Archive for the ‘F1’ Category

James Courtney’s Dallara F302 Toyota-Toms races to a good win in the first leg of the Fiftieth Macau Grand Prix on 16 November 2003…

He also led the second leg, and set the weekend’s fastest lap until a puncture eliminated him on the races eleventh lap, Nicholas Lapierre won, and having finished second in the contest’s earlier race won the GP overall- the field included later F1 drivers/test pilots Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Nelson Piquet Jnr, Robert Kubica and Ryan Briscoe, a total of thirty contestants in all.

One of the British F3 Championships top runners in 2001 and 2002, James was rebuilding his career after a massive, very high speed shunt at Monza aboard an F1 Jaguar R3 Cosworth came close to ending his life.

That year he was mixing an F3 campaign in Jaguar’s team with Grand Prix car test duties- his F3 season started with a bang- he won the first round of the British F3 Championship.

Courtney, Jaguar R3 Cosworth at Silverstone in 2002 as is the shot below. Malcolm Oastler designed car was launched on 4 January that year

Race drivers for Jaguar in 2002 were Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa, the cars designated R3/R3B were powered by Cosworth CR-3 and CR-4 3 litre 72 degree V10s.

The team were testing at Monza on July 2- the circuit at which James made his F1 test debut the year before when he suffered a rear suspension failure at 10.14 am-  he was on the brakes at 330 kmh when a wishbone pulled away from its gearbox mounting, pitching him into the barriers at 306 kmh- the machine hit the fence so hard that it bounced away from the wall at 70 kmh- the impact was estimated to have a force of 67G, an incredible impact for the body to absorb.

Unconscious, his first sight was Michael Schumacher who was testing his Ferrari at the same time- James freaked out when he found he could not move the right side of his body and was bleeding from his eyes.

He later said ‘It took me a year to recover, i couldn’t walk without getting a migraine- which anything would set off.’ He also said that he could not see for weeks after the accident, and that he decided at that point never to be scared of having a crash again, stating ‘Its over if you are scared. Its all or nothing’ in an amazing exercise of mind over matter.

He did test again the following year but his F1 chance was gone.

The young Australian, born in Penrith between Sydney and the Blue Mountains on 29 June 1980 was amongst the brightest of young kids with the most prodigious of raw ability amongst his generation and the steepest of career trajectories.

In Karting he won locally before finishing second in the 1994 Australian National Kart Championship, at 15 he moved to Italy to pursue a racing career winning the World Junior Karting Championship and CIK International Championship in 1995 and was World Formula A champion in 1997.

Into 1999 he shifted from Italy to England to race cars becoming a member of the works Duckhams Van Diemen Team finishing fifth in the British FF Championship, in fourth was fellow Aussie Marcos Ambrose, the title won by Nicholas Kiesa’s Mygale. In addition he was second in the Formula Ford Festival- he went all the way in 2000  winning the championship aboard a works Van Diemen.

A veritable youth or kid- date and Kart spec welcome? (Aaron Noonan/an1images.com)

Courtney’s skills and Allan Gow’s management bagged him a place in the Jaguar Junior Team for 2001 contesting the British F3 Championship driving a Dallara 301 Mugen-Honda.

Whilst he won at the Silverstone season opener it was consistency which placed him fourth in the title chase won by Taka Sato from Anthony Davidson and Derek Hayes. In a year of dominance Sato won twelve of the twenty-six races- all three of the drivers raced Dallara 301 Mugen Hondas.

British F3 Championhip, last round- Silverstone, 29 September 2001, Dallara F301 Mugen-Honda. A pair of fourths that weekend, Taka Sato the winner of the race and championship (P Spinner-Getty)

Into 2002 Courtney again raced for Carlin Motorsport racing a Dallara 302 Mugen-Honda as did title winner Robbie Kerr- Courtney won four races whilst Kerr won nine and finished ahead of Courtney and Heikki Kovalainen.

The gruelling championship which has produced so many talented drivers down the decades comprised two races at each of thirteen venues, a format which tests prospective future F1 stars thoroughly.

Courtney circa 2002 (Getty)

2003 ended up being a rebuild year noting the physical aspects the Monza accident inflicted upon the young charger.

James chose to do the Japanese F3 Championship racing a Dallara F302 with punchy Toms Toyota 3S-GE engine- Mugen-Honda and various Toyota tuners engines were the most common in Japan with Three Bond Racing using Nissan SR20VE motors.

In another year of dominance James won thirteen races in the ten circuit tour finishing in front of Paolo Montin and Tatsuya Kataoka.

If there were any doubts about the loss of Courtney’s raw pace in ‘that shunt’ it was well and truly dispelled when all of the stars of the year met at Macau for the F3 ‘Grand Final.’

Macao GP 2003 Dallara F302 Toyota, #32 is Hiroki Yoshimoto

None of the 2002 F3 brigade got F1 seats in 2003- James Courtney, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Nelson Piquet Jnr, Robert Kubica and Ryan Briscoe- all would get their chance of course and two of them did, and still do rather well!

Toyota continued to support his career in 2004 and 2005, he contested the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship for sixth and second places respectively aboard Toyota Team TOM’s Supras.

His first appearance ‘back home’ in quite a while was with the Holden Racing Team in 2005  he contested the endurance races partnered by Jim Richards who was perfectly placed to assist the Supercar ‘newbee’ with the nuances of these powerful, heavy, demanding cars.

Courtney aboard the Toyota-Toms Supra during the All Star 200 at Fontana in December 2004, he shared the car with Tatsuya Kataoka (L Miller-LAT)

 

Courtney at the 2010 Sydney 500- James won the title whilst Jonathon Webb and Lee Holdsworth took the round race wins. Ford FG V8 Supercar- 5 litre pushrod V8 circa 465Kw @ 7,000rpm, 6 speed manual sequential gearbox, 1355Kg (Getty)

Courtney raced for the Stone Brothers Ford operation from 2006 to 2008 taking his first round win at Queensland Raceway in 2008- he won the title aboard a Dick Johnson Racing Ford FG Falcon in 2010 taking five wins and finishing ahead of 2009 champ Jamie Whincup.

In recent Covid 19 times he has been in the news with a shift of team- probably the last spin of the Supercar Roulette Wheel for the soon to be forty year old.

Still, this article isn’t about V8 Supercars- i think its great that a young fella from out west has forged a career of his passion for the better part of thirty and a bit years- his lifestyle on the Gold Coast would be splendid but man what couldaa been but for that testing accident, at that speed, at that circuit- i always thought at the time he really was the goods and looked a good bet to go all the way towards the top of the pyramid…

Etcetera…

(unattributed)

James Courtney back to his roots at Queensland Raceway in 2015 aboard one of the Karts he had commenced to manufacture and market that year.

Photo Credits…

Aaron Noonan and an1images.com, Getty Images, P Spinner-LAT, Crash, L Miller-LAT, motorsport.com,

Tailpiece…

The broken rear wing element of the R3 with Courtney aboard earlier in the year is almost a portent of rear end of the car things to come soon after- Silverstone 2002.

Finito…

(M Bisset)

I got a chuckle when i came upon this harvester on Albert Park Lake last Tuesday morning, i thought my farmer brother in law had taken a wrong turn at San Remo and somehow ended up in the lake…

My run or walk is usually well before dawn, this craft and the waste truck into which it loads its haul of reeds and weeds has been moored near The Pavilion for a couple of weeks, it was the first time i’d seen it in action.

It moves along too, its not likely to set any speedboat course records mind you.

(Parks Victoria)

 

Yachts racing on the Albert Park Lagoon (The Illustrated Australian News 5 July 1879)

 

Les Maloney’s ‘How-Do’ skiff on the lake in 1954 (L Maloney)

 

‘Darren Muir Bad Influence Blown Lites Team’ Albert Park Lake 1970s at a guess (paranoid)

 

Jacques Villeneuve ’rounds up a few Bertrams’ in his Williams FW18 Renault during the first Albert Park AGP weekend in March 1996 (AGPC)

The Lake was home to yachts and speedboats long before racing cars were let loose for the first time in 1934, and then officially in 1953- click here for a brief history of early racing at Albert Park; https://primotipo.com/2014/10/01/1956-argus-trophy-albert-park-reg-hunt-and-lex-davison-maserati-250f-and-a6gcm-ferrari-tipo-500/

On my many laps of the place I’ve often thought an elite level boating event run over the GP weekend made sense, it seems plans were afoot to do just that in 1996 until the greedy eff-wun pericks stepped in the way.

Bob Carter wrote on OzBoatRacers that ‘The real story about the demise of Albert Park Lake (as a speed boating venue) has nothing to do with water depth.’

‘I promoted the Aussie F1 Series for five years and ran a round on Albert Park Lake and what is now Docklands. I was closely involved with Melbourne Major Events (the people who run the GP F1 race and bikes at Phillip Island) to run a round of the F1 powerboat series in Melbourne at either Albert Park Lake or Docklands.’

‘Docklands was really too small a venue so Albert Park Lake was the choice. The concept was to run at Albert Park in conjunction with the first F1 car race in Melbourne (in 1996).’

‘We brought Nicolo di San Germano (world UIM- Union Internationale Motonautique F1 promoter) to Melbourne to check the Albert Park venue and met the people from Major Events. We were on track from the Melbourne end but the deal fell over when the F1 car people sad no to the boats as a support event- i understood they felt a bit threatened by the spectacle of the F1 boats. Never before has there been a World F1 car GP and a World F1 boat GP staged at the same venue on the same weekend’ how good would that have been on an ongoing basis!? And yes, i know, the pedestrian pontoon across ‘The Neck’ could not have been put in place- big deal.

Carter finishes his piece in tapatalk.com by observing ‘The knockback ended any chance of ever running an F1 boat GP on Albert Park Lake. The Act of Parliament that underscores the GP at Albert Park specifies that there can only be one motorsport event in the Albert Park parkland precinct each year. This restriction was intended to prevent the venue becoming a motorsport track for cars and bikes and no doubt power boats.’

A current F1 boat (unattributed)

 

Adelaide Festival Centre launch of the 1985 AGP event by South Australian Premier John Bannon- he is aboard Jack Brabham’s 1966 World Championship winning Brabham BT19 Repco (unattributed)

 

Adelaide AGP 1985, the end of lap 1 with Patrick Tambay’s Renault RE60B chasing Marc Surer’s Brabham BT54 BMW, an Arrows A8 BMW, McLaren MP4/2C TAG-Porsche and Ferrari 156/85 (unattributed)

 

Longtime former Bob Jane racer John Harvey giving current Bob Jane racer Gerhard Berger some good old fashioned Aussie hospitality in one of the Group C support races in 1985. Kevin Bartlett in the Mitsubishi Starion ? and who else is back there in the Alfa  GTV6 with Charlie O’Brien in the other BMW 635 CSi? What happened there Harves? (unattributed)

 

Who could forget Niki’s last GP, McLaren MP4/2C TAG-Porsche- he did two AGP’s back to back, the 1984 F Pacific event in a Ralt RT4 Ford BDD, DNF after a prang with a back marker and DNF in the race won by Keke Rosberg’s Williams FW10 Honda (unattributed)

The signing of Albert Park as the host venue for the F1 Australian Grand Prix split both the motorsport community and Melburnians within a bulls-roar, or rather a Vee-Ten scream of Albert Park down the middle.

We all loved the Adelaide AGP. Full stop.

The Victoria Park venue, the road circuit created thereon using a mix of existing roads and bespoke bits, the carnival weekend with yer mates away from the little sabre-toothed tigress and the kiddy-wids, the fantastic variety of support events, the way ‘Big Country Town’ Adelaide embraced the F1 Circus- it was just sensational, no other word does it justice.

But the cost of the race, in a democracy at least, can be, and often is a political football.

South Australian Labour Government (our progressive party) Premier John Bannon achieved a political coup when he secured Bernard Charles Ecclestone’s signature on a contract to stage an F1 race in Adelaide from 1985- race fans were orgasmic with delight at finally having a world championship event here, the last truly F1’esque Tasman Series was run in 1969- it was a very long time since current F1 drivers and cars raced in Australia.

Bannon ran an expansionary, imaginative administration, but, like Labour’s Victorian Premier John Cain, the push to make their State Banks more entrepreneurial was to their, and taxpayers considerable cost when the lack of sufficient oversight and due diligence of the enterprises investments meant the banks had to be re-capitalised or bailed out after unbelievable clusterfucks of political and management incompetence.

By mid 1992 Bannon was well and truly in the political merde to such an extent that he had to resign as Premier that September. In Victoria similar problems impacted both John Cain and his successor, Joan Kirner, and so the unthinkable seemed possible, Liberal (our conservative party) leader, Jeff Kennett, who had already lost two Victorian elections and was pretty much regarded as a bit of a joke, seemed half a chance in the next state poll.

Ecclestone and Bannon, apart from their business relationship also had good personal rapport, but South Australia’s budget problems meant the future contract to retain the AGP had still not been finalised.

By the reaction of Judith Griggs, CEO of the Australian GP Corporation and Ron Walker, Jeffrey Kennett has just given the chequered flag to a Save Albert Park cyclist, June 1994. Kennett was and is a character, he ran a successful advertising agency in Burwood before entering politics, so he innately understood the needs of business unlike most of our ‘political elite’. Refreshingly he wasn’t the Australian politician stereotype either- that is a ‘St Fondles’ educated narcissistic ex-lawyer permanently physically aroused by their own ongoing pointless cunning linguistics which never deliver any policy substance or outcome. Kennett was the real deal, an absolute goer who marshalled a very effective Cabinet and got the state moving again with sound economic management and sensible investment in infrastructure which still serves the joint well a couple of decades on (J Lamb)

 

Grand Prix enthusiasts gather in support of Albert Park circa 1994…The biggest of these anti-Albert Park AGP rallies attracted over 20,000 people, the SAP were still generating a monthly newsletter twenty years after the first race- they may well still do so (unattributed)

 

AGP start 1996 with Jacques Villeneuve getting the jump over teammmate Damon Hill- Williams FW18 Renault and the two Ferrari F310s of Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine (J Atley)

 

Hill, one of the Bennettons, a Ferrari wing, Rubens Barrichelo’s Jordan 196 Peugeot on the ground and the similar airborne car of Martin Brundle indulging in a spot of lap 1, turn 3 Jordan aerobatics which did not do the car much good but fortunately left the plucky, popular Brit unharmed. The other Bennetton on the outside, and the rest (Herald Sun)

Former Lord Mayor of Melbourne, partner in local builder/developer Hudson Conway, Federal Treasurer of the Liberal Party, head of Melbourne Major Events, friend and ally of Jeff Kennett- Ron Walker, sniffed an opportunity with Bannon marginalised in the sin-bin and renewed his regular onslaughts upon Bernie to shift the race from Adelaide to Melbourne, and so it was, over a period of months, a contract was negotiated and signed, and then kept secret for a year at Bernie’s request.

