Posts Tagged ‘Scarab RE Buick’

(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, who was storing the car for Arnold.

Jensen came out of retirement to race at Pukekohe on 2 February. Talented Jensen won a preliminary and the ten lap feature race from Forrest Cardin the Lycoming.

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)

 

Jensen, BRM Buick in the Pukekohe paddock in February 1963 (CAN)

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…

 

Gurney during the 1961 NZ GP at Ardmore- DNF from grid 9, Brabham’s Coper T53 Climax won (unattributed)

 

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

 

Hill at Warwick Farm and looking far more focused on the job at hand…DNF with a fuel tank problem. Moss won a Lotus 18 Climax (unattributed)

 

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, Classic Auto News

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

P48, Warwick Farm 1961 (K Drage)

Finito…

 

daigh ford

(Racing One)

Chuck Daigh rumbles his big Ford Thunderbird across Daytona Beach during the February 1956 Speed Trials…

Born in Long Beach, California on 29 November 1923 he commenced fiddling with cars at his fathers garage business. Whilst still at High School, he ‘ran’ a Union Oil garage in Long Beach close to his home in Paramount. Both he and his older brother were typical ‘hot-rodders’, prior to WW II they ran at the Dry Lakes, one of the cars the marriage of an A-Model Ford chassis and Alfa Romeo engine.

Purple Heart Winner…

Prior to enlisting in the Army he worked for Morrison-Knudsen to build the Long Beach breakwater.

He served as a paratrooper in the ‘517th Regiment/82nd Airborne’ during WW II seeing action in France, Belgium and Germany, including fighting in ‘The Battle of the Bulge’ in the Ardennes Forest where he was later to race a Scarab at Spa-Francorchamps in 1960.

He was a remarkable leader and brave soldier awarded a Silver Star, Bronze Medal and a Purple Heart for heroic acts in 1944, he was shot in Luxembourg and ‘mustered out’ of the army in 1945.

image

Chuck Daigh in his Scarab F1 car during the teams fraught 1960 GP season, very wet! place and date unrecorded. Check out the ‘Reventlow Automobiles Inc’ logo on the cars scuttle (Popperfoto)

Post war he worked for Bill Stroppe preparing the Bob Estes entered Lincolns for the Carrera Panamerica Mexican road race. He was the co-driver on three occasions, in 1952 and 1953 with Walt Faulkner, finishing 8th in 1953, and with Chuck Stevenson in 1954 when they didn’t finish.

By this stage Daigh’s engineering capabilities were widely known and highly respected, Carroll Shelby remarked; ‘There are only two people i can think of who can sit down, take a welding torch, build their own chassis, go out and test it and then win races with it. They are Jack Brabham and Chuck Daigh. I put Chuck in the same category as Jack.’ Shelby was well placed to judge, he engaged Daigh as Shelby American’s carburetion expert on its ongoing Ford GT40 campaign in both North America and in Europe after Chuck’s driving days were over in the early-mid sixties.

He started road racing in the mid-fifties, his first sportscar race was at Moffet Field, California in 1953 driving Jim Lowe’s Frazer Nash. He ran a modified Kurtis 500S Lincoln special owned by Frank Kurtis, winning the Willow Springs and Santa Barbara sports car races in 1954. He also won races at Paramount Ranch and Santa Barbara driving the Troutman-Barnes Ford powered sports car.

In the early SCCA days drivers were suspended for racing professionally. Chuck occasionally raced in USAC pro stock car events as ‘Charles George’ to avoid the SCCA’s wrath, setting a lap record in the USAC 250 Mile Stock Car Race in September 1957 on the Milwaukee Mile at 90.614 mph.

He joined Pete DePaolo Engineering, chosen in 1957 by Ford for an assault on the Daytona Beach Speed Week Trials in February. Chuck managed the works supported Ford stock car team and helped build the 4 special Thunderbirds nicknamed ‘Battlebirds’ achieving better than 200mph in one of the T-Birds, the first to do so.

sports

RAI’s race shop in Culver City, LA October 1958, 2 Scarab Mk2 Chevs being fettled. Note superb standard of workmanship. Spaceframe chassis and bracing from drivers back bulkhead via the roll bar to the rear unusual for the day, huge finned brake drums, front wishbone IFS, you can just see the end of the de Dion tube @ rear and its locating linkages. Beautiful, huge ally fuel tank. Angle of steering wheel naff! and uncomfortable no doubt. Halibrand alloy wheels on the floor (Bill Bridges)

Later he worked for the Rathmann Chevrolet NASCAR stock car team until its demise then joining Lance Reventlow, on the Scarab Sports Car and Formula One projects. Chuck was engaged as number 1 driver and chief mechanic/engineer.

