Monoposto in the 1960's
A Few Snapshots over the years
Imagine turning on the BBC news on a Sunday night. It's been a quiet day and the main item is a long distance airliner flight. A world leader has returned home, and then the newsreader says "A new type of British racing car made its debut at Brands Hatch today. It's the Monoposto a new formula racing car & devised to bring motor racing within reach of the young amateur who couldn't afford one of the bigger makes." There's a film of pushing a car away, pushing off another one, a tracking shot - with hay bales, and the tracking shot continued. Could Monoposto appear on BBC TV's main evening news? Yes, on 28 June 1959. I don't remember it personally but it's recorded on the BBC's on line film catalogue (http://open.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/programme/ANB3238P) and so, presumably, exists in their archives.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to get much information about early days of the club, though hopefully something will arise at Race Retro. I have, however, asked Autosport, Motoring/Motorsport News and Speedscene journalist Jerry Sturman if he would be kind enough to look at his early Autosports. The 1960 seasonal survey of club sport revealed nothing, but an interesting piece appeared in February 1960 when we got 2/3 of a page above Stirling Moss criticising the FIA. So if Schuey lays into Max and Bernie, that will be second to "Mono introduce cup for Vauxhall Lotuses".
The original, 1958, rules generally allowed only amateur built chassis, with pre-1953 F3 and F2 chassis allowed, effectively permitting Cooper and other 500 chassis. Standard production chassis were allowed, and in earlier days Austin 7 chassis were indeed used as a basis for 500's, so why not? Engines had to be up to 1000cc ohv or up to 1500cc side valve, of which more than 500 had been produced for a saloon car. Realistically, the only option in the latter class was the Ford 1172 engine discussed in my "Warwick" piece and by Patrick in his piece about Morgans. Overhead cams and supercharging were banned. The new development was an additional class allowing Formula Juniors to compete with "pure" Monopostos as associate or Class B members. As always, works entries were banned. Intererestingly, there was no age limit for the chassis announced at the time.
The same article announced a series of 6 races at Mallory (twice), Brands, Goodwood, Snetterton and Oulton, all fairly familiar to us, except Goodwood, albeit with some major surgery at Snet.
Moving on 5 years to 1965, the rules had changed again. Jerry has sent a copy of the 1965 Monoposto Seasonal Survey from the 18 March 1966 Autosport: a full page devoted to Mono, written by competitor Mike Cowburn, builder in 1962 with Jo Anziani of the sophisticated front engined Anco (pictured right). The formula was refined to 2 classes of 1500cc pushrod and 1172cc side valve with either home built chassis or chassis no longer in production. It should be remembered that at the time the only other small single seater category was F3. The seasonal review mentions some interesting sounding cars. Class A (1500) was won by Roy Lee in a Terrier from Derrick Colvin in a Formula Junior Lotus 18, both commercial chassis. Class B was the province of Dave Havelock followed by Ted Garbutt . Other combinations named were Terry Hardy (Class A-Project X, a front Cosworth 1500 engined special), Mike Cowburn (reporting on himself in the Class B 1172 Anco), club founder and then secretary Frank Tiedeman in the unusual Class A Deep Sanderson, Barchou in an "A" Lotus 22 (the Dallara of its day, and only 3 years old), Tony Bodley ("B" BFM, an immaculate, 100% self built BRM look-alike), Brian Mitchum (Embryo 1172) and Bob Mitchell in Apex 2 ("B"). There were 7 races (Silverstone - 2, Brands, Snetterton, the brand new Lydden, Oulton, Debden). The report gave record times but as the circuits have changed so much I will give only Brands Club at 57.8.
The report ends with a shameless plug for the 1966 championship, with 12 rounds of which 8 counted. A competitive car can be produced, it said, for £350-£500 with the most sophisticated at £650. Add inflation at RPI and those become £4,700 - £6,700 with the finest at a shade under £9,000. There are some similarities with today: close, competitive racing, production based engines and a few state of the art cars. But the closest similarity is the comment that "the members are perhaps the friendliest group on the circuits and racing is still fun to them." Long may that remain the case!
