Posts Tagged ‘Frank Gardner’

(R Thorncraft)

Kevin Bartlett and Frank Gardner, McLaren M10B Chev and Lola T300 Chev, ‘Warwick Farm 100’ F5000 Tasman round, 13 February 1972…

 

Great mates both and former members of Alec Mildren Racing where FG was a mentor to KB in his formative days in the team from 1965. Both the Brabham 1.5 Ford and Mildren Maserati sporty Kevin first raced were cars FG also drove so he had much to pass on to the youngster who had raw talent, speed and car control to burn. Here the guys are deep into the Creek Corner braking area at the end of Hume Straight- the noses of their steeds close to the bitumen as the pitch angle increases.

 

By 1972 Gardner was about to step back from single-seaters, in fact he ‘retired’ from them after the following weekend at Sandown selling the works machine to Gary Campbell and sitting out the final Adelaide round. Mind you he did a race in the prototype T330 in late 1972 (third at the October Brands European F5000 championship round behind Redman’s Chevron B24 and McRae McRae GM1) just to make sure this masterpiece of an F5000- the greatest ever, was behaving as its designers intended. That chassis T330 ‘HU1’ is well known to Aussies as Max Stewart’s car, a very successful machine which is still in Oz.

 

(R Thorncraft)

 

Whilst the benchmark F5000’s from 1969 through 1971 (M10A and the refined M10B) the ex-Niel Allen chassis ‘400-02’ was getting a bit long in the tooth by the time KB acquired it after the 1971 Tasman Series from Allen. But the 1971 NZ GP winner was an astute purchase by KB as a trick/schmick M10B with all of the works and some home-grown developments and which had been beautifully prepared by Peter Molloy.

 

Bartlett pedalled it hard too, he was the only M10B driver to take a ’72 Tasman round win amongst all the newer kit- the Teretonga round at Invercargill. Thirds at Wigram and Warwick Farm were his other best results with four DNF’s out of the eight rounds. F5000’s always were brittle things, it was only unreliability which cost him the ’71 Gold Star Series, a championship won by his other Mildren Racing mate, Max Stewart in a reliable 2 litre Mildren Waggott TC-4V. By the start of the 1972 Gold Star in mid year a new T300 was in Kevin’s workshop back in Oz but not before he took in the first US ‘L&M’ round at Laguna Seca in the M10B (fifth) before switching to the Jones Eisert Racing T300 for subsequent US races.

 

Gardner didn’t have a great Australasian summer in T300 ‘HU1’- he boofed it during the AGP weekend at Warwick Farm in November 1971, after repair he won the NZ GP in it at Pukekohe in January 1972 and then his engine cut-out at high speed causing a big accident at Levin. He missed the balance of the Kiwi rounds whilst the car was re-tubbed around a fresh monocoque flown out from Huntingdon. The car was plenty fast though- he was second at Surfers Paradise, Warwick Farm and Sandown.

 

KB from FG on the exit of Creek (R Thorncraft)

 

The ‘Farm round was won by Frank Matich in his Matich A50 Repco from FG and KB but ‘the star’ of that series was Graham ‘Cassius’ McRae in his Len Terry designed Leda GM1 Chev aka McRae GM1. His Louis Morand Chevy powered car was both reliable and fast with wins at Levin, Wigram, Surfers and Sandown. It is fair to say the GM1 was the most successful F5000 car of 1972 with McRae also taking the US ‘L&M’ F5000 Championship- he was also third in the European title taking five of the fourteen rounds despite not contesting all of the them. More of the Warwick Farm Tasman in 1972; https://primotipo.com/2018/11/02/australias-mr-and-mrs-motorsport/

 

 

(R Thorncraft)

 

Credits…

 

All photos by Russell Thorncraft

 

Tailpiece: FG did get in front- KB’s McLaren from FG in front of a marvellous crowd…

 

(R Thorncraft)

 

Finito…

 

‘Start ya bastardo’ seems to be the expression on Glen Abbey’s face…

He and the other Alec Mildren Racing boys are trying to get Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT16 Climax alive for the start of the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe on January 7 1967.

It was a tough series for the Sydney crew- 1967 saw the V8 engines multiply that summer, the poor old, venerable Coventry Climax FPF 2.5 litre four potter- Tasman engine de jour for so long was overwhelmed by Repco-Brabham, Coventry Climax and BRM V8’s, the trend started the year before of course.

More would come in 1968 with the Ferrari V6 and BRM V12 adding to the onslaught but by then Mildren had a supply of Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 V8’s- not that they ever quite did the trick in the Tasman, but they were pretty handy at Gold Star level.

Wigram 1966, FG’s Brabham BT11A Climax 2.5 DNF accident, being hosed off by the 1.9 litre BRM P261 V8’s of Dick Attwood #2 2nd and Stewart #6 winner (unattributed)

 

FG and BT16 in New Zealand 1967, circuit unknown (E Sarginson)

In fact the little F2 based BT16 gave Gardner his best Tasman result ever, equal second.

Jim Clark won in a Lotus 33 Coventry Climax FWMV 2 litre, his yield was five wins, three in Tasman Cup championship events and 45 points, whilst equal second were Jackie Stewart, BRM P261 V8 2.1, two wins, Jack Brabham, Brabham BT23A Repco ‘640’ V8 with one and Frank who was winless but consistently quick throughout.

He was third at Lakeside, Warwick Farm and Sandown- three weekends in a row actually, and fourth at Levin, Wigram and Longford- his only DNF’s were in the NZ GP opening round at Pukekohe and Teretonga with engine and oil line problems respectively. Click here for Tasman 1967; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/24/1967-hulme-stewart-and-clark-levin-new-zealand-tasman-and-beyond/

So the paddock photo is representative of dramas which came in the 21 lap preliminary on GP morning when a valve and piston came into contact- that was it for FG’s weekend. Stewart won the NZ GP from Clark and Richard Attwood’s BRM P261.

Back to Mildren and Gardner’s plans for the 1967 Tasman.

Frank and Alec figured they needed something light in all the circumstances so an F2 frame into which they could pop their FPF and Hewland HD5 gearbox made sense- FG had raced Alec’s Brabham BT11A’s in the 1965 and 1966 Tasmans, one of them was raced by Kevin Bartlett. In fact 1967 would be KB’s first full Tasman, as against just running the Australian rounds.

Frank’s European commitments didn’t extend to full F2 seasons in 1965 and 1966 but he did a ‘halfa’ season or thereabouts in 1965 racing several cars- a John Willment Lotus 35 Cosworth SCA, Ken Tyrell Cooper T75 BRM P80 and Midland Racing Partnership Lola T60 BRM P80. In 1966 he raced MRP Lola T60 and T61 BRM’s.

Whilst Mildren’s were a ‘Brabham and Alfa Romeo Shop’ (yes i know not exclusively) and the chassis selection may have been a foregone conclusion, perhaps FG’s closeup view- ‘up the clacker’ of Jochen Rindt’s Winkelmann BT16 at Reims for an hour and a half in July 1965 convinced him Ron’s chassis was the go. Jochen won the Reims GP in 1:33.55.7 from FG on 1:33.55.9 in the Midland Lola.

And so it was they did a deal to buy the John Coombes ‘F2-8-65’ BT16 which had been raced by Graham Hill in 1965 and 1966 in Euro F2 until Coombes replaced it with a new-fangled monocoque Matra MS5 midyear. Click here for articles on Euro 1 litre F2;

Lotus 35, SCA and P80 engines; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/06/jim-clark-lotus-35-and-the-cosworth-sca-f2-engine/

and Brabham Hondas; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/30/xxxii-grand-prix-de-reims-f2-july-1966-1-litre-brabham-hondas/

and the F2 Matras; https://primotipo.com/2019/05/24/surtees-matra-1966-and-thereabouts/

FG in Brabham BT19 Repco ‘740’- Jack’s 1966 ‘620 Series’ powered championship machine during the Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1967 (M Hayward)

 

Gardner, Ford GT Mk2, Le Mans 1967 (D Friedman)

‘F2-8-65’ was soon in Australia and made race ready by Glenn Abbey for the Hordern Trophy, for some years the traditional Gold Star Championship final, December, Warwick Farm round. Frank won from Kevin Bartlett and Spencer Martin in ‘identical’ Brabham BT11A’s entered by Mildren and Bob Jane.

The 1967 Tasman result was outstanding for FG and Mildren’s, it was again a reminder of his speed, consistency and maturity.

At the end of the summer off he went to Europe for what by then had become his ‘usual cocktail’ of touring cars, sports-prototypes and sportscars, F2 and occasional, usually non-championship F1 drives. To me FG had it all-what a mix of cars, and paid well to do it!

Bartlett in the Mildren Brabham BT11A Climax at Warwick Farm during 1967

The BT11A was one of Kevin Bartlett’s all-time favourite cars so it was no surprise Mildren sold BT16 instead- KB and Spencer went at it hammer ‘n tongs again in 1967- a battle between two mates told here; https://primotipo.com/2018/04/27/kbs-first-bathurst-100mph-lap/

Niel Allen was the purchaser albeit the car was usually driven for him by Fred Gibson. From Niel- I think he sold it when he bought Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A Ford FVA at the end of the ’68 Tasman, it went to Col Green then Neil Rear in Perth, in the US now innit for quite some while?

Etcetera…

(D Logan)

FG has crested ‘Lukey Heights’ and is plunging left towards Dandenong Road during the 26 February 1967 ‘Sandown Cup’, he was third behind Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8 and Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Climax FPF 2.5.

Credits…

Doug Shaw Collection, Euan Sarginson, Duncan Logan, oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece; c’mon baby, please!…

Glenn, Stu Randall and Ian Gordon (?), note the nose of the ‘Scuderia Veloce’ 250LM at left, at that stage the custodian was Kiwi racer Andy Buchanan.

Its a period typical Brabham, skinny (albeit not at all so by the standards of a modern Formula Ford) and sturdy spaceframe chassis with upper and lower wishbones and outboard coil spring/shocks with an adjustable roll bar. Alford & Alder steel uprights- you beaut cast magnesium ones arrived with the 1967 BT23/24.

Wonderul bits of chuckable kit straight outta the box- design by Tauranac and final suspension settings by John Arthur Brabham.

Finito…

(HAGP)

Stewart, Hill, Clark, yellow nosed black bodied Gardner, Palmer looking like Clark, Martin in red and Geoghegan white- BRM P261 by two, Lotus 39, yellow nose Brabham BT11A, Lotus 32B of Palmer, red Brabham BT11A of Martin (all but the BRM’s Coventry Climax FPF powered) and Leo’s white Lotus 32 Ford. AGP- the off 20 February 1966 and what a marvellous vista Lakeside is…

The front row of the grid pretty much summed up the 1966 Tasman Cup, the two BRM P261’s driven by Hill and Stewart, two of the finest racers of their time were the class of the field powered by 1.9 litre versions of the ‘P56’ V8’s which won so many races during the 1961-1965 1.5 litre F1, they were quickest cars on the circuit throughout the weekend right from the first session on Friday having recorded laps of 55.5 and 55.8 for the Brit and Scot repectively.

Much of the pre-race press interest centred on the strong BRM presence which included three chassis ‘Graham Hill driving the same car with which he won the 1965 Monaco and US Grand Prix’ and a team of three mechanics, Rivers Fletcher doing public relations all led by Team Manager Tim Parnell- lets come back to BRM’s Australasian representation in a little bit.

Lakeside razzmatazz included girls dressed in chequered flag bikinis, a bagpipes group and a brass band in addition to the on-circuit attractions which included international drivers Clark, Hill, Stewart and Gardner.

David Harding, secretary of the Queensland Motor Sporting Club, quoted the total value of the cars at $A300,000…

Stewart had a huge points lead going into the Lakeside meeting with much expected of Clark after his first win of the series at Warwick Farm the week before.

In New Zealand Graham Hill showed BRM’s form early, winning the opening round, the NZ Grand Prix at Pukekohe on 8 January by 1.5 seconds from Stewart, in P261 ‘2616’ before returning home to the UK to continue tyre and other testing duties. He travelled back south arriving at Mascot for the first of the Australian races, the ‘Warwick Farm 100’, on 13 February.

Richard Attwood won at Levin the following weekend after Stewart had gearbox selector problems having completed 9 laps- Jim Clark was second and Spencer Martin third, Jackie Stewart continued the Bourne boys great form and won the Lady Wigram Trophy at the Wigram RNZAF base the following weekend of 22 January.

Stewart completed a clean sweep of the first four races for the P261 before crossing ‘The Ditch’- the Tasman Sea for Australia- Jackie won the Teretonga International from Frank Gardner and Jim Palmer- the latter had a great season of speed and reliability in the Lotus 32B chassis aboard which Clark took the Tasman Cup twelve months before.

Teretonga wasn’t such a great race for Dick Attwood, as his car ‘2617’, was tagged from behind in the first corner ‘The Loop’ into soft earth whereupon the it rolled trapping the hapless Brit underneath- Spencer Martin and local driver Ian Dawson, also involved in the melee, jumped from their Brabhams and helped marshalls right the car and release the driver.

In fact a ‘switcheroo’ in the cars of Jackie and Richard took place at Wigram. Attwood had his ‘2614’ going like a missile in practice thanks to some judicious testing of bars, tyre pressures and ride-heights with Alan Challis, at which point, Jackie, getting the hang of this Number One Driver caper in Hill’s absence said ‘I’ll have a crack in that’- and so he did winning The Lady Wigram Trophy’ in ‘2614’ the following day.

He kept the same car at Teretonga so the machine, the front bulkhead of which was badly bent, was off for a rebuild to Bourne. It was the car Jackie had raced throughout the 1965 F1 season- ‘2617’ the strength of which would save his life at Spa in mid-1966. We will come back to the individual chassis’ later in the article.

Whilst the drivers flew to Sydney on the Monday after Teretonga Tim Parnell supervised the shipping of ‘2614’ and ‘2616’ to Sydney whilst ‘2617’ headed back to Liverpool, and thence Bourne into the tender hands of the boys in the build shop.

