Archive for January, 2022

Jules Goux, works Ballot 2LS awaits his turn to set off, Targa 1922 (BNF)

I knew little about E. Ballot et Cie two years ago. Then I tripped over a photograph of Ballot 5/8LC #1004 competing at Safety Beach on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula in 1928, my thirst for all things Ballot remains unquenched.

The purchase of that factory 4.8-litre straight-eight 1919 Indy 500 racer – #1004 was raced at The Brickyard by Louis Wagner – and a 2-litre, four-cylinder 2LS – #15 was raced by Jules Goux in the 1921 French Grand Prix – by Alan Cooper, and his Patron, Stephen Brown, is an amazing story.

Harold (Hal) Cooper, and to a much lesser extent Alan, raced the cars with great success in Victoria and New South Wales in the mid-late 1920s. I wrote about their exploits in The Automobile, why don’t you buy a copy, that would make me look good with that nice Editor chappy, Mr Rishton; Back Issue – May 2021 – The Automobile

Ernest Ballot with two of the four 5/8LC 1919 Indy 500 racers out front of his extravagant art deco factory. Albert Guyot at the wheel on the left, Rene Thomas at right (Ballot)
Jules Goux’ Italian GP winning 3/8LC surrounded by 2LS’ in various guises. October 1921 Paris Motor Show held at the Grand Palais, Champs Elysees (Ballot)

Ballot commenced business at 103-105 Boulevard Brune, Paris in 1904 producing a range of simple, side-valve, stationary marine and automotive engines.

A profitable war building Hispano-Suiza aero engines provided Ernest Ballot with the loot to build his own cars. As the conflict wound down, he engaged pioneer aviator and 1914 Indy winner, Rene Thomas and Ernest Henry, to build four cars to contest the 1919 Indy 500, to promote his brand.

Together with The Charlatans – racer/mechanics Paolo Zuccarelli, Georges Boillot and Jules Goux – Henry built the revolutionary twin-cam, four-valve, Grand Prix engines for Peugeot from 1912-1914, from which all GP engines to this day are derived.

With an engine design up-his-sleeve, four 5/8LC, 4816cc, twin-cam, four-valve 125bhp, straight-eight racers, using ladder frame chassis and a four-speed gearbox were built and shipped to the US. The Ballots were quick, but plagued by tyre and magneto troubles, Albert Guyot’s fourth place was the marques’ best result.

Jules Goux and riding mechanic during the 1921 French GP, Circuit de la Sarthe-Le Mans. This 2LS is chassis/engine number 15, the car was purchased by Stephen Brown and Alan Cooper from the factory while in Paris in 1922, then raced in Australia (BNF)
The Goux 2LS is fettled before a crowd of admirers, superb atmospheric shot. The fascination of the public with fast automobiles – French ones at that – leaps off the image (MotorSport)
Joe Boyer’s Duesenberg 183 (DNF conrod) #16 dices with the Goux 2LS in France, 1921 (MotorSport)

Ballot’s Rue Cormeilles design team next attacked work on the 2LS and another Indy/Grand Prix car, the 3-litre 3/8LC.

Henry’s 3/8LC, a 2973cc, 107bhp scaled down 5/8LC was a masterpiece, surely one of the sexiest racing cars ever, four were made. Jules Goux won the 1921 Italian GP aboard one on the Circuito della Fascia d’Oro, at Montchiari, Brescia that September.

A little earlier in July, the French Grand Prix was held, it was the first major European race post-war. Ballot entered three 3/8LCs and a 2-litre 2LS against the mighty eight-cylinder Duesenberg 183s. Over 30 laps of a 17.26km course, 517km, at Le Mans, Jimmy Murphy’s Duesenberg just beat De Palma’s 3/8LC with Jules Goux’ 2LS a staggering third ahead of many nominally faster 3-litre cars.

These Deux Litres Sport were racers for the road, no more than 50, and perhaps as few as 20 were made. The 1986cc (69.9x130mm) 72bhp @ 3800rpm (safe to 4300rpm) engined cars were the first twin-cam 16-valve production road cars ever built.

This poster celebrates the win by Rene de Buck and Pierre Decroze aboard a 2LS in the September 1925 Gran Premio de Guipuzcoa (more usually known as the Spanish Touring Car GP). The pair completed the 1180.5km at an average speed of 98.4kmh. The race was part of the annual San Sebastian festival, the race, on the Lasarte road circuit, was held between the European and Spanish GPs

Other elements of an expensive cocktail included a channel section chassis, half elliptic springs front and rear located solid axles with one (two on some of the racers) Andre Hartford friction shock absorbers per wheel. Four-wheel drum brakes and a close-ratio gearbox completed an advanced package. There was also a catalogued modele de course with minimal doorless, wingless bodywork, a different bonnet and modified exhaust.

The more prosaic Ballots were the SOHC, 2-litre 2LT and 2LTS. The extensive competition activity was to build brand awareness of the marque generally, and specifically sell these normal road models aimed at a broader, albeit discerning market.