By that time (from October 1992) Kennett was Premier of Victoria- a job he did brilliantly for two three year terms, only bulk hubris cost him another one or two terms, and his Liberal Party buddy, Dean Brown headed a government in South Australia- Ron Walker’s terrible ‘kiss of death’ the day after Brown’s election win on 14 December 1993 was to inform him the Vics had knocked off Adelaide’s tourism jewel in the crown- his devastation and that of South Australians generally was complete. Poor ole Jeffrey was button-holed in the streets of Adelaide for decades by antsy South Australians, the fact that he was President of the Hawthorn Football Club didn’t help his cause of course!

Both South Australia’s and Victoria’s economies at the time were in dire trouble- the AGP was important economically but also symbolically to both states, whilst anger raged in South Australia about the loss of the Grand Prix even greater passion was being vented in Melbourne about its win.

Amongst the best places to live in Melbourne are parts of South Melbourne, Albert Park and Middle Park, the trouble for Jeffrey was that the good citizens of these suburbs all vote for the Liberal Party, they were Jeff’s own supporters many of whom were well connected and rather vocal using about it. The poor bastard couldn’t go to a Dribble Party gig- the most boring gatherings on the planet mind you, having done my share in the cause of commerce, without being bailed up by some well nourished chappie in tan trousers and blue blazer whinging about that ‘bloody race in my park ould boy’.

Even angrier of course were the self-righteous left wing, arty-farty, commo, poofter bastard, tree-hugging whale kissers (to use a Sir Les Patterson descriptor in part) living in St Kilda, Prahran, Windsor and Port Melbourne- Jeffrey didn’t give a rats about this mob mind you as these nasty folks voted Labour, or even worse were the flower pot mob living in Pixie Land at the bottom of the garden- they of course voted Green.

Reg Hunt, Maserati 250F leads Lex Davison, Ferrari 500/625 during the 48 lap 150 mile March 1956 ‘Argus Trophy’ at Albert Park won by Hunt from Davo and Kevin Neale in the Maserati A6GCM 2.5 litre Hunt raced throughout 1955- tickets available for this meeting as below (unattributed)

 

 

Stirling Moss winning the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix aboard a Rob Walker Cooper T45 Climax in the final weekend of racing before the modern era, in November 1958. Concerned citizens living closely to the park in the mid-nineties, other than old-timers, could quite reasonably argue they bought in the area to enjoy the peace and serenity of the park not the complete opposite…(unattributed)

And so it was that the ‘Save Albert Park’ group was formed by February 1994 of a very large unholy alliance of people with absolutely nothing in common and completely opposite political views but who united in their hatred of any change to their park including a race week which was going to impact upon the normal progress of their Mercedes four-wheel-drive or wheezy Peugeot 504 as the case may be, in and around their lovely bayside suburbs.

Some of the ‘SAP’ public rallies were anti-Vietnam War in size for chrissakes, the Save Albert Park nutbags endurance and commitment had to be admired though as they maintained a DAILY vigil with a couple of folks sitting at a table knitting Melbourne Footy Club scarves whilst sipping lots of Earl Grey tea surrounded by anti-GP posters near the corner of Queens Road and Albert Road for well over a decade after the race commenced.

The amazing thing is that despite the fairly dubious economic net benefits of the Gee Pee to the state, which even I struggle to justify, the race has bi-partisan support- every now and again some pollie gives it a bit of a slap but the race, thankfully is with us and as a Windsor dwelling tree-hugging nuffy I am very thankful for that!

The park is a wonderful communal resource made better by Jeff’s investment in many improvements as part of the quid pro quo with the locals including regular harvesting of the reeds which otherwise cause sclerosis of da lake, said harvester is about where I came in with this strange piece of boats, cars and politics.

The ever entertaining Glen Dix does his thing as Damon Hill crosses the line to win the first Albert Park F1 AGP in his Williams FW18 Renault 3 litre V10- the venue having hosted Formula Libre AGPs in 1953- won by Doug Whiteford’s Talbot-Lago T26C and 1956- the victor Stirling Moss, Maserati 250F (J South)

 

Damon Hill had the unique experience of winning the last AGP in Adelaide in November 1995- the last race of the season, and the first AGP at Albert Park in March 1996- the first race of the season, here he is in Dequetteville Terrace in Adelaide, Williams FW17B Renault V10 3 litre (unattributed)

 

(Gay Dutton poster art)

Due process and managing the punters expectations…

The politics and management of nudging public opinion back in the direction of racing in the park started in February 1993 with the ‘Back To The Lake’ public event in which 250-300 ‘classic cars’ did some laps of a circuit created by roads on the west side of the lake- not the full ‘old circuit’ using perimeter roads mind you.

I had an Elfin NG Formula Vee and ASP 340 Toyota Clubman at the time and ran the latter in this event about which I remember very little, other than that track time was minimal. It was a beautiful day which attracted lots of spectators and plenty of ‘wotizzit mister’ questions about ones car which was nice.

The public policy or political point is that the gig wasn’t about the competitors but was rather an important step in the process carefully constructed by Melbourne Major Events with ‘Field Marshall Walker’ and his small band of Lieutenants at the helm heading in the direction of a prize- racing in Albert Park which was made slightly easier to achieve thanks to a confluence of political events in North Terrace and Spring Street.

More practically in this process, in mid 1994, the new government commissioned a ‘Master Plan for Albert Park’ from The Hassell Group (town planners and architects) and Melbourne Parks and Waterways, who had administrative responsibility for Albert Park, as to it’s redevelopment in the future.

It would only be of interest to locals but shows the professionalism which was deployed to make the precinct a vastly superior community resource for all than it was before the hundred million dollars was spent.

Sydney. Where did you say? Really…

(unattributed)

Every now and again the Sydney Morning Herald runs a story about the Harbour City lifting the race from Melbourne, but I’m not so sure that will ever happen.

These pissant GPs which have popped up in the last decade or so in places nobody has heard of or wants to visit has kept the price of having a GP very high.

Perhaps in a post Covid 19 world some GPs will choose to not renew their contracts which may create, say again, may create some competitive tension in Australia, and let’s not forget the good ‘ole Melbourne/Sydney rivalry which is never too far below the surface.

The last bit of nonsense about a Sydney GP speculated in 2015 about a race using the bridge, the Cahill Expressway and Bridge Street before jumping onto York Street and back across the bridge – I thought it was completely bonkers taking as it would, a big chunk of the track away from spectators, the bridge that is.

But, ever constructive and helpful, here is the best GP track on the planet- walk it the next time you are in Sydney and tell me what you think, I lived in Millers Point for a decade from 2003 and this was my every other day early morning run route- it is a locals layout with backdrops which simply cannot be bettered.

The start of the race will on ‘The Hungry Mile’ on Hickson Road, a nice bit of local history as it is the place unemployed dock workers queued for a days work to load a ship during The Depression, hence ‘The Hungry Mile’ epithet.

We then have a straight run between the Barangaroo Parklands towards town on the right with the steep stone escarpment to the drivers left as they jostle for ‘Napoleons’- a medium sharp left hander into Napoleon Street which rises gently straight for 100 metres to a tight left-hander at ‘Kents’.

Kent Street continues to rise gently as the drivers have tall apartment and office buildings on the left and open space on the right as they head north back towards the harbour, the road flattens as they pass Stamford Apartments on the left and Observatory Tower on the right.

On the approach to Observatory Hill Park on the high escarpment to the right the cars pass The Rocks Fire Station on the right and my old apartment building ‘Highgate’ on the left before doing a sharp left- and then right into High Street before heading downhill gently and up the other side again- this stretch is open to the drivers left with Barangaroo below and has Harbour Trust housing on the right side of the street- this stretch is about 400 metres long before turning right into Argyle Street for a 1 km run past the Lord Nelson on the left and again Observatory Hill park on the right towards Circular Quay in the distance.

This section of the track is very open- there is heaps of space for spectators and stands to the left and natural vantage points from Observatory Hill down to the track- with the Hero of Waterloo an easy stroll for a quick ale- its one of Sydney’s oldest pubs.

Argyle Place is straight and flat for the first 500 metres and starts to drop gently downhill towards Circular Quay at Cumberland Street- the sound of the cars going through The Argyle Cut will be unbelievable- now we are in the heart of The Rocks, braking hard and going gently downhill to turn left into George Street- the drivers will have a glimpse of the blue-green Quay waters and a Manly Ferry perhaps- after the left the road is straight for 500 metres before jinking right onto Hickson Road and then what will be a very fast open right-hander parallel with Campbells Cove- there are heaps of ‘money shots’ along this stretch across to the Opera House, Bridge and North Sydney.

The road then sweeps open left fast past Dawes Point itself and then runs along close to and parallel with the Harbour before turning left at Pier One- there is a hotel on the right and heaps of open space to the left for spectators and high above on the escarpment from the bottom of Lower Fort Street looking down- plum, stunning viewing actually, my seat might be somewhere here.

The drivers are now onto the last third of the track, which comprises a 500 metre straight, opening to a flat gentle right past the Walsh Bay wharves on the right and the Hickson Road eateries and Sydney Theatre Company on the left before a medium fast left at the Towns Place intersection- we are still on Hickson Road and then a fast blast through the short tunnel with the Palisade Hotel high above us and then 500 metres before hitting the start finish line and commencing another lap.

Walk it folks and then let me know if that isn’t potentially the best city road circuit on the planet. Ok then second best after Monaco.

(reddit.com)

Mark Webber’s Williams FW26B BMW during its 2005 Sydney Harbour Bridge runs the week before the AGP. https://primotipo.com/2015/08/29/mark-webbers-sydney-harbour-bridge/

Etcetera…

Circa 1970’ish i guess with the Arts Centre spire in St Kilda Road in the background- the water never looks that blue to me.

 

One for you many aircraft nutters.

RAAF Westland Wapitis from Point Cook, site of the 1948 AGP BTW- formation flying over Albert Park Lake circa 1930- planes used for, amongst other things Forests Commission of Victoria, aerial bushfire reconnaissance.

 

Villeneuve from Hill in 1996- exit of Pit Straight and beyond- didn’t he take to GP racing from Indycars in a way i wished Michael Andretti had done so a few years before- the BAR era took him backwards didn’t it.

 

(The Age)

Janey in trouble trying to do a three point turn during the November 1958 meeting. Bob Jane, Maserati 300S.

That eye-talian coachwork is looking slightly the worse for wear, he did eventually get the hang of this motor racing caper- check out chummy to the right with the fag in his mouth, all ready to set the hay bales alight.

 

Some attractive young ladies if you like that sort of thing, in these politically correct times i should even the score with some blokes. hmmm, maybe not.

 

Bugger off and go home for gods sake- enough is enough like.

Labour’s John Thwaites addresses a sea of angry SAP ants, 1994.

 

Thank the big fella up above than Martin Brundle was hunky-dory after this lot, it really would not have been a good look to lose a driver first up, not that it was the last of Albert Park’s involuntary aerobatic performances.

 

(unattributed)

AGP start 1953, Albert Park’s first race meeting on the 21 November weekend.

Lex Davison, HWM Jaguar, Stan Jones in Maybach 1 and Doug Whiteford in his Talbot-Lago T26C on the right.

#11 is Ted Gray, Alta Ford V8, #7 Frank Kleinig’s Kleinig Hudson Spl, #20 back a bit is Jim Gullan in an MG K3 and #6 is the Peter Vennemark dariven Maserati 4CL.

Doug Whiteford won from Curley Brydon’s MG TC Spl and Andy Brown in an MG K3.

 

St Kilda Swamp aka Albert Park Lake in 1876 (St Kilda History)

Arcane, barely relevant but just because its down the road from me…

The aboriginal Kulin tribe who first inhabited the area 40,000 years ago were the first users of an enormous salt lagoon which formed a part of the delta where the Yarra met the sea- hunting and fishing, they caught eels and fish in conical shaped nets watched by over 130 different species of water birds including ducks, swans, grebe, coot, cormorants as well as possums, bats and reptiles.

The area to the south of what became known as the Yarra River, its low sides skirted with marshes covered with luxuriant reeds, wild grass and herbage comprised a series of brackish lagoons and low lying marsh formed by the flow of the Yarra to the Bay near St Kilda- early settlers reported on the areas beauty and abundance of wildlife.

Emerald Hill ‘a gum and wattle tree forest’ was the name given to the high point of the land in South Melbourne. Some early geographers queried whether the Yarra was really a river and characterised it as a tract of marsh or swamp drawing a parallel with the fens of Lincolnshire which were drained, a model that ‘the Yarra and other Melbourne wetlands were doomed to follow.’

What was known as the South Melbourne Swamp was low lying land around Emerald Hill which was formed into Albert Park Lake during the 1930s Great Depression years- in so doing the marsh was drained and built over for domestic housing- the only reminder of the area as it was before European settlement is Albert Park Lake.

The Park originally extended to St Kilda Road, but the land was sold in 1874, the St Kilda Cricket Club was the first of many sporting clubs to be given permission to use the land, the Junction Oval is well known to Melburnians.

The Lake itself is about two kilometres long north to south and about one kilometre wide, the site was permanently reserved as a park of 230 hectares in honour of Queen Victoria’s Prince Consort in 1876

Bibliography…

Bob Carter on tapatalk.com, ‘Lost and Found Wetlands of Melbourne’ Rod Giblett

Illustration and Photo Credits…

The Illustrated Australian News July 1879, Les Maloney Photo Collection, Australian Grand Prix Corporation, John Lamb, Jack Atley, Herald Sun, Parks Victoria, Jason South

Tailpiece: Albert Park Lake, 1893…

(unattributed)

Finito…

(P D’Abbs)

Beautiful Peter D’Abbs photograph of Lex Davison’s Aston Martin DBR4/250, chassis number ‘1’ 3 litre with Austin Miller, Cooper T51 Climax in the background, Phillip Island, 23 October 1960…

Lex became famous for his retirements from racing and then his Dame Nellie Melba type returns to the grid, his 1958 AGP win at Bathurst was the last time he raced the marvellous ex-Ascari/Gaze Ferrari 500/625 and then he took a break, but heading into 1960 he planned to take a holiday in Europe with his wife Diana and to acquire a new racer.

He watched the increased ‘Cooperisation’ of Australian racing from the sidelines and decided that a modern incarnation of his HWM Jaguar would be competitive with the growing number of mid-engined cars. He initially pitched the idea of a DB4 3.7 litre engine in a DBR4 Grand Prix chassis but Aston Martin Racing Manager John Wyer assured him the motor would not readily fit and that the David Brown five-speed transaxle, already marginal, would be pushed beyond its design limits.

After plenty of argy-bargy about price a compromise was settled upon which involved DBR4 chassis 1 fitted with a 3 litre DBR1 sportscar engine, and the purchase of a DB4GT road car- rather a nice combination of roadie and racer!

The car was completed by late March 1960 and after testing by works test driver Jack Fairman and Roy Salvadori over two days at Goodwood the car was shipped to Australia. Davison drove the car on the second, and wetter of the days to within a fraction of a second of Fairman’s best.

