Archive for the ‘Sports Racers’ Category

(Jalopy Journal)

Franz Weis fettles his Chaparral Chev in the paddock prior to the Lime Rock GP, 6 September 1971…

This car has to be the least known of all of Jim Hall’s machines?

The 2J ‘Sucker Car’ frightened the bejesus out of Hall’s fellow Can-Am competitors who leant on the SCCA who banned the car- the combination of fans and Lexan skirts constituted ‘moveable aerodynamic devices’.

Predictably and rightfully Hall told them to go and shove it, after all, he had shown SCCA officials the car before the team raced it and said officialdom had pronounced it legal. It was such a shame because that single action in some ways tore the heart out of the series by removing its most interesting team and the ‘anything goes’ principle which made the Can-Am great.

In any event, into 1971 the Rattlesnake Raceway boys didn’t have much to do so dusted off a chassis built by Don Gates at Chevrolet R&D in 1966- the ‘GS-111’ which was intended as the basis of a Chaparral Indy entry.

This never happened as Chaparral were up to pussy’s-bow with Can-Am and World Sportscar Championship commitments at the time and as a consequence the single-seater languished in a corner of the teams, Midland, Texas base.

Car appears built with low drag in mind, tiny front winglet, rear wing integrated into rear body. Chev engine appears well forward, up and over exhausts and dry sump tank clear- weird vertical brackets at the rear, DG300 Hewland ‘box assumed (Jalopy Journal)

So Franz Weis, Hall’s mechanic, engine builder and test driver dusted the chassis off and turned it into an F5000 machine which he raced in the final two 1971 rounds of the US SCCA L&M Continental F5000 Championship at Brainerd and Lime Rock in August/September.

At the Minnesota GP weekend at Brainerd on 15 August David Hobbs was on pole in his McLaren M10B Chev with a time of 1:31.739, with Franz back in 21st spot on 1:39.973 in a grid of 30 cars.

Franz failed to finish his heat with engine dramas after 19 laps and was 22nd in the final completing 47 of the 60 laps with undisclosed problems. The race was won by Brett Lunger from Eppie Wietzes and Lothar Motschenbacher in Lola T192 and McLarens M18, all Chev powered of course.

It had been a tough weekend but hardly unexpected even for a well tested car. The guys had three weeks before the final round of the series- won that year by David Hobbs’ Hogan Racing McLaren M10B Chev, to get the car ready.

At Lime Rock he qualified the car 13th in a field of 28 cars with a time of 53.276 seconds compared to the well developed and sorted Hobbs M10B pole time of 50.475 seconds. A collision on the first lap ended the cars short racing career. Hobbs won the race from Sam Posey’s Surtees TS8 Chev and Skip Barber in an F1 March 711 Ford.

The remains of the Chaparral F5000 are said to exist but their whereabouts are a mystery. Hall had unfinished F5000 business of course and became the dominant team fielding Lolas driven by Brian Redman until the SCCA ditched the category at the end of 1976 for a return to Can-Am albeit the ‘F5000’s in drag’ were a shadow of the ‘real-deal’ cars we all loved…

Inboard coil spring/shock- rocker top, lower wishbone, hip mounted radiators, totally different in appearance to anything else on the grid in 1971. It would have been very interesting to see how quick the combination was had the car appeared much earlier in the very competitive season (unattributed)

Further Reading…

Checkout Allen Brown’s summary and photos of the car on oldracingcars.com;

http://www.oldracingcars.com/f5000/chaparral/

Note Allen’s request for information on the detailed specifications of the car, please get in touch with either Allen or me and we can publish such details.

Credits…

The Jalopy Journal, oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece: Franz Weis, Chaparral 2J, Watkins Glen 1970…

Franz Weis eases the brilliant new Chaparral 2J Chev along the pitlane in 1970 (unattributed)

Finito…

Holden LJ Torana ad-shoot at Sandown Park circa 1972…

The Tommy Torana is of no interest other than that GMH are promoting a mid-spec Torana-Six rather than the huffin’ and puffin’ 202 GTR-XU1, surely one of Australia’s finest all-round touring-car racers on tarmac and dirt?

