Archive for the ‘Sports Racers’ Category

Bill Brown’s Ferrari 350 Can-Am on the exit of the very quick left-hander off Long Bridge- just about to change direction, Longford during the February 1968 Tasman meeting…

The ex-works car was owned by David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce and raced for him by Chris Amon in the sportscar events which supported each of the Australian Tasman rounds- and being beaten by Frank Matich in his Matich SR3 Repco V8 4.4 litre. Both cars had raced in some 1967 Can-Am Series races so Chris had a bit of an idea what he may have been up against when he arrived in Australia.

Sydney’s Bill Brown was to drive the car after Chris returned to Europe and also raced the car at Longford- a daunting place, to say the least, to become acquainted with one of the fastest sportscars on the planet at the time!

I wrote a long feature about the P4 Ferrari, and this particular car, chassis ‘0858’, a while back, click here to read it; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

For Chris the car was a bit of a distraction really, he was after the Tasman Cup aboard his works-owned but Chris Amon run Ferrari Dino 246T. He wasn’t successful in 1968, Jim Clark won the championship in his Lotus 49 Ford DFW but Chris made amends in 1969, winning the title against strong opposition including the Team Lotus duo of reigning F1 world champ Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt.

The shot below is of Bill setting off from the Longford pits in this oh-so-sexy machine, forever in the memories of those lucky enough to be at Longford ’68, or anywhere this car raced in its too short time in Australia that year.

Tailpiece: Can-Am 350 business end, Longford 1968…

(HRCCT)

What an impressive beast it is!

The V12 three-valve engine grew from 3967 cc and 450 bhp @ 8000 rpm in P4 endurance spec to 4176 cc and circa 480 bhp @ 8500 rpm in sprint Can-Am trim. Fuel injection is Lucas- two distributors are providing spark to two plugs per cylinder. The transaxle is a Ferrari built 5 speeder and chassis the Scuderia’s  ‘Aero’ semi-monocoque with the engine having a stiffer crankcase than the P3’s to allow it to be used as a semi-stressed structural member.

Photo Credits…

David Keep/oldracephotos.com, Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania

Finito…

 

(Schlegelmilch)

 

Jo Siffert and JW Automotive’s John Horsman with Jo’s Porsche 917K during the Brands Hatch 1000 km meeting on the 4 April 1971 weekend…

This is a bit of a signature Rainer Schlegelmilch shot- framed through the engine cover of another team car in the Brands pitlane- that of Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver to be precise.

It was always going to be tricky winning in the 917 at Brands- and so it was that more nimble 3 litre prototypes finished in front of the Siffert/Derek Bell machine.

Stommelen Alfa T33/3, Ickx #51 Ferrari 312PB, Pedro in the #7 JW 917 and the rest, gotta be the warm up lap (unattributed)

 

Future sportscar ace Henri Pescarolo in the winning Alfa T33/3- his first Le Mans win was in 1972 aboard a Matra with Hill G (unattributed)

Andrea De Adamich and Henri Pescarolo won the race in an Alfa T33/3 V8 from the flat-12 engined Ferrari 312PB of Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni.

The Alfas were pretty pacey that weekend, Rolf Stommelen popped the T33/3 he shared with Toine Hezemans on grid 2 in addition to the efforts of the winning car.

Ickx was on pole in the 312PB which had a limited campaign in 1971 as a dress rehearsal for the great pace the evolved 312PB had in 1972 when the cars won pretty much everything except Le Mans. They entered but did not appear such was the lack of confidence in the F1 derived engines ability to last 24 hours.

Regga aboard the 312PB whilst Ickx looks on from the rear.

I always thought it a huge shame that Scuderia Ferrari didn’t race the 512M as a factory entry in 1971- it would have been great to see the 5 litre cars with both ‘factory teams’ going at it for the final year of the championship under those Group 5 rules.

Ferrari certainly spent 1971 wisely developing their 312PB for 1972 however, dominant as they were in the first year of the 3 litre prototype formula.

Rodriguez, Stommelen and Siffert (unattributed)

Carlo Chiti and his merry band at Autodelta built a really nice bit of kit in the 1971 iteration of their long running series of Tipo 33 sportscars.

With an aluminium monocoque chassis, double wishbone/coil spring dampers at the front and single upper link, inverted lower wishbone/coil spring damper and twin radius rods at the rear the chunky looking design was an expression of sportscar orthodoxy of the time.

The 90 degree all aluminium 2998cc, quad cam, 4 valve, Lucas injected V8 gave around 420 bhp @ 9400- and with a decent roster of drivers the car won Targa (Vaccarella/Hezemans), Brands and the season ending Watkins Glen 6 Hour (De Adamich/Pescarolo) in a very good year in which the 5 litre monsters again took the bulk of the wins, and Porsche the manufacturers championship for the second year on the trot.

De Adamich, Alfa T33/3, Brands 1971 (unattributed)

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpiece: Derek Bell, Porsche 917K from the winning car in Henri Pescarolo’s hands- Alfa T33/3…

Finito…

Lionel Ayers looking focussed and pensive before the off, MRC Mk2 Olds, Lakeside circa 1969…

Love these two John Stanley shots. Many Australian enthusiasts remember this car, both in its original 1968 Traco Oldsmobile engined guise as here and later when fitted with a 5 litre Repco 740 Series V8 a year later.

Whilst Queensland based, Lionel travelled a lot throughout The Great Brown Land finishing second in the four round 1971 Australian Sportscar Championship with this Bob Britton/Rennmax Racing Cars built, spaceframe chassis machine.

MRC is ‘Motor Racing Components’ see the sticker aft of the Webers- it was the pharmacist’s own company which prepared his cars. Why Mk2?- the Mk1 was the Rennmax built Lotus 23 clone which preceded this V8 engined beastie. Both cars still exist, the MRC Mk2 in Repco engined form is owned by Ian Ross and races in ‘historics’ regularly.

I wrote about Lionel in this article, click here to read it; https://primotipo.com/2017/12/21/sportscar-stalwarts/

Photo Credit…

John Stanley Motor Sport Images

Tailpiece: Ayers, MRC Mk2 Olds, Lakeside 1969…

Finito…

(Repco)

Frank Matich aboard his dominant 1969 Australian Sportscar Championship winning Matich SR4 Repco ‘760’, 4-cam, 4-valve 5 litre V8 at Calder Raceway in 1969…

Clearly the Repco PR snapper was there on the day to capture proceedings, i’m not sure of the meeting date, the championship rounds that year were at Warwick Farm, Surfers Paradise and Sandown- the photo is after the Monaco GP high-wing ban, which as you will see in the article attached is the form in which the car raced early in the year. An awesome machine in every respect.

Nigel Tait, the restorer/owner/driver of the car and i did a long feature about this wonderful machine, click here to read it; https://primotipo.com/2016/07/15/matich-sr4-repco-by-nigel-tait-and-mark-bisset/

(Repco)

Credits…

Repco Ltd

Tailpiece: Where is Meppa when I need him?…

Repco’s John Mepstead was seconded to Matich’s Sydney operation to look after the several-of-a-kind, DOHC, 32-valve, ‘760 Series’ Repco, circa 560bhp 4.8-5 litre V8’s which powered this machine.

SR4 was Matich’s proposed 1968 Can-Am contender- it ran way too late in its build so he raced it in Oz in 1969- it was like taking a sledge-hammer to crack a nut such was its local dominance!

Finito…

(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)

Etcetera: Bob Jane Racing brochure circa 1971 from Murray Thomas’ Collection…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credits…

Greg Feltham Collection, Murray Thomas 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…