Posts Tagged ‘Bruce McLaren’

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Mike Barney prepares Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T53 Climax’, French GP Reims, 3 July 1960…

That racing drivers shouldn’t have too much imagination is shown by this shot!

#16 is Brabham’s winning chassis, #18 McLaren’s third placed car. Olivier Gendebien was second and Henry Taylor fourth in T51’s making it a Cooper 1-4!

Yer ‘fancy-schmancy’ high tech relatively, I say it again, relatively safe 2017 carbon fibre GP machine is another world away, 55 years or so to be precise. Mind you, one would hope we would progress.

Owen Maddock’s curvy spaceframe chassis is typical of the day, the spaceframe anyway if not the imperfect in an engineering sense bent tubes! At the front the water radiator and oil tank are the ‘deformable structures’ ahead of the drivers ankles and lower legs. The fuel tanks are neatly and very practically ‘bungee’ strapped to the chassis and prone to leakage as the ‘ally tanks chafe on the steel chassis tubes. The ‘deformable side structures’ are the tanks, no bag bladders in those days so the risk of fire was great, prevalent and occasionally fatal.

The 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF powered T53 ‘Lowline’ was the 1960 successor to the race-winning and built in vast numbers 1958/9 T51. That car in both F2 and F1 spec has to be one of the greatest customer racing cars ever? T53 was the design work of Jack, John Cooper and Maddock.  The Lotus 18, Chapmans first mid-engined car was the quickest bolide of 1960. Moss took wins in Rob Walker’s car at Monaco and in the season ending US GP at Riverside but it was not the most reliable, something Jack was happy to capitalise upon.

McLaren won the Argentinian GP at the seasons outset, then Jack had an amazing mid-season run winning the Dutch GP on 6 June and the Portuguese GP on 14 August. In between Zandvoort and Oporto he won the Belgian, French and British GP’s thereby setting up his and Cooper’s second world titles on the trot.

Its good to look at these cars in the ‘nuddy’ every now and again to remind oneself of just how close to the elements and how brave the drivers of yore were. Yep, the piloti are no more exposed than they had been in the past but the cornering speeds of a 1960 2.5 litre Cooper or Lotus were a good deal quicker than a 1954 2.5 litre Maser 250F, the road circuits in particular just as hazardous…

Cooper T53 Climax cutaway by Brian Hatton

Credits…

GP Library, Brian Hatton

 

 

 

 

 

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(Roger Blanchard)

Bruce McLaren’s Ford GT40 MkII leads the Jo Siffert/Colin Davis 4th placed Porsche 906LE during his winning drive shared with Chris Amon…

The Kiwis’ took the chequered flag in the infamous, Ford executive determined ‘form finish’ which arguably deprived Ken Miles the victory he deserved.

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Bruce McLaren in the winning GT40 passes the ‘Maranello Concessionaires’ Richard Attwood/David Piper Ferrari 365P2, DNF lap 33 with water pump failure (Getty)

Credits…

Roger Blanchard, Getty Images

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Bruce McLaren tested the first of these Cooper T70 chassis at Goodwood in October 1963, lapping in 1:20.5 seconds with an engine well past its best, fiddling with tyre pressures and spring rates. The date of Tim’s test is unclear. Note the Bruce McLaren Motor Racing logo/sticker attached to the cockpit (Getty)

Tim Mayer sizes up the cockpit of  his new Tasman Cooper T70, full of optimism having just tested the car at Goodwood, October 1963…

Tim Mayer is one of motor racing’s many ‘might-have-beens’, cut down in his prime in a Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd Tasman Cooper T70 Climax at Longford, Tasmania on 28 February 1964.

The young American made a huge impact in Australasia during his 1964 tour and is remembered in very fond terms by enthusiasts fortunate enough to see him race the big GP Cooper here.

This article was inspired by John Ellacott’s color shot at Warwick Farm in the body of this article and some Getty Archive photos I tripped over researching something else. Other layers of personal interest are a growing obsession with Longford and that one of my mates, Adam Berryman, restored and owns one of the two Cooper T70 chassis.

I hadn’t intended to explore each chassis in this article but the level of interest created online makes it important to provide this summary of each of the two chassis and their destiny, the details are courtesy of oldracingcars.com and Adam Berryman. Here goes…

Tim raced ‘FL-1-64’ at Levin, Pukekohe, Wigram, Teretonga and Sandown. Bruce decided to swap cars with Tim at Warwick Farm, racing ‘FL-1-64’ at Warwick Farm, Lakeside and Longford.

McLaren raced ‘FL-2-64’ from the Tasman’s commencement at Levin, Pukekohe 1st NZ GP, Wigram 1st, Teretonga 1st and Sandown. Tim raced ‘FL-2-64’ at Warwick Farm, Lakeside and at Longford when it was destroyed in practice.

For his 1965 Tasman campaign Bruce returned with a new Cooper T79 for himself, only one was built, it was tagged ‘FL-1-65’.

‘FL-1-64’, the surviving 1964 chassis raced as above was updated and used very competitively in the ’65 Tasman by 1961 World Champion, Phil Hill. In fact the series was his last in single-seaters. When updated the perfectly good, ‘FL-1-64’ tagged frame was re-tagged with the ‘FL-2-64’ plate off the frame destroyed by Mayer at Longford. This was done at Coopers with the consent of all concerned; John Cooper, McLaren, Teddy Mayer.

It is this chassis, ‘FL-1-64’ now tagged ‘FL-2-64’ which raced on in Australia ‘in period’ by John McDonald and was later acquired by Richard Berryman, and upon his untimely death passed to his son Adam.

Simple isn’t it!

Far from it in fact. The details were only unravelled when Adam Berryman met Wally Willmott, who built the T70’s with Bruce at Coopers, all those years ago. As part of the rigorous process of Berryman getting the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport historic ‘Certificate of Description’ to race the car, the history of  the two chassis was clarified as a result of information shared and debated between Berryman, Doug Nye, (who wrote ‘Cooper Cars’) Willmott and Bryan Miller, the CAMS Historic Eligibility Commission Chairman.

Further detail on each chassis i will cover in an article on the T70’s.

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Bruce in #47 and Tim in the Pukekohe paddock 1964, wonderful shot captures the relaxed atmosphere of this demanding circuit (Getty)

Bruce went on to win the inaugural, 1964 Tasman Series with a fighting second place behind Graham Hill’s Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT4 Climax at Longford, the series final round He won by 6 points from Jack Brabham’s BT7A and Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT4.

Tim’s accident took place during the Friday afternoon practice session. He was keen to do well of course, racing amongst F1 champions Hill and Brabham, GP winner McLaren as well as host of aspirants; Frank Matich, John Youl, Tony Shelly, Jim Palmer, Greg Cusack, Frank Gardner, Dave Walker and others.

Longford’s 4.5 high-speed miles of undulating, tree and telephone pole lined roads with culverts was completed with a railway crossing, two bridges, a railway viaduct and more. Its blend of Tasmanian roads and topography was unforgiving to say the least. It had many nuances, younger drivers needed miles there to appreciate them. Neither Mayer or fellow Cooper pilot Rocky Tresise, a year later, learned the subtleties of the place and paid the ultimate price as a consequence. Undoubtedly it was a circuit to attack only after deep familiarity.

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Bruce in front of Tim in the Puke paddock, the other Cooper #8 is the very fast and reliable, several years old T55 of Taswegian John Youl. McLaren won the NZGP from Brabham’s BT7A, Ron and Jack’s latest ‘Intercontinental’ tool, and Mayer who was 26 seconds adrift of his team-leader. Cockpit very tight especially for the lanky American, note Bruce’s mini-dashboard to which the essential three Smiths instruments are affixed; tach, oil press, and oil and water temps (Getty)

I asked multiple Australian Gold Star Champion, Taswegian John McCormack if he raced his ex-Brabham BT4 Climax there, ‘I drove there, I wouldn’t say that I raced that first time though’ was John’s typically candid response.

Needless to say these cars were far from ‘safe’; they were of multi-tubular spaceframe construction and had no deformable structures other than the aluminium saddle tanks carrying plenty of Avgas…The 2.5 Coventry Climax 4 potter gave 235 powerful horses, the cars did better than 160mph on ‘The Flying Mile’, more than quick at a place like this. A ‘big one’ was all too often the drivers last in cars of this ilk.

Mayer was on the ‘back section of the track, on the fateful lap. He had completed pit straight, then headed down hill, traversed the left-hand, blind entry left, right Viaduct and crossed the River Esk on Kings Bridge. He was on Union Straight which leads to Longford/Pub Corner, a 90 degree right hander. Tim was using a tall top gear doing better than 160.

