Posts Tagged ‘Graham Hill’

Graham Hill, works Gold Leaf Team Lotus 49 Ford 2.5 DFW in the Warwick Farm pitlane during the ‘Farm’s February 1968 Tasman Round weekend…

I’ve done the 1968 Tasman Series to death with a series of articles uploaded before including one on this particular weekend but this batch of ‘up close and personal’ photos by enthusiast Bryan Henderson are too good to ignore.

One of the reasons enthusiasts get misty eyed about that series is that both Clark and Hill had been regular, enormously popular visitors to Australasia from the dawn of the sixties pre-Tasman era, 1968 was the last we had the pair of them down south together.

Clark won the Tasman with the still very new Lotus 49 in dominant fashion and then returned to Europe after winning the series and the F1 season opening South African GP to his untimely death aboard a Lotus 48 Ford FVA during a Euro F2 round at Hockenheim. In the words of The Seekers popular song of the day ‘The Carnival Is Over’.

Hill, WF- this shot 1969

Clark and Hill, Lotus 49’s, Amon Ferrari Dino 246T, then Courage behind Clark, McLaren M4A FVA and Hulme, Brabham BT23 FVA with Gardner, Brabham BT23D Alfa  behind Denny

We all have our favourite seasons of course but arguably that summer of ’68 was the Tasman peak.

The variety of cars was truly stunning- BRM P261 V8 and P126 V12, Ferrari Dino V6, Brabham Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 V8, the Lotus 49 Ford V8’s, various Brabham Repco V8’s including Jack’s latest works BT23E Repco ‘740’ V8 and a swag of Coventry Climax FPF engined machines in the hands of locals. The driving pool included just annointed World Champ Denny Hulme, Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Chris Amon, Bruce McLaren, Richard Attwood, Chris Irwin, Frank Gardner, Piers Courage and local hotshoes Kevin Bartlett, Leo Geoghegan, John Harvey, Graeme Lawrence and others. An amazing variety of cars and depth of talent on the grid…

Credits…

All photographs- Bryan Henderson

Tailpiece: To the victor the spoils…

Stilrling Moss, long retired but looking disgustingly fit addresses the crowd in advance of presenting Jim Clark his trophy- he won from Graham and Piers Courage in an F2 McLaren M4A Ford FVA. The gent in the shirt and dark tie is the much respected Geoff Sykes, the AARC/Warwick Farm General Manager/Promoter.

Wonderful times…

Finito…

image

Frank Matich, Brabham BT7A Climax tries to outbrake Bib Stillwell #6, Brabham BT4 Climax, December 1963…

Photographer John Ellacott upon posting this shot online described it as ‘the two great rivals on Hume Straight’…Matich braking down the outside on the run into the slow second gear ‘Creek Corner’. Frank’s car was brand new, just unpacked, it had only turned a wheel for the first time several days before the 1 December ‘Hordern Trophy’, the final round of that years Gold Star, the Australian Drivers Championship.

Frank’s car was fitted with 2.5 litre ‘Climax FPF, Bib’s older chassis had an ‘Indy’ 2.7- a fair duel, one guy with the edge in chassis perhaps and one with a bit more power?

Stillwell led from the start of the 34 lap race and then FM began to reel him in finally catching the Victorian on lap 20, the pair tangling in ‘The Esses’. The collision was enough to put Matich out of the race but Stillwell finished 4th, the race was won by John Youl in his Cooper T55 Climax 2.5 from David McKay’s ex-Brabham BT4.

frank and bib wf discussion

Frank left and Bib- looking very natty is his BRDC blazer and developing his listening and empathy skills by the look of it after the ‘Hordern Trophy’. Great rivals with a lot of respect for one anothers abilities (Sports Car World)

In the 1964 Tasman Series which followed the month after this race Youl was the most successful of the locals. Stillwell only contested three Australian races gaining a strong second in the AGP at Sandown whilst Matich was prodigiously fast but had woeful reliability, we shall pick up the Tasman shortly.

I described the rivalry between Frank and Bib in a post about the Stillwell Cooper Monaco.

https://primotipo.com/2015/03/10/bib-stillwell-cooper-t49-monaco-warwick-farm-sydney-december-1961/

It’s fair to say Stillwell, born 31 July 1927 took a while to mature as a driver. He started racing MG’s in the late 1940’s and as his motor dealerships became more successful throughout the 1950’s he acquired and raced some expensive, fast cars- D Type Jag and Maser 250F included. By the time he commenced racing Coopers he had well over 10 years of experience and was ready to take on anybody winning his first Gold Star in 1962 and the last in 1965- four on the trot.

Matich, born 25 January 1935 was a more precocious talent who first competed in an MG TC at Foley’s Hillclimb circa 1954 and raced seriously from later in the decade after selling his Austin Healey and purchasing the ex-Frank Gardner Jaguar XKC- he soon drove cars for Leaton Motors who employed him as Sales Manager. Bib was more the ‘silver spoon special’ born on the right side of the tracks and funded into his first dealership with family money. Mind you, whatever Bib started with he multiplied many times over, he was an extremely successful businessman in Australia and then became an executive of global calibre inclusive of being President of the Gates Learjet Corporation in the US.

Frank, the young pro, was cut from totally different cloth. He was educated at De La Salle College, Marrickville in Sydney’s inner west and was apprenticed as a fifteen year old Diesel Engineer at Sydney’s Kurnell Oil Refinery before progressing through Butlers Air Transport and in 1954 to Selected Sportscars where he first came into contact with the Englishman who owned the MG TC Frank prepared and both men raced.

FM’s ability and ‘gift of the gab’ attracted patrons and commercial support from very early on in his career, Matich too was shortly to do well out of the business of motor racing with Australian franchises for Firestone and later Goodyear racing tyres and Bell helmets apart from the sale of some of the Matich sports and F5000 cars he built.

Matich and Stillwell were intensely competitive, driven, successful men- they had far more in common i suspect than not, especially in terms of mindset and will to win.

The battles between the pair were absorbing, Matich very quickly got on the pace of the big 2.5 Climax Formula Libre cars (the 2.5 Tasman Formula started in 1964, Australia’s national F1 ‘ANF1’ was F Libre till then), having come out of powerful sportscars- Jags C and D Types, Lotus 15, 19, 19B and small bore single seaters- ‘works’ Elfin FJ Ford and Elfin Catalina Ford 1.5.

At the time these 2.5/2.7 litre F Libre/Tasman cars were the fastest road racing cars in the world, F1 having changed from a 2.5 to 1.5 litre formula from 1 January 1961. Given his experience it was not a surprise when Frank was on the pace straight away as he jumped out of his Lotus 19B sporty and into the new Brabham acquired with the French Oil Company, Total’s, support.

Well before the Tasman Series commenced in 1964, we had a strong International Series of races in Australasia in January/February, with enough of the best in the world to test the locals in equal cars Matich was more than a match for any of them. So was Bib on his day.

matich wf private practice brabham

Matich mounted up and ready for his first test of the naked BT7A, devoid of all signwriting and in ‘civvies’ at Warwick Farm the week before the ‘Hordern Trophy’ above. Brian Darby, at the rear, picked the car up from the Port Melbourne wharves the week before, Bruce Richardson is the other mechanic in shot. Note reinforced wide based top front wishbone and rubber mounted ball joint, inverted wishbone at the top and single lower link in the rear suspension. The later BT11A had the opposite rear set up- single top link and inverted lower wishbone (John Ellacott)

Matich was very quick in the Brabham throughout that ’64 Tasman Series and the short period in which he raced the BT7A, its interesting to look back at his time in the car.

The late 1963 pre-international events in New Zealand are covered in this article here;

https://primotipo.com/2017/09/08/bay-of-plenty-road-race-and-the-frank-matich-lotus-19s/

The first 1964 international was at Levin, which Frank missed, at Pukekohe, the NZ GP on 11 January, he ran strongly behind Brabham, McLaren, Tim Mayer and Hulme- he passed Mayer for third only to pop his engine on lap 26, McLaren won the race in a Cooper T70. After Puke he shipped the car home to Australia and re-joined the circus at Sandown on February 9. There he ran ahead of the locals before suffering crown wheel and pinion failure on lap 4.

