Posts Tagged ‘Dan Gurney’

(Bonhams)

A couple of months ago, fifty years back Jack Brabham lost the Monaco Prix on the last corner of the last lap when he goofed his braking point for the Gasometer Hairpin- harried as he had been by Jochen Rindt who had been in ‘cruise and collect mode’ for a good percentage of the race until misfortune outted many of the dudes in front of him.

At that point, with a sniff of victory, he tigered in an amazing way- fastest bloke on the planet as he undoubtedly was at the time. Up front Jack’s comfortable cushion was whittled back by his former teammate aided and abetted by some unintended baulks by other drivers.

It is a well known story i have ventilated before, here; https://primotipo.com/2018/05/24/jochens-bt33-trumped-by-chunkys-72/ and here about Jack’s last season of racing; https://primotipo.com/2014/09/01/easter-bathurst-1969-jack-brabham-1970-et-al/

The two blokes alongside Jack in the shot above are his teammate Rolf Stommelen and on the outside the V12 Matra MS120 of Henri Pescarolo- Rolf did not qualify whilst Henri finished a splendid third, one of my most popular articles is a piece on the Matra here; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/06/venetia-day-and-the-1970-matra-ms120/

Love those ‘knock on’ hubs- a carry over from BT25 perhaps? BT33 a sexy and very quick jigger which was still very competitive in Tim Schenken’s hands in 1971 (Official Brabham)

 

Nice look at Ron Taunanac’s second monocoque chassis, Jack aboard BT33 at Monaco, the first being the 1968-1969 BT25 Repco ‘760’ 4.2 V8 engined ‘Indycar’

I wouldn’t have bothered with another article on BT33 but a couple of these photographs popped up lately and are too good not to share. The other thing which intrigues me a bit are the ‘Jet Jackson’ United States Air Force fighter pilot type crash helmets Jack, Jackie Stewart and Piers Courage experimented with in the earlier months of 1970 during the Spanish, Monaco and Dutch Grand Prix weekends that year, and in other events the drivers contested.

We are only, at the start of the 1970 season, nearly three years down the path since David ‘Swede’ Savage first used the first ‘Bell Star’ in motor cycle competition in mid-1967. The design was a great step forward in driver safety, Jackie Stewart was a safely crusader as we all know, it’s interesting that he chose to trial these open style of helmets which on the face of it , pun intended, seems a retrograde step.

Jackie Stewart- who else could it be with his distinctively branded USAF helmet in early 1970. March 701 Ford (Getty)

 

Piers contemplating the next change to be made by Gianpaulo Dallara to his De Tomaso 505 during early 1970 (Getty)

Most sadly, Piers put his to the ultimate test, he was wearing it when he crashed to a most gruesome death at Zandvoort on 21 June 1970- in no sense am i suggesting a Bell Star would have saved his life I might add.

When he went off on the flat or nearly flat out curves at the back of the circuit and into the catch fencing his helmet was wrenched off with both Adam Cooper and Jackie Stewart writing that he was probably dead before the conflagration which susequently engulfed the De Tomaso 505 Ford.

After some basic research i cannot find who made these helmets, i am intrigued to know the answer to that question if any of you know it.

After Monaco Brabham and Stewart do not appear to have worn the helmets again in Grands Prix.

(B Cahier)

 

(unattributed)

Jack thinks about an inside run at Jackie during the March 1970 South African GP- Kyalami.

At this stage of the season, the first championship round of course, they are both Bell equipped- Stewart in a ‘Star’ and Brabham a ‘Magnum’- Jack won the race with the reigning World Champion back in third aboard a machine which was not one of his favourites but far from the worst GP car he ever drove.

Brabham used three helmet types that season, two Bells- a Magnum and Star plus the USAF fighter helmet.

He was a busy boy in 1970 running the full GP season, selected F2 races in a John Coombs owned Brabham BT30 Ford FVA and five or so endurance events with Matra, plus the odd one-offs, here he is jumping out of his MS650 during the 1000 Km of Brands Hatch in April still wearing the fighter helmet, but a slightly different one to that he used in Monte Carlo.

Car #3 is the Scueria Filipinetti Ferrari 512S raced to thirteenth place by Herbie Muller and Mike Parkes

 

Jack shared the car with Jean-Pierre Beltoise , the pair finished twelfth in the race won by the JW Automotive Porsche 917K raced by Pedro Rodriguez and Leo Kinnunen, this being the race in which the Mexican Ace mesmerised the drenched crowd with his car control of the 450bhp machine as he flicked the big car frm lock to lock as though it was a nimble Formula Ford.

Wind the clock forward a month and Brabham had his last crack at Indianapolis in a Brabham BT32 Offy- this car was one of the BT25 Repco ‘760’ 4.2 V8 chassis modified by fitment of the turbo-charged four cylinder Offy motor- note the Bell Star in use at Indy.

This is during qualifying on 9 May, Jack was classified thirteenth from Q26, he retired with engine problems having completed 175 of the 200 laps, the race was won by Al Unser’s ‘Johnny Lightning Spl’ Colt Ford V8

Jack all ready to boogie with his Sunday best shoes on, no less. Same knock off hubs as the BT33 by the look of it

 

(Brabham Family)

 

(unattributed)

The Charade circuit just outside Clermont Ferrand was another French Grand Prix course which sorted the roosters from the feather dusters- I nearly made it there two years ago having first promised myself I would visit the place when falling for it with my nose buried in Automobile Year 18 in 1971. Drat.

Jack leads here from Jochen Rindt and Henri Pescarolo- Jochen won that day from Chris Amon and Jack with Henri fifth.

Brabham has his Bell Star on as does Henri but Jochen has swapped the full-race Star he used in 1970 more often than not for one of his old Magnums as the nature of the challenging course through the Auvergne-Rhone Alps countryside made him feel motion sickness which was solved with a change of helmet

Jochen was wearing a Bell Star on that fateful day at Monza in September but the crutch-straps of his Willans six-pointer were not items the great Austrian used- on that particular day in that particular accident he needed them badly, and divine intervention.

(Flickr)

‘It turns in ok but as I apply throttle…’ two great mates doing wonderful things together discussing the next chassis change at Zandvoort in 1970- Frank Williams and Piers Courage, note the helmet.

The car was not too flash at all in Kyalami but with each race Courage, the car’s designer Gianpaulo Dallara and Williams were improving it- expectations of both Williams and Courage were high for 1970 as the second-hand Brabham BT26 Ford they raced in 1969 had proved Piers’ place was right up front.

At Zandvoort Courage was running seventh from Q9 ahead of John Miles in a works Lotus 72 (below) when the accident occurred on lap 23- there was not enough of the wreck intact to determine whether the cause was cockpit/component/tyre.

(Twitter)

Pretty enough car which was progressively ‘getting there’, that oil cooler locale is sub-optimal, some revs lost perhaps in top speed. Dallara did get the hang of this racing car thing didn’t he?

In Australasia we had three visits from Piers and Sally Courage aka Lady Curzon, Earl Howe’s daughter, the couple and Piers pace and personality endearing them to all.

In 1967 the #1 BRM Tasman P261 2.1 V8 seat was occupied by Jackie Stewart (apart from Teretonga) with Richard Attwood, Courage and Chris Irwin sharing the second seat, the seasoned Attwood performing best.

In fact that year was a character building one for the Courage Brewing scion, it was said he was ‘over driving’ and despite John Coombs supposedly advising he get out before he killed himself the plucky Brit bought the McLaren M4A Ford FVA he had raced for Coombs that season and headed off south with a couple of FVAs funded by savings, some sponsorship from Courage, a loan from his father and a deal with Coombs which deferred payment for the car until the end of the series.

He had a brilliant 1968 summer with the Les Sheppard prepared 205 bhp car amongst the 2.5s, demonstrating all the speed which had been always apparent but with a much bigger dose of good judgement in the series of eight races over just as many weekends. He blotted his copybook at Pukekohe on the first day of practice but after Les ‘read the riot act’ his performances were very good to brilliant.

Teretonga 1967, BRM P261 2.1 V8, DNF engine after 53 laps- Clark won in his Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre from Attwood in the other BRM  (Ian Peak Collection)

 

Piers third and Chris Amon fourth with a deeply appreciative and enthusiastic Warwick Farm crowd at the end of the 1968 Warwick Farm 100- McLaren M4A Ford FVA and Ferrari 246T. Up front were the Team Lotus duo of Clark and Hill in Lotus 49 Ford DFWs (B Thomas)

 

Teretonga 1969- Derek Bell, Ferrari 246T from Graham Hill, Lotus 49B Ford DFW and Piers, Brabham BT24 Ford DFW. Piers took a splendid win that day from Hill and Amon (Steve Twist Collection)

Whilst fun in the sun is part of Tasman lore- and fact, there was plenty of pressure on a small equipe such as the Courage outfit to prepare the equipment and race it weekly, for the most part on unfamiliar circuits all of which were well known to his main competition- Clark, Hulme, Gardner, Hill to name a few.

His season ending win at Longford is still spoken about in reverential tones by those who were there- it literally pissed down with Piers legendary bravery coupled with a deftness of touch on one of the most daunting road circuits by then still in use in the world- whilst noting it was sadly the last time the circuit was used too.

In many ways the campaign ‘re-launched’ his career. Adam Cooper wrote ‘Thanks to the extensive press coverage his exploits received, Piers’ reputation was in better shape than he could have predicted. He was a failure (not entirely fair in that he was fourth in the 1967 European F2 Championship behind Ickx, Gardner and Beltoise despite pinging off too many bits of real estate) who had made himself into a hero. Those who had paid closer attention noted that his solo campaign also reflected an incredible determination and a hitherto unrecognised ability to organise. Even before Longford he’d been approached by Tim Parnell about renewing his relationship with BRM. Tim had seen the Courage revival at first hand, and was impressed.’

Back in at Slough Frank Williams was readying the Brabham BT23C FVA for the 1968 Euro F2 Championship, in addition he had his BRM ride and a personal retainer with Dunlop, he was away…

Rather than prattle on now about his Tasman exploits lets do ‘Piers in The Pacific’ soon- his Tasman Cup runs in 1967-1969 in BRM P261, McLaren M4A Ford FVA and Brabham BT24 Ford DFW respectively.

Bell Star…

Dan, Nurburgring 1968 as seen by (P-H Cahier)

 

There was no shortage of interest in Dan Gurney’s fancy-schmancy new Bell Star over the German Grand Prix weekend at the Nurburgring over the 4 August 1968 weekend, understandably so- mind you, he used the helmet at Indy that year too- May of course so it was already’out there’.

Dan was ninth in his Eagle Mk1 Weslake, doubtless his head was a bit more dry than the competition- up front it was Stewart from Hill and Rindt, Matra MS10 Ford, Lotus 49B Ford and Brabham BT26 Repco in a day of challenging rain.

But the first Bell Star use credit seems to go to David ‘Swede’ Savage in his motor cycle racing days, here is below at Santa Fe in 1967 so equipped- 9 June to be precise.

Perhaps the first life saved by the technology was that of Evel Knievel who came terribly unstuck upon landing when attempting a motorcycle jump over the Caesar’s Palace Casino Las Vegas fountains (43 metres) that 31 December, breaking and crushing countless of his bodies bones- but not his head!

If Swede’s 9 June use of the Bell Star is not ‘the first’ i am intrigued to know who has that honour and its date.

(Forever Savage)

 

(Forever Savage)

 

It was a pretty happy month of May for All American Racers when three Eagles filled the top four places of the Memorial Day classic, Bobby Unser won from Dan Gurney (above) with Denny Hulme fourth, the interloper was Mel Kenyon’s third placed Gebhardt Offy.

Of historic interest to we Eagle buffs is that the three Tony Southgate designed Eagle Mk4’s were powered by quite different engines- Unser’s used an Offy Turbo four, whilst Dan used a pushrod fuel injected Gurney-Weslake V8 whereas Denny in the other works car used the Ford DOHC ‘Indy’ V8- the options were certainly well covered, were it not for a rear tyre puncture minutes from the end of the race which befell Hulme, it would have been a clean sweep of ‘the podium’ placings.

Oh yes- Dan’s Bell Star, first use of the helmet in car racing.

Photo and Reference Credits…

Official Brabham/Brabham Family Collection , Automobilsport, MotorSport, LAT, ‘Piers Courage: Last of The Gentleman Racers’ Adam Cooper, ‘Forever Savage’ Facebook page, Ian Peak and Steve Twist Collections on The Roaring Season

Tailpiece…

(LAT)

Another one that got away.

Brabham exits Druids Hill with millimetre precision during the 1970 British Grand Prix- he had passed and was driving away from Jochen to what seemed a certain win but for a shortage of fuel hundreds of metres short of the chequered flag. Oh yes, Bell Star equipped.

Finito…

 

Jim Hall on the front row of the grid, a locale he became quite akin to and fond of in 1964/1965- Laguna Seca in May 1965, Chaparral 2A Chev…

1965 started fantastically for the boys from Midland, Texas with a mighty win over twelve hours at Sebring against the best in the world from Ferrari, Ford, Porsche and the rest- Jim Hall and Hap Sharp took pole, fastest lap and the victory.

The team contested the US Road Racing Championships using the fibreglass chassis 2A Chev- those cars in 1964 won Corry Fields, Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen, Meadowdale and Mid Ohio- Jim Hall took the chequered flag in all of these events with the exception of Mid Ohio when his Chaparral business partner, Hap Sharp triumphed.

Sebring 12 Hour 1965- MG Bridge, the Hall/Sharp winning Chap 2A Chev goes inside the Ryan/Tidwell Porsche 904, behind is the second Hissom/Jennings Chap 2A, the famous deluge of rain which pretty much flooded the place is yet to come ( N Smuckatelli)

 

Jim Hall and Dan Gurney, Chaparral 2A Chev and Lotus 19B Ford during the LA Times GP at Riverside in October 1964 (E Rickman)

 

Roger Penske, Chaparral 2A Chev, LA Times GP 1964 (E Rickman)

In 1965 the Chaparral rout started at Riverside in May when Jim again won and continued through Laguna Seca, Bridghampton and Kent in early August before Hap won at Continental Divide and Mid Ohio in the back-half of August before Hall won the USRRC season-ender at Road America in early September.