The 2LS first competed in the hands of Fernand Renard. He won his class and finished sixth outright at the Course de Cote a Gaillon (Gaillon hillclimb), near Rouen in October 1920.

Poor Renard – foreman of Ballot’s test department – died instantly when his 3/8LC collided with a truck which swerved into his path at Montrouge, Paris in February 1921. Testing Zenith carburettors, the experienced driver/riding mechanic was slated for a ’21 French Grand Prix drive, but it was sadly not to be.

Jules Goux, 2LS, French GP , Strasbourg, 1922 (BNF)
1922 French GP. Giulio Foresti, Ballot 2LS at left, and Pierre de Vizcaya, Bugatti T30 at right (BNF)
Foresti, 2LS French GP 1922 (BNF)
Foresti and his mechanic refuel their 2LS. Look carefully at this rare butt-shot, the attention to air-flow under the car is as considered as the rest of the body (MotorSport)

Etablissements Ballot entered two 2LS for Goux and Giulio Foresti in the April 1922 Targa Florio, the pair finished one-two in the 2-litre class. The outright winner was another works-Ballot driver, Count Giulio Masetti aboard a 1918 GP Mercedes 18/100.

In July, Ballot entered three 2LS in the Grand Prix De L’Automobile Club De France. From 1922-1925 major Grands Prix were run to a 2-litre formula. The race, centred on Strasbourg, comprised 60 laps of a 13.38km course, 803km in total.

Ballot and Bugatti (Type 30 straight-eight) competed for the Fugly Cup! Both companies presented aerodynamic, visually challenging machines with amazing cigar shaped bodies.

Felice Nazzaro won in a Fiat 804 2-litre straight-six. All three Ballots uncharacteristically failed with mechanical problems; Foresti after a piston broke on lap 44, Goux crashed on lap 33 and Masetti broke a rod on lap 18. The mechanical problems were thought to be a function of insufficient air getting to the radiator to cool the engine. The Bugatti T30s of Pierre de Vizcaya and Pierre Marco were second and third.

1922 French GP. 2LS streamliner radiator and front suspension detail. Note the sheet aluminium bulkhead supporting the radiator – its grille – and the ally body (BNF)
The Foresti 2LS, Targa 1922 (BNF)
Giulio Foresti at rest during the Targa Florio weekend, note the slab-tank on his ‘22 Targa 2LS. Foresti, a racer and Itala/Ballot dealer, came to Australia to deliver the Cooper brothers’ 5/8LC in 1925. He tested the car at Maroubra in the process of schooling the Coopers in its ways. Alan Cooper came close to killing himself and his mechanic in it days later in a monumental high-speed Maroubra rollover (BNF)
Jules Goux and mechanic at Targa, compare and contrast the bodies of the works-2LS in the various GPs contested in 1921-1922 (BNF)

Two Ballot 2LS were entered in the ’22 Italian GP at Monza but didn’t appear, into 1923 Ballot withdrew from more serious competition.

Dr Jean Haimovicci, a Romanian living in Paris, raced a 2LS at San Sebastian. “Very likely this entry received works support”, wrote Hans Etzrodt, the car appears to be one of the barrel-tank ’22 Targa cars. The doctor was third in the race taking five hours 19 minutes to complete the 445km on roads at Lasarte, south of magnificent San-Seb. Up-front was a pair of 2-litre Rolland-Pilain straight-eights driven by Albert Guyot and Gaston Delalande.

On the other side of The Channel, Malcolm Campbell won a race aboard a 2LS at Brooklands during the Whitsun or April meetings.

Malcolm Campbell, 2LS, at Brooklands during the BARC Easter meeting in 1923 (LAT)

Ballot spent a fortune on his race 5/8LC and 3/8LC GP/Indy 500 cars and the production 2LS. Despite an eye-watering price, these epochal 2-litre cars never came close to covering their development costs. Ernest went banzai! He created a marque instantly with his competition program, but his coffers were groaning as a consequence. So were his shareholders and bankers.

By 1928 Ballot’s range included the SOHC, 2.9-litre eight-cylinder RH, by 1931 the company had been acquired by Hispano-Suiza. Game over, but it was awfully sweet while it lasted.

The nautical theme of the Ballot logo dates back to Ernest Ballot’s beginnings in the French Navy, where he trained as an engineer. The Masetti 2LS with Ernest Ballot in the foreground, French GP 1922 (BNF)

Postscript…

What intrigues me, is what the chassis numbers of the works 2LS’ were/are? Was the car raced by Campbell in the UK a works racer, or a production modele de course?

It seems to me there were three (at least) works prepared and raced 2LS’. Sure, there were changes of bodywork from one event to the next, but my thesis is that the chassis’ used were probably the same throughout.

Those of you who have the voluminous, sumptuous and extravagant ‘Ballot’ by Daniel Cabart and Gautem Sen have a head start.