At the Farm, Matich’s home turf, he started from pole, followed Jack away, then passed him but muffed his braking at Creek and ran off the road. Off to Queensland, at Lakeside, he was driving away from everybody before the engine let go- a Weber ingested a stone and the expensive motor went ka-boom on lap 8. After the long tow to Tasmania he finished third in the race won by Graham Hill’s BT4 and was first of the locals despite a misfire and a revolution amongst his mechanics who pushed the car onto the grid but left his employ after the race.

Ray Bell wrote that ‘He had a mixed bag of results in shorter races during the middle part of the year, taking a number of outright lap records, then came the Gold Star closing events. Lakeside…pole and the lead before an oil line came adrift; Mallala he didn’t turn up (Stillwell basically could not be beaten for the Gold Star by this stage) and he led the Hordern Trophy till half distance before yet another engine failure’.

The 1965 Tasman Series was won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 32B Climax, despite not contesting the four Kiwi rounds Matich was right on the pace at Warwick Farm, the first Australian round, starting from pole and leading to Creek corner, he then raced with Brabham behind Hill and Clark up front. ‘Both Hill and Matich had troubles in this race with cement dust getting into the steering, Hill spinning on the last lap because of it and failing to finish. Matich was third behind Clark and Brabham’s BT11A, Stillwell (BT11A) was thirty seconds behind him’ wrote Bell.

matich bt7a lakeside 1964

Matich in his ‘semi-nude’ BT7A in the hot 1964 Lakeside summer sun, puddle notwithstanding! He is trying to stay cool in the searing Queensland summer heat, lower side panels removed…shot shows the proximity of the aluminium side fuel tanks containing lots of Avgas…no rubber bag tanks prior to circa 1970 (Peter Mellor)

Down south at Sandown he ran just behind the internationals ahead of Stillwell only to retire with ignition failure- a rotor button on lap 10. During the AGP at Longford he pitted with suspension problems on lap 5 whilst best of the locals having run in sixth place. At Lakeside he contested the non-championship ‘Lakeside 99’ and made it a real race dicing with Clark on this high speed, demanding circuit for most of the race. ‘They traded places many times, but Matich did have a pitstop and lost some laps before rejoining the battle’. It was a race FM rated as one of his best.

Into the domestic season Stillwell won the Victorian Road Racing Championship Gold Star round in April after a couple of Matich spins, albeit FM was second despite a failing engine- and started from pole a half-second clear of Bib.

That was all the racing he ever did in that car. At Lakeside’s Gold Star round in late July, he crashed his Lotus 19B Climax- he took the sportscar to the meeting to test it in advance of the Australian Tourist Trophy which was held at the circuit later in the year, was burned and hospitalised and in the aftermath Total took the decision to cease their racing program and sold the cars and parts.

The story of the next phase of Frank Matich’s career in sportscars, initially with the Elfin 400 aka ‘Traco Olds’ is told in links within this article.

Frank Matich was one of Australia’s many F1 mighta-beens, to me the most likely to succeed of all, but with a young family and business ties in Oz it never happened despite offers being made to him on more than one occasion to go to Europe.

As noted, Matich didn’t race single seaters for long at this stage of his career- from 1963 to 1965, racing sports cars very successfully until 1969 when he came back to open wheelers with the advent of F5000- where he was a star as both a driver and constructor. Click here for an article on this phase of his career;

https://primotipo.com/2015/09/11/frank-matich-matich-f5000-cars-etcetera/

It’s a shame he didn’t drive Tasman 2.5 cars throughout this golden-era of single-seater racing in Australasia, his battles against the internationals as well as the local hotshots in both Tasman races and domestic Gold Star competition would have been sensational, Matich mixing it with Bartlett, Martin, Geoghegan, Harvey and the rest would have added depth to Gold Star fields which were increasingly  ‘skinny’ as the decade wore on.

Stillwell retired at the end of 1965, he was certainly as quick as anybody on his day and arguably had not quite peaked when he did retire. No less an observer of the local scene than journalist/racer/Scuderia Veloce owner David Mckay believed that by 1965 Stillwell had reached F1 standard, not least for his ability to drive fast without mistakes or destroy the equipment.

brabhams longford 1965

Intercontinental Brabhams at Longford, AGP 1965. Stillwell’s dark blue #6 BT11A (6th), Matich BT7A (DNF) and Frank Gardner in Alec Mildrens yellow BT11A (8th), the race won by Bruce McLarens’ Cooper T79 from Brabhams’ BT11A (Kevin Drage)

The Intercontinental Brabhams…

brabham caversham bt4

The first of the Intercontinental Brabhams. Jack in BT4 ‘IC-1-62’ on its debut at the Australian Grand Prix, Caversham, WA on 18 November 1962. He retired after colliding with another car whilst lapping him, Bruce McLaren won in a Cooper T62 Climax (Milton McCutcheon)

When Jack started his climb to the top in Europe he returned and raced in Australia each summer, bringing a Cooper with him and racing it successfully, then selling the car to one of the locals before returning to Europe. It was a nice little earner and helped fund his way in Europe as he fought to gain a toehold in international competition.

Cooper sold a lot of cars in Australia, Jacks business brain was as sharp as his cockpit skills so it was natural that some of the earliest Brabham production racing cars were for Australasian Formula Libre and from 1964, the 2.5 Tasman Formula- which in effect meant cars built for Coventry Climax FPF ex-F1 engines- 2.5 litres but increasingly 2.7’s after Jacks successful Indy 500 run in 1961 in the Cooper T54 with its 2751cc FPF engine. The Tasman Formula mandated 2.5’s of course.

Soon Repco were making Climax parts and eventually building the engines in totality under licence in Australia. The bits were plentiful which was just as well as the level of competition was such that the long stroke donks were being pushed well beyond their limits with spectacular blow-ups fairly common.

stillwell lakeside 1963

Bib Stillwell in his BT4 Climax ‘Lakeside International’ 1963, 2.7 FPF powered. 3rd in the race won by John Surtees Lola Mk4A Climax 2.7 (Bruce Wells/The Roaring Season)

The first Intercontinental Brabham, i use that descriptor as that was the chassis prefix for each car (‘IC’), the design intended for the shortlived Intercontinental Formula created in response to the new 1.5 litre F1- was the BT4 based on the first Brabham GP machine, the 1.5 litre Coventry Climax FWMV V8 powered BT3.

The first Brabham, retrospectively referred to as ‘Brabham BT1’, was the MRD, an FJ machine first raced by Gavin Youl with the BT2 an evolution of the MRD/BT1. The Intercontinental cars which followed the BT4 were the BT7A in 1963 and BT11A in 1964, both F1 cars adapted for Climax FPF engines.

Some incredibly talented guys raced the ‘IC’ Brabhams- Internationals such as Brabham, Hulme, Gardner, Hill and Stewart as well as Australian champions including David McKay, Lex Davison, Stillwell, Matich, Spencer Martin, Kevin Bartlett, John Harvey, John McCormack and other drivers in New Zealand and South Africa.

hill and stillwell longford brabhams

Graham Hill ahead of Bib Stillwell, BT4 Climaxes, 1st and 4th. ‘South Pacific Trophy’, Longford March 1964. (Rod MacKenzie)

Jack Brabham won Australian Grands’ Prix in a BT4 and BT7A in 1963 and 1964 respectively. The cars won the Australian Drivers Championship, the ‘Gold Star’ for Stillwell in 1963 and 1964 aboard his BT4, in 1965 with a BT11A and for Spencer Martin, again BT11A mounted in 1966 and 1967.

bib stillwell wf 1965 bt11

Bib Stillwell in his final and successful Gold Star year 1965. BT11A at Warwick Farm. His final year of racing, he had a top year in the car at WF, finishing 4th in the Tasman race albeit behind Matichs’ BT7A in 3rd and 1st in the Hordern Trophy at the end of the year (John Partridge Collection)

The ‘Brabham IC Australian party’ ended in 1968 when Kevin Bartlett won the Gold Star in BT23D/1, a one off car built for Alec Mildren’s Team around Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 2.5 V8’s he secured to add a bit of Italian flavour to the local scene, Mildren was an Alfa Romeo dealer.