It appears Lex raced the car, the first of the DBR4s built- raced by Roy Salvadori during the factories abortive 1959 Grand Prix season, four times in 1960.

An initial test session with Allan Ashton and the AF Hollins crew at Phillip Island after arrival at Port Melbourne was followed by THAT ‘missed a win by a bees dick’ Australian Grand Prix at Lowood on 12 June where Alec Mildren’s Cooper T51 Maserati led Davo home by an official margin of one half of a second after a little over an hour of Grand Prix motor racing of the first order- click here for a feature on Mildren inclusive of a full race report on the AGP; https://primotipo.com/2018/06/08/mildrens-unfair-advantage/

Davison in his new car, Aston DBR4/250 ‘1’ during the 1960 AGP at Lowood, Queensland (B Thomas)

 

Davison and Mildren hard at it at Lowood during the AGP- flaggies absorbed in the battle, not sure if it is Glynn Scott or Jon Leighton’s Cooper Climax behind (B Thomas)

Lex and the boys made the long trip back to Queensland in September and ran it again at Lowood in another Gold Star round for third place behind Alec and Bib Stillwell, both T51 mounted, then at the non-championship meeting at Phillip Island in October and finally the soggy Warwick Farm opening meeting on 18 December where he was fourth behind the T51s of Stillwell, John Youl and Austin Miller having started from the front row.

Famously these Aston Martins were at least two years too late to be competitive in Grand Prix racing- the honour of the last successful front-engined GP car goes to the Ferrari Dino 246 and that of the most sophisticated to the Lotus 16 Climax, if not the most reliable.

Two of the magnificent shapely machines came to Australia in 1960, Davo’s ‘DBR4/250 (1)’ and Bib’s ‘DBR4/250 (3)’- Stillwell had an each way bet, he had a Cooper or three as well as the Feltham beastie whereas all of Lex’ eggs were in one basket- until he borrowed one of Stillwell’s Cooper T51s and ‘nicked’ the 1961 Mallala AGP from under the noses of the established ‘water-cooled’ Cooper aces. I say that as Lex had been winning races and hillclimbs in two Phil Irving fettled Vincent engined Coopers for years- he was hardly unfamiliar with the handling characteristics of these little mid-engined missiles.

Ain’t she sweet our friend is thinking. Ballarat 1961 (P Skelton)

 

Davison’s DBR4 ‘1’ in the Ballarat paddock with Warwick Cumming at the wheel and perhaps Allan Ashton doing the pressures. I am not sure whether #4 or 14 is correct but both shots are Ballarat (P Coleby)

Into 1961 Lex raced the Aston in the late January Warwick Farm 100- Q11 and DNF oil leak,  the race was won by the Walker/Moss Lotus 18 Climax, Davison then contested the Victorian Trophy at Ballarat Airfield on 12 February- the colour photo taken above by Phillip Skelton at that meeting could almost be a BP PR shot!

This time the car was out after completing 9 laps with gearbox dramas- the hot and dusty race was won by Dan Gurney from Graham Hill in BRM P48s- it was the only international win for these cars.

Three weeks later Davison and Stillwell took the cars to Longford- whilst Bib practiced the Aston he raced his Cooper whereas Davo raced to the finish of the 24 lap 100 miler albeit in fifth place behind Roy Salvadori, Bill Patterson, John Youl and Austin Miller in 2.2 litre and 2.5 litre Coventry Climax engined Cooper T51s.

Davison howls off Kings Bridge, Longford during the 1961 ‘Longford Trophy’, Aston DBR4/250 ‘1’ (oldracephotos.com.au/JSaward)

 

Dunlop HQ at Longford in 1961 with Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S and Bib Stillwell’s Aston Martin DBR4/250 ‘3’ in attendance. This car was built to a later spec than Davo’s DBR4/250 ‘1’- in fact it was of the same specs of his new in 1961 chassis ‘4’ inclusive of Maser transaxle and ‘80 degree’ engine (R Lambert)

 

Davison, practice at Longford in 1961, DBR4 ‘1’ (G Smedley)

After Longford Lex shipped the car back to the UK, it needed a major rebuild as ‘the chassis was breaking up’ wrote Graham Howard- the AF Hollins crew had repaired chassis tubes and added strengthening gussets to the machine in their Armadale, Melbourne workshop between the Ballarat and Longford meetings.

Lex’ plan was to race an Aston Martin at Le Mans and contest a number of Intercontinental Formula races that ‘61 season. In the event, after ongoing discussions with John Wyer Aston Martin provided Davison a later chassis, ‘the sister car to Stillwell’s later model DBR4’, chassis ‘4’ which was built but unraced in 1959, for Lex to use at Silverstone in July and Brands Hatch in August.

It was equipped, as was chassis ‘1’ with a five speed Maserati transaxle instead of the heavy, recalcitrant David Brown unit, the latest cylinder head design which had the valves arranged at an included angle of 80 degrees rather than the earlier variants 95 degrees- in 3 litre form it was good for circa 296bhp @ 6700rpm, a good deal more mumbo than the 230 or so BHP of an FPF 2.5 but of course the chassis was no svelte nymph.

This article tells a bit of Bib and Lex’ 1961 European Adventures here; https://primotipo.com/2015/09/22/aston-martin-db4gt-zagato-2vev-lex-davison-and-bib-stillwell/

(TC March)

Davo above having his first race in the second Aston DBR4/250 3 litre at Silverstone during the July 8 1961 British Empire Trophy Intercontinental Formula race- DNF gearbox quill-shaft after 17 laps, up front after 245 km were Moss and Surtees in Cooper T53 Climaxes.

Davison had a busy weekend as he contested the GT race in John Ogier’s Aston Martin DB4GT, ‘a bit of an old nail’ and finished third behind the Ferrari 250GTs of Stirling Moss and Graham Whitehead.

The Australian’s DBR4 drive received good press coverage but, Graham Howard wrote that it added to confusion for later historians as to which car Davo raced. The Motor described the machine as an ex-works DBR4 Grand Prix car fitted with a much modified 3 litre sportscar engine, whilst Autosport added to the confusion by noting that ‘a new chassis was fitted.’

Aston Martin themselves didn’t help either, in a letter to Lex about a variety of things including shipment of the car to Australia in late 1961 Wyer advised ‘the Aston had now been shipped, although there had been a mix-up with chassis numbers and it had been stamped DBR4/1 rather than DBR4/4′.

To be clear on this point, Graham Howard makes no comment about the chassis number of Lex’ first Aston, nor does Doug Nye whilst Anthony Pritchard, his book published later, says that the car is generally accepted to be DBR4 ‘1’. John Blanden in the second edition of his book simply lists one car and applies two chassis numbers to the ‘one entity’.

The correct position seems to be that the two cars were quite separate- Lex raced DBR4 ‘1’ in Australia, returned it to Feltham in early 1961 then raced DBR4 ‘4’- the unused 1959 built chassis in the UK and then later in Australia. The chassis, body and engine were different, built to a later spec- whether the Maserati gearbox and other componentry fitted to chassis ‘1’, which was interchangeable, was carried over to ‘4’- who knows.

What is clear is that Lex was not happy with his new car after Silverstone, Autosport quoted Lex as saying its ‘handling was nothing like the original car.’

A month later Davison contested his second and last Intercontinental race, the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch on 7 August.

This time, in dry, sunny conditions he brought the ‘new dinosaur’ home in sixth place, ‘bruising’ the nose of the car- up front, 4 laps up the road in fact, Jack Brabham headed Jim Clark in Cooper T53 Climax and Lotus 18 Climax respectively.

The relative size of the Aston Martin is put into context by Lorenzo Bandini’s Centro Sud Cooper T51 Maserati going underneath Davison into Surtees at Brands- the Italian was seventh and last of the finishers and several months later was a popular contestant in our 1962 summer internationals.(Getty)

 

Davison cruising through the Silverstone paddock during the July 1961 International Trophy meeting- first race in DBR4/250 ‘4’ (unattributed)

A week or so after Brands the family headed home to Australia with the Aston Martin left behind at the factory for further work including repair of the panel damage sustained at the Kent circuit and to fit 12.5:1 pistons to suit the alcohol based fuel Lex used in Australia.

Howard reports that Davison was still unhappy with the handling of the car, he quotes from a letter written by Lex to Brian Josceleyne of the Aston Martin Owners Club thus, ‘My Grand Prix car is still at the works, where they are endeavouring to sort out some of the handling bugs, for the new chassis proved rather twitchy, unlike my earlier one which was a superb handling car and could be thrown about in a rather flippant way.’

Davo returned home, as stated above, via America including Hawaii, in time to win the AGP in South Australia on 9 October in one of Stillwell’s Cooper T51s, a car he rented from Bib after it became clear the DBR4 would not arrive in Australia on time for the race, that story is here; https://primotipo.com/2018/03/29/the-naughty-corner-renta-gp-winner/

Pat Hawthorn in the second of the Davison DBR4/250 Astons, chassis ‘4’. The eagle eyed will note that the induction and exhaust ports of this car/engine are the reverse of the earlier machine (P Hawthorn)

There was still life in the old design though- Davison raced the Aston Martin to second place in the Victorian Trophy at Calder behind Stillwell’s Cooper T53 Climax in late February 1962 and then, again not too far from home, the Sandown opening meeting ‘Sandown Park International’ on 12 March where he was eighth behind a swag of Climax engined Coopers and Lotuses as well as the Chuck Daigh driven Scarab RE Buick 3.8 litre V8- it too was a mid-engined machine.

By that stage he had ‘got with the strength’ and was racing a Cooper T53 ‘Lowline’ which famously met its maker in a huge accident at Longford on March 4 caused by a gust of wind catching the car whilst airborne on the hump in the road before the Longford pub- it was a very lucky escape. The Yeoman Credit Cooper was geared for 170mph @ 6700rpm that weekend, Davison described the accident, raconteur that he was, to John Wyer in one of the many letters they exchanged.

‘I was managing to lap at 110 to 112 mph, some three seconds faster than Brabham’s lap record of the year before, when I became airborne over a hump some 200 yards prior to a 90-degree corner in the middle of a little town. A gust of wind caught me and I landed in a drain beside the road. I motored along this at some 140 mph causing some uneasiness to the police, radio announcers, officials, television cameramen and various others cluttering up the entrance to the escape road. I regained the road again but the heavy rear-engined end slid in the gravel and I shot down the road sideways. I hit a tree with the nose, which plucked everything forward of the soles of my feet off the car and spun the car around in the process. It then shot along a hotel wall at window height, demolishing the floral display, pot plants etc, then a 360 degree spin around the entrance porch of the hotel and back up the wall again. The car then fell off the hotel wall and back into the road and shot across the road backwards into a grain mill. I shook what was left from me and went back into the pub and ordered a brandy. They even made me pay for it, which was the cruellest blow of all.’

After the international visitors returned home Lex ran the Aston at Sandown in May 1962 winning a race for front engined racing cars but did not run it again until February 1963 when he gave it a gallop at Calder in part to demonstrate it to potential purchasers- in the process he provided 5 thrilling laps for spectators in a three car match race with Bryan Thomson’s supercharged Cooper T51 Climax and Frank Matich’s new, works Elfin Catalina Ford pushrod 1.5.

The Aston Martin was advertised for sale in Australian Motor Sports during 1962 and was soon acquired by garage proprietor and Calder Raceway part owner Pat Hawthorn who is photographed above proudly showing off his new acquisition at his ‘Clayleigh Service Station’ in Clayton, not too far at all from Sandown where, by March 1963, he was mixing it with the heavies in the ‘Sandown Park International’…

Pat Hawthorn on the way to fourth place in the Advertiser Trophy 1963 Mallala Gold Star round- and kids just want to have fun below! Circuit uncertain. Aston Martin DBR4/250 ‘4’ (P Hawthorn)

 

(P Hawthorn)

Hawthorn raced the car through until 1966 in both Victoria and South Australia, perhaps the last championship points the car scored were in the 14 October 1963 Advertiser Trophy, Mallala Gold Star round where he was fourth amongst the mid-engined hordes, behind the Cooper T55 of John Youl, Bib Stillwell’s Brabham BT4 and Wally Mitchell’s MRD (aka Brabham BT1) Ford Formula Junior.

Pat sold the car to UK historic racer Neil Corner in 1966- there he was a consistent race winner, the ‘Calder Raceway’ signed Rice Trailer cut quite a dash on UK Motorways! DBR4 ‘4’ of course still exists.

Aston Martin DBR4/250 cutaway drawing, 95 degree engine spec (conceptbunny.com)

Chassis Numbers and Development of the GP cars in summary…

My ‘standard reference’ for all things chassis numbers is Allen Brown’s great site oldracingcars.com (ORC)- i say great in the sense that most of the ‘standard texts’ were written in the pre-internet days before it was possible to debate the merits of ‘what is what’ and ‘which is which’ amongst knowledgeable enthusiasts to land on generally agreed positions based on facts which have been often vigorously debated.

Using ‘Howard’ (see bibliography) published in 2004, ‘Nye’ in 1993, ‘Blanden’ in 2004, ‘Pritchard’ in 2006 and ‘ORC’ as my source material the Aston Martin Grand Prix cars built are as follows and their destiny, i think and hope…

Reg Parnell does all the work as Peter Whitehead and Tony Gaze share a joke- Aston Martin DP155/1 at the Dunedin Wharf rail head, New Zealand, January 1956 (T Selfe)

1. DP155

Aston’s first ‘toe in the water’ GP exercise was the DB3S based ‘DP155’ i wrote about at length six months ago, its most significant racing was with Reg Parnell at the wheel during the 1956 New Zealand Internationals, click here; https://primotipo.com/2019/09/05/the-gp-aston-martin-dp155/

‘Its bones’ were converted back into a DB3S albeit there is a car doing the rounds in the UK ‘sorta in the style’ of DP155 which has none of the original car’s core componentry.

Getting more serious, in the summer of 1956, Aston Martin’s engineers designed and built a spaceframe chassis to which they fitted a short-stroke version of their 3 litre sportscar ‘RB6’ engine- this 2493cc DOHC, two valve, 50DCO Weber fed engine produced 250bhp @ 7800rpm on the Avgas which was mandatory from 1958.

The design was period typical in having upper and lower wishbone suspension at the front, with torsion bars and co-axial shock absorbers and de Dion rear suspension with torsion bars the springing medium, the axle located by a Watts linkage, radius rods with Armstrong providing the shocks front and rear.

A transaxale was used at the rear- the unpopular with drivers David Brown ‘CG537’ five speeder, Girling provided the brakes, Borrani the wire wheels and initially rack and pinion steering from the Morris Minor was used- later the DB4 rack and pinion was adopted.

Roy Salvadori in practice aboard DBR4 ‘1’ during practice at Zandvoort, 1959 Dutch GP weekend, DNF overheating after 13 laps- Jo Bonnier won in a BRM P25, BRM’s first championship GP win (Getty)

2. DBR4/250 chassis number ‘1’

‘This prototype’ was built in time for testing by Reg Parnell and Roy Salvadori at MIRA in December 1957 and then further testing there into February 1958 before being put to one side as sportscar racing was prioritised.

