Tag Archives: Surtees

Figlio Del Vento – Mercedes Benz W198 300 SL Coupé #198 040 65 00279

Aged 18 John Surtees finished 6th aboard his Norton 500 on his debut in Grand Prix Motor cycle racing at the 1952 Ulster Grand Prix.

In 1955 John won his first and only 250 cc Grand Prix aboard an NSU at Ulster which helped secure a ride with MV Agusta with whom he would remain for the rest of his motorcycle racing career up until the end of 1960.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

Now focusing on the 350 and 500 classes John won his first World Championship in the 500 class in 1956, the year in which today’s featured Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé was built, with three wins from three starts.

1957 was not such a good year for the partnership netting just a single win in the 500cc Dutch Grand Prix, but they bounced back in 1958 and 1959 by sweeping all the Grand Prix races in 350cc and 500cc classes to give John 25 Grand Prix wins and four World Championship titles.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

In the final year of their partnership John, who by now was known as “figlio del vento” son of the wind, won two 350 cc Grand Prix and 5 500 cc Grand Prix to secure two more World Championship titles and became the first man to win the Senior Isle of Man TT three times in a row.

MV Agusta were reluctant to supply bikes for John to race in UK, when not Grand Prix racing, so he became involved with racing on four wheels making his debut in Formula Junior and then quickly progressing to Formula One making four Grand Prix appearances with team Lotus in 1960 that culminated with a second place finish behind Jack Brabham in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

With seven World Championships to his credit on two wheels John switched all of his attention to racing on four wheels from 1961 electing to decline an offer to be Jim Clark’s number two at Lotus in favour of a two year spell with Reg Parnell’s Yeomam Credit team which ran Climax powered Cooper T53’s in 1961 and Lola Mk4’s in 1962.

Two second places in Britain and Germany and 4th in the final Championship standings with the Lola aroused the attention of Enzo Ferrari who signed John for the 1963 season.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

John finished the 1963 season 4th in championship again, but this time with his first Grand Prix win on four wheels at the German Grand Prix.

In 1964 with the Ferrari 158 the team were resurgent with wins in Germany and Italy backed up by second place finishes in Holland, the USA and Mexico were enough for John to become the first and so far only man to win World Championships of two wheels and four.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

Lotus and BRM gained the upper hand again in 1965 when John finished the Championship in fifth behind Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and Brabham driver Dan Gurney.

Ferrari looked to be best prepared for the start of the 3-Litre era of Formula One and a win in Belgium looked to confirm John as the most likely candidate to win the title, but then a disagreement with Ferrari management at Le Mans saw John walk away from Marranello and into one of the only other 3 litre cars available the Cooper Maserati T81.

Over the remainder of the season John finished 2nd in Germany, 3rd in the USA and first in Mexico, finishing second in the Championship to Jack Brabham who became the first and so far only driver to win the World Formula One Championship in a car bearing his own name.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

During the second half of 1966 John drove a works supported Lola T70 in the Can Am Championship and became it’s inaugural champion with 3 race wins.

In 1967 started a two year spell with Honda in Formula One that brought John’s final Championship Formula One win at the 1967 Italian Grand Prix after John had introduced Lola’s Eric Broadley designed chassis to the team.

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé, Edenbridge Fun Day,

John spent one year at BRM, with whom he finished a best third in the USA, in 1969 before turning the Surtees Racing Organisation, SRO, in Edenbridge in to a constructor of racing cars that in Formula 2, Formula 5000 and Formula One.

Fellow motor cycle world champion Mike Hailwood won the 1972 European Formula 2 Championship driving a Surtees TS10 in 1972, the same year that Gijs van Lennep drove a Surtees TS 11 in all but one round of the 1972 Rothmans European Formula 5000 Championship which he won.

The Championship highlight of the SRO challenge in Formula One, which lasted until 1978, was Mike Hailwood’s 2nd place finish in the 1972 Italian Grand Prix the year the team finished it’s all time high 5th in the constructors championship.

John also won the non Championship Gold Cup at Oulton Park driving a TS7 in 1970 and a TS9 in 1971, the following season the debut of the TS14 at Monza would be his final Grand Prix start before retiring, though he added a further Gold Cup win in 1981, when the race was run for historic cars, driving a Maserati 250F.

