Posts Tagged ‘Lotus 23B Ford’

(R MacKenzie)

When shots of a bloke at the same circuit pop up randomly a week apart whilst looking for other stuff its an omen right?…

The photographs of Bob Muir a year apart at Warwick Farm aboard his Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott and Lola T300 Chev (below a bit) say much about his fast ascent during this career phase.

The first shot is during the F5000 Tasman 1971 ‘Warwick Farm 100’ in The Esses- he is on the way to sixth amongst the 500bhp beasties in the little, lithe, nimble 275’ish bhp 2 litre Waggott powered ‘Sub- the speck in the distance is, I think, Ken Goodwin’s Rennmax BN3 Ford DNS, it must be practice as he didn’t race. Frank Gardner won come raceday in his works Lola T192 Chev.

Bob raced a Rennmax Formula Vee initially after a dabble in a road Austin Healey Sprite and after showing immediate pace progressed through a Lotus 23B Ford in 1968/9 to a Rennmax BN3 which was raced with a Coventry Climax 2.5 litre FPF and later a 2 litre Waggott TC-4V acquired from Alec Mildren as the long time team owner and patron wound down his race operations.

The Waggott was then transferred to the Sub, when he bought it- his first meeting with that motor fitted appears to be the Mallala Gold Star round in 1970.

Jack Bono, Elfin, from Bob Muir, Rennmax and the rest- other drivers and chassis make folks? Warwick Farm 1967 (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

 

Muir, Lotus 23B Ford, Warwick Farm 1968 (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

 

Muir, Rennmax BN3 Waggott, meeting date unclear, Oran Park 1970 (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

Money was always tight as Muir’s motor-dealership provided the funds to race, he did so when he could afford to.

Throughout 1970 he ran his Waggott engined BN3 at Warwick Farm and Sandown for strong thirds stepping into the Sub for the first time at Mallala in October and then the AGP at Warwick Farm in November where a blown tyre caused an accident in the race won by Frank Matichs’ McLaren M10B Repco-Holden.

He sensibly did not contest the Kiwi 1971 Tasman rounds as by then the ‘more modern’ F5000’s had eclipsed the 2 litre cars which could still, in the right circumstances, give a good account of themselves the year before- he raced at the Farm for sixth

Contradicting myself, Max Stewart won the 1971 Gold Star in the Mildren Waggott despite Bartlett’s McLaren M10B being demonstrably the quickest car that season- reliability let him down, and Bob would have given Max a shake had he the wherewithal to run the Mildren. His sole GS 1971 appearance was at Oran Park in Ken Goodwin’s BN3 fitted with his Waggott which blew in testing so he didn’t race, by June the Sub was advertised for sale in Racing Car News ‘Sell as is. Needs rebuild, engine repair’- Ray Winter bought it and did very well in it as an ANF2 car fitted with, in time, a Hart 416-B Lotus-Ford twin-cam. The Sub in period only had aces behind the wheel- Gardner, Bartlett, Muir and Winter.

Bob had bigger plans to have a crack at F5000 with a new car rather than the ‘hand me downs’ he had raced hitherto.

Muir’s Lola T300 Chev, DNF battery from 1972 Tasman Champ Graham McRae, Leda GM1 Chev 4th. Matich won from Gardner and Bartlett- Matich A50 Repco, Lola T300 Chev and McLaren M10B Chev (L Hemer)

Niel Allen’s misfortune created an opportunity for Bob.

Allen missed racing after his retirement at the end of the 1971 Tasman so he acquired a new Lola T300, chassis ‘HU-4’.

Whilst testing the car he lost control of the twitchy jigger- quite a different beast to the McLaren M10B had jumped out of twelve or so months before. Muir bought the car when Niel said ‘enough’ and rebuilt it around a new tub- he was ready for the Australian 1972 Tasman rounds where he was immediately quick- Q4 at both Surfers and Warwick Farm.

This was mighty impressive as the competition were ‘match fit’ having done four rounds over the five preceding weeks so the fact that a young fella had jumped right into these thoroughly demanding machines and was immediately on ze pace was a mighty strong effort.

Great Dick Simpson shot shows Bob hoiking an inside left at Oran Park with Kevin Bartlett’s T300 up his clacker during the 1972 Gold Star round. Bob Q2 behind Matich and DNF tyre/brakes. Matich, A50 Repco won from Bartlett and Max Stewart, Elfin MR5 Repco (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

 

Lynton Hemer’s shot of Muir heading thru BP and onto Oran Park’s main straight during the 1972 Gold Star round highlights some key aspects of the T300 design- the F2 T240 derived aluminium monocoque chassis, mid-ship, hip mounted radiators the ducting of which gives this whole series of cars (T300/330/332) their thoroughly sexy look- the cars worked rather well too. 5 litre Chev sits reasonably high, in this case fed by four 48IDA Weber carbs (L Hemer)

He spun at Surfers, had a battery problem at the Farm and an engine failure at Sandown’s AGP from Q5 but a point had been made despite not having the dollars to do the final Adelaide round.

