Archive for the ‘Obscurities’ Category

(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,

Tailpiece…

(MotorSport)

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

Finito…

(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…

“True enough Sir, it is a spaceframe, but those cars only have 105bhp, so a monocoque isn’t really necessary.”

Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Lotus founder, Colin Chapman discuss the merits of Dave Baldwin’s F3 Lotus 59 Ford at the Racing Car Show, London Olympia, January 1969. It’s a Lotus 47 Ford behind. More on the the show; London Racing Car Show, Olympia 1969… | primotipo…

The Sport and Industry was well connected, there are no shortage of shots of Royals attending motor racing related events or employers. Let’s stick with the Duke.

(PA Images)

“Where’s Norman gone? I’m sure it’s missing a bit over four-five, those Webers need a tickle.”

Here aboard an XKSS at MIRA, Nuneaton on April 2, 1957. “The Duke was reported to have travelled at a speed of 120mph of the circuit in the export model car.” Getty Images wrote. Piece about the XKSS; Is That A Pistol In Your Pocket!? : Steve McQueens Jaguar XKSS… | primotipo…

(PA Images)

Love this visit to Coventry Climax in June 1966.

“Well look, we’d spent a fortune of shareholders money on Grand Prix racing and we just couldn’t continue with it!” Leonard Lee to HRH…

What a shot though; 1.5-litre FWMV V8 at left, the stillborn 1.5-litre FWMW flat-16 in the foreground, an SU fed FPF in front of Prince Phillip, and Wally Hassan to the right. Article about this visit here; Coventry Climax ET199… | primotipo…

(PA Images)

“Ooh-yes! Just a few laps I think, do you promise not to tell my wife?”

Is it David Brown at left? Aboard Reg Parnell’s Aston Martin DB3S at Goodwood in July 1953. Piece on the DB3S here; David McKay’s Aston Martin DB3S’s… | primotipo…

(BRDC)

Alan Jones minding his Ps-and-Qs at Silverstone during the 1975 British GP weekend.

Prince Phillip was President in Chief of the British Racing Drivers Club for 42 years, then remained a member after handing over the baton to HRH The Duke of Kent. “His support of the club for this long period will be remembered with affection, gratitude and respect.” the club recorded upon his death in April last year.

Etcetera…

(Libraries Tas)

Happy days, this homage to Prince Phillip finally gives me the chance to use this gem. It was taken in Tasmania during the 1954 Royal Tour, the first of many trips to Australia by the couple.

It is such a picture of elegance, I’ve no idea who the photographer is, but the artist has done a marvellous job. The joy of the occasion is shown on the Queen’s face, there is a sense of motion given the movement in the dress’ fabric, the Duke is ramrod straight and tall. Jeeves maintains focus looking dead-ahead! Love to know exactly where it is if any of you Tassies can oblige.

Can’t help you with the Rolls’ chassis number…

Credits…

Tim Graham, Paul Popper, Getty Images, BRDC, Libraries Tasmania

Tailpiece…

Fancy giving the Italians a free kick!

The tall Duke trying to extract himself from his small Fiat 500 test-car at Fiat’s Lingotto factory, Turin in December 1962. Fiat 8001 Turbina… | primotipo…

Finito…

It’s amazing given that the Monaco quayside was unguarded for so many decades, that only two drivers took involuntary Monte Carlo Harbour dips, Ascari, aboard a Lancia D50 in 1955, and Hawkins in a Lotus 33 Climax a decade later.

The Australian was still making his name, while Ascari was at the top of his game, and enjoying somewhat of a renaissance at the wheel of Vittorio Jano’s masterpiece. The fates of both Monaco bathers were similar, both died aboard sports-racers. Poor Ascari in a pointless testing accident aboard a Ferrari 750 Monza at Monza on May 25, 1955, only three days after Monaco. Hawkeye died a grisly, fiery, probably component failure caused death aboard a Lola T70 Mk3B Chev at Oulton Park on May 26, 1969.

Paul Hawkins in the ex-Clark/Spence Lotus 33 Climax R8 early in the 1965 Monaco GP (MotorSport)
Alberto Ascari, Lancia D50 ahead of the Maserati 250F shared by Jean Behra and Cesare Perdisa. Monaco 1955 (unattributed)

In 1955 Ascari inherited the lead after the Mercedes W196 duo of JM Fangio and Stirling Moss dominated the first half of the race; Fangio retired with transmission trouble, then Moss blew an engine on lap 80. Ascari approached the chicane too quickly – perhaps distracted by crowd reaction to Moss’ retirement, or the lapped Cesare Perdisa behind – and burst through hay bales and sand bags into the harbour, having missed a huge steel bollard by only centimetres.

The Lancia bubbled to the bottom of the harbour while the crowd were mesmerised with fear for his safety, only three seconds passed before Ascari’s familiar blue-helmet appeared above the surface. He was taken aboard a boat, with a broken nose, but otherwise ok.

Ascari a split second before his swim (unattributed)
One shaken and plenty stirred Lancia D50 being recovered from the depths after the race (MotorSport)

Lancia had given dispensation to Ascari to race a Ferrari 750 Monza with his friend, Eugenio Castelotti in the Monza 1000km on May 29. Ascari travelled to Monza only to watch Castellotti test the car, then decided late in the day to do a few laps wearing jacket, tie and Castellotti’s helmet. On his third lap he inexplicably crashed on the high-speed Curva del Vialone, he died within minutes of having been thrown out of the somersaulting car.

All of Italy grieved.