The tricky bit of the circuit here, important for lap times was to fly the hump before Longford Corner; critical was landing square and braking almost immediately upon landing but not being too savage on the brakes to avoid giving the car a big fright whilst it was relatively unstable.

The landing was the problem in this case. Perhaps the car landed badly due to wind or being lined up poorly, or perhaps Tim braked too hard before the Cooper had settled enough back onto its springs, either way it was all over in the blink of an eye. ‘The Cooper slewed sideways into a 15ft plane tree. The car split into two; Tim was thrown 50 yards to the other side of the road, instantly breaking his neck’ recounts Barry Green in ‘Longford: The Fast Track Back’.

Eoin Ypung in his report in the April 1964 ‘Motor Racing’ said ‘…Mayers Cooper landed slightly offline just before the right-angled right-hander at the hotel, and slewed sideways into a a tree…’

‘Sports Car World’ reported that ‘Apparently (always a worry when a report says this!) Mayer became airborne off the hump after Kings Bridge. The car landed slightly sideways, Mayer caught it, but the two left hand wheels had got into the dirt. The car then slid into a plane tree and disintegrated throwing Mayer out’. I don’t wish to labour the point but rather use three contemporary reports to look at their similarity and differences, it does not change the result but the actual cause will never precisely be known.

Tim’s death directly lead, as most of you know, to his manager brother Teddy Mayer’s involvement as a shareholder/director of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd. Tyler Alexander was part of Mayer’s Tasman crew too, both he and Teddy were huge contributors to the phenomenal McLaren success which followed over the ensuing decade. In that sense, something positive became of the terrible events all those years ago, without in any way trying to make light of Tim’s demise.

Long Weekend at Longford…

Checkout this amazing short documentary on the ’64 Longford carnival. There is some in car footage which superbly illustrates the difficulties of the track, inclusive of the area where Tim came to grief.

 

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Mayer in the Goodwood paddock. The T70 was built in Coopers workshops but was Bruce’ project and conceptual design, designed for 100 mile Tasman events, rather than the GP cars he had previously taken home to the Antipodes. Its now said to be ‘the first McLaren’. The T70 was entirely conventional with spaceframe chassis albeit very narrow for the time, 25 inches wide cockpit, to slip through the air nicely. Front suspension was by upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/damper units with anti-dive geometry, and single top link, lower wishbone with a single top radius rod for fore and aft location. The Coventry Climax FPF 4 potter was at its 2.5 litre GP capacity, down from the 2.7’s widely used during the pre-Tasman F Libre years, output circa 235bhp. The gearbox was a Colotti Type 21 5 speed in ‘FL-2-64’ and Cooper 6 speed in Tim’s ‘FL-1-64’ . This Colotti T21 was famous at McLaren/Cooper’s as the most used gearbox ever having started life in Tommy Atkins Cooper, was then used in the T70 and then later in the Cooper/Zerex Oldsmobile. Fuel tankage comprised 8 gallons under the seat and smaller side tanks either side of the drivers knees holding a total of 7 gallons (Getty)

The editor of New Zealand’s ‘Motorman’ magazine, Donn Anderson wrote this tribute to Tim Mayer soon after his death. This contemporary piece has a wonderful intimacy and familiarity about it written by a journalist upon whom Tim Mayer clearly made a big impact as both a young racer and as a man. It has far more validity than anything any of us can pen ‘from 50 years afar’…

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Mayer, Sandown 1964, ‘FL-1-64’. He was 2nd to Brabham when he started to have fuel feed problems and was overhauled in the last stages by Stillwell and Youl to finish 4th, Brabham won (autopics)

‘Scholar Journalist and Sportsman…Tim Mayer’…

‘It is so very hard to write an appreciation of one who was more than just another racing driver to us. Tim Mayer was a newcomer to international racing and although we knew him for only five weeks in New Zealand, it was not difficult to make an accurate appraisal of the 26-year-old American.

His death during a practice session for the final round of the Tasman Championship at the Longford circuit in Tasmania on February 28 was a sudden shock to many. Twelve months ago he was practically unknown and even of late his appearance to some was much of a novelty.

Tim was not the ‘boy’s book’ ideal of a racing driver. He looked more the university or law student figure and, indeed, he did have a very sound education. Tall and slender – 6 foot and 145 lbs – Timmy was married in 1961 to charming Garril.

He was born to a wealthy family in Pennsylvania, and it soon became obvious that he was talented in both studying and athletic fields. Some six years ago he went to his first motor race at Sebring with a cousin and was immediately taken in with the sport. He entered his first race in an Austin Healey in 1959. ‘It was wet and I was very much a newcomer to motor racing,’ Tim told The Motorman recently. ‘I spun trying to change gears down a straight!’ The young driver competed in 5 of 13 national races that initial year with the Healey and finished fourth in the national class standings

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Mayer Pukekohe, small size of the car accentuated by the way Tim sits out of it! T70 chassis # FL-1-64 (Getty)

Even then Timmy was backed and assisted by his brother, Teddy, who has accompanied him throughout his career with cars. Of his early racing he says it was mostly ‘crash, burn and try to learn.’ For 1960 Tim had a new Lotus 18 junior and in eight races he was second five times. The car was wrecked when Timmy ran into a horse barn at Louisville, thus bringing the year’s racing to an end. At that meeting he met Dr Frank Falkner, Cooper’s agent in the U.S., who was to help the young American. By the age of 22 Tim had a degree in English literature from Yale University but it was time for the two-year army stint.

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The Long and The Short of It: Tim in the shades at rear and Teddy in between the well nourished lads at Cumberland in 1962. Teddy’s flair for team management was clear early on; ‘Revem Racing’ ran Tim, Peter Revson and Bill Smith in FJ in ’62. Tim WAS fast and Teddy managed his brother well (unattributed)

Of his first run in a single-seater Tim said: ‘I had overturned the Lotus 18 within 10 minutes of driving the thing and finished hanging upside down strapped in with my seat belt. Everyone uses belts, even for open cars, in the States, so when I went to Europe it took a while to become used to not being tied in.’

Tim was able to continue pursuing his desire to become a top-line driver in the army, however, as the officers appreciated the value of a quick corporal at motor race meetings. He used an FJ Cooper and while based in Puerto Rico was able to race almost every weekend in many parts of the country.

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Tim Mayer Cooper T59 Ford from Peter Revson in a similar car, first and second. #106 Bill Smith Lotus 20 Ford. ‘Jaycees Cup’ Cumberland Airport, Maryland 13 May 1962.Tim won the US FJ Championship in 1962 from Floyd Aaskov and Walt Hansgen, Revvie was 5th, Augie Pabst 6th and Mark Donohue and Roger Penske equal 9th In 1963 Teddy (and Bruce?) introduced Tim to Ken Tyrrell who ran him in a handful of European and British BARC FJ Championship rounds in a Cooper T67 BMC, not the engine of choice at all. Even tho the season was well over, the contenders dialled into their cars, to say the least, Tim was in amongst the top 6 Cosworth engine cars.  Mayer’s European FJ campaign comprised a fast blast through France in mid-year, he contested the GP de Rouen, Coupe International de Vitesse des Juniors, the FJ support race during the French GP weekend at Reims and Trophee d’Auvergne at Clermont Ferrand on June 23, 30 and July7 respectively. At each meeting he was ‘first in the BMC Class’ in 7th,8th and 4th in his Tyrrell Cooper T67, the races won by the Ford powered Brabham BT6’s of Paul Hawkins, Denny Hulme and Jo Schlesser. The BARC British championship leader board that year included amongst its Top 13 Peter Arundell, Denny Hulme, Frank Gardner, Richard Attwood, David Hobbs, Paul Hawkins, Mike Spence, Alan Rees, Peter Procter, John Rhodes and Brian Hart amongst others, Tim was 13th with a point. That he shone through in a tiny number of races amongst this lot says a lot! (unattributed)

The big break came in 1962 when he was acclaimed the most improved and outstanding driver of the year. With a brand new Cooper junior he won the United States SCCA Formula Junior Championship. These results landed him an entry in the US Grand Prix with a third car owned by the Cooper works. He was the fastest of the privateers in practice but the gear lever came unstuck during the race.

Last year Tim was off to Europe to join the Ken Tyrrell racing team. Although the Cooper Juniors were down on power compared with the Lotus Fords, he was able to gain much experience all over England and Europe. ‘There is much more competition in Europe compared with the States. Formula Junior racing in Europe is like Russian roulette. The BMC engines were outdated and if we finished fourth or fifth we were doing well. The Cooper had little power but fantastic cornering – superior to the Lotus.’

