Tag Archives: Siffert

The Blank Car – Chevron Cosworth B16 #B16-DBE-27

1969 saw Derek Bennetts Chevron launch what turned out to be it’s final closed cockpit model the B16, most of which were powered by 4 cylinder Cosworth FVA or larger FVC motors, though at least one was powered by a Mazda rotary and at least two more were raced with BMW motors.

Chevron Cosworth B16, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

23 Chevron B16’s are believed to have been built, 20 from 1969 to 1970 and three more in 1971, however the desirability of these coupés has increased since the 1980’s and many more than the original 23 exist today as numerous continuation and replica examples have been built and are still available to order from Chevron.

Chevron Cosworth B16, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

I believe the Cosworth powered chassis #B16-DBE-27 was originally delivered to Chevrons Swiss agent and noted racing driver Jo Siffert who sold it onto fellow Swiss driver Arthur Blank who took it hill climbing and won at least one race at Ulm-Laupheim in Germany with it.

Chevron Cosworth B16, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Shortly afterwards the car is said to have been burnt out in a club race and it is believed the useable remains or at the very least the chassis plate were built up into a Steinmetz Opel powered B19 spyder, as were numerous other B16’s after the closed cockpit class for sports racing cars was abandoned.

Chevron Cosworth B16, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Arthur Blank entered his B19 in at least two races at the Nurburgring and Le Mans in 1971 for himself and “Brilliant” Bob Wollek to drive but it would appear the car never took part in either event and Bob appears never to have raced this B19 which Arthur drove to a second place finish in class at Hockenheim at the end of 1971.

Chevron Cosworth B16, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Arthur continued to compete in the B19 through 1972 mostly in hillclimbs and did a deal with Austrian Freddy Link to drive the car, now with a Ford motor installed, at Interlagos where Freddy finished 18th in the 500km race.

It is believed Arthur then upgraded his B19 to B21 spec, as were many other B19’s, which he again took hill climbing in 1973, Gerhard Kobler competed with the car in 1974 and 1975 running a turbocharged Cosworth motor until crashing it while testing at Misano. Chevron aficionado Vin Malkie appears to have been responsible for restoring the B21 spec car back to B16 spec with bodywork in Arthur Blank’s 1970 colours.

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


A Short Tale – Porsche 917K #917-015

Despite the success of winning the 1969 International Championship for Makes handsomely with a maximum of 45 points with their 3 litre/183 cui 908 model Porsche officially withdrew from the series with two rounds to go having failed to win any of the three marquee events of the series at Daytona, won by Roger Penske’s Lola Chevrolet T70, Sebring and Le Mans won by John Wyers ancient Gulf Sponsored Ford GT40 Mk I’s.

Porsche came to an agreement with John Wyer to run a works supported team of 917’s in all but the Targa Florio and Nurburgring rounds of the 1970 series where the 908 was deemed sufficiently competitive to win outright as it had the previous season.

John Wyers JW Automotive Team tested a 917 at Zeltweg in October 1969 and developed the Kurz Heck, also known as K, KH and Short Tale bodywork seen on today’s featured car, the rear aerofoil would first appear mid season at Le Mans.

Porsche 917K, Niello Concours at Serrano,

The first round of the 1970 International Championship for Makes was the 24 hour race at Daytona where Pedro Rodriguez Leo Kinnunen and Brian Redman qualified chassis #917-015 2nd behind the debutant Ferrari 512S model driven by Mario Andretti, Arturo Merzario and Jacky Ickx.

Pedro, Leo and Brian won the race by 45 laps from the sister car shared by Brian and Jo Siffert with the Ferrari of Mario, Art and Jacky 3 laps further back.

Chassis #015 was used as a team spare at Sebring where Mario Mario was drafted in to join Ignazio Giunti and Nino Vaccarella to drive the race of his life to secure Ferrari’s only championship win of the season.

Porsche 917K, Niello Concours at Serrano,

At the 1970 Watkins Glen Can Am round chassis #015 made it’s only other race appearance of the season with a smart new paint job and a rear wing fitted, Brian finished the race in seventh place and for the remainder of the season the car reverted to the role of team spare.

