Posts Tagged ‘Bruce McLaren’

Bruce McLaren setting up a selfie before the Lady Wigram Trophy, Tasman Series, 23 January 1965…

Sorting his goggles in any event, Cooper T79 Climax. The cars in the background are the #9 Bill Thomasen Brabham BT4 Climax and Red Dawson’s Cooper T53 Climax ‘Lowline’.

What stood out on an initial scan of this bunch of photos are those big tall white-wall Firestone tyres on large fifteen inch wheels. It’s the start of the tyre-war; Firestone and Goodyear had just entered the domain which had been a cosy little monopoly for Dunlop for the previous few years.

Bruce won the first Tasman Cup in 1964 with the ‘first McLarens’- the Cooper T70’s Bruce and Wally Willmott constructed at the Cooper factory in Surbiton the year before were Dunlop shod machines. Click here for a piece on these cars; https://primotipo.com/2016/11/18/tim-mayer-what-might-have-been/

Admirers of the Clark Lotus 32B monocoque chassis, Wigram (A McKee)

It was going to be tough to knock Jim Clark’s Dunlop shod Lotus 32B Climax off in 1965- Bruce and Phil Hill’s campaigns were said to be sluggish at the series outset until Bruce and his boys adapted the suspension geometry and settings to the American tyres. Mind you, a close look at the results suggests Bruce was not far off the pace from the get-go.

The commercial relationship with Firestone was an important one for the entrepreneurial Kiwi as he assembled the technical partners and funding to take his nascent team forward- Bruce McLaren Racing’s first F1 season was in 1966.

Jack Brabham signed with Goodyear from 1965, that year of learning with the Akron giant was a critical foundation piece for Brabham Racing Organisation’s successful tilts at the 1966 and 1967 F1 championships for drivers and constructors.

Jim Clark had one of the greatest of seasons any driver ever had in 1965- he won an F1 drivers title, the Indy 500, the Tasman Cup plus a sprinkling of F2, touring car and other wins- the breadth of his achievements in that twelve month period has never been matched, or is ever likely to be I expect.

The start of that lot was in New Zealand- whilst Graham Hill won the first Tasman round, the NZ GP at Pukekohe in David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT11A Climax, Clark won the next two on the trot at Levin, where he won from the scrapping Frank Gardner and Jim Palmer aboard BT11A and BT7A’s respectively, and here, on the Wigram Airfield on 23 January from McLaren and Palmer- Jim acquired Clark’s series winning Lotus at its end. Bruce was obviously getting the hang of the Firestones mind you- he matched the lap record Clark set in the preliminary race in the championship event.

Off to Teretonga – famously the most southerly race track on the planet – Clark won again from McLaren and Phil Hill in the other Bruce McLaren Racing Cooper- an updated T70 raced by Bruce and the late Tim Mayer the year before.

Jim at the wheel, 32B ‘beetle-back’ all enveloping bodywork, ZF gearbox. #49 in the background is the Peter Gillum Cooper T67 Ford FJ (A McKee)
The off. Bruce with Frank Gardner’s distinctive Alec Mildren Racing yellow Brabham BT11A Climax alongside (A McKee)

That Bruce was getting the chassis/tyres sorted was further indicated by his pace- he pulled alongside Clark on lap 20, but Jim had enough in hand to pull away- taking the duo clear of Hill, Grant (ex-Jack 1962 AGP Brabham BT4 Climax, a car later to put John McCormack on the map) and Palmer.

The summary of the balance of the series is this; Clark won from grid three at Warwick Farm on 14 February whilst Bruce was Q5 and DNF engine. Brabham joined the Series in Sydney aboard a new BT11A- he was second from Q4. Matich was third from pole.

At Melbourne’s Sandown a week later, Jack won from pole with Jim second from Q2, Phil Hill third from Q6 and Bruce fourth from Q4- Goodyear, Dunlop, Firestone, Firestone if you like…

The seven round series ended at Longford with the Australian Grand Prix on 1 March 1965. Bruce won from pole from Brabham, Hill P and Hill G, Bruce Sergent observed that ‘Longford saw the McLaren cars come resoundingly into their own with good short-stroke engines and the small frontal area and shallow tread of the Firestones on this ultra fast circuit.’

Clark’s second half of the series was not as dominant as his first half. This was in large measure due to Jack’s presence and the pace of the McLaren Coopers- he won three races in New Zealand and once in Australia, but took the 1965 Tasman Cup with 35 points from McLaren’s solo victory and 24 points, then Jack with a win and a points haul of 21 from only three races. Brabham certainly would have given Jim a run for his money had he contested the championship in full. Gardner, Phil Hill and Jim Palmer were equal fourth…Or Dunlop, Firestone, Goodyear, Goodyear, Firestone and Dunlop.

Wigram Shell Team compound, from this end; Bruce Abernathy Cooper T66 Climax, John Riley Lotus 18/21 Climax, Andy Buchanan #8 Brabham BT6 Ford 1.5 twin-cam, perhaps the Scuderia Veloce Graham Hill Brabham BT11A Climax and uncertain closest to the truck (A McKee)

Those early years of the F1 tyre war rolled as follows; Dunlop shod Clark’s 1965 winning Lotus 33 Climax and Stewart’s 1969 winning Matra MS80 Ford. Goodyear bagged back to back titles in 1966 and 1967 on Jack’s Brabham BT19 Repco and Denny’s Brabham BT24 Repco, while Firestones were on the Lotus 49 Ford Cosworth DFV used by Graham Hill in 1968, and Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 72 Ford in 1970.

Dunlop bailed from F1 at the end of 1970, leaving the two American giants. Then Michelin came in etcetera…and now of course we have same, same, same coz same, same, same is what is mandated by the commercial, sorry, sporting powers that be.

It was a bit different in the Tasman where Dunlop shod Clark’s winning Lotus 32B Climax and Stewart’s 1966 BRM P261, but then it was all Firestone on both Clark’s 1967 Lotus 33 Climax, 1968 Lotus 49 Ford DFW and the Ferrari Dino 246T raced by Chris Amon to victory in 1969, and Graeme Lawrence in 1970.

The Goodyear shod Mildren/Gardner Brabham BT11A Climax (A McKee)

Etcetera…

(A McKee)

Andy Buchanan awaits the off in his immaculate Brabham BT6 Ford 1.5 twin-cam, top left in white is Graeme Lawrence’s similar machine. These cars were immensely successful 1.5-litre racing cars in Australasia, and at right the red ex-Tony Shelly Lotus 18/21 of John Riley.

Credits…

Bruce Sergent on sergent.com, oldracingcars.com, Ian Smith Collection

(I Smith Collection)

Tailpiece…

Brabham went like a rocket at Longford, the 1965 Tasman’s final round, he made a cautionary stop after giving Roly Levis a love-tap when the Kiwi locked a brake going into Mountford.

In a race of new lap records, McLaren, Brabham and Phil Hill all set new marks, Jack eventually fell short of McLaren by a little over three seconds, Bruce was impeded in changing gears without a clutch in the latter stages of the race. Click here for a piece on this race; https://primotipo.com/2019/09/27/longford-1965/ and here on the 1965 Tasman Cup and Clark’s Lotus 32B; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/02/levin-international-new-zealand-1965/

Finito…

Ya gotta be kiddin’ blokes! This thing is rattling my teeth!

Is the look on Jack Brabham’s face aboard his Brabham BT24 Repco in the Mosport pitlane. By the end of the weekend he was a happy-chappy as winner of the first, soggy, 1967 F1 Canadian GP…

These days every Tom, Dick and Harold has a little, lightweight GoPro to capture their every move aboard their kart, board, bike, girlfriend or racer. It was a whole different ballgame in 1967, the state of the art was somewhat more cumbersome.

The interesting thing is where the footage ended up? Perhaps it was quickly consumed by the local TV news audience. I’ve had a fossick on that YouTube thingy but cannot find anything, do let us know the link if you discover its whereabouts.

Jim Clark and Graham Hill were quickest in qualifying aboard Lotus 49 Fords from Chris Amon, Ferrari 312, Dan Gurney, Eagle Mk1 Weslake, Bruce McLaren, McLaren M5A BRM V12, Brabham’s BT24 Repco and Jochen Rindt, Cooper T81 Maserati.

image

Into the first turn at Mosport its Clark Lotus 49, from L>R Stewart BRM P83, Hill Lotus 49, Gurney Mk1 Eagle and Hulme Brabham BT24. That’s Rindt far left Cooper T81, Amon’s Ferrari 312 is in the murk behind Stewart’s left rear and the rest (unattributed)

Rain fell before the race to make things interesting. Clark led from Hulme, who took the lead on lap four, with Jack passing Hill for third. I rather fancy driving the Brabham, with its nice flat, fat torque curve rather than the DFV engined Lotus with its very abrupt power delivery in its earliest days in these conditions.

Bruce McLaren worked his way up thrugh the field, taking Jacks third place, then on lap 22 he took Clark’s second too. Clearly the conditions suited the V12 BRM engined McLaren. As the track dried, Jim and Jack both passed Bruce. Denny was still happily in the lead but Clark’s Lotus was quicker in the dry conditions and soon led, it rained again. Clark kept the lead but then his DFV went kaput. Jack overtook Denny at about the same time and won from Hulme with Gurney a distant third.

At the end of the meeting Denny had a nine point lead in the drivers championship over Jack, but with three GP’s to go; Italy, the US and Mexico City it was well and truly game-on between the buddies and teammates.

image

Jack is on the drying line in BT24 so I think its him re-taking McLaren’s M5B third place, rather than Bruce taking Jack earlier on  (R Laymon)

Jack was out-fumbled by John Surtees’ Honda RA300 on the last lap, last corner at Monza with Hulme retiring due to overheating early in the race. At Watkins Glen Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford won from Hill’s with Denny third and Jack a distant fourth. Denny then led the championship from Jack by five points before the final round. It was all down to Mexico where Clark won from Brabham and Hulme. Denny bagged the title from Jack – 51 points to 48 points and Jim third on 41.