Do get in touch if you can assist; mark@bisset.com.au

The rear, most of it, of the Goux 2LS during the 1921 French GP weekend. The spare – look closely – is mounted vertically within the rear bodywork 3/8LC style (BNF)

Credits…

Hans Etzrodt and Kolumbus.fi, the libraries of Alistair McArthur, David Rapley, Bob King and Brian Lear. BNF-Bibliotheque Nationale de France, LAT, MotorSport, ‘Ballot’ Daniel Cabart and Gautam Sen, and the late David McKinney on The Nostalgia Forum

Tailpiece…

(BNF)

Let’s finish as we started, with the majesty of the 1922 Targa Florio, again it’s Jules Goux, 2LS.

Finito…

“True enough Sir, it is a spaceframe, but those cars only have 105bhp, so a monocoque isn’t really necessary.”

Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Lotus founder, Colin Chapman discuss the merits of Dave Baldwin’s F3 Lotus 59 Ford at the Racing Car Show, London Olympia, January 1969. It’s a Lotus 47 Ford behind. More on the the show; London Racing Car Show, Olympia 1969… | primotipo…

The Sport and Industry was well connected, there are no shortage of shots of Royals attending motor racing related events or employers. Let’s stick with the Duke.

(PA Images)

“Where’s Norman gone? I’m sure it’s missing a bit over four-five, those Webers need a tickle.”

Here aboard an XKSS at MIRA, Nuneaton on April 2, 1957. “The Duke was reported to have travelled at a speed of 120mph of the circuit in the export model car.” Getty Images wrote. Piece about the XKSS; Is That A Pistol In Your Pocket!? : Steve McQueens Jaguar XKSS… | primotipo…

(PA Images)

Love this visit to Coventry Climax in June 1966.

“Well look, we’d spent a fortune of shareholders money on Grand Prix racing and we just couldn’t continue with it!” Leonard Lee to HRH…

What a shot though; 1.5-litre FWMV V8 at left, the stillborn 1.5-litre FWMW flat-16 in the foreground, an SU fed FPF in front of Prince Phillip, and Wally Hassan to the right. Article about this visit here; Coventry Climax ET199… | primotipo…

(PA Images)

“Ooh-yes! Just a few laps I think, do you promise not to tell my wife?”

Is it David Brown at left? Aboard Reg Parnell’s Aston Martin DB3S at Goodwood in July 1953. Piece on the DB3S here; David McKay’s Aston Martin DB3S’s… | primotipo…

(BRDC)

Alan Jones minding his Ps-and-Qs at Silverstone during the 1975 British GP weekend.

Prince Phillip was President in Chief of the British Racing Drivers Club for 42 years, then remained a member after handing over the baton to HRH The Duke of Kent. “His support of the club for this long period will be remembered with affection, gratitude and respect.” the club recorded upon his death in April last year.

Etcetera…

(Libraries Tas)

Happy days, this homage to Prince Phillip finally gives me the chance to use this gem. It was taken in Tasmania during the 1954 Royal Tour, the first of many trips to Australia by the couple.

It is such a picture of elegance, I’ve no idea who the photographer is, but the artist has done a marvellous job. The joy of the occasion is shown on the Queen’s face, there is a sense of motion given the movement in the dress’ fabric, the Duke is ramrod straight and tall. Jeeves maintains focus looking dead-ahead! Love to know exactly where it is if any of you Tassies can oblige.

Can’t help you with the Rolls’ chassis number…

Credits…

Tim Graham, Paul Popper, Getty Images, BRDC, Libraries Tasmania

Tailpiece…

Fancy giving the Italians a free kick!

The tall Duke trying to extract himself from his small Fiat 500 test-car at Fiat’s Lingotto factory, Turin in December 1962. Fiat 8001 Turbina… | primotipo…

Finito…

Jack Brabham aboard his Brabham BT24/1 Repco ‘Streamliner’ in the Monza pitlane during the September 10, 1967 weekend.

Lanky Dan Gurney is at right keeping an eye on his old-boss, while Jo Ramirez, in the white pants/dark top, and the All American Racers crew, tend to Dan’s erotic Eagle Mk1 Weslake #103.

Brabham, Ron Tauranac and Repco-Brabham Engines nicked the 1966 F1 World Drivers and Constructors titles from under the noses of those who were a smidge quicker, but not as well organised or reliable as the Brabham and Hulme driven Brabham BT19/20 Repco 620 V8s.

They did it again in 1967, not that it was a lucky win. Their 330hp Brabham BT24 740 Repco V8 was all new; chassis, engine and major suspension components. They got the cars running reliably el-pronto, aided and abetted by blooding the new exhaust-between-the-Vee cylinder heads during the Tasman Cup; both drivers used 2.5-litre RBE640 V8s throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Lotus ran them close of course. Colin Chapman’s Lotus 49 chassis – in truth little different to his 1966 Lotus 43 – was powered by the new 400bhp Ford Cosworth 3-litre V8, rather than the heavy, unreliable 3-litre BRM H16 engine fitted to the 43.