Stirling Moss as you all know, won the Argentinian GP in a Rob Walker Cooper T45 Climax in early 1958- time was of the essence with the DBR4/250- oh so sexy a beast, it was in effect  obsolete by the time of its public launch in April 1959.

By then the car was fitted with modified DB4GT coil and wishbone front suspension which was more practical than the torsion bar arrangement but was 15 pounds heavier- in a car which was already a pork-chop.

Salvadori’s second in the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone flattered to deceive- initial problems were an engine at the wrong end of the car (cheap shot), too heavy and most critically engine bearing lubrication issues meant revs had to be kept down to an uncompetitive level.

Aston Martin won Le Mans in 1959- Salvadori and Carroll Shelby took a splendid win in the DBR1 and were poised to win the World Sportscar Championship so the F1 program, rightfully, took second place in the allocation of scarce corporate resources.

In the winter of 1959/1960 chassis ‘1’ and ‘2’ were modified, after surgery they were two inches slimmer and some 55 lb lighter. ‘Merely replacing Brown’s own heavy and baulky ‘CG537′ transaxle with one from Maserati (the Type 5M-60) saved 50 lb. The Aston gearchange, reliable, but heavy and slow- tolerable in a sportscar, was out of place in Formula 1’ Doug Nye wrote.

After negotiations between Davison and Wyer DBR4 ‘1’ was fitted with engine number ‘RB6/300/1’ from sportscar chassis ‘DBR1/1’ and shipped to Australia, John Blanden wrote.

DBR4 ‘1’ was returned to the UK by Davison in early 1961 and was eventually bought by Neil Corner, to use as a spare for his DBR4 ‘4’ he ran in historic racing with chassis ‘1’ built into a complete car by Geoffrey Marsh in the early eighties.

Front and rear suspension of Trintignant’s DBR5 ‘1’, British GP weekend, Silverstone 1960. Upper and lower front wishbones, torsion bar, roll bar, Armstrong shock, Girling solid disc brakes- the major difference to the DBR4 is the use of a torsion bar instead of a coil spring. De Dion rear suspension, Armstrong shock and radius rods- same as DBR4 (Getty)

 

Carroll Shelby during the 1959 Portuguese GP at Monsanto Park, eighth in DBR4 ‘2’, Moss the winner in a Cooper T51 Climax (LAT)

3. DBR4/250 ‘2’

Was Carroll Shelby’s chassis in 1959, and like ‘1’ contested only the Dutch, British and Portuguese GPs that year.

1959/1960 winter modifications as above.

DBR4 ‘2’ was scrapped.

Bib Stillwell susses the equipment, DBR4 ‘3’ in the Ardmore paddock, NZ 1962 (E Stevens)

4. DBR4/250 ‘3’

This car was lighter than the first two cars built by virtue of a stressed skin body centre section, one piece de Dion tube and lighter Maserati gearbox- its race debut was at Monza in September 1959.

Salvadori retired it whilst running sixth- Moss won in a Walker Cooper T51 Climax. Front engined Ferrari 246 and BRM P25s filled six of the top eight places so a good front-engined machine could still do well- on fast circuits at least!

Stillwell bought the car on a bit of a whim, frustrated as he was by not being able to buy a 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF engine for his Cooper T51 at the time- the motors were in short supply, allocation preference was to the ‘works favoured or contracted’ Cooper, Walker and Lotus teams.

In the event, no sooner had Bib committed to the Aston Martin, he was able to buy the Cooper T51 Jack Brabham had raced in Australia that year, fitted with a 2.5 litre FPF.

In fact the Kew, Melbourne Holden Dealer had possibly fallen out of love with the Aston before its arrival to Australia- Bib raced his new 2.5 litre T51 to first at Port Wakefield in October, then second at Caversham and third at Phillip Island on consecutive December weekends and finally topped his late season form by winning the (non Gold Star) Warwick Farm Trophy on 18 December, whilst back in fourth place was Lex’ DBR4 surrounded by a sea of Cooper T45/51s…

Fitted with 3 litre ‘RB6/300/7’ sportscar engine, DBR4/250 ‘3’ arrived in Australia late in 1960 and was almost immediately shipped to New Zealand to contest the NZ GP at Ardmore, Auckland in early January 1961- he placed fifth in a heat and was classified twelfth in the GP- Jack Brabham won in a Cooper T53 Climax.

Bib Stillwell’s Aston DBR4 ‘3’ in the Ardmore paddock during the January 1961 NZ GP weekend. Jo Bonnier’s Cooper T51 Climax right rear, David McKay’s Stan Jones owned Maserati 250F #12 and the #38 Cooper is uncertain- Denny Hulme drove a car with that number in this race but the car shown is not the dark coloured Yeoman Credit T51 Denny raced (TRS)

 

A nice compare and contrast shot- Stan Jones’ Cooper T51 Climax alongside Stillwell’s DBR4 ‘3’ before practice at Longford in March 1961

Back In Australia, he practiced the car for the Warwick Farm 100 in late January but did not race, running the T51 he finished third behind the Moss and Innes Ireland Lotus 18 Climaxes. The crew then took the car across Bass Straight to Longford in early March and practiced it, but the engine burned a piston, he raced his Cooper T51, retiring with plug problems in the Longford Trophy won by Roy Salvadori’s Ecurie Vitesse (Jack Brabham) Cooper T51 Climax.

Bib continued to race his T51 but returned with the Aston Martin to Warwick Farm in May, winning the (non Gold Star) 10 lap Racing Car Scratch from Alec Mildren’s Cooper T51 Maserati 2.9 and Noel Hall’s Cooper T51 Climax 2.2- was this the only race win of a DBR4 ‘in period’ anywhere?

And that was it, Bib displayed the car at Jim Abbott’s Melbourne Racing Car show in August before racing it again in the 1962 NZ GP, doubtless, given his flotilla of Coopers, with a view to selling the car in New Zealand. He was tenth in the sopping wet race won by Stirling Moss having qualified seventh inclusive of a plug-change mid-race.

Bay of Islands driver Lionel Bulcraig acquired the car after the race, running it in NZ through to 1965, his time in the car is covered here; https://primotipo.com/2019/09/02/waimates-aston-martin-dbr4-250/

Bulcraig advertised the car in ‘Car and Driver, the American international magazine, in late 1965, it was acquired by Peter Brewer who dominated Historic Racing in the UK in the late sixties with it. It was bought by Tom Wheatcroft’s Donington Collection in 1970 as ‘a collection of horrible bits’, as Doug Nye described it, for restoration to original 1959 specifications.

Stillwell, DBR4 ‘3’ during the 1962 NZ GP, site of a Stirling Moss Lotus 21 Climax wet weather master-class. Stillwell was tenth, 6 laps in arrears (Ardmore)

 

DBR4 ‘3’ chassis in recent times in the Hall & Hall workshop. Rare chassis photograph (H&H)

 

Plug change for Salvadori’s IRS ‘diabolical handling’ DBR5 ‘2’ during the 1960 British GP weekend, nice cockpit shot. Trintignant’s de Dion DBR5 ‘1’ in front (Getty)

5. DBR4/250 ‘4’

Chassis built at the same time as ‘3’ but was unraced in F1 in 1959 and 1960.

After DBR4 ‘1’ was returned by Davison to Feltham in early 1961, DBR4 ‘4’ was built to ‘ultimate spec’- de Dion rear, Maserati gearbox, 80 degree head magnesium alloy block RB6/300 engine specification for use in the Intercontinental Formula in the UK, and thence limited use in Australia before sale to Pat Hawthorn in early 1963.

Later to Neil Corner in 1966, who also acquired DBR4 ‘1’ which was eventually built up as an historic car.

Trintignant’s DBR5/250 ‘1’ being unloaded from Aston Martin’s AEC transporter at Silverstone during the July 1960 British GP weekend at Silverstone- a poor eleventh the result (LAT)

Cars 6. and 7. DBR5/250 ‘1’ and ‘2’- also sometimes referred to as ‘DP201’

For 1960 Aston Martin designed a new car, still front engined mind you, the DBR5/250 was 3 inches shorter than the DBR4- the wheelbase was 7 ft 3 inches- it used torsion bar independent front suspension. Two cars were laid down, DBR5/250 ‘1’ which was built with a de Dion rear and chassis ‘2’ which was fitted with independent rear suspension by torsion bars.

Both DBR5s were scrapped- after unsuccessful performances in the International Trophy, at Zandvoort and in the British GP.

Doug Nye wrote that ‘The new rear end merely made the cars handle worse, so following the British GP, David Brown wisely withdrew his team from the dying Formula’- the 2.5 litre F1 ended on 31 December 1960.

In summary, Aston Martin built seven Grand Prix cars- one DP155, four DBR4s and two DBR5’s with three extant- DBR4 ‘1’, ‘3’ and ‘4’.

Zandvoort 1960- two cars for Roy Salvadori- DBR4 ‘3’ at left was brought along as the practice hack and DBR5 ‘1’ at right, the racer. DNS along with the Scarabs when the Dutch GP organisers reneged on the start money deal- the cars were rumbling back towards the Channel by the time the race commenced- nice side by side shot, the only obvious difference is the 95 degree engine in the DBR4 and 80 degree ‘exhaust on the left’ motor in the DBR5 (D Friedman)

 

DBR5 ‘1’ with Lucas fed 80 degree twin-plug 2.5 litre six- 245bhp @ 7500rpm, Zandvoort 1960 (D Friedman)

Anthony Pritchard wrote that ‘By this time (Zandvoort) Aston Martin realised the hopelessness of their position.’

Team Manager Reg Parnell asked Stirling Moss to try the car and the best that he could manage was a 1:40 compared to 1:33.2 in his Lotus 18 Climax- trying his very hardest, Salvadori achieved 1:37 seconds.

Zandvoort, (D Friedman)

 

British GP July 1960. Nice compare and contrast of the Weber DCO and Lucas injected engines. Independent rear suspension shot is Salvadori’s DBR5 ‘2’ which handled atrociously- upper and lower wishbones, roll bar, Armstrong shock and two radius rods, torsion bar (Getty)

Etcetera…

(Michael Oliver Collection)

After publication Lotus historian and author Michael Oliver got in touch and sent these two marvellous shots of Lex during the Brands Hatch Guards Trophy meeting taken by his father, and his dad’s mate, below.

Whilst Lex damaged the nose of the car during practice he also knocked off the right-front corner of the Aston- the shot captures the damage, a rare colour image of the suspension.

(Michael Oliver Collection)

 

(K Harley)

Ecurie Australia at Longford in 1961.


Photo Credits…

Peter D’Abbs via Mark Ellery Collection, Pat Hawthorn Collection via Russell Hawthorn, Phillip Skelton via the Tony Johns Collection, Getty Images, Ron Lambert, oldracephotos.com.au/JSaward, Peter Coleby Collection, Tony Selfe, David Friedman Collection, LAT, E Stevens, Brier Thomas, Hall & Hall, TC March, conceptbunny.com, Michael Oliver Collection, Kim Harley

Bibliography…

‘Lex Davison: Larger Than Life’ Graham Howard, ‘History of The Grand Prix Car 1945-65’ Doug Nye, ‘Aston Martin: A Racing History’ Anthony Pritchard, ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden, oldracingcars.com

Tailpieces…

(P D’Abbs)

The opening shot of Lex again but cropped a tad tighter to focus that little bit more on the car- DBR4/250 ‘1’, and below the same car eighteen months before in the Dutch sand dunes rather than the Australian ones, Roy Salvadori at Zandvoort during the 29-31 May weekend in 1959.

(LAT)

Finito…

(autopics.com.au)

Bruce McLaren, Cooper T70 Climax, Australian Grand Prix, Sandown Park 1964…

Its an unusual angle, Bruce is thinking about brakes as he passes the end of the pit counter and heads towards the tight ‘Peters’ left-hander before the blast up the back straight- unusual in that the shot is taken from outside the circuit, between the Armco fence and access road, a prohibited area for spectators and ‘snappers for most of the tracks life.

Click here for the ‘first McLaren’ Cooper T70 story; https://primotipo.com/2016/11/18/tim-mayer-what-might-have-been/

(J Lay)

This one is also at Sandown but a year later, 1965, as the drivers listen intently to the Clerk of The Course before the off.

Roy Billington is on the rear wheel of Jack’s Brabham BT11A Climax- the winning car, then the tall Tyler Alexander, Bruce is in the ‘Persil’ white Firestone overalls, Bib Stillwell behind him, Jim Clark, Jack Brabham and David McKay playing with his iPhone. Jack won from Jim and Phil Hill’s Cooper T70.

Jack posing patiently for Paul Stephenson in his victorious BT11A- Sandown pitlane.

(P Stephenson)

 

(unattributed)

Back to the 1964 Sandown Australian Grand Prix.

Bruce takes a glimpse in his Cooper T70 mirror before lining up for the Shell Corner left hander, Jack Brabham in close attendance- Brabham BT7A Climax. Over to the right alongside the fence Jim Palmer is giving them plenty of room in his Cooper T53 Climax, he was sixth. Jack won whilst Bruce was out with engine problems.

Credits…

autopics.com.au, Jeffrey Lay, Paul Stephenson, Graham Rhodes in Australian Autosportsman

Tailpiece…

(Graham Rhodes photographer)

I chuckled when randomly coming across this photo because it is taken within 20 metres or so of the first one but is taken from under the Armco on the outside of Peters rather than the opening shot from outside Pit Straight towards the braking area into Peters.

Just to add to the date confusion, this one is the year before mind you- Bruce is in the Cooper T62 he raced that 1963 summer inclusive of the 1962 AGP at Caversham in November, Lex Davison acquired it at the end of that summer- lengthy piece on that car here; https://primotipo.com/2016/05/20/bruce-lex-and-rockys-cooper-t62-climax/

Finito…

Moss, Lotus 21 Climax, Warwick Farm 100 practice 1961 (Mal Simpson)

Father Time waits for no-one, not even ‘the immortals’, sadly the great man’s time had come- Stirling Moss, 17 September 1929 to 12 April 2020.

What an extraordinary life of achievement.

To me he personified grace, sportsmanship and fairness despite being a fierce competitor, a certain clever conservatism but with an impish naughty streak and sense of humour. He was everything that is great about Britain and the essence of what to me it is to be a Brit.

Without doubt he was the living embodiment of motor racing, his passing deprives the sport of its greatest global spokesman and ambassador.

I can’t remember if I was aware of Stirling before seeing the Chrysler Valiant ‘Hemi’ ads as a kid on Australian telly circa 1970 (remember those?) or whether it was after my interest in the history of the sport commenced a couple of years later.

Whatever the case he has been a constant in Australia since he first raced here in 1956 through the 1961 internationals, then into the Tasman years after he had retired from the cockpit when more often than not he travelled with the circus, and from 1985, first in Adelaide and now Melbourne was a regular in F1 historic support parades and events.