The car of the year was undoubtedly the new Lotus 49 Ford in terms of outright speed, but the less powerful, not much slower and more reliable new Brabham BT24 chassis with its new Repco Brabham 740 Series V8 should never be forgotten in the shadow of the sexy Lotus 49, as it always is! It did win the Manufacturers Championship after all.

Credits…

 Ron Laymon Photography

Tailpiece: Winners are Grinners and Jack had a smile which lit a room. Mosport 1967…

image

(R Laymon)

Finito…

(unattributed)

The Richard Attwood/David Hobbs Lola Mk6 GT at Le Mans in 1963.

Q22 after dramas with the French scrutineers, and just outside the top-12 at the end of the first hour. The GT’s first pitstop was to rectify a slipping dynamo belt, later there was a two-hour stop to sort Colotti T37 transaxle dramas. Then Hobbs crashed when having trouble engaging third gear on a down-shift into the Chicane.

Eric Broadley built three Mk6 GTs. Their race record was modest given ‘the Mk6 program’, including two of the cars were sold to Ford as part of the deal with Broadley to design the GT40. One of those two cars was taken by Eric in his settlement with Ford upon exit of the program. See here; https://www.hotrod.com/articles/1963-lola-mk6-gt-ford-gt40/

Lola Mk 6 Ford, Monza October 29, 1963. Roy Lunn, Bruce McLaren and John Wyer (B Sundue)

 

Ditto Monza as above (D Friedman)

 

Lola Mk6 GT Ford. Monocoque aluminium chassis, Ford 4.3 and 4.7 litre pushrod OHV V8. Colotti T37 5-speed transaxle, independent suspension and disc brakes (unattributed)

Bruce McLaren and Phil Hill did a million miles at Goodwood testing the Mk6 and GT40. McLaren’s driving fees from Ford and others were important cashflow as Bruce brought together the key elements of what became Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd in the period between the 1963 and 1965 ‘Tasman’ internationals.

McLaren’s race and test miles in the Zerex Spl Climax, then the evolved Bruce McLaren, Wally Willmott and Tyler Alexander chassis’d Cooper Traco-Olds, the Lola Mk6 and then the Ford GT40 must have been deeply informative as the trio considered, and settled on the specifications of their Group 7 McLaren M1 Oldsmobile.

They got it right too. The McLaren-Elva M1A’s sold well and were good, competitive cars even if Eric Broadley’s ‘this is what the blardy GT40 shoulda been’ Lola T70 rained on the McLaren’s parade. Bruce McLaren’s impressions of a T70, if he ever drove one, would be interesting.

Bruce with his M1 outside the Feltham workshop (G Begg)

McLarens opulent facilities today are a far cry from the company beginnings.

The team moved into the 950 square metres of space at Feltham, South London above on July 27, 1964. HQ prior to that was a dirt floor former earth moving shed at New Malden closeby.

Bruce McLaren on the LA Times GP grid qualifying race at Riverside on October 11, 1964. McLaren Automotive claim this race as their first win. I guess that is right. But the accepted dogma is that the McLaren/Willmott designed and built Cooper T70 Climax 1964 Tasman Cup cars were the first McLarens.

If that is the case, I believe it is, then Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd’s first was Bruce’s Cooper T70 victory in the early morning, first preliminary 33 mile heat prior to the January 11, 1964 NZ GP at Pukekohe. He doubled up and won the GP in the afternoon too- from Denny Hulme’s works-Brabham BT4 Climax and Tim Mayer in the other Cooper T70.

(GP Library)

Tim Mayer at the wheel of the first Cooper T70 Climax 2.5 FPF during its first shakedown test at Goodwood in September 1963.

He was extremely quick that southern summer, running up front throughout with the GP drivers present. Mayer was to be a works-Cooper F1 racer that coming season. Sadly, he perished at Longford during practice of the final round. Tim’s story is here; https://primotipo.com/2016/11/18/tim-mayer-what-might-have-been/

(GP Library)

McLaren testing his M1 in late 1964 in what became his signature manner. He conducted his first, very fast systems checks and initial suspension fettling sessions sans bodywork at Goodwood.

And again at Goodwood below after delivery of the M1’s body, built in aluminium by the two-man-band Robert Peel Coachworks guys at Kingston and styled by ex-Specialised Mouldings man Tony Hilder.

See Doug Nye’s piece on the McLaren M1 here; https://www.goodwood.com/grr/columnists/doug-nye/2018/10/doug-nye-the-first-true-mclaren/

(GP Library)

 

McLaren Elva M1A Oldsmobile. Spaceframe chassis. Traco Engineering modded 3.9/4.5-litre pushrod, 310bhp + aluminium V8. Hewland HD 4-speed transaxle. Independent suspension and disc brakes

Credits…

Brian Sundue, ‘Bruce McLaren: Racing Car Constructor’ George Begg, McLaren Cars, Grand Prix Library

Tailpiece…

(W Willmott/G Begg)

Ford test session of the Lola Mk6 at Goodwood in late 1963, shot taken by Wally Willmott. If you can ID the FoMoCo heavies give me a yell.

I wonder whether this session is part of Ford’s due-diligence process pre-Lola purchase or a post-deal session? McLaren’s test and development abilities were rated bigtime by Ford. The Kiwi’s diagnostic capabilities were matched by his capacity to suggest changes to remedy a problem or exploit an opportunity.

McLaren’s key commercial relationship with Firestone, in place just in time for the ’65 Tasman Cup, arose on the recommendation and introduction by Ford. The sign-on fee, free tyres and ongoing testing program were manor-from-heaven for the nascent company and a major contributor to early successes.

Finito…

(autopics.com.au)

Bruce McLaren, Cooper T70 Climax, Australian Grand Prix, Sandown Park 1964…

Its an unusual angle, Bruce is thinking about brakes as he passes the end of the pit counter and heads towards the tight ‘Peters’ left-hander before the blast up the back straight- unusual in that the shot is taken from outside the circuit, between the Armco fence and access road, a prohibited area for spectators and ‘snappers for most of the tracks life.

Click here for the ‘first McLaren’ Cooper T70 story; https://primotipo.com/2016/11/18/tim-mayer-what-might-have-been/

(J Lay)

This one is also at Sandown but a year later, 1965, as the drivers listen intently to the Clerk of The Course before the off.

Roy Billington is on the rear wheel of Jack’s Brabham BT11A Climax- the winning car, then the tall Tyler Alexander, Bruce is in the ‘Persil’ white Firestone overalls, Bib Stillwell behind him, Jim Clark, Jack Brabham and David McKay playing with his iPhone. Jack won from Jim and Phil Hill’s Cooper T70.

Jack posing patiently for Paul Stephenson in his victorious BT11A- Sandown pitlane.

(P Stephenson)

 

(unattributed)

Back to the 1964 Sandown Australian Grand Prix.

Bruce takes a glimpse in his Cooper T70 mirror before lining up for the Shell Corner left hander, Jack Brabham in close attendance- Brabham BT7A Climax. Over to the right alongside the fence Jim Palmer is giving them plenty of room in his Cooper T53 Climax, he was sixth. Jack won whilst Bruce was out with engine problems.

Credits…

autopics.com.au, Jeffrey Lay, Paul Stephenson, Graham Rhodes in Australian Autosportsman

Tailpiece…

(Graham Rhodes photographer)

I chuckled when randomly coming across this photo because it is taken within 20 metres or so of the first one but is taken from under the Armco on the outside of Peters rather than the opening shot from outside Pit Straight towards the braking area into Peters.

Just to add to the date confusion, this one is the year before mind you- Bruce is in the Cooper T62 he raced that 1963 summer inclusive of the 1962 AGP at Caversham in November, Lex Davison acquired it at the end of that summer- lengthy piece on that car here; https://primotipo.com/2016/05/20/bruce-lex-and-rockys-cooper-t62-climax/

Finito…

(B Miles)

Look at that packed grandstand, grid for the first Lakeside International, 11 February 1962…

Jack Brabham is on pole from Bib Stillwell, Cooper T55 Climax 2.7 ‘slimline’ and T53 2.5 ‘lowline’ respectively, a great performance by the Melbourne Holden dealer. On the second row in the blue #10 Cooper T53 2.7 is Bruce McLaren and alongside the very quick John Youl in a now ageing Cooper T51 2.2. Then its Angus Hyslop’s white Cooper T53 2.5 and a smidge further back you can just see the red nose of Lorenzo Bandini’s Cooper T53 Maser 2.8. Other top-liners on the grid were Lex Davison’s T53, Ron Flockhart Lotus 18 and Arnold Glass in a BRM P48.

Brabham won the short 30 lap race in 30 minutes by a second from Stillwell, Hyslop, Davison, Youl and Bandini.

This photograph is another by Bill Miles, an enthusiast with a fine talent for composition. The eyes of Brabham and Stillwell are riveted on the starter, who is just about to commence his flag upswing with the hatted Judge of The Start ready to pounce on anybody with a jittery clutch foot…

Angus Hyslop with microphone in hand accepts the Presidents Cup for winning the 1962 Renwick 50 (MCC Inc)

I didn’t realise Kiwi up-and-comer Angus Hyslop had raced in Australia- he was sixth at Warwick Farm, fourth at Longford and ninth at Sandown that summer off the back of a pair of sixths at Wigram and Teretonga and seventh in the NZ GP at home.

Even more impressive was his 1963 season in the same Cooper T53- not exactly the latest bit of kit by then.

