but as far as getting the joy out of living was concerned, Australians were better off.’

In a note of encouragement to the assembled masses he said that ‘Australia could learn a lot from Americans. Americans would not accept anything but the best quality, and they took every measure to ensure they produced the best possible. There were many leads that could be taken from the Americans’ he said ‘One of the main being to “get up and do things”. I always get a giggle of ‘insights’ after a weeks stay in a place, but today’s smart arse prism is not the way to view things 65 years hence. Edsel was a noted and respected pillar of his local community is the point to be taken.

An immaculate period dull-green Falcon XK has moved into my street recently- it’s a young groovster’s daily driver, it lives on the street at the mercy of all of the local Braille-Parking-Mob mind you- this attractive car got me thinking about Ford Australia’s first manufacturing efforts and early Falcon competition exploits.

Ford Australia was incorporated in 1925, its operations based in the Victorian port city of Geelong, the suburb of Norlane to be precise. For the ensuing decades FoMoCo Oz assembled cars locally from CKD packs- ‘completely knocked down’ Model T’s were first, they were initially chucked together on an improvised production line in a disused wool storage warehouse before Norlane was finished. As the latest Fords were built, so local assembly followed and in many cases local bodies were fitted.

The plant was devoted to wartime production and post-war assembled UK sourced Pilots, the Prefect, Anglia, Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac.

In the mid-fifties Ford decided to build cars in Australia and acquired land at Campbellfield on Melbourne’s outskirts. In the same way that generations of Victorians drove past Ford’s Geelong plant, generations of Australians drove past Campbellfield or more colloquially Broadmeadows as the Ford factory- when built the largest automotive plant in the Southern Hemisphere, was on the Hume Highway- the main drag between Melbourne and Sydney.

The ‘contest’ between which bigger Ford would be adapted to local production was won in favour of the US Falcon rather than the UK Zephyr Mk2 when Oz Ford Chief Charlie Smith and some of his senior executives saw the proposed new Falcon on a trip through Dearborn in late 1958.

In period FoMoCo advertising art of the XK Falcon

 

Ford Broadmeadows, Oz built car #1 – VIN# folks?

Without doubt they made the right choice- the Falcon was light-years ahead in appearance over the then Holdens, whose underpinnings went back to those of the 48-215 and the Zephyr, but whilst the Falcon XK- first car built on 28 June 1960 and on sale from 11 September that year looked the goods on paper ‘The Falcon was designed without any consideration whatsoever of Australia’s demanding conditions’ wrote Dr John Wright and Dave Morley.

The call to build the Falcon was a late one and meant the US car did not have the local design input/testing to adapt it to the very tough extremes of local conditions and very quickly support from private and fleet buyers plummeted because of problems with front ball joints which failed without leaving suburbia, rust, transmission and other weaknesses.

68,413 of the XK model were sold between 1960 and 1962 with the XL, released on 4 August 1962 incorporating a new three speed manual gearbox and clutch, a better starter motor and changes to the front sheet-metal to strengthen the front suspension mounts.

Whilst objectively the durability of the Falcon was not a real issue after the XM (released 20 February 1964) nor a perceived one after the XP (released 20 February 1965) the reputational damage in 1960-1961 was such that the competition program had a big part to play in both proving the performance and strength of the big Fords and to provide the production engineers with feedback they could incorporate into future models or routine running production line changes.

In late 1960 two privately entered Falcon XK’s contested the first Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island- on 20 November, a couple of months after Falconer’s Middle Ridge race.

Bob Jane and renowned Melbourne racer/hotelier/restautanteur/raconteur Lou Molina shared one entered by Jane’s ‘Autoland’ dealership with another raced by the equally experienced and credentialed Ron Phillips and Ern Seeliger. Jane and Molina were third in Class D with 161 completed laps despite Lou rolling the car! The first in that class and ‘first outright’ was the John Roxburgh/Frank Coad crewed Vauxhall Cresta with another pair of coming stars- John French and Norm Beechey aboard a Standard Vanguard second in class D. The other XK of Phillips and Seeliger were out early in the race with an overheating engine.

 

Now back on four wheels, the boys set Lou Molina back towards the Pits whilst the restauranteur contemplates a line of patter for car owner and co-driver RF Jane Esq, waiting to greet him. P Island 500 1960, Falcon XK

Harry Firth was already a racer/preparer/engineer of renown by the time Ford’s Competitions Manager, Les Powell first involved him with Ford- that fruitful partnership over the ensuing years yielded countless race and rally wins not least four Bathurst 500’s, 1968 Australian Rally Championship and the prestigious Teams Prize of the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon. Click here for a background piece on Harry; https://primotipo.com/2019/01/29/harry-firths-mg-tc-spl-s-c/

Whether Firth was engaged by Ford prior to the first rally contested by the new Falcon- the 1961 BP Rally centred in the Victorian Alps is unclear but four Falcons and six Anglia 105E’s entered the Light Car Club of Australia’s annual classic event. Amongst Harry’s competition activities at the time Les Powell and Max Ward approached him were race and rallying a Ford Anglia. ‘Unofficially this (’61 BP Rally) was the beginning of Ford’s participation in rallying at a factory level, a participation which was to continue spasmodically for over four decades’ Rallysport Magazine wrote.

The Falcons went very well too- Jack Ellis was second, Ken Harper thirteenth, Doug Hughes nineteenth and Jack Nalder twenty-ninth, on top of that Peter Coffey’s Anglia was third outright.

Powell then threw Firth in at the deep end- the nascent subsidiary of Ford’s Global Empire had decided to have a crack at the East African Safari with no less than five Falcons to be prepared, run and crewed out of Firth’s modest Queens Avenue, Auburn, Melbourne ‘Temple of Speed’.

The whole of the East African Safari Rally 3000 mile route was (and is) run on public roads and involved two legs separated by a 24 hour break out of Nairobi, the start and finishing point. The North Leg took in North Kenya and Uganda whilst the South bit went around South Kenya and Tanzania. The Safari took place over Easter, a time when the rainy-season gets underway with the main cause of retirement usually an abundance of Murrum mud- when dry this brown earth is hard, dusty and bumpy and incredible muddy and sticky when wet.

Given the challenge Harry didn’t think much of the equipment at all.

