Posts Tagged ‘1963 Australian Grand Prix’

(P Mellor)

John Surtees cruising his Lola Mk4A Climax around the Lakeside paddock during the 1963 Australian summer…

No doubt he is on the way to or from scrutineering, the Lola devoid of its usual slinky ‘Specialised Mouldings’ fibreglass body. These cars were designed by Eric Broadley as F1 machines, they were the front line weapons of the Bowmaker Racing Team during the 1962 season.

Strong results at championship level were skinny even when the too flexible spaceframe Mk4 chassis was braced with aluminium to become the ‘semi-monocoque’ Mk4A. The last of the Mk4’s was modified in this manner and is the car Surtees raced in Australasia in the summer of ’63- chassis ‘BRGP44′. The chassis made its debut in the non-championship Kanonloppet at Karlskoga in Surtees hands on 12 August 1962 and was then raced in the GP’s of Danske and Italy before being converted for Surtees’ use in the South Pacific.

The Mk4’s were fitted with both the Coventry Climax FWMV 1.5 litre V8 for F1 use and the 2.5 or 2.7 litre Coventry Climax FPF engine for the Intercontinental Formula and for Formula Libre as the Australasian summer races then were.

The global stock of FPF’s found a ready home in Australasia after the commencement of the 1.5 litre F1 as the ‘engine de jour’ in our Formula Libre, Gold Star and Tasman races until 1966 when ‘multi-cylinder’ engines arrived. The BRM P261 V8 won the Tasman in 1966 in Jackie Stewart’s hands, soon the Tasman was awash with interesting engines from BRM, Repco, Ferrari and Ford. Mind you, the good ‘ole FPF was still a contender in Gold Star events with Spencer Martin and Kevin Bartlett consistently knocking off Repco V8’s in domestic Australian events into 1967.

Surtees was on the cusp of four-wheel greatness of course. In 1964 he won the World F1 Drivers Championship for Ferrari in a Tipo 158, an additional title to match those already won on bikes.

Surtees in the Bowmaker Racing Lola Mk4A chassis ‘BRGP44’ Coventry Climax 2.7 FPF during the 1963 Australian GP weekend at Warwick Farm in February. He was 2nd in between winner Brabham and 3rd placed Bruce McLaren in Brabham BT4 and Cooper T62 respectively, both 2.7 FPF powered (Ellacott)

Bowmaker Racing entered cars for John and Tony Maggs that season in Australasia achieving a good measure of success. Competition was stiff too. That year the internationals included Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Graham Hill (Ferguson P99) and coming-man Chris Amon. In addition Australian and New Zealand Champions included Bib Stillwell, Lex Davison, John Youl, David McKay and Jim Palmer- not all of these blokes did the whole series mind you.

The Lakeside International was held in blistering Queensland summer heat with Surtees taking a fine win from Graham Hill and Bib Stillwell. He was first in the NZ GP at Pukekohe early in January too, having gearbox dramas at Levin and Wigram and a distant 9th at Teretonga with undisclosed problems. He then contested the Australian events at Warwick Farm, finishing 2nd in the AGP at Warwick Farm, took the win at Lakeside and then jetted home to the UK and testing duties with Ferrari. The rest, as they say is history…

Photo Credits…

Peter Mellor on The Roaring Season, John Ellacott

Surtees Article…

Amon on the way to 7th in the Lola Mk4A ‘BRGP44’ now re-engined with a Coventry Climax FWMV V8, at Rouen, French GP June 30 1963. Clark won in a Lotus 25 Climax (unattributed)

Tailpiece: Chris Amon, Lola Mk4A Climax, French GP 1963…

Lola Mk4A ‘BRGP44’ raced on into 1963. The car was converted back into an F1 machine, the 2.7 FPF was lifted out after its sojurn in Australasia and an FWMV Coventry Climax V8 re-fitted back at Lola in Bromley. Chris Amon was allocated the car for the ’63 F1 season, although Maurice Trintignant raced it at Monaco. The cars best result that year was funnily enough Amon’s first race in it- 5th in the Glover Trophy at Goodwood.

amon 1963 agp cooper

(David Mist)

Chris Amon, 19 years of age, awaits the start of the 1963 Australian Grand Prix, Warwick Farm, Sydney. Cooper T53 Climax…

Amon didn’t finish in his ‘Scuderia Veloce’ entered Cooper, the cars fuel pump failed after 24 laps. Jack Brabham won the race in his Brabham BT4 Climax, Amon’s team-leader and ‘SV’ owner David McKay finished fourth in another Brabham BT4 Climax.

I wrote an article about McKay a while back;

These were the early days of a very successful collaboration between Amon and McKay which resulted in the pair winning the 1969 Tasman Series in the fabulous Ferrari Dino 246T. Chris was the first of many drivers the racer/writer/team owner nurtured over the years.

In Amon’s case it was at a stage of his life when McKay was about to vacate the driving seat and evolve into a new stage of his career as owner/entrant of cars driven by others. Amon, then racing a Maserati 250F in NZ tested McKay’s Cooper T51 at Warwick Farm in August 1962 and contested Australian Gold Star rounds later in the season at Mallala and Sandown, non-starting in both but taking a strong third place at Warwick Farm in the Hordern Trophy behind Bib Stillwell and John Youl in October.

This was all valuable experience before the NZ and Australian Internationals with McKay entering the Kiwi in a later model T53 Cooper.

He was seventh from grid 6 in the NZ GP at the brand new Pukekohe circuit on 5 January, and had DNF’s with ignition and gearbox dramas at Levin, Wigram and Teretonga. He qualified fourth, sixth and seventh. In Australia he had slightly more luck.

