Posts Tagged ‘Ferrari Dino 246T’

(D Cooper)

Antipodian enthusiasts can argue the toss but I think the 1968 Tasman was about as good as it ever got…

Here Clark, Amon and Hill- Lotus 49 Ford DFW, Ferrari Dino 246T and 49. Two Cosworth V8’s and a Maranello V6. There were a swag of Repco V8’s of different configurations, BRM V8’s and V12’s- Len Terry’s new P126 was blooded in the Tasman in advance of the F1 season, Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo using a 2.5 litre variant of the Tipo 33 sports prototype V8, plus cars using the good ole Coventry Climax four cylinder FPF.

As good as it gets in terms of variety of cars and drivers- in addition to the fellas on the front row of the dry, preliminary, Saturday race we had Jack Brabham, Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren (in NZ), Frank Gardner, Pedro Rodriguez, Piers Courage, Richard Attwood…apart from the local hotshots.

Clark and Hill raced 49’s ‘R2’ and ‘R1’ during their 1968 tour down south.

Hill had mainly raced ‘R1’ since the 49’s race debut at Zandvoort on 4 June 1967. He joined Team Lotus in Australia whereas Jim did the full eight weeks and had almost exclusively raced ‘R2’ from his first up win in the chassis amongst the Dutch dunes. Motors fitted for the Tasman were Cosworth’s 2.5 litre variant of the 3 litre Ford DFV dubbed ‘DFW’.

(D Cooper)

Jimmy has a tyre issue he is sorting with the Firestone man.

The fag packet Gold Leaf Players livery is new- the cars were green and gold at Pukekohe and Levin and red, white and gold at Wigram only a month or so before Longford, as shown in the Wigram front row photograph below. That’s Denny’s F2 Brabham BT23 Ford FVA behind Jim in the Longford pitlane.

(B Wilson)

Clark has won his last championship GP by this stage, the South African at Kyalami on New Years Day, 1 January 1968, he won at Sandown the week before Longford on 25 February taking the Australian Grand Prix, his last, from Chris in a ‘thriller-driller’ of a race which could have gone either way right to the finish line.

Racing’s tectonic plates shifted with his Lotus 48 Ford FVA F2 death in Hockenheim only months hence.

(D Cooper)

In a tour de force of leadership Graham Hill picked up Team Lotus lock, stock and barrel and drove the team forward as Colin Chapman regained his composure and focus after the death of his great colleague and friend.

No seatbelt in Graham’s car above, there would be by seasons end.

No wings either, there would be by mid-season, 1968 was a year of change in so many ways.

Wings here; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/12/wings-clipped-lotus-49-monaco-grand-prix-1969/, and in more detail, here; https://primotipo.com/2016/08/19/angle-on-the-dangle/

Chris loads up in the Longford paddock. That’s Denny’s Brabham BT23 Ford FVA F2 atop the Alec Mildren Racing transporter behind (D Cooper)

The Scuderia Ferrari presence, or more precisely Chris Amon’s single Ferrari 246T raced under his own banner raised enormous interest, the great Kiwi did not disappoint either- and of course came back the following year with a two car squad and won.

In Australia we got a double 1968 whammy in that David McKay acquired one of the P4/Can-Am 350 Group 7 cars for Chris to drive in the sports car support races.

Frank Matich served it up to him big-time in one of his Matich SR3 Repco 4.4 litre V8’s, disappointingly Matich did not cross Bass Straight for this meeting so Chris set the fastest ever lap of Longford despite not being pushed by the oh-so-fast Sydneysider.

(D Cooper)

The gleaming Ferrari Can-Am 350 Scuderia Veloce raced all too briefly throughout Australia in 1968 by Chris Amon, and Bill Brown upon the Kiwis departure back to Italy and all points beyond.

(D Cooper)

Auto-erotica.

With the 1967 Manufacturers Championship over Ferrari modified two of the P4’s, this car, chassis ‘0858’ and ‘0860’ to better compete in the Can-Am Championship and naming them ‘350 Can-Am’ to contest the prestigious series in their most important market.

The cars were lightened considerably becoming curvaceous Spiders instead of even more curvaceous Coupes! Weight was reduced from 792Kg wet to 700Kg wet, engine capacity was increased to 4176cc raising the engines power to 480bhp @ 8500rpm.

It wasn’t enough to compete with the McLaren M6A Chevs of Bruce and Denny, that story is told in this article about the Ferrari P4/Can-Am 350 and ‘0858’ specifically; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

Credits…

Dennis Cooper, Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania, Bruce Wilson

Tailpiece: Look at the crowd…

(D Cooper)

Talk about missing out…

Finito…

Chris Amon on the ‘Warwick Farm 100’ grid, 9 February 1969. DNF lap 1 after a tangle with Piers Courage. Rindt won by 45 seconds from Bell’s 246T. Checkout the wing mount detail (B McInerney)

Amongst the most jewel like Ferraris of the late sixties are the F2 Dino 166 and Tasman Formula 246T’s…

Just yummy they are. The 246T had enough of everything to do the job, but not too much of it, including its wings.

Amon didn’t race so equipped in 1968, his first Tasman Dino year, but wings exploded in F1 that season so he did return with these small aerodynamic aids in 1969, together with four 300 bhp V6’s to power the cars raced by he and Derek Bell that summer.

They were works entries with logistics on the ground taken care of by David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce, Sydney based outfit. David and Chris went way back to 1962/3 when McKay’s support of him in a Cooper T53, and Chris’ speed in it that summer brought him to the attention of Reg Parnell- and off to Europe he went.

Amon’s 246T wing in the Pukekohe paddock, Jan 2-4 1969. He won the NZ GP that weekend in ‘0008’- his ’69 Tasman mount, Bell raced ‘0010’ to 4th (M Feisst)

But its the 246T wings which interest me…

Chapman’s Lotuses returned to Australasia with World Champ Hill and World Champ Aspirant Rindt at the wheel in 1969. Colin’s Lotus 49 DFW ‘aero-phalluses’ were notable for their size and the regularity with which they parted company with the chassis to which they were, usually temporarily, attached.

It was these component failures on both Lotuses at Montjuic Parc, Barcelona several months after the Tasman that caused the FIA to act, constraining the size of wings from the ’69 Monaco GP. Click here for an article in relation to those events.

https://primotipo.com/2015/07/12/wings-clipped-lotus-49-monaco-grand-prix-1969/

Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B Ford DFW with its big, hi-mounted wing in the Pukekohe paddock, 1969. Its high in the airstream to catch ‘clean air’, not a problem- the mounts themselves were under-engineered bigtime though. Hill, Oliver and Rindt all had failures, in the case of Oliver and Rindt huge accidents which could easily have been fatal (M Feisst)

I am a complete Lotus nutbag but joisus Chappers should have been shot for the death and destruction caused to his drivers/customers by component failure over the years? The Latin term ‘caveat emptor’ could have been designed with Lotus purchase in mind. On the other hand, butch though the engineering sometimes was, the 1961/2 156 springs to mind- shite didn’t and doesn’t tend to fall off Ferraris.

Look at (in the Pukekohe paddock photo above) the spidery, small, multi tube structure which supports the little wing. The mounts are triangulated and supported forward to the roll bar. The adjustment mechanism to alter the angle of incidence is simple and neat. The chord of the wing is shallow with endplates, not so common at the time, to ‘capture’ airflow.

Note the throttle linkage, water and oil fillers and breathers, also the Willans harness attached to the roll bar.

