Jump to content


Photo

The other Jim Clark


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 David Beard

David Beard
  • Member

  • 4,883 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 15 February 2005 - 19:39

I've been reading "Chevron-The Derek Bennett Story", kindly loaned to me by Mallory Dan. I had, until recently, believed that all Chevrons just emerged from that mill in Bolton in the form that they had been chalked on the floor by Derek. I imagined that because the B16 was one of the prettiest sports racers ever, this was strong proof that a racing car looks right when it is right, and that a "stylist" would never need to be involved. However, I learn that the body shape was the work of Jim Clark at Specialised Mouldings, and that (according to this month's MotorSport) he also designed the Lola T70 bodywork. (didn't say whether the open or closed version)

What else did this Jim Clark do?

Advertisement

#2 ian senior

ian senior
  • Member

  • 2,139 posts
  • Joined: September 02

Posted 16 February 2005 - 09:42

Originally posted by David Beard
I've been reading "Chevron-The Derek Bennett Story", kindly loaned to me by Mallory Dan. I had, until recently, believed that all Chevrons just emerged from that mill in Bolton in the form that they had been chalked on the floor by Derek. I imagined that because the B16 was one of the prettiest sports racers ever, this was strong proof that a racing car looks right when it is right, and that a "stylist" would never need to be involved. However, I learn that the body shape was the work of Jim Clark at Specialised Mouldings, and that (according to this month's MotorSport) he also designed the Lola T70 bodywork. (didn't say whether the open or closed version)

What else did this Jim Clark do?


I would guess the closed version certainly, especially in mark 3B form - very similar to the B16, but on a larger and less delicate scale. And yes, just who WAS t'other Jim Clark ( I haven't yet seen this month's Motor Sport - thanks W H Smith, for being so on the ball)?

#3 MCS

MCS
  • Member

  • 3,532 posts
  • Joined: June 03

Posted 16 February 2005 - 12:35

Really curious about this - I will have to have a look at my copy this evening.

Pity we can't get David Gordon to post on TNF really... :(

Mark

#4 MCS

MCS
  • Member

  • 3,532 posts
  • Joined: June 03

Posted 16 February 2005 - 12:58

I've emailed David, so I'll keep you posted...

#5 David Beard

David Beard
  • Member

  • 4,883 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 17 February 2005 - 12:57

Originally posted by MCS
Really curious about this - I will have to have a look at my copy this evening.

Pity we can't get David Gordon to post on TNF really... :(

Mark


I've just read the good news that his Chevron book is to be reprinted :)

#6 Mallory Dan

Mallory Dan
  • Member

  • 2,672 posts
  • Joined: September 03

Posted 17 February 2005 - 13:09

Wonder if David, or anyone, could do an update of the book. There's been a lot of Chevron activity in the 15 years or so since it came out in the Historic fields. With what seems to be a lot of interest in things Boltonian, a revised edition, perhaps with info from Redman/Gethin/Keke/Pillette/Patrese etc, would be wonderful.

#7 ian senior

ian senior
  • Member

  • 2,139 posts
  • Joined: September 02

Posted 17 February 2005 - 13:20

Originally posted by Mallory Dan
Wonder if David, or anyone, could do an update of the book. There's been a lot of Chevron activity in the 15 years or so since it came out in the Historic fields. With what seems to be a lot of interest in things Boltonian, a revised edition, perhaps with info from Redman/Gethin/Keke/Pillette/Patrese etc, would be wonderful.


Agreed. And of course this year is the 40th anniversary of Chevron, so the timing could hardly be better.

I wonder if David Gordon will be at the "Chevron" race at Oulton in August. Perhaps he could be nobbled and persuaded (unless someone can do the job in the meantime). I'm looking forward to this event - Teddy Pilette has already expressed an interest in turning up.

#8 Maindrian Pace

Maindrian Pace
  • New Member

  • 21 posts
  • Joined: September 02

Posted 17 February 2005 - 15:20

According to Richard Heseltine, Clark was an architect in his native New Zealand before leaving for England in the early '60s. He worked for Lotus on the Elan fixed-head and a few other cars before joining Specialised Mouldings where he styled the McLaren M6GT. He later worked for Penske and produced his own car called the Griffen (later the GD-XM) which was offered in kit form in the mid 1970s. Quite a pretty car with pop-up headlights and a Scimitar GTE-style roof (detachable, too), success was hampered by the choice of donor car - either VW Beetle or Morris Minor van!

