Tag Archives: Sir Jackie Stewart

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Goodwood’s Silver

Can it really be 25 years ago that Lord March first introduced the Festival of Speed? These days it is part of what used to be known as ‘The Season’, a must attend for all of those who take pleasure in the automobile. Our man,  John Elwin, was in attendance at the very beginning, so who is more qualified to bring us a report of the delights to be found on the Hill in 2017?

With this being the 25th running of the Festival of Speed you might be forgiven for thinking that Lord March and his team would have run out of ideas for things to celebrate. But no, they found a whole raft of subjects worthy of commemoration to draw in the crowds.

In a departure from tradition they chose to celebrate an individual rather than a make of car with the pride-of-place sculpture on the lawns in front of Goodwood House. The person concerned was no less than Bernie Ecclestone who has recently stood down as the head honcho of Formula 1. Relative newcomers to the sport might think that a controversial choice but he has done more than anyone else to make the sport what it is today and in reality much of what we watch with awe every year at Goodwood simply wouldn’t have happened without Bernie’s drive. There were initial fears that a life-size statue in front of the house would look like a garden gnome but as usual Gerry Judah worked his magic with a creation depicting ‘The Five Ages of Ecclestone’, five representative cars soaring into the sky. Starting with the Connaught he tried unsuccessfully to qualify for the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix, it progressed to Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 72 (Bernie was his manager) a Brabham BT49 from the period when he owned the company, a Ferrari from the Schumacher era and last year’s World Championship-winning Mercedes.

On Sunday Ecclestone was driven up the Hill by Lord March in an open AC that belonged to his grandfather, Bernie being warmly received by the enormous crowds. They were followed by a cavalcade of F1 cars, led by reigning World Champion Nico Rosberg – a big fan of the Festival – at the wheel of a 2014 Mercedes. They returned to the House, where Bernie was introduced from the balcony to the waiting fans. There was something of scrum to get a view and Rosberg, being the last to arrive, had a job to get his race car to the front doorstep. Bernie was then interviewed by Mark Webber, not the most accomplished  emcee in the world, it has to be said, before enjoying a Champagne reception surrounded by many luminaries from the F1 world, ranging from former Brabham designer Gordon Murray to FIA President Jean Todt. As if you needed reminding that the times are a-changing, amongst them were Ron Dennis and Peter Sauber, two long-standing team owners who have recently relinquished control of the teams they ran for so long, leaving them in the hands of corporate non-entities.

The cynics amongst us could be amused that the new guard in the shape of Chase Carey, head of Liberty Media, was left to rub shoulders amongst the riff-raff at ground level, some of whom reportedly resorted to fisticuffs! Carey may well have gone away re-thinking his ideas to give the public more access to the Formula 1 Paddock – maybe Bernie wasn’t so wrong after all! He also got to ride up the Hill in Duncan Pittaway’s fire-breathing monster 27-litre Fiat; aside from testing the aerodynamic qualities of his faintly ridiculous moustache (he didn’t wear a helmet) it may also have given him ideas about returning to proper engines. Pittaway drove the monster to Goodwood from his home in Bristol, requiring eleven fuel stops en route – imagine that in a GP!

Another nod to the passing era was the celebration of the Williams Grand Prix Engineering’s 40 years in Formula One. Sadly Sir Frank himself was not well enough to attend but daughter Claire and son Jonathan were present, supported by Patrick Head and Bernie and including others with Williams connections such as Adrian Newey and drivers Nico Rosberg and Damon Hill. Whilst Claire busies herself with the day-to-day running of the team, Jonathan is taking care of the history. Williams has retained ownership of many of its old cars, as recently seen at the birthday celebrations staged at Silverstone. Jonathan has a programme to bring the old cars back to life, aiming to work on two a year. This year’s projects have been the six-wheeler that never actually raced, and Nigel Mansell’s 1992 World Championship-winning FW14B, which remarkably has not run in the intervening 25 years! The FW14B with its Renault engine is not compatible with modern software, but fortunately Williams still has the original tower computer from the day, complete with floppy discs, and it still works! Both cars took to the Hill at Goodwood. With Claire and Jonathan firmly ensconced, and Claire shortly to give birth, hopefully this most British of teams will remain under the control of the family for many years to come.

