Archive for May, 2021

(De Lespinay Collection)

Jack Brabham and John Cooper’s attack on the 1961 Indianapolis 500 took place on May 30, 1961. Lordy, that’s 60 years ago this weekend.

The story of their initial testing sortie in October 1960 in a GP T53, and Brabham’s problem-plagued ninth place in the race has been well told, not least in my piece in this week’s Auto Action #1811 https://autoaction.com.au/issues/auto-action-1811

Noddy Grohman giving the car a birthday after its qualifying run. Note the Dunlop wheels and tyres, more substantial roll-bar than the F1 equivalent, and big fuel tank on the left side (De Lespinay Collection)

David Friedman’s rare body-off shot shows the T54’s offset secrets- suspension, engine and gearbox, fuel tanks and driver. Transaxle is Cooper Knight C5S but with three, rather than the five speeds of the F1 spec ‘box (D Friedman)
Cooper receiving some Bear service before qualifying in May (De Lespinay Collection)

After the race, the star of the show was shipped back to the UK for a demonstration run at Silverstone, and then back to the car-owner, Jim Kimberly in the US. The Kleenex heir funded Cooper’s 500 attack.

The T54 at an SCCA Divisional meeting, Hillsborough, US in June 11, 1962. “Just after Kjell Qvale purchased the car…the Kimberly Cooper Spl lettering has been removed…at tis point the car had no engine, gearbox or driveshafts…(R Spencer)

Kimberley ordered two cars from Mickey Thompson for his ’63 Indy campaign, Kimberley sold 61-S-01, which had been on display in the Indy Museum for a little while, to Kjell Qvale, operator of British Motors in San Francisco.

Joe Huffaker, prominent engineer, suggested fitment of an Offy 4.2-litre DOHC, four-cylinder engine to the T54, this combination was potentially a race winning one.

Qvale sold Aston Martin amongst the suite of marques his British Motor Cars Ltd sold in San Francisco. He substituted the big, long, heavy – and as it turned out reliable but not powerful enough – Aston DOHC-six for the far more compact and suitable Offy four.

Joe Huffaker and Kjell Qvale with Cooper T54 Aston Martin in 1963, it looks pretty sleek from this angle (De Lespinay Collection)
Joe Huffaker contemplates the Aston Martin six, bulk, length and height. Chassis lengthened to accommodate it (De Lespinay Collection)
Rodriguez, T54 and crew for the obligatory Indy portrait shot (IMS)

Initial test laps at Indy by Ralph Liguori showed the Dunlop wheel/Firestone tyres combination was too weak, so cast Halibrands fitted with Firestones were substituted.

Later despite the best efforts of fizzy, fast Pedro Rodriguez at the wheel, the ungainly-looking car failed to make the qualifying cut.

The Cooper was the fastest thing through the corners, besting even the Clark and Gurney (Dunlop wheels and tyres) Lotus 29 Fords. The AM engine simply lacked the puff the company had promoted, Rodriguez’ qualifying speed was only 2mph than Brabham’s two years before despite better tyres.

The engine was returned to Newport-Pagnell, while the T54 was sold to a San Jose, California club-racer.

The photograph below shows the largely unmodified chassis, albeit fitted with a beefy roll-cage and nerf-bars for sprintcar use on the paved tracks of the northwest.

(De Lespinay Collection)

By 1966 T54 had changed hands a number of times. It was raced with a Maserati engine at Trenton and Phoenix, then Buick, Ford and Chev V8s in quick succession.

By 1976 the Cooper had morphed into a bizarre Chev-powered mid-engined sprintcar raced by Darryl Lopeman.

Cooper T54 Chev (De Lespinay Collection)

Under that mountain of sinful-ugliness (ya gotta admire the guys’s innovation however), “are the original chassis and suspension, brakes, shock absorbers, pedal-cluster, radiator, oil tank, dashboard, seat and plenty of other bits” wrote Phillippe de Lespinay, saviour and restorer of the car.

The car was crashed through a wooden wall at Spanaway Raceway, Washington due to a stuck throttle. While Lopeman was ok, the nose and both rear, magnesium uprights were damaged.

(De Lespinay Collection)
(De Lespinay Collection)

The T54 “reappeared in 1990 as a bad wreck” in Tacoma Washington, its main components were the basis of the rear-engined sprint car.

The remains of both (the wreck and sprint car) were bought by De Lespinay in partnership with Robert Arnold. The car was then rebuilt, including the original 2.7 Climax FPF, by De Lespinay, Thomas Beauchamp and Gene Crowe aided by detailed photographs taken in period, and provided by David Friedman, some of which are included within this article.

T54 parts acquired by De Lespinay (De Lespinay)
Brabham with T54 chassis in 1991, ample hole in 2.7 FPF block clear (De Lespinay)

The chassis survived “inside another car”, the engine parts were tracked down in Texas and in Colarado. The block was welded by renowned Indy engineer Quincy Epperly, then rebuilt by Gene Crowe at Steve Jennings Race Engines in California.

As much as possible of the original car was used. An indication of this is shown by the shot of the machine during its rebuild in California during March 1991 – with Jack Brabham inspecting progress – it was ready for Brabham to drive at the Monterey Historics six-months later.

After the best part of a quarter-century of ownership Lespinay sold the car five years ago, many of you will have seen it demonstrated in the US, the UK or the Gold Coast.

Brabham and Cooper reunited at the Monterey Historics (De Lespinay)

Etcetera…

(De Lespinay Collection)

Smiles, and relief all round. Jack has made the cut, Cooper and Rodger Ward – who had cajoled and bullied, in a caring kinda way, Cooper and Brabham into doing the initial Indy test in October 1960 – all looking happy with a hard won time. Look at that crowd.

