The Margin Between Champagne and Orangeade

’67 Grand Prix de France

Art Appreciation: Jim Clark’s D-Type

German Grand Prix ’67

Great soundtrack in this recap of the ’67 German GP. 1967 was the first year of the Hohrenhain chicane leading into the start/finish straight, which attempted to reduce the speeds. Even so, it’s still the Nurburgring, which with these light f1 cars means liftoff at Pflanzgarten.

Bad luck for Dan Gurney in this race, he broke the lap record 4 times in the early stages of the race (so much for attempts at reducing speeds!) only to suffer from a broken U-joint 2 laps from the finish.

Enough has been written about the differences in modern Formula 1 and the GP drivers of the pre-downforce era, but I’m especially struck by the starts. The narrower cars and wider classic tracks means that the start is a mob scene. Groupings of 6 and 7 wide weren’t uncommon in the dash to turn one. Today’s narrower tracks allows for a much more controlled and less chaotic, and certainly less exciting, start.

Life Archives: GP Drivers at the Indy 500

Invasion at Full Throttle!Google Books’ archive of Life Magazine has turned up another wonderful bit of racing history in this ominously titled article about the arrival of Grand Prix cars and drivers at the Brickyard.

Invasion at Full Throttle” may have been a year or two early, but the prediction about the impending dominance of the rear-engined menace from across the pond was fairly accurate. It wouldn’t be long before Jim Clark would indeed be enjoying a bottle of milk at the end of the Indianapolis 500. Of course the author of this particular article would have been in a good position to know a thing or two about the funny little cars heading to the 500; Stirling Moss penned this piece. I’m sure Mr. Moss wasn’t to worried about ruffling a feather or two when he wrote, “I have a hunch that the U.S. will be shocked by what happens. In effect, the race will be an international showdown between our all-purpose, all-weather cars and drivers and your closed-circuit specialists who steer only to the left in beautifully built, overdeveloped, unsophisticated cars that belong to the past.” Overdeveloped AND unsophisticated? Ok, Stirling.

I can just imagine a midwestern race fan not finishing the article once he reached that passage and throwing the crumpled magazine across the living room. But Moss does backtrack a bit, describing his own experience behind an Indy Roadster at the Monza-napolis 500 several years earlier. It’s a wonderful read, especially with the knowledge of hindsight of the Indy at the front/rear engine transition and the impact of the European GP drivers on this most American of races.

Liftoff!

Lotus Liftoff

I’ve heard it said that Formula 1 is what Europe has instead of a space program. That’s only partially true of course, but it does pretty accurately communicate the level of engineering prowess on the world’s Grand Prix circuits. On today’s 40th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo program, I can think of no better visual tribute on The Chicane than this Lotus trying to achieve escape velocity at (probably) the Nurburgring.

Brabham Looking Up

And this Brabham.

Endo Ferrari?

And a Ferrari doing an endo for good measure.

9 Days in Summer: The Lotus 49 Development Story

Make yourself comfortable. This video might be the longest we’ve featured on The Chicane, but it is worth it. This 48 minute story of the development of the Lotus 49 truly begs to be watched. From the first touch of pen to paper to the checkered flag at Zandvoort for Jim Clark took only a year, but we’ve been appreciating the simple perfection of this mightiest of Lotuses for over forty.

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.

Jim Clark Onboard