Posts Tagged ‘Lotus 18 Climax’

(D McPhedran)

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

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

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

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

(WFFB)

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

Credits…

Don McPhedran, Getty Images, oldracingcars.com

 

Ron Flockhart and Mustang P51, Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne 1961…

I wrote an article three years ago about Ron Flockhart, his win together with Ivor Bueb aboard an Ecurie Ecosse Jag XKD at Le Mans in 1957 (he won in a D Type with Ninian Sanderson in ’56 too) and tangentially about his death in a Mustang P51 fighter in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges during preparations for his second attempt on the Australia-United Kingdon air record in April 1962. Click here to read it; https://primotipo.com/2015/01/17/le-mans-1957-d-type-jaguar-rout-ron-flockhart-racer-and-aviator/

Recently I came upon some photographs of Ron in Australia taken during the 1961 pre-Tasman racing internationals, this led to another ‘Flockhart Google cruise’ and discovery of the substance of this piece which is an article first published in ‘Pilot’ magazine written by Neil Follett and Nick Stroud. That article is from an aviation rather than a motor racing perspective- I found it fascinating, I know many of you ‘crossover’ into ‘planes as well as cars so here ‘tis, the racing bits which are mine, will be clear I think.

Ron Flockhart in red and Ivor Bueb with Jag XKD ‘606’ after the 1957 Ecurie Ecosse Le Mans win (unattributed)

‘One of the first racing drivers to fly himself to meetings in his own aircraft, Ron Flockhart raced at the top level in sports cars and Formula One before a growing interest in long distance record flights led to high adventure and stark tragedy.

William Ronald Flockhart was born in Edinburgh on 16 June 1923. He began his motor racing career in 1951, going on to win the 24 Heures du Mans race in 1956 and 1957 while driving a D-Type Jaguar with the Scottish Ecurie Ecosse team. Flockhart also participated in Formula One races, entering his first−the British Grand Prix−in 1954 and continuing throughout 1956–60. The Scotsman competed in fourteen F1 races with five different teams, his best result being a third in the 1956 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Flockhart also displayed an early interest in flying, owning Auster 5 G-ANHO during 1954–57, and becoming one of the first Formula One drivers to fly their own aircraft to race meetings. In the early 1960s he became interested in record flights between England and Australia, noting that the record was held by Arthur Clouston and Victor Ricketts in the DH88 Comet G-ACSS Grosvenor House.

The Comet won the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race and was the aircraft in which Ricketts and Clouston flew from London to Sydney (and then on to New Zealand) in 80hr 56min in March 1938. Flockhart considered that this record could be bettered. He was also interested in bettering the standing solo Australia−UK record, held by H F ‘Jim’ Broadbent, who had left Darwin in Percival Vega Gull G-AFEH on 18 April 1938, and landed in England on the 22nd having covered 9,612 miles in five days 4hr 21min, the last pre-war record flight between the two countries.

In October 1960 British holding company United Dominions Trust (UDT), through its subsidiary Laystall Engineering, formed an agreement with the British Racing Partnership to form a motor-racing organisation known as UDT Laystall Racing. As an extension of its racing activities, UDT became involved with the purchase of (Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, Fishermens Bend, Melbourne built) Commonwealth CA-17 Mustang Mk 20 VH-BVM for Flockhart’s record attempt.

This aircraft had originally been purchased from the RAAF by former RAF and RAAF pilot James L ‘Wac’ Whiteman, who intended to enter the aircraft in the 1953 London to Christchurch (New Zealand) Air Race. Wac withdrew from the race when he realised it would not be competitive with the jets entered and in 1954 its ownership passed to Arnold J Glass, a fellow racing driver against whom Flockhart would compete in the 1961 and 1962 New Zealand Grand Prix races. Used latterly for target-towing experiments, it was sold to UDT for around £2,000 with around 100 flying hours on the clock. Flockhart was also able to obtain 63 gallon combat droptanks for about £7 each’.