Amon at Teretonga, I think, in 1969. Courage won in Frank Williams Brabham BT24 Ford DFW- a portent of the success they would have in GP racing that season with an FW run Brabham BT26 Ford DFV. Again, check out the Dino wing and its mounts. Chris was 3rd behind Hill (unattributed)

Chris took a great win in the ’69 Tasman, he won the first two rounds at Pukekohe and Levin after Rindt spun away the lead, before Jochen won on the Wigram airfield circuit. Piers Courage won at Teretonga in his bi-winged Brabham BT24 Ford DFW before the circus crossed the Tasman Sea to Australia.

Chris won well at Lakeside, the Australian Grand Prix was run in very hot conditions- with both Lotuses suffering wing failure that weekend. Jochen drove away from the field at Warwick Farm in streaming rain after Amon and Courage tangled early on. Chris won again at Sandown by 7 seconds from Rindt and took the series with 44 points from Rindt and Courage on 30 and 22 points respectively.

Graham Hill suffers what would not be the last Lotus 49 wing failure during the 1969 Australian Grand Prix at Lakeside. He pitted, a mechanic hack-sawed the wing mounts and removed the offending items allowing GH to rejoin and finish 4th behind Amon and Bell both aboard Dino 246T’s and Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco (G Ruckert)

Amon’s 1968 Tasman Dino Season…

https://primotipo.com/2017/07/21/amons-tasman-dino/

The Ferrari 166 Dino…

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/09/temporada-f2-series-argentina-san-juan-1968/

Amon after his Lakeside AGP win (J Stanley)

Bibliography…

oldracingcars.com

Photo Credits…

Mike Feisst/The Roaring Season, Brian McInerney, John Stanley, Graham Ruckert

Tailpiece: Amon on his way to AGP victory at Lakeside on 2 February 1969, Ferrari 246T ‘0008’…

(J Stanley)

 

(B Pottinger)

I wish I had the soundtrack of the howling 300 bhp 24 valve, injected Vee-Six to go with the visual…

 Chris Amon’s Ferrari Dino 246T chassis # ‘0008’ being warmed up prior to the start of the Teretonga International on 25 January 1969.

 Chris was third in the race behind Piers Courage in Frank Williams Brabham BT24 Ford DFW and Graham Hill’s Gold Leaf TL Lotus 49 Ford DFW- and won the ’69 Series with wins at Pukekohe, Levin, Lakeside and Sandown.

 Just so ‘Ferrari in period’ this shot ‘innit?

 Veglia Borletti- Giri, Olio, Acqua and Benzina instruments and MoMo steering wheel- wouldn’t we all have loved to sit right here looking at this lot. Note the small fire extinguisher sitting above the dash and Lucas electrical fuel pump off-switch beside the fuel guage.

 I’ve done a few articles about Chris and the Dino, just pop the names into the primo site search engine on the home page for more ‘on topic’.

 Photo Credits…

 Bill Pottinger on ‘The Roaring Season’, LAT

Tailpiece: Amon and Rindt on the front row, NZGP Pukekohe, 4 January 1969, Chris won from Jochen…

(LAT)

(Mr Reithmaier)

I love the build up and tension before the start of a big race; here it’s the grid prior to the start of the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe, in the north of NZ’s North Island on 6 January 1968…

Chris Amon readies himself and his Ferrari Dino 246T before the first round of the 1968 Tasman Series, a race in which he wonderfully and deservedly triumphed. Missing on the front row is Jim Clark’s Lotus 49T Ford DFW. Car #2 is Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P261, the Mexican is bent over the cockpit of his car but failed to finish with clutch problems. Car #7 is Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo T33 2.5 V8 with chief mechanic Glenn Abbey warming up the one-off car. Lanky Franky Gardner is adjusting his helmet beside the car, it was a good day for Frank, the car was second.

Look closely and you can see a camera crew behind the Brabham which is focusing on 1967 reigning world champion Denny Hulme and his #3 Brabham BT23 Ford FVA F2 car- Denny’s head is obscured by Frank’s body. Hume boofed the ex-Rindt BT23 during the race badly enough for a replacement chassis to be shipped out from the UK.

I’ve always thought these F2/Tasman Ferrari’s amongst the sexiest of sixties single-seaters. The 166 F2 car was not especially successful amongst the hordes of Ford Cosworth Ford FVA engined cars in Euro F2 racing. However, the car formed the basis of a very competitive Tasman 2.5 litre Formula car when fitted with updated variants of the Vittorio Jano designed V6 which first raced in F2 form and then owered the late fifties Grand Prix racing front-engined Ferrari Dino 246. It was in one of these cars that Mike Hawthorn won the 1958 World Drivers Championship.

Amon won the Tasman Series in 1969 with Ferrari Dino 246T chassis #0008 with fellow Kiwi Champion Graeme Lawrence winning in the same car in 1970 against vastly more powerful, if far less developed Formula 5000 cars. The story of those championships is for another time, this article is about Chris’ 1968 Tasman mount and campaign.

Amon hooking his gorgeous Ferrari Dino 246T ‘0004’ into The Viaduct in the dry at Longford 1968. Early ’68, we are in the immediate pre-wing era, and don’t the cars look all the better for it! (oldracephotos.com/D Keep)

In many ways Chris was stiff not to win the ’68 Tasman, a title, the last, won by the late, great Jim Clark…

Ferrari entered only one car that year with chassis #0004 assembled in Maranello by longtime Amon personal mechanic Roger Bailey and tested at Modena in November 1967. It was then freighted by plane to New Zealand where it was assembled by Bruce Wilson in his Hunterville workshop in the south of the North Island.

The cars chassis was Ferrari’s period typical ‘aero monocoque’, a ‘scaled down’ version of the contemporary F1 Ferrari with aluminium sheet riveted to a tubular steel frame forming a very stiff structure. The 166 was launched to the adoring Italian public at the Turin Motor Show in February 1967.

In F2 form the 1596cc, quad cam, chain driven, 18 valve, Lucas injected engine developed circa 200bhp at an ear-splitting 10000 rpm. It is important to note that this F2 engine, designed by Franco Rocchi, and in production form powering the Fiat Dino, Ferrari Dino 206 and 246GT and Lancia Stratos is a different engine family to the Jano designed engines, evolved by Rocchi, used on the Tasman Dino’s.

The F2 166 made its race debut in Jonathon Williams hands at Rouen in July 1967, and whilst it handled and braked well it was around 15bhp down on the Cosworth engined opposition. Whilst the car was tested extensively at Modena, including 24 valve variants, it was not raced again that year.

Amon, who had not raced in the Tasman Series since 1964, could immediately see the potential of the car, suitably re-engined, as a Tasman contender given the success of the small, ex-F1 BRM P261 1.9-2.1 litre V8’s in the 1966 and 1967 Tasman Series. The same approach which worked for the boys from Bourne could also work in Maranello Chris figured. A parts-bin special is way too crass, but you get my drift of a very clever amalgam of existing, proven hardware as a potential winning car.

In fact Ferrari went down this path in 1965 when a Tasman hybrid of a then current F1 chassis was married to a 2417cc variant of the Jano 65 degree V6 for John Surtees to race in the 1966 Tasman. John had Tasman experience in Coventry Climax FPF engined Coopers and Lola’s at the dawn of the sixties and could see the potential of a small Ferrari.