Gardner at left, Attwood, Stewart- Brabham BT11A and two BRM P261s- the off at Wigram 1966. Stewart won from Attwood and Jim Palmer with Frank a DNF after an accident on lap 4 when his brakes failed and he cannoned into Jim Clark, taking them both out of the race (Wigram)

 

Under the Tote building, Pukekohe. JYS’ P261 chassis ‘2617’, in all of its elegant glory, 1966. Which of the BRM mechanics is it folks? The car is fitted with a P56 type 1930cc engine- inlets between the Vee and exhausts exiting thru the ‘letterbox’ orifice in the side of the monocoque, in BRM speak. Note the colour of the car, red nose band, big BRM badge and air relief ducts atop the nose and tail section leaning up against the wall (CAN)

At Warwick Farm Jim ran away and won by 21 seconds from Hill, Gardner, Stewart, Martin and Palmer, click here for a piece on that meeting; https://primotipo.com/2018/07/03/1966-warwick-farm-100/

Clark had carburetion problems with his 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF engine throughout the Lakeside weekend but still managed to pop the car onto row two of practice on the two by two car grid together with Frank Gardner’s similarly powered Brabham BT11A. The Lotus 39 was another mighty car from the Lotus 25/33 continuum but the good ole FPF was struggling a bit from 1966 given the entry into Tasman racing of the BRM and Repco V8’s.

Spencer Martin in the Scuderia Veloce BT11A, and Leo Geoghegan going like a jet in his Lotus 32 was the first of the ANF1.5 twin-cams, a mighty impressive performance on this power-fast-100mph lap average circuit.

Jim Palmer and Greg Cusack shared the next row and the rest- Bartlett, McDonald, Harvey, Andy Buchanan Denis Marwood, Mel McEwin and local boy Glynn Scott rounded out a small field after ‘CAMS cut the grid from 20 to 15 cars’ in the interests of safety.

Graham Hill alights his BRM whilst Spencer Martin’s Brabham BT11A Climax enters the paddock- Glynn Scott, Lotus 27 Ford twin-cam 1.5 approaches in the distance. This is the damp Saturday afternoon session (K Drage)

 

Clark in the very sweet Lotus 39 Climax on Saturday afternoon in the wet- exiting The Karussel (K Drage)

 

Lakeside 20 February 1966. Dunlop’s Vic Barlow at left, Hill suiting up and ‘Dobbin’ Challis beside Graham’s ‘2616’ whilst Jimmy Collins and Stan Collier look after Jackie’s ‘2614’ behind (BRM 3)

Sunday dawned cloudy and hot, the crowd got a magnificent days motor racing on this, the first occasion Lakeside held an AGP, for their four-dollar entry fee!

In addition to the feature race there were two 10 lap heats for the Tasman cars both won by BRM- Hill won the first from Gardner and Martin and Stewart took the second from the Clark and Geoghegan Lotuses.

Stewart and Hill settled into their front row grid slots and howled away from the off- Stewart, Hill, Clark and Gardner led the high speed train, then Martin, Palmer and Geoghegan.

Cusack got by Geoghegan on lap 5 with ‘Hill tied to Stewart as if by string’, Stewart set a scorching pace from the start, thrilling the crowd, despite this Hill was close behind and always within striking distance.

The race developed into three tough fights between Stewart and Hill up front, then Clark just ahead of Gardner and then a flying wedge of Palmer, Cusack and Geoghegan.

’The race pitch at this point had the crowd running from vantage point to vantage point, a rare thing in open-wheel competition, and to really set the seal on the excitement, the tail closed up and made a magnificent show as Marwood, Harvey, Buchanan, McDonald and Scott raced wheel to wheel’ Des White wrote in his HAGP race report.

Stewart’s gearbox cried enough on lap 28- it was this element of the BRM P261 which became its weak link at 1.9 litres and even much more so at the 2.1 litre capacity the Bourne team raced these cars in the 1967 and 1968 Tasmans.

’Stewart was very hard on gearboxes…Hill suffered persistent clutch slip in the last two races, but otherwise the BRM’s were very reliable. So they should have been too, with the massive Owen group effort which included a public relations man’ wrote Bill Tuckey. Bill is a bit hard on Jackie, the ‘box was the problem not JYS lack of mechanical sympathy.

Then Cusack clipped Palmer in the Eastern Loop when Jim braked a little early and Leo kissed Greg causing Cusack to spin and Geoghegan to re-enter the circuit 100 metres down the road- both retired with bent or busted suspension components shortly thereafter.

Frank Gardner in one of two Brabham BT11A’s Alec Mildren Racing raced that summer, Climax engined, the other was Maserati 2.5 V12 powered and ran in Warwick Farm and Sandown practice- pre-race hype promoted the Brabham Maserati at Lakeside but the car did not make the trip from Sydney (unattributed)

 

Jim Clark from Frank Gardner with Spencer Martin’s Brabham BT11A just back a bit- third, second and DNF clutch (autopics.com)

Frank Gardner was still pushing Jim Clark hard- he had a great summer in Mildren’s BT11A with better FPF reliability than some- but FG was mighty quick too, i’m not implying his results were solely due to reliability. Then Jim’s Climax took a turn for the worst- losing its edge further so Frank was through to second from Hill up front- Hill won at an average speed of 94.9mph from Gardner, Clark and Palmer.

Hill and Stewart both did equal fastest laps of 55.9 seconds- one second adrift of Clark’s 54.9 second lap record set in the Lotus 32B the year before. Kevin Bartlett’s Alec Mildren Racing Brabham BT2 Ford was the first of the ANF1.5s home in another drive which convinced Mildren KB was ready for the step up into the more demanding 2.5s- something he did with great aplomb later in the year.

Clark’s carburetion problems persisted throughout the series and were solved by John Sheppard when the car passed into his care after Leo Geoghegan acquired it by the simple expedient of solid carburettor mounts.

Jackie fires up the now ‘Central exhaust’ P68 powered ‘2614’ before heading out of the Lakeside paddock. Jimmy Collins, Vic Barlow and Tim Parnell watched by a group of local enthusiasts (BRM 3)

 

(HAGP)

Graham Hill nose up at Lakeside in a car that was so kind to him- the BRM P261, a machine with which he was synonymous, not the BRM he used to win his 1962 World Title but one he raced from 1963 all the way into 1966 with the H16 BRM P83 duly recognised.

 

BRM and The Antipodes 1966…

The Owen Organisation had extensive business interests in Australasia (it would be interesting to create a list of the British transnational’s subsidiaries in this part of the world at the companies height) and had of course raced here before- Ken Wharton thrilled Kiwi crowds in a P15 V16 in 1954 at Ardmore and Wigram and Ron Flockhart did all of the NZ Internationals in a front-engined P25 in 1959 whereas the 1961 campaign was a full works representation of two P48 mid-engined 2.5 litre F1 cars- these were raced by Graham Hill and Dan Gurney and on this occasion the visitors came to Australia as well as New Zealand. See here; https://primotipo.com/2019/11/18/ken-wharton-and-brms-grand-turismo-south-in-1954/ and here; https://primotipo.com/2018/03/16/bourne-to-ballarat-brm-p48-part-2/

The local promoters led by Ron Frost (NZ) and Geoff Sykes (Oz) had been doing their job in trying to seduce BRM back here and had a ‘red-hot go’ for 1965 given by that stage BRM had an 1880cc ‘P60’ version of their P56 V8, it was thought the P261 so powered would have been competitive with the 2.5 litre (mainly) Coventry Climax engined ‘Tasman Special’ Brabhams and Lotuses.

In essence Tasman races were 100 miles and had no minium weight limit whereas GP’s were 200 miles in duration and the cars had minimum weight limits so Ron Tauranac’s ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams, for example, were designed and built to the Tasman formula or rules. Tony Rudd, backed by Graham Hill, felt the P261 at 1880cc would not be a competitive Tasman Cup mount in that the cars would be too heavy and not powerful enough- underlying their opposition (in a document reproduced by Doug Nye in BRM 3) was the (correct) belief that the Tasman program would detract from their 1965 F1 program in the same way Sir Alfred Owen’s BRM-Rover turbine Le Mans racer grabbed scarce resources in 1963 and 1964- it too was foisted upon Rudd and ORO (Owen Racing Organisation) at short notice.

However, in late 1965 Sir Alfred was resolute, the broader commercial needs of the Owen Group (the establishment of an Austin-Morris production facility in NZ, with Owens to provide the necessary components) were met by having ORO’s presence in the 1966 Tasman Cup and as a consequence the team had to ‘make it work’ despite being up to their armpits in the new for 1966, immensely complex, BRM P83’s H16 engine.

Ron Flockhart, BRM P25 during the 10 January 1959 NZ GP on the Ardmore airfield circuit- DNF oil leak, the race won by Stirling Moss’ Cooper T45 Climax FPF 2 litre (Ardmore)

 

Dan Gurney on the way to the BRM P48’s only International win, the Victorian Trophy at Ballarat Airfield, Victoria 12 February 1961 (unattributed)

Geoff Johnson and his engine design team squeezed the P56 V8 up again from 1880cc to 1916cc and then 1930cc- the latter became the definitive 1966 Tasman spec engine used throughout that summer.

These motors gave between 260 and 270 bhp, which despite the weight of the P261 chassis, was more than enough to trump the circa 240bhp ‘Tasman Specials’. These motors and P61 Mark 2 chassis ‘2616’ Graham’s regular 1965 F1 car first raced to a win by him upon its debut at Watkins Glen in 1964, Jackie in his normal ‘2517’, the last P61 built during the winter of 1964-5 for JYS debut season, and old ‘2614’, first raced by Graham in the 1964 Aintree 200 and used as the team spare throughout 1965 were sent to New Zealand on the SS Tasmania Star which left Liverpool on 29 November and arrived in Auckland on 23 December.

Of interest is that ‘2616’ lives as does ‘2614’ whereas ‘2617’ whilst destroyed and scrapped after Jackie’s death defying 1966 Spa crash was recreated for Richard Attwood as ‘2617R’ in the late nineties- a lovely bit of symmetry given Richard rolled it at Teretonga in 1966 when he was part of others ‘moment’. Finally, for the record, a total of one P61 Mk 1 was built, chassis ‘611’ and six P61 Mk 2’s- chassis ‘2612’ to ‘2617’. The P61 Mk1 ‘611’ was scrapped in 1963 but all of the P61 Mk2’s live, thank goodness.

Despite broken ring problems in testing at Bourne, with a very careful running regime when a motor was first used which involved abnormally large amounts of engine oil in the fuel- the motors proved very reliable throughout that summer- a bonus for Team Manager Tim Parnell and the mechanics- Allan Challis, Jimmy Collins and Stan Collier, the later seconded by Parnell.

One of the compromises made to meet the needs of preparation for the new 3 litre F1 as well as being competitive in Australasia was the appointment of Tim Parnell as Team Manager and secondment of Stan Collier into the ORO group for the trip rather than Tony Rudd and another BRM mechanic make the trip.

Son of Reg- Tim was a racer to the core who had stepped very ably from the cockpit to running his fathers F1 race team upon Reg’ sudden death in January 1964 and was well known to BRM as a customer using BRM V8’s and cars for some years.

And so the scene- cars, engines, drivers, technicians and team management were put in place for an immensely successful summer in competition and commercial terms- seven of eight championship rounds and nine of ten races won with the Tasman Cup secured by Jackie Stewart bolstering even further BRM’s ‘cub’ drivers confidence who had already won his first GP in his first F1 season of 1965 at Monza no less.

‘Technical Tim- plug changing on Graham’s ‘2616’. Very popular, avuncular Tim had spent his entire life in racing and farming- thanks to his father- former BRM V16 driver and pig-breeder Reg Parnell. Tim had been a racing driver before his father’s untimely death in 1964, whereupon he had taken over full-time management of Parnell Racing’ wrote Doug Nye (BRM 3)

 

(B Betti)

BRM V8 Engine Types/Designations…

I wrote an article about the ‘Stackpipe’ BRM P57/578 in which Bourne and Graham Hill won their 1962 titles and covers the P56 engine in a bit of detail which still stacks up ok, see here; https://primotipo.com/2016/02/05/motori-porno-stackpipe-brm-v8/

It is a bit wanting in terms of the ‘P56’ engine derivatives though, so, having picked over ‘BRM 3’ Doug Nye’s treasure trove of all things Bourne here is a summary of the motors if for no other reason than to provide myself a simple list to refer to the next time i tangentially cover this amazingly, long lived series of race engines.

‘P56’ 1.5 litre V8

Initial design as per the link above- 68.5mm bore and 50.8mm stroke for 1497.7cc. DOHC gear driven two-valve Lucas injected with ‘conventional’ cross flow disposition of inlet and exhaust valves

The engines first drawings of 300 in total were issued in January 1961, the first batch of components received in April 1961, assembly of the engine commenced that June with the first one fired up on 12 July 1961

170bhp was produced by the end of August with the engine first tested against the competition at Monza over that tragic September weekend. Racing began in 1962 with the ‘Stackpipe’ exhausts fitted- 185bhp

Ongoing development gave rise to the 195bhp ‘Monza’ spec which won the 1962 championship

For 1963 a single plane crank version was developed, this allowed the use of a coupled exhaust system which gave the engine a broader power band- with development this produced 205bhp

‘P60’ 1.9 litre V8 1964

1880cc engine developed at Richie Ginther’s suggestion for the 2 litre sportscar class in the US, in original form it produced 240bhp

P56 1.5 litre V8 ‘Stackpipe’ nestled in one of Graham Hill’s P57/578 chassis during 1962

 

P68 1.5 V8 in the 1964 Monza paddock

‘P68’ 1.5 litre V8 late 1964

Between the Vee exhaust layout- exhaust ports in the Vee, inlets located between the cam-boxes. The space around the engine was unobstructed by exhaust pipes which allowed a stiffer tub to be built and an extra 5 gallons of fuel to be carried

First appearance Monza 1964- first win at Watkins Glen- work over the winter of 1964-5 led to engines giving 215bhp

By the end of the 1.5 litre Formula the best of the engines gave 220bhp and weighed 264pounds

2 litre V8

1916cc and the ‘definitive’ 1966 Tasman engine of 1930cc in capacity

T56 variant gave 260bhp and T68 version 270bhp- both types were used in ORO’s successful 1966 Tasman campaign as close scrutiny of some of the photographs demonstrates

1998cc sportscar version for Matra in 1956 was P56 type with the taller P123 blocks. Fitted to MS620 coupes- these engines with alternators etc designated P100

One of the P261’s in the Warwick Farm paddock in February 1966- P68 1930cc (B Wells- The Roaring Season)

 

One of the BRM mechanics persuades the P56 2 litre V8 fitted to Peter Arundell’s works Lotus 33 to start during the 1966 US GP weekend at Watkins Glen. He was sixth in the race won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 43 BRM H16- famously that wonderful, complex, mad engine’s only win

P111: 2.1 litre V8

1967 Tasman and beyond specifications

Two engines built initially of 2070cc and gave 287bhp and 292bhp- used the taller P123 blocks

Six engines were converted by the time of the 1967 Tasman – 2 P56 type and 4 P68 exhaust within the Vee type. Engines very reliable, the weakness of the package was the magnesium cased lightweight  P72 six-speed gearboxes which were never designed with the power and torque- and tyre grip by then being produced

Type 80: 1.5 litre Straight-four cylinder Formula 2 engine

’Half’ of one of the 2 litre V8’s – soon gave in excess of 130bhp.

