Ferrari slur


Your P1 report in the December issue headed ‘Ferrari dictates future again’ rather distorts the facts surrounding the switch to the 1.5-litre Formula One in 1961.

The new formula was announced in October 1958, 12 months before Jack Brabham had won the first of his back-to-back titles. By the time Brabham had won both those titles a clear two years had elapsed since its announcement. If anyone “pulled a rug from under our feet” it was Britain’s motorsport industry which resisted the regulation change until August 1960, by which time its self-imposed uncertainty had served only to distract Coventry Climax and BRM from designing and producing suitable new engines for the first year of the new formula.

The proposal had been instigated by France and was passed at the CSI Committee by five votes to two, the two against being Britain and Italy, who supported a retention of the exiting 2.5-litre formula — no extra ‘tug’ from Ferrari there then. It is true that no one (i.e. the British interests) was very happy about the change and that Ferrari was the sole team with a good 1.5-litre engine, but even then the 120-degree V6 was only devised over the winter of 1960. Ferrari realised at an early stage that resistance to the formula would probably be a waste of time and took advantage of the situation, although I believe that work was also started on a ‘ Sharknose’-based Intercontinental Formula chassis.

Your case against Ferrari is, therefore, unfounded. While the quality of your journalism remains of the highest standard, this particular item smacked of ‘tabloid journalism’. Please don’t venture down that avenue — rather remain authorities.

And please recapture your lost individuality by returning to a green-based cover!

Mark Whitelock,

via e-mail

Yes, but I still think Ferrari held a major key to F1’s future in 1961, i.e. if Enzo had supported Intercontinental, ‘team power’ might have killed off the 1500s.– Ed


Doctor Feelgood


I thoroughly enjoyed the article on Giuseppe Farina; it brought back maiiy pleasurable memories.

One was the September meeting at Goodwood, 1951. Farina came with an Alfa 158 — and a mechanic. He won three races: the Woodcote Cup, the Daily Graphic Trophy and a handicap. In the latter he was the last off, of course, he and mechanic pushing the car on to the grid. The mechanic removed from his overall pocket a small starting handle and slotted it in at six o’clock; one pull and the engine fired, and in climbed the good Dottore.

Farina sliced through the field. On one lap he came upon Dennis Poore in his Alfa, his pass accompanied by much waving of fist.

I have often wondered who on earth managed to persuade Alfa to send a car to a Goodwood meeting.

Peter Whybrow,



Tony Lanfranchi


How sad that motorsport has lost another of its great characters. Tony Lanfranchi was my instructor at Brands Hatch Racing many years ago and his shrewd observations and comments no doubt helped us ‘clubbies’ improve our game.

In recent years I was pleased to renew our acquaintance when helping Don Thallon from Australia run his Lister-Jaguar and Cooper F1. Tony and his brother Peter were campaigning a Lotus Cortina and were very friendly and helpful to us whenever we had a problem. It was refreshing that Tony’s enthusiasm for the sport was undiminished — he was good for many memorable tales during the evenings. He even happily went and sat 20 yards away for a smoke while we were still eating, and asked us to smack his hand if he continued to reach for his fags.

Sadly, it looks like they did for him in the end.

Keith Martin,

Milton Keynes


Vauxhall This?


I read with interest your brief interview with Murray Walker in the December issue (My Hero & Favourite Road Car). I was astonished at his support of BMW cars, particularly as his name was linked for so long with Vauxhall.

He worked in advertising for many years, and Vauxhall was one of his major clients during the era when the V8 Ventora was so ably driven by a young Gerry Marshall. Murray was known for his strong allegiance to the PC Viscount, FD and FE Ventora, and then Victor estates after the Fuel Crisis struck. He drove thousands of miles around Europe in these cars. In those days they were respectable upmarket cars, following the track victories of the Ventora-based ‘Big Bertha’ — not forgetting Andrew Higton’s success in winning the caravan racing championship in the FE VX4/90 owned and tuned by Dealer Team Vauxhall guru Bill Blydenstein. And I am sure Murray would admit to having a hand in getting James Hunt involved with the promotion of the first car on the British market to feature a radio-cassette player as a standard fitting, the Vauxhall FE 2300S. It would be hard to imagine Schumacher wishing to promote an MP3 player in a Vauxhall Vectra, I know, but those were very different times.

Murray may always have had BMW motorbikes, but in your sister publication Autocar & Motor in the early 1980s he is on record as saying that his Mk l Astra GTE was acquired to put the fun back into his day-to-day driving, describing it as “a four-wheeled motorcycle”.

And Mr Walker was not the only celebrity Vauxhall user: test batsman Geoff Boycott took delivery of an FD Victor 2000 in 1968, and in the early ’70s Ray Illingworth used an FE Victor 2300SL. James Hunt’s own ‘anonymous wheels of choice’ during this period was an HC Firenza Sport SL.

Dave Richards,



Kiwi Alfa Tipo B’s


It was fantastic to see the article on Alfas in your October issue. But of course the Tipo B went on winning long after 1935.

Roy Salvadori sold Nuvolari’s P3 (5005/50005) to Les Moore for £1000 and it came to New Zealand in 1950. With it Moore won the Lady Wigram Trophy Race in 1951 and ’52 and Ron Roycroft won it again in ’53. Roycroft also won at Mairehau, took the Molesworth Trophy at Ohakea and also secured the NZ hillclimb championship — on gravel roads! In 1954 he finished fifth in the New Zealand GP and won at Dunedin in ’54 and ’55.

Another Tipo B also came to New Zealand (5006/50006), Louis Chiron’s more regular car. Frank Ashby acquired it and throughout the rest of its racing life, until it was restored, it had twin exhaust pipes which made it easily identifiable.

Bill Harris was possibly the last person to win a contemporary race in a P3: the NZ beach championship at Tahuna Beach in 1960, albeit fitted with a Jaguar motor.

I was fortunate to drive a few laps in the Nuvolari Alfa some time later in the car’s life. Bloody fantastic!

Graham Vercoe,



Missing Mouse


I’ve read Motor Sport since 1948 and always considered it to truly represent motor racing, not just F1.

Its new layout is in keeping with current ideas and I can live with that as long as you continue to have excellent articles like Scarlet Fever (October issue). But the Top 50 Partnerships without the White Mouse team of Chula and Bira?

This private team set new standards for race preparation, strategy and pitwork, and regularly beat the ERA and Maserati works teams in the 1930s. In addition, it won the British Gold Star for road racing three years in a row, 1936-38.

While your list of judges included many names, maybe you should have included Bill Boddy!

The article on Michele Alboreto was also wonderful; well-written, and so true of a great gentleman. I saw him win at Detroit in 1983.

Great magazine. Keep it up.

R F Truscott,