Archive for the ‘F1’ Category

Bill Downie, HRG, Caversham, Western Australia circa 1960 (K Devine)

Ignorance is bliss! Until now I’d assumed Brabham’s 1966-1968 Repco F1 V8 engine rebuilds/freshen-ups were done back at RBE’s Maidstone, Melbourne base, but that’s not the case

“When we started to use the Repco Brabham V8s (the very first race for the new engine was the January 1, 1966, non-championship South African Grand Prix) it was clear to Jack that sending them back to Melbourne for rebuilds wasn’t going to work given the time it would have taken,” recalls Bob Ilich.

The Australian mechanic/technician worked for Jack Brabham Conversions, Motor Racing Developments (MRD-constructors of Brabham cars) and the Brabham Racing Organisation (BRO-Jack’s race team) during the 1965-1967 glory years.

“There just wasn’t the time between race meetings to fly engines backwards and forwards between England and Australia, the logistics just didn’t work.”

In 1966 BRO contested nine championship GPs and four non-championship events (remember those!), and in 1967 11 championship GPs and five non-championship races; Race of Champions at Brands, Spring Cup and International Gold Cup at Oulton Park, the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone and the Spanish GP. This intense program yielded world drivers championships for Brabham and Hulme, and manufacturers titles for MRD/Brabham Repco in 1966-67.

In short, the season was very full from early January until the Mexican GP in late October.

Jack had a ready-made machining solution when the H.R.G. Engineering Co Ltd – founded by Major Edward Halford, Guy Robins and Henry Ronald Godfrey in 1935 – ceased trading in 1966.

HRG built 241 sports and racing cars in addition to their core general engineering work. In 1956 they stopped building cars, their engineering clients included Cooper, and later Brabham.

“When Jack moved BRO from the Canal Yard, Byfleet Road, New Haw Surrey premises (which had been shared with Motor Racing Developments) to Guildford in early 1966, ex-HRG machinist Ron Cousins and his equipment, lathe, milling machines etc were already there doing work for Jack Brabham Conversions which operated from an Esso Service Station in Woking.”

“Conversions did general service and tuning work, fitted Coventry Climax engines to Triumphs and Austin Healeys, made performance modifications, and later did the development work on the Brabham Vauxhall Viva/Torana.”

“The Guildford premises had administration offices upstairs including a drawing office for John Judd, who was back at BRO after his stint with RBE in Maidstone. He was in constant touch liasing with Norman Wilson, RBE’s Chief Engineer in Melbourne.”

“Downstairs was the Brabham Conversions Parts Department, a large workshop where the racing cars were prepared and the transporter parked, Ron Cousins’ machine shop and an engine rebuilding workshop for Jack and myself,” Bob recalled.

“After the first couple of runs in South Africa and testing in England, the engines had oil leaks Jack said we needed to fix. The first rebuilds were to address this, over time of course we did freshen-ups as required.”

Bob Ilich with gasket kit at BRO, New Haw circa March-April 1966. Brabham BT17 sportscar coming together behind him and Holden EH abroad (unattributed)

“All the components we needed were sent from Australia including the new for 1967 700 Series blocks. I remember replacing three 600 Series blocks with the much stronger Repco 700 block, the three Olds F85 based blocks were still in a corner of the workshop when I left. If anything needed machining, Ron Cousins did it,” Bob recalls.

“By the end of the 1967 racing season the only thing we hadn’t mastered was the timing chain cover which still leaked a bit, but those 740 engines were otherwise bullet proof.”

“None of the engines were ever sent back to us for rebuilds,” confirms Michael Gasking, long-time RBE, Maidstone, Melbourne engine fitter and chief dyno test pilot.

“We sent engines and components over as they were needed, Jack and Frank (Hallam, RBE General Manager) were on the ‘phone all the time discussing updates and problems discovered at the track we needed to fix or enhance.”

So, there you have it, a little tidbit of RBE history not in Repco press releases or the history books.

Thanks Bob Ilich, I’m not sure quite how it popped into our conversation, but very much appreciated!

 Etcetera…

HRG

Among HRG’s products/enterprises were the original UK import rights for Weber carburettors, twin-cam HRG (Singer) engines, the Stuart Proctor designed crossflow cylinder head, inlet manifolds and rocker covers for BMC B-Series engines (usually marketed by VW Derrington rather than HRG themselves) and overhead-cam Ford 105E conversions.

HRG originally operated from Tolworth, Surrey and later Oakcroft Road, Chessington, also located in Surrey.

The then HRG director/shareholders, having reached retirement age closed their solvent, profitable business in 1966. Derringtons took over the drawings, patterns and moulds to manufacture cylinder heads and Jack Brabham acquired or absorbed the machine shop equipment and Ron Cousin into his group…

The main-man out front of Jack Brabham Motors, Hook Road, Chessington (unattributed)

Brabham Premises

There is plenty of interest in Brabham, Jack Brabham, Ron Tauranac and Repco Brabham Engines at quite a granular level.

With an imminent trip to the UK, I’ve a couple of Brabham Sacred Sites at which I’m going to pay homage, with that in mind here is a list fellow Brabham Tourists may find of interest.

Please treat it as work in progress, I’m keen to hear from any of you with additional information to add, or corrections which should be made to this list.

United Kingdom

.Jack Brabham (Motors) Ltd : 248 Hook Road (cnr Hook Road and Somerset Avenue, Chessington, Surrey.

Established circa 1959, ESSO garage, Rootes Group dealership. Phil Kerr ran the business, until his departure to McLaren. Ron Tauranac lived in a Bed-Sit in these premises when he first arrived from Australia and built the MRD (the first Brabham Formula Junior machine ) in a lock-up downstairs.

.Repco UK : Victoria Road, Surbiton, Surrey.

Circa 1957 at the Earls Court motor show. Repco’s marketing division and warehousing facility which sold garage and wheel balancing equipment, and later engine rebuilding, reconditioning and balancing equipment etc.

Space was sub-let to MRD to build Brabhams. The MRD, and Brabhams until when?, were constructed at these premises.

.Motor Racing Developments Ltd (MRD) : Canal Yard, Byfleet Road, New Haw, Weybridge, Surrey.

Circa 1962, manufacturer of Brabham cars and later Ralt cars

Shop floor at Motor Racing Developments circa 1966 (Repco)
Brabham Racing Organisation in 1970, Guildford. Jack’s F1 Brabham BT33 Ford being prepared (D Phipps/MotorSport)

.Jack Brabham Conversions Ltd : 131-139 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey.

ESSO service station, modifications to Sunbeam Rapiers and other cars inclusive of fitment of Coventry Climax FWE engines to Triumph Herald, Austin Healey Sprites etc

.Brabham Racing Organisation Ltd (BRO) :

Initially co-located with MRD.

In early 1966 BRO moved to Weyford House, Woodbridge Meadows, Guildford, Surrey as outlined in this article.

High Performance Exhaust Systems Ltd (Directors Len Lukey and Brabham) sold and fitted Lukey Mufflers for cars, trucks and tractors from this location

BRO moved – partially – back to New Haw (MRD) circa 1968. Allan Ould recalls building the BT25 Indycars in the BRO workshop at MRD that year.

The F1 car prep and machining ‘shops remained at Guildford.

Jack Brabham (Worster Park) Ltd : 33-51 Central Road, Worster Park, London.

Vauxhall dealership in the-day, redeveloped in more recent times as the residential ‘Brabham Court’.

Jack Brabham Ltd : 23 Stoneleigh Broadway, Epsom, Surrey.

?

Jack Brabham (Ewell) Ltd : 5 Ruxley Lane, Ewell, Epsom, Surrey.

Circa 1965. Appears to have been the site of another car dealership?

Engine Developments Ltd (Judd Power) : Leigh Road, Swift Valley, Rugby.

Partnership of John Judd and Jack Brabham which commenced in 1971.

.Brabham family home.

3 Ashcombe Avenue, Surbiton, Surrey, from 1965 Greater London, below.

(P Stockden)
Repco Brabham Engines, Mitchell Street, Maidstone premises early 1967 during the Tasman Series (Repco)

Australia

Repco Brabham Engines Pty. Ltd.

This entity was the Repco subsidiary incorporated circa 1965 to design and construct the Repco Brabham race engines

A small team was initially located in a small part (the engine laboratory) of Russell Manufacturing Pty Ltd at 85-91 Burney Street, and 26-34 Doonside Street, Richmond. The first V8s were built there.