P80 1 litre, four cylinder F2 engine the size of which is ‘overwhelmed’ by the bulk of the P72 transmission

 

Etcetera…

 

(M Bisset)

JYS was ‘top of the pops’- on the cover of ‘Australian Racing Annual’ for 1966- these annuals are much treasured and were a useful pot-pourri of the season just gone, they were published by the ‘Sports Car World’ magazine people.

Shots show Stewart on the way to victory at Longford on the entry to The Viaduct, and wearing one of the many garlands popped around his neck that summer. The shot below is Jack in BT19 complete with brand-new Repco-Brabham 620 2.5 litre V8 also at Longford.

(autopics.com)

Graham Hill on the outside of Kiwi Dennis Marwood’s Cooper T66 Climax during the Sunday morning warm-up at Lakeside- DNF oil pressure in the feature race.

(unattributed)

Stewart and Clark off the front row of the grid during the second of the Sunday morning heats.

BRM P261 ‘2614’ and Lotus 39 Climax ‘R12’- they had some titanic dices during their Australasian summer but plenty of fun off-track and shared accommodation throughout, parsimonious Scots as they were.

(autopics.com)

Like a rat up an aqueduct- ‘2614’ from ‘2616’…

GH has his nose shoved right up JYS gearbox which is not helpful as that unit was the weakest link of an otherwise bullet-proof remarkably fast racing car into 1969 generally- and into 1968 specifically when the one P261 which was sent to Australasia- as a support or back-up car to the new P126 2.5 litre V12 was a very popular machine particularly with Pedro Rodriguez who took any excuse he could to pop his bum into the ‘old darlin’ rather than its much younger sister.

(D Cooper)

Pedro Rodriguez in good ‘ole ‘2614’ on the very last weekend a P261 was entered by the factory.

Rodriguez was second in the very soggy ‘South Pacific Trophy’ Longford Tasman round on 4 March 1968, won in fine style by Piers Courage in an F2 McLaren M4A Ford FVA 1.6.

A view is that the only thing between Graham Hill and another world title or so at the time was Jim Clark and the Lotus 25 and Lotus 33- lets make that the only thing between Hill and another title or so was Jim Clark’s God-given other-worldly skills- the gifts that only one driver seems blessed with every decade or so.

The Lotus 25 deserves every accolade accorded it as the first ‘modern monocoque’- the car to which every F1 machine which followed is related. The BRM P61 Mk1 and P61 Mk2 aka ‘P261’ followed the ‘original’ but in almost every respect, other, perhaps than in traction, putting its limited power to the road the BRM was the equal of the 25 and 33- and the BRM ‘P56 Family’ of engines the equal of, if not superior motor however many valves Coventry Climax deployed in its FWMV V8! Tony Rudd, biased as he undoubtedly was, makes this case on pages 232 and 233 of ‘BRM 3’.

Whatever the case, feast your eyes on all of the mechanical gubbins which comprise the whole of a very well rounded package. The car shown is Graham’s F1 P261 during the Mexican GP weekend in 1964- its powered by a P68 1.5 litre V8.

The chassis is an aluminium ‘full monocoque’ made of 18swg ‘half-hard’ duralumin with extension horns supporting engine/gearbox and rear suspension assemblies . Note the period typical inboard front suspension- lower wishbone and rocker actuating a coil spring/damper unit, brakes are solid 9 inch discs outboard- these are light cars remember, brake lines are rubber, we are still a couple of years away from the use of braided steel lines in Europe.

Distinctive BRM steering wheel- who supplied them? Gear lever at left. The engine we have done to death but note the slide Lucas fuel injection, beautiful expressions of the exhaust pipe benders art- you can just see a heat shield beside the radiator cap to keep the hot gasses away from the fuel metering unit which is right behind the roll-over bar.

The rear suspension is again period typical and in contrast to the front is fully ‘outboard’- magnesium uprights, inverted lower wishbone, single top link, twin radius rods to look after fore and aft forces, coil spring/dampers and adjustable roll bars both front and rear. Plumbing for the needs of lubricants is ‘bitsy’ rather than ‘cohesive’ and the lack of shine to the nickel (?) plating doubtless reflects a long hard season- this was the last championship meeting of the year after all. Note the beautifully made splined driveshafts, solid brake rotor and caliper.

I’ve always thought BRM’s gearboxes- i’m not sure if this is a six-speed Type 62 or 72 look a bit butch compared with Mike Hewland’s products of the time but that may not be the case upon having details of said products dimensions and weight. Whilst the boxes’ were the weak link in P261s powered by 1.9 litre V8’s and above that was not the case when 1.5 litre V8s were used which was of course the engine around which the gearboxes were designed at the outset.

Beautifully concepted, designed and built, robust, prodigiously fast cars the performance of which could be accessed by ‘newbees’ and exploited by ‘the gods’ alike.

 

(S Dalton Collection)

 

(S Dalton Collection)

Stephen Dalton contributed these pages from the February 1966 Queensland Motor Sports Club newsletter which gives the organisers perspective- note the attention to O,H & S as Stephen points out!

Photo Credits…

‘HAGP’- ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and Others, Kevin Drage, ‘Ardmore’, autopics.com, M Bisset Collection, Getty Images- Bernard Cahier, Alvis Upitis, ‘CAN’ Classic Auto News, BRM 3, Dennis Cooper Collection

Bibliography…

‘Australian Motor Racing Annual 1966’, ‘BRM 3’- ‘BRM: The Saga of British Racing Motors Volume 3’ Doug Nye, various articles by Ken Blair in ‘The Canberra Times’ on 8, 15 and 21 February 1966, Bruce Sergent’s race reports on sergent.com, ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’ Graham Howard and Others, 1966 Tasman Cup review by Allan Brown in oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece: Clark, Lotus 39 Climax, Lakeside 1966…

(unattributed)

Jim gulps a big dose of Queensland air as he snicks a Lakeside high-speed apex.

Finito…

 

(M Bishop)

Frank Gardner is so far ahead of the pack, you can see the smile upon his face, Chev Corvair Sports Sedan, Hume Weir, 1977…

Once FG got this thing sorted, which wasn’t long, he used to piss-orf into the distance which was rather a shame as even open-wheeler nutters like me loved Sports Sedans- how could you not?

I was lucky enough to see the car coming together in the garages at Calder which I used to frequent quite a lot in 1975 as a student of the ‘Bob Jane/Frank Gardner Race Driving School’ whose Elfin 620B Formula Fords were garaged next door.

Using plenty of bits from the Lola parts bin with which Gardner was so familiar it was always going to be quick- as close to an F5000 spaceframe Lola in drag as possible, limited only by 10 inch wide rims which must have made putting 500 injected Chevy-neddies to the ground tricky.

Gardner from Alan Hamilton, Porsche 934 (M Bishop)

The car made its debut at Oran Park in August 1976, coming second in the first Australian Sports Sedan title that year despite contesting only three rounds. Moffat won that year using both his Ford Capri RS3100 and new Chevy Monza- he started the season in the Chevy Monza, then put it to one side when his commercial relationship with Ford was sorted for the ensuing couple of years- the Monza ‘disappeared’ for about three years didn’t it?!

Whilst FG ran the car at Oran Park he didn’t race for points nor was he allowed to impede the progress of other cars- the machine fell foul of the scrutineers who deemed its rear-guard radiator ducting was illegal, however the car was allowed to run with a temporary logbook in order that the fans- who had come along in droves, could see it.

Gardner missed the next Wanneroo round whilst the car was changed to comply with the regulations and then won the final three rounds at Adelaide International, Symmons Plains and Calder on the trot, albeit the final two wins were with Moffat absent- he had already wrapped up the title and did not enter those meetings.

In 1977 Frank won five of seven rounds then in 1978 Allan Grice took over the Corvair’s hot-seat upon Gardner’s retirement from driving. He won four of the seven rounds and tied in the point-score with Jim Richards’ Ford Falcon XC Hardtop.

Grice made good in 1979 winning the title and three of nine rounds, but that was it- rule changes which would have forced the re-engineering of the car to place the Chev V8 behind the gearbox, as in the standard Corvair, rather than in front of it as the racer meant the machines reign as the class ‘car to beat’ was over.

Alan Hamilton delighted us all with so many yummy factory race Porkers over the years didn’t he?! Porsche 934, Hume Weir 1977 (M Bishop)

The events at Hume Weir pictured must have been some sort of Formula Libre event or match race as there is no way Alan Hamilton’s factory Group 4 Porsche 934 was Sports Sedan legal- CAMS ‘rained on Porsche’s Sports Sedan parade’ from 1976 didn’t they, banishing the cars to the Sportscar ranks?

So, who won on this particular Hume Weir weekend folks?- i’ve my money on FG.

The Corvair was an awesome car to watch, a classic example of brilliant conceptual thinking and execution, I remember it clearly at Winton in 1979 for the last time- I was trundling around in a Formula Vee at that stage and shared participation at that meeting with the beast. The 934 too was a formidable weapon, winning the Australian Sportscar Championship for Hamilton in 1977 (joint first place with John Latham’s Carrera RSR) and in Allan Moffat’s hands in 1980, with another 934 owned by Bruce Spicer taking the title and driven by John Latham in 1981.

The Corvair didn’t survive did it? All the goodies were removed when the rules were changed to effectively ban it and the rest was dumped at the tip. I do recall Melbourne’s Bruce Harris owning the Hamilton 934 and using it at club level for some years after it’s heyday, its still in Oz and is now part of the Bowden Collection.

Wodonga boy Harry Lefoe’s Hillman Imp Ford V8 was truly wild- Ford Cobra V8, ZF and later DG300 Hewland box with much of the engineering done by ‘Head Mod’s John Bennett- many will remember this Doncaster Road, Doncaster institution. The car was far from crude with wishbone front, and de Dion rear suspension but was handicapped by the short wheelbase and track of the amazing roller skate. First raced in September 1970, here with wing at Oran Park in 1971, it died at Sandown in the late seventies when rolled by Neil West who was driving it for John Bennett who by then owned it (L Hemer)

Arcane and Tangentially…

Sports Sedans went from the province of the ‘impecunious enthusiast’ building a big engined, lightweight racer ‘at home’ to the big league from 1973 when the Australian Touring Car categories were changed in the wake of the ‘Supercar Scare’, remember that press feast about high-powered ‘Bathurst cars’ in the hands of young drivers?

A new Group C Touring Cars category replaced Group C Improved Production Touring Cars and Group E Series Production Touring Cars to contest both the Australian Touring Car Championship and Manufacturers Championship respectively. As Australian enthusiasts well know, until that point the ATCC was the province of the Improved Tourers and the Manufacturers Championship- the Bathurst 500 the best known of these events, was run for showroom stock or Series Production cars.

Peter Brock and his legendary Austin A30 Holden, here at Hume Weir in late December 1968 (D Simpson)

 

One of the prettiest, cleverest and winningest earlier seventies Sports Sedans of them all was the marriage of a redundant Repco Brabham Engines RB620/720 SOHC, injected 4.4 litre V8 into an LC Holden Torana GTR-XU1 shell. The whole lot was road trimmed, a great promotional tool for Holden/Jane’s organisation. Later prostituted by Frank Gardner by fitment of a 5 litre Chev F5000 motor- shell extant but all entreaties by the original car builder John Sheppard to the current owner to sell and restore to Repco form have so far been rebuffed. John Harvey up at Oran Park in 1971 (unattributed)

Old Group C Improved Production Touring, enormously popular and the class to which the ATCC had been contested since 1965 as mentioned above was dumped- which meant a lot of seriously good gear was looking for a home in 1973 and found it in a new class.

CAMS finally gave formal recognition to ‘Sports Racing Closed’ or more colloquially ‘Sports Sedans’ creating ‘Group B Sports Sedans’. Funnily enough the origins of Sports Sedans in the sixties was an earlier CAMS rule change.

CAMS changed the ATCC eligibility regs from ‘Appendix J Touring Cars’ to ‘Group C Improved Production Touring Cars’ from 1965 which, similarly to the situation outlined above in relation to the 1973 rule change, released many then ineligible cars which were looking for a new home. Promoters of some circuits, Oran Park and Winton for example allowed these Appendix J escapees to run with Sports Cars under the name ‘Sports Racing Closed’ providing some amusing photographs of ostensibly weird combinations of cars on circuit at the same time.

I missed Pete in his Mustang heyday but I was a beliver seeing him twiddle the wheel of this thing and the Reg Mort 911. Another great bit of John Sheppard engineering, Holden Monaro GTS350 Chev, two Hewland boxes, here in 1976, the other car is Pat Crea’s Ford Cortina V8 (B Keys)

 

Leo Geoghegan from an obscured Jim McKeown, both in Porsche 911 RS 2.8 spec, Calder December 1974 (B Keys)

Back to 1973- simultaneously with the rule changes to create ‘Sports Sedans’ formally, the prize money on offer by ‘Toby Lee’ shirts at Oran Park and Marlboro at Calder for Sports Sedans meant some serious dudes with plenty of money applied their brains to this ‘almost anything goes’ form of touring car categories.

