Archive for the ‘Obscurities’ Category

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tailpiece…

(Getty Images)

A Bristol Sycamore helicopter and 401 in 1950.

Finito…

(A Ramsay)

Malcom Ramsay and Tony Alcock built a swag of championship/race winning Formula Ford, F3, F2 and Formula Atlantic single-seaters from 1971 to 1978.

And this mid-engined, supercharged VW powered speedcar.

The project was funded by Bob and Marj Brown, a successful Adelaide business-couple who aided and abetted the careers of Birrana pilots Enno Buesselmann and Bob Muir from 1973-76.

Alcock’s revolutionary spaceframe design was tested by Ramsay on the dirt at Rowley Park, and at Adelaide International’s half-mile, banked, bitumen oval in 1974, it was immediately quick.

It was a step way too far for the conservative controlling body who suggested that “You circuit racing wally-woofdas can take your changes elsewhere!” Or as Ann-Maree Ramsay put it more delicately, the car “was banned due to perceived different handling characteristics compared with the front-engined Sesco and Offy cars of the time.”

The VW engine was a supercharged 1.6-litre flat-four mated to a Holinger modified VW transaxle.

By 1975 the Browns were in England chasing Formula Atlantic fame together with Muir and a pair of modified Birrana 273s.

Ramsay advertised the car in Auto Action, outlining that the S74 was the only car of its type “permitted to race for 18-months on a bitumen-oval, in this very restricted form of the sport.”

Yes, I know it’s a shit-photo, but it seems to be the only one there is, let’s record our history anyway. If you have a better one, please send it to me. The shot is out front of the Ramsay home in Adelaide. If memory serves, it now resides in the Holmes Collection in Brisbane.

Leo Geoghegan and Enno Buesselmann in Birrana 273 Hart-Fords during the 1973 ANF2 Adelaide International round

Credits…

Ann-Maree Ramsay

Finito…

harves red

(autopics.com.au-R Austin)

John Harvey’s 2.5-litre Repco V8 powered Brabham BT11A shrieks it’s way around Warwick Farm on 18 February 1968…

Looks a treat doesn’t it? Nose up out of Leger Corner onto Pit Straight, it was first meeting for the car with its Repco engine.

By 1968 IC-4-64 was an old-girl, albeit a very successful one. It was raced by Graham Hill in the 1965 Tasman Series for David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce, winning the 1965 NZ GP at Pukekohe on its race debut.

hill Hill won the ’65 NZGP at Pukekohe on 9 January 1965 from Frank Gardner’s similar BT11A and Jim Palmer’s earlier model BT7A, all 2.5 Coventry Climax FPF powered (sergent.com)

It then passed into the capable hands of Spencer Martin, initially driving for McKay, and then Bob Jane for whom Spencer won two Gold Stars in 1966 and 1967. Click here for an article on Martin and his exploits in this car; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/30/spencer-martin-australian-gold-star-champion-19667/

The 2.5-litre Coventry Climax FPF four cylinder engine was struggling against the V8’s by then, so Bob bought a 740 Series Repco 2.5-litre V8 to plonk in the back of the BT11A.

John Harvey, Martin’s successor at Bob Jane Racing, contested the Australian rounds of the 1968 Tasman Series so powered. Jim Clark’s works Lotus 49 Ford DFW won the Tasman that year, it was the final championship he won before his untimely death at Hockenheim that April.

harves engine 740 Series Repco 2.5 Tasman V8 engine. 700 Series Repco block and 40 Series ‘between the Vee’ heads’, the ’67 World Championship winning SOHC, two-valve engine in 2.5-litre Tasman spec as against its 3-litre F1 capacity.  Repco claimed 275bhp @ 8,500rpm for the 2.5, and 330bhp @ 8,400 rpm for the 3-litre variant. Lucas injection trumpets, Bosch distributor and plenty of chrome and cadminium plating in shot (P Houston)
image Harvey in the BT11A Repco at Longford, 1968. The attention Bob Jane placed on the presentation of his cars is clear. Note the seatbelt, six-point? (oldracephotos.com-H Ellis)

Harves’ did three Australian rounds, only finishing the wet, final Longford event. By the start of the Gold Star series he slipped into Jane’s new Brabham BT23E which had been Jack’s 1968 Tasman mount.