Nigel Tait picks up the story, “The engine lab that was at the back of Russell Manufacturing (Doonside Street, Richmond) was to service the then current Repco factories producing engine parts.”

“Once the Repco Brabham project started to outgrow that small lab, a decision was made to relocate it over to the Maidstone site that had been purchased from the original Automotive Components Limited company some years earlier. One of the four or five factories on that site was cleaned out and early in 1966 the manufacture and assembly of the RB engines was progressively transferred from Richmond.”

“The new company, Repco Brabham Engines Pty Ltd was incorporated, the Repco Ltd (parent company) Director responsible was Bob Brown, the General Manager was Frank Hallam.”

“Eventually a new test centre was built out the back, it was very sophisticated and state of the art with two dynamometers compared to what we had in Richmond.”

Michael Gasking testing RBE620-E2 2.5 V8 on the Heenan & Froude GB4 dyno in the old Myers garage – corrugated iron tin-shed – Doonside Street Richmond Engine Lab. The distinctive long-inlet trumpets allows easy identification of this engine as that used by Jack at the 1966 Sandown and Longford Tasman rounds. Mike is testing it either before the Sandown round, or immediately after it. The engine suffered oil pump failure and had to be quickly rebuilt before being sent to Longford…so it’s either mid-February or 28-29 February 1966 (Repco)
More sumptuous surrounds at Maidstone circa 1967. Very well equipped, RBE were set up to build engines with great precision in numbers. That two axis Cincinatti Vertical Acramatic milling machine (in the middle of the photo) is claimed by the man who sold it to Repco to be the first numerically controlled machine tool sold in Australia. The timing cover case lying flat this side of the vertical tape reader (the light coloured cabinet) was made on this machine (Repco)

“So, from about mid to late 1966 (the move started during the Xmas summer break of 1965-66) the whole of the racing engine project was at Maidstone and the engine lab in Richmond continued to service the Repco engine division.”

“Later, the same dynamometer set up was used for the (1969-1974) Repco Holden F5000 project.”

“In the meantime Repco started to move some of the piston and ring manufacturing plant over to the Maidstone site and for a while both sites operated as Repco Engine Parts – Richmond Plant and Maidstone Plant.”

“Then in 1986 Repco sold off the Engine Division to a management buyout and the same products continued to be made at the two plants though eventually all were consolidated at the Maidstone site, Richmond having been sold.”

“The management buyout company didn’t have a name and Repco kindly allowed it to be called Automotive Components Limited (ACL), so the wheel turned full circle,” Nigel Tait recalled.

The Richmond (art deco) buildings are extant, Maidstone became a housing estate close to a decade ago, below.

(N Tait Collection)
(N Tait Collection)

“The memorial at Maidstone was the brainchild and project of a local councillor about 2015. We had Michael Gasking and (now the late) Don Halpin (above) to cut the cake at the unveiling ceremony,” Tait recalled.

“Michael was at Richmond when I joined Repco as a cadet engineer, and I was assigned to work with him as his assistant on Repco Brabham with engine assembly and running the engines on our dynamometer (Heenan and Froude GB4).”

“Michael was (is) a good man, very skilled, a good teacher and very thorough. The engines he built won the 1966 championship and probably half of 1967 (Denny) as well.”

“Don, sadly now gone, was an amazing engine builder, worked in my team after Repco Brabham and the F5000 Repco Holden days on alternative fuel projects for the government, and post retirement built customer racing engines until the end. I miss Don…” recalls Nigel of his colleagues and friends.

Credits…

Bob Ilich, Nigel Tait, Ken Devine Collection, Paul Stockden

Tailpiece…

Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course there are Jack’s businesses in Australia too (both before he went to the UK and after he left to return home) in the automotive, aviation and rural sectors but my focus is just those of the Repco-Period.

If we widened the lens we would be going for weeks I suspect…

Finito…

GV Wolf WD1 Chev, Trois Rivieres 1977 (MotorSport)

1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve’s dad doesn’t have awe inspiring race-statistics, so why is he revered by generations of F1 fans born long after he died? Mark Bisset looks back at the French-Canadian legend 40 years after that tragic May 8, 1982 Belgian GP weekend at Zolder

Before the carbon-fibre era few of motor racing’s supreme automotive acrobats died quietly in their beds.

Bernd Rosemeyer, Jochen Rindt, Ronnie Peterson, Ayrton Senna, Stefan Bellof, Gilles Villeneuve and their ilk had God-given skills which awed fellow competitors and spectators alike.

Spectacular car control, seemingly impossible passes and flagrant disregard for their own safety were their modus operandi, performed without the many ‘safety nets’ of modern F1.

Attack! GV during the September 1977 GP de Trois Rivieres, Canada weekend. Q3 and 14th with engine problems aboard Walter Wolf’s Wolf WD1 Chev. Patrick Tambay took the win, Lola T333CS Chev (MotorSport)
Gilles during the 1977 British GP weekend at Silverstone, F1 newbie (LAT)

Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve (18/1/1950-8/5/1982) was one of the most spectacular practitioners of his art, he wanted – needed – to be the quickest racer out there in every session. To his ultimate cost.

Seville Villeneuve whetted his son’s competitive juices by giving him a snowmobile, by 1972 Gilles was a pro-driver with Skiroule, in 1974 he won the World Championship Snowmobile Derby at Eagle River, Wisconsin.

Villeneuve mounts his Alouette 650 single-track, all set to win at Eagle River in 1974 (CJ Ramstad)

Seville nurtured Gilles’ early interest in cars too. Villeneuve took a Jim Russell course at Mont Tremblant, then demonstrated the same mastery of machine on bitumen as on snow aboard a Magnum Formula Ford, winning a regional Quebec championship in 1973.

Villeneuve later said of snowmobiling “Every winter you could reckon on three or four big over 100mph spills. They slide a lot, which taught me about control. Unless you were in the lead you could see nothing with all the snow blowing about, it was good for the reactions and stopped me worrying about racing in the rain.”

GV, Magnum Formula Ford in 1973 Trois Rivieres? (MGV)
March 77B Ford BDA, Trois Rivieres 1977. Fourth from pole, Price Cobb won in another 77B (MotorSport)

Villeneuve progressed and was immediately quick in an Ecurie Canada March 74B Formula Atlantic (FA) in 1974 until the wild-man broke his leg at Mosport mid-season.

Fully committed, Gilles sold his home to fund a privately run March 75B the following year, travelling to the races with wife Joann and his children Melanie and Jacques in a motorhome. His breakthrough win came in the wet at Gimli, then he stunned visiting GP drivers by putting the March third on the grid at Quebec’s GP de Trois Rivieres street race.

Racing for the top-gun Ecurie Canada equipe again in 1976, he won Canadian and US (IMSA) FA Championships then popped the icing on the cake by winning Trois Rivieres from pole ahead of Alan Jones, James Hunt, Vittorio Brambilla, Bobby Rahal and Patrick Tambay.

Teddy Mayer tasked Leo Wybrott, Stevie Bun and John Hornby to look after Gilles’ McLaren M23/8. “He was communicating with me so well, and we started to change the set-up of the car and he went faster and faster. We were fourth or fifth quickest, eventually qualifying ninth. We didn’t qualify higher because we didn’t have access to the soft Goodyears” Wybrott recalled. (MotorSport)
Villeneuve lapping Silverstone in ’77. His first race outside North America was in the 1976 Pau GP for Ron Dennis’ Project Four outfit, Q10 and DNF in a year old March 752 Hart impressed the F2 regulars (LAT)

The international racing world was abuzz with the other-worldly-skills of the pint-sized Canadian magician. No less an admirer than James Hunt pressed his cause with McLaren’s Teddy Mayer who ran a car for Gilles at the 1977 British GP.

Villeneuve explored the limits of his M23, spinning on most of Silverstone’s corners as he worked out the car’s limits, outqualifying his vastly more experienced teammate, Jochen Mass. He finished 11th despite a pitstop for what turned out to be a broken water temperature gauge.

Further impressive Formula Atlantic drives and pace aboard Walter Wolf’s wilful Wolf WD1 Chev Can-Am car established his big-car credentials.

