Posts Tagged ‘Scuderia Veloce’

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Looks of wonderment and amazement at the voluptuous lines of the Aston’s Frank Feeley penned body.  The ‘Wow Factor’ of contemporary racing cars never changes whatever the era does it?!…

Here it’s a Melbourne crowd on February 28 1958. Its the end of the long hot Australian summer but the crowd are well rugged up, Melbourne is notoriously ‘four seasons in one day’ sometimes and Fishermans Bend is an exposed windswept place at the best of times. At the wheel of the road-registered, ex-works Aston Martin DB3S chassis DB3S/9 is a youthful David McKay.

McKay aboard DB3S/9 at Fishermans Bend in February 1958. Nose of the car showing minor scars of battle, perspex headlight covers fitted to this car from its birth. First race the ’56 Rouen GP in May, then 2nd @ Le Mans ’56 driven by Moss/Collins, Salvadori was 2nd at Goodwood in September- car retained by Astons into 1957, the DBR1 the front line weapon that year with Brooks racing DBS3/9 at Easter Goodwood for 3rd. It was then used by the works for the last occasions as a practice car at Silverstone for the British Empire Trophy and for the Nurburgring 1000Km before sold by John Wyer to McKay with funds provided by Ampol (Westaway)

At the time he was ascending the driving ranks having cut his racing teeth in MG’s. He made it into the elite group too- let’s not forget were it not for a ropey jumped start call he would have won the 1961 Australian Grand Prix at Mallala aboard a Cooper T51 Climax. David would soon be known as much as a journalist, successful businessman and entrant-entrepreneur via his business ‘Scuderia Veloce’ as a driver though.

McKay raced this car to wins in the sportscar races that Fishermans Bend weekend, and was very successful in it throughout the country, taking 8 wins from 9 starts. His only defeat, 2nd place was at the hands of Doug Whiteford’s ex-works Maser 300S in the Tasmanian Tourist Trophy at Longford in early 1958.

db 3 s engine

Engine of the ex-works/McKay DB3S/9, raced at Albert Park, November 1958 by Stan Jones. 6 cylinder 2922cc DOHC 2 valve, twin plug all alloy engine fed by 45DCO Weber carburettors. Circa 225bhp @ 6000 rpm (Kevin Drage)

His last race in the car was successful, he took an Australian Tourist Trophy victory at Mount Panorama, Bathurst in October 1958 in what McKay described as ‘the faithful old ex-works Aston’s…greatest Antipodean win’.

The race was not an easy one. Initially Bill Pitt’s Jaguar XKD led and then Doug Whiteford, the formidable, forceful three-time AGP winner took the lead from McKay with Pitt 3rd. On lap 10 Doug had an enormous accident when the Maser was caught by a sudden gust of wind after coming over the second Conrod Straight hump threw the car out of control with the Maser spinning and hitting the right hand fence three times. Whiteford was almost flung from the car as it skidded backwards down the escape road and into another fence. Fortunately the St Kilda racer was only bruised by the wild ride.

McKay then led with an intermittent engine miss from Derek Jolly’s Lotus 15 Climax, a light rain shower adding to the degree of difficulty towards the end of the race. McKay won from Jolly, Ron Phillips and Frank Matich- Aston DB3S, Lotus 15 Climax, Cooper Jaguar and Jaguar XKC.

The weekend was a brilliant one for the Sydneysider as his new Jaguar Mk1 3.4, just imported for him by Ampol trounced the hitherto dominant Repco headed Holden sedans of John French and Leo Geoghegan in the sedan car handicap, to start the ‘Jaguar Era’ of Australian Touring Car racing.

After the Tourist Trophy win Stan Jones bought the racer but wasn’t really happy with it. The wonderful Le Mans second placed 1956 car then passed into Ray Barfield’s hands in Western Australia where its contemporary racing history ended in the early sixties. A summary of the cars history is in this article, rather than repeat myself;

https://primotipo.com/2017/03/23/bunbury-flying-50-allan-tomlinson-ferrari-500-et-al/

McKay’s first Aston, a production DB3S chassis #102 in the Carrathool paddock during its Australian LSR record breaking weekend in February 1957. Interesting to know who crafted the aero pod beneath which McKay sat and cooked! (Jek)

McKay was a very dab hand at the wheel of Aston’s by the time he bought his ex-Moss car…

He was part of the trio of privately run DB3S,  ‘Kangaroo Stable’ of cars raced by Australians Tony Gaze, Jack Brabham, Les Cosh, Dick Cobden, Tom Sulman and McKay in Europe in 1955.

McKays car, initially delivered to Tony Gaze, chassis DB3S/102 took the best result of the tour cut short by the cancellation of many sportscar races in Europe after the Le Mans disaster- McKay and Gaze were second in the 29 May Hyeres 12 Hour behind the winning Ferrari 750 Monza driven by Canonica/Munaron

At the end of the European Safari which included Oporto (Gaze 8th) and Goodwood (McKay/Gaze DNF distributor drive) David shipped the car straight to New Zealand for a number of races there including the Formula Libre NZ GP in January 1956. He retired from the Ardmore event won convincingly by Stirling Moss in a Maserati 250F. The engine of the car was shipped back to the UK for a rebuild after a major failure during a race at Invercargill. From May 1956 production DB3S’ were fitted with twin-plug 210 bhp engines, it was in this form the engine was rebuilt and delivered from Feltham back to Sydney. The beautiful car was again race ready by early 1957.

The stunning colour photographs were taken of ‘102’ in February 1957 at Carrathool a tiny village 680 Km west of Sydney between Narrandera and Hay in New South Wale western Riverina.

The main automotive attribute of the town was a long, straight stretch of road between Carrathool and Gunbar which was ideal for record setting, and so it was that various Ampol sponsored cars sought to break some Australian speed records. The then current Australian LSR was the 136.4 mph set by Jack Saywell’s 2.9 litre Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3 at South Australia’s Coorong in 1939.

After plenty of careful preparation inclusive of incorporating the beautifully made perspex fairing onto his Aston, McKay broke the record setting a time over the Flying Kilometre of 143.19 mph on the morning of 19 February 1957. The ‘Canberra Times’ reported that McKay made two full speed runs on the course, ‘during one run he skidded on a patch of loose dirt at 140 mph’.

This speed was soon eclipsed by other cars but the DB3S held the class record for some years.

David McKay at speed during the Ampol sponsored record-breaking weekend in early 1957. Carrathool a tiny hamlet with now around 300 inhabitants. A straight, flat road with a decent surface a long way from major population centres was ideal record breaking territory! (Jek)

The car was first raced in Australia at Easter Bathurst in April 1957, he was 2nd in the sportscar handicap and won the sedan and sportcar handicap from Paul England’s Repco headed Ausca, passing the very fast special built at Repco Research by England ‘running up to 139.3 mph to do so and clocking fastest quater mile time for the day’.

But the car saw little further use as the quicker ex-works machine arrived in Sydney in September 1957. DBS/9’s first race was the October 1957 13 lap NSW Sportscar Championship at Bathurst, an event the combination won comfortably with McKay taking the lap record despite using only 5200 of the Aston’s available 6000 rpm. Bill Pitt’s Jaguar D Type was timed at 144 mph on Conrod Straight with McKay at 136 mph using his self imposed rev limit.

Both of these extremely valuable cars still exist but sadly left Australia many years ago. Those of you with collections of Australian ‘Sports Car World’ magazine should have a fossick through them as McKay wrote two sensational articles about the ownership of his two Aston’s in the seventies, or maybe the eighties!..

Technical specifications as per text (Tony Matthews)

Aston DB3S Technical Specifications…

The Aston Martin DB3S was built from 1953 to 1957, 32 were constructed excluding the single-seater variant ‘DP155/1′ raced by Reg Parnell in New Zealand in 1956.

Fundamentally Willie Watson’s design was a shorter, lighter and stiffer car than Eberan Eborhorst’s Aston DB3. The car evolved over just four months making its debut in Reg Parnell’s hands at Charterhall on 23 May 1953.

The cars were designed around a period typical ladder frame chassis which was 7 feet 3 inches long- 6 inches shorter than DB3. The frame comprised twin tubular members of 4 inch 16 gauge chrome molybdenum steel and three 14 gauge four, and five inch cross-members. The shorter chassis made the car nimbler than its predecessor if somewhat skittish on bumpy surfaces. The track was reduced from 4′ 3″ to 4’ 1″.

Frank Feeley designed the very stylish body, as sexy as the DB3 was dowdy. More than a nod had been given in the direction of the contemporary Maserati A6GCS it seemed. Overall the car was shorter, narrower and lighter than the DB3 and importantly it ‘looked right’ straight out of the box.

Front suspension was independent by trailing links, torsion bars, piston type dampers and a roll bar. A De-Dion rear axle was used sprung by a torsion bar and located by trailing links and a Panhard rod, again with piston type shocks.

Naturally a David Brown gearbox was fitted, the S430 ‘box a 4 speeder with reverse, final drive was by spiral bevel in a light alloy casing with a ZF slippery diff usually fitted. Brakes initially were two-leading shoe Alfin drums- 13 inches in diameter at the front and 12 inches at the rear. From 1955 Girling disc bakes were specified, the rotors were 11.5 inches in diameter front and rear. Precise rack and pinion steering was fitted, two turns were required lock to lock.

A 2922cc all alloy DOHC, 2 valve, 6 cylinder engine provided the cars heart. It had 4 main bearings and wet cylinder liners with the valves disposed at an included angle of 60 degrees. Initially fitted with 35DCO Weber carburettors the engine gave 182 bhp @ 5500 rpm and 182 lb/ft of torque at 3800 rpm on a compression ration of 8.5:1.

The cars were of course developed extensively throughout their racing life with the works cars fitted with twin-plug heads and 45DCO Webers from May 1954 giving 225bhp @ 6000 rpm.

The ‘Kangaroo Stable Cars’ (DB3S/102 Gaze-McKay, DB3S/103 Sulman, DB3S/104 Cosh) delivered in early 1955 all had the 200 bhp Weber 40 DCO engine- when announced at Earls Court in October 1954 the production cars had a feeble and uncompetitive 180 bhp on triple SU’s.

For the sake of completeness special works engines included a supercharged 240 bhp car raced at Le Mans in 1954 and a 2992cc normally aspirated variant raced at Dundrod in 1955.