Harvey raced the final round of the 1967 Gold Star Series in IC-4-64 after Martin announced his retirement. He was already well familiar with Repco power, the 740 Series Repco had been shoe-horned into his Ron Phillips owned BT14 F2 Brabham.

Third place at Sandown was his only finish in the car. John commented in a Facebook exchange about this car “…On handling, Peter Molloy and I were still developing the chassis setup, however in the Diamond Trophy race in 1967 (pictured below) at Oran Park I set a new outright record on the last lap”, so they were improving the car.

The engine and Hewland ‘box was removed from the BT14 which Jane acquired, and popped into the BT11A which it was figured would better cope with the power than the BT14 F2 frame and related hardware.

IC-4-64 is still alive and well, as part of the Bob Jane Estate, in FPF engined form.

harves wf pitlane Harvey in the WF pitlane, Tasman meeting ’68. The BT11A has a vestigial spoiler and a few ducts the it didn’t have when CC FPF powered. Jewels of things these ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams, very successful ones at that (B Williamson)
harves wf from inside At the Warwick Farm Tasman meeting again (J Stanley)
harvey repco Competitor view of the BT11A and its luvverly Repco RB 740 2.5-litre 275 bhp V8 (P Houston)

Credits…

autopics.com.au-Richard Austin, John Stanley, Peter Houston, sergent.com, Bob Williamson, oldracephotos.com-Dick Simpson, Harold Ellis and Harrisson, oldracingcars.com, Stephen Dalton Collection

harvey repco (P Houston)

Brabham BT14 FL-1-65 Repco, Angus & Coote Diamond Trophy, 27 September 1967…

The shot of Harvey in the Ron Phillips owned Brabham referred to above, on the way to victory in the Diamond Trophy at Oran Park.

John made his name in speedway and transitioned into road racing in an Austin/Morris Cooper S, and then into open-wheelers in this ex-Bib Stillwell car. The Brabham received progressively bigger Lotus-Ford twin-cams, with Harvey going quicker and quicker, before the machine copped its Repco V8 Birthday between the 1967 Tasman and Gold Star Series. Rennmax’ Bob Britton performed the surgery to pop the Repco into the BT14 frame, creating a BT14 jig in the process.

It wasn’t that successful in Repco form; DNF/DNS at Lakeside, Surfers, Mallala and Symmons Plains, third place in the Sandown Gold Star round in September was the car’s best, behind Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco and Spencer Martin aboard BT11A IC-4-64.

Harvey during the Diamond Trophy meeting at Oran Park (oldracephotos.com-Dick Simpson)

Harvey’s Bob Jane drive commenced aboard IC-4-64 in the final Gold Star round, the Hordern Trophy, at Warwick Farm in December 1967.

So…Harvey in 12 or 14 months drove quite a few different Brabham/engine combinations! BT 14 Ford, BT14 Repco, BT11A Climax, BT11A Repco, and then BT23E Repco for the ’68 Gold Star Series. Mind you he missed the ’68 Gold Star.

The ‘noice new Brabham crashed after a rear suspension upright failed in practice for the opening Bathurst round. Harvey’s big accident and subsequent recovery kept him away from racing for the rest of the year.

Harvey aboard the Jane Racing Brabham BT23E Repco 830, during the Symmons Plains Gold Star round in March 1970, at the end of its competitive life. He won the race from Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco and Kevin Bartlett’s Mildren Waggott (oldracephotos.com-Harrisson)

Tailpiece…

(S Dalton Collection)

The July 1965 Oran Park meeting program shows Harvey’s Austin Cooper S ahead of George Garth’s Ford Cortina GT during the OP May 1965 meeting.

Finito…

image

(B Hardy)

Sales promotion of the Mini Cooper early-sixties style…

The shot above is by Bert Hardy, the extraordinary photographer of the UK’s Picture Post by then plying his trade in advertising. See here for more about Hardy; 1947 JCC Jersey Road Race… | primotipo… The photos below are via other agencies working on the BMC account.

It’s a decade before my time but are very much of the time aren’t they?

