Tag Archives: Jim Hall

Jim’s Favourite – Chaparral Chevrolet 2E

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of my introduction to the wonders of The Canadian American Challenge Cup in something approximating real time mediated through the pages of ‘Motor Sport’ magazine, for the remainder of the month I’ll be featuring a selection of Group 7 race cars; on Saturday’s, Sunday’s, Mondays and the last two Thursdays of the types used in the Can Am Championships run from 1966 to 1973 or European “Intersiere” races run from 1970.

Chaparral 2E, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The inaugural 1966 “Can Am” Challenge race was run at St.Jovite on 11th September 1966 and won by 1965 World Drivers Champion John Surtees driving a Team Surtees Lola T 70 Spyder.

Chaparral 2E, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Texas Oilman and innovative engineer Jim Hall and his Chaparral team made their debut in the Series at Bridgehampton the following week where Hall was to drive the #66 Chaparral 2E chassis #2E001 with 1961 World Champion Phil Hill in the identical sister #65 chassis #2E002.

Chaparral 2E, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Come the start of the event it was Phil Hill who found himself at the seat of chassis #2E001 starting fourth, after Hill’s intended car developed chassis problems during practice and Jim handed the world champion Phil his own car.

Chaparral 2E, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Phil finished the race in 4th place behind the Lola Ford T70 of Dan Gurney, the McLaren Elva Mark II Chevrolet driven by Chris Amon and the Mark IIb McLaren Elva Chevrolet driven by Bruce McLaren.

Chaparral 2E, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Like most vehicles of the time the Chaparral 2E featured three pedals, unlike most, the pedals operated the accelerator and brakes while the third operated a front spoiler beneath the nose and rear wing to adjust the amount of drag created to maximise the vehicles performance around the corners and along the straights of a circuit.

Chaparral 2E, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Two unusual features of the drive train were, first the 450 hp aluminium alloy block 5.4 litre / 327 cui Chevrolet V8 chosen in favour of the more powerful and heavier 5.9 litre iron block Chevrolet Motor used by John Surtees in the Lola, and second the Chaparrals were uniquely equipped automatic transmissions.

Chaparral 2E, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Although similar aerodynamic devices had been attached to competition vehicles before, notably by Mercedes Benz who attached a wing to the roof of their 300 SL during practice for Le Mans in 1952 and by Fritz von Opel who attached wings to the sides of his 1928 solid rocket fueled Opel RAK 2, when activated to give down force at the expense of increased drag and decreased forward speed the Chaparral 2E’s aerofoil shaped wing transmitted down force directly through the rear suspension, while a spoiler under the nose acted similarly to increase down force on the front suspension, which together improved the handling in the corners.

Chaparral 2E, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The Challenge returned to Canada one week later again on September 24th 1966 for the ‘6th Canadian Grand Prix for the Pepsi-Cola Trophy’ run Mosport Park. Hall qualified 9th and Hill 11th with Hill finishing second to Mark Donohue in a Penske run Lola Chevrolet T70. Jim retired at 1/3 rd distance with an engine problem.

Chaparral 2E, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Nearly a month later on October 16th 1968 Jim Hall started the Monterey Grand Prix run at Laguna Seca from pole position in his #66 2E and alongside him on the grid was Phil Hill in the #65. After 2 hours at the wheel during which he covered 106 laps Phil Hill crossed the line first ahead of team owner Jim Hall to score a remakable team 1-2 finish.

Chaparral 2E, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Jim qualified 3rd behind, John Surtees in the Lola, at Riverside in California. John and Jim both moved up a place after pole sitter Bruce McLaren retired with an ignition problem. Phil Hill could only qualify 8th and retired after seven laps with fuel pressure issues.