His Gold Star appearances were similarly sporadic- Sandown Q2 and second behind the dominant Frank Matich A50 Repco, Q2 and DNF at Oran Park and that was it apart from some ‘Repco Birthday Series’ events at Calder.

He went jumped up into the big league in 1973 contesting most of the US F5000 ‘L&M Championship’ in a new Lola T330 Chev. The car was bought by Australian Garry Campbell and, a bit like the Allen Lola twelve months before, Campbell crashed in testing at Oran Park- Bob repaired it with the assistance of John Wright, later to be a very fast F5000 driver himself and shipped it to the US with a couple of nice, strong Peter Molloy 5 litre Chevs.

He hooked up with Chuck Jones and Jerry Eisert (the exact nature of the commercial relationship is not entirely clear) and together ‘Jones-Eisert-Racing’ attacked the L&M.

In an amazing run of raw pace Bob qualified fourth at Michigan International on 20 May for third in heat and DNF final, then off to Mid Ohio for Q3 and DNS heat and final and then off to the demanding Watkins Glen, a circuit on which he had not competed before for Q2 behind Jody Scheckter and ahead of Brett Lunger, Brian Redman, Peter Gethin, Mark Donohue, Tony Adamowicz, David Hobbs, Kevin Bartlett, John Walker, Vern Schuppan, Frank Matich and others.

Whilst Jody Scheckter was THE find of the series Bob’s performance was amazing, to say the least

His seasons in the US and the UK in F5000, Formula Pacific and a fleeting but impressive F2 appearance or two- is a story for another time.

Michigan International during the 1973 US L&M F5000 Championship, 20 May. Lola T330 Chev- a Peter Molloy Chevy at that. Scheckter, Trojan T101 Chev won from Derek Bell, Lola T330 Chev and Peter Gethin, Chevron B24 Chev. Muir Q4 3rd in heat and DNS final (M Windecker)

 

Etcetera…

 

(J Lemm)

Still wearing Bartlett’s usual #5, Bob sets to work on the Sub during the October 1970 Mallala Gold Star round- his first meeting in the car. Rare photo semi-nude.

 

‘Racing Car News’ June 1971 read it and weep…

 

(oldracephotos.com/Hammond)

Cruisin’ the Calder paddock during one of the ‘Repco Birthday Series’ (fiftieth) F5000 races during 1972, Lola T300 Chev. KB won this four or so championship rounds title from Frank Matich and Muir- all events held at Calder title.

 

(L Hemer)

Bob during the 1972 Warwick Farm Tasman round, not sure if it was practice or the race which was wet- Lynton has captured the reflections beautifully.

Credits…

Rod MacKenzie, oldracephotos.com/Dick Simpson/Hammond, Lynton Hemer, John Lemm

Tailpiece…

(oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

The Muirs Sports Cars Mildren Yellow Submarine leads Teddy Pilette, Team VDS McLaren M10B Chev through the Warwick Farm Esses during the 1971 ‘100’ Tasman round- sixth and fifth respectively- a good dice, there were two seconds between the cars at the races end. Gardner won in his works Lola T192 Chev from Chris Amon, Lotus 70 Ford and Bartlett’s Mildren Chev.

Finito…

(oldracephotos.com.au/JEllis)

Frank Gardner leads a twenty-three car field away at the start of the 23 lap, 103 mile 1964 Australian Tourist Trophy, Longford on 29 February…

Gardner is aboard Alec Mildren’s Lotus 23B Ford 1.6 from Bib Stillwell, Cooper Monaco Climax FPF 2.7, Frank Matich, Lotus 19B Climax FPF 2.6 and Bob Jane, Jaguar E Type Lightweight and then in the distance is Frank Coad in the Lotus 15 Climax FPF 1960cc which Derek Jolly raced to win this event at Longford in 1960.

The Lotus was for sale, with Coad in Melbourne, close to potential East Coast potential purchesers, rather than in Adelaide where Jolly lived. ‘Hoot’ Gibson bought it for Bevan to race not so long after this, he drove the wheels off it of course, on the way to a drive with Bob Jane Racing several years down the track.

Matich (Brabham BT7A Climax obscured) and Jane seem to have found a nice bit of concrete on which to base themselves for the weekend. Or is a purpose built bit of ‘wheel alignment’ concrete? (oldracephotos.com.au/Smith)

Bob’s E Type had not long been in Australia, it first raced at Calder in December 1963.

Mildren’s Lotus is a new car whilst the great rivals in ‘outright’ sportscars- and from about then single-seaters too with the Matich acquisition of a Brabham BT7A, Stillwell and Matich are racing well developed cars- the 19B was FM’s second Lotus 19, whereas Bib had been racing the Monaco since September 1961.