The Intercontinental cars were typically fast Tauranac designs of the period. They had rugged spaceframe chassis, suspension by upper and lower wishbones at the front with Armstrong shocks and coil springs. At the rear there was a single upper link, inverted lower wishbone, twin radius rods and coil spring damper units with adjustable sway bars fitted front and rear. With Jack doing all of the initial chassis setup work the cars were quick and chuckable ‘straight out of the box’.

Hewland HD5 gearboxes were used in the main (Colotti in the BT4) and rack and pinion steering completed the package with the cars clad in a slippery fibreglass body.

brabham bt 4 from rear

Bib Stillwells’ Brabham BT4 Lakeside February 1963. 2.7 litre ‘Indy’ 2751cc Coventry Climax FPF engine, 58mm Webers, Colotti T32 5 speed ‘box. Rear of the spaceframe chassis apparent. Suspension- inverted upper wishbone, single lower link and twin radius rods for location, coil spring damper units, no rear roll bar here. Stillwell’s cars famously immaculate in preparation and presentation (Peter Mellor/The Roaring Season)

After Repco’s 2.5 litre Tasman V8 engine made its debut in BT19, Jacks victorious 1966 F1 winning chassis, in 1966 the Tasman Brabhams were variants of the BT23 frame (BT23A and BT23E) with the exception of the very last BT31 for the 1969 series. See Rodway Wolfe’s article about BT31 which he owned for many years; https://primotipo.com/?s=brabham+bt31

Once the 1.5 litre F1 ended in 1965 BRM quickly realised a stretched variant of their P56 V8 in a P261 chassis would be a Tasman winner and ‘their endeth the locals’ in Climax engined cars taking on the Internationals similarly mounted on more or less equal terms.

The Repco Tasman V8’s provided a supply of competitive customer engines for locals so the Tasman Formula continued into 1970 with engines capable of matching the internationals when the ever expanding F1 season and more restrictive driver contracts made eight weeks in January/February in Australasia no longer a proposition for the best in the world. With it went a wonderful decade or so of intense but sporting summer global competition in our backyard.

Those Intercontinental Brabhams were gems though and gave both the international aces and local hot-shots very effective tools with which to strut their stuff, not least Messrs Stillwell and Matich…

matich longford grid 1964

The Matich BT7A being pushed onto the Tasman grid, Longford 1964. Steering is Graham Matich, looking down at the rear is Geoff Smedley. Matich finished 3rd, just in front of Stillwell, Graham Hill won the race in a BT4 (oldracephotos.com)

Tailpiece: Wanna buy a car matey, or a plane?…

bib and jack and bedford

Stillwell and Brabham, rivals and friends in the Longford paddock 1965. They are sitting on Bibs’ Bedford truck, BT11A up above…i doubt Jack sold anyone more cars over the years than he did Bib?! Bib put them to very good use mind you (Kevin Drage)

Frank Matich on dealing with ‘Wily’ Jack Brabham…

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/halloffame/jack-brabham/frank-matich-on-jack-brabham/

Etcetera…

matich hordern trophy 1964

Matich in his BT7A contesting the ‘Hordern Trophy’ at Warwick Farm in 1964. DNF in the race won by Leo Geoghegan in a Lotus 32 Ford 1.5, a great win for Leo, he and his brother Sydney Lotus dealers, Leo graduated to the ex-Clark Lotus 39 Climax at the end of the 1966 Tasman series (John Ellacott)

matich bt7 longford 1965

The Matich BT7A sitting in the Longford paddock in 1965. DNF with suspension failure in the race won by McLarens’ Cooper T79 Climax. Rear suspension by this stage to BT11A spec (Kevin Drage)

matich magazine

Front page spread in ‘Australian Motor Sports’, no advertising allowed on racing cars in Australia in those days but the colors on the nose of Franks’ Brabham (Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus alongside) are those of ‘Total’ the French oil company who were prominent in Australia at the time, the spread no doubt a ‘cross promotion’ as the modern marketers would call it!

stillwell rcn

‘Racing Car News’ and Stillwell’s Gold Star win in 1964. Brabham BT4 Climax.

Photo and Other Credits…

John Ellacott, Milton McCutcheon, The Roaring Season/Peter Mellor/Bruce Wells, Kevin Drage, Rod MacKenzie, The Nostalgia Forum, Australian Motor Sports, Racing Car News

theroaringseason.com, oldracephotos.com, Ray Bell on The Nostalgia Forum

Tailpiece: Matich, Brabham BT7A, and Graham Hill, red BT11A and Clark, Lotus 32B, ‘Warwick Farm 100’ 1965…

(J Ellacott)

Finito…

 

 

 

 

Bruce McLaren awaits his crew making changes to the setup of his new McLaren M7A Ford, chassis M7A-1, Silverstone 25 April 1968…

Its a day or so before the BRDC International Trophy, one of three non-championship F1 races run in Europe that season. Bruce is to have another good weekend, off the back of his Brands Hatch ‘Race Of Champions’ win in March, his teammate and Kiwi buddy Denny Hulme won the prestigious Silverstone race in an emphatic demonstration of the quality of Bruce McLaren and Robin Herd’s F1 design and construction capabilities.

McLaren in the M7A, from pole, Brands Race of Champions in 1968- he won. Alongside is Mike Spence BRM P126, Jackie Stewart Matra MS10 Ford and on row 2 Chris Amon Ferrari 312 and Denny in his M7A. That’s Jo Bonnier in last years McLaren M5A BRM V12 with his hand up on the second last row. Bruce won from Pedro Rodriguez BRM P133 and Denny LAT)

That season Bruce McLaren famously became one of the very few to win a championship GP in a car of his own name and construction when he won the Belgian GP. Denny Hulme took another three GP victories and challenged for the 1968 World Championship ultimately won by Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B Ford, the car for which the Ford Cosworth DFV was designed.

At the end of 1967 Ford’s Walter Hayes implored Colin Chapman to allow him to offer the DFV to other teams ‘for the good of Grand Prix racing’ such was his fear of Team Lotus dominance. Chapman, to his credit, waived his contractual entitlement to exclusivity- Lotus, Matra and McLaren raced the Ford engine in GP events in 1968.

McLaren M7A Ford cutaway (Dick Ellis)

The duo concepted a car which typified the ‘Cosworth Kit Car’ era. A short monocoque chassis ended aft of the driver’s seat and consisted of three steel bulkheads- one at the back, one at the front, and one open bulkhead at the dashboard which was then skinned with aluminium panels to form a full monocoque over the driver’s legs. It was an immensely torsionally rigid and strong structure compared with the very best spaceframes of only a few years before.

The M7A used glued and riveted skins of L72 aluminium alloy, a British standard for the aviation industry in a thickness of 22 gauge and in a few places 20 guage magnesium sheet. 40 gallons of fuel were distributed between four rubber bag-tanks- one either side of the driver in the tub, another behind his seat and the fourth in the scuttle. The Cosworth DFV engine was bolted directly to the rear bulkhead and at that stage of its development produced circa 420 bhp @ 9500 rpm.

Early test of the M7A at Silverstone on 5 April 1968. Denny up, Bruce by front wheel. Notice the McLaren wheels, ‘nostril’ ducted radiator outlets and top and bottom front suspension radius rods which mount to the bulkhead in the dash area of the tub (R Dumont)

The suspension, of conventional outboard design was derived from the very successful 1967 Can-Am Championship winning M6A Chev. It comprised outboard coil spring/damper units at both ends and single lateral links and trailing arms at the front- and single lateral top links, reversed lower wishbones and twin radius rods at the rear. Uprights were cast magnesium with of course adjustable roll bars front and rear. Steering was McLaren rack and pinion, brakes Lockheed discs all round and the transmission the ubiquitous Hewland DG 300 transaxle five-speed.