The caption for the opening shot, ‘Mini Rally at Brands Hatch’ is dated January 6, 1965. Touring car racing was never quite the same again when the Minis joined in on the fun, the magic little cars punched above their weight, as often as not being outright contenders in addition to inevitable class wins.

Click here for my Cooper S articles; https://primotipo.com/2015/09/29/monte-carlo-rally-1967-morris-cooper-s/ and here; Cooper S… | primotipo…

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Bruce McLaren is at left in the shot above, taken at Goodwood in 1961, and again at far left in the one below..

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Partially hidden behind the attractive babes (I don’t spose I’m allowed to make that kind of factual, complimentary observation these days) is, my friend and Cooper Historian Stephen Dalton tells me Jack Brabham’s 1961 Indy 500 spare car, a Cooper T53 Climax 2.7 FPF. See here for a feature on Coper’s Indy adventure; Jack’s Indy Cooper T54 Climax… | primotipo…

It is it a real-test day, John Cooper is tending to the engine in the similar shot above, “they tested a Cooper T55 that day too.”

Stephen comments further, “KEL 236 is a numberplate borrowed from a motorbike and fitted to the 997 Cooper prototype. The brochure cover image has the grille and bonnet badge touched in by a graphic artist.”

“It’s totally different to the colour shots, as they were still developing stuff for the car when these April 1961 photos were taken. No production 997s existed until July 1961.”

“They also did Austin Healey Sprite Mk2 press photos in similar scenes to this on the same day, neither BMC car was officially released at the time.”

Credits…

Bert Hardy, Getty Images, Stephen Dalton

Finito…

(unattributed)

Man, what a shot!

A steam loco probably doing the Hobart to Launceston milk-run – from the south of Tasmania to its north – blasts its way over the Longford Viaduct circa 1930. Points for the train and car make/model/year folks?

The challenge of course was then to come up with a monochrome photograph of a racing car from exactly the same angle.

(R Edgerton Collection)

This one of Stan Jones’ Maserati 250F is the best I can do. It’s during a good meeting for Stan, he won the Australian Grand Prix that March 1959 Labour Day long-weekend. See here; Stan Jones, AGP, Longford: Gold Star Series 1959… | primotipo…

Credits…

Ron Edgerton Collection. As to the first shot, the fella who posted it on Facebook disappeared with his shot as quickly as he arrived. Happy to attribute whoever you are/were.

(unattributed)

Tailpiece…

Longford’s Viaduct and Railway Bridge close by to it are popular places for train-spotters.

The lattice-truss, wrought iron and steel bridge which spans the South Esk River was the equal longest bridge in Australia for a decade or so after the Welsh built structure was commissioned in 1870.

Those lovely pillars were removed during the 1960s – where were the Builders Labourers Federation when you needed them – there is a gofundme.com program to raise the $A80k required to replace the four pillars, two at each end of the bridge, an important bit of our industrial heritage.

More trains, planes and automobiles; Context and progress: Trains, planes and racing cars… | primotipo…

Finito…

image

Jack Brabham with his F1 Brabham BT11 Climax, F2 BT16 Honda and one of Ron Tauranac’s bare spaceframes Jack has borrowed from Ron’s production line.

The photo isn’t dated but it’s between mid-June and mid-September 1965 – works Brabhams used number 14 at the Belgian, French, British, Dutch, and Italian Grands Prix.

In some ways it was a bit of an investment year for Brabham. It was their first year using Honda engines and Goodyear tyres, not to forget the Repco Brabham Engines V8s being developed in Melbourne. All of these initiatives paid off in spades the following year. Mind you, investment year or otherwise, Dan Gurney made the BT11 sing in F1 with a swag of top three results, albeit no wins in 1965.

Jack worked with Honda engineers to get more torque from their peaky but powerful 1-litre four cylinder engines. The team partnered with Goodyear from the January-March 1965 Tasman Cup. Lots of work on compounds and profiles helped the Brabham Racing Organisation win the 1966 F2 (Trophees de France) and F1 World championships with Honda and Repco-Brabham powered cars respectively.