He crashed during the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood in 1963 after a brake caliper broke and suffered a badly twisted neck, and he also had a bad shunt at Silverstone. Driving his own 2.7-litre Cooper Monaco, Tim was third to Penske and Salvadori at the international Brands Hatch meeting last year. He also had a number of races with Cooper’s Minis. “I had a lot of fun with Sir John Whitmore – he must be the second best known driver in the U.S. next to Clark

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Tim Mayer Pukekohe (Getty)

At Riverside last year he led the 2-litre class with a new Lotus 23B until heat forced his retirement, but he won his class and finished 5th overall at Laguna Seca.

He was made two Christmas presents – a drive with one of the McLaren Coopers in the Australasian series, and number two man in the Cooper works formula one team for 1964.

When Tim first drove the 2.5 he found it a different kettle of fish to the juniors. ‘With the little cars you have no power to get out of trouble.’ So Tim, Garril, Teddy and mechanic Tyler Alexander came south to New Zealand with the McLaren team – and they won many friends. He was second at Levin, took third place at Pukekohe, but had trouble at Wigram and couldn’t do any better than 8th position. At Invercargill he finished second to his team-mate and was fourth in the Australian GP after losing second position with fuel trouble. He was third at Warwick Farm.

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Mayer, ‘Warwick Farm 100’ 16 February 1964, Homestead Corner, T70 ‘FL-2-64’ : Tim qualified just behind Bruce at The Farm, his first time at the highly technical circuit. Peter Windsor on his blog ‘…clearly remembers Timmy biffing the back of Bruce’s Cooper…on the opening lap at Creek Corner. Team leader nudged by his number 2! Both raced on though and finished 2nd and 3rd (Jack won in his BT7A by 4 tenths of a second from Bruce with Tim 10 seconds adrift-not bad in this company on that track, familiar turf to the other two blokes)…I watched them all afternoon. Timmy was always fast, always aggressive punching the throttle out of Creek (corner, a hairpin), applying the opposite lock with crisp precision. Bruce by comparison, was only slightly more fluid. Timmy, clearly was fast’ was Windsor’s conclusion (John Ellacott)

Consistent placings resulted in the American driver finishing third on points in the New Zealand races for the Tasman Championship, behind McLaren and Hulme, with 16 points.

Timmy – the nephew of Governor Scranton of Pennsylvania – had a real American outlook to motor racing: he wanted to go to the top. He was perhaps fortunate in having financial means to purchase the best machinery during his early career, but he also developed the ability to handle same. Money cannot buy driving skill.

From his ‘varsity days when he worked as a disc jockey on radio stations he was a keen journalist and wrote for a number of publications.

Not only was Timmy a fine driver and scholar: he was also an enthusiastic athlete. Water skiing, squash and other activities were the order of the day in New Zealand when other business was cleared.

He was genuinely interested in motor racing, no matter where. He spoke to me at length on the unfortunate situation of import duty and restrictions in this country and said it must stifle the sport here. ‘An FJ Cooper can be imported into the States for less than 1200 pounds, whereas it costs more than twice that here.’

Wherever the Mayers went in this country they gained respect. Tim, with his broad accent, was a fine ambassador for his country and a true enthusiast. There was always time to talk to anyone – no matter how small they were on the circuit, or how insignificant their name might be.

Quiet, unassuming, and not likely to be noticed in a crowd of drivers, Timmy Mayer left his mark in this country. It would seem very cruel that we should lose a fine driver who had come so far in such a short time. We pay tribute to Tim Mayer and his kin, Garril and Teddy who helped him so much in the sport he loved’.

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Garril and Tim Mayer at Warwick Farm 1964, T70 ‘FL-2-64’ (autopics)

 

McLaren himself spoke of Mayer in the Autosport column he wrote together with journalist Eoin Young;

‘Intelligent and charming, Timmy had made dozens of friends during his career.  As often occurs, to look at him you wouldn’t take him for a racing driver.  You had to know him, to realize his desire to compete, to do things better than the next man, be it swimming, water-skiing or racing.

So when, during second practice at Longford, he crashed at high speed and we knew immediately that it was bad, in our hearts we felt that he had been enjoying himself and ‘having a go’.

The news that he died instantly was a terrible shock to all of us.  But who is to say that he had not seen more, done more and learned more in his 26 years than many people do in a lifetime?

It is tragic, particularly for those left.  Plans half-made must now be forgotten and the hopes must be rekindled.  Without men like Tim, plans and hopes mean nothing.To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy.  I can’t say these things well, but I know this is what I feel to be true.  It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one’s ability.  Life is measured in terms of achievement, not in years alone.’

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Love this casual shot on the Teretonga grid, T70 ‘FL-1-64’. Famously the most southern circuit on the planet. Tyler Alexander and Tim await the off. It was a great race for ‘Team McLaren’ with Bruce over the line by a tenth of a second from Tim with Kiwi Jim Palmer 3rd in a Cooper T53. That Tim was quick was undeniable, his pace in these big, fast GP cars was immediate (Alexander)

Bibliography…

Article by Donn Anderson in the April 1964 issue of New Zealand’s ‘Motorman’ magazine, oldracingcars.com, The Nostalgia Forum, Stephen Dalton, Ray Bell, Bryan Miller

Credits…

John Ellacott, Getty Images, oldracingcars.com, Tyler Alexander, autopics.com, Stephen Dalton Collection, Euan Sarginson

Etcetera…

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Tim Mayer chats to some young enthusiasts/admirers at Levin (Sarginson/Dalton)

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Tim all loaded up in the T70, chatting with Kiwi international, Tony Shelly ‘adopted’ by the Davison’s as Ray Bell put it, complete with one of Lex Davison’s ‘Ecurie Australie’ tops Pukekohe 1964 (Getty)

 Tailpiece

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Tim Mayer Goodwood, October 1963. Trying to jam his lanky frame into the confines of a car designed around Bruce’ more compact dimensions! Which chassis?, i’m not game to guess! (Getty)

 

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9200 rpm and breathing very heavily thru it’s oversized for GP racing ports…

Bruce McLaren at rest and considering setup changes to his first GP car, Robin Herd’s Ford Indy V8 powered, ‘Mallite’ chassis, M2B at Watkins Glen in 1966.

These shots are from the Dave Friedman Archive; the tachometer snaps are at the US GP, the balance of photos from the following, final 1966 Championship round in Mexico City.

This article is another of my ‘nutso’ ones in terms of its order…

I found a swag of photos in Friedman’s archive a while back and planned a pictorial of Bruce and his first McLaren GP car at the 1966 US and Mexican Grands’ Prix, the events where Friedman snapped away prodigiously. I put it to one side and largely forgot about it. Subsequently I decided on something more substantive; so the first bit is the original pictorial, the second is about Bruce’ progress in his first two years as an F1 marque jumping from engine to engine until the DFV provided the definitive McLaren F1 moteur from 1968-1983.

And boy, wasn’t there a lot of water that passed under the bridge between 1968 when the design for the Cosworth powered McLaren M7 was laid down to John Barnard providing both the dimensions of the DFV and its means of attachment to the chassis amongst his ‘mandatories’ of design specifications to Hans Metzger at Porsche in 1983. The TAG/Porsche 1.5 litre twin-turbo V6 was the result, the McLaren MP4/1E TAG-Porsche first raced at the 28 August 1983 Dutch Grand Prix. Back to 1965/6 though!

Remember, the tachometer snaps are at the US GP, the balance of photos from the following round in Mexico City, there are no captions in the first part of the article.

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As a GP engine the Ford Quad-Cam Indy V8 engine was a huge, beefy, heavy and notoriously raucous unit. Visually it was a ‘big busty blonde’ as well with its whopping Hilborn injection trumpets and huge ‘between the vee exhausts’, it looked ‘the goods’…

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The Ford Indy quad cam V8 in its earliest form fitted to a Lotus 34 at Indy in 1964. Jim Clark and Dan Gurney contested the race, this is Clark’s chassis. Engine 4195cc DOHC, 4 valve, Hilborn injected, methanol fuelled giving circa 425bhp @ 8000rpm and useful power from 6000-9000rpm. ZF 2DS 20 ‘box (TEN)

McLaren developed and tested the engine during the winter of 1965/6, notably at Riverside, California but missed the European non-championship F1 events with which the season commenced. In a portent of the season to come John Surtees won the 1 April Syracuse GP in his Ferrari 312 whilst ‘Black-Jack’ won the BRDC International Trophy in his Brabham BT19 Repco at Silverstone on May 14.