Flockhart with the unloaded left front of his Cooper T51 Climax just kissing the Warwick Farm Causeway tarmac in 1961 (J Arkwright)

Racing in New Zealand/Australia, Summer 1961…

Ron organised an ex-works Cooper for his limited campaign of races in the Antipodes in the hot summer of 1961. T51 Climax ‘F2-7-59’ was ‘ex-Works Car No 3 according to the Cooper Register…believed to be Masten Gregory’s regular car during 1959…Bruce McLaren’s race-winning car at both Sebring December 1959 and at Buenos Aires in February 1960…and may be either the works teams spare car during 1960…or the car sold to Fred Tuck for 1960’ according to oldracingcars.com. Whatever the case, whilst the T51 was a good jigger, it was no longer in the full flush of youth with the quicker cars that season the T53 ‘Lowline’ Coopers of Brabham and McLaren, the works P48 BRM’s of Graham Hill and Dan Gurney and Rob Walker’s Lotus 18 Climax driven by Stirling Moss.

Flockhart and Denny Hulme fighting for 4th place during the 1961 NZ GP at Ardmore both in Cooper T51 Climax 2.5 FPF, Ron 4th, Denny 5th (sergent.com)

Moss disappeared into the distance in the 7 January NZ GP at Ardmore but was outed with a badly slipping clutch mid-race giving the win to Brabham from McLaren, Hill and Flockhart a plucky fourth.

With much preparation to do in Australia for his pending flight he missed the balance of the NZ events and re-acquainted himself with the Cooper T51 at the first international meeting held at the new, technically challenging Warwick Farm circuit laid out amidst a horse-racing facility on the western suburban outskirts of Sydney on 29 January.

Getty Images caption dated 2 February 1961 notes ‘The Flying Scotsman’ is travelling from Australia to England on a dual mission- first to marry BOAC hostess Gillian Tatlow and second to attempt to break the Australia-Britain record for single-engine planes..(Getty)

He was fifth in the ‘Warwick Farm 100’ held in scorching hot weather and won by the Moss Lotus 18 with its side-panels removed to help cope with the extreme conditions. A fortnight later he contested the last race of his ’61 tour, the ‘Victoria Trophy’ that year held on a circuit laid out on Ballarat Airfield, Ballarat is in Victoria’s Goldfields region 120 Km from Melbourne.

Flockhart at Ballarat Aerodrome, 1961. This Cooper T53 Climax  (autopics.coma.u)

Ron raced a Border Reivers Cooper T53 Climax to third to the works BRM P48’s of Gurney and Hill with Dan scoring the only ‘international win’ for that chassis that weekend. With that, and a fortnight until his scheduled Mustang departure for the UK he re-focused on a high-performance machine of an altogether different type.

Flockhart with G-ARKD, place? (Pilot)

Preparations begin…

‘With the end of the Antipodean motor racing season in early 1961, preparations began for the flight to the UK. Rolls-Royce ran checks on the Packard Merlin 38 engine, which had only run 110 hours since new, and which had never been ‘through the gate’. The magnetos were overhauled in Scotland and Smiths Australia set to work on overhauling the cockpit instruments.

Preparatory work on the airframe was undertaken at the Illawarra Flying School, which modified the fuel system by introducing a manual device by which the system could be depressurised. Two static vents were incorporated into the airframe under the cockpit sill, each containing a valve. This would enable Flockhart to run the droptanks dry without the risk of sucking air into the system. The system would then be repressurised from the exhaust side of the vacuum pump to assist initial transfer. This worked well, although a stiff bootful of rudder was required to counter the rolling moment causd by the change in lateral balance as a tank emptied.

In the limited space available in the Mustang’s cockpit two German Becker VHF radio sets were installed, which provided 36 communications channels, and Lear T12 automatic direction finding (ADF) equipment was fitted in the position usually occupied by the gunsight. No VOR, ILS, HF radio or marker-beacon receiver equipment was fitted−Flockhart held no instrument rating. Normalair supplied the oxygen equipment, Dunlop provided new tyres, and Lodge delivered new plugs. Rolls-Royce suggested that the Merlin be opened up to maximum continuous power every half-hour during the flight and again briefly during descent and approach.’

