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Building copy of the Penske Zerex Special


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#201 T54

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 17:22

But when it comes to "jazzified" covers of Bach I'd have to hold judgement until I'd heard if Louis Armstrong took a shot at it.


Louis Armstrong had too much class for desecrating good music.

you say that like it's a bad thing....geeze-lighten up...in the midst of toobular yells and the ever popular repop-not salvos of acrimony i think a fairy-cycle horn attached to a serious piece of Big Loud and Fast should generate a few chuckles at least.


You are talking to a fellow who owns one of these toob-framed cars, fitted indeed with the said implements. I don't see any reason to lighten up, I was merely describing what the powers-to-be did then, which was frankly rather stoopid, would you not say, or would you also have required on-board jack and wrenches to change the flat tire outside Becketts? Come to think of it, my car has nice sandwich-and-drink pockets in its glass doors... and one may even cook there on the hot-water return toobing, eh! :drunk:
Regards,

T54

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#202 dbw

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 17:46

god..i guess we have to get serious....

and you sir are talking to a fellow that owns [hrrumph] and drives,nay,races one of those frame-railed french boo-gatees that was also often under the watchful eye of international goverening bodies...we[hrrrumph;fellow boo-gatee-sts] often talk of 4'8" "mecanicians", canvas mudguards and indeed bicycle horns...and can have a good laugh...and if you want some excitement think of driving monaco in the early thirties with a couple hundred alcohol crazed supercharged horses,cable brakes and 4" of rubber on the ground [attached to beam axles of course]....with chiron and dreyfuss on your ass...well you gotta have a good sense of history..and humor.



i guess i know a bit more than i let on...;)

#203 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 20:51

Originally posted by T54
.....my car has nice sandwich-and-drink pockets in its glass doors... and one may even cook there on the hot-water return toobing, eh!


A tad more sophisticated than wiring a can of baked beans to the exhaust manifold during the race, I guess....

#204 T54

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 21:19

and if you want some excitement think of driving monaco in the early thirties with a couple hundred alcohol crazed supercharged horses,cable brakes and 4" of rubber on the ground [attached to beam axles of course]....with chiron and dreyfuss on your ass...well you gotta have a good sense of history..and humor.


Actually it sounds like fun!

A tad more sophisticated than wiring a can of baked beans to the exhaust manifold during the race, I guess....


Depends on whose can it is... :lol:

#205 Magee

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 22:33

OT
Gosh, I can remember trips in the 50s stuffing baked bean cans into the engine recesses of our 47 Ford while on long road trips across Canada and the US. After a few hours in the engine bay these beans were ready for a short lunch stop. After these lunch stops we drove on with the windows wide open.

#206 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 22:56

You didn't do it with a race car, huh?

Apparently it warmed them more quickly during a sprint race if the manifold was used... and nobody said anything abou the aftermath.

A gentler period...

#207 GeorgeTheCar

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 02:05

http://www.tamsoldra...arenMk1Riv.html

An intersting perspective on the first McLaren and some good links

George TheCar

#208 Cynic

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 03:53

I have posted four original photos of the Zerex-Olds in the McLaren M1 thread. I took these photos at Hammond, Louisiana in 1965, when the car was owned and driven by Dave Morgan. At the time I was told this was the zerex. I've doubted that for 40 years, but it has been confirmed today.

#209 T54

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 04:21

The car was red originally and did not get its Mecom livery until Pensacola 1963, where Penske and Sharp shared the car.


That is reportedly where Sharp blew the 2.7 "Indy" engine... :|
Missed a gear and made a pretty large hole on the right side of the block, another through the sump and a smoller one of the left side of the block. Amazingly, the big-valve head was not damaged in the ooops.

#210 antonvrs

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 06:56

Originally posted by Duncan Fox
Roger , thanks for posting the pics, wasn't that a pretty car.Does Ted know who took them? Its definately the prototype, but that tag is now attached to a car in the U.S. that the owner says is the Gurney Ford M1A works car. I'll have to do some more digging. Interesting thing here is that with the one exception of the Amon M1B (which never returned to England after the season finished) all of the works tube frame cars have muddled identities. I know which survivior car is which but the tags dont match. I'm unable to explain this. Another thing now springs to mind that we have touched on previously. If the Sept 64 M1A prototype was chassis #2, What was chassis #1? All the single seaters had their Cooper i.ds. Hmmmm...........


It was my understanding that the ex-Gurney car was burnt to the ground in a Fire at "Pro-Prep" in southern CA in the late '70s/early '80s.
Anton

#211 Ted Walker

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 09:23

The photos were taken by a chap called Eddie Stait who was one of the original McLaren employees/shareholders,along with Eoin Young etc.