The Cosworth DFV was the mainstay of many Formula One teams for some years, including Williams, and this most successful engine of all time celebrates its 50th birthday in 2017, having debuted in the back of the Lotus 49 at the Dutch Grand Prix in June 1967. Lotus boss Colin Chapman had convinced Ford to fund development of the engine for the exclusive use of Lotus initially, in the new 3-litre formula, but such was its dominance, everyone wanted it in the following years.

The DFV powered all three of Sir Jackie Stewart’s World Championships, scored whilst driving for Ken Tyrrell’s team. Remarkably, all three cars were at Goodwood, so Jackie together with sons Paul and Mark demonstrated them on the Hill several times during the weekend, driving the 1969 Matra MS80, 1971 Tyrrell 003 and 1973 Tyrrell 006 in what must be a unique convoy.

No motoring event this year has been complete without a Ferrari 70th Anniversary tribute and Goodwood was no different. One could get a bit blase about the Prancing Horse-adorned machines but Goodwood did bring together a breathtaking collection from the very beginning to the very latest and since most were demonstrated on the Hill, it was an aural as well as visual feast. Amongst them was a re-creation – the originals were all destroyed – of the Sharknose 156, giving Derek Hill an opportunity to find out what his late father Phil’s 1961 World Championship-winning machine was like. During the course of the weekend Jackie Stewart was also re-united with the 330 P4 he and Chris Amon drove to second place in the 1967 BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch, thus helping Ferrari clinch the World Sportscar Championship. It is the sole-surviving example of a car Jackie himself describes as possibly the most beautiful racing car of all.

We are becoming immune to the eye-watering numbers being paid at auction nowadays for almost any Ferrari, so it was somewhat amusing to learn that Nick Mason paid £4,000 for his 250 GTO! I can recall seeing it parked, two wheels up on the kerb, outside a well-known model shop on a busy road many years ago – bet he doesn’t do that now. It also has the registration number 250 GTO, leading one commentator to muse that that alone was probably worth more than his house. Another Ferrari in long-term ownership is Sally Mason-Styrron’s 1949 166. The combination was actually the very first to drive up the Hill at the first Festival back in 1993. What’s the betting Sally and her Ferrari will be back for the 25th anniversary FoS next year?

The Ferrari demonstration led neatly into a tribute to the late John Surtees, who passed away earlier this year. Surtees won the 1964 World Championship at the wheel of a Ferrari. John was a stalwart supporter of the Goodwood events from the very beginning, bringing along cars and ‘bikes from his own collection, as well as cajoling others to come along. Amongst them was Stuart Graham, who like Surtees also successfully made the switch from ‘bikes to cars, although not in Formula 1. He was, however, the only man to win the TT on two and four wheels. At Goodwood, Stuart both rode ‘bikes and drove a re-creation of the Brut 33-liveried Chevrolet Camaro he campaigned so successfully in touring car racing.

The John Surtees tribute included a minute of noise, in the presence of John’s wife and daughters, Lord March and Bernie Ecclestone, followed by a demonstration of various ‘bikes ridden by the likes of Freddie Spencer, and cars including a Lola T70, Surtees F1 and F2 cars, and of course a Honda F1 car.

The AMG business is now the sporting arm of Mercedes-Benz, but it started out as a tuning business run by Hans-Werner Aufrecht, ultimately becoming synonymous with Mercedes’ successes in DTM, the German touring car championship, in the 1990’s and progressing to the then-new GT1 sports car programme, culminating in that famous flying incident at Le Mans. Now owned by Mercedes, the company celebrates 50 years this year and to mark the occasion Bernd Schneider, a driver who has been associated with many of its successes, demonstrated a DTM Mercedes C-Klasse. Of course, Mercedes was very much in evidence elsewhere, with everything from turn-of-the-century (that’s last century!) racers to recent Formula 1 cars. Amongst them was Ben Collings’ 1908 French GP car that was driven on the road from Bristol in convoy with another Mercedes and Pittaway’s Fiat. Imagine seeing that lot looming up in your rear-view mirror!

