The Marwood Express…

Posted: December 27, 2021 in Who,What,Where & When...?
Tags: , , ,
(Terry Marshall)

Dennis Marwood tries to focus on the job at hand while the 2.30pm Pukekohe-Auckland express rattles past: New Zealand Grand Prix, Pukekohe, January 8, 1966.

He did well too, placing his ex-works Cooper T66 Climax 2.5 FPF – chassis FL-6-63- fourth in the race won by Graham Hill, from Jackie Stewart aboard works BRM P261s, and Jim Palmer racing the ex-Clark Lotus 32B Climax.

Cooper’s best F1 days were well-past by 1963 when the spaceframe T66 was designed and built by Owen Maddock and his Surbiton team. An advance on the prior T60, the car was still a mid-grid machine despite being lighter, stiffer and slimmer. Driven by Bruce McLaren and Tony Maggs, McLaren’s second place at Spa was the team’s best result.

1964 was even grimmer, despite ’61 World Champ, Phil Hill, joining the squad. In a season of insufficient speed and lousy reliability, Bruce was seventh (5 retirements in 10 rounds), and Phil equal 19th in the World Drivers Championship. “Poor preparation, and indifferent engines supplied by Climax who now recognised Lotus as their major client and development partner, with Brabham next in line, cost them dear”, wrote Doug Nye.

Zeltweg vista. Phil Hill leads Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax and Chris Amon, Lola (MotorSport)
Ooooh-sheeeet and Holy Moses, or thoughts to that general effect. Phil examines his fried Cooper while Bruce McLaren tries not to think of John Cooper’s reaction. Wonder who the visitor with the Qantas travel bag is? (MotorSport)
F1-6-63 doesn’t look too flash but chassis damage was minimal, so not too dramatic a repair for a crew of talented Kiwis…(socalclicker@esc)

Phil’s nadir was on the Zeltweg aerodrome, Austrian GP weekend where he crashed his Cooper T73 during practice, then repeated the dose on the same corner in his replacement machine, T66 F1-6-63, during the race, albeit this time component failure may have been the cause.

The car struck the wall of straw bales on the entry to the runway section of the track, rear suspension collapsed, and caught fire. Phil escaped quickly, unscathed while the car burned to a crisp in a spectacular, frightening display of pyrotechnics. Up front Lorenzo Bandini’s Ferrari 158 won a race of constantly changing fortunes.

John Cooper fired Phil, but they later kissed-and-made up allowing Hill to finish an awful season. His confidence was restored with some stonking drives aboard a Bruce McLaren Racing Cooper T70 Climax during the ’65 Tasman Cup.

Oopsie, Bruce Abernethy deals with a Cooper T66 moment during the 1965 NZ GP at Pukekohe, while Ken Smith takes to the track fringes in avoidance, Lotus 22 Ford 1.5 – Kenny still racing and just turned 80. DNF for Bruce, 12th for Kenny, Graham Hill won in the Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT11A Climax (unattributed)

While the Cooper had been ‘thoroughly-heat-treated’, the chassis was ok, and was quickly bought by visiting Kiwi, Bruce Abernethy, who shipped it home. It was repaired and modified by Bill Hannah at his Havelock North workshop to take a Coventry Climax 2.5-litre FPF four-cylinder engine, for Tasman racing, rather than the 1.5-litre Climax FWMV V8 with which it was originally built.

Abernethy negotiated a deal whereby the car was owned and raced by the Rothmans Driver Promotion Scheme (later Ecurie Rothmans). The team overseen by Rothmans boss, Ken Simich, MANZ and Pukekohe chief Ron Frost, and former Kiwi ace, Ross Jensen.

Abernethy had a poor season and was replaced by Paul Fahey, he had some good drives in the car but decided touring cars were more his thing. In mid-1965, Morrisville dairy farmer, Dennis Marwood was tested, along with two other drivers, and got the gig.