Tin Tin Ascari cartoon

Wonderful Alberto Ascari portrait from El Grafico, an Argentinian magazine. 1950 Ferrari 125

British Boys Own Character – WW2 Spitfire pilot, highly credentialled amateur racer and man of independent means – James Richard ‘Dickie’ Stoop (July 30, 1920-May 19, 1968) acquired the first Lotus 33, chassis R8, for Paul Hawkins use in early 1965. See here for its history; Lotus 33 R8 race history | OldRacingCars.com

The Equipe’s first race was at the Sunday Mirror Trophy at Goodwood in mid-May, there Hawkins started from the rear of the grid after mechanical dramas which continued in the race, he was out after one lap with oil scavenge problems. Jim Clark won in a Lotus 25 Climax.

The BRDC International Trophy followed at Silverstone a month later. He had a better weekend, qualifying on the second last row and finishing tenth, up front was Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 and John Surtees Ferrari 158.

Then it was off to Monte Carlo for Hawkins’ championship debut.

He qualified the car 14th and was running well, then, on lap 80 (of 100) he clipped the barrier on turn-in, causing the car to turn sharp-left – between the bollards, exactly as Ascari had managed – then sank 10 metres to the bottom. “Only when it settled on the bottom and rescue divers arrived did Hawkins extricate himself, take a huge gulp of air from the proffered mouthpiece and rocket back up to the surface,” John Smailes wrote.

The elegance of simplicity belies the deep underlying insights of Lotus 25/33 conception. Paul Hawkins flat-chat in R8 at Monaco in 1965 (MotorSport)
It ain’t perfect, but David Hudson’s shot catches Hawkins mid-flight just before splashdown (MotorSport)

“He’d had the extraordinary presence of mind to hit the engine kill-switch just as the car entered the water, saving the very expensive motor owned by the very poor team from instant destruction. It was dried out and used again in the following Grand Prix.”

R8 recovery post race. That the car is upside down makes you wonder if that is the way it settled on the bottom of the harbour. And therefore that Hawkeye made his escape on the way down – which cannot have been easy (Getty)

Well, not quite actually! While Paul was ok, the team missed both following GPs at Spa and Silverstone while the car was dried out, and carefully made-good, before reappearing at the Nurburgring on August 1.

Paul again failed to finish, having qualified 19th, he was out with undisclosed mechanical dramas after four of the 15 laps.

It was the final race for Paul aboard R8, Stoop sold it to MGM for a planned film, it then passed via Jo Siffert to Sweden’s principal museum of modern art, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, where it remains as a prized exhibit. 

No shortage of comedians during the German GP weekend. R8 looks no worse the wear for its dunking two months before! (MotorSport)
Paul Hawkins at right, with fellow Porsche colleagues, Huschke von Hanstein, and co-driver Rolf Stommelen, after winning the 1967 Targa Florio in a Porsche 910 (MotorSport)
Dickie Stoop aboard his Porsche 911S at Snetterton, March 24, 1968 (MotorSport)

Etcetera…

Dickie Stoop : Autosport Obituary May 24, 1968.

“It is very sad to have to record the death during a club meeting at Croft last Sunday of Dickie Stoop. Apparently Dickie suffered a coronary thrombosis and died at the wheel of his Porsche 911S, which veered off the track into the bank.

James Richard Stoop had been an amateur racing driver of considerable standing for many years. His first race was the supporting F3 event at the Daily Express Silverstone in 1948, when he drove a GS1, and over the last 20 years he campaigned many types of car, but remained faithful for most of his racing to the marque Frazer-Nash.

He competed at Le Mans no fewer than 10 times: in 1950 he was 9th overall and won the 2-litre class, in 1951 he was 19th and in 1955 he was 10th. In 1958 he drove the works spaceframe AC into 8th place, again winning his class. He also took part in long-distance racing at Spa, Rouen, Montlhery and elsewhere, and in 1964 was 3rd overall in the Rand 3 hours co-driving Peter Sutcliffe’s E-type.

He performed prolifically in club racing, not only in Frazer-Nashes but also in triumphs, Healeys, a D-Type Jaguar and a Lotus 11. He also drove a Formula 2 Cooper in the late ‘50s, and with the passing of Frazer-Nash line he transferred his loyalties to Porsche. His successive Type 356 Carreras, registered YOU 4 and 5 HOT, brought him a lot of wins; having been co-victor in the 1959 Autosport Championship with the Sebring Frazer-Nash, he won the Autosport 3 hours at Snetterton the following year in YOU 4 after a tremendous battle with Chris Summers’ Elite, won his class in 1961, and then won the 2-litre division of the championship in 1962 and 1963. He also had a few races with an RS60 Porsche Spyder, and in 1964 drove a 904.

More recently he had concentrated on club production sports car racing with his silver 911S Porsche, also registered YOU 4; this car was a frequent class winner. A retired RAF officer, he was only 47.”

Credits…

MotorSport, Getty Images, Allen Brown’s Oldracingcars.com, ‘Formula One: The Australian and New Zealand Story’ John Smailes

Tailpiece…

Alberto Ascari chases teammate Eugenio Castellotti, superb MotorSport image, Lancia D50s, Monaco 1955.

Finito…

Seasonal Salutations…

Posted: December 24, 2021 in Obscurities
(NAA)

You lucky bastard Santa, a Bondi Beach smorgasbord by the look of it.

This type of wanton abuse of the female form is unacceptable these days of course, but it was kosher in 1969, thankfully.

We are a multi-cultural lot over here, Christmas seems to be ‘celebrated’ by most of the religious brands, even those where it isn’t strictly part of the worship-regime.

Thanks for reading primotipo again this year, hopefully we – Bob King and I – have provided some solace from the dreaded Covid-lurgy.