Two of Bob Jane’s cars form the backdrop- the Tasman Formula Brabham BT36 Waggott 2 litre and McLaren M6B Repco 5 litre ‘740’ V8 sports-racer. John Harvey raced the Brabham and both Harves and Jano shared the one of a kind, Repco powered McLaren- albeit it was with John at the wheel that the car won the 1971 and 1972 Australian Sportscar Championships.

John Harvey, McLaren M6B Repco, Warwick Farm Esses 1972 (oldracephotos)

Both cars are superb jiggers and still extant, the McLaren still in Australia and owned by Bob (ongoing family litigation duly noted). Jane’s taste in racing cars down the decades has been flawless, his machines included but are far from limited to a Maserati 300S, Jag XKD, Jag E Lwt, Elfin Type 100 ‘Mono’ Ford, Brabham BT11A Climax, Elfin 400 Repco, Brabham BT23E Repco, the Rennmax built Jane Repco, Bowin P8 Repco, Ralt RT4 Ford plus twenty or so touring cars/sports sedans the most mouth watering of which were the Shelby built Ford Mustang, John Sheppard built Holden Torana GTR-XU1 Repco and Holden Monaro GTS350 and Pat Purcell constructed Chevy Monza. Lets not forget the Porsche 956 tho it was a lease deal not a car he owned. I’ve lost touch with exactly which cars he retains but I think the scorecard includes the Brabham BT11A, Ralt RT4, McLaren, Monaro and a 635 CSI BMW rings a bell- be great to hear from those who know.

Many other fellas raced these cars other than Jane- the uber successful businessman put way more into racing than he ever extracted- the tabloid family stoushes of recent decades are a sad final chapter in a great mans life.

Sandown old-timers know this bit of real estate rather well. The racers are facing the wrong way in the pitlane, the models are standing more or less on the spot, depending upon your car, that brakes and a downshift or two into second gear would be considered for the ‘Peters’ or ‘Torana’ (depending upon your era) left-hander and then the blast up the back straight.

Harvey again, Brabham BT36 Waggott, into the WF Esses 1972 Tasman round (unattributed)

Credits…

Greg Feltham Collection

Tailpiece…

 

 

 

 

 

‘When You’re Hot- You’re Hot’ absolutely captured the performance variants of the Torana at the time- the GTR ‘poverty pack’ and ‘ducks-guts’ GTR-XU1. But, at fourteen years old at the time, overall I thought ‘Going Ford Was The Going Thing’! Fords ‘Total Performance’ approach to motor racing globally was intoxicating for a teenaged racing nut- this one anyway!

Finito…

(P Geard)

John Youl attacks Mountford Corner, Longford in his Porsche 356 during the late fifties…

John and his racer brother Gavin were scions of a prominent Tasmanian grazier family and very successful, competitive drivers until business pressures forced early retirement. Symmons Plains is a permanent legacy for the racing brothers built as it was on the family property.

(P Geard)

John proved his world level pace in several seasons aboard Cooper Climax T51 and T55 prepared by Geoff Smedley, whose just published book will be definitive on both drivers careers.

In the 1961 Longford shot below he is in the best of company (at right) aboard a Cooper T51 alongside #14 Brabham’s T53 with Austin Miller’s distinctive yellow T51 Climax behind.

(J Richardson)

Roy Salvadori won the South Pacific Trophy race that weekend from Bill Patterson and John with Austin fourth. Brabham was outed with a broken half-shaft on lap 16 of the 24 lap distance.

Here John’s appearance in the Porsche is a little earlier, the last photo below perhaps in 1957 and the others a little later- you can see the evolution from road car still fitted with hubcaps! to lowered rortier racer. I wonder what modifications were made to that 356 Super?