Bankstown Airport Sydney 1961 (G Goodall)

G-ARKD lookin’ a million bucks outside Fawcett’s hangar at Bankstown after final prep for the 1961 flight (G Goodall)

‘Final preparations and modifications were undertaken by Fawcett Aviation at Bankstown Aerodrome in Sydney, and the Mustang was officially added to the British register on 24 February 1961 as G-ARKD, in the name of Ronald Flockhart. In the days leading up to his departure for the UK Flockhart had logged a mere twelve flying hours in the Mustang.

In March 1961, Flockhart told British magazine Flight that piloting a Mustang for the first time was like ‘driving an ERA after a sports car; things happen very quickly’. He also admitted that it had taken some time to get used to the Mustang’s long nose and the technique of a curving approach, and had accordingly suffered ‘one or two bumpy landings’, but had quickly come to like the aeroplane very much. Flockhart noted that although the Mustang was big and powerful, ‘it was amply stable for the long hours of steady, level cruise’.

The planned route for the flight was Sydney—Alice Springs—Darwin—Sourabaya—Singapore —Rangoon—Calcutta—Karachi—Bahrain—Beirut—Brindisi—Nice and on to London, with overnight stops at Singapore, Karachi and Brindisi. Flockhart’s plan was to fly only during daylight hours and in segments of a maximum of five hours. All fuelling arrangments along the route were to be made by Esso, which Flockhart found to be ‘unfailingly helpful and efficient’

(Pilot)

Setting off…

‘On Tuesday, February 28, 1961, Flockhart and G-ARKD, painted in an overall bright red colour scheme with white detailing, departed Sydney for the first stop at Alice Springs. En route from the latter to Darwin, Flockhart experienced a magnetically charged dust storm, which affected his ADF equipment. He settled in at 12,000ft and followed the faint line of a solitary railway across the endless red terrain to Darwin.

The next day Flockhart departed Darwin for Surabaya on Java. Well out over the Timor Sea he saw an ominous line in the distance, marking an inter-tropical front piling clouds up to 50,000ft and higher. From 12,000ft he dived to low altitude to find a hole in the milky mist. After ten minutes the Mustang popped through the other side of the front with most of the paint on its leading edges stripped off. The diversion had cost a substantial amount of fuel and Flockhart elected to divert to Baucau on East Timor for replenishment.’

G-ARKD, Darwin 1961 (L Brighton)

‘After a quick refill from fuel kept in 45 gallon churns in a thatched hut, Flockhart took off for what he later recalled as ‘the loveliest part of the trip’−east-north-east over the Balinese islands and coral atolls to Singapore. The maximum endurance of the Mustang was seven hours, for six of which Flockhart could be on oxygen. Typical cruising speed was 225 knots at 12,000ft, although the speed would increase to 280 with the periodic opening of the throttle, as per Rolls-Royce’s suggestion.

The diversion to Baucau meant a late arrival at Singapore, where Flockhart was further delayed by an accident which had closed the runway at his next stop, Rangoon. Having received the all-clear to depart, Flockhart headed into the darkness, his first experience of flying the Mustang at night. Finding that the ADF equipment functioned better at night, he followed airways all the way to Rangoon, where the scarlet Mustang received a great deal of attention, not least from the Czechoslovakian crew of a SA Tupolev Tu-104.’

G-ARKD- 63 gallon drop tanks being filled, place unknown but looks like Australia (I Leslie)

Across India…

‘The following morning there was still plenty of interest in the aircraft, and on departure for Calcutta Flockhart held the Mustang down on takeoff until he could pull up 4,000ft almost vertically into cloud.

Navigating largely by means of contact flying−using established landmarks− Flockhart experienced difficulties on the leg to Calcutta, becoming embroiled in a cloud layer at 2,000ft which caused him to miss the let-down beacon into Calcutta and overshoot, forcing him to put down at Barrackpore, some fifteen miles north of Calcutta.

