Posts Tagged ‘Vanwall VW57’

(J Richardson)

Roy Salvadori all set to go in the Longford paddock before winning the 5 March 1961 ‘Longford Trophy’ aboard his ‘Ecurie Vitesse’ (Jack Brabham) Cooper T51 Climax…

These wonderful photos at Longford during the long, languid, hot Tasmanian summer of 1961 were taken by John Richardson who was a Shell Representative for Northern Tasmania and therefore had the ability to prowl the pits and form-up area. His son Greg recalls the meeting ‘I was only 6 at the time and memories get a little hazy. But I will never forget sitting on a 44 gallon drum in the pits and that wonderful almondy smell of the racing fuel and the noise, it was pretty amazing stuff for a little kid’.

The sort of experience which hooks you on the sport for life…

Jack on the front row beside John Youl, Coopers T53 and T51 Climax- behind is the unmistakeable yellow T51 of Austin Miller- alongside Aussies right-rear you can only just see a bit of Lex Davo’s Aston Martin DBR4 (J Richardson)

Very Black Jack- look at the ‘tache and beard- has not shaved for 24 hours. Cooper T53 ‘Lowline’ (J Richardson)

Roy had better luck in Australia than he did in New Zealand- there he raced a Yeoman Credit Lotus 18 Climax at Ardmore, Levin, Wigram and Teretonga, his best a second place at Teretonga. He had gearbox problems twice and a leaking radiator in the other events.

He then crossed the Tasman Sea to Australia and raced the Cooper used by Ron Flockhart that Australasian season- in Tasmania and two International races a day apart at the new Hume Weir circuit outside Albury on the New South Wales/Victoria border. He was fourth in one, DNF the other, both races were won by Brabham’s Cooper T53 ‘Lowline’, the car photographed above.

During my formative years of interest in motor racing, devouring all of the books we all did on the history of the sport Roy Salvadori was ominpresent in publications on the British scene- where he seemed to race anything which had wheels in multiple events at the same national meeting, and also competing in International events.

Maserati 4CM, Jersey 29 April 1948, 7th in the race won by Bob Gerard’s ERA B Type (unattributed)

Whilst his surname is decidedly Italian exotic Roy was very much a Brit, born in Essex of Italian parents…

Well known as the winner at Le Mans aboard an Aston DBR1 together with Carroll Shelby in 1959 he was also very handy aboard single-seaters and is rightfully on the list of those talented enough, but unfortunate not to win a championship Grand Prix.

The highly skilled all-rounders best F1 season was in 1958, when he was second in the German Grand Prix, third in the British and fourth in the drivers’ championship aboard a Cooper T45, the title won that year by another quintessential British driver of the fifties, Mike Hawthorn in Ferrari Dino 246’s. Cooper were not of course using Coventry Climax FPF engines of 2.5 litres that season, making the performance even more meritorious.

Roy Francesco Salvadori was born on 12 May 1922  in Dovercourt, Essex. After leaving school he joined his father’s refrigeration business before starting to trade in cars, running his own garage in Tolworth, Surrey by the age of seventeen. The War put paid to early plans to race but as soon as the war was over he responded to an advertisement for an MG sportscar only to find that the car in question was the R Type pre-war single-seater- a deal was quickly done.

Jack #24 and Roy, Pescara GP 18 August 1957. Cooper T43 Climax, 7th and DNF in 2 litre cars in the race won by the Moss Vanwall VW57 (Cahier)

The R Type MG was entered in the very first race meeting post-war at RAF Gransden (Gransden Lodge) on 15 June 1946 with Roy the second of two finishers in a three car race! He progressed quickly to a Riley Special and then a 50% share in a 2.9 litre Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3 said to have been owned by Tazio Nuvolari.

In May 1947 he entered it in the Grand Prix des Frontières at Chimay, Belgium, and, though the car was stuck in top gear from the first lap, finished fifth. Prince Bira won the race in a Maser 4CL.

He soon sold the P3 and bought a Maserati 4CM finishing 7th in the Jersey Road Race in April, contested the British Empire Trophy in May, DNF and later the 1948 British GP at Silverstone finishing 8th in the race won by Gigi Villoresi’s Maserati 4CLT.

In 1949, he again raced in the British GP, Q23, DNF . He was 5th in his heat and 17th in the final of the August International Trophy at Silverstone and wrote off a Maserati 4CL at the Curragh track in Ireland during the September Wakefield Trophy. 1950 was a year of rebuilding the finances and finding a competitive tool- the plucky motor-trader settled on a Frazer-Nash Le Mans sportscar.

Roy ahead of a group of XK120’s, date and circuit unknown, 1951 probably (unattributed)

Salvadori’s first meeting in the ‘Nash was the Daily Express International meeting at Silverstone.

Interviewed in MotorSport in 2008 Salvadori said ‘I was leading, a big thing for me then, ahead of Bob Gerard, Tony Crook and the other Frazer-Nashes. So I was feeling pretty good about life…We came up to lap a group of slower cars which were having their own battle. I tried to overtake them all, but it couldn’t be done’. He ran wide, hit the marker barrels- oil filled drums and cartwheeled down the road, his foot was stuck in the steering wheel spokes, as a consequence he was flung about like a rag doll as the car overturned. Roy suffered a triple fracture of his head- wearing no helmet and had severe brain haemorrhaging. ‘At Northhampton Hospital they decided they could do nothing for me, and pushed me into a corner. They rang my parents and told them I was unlikely to be alive by the time they got there’. A priest was summoned and gave him the last rites.

