Matters of moment, July 1967

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Ford triumphant

The Ford Motor Company has obtained a highly-respected place in the field of competition motoring. The high-speed run from the Cape to Southampton with the Corsair V4 was just a start. Since then they have won Le Mans again, at a record speed, and at Zandvoort their new 3-litre Grand Prix engine took the Lotus 49 to first place on its initial racing engagement. This last achievement is quite outstanding – very much the event of the year and one that merits the warmest congratulations to Keith Duckworth, Mike Costin, Colin Chapman, Maurice Phillipp, Walter Hayes and all concerned. After saying that, what Ford call the car is surely their affair, as they put up the money for its engine.

Certainly the Dutch G.P. showed the outstanding engineering ability of Cosworth Engineering. But success in motor racing is elusive and the first reports from Spa suggest that about the only Ford part in the new engine, the Autolite plugs, let Clark down badly in the Belgian G.P., where the V12 Weslake engine, which some experts thought would never cope with a very fast circuit, brought Gurney’s Eagle through to victory.

Again, all-British race successes are fading, even if this little country provides the technical know-how behind machinery which is paid for in dollars.

The fact remains that the Lotus-Ford win at Zandvoort was a magnificent performance from a car straight off the drawing-board. What a pity that Ford-of-Britain’s publicity boys have taken some of the gilt off this great achievement by Stupid copy-writing. Having written big-headed exaggeration into the handout on the Cosworth engine their admen have now come out with the statement that “It’s the first time in history an engine has won, first time out.” This has caused a spate of letters to arrive at the Motor Sport offices from readers protesting at the inaccuracy of this remarkable claim. It will no doubt cause historians a busy time checking the facts. At the Continental Correspondent points out, in post-war G.P.s Maserati and Mercedes-Benz won races the first time they used brand-new designs. Before the war we remember how Mercedes-Benz went to Tripoli and finished 1st and 2nd With entirely new 1 1/2-litre V8 cars, admittedly in a voiturette race. There must have been other occasions when this happened. But we suppose that anyone so childish as to call these invincible modern competition cars “Roaring Fordies” is unlikely to have read much serious motor racing history….

Tourist trophy untriumphant

The T.T., which should rank as one of the most important sports-car races in the International calendar, was this year run as a sort of saloon-car club day at Oulton Park. From being an honest attempt at Edwardian touring-car racing, a racing-car event over the tough road circuit in 1922 and later a very exciting and instructive sports-car race in Ireland, this long-established fixture has sunk almost into obscurity, so that it merits but a brief report in this issue.

It is high time the R.A.C. took definite steps to restore the T.T. to its former importance.

Brooklands

The Godalming Brooklands Meeting (see page 592) (no connection with the old firm) has aroused mixed feelings. It got a bad but not very accurate report in the Daily Telegraph, a nostalgic write-up in the Sun, which even mentioned a new organisation which intends to restore part of the Track, confirmation of which we await with curiosity. The Aldershot News printed its usual nonsense about vehicles going round the Track, which has not been usable for a quarter of century.

Bill Boddy writes: My suggestion for a Brooklands’ Society has received a fresh impetus through the enormous interest displayed in the old Track and the time is ripe for its formation. Its aims would be to maintain memories and interest in the Track, preserve records, documents and photographs pertaining to it and, if funds permitted, publish an illustrated magazine. If B.A.C. co-operate occasional visits might be possible to Brooklands, and film-shows and other meetings could be arranged.

Those who had pre-war associations with the motor racing and flying at Brooklands could be granted full membership, others associated membership. The Society could be run initially from the Motor Sport offices and I would ask those interested to write to me there, so that the possibilities can be further assessed.”

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