In an era of unlimited sportscars the production based 3 litre DB3S was rarely an outright contender, the big guns, depending upon the year were the Benz 300SLR, XKD Jags and Ferrari V12’s of varying capacity. But with a change to 3 litres for the manufacturers championship and a more uncompromising approach the DB3S’ younger brother triumphed at Le Mans in 1959 and won the manufacturers title to boot. The path to that success was in part via the DB3S journey…

Bibliography…

‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden, ‘David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce’ David McKay, ‘Aston Martin: A Racing History’ Anthony Pritchard, ‘Bathurst: Cradle of Australian Motor Racing’ John Medley, ‘The Canberra Times’ 20 February 1957

Photo Credits…

Don Westaway, Kevin Drage, Ampol, Sharaz Jek, Tony Matthews

Tailpiece: McKay at high speed in DB3S/102 during a practice run at Carrathool, in New South Wales western Riverina in April 1957…

(Ampol)

 

 

amon 1963 agp cooper

(David Mist)

Chris Amon, 19 years of age, awaits the start of the 1963 Australian Grand Prix, Warwick Farm, Sydney. Cooper T53 Climax…

Amon didn’t finish in his ‘Scuderia Veloce’ entered Cooper, the cars fuel pump failed after 24 laps. Jack Brabham won the race in his Brabham BT4 Climax, Amon’s team-leader and ‘SV’ owner David McKay finished 4th in another Brabham BT4 Climax.

I wrote an article about McKay a while back; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/

These were the early days of a very successful collaboration between Amon and McKay which resulted in the pair winning the 1969 Tasman Series in the fabulous Ferrari Dino 246T. Chris was the first of many drivers the racer/writer/team owner nurtured over the years.

In Amon’s case it was at a stage of his life when McKay was about to vacate the driving seat and evolve into a new stage of his career as owner/entrant of cars driven by others. Amon, then racing a Maserati 250F in NZ tested McKay’s Cooper T51 at Warwick Farm in August 1962 and contested Australian Gold Star rounds later in the season at Mallala and Sandown, non-starting in both but taking a strong 3rd place at Warwick Farm in the Hordern Trophy behind Bib Stillwell and John Youl in October.

This was all valuable experience before the NZ and Australian Internationals with McKay entering the Kiwi in a later model T53 Cooper.

He was 7th from grid 6 in the NZ GP at the brand new Pukekohe circuit on 5 January, and had DNF’s with ignition and gearbox dramas at Levin, Wigram and Teretonga. He qualified 4th, 6th and 7th. In Australia he had slightly more luck.

He contested the AGP at Warwick Farm, for grid 5 and DNF fuel pump. At the Lakeside International he was 4th from grid 6, his best result. In Tasmania, at the South Pacific Championship at Longford he was 7th from grid 8 and at the Sandown International, the Australian Grand Prix, he finished 6th from grid 12 in the last meeting of his tour on 10 March.

It was a critical period in Amon’s progression as a driver. Chris raced his ex-Owen Racing Organisation Maserati 250F in the first of the Kiwi Internationals at Renwick in November 1962. He then graduated to McKay’s Cooper and so impressed Reg Parnell (who ran Lola Mk4A’s for John Surtees and Tony Maggs in Australasia) that summer in a car that was not the latest bit of kit, and 2.5 Coventry Climax FPF powered rather than the 2.7 variant used by much of the opposition, that he was off to Europe for the rest of 1963. 7th place in the British and French Grands Prix were his best results in the Parnell Racing Lola Mk4A Climax V8 that season.

His climb went all the way to the top echelon of Grand Prix Racing of course, championship Grand Prix win or not, he was undisputably a ‘Top 5 In The World’ pilot in several seasons during the 1967-72 period…

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Chris Amon, Cooper T53 Climax Lakeside 1963. 4th in the race won by John Surtees’ Lola Mk4A Climax (Bruce Thomas)

Cooper T53 Climax ‘F2-8-60’…

The car was built by the CT ‘Tommy’ Atkins team for Bruce McLaren to drive but using the identity of one of the 1960 works F1 cars. (Jacks 1960 chassis)

The chassis was either built late in 1960 for McLaren to race in 1961 UK Intercontinental races or at the end of the season for his use in the 1962 New Zealand and Australian Internationals, depending upon the account you reference.

It was then sold to David McKay for the 1962 Australian Gold Star Series, raced by Amon in the ’63 Kiwi/Australian Internationals and then passed into the hands of a succession of Kiwi owners; Bill Thomason in 1963, Feo Stanton and Ian Rorison 1964 or 1965 and rebuilt as the Rorstan Sports with 2.7-litre Climax engine, then to D Lupp in 1970. Ted Giles bought it in 1978, it’s still in the families ownership in 2012.

Credits…

David Mist, Powerhouse Museum, Bruce Thomas, Hammo

Bibliography…

oldracingcars.com for the chassis history and race results, sergent.com

Tailpiece: Amon’s Scuderia Veloce Cooper T53 Climax 2.5 prowling the Longford paddock, he was 7th in the ‘South Pacific Championship’ race won by Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T62 Climax 2.7…

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(Hammo)

 

 

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(Gasking/Repco)

‘Scuds’ was the nickname of David McKay’s Ferrari, Porsche and Volvo dealership on Sydney’s North Shore…

Here is the team with its Brabham BT23A Repco ‘740’ 2.5 V8 at Warwick Farm in 1967’ish. Not sure of the exact date, but it looks warm and Cusack carried #7 in the Hordern Trophy on 3 December 1967 so my tip is that weekend. He finished behind Frank Gardner’s Alec Mildren owned Brabham BT23D Alfa Tipo 33 V8, its race debut and John Harvey’s Brabham BT11A Climax.

Mind you, Cusack carried the same number in the 18 February ’68 Tasman Round won by Jim Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW, Greg was out on lap 4 with brake problems. Upon a closer look, the car in the shot below, during the Tasman round does not have the green band at its noses tip, so let’s go for the shot above as pre Hordern Trophy.

From the left is the beautifully liveried Holden HR Station Wagon tow car, it’s probably toting the big 186cid 3 litre ‘six’ and ‘three on the tree’ manual tranny. Mechanic Bob Atkin, later a Director of SV, then El Supremo McKay and driver Greg Cusack. Greg was a very successful Ford dealer himself in Canberra. He was said to have been as quick as anyone on his day but ‘those days’ didn’t happen often enough! The trailer is a ‘Rice’ rated then and eagerly sought after now.

Top period shots, luvvem!

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Cusack at the Farm during the ’68 Tasman round in the SV BT23A (oldracephotos.com)

Credits…

Michael Gasking Collection/Repco, oldracephotos.com, oldracingcars.com

martin 250 lm wf 1965

(John Ellacott)

Spencer Martin tips his Ferrari 250LM into the fast ‘Homestead Corner’ at Warwick Farm before unleashing the cars 3.3 litre V12 on the long Hume Straight, what a sound it must have made! August 1965…

Spencer Martin was one of Australia’s champion drivers of the 1960’s winning the Gold Star, the Australian Drivers Championship in 1966 and 1967 in a Brabham BT11A Climax.

His career could be summarised thus; he saw, he came, he conquered from 1960-1966, retired to marry and have a family, focus on business and then returned many years later…

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Spencer Martin in his racing heyday, Lakeside 1965. (Bruce Wells)

I don’t cover Spencer’s career in detail but rather introduce an interesting article i discovered in a rally guide for an event held in memory of David McKay. Martin outlines his experiences as a driver/mechanic with McKay and Scuderia Veloce, if not the first, then certainly one of the first of Australia’s professional racing teams formed in 1959…

A brief background of McKay and SV is contained in these articles i posted a while back. One is predominantly about McKay’s Ferrari 250LM, one of the most evocative cars ever raced in Australia, https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/ , the other about his Ferrari P4/Can Am 350, an equally stunning car https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/  .

Martin commenced racing at Gnoo Blas, Orange NSW in 1960 in a Nota, he built from a kit himself, then progressed through the Prad Holden, a very successful sportscar and into ‘Appendix J’ sedans. He beat some of the heroes of the day in his ’48-215′ or FX Holden and was  approached by McKay to join SV. Martin picks up the story…

martin 48 215

Spencer in the ‘Boomerang Service Station’ Holden FX, Catalina Park, Katoomba 1963. It was consistent ‘giant killing’ performances against Norm Beechey and the like which attracted McKay to Martin. (Autopics.com.au Collection)

‘Work on the racing cars was carried out in a garage at the rear of his (McKay) house in Wahroonga on Sydney’s upper North Shore. We later moved to new premises beneath the Shell Service Station on the Pacific Highway at Wahroonga.

At this time I was driving the ‘Boomerang Service Station Holden’ for Joel Wakely and was keeping Norm Beechey very busy around Catalina Park, Warwick Farm and Sandown Park. In 1963 David brought Brian Muir back from the UK to drive in the Hardie Ferodo at Bathurst and I was to be Brian’s co-driver. Brian had been driving a Ford Galaxie in the UK and had won the British Touring Car Championship

David was, thankfully very impressed by my driving with Brian and told me he was about to retire and would I like to take over driving his Brabham. (Ex Jack Brabham BT4 Climax) Well you may imagine how I felt getting out of an EH Holden into an F1 Repco Brabham! We took the car to the short circuit at Warwick Farm for a few familiarisation laps where I was shocked by how much power the car had, especially how the far the nose lifted when you put the ‘pedal to the metal’.

It was not long before David entered the car at Bathurst. It was now 2.7 litres and running on methanol. He told me to keep it under 4500rpm down the straight for a few laps and be careful over the hump. I ‘pulled the string’ on the third lap and was doing 172mph over the hump. The car became completely airborne with a very much nose up attitude. I was wearing a Les Leston helmet with a small peaked visor to help keep the sun out of your eyes. Well the wind at this speed would catch under the visor which gave the effect of lifting you out of the car. It didn’t take long for me to remove the peak!’

martin longford tasman

Its 1967 as the painted date on the Longford Viaduct says. Martin eases his Bob Jane Racing Brabham BT11A Climax ‘IC-4-64’ into the right hander to exit the turn, ’67 Tasman ‘South Pacific Trophy’ 5 March 1967. He only lasted a lap of the race, his Climax FPF suffering ring failure. Jack Brabham won the race in his Brabham BT23A Repco. Clark took the series win in his Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8. Love the local ‘topography’, sturdy stone viaduct!, hay bales, painted, slippery white ‘no passing’ lines on the public roads. (oldracephotos.com/David Keep)

martin wf brabham 1967

Spencer Martin exercising all of his Coventry Climax’ lusty 235 horses through Leger Corner, Warwick Farm, December 1966. ‘Hordern Trophy’ Gold Star round won by Frank Gardners’ Brabham BT16 Climax from Kevin Bartletts’ Brabham BT11A and Martins’ similar car in 3rd. (Autopics.com.au Collection)

‘The biggest difference in driving the cars of David’s and my time was the safety aspect. No seat belts, no fuel cells, no on-board fire extinguishers, no roll cages, no fireproof clothing. I was driving the Tasman Series in New Zealand and was wearing a polo-shirt made of nylon. When Jim Clark saw me in this he explained how dangerous nylon was in the event of a fire. Jim gave me a pair of his Dunlop Racing overalls. Boy, did I think I was smart wearing these and they were fireproof so I could go faster! Actually they gave you about 5 extra seconds in the event of a fire. They were made of cotton and soaked in a fire retardant. Rather different from today’s suits.

