Posts Tagged ‘Ralph Bellamy’

Denny Hulme, Gordon Coppuck and McLaren M8F Chev (A Bowler)

Adrian Bowler was a young medico back in 1971. He posted these marvellous words and photographs of his experiences as Team McLaren’s doctor during Goodwood test sessions that year. They are gold, too good to disappear into the bowels of FB without trace. So here they are for those who missed them.

Many thanks to Adrian and the Glory Days of Racing FB page, which is well worth sussing every few days for an incredible diversity of global racing photographs.

Tony Dowe, Barry Sullivan, Alastair Caldwell, Jim Stone and Tony Attard pushing Denny, M8F Chev (A Bowler)
McLaren M19 Ford Cosworth DFV, 1971-2 F1 car (A Bowler)

“1971, at the Goodwood motor racing circuit where Bruce McLaren had been tragically killed testing the Can-Am car (M8D Chev) the previous June.

Goodwood was a very primitive setup then, disused as a racing circuit for several years but utilised by several racing teams to test cars. Bruce lost control of his car apparently when the rear wing section separated from the body of the vehicle and it collided with a concrete marshall’s post on the Lavant Straight.

Following Bruce’s death, Teddy Mayer continued the Goodwood test sessions on the proviso that a physician be on standby at the track. As a young casualty doctor at St Richards in Chichester I was recruited by McLaren to fill the trackside Doctor role. It didn’t take much pursuasion, they paid 10 pounds which was about my weekly salary!

Denny winding it up in second gear (A Bowler)
Reynolds ally Chev 494cid, Lucas injected pushrod, two-valve V8. Circa 740bhp @ 6400rpm in 1971 (A Bowler)

I spent several days over the next six months sitting on the side of the track watching the proceedings and chatting with Denny Hulme, Teddy Mayer, Gordon Coppuck and several of the mechanics. I brought my camera with me on one occasion and these are some of the pictures.

I got to see the burn scars on Denny Hulme’s hands from a metanol fire practicing for the Indy 500 (McLaren M15 Offy in 1970). I learned lots about F1 and Can-Am cars which was mind-boggling for a lowly-ER doc!

On one occasion Pater Gethin was annoying the mechanics working on an F1 gearbox and they suggested he take me for a ride around the track in his Porsche 911, which he did! After the first lap he asked me if i wanted to go again…I declined. They let me drive my Ford Capri 2000GT around the circuit…very slowly.

(A Bowler)
Uncertain, Gordon Coppuck, Teddy Mayer in the grey hair at left listening to Denny, Alastair Caldwell leaning on the wing at right. (A Bowler)

On the day Denis Hulme was testing the M8F, as usual, the engine noise would gradually fade as he got to the back part of the track and then reappear with a vengeance as he accelerated down Lavant Straight. All was going well for several laps until on this particular lap the engine noise didn’t reappear. After maybe about 10 seconds the panic button was hit and everybody drove hell for leather around the track. There, at the top of the circuit, Denny had spun off and the windscreen was covered in blood. He was out of the car, standing by the side and when we arrived all he could say was ‘That fucking crow got in my way!’

It was 50 years ago, but was one of the most memorable times in my career.”

Alastair Caldwell comment; “Can-Am being warmed up, Denny, as normal, doing a visual check of the whole car, he would come up with some very acute observations at times. Ralph Bellamy behind (left), Designer of the M19 (1971 F1 car) rising rate suspension and later the F2 car (M21). Barry Sullivan leaning forward in front of Bellamy, Gordon Coppuck as well at right.” (A Bowler)
Massive bit of real estate, superb M8F, Chev engine and Hewland LG600 Mk2 transaxle (A Bowler)


Adrian Bowler for the words and pictures, ‘Cars in Profile No 8 : McLaren M8’ David Hodges

Caption comments Alastair Caldwell, Hughie Absalom, Barry Sullivan, Steve Roby


Mayer sitting on the M19’s left-rear, Caldwell right-rear, while Barry Sullivan attacks the gearbox. Team Surtees truck and F1 TS9 behind the McLaren. Rob Walker is the well dressed gent, John Surtees in race overalls at far right (A Bowler)
(A Bowler)

Just another day in the office, Denny, M8F 1971.

I know it’s Denny but when I first glanced at Adrian’s shot I thought of Bruce 12 months before. RIP Bruce Leslie McLaren, 30/8/1937-2/6/1970.



I ‘spose the reason for the lack of high speed butt shots like this is a shortage of vantage points for photographers to capture the incredible distortion of Goodyears upon their ‘Melmags’ and suspension geometry and componentry doing their job, or not!…

Carlos Reutemann is hustling his Brabham BT37 through one of Osterreichring’s very fast sweepers on his way to a DNF with fuel injection dramas on lap 14 of the ’72 Austrian Grand Prix. He started the car an excellent fifth on the grid.  The race was won from pole by Emerson Fittipaldi’s Lotus 72D Ford on his way to his first title.


Reutemann BT37 from Peter Revson McLaren M19C Ford 3rd, Chris Amon Matra MS120D 5th then the two Surtees TS9B Fords of Mike Hailwood 4th and Tim Schenken 11th. Austria ’72 (unattributed)

This design was the first in the ‘Bernie Brabham Regime’…

Ecclestone bought Motor Racing Developments from Ron Tauranac at the end of 1971.

The BT37 was Ralph Bellamy’s re-work of Ron’s ’71 BT34 ‘Lobster Claw’ with conventional front radiator and narrower tracks front and rear.

BT37 wasn’t the marques greatest car, Gordon Murray’s arrival was the precursor to a decade of Brabham’s befitting the great name created by Ron and Jack, from his 1973 BT42.

BT37 was a typical ‘kit car’ of the era- aluminium monocoque chassis, Ford Cosworth 3 litre DFV V8, Hewland FGA400 5 speed transaxle and a host of other bits and pieces provided by sub-contractors based in England’s Thames Valley and surrounds.

Carlos and Graham Hill raced the two BT37’s built in 1972, the cars best result Carlos’ fourth in the Canadian Grand Prix.


Tony Matthews cutaway of Ron Tauranac’s 1971 Brabham BT34 Ford ‘Lobster Claw’



Reutemann, BT37 Osterreichring 1972 (unattributed)



Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpiece: Carlos ahead of Chris Amon’s Matra MS120C 15th in the ‘Lobster Claw’ one-off Brabham BT34 Ford, upon which the BT37 was based, South African GP, March 1972 DNF. The Ferrari 312B2’s of Andretti 4th and Ickx 8th are further back…