Posts Tagged ‘Elfin Mono Ford’

(B Hickson)

Leo Geoghegan, left, Lotus 32 Ford, Greg Cusack Brabham BT6 Ford and Bib Stillwell, Brabham BT14 Ford with Bob Jane in the white Elfin Mono a couple of rows back, await the start of the ANF 1.5 race at Warwick Farm 16 May 1965…

This contest was an absolute cracker with Cusack ‘driving the race of his life’ according to Ray Bell. GC set the class record at 1:35.2 whilst ‘tigering’ after an early spin at ‘Creek- he dived way too deep in a late braking manoeuvre on Bib. Stillwell won from Geoghegan and Cusack. Then came Glynn Scott, Lotus 27, the similarly mounted Les Howard and A Felton in a Brabham.

Australian National Formula 1 was the ‘Tasman 2.5 litre’ Formula from 1964 to 1970 inclusive. The next level of single-seater racing was, variously, during this period, ANF 1.5 and ANF 2, putting the rule changes in F2 itself back then to one side.

ANF 1.5 existed between 1964-1968 inclusive, and, effectively as a twin-cam, two-valve formula ‘mandated’ the use of the Lotus-Ford ‘twin-cam’ Harry Mundy designed engine in 1.5 litre capacity, at least for those seeking victory. The engine was of course originally built to power Colin Chapman’s Lotus Elan, albeit it’s race potential was immediately obvious and exploited.

Arnold Glass’ Lotus 27 Cosworth Ford twin-cam in the Longford paddock 1964. Ain’t she sweet- in concept and execution very much a ‘mini’ F1 Lotus 25- daddy of the modern monocoque which first raced at Zandvoort in 1962 (R Lambert)

Mind you, the simple statement above does not do justice to the Cosworth modified four cylinder pushrod Ford engines which were dominant in Formula Junior, and were at 1.5 litres the engine to have in the early sixties before the ANF1.5 class was created in Australia.

The motors (not necessarily modified by Cosworth) were fitted to many small bore single-seaters at the dawn of the sixties and could still give a reasonable account of themselves after the twin-cam era arrived, but usually were no longer winners.

Perhaps the first twin-cams to race in Australia were Arnold Glass and Frank Gardner (Alec Mildren Racing Brabham BT6) at the 1964 Australian Grand Prix at Sandown- Arnold’s Lotus was fifth in the race won by Jack Brabham’s Coventry Climax FPF engined Brabham BT7A. Cusack entered a Brabham BT6 similarly engined at Longford and so the bar was shifted in that class as the ‘rush’ to fit the latest and greatest got underway.

 

Lotus-Ford twin-cam. Surely one of the great, enduring race engines despite its road car parentage (Vic Berris)

The problem for the Tasman 2.5’s was the speed of a well driven ‘one and a half’! There were many occasions on which the 1.5’s showed very well in Gold Star competition including winning in the right circumstances.

Some examples of Gold Star top-two performances were Cusack’s second at Lakeside in 1964, Brabham BT6, Leo Geoghegan first in the Hordern Trophy at Warwick Farm in December 1964, second at Lakeside and at the Hordern Trophy, Warwick Farm in 1965 aboard his Lotus 32 Ford. John Harvey was first at Mallala in 1966 driving the ex-Stillwell Brabham BT14. Max Stewart was second at Bathurst during Easter 1968 in his Rennmax BN2 Ford. Garrie Cooper was second at Sandown in an Elfin 600 Ford with John Ampt, Clive Millis and Maurie Quincey all in Elfin 1.5’s in third, fourth and fifth places!

Fast and reliable is the observation about these machines.

