Posts Tagged ‘Bill Brown’

(unattributed)

Frank Matich ahead of the Australian sportscar pack at Warwick Farm in 1968- the car is his Matich SR3 Repco ‘720’ 4.4 V8, 5 May …

The chasing pack comprises the ex-works Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 350 Can-Am driven by Bill Brown- filling Chris Amon’s shoes after he departed back to Europe, Niel Allen’s white Elfin 400 Chev, Bob Jane’s #2 Elfin 400 Repco 4.4 driven by Ian Cook and then the #5 Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM of Pete Geoghegan.

Pete and Leo G shared the car to win the Surfers 6 Hour enduro later that year, both had a drive or three of the ‘Old Red Lady’ as David McKay referred to his favourite car, in preparation for the race.

The #16 car is Tony Osbourne’s Argo Chev driven by Peter Macrow- then the twin-dark striped Lotus 23B Ford of Bob Muir another obscured Lotus 23- that of Glynn Scott, then the distinctive shape of a mid-dark coloured Elfin Mallala Ford driven by Ray Strong in front of Doug MacArthur, Lotus 26R and then, finally, John Leffler’s Cooper S Lightweight at the rear. His ‘Sports-Racing Closed’ Mini is somewhat of a fish outta-water amongst this lot.

Of the ‘big bangers’ racing in Australia at the time, the Lionel Ayers MRC Oldsmobile is absent as is the Noel Hurd driven, Globe Products owned Elfin 400 Ford. Oh, there is no sign of Alan Hamilton’s Porsche 906 or was he in between 906’s at the time perhaps?

There was no Australian Sportscar Championship in 1968- but the order of this race, in its first lap and just after the start is pretty much indicative of the state of competitive play at the time.

For the sake of completeness, the one race Australian Tourist Trophy, a prestigious event, was run at Mallala in January 1968 and won by Matich at a canter from Geoff Vercoe’s Cicada Ford, three laps adrift of FM’s SR3. Of the cars in the opening photograph, only the Jane Elfin 400 made the trip to South Australia.

Perhaps the timing of the ATT was sub-optimal as most of the top guns ran in the Tasman Series sportscar support races- at Surfers, Warwick Farm, Sandown and Longford over four weeks from 11 February to 4 March. The Adelaide race was tempting fate so close to the start of the Tasman and logistically Adelaide and the Gold Coast are a long way apart regardless of a team home base in Melbourne or Sydney.

Happy chappy. FM sits in his brand new Matich SR4 Repco 4.8 ‘760’ during the cars press launch at the ‘Rothmans Theatre’, Sydney Showgrounds on 26 November 1968. Car made its race debut the following weekend at Warwick Farm on 1 December

The ball-game changed into 1969 off course, Matich’s SR4 4.8 litre Repco 760- four cam ‘Sledge Hammer’ first raced at Warwick Farm on 1 December 1968. Then Bob Jane’s McLaren M6B Repco ‘740’ 5 litre and Niel Allen’s Chev F5000 engined Elfin ME5 joined the grids during 1969.

But Matich blew the grid apart with the SR4 all the same, and then, thankfully for all of us, jumped back into single-seaters (F5000) where he belonged.

But Lordy, didn’t he provide some fizz, fire and sparkle to sportscar racing for a decade or so? Just ask Chris Amon how quick FM was in a sporty during that Tasman Summer of Sixty-Eight…

Photo and Other Credits…

Snapper of the opening photograph unknown- i’d like to attribute it as it is a beaut shot if any of you can assist, Getty Images, Dick Simpson, Mike Feisst, Dave Friedman and Brian Caldersmith Collections.

‘Australia’s Top Sports Cars’ article by Graham Howard in Racing Car News May 1967. Thanks to Dale Harvey and Neil Stratton for assisting with car identification and the event date of the opening photograph.

Frank Matich and the SR3 Oldsmobile during the Warwick Farm Tasman meeting in 1967- the car’s race debut. That’s Ted Proctor’s Proctor Climax behind. Traco tuned ally Olsmobile V8, ZF 5 speed box and chassis all but identical to the Elfin 400 which preceded this car with some tubes added (D Simpson)

SR3 Etcetera…

I’ve not quite gotten to the Matich SR3’s yet, in terms of an article but click on the SR4 piece referenced below- there is a bit at the end of it about the SR3 and a complete Matich chassis list which will tell you what is what.

The 1967-1968 period is an interesting one from a technological racing history perspective.

Huge advances were made in tyres thanks to the application of vast wads of polymer chemistry research dollars to create products which were grippier than those which went before with consequent reduction in lap times.

Then of course their was the exponential progress in aerodynamics pioneered by Jim Hall and his boys at Chaparral in Midland, Texas well before their adoption by Ferrari and Brabham in F1 first, in 1968.

Sandown Tasman meeting the week after Warwick Farm, Peters Corner. This series of SR3’s were beautiful racing cars in all and whatever form. Note that the rear spoiler is bigger than that used the week before (B Caldersmith)

Of interest perhaps, is that it seems Matich and his crew have changed the roll-bar section of the chassis between its debut at Warwick Farm, see the colour photo above, and Sandown. Look how high it is in Sydney, and how low in Melbourne the week later whilst FM appears to be sitting in the same spot.

The car ran in as finished and completely unsorted state at the Farm with FM treating the whole weekend inclusive of races as a test and development exercise- Niel Allen won the feature race at that meeting in the ex-Matich Elfin 400 Traco Olds.

(M Feisst)

Peter Mabey prepares to alight the new SR3 he helped build, in the Sandown paddock. The gorgeous dark green machine with its neat gold ‘Frank Matich Pty Ltd’ and ‘SR3’ sign-writing and striping is about to be scrutineered.

The body, to Matich design, was built by Wal Hadley Pty. Ltd. at Smithfield in Sydney’s outer west, no doubt Wal and his crew enjoyed working on a racer rather than the hearses which were and still are their mainstream business!

The chassis was constructed by Bob Britton’s Rennmax Engineering in Croydon Park, also to Sydney’s west but closer in. Various independent sources have it, including Britton, that the spaceframe is pretty much tube-for-tube Elfin 400 with a few additional sections added to assist torsional rigidity.

Graham Howard credits the wheel design as Britton’s, said items of beauty were cast by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne- also suppliers to Garrie Cooper.

Peter Mabey did the Can-Am tour with FM in 1967, I wonder where he is these days, his story of the Matich years would be interesting?

FM beside the SR3 Repco 4.4 V8 at Road America on 3 September 1967. Note the front spoiler, car still fitted with ZF tranny. The plan was to return to the US with the SR4 in 1968. If the team had done that, fitted with a reliable 5 litre 560 bhp V8 it is conceivable FM could have taken a Can-Am round whilst noting the 7 litre 1968 McLaren M8A Chev’s were almighty cars. If, if, if… (D Friedman)

So, the delicate looking Matich SR3 Oldsmobile which made its race debut at the Warwick Farm Tasman round in 1967 is ‘effete’ in comparison to the fire-breathing 4.4 litre Repco RB720 V8 engined car- blooded in battle during several Can-Am rounds in 1967, which took on, and slayed Chris Amon’s Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 350 Can-Am in the three 1968 Tasman sportscar races Matich contested that summer.

For whatever reason, I am intrigued to know why, FM did not contest the final round at Longford- the last ever race meeting at the late, lamented road circuit. To have seen Frank and Chris duking it out on that circuit, in those damp conditions, on that day- Amon took the all-time lap record in the Ferrari remember, would really have been something!

(B Caldersmith)

The two shots from Brian Caldersmith’s Collection above and below were taken during the 1968 Warwick Farm Tasman- Chis and Frank had some great dices with the hometown boy coming out on top.

In similar fashion to Matich, Amon didn’t do the whole Can-Am in 1967, he joined the series after two of the P4’s which he and his teammates had raced in the manufacturers championship were ‘sliced and diced’ into Can-Am 350 lightweight Group 7 form. But Chris had seen enough of the SR3 stateside to know his Australian summer would not be a cakewalk.

This SR3 is considerably lower with much wider tyres of a diminished aspect ratio compared with twelve months before- at this stage FM was the Australian Firestone Racing Tyre importer/distributor and doing plenty of test miles.

No high wing was fitted to the car yet- despite FM looking closely at what Chaparral were up to in the US, but that would come of course.

(B Caldersmith)

Further Reading…

Ferrari P4/Can-Am 350; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

Elfin 400/Traco Olds; https://primotipo.com/2015/05/28/elfin-400traco-olds-frank-matich-niel-allen-and-garrie-cooper/

Matich SR4 with some SR3 bits; https://primotipo.com/2016/07/15/matich-sr4-repco-by-nigel-tait-and-mark-bisset/

Longford with plenty of 350 Can-Am; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/05/longford-lap/

Matich, SR3 (RCN-Dickson)

Tailpiece: O’Sullivan, Matich SR3 Repco from Niel Allen, Elfin 400 Chev, Warwick Farm early 1969…

(D Simpson)

Roll on another twelve months to Warwick Farm 1969 and Matich is up front in the distance aboard the all-conquering SR4 Repco 760 4.8 V8 with Perth businessman-racer Don O’Sullivan racing the now winged SR3 Repco 720 4.4 V8.

The car following O’Sullivan through the ‘Farm’s Esses is the Elfin 400 Chev aka ‘Traco Olds’ raced by Matich in 1966- sweeping all before him that year before building the first SR3 and selling the Elfin to Niel Allen. Niel and Peter Molloy modified the car in several ways, most notably replacing the Olds/ZF combination with a 5 litre Chev and Hewland DG300 gearbox- but not really troubling Matich with the modified, faster car.

Lets not forget the role Garrie Cooper played in contributing to the design of the SR3- it is all but a direct copy of the Elfin 400 chassis- that story told in the Elfin 400 article link above.

