Tag Archives: Parnell

Wide Body – Scirocco BRM SP-1-63

In 1962 American Tony Settember with backing from compatriot Hugh Powell made his Grand Prix debut driving a Coventry Climax powered Emeryson Mk2 in the British Grand Prix where he finished 11th from 19th on the Grid.

Tony qualified 21st and last for the 1962 Italian Grand Prix and retired, but undeterred Hugh Powell bought out Paul Emery at the end of the season and rebranded the team Scirocco for the 1963 season.

Scirocco BRM, Goodwood Revival,

The team commissioned Roy Thomas to build the chassis which features a combination of monocoque and tube frame elements, John Tojeiro to provide the suspension and Williams & Pritchard to provide the body work.

The new Scirocco’s were powered with V8 motor’s supplied by reigning World Champions BRM which were fitted to Colotti Type 34 six speed gearboxes.

Scirocco BRM, Delane, Goodwood Revival,

Two cars were completed for the 1963 season and were driven by Tony and Englishman Ian Burgess.

The teams world championship effort was disheartening, from 10 entries the team withdrew Ian’s car on three occasions Tony failed to qualify in Italy and the team did not record any finishes although Tony was classified 8th in Belgium despite retiring after an accident 7 laps from the finish.

Scirocco BRM, Goodwood Revival,

The high point of the teams qualifying for world championship races was Tony’s 18th place start in the British Grand Prix.

However alongside their championship programe the Scirocco Powell team made three non championship appearances and at the 1963 Austrian Grand Prix Tony qualified 8th in chassis #SP-1-63 seen in these photographs and brought the car home in 2nd place five laps down Jack Brabham’s Brabham BT3.

Scirocco BRM, Goodwood Revival,

The Scirocco Powell team folded at the end of 1963 and SP-2-63 was sold on to Equipe Scirocco Belge who had Tim Parnell fit a Coventry Climax V8 for André Pelitte who’s best result in 1964 was a 6th place finish in the non Championship News Of The World Trophy at Goodwood.

#SP-1-63 was built a bit wider than #SP-2-63 because Tony was a bit bigger then Ian, it is seen in these photographs at Goodwood Revival a couple of years ago with John Delane at the wheel.

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


All Sizes Including Chevy – ERA R4A

Continuing the 80th Anniversary Celebration of English Racing Automobiles, ERA, today’s featured vehicle ERA R4A was the first to be built for a customer, South African P G Fairfield and it was the first to be built in 1935.

ERA R4A, James Baxter, VSCC Prescott

ERA R4A was originally painted white and fitted with a 1.1 litre 67 cui supercharged motor and in this form Patrick Fairfield won the Mannin Beg street race on the Isle of Man, the Nuffield Trophy at Donington Park and the Dieppe Grand Prix support race for Voiturettes.

ERA R4A, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

After running the car in South African events in early 1936 Patrick returned R4A to the UK where it was fitted with a 1,500 cc / 91.5 cui motor. In this form Patrick and R4A recorded second place finishes in the British Empire Trophy at Donington Park and in the Picardy Grand Prix.

ERA R4A, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

Patrick recorded three wins in South African events in 1937 before he was killed during the 1937 Le Mans 24 hours race. R4A was acquired by Norman Wilson with the smaller 1,100 cc / 67 cui motor fitted. Norman raced R4A mostly in South Africa up until the outbreak of the ’39 – ’45 war in which he would loose his life while serving in the South African Air Force.

ERA R4A, James Baxter, VSCC Prescott

Reg Parnell looked after R4A from 1942 to 1945 before selling her to Bob Gerard. When Bob Gerard appeared with R4A at Cockfosters, one of Britains earliest post war motoring events, in July 1945 it had several modifications to the radiator surround which would eventually enclose a smaller radiator.

ERA R4A, James Baxter, VSCC Prescott

In 1948 Bob fitted the 2 litre / 122 cui which is seen in these photographs, at some point he also had radius rods to the rear suspension of R4A, R6B and R14B though these have since been removed from all three cars.

ERA R4A, James Baxter, VSCC Prescott

After ten years of ownership Bob sold R4A to John McAfee in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, and the following year it went to Jimmy de Villiers in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. During this period in Southern Africa up to the mid 1960’s R4A is said to have been fitted with a unspecified Chevrolet motor for a short time.

ERA R4A, Silverstone Classic,

I believe R4A is currently owned by NJ Topliss and is seen in these photo’s with James Baxter at the wheel during last years VSCC Prescott meeting.