I have a photo of him with my youngest son taken in the Albert Park historic tent, even though it was the five-millionth time he had done that, he still exchanged a few pleasantries with Nick- he still remembers it despite being six at the time, twenty years ago.

RIP from all your Australasian friends Mr Moss, we salute your achievements, applaud the way you conducted yourself and thankyou for all the entertainment and pleasure you gave us…

Behra, Moss, Albert Park, AGP 1956 (unattributed)

Credits…

Mal Simpson, Stephen Dalton Collection, John Ellacott

Etcetera: ‘For All The Right Reasons’…

For international readers the Chrysler, Valiant factory shown in the first ad was on a 65 acre site named ‘Tonsley Park’ at Clovelly Park, 12km south-west of Adelaide. The beach scenes will be closeby to that facility on one of the Fleurieu Peninsula beaches.

Etcetera…

A couple of Australian motor magazine covers from Stephen Dalton’s Collection with Stirling on the cover- as he so often throughout the world was!

This photo taken by John Ellacott posted on The Noatalgia forum by Ray Bell is of Stirling giving Paul Samuels’ Lotus 18 Ford Formula Junior a whirl at Warwick Farm in 1961.

His Rob Walker Racing Cooper T53 and Lotus 21 (car in the first photo) were late arriving in Sydney from New Zealand so he jumped into a couple of cars to do some familiarisation laps of the new, quite technical Warwick Farm layout.

(J Ellacott)

Finito…

 

(R Croston)

The wonders of social media…

Richard Croston popped onto that internet thingy some amazing factory data on the 1955 Ferrari Super Squalo ‘555-2’ raced by the factory in Grands Prix that season, and then acquired by Reg Parnell for modification to Formula Libre specifications by fitment of a Monza 860 3.4 litre engine where a 2.5 litre Gee Pee jobbie once nestled.

He and Peter Whitehead, in ‘555-1’, raced the cars in the 1956 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park and then did the New Zealand internationals in January/February 1957 before selling the cars locally and then high-tailing it back to Europe. Suss this ’56 AGP piece; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/16/james-linehams-1956-agp-albert-park/

I’ve substantially added to an earlier article on ‘555-2’- its grown from 500 words to 2600 in a couple of separate additions, so worth a look, its a bonus if you speak Italian… https://primotipo.com/2015/08/25/arnold-glass-ferrari-555-super-squalo-bathurst-1958/

Credits…

Richard Croston Collection, George McKaige from ‘Beyond The Lens’

(unattributed)

The black nose-banded Parnell 555 Ferrari takes centre stage in the Albert Park paddock during the 1956 Australian Grand Prix weekend- the car behind is Whitehead’s identical machine.

Car #5 is the nose of Reg Hunt’s Maserati 250F, the #8 Ferrari Monza is I think Stan Coffey’s albeit he raced with number 9- it isn’t Ken Wharton’s who raced with #10. Theory folks?

Who is the short, burly driver standing behind Whitehead’s car?- it isn’t slight Peter or burly but balding Reg.

(G McKaige)

Reg and the boys push 555-2 onto the Albert Park grid- Stirling Moss won in a works 250F that day from Jean Behra’s sister car, then Whitehead in 555-1 and Parnell in 555-2.

(G McKaige)

Rare colour shot of Reg on the move during the race from George and Chester McKaige’s wonderful book ‘Beyond The Lens’. Many pundits are of the view that Parnell- who had a great career, was potentially one of Britain’s best Grand Prix drivers but he was one of the generation who lost a chunk of time by virtue of WW2.

A analytical racer with outright pace in single-seaters and mechanical understanding and sympathy in endurance events.

Tailpiece…

From Australian Motor Sports Review 1958-1959

Arnold Glass and 555-2, I wonder how big a seller ‘Bardahl’ was in Australia in the day?- plenty of competition amongst the various oil companies to have the better drivers on their books in those pre-advertising on cars days.

The third place in the 1959 AGP touted was achieved in Glass’ ex-works/Hunt/Stillwell Maserati 250F not the 555 Super Squalo shown mind you.

Finito…

(Getty)

HRH Prince Phillip during a ‘cooks tour’ of Coventry Climax Ltd, Widdrington Road, Coventry on 21 June 1966…

I tripped over these photographs searching for shots of the FWMV four-valve heads- that 1.5 litre V8 was the engine Jim Clark used to win his 1963 and 1965 F1 titles in the rear of Lotus 25 and 33 chassis, the second of his cups was won using the four-valver.

Unsuccessful as i was in my search for an image of one of the final iterations of this lauded engine, i did find this beauty of a ‘normal’ two valver with HRH alongside- who are the technicians exchanging cam timing details with the chief i wonder?

(Getty)

The one below of the Prince wandering towards the 1.5 litre, still-born, FWMW Flat-16 made me chuckle as it reminded me of a DC Nye anecdote which goes along the lines of the Climax hierachy showing off the ultimate expression of their design and precision engineering capabilities- which was singing its supreme song on the test bed, but conversation was impossible, so Climax Managing Director Leonard Lee instructed revs to be cut back- a fatal mistake as 5000rpm or more was needed, below that critical number savage torsional vibration caused the quill shaft to break with plentiful mechanical mayhem following shortly thereafter- which it did. Whilst not an engineer the royal understood that something was amiss, making soothing sounds of sympathy, he wandered further along the corridors.

Check out the engines below- FWMV show engine, FWMW 16 in the right foreground, an outboard to the left of Lee, but what is the Amal fed four in front of the Prince?

Coventry Climax MD, Leonard Lee, HRH, Wally Hassan with hands in suit pockets behind and others- any clue folks? (Getty)

 

Prince Phillip sussing a CC dyno before sixteen cylinder carnage sets in (Getty)

None of the four FWMW engines laid down ever found their way into the cars designed for them- oil drainage, pumping and windage losses and time pressures ensured that- the 1.5 litre formula ended and Climax decided not to continue in racing so the Lotus 39, Brabham BT19 and Cooper T80 never raced with the sixteen cylinder engine for which they were designed but with a 2.5 Climax FPF four, 3 litre Repco Brabham 620 V8 and 3 litre Maserati V12 instead.

Theoretical advantages of higher revs, greater piston area and better breathing of the sixteen were never realised, but that FWMV four valve V8 delivered the goods even if its advantage over its more conventional sibling was marginal, mind you, in 1.5 litres 5 bhp makes a difference particularly if Clark J was behind the wheel of the car to which said engine was fitted.

(MotorSport)

What a jewel of a thing and what might have been had the 1.5 litre formula lasted another year? FWMW 16 on the test bed in 1965.

The antecedent engine of the Flat-Sixteen conceived by Climax Technical Director Wally Hassan and Chief Designer Peter Windsor-Smith was the 38hp ‘Featherweight’ 1020cc, SOHC four- from little things do big things grow. The two men set about design and construction of a 1.5 litre, twin-cam, two-valve, fuel injected sixteen cylinder engine with central power take off with projected power of circa 240-250bhp @ 12,000rpm after extrapolating the power of the best of the FWMV’s to the greater piston area of their proposed new engine.

Whilst twelve and sixteen cylinder engines were considered, the sixteen modelled best using the bore/stroke ratio of the successful Mk3 FWMV of 0.76:1- this provided for a bore and stroke of 54.1mm by 40.64mm giving a piston area of 23cm. Using the previously achieved 4.5bhp per square inch of piston area gave the 250bhp projection.

Lets not forget competitive pressures were the cause of this exciting engine’s birth- both Ferrari and Honda were racing twelves which showed promise, but 1964 ended up a battle of V8’s- Ferrari, BRM and Coventry Climax of course, with John Surtees’ Ferrari 158 taking the titles by the narrowest of margins.

The design influence of the Ferrari Flat-12 engine showed in that Climax contemplated the motor being used as a stressed member so chassis mounting points for the combined crankcase and cylinder block were provided on the crankcase and heads, of which there were four- four sets of four cylinders.

The crankshaft had central take off to minimise the torsional vibrations of such a long piece of exotic metal- the crank was laid out as two, four-throw single plane-units running in five main bearings but turned through 90 degrees to each other with their inner ends shrunk onto a central spur-gear. The spur gear passed power to an output shaft running below the crank at 80% of engine speed to suit the gearing of the ZF and Hewland transmissions used contemporarily.

1954 ad for the Coventry Climax Featherweight powered firepump unit. In 1951 the prototype 1020cc OHC, two valve, single carb, inline four produced 36bhp @ 3500rpm and delivered twice as much water as an existing unit which weighed double the weight of the Climax FW

 

Vic Berris cutaway showing the elegant simplicity…of the Climax FWMW Sixteen- oh what mighta been! Specifications as per text

The heads, as described above, used two valves and a single plug- the included angle between the valves was 48 degrees with inlet tracts designed for the port type Lucas fuel injection with which the designers were well familiar- Lucas also provided the transistorised ignition system.

Trains of spur gears running off the central power takeoff drove oil pressure and scavenge pumps down below and and the twin overhead camshafts and auxiliaries above the takeoff. Auxiliaries were located outta the way atop the crankcase comprised twin fuel injection pumps, the distributors and alternator- whilst the motor sounds huge it was small- only one inch longer than the FWMV at 30.9 inches and 22.6 inches wide.

Design commenced in 1963 with the first run on the dyno in late 1964- the major problem, as Prince Phillip will attest, was severe torsional vibration at low revs. A stronger replacement took too long and also failed- the best seen on test was 209bhp, none of the problems were insurmountable but the 1965 season was underway with developments of the good ole FWMV good enough to do the job.

Richie Ginther’s Honda RA272 V12 win at Mexico City in the very last Grand Prix of the marvellous 1.5 litre Formula in late October 1965 was perhaps a portent of what may have been an amazing battle between the Ferrari and Honda twelves and Climax sixteen in 1966 had the Formula run one more year, ignoring the small matter of Climax’ withdrawal from racing of course…

Etcetera…

(M Hewitt)

Further research- not exactly the shot of the heads I was after but a great view of the four-valver’s camshafts, plugs and gear driven cams which were characteristic of this Mk6 engine used by Clark and the Mk7 allocated to the Brabham Racing Organisation- the two only 1.5 litre FWMV four valve engines.

The mechanic (who is it folks?) got the Lotus 33 back together in time for Jim to win the Dutch Grand Prix the following July 1965 day from Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 and Dan Gurney’s Brabham BT11 Climax.

(MotorSport)

Denis Jenkinson eliciting information on the specification of the three Lotus 33’s at Spa in June 1965.

The #17 machine is Jim’s race car fitted with the four-valve engine- note the low level exhausts fitted to his two cars whereas the #18 Mike Spence 33 has a much earlier spec Climax fitted with two-plane crank and crossover exhaust.

Jim won come raceday from Stewart and McLaren’s Cooper T77 Climax with Mike seventh on a circuit where the extra 10bhp or so would have made a hellluva difference.

(unattributed)

Still in the Spa paddock, note the distinctive ribbing on the cam covers of the four valve engine compared with the two valve motor shown in the drawing below. Low level exhausts, Lucas fuel injection- output of this FWMV Mk6 was quoted as 212bhp @ 10,300rpm and 119 lb/ft of torque at 8,900rpm.

ZF five speed transaxle, rubber donuts at the driveshaft inner ends, outboard non-ventilated disc brakes and rear suspension comprising single top link, inverted lower wishbone, two radius rods, coil spring/damper unit and magnesium upright- period typical and oh-so-effective, the rear end bite, traction of the 25/33’s was said to be one of the performance differentiators compared with the BRM P261.

Lotus 25 and early FWMV Weber carbed Mk1 or 2 V8 drawn (unattributed)

Credits…

Getty Images, Doug Nye, M Hewitt, MotorSport, Vic Berris, Coventry Climax, ‘1 1/2 Litre Grand Prix Racing: Low Power, High Tech’ Mark Whitelock

Tailpiece…

(Getty)

A capable pilot, Prince Phillip about to leave Coventry, no doubt he had promised the Queen he would be back in London before afternoon tea- Westland Wessex ‘chopper?

Finito…

Vanwall Cutaway…

Posted: February 28, 2020 in F1, Fotos
Tags: ,

Lawrence Watts quite beautiful cutaway drawing of the 1957/8 Vanwall Grand Prix car…

Simply superb, as is Max Millar’s effort on the car, and Vic Berris’ work on the engine.

I wrote a feature a while back on the Thinwall Specials, Vanwall Special and the Vanwalls, click here to read it; https://primotipo.com/2014/09/05/vanwall-cars-and-the-moroccan-grand-prix-1958/

Do take the effort as that piece is my feature this week!

Over the last ten days i have converted my 1500 word ‘whacky-dacky’ which started as a short piece on the 1958 Moroccan GP and then morphed over time into a ‘quickie’ on the Vanwalls into a 10,000 word feature with a crazy 80 or so photographs.

So check it out even if you read the old version a while back.

Mechanical specifications of the 2.5 litre, DOHC, two valve, fuel injected, four cylinder spaceframe machine- winner of the 1958, and first, F1 Constructors Championship are as per the text in the feature article.

Credits…

Laurence Watts, Vic Berris, Max Millar

Finito…

(HAGP)

Stewart, Hill, Clark, yellow nosed black bodied Gardner, Palmer looking like Clark, Martin in red and Geoghegan white- BRM P261 by two, Lotus 39, yellow nose Brabham BT11A, Lotus 32B of Palmer, red Brabham BT11A of Martin (all but the BRM’s Coventry Climax FPF powered) and Leo’s white Lotus 32 Ford. AGP- the off 20 February 1966 and what a marvellous vista Lakeside is…

The front row of the grid pretty much summed up the 1966 Tasman Cup, the two BRM P261’s driven by Hill and Stewart, two of the finest racers of their time were the class of the field powered by 1.9 litre versions of the ‘P56’ V8’s which won so many races during the 1961-1965 1.5 litre F1, they were quickest cars on the circuit throughout the weekend right from the first session on Friday having recorded laps of 55.5 and 55.8 for the Brit and Scot repectively.

Much of the pre-race press interest centred on the strong BRM presence which included three chassis ‘Graham Hill driving the same car with which he won the 1965 Monaco and US Grand Prix’ and a team of three mechanics, Rivers Fletcher doing public relations all led by Team Manager Tim Parnell- lets come back to BRM’s Australasian representation in a little bit.

Lakeside razzmatazz included girls dressed in chequered flag bikinis, a bagpipes group and a brass band in addition to the on-circuit attractions which included international drivers Clark, Hill, Stewart and Gardner.

David Harding, secretary of the Queensland Motor Sporting Club, quoted the total value of the cars at $A300,000…

Stewart had a huge points lead going into the Lakeside meeting with much expected of Clark after his first win of the series at Warwick Farm the week before.

In New Zealand Graham Hill showed BRM’s form early, winning the opening round, the NZ Grand Prix at Pukekohe on 8 January by 1.5 seconds from Stewart, in P261 ‘2616’ before returning home to the UK to continue tyre and other testing duties. He travelled back south arriving at Mascot for the first of the Australian races, the ‘Warwick Farm 100’, on 13 February.

