Tag Archives: Marlboro

Stop Gap – Williams Cosworth FX3B #FX3/2

Sunday’s for November will feature a few more Formula One Cars from the 1973 season, the season during which my interest in Motor Sport became a passion.

Today’s featured car the Williams Cosworth FX3 was designed in 1971 by Len Bailey who after working for British Motor Corporation, Daimler and Rover emigrated to the USA where he worked for American Motors on their first V8 and Ford on the prototype Mustang. Len returned to the UK with Ford Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) and worked on the original Ford GT Le Mans contenders and after SVO was taken over by JW Automotive he worked on the design of several mostly Ford powered prototype sports cars including the Ford P68 and later Mirage M6 both of which were powered by the Cosworth designed, Ford financed DFV.

Williams Cosworth FX3/2, Donington Park Museum

Williams had intended for the Len Bailey designed car to be built and running in 1971 but a shortage of funds meant the car was not ready until the 1972 British Grand Prix by which time Williams had done a deal with Politoys to call the car the Politoys FX3.

Williams Cosworth FX3/2, Donington Park Museum

1972 Le Mans winner Henri Pescarolo qualified the Frank Williams Racing Cars entered Politoys 26th on it’s debut at the 1972 British Grand Prix but retired after 7 laps due to a suspension failure which caused an accident from which Henri emerged unscathed.

Williams Cosworth FX3/2, Donington Park Museum

The Politoys was repaired in time for Chris Amon to drive it in the non championship John Player Challenge Trophy for which he qualified 20th but retired after 33 laps with engine failure.

Williams Cosworth FX3/2, Donington Park Museum

For 1973 Frank Williams did deals with Iso Rivolta and Marlboro for the 1973 season and his cars became known as Iso Marlboro Fords. For the start of the 1973 season the 1972 Politoys FX3 was upgraded to B specification with a shovel like nose replacing the winged original and a second car, the one featured today, was built up to join it though both cars known as Iso Marlboro Ford FX3B’s would only remain legal until the 1973 Spanish Grand Prix when new rules concerning fuel tank safety would make them both obsolete.

Williams Cosworth FX3/2, Donington Park Museum

Howden Ganley drove today’s featured car, seen at the Donington Park Museum, in five races 2 of which were non championship events with a best result of 7th in the 1973 Brazilian Grand Prix. Tony Trimmer scored the models best in period result at Brands Hatch where he finished 4th in the non championship Race of Champions watched by a 14 year old who became the author of today’s piece.

For the 1973 Spanish Grand Prix Williams had 3 new cars built to meet the new safety requirements that were designed by John Clarke with IR model numbers.

Today’s featured car was next seen racing on two occasions in Formula Libre events at Mallory Park in 1983 powered by a Formula 5000 motor and driven by Alistair Thompson to 2nd place and 4th place finishes. Later still a Ford Cosworth DFV was refitted to #FX3/2 the car was raced by Richard Peacock.

After spending much of the 1990’s in Italy it would appear that #FX3/2 is currently being offered for sale by Hall & Hall in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

My thanks to everyone who contributed to the Williams FX3B thread at The Nostalgia Forum for additional information relating to today’s post.

Thanks for joining me on today’s “Stop Gap” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be returning to the Monday Pick Up feature. Don’t forget to come back now !

Errata, my thanks to Tim Murray for pointing out it was Len Bailey who designed the Williams FX3 not Len Terry as originally stated and subsequently corrected. Apologies for any confusion.


Rolling Into Records – Howmet TX #2

In 1967 Philadelphian sports car racer Ray Heppenstall persuaded his friend Tom Fleming that a conventional sports car with an aircraft gas turbine engine might make a competitive racing car. Fleming, sales vice-president of Howmet a major suppliers of precision castings to the aircraft gas turbine industry, and Heppenstall in turn convinced the board of Howmet that such a program would be a great way to promote their business.

Two spaceframe chassis based on a Can Am design were built and fitted with Continental TS325-1 turboshaft motors that were donated from a batch of ten motors Continental had developed for a failed observation helicopter contract. The motors produced 330 hp and were given a 3 litre / 183 cui equivalency rating by the regulation governing FIA. In order to comply with the reverse gear regulations a separate electric motor drive was employed.

Howmet TX, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Today’s featured car chassis #2 is the second of the two Howmet’s built with a slightly longer wheel base. The week after Ray had recorded the teams first victory and the first ever for a gas turbine powered car at Huntsville, Dick Thompson repeated the feat driving #2 at Marlboro winning the SCCA Preliminary then sharing the car with Ray to win the 300 mile feature race.

In July ’68 Ray and Dick shared chassis #2 again to come home third overall and first in class at the Watkins Glen 6 hour race behind a pair of 4.7 litre / 286 cui Ford GT40’s.

Howmet TX, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Ray recorded a third place finish driving chassis #2 at Donnybrook in August ’68 before both Howmet’s were shipped to Europe for the Le Mans 24 Hours, which had been delayed until September from it’s usual June date by civil unrest and strikes involving 11,000,000 French workers.

#2 was the faster of the two Howmets in qualifying for the 24 hour endurance classic Dick and Ray qualifying 20th two seconds faster and four spots ahead of the sister machine driven by Hugh Dibley and Bob Tullis. In the race the cars were hampered on the corners because the single gear was designed to optimise performance on the 4 mile Mulsanne straight.

