Tag Archives: Pabst

Scratched Entry – Lola T70 SL70/13

In 1955 aged just 15 John Mecom Jr went to work for one of the wealthiest independent oil men in Texas and indeed the world, namely his father John Whitfield Mecom Snr. By 1960 Jr had dropped out of University of Oklahoma, but was kept busy negotiating oil deals in the middle east and founding the Mecom Racing Team.

Lola T70, Silverstone Classic

The Mecom Racing Team ran sports cars for the likes of a young Roger Penske and Augie Pabst, a one off open wheel Formula One Lotus for Rob Schroeder in 1962, before running rookies Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill at the Indy 500 in 1966. Graham won the race which had been dominated by Jackie until 8 laps from the end.

Lola T70, Silverstone Classic

Today’s featured Lola T70, which I believe is chassis SL70/13, is one of at least three T70’s that were owned by the Mecom Racing Team. So far as I know the car was driven by Walt Hangsen in qualifying for the 1965 Las Vegas 200 mile race during which Walt crashed and seriously damaged the Ford 4.7 litre / 286 cui powered car after qualifying 6th fastest.

Lola T70, Jones, FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars, Silverstone Classic

As a result of the accident the Mecom Racing Team scratched their entries for this car and the sister chassis SL70/12, which was to have been driven by Jackie Stewart, from the 1965 Nassau Speed Week.

Lola T70, Silverstone Classic

Alongside his racing activities John Mecom Jr founded the New Orleans Saints football, grid iron, team in 1966 and wound up the Mecom Racing Team in 1967.

SL70/13 eventually found its way to the UK where Colin Parry-Williams raced it with a 5 litre / 302 cui Chevy motor in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Howard Jones is seen at the wheel of SL70/13, now powered by a 5.7 litre / 328 cui motor, about to take part in the FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars race at Silverstone Classic above. Howard acquired the car in 2006.

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


Weight Saving Pussycat – Jaguar E-Type Lightweight #S850659

Between 1963 and 1964 Jaguar built 12 Lightweight E-Type Jaguars with six cylinder engine blocks, monocoques and bodies all made from aluminium which saved 250 lbs / 114 kgs over the standard E-Type.

Today’s featured Ligthweight E-Type, chassis #S850659, is the seventh of the 12 to be built and was delivered to Briggs Cummingham in time for him to enter it into the Sebring 12 hours for Bruce McLaren and Walt Hansgen to drive.

Jaguar, XK-E, Lightweight, Blackhawk Museum

Bruce and Walt finished the race in 8th place one place and one lap down on the class winning Kjell Qvalle lightweight E-Type #S850660 driven by Ed Leslie and Frank Morrill.

The cars next appearance was at Le Mans in 1963, where Walt Augie Pabst replaced Bruce McLaren to share driving the #14 with Walt. By this time Briggs has acquired two more lightweight E-Types to make up an impressive 3 car team.

Jaguar, XK-E, Lightweight, Blackhawk Museum

After just 8 laps Walt retired the #14 with a broken four speed gearbox, the sister #16 manged just 40 laps before Paul Richards and Roy Salvadori retired with fire damage after an accident. Team Patron Briggs and Bob Grossman also had to pit after loosing it’s bonnet in an accident, but rejoined the race to finish 9th overall and second in class to the AC Cobra driven by Peter Bolton and Ninan Sanderson.

After Le Mans #S850659 was fitted with a 5 speed ZF gearbox by the factory and driven to a third place finish by Walt Hangsen in the 1963 Bridgehampton 500 kms.

The car seen in these photographs, by Geoffrey Horton at the Blackhawk Museum, last year was tested by Simon Taylor in 1996 when he described it as a “pussycat” to drive, a racing car one “could go shopping in”.

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


Automotive Treasure – Blackhawk Museum

While showing his Jaguar at the Danville Concours d’Elegance last month Geoffrey took a wonder around the automotive treasures at the Blackhawk Museum and kindly sent today’s photographs.

Mercedes Benz S Tourer, Blackhawk Museum

In 1927 Mercedes Benz replaced it’s Model K with the Model S which among it’s innovations introduced a chassis that was lowered between the front and rear axles, which dramatically lowered the cars wind resistance and lowered it’s center of gravity which improved the handling. 146 Model S vehicles were built, this 1928 example was bought new by the entertainer Al Jolson.

Minerva Type AM, Blackhawk Museum

Minerva was a Belgian manufacturer started by Dutchman Sylvain de Jong, like many motor manufacturers de Jong started building bicycles and by 1928 when he died had graduated to manufacture high end automobiles. The 1929 Minerva Type AM seen above was supplied as a chassis to which coach builbers Walter M Murphy of Pasadena, CA fitted a “Clear Vision” Convertible Sedan body. The six cylinder car would have been a little cheaper than a contemporary Rolls Royce.