Credits…

Paul Geard, Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania, Ellis French, Geoff Smedley, John Richardson

Tailpiece: Youl, White, Walkem on ‘The Flying Mile’, Longford circa 1957…

(HRCCT)

Youl in what looks like a motor-cycle racing helmet beside his Porker, the yellow machine is Graham White’s Vincent Spl and the obscured Cooper is Jock Walkem’s- the man in black. Delightful bucolic scene belies the high speeds and sound of straining engines which took place annually on this stretch of road over the March Labour Day long-weekend from 1953 to 1968…

Finito…

(P Maslen)

Paul Hawkins appears reasonably fleet of foot, first dude on the left…

And so he should too- the Australian International had far more experience than the locals at Le Mans, run and jump, starts. What great panoramic, colourful, atmospheric photographs these are.

The first few cars lined up in the 3 September 1967 twelve hour enduro are the Hawkins/Jackie Epstein Lola Mk3 Chev, Alan Hamilton/Glynn Scott Porsche 906, Bill Brown/Greg Cusack Ferrari 250LM, Bill Gates/Jim Bertram Lotus Elan and then the Kevin Bartlett/Doug Chivas Alfa Romeo GTA.

Whilst Paul was quick to the car, the task of affixing a Willans six-pointer to his body was tricky when getting his Heavy Chevy started even in the calmness of a paddock, let alone with a schrieking 2 litre Porsche flat-6 blasting past and reinforcing his tardiness. Not that the notion of outrunning the Porsche over twelve hours should have been an issue. The Gates Lotus is also fast away.

(P Maslen)

The last Le Mans 24 Hours with a running start was the 1969 event, when Jacky Ickx famously walked to his John Wyer Ford GT40 before carefully fitting his belt- and winning the race the following day with Jackie Oliver. The tragic irony of Ickx’ protest was that the ‘unbelted’ John Woolfe died in his Porsche 917 in a first lap accident. Safety and seatbelts were the end of that bit of racing spectacle, fair enough too.

Lone ranger, Ickx, Le Mans 1969 (unattributed)

 

David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce 250LM was almost ‘rusted to this race’, it was never the fastest thing entered but it won in 1966- crewed by Jackie Stewart and Andy Buchanan, in 1967 with McKay’s regular team drivers of the day Bill Brown and Greg Cusack at the wheel and in 1968 piloted by the brothers Geoghegan- Leo and Pete. In second behind the Brown/Cusack 250LM in 1967 was the Lola with 468 laps and in third the Porsche 906 with 460- the winners covered 490 laps of reliable, fast Ferrari motoring.

What a blast it would have been to drive a car in one of these Surfers events!

Etcetera…

The Ron Thorp/Ray Strong AC Cobra ahead of the Scuderia Veloce Greg Cusack/Bill Brown Ferrari 250LM (B Williamson)

Credits…

Peter Maslen, oldracephotos.com.au

Tailpieces: Paul Hawkins T70, Surfers…

(oldracephotos)

(unattributed)

Finito…

image

…with the sweet sound of a 3 litre Ferrari V12, the prototype Testa Rossa negotiates the Sicilian Mountains…

Gino Munaron and Wofgang Seidel contested the 1958 Targa in the prototype 250TR, chassis #0666 failing to finish with engine dramas.

Scuderia Ferrari teammates Luigi Musso and Olivier Gendebien won the classic in another 3 litre TR in 10 hours 38 minutes from the factory Porsche 718 RSK Spyder of Jean Behra and Giorgio Scarlatti 6 minutes back with Taffy von Trips and Mike Hawthorn in another Ferrari 250TR third a minute more in arrears.

Credits…

Klemantaski Collection

(oldracephotos/DKeep)

John Goss, Tornado Ford, Ross Ambrose, Rennmax Climax and Alan Hamilton, Porsche 906 during the 1967 Tasmanian Sportscar Championship at Symmons Plains on 12 March…

It could only be Australia with that backdrop? Love Don Elliott’s transporter providing the spectator vantage point, devoid of Ford Mustang it makes a mighty fine mini-grandstand. Jaguar Mk1, stark eucalypt tree and the topography of the northern Tasmanian midlands circuit.