Salvadori was back in a car three months later. His only permanent legacy of the monster shunt was deafness in one ear.

Roy acquired the 1950 model Jag XK120 (above) and first raced it at Boreham in August 1951. He had much success in the car over the next 12 months racing it against the similar machines of people like Duncan Hamilton and of course many other marques. A more serious machine was the Grand Prix Alta 1.5 s/c of H Webb with which he contested the Boreham Mail Trophy race in July for a DNF.

RS aboard Bobby Baird’s Ferrari 500 F2/GP machine at Castle Combe in 1952. Lampredi 4 cylinder, 2 valve, DOHC Weber fed dual World Championship winning engine front and centre (Simon Lewis)

With his speed and enthusiasm undiminished he was soon in demand to drive other peoples cars, he raced the Jag on into mid-1952 before selling it to Peter Blond. The Frazer-Nash was repaired and raced at Ibsley in April, the car again crashed.

A significant breakthrough were a series of drives in Irish press-baron heir Bobby Baird’s Ferrari 500 2 litre F2/GP car. In an impressive performance he was Q19 and 8th in a field of 31 cars at the Silverstone British GP.

In August he raced a Ferrari 166 (Baird’s?) in the Daily Mail Trophy at Boreham but withdrew after 21 laps. Back in the Ferrari 500, at  the Daily Graphic Goodwood Trophy in September, he was 6th and a month later he drove the car to victory in the Joe Fry Memorial Trophy at Castle Combe.

In mid September Roy contested the GP di Modena in a Cooper T20 Bristol, crashing the car in the race won by Villoresi’s Ferrari 500.

Salvo’s speed in a variety of cars- his versatility clear even then and ability to handle the demanding GP Ferrari lead to an invitation to join the Connaught team for 1953 to contest GP events in the Lea-Francis four-cylinder engined cars.

Camp Connaught, French GP Reims 1953. #42 Bira DNF diff, #50 Salvadori DNF ignition, #48 Johnny Claes 12th. Look carefully and you can see the Prince speaking to Alfred Neubauer in the background. Mike Hawthorn won this famous race after a titanic long dice with Fangio, Ferrari 500 and Maser A6GCM respectively (G Phillips)

The Connaught A Type was a very competitive tool in British national events, Roy’s best results second placings in the Lavant Cup Goodwood, BRDC International Trophy Silverstone, Crystal Palace Trophy and Newcastle Journal Trophy at Charterhall. In September he won the Madgwick Cup at Goodwood from Stirling Moss’ Cooper Alta.

In championship Grands Prix the pickings were much slimmer- he failed to finish all of the events he contested, the Dutch, French, British, German and Italian GP’s. The problem was the cars reliability not Roy’s speed- he qualified 11th, 13th and 14th at Zandvoort, the Nurburgring and Monza respectively for example.

In 1953 he joined Aston Martin in sportscars- although the focus of this article is single-seaters not his two-seater programs.

For 1954 he made the sensible decision to drive a Maserati 250F for Sid Greene’s Gilby Engineering team, the very best 2.5 litre customer GP car of the period. With it he won the Curtis Trophy at Snetterton, was second in the Lavant Cup, BARC F1 race and third in the Goodwood Trophy (all at Goodwood). The Gilby lads took the Maser across the channel to contest the French GP at Reims where Roy was Q10 but had a half-shaft failure. Back at Silverstone for the British GP he was a wonderful Q7 of 28 on a circuit at which he always excelled but had a transmission failure on lap 7.

Roy aboard the Gilby Engineering Maser 250F ‘2507’ at Silverstone in 1954. Too funny finding this shot- when I first became interested in racing someone gave me this very shot as a postcard without identification. I knew enough to know it was a 250F- and the driver looked ‘Eyetalian’ but I could never work out who it was back then! (Tom March)

Still in the first flush of youth, he raced the Gilby Maser ‘2507’ on into 1955 with wins in the Glover Trophy and Curtis Trophy at Goodwood and Snetterton respectively. He qualified first and finished second behind the Collins 250F at the International Trophy, Silverstone.

The 11 April Goodwood meeting says everything about Salvadori’s speed, versatility and work ethic- he contested six of eight events! He won the Lavant Cup in a Connaught A Type, was second in the Chichester Cup, first in the Richmond Trophy and second in the Easter Handicap all in the 250F. He won the ‘B Sportscar’ race in an Aston DB3S and was fourth in the ‘C Sportscar’ race in a Cooper-Maserati. Wow!

Lavant Cup Meeting Goodwood 11 April 1955. Roy on the way to winning the 7 lap F2 race at Madgwick. Connaught A Type and Cooper Bristol (P Redman)

The team again entered the British GP at Silverstone this time yielding Q20 and DNF due to a gearbox failure.

Into 1956 Roy again raced the Gilby 250F which was getting a little long in the tooth compared to the latest spec works-cars but was still a good thing in national events- he was first in the Vanwall Trophy and Sussex Trophy at Snetterton and Goodwood respectively. Moss won the Glover Trophy at Goodwood in a works 250F ‘2522’ with Roy behind him.