Richard Attwood won at Levin the following weekend after Stewart had gearbox selector problems having completed 9 laps- Jim Clark was second and Spencer Martin third, Jackie Stewart continued the Bourne boys great form and won the Lady Wigram Trophy at the Wigram RNZAF base the following weekend of 22 January.

Stewart completed a clean sweep of the first four races for the P261 before crossing ‘The Ditch’- the Tasman Sea for Australia- Jackie won the Teretonga International from Frank Gardner and Jim Palmer- the latter had a great season of speed and reliability in the Lotus 32B chassis aboard which Clark took the Tasman Cup twelve months before.

Teretonga wasn’t such a great race for Dick Attwood, as his car ‘2617’, was tagged from behind in the first corner ‘The Loop’ into soft earth whereupon the it rolled trapping the hapless Brit underneath- Spencer Martin and local driver Ian Dawson, also involved in the melee, jumped from their Brabhams and helped marshalls right the car and release the driver.

In fact a ‘switcheroo’ in the cars of Jackie and Richard took place at Wigram. Attwood had his ‘2614’ going like a missile in practice thanks to some judicious testing of bars, tyre pressures and ride-heights with Alan Challis, at which point, Jackie, getting the hang of this Number One Driver caper in Hill’s absence said ‘I’ll have a crack in that’- and so he did winning The Lady Wigram Trophy’ in ‘2614’ the following day.

He kept the same car at Teretonga so the machine, the front bulkhead of which was badly bent, was off for a rebuild to Bourne. It was the car Jackie had raced throughout the 1965 F1 season- ‘2617’ the strength of which would save his life at Spa in mid-1966. We will come back to the individual chassis’ later in the article.

Whilst the drivers flew to Sydney on the Monday after Teretonga Tim Parnell supervised the shipping of ‘2614’ and ‘2616’ to Sydney whilst ‘2617’ headed back to Liverpool, and thence Bourne into the tender hands of the boys in the build shop.

Gardner at left, Attwood, Stewart- Brabham BT11A and two BRM P261s- the off at Wigram 1966. Stewart won from Attwood and Jim Palmer with Frank a DNF after an accident on lap 4 when his brakes failed and he cannoned into Jim Clark, taking them both out of the race (Wigram)

 

Under the Tote building, Pukekohe. JYS’ P261 chassis ‘2617’, in all of its elegant glory, 1966. Which of the BRM mechanics is it folks? The car is fitted with a P56 type 1930cc engine- inlets between the Vee and exhausts exiting thru the ‘letterbox’ orifice in the side of the monocoque, in BRM speak. Note the colour of the car, red nose band, big BRM badge and air relief ducts atop the nose and tail section leaning up against the wall (CAN)

At Warwick Farm Jim ran away and won by 21 seconds from Hill, Gardner, Stewart, Martin and Palmer, click here for a piece on that meeting; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/03/1966-warwick-farm-100/

Clark had carburetion problems with his 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF engine throughout the Lakeside weekend but still managed to pop the car onto row two of practice on the two by two car grid together with Frank Gardner’s similarly powered Brabham BT11A. The Lotus 39 was another mighty car from the Lotus 25/33 continuum but the good ole FPF was struggling a bit from 1966 given the entry into Tasman racing of the BRM and Repco V8’s.

Spencer Martin in the Scuderia Veloce BT11A, and Leo Geoghegan going like a jet in his Lotus 32 was the first of the ANF1.5 twin-cams, a mighty impressive performance on this power-fast-100mph lap average circuit.

Jim Palmer and Greg Cusack shared the next row and the rest- Bartlett, McDonald, Harvey, Andy Buchanan Denis Marwood, Mel McEwin and local boy Glynn Scott rounded out a small field after ‘CAMS cut the grid from 20 to 15 cars’ in the interests of safety.

Graham Hill alights his BRM whilst Spencer Martin’s Brabham BT11A Climax enters the paddock- Glynn Scott, Lotus 27 Ford twin-cam 1.5 approaches in the distance. This is the damp Saturday afternoon session (K Drage)

 

Magnificent photograph of mutual respect and affection, racer/mechanic Ray Parsons and Jim Clark ponder the next change (B Thomas)

 

Clark in the very sweet Lotus 39 Climax on Saturday afternoon in the wet- exiting The Karussel (K Drage)

 

Lakeside 20 February 1966. Dunlop’s Vic Barlow at left, Hill suiting up and ‘Dobbin’ Challis beside Graham’s ‘2616’ whilst Jimmy Collins and Stan Collier look after Jackie’s ‘2614’ behind (BRM 3)

Sunday dawned cloudy and hot, the crowd got a magnificent days motor racing on this, the first occasion Lakeside held an AGP, for their four-dollar entry fee!

In addition to the feature race there were two 10 lap heats for the Tasman cars both won by BRM- Hill won the first from Gardner and Martin and Stewart took the second from the Clark and Geoghegan Lotuses.

Stewart and Hill settled into their front row grid slots and howled away from the off- Stewart, Hill, Clark and Gardner led the high speed train, then Martin, Palmer and Geoghegan.

Cusack got by Geoghegan on lap 5 with ‘Hill tied to Stewart as if by string’, Stewart set a scorching pace from the start, thrilling the crowd, despite this Hill was close behind and always within striking distance.

The race developed into three tough fights between Stewart and Hill up front, then Clark just ahead of Gardner and then a flying wedge of Palmer, Cusack and Geoghegan.

’The race pitch at this point had the crowd running from vantage point to vantage point, a rare thing in open-wheel competition, and to really set the seal on the excitement, the tail closed up and made a magnificent show as Marwood, Harvey, Buchanan, McDonald and Scott raced wheel to wheel’ Des White wrote in his HAGP race report.

Stewart’s gearbox cried enough on lap 28- it was this element of the BRM P261 which became its weak link at 1.9 litres and even much more so at the 2.1 litre capacity the Bourne team raced these cars in the 1967 and 1968 Tasmans.

’Stewart was very hard on gearboxes…Hill suffered persistent clutch slip in the last two races, but otherwise the BRM’s were very reliable. So they should have been too, with the massive Owen group effort which included a public relations man’ wrote Bill Tuckey. Bill is a bit hard on Jackie, the ‘box was the problem not JYS lack of mechanical sympathy.

Then Cusack clipped Palmer in the Eastern Loop when Jim braked a little early and Leo kissed Greg causing Cusack to spin and Geoghegan to re-enter the circuit 100 metres down the road- both retired with bent or busted suspension components shortly thereafter.

Frank Gardner in one of two Brabham BT11A’s Alec Mildren Racing raced that summer, Climax engined, the other was Maserati 2.5 V12 powered and ran in Warwick Farm and Sandown practice- pre-race hype promoted the Brabham Maserati at Lakeside but the car did not make the trip from Sydney (unattributed)

 

Jim Clark from Frank Gardner with Spencer Martin’s Brabham BT11A just back a bit- third, second and DNF clutch (autopics.com)

Frank Gardner was still pushing Jim Clark hard- he had a great summer in Mildren’s BT11A with better FPF reliability than some- but FG was mighty quick too, i’m not implying his results were solely due to reliability. Then Jim’s Climax took a turn for the worst- losing its edge further so Frank was through to second from Hill up front- Hill won at an average speed of 94.9mph from Gardner, Clark and Palmer.

Hill and Stewart both did equal fastest laps of 55.9 seconds- one second adrift of Clark’s 54.9 second lap record set in the Lotus 32B the year before. Kevin Bartlett’s Alec Mildren Racing Brabham BT2 Ford was the first of the ANF1.5s home in another drive which convinced Mildren KB was ready for the step up into the more demanding 2.5s- something he did with great aplomb later in the year.

Clark’s carburetion problems persisted throughout the series and were solved by John Sheppard when the car passed into his care after Leo Geoghegan acquired it by the simple expedient of solid carburettor mounts.

Jackie fires up the now ‘Central exhaust’ P68 powered ‘2614’ before heading out of the Lakeside paddock. Jimmy Collins, Vic Barlow and Tim Parnell watched by a group of local enthusiasts (BRM 3)

 

(HAGP)

Graham Hill nose up at Lakeside in a car that was so kind to him- the BRM P261, a machine with which he was synonymous, not the BRM he used to win his 1962 World Title but one he raced from 1963 all the way into 1966 with the H16 BRM P83 duly recognised.

(B Thomas)

Jim Clark with Andy Buchanan on the outside, Brabham BT7A Climax, who finished seventh.

BRM and The Antipodes 1966…

The Owen Organisation had extensive business interests in Australasia (it would be interesting to create a list of the British transnational’s subsidiaries in this part of the world at the companies height) and had of course raced here before- Ken Wharton thrilled Kiwi crowds in a P15 V16 in 1954 at Ardmore and Wigram and Ron Flockhart did all of the NZ Internationals in a front-engined P25 in 1959 whereas the 1961 campaign was a full works representation of two P48 mid-engined 2.5 litre F1 cars- these were raced by Graham Hill and Dan Gurney and on this occasion the visitors came to Australia as well as New Zealand. See here; https://primotipo.com/2019/11/18/ken-wharton-and-brms-grand-turismo-south-in-1954/ and here; https://primotipo.com/2018/03/16/bourne-to-ballarat-brm-p48-part-2/

The local promoters led by Ron Frost (NZ) and Geoff Sykes (Oz) had been doing their job in trying to seduce BRM back here and had a ‘red-hot go’ for 1965 given by that stage BRM had an 1880cc ‘P60’ version of their P56 V8, it was thought the P261 so powered would have been competitive with the 2.5 litre (mainly) Coventry Climax engined ‘Tasman Special’ Brabhams and Lotuses.

In essence Tasman races were 100 miles and had no minium weight limit whereas GP’s were 200 miles in duration and the cars had minimum weight limits so Ron Tauranac’s ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams, for example, were designed and built to the Tasman formula or rules. Tony Rudd, backed by Graham Hill, felt the P261 at 1880cc would not be a competitive Tasman Cup mount in that the cars would be too heavy and not powerful enough- underlying their opposition (in a document reproduced by Doug Nye in BRM 3) was the (correct) belief that the Tasman program would detract from their 1965 F1 program in the same way Sir Alfred Owen’s BRM-Rover turbine Le Mans racer grabbed scarce resources in 1963 and 1964- it too was foisted upon Rudd and ORO (Owen Racing Organisation) at short notice.

However, in late 1965 Sir Alfred was resolute, the broader commercial needs of the Owen Group (the establishment of an Austin-Morris production facility in NZ, with Owens to provide the necessary components) were met by having ORO’s presence in the 1966 Tasman Cup and as a consequence the team had to ‘make it work’ despite being up to their armpits in the new for 1966, immensely complex, BRM P83’s H16 engine.

Ron Flockhart, BRM P25 during the 10 January 1959 NZ GP on the Ardmore airfield circuit- DNF oil leak, the race won by Stirling Moss’ Cooper T45 Climax FPF 2 litre (Ardmore)

 

Dan Gurney on the way to the BRM P48’s only International win, the Victorian Trophy at Ballarat Airfield, Victoria 12 February 1961 (unattributed)

Geoff Johnson and his engine design team squeezed the P56 V8 up again from 1880cc to 1916cc and then 1930cc- the latter became the definitive 1966 Tasman spec engine used throughout that summer.

These motors gave between 260 and 270 bhp, which despite the weight of the P261 chassis, was more than enough to trump the circa 240bhp ‘Tasman Specials’. These motors and P61 Mark 2 chassis ‘2616’ Graham’s regular 1965 F1 car first raced to a win by him upon its debut at Watkins Glen in 1964, Jackie in his normal ‘2517’, the last P61 built during the winter of 1964-5 for JYS debut season, and old ‘2614’, first raced by Graham in the 1964 Aintree 200 and used as the team spare throughout 1965 were sent to New Zealand on the SS Tasmania Star which left Liverpool on 29 November and arrived in Auckland on 23 December.

Of interest is that ‘2616’ lives as does ‘2614’ whereas ‘2617’ whilst destroyed and scrapped after Jackie’s death defying 1966 Spa crash was recreated for Richard Attwood as ‘2617R’ in the late nineties- a lovely bit of symmetry given Richard rolled it at Teretonga in 1966 when he was part of others ‘moment’. Finally, for the record, a total of one P61 Mk 1 was built, chassis ‘611’ and six P61 Mk 2’s- chassis ‘2612’ to ‘2617’. The P61 Mk1 ‘611’ was scrapped in 1963 but all of the P61 Mk2’s live, thank goodness.

Despite broken ring problems in testing at Bourne, with a very careful running regime when a motor was first used which involved abnormally large amounts of engine oil in the fuel- the motors proved very reliable throughout that summer- a bonus for Team Manager Tim Parnell and the mechanics- Allan Challis, Jimmy Collins and Stan Collier, the later seconded by Parnell.

One of the compromises made to meet the needs of preparation for the new 3 litre F1 as well as being competitive in Australasia was the appointment of Tim Parnell as Team Manager and secondment of Stan Collier into the ORO group for the trip rather than Tony Rudd and another BRM mechanic make the trip.

Son of Reg- Tim was a racer to the core who had stepped very ably from the cockpit to running his fathers F1 race team upon Reg’ sudden death in January 1964 and was well known to BRM as a customer using BRM V8’s and cars for some years.

And so the scene- cars, engines, drivers, technicians and team management were put in place for an immensely successful summer in competition and commercial terms- seven of eight championship rounds and nine of ten races won with the Tasman Cup secured by Jackie Stewart bolstering even further BRM’s ‘cub’ drivers confidence who had already won his first GP in his first F1 season of 1965 at Monza no less.

‘Technical Tim- plug changing on Graham’s ‘2616’. Very popular, avuncular Tim had spent his entire life in racing and farming- thanks to his father- former BRM V16 driver and pig-breeder Reg Parnell. Tim had been a racing driver before his father’s untimely death in 1964, whereupon he had taken over full-time management of Parnell Racing’ wrote Doug Nye (BRM 3)

 

(B Betti)

BRM V8 Engine Types/Designations…

I wrote an article about the ‘Stackpipe’ BRM P57/578 in which Bourne and Graham Hill won their 1962 titles and covers the P56 engine in a bit of detail which still stacks up ok, see here; https://primotipo.com/2016/02/05/motori-porno-stackpipe-brm-v8/

It is a bit wanting in terms of the ‘P56’ engine derivatives though, so, having picked over ‘BRM 3’ Doug Nye’s treasure trove of all things Bourne here is a summary of the motors if for no other reason than to provide myself a simple list to refer to the next time i tangentially cover this amazingly, long lived series of race engines.