The cars are well known too, albeit Hamilton is about to lap the other two cars. Oh, and the drivers are prominent too, Goss and Hamilton Australian Champions- in Ambrose’ case perhaps he is known as much as the father of touring car ace Marcos Ambrose and ‘co-father’ with Ralph Firman of Van Diemen racing cars. No prizes for guessing who suggested the name of that great marque.

I’ve written articles about the John Goss built Tornado, Hamilton’s 906 and tangentially about Ross Ambrose’s car which started life as the Bob Britton built – he of Rennmax fame- Mildren Maserati sportscar driven by Ralph Sach, Frank Gardner and Kevin Bartlett. It then morphed into the ‘Rennmax Climax’. When sold by Alec Mildren to Ross Ambrose he fitted a Coventry Climax 2.2 litre four cylinder FPF engine in place of the Maserati Birdcage T61 motor which blew big-time whilst driven by Frank Gardner in the 1965 Australian Tourist Trophy at Lakeside, the chassis was re-named by Ross with Alecs consent.

This article was inspired by David Keep’s opening shot, it was only when I sought Rob Barthlomaeus’ help with a race report that he pointed out this was a tragic meeting as one of the contestants, Melbourne’s Wally Mitchell later died as a result of a collision in this event.

Many of the Symmons competitors contested support events during the Longford Tasman round a week before with the fields depleted by the likes of Noel Hurd’s Elfin 400 Ford due to an accident seven days earlier- Hamilton’s 906 made its debut race at Longford and was race favourite with the non-appearance of the powerful Elfin.

Alan was having a good day in the office with a Symmons preliminary win from Glynn Scott’s Lotus 23B Ford and Wally Mitchell’s RM1 Ford. The grid for the 30 lap, 45 mile championship race was derived from the lap times achieved during the earlier event.

Tas sportscar c’ship grid- L>R Mitchell RM1 Chev, Scott Lotus 23B Ford and Hamilton, Porsche 906 (oldracephotos/DKeep)

Hamilton started from pole with Scott and Mitchell alongside with Bruce Ling Lotus 23B Ford and Bob Holden in a Morris Cooper Lwt on row two.

Scott led initially from Hamilton with Mitchell’s circa 350 bhp Chev V8 engined, spaceframe chassis car- built by he and St Kilda, Melbourne engineer/constructor Bill Reynolds, Bill’s cars were named Wren (R-Reynolds M-Mitchell) comprised a mixture of ex-Lex Davison Estate Brabham BT4/Cooper T62 and Wren components- passed by almost the entire field.

After 5 laps Hamilton had a sixty yard lead over Scott and had already lapped tailenders Mawdesley, Lotus Super 7 and Truscott’s Honda.

By lap 7 Hamilton led from Scott, Ling (who later lost 3rd gear) and Bob Wright’s Tasma Climax FPF 2 litre and was continuing to lap the slower cars.

An arcane but interesting sidebar to Bill Reynolds/Wren enthusiasts, and there are quite a few of us in the Australian Formula Ford ranks given the number of FF Wrens Bill constructed, is that the Tasma Climax was initially built by Reynolds as the ANF1/Tasman Formula Wren Climax single-seater- it too fitted with an ex-Davison Estate 2.5 FPF but was only raced several times as such by Brendan Tapp and Wright before Wright widened the chassis and created the Tasma sports-racer. There is a story about both the RM1 and Wren Climax but that is for another time.

Goss spun Tornado at The Hairpin allowing Bob Holden and Kerry Cox’ Jaguar Spl through, the order at this point of the 30 lap journey was Hamilton, Scott, plugging along and hopeful in second, Ling unable to do much with third gear absent without leave, Holden, Cox, Goss, Mitchell, still with a misfiring motor and then the rest.

