The Falcons didn't have separate chassis...
All the same, to homologate them under a ton would mean some serious lightweighting! Very thin fibreglass might help, but the mechanicals certainly wouldn't.
On the horsepower side of things, Jim Sullivan wrote home in December 1965, "It now looks definite that saloon car racing will be run under Group 5 regs in Britain next year - look out for the 600bhp Fords!" That would be the Galaxies, I feel sure the early Mustangs were about 400-420bhp.
Incidentally, the car crashed at Oulton Park was the former Gawaine Baillie car, which had hung itself over the precipice at Sandown Park and passed me down Tannery Straight between races. In the February issue of Racing Car News
, Jim explained this and wrote the following:
"Now it is being fitted with a 7-litre 'Hi-Riser' donk and many other goodies. Willments are experimenting with various induction systems - fuel injection, Holley and Weber carburettors - and expect to get at least 600bhp out of it. A very big suspension sorting programme is also under way, along with plans for wider than wide rims and some very fancy disc brakes - double calipers and all!"
In another issue of the magazine, Brian Muir writes about his first Galaxie win, Goodwood at Easter. Actually, thw whole of the letter is very interesing, covering his debut at Oulton Park and races at Snetterton and Goodwood. It also discusses Jim Clark, as Brian had come up against him in his first meeting at Oulton Park.
It's important here, by the way, to remember during this that Brian always did a lot of thinking between practice sessions and races, working out in his mind where he can be faster and then going onto the circuit and doing it.
I don't know about you, but I had a pretty successful Easter. Whilst it's impossible to predict that the Galaxie will continue its winning way, at least it's made a good start and this helps a lot.
As you probably know, we started testing about the middle of March with an engine taken from John Willment's boat "Blue Moppie", which he used in the Off Shore Powerboat Race in 1965.
This engine was only to be used for testing, but as is so often the case, it had to stay in for the first race.
We tried the car at Goodwood, Brands and Snetterton and at each circuit we were a little better than the lap record, but not quick enough, so we tried to screw some more power out of the engine by fitting a new cam for Oulton Park on April 2. It didn't work, it was worse!
When we arrived for practice we were not pleased about the weather as it was pouring. I hadn't driven around Oulton before this and was quite pleased to turn in a 1:0808, with Jim Clark doing a 1:04.6.
In the second period I had settled down a bit and managed a 1:03.6, but Jim, the sly dog, had rushed around in 1:02.2, which is not bad in a Lotus Cortina. He is the most amazing driver I have ever seen in a saloon car, and he is a clear three seconds quicker than any other driver in a Lotus, including Peter Arundell.
As you know, the race was called off, but with Jack on 1:03.0 and Mike Salmon on 1:03.4, also in a Mustaing, it could have been a lot of fun."
Next Thursday we turned up for practice at Snetterton and, as there was only one practice period, we elected to see how the wet weather Goodyears handled in the dry. They had been really good in the wet at Oulton, but we had no experience in the dry.
As it turned out they were good enough to get us fourth place on the grid but were about 1½-2 seconds slower, although from inside the car they felt more like 10 seconds slower as the tail would come out a mile on every corner. However, it was dry for the race and we changed over.
I got a diabolical start but was able to pass Jim after two or three laps, although as soon as I passed him he tucked in behind and got the biggest tow of his life as I couldn't shake him off.
We should have been much faster but had destroyed the only 4.1 diff we had during testing and were just overgeared.
I managed to pass Mike Salmon with a pretty desperate 'wheels locked' entry into the Russell Hairpin and I began to draw away from Mike, but I still had Jim in the boot.
He made a pass on the last lap, but I'm glad to say the experience I gained keeping Foley and Pete Geoghegan behind me paid off, and I saw it coming. So we were second to Jack and pretty pleased.
The next day was practice for Goodwood and there was only time to change the wheels (it was raining again) before practice. Jim was fastest and I was second, 0.5 seconds behind.
For the second practice period it was dry and the order was Jack, Mike, jim and me with about 1.4 seconds between us. We how had Sunday off with a chance to do a few things we wanted to do.
We were able to borrow a 4.1 diff from Roy Pierpoint, and we fitted a much larger exhaust system that we had wanted to fit for Snetterton but didn't have time. The engine used to run up to about 6,000 and then would drop off in power when it should go like mad.
Anyway, after I had nearly lost it in the warming up lap I knew it was a 'flyer'.
Again I made a slow start (we are a bit uncertain about the transmission, so I treat it very gently at the start), and I was sixth at the end of the first lap.
The car was really flying and I was able to pass everyone by the sixth lap, and then I had a plug go out. Jack, who had been slowed in the early stages with a new tyre, began to catch me.
On the odd occasion a second plug would fail and I could see myself being passed. However, the old girl was just able to make it home and I had won my first race. At some time during the first laps I set an outright Saloon Car record of 1:52.2 and went home quite 'chuffed' as they say.
I haven't found anything specific about it, but the car was also damaged (the chassis kinked, apparently) in a crash at Crystal Palace... and I haven't yet found anything about Brabham's crash (if he had one!).