Another extremely dangerous factor was the aluminium fuel tanks which were placed either side of the drivers seat. We needed to have over 18 gallons of Avgas for a long race, so we packed dry ice around the tank prior to the race on hot days.’

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Spencer Martins’ Ferrari 250LM ‘6321’  leads the ‘Country Club GT Race’ at Warwick Farm September 19 1965. The chasing Lotus Elan 26R’s are Niel Allen and Fred Gibson. (Heinz Federbusch)

‘Graham Hill was driving our new Brabham (BT11A Climax) at Warwick Farm in 1965. When we fuelled the car, an hour before the race, one tank was leaking through a crack in its top edge. I went into panic mode, Graham, however, asked me to go to the toilet and bring him back a bar of soap. He made this into a putty mixture and plastered it into the crack. As he explained, the leak was on the top of the tank, so after a few laps the fuel would be below the problem area. I used this fix a few times over the years. Can you imagine this sort of thing happening to an F1 Ferrari or McLaren?!

One of the biggest events to materialise at SV was when David talked Archie White, the Shell Racing Manager, into buying the 250LM Ferrari. I was not allowed to go to the wharf to bring it home as I had work to do on the Brabham. However I’ll never forget seeing it for the first time and David saying it was mine to drive!’

‘David was the best motoring journalist at this time. Not only was he able to write about cars, he could also drive them. David was at the front of the grid for the 1963 Australian Grand Prix at Warwick Farm alongside Surtees and McLaren. He was the first Aussie home and all this on a 40 degrees Celsius day when many of the younger drivers stopped due to heat exhaustion. The temperature inside his car was measured at over 50 degrees.

agp 1963 front row

Front row of the AGP grid, Warwick Farm February 1963. Surtees on pole, Lola Mk4a Climax, McLaren Cooper T62 Climax and McKay Brabham BT4 Climax. Jack won in his BT4 Climax from Surtees, McLaren and McKay.(Autopics.com.au Collection)

David, in his motoring column, was very critical of the cars which Ford, GMH and Chrysler were building at that time. Sir Frank Packer allowed David to continue his reports in the Sydney Telegraph because his column was selling newspapers. When News Ltd took over the Tele, they would not allow him such a full hand as they explained they needed the advertisers money from the motoring industry so David left.’

martin bathurst 20lm 65

Spencer Martin in one of his early drives of the SV Ferrari 250LM at Murrays Corner, Bathurst, Easter 1965. (Autopics.com.au Collection)

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‘Australian Autosportsman’ magazine July 1965. Shell ‘Advertorial’! Martin on the cover in the SV Fazz 250LM, picture taken probably on the same day as the one above, but this time, i think, ‘Hell Corner’, which leads onto the uphill ‘Mountain Straight’ having gone past the pits. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

‘The first race for the 250LM was the Sandown Park Tasman round sports car race in February 1965…Graham Hill was to drive the Brabham in the Tasman race, however he put it on David to allow him to also drive the LM. David kept his word to me and told Graham that ‘the boy’ was going to drive it. Well, Frank Matich was leading (in Elfin 400/ Traco Olds) then suddenly we did a ‘Stephen Bradbury’ as Matich blew up and we went on to win it’s very first race. In reality it was no match for the more powerful Elfins and Lola’s. It did however win every long distance race in which it was entered.

The ‘Old Red Lady’ as David affectionately called the LM, was a fantastic car to race. With the V12 very low slung in the engine bay behind the driver, and with 8000rpm, the noise inside and out was certainly something to remember for driver and spectator alike.

David was a vary hard taskmaster. He expected me to work on customer road cars during the day and maintain the Brabham and Ferrari after hours. I was made an offer by Bob Jane which I decided was better for my future so I moved on. Years later David wrote me a letter saying he was sorry for being so hard on me. This lead to a rekindled friendship where we travelled overseas together to many of the F1 races.

I really miss ‘The Old Man’. He was a true Ferrari-ist, and gave us all the true pleasure of seeing the two best cars ever to race in this country, the 250LM and P4 Ferraris!’

rcn martin lakeside

This ‘RCN’ cover David Atkinson painting depicts Spencer winning the 10 July Gold Star race at Lakeside, Queensland 1966 ahead of Kevin Bartlett #14 Brabham BT11A Climax and John Harvey Brabham BT14 Ford 1.5…1-3rd in the race en route to Martins 1966 Gold Star title. (Racing Car News)

David McKay had this to say about Spencers’ departure and career in his wonderful autobiography, ‘David McKays Scuderia Veloce’…‘I was both surprised and disappointed but in retrospect I had expected too much and had been too hard on the young man. I had treated him as I would a son and no doubt Martin thought ‘the son’ had had a lucky escape. Sadly I had planned to take Martin to Maranello where I was sure Mike Parkes would have got him a drive at Le Mans and he would eventually have graduated to F1.

However, instead of telling me he’d been waiting for this chance and had his bags packed, Martin said he didn’t fancy Le Mans with its dangerous mix of cars and drivers and thank you but no thanks. I still consider to this day Martin would have achieved a successful career with Ferrari and we have often joked about what might have been. Martin argues that he has all his arms and legs in place and that his successive Australian Championships in 1966 and 1967 fulfilled his motor racing ambitions. It was twelve years before we were to speak again and it was the LM which brought us together’.

symmons grid 1966

Front row of the Symmons Plains, Tas 1966 ‘Gold Star’ grid. #7 the winning ex-Clark Lotus 32B Climax of Greg Cusack, #5 Brabham BT11A Climax of Kevin Bartlett and on the near side Spencer in his Brabham BT11A Climax. The nose of John Harveys’ Brabham BT14 Lotus/Ford TC is on row 2. Cusack won from Harvey and John McCormack, Brabham BT4 Climax. (oldracephotos/David Keep)

martin WF

Martin on the way to 6th place in the SV Brabham BT11A ‘Warwick Farm 100′ Tasman race 13 February 1966 won by Clarks’ Lotus 39 Climax. This is not long before Martin left SV for Bob Jane Racing, this same chassis ‘IC-4-64’ won his 1966/7 Gold Star titles. (Autopics.com.au Collection)

As Spencer says he left SV and Sydney to join Bob Jane Racing in Melbourne, both Shell sponsored teams at the time and a controversial move albeit a very successful one for both driver and team…Jane acquired the Brabham BT11A Climax Spencer had been racing for SV, it was this car in which he won the Gold Star in 1966 and 1967. His toughest competitor was Kevin Bartlett in a similar car entered by Alec Mildren, the pair having many close dices with Bartlett famously setting the first over 100mph lap of Bathurst during their Gold Star encounter at Mt Panorama in 1967.

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A touch of understeer for Spencer in his Bob Jane Brabham BT11, ‘Hordern Trophy’, Warwick Farm in December 1966. Race won by Frank Gardner from Kevin Bartlett. This shot is from a ‘period’ Shell magazine ad. (Spencer Lambert Collection)

In 1967 Repco’s 2.5 litre Tasman ‘740 Series’ V8’s powered the cars of Greg Cusack (SV Brabham BT23A), Leo Geoghegan (Lotus 39) and John Harvey (Brabham BT14 ) even though these cars were all competitive they lacked the consistent reliability which prevented Repco ever achieving a Gold Star Series win…Martins’ Climax engined Brabham won 2 rounds, winning his second title by 7 points from Cusack, his replacement at Scuderia Veloce and promptly retired.

Years later he re-established his relationship with McKay as he outlined above, he owned a share in McKays’ LM for a while and raced a range of exotic racing cars in historic racing in both the US and Europe. He still lives in Australia and is in happy retirement with a large extended family to keep him busy…and the occasional competition drive.

martin and mckay

Spencer Martin and David McKay pictured on 27 October 2004. Chris Haigh took this shot having just taken David for a lap of Wakefield Park, Goulburn, NSW in McKay’s original Jaguar Mk1 ‘The Grey Pussy’. David died on December 26 2004 at 83 of cancer. (Chris Haigh)

Etcetera…

longford grid lm

Spencer Martin stands by the front ‘guard of the SV 250LM, his second meeting in the car, Longford Tasman meeting February 1965. Yellow car is the Mildren Maserati, driven by Ralph Sach (built by Rennmax’ Bob Britton on his Lotus 19 jig) the yellow shirted Mildren mechanics are (L) Stewart Randall and (R) Glen Abbey, the latter behind many Mildren/Gardner/Bartlett/Stewart victories. Driver behind the Fazz perhaps Les Howard. (oldracephotos.com/David Keep)

martin brabham surfers

Martin leading and winning the Surfers Paradise Gold Star round in 1966. Shot taken below Repco Hill, Brabham BT11A Climax. (John Stanley)

Jackie Stewart contested the above, Surfers’ Gold Star 1966 race, this article may be of interest to some in his ‘one-off’ Brabham BT11A Climax drive…https://primotipo.com/2015/02/13/jackie-stewart-at-surfers-paradise-speed-week-1966-brabham-bt11a-climax-and-ferrari-250lm/

mc kay lm longford 1965

The ‘Guvnor David McKay steers his 250LM through the Longford paddock in March 1965, the second meeting for the Ferrari driven by Martin. Graham Hill drove the SV Brabham BT11A Climax in the final ’65 Tasman race, the AGP, to 4th place, Bruce McLaren won in a Cooper T79 Climax. (Ellis French)

symmons grid 67 martin brabham

Martin being congratulated before the start of the Gold Star race at Symmons in November 1967. DNF with cam follower failure, race won by Greg Cusack, his replacement at Scuderia Veloce, in a Brabham BT23 A Repco. #2 is Garrie Coopers’ Elfin Mono Ford TC. Its Martins’ final race of ‘his serious career’, he had wrapped up the Gold Star for the 2nd time in succession and retired, the car driven by John Harvey for Bob Jane Racing from then. (oldracephotos.com/David Keep)

martin lakeside barbham 65

Martin in the SV Brabham BT11A ahead of Leo Geoghegans’ Lotus 32 Ford 1.5 TC, Lakeside ‘Gold Star’ race July 1965. Martin won from Leo and John McDonalds’ Cooper T70 Climax. (The Roaring Season/Bruce Wells)

martin tassie brabham

Car owner, the stocky, strong Bob Jane tests the rear spring rates…whilst driver Martin does his best to ignore the chief. Symmons Plains Gold Star round November 1966. Brabham BT11A Climax, ‘box is Hewland HD5. (Ellis French)