Jim Hall on the way to another win, Laguna Seca in May 1965- Chaparral 2A Chev (T Palmieri)

 

Hap in the Corkscrew on the way to second at Laguna in 1965, Chap 2A Chev, Monterey GP in October (W Hewitt)

 

To the winner go the spoils- Jim Hall Laguna USRRC round May 1965 (J Christy)

On 10 October 1965 the more conventional aluminium monocoque 2C Chev made its debut, and won in Jim Hall’s hands at Kent, the 2C formed the basis of the 2E 1966 ‘definitive’ Can-Am challenger. For 1966 the highly popular, successful and growing popularity of sportscar racing in the United States was recognised with the creation of the first Can-Am series all of us got to know and love even across the other side of the Pacific.

Chaparral campaigned the 2E in the Can-Am and 2D Chev coupe in FIA endurance championship events- the team took their first win in that car at the Nürburgring in 1966.

The evolution of the all Chaparral’s, most racing cars for that matter is ongoing, particularly so the lads from Midland in a constant quest for evolution and occasional revolution.

Hall in the 2C Chev during the 1965 Nassau Trophy weekend- led the race until suspension failure when Hap Sharp took over (unattributed)

Traditionally the pro-series of races succeeded the US Road Racing Championship in the latter months of the year with rounds in both Canada and the US. Chaparral opened their 1965 ‘Autoweek Championship’ with a win for Jim in the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport aboard a 2A in late September 1965- the new 2C made its winning debut at Kent in October 1965- Jim won the Pacific Northwest GP from Hap’s 2A.

At Riverside Hap won in his updated in body 2A, with Jim a non-starter after an accident resulted in suspension damage which could not be made good in time for the 200 mile LA Times Grand Prix. A fortnight later in ‘Vegas Hap won again in his 2A with Jim third in his similar car- Walt Hansgen was second in a John Mecom Lola T70 Ford.

As you will see looking at the various photographs the 2A evolved quite a lot in appearance in from early 1963 to late 1965 and its pretty tricky to pick Hap’s late ’65 fibreglass chassis 2A from Jim’s late ’65 ‘spankers aluminium chassis 2C- see below the wonderful 2A cutaway drawing which inspired this piece.

The cutaway drawing is of the first Chaparral 2 (the A appellation was applied later) which made its race debut during the LA Times GP Riverside weekend of 13 October 1963, so my story should have started about there really, but lets see if we can bridge that gap from this point. So, another nutbag poorly planned piece…

Chaparral 2A and 2C Chev Design and Technical Specifications…

The Chaparral 2A of 1964/5 had evolved enormously from the original car depicted above- the LA Times debutant went like a rocket that weekend leading from pole until sidelined by an electrical fire after four laps despite using off the peg quick solutions such as a Colotti Type 37 four-speed gearbox, Lotus uprights hubs and wheels and front and rear suspension, Cooper steering rack and Girling brakes, not to forget the Chevrolet V8.

Whilst the car was utterly conventional in terms of its suspension front and rear- upper and lower wishbones and coil spring damper units and an adjustable roll bar and inverted lower wishbone, single top link, two radius rods, coil spring damper units an adjustable roll bar using magnesium uprights at both ends- the cars chassis, gearbox and body were far more edgy.

The overall design parameters for the Chap 2 chassis were laid down by Jim Hall and Andy Green of PlasTrend in Fort Worth- Hall plucked Green from the aerospace industry and backed his move to the private sector by becoming his first client- called for an overall weight of 150 pounds and a torsional rigidity of at least 3000 pounds/feet per degree.

The ‘tub’, made of fibreglass reinforced plastic (FRP), comprised pairs of ‘torque boxes’ running down each side connected by bulkheads at each end of the cockpit and extended to the rear suspension mounting points and beyond. It extended right to the cars outside contours (as can be seen in the photographs), up to form the bottom of the door openings, inward to the sides of the Chevrolet V8 and to the drivers elbows and knees in the cockpit. It took full advantage of the sportscar’s overall size to get maximum rigidity from the torque-boxes (the stiffness of a torque box is proportional to its cross-sectional area) and does two jobs in forming part of the car’s outer skin.

At the time of its introduction the chassis was claimed to be the stiffest in motor racing. In the same way that Andrea de Cesaris proved the shuntability of John Barnard’s carbon-fibre McLaren MP4 Ford at the dawn of the eighties- its parent is the Chaparral 2, so too did Jim Hall put it to the test when he used the chassis he damaged at Mosport in late 1964 to win at Sebring in early 1965 partnered by Hap Sharp.

The same principles were applied to the lighter 2C aluminium frame for late 1965 which was closely related to the Chev Corvette GS-2 or ‘actually crafted by Chevrolet’, depending upon your source, we will come to in a little while.

Photograph of a Chaparral ‘fibreglass reinforced epoxy’ chassis from the Library of Philadelphia Collection. ‘…made entirely of fibreglass reinforced epoxy. Moulded in eleven pieces and assembled with an adhesive, the rivets maintaining alignment and gluing pressures. The engine bay is at the bottom with suspension mounting points outboard. Integral seats are above, passenger’s feet fitting into the dark opening at the front (top) of the chassis. The rectangular area will be cut down to form the dashboard cum bulkhead, and in the illustration (ute is justaposed to help with providing an idea of size) hides the front suspension mounting points. The round holes are for access to interior mounting points and the fuel tank…Chaparral designed by Jim Hall…with chassis elements designed and fabricated by Andy Green of PlasTrends…’

 

Chevrolet 3 speed and reverse spur gear non-syncro gearbox downstream of a torque converter (D Kimble)

The Chaparral 2 initially used, as mentioned above, a Colotti 5-speed manual gearbox until sufficient testing miles at Rattlesnake proved the durability and performance advantages of a Chevrolet designed and built automatic transaxle, the advantages of  which included  reliability, avoidance of driver error in terms of missed shifts or over-revs, and reduction in shock-loads to other components in the drivetrain. From a drivers perspective braking can be more accurate without the need to heel ‘n toe

The auto boxes were first raced at Laguna Seca in 1964, Hall and Sharp later claimed that it was only after a discussion between Dave McDonald and Dan Gurney after Mosport three meetings later after they listening to the cars in close company, that Dan asked Hall about the type of gearbox he was using.

The compact Chevrolet made unit comprised a hydraulic torque converter and compact two speed (three speed from the 2E) transaxle usually cast in magnesium. The ‘automatic’ was really operated manually. Before starting the driver engaged first gear and pressed the brakes with his left foot, releasing it upon ‘taking off’- literally. Gear changes to second (and top in the 3 speeder) were made by easing the throttle and moving the gear lever- downshifts were made similarly with a blip of the throttle. Those of us who have lost the use of a clutch have operated our Hewlands similarly. All Chaparral braking was done with the left foot- this left a foot free to operate the ‘flipper’ which we will come to shortly.

Suspension development was continuous from 1963-1965 with all of the bought in components replaced by bespoke Chaparral designed and built items as the performance envelope of the machine increased not least because of advances in polymer chemistry as applied to racing tyres- Chaparral’s ongoing testing of Firestone products provided plenty of valuable input in that regard. Brakes were Chaparral made cast iron solid discs clasped by Girling calipers front and rear.

The wheels were also bespoke, the development of which was first required to get brake temperatures down, the Chaparral spoke-like web structure wheels were strong, light and had a 1.5 inch advantage to the inner-wheel path through which heat radiated. Other advantages were that the bead depression or drop centre, necessary in ordinary wheels to get the bead over the rim flanges was neatly eliminated by making the outer rim flange detachable from the main wheel body- the absence of the depression provided an extra inch and a half on the inside diameter. A further advantage is that the same wheel body was used front and rear, as only the outer rim flange has to be changed to produce a wider rear rim.

See the sequence of photographs below, mainly taken over the Nassau Trophy weekend late each year, from 1961 to 1965 to see the rate of Chaparral technological progress from using someone else’s front-engined chassis in 1960 technological tour de force by 1965, make that 1963!

Jim Hall, aboard the Troutman & Barnes built Chaparral 1 Chev Nassau 1961 (D Friedman)

 

Jim Hall’s brand new Chaparral 2A Chev upon debut during the 1963 LA Times GP 13 October weekend- pole and led until an electrical fire intervened (D Friedman)

 

Jim Hall, Chaparral 2A Chev and AJ Foyt Scarab Mk4 Chev Nassau 1963 (D Friedman)

 

Hap Sharp Chaparral 2A Chev Nassau 1964 (E d Faille)

 

Jim Hall, Chaparral 2C Chev, Nassau 1965 (unattributed)

Together with the car’s chassis, the Chaparral bodies are of great interest given how visibly they were at the forefront of automotive aerodynamics of the time.

The original 1963 body was based on some Chevrolet wind tunnel data but when tested at Midland the car became very light at 120mph which gave rise to the ‘snow-plough’ air dams first used at Riverside in 1963 and very evident in the Nassau 1963 shot- this solution, Chaparral  were the first to do it, was the result of ‘fooling around’ with test track fixes. The team found the approach worked well on smooth surfaces with a ground clearance of circa 2.5 inches from the ground.

The first major redesign of the body was a new front end which solved one problem but gave rise to rear end lift, the solution to which was a vertical lip attached to the rear of the car- a spoiler, it was not an original solution having been first deployed by Ferrari at Sebring in 1961.

As speeds continued to increase more front end lift occurred which was countered by the small  appendages shown in many of the accompanying photographs low on nose of the cars on each side- these were first fitted to Hap’s car at Riverside in May 1965- they grew at Mosport a month later into ‘cowcatchers’ of the type seen on steam-locos! These vanes or trim-tabs remained. The rear of the car evolved as well, often in fine detail, with the 2C eliminating the high ducts on the flanks for engine compartment cooling which was discovered were not required.

Hall’s #66 2C alongside Sharp’s upgraded 2A at Nassau in 1965. Note the size and pivot for the ‘flipper’  aerofoil, what would later be described as a wing- the mounts either side are ‘fences’ to guide the airflow where it was required. Bob Bondurant’s Lola T70 is just in shot (A Bochroch)

 

2A cockpit during the USRRC weekend at Riverside in May 1965- 2 speed ‘box (D Friedman)

The movable spoiler or ‘flipper’ attracted plenty of attention at the time- it was introduced on Jim’s new 2C and fitted to Hap’s 2A- the aerofoil was mounted between two fins either side of the car, the angle of which was pivoted by the action of the a pedal using the drivers (available) left foot. On the straights it was flat- parallel to the cars body, in corners inclined. An extra master cylinder, a small pedal to the left and a hydraulic piston comprised the actuating mechanism. The default setting was of course the safe one- ‘up’, to exert maximum downforce.

So equipped, the 2C won its first race but Jim was  bothered by the deterioration in road holding caused by the much stiffer springs needed to resist the high levels of downforce generated- a case of solving one problem and causing another! Over that Winter of 1965-6 he and his engineer friends at Chevrolet worked out a way to mount the wings directly to the rear suspension uprights thereby bypassing a sprung chassis and permitting a return to ‘more supple’ springs- the dramatic 2E.

At the time the aerodynamics of very fast cars travelling over 150mph was limited, Hall wryly observed ‘…very few people know much about automobile aerodynamics, especially in the 150-200mph range but have strong opinions because they held their hand out the window of the family car once’! Wind tunnel tests provided some information but didn’t then reproduce what is happening under the car. In a tunnel there was no relative speed between the cars underside and the road surface and the wheels were usually not turning in an aerodynamic test. Hall operated on the basis of data obtained from tests at Rattlesnake…all of this is somewhat prophetic given the short period of five years which was to elapse from the time of this 1965 interview with Jim Hall and the 1969 developed 1970 raced staggering, revolutionary 2J Chev ground effect ‘Sucker’ Vic Elford and Jackie Stewart raced in the 1970 Can-Am.

Vic Elford in front of one of the McLaren M8D Chevs at Laguna Seca in 1970, Chaparral 2J Chev, a package with bristles with innovation and original thinking from every pore (Getty)

When discussing most Can-Am cars of the period much of the narrative is around the engines used given the chassis and aerodynamics of most of the customer cars at least, were ‘pretty similar’- not so with the Chaparrals given the chassis (sometimes), ‘automatic’ transmission and aerodynamics where the ubiquitous Chev engines were secondary but of course whilst they were Chevs, they were trick ones…

At the time it was said ‘Chaparral are having less Chevrolet engine trouble than anybody else’s cars’- Sharp and Hall attributed that to their engines being more nearly stock than any of the others! Mind you they were using aluminium blocks and heads ‘the result of happy circumstances in which Alcoa salesman (at the time) Roger Penske) talked Chevrolet Division into getting hold of the tooling originally intended for Gran Sport Corvette use’. By doing so they saved about 110 pounds over the cast iron engine, but the aluminium block limited them to the stock bore, hence they ran at a capacity of 327cid.

Interestingly and logically since adopting the ‘auto tranny’, the engines were tweaked for a wide spread of torque rather than for outright power- ‘the transmission does not allow nearly constant engine speed to be maintained over a large band of road speeds and because it has only one stepped gear reduction there isn’t a chance to keep the engine in a narrow speed band by changing gears often.’

Hall and Sharp said the engines used many standard parts- handy as they had just bought the Midland Chev Dealership at the time! Pistons were standard but for a stress relieving hole drilled at each end of the slot in the oil-ring groove to stop cracks. Also stock were the crank, main bearings and rods with all reciprocating parts sized, balanced and very carefully assembled. At the time the engines were good for circa 415bhp @ 6800rpm and 380 pounds/foot of torque @ 5200rpm. Proposed for 1966 was a shift to 58mm Webers from the 48s then used. The 327cid Chev designed aluminium V8, or 5360cc if you like, had a 4/3.25 inch bore/stroke, Chaparral modified it used a compression ratio of 10:1, Bosch ignition and four Weber 146 HCF 5 carburettors

With the constant evolution of the three 2s (it’s only in more recent times the 2A appellation has been applied) they gradually porked up a bit in weight- but getting faster in the process and ‘nicer to drive’ as Hall put it. They decided upon an aluminium chassis for the 2C to get the weight down albeit the chassis ‘was of the same basic design’- as a consequence the ally tub was 70 pounds lighter than the fibreglass ones and the overall all up car weight of the car 100 pounds lighter.