That plan come to nothing when Surtees was very badly injured in a Mosport Can Am accident in his self run Lola T70 Chev in late 1965. This car, Ferrari Aero chassis ‘0006’ played the valuable role of proving Surtees rehabilitation when he completed 50 laps in the car at Modena. It was in the same chassis that Lorenzo Bandini finished 2nd in the 1966 Syracuse and Monaco GP’s as Ferrari sought to get the new 3 litre V12 F1 312 up to speed, Bandini electing to race the Dino on both occasions. He also finished 3rd aboard the car at Spa. The allocation of this more competitive car to Bandini rather than team-leader Surtees was amongst the many issues which lead to the confrontation between John Surtees and team manager Eugenio Dragoni during Le Mans practice and Surtees departure from the team.

An unidentified fellow, Jim Clark, Ferrari engineer Gianni Marelli, Chris Amon and Roger Bailey share a joke during the 1968 Longford weekend. Chassis ‘0004’ is fitted with the 24 valve V6 covered in the text. Note the quality of castings, fabrication and finish, inboard discs, sliding spline driveshafts and single plug heads of this very powerful- but less than entirely reliable engine in 1968 form, it’s shortcoming cylinder head seals (oldracephotos.com/Harrison)

The engine of the 166/246T was carried in a tubular subframe attached to the rear of the monocoque which terminated at the drivers bulkhead. The car was fitted with a 5 speed transaxle designed by Ingenere Salvarani and Girling disc brakes.

Suspension was also similar to the contemporary F1 cars in having an front upper rocker and lower wishbone with inboard mounted spring/shocks and conventional outboard suspension at the rear- single top link, inverted lower wishbone, two radius rods and coil spring/shocks.

For the 1968 NZ races- Chris won at Pukekohe after Clark retired and at Levin, leading from flag to flag, was 2nd to Clark at Wigram and 4th at Teretonga- a 3 valve variant (2 inlet, 1 exhaust) of the 65 degree fuel injected V6 was fitted which was said to develop around 285bhp @ 8900rpm from its 2404cc.

Chris crossed the Tasman Sea with a 9 point lead in the Series from Clark and the might of Team Lotus. It was a wonderful effort, whilst Ferrari provided the car free of charge, and took a share of the prize money, the logistics were of Chris’ own small equipe. And here they were serving it up to Gold Leaf Team Lotus with a couple of World Champions on the strength, plenty of spares and support crew.

Amon just falls short of Jim Clark at the end of the 1968 AGP at Sandown. The official margin, one tenth of a second after 62 minutes of great motor racing. Lotus 49 Ford DFW and Ferrari Dino 246T (unattributed)

For the four Australian races a 24 valve version of the engine was shipped from Maranello. Its Lucas injection was located between the engines Vee rather than between the camshafts and had one, rather than two plugs per cylinder. This engine developed 20 bhp more than the 18 valver with Chris promptly putting the car on pole at Surfers Paradise, a power circuit. He won the preliminary race and had a head seal fail whilst challenging Clark in the championship race.

At Warwick Farm he qualified with the 18 valve engine and raced the 24 valver having rebuilt it- they only had one of the motors. He was challenging both Clark and Hill in the race and then spun in avoidance of Hill who was having his own moment…he was 4th on the tight technical Sydney circuit.

At Sandown during the AGP, the pace of the car, and Amon, was proved in an absolute thriller of a race in which he finished 2nd to Clark by one-tenth of a second, the blink of an eye. Let’s not forget the best driver in the world driving the best F1 car of the era powered by the Tasman variant of the greatest GP engine ever- and took fastest lap.

As the team crossed Bass Straight from Port Melbourne on the ‘Princess of Tasmania’ Chris knew he had to win the Longford ‘South Pacific Championship’, with Clark finishing no better than 5th to win the Tasman title.

At Longford, still fitted with the 24 valve engine, which must have been getting a little tired, he qualified a second adrift of Clark and Hill. He finished 7th in a race run in atrocious conditions on the most unforgiving of Australian circuits having initially run 2nd to Clark but then went up the Newry Corner escape road and suffered ignition problems from lap 10.

Piers Courage won in an heroic drive aboard his little McLaren M4A Ford FVA F2 car that streaming day, in a series which re-ignited his career.

Chris and the boys confer about car set-up- in the dry!, at Longford(oldracephotos.com.au/Harrisson)

Chris was a busy boy during the Australian Tasman leg as he also drove David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 350 CanAm/P4 in sports car support events at each round in addition to the little Dino.

These races were outstanding as they all involved close dices between Chris and Frank Matich in his self designed and built Matich SR3 powered by 4.4 litre Repco Brabham ‘RB740’ V8’s- with Frank getting the better of him in each of these races. The speed of the Matich was no surprise to Chris though, both had contested rounds of the Can Am Championship only months before the Tasman in the US.

Click here for my article on the Ferrari P4/CanAm 350 #’0858’ Chris raced in Australia;

https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

Amon lines David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce Ferrari P4/350 Can Am up for Longford’s The Viaduct during the 1968 Longford Tasman meeting. Matich didn’t take the SR4 to Longford so Chris had an easy time of it that weekend. The sight and sound of that car at full song on the Flying Mile at circa 180mph would have been really something! (oldracephotos.com/D Keep)

For the ’69 Tasman Chris applied all he learned in 1968 returning with two cars, the other driven by Derek Bell, four well developed 300bhp 24 valve engines with the logistics taken care of by David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce.

He promptly lifted the Tasman Cup in a very successful campaign from Jochen Rindt, Graham Hill and others. With a little more luck, or greater factory commitment in 1968 it may have been two Tasman’s on the trot for the Maranello team and Chris…

Bibliography…

oldracingcars.com, sergent.com.au, ‘Dino: The Little Ferrari’ Doug Nye

Photo Credits…

Mr Riethmaier, oldracephotos.com, Rod MacKenzie

Tailpiece: Love this moody, foreboding Longford shot by Roderick MacKenzie. Chris has just entered the long ‘Flying Mile’ in the streaming wet conditions during Monday’s ‘South Pacific Trophy’ famously won by Piers Courage little McLaren M4 Ford FVA F2 car. 4 March 1968…

(Rod MacKenzie)

Finito…

 

modena chis and plane

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Chris Amon is not a driver one readily associates with the very successful 1970 Ferrari 312B and even then only in a ‘lost opportunity’ kind of way…

As he drove from his digs in Maranello the 20km to the Modena circuit Ferrari used for testing each time in mid 1969 he did so with an increasingly heavy heart.

Chris had motor racings dream job; Ferrari’s ‘number one’ driver and the considerable resources of the famed Scuderia at his disposal. He tested and raced F2 and Tasman Dino’s, Sports Prototypes, big CanAm Group 7 cars and of course GP cars. The company car was not to be sneezed at. Ferrari’s drivers were only marginally less popular than the Pope. He loved living in Italy, enjoyed the food, people, the vibe in Maranello and testing the cars, Mauro Forghieri rated him one of the teams greatest test drivers, and of course his racing of them.

But in his terms, as one of the five best drivers in the world at the time, he was not achieving the grand prix winning success he deserved. So many times he had lead races in 1968 and early in 1969 only to have the car fail beneath him.

And now, a car he thought looked fabulous and was testing well had an engine which consistently ‘grenaded’ behind him at Modena in the most spectacular fashion.

What should he do?; stay with Ferrari in the belief the engineering problem would be solved or move to another team with a Ford Cosworth powered car was the decision which tortured him…

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Amon, Monaco 1967 in the awful race in which his teammate Lorenzo Bandini died the most gruesome, fiery death. Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT20 Repco won from Hill’s Lotus 33 BRM and Amon  (unattributed)

 

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The partnership between Amon and Mauro Forghieri was a fruitful one based on great mutual respect, which is not to say they always agreed! Here with 312 at Zandvoort in 1967. How young does he look?! Ferrari team-leader at 24 by the end of 1967 (unattributed)

He joined Ferrari in 1967 as one of four drivers; Lorenzo Bandini, Mike Parkes, Ludovico Scarfiotti and himself. The ‘pudgy’, heavy 312 of 1966 evolved into the 1967 car, quite the sexiest looking of any GP car. After the end of the sports car season it became a very fast car; fitted with a lightweight block and F2 derived gearbox and from Monza with 4-valve heads the car flew. Amon believed the 390bhp claimed for it and described the (’67 and ’68) chassis as ‘an absolute dream to drive’. Amon should have won at Watkins Glen in front of the two Lotus 49’s but the engine blew 12 laps from the end. In Mexico Chris qualified well in 2nd but pitted for fuel.

A road accident early in the season put him out for a while. His speed had been demonstrated in all types of car, his place in the team cemented despite an awful season for Ferrari. The tragic death of Bandini at Monaco and the effective end of Mike Parkes’ career in a huge, high speed Belgian GP, Spa shunt.

modena amon color

Amon with Ferrari 312 in the Monza pits, Italian GP 1967. Q4 and 7th in the race won by John Surtees Honda RA300 (Schlegelmilch)

For 1968 his teammate was Belgian ‘Wunderkind’ Jacky Ickx.

One of the ‘crosses Ferrari F1 drivers sometimes bore’ was Enzo Ferrari’s obsession with sports car racing, particularly Le Mans. Whilst the team had better resources than most the impact of the sports car program on F1 was great or little depending upon the competitiveness of said GP cars at the time! In mid-season, the focus was on the Sports Cars, after that F1 was re-prioritised.

In 1968 Ferrari ‘spat the dummy’ at  CSI rule changes (ending unlimited cars and changing to 5 litre Sports Cars and 3 litre Prototypes) not building a car for the season with a consequent focus on F1 and development of a car which could have won both ’68 world titles.

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1968 Spanish Grand Prix. Ferrari 312/68 Q1 and led until fuel pump failure on lap 58. Hills Lotus 49 Ford won (unattributed)

The 48 valve V12 was developed to give circa 410bhp at a time the Ford Cosworth DFV gave much the same, albeit the Fazz lacked the mid-range punch of the DFV, Amon quipped that ‘there was nothing at home below 9800rpm’. The engine also had high water and oil temperatures with consequent power loss. The Ferrari’s went to the grid carrying 8-10 gallons more ‘juice’ than the Cosworth cars, a weight penalty of 55-70 pounds. Despite all of that the 312/68 was a very competitive, if unreliable beast.

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In amongst the damp North Sea dunes at Zandvoort in 1968. Dutch GP Q1 and 6th, the race won by Stewart’s Matra MS10 Ford  (Schlegelmilch)

 

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French GP, Rouen 1968. Q5 and 10th in the race won by teammate Ickx, the ‘rainmaster’ who started the damp race on full wets and drove away in the early laps when, again, a driver, Jo Schlesser, died in another fiery accident in the Honda RA302. These accidents accelerated changes to circuit and car safety, not that they were the last horrible fiery deaths in the period. Amazing Rainer Schlegelmilch shot of Rouen and the butt of Amons 312; look at the hay bales, tyre distortion and the presence of wings which grew thru ’68 (Schlegelmilch)

In 1968 the grid was ‘awash’ with Ford Cosworth DFV’s; Lotus, McLaren and Ken Tyrrell’s Matra’s were fitted with them. Colin Chapman waived his exclusivity agreement to the engines upon Ford’s Walter Hayes request that he do so ‘for the good of GP racing’ such was Hayes fear of Lotus dominance. Not that Ford’s position was diminished by more DFV powered cars on the grid than less!

amon oulton

Amon in the Oulton Park Gold Cup 17 August 1968. I had this shot on my bedroom wall for years as a scho0l kid! Wings are growing…Amon 2nd to Stewart’s Matra MS10 Ford (unattributed)

For Ferrari, BRM, Weslake and Honda the impact of the Ford engine was great. The DFV was built on modern, tape controlled equipment bought for the purpose which meant the quality of the product was consistent, parts made would fit all engines. Prior to that some GP engines were to an extent hand fettled and bits needed to be modified to fit each engine, which was effectively bespoke. Cosworth’s quality control and the pressure on them to rebuild the engines in a timely consistent way for all took a while to get sorted. But the writing was well and truly on the wall. The Ford engine a considerable F1 weapon of course right into the eighties and beyond in F3000 guise.

None of this was lost on Amon of course, the competitiveness of his compatriot Bruce McLaren’s cars in 1968 was something he observed and discussed with both Bruce and Denny Hulme.

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Italian GP, Monza 9 August 1968. Giulio Borsari makes some adjustments to Ickx’ 312. Forghieri devised this ‘movable aerodynamic device’ operated by oil pressure. The wing went to hi-angle mode in 1/2/3rd gears but feathered for low drag with the throttle open in 4/5th gears. It returned to download position in those gears when the brakes were applied. An override switch was fitted which Chris liked and Ickx had removed (Klemantaski)

 

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Amon putting the movable wing to good effect at Monza in 1968. Q3 and DNF after an accident, Hulme won in a McLaren M7A Ford  (unattributed)

But Chris was ‘on fire’ in 1968. Ferrari were on the front row 9 times, 8 to Amon and took 4 poles, 3 to Amon. Unreliability robbed them, and Chris of  3 probable wins. Ickx took the only race win at Reims during the tragic French GP in which Jo Schlesser died in the Honda RA302.

At Monza Chris lead until an oil leak onto a rear tyre caused an almighty accident which destroyed the car. Amon dominated in Canada despite clutchless gear changes from lap 12 but of course the gearbox broke under the strain, the clutch should not have failed.

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Chris on the way to a 1969 Australian GP victory at Lakeside, Queensland on 2 February. He won the Tasman Series beating the Team Lotus Rindt/Hill duo and others. Left front of the Dino 246T off the deck thru the very fast kink opposite the pits (Rod MacKenzie)

1969 started well. Chris tested his 246 Dino Tasman cars thoroughly at Modena before shipping the cars home to New Zealand. He convincingly won the series in 300bhp, 24 valve cars he helped develop and a team he put together. He collaborated with David McKay’s Sydney based Scuderia Veloce who provided on ground back-up for the mix of speed and reliability needed for this championship of intensity; 8 races in 8 weeks.

He beat the factory Lotus 49’s of Hill and new-signing and probable ‘fastest guy on the planet’ Jochen Rindt taking 4 wins including the NZ GP at Pukekohe and AGP at Lakeside. The series of depth also included Derek Bell (in the other Dino), Frank Gardner (Mildren Alfa T33 V8) and Piers Courage (Brabham BT24 Ford DFW).

Back at Maranello the finishing touches were being made to the 312P, Ferrari were back in endurance racing that year, and the latest evolution of the 312 GP car.

Strategically the future for Ferrari was bright despite the financial difficulties the team were in early in the year. Discussions underway with Fiat were consummated in June; Enzo Ferrari had effective control of the racing department for his lifetime whilst Fiat took over the development of the road cars. And a considerable amount of cash changed hands.

The injection of working capital allowed Ferrari to build the 25 512S Sports Cars required for homologation into Group 5 for 1970 and to develop Ferrari’s first ‘clean sheet’ 3 litre F1 car, the flat-12 312B.