Spencer Martin 2006 Tasman Revival

Spencer pictured beside the Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo raced by Frank Gardner in the ’68 Tasman and then Kevin Bartlett to Gold Star success in 1968. Car restored by Paul Moxham and driven by Spencer here at the Eastern Creek, NSW Tasman Revival Meeting in December 2006. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

Spencer Martin Catalina

Spencer Martin signed program of the Catalina Park cover on which his Holden starred! (Stephen Dalton Collection)

Bibliography…

‘David McKay Memorial Rally 2012: Rally Guide’, ‘ David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce’ David McKay, The Nostalgia Forum

Photo and Other Credits…

John Ellacott, Bruce Wells, autopics/Richard Austin, The Roaring Season, Chris Haigh Collection, Racing Car News, Heinz Federbusch, Ellis French, John Stanley, Racing Car News, Chris Haigh

Lindsay Ross of Oldracephotos http://www.oldracephotos.com/content/home/ for the use of the shots by David Keep

David Blanch of Autopics Collection  http://autopics.com.au/

Stephen Dalton Collection, Spencer Lambert Collection

Finito…

249%20B%20Brown%20wm

‘This is the prettiest car i have ever snapped’ said Dick Simpson. Hard to argue…

This is one of four Ferrari P4’s built; chassis numbers ‘0856’, ‘0858’, ‘0860’ and ‘0846’ the latter a converted P3.

At the end of the 1967 endurance season two of the cars were lightened and modified to run in the ’67 CanAm Series in the US. Chassis ‘0860’ and ‘0858’, the latter was then acquired by ‘Scuderia Veloces’ David McKay for one fabulous season in Australia. I wrote an article a while back about Scuderia Veloce, David McKay and his 250LM ‘6321’, have a read of it rather than repeat the background here.

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/

Simpsons’ shot is of Aussie Bill Brown at the wheel on 5 May 1968, the shot taken at the left hander after Warwick Farms’ (Sydney) ‘Shell Bridge’, it captures the curvaceous beauty of the thing!

The photographers and their artistry inspired this article…acknowledgement of them all but especially Dick Simpson, John Ellacott, Roderick MacKenzie, Ellis French and Lindsay Ross.

le mans 67 start

As Mike Spence buckles up his seatbelt in the Chaparral 2F Chev, he is surrounded by FoMoCo vehicles; #1 the victorious Gurney/Foyt, #3 Bianchi/Andretti and Hulme/Ruby Mk4’s, and the #5 Gardner/McCluskey and Schlesser/Ligier Mk2’s…not a Ferrari in sight! (Unattributed)

1967 was a halcyon year of sports car racing, the high point of the ‘Unlimited Formula’…a 5 litre limit for sports cars and 3 litres for prototypes was imposed by the FIA for 1968 so Ford had 1 more year to race their 7 litre Mk 2 and 4’s.

Chaparral returned to Europe with the fabulous 2F Coupe after an exploratory endurance year with the 2D in 1966, Lola competitors struggled with engine reliability to match the excellence of the chassis and Ferrari returned with 4 litre engines but with 3 valve heads after a year of austerity in 1966. Ferrari mainly entered 1 P3 at each race also coping with widespread industrial unrest in Italy that year.

The season wasn’t all about just the big 3; Alfa raced their T33, Porsche the 907, Matra their M630 V8 BRM engined cars, but in reality the seaon was about the big outright cars, an unforgettable year of sports car racing arguably caused by Enzos’ rebuff of Fords’ desire to purchase the Italian autocrats’ company 5 years before and the Lola GT/Ford GT40 program which followed.

The Ford Mk4 incorporated all the learnings of the company, the early failures of the GT40 and Mark 2 in 1964/5 and the triumph at Le Mans in 1966, Kiwis’ Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon ‘winning’ over the Ken Miles/Denny Hulme Mark 2 in the farcical ‘Form Finish’.

The Mark 4 was of aluminium honeycomb construction and had much more advanced aerodynamics than the Mk 2 developed from extensive testing of many variations of shapes to get the appropriate mix of top speed/downforce. The mechanical package was largely carried over and incorporated a 7 litre OHV Ford V8 fed by 2 four-barrel Holley carburettors giving circa 530bhp@6200rpm. The 4 speed Kar Kraft gearbox was again used after experiments with a 2 speed auto. Weight was circa 1100Kg.

All of the major contenders suspension layouts were similar; upper and lower wishbones at front with coil spring/damper units and adjustable roll bars. And at the rear, single top link, twin radius rods, lower wishbone, coil spring/damper units and adjustable sway bars.

All 3 cars also had rack and pinion stering, and of course cast iron disc brakes at front and rear.

 

ford mk 4

The Chaparral 2F Chev was the most exotic of the three cars despite its pushrod OHV 7 litre Chev V8. Fed by 4 58mm Weber down-draught carburettors, the engine developed 575 bhp@7500rpm. The chassis was made of fibre-glass, weighed 793Kg dry, the advanced specification extending to its 3 speed General Motors automatic transmission and advanced aerodynamics including distinctive high rear wing. The Texans had incorporated all they learned on their European campaign in 1966 with the 2D

 

chapp 2f
The P4’s ‘Aero’ chassis had slightly wider tracks than its P3 forebear and was the result of evolution over previous seasons, Ferraris’ first mid-engined sports car was the V6 engined 246SP of 1961. Doug Nye records that chassis ‘0796’ was cut up and lengthened slightly to accomodate a 2 cam 3 litre Testa Rossa engine, the 1963 Le Mans winning 250P evolved from this successful prototype. So too did the 1965 Le Mans winning 250LM, essentially a 250P with a roof and 3.3 litre engine, making it, in the eyes of many the 275LM…

The 3.3 litre 2 cam 275P followed in 1964, 275P2 and 4 litre 4 cam 330P2 in 1965. The P2’s departed from earlier Ferrari space-frame practice by utilisation of the ‘aero’ tube-frame semi-monocoque structure whereby the frame is stiffened by rivetted sheet steel panelling. The model range is more complex than this as it also includes different engine/chassis combinations for customers, i will stick to the works cars for the purpose of this article.

The 4 litre P3 followed in 1966 with much improved suspension geometry to address inadequate camber control and to suit the latest generation of ever widening tyres. The 4 litre engine, adapted for Lucas fuel injection developed circa 420bhp@8000rpm. As outlined above, Ferrari’s 1966 season was impacted by industrial problems in Italy as well as John Surtees midseason departure which impacted both the sports car program and probably the World F1 Titles which were theirs to take with an ace at the wheel. And some luck with reliability.

The stiffness of the chassis was improved as Nye describes ‘…previous P series Ferraris had carried their engines on four simple mounts plus plus two for the gearbox, the new P4 engine featured a stiffer crankcase and could be mounted as a semi-stressed structural member, picking up on four carefully triangulated mounts at the front, two each side and four at the rear.’

The engine, the block stressed as above, featured the 3 valves per cylinder (2 inlet and 1 exhaust with the inlets between the 2 camshafts of each bank) layout developed by Franco Rocchi in late 1966, as developed for the F1 cars. There were 2 plugs per cylinder still fired by good old fashioned coils, 4 of them. Lucas fuel injection fed the fuel. The engines capacity was 3967cc and developed 450bhp @ 8000 rpm.

Also new was a 5 speed gearbox made by Ferrari to replace the earlier ZF unit, the ZF5DS25 units as used in the Ford GT’s had been unreliable in 1966. Weight was 965Kg.

Firestone replaced Dunlop as the teams tyre supplier.

And so the scene was set…the prototype completed 580 laps at Firestone tyre tests at Daytona in December 1966, Amon the quickest ahead of Parkes, Bandini and Scarfiotti, the P4 timed at 338kmh along the back straight.

Quick, but as it was to transpire, not quick enough.

fazz p 4 cutaway

1967 Endurance Season…

p4 monza

The Parkes/Scarfiotti P4 ‘0858’ passes the # 18 Casoni/Martini Ferrari Dino 206S, pursued by the Mike Spence/Phil Hill Chaparral 2F Chev, DNF with driveshaft failure. ‘0858’ 2nd, the win taken by Bandini/Amon in another P4 ‘0856’. (Unattributed)

In the first race of the season, at Daytona the new car was immediately successful leading the race from the 4th hour and taking the first 2 places, Amon/Bandini ahead of Scarfiotti/Parkes and a modified P3/4 entered by Luigi Chinettis’ NART . All the 7 litre Fords retired or were delayed by maladies.

The Scuderia did not enter Sebring, but Amon and Bandini won again at Monza with Scarfiotti and Parkes second, the factory Fords did not enter the race.With practice laps only three-tenths of a second apart, Bandinis’ Ferrari and Spences’ Chaparral raced wheel to wheel from the off.

Spence retired early leaving Ferrari the rest of the race. Bandini took the lead with Scarfiotti in second in ‘0858’, Rodriguez third for NART and Vaccarella in the Filipinetti car in fourth. Ferrari’s four-litre prototypes now dominated the first four positions. A failed attempt by Rodriguez at overtaking the second-place works Ferrari resulted in his retirement. ( Note that RM Auctions in their sale dossier of the car several years ago claim Bandini and Amon won driving ‘0858’,  other independent sources say ‘0858’ finished 2nd)

spa p4

Parkes and Scarfiotti 5th and best of the P4s at Spa in ‘0858’. Ickx won in a Mirage M1 Ford. (L’Automobile)

At Spa, ‘Rainmaster’ Ickx prevailed in John Wyers 5.7 litre Mirage Ford, Scarfiotti and Parkes could do no better than 5th in ‘0858’.

Vaccarella crashed out of the Targa lead in his P4 at Collesano, his home town…

And then came Le Mans.

As noted above this was the last Le Mans run under the unlimited formula…Ford won the previous year but at Daytona they were well and truly beaten by the P4’s.Ferrari missed the Nurburgring 1000Km to be better prepared for La Sarthe 3 P4’s were entered by the factory the 4th an Ecurie Francorchamps entry.

