Posts Tagged ‘1959 Monaco Grand Prix’

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(Heritage Images)

I’m constantly in awe of the talents of the photographers whose work is displayed in this ‘masterpiece’ of mine…

Take a careful look at the composition and execution of this shot of Phil Hill’s Dino at Monaco in 1959; the use of light, the way the shadows of the palm tree and building architecture frame the shot of the snub-Monaco nosed Ferrari 246 and the expression on the American drivers face. The shadow of the photographer gives a sense of involvement.

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(Klemantaski)

Things were pretty tough for the front engined brigade by ’59 of course, Jack’s first Cooper title was bagged that year. In the process of trying to keep up, Enzo’s brigade created quite the most beautiful cars in these later Dino’s. The snub nosed car not so much but checkout Tony Brooks slinky, curvaceous chassis above during the BARC 200 at Aintree on 19 April ’59. Jean Behra took the win that day in a sister car, the Scuderia may have been lulled into a sense of false security by this non-championship event result.

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Brabham on the way to his first GP win at Monaco in 1959, Cooper T51 Climax (Cahier)

It was very much a Cooper T51 Climax year; they won three of the five non-championship events (Moss took 2, Brabham 1) with Ferrari and BRM taking one apiece (Behra and Flockhart). Ignoring the Indy 500 which was part of the world championship back then, there were eight GP events. Cooper won five (Brabham-Monaco, British and Moss-Portugal and Italy 2 races each for the Aussie and the Brit and McLaren-US 1 win). Ferrari won two (Brooks-French, German) and BRM won one, the break-through first win for the Bourne marque and Jo Bonnier aboard a P25 at Zandvoort.

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(unattributed)

Its front is a little ‘fugly’, the looks only a mother could love, ‘snub nosed’ Dino, Hill rounding the Gasworks Hairpin, Quay in the background. Oooh, la, la from the rear tho. All things Italian look great from the back!? Hill hustling his Dino, thru the Mirabeau right hander.

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(LAT)

Have a look at Phil’s car below in August on the hugely picturesque and dangerous Monsanto road course during the Portuguese GP, DNF when Lotus 16 mounted Hill G spun in his path taking out both cars. Moss won in a T51 Cooper Climax from Masten Gregory similarly mounted, Gurney the best placed Ferrari in 3rd.

I guess by definition these Dino’s are the ultimate expression of the front engine GP car given Enzo persevered at least a year longer than he should have…

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(LAT)

Credits…

Heritage Images, Klemantaski Collection, LAT, Cahier Archive

Tailpiece: And what a tail. I’m cheating really, this is the butt of Phil’s ’58 Dino, this pictorial article is about the ’59 cars…

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’58 Moroccan GP; Moss won in a Vanwall VW57 from Mike Hawthorn and Phil, both Dino mounted, Mike won the ’58 World Title at this race (LAT)

Photo is another masterpiece of composition and high-speed shutter work during the Moroccan GP at Ain-Diab, Casablanca Morocco on 19 October 1958. Check out the different tail treatment from the later cars earlier in the article and ‘three piece’ fabrication of the Ferrari’s rear tail section comprising from driver back; the fuel tank, then oil tank and finally small curvaceous endplate, Italian panel bashing at its best.

Finito…

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Tony Rudd and one of the BRM crew either sorting a problem or firing up Harry Schell’s P25 so the Bourne engineering chief can get back to his hotel, Monaco 1959…

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Behra’s Ferrari Dino 246 you can just see on the left then Moss and Brabham, both Cooper T51, #48 Phil Hill Fazz Dino, #22 McLaren and #32 Trintignant Coopers T51. #16 and #18 Schell and Bonnier in BRM P25’s outside Brooks Dino. #20 Flockhart P25 BRM and behind him Graham Hill’s Lotus 16 Climax (unattributed)

In a sign of the times Jack Brabham won the race from Tony Brook’s front engined Ferrari Dino 246, Jack and third placed Maurice Trintignant in mid-engined Cooper T51 Climaxes. Jack of course took the first of his drivers titles that year and Cooper the constructors.

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Jack on his own on the Monaco quayside in 1959, on his way to his first championship GP win, Cooper T51 Climax. His last the 1970 South African GP at Kyalami (Cahier)

It wasn’t a great weekend for the BRM boys; all three cars retired, Ron Flockhart, Jo Bonnier and Harry with a spin, brake’s and an accident and a split fuel tank the causes respectively.