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McLaren looking pretty chilled at this stage of the ’66 Monaco weekend upon his teams GP debut, color of the car a function of doing a deal with John Frankenheimer’s crew as part of  filming of ‘Grand Prix’ . Inboard rocker front suspension and outboard loacation of spring/shock at the rear. Checkout the prostrate ‘snapper behind the car (unattributed)

McLaren made its debut as an F1 marque in the May 22, 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, the first championship round that year. Bruce raced the car he concepted together with Robin Herd, the brilliant young designer specified ‘Mallite’ as the primary material for M2B’s monocoque chassis. (noting the M1 series of car are CanAm machines)

Mallite is a composite sheet aerospace sandwich material comprising end grain balsa material filling between thin sheets of aluminium. The resultant chassis was incredibly stiff for its day at around 11000 lb/ft per degree of deflection compared with a good conventional ‘ally tub which came in the range of 4000-5000 lb/ft per degree.

The Indy Ford 4-cam V8 was reduced from its USAC mandated 4.2 litres to the 3 litre F1 limit (95.3mmX52.4mm bore/stroke-2999cc) which prevailed from 1 January 1966. For F1 use the engine was first modified by Klaus von Rucker in England, then later Bruce involved Traco Engineering in Los Angeles.

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All hands to the pump! Bruce, Tyler Alexander and Wally Willmott hard at it, Monaco 1966. The Indy Ford V8’s Hilborn fuel injection, between the Vee exhausts, full monocoque chassis, ZF 5 DS25 gearbox and conventional rear suspension; inverted lower wishbones, single top link, coil spring/dampers, twin radius rods and adjustable sway bar all clear in this shot (unattributed)

Click on this article for a brief history of the Ford Indy V8 amongst the Lola T90 stuff which is the main substance of this piece; https://primotipo.com/2015/06/12/graham-hills-american-red-ball-spl-lola-t90-ford-indy-winner-1966-2/

At Monaco the new McLaren qualified 12th, Bruce withdrew with mechanical ailments on lap 9, the race was won by Jackie Stewart’s 2.1 litre ‘Tasman’ P56 V8 engined BRM P261. This car was his 1965 1.5 litre F1 mount with a bigger version of the P56 V8 with which he won the 1965 Tasman Series.

Bruce and his small Colnbrook team, (near Heathrow an area in the midst of the motor racing industry of subcontractors 3 miles from Slough and 18 miles West of London) crew quickly realised the engines massive ports and valves didn’t give the sort of gas flow speed needed to produce competitive power at 3 litres. Mind you, its 300 horsepower was the sort of output the World Championship winning ‘RB620’ Repco V8 developed in 1966. It was enough to win Jack’s ’66 title albeit the Repco engine was light, very torquey and reliable. By contrast, Bruce’s Ford was heavy and gave its punch over a narrow rev band, the deficiencies of which were exacerbated by the 4 speed ZF ‘box they used which ‘left lots of gaps’ in the power band.

The team had much work to do on the Ford, in the meantime Count Volpi’s new Serenissima V8, designed by Ing. Alberto Massimino, who was part of the Lancia-Ferrari and Maserati 250F 1950’s design teams provided another ‘ready made’ alternative engine to try.

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Serenissima ATS Spider, Sauer/de Mortemart. Le Mans 1966. DNF with gearbox failure on lap 43. It raced in the prototype class, the race won by the McLaren/Amon Ford GT Mk2 (Smuckatelli)

This project is a story in itself but suffice to say Bruce tried the engine whilst simultaneously developing the Indy Ford V8 in an attempt to get it to where it needed to be. Most of you will be aware that Bruce’ Ford connections were immaculate at the time as both a development and race driver of the GT40 program, those cars developed by teams on both sides of the Atlantic. It was Bruce’ hope that he may have been able to get FoMoCo’s backing for his F1 variant of their Indy V8. In the end, via Ford UK’s Walter Hayes, Ford supported the Cosworth developed DFV of course.

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Weber 48IDA fed Serenissima all alloy V8 in the back of Bruce’ M2B during the Belgian GP weekend, 1966 (unattributed)

The Serenissima engine was designed as a sports car unit and gave little power. The ‘M166’ engine was an aluminium, chain driven, quad cam, 2 valve V8 displacing 2996cc (91.5X57.0 mm bore/stroke) 350 bhp was claimed for it but most of the horses seemed to have jumped ship between Italy and the UK, the actual output was more like 260bhp.

M2B was modified to take the side exhaust Italian V8 in time for the Belgian GP, at Spa. The team had great trouble just getting the thing to start, then run and to add insult to injury it ran its bearings after its first exploratory laps having qualified 16th. With no spare engine Bruce was a non-starter.

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Bruce in the winning Ford Mk2 he shared with Chris Amon at Le Mans 1966. The Ferrari is the Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 365 P2 driven by Richard Attwood and David Piper (GP Library)

Bruce and his young intended McLaren F1 team-mate Chris Amon (who raced M1B Chev CanAm cars for Bruce in 1966) then departed England for France and returned as Le Mans winners in a factory Ford GT Mk2. That contentious win or perhaps ‘first over the line’ is still the subject of discussion and debate amongst enthusiasts and historians alike even all these decades later.

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1966 British GP, Brands Hatch, M2B Serenissima V8. Bruce was 6th, scoring a championship point, the teams first. Jack Brabham won in BT19 Repco from pole, he was 2 laps up the road to give the gap some perspective. Bruce in his ‘Pete Aron’ Grand Prix filming helmet (unattributed)

Jack Brabham won both the French Grand Prix at Reims and the British at Brands Hatch in BT19 Repco. The M2B-Serenissima contested the Brands race with more success, the engine was reliable. Bruce started superbly on a damp track on wets running in the top six. As the road dried he dropped back but inherited 6th scoring McLaren’s first World Championship point. A significant day in Grand Prix history indeed.

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Bruce, Serenissima engined M2B in practice ahead of Jo Siffert Cooper T81 Maser DNF and Dan Gurney Eagle T1G Weslake DNF, Zandvoort 1966. He didn’t start the race (unattributed)

At the Dutch GP the Serenissima engine again failed, the McLaren F1 program was set aside pending development of the Indy Ford V8. Amongst other changes the engine was fitted with Chrysler Hemi inspired induction tracts which lifted its output to around 312bhp at 9500rpm.

The beast re-appeared in the United States GP at Watkins Glen, Bruce finished 5th by surviving a race of mechanical mayhem but in the final race of ’66, won by John Surtees’ Cooper T81 Maserati, the Mexican GP, the engine blew after 70 laps having qualified 14th.

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McLarens interim 1967 contender, the 2.1 litre P56 BRM V8 engined M4B makes it’s debut during the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch on 12 March 1967 (Getty)

Bruce cast around for a better alternative engine for 1967 and was a happy customer of BRM’s prospective 4 cam, 2 valve V12 which was designed as both an F1 and sportscar unit. The prototype (Group 6) capacity limit at the time was 3 litres so it made good commercial sense for BRM to build customer engines to replace the P56 V8’s which raced in endurance events as well as Grands Prix. BRM’s complex H16 was their factory F1 unit at the time but it was problematic to say the least…not available to customers (post Lotus) and probably not wanted by Bruce in any event!

A new one-off M5A monocoque chassis was designed for this engine designated ‘P101’, but the BRM V12 was running late, the M5A didn’t appear until the Canadian GP at Mosport in August.

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Bruce testing M4B BRM in the UK before the ’67 season started, circuit and date uncertain. The exposed monocoque chassis is that of an M4A Ford FVA F2 car upon which M4B was based (unattributed)

So a gorgeous little car was used in the interim; the McLaren M4B BRM V8 was based on Bruce’ M4A F2 car but instead of Ford’s little 1.6 litre FVA the engine bay carried a 2.1 litre version of BRM’s venerable, powerful, small and reliable P56 V8 which had won Graham Hill’s 1962 World Championship, countless GP’s and Tasman Series events. This Tasman BRM V8 engine gave circa 280bhp. ‘Belly’ fuel tanks gave the F2 derived F1 car sufficient fuel for 200 miles.

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The business end of M4B BRM at Monaco 1967. P56/60 V8 one of the great GP engines, 2.1 litres, 2 valve, Lucas injected, circa 245 bhp. ‘box is a Hewland DG300, beefy and under-stressed for this application, rear suspension period typical (unattributed)

M4B BRM made its debut in Bruce’ hands in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch on 13 March. It finished 4/6th in heats one/two but then its engine blew after 1 lap of the final after Bruce muffed a change in heat two. 5th places followed in the two heats and final of the Daily Express Spring Cup at Oulton Park and in the International Trophy at Silverstone on 15 April where Bruce was again, you guessed it, 5th!

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Bruce contesting the Oulton Park Spring Cup, 15 April ’67 M4B BRM, 5th. Brabham won the final in a BT20 Repco (Watson)

So, the little car had plenty of race miles on it as the team transporter headed to Monaco, the little M4B was tailor-made for the tight street circuit, but Jim Clark and Graham Hill were in similar hybrids; 1.5 F1 Lotus 33’s with stretched Tasman V8 Coventry Climax and BRM engines respectively.