In International events the 250F was 3rd in the GP de Caen and had DNF’s at both Silverstone and the Nurburgring- the British and German GP’s but qualified 7 and 9 to remind everyone of his speed in the old jigger. He was Q14 and 11th- last at Monza.

Success also came in mid-engined F2 Cooper T41 Climaxes with wins in the British GP support event, at Brands in the Bank Holiday meeting and at Oulton in the International Gold Cup F2 race.

Roy awaits the off aboard a Vanwall VW57 before the start of the French GP @ Rouen in 1957. Q6, DNF engine on lap 25- and qualified well clear of the two BRM’s! (unattributed)

A man in demand he signed with BRM for 1957, but after his cars brakes locked solid, causing his retirement from his BRM debut race and then failing to qualify for the Monaco Grand Prix, he walked away from the team.

Raymond Mays failed to intervene satisfactorily to improve the P25’s notoriously poor brakes. The P25 became a race winner- it won BRM’s first GP in Jo Bonnier’s hands at Zandvoort in 1959 of course but in 1956/early 1957 it was a problem child. No less than Alex Moulton and Alec Issigonis, Colin Chapman and Piero Taruffi- the latter two track testing the car applied their talents to dealing with the racers many handling, roadholding and braking problems. Leaving BRM at the time was as good an F1 Salvadori decision as being part of Aston’s F1 program in 1959 was a bad one!

Roy continued racing Aston sportscars throughout 1957 and was invited by David Yorke to drive a Vanwall VW57 in the Reims GP in early July, for 5th and in the French GP at Rouen a week later- Q6 and DNF engine. Chapman had of course applied his magic touch in Acton too a year earlier!

German GP paddock 1957: Yep, I can give these barges a run for their money! RS musing about the benefits of his nimble Cooper @ the Nurburgring if not its power. #1 & 2 Maser 250F’s of JMF and Jean Behra. Roys F2 Cooper T43 Climax Q15 and DNF engine in the famous ‘greatest GP of all time’ won by Fangio from the Lancia-Ferrari 801 twins Hawthorn and Collins (Getty)

 

Salvadori chasing Olivier Gendebien’s Ferrari 246 Dino during the 1958 Belgian GP, the Belgian was 6th and Roy 8th in his Cooper T45 Climax. Stirlings’s watches look good! (GP Library)

For the balance of 1957 Roy joined Cooper beside Jack Brabham, the pair racing Cooper T43/45 Climaxes in F2/F1 events. Cooper ran Coventry Climax FPF’s of just under 2 litres in F1 that season, the class capacity limit 2.5 litres from 1954-1960 inclusive. He was 2nd in the GP de Caen and failed to finish the German GP having qualified 14th running a 1475cc FPF as an F2 car within the F1 grid.

Generally Jack did better than Roy in F2 but he won the Woodcote Cup at  Goodwood, and the F2 class of the Daily Express International Trophy, was 2nd in the London Trophy at Crystal Palace and 4th in the Coupe de Vitesse at Reims.

For 1958 Roy stayed with Coopers and had his best season in GP racing as detailed early in this article. In addition to Championship GP events he was also quick in British Internationals taking 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, Glover Trophy at Goodwood and the BARC 200 at Aintree.

Beautiful shot (reader David Fox points out Getty have it ‘the wrong way around’) of Roy’s Aston DBR4/250 at Zandvoort in 1959. Q13 and DNF overheating in the race won by the more modern and developed front-engine BRM P25 of Jo Bonnier- first GP win for them both. The Aston was maybe a potentially winning car in 1957- too late she cried (Getty)

Aston Martin finally got their DBR4 race ready- it was to Roy’s credit that he felt bound to drive it and did so but his first steer of the front-engined bolide would have been enough to indicate that AM had missed the boat relative to the Coopers with which he was now very familiar and had done so well.

It was a backward step indeed. To stay with Coopers would have been the go in 1959 fitted as they were with Coventry Climax FPF’s of 2.5 litres- they won the drivers and constructors titles of course. Roy did more than enough to stay with Cooper in 1959- in ’58 the qualifying record was fairly evenly split between Jack and Roy with the Brit getting far better race results. Oh to have stayed put at Surbiton!

In a fullish GP season he raced Tommy Atkins Cooper T45 Maserati at Monaco and Reims and the Aston DBR4/250 at Zandvoort, Aintree, Monsanto Portugal and at Monza- his best placings 6th in the Monaco, British and Portuguese GP’s. Sixth at Monsanto was 3 laps behind the Moss winning Cooper to give some idea of the relative pace of the new and old paradigms.

In non-championship races he won the London Trophy, was 2nd in the Lavant Cup in a Cooper T43 Climax F2 and frustratingly got a good, long, hard look at the back of Brabham’s Cooper T51 Climax finishing 2nd behind him at Silverstone in the Daily Express International Trophy aboard the Aston.

Roy gets into the Essex Racing Stable #4 Aston DBR1 he shared with Tony Maggs at Le Mans in 1961. The Border Reivers #5 the Jim Clark (jumping in) and Ron Flockhart DBR1 is alongside, both cars DNF (unattributed)

Following his 1959 success at Le Mans, in 1960 Salvadori returned to the 24 hour race in another Aston Martin DBR1 beside a very young Jim Clark, finishing a good 3rd behind two Ferraris.