16 May 1965- the initial photograph race’s dummy grid- #7 is the Cusack Brabham, the bit of white beyond Geoghegan’s Lotus. #17 Les Howard Lotus 27, #9 A Felton Brabham and the blue car with the white on the nose is Glynn Scott’s Lotus 27 (B Hickson)

Great drivers won the ANF 1.5 title too- in 1964 it fell to Greg Cusack’s Brabham BT6 Ford, in 1965 Bib Stillwell won in a Brabham BT14 Ford with John Harvey victorious in the same car the following year. In 1967 it was Max Stewart’s Rennmax BN1 Ford which took the honours, whilst Max and Garrie Cooper won jointly in 1968. Max raced a Rennmax BN2 Ford and Garrie Cooper an Elfin 600B Ford.

Max Stewart gets some attention during the Symmons Plains Gold Star weekend in 1967, Rennmax BN1 Ford (oldracephotos.com.au/Harrisson)

With the exception of Stillwell, who was already an established ace- a multiple Gold Star winner when he won the title, the drivers were all ‘up and comers’- the ANF 1.5 Championship was an important part of a  journey onto greater things.

In 1964 and 1965 the championship was decided over one race at Warwick Farm and Bathurst respectively and from 1966-1968 by a series of events.

Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 32 Ford in the Warwick Farm paddock in May 1965 (B Hickson)

ANF 1.5 Championship, Warwick Farm, 6 September 1964…

Leo Geoghegan was the form driver in a top car, most would have their money on the Sydney Lotus 27 Ford pilot to win the race in his home backyard but a practice accident meant he was a non-starter come Sunday.

John Ellacott’s photo below shows Leo’s machine less a corner or two- ‘Racing Car News’ reported ‘a sudden inexplicable brake lock-up at the end of Hume Straight’ as the cause.

Leo’s Lotus is at the end of Hume Straight. What happened? (J Ellacott)

 

Geoghegan’s Lotus 27 Ford at Warwick Farm in one piece! (B Wells)

A good field of nineteen cars entered the race with Greg Cusack, Brabham, Roly Levis in Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT2, Glynn Scott and Arnold Glass in Lotus 27’s the likely lads with Cusack the favourite. Future Lotus GP driver David Walker entered his Brabham Ford FJ.

Cusack aboard his Brabham BT6, WF September 1964 (B Wells)

Despite a spin on lap 2 Cusack easily won the 34 lap 76.5 mile race from Glass, Levis, Barry Collerson’s Brabham, DJ Kelley in a Cooper and the R Price Lotus 18.

Shot below is the duelling Lotus 27’s of a couple of relative veterans, Glynn Scott chasing Arnold Glass. Glass had a recent past which included ANF1 Ferrari Super Squalo, Maser 250F and various Coopers. Glynn’s CV extended just into the next decade and sadly his tragic death at the wheel of an Elfin 600 Waggott TC-4V at Lakeside in 1970.

(B Wells)

Glass with a determined set to his jaw! Pretty car had its knocks, re-tubbed at least once in Glass’ hands, famously landing atop the Armco at Catalina Park on one occasion.

Arnold Glass, Lotus 27 Ford, WF Sept 1964 (B Wells)

(Terry Sullivan Collection)

Doug Kelley’s Cooper leads a gaggle of cars below on lap one- the distinctive rear of the R Price Lotus 18, #25 is Barry Lake in the Jolus Minx- a prominent racer/journalist and #16 A Felton’s Lotus 20, this group are a mix of ANF1.5 and FJ cars.

(B Wells)

ANF 1.5 Championship, Bathurst Easter 1965…

As noted above Greg Cusack won the 1964 ANF 1.5 Championship at Warwick Farm in his Brabham, he set off to Bathurst from his Canberra base to defend his title at Easter 1965.

Unfortunately his weekend was over almost before it started.

He spun on a patch of oil at The Cutting- he almost had the car back under control and then hit Ian Fergusson’s stranded Elfin which was perhaps the source of the oil Greg found.

The car was badly damaged, but he was ok- the championship was won by Bib Stillwell from Leo Geoghegan. In the photo below Leo’s Lotus 32 Ford chases Bib’s Brabham BT14 Ford up the mountain.