The big V8’s had the legs in practice as proved to be the case in the race.

The Scarfiotti/Parkes P4 ‘0858’ was never far behind. A crash eliminated 3 Fords, the Mairesse/Beurlys P4 moved into 3rd with the works cars chasing the leading Ford Mk4 of Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt. That vastly experienced pair drove a superb race taking Fords 2nd Le Mans. Nye noted ‘…the race was decided on the Mulsanne. All the 7 litre Fords topped 320kmh. The 330P4 could not better 310kmh, and the poorer breathing of the 24 valve 412P’s left them gasping, slower still’.

The works  Ferrari finished 4 laps behind, the 1st Ford and 2nd and 3rd placed (Mairesse/Beurlys) Ferraris covered a distance unprecedented at Le Mans.

Mike Parkes said to journalist/Le Mans Winner Paul Frere after the race ‘Never in my life have I driven a car so hard for so long’.

le mans 67

‘0858’ on the way to 2nd place at Le Mans in the hands of Ludovico Scarfiotti and Mike Parkes albeit 4 laps behind the winning 7 litre Ford Mk4 of Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt. (Unattributed)

The Brands Hatch ‘BOAC International 500′ was the final race of the endurance season and was to determine the championship for the year. Jackie Stewart joined Chris Amon in the works team to bolster the Ferraris’ chances, Mike Parkes having badly injured his legs in an F1 crash at Spa.

Both chassis ‘0858’ and ‘0860’ had been converted to  Spiders by the factory, removal of the roof and lightening the body saving around 40Kg in weight. (Two independent sources claim ‘0858’ was driven by Jonathon Williams and Paul Hawkins to 6th in this race, and that Amon/Stewart raced ‘0860’ to 2nd)

The race started at noon on Sunday under grey skies. John Surtees took an initial lead before Paul Hawkins replaced him in the third of the P4s. After the first hour, Stewart had Spences’ Chaparral in his sights. Scarfiotti was behind him in another P4, followed by the Swiss Jo Siffert in a Porsche 908. With regular driver changes and pit stops, the running order was continually evolving over the ensuing four hours. In the final hour, Amon was second.

With ten minutes to go, Stewart took the wheel, held the position and finished the race, securing the Manufacturers’ Championship for Ferrari, its 12th, defeating Porsche. Mike Spence won the race, the Chaparral finally taking a long promised win.

350 can am front

Factory CanAm 350 3/4 front . (Ferrari)

From P4 to Can Am 350…

With the Endurance Season over and regulation changes precluding the cars competition in the 1968 Endurance Championship the factory modified two of the P4’s; ‘0858’ and ‘0860’ to better compete in the Can Am Championship by lightening and modifying the cars, naming them ‘350 Can Am’ to contest the prestigious series in their most important market.

The cars were lightened considerably by becoming curvaceous Spiders instead of more curvaceous Coupes! Weight was reduced from 792Kg wet to 700Kg wet.

The engines capacity was increased to 4176cc raising the engines power to 480bhp@8500rpm, the cars mechanical specification is as described above otherwise.

Fundamentally it was not enough.

fazz

Its 1 September 1967, Brit Jonathon Williams is about to test an F1 Ferrari 312 for the first time at Modena. In the background is one of the P4/CanAm 350’s, still with headlights fitted, also on William’s menu for the day. Lucky boy. The first CanAm round was at Road America on 3 Sept, the CanAm 350’s first raced at Laguna Seca in William’s/Amon’s hands on 15 October, there was much work to be done yet! (Pete Coltrin)

Bruce McLaren had been contesting sports car races in the US since his Cooper days in the early 1960’s, his first M1 McLarens were quick cars hampered by light but not powerful enough aluminium Oldsmobile engines. For 1967, he and Robin Herd designed and built the monocoque M6 powered by 5.9 litre, circa 525bhp iron Chev V8’s and rewrote the record book in terms of dominance of this series.

‘The Bruce and Denny Show’ of the following years was underway, the Ferraris’ contested the series entered by ‘Harrahs Casino’ also Ferrari distributors, were comprehensively blown off…along with the rest of the grid.

350 can am rear

Factory 350 CanAm ‘butt shot’. Absence of lights clear in the weight saving process. Ferrari ‘box in P4 replaced problemmatic ZF unit of P3…gorgeous if not as much so as P4 parent! (Ferrari)

can am vegas 1967

McLarens’ papaya M6A Chev looms in Jim Halls’ Chaparral 2G Chev mirrors. #21 is Parnelli Jones Lola T70 Ford and Dan Gurneys’ partially obscured Lola T70Mk3b Chev, ALL DNF! Race won by Surtees Lola T70Mk3b Chev. (Unattributed)

‘0858’ From the US to Australia via Italy…

David McKay had raced his 250LM ‘6321’ in Australia since 1965 but the car was getting older and ‘she was often racing out of class and racing against pure prototypes…During a visit to Maranello I broached the subject with Mike Parkes and the factory’s General Manager Ermano Della Casa. I had seen the P4’s at Le Mans in 1967 where Mike and Scarfiotti had finished a gallant second to Fords’ 7 litre steam roller and had fallen in love with the car’.

‘To me it typified all the art, beauty and grace of the old world pitted amongst the brashness and might of the new…In due course I received word that I could buy ‘0858’ for the considerable sum of US$30000.

riverside 67

Riverside CanAm 1967. #12 Roger McCluskey Lola T70 Chev, #27 Williams Ferrari Can Am 350, #19 Bill Amick McLaren M1C Chev, Jerry Entin McLaren M1C Chev. (Unattributed)

The car which raced unsuccessfully in the States at Laguna Seca, Riverside and Las Vegas would be fully rebuilt and shipped to Sydney by Christmas 1967. This would be in good time for the Australian Tasman Races where Amon would conduct it and surely set a cat amongst the pigeons…’

Chris Amon raced a Ferrari 246T looked after by McKays Scuderia Veloce during the Tasman Rounds that summer and in 1969, the year in which he was Tasman Champion.

McKay ‘The less charitable said the factory wanted the car as far away as possible so that they could forget the ignominy of the CanAm venture. The car had managed a 5th at Laguna Seca, 8th at Riverside and a DNF at Las Vegas with Amon who had surely wrung everything out of it’.

Note that some sources say Jonathon Williams raced ‘0858’ and Amon ‘0860’ in the Series, another source suggests Amon raced the car twice, at Laguna Seca and Riverside and by Williams at the final round at Las Vegas. Australian ‘Sports Car World’ magazine in a feature about the car published 1985 says that who drove which car cannot be accurately determined.

Take your pick…i am inclined to either uncertainty, or, I imagine Amon would have related directly to McKay at the time which car he drove, and by the time McKay wrote his autobiography he had no vested interest in the car his financial investment in it having ended in 1968, vendors or their agents and their claims should be treated with the Caveat Emptor dictum in mind…).

riverside 67 2

The 2 350 CanAms’ at rest, Riverside paddock 1967. #23 Amon #27 Williams 8th and DNF…’0858′ and ‘0860’ or…’0860′ and ‘0858’ take your guess. (Unattributed)

amon riverside

Chris Amon using the big twelves horsepower to good effect at Riverside 1967, 8th. All the drivers who raced the P4 commented on how sweet the chassis was. (Unattributed)

McKay ‘This should have turned me off but I comforted myself with the thought that there were no 8 litre McLarens in Australia and certainly no Bruce or Denny to worry us.

Alas, it only required a local in his own device powered with a local 4.4 litre V8 to unravel our dream. (Frank Matich in his Matich SR3 Repco 4.4V8).’

In fact the performance of Frank Matich in his self built car should not have been a surprise to either McKay or Amon.

Matich had contested most of the 1967 Can Am season, including the 3 events in which Amon participated and was also flogged by the McLarens, Matich didn’t finish a race in fact…but the Sydney built, space-frame chassis, 400 bhp Repco 4.4 litre V8 engined Matich was slightly quicker than the 350 Can Am and ‘match fit’ after a tough season in the US.

The Ferrari was not to have it easy in Australia.

matich riverside

Frank Matich, wife Joan his team and Firestone technicians on the pit apron at Riverside, 1967 CanAm. Grid 20 DNF accident. Matich SR3 Repco; space-frame chassis car powered by Repco ‘620 Series’ 4.4 litre SOHC V8 400bhp@7000rpm. Surtees Lola T70Mk3B Chev behind. (Unattributed)

Again David McKay picks up the story ‘As starting money was imperative for such an expensive undertaking I sounded out all the major circuits. All were enthusiastic and all promised to pay a modest enough $350 a start. It goes without saying that when Geoff Sykes (Warwick Farm boss) set the standard, a ‘yes’ on the phone was sufficient to seal the agreement’.

‘There was great excitement at the wharf when the open crate carrying the plastic wrapped P4 was lowered over the liners side. There were a couple more huge wooden crates I hadn’t expected. These turned out to be another engine, gearbox, transaxle, suspensions, disc brakes, all manner of rose joints and sixteen wheels-in reality a second P4 apart from the simple tube-chassis and the brief, skimpy fibre-glass bodywork. That US$30000 was immediately halved in our minds and much of my initial disappointment at seeing the rather unattractive Can Am bodywork evaporated’.

Ferrari_330_P4_68_01

‘0858’ shortly after its arrival in Sydney at SV’s workshop, Wahroonga. (WOT)

‘Engineer Bob Atkin and I were keen to get the crate and boxes home to Wahroonga to prod the beast into life. This we did and again I felt disappointment. Where was the distinctive wail I heard in the cold air at Le Mans? It was now deeper, throatier but somehow more common, less exciting.

Unfortunately I never felt any warmth for the P4, certainly not its fault for the car was out of its milieu, away from the understanding hands which cared for it and probably thinking it was back in that coarse country, America, of which it had nothing but bad dreams.