I’m off to the beach for a few days armed with my just arrived Miller Bible, ‘The Miller Dynasty’ by Mark Dees. ‘Me mate, Big-Bad-Brucie bagged it on Ebay for $A260 – a snip he tells me. It’s the poverty pack First Edition, the ducks-guts Second Edition is more like $A800, hells-bells. All I’ve got to do is find somewhere to hide from she-who-must-be-obeyed for a few days. @ 527 pages, ’tis weighty and substantive.

Racing of a different kind at Albert Park! It’s a dropkick from my doorstep, most days start with a run or walk of the joint, roll on the April 10 Australian GP. Covid permitting…

Stay well all! And thanks.

Etcetera…

The Auto Action magazine dudes have created an Historics section within their website. You may find some of these digitised (what a painful process it is!) old articles of interest, the tab is here; Historics Archives – Auto Action Keep an eye on it, expect a couple of posts a week.

This 1974 one is a beauty by the late, great Phil Irving about ‘Production Based, or Free Design Engines’; PHIL IRVING : PRODUCTION BASED OR FREE DESIGN ENGINES? – Auto Action Bob Watson’s ‘Giovanni Bracco and the Lancia B20’ is an interesting piece about a bloke I knew little; GIOVANNI BRACCO AND THE LANCIA B20 – Auto Action One for the Maxi-Taxi fans is Tony Glynn’s wonderful technical appraisal/interview with Larry Perkins on the build of his/Peter Brock driven 1991 VN Holden Commodore Group A; PERKINS’ 1991 MOBIL 1 HOLDEN GROUP A COMMODORE BUILD – Auto Action This one by Heath McAlpine was published in 2018 upon the re-entry of the Ford Mustang to Australian racing; GALLOPING MUSTANGS – Auto Action

As I say, keep an eye on the website as articles will be uploaded every few days.

Credits…

National Archives Australia

Finito…

(B Daley)

A Bill Daley photograph of Hawkesbury hill climb, circa 1948.

How many of these cars ran in an Australian Grand Prix, is the question which pops into my mind?

In the absence of a programme for the event, this classic study of racing cars taken at Hawkesbury Hillclimb has left the experts unable to identify all the cars; we call on our readers to fill the gaps.

The photograph came from the VSCCA (NSW) collection, per favore of Richard Walton. Note the spectating ladies with their handbags; they look as though they may have come straight from church.

Surprisingly, the owner of the Jowett Bradford van has been identified. John Medley says it belonged to Bob Pritchett – familiar to many of us as the ‘RBP’ of ‘Spotlight’ in Australian Motor Sports (R. Beal Pritchett). Kent Patrick describes the van as: “The bronchial Jowett Bradford – (which will) roll over with its engine stopped”. Within coughing distance to the right of the van is the unmistakeable shape of the Sulman Singer (#32) as it appeared pre-war in Tom Sulman’s hands. Kent speculates that the Riley, next in line (#28), might be Len Masser’s Lynx Sprite. I guess the next is a ubiquitous Ford A ute.

The nearest line of cars, backed up to the fence, pose some real problems. The car to the left of the tree is a mystery; the one to the right has an external exhaust on the left side – what is it? We then have the ex-Bill Thompson K3 MG (with bonnet open) – Kent suggests it might have been owned by Ken Tubman around this time. Ken was a graduate of Fort St School, a pharmacist, and is best remembered for winning the first Redex Round Australia Trial in a Peugeot 203. He still had the K3 in the sixties; we recall him bringing it to the Geelong Speed Trials as a spectator.

The first Grand Prix Bugatti with the folded full width windscreen is probably the Type 37 of Frank Lyell, chassis number 37160. This car had been discovered abandoned in a shed behind the Federal Hotel in Narromine a few short years before – it changed hands for 10 pounds! To its right is Type 37, chassis number 37209 owned by Irwin ‘Bud’ Luke, who was very competitive in the car; he finished seventh in the Australian Grand Prix at Leyburn in 1947. Kent thinks it might be Bud attending to the front wheel with his partner Ida at the rear of the car.

The touring bodied Bugatti bears elegant coachwork by Carrosserie Profilée and is chassis number 4264. It was probably owned by Doug Helsham and likely powered by a Chrysler Six. ‘Gelignite’ Jack Murray’s Day Special is next (second car from the right), a Ford V8 powered Type 39 Bugatti, chassis number 4607, which won the 1931 Australian Grand Prix driven by Carl Junker. The last parked car appears to be an Austin ‘7’ special, possibly Frank Lyell’s car. Of course, the car leaving the starting line (partially obscured at the bottom) is Frank Kleinig in his eponymous special.

Since writing this, Cummins Archive (Paul Cummins) have posted on Facebook a 1948 programme for Hawkesbury hillclimb. It is not ‘our event’ as the numbers on recognizable cars differ – viz. Sulman Singer 32 in the photo and 44 in the published programme. This programme might help with the identification of some of the other cars – could Riley number 28 be the Rizzo Riley and the last car, which appears to be an Austin ‘7’ special be that of Ted Ansell? The list of competitors, which is a virtual Who’s Who of immediately post-war NSW racing drivers, appears to confirm Kent Patrick’s suggestion that the K3 MG is that of Tubman – see his listing under ‘Additional Entries’.

(Cummins Archive)
(Cummins Archive)
(Cummins Archive)
(Cummins Archive)

Credits…

Bob King Collection, Cummins Archive via Paul Cummins

Finito…

baghetti syracuse gp 1961

Giancarlo Baghetti on the way to his maiden Grand Prix win in his first GP aboard Ferrari 156 chassis 0008. He won four Grands Prix in 1961; the French at Reims, and three non-championship events here at Siracusa on April 24, in Napoli thee weeks later, and the Coppa Italia at Vallelunga in October …

The Syracuse locals are enjoying Giancarlo’s delicate touch and the glorious howl of the little 1.5-litre V6 around the 3.478 mile Sicilian street circuit, look closely at the kids in the trees!