In recent years, Clark has been busy knocking out a Citroen 2CV-based utitility vehicle called the Manx which is still in production and, when Hezza interviewed him for Classic & Sports Car, he had just made a scale model for a proposed 'Allard J2X for the noughties' with Chevy small-block power. Hezza also mentioned that Mr. Clark was a bit spacey on the day, telling him 'You would be too if you'd been inhaling fibreglass resin for 40 years!'

#9 David Beard

David Beard
  • Member

  • 4,883 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 19 February 2005 - 15:45

Originally posted by Maindrian Pace
According to Richard Heseltine, Clark was an architect in his native New Zealand before leaving for England in the early '60s. He worked for Lotus on the Elan fixed-head and a few other cars before joining Specialised Mouldings where he styled the McLaren M6GT.


Aha, I always thought there was a similarity between the B16 and the McLaren M6GT. And I seem to remember quite a popular road going kit car that looked almost the same and which I assumed was related in some way....and something in a teatime TV programme :confused:

#10 allenre

allenre
  • New Member

  • 7 posts
  • Joined: April 09

Posted 10 January 2011 - 13:07

According to Richard Heseltine, Clark was an architect in his native New Zealand before leaving for England in the early '60s. He worked for Lotus on the Elan fixed-head and a few other cars before joining Specialised Mouldings where he styled the McLaren M6GT. He later worked for Penske and produced his own car called the Griffen (later the GD-XM) which was offered in kit form in the mid 1970s. Quite a pretty car with pop-up headlights and a Scimitar GTE-style roof (detachable, too), success was hampered by the choice of donor car - either VW Beetle or Morris Minor van!

In recent years, Clark has been busy knocking out a Citroen 2CV-based utitility vehicle called the Manx which is still in production and, when Hezza interviewed him for Classic & Sports Car, he had just made a scale model for a proposed 'Allard J2X for the noughties' with Chevy small-block power. Hezza also mentioned that Mr. Clark was a bit spacey on the day, telling him 'You would be too if you'd been inhaling fibreglass resin for 40 years!'


I've just started research for an article on "The Other Jim Clark" and have stumbled on this (albeit 6 years later!). Could you tell me which issue of C&SC Richard Heseltine's interview was published in? Or, indeed, whether it was C&SC as another post in this thread says it was in Motor Sport.

Edited by allenre, 10 January 2011 - 13:07.


#11 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,136 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 10 January 2011 - 13:42

We had a thread on exactly this subject, Jim Clark of Specialised Mouldings a year or two back, I knew Jim well and remember contributing to it.

#12 Bloggsworth

Bloggsworth
  • Member

  • 7,438 posts
  • Joined: April 07

Posted 10 January 2011 - 15:22

According to Richard Heseltine, Clark was an architect in his native New Zealand before leaving for England in the early '60s. He worked for Lotus on the Elan fixed-head and a few other cars before joining Specialised Mouldings where he styled the McLaren M6GT. He later worked for Penske and produced his own car called the Griffen (later the GD-XM) which was offered in kit form in the mid 1970s. Quite a pretty car with pop-up headlights and a Scimitar GTE-style roof (detachable, too), success was hampered by the choice of donor car - either VW Beetle or Morris Minor van!


I remember once, in 1964, when walking between the racing shop and the main factory in Delemare Road, Jim Clark was coming the other way - We asked him what the drawings were tucked under his arm, he showed us the drawings, which were labelled "Elite II", but were in fact the Elan +2.

#13 ray b

ray b
  • Member

  • 2,560 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 10 January 2011 - 20:27

Aha, I always thought there was a similarity between the B16 and the McLaren M6GT. And I seem to remember quite a popular road going kit car that looked almost the same and which I assumed was related in some way....and something in a teatime TV programme :confused:


as I understand the story McLaren built enough M6GT bodys [ just the F/G bits no frame or running gear]
to qualify for the FIA GT rules 25 or 50 whatever the rule was for the year and wanted to qualify based on the number of open M6's built
that could then be fitted with the GT body to meet the production number required
the FIA said no deal you must build complete GT cars in the number required

so mclaren had a number of surplus bodys for the M6GT

I saw a completed [kit car] with a original M6GT body but saddly VW running gear under the beautifully shell
the guy trying to sell the car in the 80's wanted 25k based on it was a real M6GT body not a reproduction
but at the time a VW kit car was worth 2 -3 k so I passed telling him I would rather have a V8 even if fake
then a real body with VW running gear