‘Ford wanted to get into competition to prove its car, the Falcon was capable of handling it…But that first XK Falcon – 144 cubic inch (2.4 litre 90bhp) engine, three speed gearbox was really a terrible car. You could do very little with the engine, the body flexed heavily and it had sloppy springs- all you could do was just set the Armstrong shockers rock-hard. The brakes were just adequate with race linings and the front hubs broke under race conditions. The steering had 5.5 turns lock to lock- just impossible for racing conditions.’

‘We made and tested the five Falcons and sent them off to Africa. We fixed the hubs, made stronger wheels and did some work on the axle shafts and the gearbox. Even then the cars were very fragile. It was the worst type of car you could take to an event like that. We had to virtually carry them around on our backs. We said to ourselves “we’re not going to break it”- if we think its too hard on the car then we’ll back off.’

The five cars were crewed by the following pairings; Harry Firth /Graham Hoinville, Ken Harper/Les Scott, Jack Ellis/Mal McPherson, Doug Hughes/Rex Lewis, Geoff Russell/Dick Collinwood.

Harper/Scott XK Falcon during the Safari, place unknown (unattributed)

 

Before the off at Nairobi- one of the XK Falcons in shot (unattributed)

 

Harper/Scott at roadside, whilst the styling may be pedestrian now it was edgy in period (M Tufte)

Before the rally, the complete route was surveyed using rented Ford Zephyrs, the rally cars having not yet landed from Australia.

All of the cars faced problems of course, first-timers as they were but the Firth/Hoinville combination ran as high as eighth before a rear spring broke dropping them to sixteenth with Ken Harper/Les Scott also finishers but they ran out of late time.

Firth was later quoted as saying that had the car been fitted with the optional 170cid engine and Armstrong shockers (the earlier quote implies they were fitted) ‘we’d have won’ and ‘Graham Hoinville and I were placed seventh only 300 miles from the finish when we broke a main rear spring plate in a competitive section. That dropped us back to 16th but we still finished 25 minutes ahead on the English factory Fords.’

‘The way the cars performed earned me a contract with Ford for competition. This was really the start of my association with Ford and the first step into The Big Time- although I was still doing work for others’ Firth was quoted in an Australian Muscle Car magazine piece on the East African Safari.

Winners of the tough event were the Tommy Fjastad/Bernhard Schmider VW 1200- Ford Australia were pipped in the Australian race-within-a-race in that a locally entered Holden EK driven by HS Sembi/C Mehta finished fourteenth.

In fact the Aussies blazed the trail for the Falcon as a rally machine- within six months Detroit announced that they would mount a three car campaign in the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally- Bo Ljungfeldt finished second in an American spec V8 engined two-door Falcon Futura.

Ford Australia were enthusiastic rally competitors for the ensuing early years mainly contesting events in New South Wales and Victoria, the first Australian Rally Championship was not held until 1968- Harry Firth won it in a Lotus Cortina Mk2 (or supercharged Cortina Mk2 or both cars depending upon the reference source) with Graham Hoinville alongside, as usual,

Harry Firth ‘splashing through a wet patch on the track in the Alps…on its way to the Knocker Track, a ten mile stretch of boulder-strewn track which runs down the mountain between Glen Wills and Omeo in Victoria. Used nearly a century ago as a bullock track it has never been used by cars until its inclusion on the route of the BP Rally 1-5 May 1963’

Firth’s Falcon won the May 1963 BP Rally ‘Australias toughest reliability event’ over 2000 miles and in a great weekend Ford won three of the event’s four classes. Using the same car, Frank Kilfoyle partnered by Michael Flanagan won the Melbourne University Car Club’s July 1963 Akademos Trial and a couple of weeks later the Experts Reliability Trial.

Earlier in the year- March, Ford attacked the Begonia Rally, based in the Central Victorian town of Ballarat, with a team of three Cortinas, two Falcons and a 105E Anglia. RallySport wrote in relation to the Cortinas, that ‘Ever on the ball, Firth got the jump on the rest of the world by sourcing a pair of the soon to be released 1500cc motors, six months before official release and fitted them to his own car and that of Geoff Russell’, the cars took the first two placings ‘stunning the rest of the field with their performance. Ford virtually had a car for any occasion- the Cortinas won, Falcons and Anglias filled major placings, and their were five Fords in the top ten and 10 in the first sixteen.’

In 1964 Ford were again successful in the BP Rally when the Ford Falcon driven by Ken Harper/Michael Flanagan triumphed over a big field which included the Firth driven Ford Cortina GT which won the 1963 Bathurst 500 in the hands of Bob Jane and Harry- Firth was fifth outright and second in class after a number of penalties.

At the end of 1962 Firth advised Ford that the Falcon had no hope of winning the new ‘Bathurst 500’  but that they had a ‘ready made’ winner in the Cortina GT. The race had been transferred to the great Mount Panorama track after the Phillip Island surface was destroyed to such an extent that the Phillip Island Auto Racing Club could not afford to repair it. Help arrived in the form of Len Lukey to get the Island re-opened when the club sold the place, but lets not chase that tangent and go back to look at the circuit racing of 1961-1962 where we started, before we headed off to rallying.

Harry Firth and Graham Hoinville in the winning 1964 Ampol Trial Cortina GT- looking like a couple of country squires with their flat-caps, its cold out there (unattributed)

 

Bob Jane and Harry Firth with the 1962 Phillip Island 500 winning Ford Falcon XL. ACL is ‘Automotive Components Ltd’ then a Repco subsidiary making rings, bearings etc

 

The Harper/Fisher/Raeburn Falcon XK during the 1962 Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island – great value @ 1065 pounds!

The 1961 Armstrong 500 (as in shock absorbers) was held on 19 November 1961 and was a much smaller affair- 26 cars entered rather than the 45 contestants in 1960 as a consequence of the ‘1961 Credit Squeeze’.

The Australian Government ended import licensing in February 1960 causing the balance of payments crisis predicted by Treasury, in November 1960 Prime Minister Menzies increased sales tax and imposed credit restrictions to bring the economy back into balance causing a credit squeeze and minor recession. The economy stopped abruptly, consumers reacted accordingly and popped their wallets away with plenty of consequences across our society not least in the motor industry when plenty of highly geared businesses ‘went to the wall’ as new and used car sales plummeted. Entries, back on point (!) in the 1961 500 reflected all of this- I did an Economics degree eons ago so this shit interests me. sadly…

Bob Jane had Harry Firth preparing both his Maserati 300S sportscar and Jaguar Mk2 Appendix J tourer at the time, they decided upon a Mercedes Benz 220SE as their weapon of choice for the 1961 Armstrong and with a typically fast, disciplined drive ‘won’ the race completing 167 laps- they were first in Class B and ‘first outright’. Note that the first outright notion was not officially recognised until 1965- until that point, officially at least, the first five 500 mile races at the Island and Bathurst had awards for each class winners.