Interesting at the time- as subsequent events proved neither Hall or Sharp were ‘completely sold on aluminium yet’ raising concerns about the crash safety merits of the two materials observing an accident would inevitably destroy the whole aluminium frame whereas a ‘plastic one can be repaired by bonding in new pieces’ but Hall didn’t profess to know about what was safe and what was not in an accident.

The sportscars.tv article concludes ‘…this then is a brief summary of development to date. Central to the story is the fact that the car has remained adequately fast for two years instead of the usual one. No really drastic changes have been made, but the evolutionary process has been such that today’s Chaparral 2C doesn’t look that much like that original 2.’

‘When the first 2C appeared at Kent, Washington in September 1965 there was anticipation that the new car would be revolutionary whereas the 2C ‘really isn’t the new car but a refinement of the 2 but gets the C suffix as its builders thought the changes were significant enough to warrant that descriptor.’

The central body of the 2C is lower than the 2, the guards are of the same height. The body width was cut by six inches, the front and rear suspension geometry was modified a tad for more anti-dive, lift and squat. ‘A total of 100 pounds has been saved by the use of the aluminium chassis, and all the latest body revisions are incorporated, but it is not nearly as significant as will be the Chaparral 3 when it appears though we make no pretence of knowing when that will be…’ the author wrote.

Perhaps this is the revolution referred to above!- at least the 1966 one anyway. Jim Hall’s patent application drawing for ‘Aerodynamic spoiler for automotive vehicles’ of 15 July 1969 to protect the intellectual property expressed in the 1966 Chaparral 2E Chev. Note the names of the designers- Jim, Jerry Mrlik, James Musser and Frank Winchell.

Chaparral 2A mechanicals…

(D Friedman)

(D Friedman)

The bunch of shots above are of the Chaparral 2A #001 during its first race meeting- the 1963 LA Times GP 200 miler at Riverside over the 13 October 1963 weekend.

Tests at Midland in this chassis with a Buick engine initially, and then the Chev have already resulted in the spoilers at the front to keep the car on the ground. The new machine started from pole and was leading when retired.

(D Friedman)

Nice shot showing the overall layout of the car and big, strong fibreglass chassis, plenty of interest from the punters not least John Surtees at right thinking ‘How am I going to explain a plastic car on pole to Enzo?’.

(D Friedman)

Mickey Thompson and Jim. Happy with the speed of their steed no doubt.

(D Friedman)

Notice the way the chassis goes all the way to the back of the car to support the engine and Colotti Type 37 4-speed gearbox, suspension Lotus based inclusive of uprights and wheels at this stage.

Front suspension from above as per text- upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/dampers. Steering rack is Cooper, fuel tank filler open, again note the chassis.

(D Friedman)

 

(D Friedman)

Rear suspension detail, note the spare wheel- Lotus ‘Wobbly-Webs’.

(D Friedman)

That front end is savage on the eye, data from Chev upon which it was based fell short- the radical front spoilers were a fix improved upon by the first new nose shown throughout this article. Nice cockpit shot and aluminium Chev small block.

(K Breslauer)

Final shot of 2A #001 in its earliest form is a month and a bit later in the December 1963 Nassau Oakes Field paddock.

 

(E d Faille)

Franz Weis sets to on Roger Penske’s 2A at Nassau in 1964.

Jim and Sandy Hall are there too, this is a post race shot where the cars suspension is being repaired in-situ. Penske took over Sharp’s car during the mandatory pitstop and they shared the win. Note the spoiler is inserted into a slot in the tail, located by fasteners.

(A Bochroch)

With Jim Hall’s arm in a cast Penske drove the second team car at Nassau- here in the course of pre-event preparation, Roger slipped off the track in the rain- breaking the car’s suspension- thanks to Hap’s generosity Roger shared the win. Notice the fibreglass chassis, ‘stack pipes’ and wheels.

 

(A Bochroch)

2A, same theme in the Sebring pits in 1965 before Jim and Hap go out and whip all the big guys. Hall is on his iPhone by the wall amongst the spare wheels- they raced two cars that weekend.

Note in particular the ‘plastic fantastic’ full monocoque chassis, of which we get a really good gander- it goes right to the back of the car to which everything is affixed, none of yer load bearing engines et al here.

Big steering wheel, small light above the roundel to illuminate number 3, inspection/access cover open below the coolant top tank, lotsa pipes- both inlet (Weber carbs) and outlet, big cast iron disc and that GM automatic transmission covered out of secrecy or fun…Marvellous, the more you look, the more you see.

 

(K Ludvigsen)

Hap Sharp’s 2A in the Riverside paddock, LA Times GP meeting in October 1965.

You can do your own compare and contrasts over the ensuing twelve months from Nassau in late 1964 but the front winglets, copious venting of the guards to allow trapped air to escape and plenty more rubber on the road are obvious.

(B Tronolone)

Nice shot of Hap Sharp with Jim Hall behind him, again at Riverside in October 1965.

Note the front winglets on Haps 2A and Jim’s 2C but the absence of the guard venting on the latest 2C compared with the earlier car. Hap’s also has the huge vent taking lotsa air into the cockpit which I guess is a driver preference thing. These close-up shots are gold really if yer get yer rocks off on this kinda minutae…

Chaparral 2C mechanicals…

(B Tronolone)

Jim Hall and his new 2C in the Riverside pitlane in October 1965.

Bob Tronolone took the shot above of Hap and then walked a few metres and captured Jim.

So the compare and contrast is of Hap’s ‘ultimate spec’ 2A and Jim’s new 2C- the chassis are different, bodywork similar, noting the comments above about the front guards- both machines are fitted with the movable rear ‘flipper’.

(E d Faille)

2C Nassau 1965 butt shot above and then this splendid ‘in all of its naked glory’ photograph again at Nassau below.

These big-block American iron are such enormous, heavy muvvas one gets a very clear sense of the packaging challenge. It doesn’t matter how low you can mount the thing in your you-beaut monocoque, 327cid of V8 still sits in the air like a country-long drop dunny!- mind you, half the height is inlet manifolds and carbs.

I think of these wheels as archetypal Chaparral! What a gorgeous but brutal instrument of war- during the race the right front suspension failed, the car left the course damaging the rear suspension and tub as well. The latter wasn’t too bad though being rebuilt as the first 2E- tagged 2E-001.

(E d Faille)

 

Jim aboard the 2C at Riverside in October 1965 during the LA Times GP 200 mile race.

Etcetera…

In the best of clever racing tradition, making use of what you have- and what still works the mix ‘n match of Chaparral 2 chassis is as follows;

#2A-001 reconstructed into 2D-001

#2A-002 reconstructed as 2D-002 (1966 endurance coupe), then 2F-001 (1967 endurance coupe) and ultimately restored as it began- 2A-002, no doubt some of you lucky folks have been thru the Chaparral Museum

#2A-003 reconstructed into 2F-002

#2A-004 chassis unused

#2C-001 reconstructed into 2E-001 (1966 Can-Am car) then later used as 2G (1967 Can-Am car) and restored as 2E

#2E-002 destroyed in Jim Hall’s accident 1966

#2H restored as was, 1969 ‘unloved by John Surtees’ Can-Am car

#2J restored  as was, 1970 Can-Am ‘Sucker-Car’

#2K 1980 Indy winner restored as such

(Getty)

Superb looking racing car- 2C Chev in the LA Times GP Riverside pitlane in 1965.

Bibliography…

‘Can-Am’ Pete Lyons, sportscars.tv article ‘Chaparral 2C – Work Leading To’

Photo Credits…

Getty Images- Eric Rickman, Toby Palmieri, John Christy, T&E Fornander, David Friedman Collection, gtplanet.net, chaparral.com, Eric della Faille, Albert R Bochroch, William Hewitt, Nigel Smuckatelli, Karl Ludvigsen, Kenneth Breslauer

Tailpiece: 

Oh for a future of substance for Chaparral…

Finito…

(AAR)

Eagle Mk1 Climax ‘101’ takes shape at All American Racers, Rye, Sussex 1966…

The Eagle marque was formed when Carroll Shelby suggested Dan as an alternative to Goodyear when the corporate tyre giant determined to avoid a repeat of the Indy tyre debacle of 1964 when Goodyear shod users fitted Firestones for the race.

Goodyear were looking to fund an outfit to build cars in a manner which gave them some control to avoid such a corporate embarrassment again. Shelby was committed with his other business ventures but became a partner in All American Racers until Dan and Evie Gurney bought out his interest in 1970.

Gurney was given responsibility for setting up the business inclusive of finding premises, people and machinery to build Indycars. Simultaneously Gurney secured support to build a GP car in parallel with the Indy contender.

Len Terry, chosen by Dan as the Designer off the back of their time together at Lotus noted that the teams priority was the build of the Indycar variant of what was, with relatively minor modifications to engine, (3/4.2 litre GP/USAC) gearbox and thickness of aluminium used for the monocoque chassis a common, winning design for both USAC and GP racing.

Terry worked on the cars conception, strongly based on his 1965 Indy winning Lotus 38, in the summer of 1965 in the UK, and at the end of September went to California to begin drawing the cars.

Goodyear man with plenty of trust in his driver! Gurney upon the Eagle Mk1 Climax’ race debut, Spa 1966 (unattributed)

What made me chuckle was looking at a photo of the 2.7 litre Coventry Climax ‘Indy’ FPF in the back of Mk1 chassis ‘101’ on the same day that I was fossicking through some Repco records given to me by Rodway Wolfe and Michael Gasking and seeing AAR listed in the July 1966 Repco Brabham Engines Pty Ltd monthly management report’s sales listing.

By that stage RBE had commercial rights or agreement from Coventry Climax to rebuild the engines and provide parts- pistons, rings, bearings and other components. Given the Type 56 Gurney-Weslake V12 was not yet completed Dan bought an FPF and plenty of bits from RBE to tide him over until the quintessential Eagle Mk1 V12 made its race debut at Monza in September 1966.

Despite being out-powered by the new engines used by others in that first 3 litre F1 year, the compact, four-cylinder, but not necessarily light car took Dan to a non-classified seventh from grid fifteen. The car completed 23 of the 28 laps in its very wet debut at Spa in June 1966. This is the infamous race which took out a good share of the field due to a sudden ‘heavy wall of water’ at Burnenville on the first lap.

The combination was fast all things considered- Reims Q14 and 5th, Brands Q3 and DNF, Zandvoort Q4 and DNF and at the Nürburgring Q8 and 7th. Pretty good against all the multi-cylinder heavy metal.

Acquired by Castrol at the seasons end the machine raced on in the hands of Al Pease before being later bought by Tom Wheatcroft for his Donington Collection where it lived until recently.

Rear suspension as per text below, gearbox is Hewland DG300, engine 2.7 ‘Indy’ Coventry Climax FPF (AAR)

The shot above shows Dan fettling the FPF on it’s very first day of testing at Brands Hatch on 8 May 1966.

By that stage the design was sorted as Gurney had already raced the Mk2 Indycar variant. The main initial issue with the chassis was excessive ‘wandering’ and instability at speed which was diagnosed as related to the anti-dive suspension geometry- this was expediently fixed by dialling that out of the cars specification.

Gurney first got to know Len Terry when they worked together in adapting the small-block Ford V8 to a Lotus 19 sportscar. By the time Terry’s Lotus 38 Ford won the 1965 Indy 500 in Jim Clark’s hands Len had already committed to work with AAR for 1966.

 

The car (both the drawing and cutaway above, V12 engined obviously) which drew heavily on his Lotus learnings was based on an enormously strong full-monocoque aluminium chassis in 18 gauge sheet for F1, and the heavier 16 gauge sheet mandated by the USAC, for Indycar use making the latter about 50 pounds heavier than the F1 machine. Bulkheads at the drivers feet, dash, seat and at the rear of the car added structural rigidity.

Suspension up front was period typical- a top rocker and lower wishbone with an inboard mounted coil spring/damper and outboard at the rear- single top link, inverted lower wishbone, two leading radius rods and coil spring damper. Roll bars were adjustable, steering rack and pinion and uprights front and rear made of magnesium-zirconium alloy. Disc brake rotors were 12.25 inch diameter Girlings, who also provided the calipers.

Zandvoort July 1966, Dan in ‘101’, DNF oil leak on lap 10, up front Jack won in Brabham BT19 Repco (unattributed)

The design’s wins included two F1 events-the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch in March 1967, Dan won both heats and the final from Bandini’s Ferrari 312 and Siffert’s Cooper T81 Maserati.  Lets not forget that memorable 1967 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. On that June day Dan joined Jack Brabham as the second man to win a Grand Prix in a car of his own construction- an honour also achieved by Bruce McLaren at Spa twelve months after Gurney.

In Indy racing the cars won many races and in Mk3 specification Bobby Unser won the 500 in 1968, his chassis powered by the venerable turbo-charged, four cylinder Offy.

From small acorns do big things grow- Mk1 FPF was such an acorn…

Shot shows the cars stunning purity of line- Mk1 ‘101’ French GP 1966. Dan 5th in the race at Reims won by Jack Brabham’s Brabham BT19 Repco, Jack famously becoming the first driver to win a GP in a car bearing his own name (unattributed)

More Eagle Reading…

https://primotipo.com/2018/06/14/gurney-weslake-ford-v8/

Credits…

‘Dan Gurney’s Eagle Racing Cars’ John Zimmerman

Tailpiece: Mexico 1966, Dan in ‘102’ V12, 5th and Bob Bondurant in ‘101’ FPF, DNF fuel system, John Surtees the winner in a Cooper T81 Maserati…

(unattributed)

Finito…

(D McPhedran)

Jack Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax during the Warwick Farm 100 on 29 January 1961…

Jack didn’t figure in the race with fuel dramas, it was won by Stirling Moss’ Rob Walker Lotus 18 Climax from Innes Ireland’s similar works machine and Bib Stillwell’s Cooper T51 Climax.