Superb ‘Racing Car News’ cover by David Atkinson of Matich in the SR3 ahead of Alan Hamilton’s Porsche 906 Spyder.

The 1967 Australian Tourist Trophy was won by Matich from Hamilton and Glynn Scott’s Lotus 23B Ford on 21 May 1967 at Surfers Paradise.

The scene depicted has a bit of creative licence in terms of the earth banks on the right, if indeed it is meant to be Surfers?

Finito…

(oldracephotos.com.au/D Keep)

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/

(Rod MacKenzie)

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.

(oldracephotos.com.au/D Keep)

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

(Dennis Cooper)

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, Rod MacKenzie, Dennis Cooper

Superb shot shows Bill coming off Kings Bridge with oil flag on display (oldracephotos.com.au/Harrisson)

Finito…

 

(P Maslen)

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

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

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

Whilst Paul was quick to the car, the task of affixing his Willans six-pointer was tricky when getting his Heavy Chevy started even in the calmness of a paddock, let alone with a schrieking 2 litre Porsche flat-6 blasting past and reinforcing his tardiness. Not that the notion of outrunning the Porsche over twelve hours should have been an issue- the Gates Lotus is also fast away whilst at far right is the red John Keran Volvo P1800S.

(P Maslen)

 

Hamilton from Hawkins, 5 litres of Chev V8 is hard to deny!, end of lap 1, he will grab the lead before the fast right hand swoop under Dunlop Bridge (P Maslen)

The last Le Mans 24 Hours with a running start was the 1969 event when Jacky Ickx famously walked to his John Wyer Ford GT40 before carefully fitting his belt- and winning the following day with Jackie Oliver.

The tragic irony of Ickx’ protest was that the ‘unbelted’ John Woolfe died in his Porsche 917 in a first lap accident- safety and seatbelts were the end of that bit of racing spectacle, fair enough too.

Lone ranger, Ickx, Le Mans 1969 (unattributed)

David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce 250LM was almost ‘rusted to this race’. It was never the fastest thing entered but it won in 1966- crewed by Jackie Stewart and Andy Buchanan, in 1967 with McKay’s regular team drivers of the day, Bill Brown and Greg Cusack at the wheel and in 1968 piloted by the brothers Geoghegan- Leo and Pete.

In second place behind the Brown/Cusack 250LM in 1967 was the Lola with 468 laps and third the Hamilton/Scott Porsche 906 with 460- the winners covered 490 laps of reliable, fast Ferrari motoring.

Surfers Paradise International Raceway was opened in 1966 with a bang- ‘Speed Week’ well and truly put Keith William’s circuit on the map in terms of both the motor racing community and the Queensland populace.

I wrote an article about that meeting a while back, check it out here; https://primotipo.com/2015/02/13/jackie-stewart-at-surfers-paradise-speed-week-1966-brabham-bt11a-climax-and-ferrari-250lm/

‘Speed Week’ in 1967 included the Gold Star race won by Spencer Martin from Paul Bolton, both aboard Brabham Climax’ the Sunday before, the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Saturday 2 September and the Rothmans 12 Hour the following day- the race started at 10am, Des White’s ‘Racing Car News’ account of the race sets the scene, ‘Sunday dawned just perfect, sunshine, a cool breeze, and the circuit looked great after a massive clean up following Saturday’s AGP for Motor Cycles’.

‘The garbage trucks removed the rubbish, several ambulances had removed all the leather clad bodies that had been lying around under Dunlop Bridge, and some six police cars had removed many of the exuberant but unfriendly Ned Kelly types from Repco Hill.’ This article is for the most part a truncated variant of Des’ great work in the September 1967 issue of ‘Racing Car News’.

Thirty-seven cars entered the meeting with a somewhat disappointing nineteen fronting for practice- notable absentees were Australia’s large population of Lotus 23’s and local clones thereof, the three Elfin 400’s of Bob Jane, Noel Hurd and Niel Allen. Frank Matich was taking in some Can-Am rounds in his Matich SR3 Repco at the time- all of the cars mentioned were/are ‘sprinters’ rather than purpose built endurance machines so perhaps the lessons of the previous year in terms of the longevity required had been heeded and the driver/entrants therefore stayed away.

The ninth placed Ron Thorp/Ray Strong AC Cobra ahead of the Scuderia Veloce Greg Cusack/Bill Brown Ferrari 250LM, the pair completed 416 laps compared with the winners 490 (B Williamson)

In 1966 there were five ‘outright contenders’ entered- the Stewart/Buchanan and Epstein/Hawkins Ferrari 250LM, Piper/Attwood Ferrari 365P2, Sutcliffe/Matich Ford GT40 and Hamilton/Reed Porsche 906 whereas in 1967 there were only three, the Scuderia Veloce 250LM, Porsche Cars Australia 906 and Hawkins/Epstein Lola T70 Mk3 Chev- unfortunately the Scott-Davies/Harvey/Tuckey Lola T70 Chev Spyder failed to take the grid after terminal engine failure in practice. The car suffered piston and rod failure and after replacements flown in from the US were fitted on Saturday night the car dropped a valve during a practice session before the start ending a rather unpleasant weekend for the crew.

Fastest in practice was the Hawkins Lola T70 on 1:16.3 from the Hamilton 906, 1:18.7, then the SV 250LM on 1:20.6 before getting into the ‘class cars’- the Gates/Bertram Lotus Elan 1:27.0 then the Mildren Alfa GTA on 1:28.7 and Macarthur brothers Lotus Elan on 1:29.30- also under the 1:30 mark was the Bob Holden/Don Holland Cooper S Lwt on 1:29.7 seconds.

The Hawkins/Epstein Lola (chassis number SL73/112) had not long prior led the Reims 12 Hour for 3 1/2 hours but its Hewland LG500 gearbox cried ‘enough’ but not before setting a lap record on this very fast circuit of ‘147mph, done at 1 o’clock in the morning with full tanks, and included a speed of 200mph on the straight’ Des White observed. That race was won by the Guy Ligier/Jo Schlesser Ford GT Mk2B. The big Lola was clearly the quickest car in the Surfers race but over the ensuing years the success of these wonderful machines in endurance racing was hampered by the brittle nature of the Chev engines most entrants used and the Hewland box.

Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM (C Anderson)

 

(Mixed bag here, again on the main straight- the #37 Charlie Smith/Noel Hall MGB, #18 Daimler SP250 shared by Peter Whitelaw/Ian Jenkins/Peter Ganderton and the only Holden entered- the Max de Jersey/Bill Birmingham 48-215 (P Maslen)

 

Its got a touch of Sebring about it in terms of variety: Calvert Holden 48-215, Ron Thorp AC Cobra, Charles Smith MGB and Phil Barnes, Morris Cooper S during the contests early laps (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

Alan Hamilton made a great start at the flags drop- 10am, his 906 jumping sideways as he applied all of the 2 litre engines flat-6 power to the very abrasive Surfers tarmac- KB also got away well in the Mildren GTA as did the Gate’s Elan but the Porsche succumbed to the big Lola at the end of the first lap.

Bartlett slipped under Bill Gates as the 250LM eased into third place during lap 5, a dice developed between the John French driven BMC Australia MG Midget and the Elans whilst the Harry Gapps Renault 8 Gordini engine blew after 24 minutes of racing and was the first retirement.

At 10.30 the Lola led from the Porsche and Ferrari then Bartlett in the GTA, the Holden/Holland Mini Lwt and Doug Macarthur in the family’ Lotus Elan. The first of many pitstops for the Hawkins Lola took place at 10.45am when 3 pints of oil were sloshed into the oil tank- a poorly fitted rocker cover was leaking badly.

Hamilton’s leading Porsche had completed 43 laps in the first hour, a lap clear of the Cusack/SV Ferrari and Hawkins Lola on the same lap as the Italian V12. Bartlett was 4 laps back in fourth, then Holden on the same lap as KB with Ron Thorp’s AC Cobra a lap in arrears.

The T70 pitted again at 11.16am for 8 pints of oil and a replacement rocker cover gasket- the stop took 12 minutes 54 seconds. The Whitelaw Daimler SP250 pitted with lots of steam and leaking brakes whilst the class leading Thorp Cobra came in for a front end check.

(C Anderson)

 

The batch of three photographs above and below are of the John Keran entered Volvo P1800S crewed by John, Colin Bond and Max Winkless. On circuit the car is driven by Keran- the two pitlane shots show John staring down the camera and he and Col Bond discussing the progress of the car.
The rally men, mind you Bond was racing on all kinds of surfaces then in tourers, sporties and his Rennmax Peugeot s/c single-seater, did well- fourth in the Improved Production under 2 litre class won by the Datsun Racing Team Datsun 1600 Sports with the Victorian pair of John Roxburgh and thrice Australian Grand Prix winner, Dog Whiteford behind the wheel (P Maslen)

 

(J Keran)

 

Keran, Bond and who is it in that Team Total shirt to the right? (J Keran)

At 11.30am the Hamilton Porsche led with 65 laps completed from the Ferrari and Bartlett Alfa GTA with the Holden Mini in fourth as the Lola hung around the pits. The John Roxburgh Datsun was in sixth on the same lap as the Thorp Cobra with the two Datsuns seemingly having a good grip on the 2 litre Improved Production class as the Barry Tapsall/Henk Woelders car headed John Keran’s Volvo P1800S.

At 11.45 Kevin Bartlett pitted for fuel and oil and handover to Doug Chivas but the little, lightweight Alfa would not answer the starter- pushed behind the pit counter for closer attention there the machine stayed, ‘the engine tighter than tight’.

Hamilton took his first pitstop bang on noon- four tyres went on and 22 gallons of fuel and Glynn Scott went in, the stop took 3 minutes 24 seconds, at that stage the 906 had done 87 laps, the Ferrari 86, then Bob Holden, Paul Hawkins, John French, John Roxburgh and Ron Thorp followed.