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The boys – Tauranac (or not?) in front of the partially obscured Denny Hulme and Jack – ponder a Brabham Honda as it’s loaded onto the transporter. See here for a feature on these jewels of cars, and engines; ‘XXXII Grand Prix de Reims’ F2 3 July 1966: 1 Litre Brabham Honda’s… | primotipo…

The photo requires detective work as the Getty Archive caption has it as a Lotus 33 Climax V8, which it most assuredly is not! The caption reads “Motor Sport Formula 1. In July 1965, during a report on Motor Sport and Formula 1, the Lotus 33 returning to the back of a truck, men and a driver discussing outside.”

While it’s not the French Grand Prix, that year held at Clermont Ferrand in June, it could be during the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone during July, a meeting the photographer, noted Paris Match regular Jean Tesseyre, may have attended.

Does it look like the Silverstone paddock to any of you Brits? There was no F2 race on the program but it is possible that Brabham did some test laps during the meeting and/or had the BT16 Honda on display. Perhaps the car is being loaded up at MRD or BRO in Surrey?

I love solving these mysteries if any of you can assist, attendee identification in full would be a bonus…

Credits…

Manuel Litran, Jean Tesseyre

Finito…

(S Dalton Collection)

Bluebird Proteus CN7 and its little brother, Elfin Catalina Ford chassis #6313 during the 1963 unsuccessful attempt to set the Land Speed Record at Lake Eyre, South Australia…

The driver of the Elfin Catalina is Ted Townsend, a Dunlop tyre fitter. The car was built by Garrie Cooper and his artisans at Edwardstown, an Adelaide suburb for Dunlop Tyres to use on the Lake Eyre salt to assist in determining certain characteristics of the tyres fitted to Donald Campbell’s Bluebird during 1963/4.

The Elfin Catalina’s normal use was in Formula Junior or 1.5-litre road racing events. In LSR test application it was fitted with miniature Bluebird tyres and driven over the salt to determine factors such as the coefficient of friction and adhesion using a Tapley meter.

“The Tapley Brake Test Meter is a scientific instrument of very high accuracy, still used today. It consists of a finely balanced pendulum free to respond to any changes in speed or angle, working through a quadrant gear train to rotate a needle round a dial. The vehicle is then driven along a level road at about 20 miles per hour, and the brakes fully applied. When the vehicle has stopped the brake efficiency reading can be taken from the figure shown by the recording needle on the inner brake scale, whilst stopping distance readings are taken from the outer scale figures.”

It’s generally thought the Elfin was running a (relatively) normal pushrod 1500cc Cortina engine with a Cosworth A3 cam and Weber DCOE carburettors for the Bluebird support runs.

And yes, the number of Elfin’s chassis was 6313. Was Donald Campbell aware of this? Certainly that could explain to the deeply superstitious man how on earth torrential rain came to this vast, dry place where rain had not fallen in the previous 20 years.

Dunlop’s Ted Townsend aboard the company Elfin Catalina. Car fitted with 13 inch versions of the 52 inch Bluebird wheels and tyres. Photo at Muloorina Station perhaps (Dunlop)
(S Dalton Collection)

Australian motoring/racing journalist, racer and rally driver Evan Green project managed the successful July 1964 record attempt on behalf of Oz oil company Ampol, who were by then Bluebird’s major sponsor. He wrote a stunning account of his experience that winter on the Lake Eyre salt which was first published in Wheels April 1981 issue.

His account of Andrew Mustard and his teams contribution to the project is interesting and ultimately controversial from Campbell’s perspective.

Andrew was Dunlop’s representative during the 1963 Lake Eyre campaign, he returned in 1964 as a contractor with the very large responsibility for the tyre preparation and maintenance of the circa 22 km long salt track.

Green describes the incredibly harsh conditions under which the team worked “…Mustard…spent weeks with his men on the salt, working in the sort of reflected heat that few people could imagine let alone tolerate…Men frozen at dawn were burned black at midday. Lips were cracked and refused to heal. Faces set in leathery masks, creased by the wrinkles of perpetual squints.”

Evan Green picks up the challenges the track team faced, “The maddest thing is what’s being done to the track,” said Lofty Taylor, the gangling leader of the refuelling team. Lofty worked for Ampol, and I’d known him since the Ampol Trial days. l had enormous respect for his opinion. He was practical, versatile, prepared to move mountains if asked and yet able to detect the faintest whiff of cant at long distance.

