ECURIE SCALPEL NEWS - AUGUST 2006

END OF AN ERA – AND A NEW ARRIVAL TO CONSIDER!

After a lot of thought and a bit of tough negotiation, things have happened in the last month. One car has gone and another has arrived.

Why did this all happen? The short version of the story is that after helping out a close friend in a deal to sell his two cars in order to buy a third – it only took a simple phone call really – the wonderful Rick Hall (of Hall and Hall fame) suggested an intriguing plan that might place the value of the Elva as close to that of an F1 car!! Well I don’t want to bore you about the details but suffice to say that after a few weeks of discussions the deal was done. The Elva has gone to a US collector and racer who appreciates both the quality and performance of the car as a racer and of course the significant history and association with Stirling Moss.

I bought the car from Stirling after a year racing it under his ownership. I have to say that it is one of the all time great machines and so incredibly user friendly – just arrive and drive. It is also the only car that I have ever driven to outright race wins so the decision to sell was not made lightly. It was also not made before consulting Stirling Moss who has always taken a great interest in the exploits of the car around the world. He didn’t hesitate in saying that the car should go if the deal made sense – always the businessman!

In my ownership the car has taken me or a friend to Goodwood, Australia, Macau and the British GP support race as well as race wins in Ireland, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and Donington Park. I have also had the opportunity to share the car with several friends including Tony Dron, Simon Hadfield, Simon Ham, Bob Birrell and Martin Walford – all of whom have proven great fun and seriously competitive.

Even in my ownership the car has also featured in several magazine articles and various photo shoots including a recent test drive by Simon Taylor of Motorsport fame.

The car has been rebuilt several times in its life by Don Haldenby and has broken down only twice during a race which is a major compliment to his skills and standards of work. In fact the only time the car the car actually failed mechanically was a drive shaft breakage at Mallory Park. The other time was my fault when I switched on the headlights despite knowing the alternator was on the blink – stupid boy!

The car was faithful to the end and brought a record price (a bit tacky I know) although I believe the figure was fair. However it was only this fact that allowed it be replaced by the new arrival which I consider to be the car of anyone’s dreams – a real, genuine ‘70’s F1 car!

In 1971 John Surtees was probably at the height of his career as an F1 manufacturer and began the year with the arrow shaped TS9. Now basically, this was the same as the TS8 F5000 cars that you will already know from previous race reports. It was a pretty good F5000 car (coming 2nd in the European Championship driven by Mike Hailwood) and was also competitive as a Grand Prix offering. 1971 was the year dominated by Jackie Stewart and the Tyrrell team who produced their first car and waltzed to the World Championship. Nobody else really got a serious look in that year but John Surtees gave it his best shot on a virtually non-existent budget.

The TS9 was (and is) a beautiful looking car – almost the way a ‘70’s race car should look. Chassis #04 started life being driven by Derek Bell in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Sponsored by the Brook Bond Oxo organisation it was also quite successful in 1971 being driven by Mike Hailwood and John Surtees himself. Famously, Hailwood finished fourth in the Italian GP slipstreaming special in Chassis #04 – the same race in which he would finish in 2nd place the following year in the closest GP bunch finish ever. In the historic Oulton Park Gold Cup John Surtees went one better in the two heat event which he won outright in Chassis #04.

The following year the TS9 underwent a dramatic change to what was called “B” specification. Basically this involved converting the car to side radiator format with a wide straight nose. In 1972 Team Surtees ran a third works car for rising Italian star Andrea De Adamich using sponsorship from Italian tile maker Ceramica Pagnossin and Chassis #04 was turned out for the occasion in flashy red and white colours. De Adamich achieved his best ever GP result in this car with a 4th place finish in the Spanish GP at Jarama. After that the car went on to spend several years in South Africa being raced in local F1 events.

Like all self respecting old racing cars #04 spent several years in slightly dishevelled retirement before being rescued by well know historic race driver Peter Austin who found the car – alongside another TS9B – in Bournemouth. He bought both of course and entrusted the restorations to Rick Hall and his team. Since then the car has been totally rebuilt and raced at Monaco and Pau as well as several other European and British events. Resplendent in the beautiful BBO colours the car is in wonderful condition and ready to race. Size wise it is the same as the TS8 and there is no doubt they make the ultimate matching pair!

So it is farewell to w great car and welcome to another that could not be more different. I think the first race for this machine will actually be sometime at the start of 2007 but I for one cannot wait. Watch this space for photos soon.

 

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