#14 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,136 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 10 January 2011 - 20:50

as I understand the story McLaren built enough M6GT bodys [ just the F/G bits no frame or running gear]
to qualify for the FIA GT rules 25 or 50 whatever the rule was for the year and wanted to qualify based on the number of open M6's built
that could then be fitted with the GT body to meet the production number required
the FIA said no deal you must build complete GT cars in the number required

so mclaren had a number of surplus bodys for the M6GT


I can't be absolutely certain about this, but I don't think anything like 25 M6GT bodies were built, I'd be surprised if the total number was greater than somewhere in low single figures. Specialised Mouldings made all McLaren and Trojan bodies, and they had the only moulds for all the different cars. Maybe McLaren floated the idea to the FIA and were told "No chance, don't even think about it". Total M6GT production was one by McLaren, and another three by Trojan, though there were three factory built M6, and almost thirty later Trojan customer examples, but all were open cars. It's possible that copies were made some time later, but nothing to do with SM, and not the genuine article.


#15 D-Type

D-Type
  • Member

  • 8,022 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 10 January 2011 - 21:10

We had a thread on exactly this subject, Jim Clark of Specialised Mouldings a year or two back, I knew Jim well and remember contributing to it.

This one?

#16 ray b

ray b
  • Member

  • 2,560 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 12 January 2011 - 19:34

I can't be absolutely certain about this, but I don't think anything like 25 M6GT bodies were built, I'd be surprised if the total number was greater than somewhere in low single figures. Specialised Mouldings made all McLaren and Trojan bodies, and they had the only moulds for all the different cars. Maybe McLaren floated the idea to the FIA and were told "No chance, don't even think about it". Total M6GT production was one by McLaren, and another three by Trojan, though there were three factory built M6, and almost thirty later Trojan customer examples, but all were open cars. It's possible that copies were made some time later, but nothing to do with SM, and not the genuine article.


this guy claims 50 bodys built by Specialised Mouldings in one batch

from http://www.ultimatec...-Chevrolet.html

''With the chassis readily available, the work on the Group 4 car could focus on the required coupe body. Typical for McLaren a simple, but effective shape was penned. The design was reminiscent of the contemporary Group 6 car from Ferrari. Specialized Mouldings went ahead and started mass producing the fibreglass. It is believed that they produced all fifty necessary bodies in one batch. Trojan assembled the first car using a M6B chassis and it was launched in January of 1969 as the McLaren M6GT. By that time the homologation limit for Group 4 had been dropped to 25, which opened the door for the likes of Porsche. McLaren quickly realised that the M6GT would be no match for the new Porsche 917 and the plans to run the car at Le Mans later in the year were quickly shelved.''

two other sites inc this one
http://www.supercars...y...&pID=927249
say M6GT bodys were bought from trojan years later

In 1980 a German businessman decided to have an M6 B GT built as all three original ones were not available at the time. He started with, as did Bruce McLaren before, an open M12 with chassis number 60-05, and had Northdown Racing put an original Coupe body, which were still lying around at Trojan, to that chassis number.

this site claims Specialised Mouldings still has/had the moulds in the 1990's

http://www.mantacars...icles/m6gt.html

''It was one of these M6B customer cars that Hulme found languishing in bits in North America. “It was missing some of its corners but it was fundamentally what my father and I were after, the basis on which we would build a road-going coupé similar to Bruce’s original car. We found that Specialised Mouldings, the firm that created the glassfibre bodies for the M6 as well as other notable sports racers like the Lola T70 and Chevron B16, still had the original moulds. They kindly refurbished them for us, which really made the whole thing possible.''


#17 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,136 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 12 January 2011 - 20:44

this guy claims 50 bodys built by Specialised Mouldings in one batch


Well, 'this guy' is wrong, this is just wild supposition from someone on a different continent. I stick to my original guess of fewer than ten, four originally and odd ones much later, and I was there at the time. McLaren were relatively wealthy by the standards of the racing business in the 70s, but they couldn't have financed even the 25 cars they were originally thinking of to satisfy FIA requirements without them all being pre-sold, much less the 50 required after the goalposts were moved, and that's the reason that only the original four cars were built at the time, McLaren realised they were getting out of their depth and dropped the whole plan. Those bodies were complicated and expensive to make, and they only ordered and paid for the few cars that they and Trojan made in the beginning. It's well known that one or two later cars were made, but that story about Trojan stockpiling 50 bodies is just farcical, pure fiction. Trojan were no larger than McLaren, they couldn't possibly have financed, or even stored large numbers of complete bodies, they weren't things you could leave out in the open, and Specialised Mouldings weren't huge either, there's no way they could have even thought about a production run of that size. There was only ever a single set of M6GT body moulds, all stored in the graveyard behind the SM factory, and these were never intended for mass production. These could have been cleaned up and refurbished after years exposed to the elements, but I just can't believe that anyone would ever think of using them for more than one or two additional shells in later years.


