Originally posted by Mark Campbell
The CMSHGroup here in Canada knocked it around today and also confirm that Comstock was only a sponsor for Ryan. However, Autosport Limited, the Lotus importer in Canada may have had an interest in the car as they were listed as the entrant for Ryan at the Players 200, Mosport 61. A few of the guys are trying to confirm this.
It was generally assumed that Peter Ryan owned chassis 959. But then we're looking for more than just assumptions here, aren't we? Ryan, like Revson in later years, was often though to have been sitting on a big pile of money. In fact, his early season efforts in 1961 were run on a very tight budget. Ryan's car was entered in the 1961 Players 200 race by Autosport Ltd. It may have also entered him in the early Canadian races like St. Eugene (July 9). That raised the possibility that Autosport actually owned the car, rather than Ryan himself. I passed the question on to John R. Wright, a great Canadian racing historian. John wrote to Carl Moore, the present owner of chassis 959 (he bought it from Jack Boxtrom). Mr. Moore replied that, "I have copies of the bill of sale from the Lotus factory to Peter Ryan". So that settles that - verified in writing. As for Autosport Ltd. entering Ryan's car in the early races - sometimes what seems like a significant detail really isn't.
I don't think anyone really knew what sort of arrangement Peter Ryan had with Comstock - whether it bought the car when he entered the team or merely sponsored it. The answer popped up on the Canadian Motorsport History Group this morning. Ted Smith, a researcher in the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame's archive posted a question about a short-lived Canadian periodical called Motor News Week
. As an aside, he mentioned that, "....front page story in issue 24 is the announcement that R.M.Hollingshead Company had just purchased the Lotus 19 from Peter Ryan for Bradley to drive as #25 in 1962. It notes that Ryan wanted the car kept in Canada". Hollingshead ran the car as "Miss Whizz". So it seems that Ryan maintained ownership of the Lotus when he brought it into the Comstock team - which happened sometime between his victory at St. Eugene and his win at Mosport on August 19, when the car was painted in Comstock colours.
No surprises here, but now it's all backed up with documentation.