The Thorp Cobra pitted again with brake problems and at 12.16 Greg Cusack handed the SV 250LM over to Bill Brown after the Ferrari was filled with 32 gallons of fuel, 6 pints of oil and four, fresh Firestones, the slick stop taking two minutes.

Around the same time the Harry Cape Triumph GT6 pitted to have its rear light taped after a bingle and the Holden Mini Lwt had its rocker-post replaced- the Hindmarsh Elfin retired over at Firestone- the field was falling away whilst Doug Whiteford took over the class leading Datsun 1600 from John Roxburgh at 1pm together with 20 gallons of fuel and 4 tyres.

Barry Ferguson/Max Stahl ‘Racing Car News’ entered MGB, Max being the much loved racer/editor/proprietor of RCN (C Anderson)

 

Peter Maslen, the enthusiast who captured these wonderful images images wrote of the photograph above as ‘One of the finest drives I ever saw. When Alan Hamilton dropped the Porsche into a ditch around the back of the circuit, he was encouraged to recover it- Glynn Scott took over and they came in third. This picture now holds pride of place on my study wall’. It is a marvellous shot of the Porsche 906- he has managed to capture the determined set of Scott’s jaw, local open-wheeler and sportscar ace rather nicely (P Maslen)

 

I suspect its the first of the pit-stops for the Hawkins Lola with the 1:21.2 being given to Alan Hamilton in the now leading Porker 906 (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

Des White records that the Lola T70’s first ‘scheduled’ stop was made just on 1pm when 45 gallons of avgas and 4 pints of oil were taken onboard in 3 minutes 15 seconds- Paul remained at the wheel and set off at undiminished pace after the Ferrari and Porsche which was about 10 laps in front up the road.

Glynn Scott took the Porsche 906 to a 3 lap lead after three hours of racing at 1pm having completed 129 laps- he was a lap ahead of the Ferrari and ten laps ahead of the Lola on 119 laps. The works MG Midget of John French and Brian Foley was fourth on 115 laps, and doing amazingly well given its recent build and therefore hasty preparation, 3 laps clear of the Volvo Coupe now just 1 lap clear of the Whiteford Datsun 1600 after its pitstop, the Macarthur Elan was still in the race and running well.

Epstein Enterprises Lola T70 Mk3 (C Anderson)

 

The Bartlett/Doug Chivas Alfa Romeo GTA ‘RHD’- the second of Alec Mildren’s two GTA’s (P Maslen)

 

Ross Bond’s legendary Austin Healey 3000 in its more formative specifications in a long, successful race career and the John Keran Volvo P1800S (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

Alan Hamilton took over the 906 at 2.03pm for a top up of fluids and driver change, losing 3 minutes 10 seconds and in so doing allowed the Ferrari 250LM into the lead- then Bill Brown pitted the Ferrari to change over to Greg Cusack, that stop took 2 minutes 45 seconds, in the process re-entering the race a lap and a half behind Hamilton- both cars were well clear of the Lola which was in Jackie Epstein’s hands after a 7 minute stop.

Alan Hamilton niggled Cusack in the 250LM for several laps looking for a way past to increase his advantage finally getting alongside on the outside of Lukey- Greg held his line, the Porsche left the road, shot over a low mound and hit the Armco. The Victorian regained the circuit after 30 seconds but as the car entered Shell Straight the rear fibreglass body panel blew open and was ‘dragged along like some weird insect in the middle of a mating dance’ as White poetically put it!

The flustered pilot pulled off at Firestone, his race seemingly run but he was pursuaded to return the car to the pits for repairs- the team made good the rear panel with a combination of rivetted aluminium, race-tape and wire, they lost 17 minutes in the process with Glynn Scott determined to make up the lost time (in one of his photo captions White wrote that the 906 lost a total of 1 1/4 hours in the pits in total- not sure what is correct).

250LM at rest (C Anderson)

 

The Lotus Elan 26R crewed by disc-jockey Bill Gates and Jim Bertram (P Maslen)

 

Mroom-waaahhhrr. Scotty on the hop 906- where on circuit folks? (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

By this stage the ever reliable ‘Old Red Lady’ as David McKay referred to his adored car was in a lead which was all but impossible to peg back.

By 3pm the LM had completed 212 laps and had a 22 lap lead over the French/Foley MG Midget which was in a stunning second place from the Hawkins/Epstein Lola- which had also been back to the pits during the 906 time standing still. The Roxburgh/Whiteford Datsun 1600 still led its class and was fifth outright at a time the Porsche was back in ninth after going back to the pits for a further 49 seconds of repairs.

The French/Foley Midget pitted near 4pm with a broken scavenge pump whereupon the crew worked to convert the gallant little car from a dry to wet sump- this marvellous effort was in vain when the oil pump shaft broke at 4.20pm.

Scott pushed the robust 906 along very quickly- lapping in the regular 1:20’s, by 5pm he was back in sixth with 251 laps on the board, he was in sparkling form no doubt buoyed by his victory in the NSW ANF1.5 Championship aboard his old Lotus 27 Ford at Catalina Park in mid-August over Max Stewart and Phil West amongst others- Tapsall’s Datsun had completed 253 laps and Keran’s Volvo 255. With five hours to run even the third placed Roxburgh Datsun 1600 Sports looked likely to be caught by the flying Porsche.

The Tapsall Datsun pitted at 5.10pm for fuel and tyres but refused to start and was taken behind the pit wall where the battery and starter motor were replaced. Hamilton jumped back into the 906 at 5.38 pm having taken on 20 gallons of fuel and was after the third placed car- now only 4 laps away- a quick, high speed spin under the Dunlop Bridge at 6.50pm did not diminish his intent.

Not too hard to tell which car was artist Colin Anderson’s favourite! The winning 250LM (C Anderson)

 

A routine fuel and tyre stop for the victorious 250LM and below that the rumbling Lola in the Repco Hill to Castol corner section of the circuit prior to ‘Rothmans Straight’- the main straight(P Maslen)

 

Hard to tell but I think its Doug Chivas in the Mildren Alfa GTA, therefore practice, perhaps KB can advise (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

By 7 pm the Cusack/Brown Ferrari 250LM led the Hawkins/Epstein Lola T70 by over 25 laps having completed 374 circuits of the challenging Nerang layout- by then the speedy 906 was only a lap adrift of the leading Datsun and gaining fast. The Holden/Holland Cooper S Lwt followed on 326 laps, a lap clear of the Volvo.

Henk Woelder’s, later Australian F2 Champion aboard Bill Patterson’s Elfin 600E Ford, exited his Datsun after again replacing the car’s battery and starter motor- only fifteen cars remained in the battle at this point.

Glynn Scott took over the 906 again at 8pm after a 3 minute 49 seconds stop for fuel- his first flying lap in the dark was a 1:21.2, about 5 seconds quicker than the Ferrari and 10 seconds better than the big rumbling Lola- both of these machines being stroked along to the finish in ‘secure’ positions of course- Scotty had a big spin under Repco after 3 laps but kept on pushing all the same.

Woelders’ Datsun re-entered the fray but was black-flagged for running without rear tail-lights- Whiteford’s similar car (#28 rather than Woelders’ #29) was shown the flag- ‘a nasty scene was avoided’ as ‘Dicer Doug’ was not a man to be trifled with, and the Woelders machine was put away for the rest of the night.

MGB pitstop, probably Max Stahl (C Anderson)

 

The rumbling Lola in the Repco Hill to Castol corner section of the circuit prior to ‘Rothmans Straight’- the main straight (P Maslen)

 

From right- #7 works, new French/Foley MG Midget which is extant, de Jersey/Birmingham Holden FJ, #14 Hallam/Pare Ford Anglia, #15 Lister/Seldon Volvo 122S, #28 Roxburgh/Whiteford Datsun 1600 Sports, #4 250LM, #8 Holden/Holland Morris Cooper S Lwt (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

By 9 pm with one hour left to run the Ferrari had completed 448 laps, 20 laps ahead of Paul Hawkins who was at the wheel for the final stint, Glynn Scott was still lapping in the low 1 min 21’s in his series of inspiring stints and was by then up to third outright with 417 laps- 11 adrift of the curvaceous Lola.

Hawkins pitted for the last time at 9.25pm, the two and a bit minutes stop handed Glynn another 2 laps with Hawkins circulating in the 1:26’s to go easy on the car, Des White finished his wonderful article on the race with ‘The race finished in the cold dampness of 10pm and the Ferrari coasted into the presentation area, quickly joined by the Porsche which received and rightly deserved all the ovation it received followed by the big mean, green machine, the Lola.’

‘The results were just about what one must expect in an endurance event, the Ferrari taking out its second Rothmans 12 Hour, while both Hawkins and Hamilton vowed to be back next year with the same teams, for as Hawkins stated- ‘Its time we won this thing.’