To compound Greg’s shocker of a weekend, earlier in practice Cusack was running his Lotus 23 Ford sporty, with that car badly damaged after crashing with brake failure. Again Cusack was ok but the trailer was awash with rooted cars by the weekend’s conclusion- it would have been a long sombre drive back to the national capital at the end of the meeting.

(J Ellacott)

Another photograph of a Stillwell/Cusack Warwick Farm battle…

Here its the 19 September 1965 meeting in the up to 1500 cc 10 lapper. The photo is towards the end of Hume Straight approaching the Creek Corner braking area.

Bib won from Greg and Mike Champion, Elfin Catalina. Leo Geoghegan broke a halfshaft coupling on the line and Cusack spun twice he was trying so hard.

Its was not too long before Stillwell retired after a long successful career which included four Gold Stars on the trot from 1962-1965- this fast little Brabham was then sold to Ron Phillips for John Harvey to race. It was an important stepping stone in Harve’s career fitted as it was with successively bigger twin-cams and eventually with a Repco RB740 V8 to contest ANF2.5 races in 1967.

(J Ellacott)

The photo below is of Harvey in the now RRC Phillips owned Brabham BT16 after purchase from Stillwell, in the Warwick Farm paddock during the 1966 Tasman round.

In a very good showing he was eighth- second of the ANF1.5’s home just behind Leo G’s Lotus 32. The race was won by Clark’s Lotus 39 Climax, a car Leo acquired after the Tasman’s end in his step up to ANF1- a jump Harvey also made a year later in 1967. Both were to have their reliability challenges as Repco Brabham V8 engine users during this period!

(autopics.com.au)

The Elfin Connection…

Whilst the photographs above feature imported marques the ANF1.5 category was a sensational class for the local motor racing industry industry, particularly for Elfin Sports Cars.

Garrie Cooper built a swag of Ford 116E pushrod and Lotus-Ford twin-cam powered Catalina’s, Mono’s and early 600’s throughout the early to late sixties.

Below GC is showing off the prototype Mono Mk2 ANF1.5 at the Edwardstown works in 1967.

This chassis had wider swept back upper wishbones and alloy racing calipers on larger diameter 9.5 inch diameter disc brakes than the Mk1.

Whilst Cooper proved the pace of this car (win in the ANF1.5 class of 1966 Surfers Gold Star round) the unpopular with customers, top upper, boxed, swept back wishbones (look hard) were replaced by more conventional top links- so creating the Mono Mk2B.

(R Lambert)

The same chassis again, ‘MB6550’ this time with bodywork on- isn’t it a pretty little gem of a thang, at Mallala with mechanic and friend Norm Butler alongside.

(R Lambert)

Garrie’s own talent behind the wheel developed considerably in this period as he was contesting ANF1.5 races and his share of Gold Star rounds- honing his skills against the top-liners in more powerful, but not always faster cars.

Garrie Cooper, Elfin 600B Ford chasing John Walker Elfin Mono Mk2D Ford, both ANF1.5’s during the October 1968 Mallala Gold Star round- 4th and DNF in the race won by Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco (J Lemm)

Below the chief is being looked after by Bob Mills during the 1967 Symmons Plains Gold Star round won by Greg Cusack’s Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT23A Repco.

GC was out with bearing failure in his Mk2D Mono ‘MD6755’. It is a beautifully composed shot with the local coppers and captivated crowd looking on, or are they St Johns Ambulance chaps?

Love Bob Mills using the Shell dispenser for the BP oil behind his foot- Elfin were a BP sponsored team right from the very start.

(R Lambert)

Plenty of future Australian Aces cut their teeth at elite level in these 1.5s, if I could put it that way, including Leo Geoghegan, David Walker, John Harvey, Max Stewart, John Walker and Alfredo Costanzo.

Alfie broke through in the Mono below and then was ‘in the wilderness’ for a few years as he raced the increasingly uncompetitive car before he re-launched his career with the purchase of the ex-Geoghegan Birrana 274 ANF2 car in 1975-later becoming one of Australias’s greatest in F5000 and F Pacific machines entered for him by Alan Hamilton’s Porsche Cars Australia.