Porsche went on to secure the 1970 International Championship for Makes with a maximum 63 points from Ferrari, JW Automotive won seven of the ten races only being usurped by the Porsche Salzburg 917 at Le Mans. JW Automotive and Porsche Salzburg each won a race Targa Florio and Nurburgring respectively with the older 908 spyder model.

Now it get’s complicated Porsche sold the chassis #015 to the Finish AAW team while retaining the chassis tag which Porsche reassigned to #917-035 which was taken from stock and given to JW Automotive for the 1971 season.

AAW rebuilt chassis #015 into a spyder and fitted the motor from their 917 chassis number #917-021, the complete car was given the identity #917-01-021.

Leo Kinnunen, who remember had won the 1970 Daytona 24 hours in the chassis with it’s orignal ID tag, was employed to drive #917-01-021 in the 1971 Interserie Championship, a European unlimited series.

The flying Fin Leo scored an outright win at home in Keimola with enough further placings to secure the 1971 Interserie Championship.

Many years later Kevin and Bob Rapp took #01-021 to Gunnar Racing who reconstructed #015 as it is seen in today’s photograph’s, using those parts of the original #917-015 chassis that remained and reconstructed the spyder #917-01-021 from the remainder with a new chassis.

Using respected historian Doug Nye’s principal that a chassis history is not transferable, with it’s chassis plate for example, then today’s featured car can be seen as the original #917-015, though I suspect the Porsche #917-035 which was given the #015 tag by the factory in 1971 probably still has that tag attached, 035/015 which is most certainly not the car that won the 1970 Daytona 24 hour race, today can be seen at the Porsche Museum.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs of Bruce Canepa’s Porsche 917 at Niello Concours at Serrano a couple of years ago.

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


Sechzehnzylinder Monster – Porsche 917 PA #917-027

With few entrants ready, willing and or able to compete in the 3 litre / 183 cui prototype sports car class in April 1968 the governing CSI reduced the production numbers mandated to compete in the 5 litre / 302 cui sport category from 50 to 25.

With this change in regulations Porsche saw an opportunity to build a 917 Coupé powered by a Type 912 12 cylinder motor that would give it a shot at winning the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hour race.

Porsche 917 PA, Goodwood Festival of Speed

An unforeseen benefit of the Porsche 917 Le Mans programme arose when Porsche decided to have a crack at the North American Can Am series for unlimited sports cars in mid 1969.

For it’s first attempt at the Can Am series Porsche built two 917 PA spiders one of which would enter the fray midway through the 1969 Can Am series driven by Jo Siffert.

Porsche 917 PA, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Today’s featured car chassis #917-027 was the first of the two chassis and it was retained at the Porsche factory for development purposes.

It soon became apparent that the 917 PA was too heavy and not developing enough horsepower to compete with the dominant McLaren’s driven by Peter Revson and Denny Hulme so Porsche looked at two ways of getting more horsepower from the type 912 flat 12 motor they had developed originally to tackle Le Mans.

Porsche 917 PA, Goodwood Festival of Speed

One was to turbocharge the existing engine and the other was to add 2 additional cylinders to either end of the 912 flat twelve whose cam shafts were centrally driven.

After testing the 840hp 6.700 litre / 408.9 cui sixteen cylinder car Mark Donohue described it as a monster which in turbocharged form might have produced 2000hp.

Porsche 917 PA, Goodwood Festival of Speed

However the engineers at Weissach came to the conclusion that the 1000hp and more available from the turbocharged 12 cylinder motor would be more than sufficient to do the job, and so it proved.

George Follmer captured the 1972 Can Am title driving Roger Penske’s L&M Porsche 917/10 after Penske’s No 1 driver Mark Donohue was injured and had to miss 5 rounds of the nine race series.

Porsche 917 PA, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Mark Donohue followed that up in 1973 by capturing the title in Roger Penske’s Sunoco Porsche 917/30.

Thanks for joining me on this “Sechzehnzylinder Monster” 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 !


Jo & Brian – Volkswagen Type 2 (T1)

Being a racing fan who once attempted to give his FIAT 128 a Ferrari 312T2 paint job before thinking better of it, I have always admired those who managed to paint their road vehicles with convincing racing colour schemes. This months Saturday blogs will be a tribute to those who persevered where I gave up.