It got me thinking (as an open-wheeler and sportscar devotee mind you) of what the ‘influential or creatively clever and not necessarily successful ‘ Sports Sedans were of this period. Here goes with car, driver and builder…

1967 Austin A30 Holden, Peter Brock- car builder attribution?

1970 Hillman Imp Ford V8, Harry Lefoe- Lefoe, John Bennett Head Mod

1971 Holden Torana Repco ‘620/720 Series’ V8, Bob Jane- John Harvey (later in Chev engined form Frank Gardner) John Sheppard

1972 Alfa Romeo GTAm Tipo 33 2.5 V8, Brian Foley- Auto Delta, Foley and his team

1973 Porsche 911 2.8, various drivers, not so much clever as readily available if one had the readies

1974 Valiant Charger Repco Holden F5000 V8- John McCormack, Elfin Sportscars, McCormack, Dale Koenneke

1975 VW Fastback Chev V8, Bryan Thomson- Thomson and Peter Fowler

1975 Porsche 911- mid-engined 2.1 Turbo, Jim McKeown- Porsche Cars Australia

1975 Ford Capri RS3100, Allan Moffat- FoMoCo Europe

1975 Holden Monaro GTS 350 V8, Pete Geoghegan- John Sheppard

1976 Chev Corvair Chev V8, Frank Gardner- Gardner, John Anderson, Tom Nailard

1976 Chev Monza IMSA V8, Allan Moffat- DeKon Engineering USA

Allan Moffat’s Chev Monza IMSA spec DeKon Engineering built car at Sandown in 1976 with 4 July 200 year bi-centenary celebration signage carried that weekend (R Davies)

 

Bryan Thomson VW Chev from John McCormack Valiant Charger Repco and Bob Jane Holden Monaro Chev, Calder December 1974 (B Keys)

Its not a complete, list just an ‘influential, creatively clever and not necessarily successful’ one. I’ve thought of and discarded the Improved Tourer escapees such as Moffat’s Mustang and Jane’s Monaro (successful as a Sports Sedan), the Holden Dealer Team Torana LC/LJ and LH bolides, Goss XA GT and others but I’m interested in your thoughts, after all i’m a poncy open-wheeler guy not a meat n’ spuds Touring Car dude, so what would I know? Treat the Sports Sedan early year cut-off as circa 1976, I know there was plenty of good stuff which came later but that is outside the scope of this article.

Moffat upon his ex-works Ford Capri RS3100 debut in Australia, Sandown Tasman meeting 1975 (B Keys)

 

Jim McKeown in Porsche Cars Australia Porsche 911 2.1 turbo Group 4 mid-engined car with lots of 908 suspension bits front and rear. What became of this beastie after it’s 1 year Sports Sedan career? Hume Weir 1975 (B Keys)

 

Luscious. Brian Foley’s Alfa GTAm T33 2.5 V8 pokin’ its head out of the bonnet, Warwick Farm Causeway in 1973 (unattributed)

Photo Credits…

Mark Bishop, Bruce Keys, Lynton Hemer, Robert Davies, Dick Simpson

Tailpiece: Gardner awaits the off at Hume Weir, sinfully purposeful, it not pretty from every angle…

(M Bishop)

Finito…

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(Rainer Schlegelmilch)

Andrea de Adamich hustles his McLaren M14D Alfa through the Zandvoort sand dunes and flowers, Dutch GP practice June 1970…

This is yet another of my ‘nutso’ articles in terms of flow.

It started as a quickie around some of Rainer’s (Schlegelmilch is a favourite of mine as you may have guessed) shots of the McLaren Alfa. Then I got interested in Andrea’s career, so off I went that way.

Then I thought ‘the F1 program really started in Tasman Formula single-seaters here in Australia’- that is Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT23D and Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ with the engines Autodelta-Alfa Romeo T33 2.5 V8’s- but I didn’t want to go too far with that as I want to do the topics justice, with Kevin Bartlett’s intimate knowledge of both the program and cars. So that aspect of this article is no more than a teaser.

Anyway, here ’tis, a bit weird, and with the ‘full job’ on the Alfa engined Mildren Brabham and Sub still to come…

The McLaren/Alfa Romeo partnership started reasonably well at Montjuic Parc in Barcelona but the grid had ten places reserved for seeded drivers and only six for the other twelve competitive cars, Andrea’s thirteenth quickest was just 0.05 seconds too slow to make the cut.

Same problem at 1970 Monaco with the same system- again he was thirteenth fastest overall but this time he fell short by 0.1 seconds.

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Andrea, Dutch GP practice June 1970. M14D Alfa DNQ (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

The team missed the Belgian Grand Prix on June 7, McLaren took the time to adapt the Alfa Romeo V8 to its latest M14 chassis, which they designated ‘M14D’, unfortunately again failing to qualify for the Dutch GP at Zandvoort by 0.01 seconds where most of these shots were taken.

Peter Gethin was the quickest of the Cosworth engined McLarens with Denny Hulme missing the meeting due to hands burned at Indianapolis. Gethin’s car qualified eleventh but retired on lap 18 after an accident, writing off Denny’s M14 in the process so the M14D was quickly converted back to Cosworth spec to give Denny a competitive car when his hands recovered.

Back in the older chassis, de Adamich qualified his M7D at Clermont-Ferrand sixteenth, a good effort but only completing 29 laps retiring after a water pipe came adrift and he lost 9 laps in the pits.

He qualified eighteenth at Brands Hatch, again in the M7D but was a non-starter with a leaking bag fuel tank.

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The bespectacled Italian lowers his lanky frame into the McLaren M14 monocoque, Dutch GP 1970 (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

 

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George Eaton’s BRM P153 passes the #21 de Adamich McLaren M14D Alfa and #20 Hulme McLaren M14A Ford, Zandvoort pitlane, Dutch GP practice June 1970 (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

The 1970 German GP was held at the fast Hockenheim circuit which places an emphasis on power/top speed, the Alfa engine lacked sufficient punch, Andrea again failing to qualify, he had complained about handling and the engine not pulling properly.

The speed of the chassis was ‘thereabouts’ though, Hulme finished third in a Cosworth DFV powered M14.

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#20 de Adamich McLaren Alfa Hockenheim, German GP practice 2 August 1970 and Donatella de Adamich in the Zeltweg pits 18 August 1970 (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

Zeltweg’s 6Km layout places a similar premium on power and high speed handling too, the car qualified well in fifteenth for the Austrian GP, finishing twelfth, the decision to change the engine before the race went awry when the replacement pulled 1000rpm short of the engine used in practice giving Andrea a long race labouring down the back.

Allen Brown wrote that a lot of work was done by Autodelta in the lead up to the team’s home race at Monza with emphasis on the sumps- which had been identified as the main problem. Andrea qualified twelfth and finished eighth having run well for the first few laps in the race won by Regazzoni’s Ferrari 312B albeit seven laps in arrears. It was Regga’s first GP win. Nanni Galli, another Autodelta racer had a go in the M7D but did not qualify having experienced camshaft trouble.

In Canada Andrea again qualified twelfth of twenty, starting really well and ran as high as ninth, but he hadn’t started with full tanks knowing he had to stop for fuel but diddn’t get to that point, pitting with low oil pressure from eighth position after completing 69 laps.

At Watkins Glen he failed to qualify after big dramas gave him limited circuit time- first a fuel leak and then a behind dash fire, perhaps as a consequence the team didn’t take the Alfa powered chassis to the season ending race in Mexico City on 25 October.

McLaren had no incentive to continue with development of the Alfa engined car given the competitiveness of its Ford Cosworth DFV engined machines, a purpose built F1 engine- Alfa’s engine stated life as a more robust long distance unit, and was never, without the commitment of sufficient money and engineering resources going to approach or eclipse the dominant DFV.

andrea portrait

de Adamich at the wheel of his Alfa 33TT3 , Targa 1972. He was 3rd in the car shared with Toine Hezemans (velocetoday.com)

Andrea de Adamich…

Tall, scholastic and patrician, the bespectacled Italian began racing whilst still a law student, making his name driving a works Autodelta Alfa Romeo in the European Touring Car Championship, which he won in 1966 at the wheel of a GTA.

andrea ti super

Andrea de Adamich corners the Alfa Ti Super he shared with Carlo Scarambone in the Tour de France 20 September 1964 . Nouveau Monde Hairpin, Rouen (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

He attracted Ferrari’s attention with some promising runs in Alfa T33 sports cars (which he continued to race whilst pursuing a single-seater career) and was recruited to the Scuderia for the non-championship 1967 Spanish GP, at Jarama north of Madrid.

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Traga 1967 in the 2 litre Alfa T33. DNF suspension failure in the car shared with Jean Rolland. Race won by the Hawkins/Maglioli Porsche 910 (Getty)

In 1968 Andrea was scheduled to drive full-time for Ferrari alongside Chris Amon and Jacky Ickx, but he crashed during practice for the Brands Hatch ‘Race of Champions’ and suffered neck injuries which took a long time to heal fully.

He returned to racing, winning the Argentine Temporada series the following winter with the powerful F2, works Ferrari Dino 166. de Adamich’ Ferrari 166 F2 Season was covered in this article on that car; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/09/temporada-f2-series-argentina-san-juan-1968/

andrea dino

de Adamich’s Ferrari 166 winning in front of F2 king Jochen Rindt’s Brabham BT23 Ford FVA, San Juan Argentina, Temporada Series 1968 (Andrew Marriott)

‘In 1970 McLaren was offered the opportunity of experimenting with an Alfa V8, a possibly tempting alternative to the then-ubiquitous Cosworth DFV, and one of the Italian engines was installed first in an M7D chassis and latterly an M14D for de Adamich to drive’, wrote McLaren.

‘To say this technical combo achieved modest results would be a dramatic understatement. The McLaren Alfa generally failed to qualify and when it did, could only muster twelfth in the Austrian GP followed by a distant eighth place in front of the Alfa top brass at Monza. McLaren, still reeling from Bruce’s death that summer, reckoned that the Anglo-Italian alliance was all a bit of a waste of effort and called time on the partnership at the end of the season’.

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de Adamich at the wheel of the T33/3 he shared with Gijs van Lennep in the 1971 Targa, 2nd to teammates Vaccarella/Hezemans (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

De Adamich took his Alfa engines off to March in 1971, with no significant improvement in their performance.

Andrea was thirteenth at Kyalami and eleventh at Watkins Glen whilst Nanni Galli was fifth in the non-championship Jochen Rindt Trophy at Hockenheim in July gaining the best ever F1 result for these engines.

Nanni was eleventh, twelfth and twelfth at Silverstone, the Nürburgring and the Osterreichring in a good run of finishes at least in July/August but then had three downers to end his season at Monza, Mosport and the Glen.

The engine was again unreliable with DNF’s for Andrea at Montjuic, Paul Ricard, the Nurburgring and Monza. He was unclassified at Silverstone.

image

De Adamich, March 711 Alfa, German GP Nurburgring Q20 DNF  fuel injection lap 2. Stewart won in a Tyrrell 003 Ford (unattributed)

 

The business end of the De Adamich March 711 Alfa in the 1971 Nürburgring paddock

March team leader, and one of the fastest guys on the planet at the time, Ronnie Peterson used the Alfa engines in chassis ‘711-6’ at Hockenheim, Zandvoort and at Paul Ricard, where he raced that chassis from grid 12.

He only lasted 19 laps before engine failure, Andrea started from grid 20 which provides some measure of how much more improved the performance of the car/engine could have been with an ace behind the wheel- whilst putting reliability to one side

The Italian driver switched to Team Surtees in 1972 which got him back behind the wheel of a Cosworth-engined car, a step in the right direction.

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French GP, Clermont Ferrand July 1972. de Adamich Surtees TS9B Ford Q12 P14, ahead of Derek Bell who was a race non-starter in his Tecno PA123 V12. Jackie Stewart won the race in Tyrrell 003 Ford.  (Rainer Schlegelmilch)

For 1973 de Adamich switched to the Bernie Ecclestone owned Brabham team after driving for Surtees in the season opener at Kyalami. His Brabham BT42 fell victim to Jody Scheckter’s first lap McLaren M23 Ford multiple car shunt at the end of the opening lap of the British GP at Silverstone, Andrea suffered serious injuries which brought an end to his career.

In more recent times he has built an impressive business career.

In 1990 he bought the circuit at Varano and created a highly specialised  driving school for the owners of Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Abarth cars. He also puts on special days for Philip Morris, a legacy of his longstanding relationship dating back to the days when he and Giacomo Agostini were the first Italian contracted Marlboro drivers/riders.

Kevin Bartlett setting off to test the Mildren Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo just vacated by Frank Gardner after the 1968 Tasman Series at Oran Park before the Gold Star series- she grew wings as the year progressed. Bob Grange at right (P Garrad)

The 1960’s Alfa Romeo Engined Single Seater V8’s…

Alfa’s Tipo 33 V8 was first used in elite single seater racing by Australia’s Alec Mildren Racing Team.

Mildren, a Sydney Alfa Romeo dealer, former Australian Gold Star Champion and AGP winner ran one of the most professional teams in Australia. He had impeccable Alfa Romeo/Autodelta connections having acquired and raced two GTA’s and a TZ2 in the early to mid-sixties and in the process ‘polished’ Alfa’s Australian brand, one of the greatest of the Grand Marques but then relatively new to the ‘Oz market.

Click on this link for an article about the Mildren Autodelta Alfa’s;

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/27/the-master-of-opposite-lock-kevin-bartlett-alfa-romeo-gta/

and on Alec Mildren; https://primotipo.com/2018/06/08/mildrens-unfair-advantage/

Mildren’s 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF engined Tasman Brabhams were being given a very hard time by the Repco Brabham and BRM V8’s amongst others circa 1966, so he sought an appropriate response- a sprint variant of the Tipo 33 engine was the obvious choice given his Alfa connections.

Mildren ordered three 2.5 Tipo 33 V8’s which were initially fitted to a bespoke Brabham BT23D chassis, a variant of Ron Tauranac’s new for 1967 Ford FVA powered BT23 F2 car.

The machine was first raced in the 1967 Hordern Trophy Gold Star round at Warwick Farm, Frank Gardner won, which was a portent of the cars 1968 Tasman Series speed- he was fourth in the championship against stiff opposition including two works Lotus 49 Ford DFW’s in the hands of Messrs Clark and Hill, Chris Amons Ferrari Dino 246T, works BRM’s and the rest. The engines were then fitted to the Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’, a monocoque car built for the team by Alan Mann Racing, designed by Len Bailey, for the 1969 Tasman Series where again Frank was ‘best of the rest’ behind the Lotuses, Ferraris and Piers Courage in a Frank Williams Brabham BT24 Ford.

After both cars were raced by Frank Gardner in the Tasman they were ‘handed over’ to Kevin Bartlett for the Gold Star Championship when Gardner returned to the UK at the end of each Australasian summer.

Bartlett won the Gold Star in 1968 and 1969 with each chassis respectively, for the sake of completness, in 1969 the ‘Sub’ was also powered by Merv Waggotts’s TC-4V 2 litre DOHC 4 valve 275 bhp engine for part of the season and into 1970 and beyond.