Ferrari authorised Forghieri to start this program  early in the year well before the Fiat deal was done. The Fiorano test facility, opened in 1972 is another example of the sort of investment which would not have been possible without Fiat’s investment in Ferrari.

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Monaco 1969 Amon beside Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS80 Ford which won the title that year . Q2 anf a failed diff. Note the lack of wings, banned overnight by the CSI. Hill won in a Lotus 49 Ford (Yves Debraine)

From Amon’s perspective then, he was potentially in the right place.

He was esconced in one of the sports greatest teams, he had won the Tasman, Ferrari was in the process of doing a deal with a partner with deep pockets. A new car was underway for 1970 but 1969 could be a challenge with an evolution of the ’68 cars and more Cosworth powered cars on GP grids! It was critical to Chris the 312B tested well.

Whilst Mauro Forghieri worked on the design of the 312B Ing Stefano Jacoponi was responsible to do what he could with the obsolescent V12. The chassis was much the same although the cars appearance was different with a flatter nose and evolution of wings, partially at the whim of the (CSI) rulemakers who banned, rightly, high-wings during the Monaco GP weekend.

The V12 was changed with heads which reversed the porting, returning the exhausts to outside the Vee lowering the cars centre of gravity and reducing turbulence around the rear wing. Inlets were in the Vee, more radical cams were developed and disastrous efforts made to reduce frictional losses and release power, by reducing main bearing area…

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Amon, Q2 DNF engine, Spanish GP, Montjuic Park, Barcelona 1969. Stewart won in a Matra MS80 Ford. Look at that oil cooler trying to do just that (unattributed)

 

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Forghieri with the 312/69 in the Silverstone, British GP paddock. V12 cooling issues clear by the ‘orrible oil cooler/duct incorporated into the rear wing. Amon Q5 and DNF lap 45 with gearbox failure. Stewart’s Matra won after a titanic battle with Rindt’s Lotus. 3 Ferrari’s were entered #32 the spare (unattributed)

Early in the season Ferrari entered only one car for Amon. He was 2nd on the Spanish GP grid and inherited the lead after the two Lotus 49’s crashed with wing failure, with a lead of over 30 seconds the engine seized. At Monaco he was 2nd when the diff failed and at Silverstone, joined by Pedro Rodriguez both retired with ‘box and engine failures.

To add to these frustrations and be in no doubt elite sport is as much mental as physical his erstwhile teammate Ickx, Amon had been demonstrably the quicker of the two in 1968 was winning races in Brabham’s year old spaceframe chassis BT26. That car was now as consistently fast and reliable with a DFV in 1969 as it was consistently fast and unreliable with a Repco ‘RB760 Series’ V8 in 1968. Amons disappointment with his situation was immense, he was a race-winner in a reliable Ferrari or another car.

Such were their problems Ferrari withdrew from the German GP on 3 August, Ickx won there, to prepare the new 312B for Monza, it simply was not worth racing the fast but unreliable 312/69.

Amon had great hopes for Mauro Forghieri’s new for 1970 car, the ‘clean-sheet, Flat-12 engined 312B…

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Amon readies himself for the off, Modena, exact date unknown (GP Library)

Mauro Forghieri’s Ferrari 312B was one of the most beautifully integrated Ferrari’s ever built, whilst much is made of the engine the success of the car was about far more. Doug Nye; ‘The 312B…was quite the best integrated 3 litre F1 package yet created. It would remain the best packaged of all Ferrari’s until the Postlethwaite 156 appeared in 1985’ he said writing in 1986. I always thought the 312T/T2 were pretty handy bits of integrated kit, but the point is, the car was a beautifully designed and executed car!

The talented Modenese born engineer saw at close hand as an at thecircuit race-engineer the success of the Lotus 49 and its imitators, the engine beautifully integrated with the chassis and the powerful, torquey, compact, relatively frugal and reliable nature of the Cosworth DFV itself. The engines basic dimensions and valve angles gave instruction to a whole generation of engine designers.

The suspension of the competition were all period conventional; wishbones/wishbones or rocker/wishbones at the front and single top-link, lower wishbones and radius rods for fore and aft location. The 312B followed that course.

Aerodynamics were still a black art but the CSI’s mandated lower wings meant airflow to the critical rear wing needed thought as the wing could no longer be mounted high in ‘clean air’. Remember, at the time traction was important, the cars had a wonderful surplus of power over grip.In the end that problem solved as much by tyre alchemy as wings let alone the 1969 4WD blind-alley of which Ferrari was not a part.

A 12 cylinder engine was a ‘Ferrari given’. Forghieri’s challenge was to unlock sufficient power to combat the DFV despite the inherent packaging issues of the longer engine and frictional losses and other bottom end shortcomings which were such problems in the existing V12.

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Ferrari 312B 1970 showing the chassis structure and rear ‘boom or beam’ to which the engine attaches (Nye)

Forghieri’s chassis was another of Ferrari’s ‘aero constructions’. They were not monocoques in the British sense but rather a tubular internal frame stiffened by riveted on ‘ally panels. Not a problem, Ron Tauranac’s old-fashioned spaceframe BT26’s were race winning GP cars in 1969 until effectively outlawed by the ‘bag tank’ rules of 1970.

The clever bit, ‘praps learning from the DFV’s simple chassis mounts mandated by Lotus designer Colin Chapman to Cosworth’s Keith Duckworth was the use of a ‘beam’ aft of the usual drivers bulkhead to which the engine mounted. This provided a very stiff structure but also very good, better than all other cars in 1970, airflow to the rear wing. It promised more downforce and therefore grip for less angle, drag, than the other cars.

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Note the rivets on the rear beam which is part of the cars chassis to which the engine attaches, it also biolts to the bulkhead behind the driver. Low nature of engine and good airflow onto the wing. Oil cooler ducts also in shot (GP Library)

 

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Ferrari factory drawing of the Flat-12 312B engine showing its deep base chamber, roller bearing mains, narrow included valve angle, induction tracts above the heads, exhausts below and extensive cross-bolting of the split crankcase castings (Nye)

Engineers Forghieri, Rocchi and Bussi’s 3 litre Flat-12 engine was conceived in that horizontally opposed configuration to get the cars centre of gravity low and get the engine out of the airstream to the wing. The need for lower frictional losses was met by the use of just 4, the old V12 had 7, main bearings. The design used  2 plain bearings in its centre and ball bearing races at each end.

Bore and stroke were 78.5mm x 51.5mm, vastly oversquare, for a capacity of 2991cc. Four overhead camshafts and 4 valves per cylinder were used, the heads evolved from ’69 V12 practice. Lucas fuel injection was carried over onto the new engine. The cams were driven by gears  from the crank’s nose.

Doug Nye; ‘The light alloy block was cast in 2 parts and united on a crankshaft centreline bolted flange…Light alloy cylinder liners were used, cooled by water circulation at their upper ends, by oil circulation down below. The crankshaft was machined from a steel forging, each of its six crankpins carrying two con-rods. The crankshaft nose gear drove alternator, ignition distributor and and fuel metering unit via gears and pinions. The crank tail drove the valvegear train. A tiny flywheel assembly incorporated a rubber vibration damper. Forged titanium con-rods were used…and Mahle forged aluminium pistons…a single oil pressure pump was driven off the rear of the RH cylinder timing gear fed the oil filter mounted behind the fuel metering unit.’