After a swift refuelling, Flockhart was off again for the longest leg of the journey, across India and Pakistan to Karachi, which he completed in 5hr 50min using 43gal/hr of fuel. Flockhart later related that he ate only a few Horlicks tablets on this leg, and refreshed himself on landing at Karachi with ginger beer kept cold in the ammunition bays.

At Karachi the Mustang was turned around in less than an hour, Flockhart taking off in the moonlight to follow the Iranian coast to Bahrain. As he later told Flight: ‘Navigation at night was wonderful. There is a great tranquillity about it. The isolation and the beauty contrasts sharply with the actions of those on the ground, who try to tie you down with streamers of paper. Flying at night in the moonlight, the only shadows are on the surface’.

It was still night when Flockhart landed at Bahrain, where he discovered that air had been leaking from the port main wheel oleo. This caused little concern, however, and after a safe landing the undercarriage was quickly repaired by the RAF. Flockhart was soon off again, to follow an oil pipeline to the mountains of Lebanon and Beirut. He was cleared−and then recalled−by Damascus air traffic control shortly after passing over the city, but, short of fuel, he elected to continue to Beirut and face the consequences there.

It was indeed at Beirut where the trouble started.

Despite the diversions and delays owing to minor repairs, Flockhart was still well ahead of his own schedule when he taxied out at Beirut for the next leg to Brindisi on 3 March.

Confusion on the ground, however, led to the Mustang’s coolant boiling while Flockhart was held while other aircraft landed. The Mustang finally departed for Brindisi but poor weather forced Flockhart to divert to his nominated alternate, Athens.’

G-AKRD on the deck at Athens Airport. Aircraft later damaged by a cockpit fire, left exposed for years in Athens and eventually scrapped, now seemingly resurrected from the dead (I Leslie)

‘Anxious not to lose any more time, Flockhart refuelled quickly and requested clearance from the Tower, which was refused as no flight plan had been filed. Requesting to file an airborne flight plan, Flockhart was refused again, the Tower demanding that he pay landing fees, despite the fact that these had already been seen to by Esso. As Flight elegantly put it: ‘temperatures rose−in the Tower, in the cockpit and in the cylinder heads’.

Realising that resistance was futile, Flockhart retired for a rest, before trying again in a few hours. With the paperwork sorted, he returned to the Mustang in the early morning, but found on starting that steam was issuing from the cowling. Refilling the coolant system, he found that the coolant was running out between Nos 3 and 4 cylinders on the starboard bank. By this time he was twelve hours behind his schedule, but two days ahead of the solo record.

Exhausted and frustrated, Flockhart left G-ARKD at Athens and continued to London by commercial airliner to be married as planned a few days later on 11 March 1961. The Scotsman subsequently told Flight that it was ‘not the flying, nor navigation, nor preparation which was responsible for the failure. It was an air traffic system out of touch with the individual needs of a type of flying that has not yet, by any means, disappeared from the global scene’.

In September 1961 the Mustang was severely damaged by a cockpit fire while being taxied at Athens airport, putting paid to its use in any further record attempt.’

Arnold Glass’ BRM P48 inside Ron Flockhart’s Lotus 18 Climax, DNF for both – Lycoming Special of Forrest Cardon to the right 16th- Maser 250F to the left of Cardon is Chris Amon 11th  to the Lycoming’s left, Ardmore 1962 (sergent.com)

Racing in Australasia 1962…

There was plenty of the depth in the international fields local drivers confronted in 1962- visitors included Moss back with a choice of Rob Walker cars- Lotus 21 and Cooper T53, McLaren and John Surtees also ran T53’s with Jack in a T55. We had our first look at Jim Clark aboard a Team Lotus Lotus 21 Climax but like Flockhart, Clark was hamstrung a bit by having only a 2.5 FPF- in the hands of the top-liners de-rigeur in ’62 was a 2.7 FPF ‘Indy’ engine. Ron raced a Border Reivers Lotus 18.