While the 156 was the class of the field in 1961, Baghetti beat a field of depth in Syracuse. Dan Gurney and Jo Bonnier were second and third in Porsche 718s, then came Jack Brabham’s works Cooper T55 Climax, Roy Salvadori’s Cooper T53 Climax, and in sixth and seventh places were Jim Clark and Lorenzo Bandini in Lotus 18 Climax and Cooper T51 Maserati respectively.

John Surtees’ Cooper Climax sandwiched by the Gurney and Bonnier Porsche 718s at Syracuse in 1961 (Motorsport)
Moss chasing Baghetti and Gurney; Lotus 18, Ferrari 156 and Porsche 718 (B Cahier)
Moss in a Rob Walker Lotus 18 Climax chases Jo Bonniers’ Porsche 718 at Syracuse. Jo was third and Moss eighth with a misfiring engine (unattributed

Despite the presence of the-greats, Baghetti popped the Ferrari into second slot on the grid behind Gurney on pole. He didn’t make a great start, appearing in seventh place at the end of the first of 56 laps, but used the power of the car to progress forward through the field to lead Gurney and Surtees by the end of the sixth lap.

Once in front he led with calm, consistent precision, keeping Dan at bay to win by five seconds. The youngster’s only mistake was to whistle up the escape road at the hairpin on his victory lap when he missed his braking point whilst waving to an adoring Sicilian crowd!

The car Giancarlo raced is the very first mid-engined Ferrari – the 246P Richie Ginther debuted at Monaco in 1960, chassis 0008. This morphed progressively from a 2.5-litre GP car into the prototype 1.5-litre GP 156 by the 1960 season’s end. See this story about a most significant Ferrari, it is a great pity Enzo destroyed it along with all of its other 156 brothers and sisters; https://primotipo.com/?s=ferrari+246p

0008 always raced with the 65-degree 1.5-litre V6 rather than the definitive 1961 120-degree variant which Richie Ginther was to give debut at Syracuse, but didn’t at the last minute due to oil scavenge problems revealed in testing at Modena. Checkout this article on the testing of the 120-degree motor here; https://primotipo.com/2018/09/11/ferrari-156-testing/

Innes Ireland and Jim Clark- #20 is Jim’s Lotus 21 Climax (B Cahier)
Graham Hill, BRM P48/57 Climax FPF (unattributed)
Giancarlo, Syracuse 1961 (unattributed)

By the start of 1961 0008 was already an old nail, so Ferrari were happy to hand the machine over to a grouping of Italian car clubs – the Federazione Italiane Scuderia Automobolistiche (FISA) as a means of developing promising Italian drivers. While the car was entered by FISA, it was prepared by the factory – very well prepared as it transpired!

Giancarlo had impressed in 1960 at the wheel of a Dagrada Lancia Formula Junior, and was awarded the FISA drive. About ten of these front-engined FJ’s were built by Milanese, Angelo Dagrada who was known to Giancarlo via modifications he had made to Baghetti’s industrialist father’s Alfa Romeo 1900 road car, the family owned a foundry in Milan. Giancarlo cut his racing teeth with this Alfa and Abarths in local events.

These interesting cars bucked the Italian trend of using the ubiquitous Fiat inline-four in favour of the Lancia Appia 1098cc ten-degree V4 which was light and compact – and powerful after vast development of the standard cylinder head turned it into a crossflow unit.

Giancarlo aboard his Dagrada Lancia FJ at Monza on 25 April 1960 (unattributed)

Giancarlo was seventh in the 1960 Campionato ANPEC/Auto Italiana d’ Europa Formula Junior Championship with one win from only three point scoring rounds. In front of him was Colin Davis, Jacques Cales, Denny Hulme, Lorenzo Bandini, Henri Grandsire and Henry Taylor.

Baghetti’s win depicted in the advertisement below was a big one, the VIII Trofeo Bruno e Fofi Vigorelli at Monza on April 24-25 attracted 43 cars, 16 were non-qualifiers. Giancarlo won both his heat and one of the two finals, to win on aggregate from Juan Manuel Bordeu and Henri Grandsire aboard Stanguellini Fiats. The class field included such notables as Colin Davis, Carlo Facetti, Carroll Smith, Lorenzo Bandini, Rob Slotemaker, Ludovico Scarfiotti, Geki Russo, Gerhard Mitter, Eric Carlsson, John Whitmore, Teodoro Zeccoli and Tony Maggs.

In the Campionato Italiano, he was equal fourth with Geki Russo behind Renato Pirocchi, Roberto Lippi and Antonio Maglione, and second in the Prova Addestrativa behind Antonio Maglione.

Some sources have it that Giancarlo was a controversial choice for the FISA ride, but if you look at the races entered/won, his strike rate looks pretty good. In addition, his Dagrada was generally felt to be an inferior weapon to the Stanguellini Fiat used by most of his rivals; the choice stands the sniff test I think, whatever the case, he certainly grasped the opportunity with both hands.

Baghetti’s purple patch continued at Posillipo a month later when he won the Gran Premio di Napoli on May 14, again at the wheel of 0008.

On this occasion he finished the 60 lap, 150km road course race in front of Peter Ashmore’s Lotus and Bandini’s Centro Sud Cooper T51 Maserati, after Roy Salvadori gave chase early in the race, only to be thwarted by a puncture in his Yeoman Credit Cooper Climax.