#18 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,314 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 12 January 2011 - 22:32

Well, 'this guy' is wrong, this is just wild supposition from someone on a different continent. I stick to my original guess of fewer than ten, four originally and odd ones much later, and I was there at the time. McLaren were relatively wealthy by the standards of the racing business in the 70s, but they couldn't have financed even the 25 cars they were originally thinking of to satisfy FIA requirements without them all being pre-sold, much less the 50 required after the goalposts were moved, and that's the reason that only the original four cars were built at the time, McLaren realised they were getting out of their depth and dropped the whole plan. Those bodies were complicated and expensive to make, and they only ordered and paid for the few cars that they and Trojan made in the beginning. It's well known that one or two later cars were made, but that story about Trojan stockpiling 50 bodies is just farcical, pure fiction. Trojan were no larger than McLaren, they couldn't possibly have financed, or even stored large numbers of complete bodies, they weren't things you could leave out in the open, and Specialised Mouldings weren't huge either, there's no way they could have even thought about a production run of that size. There was only ever a single set of M6GT body moulds, all stored in the graveyard behind the SM factory, and these were never intended for mass production. These could have been cleaned up and refurbished after years exposed to the elements, but I just can't believe that anyone would ever think of using them for more than one or two additional shells in later years.


Yep. What he said. Absolutely... :up:

DCN

#19 elansprint72

elansprint72
  • Member

  • 3,328 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 12 January 2011 - 23:50

........... And I seem to remember quite a popular road going kit car that looked almost the same and which I assumed was related in some way....and something in a teatime TV programme :confused:


Correct David but I'm jiggered if I can recall the name of the kit-car. A friend took delivery of some (very rough) panels which took a lot of work to even fit together, even roughly.


Advertisement

#20 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Member

  • 14,210 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 13 January 2011 - 00:43

The Montage, possibly, originally with the dreaded VW engine but later on equipped with more fitting power units:

http://www.classic-k...-details.php?51

Here's an early VW-powered car at an '80s kit car rally:

Posted Image

#21 ray b

ray b
  • Member

  • 2,560 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 13 January 2011 - 02:03

I know far less then some here esp about specialty suppliers like mr clarks SM

but it does seem there were both the original molds and at least a few extra m6gt bodys around for sometime

so the guy with a real Mclaren M6GT body is not imposable even if he did subject it to VW gear

and the cost of a run of F/G coupe bodys in the late 60's was not that much when oil = resin was cheap
and just spun glass cloth with out todays vacuum + autoclaved + carbon fiber and exotic epoxies

Manta looks to be the USA kit M6 sorta looking builder
but they doNOT look like a real M6GT body nor the guys VW car I saw

#22 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,136 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 13 January 2011 - 12:48

I know far less then some here esp about specialty suppliers like mr clarks SM

but it does seem there were both the original molds and at least a few extra m6gt bodys around for sometime

so the guy with a real Mclaren M6GT body is not imposable even if he did subject it to VW gear

and the cost of a run of F/G coupe bodys in the late 60's was not that much when oil = resin was cheap
and just spun glass cloth with out todays vacuum + autoclaved + carbon fiber and exotic epoxies

Manta looks to be the USA kit M6 sorta looking builder
but they doNOT look like a real M6GT body nor the guys VW car I saw