Alan Hamilton was and is a tall fella so lopping the lid off Porsche 906 ‘007’ made sense especially in an Australian sprint racing context- the bulk of our sportscar races were short. Here looking all pristine in practice entering ze pits, she looked a bit more grungy and used post-event (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

 

Three Minis were entered in the Sports Racing under 2 litre class, this one is the Phil Barnes/Jeff Leighton Morris Cooper S- they completed 238 laps and placed seventh in the class won by the Hamilton/Scott 906, the best placed Cooper S was the BMC works entry raced by Bob Holden and Don Holland to fifth with 437 laps completed (P Maslen)

 

250LM and 906 early in the contest, main straight (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

 

(P Maslen)

The results of the race, to the first three finishers in each class are as follows; (source RCN)

Outright

Greg Cusack/Bill Brown Ferrari 250LM, Paul Hawkins/Jackie Epstein Lola T70 Mk3 Chev, Alan Hamilton/Glynn Scott Porsche 906

Sports Racing over 2 litres

250LM, T70, Max de Jersey/A Shaw Holden FJ

Sports Racing under 2 litres

906, Bob Holden/Don Holland Morris Cooper S Lwt, David Seldon/Gerry Lister Volvo 122S

Improved Production over 2 litres

Ron Thorp/Ray Strong AC Cobra, Peter Whitelaw/Kevan Woolf/P Ganderton Daimler SP250

Improved Production under 2 litres

John Roxburgh/Doug Whiteford Datsun 1600 Sports, Chris Smith/Noel Hall MGB, Ray Kearns/Brian Lawler/Col Wear Volvo 122S

Ron Thorp on the hop, AC Cobra (Bowden Collection)

Afterthoughts…

Surfers Paradise owner/promoter Keith Williams tried very hard to establish this race, first over twelve hours duration in 1966/7 and then six hours in 1968/9 as fixtures on the Australian racing calendar.

Forty cars raced in 1966, 27 in 1967, 29 in 1968 and 23 in 1969, in the latter years Australian ‘Pony’ cars swelled the numbers and of course endurance events in Australia quickly evolved as Series Production/Group E Touring Car events in the late sixties with huge entries. ‘Sports prototype or racing sportscar’ numbers in each of the SPIR events were 8, 3, 4 and 7 from 1966 to 1969, which I understand on one level in the sense that the local population of such cars in Australia were sprinters rather than endurance racers. Having said that one could have run your twin-cam or Olds or Chev with a softer cam and used less revs for this event- all of which assumes the funds to do so of course.

The entry of cars from Europe was problematic given the distance involved without payment of generous subsidies and why would the Americans bother given the size of the Can-Am purses?

Sportscar construction spiked a bit in Oz in 1970/71 with the release of 2.5 litre Repco Brabham V8’s as the Tasman 2.5 Formula ended but so engined Rennmax’ and Elfins were fitted with motors which struggled over 100 miles let alone six hours- and so it was that Williams’ valiant attempts withered on the vine.

A pity.

Credits and References…

Peter Maslen, oldracephotos.com/Phillips, John Keran Collection, Bowden Collection, September 1967 Racing Car News

Superb drawings by Colin Anderson scanned from RCN

Tailpieces: Paul Hawkins T70 Mk3 Chev, Surfers…

(oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

An all time Top Ten Racing Cars pick for me- been on the list for forty years too so its unlikely to slip off it. A big arsed but oh so curvaceous, busty, buxom, broad- it oozes sex if you get my drift.

Twiggy it ain’t.

(unattributed)

Funnily enough Paul had a sprint win in the car before leaving Australia.

He contested the 34 lap, 76 mile ‘Gallaher GT Trophy’ race at Warwick Farm the weekend after Surfers on 10 September and had a terrific weekend, winning the race and a couple of five lappers as well. Niel Allen’s Elfin 400 Chev was 3 seconds a lap quicker in practice than Paul- and Glynn Scott’s Lotus 23B Ford twin-cam was half a chance too but come raceday Allen lost a tooth off the crown wheel relinquishing the lead to happy Hawkins.

Paul shortly thereafter bought the Lola from Epstein and had some club successes in it back in the UK before having a very successful Springbok tour with it that November/December 1967.

At this stage of his career Hawkins was both a sportscar ace for hire- Porsche, Ferrari and John Wyer spring to mind, and did good business racing modified GT40’s and Lolas out of his own workshops in Finchley, North London.

As most of you will be aware the gifted Australian lost his life in a semi-works T70 Mk3B Chev whilst contesting the very wet Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park on 26 May 1969- he left the track and hit a tree at Island Bend.

Finito…

Any Brabham is an over Australian $175-200K proposition these days, except one!…

There was a time, a long time, that the Australian Motor Industry was in expansionary mode behind the high tariff walls that allowed us to live in fools paradise along with most other western countries. Said tariffs in Australia started to reduce circa 1972/3. That was a pivotal moment for our automotive sector, it was never the case that our industry would cease to manufacture cars as a result of that policy change, there are a host of factors company by company that led to that outcome, but the quite correct reduction in tariffs was the first factor in a death by a thousand cuts.

The big three of the Australian industry in the sixties were General Motors Holden, Ford and Chrysler Australia. Chrysler/Mitsubishi’s Adelaide, Tonsley Park manufacturing facility is long gone, it is essentially a technology park these days whilst Holden and Ford have ceased manufacture much more recently, Holden in the last month. It was quite eery to drive past the Ford Geelong factory a week ago and see it in silence, the carparks empty of the workers who built engines there for decades.

GMH, Ford and Toyota, the other local manufacturer in more recent times are mere importers these days, a whole sector of manufacturing is gone due to the failure or desire of the local subsidiaries of global transnationals to make cars the punters want. Our cost structures are high, the global transnationals can and do decide where to make cars in a manner which maximises their profits and high cost locations hardly enhance that. Not to mention Government Policy Fuck-Wittery. It’s more complex than that, I’m getting off-point!

Back to 1963, much simpler times.

GMH, dominant in big cars, but with Ford chasing them down, looked enviously at the growth in the small car market and particularly the market share of BMC, (British Motor Corporation) Ford, VW and others.

GMH’s answer was the Vauxhall Viva, provided by GM’s UK subsidiary and first introduced in Oz in April 1964. The two door, small cars performance was ordinary, its virtues cheapness of running costs and a slick gearbox.

From small acorns do big things grow though- the late sixties to early seventies six-cylinder Torana GTR, GTR-XU1 and later the mid-seventies V8 L34 and A9X owe their parentage to the little, wheezy, Pommie Vauxhall Viva.

Its initial Australian performance credentials were bolstered by Class A (cars costing under 900 pounds) victory in the 1964 Bathurst 500, where the Spencer Martin/Bill Brown (car #46 in the ad above) driven Viva triumphed over 5 other Vauxhalls, Hillman Imps, Morris Mini 850, NSU Prinz and VW Beetles.

An updated car- the ‘HB’ Holden Torana was released in May 1967. With its conventional front engine/rear drive format, it found favour amongst traditional Oz buyers compared with some of the opposition- the new-fangled BMC cars and rear engined ‘Gunter-Wagen’ – VW Beetle. Small Fords- Anglia, Cortina always did well here. Perceived positives of the ‘HB’ were just enough power, the ‘box, rack and pinion steering and coil sprung, as against leaf sprung rear end.

By 1968 the 1159cc pushrod OHV engine gave 69bhp. It was to this base that the ‘breathed on’ Brabham Torana was released. It is not my intention to go through the timeline iterations of the Brabham Torana but in essence the package included a free flow exhaust system, twin Stromberg carbs which gave circa 79bhp, not a lot but 20% more than a base Torana ‘poverty pack’. The spec also included disc brakes up front, low profile 6 X 12 inch wheels/tyres on super wide 4 inch rims!, rally GT stripe and Brabham decals. The top speed of the base model Tommy Torana was 80mph, Jack’s did 89…with a huge tailwind I suspect.

It was pretty unimpressive though, ‘me mums Morrie 1100 with yours truly at the helm had no trouble regularly shutting one down on the trip from North Balwyn to Monash University- the fellow parked in a different corner of the Clayton car park to hide its shame.

Progress is an amazing thing though. By 1969 the little Viva had evolved into six-cylinder (as well as the four cylinder) cars, by 1970 the only car I was interested in at the Royal Melbourne Show car display was the ‘LC’ Torana GTR-XU1.

And the rest as they say, is history- a swag of Australian Touring Car Championship and Rally wins. Depending upon the model, these cars were amazingly adaptable motor sport tools.

And Jack started it all!

Not really at all.

For him it was a commercial deal, he had nothing whatsoever to do with the spec of the Brabham Torana’s- but they are the cheapest Brabhams on the planet albeit not ones built by Motor Racing Developments!

Jack aboard a Brabham Viva at Longford in 1967- Ford jacketed Denny Hulme looks on from the right

Credits…

Unique Cars and Parts, oldracephotos.com.au

Tailpiece: Jack Has His Hand On It…

Finito…

 

249%20B%20Brown%20wm

‘This is the prettiest car i have ever snapped’ said Dick Simpson. Hard to argue…

This is one of four Ferrari P4’s built; chassis numbers ‘0856’, ‘0858’, ‘0860’ and ‘0846’ the latter a converted P3.

At the end of the 1967 endurance season two of the cars were lightened and modified to run in the ’67 CanAm Series in the US. Chassis ‘0860’ and ‘0858’, the latter was then acquired by ‘Scuderia Veloces’ David McKay for one fabulous season in Australia. I wrote an article a while back about Scuderia Veloce, David McKay and his 250LM ‘6321’, have a read of it rather than repeat the background here.

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/

Simpsons’ shot is of Aussie Bill Brown at the wheel on 5 May 1968, the shot taken at the left hander after Warwick Farms’ (Sydney) ‘Shell Bridge’, it captures the curvaceous beauty of the thing!

The photographers and their artistry inspired this article…acknowledgement of them all but especially Dick Simpson, John Ellacott, Roderick MacKenzie, Ellis French and Lindsay Ross.

le mans 67 start

As Mike Spence buckles up his seatbelt in the Chaparral 2F Chev, he is surrounded by FoMoCo vehicles; #1 the victorious Gurney/Foyt, #3 Bianchi/Andretti and Hulme/Ruby Mk4’s, and the #5 Gardner/McCluskey and Schlesser/Ligier Mk2’s…not a Ferrari in sight! (Unattributed)

1967 was a halcyon year of sports car racing, the high point of the ‘Unlimited Formula’…a 5 litre limit for sports cars and 3 litres for prototypes was imposed by the FIA for 1968 so Ford had 1 more year to race their 7 litre Mk 2 and 4’s.