Costanzo, Elfin Mono Mk2B Ford, Lakeside Gold Star round July 1968. DNF the race won by Kevin Bartlett’s Brabham BT23D Alfa  (J Lambert)

Cooper proved the speed of his new design, the spaceframe Elfin 600 Ford, by taking the prototype car, chassis ‘6801’ to South East Asia winning the 1968 Singapore Grand Prix in the 1.5 Ford twin-cam powered car.

He replaced it in mid-1968 with 600B ‘6802’ also 1500 t/c powered, here the car is being tested by Cooper at Elfin’s home circuit, Mallala. Cooper and Max Stewart shared the ANF1.5 Championship, as related earlier, in 1968.

(B Mills)

Cooper’s ANF1.5 class winning Elfin 600B is shown in the BP compound below at Sandown in September 1968.

GC was second outright in the Gold Star race won by Glynn Scott- he of earlier ANF1.5 fame- in the Bowin P3 Ford FVA F2, part of which is on the lower right. See the laurel wreath over the cockpit of the 600- love the atmospherics of this shot.

(J Lambert)

At 6 feet 3 inches Max Stewart was a big, tall, heavy bugger for an open-wheeler dude!

His F5000’s could more readily absorb his body mass and big frame popping out of the cockpit of his smaller cars upsetting their aerodynamic efficiency. He must have given away the equivalent of 20 bhp or so compared to shrimps like Alfie! So his small-car results are all the more meritorious as a consequence.

Below he is at Hell Corner, during the Easter Bathurst Gold Star round in 1968- Max was second outright, winning the ANF1.5 class in his Rennmax BN2 Ford. Somewhat symbolic of the state of ANF1 2.5 racing at the time is that the second to seventh placed cars at Mount Panorama were all 1.5’s.

The engine of Max’ Rennmax was acquired from John Harvey when Ron Phillips fitted a bigger twin-cam to their BT14 thereby providing Maxxy with a very potent motor he put to rather good use!

(D Simpson)

ANF 1.5 was succeeded by ANF2 and that categories evolution to a 1600 cc racing engine class- a logical move given the growing number of Ford Cosworth FVA engined cars in Australia throughout 1968.

Merv Waggott’s 1.6 litre TC-4V four-valve engine broke cover in the same year and was first raced by Max Stewart fitted to Alec Mildren’s Bob Britton/Rennmax built Brabham BT23 copy- the spaceframe ‘Mildren Waggott’ at Symmons Plains in early 1969.

ANF 1.5 was a relatively short lived class, but oh-so-sweet.

Clive Millis all cocked up in his Elfin Mono Mk1 Ford on the way to 6th place in the Hordern Trophy, Warwick Farm Gold Star round in December 1968 won by Bartlett’s Brabham BT23D Alfa (R MacKenzie)

Photo and Other Credits…

Barry Hickson, John Ellacott, James Lambert Collection, Ron Lambert, Bob Mills Collection, Stephen Dalton Collection, John Lemm, Rod MacKenzie, Bruce Wells, Dick Simpson, Terry Sullivan Collection, The Nostalgia Forum, oldracingcars.com, Rob Bartholomaeus for some of the photo identification work

Etcetera…

(oldracephotos.com.au/DSimpson)

Superb Dick Simpson shot of Garrie Cooper hiking the inside right, Warwick Farm Esses 1968. Elfin Mono Ford, I am intrigued to know the meeting date, before too long he had swapped his Mono for the new 600.

(S Dalton Collection)

 

The cutaway above is of a monocoque Lotus 27 powered by a pushrod Cosworth Ford 1.5 and is indicative of the type of chassis construction at the time.

Tailpiece: Bob Jane, Elfin Mono Mk1 ‘M6444’ Ford ANF1.5, Warwick Farm Tasman meeting, 13 February 1966…

(J Ellacott)

Finito…