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Side on flat-12 engine detail, DOHC, 4 valve, Lucas injected, single plug, how low do they take the CofG with this approach?! See rad header tank and extinguished bomb, the latter messy in terms of flow to the wing and exposed! Check out the very clever roll bar brace; it triangulates and stiffens the rear beam structure as well as providing a neat, faired mount for the wing itself (GP Library)

 

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312B front end detail. Suspension top rocker actuating coil springs and Koni shocks and lower wide based wishbone. Note ally ducting behind rad to exhuast hot air via ducts in the fibre-glass nose (GP Library)

 

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Butt shot of the 312B as it heads out onto Modena Autodrome with Amon saying a few silent ‘Hail Marys’ as to engine life no doubt! Ducting to oil coolers, rear mounted battery and outboard brake discs/suspension all clear (GP Library)

Amon watched the jewel of a car evolve at Maranello, it was with a great deal of optimism that he approached his early tests at Modena.

Right from the start he and Forghieri were happy with the chassis, the sort of balance they achieved with the earlier V12’s was still present. The car was lighter, was good under brakes had good traction and top speed for as long as the new, powerful engine lasted…

With Chris in the car the 312B had a series of monumental, catastrophic engine failures due to piston, crankshaft and lubrication problems. Amon; ‘I could feel that it was tremendously strong and powerful during those early tests, but it kept flying apart, i thought hell i can’t stand any more of this…’

After one of these sessions in August Chris said ‘enough’ and decided to leave the team.

Its ironic that Amon made the decision to leave due to the early failures of an engine which became a paragon of powerful reliability for a decade winning 3 drivers, 4 manufacturers and 1 sportscar championship for the Scuderia. Its performance was only compromised by its low/bulky architecture, a strength but an impediment in the ‘wing car ‘ era when the engine took space needed for ground-effect tunnels.

The engines bottom end failings were resolved by building a tilting dyno-bed at Maranello  to reproduce oil surge in corners. The crank torsional issues were sorted by the addition of a Pirelli cushion coupling between the crank and flywheel. In this form the 1970 spec engine developed 460bhp from 11500-11700 rpm rising to 510bhp@12000 rpm in 1979/80.

But for Chris it was all too much, he could see another season of Ferrari DNF’s caused by the repeated engine failures which had cost him victory or good placings on so many occasions. He saw his immediate future best served by driving a Ford Cosworth DFV powered car, the dominant engine of the time, so off to the nascent March concern he went.

He hadn’t burned his Ferrari bridges though, he was invited to be a member of the teams 512S sportscar squad in 1970…but Enzo Ferrari did say to the Kiwi that he, Ferrari, would win a race before Chris did!

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Ickx, having made a smart move to Brabham in 1969 came back to Maranello for 1970 as ‘numero uno’ and was unlucky in some ways, in a season of great cars, not to win the title in the 312B!

The 312B came on strong, all issues solved in the second half of the season, the car won in Austria, Mexico and Canada for Ickx and at Monza for Regazzoni. Had the car started the season as well as it finished, noting Rindt’s death at Monza took out the seasons fastest combination, Ickx would have won the title. Mind you, there are plenty of new cars down the years that if they had reliability from the start of the season would have taken the title.

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This group of shots (the one above and those at Modena below, all are undated sadly) are included for the sake of completeness; they are all of the same session. They show the beauty of this incredibly good, important for Ferrari car.

The photos convey a certain sense of calm as well, despite the problems which were apparent with the engine from the start. Apart from Chris of course, i am sure he felt far from calm trying to best assess his short and longer term options!

Driving careers are fickle things; he felt he had to seize the moment having in his mind stayed at Ferrari a season too long. Hindsight is brilliant of course, in fact he stayed a season too little, his testing skills may well have meant the car started the season better prepared than it did. Ickx wasn’t a noted test driver and new-boys to F1 Regazzoni and Giunti weren’t in a position to make the contribution Chris could and had made since 1967…

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Another view of the roll bar/wing mount covered earlier (GP Library)

 

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Forghieri with the pad, sans rear wing in this shot (GP Library)

 

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Who is the belle of the ball!? Lotus 72 was ‘the radical’ of 1970: side rads, rear weight distbn, torsion bar suspension but all the other race winners that year were ‘conventional’ front rad cars; 312B, BRM P153, Brabham BT33, March 701. Best aero direction not clear at this point in GP history nor would it be until the Lotus 78 started the ‘wing car’ trend (GP Library)

 

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Chris Amon, Modena June/July 1969. He lost many races due to bad luck, the decision to leave Ferrari tho wasn’t so much bad luck as a judgement call which time proved was the wrong one. Wonderful hindsight i know (GP Library)

 

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(GP Library)

 

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Amon lost in his thoughts, Modena 1969 (GP Library)

Amon Post Ferrari…

This article is not about Amon’s career, rather Ferrari elements of it. What follows is not a full summary of the balance of his wonderful career.

For Chris 1970 was frustrating!

The March 701 was not the best car of the season but both he and Jackie Stewart in Ken Tyrrell’s car ‘made it sing’. Stewart took a Spanish GP win and Chris the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, an F1 win but not the GP win he sought.

He came close to that in a titanic battle with Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P153 at Spa in a test of the brave, bold, skilful and precise, just coming second.

He proved as quick as anyone in 1970, again. His record head to head in the 10 Championship GP’s he and Stewart raced the 701, the Scot in a Dunlop rather than Firestone shod car was 8/2 in Stewart’s favour. In all but 2 occasions Chris was only 1 or 2 grid slots behind Stewart who was arguably the best driver in the world at the time if not its fastest. Until his death most would argue that was Jochen Rindt. There is little doubt the Tyrrell 701 was a better prepared car than Amon’s March works car. The point to take here is that Amon was ‘right thereabouts’ with the best driver in the world at the time.

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Amons March 701 being tended by the cars designer Robin Herd at Monaco 1970, Q2, DNF suspension failure,Ronnie Peterson’s customer, Colin Crabbe owned yellow March 701 behind. Rindt won in a Lotus 49C Ford (unattributed)

If the departure from Ferrari was not strategically the right one for all the reasons outlined earlier in the article, the departure to the new March outfit was a ‘leap of faith’ largely i suspect in designer Robin Herd which provided a competitive Cosworth powered car if not the quickest one. Amon knew Herd from their March days, Robin designed the first McLaren F1 car, the M2B and the ’67 CanAm Championship winning M6A Chev.

March were a company whose very successful raison d’etre was the construction and sale of production racing cars, its works teams secondary considerations. Its not hard in that context to work out what Max Mosley and Robin Herd’s prime focus was in 1970; to win in FF, F3 and F2 to flog cars for the coming year. Chris signed relatively early for March, before he knew they were selling 701′ s to ‘every man and his dog’ including the 1969 world champion for 1970. In 1970 Amon, Siffert, Stewart, Servoz-Gavin, Cevert, Peterson, Andretti and others raced 701’s. Works drivers Amon and Siffert didn’t have the cars to themselves.

Brabham, McLaren and BRM would have been better places to be in 1970 than March. Not that BRM was an attractive option in 1969.

Chris joined Matra who made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, back to a V12 for 1971 and 1972, taking a Non-Championship GP win in Argentina in 1971 and again lead races more than once only to experience car failures or punctures.

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1971 Argentinian GP placegetters; Henri Pescarolo March 701 Ford, Amon 1st where he belongs! Matra Ms120 and Carlos Reutemann McLaren M7C Ford Ford (GP Library)

During 1972 Matra were mainly a single-car entry for Amon its focus increasingly on Endurance Racing success.