He admitted he knew nothing about grading salt but pointed out that neither did anyone else, for the science of building record tracks on salt lakes was in its infancy. And he reckoned he knew as much about it as anyone else.

“They’ve been cutting salt off the top all the time,” he said. “All that grading and cutting is weakening it, and bringing moisture to the top.”

“What would you do, Lofty?” “Leave it alone for a while. Let the crust heal and harden.”

The track squad was ruffled. The problem, they said, was due to the constant interruptions to their work. They couldn’t get the surface right with the car (Bluebird) running every other day and cutting grooves in the salt. So runs were suspended. Andrew Mustard’s team would pursue their theories and have a clear week to try to bring the track up to record standard. Donald took some of the crew to Adelaide, for a few days break and all seemed calm. In fact, a major storm was brewing.

Massive 52 inch wheels and Dunlop tyres, the weight was huge, note the neat hydraulic lift to allow their fitment (unattributed)
(F Radman Collection)
Andrew Mustard aboard the Elfin on the salt- note Catalina’s rear drum brakes (Catalina Park)

“Mustard had brought an Elfin racing car to the lake. It was fitted with tyres that had scaled-down versions of the tread being used on Bluebird. He drove it to test such things as tread temperature and the coefficient of friction of the salt surface at different times of the day.

He usually drove the little single-seater down the strip before Campbell made a test run. On one occasion, he was driving the Elfin up the strip when Campbell was driving the Bluebird down the strip and the world’s highest speed head-on collision was avoided by a whisker, with a sheepish Mustard – spotting the rooster tail of white salt spray bearing down on him – spinning off the track.”

“One day during the lull, Ken Norris (Bluebird’s designer) and I went to the lake to see how the track work was progressing. To our astonishment, we found the CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) timekeepers and stewards assembled at their record posts,” wrote Green.

“Andrew’s going for his records,” one of them said, and, seeing our bewilderment, gave us that ‘don’t tell me you don’t know about it look’. It seemed there had been an application made for attempts on various Australian class records for categories suiting the Elfin. Neither Ken nor I knew anything of it. Nor, it seemed, did Campbell, and when he returned that night there was an eruption. The track squad was sacked and Lofty Taylor given the job of preparing the strip.”

“What do you suggest?” I asked Lofty. “We should all go away for a couple of weeks and let the salt alone.”

Enjoy Greens full story of this remarkable endeavour of human achievement, via the link at the end of the article, but lets come back to Mustard and the Elfin, he wasn’t finished with it yet!

When the 1964 Bluebird record attempts were completed, Mustard, of North Brighton in Adelaide bought the Elfin from Dunlop.

It was in poor condition as a result of its work on the Lake Eyre salt, with the magnesium based uprights quite corroded. It was repaired over the end of 1963-64 and a single Norman supercharger fitted.

The car was then raced at Mallala race and for 1500cc record attempts in 1964 using the access road alongside the main hangars at Edinburgh Airfield (Weapons Research Establishment) at Salisbury, South Australia. The northern gates of the airfield were opened by the Australian Federal Police to give extra stopping distance. By then the specifications of the Norman supercharged Elfin included;

• a single air-cooled Norman supercharger driven by v-belts developing around 14psi. The v-belts were short lived, burning out in around thirty seconds,

• four exhaust stubs, with the middle two siamesed,

• twin Amal carburettors,

• a heavily modified head by Alexander Rowe (a Speedway legend and co-founder of the Ramsay-Rowe Special midget) running around 5:1 compression and a solid copper head gasket/decompression plate. The head had been worked within an inch of it’s life and shone like a mirror. The head gasket on the other hand was a weak spot, lasting only twenty seconds before failing. As runs had to be performed back-to-back within an hour, the team became very good at removing the head, annealing the copper gasket with an oxy torch and buttoning it all up again inside thirty minutes.

The Norman supercharged Elfin, operated by Mustard and Michael McInerney set the following Australian national records during it’s Salisbury runs on October 11, 1964:

• the flying start kilometre record (16.21s, 138mph),

• the flying start mile record (26.32s, 137mph), and

• the standing start mile record (34.03s, 106mph).