Front suspension detail, upper and lower wishbones each side – but offset to the left. Adjustable Armstrong shock and coil springs. Oil tank aft of radiator, Alford and Alder upright just visible, so too the Cooper steering rack and roll bar.

Note fuel filler cap, fuel tank above the drivers knees and big soft crash-pad attached to steering wheel hub.

Just don’t think too hard about a very high speed frontal collision…

(B Tronolone)

Charlie and John Cooper taking in the Indy vibe.

A decade before they were knocking out Cooper Type 15 and 16s as fast as they could build them. Ten years later they had a couple of World Championships in their pockets, and the rest.

Who knows, if the planets had been aligned, shod with Firestone tyres and a trouble-free run they may have bagged Indy in ’61 too.

Fortune favours the brave. That, they most certainly were.

Jim Kimberley leaning in at left, Cooper up. Pit stop practice

(S Dalton Collection)

Beautiful portrait of Brabham and his F1 Cooper T53 Climax 2.5 FPF during the October 5-6 1960 initial test session at Indy.

Credits…

Phillippe de Lespinay’s tsrfcars.com website and Cooper T54 Facebook page

Time-Life, David Friedman, Roy Spencer, Bob Tronolone, Car and Driver, Stephen Dalton Collection, Grid

Tailpiece…

(Life)

What it was all about really.

Beating a great big car with a little itty-bitty-one. John Cooper in the T54 being pushed away from Rodger Ward’s Watson-Offy roadster after practicing some pitstops

Finito…

(NAA)

Look at the jaunty insouciance on Fred Brodribb’s face.

Just love this shot.

The navigator isn’t so keen on photography it seems. I’ve seen plenty of Fuck-Off! looks in my time, and that, my friends is one of them.

Fred is feeling pretty good about life at this point of the 1926 1,000 mile RACV Alpine Trial in Canberra. He and his buddy had the event in-the- bag, but then arrived early at a control in Victoria on the run home, and copped a penalty which dropped them well back among the riff-raff.

Very much my kind of Bentley, #1226 is a rare 100 Supersports clad in lovely James Flood coachwork.

Brodribb Bros, of 372 St Kilda Road, Melbourne were significant Bentley importers and dealers with Fred active in building the marque through motorsport in the twenties.

Brodribbs were wiped out in the Great Depression, along with Bentley in its original form.

This car lived in Australia from 1925 to 1958, then had stints in New Zealand and the United States before ‘arriving home’ in 1989, it now lives in Perth.

(NAA)

This most imposing, sporting Bentley is possibly out front of the Canberra Hotel.

Our fearless leaders moved to the capital in 1927, no doubt the joint was pretty low-rent until post-war.

Credits…

National Archives of Australia, ‘Vintage Bentleys in Australia’ by Hay, Watson, Schudmak and Johns

Finito…

Lance Reventlow front and centre with foot on the tyre. Scarab, Monaco 1960

Timing is everything in life, innit-like?

Love the Aston Martin DBR4 and Scarab as I do, they both missed the boat as new front-engined racing cars in the brave-new mid-engined GP world.

Lance Reventlow’s Scarabs really were crazy brave, but I guess you can be so, when money is no object. The Scarabs were beautifully designed, built and finished.

What is not to like about the slinky body, spaceframe chassis, bespoke four-cylinder 2.5-litre, desmodromic-valved, fuel-injected engine and four-wheel discs? The Corvette four-speed gearbox was a bit butch and last-minute in a GP car. See here for a piece on Scarab; https://primotipo.com/2016/01/27/chucks-t-bird/ This article is pictorial, making use of some great shots which have lobbed on the internet thingy recently.

Reventlow, and Daigh behind during Monaco practice. Cooper T51 Climax is Roy Salvadori in Tommy Atkins’ car, DNF
Reventlow about to be swallowed by Innes Ireland’s Walker-Lotus 18 Climax. The sheer economy of the Lotus says it all in terms of the front-engined-packaging-challenge. Arguably the Lotus 16 did this best albeit its results don’t suggest that…
Scarab 2.5-litre, DOHC, desmo two-valve fuel-injected four. Note canting to keep the bonnet line low

Had Reventlow and team-driver Chuck Daigh lobbed on the Monaco GP grid in May 1958, rather than 1960, things may have been a bit different. Still, the team were there adding welcome variety.

The degree of difficulty couldn’t be higher. New car, new team, two drivers who had not raced at Monaco before – or contested a championship GP for that matter.

Colin Chapman, late to the mid-engined party himself, had upped the ante with his new Lotus 18, taking the Coopers-concept and running with it.

The 18 was the car of 1960, only it’s ‘Queerbox’ transaxle let it down. John Cooper’s/Owen Maddock’s/Jack Brabham’s ‘Lowline’ Cooper T53 wasn’t too shabby either. It was a much more reliable device than the Lotus, not the least of its improvements was the Cooper-Knight C5S transaxle. Wouldn’t ole-Chappers have liked to have gotten his hands on a couple of those!

Reventlow with a bit of push, as the Americans like to call understeer. A bit of Phil Hill’s Ferrari Dino 246 following
The boss gets his hands dirty, Reventlow attacks the front suspension. Photos show plenty of understeer, perhaps that is the focus. Upper and lower front wishbones
Moss readies himself for a run in Reventlow’s chassis. Note Goodyear tyre and Halibrand wheel. IRS by upper and lower wishbones. Lance watches with paternal interest from alongside Daigh’s car. Quality of workmanship and finish clear

It was no surprise that the Scarabs were slugs.