Driven by a couple of champs in Jim Clark and Graham Hill, they were mighty fine, quick cars, but not in 1967, reliable enough ones. That would come soon enough, of course…

Brabham, all enveloping rear body section clear (MotorSport)
Ron Tauranac, Keith Duckworth and Denny Hulme swap notes. “Have you really only got 330bhp Ron?” (MotorSport)

As Lotus and Cosworth Engineering addressed engine reliability, Brabham and Tauranac tried to squeeze more speed from Ron’s small, light BT24.

There was only so much Repco Brabham Engines could do with the SOHC 740 Series V8, they were busy just keeping up with routine rebuilds for the two BRO cars. As the year progressed the Maidstone, Melbourne crew explored the 850 radial-valve V8 as their ’68 F1 engine, and then, having spent way too much time flogging that dead-horse, on the definitive, but way-too-late 860 DOHC, four-valve V8. Click here for a piece on the RBE740; ‘RB740’ Repco’s 1967 F1 Championship Winning V8… | primotipo…

The aerodynamics of the BT24 was another thing entirely of course. That was within Ron and Jack’s control. If MRD could just make the car a little bit more slippery through the air, maybe an extra 500revs or so would make the difference between race wins, and not.

By the time the team got to Monza on September 7, the cocktail of goodies tried on Jack’s BT24 included the all-enveloping windscreen used on an F2 BT23 earlier in the year, all-enveloping bodywork extending right back beyond the endplate of the Hewland DG300 transaxle, and spoilers which were tried either side of the car’s nose, and alongside the engine. Remember, the Chaparral inspired explosion of wings in F1 occurred in 1968.

Rear spoiler, Monza (MotorSport)
Note the winglets or spoilers, Jack’s nosecone at Spa in mid-June 1967 (MotorSport)

Jim Clark started from pole, with 1:28.5 secs, ahead of Jack on 1:28.8, then Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Dan Gurney in BRM, Ferrari and Weslake V12 engined cars, then Denny in the other BT24 on 1:29.46.

Jack could have won of course, but the equally foxey John Surtees out-fumbled him in the final corners, bagging a popular win for the Honda RA300 V12. Denny retired with over-heating so the championship – ultimately decided in his favour – was still alive, with races in the US and Mexico to come.

The office of BT24-1, Jack’s car. The Varley battery is in the aluminium box beneath the driver’s knees (MotorSport)

One of my favourite Grand Prix cars, the BT24, was just enough of everything, the sheer economy of the car always strikes me. See here for my last rave in relation thereto; Give Us a Cuddle Sweetie… | primotipo…

It was the first time Ron had designed an all-new F1 chassis since BT3 way back in 1962. Beautiful details abound, not least the new cast-magnesium front uprights first fitted to Jack’s BT23A Repco, his ‘67 2.5-litre Tasman Cup mount, in late 1966, the Alford & Alder/Triumph Herald uprights used hitherto were finally cast aside.

Hulme’s BT24/2 during the British GP weekend (MotorSport)
Feel the noise…Monza pit action. Brabham and Denny behind him in the distance. The queue by the Armco is headed by Mike Spence’ BRM P83 H16, Chris Amon’s Ferrari 312, perhaps then one of the Cooper Maseratis (MotorSport)

BT24/1 debuted at the same race meeting, Zandvoort 1967, as the Lotus 49 Ford DFV, albeit Jack raced BT19, his ’66 championship winning chassis. Jim Clark won famously on the debut of an engine which set the standard for a decade and a half, more if you include its many derivatives.

Denny’s BT24/2 was ready at Le Mans, when Brabham and Hulme delivered the old one-two, with The Boss in front. Clark won at Silverstone, before another BT24 one-two with Denny ahead of Jack. At Mosport Jack won from Denny. Hulme won at Monaco in May (his first championship GP win), so led the championship by nine points from Jack, with Jim further back. Clark dominated the balance of the season, winning at Watkins Glen and Mexico City, but Denny’s two third placings won him the drivers title and

Those with F2 knowledge will recall that Frank Costin’s Protos Ford FVA raced with a cockpit canopy akin to Brabham’s in 1967. BT24/1 here, again at Monza. Whatever the straight-line benefits, Jack simply couldn’t place the car as he wanted given the difficulty of seeing thru the canopy (MotorSport)
If I knew how to use Photoshop I’d get rid of ‘boots’, but I don’t…BT24/1, ain’t-she-sweet (MotorSport)

BRO sold the cars to South Africans, Basil van Rooyen (BT24/1) and Sam Tingle (BT24/2) after the end of the season. When it became clear that Jochen Rindt’s 1968 BT26 was running late, he raced BT24/3 – which first appeared at in practice, at Monza in September 1967, carrying #16T – in some of the early races of 1968. He raced BT24/2 at Kyalami (Q4 and third), and BT24/3 at Jarama (Q9 and DNF oil pressure) and Monaco (Q5 and DNF accident), before Dan Gurney had a steer at Zandvoort (Q12 and DNF throttle).