Chaparral returned to Europe with the fabulous 2F Coupe after an exploratory endurance year with the 2D in 1966, Lola competitors struggled with engine reliability to match the excellence of the chassis and Ferrari returned with 4 litre engines but with 3 valve heads after a year of austerity in 1966. Ferrari mainly entered 1 P3 at each race also coping with widespread industrial unrest in Italy that year.

The season wasn’t all about just the big 3; Alfa raced their T33, Porsche the 907, Matra their M630 V8 BRM engined cars, but in reality the seaon was about the big outright cars, an unforgettable year of sports car racing arguably caused by Enzos’ rebuff of Fords’ desire to purchase the Italian autocrats’ company 5 years before and the Lola GT/Ford GT40 program which followed.

The Ford Mk4 incorporated all the learnings of the company, the early failures of the GT40 and Mark 2 in 1964/5 and the triumph at Le Mans in 1966, Kiwis’ Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon ‘winning’ over the Ken Miles/Denny Hulme Mark 2 in the farcical ‘Form Finish’.

The Mark 4 was of aluminium honeycomb construction and had much more advanced aerodynamics than the Mk 2 developed from extensive testing of many variations of shapes to get the appropriate mix of top speed/downforce. The mechanical package was largely carried over and incorporated a 7 litre OHV Ford V8 fed by 2 four-barrel Holley carburettors giving circa 530bhp@6200rpm. The 4 speed Kar Kraft gearbox was again used after experiments with a 2 speed auto. Weight was circa 1100Kg.

All of the major contenders suspension layouts were similar; upper and lower wishbones at front with coil spring/damper units and adjustable roll bars. And at the rear, single top link, twin radius rods, lower wishbone, coil spring/damper units and adjustable sway bars.

All 3 cars also had rack and pinion stering, and of course cast iron disc brakes at front and rear.

 

ford mk 4

The Chaparral 2F Chev was the most exotic of the three cars despite its pushrod OHV 7 litre Chev V8. Fed by 4 58mm Weber down-draught carburettors, the engine developed 575 bhp@7500rpm. The chassis was made of fibre-glass, weighed 793Kg dry, the advanced specification extending to its 3 speed General Motors automatic transmission and advanced aerodynamics including distinctive high rear wing. The Texans had incorporated all they learned on their European campaign in 1966 with the 2D

 

chapp 2f
The P4’s ‘Aero’ chassis had slightly wider tracks than its P3 forebear and was the result of evolution over previous seasons, Ferraris’ first mid-engined sports car was the V6 engined 246SP of 1961. Doug Nye records that chassis ‘0796’ was cut up and lengthened slightly to accomodate a 2 cam 3 litre Testa Rossa engine, the 1963 Le Mans winning 250P evolved from this successful prototype. So too did the 1965 Le Mans winning 250LM, essentially a 250P with a roof and 3.3 litre engine, making it, in the eyes of many the 275LM…

The 3.3 litre 2 cam 275P followed in 1964, 275P2 and 4 litre 4 cam 330P2 in 1965. The P2’s departed from earlier Ferrari space-frame practice by utilisation of the ‘aero’ tube-frame semi-monocoque structure whereby the frame is stiffened by rivetted sheet steel panelling. The model range is more complex than this as it also includes different engine/chassis combinations for customers, i will stick to the works cars for the purpose of this article.

The 4 litre P3 followed in 1966 with much improved suspension geometry to address inadequate camber control and to suit the latest generation of ever widening tyres. The 4 litre engine, adapted for Lucas fuel injection developed circa 420bhp@8000rpm. As outlined above, Ferrari’s 1966 season was impacted by industrial problems in Italy as well as John Surtees midseason departure which impacted both the sports car program and probably the World F1 Titles which were theirs to take with an ace at the wheel. And some luck with reliability.

The stiffness of the chassis was improved as Nye describes ‘…previous P series Ferraris had carried their engines on four simple mounts plus plus two for the gearbox, the new P4 engine featured a stiffer crankcase and could be mounted as a semi-stressed structural member, picking up on four carefully triangulated mounts at the front, two each side and four at the rear.’

The engine, the block stressed as above, featured the 3 valves per cylinder (2 inlet and 1 exhaust with the inlets between the 2 camshafts of each bank) layout developed by Franco Rocchi in late 1966, as developed for the F1 cars. There were 2 plugs per cylinder still fired by good old fashioned coils, 4 of them. Lucas fuel injection fed the fuel. The engines capacity was 3967cc and developed 450bhp @ 8000 rpm.

Also new was a 5 speed gearbox made by Ferrari to replace the earlier ZF unit, the ZF5DS25 units as used in the Ford GT’s had been unreliable in 1966. Weight was 965Kg.

Firestone replaced Dunlop as the teams tyre supplier.

And so the scene was set…the prototype completed 580 laps at Firestone tyre tests at Daytona in December 1966, Amon the quickest ahead of Parkes, Bandini and Scarfiotti, the P4 timed at 338kmh along the back straight.

Quick, but as it was to transpire, not quick enough.

fazz p 4 cutaway

1967 Endurance Season…

p4 monza

The Parkes/Scarfiotti P4 ‘0858’ passes the # 18 Casoni/Martini Ferrari Dino 206S, pursued by the Mike Spence/Phil Hill Chaparral 2F Chev, DNF with driveshaft failure. ‘0858’ 2nd, the win taken by Bandini/Amon in another P4 ‘0856’. (Unattributed)

In the first race of the season, at Daytona the new car was immediately successful leading the race from the 4th hour and taking the first 2 places, Amon/Bandini ahead of Scarfiotti/Parkes and a modified P3/4 entered by Luigi Chinettis’ NART . All the 7 litre Fords retired or were delayed by maladies.

The Scuderia did not enter Sebring, but Amon and Bandini won again at Monza with Scarfiotti and Parkes second, the factory Fords did not enter the race.With practice laps only three-tenths of a second apart, Bandinis’ Ferrari and Spences’ Chaparral raced wheel to wheel from the off.

Spence retired early leaving Ferrari the rest of the race. Bandini took the lead with Scarfiotti in second in ‘0858’, Rodriguez third for NART and Vaccarella in the Filipinetti car in fourth. Ferrari’s four-litre prototypes now dominated the first four positions. A failed attempt by Rodriguez at overtaking the second-place works Ferrari resulted in his retirement. ( Note that RM Auctions in their sale dossier of the car several years ago claim Bandini and Amon won driving ‘0858’,  other independent sources say ‘0858’ finished 2nd)

spa p4

Parkes and Scarfiotti 5th and best of the P4s at Spa in ‘0858’. Ickx won in a Mirage M1 Ford. (L’Automobile)

At Spa, ‘Rainmaster’ Ickx prevailed in John Wyers 5.7 litre Mirage Ford, Scarfiotti and Parkes could do no better than 5th in ‘0858’.

Vaccarella crashed out of the Targa lead in his P4 at Collesano, his home town…

And then came Le Mans.

As noted above this was the last Le Mans run under the unlimited formula…Ford won the previous year but at Daytona they were well and truly beaten by the P4’s.Ferrari missed the Nurburgring 1000Km to be better prepared for La Sarthe 3 P4’s were entered by the factory the 4th an Ecurie Francorchamps entry.

The big V8’s had the legs in practice as proved to be the case in the race.

The Scarfiotti/Parkes P4 ‘0858’ was never far behind. A crash eliminated 3 Fords, the Mairesse/Beurlys P4 moved into 3rd with the works cars chasing the leading Ford Mk4 of Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt. That vastly experienced pair drove a superb race taking Fords 2nd Le Mans. Nye noted ‘…the race was decided on the Mulsanne. All the 7 litre Fords topped 320kmh. The 330P4 could not better 310kmh, and the poorer breathing of the 24 valve 412P’s left them gasping, slower still’.

The works  Ferrari finished 4 laps behind, the 1st Ford and 2nd and 3rd placed (Mairesse/Beurlys) Ferraris covered a distance unprecedented at Le Mans.

Mike Parkes said to journalist/Le Mans Winner Paul Frere after the race ‘Never in my life have I driven a car so hard for so long’.

le mans 67

‘0858’ on the way to 2nd place at Le Mans in the hands of Ludovico Scarfiotti and Mike Parkes albeit 4 laps behind the winning 7 litre Ford Mk4 of Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt. (Unattributed)

The Brands Hatch ‘BOAC International 500′ was the final race of the endurance season and was to determine the championship for the year. Jackie Stewart joined Chris Amon in the works team to bolster the Ferraris’ chances, Mike Parkes having badly injured his legs in an F1 crash at Spa.

Both chassis ‘0858’ and ‘0860’ had been converted to  Spiders by the factory, removal of the roof and lightening the body saving around 40Kg in weight. (Two independent sources claim ‘0858’ was driven by Jonathon Williams and Paul Hawkins to 6th in this race, and that Amon/Stewart raced ‘0860’ to 2nd)

The race started at noon on Sunday under grey skies. John Surtees took an initial lead before Paul Hawkins replaced him in the third of the P4s. After the first hour, Stewart had Spences’ Chaparral in his sights. Scarfiotti was behind him in another P4, followed by the Swiss Jo Siffert in a Porsche 908. With regular driver changes and pit stops, the running order was continually evolving over the ensuing four hours. In the final hour, Amon was second.

With ten minutes to go, Stewart took the wheel, held the position and finished the race, securing the Manufacturers’ Championship for Ferrari, its 12th, defeating Porsche. Mike Spence won the race, the Chaparral finally taking a long promised win.

350 can am front

Factory CanAm 350 3/4 front . (Ferrari)

From P4 to Can Am 350…

With the Endurance Season over and regulation changes precluding the cars competition in the 1968 Endurance Championship the factory modified two of the P4’s; ‘0858’ and ‘0860’ to better compete in the Can Am Championship by lightening and modifying the cars, naming them ‘350 Can Am’ to contest the prestigious series in their most important market.