The source of information now changes from Jerry Sturman to Allan Staniforth by way of his book "High Speed Low Cost". A later piece in this series will deal with his Terrapin, but for now let's look at Appendix 7 where he recommends mono for the home constructor and summarises the regs, again changed. One constant is the mantra that "Works, trade supported or sponsored entries are expressly excluded." Engines could be pushrod only (OHC and superchargers being banned) with class A 1001cc-1500cc and class B up to 1000cc. The 1172 sidevalve is laid to rest at last. As far as chassis are concerned, anything was allowed as lomg as the wheels were exposed. Commercially produced cars over 4 years old were permitted. Allan lists 6 major trophies besides the overall championship, being Class A, Class B, Hard Luck and Eigenbeau (all still around today), the Lorainne Michelle trophy (sorry, no idea - perhaps for Lady Drivers?) and, bizarrely, the Hillclimb Trophy. can anybody explain the last two?
To get a cross section of cars of the 1960's I tried Googling. It didn't help very much, but did throw up a couple of cars for sale. First was the Anco, dealt with in the 1970's article by Alan Putt and pictured right. Second to come up on the screen was the Tervin, built by Tony Scivens with an 1172 Ford unit, Aquaplane head and twin SUs. The overall layout was similar to a well known hillclimb 500, the Rex McCandless modified Joe Potts Special with a short swing axle at the back. These days, a rear engined car is synonymous with a Hewland or motor cycle gearbox, but have a look at the transmission on the Tervin. It's a standard Ford Pop box, transmitting the power to a standard rear axle. The gearchange is on the left.
The ever interesting F3history.co.uk gave a picture of Jim Yardley's first Beagle. I quote from the website "Jim Yardley raced in UK club racing throughout the 1960s and 70s producing his own car, the Beagle Mk1 in 1966. In July of that year he raced at a wet Oulton Park but failed to finish and he tried again in September at Castle Combe but the result was the same. By the end of the 1960s Yardley was racing in the Monoposto Championship in his 1.5 litre semi-monocoque Beagle and in 1969 he took the title. In 1970 Yardley dropped down to the 1-litre Monoposto class using a F3 engine that used a head of his own design fitted to an MAE block with a view to doing some F3 racing. It must have been a good engine as Yardley beat 1.5 litre cars with it but it seems that no F3 races were undertaken." The car certainly looks sophisticated for 1969, even if most of us would now rather not race with an unbraced rollover bar. Jim's obviously a very clever man and an innovative thinker.
The last result was on Deep Sanderson designer Chris Lawrence's own website where the interesting deep Sanderson was illustrated. Unique in having a "Lawrence Link" trailing arm suspension system, this rather tubby but attractive car was, in its FJ day, more effective at wet meetings than dry. Incidentally, Chris later went on to be a consultant to Morgan Motors, and F1 driver, and LeMans class winner. Not a bad CV!
Having been less than 100% successful with Googling I decided to scan in a few pics from the indispensable "A-Z of Formula Racing Cars" by the late David Hodges. The Terrier was designed by Eagle, Lotus, Leda and Macrae designer Len Terry. It had an AustinA35 gearbox and Ford 105E (Anglia) engine. The Lotus 18 and 20 need no introduction, being the seminal Formula Juniors of their day. Note the immense reduction of frontal area. The 20 was a pure FJ, the 18 also ran in F1 and F2.
Tupolev 114 prototype, flew non stop Moscow to New York to beat Mono launch to first item on BBC News. (airliners.net/Mel Lawrence)
The 1962 Anco as developed to a 1979 championship winner, picture taken from its current seller's website. (MROKS.com)
Autosport seasonal survey picture showing Terrier (Roy Lee) and Project X (Terry Hardy) at Silverstone
Lotus 20 & Lotus 18 Formula Juniors (A-Z of Formula Racing Cars)
Brian Hart driving a Terrier in 1960 in FJ (A-Z of Formula Racing Cars)
Lawrence-tune.co.uk pic of Duncan Rabagliatti's Deep Sanderson as it is now. Similar to Frank Tiedeman's?
Jim Yardley's Beagle (1969). (F3History.co.uk)
A Lotus22 FJ in modern racing (formulajunior.com)