Ex-Denny Hulme McLaren Formula 1 Car at Auction

RM Auctions will be hosting their first ever event in Monaco in a few weeks, “Sporting Classics of Monaco“, and they’ve certainly pulled out all the stops. The catalog is absolutely mesmerizing, with offerings including the 1937 BMW 328 Mille Miglia “Bügelfalte”, The stunning Birdcage Maserati we looked at a few weeks ago, and some high-demand Ferraris (275 GTB, Tour de France, Daytona Spider).

This car though, hasn’t been featured much in the sportscar press and I didn’t know it was included in the sale until I happened upon the full catalog today. You are looking at one of the three M14A Formula 1 cars that McLaren built to compete in the World Championship for 1970. The McLaren team entered the new decade in absolute dominance of the motoring world. Their Can-Am effort the previous year was in complete control of the series, with Bruce McLaren or Denny Hulme standing atop the podium at all 11 races of the season. They’d also claimed a handful of wins in ’69 in Formula 1 as well. It was time now to continue that amazing success into the 1970s. This car looked well poised to do it too, with a 2nd place finish in her debut race at Kyalami for Hulme—in this very car. The team was on the podium twice more in the next three races. Not a bad start.

That’s when everything went South. Denny suffered a bad methanol burn following practice at Indianapolis. Bruce of course died in a crash at Goodwood testing the new Can-Am car. Amazingly, Denny missed only two races and returned to the car for the French GP. In the next 8 races, Hulme would finish on the podium 3 times more and finished the season in 4th. Incredibly, he won that year’s Can-Am drivers’ championship—oh for the era of driver versatility.

The car itself, chassis M14A2, looks absolutely perfect. Although it had a short stint in her post-F1 years as a Formula 5000 car, the car was fairly quickly returned to the original specification (is this the original engine?) Ford-Cosworth DFV and Hewland gearbox. The car is presented in the livery she wore during the 1970 season and that orange shade is just so brilliant. The photography for the catalog is absolutely stunning and looks like you could just reach into the photo and take her for a spin. I’m surprised that RM’s estimate is as low as it is at $340,000 – $400,000. I can’t believe I just referred to $400K as a low price on something. But really, who needs a house (or two), when you could take a few laps in this.

More information in the auction catalog – I hope more auction houses follow this practice of releasing their full catalog online.

Sleuthing Grand Prix

Manetta's FactoryI thought I was a fan of Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix, but I must admit I’m a rank amateur compared to a group of commenters on Atlas F1’s Nostalgia Forum that have created one thread that digs deeply into the minutia of every scene, outtake, driver, and disguised model after disguised model to unearth a trove of information about every aspect of the film. Particularly impressive is a series of observations by forum member Macca, who pulled from his well of information of the Ferrari factory at the time to determine the very month that the film shot in the factory itself.

You’ll remember, that Sr. Manetta, the film’s stand-in for Enzo Ferrari, takes a meeting with driver Pete Aaron who is down on his luck after his crash with teammate Scott Stoddard leaves him dropped from his Jordan B.R.M. team. I know it’s difficult to keep straight the difference between actual teams and events and the fictional events of the film—which probably speaks more than any review could of how well the film has captured the spirit of mid-sixties Formula racing.

Macca did a little trainspotting in these scenes and noticed a few things about the cars and parts on the factory floor. The factory floor shows three neatly placed 36-valve engines. In the background, we see a 246P Dino bearing racing number 44. This car was given #44 for Giancarlo Baghetti to use in the practice sessions for the Italian GP. From this sparse information Macca, unbelievably, determined the scenes were shot at Maranello in September! Fantastic detective work!

It Didn’t Happen Like This in “Grand Prix”, Did It?

James Garner absolutely caught the bug making “Grand Prix” and returned to the States to start a racing team of his own with a Surtees TS5 driven by Scooter Patrick. This footage, pulled from the longer film, “The Racing Scene”, chronicles the team’s trip to Lime Rock in 1970 to take in the action. Garner narrates.

Two Views of Monaco ’55

Here’s two fantastic visions of the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix. One is a news blurb style recap in color(!), with a focus on Moss and Fangio’s Mercedes team. I quite like the shot of the pack on the far side of the track, weaving through the Monte Carlo streets. It’s a view we don’t often see of the races today with cameras on every corner of the track. Somehow, seeing the cars in the distance like this makes it feel more like you’re there than seeing every straight and turn.

The other, a home movie shot on grainy 8mm. I can tell you which one I like better. Can you believe how close to the track you were able to stand, filming away happily while these shiny rockets screamed past, narrowly avoiding lamp-posts and curbs? The closeness and immediacy of the home movie displayed below really puts you on the sidewalks of Monte Carlo, as if you briefly glanced over at the passing racing cars on your way into Hermés. It is footage like this that keeps Monaco on the calendar today. Even if huge portions of the romance are gone, Monaco is still magic.

The Chicane’s Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again, friends. While I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding a special gift for the vintage racing enthusiast in your life, it seemed like a good time to collect some of our, and probably someone on your list’s, favorites. Perfect for anyone snuggled in bed, while visions of racing cars dance in their heads.

Racing Books

It seems that gearheads never have too many bookshelves. Every year another hundred or so racing books are published; these are a few of our favorites.

Movies

I would hope that the racer on your shopping list would have these films in their collection already. If they don’t, they’re mandatory.

For The Walls

I’m sure there’s still some small piece of bare wall somewhere. No? Not even in the garage? Maybe the master bathroom.

Video Gaming

It’s winter. Chances are, the racer on your list can’t take their car to the local track until spring. These should tide them over until then.