The final works-gallop of a BT24 was Jochen’s use of BT24/3 during practice over the British GP weekend at Brands Hatch in July. Before you pedants have a crack at me, for the sake of completion, German ace, Kurt Ahrens, raced the BRO tended, Caltex Racing Team entered, BT24/3 to Q17 and 12th place at the Nurburgring in 1968. Brabham BT24 chassis anoraks should click here; Brabham BT24 car-by-car histories | OldRacingCars.com

Threatening in an elegant kinda way. You can see what is being sought, ignoring the inherent streamlining difficulties of fully outboard suspension front and rear. Ron went to front inboard springs and rockers with the ’68 Indy BT25 Repco and ’70 F1 BT33 Ford (MotorSport)

Credits…

Magnificent MotorSport Images, Getty Images, Allen Brown’s oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece…

(MotorSport)

Easy-peasy, two hands are for schmucks!

Denis Clive Hulme shows us how it’s done at the Parabolica; Denny’s elegant, sublime prowess for all to see. BT24/2 Monza 1967, ‘standard’ bodywork.

Finito…

(MotorSport)

Beautiful shot of the great South Aussie in the Embassy Hill Lola T370 Ford during practice for the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp.

It’s been a great pleasure working with Vern over the last month or so on a two-part ‘Living Legends’ feature in Auto Action, click here to buy the first one; AUTO ACTION 1827 – Auto Action

He is an ace-bloke with a career of great diversity; Karts, Formula Ford, Formula Atlantic, F2, F1, Indycars, Sportscars inclusive of a Le Mans win, not to forget a few taxi-races, team ownership and an amazing, but ill-fated Supercar manufacturing phase.

I’ve had a crack at him before in a couple of small bites, here; In Short Pants… | primotipo… and here; Singapore Sling with an Elfin Twist… | primotipo… oh, yes, this one in a Macau GP context too; Macau Grand Prix… | primotipo… Oops, more here too; 1977 Macau Grand Prix… | primotipo…

Success in various Formula Fords in 1969-1970 propelled him into a works FF Palliser in mid-1970, and in 1971, Formula Atlantic rides; he won the very first Formula Atlantic championship in the world, the British in 1971.

Schuppan, Palliser WDB4 BRM-Ford twin-cam at Brands Hatch on March 7,1971. He won the first round of the British Championship. I think it’s Graham Eden, Chevron B18C alongside, and #25, or perhaps #35 is not listed on my results site (V Schuppan Collection)

Of course it all started with karts in South Australia, here carrying the #1 plate, with loads of brio and intent on display, as State Champion at Whyalla, circa 1966.

Schuppan, March 722 Ford BDA F2 with Falconer body during the Rothmans 50000 at Brands Hatch in 1972 (V Schuppan Collection)

Schuppan’s March 722 (chassis 40) was bought for him by Marlboro, BRM’s sponsor, the March was to keep him busy, to supplement limited F1 drives in 1972.

He raced it in both Formula Atlantic and F2 guise in Europe and Asia. Notable victories include four British FA rounds in 1972, the 1973 Singapore GP (Ford twin-cam) and 1974 Macau Grand Prix. Teddy Yip became a long-term Schuppan sponsor, he bought the car circa 1973. Apart from Schuppan, it was raced by such notables as Alan Jones, Derek Daly, Patrick Tambay, and, when quite long-in-the-tooth, in 1981 by Roberto Moreno who raced it after boofing his Ralt RT4 in practice.

Here it is above in Dennis Falconer bodied, big-tank Formula Libre guise during the August 1972 Rothmans 50,000 500km libre race at Brands Hatch.

£50,000 was a huge prize-pool, 58 cars attempted to qualify, 30 raced with F1 cars in the top-five. Emerson Fittipaldi was up front in a Lotus 72D Ford. Vern qualified 20th in the F2-spec March, but he was the first retirement, on lap 10, after driveshaft failure.

Schuppan at Brands Hatch again, racing the March 722-40 Ford BDA. In box-stock 722 F Atlantic spec, probably on his winning way, April 16, 1972 (N Snowden)

Dennis Falconer was a Canadian born aerodynamicist employed by March who designed bodies for various smaller single-seaters. Ralph Hume worked for Vern in-the-day and describes the ever-changing modifications to keep the 722 competitive.

“Vern’s 722 was updated for 1973 with a wide nosed body kit developed by Falconer and raced in this form in England and the far east. The body was great on handling circuits but slow on fast ones. It was on the front row of an F2 race at Oulton Park and at the next race at Hockenheim we struggled for straight-line speed.”