Gulf VW Type 2 (T1), Gold Cup, Oulton Park

I particularly liked the Gulf Oils paint job on this 1957 Volkswagen Type 2 (T1) because the names of works Gulf Porsche drivers Jo “Seppi” Siffert and Brian Redman appear just above the door handle.

Gulf VW Type 2 (T1), Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Not sure why this vehicle is carrying what appears to be a washing machine drum on the roof while it is parked up at Oulton Park for the Gold Cup, but if you have any amusing idea’s please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Thanks for joining me on this “Jo & Brian” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an early Williams Grand Prix car. Don’t forget to come back now !


Mr Consistency – Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance

Last month Geoffrey Horton trailered his immaculate Jaguar XK140 FHC SE/MC over to Hillsborough for the Concours d’Elegance, while he was there he kindly took today’s photographs to share with us.

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Among the many participants was this magnificent supercharged Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Grand Sport of the type than won the Mille Miglia in 1929 an 1930 and the Spa 24 Hours race, so far as I know no one has ever come up with a definitive reason why these cars raced with front red light covers, if you know please chime in below.

Cadillac V16,Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Another car from 1930 was this Cadillac V16, first V16 powered car to enter production in 1930, which lasted until 1940.

Bentley 3 1/2 litre, Thrupp & Maberly,Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

The plaque in front of this 1934 Derby built Bentley 3 1/2 litre with coachwork by Thrupp & Maberly says that it was built for Lord Feversham, I believe he may also have been known as the 3rd Earl of Feversham a politician who served as the Conservative government whip in the House of Lords at the time the car was built.

Jaguar XK120 DHC, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Among the stuff competition in Geoffrey’s class was the Jaguar XK12O DHC.

Allard K2, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Only just noticed this 1951 Allard K2 has appeared on this blog before, Jay Wollenberger snapped it at last years Danville Concours d’Elegance.

Ford 500 Sunliner, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

In my mind, anyone driving around in a gargantuan land yacht like this 1957 Ford 500 Sunliner just has to have a smile on their face, if they don’t it should be made compulsory.

AC Bristol Ace Zagato, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Several vehicles with Zagato bodies were present like this 1957 Bristol powered AC Ace. This unique car, as in only one, with trade mark Zagato double bubble roof apparently counts Grand Prix race winner Jo “Seppi” Siffert amoungst it’s previous owners.

Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Despite having covered enough laps to finish 9th at Le Mans in 1961 Frenchman Jean Kerguen and Jacques Dewes retired from the race and therefore recorded a did not finish in this 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT one of only 19 built with a Zagato body.

ALFA Romeo, Giulietta Sprint Special, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Launched in 1959 the ALFA Romeo Giulietta Sprint Special was built as production racing car to compete against the likes of Porsche’s 356, the example seen here was built in 1966.

Jaguar XK140 FHC SE, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Finally our man Geoffrey got to drive up the ramp of honour to collect a second place finish with his Jaguar XK140 FHC. Belated congratulations and many thanks to him for sharing his photographs.

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


What’s In A Tooth ? – Lotus Ford 49 #R2 & #R3

The Lotus 49 consolidated the principle of using the motor that as an integral structural component of the design that was first seen on the BRM P83 and Lotus 43 which were both powered by the novel BRM H16 motor in 1966. The 49, designed by Maurice Phillipe however was powered by the then brand new, and much simpler Ford sponsored 3 litre / 183 cui 8 cylinder Cosworth DFV that was the brainchild of Keith Duckworth and Mike Costin.

Lotus 49, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Despite many faults that would surface and be ironed out over the ensuing seasons the Lotus 49’s made a dream debut at Zandvoort for the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix with Graham Hill qualifying on pole and Jim Clark who had never so much as sat in the car before the first practice qualifying 8th. During the race Clark driving chassis #R2, seen above with Jackie Oliver at the wheel at Goodwood, used his legendary speed and mechanical sympathy to well judged victory while Hill experienced timing gear failure with two teeth next to each other on the timing gear breaking. After the race it was discovered Clark’s car had experienced a similar failure however a single tooth remained between the two broken teeth on Clarks timing gear ensuring just enough drive to make it to the finish.