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


Tubular Chassis San Remo – Maserati 4CLT #1608

During 1946 the development of the Maserati 4CL had seen the introduction of chassis construction using tubular section materials to stiffen the original channel / box section frame.

The following year at least two 4CL chassis were built with thicker tubular section materials replacing the channel / box sections all together.

Maserati 4CLT, Goodwood Revival

In 1947 at least one 4CL was fitted with a twin stage, supercharger, replacing the earlier single supercharger. It would appear that in 1948 the tubular construction combined with twin stage super charged motor, to which a new factory body was fitted, became the vehicle known as the 4 CLT.

On it’s debut in San Remo Alberto Ascari drove a 4CLT to victory ahead of the sister car of Luigi Villoresi, with Clemar Bucci making it a Maserati 1,2,3 driving and older 4CL. Villoresi won 3 more races aboard a 4CLT and Reg Parnell claimed one more for the 4 CLT model to claim 5 victories in 1948.

Maserati 4CLT, Goodwood Revival

In 1949 the 4CLT’s including chassis #1608 received minor modifications to the brakes, cockpit layout and oil tank and in the hands of Ascari, Villoresi, Parnell, Juan Manuel Fangio and Toulo de Graffenried 4CLT’s were credited with at least 10 wins from at least 27 Grand Prix or similar events for which they were legible to run that year.

The exact histories of particular 20 4CLT chassis built between 1948 and 1950 is difficult to ascertain from my small library. The internet has helped me to establish that today’s featured car chassis #1608 appears to have been built in 1949 and was delivered to Piero Carini in September of that year.

Maserati 4CLT, Goodwood Revival

The earliest reference I have been able to find for the car competing ‘in period’ is that it appears to have been raced on the 18th of December 1949 in the 15 lap IV Gran Premio del General Juan Perón y de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires from which Piero retired.

A couple of weeks later Piero also appears to have taken the start of the IV Gran Premio Extraordinario de Eva Duarte Perón at Buenos Aires driving the same car and is listed neither among the top 12 finishers or among the retirements.

A week later on the 15th of January 1950 Piero recorded a 12th place finish, 2 laps down, in the III Gran Premio Internacional del General San Martín El Torreón at Mar del Plata.

On January 22nd Piero is shown as retiring #1608 from the IV Copa Acción de San Lorenzo run at Rosario. Back in Europe Piero drove #1608 in the San Remo Grand Prix for which he qualified 10th, but spun out and stalled on lap 25.

Argentinian entrant José Vianini then took #1608 back to South America for the 1950/51 Temporada series in which it was driven by several yet to be identified drivers.

Uruguayan driver Azdrúbal Esteban Fontes Bayardo also known as “Pocho” is thought to have become the third owner of #1608 in 1952 and is described by one source as finishing sixth in the 1952 Eva Peron GP “in his Maserati 4CLT powered by a Chevrolet V8 engine”.

The last known ‘in period’ appearance of #1608 is on the 23rd of March 1952 in which ‘Pocho’ is listed as a starter. #1608 seen here at Goodwood today belongs to Klaus Lehr.

My thanks to Felix Muelas for posting his known results on the Argentinian Temporada series on The Nostalgia Forum in October 2000.

Thanks for joining me on this “Tubular Chassis San Remo” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 3 litre Bugatti. Don’t forget to come back now !


High Class Motor Business – Aston Martin DB2

David Brown Engineering Limited was founded in 1860 to manufacture gears and gearboxes in Huddersfield, by 1898 the company was specialising in machine cut gears. Percy and Frank Brown took over the business when their father died in 1903 and expanded production to include bearings, and worm gears. During the 1914-’18 war they also built propulsion units for warships.

Aston Martin DB2, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

In 1931 (later Sir) David Brown became managing director after his father died and in 1936 the company entered into a partnership with Harry Ferguson to build agricultural tractors. By the end of the thirties Brown and Ferguson parted ways and Brown launched a new tractor design in 1939 of which over 7,000 would be built.

Aston Martin DB2, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

In 1947 after seeing an advertisement in The Times offering a “High Class Motor Business” David Brown bought Aston Martin, then Lagonda the following year and the Tickford coachbuilder, in to whose premises Aston Martin production would be moved, in 1955.