“The body kit further evolved in 1974 to narrow nose and wings, we did a few Atlantic races in this form. At the end of the year we fitted a modified March 732 body and narrow track 732 suspension. We spaced the nose forward about 300mm and added a splitter but retained the side radiators. At the back we fitted a tweaked Lola T360 (F Atlantic) wing.”

“It’s first race in this spec was at Macau, out-of-the-box it was great. Vern put it on pole, and won the race. The car stayed at Macau and in subsequent years was raced by guests of Mr Yip…” as described above. For many years the March has been in the Macau Car Museum.

Same car folks, 722-40 in 1980, Vern was fifth at Macau behind three modern Ralt RT1s, and a March 79B. At this stage the car is described as a March 722/76B Ford BDA

Credits…

MotorSport Images, Vern Schuppan Collection, Nigel Snowden, Getty Images, Ralph Hume on tentenths.com

Tailpiece…

Brian Hatton’s cutaway of Eric Broadley’s Lola T370 Ford Cosworth DFV 3-litre V8, a quintessential British kit-car of the period

Finito…

(Ullstein Bild)

On July 28, 1935 Tazio Nuvolari defeated nine superior Silver Arrows over 22 laps, 312 miles, on the challenging, treacherous, Nurburgring in an outclassed 265bhp Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3 during the German Grand Prix…

The foreboding, moody image above shows seventh placed Hanns Geier’s Mercedes Benz W25A 3.4-litre 302bhp straight-8 supercharged (s/c). He is ahead of one of four Auto Union B Types in the race, these machines powered by 5-litre 375 bhp V16 s/c motors.

Overnight, thousands of spectators arrived in the Eifel Mountains, what greeted them on race morning was fog and light, misty rain. It rained progressively harder as the 11am start time approached, then stopped not long before the off.

(unattributed)

In front of some 300,000 spectators, Rudy Caracciola led initially in a Benz W25B 4-litre 370-430 bhp for the first nine laps, with Nuvolari in second after one lap aboard his 3.2-litre straight-8 s/c Alfa. He fell back after a lap two spin at Bergwerk. At this stage of the race Bernd Rosemeyer, AU mounted, broke the lap record in his chase of Rudy, but he was unable to close the gap completely.

Rosemeyer then spun into the Breidscheid ditch, and arrived well back then went into the pits with a wobbly rear wheel and a throttle linkage jammed with mud. The only Alfa left in the race at the end of lap six was Nuvolari in fifth place.

Tazio made up time in the winding and downhill sections where the greater engine power of the German machines could not be successfully deployed. Nuvolari then passed Von Brauchitsch, Mercedes W25B for third on the outside of the Karussell, Brauchitsch regained the place on the following lap.

What a drive – one of the greatest in the opinions of all who matter (unattributed)

Caracciola still led on lap nine, but Tazio was now within eight seconds of him, and passed him on lap 10. The first four cars were then covered by just over 10 seconds, and the three Silver Arrows by only a few metres; the order was Nuvolari, Caracciola, Rosemeyer, and Brauchitsch.

The top three cars pitted on lap 11, Nuvolari’s stop was a shocker, the mechanics, in their excitement, broke the refuelling pump handle! He lost one minute 27 seconds to his competitors, the order at the end of lap 12 was the Luigi Fagioli Merc W25A, Brauchitsch Merc, Rosemeyer AU, Caracciola Merc, Stuck AU B-Type, and the Nuvolari Alfa.

At the end of the following lap the order was Brauchitsch, Rosemeyer, Caracciola and Nuvolari. Rosemeyer pitted at the end of lap 13 to address his throttle linkage, which was still binding, that must have been somewhat of a problem in a car of power on those tyres in such greasy conditions – this put him out of contention. Von Brauchitsch led on laps 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21- with Nuvolari second from lap 15.

“The German had to pay for his tyre-murdering style of driving,”when the left rear tyre came apart on lap 22, only nine km from the finish. Nuvolari passed Von Brauchitsch, stricken Mercedes, heading towards a well-deserved victory for Alfa Romeo.” Stuck’s Auto Union was second, ahead of Caratch, Rosemeyer and Von Brauchitsch with his Mercedes on the rim in fifth.

Whilst the crowd cheered, the win it was not quite so popular with the Nazi mob present…

Credits…

Ullstein Bild, race report summary by Hans Etzrodt on Kolumbus.fi

Finito…

It’s amazing given that the Monaco quayside was unguarded for so many decades, that only two drivers took involuntary Monte Carlo Harbour dips, Ascari, aboard a Lancia D50 in 1955, and Hawkins in a Lotus 33 Climax a decade later.

The Australian was still making his name, while Ascari was at the top of his game, and enjoying somewhat of a renaissance at the wheel of Vittorio Jano’s masterpiece. The fates of both Monaco bathers were similar, both died aboard sports-racers. Poor Ascari in a pointless testing accident aboard a Ferrari 750 Monza at Monza on May 25, 1955, only three days after Monaco. Hawkeye died a grisly, fiery, probably component failure caused death aboard a Lola T70 Mk3B Chev at Oulton Park on May 26, 1969.