Q8 and second behind John Surtees’s Lola Mk4A Climax at Pukekohe in the NZ GP was a stunning start, buoyed by that performance he was Q2 behind Brabham’s new Brabham BT4 Climax in the following round at Levin for DNF halfshaft, a rare non-finish. Q5 and fourth at Wigram and Q6 and fifth down south at Teretonga were strong results- in addition all the fast boys were running 2.7 ‘Indy’ Climaxes whereas Hyslop’s FPF was only an ‘F1’ 2.5.

Clearly a driver of promise, the Hastings sheepfarmer went on to win the NZ Gold Star Championship in 1963 and then retired which is a shame as he was clearly a very fast racer who finished motor races

(MCC Inc)

The shot above is a better one of Hyslop’s Cooper T53 Climax- this time its the start of the Renwick 50, a road race held about 6 miles west of Blenheim in New Zealand’s South Island, in November 1962.

Angus’ white Cooper T51 Climax is on pole from Maurie Stanton’s Stanton Chev and then Tony Shelly’s partially obscured Lotus 18/21 Climax. Bob Eade’s Maserati 250F dwarfs the Barry Cottle Lola Mk1 Climax sports, the distinctive nose between and back a bit from these cars is the youthful Amon C, Maserati 250F.

The front-engined car behind Eade’s Maserati is John Histed in a Lola Mk2 Ford FJ and finally at right the Bob Smith’s Ferrari 555 Super Squalo 3.5

Angus won from Chris Amon and Barry Cottle.

Hulme, Amon and Hyslop at Hampton Downs circa late eighties (NZ Classic Car)

 

Angus Hyslop’s Jag D Type sandwiched at left by the Roy Billington Elfo Special (yes, as in the famous Brabham mechanic) and Graham Pierce’ Austin Healey 100S at the Levin Spring meeting in December 1958 (Natlib NZ)

Hyslop, born 1928, first rose to prominence in a Jaguar D Type (XKD534 ex-Jack Shelly/Sam&Bob Gibbons/Hyslop/Taylor/Bremer/Foster) he raced from October 1958 to 1961, successes included twice finishing second in the national Sports Car Gold Star competition.

After the 1961 internationals at home in a Cooper T45 Climax 2 litre FPF he before travelled to Europe to race in a half-dozen or so British FJ events in a ‘New Zealand Grand Prix Racing Team’ Lotus 20 Ford running immediately in the top ten- fourth behind Allan Rees, Gavin Youl and Dennis Taylor on 19 August at Goodwood was indicative of his pace.

During that year he also shared a works Fiat Abarth 850S with Denny Hulme at Le Mans- the pair finished fourteenth in the little car and won their class.

He returned to New Zealand and continued to raced the Cooper T45 in 1961/2 towing it behind the D Type!

The other apocryphal Hyslop/D Type story is that after the wet 1961 Wigram meeting in which Angus finished third behind Brabham and Moss in his 2 litre Cooper T45 but ahead of the 2.5 litre Coopers of McLaren and Hulme his bank manager, who had been staying in the same hotel as Angus to watch the race, complimented him on his wet weather driving whereupon Hyslop responded that he thought the skill had been learned by using the D Type to round up the sheep on his farm…

He ‘hit the bigtime’ when the New Zealand International Grand Prix Executive Committee approved a loan to allow him to buy an ex-Yeoman Credit Parnell Cooper T53- the car carried the same chassis plate as Angus’ T45 in the usual Antipodean manner to avoid import duty- the Cooper was sold to Jim Palmer after Hyslop ‘retired’.

I’m intrigued to know how far he strayed from the sport though- not far is my guess given his fourth place in the 1972 New Zealand International Heatway Rally in an Abingdon prepared Group 2 Mini 1275GT- Andrew Cowan won in the sister car crewed by Jim Scott.

Hyslop died in 1999, aged 71.

Etcetera…

Angus Hyslop and Mike Langley in their works Mini 1275GT, Heatway Rally 1972 (unattributed)

Angus Hyslop and Mike Langley in their works Mini 1275GT, Heatway Rally 1972.

BLMC/New Zealand Motor Corporation went all out to win the event, entering four cars- two 1275GT’s and two Morris Marina 1800TC Coupes, one of which was driven by Jim Richards finished 61st, the other 52nd, both the updated ‘Morris Minors’ had suspension problems.

Jim was unlucky- Cowan had been allocated a Marina to rally but he was having none of that so Jim got the bum seat and Andrew the car he wanted, which he put to rather good effect!

(CAN)

Hyslop at Dunedin in 1961, D Type in a support race.

He qualified second behind Denny Hulme’s Cooper T51 Climax in the feature Dunedin Road Race on the ‘Oval Circuit’ finishing third in his Cooper T45 behind Denny and Pat Hoare’s Ferrari 256 3 litre V12.

Credits…

Bill Miles, Allen Brown’s oldracingcars.com, Marlborough Car Club Inc, Alamy, NZ Jaguar D Type History ‘Nostalgia Forum’ thread

Tailpiece: Hulme/Hyslop works Fiat Abarth 850S, Le Mans 1961…

Finito…

 

Jack Brabham awaits the start of one of the ‘Wills Trophy’ heats at Silverstone on 27 March 1967…

Is that John Cooper saying gedday before the off?

Jack is aboard BT23 chassis number 1- the very first in a long line of successful F2 and Tasman Formula cars- let’s not forget the BT23 spawned Ron Tauranac’s F1 Championship winning BT24 Repco design too.

Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT24 Repco during the 1967 US GP at Watkins Glen- he was 3rd behind the Clark/Hill Lotus 49 Ford duo (LAT)

Weren’t British enthusiasts blessed with championship F2 choice over Easter 1967?

They could have watched Jochen Rindt win at Snetterton on Good Friday and see him do it all again at Silverstone 180 Km away on Easter Monday aboard the same BT23-5 he used throughout a dominant 1967.

In a small tangent of Australian motor racing history this chassis is the one Denny Hulme raced in the 1968 Tasman Series- he boofed it at Pukekohe in a terrible accident involving Lawrence Brownlie’s Brabham and replaced it with BT23-2 in time for the Lady Wigram Trophy two weeks later.

Feo Stanton and Alec Mildren bought the remains less suspension and sent them off to Rennmax Engineering in Sydney for Bob Britton to built a jig and a run of new cars, the ‘Rorstan’ for Feo and ‘Mildren’ for Alec. Numerous cars really, the Rorstan, Mildren and Rennmax BN3’s all owe their lives to Jochen’s dead BT23-5.

Jochen blasts off at the start of heat 1- wheel on the right is Rees. Stewart’s Matra MS5 behind his Austrian buddy, Brabham’s BT23 #1- behind Brabham is Gardner, BT23 and alongside him in the red helmet is Widdows’ similar car with the red/orange tipped nose to the right on the same grid row, Mike Spence Parnell ex-F1 Lotus 33 FVA (Getty)

The Snetterton ‘Guards 100’ was the first championship race for the new 1.6 litre Formula 2 which commenced on 1 January that year, the category was enormously popular and successful even if, from the off it was ‘Formula FVA’, with special mentions for the Ferrari Dino V6 and BMW M11 in-line four.

Rindt came into 1967 as the acknowledged F2 King and left it with his crown polished ever more brightly, a quick perusal of ‘F2 Index’ results suggests he won all of the rounds in which he started and finished- Snetterton, Silverstone, the Nurburgring and Tulln-Langelbarn.

He had a DNF, a puncture at Jarama, that race was won by Clark’s Lotus 48- whilst he was occupied elsewhere the other race wins were taken by Stewart at Enna, Gardner at Hockenheim and 1967 European Series Champion, Jacky Ickx in a Ken Tyrrell Matra MS5 FVA was victorious at Zandvoort and Vallelunga.

McLaren and Surtees, McLaren M4A and Lola T100 (V Blackman)

 

Surtees in Lola T100 ‘SL/100/4’ given I am bandying chassis numbers around. Surtees primary programs that year were leading Honda’s F1 campaign and his Team Surtees Can-Am Lola program in the US- busy boy. That’s Ickx’ Matra MS5 behind and Mike Spence, Lotus 33 further back

As a ‘Graded Driver’ Jochen was ineligible for F2 Championship points, so Ickx won in 1967 from Gardner’s works BT23 and Jean-Pierre Beltoise’ works Matra MS5, Piers Courage in John Coombs McLaren M4A, Alan Rees in the other Roy Winkelmann BT23 and Chris Irwin’s works Lola T100 FVA and T102 BMW.

Creation of a new category brings forth a wonderful commercial opportunity with Cosworth Engineering flogging heaps of FVA’s (putting aside the derivatives of the motor which followed and the DFV proof of cylinder head design concept Duckworth’s FVA in part represented), Hewland Engineering dozens of FT200’s and of course availed the chassis manufacturers a great opportunity too.

Jack’s new BT23-1 and new Hewland FT200- in front of that 5 speed transaxle is a Ford Cortina blocked, Cosworth four-valve, Lucas injected 1.6 litre circa 210 bhp powerhouse. Tauranac’s typically simple combo of spaceframe chassis and outboard suspension provided a phenomenally fast, chuckable, robust, winning combination year after year. I don’t think he ever built a dog- Brabham or Ralt?

 

Bruce McLaren is aboard chassis number 1 too. M4A-1 was the first car designed by the McLaren/Robin Herd combo

The class of 1967 included the monocoque Lotus 48, Matra MS5/MS7, Lola T100 and McLaren M4A but arguably the car of the year, even putting aside Rindt’s dominance as a driver, was the spaceframe Brabham BT23- bias hereby declared by the way! Perhaps the BT23/23C are the ‘winningest cars’ of that 1967-1971 1.6 F2 period?

I really should prove that assertion statistically I guess, when and if I can be bothered. ‘Nicer cars’ in my book are the Lotus 59 and 69, Matra MS5/MS7 and Ferrari Dino, but more successful, I’m not so sure.