‘P56’ 1.5 litre V8

Initial design as per the link above- 68.5mm bore and 50.8mm stroke for 1497.7cc. DOHC gear driven two-valve Lucas injected with ‘conventional’ cross flow disposition of inlet and exhaust valves

The engines first drawings of 300 in total were issued in January 1961, the first batch of components received in April 1961, assembly of the engine commenced that June with the first one fired up on 12 July 1961

170bhp was produced by the end of August with the engine first tested against the competition at Monza over that tragic September weekend. Racing began in 1962 with the ‘Stackpipe’ exhausts fitted- 185bhp

Ongoing development gave rise to the 195bhp ‘Monza’ spec which won the 1962 championship

For 1963 a single plane crank version was developed, this allowed the use of a coupled exhaust system which gave the engine a broader power band- with development this produced 205bhp

‘P60’ 1.9 litre V8 1964

1880cc engine developed at Richie Ginther’s suggestion for the 2 litre sportscar class in the US, in original form it produced 240bhp

P56 1.5 litre V8 ‘Stackpipe’ nestled in one of Graham Hill’s P57/578 chassis during 1962

 

P68 1.5 V8 in the 1964 Monza paddock

‘P68’ 1.5 litre V8 late 1964

Between the Vee exhaust layout- exhaust ports in the Vee, inlets located between the cam-boxes. The space around the engine was unobstructed by exhaust pipes which allowed a stiffer tub to be built and an extra 5 gallons of fuel to be carried

First appearance Monza 1964- first win at Watkins Glen- work over the winter of 1964-5 led to engines giving 215bhp

By the end of the 1.5 litre Formula the best of the engines gave 220bhp and weighed 264pounds

2 litre V8

1916cc and the ‘definitive’ 1966 Tasman engine of 1930cc in capacity

T56 variant gave 260bhp and T68 version 270bhp- both types were used in ORO’s successful 1966 Tasman campaign as close scrutiny of some of the photographs demonstrates

1998cc sportscar version for Matra in 1956 was P56 type with the taller P123 blocks. Fitted to MS620 coupes- these engines with alternators etc designated P100

One of the P261’s in the Warwick Farm paddock in February 1966- P68 1930cc (B Wells- The Roaring Season)

 

One of the BRM mechanics persuades the P56 2 litre V8 fitted to Peter Arundell’s works Lotus 33 to start during the 1966 US GP weekend at Watkins Glen. He was sixth in the race won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 43 BRM H16- famously that wonderful, complex, mad engine’s only win

P111: 2.1 litre V8

1967 Tasman and beyond specifications

Two engines built initially of 2070cc and gave 287bhp and 292bhp- used the taller P123 blocks

Six engines were converted by the time of the 1967 Tasman – 2 P56 type and 4 P68 exhaust within the Vee type. Engines very reliable, the weakness of the package was the magnesium cased lightweight  P72 six-speed gearboxes which were never designed with the power and torque- and tyre grip by then being produced

Type 80: 1.5 litre Straight-four cylinder Formula 2 engine

’Half’ of one of the 2 litre V8’s – soon gave in excess of 130bhp.

P80 1 litre, four cylinder F2 engine the size of which is ‘overwhelmed’ by the bulk of the P72 transmission

 

Etcetera…

 

(M Bisset)

JYS was ‘top of the pops’- on the cover of ‘Australian Racing Annual’ for 1966- these annuals are much treasured and were a useful pot-pourri of the season just gone, they were published by the ‘Sports Car World’ magazine people.

Shots show Stewart on the way to victory at Longford on the entry to The Viaduct, and wearing one of the many garlands popped around his neck that summer. The shot below is Jack in BT19 complete with brand-new Repco-Brabham 620 2.5 litre V8 also at Longford.

(autopics.com)

Graham Hill on the outside of Kiwi Dennis Marwood’s Cooper T66 Climax during the Sunday morning warm-up at Lakeside- DNF oil pressure in the feature race.

(unattributed)

Stewart and Clark off the front row of the grid during the second of the Sunday morning heats.

BRM P261 ‘2614’ and Lotus 39 Climax ‘R12’- they had some titanic dices during their Australasian summer but plenty of fun off-track and shared accommodation throughout, parsimonious Scots as they were.

(autopics.com)

Like a rat up an aqueduct- ‘2614’ from ‘2616’…

GH has his nose shoved right up JYS gearbox which is not helpful as that unit was the weakest link of an otherwise bullet-proof remarkably fast racing car into 1969 generally- and into 1968 specifically when the one P261 which was sent to Australasia- as a support or back-up car to the new P126 2.5 litre V12 was a very popular machine particularly with Pedro Rodriguez who took any excuse he could to pop his bum into the ‘old darlin’ rather than its much younger sister.

(D Cooper)

Pedro Rodriguez in good ‘ole ‘2614’ on the very last weekend a P261 was entered by the factory.

Rodriguez was second in the very soggy ‘South Pacific Trophy’ Longford Tasman round on 4 March 1968, won in fine style by Piers Courage in an F2 McLaren M4A Ford FVA 1.6.

A view is that the only thing between Graham Hill and another world title or so at the time was Jim Clark and the Lotus 25 and Lotus 33- lets make that the only thing between Hill and another title or so was Jim Clark’s God-given other-worldly skills- the gifts that only one driver seems blessed with every decade or so.

The Lotus 25 deserves every accolade accorded it as the first ‘modern monocoque’- the car to which every F1 machine which followed is related. The BRM P61 Mk1 and P61 Mk2 aka ‘P261’ followed the ‘original’ but in almost every respect, other, perhaps than in traction, putting its limited power to the road the BRM was the equal of the 25 and 33- and the BRM ‘P56 Family’ of engines the equal of, if not superior motor however many valves Coventry Climax deployed in its FWMV V8! Tony Rudd, biased as he undoubtedly was, makes this case on pages 232 and 233 of ‘BRM 3’.

Whatever the case, feast your eyes on all of the mechanical gubbins which comprise the whole of a very well rounded package. The car shown is Graham’s F1 P261 during the Mexican GP weekend in 1964- its powered by a P68 1.5 litre V8.

The chassis is an aluminium ‘full monocoque’ made of 18swg ‘half-hard’ duralumin with extension horns supporting engine/gearbox and rear suspension assemblies . Note the period typical inboard front suspension- lower wishbone and rocker actuating a coil spring/damper unit, brakes are solid 9 inch discs outboard- these are light cars remember, brake lines are rubber, we are still a couple of years away from the use of braided steel lines in Europe.

Distinctive BRM steering wheel- who supplied them? Gear lever at left. The engine we have done to death but note the slide Lucas fuel injection, beautiful expressions of the exhaust pipe benders art- you can just see a heat shield beside the radiator cap to keep the hot gasses away from the fuel metering unit which is right behind the roll-over bar.

The rear suspension is again period typical and in contrast to the front is fully ‘outboard’- magnesium uprights, inverted lower wishbone, single top link, twin radius rods to look after fore and aft forces, coil spring/dampers and adjustable roll bars both front and rear. Plumbing for the needs of lubricants is ‘bitsy’ rather than ‘cohesive’ and the lack of shine to the nickel (?) plating doubtless reflects a long hard season- this was the last championship meeting of the year after all. Note the beautifully made splined driveshafts, solid brake rotor and caliper.

I’ve always thought BRM’s gearboxes- i’m not sure if this is a six-speed Type 62 or 72 look a bit butch compared with Mike Hewland’s products of the time but that may not be the case upon having details of said products dimensions and weight. Whilst the boxes’ were the weak link in P261s powered by 1.9 litre V8’s and above that was not the case when 1.5 litre V8s were used which was of course the engine around which the gearboxes were designed at the outset.

Beautifully concepted, designed and built, robust, prodigiously fast cars the performance of which could be accessed by ‘newbees’ and exploited by ‘the gods’ alike.

 

(S Dalton Collection)

 

(S Dalton Collection)

Stephen Dalton contributed these pages from the February 1966 Queensland Motor Sports Club newsletter which gives the organisers perspective- note the attention to O,H & S as Stephen points out!

Photo Credits…

‘HAGP’- ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and Others, Kevin Drage, ‘Ardmore’, autopics.com, M Bisset Collection, Getty Images- Bernard Cahier, Alvis Upitis, ‘CAN’ Classic Auto News, BRM 3, Dennis Cooper Collection, Brier Thomas via Richard Croston

Bibliography…

‘Australian Motor Racing Annual 1966’, ‘BRM 3’- ‘BRM: The Saga of British Racing Motors Volume 3’ Doug Nye, various articles by Ken Blair in ‘The Canberra Times’ on 8, 15 and 21 February 1966, Bruce Sergent’s race reports on sergent.com, ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and Others, 1966 Tasman Cup review by Allan Brown in oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece: Clark, Lotus 39 Climax, Lakeside 1966…

(unattributed)

Jim gulps a big dose of Queensland air as he snicks a Lakeside high-speed apex.

Finito…

 

The way it was.

Pat Hoare’s Ferrari 256 V12 ‘0007’ as despatched by Scuderia Ferrari in early 1961…

It was just another chassis after all, Enzo Ferrari was not to know that Dino 256 ‘0007’ would be, so far at least, the last front engined championship Grand Prix winner, so it seemed perfectly logical to refashion it for a client and despatch it off to the colonies. Not that he was an historian or sentimentalist anyway, the next win was far more important than the last.

This story of this car is pretty well known and goes something like this- Phil Hill’s 1960 Italian GP winning Ferrari Dino 256 chassis ‘0007’ was the very last front-engined GP winning machine- a win made possible due to the sneaky Italian race organisers running their GP on the high-speed banked Monza circuit to give Ferrari the best possible chance of winning the race- by that time their superb V6 front engined machines, even in the very latest 1960 spec, were dinosaurs surrounded as they were by mid-engined, nimble, light and ‘chuckable’, if less powerful cars.

 

Hill and Brabham- 256 Dino ‘0007’ and Cooper Climax T53 and during Phil and Jack’s titanic dice at Reims in 1960 (Motorsport)

 

Phil on the Monza banking, September 1960, 256/60 Dino ‘0007’

Pat Hoare bought the car a couple of months after that win with the ‘dinky’ 2474cc V6 replaced by a more torquey and powerful 3 litre V12 Testa Rossa sportscar engine.

After a couple of successful seasons Hoare wanted to replace the car with a 1961/2 mid-engined ‘Sharknose’ into which he planned to pop a bigger engine than the 1.5 litre V6 original- but he had to sell his other car first. Enzo didn’t help him by torching each and every 156 mind you. Despite attempts to sell the 256 V12 internationally there were no takers- it was just an uncompetitive front-engined racing car after all.

Waimate 50 11 February 1961, Pat was first from Angus Hyslop’s Cooper T45 Climax and Tony Shelly’s similar car (N Matheson Beaumont)

 

Pat Hoare, Ferrari Bob Eade, in the dark coloured ex-Moss/Jensen/Mansel Maserati 250F Dunedin February 1962. Jim Palmer, Lotus 20 Ford won from Hoare and Tony Shelly, Cooper T45 Climax (CAN)

Unable to sell it, Hoare had this ‘GTO-esque’- ok, there is a generosity of spirit in this description, body made for the machine turning it into a road car of prodigious performance and striking looks- the artisans involved were Ernie Ransley, Hoare’s long-time race mechanic, Hec Green who did the body form-work and G.B McWhinnie & Co’s Reg Hodder who byilt the body in sixteen guage aluminium over nine weeks and painted it. George Lee did the upholstery.

Sold to Hamilton school teacher Logan Fow in 1967, he ran it as a roadie for a number of years until British racer/collector Neil Corner did a deal to buy the car sans ‘GTO’ body but with the open-wheeler panels which had been carefully retained, the Ferrari was converted back to its V6 race specification and still competes in Europe.

Low took a new Ferrari road car, variously said to be a Dino 308 or Boxer in exchange, running around Europe in it on a holiday for a while but ran foul of the NZ Government import rules when he came home and had the car seized from him by customs when he failed to stump up the taxes the fiscal-fiends demanded- a sub-optimal result to say the least.

Allan Dick reported that the Coupe body could be purchased in Christchurch only a couple of years ago.

Hoare aboard the 256 Coupe at Wigram circa 1964 (Graham Guy)

The guts of this piece is a story and photographs posted on Facebook by Eric Stevens on the ‘South Island Motorsports’ page of his involvement with Pat Hoare’s car, in particular its arrival in New Zealand just prior to the 1961 New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore that January.

It is a remarkable insiders account and too good to lose in the bowels of Facebook, I am indebted to Stephen Dalton for spotting it. Eric’s wonderful work reads as follows.

The Arrival of Pat Hoare’s second Ferrari…

‘…that Pat Hoare could buy the car was not a foregone conclusion. Ferrari sent him off for test laps on the Modena circuit in one of the obsolete Lancia D50 F1 cars. Probably to everyone’s surprise., Pat ended up, reputedly, within about 2 seconds of Ascari’s lap record for the circuit.’ (in that car for the circuit)

‘The Ferrari was schedued to be shipped to New Zealand in late 1960 in time to be run in the 1961 Ardmore NZ GP, in the event the whole program seemed to be running dangerously late. The first delay was getting the car built at the factory. Then, instead of just a few test laps around Modena, the car became embroiled in a full scale tyre testing program for Dunlop on the high speed circuit at Monza.’

‘It can be seen from the state of the tyres (on the trailer below) that the car had obviously seen some serious mileage. Also there were some serious scrape marks on the bottom of the gearbox where it had been contacting the banking. Nobody in Auckland knew what speeds had been involved but upon delivery the car was fitted with the highest gearing which gave a theoretical maximum speed of 198mph.’

(E Stevens)

 

(E Stevens)

‘The car was driven straight from Monza to the ship. I was later told by Ernie Ransley that the car was filled with fuel and the delivery driver was told he had approximately an hour to deliver the car to the ship which was somewhat more than 120 miles away.’

‘Then the ship arrived later in Auckland than expected and although Pat had arranged to get the car off as soon as possible there was great panic when at first the car could not be found. Not only was the Hoare team frantically searching the ship, so too was the local Dunlop rep- eventually the car was found behind a wall of crates of spirits in the deck-liquor locker.’

‘Then there was the problem of the paperwork. At first all that could be found was an ordinary luggage label tied to the steering wheel in the opening photograph, this was addressed to; PM Hoare, 440 Papanui Road, Christchurch NZ, Wellington ,NZ. No other papers could be found but an envelope of documents was later found stuffed in a corner. The car had obviously arrived very late.’

(E Stevens)

 

The 3 litre variant of the Colombo V12 used in the Testa Rossas was based on that used in the 250 GT road cars, the primary modifications to the basic SOHC, two valve design were the adoption of six instead of three Weber 38 DCN carbs, the use of coil rather than ‘hairpin’ or torsion springs- this released the space to adopt 24 head studs. One plug per cylinder was used, its position was changed, located outside the engine Vee between the exhaust ports, better combustion was the result. Conrods were machined from steel billet- the Tipo 128 gave 300bhp, doubtless a late one like this gave a bit more. These Colombo V12’s provided the bulk of Ferrari road engines well into the sixties and provided Ferrari their last Le Mans win- Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory won the 1965 classic in a NART 250LM powered by a 3.3 litre Colombo V12

 

(E Stevens)

‘The day after collecting the car, and after fitting of new tyres, we took it out to the local supermarket car park for its first run in NZ. Pat climbed in and we all pushed. The car started easily but was running on only 11 cylinders and there was conspicuous blow-back from one carburettor- the immediate diagnosis was a stuck inlet valve.’