(J Ellacott)


Before the off- Surtees Lola Mk4A, #10 McLaren Cooper T62 and an obscured David McKay Brabham BT4, row 2 Tony Maggs Lola Mk4A and Chris in #14 Cooper T53 then Lex Davison on the left, Cooper T53, John Youl bright red Cooper T55 and you can just see Graham Hill’s distinctive helmet, Ferguson P99 on the fence  (B Wilson)

He contested the AGP at Warwick Farm above, for grid 5 and DNF fuel pump. At the Lakeside International he was fourth from grid 6, his best result. In Tasmania, at the South Pacific Championship at Longford he was seventh from grid 8 and at the Sandown International, the Australian Grand Prix, he finished sixth from grid 12 in the last meeting of his tour on 10 March.

It was a critical period in Amon’s progression as a driver. Chris raced his ex-Owen Racing Organisation Maserati 250F in the first of the Kiwi Internationals at Renwick in November 1962. He then graduated to McKay’s Cooper and so impressed Reg Parnell (who ran Lola Mk4A’s for John Surtees and Tony Maggs in Australasia) that summer in a car that was not the latest bit of kit, and 2.5 Coventry Climax FPF powered rather than the 2.7 variant used by much of the opposition, that he was off to Europe for the rest of 1963. Seventh place in the British and French Grands Prix were his best results in the Parnell Racing Lola Mk4A Climax V8 that season.

His climb went all the way to the top echelon of Grand Prix Racing of course, championship Grand Prix win or not, he was undisputably a ‘Top 5 In The World’ pilot in several seasons during the 1967-72 period…


Chris Amon, Cooper T53 Climax Lakeside 1963. 4th in the race won by John Surtees’ Lola Mk4A Climax (Bruce Thomas)

Cooper T53 Climax ‘F2-8-60’…

The car was built by the CT ‘Tommy’ Atkins team for Bruce McLaren to drive but using the identity of one of the 1960 works F1 cars. (Jacks 1960 chassis)

The chassis was either built late in 1960 for McLaren to race in 1961 UK Intercontinental races or at the end of the season for his use in the 1962 New Zealand and Australian Internationals, depending upon the account you reference.

It was then sold to David McKay for the 1962 Australian Gold Star Series, raced by Amon in the ’63 Kiwi/Australian Internationals and then passed into the hands of a succession of Kiwi owners; Bill Thomason in 1963, Feo Stanton and Ian Rorison 1964 or 1965 and rebuilt as the Rorstan Sports with 2.7-litre Climax engine, then to D Lupp in 1970. Ted Giles bought it in 1978, it’s still in the families ownership in 2012.


David Mist, Powerhouse Museum, Bruce Thomas, Hammo, John Ellacott

Bibliography… for the chassis history and race results,, Bruce Wilson

Tailpiece: Amon’s Scuderia Veloce Cooper T53 Climax 2.5 prowling the Longford paddock, he was 7th in the ‘South Pacific Championship’ race won by Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T62 Climax 2.7…







Repco workshop customer point of sale ‘take-away’ from 1962/3…

Given the sophistication of todays online marketing, driven as it is by complex algorithms using the reams of data we all hand over, unknowingly in our daily routines, it’s interesting to look at how it was once done, and still is to an extent I guess.

This quite eye-catching piece, with its complex die cut is sophisticated for its day and was no doubt scooped up in large numbers by the trade customers who frequented the various outlets of Repco’s burgeoning global empire. Repco’s retail outlets, well known to Aussies as a weekend DIY supply destination came later.

Former Repco engineer Michael Gasking has given me access to his extensive archive to share with you, this is the first of many more interesting Repco timepieces from Michael. Many thanks to him!



It’s a few years before the Repco-Brabham ‘RB620’ V8 program but Ron and Jack’s cars were called and badged ‘Repco-Brabham’, the technical relationship was just extending to the maintenance and parts back up of the Coventry Climax FPF engine by whom Repco were licensed to make parts- pistons, rings and bearings amongst other components.

So the link between research and development, testing and racing is well travelled but neatly done I reckon, to see and hold this marketing timepiece is a joy so I thought it worth sharing.



Brabham’s BT4 awaits a fresh Climax 2.7 engine during the 1963 Internationals in Australia.

The shot was taken at the Repco’s Doonside St ‘Repco Engine Laboratory’ in Richmond, an inner-Melbourne suburb.

Its a nice ‘reveal’ of Ron Tauranac’s spaceframe chassis of the day- the BT4 is the Intercontinental variant of the 1962 F1 Coventry Climax FWMV V8 engined BT3

Brabham chassis ‘F1-3-62’…

Inevitably my eyes were drawn to the cars chassis number. Its to the left and under the steering wheel on the dash, its with this stuff where my anal side kicks in- I wonder which car it is, thought i…

Allen Brown’s is one of my favourite bibles for such important minutae. No joy there, there was only one BT3 built, Jack’s first MRD built F1 weapon and that’s chassis ‘F1-1-62’. The subsequent 1962 built BT4’s all have ‘IC’, Intercontinental in Brabham lore, chassis prefixes so it’s a bit of a mystery that I am sure one of you can solve.


Roy Billington and Jack Brabham fettle the 2.7 litre ‘Indy’ Coventry Climax FPF of Brabham’s BT4 ‘IC-2-62’ prior to the start of the 1963 AGP at Warwick Farm. He won from Surtees Lola Mk4A Climax and McLaren’s Cooper T62 Climax, all three of them using CC’s of 2.7 litres in capacity (SMH/Tait)

It doesn’t follow that the cockpit shot at the articles outset is one of Jack’s cars of course.