Whatever the case, in this immediate pre-wing year these cars were and are a mouth watering, very fast selection of single-seater racing cars.

Jackie Stewart above and below in one of the two Tyrrell Racing Organisation Matra MS5’s-Ickx in the other car.

Another year of the GP BRM H16 in 1967 was one too many for Jackie, and so it was that Ken Tyrrell stitched together a winning F1 combination of Matra, the Ford Cosworth DFV, Stewart and of course his own team’s preparation and organisational skills.

Bruce McLaren is behind Jackie in the shot below.

Silverstone’s BARC 200 was run over two heats of a little over 30 minutes in duration, Rindt won both with John Surtees third in the two events, Alan Rees was second in one and Graham Hill runner-up in the other.

The aggregated results gave Rindt the round from Rees’ BT23, Surtees T100, Bruce’s M4A, Stewart’s MS5, Gardner’s BT23 and Jacky Ickx’ MS5.

The entry lists right from the get-go of the new category were top notch, other drivers who raced at Silverstone included Robin Widdows BT23, Mike Spence in a Tim Parnell ex-F1 Lotus 33 fitted with an FVA, Denny Hulme BT23 (DNF with a busted conrod in heat 2), Piers Courage M4A, Jean-Pierre Beltoise MS5, Jo Siffert in the BMW factory Lola T100 BMW (all three of whom had injection dramas) Mike Costin, Brian Hart and Trevor Taylor. The list of Did Not Arrives was equally impressive.

Siffert, Lola T100 BMW M11, fuel injection dramas brought an end to Jo’s run (unattributed)

Of twenty-four starters, four were fitted with Lotus-Ford twin-cam motors, Siffert’s Lola (above and below) the very interesting BMW M11 Apfelbeck, the balance were toting Ford FVA’s so Duckworth and the lads had the production line in Northhampton humming along nicely.

There were a couple of FVA users with Lucas injection dramas, but Denny’s buggered rod was the only example of greater mechanical mayhem in a package which proved a paragon of reliability over the ensuing years.

(unattributed)

 

This has to be the most distinctive, simple piece of personal branding ever- in colour or black ‘n white Hill G or Hill D are so easy to pick in their London Rowing Club colours aren’t they? Lotus 48 Ford FVA.

Sydneysiders had the chance to see a Euro F2 1.6 car earlier than most, Warwick Farm promoter Geoff Sykes did a one race deal for Graham to race Lotus 48 ‘R1’ in the Australian Grand Prix that February.

Having come all that way the car’s FT200 expired after 25 laps of the race, Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 2.1 prevailed, the series was won that year by Jim Clark racing an F1 Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8.

Graham raced ‘R2’ back in Europe with Jim Clark using ‘R1’ as his mount in 1968.

Stewart, BRM P261, Clark, Lotus 33 Climax and Hill, Lotus 48 Ford FVA, row 2 Brabham left Brabham BT23A Repco and Leo Geoghegan, Lotus 39 Climax and against the fence, Denny Hulme, Brabham BT18/22 Repco. AGP, Warwick Farm, February 1967 (B Wells)

 

Rindt and Hill- and Rees to the right jump similarly at the start of heat 2.

Thats Brabham, Surtees and McLaren on row two and Hulme, Gardner, Ickx and far right in the red McLaren- Piers Courage. The result was Rindt, Hill, Surtees.

(V Blackman)

Jochen with a delicate slide out of Woodcote, the proximity of ‘snappers to the action back then never ceases to amaze.

Rindt’s car control is right up there with the rest of the Gods of that art- Nuvolari, Fangio, Peterson, Villeneuve et al.

Etcetera…

Jack looks happy enough before the off.

Its only several weeks after the end of the Tasman Series- Brabham finished a pretty skinny series for the full on Repco-Brabham two car works assault on the championship that year well, he won the Longford final round in his one off Brabham BT23A on 5 March.

Two Repco ‘640’ engined cars were raced by Jack and Denny in all eight meetings of the six round championship- that season Levin and Teretonga were not championship rounds.

In fact there were a whole swag of blokes on that Silverstone grid who had raced in Australasia that summer- Stewart, Brabham, Gardner, Irwin, McLaren, Hill and Hulme- Clark was the only absentee from the roll-call.

(L Ruting)

Brabham fries a set of Goodyears and proves just how chuckable a BT23 can be in the hands of an Ace- AGP Warwick Farm 1967.

Its BT23A-1, JB’s 1967 Tasman weapon, a one-of-a-kind BT23 variant powered at that stage by a 640 Series Repco 2.5 litre Tasman V8, this machine is still in Australia, it was acquired by the National Motor Museum in 2018.

Article on the Tasman Brabham Repco’s here; https://primotipo.com/2016/09/29/bathurst-1969-and-jacks-tasman-brabhams/

(Getty)

An imperfectly executed pan of Hill’s Lotus 48 chasing Brian Hart’s Protos 16 FVA. Now there is a interesting marque topic to explore one day!

Who are those fellows looking after Bruce?

Piers Courage in John Coombs M4A behind McLaren, and in the photograph below. This car, ‘M4A-2’, Piers acquired from Coombs and raced in the 1968 Tasman and brained everybody with his speed and commitment.

He capped off an amazing summer with a blinding wet weather drive at Longford, his deft pace won the race from the 2.5’s which were hampered in their ability to put their power down on the slippery, bumpy bitumen.

The car was bought by Niel Allen at the end of the series, he did well in it and survived an almighty car destroying accident in it at Lakeside, it was rebuilt around a Bowin Designs built tub and then was one of the cars in which Warwick Brown made his name when owned by Pat Burke. Not so sure its still in Oz?

Article on Piers @ Longford here; https://primotipo.com/2015/10/20/longford-tasman-south-pacific-trophy-4-march-1968-and-piers-courage/

(LAT)

The photographs of the Courage McLaren in Australia below are during the Warwick Farm 100- he was second in the race won by Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW.

The two monochrome photos below are during his victorious Longford weekend in March 1968, the great circuit’s final meeting.

(P Hudson)

Piers nipping the right front brake of M4A-2 on the entry to Mountford Corner during the dry, earlier over the Labour Day long weekend.

Courage ran the car on a shoestring assisted by Australian ex-Lotus mechanic Ray Parsons with two FVA’s, his performances that summer in many ways re-launched his career.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

It really did piss down on raceday, sadly for all, not least for the venues future, crowd numbers were way down although better than the ‘three men and a dog’ perspective provided by the shot below.

The hardy natives saw one of the great drives, Courage won from Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P261 and Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT23 Alfa with Richard Attwood’s BRM P126 fourth.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

 

(unattributed)

‘And to think Jack pays me to do this shit! Its such a blast!’

Denny having a ball at Silverstone, he seems to have lost his front number but no doubt this was addressed by race day. The stars affixed to the cars are part of the Wills corporate identity i guess, sponsorship became less subtle from 1 January 1968!

Denny is racing BT23-2, his regular mount during 1967, although his primary commitments that year were winning the World Championship, which he managed nicely, and running the second of McLaren Cars, McLaren M6A Chevs in the Can-Am Challenge Cup- he was second to Bruce.

(D Simpson)

Max Stewart is shown above in the Mildren Waggott during the 1970 Sandown Cup, Tasman round.

Niel Allen won that day in his F5000 McLaren M10B Chev from Graeme Lawrence’s ex-Amon Ferrari Dino 246T, Ulf Norinder, Lola T190 Chev and then Max in the 2 litre Waggot TC-4V engined car- Max ‘won everything’ in Australia in this jigger including the 1971 Gold Star.

The photo is included for the sake of completeness to show one of the seven cars built by Bob Britton from the jig created from Rindt’s dead BT23-5, which these days of course is alive and well and racing in Europe.

Speaking of which, the photo below is of Denny ranging up on Lawrence Brownlie at Pukekohe during the 1968 NZ GP on 6 January in BT23-5, Lawrence’s car is a Brabham BT15/23 Ford t/c.

In a move which is still hotly debated by Kiwi enthusiasts decades later, Denny and Lawrence collided destroying both cars and ending Brownlie’s career.

(Classic Auto News)

1.6 F2 Reference Resource…

Most of you know Allen Brown’s oldracingcars.com is a primary reference source for me inclusive of F2 1.6, click here for his F2 homepage and then navigate the site easily to look at seasons, individual races and in many cases car and individual chassis histories; https://www.oldracingcars.com/f2/

Here is one of my own pieces on the Lotus 48;

https://primotipo.com/2015/06/05/lotus-48-ford-fva-agp-warwick-farm-1967-graham-hill-and-jim-clark/

Credits…

Getty Images, LAT, F2 Index, oldracingcars.com, LAT, Lance Ruting, Paul Hudson, Dick Simpson, oldracephotos.com.au, Victor Blackman, Bruce Wells, Classic Auto News

Tailpiece: Six 210 bhp F2 Missiles whistle into Copse at speed…

(Getty)

Finito…

(R Dalwood)

Frank Matich, Brabham BT7A Climax leads Jim Clark’s works Lotus 32B Climax into Pub Corner at Longford in March 1965. A ‘take your breath away shot’, composition and execution by Reg Dalwood is something special…

I suspect this is lap 2 with the leading trio of McLaren, Brabham and Hill further up the road. Behind Jim are Bib Stillwell and Frank Gardner in Brabham BT11A’s, Jim Palmer in a BT7A and then at the rear of the group Phil Hill, Cooper T70 Climax.

Bruce McLaren won this race, the Australian Grand Prix in his Cooper T79 Climax from Jack Brabham’s and Phil Hill in the other Bruce McLaren Motor Racing entry- the updated T70 Cooper driven by Bruce and the late Tim Mayer in 1964.

(HAGP)

Bruce wheels his Cooper T79 around Longford in 1965 hiking his inside right wheel.