Moss, Lotus 18 Climax with body panels removed to better ventilate the cockpit (Getty)

Moss, Gurney and Hill are on the front row, the latter two fellas in BRM P48’s. Ireland and Brabham, to the right, are on row two. Row three comprises Ron Flockhart, Austin Miller and Bib Stillwell in T51’s, with row four again T51’s in the hands of Bill Patterson and Alec Mildren.

Moss and Warwick Farm supremo Geoff Sykes before the off, car to the right is Austin Miller’s Cooper T51 Climax.

Crazy men in long strides, long sleeved shirts and ties on a scorcher of a Sydney day.

(WFFB)

Moss, Gurney and Hill on the front row, Lotus 18 and two BRM P48s, then Innes Ireland, works Lotus 18 Climax and Jack Brabham, Cooper T53 Climax and then Austin Miller and David McKay in Cooper T51s. #9 in the shot below is Bill Patterson in another T51.

Fourth to and fifth places were bagged by Miller and Flockhart with the rest of the starters, nine cars, failing to finish the 45 laps in a race of attrition run in scorching, humid, Sydney heat.

Tailpiece…

The worlds best credentialed driver coach!
Stirling Moss shows Innes Ireland the fast way around Warwick Farm, here crossing the causeway, car is Tom Sulman’s Aston Martin DB3S, a car rather familiar to the Brit as an ex-works Aston pilot.

Credits…

Don McPhedran, Getty Images, oldracingcars.com, Australian Motor Heritage Foundation via Brian Caldersmith

Finito…

Stoffel Vandoorne, 7th, McLaren MCL32 Honda, Singapore GP 2017 (salracing.com)

‘There is no point rueing the good ole days!, you just sound like a silly old tugger!’ my youngest son observed of his father with all the respect typical of the ‘friggin millennials…

He is right of course. Every era of motor racing is interesting, the challenge is to keep up. But I must say, as a humanities graduate, the physics of kinetic recovery systems and the like is simply beyond the conceptual capacity of my noggin. No way can I write about it as I simply don’t geddit.

During the same research session that i was reading about McLaren’s use of 3D-Printing (announced April 2017) to more quickly design and deploy components on their cars- hydraulic line bracket, rear wing flap, radio harness boot and carbon fibre brake ducts to be specific, i also found some photos of those designer/builders Messrs Brabham, Gurney and Surtees.

I smiled to myself at the thought of those inveterate fettlers, fiddlers and finessers of racing cars and the manner and pace at which they would have used the tools of today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its Dan Gurney bearing down on Jack who is just pulling his Brabham BT24 Repco up in the 1967 Monza pitlane having tried the ‘cockpit streamliner’ he and Ron Tauranac concocted to squeeze a few more top speed revs out of the reliable- but not as powerful as the new-fangled Ford Cosworth DFV V8 in the hands of Clark and Hill, Repco SOHC ‘740 Series’ V8.

Dan is anxious to know the response of his mate and former employer, his own F1 experiment is about halfway through its life at this point. The Gurney-Weslake V12 engined variant of Len Terry’s Eagle Mk1 design (#10 in the pitlane- the car behind Dan’s is the Eagle raced by Ludovico Scarfiotti) made its debut at this very race meeting twelve months before.

‘Black Jack’- he of the permanent 5 o’clock shadow, would have driven Tauranac bonkers with the 3D technology and his ideas- imagine what Colin Chapman, always a man of the future and of overnight tweaks would have done with it!

(oldracingcars.com)

Meanwhile at Warwick Farm John Surtees is looking for a way to get a few tenths out of his Surtees TS8 Chevy F5000 car during practice for the 1971 Australian Grand Prix at Warwick Farm.

One of the reasons Alan Jones left Surtees was just how painful ‘Big John’ was with car adjustments he ‘knew would not make the car quicker’ observed Jones of Surtees attitude on Jones requested TS19 chassis changes- despite Surtees ‘pottering around 2 seconds off the pace’ whilst forming his views.

The beauty of the 3D production process is the cost-effective manner in which (some) ideas can be tried, something all three of the impecunious owner/engineer/drivers mentioned would have approved.

2017 Singapore GP, Vandoorne, McLaren MPL32 Honda. Lewis Hamilton the winner in a Mercedes F1 W08 (McLaren)

There is no reason why engineer/drivers are not in F1 now, either in a formally qualified manner or via the ‘school of hard knocks’ but so far no-one has challenged an article i wrote a while back which anointed Larry Perkins as the last of the engineer/mechanic/racers at F1 level?

The truth is that we misty-eyed enthusiasts do look back with fondness at the racing we savoured to watch or contest in our youth, whereas the pro-elite level fellas never cast a glance to the rear but only forward to find the next means to win…

Credits…

salracing.com, oldracingcars.com, Bernard Cahier, thisisf1racing.com, McLaren

Tailpiece: McLaren MPL32 Honda, 2017 Singapore GP…

(thisisf1racing.com)

Finito…

 

 

(TEN)

Dan Gurney’s Lola T70 Ford during the Stardust Grand Prix, Las Vegas Can Am round, 13 November 1966…

Gurney didn’t have a great weekend, the fuel injected Gurney Weslake aluminium headed Lola qualified eighth and failed to finish with a fuel tank breather problem. John Surtees won the race and the series in a Lola T70 Mk2 Chev. The photo got me thinkin’ about those cylinder heads…

AAR Lola T70 Gurney Weslake Ford V8, Las Vegas 1966 (D Friedman)

Dan from Phil Hill, Chaparral 2E Chev, Las Vegas 1966 (D Friedman)

As above, ditto Gurney below (D Friedman)

The Gurney-Weslake combination is best known for the Formula 1 60 degree, DOHC, four valve, Lucas injected V12 which was fitted into the gorgeous Eagle Mk1 created by Len Terry and Dan in 1966- initially fitted with a Coventry Climax 2.7 litre ‘Indy’ FPF four cylinder engine, the V12 finally raced at Monza in 1966 and won its only GP, at Spa in mid 1967. But the F1 project resulted from the relationship which arose from the development of special cylinder heads for the pushrod small-block Ford V8 a little earlier.

Gurney’s Belgian GP victory, Spa 1967. Surely one of the 5 best looking GP cars ever? Eagle Mk1 Weslake chassis ‘104’- path to the F1 relationship between Dan and the Weslake concern was via the Ford V8 program which preceded it (unattributed)

Len Terry designed Eagle Mk1 powered by Gurney-Weslake V12, 1966. Cutaway by Bill Bennett

Gurney was keen to better exploit the performance potential of the small-block 289 cid Ford V8 with which he was so familiar from his AC Shelby Cobra, Ford GT40 and Can Am experiences.

This engine family was the same as that which provided the first 255 cid pushrod engines used by Team Lotus at Indy in the rear of Lotus 29’s raced by Dan and Jim Clark in 1963. Whilst Dan’s plan was initially to get more competitive engines for the Sports Car Club of America’s burgeoning sportscar races, which would of course become the Can-Am Championship from 1966, the Gurney-Weslake V8 engines ultimately won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and races in Group 7 sportscars and Indycar single-seater categories and beyond.

Dan had seen what Keith Duckworth had done with pushrod Ford engines in the UK- 100 bhp per litre, and figured the same approach could be successfully applied to the Ford V8.

‘I heard that Duckworth had modified a four-cylinder Ford Anglia cylinder head by boring an inlet tract hole straight at the port, so it was a more direct shot and I believe that was the first time that a little four-cylinder 1000cc pushrod engine made 100 horsepower. It seemed to me to be a pretty neat thing to accomplish and, naturally, being inquisitive, I wondered if the same idea could be applied to a Ford V8, since it looked to me as though we could do something similar to the 289-302 style engine’.

‘Actually we began our inquest with an extensive rework of the existing 271 bhp heads. At the peak of our testing with the 271 hp cast iron heads on a 325 inch block, we were pulling as much as 448 hp on gasoline. It was about this time we figured a few improvements along the lines of a new head design might give us even more power, so we got after it’.

Dan sought out Weslake Engineering just outside Rye near the East Sussex coast of England and via Production Manager Michael Daniel engaged them to do some drawings after Gurney delivered some 289 heads to be inspected, analysed and sectioned.

Harry Weslake in his factory in April 1968 with a Read-Weslake 500cc GP motorcycle engine (S Sherman)

Patterns were made and these first ‘Mark 1’ Gurney-Weslake heads were cast at Alcoa Aluminium’s foundry in Pennysylvania.

They featured circular inlet ports that provided a direct path from manifold interface to valve seat in order to get as much fuel-air mixture as possible into the combustion chambers. The valves were inclined at 9 degrees to the cylinder centreline instead of the 20 degree angle of the stock Ford heads. The valve guides were fitted with Perfect Circle teflon valve seals. Classic Weslake combustion chamber shapes were deployed- heart shaped with precision machined valve seat inserts- steel for the inlets and bronze for the exhausts, both press-fits into the heads.

Early G-W Ford on 48 IDA Webers- ‘DG asked Weslake & Co to reate a cylinder head…that provided a direct pathway for the fuel mixture from carburettor to inlet valve, as can be seen from this head-on view…’ (AAR)

Front view shows the ‘standard’ Ford block and drives, oil filter, distributor, 48 IDA downdraft two-barrel Webers, ally heads (AAR)

An immediate improvement of 70-100 bhp was achieved over the standard 289-302 heads both through the mid to upper rpm ranges without losing smoothness down low. To cope with the increased loadings the bottom end also ‘had a birthday’ with bits and pieces provided by well known suppliers of US performance gear.

The Dearborn Crankshaft Corporation made a steel crank to AAR specifications which sat in bearings donated by the Ford DOHC Indy motor. Carrillo provided shot-peened conrods to which were attached Forged True pistons- compression ratios ranged from 10.5 to 11.6 to one. Jack Engle worked on cam grinds arriving at solutions which involved short lift and long duration with ‘rev springs’ fitted into the block’s oil galleries to assist the proper seating of the valves at high rpm. Ford’s stock high pressure oil pump was man enough for the job with stock oil pans baffled and main bearing girdles added to keep the whole lot stabile.

Times GP Riverside, McLaren Elva Mk1 Ford G-W, 1965 (TEN)

The Gurney-Weslake heads were first used by Dan during the 200 mile LA Times Grand Prix sportscar race at Riverside in late October 1965 fitted to his McLaren Elva Mk1

In an all-star cast which included Jim Clark, Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon, Hap Sharp, John Cannon, Peter Revson, Chuck Parsons, Jerry Titus, David Hobbs, Bob Bondurant, Parnelli Jones, Richie Ginther, Graham Hill, Jerry Grant, Walt Hansgen, and Dan (wow!- was there ever a better ‘Can-Am’ field of depth)- that race was won by Sharp’s Chaparral 2A Chev from Clark’s Lotus 40 Ford and McLaren’s McLaren Elva Mk2 Olds. Dan’s AAR McLaren was out with brake troubles on lap 24. By that stage of G-W development Mark 2 heads were fitted which incorporated improvements including removable rocker arm studs.

Monterey GP weekend, Laguna Seca October.1966. DNF lap 4 with an undisclosed ailment, Lola T70 Ford with Mk 3 G-W heads- note still on 48 IDA Weber carbs (D Friedman)

 

Laguna 1966. By this meeting the G-W engine developed 520 bhp and 415 lb ft of torque @ 6300 rpm (D Friedman)

 

Hmmm, too short a race- Laguna 1966, Lola T70 Ford DNF after 4 laps from Q4- behind the 1st and 2nd placed Chaparral 2E Chevs of Phil Hill and Jim Hall and 3rd placed Bruce McLaren’s McLaren M1B Chev (D Friedman)

‘Mark 3’ Gurney Weslake heads were developed in 1966 with alterations to make assembly and maintenance easier.

With this configuration AAR took their first GW head win in the May 1966 United States Road Racing Championship round at Bridghampton- Jerry Grant won in the AAR Lola T70 Ford from Lothar Motschenbacher’s McLaren Elva Mk2 Olds and Mike Goth in a McLaren Chev.

The same chassis was used by Dan to win the Long Island, Bridghampton Can-Am round in September 1966- in a splendid weekend for All American Racers Dan popped the Lola T70 Mk2 on pole and won from the works McLaren M1B Chevs of McLaren and Amon. Sadly, it was the only Can-Am win for a Ford powered car. 495 bhp @ 7800 rpm was claimed at the time ‘The redline used to be 8000 rpm but I just found I could turn 8900’ Dan quipped after the race.

Its interesting to look at the engine competition at the time. Pete Lyons in his bible ‘Can-Am’ writes ‘Chevrolet’s small block was the typical T70 engine of 1966, and those offered by well respected Traco Engineering in Los Angeles can be considered definitive. The bore remained standard at 4.0in but a stroker crank of 3.625in gave a displacement of 364.4 cid. Breathing thorough a quartet of two-barrel 58mm Weber side-draft carburettors…such a package was rated at about 490bhp at 6800 rpm and 465 lb ft of torque at 4500…it weighed about 540-560 lbs. Price was just under $US5000’.

Rindt’s Eagle Mk2 G-W Ford on the Indy weighbridge in May 1967, sex on wheels (D Friedman)

 

Len Terry’s Eagle Mk1 design was a bit of a pork chop in F1- designed as it was for both GP and USAC (Mk2 50 pounds heavier than its F1 brother) use. The design drew heavily on his previous Lotus work and is a beautiful, in every respect, expression of monocoque orthodoxy of the day in both chassis and suspension (D Friedman)

Towards the end of 1966 the engine was also fitted to the very first Eagle Indycar chassis- Mk2 ‘201’ which was raced by Dan in the ’66 Indy with a Ford 255cid DOHC motor- in fact Gurney didn’t complete a lap having been wiped out with eleven other cars in THAT famous collision. In the re-engined Ford G-W 305 cid powered car Jochen Rindt contested the 1967 Indy 500- he qualified 32nd and retired after completing 108 of the 200 laps with valve trouble- classified 24th. His was the only 305 cid ‘stock block’ powered car in the field, the race won by AJ Foyt Coyote Ford from Al Unser and Joe Leonard in Ford engined Lola and Coyote respectively.