The cars were lightened considerably by becoming curvaceous Spiders instead of more curvaceous Coupes! Weight was reduced from 792Kg wet to 700Kg wet.

The engines capacity was increased to 4176cc raising the engines power to 480bhp@8500rpm, the cars mechanical specification is as described above otherwise.

Fundamentally it was not enough.

fazz

Its 1 September 1967, Brit Jonathon Williams is about to test an F1 Ferrari 312 for the first time at Modena. In the background is one of the P4/CanAm 350’s, still with headlights fitted, also on William’s menu for the day. Lucky boy. The first CanAm round was at Road America on 3 Sept, the CanAm 350’s first raced at Laguna Seca in William’s/Amon’s hands on 15 October, there was much work to be done yet! (Pete Coltrin)

Bruce McLaren had been contesting sports car races in the US since his Cooper days in the early 1960’s, his first M1 McLarens were quick cars hampered by light but not powerful enough aluminium Oldsmobile engines. For 1967, he and Robin Herd designed and built the monocoque M6 powered by 5.9 litre, circa 525bhp iron Chev V8’s and rewrote the record book in terms of dominance of this series.

‘The Bruce and Denny Show’ of the following years was underway, the Ferraris’ contested the series entered by ‘Harrahs Casino’ also Ferrari distributors, were comprehensively blown off…along with the rest of the grid.

350 can am rear

Factory 350 CanAm ‘butt shot’. Absence of lights clear in the weight saving process. Ferrari ‘box in P4 replaced problemmatic ZF unit of P3…gorgeous if not as much so as P4 parent! (Ferrari)

 

can am vegas 1967

McLarens’ papaya M6A Chev looms in Jim Halls’ Chaparral 2G Chev mirrors. #21 is Parnelli Jones Lola T70 Ford and Dan Gurneys’ partially obscured Lola T70Mk3b Chev, ALL DNF! Race won by Surtees Lola T70Mk3b Chev. (Unattributed)

‘0858’ From the US to Australia via Italy…

David McKay had raced his 250LM ‘6321’ in Australia since 1965 but the car was getting older and ‘she was often racing out of class and racing against pure prototypes…During a visit to Maranello I broached the subject with Mike Parkes and the factory’s General Manager Ermano Della Casa. I had seen the P4’s at Le Mans in 1967 where Mike and Scarfiotti had finished a gallant second to Fords’ 7 litre steam roller and had fallen in love with the car’.

‘To me it typified all the art, beauty and grace of the old world pitted amongst the brashness and might of the new…In due course I received word that I could buy ‘0858’ for the considerable sum of US$30000.

riverside 67

Riverside CanAm 1967. #12 Roger McCluskey Lola T70 Chev, #27 Williams Ferrari Can Am 350, #19 Bill Amick McLaren M1C Chev, Jerry Entin McLaren M1C Chev. (Unattributed)

The car which raced unsuccessfully in the States at Laguna Seca, Riverside and Las Vegas would be fully rebuilt and shipped to Sydney by Christmas 1967. This would be in good time for the Australian Tasman Races where Amon would conduct it and surely set a cat amongst the pigeons…’

Chris Amon raced a Ferrari 246T looked after by McKays Scuderia Veloce during the Tasman Rounds that summer and in 1969, the year in which he was Tasman Champion.

McKay ‘The less charitable said the factory wanted the car as far away as possible so that they could forget the ignominy of the CanAm venture. The car had managed a 5th at Laguna Seca, 8th at Riverside and a DNF at Las Vegas with Amon who had surely wrung everything out of it’.

Note that some sources say Jonathon Williams raced ‘0858’ and Amon ‘0860’ in the Series, another source suggests Amon raced the car twice, at Laguna Seca and Riverside and by Williams at the final round at Las Vegas. Australian ‘Sports Car World’ magazine in a feature about the car published 1985 says that who drove which car cannot be accurately determined.

Take your pick…i am inclined to either uncertainty, or, I imagine Amon would have related directly to McKay at the time which car he drove, and by the time McKay wrote his autobiography he had no vested interest in the car his financial investment in it having ended in 1968, vendors or their agents and their claims should be treated with the Caveat Emptor dictum in mind…).

riverside 67 2

The 2 350 CanAms’ at rest, Riverside paddock 1967. #23 Amon #27 Williams 8th and DNF…’0858′ and ‘0860’ or…’0860′ and ‘0858’ take your guess. (Unattributed)

 

amon riverside

Chris Amon using the big twelves horsepower to good effect at Riverside 1967, 8th. All the drivers who raced the P4 commented on how sweet the chassis was. (Unattributed)

McKay ‘This should have turned me off but I comforted myself with the thought that there were no 8 litre McLarens in Australia and certainly no Bruce or Denny to worry us.

Alas, it only required a local in his own device powered with a local 4.4 litre V8 to unravel our dream. (Frank Matich in his Matich SR3 Repco 4.4V8).’

In fact the performance of Frank Matich in his self built car should not have been a surprise to either McKay or Amon.

Matich had contested most of the 1967 Can Am season, including the 3 events in which Amon participated and was also flogged by the McLarens, Matich didn’t finish a race in fact…but the Sydney built, space-frame chassis, 400 bhp Repco 4.4 litre V8 engined Matich was slightly quicker than the 350 Can Am and ‘match fit’ after a tough season in the US.

The Ferrari was not to have it easy in Australia.

matich riverside

Frank Matich, wife Joan his team and Firestone technicians on the pit apron at Riverside, 1967 CanAm. Grid 20 DNF accident. Matich SR3 Repco; space-frame chassis car powered by Repco ‘620 Series’ 4.4 litre SOHC V8 400bhp@7000rpm. Surtees Lola T70Mk3B Chev behind. (Unattributed)

Again David McKay picks up the story ‘As starting money was imperative for such an expensive undertaking I sounded out all the major circuits. All were enthusiastic and all promised to pay a modest enough $350 a start. It goes without saying that when Geoff Sykes (Warwick Farm boss) set the standard, a ‘yes’ on the phone was sufficient to seal the agreement’.

‘There was great excitement at the wharf when the open crate carrying the plastic wrapped P4 was lowered over the liners side. There were a couple more huge wooden crates I hadn’t expected. These turned out to be another engine, gearbox, transaxle, suspensions, disc brakes, all manner of rose joints and sixteen wheels-in reality a second P4 apart from the simple tube-chassis and the brief, skimpy fibre-glass bodywork. That US$30000 was immediately halved in our minds and much of my initial disappointment at seeing the rather unattractive Can Am bodywork evaporated’.

Ferrari_330_P4_68_01

‘0858’ shortly after its arrival in Sydney at SV’s workshop, Wahroonga. (WOT)

‘Engineer Bob Atkin and I were keen to get the crate and boxes home to Wahroonga to prod the beast into life. This we did and again I felt disappointment. Where was the distinctive wail I heard in the cold air at Le Mans? It was now deeper, throatier but somehow more common, less exciting.

Unfortunately I never felt any warmth for the P4, certainly not its fault for the car was out of its milieu, away from the understanding hands which cared for it and probably thinking it was back in that coarse country, America, of which it had nothing but bad dreams.

I hoped a reunion with Amon would be beneficial but Chris was more involved with his Tasman Dino and his forthcoming battle with Clark and Hill in their Lotus 49 Ford DFW’s.’

clark and amon

Jim Clark, Chris Amon and their respective mechanics share a joke around Chris’ Ferrari 246T at Longford, March 1968. Clark won the series in his Lotus 49 DFW, Piers Courage the race in a gutsy wet weather drive in his McLaren M4A FVA F2 car. Clark 5th and Amon 7th. Clark killed that April and Amon returned to take the 1969 Tasman Championship…the P4 by then sold. (oldracephotos)

 

mc kay and amon

‘Don’t pick your nails Chris!’ Amon and McKay in the cockpit of ‘0858’ at Sandown, Melbourne, February 1968. Mckay first assisted Amon in the 1963 International Series, Amon driving the SV Cooper T53 Climax. (Roderick MacKenzie)

 

sv at WF

Scuderia Veloce Team at Warwick Farm 1968; 250LM ‘6321’, Brabham BT23A ‘1’ Repco and the P4/CanAm 350 ‘0858’. This shot was taken at the 18 February Tasman Meeting, 250LM i am guessing was not raced, Greg Cusack in the Brabham DNF in the Tasman race won by Clarks’ Lotus 49 DFW, Amon raced the P4. (David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce)

Australian Race Record of ‘0858’…

Ray Bell was a journalist for ‘Racing Car News’ magazine in the 1960 and 1970’s, he wrote evocatively about the cars race record on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ in 2002…

surfers p4

Amon gets the drop from Matich in the SR3, Surfers Paradise, February 1968. Ordinary crowd numbers, surf up at Main Beach maybe? (wolseley680)

‘The first race for the car in Australia was February 10 at Surfers Paradise. It was the Saturday and it was clear that there were some shocks headed for the lap record after Matich recorded 1:10.2 in practice.

Matich dudded the start, however, but scorched around to be the first to take the lap record over the 100mph mark with a 1:10.6 (101.98mph) to Amon’s 1:10.7, reeling the Ferrari in after four laps and diving under it when a slower car baulked Amon.