The radiator was conventionally mounted at the front, with a sleek fibreglass body topping the whole visually arresting package- hot air vented McLaren style out of ‘nostrils’ in the nose with an oil radiator at the rear above the ‘box and clear in the opening shot.

‘Pop’ McLaren and Alastair Caldwell supervise the McLaren pit in the French GP paddock, Rouen 1968. Note general car layout as per text, suspension, rad duct in lower shot- quality of design, execution and presentation a treat. #8 Denny 5th, #10 Bruce 8th. Shocker of a wet race with Jo Schlesser dead on lap 2 in the experimental Honda RA302 (unattributed)

Allen Brown reports in oldracingcars.com of the M7A’s 1968 season; ‘The first two cars were finished in March 1968, and both debuted at the 1968 Race of Champions, where Bruce McLaren dominated the race, winning from pole position, with his new teammate Denny Hulme finishing third. At the next race, the Silverstone International Trophy, Hulme took pole position and won, with Bruce content to take second place. It was not quite so easy at the first GP, the Spanish, but the M7As were third and fourth on the grid and Hulme finished second.’

‘After a poor weekend in Monaco, Bruce McLaren took his team’s first GP victory in the Belgian GP at Spa in June after Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS10 retired on the last lap. Results were mixed over the next few races, but Hulme won in Italy and in Canada to equal Graham Hill’s score at the top of the World Championship standings. A crash at Watkins Glen and retirement in Mexico ended his challenge, but had been a wonderful season for McLaren’s F1 team’.

McLaren M7A from Pedro Rodriguez, BRM P133- 1st and 2nd, Spa 1968 (unattributed)

McLaren and M7A at Watkins Glen 1968. Note the mount and location of the rear wing in the context of the text below (A Upitis)

In terms of the ebbs and flows of the season, in ‘The Year of Wings’, Matra and Ferrari- on Firestone and Dunlop tyres respectively won races later in the season and Lotus set the aerodynamic standard with high-wings after their initial appearance on the Ferrari 312 and Brabham BT26 Repco at Spa. McLaren lost some of their edge- the cars wings were less effective than Lotuses, when they remained attached to their cars, mounted in the middle of the M7A on the cars sprung mass, rather than Lotus 49 style at the rear on the unsprung suspension uprights, and Goodyear too lost their edge. Remember when there was competition between the tyre manufacturers?!

Goodyear’s new G9 boots gave Denny the kicker he needed to win at Monza and then at St Jovite, Canada but Graham Hill and Lotus deserved the title in a year during which Hill held the team together and picked everybody up after Jim Clark’s tragic death at Hockenheim in April.

Looking at the M7 design from a commercial perspective, whilst McLaren by this stage were well funded by the standards of the day- the M7 design worked hard in contributing to the companies success by providing the basis of the M14 F1 car and the phenomenally successful M10A and M10B F5000 designs which were the ‘class standard’ from 1969-1971- constructed as they were under licence by Trojan Cars in Croydon.

Bruce, M7A Silverstone (V Blackman)

Lets get back to the photo which inspired this piece though, here is none other than DC Nye’s race report of the BRDC International Trophy, in full, from the June 1968 issue of MotorSport, the photographs are all my editorial selections…

‘For the 20th B.R.D.C. International Daily Express Trophy race at Silverstone, the Club amassed a small but fairly representative field of Formula One cars. Heading the entry were Hulme and McLaren in the two impeccably-prepared McLaren M7A-Cosworth V8s, which finished first and third in the Race of Champions, and Ferrari sent over two cars, one a new, slightly sleeker-chassised V12 with the engine lower-mounted than hitherto, and the other the car which Amon normally races. Drivers were the young Belgian, Ickx, and Amon, and though the New Zealander tried both cars he decided he preferred his own, and Ickx raced the new one.

Amon’s Ferrari 312’s, Ickx car in the foreground, Silverstone 1968. Amon Q5 and Ickx Q7 with Chris proving the pace of the Ferrari, despite the Cosworth onslaught with a fastest lap and 3rd place, Jacky 4th (unattributed)

Graham Hill had a solitary Lotus 49-Cosworth V8 which was entered by Gold Leaf Team Lotus, and B.R.M. were well represented with Rodriguez in the Bourne-built, Terry-designed P133 V12 and Spence in the similar, T.A.C.-built P126. Also in a P126 was Courage, having his first F1 race this season for Parnell, and Hobbs had Bernard White’s relatively unsorted Tasman 2-litre B.R.M. P261 chassis, specially lengthened by the works to accommodate the new V12 engine. Also B.R.M.-powered was the lone works Cooper T86B, with Gardner driving, as Scarfiotti was away practicing for the Targa Florio and Redman was reputedly testing F2 Dino Ferraris in Modena. Rob Walker had acquired a new Tasman Lotus 49 chassis to replace the one lost recently in a fire at his Dorking headquarters, Siffert driving as usual; Bonnier was in his 1967 McLaren M5A-B.R.M. V12, and the Swiss Moser had the ex-Hulme, ex-Ligier Brabham BT20-Repco V8. Lanfranchi completed the field in a 2.7-litre Climax 4-cylinder powered Brabham BT23.

Withdrawn entries included a second Parnell B.R.M. for Attwood and Sheppard’s Mallite McLaren fitted with a 3-litre version of the original Climax Godiva V8 for Taylor. Two works Brabhams were listed, but were not complete.

Last year’s G.P. practice record of 1 min. 25.3 sec. by Clark in the Lotus 49 looked a little sick compared with this year’s speeds, Hulme taking pole position with 1 min. 24.3 sec. to Spence’s 1 min. 24.9 sec., McLaren’s 1 min. 25.1 sec. and Rodriguez’s 1 min. 25.3 sec. Behind these four on the front row came Amon at 1 min. 25.5 sec., Hill 1 min. 25.6 sec., Ickx 1 min. 26.4 sec., and Siffert 1 min. 27.6 sec.

One minutes silence in memory of Jim Clark before the off. Hulme at far left on pole, then Spence BRM P126, McLaren M7A and the other BRM P133 of Pedro Rodriguez. Amon, Hill and Ickx on row 2 (Getty)

After a poignant silence in memory of the late Jim Clark, the field were given a maximum of three warming-up laps, and from the start McLaren took an immediate lead ahead of Spence, Hulme, Rodriguez, Ickx, Hill, Amon, Courage, Bonnier and Gardner. Lap 2 and the leading bunch were all scratching hard to draw out some sort of advantage; Courage was briefly ahead of Amon at Copse and Siffert and Gardner were both by Bonnier, who was being harried by Hobbs.

The leading McLarens, B.R.M.s, the lone Lotus and the two Ferraris soon towed each other away from the rest of the field, with Hulme slotting by Spence into second place on lap 4, then being repassed by the B.R.M. Lanfranchi had already stopped for a plug change on his 4-cylinder, and at the start of lap 6 Spence led McLaren into Copse, and was re-passed on the way out to Maggotts to remain the meat in an orange McLaren sandwich for a short distance before chopping by again and leading the bunch on lap 7 from Hulme, McLaren, Rodriguez and Hill, all nose-to-tail. Amon and Ickx had become slightly detached in the works Ferraris, but as they sped down Hangar Straight on that lap a stone was thrown up from Spence’s B.R.M., smashing Hulme’s goggles and giving him a nasty moment which dropped him back to seventh.

Hill and Amon in 3rd and 4th- Ferrari 312 and Lotus 49 Ford (LAT)

Almost immediately Rodriguez’s B.R.M. V12 began to misfire, an ignition lead dropping off, and he stopped before Maggotts, replaced the wire and drove on to the pits, where a more lasting repair was made. By lap 9, with Spence leading narrowly from McLaren, Hill was third in the lone Lotus, Amon was a close fourth and Hulme, whose eyes had stopped watering, was already on his tail and looking for a way by. Positions remained unchanged until lap 14, when the Lotus’ V8 engine died, and, seeing a lot of fluid resting in the vee, Hill thought the engine had suffered a serious breakage and had thrown water. In fact, a fuel pipe had split, and the fluid was petrol, but he was out anyway, and walked back to the pits. Hulme had nipped by Amon on this lap, and was going out after Spence, who had been re-passed by McLaren. lckx was falling back in fifth place with the very new and understeering Ferrari, with Siffert some distance behind, followed by Courage, Gardner, Hobbs, Moser, Lanfranchi and then an unhappy Rodriguez in the misfiring B.R.M., last.