The FIA announced a 3-litre limit for the World Sports Car Championship from the start of 1958 so the Chevrolet-engined sports car had to run in SCCA races rather than internationally as originally planned by Reventlow in 1957.

The Scarabs were all superbly built and prepared and dominated the opposition in ‘B Modified’. Daigh beat Phil Hill’s Ferrari at Riverside and also won the Governor’s Cup, beating Hansgen’s Lister, and the Nassau Trophy sharing the drive with Reventlow in 1958.

The purpose of this article is Daigh’s career not the fabulous Scarab’s of which Daigh played a key roll, albeit i get a bit carried away with the Scarab RE later in the article. The Scarab’s are topics for another time.

image

Daigh #5 and Reventlow #3 back to camera in blue helmet, ‘saddle up’ their Scarab Mk2 Chevs prior to Chucks 1958 Riverside LA Times GP win. Spaceframe chassis, Chev injected V8’s of varying capacities, wishbone front IFS and de Dion rear suspension with Watts linkage, huge finned drum brakes, Borg Warner 4 speed ‘box all clad in the sexiest body this side of Northern Italy (unattributed)

 

image

Daigh, Scarab Mk2 Chev, LA Times GP Riverside 1958, he looks lonely out there! (Dave Friedman)

 

image

Celebrating his 1958 Riverside LA Times US GP Sportscars win in October 1958 with his children. Guy at left is the promoter and famous entrant JC Agajanian (The Enthusiast Network)

 

nassau

Daigh in the Scarab Mk2 Chev during the Nassau Speedweek in early December 1958, Lance Reventlow had the luck at this meeting, but Chuck shared Lance’s car after his car, this one retired with driveshaft failure to win the ‘Nassau Trophy’. Superb lines of the car obvious, Scarab derivative of everything at the time in terms of its styling but individual with it (Dave Friedman)

In 1959 he co-drove the winning Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa/59 at Sebring sharing the factory car with Dan Gurney, Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien. Gurney said of Daigh; ‘ Chuck was not only a good engineer, but he could also drive the wheels off a car. When i got into racing, i soon found out who the real heavyweights were, in those days Chuck was like a god to us.’

image

Gurney/P Hill/Gendebien/Daigh factory Ferrari 250TR winning the 1959 Sebring 12 Hour (Dave Friedman)

He also attempted to qualify for the the Indianapolis 500 in 1959, in fact he had three qualification attempts, never contesting the event with inferior equipment the problem. In July he drove a Maserati 250F at Lime Rock in July, finishing 2nd in the 60 lap final having posted two 3rd’s in the heats.

image

Nassau Speedweek 1958, Daigh facing this way, Reventlow left smiling and winning the ‘Governors Trophy’  and ‘Nassau Trophy’, the latter with Daigh sharing the drive in a Scarab Mk2 Chev. Carroll Shelby to the right of the fella with the hat, drove a Maser 450S in the ‘Nassau Trophy’ DNF. They all look fairly ‘chillaxed’! (Dave Friedman)

By the time the front-engined Scarab F1 car appeared at Monaco in 1960 it was obsolete, the first rear-engined Cooper Climax GP victory was in the 1958 Argentinian Grand Prix.

Quite why Reventlow thought a front-engined car was ‘the go’ by then is a topic to explore separately in some articles about the fabulous Scarabs themselves; Lance raced for most of 1957 in the UK including a number of F2 events in a Cooper T43 Climax so had a first-hand experience of the new generation of mid-engined single-seaters. The ‘writing was surely on the wall’ by the time the key decisions about the conceptual design of the Scarab GP car were determined…mind you no less than Colin Chapman built the front-engined Lotus 16 in 1959 i guess! Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

cooper

Reventlow racing a Cooper T43 Climax FWB at an F2 event at Crystal Palace, and signing a few autographs on 10 June 1957. 6th in the ‘London Trophy’ won by Brabham’s works T43 FPF. Having raced a mid-engined car how could you not build your F1 car in the same configuration?! (Ron Burton)

 

scarab brochure

Scarab GP; spaceframe chassis, IFS front by wishbones and coil spring/dampers, IFS rear suspension with wide based lower wishbone and coil spring/dampers, drum brakes all round, 4 cylinder DOHC, injected Offenhauser built engine, circa 220bhp@7500rpm, Borg Warner 4 speed ‘box (unattributed)

 

(B Thatcher)

Both Reventlow and Daigh struggled, the GP car was withdrawn before the seasons end but raced in the US GP at Riverside to keep the faith with local fans. Daigh drove the third works Cooper T51 at the British GP in 1960, having proved the quicker of he and Reventlow who also tested the car, qualifying 19th and retiring on lap 3 with an overheating engine.