He sold three BT4’s in Australia to Messrs Davison, McKay and Stillwell.

Lex’s ex-Brabham 1962 AGP winning car and Bib’s were based in Melbourne’s Armadale and Kew, both pretty close to Repco’s HQ in St Kilda Road so seem likely subjects for their Public Relations Department or Advertising Agency’s photographers. But neither of the chassis numbers work, mind you Bib’s BT4 was ‘IC-3-62’, I wonder if a bit of sixties ‘photoshop’ made it ‘F1-3-62’.

Anyway, that’s a theory until one of you can blow it out of the water!…


(Aussie Homestead)

Jack Brabham, in another new Brabham BT4 Climax, Warwick Farm, 10 February 1963, en-route to winning the Australian Grand Prix in ‘IC-2-62’


(K Devine Collection)

These two photographs were taken upon the first BT4’s debut- ‘IC-1-62’ debut at Caversham, Western Australia over the November 1962 Australian GP weekend.

The very first in the long line of ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams was shipped brand new from the UK to Australia, a great dice between Jack and Bruce McLaren’s also new Cooper T62 Climax was resolved after a misunderstanding of car placement between Arnold Glass and Jack damaged the new BT4 putting him out of the race.

(K Devine Collection)

After Brabham raced the car in New Zealand in early 1963 the car was sold to David McKay for use in our internationals that summer- Jack raced a new car ‘IC-2-62’- this machine was sold to Lex Davison at the end of the Sandown meeting in March when Jack returned to the UK.

Another shot of Jack with BT4 2.7 FPF in the 1963 Warwick Farm paddock- ‘IC-2-62’ (C Galloway)


(C Galloway)

Team Shell at the Warwick Farm AGP meeting- David McKay, Brabham BT4 Climax, Tony Maggs, Lola Mk4 Climax, Graham Hill, Ferguson P99 Climax, John Surtees, Lola Mk4A Climax, Jim Palmer and Chris Amon who both raced Cooper T53 Climax’.


Brabham’s first BT4- the 1962 AGP car, ‘IC-1-62’ during a hillclimb event at Penguin, Tasmania in 1967.

John McCormack readies for the off, it was Mac’s performances in this car that encouraged him to ‘have a go’ at national competition, three Gold Stars and two NZ GPs were amongst his Formula 5000 successes to come in the seventies aboard Elfins and a McLaren M23 Repco-Leyland.


Michael Gasking Collection, Nigel Tait Collection, Repco, Sydney Morning Herald,, Aussie Homestead, LAT, Colin Galloway, Ken Devine Collection, Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania

Tailpiece: To the victor the 1963 AGP spoils, Stirling Moss, in the long process of recovering from his 1962 Lotus Goodwood accident was a hugely popular visitor to Australia that summer- and Jack…



Graham Hill Ferguson P99

(John Ellacott)

Graham Hill working his radical four wheel drive Ferguson P99 Climax hard to stay in front of the mid-engined paradigm, Homestead Corner, Warwick Farm, Sydney…

Jack Brabham won the race from John Surtees and Bruce McLaren in Brabham BT4, LolaMk4A and Cooper  T62 respectively, all powered by Coventry Climax FPF 2.7 litre ‘Indy’ engines. Bored versions of Climax’ successful 2.5 litre F1 Championship winning motors. Hill finished 6th in his 2.5 litre FPF powered car. At the time Australian National F1 was Formula Libre, the ‘2.5 Tasman Formula’ commenced in 1964.

agp prizegivig 1963

David Mckay congratulates Jack Brabham, Brabham victorious in his BT4. A very relaxed, bearded Stirling Moss wearing that great Australian footwear fashion icon, rubber ‘thongs’ looks on. Moss still recovering from his Easter Monday, 23 April 1962, near fatal and career ending Goodwood Lotus crash. Mckay a great Australian driver and ‘Scuderia Veloce’ team owner/patron. McKay finished 4th in the race also Brabham BT4 Climax mounted. (David Mist)

Hill also raced the Rob Walker entered, 2.5 litre FPF engined car at the ‘Lakeside International’, in Queensland the following weekend finishing second to Surtees on this very fast track, not necessarily the sort of circuit on which one might expect the car to shine. Hill was victorious in a wet preliminary race on the Saturday, the car excelling in the wet conditions.

hill lakeside p99 in the wet

Graham Hill in the wet Lakeside preliminary event he won in P99. Lakeside. (John Stanley)

P99’s ‘Summer Sunshine Tour’ started in New Zealand in January the car being campaigned by ‘newly minted’ World Champion Graham Hill, victorious in his BRM P57 in 1962, and Innes Ireland.

I posted this short article a while back about Hills’ 1962 Championship winning car;

Hill drove in the NZGP, held at the brand new Pukekohe circuit on January 5, DNF with gearbox dramas on the second last lap, Surtees won in his Lola.

nz gp 1963

Start of the ’63 NZGP at Pukekohe. Surtees left and McLaren right LolaMk4a and Cooper T62 get the jump at the start. Hill is on the far right in P99. Beside Surtees and back is his teammate Tony Maggs LolaMk4a, the green nose of Amons’ Cooper T53 and Brabhams turquoise Brabham BT4…all Coventry Climax powered. (

Hill then returned to the UK, Ireland handling the car at Levin, Wigram and Teretonga on the 12th, 19th and 26th of January respectively. Innes was third at Wigram, victory going to Brabhams’ BT4, he retired with overheating at Wigram, the race won by Bruce McLarens’ Cooper T62 and was third at Teretonga, McLaren again victorious.