Today’s featured 1956 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupé # 198 040 65 00279, originally sold to a customer in the USA, was bought by John in the early 1990’s and registered in the UK on the 23rd of June 1992, he kept it until 2008.

The car, seen at a recent Edenbridge Fun Day, was bought by it’s current owner at the Coy’s Techno Classica 2011 Auction for just north of half a million dollars.

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


Non Championship Contender – Surtees Cosworth TS16 #TS16-04

1974 looked promising for the Surtees Racing Organisation despite the fact they were running on the unfavoured Firestone tyres they replaced the McLaren bound Mike Hailwood by promoting their 1973 Formula 2 driver Jochen Mass to a full time drive alongside the rapid Brazilian Carlos Pace.

Surtees TS16, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

The team had a new car in the form of the TS16, that was lighter than the previous TS14 model on which it was based.

Surtees TS16, Simon Fish, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

Shortly after the start of the season at the South African Grand Prix they announced Hi Fidelity manufactures Bang & Olufsen as primary sponsor alongside toy manufacturer Matchbox and the Fina fuel brand.

Surtees TS16, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

However despite the good omens of a championship high 4th place finish for Carlos in the Brazilian GP and season high 2nd place finish for Jochen in the non championship International Trophy at Silverstone the season turned into a disaster.

Surtees TS16, Simon Fish, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

The main reason for this was that no monies were forth coming from primary sponsor Bang & Olufsen and after the Swedish Grand Prix Carlos Pace left to eventually join Carlos Reuteman at Brabham while Jochen left after the German Grand Prix and eventually replaced the injured Mike Hailwood at McLaren.

Surtees TS16, Simon Fish, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

A third privately entered TS16 run by AAW racing for Leo Kinnunen failed to qualify on all but one of 6 attempts and retired when it did qualify, and drivers Derek Bell, José Dolhem, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Dieter Quester and Helmut Koinigg brought into replace Jochen and Carlos managed a best 9th, Quester in Austria, place finish between them. At the season final US Grand Prix the luckless Helmut was then killed in an accident.

Surtees TS16, Simon Fish, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

Jochen Mass drove today’s featured chassis six times in 1974 retiring from five of the races and failing to qualify at Monaco, Derek Bell failed to qualify the car on his final championship Grand Prix appearance at the 1974 Canadian Grand Prix while José Dolhem qualified the car, on his third Grand Prix attempt, for the 1974 US Grand Prix from which he withdrew after team mate Helmut Koinigg’s fatal accident.

Surtees TS16, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

For 1975 Surtess regrouped by running a single TS16 for John Watson with Goodyear providing the tyres after Firestone’s withdrawal and a bare minimum of sponsorship from Matchbox who ironically were by now selling 1/32nd scale plastic kits of the 1974 Bang & Olufsen TS16.

Surtees TS16, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

The teams luck continued in the non championship races with today’s featured chassis #TS16-04 being driven to a 2nd place finish in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, a 4th place finish in the International Trophy at Silverstone and TS16-05 being driven to a fifth place finish in the non championship 1975 Swiss Grand Prix run at Dijon in France.

Surtees TS16, Simon Fish, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

In the championship events however the teams best result came when John drove TS16-04 to an 8th place finish at the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix which proved to be this cars final Grand Prix appearance.

John Watson left the Surtees team to replace the fatally injured Mark Donohue at Penske for the Canadian Grand Prix by which time Surtees had temporarily withdrawn from the championship in order to regroup again with a far more competitive prophylactic sponsored car for 1976.

TS16-04 is seen in these photographs being driven by Simon Fish at a Silverstone Classic Press Day several years ago, if you have the correct grade licence the car can be hired for Masters and GP Classic racing from Mirage Engineering see this link.

Thanks for joining me for this “Non Championship Contender” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be returning to Maserati Monday’s. Don’t forget to come back now !


Ferrari Friday – Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance

Welcome to another Ferrari Friday this week brought to you courtesy of Geoffrey Horton who took today’s photographs at the recent Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance.

Ferrari 166 MM, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Regular GALPOT readers might remember the 1949 Ferrari 166 MM chassis #0022 M as a Hillsborough regular having appeared there in 2012.