His Grand Prix program in 1960 was limited to the Dutch and British GP’s in Astons for a DNS and DNF- and at Monaco and Riverside in an Atkins Cooper T51 Climax for a DNF and 8th. In Cooper mounted non-championship events he was 3rd in the Oulton Park Trophy and Lavant Cup at Goodwood and 4th in Snetterton’s Lombank Trophy. He won the Lancashire & Cheshire Car Club F2 race at Oulton Park.

After Aston’s withdrawal from GP racing he drove Reg Parnell’s Yeoman Credit Cooper T53 Climax FPF 1.5 litre engine cars in the first year of the new GP formula.

In a great mighta-been drive in the 1961 US GP at Watkins Glen he charged his Cooper T53 Climax FPF from eighth place up to second- closing on Innes Ireland’s leading works Lotus 18 when with five laps to go his engine failed. He was 6th at Aintree and Monza in a season dominated by the squadron of V6 Ferrari 156’s and notable for the brilliance of Stirling Moss in the under-powered Rob Walker Lotuses at Monaco and the Nurburgring.

German GP, Nurburgring 1962. Q9 and DNF suspension in Lola Mk4 Climax V8, winner Hill’s BRM P57 (unattributed)

Roy commenced the 1962 season with a trip to Australasia to race a Bowmaker Cooper T53 Climax with ‘…our first two races cut short because of rain storms and I took a 4th in the NZ GP and 5th in the Hudson Memorial Trophy. In contrast the following weekends Lady Wigram Trophy was held in stiflingly hot conditions and i again finished 5th’ Roy recounts in his biography.

But his tour was cut short with a practice crash at over 130 mph during practice at Warwick Farm on 4 February, the first Australian leg of the tour.

‘At Warwick Farm we were using an improved Dunlop tyre and although Surtees and I had a set each for the race, we had to share a set in practice. Surtees came back into the pits near the end of practice and the mechanics had a frantic rush to transfer the wheels from his car…I charged off from the pits, joined the long (Hume) straight and was approaching the hairpin (Creek Corner) that followed very quickly. As to what happened next I have to rely on what I was told, as I remember nothing of the accident. As I braked for the hairpin the car turned sharp right into a flag marshalling area protected by the sleepers and hit this at about 100 mph. I suffered head injuries, a broken cheekbone and severe facial cuts, the car was a write-off and two marshalls were injured (with broken legs). I was unconscious until the following day…I was later flown back to the UK for further medical treatment…My theory as to the cause of the accident is that we failed to pump up the brakes (a procedure peculiar to the Cooper after a wheel change) and then as I pumped them up quickly for the corner, the right front brake locked’.

Roy in a CT Atkins Cooper T53P Climax at Crystal Palace during the 1961 London Trophy meeting- a race he won. It was a car of this type he crashed at Warwick Farm albeit 2.6 FPF rather than 1.5 FPF as powered here (PA Images)

Roy flew back to Australia for the Sandown Park Trophy on March 11/12- the circuits opening meeting and drove a Lex Davison Cooper, ‘I was far from fit and it was a very stupid thing to do, although it seemed like a good idea at the time! I was slow in practice and in the race retired because of mechanical trouble’.

Warwick Farm and its fallout was hardly a good start to what would be Roy’s final GP season with a Bowmaker Lola alongside John Surtees.

They drove Eric Broadley’s Lola Mk4 Coventry Climax FWMV V8’s with Surtees consistently outpacing the veteran Salvadori who was terribly cramped in the cockpit of the car more suited to the shorter ‘Big John’. He carried this off with dignity with Surtees remarking after Salvadori’s death ‘Roy had always been serious about his motor racing and in my view, never quite realised his full potential as a grand prix driver, mainly because he was waiting in the wings while Aston Martin were being so slow in developing their DBR4 in 1959’.

Roy had shocking luck with unreliability whereas Surtees had a much better time of it and seconds at Aintree and the Nurburgring. There was nothing too wrong with the basic design, Roy’s best qualifying performance was in Germany with Q9.

Roy blasts away from the Goodwood 1960 TT start, Aston DB4GT in pursuit of Stirling Moss who is already outta picture- and won the race in Ferrari 250SWB (LAT)

The time had come though, Roy was 40, it was right to retire from Formula 1 at the seasons end. But he continued to race sports and touring cars with great success, often for his lifelong friend, John Coombs until 1965, when he retired from racing but not before another couple of big accidents- flipping into the lake at Oulton Park after a puncture to his Jaguar Saloon and at Le Mans in 1963 when his E Type Lwt spun on oil dropped by Bruce McLaren’s Aston Martin. He crashed, then Bino Heins was burned to death in his Alpine, Bino  having sought to avoid Jean-Pierre Manzon who was unconscious in the middle of the track having also crashed after losing control on the oil.

Motor racing is and very much was dangerous!

Testing a very early Ford GT40 at Le Mans in 1964- Colotti ‘box, wire wheels all in evidence (unattributed)

Salvadori was also involved in the original Ford GT40 campaign via John Wyer, his friend/Team Manager from Aston Martin. In fact his last race was in a GT40 at Goodwood in 1965 finishing second overall and winning his class.

In 1966 and 1967 he managed the Cooper F1 team, but was still not averse to a steer, doing some of the early test and development work on the new for ’66 3 litre V12 Cooper T81 Maserati at Goodwood. The driving strength included Pedro Rodriguez, John Surtees and Jochen Rindt.