The car was then shipped to Sydney for the Warwick Farm AGP and finally north to Brisbane by road before returning to the UK.

lakeside on ute p99

Lakeside Queensland paddock scene 1963. P99 middle of shot lashed onto an open trailer behind a Holden FC ‘Station Wagon’, as we call an ‘Estate’ in Oz. The car travelled the 950 Km from Warwick Farm on Sydneys’ outskirts to Lakeside, north of Brisbane. McLarens Cooper T62 is at the front of this group, and the red nose car is Maggs’ Lola Mk4a. (Ray Bell)


Graham Hill looking pretty relaxed at Lakeside in 1963 (J Psaros)

Ferguson Research…

The Ferguson Family Museum summarises the P99 as follows…’The creation of the Ferguson Formula four wheel drive system began shortly after World War II.

Harry Ferguson had always loved the world of motorsport and had a vision of creating a four wheel drive system with the purpose of improving road safety. The Ferguson car, ‘the R5’, was 40 years ahead of its time. It featured four wheel drive, anti-lock braking, electric windows, disc brakes and a hatchback design, it was the forerunner of the modern car.

ferguson r5

Not the prettiest of things but 4WD, powered by belt driven SOHC 2.2 litre engine, 4 wheel discs, ABS…all at the time of the Cortina Mk1. This car has escaped me, i have included John Bolsters’ Autosport road test of the prototype at the bottom of this post. (Autocar)

Harry Ferguson decided the best way to prove the importance of four wheel drive and anti-skid braking was to demonstrate it on a successful Formula 1 car.

In 1950 designer, Claude Hill, Brooklands Riley racer, Fred Dixon and Tony Rolt, a POW escapee and 24 hour Le Mans winner, teamed up with Harry Ferguson to start development on what was later to become the world’s only Formula 1 winning four wheel drive car – Project 99.

Later the Ferguson Formula four wheel drive system was widely adopted by rally cars and the motor industry worldwide in the form of the viscous coupling. Although designed as a racing car P99 was also a research vehicle intended to show the advantages and reliability of the four wheel drive system. What better way to generate public interest than to successfully race a car using the Ferguson Formula four wheel drive’.

p 99 fettled lakeside

P99 being fettled by Rob Walkers team at Lakeside, February 1963. Thats’ G Hills legs in the driving suit at rear of the car. Lovely alloy body, Climax 2.5 FPF 4 pot engine, spaceframe chassis and upper and lower wishbone/ coil spring damper units, alloy Dunlop wheels,vestigial roll over bar all clear in this shot. (Peter Mellor)

P99 Design and Specifications…

p 99 cutawy

Spaceframe chassis, 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF 4 cylinder engine circa 235bhp. Suspension front and rear by upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/damper units. Rack and pinion steering. Dunlop disc brakes and alloy wheels. Ferguson 5 speed box and 4WD transfer case…(James Allington)

Ferguson hired Claude Hill from Aston Martin to design the car. He used a then ‘state of the art’ space-frame chassis, front and rear suspension comprising upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/Armstrong damper units and adjustable sway bars. Brakes were Dunlop anti-lock, which was tested but unraced.

Lightweight Dunlop alloy wheels were used, steering is rack and pinion.

The clever bit was of course the 4WD system. It comprised a transfer box bolted directly to the 5 speed gearbox. The Climax engine was installed at an angle to allow space for the driveshaft to the front differential. The rear driveshaft was installed on the left side of the chassis, the driving position slightly off centre to the right. Similar to the weight balance, the torque was evenly divided between the front and rear wheels.

P99 was planned for the 2.5-litre F1 utilising the championship winning Coventry Climax FPF 235bhp, DOHC, four-cylinder engine. The rules changed and Formula 1 was restricted to 1.5-litres from 1961, which meant the extra weight of the four-wheel-drive system was a handicap. The Intercontinental series was established for the old 2.5-litre engined F1’s, to be raced in 1962, the Ferguson was therefore built to accommodate both the Climax 1.5 (151bhp) and 2.5 litre (235bhp) FPF motors.

The whole project took less than a year.

There were to be no concessions in relation to tolerance. Perfection would only just be good enough. Dixon was right when he calculated that differentials, bearings, gears and other drivetrain parts could be lighter if the energy was dispersed to four wheels rather than two.

Ferguson’s central differential system, which would be the key to Peugeot’s and later Audi’s rally success in the 1980s, could balance out the delivery of that power to the wheels.

Ferguson were keen to try the Dunlop Maxaret anti-lock brake system, the whole assembly would eventually find its way into the automotive mainstream some 30 years later. Sadly, Harry Ferguson died before his dream took to the track and it was Rolt who eventually became the projects’ driving force.

P99 rear shot

P99 from aft. Rear suspension detail; upper and lower wishbone and adjustable Armstrong shock. You can just see the driveshaft below the upright. Beautiful ally bodywork of pretty car. Driving position offset to the right, gearchange for 5 speed box to drivers left, right side more conventional in a single seater. (Unattributed)

By 1961 Mid-Engined cars were de-rigeur the Front-Engine GP car obsolete, so the Ferguson P99 was a complete dark horse…

moss aintree

Stirling Moss, Aintree British GP 1961. On a charge and soon to be disqualified. The photograph below is of Jack Fairman earlier in the race before he pitted to allow Moss to take over the car (Unattributed)


(Simon Lewis Transport Books)

Launched at the 1961 British Empire Trophy at Silverstone, Jack Fairman drove the car which was entered by Rob Walker. The P99 had mechanical problems and didn’t finish.