Daigh showed enough promise in very difficult circumstances to have a decent GP drive in 1961, its a shame that did not occur.

image

Monaco GP 1960, the Scarabs race debut. #46 Reventlow, #48 Daigh. The 2.5 litre DOHC, fuel injected 4 cylinder/spaceframe chassis cars impressed all with their build quality and finish if not their weight and speed. Indicative of the paradigm shift was Ferrari racing their first mid-engined car, the 246P at this meeting; even the most conservative of manufacturers were testing the waters with a view to change, the Scarab’s were at least 2 years too late  (Dave Friedman)

 

image

Daigh Monaco 1960. Both cars DNQ, Stirling Moss also did some laps of the Scarab in practice to give his opinions of the car. The difference between his light, nimble mid-engined Lotus 18 Climax and heavy front engined Scarab complete… (Dave Friedman)

 

image

Daigh at Monaco, nice profile shot of the big Scarab (Dave Friedman)

 

image

Zandvoort, Scarab Dutch GP 1960, Daigh here in practice. The Scarabs didn’t race after a squabble with the organisers over start money resulted in 4 cars electing not to take the grid (unattributed)

 

image

Richie Ginther and Daigh at Zandvoort (Dave Friedman)

 

 

 

image

Spa, Belgian GP 1960. Daigh Q17 and retired his Scarab on lap 16 with engine failure. RHF  wheel off the deck on this fast, daunting circuit (unattributed)

 

image

Riverside, November 1960 USGP. Daigh Q18, 10th in the cars only GP finish having missed the French, German, Italian and Portuguese GP’s. Reventlow quickly realised they were ‘on a hiding to nothing’, the paradigm had moved on but the car raced for the American fans in California, RAI’s base in Venice Beach, LA (unattributed)

In 1960 Daigh also raced Lucky Casner’s ‘Camoradi’ Maserati Tipo 61 ‘Streamliner’ at Le Mans with Masten Gregory. In practice the car topped 170 mph on the Mulsanne, 10 mph faster than the next quickest.

Gregory couldn’t get the car underway, finally departing in 24th place. By the end of the Mulsanne Straight he was in the lead! At the first driver change the starter motor failed, an hour later Chuck returned to the track. Over the next four hours they took two laps back from the leader but on lap 82 retired officially with ‘electrical problems’, although it appears that Gregory was driving when the engine failed. Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill won the race in a Ferrari 250TR59/60.

image

Gregory/Daigh Maserati Tipo 61, Le Mans 1960 (Klemantaski)

In 1961 the Scarab F1 contested the European InterContinental Formula, a class created to allow the 2.5 litre GP cars to race, the class’ upper limit was 3 litres.

Chuck finished 8th at Goodwood in the Lavant Cup and 7th in the wet International Trophy Silverstone race. In practice for the British Empire Trophy at Silverstone he crashed sustaining a cracked pelvis in a bad accident. And that was that as far as the GP car was concerned, RAI raced it no more.

image

Chuck Daigh, Scarab,  Lavant Cup, Intercontinental Formula race, Goodwood 1961 (unattributed)

Daigh recovered from his Silverstone shunt and raced Jim Hall’s Chaparral 1 at Sebring in 1962, the Chev engined car strongly derivative of, and developed with the knowledge gained by the Troutman/Barnes duo on the earlier Scarab sportscar program. It was co-driven by Daigh, Hap Sharp, Ronnie Hissom and of course Jim Hall to 6th place, the race won by the Bonnier/Bianchi Ferrari 250TR/61.

image

The Sharp/Hall/Hissom/Daigh Chaparral 1 Chev at Sebring in 1962 (unattributed)

‘Formula 366’ was being explored as a single-seater class at the time and was a precursor to Formula A in proposing cars with a mix of stock-block 5 litre and 3 litre racing engines.

The proposed/possible class was well suited to Reventlow Automobiles knowledge of stock-block V8’s, so they built a spaceframe chassis, mid-engined car powered by the then new, light aluminium Buick V8, a Colotti 5 speed transaxle the other key component. The Scarab RE Buick with its Travers/Coons modified 3.9 litre V8 was shipped out of LA, RAI’s base at 1042 Princeton Drive, Venice on Culver City’s ‘Speed Alley’ and set off for Australia to race. Lance wanted to build cars commercially, to sell the cars he needed to demonstrate the strength of his product so a one-off race in far away Australia with Daigh strutting its stuff against a world class field made sense. He was punting on ‘Formula 366’ getting up but then again money was no object!

