Vern Schuppan 3…

Posted: January 17, 2022 in F1
Tags: , , , ,
(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…

Comments
  1. Wayne Giles says:

    Could the 2nd photo in fact be the Brands Hatch round on July 4th 1971 where the front row was Vern Schuppan #11 Palliser WDB4 – Ford Twin Cam BRM, Cyd Williams #5(Graham Edan retired just prior to this round) Chevron B18C [18.A.71.1] – Ford BDA Hart and Clive Santo #25 Palliser WDA4 – Ford twin cam Hart. I couldn’t find a #35 in the years results. There was a #55, Jonny Dimsdale in a Brabham BT21 [30] – Ford twin cam RES but he never qualified that far up the grid in any race in 1971.

  2. prn31 says:

    Hi Mark,

    Vern is indeed a top bloke. I interviewed him for Australian Muscle Car magazine back in 2013. In 2019 I conducted a Q & A presentation with him at an HSRCA event in Sydney.

    At one stage Vern was toying with writing his autobiography but then felt that no one would be interested – of course, I strongly disagreed. I would certainly pay good money to read it!

    Cheers,
    Paul

    • markbisset says:

      Yes Paul,
      It’s been a pleasure, the second half is in-the-can and appears on Thursday.
      In the normal course he may have left it too late for the book but there are so many Porsche nutters out there, that helps the number to be sold.
      He is as sharp as a tack, we left so much on the table – even in nearly 6000 words – it’s not funny.
      Mark

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