Its next outing was at Aintree in the British Grand Prix. Rob Walker entered a Lotus 18 for Moss and the P99 for Jack Fairman, when the Lotus 18/21 brake pipe broke Moss took over the P99. The P99 was under investigation by the Stewards when Moss took it over because Fairman had a push start from the pits, which was not allowed by the rules- as a consequence the car was black-flagged on lap 57, his progress to that point had been swift…

For the September 1961 Oulton Park Gold Cup, Moss returned in the P99 and to his delight, it was a classically British summer’s day – 57 degrees, steady drizzle and a wet track! Moss won the race by 46 seconds from Jack Brabham’s Cooper T51 Climax, the only F1 race ever won by a four-wheel-drive car.

moss oulton gold cup

Moss wins the 1961 Oulton Park “Gold Cup’ in P99. The only GP win for a 4WD drive car, albeit Non-Championship F1 race. Greasy conditions tailor made for the fabulous, innovative car. (Unattributed)

The CSI then banned four-wheel-drive from F1.

Moss had the option of using the Dunlop Maxaret anti-lock brakes but preferred to turn them off and use his own judgment. They would reappear in 1967 on the Jensen FF- the Chrysler-power coupé that was a four-wheel-drive version of the Interceptor utilising both the Ferguson four-wheel-drive and anti-lock brakes.

The Ferguson P99 then raced in New Zealand and Australia in 1963 as outlined above fitted with a 2.5-litre engine in our 1963 F Libre International Series. It would have been interesting to see how the car would have performed with a 2.7 Litre FPF equivalent in capacity to the engines of the other front runners that summer.

hill lakeside p99 loading up

World Champ Graham Hill about to board P99. Lakeside, Queensland again. He was keen on the car, with his support BRM developed a 4WD variant of their P261/57 GP car, the BRM P67 1.5 V8 in 1964, using Ferguson technology, well ahead of the ‘1969 4WD pack’, comprising Lotus, Matra, McLaren and Cosworth. BRM P67 qualified in Richard Attwoods’ hands, second last on the British 1964 GP at Brands Hatch grid but was withdrawn from the race, circa 7 seconds off the pace. (Peter Mellor)

P99 returned to England and was lent to hillclimb racer Peter Westbury, who won the 1964 British championship with it, it also ran competitively in 1965 and 1966 and was retired in 1968.

p westbury p99

Peter Westbury, P99. Harewood Hillclimb 1964, he won the British Hillclimb Championship in the car that year. (Unattributed)

P99 also played a key role in the resurgence of 4WD at Indianapolis.

There had been a lot of activity both immediately pre and post war with Harry Miller’s 4WD specials. STP’s Andy Granatelli, on one of his trips to Europe was regaled by the recently retired Stirling Moss, his career ending accident was at Goodwood in 1962, about the dominance of his damp Oulton Park 1961 victory in P99.

Granatelli then approached Tony Rolt at Ferguson to try P99 at Indy, Jack Fairman shortly thereafter put in some impressive 140mph laps in the 2.5 litre car around the famous ‘Brickyard’.

Andy was convinced and ordered a car from Ferguson powered by the Novi V8, the 4WD setup the same FF system as used on P99 but with the split being variable from 70/30 to 60/40 rear/front instead of the P99’s fixed 50/50 split.

Bobby Unser qualified the car sixth at Indy 1964.

This is a tangent too far for this article (see ‘Etcetera below for a cutaway drawing and further details) but for those with an interest in 4WD in motor racing click on this link to a great forix.autosport article on the subject;

novi studebaker 1964

Ferguson Novi ‘STP Studebaker’ with Bobby Unser at the wheel. Indy 1964. Q6, DNF after hitting the wall seeking to avoid the fatal McDonald/Sachs accident. (Unattributed)

Four-wheel drive made another appearance in Formula 1 in 1969…

As teams struggled for more traction- the Ford Cosworth engine was developing well in excess of 400bhp at this stage, putting the power down was key to improved performance.

At the time 4WD was being used successfully at Indianapolis, it was therefore a natural direction for the F1 teams to explore, particularly Lotus who had been racing at Indy since 1962 and using 4WD competitively, putting accidents to one side, in their 1968 and 1969 contenders, the Lotus 56 Pratt & Whitney gas turbine powered car, and Lotus 64 Ford, powered by a Turbo Ford engine.

Matra, Lotus and McLaren all tried the Ferguson system and Cosworth devised their own 4WD car. The introduction of wings, which could achieve the same traction outcomes without the weight penalty, and advances in race tyre technology and widths provided simpler cost-effective solutions than persevering with 4WD.

Overall, only eight four-wheel-drive F1 cars were ever built.

Robin Herd’s Cosworth 1968 4WD design (Bennet)

In 2004  following a period of 35-plus years in the Donington Collection…

The ‘one of a kind’- only 1 chassis was ever built Ferguson P99 was retrieved by the Ferguson family to the Ferguson Family Museum on the Isle of Wight and overhauled.

The car was stripped and was in remarkably good order, it was re-assembled using all of the original parts, including the extremely rare twin-choke Weber 58 DCO carburettors and re-fitted with the totally original bodywork which still wears original Rob Walker team paint and livery.

Sir Stirling Moss drove it at the 2005 Goodwood Revival and at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix in 2008. In 2006 Moss handed it over to Barry “Whizzo” Williams at Goodwood, who started 18th and had worked his way up to third before his brakes faded, he finished in that position.