The entry was devoid of championship front runners on this occasion, they were otherwise engaged at Monaco, Stirling Moss in one-of-those drives won the race aboard Rob Walker’s Lotus 18 Climax, one of three championship events which didn’t go to the 156 that season. The German GP also fell to Maestro Moss in the nimble, less powerful Lotus 18, and at Watkins Glen Innes Ireland won the first GP for Team Lotus, and himself, aboard a Lotus 21 Climax.

GP di Napoli, Posillipo 14 May 1961 grid. Baghetti 156 at left, Roy Salvadori, Cooper T53 Climax and then Gerry Ashmore’s Lotus 18 Climax at right. Row two is Ian Burgess’ Lotus 18 Climax at left and Lorenzo Bandini’s Cooper T51 Maserati at right. Row three is Giovanni Alberti, de Tomaso Osca at left and Menato Boffa, Cooper T45 Climax at right. Baghetti won from Ashmore and Bandini (unattributed)
Hill, Ginther and Von Trips – Ferrari 156 by three front row at Reims in 1961 (unattributed)
Reims start with Thillois in the distance, July 2, 1961. Up front its Hill, Ginther and von Trips from left to right, with Moss in the Walker Lotus 18/21 Climax on his own, and the rest- winner Giancarlo was Q12 but started poorly and is the red spec almost straddling the dashed-yellow line, about six cars from last. All of which says a lot about the Italian cars power and torque out of the slow Muizon and Thillois corners (Motorsport)
Who said the Lotus 21 had better brakes than the Ferrari 156?! Innes Ireland runs into strife under brakes whilst attempting to slip under Giancarlo watched by Jim Clark in another 21, Graham Hill, BRM, Jo Bonnier, Porsche 718, Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T55 Climax and Dan Gurney in the other works Porsche 718, Reims 1961

0008 went back to the factory for a freshen up and then joined the three factory entries of Phil Hill, Taffy von Trips and Richie Ginther at Reims on the July 2 weekend for the French Grand Prix.

There he took a stunning victory a tenth of a second clear of Gurney’s Porsche 718 with Jim Clark’s Lotus 21 Climax a further minute adrift. It was an all Ferrari front row with Hill on pole and Ginther and von Trips alongside, Giancarlo was Q12.

Hill led from the start, in that order, until Richie spun giving third place to Moss’ Lotus 18 Climax – behind this group there was a massive slipstreaming battle involving the Gurney and Bonnier Porsche 718s, the works Lotus 21 Climax’ of Jim Clark and Innes Ireland, Graham Hill’s BRM P48/57, Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T55 Climax and Giancarlo.

Two of the most important aspects of longevity for a race photographer are a sense of self preservation and fleetness of foot …Bonnier, Baghetti, Clark and Gurney, Reims 1961 (unattributed)
Clark, Baghetti and Ireland exit Thillois (Motorsport)
Spinner Ginther in front of Lucien Bianchi, Lotus 18/21 Climax (B Cahier)
Gurney and Baghetti in the final stages (B Cahier)

Taffy had engine trouble after 18 laps so he was out, Phil Hill spun on the surface which was becoming very slippery in the intense heat on lap 38, he managed to restart but was a lap down. Then Ginther led, but he too spun, and had no sooner recovered before having engine problems – no oil pressure after 40 laps, Moss had brake problems so he too retired after completing 31 laps.

Progressively the challengers fell away leaving a man-on-man battle which went on for many laps, with the lead changing by the lap between Dan Gurney – one of the finest drivers of the era – and still to win his first championship Grand Prix, and GP debutant Giancarlo Baghetti.

On the final lap, Dan out-braked Giancarlo into Thillois, the last corner, but on the sprint to the line – with more punch than the four-cylinder Porsche – Baghetti dived out of Gurney’s slipstream a couple of hundred yards before the finish in a perfectly timed move to win by the narrowest of margins from Gurney, Clark, Ireland and McLaren.

Giancarlo’s 1961 run of success wasn’t over yet, as noted at the outset, he won the minor, Prima Coppa Italia at Vallelunga on October 12. This time he raced a Porsche 718, winning both 30 lap, 106 km thirty minute heats from pole, taking the overall win on aggregate from Ernesto Prinoth, Lotus 18 Climax, and Nino Vaccarella’s Cooper T51 Maserati.

The balance of Baghetti’s career is dealt with in this article, sadly, the precocious talent of 1961 faded way too quickly; https://primotipo.com/2015/05/08/giancarlo-baghetti-lotus-49-ford-italian-grand-prix-1967/

Aintree 1961 (Echo)
Coppa Italia, Vallelunga October 12, 1961. #24 Nino Vaccarella rebodied Cooper Maserati T51, #2 Ernesto Prinoth, Lotus 18 Climax and at right Giancarlo Baghetti, Porsche 718. The Lotus 18 Maserati on row two is Gaetano Starrabba (unattributed)

The 1961 Ferrari 156 : Technical…

For early 156 Dino enthusiasts these photographs of 0008 taken by Bernard Cahier at Siracusa on this Tuesday April 25, 1961 long-weekend will be of great interest as they show the first chassis in its definitive 1961 form.

All 156’s built and raced in 1961-1962 started right here, or I guess twelve months before if you argue that the original 2.4-litre 246P version of 0008 was the starting point, which of course factually it was.

The bodywork of the car is ‘unique’ in that it has two supplementary air intake slots on the cowling, it’s very sleek compared to 0008 as it was in early 1960, to the form shown above. The shark-nose was supposedly low-drag, Carlo Chiti deployed it in his 1961 sportscar designs as well, the approach was a function of work in Ferrari’s scale-model wind tunnel.