Going into the final round of the Challenge Phil Hill was tied on points with John Surtees with 5 other drivers including Jim Hall capable of winning the championship depending on a variety of finishing scenarios. Jim qualified on pole for the final round at Las Vegas but after a few laps his wing started flapping uncontrollably due to fatigue failure in the control mechanism causing his retirement from second after Surtees took a dominant lead from the start. Hill damaged his car and ran much of the race scraping over 4th place until his wing also failed. Surtees easily won the race and the Inaugural Can Am title ahead of Mark Donohue with Hill finishing out of the points his championnship chances were shot.

A Chaparral 2E chassis 2E002 was entered in three events at the 13th Bahamas National Speed Weeks for Jim Halls Chaparral Cars Inc partner Hap Sharp. Hap won the Governor’s Trophy & Nassau Tourist Trophy from pole, finished 5th in the Nassau Classic Race and a non running 4th, again from pole in the Nassau Trophy Race in which Hap had an accident.

In 2005 Jim Hall teamed up with Jim Musser, who had contributed to the design of the 2E, known to be Hall’s favourite, to build a ‘limited number’ of continuation Chaparral 2E’s for use by classic racers. More on the continuation cars can be seen on this link to the Chaparral Official Website.

My thanks to Kayemod Rob, Tony 2F-001 Pashley, Supersox and Allen Brown Duc-man and mariner at The Nostalgia Forum for helping me to conclude that the car featured today maybe the surviving original 2E but is most likely one of two continuation models.

Thanks for joining me on this Jim’s Favourite edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Can Am Lola T70 Spyder. Don’t forget to come back now !


Triple 500 Crown – Lola T500

01 DSCN8489sc

During a run of success that included winning the US Formula 5000 championships from 1974 – ’76 with Brian Redman and Can Am 2 Championships with Patrick Tambay ’77 and ’80, Alan Jones ’78 and Jacky Ickx ’79, Jim Hall turned his attentions to the USAC champ car series in 1977. Hall and partner Carl Hass commisioned Lola to build the T500 a fresh design that was to be driven by Al Unser Snr in 1978.

02 09 07 03 028sc

The design was an instant success at Indianapolis Al qualified 2nd and led 121 laps to go to Victory Lane for the third time. Despite Al bending a front wing in the pit lane 20 laps from home pole sitter Tom Sneva in a Penske ran out of laps to catch the Lola which finished just 8 seconds ahead of Tom.

03 Image349sc

The ’78 Indy 500 was the first of ten that was won by a car powered by a turbocharged development of the 3 litre / 183 cui Cosworth DFV that dominated in Formula One from it’s introduction in 1966 to 1981. To meet the USAC regulations the DFV was downsized to 2650 cc / 161 cui and fitted with a Garrett turbo charger.

04 Image351sc

Engine designer Keith Duckworth described these motors as being like ‘hand grenades with the in pulled’. By the end of the DFX development programme the motors were producing 840 hp. Al Unser was also at the wheel of the last DFX powered car, a Penske, to enter victory lane at Indianapolis in 1987.

05 DSCN8500sc

Having won the 1978 Indy 500 Al Unser also won the two other 500 mile races in the USAC series at Pocono and Ontario becoming the first winner of the ‘Triple 500 Crown’. Al is seen driving the car above in the Daily Express 200 at Silverstone, England battling for the lead with Danny Ongias.

06 DSCN8507sc

Unfortunately the battle only lasted 4 laps, Ongias broke a drive shaft, Al led a good deal of the race but ran out of fuel right in front of me.

07 Indy80 027s

The T500 was used in Penzoil colours in early 1979 before Jim Halls Chaparral 2K was ready. In 1980 Jerry Sneva, seen in this photo by Ed Arnaudin, qualified 5th in this T500 and finished 17th in the Indy 500 two further T500’s were raced in this event driven by Tom Bigelow Q 31st F 8th and Gregg Leffler Q 23rd and F 10th.

My thanks to Steve Arnaudin for the scan of his Dad’s photo.

Hope you have enjoyed Triple 500 Crown edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !