Archive for the ‘Who,What,Where & When…?’ Category

(G Moulds)

Amaroo Park, Sydney May 1976, Formula 3. The Two Brians- Shead and Sampson lead Peter Macrow, all three aboard Cheetah Mk6 Toyotas from #4 Mal Brewster, Rennmax and then David Booth in a Birrana 374 Ford, Terry Finnigan, Cheetah and the rest- Elfin 600’s, 623 etcetera…

By 1972 the classes of single-seater racing in Australia comprised the following: Australian National Formula 1- F5000 at the pinnacle through ANF2- 1600, twin-cam, 2 valve, fuel injected which effectively meant the Lotus-Ford twin-cam the ultimate expression of which were Brian Hart’s alloy, injected 205 bhp’ish 416B motors. ANF3- SOHC, 2 valve, carbs with Toyota Corolla and Kent Fords the most common but there were Datsun and a smattering of other engines too. Formula Ford and Formula Vee require no explanation.

In Gold Star rounds some F2’s help bolster skinny F5000 fields, so too did F3 run with F2- which had a national championship whilst F3 did not. Combined F3 and FF races were common at State level with FF also having a national championship- ‘The Driver To Europe Series’ with FVee always racing on their lonesome but having a one-race ‘FV Nationals’ which was a de-facto national championship- very hotly contested it was too.

Sheady and Sambo ‘sambo: Shead and Sampson in Cheetah Mk4 Toyotas sandwich the F2 Birrana 273 Ford of Tony Stewart circa 1973 at Sandown. Mk4 the last of Shead’s spaceframe single-seaters- vestigial rear wing but no front. Maybe not the prettiest of Cheetahs but fast (B Jones)

Year in, year out the quickest F3 cars were the ‘works’ Cheetah Toyota’s fielded by the ‘Sheady and Sambo Show’- Shead built over fifty Cheetahs (F3, F2, F Pac, F Holden and Clubman) in a small workshop at Mordialloc and Sampson’s ‘Motor Improvements’ concern built the engines in the Nepean Highway, St Kilda, both southern bayside suburbs of Melbourne.

Both Shead’s Cheetah’s and Sampson’s circa 130 bhp Toyota Corolla motors were sold to customers but usually the two Brians had the answers with a combination of age and experience, finely set-up chassis’ and just a smidge more power than the customers got.

Shead and Sambo in the new, monocoque Cheetah Mk5 Toyota chased by Paul King’s Lew Wade owned Birrana 374 Toyota in the summer of 1975 at Hume Weir on the NSW/Victorian ‘Albury’ border. Who won this encounter Paul?? (B Jones)

For me the sexiest F3 machine of the period was the Birrana 374 Toyota with Paul King and Dean Hosking giving the two Brians something to think about particularly in 1974/5. The Elfin 700 was also a nice bit of kit but never did as well as the equally simple (spaceframe) Elfin 600 which preceded it, mind you the level of competition was stiffer in the mid-seventies than the late sixties.

Chassis of the F3 cars by that stage were aluminium monocoques pretty much universally with the Hewland Mk9 or Peter Holinger 5 speed ‘boxes the transmissions of choice.

I’ve no idea who won that Amaroo race but I’ve my money on one of the two Brians despite being away from home…

Credits…

Glenn Moulds, Brendan Jones Collection

Tailpiece: Sports Car World Birrana 374 track test…

If memory serves, always dangerous, Richard Steigler’s 374 (above) was the ex-John Blanden Adelaide owned Dean Hosking driven chassis. A fellow by the name of Adrian Van Loon useter to drive and write these SCW track test articles. Mighty fine bits of communication they were to a budding teenage enthusiast too, well and truly wetted the appetite he did. Died of cancer many years ago way too young sadly.

Finito…

 

 

At 8.10am on 17 July 1964 Donald Campbell aboard Bluebird CN7 Proteus set the World Land Speed Record on South Australia’s Lake Eyre salt pans…

I wrote about this achievement a while back, in fact it was my first longer article, click here to read it;

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/16/50-years-ago-today-17-july-1964-donald-campbell-broke-the-world-land-speed-record-in-bluebird-at-lake-eyre-south-australia-a-speed-of-403-10-mph/

One of the wonderful things about the internet is the constant appearance of material on every topic, in this case a nice batch of photos popped onto it by ‘The Adelaide Advertiser’, here they are, too good not to share.

To celebrate Campbell’s achievement the people of Adelaide turned out in droves- about 200,000 flooded the streets of the small city on 25 July to see and hear Bluebird drive up King William Street to the Adelaide Town Hall. Mind you, ‘Beatle-Mania’ hit Adelaide five weeks before when 300,000 fans of the worlds greatest supergroup flooded into the capital.

Campbell also set the World Water Speed Record in 1964, achieving 276.3 mph at Lake Dumbleyung near Perth in Bluebird K7.

Photo Credits…

Adelaide Advertiser

Etcetera: Adelaide Excitement…

Tailpiece…

 

image

(Glenn Murphy)

Max  Stewart enjoying the trip back to the hotel aboard his evergreen, fast Mildren from Singapore’s Thomson Road Circuit 8-11 April 1971. Note the tow-rope!…

Max failed to finish in his Mildren Alfa that year, a successful one in which he won the Australian Gold Star Championship, albeit the car was Waggott 2 litre rather than 2 litre Alfa GTAm powered as it is here.

The Singapore race was won by Kiwi, Graeme Lawrence in a Brabham BT29 Ford FVC  from the Australian duo- John Walker’s Elfin 600 Ford twin-cam and Bob Muir’s Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott third. It was Rennmax’ galore in this race with Ken Goodwin 6th in his BN3 Ford with Stewart a DNF, his Mildren chassis also built by Bob Britton’s Rennmax concern.

Stewart on the way to his 1972 Singapore GP win, Mildren Ford, behind is Leo Geoghegan in Graeme Lawrence’s Brabham BT30 Ford (SMI)

In 1972 Max brought this car in which he had so much success over so many years back to Singpore and won the race held on 2 April…

The race had depth- Vern Schuppan ran a March 722, Garrie Cooper, the Elfin boss converted his Elfin 600D from Repco V8 to Lotus/Ford twin-cam spec, Leo Geoghegan raced Graeme Lawrence’s Brabham BT30, Bob Muir a Rennmax BN3 and Sonny Rajah his ex-Ronnie Peterson March 712M.

In fact that was the big change to the meeting- the organisers effectively adopted Australian National F2 engine regs which in a practical race winning sense mandated the use of the Lotus/Ford 2 valve, twin cam engine. Max’s car was fitted with a Paul England built mill in place of the Waggott 2 litre 4-valver with which the car won so many events.

Click here for my article on the 1972 Singapore race; https://primotipo.com/2016/11/24/singapore-sling-with-an-elfin-twist/

Max receives the booty and tells all after his ’72 Singapore GP win (SMI)

Their is a story to tell about fitment of the Alfa GTAm engine to the Mildren for its Asian Tour in 1971 though, and i would love to hear it!

The Singapore GP race in mid-April was well before the start of the Australian Gold Star Series at Lakeside on 6 June. So why was the Alfa engine, no doubt provided by Brian Foley, the only chap in Oz with a GTAm, fitted instead of the usual Waggott 2 litre with which it raced right through the 1971 season by Max and then the 1972 Australian Tasman rounds in Tony Stewart’s hands?…

(NAS)

Etcetera: Stewart, Mildren Waggott, Singapore Grand Prix 1970…

Max during the 1970 GP when the little Mildren was powered by Merv Waggott’s TC-4V 2 litre engine. The race that year was dominated by Stewart’s teammate in the Mildren Alfa 2.5 V8 ‘Yellow Submarine’- Kevin Bartlett won the 20 lap preliminary and led the GP until a valve spring let go, Graeme Lawrence’s ex-Amon Ferrari 246T with whom KB had been dicing throughout, took a popular win. GL won many races in South East Asia for the best part of a decade from the mid-sixties to the seventies. Not sure where Max placed.

Tailpiece…

(K Wyndham)

One article, one car, three pictures- three different engines.

Here is Max’s Alec Mildren owned machine- that’s Mildren talking to Glenn Abbey, his longtime friend and Chief Mechanic behind the truck in the Oran Park paddock in June 1970.

A successful weekend for the team as Max won the Gold Star round powered by a 2 litre Waggott engine from Leo Geoghegan, Lotus 59 Waggott and Garrie Cooper, Elfin 600D Repco 2.5 V8. The dude tending to the front Goodyear is Derek Kneller (his book is on the way and will be a beauty) with Stu Randall at the rear. I wonder who the pretty Missy is with an interest in all things mechanical?

The engine count for this chassis (in fact one car- two chassis frames) is something like- Alfa Romeo 1.6 twin-plug 2 valve DOHC F2, Waggott 4 valve DOHC- 1600/1860/2000cc, Lotus Ford 1.6 litre 2 valve DOHC and Alfa Romeo 2 litre 2 valve twin plug DOHC.