Villeneuve in the Wolf WD1 Chev, circuit unknown, 1977. The Canadian was immediately quick in this challenging car vacated by Chris Amon upon his retirement from racing (unattributed)
GV and Patrick Tambay at Trois Rivieres in September 1977. Tambay won the race (and the series overall) in the Carl Haas’ Lola T333CS Chev behind him, GV DNF engine from Q3. #25 is Bobby Rahal’s Lola T296 Ford BDX (LAT)

When Mayer signed Patrick Tambay to replace Mass in 1978, Enzo Ferrari bagged Villeneuve. Gilles remained a Ferrari driver – surely ordained at his birth – for the balance of his way-too-short career.

His first 1977 start at Mosport ended with a DNF, tragedy followed at Fuji a fortnight later. Gilles challenged Ronnie Peterson’s Tyrrell P34 six-wheeler under brakes, the pair collided causing the Canadian’s Ferrari to vault the armco into a restricted area where it killed a spectator and a marshall. Despite a no-fault finding his year couldn’t have ended on a worse note.

Villeneuve mid-flight at Fuji with the fatal consequences imminent. Peterson’s Tyrrell P34 rear damage ‘clear’. Rare shot of the underside of a 312T2 Ferrari inclusive of the pipe-bender’s artistry (unattributed)
GV on the way to his first GP win at home in October 1978, Montreal, Ferrari 312T3. His future teammate, Scheckter was second in a Wolf WR6 Ford and present teammate Reutemann was third (unattributed)

1978 was character building. Villeneuve was unsurprisingly bested by his seasoned Ferrari teammate Carlos Reutemann who won three Grands Prix in the year of the dominant ground-effect Lotus 79, Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson.

After a series of early season DNFs and accidents the Italian press were baying for his blood, twelve months later they wanted him anointed a Saint.

Better performances in later ’78 were capped by a season-ending Mosport home win. His emotions at the year’s conclusion were the complete reverse of those twelve months before.

Gilles and Jody at Hockenheim in July1979. Alan Jones started his late season run of wins that weekend in his Williams FW07 Ford. Sceckter was fourth and Villeneuve eighth (unattributed)

Enzo Ferrari’s pairing of F1’s 1973 and 1978 enfants terrible, Jody Scheckter and Villeneuve in 1979 seemed a volatile Molotov Cocktail to many pit-pundits, but the kindred spirits gelled.

They extracted all Mauro Forghieri’s ground effect Ferrari 312T4 had. Gilles had the edge in outright pace – both won three Grands Prix – but Jody’s better placings, and Gilles preparedness to keep to team instructions, in a line-ball season edged out the Canadian by four points.

British GP, Silverstone 1979. Ferrari 312T4 14th on the day Clay Regazzoni i took a famous first win for Williams – FW07 Ford (M Lee)
It may not always have been the quickest way around a racetrack, but GV’s style sure was entertaining! Zolder, May 1979, 7th, Scheckter won (MotorSport)

Two races which partially forged the Villeneuve legend were at Dijon and Zandvoort.

Two-mad-little-Froggies, Auvergne’s Rene Arnoux and Quebec’s Gilles Villeneuve went at it hammer and tongs in the French GP’s final laps in an epic, breath taking, wheel to wheel-tapping battle between Renault RE10 and Ferrari 312T4 for second place.

 In a magnum-opus of car control the pair waged a dice the likes of which GP racing hasn’t seen since. The duo gave each other just enough room – centimetres – to carry off a balletic-opera rather than tragic-comedy which concluded in Gilles’ favour.

So all-consuming was this dice that Renault and Jean Pierre Jabouille’s first turbo-car, and first GP win (Renault RE10) were almost forgotten!

During the Dutch GP’s closing laps Villeneuve’s left-rear tyre exploded. Undeterred, and desperate for points he reversed back onto the track and headed for the distant pits shredding the tyre, wheel and left-side suspension assembly. Gilles devotees saw it as his passionate will to win while his detractors offered the display as further evidence that he was absolutely bonkers…

Crazy last laps at Dijon in 1979: Villeneuve 312T4 and Rene Arnoux, Renault RE10 (MotorSport)
Ferrari 126CK, Dijon DNF French GP 1981 (MotorSport)

1980 was a Ferrari disaster as more advanced ground effect cars bested the 312T5, limited as it was by the width of its 180-degree V12 (or Flat-12 if you wish) which impinged on critical sidepod/tunnel size.

Ferrari joined the turbo-age in 1981 with the 550-600bhp 1.5-litre 126CK. Its combination of tricky power delivery mixed with chassis and aerodynamic shortcomings created a machine in which Gilles comprehensively blew-off new teammate, Didier Pironi after Scheckter retired (Villeneuve outqualified Pironi 10-5 that year).

Villeneuve showed plenty of controlled aggression, winning at Monaco after keeping the tricky car on the island as others crashed or had mechanical misfortune.

Three weeks later at Jarama, Gilles took the Spanish GP lead on lap 14 then fronted a high-speed freight train of Jacques Laffite, John Watson, Carlos Reutemann and Elio De Angelis, nose-to-tail for 18 laps in a classic battle of a more powerful but ill-handling car holding off four better handling cars. The top-5 were separated by 1.5 seconds at the finish of a thriller in which Gilles put not a foot wrong.

On the way to winning the 1981 Monaco GP, Ferrari 126CK. Jones second in his Williams FW07C Ford and Laffitte third in Ligier JS17 Matra (unattributed)
Here we go with 2 laps to run, Imola 1982 (unattributed)

And so, to the Final Act.

1982 started as ‘81 finished, Gilles outqualified his friend Pironi – they were mates let’s not forget – four nil aboard the improved 126C2 at Kyalami, Rio, Long Beach and Imola.

Pironi was feeling the pressure, why would Ferrari keep him if he couldn’t deliver the goods?  The consistent gap between he and Gilles was marked.

The San Marino Grand Prix grid was decimated by the ongoing FOCA/FISA turf/sporting/commercial battle, ten of the FOCA teams didn’t enter. After the retirement of the leading Renaults, Villeneuve led Pironi (as usual).

Ferrari’s ‘slow’ pitboard was interpreted as slow and hold position by Gilles. Pironi passed Villeneuve, Villeneuve re-took the lead three times, and then slowed thrice. Despite this – Villeneuve’s superiority over the Frenchman crystal clear to all over the previous 15-months – Pironi passed again and took the chequered flag having interpreted the signal differently. Or took a win he badly needed and hadn’t achieved mano et mano in fair combat.

Gilles burned with fury, setting up the tragedy which unfolded at Zolder a fortnight later on May 8, 1982.

Zolder pits, May 8, 1982. GV ready for the off, Ferrari 126C2 chassis #056
GV 126C2 #055 at Kyalami in January 1982. The monocoque chassis was a composite structure made of Hexcel carbon fibre and aluminium honeycomb, a far cry from the strength of the high speed carbon fibre dodgem-F1s of today

Fuelled by anger and determined to beat Pironi’s better qualifying time, Villeneuve set off on those final laps, fell short, then collided with Jochen Mass’ March at 120-140mph as both cars changed direction before Terlamenbocht – Mass moved his March, in fifth gear but going much slower than Villeneuve, to the right to allow the Ferrari to pass on the left – launching the Ferrari into the air and then a series of horrific cartwheels. The hapless racer suffered a fracture of the cervical vertebrae and a severed spinal chord, he died at 9:12pm that evening at the University of St Raphael Hospital in Louvain

Canada and the racing world mourned, as many still do.

Based on statistics Villeneuve isn’t one of the greats, but like Nuvolari, Rosemeyer, Rindt and Peterson, Gilles is revered for the passion, brio, fire and electricity he produced in a racing car every time he jumped aboard.

When Villeneuve was on track the beer-tents emptied. The automotive acrobat was about to strut his stuff, sadly the catch-net and the gods were absent on that day in Belgium 40 short years ago.

“I know that no human being can perform miracles. But Gilles made you wonder sometimes,” quipped Jacques Laffite.

R.I.P Gilles Villeneuve. We salute you.

Credits…

MotorSport, LAT, CJ Ramstad, museegillesvilleneuve.com, Martin Lee, Leo Wybrott on auto123.com, Getty Images, ‘Gilles Villeneuve:The Life of the Legendary Racing Driver’ Gerald Donaldson

Tailpiece…

Last lap. Still on the hop, quallies useless by then but he was still on the hop…

Finito…

(The Age)

Doug Whiteford is as pleased-as-punch after winning the 1953 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park aboard his self-prepared Talbot Lago T26C (Course).