Next lap Hulme was up into second place, and on lap 20 he passed McLaren after getting round in 1 min. 25.3 sec. to take the lead narrowly from his “number one”, Spence and Amon, and these four were still driving in very close company. But Lanfranchi had retired with bad oil surge, and Siffert’s sixth place evaporated on lap 26 when the clutch broke in the Tasman-chassised Lotus, and two laps previously Gardner had gone out in a trail of smoke and steam when the B.R.M. engine broke a liner.

Lap 28, and Spence slotted his slim B.R.M. past McLaren into second place, and as they lapped the tail-enders the leading group began to space out. But Amon closed on McLaren noticeably on lap 36 and was looking for a way by, but then lost time lapping Moser at Copse and dropped back, letting McLaren get away and latch on to Spence’s tail in second place. These two then drove very hard, entering corners side-by-side occasionally until lap 41 when the B.R.M.’s engine stopped suddenly at Club with a timing chain breakage, letting McLaren up into second place, but delaying him sufficiently to let Amon catch up in the Ferrari. Rodriguez had finally retired his sick B.R.M., Ickx was running a lonely fourth, with Courage fifth and about to be lapped, while the only other cars still running were Hobbs’ B.R.M. and Moser’s Brabham-Repco.

Hulme on his way to the first of four M7A wins in 1968, Silverstone, April 1968 (LAT)

Amon was trying hard to wrest second place from McLaren, setting a new outright circuit record on lap 44 of 1 min. 25.1 sec., 123.82 m.p.h., but Bruce was trying equally hard to stay ahead, doing 1 min. 25.2 sec. on the same lap, and, although the two of them were very close together on lap 45, Amon’s luck was running out and his goggles strap broke. Shielding his eyes from the airstream with one hand he drove for two laps before managing to haul his stand-by pair into position on his face, and this dropped him well back from McLaren, and although closing the gap slightly before the finish he came home in third place. Hulme was battered but triumphant, Bruce McLaren had a lot to smile about with his cars’ first one-two victory, and B.R.M. were well pleased with their turn of speed and not too worried about the frailty their cars had shown since they are still at an early stage in their development. The Ferraris had been rather outpaced from the start, but on a clear track and with McLaren as his target Amon had proved that he is one of the quickest drivers around.’—D. C. N.

Denny on his way to a win at St Jovite, Canadian GP 1968 (unattributed)

Etcetera: M7A Chassis by Chassis courtesy Allen Brown at oldracingcars.com…

‘The first two cars were finished in March 1968, and both debuted at the 1968 Race of Champions, where Bruce McLaren dominated the race, winning from pole position, with his new teammate Denny Hulme finishing third. At the next race, the Silverstone International Trophy, Hulme took pole position and won, with Bruce content to take second place. It was not quite so easy at the first GP, the Spanish, but the M7As were third and fourth on the grid and Hulme finished second. After a poor weekend in Monaco, Bruce McLaren took his team’s first GP victory in the Belgian GP at Spa in June after Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS10 retired on the last lap. Results were mixed over the next few races, but Hulme won in Italy and in Canada to equal Graham Hill’s score at the top of the World Championship standings. A crash at Watkins Glen and retirement in Mexico ended his challenge, but had been a wonderful season for McLaren’s F1 team

Bruce 8th, with Tyler Alexander and Alastair Caldwell and M7A at Rouen, Chris Amon 10th Ferrari 312 just heading out (unattributed)

Denny and Bruce at Jarama prior to the 1968 Spanish GP, M7A’s fitted with pannier side tanks. Denny 2nd and Bruce retired in the race won by Hill’s Lotus 49 Ford (unattributed)

Bruce on the way to that historic win aboard his M7A at Spa in 1968 (unattributed)

Hulme’s M7As was retained for 1969 for the Kiwi to drive, and the latest car, M7A/3, was modified to M7B specification with pannier tanks.  When that did not work, both the M7B and the prototype M7A were sold to privateers; both were crashed later in 1969 and both cars scrapped. Bruce drove a new McLaren M7C for the rest of 1969, and a huge amount of effort was wasted on the four-wheel-drive McLaren M9A. It didn’t help that Goodyear, McLaren’s tyre supplier, were well behind Firestone and Dunlop until the end of the season, when the latest rubber helped Hulme win the Mexican GP in his well-used sole surviving M7A. That last M7A was bought by Tony Dean for Formula 5000, and was then sold to a French Museum where it remains, the museum owners having turned down all McLaren International’s offers for the car.’

McLaren, Brands, M7A British GP 1968 (M Hayward)

More on the M7A’s…

Check out Allen Brown’s article which I have referenced and filched from extensively in this article

http://www.oldracingcars.com/mclaren/m7a/

Credits…

Getty Images, Victor Blackman, Ronald Dumont, Alvis Upitis, MotorSport June 1968 article by Doug Nye, Dick Ellis, LAT, Mike Hayward, Allen Brown-oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece…

Finito…

Graham Hill with his new Doppelganger, London, 10 October 1968…

With him is Austrian actress Loni Von Friedl who appeared in ‘Doppelganger’, a movie which is the subject of this promotion, an activity which seems quite agreeable to the great Brit. The car, also a movie-star was ‘designed and built by Alan Mann Racing, has a Ford engine and chassis, is 44 inches high and is capable of 144 mph’.

The film, also called ‘Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun’ in some countries has a screenplay written by Gerry and Sylivia Anderson of ‘Thunderbirds’ and other 1960’s ‘Supermarionation’ puppet TV series fame- well known to those of us of a particular generation.

Set one-hundred years into the future, the film is about a joint European-NASA mission to investigate a planet in a parallel position to Earth and ends in disaster with the death of one of the astronauts- his colleague discovers that the planet is a mirror image of earth. Click here for some more detailed information about the movie which first screened in 1969; https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064519/

Who gives a rats about the movie for most of us! As to the car, I can find out a little bit, Alan Mann Racing has a great website but the car does not rate a mention there so I am intrigued to know more about the detailed design.

It seems the styling of the futuristic car (three were built for the film) was the work of Derek Meddings, the machines were ‘redressed slightly’ for a subsequent movie named ‘UFO’. The donor chassis was a Ford Zodiac Mk4 with the shapely aluminium body draped thereon. The gull-wing doors did not actually work, someone such as Hill G, or off camera during the movie was required to support a door.

‘The actors reported that the cars were very unpleasant to drive in, as there was not enough headroom, engine exhaust fumes spilled into the interior…and the cars were not fast, so many scenes were sped up to simulate a fast-moving vehicle’. The bones of the car still exist and will no doubt make an interesting curio at race/concours meetings when completed.

Photo and Other Credits…

PA Images/Joe Bangay Getty, projectswordtoys.BlogSpot.com

Tailpiece: Another of Doppelganger’s cars, Loni and a bloke…

Finito…

John Surtees looking very cheery prior to the 1960 Solitude GP aboard his Rob Walker/works/AFN Porsche 718/2, 24 July 1960…

And so he should, not long before he had won the 500cc motorcycle GP aboard an MV Agusta before jumping into his car for the Formula 2 Grand Prix, his fortunes in that event not so good.

I found this photo randomly on Getty Images, this brief Porsche chapter of the great mans career was not one I was familiar with but a couple of my online buddies identified the event- many thanks to Roger Virtigo and Glenn Ducey.

My initial plan for this article was a quickie on Surtees’ first year in cars but then I became rather enamoured of the Solitude circuit, in particular the significance of the 1960 race for reasons which will become clear when you read the great Denis Jenkinson’s MotorSport account of the weekend.

Whilst still the benchmark in grand prix motorcycle racing – he would retain both his 350cc and 500cc world titles aboard MV’s in 1960 – Surtees at 26 years of age, stepped into cars that year.