(S Dalton)

Who is that pushing the Lotus into position with Matich- Bruce Richardson or Geoff Smedley? Gerry Brown is behind the Stillwell Monaco perhaps- click here for plenty on that wonderful machine; https://primotipo.com/2015/03/10/bib-stillwell-cooper-t49-monaco-warwick-farm-sydney-december-1961/

(S Dalton)

Whilst the opening photo immediately after the start shows Gardner getting the initial jump, 2.7 litres of Coventry Climax torque cannot be denied with Stillwell running strongly as the field contemplates the run up the hill past the Water Towers to the drivers left.

Gardner is second and Matich third, probably taking it easy off the line in deference to the somewhat fragile gearbox, then Jane and perhaps Greg Cusack’s Ford Cosworth 1.5 pushrod engined Elfin Mallala.

Matich looking for something in the Lotus cockpit- ‘his orange maybe’ as Stephen Dalton wryly observed (S Dalton)

The race was disappointing in that Stillwell and Coad were disqualified for push-starts, neither car was fitted with an operable self-starter- whilst Gardner was a DNF with gearbox problems after completing 23 laps.

Stillwell led from start to finish and had the time to make two stops to argue the toss with officialdom- and still was in front of Matich who stayed with Stillwell early- until Bib was disqualified, then Frank eased back confident he would be adjudged the winner.

FM won in 61.18 minutes at a race average speed of 101.25 miles per hour (fastest lap 2:33.0) with Stillwell protesting that his starter motor was operable but wouldn’t start the engine! Jane was second (2:43.3) and Greg Cusack, Elfin Mallala Ford 1475cc, third, a lap behind (2:48.4).

Les Howard was fourth in his Lotus 23 Ford 1098cc, 2 laps adrift (2:57.9), he had a great scrap throughout with the Coad 2 litre Lotus 15 (disqualified) with Bryan Thompson’s Elfin Mallala Climax fifth and John Edwards- the first Tasmanian home, sixth in his Morgan Plus 6 1998cc (3:15.8) 4 laps behind Matich.

Cusack was timed at 140 mph on ‘The Flying Mile’, Matich 150, Stillwell did 156 mph- as did Jane’s E Type.

Checkout ‘Long Weekend at Longford’, a superb Tasmanian Government film of the 1964 Longford weekend, it has excellent coverage of this race, apart from the rest of it which oozes with the relaxed atmosphere of the times.

Cusack’s Elfin Mallala exiting Newry Corner for the run down The Flying Mile (R Bell)

Greg Cusack was on the climb towards Australian National F1, racing a couple of Elfins- an FJ/WR375 and the Mallala sportscar which was derived from Elfin FJ componentry.

Two Mallalas raced that Longford weekend- Cusack’s Ford powered, third placed car and one driven by Shepparton racer, and later Touring Car/Sports Sedan drawcard, Bryan Thomson. The Thommo car was Coventry Climax powered, that 1.9 litre machine was eighth.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

The Cusack Elfin Mallala at rest in the paddock, I’ve long thought the Mallala was the prettiest of all of Garrie Cooper’s sporties. Five of the cars were built in 1962-3 based on the hardware also used by Cooper in the Elfin FJ single-seaters I wrote about a short time ago- all still exist.

As to the drivers of the ‘Humpy’ Holdens, please let me know.

(S Dalton)

Jane above passing the pit complex. Is that the Kerry Cox driven Paramount Jaguar in pitlane?

Matich on his merry way below- a very successful car with quite a few Brabham suspension components by the time FM and his boys had finished with it.

(S Dalton)

Credits…

oldracephotos.com.au, Stephen Dalton Collection, Mr Ramsay, Ray Bell

Etcetera…

(Ramsay)

Bevan and Hoot Gibson going for a blast around the streets of Mansfield in the newly acquired, immaculate Lotus 15 Climax, circa 1964- I love this shot, its just so ‘period’.

The story of the ex-works/Jolly/Gibson Lotus 15 is told here; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/09/dereks-deccas-and-lotus-15s/

(oldracephotos.com.au)

Tailpiece…

Matich, Lotus 19B on Kings Bridge- he turns to the right as he leaves the bridge in the direction of Longford village. Note the little boat/yacht trailer in the foreground. If memory serves there is/was a boat club in that part of the track?

The 19B met its maker at Lakeside in July 1965. Matich took the car to a Gold Star round we was contesting in his Brabham as preparation for the ’65 ATT, which was held that November and won by Pete Geoghegan in a Lotus 23B Ford. Matich had an enormous accident in the 19B pretty much destroying it and hospitalising himself.

Related thereto was the loss of his Total, the French oil company sponsorship- the local franchise of Total was acquired by Boral Ltd who were not interested in motor racing. As a consequence Matich went in a new direction- sportscars to the exclusion of single-seaters until 1969, the net effect was the purchase of an Elfin 400 Oldsmobile (aka the ‘Traco Oldsmobile’) with which he won the March 1966 Australian Tourist Trophy back here at Longford.

The Matich Lotus 19 story is here; https://primotipo.com/2017/09/08/bay-of-plenty-road-race-and-the-frank-matich-lotus-19s/

Finito…