Doubtless there were many other anniversaries and celebrations, but Justin Law marked his own 40th birthday by setting the fastest time in the Shoot-Out that brings proceedings to a close on Sunday. Driving an IMSA Bud-liveried Jaguar XJR 12D he set a time of 46.3-seconds, just pipping Jeremy Smith’s Penske PC22 Indy car. Showing the way to the future, Nick Heidfeld was fifth fastest at the wheel of the Mahindra Formula E prototype. With Lord March stating we will see autonomous cars on the Hill next year, times really are a-changing…

…and one last word. Not celebrating any anniversaries that we are aware of, that incorrigible enthusiast Emanuele Pirro really must have thought all his birthdays had come at once, for he got to drive the MoMo Ferrari 333SP, Lotus 56 Turbine Indy car and the six-wheeler Williams. That’s not bad for a day out, is it?

John Elwin, July 2017

Across the Borderline

 

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The Concours of Elegance celebrated its fourth edition, this time it headed north, way north, to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Continuing with the theme of holding the Concours at Royal Palaces, Holyroodhouse is one of the Official Royal Residences, like Windsor Castle where the first Concours was held.

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The link with the Royal family is an important one and the interface between the two worlds is Prince Michael of Kent, the Queen’s cousin, and a genuine motoring enthusiast. Above is the Prince enjoying the delights of a Mercedes Simplex 60hp. One element of the Concours of Elegance that sets it apart from most other events of a similar nature is that it is non­-commercial and raises money for designated charities, in 2014 over $500,000 was split amongst various deserving causes.

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Another point of difference is that the Concours is restricted to just 60 cars, the first event was part of the celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, hence the number 60, and this salute has been continued in the following events.

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So we have a location that is regal, now we need the cars…………I have already looked at Maranello’s contribution to the party, what else was in Scotland to admire? Rather a lot actually, almost too much to contain in a single feature, so I will confine myself to my personal favourites, other visitors would come up with a different selection, that is part of the attraction of such shows.

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In common with many of the best events on the Concours circuit a tour is organised before the main event. This gives the owners and others an opportunity to witness the cars doing what they were designed to do before they have to pose on the automotive catwalk. The Highlands of Scotland provided a dramatic and romantic backdrop, fit for such a car as the LaFerrari.

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Approaching the Palace of Holywoodhouse, which dates back to 1128, the first treasure encountered was a more much contemporary display from McLaren Automotive, Woking’s finest now firmly established in the world of super and hyper cars.

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Almost the first stand found in the grounds was a salute to the First Man of Scottish Motor Sport, Sir Jackie Stewart and the three cars that carried him to three Formula One World Championships in five seasons.

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Sir Jackie is a tireless supporter of charities and good causes and much in demand by international corporations as an ambassador. He was only at Edinburgh for the one day as he was flying off to Monza to drive the BRM that had, fifty years ago, given him the first Grand Prix victory of his career. Motor Sport and racing drivers have much to thank Sir Jackie for, his campaign to make racing safer did not make him popular at the time in some circles, but without his contribution the sport would possibly have struggled to survive.

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It would be inconceivable to consider motor sport in Scotland without reference to the great Ecurie Ecosse team. In Edinburgh there was an almost full turn out of the cars that this outfit has fielded down the decades. In 1956 and 1957 they won the Le Mans 24 Hours outright, the Long Nose Jaguar D Type on show finished second in ’57 with Ninian Sanderson and John Lawrence driving.

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The team faded during the 60’s but were revived in the 80’s taking the C2 class in the 1986 FIA World Sportscar Championship, largely due to a series of fine performances in the Ecosse C286 Rover by Ray Mallock and Marc Duez, in the car above.

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More Scottish motor sport legends were present in the form of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti. Dario is an arch-enthusiast and a top bloke. His contribution to the show was bring the 1964 Lotus Cortina that Jim Clark used to win the British Touring Car Championship. Clark is widely regarded to be one of the greatest drivers ever, on a par with Fangio or Moss. His death in 1968 at Hockenheim was a turning point and major motivator in Sir Jackie’s safety campaign. As the top Ferrari driver of the time, Chris Amon, declared when asked about Clark’s death. “If it could happen to him, what chance do the rest of us have? I think we all felt that. It seemed like we’d lost our leader.”