P99 still appears regularly in suitable events, its historic significance enormous.

moss p 99 in recent times

Stirling Moss in P99 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. (Unattributed)



P99 (R Roux)


p99 british gp

Cockpit shot British GP, Aintree 1961. Driving position offset to the right, gearchange for 5 speed box to the left. 1.5 litre FPF powered Climax engine in the last year of the 1.5 Litre Formula. (B St Clare-Tregilgas)


hill wf push start p99

Push start for Hill from the Warwick Farm pit counter, P99. AGP meeting 1963. (autopics)


hill wf butt shot

Hill at Warwick Farm trailing smoke from the rear. Probably practice as the car finished the race. (Adrian Schagen)


hill p99 wf mist

Evocative David Mist shot of Hill during the 1963 AGP Warwick Farm. P99. (David Mist)


p99 wf frontal rea

Hill again at Warwick Farm during the ’63 AGP, this shot showing the not inconsiderable frontal area of P99. Weight and width of car a function of ‘4WD hardware’. (autopics)


Ferguson Novi

ferguson novi page

What a wild car this is! Conceptually similar to the P99, the chassis was a spaceframe with a monocoque centre section. As you can see the suspension is inboard with rockers actuating the spring/dampers, P99 is outboard. Contrary to common Indy practice then the suspension was not offest, but the engine and transmission were, a simpler solution. Novi used Dunlop 7X15 inch tyres fitted to alloy wheels and disc brakes using alloy calipers.

The Novi engine was designed pre-War by Bud Wingfield and Leo Goossen and built by Fred Offenhauser. It was a 90 degree, DOHC V8, 2741cc in capacity. Bendix fuel injected and using a Paxton 2 stage centrifugal blower power was circa 830bhp @ 8200rpm.

The engine never won Indy but the engine and its unique sound remain iconic to this day.

R5 Prototype

fergy road car 1

Ferguson R5 road car prototype. Autosport Road Test P1.


fergy road car

R5 Road Test P2.


John Ellacott, Bruce Wells, B St Clare-Tregilgas, James Allington, Adrian Schagen, John Stanley,, David Mist, Peter Mellor,, Theo Page, Robert Roux, Autocar, Autosport, Jock Psaros, Simon Lewis Transport Books




John Surtees clipping the apex in Mexico in his North American Racing Team ‘NART’, factory, Ferrari 158. Ferrari was in dispute with the Italian national automobile club over its refusal to homologate his 250LM sportscar into Group 5 despite having not built the minimum number of cars to do so…the hissy-fit reflected in the cars being entered in the blue/white of Luigi Chinettis’ American NART rather than Italian national red…(Bernard Cahier)

John Surtees pilots his ‘NART’ Ferrari 158 to second place in the 1964 Mexican Grand Prix, clinching the drivers World Championship for him and the Constructors Championship for Ferrari…

On the day that Lewis Hamilton won the 2014 Championship i was flicking through some old magazines and reflected on the remarkably diverse career and achievements of Surtees.

In similar fashion to 2014 the 1964 title was also decided at the last race, in Mexico that year.

Graham Hill, Jim Clark and Surtees were all winners depending upon who finished where. In a race of changing fortunes Clark lead from the start, and was on track for the race win and his second title when his Climax engine started to lose oil and seized seven laps from the end. Surtees’ engine misfired early but sorted itself, teammate Bandini allowed him into second and the points he needed to defeat Hill, who had been given a ‘tap up the chuff’ by Bandini earlier in the race, causing a pitstop and damaged exhausts ruining his chance.

Mexico 1964, Surtees and Bandini

Surtees in his Fazz 158 ahead of teammate Bandini in the flat-12 1512 early in the Mexican GP (unattributed)

Dan Gurney won the race in his Brabham BT7 Climax and Surtees the title. He was to win only six Championship GP’s throughout his long career, 1960-1972, not reflective of his talent but indicative of team choice, he wasn’t always in the right place at the right time.

Drivers Mexico 1964

Gurney, Clark, Surtees, pensive as always and Phil Hill prior to the ’64 Mexican GP. Looks like Brabhams’ haircut behind Clark? (Bernard Cahier)

Famously the only driver to win World Championships on two wheels and four…

He was born into a motor-cycling family and progressed from his fathers’ sidecar to solos and many Norton victories, before too long signed by Count Agusta to MV.


Surtees bump starts his MV350 prior to the start of his run around the daunting Isle of Man, Senior TT 1957 (unattributed)

The departure of Gilera and Moto Guzzi allowed Surtees and MV to dominate the bigger classes, he won 350cc titles in 1958/9/60 and 500cc championships in 1956/8/9/60.

Before too long he wanted to race cars, making his GP debut for Team Lotus at Monaco in 1960, he mixed cars and bikes that year his best result second in the British GP.

Surtees on the road Riverside 1960

Surtees being blown off by a Ford Fairlane…on the way back from Riverside, USGP practice 1960. Lotus 18 Climax. 2.5 FPF Climax an incredibly tractable engine! (Bernard Cahier)

Surtees Portuguese GP 1960

Surtees made his F1 debut with Lotus at Monaco 1960, mixing a season of F1 with winning the 350 & 500 titles on bikes…here at Oporto in the Portuguese GP, he retired on lap 36 having qualified on pole on this challenging road course. Lotus 18 Climax (Bernard Cahier)

He drove a Reg Parnell/Bowmaker racing Cooper in 1961 and a Parnell/Bowmaker Lola in 1962 commencing a relationship with Eric Broadley’s marque which continued for most of his career in categories outside F1…although the F1 Honda of 1967 was famously a ‘Hondola’, being the marriage of in essence the Lola T80/90 chassis with the big, powerful 3 litre Honda V12.