It was too good to be true, he had won his second AGP at Bathurst 17 months before aboard the same machine. He took victory in the 250 miler in the park from Curley Brydon’s MG TC Spl s/c and Andy Brown’s MG K3. The dude with the fag at the far-left is Bill Wilcox who retired his Ford V8 Spl after 37 of the 64 laps.

I’ve written about this race before, the appearance of this high-resolution shot from The Age/Fairfax archive stimulated this reprise. 1953 Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park… | primotipo…

The photograph is so sharp you can see the instruments, quadrant for the four-speed Wilson pre-selector gearbox, chassis plate and front suspension.

#110007 was part of Paul Vallee’s Ecurie France team between 1948-1950 before being sold, via Henry and Peter Dale, to Geelong’s Tom Hawkes in 1950 and shortly thereafter to Whiteford. See Bob King’s article on the Dales and their contribution to the number of European racers which came to Australia; ‘Words from Werrangourt’ 1, by Bob King… | primotipo…

Louis Chiron jumps away from the rest of the field at the start of the April 1949 Jersey Road Race at St Helier aboard 110007. From the left, Raymond Mays’ ERA B-Type, Peter Whitehead’s Ferrari 125, and the Maserati 4CLT-48s of Gigi Villoresi, Bira and Emmanuel de Graffenried. Gerard won from De Graffenried and Mays Chiron DNF brakes (MotorSport)
110007 in the Silverstone pitlane during the July 1949 British GP meeting. Q15 and DNF universal joint for Chiron, up front De Graffenreid’s Maser 4CLT-48 won from Bob Gerard’s ERA B-Type and Louis Rosier’s T26C (MotorSport)

Strong results for 110007 before coming to Australia was Louis Chiron’s 1949 French GP victory and Harry Schell’s second place at the Coupe du Salon at Montlhery that October.

The car had chassis rails derived directly from Talbot sports car pattern. Front independent suspension was by lower transverse leaf spring and upper pressed steel rockers while at the rear a simple rigid axle was suspended by semi-elliptic leaf springs. Friction and hydraulic shocks were fitted as were Bendix cable operated brakes. A Wilson pre-selector gearbox was used.

The arrival of this modern straight-six cylinder 4482cc, 210bhp @ 4500rpm triple Zenith/Stromberg fed F1 car (4.5-litres unsupercharged, 1.5-litres supercharged) heralded the need for topline Australian competitors to have cars capable of outright wins as the sport evolved away from handicap events in our premier class.

Doug Whiteford passes the abandoned Jack O’Dea MG Spl aboard 110007 during his victorious ’53 AGP run at Albert Park (The Age)
1949 Talbot Lago T26C cutaway by Leslie Cresswell

Technical Specifications…

The head and block of Walter Vecchia’s 4482cc six were of aluminium alloy. The engine was considerably undersquare with a bore/stroke of 93x110mm. Its two camshafts were located halfway up the block with short pushrods operating two valves per cylinder, the cost-effective design had some of the advantages of a more traditional twin-cam layout.

It produced circa 240bhp @ 4700rpm in the early stages of development, rising to 280bhp @ 5000rpm in 1950 when fitted with a twin-plug, twin-magneto cylinder head.

Carburation was by triple downdraught Zenith-Strombergs with two rocker covers proclaiming the name Talbot-Lago. A Scintilla magneto provided the spark, initially to one centrally located plug per cylinder.

Engine shot of Yves Giraud-Cabantous T26C #110006 in the 1949 Silverstone paddock. That motor swallowed a piston after 39 of the 100 laps (MotorSport)

A Wilson preselector gearbox was used, while heavy it was reliable and favoured by the drivers. The prop-shaft was offset to the right to allow a low seating position.

Front independent suspension incorporated top rockers, a lower transverse leaf spring and friction shock absorbers. The rear axle was suspended by good old fashioned semi-elliptic leaf springs, funds didn’t allow development of an independent design; the T26 was the last GP car to use semi-elliptic cart-springs.

Chiron watches while his car is readied at Silverstone in 1949 (MotorSport)

Credits…

The Age/Fairfax Archive, Peter Valentine’s Old Melbourne Town FB page, oldracingcars.com, Leslie Cresswell, Adam Gawliczek

Tailpieces…

(MotorSport)

A swarm of Talbot Lago T26Cs during the 1949 British GP.

‘Our’ 110007 in Chiron’s hands is at left, #17 is Yves Giraud-Cabantous machine (110006), DNF piston and Louis Rosier’s third placed machine #110001 at right.

In mid 1954 Whiteford sold the car after updating to the twin-plug headed T26C #110003. The car was raced by Rex Taylor, Ken Richardson, Owen Bailey and Barry Collerson in-period before becoming a historic racer. Bernard Charles Ecclestone has owned it since the early 1980s.

Whiteford heading up Mount Panorama on the way to victory in the 1952 AGP

Finito…

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Albert Park 2022 (formula1news.co.uk)

Ferrari have been fantastic this year, as they often are in seasons of a new F1 formula. Mark Bisset analyses that notion and calculates the Maranello mob’s likely chances of success…

Aren’t the 2022 F1 rules fantastic! The FIA tossed the rule book up in the air – in a highly sophisticated kind of way of course – and it landed as they hoped with a few long overdue changes in grid makeup.

Ferrari up front is good for F1, anyone other than Mercedes will do, their domination of modern times has made things a bit dreary.

It’s way too early to call the season, but two out of four for Ferrari has promise given the budget-cap. “It’ll be ten races before McLaren have their new car. And it won’t be all new, that’s not possible within the budget constraints,” Joe Ricciardo told me on the morning of the AGP.

By the end of the season, the new-competitive-paradigm will be clear to the team’s Technical Directors, next year’s cars will reflect that. In the meantime, we have great, different looking cars the performance shortcomings of which can be addressed, to an extent.

For many years Ferrari was a good bet in the first season of a new set of regulations, let’s look at how they’ve gone since 1950 on the basis that history is predictive of the future…

Froilan Gonzalez and Ferrari 375 win the ‘51 British GP from pole. JM Fangio and Gigi Villoresi were second and third in Alfa 159 and Ferrari 375 (goodwood.com)

Enzo Ferrari ran a family business, while he was technically conservative and kept a wary eye on the lire, his first championship GP winning car, the Tipo 375 4.5-litre normally aspirated V12 raced by Froilan Gonzalez in the 1951 British GP at Silverstone commenced a new engine paradigm (achievements of the Talbot Lago T26Cs duly recognised).

Since the 1923 Fiat 805 GP winners had been mainly, but not exclusively powered by two-valve, twin-cam, supercharged straight-eights, like the 1950-1951 World Championship winning Alfa Romeo 158-159s were.

Alfa’s 1951 win (JM Fangio) was the last for a supercharged car until Jean -Pierre Jabouille’s Renault RS10 won the 1979 French GP, and  Ferrari were victorious in the 1982 Constructors Championship with the turbo-charged 126C2.

When Alfa withdrew from GP racing at the end of 1951, and BRM appeared a likely non-starter, the FIA held the World Championship to F2 rules given the paucity of F1 cars to make decent grids.

Alberto Ascari, Ferrari 500 Spa, Belgian GP 1952. He won from his teammate Nino Farina and Robert Manzon, Gordini 16 (MotorSport)

Aurelio Lampredi’s existing 2-litre, four-cylinder F2 Ferrari 500 proved the dominant car in Alberto Ascari’s hands taking back-to-back championships in 1953-53.

Alberto’s ‘winningest’ 500 chassis, #005 was raced with great success by Australians Tony Gaze and Lex Davison. Davo won the 1957 and 1958 AGPs in it and our first Gold Star, awarded in 1957. Australia’s fascination with all things Ferrari started right there.

After two years of domination Ferrari were confident evolutions of the 500 would suffice for the commencement of the 2.5-litre formula (1954-1960), but the 555/625 Squalo/Super Squalos were dogs no amount of development could fix.

Strapped for cash, Ferrari was in deep trouble until big-spending Gianni Lancia came to his aid. Lancia’s profligate expenditure on some of the most stunning sports and racing cars of all time brought the company to its knees in 1955.

While company founder Vincenzo Lancia turned in his grave, Gianni’s mother dealt with the receivers and Enzo Ferrari chest-marked, free of charge, a fleet of superb, new, Vittorio Jano designed Lancia D50s, spares and personnel in a deal brokered by the Italian racing establishment greased with a swag of Fiat cash.