“Just to see if it was the cars or drivers, Reventlow let Moss try one. He did 1min 45sec, which equalled Jimmy Clark’s time with the Lotus 18 FJunior, so the answer to the Scarab trouble was cars and drivers. However, there were other factors, such as first time out, first attempt at anything so exacting as Monaco, and the simple fact that their Goodyear tyres are not as good as the Dunlops tyres”, Denis Jenkinson wrote in his Monaco GP race-report.

Moss’ pole in the Rob Walker Lotus 18 was 1min 36.3sec.

Jenkinson mused about what may have been possible, “A set of Dunlops would certainly have given Moss 1min 43sec. If it had been his own car and fitted him properly he would have done 1min 42sec, and if he had been trying he would have got down to 1min 41sec, and if starting money had been involved he would have got down to 1min 40sec, which would have been a reasonable time for a new car to new conditions.”

Moss won the 100 lap, 314km race in 2:53.45 in his Lotus 18 from the similarly 2.5-Climax FPF powered Cooper T53 of Bruce McLaren with the best of the front-engines, Phil Hill’s Ferrari 246. The Scarabs didn’t make the qualifying cut, together with six others.

Reventlow from the Brian Naylor’s JBW-Maserati 250S during practice, both DNQ

Etcetera…

Reventlow, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at Monaco 1960. Man, didn’t he give it – sportscars and single-seaters – a red-hot go!

After Monaco, Scarab entered the Dutch GP in the Zandvoort dunes but didn’t race after a start-money dispute.

A pity as the fast flowing course would have given the team a better chance to optimise the car’s suspension before the flat-out challenges of Spa where lack of punch was always going to be problematic.

Chuck Daigh gives Jo Bonnier a lift back to the Spa pits
Daigh pushing hard thru Eau Rouge, hiking the inside-right

Reventlow qualified sixteenth and Daigh eighteenth (of 19) but both were out with engine problems after one lap and 16 laps respectively. Brabham’s Cooper T53 won the most-gruesome of GPs.

The final appearance of the Scarab in 1960 was at home in California, the US Grand Prix at Riverside in November.

There, finally, Chuck Daigh finished in tenth place, albeit five laps adrift of the winning Moss Lotus 18.

The last Scarab European hurrah were races at Silverstone, and here in a Goodwood Intercontinental Formula race in April 1961.

Daigh started his Offy powered chassis, 01, last on a grid of nine, finishing the 20-lap Lavant Cup eighth. Moss won in a Walker Cooper T53 Climax.

Daigh, Scarab- Offy 3-litre, Goodwood, April 1961

Wonderful colour butt-shot of the two Scarabs in the Spa paddock – #30 is Daigh – during the 1960 Ardennes Forest carnival of speed.

Note the offset to allow the driveshaft to pass alongside the driver’s left to keep his bulk nice and low.

Rear mounted fuel tank, big-comfy cockpit and beefy roll-bar for the period. The Scarab pilots wore a seat-belt.

Credits…

Don Orosco Collection, Denis Jenkinson in MotorSport

Tailpiece…

Daigh, Spa 1960

Chuck Daigh, Spa 1960. He did enough to be given some opportunities in a more current car.

In Australia he raced the mid-engined Scarab RE Oldsmobile in the 1962 Sandown International, impressing all who watched his professionalism amongst the Reventlow/Jill St John sideshow with which the local press were fixated.

Finito…

Eric Thompson’s works Aston Martin DB3S rounds a right-hander on the Dundrod 7.4 mile road course in Ireland.  September 5, 1953 Tourist Trophy…

The new DB3S had a good day out. The Pat Griffith/Peter Collins and Reg Parnell/Eric Thompson machines finished first and second from the Stirling Moss/Peter Walker Jaguar C-Type in third- to make the Feltham marque’s dominance complete the customer DB3’s of Graham Whitehead/Tony Gaze and Robert Dickson/Desmond Titterington were fourth and fifth.

The winner’s time for the 111 lap, round six of the World Sportscar Championship was just over 9 hours and 37 minutes.

I’ve had a go at the DB3S here; https://primotipo.com/2017/09/28/david-mckays-aston-martin-db3ss/ and here; https://primotipo.com/2019/11/24/smiths-motor-convention-melbourne-1958/ oh-yes, the DB3 too; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/19/1952-goodwood-9-hours-and-aston-db3/

Credits…

Martin Wainwright

Finito…

(L Hemer)

Kevin Bartlett, Lola T300 leads the ‘Angus & Coote Trophy’ from John McCormack, Elfin MR5 Repco, Oran Park 1972…

Allan Horsley, the promoter of Oran Park Raceway in Sydney’s outer west, was an energetic, creative guy. Even though this event wasn’t a Gold Star Championship round he attracted a good field of F5000’s to drag in the punters. The Angus & Coote Trophy was provided by a retail chain of jewellers.

The 500bhp V8 roller-skates were spectacular at the (then) short circuit, with Lynton Hemer there to capture the action, his wonderful photos are the inspiration for this article.