Only one Falcon XK was entered that year and is described in some sources as a ‘pseudo works entry’- it was actually entered by Ken Harper and co-driven by Syd Fisher and John Raeburn all of whom were or would become ‘Ford works drivers’ in the coming years. It would be interesting to know who prepared this Falcon, presumably Firth.

There was a great class battle between the Ford and an EK Holden crewed by Ian Strachan and John Lanyon (of PIARC and Ansett Team Elfin fame) and entered by Stan Jones Motors Pty Ltd (I wonder why Stanley did not drive- maybe these dull ‘Taxis’ were not his cup of tea?!) – the Holden led until it lost a wheel and was later disqualified because the team cannibalised another car for a wheel rather than use an item from their pit supplies as required by the supplementary regulations- the XK Falcon was second in Class B and seventh ‘outright’.

Despite the depressed state of the Australian economy and the ‘own goals’ Ford Australia faced they pressed on with their motorsport program for 1962 in an ongoing effort to build the Ford brand in Australia.

Sunlight ahead included the XL Falcon due for release on August 4 which (as stated earlier) incorporated changes to the gearbox and clutch and to the front structure of the car which would make it torsionally a bit stiffer and a more powerful ‘Pursuit’ 170cid or 2.8 litre 101bhp six-cylinder OHV engine. In addition the Cortina would soon appear which remained a small car or mid-size hit on the local sales charts until Mazda, Toyota and Datsun progressively gained traction from the mid-sixties.

Whilst the rallying program continued, Ford planned to race a new XL in the 500 at the Island on 21 October and in addition decided, wisely, to contest the ‘Bathurst Six Hour Classic’ to be held only three weeks before on 30 September 1962- the catch was that Ford didn’t want to race the XL at Mount Panorama so Firth set about preparing an XK Falcon for the race which attracted 49 cars across six price based classes or ‘divisions’ ranging from under 900 pounds (Morris 850, Ford Anglia, Datsun Bluebird etc) to under 2000 pounds (Daimler SP 250, Triumph TR4 and MGA twin-cam).

Firth takes up the story in terms of car preparation ‘Having not been to Bathurst for some years, I had to rely on hearsay information like “no, it is not hard on brakes and the circuit has not changed”. I did all the usual things such as a valve grind, compression check, set the camshaft properly, gave the pistons plenty of clearance, deck-heighted the head and put the engine on the dyno.’

‘I fitted a set of heavy Armstrong shockers and some well-worn springs. I made up some Ferodo brake shoes but ended up leaving them at home, thinking they wouldn’t be needed. I drove the car to Bathurst myself. Practice proved two things: the car was the fastest sedan and the brakes were not good enough.’

Jane/Firth Falcon XK being followed by the K John/Peter Caldecoat MGA 1600 DNF- Bathurst 6 Hour 1962

 

Just needs a turret I guess…Firth’s rooted Falcon XK at Bathurst in 1962 (Shannons)

Whilst there was no outright winner of the race (consistent with the line to that effect earlier) up front the Brothers Geoghegan- Leo and Ian rumbled around in their Daimler SP250 V8 to finish first ‘outright’ with 104 laps completed, meanwhile trouble brewed for the Jane/Firth combination in the under 1250 pound Division C inhabited by a Morris Cooper, two Austin Freeways, two Holdens (model unknown), a Peugeot 403 and the works XK Falcon.

The two wily Melbourne racers led their class early, but the brakes were progressively showing plenty of signs of stress with the pedal creeping inexorably closer to the floor- Harry took over from Bob after a scheduled stop and then on lap 39 ‘As he braked for Hell Corner, the fronts suddenly over-energised and locked on, the nose dug in and the car rolled’ the roof was crushed making the machine as ‘flat as a shit-carters hat’- Harry was extremely lucky he was not badly hurt- the car had no roll bar or cage of course, the racer exited via a rear window as fuel spilt over the tarmac, but did not ignite.

‘Our race was over…I just kept thinking about the special brake linings I left at home and the lesson i’d just learned that you should never listen to “experts”. All of which, I reckon is a load of crap- Firth knew full well Bathurst hadn’t changed since he last been there and if he had the trick Ferodo brake shoes sitting in Queens Avenue in Melbourne he would have taken them with him…the mistake was his not ‘the experts’- he was the expert for chrissakes. Bob Jane had raced his Maserati 300S in the October 1961 Bathurst meeting, no doubt Harry had plenty of intell from Jane to say the Mount Panorama challenge had remained undiminished since 1938…

For the record, Division C was won by the Bruce McPhee/Barry Mulholland (the 1968 Bathurst 500 winning duo of course) Morris Cooper with 95 laps from the two Austin Freeways whilst second and third outright behind the Geoghegans were the C Lansdowne/Holt Binnie Triumph TR4 on 100 laps and Don Algie/Kingsley Hibbard Studebaker Lark with 99 completed laps.

Upon return from Bathurst Firth completed his preparation of the new XL Falcon Pursuit which was a much more competitive proposition in the price based class structure than its predecessor, the machine was ‘The model as supplied to the police- larger engine, better wheels, otherwise the same as the standard 144’ the body was a lot better ‘So it was vastly improved but still not very good.’

Bob I think- 1962 PI 500, Falcon XL heading past a copse of trees on the run towards Lukey Heights (autopics.com)

 

1962 P Is 500, Le Mans start, the Class B group from left to right- #27 Lott Falcon, #26 Callaway Falcon, the #24 Lex Davison/John Brindley/Phil Trueman Austin Freeway, # 25, #20 and #21 Falcons of Caelli, Harper and Firth respectively (unattributed)

 

Firth/Jane during the ’62 500 and going inside Doug Whiteford/Lou Molina VW1200, a couple of aces, Whiteford thrice AGP winner the -extent of damage to the track surface clear

The race turned out to be the last ‘500’ at the Island such was the state of the circuit at the end of the weekend, the poorly maintained ‘patchwork quilt’ surface took an extra battering due to the large entry of cars and private practice in the week leading up to the race.