These Cooper T70/79 cars are acknowledged now as the ‘first McLarens’ designed and built as they were at Coopers by Bruce and mechanic/technician Wally Willmott. The story of them is here; https://primotipo.com/2016/11/18/tim-mayer-what-might-have-been/

Ron McKinnon gives McLaren and Clark a ride in the sponsors Spitty at the end of the race (B Short)

 

Hill at left, white car McLaren with Jack and Jim in the next row of two (B Short)

McLaren started the race from pole with Brabham, Graham Hill, Clark, Gardner and Matich behind.

Very sadly, this was the race in which Rocky Tresise died after losing control of the Ecurie Australie Cooper T62 Climax. As most of you know this was a double disaster for the Davison family as Lex died of a heart attack at Sandown whilst practicing his Brabham BT4 the weekend prior. The Rocky Tresise story is here; https://primotipo.com/2016/05/20/bruce-lex-and-rockys-cooper-t62-climax/

I’ve a feature brewing on this race so won’t go into all the detail just now, but rather make use of some of the many images of this AGP floating around on the internet- too many for one article.

In some ways Longford 1965 marked ‘the end of the beginning’ of the Tasman Series in that 1965 was the last year of the dominance of the long-lived Coventry Climax FPF engine.

The world championship winning engines of 1959-60 had pretty much ruled supreme in Australia from 1959 through to the end of Formula Libre in December 1963 and to the commencement of the Tasman 2.5 Formula from 1 January 1964.

In 1966 the BRM V8’s made their successful Tasman debut and at the end of the series- Sandown and Longford the first of the Repco ‘RB620’ 2.5 V8’s took their bow in Jack’s BT19.

(B Short)

Two nut brown Aussie summer kids and the equally well-tanned Oz Lotus works mechanic Ray Parsons push Jim Clark’s Lotus 32B Climax through the Longford paddock.

The Clark/Lotus combo were the class of 1965- Jim’s four of seven Tasman round victories was a precursor to a season which included an Indianapolis 500 win aboard a Lotus 38 Ford and his second World Title in Chapman’s Lotus 33 Climax. Not a bad year really!

Click here for an article on the 1965 Tasman Series; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/02/levin-international-new-zealand-1965/

(K Drage)

Kevin Drage’s shot of the front row of the Longford grid- McLaren, Cooper T79 Climax, Brabham and Hill both in Brabham BT11A Climax’.

He has an amusing anecdote about Bib Stillwell, Matich’s big rival and his reaction to FM’s speed that weekend.

‘One story I remember from this meeting is Bib’s frustration in not being able to match Frank Matich’s lap times during practice. I was helping Gerry Brown to pit crew for Bib at this meeting and Bib was even wondering if Frank had slotted in the 2.7 engine from his (Cooper Monaco) sportscar into the Brabham just for practice to give everyone a bit of a stir up. He even asked me to see if I could “manage” to go over to the Matich pits to checkout the engine number.’

(unattributed)

Matich during the parade lap at Warwick Farm before the 1965 Tasman round.

FM started the ‘Warwick Farm 100’ from pole- in front of Hill, Clark, Brabham, McLaren and Gardner which rather puts the Sydneysiders pace into context. He led most of the first lap, ultimately finishing third behind Clark and Brabham.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

Brabham in the Longford paddock getting his BT11A race ready.

Ron and Jack’s Intercontinental Brabhams were supreme racing cars in conception, design and execution. Drivers of the BT4, BT7A and BT11A of varying ability won plenty of motor races in these cars right through towards the end of the sixties. Click here for a piece on these cars; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/20/matich-stillwell-brabhams-warwick-farm-sydney-december-1963/

Clark in the Longford paddock, Lotus 32B Climax

Credits…

Reg Dalwood on the Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania website, oldracingcars.com.au, Kevin Drage, Ben Short, HAGP- ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and others, Stephen Dalton Collection, Perry Drury, Ian Smith Collection

Etcetera…

(oldracephotos.com/JEllis)

Brabham, Hill and Clark enter the circuit, the crowd big enough for raceday. Looking back down the road 500 metres or so are the distinctive big pine trees of Mountford Corner. Brabham BT11A by two and Lotus 32B.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

It may not have been the latest bit of kit, but, continuously modified by Matich and his team his year old car was well and truly as quick as the latest BT11A or anything else on the grid.

Small crowd above suggests ‘IC-1-63’ is being pushed onto the track for practice or the preliminary on Saturday. Graham Matich is steering, it’s Geoff Smedley with his head down at left, who is the other fella I wonder?

(B Short)

The Touring Car grid ready to start- Le Mans style with the ignition key handed from mechanic to driver- can anybody help with car/driver ID.

Check out the crowd above the pits, access bridge and all the fun of the fair.

(I Smith Collection)

The intense concentration is there but otherwise Jack looks relaxed in the cockpit- key to feel what the BT11A is doing of course.

Shot is taken from atop The Viaduct- a classic shot from this locale, this one has been executed beautifully and shows both Brabham’s ‘form’ as well as the lines and simple, period typical suspension of this oh-so-successful series of ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams.

All of the shots of this car in the article are a different hue of green, i wonder which is closest to the real McCoy?

Tailpiece…

It’s a butt shot isn’t it.

From the left is the beautifully formed derrière of the lady, such a shame to miss out on the rest of her with a thoughtless crop. Then there is the rear of the FC Holden Wagon and the old bloke standing behind it.

The racer is Jack’s Brabham BT11A Climax ‘IC-5-64’ resting in the paddock after it’s hard won second place.

And finally the rear of an EJ Holden Panel Van.

Atmospheric isn’t it?

(P Drury)

Same scene, same time, same place- whilst Perry Drury was taking this shot Ben Short was standing opposite him taking the one above. Jack’s Brabham and Jim’s Lotus and the EJ Wagon…

Finito…

(N Tait)

‘Victory Swig’: Jack Brabham partakes of the winner’s champagne, Aintree, 18 July 1959…

Brabham won the British Grand Prix from the British Racing Partnership BRM P25 driven by Stirling Moss and Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T51- Jack similarly works mounted to Bruce.

This story of the race was inspired by a couple of marvellous pieces from Nigel Tait’s Repco Collection. I wrote a largely photographic article about this weekend a while back too; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/01/masten-gregory-readies-for-the-off-british-grand-prix-aintree-1959/

(N Tait)

The reality of the win was a bit more complex than the Telex back to Repco HQ of course.

Brabham was aided by the very latest version of the Coventry Climax Mk2 FPF 2.5 ‘straight port, big valve’ engine as Doug Nye described it, and the very latest version of the modified Citroen-ERSA gearbox which used roller rather than plain bearings and oil pumps to aid the reliability of the transmission which was being stretched beyond its modest, production car design limits by the increasingly virile FPF. The short supply of 2.5 litre Climaxes was such that Denis Jenkinson noted ‘…Lotus have to share theirs between F1 and sportscars and a broken valve or connecting rod means a long delay’ in getting an engine returned from rebuild.

This you beaut gearbox was not made available to Stirling Moss or Maurice Trintignant, driving Rob Walker’s T51’s so Moss elected to race a BRM P25- he had lost leading positions in the Monaco and Dutch GP’s due to dramas with the new Colotti gearboxes the team had been using in their Coopers. The BRM was prepared by the British Racing Partnership given Moss was not confident in the Bourne marque’s standard of race preparation after brake failure of his works Type 25 at Silverstone in May.

(Getty)

Moss in the BRP BRM P25- he raced the cars in both Britain and France (Q4 and lap record but disqualified after a push start) with Brooks #20 trying to make the most of a Vanwall VW59 that lacked the advantages of monthly competitive pressures and consequent development in 1959. The champion marque or ‘International Cup’ winner in 1958 of course.

Ferrari stayed in Italy due to industrial unrest, the metal workers were on strike. On top of that Jean Behra bopped Team Manager Romolo Tavoni in an outburst of emotion after Tavoni glanced at his tachometer tell-tale after the conclusion of the French GP and challenged his driver. His Ferrari career was over, and all too soon, two weeks after the British GP, he died in a sportscar race which preceded the German GP at Avus.

Without a ride in his home GP, Ferrari driver Tony Brooks (works Ferraris were raced by Brooks, Behra, Phil Hill, Cliff Allison, Olivier Gendebien, Dan Gurney and Wolfgang von Trips in 1959- no pressure to keep your seat!) raced an updated Vanwall instead. He was without success, back in Q17 despite two cars at his disposal and DNF after a persistent misfire upon completing thirteen laps.

The Vanwalls were the same as in 1958 ‘except that the engine had been lowered in the frame, as had the propshaft line and the driving seat, while the bodywork had been made narrower and some weight reduction had been effected’ noted Denis Jenkinson in his MotorSport race report. Such was the pace of progress the Vanwalls had been left behind after their withdrawal from GP grids on a regular basis. Nye wrote that the performance of the car was so poor Tony Vandervell gave Brooks all of the teams start and appearance money in a grand gesture to a driver who had done so much for the marque.

(unattributed)

Aintree vista above as the field roars away from the grid, at the very back is Fritz d’Orey’s Maserati 250F- whilst at ground level below Jack gets the jump from the start he was never to relinquish. Salvadori is alongside in the DBR4 Aston and Schell’s BRM P25 on the inside. Behind Harry is Masten Gregory’s T51- and then from left to right on row three, McLaren T51, Moss P25, and Maurice Trintignant’s Walker T51.