Ferrari 340 Vignale Mexico Berlinetta, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

In 1952 Vignale built 3 Berlinetta bodied and one Barchetta bodied Ferrari 340 Mexicos for the Carrera Pan America, above is the first Berlinetta bodied chassis #0222AT which started the 1952 and 1953 events and retired from both.

Ferrari 342 America, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

This gorgeous, even in black, Ferrari 342 America with bodywork by Pinin Farina was delivered to King Leopold III. of Belgium in May 1953, he appears to have kept it for only a year or so.

Ferrari 750 Monza, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

From 1954 this Ferrari 750 Monza chassis #0462MB above was the first to be delivered into private hands and it allegedly ended up being covertly inspected at the Jaguar factory before being sold to Jack Brabham in 1955.

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Geoffrey first sent me a photo of this 1958 Testa Rossa chassis #0754 TR in 2009, but I have never heard anyone complain of looking at a Testa Tossa too often.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB Nembo Spyder, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

A completely new to me builder of bodies for Ferrari’s is “Nembo” otherwise known as Neri and Bonacini of Modena who built this Spyder body, styled by Californian Tom Meade, on a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta chassis #3771 GT between 1966 and 1968, only two other Ferrari’s received a Nembo body.

Ferrari 250 LM, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Carrying the #8 it wore at Reims in 1964 for the 12 hour race above is the 1964 Ferrari 250 LM chassis #5909 which was driven to, it’s greatest success on it’s third outing, a 2nd place finish by works drivers John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini.

Ferrari 500 Superfast, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

After being taken to the 1966 Brussels Motor Show in Belgium this Ferrari 500 Superfast chassis #8019 was purchased by Judge Samuel Simon Leibowitz, Glen Cove, NY, USA from US dealer Chinetti later the same year, since then I believe it may have had only three other owners.

My thanks to Geoffrey for supplying so many photo’s for future Ferrari Friday blogs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Ferrari Friday” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Hillsborough for a third time to look at another selection of European Cars at the event. Don’t forget to come back now !


Transverse Success – Honda RA 272

13 years after it’s foundation in 1949 Honda Motor Company moved into the production of it’s first S360 micro sports cars in June 1963.

A month earlier Soichiro Honda set his Research and Development engineers to work on a 1.5 litre / 91.5 cui 60 ° V12 motor for use in a Formula One application.

Honda RA272, Goodwood Festival of Speed

It would appear that after a deal fell through to work with Lotus the engineers, who had become world champions in Motorcycle Racing, used a 1961 Cooper in their possession as the starting point for an all new RA270 chassis.

This gold prototype tested, but never raced, by Jack Brabham in 1964 was notable for a transverse mounted engine and for having 12 exhausts coming straight out of the back.

Honda RA272, Goodwood Festival of Speed

At the 1964 German Grand Prix Honda made their Formula One debut with the RA271 driven by American Ronnie Bucknum, which still had a transverse mounted V12, but conventional exhaust manifolds with two tail pipes.

Ronnie qualified 22nd and was classified 13th despite having an accident after completing 11 laps of the scheduled 15 lap race, Ronnie retired from both the Italian and US Grand Prix later in the season.

Honda RA272, Goodwood Festival of Speed

For 1965 the Honda engineers Yoshio Nakamura and Shoichi Sano kept the transverse mounted V12 which was said to produce 230 hp at 13,000 rpm.

American BRM refugee Richie Ginther joined Ronnie Bucknum in the team.

Honda RA272, Gabriele Tarquini, Goodwood Festival of Speed

After the team missed the season opening South African Grand Prix and recording two retirements at Monaco, Richie scored the team’s first World Championship point with a sixth place finish at Belgian Grand Prix after starting 4th on the grid.

At the French and British Grand Prix Richie two more retirement and with the team now running just the one car he finished 6th in the Dutch Grand Prix from third on the grid.

Honda RA272, Gabriele Tarquini, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Honda missed the German Grand Prix but came back with cars for Richie and Ronnie for the remaining three races of the season.

Richie finished 14th and 7th in Italian and the United States Grand Prix where Ronnie retired and was classified 13 respectively with both drivers suffering from ignition issues.