This was not 6313’s only association with Norman superchargers. The Elfin was later modified to have:

• dual air-cooled Norman superchargers (identical to the single Norman used earlier), mounted over the gearbox. The superchargers were run in parallel, with a chain drive. The chain drive was driven by a sprocket on the crank, running up to a slave shaft that ran across to the back of the gearbox to drive the first supercharger, then down to drive the second. The boost pressure in this configuration had risen to 29psi,

• two 2″ SU carburettors (with four fuel bowls) jetted for methanol by Peter Dodd (another Australian Speedway legend and owner of Auto Carburettor Services),

• a straight cut first gear in a VW gearbox. The clutch struggled to keep up with the torque being put out by the Norman blown Elfin, and was replaced with a 9” grinding disk, splined in the centre and fitted with brass buttons, it was either all in, or all out!

In twin Norman supercharged guise the racer was driven by McInerney to pursue the standing ¼ mile, standing 400m and flying kilometre records in October 1965. Sadly, the twin-Norman blown Elfin no longer holds those records, as the ¼ mile and flying kilometre (together with a few more records) were set at this time by Alex Smith in a Valano Special.

The day after the 1965 speed record trials (Labour Day October 1965), McInerney raced the twin-Norman supercharged Elfin at Mallala in Formule Libre as there was insufficient time to revert the engine back to Formula II specifications. The photo above shows McInerney at Mallala.

The car was used for training South Australian Police Force driving instructors in advanced handling techniques, and was regularly used at Mallala and other venues (closed meetings for the Austin 7 club, etc).

It was sold by Mustard to racer/rally driver Dean Rainsford in 1966, by then without the Norman supercharger it ran a mildly tuned Cortina engine. In the ensuing 26 years it passed through nine more owners before Rainsford re-acquired it in 1993. After many years of fossicking he found the original 1965 Mustard/McInerney supercharged engine but sadly without it’s Norman supercharger.

The Elfin is retained by Rainsford and is often on display in his Adelaide office. The car made a rare public appearance at Melbourne’s 2014 Motorclassica to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of Campbell’s land and water speed records set in Australia. The car was amongst other Campbell memorabilia.

Evan Green: ‘How Donald Campbell Broke The World LSR on Lake Eyre’…

https://www.whichcar.com.au/features/classic-wheels/classic-wheels-donald-campbell-and-his-bluebird-car-world-speed-record

Etcetera…

Credits…

Article by Evan Green originally published in Wheels magazine April 1981, Andrew Mustard thread on The Nostalgia Forum particularly the contributions of Stephen Dalton, Fred Radman, Theotherharv and Mark Dibben. Stephen Dalton, Fred Radman and Catalina Park Photo Collections, Dunlop

Tailpiece: Elfin Catalina Ford ‘6313’, Motorclassica 2014…

(Pinterest)

Finito…

(B King Collection)

Peter Stubberfield applying all of the energy to his Bugatti T35B Monoposto for which he was famous, “its probably at Prescott, perhaps Pardon Hairpin,” reckons Bob King.

The good doctor’s (King’s) study continues to be an Aladdin’s Cave of automotive treasures, this time the British Racing Drivers Club 1948-1949 yearbook.

Stubberfield hailed from Cliveden View Cottage, Cookham, Berkshire just over the hill from my old mate Chris Stops, I am a regular visitor from the colonies to his ‘Bourne End Hilton’, god’s own country it is too.

Stubberfield at Prescott (cookham)

Chassis #4840 was ex-George Easton and Faye Taylour. In modified monoposto form, with twin rear-wheels and fairly standard engine specification, the combination was prodigiously fast in the British hills in the 1930s and early post-war years.

Apart from information in period documents such as this one, I find the ads fascinating in style or substance. The two below are those of Wade Superchargers and Herbert Johnson, Bond Street purveyors of headgear to the gentry.

Its funny what you find!

I was Googling away to find information on our friend Peter Stubberfield, and what should be for sale but Peter’s old helmet! Not one made by Herbert Johnson mind you, but rather by S Lewis & Co of Carburton Street, London.