Credits…

Glenn Murphy, Singapore Ministry of Information/Arts, Ken Wyndham, oldracingcars.com, National Archives of Singapore

Finito…

 

 

(Mirrorpix)

The Coventry Climax ET199 was said to be the first British produced forklift truck, 8 October 1946…

‘Seen here being demonstrated by a girl worker at the Coventry factory that produces the truck. The demonstration included lifting a racing car weighing nearly one and a half tons’ the Getty Images caption advises. I wonder what the ‘racing car’ is?

So, there you go, a Coventry Climax trivia question the answer to which you have always been waiting for!

Post war ‘Climax changed its focus away from car engines into other markets including marine diesels, fire pumps and forklift trucks. The ET199 was designed to carry a 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) load with a 24-inch (610 mm) load centre and a 9 ft (2.7 m) lift height for those with a particular interest in these devices.

The fire pump market and race adaptations of that engine proved rather successful for the company!

(Mirrorpix)

In another bit of trivia Prince Phillip paid the lads in Coventry a visit on 21 June 1966 and is doing his best to show some interest in a 2 valve Climax FWMV V8. Those with a keen knowledge of the company’s history will recall the only works Climax engines deployed in F1 that year was the special 2 litre, 4 valve FWMV Leonard Lee built for Colin Chapman to tide Jim Clark over until the BRM H16 engine was ready to pop into Col’s Lotus 43 chassis. Click here for a short article on the Lotus 33 which used this engine.

https://primotipo.com/2014/09/28/jim-clark-lotus-33-climax-monaco-gp-1967-out-with-the-old/

Credits…

Getty Images, Digby Paape

Tailpiece: Clark in the 2 litre Lotus 33 Climax FWMV V8 at Levin, New Zealand in 1967, he won the race and the series in ‘R14’…

(Digby Paape)

Clarks Lotus 33 ‘R14’ was a chassis which had been kind to him. He first raced it at Brands Hatch in July 1966, and, fitted with the super, trick, only 2 litre version of the Coventry Climax FWMV V8 it had served him well, he drove the car when the heavy ‘H16’ engined Lotus 43 was unsuited to the circuit or circumstances. His best result against the new 3 Litre F1’s was a strong third in Holland.

He won the Tasman series in ‘R14’, assisted greatly by the unreliability of the Brabhams and the BRM P261’s which had been so dominant the year before. He raced a Lotus 43 in South Africa, the first GP of 1967, then ‘R14’ for the last time at Monaco, finally getting his hands on the Lotus 49 at Zandvoort. By that time he was a British Tax exile so the first time the Scot saw the car was when he drove it in Holland, he hadn’t even tested the thing!

Finito…

Dan Drinan prepares Michael Andretti’s March 86C Cosworth DFX at Indy, 19 May 1986…

Its the final few days of preparation before carb day and the final chance to test the car before the Memorial Day classic on 31 May. Michael’s cheque for qualifying third on the grid is on the wall.

Bobby Rahal won in a similar March with Michael sixth from grid 3 having led 45 of the 200 laps including the first 42. In a rout for March, the Bicester concern had cars in nine of the top ten placings, the only interloper was Al Unser Jr’s Lola Cosworth in fifth.

Rick Mears, Kevin Cogan and Rahal battled for the lead. In an emotional win, Rahal got the jump from Cogan after a lap 194 restart and took the victory for his team owner Jim Trueman who died of cancer eleven days later. Rick Mears was third.

Michael Andretti, Indy 500 1986, March 86C Cosworth (B Harmeyer)

With an opening photo like that the focus has to be on that magnificent engine and it’s conversion from F1 ubiquity to CART interloper.

John Barnard’s appointment to replace Maurice Philippe as Designer for the Vels- Parnelli F1 and Indy team was at the behest of his former Lola colleague, Jim Chapman, then VPJ Team Manager.

Barnard achieved much with both VPJ and Chaparral before returning to Europe and staggering F1 success with McLaren, but its his role in development of what became the Cosworth DFX V8 turbo which is of interest in this article. His primary job at VPJ was to design and develop the ground-breaking Parnelli VPJ6B and 6C which introduced the turbo Cosworth DFX to Indycar racing. Over the next dozen years the DFX dominated, winning 151 races, including 10 consecutive Indy 500s between 1978-87.

When Barnard arrived at VPJ in Southern California in 1975 he was thrown into the deep end, fettling the team’s F1 car and designing the drivetrain for Parnelli Jone’s off-road Ford truck- you can’t argue with those extremes of variety.