Packard 120 Darrin Convertible Victoria, Blackhawk Museum

After a career working for European coach builders Howard “Dutch” Darrin set up a showroom and bodyshop in Hollywood California called Darrins of Paris to restyle automobiles for Hollywoods rich and famous. Among the cars he restyled was Preston Fosters 1939 Packard 120 seen above with Darrin Convertible Victoria bodywork. This car was later updated with 1941 Packard Super Eight grill, bumpers and headlights.

Fraser Nash 328 Sports, Blackhawk Museum

Fraser Nash were the British importers of BMW cars into Britain prior to the 1939-45 war. Of the 464 BMW 328’s the 1939 example seen above is one of six known to survived the war, it was fitted with a custom Sports 2 seater body by Fraser Nash and driven by Dickie Stoop and Peter Wilson in the 1949 24 hour race at Spa in Belgium where it came home 12th overall sixth in class.

Aston Martin DB 2/4 Mk 1 Bertone Coupé, Blackhawk Museum

The body of the red gem above is by Bertone of Italy while the chassis and engine is 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4. The Aston Martin DB2/4 Bertone Coupé is a one off prototype, no more were built because Aston Martin refused to supply any more DB2/4 chassis though it is by no means the only DB2/4 to feature unique Italian bodywork.

ALFA Romeo 1500 SSZ, Blackhawk Museum

When ALFA Romeo wanted a 4 cylinder 2 litre 122 cui motor in 1950 they redesigned their twin cam 6 cylinder 6C 2500 with two fewer cylinders and called it the 1900. The 1955 1900 Sprint Speciale SSZ seen above is one of around 40 thought to have been built with coachwork by Zagato featuring a double bubble roof.

Maserati 3500GT Vignale Spider, Blackhawk Museum

The 140 mph 1960 Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spider, above, is one of 243 built between 1957 and 1963. Fitted with drum brakes and a four speed gearbox it was more luxuriously appointed than the Ferrari 250 GT’s against which it competed in the market.

Jaguar XK-E Lightweight, Blackhawk Museum

In 1963 Briggs Cunningham entered 3 factory built Jaguar XK-E’s with hard top alloy bodies in the Le Mans 24 hours. One, 5115 WK qualified 20th and finished 9th, 5116 WK qualified 18th and was destroyed by fire after an accident on lap 40 while the car above driven by Augie Pabst and Walt Hangsen qualified 13th and retired in lap 8 with a broken gearbox.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs, more of which from the Blackhawk Museum will be seen on Friday.

Thanks for joining me on this “Automotive Treasure” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Americana Thursday when I’ll be looking at a Ford Thunderbird. Don’t forget to come back now !


Fast Cars and Fast Love – Ferrari 250 GTO #4219

Motor racing is littered with generous patrons but I venture to suggest that her wealth aside none has been quite so extraordinary as the 20 year old heiress from Asheville North Carolina known as Mamie Spears Reynolds.

In early 1963 she went to New York to see Luigi Chinetti with the intention of buying a Ferrari to enter in the Daytona Continental. She ended up buying today’s featured Ferrari 250 GTO chassis #4219 and finding love in the form of Luigi Chinetti’s son Luigi Chinetti Jr whom she married in July 1963.

Ferrari 250 GTO, Goodwood Revival

Mamie, heir to tobacco and mining fortunes along with the “Hope Diamond” had Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART) enter #4219 into the Daytona Continental for Pedro Rodriguez to drive and he promptly won the race. NART entered the car at the following Sebring 12 Hours for Joakim Bonnier and John Cannon in which they came home 13th overall.

In May 1963 Mamie sold #4219 to Beverly Spencer in California for US $14,000, Beverly entered the car in numerous events through ’63 and ’64 primarily for Frank Crane who’s best results were a 2nd overall at Laguna Seca and a class win at Candlestick Park Raceway.

Ferrari 250 GTO, Goodwood Revival

At the end of 1964 Spencer sold the car to George Dyer for US $12,166. George had the now white #4219 painted dark blue and kept it until January 1993 when he sold the car to Brandon Wang the present owner for an estimated US$ 3 – 3.5 million.

By October 1965 Mamie and Chinetti jr were not getting on and after a private phone call to J Edgar Hoover she was liberated by “agents” and promptly divorced Chinetti jr and remarried a dog breeder the same day with whom she appears to have settled down for good.

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