‘chewin the fat- lots of downtime for drivers during the month of May at Indy- youthful Amon, Hulme and Rindt in 1967. Dude on the left folks? (D Friedman)

Eagle Mk2 ‘201’. Hilborn injected G-W V8, metering unit between body cowl and injection trumpets, quality of build and finish superb. Note beautiful body cowl and nerf bar (D Friedman)

Further development work resulted in the ‘Mark 4’ variant which was lighter in weight with narrower rocker covers and an intake manifold inclined towards the engines centreline.

Into 1967 AAR’s Can-Am engine was based on Ford’s new ‘mid-sized’ block stroked to 377cid- Dan’s Lola T70 was often the best of the ‘non-McLaren M6 Chev’ class in a year of dominance from the Kiwi’s with their beautiful papaya cars. Pole at Riverside was a standout.

Fitted with a Mark 4 engine, but 318 cid, gave Dan and the G-W engine’s first USAC win in the Rex Mays 300 at Riverside in November 1967. His Eagle Mk3 won from pole from the Bobby Unser Eagle Mk3 Ford ‘Indy’ V8 and Mario Andretti’s Brawner Ford on the challenging 2.6 mile California road course. Gurney achieved six more USAC Championship wins over the next two years and finished second twice on the trot at Indy in 1968 in a Mk3 and in 1969 in a Mk7 ‘Santa Ana’.

Changes to USAC rules for stock-block engines ultimately allowed the G-W motors to displace 318 cid- on methanol they were good for 560 bhp @ 7500 rpm in 1968 with circa 600 in 1969. On petrol a sprint 289 was good for as much as 506 bhp @ 7800 rpm and a good 305 520 hp.

DG testing his 1968 Tony Southgate designed USAC weapon, the Mk4 G-W V8 at Riverside, warm down lap without the goggles. Ho took 3 race wins and Bobby Unser 3 in a customer car including the Indy 500, Ford Indy DOHC V8 powered (AAR)

Eagle Mk4 Ford G-W front and rear- front and rear suspension utterly period typical- very successful Southgate design (AAR)

For the 1968 Can-Am AAR acquired a McLaren M6B and in a ‘lightness and dash policy’ took over 100 pounds out of the car by a cocktail of small-block 325 cid Ford G-W and the smaller, lighter Hewland DG300 gearbox. The track dimensions were narrower, the body lighter with a lower, longer nosepiece and suspension arms, exhaust system, gear linkage and bracketry were re-made out of titanium. The car was renamed McLeagle! It wasn’t enough of course, the Bruce and Denny M8A Chev 427 alloy blocked cars rolled over the top of the McLeagle, Lola T160, Ferrari 612P and all else in their path- Denny Can-Am champ that year.

In 1968 and 1969 the John Wyer entered, Gulf sponsored Ford GT40 chassis ‘1075’ won the Le Mans classic fitted with Gurney-Weslake Ford engines.

The honours were taken by Pedro Rodriguez and Lucien Bianchi in ’68 and Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver in ’69. In 1968/9 despite the Mk1 GT40 hardly being in the full flush of youth the gorgeous, somewhat heavy G-W engined machines won many endurance classics against more modern Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Matra and Ferrari’s (in 1969)- the 1968 Brands Hatch 6 Hour, Monza 1000 Km, Spa 1000 Km, Watkins Glen 6 Hour and 1969 Sebring 12 Hour and Spa 1000 Km.

In period the Le Mans winning engines gave circa 440 bhp @ 6800 rpm- that is 302 cid Ford V8, Gurney Weslake heads fed by four Weber 48IDA carbs.

Lucien Bianchi, Pedro and the boys after the ’68 Le Mans win- ‘1075’ one of the most famous of all Le Mans winners with two notches on its belt (unattributed)

John Wyer GT40 at the factory circa 1969. Note the Gurney Eagle’ rocker covers, FIA mandated luggage framework above the exhausts, engine and trasaxle radiar tors and Firestone tyres (unattributed)

In a busy 1968 for AAR, in a commercial approach to capitalise on the cylinder head designs Gurney started to make modified versions of the heads cast in LM8 aluminium by the Aeroplane and Motor Foundry in England for road cars.

The racers Hilborn fuel injection was replaced with a four-barrel carb. Anticipating a large order from Ford, the heads had detuned combustion chambers and were of a budget design. They could be machined with different sized ports and/or valve sizes to the specification of the full racing heads despite some of the internal passageways being of differing sizes to the race heads.

When no manufacturer (Ford or Lincoln/Mercury) chose to fit the heads Dan was left with an enormous stockpile of them. ‘It didn’t’ happen because no-one big enough got behind it. If someone like Henry (Ford II) would have said “Hey guys, why don’t you do this?”, that would have been all it would have taken’ offered Gurney. A trial assembly run was arranged by Gar Laux, head of Lincoln-Mercury but perhaps the idea fell foul of the ‘not invented here’ notion.

Many of the surplus heads were converted to as near as racing specifications as the Gurney factory could make them and were fitted to Indy cars. None of these heads were fitted ‘in period’ to GT40’s. All GT40 heads were made at the William Mills foundry and were a higher grade casting with the full race combustion chambers, porting and passageways. The Airplane and Motor cast heads were usually branded as Gurney Eagle although some will over time have been retro fitted with Gurney Weslake rocker covers.

This G-W Ford in Dan’s 1969 Eagle Mk7 ‘Santa Ana’ features Mk 4 heads with canted injectors. This close up shows the Hilborn slide injection, lots of ‘Aeroquip’ lines and AAR’s fine attention to engineering detail- checkout the fabrication of those extractors and rather critical throttle components (AAR)

 

Gurney, Eagle Mk4 Ford G-W 305 cid, Indy 1969 (D Friedman)

Into the 1969 Can-Am without the Ford factory support he hoped for Dan raced the same McLeagle with a very special, aluminium 344 cid small-block Ford G-W.

Some of the Can-Am rounds conflicted with his USAC commitments, back at AAR the team toiled with a three valve G-W variant to sit atop specially cast ally Ford blocks. After various development problems kept it off the tracks Dan bought a 7 litre Chev and popped in into the McLeagle, qualifying ninth at Michigan- but tasted a great Can-Am machine when he raced the spare McLaren M8B to third behind Bruce and Denny having started from the rear of the grid.

Pete Lyons wrote ‘…from the back…he passed twelve cars on the first lap…Each lap Dan passed fewer cars but he passed them relentlessly. He gave the impression of being careful, feeling out the car, not risking breaking it, yet the big orange gun shot his black helmet along like a cannonball. When he caught Brabham, he went by so fast the two could hardly exchange glances…’Jack knew exactly how Dan felt as Brabham tested the same car during qualifying- and did a time in a limited number of laps good enough for row two of the grid!

The dark side- 7 litre Chev engined McLaren/McLeagle M6B at Michigan in 1969 (unattributed)

In tragic circumstances, after Bruce’s death at Goodwood, Dan raced a works McLaren M8D Chev with great speed and success until sponsorship conflicts intervened and stopped his campaign short- a great pity as a Hulme/Gurney battle for the 1970 Can-Am title would have been a beauty. It was a fascinating season in the short history of the series inclusive of the Chaparral 2J Chev ‘Sucker’ machine, to have finally seen Dan in a car truly worthy of him would have been something, albeit not G-W Ford powered.

(AAR)

Into 1970 the AAR USAC machine, the ‘7000’ designed by Len Terry was both Offenhauser and Ford G-W powered- and achieved its final G-W stock-block win in Swede Savage’s hands at the season ending finale at Phoenix, the 1971 ‘7100’ was designed by Roman Slobodynski was built to suit the Drake Offy turbo-charged four cylinder engine only.

What a marvellous run the Gurney-Weslake small-block Ford V8’s had…

Swede Savage in the 1970 Indy 150 at the Indianapolis Raceway Park all crossed up in the Eagle 7000 G-W Ford, classified 8th in the race won by Al Unser, Colt Ford Indy V8 (A Upitis)

Etcetera…

AAR Santa Ana workshops circa 1968/9 with 3 litre GW V12 in the foreground and FA/F5000 monocoques behind (unattributed)

 

Dan with gun AAR engine man John Miller ‘Mandrake The Magician’ with G-W Hilborn injected V8 (AAR)

Bibliography…

‘Dan Gurney’s Eagle Racing Cars’ John Zimmerman, ‘Can-Am’ Pete Lyons, gurney-weslake.co.uk, phystutor.tripod.com

Credits…

The Enthusiast Network, Dave Friedman Collection, AAR Archive

Tailpiece: Dan aboard his second placegetting Eagle Mk4 Ford G-W, Indy 1968…

(D Friedman)

Finito…

(J Ellacott)

Surely a BRM P48 has never looked better than this?…

 Arnold Glass points his ex-works 2.5 litre, four-cylinder Bourne bolide- P48 chassis # ‘482’ down Mount Panorama, Bathurst, Easter 1962.

John Ellacott’s beautiful soft browns, blues and blue-greens radiate with the April autumn heat of the Great Dividing Range.

When I first saw this photo it reminded me of the hues of Albert Namatjira’s outback paintings which were 1960’s Australian State Primary School walls standard issue- along with stiff, formal portraits of Betty Windsor! (Queen Elizabeth)

Its just a beaut shot of a car critical in the wonderful pantheon of BRM’s, their first mid-engined design. Arnold’s 1960 P48 is only a hop-step-and jump from Graham Hill’s 1962 World Championship(s) winning 1.5 litre P56 V8 engined BRM P578. The models in between these two are the 1960/61 P48 Mk2, 1961 Coventry Climax 1.5 FPF powered P57 and two chassis modified to take the P56 V8, the P57 V8.

Mr Glass qualified 4th at Bathurst but failed to finish the 26 lap, 100 mile race won by Bib Stillwell from David McKay and Bill Patterson, Bib and David in Cooper T53 Climax 2.5 FPF’s and Bill in a similarly engined T51.

I wrote Part 1 of an article about the P48 in mid-2015 promising Part 2 about the cars in Australia shortly thereafter. Here it is, better late than never I guess!

https://primotipo.com/2015/03/26/tony-marsh-boness-hillclimb-scotland-brm-p48-part-1/

The Owen Organisation had plenty of automotive sector subsidiaries in the Southern Hemisphere so it was with great pleasure that Australasian enthusiasts welcomed the visits of the Bourne team to promote the group’s wares from 1961 to 1968. Perhaps that should be from 1954, after all, Ken Wharton raced a howling BRM P15 V16 in the ’54 NZ GP at Ardmore- that race won in stunning circumstances by Stan Jones in Maybach 1 with an amazing race eve engine rebuild which miraculously held together on race day.

Dan Gurney practising P48 ‘486’ at Warwick Farm before the ’61, WF 100. He is on Pit Straight. DNF fuel vaporisation in the race won by the Walker Lotus 18 driven by Stirling Moss (J Ellacott)

Graham Hill and Dan Gurney didn’t have a great tour with P48’s ‘485’ and ‘486’ in the three races they contested in 1961- the 7 January NZ GP at Ardmore, 29 January Warwick Farm 100 in Sydney and 12 February Victorian Trophy at Ballarat Airfield in Victoria. Still, first and second at Ballarat for Gurney from Hill was a good way to end the tour and the first and only international victory for the P48.

By this stage of their development the two early spec P48’s with strut rear suspension and 3 disc brakes- one on each front hub and a single-‘bacon slicer’ disc on the back of the gearbox were competitive in Europea after Tony Rudd was given ‘engineering control’ from the end of the Dutch GP weekend. Lets not forget Graham Hill overtook Jack Brabham and led the British GP at Silverstone before a late race error outed him.

The GP car of 1960 was the Lotus 18 Climax, I’m not at all saying the P48 had the consistent pace of Chapman’s latest, let alone the race-winning speed and reliability of the works Cooper T53’s.

WF 100 grid 1961. Moss, Walker Lotus 18 Climax, Gurney and Hill in the two P48’s. Ireland and Brabham on row 2, Lotus 18 and  Cooper T53 with Bib Stillwell on the outside of row 3 in the #16 Cooper T51 and the rest. Moss won from Ireland and Stillwell (WFFB)

 

Ballarat paddock- the 2 P48’s and from left in cap David McKay, Lex Davison, Graham Hill and Dan Gurney in the flat-cap (R Jones)

 

 

 

 

 

Gurney on the way to Victorian Trophy P48 ‘486’ victory at Ballarat Airfield 1961. Gurney won from Hill and Ron Flockhart, Cooper T53 Climax (Autosportsman)

 

Hill, P48 and the fans in the Ballarat Airfield paddock (R Jones)

Motor importer/distributor/dealer on the rise, Arnold ‘Trinkets’ Glass had the necessary readies and felt one of the BRM’s would be a more competitive proposition than the ex-Tommy Atkins/Harry Pearce built Cooper T51 Maserati 250S he had been racing. The T51 Maser was an attempt to gain an ‘unfair advantage’ over the Cooper T51 Climaxes, and there was similar thinking in acquiring the P48 powered as it was by an engine regarded as having a little ‘more punch’ than the 2.5 FPF.

I wrote an article about Arnold a while back;

https://primotipo.com/2015/08/25/arnold-glass-ferrari-555-super-squalo-bathurst-1958/

Glass commenced discussions with Bourne in early 1961, it wasn’t financially feasible for him to buy a car such was the level of import duty at the time- 95% of the car purchase price was levied by the Australian fiscal fiend, but a deal was finally done to lease ‘485’ which was shipped to Sydney arriving in August 1961 complete with a package of spares including an engine and gearbox. Doug Nye records in full the detail of the rebuild of the car before it left the UK- ‘485’ was beautifully prepared even if the engine ‘2593’ had 68 3/4 hours of running ‘…the most, predictably of any 1960 spec P48. When it arrived Arnold described it to Nye as ‘…sprayed in my red livery, it was an absolute beauty- a turn key car- ready to go, with a spare engine and I think gearbox too.’