The Oz economy had turned to the extent that 42 cars took the start including eight in Class B for cars priced under 1250 pounds including five Falcon XL’s two of which were Ford’s first official works entries crewed by Firth/Jane and Harper/Raeburn/Fisher. In addition privateer entries were raced by Alan Caelli/J Edwards/John Bodinar, John Callaway/Frank Porter/Jim Smith and Kevin Lott/Tom Roddy/Brian Devin. In a race when nothing less than victory would do, Ford also entered a Zephyr Mk3 in Class A (cars less than 2000 pounds) which was driven by Geoff Russell/David Anderson- class winners in the two previous Island 500 contests.

Drama was provided for Firth on either the Thursday or Friday (again accounts differ) when he rolled the car on the perilous surface and had to be taken back to Auburn to be re-shelled overnight! In the event, much more competitive than the two previous years, the Fords rumbled around with great speed and regularity to finish first to fourth in Class B and 1-3-4-6 outright- the Firth car won from the Harper, Caelli and Callaway Falcons.

Somewhat ironically the only spanner in the works could have been provided by the works Zephyr (different class of course) which was of a much nicer, higher specification (power, four speed ‘box, front disc brakes) and potentially the winner but for bonnet latches failing and losing that crew many laps, ultimately a combination of tape and ropes did the trick but not before vast slabs of time were lost. Perhaps Karma kicked in though as Ford needed an emphatic Falcon win so they could ‘promote the shitter out of’ which they duly achieved, and that is what transpired.

From that point Ford’s race competition focus for the next couple of years was on the Cortina GT (1964 Bathurst win to Jane/George Reynolds) and Harry’s ‘homologation special’ Mk1 GT500 (1965 Bathurst win in the hands of Bo Seton/Midge Boswell) before FoMoCo factory missed the 1966 race and returned with a Falcon vengeance from 1967 with Australia’s own first Pony-Car the V8 XR Falcon GT which won at the Mountain in the hands of, you guessed it, Harry Firth and Fred Gibson. This period are stories for other times.

Lets not forget where it all started though- the very basic 144cid, OHV, single carb straight-six, drum braked, 5.5 turns lock to lock, wheezy, floppy XK Falcon the development wrongs of which nearly beached the company before it got outta the water to muddle the metaphors…

Firth teamed up with John Raeburn in the Falcon-Mobil Reliability Run, this red XP Hardtop was fitted with 200cid six ‘Super Pursuit’ engine- car severely damaged by another driver late in the run but was patched up and was still running at the finish (FoMoCo)

Afterthought…

As you Ford buffs well and truly know the blue oval boys were not out of the financial woods in Australia until after the legendary 70,000 mile nine day late April 1965 ‘Falcon-Mobil’ Reliability Run.

This high-speed, ‘big-balls’, all or nothing endurance test idea of new Sales and Marketing Manager and later CEO Bill Bourke involving a veritable football-team of drivers and six XP Falcons (five and a spare) of varying specifications all of which was managed by Les Powell and brought together by the Firth Emporium in Auburn.

It too, is a story for another time, the scene, Ford’s You-Yangs Proving Grounds, 50 km south-west of Melbourne.

All observers noted just how tough the You Yangs course was- the 1 in 4 hill was the trickiest bit at night and at sunset in particular. The climb was started at 80mph and crested at circa 65mph turning sharpish left (FoMoCo)

Wheels magazine said an ‘…average of 72mph on a dreadfully difficult circuit which makes Lakeside look like a roller skating rink’ was a considerable achievement.

The cars were prepared, as noted, by Firth, an army of mechanics were marshalled by John Sheppard (then with the Geoghegan Brothers) and the huge roster of drivers included Harry Firth, John Raeburn, Pete Geoghegan, Kevin Bartlett, Fred Gibson, Bo Seton, Bruce McPhee, Barry Arentz, John Roxburgh, Allan Moffat, Max Volkers, Brian ‘Brique’ Reed, Bill McLachlan, Clive Millis, Max Stahl and many others- Ford called for reinforcements during the nine-day run, the challenge of the course meant driver rotations needed to be relatively short- lets see if we can create a complete list of the steerers folks…

(unattributed)

What next chief? seems to be the communal stance!

 

Etcetera…

 

Ford went into print bigtime after the April 1965 Endurance Run which grabbed heaps of media coverage for a week whilst being run (FoMoCo)

 

Western Herald, Bourke 16 February 1962

Even though this ‘Australia taking on the world’ pursuit must have been a reasonably big deal at the time there seems to have been minimal press about it- a pity as the detail about the destiny of each Falcon in the event would be interesting to know.

 

 

(unattributed)

The Ken Harper/Les Scott XK sets off on an amazing East African adventure.

 

(unattributed)

The Geoff Russell/Dick Collinwood XK and what is probably a reasonable representation of the primary colour of the Murran clay roads of East Africa- car looks ok in this shot to the extent that we can see it but was a DNF.

 

The Firth/Hoinville Falcon XK cruising through the streets of  Nairobi on the way to the serious stuff.

Bibliography…

‘Ford’s Australian Rally History’ in RallySport September 2020, Australian Muscle Car magazine, Wheels July 1965, ‘Shannons’ Falcon XK article by Mark Oastler, ‘Balonne Beacon’ 24 November 1955, various newspapers via Trove

Photo Credits…

Bill Miles via Quentin Miles, Mark Tufte, autopics.com, Bruce Wells, Ian K, Shannons

Tailpiece…

(B Wells)

Firth/Jane Falcon XK on the exit of Hell Corner for the run up Mountain Straight during the 1962 Bathurst 6 Hour Classic- the look of these Series Production cars of the period is only ruined by shitty steel wheels- handsome car.

Finito…

(R Meyer)

Leo Geoghegan’s Holden 48-215 from Frank Hamm’s Jaguar Mk5, Bathurst, Easter 1959…

I’m not sure if this is the parade lap described below or a race but the presence of the sportscar in amongst the touring cars suggests the former.

The stunning series of photographs are uber-rare ones from the inside of Conrod Straight, the cars have just cleared Forrests Elbow and are winding up in top gear. The kid standing on the fence is Rick Meyer, his father took these wonderful rare photos trackside, ‘locals’ photographs.