Surtees AGP WF 1963

John in the Lola Mk4A Climax enroute to 2nd behind Jack Brabhams’ Brabham BT4, both 2.7 Coventry Climax FPF powered. Australian GP, Warwick Farm, Sydney 1963 (John Ellacott)

The most productive phase of his career was with Ferrari from 1963 to mid 1966, winning in both sports cars and in F1…

The Palace Coup and Purge of key Ferrari staff in late 1962 gave Surtees his Ferrari chance, joining them in early 1963. Arguably he was a good bet for the 1966 Championship won by Jack Brabham but inept, political management by team-manager Eugenio Dragoni resulted in his departure from the team mid season, his talents rewarded with two wins for Cooper that season, he then moved to Honda.

Its ironic that Ferrari intrigue gave him his Ferrari chance, and Ferrari intigue got the better of his sense of fairness in the end, read the MotorSport article below for Surtees’ own version of these events.

Surtees and Hill Monaco 1963

Surtees (4th) leads Graham Hill (1st) at Monaco 1963, Ferrari T56 and BRM P57 respectively (unattributed)

Forghieri and Surtees Ferrari 1512

Surtees looks typically concerned, there are not too many smiley shots of ‘Big John’, this was a serious business and all too often he was far from happy with his mount! Mauro Forghieri adjusts his ‘wedding tackle’. Ferrari 1512 1965, Nurburgring…look at all those coils trying to spark the high revving 1.5 litre flat 12. Technically interesting car with the 180 degree flat-12 used as a stressed member, years before the much touted Lotus 43/49 deployed the technique in 1966/7 respectively. Look closely and you can see the engine attachment point to the cast rear chassis bulkhead. Chassis still semi-monocoque tho. And lovely V12 still a 2 valve engine, rev limit and higher-frictional losses of the 12 and power developed  did not outweigh its complexity and higher fuel consumption relative to the 158 V8 in 1964. By the end of 1965 Surtees considered the car to have a decisive advantage over any other car but time had run out…Ferrari expected the 1.5 F1 to continue on, this engine needed to peak 12 months earlier than it did. Ferrari won no GP’s in 1965, Lotus and BRM had the edge that year. (unattributed)

Ferrari 158 cutaway

Surtees 1964 championship winning Ferrari 158. Chassis semi-monocoque, aluminium panels welded to tubular steel frame. IFS front by top rocker, lower wishbone and coil/spring shock unit. Rear by single top link, inverted lower wishbone, twin radius rods and coil spring/damper units.Adjustable roll-bars front and rear. Dunlop disc brakes , 468 Kg total. Engine ‘Tipo 205B’ 1489cc 90 degree all alloy V8. Chain driven DOHC, 2 valves per cylinder. Twin plugs fired by Marelli coils (4) and distributor. Bosch direct fuel injection, 10.5:1 compression ratio, circa 220bhp @ 11000rpm. 5 speed transaxle with ratios to choice,’slippery diff’ (Bruno Betti)

Surtees Spa 1966

John avoided the multiple spins and accidents caused by the lap 1 deluge of the Belgian GP at Spa in 1966, winning the race. He was shortly to walk out of the team and with that action ended his, and Ferraris’ hopes of a World Championship that year. Camera crew handily placed on the Eau Rouge apex… (unattributed)

Surtees Ferrari 312 Monza 1966

Happy JS testing his F1 Ferrari 312 at Monza in 1966 before the Monza 1000Km race. Cars behind are Ferraris’; Dino 206S and P3. The event was in April ’66, Surtees had a win in a P3 partnered by Mike Parkes…Bandini in the drivers overalls and brown sweater ? (unattributed)

1966 was capped with a dominant win in the first CanAm Championship in his self-run Team Surtees Lola T70Mk2 Chev, defeating Mark Donohue in a similar car and Bruce McLarens’ own M1B Chev, the McLaren CanAm steamroller commenced the following year.

Las Vegas Can Am 1966

John Surtees in his Lola T70 Mk2 Chev leads the field into turn 1 at ‘Stardust International Raceway’, Las Vegas 1966. The hi-winged Chaparral 2E Chev’s of Jim Hall and Phil Hill stand out. #98 is Parnelli Jones, #18 behind Hill George Follmer, #43 Jackie Stewart and #6 Mark Donohue are all in Lola T70 Chevs. #4, 5 , 88 are McLaren, Amon and Masten Gregory all driving McLaren M1B Chevs…Surtees victorious that year in a field of great depth (unattributed)

The Honda RA273 was a big heavy car, the marriage of Lola chassis and Honda engine, the RA300, was more competitive winning Surtees his sixth and final Championship Grand Prix victory at Monza in 1967, just pipping Jack Brabham in a last corner tactical battle/sprint to the line.

Surtees South Africa 1967

Surtees in his Honda RA300, the big V12 ahead of Graham Hills’ Lotus 49 Ford. Clarks’ Lotus 49 won the race, his last GP victory. Surtees 8th, Hill 2nd Kyalami , South Africa 1968 (unattributed)

Honda withdrew from F1 to reappear in the 1980’s, Surtees F1 season with BRM in 1969 was a poor one, the Tony Southgate designed BRM P153/180 were competitive cars but John was a season too early, his timing again was not quite right.

Surtees BRM 1969 Spanish GP

JS 5th in the 1969 Spanish GP but 6 laps behind winner Stewarts’ Matra Ford in a debacle of a race when Rindt/Hill Lotus 49’s lost their rear wings…hi-wings banned at Monaco several weeks later. BRM P138. (unattributed)

Chaparral 2H Laguna 1969

The truly wild Chaparral 2H Chev 1969, Surtees wrestling with the beast at Laguna Seca. An article in itself deserved on this car, composite chassis, low, low driving position, raised at Surtees insistence, De Dion rear suspension and more…here in search of downforce with what, even by Jim Halls’ standards, is a BIG WING! (unattributed)

His 1969 Chapparral CanAm season was even worse.