I'm sorry to have to pour cold water on another of your posts Ray, but you're wrong on just about everything there. The chances of the car you saw being the genuine article are so small as to be practically non-existent, but you wouldn't be the first used car buyer to be misinformed, possibly even lied to by the seller. The M6 and M6GT were before my time at Specialised Mouldings, the first I had anything to do with was the M8, but I was there quite often before that, and saw them being built. The bucks required a month or two of highly skilled work by Jim Clark and up to a dozen others, so the eventual tooling cost to McLaren and/or Trojan would have been several tens of thousands back in the 60s, the production moulds of which only a single set were ever made would have taken at least another week by a different team, bucks were usually broken up and the remains disposed of once moulds had been made, there was just no place to store them. A single body was made at first, with three more for Trojan some time later. I don't know how many were made subsequently, but I'd guess at maybe one or two, there was certainly never even a small production run. If they'd made more bodies than the initial four, they'd have wanted to recover the tooling costs, so the cost of a body alone would be several times as much as any VW based kit car could be sold for. SM went belly-up sometime in the 1980s, and most of their Lola moulds and some Trojan ones were later sold by the receiver, Eric Broadley of Lola and Charles Agg of Trojan to my one-time SM colleague Tony Waterman and his brother, who ran a small operation called TW Mouldings at Ellington a few miles outside Huntingdon, where SM had been based. The Trojan moulds would have been for production McLarens, not the original stuff that McLaren raced, and the M6GT moulds were included, though I say again, only a single set ever existed. I drove past the TW Mouldings place a couple of years ago, and it looked pretty run down and inactive to me, though lots of old moulds were still stacked outside in the open. Every original McLaren and Trojan body came from Specialised Mouldings, who retained all the original moulds, technically they may have been owned by customers, but SM would never have let any of them leave their premises. We knew that some bodies had been copied by a few people in foreign parts, air freighting a set of CanAm bodywork to somewhere like California was very expensive, though the cost never seemed to bother McLaren themselves too much, and some later owners of Trojan-built cars had them copied locally, which is possible but not easy, a perfect job requiring similar skills to those turning out the original plugs etc, though it can be done. We occasionally did this at SM, but all lightweight polyester fibreglass mouldings in those days would have started to deform slightly from the moment they were taken from the moulds, small things like rippling, flat surfaces going slightly concave, angles closing up etc, which means that you won't get a good result by simply making a straight copy from an existing body, anyone who knew much about them sould see straight away what had been done. One possibility is that the VW-powered example you saw had been built by someone onto a M6B body, possibly an original, but more probable a US made copy, it's inconceivable that it could have been made from one of the very small number of SM built originals, so as I said before, maybe a good copy, but not the genuine article. On your point about fibreglass materials being fairly cheap, yes, they were in those days, though they certainly aren't today, but the skills and expertise needed for top quality results are hard to find and not cheap at all, they never were, even back in the 1960s. On the links you posted earlier, if someone makes a risible statement like "Trojan had 50 bodies made", it becomes difficult to take anything elso on that site too seriously, so sorry, but those are the facts.

#23 Red Socks

Red Socks
  • Member

  • 519 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 13 January 2011 - 12:58

I can't be absolutely certain about this, but I don't think anything like 25 M6GT bodies were built, I'd be surprised if the total number was greater than somewhere in low single figures. Specialised Mouldings made all McLaren and Trojan bodies, and they had the only moulds for all the different cars. Maybe McLaren floated the idea to the FIA and were told "No chance, don't even think about it". Total M6GT production was one by McLaren, and another three by Trojan, though there were three factory built M6, and almost thirty later Trojan customer examples, but all were open cars. It's possible that copies were made some time later, but nothing to do with SM, and not the genuine article.

McLaren got as far as making up a homologation application and tried to claim they had made the required number by incling all the M6 as part ogf the production number. Some where I have seen and have a complete set of photographs of the application.However as surmised it was turned down IIRC by the RAC before it even got to the FIA

#24 Robin Fairservice

Robin Fairservice
  • Member

  • 490 posts
  • Joined: March 07

Posted 13 January 2011 - 17:13

A few years ago, I took the following pictures of what looks like a McLaren M6 GT here in Prince George. I talked to the owner,and builder, and he told me that he acquired the body from England, and had a chassis made in the USA by a company that had written permission from the McLaren family to make it. The owner was a machinist, and he fabricated the suspension himself, and then installed a 454 c.i. V8 Chevrolet engine into it with an American transaxle. Later I mentioned this to a mechanic at a shop that I used and he confirmed the story as he had carried out the mechanical inspection for it to be registered and licensed for road use. He had copies of most of the paper work. He also said that the necessary road test was quite scary! The shop is now closed and the car owner has moved away with his car, so I can't follow this up.

Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

#25 MikC

MikC
  • New Member

  • 1 posts
  • Joined: February 14

Posted 12 February 2014 - 11:14

Hi everyone, I’m Michael Clarke ‘The other’ Jim Clarkes son.

 

Hope you don’t mind me dragging up a 3 year old thread, but I was just having search through the internet to see if I could find any references crediting him with any of his work.

 

I’ll try and post some photos if anyone’s interested; I have a few from his time at specialised mouldings with a McLaren M8A, but don’t seem to have anything from his time at Chevron.

 

The Manx never really took off, he had a few problems with one of his business partners that pretty much scuppered the project, then he built a version based on a Fiat Uno that was sold on as he was pretty much ready to retire.

 

But thanks for the interest, I’ll certainly show him this thread, he might be able to help with any other questions.