The Easter meeting was the Gold Star round traditionally- there are a huge number of past, current and future top liners or champions amongst the entry list. ‘Currents’ include Stan Jones, Doug Whiteford, Ross Jenson, Curley Brydon, Jack Myers, Jack Murray and David McKay. ‘Future stars’ are Len Lukey, Alec Mildren and Bill Patterson- Gold Star winners in 1959, 1960 and 1961 respectively, Lionel Ayers, Glynn Scott, Arnold Glass, Frank Matich, Ron Phillips, Ron Hodgson, Doug Chivas, Leo Geoghegan, John French, Des West, Max Volkers, Brian Foley, Ian Geoghegan, Brian Muir and ‘Ken’ Bartlett- no doubt Kevin Bartlett learned the value of clean, clear hand-writing on entry forms when he perused the race program at the circuit!

The photo below is from the same spot and shows reigning World Champ Jack Brabham on the 2 October 1960 weekend when the local boy returned to Australia having retained his F1 drivers title, to win the ‘Craven A International’ from a classy field of locals.

The Cooper T51 Climax leads the similar white-coloured machine of 1961 Australian Gold Star Champion, Bill Patterson. Patterson was second in the race with Bib Stillwell, also T51 equipped in third- he is probably that flash of red car behind Patto.

(R Meyer)

The photo below is again Geoghegan who is about to take, perhaps, Barry Gurdon’s Austin on the run down Conrod, or is it a Triumph Herald? By this stage Leo’s car is very quick and much modified- light weight, it has a Repco Hi-Power cylinder head and multiple SU carbs, is fitted with an MG TC gearbox, slippery diff and disc front brakes.

The introduction of the Australian Touring Car Championship from 1 January 1960 run to Appendix J regulations would reign-in the ‘costs out of hand’ development of touring cars without in any way constraining the appeal of tin-top racing to either spectators or owner-drivers.

(R Meyer)

Beautiful picture of the Les Wheeler funded, Gordon Stewart designed and built Stewart MG…

Believe it or not this very advanced car was concepted and constructed in the early fifties around a tubular steel spaceframe chassis, MG TC engine and brakes. With a Bob Baker built body, modified in the nose here, it first raced at Mount Druitt in 1955.

(R Meyer)

The engine was 1350cc in capacity and fitted with a Laystall crank and locally made rods. By the time the car appeared lots of serious stuff from Europe was racing locally so it missed the boat a bit as a potential ‘outright’ contender but its 1957 Gordon Stewart driven 142 mph made it the fastest TC speed ever over Bathurst’s Flying One-Eighth!

Here, Dick Willis says the car is supercharged ‘B-Series’ BMC powered, still with Gordon at the wheel. This car is extant and a wonderful feature article, such is its conceptual design and execution, for another time.

(D Willis)

A bit more from Dick Willis, here the Stewart MG crew- ‘Ecurie Cinque’ at Mount Druitt probably in 1958. ‘Jim Robson (at right) of Silverdale fame was a technical writer for Riley (Nuffield) before the war writing workshop manuals etc. After the war he emigrated to Australia and soon struck up a friendship with the like, Nuffield minded, Gordon Stewart- Jim was one of the team who developed the Stewart MG…’

Credits…

Rick Meyer, Dick Willis, Paul Newby

Tailpiece: Finish as we started, neighbour still with hands on hips and the obedient Rick still on and behind the fence!…

(R Meyer)

Cars are Horst Kwech’s RM Spyder (Buchanan body) and Tom Sulman’s Aston Martin DB3S during the Easter 1960 meeting.

Paul Newby explains that Horst Kwech built the RM Spyder whilst working at Regional Motors in Cooma- New South Wales sub-alpine country, hence the ‘RM’. It comprised a Buchanan bodied upside-down Singer chassis powered by a Repco Hi-Power headed Holden ‘Grey’ six-cylinder engine and still exists in Canberra.

Finito…

 

 

 

The way it was.

Pat Hoare’s Ferrari 256 V12 ‘0007’ as despatched by Scuderia Ferrari in early 1961…

It was just another chassis after all, Enzo Ferrari was not to know that Dino 256 ‘0007’ would be, so far at least, the last front engined championship Grand Prix winner, so it seemed perfectly logical to refashion it for a client and despatch it off to the colonies. Not that he was an historian or sentimentalist anyway, the next win was far more important than the last.

This story of this car is pretty well known and goes something like this- Phil Hill’s 1960 Italian GP winning Ferrari Dino 256 chassis ‘0007’ was the very last front-engined GP winning machine- a win made possible due to the sneaky Italian race organisers running their GP on the high-speed banked Monza circuit to give Ferrari the best possible chance of winning the race- by that time their superb V6 front engined machines, even in the very latest 1960 spec, were dinosaurs surrounded as they were by mid-engined, nimble, light and ‘chuckable’, if less powerful cars.

 

Hill and Brabham- 256 Dino ‘0007’ and Cooper Climax T53 and during Phil and Jack’s titanic dice at Reims in 1960 (Motorsport)

 

Phil on the Monza banking, September 1960, 256/60 Dino ‘0007’

Pat Hoare bought the car a couple of months after that win with the ‘dinky’ 2474cc V6 replaced by a more torquey and powerful 3 litre V12 Testa Rossa sportscar engine.

After a couple of successful seasons Hoare wanted to replace the car with a 1961/2 mid-engined ‘Sharknose’ into which he planned to pop a bigger engine than the 1.5 litre V6 original- but he had to sell his other car first. Enzo didn’t help him by torching each and every 156 mind you. Despite attempts to sell the 256 V12 internationally there were no takers- it was just an uncompetitive front-engined racing car after all.

Waimate 50 11 February 1961, Pat was first from Angus Hyslop’s Cooper T45 Climax and Tony Shelly’s similar car (N Matheson Beaumont)

 

Pat Hoare, Ferrari Bob Eade, in the dark coloured ex-Moss/Jensen/Mansel Maserati 250F Dunedin February 1962. Jim Palmer, Lotus 20 Ford won from Hoare and Tony Shelly, Cooper T45 Climax (CAN)

Unable to sell it, Hoare had this ‘GTO-esque’- ok, there is a generosity of spirit in this description, body made for the machine turning it into a road car of prodigious performance and striking looks- the artisans involved were Ernie Ransley, Hoare’s long-time race mechanic, Hec Green who did the body form-work and G.B McWhinnie & Co’s Reg Hodder who byilt the body in sixteen guage aluminium over nine weeks and painted it. George Lee did the upholstery.