Paul Hawkins in the ex-Clark/Spence Lotus 33 Climax R8 early in the 1965 Monaco GP (MotorSport)
Alberto Ascari, Lancia D50 ahead of the Maserati 250F shared by Jean Behra and Cesare Perdisa. Monaco 1955 (unattributed)

In 1955 Ascari inherited the lead after the Mercedes W196 duo of JM Fangio and Stirling Moss dominated the first half of the race; Fangio retired with transmission trouble, then Moss blew an engine on lap 80. Ascari approached the chicane too quickly – perhaps distracted by crowd reaction to Moss’ retirement, or the lapped Cesare Perdisa behind – and burst through hay bales and sand bags into the harbour, having missed a huge steel bollard by only centimetres.

The Lancia bubbled to the bottom of the harbour while the crowd were mesmerised with fear for his safety, only three seconds passed before Ascari’s familiar blue-helmet appeared above the surface. He was taken aboard a boat, with a broken nose, but otherwise ok.

Ascari a split second before his swim (unattributed)
One shaken and plenty stirred Lancia D50 being recovered from the depths after the race (MotorSport)

Lancia had given dispensation to Ascari to race a Ferrari 750 Monza with his friend, Eugenio Castelotti in the Monza 1000km on May 29. Ascari travelled to Monza only to watch Castellotti test the car, then decided late in the day to do a few laps wearing jacket, tie and Castellotti’s helmet. On his third lap he inexplicably crashed on the high-speed Curva del Vialone, he died within minutes of having been thrown out of the somersaulting car.

All of Italy grieved.

Tin Tin Ascari cartoon

Wonderful Alberto Ascari portrait from El Grafico, an Argentinian magazine. 1950 Ferrari 125

British Boys Own Character – WW2 Spitfire pilot, highly credentialled amateur racer and man of independent means – James Richard ‘Dickie’ Stoop (July 30, 1920-May 19, 1968) acquired the first Lotus 33, chassis R8, for Paul Hawkins use in early 1965. See here for its history; Lotus 33 R8 race history | OldRacingCars.com

The Equipe’s first race was at the Sunday Mirror Trophy at Goodwood in mid-May, there Hawkins started from the rear of the grid after mechanical dramas which continued in the race, he was out after one lap with oil scavenge problems. Jim Clark won in a Lotus 25 Climax.

The BRDC International Trophy followed at Silverstone a month later. He had a better weekend, qualifying on the second last row and finishing tenth, up front was Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 and John Surtees Ferrari 158.

Then it was off to Monte Carlo for Hawkins’ championship debut.

He qualified the car 14th and was running well, then, on lap 80 (of 100) he clipped the barrier on turn-in, causing the car to turn sharp-left – between the bollards, exactly as Ascari had managed – then sank 10 metres to the bottom. “Only when it settled on the bottom and rescue divers arrived did Hawkins extricate himself, take a huge gulp of air from the proffered mouthpiece and rocket back up to the surface,” John Smailes wrote.

The elegance of simplicity belies the deep underlying insights of Lotus 25/33 conception. Paul Hawkins flat-chat in R8 at Monaco in 1965 (MotorSport)
It ain’t perfect, but David Hudson’s shot catches Hawkins mid-flight just before splashdown (MotorSport)

“He’d had the extraordinary presence of mind to hit the engine kill-switch just as the car entered the water, saving the very expensive motor owned by the very poor team from instant destruction. It was dried out and used again in the following Grand Prix.”

R8 recovery post race. That the car is upside down makes you wonder if that is the way it settled on the bottom of the harbour. And therefore that Hawkeye made his escape on the way down – which cannot have been easy (Getty)

Well, not quite actually! While Paul was ok, the team missed both following GPs at Spa and Silverstone while the car was dried out, and carefully made-good, before reappearing at the Nurburgring on August 1.

Paul again failed to finish, having qualified 19th, he was out with undisclosed mechanical dramas after four of the 15 laps.

It was the final race for Paul aboard R8, Stoop sold it to MGM for a planned film, it then passed via Jo Siffert to Sweden’s principal museum of modern art, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, where it remains as a prized exhibit. 

No shortage of comedians during the German GP weekend. R8 looks no worse the wear for its dunking two months before! (MotorSport)
Paul Hawkins at right, with fellow Porsche colleagues, Huschke von Hanstein, and co-driver Rolf Stommelen, after winning the 1967 Targa Florio in a Porsche 910 (MotorSport)
Dickie Stoop aboard his Porsche 911S at Snetterton, March 24, 1968 (MotorSport)

Etcetera…

Dickie Stoop : Autosport Obituary May 24, 1968.

“It is very sad to have to record the death during a club meeting at Croft last Sunday of Dickie Stoop. Apparently Dickie suffered a coronary thrombosis and died at the wheel of his Porsche 911S, which veered off the track into the bank.