In a bit of Mini Cooper racing trivia the first such cars were taken to New Zealand and on to Australia by Bruce McLaren and Ron- a third car intended for Roy Salvadori missed the trip. They raced the ‘bricks’ at several of the meetings in which they contested the feature races with their GP cars. The potential of the machines, despite their size, was not lost of any of the racers or spectators who watched cars which of course became icons which define an age.

Dennis Marwood’s Humber leads Jim Steans Mini and the Coopers of McLaren and Flockhart at Wigram in 1962 (J Steans)

It was a mediocre tour really, Ron’s two NZ races were the Ardmore NZ GP and Wigram with DNF’s due to engine problems and a failed universal joint respectively. Moss won both races, the NZ GP famously a very soggy one in the Lotus 18 powered by a 2.5 FPF.

Fifth at Warwick Farm was much better for Ron and a high point, Moss took that win too, this time aboard the T53 2.7 having tried both cars in practice with Moss preferring the more-chuckable Cooper to the Lotus around the ‘Farm. Flockhart had an early day in the Lakeside International after a collision on lap 20, the race was won by Brabham’s T55.

Flockhart in the Border Reivers Lotus 18 Climax in the Sandown paddock 1962 (autopics.com.au)

Flockhart missed the Longford round won by Surtees and rejoined for the first Sandown International, like Warwick Farm it was laid out within a horse-racing facility and on Melbourne’s then south-eastern outskirts 40 km from the city. Brabham won again with Flockhart suffering bearing failure in what turned out to be his very last motor-race.

Sandown Park is only 10 Km from Moorabbin Airport and 30 Km from Kallista in the Dandenongs, both sadly to loom large for all the wrong reasons shortly thereafter.

Flockhart and mount, outside the Brookes Aviation hangar, Moorabbin Airport, fateful morning of 12 April 1962 (G Goodall)

Take two…

Not to be deterred, within months (of the 1961 Athens airport fire) Flockhart began looking for another Australian Mustang for a second attempt on the record that had eluded him. The aircraft chosen was former RAAF Mustang VH-UWB, acquired on Ron’s behalf by AREF Ltd of Ascot, Berkshire and registered G-ARUK. Flockhart had announced his intention to try and beat the record again, with plans to follow the route Melbourne—Sydney—Darwin—Singapore—Madras—Bahrain—Brindisi—London, starting on 16 April 1962.

‘Jock Garden, chief flying instructor and manager of the Civil Flying School, the flying training arm of the Mustang’s operator in Australia, Brookes Aviation, recalled in his memoirs: ‘Ron arranged to buy VH-UWB from John Brookes, and Brookes Aviation undertook a complete overhaul on the aircraft. Rolls-Royce, as a co-sponsor [of his next record attempt], sent out two engineers from England to service the engine; the aircraft was repainted in red and re-registered in the UK as G-ARUK.

I flew Ron over to Essendon Airport in the [Beech] Debonair early in 1962 and during the flight I asked if he had any recent instrument flying experience. When he told me he had none in the last eighteen months, I suggested it would be wise for him to gain recent instrument flying practice in view of the intended long flight, but he did not follow up on that advice.

‘I had the pleasure of doing the flight-testing of the Mustang on 19 March 1962, after its extensive servicing and it was in perfect condition with the Merlin the smoothest running engine I had ever encountered.’

‘A couple of days before he intended setting out on his record attempt Ron was to fly to Sydney to have maintenance done on his ADF unit. The weather conditions on 12 April were bad, with low cloud and rain, but Ron was determined to go. This proved to be a fatal decision as, within only a few minutes after departure, he lost control in cloud over the Dandenong Range and entered a spiral dive from which he could not possibly recover. He was killed instantly.’

The official report of the accident by the Australian Department of Civil Aviation gives the following conclusion: ‘While there is insufficient evidence to establish conclusively the cause of the accident, the possibility that the pilot temporarily lost control of the aircraft while circling in cloud, and that it subsequently stalled during the recovery and turn to avoid high terrain, cannot be excluded’.