(J Ross)

So the race was a battle of British Racing Greens- BRM, Cooper, Lotus, Vanwall and Aston Martin- in terms of the latter Roy Salvadori popped the front-engined DBR4 in Q2, he did a 1 min 58 seconds dead, the same as Brabham but did so after Jack. He faded in the race in large part due to an early pitstop to check that his fuel tank filler cap was properly closed- an affliction Carroll Shelby also suffered. The writing was on the wall, if not the days of the front-engined GP car all but over of course- there were three front-engined GP wins in 1959, two to the Ferrari Dino 246, in the French and German GP’s to Tony Brooks. At Zandvoort Jo Bonnier broke through to score BRM’s first championship GP win aboard a P25.

The stage was nicely set for a Brabham win from pole but it was not entirely a soda on that warm summers day ‘The big drama was tyre wear. I put a thick sportscar tyre on my cars left-front. Even so, around half distance i could see its tread was disappearing…so i began tossing the car tail-out in the corners to reduce the load on the marginal left-front.’

‘Moss had to make a late stop, and that clinched it for me. I was able to ease to the finish with a completely bald left-front’ Brabham said to Doug Nye. The Moss pitstop for tyres was unexpected as the Dunlop technicians had calculated one set of boots would last the race but they had not accounted for Stirling circulating at around two seconds a lap quicker than he had practiced! Moss later did a fuel ‘splash and dash’, taking on five gallons, as the BRM was not picking up all of its fuel despite the driver switching between tanks.

(MotorSport)

Whilst Jack won, the fastest lap was shared by Moss and McLaren during a late race dice and duel for second slot- Moss got there a smidge in front of Bruce ‘…as they accelerated towards the line, which was now crowded with photographers and officials, leaving space for only one car, Moss drove straight at the people on the right side of the road, making them jump out of the way, and to try and leave room for McLaren to try and take him on the left. This was indeed a very sporting manoeuvre…’ wrote Jenkinson. McLaren won his first GP at Sebring late in the season delivering on his all season promise. Harry Schell was fourth in a works BRM P25 and Maurice Trintignant fifth in a Colotti ‘boxed’ T51 Cooper despite the loss of second gear, with Roy Salvadori’s Aston, after a thrilling, long contest with Masten Gregory’s works T51, in sixth.

(BRM)

Nearest is Schell’s fourth placed BRM, then Trintigant’s T51- fifth, and up ahead McLaren’s third placed T51. BRM took the teams first championship win at Zandvoort in late May. No less than nine Cooper T51’s took the start in the hands of Brabham, McLaren, Trintignant, Gregory, Chris Bristow, Henry Taylor, Ivor Bueb, Ian Burgess and Hans Hermann

Photo and Research Credits…

Nigel Tait Collection, MotorSport 1959 British GP race report by Denis Jenkinson published in August 1959 and article by Doug Nye published in December 2009, Getty Images, John Ross Motor Racing Collection, BRM, Pinterest

Etcetera…

(unattributed)

The relative size of the McLaren Cooper T51 and Moss BRM P25 is pronounced on the grid. The pair were to provide lots of late race excitement after Stirling’s second pit stop.

(J Ross)

Wonderful butt shot of the Salvadori Aston Martin, #38 is the Jack Fairman driven Cooper T45 Climax, DNF gearbox, and Graham Hill’s Lotus 16 Climax up the road- he finished ninth.

(J Ross)

Roy Salvadori racing his DBR4 hard, he was at the top of his game at that career stage- if only he had stayed put with Cooper for 1959! He recovered well from an early pit stop but ultimately the car lacked the outright pace of the leaders however well suited to the track the big beast was. Carroll Shelby failed to finish in the other car after magneto failure six laps from home.

Two of these magnificent machines found good homes in Australia in the hands of Lex Davison and Bib Stillwell in the dying days of the Big Cars- Lex only lost the 1960 AGP at Lowood from Alec Mildren’s Cooper T51 Maserati by metres after a magnificent race long tussle.

Tailpiece: Brabham, Cooper T51 Climax, Aintree…

(MotorSport)

It’s almost as though Jack is giving us a lesson in Cooper designer/draftsman Owen Maddock’s T51 suspension geometry arcs!

Jack was famous for his ‘tail-out’ speedway style of driving, one eminently suited to the Coopers of the era. Lets not forget, according to Jack’s account of the race, he was accentuating this aspect of his driving to save the load on his increasingly threadbare left-front Dunlop.

Jenkinson in his race report observed that ‘The Coopers, both F1 and F2, were going extremely fast, and looking horribly unstable, yet the drivers seemed quite unconcerned, whereas drivers of more stabile machinery following behind were getting quite anxious at the twitchings and jumpings of the Surbiton cars.’

However untidy it may have all been, they were mighty fast, robust weapons of war.

Finito…

(K Devine)

Three men and a car- the 1962 Australian Grand Prix winning Cooper mind you…

Eoin Young, journalist and author of considerable renown, Wally Willmott, mechanic of similar standing, the incomparable Bruce McLaren and Cooper T62 Climax at Styles Garage on the corner of Sussex Street and the Albany Highway, Victoria Park, Perth during the 18 November weekend. The Austin has a 15 kilometre tow from this inner south-eastern Perth suburb to Caversham now also a Perth suburb in the Swan Valley.

All so simple isn’t it, three blokes and a car?! And they won the race- with a little bit of luck thanks to Jack Brabham’s late race collision with Arnold Glass, but that in no way diminishes the achievement.

I wrote about this race and somewhat tragic car a while back; https://primotipo.com/2016/05/20/bruce-lex-and-rockys-cooper-t62-climax/

Here are a few more brilliant photographs from Ken Devine’s Collection of that weekend- I was going to retro-fit them into the old article but it seems better to let the photos ‘shine on their own’ so here they are with a few supporting notes.

(K Devine)

David McKay and Jack Brabham chewing the fat- don’t they look like youngsters?!

McKay didn’t race that weekend but was scooping up information for his newspaper and magazine reports of the race. Morover he was spinning Jack a line about how long-in-the-tooth his Cooper was and how much he would like to buy Jack’s brand-spankers BT4 Climax- a feat he would accomplish! The BT4 was in essence an FPF engined BT3- Tauranac’s first, 1962 F1 car.

Jack raced the car in New Zealand (a win at Levin) with David racing it in the Australian events- Graham Hill took the wheel in the 1964 Tasman Series achieving one win at Longford.

(K Devine)

Lex Davison looking stern as he motors past at some clip in his T53 Cooper- like McKay he was after a new car too- at the end of the summer Bruce’s T62 was his, a car around which a good deal of tragedy occurred. Lex was classified 8th from grid 4 but only completed 46 of the races 60 lap, 101 mile distance.

(K Devine)

Bib Stillwell must have been flogging quite a few Holdens from his Cotham Road, Kew, Melbourne dealership by then- he really went about his motor racing in a thoroughly professional manner.

To me he was slow to peak having started racing just after the war, but man, when he did he was an awesome racer taking four Gold Stars on the trot from 1962 to 1965- he had his tail up on this weekend as he had just taken his first Gold Star in this Cooper T53 Climax with wins in two of the six GS championship rounds.

Its interesting to look at Stillwell’s results that year- he had an absolute cracker of a season inclusive of the internationals when the big-hitters were about. His record is as follows; Warwick Farm 100 3rd, Celebrities Scratch Race Lakeside 1st, Lakeside International 2nd, Victorian Trophy Calder 1st, South Pacific Championship Longford 3rd, Bathurst 100 1st, Racing Feature Race Calder 1st, Victorian Road Race Championship Sandown 2nd, Advertiser Trophy Mallala 1st, Hordern Trophy Warwick Farm 1st, AGP Caversham 3rd- it was a year of amazing speed and reliability, the teams only DNF was at the Sandown International (engine) the only other ‘non-event’ was a DNA at Lowood- by early June Bib no doubt figured the long tow to Queensland from Melbourne was a waste of money.

Click here for Bib’s time in Intercontinental Brabhams; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/20/matich-stillwell-brabhams-warwick-farm-sydney-december-1963/

At Caversham Stillwell was third on the grid behind McLaren 1:19.6 and Brabham 1:20.1, Bib’s 1:20.3 was pacey- he finished third, 47 seconds adrift of McLaren and 5 seconds behind John Youl in a Cooper T55.

(K Devine)

Lets not forget the Cooper Monaco either- a car I wrote about a while back and which received the ex-Scarab Buick-Traco V8 a little later in its life- the motor which was in the engine nacelle of Arnold Glass’ BRM P48 (#7 below) this very weekend.

The story of Bib’s Cooper Monaco is here; https://primotipo.com/2015/03/10/bib-stillwell-cooper-t49-monaco-warwick-farm-sydney-december-1961/

(D Van Dal-K Devine)

The cut and thrust between Brabham and McLaren went on for over forty laps- Jack saw an opportunity when Bruce ran wide lapping Arnold- Jack focussed on Bruce, Arnold on taking his line for the next corner, a collision the result. Jack was out on lap 50 whereas Arnold survived to finish in fifth place from grid 7.

The story of the BRM P48 is here; https://primotipo.com/2018/03/16/bourne-to-ballarat-brm-p48-part-2/

(K Devine)

Jack and Roy fettle the 2.5 litre Climax engine lent to them by Bruce McLaren, Jack having popped his 2.7 ‘Indy’ FF in practice.

The Brabham BT4 was the first in a long line of ‘Intercontinental’ chassis built by the Tauranac/Brabham combination all of which (BT4/7A/11A) won a lot of motor races in this part of the world.

Paragons of practical, chuckable virtue the cars won races in the hands of World Champions Hill, Stewart and Brabham as well as championship winners in domestic competition for the likes of Stillwell, Spencer Martin and Kevin Bartlett (whilst noting the latter’s Gold Star success was aboard a BT23D Alfa Romeo.

(K Devine)

 

(K Devine)

Plenty of hopefuls entered the meeting not least Jim Harwood in the ex-Whitehead/Cobden Ferrari 125 which by then was fitted with a small-block 283 cid Chev V8.