Surtees ventures onto Goodwood, Cooper T52 BMC FJ 19 March 1960 (LAT)

Clark from Surtees, Lotus 18 Ford and Cooper T52 BMC, Goodwood, 19 March 1960 (LAT)

His first race on four wheels was in Formula Junior at Goodwood on 19 March. He finished second to rising star Jim Clark’s Lotus 18 Ford during the BARC Members Meeting in a Ken Tyrrell Cooper T52 BMC. Click here for a short article about his debut; https://primotipo.com/2016/01/18/surtees-first-car-races/

Two months later he made his F1 world championship start at the Monaco GP in late May- Q15 and DNF gearbox on lap 17 in the race won by Stirling Moss in Rob Walker’s Lotus 18 Climax FPF.

In Surtees home GP in July, the British at Silverstone, he finished second, an amazing performance, Jack Brabham won on the way to his second World Championship aboard his works Cooper ‘Lowline’ T53 Climax.

Whilst the Lotus 18, Colin Chapman’s first mid-engined design was in many ways the 1960 ‘Car of The Year’ it was still amazing stuff, the transition from two to four wheels never done as smoothly before or since.

Surtees, works Lotus 18 Climax, on the way to 2nd in the 1960 British @ Silverstone-ain’t she chunky but pretty sans roll bar. And fast (unattributed)

It was with his tail up that Surtees headed off to the Solitude Grand Prix, that year an F2 race for cars of 1.5 litres or less in capacity.

The 7.1 mile Solitude circuit, a few miles out of Stuttgart had been in existence for many years- used mainly for motorcycle racing it took its name from Schloss Solitude, an old German castle on top of one of the hills overlooking the valley in which the circuit lay. The circuits narrow width precluded its use for cars until that was addressed, an international Formula Junior race was run in 1959 with the 1960 F2 race appropriate for a circuit Denis Jenkinson, who had raced on it as a motorcycle competitor, rated as one of the best in Europe.

The entry was excellent with the works Porsche, Ferrari and Lotus teams competing, as well as Jack Brabham with a Cooper

Porsche fielded five cars altogether, determined to win on their own proving ground with Bonnier, Hill and Herrmann driving the regular three factory cars. The Rob Walker car had been retrieved, a standard Porsche racing gear-change put back on it and loaned to Surtees, while a brand new car was finished the night before practice and driven by Dan Gurney, so the whole BRM team were being used!

Team Lotus entered three works Lotus 18’s driven by Ireland, Clark and Trevor Taylor, the last two also driving in the Formula Junior race with other 18’s.

Scuderia Ferrari sent two entries, one a normal front-engined 246 with a Dino 156 engine driven by Phil Hill, and the other a new version of the F2/60 rear-engined experimental car, driven by von Trips. ‘This car was basically the rear-engined model (246P) that appeared at Monaco and Zandvoort, but had undergone a lot of modifications. The construction of the wishbones had been altered and also their size and positioning on the chassis, so that although there were still double-wishbones and a coil-spring to each wheel they were of a new pattern. The 1 1/2-litre V6 Dino 156 engine was coupled to the gearbox/final drive unit used on the car at Zandvoort, still with inboard disc brakes, but instead of the clutch-operating mechanism being mounted on the last chassis cross-member it was now on an alloy casting bolted to the rear of the gearbox casing and curving round the left side of the clutch body, which was still exposed. Consequently the chassis tube extensions beyond the gearbox were cut off and the space frame finished under the gearbox. There was no water header tank over the engine and the vertical distributor had been replaced by a horizontal one on the front of the engine, so the high head faring could be done away with and the rear decking was made flat, like a Lotus, with a perspex bubble open at the front over the three downdraught Weber carburetters. The tail of the car ended in an aperture fitted with a grille that would have made a nice radiator cowling for a front-engined car, and two long thin megaphone exhaust pipes stuck out the back, protruding well beyond the extremity of the body. The short, stumpy nose of the car was much as before, with the radiator fed from a typical 1960 Ferrari cowling and the cockpit having a wrap-round screen’.

The significance of the above car, the mid-engined 1.5 litre V6 Ferrari 246P will be clear to most of you, the car referred to above was the prototype of the machines which would dominate grand prix racing in 1961, the commencement of the new 1.5 litre F1. I wrote about this car a while back;

https://primotipo.com/2015/10/04/monaco-panorama-1958/

GP gridding up. #22 Gurney Porsche 718/2, #4 Bonnier and #5 Herrmann ditto 718/2, #7 is the mid-engine Ferrari 246P 1.5 of Von Trips and the subject of extensive coverage by Jenkinson above. #6 Hill G Porsche 718/2, #14 Wolfgang Seidel Cooper T45 Climax, #16 Innes Ireland Lotus 18 Climax, #11 Jack Lewis Cooper T45 Climax (unattributed)

Jack Brabham represented Cooper with a 1959 car built up from bits and pieces, either a T43 or T45 and was looked after by his own mechanic- they were still cobbling the car together as practice got underway, whilst the rest of the Coopers were private entries.

‘With rain pouring down during the first session of practice there was little hope of judging how things would go, except that von Trips was outstandingly fast in the rear-engined Ferrari, at one time being 30 sec faster than anyone else and passing the factory Porsches on the winding leg of the circuit and leaving them. Although the car was sliding and slithering about in the wet von Trips seemed quite unconcerned, feeling perfectly safe in the car.’

‘The second session was a lot better…The rear-engined Ferrari was still going well and was soon down below the old sports-car record of 4 min 34.4 sec, and went on to get below 4 min 30 sec. The only driver to challenge von Trips was Jimmy Clark, who was benefiting from double practice, being out with the Formula Junior cars as well as the Formula 2 cars, and as the afternoon wore on he went faster and faster. The only other driver to get below 4 min 30 sec was Hans Herrmann and he was down to 4 min 28.3 sec, but von Trips had done 4 min 24.1 sec, while just as practice finished and the track was at its driest for the day, Clark did 4 min 23.6 sec…Practice took place again for 11/2 hours on Saturday afternoon, but once again rain completely washed things out and everyone’s times were nearer 5 min than 41/2 min.’

The challenges of the road circuit resulted in Australian rider Bob Brown’s death later from head injuries sustained when he fell from his Honda 250-4 during the motorcycle practice session.

The 30 year old, born at Little Plains near Inverell, New South Wales trained as motor mechanic and worked as such and as a taxi-driver in Sydney before local success led to seeking fame in Europe in 1955.

After doing well on privately owned bikes he was picked up by Gilera in 1957. In 1959, riding his private Nortons he was third in both the 350 and 500 World Championships beaten only by the works MV’s. Because of his experience aboard the Gilera fours in 1957 he was offered a works Honda 250-4 in 1960 on a race by race basis. On one of these technically very advanced machines, commented upon by Jenkinson below, he was 4th at the IOM TT becoming the first Western rider to score points on a Japanese bike.

Bob Brown, place and date unknown (AMCN)

Solitude was only a month later, Brown crashed on dirt or grit brought onto the surface by errant cars on the ‘notorious sand pit curve’ on the twisty Mahdenthal section of the course. Another theory has it that he was cruising back to the pits with a misfiring engine which suddenly popped onto all four cylinders- whatever the case he was tossed off his mount sustaining head injuries to which he later succumbed.

Even though he only contested four of the seven 500cc championship rounds in 1960, Brown was still 4th in the championship standings aboard his trusty Norton behind three MV’s- at Assen he was 2nd where he split the MV entries. In an lovely tribute to this little known Australian, Honda in its book ‘The Race for Leadership: 1961 World Championship Road Race’ the company produced to celebrate its maiden World 125/250 titles won by Tom Phillis and Mike Hailwood-Honda wrote that ‘Brown untiringly helped the Japanese riders who were new to the game and actively helped to improve the Honda-Four. Bob Brown was one of the foundations of Honda success’.

GP, the off. Bonnier from Hill and Hermann all Porsche 718/2, then Von Trips Ferrari 246P and to the outside of him Ireland’s Lotus 18, #19 Surtees and #22 Gurney both Porsche 718/2 with Jim Clark’s distinctive Lotus 18 to Gurney’s outside and the rest (Getty)

‘Sunday was happily fine and sunny and a crowd of 250,000 lined the circuit to watch first of all the motorcycle races, then a vast procession of publicity vehicles, and finally, the Formula Junior and Formula 2 car races.