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Bruce rests on his M4B armchair before the off, Monaco 1967. Its ‘done the rounds’ this shot but its such an atmospheric beauty i popped it in, this cars best view is its arse! where everything is very pert, taut and tightly packaged (unattributed)

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Bruce in M4B with truncated ‘Monaco’ nose ’67 (unattributed)

‘But Bruces’ battery was running flat – forcing a dramatic pit stop – Bruce could well have finished second behind fellow Kiwi Denny Hulme’s victorious Repco Brabham. Some of the spirit of Formula One in those days is typified by the pit stop as Bruce believed his misfire was fuel pressure and bawled as much at his crew. But Jack Brabham, friend and rival had come into the pits and was shouting ‘it’s your battery – it’s your battery!’ As Bruce wrote: Good old Jack. It was the battery and we quickly whipped another one on. He rejoined and finished fourth – three further championship points … thanks in part to a rival team chief!’ records the Bruce McLaren Trust.

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Dutch GP, Zandvoort 1967. Bruce in M4B BRM ahead of Pedro Rodriguez’ Cooper T81 Maserati, it was the debut of the Lotus 49 Ford, Clark won the race in Chapman’s jewel. Note the different nose compared with the earlier shots especially the ducts to ease the flow of air after its passed thru the radiator, reducing front lift in the process (Watson)

The M4B was then badly damaged on lap two of the Dutch GP at Zandvoort as Bruce went off on spilled oil in the fast Huzaren Viak corner. After repair he was testing it at Goodwood when it caught fire out on the circuit, he then watched it burn to death! The ’67 Dutch is also remembered of course for the debut of the Lotus 49 and more importantly the Ford Cosworth DFV V8 which powered it.

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McLaren assists with a plug change on his Eagle’s Weslake V12. French GP, Circuit Bugatti, LeMans 1967 (Getty)

Without a car, Bruce did a deal with Dan Gurney to drive the lanky Californian’s V12 Eagle T1G Weslake, Dan was in sparkling form in an All-American dream week having won two significant races in the Le Mans 24 Hour classic (Ford Mk4 with AJ Foyt co-driving) and at the Belgian GP in the Eagle thereby following the footsteps of Brabham as a GP winning driver of a car he built. It was a path Bruce would also traverse in the 1968 Belgian GP in his Cosworth powered M7A. Bruce was quick in Dan’s car, at the Circuit Bugatti Le Mans he qualified the big car 5th to Dans 3rd but they were both outed in the race, Bruce with ignition problems and Dan with a fuel line issue.

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The unfamiliar sight of GP cars at Le Mans, fortunately the Circuit Bugatti was only used once, the French having a wonderful selection of road circuits at the time to choose from. Eagle T1G surely the best looking F1 car of the sixties!? Bruce sets off for some laps in his unfamiliar mount (Cahier)

Two weeks later at Silverstone Jim Clark was in sparkling form and convincingly won the British GP. Bruce and Dan qualified 10th and 5th with Bruce this time outed with engine problems and Dan a failing clutch. Consistency in build and preparation of the Weslake V12 were amongst its issues, its fair to say the demands of two ‘Number Ones’ perhaps placed much more pressure on the resources of Gurney’s small team, than getting one machine ready to a high standard. I’ve never read anything about what Bruce, like Dan, one of the supreme engineer/tester/drivers thought of the T1G or its engine. I’m intrigued to know if any of you have something of that nature published ‘in period’ in your collections.

The supreme test of the Nurburgring followed on August 6 where again both drivers qualified well, 5th and 4th for Bruce and Dan respectively but again both failed to finish; Bruce with unspecified mechanical mayhem and Gurney’s superb bolide with driveshaft failure.

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Bruce and M6A Chev, Mosport CanAm 23 September 1967, Denny won with Bruce 35 seconds behind (Friedman)

Later in 1967 was a busy time for McLaren. Whilst the F1 program was still formative its CanAm challenge was very mature. Bruce and Robins Chev V8 engined M6A was the result of learnings of the previous years, in both Bruce’ M1’s and other cars he raced. The ’67 Can Am commenced on September 3 at Road America and finished in Las Vegas two months later, the ‘papaya cars’ took 5 of the 6 rounds and Bruce the title, a remarkably well deserved one at that.

The Colnbrook build team had the Can Am cars well clear of the workshop by the time they mated the late arriving BRM V12 to the M5A chassis. Bruce was ‘razor sharp’, his driving buoyed by both the competitiveness of the team ‘Stateside and his individual performances in these oh-so-beautifully designed, engineered and executed sports-racers.

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Bruce at Monza in M5A BRM V12 1967. Q3 and DNF with an engine failure, Surtees the Italian GP winner in a Honda RA300 V12 (unattributed)

The M5A monocoque chassis abandoned Mallite which was considered too complex to shape and heavy in favour of aluminium sheet, the car having a fully stressed section enclosing the drivers legs, the area above his kness left open for maintenance access. The gearbox was the DG300 Hewland also used in the smaller BRM V8 engined car.

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The BRM P101 V12 in the back of M5A at Monza in 1966. Lots of ‘Aeroquip’ lines, Lucas injection, Hewland DG300 transaxle, ‘Fram’ oil filter below the oil rad popped up in the breeze. Engine, non-stress bearing,  is 4 chain driven cams but 2 valves. Engine evolved over time into the 4 valve engine which gave competitive service especially in 1970/71 in the back of BRM’s P153 and P160 (Schlegelmilch)

BRM’s 24 valve P101 V12 was originally designed for sports-prototype use by Geoff Johnson. The engines bore/stroke were 73.8X57.2mm for a capacity of 2998cc with a compression ratio of 12:1. The Lucas injected, chain driven 4 cam, 2 valve engine produced 369bhp at 9750rpm on 14 August, engine ‘P101-003’ put to good use by Bruce during the Canadian Grand Prix.

During the race the hot oil tank cooked the battery, Bruce gained on the leaders till spinning in the greasy conditions.

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Bruce in M5A BRM fighting Jack Brabham for 3rd, before retirement. Brabham won the Canadian GP, in his Brabham BT24 Repco (Laymon)

At Monza the combination showed just how competitive they were; Bruce popped the thing on the front row, with 20 laps to go he and Surtees were racing wheel to wheel for a dash to the flag when a BRM cylinder liner dropped, the car withdrew on lap 4 with Surtees and Braham running to the line, Jack was outfoxed by John on the last corner of the race.

The M5A retired in both the US and Mexico and was used by the reigning World Champion, Denny Hulme in the first race of 1968, the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami.

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Bruce in M5A BRM at Mexico City 1967. Q8 and DNF lap 45 with engine failure. Clark won in a Lotus 49 Ford from Brabham and Hulme, the latter took the ’67 drivers title Brabham Repco mounted (Cahier)

But the F1 world had changed late in 1967, by Walter Hayes decision to make the Ford DFV available to customers; he convinced Colin Chapaman to waive the exclusivity agreement Lotus had to use the engine which allowed Bruce and Robin Herd (and Ken Tyrrell in 1968 as well as Lotus) to design a bespoke chassis to suit the 408bhp DFV.

The bathtub aluminium monocoque M7A made a splendid debut winning the ’69 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch with the boss taking the win from pole and jagging the fastest lap to boot!

A new chapter in McLaren history was underway, DFV powered McLarens won World Titles for Emerson Fittipaldi in 1974 and James Hunt in 1976, stories for another time…

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Bruce in the papaya M7A Ford DFV winning the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch upon the models race debut (Ed Lacey)

Bibliography…

The Bruce McLaren Trust, ‘History of The GP Car’ Doug Nye, The GP Encyclopaedia

Credits…

Dave Friedman Archive, Cahier Archive, Ron Laymon, Ed Lacey, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Ron Laymon, Getty Images, Brian Watson, GP Library, Nigel Smuckatelli, The Enthusiast Network

Etcetera-Engines…

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Bruce, Teddy Mayer, Monaco, 1966 McLaren M2B Ford Indy V8, both above and below shots (Schlegelmilch)

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M2B Serenissima at Spa 12 June 1966. Compare and contrast the Ford Indy V8 installation in the shots above, the car designed for that engine and then adapted to suit the Italian V8, ZF 5 DS25 box used in both cases (Schlegelmilch)

Tailpiece: ‘BRDC Intl Trophy’, Silverstone, 29 April 1967. From small acorns do big things grow. Bruce, Teddy and the boys, a few passers by. Perhaps it’s Friday, and M4B/1 BRM P56/60 V8…

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Teddy Mayer and Bruce McLaren, McLaren M7C Ford 5th, at Monaco on 18 May 1969, the hi-wings disappeared overnight. Hill G won in a Lotus 49B Ford (Schlegelmilch)

 

McLaren ‘owned’ the color papaya and having created brand recognition many marketers can only dream about walked away from the distinctive orange hue…

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Bruce and his M14A Ford before the ‘Race of Champions’ at Brands Hatch, 22 March 1970, DNF after an accident, Jackie Stewart won in a March 701 Ford (Fox)

Bruce McLaren Motor Racing ‘broke through’ in the 1967 CanAm Series, Bruce and Denny crushed the opposition with the fabulous M6A Chev, a joint Bruce and Robin Herd design collaboration.