Interesting bunch of three Elfin MR5 Repco shots, this one of John Walker with the just visible Max Stewart up his clacker and Garrie Cooper’s works MR5 at rear. Four MR5’s were built, the Ansett Team Elfin cars of Cooper and McCormack and customer cars for Walker and Stewart, all were built to identical specifications fitted with Repco Holden F5000 engines. Walker’s car has the aero as the cars were first built, the Cooper and McCormack (shot below) cars have the ‘Tyrrell nose’ first fitted from the ’72 Warwick Farm Tasman round. Garrie has an airbox fitted, Mac does not. JW, an Elfin man through and through didn’t race the MR5 for long though, he jumped into an A50 Matich which complied with the American regss – the Elfin did not- John did some L&M rounds in the A50. Walker, Matich, Muir, Stewart and Bartlett all competed in the US in 1973 (L Hemer)

McCormack from Muir’s T300. J Mac got quicker and quicker didn’t he? Of the four MR5s, this chassis 5711 was the most successful- ’73 Gold Star and NZ GP win etc. It was a triumph of driving and Mac and Dale Koenneke’s development of what was not the most advanced F5000 design. Mac was further up the Repco queue once Matich retired (L Hemer)

Walkers MR5 5724  note aero comments above. Blade front wing, Walker developed into a very fast F5000 pilot- ’79 AGP and Gold Star winner, the difference in him pre ’73 L&M and post was significant. Confidence is such a big thing! (L Hemer)

With the exception of Frank Matich and his Matich A50 Repco, Lynton has many fine, close-up shots of the ‘Australian F5000 Class of 1972’- I wonder why FM wasn’t present, he was a Sydney boy after all? The answer is probably that he didn’t bother with this non-championship event on May 21, given the Belle Magazine Trophy Gold Star round was only a month hence, here in June.

By then he was on the way to comprehensively belting the Gold Star opposition- he won at Sandown, Oran Park, Surfers Paradise and Warwick Farm with Kevin Bartlett winning at Adelaide International in his Lola T300, and John McCormack at Symmons Plains aboard his MR5. FM won the Gold Star with 36 points from Bartlett and McCormack on 24 and 20 points respectively.

This lengthy article on Matich and his cars focuses a lot on 1971/2 so is useful context to the Australasian F5000 scene of the time, so have a look rather than repeat myself here; https://primotipo.com/2015/09/11/frank-matich-matich-f5000-cars-etcetera/

McCormack from Bartlett (L Hemer)

John McCormack (above) led from the start of the 25-lap event from Kevin Bartlett and Gary Campbell in Lola T300 Chevs. KB’s was a new chassis (HU16) acquired after the Tasman Series, in which he raced his venerable ex-Niel Allen McLaren M10B.

Gary Campbell, ex-Gardner first production T300 HU1 (L Hemer)

Gary Campbell (above) stepped up from the Waggott 2-litre engined ANF2 Elfin 600B/E he raced in the Australian 1972 Tasman rounds into the T300 (HU1) Frank Gardner raced in the Tasman, Campbell took delivery from the final, Adelaide round.

Gardner had notionally retired from single-seater racing but did an event or two in the UK later in 1972 as he track tested the very first Lola T330 HU1, a car purchased by Max Stewart and oh-so-successful in his hands.

Interesting side profile shot of Bob Muir’s T300 accentuates the relative ride height of the T300 with the T330/2 which followed. The presentation of this car had to be seen to be believed. The T300s were always set up with plenty of ride height, as you can see here, Kevin Bartlett observed “It was to do with the wishbone angles, roll centre, etc. The cars were usually set up very soft as the old F2 tub flexed a lot into the bargain. You could feel the strain when the grip was at its best, which wasn’t too often” (L Hemer)

Bartlett passed McCormack for the lead on lap three, with Muir passing Campbell on the same lap.

Muir became a very fast exponent of F5000, perhaps his best work was in the ’73 L&M rather than at home. Bob’s Reg Papps & Sons prepared T300, chassis HU4- ex-Niel Allen after a practice crash ended Allen’s planned racing comeback, was easily one of the most beautifully presented and prepared racing cars in Australia, visually stunning- I waxed lyrical about it here; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/18/my-first-race-meeting-sandown-tasman-f5000-1972-bartlett-lola-and-raquel/

Muir and KB sluggin it out (L Hemer)

Muir passed Bartlett (above) and ran out the winner from Kevin, John Walker’s Elfin MR5 Repco and Gary Campbell with KB setting a new lap record of 40.2 seconds.

In many ways the story of Australian 1972 F5000 racing- the championship Gold Star Series and non-championship Calder based ‘Repco Birthday Series’ (fiftieth birthday by the way) was FM’s absolute preparedness for the season.

His Matich A50, so named in honour of sponsor, Repco’s fiftieth birthday had won on debut at Warwick Farm’s November 1971 AGP, but then had a disappointing Tasman Series, which he lost to arch-rival Graham McRae’s Leda LT27/GM1 Chev, Graham took four wins to FM’s one.

Frank Matich, Matich A50 Repco from John McCormack’s Elfin MR5 Repco at Surfers Paradise during the 1972 Tasman round, 3rd and DNF in the race won by McRae’s Leda GM1 Chev. Matich won the ’72 Gold Star in the same chassis- A50 ‘001’ (unattributed)

However, Matich was well and truly ready-to-rock at the domestic seasons outset with a very well developed car. Bartlett and Muir were more than capable of giving their fellow Sydneysider a run for his money, but neither had their T300’s early enough to have them honed to the fine pitch Matich had A50 ‘001’.

I suspect Matich did more test miles at Warwick Farm, paid for by Goodyear – he was both a contracted driver and their agent in Australia – than the rest of his fellow F5000 competitors added together. His 1972 results reflected just that.

( L Hemer)

I wonder why Max Stewart (above) raced ye-olde-faithful Mildren Waggott, his ’71 Gold Star winner rather than the Elfin MR5 Repco he had run since the ’72 Tasman?

Maybe the distinctive yellow MR5 wasn’t ready or ‘praps he wanted to give the Mildren Waggott a gallop to showcase its potential to would-be purchasers, Allan Grice bought it shortly thereafter. Maybe he was inspired to do so by Max’s performance at this meeting? In any event this amazing, popular machine was finally outpaced by the post-McLaren M10B series of smaller, lighter F5000’s despite the efforts of its oh-so-talented, lanky pilot.