In the 250-cc motorcycle race the outstanding thing was the Japanese Honda machine which finished third, this having a four-cylinder twin-overhead camshaft engine with four valves per cylinder and developing its peak power at 13,500 rpm, while it would safely run up to 16-17,000 rpm.

The technical variety of engine development in the motorcycle-­racing world was something which made the Formula 2 racing world realise that we are stagnating for want of new engine designs. The 250-cc motorcycles had vertical twins, transverse fours, single cylinders, and two-strokes both air- and water-cooled, and there seemed to be no accepted layout which everyone was following.’

Surtees on the way to his 500cc MV Agusta Solitude GP win (unattributed)

‘The 500-cc class saw the usual easy win for John Surtees on the MV Agusta four-cylinder machine, and then we passed to Formula Junior.

The race was a complete sweep for Lotus-Ford cars, the works car of Jimmy Clark having an unchallenged win after Henry Taylor in Tyrell’s Cooper­-BMC had blown up his engine. Trevor Taylor was confidently following Clark in second place and they forgot the opposition so much that they overlooked Ouveroff in another Lotus-Ford, who suddenly closed on them two laps before the end and split their confidence, finishing in second place. Of the first six cars, five were Lotus-Fords, odd man out being Ballisat with Tyrell’s second Cooper-BMC.’

Grid of the FJ race. #1 Clark Lotus 18 Cosworth, black Cooper alongside Keith Ballisat Cooper T52 BMC?, #9 Juan-Manuel Bordeu Lola Mk2 Ford, #3 settling into his car Pater Arundell Lotus 18 Cosworth and the rest (unattributed)

‘Finally we came to the race of the day, with weather conditions perfect and twenty cars lined up on the grid, the only non-starter being de Beaufort, whose Climax engine was beyond repair…The race was to be run over 20 laps, a distance of 228.340 kilo­metres and the start was perfect, with Bonnier just leading the field towards the first corner. At the end of the opening lap the first nine cars were so close that it was relatively unimportant who was leading, though in fact it was Graham Hill in front of Bonnier, with Herrmann, von Trips, Gurney, Ireland, Surtees, Brabham and Clark following.

With the track nice and dry for the first time this little lot were really motor racing, the standing lap being in 4 min 24 sec, and the first flying lap in 4 min 15.1 sec (virtually 100 m.p.h. average). Bonnier led on lap two, von Trips on lap three and Clark on lap four, while the others were nose-to­-tail in varying orders, there being no signs of a procession begin­ning as yet. With the exception of Clark and Taylor, who had just driven in the Junior race, none of the others knew anything about the circuit in the dry, so we were witnessing, in effect, the first really serious practice session, and it was really serious. While Trevor Taylor was a bit out of his depth in this race, only his second with an F2 car, Clark was really profiting from his Junior race and his progress on the first few laps was 9th, 6th, 3rd and 1st, and having got the lead he drew away steadily, driving most beautifully, setting a new lap record at 4 min 08.0 sec.’

Clarks’s Lotus 18 Ford during his victorious run in the FJ race, he won from two other Lotus 18’s- Aussie Steve Ouvaroff  and Lotus teammate Trevor Taylor (unattributed)

‘Meanwhile the rest of the runners were learning the circuit in the dry, and Herrmann led von Trips, Bonnier, Gurney, Graham Hill, Brabham and Ireland, while Surtees was having gear-change trouble and dropping back a bit, to be caught by Phil Hill in the front-engined Ferrari. Then came Lewis all on his own, having outstripped the rest of the private owners, but not quite fast enough to keep up with the works drivers, and already Schlesser had fallen out with crankshaft trouble. On lap six von Trips passed Herrmann once more and Graham Hill passed Gurney, but on the next lap Gurney was in front again, and at the end of the field Bianchi retired with a broken oil pipe and Seidel gave up as he thought his shock-absorbers were not working.’

On lap eight Clark had 1/2 sec lead but Herrmann was back in second place and Phil Hill had moved up a place into ninth position ahead of Surtees, and still the first ten cars were all pressing on at unabated speed. On lap nine Clark began to get worried about rising water temperature, for there had been signs of a head gasket leak on the starting line, while Herrmann and von Trips were now getting into their stride and the Ferrari brought the lap record down to 4 min 07.5 sec, and for the first lap since the start of the race there was no change in the order anywhere through the field. Halfway round lap 10 the leading Porsche and the rear-engined Ferrari were gaining rapidly on the Lotus and as Clark finished his tenth lap he drew into the pits, just as Herrmann and von Trips went by. In a flash the next eight cars were past, while water was poured into the Lotus and Clark restarted in tenth place, for Lewis also drew into the pits to retire with two broken main-bearing caps and a ruined crankcase. Behind the leading bunch came Trintignant, Taylor, Gregory, Gendebien, Laureau, Barth and Cabral in that order but spaced out.

Having got the lead Herrmann really flew and lapped in 4 min 07.0 sec, but von Trips was not giving in and two laps later recorded 4 min 06.4 sec and closed on Herrmann, and the two of them were now leaving Bonnier behind, who was being followed by Graham Hill and Gurney, who were changing positions continuously, and behind them came Phil Hill and Ireland, also chopping and changing places, while some way back Trevor Taylor had got in front of Trintignant. On lap 11 Brab­ham gave up with a split head gasket, never having been in the picture, and Surtees was slowing visibly, his continual gear-­selection trouble having caused missed gears and subsequent bent valves.

On lap 13 von Trips was only a few lengths behind Herrmann’s Porsche, on the next lap he was right on his tail and he stayed like that for two more laps, while the two of them drew 16 sec ahead of Bonnier, but Graham Hill and Gurney were urging each other along and were catching Bonnier. On lap 16 Herrmann did 4 min 06.0 sec, but on lap 17 von Trips replied with 4 min 04.7 sec and sailed by into the lead, and the Ferrari really showed its possibilities by pulling out a 11/2-sec lead over the Porsche. Graham Hill and Gurney were still passing and re-passing and were now up with Bonnier, while Ireland and Phil Hill had not yet settled their battle.

On lap 15 Trevor Taylor had retired at the pits when a cam-­follower had broken and on lap 16 Surtees had run wide on a corner trying to take it in a high gear to save the trouble of sorting the selectors out, and had spun on some loose gravel and stalled. Clark was still running, but a long way back from the leaders, and most of the tail-enders had been lapped. The rear-engined Ferrari was now safely in front and von Trips was making no mistake and he finished the 20 laps nicely ahead of Herrmann, having thoroughly trounced the Porsche team on their own door­step. On lap 19 Graham Hill got into third place, but on the last lap Bonnier got by him down the straight and led him over the line with Gurney right behind them, and a little way back Phil Hill led Ireland on the penultimate lap only to be re-passed yet again on the last lap.

For once this had been real motor racing, with the first seven cars all going as hard as they knew how for the whole race, and if this was a foretaste of 1961 Grand Prix racing then no-one is going to be disappointed. Dan Gurney summed up this excellent race very nicely when he said : “I’ve never had to drive so hard in my life just for fifth place”. DSJ.’

Beautiful shot of Surtees Lotus 18 on the cobbled pave of the Oporto streets (LAT)

Surtees further showed his mettle at Oporto, the Portuguese Grand Prix held on 14 August.

In only his third event in 2.5 litre Grand Prix cars he put his Team Lotus 18 on pole on the unfamiliar challenging portside/coastal circuit.

Surtees lost out in the early skirmishes as Dan Gurney’s BRM P48 grabbed the lead, but he soon overcame Stirling Moss, Lotus 18 Climax – returning from injuries sustained at Spa – to run 2nd. The Lotus then closed on Gurney and was poised to challenge for the lead when the BRM hit engine trouble. Moss now moved forward and started applying pressure to Surtees, only to have to pit for a plug change on his Lotus 18. That left Surtees comfortably clear of reigning world champion Jack Brabham.