Dibley / Tullis were disqualified after a three hour pit stop to change a rear hub bearing for covering insufficient distance after seven hours, while #GTP2 had a faulty fuel control which restricted the cars top speed to just 100 mph. During the evening Dick lost control and rolled the car at the slightly banked Indianapolis corner.

Howmet TX, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Note the rear lights sourced from the original iteration of the Ford Cortina, according to Bob Mckee other proprietary parts used to finish the Howmet included front indicators from a Ferrari, Porsche wipers, modified Triumph steering and Mustang door latches.

Howmet withdrew their support for the project after Le Mans having determined the disadvantages of throttle lag, running the car with a single gear, absence of engine braking and high fuel consumption were insurmountable issues for competitive entries in the long run.

Ray Heppenstall rebuilt #GTP2 with open spyder bodywork and in 1970 timed by IMSA officials recorded six World Records for standing starts over 1/4 mile, 1/2 km and 1 km distances in two weight divisions for vehicles upto and over 1000 kgs. Ray’s fastest speed of 167.97 mph was recorded in the lighter division over 1 km all set on a stretch of open road adjacent to Talladega Super Speedway !

With the motors returned to Continental Ray bought the worlds only gas turbine powered race winning cars for a nominal dollar from Howmet in 1971. Chuck Haynes had Bob McKee restore #2 back into Coupé form in 1996, it is now fitted with an Allison 250C18 turboshaft helicopter motor which is lighter but with a similar power output to the original.

My thanks to Pete Stowe for additional in formation on the Hownet’s regarding the records chassis numbers and a quote from Bob Mckee on the proprietary parts used.

Thanks for joining me on this “Rolling Into Records” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

PS Push to Pass Latest Formula One news and opinion today at Motorsports Unplugged


Fifty Fifty – BRM P160E # P160-07

For 1972 BRM lost their Yardley sponsorship but managed to land an even bigger sponsor in the form of Philip Morris who were interested in stealing some of the lime light Players were basking in thanks to their “Gold Leaf” brand logo’s appearing on the championship winning Lotus cars of Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt in 1968 and 1970 respectively.

BRM P160 E, BRM Day, Bourne

In order to give Philip Morris’s Marlboro brand maximum exposure BRM determined it would enter every Grand Prix of the 1972 season with five 48 valve V12 powered cars of three different designs dating back to 1970 with a roster of eight different drivers. Some how Jean Pierre Beltoise managed to keep his head in the ensuing chaos and won the Monaco Grand Prix in a BRM P160 a design dating back to 1971 and the final non championship John Player Victory Trophy race of the season in the new for 1972 BRM P180. These two races would prove to be the last ever contemporary Formula One race victories for the team ever.

BRM P160 E, BRM Day, Bourne

For 1973 designer Tony Southgate left the chaos at BRM to start afresh with the new Shadow Team while BRM decided to downscale to a three car operation for a more or less regular trio of drivers, using an updated version of the BRM P160. Swiss driver Clay Regazzoni who was on what turned out to be a one year sabbatical from Ferrari and Frenchman Jean Pierre Beltoise BRM’s incumbent winner who was in the middle of a three year stint at British Racing Motors (BRM) were joined by a young Austrian upstart called Niki Lauda who decided that suicide was best avoided in favour of yet another bank loan for one last attempt at hitting the big time in Formula One.

BRM P160 E, BRM Day, Bourne

Clay Regazzoni made an immediate impact by winning pole for the first race of the 1973 season at the Argentinian Grand Prix but from there things went steadily down hill for the team particularly after they had locked out the first three starting positions for the 1973 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch with Beltoise and Lauda sharing the fastest lap of the race with the Lotus of Ronnie Peterson.

BRM P160 E, BRM Day, Bourne

At the very next race the non championship International Trophy held at Silverstone today’s featured chassis #P160-07 the first of four E specification chassis, appeared for the first time with Clay Regazzoni qualifying 8th and finishing a respectable 3rd. Clay drove the car on five more occasions failing to improve on 8th in qualifying and slipping no lower than 12th and finishing similarly.

BRM P160 E, BRM Day, Bourne

#P160-07 was not used for the British Grand Prix and when it reappeared at the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix Jean Pierre Beltoise was at the wheel. Beltoise qualified the car no better than ninth and no worse than 16th in 6 races netting two 5th place finishes and a season high 4th place finish at the Canadian Grand Prix from a 16th place start.

JP Beltoise drove #P160-07 on it’s last in period appearance at the 1973 US Grand Prix where the car finished 9th from a 14th place start after which the car was briefly fitted with a Westlake V12 for testing in 1974 again with Beltoise at the wheel. By now Regazzoni had signed to rejoin Ferrari and on his recommendation Ferrari signed Niki Lauda to join him and so the Austrian finally started repaying his bank loans on his way to becoming a triple World Champion.

Philip Morris moved their Marlboro sponsorship to McLaren in 1974 with whom they won the first of many championships with Emerson Fittipaldi at the wheel in the opening year of their thirty year partnership.

Tony Southgates new for 1973 Shadow DN1 design did not better his BRM P160 design the Shadow team finishing 8th at the seasons end, 3 points and one spot below BRM in the championship table.

Today’s featured car was seen at last years BRM Day in it’s home town Bourne, Linconshire with J Burt at the wheel.

Thanks for joining me on this “Fifty Fifty” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !