GP Circus Air Cargo 1963 Style…

Posted: September 29, 2022 in F1, Fotos, Obscurities
Tags: , ,

A BOAC Bristol Britannia ‘Whispering Giant’ (actually a Britannia based Canadair CL-44D4-1 – thanks Jon Farrelly!) awaits its precious cargo before departure from Heathrow to the fly-away, end of season United States and Mexican Grands Prix, October 1963…

The cars in the foreground are the factory Lotus 25 Climaxes of Jim Clark, victorious at Mexico City, and Trevor Taylor. #1 and 2 are the reigning World Champion BRM P57’s of Graham Hill and Richie Ginther, they finished first and second at Watkins Glen.

#16 is Jim Hall’s Lotus 24 BRM and #14 is Jo Siffert’s similar car. #11 and 12 are Jo Bonnier and Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T66 Climaxes, note that Bruce raced carrying #3 in both events.

For the aircraft buffs amongst us here is a link to a period BOAC documentary about the Bristol Britannia

I love these two photographs of construction of Bristols in the mid-1950s.

The first shows Britannia 100s being completed in Bristol’s Assembly Hall at their Filton, South Gloucestershire aerodrome/manufacturing facility about four miles north of Bristol, in January 1956.

The second, dated a year earlier, may well have been the inspiration for Colin Chapman’s monocoque Lotus 25! (that was a joke). It’s such a powerful shot showing the conceptual simplicity and strength of such (highly sophisticated) structures.

In 1959 Bristol Aircraft merged with several other companies to form the British Aircraft Corporation, which in turn became a founding piece of British Aerospace, now BAE Systems. BAE Systems, Airbus, Rolls Royce, MBDA and GKN still have a presence on this Filton site. More Bristol Aircraft reading here;–bristol


(Getty Images)

A Bristol Sycamore helicopter and 401 in 1950.


  1. Ken Collins says:

    Great post of when times were so much simpler, teams didn’t worry about keeping secrets, often there was co-operation between teams, and drivers socialised…..
    Did they fill the plane with the cars in championship position order?

  2. Jon Farrelly says:

    Hi Mark,
    The aircraft in the photo is a Canadair CL-44D4, while based on the Brittania it is a very different aircraft. The fuselage was 12′ longer than the Brittania and the swing-tail was unique to the Canadian designed and built aircraft.

  3. Jon Farrelly says:

    Here’s a link to another photo of the cars and aircraft. BOAC leased the CL-44D4-1 from Seaboard World Airlines, a US carrier and one of the four original customers for the aircraft, Seaboard bought eight.
    Another difference from the Britannia was the use of Rolls-Royce Tyne engines in place of the Bristol Proteus.

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks so much Jon,
      Not knowing the subject at all I followed the Getty caption, a case of the ‘blind, leading the blind’, you are the first to pick up this error which has been made for decades. Note the change made to the first par, and many thanks again! I read the Wiki entry on the Canadair variants, very interesting, especially the way they sealed that big back door and maintained the structure’s integrity.

      • Jon Farrelly says:

        No worries Mark.
        I’m a technology geek (aviation, automotive, marine etc.) so I’ve collected a lot of books and info over the years. Plus I’m Canadian. 😉

  4. Terry sullivan says:

    Only 15 cars, so a small field.

    Although I note that no Ferraris apparent. Did they do their own thing?

    • markbisset says:

      Mexico was a small field, but Ferrari did both events; DNF/DSQ Mexico, Surtees third/Bandini ninth at the Glen. By then the 156/63 Aero’s were not too shabby at all.

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