But Surtees had been battling with a fuel leak and, eventually, his petrol-soaked feet slipped off the pedals. The resulting incident burst the Lotus’s radiator and forced Surtees out of the race, but he looked at home up front of the field, which is rather where he belonged!

Another shot of Surtees on the run at Oporto (B Cahier)

Did you say the motel was to the left or right? Surtees on the road @ Riverside 1960. Lotus 18 Climax (Getty)

With his motorcycle commitments the only other F1 championship appearance for the great Brit that year was at Riverside, site of the 1960 US Grand Prix in late November.

There he qualified his Team Lotus 18 6th but spun and was collected by teammate Clark causing John’s retirement. Clark soldiered on using the nose cone off Surtees car! Stirling Moss won the race in the Walker Lotus 18, the fastest combination of the year- and noting Moss’ monster accident at Spa in June which outed him from mid-June till late November.

Surtees made a huge impact in his first season in cars- he was off to UDT Laystall for 1961 on an inexorable rise which took him via Lola to Ferrari in 1963 and a world title in 1964. Click here for an article on his Ferrari 158 championship year;

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/30/john-surtees-world-champion-50-years-ago/

Etcetera: Denis Jenkinson’s description of the wild Solitude road circuit…

‘The starting area is wide and level and a short straight leads into a series of four left-hand bends, they can be taken in one complete arc, to form a very large-radius hairpin, “Glemseck,” turning the direction of the road through 180 degrees. Between the start and the first corner are the pits, intelligently placed at an angle to the main track, the first pit being some 20 feet from the edge of the track and the last one being about 10 feet from the edge, thus allowing everyone in the pits a fairly unobstructed view and making a very large wedge-shaped pit area.

After turning through 180 degrees the road climbs steeply up the side of a hill, round a very tight hairpin to the right, “Hedersback,” and on up the hill on a gradient of nearly 1 in 61/2, levels out a bit on a left curve and then climbs up round a fast right-hand curve to the top of the hillside. Here it takes a long fast left-hand bend over the brow, “Frauenkreuz,” and down the other side, followed by another very fast downhill right-hand curve, and drops over a sharp brow to plunge down into a sharp left-hand corner, in thick woods. As the road levels out here this corner can be taken faster than imagined for the sudden cessation of losing height as you hit the corner means that the car gets a terrific downward thrust from its own weight, helping the cornering power of the tyres. From here the road is more or less level and to all intents and purposes is straight, although in actual fact there are two left-hand curves, but these are flat out. This ends in a very sharp right-hand hairpin that drops downhill to a left­hand hairpin that continues to drop downhill and is followed by a short straight rush down to a lake.

Here the road turns sharp left round the edge of the lake and from here to the start the road runs along the bottom of a valley and is flat, but by no means straight. From the lake to the starting area there is a series of fast and slow corners, running through woods with a high bank on the right. This is the most difficult part of the course, for so many of the corners look alike and all are rather similar as regards surroundings, making them difficult to identify, and for 31/2 kilo­metres after leaving the lake, on this home stretch, there is no straight and the car has to be whipped from one lock to the other. The last of this long series of swerves is a left-hander which brings you out of the woods and onto the short pits straight.

The circuit measures 11.417 kilometres to the lap (approximately seven miles) and contains just about every situation one could wish for in a racing circuit, and the whole thing is on normal public roads, closed for the occasion of racing, and sports cars lapped it at 150 kph (approximately 93 mph).’

Innes Ireland clipping the grass for the Solitude organisers during his victorious run during the 1961 GP- his works Lotus 21 Climax won from Jo Bonnier’s Porsche 718 and Dan Gurney’s similar car. Here he leads Jack Brabham Cooper T53 Climax not long after the start. The fast, open, wooded terrain of the circuit shown in this marvellous shot (Sutton)

Bibliography…

Solitude GP race report by Denis Jenkinson in MotorSport August 1960, Autosport, oldracingcars.com, Australian Motorcycling News article by Don Cox, ‘Motorcycle GP Racing in The 1960’s’ Chris Pereira, F2 Index

Photo Credits…

Getty Images, LAT, Sutton, Bernard Cahier, Australian Motorcycle news

Tailpiece: Likely Lads- Ireland, Clark, Surtees and Chapman, what an array of talent! Team Lotus, Oporto, Portugal 1960…

Finito…

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

But its the 246T wings which interest me…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amon’s 1968 Tasman Dino Season…

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

The Ferrari 166 Dino…

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

Amon after his Lakeside AGP win (J Stanley)

Bibliography…

oldracingcars.com

Photo Credits…

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

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

(J Stanley)

 

David Mist wasn’t a motor racing photographer but he took some interesting shots on assignments allocated to him by the advertising agency USP Benson…

The client on this occasion was Shell, the ‘talent’ the Scuderia Veloce racing team owned and operated by David McKay and perhaps the Warwick Farm circuit itself. Mist’s gigs incuded the ’63 and ’67 AGP weekends, ‘the 1965 Shell Racing Series Scuderia Veloce Racing Team’ and a meeting at Catalina Park, Katoomba. Click here for a link to an article which includes background on SV; https://primotipo.com/2017/01/04/scuds/

Its David McKay on the grid, above, with driver Greg Cusack and Greg’s Elfin Catalina Ford FJ circa 1964. It won the 1964 Australian Formula 2 Championship, at Lowood, Queensland, chassis ‘6310’ is now owned by the National Motor Racing Museum.

Cusack came through the world of rallying and burst onto the racing scene with speed in a Lotus 23, an Elfin Mallala sportscar, the Catalina above and then into a Brabham BT6 Ford. During this time he progressively built a significant automotive retailing business, a Ford dealership in Canberra. Perhaps this dual focus of business and racing mitigated against ultimate motor racing success but he rose right through the ranks to race McKay’s Brabham BT23A Repco Tasman 2.5 Formula car.

Interestingly this very chassis, Jack’s 1967 Tasman weapon- ‘BT23A-1’ has recently been acquired by the National Automobile Museum, which is good and bad! Good in that it stays in Australia, bad in that it now becomes a static museum exhibit rather than occasionally raced as it has been by Peter Simms for the last 30 years.

The Tasman meetings attracted enormous crowds, here the crush is around Graham Hill’s Lotus in 1967.

Sticking with Graham, here he is no doubt leaning against his courtesy car for the weekend. Its a big Datsun/Nissan Cedric, I wonder what GH thought of it? I wrote an article about the Prince/Nissan R380 racer a short while ago which tangentially talks about the rise and rise of the Japanese manufacturers in Australia in the sixties. Click here to read it;

https://primotipo.com/2017/12/08/prince-datsun-make-that-nissan-r380/

The popularity of touring car racing in Australia began in the fifties and has exploded exponentially since. Sadly. Sadly in that the ascension has been at the expense of the purer forms of the sport- single seaters and sports-racing cars. Still, the market has spoken and we enthusiasts of the Real McKoy have to suck it up and remember the glory days of the fifties to seventies, and even then other than at Tasman time, grids could be pretty shitful in quantity if not in quality.

One of the touring car greats as a racer, personality and crowd pleaser was Norm Beechey, winner of the 1965 and 1970 ATCC in Ford Mustang and Holden Monaro 350 respectively, here aboard his Chev Impala in 1963.

He was a member of the SV squad at the time, winning the NSW Touring Car Championship in this car on the ultra tight, Catalina Park circuit. McKay is alongside the car together, I think with Claude Morton, Norm’s mechanic. David is in driving gear so he’s not quite retired. I’m guessing this as the 1963 Australian GP weekend in February, McKay finished a splendid 4th in his Brabham BT4 Climax in that race behind Brabham, Surtees and McLaren.

Who is the spinner below though?

Its a Brabham BT2 or BT6 Ford I think, our friend has lost the back of the car turning into the right-hander on the entry to the Farms pit-straight. Its probably an SV sponsored car so guessing the BT6’s of either David Walker or Greg Cusack, year circa 1963/4. The other car, dunno. Keen to hear from those with a theory or answer…

Photo Credits…

All shots by David Mist