It may well be that the shark-nose design was suggested to Chiti by Medardo Fantuzzi, one of Ferrari’s favoured external body-builders. He modified a Maserati 250F for Kiwi Ross Jensen (#2508) in this manner in late 1957, and then two other 250Fs for Temple Buell (#2533 and 2534). Fantuzzi built the 156 and sportscar bodies.

Maserati 250F ‘2508’, ex-Moss/Jensen, when owned and raced by Brian Prescott at Wigram, NZ in April 1961. Medardo Fantuzzi nose to the fore (Classic Auto News)

Medardo Fantuzzi with the three ‘shark nose’ Maserati 250Fs at his Modena factory in late 1957 or early 1958. Jensen’s at left – he finished second to Jack Brabham in the January 11, 1958 NZ GP in his upgraded car – the two Temple Buell machines alongside (unattributed)

Doug Nye described the chassis thus ‘The multi-tubular chassis itself was crude and hefty looking, not as unimpressive as a Cooper’s – not least of all its tube runs were straight – but not a patch on the lightweight lattice of a Lotus, BRM or even a Porsche.’ Big, butch, beefy and crude the chassis was, but it certainly did the job in 1961. It was only when the chassis sophistication of the Brits was harnessed to the power of the Coventry Climax and BRM V8s in 1962 that the class of ’61 became the dunce of ’62.

The main chassis rails were made of 1 1/2 inch steel spaced vertically 15 inches apart, the 120-degree motor required bulged top rails for installation, whereas the 65-degree unit did not, its rails were straight. The 120-degree frame swallowed the earlier motor whereas the wide engine wouldn’t fit into the narrower 65-degree frame.

Suspension front and rear comprised upper and lower braced wishbones and coil spring/damper (Koni) units, roll bars were adjustable both front and rear although it appears Giancarlo didn’t race with a rear fitted in Siracusa. Chiti set the cars up with bulk static negative camber, I guess the race Dunlops fitted to the 156 liked the setup.

156 cockpit, Monaco 1961
Engine bay of 0008 at Syracuse. Note the beefy spaceframe chassis Doug Nye described as being welded together by ‘Mr Blobby’. 65-degree second series Tipo 156 V6, bore/stroke 73×58.8mm, circa 180bhp fed by three 38mm Webers. The 120 degree engine had two bespoke triple choke Weber 40IF3C carbs. Note the large transaxle and starter motor, no rear roll bar fitted, suspension by upper and lower wishbones, ventilated disc brakes are inboard

The 1.5-litre Vittorio Jano (and team) designed 65-degree V6 first appeared as a front-engined F2 car in 1958. The DOHC, chain-driven, two-valve, twin-plug, triple Weber fed motor developed circa 180bhp @ 9000rpm and was fitted to a scaled down version of the then current 2.5-litre Lancia D50 derived – and then further evolved – V8 engined 801 F1 chassis, then designated 156.

The capacity of Jano’s V6 engine grew progressively to 2417cc in which form the Ferrari Dino 246 won the 1958 drivers championship for Mike Hawthorn.

As time went on it became clear Ferrari had the makings of an excellent car for the new 1.5-litre F1 which commenced on January 1, 1961, and which was expressed in the evolution of 0008 from a chubby, pudgy 2.4-litre F1 car at Monaco in May 1960 a svelte shark-nosed 1.5-litre F2 machine before Monza in September.

Chiti’s definitive engine for 1961 was a new variant of the Dino using a very wide-angle V6 of 120-degrees to lower the engines centre of gravity, and simplify manufacture of the engine’s crank. A motor of this width would not have fitted comfortably into the front-engined Dino 246/256 chassis.

The two camshafts were still chain driven, the heads still two-valvers, and still twin-plug. The dimensions of the 1960 Solitude 65-degree engine were adopted – bore/stroke of 73mm x 58.8mm for a capacity of 1476.6cc. Nye reports that all of the major castings were made in Siluminum, the 120-degree engine weighed 225 pounds, 30 pounds less than the good ‘ole Coventry Climax 1.5-FPF four cylinder motor.

Carburettors were bespoke, beautiful Weber triple-choke type 40 IF3C. Ferrari initially claimed 190bhp @ 9500rpm but ‘initial tests only yielded 177, which was still 30 more than the FPF’ used by the English teams in 1961. Jano also gave the existing 65-degree engine a bit of a tickle as a second-string unit, pending enough 120-degree engines to go around the three car Scuderia Ferrari team. When the FISA team were present four 156s presented a formidable challenge to the opposition…

Compare and contrast. Richie’s 156 0001, the prototype 120-degree engine chassis during the 1961 Monaco GP weekend. Note how low that engine sits in the chassis, trick triple throat Webers clear
(G Cavara)
0008 butt, Syracuse 1961
(B Cahier)

While the V6s in either format were delicate, compact little things, the transaxle was anything but- however it did prove problem free, as Ferrari gearboxes down the eons have tended to be. The same ‘boxes were used with both engines – these 16.25 inch long units were developed versions of the five speed and reverse transaxle used in 0008, with the clutch assembly exposed to the breeze on the end plate. The thing looks bigger than it actually was due to a wide bell-housing between engine and transmission to push the engine forward in the frame to obtain the weight distribution Chiti sought.

Nye records that Ferrari appear to have built eight chassis during 1961. 0008 was numbered in the 246 Dino sequencing, in addition there were new chassis’ serials 0001-0006, with two appearing under the 0003 number. Von Trips won the Dutch and British GP’s in 0004 which was destroyed in his fatal Monza accident, Hill won at Spa in 0003, and Monza in 0002 while Giancarlo won at Reims in our friend, 0008.

And what about poor old 0008 you ask?

