In 1962 Ecurie Ecosse commissioned John Tojeiro to design and construct two Prototype GT cars for the team to race at that year’s Le Mans. The cars had multi-tubular space frames, independent coil suspension and bodies designed by the artist Cavendish Morton who had already done some work for Tojeiro, particularly the special A.C. Tojeiro for Le Mans in 1958.
These Ecosse cars became the first British mid-engined GT coupés, pre-dating the Lola GT. The first car just made it to the start of the Le Mans race with a 2.5-litre Coventry Climax engine but it retired after eight hours with the Cooper-Knight gearbox locked in two gears at once.
This is the second car, chassis TAD-5-62, which went to Le Mans purely as a source of spares and for the 1963 season was equipped with one of the lightweight aluminium Buick V8 3.5-litre engines that were just ceasing production for the Buick Special; this was coupled to a Chevrolet Corvair gearbox.
It had a “Kamm” tail and smoother roof-line and was re-numbered TAD-1-63. Its first appearance was at Silverstone in May where Douglas Graham practised but non-started owing to an oil-pipe breaking on the grid. However it took its first win at the end of June in Jackie Stewart’s hands at Charterhall. In the meantime the first car also acquired a Buick engine.
In 1964 the second car was re-engined, this time with a Shelby Cobra Ford V8 and was now numbered TAD-1-64. It was ready for Silverstone in May and Stewart finished sixth in the sports car race (race no. 50). He also finished eighth in the sports car race supporting the Grand Prix meeting at Brands Hatch and John Coundley had a win with it at the end of September at the Kentish circuit. However, the cars were not fast enough to compete in the sprint races and not reliable enough for endurance races.
In 1965 they continued to run in suitable national events – for example ,rally driver Andrew Cowan had a win with the Ford-engined second car at the B.A.R.C. Silverstone GT race at the end of June.
In 1966 the first car was sold off to Canada and the spare Buick race engine went to Rover as that company was developing its own production version which became the famous Rover V8. The second car was retained and converted into an open sports car although the roof section was preserved. Unfortunately Bill Stein had a most horrific accident at the Grand Prix meeting at Brands Hatch – he came off at high speed at Paddock Bend and hit the earth bank whereupon the car jack-knifed itself into total destruction; Stein was very lucky to survive despite multiple injuries.
Eventually this second car was re-built by Jim Tester using a new chassis which was fitted with the original roof; it later became the property of Tom McWhirter.
David Blumlein, November 2011