Great portrait of Arnold Glass, 36 years old, during the 1962 AGP weekend at Caversham, WA (K Devine)

‘485’s life in Australia was rather short however.

After running the car in Sydney on Warwick Farm’s short circuit Glass travelled to the Mallala, South Australia airfield’s first meeting along with other 1961 AGP aspirants over the 19/20 August weekend to contest the ‘Mallala Trophy’. It wasn’t a Gold Star round but most of the ‘quicks’ made the trip- the AGP was to be held there in early October, Lex Davison the winner in a Cooper T51 Climax.

Glass was getting used to the car and circuit like many others. On the Friday morning he set off from the pits, soon lost control of the car badly damaging it. The ‘Australian Motor Sports’ report of the accident records ‘…when Glass braked for Woodroofe, the car spun all over the road and slammed into a tree. The car took it across the engine compartment, and though they attempted a rebuild before the meeting, nothing became of it’.

Arnold saw it this way in Doug Nyes ‘BRM 2’; ‘I drove in one session, then took the car out again for a second run and this time I was flat out down the straight when the car starts to pitch over the bumps and then suddenly she just goes sideways and shoots off at a tangent up and over a bank, hits a tree, which it collects just behind my cockpit, right in the side and that flicks the nose round and it goes head on straight into a concrete post…The beautiful car is a total wreck. Its bent like a Vee just behind the cockpit, the engine crankcase is shattered, and its all mangled up, a rear radius rod is broken off, its a mess.’

The insured car was soon on a ship back to the UK where the Bourne team assessed the chassis as being beyond economic repair so it was scrapped.

Chassis ‘482’ was sitting unused ‘in stock’ and so was despatched to Australia ‘without engine or gearbox so I can fit my spare engine and gearbox from the crashed car’ as the replacement. It was the first of six ‘production’ first series, strut rear suspension/3 brake P48’s and used the front-end structure cannibalised from the broken up front engine BRM Type 25- chassis ‘257’.

Arnold raced it with both the 2497 cc, 4 cylinder, DOHC BRM engine as fitted above at Bathurst and later the ex-Chuck Daigh Scarab RE, 3.9 litre, aluminium Buick V8- that engine sold to Glass after the Scarab’s one race only, the Sandown Park International in March 1962.

Arnold Glass, Cooper T51 Maserati, Warwick Farm 100 meeting, February 1961. DNF oil pressure (J Ellacott)

Glass raced the Cooper Maserati whilst he was BRM less at Warwick Farm, Bathurst, and Mallala for the AGP. BRM ‘482’ arrived in time for the season ending Hordern Trophy at Warwick Farm on 5 November, there he retired with fuel-pump failure in the race won by Stillwell’s Cooper T53 with Bill Patterson winning the Gold Star that year in his T51 Climax.

The very successful Datsun motor dealer/distributor/importer raced ‘482’ throughout 1962. He contested the NZ GP at Ardmore but could not see in the streaming rain having been well placed early, retiring the car with a slipping clutch. At Wigram he was 8th.

Back home at  Warwick Farm, for the 100 he retired from overheating after blowing a radiator hose. He was 4th at Lakeside on 10 February and DNF after a spin in the Lakeside International championship round the following day. At Longford in March he was 3rd in the preliminary and ran 6th in the feature race but retired with falling oil pressure but not before being timed at 167 mph on ‘The Flying Mile’.

The Frank Coon and Jim Travers, in their pre-Traco days built 3.9 litre, aluminium Buick V8 in the back of Chuck Daigh’s Scarab RE at Sandown in 1962 (J Ellacott)

Arnold didn’t race the car at the Sandown International, the circuit’s opening meeting, but clearly was impressed by the ‘mumbo’ of the Buick V8- Chuck Daigh was 4th in the only ever race for the mid-engined Scarab RE. A very great shame that, it would have been interesting to have seen the car contest the Intercontinental Formula races for which it was designed.

By that stage the lease deal with Rubery Owen was at an end so Arnold did a deal with them and Australian Customs to acquire the car at a price- and pay duty at an amount which made sense all around.

At the Bathurst Gold Star round (pic at this articles very outset) he had suspension problems- an attachment to the rear upright was half broken through on the left rear suspension.

In May he raced the car at Catalina Park in the New South Wales Blue Mountains and had a good battle with David McKay’s Cooper T53 Climax- so good a match race between the pair was staged at the Warwick Farm meeting in early June- Glass led before gear selection difficulties intervened, giving McKay the win.

BRM Buick ‘482’. Here @ Warwick Farm in 1962 fitted with the ex-Scarab RE 3.9 litre ally pushrod V8 as above. Chassis modified to suit of course, a clever solution to Australasia’s F Libre of the day. The merits of this family of engines- Buick/Olds F85 not lost on Brabham J! (BRM2)

He missed the Queensland, Lowood Gold Star round in June, reappearing with the Buick V8 installed at Catalina on 5 August- the Buick’s torque was too much for the cars clutch. The engine installation work, inclusive of creating a bellhousing to mate the American V8 to the P27 BRM transaxle was done by racer/engineer John McMillan and mechanic/engineer Glenn Abbey.

Later in August he had more success in the Blue Mountains with a second and third behind David McKay and Chris Amon respectively. At the Hordern Trophy at Warwick Farm Glass was 5th before pointing his equipe in the direction of Perth, 3940 Km to the west, for the Australian Grand Prix.

1962 Australian Grand Prix, Caversham, WA…

Beautiful shot of the Glass P48 ‘482’ Buick during the 1962 AGP at Caversham WA. It really does look a picture (K Devine)

 

Cars line up- in grid order prior to the AGP start- Glass BRM P48 Buick, #9 Patterson Cooper T51 Climax, #5 Youl Cooper T55 Climax, #4 Davison Cooper T53 Climax, Brabham’s light blue Brabham BT4 Climax, you can just see the #6 on the nose of Bib Stillwell’s Cooper T55 Climax and with the gold nose, winner, Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T62 Climax at the end. The gaggle of drivers behind Pattersons white Cooper is Glass, Lex Davison and Bill Patterson in the white polo-shirt. Look really hard and you can see Bruce Mc with his hands in his pockets between his and Jack’s car- praps its JB in the white cap beside Bruce (K Devine)

 

Brabham DNF, Stillwell 3rd and McLaren 1st. Then Youl 2nd, and Davison 8th in red. The red car behind Davo is Glass 5th- the red front-engine car is Syd Negus Cooper T20 Bristol 6th and the dark car far left is Jeff Dunkerton’s Lotus Super 7 Ford 9th. F Libre race remember (K Devine)

The November, Caversham AGP, was a corker of a race won by Bruce McLaren’s new Cooper T62 Climax. The battle for supremacy between McLaren and Brabham in Jack’s also new BT4 Climax (based on the Brabham BT3 F1 machine) was a beauty until Brabham and Glass collided on lap 50. Jack retired and Arnold was 5th

Arnold had virtually zero rear vision with the big engine cowl fitted ‘Brucie came past and Jack was right behind him- I had no idea he was there at all, Jack made a lunge, I took the apex, and bang, we collided…We were friends before and we’ve stayed friends ever since- but it was a little fraught at the time.’

Jack zigged, Arnold zagged and kaboomba…Brabham’s BT4 exits the corner (which?) under power and ranges in upon Glass’s BRM- I wonder if this is the fateful lap. Interesting shot of Caversham’s topography. Ex RAAF airfield (K Devine)

The BRM Buick was 4 seconds off the pace of McLaren’s pole to give some semblance of relative speed of the 1960 chassis BRM 3.9 pushrod ohv V8 with the very latest 1962 T62 chassis Cooper 2.7 FPF dohc motor.

Remember that Australasian elite single-seater racing was contested to Formula Libre until the Tasman 2.5 Formula was adopted from 1 January 1964. Glass’s aluminium V8 engined BRM was a very clever ‘F5000’ in 1962!

Lex Davison and Arnold Glass chewing the fat in the Symmons Plains, Tasmania, paddock in 1961. Car probably one of Lex’ Coopers (K Thompson)

 

Lakeside, P48 Buick, date uncertain. Butt shots of the car rare as hens teeth in Buick form- note air intakes neatly fitted to the engine cover, fitted to both sides and the ‘bacon slicer’, P27 BRM transaxle fitted to the V8- it must have been very marginal in this and subsequent supercharged Ford V8 applications, to say the least. Glass in Dunlop suit @ right- wonder who the other driver is? Neato Rice Trailer- as good a rig as their was in Oz @ the time (Lakeside)

Glass shipped the car to New Zealand for the 1963 Internationals but he was unable to drive after a water skiing accident so lent it to Kiwi Ross Jensen, who was storing the car for Arnold.

Jensen came out of retirement to race at Pukekohe on 2 February. Talented Jensen won a preliminary and the ten lap feature race from Forrest Cardin the Lycoming.

Nye records that Jack Brabham tested the car briefly at Levin. It would have been the only other P48 he drove since testing the prototype car ‘481’ at Goodwood in late 1959.

Bruce McLaren in the black shirt susses Glass’ immaculate BRM Buick ‘482’ in the ’63 NZ GP paddock, Pukekohe. If only he had raced it! Remember, he and Jack tested P48 ‘481’ way back in late 1959 (A Dick)

 

Jensen, BRM Buick in the Pukekohe paddock in February 1963 (CAN)

Back in Australia, Glass raced it at Lowood, Queensland in June but soon after broke his arm and placed the car on the market. ‘ I realised I was just screwing around so bought a good ‘Lowline’ Cooper T53 off John Youl.’

The car was advertised in June/July 1963 and bought by South Australians Jo Steele and John Allison.

The ‘Scarab’ Buick V8 went to Bib Stillwell for his Cooper Monaco as an FPF replacement and an engine went to Don Fraser who fitted it to his Cooper ‘Lowline’ and later into one of the Cicadas he built with Doug Trengove.

This car was raced in Gold Star events into 1970. Another engine slated for a speedboat powered a Speedcar raced by John Hughes. Both engines found their way to the UK- the Fraser engine and ‘box to Tom Wheatcroft and John Hughes engine to Robs Lamplough.

BRM Ford ‘482’ with its proud creator/drivers, young Adelaide bucks John Allison left and Jo Steele (BRM2)

 

The BRM Ford as converted was a cohesive bit of engineering technically and aesthetically, Adelaide (BRM2)

Steele, an engineer who later worked for Firestone in the UK and Allison, a Castrol employee fitted the P48 with a Ford 260 cid V8 which was dry-sumped and then had bolted to it a GM4-71 supercharger. The car was modified further but only in that the cars rear wheels, 6 inches wide were fitted to the front and the fronts widened to 8 inches were fitted at the rear. A simple aluminium casting was made to mate Ford V8 engine to BRM P27 gearbox.

In this form, on 30 March 1964 the BRM ‘482’ Ford V8 made its debut at the scene of ‘485’s demise- Mallala! They raced it throughout 1964 at Mallala in June, October and December, a highlight was finishing in 4th in the South Australian Road Racing Championship in June.

John Allison recalled the car in a discussion with Doug Nye ‘I can only recall one race it didn’t win (due to failure of the motorbike chain driving the supercharger). My abiding memory of the car was its EVIL rear end, the early revelation being that, whilst driving sideways is a very effective way to impress the girls, it was bloody dangerous in something like that…The brakes were dreadful…but its straightline performance just wasn’t fair on the local competition at the time, which made up for all these shortcomings plus our very inexperienced driving.’

In June/July 1965 the two South Aussies took the car to the UK where Steele had organised a transfer via Castrol. In the UK they stiffened the chassis and lengthened the wheelbase by four inches in the front chassis bay. Allison sold his share in the car to Steele who raced in Libre events at Mallory, Snetterton and Silverstone before selling it.

A couple of owners later it was advertised in an August 1971 issue of Autosport, the purchaser, Tom Wheatcroft. In a ‘back to birth’ conversion the chassis’s P25 bits and bobs were stripped and used in the Donington Collection’s three car run of P25’s.

The remains of the car- chassis, body, wheels, block, shocks and some suspension bits were sold to Anthony Mayman via a Brooks auction. He engaged Hall & Fowler to restore/create a P25 from the bits, in 2003 the P25 and chassis of good ‘ole ‘482’ were owned by Bruce McCaw in the US.

P48 in the Reims paddock 1960, with the ‘bacon slicer’ rear brake being attended to. Note the progressively rising top chassis rail to locate the top mounts of the MacPherson Strut rear suspension. FPT fuel cell clear, note the exhaust/induction sides of this engine is different, as in correct, compared to the car pictured below at the same meeting

Design, Construction and Technical Specifications of the P48…

 The mid-engined revolution was in full swing throughout 1958/9, the full extent of the rout obvious once Coventry Climax built a new block for the FPF to alow John Cooper to compete at the class capacity limit of 2.5 litres.

BRM responded by building a mid-engined parts bin special, what Bruce McLaren called a ‘whoosh-bonk’ car using many existing off the shelf components, namely the P25’s engine, transmission, brakes and other componentry which was assembled into a simple multi-tubular spaceframe chassis.

Alfred Owen approved Peter Berthon’s request to build such a car after Bonnier’s P25 Zandvoort win in 1959 whereupon Berthon briefed senior draftsman Aubrey Woods to set down layouts for the frame and suspension.

The P25 engine had to be modified to fit the rear of a chassis with its magnetos being driven by belts instead of the crank gears. The P25 cars BRM P27 four-speed gearbox, complete with single ‘bacon-slicer’ disc brake then bolted onto the rear of the engine via a new bellhousing designed fit for purpose.

MacPherson Strut suspension was used at the rear and P25 ‘256’ dismantled to provide parts inclusive of its frame- the front section of which was hacked off and welded on to ‘481’s otherwise new frame. The result was ‘flexible’ but ready, shaken down at Folkingham by Ron Flockhart it travelled to Monza for the ’59 Italian GP weekend.