Flockhart was flying the Mustang from Moorabbin to Bankstown to conduct fuel consumption tests and have the ADF equipment serviced. After encountering low cloud, he reported that he was returning to Moorabbin. The Mustang then changed course some 140° before entering a narrow gap between cloud-obscured hilltops in the Dandenongs.

The report stated that ‘the pilot circled in the vicinity of Kallista several times at low altitude and for the most part in cloud. The aircraft then emerged below cloud at a height of approximately 1,300ft, carried out a left turn probably to avoid higher terrain and, in the course of this turn, the nose dropped sharply and the aircraft struck trees and the ground at a steep angle, while rolling and turning to the right’.

At the time of the accident Flockhart held a British PPL endorsed for single-engined landplanes under 12,500lb (5,670kg) maximum permissible all-up weight. His total flying time was 961hr of which 69 were on Mustangs. During the six months immediately before the accident he had flown only five hours. He was not rated for instrument or night flying. In late 1960 he had undergone about 21 hours of ground-based Link trainer instruction on ADF, ILS and VDF procedures, but his logbook showed no record of any instrument flying or Link trainer instruction since that time.

Flockhart’s flying achievements were substantial and deserve a great deal of credit; his Mustang flight from Australia to Athens had been made with limited professional backing by a club-trained private pilot. Sadly, he never got the chance to finish the job — with his death on 12 April 1962, his final race had been run.’

Etcetera…

Flockhart hooting across Warwick Farm’s Causeway during the WF 100 in 1961, Cooper T51 Climax ( J Arkwright)

Flockhart’s Cooper T51 Climax in the Warwick Farm paddock in 1961. Car raced to a Longford win by Roy Salvadori the week later and then sale to David McKay at the end of the summer post the Hume Weir meeting also contested by Roy (J Arkwright)

‘Historic Dandenongs’ tribute to Ron Flockhart

Mustang A68-152, 135 and 175. All aircraft issued to 23 Squadron Brisbane so guessing RAAF Amberley circa late 1952/3. CAC Wirraway’s alongside (L Potts)

Etcetera: The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Mustang P51’s…

Source: airforce.gov.au- Point Cook Museum, Victoria

‘One of the finest American fighter aircraft of World War II, the North American Mustang owed its origin to a Royal Air Force (RAF) specification for a single-seat fighter to replace the Curtiss P-40. The first flight of the prototype NA-73 occurred in October 1940. Production models reached the RAF in November 1941 and these aircraft became known as Mustang Mk I (P-51) and Mk II (P-51A). The original 1,150 hp Allison engine lacked performance at high altitude, and the RAF employed the early Mustangs on low-level armed tactical reconnaissance sorties. Meantime, the US Army Air Force (USAAF) ordered a limited number of P-51s and P-51As as the Apache, to operate in the dive-bomber role.

However, once the basic P-51 design was mated with the proven Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, the aircraft became an enormous success. Through P-51B, C and D models, the Mustang became one of the finest Allied fighters of World War II, and was just as capable at long-range escort as short ground-attack sorties. Fitted with a bubble canopy in place of the earlier ‘Razorback’ fuselage, the P-51D was the most widely produced version of the Mustang, with 8,956 built.

Interesting developments of the Mustang included the XP-51F and XP-51G lightweight versions and, the fastest Mustang of all, the P-51H, with a top speed of 487 mph at 25,000 ft. The ultimate development of the aircraft occurred post-war, when two Mustang fuselages were joined, resulting in the USAAF’s F-82 Twin Mustang.

In November 1944, RAF Mustangs were first flown by the RAAF’s No 3 Sqn in Italy.

Mustang P51D cutaway drawing (Haynes)

In 1943, the Australian government arranged for the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) to manufacture the Mustang Mk IV (P-51D) under licence from North American Aviation. The RAAF urgently needed a new fighter, and so the first CAC Mustangs were built mainly from imported semi-finished parts. A prototype Mustang, A68-1001, was used for development trials and the first Australian production Mustang, A68-1, flew on 29 April 1945. This aircraft was handed over to the RAAF on 4 June 1945 and was used for trials by No 1 Aircraft Performance Unit until October 1946. It was placed in storage until 1953 when it was delivered to the Department of Supply at Woomera.