His times were too far behind the modern mid-enginer racers of the top-liners so he elected not to start- with 1962 still just into the period of Austraian motor racing where everybody could have a go with a high-born special such as this ex-GP 1950 Ferrari.

The car is notable for the fact that it was one of Tom Wheatcroft’s first Donington Collection acquisitions.

(K Devine)

 

(K Devine)

Brabham, Stillwell and McLaren from left to right at the drop of the starters flag. Brabham BT4, Cooper T53 and Cooper T62 respectively. On the second row its John Youl at left, Cooper T55 and Lex Davison’s red T53 alongside him. In the dark helmet on the row behind is the red with white striped BRM P48 Buick of Arnold Glass and at very far left is Jeff Dunkerton’s Lotus Super 7 Ford 1.5- to the right of the Lotus is the red front-engined #14 Cooper T20 Holden Repco of Syd Negus.

(K Devine)

Whilst ten starters is not a big grid, Dunkerton’s achievement in finishing ninth in the little Lotus 7 was an amazing one- the last placing ever gained by a sportscar in an AGP.

(K Devine)

Bill Patterson was the reigning 1961 Gold Star Champions but his old Cooper T51 was never going to be a competitive tool going into that year with plenty of more modern well-driven machines on Australian grids.

In reality Patto was easing himself slowly out of racing as a driver albeit he would remain involved as a sponsor/entrant in the next couple of decades. He started from grid 6 and finished fourth albeit three laps behind McLaren.

Bill Patterson’s story; https://primotipo.com/2017/02/02/patto-and-his-coopers/

(K Devine)

John Youl is another driver I’ve waxed lyrical about in the past- its a shame commitments running the family pastoral properties in northern Tasmania took him away from motor racing. Youl’s ex-works Cooper T55 was beautifully prepared by Geoff Smedley and pedalled very quickly by John in the 1963 Internationals. It would have been very interesting to see just how far he would have progressed up the elite level totem-pole had he stuck with his racing career.

Click here; https://primotipo.com/2017/09/08/bay-of-plenty-road-race-and-the-frank-matich-lotus-19s/

(K Devine)

Bruce on the way to a Caversham win, Cooper T62 from Youl, Stillwell, Patterson and Glass. Bruce McLaren Motor Racing had rather a bright future.

Credit…

Ken Devine Collection

Tailpiece: McLaren takes the flag…

(K Devine)

Is it Jack in the blue driving suit obscuring the man with the flag?

Bruce won two AGP’s, the other aboard his self designed and built- with Wally Willmott, Cooper T79 at Longford in 1965.

Both were great wins after a long tussles with Jack Brabham- at Caversham Arnold Glass ruined the fun when he mistakenly put Jack off the road and at Longford he won by a smidge under four seconds from the Aussie’s Brabham BT11A Climax and Phil Hill’s Cooper T70 Climax. It was a great day for the Bruce McLaren Motor Racing as Phil drove a terrific race- in the American’s opinion one of his best in the T70, another car built by Bruce. (McLaren’s winning T79 was an updated T70)

Longford joy was tempered considerably by the death of Rocky Tresise early in the race aboard the very same Cooper T62 in which Bruce won at Caversham in 1962…

Finito…

Bruce McLaren awaits his crew making changes to the setup of his new McLaren M7A Ford, chassis M7A-1, Silverstone 25 April 1968…

Its a day or so before the BRDC International Trophy, one of three non-championship F1 races run in Europe that season. Bruce is to have another good weekend, off the back of his Brands Hatch ‘Race Of Champions’ win in March, his teammate and Kiwi buddy Denny Hulme won the prestigious Silverstone race in an emphatic demonstration of the quality of Bruce McLaren and Robin Herd’s F1 design and construction capabilities.

McLaren in the M7A, from pole, Brands Race of Champions in 1968- he won. Alongside is Mike Spence BRM P126, Jackie Stewart Matra MS10 Ford and on row 2 Chris Amon Ferrari 312 and Denny in his M7A. That’s Jo Bonnier in last years McLaren M5A BRM V12 with his hand up on the second last row. Bruce won from Pedro Rodriguez BRM P133 and Denny LAT)

That season Bruce McLaren famously became one of the very few to win a championship GP in a car of his own name and construction when he won the Belgian GP. Denny Hulme took another three GP victories and challenged for the 1968 World Championship ultimately won by Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B Ford, the car for which the Ford Cosworth DFV was designed.

At the end of 1967 Ford’s Walter Hayes implored Colin Chapman to allow him to offer the DFV to other teams ‘for the good of Grand Prix racing’ such was his fear of Team Lotus dominance. Chapman, to his credit, waived his contractual entitlement to exclusivity- Lotus, Matra and McLaren raced the Ford engine in GP events in 1968.

McLaren M7A Ford cutaway (Dick Ellis)

The duo concepted a car which typified the ‘Cosworth Kit Car’ era. A short monocoque chassis ended aft of the driver’s seat and consisted of three steel bulkheads- one at the back, one at the front, and one open bulkhead at the dashboard which was then skinned with aluminium panels to form a full monocoque over the driver’s legs. It was an immensely torsionally rigid and strong structure compared with the very best spaceframes of only a few years before.

The M7A used glued and riveted skins of L72 aluminium alloy, a British standard for the aviation industry in a thickness of 22 gauge and in a few places 20 guage magnesium sheet. 40 gallons of fuel were distributed between four rubber bag-tanks- one either side of the driver in the tub, another behind his seat and the fourth in the scuttle. The Cosworth DFV engine was bolted directly to the rear bulkhead and at that stage of its development produced circa 420 bhp @ 9500 rpm.

Early test of the M7A at Silverstone on 5 April 1968. Denny up, Bruce by front wheel. Notice the McLaren wheels, ‘nostril’ ducted radiator outlets and top and bottom front suspension radius rods which mount to the bulkhead in the dash area of the tub (R Dumont)

The suspension, of conventional outboard design was derived from the very successful 1967 Can-Am Championship winning M6A Chev. It comprised outboard coil spring/damper units at both ends and single lateral links and trailing arms at the front- and single lateral top links, reversed lower wishbones and twin radius rods at the rear. Uprights were cast magnesium with of course adjustable roll bars front and rear. Steering was McLaren rack and pinion, brakes Lockheed discs all round and the transmission the ubiquitous Hewland DG 300 transaxle five-speed.

The radiator was conventionally mounted at the front, with a sleek fibreglass body topping the whole visually arresting package- hot air vented McLaren style out of ‘nostrils’ in the nose with an oil radiator at the rear above the ‘box and clear in the opening shot.

‘Pop’ McLaren and Alastair Caldwell supervise the McLaren pit in the French GP paddock, Rouen 1968. Note general car layout as per text, suspension, rad duct in lower shot- quality of design, execution and presentation a treat. #8 Denny 5th, #10 Bruce 8th. Shocker of a wet race with Jo Schlesser dead on lap 2 in the experimental Honda RA302 (unattributed)

Allen Brown reports in oldracingcars.com of the M7A’s 1968 season; ‘The first two cars were finished in March 1968, and both debuted at the 1968 Race of Champions, where Bruce McLaren dominated the race, winning from pole position, with his new teammate Denny Hulme finishing third. At the next race, the Silverstone International Trophy, Hulme took pole position and won, with Bruce content to take second place. It was not quite so easy at the first GP, the Spanish, but the M7As were third and fourth on the grid and Hulme finished second.’

‘After a poor weekend in Monaco, Bruce McLaren took his team’s first GP victory in the Belgian GP at Spa in June after Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS10 retired on the last lap. Results were mixed over the next few races, but Hulme won in Italy and in Canada to equal Graham Hill’s score at the top of the World Championship standings. A crash at Watkins Glen and retirement in Mexico ended his challenge, but had been a wonderful season for McLaren’s F1 team’.

McLaren M7A from Pedro Rodriguez, BRM P133- 1st and 2nd, Spa 1968 (unattributed)

McLaren and M7A at Watkins Glen 1968. Note the mount and location of the rear wing in the context of the text below (A Upitis)

In terms of the ebbs and flows of the season, in ‘The Year of Wings’, Matra and Ferrari- on Firestone and Dunlop tyres respectively won races later in the season and Lotus set the aerodynamic standard with high-wings after their initial appearance on the Ferrari 312 and Brabham BT26 Repco at Spa. McLaren lost some of their edge- the cars wings were less effective than Lotuses, when they remained attached to their cars, mounted in the middle of the M7A on the cars sprung mass, rather than Lotus 49 style at the rear on the unsprung suspension uprights, and Goodyear too lost their edge. Remember when there was competition between the tyre manufacturers?!

Goodyear’s new G9 boots gave Denny the kicker he needed to win at Monza and then at St Jovite, Canada but Graham Hill and Lotus deserved the title in a year during which Hill held the team together and picked everybody up after Jim Clark’s tragic death at Hockenheim in April.

Looking at the M7 design from a commercial perspective, whilst McLaren by this stage were well funded by the standards of the day- the M7 design worked hard in contributing to the companies success by providing the basis of the M14 F1 car and the phenomenally successful M10A and M10B F5000 designs which were the ‘class standard’ from 1969-1971- constructed as they were under licence by Trojan Cars in Croydon.

Bruce, M7A Silverstone (V Blackman)

Lets get back to the photo which inspired this piece though, here is none other than DC Nye’s race report of the BRDC International Trophy, in full, from the June 1968 issue of MotorSport, the photographs are all my editorial selections…

‘For the 20th B.R.D.C. International Daily Express Trophy race at Silverstone, the Club amassed a small but fairly representative field of Formula One cars. Heading the entry were Hulme and McLaren in the two impeccably-prepared McLaren M7A-Cosworth V8s, which finished first and third in the Race of Champions, and Ferrari sent over two cars, one a new, slightly sleeker-chassised V12 with the engine lower-mounted than hitherto, and the other the car which Amon normally races. Drivers were the young Belgian, Ickx, and Amon, and though the New Zealander tried both cars he decided he preferred his own, and Ickx raced the new one.