It’s a shellac composition shell with fixed peak, moleskin-lined leather side and neck protection – note the Bugatti enamel badge affixed to the front. Also in the shot are Stubberfield’s lightweight racing goggles, a photo of him in the T35B and another with his ‘equally famous pet mascot’ together with two early post-war Prescott programs.

(Bonhams)

Credits…

BRDC Motor Racing Annual 1948-1949 – Bob King Collection, Bonhams

Tailpiece…

Finito…

(P Hasenbohler)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1974-75 Monteverdi range (curbsideclassic.com)

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

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

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

Etcetera…

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

Credits…

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

Tailpieces…

(MotorSport)

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

(MotorSport)

Hmm, perhaps the most polite way to express it is that the MBM’s best angle is three-quarter front.

Finito…

(B Dobbins)

Ray Parsons keeps popping up in recent Lotus and Allan Moffat research.

He is just about to climb aboard a Lotus Cortina in the Marlboro paddock, Maryland in August 1966. Parsons shared this car with Moffat – with helmet on behind the car – to 13th place in the 12-Hour enduro.

The little-known Australian mechanic and driver seems to have shone brightly for a short period of time then disappeared from the scene.

Let’s treat this piece as incomplete research. I’m interested to hear from any of you who can flesh this story out into something more comprehensive.

Ray Parsons with Peter Arundell’s shoes, Arundell and Team Lotus Lotus 20 Ford FJ at Goodwood, Easter 1961
Parsons and Jim Clark at right, discuss their prospects at Sebring in 1964 (unattributed)

Parsons first popped up as Peter Arundell’s mechanic. He had left the Australian Army after nine years not long before, then jumped on a ship for the Old Dart to visit his sister. He was soon bored playing Tommy Tourist and responded to an ad for a race mechanic at Arundell’s garage in 1961.

When Peter was picked up by Lotus, Parsons tagged along. Apart from Arundell’s race program, Ray was kept busy working as Project Engineer on the Lotus 23. The prototype was unused so he did a deal with Colin Chapman, buying it for £20. He did well in club racing with the Ford 1150cc pushrod powered car, including a win at Goodwood in the Peter Collins Trophy.

Later, he was tasked with preparation of the Team Lotus’ Lotus 28, the Lotus Cortina. This segued into management of ‘Team Lotus Racing with English Ford Line’ (Ford Britain’s racing of Lotus Cortinas in the US) and involved lots of travel between the UK and the US, sometimes two trips across the Atlantic in Boeing 707s a week, preparing cars for many different guest drivers from 1964.

Ray doubled up as relief driver in the longer US races co-driving first with Jim Clark in the ’64 Sebring 12-Hour, steering for two of the twelve hours they were 21st overall and second in class.

Clark/Parsons Lotus Cortina at Sebring in 1964 (Sports Car Digest)

Parsons was of course ‘the visionary’ who aided and abetted Allan Moffat’s entreaties to assist the team at Watkins Glen that year. Moffat’s persistence and efforts as an unpaid gofer was rewarded with paid work, and ultimately works-Ford drives in the US, and tandem racing of Moffat’s ex-works Lotus Cortina in Australia commencing with the first Sandown 6-Hour in late 1964. See here for a piece on Moffat’s US years; Moffat’s Lotus Cortina, Shelby, K-K and Trans-Am phases… | primotipo…

In 1965 Parsons had a very busy year commencing with the Tasman Cup, looking after Jim Clark’s Lotus 32B Climax 2.5 FPF. In a great tour, Clark won four of the seven rounds and the non-championship Lakeside 99, he was nine points clear of Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T79 with Jack Brabham third, Brabham BT11A Climax.

In April he raced a Team Lotus, Lotus Elan 26R at Goodwood, again as a project engineer to drive and develop the Elan as a racer. He was seventh and first in the under 1.6-litre class. He raced again at Crystal Place in June, and in the Guards International at Brands Hatch in August where he was second overall and first in class.

Lotus announced an on-the-spot spares service van at British circuits, “to be manned by factory personnel, Ray Parsons (when his racing commitments permit) Works Driver and Liasion Engineer, and Rod Sawyer, Sales Executive of Lotus Components Ltd.” MotorSport reported.