James Richard Stoop had been an amateur racing driver of considerable standing for many years. His first race was the supporting F3 event at the Daily Express Silverstone in 1948, when he drove a GS1, and over the last 20 years he campaigned many types of car, but remained faithful for most of his racing to the marque Frazer-Nash.

He competed at Le Mans no fewer than 10 times: in 1950 he was 9th overall and won the 2-litre class, in 1951 he was 19th and in 1955 he was 10th. In 1958 he drove the works spaceframe AC into 8th place, again winning his class. He also took part in long-distance racing at Spa, Rouen, Montlhery and elsewhere, and in 1964 was 3rd overall in the Rand 3 hours co-driving Peter Sutcliffe’s E-type.

He performed prolifically in club racing, not only in Frazer-Nashes but also in triumphs, Healeys, a D-Type Jaguar and a Lotus 11. He also drove a Formula 2 Cooper in the late ‘50s, and with the passing of Frazer-Nash line he transferred his loyalties to Porsche. His successive Type 356 Carreras, registered YOU 4 and 5 HOT, brought him a lot of wins; having been co-victor in the 1959 Autosport Championship with the Sebring Frazer-Nash, he won the Autosport 3 hours at Snetterton the following year in YOU 4 after a tremendous battle with Chris Summers’ Elite, won his class in 1961, and then won the 2-litre division of the championship in 1962 and 1963. He also had a few races with an RS60 Porsche Spyder, and in 1964 drove a 904.

More recently he had concentrated on club production sports car racing with his silver 911S Porsche, also registered YOU 4; this car was a frequent class winner. A retired RAF officer, he was only 47.”

Credits…

MotorSport, Getty Images, Allen Brown’s Oldracingcars.com, ‘Formula One: The Australian and New Zealand Story’ John Smailes

Tailpiece…

Alberto Ascari chases teammate Eugenio Castellotti, superb MotorSport image, Lancia D50s, Monaco 1955.

Finito…

(R Schlegelmilch)

David Walker lined up for the final of the Monaco F3 GP, May 22, 1971.

He won his heat and the final in a race which was something of a metaphor of an incredible season aboard his works Lotus 69 Novamotor-Ford 1.6. Giancarlo Naddeo, Tecno 69 Ford was second, and Patrick Depailler’s Alpine A360 Renault, third.

The grid that year also included Steve Thompson, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Roger Williamson, Rikki Von Opel, David Purley, Bob Evans and Francois Migault.

Walker’s F3 year included wins at Silverstone and Cadwell Park in April, Brands Hatch, Zandvoort (Dutch GP F3 race) and Oulton Park in May, and Silverstone in June. Early July brought victory in the French Grand Prix support race at Paul Ricard. That month got better with a win at Croft which ensured the Sydneysider was razor-sharp over the British GP weekend at Silverstone, Walker also won that blue-riband support event.

But there was no break for the team, the following day he won the the Cadwell Park BARC British F3 Championship round. August yielded wins at Thruxton and Croft, while Mallory Park fell to Walker in September and Snetterton in October.

Dave Baldwin’s F3 Lotus 69 design (there were also F2, FB and FF 69s) had a spaceframe chassis based on his Lotus 59, disguised with the bodywork and beefed up front suspension of the 69 F2 car. 1.6-litre Novamotor Lotus Ford twin-cam, Kugelfischer injected via air restrictor Walker again at Monaco (R Schlegelmilch)
Oh-so-period cockpit! Leather bound wheel and a dash full of Smiths instruments. Wonderful. Monaco (R Schlegelmilch)

In one of the most dominant ever seasons of F3 racing Walker won most of the big races and two of the three British F3 Championships – the BRSCC/MCD and BARC – with Roger Williamson taking the other, the BRSCC/MCD Lombard.

For the sake of completeness, Walker’s season commenced with the ‘Torneio Internacional de Formula 3 do Brasil’ (Brazilian F3 championship) run at Interlagos and Taruma during January.

Dave raced his (1970) works Lotus 59A Ford to third, second, 12th and first in the four round series, placing third overall behind Wilson Fittipaldi and Giovanni Salvati in Lotus 59A, and Tecno TF70 respectively.

Walker, Lotus 59A Holbay Ford, (1-litre 100bhp ‘screamer’) Interlagos, Brazil, January (FL Viviani)

Walker was the most successful of the 1971 Gold Leaf Team Lotus drivers, Emerson Fittipaldi and Reine Wisell had a lean year in Grand Prix racing, Lotus failed to win a GP for the first time in over a decade.

F1 proved a much harder nut for Walker to crack, and that story is a good deal more nuanced than most pundits would have you believe…one for another time.

Walker during a much tougher 1972

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, Fabio Luiz Viviani, F2 Index, Allen Brown in Oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece…

Finito…

sebring e type

Sebring 1970, marvellous composition by Bill Warner

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