Giancarlo raced it at Aintree in the British GP the week after Reims (#58 below) doing enough damage to the prototype for it to be scrapped; he crashed at Waterways Corner while avoiding another competitor having his own moment when running in twelfth place from Q19. Of course all the 156s were ultimately destroyed, but if only one of the many chassis built between 1960-1962 were to have been preserved surely it would be this one…

(Echo)

Giancarlo above while up front Taffy von Trips won the July 15 British Grand Prix from his teammates Hill and Ginther, Jack Brabham was best of the rest, 68 seconds behind Von Trips in his Cooper T55 Climax.

0008 in the Aintree paddock, note the different nosecone fitted to the car compared to that used in the Syracuse heat. Wire wheels were very much old hat by this stage, Ferrari retained them in 1962 but Campagnolo’s were part of the 156/63 package in 1963.

Etcetera…

(B Cahier)

Whether the shark-nose was more aerodynamic or not is a moot point. Didn’t Carlo Chiti put his styling stamp on the Ferraris of the time with these oh-so-distinctive visual cues.

I’m cheating a bit here, this Ferrari launch shot in Maranello was in February 1962 not that the 156 was much different, to its cost – 246SP at left.

(B Reeves)

Baghetti in the FISA 156 from Moss’ Rob Walker Lotus 18 Climax at Syracuse in 1961. Nice.

(Echo)

Dry practice at Aintree, Baghetti from Von Trips, the winner, chassis 0008 from 0004. The former was scrapped after this race, the latter destroyed in Taffy’s horrific accident at Monza in September.

Bibliography…

‘History of the Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye, Veloce Today article by Pete Vack, F2Index, Wikipedia, F1.com

Photo Credits…

LAT, Motorsport, Bernard Reeves, Giuseppe Cavara, Getty Images-Bernard Cahier, Echo Liverpool, B St. Clare-Tregilgas, Classic Auto News

Tailpieces: Giancarlo Baghetti at the wheel of his Ferrari 156 during 1961…

baghetti 1961 (unattributed)

 

(unattributed)

Listen Mauro, I think we need to try this. Baghetti, place unknown in 1961, Ferrari 156.

Finito…

Miller 122

My first exposure to Bob Shepherd’s artistry was in the first issue of the late Barry Lake’s marvellous and way too short-lived Cars and Drivers magazine published in early 1977.

John Medley chose a Shepherd drawing of a Miller 122 to support an article he wrote about the ex-Zborowski machine which raced in New Zealand, and briefly in Australia pre-war, after the untimely death of the wealthy Briton at the wheel of a Mercedes during the 1924 Italian GP.

I’ve always been blown away by Shepherd’s work when I have tripped over it. Discussions with Bob King about the Miller led us to his copy of Graham Howard’s book (Racing Cars Through The Years) of Shepherd’s drawings published in 1993. Diana Davison/Gaze made available the Davison Family Collection of Shepherd images to Howard to allow the book to be published.

So little is known about Bob Shepherd we figured it was time to put something on the record more widely available than those lucky enough to have a copy of that marvellous book.

I asked Bob to do a bio, but after re-reading Graeme’s Introduction in the book, he said “How can I top that!”

So, here it is, Howard’s words shortened only a smidge, and a small selection of drawings which I think demonstrate Bob’s mastery of his art. The descriptions of each car are exactly as they appear in the book.

MG R-type Midget, 1935. Zoller blown at 24-28lbs, MG’s tiny single-cam four (57mm x 73mm, 746cc) delivered 120bhp – more than the Q-type’s leaf-spring chassis could handle. Hence the all independent 750cc R-type, MG’s first ever pure-racing car, with far-sighted backbone chassis and torsion bar parallelogram wishbone suspension. Drawing appeared in the March 1958 AMS.
Bob Shepherd in 1960

“To countless Australians Bob Shepherd the artist was also Bob Shepherd the historian, primarily because of the series of articles he wrote and illustrated for the magazine Australian Motor Sports, starting in August 1946 and continuing for than 15 years.

With a distinctive combination of knowledge, passion and flair, he carried his audience into the magic world of the racing and high performance cars of Europe and (to a lesser degree) America, broadly from the time of the French Grands Prix through to the end of the 1930s. Month by month, car by car, Shepherd spread before his readers the treasures of the Vintage era and the legendary cars of the 1930s which laid the foundations for post-WW2 motor racing. Over the years he gave AMS readers an education in motoring history unrivalled anywhere in the world.

Not that he confined his energies to Australia. He sent drawings overseas to MotorSport and to the Bugatti Owners Club journal Bugantics and was singled out by British engineer-historian Laurence Pomeroy, in the second edition of his milestone book The Grand Prix Car, for having been particularly helpful in suggesting improvements and corrections to the original work. The significance of this acknowledgement needs to be emphasised – that, while far removed from the Northern hemisphere’s factories, archives and authors, Shepherd was nonetheless the master of details which had eluded even the most eminent of British motoring historians.

Even more remarkable was that Shepherd had no formal training, either as an engineer or as an historian, or for that matter as an artist. The writing and illustrating of his monthly AMS pieces, and the maintenance of his correspondence with enthusiasts around the world, was done from the lounge room of his house in the time he had spare from family life and his job as a stores clerk.

Itala 12-cylinder fwd, 1926. Tested but never raced, these innovative cars would have competed against such classics as the 1.5-litre Delages. They were true single-seaters with fully independent suspension; the supercharged V12 engines were built in 1500cc and 1100cc form, the single central camshaft flanked by its two rows of horizontal valves. Drawing appeared in the August 1952 AMS.