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(Ian Peak/The Roaring Season)

The 2.5 litre, 2 valve, 4 cam Lucas fuel injected, twin-plug Alfa Tipo 33 V8 installed in Alec Mildren’s Gardner driven Brabham BT23D at Teretonga during the 1968 Tasman.

Gardner was equal fourth with Graham Hill in the series behind Clark, Amon and Courage in Lotus 49 Ford DFW, Ferrari Dino 246T and F2 McLaren M4A Ford FVA respectively.

image

(Dick Simpson)

What a beautifully integrated bit of kit the Mildren Brabham BT23D Alfa was?

Here just before it progressively grew wings. Kevin Bartlett drove the wheels off the thing, here at Hell Corner Bathurst during the 1968 Easter Gold Star round. KB was on pole by 9! seconds but DNF with a broken rear upright, Phil West took the win in David McKay’s ex-JB Brabham BT23A Repco.

Bartlett won the 1968 Gold Star in this car and was equal ninth in the 1969 Tasman in winged form.

image

(Wirra)

Frank Gardner in the Mildren Alfa ‘Yellow Submarine’ in the Warwich Farm pitlane during the ’69 Tasman round on 9 February. The Aussie international was third behind Rindt’s Lotus 49 DFW and Derek Bell’s Ferrari Dino 246T. Gardner was sixth in the 1969 Tasman behind Amon, Rindt, Courage, Bell and Hill in Ferrari Dino 246, Lotus 49B DFW, Brabham BT24 DFW, Ferrari Dino 246 and Lotus 49B DFW respectively.

Kevin Bartlett had this to say about the Alfa Romeo 2.5 litre Tasman V8 and Waggott DOHC 4 valve engines.

‘My memory tells me the Alfa had around 350lbs (of torque) and the Waggott about 230lbs. Usable power range was quite different with the Alfa workable between 4500-8800 rpm and Waggott 6800-8750rpm. Not perfectly accurate as i work from  memory but around that kind of difference’.

‘The driving difference was the main change, as the power to weight felt little different behind the wheel, mainly due i suppose to the fact full throttle was used much sooner with the 4 cyl 2000cc Waggott. The turn in changed to a marked degree with the lighter power plant (Waggott) having less moment of inertia allowing the car to be literally flung into a turn. As it happens i am the only driver to experience both configurations.’ (Gardner having raced only the Alfa variant)

‘Len Bailey was the (Mildren’s) designer of the tub, which flexed a little at the rear with the Alfa’s torque, less so when the Waggott went in, with suspension being a (Brabham designer) Ron Tauranac adaption’.

Alfa Romeo claimed 315bhp at 8800 rpm for the 2.5 litre variant of the V8 engine. Click here for a short piece on the Sub; https://www.oldracingcars.com/mclaren/m14d/

Bartlett doing his thing aboard the Mildren ‘Sub’ Alfa at Oran Park. Its an interesting photo in that this car was winged by the end of the 1969 Tasman- and KB is driving it after that- perhaps a day of back to back testing? The car, like all such machines globally, lost its big wings after the 1969 Monaco GP weekend where such aero was banned. Superb machine superbly driven by KB- Oz Gold Star and Macao GP winner in 1969 (D Simpson)

 

mac engine

Alfa Romeo 3 litre 4 valve F1 engine in a McLaren chassis in 1970 (unattributed)

A similar 3 litre 4 valve per cylinder, 32 valve engine- the Mildren V8’s were all chain driven 2 valvers, was developed for Cooper in F1 but wasn’t used before the teams demise.

Lucien Bianchi tested an Alfa Romeo engined T86C (T86C-F1-3-68) once but was unimpressed given its lack of power. Two further, more powerful motors were built but didn’t survive the bench tests, Alfa then withdrew their engines from that proposed program.

The 1970 variant of the engine was all aluminium with a bore/stroke of 86mm x 64.4mm for a total of 2998cc. Five main and camshaft bearings were used. The four valves were inclined at 30 degrees, the inlets were 32mm and exhausts 27mm in size, Alfa claimed an output of 400bhp @ 9000rpm in sportscar form.

With gear driven cams for F1 use Autodelta claimed 430bhp @ 10500 rpm at a time the Ford Cosworth DFV gave circa 440, the Matra V12 445-450 and Flat-12 Ferrari 460bhp @ 12000 rpm. It wasn’t enough really but Alfa had put their toes back into F1 water and would return soon with works Brabhams, as they had started with a Mildren Brabham a decade before…

Cutaway of the first 2 litre variant of the Tipo 33 V8 with detailed specifications as per text but chain driven DOHC, two valve, twin plug and Lucas fuel injected with engine a non-load bearing member of the car.

Etcetera…

The seven or eight race Tasman Cup was conducted over eight or nine weeks with a ‘hop across the ditch’- the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia, put great pressure on team logistics and repaid a mixture of speed and, critically, reliability and consistency.

Major chassis damage and engine unreliability were severely punished and it was the latter which meant that Mildren/Gardner’s campaigns in the Brabham BT23D and Mildren did not fare better, FG only finished half the races in each year.

Both cars were mighty fine machines but the Lotus 49 was the F1 car of the era and the F2 based Ferrari Dino 246 was far from shabby. In addition, Frank, whilst the equal of most on his best days, was not of the same level as Clark, Rindt, Hill, Amon, Brabham, McLaren or Rodriguez, to rattle off some of the competition in 1968 and 1969.

Was the Mildren Yellow Submarine a race winner in 1969?- yes, if the planets were aligned- and it were ‘winged’ from the start of the series. Quite how FG, having had a front row seat racing in Europe in ‘the year of the wing’ in 1968, arrived in Australia without said appendages on the Sub is an interesting question.

By Lakeside- at the halfway mark of the series the car was winged- they grew again at Warwick Farm as below where FG is leading Graeme Lawrence’ McLaren M4A Ford FVA but it was all a bit late. They were third and eighth in the sodden race won by the dominant Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 49B Ford DFW. Derek Bell’s Dino 246 was second.

And in any event the reliability wasn’t there…

Would, say, Rindt have made the Sub sing? Absolutely- but he didn’t have Frank’s mechanical sympathy so he would rarely have finished I suspect.

So, perhaps the Alfa Romeo engined cars under-delivered in the Tasman Cup but Bartlett’s 1968 and 1969 Australian Gold Star wins were glorious and enhanced the Alfa Romeo brand for a generation of impressionable youth, me included…

(B McInerney)

Photo and other credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, velocetoday.com, mclaren.com, Doug Nye ‘History of The GP Car’, Dick Simpson, Wirra, Kevin Bartlett, Peter Garrad, LAT, Brian McInerney

oldracingcars.com. See Allen Brown’s M7D and M14D detailed chassis records;

https://www.oldracingcars.com/mclaren/m7d/  and https://www.oldracingcars.com/mclaren/m14d/

Tailpiece…

andrea targa

de Adamich/Vaccarella  Targa 4 May 1969. DNF lap 6 with engine failure. Alfa T33 2.5 V8 Spider (Schlegelmilch)

Finito…

(unattributed)

The Frank Matich/Glynn Scott Matich SR3 Repco (DNF) homes in on the Phil West/George Reynolds Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti during the 1 September 1968 Surfers Paradise 6 Hour…

As usual, the race was won by the SV Ferrari 250LM, that year driven by the brothers Geoghegan, click on this link for an article about that car inclusive of Surfers wins; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/

In a race a bit light on entries- and reduced from twelve to six hours, the Geoghegans won having covered 249 laps from the Bill Gates/Jim Bertram Lotus Elan, 237 and Doug Whiteford/John Roxburgh/Frank Coad Datsun 2000 on 230. Other than David McKay’s ‘Old Red Lady’ 250LM the other fancied sports-racers all retired- the Matich/Scott Matich SR3 Repco, Palmer/Brown Ferrari P4/Can-Am350 and O’Sullivan/Baltzer/Bassett Lola T70 Chev.

I hadn’t realised the significance of this Ferrari 275 GTB as one of three RHD ‘Competizione Clienti’ specification 275’s of a total 1965 production run of ten. The addition to the nose of the car appears to be a camera- I would love to see the footage if it exists?

Chassis #07545, the seventh of the ten cars, was ordered by Britain’s Maranello Concessionaires, it was intended as their Le Mans reserve car- their entries that year comprised a P2 raced by Jo Bonnier and David Piper and a 250LM steered by Mauro Bianchi and Mike Salmon, both cars failed to finish.

The GTB wasn’t completed in time for the 24 hour classic but starred as an exhibit at the 42nd International IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt that September. Maranello sold it in October 1965 to Paddy McNally, then a respected journalist later to make a motza as an equity-holder in Allsport Ltd along with Bernie The Unbelievable (Ecclestone).

SV 250LM goes under its stablemate at Surfers (unattributed)

 

Frank Gardner circa 1966, probably in Australia during the Tasman. Where folks? (Repco Collection)

The GTB featured in an Autosport feature, McNally waxed lyrical about driving the car on the fast uncluttered roads of Europe inclusive of the Col des Mosses in Switzerland. ‘Even at close to 6000 pounds…the Ferrari represents excellent value and it is quite the best car that i have ever driven.’ McNally’s enthusiasm for these machines was genuine, he later acquired #09027 and raced it at Montlhery in the Paris 1000km.

Ford race team boss Alan Mann was the next owner two years hence, along the way he returned it to the factory where the bumpers were removed and big fog-lights installed and then sold it to one of his stars- Frank Gardner.

FG used the car to commute to his race commitments across the UK and Europe- these were many and varied inclusive of Touring Cars, World Manufacturers Championship Prototypes and Sportscars, F2 and the occasional F1 event. It would be intiguing to know just how many km’s the ultra fast GT did in Frank’s short ownership.

The Australian International then brought the car to Australia in the summer of 1967/8 to take up his usual Tasman drive with Alec Mildren, that year he raced the Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 2.5 V8. He sold it to Gallaher International, a British cigarette company- sponsor of the 500 mile Bathurst enduro in 1966 and 1967, who used it as a promotional tool.

Scuderia Veloce team driver Bill Brown bought it next, it was during his ownership that Phil West/George Reynolds raced it to eighth outright and first in class (the only car in the class) at Surfers in 1968. It seems this was the machines only race in period.

Melbourne motor racing entrepreneur/hill-climber Jim Abbott was the next owner, I dare say he gave it a run up Lakeland once or twice on the way to its garage at home- after his death it passed to Daryl Rigg and then to Ray Delaney who owned it for seven or so years using the car extensively. So too did Max Lane including contesting Targa Tasmania in 1993- the car left Australia many years ago as the global investment grade commodity it is.

#07545 in recent years (Talacrest)

Competizione 275 GTB’s…

The competition variants of one of Ferrari’s most sought after Grand Turismo’s was born of Enzo’s swifty in attempting to homologate his 1963 250P sports-prototype ‘in drag’- the 250LM as a GT car to replace the revered GTO. The FIA could see  the 3.3 litre LM- a larger capacity 250P with a roof for what it was and refused to homologate it.

Even as a GT the 250LM won Le Mans of course. Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt flogged their NART entry to death- but not quite and won in 1965 after the more fancied Ferrari P2 and Ford GT40 Mk2 prototypes fell by the wayside with all manner of problems.

As a consequence, needing a GT racer, Ferrari set to modifying the just released in 1964 GTB whose baseline specifications included a sophisticated ‘Tipo 563’ chassis, independent suspension front and rear, aerodynamic bodywork, four-wheel disc brakes, five-speed rear mounted transaxle and the well proven ‘Tipo 213’ Colombo V12- in this car SOHC, two-valve and 3.3 litres (3286cc- 77 x 58.8mm bore and stroke) in capacity.

275GTB prototype and first car built #06003 during the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally crewed by Giorgio Pianta and Roberto Lippi, DNF driveline (unattributed)

Depending upon your source there are either three or four distinct series or phases of build of competition 275’s.

The first are the relatively mild modifications to chassis #06003 and #06021.

#06003 is the prototype, very first 275GTB built in 1964, it was retained by the factory for testing purposes throughout 1965, then modified and entered in the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally. #06021- is ‘the third GTB built and the prototype for the 1965 customer competition cars’ according to Peter Sachs who owned it twice. Its first custodian was a Roman, Antonio Maglione who contested at least four Hillclimb events in it in June/July 1965 having acquired it that April.

The second group of three works cars (plus a fourth built to this spec in 1966) designated ‘Competition Speciale’ were extensively modified by a team led by Mauro Forghieri with lightweight tube frames based on the standard Tipo 563 chassis.

The motors were six-Weber carb, dry-sumped Tipo 213 engines to 250LM spec giving 290-305 bhp and had 330 LM Berlinetta style noses with an air-scoop atop the long bonnets.

Other modifications included holes in interior panels, plexiglass windows and the use of magnesium castings for some engine and transmission parts. These cars, also designated 275 GTB/C Speciale, the bodies of which were of course designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti are said by some to be the most direct successors to the 250GTO.

After a DNF at Targa and third in class at the Nürburgring 1000km #06885 was sold by Scuderia Ferrari to Ecurie Francorchamps who raced it at Le Mans in 1965 achieving first in class and third outright- stunning for a GT. The reputation of these ‘275 GTB/C’s was underway.

Ferrari 275 GTB cutaway, specifications as per text (unattributed)

 

Scuderia Veloce line up before the 1968 Surfers 6 hour with Pete Geoghegan’s stout frame back to us. The #17 Ferrari Can-Am 350 DNF in the hands of Jim Palmer and Bill Brown. The West/Reynolds GTB is alongside and victorious Leo and Pete Geoghegan 250LM to the left (Rod MacKenzie)

Gardner’s #07545 was one of ten cars designated 275 ‘Competizione Clienti’ or ‘GTB/C Series 1′, which were built as dual purpose customer road/racers between May and August 1965- they were constructed in parallel with the works cars mentioned above and delivered only to privateers.

The specifications of this batch, very close to production cars included short nose bodies and six Weber DCN3 carbs, rather than the standard three, feeding essentially a standard wet sump Tipo 213 engine. The fuel tank was 140 litres rather than the standard 94 litre jobbie, the spare sat vertically aft of the tank. A higher rear shelf is a visual difference with three air vents in each rear guard a signal of menace. No two cars were identical but most had lightweight alloy bodies.

The final run of twelve cars, the ‘9000 series chassis’ were super-trick, schmick jiggers and are variously described as ‘275 GTB Berlinetta Competizione’ or ‘275 GTB/C’.