Wally Mitchell’s car finally chimed onto eight-cylinders and proceeded to make up lost ground over the slower cars hand over fist, he was up to third by lap 15 having passed Ling.

Mitchell’s RM1 Chev in front of Hamilton’s 906, a lap ahead, one lap before Mitchell’s tragic accident. He wore a seat belt, a big tick in 1967 as they were not mandated but it seems his fireproofs were sub-optimal and no balaclava, again, not mandated or universally used at the time (oldracephotos/DKeep)

Tragically at half distance, on that lap, Mitchell lost control of the probably not fully sorted RM1- it was originally fitted with a lightweight aluminium Coventry Climax FPF engine where the 5 litre cast iron Chev by then rested- over Bessant Hump, went onto the grass, slammed into the fence tail first at TNT Corner, then bounced back onto the track. The cars two fuel tanks ruptured with both the car and unfortunate driver engulfed in flames. The badly burned Mitchell released his seat belt eventually and jumped clear but not before suffering burns to eighty-percent of his body.

Whilst poor Wally was attended to ‘The race was restarted at lap 16 as…the gutted RM1 still cast a pall of smoke over the pits’. In the final laps Ambrose passed Ling, and Hamilton had a rod let go in the 906 on lap 26, the car expired at the Hairpin giving the win to Scott from Ling’s similar Lotus 23B Ford and Ambrose in the Rennmax Climax.

The sad aftermath of the accident is that the popular East Burwood based Wally died of his burns and related complications of pneumonia on 18 April in a Melbourne hospital.

Mitchell and the RM1 Chev at Symmons 12 March 1967. Nice looking car, I wonder what Wally and Bill took the fibreglass body flop off? Or was it bespoke? (E French)

Related Articles…

Goss Tornado; https://primotipo.com/2018/06/19/john-goss-tornado-ford-longford-1968/

Hamilton 906; https://primotipo.com/2015/08/20/alan-hamilton-his-porsche-9048-and-two-906s/

Ambrose Rennmax/Mildren; https://primotipo.com/2018/06/08/mildrens-unfair-advantage/

Credits…

oldracephotos.com.au- David Keep, Ellis French, Rob Bartholomaeus Collection- Racing Car News & Australian Auto Sportsman April 1967 issues, The Nostalgia Forum- Wally Mitchell thread

Tailpiece: Start of the ’67 Tassie Championship from the rear of the grid…

(oldracephotos/DKeep)

That’s Gossy to the right and the Peter Truscott Honda whilst up front it’s Hamilton’s white 906 sandwiched by two Lotus 23 Fords and then the Ambrose Rennmax and Mitchell RM1.

Finito…

Doug Whiteford’s Maserati 300S blasts past Tom Sulman’s Lotus 11 Climax ‘Le Mans’ during Sandown’s opening International meeting on 12 March 1962…

I hate to think how many times these two fellows shared a starting grid- both personified the ‘Racing Is Living, All The Rest of It Is Waiting’ adage to a tee.

Unfortunately Tom died in one of his Lotus 11’s in a freak accident at Bathurst in 1970, he is 63 here with a career that stretched back to pro-Speedway racing in England pre-war.

Doug, a triple Australian Grand Prix winner, 44 years of age in 1962 raced into his dotage in Datsun Group E ‘Series Production’ Sedans and Production Sportscars after he had finished with the serious stuff.

It must be close to the end of his time racing the Maser, in fact John Ellacott who took the photo of the pair on Pit Straight, thinks it may well be his last race of the car before it’s sale. ‘3055’ was a works machine he acquired from the factory at the end of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Grand Prix meeting with which he had considerable success in both Sportscar and Formula Libre events from then on.

I’ve written articles about both Doug and Tom, click here; https://primotipo.com/2015/05/05/doug-whiteford-black-bess-woodside-south-australia-1949/  and here; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/19/tom-sulman/

Photo Credit…

John Ellacott