Sold to Hamilton school teacher Logan Fow in 1967, he ran it as a roadie for a number of years until British racer/collector Neil Corner did a deal to buy the car sans ‘GTO’ body but with the open-wheeler panels which had been carefully retained, the Ferrari was converted back to its V6 race specification and still competes in Europe.

Low took a new Ferrari road car, variously said to be a Dino 308 or Boxer in exchange, running around Europe in it on a holiday for a while but ran foul of the NZ Government import rules when he came home and had the car seized from him by customs when he failed to stump up the taxes the fiscal-fiends demanded- a sub-optimal result to say the least.

Allan Dick reported that the Coupe body could be purchased in Christchurch only a couple of years ago.

Hoare aboard the 256 Coupe at Wigram circa 1964 (Graham Guy)

The guts of this piece is a story and photographs posted on Facebook by Eric Stevens on the ‘South Island Motorsports’ page of his involvement with Pat Hoare’s car, in particular its arrival in New Zealand just prior to the 1961 New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore that January.

It is a remarkable insiders account and too good to lose in the bowels of Facebook, I am indebted to Stephen Dalton for spotting it. Eric’s wonderful work reads as follows.

The Arrival of Pat Hoare’s second Ferrari…

‘…that Pat Hoare could buy the car was not a foregone conclusion. Ferrari sent him off for test laps on the Modena circuit in one of the obsolete Lancia D50 F1 cars. Probably to everyone’s surprise., Pat ended up, reputedly, within about 2 seconds of Ascari’s lap record for the circuit.’ (in that car for the circuit)

‘The Ferrari was schedued to be shipped to New Zealand in late 1960 in time to be run in the 1961 Ardmore NZ GP, in the event the whole program seemed to be running dangerously late. The first delay was getting the car built at the factory. Then, instead of just a few test laps around Modena, the car became embroiled in a full scale tyre testing program for Dunlop on the high speed circuit at Monza.’

‘It can be seen from the state of the tyres (on the trailer below) that the car had obviously seen some serious mileage. Also there were some serious scrape marks on the bottom of the gearbox where it had been contacting the banking. Nobody in Auckland knew what speeds had been involved but upon delivery the car was fitted with the highest gearing which gave a theoretical maximum speed of 198mph.’

(E Stevens)

 

(E Stevens)

‘The car was driven straight from Monza to the ship. I was later told by Ernie Ransley that the car was filled with fuel and the delivery driver was told he had approximately an hour to deliver the car to the ship which was somewhat more than 120 miles away.’

‘Then the ship arrived later in Auckland than expected and although Pat had arranged to get the car off as soon as possible there was great panic when at first the car could not be found. Not only was the Hoare team frantically searching the ship, so too was the local Dunlop rep- eventually the car was found behind a wall of crates of spirits in the deck-liquor locker.’

‘Then there was the problem of the paperwork. At first all that could be found was an ordinary luggage label tied to the steering wheel in the opening photograph, this was addressed to; PM Hoare, 440 Papanui Road, Christchurch NZ, Wellington ,NZ. No other papers could be found but an envelope of documents was later found stuffed in a corner. The car had obviously arrived very late.’

(E Stevens)

 

The 3 litre variant of the Colombo V12 used in the Testa Rossas was based on that used in the 250 GT road cars, the primary modifications to the basic SOHC, two valve design were the adoption of six instead of three Weber 38 DCN carbs, the use of coil rather than ‘hairpin’ or torsion springs- this released the space to adopt 24 head studs. One plug per cylinder was used, its position was changed, located outside the engine Vee between the exhaust ports, better combustion was the result. Conrods were machined from steel billet- the Tipo 128 gave 300bhp, doubtless a late one like this gave a bit more. These Colombo V12’s provided the bulk of Ferrari road engines well into the sixties and provided Ferrari their last Le Mans win- Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory won the 1965 classic in a NART 250LM powered by a 3.3 litre Colombo V12

 

(E Stevens)

‘The day after collecting the car, and after fitting of new tyres, we took it out to the local supermarket car park for its first run in NZ. Pat climbed in and we all pushed. The car started easily but was running on only 11 cylinders and there was conspicuous blow-back from one carburettor- the immediate diagnosis was a stuck inlet valve.’

‘There was no time to get new valves and guides from the factory but Ernie Ransley was able to locate a suitable valve originally intended for a 250F Maserati and a valve guide blank which, while not made of aluminium bronze, could be machined to suit. Over the next day or so the engine was torn down, the new valve and guide fitted, and all the remaining guides were lightly honed to ensure there would be no repeat failure.’

‘The rest is history.’

‘I musn’t forget the tyres. They were obviously worn and would have to be replaced. They had a slighly different pattern from the usual Dunlop R5 and Ernie Ransley had a closer look at them to see what they were. When the Dunlop rep arrived next Ernie asked him “What is an R9?”. “Oh, just something the factory is playing with” was the answer. In fact they were a very early set of experimental rain tyres, the existence of which was not generally known at the time. There had been no time to get them off the car before it left Monza for the ship. No wonder the Dunlop rep was keen to help us find the car on the ship and get the new tyres on the car as soon as possible.’

It is long- i wonder how much longer in the wheelbase than the 2320mm it started as ? (E Stevens)

 

Good look at the IRS wishbone rear suspension, rear tank oil, inner one fuel with the rest of that carried either side of the driver (E Stevens)

The repairs effected by the team held together at Ardmore on 7 January 1961.

Pat qualified fourteenth based on his heat time and finished seventh- the first front engined car home, the race was won by Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax from McLaren’s similar car and Graham Hill’s works BRM P48.

Jo Bonnier won at Levin on 14 January- Pat didn’t contest that race but followed up with a DNF from Q14 at the Wigram RNZAF base, Brabham’s T53 won. The internationals gave the Dunedin Oval Circuit a miss, there he was second to Hulme’s Cooper T51 from the back of the grid. Off south to Teretonga he was Q3 and fourth behind Bonnier, Cooper T51 and Salvadori’s Lotus 18 Climax.

After the Internationals split back to Europe he won the Waimate 50 from pole with Angus Hyslop and Tony Shelly behind him in 2 litre FPF powered Cooper T45’s and in November the Renwick 50 outside Marlborough.