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I looked at Ferrari’s contribution to the Concours in my earlier post but there were a few close links to Maranello that I excluded. The Touring Berlinetta Lusso is based on the Ferrari F12 and will be pretty exclusive as only five examples are to be built. I admired this Italian beauty earlier at the Geneva Salon.

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Another classic on the lawn with a strong Ferrari element is the rally supercar of the 70’s, the Lancia Stratos. Even 40 years on it is a dramatic statement based on a design from Carrozzeria Bertone who would go on to build the car at their plant at Grugliasco. We have encountered the main movers behind this project before, Nuncio Bertone and Marcello Gandini with engineering input from Gianpaulo Dallara, when considering the early days of Lamborghini and the Muira at their Museum………. HERE in fact. Ferrari’s contribution was the 2.4 litre V6 engine found in the 246 Dino. The Stratos went on to win the World Rally Championship from 1974 to 1976 and enjoyed many other competition successes, it is a sporting icon by any standard.

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Lamborghini also had a presence in Edinburgh, a 1970 Miura S in original orange is one of only 24 right-hand drive examples built, it is simply stunning in the early Autumn sunshine. Of course there was also a Countach LP5000S that is in the opening photograph, vibrant in white exterior and interior.

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Another mid-­engined classic with a connection to Lamborghini is this fabulous BMW M1. Based on a design by Giorgetto Guigiaro, the chassis was from Lamborghini who were scheduled to build the car. However the Italian company was in one of its periods of financial turmoil so missed the contracted delivery dates. Munich pulled out and engaged Baur to complete the task. And to make matters worse plans to race in the World Sportscar Championship were thwarted by a FISA rule change. Someone in BMW had the brainwave of having a one make series, Procar, which would support Grand Prix with the F1 stars acting as guests driving race­ prepared M1s ……………it was a huge success and accelerated the market’s perception of BMW as builders of “The Ultimate Driving Machine”.

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Another product of the almost endless Italian talent when it come to styling is this concept car, the Ghia Spider G230S Prototipo. Back in 1966 it was one of the stars of the Barcelona Motor Show and was an attempt by Ghia to interest Fiat in a convertible version of their 2300 model. A similar car was produced later, the Ghia 450SS was Chrysler powered, but was not a commercial success.

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One of the earliest of Maserati’s road cars is this A6G 2000 Coupé styled by Zagato. This was a “thinly-disguised racer for the road” with an eye-catching front grill and graphics, stripped out to save weight with an aluminium body. The 2 litre engine was beginning to be perceived as under-powered and the following year the Trident launched its first big road car success with the 3500 GT, with an engine nearly twice the size.

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One of Zagato’s finest and most famous creations in almost a century of trading is the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato which has iconic status amongst followers of the English marque. John Ogier’s Essex Racing Stable with assistance from the Aston Martin factory entered “1 VEV” and “2 VEV” in the 1961 Le Mans 24 Hours, both cars retired early in the race with head-gasket failure. “2 VEV” was heavily crashed at Spa later in the year, having been loaned to Equipe National Belge at the request of Aston Martin. It was rebuilt only to be wrecked again in ’63 at Goodwood. Following a road crash in 1993 it was restored to original specification and now appears on at special events such as Aston Martin’s centenary celebrations.

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The Aston Martin DB4 GT was also the platform for this Bertone take on the car. Once again the work of Giorgetto Giugiaro this excercise nicknamed “The Jet” was the sensation of the 1960 Geneva Salon. The last of the DB4 GT production run was the basis for this extraordinary vision.

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The final choice of my best in show is not even an entrant in the Concours of Elegance but is Series 1 Land Rover that was a gift from the company to Sir Winston Churchill on the occasion of his 80th Birthday. It is quite the antidote to all the rich fare at the Concours, more in keeping with my own motoring level.

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The Concours of Elegance held at the Palace of Holyroodhouse was a grand affair in keeping with the previous events, the quality of the cars on show was fantastic, the biggest challenge is the keep up the standard in twelve months time, I hope to be there to judge.

John Brooks, February 2016

Photography by the author, additional images copyright and courtesy of Concours of Elegance.