The most amazing thing about automotive photography is turning up to a shoot and not knowing exactly what you are about to be presented with. Standing outside this particular shed, it looked just like any other shed…metal, painted, and big and square. This however was one book that couldn’t be judged by it’s cover….or erm covers?
What was special about this shed, was that it didn’t have your typical Japanese styled tuning behind it’s doors, judging by the historic collection of papers collected from over 50 years of motorsport the goodies awaiting me were a little more ‘aged’…
The owner of the collection; Terry even had his own personally signed Jackie Stewart photo on the wall. Now you know that the man has taste! No modern drivers adorn these walls, only the racing legends are allowed up on the wall.
Lining the walls were shelves and posters of race meets gone by, visions of Burt Munroe’s ‘offerings to the gods of speed’ raced through my mind when I saw this spent piston head. I could only imagine the forces required to go and do this…big engines, big horsepower, and big catastrophic mechanical failures…
Now this little Cooper might not strike excitement into many peoples minds but if you are a Formula One fan, and support McLaren then you can thank this exact car for the fact that McLaren exists. Bruce McLaren got his first ever taste of competition behind this wheel. He borrowed the car for a run up a hillclimb after the official timing had been completed, it was purely for fun. The owner later found out that Bruce had beaten his own timed run up the hill that day.
The little Cooper is prehistoric in terms of the machinery used by today’s beginner drivers even, these machines truly need to be seen to be appreciated. Simplicity at it’s finest, yet the legends of motorsport all ‘cut their teeth’ on these exact cars.
Historic Formula 5000 racecars are now rare, and worth a pretty penny. This 1969 Lola T142 was driven by Jackie Oliver and is regarded as the tidiest T142 in existence. This car comes from an era when race cars really were ‘beautiful’.
Photos don’t do these tyres justice. Running rubber this big means BIG horsepower, and massive amounts of grip. It just goes to show how much of a handful these cars were when you had tyres this big for grip!
It was amazing walking out into the workshop adjacent to the main shed as the car Bruce McLaren got his first taste of motorsport in was merely 30 metres away from one of the cars his company would go on to create and have his name adorn. The McLaren M22 F5000 is one of three known to exist. Big block Chev engine, riveted body, and big wide tyres, these cars despite being worth a small fortune are still hammered around tracks and shipped to international historic events, this genuine McLaren included.
It’s great seeing a genuine McLaren racecar, especially when it is painted in the original McLaren ‘papaya orange’.
Also present was a CanAm car. Many of us may have heard this term ‘CanAm’ which stands for Canadian American Challenge Cup. These tubbed monsters were faster than F1 cars of the time and were notorious for producing wheel spin under load at 160mph.
Famous tracks such as Mosport, and Road America were the hunting grounds for drivers brave enough to drive these cars on the limits.
If you watch the onboards of current race cars they all have flashing lights to tell you to change gear, when the engine is getting a bit hot, the number of laps down you are, and even how much race fuel is onboard. Looking into the CanAm, the biggest brightest thing on the dash is for when things go catastrophically wrong…FIRE PUSH!
You might be tired of all the ‘historic onboard shots’ although in this day and age getting to see inside these famous machines isn’t an opportunity that comes along too often. Especially ones driven by world champions. This Brabham was polited by Denny Hulme, and Jack Brabham and is still raced too. Just not quite as hard as it used to be.
So standing back and taking it all in the ‘shed’ looked something like this…
and this…and it’s all owned by one family. True dedication for preserving motorsport history. It’s a real pleasure to see.
Carbon intakes or spaghetti? Give me the spaghetti any day of the week…
Standing outside the shed one hour before I had no idea such a range of machinery was sitting inside. All of it with that ‘old historic’ smell to it. Worn gears, old lacquer paint and the smell of leather seats all combined to make me really appreciate the machinery of days gone by. It’s not often you can say that you see a racecar being driven angrily around a track held together by rivets. However it’s the simplicity that is what makes these machines so awesome and with an emblem on the centre of the steering wheel like this one you just know you are in the presence of automotive royalty…
Awesome post Aaron! A true diamond in the rough!
Cheers bud! Yeah the best stuff is in those out of the way, hidden places. This was certainly a diamond in the rough.