There the car ran in official practice and for three days before and after the meeting with Jo Bonnier, Ron Flockhart and Harry Schell reporting favourably about the car despite problems with leaking fuel tanks cracked by flexure in the frame…

The shortcomings of ‘481’s frame were addressed back at base by adding fillet tubes into the main frame intersections and some tubes were relocated to reduce their unsupported runs through the frame sides. These mods added 4 lbs in weight but stiffened the frame from around 850 lbs/ft/degree to 1800 lbs/ft/degree. These improvements were built into the ‘production’ frames which followed.

When the prototype ‘481’ was continuously tested the mid-engined car was tested back-to-back with P25’s to get baseline times with a car which by then was equal to the best of the ‘old paradigm ‘ front-engine designs.

Argentinian GP grid 1960- last works race for the P25’s, Graham Hill awaits the off, Q3 and DNF overheating, the race won by McLaren’s Cooper T51 Climax. #26 is Phil Hill’s Ferrari Dino 246

Sir Alfred Owen ultimately determined the direction Bourne was to take by letter on 17 November 1959 in which he said all of the cars the team raced in 1960 would be mid-engined. The exception proved to be the first round in Argentina with Jo Bonnier finishing 4th and Graham Hill DNF with overheating- the cars proved their pace by qualifying 4th and 3rd.

At the time of Owen’s edict six chassis were laid down in Stan Hope’s build-shop and all of the P25’s, with the exception of Bonnier’s ’59 Zandvoort winning chassis, were stripped of their mechanical elements to build up the P48’s for the final year of the wonderful 2.5 litre formula.

Whilst the first production car built ‘482’, using parts donated by P25 ‘257’ was completed ‘481’ continued a very extensive testing program including, amazingly, laps by both Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren, both Cooper drivers of course! in October 1959. BRM were keen to get the impressions of experienced practitioners of the mid-engined art. These tests, fully documented in ‘BRM 2’ by Doug Nye are  a story in themselves. Click here for a wonderful snippet;

https://www.goodwood.com/grrc/columnists/doug-nye/2017/9/doug-nye-when-racers-were-honed-at-goodwood/

‘481’ long testing program ended when it was finally put aside when ‘482’ first ran on 23 March 1960 at Goodwood- there Jo Bonnier and Dan Gurney joined the test team for the first time- to this point the continuous winter testing program had been carried out by Ron Flockhart and Graham Hill.

BRM Chief Mechanic Phil Ayliffe tends the Bonnier P48 ‘484’ during the 1960 French GP weekend @ Reims. Great general layout shot and rear suspension detail- MacPherson Strut, inverted lower wishbone and low mounted roll bar. ‘Box is BRM P27 4 speed and 2.5 litre engine ‘2597’ is fitted. Note that Getty have processed this film ‘arse about’ the induction and exhaust are reversed in this shot to the way they were built- I’ve included them such is their clarity

The P48 was a simple, sparse, lightweight spaceframe chassis with P25 double wishbone front suspension and MacPherson or was that Chapman(!?) Strut rear suspension with each strut located by a single lateral lower wishbone and a single radius rod, anchored forward on the chassis frame.

The frame at the rear was high to provide top spring/damper mounts for each strut. The chassis used 1.5 inch 17 swg tube bottom rails and 1.25 inch 17 swg top rails and diagonals in the side bays. The beautiful body was made inhouse of course, of magnesium alloy and fully detachable. Steering was P25 rack and pinion.

By this stage the all alloy 2497cc (102.87X74.93mm bore/stroke) gear driven DOHC, 2 valve, Lucas magneto sparked, dual Weber 58 DCOE carbed engine developed about 272 bhp @ 8,500 rpm and 210 lb.ft of torque at 6,000 rpm.

The BRM Type P27 4 speed gearbox was also used complete with the ‘box mounted single rear disc brake. What had worked acceptably on the front-engined P25 was not so effective on the P48 with so much of the cars mass now disposed at the rear of the car.

10 1/2 inch disc brakes and forged alloy wheels were by traditional supplier Dunlop, as of course were the tyres- 5.50-15 inch front and 7.00-15 inch rears.

Reims 1960- Hill’s P48 ‘485’ at rest. Note front suspension which is P25 derived upper and lower wishbones, LH change location (GP Library)

By the time the season started an enormous amount of testing had been done at a variety of circuits with a chassis setup which most of the drivers agreed was good.

The game-changer however, was Chapman’s multi-category Lotus 18 which was simply ‘the car of 1960’- Cooper won the title again that year with their T53 Climax ‘Lowline’ but it was more about reliability than sheer speed. Not that reliability isn’t a valuable commodity, mind you.

The pace of the Lotus was apparent from the first race of the season, the non-championship Glover Trophy at Goodwood in May. Innes Ireland won the event with Gurney and Hill Q7 and Q9 for DNF crash and 5th- the hopes of pre-season testing were blown away by the pace of both the new Cooper T53 and especially the Lotus 18- its weak point the ‘Queerbox’ Lotus sequential transmission.

A test session at Snetterton where Tony Rudd fitted a range of rear anti-roll bars transformed the handling of the car- such fitment was made without his boss, Peter Berthon’s knowledge.

GH in P48 ‘485’, on its race debut, chasing Chris Bristow’s Cooper T51 in the early laps at Zandvoort 1960. Hill Q5 and 3rd- Dan crashed after brake failure killing a youth spectating from a restricted area (B Cahier)

The season started poorly with a whole raft of mechanical and engineering problems including handling, brakes, clutch, engine, cracked and breaking rear hub assemblies which all came to a head at the Dutch Grand Prix weekend, or more specifically a meeting at the Bouwes Hotel at Zandvoort on the Sunday night. The meeting was attended by Sir Alfred Owen, his sister Jean and her husband Louis Stanley and drivers Bonnier, Gurney and Hill. Gurney killed a spectator watching from a restricted area after brake failure so emotions were running high.

During this epiphany, the drivers, especially Dan Gurney and Graham Hill expressed complete disatisfaction in the way the team was managed and run particularly the old-stagers and team founders Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon who it was felt were completely out of touch with the ways of modern racing and team management.

Graham Hill pressed the case of Berthon’s assistant Tony Rudd to both manage the engineering and changes to the team’s cars at meetings as well as lead the design and engineering of the cars going forward.

Sir Alfred Owen, after much discussion, including listening to the contributions of Mays and Berthon who joined the discussion after attending another meeting about start money, in essence agreed with and made the changes advocated by the drivers albeit Mays remained Race Director responsible for driver contracts and the like and Berthon was to continue as Chief Engineer.

Rudd was empowered to make changes to both the existing P48’s suspension set-up which gave immediate speed and predictability. He started the build of the P48 Mk2- a four wheel disc, wishbones all around, lower chassis car in a corner of the workshop to test his theories of the shortcomings of the current P48 cars chassis and suspension design and geometry.

Owens decisions were defining and seminal in terms of the next decades successes and adventures under Tony Rudd’s brilliant leadership. H16 ‘engineering hubris’ and its consequent loss of engineering direction duly noted!

Before the Spa weekend new rear hubs and front wishbones were designed and built for each of the drivers existing P48’s. The result was immediate-Hill went like a jet in the race and was pulling in race leader Jack Brabham until he experienced a major engine failure which carved the block in half, ruining a great run.

BRM had three drivers that season- Jo Bonnier, Dan Gurney and Graham Hill, in that order of perceived seniority at the seasons outset. It soon became clear that GH was the fastest, the best test pilot and a driver with mechanical sympathy.

Bonnier generally qualified better than Dan and finished more often whereas Gurney had a shocker of a season with the car constantly failing under him with a myriad of problems- including the brake failure at Zandvoort. The reality is that Gurney had limited opportunity to display his pace, evident at Oporto for example because the car failed under him so often.

The Class of 1960- Cooper T53, Lotus 18 and BRM P48- Brabham, Moss and Gurney ‘486’, then Bonnier ‘484’ and Innes Ireland Lotus 18 in the early laps of the 1960 USGP @ Riverside. Moss won from Innes and Bruce McLaren in a Cooper T53, then Jack (D Friedman)

The best results for the year in terms of qualifying speed sometimes, if not finishes, with the winner of each event listed in brackets is as follows- BRDC Intl Trophy Silverstone Hill Q3 (Ireland Lotus 18), Dutch GP Hill Q5 3rd (Brabham Cooper T53), Belgian GP Hill Q5 3rd (Brabham T53), French GP Reims Hill Q3 (Brabham T53), British GP Silverstone Hill Q2 and led the race till he goofed (Brabham T53), Silver City Trophy Brands Hill Q4 2nd (Brabham T53), Portuguese GP Oporto Gurney Q2 (Brabham T53), Lombank Trophy Snetterton Hill Q1 Bonnier Q3 (Ireland Lotus 18) , International Gold Cup Oulton Park Hill Q4 3rd (Moss Lotus 18) US GP Riverside Bonnier Q4 5th, Gurney Q3

The results were woeful, with the benefit of hindsight the team should have run 1 less car and concentrated on a higher level of consistent preparation- they learned too slowly, after all the team was hardly a newcomer. Doug Nye ‘…This kind of careless or incompetent fitting (he was referring to a simple clutch throw out adjustment) had long dogged BRM. The team had many fine tradesmen, highly skilled mechanics, simply good people. But as the litany of race-losing failures went on, year after year, even their staunchest ally has to question their practises…’

Gurney was off to Porsche as fast as he could run- it was easily his worst season in F1, and his own Eagle Weslake adventures were not without challenge. Graham was very much on the upward curve, Bonniers speed, was then better than I had anticipated before researching the season, but he had peaked in reality at GP level.

Hill on his way to 2nd in P48 ‘485’, Silver City Trophy, Brands Hatch on 1 August 1960. Moss won from pole in the Walker Lotus 18 Climax (Getty)

Dan Gurney in ‘BRM 2’ on Ferrari and BRM…

‘Before I joined BRM I had served only one season in F1 with Ferrari, and it is obvious now that in my inexperience I’d really had no idea of just how rugged and durable the Ferrari (Dino 246) was’.

‘I really had not appreciated that you couldn’t just get into any Grand Prix car and simply drive your head off the way you could with a Ferrari. With them you could just roll up your sleeves and race as hard as you know and you’d usually finish races.’

‘Even with all the tenderness you could summon up, it never seemed quite enough to bring the BRM right through a race. Even so the BRM engine had a fatter mid-range than the Ferrari, and if it stayed together- even in the front engined car (P25) – it could have seen off the Ferrari on most circuits. The Ferrari had a tiny advantage on ultimate top end, but more often than not the BRM could meet it on lap times. Since the BRM engine was stronger than the Climax also, we should have been in pretty good shape all season in 1960- but it’s perpetual delicacy had ruined our season’.

‘On handling, the BRM’s were not generally as forgiving as the Ferrari’s, even though their ultimate limits were about the same. Even the front-engined BRM had a nasty streak in it, I think, like if you got it too far sideways, it could easily get away from you’.

‘The rear engined car was better perhaps, once it was sorted out, and it was certainly strong enough and good enough to lead races- as Graham had proved at Silverstone- and as I managed to do at Oporto, over the cobblestones and tramlines. I remember enjoying the way I snookered Jack Brabham there in his Cooper…but then the car would break, and it just broke time after time, and for a driver there is nothing more demoralizing as feeling you will never finish a race…’

At the 1960 F1 seasons end, chassis ‘485’ Hill and ‘486’ Gurney and ‘484’ Bonnier were shipped to California for the US GP at Riverside, qualifying 3rd Gurney, 4th Bonnier and 11th Hill.

Jo finished 5th whilst Dan retired with overheating and Graham had a gearbox problem. Then the cars were sent south to New Zealand, which is about where we came in…

Beautifully built but somewhat fragile BRM P48- rear suspension as above and THAT brake- very overstressed in this application as a consequence of far more weight on the rear of the car compared with the front engined P25. Reims, Bonnier P48 ‘484’. This photo is also ‘arse about’

 BRM P48 Chassis List…

Doug Nye wrote a summary of the cars which was posted on The Nostalgia Forum in 2003. I have in some cases truncated, and in other cases added to DCN’s original narrative. The then current owners have most likely changed but that information is of far less relevance than the chassis’ ‘in period’ history. Any errors are mine.

P48 ‘First Series’

481 – strut-rear suspension, 3-brake (just the ‘bacon slicer’ on tail of gearbox at rear) never raced, but practiced at Monza in September 1959 prototype. Scrapped.

482 – strut-rear suspension, 3-brake car. Did much early 1960 pre-season season testing driven by Hill, Gurney and Bonnier. The replacement Arnold Glass chassis after write-off of his original ‘485’ at Mallala in 1961. Fitted with the ex-Scarab RE Coon/Travers modified Buick V8 engine in mid-1962, owned by ‘everybody and his brother’, Ford V8 engine – cannibalised by Tom Wheatcroft’s team for the front-engined BRM Type 25 recreation program. Still exists

483 – strut-rear suspension, 3-brake car – written-off after Dan Gurney’s 1960 Dutch GP accident (teenage boy spectator standing in a prohibited area was killed) Scrapped

484 – strut-rear suspension, 3-brake car. Jo Bonnier 1960-season F1 car, returned to Bourne after the 1960 US GP, converted to Mark II wishbone rear suspension and 4 outboard brakes instead of 1 outboard on each front wheel and the ‘bacon-slicer’ on the back of the gearbox at the rear. Graham Hill’s 1961 InterContinental Formula works car – Sold to Tony Marsh – NOTE 484 not 483 was the Marsh car – Marsh, Ken Wilson, Jack Alderslade, John Scott-Davies, cannibalised by Wheatcroft for front-engined BRM Type 25 recreation program- stripped and returned to The BRM Collection at Bourne – sold by them in the October 1981, auction at Earl’s Court Motorfair, London. In process of slow restoration with Bruce and Guy Spollon, UK. Still exists

485 – strut-rear suspension, 3-brake car – the chassis in which Graham Hill came so close to winning the 1960 British GP- the first Arnold Glass car, written off before he could race it, during private session at Mallala, South Australia. Returned to Bourne. Scrapped

486 – strut-rear suspension, 3-brake car – Dan Gurney’s late-season 1960 car – winner at Ballarat, Australia, 1961 – this is the Ray Fielding hill-climb car 1962-63, Sir John Townley, Brian Waddilove, Mike Stow, cannibalised by Stow for his original front-engined BRM Type 25 recreation program (which pre-dated Wheatcroft’s) – to Robs Lamplough UK – survives stripped, knackered – unrestored today. Still exists

P48 Mk2

487 – The prototype Mark II wishbone rear suspension 4-brake car – from Bourne in 1962 to Phil Scragg for hill-climbing pending delivery of his Chaparral-Chevrolet ordered from Midland, Texas. Once that beast arrived Scragg sold this car to Tony Griffiths. Winter 1965-66 sold to Wheatcroft. Tom has preserved car in complete order ever since, in the Donington Collection since the museum opened. Still exists

Beautiful shot of a P48 in the nuddy sans bodywork but with engine/gearbox inner cover. Note the MacPherson strut, inverted lower wishbone, single leading radius rod, low mounted roll bar and of course THAT single overstressed Dunlop ‘bacon slicer’ disc brake! All beautifully made if not conceptually perfect (unattributed)

The Competitor Set…

I’ve made mention throughout the article of the Cooper T53 and Lotus 18, respectively the World Champion car and ‘F1 Car of The Year’. Here are some great photos by Dave Friedman taken at Monaco (T53) and Zandvoort (18).