Exciting Racing Sounds Finale: Brands Hatch

It’s finally time for the final cut from the Exciting Racing Sounds of Grand Prix album. In this final track, Phil Hill visits Brands Hatch, and while I’d like to say that this final cut is the climax of the lp, it’s a bit more like ‘in with a bang, out with a whimper’. The visit to Brands is precious short on racing action, starting with audio from the Red Arrows fighter jet squadron flyover and finishing with the military band. It is nice to hear the podium celebration for Jack Brabham as the band plays “Waltzing Mathilda”. There you have it friends, your Exciting Racing Sounds of Grand Prix album is complete… now just flip back side A and enjoy.

[audio:05-BrandsHatch.mp3]

Tyrrel P34 On-board at the ’76 Monaco GP

Jimmy Clark’s Championship Winning Lotus 25 at Auction

The car he won the \'63 World Championship inThis weekend, Bonhams & Goodman is hosting an incredible collection of Lotus Formula cars in Sydney. The Important Sports, Competition and Collectors’ Motor cars, Motorcycles and Automobilia certainly lives up to its name, offering TWO ex-Jim Clark Lotuses.

One, a ’66 Tasman Series Lotus 39 carried Clark through several races in this important series: a first in the Warwick Farm International 100, a second at Levin, Wigram, Lakeside and Sandown Park, and third place finishes in the Australian Grand Prix and in the Examiner 45 at Longford, Tasmania.

Already, this is an amazing auction opportunity. Shocking then, that this car can be completely overshadowed by another offering at the auction. The other car available, and drawing an estimate of $1.8-2Million, is Jimmy Clark’s & Richard Attwood’s 1962 Lotus 25. The car that Clark won the Formula 1 World Championship with in 1963. Any Lotus single seater is a rare collectible. Any that was driven by Clark, even more so. This car however, represents the absolute pinnacle of any collection. It was the Lotus 25 that leapfrogged Lotus from Formula 1 also-ran to dominant force of the 1960’s and beyond. The rear engine layout that Cooper proved was the way of the future was embraced by Chapman full-force, even perfected here in the Lotus 25.

Lotus built only seven examples of the Lotus 25. Of these, serial numbers R1, R2, R3, and R5 were destroyed in period accidents. This example, R4, rose to the top as Clark’s longest serving and winningest chassis. Carrying him to on a trot victories in 1963 at the Belgian, Dutch, French and British GPs, a 2nd at the German GP, then further victories in Italy, S. Africa, and Mexico. This chassis has won SEVEN world-championship Formula 1 races. and a further victory at a non-championship Oulton Park race. Those are just the Jim Clark wins! the car has a further history with Richard Attwood under Reg Parnell racing.

What an amazing car this is, and what an amazing opportunity this auction represents for a very lucky collector. If you happen to attend this event, I’d love to see some photos.

Update: Clark’s Championship Winning Lotus 25 sold for a final hammer price of $1,350,000. with his Tasman Series racer bringing in $320,000.

More Exciting Racing Sounds of Grand Prix: Spa

Let’s take another long-overdue listen to the fantastic Exciting Racing Sounds of Grand Prix album. This time our host, Phil Hill, takes us on an audio tour of the Spa circuit. You’ll remember that this album was created as part of the research process for John Frankenheimer’s 1966 film Grand Prix. Ah—magic.

This cut from the LP takes off where Monaco left off and demonstrates the contrasts between the tight, narrow street circuit of Monte Carlo and the open expanses of the high-speed Spa circuit. Phil points out that the drivers spend an awful lot of their time in Belgium in top gear. The engine screams in this cut seem to indicate the truth in that. We’ll hear massive whines from BRM, Cooper-Maserati, Ferrari, Brabham, and McLaren-Ford; and none of them sound like they’re just poking through the frequently-wet countryside.

We also take the Burnenville Corner with Jochen Rindt in his Cooper-Maserati. You’ll hear that there’s not a whole lot of shifting happening here as the corner is a sweeping high-speed expanse. Rindt finished 11th at Spa that year, but 4th in the Drivers’ Championship for the year. 1965 was also the year he won Le Mans as part of the N.A.R.T. team in a Ferrari 250LM.

[audio:04-Spa.mp3]

Hear the complete archive of cuts from this tremendous album.

The Exciting Racing Sounds of Grand Prix

The Exciting Racing Sounds of Grand PrixIn preparation for his masterpiece 1966 film Grand Prix, John Frankenheimer undertook a series of audio recordings to help capture the spirit, mood, and excitement of the Formula 1 season. This LP is the glorious result of that research. Hosted by Phil Hill and featuring interviews with Graham Hill and Frankenheimer, this record takes us through the sounds of the Grand Prix season of 1966.

Grand Prix is the best racing movie ever made. Frankenheimer puts us in the cockpit, the pits, and in the stands. He developed camera mounting techniques that are still in use today. Some people will tell you that McQueen’s film LeMans is the better racing movie — Those people are wrong.

But enough about the movie (I’m sure I’ll be writing much more on that in the future). This LP was something that I didn’t know about until recently. And over the next couple of weeks I’ll post up tracks from the album. This first bit cuts straight to the chase and puts us right on the start finish line of Monza. This, of course differs from the banked track of the movie — which stopped being used after the ’61 season (here’s a 2003 photo of the banking). We’ll hear the engine note of Jack Brabham’s Repco V8, Jim Clark’s Coventry-Climax, Ginther’s Honda V12, and Surtee’s Cooper Maserati. Then we’ll take a tour of the circuit aboard Michael Parkes’ Ferrari (Parkes sat on pole and ended up 2nd in the race that year).

[audio:02-Monza.mp3]

Monza map
Listen carefully and you can follow along on the track map.