1961 NZ GP Ardmore scene- all the fun of the fair. Ferrari 256 being tended by L>R Doug Herridge, Walter ?, Ernie Ramsley, Don Ramsley and Pat. #3 McLaren Cooper T53, David McKay’s Stan Jones owned Maserati 250F- the green front engined car to the left of the Maser is Bib Stillwell’s Aston Martin DBR4-300 (E Stevens)

 

Hoare, Ardmore 1962 (E Stevens)

 

Pat during the Sandown International weekend in March 1962 (autopics.com)

Into January 1962 Stirling Moss, always a very happy and popular visitor to New Zealand and Australia won his last NZ GP at Ardmore in a soaking wet race aboard Rob Walker’s Lotus 21 Climax from four Cooper T53’s of John Surtees, Bruce McLaren, Roy Salvadori and Lorenzo Bandini- the latter’s Centro Sud machine Maserati powered, the other three by the 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF, and then Pat’s Ferrari. The car was no doubt feeling a bit long in the tooth by this stage despite only having done eight meetings in its race life to this point.

Pat didn’t contest Levin on 13 January, Brabham’s Cooper T55 Climax took that, but the Sunday after was tenth at Wigram from Q12 with Moss triumphing over Brabham and Surtees in a Cooper T53.

At Teretonga it was McLaren, Moss and Brabham with Pat seventh albeit the writing was well and truly on the wall with Jim Palmer, the first resident Kiwi home in a Cosworth Ford 1.5 pushrod powered Lotus 20.

Having said that Pat turned the tables on Palmer at Dunedin on February 3- this was the horrible race in which Johnny Mansel lost his life in a Cooper T51 Maserati. A week later at Waimate it was Palmer, Hoare and Tony Shelly in a 2 litre FPF powered Cooper T45.

Hoare decided to contest Sandown’s opening meeting on 12 March so the gorgeous machine was shipped from New Zealand to Port Melbourne for this one race- he didn’t contest any of the other Australian Internationals that summer, perhaps the plan was to show it to a broader audience of potential purchasers.

The race was a tough ask- it may have only been eighteen months since the chassis won the Italian GP but the advance of technology in favour of mid-engine machines was complete, as Pat well knew. Jack Brabham won the 60 lap race in his Cooper T55 Climax FPF 2.7 from the similarly engined cars of John Surtees and Bruce McLaren who raced Cooper T53’s- the first front-engined car  was Lex Davison’s Aston Martin DBR4/250 3 litre in eighth.

Pat was eighth in his heat- the second won by Moss’ Lotus 21 Climax and started sixteenth on the grid of the feature race, he finished eleventh and excited many spectators with the sight and sound of this glorious, significant machine.

And that was pretty much it sadly…

Hill in ‘0007’ and Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax ‘Lowline’ went at hammer and tongs for 29 of the 36 laps in one of the last great front-engine vs rear-engine battles- here Jack has jumped wide to allow Phil, frying his tyres and out of control as he tries to stop his car- passage up the Thillois escape road, French GP 1960 (Motorsport)

Ferrari Dino 256/60…

I’ve already written a couple of pieces on these wonderful Ferraris- the ultimate successful expression of the front engined F1 car, here; https://primotipo.com/2017/07/14/composition/ and here; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/21/dan-gurney-monsanto-parklisbonportuguese-gp-1960-ferrari-dino-246-f1/

The history of 256/60 ‘0007’ and its specifications are as follows sourced from Doug Nye’s ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’, a short article i wrote about the car a while back is here; https://primotipo.com/2015/11/09/pat-hoares-ferrari-256-v12-at-the-dunedin-road-race-1961/

The 1960 Dinos had small tube spaceframe chassis, disc brakes, wishbone and coil spring/dampers front- and rear suspension, de-Dion tubes were gone by then. The V6 engines, tweaked by Carlo Chiti were of 2474cc in capacity, these motors developed a maximum of 290bhp @ 8800rpm but were tuned for greater mid-range torque in 1960 to give 255bhp for the two-cam and 275bhp @ 8500rpm for the four-cammers. Wheelbase of the cars was generally 2320mm, although shorter wheelbase variants were also raced that year, the bodies were by Fantuzzi.

‘0007’ was first raced by Phil Hill at Spa on 19 June-Q3 and fourth, Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax the winner, he then raced it at Reims, Q2 and DNF gearbox with Jack again up front, Silverstone, Q10 and seventh with Jack’s Cooper up front again and in Italy where Hill won from pole before it was rebuilt into ‘Tasman’ spec. Obviously the machine had few hours on it when acquired by Hoare- it was far from a worn out old warhorse however antiquated its basic design…

Nye records that seven cars were built by the race shop to 1960 246-256/60 specifications- ‘0001’, ‘0003’, ‘0004’, ‘0005’, ‘0006’, ‘0007’ and ‘00011’. ‘0001’, ‘0004’, ‘0006’ and ‘00011’ were discarded and broken up by the team leaving three in existence of which ‘0007’ is the most significant.

The 250 Testa Rossa engine is one the long-lived, classic Gioachino Colombo designs, evolved over the years and designated Tipo 128, the general specifications are an aluminum 60 degree, chain driven single overhead cam per bank, two-valve 3 litre V12- 2953cc with a bore/stroke of 73/58.8mm with 300bhp @ 7000rpm qouted. The engine in Hoare’s car was dry-sumped and fitted with the usual visually arresting under perspex cover, battery of six Weber 38 DCN downdraft carbs.

(E Stevens)

 

Pat Hoare in his first Ferrari, the bitza 625 four cylinder 3 litre at Clelands Road, Timaru hillclimb date unknown (E Porter)

Enzo Ferrari, Pat Hoare, Colombo and Rita…

Many of you will be aware of the intrigue created down the decades by Pat Hoare’s ability to cajole cars from Enzo Ferrari, when seemingly much better credentialled suitors failed.

I don’t have David Manton’s book ‘Enzo Ferraris Secet War’ but Doug Nye commented upon its contents in a 2013 Motorsport magazine piece.

‘Neither Mr Ferrari himself nor Pat Hoare ever explained publicly their undeniably close links. The best i ever established was that Hoare had been with the New Zealand Army advancing up the leg of Italy in 1943, and was amongst the first units to liberate Modena from the retreating German Army. David Manton has plainly failed in pinning down chapter and verse to unlock the true story, but he does reveal startling possibilities.’