Testing the very first Cooper T81 Maserati in early 1966 at Goodwood. A race winning car and potentially the ’66 champion with an ace behind the wheel from the start of the season. Surtees joined mid-way thru the season after his spat with Ferrari- losing he and the Scuderia a probable championship to canny Jack (Getty)

c’mon Roy, gimme Pedro’s car! Salvo and Jochen Rindt during 1967 (unattributed)

Meanwhile the garage business which funded his racing in the early days had flourished into major BMW and Alfa Romeo dealerships- they were sold to a public company providing the means and tax necessity perhaps for he and his wife Sue to move to Monaco.

His flat overlooking the Grand Prix finishing line became famous for its parties during GP weekends. He died on 3 June 2012 a familiar figure at historic racing gatherings down the decades.

Etcetera…

Wharton and Salvadori, BRM and Maser, Madgwick, Goodwood, Easter Monday 1954…

I was researching the photo above, its before an infamous high speed contretemps between the two Brits and found this piece Doug Nye wrote in his ‘Goodwood Road and Racing’ column in November 2016- here it is in all of its wonderful glory…

‘One of the great personal rivalries that used to be played out – in part – at Goodwood, was the personal antipathy between Roy Salvadori and Ken Wharton. Roy was a supremely self-confident, stylish, charming, debonair, soft-hearted, philanthropic south-London used-car dealer. His race driving philosophy was pretty much no holds barred, and he was always prepared to stick his elbows out and push and shove, or to position his car in such a way on track – as in a braking area or turn-in point for a corner – in which a close-quarters rival would be embarrassed (or intimidated) into giving way, fearing the consequences of contact – which in that period could be utterly horrendous.

Ken Wharton was evidently an almost equally charming, friendly kind of chap out of a racing car’s cockpit. But the Smethwick garage proprietor – who was in the 1950s one of the most versatile of all competition drivers – having been a front-runner in everything from mud-plugging trials to rallying and road racing in cars ranging from tin-top saloons to 500s, Grand Prix cars and the centrifugally-supercharged Formule 1 and Libre V16-cylinder BRMs, had a less armour-plated personality. He was never quite confident that he was really as good as he earnestly wanted, and tried, to be. In the car – especially at BRM when he found himself teamed with Fangio and Gonzalez (two hopes, no hope and Bob Hope) – he could only play second or third fiddle to the true stars of the day. But he plainly felt that Salvadori was not quite from the top drawer either – not a Moss, and most certainly no Fangio, nor Gonzalez. And so should Salvo attempt to assert himself on track against Ken Wharton, than Smethwick Ken would push back.

This became a pretty explosive situation in that era when drivers were not belted into the cockpits of their racing cars, when wire wheels were narrow and racing tyres slim, heavily treaded and easily intertwined should cars clash side-to-side. Competing cars were also quite tall, quite hefty, relatively unstable, and easy to overturn. On the back of the admission ticket or pass were printed the words ‘Motor racing is dangerous’ and in the ’50s that was absolutely and often painfully self-evident.

There was a history between Salvadori and Wharton before the Easter Monday Goodwood race meeting in 1954. The feature Glover Trophy race was run over 21 laps, for Formule Libre cars which set Roy Salvadori’s new Sid Greene-entered Maserati 250F against the V16 BRMs of Ron Flockhart – in the latest short-chassis Mark II variant – and Ken Wharton in the full Grand Prix-spec long-wheelbase V16 Mark I.

Roy squeezing all there was from the little Cooper T45 Climax during the 1958 British GP @ Silverstone. 3rd in the race won by Collins Ferrari Dino 246 (J Ross)

 

Roy alongside Mike Hawthorn and Jean Behra on the front row of the Glover Trophy at Goodwood, Easter 1958. Cooper T45 Climax, Ferrari Dino 246 and BRM P25. In the row behind is Scell’s BRM and Brabham’s #18 Cooper. Mike won from Jack and Roy (J Ross)

 

Reg Parnell, Roy and Carroll Shelby, Le Mans 1959 (unattributed)

 

Roy shared this Aston DBR1 with Jim Clark @ Le Mans in 1960, the Border Reivers entered car was 3rd in the race won by the Ferrari 250TR of Paul Frere and Olivier Gendebien (unattributed)

 

Roy and Les Leston shared this DBR1 @ Le Mans in 1957, DNF oil pipe. Ron Flockhart and Ivor Bueb won in a Jag D (unattributed)

 

Roy from Graham Hill, Oulton Park GT race in 1961, Hill won with Roy 3rd (unattributed)

 

You can sense the mutual trust and respect between photographer Bernard Cahier and RS in this Monza 1962 shot. Lola Mk4 Climax, Q13 and DNF engine in the race won by Hill’s BRM P57. The Lotus 25 Climax behind is Trevor Taylor’s works machine  (B Cahier)

 

 

Bibliography…

MotorSport article by Simon Taylor in August 2012, ‘The Guardian’ obituary, ‘Goodwood Road and Racing’ column Doug Nye, ‘Goodwood Remembered’ Peter Redman, Stephen Dalton Collection, oldracingcars.com, ‘Roy Salvadori Racing Driver’  Roy Salvadori & Anthony Pritchard, David Fox

Photo Credits…

John Richardson, John Ross Motor Racing Archive, B Cahier, Getty Images- GP Library/PA Images, Pinterest, Simon Lewis Transport Books, LAT, Tom March, George Phillips

Tailpiece: Roy, Aston DBR4, Zandvoort 1959…

Finito…

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Juan Manuel Fangio eases his Maserati 250F through Tatts Corner,  Aintree, Liverpool during the 1957 British Grand Prix on 20 July…

Fangio qualified 4th but retired on lap 49 with engine problems, its an amazing shot ‘the maestro’ looks so relaxed at the wheel. Its the cover shot of a book i have, much of my library is in storage, a real pain in the arse in terms of access to research material, maybe one of you have the same book and can recall the title?