The first 80 Mustang 20s (A68-1/80) were delivered with Packard Merlin V-1650-3 engines, under the CA-17 designation. A second contract called for 170 improved Mustangs, but only 120 were completed. Known as CA-18, the first 40 were built as Mustang 21s (A68-81/120) with Packard Merlin V-1650-7 engines. The remaining CA-18s comprised 14 Mustang 22s (A68-187/200) with Packard Merlin V-1650-7 engines. A CA-21 contract for a further 250 Mustangs was cancelled and, in lieu of the remaining CA-18s and CA-21s, 298 lend-lease P-51Ds and Ks were taken on strength (A68-500/583 and A68-600/813). In addition, the RAAF also accepted Mustangs for the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (N3-600/640).

Produced too late for World War II, RAAF Mustangs were assigned to Japan for occupation duties and, early in 1946, Nos 76, 77 and 82 Squadrons flew into Iwakuni. In 1949 Nos 76 and 82 Squadrons withdrew to Australian and the Mustangs of No 77 Squadron remained to take part in the Korean War from June 1950 until April 1951, when they were replaced by Gloster Meteors.

In Australia, Mustangs remained in service with Citizen’s Air Force Squadrons until they were withdrawn from service in 1959.’

(MOV)

Technical Specifications CAC CA-18 Mustang Mk21…

Type/Airframe- Single seat long range fighter. All metal stressed skin construction

Engine- Single Packard Merlin V1650-7. SOHC, 2 valve, carburettor fed, two-stage supercharged V12. Bore/stroke 5.4×6 inches, 1650 cid, circa 1490 bhp @ 3000 rpm. Weight 1640 pounds

Dimensions- Span 11.28 m (37 ft): length 9,83 m (32 ft 3 in); height 3.71 m (12 ft 2 in).

Weight- Empty 3567 kg (7863 lb); loaded 4763 kg (10 500 lb).

Performance- Max speed 636 km/h (380 kt); Climb, 13 mins to 30,000 ft (9144 m); Maximum rate of climb 1059 m (3475 ft)/min; Service ceiling 41,900 ft (12 771 m); Range 1529 km (825 nm) on internal fuel tanks.

Armaments- Six 0.50 in calibre machine guns; two 454 kg (1000 lb) bombs or up to 10 rockets

Rolls Royce Merlin cutaway drawing (Aeroplane)

CA-17 A68-34 a pretty picture. Issued to 25 Squadron in 1951/2 so probably in the air over RAAF Pearce, Perth (SLSA)

Plane dudes have as much interest in chassis numbers et al as us car chaps of course, here they are..

A68-5 RAAF Serial no / Type CA-17 Mk20 Mustang / Construction no 1330 NA110-34370 (Flockhart’s 1961 plane)

Early build- 5th of a batch of 80 shipped to Oz as kits of parts, delivered to 1 Aircraft Depot ex-CAC 6 July 1945. To 78 Sqdn, then stored 14/11/45 till sold 30/1/53 to ex-Flt Lt JL Whiteman with only 35 hours up, Sydney- reg VH-BVM. To Arnold Glass, purportedly acquired with winnings from a racehorse ‘Johnny Zero’ which the aircraft was then called, Sydney May 1954. Target towing experiments with Fawcett Aviation in 1959, also flown by A Oates. To Ron Flockhart August 1960 with around 100 hours on the clock- reg UK G-ARKD Feb 1961. ‘Abandoned’ in Greece 4/3/61, cockpit fire whilst being taxied in Athens 7/9/61. Rego cancelled by UK CAA as ‘aircraft destroyed’ 26/11/61. Abandoned and left in the open in Athens 1961-1970. Reportedly broken up for scrap in Athens circa 1970.