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German GP 1972. Amon Matra MS120D Q8/15. Ickx won in a Ferrari 312B2 (unattributed)

Tecno in 1973 was a disaster but Chris raced a third Tyrrell in Canada (Q11 2 slots behind Stewart in the unfamiliar car and 10th in the race) and the US (Q12 at the time the team withdrew from the race) for Tyrrell but not converting that into a 1974 drive after the death of Francois Cevert and retirement of Jackie Stewart at Watkins Glen.

His own Amon F1 car was also a disaster in 1974, a project commenced after a return to March in ’74 ‘evaporated’ over the Christmas New Year period seemingly after a failure in communication between Max Mosley and Chris. An engine development business with ex-BRM engineer Aubrey Woods also cost the Kiwi a lot of money. Looking at Chris’ career and some of the decisions suggests he needed a decent business manager, or a better one if he had one!

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In Tyrrell 005 in the Kendall Centre, Watkins Glen. Note the inboard front brakes of Derek Gardner’s design. Tragic weekend with teammate Francois Cevert’s high speed, fatal practice crash in an 006 chassis. Both remaining cars withdrawn and Jackie Stewart didn’t get the chance to race in his last, planned GP (Mike Glynn)

 

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Amon in Tyrrell 005 Ford, Watkins Glen, USGP practice, 6 October 1973 (unattributed)

In 1975 he raced  the Talon MR1 Chev F5000 (nee McRae GM2) in the Tasman Series and in the US showing he had lost none of his skill despite a car not as good as the ubiquitous, highly developed Lola T332’s.

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Amon enters the Sandown paddock, Saturday 22 February 1975. 5th in the race, Talon MR1 Chev, car behind is John McCormack’s 2nd placed Elfin MR6 Repco. John Goss won in a Matich A53 Repco (M Bisset)

The only time i saw Chris race was in the final round of the ’75 Tasman at Sandown in February, he did the full series in one of Jack McCormack’s Talons, not the ‘fastest tool in the shed’ but Chris made the car sizzle despite junk engines which failed 3 times. He took a win at Teretonga, the final Kiwi round and was quick everywhere whilst the car stayed together.

I was a starstruck teenager who didn’t stray too far from his pit the whole weekend. On circuit what was impressive was his speed which was deceptive. He drove the car in a very ‘neutral’ fashion through the slow/medium corners where so many others were ‘tail out’. Across the top of ‘Marlboro Country’ a fast entry quicker corner his carrying speed and control was a joy to watch as was his precision under brakes into ‘Dandy Road’. I still recall the toe/heel too; on the brakes late and a change down late as well, a short/few revs blip at the throttle, easy on the DG300 box. A pro.

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‘Auto Actions’ Paul Harrington gets the gen from Amon, Sandown Tasman ’75 practice Saturday, looks like its tough going! McRae GM2/Talon MR1 clones lovely cars (M Bisset)

Late in 1975 he had some drives of Mo Nunn’s Ensign GP cars, he and Nunn developed these pretty, effective cars into machines which shaded many of the big budget teams in 1976.

He was 10th on the Spanish GP grid, finishing 5th, 8th on the Zolder grid but lost a wheel and flipped the car emerging unscathed in the race. At Monaco he was Q12 and 13th. At Anderstorp he was a terrific 3rd on the grid but crashed out of 4th on lap 39 when the cars suspension failed.

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Swedish GP, Anderstorp 1976; Amon Ensign N176 Ford in between Patrick Depailler’s Tyrrell P34 Ford and Gunnar Nilsson’s Lotus 76 Ford. Scheckter won in the other P34, Amon an amazing Q3 and accident caused by suspension failure (unattributed)

Chris missed the French GP injured after Sweden, Patrick Neve qualified the car 26th, perhaps more indicative of the machines pace without an ‘ace’ at the wheel…

At Silverstone for the British GP, Chris qualified 6th, this time a water leak the cause of a DNF.

The problems of a low budget team in terms of design and preparation were clear, Chris decided he had ‘had enough’ of GP racing in this way and elected not to take the re-start of the German GP after Niki Lauda’s accident. The risk of something breaking on that circuit in that car was simply too great.

1976 showed he had lost none of his sublime, deceptively fast skill, speed and testing ability. He was still only 33 despite having his first Championship GP drive in 1963.

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Amon’s last pro drive. Mont Tremblant CanAm 12 June 1977 in Walter Wolf’s Wolf Dallara WD1 Chev, grid 2 and DNF. Race won by Klauser’s Schkee Chev (Bob Harmeyer)

Amon’s last race was in Walter Wolf’s single-seat Can Am car in 1977 before saying ‘enough’, recommending Gilles Villeneuve for the ride before returning to his native New Zealand and farming at Bulls in the ‘Land of The Long White Clouds’ North Island. He sold the property some years ago but is not too far from the local racing scene and maintains a long-standing commercial relationship with Toyota.

Chris Amon had a career most of us can only dream about, life is all about the decisions we take, perhaps the decision to leave Ferrari in 1969 was the worst he ever made but in the same circumstances i suspect many of us would have made the same call.

To me though he should be remembered for what he achieved rather than what he didn’t: wins at Le Mans, Daytona 24 Hours, Monza 1000Km, a Tasman Championship, NZ (2) and Australian GP wins against some of the best drivers in the world, two non-championship F1 races and many individual race wins and the respect and fear of his peers. From 1967 to 1972 he was in the top 10 drivers in the world, for some of those years top 5.

Bot wow, Amon in a 312B in 1970, if only…

Etcetera…

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Ferrari 312B cutaway (unattributed)

 

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Bleeding the brakes with Dave Ramsay, F5000 Talon MR1A Chev during the Long Beach GP weekend in September 1975. Amon 4th, race won by Brian Redman’s Lola T332 Chev (D Ramsay)

Bibliography…

Automobile Year 16, 17 and 18, Doug Nye ‘History of The GP Car 1965-85’, GP Encyclopaedia, MotorSport March ’84 Amon article by Alan Henry

oldracingcars.com is one of my standard, always reference sources- checkout Allen Brown’s piece on the cars and each chassis built here; https://www.oldracingcars.com/ferrari/312b/

Photo Credits…

Getty Images, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Mike Glynn, Klemantaski Collection, GP Library, Rod MacKenzie, D Ramsay, Bob Harmeyer, Yves Debraine

Tailpiece: ‘This thing is a Jet if only they could keep it together for more than 10 laps?!’ …

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Finito…

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(Bruce Thomas)

The little Alfa Duettos’ DOHC 1570cc would have struggled ferrying this lot, even for a lap…

It’s the victory parade after the 1968 ‘Warwick Farm 100′ won by Jim Clarks’ Lotus 49 Ford DFW from teammate G Hill, with Piers Courage third in his little McLaren M4A Ford FVA.

What driving talent aplenty in this car!

Driving the car is 1960 Australian Gold Star Champion Alec Mildren, Mildren also an Alfa Dealer and incredibly successful and generous race team owner of the 1960-1970 period, the Dutto immaculate in white and wearing a set of ex-GTA wheels, I wonder who owns it now?

Behind Alec is a youthful Alfredo Costanzo, first local home in an Elfin Mono Ford 1.5 and later to be very successful in Australia’s latter F5000 days and the Formula Pacific era in cars owned by Porsche Cars Australia’s Alan Hamilton, another very generous benefactor of the sport.