Juan Manuel Fangio duly delivered the Lancia Ferrari goods by winning the 1956 F1 Drivers Championship in a Lancia Ferrari D50 V8.

JM Fangio clipping the apex at Copse, Silverstone in 1956 Lancia Ferrari D50. The Alfonso De Portago/Peter Collins D50 was second and Jean Behra Maserati 250F third (LAT)
Silverstone again, this time Mike Hawthorn in 1958, Ferrari Dino 246. Peter Collins’ Dino won from Hawthorn and Roy Salvadori’s Cooper T45 Climax (LAT)

 Mike Hawthorn followed up with the 1958 Drivers’ Championship victory in the superb Dino 246 V6 which begat Scuderia Ferrari’s next change-of-formula success in 1961.

Concerned with rising F1 speeds (there is nothing new in this world my friends) the FIA imposed a 1.5-litre limit from 1961-1965.

Ferrari raced a 1.5-litre F2 Dino variant from 1958 so were superbly placed to win the 1961 championship despite their first mid-engined 156 racer’s chassis and suspension geometry shortcomings.

The (mainly) British opposition relied on the Coventry Climax 1.5-litre FPF four which gave away heaps of grunt to the Italian V6, only Stirling Moss aboard Rob Walker’s Lotus 18 Climax stood in Ferrari’s way. The championship battle was decided in Phil Hill’s favour after the grisly death of his teammate Count ‘Taffy’ Von Trips and 15 Italian spectators at Monza.

Ferrari 156 at Modena in 1961 (ferrari.com)

By 1964 Ferrari – never quick to adopt new technology back then – had ditched the 156’s Borrani wire wheels, spaceframe chassis and Weber carburettors thanks to Mauro Forghieri, the immensely gifted Modenese engineer behind much of Ferrari’s competition success for the next couple of decades. John Surtees won the ’64 F1 Drivers and Constructors Championships in a Ferrari 158 V8.

With ‘The Return to Power’, as the 1966-1986 3-litre F1 was billed (3-litres unsupercharged, 1.5-litres supercharged) – sportscars were making a mockery of the pace of 1.5-litre F1 cars – Ferrari and Surtees had a mortgage on the 1966 championships until they shot themselves in the foot.

Coventry Climax, the Cosworth Engineering of the day, withdrew from racing at the end of 1965 leaving their customers scratching around for alternative engines.

Ferrari were again in the box-seat in ’66 as their 312 V12 engined racer was ready nice and early. It was an assemblage of new chassis and an engine and gearbox plucked from the Maranello sportscar parts bins. With a championship seemingly in-the-bag, Modenese-Machiavellian-Machinations led to Surtees spitting the dummy over incompetent team management and walked out.

Look out blokes, ‘comin through! John Surtees at Eau Rouge, Spa, Ferrari 312 in 1966, ‘Grand Prix’ cinematographers totally unperturbed by the Flying Ferrari. Surtees won from Jochen Rindt’s Cooper T81 Maserati and Lorenzo Bandini’s Ferrari 158/246 (MotorSport)

It was the happiest of days for Jack Brabham, his increasingly quick and reliable Brabham BT19 Repco V8 comfortably saw off Lorenzo Bandini and Mike Parkes who weren’t as quick or consistent as Big John.

Scuderia Ferrari were then in the relative GP wilderness until 1970 just after Fiat acquired Ferrari, but leaving Enzo to run the race division until his demise.

Fiat’s cash was soon converted into 512S sportscars and the most successful V12 ever built. Ferrari’s Tipo 015 180-degree 3-litre masterpiece won 37 GPs from 1970-1980 in the hands of Jacky Ickx, Clay Regazzoni, Mario Andretti, Niki Lauda, Carlos Reutemann, Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve. Not to forget Constructors’ titles for Ferrari in 1975-1977 and 1979, and Drivers’ championships for Lauda (1975,1977) and Scheckter (1979).

Oops, getting a bit off-topic.

Gilles Villeneuve in the fugly but effective and reliable Ferrari 312T4 at Monaco in 1979. Note the hard working, fully extended skirts. Jody Scheckter won in the other T4 from Clay Regazzoni’s Williams FW07 Ford and Carlos Reutemann’s Lotus 79 Ford (unattributed)

The next F1 step-change wasn’t FIA mandated, but was rather as a consequence of Peter Wright and Colin Chapman’s revolutionary 1977/78 Lotus 78/79 ground effects machines which rendered the rest of the grid obsolete.

Forghieri stunned the F1 world when Ferrari adapted their wide, squat 525bhp 3-litre twelve to a championship winning ground effects car despite the constraints the engine’s width bestowed upon aerodynamicists intent on squeezing the largest possible side-pods/tunnels between the engine/chassis and car’s outer dimensions. Scheckter and Canadian balls-to-the-wall firebrand Villeneuve took three GPs apiece to win titles for Scheckter and Ferrari.

Renault led the technology path forward with its 1.5-litre turbo-charged V6 engines from 1977 but it was Ferrari who won the first Manufacturers Championships so equipped in 1982-83.

The Harvey Postlethwaite designed 560-680bhp 1.5-litre turbo V6 126C2 won three Grands Prix in an awful 1982 for Ferrari. Practice crashes at Zolder and Hockenheim killed Villeneuve and ended Didier Pironi’s career. Keke Rosberg won the drivers title aboard a Williams FW08 Ford in a year when six teams won Grands Prix.

High speed Jarama caravan in 1981. Brilliant drive of controlled precision and aggression by Gilles Villeneuve won the race for Ferrari. His more powerful and more unwieldy 126CK just held his pursuers at bay; Jacques Laffite, Ligier JS17 Matra, John Watson, McLaren MP4/1 Ford, Carlos Reutemann’s, Williams FW07C Ford and the just visible Elio de Angelis, Lotus 87 Ford – they finished in this order (unattributed)

Despite a change to a 3.5-litre/1.5-litres four-bar of boost formula in 1987-88 Ferrari stuck with its turbo-cars. The F1/87 and F1/87/88C designed by Gustav Brunner delivered fourth and second in the Constructors Championships, the victorious cars were the Williams FW11B Honda and McLaren MP4/4 Honda.

Enzo Ferrari died in August 1988, not that the company’s Machiavellian culture and quixotic decision making was at an end…

Rock star ex-McLaren designer John Barnard joined Ferrari in 1987. The first fully-Barnard-car was the seductive 640 built for the first year of the stunning, technically fascinating 1989-1994 3.5-litre formula.

This 660bhp V12 machine, fitted with the first electro-hydraulic, seven-speed paddle-shift, semi-automatic gearbox won three races (Nigel Mansell two, Gerhard Berger, one) and finished third in the constructor’s championship.

Innovative as ever, Barnard’s car wasn’t reliable nor quite powerful enough to beat the Alain Prost (champion) and Ayrton Senna driven McLaren MP4/5B Hondas. Despite six wins aboard the evolved 641 (five for Prost, one to Mansell) in 1990 the car still fell short of McLaren Honda, Senna’s six wins secured drivers and manufacturers titles for the British outfit.

Gerhard Berger pings his Ferrari 640 thru Spa’s Bus Stop chicane in 1989, DNF in the race won by Ayrton Senna’s McLaren MP4/5 Honda (unattributed)

F1’s all-time technology high-water marks are generally regarded as the Williams’ FM14B and FW15C Renault V10s raced by Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost to Drivers and Manufacturers championships in 1992-93. They bristled with innovation deploying active suspension, a semi-automatic gearbox, traction control, anti-lock brakes, fly-by-wire controls and more.

As 1994 dawned Ferrari had been relative also-rans for too long, persevering with V12s long after Renault and Honda V10s had shown the way forward. This period of great diversity – in 1994 Renault, Yamaha, Peugeot, Mugen Honda, Hart, Mercedes Benz and Ilmor Engineering supplied V10s, while Cosworth Engineering provided several different Ford V8s, not to forget Ferrari’s Tipo 043 V12 – ended abruptly at Imola during the horrific May weekend when Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger lost their lives in separate, very public accidents.

In response, FIA chief Max Mosley mandated a series of immediate safety changes and introduced a 3-litre capacity limit from 1995-2004.

Ferrari’s 412T2 V12s finished a distant third in the 1995 Constructors Championship behind Renault powered Benetton and Williams. Much better was the three wins secured by recent signing, Michael Schumacher aboard the V10 (hooray finally!) engined F310, and four with the 310B in 1996-97. Ferrari’s Head of Aerodynamics in this period was Aussie, Willem Toet (1995-1999).