In those Pre-Tasman 2.5 litre formula days Australian National Formula 1 was Formula Libre. The promoters of brand new Sandown Park were happy to assist Lance Reventlow’s booming V8 Scarab to attend the circuits opening meeting in amongst the mainly 4-cylinder Coventry Climax engined hordes on 12 March 1962.

image001

Drivers gather before the start of the 1962 ‘Sandown International’, the dudes in uniforms are members of the band. L>R; orange clad Daigh, dark blue jumpered McLaren, nattily dressed Reventlow, light haired John Youl at rear, with a flat-cap official type chap. Roy Salvadori in front of Youl, Lex Davison in the light colored flat-cap. To his right Jim Clark, a balding Angus Hyslop beside and behind Jimmy, the similarly hirsute Stirling Moss in front of Hyslop, obscured Ron Flockhart, (shortly thereafter in April to die 25Km away in the Dandenong Ranges when his Mustang P51 ex-fighter crashed shortly after take off on a record breaking attempt to Europe) sports-blazered Bib Stillwell, then Doug Whiteford behind Jack Brabham, Bill Patterson and far right Austin Miller (John Ellacott)

Other entrants included Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Bruce McLaren, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Roy Salvadori, Ron Flockhart and others.

Jill St John was Reventlow’s wife at the time, sleepy Melbourne was abuzz with the attendance of a Woolworth’s Heir and his glamorous actress wife to the suburban wilds of Sandown Park. The ‘Movie Star’ was all great stuff for the local tabloids so there were plenty of ‘bums on seats’ during the race weekend pleasing the Light Car Club of Australia, the promoters, no end.

image001

(John Ellacott)

Jack won the ‘Sandown Park International’ in a Cooper T55 from Surtees and McLaren in Cooper T53’s all three cars powered by 2.7 litre Coventry Climax ‘Indy’ 2.7 litre engines. Daigh gave a very good account of himself, the brand new car qualifying on the front-row of the grid alongside Brabham and John Surtees. The cars straight-line grunt was impressive and exhaust note despite running rudimentary mufflers outstanding, its performance under brakes, into and through corners was inferior to the well-developed Cooper hordes; Chuck was 4 th, with the cars potential clear.

photo (22)

Sandown International grid; Surtees on the outside (left), Daigh’s Scarab the meat in a Cooper sandwich, Jack on the inside on pole (autopics.com)

 

image001

#5 Daigh’s 3.9 litre V8 Scarab RE Buick at Sandown, attractive, effective first attempt at a mid-engined car. It looks long but isn’t, wheelbase at 91 inches 1 inch longer than a T51 Cooper. Yellow Cooper Austin Millers T51 Chev engined car DNF  and #9 Bill Patterson’s Cooper T51 Climax 7th (John Ellacott)

In the wider scheme of things in terms of the machinations of the CSI’s decisions making about future racing classes, Formula 366 didn’t eventuate, Sandown was the RE’s only race although the learnings of a mid-engined V8 racer were applied by RAI to its successful Mk4 Scarab Sportscar.

image001

‘Sports Car World’ clipping, date wrong. Daigh, ‘Sandown Park International’ 1962

 

image001

Historically significant photo; Jack Brabham is taking a close look at the Scarab RE’s 3.9 litre aluminium Buick V8, the first time he had seen one. The sister engine to this, the ‘Oldsmobile F85’ was the basis of Brabham’s Repco Brabham ‘RB620’ 1966 World Championship winning 3 Litre GP engine (Jack Brabham by Doug Nye)

Chuck worked for Frank Arciero in 1963. He rebuilt their Lotus 19’s Coventry Climax FPF engine and won the Player’s 200 at Mosport beating a class field including Graham Hill, Parnelli Jones and Roger Penske.

Outside racing…

Chuck married in 1950 and had two children, Denise and Daniel. His interests extended outside car motor-racing to offshore ocean boat racing having a successful career in ‘Thunderball’ and other powerful craft.

One of his last projects was construction of a Flat-Head Ford ‘Lakester’ to try to break the class land speed record. he didn’t complete it passing away at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California after suffering a brief heart and respiratory illness, on 29 April 2008 at 84.

A remarkable man and World Class soldier, engineer and driver.

Etcetera: Scarab RE Buick ‘Intercontinental’ Sales Promotional Brochure…

image001

Bibliography/Photo Credits…

historicracing.com, racing.nimmo.com, Dave Friedman Archive, Getty Image, Bill Bridges, Popperfoto, The Enthusiast Network, Ron Burton, John Ellacot, Klemantaski Collection, autopics.com, B Thatcher

Tailpiece: Chuck Daigh cruisin’ the dusty Sandown Paddock in the Scarab RE Buick and its wonderful 3.9 litre Coons/Travers built V8…

image001

(John Ellacott)

Finito…