The race itself was a Vanwall benefit; Moss lead then took over Brooks car when his own engine went off song, Stewart Lewis-Evans Vanwall also lead briefly before being passed by Moss, he and Brooks shared the win from the Lancia Ferrari 801’s (LF801) of Luigi Musso and Mike Hawthorn.

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Stirling Moss in Tony Brooks Vanwall VW57, Aintree 1957 (Michael Turner)

This article is pieced together around a swag of photos of Fangio aboard Maserati 250F’s in 1957, in many ways the combination defines the 1950’s for me. The greatest driver of the decade in its quintessential car, it may not have been the fastest of the era but for sure it provided a platform for so many drivers from journeymen (and women) to gods, to strut their stuff.

Monaco, 19 May 1957…

Between Moss who left Masers to join Vanwall and Fangio who left Ferrari to join Maserati the seven 1957 championship rounds, ignoring Indianapolis, were mopped up by those two drivers- Juan with 4 wins and Stirling 3.

fang monaco spares

Fangio’s Maser 250F being unloaded from its transporter in Monaco

Fangio made the 250F sing, the car was towards the end of its long competitive life with the great Argentinian extracting all it had to offer. He was at the height of his powers, I don’t doubt he retired at the right time, he was 46 years of age by the end of the season after all.

Having said that it would have been fascinating to see if he could adapt to mid-engined cars, I don’t doubt he would have had he raced on for a few more years. But best to retire at the top, and alive. So many elite sportsmen and women do that one season too many, Michael Schumacher for one, Fangio did not.

fang monaco 1957

# Carlos Menditeguy DNF spin and #34 Giorgio Scarlatti DNF oil leak in the Officine Maserati garage, Monaco 1957. 250F x 2

Fangio popped his 250F on pole in the Principality but Moss led into the first corner with Fangio behind him. Sterling went off and crashed at the chicane on lap 4 with Collins, LF801, taking exasive action and hitting a stone wall as a result! Fangio managed to get through without a problem and Brooks Vanwall braked hard only to be rammed up the chuff by Hawthorn’s Fazz.

Only Brooks was able to keep going- but he was 5 seconds behind Fangio by the time he was up to speed again. Jack Brabham was up to 3rd late in the race in his little Cooper T43 Climax. It was a portent of the 1958 breakthrough win for a mid-engined car by Moss in Argentina, but had to push the car home as result of fuel pump failure, Jack was classified 6th, with Fangio ahead of Brooks, Masten Gregory in a Maserati, Lewis-Evans Vanwall and Trintignant LF801.

fang monaco

Fangio during Monaco practice in Giulio Alfieri’s 250F V12. The 60 degree, DOHC, 2 valve, 24 plug, Weber fed 2.5 litre engine developed circa 300-320bhp at a dizzy 10500rpm, about 50bhp more than the venerable inline 6 but the power was all at the top of the band. The engine had conrod and valve spring troubles early in its development too. Behra raced one in the Italian GP, he chomped thru tyres, such was the engines power and then retired with a lubrication problem. The engines time would come, but not for a decade!

Whilst the 250F was in the Autumn of its life Maserati were still developing the thing, not least with a 2.5 litre, quad-cam, 2 valve, Weber carbed 300 odd bhp V12. Fangio is putting some development laps into the thing at Monaco above.

The engine raced only once at championship level at Monza 1957, but suitably evolved in 3 litre, fuel injected form won a race or two mounted in the back of Cooper’s T81 and T86 in 1966/7. (Wins for Surtees ’66 Mexican GP and Rodriguez ’67 South African GP, both in T81’s)

An interesting Australian sidebar to this Maser V12 is Frank Gardner and Kevin Bartlett testing a 2.5 litre variant in the butt of a ‘cut and shut’ Tasman Brabham BT11A in February 1966. Sydney Alfa/Maserati dealer and former Australian 1960 Gold Star Champion and AGP winner Alec Mildren used his impeccable Maserati connections to score the engine which the team sussed as an alternative to the venerable Coventry Climax 2.5 litre FPF  which was the Tasman staple moteur at the time. Simply put the engine was like an on/off switch in terms of its power delivery, then blew, which rather settled the matter of a ‘Warwick Farm 100’ start. A story for another time.

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Fangio, quayside at Monaco in 1957, enroute to victory. He won in Argentina, Monaco, France and Germany. The Vanwalls won in Britain, Pescara and again in Italy at Monza; Moss/Brooks, Moss and Moss

The thing that always amazes me when looking at photos of Fangio is just how relaxed at the wheel he is. It’s key to great lap times, if you are that tense that your butt-cheeks grab the seat cover as you alight your racer you are definitely not going to feel what your steed is doing to extract the best from it! I remember Frank Gardner talking to me about this very point several decades ago.