Michael Schumacher nips a brake testing the Ferrari 412T2 at Estoril in November 1995. His final race with Benetton in Adelaide was less than a fortnight before (unattributed)

Ferrari’s Holy Racing Trinity were anointed when Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher (not to forget Chief Designer Rory Byrne) came together as CEO, Technical Director and Lead Driver; six Constructors World Championships flowed from 1999 to 2004.

Renault and Fernando Alonso took top honours with the R25 in 2005, but Ferrari were handily placed for the first year of the 2.4-litre V8 formula in a further emasculation of the technical differences between marques in 2006. Mind you, the primeval scream of these things at 20,000rpm or so is something we can only dream of today.

Ferrari’s 248 F1 used an updated F2005 chassis fitted with the new Tipo 056 715-785bhp V8. It came home like a train in the back end of the season, winning seven of the last nine races, but fell short of the Renault R26 in both the Constructors and Drivers titles.

Alonso beat Schumacher 134 points to 121, and Renault 206 points to Ferrari’s 201 but the 248 F1 won 9 races (Schumacher seven, Felipe Massa two) to Renault’s 8 (Alonso seven, Giancarlo Fisichella one), so let’s say it was a line-ball thing…and Kimi Raikkonen brought home the bacon for himself and Ferrari with the new F2007 in 2007.

Michael Schumacher displays the elegant simplicity of his Ferrari 248 on the way to winning the Italian GP, Monza 2006 (unattributed)

In more recent times the whispering 1.6-litre single turbo V6 formula, incorporating an energy recovery system, was introduced in 2014.

Ferrari fielded two world champions for the first time since 1954 (Giuseppe Farina and Alberto Ascari) when Alonso and Raikkonen took the grid in new F14T’s, but that dazzling combo could do no better than two podiums in a season dominated by Lewis Hamilton’s and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrids.

Ferrari’s season was a shocker, it was the first time since 1993’s F93A that the Scuderia had not bagged at least one GP win.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F14T at Suzuka in October 2014. DNF in the race won by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes Benz F1W05 Hybrid. What visual atrocities the cars of 2014 were (MotorSport)

So, what does history tell us about Ferrari’s prospects in this 2022 formula change year? Given our simple analysis, at the start of the season Ferrari had a 36% chance of bagging both titles, but with two out of four wins early on for Charles Leclerc they must be at least an even money chance now.

I’m not so sure I’d put my house on them, but I’d happily throw yours on lucky red!

Credits…

formula1news.co.uk, goodwood.com, ferrari.com, LAT, MotorSport

Finito…

Jules Goux and Emil Begin aboard their Peugeot at Indy, 1913 (IMS)

One of my recent obsessions is Ballot cars. These short fanatical phases lead one into all sorts of tangents, the most recent involves Jules Goux, a works Ballot driver, and his victory at Indianapolis in 1913 aboard an epochal twin-cam, four-valve, dry-sump Peugeot L76.

His 6 hour 35.05 minute race was meritorious as a drive of restraint, the Peugeot’s tyres were not up to the particular challenges of Indy’s brick surface. With alternatives which fitted the French car’s Rudge-Whitworth wire wheels unavailable, local driver Johnny Aitken suggested running at a pace to suit the equipment may still be quick enough to win.

(Jules Goux)

And so it was, Goux won with his mechanic Emil Begin by 13 minutes from Spencer Wishart’s Mercer 450, total time 6 hours 35.5 seconds. Ralph de Palma was third in another Mercer. The French duo won the Memorial Day classic in fine style, leading 138 of the 200 laps, with six pit stops at which the crew fortified themselves with swigs of champagne! See this Nostalgia Forum thread for discussion of that point; Jules Goux Indianapolis 500 1913 – The Nostalgia Forum – The Autosport Forums

The other Peugeot driven by Paolo Zuccarelli was out with bearing failure after 18 laps.

Goux quaffs some bubbles before the next stint (IMS)

Georges Boillot’s success in the ground breaking Peugeot in the June 1912 Grand Prix de l’ACF (French Grand Prix), and Peugeot’s May 1913 Indy 500 win made the path of future racing cars clear; smaller, lighter machines powered by smaller, lighter, more efficient, higher revving engines than the the Edwardian behemoths than had gone before.

Checkout this piece of mine about the engine, including period articles about the car; 1912/13 Peugeot GP Car: Especially its Engines… | primotipo… and this superb article by Pete Brock about how rapid Les Charlatans/Peugeot technology transfer to other marques occurred; How the modern race engine was born | Articles | Classic Motorsports

The Goux Peugeot from Caleb Bragg’s Mercer 450, DNF pump shaft failure after 128 laps (chuckstoyland.com)

Credits…

IMS-Indianapolis Motor Speedway archives, chuckstoyland.com

Tailpiece…

(IMS)

Jules Goux during a practice run, note Indy’s new pagoda administration building.

Finito…

(P Hasenbohler)

I first became aware of Peter Monteverdi and his cars while reading Automobile Year 19. His self-styled and designed, Fissore built, mid-engined Monteverdi Hai 450SS was undoubtedly one of the horn-cars – powered as it was by a Chrysler 6.9-litre/426cid Hemi competition race engine – of 1971, capable of 175mph in great comfort.

The shot above is of Peter racing a Lotus 18 Ford FJ in the National Iceslalom, at Arosa alongside the Obersee, Switzerland in December 1961; third, DNF transmission (go figure).

Of Italian parentage (June 7, 1934-July 4, 1998), Monteverdi was born at Binningen in the Swiss canton of Basel-Landschaft. He joined his father’s small garage and truck business as a teenager, building his first Monteverdi Special, a cycle-winged sports-roadster based on a crashed 1939 Fiat 1100 in 1951 at 17.

Monteverdi Hai 450SS. Heavy box section tubular frame, wishbone front and De Dion rear suspension, Koni shocks, ZF steering, 4-wheel ATE discs. Chrysler engine as per text, ZF 5-speed transaxle, weight 2838lbs unladen. Did not get into series production sadly, several were built (Automobile Year 19)
Peter Monteverdi, date unknown (curbsideclassic.com)

Peter took over the garage in 1954 upon the death of his father. He worked hard to build a reputation as a tuning establishment and along the way acquired concessions for Ferrari, Lancia, Rolls Royce and Jensen. Much later, he relinquished these to focus on BMW.

Piero Monteverdi’s capabilities as a driver helped build the reputation of Monteverdi Binningen Motors – MBM.

Seeing the fun and commercial opportunities in nascent Formula Junior, Monteverdi built DKW and Ford engined MBMs from larger premises alongside the original garage in Binningen-Basel.

Monteverdi in the Solitude paddock, raid of the Porsche parts-bin clear. Pretty car albeit the packaging challenges of the Type 547 four-cylinder 1498cc boxer four and cooling fan apparent (MotorSport)
Monteverdi’s MBM Porsche leads the similarly powered Carel de Beaufort Porsche 718, both DNF, Solitude July 23, 1961 (MotorSport)

Realising that it wouldn’t be too difficult to build a Grand Prix car based on his FJ design, he built a bigger, stronger spaceframe chassis fitted with a 1.5-litre Porsche RSK four-cylinder engine and gearbox.

The attractive looking car qualified last on the grid of the 1961 Solitude Grand Prix held on the dauntingly fast, swoops and dives of the 11.4km Schloss Solitude road circuit outside Stuttgart.

Unfortunately, he had engine trouble in the race, so only lasted two laps, the race was won by Innes Ireland’s works Lotus 21 Climax. The car was written off at Hockenheim shortly afterwards, Monteverdi was badly hurt in the accident and retired from racing. To avoid temptation, he buried the remains of the MBM Porsche in the foundations of a new showroom on his original garage site!

1974-75 Monteverdi range (curbsideclassic.com)

He wasn’t done with fast cars however, building one offs including an Osca powered roadster and the Ford Kent powered MBM Tourismo. The far more serious Chrysler V8 engined, Frua styled machines commenced with the 375S shown at the 1967 Frankfurt Show.

Monteverdi did good business for a couple of decades producing modified, luxurious versions of sedans and 4WDs, and later still had an abortive return to F1 in 1990 with the acquisition, and rapid demise of Onyx F1.