Late in the year Parsons had several drives of John Willment’s Lotus 35 Ford F3 car. He crashed at Silverstone in July, was fifth at Oulton Park in August, Piers Courage was up front in a Brabham BT10 Ford that day. Parsons won a week later at Snetterton. He was third in the season ending Lombank Trophy at Brands Hatch on Boxing Day in a Team Lotus, Lotus 41 Ford – Lotus’ 1966 spaceframe F3 car – behind Piers Courage and Chris Irwin. Clearly the bloke had talent.

Parsons and Jim Clark confer in the Longford pitlane, Tasman Series, March 1966. Lotus 39 Climax 2.5 FPF (oldracephotos.com/David Keep)
Parsons, Clark and Lotus 39 Climax in the Warwick Farm pitlane in February 1966 – only Tasman Cup round victory that summer (ABC)

Parsons again accompanied Clark to the Australasia for the Tasman series, but 1966 was the year of the V8s. The BRM and Repco-Brabham V8s were a good deal more powerful than the 2.5-litre Coventry Climax fours powering the likes of Clark’s Lotus 39.

Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 1.9-litre V8 took the Tasman Cup with four wins, the Parson’s tended 39 won only at Warwick Farm. Sold to Leo Geoghegan, this Lotus 39 – fitted with Repco Brabham 2.5-litre V8s from early 1967 – became a much loved, and successful car in Australia all the way into the early months of 1970.

The Lotus Cortina program continued in the US, Ray drove solo in one of the cars at Kent, where he was eighth. He teamed with Moffat in the Marlboro 12-Hour at Maryland, Washington in August, to 13th place.

A month later, Ray shared a car with Melbourne’s Jon Leighton in the Green Valley 6-Hour in Dallas, Texas. The pair were seventh, two places in front of the Moffat/Harry Firth Lotus Cortina. A week later Moffat/Firth were seventh in the Riverside 4-Hour with Parsons 13th driving alone.

Toowoomba born engineer, John Joyce left Australia for the UK having rebuilt a Cooper and built the Koala Ford FJ. With these credentials he joined Lotus Components in 1963, rising to become Chief Development Engineer.

Joyce and Parsons worked together on the Elan and other projects, the death of Joyce’s brother, Frankie, and the illness of his mother were catalysts for him to return to Australia.

Ray was keen to come home too, a decision made easy as Joyce was concepting the first Bowin; the P3 was to be a monocoque European F2 car powered by a Ford FVA 1.6-litre engine.

Glyn Scott’s Bowin P3 Ford FVA at Symmons Plains in 1969 (I Peters Collection)

In September and October 1967 Joyce had patterns for the wheels, rear uprights, and steering rack made in the UK. Parsons joined Joyce in Sydney, where the P3 was completed by the two talented artisans in a Brookvale factory before being delivered to Queenslander, Glyn Scott. It was first tested at Warwick Farm in July 1968.

And there, it seems, the trail goes cold. Ray didn’t continue with Bowin, until 1975 a significant manufacturer of racing cars. What became of this talented mechanic, development driver, racer, and team manager until he broke cover in Far North Queensland circa 2014.

Credits…

Auslot.com, ‘Theme Lotus’ Doug Nye, Bill Dobbins, Sports Car Digest, oldracephotos.com, Ian Peters Collection

Tailpiece…

(B Dobbins)

Ray Parsons hustles the car he and Allan Moffat shared at Marlboro Park Speedway in 1966. The track first opened in 1952 as a dirt oval, as used in 1966 it was 2.734 miles long. Located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, it was used until 1969 when a better facility at Summit Point, West Virginia sealed its fate. Its mortal remains exist, very run down.

You Lotus Cortina perves should suss this great article about the early development of the car by Hugh Haskell, the engineer charged by Colin Chapman to turn his fag-packet idea into a racer for the road; Lotus Cortina Information – Early Development at Cheshunt – Hugh Haskell This contemporary road test by Bill Boddy in the January 1964 MotorSport may be of interest too; Jim Clark: Lotus Cortina, Sebring 1964… | primotipo…

Finito…