Brabham, Moss and Clark needing no introduction…

Clark won the race, the Lotus 49 the F1 standard from its ’67 Dutch GP launch, reliability cost Lotus the titles that year, the light, nimble beautiful handling Brabham BT24’s did the trick a second time, Denny Hulme pipping Jack for the Drivers Championship and Brabham Repco winning the Constructors laurels.

In 2.5 litre ‘DFW’ spec the Ford Cosworth powered cars were formidable Tasman weapons, Clark winning the 1968 title and Rindt the fastest man of the series in 1969, if not the most reliable.

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Jim Clark, Lotus 49 DFW, WF 1968. (Peter Windsor)

The Tasman Series entries in 1968 were as interesting and diverse as ever, the interesting shot below taken as the cars line up for practice in Warwick Farms pit lane shows the business end of the new Len Terry designed 2.5 litre V12 BRM P126. Its Hewland DG300 gearbox just visible behind the Lucas fuel pump mounted to the rear of the ‘box, the Shell ‘el cheapo’ oil catch tank is a nice ‘in the field’ touch!

Richard Attwood in the hotseat retired from the race with gearbox dramas.

Two of the P126’s were entered in the Tasman, Bruce McLaren racing a car in the New Zealand rounds took a win at Teretonga, the cars in the Southern Hemisphere to be race proven, after the abortive H16 program, before the European F1 season but there was always a scramble to drive the old, but light, nimble and reliable 2.1 litre V8 P261…Pedro Rodriguez raced it at WF finishing 6th in a car which had so much Tasman success, Jackie Stewart taking the title in a P261 in 1966.

In front of the BRM is Frank Gardners’ Alec Mildren Racing, one off, Brabham BT23D Alfa. This magic little car powered by a 2.5 litre V8 developed via Alfas’ endurance racing Tipo 33 program. Its twin distributors, fired 2 plugs per cylinder a distinctive visual element of the little DOHC, 2 valve, injected engine. Later in 1968 the car won the Australian Drivers Championship in Kevin Bartletts’ capable, quick hands.

Forward of Frank is Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A Ford FVA. Piers came to Australasia with this car, two engines and did incredibly well, perhaps its not unfair to say he re-launched his career with this self funded Tasman effort. Numerous podium placings were surpassed by an heroic win in hopelessly wet conditions on one of the ‘biggest balls’ circuits of the world, Longford a fortnight after his strong third at WF ahead of many more powerful and equally nimble cars as his little F2 McLaren.

This McLaren stayed in Australia after the Tasman being bought by Niel Allen, and was also raced successfully by Warwick Brown in the formative stages of his career.

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WF pitlane Tasman Series 1968. (Brian McInerney)

Graham Hill was perhaps not as focussed on a win as teammate Clark…get your hands off that young woman you bounder?!

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Graham Hill and friends, Warwick Farm paddock 1968. (Brian McInerney)

Was there ever a bloke from ‘central casting’ who looked more like a dashing, debonair driver than G Hill? He did not have the absolute pace of teammates Clark, Stewart or Rindt but was a driver of incredible ability, the only winner of motor racings World F1 Title/LeMans/Indy ‘Triple Crown’ of course.

His greatest moments were to come in 1968 when he picked Team Lotus up by the scruff of the neck, despite the loss of his good friend Jim Clark, providing the leadership the team needed whilst Colin Chapman recovered from his own grief at losing his driver, friend and colloborator in April, only months after this race meeting.

Lotus’ wins in the Drivers and Constructors Titles in 1968 owe a lot to Hills character as well as his determination and speed.

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Hill from Amon and Courage. Lotus 49 DFW, Ferrari Dino 246T, and McLaren M4A FVA. 2nd, 4th and 3rd respectively. WF 1968, the majesty of the place clear in this shot. (Unattributed)

 Jack Brabham had a short 1968 Tasman, his Brabham BT23E was powered by Repco’s latest 740 Series SOHC V8 and competed in only the Warwick Farm and Sandown rounds.

In fact Repco, for all their F1 success didn’t ever have much Tasman glory in their own backyeard…to be fair the primary reponsibility of the Repco Tasman program each year was to sort out the engines for the coming Grand Prix season, but all the same, a few local wins should have been achieved given the resources deployed?

This fabulous car stayed in Australia, acquired by Bob Jane at the Tasmans’ duration, it was raced for him by John Harvey who was always fast in it, but also unlucky, surviving a high speed accident at Bathurst after a component failure, the low point for the team.

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Brabhams BT23E Repco all ready to qualify with a fresh set of Goodyears. Car in front is the BRM P261 V8 of Rodriguez, Courages’ McLaren body on the deck behind Jack. WF pitlane 1968. (Brian McInerney)

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Stirling Moss tells Clark about the fast way around ‘The Farm, both drivers loved the place and won there. ‘Lucas Opus’ spark-box prominent between the Vee of the Cossie DFW. Ford DFV famous as a load bearing member of the car, this shot showing the suspension componentry and its attachment to the engine and ZF ‘box. Suspension itself conventional for the day; inverted lower wishbone, single top link, twin radius rods and coil spring/damper, adjustable roll bar. Front suspension inboard; top rocker visible. Nice. WF Tasman 1968. (Brian McInerney)

The Eyes Have It, Chris Amon absolutely focussed on the task at hand. He came back with another two Dinos’ he ran with the assistance of David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce in 1969, lifting the title in a tremendous and very popular fashion.

In 1968 he was very competitive, winning the first 2 Kiwi rounds at Pukekohe and Levin but did not ultimately have the speed of the Loti of Clark and Hill. The car was a Ferrari 166 F2 (1.6 litre formula at the time) to which was fitted the 2.4 litre DOHC, 2 valve, injected V6 engine from the cars used at the start of the 3 litre Formula 1 in early 1966.

In the 1968 Australian Tasman Rounds Amon mixed the racing of the Dino single seater with a P4/CanAm 350 Ferrari i wrote about a week or so back.

https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

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Chris Amon, Ferrari Dino 246T, WF, Tasman Series 1968. (Brian McInerney)

 This shot captures the atmosphere of the Tasman Series generally and Warwick Farm specifically…there is no hassle of the drivers by the appreciative crowd and vice-versa, there would be uproar these days of course. Piers Courage looking relaxed and happy about his 3rd behind the 2 Lotuses of Clark and Hill, and Amon 4 th, still figuring he could take the title with 2 rounds remaining at Melbournes’ Sandown and Tasmanias’, Launcestons’ Longford. Ultimately he fell short of Clark by 8 points, Amon taking 2 wins to Clarks’ 4.

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Piers Courage and Chris Amon on the WF warmdown lap. McLaren M4A FVA and Ferrari Dino 246T. Australian summer male ‘fashion’ of the day on full display. (Bruce Thomas)

Jim Clark savouring the plaudits of the crowd and one of his last wins, Lotus 49 Ford DFW, 18 February 1968…

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Jim Clark, Lotus 49 WF 1968. (wirra)

Grid and Results…

RCN 68 WF Tasman 01

Etcetera…

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Chris Amon in the WF pitlane. Ferrari Dino 246T. (Peter Windsor)

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Superb John Ellacott shot of Frank Gardner in the Mildren Racing Team Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo. WF 1968. (John Ellacott)

gh wf 68

Graham Hill. WF 1968. (Brian McInerney)

1968 WF Tasman cover

1968 WF Tasman event 5

Photo and Other Credits…

Bruce Thomas, Peter Windsor, Brian McInerney, Wirra, John Ellacott

Stephen Dalton for the race program and ‘Racing Car News’ material

Finito…