The ever restless racer, designer, engineer and businessman died of cancer in his apartment above his Binningen workshop, aged 64 in 1998.

Etcetera…

Rolf Schild’s sweet looking MBM Type D Formula Junior, 18 of which were built, on the Mitholz-Kandersteg hillclimb, Switzerland in May 1962.

Credits…

Philip Hasenbohler, Automobile Year 19, MotorSport, curbsideclassic.com, Getty Images,

Tailpiece…

(MotorSport)

Oopsie. Peter reassuring himself that he isn’t going to hit any of the ever present Solitude trees. What a track this place would have been to compete upon! See here for a piece on Solitude in 1960. and the perils of it; Surtees in Solitude… | primotipo…

Finito…

(T Marshall)

Graham Hill talks to the lads about his brand-spankers Lotus 49B, chassis R8 in the Pukekohe pitlane during the 1969 NZ GP weekend…

Maybe he is talking about his car, or perhaps the blistering pace of Jochen Rindt, his new teammate.

While it’s a brand new chassis the car is fitted with a ZF gearbox rather than the Hewland DG300 which he had been using in his definitive spec F1 49B in late 1968. Both Hill’s R8, and Rindt’s R9 were concoctions of the original 49, and of the subsequent 49B. Type 49 features included the front-mounted oil tank, use of a combined oil/water radiator, original front rocker arms mounted at 90 degrees to the tub rather than swept forward, the ZF gearbox, and old style rear suspension mounted to ‘fir-tree’ brackets bolted to the DFV.

The main 49B feature adopted was the use of cutouts in the lower rear part of the tub to locate the lower rear radius arms. The cars used high-wings mounted atop the uprights in the same style first used on Jackie Oliver’s R2, and used the wing feathering mechanism pioneered in Mexico at the end of 1968.

There was enormous excitement in Australasia prior to the 1968 Tasman when the quickest cars of the 1967 F1 season, Lotus 49s powered by the 2.5-litre short stroke DFW variant of the F1 3-litre Ford Cosworth DFV were raced by Jim Clark and Graham Hill; chassis’ R2 and R1 respectively.

Jim Clark won the Tasman Cup, his last championship, and the Australian Grand Prix at Sandown, his last GP win before his untimely death at Hockenheim on April 7, 1968.

While there was huge enthusiasm for Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt, the absence of Clark tugged at the hearts of enthusiasts, Jim was such a popular visitor to our part of the world, his first tour was in 1962.

Rindt finally had a car with the speed and occasional reliability – he was hard on it mind you – to post the results he deserved. His first GP win came at Watkins Glen late in 1969, but he perished less than twelve months later at the wheel of a Lotus 72 during practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

Graham Hill did a sensational job in picking up Team Lotus lock-stock-and-barrel after Clark’s death. He filled the leadership void until Colin Chapman clicked back into gear after mourning Clark’s loss. Graham would have a tough season in 1969, Rindt’s pace was apparent from his first laps at Pukekohe, at Watkins Glen Hill had the bad accident which hospitalised him for months.

Team Lotus built two new cars for the ’69 Tasman assault; 49Bs R8 – a new chassis – for Hill, and R9 – the prototype R1 rebuilt – for Rindt which were identical in specifications.

NZ GP Pukekohe 1969, the off. From left Amon with Bell right behind then Leo Geoghegan’s white Lotus 39 Repco, Hill’s Lotus a row back, then Jochen up front alongside Chris and Piers at right in the Williams Brabham BT24 Ford
Gardner, Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Alfa, Hill, Rindt in the Wigram dummy grid in 1969 (CAN)

Chris Amon mounted a very successful 1969 Tasman campaign using the learnings of the prior year. He had Bruce Wilson as lead mechanic again, and an additional car to be raced by Derek Bell with a strict rev limit given the small float of engines available between two cars. Logistics were taken care of by David McKay’s (Sydney) Scuderia Veloce outfit.

Chris opened his account with intent, he won the first two races at Pukekohe on January 4 and at Levin the week later. Jochen was second in the NZ GP whereas Graham had two DNFs, a front suspension ball-joint failed after completing 13 laps in the first race, and driveshaft failure at Levin, this time on lap 12 when running in third place from grid five.

Jochen came to grief at Levin, he spun on lap four whilst leading, and then repeated the mistake two laps later but in more costly fashion, rolling the car atop a safety embankment. Jochen was ok but R9 was rooted, too badly damaged to be repaired away from home base. 49B R10 was despatched to the colonies, much to Hill’s chagrin. It was the first of many Lotus accidents and component failures for the Austrian during the next twenty months, not that the cause of this shunt was the fault of the car.

The ferry trip to the South Island brought better fortune. Hill and R8 finished second in the Lady Wigram Trophy race on the Royal New Zealand Airforce Base outside Christchurch on January 18, but Jochen made good use of his new car from pole setting fastest lap and race time. Jochen was 34 seconds in front of Graham, with Chris Amon another four seconds behind Graham, then Piers Courage another six seconds back in Frank Williams’ Brabham BT24 Ford DFW.

The following weekend Graham was second again at Teretonga near Invercargill, the world’s most southerly racetrack, the winner this time was Courage. This time it was Jochen’s turn for driveshaft failure, interesting given the DFW gave circa 50bhp less than the DFV, with Chris Amon third and looking good for the title as the circus crossed the Tasman Sea for three Australian rounds.

Graham blasting through the Teretonga scrub country. Note the long exhausts of the 2.5 DFW, look how flimsy the wing supports look, and were- Chapman at his worst. Note – look hard – the Lotus aero-screen (LAT)
Early laps at Levin. Piers Courage in a Lotus sandwich, Hill in front with Jochen aboard the ill-fated R9 in third (LAT)
The off at Wigram. Courage, Brabham BT24 Ford and then Graham with Jochen on pole in Lotus 49Bs. Amon behind Jochen, the light coloured car behind Chris is Gardner’s Mildren Alfa V8 (T Marshall)

First stop was on February 2, 1969, at Lakeside, Brisbane, for the Australian Grand Prix.

Graham finished fourth in R8, while Jochen’s R10 had engine failure. Both cars had wing mount failures- Chapman’s In-God-We-Trust engineering of these things was cavalier for so long it is a joke. Only Jochen’s celebrated Come-To-Jesus (whilst I am on religious metaphors) letter after the collisions inflicted upon Rindt and Hill at Montjuic Parc in early 1969 gave Our Col pause to consider his desire to attend another driver funeral.

GLTL then headed south to Sydney for the Warwick Farm 100, basing themselves at the Brothers Geoghegan emporium of fine sportscars in Haberfield, a stones-throw from the Farm at Liverpool.

While practice was dry, Rindt massacred the lap record, then drove away from the field during the race in a mesmeric display of wet weather feel, bravado, pace and dominance winning at a reduced canter by 45 seconds from Derek Bell’s Dino and Frank Gardner’s Alec Mildren Mildren Alfa Romeo 2.5 V8.

Poor Graham’s R8 snap-crackle-‘n-popped its way around the technically demanding course with his ignition very much rain affected. Chris and Piers tangled early in the race which gave the Kiwi sufficient points to win the Tasman Cup.

Hill aboard R8 with Rindt in R10 in the Sandown pitlane, February 1969. Note the open bonnets, spoiler atop the nose of Graham’s  (I Smith)

The final round of the Championship took place at Melbourne’s Sandown Park on February 16.

There Chris drove a wonderful race to win by seven seconds from Jochen with Jack Brabham third in the Brabham BT31 Repco 830 2.5 V8, in Jack’s one off 1969 Tasman race, with Gardner fourth, Bell fifth and then Graham sixth, three laps adrift of Amon.

Jochen’s R10 was airfreighted home to the UK, it was required in F1, whereas R8 returned by ship. In the Spanish Grand Prix both high-winged Lotus 49Bs of Rindt and Hill were very badly damaged in separate accidents triggered by rear wing strut failure over the same high-speed brow on Barcelona’s Montjuic Park circuit- as mentioned earlier. See article here; ‘Wings Clipped’: Lotus 49: Monaco Grand Prix 1969… | primotipo…

While Graham wasn’t hurt, Jochen was severely concussed and was unable to drive at on May 18. Team Lotus lacked a car to replace Rindt’s R9, the chassis of which was consigned to a rubbish skip at Hethel. As a consequence, R8 was rushed off the ship from Australia, fitted with a 3-litre DFV, 1969 roll-over hoop, and fire extinguisher system before being taken to Monte Carlo for substitute driver, Richard Attwood to race.