When the laconic Aussie all-rounder returned home in 1975, in that first year he drove Bob Jane’s Holden Torana Chev Sports Sedan and fronted the Jane/Gardner Racing Drivers School at Calder. He wasn’t there much. In fact ex-Aussie F3 driver/mechanic and later Hardman F2 designer/builder Jim Hardman did most of the driver instruction aided by Andrew Newton, who also raced with some success. Both of them looked after the fleet of Elfin 620B Formula Fords driven by the bright eyed hopefuls, of whom i was one.

Anyway, on this particular frigid July day ‘ole FG was in effusive mode telling me about both the car setup advice and driver coaching he was giving to a well known fellow who had not long before jumped up from Formula Ford to F5000-105bhp to 500bhp is a big step.

His central point in talking about ‘the big car challenge’ was all about relaxing in the car- having soft hands and gentle feet and just being able to, as a consequence of not being so tense, feel what the car was doing and therefore be able to push the thing to its limits by  better sensing said limits when reached…Easy to say of course, harder to do especially when you have 500bhp of fuel injected Repco-Holden V8 shoving you ferociously towards the horizon!

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FG would have approved of Fangio’s relaxed demeanour in a car. Don’t confuse my meaning with the ferocious competititiveness and delicacy of control that went with the outer calm one can see here!

Fangio never looks anxious whether he is being closely followed at Monaco in third gear or drifting through the very high speed swoops of rural France at over 140mph in fifth.

It was magic to observe Fangio’s car control at close quarters when he was 67 years old and booting his W196 Benz sideways lap after lap in third gear through Sandown Park’s Shell Corner, only 30 metres away, during ‘The Fangio Meeting’ in 1978. The sight of this grand man of racing flicking the bellowing, powerful straight-8, silver beastie around is forever etched in my memory.

Cool, calm, collected, composed and FAST! Exactly as he was in 1957…

French GP, 7 July 1957…

The classic was held at the super fast Rouen-Les-Essarts road circuit in Grand-Couronne and Orival, northern France.

There are so many wonderful 250F shots of Fangio in 1957 drifting the sublimely forgiving chassis at well over 140 mph on public roads through wooded hillsides. I’m not suggesting, in describing the car as forgiving, it was easy my friends!

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Crusin’ in having set pole i wonder? Rouen 1957. The lines of the 250F in 1957, here it’s Fangio’s ‘regular ‘Long nosed, lightweight’ chassis ‘2529’ spec are perfect, inch by sculpted inch. The cars epitomise everything great about Italian racing machines. Alfieri’s ’57 lightweight chassis was 40% stiffer than in ’56 with greater rear weight bias-48/52% front/rear. The 250F was maybe not quite the fastest tool in the 1950’s shed but it was close to it, enduring and capable of winning the 1954 and 1956 titles in addition to ’57 with more luck or the right bloke behind the wheel all season! No-one was going to beat Fangio in a W196 Merc in 1955 i don’t think

Fangio was fastest from Behra and Musso also on the front row. Behind them were Schell 250F and Collins then back a row Salvadori, Vanwall VW57 Hawthorn and Trintignant. At the jump Behra lead but Musso soon got ahead. Fangio was 3rd then Collins and Schell giving chase and then a fast-starting McKay-Fraser, BRM P25. Fangio worked his way past Behra on lap 2 and then took Musso for the lead on lap 4.

Collins got past Behra and the order remained unchanged at the front all the way to the flag with Fangio winning from Musso and Collins. Behra slipped behind Hawthorn, giving the Lancia-Ferrari 801 a 2-3-4 finish behind Fangio.

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Hang on…Fangio indulging in one of his signature, oh so fast, oh so subtle and oh so wonderful, delicate, four wheel drifts. Poetry in motion innit!? Wonder who or what he tapped?

Germany, Nurburgring, 4 August 1957: Greatest GP of all?…

Fangio’s heroic drive at this most demanding of circuits proved to be his greatest ever drive and one of the best in the history of Grand Prix racing.

Fangio took pole with Hawthorn, LF801 Behra, 250F and Collins LF801 completing the front row. Then came Brooks, Schell and Moss on Vanwall VW57, 250F and Vanwall VW57. At the start Hawthorn and Collins battled for the lead with Fangio and Behra giving chase. On lap 3 Fangio passed Collins and soon led. Collins then passed Hawthorn and chased after Fangio with the great man edging gradually away.

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Nurburgring 1957: Hawthorn and Collins, L Ferrari 801, Fangio and Behra 250F, then Moss and Brooks Vanwall VW57, Masten Gregory’s white Maser 250F, Lewis-Evans Vanwall VW57 and the rest…

A slow mid-race pit stop, scheduled for 30 seconds, lasted 1 minute and 18 seconds. One of the mechanics dropped the wheel hub nut under the car, it couldn’t easily be found! This left Fangio a minute behind the two Ferraris but then the chase was on! He drove absolutely at the limit, at the ragged edge of the cars capabilities, chasing down the two much younger men.

Fangio famously broke the lap record 10 times and passed both Collins, and then Hawthorn on the penultimate lap. Fangio won the race and in the process, his 5th and final World Title in a drive still spoken about in reverential terms and forever remembered whenever the great GP races are considered.