Jim Halls 2H Chev was an extraordinary car of immense innovation, but was totally uncompetitive, despite the best efforts of development of both Hall and Surtees. The 2J ‘ground effect sucker car’ of 1970 was even more avant garde and competitive but Jim Hall and Surtees was not ‘a marriage made in heaven’, a second season was not going to happen.

Jim Hall and Surtees Can Am 1969

Communication breakdown…Jim Hall and Surtees, Edmonton Can Am 1969, John in the seat of the recalcitrant, avant garde Chaparral 2H Chev. Franz Weis looks on (unattributed)

Surteees Nurburgring 1970 Ferrari 512S

All is forgiven…back in Scuderia Ferrari in the 1970 512S squad…here at the Nurburgring in front of the much more nimble and victorious Porsche 908/3 of  Elford/Ahrens. John was teamed with Niño Vaccarella, they finished 3rd. (unattributed)

It was time to control his own destiny, build his own cars which he started to do with the Len Terry designed TS5 F5000 car in 1969…the Surtees TS7 Ford F1 machine made its debut in Johns’ hands in 1970.

Surtees Cars won the European F2 Championship with the works TS10 Ford driven by Mike Hailwood and the 1972 British/European F5000 Championship, Gijs van Lennep driving a TS11 Chev.

john surtess

Surtees in his own TS8 Chev F5000 car Australian GP 1971, Warwick Farm. He was running second behind Frank Matich’ winning Matich A50 Repco, then had a puncture DNF. Here he is leading Max Stewart’s 2 litre Mildren Waggott DNF engine. (Dick Simpson)

In F1 the cars were competitive over the years, the TS19 ‘Durex franger’ sponsored chassis of 1976-7 perhaps the pick of them albeit results were still not great, John finally gave up due to the difficulty in funding in 1978.

Surtees retired from F1 as a driver after the Italian GP, Monza 1972, fitting as it was the scene of his final championship F1 victory in 1967.

He was competitive to the end winning two F2 races in his Surtees TS10 Ford that year. He continued to test the F1 cars, much to the annoyance of some of his drivers who would have preferred the ‘seat time’ themselves…

He is now 80 years old, happy in retirement and still a respected commentator on the current scene…

Surtees Italian GP 1972

John Surtees contesting his final GP, Monza 1972 is his TS14 Ford. He retired on lap 7 with fuel vaporisation problems, teammate and fellow ex-motor cycle champion Mike Hailwood finished second in his Surtees TS9B Ford..his and the marques best ever championship result. Emerson Fittipaldi won the race and the Championship in his Lotus 72 Ford (unattributed)


Motor Sport

Read this fantastic article, John Surtees on working with the ‘Italian Racing Aristocrats’, Count Agusta and Commendatore Ferrari…

Read this fantastic article on the Surtees Racing Car marque…

Surtees and Count Agusta

Signing on the dotted line for MV, a very youthful JS, 22 years old, with Count Agusta 1956 (unattributed)

Surtees Longford

Winning the ‘South Pacific International’, Longford, Tasmania, Australia March 1962. The ‘Yeoman Credit’ Cooper T53 Climax 2.7 is exiting the Viaduct. He beat Jack Brabham and Bib Stillwell also in Coopers (Keverell Thompson)

Enzo, Surtees and Ferrari 158 Modena

Enzo Ferrari, John Surtees with crossed arms in the driving suit behind him. Surtees grumpy, perhaps early tests of the 158 at Modena are not going well…(Bernard Cahier)

Surtees and Bandini Monaco 1965

Love this shot of Surtees in his Ferrari 158 chasing teammate Bandini in a 1512 in the 1965 Monaco GP. Bandini 2nd, Surtees 4th and out of fuel, Hill victorious in his BRM P261 (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

Surtees pits Can Am 1966

Team Surtees 1966 CanAm Champions…the way it was. Racer, truck, mechanics, driver, ‘works car’ and a series win! Surtees supervising @ rear, circuit anyone? (unattributed)

Surtees and McLaren Can Am 1966

John Surtees ahead of Bruce McLaren, Lola T70 Mk 2 and McLaren M1B, both Chev powered. St Jovite Can Am Canada 1966 (unattributed)

Lola T100 Surtees

Testing ! the Lola T100 Ford FVA F2 car at the Nurburgring, 1967 (Alexandre Willerding)

Surtees TS7 Ford cutaway drawing

Surtees TS7 Ford, JS 1970 & 1971 F1 contender. A well executed ‘Cosworth kit car’ of the period, general layout by JS, detail design by Peter Connew and Shabab Ahmed. Aluminium monocoque chassis, Ford Cosworth DFV 3 litre V8, circa 430bhp @ 10200rpm in 1970. Hewland DG 300 5 speed ‘box. IFS front by top rocker, lower wishbone and coil spring/ damper units and rear by single top link, single top radius rod, twin parallel lower links and coil spring/damper units, F5000 TS8 of the time a variant of this chassis. The car won some championship points and the Non-Championship Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1970 (cutaway by Bill Bennett)

Photo and Other Credits…

The Cahier Archive, Alexandre Willerding, Keverell Thompson Collection, John Ellacott, Dick Simpson, Bruno Betti, Bill Bennett, Rainer Schlegelmilch