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Bruce McLaren at Las Vegas 1967, McLaren M6A Chev, it may be a blur but you knew what it was because of the colour, right!  John Surtees won in a Lola T70 Mk3B Chev, both McLaren’s DNF with engine failure (Getty)

 

Modern marketing started in the US. In trying to create ‘cut thru’ or ‘pop’ on then new colour telly the McLaren hierarchy, Teddy Mayer is credited for choosing the distinctive shade which defined the marque until the Yardley McLaren era of 1972.

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Denny Hulme, Kyalami 1972, on the way to a South African GP win in the ‘Yardley’ McLaren M19A Ford (unattributed)

The M6A gave its sponsors a ‘fair crack of the whip’, the ’67 colour stuck, being adopted on the factory CanAm, F1,2,5000 and Indycars until the early seventies.

The photo below is of more significance than i realised when i first saw it on the internet, my friend Derek Kneller recalls; ‘I joined McLaren’s a fabricator having worked at the experimental department of Hawker Siddeley working on the P1127 (Hawker Harrier vertical take off fighter) on 26 March 1968. One of my first tasks was to prepare this car for its first tests with the ‘ally big block 7 litre Chev. I worked through the weekend with Wally Willmott and and Gary Knutson to get the car ready. We essentially ‘hacked’ the back off the M6 and grafted the rear of the proposed ’68 M8 onto the car.’

‘The photo is L>R Denny, Gary Knutson partially obscured, Teddy Mayer, Phil Kerr and Bruce. Wally is in the blue shirt and Jo Marquhart to the right in the suit with overcoat. They are supervising the ‘mule’ M6A/2 at Goodwood on 24 April 1968′. Gary Knutson and Colin Beanland built the engine at Al Bartz’ shop in Los Angeles, its losing oil which is the reason for the concerned faces. George Begg, McLaren confidante and Kiwi racer/car builder took the photo. The papaya M6 rather contrasts with the dull, rolling Sussex hills in the background and the flash pit-counter in the foreground!

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(George Begg)

David Hodges records in his ‘Profile Publications’ article on the McLaren M8 that after this chassis was used in this series of tests, and later aerodynamic work it was returned to M6 specification and then sold.

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Jody Scheckter’s works McLaren M21 Ford BDF F2 car during the ‘BARC 200’ Euro F2 Championship round at Thruxton, 3 April 1972. Jody DNF with overheating, race won by Ronnie Peterson’s March 722 Ford BDF (M Hewitt)

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Andrea De Adamich’s McLaren M14D Alfa Romeo, Mont Tremblant, Canada 1970. DNF engine, race won by Ickx’ Ferrari 312B (Schlegelmilch)

Until Yardley’s arrival on the side of the M19 a swag of sponsors logos sat comfortably on McLarens against the gorgeous, distinctive from afar, shade.

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#5 Denny Hulme and Peter Revson’s McLaren M20 Chevs at Donnybrooke, Minnesota , 17 September 1972 (Upitis)

Lotus, the leader in so many aspects of racing showed the power of wholistic F1 branding of a racing car with the ‘fag packet’ Gold Leaf Team Lotus, Lotus 49’s which first appeared in the Wigram, New Zealand round of the Tasman Series 0n 20 January 1968. Jim Clark raced, just, in the early months of the year in the ‘modern advertising era’.

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Jim Clark in the Teretonga paddock, Lotus 49 DFW, his GLTL Lotus freshly painted car finished 2nd to Bruce’ works BRM P126, painted traditional green! 27  January 1968 (Ian Peak)

Of course the Americans had refined the art (advertising on racing cars) for 50 years before the rest of the world caught up, or regressed depending upon your view of it. You cannot imagine Cadbury abandoning purple yet McLaren walked away from a signature colour which defined their cars in a most distinctive way. I’m not suggesting Bruce and the boys had as much brand equity in papaya as Cadbury in purple but you get my drift.

Ferrari of course are the prime example of a marque who ‘own red’. Their sponsors have always obtained the coverage sought against a red background rather than Ferrari adopting the ‘packaging’ of their corporate partner of the season or decade!

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Denny Hulme on his way to winning the 1968 Canadian GP at Mont Tremblant, Bruce was 2nd in a great day for the team. McLaren M7A Ford (unattributed)

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Peter Revson, Indy qualifying 17 May 1972, McLaren M16B Offy. Peter started from grid 2 but DNF with ‘box failure after 5 laps. Mark Donohue won in Roger Penske’s customer M16B (Bob D’Olivo)

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Hulme’s McLaren M20 Chev at Donnybrooke in 1972, Francois Cevert won in an ex-works M8F, both McLarens DNF with popped Chevys (Upitis)

In more recent times papaya has staged a comeback appearing on the McLaren F1 GTR LeMans car, occasionally as an F1 testing colour and as a favoured choice on its exotic road cars…

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Pedro de la Rosa and Mika Hakkinen in early 1997 testing of their McLaren MP4/12 Mercedes at Jerez, they raced in boring silver of course (reddit.com)

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McLaren M20 Chev in 1972, almost a CanAm signature, the staggered injection trumpets used from 1970 (Getty)

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, Alvis Upitis, Getty Images, Fox Photos, Bob D’Olivo, Michael Cooper, reddit.com, George Begg, Ian Peak Collection/The Roaring Season, Duncan Fox, Derek Kneller, David Hodges ‘The McLaren M8 Series’

Tailpieces: McLaren F1 GTR set against the Dunlop Bridge 16 June  1996, Le Mans 24 Hour…

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(Michael Cooper)

Victorious Papaya Blur…

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Bruce on his way to a win at Spa in 1968, M7A Ford (Schlegelmilch)

 

 

 

 

(more…)

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A Shelby American mechanic fettles the Bruce McLaren/Ken Miles Ford GT40 Mk2 ‘106’ prior to the Le Mans 24 Hours commencement on 20 June 1965…

I always thought the 4.7/5 litre GT40 variants masterpieces of Eric Broadley packaging if a bit beefy given the steel rather than aluminium monocoque mandated by Ford. But the 7 litre Mk2 and Mk4 are altogether less subtle expressions of the genre! Successful ones at that.

You can’t see ‘Henrys’ cast iron blocked, ally headed 427cid pushrod OHV V8 under all the plumbing. The dry sumped 90 degree, 107.2mm X 96.1mm lump was fed by a single, big Holley 4-barrel 780CFM carb developing circa 485bhp@6200rpm and 475lb.ft of torque@3200-3600rpm, plenty for a car weighing 1200Kg. The ‘cross-over’ exhaust sytem is a masterpice of the pipe-benders art. Mufflers interesting and unusual on a racer, maybe to save the drivers ears a tad? You can just see the gulping, big mouth of the monster Holley in front of the exhausts.

To the right near the roof is the water radiator neck, filler and temp sender, to the right are the gold colored fuel pumps, the fuel tank was 159 litres.

You can see the Ford T44 4-speed ‘box, in fact ’twas the failure of this ‘tranny’ which caused chassis #’106′ retirement on lap 45 of the classic. Plenty of lovely ‘Aeroquip’ aircraft braided fittings, well in advance of their adoption in F1, for brake lines and various oil feeds around the transaxle, note the transmission oil-radiator under the mech’s elbow.

See the big, rear grey stove enamelled chassis diaphragm below the exhaust and above the ‘box to support the engine/gearbox and location of the rear suspension, the top of the spring/shock’s clear. There, too, is the brake cooling duct which takes air collected from the body. Big cast magnesium upright, beefy driveshafts and top suspension link and forward facing radius rod and brake calipers for the outboard mounted, ventilated discs also in shot.

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The quick-lift jack and ‘captive frame’ on the car is typical of Shelby’s thoughfulness and endurance racing knowledge…Mind you they had a shocker of a race!