Aston Martin DB2, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

David Browns ownership of Aston Martin led to the DB prefix for models, a 2 litre sports car manufactured from 1948 to 1950 was retrospectively known as the DB1. The Aston Martin DB2 replaced the 2 litre using a upgraded DB 1 chassis to take a 2.6 litre / 158 cui development of the twin overhead cam straight six engine which W O Bentley and William (Willie) Watson had originally designed for Lagonda.

Aston Martin DB2, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Three Aston Martin DB2’s were sent to Le Mans in 1950, George Abecassis and Lance Macklin finished fifth overall ahead of Charles Brackenbury and Reg Parnell to score a one – two class victory.

Aston Martin DB2, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

A car tested with the Frank Feeley designed coupé body was tested in 1950 and shown to be capable of reaching 60 mph from rest in 11.2 seconds with a top speed of 116 mph. In all 411 DB2’s were built between 1950 and 1953.

Today’s featured 1952 DB2 is seen at an Avenue Drivers Club meeting earlier this year.

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


Alf’s Shot – Walker Climax

When Stirling Moss won the 1958 Argentinian Grand Prix driving an underpowered Cooper Climax T43 he became the first man to win a Formula One Championship race driving a rear engined car and also the first man to win such a race in a privately entered car for wealthy Walkers Whiskey heir Rob Walker. At the following championship race Maurice Trintignant won for the second time at Monaco driving Walkers Cooper Climax T45.

Walker, a former racer, had promised his wife he would no longer race when he married in 1940 and after the 39/45 war he became a well respected entrant of all manner of cars starting with a Formula 2 Connaught for Tony Rolt in 1953 going on to include; a Lotus 18, the Ferguson P99 and a couple of Lotus 49’s, one of which became the last privately entered car to win a Formula One Championship race at Brand Hatch in 1968 with Jo Siffert at the wheel.

From 1971 to 1973 Rob joined forces with John Surtees, the following year he supporting a third Yardley sponsored McLaren for former Surtees Driver Mike Hailwood with his last financial involvement being in 1974 when he teamed up with Harry Stiller to enter a Hesketh for future, 1980, Formula One Champion Alan Jones, after which he continued as a time keeper for a number of teams.

Walker Climax, Goodwood Revival

1959 Stirling won two more championship races driving a Rob Cooper Climax T51 which was wrenched by chief mechanic Alf Francis with whom Stirling had worked through most of the 1950’s starting when Alf was working for HWM.

Alf Francis managed to persuade Moss and Rob Walker, who paid the bills, to let him have a shot at designing a Formula One car for the 1960 season. By all accounts out of loyalty they agreed and Alf working with former Ferrari and Maserati chassis designer Valerio Colotti, who had gone into business under the Studio Tecnica Meccanica, abbreviated to Tec Mec, name, came up with today’s featured Climax powered car

Stirling did test the car, but found it not to his liking so Moss and Walker opted to lease a Lotus 18 with which they won four races over the next two years with Stirling finishing 3rd in the championship in ’60 and ’61.

02 IMG_1435sc

Alf Francis had worked closely with Colotti when Moss bought a Maserati 250F in 1954 and went on to found Colotti Francis Systems. Alf Francis was later responsible for the Derrington Francis with engine tuner Vic Derrington. The ATS powered Derrington Francis made one appearance before Dan Gurney tested the car, after he had damaged it the Derrington Francis team folded.

Stirling Moss observed that his long serving mechanic Alf was like a good PA who thinks they can run the company and that when they set up they fail.

Although the Walker Climax never raced in period it has regularly appeared in historic events driven by owner Richard Parnell. Note Colotti’s involvement sometimes sees the car referred to as the Walker Climax Tec Mec Tipo 10.

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


British World Beater – BRM V16 Type 15 No. 1

After the on track success and commercial failure of his pre war English Racing Automobiles project and as the 1939-45 war drew to a close Raymond Mays returned to thoughts about how to build a British World Beater to compete in the highest form of motorsport.

BRM V16 P15 Mk 1, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

The saga that ensued was an object lesson in how not to go motor racing which began 2nd March 1945 when Raymond Mays announced an appeal to form a cooperative to design, build and race a national Grand Prix car.

BRM V16 P15 Mk 1, BRM Day, Bourne

Mays used his natural charm and reputation as a successful racing driver to attract over one hundred interested parties mostly from the motor industry and associated suppliers who were to contribute to the scheme with cash and or in kind.