He was born in 1914 in the Sydney suburb of Pagewood, where his father was a hairdresser. He was the oldest of three children; he and his brother Sydney were each dux of Daceyville Primary School in their respective years, and Bob was later also dux of Cleveland Street High School, but university was out of the question. Cars and drawing were his great interest, but work in the motor trade was impossible to find: eventually a family friend heard of a job at Davis Gelatine, and he worked there until his retirement in 1979, holding a staff position from 1964. He married Joan Manhood in 1940, they had three children.

As a schoolboy Shepherd had started writing to overseas car manufacturers for catalogues; these catalogues, his voluminous international correspondence, and dissected copies of The Motor, The Autocar and MotorSport formed the basis of his archives, kept in rows of manila folders in large glass-fronted cupboards.

His drawings were made using the simplest of methods and materials. A pencilled grid, or a pair of dividers, would be used to transfer dimensions and proportions from the chosen source photograph onto a sheet of his favourite cartridge paper, and the drawing would start in HB pencil, which would be rubbed out after the final version had been inked-in using mapping pens. All his work was freehand – there were no rulers or artificial aids like French curves. He did most of his drawings on Sundays after church, working for four to five hours, resting his paper on a wooden board and taking advantage of natural light. It would usually need two Sundays to produce a drawing; those for AMS were sent to Melbourne (always by registered mail) in cardboard cylinders accompanied by the text for his article which – like his letters – would be written in copperplate script, blue ink on unlined paper.

He was not comfortable drawing vehicles in action, or drawing people, and he showed no interest in drawing aircraft or motorcycles. Almost all his work was black and white: AMS itself was not printed in colour. In some drawings he used a wash, rather than hatching, to provide shading: when he did use colour, for example for private commissions, it was with complete success. His black box of watercolour pigments, bought when he was 12, is still in use by one of his grandchildren.

Bob Shepherd’s colour drawing of a 1922 Bugatti Type 30 (B King Collection)

Delage 2-litre V12, 1923-1925. After two relatively unsuccessful years as unsupercharged cars, the V12s were supercharged for the 1925 season (as illustrated) and finished 1-2 in the French Grand Prix. The four-camshaft engines (51.3mm x 80mm, 1984cc), unusual in having the exhausts in the centre of the Vee, gave about 190bhp in supercharged form. This drawing appeared in the June 1954 AMS.

As well as his work for AMS, he provided illustrations for many club magazines and illustrated ‘Vintage Types’ for the Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia, he was one of its founding members. His first published drawings may have been the series ‘Australia’s Best Known Speed Cars’ in Motor in Australia and Flying in 1939. He was sometimes asked to suggest shapes for rebuilds or of new racing cars. As a boy he had watched racing on the banked concrete saucer at Maroubra but went to few race meetings in later years. More surprisingly, he never owned a car (although he had part shares in several), seldom drove, and did not hold a licence, he never travelled outside New South Wales.

Yet he was in no way reclusive or narrow in his interests. While a reluctant partygoer, he was a most entertaining teller of stories, had an astonishingly broad general knowledge, was a keen reader, loved opera (he did his drawings with ABC radio playing) and was well enough known as a fisherman for there to be an unofficial ‘Shepherd’s Rock’ at nearby Kurnell.

There was little to single out the family house in Maroubra Bay Road. Shepherd took his research seriously – he shared in some ferocious debates in his correspondence columns – but there was absolutely no pretence; there was nothing in his manner to hint that here was one of the foremost authorities on motoring history. Joan and Bob Shepherd made everyone most welcome, whether they were famous names or awed tram-travelling young admirers (for which all those young admirers remain very grateful).

Voisin Grand Prix, 1923. Gabriel Voisin was a pioneer French aviator and aircraft manufacturer, as well as an innovative car maker. His cars for the 1923 French GP had only around 75hp from their 2-litre six-cylinder Knight double-sleeve-valve engines, but had aerodynamic body work and disc covered wire wheels and a true monocoque chassis of plywood and sheet metal. The drawing appeared in the September 1956 AMS.
This is a spread from Bob Shepherd’s Maserati scrap-book, a simple but effective way of archiving material, I guess we all have one, or many! (D Zeunert Collection)

Like many remarkable people, Bob Shepherd was a paradox. He almost never drove a Vintage car, seldom went to the Vintage club meetings, yet was – without realising it – the Australian Vintage movement’s finest publicist. He never travelled outside Australia, never saw any of his beloved cars in their heyday, yet he knew them in minute detail and could picture them with elegant clarity. He had rare gifts yet remained a modest and gentle man. With this book we remember that man.”

Graham Howard, Sydney, 1993.

Talbot-Darracq 1.5-litre, 1926 (above). Continuing Darracq’s pre-1914 racing tradition, the company’s cars for the 1926 1.5-litre formula were 140bhp supercharged twin-cam straight-eights (56mm x 75.5mm, 1488cc). Engine and gearbox were slightly offset to the drivers left. A much modified version of one of these cars (still in 2021) survives in Australia, imported after WW2. The drawing appeared in the October 1951 AMS.

Oops, nearly forgot the Miller 122 at this pieces outset. Miller, 1923. Influenced by Fiat, Harry Miller used two valves per cylinder in hemispherical chambers when he scaled down his 183-cubic inch straight-eight for the 122-inch (2-litre) limit applying from 1923, obtaining an unrivalled 120bhp. Supercharged from 1924, and reduced to 91c.i. from 1926, these engines won Indianapolis in 1923, 1926, 1928 and 1929. That drawing appeared in the April 1957 AMS.

Credits…

‘Racing Cars Through The Years’ Bob Shepherd and Graeme Howard, Bob King Collection, David Zenuert Collection

Tailpiece…

Finito…