Five cars were entered, two Mark 2’s and three Daytona Cobra Coupes and all failed to finish; the Amon/P Hill Mk2 on lap 89-clutch. The Johnson/Payne Daytona ‘2287’ on lap 158-head gasket, Gurney/Jerry Grant Daytona ‘2286’ on lap 204-engine and Daytona ‘2601’ Schlesser/Allen Grant on lap 111-clutch.

The race was a disaster for Ford, their best placed car the AC Cars Ltd entered Daytona Cobra Coupe driven by Sears/Thomson was 8th, the race won, famously by the Ferrari 250LM of Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt, the latter flogging the thing to within an inch of its life!

It was Ferrari’s last Le Mans win and the first of four on the trot for Ford from 1966-69; wins for the Mk2 and 4 in 1966 and 1967 and 1968/9 for the Mk1 5 litre GT40…

Finally, Shelby American made amends in 1966, taking the first two places in the infamous ‘Ford Form Finish’ ahead of arch rivals, the Holman Moody prepared Ford Mk2’s…

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Le Mans ’65 start. The Amon/Hill GT40 Mk2 on pole, then Surtees/Scarfiotti Ferrari 330P2 , Bondurant/Bucknum GT40 in 3 and McLaren/Miles GT40 Mk2 in grid 4 (unattributed)

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McLaren/Miles Ford GT40 Mk2 early in the race, Le Mans 1965 (unattributed)

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Carroll Shelby beside the Amon/P Hill GT40 Mk2 ‘106’ Le Mans 1965 (unattributed)

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Shelby American Le Mans garage; Daytona Cobra Coupes; #12 Schlesser/J Grant #10 Johnson/Payne #9 Gurney/A Grant. All DNF (unattributed)

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, teamdan.com

Tailpiece: Filipinetti’s GT40 Mk2, prepped by Shelby American on the way to Europe at LAX, it too failed to finish driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Herbie Muller…

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Bruce McLaren poses for this studio shot on 26 April 1967…

He was the all-rounder; tester, driver, designer, engineer, company director…and male model! I bet Teddy Mayer had to twist his arm for this job tho. ‘Daily Express’ shot so it was possibly to go with a feature on the multi-talented Kiwi Champion.

A good year, the team took its first Can Am title, Bruce winning in the M6A Chev he co-designed with Robin Herd. He raced a factory Ford GT40 Mk4, in sports car events, one of Dan Gurney’s Eagle T1G’s whilst his own GP car was made race-ready, then of course there were the Elva built customer cars to consider and sponsors to look after. And a company to run…

Credit: McKeown/Getty Images, Dave Friedman Archive, The Enthusiast Network

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McLaren and his M6A Chev at the 1967 Road America Can Am, Denny Hulme won this round. Look closely and you can see the ‘McLaren Engines Flower Power’ decal on the 6 litre, injected, ‘Heavy-Chevys’ rocker cover! (Dave Friedman)

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Bruce McLaren, Road America September 1967. DNF with an oil leak from grid 1. Hulme in the other M6A took the win  (Dave Friedman)

 

Tailpiece: Las Vegas sunset, Stardust Raceway, Bruce McLaren and M6A Chev, 14 November 1967…

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Not a good race weekend for Bruce as he blew an engine from grid 1, but he did win the ’67 championship! Surtees took the round win in his Lola T70 Mk3B Chev (The Enthusiast Network)

 

 

 

 

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(Getty)

One tends to sometimes forget that British Entrepreneur, Engineer, Team Owner John Cooper was also a driver and the birth of Cooper as a marque is a function of his need for a racer…

The great Brit is piloting his works Cooper T20 Bristol F2, the caption for the photo says in the ‘IV Daily Express International Trophy’ race at Goodwood on Whit Monday, 10 May 1952′. In fact JC was entered for that meeting/race at Silverstone on that day as #14 but did not arrive, so ‘praps this is a practice shot.

Before focusing on the construction and sales of his cars and managing the team he was a very capable driver taking many 500cc wins, a class for which the first Cooper, famously constructed of two Fiat 500’s welded together to provide an independently suspended car, was built.

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Cooper 500 Drivers L>R in this 1948 photo; John Cooper, George Saunders, Charles Cooper, the shot credits Chas as the cars designer and Stirling Moss. ‘New midget racing cars made by Charles Cooper at his Surbiton, Surrey garage’ is the caption (Popperfoto)

The front-engined Cooper Bristols Types 20 and 23 ‘launched’ the successful careers of Mike Hawthorn and Jack Brabham amongst many others, i wrote an article about them, click here for the link; https://primotipo.com/2015/02/10/stirling-moss-cumberland-park-speedway-sydney-cooper-t20-wm-holden-1956/

I started to research an article to write on John Cooper’s career and influence and came upon the obituary published by Britain’s ‘The Telegraph’ on 27 December 2000, it seems to me it covers things rather well so here it is, truncated slightly and with my photographic additions…

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JC at left, having already done a few laps, slightly quizzical supervises Ken Wharton’s test of a Cooper T23 Bristol at Goodwood in 1953. What a ripper period scene, love the casual dude in suit pants, vest, tie and fag! (Popperfoto)

‘John Cooper, who has died aged 77, was one of the great figures in the history of motor racing; his Cooper-Climax cars were the force behind Jack Brabham’s dominance of the drivers’ championship in the early 1960s, while his Mini Cooper was destined to become a symbol of the decade itself.

Cooper and his small design team at Cooper Cars first came up with a rear-engined sports car in 1955. Based around a Coventry Climax firepump engine, the “Bobtail” Cooper-Climax was without peer in its class. By narrowing the chassis and fitting slender bodywork which left suspension and wheels exposed, Cooper then created a rear-engined Formula Two car which could easily be upgraded to meet the demands of Formula One.

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Jack Brabhams Cooper T40 Bristol ‘Bobtail’ on the way to a lucky Australian Grand Prix win at Port Wakefield, South Australia in 1955 (unattributed)

By 1957, the Australian Jack Brabham had joined Coopers, and a 2-litre version of the Formula Two car was entered for the Monaco Grand Prix. Brabham pushed it home in sixth, having been third. On twisting circuits, the nimble rear-engined Cooper could challenge the comparatively flat-footed Ferraris’, Maseratis’ and Vanwalls’ which traditionally competed for places on the podium.

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Stirling Moss on his way to the first mid-engined car F1 win, Cooper T43 Climax 1.9, Argentine GP 19 January 1958 (Getty)

The next year, in the Argentine Grand Prix, Stirling Moss drove a Cooper to a first world championship victory by the rear-engined car, and at Monaco another Cooper won, this time driven by Maurice Trintignant.

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Moss, Argentina 1960, Moss giving away more than 500cc to his competitors, the Coventry Climax FPF 1.9 litres (Getty)

The persuasive Cooper then managed to talk Coventry Climax into building full-sized 2.5 litre engines for his works’ drivers – Brabham and Bruce McLaren – and under his direction Coopers promptly won both the 1959 and 1960 Formula One constructors’ titles, while Brabham took two consecutive world champion drivers’ titles. By 1962 every Formula One marque had put their engines where Cooper had his – behind the driver.

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John Cooper aboard the Cooper T49 ‘Monaco’ in March 1959 during a press release, Brands Hatch (John Ross)

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Lap 1 Portuguese GP 1960; Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax from Gurney’s BRM P48 DNF and Surtees Lotus 18 Climax DNF. Jack won the race having had a huge accident in Oporto the year before (Autosport)

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Argentine GP 1960 post victory in the UK; McLaren 1st Cooper T51 Climax, Brabham DNF and JC (unattributed)

In the mid-1940s, Cooper had competed against Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Mini, in hill-climbs. Soon after its launch in the mid-1960s, Cooper suggested to George Harriman, head of the British Motor Corporation (the Mini’s manufacturer), that he should market a tuned-up version. Harriman doubted that he could sell more than 1,000; the final total of owners attracted by Cooper’s modifications exceeded 125,000.

Cooper was consulted regularly about improvements to the design and an entire family of Mini Cooper variants evolved, among them the Mini Cooper S. The Mini Cooper lorded it over rally racing for the rest of the 1960s, winning multiple championships and four consecutive Monte Carlo rallies between 1964 and 1967.

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It was the first economy car to become a status symbol, the height of chic. Its owners included King Hussein of Jordan and members of The Beatles. “Drive a Mini Cooper – the most fun you can have with your clothes on!” ran the advertisements. “If your tyres survive more than 2,000 miles, you’ve driven like a wimp.”

At the end of the decade the car featured prominently in the film The Italian Job (1969), in which Michael Caine and his team of bullion raiders made the most of the Mini’s virtues of small size and great speed to escape pursuit via the roofs, sewers and marble staircases of Turin. The Minis were painted red, white and blue, and the film not only helped boost sales of the Mini Cooper all over the world but, by identifying the car with a time of great British style and ingenuity, helped it also to attain immortality.