There are so many shots of the utterly-luvverly Lola T300 in this article it seems smart to expand a bit upon this seminal F5000 machine…

The Lola T190 F5000 wasn’t Lola’s best design but Frank Gardner evolved it into the longer wheelbase, and modified in many other areas T192- and won plenty of races in it in Europe and Australasia.

The car was far from uncompetitive into 1971 too- FG won at Warwick Farm during the Tasman Series, and European F5000 championship races at Silverstone, Mondello Park and Castle Combe. The old racer ran with and beat youngsters such as Brian Redman, Mike Hailwood, McRae and Allan Rollinson.

Gardner on the way to Warwick Farm 100 Tasman victory on 14 February 1971. Lola T192 Chev ‘190/F1/6’ or ‘HU14’- note the winglets aside the cars chassis. WF Esses, car following probably the Matich M10B Repco, brave ‘snapper is Lance Ruting. Car stayed in Oz- sold to Colin Hyams, then to US in 1972  (J Ellacott)

But the laconic racer/engineer wanted something smaller and lighter to stay ahead of the chasing pack, including the new McLaren M18/22, Surtees TS8 and coming Leda GM1.

In a moment of wham-bam-thankyou-maam pragmatic inspiration, he and Lola Engineer, Bob Marston, married the existing Lola T240 F2/Atlanic chassis with a 5-litre Chev and DG300 Hewland transaxle.

The production variant of the prototype became the T300 we F5000 nut-bags know and love. After some testing, the prototype ‘T242’ made its race debut at Thruxton on August 1, 1971.

FG plonked it on pole and finished third behind McRae’s highly developed McLaren M10B, and Hailwood’s works Surtees TS8. It was a statement of intent, the cars performance and looks were the subject of all he paddock chatter that weekend. The queue at Huntingdon started the morning after.

T242 was renamed T300 from the following Silverstone round on August 14, Gardner was again behind Hailwood, this time in second position.

(J Ballantyne)

The photos above show the car in the Snetterton paddock on August 30, 1971.

The chassis was destroyed in an argument over real-estate that very weekend between Gardner, and Redman’s M18 McLaren on lap eight. The T242/300 was badly damaged, rooted in fact – sad as that particular Lola was a very significant one for the company and F5000 as a class.

The key elements of the design- its overall size and packaging, hip-mounted radiators, wedge shape and aerodynamics are all clear.

Lola T300 drawing, poor in quality but useful all the same. Gardner’s prototype machine (Pinterest

Autosport proclaims Gardner/Lola’s ’71 Euro F5000 victory

Gardner raced his replacement car, the first production T300, chassis HU1 (the car he brought to Australia later that year, boofed in practice for the Warwick Farm AGP, was repaired and then contested the ’72 Tasman before sale to Gary Campbell as above) to its first win at Hockenheim on 12 September, in front of Emerson Fittipaldi’s F1 Lotus 56B Pratt & Whitney turbine, and Teddy Pilette’s McLaren M10B Chev.

I hope Eric Broadley paid those two fellas, Gardner and Marston a bonus in 1971 because they created, arguably, the first of the most successful and profitable family of production racing cars ever.

Lola built ‘a million’ T300/330/332/332C/332CS/333 cars and spares, those machines won countless F5000 and single-seat Can-Am races in the hands of just as many champions, journeymen and amateur drivers for well over a decade.

(G Ruckert)

The photo above is the business end of Bartlett’s T300 HU16 at Surfers Paradise in 1972, that’s Bartlett’s red driving suit and John Harvey’s purple crutch alongside!

Key elements of the machine are the injected 5-litre 500bhp Chevy V8, note the magneto and fuel metering unit. The rear of the aluminium monocoque chassis is to the right- the car was designed as an F2, it was a bit floppy.

Torsional rigidity was improved with the T330/332 which followed, but these were not machines in which to have a front-in shunt, as Bartlett experienced at Pukekohe aboard his T330 in early 1974. He was an early member of the Lola Limpers Club joining fellow Australasians Graeme Lawrence and Warwick Brown- all three came to grief in T300’s.

The gearbox is of course the ubiquitous Hewland DG300. Originally designed for ‘effete’ F1 engines, the prodigious torque of 5-litre motors made the ‘box marginal. Sticking to maintenance and lifing cycles of gears, dog rings, crown wheel and pinions was critical to avoid DNFs. The Hewland in yer little namby-pamby Formula Ford (Mk9/LD200) or Formula Pacific (FT200) was ‘set and forget’ to an extent, not so in one of these big, heavy muvvers.

The uprights are magnesium, disc brakes inboard at the rear and suspension period typical- single upper links and inverted lower wishbones, two radius rods- you can see one on the right threading the exhaust system. The adjustable rear roll bar is clear as is the engine oil tank to the right of the left exhaust outlet.

A superb, fast, race winning bit of kit in every respect but nowhere near as forgiving, if that is ever a word to be used in the same sentence as F5000- as a McLaren M10B KB notes…

Bartlett, Harvey and T300 from the front. Not sure if this is the ’72 Glynn Scott or ’73 Tasman weekend (G Ruckert)

Etcetera: The T300 and it’s father before the 1971 AGP @ Warwick Farm…

This is a pre-race publicity shot by Fairfax media.

The only trouble was Frank Gardner boofed HU1 in practice so did not start the race- he would have given Frank Matich a run for his money that day given the speed of the T300 in Europe. But ‘ya gotta be in it to win it’, and FG was not that weekend, despite a stellar record of prior success at The Farm.

The car was rebuilt in Oz around a new tub freighted in from Huntingdon, and raced to an NZGP win at Pukekohe, and three second places during the 1972 Tasman before being sold to Campbell, as related earlier, after the Sandown round.