The relative engineering sophistication of the Lotus 18 is clear in terms of its chassis. However ‘edgy’ Chapman’s sequential gearbox was, it was also the cars Achilles heel- which left the evolutionary, John Cooper, Owen Maddock and Jack Brabham designed, built and sorted T53 to take championship honours.

The ultimate GP car of 1960 would have been a Lotus 18 FPF to which was bolted a Cooper C5S gearbox- Moss would have disappeared into the sunset with such a car!

Lotus 18 Climax FPF 2.5..

(D Friedman)

 

(D Friedman)

Cooper T53 Climax FPF 2.5 ‘Lowline’..

(D Friedman)

 

(D Friedman)

Etcetera…

 

Gurney during the 1961 NZ GP at Ardmore- DNF from grid 9, Brabham’s Coper T53 Climax won (unattributed)

 

So, ‘wots doin’after the race big boy?’ Local talent and Gurney in the Warwick Farm paddock February 1961 (B Britton)

 

Hill at Warwick Farm and looking far more focused on the job at hand…DNF with a fuel tank problem. Moss won a Lotus 18 Climax (unattributed)

 

P48’s in the Ballarat International paddock 1961 (P Coleby)

 

Shot of Chuck Daigh in the Scarab RE Buick V8 to show the car which donated the engine for the Glass P48 ‘482’. Here leaving the line at the start of the Sandown International on 12 March 1962, he was 4th- to his left is Austin Miller’s yellow Cooper T51 Chev 4.6 V8 (a story in itself) and Bill Patterson’s Cooper T51 Climax (J Ellacott)

 

G Hill in ‘485’ chasing Brabham’s Cooper T53 during his epic race- from last to first- the ’61 British GP @ Silverstone (M Turner)

 

The #2 Bonnier P48 ‘484’and #4 Gurney ‘483’ cars at Monaco 1960. Bonnier led in the early stages, DNF upright, ditto Gurney with the same problem (D Friedman)

 

The crowd enjoying the rumble of a big V8- Glass, Caversham 1962, such a pretty jigger. What would have been interesting is how fast it would have been in the hands of Jack or Bruce- with time for them to sort it a bit. Front row? Probably? (K Devine)

 

BRM P48 Buick V8- I know what the caption means but the car is not powered by a Scarab 4 cylinder GP motor but an ex-Intercontinental Formula Scarab RE Buick V8 (K Devine)

Bibliography…

‘Arnold Glass and His BRM’ thread on The Nostalgia Forum, oldracingcars.com

‘BRM Volume 2’ Doug Nye- if you have this tome re-read it!, if not buy it. I have quoted extensively from this brilliant book, all unattributed quotes in this article are from Nye’s epic of detailed research

Photo Credits…

John Ellacott, Ken Devine Collection, Kevin Drage, Getty Images/The GP Library, Bob Britton, Dave Friedman Archive, Bernard Cahier, Allan Dick, Autosportsman, Keverall Thomson, Lakeside Racing Books, Robert Jones, Classic Auto News, Peter Coleby Collection

Tailpiece: Engineering artistry: The world’s most expensive smallgoods slicer…

P48, Warwick Farm 1961 (K Drage)

Finito…

 

image

(Schlegelmilch)

Silvio Moser’s Brabham BT24 Ford racing with Lancia D50 style pannier tanks during the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix…

He retired from the race won by Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B, Moser is one of those privateers who so enriched GeePee racing in the days when such things were allowed, encouraged even.

Silvio was keen on Brabhams, he raced an ex-works BT20, Denny’s chassis ‘F1-2-66’ in 1968 before buying the car above, BT24/3 after Piers Courage raced it in the 1969 Tasman Series.

bt 20

Silvio is his Charles Vogele Racing Team Brabham BT20/2 Repco. DNF, Daily Mail Race of Champions meeting, Brands Hatch, 17 March 1968. Bruce McLaren won in his M7A Ford (Ed Lacey)

It was the last of the BT24’s built, Jochen Rindt raced the 1967 championship winning design during early season 1968 Grands Prix whilst Jack tried to coax some reliability from the quad cam, 32 valve, powerful but problematic ‘860 Series’ Repco V8 engined BT26.

brab rindt

Jochen Rindt’s Brabham BT24/3 Repco, his ’67 spec ‘740 Series’ Repco SOHC V8 powered car beside Jack’s new BT26 powered by the ‘860 Series’ DOHC, 32 valve V8, DNF for both, Monaco 1968. Hill won in a Lotus 49 B Ford (R Schlegelmilch)

Dan Gurney also had a steer, the lanky Californian crammed himself into the car at Zandvoort (below) then Kurt Ahrens raced it to twelfth in the German GP, the cars only GP finish in 1968.

brab dan

(R Schlegelmilch)

Kurt Ahrens (below)  in BT24/3 during the awfully wet German GP at the Niuburgring, Jackie Stewart triumphed in his Matra MS10 Ford aided by some trick Dunlop wets that day. Kurt was on Goodyears, finishing in a one off drive on home turf.

The cars spec was ever evolving, check out the wing package, the same as that used on the factory 1968 BT26’s, Nurburgring was the only race of the year in which both Jack and Jochen finished a race in the fast but unreliable BT26. Kurt’s cars wing has ‘Fosters Flop’, it’s in full droop mode, the simple support bracket came adrift on the bumpy Eifel Mountains course.

image

(Unattributed)

Frank Williams then bought the car and converted it to Tasman spec by fitting a Ford Cosworth DFW V8, the 2.5 litre variant of the famous DFV. Piers did well in it in the Antipodes, his best result a win at the Teretonga International on 25 January 1969.

Here (below) he is behind Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 49 DFW and the Ferrari 246T twins of Chris Amon and Derek Bell, the ‘flash’ grandstands are nicely juxtaposed against the cars. This must be the warm up lap as Jochen’s driveshaft failed on the line, the cars are in grid order.

puk 1

(Ian Peak)

And below Bell’s Ferrari 246T from Hill’s Lotus 49B and Courage’s BT24/3. Courage won from Hill and Amon. Variety of approaches to wings is interesting, checkout that crowd and the el-casual vantage points.

puk 2

(Ian Peak)

Courage had a prophetic summer to a sensational F1 season driving another ex-works Brabham, a BT26 adapted to accept a DFV, he established himself as an Grand Prix front runner in 1969, second at Watkins Glen to Jochen Rindt the seasons highlight.

Frank Williams then popped the BT24 into the ‘Autosport’ classifieds after the Tasman to sell it, Silvio was the eager purchaser. All the hard work had been done, he bought a DFV and slotted it into the spaceframe whence the DFW had been. He needed more fuel tankage though, Tasman races were 100 miles, GP’s were 200 miles and the DFV was a good deal more powerful and less fuel efficient than the Repco 740 around which the car was designed, hence the pannier tanks- ok for 1969 but no-go in 1970 when ‘bag tank’ rules came into being.

BT24/3 still exists in Switzerland, owned by the Moser family, there is also a replica tagged 24/3.

dutch

Silvio’s Brabham BT24 DNF engine, about to be swallowed by Amon’s Ferrari 312 3rd, Hulmes McLaren M7A Ford 4th and Brabham’sBrabham BT26 Ford 6th, Zandvoort, Dutch GP June 1969 (unattributed)

Etcetera…

(unattributed)

A nice close-up of BT24/3’s Tasman specification during the Australian Grand Prix weekend at Lakeside on the 2 February 1969 weekend.

The DFV was not mounted as a stressed member in this spaceframe chassis. Two big, tall wings- note the lack of endplates and front winglets, perhaps the wings were made by the factory- Motor Racing Developments.

Piers went like a jet in practice, popping the hybrid second on the grid to Amon’s AGP winning Ferrari. In the race he had a difference of territorial opinion with Graham Hill attempting an outside pass on the Lotus 49 at BMC Corner- they touched, Piers retired with bent front suspension.

It was all a pointed to a great season for the plucky, popular but sadly, ill-fated Brit.

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, Ed Lacey/Popperfoto, Ian Peak Collection/The Roaring Season, Denis Lupton

oldracingcars.com- click here for Allen Brown’s summary of the Brabham BT24s; https://www.oldracingcars.com/brabham/bt24/

Tailpiece: Silvio Moser on his way to a great sixth place in his Brabham BT24/3 Ford at Watkins Glen during the 1969 USGP, he is being passed by Jacky Ickx’ latest, works Brabham BT26A Ford, DNF. Jochen Rindt won in a Lotus 49B Ford…

ickx

(unattributed)

Finito…

monaco 1961

A famous win for Moss, Rob Walker and the Lotus 18 Climax…

1961 was the first year of the 1.5 litre F1; Ferrari were dominant with their powerful 156’s, the little V6 was the most potent engine, the chassis not a patch on the best of the Brits but overall the Scuderia had a great year.

However, the mastery of Moss prevailed several times during 1961. The first of these performances in his lithe, nimble 1.5 Coventry Climax Mk2 engined Lotus 18 is portrayed in the season opening event by John Ketchell’s art.

The great cockpit view shows Moss chasing Jack Brabham’s Cooper T55 Climax and Richie Ginther’s Ferrari 156.

grid

Grid shot: #20Moss Lotus 18 Climax, #36 Ginther’s Ferrari 156 and #28 Clark Lotus 20 Climax front row. Gurney’s Porsche 718 and Phil Hill’s Ferrari 156 on row 2 (unattributed)

image

Hill’s Ferrari, Clark outside #28 , Moss inside with the missing bodywork, #16 Tony Brooks BRM P48/57 Climax#36 Ginther and the silver nose of Gurney’s Porsche 718 (GP Library)

 

Credit…

John Ketchell, GP Library

Tailpiece: Maestro Moss…

moss mastery

Moss Mastery; totally relaxed as he gets every bit of performance out of the chassis of his year old Rob Walker owned Lotus 18; works drivers Clark and Ireland are in the new Lotus 20. Side bodywork removed to provide cooling air on the hot May day. Moss won Lotus’ first championship GP win with this victory (Geoff Goddard)

french gp 1967

As Jeremy Clarkson would say. The 3 litre Formula 1 ushered in another era when a surfeit of power over chassis grip made the cars spectacular to watch and a challenge to drive…

Here Graham Hill #7 gets off pole with a minimum of Firestone wheelspin, not so Jack Brabham #3 and Dan Gurney #9, Repco V8 and Gurney-Weslake V12 leaving behind plenty of ‘Goodyear’. The noses of the cars behind are Clark’s yellow striped Lotus and Bruce McLaren in Dan’s second Eagle, his own car being not quite yet ready.

french bruce

Bruce McLaren getting the feel of the Eagle T1G Weslake. Q5 and retired on lap 26 with ignition failure. He also raced the car at Silverstone and the Nurburgring (The Cahier Archive)

Dan was on top of his game, he won the Belgian Grand Prix a fortnight before in his Eagle T1G and Lotus the first race for the 49 and its Cosworth engine two weeks before that. But it was the ‘old stager’ Brabham who took the French Grand Prix win in his BT24 from teammate Denny Hulme and Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261.

french jack and dan

Brabham’s BT24 ahead of Dan Gurney’s Eagle T1G DNF fuel line. Circuit Bugatti 1967 (unattributed)

The Automobile Club de France laid out a ‘pissant’ circuit built for the racing school which also used the start-finish straight of the classic 24 hour circuit but the ‘Circuit Bugatti’ had none of the atmosphere, grandeur or challenge of Reims, Rouen or Clermont Ferrand the other options available to them!

The ‘punters’ reacted accordingly, only 20000 showed up, the race was held at Rouen the following year.

image

Grid ready to go, G Hill popping on the Nomex, Bruce McLaren in an Eagle T1G and to his right Jochen Rindt’s Cooper T81B Maserati DNF engine (Getty)

 

frencj barabhams

#4 Hulme’s Brabham BT24 Repco 2nd in front of Jack’s car, #16 is Guy Ligier’s Cooper T81 Maserati N/Class. Le Mans paddock 1967. How small, light and neat do those BT24’s look? Champions in ’67 of course with Hulme D (unattributed)

image

Superb shot of Chris Amon’s Ferrari 312. He qualified 7th and ran as high as 3rd before the throttle cable broke at half distance (Sutton)

Jack lookin’ pretty happy with a good days work in his BT24 Repco both before the race and after its successful conclusion…

image

(Getty)

Credits: The Cahier Archive, Getty Images, Sutton Images

Tailpiece: You can take the Racing Driver out of the Engineer…

mc laren le mans eagkle

Ever the engineer Bruce helps with a plug change on his Weslake V12. Le Mans 1967 (Getty Images)