Marwood aboard T66 F1-6-63 during the January 1966 Lady Wigram Trophy (motat.nz)
In the best of company, Marwood being lapped by Graham Hill, BRM P261 during the 1966 Lakeside 99

Despite a touring car background, Dennis took to the challenging open-wheeler like a duck-to-water in his first drive in November 1965. He was immediately on the pace of the front-running locals in Gold Star events; second at Pukekohe in December.

During the ’66 Tasman Cup, his best results were a pair of fourths at Pukekohe and Teretonga from six races, including the Lakeside and Warwick Farm Australian rounds. Later that year he won the Pukekohe and Renwick Gold Star events – and again at Timaru in 1967, but reliability and budget issues got in the way of results. The team had only one, old FPF and suggestions to ‘buy some new tyres’ were rebuffed by Jensen.

Dennis aboard the Rothmans Cooper during the Pukekohe reverse-direction meeting, September 1966 (J Inwood)

Rothmans considered purchase of a more competitive 2.1-litre ‘Tasman’ BRM P261 V8 – mighty quick machines – but decided they had had enough and sold the car to Peter Maloney.

Marwood went into business with Ray Stone, in South Auckland based Performance Developments, and a stellar career in single-seaters and big tourers. Click here for more on Dennis; Tasman Cup F5000 Racing – Dennis Marwood – Jim Barclay

T66 F1-6-63 was restored and lives a sedentary life in New Zealand. Dennis Marwood (below) reunited with his old car, at Pukekohe in April 2009. Bob Harborow is alongside in the John Sheppard built Maybach 1 Replica, winner of the 1954 NZ GP in Stan Jones’ hands.

(jimbarclay.nz)

Etcetera…

Cooper T66 Climax FWMV V8 cutaway (B Hatton)

The Cooper T66 chassis remained a spaceframe despite the monocoque onslaught around it, not that such technology was a barrier to ongoing Brabham success. Of multi-tubular construction, the frame comprised 1 3/8 and 1 1/2 inch 18-gauge steel tubing with smaller transverse and diagonal members, plus triangulation of the corners of the cockpit opening. Mild sheet steel reinforcement was welded to the floor section between the front and rear bulkheads.

Suspension used Alford & Alder (Triumph) uprights, upper and lower wishbones at the front, coil spring/dampers and adjustable roll-bar. The rear used cast magnesium uprights, fabricated upper and lower – wide based – wishbones, coil spring/dampers and adjustable roll-bar.

Brakes were Girling disc, 10.25 inches/9.75 inches in diameter front/rear. Cooper cast magnesium wheels were 13-inches in diameter and 6/7 inches wide front/rear.

The F1 engine was the ubiquitous Coventry Climax FWMV 1.5-litre, DOHC, two-valve, Lucas injected circa 200bhp V8. In Tasman spec the equally ubiquitous Climax FPF 2.5-litre, DOHC, two-valve, Weber 58DCO fed four gave about 235bhp. The transaxle was Cooper’s own C65 six-speed.

Credits…

Terry Marshall, Allan Dick in Classic Auto News, ‘History of the Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye, Jack Inwood, Gooding & Co, socalclicker@esc, Museum of Transport and Technology, oldracingcars.com, jimbarclay.nz, Brian Hatton

Tailpiece…

(Gooding & Co)

Montage of Phil Hill’s Zeltweg accident and lucky escape. This mix excludes the mighty conflagration which followed once the fire took hold, aided and abetted by the hay-bales, there with safety in mind…

It was only when poor Lorenzo Bandini – winner of this race – perished in a gruesome firey accident aboard his Ferrai 312 during the 1967 Monaco GP that haybales were finally excluded from the standard suite of race organiser safety precautions.

Finito…

Comments
  1. David E M Thompson says:

    Phil Hill’s ’62 through . . . forever Formula One career was a disappointment. Maybe for me, more than for him.

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