Honda RA272, Goodwood Festival of Speed

However at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix, the last of the 1.5 litre / 91.5 cui era it all came good for Honda when Richie qualified 3rd and Ronnie 10th.

Against the form of British drivers and British built cars from Lotus and BRM winning the previous nine races of the season Richie came through for the win and Ronnie came home in fifth place.

This race would remain Richie’s only victory in Formula One and remarkably the Honda team have added only two more Formula One victories as constructors to that total, at the Italian Grand Prix with John Surtees in 1967 and with Jenson Button in 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Former Italian Formula One Driver and Honda works world touring car driver Gabriel Tarquini is seen at the the wheel of Richie Ginther’s #11 Mexican Grand Prix winning car at Goodwood Festival of Speed last year.

Thanks for joining me on this “Longitudinal Success” 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 !

19/04/15 Thanks to Tim Murray for pointing out that the RA 272’s kept the transverse mounted engine layout for 1965.


Arise Sir John ? Pt 1 – Ferrari 158 # 006

After the success of winning the 1961 World Drivers and Manufacturers Championships with Phil Hill driving the shark nose V6 powered Ferrari 156 model, the team experienced one of it periodic slumps.

Ferrari 158, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

The ensuing 12 months saw Enzo Ferrari fallout with a patential saviour Ford, a couple of customers Ferruccio Lamborghini and Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata his engineers Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini and star driver Phil Hill.

Ferrari 158, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

Despite these difficulties Enzo set Mauro ‘Fury’ Forghieri to work on a new V8 powered formula one challenger which was ready at the begining of 1964 for seven time world Motor Cycle Champion John Surtees to drive in his second season with the team.

Ferrari 158, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

John’s first season with Ferrari driving the old V6 powered shark nose had seen him finish four races in 4th, 3rd, 2nd and culminating with a win in the 1963 German Grand Prix which saw him finish 4th overall in the World Drivers Championship and Ferrari 4th overall in the constructors championship.

Ferrari 158, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

Unlike the 1963 championship wining monocoque chassis Lotus 25, the Ferrari 158 features a semi monocoque chassis which has aluminium sheets riveted to a steel structure.

Ferrari 158, Goodwood Revival

The 8 cylinder 1,489 cc / 90.9 cui type 205/B motor like the contemporaneous Coventry Climax V8 that powered the Lotus and BRM V8 has two banks of cylinders inclined at 90 degrees and produces around 210hp.

Ferrari 158, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

The motor mounted behind the driver was attached to a Ferrari 6 speed gear box and the whole car weighed in at 468 kg / 1,032 lb with water and oil.

Ferrari 158, Goodwood Revival

There were 10 races counting toward the 1964 World Championship and John qualified 4th for the first round at Monaco but retired after 15 laps with a broken gearbox in a race won by Graham Hill from team mate Richie Ginther driving for BRM.

Ferrari 158, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

John qualified 4th again for the Dutch Grand Prix and this time finished second to Jim Clark’s Lotus. At the Belgian and French Grand Prix John qualified 5th and 3rd respectively but retired from both with engine problems with less than half a dozen laps completed.

Ferrari 158, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

At the 1964 British Grand Prix John qualified fifth but managed to go the whole distance to finish third behind Jim Clark and Graham Hill, Clark who had won the Belgian Grand Prix was leading Hill by four points in the championship with Surtees outside the top five 20 points behind Clark.

Ferrari 158, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

John qualified, chassis #006 featured in these photographs, on pole for the German Grand Prix and went on to win the race from Graham Hill while Clark began a series of three consecutive retirements thanks to two engine and one half shaft failure.

Ferrari 158, Goodwood Revival

All three emergent championship contenders retired from the Austrian Grand Prix which was won by John’s team mate Lorenzo Bandini.

Ferrari 158, Goodwood Revival

Going into the Italian Grand Prix John was 13 points behind championship leader Graham Hill but a second win from pole, again in chassis #006, closed the gap to just four points as both Graham and Jim Clark failed to finish.

I’ll conclude the story of John’s championship Formula One season next week, but meantime there is a petition to get John Surtees the knighthood he so richly deserves for being the only man to win World Championships on two wheels and four, if you would like to sign FOLLOW THIS LINK.

Thanks for joining me on this “Arise Sir John ? Pt 1” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Jaguar Special. Don’t forget to come back now !