(R Davies)

Speaking of chassis Robert Davies has superbly captured this rare photo of a nude T300 Chev- its the Allen/Muir/Brown ‘HU4’ in the Sandown paddock during 1972.

I won’t repeat the technical summary from above- devoid of bodywork the small light aluminium monocoque and minimal front impact protection is abundantly clear. The only deformable part of a racing car of this period was the body of the driver…

(unattributed)

Far-canal, that really is a mess. Its the same chassis HU4 shown above.

If you thought about the physics involved in a Formula Ford shunt you probably wouldn’t do it, but Jesus the big single-seaters of this period- F1 and F5000 really were lethal devices.

Balls of steel to race them springs to mind.

I don’t usually publish shots of rooted racers but this one had a happy ending- and adds some color and reality to the glib ‘Lola Limper’ line used earlier on.

Young Australian thruster Warwick Brown graduated from the McLaren M10B Chev with which he cut his F5000 racing teeth in 1972, to the ex-Allen/Muir Lola T300 prior to the 1973 Tasman- third at Levin and second at Wigram showed his mettle and immediate pace in a competitive car. It all came undone at Surfers, the first of the Australian Tasman rounds.

His car got away from him on the fast, demanding, circuit spreading bits of aluminium and fibreglass over the grassy undulations of the Nerang countryside and broke both Warwick’s legs. He got wide onto the marbles on the entry to the flat in fifth right-hander under Dunlop Bridge, and bounced across the grass into the dirt embankment surrounding the circuit.

The light aluminium tub folded back, in the process doing horrible things to Warwick’s feet and lower limbs. He had a very long recovery, made somewhat easier by the promise of a new car from his near-neighbour patron, mining millionaire Pat Burke. In that T332 HU27 he won the 1975 Tasman Series, the only Australian ever to do so.

It’s a story for another time but WB had another two Lola ‘big ones’ in the US in a T332C and T333. If there was a President for Life of the Lola Limpers Club I suspect it was Mr Brown.

Balls of steel, and mind over matter…

Click here for a piece on WB; https://primotipo.com/2017/03/09/wb-for-73/

(T Marshall)

The photo above is of WB at Levin only a couple of weeks prior to its Surfers demise.

Terry Marshall has captured the Sydneysider nipping a right-front during the 13 January Levin International. Warwick was third behind McRae’s GM1 and Matich’s A50- two of the toughest of F5000 nuts.

(unattributed)

Calder in 1972- Bob Jane had no Gold Star round that year but did promote the ‘Repco Birthday Series’ for F5000 and ANF2.

By the look of the clothes of the hardy Victorians it is winter’ish- Calder in the Winter is not a particularly pleasant place usually, i’m figuring the October 15 round with the assistance of oldracingcars.com though.

It looks as though Gary Campbell #4, has made a corker of a start and is seeking a way past KB #5 but then again maybe KB got off like a rocket and and Gary is giving him room as KB jinks right for a way past John McCormack’s Ansett Elfin MR5 Repco.

Over by the aptly placed Repco sign is the Repco-Holden F5000 engined Matich A50 #25 of John Walker- perhaps some of you American readers saw JW race this car in several L&M rounds in 1973 so well?

Bartlett won this 30 lapper in a smidge under 21-minutes from Walker and McCormack, then came Stewart, Elfin MR5 Repco and Campbell.

Bartlett won this five round series from Matich and Muir.

L Hemer)

Who would have throughout the T300 as a rally car?

KB negotiates the Warwick Farm paddock during the famously wet 1973 Warwick Farm 100 Tasman round, Steve Thompson Chevron B24 Chev won that day.

(unattributed)

The angle on the dangle.

And they are all angles, just the wildest looking thing at the time – even the Lotus 72 looked conservative alongside one of these babies.

Bartlett on the Calder grid alongside Mc Cormack during the 15 Ocober meeting referred to above.

Photo Credits…

Lynton Hemer, John Ballantyne, oldracephotos.com.au, Graham Ruckert, Terry Marshall, Pinterest, John Ellacott, Fairfax Media

References…

oldracingcars.com, The Nostalgia Forum

Tailpiece: Double T300 Trouble- Muir from Bartlett, Oran Park 1972…

(oldracephotos.com.au/DSimpson))

Finito…

(HRCCT)

Greg Cusack exits Newry Corner, Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT6 Lotus-Ford Twin-cam, South Pacific Trophy, Longford, 2 March 1964…

Cusack was the second ANF1.5 car home in the Tasman round, Frank Gardner was ten seconds up the road in Alec Mildren’s similar Brabham- it was a good showing and indicative of his pace.

I wrote an article about the ANF 1.5 class a while back, see here; https://primotipo.com/2019/09/13/anf-1-5-litre/

(HRCCT)

In a successful weekend for Scuderia Veloce, Graham Hill won the Tasman race in the teams Brabham BT4 Climax IC-1-62 which is shown relaxing in the paddock at left alongside Greg’s BT6 FJ-15-63.

And don’t they look pretty, in fact quite a few of you will be salivating about the ‘Rice’ Trailer too, what about the tow car, wotizzit?

Brabhams galore; Brabham’s BT7A, Hill’s winning BT4 and Matich’ third placed BT7A, all Coventry Climax 2.5FPF powered (unattributed)

IC-1-62 is quite a significant car commercially in the Brabham pantheon. It was Ron Tauranac’s first ‘Intercontinental’ (‘IC’) design which was derived from the F1 BT3 Coventry Climax FWMV.

Built for Jack’s 1962 AGP appearance at Caversham, outside Perth – Brabham led until he and Arnold Glass tripped over each other, the fault more Glass’ than Brabham’s- racing it throughout that summer in Australasia before sale to David McKay, and later Kerry Grant in New Zealand, and then later still to John McCormack in Tasmania on his racing ascent. A UK consortium owned it in 2017.