Clark used Chassis #R2 to win both the 1967 British and US Grand Prix before being converted to 49T spec for the Tasman Series of races in Australasia which required an engine capacity of 2.5 litres / 152.5 cui which was achieved by fitting a different crankshaft with a shorter stroke to the DFV motors making them DFW spec. Jim won 4 races in the 8 race Series with the 49T spec chassis #R2 which combined with a couple of points paying places was enough to win the Championship from Chris Amon in his Ferrari 246 Dino.

Chassis #R2 was then loaned to Rob Walker racing during 1968 to replace chassis #R4 which driver Jo Siffert had crashed on his debut in a non championship race at Brands Hatch. Although #R4 was not damaged beyond repair by that accident it was subsequently destroyed in a workshop fire at Rob Walkers premises necessitating the loan of #R2. Once Walkers team had built up a new car, chassis #R7 now in B spec with the tall rear wing, which Siffert used to win the 1968 British GP.

Once chassis #R2 was returned by Rob Walker to Lotus it was immediately pressed into service again after Jackie Oliver had a comprehensive accident in #R6 at the 1968 French GP. For the British Grand Prix #R2 was repainted in Gold Leaf Team Lotus colours and fitted with the winged 49B spec nose cone and high rear wing. The car received further B spec upgrades for the German Grand Prix. Oliver would use chassis #R2 for the remainder of the 1968 season scoring a best 3rd place finish at the season finale in Mexico.

Lotus 49, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

The car seen above at Beaulieu National Motor Museum is chassis #R3 which featured subtle differences to chassis #R1 and #R2 to aid the distribution of loads under braking at the front and to aid access to the brake balance adjuster which had previously only been possible by two mechanics picking up a third smaller mechanic and lowering him into the cockpit upside down ! Note the sculpture of Graham Hill on the plinth to the left of the car in this photo.

Lotus 49, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

Chassis #R3 first appeared at the 1967 British Grand Prix with Graham Hill at the wheel, he qualified 2nd behind Clark but while leading the race first an allen screw dropped off the rear suspension and after it was replaced the engine failed while he was making up good time. Chassis #R3 has the second longest track record of the 12 Lotus 49’s built.

After Hill scored a season best 2nd place in the 1967 US Grand Prix, behind Clark, and opened his championship winning 1968 season with another second place, again behind Clark at Kyalami chassis #R3 was sold to Rhodesian John Love who used the car to win the last two of six consecutive South African Formula One titles in 1968 and 1969, his successor Dave Carlton won the 1970 South African Championship driving the Lotus 49 chassis #R8 which was built to the final C spec.

Lotus 49, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

The 400 hp Ford Cosworth DFV was to become the mainstay of Formula One right through the 1970’s, it was far in advance of the Lotus 49 chassis and would only be toppled by the hugely more expensive turbocharged motors in the early 1980’s after 155 Grand Prix Victories. One of the triangular aluminium top engine mountings can be seen bolted with three bolts on the leading edge of the cam cover tapering into the back of the monocoque to which it was attached by a single bolt. Three further such mountings were all that were required to integrate the motor into the structure of the car.

Lotus 49, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

The rear suspension and drive shafts and gearbox would repeatedly prove trouble some for team Lotus as they got to grips with having such a powerful motor. The ZF gearbox in it’s original form was not strong enough and required additional strengthening which can be seen in the form of the thick vertical plate into which the drive shaft disappears. The ZF gearboxes were replaced on the 1968 B spec cars with Hewland units which were much easier to maintain trackside.

Lotus 49, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

The vestigal nudge bar was added to the back of the ZF gearboxes after the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix win in order to comply with a regulation about the dimensions between the end of the exhaust pipe and the back of the car. In other words when Jim Clark won the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix his Lotus 49 did not comply fully to the letter of the existing regulations.

Chassis #R3 is the only one of the Lotus 49’s never to run in B or C spec. Since it has been in the care of the National Motor Museum it has been involved in two serious accidents. The first, on a demonstration run, involved a tree in the Beaulieu grounds where it is kept in 1999 further details of the accident damage can be seen on this link. The second accident with the same driver occurred at a Silverstone Press Day in 2009 fortunately the damage was restricted ‘only’ to the left side suspension as can be seen in these linked photo’s.

Thanks for joining me on this “What Is In A Tooth ?” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be looking at a GSM Delta. Don’t forget to come back now !