I hoped a reunion with Amon would be beneficial but Chris was more involved with his Tasman Dino and his forthcoming battle with Clark and Hill in their Lotus 49 Ford DFW’s.’

clark and amon

Jim Clark, Chris Amon and their respective mechanics share a joke around Chris’ Ferrari 246T at Longford, March 1968. Clark won the series in his Lotus 49 DFW, Piers Courage the race in a gutsy wet weather drive in his McLaren M4A FVA F2 car. Clark 5th and Amon 7th. Clark killed that April and Amon returned to take the 1969 Tasman Championship…the P4 by then sold. (oldracephotos)

mc kay and amon

‘Don’t pick your nails Chris!’ Amon and McKay in the cockpit of ‘0858’ at Sandown, Melbourne, February 1968. Mckay first assisted Amon in the 1963 International Series, Amon driving the SV Cooper T53 Climax. (Roderick MacKenzie)

sv at WF

Scuderia Veloce Team at Warwick Farm 1968; 250LM ‘6321’, Brabham BT23A ‘1’ Repco and the P4/CanAm 350 ‘0858’. This shot was taken at the 18 February Tasman Meeting, 250LM i am guessing was not raced, Greg Cusack in the Brabham DNF in the Tasman race won by Clarks’ Lotus 49 DFW, Amon raced the P4. (David McKays’ Scuderia Veloce)

Australian Race Record of ‘0858’…

Ray Bell was a journalist for ‘Racing Car News’ magazine in the 1960 and 1970’s, he wrote evocatively about the cars race record on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ in 2002…

surfers p4

Amon gets the drop from Matich in the SR3, Surfers Paradise, February 1968. Ordinary crowd numbers, surf up at Main Beach maybe? (wolseley680)

‘The first race for the car in Australia was February 10 at Surfers Paradise. It was the Saturday and it was clear that there were some shocks headed for the lap record after Matich recorded 1:10.2 in practice.

Matich dudded the start, however, but scorched around to be the first to take the lap record over the 100mph mark with a 1:10.6 (101.98mph) to Amon’s 1:10.7, reeling the Ferrari in after four laps and diving under it when a slower car baulked Amon.

Two more 5-lappers were scheduled for Sunday, with Matich and his 4.4-litre tube-framed SR3 leading away and getting a full second advantage on the first lap. The record was equalled as he took another win. In the second, Amon was a non-starter.

surfers start

Rod MacKenzies’ shot of the Surfers race 1 start from a different angle. ‘Spare tyre’ on Ferrari mandated by dopey Australian sports car rules of the day. The Matich carries its spare under the drivers ‘screen’. Beefy spoiler on the SR3, its ’68 the ‘Year of Wings’

ellacott p4 wf

Superb John Ellacott shot of Chris Amon looking as relaxed as he can be with Frank Matich ‘up his clacker’! Homestead Corner Warwick Farm, February 1968. (John Ellacott)

A week later at Warwick Farm came the race I speak of so often. The report says Matich ‘left the Ferrari breathless…’ as he led Amon a merry chase. That they came past us side by side, with a Tojiero between them being lapped and grass clippings flying on one lap in the race shows that it wasn’t all that breathless!

Again, Matich was pressed to a new circuit record (these are outright records, faster than the Lotus 49s and the Amon Dino managed on the day) of 1:28.5 in staving off the Ferrari. Amon retired with reported ignition trouble on lap 7 or 8.(McKay advised the ignition leads were plucked off one bank of cylinders having been taped carefully out of reach of a half-shaft)

Check out the YouTube footage of this race…

wf start

WF start. Both Matich #1 Matich SR3 Repco and Niel Allen in the white Elfin 400 Chev get the jump on Amons Fazz at the start. WF a horse racing facility still, ceased as an International car race venue after the ’73 Tasman Series. (Wirra)

sandown p4

Amon leads Matich into Shell Corner, lap 1 , Sandown Tasman Round Sports Car race, 25 February 1968. car with white stripe down the nose at left the Bob Jane Racing Elfin 400 Repco. (Rod MacKenzie)

The opening gambit of the Sandown Park report, the next week (February 25), was ‘This was the first time the Sandown crowd has had a chance to see Frank Matich really trying. The reason was, of course, that he had Chris Amon and the P4 Ferrari to worry him.’

Matich bogged down at the start (‘nearly burned a hole in the startline with wheelspin…’) and Chris led away, but after a lap or two ‘braking late for Peters, Frank closed on Chris and went under him as they accelerated out onto Peters (the back straight).’ Matich won by four seconds, took the Sports Car record down to 1:07.2 (Clark nobbled the outright record in the Australian GP on the same day with a 1:07.1) and Matich bowed out of any further contests. He wasn’t happy to go to Longford.

sr3 sandown

Matich SR3 Repco in the Sandown Park paddock. (Mike Feisst Collection/The Roaring Season)

longford

‘Longford March 1968. The wet Monday morning after Amon set off a lap down on the field after battery failure on the grid. The road was wet from the first shower of the day that turned into a deluge later for the Tasman race (won by Piers Courage in his F2 McLaren M4A FVA). The overcast conditions, wet road and river in the background combine to give perfect lighting to highlight the car. Location is coming off Kings Bridge, shot taken from the old Longford pumphouse station. The 1880’s railway bridge is in the background’ So said ‘austmcreg’ on The Nostalgia Forum, photo credit Jim and Pat Smith. Amazing shot and commentary!

There, Longford, of course, Amon had the fastest time ever through the trap on the flying mile and lapped at 2:14.4 in practice to easily take pole. In the Saturday race Amon set a new outright lap record of 2:12.6, four tenths quicker than Clark had done in the earlier preliminary event for the Tasman cars in the 49. This was 12.2 seconds better than the previous record, held by Bob Jane.(Elfin 400 Repco 4.4)

At that stage, it was only reasonable to conclude that Amon wouldn’t hold the record over the whole weekend, but the heavens opened and deluged the circuit for Monday, his P4 suffered a battery failure (McKay wrote that mechanic Bob Atkin simply overlooked to charge the dry cell Varley battery)  and didn’t even start the soggy sports car race and the openwheelers paddled round with Piers Courages’ McLaren M4A FVA 1.6 taking the win.

longford butt shot

Longford pit counter scene with the curvaceous CanAm 350 centre stage. Both Amon and Bill Brown drove the car at this meeting. Matich did not enter, having safety concerns about the circuit in the SR3. Atmospheric shot taken by Ellis French. Little yellow stickers on Fazz rump say ‘Gatto Verde’, gifts from Alf Francis to David McKay. (Harold Ellis)

In his book, McKay (David McKays autobiography ‘Scuderia Veloce’) describes the torment of choosing a driver for the car for the ensuing year. His choice might have been big ‘Pete’ (Ian) Geoghegan, but there was pressure to give Bill Brown a go. There was also the possibility that Pete’s huge frame might not fit… he was put into the team’s 250LM for the year.

David Mckay again picks up the story ‘After the Tasman Series and Amons departure I decided to put Bill Brown behind the wheel despite certain misgivings. I liked Bill, he was a pleasant, and helpful fellow who could be faster than some but rather more accident prone than others. He damaged the LM rather too frequently through overdriving…Yet I hoped Bill would mature, the red mists would disappear and he would conduct the P4 in accordance with my instructions. I had no illusions he would run with Matich, Amon hadn’t managed to…I had chosen the easy option rather than taking a chance and putting in perhaps the only local who would have given Matich a run for it-Pete Geoghegan.

pete

Here is Pete Geoghegan hustling McKays 250LM ‘6321’ around Bathurst at Easter 1968, in the manner the SV boss liked so much. (Dick Simpson)

Pete was already four times AustralianTouring Car Champion and was sweeping all before him in his Mustang. More important, was his driving of the ‘old red lady’ (McKays 250LM) in which, despite his big weight disadvantage (Pete was a very big lad, morbidly obese, the medicos would describe it) he was re-writing her lap times. Perhaps had I not been so occupied with other events that year, had not been out of the country so much I would have bitten the bullet, asked Bill to step aside and given Pete the hot seat-but could he have fitten into that little space? We’ll never know now but in the light of subsequent events I was wrong and I am sorry Pete…’

Pete Geoghegan in that car would have been worth travelling a very long way to see, a driver of awesome world class ability as McKay alludes to, if you go back into the early days of Petes’ career he drove the Geoghegan family Lotus single seaters and 23B but in essence most of his career was spent in Touring Cars and other cars with roofs

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Another of Dick Simpsons’ stunning shots. Bill Brown, Mount Panorama, Hell Corner ,Bathurst , Easter 1968. (Dick Simpson)

Ray Bell…’Bathurst was the first outing on April 14 & 15, which I would have thought daunting enough. With wire fences, rough surface, two serious crashes injuring top drivers in the Gold Star event’s practice sessions and all, one might be a little careful in such a fast car.

But Bill was out to show his stuff. The first race was a 3-lapper mixed in with the open-wheelers. Bartlett won that in the Brabham BT23D Alfa with Bill second about 11 seconds adrift and just 1.6 seconds clear of Niel Allen in the Elfin 400 Chev after Allen had spun on the first lap. Bartlett had fastest lap in 2:19.1, Allen did 2:19.4 and Brown 2:21.6. Maybe he was being careful after all…

As the report points out, ‘The last time anyone went really fast on Mt Panorama was back in 1962, when both David McKay and Bib Stillwell equalled Bill Patterson’s flying eighth time of 169.81mph. It has been said often since that it would probably take a sporty car to better it.’

As mentioned above, Brown took the speed up to 181 mph, a big hike, but he was in pursuit of Allen at the time. The Elfin lapped in 2:18.4 but was parked at the top of the mountain when Brown scored his lucky win, with Geoghegan second in the LM, which improved its personal best time from 2:34.2 to 2:30.8 this first time the big fella got into it. Brown lapped in 2:19.6, just shy of the 100mph mark.

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‘0858’ in the Warwick Farm paddock February 1968…the start of ‘wings’ on the front, added since original factory build. (WOT)

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Bill Brown in the RAC Trophy, Warwick Farm, May 1968. sand in the throttle slides of the car so DNF. (Roderick MacKenzie)

Warwick Farm’s annual RAC Trophy race was on May 5. This was a prize event on the best circuit. Matich lapped in 1:29 for pole, Allen did 1:32.9, Brown 1:33.0 for the outside of the first row. But the Ferrari managed to get ahead of the Elfin off the line and was second into the first corner and stayed there as Matich built up a lead of about ten seconds over the early laps. Sand got into the throttle slides of the V12 engine, however, and the Ferrari retired to give Allen second spot.

This was the race where Matich ‘unwound a blinder on the last lap just to prove the car was still ‘with it’, chopping 1.2 seconds off his Tasman meeting record and leaving the new time at a staggering 1:27.3′

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‘0858’ sans rear bodywork, shot at SV workshop in Sydney. (WOT)

Lakeside on May 12 brought a pair of Scuderia Veloce 1 – 2s, but the opposition had died in the pre-race buildup. Matich cracked the lap record in practice with a 53.7 in his first appearance at the circuit since his crash there in 1965. Allen did a 55.3, Brown a 57.2.