‘There was no time to get new valves and guides from the factory but Ernie Ransley was able to locate a suitable valve originally intended for a 250F Maserati and a valve guide blank which, while not made of aluminium bronze, could be machined to suit. Over the next day or so the engine was torn down, the new valve and guide fitted, and all the remaining guides were lightly honed to ensure there would be no repeat failure.’

‘The rest is history.’

‘I musn’t forget the tyres. They were obviously worn and would have to be replaced. They had a slighly different pattern from the usual Dunlop R5 and Ernie Ransley had a closer look at them to see what they were. When the Dunlop rep arrived next Ernie asked him “What is an R9?”. “Oh, just something the factory is playing with” was the answer. In fact they were a very early set of experimental rain tyres, the existence of which was not generally known at the time. There had been no time to get them off the car before it left Monza for the ship. No wonder the Dunlop rep was keen to help us find the car on the ship and get the new tyres on the car as soon as possible.’

It is long- i wonder how much longer in the wheelbase than the 2320mm it started as ? (E Stevens)

 

Good look at the IRS wishbone rear suspension, rear tank oil, inner one fuel with the rest of that carried either side of the driver (E Stevens)

The repairs effected by the team held together at Ardmore on 7 January 1961.

Pat qualified fourteenth based on his heat time and finished seventh- the first front engined car home, the race was won by Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax from McLaren’s similar car and Graham Hill’s works BRM P48.

Jo Bonnier won at Levin on 14 January- Pat didn’t contest that race but followed up with a DNF from Q14 at the Wigram RNZAF base, Brabham’s T53 won. The internationals gave the Dunedin Oval Circuit a miss, there he was second to Hulme’s Cooper T51 from the back of the grid. Off south to Teretonga he was Q3 and fourth behind Bonnier, Cooper T51 and Salvadori’s Lotus 18 Climax.

After the Internationals split back to Europe he won the Waimate 50 from pole with Angus Hyslop and Tony Shelly behind him in 2 litre FPF powered Cooper T45’s and in November the Renwick 50 outside Marlborough.

1961 NZ GP Ardmore scene- all the fun of the fair. Ferrari 256 being tended by L>R Doug Herridge, Walter ?, Ernie Ramsley, Don Ramsley and Pat. #3 McLaren Cooper T53, David McKay’s Stan Jones owned Maserati 250F- the green front engined car to the left of the Maser is Bib Stillwell’s Aston Martin DBR4-300 (E Stevens)

 

Hoare, Ardmore 1962 (E Stevens)

 

Pat during the Sandown International weekend in March 1962 (autopics.com)

Into January 1962 Stirling Moss, always a very happy and popular visitor to New Zealand and Australia won his last NZ GP at Ardmore in a soaking wet race aboard Rob Walker’s Lotus 21 Climax from four Cooper T53’s of John Surtees, Bruce McLaren, Roy Salvadori and Lorenzo Bandini- the latter’s Centro Sud machine Maserati powered, the other three by the 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF, and then Pat’s Ferrari. The car was no doubt feeling a bit long in the tooth by this stage despite only having done eight meetings in its race life to this point.

Pat didn’t contest Levin on 13 January, Brabham’s Cooper T55 Climax took that, but the Sunday after was tenth at Wigram from Q12 with Moss triumphing over Brabham and Surtees in a Cooper T53.

At Teretonga it was McLaren, Moss and Brabham with Pat seventh albeit the writing was well and truly on the wall with Jim Palmer, the first resident Kiwi home in a Cosworth Ford 1.5 pushrod powered Lotus 20.

Having said that Pat turned the tables on Palmer at Dunedin on February 3- this was the horrible race in which Johnny Mansel lost his life in a Cooper T51 Maserati. A week later at Waimate it was Palmer, Hoare and Tony Shelly in a 2 litre FPF powered Cooper T45.

Hoare decided to contest Sandown’s opening meeting on 12 March so the gorgeous machine was shipped from New Zealand to Port Melbourne for this one race- he didn’t contest any of the other Australian Internationals that summer, perhaps the plan was to show it to a broader audience of potential purchasers.

The race was a tough ask- it may have only been eighteen months since the chassis won the Italian GP but the advance of technology in favour of mid-engine machines was complete, as Pat well knew. Jack Brabham won the 60 lap race in his Cooper T55 Climax FPF 2.7 from the similarly engined cars of John Surtees and Bruce McLaren who raced Cooper T53’s- the first front-engined car  was Lex Davison’s Aston Martin DBR4/250 3 litre in eighth.

Pat was eighth in his heat- the second won by Moss’ Lotus 21 Climax and started sixteenth on the grid of the feature race, he finished eleventh and excited many spectators with the sight and sound of this glorious, significant machine.

And that was pretty much it sadly…

Hill in ‘0007’ and Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax ‘Lowline’ went at hammer and tongs for 29 of the 36 laps in one of the last great front-engine vs rear-engine battles- here Jack has jumped wide to allow Phil, frying his tyres and out of control as he tries to stop his car- passage up the Thillois escape road, French GP 1960 (Motorsport)

Ferrari Dino 256/60…

I’ve already written a couple of pieces on these wonderful Ferraris- the ultimate successful expression of the front engined F1 car, here; https://primotipo.com/2017/07/14/composition/ and here; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/21/dan-gurney-monsanto-parklisbonportuguese-gp-1960-ferrari-dino-246-f1/

The history of 256/60 ‘0007’ and its specifications are as follows sourced from Doug Nye’s ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’, a short article i wrote about the car a while back is here; https://primotipo.com/2015/11/09/pat-hoares-ferrari-256-v12-at-the-dunedin-road-race-1961/

The 1960 Dinos had small tube spaceframe chassis, disc brakes, wishbone and coil spring/dampers front- and rear suspension, de-Dion tubes were gone by then. The V6 engines, tweaked by Carlo Chiti were of 2474cc in capacity, these motors developed a maximum of 290bhp @ 8800rpm but were tuned for greater mid-range torque in 1960 to give 255bhp for the two-cam and 275bhp @ 8500rpm for the four-cammers. Wheelbase of the cars was generally 2320mm, although shorter wheelbase variants were also raced that year, the bodies were by Fantuzzi.

‘0007’ was first raced by Phil Hill at Spa on 19 June-Q3 and fourth, Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax the winner, he then raced it at Reims, Q2 and DNF gearbox with Jack again up front, Silverstone, Q10 and seventh with Jack’s Cooper up front again and in Italy where Hill won from pole before it was rebuilt into ‘Tasman’ spec. Obviously the machine had few hours on it when acquired by Hoare- it was far from a worn out old warhorse however antiquated its basic design…

Nye records that seven cars were built by the race shop to 1960 246-256/60 specifications- ‘0001’, ‘0003’, ‘0004’, ‘0005’, ‘0006’, ‘0007’ and ‘00011’. ‘0001’, ‘0004’, ‘0006’ and ‘00011’ were discarded and broken up by the team leaving three in existence of which ‘0007’ is the most significant.

The 250 Testa Rossa engine is one the long-lived, classic Gioachino Colombo designs, evolved over the years and designated Tipo 128, the general specifications are an aluminum 60 degree, chain driven single overhead cam per bank, two-valve 3 litre V12- 2953cc with a bore/stroke of 73/58.8mm with 300bhp @ 7000rpm qouted. The engine in Hoare’s car was dry-sumped and fitted with the usual visually arresting under perspex cover, battery of six Weber 38 DCN downdraft carbs.

(E Stevens)

 

Pat Hoare in his first Ferrari, the bitza 625 four cylinder 3 litre at Clelands Road, Timaru hillclimb date unknown (E Porter)

Enzo Ferrari, Pat Hoare, Colombo and Rita…

Many of you will be aware of the intrigue created down the decades by Pat Hoare’s ability to cajole cars from Enzo Ferrari, when seemingly much better credentialled suitors failed.

I don’t have David Manton’s book ‘Enzo Ferraris Secet War’ but Doug Nye commented upon its contents in a 2013 Motorsport magazine piece.

‘Neither Mr Ferrari himself nor Pat Hoare ever explained publicly their undeniably close links. The best i ever established was that Hoare had been with the New Zealand Army advancing up the leg of Italy in 1943, and was amongst the first units to liberate Modena from the retreating German Army. David Manton has plainly failed in pinning down chapter and verse to unlock the true story, but he does reveal startling possibilities.’

‘When Mr Ferrari wanted a trusted engineer to realise his ambitions of building a new V12 engined marque post-war, he sought out Ing Gioachino Colombo, his former employee at Alfa Romeo. In 1944-5, however, Colombo was tainted by having been such an enthusiastic Fascist under Mussolini’s now toppled regime. With Communist Partisans taking control, Colombo was fired from Alfa and placed under investigation. His very life hung by a thread. He could have been imprisoned or summarily shot.’

‘Manton believes that Hoare- who had met Ferrari as a confirmed motor racing enthusiast from the pre-war years- may have been instrumental in freeing Colombo by influencing the relevant authorities. Certainly Colombo was able to resume work for Ferrari when some of his former Party colleagues remained proscribed, ar had already- like Alfa Romeo boss Ugo Gobbato and carburettor maker Eduardo Weber- been assassinated.’

‘But David Manton presents the possibility that such mediation might have been only a part of a more intimate link. Pat Hoare’s personal photo album from the period includes several shots of an extremely attractive Italian girl identified only as Rita. He was an un-married 27 year old Army officer. She was a ravishing 18, believed to have been born near Modena around 1926 and raised not by her birth parents, but by relatives. Some of Pat Hoare’s old friends in Christchurch, New Zealand- while fiercely protective of his memory- share a belief that the lovely Rita was not only just an early love of his life, but that she was also the illegitimate daughter of Enzo Ferrari…which would explain so much.’

‘Nothing is proven. David Manton’s book frustratingly teases but so- over so many decades- has the intrinsic discretion and privacy of the Italian alpha male. As American-in-Modena Pete Coltrin told me many years ago, Mr Ferrari was sinply a “complex man in a complex country”. He had a hard won reputation as a womaniser, which itself earned the respect, and admiration of many of his Italian peers and employees. But if Mr Manton’s theories hold any water they certainly go a long way towards explaining the Pat Hoare/Enzo Ferrari relationship, which both considered far too private ever to divulge to an enthusiastic public…’ DC Nye concludes.

Every Tom, Dick and Irving…

I look at all the fuss about Hoare’s purchase of his two Ferraris and wonder whether every Tom, Dick and Harry who had the readies and wanted an F1 Fazz could and did buy one in the fifties?

Ok, if you got Enzo on a bad day when Laura was pinging steak-knives around the kitchen at him for dropping his amply proportioned tweeds yet again he may not have been at his most co-operative but if you copped him the morning after he bowled over Juicy Lucia from down the Via you could probably strike a quick deal on any car available.

Putting all puerile attempts at humour to one side it seems to me Ferrari were pretty good at turning excess stock (surplus single-seater racing cars) into working capital (cash), as every good business owner- and it was a very good business, does. Plenty of 375’s, 500’s, 625’s and 555’s changed hands to the punters it seems to me.

Just taking a look at non-championship entries in Europe from 1950 to 1956, the list of cars which ended up in private hands is something like that below- I don’t remotely suggest this is a complete, and some cars will be double-counted as they pass to a subsequent owner(s), but is included to illustrate the point that in the fifties ex-works Ferrari F1 cars being sold was far from a rare event.

Its not as long a list as D Type Jaguar or DB3S Aston owners but a longer list than one might think.

Peter Whitehead- 125, 500/625 and 555 Super Squalo Tony Vandervell- 375, Bobbie Baird- 500 Bill Dobson-125 Chico Landi- 375 Piero Carini- 125 Franco Comotti- 166.

Four 375’s were sold to US owners intended for the 1952 Indy 500

Rudolf Fischer- 500,  Jacques Swaters ‘Ecurie Francorchamps’- 500 and 625, Charles de Tornaco ‘Ecurie Belgique’- 500, Louis Rosier ‘Ecurie Rosier’- 375, 500 and 625, Tom Cole- 500, Roger Laurent- 500, Kurt Adolff- 500, Fernand Navarro- 625, Carlo Mancini- 166, Guido Mancini- 500, Tony Gaze- 500/625 Reg Parnell ‘Scuderia Ambrosiana’- 500, 625 and 555 Super Squalo

Ron Roycroft- 375, Jean-Claude Vidille- 500, Alfonso de Portago- 625, Lorenzo Girand- 500, Centro Sud- 500, Jean Lucas- 500, Georgio Scarlatti- 500, Berando Taraschi- 166, Pat Hoare- 500/625 ‘Bitza’ and 256 V12

Don’t get me wrong, I do love the intrigue of the stories about the Enzo and Pat relationship but maybe its as simple as Hoare rocking up to Maranello twice on days when Enzo had had a pleasant interlude with Juicy Lucia on the evening prior rather than on two days when his blood was on the kitchen floor at home.

Etcetera…

(CAN)

Pat Hoare in his first Ferrari ‘bitza’, a 3 litre engined 625 (ex-De Portago, Hawthorn, Gonzales) at Dunedin 1958.

He raced the car for three seasons- 1958 in detuned state the car was not very competitive, in 1959 it kept eating piston rings and in 1960 it was fast and reliable, nearly winning him the Gold Star.

Its said his trip to Maranello in 1960 was to buy a V12 engine to pop into this chassis to replace its problematic four-cyinder engine but Ferrari insisted he bought a whole car.

The specifications of this car vary depending upon source but Hans Tanner and Doug Nye will do me.

The chassis was Tipo 500 (other sources say 500 or 625) fitted with a specially tuned version of a Tipo 625 sportscar engine bored from 2.5 to 2.6 litres. A Super Squalo Tipo 555 5-speed transmission was used to give a lower seating position and a neat body incorporating a Lancia D50 fuel tank completed the car.

When entered in events Pat described it as a Ferrari 625 and listed the capacity as 2996cc.

Pat Hoare portrait from Des Mahoney’s Rothmans book of NZ Motor Racing (S Dalton Collection)

Special thanks…

Eric Stevens and his stunning article and photographs

Photo Credits…

Allan Dick/Classic Auto News, Graham Guy, Mike Feisst, Stephen Dalton Collection, autopics.com

Bibliography…

‘History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye, grandprix.com, the Late David McKinney on ‘The Roaring Season’, Motorsport February 2013 article ‘The Old Man and the Kiwi’ by Doug Nye

Tailpieces…

(M Feisst)

The NZ built ‘Ferrari GTO’ pretty in its own way but not a patch on the genuine article without the extra wheelbase of the ‘real deal’.

 

(E Stevens)

Bag em up Pat…

Finito…