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Stunning shot of Tony Brooks’ Dino chasing Harry Schell’s BRM into casino Square, Monaco 1959 (Heritage)

brm cutaway

BRM P25; spaceframe chassis, 2491cc DOHC, 2 valve, Weber fed 4 cylinder engine developing circa 275bhp@8000rpm, 4 speed ‘box. Suspension; upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/dampers and De Dion and coil spring/dampers at the rear. Front disc brakes, single disc on the transmission at the rear (C La Tourette)

The team broke through for its well deserved first win in 1959, Bonnier took the next race, the Dutch GP on 31 May, beating Jack and Masten Gregory in Cooper T51’s.

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BRM babes; hard for the mechanics to focus surrounded by this lot. The photo has done the rounds but i’ve never read the identity of said poppets if anyone can advise, BRM P25, Monaco 1959 (unattributed)

Credits…

Klemantaski Collection, Cahier Archive, Heritage Images, C La Tourette

Tailpiece: Harry Schell’s BRM P25 clips the inside of the kerb on entry to a corner in his pursuit of Cliff Allison’s Ferrari Dino 246 at Zandvoort in 1959, JoBo’s P25 took a famous win, Harry DNF, Allison 9th…

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jean behra portrait

(Yves Debraine)

Jean Behra portrait taken by Yves Debraine in 1959, the year in which he died at the wheel of a Porsche RSK at Avus…

Not an article about this great and perhaps underrated driver but rather some 1959 snippets.

The shot below is of Behra at the wheel of the works Ferrari 250TR59 at Brunnchen, the Nurburgring on 7 June 1959. He and Tony Brooks were 3rd in the race won by Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman in an Aston Martin DBR1.

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(Klemantaski Collection)

The great Frenchman switched from BRM to Ferrari in 1959, he started the year well winning the non-championship ‘BARC 200’ at Aintree, one of three non-champ events in the UK before the first F1 title events commenced at Monaco in May.

‘BARC 200’ Aintree on 18 April

In an encouraging start to the season Jean won the race from teammate Tony Brooks and Bruce McLaren’s works Cooper T45 Climax.

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Monaco Grand Prix…

At the tiny principality Jean (below) was both a driver and entrant, he had built a Porsche RSK based F2 car which he entered for Maria de Filippis.

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Despite her best efforts she couldn’t qualify the car amongst the mixed grid of F1 and F2 cars. In a sign of the times, and Porsche’s commitment to open-wheelers the factory built and entered their own car which was raced by Taffy Von Trips until a collision with Cliff Allison in an F2 Ferrari Dino.

The car, based on a new RSK had a tubular chassis built by Valerio Colotti (then of Maserati and later of transmission fame) which picked up the original front and rear suspension. The machine followed the general principles of the donor with track and wheelbase the same. The driver was placed centrally of course, the 4 cam spyder engine, gearbox, battery ignition, dynamo starter were all retained.

Colotti’s neat aluminium body was beautifully formed, the result low, streamlined and small given the cars underpinnings. DSJ’s Motorsport report of the event likened it to the Sacha-Gordini of several years before. The circa 150bhp F2 car proved to be prodigiously fast. Hans Hermann raced it for Behra at the Reims GP on 5 July finishing 2nd only to Stirling Moss’ Rob Walker Cooper T45 Borgward…in the process beating the factory Porsches of Von Trips and Bonnier and Allison’s Ferrari 156 much to the consternation of the Maranello management.

Click here for further details on this interesting car;  https://revsinstitute.org/the-collection/1958-porsche-behra-formula-ii/

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The shot above is de Filippis in Behra’s Porsche Spl during Monaco practice, the lines of Colotti’s car sleek and low.

Below the field blasts off at the start, Behra in the middle is first away in the snub-nosed Dino from Moss on the left and Brabham on the right in Cooper T51 Climaxes, Rob Walker’s for Stirling and the works car for Jack, the latter on the way to his first GP win.

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(unattributed)

Further back is #48 Phil Hill’s Dino 4th, #50 Tony Brooks 2nd placed Dino and Jo Bonnier #18 in the first of the BRM P25’s DNF.

The photo below shows Stirling Moss chasing Behra’s Ferrari, the Frenchman led the race until Stirling got past on lap 21 and then Brabham, after the Ferrari had engine failure on lap 22. Jack went on to take his first championship win.