Two more 5-lappers were scheduled for Sunday, with Matich and his 4.4-litre tube-framed SR3 leading away and getting a full second advantage on the first lap. The record was equalled as he took another win. In the second, Amon was a non-starter.

surfers start

Rod MacKenzies’ shot of the Surfers race 1 start from a different angle. ‘Spare tyre’ on Ferrari mandated by dopey Australian sports car rules of the day. The Matich carries its spare under the drivers ‘screen’. Beefy spoiler on the SR3, its ’68 the ‘Year of Wings’

 

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Superb John Ellacott shot of Chris Amon looking as relaxed as he can be with Frank Matich ‘up his clacker’! Homestead Corner Warwick Farm, February 1968. (John Ellacott)

A week later at Warwick Farm came the race I speak of so often.

The report says Matich ‘left the Ferrari breathless…’ as he led Amon a merry chase. That they came past us side by side, with a Tojiero between them being lapped and grass clippings flying on one lap in the race shows that it wasn’t all that breathless!

Again, Matich was pressed to a new circuit record (these are outright records, faster than the Lotus 49s and the Amon Dino managed on the day) of 1:28.5 in staving off the Ferrari. Amon retired with reported ignition trouble on lap 7 or 8.(McKay advised the ignition leads were plucked off one bank of cylinders having been taped carefully out of reach of a half-shaft)

Check out the YouTube footage of this race…

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WF start. Both Matich #1 Matich SR3 Repco and Niel Allen in the white Elfin 400 Chev get the jump on Amons Fazz at the start. WF a horse racing facility still, ceased as an International car race venue after the ’73 Tasman Series. (Wirra)

 

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Amon leads Matich into Shell Corner, lap 1 , Sandown Tasman Round Sports Car race, 25 February 1968. car with white stripe down the nose at left the Bob Jane Racing Elfin 400 Repco. (Rod MacKenzie)

The opening gambit of the Sandown Park report, the next week (February 25), was ‘This was the first time the Sandown crowd has had a chance to see Frank Matich really trying. The reason was, of course, that he had Chris Amon and the P4 Ferrari to worry him.’

Matich bogged down at the start (‘nearly burned a hole in the startline with wheelspin…’) and Chris led away, but after a lap or two ‘braking late for Peters, Frank closed on Chris and went under him as they accelerated out onto Peters (the back straight).’ Matich won by four seconds, took the sports car record down to 1:07.2 (Clark nobbled the outright record in the Australian GP on the same day with a 1:07.1) and Matich bowed out of any further contests. He wasn’t happy to go to Longford.

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Matich SR3 Repco in the Sandown Park paddock. (Mike Feisst Collection/The Roaring Season)

 

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‘Longford March 1968. The wet Monday morning after Amon set off a lap down on the field after battery failure on the grid. The road was wet from the first shower of the day that turned into a deluge later for the Tasman race (won by Piers Courage in his F2 McLaren M4A FVA). The overcast conditions, wet road and river in the background combine to give perfect lighting to highlight the car. Location is coming off Kings Bridge, shot taken from the old Longford pumphouse station. The 1880’s railway bridge is in the background’ So said ‘austmcreg’ on The Nostalgia Forum, photo credit Jim and Pat Smith. Amazing shot and commentary!

There, Longford, of course, Amon had the fastest time ever through the trap on the flying mile and lapped at 2:14.4 in practice to easily take pole.

In the Saturday race Amon set a new outright lap record of 2:12.6, four tenths quicker than Clark had done in the earlier preliminary event for the Tasman cars in the 49. This was 12.2 seconds better than the previous record, held by Bob Jane.(Elfin 400 Repco 4.4)

At that stage, it was only reasonable to conclude that Amon wouldn’t hold the record over the whole weekend, but the heavens opened and deluged the circuit for Monday, his P4 suffered a battery failure (McKay wrote that mechanic Bob Atkin simply overlooked to charge the dry cell Varley battery)  and didn’t even start the soggy sports car race and the openwheelers paddled round with Piers Courages’ McLaren M4A FVA 1.6 taking the win.

longford butt shot

Longford pit counter scene with the curvaceous CanAm 350 centre stage. Both Amon and Bill Brown drove the car at this meeting. Matich did not enter, having safety concerns about the circuit in the SR3. Atmospheric shot taken by Ellis French. Little yellow stickers on Fazz rump say ‘Gatto Verde’, gifts from Alf Francis to David McKay. (Harold Ellis)

In his book, McKay (David McKays autobiography ‘Scuderia Veloce’) describes the torment of choosing a driver for the car for the ensuing year. His choice might have been big ‘Pete’ (Ian) Geoghegan, but there was pressure to give Bill Brown a go. There was also the possibility that Pete’s huge frame might not fit… he was put into the team’s 250LM for the year.

David Mckay again picks up the story ‘After the Tasman Series and Amons departure I decided to put Bill Brown behind the wheel despite certain misgivings. I liked Bill, he was a pleasant, and helpful fellow who could be faster than some but rather more accident prone than others. He damaged the LM rather too frequently through overdriving…Yet I hoped Bill would mature, the red mists would disappear and he would conduct the P4 in accordance with my instructions. I had no illusions he would run with Matich, Amon hadn’t managed to…I had chosen the easy option rather than taking a chance and putting in perhaps the only local who would have given Matich a run for it-Pete Geoghegan.

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Here is Pete Geoghegan hustling McKays 250LM ‘6321’ around Bathurst at Easter 1968, in the manner the SV boss liked so much. (Dick Simpson)

Pete was already four times AustralianTouring Car Champion and was sweeping all before him in his Mustang. More important, was his driving of the ‘old red lady’ (McKays 250LM) in which, despite his big weight disadvantage (Pete was a very big lad, morbidly obese, the medicos would describe it) he was re-writing her lap times. Perhaps had I not been so occupied with other events that year, had not been out of the country so much I would have bitten the bullet, asked Bill to step aside and given Pete the hot seat-but could he have fitten into that little space? We’ll never know now but in the light of subsequent events I was wrong and I am sorry Pete…’

Pete Geoghegan in that car would have been worth travelling a very long way to see, a driver of awesome world class ability as McKay alludes to, if you go back into the early days of Petes’ career he drove the Geoghegan family Lotus single seaters and 23B but in essence most of his career was spent in Touring Cars and other cars with roofs

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Another of Dick Simpsons’ stunning shots. Bill Brown, Mount Panorama, Hell Corner ,Bathurst , Easter 1968. (Dick Simpson)

Ray Bell…’Bathurst was the first outing on April 14 & 15, which I would have thought daunting enough. With wire fences, rough surface, two serious crashes injuring top drivers in the Gold Star event’s practice sessions and all, one might be a little careful in such a fast car.

But Bill was out to show his stuff. The first race was a 3-lapper mixed in with the open-wheelers. Bartlett won that in the Brabham BT23D Alfa with Bill second about 11 seconds adrift and just 1.6 seconds clear of Niel Allen in the Elfin 400 Chev after Allen had spun on the first lap. Bartlett had fastest lap in 2:19.1, Allen did 2:19.4 and Brown 2:21.6. Maybe he was being careful after all…

As the report points out, ‘The last time anyone went really fast on Mt Panorama was back in 1962, when both David McKay and Bib Stillwell equalled Bill Patterson’s flying eighth time of 169.81mph. It has been said often since that it would probably take a sporty car to better it.’

As mentioned above, Brown took the speed up to 181 mph, a big hike, but he was in pursuit of Allen at the time. The Elfin lapped in 2:18.4 but was parked at the top of the mountain when Brown scored his lucky win, with Geoghegan second in the LM, which improved its personal best time from 2:34.2 to 2:30.8 this first time the big fella got into it. Brown lapped in 2:19.6, just shy of the 100mph mark.

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‘0858’ in the Warwick Farm paddock February 1968…the start of ‘wings’ on the front, added since original factory build. (WOT)

 

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Bill Brown in the RAC Trophy, Warwick Farm, May 1968. sand in the throttle slides of the car so DNF. (Roderick MacKenzie)

Warwick Farm’s annual RAC Trophy race was on May 5.

This was a prize event on the best circuit. Matich lapped in 1:29 for pole, Allen did 1:32.9, Brown 1:33.0 for the outside of the first row. But the Ferrari managed to get ahead of the Elfin off the line and was second into the first corner and stayed there as Matich built up a lead of about ten seconds over the early laps. Sand got into the throttle slides of the V12 engine, however, and the Ferrari retired to give Allen second spot.

This was the race where Matich ‘unwound a blinder on the last lap just to prove the car was still ‘with it’, chopping 1.2 seconds off his Tasman meeting record and leaving the new time at a staggering 1:27.3′

The boss himself having a tilt during practice at Warwick Farm- David McKay in the big car, not so sure he mentioned this in his book (G Lanham)

 

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‘0858’ sans rear bodywork, shot at SV workshop in Sydney. (WOT)

Lakeside on May 12 brought a pair of Scuderia Veloce 1 – 2s, but the opposition had died in the pre-race buildup. Matich cracked the lap record in practice with a 53.7 in his first appearance at the circuit since his crash there in 1965. Allen did a 55.3, Brown a 57.2.

The minor race came first, with Allen scoring a win and Matich fastest lap (55.2, new record anyway) with the Elfin taking the lead from the start as Matich eased away with a sick engine. Matich pitted, but continued, the Repco suffering a loose valve seat, which prevented him getting top horsepower as he nailed it to get that record in the book. Brown finished 1.5 seconds behind Allen and actually lapped two tenths faster at 56.3, both of them under Allen’s old record.

The main event was a twenty-lapper, and in the minutes before the race Matich declared himself a non-starter and Allen trickled back into the pits with a bolt out of the steering. Brown was able to walk it in (best lap 58.4) as Geoghegan showed all his abilities at the helm of the 250LM to fill second ahead of a Lotus 23B. His best lap was 59.3 and he was less than nine seconds behind at the finish.