The point is that the Intercontinental BT4, BT7A and BT11A’s were all ripper cars as race winning tools, and important commercially for the nascent Motor Racing Developments Ltd coz they sold plenty of them, it all started with IC-1-62.

Intercontinental Brabhams here; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/20/matich-stillwell-brabhams-warwick-farm-sydney-december-1963/

(oldracephotos.com/Smith)

The laurel wreath atop the Hill Brabham proves just what a good weekend they had…

Whose red Jaguar? is that on the transporter behind?

Etcetera…

(D Williams)

The boss awaits his driver- David McKay at far right in the Warwick Farm dummy grid area during the 1964 Warwick Farm 100 meeting. Jack Brabham (I think) offers advice.

Graham Hill had two very happy seasons in Scuderia Veloce Brabham Climaxes. He won one Tasman Cup round in 1964 and 1965. McKay tends to Hill while lanky Spencer Martin stands by the left-rear, Warwick Farm 1964.

Credits…

Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania, oldracephotos.com, Dennis Williams

Finito…

Glyn Scott supervises Leo Geoghegan who is about to have a guest steer of Glyn’s P3 at Oran Park in 1968 (Bowin Cars)

When Bowin founder, John Joyce returned to Australia after a four year stint working for Lotus Components, he built this Bowin – P3-101-68 for Glyn Scott.

Scott raced the 1.6-litre Ford FVA engined car from July 1968 until May 1970, he then ran an Elfin 600 until his untimely, sad death. See here for a story on Glyn; https://primotipo.com/2020/07/24/glyn-scott/

This article is intended to be read in conjunction with my feature about Joyce’s early Bowin years including construction of three P3s published in this fortnight’s Auto Action #1810, published May 6-19, 2021. Click here to buy it; https://autoaction.com.au/issues/auto-action-1810

Editor Bruce Williams will pickle my testicles if I cut-his-lunch. This piece uses extra material relating to Bowin #1 we couldn’t fit in the more general 2,000 word AA piece. Much of the information was provided by Adelaide’s Ian Peters who has owned this marvellous car since 1983.

Merv Waggott engines were very successful in 1969. Glyn Scott had seen first-hand just how potent and reliable they were chasing Max Stewart’s 1.6-litre powered Mildren Waggott, so he ordered a 2-litre TC-4V for his new Elfin 600.

He and Norm Mellor removed the ex-Piers Courage Ford FVA #7044 and FT200 Hewland transaxle from the Bowin and installed them in Glyn’s Lotus 23B. The extra 30bhp or so over and above that of the Lotus-Ford twin-cam fitted to the 23B gave that old beast a useful performance kicker.

P3-101-68 was sold as a roller to Edward Scauster of Annerley, Queensland a fortnight before Glyn’s death – and from him to Wayne Newton in Sydney’s Pennant Hills that October 1970.

Rebuilt as an ANF3 car, he raced it for three years before selling to Taren Points John Crouchley, he raced it for a further two years before moving it on to Burwood Auto Electrics – still in Sydney.

They only hung onto it for a couple of months before P3 became a South Australian in October 1975 – it has resided there ever since. D Manfield of Brooklyn Park raced it for a couple of years, then Home Autotune Services in Prospect from March 1978.

When Ian Peters acquired it the car was fitted with one of Brian Sampson’s Motor Improvements prepared Toyota Corolla F3 engines – one of the top-gun choices during the 1.3-litre F3 days.

P3-101-68 in Burwood Auto Electrics ANF guise (I Peters)
P3-101-68 in Adelaide as purchased by Peters at auction in 1983 (I Peters)

The car wasn’t butchered too much along the way albeit the bodywork was modernised and a rear wing added in the quest for speed.

The nose looks a bit Cheetah Mk6 but is not, the rear wing in its final yellow livery is Birrana 274.

By then the distinctive four-spoke Bowin mag-alloys were gone but “the quality of the car shone through just looking at the beautifully made aluminium tub” recalls Peters after first spotting it amongst the road cars in Kearns Auctions, Prospect, showrooms.

“There was no interest, it needed a lot of work, I bought it well. I didn’t have much money at the time so it was a great project where I could add some value and learn along the way. I’d been club racing a Lotus Elan and a Seven and wanted to get into a racing car.”

“I pulled it down and worked out what I had. The plan was to restore it as an historic Group O car. CAMS were a bit more accommodating then, I was allowed to build it with a Lotus-Ford twin-cam even though P3-101-68 hadn’t raced as such, but Ian Fergusson’s P3 had.”

“It had a four-speed VW box, the wrong wheels and body. The driveshafts with donuts had been replaced by whoofing-big Hooke-type joints. The suspension was original but brutalised, the rear cast uprights were good – the oil tanks were gone and tough to recreate.”

“I got in touch with John Joyce at Bowins, he was delighted the first Bowin was being made-good. I soon had drawings on the way and a body being made by GS Motor Bodies in Brookvale, who had made them in the day. Magnesium technologies cast some new wheels”

“After Glyn’s death, the Lotus 23B, still with Ford FVA fitted, was sold to Alan Ling and Bruce Gowans in Tasmania for Bruce to drive. They later fitted a Waggott engine, in that deal the FVA was traded to Paul England Engineering in Melbourne. My research ended when I discovered the engine had been fitted in a speedboat which sank, the engine was not recovered!”

“The FT200 gearbox was sold at the same time as the engine – it ended up in one of Peter Turnham’s Turnham sporties in Tasmania.”