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John Cooper was always going to be involved with cars! Caption of this 27 May 1935 photo’ Dwarfed by a full-sized car, Mr CW Cooper of Surbiton drives the miniature racing car which he built for his son John. The tiny vehicle is fitted with a 1.25 horsepower two-stroke engine and can travel 52 miles an hour. The other car is an Alfa Romeo 8C Monza, does anybody know who the occupants are? (Fox Photos/Getty)

Cooper was born on July 17 1923 at Kingston, Surrey. His father Charles ran a modest garage in nearby Surbiton; among the cars he maintained for customers was the Wolseley “Viper” raced at Brooklands by Kaye Don. When John was eight, his father made him a half-scale car with a motorcycle engine. At 12, he was given a lightweight Austin 7-based special capable of 90mph; he tried it out at Brooklands but was chased off the track by enraged officials.

On leaving Surbiton County School at 15, John became an apprentice toolmaker, and after RAF service in 1944-45, he and his friend Eric Brandon (later a successful racing driver) built themselves a single-seater racing car for the new 500cc class. Two scrap Fiat 500 front-ends were welded together to provide an independently suspended chassis, on to which was mounted a 500cc motorcycle engine behind the driver’s seat to chain-drive the back axle.

Wearing sheet aluminium bodywork, this first Cooper racing car was very successful, and a second was built for Brandon in 1947. Cooper and his father then founded the Cooper Car Company to build a batch of 12 replica 500s for sale. One of their first buyers was the 18-year old Stirling Moss.

The Cooper Car Company quickly became the first, and largest, post-war specialist racing car manufacturer; Lotus, Lola and March – among others – would follow them. While John Cooper provided the firm’s enthusiasm and drive, Charles Cooper kept control of the firm’s finances.

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Cooper after victory at Rouen in 1952. Cooper MkV 500 (Heritage)

John Cooper was also a very capable racing driver in his own right. In 1952 at Grenzlandring he scored the first 500cc race to be won at an average of more than 100mph, and the next year drove his streamlined works car to victory in the Avus Speedbowl, Berlin. He also enjoyed first places at Monza and at Rouen.

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JC record breaking at Monthlery, France on 9 October 1951, car is streamlined, slightly stretched Cooper MkV JAP. 500 & 1100cc engines used (Popperfoto)

Click here for an interesting article on the Cooper Land Speed Record cars;

http://www.ugofadini.com/cooperstory.html

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JC in the chassis of the Mk V record-breaker, a variety of JAP engines used, 15 November 1952 (Central Press)

In the early 1950s, Coopers diversified into front-engined sports and single-seater racing cars. The first British world champion driver, Mike Hawthorn, first made his mark in a 1952 Cooper-Bristol Grand Prix.

A warm, even extrovert man, John Cooper relished every moment of his fame, although he was perhaps never the same after being badly injured in 1963 when his prototype four-wheel drive Mini Cooper crashed. It was many months before he was fully fit, and in 1965 – the year after his father died – he sold the Cooper Car Company to the Chipstead Motor Group.

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1966 US GP Watkins Glen; front row Brabham in BT19 Repco DNF, Bandini Ferrari312 DNF and Surtees Cooper T81 Maserati 3rd. Jim Clark took the only win for the BRM H16 engine in his Lotus 43  (Alvis Upitis)

Although he continued to co-direct the Formula One racing team until 1969, when it was disbanded, from the mid-Sixties onwards its homegrown construction was overtaken by more sophisticated and better-funded technology at Lola, Lotus, BRM and Ferrari. Characteristically, Cooper never felt any envy as his company was upstaged.

He retired to the Sussex coast, where he founded the garage business at Ferring, near Worthing, which still bears his name. Recently, he had been much cheered by the decision of Rover to develop a new generation of Mini Coopers, primarily for enthusiasts in Japan. Rover’s new owner, BMW, has embraced the project, and just before his death Cooper was delighted to see his son drive the prototype BMW Mini Cooper.

John Cooper was appointed CBE last year. He leaves a wife, a son and daughter. Another daughter predeceased him.’

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JC ‘races’ the ‘first Cooper ‘ his dad built for him in 1930 (Keystone France)

Credits…

‘The Telegraph’ John Cooper obituary 27 December 2000,  GP Library, GP Encyclopaedia

Getty Images, Keystone France, Alvis Upitis, Central Press, Popperfoto, Heritage Press, Fox Photos, Autosport, John Ross Motor Racing Archive

Tailpiece: ‘I don’t care Bruce just go faster!’ With Bruce McLaren and Phil Hill in 1964…

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European/British GP, Brands Hatch 1 July 1964; JC, Phil Hill 6th and McLaren DNF #10 is Hill’s Cooper T73 Climax. Clark won the race in a Lotus 25 Climax (G Pollard)

 

 

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McLaren M8A at rest 1968. (unattributed)

I re-read Mark Donohue’s excellent biography not so long ago, in it he refers to his Lola F5000 as a ‘little car’ which made me laugh! I’ve never seen F5000’s as anything other than ‘big cars’ but i ‘spose its all relative. When your frames of reference include McLaren M16 Indycars and Porsche 917/30 CanAm racers they are…

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The ‘brand spankers’ M8A out front of McLaren’s ‘salubrious’ David Road, Colnbrook facilities in early 1968. A contrast with the opulence of Woking today (unattributed)

There is nothing small and subtle about CanAm cars, everything is BIIIGG!

They were built for 200 mile races, GP distance. The engines 7 litres and up, the chassis had to be big and strong to carry the engine and its fuel, they used a lotta fuel! The dimensions were unrestricted, the bodies large to provide downforce. Big engines; lots of power and torque needs a big gearbox and driveshafts, the shot above of a 1968 McLaren M8A in all its naked glory illustrates the point.

Denny Hulme took the ’68 title from teammate McLaren with 3 wins to Bruce’s 1 in 6 races.

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The team; Tyler Alexander left and Gary Knutsen right, sorting an M8A engine drama at Bridghampton 1968. The car ran a bearing in the race so problem not sorted! Denny’s broke a rod, Donohue won in an M6B Chev. Bruce patiently awaits. Few racing drivers as intelligent, analytical and thoughtful. Or quick (Pete Lyons)

M8A’ s vital statistics; 7 litre/427 cid McLaren modified aluminium blocked Chev ZL-1 engine. Bore and stroke 108mm x 95mm, pushrod OHV, Vertex magneto, Lucas fuel injection the package giving circa 620bhp@7000rpm. Hewland LG500 4 speed transaxle.

Monocoque chassis of rivetted and bonded aluminium with fabricated steel bulkheads, the Chev engine was a stressed member of the chassis at the rear. Wheelbase 94 inches, front and rear tracks 57.5 and 54.5 inches, length 153 inches and height to the top of the roll bar 36 inches. Weight circa 1350 pounds.

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Hulme in the workshop prior to the M8A’s departure to the ‘States. Engine extractors, Lucas injection trumpets, (horizontal) fuel metering unit and (vertical) Vertex magneto, Hewland gearbox casing and brake ventilation ducts all clear. The rear wheels are fabricated magnesium, McLaren had 2 attempts at making these work and both failed. Its a top shot, Denny spent a lot of time in the workshop when not racing (Jabby Crombac via ‘kayemod’ TNF)

Rear suspension; single top link, reversed lower wishbones, twin radius rods, coil spring/damper units and adjustable roll-bars. Front by unequal length wishbones, coil spring/damper units, adjustable roll-bars.

Brakes, Lockheed outboard front and rear, McLaren cast magnesium wheels of 15 inches diameter and up to 11 inches wide and 15 inches and up to 16 inches wide at the rear…Big, like everything else!…

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McLaren M8A Chev cutaway drawing. Specs as per text above. An incredible successful series of cars, the M8 family; M8A, M8B, M8D and M8F won the CanAm title in 1968-’71 respectively. (unattributed)

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All hands on deck to load the cars for shipment to the US. Teddy Mayer on the trailer with Bruce’ car, note the standard 4 spoke cast wheels on the front of Hulme’s car and experimental fabricated ones on the rear. (Nigel Beresford Collection via ‘kayemod’ TNF)

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Denny Hulme, M8A Laguna Seca practice 1968. John Cannon won this race, famously held in very wet conditions when so many ‘fell off the Island’. Cannon’s old McLaren M1B Chev won from Hulme and George Eaton’s McLaren M1C Ford (tamsoldracecarsite.net)

Credits…

‘Cars in Profile No8 McLaren M8 Series’ by David Hodges, Pete Lyons, Jabby Crombac and Nigel Beresford Collection via ‘kayemod’ TNF, tamsoldracecarsite.net