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‘0858’ cockpit shot taken at Surfers Paradise by Rod MacKenzie. ‘Momo’ steering wheel, Veglia Borletti instruments all very Ferrari ‘period’. Note venting of wheel arch to release air pressure. (Rod MacKenzie)

There was yet another race, an eight-lapper, at the end of the day, with the 2.5 open-wheelers combining with the fastest sports cars. The report doesn’t clearly explain how Allen got to be behind Phil West’s Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT23A Repco, but he was and seemingly couldn’t do anything about it. Brown won as he liked, scoring another SV 1 – 2 with West second this time.

I would say that West got away best, then the brute force of the bigger engined cars overpowered him, only Allen was stuck behind him as Brown got through to the lead. Anyway, Allen spent the rest of the race back there in a frustrated third, ‘perhaps over-flushed with determination, hounded West in the best showing of brute tactics seen for a long while, the big Elfin almost running over the Brabham into BMC lap after lap as West stopped to look at the view and Brown scampered up over BP. Allen tried to go under into KLG, avoiding disaster by a hair’s breadth, and pushed the Brabham wheel to wheel round the Eastern Loop. This excitement was too much, added to by Geoghegan who forced the 250LM to the front of Scott’s Lotus 27 to fill fourth spot.’

Des White wrote well, didn’t he? He pressed on.. ‘The big battle looked worse as the backmarkers were lapped, disaster being forever imminent as very slow cars found themselves caught up in the 140mph battle between Allen and West, the Elfin being stopped and pointed with a dexterity seldom seen these days. Allen failed to get through, perhaps through trying too hard, and it was disappointing to see him slipstream to the flag. Should the big power of the Elfin have carried it from Shell to the flag first? Maybe, and there been breathing space for the initial build up.” Best lap to Brown, 56.6, Allen did 56.7, West 55.9, winning margin less than two seconds (1.6, actually).

sv surfers

SV lined up on the Surfers dummy grid prior to the Surfers Paradise 6 Hour 1968. L.R; Leo and Pete Geoghegan 250LM which won, Des West/ Bill Reynolds 275 GTB 9th, and Brown/Palmer 350 Can Am DNF accident. (Rod MacKenzie)

Ray Bell, ‘Probably the event dearest to McKay’s heart was the Surfers Paradise 12-hour…

And he had Jim Palmer over from New Zealand to co-drive with Brown. But Palmer wasn’t up to it, lapping over five seconds slower than Brown in practice and wearing himself out in the process. Matich, who was racing quite a lot during this year, even entered the SR3 in this race with Glynn Scott as co-driver (only 2.3 seconds behind Frank’s times), so this car was the pace as the race got going, Brown following it through the field after both started slowly (Le Mans start). Lapping slower cars soon after the start, Brown was pushed off line and ran over some tyre markers on the edge and holed the radiator. The P4 was out…

David McKay saw the race slightly differently ‘…I had asked NZ Champion Jim Palmer to co-drive with Brown. Jim was a fast, safe driver very much in the Spencer Martin mould. I erred by not having Palmer start the race…The field as in the past, was composed of fast and slow open and closed cars and as always the onus is on the overtaking car. A second or 2 lost by backing off the throttle to make sure the tortoise knew he was about to be swamped was sensible driving…Less than 15 minutes into the race, Brown came up behind a Fiat 125 saloon, on the approach to Firestone, a fairly quick left hander. The Fiat driver, unaware Brown was diving down the inside held his line. The P4 had nowhere to go but over the grass and a white tyre marker demolishing the nose and oil cooler…Brown bought the  mortally wounded P4 to a halt in front of our pit’.

Bell, ‘Matich’s Repco engine dropped its bundle very late in the race and Geoghegan and his brother Leo won the race in the Scuderia Veloce 250LM.

That was the end of the P4’s racing in Australia, as far as I can see. Matich was to debut his SR4 with its 5-litre quad-cam engine in November, cementing his position as top dog in the field and enabling him to go on and take more outright records.’

350 south africa

‘0858’ in cigarette company ‘Team Gunston’ colours in Bulawayo, South Africa 1969. Note the car now has lights re-fitted, installed in Australia for the Surfers 6 Hour. (Unattributed)

Sale of ‘0858’ to Paul Hawkins…

Due to an error in paperwork the car was invoiced to McKay rather than in Amons name, bringing forward the impost of import duty, the Customs Department provided extensions of time with the assistance of the Italian Chamber of Commerce who wanted the car to race in the Surfers 6 Hour and form the centre-piece of a trade show in Sydney.

Under pressure to pay the duty, close to 100% of the cars purchase price! or export it McKay put the word out ‘…dear old Paul Hawkins had heard about the car being for sale from Chris Amon at an Oulton Park meeting. I was in the workshop when ‘Hawkeyes’ call came through ‘Is the car for sale?’ ‘Yes’, ‘How much?’ ‘US$30000’. ‘If I buy it will you go me halves in a return ticket to Sydney?’. ‘Yes, ok’. ‘I’ll be there the day after tomorrow’. ‘Ill meet you Paul’

‘Simple and straightforward. Paul was making a name for himself as a successful sports car and GT racer and had been a favourite of Firestone…The car was to be shipped right after the 6 Hour for Paul would drive it in South Africa’s sports car series with tobacco sponsorship and he would win’.

east london 2

350 CanAm in the East London pits, front lights now faired. car won this 500Km race. (royckdboats)

Paul raced the car in South Africa from November 1968 to January 1969 winning the Cape Town 3 Hour, GP of Bulwayo, Pietermaritzburg 3 Hour and the East London 500 Km.

As McKay mentioned above Hawkins was an Australian International plying his trade via his own team and as a ‘hired gun’ by works teams. He was racing a Lola T70 Mk3B Chev during the Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park, his car ending up in the trees, after probable suspension failure, poor Paul dying in the particularly gruesome accident and ensuing fire.

Both Hawkins and Alberto Ascari, the only 2 drivers to ‘Scuba Dive’ at Monaco both died on May 26, in an arcane bit of trivia.

Mike Hailwood raced ‘0858’ at Magny Cours, 1st and Dijon DNF in May.

p4 east london

Gearbox fettling?, prior to the East London event. 4.2 litre DOHC 3 valve per cylinder Lucas fuel injected V12. Ferrari 5 speed ‘box with ZF limited slip diff. Battery of coils clear to see. (royckdboats)

The car was sold in the realisation of the Hawkins Estate, through David Piper, who raced so many mid sixties Sports Ferraris’ of his own, and occasionally as a ‘works driver’ to Alastair Walker who raced the car back in South Africa in November-December 1969 with sometime GP driver Rob Widdows as his co-driver.

The car was uncharacteristacally unreliable, perhaps ‘tired’, ‘0858’ failing to finish the Kyalami 9 Hour, Cape Town and Bulawayo 3 Hour events. ‘0858’ was 2nd at the Lourenco Marques, Mozambique.

In 1971 David Piper bought the car from Walker, still with its extensive inventory of spare parts, enough as McKay states to make a second car less chassis…which is what Piper did. Ferrari provided Piper all the necessary P4 blueprints in 1974, Piper, Nye says ‘had the chassis made by the original people in Modena. Ferrari gave it the number ‘0900’, a serial number also applied to a Chinetti parts built 312P in the US’. Several ‘run-on’ cars have been built by Piper since.

David Piper sold ‘0858’ to US collector Walter Medlin in Florida in 1971, he retained the car until offered for sale via RM Auctions in 2009, the car eventually being restored by Talacrest in the UK, somewhat controversially in the eyes of some to its Spyder/Barchetta specification.

Check out this website in relation to that process which has been supervised by David Piper. http://www.talacrest.com/Latest_News/Talacrest_Ferrari_330_P4_Chassis_No._0858_-_New_Videos/101.htm

At the outset i stated that 4 P4’s were built, 3 P4’s and one converted P3 ‘0846’...

In the best traditions of historic racing there are now more P4’s than in period…there are 3 or 4 ‘run-on’ cars built by Pipers concern and ‘0846’, written off by the factory after a crash and fire at Le Mans in 1967 has been reborn, recreated or replicated depending upon your view of it.

If you like a bit of light entertainment look at this exchange between subject matter expert DC Nye and said vehicles’ owner, the fun and games start at about post # 62. http://forums.autosport.com/topic/59074-ferrari-330-p4/page-2

I’m not suggesting the ‘experts’ know it all either.

Lets go out as we came in, with a fabulous shot, this time by Ellis French of Bill Brown, the sun gleaming off ‘0858’ before blasting down the Longford public roads, big V12 howling at 180 miles per hour in February 1968…

brown longford

Etcetera…

Amon at Warwick Farm (G Paine)

 

Chris consulting with his crew in the Sandown pitlane (G Paine)

 

amon longford 2

 

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Bill Brown, who drove the car after Amons’ departure back to Europe also drove the P4/CanAm at Longford ’68 in both practice and a preliminary race. (David Keep)

 

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That ‘Australian’ spare tyre. Fitted as a consequence of our local sports car regs at the time. SV solution a neat one even if the weight is well outside the cars wheelbase…where else to put it!? Yellow stickers ‘Gatto Verde’ a gift from Alf Francis to McKay, McKay makes mention of it in his autobiography but not actually what the stickers mean/represent. Ideas anyone? (Rod MacKenzie)

 

amon longford 1

 

p4 cutaway

Bibliography…

David McKay ‘David McKays Scuderia Veloce’,  Paul Frere ‘Cars in Profile 246SP-330P4 Ferraris’, Doug Nye ‘The Potent P4…A Ferrari Fierce and Fine’ Sports Car World July/Sept 1982

Thanks to Stephen Dalton for the assistance in research material sourcing

Photo Credits…

Dick Simpson, Roderick MacKenzie, John Ellacott, wolseley680, WOT, Jim and Pat Smith, Ellis French, The Roaring Season, David Keep, oldracephotos, royckdboats, Mike Feisst Collection, Pete Coltrin, Harold Ellis, Glenn Paine, Geoff Lanham

Finito…