Friday At Goodwood – Ferrari

Welcome to another Ferrari Friday coming to you from last weeks Goodwood Festival of Speed where the Ferrari highlights included …

Ferrari 156R, Merzario, Goodwood Festival of Speed

… a Ferrari 156 replica driven by Art Merzario, which when it last appeared on these pages was painted yellow.

Ferrari 250LM, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Unlike the 250 LM, #6045, sold originally as a daily driver, which I looked at recently, this 250 LM, chassis # 5995, was raced first by a private entrant and then converted for road use later by the Ferrari factory who fitted the perspex engine cover seen above.

Ferrari 158, Surtees, Goodwood Festival of Speed

John Surtees had two 1964 Ferrari 158’s to play with at Goodwood to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of his World Championship victory. This car was built out of period from remaining parts and is painted in the colours of the North American Racing Team that John’s car wore at the 1964 US and Mexican Grand Prix, he finished both races in 2nd place.

Ferrari 275 GTB/C,  Goodwood Festival of Speed

The 275 GTB/C above was first entered into the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours by British importer Maranello Concessionaires and driven to an 8th place overall finish, first in class by Piers Courage and Roy Pike. It was subsequently bought and raced by Paul Vesty who is still the cars owner and drove it at Goodwood last Friday.

Ferrari 512S Coda Lunga, Meiners,  Goodwood Festival of Speed

For the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours Ferrari had long (coda lunga) tails fitted to it’s 5 litre / 302 cui V12 512 S models. Franco Meiners is seen at the wheel of the 512S above, as also made familiar in the Le Mans film directed by Steve McQueen.

Ferrari 333SP, Pescatori,  Goodwood Festival of Speed

Finally the Ferrari 333SP was launched for the 1994 season at the behest of privateer Giampiero Moretti. Of the 144 races in which at least one of these cars contested the model won 56. I believe this particular second generation chassis, driven above by Christian Pescatori, is the one used by Vincenzo Sospiri and Emmanuel Collard to secure the 1998 International Sports Racing Series.

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


Ferrari Friday – Autosport International

A couple of weeks ago the motor racing season kicked off with the Autosport International trade fair at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and I popped along to snacth a preview of the motor sporting year ahead. Today’s post show’s some of the Ferrari’s present.

Ferrari 158, Autosport International, NEC Birmingham

Undoubted star of the show was this Ferrari 158 as driven by John Surtees to the 1964 World Drivers Championship, unusually despite not winning the most races, an honour that fell to 1963 Champion Jim Clark who won 3 races to John’s 2, or the most points, an honour that fell to 1964 Champion Grahmam Hill who had to drop two points because only the best 6 from a maximum 10 results counted, leaving John to win the Championship by one point from Graham. John will be demonstarting the 158 which is owned by George Barber and usually found at the Barber Museum in Alabama.

Ferrari 250 GT/TR, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

Oldest of the Ferrari’s that I noticed at the show was this 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano which in 1988 was fitted with a Scglietti pontoon style 250 TR Body by Giovannu Giordanengo in 1988 the car which was on the Coy’s Stand.

Ferrari F10, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

This 2010 Ferrari F10 was looking a little dated among the contemporary Formula One cars on display, with it’s long outlawed outsize fin twixt air box and rear wing.

Oakley Design Ferrari FF,  Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

This Ferrari FF is fitted with subtle “Ultimate Performance Enhancing” goodies by Oakley Design.

Ferrari F12, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

The Autocar stand featured a Ferrari F12, the first time I have seen one in the flesh.

Ferrari 458 Challenge GTC, Autosport International, NEC,

Looking a little like a work of art by Damien Hurst in one of his vitrene’s this Ferrari 458 Challenge GTC has been developed by FF Corse to make it suitable for competition in The Pirelli Ferrari Open and The GT Cup Championships in 2014. Last year Alex Martin won the GTC class and FF Corse the overall teams title in the GT Cup.

Ferrari 458 Italia GT2, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

While drivers with a bigger budget will be competing for a drive in the JMW Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT2, which finished 34th in last years Le Mans 24 hours with Andrea Bertolini, Abdulaziz al Faisal and Khaled al Qubaisi at the wheel.