BRM V16 P15 Mk 1, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Part of the problem with this way of working is that there were two many cooks, successful heads of industry, who in the kitchen that became known as the British Motor Racing Research Trust. As a result everything concerning the production of parts, running of the project and finances was done by committee. Note disc brakes did not appear on the BRM V16’s until 1952.

BRM V16 P15 Mk 1, BRM Day, Bourne

With more PR people, than mechanics, working for companies desperate to be associated with the project in order to drum up orders on the world stage the first of the new cars was completed at Bourne in 1949 and even given a run in the dead of night through the sleepy market hamlet of Bourne, Lincolnshire where it was built. Against May’s better judgement the car was shown to an eager audience of the Press on the 15th of December 1949.

BRM V16 P15 Mk 1, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The concept for the car including the engine is credited to Raymond Mays collaborator at ERA Peter Betherton. Betherton’s choice of 1.5 litre V16 architecture with the two banks of cylinders inclined at 135° seems to have been inspired by the pre war unraced prototype Alfa Romeo Tipo 162 designed by Wifredo Ricart which was said to produce 490 hp.

BRM V16 P15 Mk 1, BRM Day, Bourne

BRM’s V16 was in essence two V8’s with a drive taken from the crankshaft between the two halves. Fatally the car was supercharged by an aircraft type centrifugal supercharger developed by Rolls Royce. The problem with this type of supercharger is that it gives great power, for aircraft operating continuously at a high rev range BUT it is almost unmanageable in a racing car application where smooth power band is required from low revs. The BRM V16 is said to have produced 550 hp at 12,000 unforgettable ear splitting RPM, see 8m 22s into this clip turn your volume up loud !

BRM V16 P15 Mk 1, BRM Day, Bourne

The gearbox for the car was a copy from Mercedes Benz blueprints obtained as ‘war reparations’ of the type used on their pre war Grand Prix dominating cars.

BRM V16 P15 Mk 1, BRM Day, Bourne

The V16 BRM’s were supposed to make their debut at the 1950 British Grand Prix however they were still far from ready and instead one car did a couple of demonstration laps in front of future Queen Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip.

BRM V16 P15 Mk 1, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

When the V16 did make it’s debut in the hands of Raymond Sommer it arrived at 9:40 am on the morning of the 1950 non championship Daily Express Trophy after an all night engine rebuild at Bourne. The car had been flown at the race organisers expense twixt factory and circuit where Sommer needed to complete 3 quick laps before 10 am in order to be given dispensation to start from the back of the grid.

BRM V16 P15 Mk 1, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Come the race and an expectant crowd who had been given a souvenir pamphlet on the new British wonder when the flag dropped the field sped away leaving Sommer behind as a universal joint snapped leaving the car with no drive.

Later in 1950 Reg Parnel driving the same car seen here won two minor races at Goodwood in the rain and the following season Reg used chassis No.1 on the cars Grand Prix debut at Silverstone where he finished 5th enough to score a point in the world championship. Team mate Peter Walker came home 7th in No.2 like Reg he was suffering from the intense cockpit heat with the addition of neat fuel vapor fumes coming from the motor.

The following year Formula One was abandoned in favor of Formula Two, in part because in their efforts to sign Juan Manuel Fangio BRM reneged on a deal to race in Turin which gave the unintended message to other race organisers that BRM was unable to challenge Ferrari. Ferrari won the two world championships run to Formula Two regulations in 1952 and 1953.

Fangio did sign for BRM and in one of the few non championship races held in 1952 and 1953 and he took a great liking to the V16 BRM’s. Driving chassis No.1 at Albi he beat the Ferrari driven by Alberto Ascari in the heat but then retired from the lead of the final when a tyre failed damaging the hub and brake disc. This was the high point of the BRM’s career as a British World Beater, although it did win 15 non championship races between 1951 and 1954 in all.

If you want to know the whole story behind BRM I can wholeheartedly recommend “BRM The Saga of British Racing Motors” by Doug Nye. Volume one of a projected two took almost sixteen years to write and while I am ploughing through a copy of volume one kindly lent to me by Tim Murray BRM fans are eagerly anticipating the appearance of BRM Volume 4 which Doug has repeatedly told his fans is in the pipe line.

Thanks for joining me on this “British World Beater” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I shall be looking at a Formula One car from France. Don’t forget to come back now !

04 07 13 Errata the correct type designation for the original V16 BRM is Type 15, not P15, thanks to Tim Murray for pointing this out to me some time ago. Not also that the car featured here has been fitted with a later type large radiator and associated body work modifications first seen in 1952.