Pescara GP, 16 August, The Coppa Acerbo…

The FIA included the Coppa Acerbo, Pescara GP in the World Championship for the first time given the cancellation of the Dutch and Belgian GP’s early in the season due to squabbles about money. The daunting, dangerous 16-mile road circuit on the Adriatic Coast, still used then for non-championship events was the longest ever for an F1 race.

Ferrari didn’t bother to send 801’s for Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins as the World Championship had already been won by Fangio and partly as a protest against Italian government’s move to ban road racing following Alfonso de Portago’s, Ferrari 335S Mille Miglia accident earlier in the year. Local boy Luigi Musso convinced Ferrari to lend him a car however, which he entered as a privateer. Shades of NART entries in the 1960’s when Ferrari wanted to protest, but not too much!

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Shot at left shows Fangio’s Maser having a rear wheel replaced after spinning on Musso’s engine oil and danaging it

The Pescara battle was between Maserati and Vanwall and resulted in a Maserati pole for Juan-Manuel from Moss’s Vanwall VW57 and Musso’s ‘private’ Ferrari 801.

Musso took the lead but Maserati 250F privateer Horace Gould hit a mechanic who was slow to get off the grid. Brooks retired his Vanwall VW57 early with mechanical troubles. Moss took the lead from Musso on lap 2 from Fangio in 3rd but the field thinned as the heat took its toll; Lewis-Evans, Vanwall with tyre failures, Behra 250F engine failure. Then Musso disappeared on lap 10 when his engine blew, the oil caused Fangio to spin and damage a wheel. When Fangio rejoined, Moss had an unassailable lead, he won the race ahead of Fangio, Schell in 3rd ,Gregory 4th and Lewis-Evans 5th.

Fangio won the World Championship on 40 points from Moss and Musso on 25 and 16 points respectively. Maserati 250F, Vanwall VW57 and Lancia Ferrari 801.

Credits…

All photos by Louis Klemantaski/Getty Images, Michael Turner

Tailpiece: The Maestro, Karussell, Nurburgring, Maser 250F  chassis ‘2529’ German Grand Prix 1957, history being made. Majestic shot…

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Cliff Allison releases his Lotus 12 Climax from the Monaco haybales in 1958, whilst teammate Graham Hill passes in the sister car…

It was a significant race for Lotus, their debut as Grand Prix competitors, Allison was classified 6th and Hill’s race ended on lap 15 with engine dramas.

Coventry Climax had still not built a 2.5 litre version of their FPF 4 cylinder engine, so Lotus, like Cooper were competing with engines of 1960cc, well below the 2.5 litre F1 capacity limit.

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Jesse Alexander’s shot captures the atmosphere of Monaco ’58, shot taken from the ‘Milk Bar’

 

Times of change in racing are of immense interest to those of us with an historic bent, 1958/9 is one of those eras with the growing influence of the ‘Green Cars’ a portent of the British dominance to come. And of course Cooper showing the mid-engined path still with us today.

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Cliff Allison at Monza in 1959 (Cahier)

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Lotus 12 in all its naked glory at Zandvoort in 1958. It was about as small as a front engined GP car could get, ignoring the fact it was designed as an F2 car! In 1958 ’twas as modern as tomorrow and as passe as yesterday simultaneously (Cahier)

Indicative of  mid-engined growing superiority was the failure of all the Maserati 250F’s entered to qualify; driven by Godia-Sales, Kavanagh, Taramazzo, Gerini, de Fillipis, Testut, Gould and the great, but aging Monegasque Louis Chiron. In 1957 Juan Manuel Fangio won the race in a factory ‘Piccolo’ 250F.

Successful British motor-cycle dealer BC Ecclestone had acquired the Connaughts but Bernie, Paul Emery and Bruce Kessler all failed to qualify the cars too.

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Bernie Ecclestone trying hard to qualify his Connaught Type B Alta, to no avail as was the case for his 2 teammates (unattributed)

Things were better for the Green Cars at the front of the grid with Brooks, Behra and Brabham in Vanwall, BRM and Cooper respectively. Salvadori and Trintignant were next up in Coopers, the quickest Ferrari, Mike Hawthorn, 6th in his Dino.

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# 18 Savadori Cooper T45 Climax, # 6 Behra BRM P25, #16 Brabham Cooper T45 Climax, # 30 Brooks Vanwall VW57, winner Trintignant partially obscured behind Brabham Cooper T45 Climax, # 32 Lewis-Evans Vanwall VW57…and the rest, turn 1, lap1 (unattributed)

In a race of changing fortunes Behra, Hawthorn and Moss all led but suffered mechanical failures. Trintignant won the race in Rob Walker’s Cooper T45 Climax from Musso and Collins in Dinos. Moss’ Argentina Cooper T43 win was no ‘flash in the pan’…

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Moss, Hawthorn, Brabham and Trintignant. Ferrari Dino 246, Vanwall VW57 with Monaco ‘snub nose’ and Coopers T45 Climax x 2 (unattributed)

Etcetera…

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Photo Credits…

Jesse Alexander, The Cahier Archive, John Ross Motor Racing Archive

Tailpiece: Allison made the Lotus 12 sing…

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As here at Monza 1958. He put the car 5th on the British GP grid, well in front of Hill in the new Lotus 16, finished 6th at Zandvoort, 4 th in the Belgian GP at Spa and 7th at Monza, such were his performances he was off to Ferrari in 1959 at Enzo’s invitation (John Ross)