Amon’s Ferrari 312’s, Ickx car in the foreground, Silverstone 1968. Amon Q5 and Ickx Q7 with Chris proving the pace of the Ferrari, despite the Cosworth onslaught with a fastest lap and 3rd place, Jacky 4th (unattributed)

Graham Hill had a solitary Lotus 49-Cosworth V8 which was entered by Gold Leaf Team Lotus, and B.R.M. were well represented with Rodriguez in the Bourne-built, Terry-designed P133 V12 and Spence in the similar, T.A.C.-built P126. Also in a P126 was Courage, having his first F1 race this season for Parnell, and Hobbs had Bernard White’s relatively unsorted Tasman 2-litre B.R.M. P261 chassis, specially lengthened by the works to accommodate the new V12 engine. Also B.R.M.-powered was the lone works Cooper T86B, with Gardner driving, as Scarfiotti was away practicing for the Targa Florio and Redman was reputedly testing F2 Dino Ferraris in Modena. Rob Walker had acquired a new Tasman Lotus 49 chassis to replace the one lost recently in a fire at his Dorking headquarters, Siffert driving as usual; Bonnier was in his 1967 McLaren M5A-B.R.M. V12, and the Swiss Moser had the ex-Hulme, ex-Ligier Brabham BT20-Repco V8. Lanfranchi completed the field in a 2.7-litre Climax 4-cylinder powered Brabham BT23.

Withdrawn entries included a second Parnell B.R.M. for Attwood and Sheppard’s Mallite McLaren fitted with a 3-litre version of the original Climax Godiva V8 for Taylor. Two works Brabhams were listed, but were not complete.

Last year’s G.P. practice record of 1 min. 25.3 sec. by Clark in the Lotus 49 looked a little sick compared with this year’s speeds, Hulme taking pole position with 1 min. 24.3 sec. to Spence’s 1 min. 24.9 sec., McLaren’s 1 min. 25.1 sec. and Rodriguez’s 1 min. 25.3 sec. Behind these four on the front row came Amon at 1 min. 25.5 sec., Hill 1 min. 25.6 sec., Ickx 1 min. 26.4 sec., and Siffert 1 min. 27.6 sec.

One minutes silence in memory of Jim Clark before the off. Hulme at far left on pole, then Spence BRM P126, McLaren M7A and the other BRM P133 of Pedro Rodriguez. Amon, Hill and Ickx on row 2 (Getty)

After a poignant silence in memory of the late Jim Clark, the field were given a maximum of three warming-up laps, and from the start McLaren took an immediate lead ahead of Spence, Hulme, Rodriguez, Ickx, Hill, Amon, Courage, Bonnier and Gardner. Lap 2 and the leading bunch were all scratching hard to draw out some sort of advantage; Courage was briefly ahead of Amon at Copse and Siffert and Gardner were both by Bonnier, who was being harried by Hobbs.

The leading McLarens, B.R.M.s, the lone Lotus and the two Ferraris soon towed each other away from the rest of the field, with Hulme slotting by Spence into second place on lap 4, then being repassed by the B.R.M. Lanfranchi had already stopped for a plug change on his 4-cylinder, and at the start of lap 6 Spence led McLaren into Copse, and was re-passed on the way out to Maggotts to remain the meat in an orange McLaren sandwich for a short distance before chopping by again and leading the bunch on lap 7 from Hulme, McLaren, Rodriguez and Hill, all nose-to-tail. Amon and Ickx had become slightly detached in the works Ferraris, but as they sped down Hangar Straight on that lap a stone was thrown up from Spence’s B.R.M., smashing Hulme’s goggles and giving him a nasty moment which dropped him back to seventh.

Hill and Amon in 3rd and 4th- Ferrari 312 and Lotus 49 Ford (LAT)

Almost immediately Rodriguez’s B.R.M. V12 began to misfire, an ignition lead dropping off, and he stopped before Maggotts, replaced the wire and drove on to the pits, where a more lasting repair was made. By lap 9, with Spence leading narrowly from McLaren, Hill was third in the lone Lotus, Amon was a close fourth and Hulme, whose eyes had stopped watering, was already on his tail and looking for a way by. Positions remained unchanged until lap 14, when the Lotus’ V8 engine died, and, seeing a lot of fluid resting in the vee, Hill thought the engine had suffered a serious breakage and had thrown water. In fact, a fuel pipe had split, and the fluid was petrol, but he was out anyway, and walked back to the pits. Hulme had nipped by Amon on this lap, and was going out after Spence, who had been re-passed by McLaren. lckx was falling back in fifth place with the very new and understeering Ferrari, with Siffert some distance behind, followed by Courage, Gardner, Hobbs, Moser, Lanfranchi and then an unhappy Rodriguez in the misfiring B.R.M., last.

Next lap Hulme was up into second place, and on lap 20 he passed McLaren after getting round in 1 min. 25.3 sec. to take the lead narrowly from his “number one”, Spence and Amon, and these four were still driving in very close company. But Lanfranchi had retired with bad oil surge, and Siffert’s sixth place evaporated on lap 26 when the clutch broke in the Tasman-chassised Lotus, and two laps previously Gardner had gone out in a trail of smoke and steam when the B.R.M. engine broke a liner.

Lap 28, and Spence slotted his slim B.R.M. past McLaren into second place, and as they lapped the tail-enders the leading group began to space out. But Amon closed on McLaren noticeably on lap 36 and was looking for a way by, but then lost time lapping Moser at Copse and dropped back, letting McLaren get away and latch on to Spence’s tail in second place. These two then drove very hard, entering corners side-by-side occasionally until lap 41 when the B.R.M.’s engine stopped suddenly at Club with a timing chain breakage, letting McLaren up into second place, but delaying him sufficiently to let Amon catch up in the Ferrari. Rodriguez had finally retired his sick B.R.M., Ickx was running a lonely fourth, with Courage fifth and about to be lapped, while the only other cars still running were Hobbs’ B.R.M. and Moser’s Brabham-Repco.

Hulme on his way to the first of four M7A wins in 1968, Silverstone, April 1968 (LAT)

Amon was trying hard to wrest second place from McLaren, setting a new outright circuit record on lap 44 of 1 min. 25.1 sec., 123.82 m.p.h., but Bruce was trying equally hard to stay ahead, doing 1 min. 25.2 sec. on the same lap, and, although the two of them were very close together on lap 45, Amon’s luck was running out and his goggles strap broke. Shielding his eyes from the airstream with one hand he drove for two laps before managing to haul his stand-by pair into position on his face, and this dropped him well back from McLaren, and although closing the gap slightly before the finish he came home in third place. Hulme was battered but triumphant, Bruce McLaren had a lot to smile about with his cars’ first one-two victory, and B.R.M. were well pleased with their turn of speed and not too worried about the frailty their cars had shown since they are still at an early stage in their development. The Ferraris had been rather outpaced from the start, but on a clear track and with McLaren as his target Amon had proved that he is one of the quickest drivers around.’—D. C. N.

Denny on his way to a win at St Jovite, Canadian GP 1968 (unattributed)

Etcetera: M7A Chassis by Chassis courtesy Allen Brown at oldracingcars.com…

‘The first two cars were finished in March 1968, and both debuted at the 1968 Race of Champions, where Bruce McLaren dominated the race, winning from pole position, with his new teammate Denny Hulme finishing third. At the next race, the Silverstone International Trophy, Hulme took pole position and won, with Bruce content to take second place. It was not quite so easy at the first GP, the Spanish, but the M7As were third and fourth on the grid and Hulme finished second. After a poor weekend in Monaco, Bruce McLaren took his team’s first GP victory in the Belgian GP at Spa in June after Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS10 retired on the last lap. Results were mixed over the next few races, but Hulme won in Italy and in Canada to equal Graham Hill’s score at the top of the World Championship standings. A crash at Watkins Glen and retirement in Mexico ended his challenge, but had been a wonderful season for McLaren’s F1 team

Bruce 8th, with Tyler Alexander and Alastair Caldwell and M7A at Rouen, Chris Amon 10th Ferrari 312 just heading out (unattributed)

Denny and Bruce at Jarama prior to the 1968 Spanish GP, M7A’s fitted with pannier side tanks. Denny 2nd and Bruce retired in the race won by Hill’s Lotus 49 Ford (unattributed)

Bruce on the way to that historic win aboard his M7A at Spa in 1968 (unattributed)

Hulme’s M7As was retained for 1969 for the Kiwi to drive, and the latest car, M7A/3, was modified to M7B specification with pannier tanks.  When that did not work, both the M7B and the prototype M7A were sold to privateers; both were crashed later in 1969 and both cars scrapped. Bruce drove a new McLaren M7C for the rest of 1969, and a huge amount of effort was wasted on the four-wheel-drive McLaren M9A. It didn’t help that Goodyear, McLaren’s tyre supplier, were well behind Firestone and Dunlop until the end of the season, when the latest rubber helped Hulme win the Mexican GP in his well-used sole surviving M7A. That last M7A was bought by Tony Dean for Formula 5000, and was then sold to a French Museum where it remains, the museum owners having turned down all McLaren International’s offers for the car.’

McLaren, Brands, M7A British GP 1968 (M Hayward)

More on the M7A’s…

Check out Allen Brown’s article which I have referenced and filched from extensively in this article

http://www.oldracingcars.com/mclaren/m7a/

Credits…

Getty Images, Victor Blackman, Ronald Dumont, Alvis Upitis, MotorSport June 1968 article by Doug Nye, Dick Ellis, LAT, Mike Hayward, Allen Brown-oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece…

Finito…