Danny ‘On The Gas’ Ongais, Parnelli VPJ6B Cosworth , Indy 1977 20th from Q7 (B Harmeyer)

Al Unsers VPJ6B rear, Indy 1977. Note turbo plumbing and wastegate outlet (B Harmeyer)

Through the early and mid-1970s Indycars were allowed to run unlimited boost with the ageing four-cylinder Offenhauser pushed beyond its limits. “I was on USAC’s rules committee and we kept blowing up engines,” says Parnelli Jones in a Gordon Kirby article published in MotorSport. “You could not buy an engine from Drake Engineering (manufacturers of the Offy) and run 500 miles. You couldn’t even run it 100 miles because of porosity in the engines. We had a machine to impregnate the engines so we could keep ours together, but you had to pull it all apart and blueprint it after you bought it…Then USAC cut the fuel mileage back to 1.8 mpg and I said to Vel, ‘We’ve got those little Formula 1 Cosworths. I think they could work’.”

In amongst the team’s F1, USAC and F5000 programs Barnard was beavering away ‘converting’ the F1 design into a USAC car by means of a variety of changes including turbo-charging the Cosworth DFV F1 motor.

John Barnard picks up the design changes: “It was actually a completely new chassis. We put coil springs on the rear, but I kept the torsion bars on the front. The Brit strengthened the car by double-skinning the monocoque and designing a much stronger front bulkhead. “That proved very useful,” Barnard says. “In ’77 we were practising at Indy and Al ran over Janet Guthrie’s turbine wheel, which came out on the track, and had quite a big accident. But he walked away. I was glad I had double-skinned that front bulkhead.”

The resulting VPJ6B was a much smaller overall package than the existing Offy and Foyt/Ford-powered chassis then racing.

Ongais again in 1977, note front suspension linkages, torsion bars the spring medium up front (B Harmeyer)

Unser 1977, Q3 and 3rd in the race won by AJ Foyt’s Coyote Foyt/Ford V8 turbo and Tom Sneva McLaren M24 Cosworth who started from pole (B Harmeyer)

Barnard also designed many key components for VPJ’s DFX development program. “There was a lot to do on the engine — inlet manifolds and all sorts of things. I was drawing conrods and pistons, an oil pump system, fuel injection and God knows what else. It was fantastic for me because I had never really got into engines much, but we had our engine shop so we could do this stuff to every part of the car and engine. It was fantastic, just like having a toy shop.”

But there was little support from Keith Duckworth for turbocharging the DFV. Duckworth famously didn’t believe in turbos. “I remember him giving me a lecture about turbos,” Barnard adds, “and another one about why 4WD wouldn’t work. I remember Vel reporting that Cosworth told him he was a bit of a twit trying to get all this horsepower out of an engine that was designed to generate 500bhp, and there we were getting more than 800,” Barnard says. “Vel told me, ‘Those bloody guys at Cosworth don’t mind selling me pistons and heads all the time. I’ve spent $100,000 with them just on pistons.’ But they told him we were idiots for making a turbocharged version of their engine.”

Unser and Andretti ran a few practice laps at Indianapolis that year in an early version of the VPJ6, and the first complete 6B made its debut in Unser’s hands in 1975’s season-closing race at Phoenix, finishing fifth. “Once we got in the right ballpark with wheel and spring rates we had pretty good balance, and it got better and better,” Barnard remembers. “We continued to muck about with the engine. It was an ongoing programme. I was making wastegates and all sorts of things.”

Unser scored the Parnelli-Cosworth’s first win in the Pocono 500 in June 1976, then won again at Milwaukee in August and Phoenix at the end of the season. “We proved that the engine worked and we brought Duckworth over to Pocono because we wanted to get a distributorship for the Cosworth Indy programme,” Parnelli recalls. “So Duckworth came over and damned if he didn’t turn around and steal Larry Slutter and Chickie from us.”

Ongais 1977 (B Harmeyer)

Unser 1977, gorgeous bit of engineering kit. Won the first Cosworth DFX  Indy win aboard a Chaparral Lola in 1978- 11 of the 33 starters were Cosworth powered  (B Harmeyer)

Barnard took a dim view of Duckworth’s manoeuvre. “As soon as we won Pocono, Cosworth saw the light. It wasn’t long afterwards that they nicked Larry Slutter and set their own engine shop up right there in Torrance, which to be honest I thought was pretty mean. “I was told by somebody at Cosworth many years later that the turbo Indy engine programme — the DFX as they called it — was their most profitable programme of all. So I wasn’t impressed with the way they did that. Vel and Parnelli were the ones putting their hands in their pockets to develop this car and engine, and I don’t think they ever got the proper credit.”

After all the money and effort VPJ had put into developing the engine, not being able to turn it into a commercial enterprise was a big blow, playing a role in the team’s demise a few years later. “Of course,” Jones says, “we were in a catch-22 because you had to satisfy your sponsors and we needed to order parts from Duckworth. We could have sued him, but we decided to try to work with him.”