They have lightweight long-nose bodies built by Scaglietti which were half the thickness of the 250GTO’s and a specially designed steel and aluminium Tipo 590A chassis which was lighter and stiffer than the standard unit. The suspension and hubs were reinforced, clutch upgraded and a different steering box fitted.

The dry sumped Tipo 213 V12- which allowed the engine to be mounted lower in the frame, was tuned to 250LM specifications with some Electron components incorporated- sump, cam cover, timing chain casing and bell-housing- power was circa 275-282bhp @ 7700rpm. The three big Weber 40 DF13 carbs were a design unique to the car and fitted due to a clerical stuff up by Ferrari who had not homologated the six-carb Weber option.

Out and out racers, these were the only cars referred to by the factory as 275 GTB/C and were the last competition GT’s fettled in Maranello- the Daytona GTB/4 racers were modified in Modena.

Le Mans Esses 1967. The second placed Ferrari P4 of Scarfiotti/Parkes ahead of eleventh placed and first in class Filipinetti Ferrari 275GTB/C #09079 driven by Steinemann/Spoerry (LAT)

 

Ray Delaney in GTB #07545 at Amaroo Park, Sydney in 1981

Credits…

Jaguar Magazine, Repco Collection via Nigel Tait, Rod MacKenzie, Ray Delaney, Talacrest, barchetta.cc, LAT, Stephen Dalton

Tailpiece: 1968 Surfers 6 Hour…

(unattributed)

Borrani’s at the front and Campagnolo’s up the back, ain’t she sweet…

Finito…

One of the things that attracts Lotus fans to the marque is the elegant simplicity of Chapman’s cars…

My Elise S1 was born long after Col’s death but the brand essence he established pervades Hethel’s hallowed halls to the present.

The Twelve has to be the ultimate in that respect, its simple elegance, size and weight are amazing alongside a Dino 246 or even a Cooper T41/43 of 1957/8.

Many have thought the miniscule cigar of a machine was a GP winner in 1958 fitted with a 2.5 FPF sans dodgy ‘Queerbox’- Cliff Allison was a Belgian Grand Prix winner that year so equipped? Its size is partially a function of its F2 original intent- the Sixteen, its successor is big by comparison.

Of course Moss would have belted everybody in a 2.5 FPF engined T43 in 1958 too- albeit Cooper had its own gearbox problem to solve to allow success.

 

Allison hooks his 12 into La Source early in the Spa weekend, no #40 decal on the car yet

The opening shot is the Team Lotus lads fixing a gearbox problem at Zandvoort in 1958.

Note the bungee cord affixed ‘knee’ fuel tank and chassis repair to the vertical tube which drops from the ‘dash which has been carried out away from Hornsey.

Cliff Allison was sixth that late May weekend from Q11 and Graham Hill a DNF with engine dramas from Q13. Moss’ Vanwall won from Harry Schell and Jean Behra in BRM P25’s- perhaps the circuit suited the BRM’s, Jo Bonnier took the marques first championship victory in the Dutch dunes twelve months hence.

Team Lotus made their F1 debut in Monaco the week before so Allison’s sixth- just outside the points in those days was impressive.

Even more so was Cliff’s fourth in chassis ‘357’ at Spa- the most supreme of power circuits of course.

The 2.2 litre Lotus qualified twelfth and finished behind the Brooks Vanwall, Hawthorn Dino and Lewis-Evans Vanwall but ahead of four other 2.5 litre cars- he was timed at 167 mph on the Masta Straight.

OK, there were nine race retirements but it was a mega performance all the same and its said that none of the three cars in front of him would have completed another lap- had the race been a tad longer perhaps Lotus would have taken their first GP victory in the third such event they contested, but ’twas not to be.

Cliff parlayed his performances in 1958 into a works Ferrari drive in 1959 of course. An underrated driver I reckon.

Allison hiking an inside front right at very high Spa speed 1958- famously fourth ‘behind three cars which could not have completed another lap’. Cliff used Teams 2207 cc FPF in this race which was good for 194 bhp @ 6250 rpm

Mechanical Gubbins…

The late John Ross was popular with Team Lotus, he was given great access to the factory throughout the fifties as Chapman’s eponymous marque became more ambitious with each successive project.

The photo below and the one of the rear of the chassis were taken on a visit by John to Hornsey in November 1956. This is the first 12 chassis built- ‘301’ which was constructed by Frank Coleman at the Progress Chassis Company opposite Stan Chapman’s pub, the Railway Hotel in Tottenham Lane, Hornsey, North London. Progress were the chassis supplier of choice for some years.

(J Ross)

 

Press launch at Lotus/Railway Hotel, Hornsey, October 1956. Note the famous ‘Wobbly Web’ cast magnesium alloy wheels first designed for the 12 but used well into the sixties (J Ross)

The prototype, clothed in its Frank Costin designed body was then assembled into a complete machine for the London Motor Show held at Earls Court between October 17-27 1956 by Colin, Mike Costin and John Lambert working to a very tight deadline.

It was shown to the press at a Lotus works function albeit the engine was an incomplete mock-up of the new 1475cc Coventry Climax F2 engine and ‘its all new Lotus transaxle was just a wooden maquette’ wrote Doug Nye. The engine in production form gave 141 bhp @ 7300 rpm on F2 regulation 100 octane fuel and weighed 280 pounds.

1475 cc Coventry Climax FPF aboard ‘353’ at Motorclassica in 2018. Those Webers are sand cast 40DCO3’s (M Bisset)

This show car ‘was never man enough to be raced’ as its joint welds had been ground away so much for display purposes there was barely enough weld left to hold the thing together. After some years at the Montagu Museum at Beaulieu it is part of the Chapman Family Collection.

Bernard Cahier’s shot below is of Graham Hill’s car, chassis ‘353’ during the 1958 Monaco GP weekend, I covered this important Lotus weekend in an article i wrote a while back;

https://primotipo.com/2016/11/29/cliff-allison-lotus-12-and-the-mid-engined-revolution-1958/

At Monaco GP 1958- both cars raced that weekend were fitted with 1960 cc FPF’s which gave 176 bhp @ 6500 rpm, note the twin-throat SU’s. Car is Hill’s ‘353’

The photograph below shows the beautifully designed and fabricated spaceframe chassis, de-Dion tube, and its locating links fore and aft. Inboard discs and calipers, Lotus ‘Queerbox’ mock-up, only the coil springs are missing.

Two de-Dion cars were built, ‘301’ and ‘351’, definitive spec 12’s were fitted with Chapman’s stunning, simple and effective ‘Chapman Strut’ suspension. Note that ‘351’ was converted to strut specifications.

(J Ross)

 

‘353’ with a focus on its perky little rump and particularly its Chapman Strut rear suspension (M Bisset)

 

(M Bisset)

The 12 was Chapman’s second single-seater design, the first was a project for Tony Vandervell to design the 1956 Vanwall chassis- it and its successors were rather competitive cars, winner of the 1958 International Cup for F1 Manufacturers.

The Lotus chassis was made of 1 inch 20 gauge tube, the bottom rails used aircraft spec Reynolds 531 material. Curved inch square cross-members linked the main longerons, whilst the upper rails were of inch round 20 gauge linked by similar sized verticals to the lower members. All triangulation was by 3/4 inch tube. The undertray was attached rigidly to the bottom bay to aid stiffness, the spaceframe itself weighed 47 pounds complete with all brackets.

(M Bisset)

Front suspension is by upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/damper units.

Or perhaps more accurately a wide based lower wishbone, single top link and sway bar which also performed locational duties. A classic case of Chapman minimalism or getting something to do two purposes.

Australian Lotus 12 Connection…

I’d finished a nice neato-quickie article to the point above and then thought, hang on a minute, there is a nice Australian connection to a couple of these cars in that ‘351’ was brought to Australia by crop-duster pilot/business owner Ern Tadgell in 1958 and Frank Gardner imported the ex-Gee Hill ‘353’ in 1961.

Both are still in Australia too, so lets head off in that direction, a 500 word exercise has turned into a 7000 word feature mind you.

‘351’ was named ‘Sabakat’ as a ruse to keep the Australian Federal Fiscal Fiends (Australian Taxation Office) from imposing duty on the car imported by Tadgell in the hold of a Percival EP.9 crop-duster he and his friend, business partner and fellow racer Austin Miller brought back to Australia. In similar fashion, Aussies ‘Miller Special’ which occupied the hold in another EP.9 piloted by Austin, was in reality a Cooper T41 Climax.

Sabakat was raced by Ern for two years powered by the Climax FPF 1.5 engine before the motor blew in a reasonably big way. He sought to improve the 12’s pace by fitment of a 7.6 litre Lycoming aircraft engine in an act of mechanical butchery- in the sense that the conversion was a back of the paddock, crude, blacksmith’s exercise.

It was comprehensively burned to a corn-chip in an accident during the AGP weekend at Lowood, Queensland in 1960.

Ern Tadgell In ‘351’ or Sabakat at, still 1.5 CC FPF powered (autopics.com.au)

Unsuccessful in his endeavours to acquire the ex-Hill ‘353’ circa 1970 racer/historian Graham Howard created a replica of Sabakat with the assistance of many of his friends and contacts, most notably Tony Caldersmith who fabricated the chassis and brought the project together.

Whilst Graham is sadly no longer with us ‘Sabakat’ still is- every time I see that car I am reminded of that kind, decent man and uber-enthusiast. This car has been well chronicled over the years not least by Graham himself in Australian ‘Sports Car World’ magazine eons ago.

‘353’s history is covered in even greater detail as the current owner for many years, Adelaide’s Mike Bennett, obtained so much information in the process of researching the car he wrote a limited edition book about it- ‘Lotus 12 Chassis No 353: The History’ no doubt some of you have a copy (I don’t).

Lets focus on ‘353’ initially, Sabakat is in many ways the more interesting story, we will come back to it later on.

Mike Bennett picks things up- ‘353 is one of the two cars which took part in Lotus’ first GP at Monaco in 1958 where it was driven by Graham Hill, the other Lotus 12, chassis ‘357’,  was driven by Cliff Allison. Graham went on to drive ‘353’ at the Dutch and Belgian GP before he moved over to the Lotus 16. These Monaco cars survive today after they both spent many years unused and in storage.’

‘353’ was a 1957 build car, the very first race for of a 12 was Cliff Allison’s Lavant Cup entry on 22 April 1957, he was classified seventh in the race won by Tony Brooks Cooper T41 Climax FWB.

The Twelves missed the following British Silverstone, Brands and Snetterton meetings in April/May but Herbert MacKay-Fraser raced ‘351’ to second place behind Jack Brabham’s Cooper T43 FPF at Brands on 9 June.

Hill in ‘353’ Goodwood, Easter Monday 1958

‘353’ first raced (using the F2 Index as my reference source- it is probably more up to date than some of the books I have I suspect) in the BRDC International Trophy meeting at Silverstone on 14 September. Both Allison and Henry Taylor drove it in the heats with Allison retiring in the final.

Hill raced it in the Woodcote Cup at Silverstone in late September for fifth place- Roy Salvadori won from Brabham, both aboard works Cooper T43’s with Allison third in ‘357’.

The 5 October Oulton Park International Gold Cup was an F2 event in 1957, Brabham and Allison were first and second with Hill eleventh in ‘353’.

Over the Winter ‘353’ and ‘357’ were prepared for an assault on the 1958 Grand Prix season primarily by changing the 1.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF with engines of 2 litres in capacity. It would be some while yet until Climax invested in a 2.5 litre version of a motor which became iconic. With a lot of work the Lotus sequential ‘Queerbox’ was gaining some semblance of reliability led by Keith Duckworth, we will come back to that in a little bit.

Before the commencement of the 1958 European Championship season in Monaco- Moss took an historic mid-engined victory in Rob Walkers Cooper T43 Climax at Buenos Aires in mid-January, Hill and Allison raced their Twelves in several non-championship F1 events in the UK.

The first was the F2 Lavant Cup at Goodwood where Hill and Allison were second and third behind Brabham’s Cooper T43. During the same 7 April meeting they also raced in the F1/F2 Glover Trophy- a DNF for Hill in ‘353’ and fourth place for Cliff in ‘357’ behind Hawthorn’s Ferrari Dino 246 and the works Cooper T45 Climaxes of Brabham and Salvadori.

At the BARC 200 at Aintree on 19 April Hill was seventh and Allison eighth and at the BRDC International Trophy Meeting at Silverstone on 3 May Hill was eighth and Cliff sixth in ‘353’ and ‘357’ respectively.

Some days prior to 18 May, the Lotus entourage headed off in the direction of the famous Principality.

Graham settles himself into ‘353’ whilst Roy Salvadori, Cooper T45 Climax comes past. Silverstone, BRDC Intl Trophy 3 May 1958 (J Ross)

At Monaco Allison was sixth in ‘357’ and Hill, DNF engine as he was in both the two following rounds at Zandvoort and Spa- Allison was sixth and fourth. Graham had shocking reliability issues in 1958- worse was to come in 1959 mind you!

At Reims both Lotus’ had engine dramas and did not finish albeit Graham raced a Lotus 16, as he did for the balance of the season. He raced ‘353’ in the F2 support race but failed to finish in the Coupe International de Vitesse won by Jean Behra’s converted Porsche RSK.

Hill’s best result amongst a shocker of a season reliability wise was sixth at Monza whereas Cliff’s Q5 at Aintree for the British GP was fantastic toting 2 litres and seventh at Monza were his best, in addition to the Spa result. It was a corker of an F1 debut year, without doubt Cliff proved both how fast he and the 12 were.

Cliff Allison looks on at left, and Colin Chapman at right as Graham sets off for some practice laps in ‘353’

 

Hill In ‘353’ ahead of Tom Bridger, Cooper Climax during the French GP F2 support race, GH car may be ‘352’ (LAT)

 

Hill In ‘353’ during the Monaco weekend. Note front upper and lower wishbone suspension and Girling disc brakes- outboard front and inboard at the rear

After Hill started to race the Lotus 16, chassis ‘353’ was put to one side of the Hornsey workshop but was soon sold to John Fisher in Portsmouth, he engaged a number of drivers to race the car in 1958.

I don’t know much about Mr Fisher but he was a motor-cycle and car dealer based in Portsmouth and became one of a rare breed- F1 private entrant in that he fielded a Lotus 16 for Bruce Halford to race in many championship and non-championship events throughout 1959. The 12 seems to have been a ‘toe in the water’ exercise for the ‘John Fisher Equipe’ as he named his team. At least one source suggests he was Lord Mayor of Bristol later but I can find no hard evidence to support this- I am intrigued to know more about Fisher if any of you can oblige.