He had shone in a BRM P126 the year before, setting fastest lap and finishing a strong second behind Graham Hill’s winning Lotus 49B R5.

At Monaco driving R8 with minimal preparation after seven hard races in the Tasman Cup, Attwood finished a fine fourth and set fastest lap in the race again won by Hill aboard 49B R10. With Jo Siffert third in Rob Walker’s Lotus 49B (R7) three of these wonderful cars were in the top four, the only interloper was Piers Courage splendid second place aboard Frank Williams’ Brabham BT26 Ford.

Richard Attwood in h-winged R8 during Friday practice at Monaco in 1969- after the wing ban the car raced denuded of same (R Schlegelmilch)
Attwood, Monaco, race day, fourth place- wonderful result having not parked his arse in the car before practice (unattributed)

Back at Hethel R8 was altered to latest 49B specifications and raced by Hill, nursing a sick neck to seventh in the 1969 British Grand Prix, at Silverstone on July 19.

Meanwhile, Colin Chapman’s four wheel drive Type 63, the proposed Type 49 replacement, struggled to find pace and the support of its drivers, as did the other 4WDs fielded by Matra, McLaren and Cosworth.

Given the choice, World Champion Hill, and Fastest Guy On The Planet Rindt, preferred the conventional rear-drive 49B. To prevent them having the choice Chapman decided to sell Team’s 49s, R8 went to Swedish journeyman owner/driver Joakim Bonnier.

He raced it in the German Grand Prix in August, DNF fuel leak. Jo crashed it after front suspension failure during practice for the non-championship Oulton Park Gold Cup on August 16. Out of love with the car, the damage was repaired at Hethel prior to sale to Dave Charlton for South African national F1 racing in 1970.

Jo Bonnier returning to terra firma, R8, Nurburgring 1969 German GP. (unattributed)
Dave Charlton with R8, now in 49C specifications, during the 1971 Highfeld 100 (N Kelderman)

Charlton used R8 to win the first two of his six consecutive South African national Formula 1 Championship titles between 1970-75.

The car won nine rounds in 1970; the Highveld 100 at Kyalami, the Coronation 100 at Roy Hesketh, followed by the Natal Winter Trophy there, the Coupe Gouvernador Generale at Lourenco Marques, Rand Winter Trophy at Kyalami, False Bay 100 at Killarney, Rhodesian GP at Bulawayo, Rand Spring Trophy at Kyalami and the Goldfields 100 at Welkom.

In 1971 the Charlton/R8 combination won four events of six he contested before switching to a Lotus 72: the Highveld 100 at Kyalami, Coronation 100 at Hesketh, Bulawayo 100, and the South African Republic Festival race back at Kyalami.

R8 was then campaigned to the end of 1972 by South African drivers Piet de Klerk and Mayer Botha. Botha damaged the left side of the tub badly at Killarney in August. Sydney’s The Hon. John Dawson-Damer bought the damaged, dismantled car in late 1975, painstakingly restoring it with the assistance of Alan Standfield.

It was completed in 1982 and was a regular in Australian historic racing, driven by John, Colin Bond and John Smith, until DD’s sad death aboard his Lotus 63 Ford during the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2000. Adrian Newey now owns it.

Dave Charlton in his Scuderia Scribante Lotus 49C Ford during the 1970 South African GP at Kyalami. DNF 73 laps, classified 12th (unattributed)

Credits…

Terry Marshall, LAT, MotorSport, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Nico Kelderman, Ian Smith, oldracingcars.com, ‘Lotus 49: The Story of a Legend’ Michael Oliver

Tailpiece…

(unattributed)

Graham Hill’s R8 butt at Warwick Farm on February 18.

The Brit contemplates a soggy, humid day in the office to be made worse by a misfiring engine and Rindt’s masterful brio behind the wheel of the other Lotus.

The car has the same pissant wing supports as it had at Pukekohe seven weeks before, but note the Hewland DG300 transaxle rather than the ZF unit used at the Tasman’s outset, a fitment which contradicts the history books…

Finito…

Denny Hulme, Gordon Coppuck and McLaren M8F Chev (A Bowler)

Adrian Bowler was a young medico back in 1971. He posted these marvellous words and photographs of his experiences as Team McLaren’s doctor during Goodwood test sessions that year. They are gold, too good to disappear into the bowels of FB without trace. So here they are for those who missed them.

Many thanks to Adrian and the Glory Days of Racing FB page, which is well worth sussing every few days for an incredible diversity of global racing photographs.

Tony Dowe, Barry Sullivan, Alastair Caldwell, Jim Stone and Tony Attard pushing Denny, M8F Chev (A Bowler)
McLaren M19 Ford Cosworth DFV, 1971-2 F1 car (A Bowler)

“1971, at the Goodwood motor racing circuit where Bruce McLaren had been tragically killed testing the Can-Am car (M8D Chev) the previous June.

Goodwood was a very primitive setup then, disused as a racing circuit for several years but utilised by several racing teams to test cars. Bruce lost control of his car apparently when the rear wing section separated from the body of the vehicle and it collided with a concrete marshall’s post on the Lavant Straight.

Following Bruce’s death, Teddy Mayer continued the Goodwood test sessions on the proviso that a physician be on standby at the track. As a young casualty doctor at St Richards in Chichester I was recruited by McLaren to fill the trackside Doctor role. It didn’t take much pursuasion, they paid 10 pounds which was about my weekly salary!

Denny winding it up in second gear (A Bowler)
Reynolds ally Chev 494cid, Lucas injected pushrod, two-valve V8. Circa 740bhp @ 6400rpm in 1971 (A Bowler)

I spent several days over the next six months sitting on the side of the track watching the proceedings and chatting with Denny Hulme, Teddy Mayer, Gordon Coppuck and several of the mechanics. I brought my camera with me on one occasion and these are some of the pictures.

I got to see the burn scars on Denny Hulme’s hands from a metanol fire practicing for the Indy 500 (McLaren M15 Offy in 1970). I learned lots about F1 and Can-Am cars which was mind-boggling for a lowly-ER doc!

On one occasion Pater Gethin was annoying the mechanics working on an F1 gearbox and they suggested he take me for a ride around the track in his Porsche 911, which he did! After the first lap he asked me if i wanted to go again…I declined. They let me drive my Ford Capri 2000GT around the circuit…very slowly.

(A Bowler)
Uncertain, Gordon Coppuck, Teddy Mayer in the grey hair at left listening to Denny, Alastair Caldwell leaning on the wing at right. (A Bowler)

On the day Denis Hulme was testing the M8F, as usual, the engine noise would gradually fade as he got to the back part of the track and then reappear with a vengeance as he accelerated down Lavant Straight. All was going well for several laps until on this particular lap the engine noise didn’t reappear. After maybe about 10 seconds the panic button was hit and everybody drove hell for leather around the track. There, at the top of the circuit, Denny had spun off and the windscreen was covered in blood. He was out of the car, standing by the side and when we arrived all he could say was ‘That fucking crow got in my way!’

It was 50 years ago, but was one of the most memorable times in my career.”

Alastair Caldwell comment; “Can-Am being warmed up, Denny, as normal, doing a visual check of the whole car, he would come up with some very acute observations at times. Ralph Bellamy behind (left), Designer of the M19 (1971 F1 car) rising rate suspension and later the F2 car (M21). Barry Sullivan leaning forward in front of Bellamy, Gordon Coppuck as well at right.” (A Bowler)
Massive bit of real estate, superb M8F, Chev engine and Hewland LG600 Mk2 transaxle (A Bowler)

Credits…

Adrian Bowler for the words and pictures, ‘Cars in Profile No 8 : McLaren M8’ David Hodges

Caption comments Alastair Caldwell, Hughie Absalom, Barry Sullivan, Steve Roby

Tailpiece…

Mayer sitting on the M19’s left-rear, Caldwell right-rear, while Barry Sullivan attacks the gearbox. Team Surtees truck and F1 TS9 behind the McLaren. Rob Walker is the well dressed gent, John Surtees in race overalls at far right (A Bowler)
(A Bowler)

Just another day in the office, Denny, M8F 1971.

I know it’s Denny but when I first glanced at Adrian’s shot I thought of Bruce 12 months before. RIP Bruce Leslie McLaren, 30/8/1937-2/6/1970.

Finito…

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…

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…