For the 1977 season both McLaren and Penske built new Fl-based cars with DFX engines and Tom Sneva won the USAC Championship aboard Penske’s Cosworth-powered McLaren M24 and Penske PC5. Johnny Rutherford also won four USAC races in the works McLaren DFX while Unser and new team-mate Danny Ongais each won a single race, with Big Al taking the California 500.

Barnard quipped “I didn’t start the Cosworth programme,” he adds, “but I had most of the input making a car work around that engine. Looking back, I learned massive amounts and enjoyed it, too. It was bloody hard work, but I was a young man and ready to do whatever it took.”

Unser 1977, classic aero of that just before ground effect period. The F1 Lotus 78 raced throughout 1977- the first of the Lotus g/e’s (B Harmeyer)

Bibliography/Credits…

MotorSport article by Gordon Kirby 2013, Getty Images- Bettman and Bob Harmeyer

Tailpiece: Cosworth factory DFX studio shot…

Finito…

The covers of some old magazines are amazing aren’t they!?…

Rob Bartholomaeus, one of our friends in South Australia sent me this ‘Motor Manual’ 1950-51 Year Book to assist in the research of the Derek Jolly article I wrote not so long ago.

This magazine lasted well into the 1970’s, to me it was always a distant third behind the two Australian road car monthlies- ‘Wheels’ and ‘Modern Motor’ both of which survive today, the latter title became simply ‘Motor’ in 1992. These yearbooks are research gold now. Mind you Rob and I can make no sense of the painted cover in terms of the cars and places represented, perhaps the blue car has a bit of Maserati 4CL about it- I like it all the same!

The content of the ‘Tailpiece’ is different though- and a beauty it is too from Brian Caldersmith’s collection. It is MM’s Yearbook Number 6 of the 1955 season. The top image is Reg Hunt’s Maserati A6GCM, arguably the dominant car of the season if not the AGP winner. The bottom photo is an Albert Park grid front row with the nose of Kevin Neal’s ex-Hunt Cooper T23 Bristol alongside Doug Whiteford’s blue Talbot-Lago T26C and Hunt’s A6GCM at right.

Sweet aren’t they?

Credits…

Rob Bartholomaeus, Brian Caldersmith

Tailpiece…

Finito…

 

The Vauxhall 30/98 was an iconic high performance, light touring car despite the relatively small number, circa 596, built.

Such was the build quality and the fact that ’old car people’ saw the intrinsic merit of the Laurence Pomeroy design a large proportion of those constructed between 1923 to 1927 still exist. They were popular in Australia, we have a lot of 30/98’s in Oz in relative terms, the cars are a very welcome and admired part of the historic car scene. This short article is about two Velox bodied fast tourers shipped to Australia in 1924, chassis numbers OE86 and OE100.

In some of my history of Australian motor racing articles i’ve mentioned the grip on the publics imagination transcontinental or city to city record breaking had in the formative motoring years of this great sun-bleached land. Vauxhalls featured heavily in these achievements in the hands of Boyd Edkins and others.

30/98 at the Queensland/Northern Territory border fence (unattributed)

John Balmer was the scion of a well to do Victorian family, his mother acquired 30/98 chassis number OE100 as a gift for him. He competed in various motorsport events with it, and together with co-driver Eddie Scott set the transcontinental Darwin to Adelaide, Fremantle (Perth) to Adelaide, and Adelaide to Melbourne records during 1936 in the car.

OE100 was somewhat bruised by this experience so its core components- 4224cc 112 bhp four cylinder engine, gearbox and front end wheel to wheel were fitted into OE86, another 30/98 owned by RS Robinson, a friend of Balmer’s from their Melbourne University and Citizen Air Force training days.

With sponsorship provided by Shell, Dunlop and Repco, Balmer and Richard Kent established a new 9326 mile circumnavigation of Australia record of 24 days, 11 hours and 58 minutes in 1938. The Repco advertisement at this articles outset recognises that remarkable achievement of grit and endurance.

Crossing the Katherine River in the Northern Territory (unattributed)

John Balmer was killed on a bombing mission over Berlin in 1944 but left his share of the car to Robinson’s wife Janet. The car was retained by the Robinson family in Victoria’s Warrnambool area, little used other than in occasional VSCC events until sold in 2016- and restored by Paul Chaleyer in Blackburn, Victoria.

Bibliography…

ausauto.com, MossGreen auctions

Tailpiece: The transcontinental adventurers, John Balmer and Richard Kent, ‘Boys Own’ stuff isn’t it? Blackall is in central Queensland…