“I wanted to fit an FVA but they were hugely expensive, so I gradually began buying bits from about 2007, whenever I saw them advertised or had a lead. I sold the MI Corolla motor and bought the Lotus twin-cam from Bob Holden in Sydney. He claimed it was one of his ex-Bathurst engines and had also been fitted in Peter Hopwood’s race-Elan. The head had Waggott stamped on it, so at some stage Merv ministered to it – it was a good engine. I initially fitted Webers and then mechanical fuel-injection later on.”

“The FT200 box was expensive, there was no easy way out there! By early 1984 I had the car ready to test, first racing it at the Sporting Car Club of South Australia’s Historic meeting at Mallala that Easter.”

P3-101-68 as it is now in Peters’ Adelaide workshop with dummy FVA fitted (I Peters)

“The more I got to know the car and Joyce the more absorbed in all things Bowin I became. Ashley Joyce and I put together the (excellent) Bowin Cars website. Included in the detailed specs of each car section, I added ‘ex-Piers Courage Ford FVA #7044’ in the list. You can imagine my surprise when Perth’s Graham Brown contacted me to say he had the motor! After about twelve months of negotiations I bought the engine.”

“I last raced the P3 in an historic support race during the 1989 Adelaide AGP carnival. I hit the wall when a front upright broke doing enough damage to get Chas Talbot in Melbourne to rebuild the tub.”

“By then I’d decided to progress to an ex-Alan Jones Ralt RT4 Ford BDA Formula Pacific car and then a Reynard 91D Holden Formula Holden. That ex-Birrana Racing machine won me two CAMS Silver Stars in 2003 and 2004. I put it to one side forever ago, but have it for sale at the moment.”

“After that is off my plate I’ll complete the rebuild of the P3 to FVA engined spec. It’s currently fitted with a dummy FVA, but all of the hard work is done so it shouldn’t be too long before it’s all done.”

There was only a tiny number of resident 1.6-litre F2 cars which raced in Australia in period. The only one which was victorious in a Gold Star round was P3-101-68, Glyn triumphed at Sandown in September 1968 on a day the 2.5s fell foul of technical dramas.

This car is a magnificent machine, we Bowin-nutters look forward to its return to the circuits soon.

Look carefully, a Bowin racing car is listed! (I Peters)

Credits...

Many thanks to Ian Peters, Bowin Cars

Tailpiece…

Ian Peters, Reynard 91D #028 Holden circa 2002, circuit unknown (I Peters)

Finito…

Jochen on a charge, huntin’ his friend Jack Brabham down…

‘Twas a famous victory this one. Jochen wasn’t a happy camper. The brand-spankers Lotus 72 wasn’t fast out of the box. It made its race debut in Spain on April 19 and by Monaco was already in B-spec. Team Lotus got there soon enough mind you, Rindt won in Holland on June 21 in a 72C.

But he wasn’t happy at Monaco.

The Lotus 49 made its race debut at Zandvoort ’67 and even with a few 1970 tweaks; suspension geometry, 72 wings et al, it was an old beast so he started the race from grid 8 in a cruise-and-collect mindset having slept badly on a yacht shared with his manager, Bernie Ecclestone.

monaco stewart

Stewart’s March 701 Ford leads Chris Amon’s similar car, Jacky Ickx’ Ferrari 312B and Denny Hulme’s yellow McLaren M14A Ford (Gulay Berryman)

monaco gaggle

Early in the race; Brabham’s BT33 from JPB’s Matra MS120, Ickx’ Ferrari 312B, Hulme’s McLaren M14A Ford, Rindt’s Lotus 49C Ford and Pescarolo’s Matra MS120 (Automobile Year 18)

Stewart led for the first third of the race, than retired with engine electronics problems, leaving Jack and Chris Amon in positions one and two. Jochen was seventh, but thanks to typical Monaco attrition he moved up the lap charts.

Ickx and Beltoise retired – then the Austrian fired up and passed Pescarolo and Hulme, leaving only Amon and Brabham up the road.

jochen on charge

Rindt’s charge is underway. Here #3 Rindt is lining Denny Hulme’s McLaren M14A, behind is Pescarolo’s Matra MS120, Courage’ De Tomaso 505 Ford, Siffert’s March 701 Ford and in the distance Bruce McLaren, McLaren M14A Ford (The Cahier Archive)

Amon retired on lap 61 leaving only Brabham, not too traumatised even with four laps to go, with a lead of nine seconds.

On lap 77 Black-Jack was baulked by Siffert’s March 701, the Swiss was suffering from fuel feed dramas – losing five seconds – Jochen was lapping in 1:23s, Jack 1:24s.

At Tabac Brabham came upon three back-markers, and then into the hairpin on the last lap the struggling Piers Courage – in 1969 he was up-front in one of Tauranac’s BT26 Brabhams, in 1970 aboard the shitbox De Tomaso 505 – Brabham went off-line onto the marbles to pass Piers, applied the brakes and boofed the fence allowing Jochen, shaking his head in disbelief, to pass into the lead.

Brabham soon got his BT33 going to take second from Henri Pescarolo’s Matra MS120 in third.

monaco boofed

Brabham with ‘bruised nose’ has recovered and drives to the line, retaining second place. Brabham BT33 Ford (unattributed)

For the first 40 laps of the race Rindt’s average lap time was 1:27, for the last 40 1:24.9, one-second quicker than he qualified.

Mind over matter and the sniff of victory.

jochen alone

(unattributed)

Brabham’s loss of the Monaco GP provided the base upon which Rindt built his 1970 World Championship, albeit tinged in absolute tragedy.

YouTube Last Laps…

Credits…

Gulay Berryman painting, Automobile Year 18, The Cahier Archive

Tailpiece: Even the wiliest and most experienced can have lapses of judgement. Brabham in BT33 Monaco 1970…

jack

Finito…