The minor race came first, with Allen scoring a win and Matich fastest lap (55.2, new record anyway) with the Elfin taking the lead from the start as Matich eased away with a sick engine. Matich pitted, but continued, the Repco suffering a loose valve seat, which prevented him getting top horsepower as he nailed it to get that record in the book. Brown finished 1.5 seconds behind Allen and actually lapped two tenths faster at 56.3, both of them under Allen’s old record.

The main event was a twenty-lapper, and in the minutes before the race Matich declared himself a non-starter and Allen trickled back into the pits with a bolt out of the steering. Brown was able to walk it in (best lap 58.4) as Geoghegan showed all his abilities at the helm of the 250LM to fill second ahead of a Lotus 23B. His best lap was 59.3 and he was less than nine seconds behind at the finish.

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‘0858’ cockpit shot taken at Surfers Paradise by Rod MacKenzie. ‘Momo’ steering wheel, Veglia Borletti instruments all very Ferrari ‘period’. Note venting of wheel arch to release air pressure. (Rod MacKenzie)

There was yet another race, an eight-lapper, at the end of the day, with the 2.5 open-wheelers combining with the fastest sports cars. The report doesn’t clearly explain how Allen got to be behind Phil West’s Scuderia Veloce Brabham BT23 Repco, but he was and seemingly couldn’t do anything about it. Btrown won as he liked, scoring another SV 1 – 2 with West second this time.

I would say that West got away best, then the brute force of the bigger engined cars overpowered him, only Allen was stuck behind him as Brown got through to the lead. Anyway, Allen spent the rest of the race back there in a frustrated third, ‘perhaps over-flushed with determination, hounded West in the best showing of brute tactics seen for a long while, the big Elfin almost running over the Brabham into BMC lap after lap as West stopped to look at the view and Brown scampered up over BP. Allen tried to go under into KLG, avoiding disaster by a hair’s breadth, and pushed the Brabham wheel to wheel round the Eastern Loop. This excitement was too much, added to by Geoghegan who forced the 250LM to the front of Scott’s Lotus 27 to fill fourth spot.’

Des White wrote well, didn’t he? He pressed on.. ‘The big battle looked worse as the backmarkers were lapped, disaster being forever imminent as very slow cars found themselves caught up in the 140mph battle between Allen and West, the Elfin being stopped and pointed with a dexterity seldom seen these days. Allen failed to get through, perhaps through trying too hard, and it was disappointing to see him slipstream to the flag. Should the big power of the Elfin have carried it from Shell to the flag first? Maybe, and there been breathing space for the initial build up.” Best lap to Brown, 56.6, Allen did 56.7, West 55.9, winning margin less than two seconds (1.6, actually).

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SV lined up on the Surfers dummy grid prior to the Surfers Paradise 6 Hour 1968. L.R; Leo and Pete Geoghegan 250LM which won, Des West/ Bill Reynolds 275 GTB 9th, and Brown/Palmer 350 Can Am DNF accident. (Rod MacKenzie)

Ray Bell, ‘Probably the event dearest to McKay’s heart was the Surfers Paradise 12-hour…

And he had Jim Palmer over from New Zealand to co-drive with Brown. But Palmer wasn’t up to it, lapping over five seconds slower than Brown in practice and wearing himself out in the process. Matich, who was racing quite a lot during this year, even entered the SR3 in this race with Glynn Scott as co-driver (only 2.3 seconds behind Frank’s times), so this car was the pace as the race got going, Brown following it through the field after both started slowly (Le Mans start). Lapping slower cars soon after the start, Brown was pushed off line and ran over some tyre markers on the edge and holed the radiator. The P4 was out…

David McKay saw the race slightly differently ‘…I had asked NZ Champion Jim Palmer to co-drive with Brown. Jim was a fast, safe driver very much in the Spencer Martin mould. I erred by not having Palmer start the race…The field as in the past, was composed of fast and slow open and closed cars and as always the onus is on the overtaking car. A second or 2 lost by backing off the throttle to make sure the tortoise knew he was about to be swamped was sensible driving…Less than 15 minutes into the race, Brown came up behind a Fiat 125 saloon, on the approach to Firestone, a fairly quick left hander. The Fiat driver, unaware Brown was diving down the inside held his line. The P4 had nowhere to go but over the grass and a white tyre marker demolishing the nose and oil cooler…Brown bought the  mortally wounded P4 to a halt in front of our pit’.

Bell, ‘Matich’s Repco engine dropped its bundle very late in the race and Geoghegan and his brother Leo won the race in the Scuderia Veloce 250LM.

That was the end of the P4’s racing in Australia, as far as I can see. Matich was to debut his SR4 with its 5-litre quad-cam engine in November, cementing his position as top dog in the field and enabling him to go on and take more outright records.’

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‘0858’ in cigarette company ‘Team Gunston’ colours in Bulawayo, South Africa 1969. Note the car now has lights re-fitted, installed in Australia for the Surfers 6 Hour. (Unattributed)

Sale of ‘0858’ to Paul Hawkins…

Due to an error in paperwork the car was invoiced to McKay rather than in Amons name, bringing forward the impost of import duty, the Customs Department provided extensions of time with the assistance of the Italian Chamber of Commerce who wanted the car to race in the Surfers 6 Hour and form the centre-piece of a trade show in Sydney.

Under pressure to pay the duty, close to 100% of the cars purchase price! or export it McKay put the word out ‘…dear old Paul Hawkins had heard about the car being for sale from Chris Amon at an Oulton Park meeting. I was in the workshop when ‘Hawkeyes’ call came through ‘Is the car for sale?’ ‘Yes’, ‘How much?’ ‘US$30000’. ‘If I buy it will you go me halves in a return ticket to Sydney?’. ‘Yes, ok’. ‘I’ll be there the day after tomorrow’. ‘Ill meet you Paul’

‘Simple and straightforward. Paul was making a name for himself as a successful sports car and GT racer and had been a favourite of Firestone…The car was to be shipped right after the 6 Hour for Paul would drive it in South Africa’s sports car series with tobacco sponsorship and he would win’.

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350 CanAm in the East London pits, front lights now faired. car won this 500Km race. (royckdboats)

Paul raced the car in South Africa from November 1968 to January 1969 winning the Cape Town 3 Hour, GP of Bulwayo, Pietermaritzburg 3 Hour and the East London 500 Km.

As McKay mentioned above Hawkins was an Australian International plying his trade via his own team and as a ‘hired gun’ by works teams. He was racing a Lola T70 Mk3B Chev during the Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park, his car ending up in the trees, after probable suspension failure, poor Paul dying in the particularly gruesome accident and ensuing fire.

Both Hawkins and Alberto Ascari, the only 2 drivers to ‘Scuba Dive’ at Monaco both died on May 26, in an arcane bit of trivia.

Mike Hailwood raced ‘0858’ at Magny Cours, 1st and Dijon DNF in May.

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Gearbox fettling?, prior to the East London event. 4.2 litre DOHC 3 valve per cylinder Lucas fuel injected V12. Ferrari 5 speed ‘box with ZF limited slip diff. Battery of coils clear to see. (royckdboats)

The car was sold in the realisation of the Hawkins Estate, through David Piper, who raced so many mid sixties Sports Ferraris’ of his own, and occasionally as a ‘works driver’ to Alastair Walker who raced the car back in South Africa in November-December 1969 with sometime GP driver Rob Widdows as his co-driver.

The car was uncharacteristacally unreliable, perhaps ‘tired’, ‘0858’ failing to finish the Kyalami 9 Hour, Cape Town and Bulawayo 3 Hour events. ‘0858’ was 2nd at the Lourenco Marques, Mozambique.

In 1971 David Piper bought the car from Walker, still with its extensive inventory of spare parts, enough as McKay states to make a second car less chassis…which is what Piper did. Ferrari provided Piper all the necessary P4 blueprints in 1974, Piper, Nye says ‘had the chassis made by the original people in Modena. Ferrari gave it the number ‘0900’, a serial number also applied to a Chinetti parts built 312P in the US’. Several ‘run-on’ cars have been built by Piper since.

David Piper sold ‘0858’ to US collector Walter Medlin in Florida in 1971, he retained the car until offered for sale via RM Auctions in 2009, the car eventually being restored by Talacrest in the UK, somewhat controversially in the eyes of some to its Spyder/Barchetta specification.

Check out this website in relation to that process which has been supervised by David Piper. http://www.talacrest.com/Latest_News/Talacrest_Ferrari_330_P4_Chassis_No._0858_-_New_Videos/101.htm

At the outset i stated that 4 P4’s were built, 3 P4’s and one converted P3 ‘0846’...In the best traditions of historic racing there are now more P4’s than in period…there are 3 or 4 ‘run-on’ cars built by Pipers concern and ‘0846’, written off by the factory after a crash and fire at Le Mans in 1967 has been reborn, recreated or replicated depending upon your view of it.

If you like a bit of light entertainment look at this exchange between subject matter expert DC Nye and said vehicles’ owner, the fun and games start at about post # 62. http://forums.autosport.com/topic/59074-ferrari-330-p4/page-2

I’m not suggesting the ‘experts’ know it all either.

Lets go out as we came in, with a fabulous shot, this time by Ellis French of Bill Brown, the sun gleaming off ‘0858’ before blasting down the Longford public roads, big V12 howling at 180 miles per hour in February 1968…

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Etcetera…

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Bill Brown, who drove the car after Amons’ departure back to Europe also drove the P4/CanAm at Longford ’68 in both practice and a preliminary race. (David Keep)

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That ‘Australian’ spare tyre. Fitted as a consequence of our local sports car regs at the time. SV solution a neat one even if the weight is well outside the cars wheelbase…where else to put it!? Yellow stickers ‘Gatto Verde’ a gift from Alf Francis to McKay, McKay makes mention of it in his autobiography but not actually what the stickers mean/represent. Ideas anyone? (Rod MacKenzie)

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p4 cutaway

Bibliography…

David McKay ‘David McKays Scuderia Veloce’,  Paul Frere ‘Cars in Profile 246SP-330P4 Ferraris’, Doug Nye ‘The Potent P4…A Ferrari Fierce and Fine’ Sports Car World July/Sept 1982

Thanks to Stephen Dalton for the assistance in research material sourcing

Photo Credits…

Dick Simpson, Roderick MacKenzie, John Ellacott, wolseley680, WOT, Jim and Pat Smith, Ellis French, The Roaring Season, David Keep, oldracephotos, royckdboats, Mike Feisst Collection, Pete Coltrin, Harold Ellis

Finito…

pete

‘Pete’ Geoghegan in the SV Ferrari 250LM, Hell Corner, Easter Bathurst ‘Gold Star’ meeting April 1968, crowd listening to the howl of that V12 on the downchanges. (Dick Simpson)

Pete’ Geoghegan  hard on the brakes of the Scuderia Veloce Ferrari , before he leans it into Hell Corner, the left hander out of Pit Straight and onto Mountain Straight…

David McKay signed the brothers Geoghegan, Leo and Pete to share the car in the Surfers Paradise 12 Hour race later in ’68 , Australian spectators treated to the spectacle of the multiple Australian Touring Car Champion extracting all the ‘Red Lady’ had to offer in a series of sprint events earlier in the year to familiarise himself with the car. Over the years some fine drivers raced it, but McKay rated Geoghegan over most.