Maurice Michy raced ‘353’ in the F2 Trophee d’Auvergne at Clermont Ferrand in late July 1958 and Bruce Halford ran it at the Brands Hatch Boxing Day meeting.

No less than Maria Teresa di Filippis was entered at Syracuse in late April 1959- Stirling Moss won the F2 IX Gran Premio di Siracusa in a Rob Walker Cooper T43 Borgward from Jean Behra’s works Ferrari 156 and Jack Brabham’s Cooper T45 Climax, di Filippis was out with an oil leak after completing 10 of the races 55 laps.

Crystal Palace’s London Trophy was raced to F2 rules in 1959, Bruce Halford raced ‘353’ again without success, he had an undisclosed mechanical problem which outted the car after 20 laps- Salvadori’s Cooper T43 Climax won.

Bruce Halford aboard ‘353’ at Brands on Boxing Day 1958. Mike Hawthorn looks on. Mike has less than a month to live, he died on 22 January 1959 (J Ross)

In 1959 Frank Gardner arrived in the UK from Australia, buying the car from John after a demonstration by Bruce Halford.

After a few brief outings it was shipped back to Australia in 1960 where it has been ever since. Whilst John Blanden claims Gardner raced the car in the UK I have found no evidence in terms of published race results to support that, but it is entirely plausible that he tested it. ‘It lay unused for some 27 years in New South Wales due to a failed crown wheel and pinion which is unique to the car. My friend Don Asser and I acquired the car in (the annual Adelaide Grand Prix auction) in 1991 and we returned it to its former glory over four years’ wrote Mike Bennett.

Frank Gardner had been running the Mobil Service Station at Whale Beach, a superb place on the northern end of Sydney’s Barrenjoey Peninsula (the stretch from Manly to Palm Beach in simple terms) with ‘Len Deaton calling around to put fuel in his motorbike and a friendship grew. It seems that Len funded the process of getting them all to the UK’, that is Frank, Len and his wife Veda and children Rik and Ti.

Frank, with a strong track-record in Australia in his C and D Type Jaguars did rather well in the UK but in the early days he was just another youthful (but not what you would call young) racer from The Antipodes trying to make his way in a much bigger pond than the one he left in Australia.

FG and Rik Deaton running amok, possibly Mallory Park (L Deaton)

 

FG at work in the ex-Allison/Team Lotus transporter, place unknown (L Deaton)

 

FG services the transporter supervised by Chief Mechanics Ric and Ti Deaton (L Deaton)

Along the way they acquired the ex-Team Lotus transporter not from Lotus but from John Campbell-Jones at the ‘Cornwall Garage and Engineering Co’ who had bought it from Lotus earlier.

‘The unit had originally been built by Cliff Allison, probably using a bus from the family business in Cumbria and taken with him when he joined Lotus. The swing-out crane on the side was Cliff’s way of being able to lift out engines etc at circuits.’

In time honoured fashion, part of the business model of Australian racers from John Snow pre-war to Alan Jones and beyond was to acquire competitive, or thereabouts, racing cars in the UK and ship them home to Australia to a scene which was not quite as hot as that in Europe. In that process valuable cash was raised to keep the racer afloat for season in Europe.

And so it was that the Leaton’s and FG bought three cars- the 12, a Lotus Eleven and a Cooper FJ- the latter ‘in fact was an ex-Rob Walker 2 litre Climax car raced raced by Moss and converted back to FJ before sale’ Bennett’s research found.

All three cars made their way to Australia- the 11 and 12 are still here whereas the Cooper ended up in the US.

The photo of the Lotus 18’s on the way to the docks below is taken with the Shepperton Film Studios behind the wall. On a trip in 2010 Bennett managed to find the exact spot from the the passing road and glimpsed the block of flats, the only difference with the elapse of fifty years being the satellite dishes attached to the abodes!

(L Deaton)

During 1960 Gardner was racing Lotus 18 Formula Juniors supported by Jim Russell’s school, I am sure the proprietor didn’t notice the missing company truck for a few hours to deal with FG’s commerce to keep his racing career afloat. Isn’t it a wonderful shot to show what it took in those days?

In 1960 Frank Gardner raced a Cooper T52 Ford Formula Junior and in 1960 a Lotus 20 Ford entered by the Jim Russell School, Deaton and his family returned to Australia setting about selling the three cars.

The Twelve was advertised for 2200 pounds, eventually selling to Joe Hills in July 1962 who removed the Climax engine. Later that year it was sold to a partnership of Ian Stewart and David Conlon who fitted a 1500 Ford engine- in 1963 it reverted to the sole ownership of David Conlon who retained it, running it on only several occasions when driven by Garry Berman until 1967.

That year David Holyoake acquired it and retained it all the way through until 1991. ‘For many years the car was stored in his Camden, NSW tyre store surviving with its original chassis, alloy bodywork, suspension, radiator, 5-speed sequential gearbox, fibreglass fuel tank in the tail, wheels, seat etc.’

Back to Mike Bennett.

‘During the painting process we discovered the ‘No 2′ centre punched in all the body panels which identified the car (with the assistance of ex-works mechanic Willie Griffiths) as the one driven by Denis Jenkinson on public roads in Hampshire on Christmas Day in 1957.’

‘This secret jaunt started from The Phoenix Hotel in Hartley Wintney and was witnessed by Colin Chapman, Bill Boddy and Merv Therriault. Merv, a Canadian mechanic at Team Lotus had nothing better on offer for Christmas Day than to go to The Phoenix and start up and warm up the car ready for Denis to drive.’

‘Inevitably, of course the car broke down with a lucky family having a surprise visitor over Xmas lunch when Jenkinson sought the use of a phone to alert the Lotus lads to an inert Lotus. In a wonderful touch Merv, now 83, is coming over from Vancouver to mechanic on the car’ in Mikes Goodwood Festival of Speed run in 2012.

‘The car driven by Cliff Allison at Mallory for MotorSport was in fact chassis ‘359’ the ex Ivor Bueb car not his ‘old-banger’ chassis ‘357’ which is now being raced in the UK by Nick Rossi. Chassis ‘357’ lay dismantled for many years’ in a mixture of Aldershot, just adjacent to the north-east of Farnham, and the village of Bentley, nearby to the west wrote a combination of Bennett and Doug Nye.

Mike Bennett continues in relation to ‘353’‘…Gary Berman was involved with the car, he drove it for David Conlon, the owner at the time. David had the car when he operated the BP service station in Silverwater, Sydney…Regarding the use of an MGA gearbox, to clarify this, two Lotus 12 cars came to Australia, #351 and #353.’

‘#351 had it survived (in original form) would have been a real piece of Lotus history, it was the first Lotus single-seater to turn a wheel’ as the second 12 built. It was fitted with a 1.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF (F2) engine as all Twelves originally were but the Queerbox had not been finished because the ZF gears were delayed.’

As a consequence ‘351’ was fitted with an MG Magnette gearbox attached to the engine with a stepped-down special rear diff in the tail- a BMC B Series differential inside a Lotus casing with a specially made three gear 1:1 transfer case to lower the driveline under the driver’s seat. All of the later cars had the five speed Lotus Queerbox.’

Chapman in amongst it July 1957- two 12’s in front of him, 6 built in 1956 and a similar number in 1957 (J Ross)

 

Chapman tests ‘351’ at Silverstone in March 1957 (G Goddard)

 

Team Lotus Lotus 12 ‘351’ March 1957 Silverstone test session- standing are Chapman, Ron Flockhart and Graham Hill, kneeling left is Willie Griffiths whilst Mike Costin is in the cap on the right. 351’ still fitted with de Dion rear suspension at this early stage (G Goddard)

#351 was Lotus’ first test bed’. The car was the chassis run during the very first test at Silverstone on 11 March 1957 attended by Mike Costin, Graham Hill, Willie Griffiths and Colin Chapman, the car was driven that day by the chief and Hill.

Chapman and Herbert MacKay Fraser were entered in ‘351’ at the Lavant Cup, Goodwood in April but failed to start. MacKay-Fraser was second to Jack Brabham in the BRSCC F2 race at Brands in June but missed the final of the London Trophy at Crystal Palace as the transmission failed in his heat- that 10 June meeting appears to be the ‘351’s last in the UK.

Its intriguing why, at that stage of the game Ern Tadgell chose a Lotus rather than a Cooper but perhaps his choice was around personal preference rather than the way the wind appeared to be blowing in terms of the competitiveness of mid-engine cars.

Coopers had made a huge impact in Australia- both air and water cooled, Jack Brabham won the 1955 Australian Grand Prix at Port Wakefield, South Australia in the Cooper T40 Bristol he knocked together quickly enough to make his Championship GP debut at Aintree during the 1955 British GP.

‘It (351) was sold ‘new’ to Ern Tadgell…and imported into Australia in the belly of a cropdusting aircraft which somehow bypassed a few customs officers- thereafter it was known as Sabakat. After blowing its (Climax) engine it was fitted with a Lycoming aircraft engine, crashing and burning at Lowood, Queensland in 1960’ during the Australian Grand Prix carnival in a preliminary race.

‘It was totally destroyed, however, Graham Howard, with the skills of Tony Caldersmith, made a replica of Sabakat…#353 always had its 5-speed sequential gearbox but when the crown-wheel and pinion failed and could not be replaced, an attempt was made in David Holyoake’s ownership to fit a VW gearbox transaxle in the tail, but its installation was never completed’ wrote Mike Bennett.

(M Bisset)

 

(M Bisset)

 

(M Bisset)

‘The gearbox for the Lotus 12 was a unique design and a major challenge for Lotus.’

‘It was a five-speed sequential gearbox with a reverse. The hard steel components for the gearbox were made for Lotus by ZF in Germany. In fact Keith Duckworth’s first overseas visit was to ZF to oversee the ZF component’s manufacture. The gearbox was also used in early Lotus 15s.’

‘The LSD carried a unique crownwheel and pinion with a large hypoid offset. This was necessary to get the prop shaft below the drivers seat. The rear universal joint is right under the drivers seat in a safety cage. One wag noted that if the UJ broke the driver gets to join the Vienna Boys Choir!’

‘David Holyoake told us that he and his brother drove the car with its failing crown wheel and pinion until it would move no more. The remains of the crown wheel attest to this. Attempts were made by David in the 1970’s to get a replacement from ZF without success.’

‘In around 1984 Bill Friend in the UK had a small batch of these CW&P made and we acquired the last one as a spare. Currently there is another run of CW&P being planned for the handful of Lotus 12 owners in the world. It is one spare part worth keeping on the shelf as they seem to get made once every 30 years!’

‘Keith Duckworth made a significant contribution to making the gearbox reliable, his positive stop gearchange worked first time as well as his fabricated “sump” around the crown wheel which holds the oil in close proximity. Initially the gearbox was planned to be dry-sump but in Team Lotus hands the front gear case was closed off and remained “wet”, the dry sump pump being only used to squirt oil onto the CW&P. The scavenge and pressure pump is the engine oil pump off a Velocette MSS’ continued Mike.

‘353’ again at Motorclassica in 2018 (M Bisset)

 

(M Bisset)

 

(LAT)

Let’s exit Europe more or less where we started, with a great photograph- this time Cliff Allison at Monaco in 1958, doesn’t ‘357’ look rather purposeful and pretty.

 

Lotus 12 ‘351’ aka Sabakat…

 

(unattributed)

Ern Tadgell in the Gnoo Blas pits during ‘351’s first race meeting in Australia, the South Pacific Championship Gold Star round, over the Australia Day long weekend in January 1958.

In his research Graham Howard unearthed the factory ‘351 build card’ which records ‘Chassis 351 fitted with FPF engine No 1003 & MGA gearbox sold to Tadgell’.

Hungry bell-mouths of two twin-throat SU’s, car still, in ex-factory specification inclusive of lovely red leather bound steering wheel.

Bill Turnbull, who helped Tadgell with the car in Toowoomba recalls ‘that Ern used methanol fuel which did not suit the cork carb floats, and that there were overheating problems which warped the head.’ The little FPF blew during the Longford Trophy weekend in 1960. Turnbull believes Tadgell picked up the ‘Sabakat’ name in the Middle East, somewhere on the flight between England and Australia!

Tadgell and Miller were a couple of ‘Boys Own’ type characters, the likes of which are not around any more. Sadly.

The duo met in the dying days of World War 2 in the Royal Australian Air Force and like so many pilots post-war attempted to parlay their newly developed skills into a career, and so it was that Super Spread Aviation Pty. Ltd. was incorporated in 1952, aerial crop-dusting was new at the time.

That they found motor racing was a common path for many of those who fought and survived the war and needed some excitement to fill a gap in their lives.

The Edgar Percival EP.9 was demonstrated in Australia by way of a sales tour conducted by popular British racing pilot, Beverley Snook between May and July 1957. In June 1957 Super Spread placed an order for two aircraft, the dynamic duo made their way to the UK in the months prior to their marvellous adventure return flights to Australia.

The two Super Spread Percival EP.9’s at Moorabbin in 1961- how easy would a stripped Lotus 12 or Cooper T41 chassis fit in there!? This plane still exists and nicely in Austin Miller’s son’s hands. He and the late Austin bought it in 1996, it was restored and then added back to the Civil Register of aircraft in July 1998. In another racing sidebar, one of the many owners of this plane down the decades was Lionel Van Praag, the pre-war champion speedway bike racer about whom I wrote not so long ago (G Goodall)

They left Stapleford Aerodrome in Essex, where the aircraft were built, on 19 September 1957- each of the planes contained their new racing cars, the chassis of which would have been accommodated easily, contrary to some reports that have it that the cars were ‘cut-up’ and re-welded back together again in the Land of Oz.

Austin’s ex-Paul England Cooper T41 was the more astute purchase but Ernie’s Lotus was not to be sneezed at, although neither were outright contenders amongst the Gold Star grids of the day- 1958 topliners were the Lex Davison Ferrari 500/750, Stan Jones Maserati 250F and Ted Gray’s Tornado Chev, but on a good day they were certainly point-scoring machines. Click here for an article on Aussie’s Cooper;

https://primotipo.com/2015/05/20/aussie-miller-cooper-t41-climax-trevallyn-hillclimb-launceston-tasmania-1959/

After 32 stops between England and Australia! our two intrepid adventurers flew their EP9’s into outer Melbourne’s Moorabbin Airport, where they were based, on 27 October 1957.