6 June 2012 re-registered as G-ARKD to ‘Classic Flying Machine Collection Ltd’, Foulsham, Dereham, Norfolk, UK-‘remains/parts storage for restoration’

A68-113 RAAF Serial no / Type CA-18 Mk21 Mustang / Construction no 1438 (Flockhart’s 1962 plane)

Delivered to 1 Aircraft Depot ex-CAC on 1 April 1948. Issued to 78 Wing November 1949, to 1 AD July 1950, 10 Sqdn Townsville May 1953 for target towing duties. Sold August 1957, then again February 1958- Reg VH-UWB. Sold to Flockhart April 1962- reg UK G-ARUK. Flockhart’s fatal crash at Kallista 12 April 1962. Rego cancelled by UK CAA as ‘aircraft destroyed’ on 23/5/62.

CAC production line, Fishermens Bend circa 1945 (T Lyons)

Photo Credits…

‘Pilot’ magazine, Geoff Goodall Collection, W Cdr L Brighton, Ian Leslie, Jim Steans Collection, John Arkwright, autopics.com.au, Lionel Potts, Museum of Victoria, State Library of South Australia, Tony Lyons, Haynes, Aeroplane magazine

Bibliography…

‘Pilot’ magazine article by Neil Follett and Nick Stroud via aeroexpo.co.uk, sergent.com, oldracingcars.com, adf-serials.com.au, airforce.gov.au

Tailpiece: Cool dude- Flockhart, Warwick Farm 1961…

(J Arkwright)

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…

 

(J Ellacott)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

I wrote an article about Arnold a while back;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1962 Australian Grand Prix, Caversham, WA…

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glass shipped the car to New Zealand for the 1963 Internationals but he was unable to drive after a water skiing accident so lent it to Kiwi Ross Jensen to race at Pukekohe in early February. Talented Jensen won a preliminary and the ten lap feature race. Nye records that Jack Brabham tested the car briefly at Levin. It would have been the only other P48 he drove since testing the prototype car ‘481’ at Goodwood in late 1959.

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

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

The car was advertised in June/July 1963 and bought by South Australians Jo Steele and John Allison. The ‘Scarab’ Buick V8 went to Bib Stillwell for his Cooper Monaco as an FPF replacement and an engine went to Don Fraser who fitted it to his Cooper ‘Lowline’ and later into one of the Cicadas he built with Doug Trengove. This car was raced in Gold Star events into 1970. Another engine slated for a speedboat powered a Speedcar raced by John Hughes. Both engines found their way to the UK- the Fraser engine and ‘box to Tom Wheatcroft and John Hughes engine to Robs Lamplough.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Design, Construction and Technical Specifications of the P48…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 BRM P48 Chassis List…

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

P48 ‘First Series’

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

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

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

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

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

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

P48 Mk2

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

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

The Competitor Set…

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

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

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

Lotus 18 Climax FPF 2.5..

(D Friedman)

 

(D Friedman)

Cooper T53 Climax FPF 2.5 ‘Lowline’..

(D Friedman)

 

(D Friedman)

Etcetera…

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Bibliography…

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

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

Photo Credits…

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

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

P48, Warwick Farm 1961 (K Drage)

Finito…

 

image

Great to see Innes Ireland maintain focus AND have the head space to follow Sirling Moss home in the  1960 US Grand Prix…

Bit of a tight fit in the cockpit of his 18, it would have been a bit more comfy in his 19 Sportscar, albeit not as much fun.

He  won the USGP in his Lotus 21 Climax the following year, the Scots only championship GP win. His talent deserved more but life was for living, he was a champion with joie de vivre!

Innes took Team Lotus first GP win in the process so ’twas a big weekend for Innes, Chapman and the Lotus 21.

The photo below is Ireland leading Dan Gurney’s Porsche 718 and Graham Hill’s BRM P48/57 Climax on his way to victory in 1961.

image

(unattributed)

 

Credit…

Dave Friedman, Getty Images

Tailpiece: Innes, Silverstone, circa 1961…

image

(Getty)

 

monaco 1961

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

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

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

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

grid

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

image

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

 

Credit…

John Ketchell, GP Library

Tailpiece: Maestro Moss…

moss mastery

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