I have an old magazine clipping (perhaps Autosport, but I'm not sure) in which there is a picture of a strange single-seater #81 driven by Ian Swift, a bloke with big moustache. The legend is "Fastest at the May meeting at Dyrham Park was Ian Swift with the Cooper-Ford. Later in the year Swift was to crash dramatically at this course", and also "... poor Swift made the news in another way at Dyrham Park when his car skidded on..." and the page end.
Do you know what did really happen to Ian Swift?
I've only just found this site and this forum but I hope what follows is of interest.
Ian Swift's accident occurred in Saturday morning practice for the (?final) National Hill Climb Championship round at Dyrham in September 1965. The track was dry but the braking area (under trees) was damp and with some fallen leaves. Having crossed the line Ian lifted off and the rear wheels locked on the damp leafy surface and he skidded and violently attacked a tree. He was hospitalised for three or four days but suffered no long term injury. The car was badly damaged - the chassis was cut up to remove the Ford engine/Cooper gearbox unit and the wishbones were badly bent or broken. I think the Cooper steering rack, one rear upright and two Cooper wheels were OK together with various minor components.
In the winter of 65/66 Ian and I spent long evenings pouring over 'Costain and Phipps' and drew up plans for a new chassis with larger diameter straight steel tubes and well triangulated (we went to see Bruce McLaren's M3 'Whoosh Bonk' Hill Climb Special which was very helpful.) The suspension was designed with the Lotus 33 layout and was fully rose-jointed. We took the engine/gearbox unit and suspension uprights (one new rear and two new fronts I recall) together with our designs to Jan Oder at Salisbury who was asked to make a chassis to our dimensions and to fit these components. The Cooper nose cone was repaired and modified (brilliantly by one odf Ian's panel beaters) and the new Swift-Ford made it's first appearance at the Spring Dyrham Park meeting in 1966. It immediately handled far better than the old Cooper chassis and after some help and advice from Tony Marsh about spring rates, dampers and roll bars the car soon became a quick competitive hill climb car.
The old Cooper chassis (Cooper T53 F1-3-61) was cut up and scrapped as were the wishbones - they were beyond repair. However, Cooper F1-3-61 now apparently now exists presumably as a '1990s' Type 53 Cooper with a new chassis, suspension, and engine! I don't know if the Swift-Ford chassis and suspension still exists. Sadly Ian Swift died in 1984.
Roger Bonsall, Bath. October 2009.