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Moss, Cooper T51 Climax chasing Behra Ferrari Dino early in the race (unattributed)

Sportscars…

Jean contested 4 of the World Sportscar championship events from March to June in the Ferrari TR250, his best results 2nd at Sebring with Cliff Allison and 3rd at the Nurburgring with Tony Brooks. The latter combination failed to finish Targa and at Le Mans Jean and Dan Gurney were out on lap 129 with gearbox problems.

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Behra during the 21 March 1959 Sebring 12 Hours, he was 2nd in this Ferrari 250 TR/59, the winning car the sister entry driven by Gurney/Daigh/Hill/Gendebien (TEN)

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Talking to co-driver Tony Brooks during the Targa weekend on 24 May, the winner was Barth/Seidel Porsche 718 RSK, the factory cars all DNF (unattributed)

Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, and 1959…

Behra’s Ferrari Dino 246 being fettled in the Zandvoort paddock, cars were entered for him, Cliff Allison and Phil Hill qualifying 4th, 8th and 12th respectively with Bonnier’s BRM P25 on pole. His promise in practice was fulfilled in the race with the first championship win for the Bourne concern.

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(Inside the motorsport paddock)

Behra below chasing Stirling Moss’ Cooper T45, he qualified 4th and finished in the same position, Brabham and Gregory were 2nd and 3rd underlying the performance of the 2.5 Coopers on a course which required a blend of power and handling.

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Behra chasing Moss, the lines of the ’59 Dino about as good as a front engined GP car got? (Cahier)

French GP…

Onto Reims, Jean’s home race of course where things totally unravelled.

In a year in which the mid-engined revolution took hold, full 2.5 litre FPF Coventry Climax engines made clear the performance advantage of the Coopers, Ferrari only had an advantage on the faster courses of which Reims was one.

Some reports have it that Behra, a handy mechanic with great mechanical sympathy was over driving and abusing his engines in the final months of his life in his efforts to remain competitive.

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Beautiful Reims first lap, 5 July 1959. Brooks winning Dino from Jack’s Cooper T51 3rd, #26 Hill’s Dino 2nd #10 Gregory’s Cooper T51 DNF, #2 Moss’ BRM P25 and McLaren’s Cooper T51 5th then the rest strung out thru Champagne country (unattributed)

 

 

Brooks was on pole with Phil Hill 3rd on the grid, Jean was on the 2nd row. Tony Brooks Ferrari 246 convincingly won the race in a great display of high speed precision driving in an event made incredibly demanding due to heat and stones thrown up by cars as the tracks surface suffered.

Jean qualified 5th and raced hard, having been left on the line, he made a lunge for 2nd on lap 25, but spun and dropped back to 4th. He equalled the lap record set by Trintignant on lap 28, he was racing for a hometown win after all, only for the cars engine to cry ‘enough’ on lap 29, he was out with piston failure.

The only member of the Scuderia driver line-up that year that didn’t speak English, fired up after the race, he had a ‘spirited’ exchange with team manager Romolo Tavoni. Tavoni glanced at the cars rev counter ‘tell tale’ in the pits and began, very unwisely, his driver full of adrenalin, to remonstrate with him about one-too-many over-rev and subsequent engine failure. The stocky Frenchman thumped him, knocking him over with one punch. Inevitably and predictably Jean was ‘shown the Maranello door’ giving Dan Gurney a Ferrari opportunity he took full advantage of.

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Behra hustling his Dino hard, too hard perhaps, at Reims during the ’59 French GP (unattributed)

Ferrari missed the following GeePee at Aintree with industrial strikes in Italy but returned to the fray at Avus for the 2 August German GP.

Jean made contact with Raymond Mays to return to the BRM team there, but there was not the time or resources to make available a P25.

Jean therefore entered and qualified the 1.5 litre F2 Behra Porsche (pictured above) 16th of 17 cars but didn’t take the start of the GP after crashing, in the wet at over 100mph in a Porsche RSK in a support race. He died instantly in the awful accident in which he was flung from the car, hit a flagpole on the bankings outer extremity and then dropped into the outfield below.

A bright, charismatic light was extinguished.

Credits…

Yves Debraine, Louis Klemantaski, Cahier Archive, The Enthusiast Network, MotorSport June 1959/March 1998

Tailpiece: Le Mans 20-21 June 1959. Behra at the wheel of the car he shred with Dan Gurney DNF with gearbox problems on lap 129…

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This race famously won by the Shelby/Salvadori Aston Martin DBR1, none of the factory TR’s finished the race (unattributed)