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Pete Geoghegan 3 wheeling ‘6321’ into ‘The Dipper’ , Bathurst Easter ’68. Up ahead was teammate Bill Brown in the SV Ferrari P4/350 Can Am (Bob Jane Legends)

McKay’s ‘Scuderia Veloce’ was arguably the first of Australia’s professional racing teams, initially McKay was the driver but later SV’s entered cars for others including Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and nurtured the careers of local drivers including Spencer Martin, Larry Perkins and John Smith.

McKay was a remarkable man. He was a World War 2 veteran , a world class driver, the most influential motoring journalist of his day and a successful businessman with both SV the racing team, and Scuderia Veloce Motors, retailers of  Volvo, Porsche and Ferrari, for whom he was the NSW concessionaire.

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‘Australian Autosportsman’ magazine July 1965. Shell ‘Advertorial’! Spencer Martin on the cover in the SV Fazz 250LM, picture taken at the Easter meeting, i think, ‘Hell Corner’, which leads onto the uphill ‘Mountain Straight’ having gone past the pits. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

In some ways purchase of the 250LM didn’t make a lot of sense as the car was a heavy endurance machine, locally it was competing with lightweight sports-racers built for sprint events, it was competitive in 1965 , but into 1966 the appearance of Frank Matich’s Traco Olds/Elfin 400 and other similar cars made the going tough. By then the car had been sold to Kiwi Andy Buchanan but was prepared and entered by SV.

Its forte was long distance events, for which it was designed!, McKay and Spencer Martin, the young star McKay was nurturing, won the Caversham 6 Hour race in Western Australia in 1965. The Swan Valley event did not have great depth of field in the outright class ,’6321′ winning by 12 laps from Ron Thorp’s AC Cobra.

Here is a link to an article about Spencer Martin and David McKay which also includes additional pictures of the 250LM and Martin’s driving impressions of the racer; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/30/spencer-martin-australian-gold-star-champion-19667/

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David McKay & Spencer Martin won the Caversham 6 Hour race in ’65, opening the 250LM’s long distance success ‘account’ (Terry Walker)

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Evocative Longford shot of Spencer Martin, Long Bridge, 1966 (Alan Stewart Collection)

Keith Williams was a great promoter of his new circuit at Nerang outside Surfers Paradise, the LM winning his 12 Hour Enduro  3 years on the trot; in ’66 driven by Buchanan and Jackie Stewart, ’67 by Australians Greg Cusack and Bill Brown, and in ’68 by the Geoghegans’, all of the victories against cars which were faster on paper but not ultimately having the LM’s combination of speed and reliability.

In 1968 McKay had pleasure and pain; victory for the LM but defeat of his Ferrari P4/350Can Am car, acquired earlier in the year with the express aim of victory in a race he thought was by then beyond the old LM. For those interested in the P4, click on this link to an article on the full history of this car; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

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Scuderia Veloce’s team in the Surfers dummy grid, 12 Hour ’68. The winning Geoghegan Bros 250LM at left, 275GTB of Phil West/George Reynolds centre, and P4/Can Am 350 ‘0858’ of Bill Brown/Jim Palmer on the right (DNF accident) (Photo Rod MacKenzie)

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The Roxburgh/Whiteford Datsun 1600 being rounded up by the LM, and Hamilton/Glynn Scott Porsche 906 Spyder , Surfers 12 Hour 1967 (Ray Bell)

By ’68 the car was owned by Sydney businessman Ashley Bence but Mckay soon repurchased it and kept it as a much cherished road car. I missed its racing heyday but saw McKay drive it at the Sandown meeting in late 1978 at which Fangio demonstrated/raced his Mercedes Benz W196. Unfortunately an oil line came adrift causing McKay to spin and hit the fence at The Causeway. Graham Watson, later ‘Ralt Australia’ and a ‘Gold Star’ national champion himself repaired the car.

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McKay in ‘6321’ tootling across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the late ’70’s. This shot was part of a ‘Sports Car World’ magazine article McKay wrote about the car, the trials and tribulations of delivery amusing…

A share in the car was sold by McKay to Spencer Martin, its original driver in ’65, the car contested some international historic events before ultimately being sold to Ralph Lauren…its life now a good deal easier than being taken to its limits by the likes of Pete Geoghegan.

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Racing and Development of the LM In Period: Letter from Ferrari’s Mike Parkes to David McKay dated 1 February 1966 about ongoing development of the cars in Europe…

‘…Passing now to your LM you will no doubt be pleased to learn that the car has been homologated in the 50 car GT category, as has the 4.7 litre Ford GT, although infact neither they nor us have made 50 cars.

We are still making one or two LM`s, David Piper has probably given you all his ‘gen’ on modifications. He has gone up to 7″ front rims, also I think 8″ rears, and has increased the top speed considerably by lengthening the nose and making it similar to the 1962 GTO.

He has had quite a number of gear-box failures, some of which I suspect may have been due to Fax, his mechanic, but it is clear that the crown wheel and pinion should be changed after between 18-24 hours use, depending on the ratio employed, and the same applies to the pinion bearings.

I incidentally cannot recommend in the interest of liability, attempting to fit other than ex factory spares. My research incidentally, reveals that Fiat 500 bearing shells should not fit.

We have introduced a somewhat complicated modification to improve the gearbox life which includes machining out the bearing housings in the casing to take bigger bearings. I can probably send particulars if you decide that it is worth while.

We do not official recommend the use of ‘M’ tyres, and infact suspect that customers gear-box failures were due to their using ‘M’ tyres, but my own view is that the introduction of the ‘M’ tyre coincided with the limit of fatigue life of many peoples gear-boxes. You should use 550 front and 600-660 rear and probably reduce the camber a little at the rear and should find the car faster.

You can obtain variations of the intermediate gearbox ratios by using some of the ratios from the Targa Florio box should you find the standard LM ratios not suitable for your circuits.

For an engine overhaul, as I think I told you, you should definitely change valve springs checking carefully to ensure that you have the correct fitted length. Bearing shells need only be changed where they appear necessary, also rear main oil-seal. Valve seats should not be changed unless absolutely necessary, this being determined by how far they have sunk into the head. I would not think that it was worth changing the big end bolts.

I am at a loss to understand why you have to grind down the rear pad, but can assure you that you have the correct calipers. We have never carried out compression checks ourselves but your system seems very sound, the engine presumably being hot. I can give you no indication of the valves to expect.

I would be most interested in hearing about any sort of racing programme you could offer me in Australia for 1966-67. Yours, Mike Parkes’

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‘6321’ now part of the Ralph Lauren Collection

250P & 250LM…

Ferrari’s rebuff of the sale of his company to Ford in 1963 resulted in a ferociously competitive response by FoMoCo in sports car racing; Eric Broadley’s GT40 design in the prototype class and Carroll Shelby’s Ford engined AC Cobras /Daytona Coupes the response in the GT category.

In ‘GT’ the dominance of Ferrari’s ‘250 GTO’ was being challenged by the Cobra’s, Maranello’s  response was essentially to add a roof to its championship winning ’63 Prototype, the 3 litre V12 ‘250P’, call it the ‘250 LeMans’ and seek to homologate it into the ‘GT’ class. The CSI were onto Ferrari though, only 32 cars were built rather than the 100 mandated by the rules, so the cars raced as Prototypes until the CSI eventually relented and agreed to ‘GT’ homologation.

All but the first few cars were built with 3.3 litre V12’s, the first were 3 litres, but the 250LM name stuck, rather than 275LM as Ferrari naming convention dictated. (250 cc x 12 cylinders is 3000cc…275cc x 12 cylinders is 3300cc).

The McKay car, chassis # ‘6321’ was one of the last cars built.

The 250 LM’s were popular customer endurance racing cars but not considered outright contenders for ‘Blue Riband’ events but the race failure of the Ferrari P2 and Ford’s GT40 and Mk11 resulted in a famous victory for ex-F1 driver Masten Gregory and future World Champion Jochen Rindt at LeMans in 1965 .

The 2 drivers flogged the NART LM # ‘5893’  to within an inch of its life, to their surprise winning the event, Rindt famously expecting to be back in Paris early enough for dinner.

That victory was Ferrari ‘s last at Le Mans…

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North American Racing Team ‘NART’ victorious 250LM ‘5893’ at Le Mans ’65. Drivers Masten Gregory & Jochen Rindt (unattributed)

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Ferrari 250LM cutaway showing its 3.3 litre V12, 5 speed transaxle, spaceframe chassis and all independent suspension by wishbones and coil spring/dampers ( G Beht )

Etcetera…

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First race meeting for ‘6321’, Sandown Tasman meeting 21 February 1965. Spencer Martin at the wheel. A win after Frank Matich retired his Lotus 19B Climax. (Ray Bell)

 

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Fabulous shot of Spencer Martin in the LM, Warwick Farm, August 1965. (John Ellacott)

 

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Spencer Martin ahead of Lionel Beattie in the Byfield Ayres Repco Holden Spl during the ‘Le Mans 6 Hour’ race at Caversham, in WA’s Swan Valley in 1965. Martin drove to victory sharing with car owner David McKay. (Alan Yates)

 

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Another Caversham 1965 shot, by the look of the helmet perhaps David McKay at the wheel. LM ‘6321’. (Lionel McPherson)

 

LM Launch

‘Automobile Year’ coverage of the 250LM launch at the Paris Show in October 1963

Race History (inaccuurate & incomplete ) of 250 LM ‘6321’…

http://www.barchetta.cc/english/all.ferraris/Detail/6321.250LM.htm

Photo and Other Credits…

Dick Simpson, Roderick Mackenzie, G Beht cutaway drawing, Bob Jane Legends, Terry Walker, Automobile Year, John Ellacott, Alan Yates, Stephen Dalton Collection, Ray Bell, Lionel McPherson, Mike Parkes Letter from ‘The Nostalgia Forum’

Tailpiece…

scud

Finito…