Germane to the story and Sabakat’s new engine is a third EP.9, chassis or frame number 32, which Super Spread acquired a little later. It was air freighted to Australia in parts and assembled locally by the company. This aircraft provided the engine which was soon to be fitted to Sabakat.

On 15 April 1958, after completing a rebuild of that plane following a crash on Flinders Island in February, Austin and engineer Bill Symons took to the skies at Moorabbin and ‘immediately after take-off the aircraft climbed steeply, stalled and crashed to the aerodrome. The elevator cables had been installed so as to reverse normal operating sense’ the official report into the accident recorded. Both guys were seriously hurt, the badly damaged airframe was struck off the aircraft register on 28 April 1958.

Whilst the planes wings and other parts went into EP.9 #46, the Lycoming engine was aok and sat unused in Super Spread’s workshops for a little while…

Doug Whiteford, Maserati 300S from Tadgell- note that the car by this stage is red…Longford 1959 (P O’May)

 

Tadgell, Middle Ridge, Toowoomba 1958 (D Willis)

Ern raced the Lotus extensively throughout Australia from the time it arrived contesting some Gold Star events, including Lowood- where he took the lap record, Bathurst, Longford and other circuits. In addition, he also had occasional drives in Norman Hamilton’s Porsche 550 Spyder, the car these days in Lindsay Fox’ collection in Melbourne.

At some point he based himself in Queensland, the preparation and modification of ‘351’ was done up north. I know from discussions with Austin Miller’s son Guy, that Aussie, apart from being a very talented pilot could also wield machine tools with the best of them- his cars were self prepared inclusive of maintenance and rebuilding his FWB and FPF Climaxes. I doubt Aussie was involved in the work on ‘351’ at this stage but am intrigued to know exactly who modified ‘351’.

All was fine with Ern’s Climax engine until the March 1960 Longford Trophy when the motor let go during the race won by Brabham’s Cooper T51 Climax, by then Austin had a T51 too, his 2.2 litre FPF engined car failed after 3 laps, so not a good weekend for the two aviators.

What to do next with three months until the AGP at Lowood on 12 June was Tadgell’s challenge?

The percentage play would have been to rebuild the Climax engine to 1960 cc which Ern’s block would have accommodated- but the potential to run up the front with a 270 bhp powered Lotus, oops, Sabakat was too great a temptation!

The dogs breakfast- Sabakat Lycoming presented for scrutineering at Lowood in 1960. ‘Take it home matey’ appears a reasonable response by todays standards, but they were different times of course. Note the immense width of the Lycoming flat-6 compared with the slender Climax inline-4 (SCW)

 

(B Miles)

 

Inlet tracts and stub exhausts of 7.6 litre, beefy Lycoming clear (B Thomas)

The Lycoming engine fitted to the EP.9 was a member of the O-480 family of six-cylinder, horizontally opposed, air-cooled, two overhead valve motors. All were of 7.86 litres in capacity but there were at least five variants all with an additional prefix preceding the ‘480’ to indicate the specific configuration of the engine.

Until recent times Sabakat’s Lycoming engine type and capacity has been the subject of conjecture, Ern didn’t help by listing the capacity of the engine in the AGP program as 8150 cc which just does not fit. Some photographs, most notably those of Bill Miles and Brier Thomas posted online in recent years make it clear the engine was a Lycoming horizontally opposed six- not a four. Publicly available information about the engines fitted to the EP.9’s also makes the detective work easier than pre-internet times as well.

The exact specification of the engine is unknown but it was normally aspirated by carburettor- and unsupercharged which suggests a power output between 270-295 horsepower at circa 3000 rpm. Geoff Goodall’s aviation site quotes the EP.9 engine type as Lycoming GIO-480.

270-295 bhp sounds great of course but the engine, despite lots of alloy was big, bulky and heavy at 498 pounds. The 1475 cc Climax FPF was small, compact and light at 280 pounds, so the little, svelte, beautifully triangulated Progress chassis all of a sudden had another 220 pounds in weight, and lots of girth to cope with. Magazine reports of the day indicate the chassis was lengthened to accommodate the Lycoming.

It goes without saying that in a straight line, everything would perhaps be hunky-dory but the propensity of the machine to change direction with anything other than disinterested alacrity would be something else, unless some supreme engineering was involved.

But the photographic evidence suggests that that was not the case and that rather, ‘automotive sodomy’ was performed with a ‘rough as guts’ insertion of Lycoming, to put it politely.

Note the jury-rigged external fuel tank above and long, three inlet tracts from carburettor atop the engine and (below) stub exhausts.

It is not clear whether Tadgell and his team had time to test the car prior to race weekend but reports of the day suggest not.

This account is by Romsey Quints aka Bill Tuckey in Sports Car World ‘Last of all (entrants) to arrive was a pink painted monster barely recognisable as what had been once Ern Tadgell’s 1.5 litre Lotus-based Sabakat. Peeping like bare skin at a concubine’s waist from among the odd tubes and chopped up-panels of the poor baby’s lengthened frame was 8150 cc (we now know it was 7860 cc) of grinning air-cooled flat-six Lycoming aircraft engine.’

‘Towards dusk an ashen Mr Ernest Tadgell, sweat streaming from every pore despite the coolth of the evening, wheeled his Lycoming-Lotus through the pit gate after covering three eye-popping laps. Muttering something about frantic understeer and three-thou at 120, he disappeared into the night.’

Australian Grands Prix back in the days of yore had a sprint race or two before the main event. Ern lined up his aero-engine special and only completed one full lap before disaster struck, accounts differ, either something broke or he ran wide on a corner but whatever the case the result was the end of ‘351’.

Sports Car World saw it this way ‘…Tadgell made one hair-raising tour of the circuit, embarked on another and then understeered off at the left-hand Castrol Corner’. Bill Turnbull says that the torque of the Lycoming engine was too much for the rear suspension hub which broke, overturning the car. Back to SCW, ‘The ungainly Lycoming-engined brute rolled on contact with the (hay) bales, tipped bold Ernie on the ground and then flopped in a blazing heap beside him. A courageous official hauled the erstwhile pilot out of the area and doused his burning clothes…from the course ambulance Ernest Tadgell Esq, announced his retirement from racing.’

 

The steering wheel appears re-usable but not much else (B Thomas)

 

(Ayers Family)

‘All that was left of Sabakat, which had been largely magnesium alloy, were the steel wheels and hubs’- perhaps the hubs but not the wheels for they were magnesium ‘wobbly- webs’.

Tadgell impacted the result of the AGP indirectly in that Alec Mildren’s Cooper T51 Maserati broke a half-shaft on the line in the preliminary which claimed Sabakat. The fire which Tadgell started and was fuelled by the hay bales and dry grass took some while for officialdom to get under control- all of which was valuable time Alec put to good use by personally repairing his car which he then used to win the race by the slenderest of margins from Lex Davison’s Aston Martin DBR4/300. Click here for more about Mildren and a detailed account of the AGP;

https://primotipo.com/2018/06/08/mildrens-unfair-advantage/

Whilst Sabakat was dead Tadgell raced on in an immaculate Lynx Ford FJ in 1962/1963 but his lifestyle got the better of him in the end, he died of burns from a crop-dusting accident in 1965, his, like Austin Miller’s are life stories which would make stunning reading. As Romsey Quints observed, ‘Ernie Tadgell was a marvellous man who ate up life like a cat at a dish of ice-cream.’

Bill Turnbull wrote that the remains of Sabakat were stored in an aircraft hangar near Oakey, but by the time Graham Howard went searching in the early seventies whatever there was had been ‘spread by the winds’. Tadgell’s family are still involved in aviation, servicing helicopters.

Lex Davison’s Cooper Vincent s/c leads Ern Tadgell’s Porsche Spl in the very first race of the very first meeting at Phillip Island, the ‘Grand Opening Meeting’ on 15 December 1956- clearly Ern liked air-cooled cars- he had a few ‘works’ drives of Norman Hamilton’s Porsche 550 Spyder too (P Island)

 

Very rare shot of Ernest Tadgell in his Porsche Spl, no idea of the circuit but perhaps Lowood given the domicile of the photographer. Note sure about the chassis but the engine of this car was a 356 1498 cc flat-4 fitted, of course, with twin Solexes- circa 100 bhp @ 6200 rpm, box a modified VW. An ‘FV’ a decade before its time- what became of it? (J Psaros)

Lets have a look at some photos of the Sabakat Replica to round out the story.

From idea to first test was the best part of a decade- Graham Howard sought to acquire ‘353’ in 1970, the first test session for Sabakat was at Amaroo Park, Sydney in April 1979.

Tony Caldersmith working on the new Sabakat chassis in 1973 (SCW)

 

Tony Caldersmith did the Grand Tour of Europe as we Aussies all eventually do. He managed to get a job at Hornsey building pre-production Elites in 1958 and later was Service Foreman at Cheshunt, inclusive of writing the Elite Service Manual. He later switched to Team Lotus ‘in charge of their base operations, which basically meant creating an organisation that rebuilt the expired components of the last race and had new set ready for the next event’. He left to go to Handley-Page working on Victor bombers and ‘rejected a lot of sheet metal work as not up to Qantas standards! The photo at Hornsey is of the prototype Lotus 7 Mk2 Ford 1172cc on top of purchaser, and friend of Tony’s Warren King’s Riley 9 (T Caldersmith)

Howard relates how audacious a project it was in his Sports Car World article- he knew little about Sabakat at the outset, let alone that it was ‘351’, he had none of the components of the car nor drawings either.

But by 1972 he was piecing together the history of the dozen Lotus Twelves, had a set of drawings from John Player Team Lotus Team Manager Peter Warr, was sourcing the many bits he needed and critically had the support of Sydney domiciled ex-Lotus employee Tony Caldersmith who agreed to get involved and fabricate the chassis and other key bits and pieces.

‘…Tony’s contribution held everything else together. And just as he had been able to dig down into his files to produce a (12) drawing, throughout the whole project he was forever digging into his resources and producing solutions, calculations, not to mention actual components, to take the project a stage further’ wrote Graham.

Enthusiast, racer, restorer, fettler, recognised global Lotus expert, author and all round good guy Graham Campbell Howard in the early 2000’s (AMN)

 

Howard at Amaroo Park, Sabakat 2 (B Caldersmith)

I don’t propose to paraphrase Graham’s long, beautifully written and detailed SCW article other than to observe that it was an amazing triumph to build such a car by an impecunious enthusiast, supported as he was by an army of friends and colleagues who allowed the realisation of a dream. It is wonderful to see Sabakat 2 on a regular basis.

Brian Caldersmith kept a photographic record of the restoration, to complete this piece.

(B Caldersmith)

Graham in Tony Caldersmith’s driveway proving just how light that spaceframe is!- roughly 50 pounds. 1973 i’m guessing.

(B Caldersmith)

 

(B Caldersmith)

We are quite some way down the track by this stage, just use your eyes to see the multitude of bits and pieces sourced, and or fabricated by Tony.

Engine is a ‘period’ Climax 1.5 FPF from the ex-Charlie Whatmore Lotus 11- so too are the gearbox and wheels. Adrien Schagen donated a pair of smashed Lotus 11 de Dion hubs which were identical to the 12 design.

(B Caldersmith)

On wheels now, nice pair of flairs Graham- ‘Staggers’ perhaps?

Say 1977’ish, still in the pre-build stage well before everything comes apart and the chassis enamelled and re-assembled.

After getting a quote from the very prominent Stan Brown in Sydney for the body, Doug Nye introduced Graham to the Donington Collections panel man, John Cole with whom he contracted. He ended up paying pretty much the same amount without the advantage of being able to ‘chew the ear’ of a local artisan! The result was mighty fine mind you.

(B Caldersmith)

 

(B Caldersmith)

Completed.

In the Amaroo paddock, date folks- Graham’s ex-Alex Strachan Lotus 6 Climax alongside Sabakat 2. Who is the burly fellow fettling the 6?

And racing at an Historic Amaroo.

(J Lambert)

Sabakat In more recent times at an Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park display. Sabakat lives on…

Erratum…

Mike Gosbell, the current custodian of Sabakat got in touch after publication with some engine details of ‘351’.

‘The build sheet on chassis ‘351’ that Mike Bennett gave me shows that the FPF motor was ‘1031’ not ‘1003’. ‘1031’ is period to around September 1957 so Ern Tadgell got a new motor when he purchased ‘351’. I don’t know what happened to its original motor, but it may be ‘1002’ which is unaccounted for.’

‘FPF ‘1003’ is the motor that Graham Howard used in the cars re-creation ex-Jack Brabham works Cooper T43 F2, the motor that was removed at Monaco (1958) and replaced with a 2 litre FPF F1 motor so Jack could run after an accident in qualifying.’

‘I have a copy of Graham Howard’s original application to CAMS (to build the recreation) showing that the FPF motor would be ‘1005’, that was the Charlie Whatmore motor but was not used- that motor was used when Tony Caldersmith rebuilt the Mildren Cooper T51′ Mike wrote.

Tailpiece 1…

(D Beard)

Mike Bennett’s ‘353’ during the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed, David Beard’s creative approach pops a Lotus 29 Ford Indycar into the foreground. Nice.

Bibliography…

‘Theme Lotus’ Doug Nye, Aviation Safety Network, Geoff Goodall’s Aviation History Site, F2 Index, The Nostalgia Forum Lotus 12 and Sabakat threads in particular the contributions of Stephen Dalton, Kenzclass, Ray Bell, Dick Willis, Mike Bennett, Bill Turnbull and James Lambert, Mike Gosbell

Photo Credits…

Getty Images, John Marsden, John Ross Motor Racing Archive, Len Deaton, Australian Motorsports News, David Beard, Brian Caldersmith, James Lambert, Dick Willis, Ayers Family Collection

Tailpiece 2: Allison, Moss, Scott-Brown, Goodwood, April, 1958…

(Tumblr)

Allison’s 12 Climax ‘357’ leads Moss’ Rob Walker Cooper T43 Climax with Archie Scott-Brown’s Connaught B Type through the Goodwood Chicane during the April 1958 Glover Trophy.

Cliff was fourth in ‘357’, Archie sixth whilst Moss’s Climax motor had a nasty conrod failure. Mike Hawthorn won from Jack Brabham and Roy Salvadori- ‘old school’ Ferrari Dino 246 from John Cooper’s latest Cooper T45 Climaxes.

Moss took the first championship F1 win for a mid-engined car in one of Walker’s T43’s at Buenos Aries only a couple of months before on 19 January.

Finito…