‘When Mr Ferrari wanted a trusted engineer to realise his ambitions of building a new V12 engined marque post-war, he sought out Ing Gioachino Colombo, his former employee at Alfa Romeo. In 1944-5, however, Colombo was tainted by having been such an enthusiastic Fascist under Mussolini’s now toppled regime. With Communist Partisans taking control, Colombo was fired from Alfa and placed under investigation. His very life hung by a thread. He could have been imprisoned or summarily shot.’

‘Manton believes that Hoare- who had met Ferrari as a confirmed motor racing enthusiast from the pre-war years- may have been instrumental in freeing Colombo by influencing the relevant authorities. Certainly Colombo was able to resume work for Ferrari when some of his former Party colleagues remained proscribed, ar had already- like Alfa Romeo boss Ugo Gobbato and carburettor maker Eduardo Weber- been assassinated.’

‘But David Manton presents the possibility that such mediation might have been only a part of a more intimate link. Pat Hoare’s personal photo album from the period includes several shots of an extremely attractive Italian girl identified only as Rita. He was an un-married 27 year old Army officer. She was a ravishing 18, believed to have been born near Modena around 1926 and raised not by her birth parents, but by relatives. Some of Pat Hoare’s old friends in Christchurch, New Zealand- while fiercely protective of his memory- share a belief that the lovely Rita was not only just an early love of his life, but that she was also the illegitimate daughter of Enzo Ferrari…which would explain so much.’

‘Nothing is proven. David Manton’s book frustratingly teases but so- over so many decades- has the intrinsic discretion and privacy of the Italian alpha male. As American-in-Modena Pete Coltrin told me many years ago, Mr Ferrari was sinply a “complex man in a complex country”. He had a hard won reputation as a womaniser, which itself earned the respect, and admiration of many of his Italian peers and employees. But if Mr Manton’s theories hold any water they certainly go a long way towards explaining the Pat Hoare/Enzo Ferrari relationship, which both considered far too private ever to divulge to an enthusiastic public…’ DC Nye concludes.

Every Tom, Dick and Irving…

I look at all the fuss about Hoare’s purchase of his two Ferraris and wonder whether every Tom, Dick and Harry who had the readies and wanted an F1 Fazz could and did buy one in the fifties?

Ok, if you got Enzo on a bad day when Laura was pinging steak-knives around the kitchen at him for dropping his amply proportioned tweeds yet again he may not have been at his most co-operative but if you copped him the morning after he bowled over Juicy Lucia from down the Via you could probably strike a quick deal on any car available.

Putting all puerile attempts at humour to one side it seems to me Ferrari were pretty good at turning excess stock (surplus single-seater racing cars) into working capital (cash), as every good business owner- and it was a very good business, does. Plenty of 375’s, 500’s, 625’s and 555’s changed hands to the punters it seems to me.

Just taking a look at non-championship entries in Europe from 1950 to 1956, the list of cars which ended up in private hands is something like that below- I don’t remotely suggest this is a complete, and some cars will be double-counted as they pass to a subsequent owner(s), but is included to illustrate the point that in the fifties ex-works Ferrari F1 cars being sold was far from a rare event.

Its not as long a list as D Type Jaguar or DB3S Aston owners but a longer list than one might think.

Peter Whitehead- 125, 500/625 and 555 Super Squalo Tony Vandervell- 375, Bobbie Baird- 500 Bill Dobson-125 Chico Landi- 375 Piero Carini- 125 Franco Comotti- 166.

Four 375’s were sold to US owners intended for the 1952 Indy 500

Rudolf Fischer- 500,  Jacques Swaters ‘Ecurie Francorchamps’- 500 and 625, Charles de Tornaco ‘Ecurie Belgique’- 500, Louis Rosier ‘Ecurie Rosier’- 375, 500 and 625, Tom Cole- 500, Roger Laurent- 500, Kurt Adolff- 500, Fernand Navarro- 625, Carlo Mancini- 166, Guido Mancini- 500, Tony Gaze- 500/625 Reg Parnell ‘Scuderia Ambrosiana’- 500, 625 and 555 Super Squalo

Ron Roycroft- 375, Jean-Claude Vidille- 500, Alfonso de Portago- 625, Lorenzo Girand- 500, Centro Sud- 500, Jean Lucas- 500, Georgio Scarlatti- 500, Berando Taraschi- 166, Pat Hoare- 500/625 ‘Bitza’ and 256 V12

Don’t get me wrong, I do love the intrigue of the stories about the Enzo and Pat relationship but maybe its as simple as Hoare rocking up to Maranello twice on days when Enzo had had a pleasant interlude with Juicy Lucia on the evening prior rather than on two days when his blood was on the kitchen floor at home.

Etcetera…

(CAN)

Pat Hoare in his first Ferrari ‘bitza’, a 3 litre engined 625 (ex-De Portago, Hawthorn, Gonzales) at Dunedin 1958.

He raced the car for three seasons- 1958 in detuned state the car was not very competitive, in 1959 it kept eating piston rings and in 1960 it was fast and reliable, nearly winning him the Gold Star.

Its said his trip to Maranello in 1960 was to buy a V12 engine to pop into this chassis to replace its problematic four-cyinder engine but Ferrari insisted he bought a whole car.

The specifications of this car vary depending upon source but Hans Tanner and Doug Nye will do me.

The chassis was Tipo 500 (other sources say 500 or 625) fitted with a specially tuned version of a Tipo 625 sportscar engine bored from 2.5 to 2.6 litres. A Super Squalo Tipo 555 5-speed transmission was used to give a lower seating position and a neat body incorporating a Lancia D50 fuel tank completed the car.

When entered in events Pat described it as a Ferrari 625 and listed the capacity as 2996cc.

Pat Hoare portrait from Des Mahoney’s Rothmans book of NZ Motor Racing (S Dalton Collection)

Special thanks…

Eric Stevens and his stunning article and photographs

Photo Credits…

Allan Dick/Classic Auto News, Graham Guy, Mike Feisst, Stephen Dalton Collection, autopics.com

Bibliography…

‘History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye, grandprix.com, the Late David McKinney on ‘The Roaring Season’, Motorsport February 2013 article ‘The Old Man and the Kiwi’ by Doug Nye

Tailpieces…

(M Feisst)

The NZ built ‘Ferrari GTO’ pretty in its own way but not a patch on the genuine article without the extra wheelbase of the ‘real deal’.

 

(E Stevens)

Bag em up Pat…

Finito…