These are the photos Cynic refers to above;

Originally posted by Cynic

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This one was taken the same weekend, of the Ed Sevadjian
Corvette Grand Sport 003. As we say down here,
"Now them's carburetors...."

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#212 Squire Straker

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 09:15

An Irish angle.
Back at the start of 1965 John Pringle fitted a 4 litre F85 Oldsmobile engine to his Cooper Type 53. I recall that the engine was supposed to have come from Bruce McLaren. Later when John retired from driving the car and engine were sold to David Hepworth the hillclimber. The chassis was sold on to America but returned to the UK some years ago.

#213 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 00:26

Having finally got around to spending proper time reading through this fascinating thread and studying the pix now available, there are seemingly conclusive similarities between the 'discarded centre-section' photos posted previously, and the shot of Roger Penske at speed in the 'legalised' 'Zerex Special' at Brands Hatch in 1963.

The centre-section chassis shots plainly feature rather crude 'ess-bend' sections at the amputated rear extremity of the lower main chassis longerons - precisely what one would have done in period to widen a single-seater chassis frame to accommodate two legal-size seats equally disposed each side of the centreline.

Note also the tall two-part rearview mirror strut projecting above the top front scuttle tube.

Check the action shot of Roger at speed in the car in 1963, and there's the same design mirror mount plainly visible, and in the corresponding location too.

On that same action shot notice the low-level air intake scoop on the lower body sill section.

Cross-check against the amuptated chassis midship section shot and there's a more or less corresponding scoop situated in the same place on the surviving sill panel.

Check the roll-over bar configuration between the two photos - near enough for jazz?

As for the possibility that the chassis centre section is possibly Lotus 19-derived? I don't think so...that chassis section is either the real deal, or quite a skilfully-made and thoughtfully-researched facsimile of same.

DCN

#214 Ted Walker

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 08:52

I agree with Doug.But where is it now ?????, its one of the most important "lost cars"

#215 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 10:19

Well - isn't it the car pictured lying in a derelict heap in a garage in Venezuela? I thought we had been here before?

So the provenance trail for the assembled and running entity would have been Penske to Mecom 1962-63, Mecom to Bruce and Teddy Mayer 1964, B&T to the US (presumably Dave Morgan) 1965...then at some date after 1966 via I'm not sure how many (if any) intermediate owners to Barboza or Zambora or whatever the guy's name was in Caracas, Venezuela.

Meanwhile the chassis centre section would have been excised from the car during the B&T ownership early in 1964 - perhaps was kept by a team member known (not entirely afectionately) by his team-mates as 'Steptoe & Son' - and then via whatever route/whatever intermediates into its present ownership.

(Presumably - :cool: )

DCN

#216 Cynic

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 14:52

Harold Pace replied to me with some further answers:

"I have a copy of a race report from the Dallas Morning News in 1965. It is about an SCCA race at Green Valley. Direct quote: 'Dave Morgan of Tulsa, in his Zerex Special, was a distant second.' The makes of cars came directly off the entrant lists, so we can assume Morgan was calling his car the Zerex Special. In the race results it was also listed as 'Dave Morgan, Zerex Special'."

Harold also told me that he was told by several people close to the scene that John Mecom repurchased the Zerex from McLaren, and then sold it to Morgan. Mecom and Morgan were part of the same group of Texas racers, so this is not illogical, if not proof.

I'll see if I can find any contacts to Morgan, to see if he remembers to whom he sold the car. Presumably either he sold it directly to South America, or to someone, again probably one of the Texas crowd, who did.

#217 Allen Brown

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 15:06

Originally posted by Cynic
I'll see if I can find any contacts to Morgan, to see if he remembers to whom he sold the car.

Try the Corvette crowd. He mentioned as a contributor to a recent book on some famed Corvette that he drove in 1967.

Allen

#218 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 16:41

Minor hiccup now...

Compare these shots already posted on TNF of the Dave Morgan car's rear end in the US 1965...

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...and of the Venezuelan remains - which may or may not be the same car - presumably last year...

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There may be significant similarities - there are also considerable significant differences...which may or may not have been the product of 'subsequent modification'.

DCN

#219 Mistron

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 19:12

Well, this is a controversial thread, isn't it!

I'm beavering away on the job of re-creating the original body for my car, 'Pandora', (Let's hope being honest about it now saves me any of these issues in the future! I trust no-one questions the authenticity of a new body on an original chassis?!?)

However, I'm still looking for any pics of the rear of the car to help with the rebuild, and this thread got me thinking......

don't supose anyone has come across any pics of my car whilst looking for the Zerex or McLarens mentioned here. It's the same period, '64-'66

From Original builder:

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From 2nd Owner:

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And just show how cruel life can be, he's the one pic I have of the rear......

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#220 T54

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 18:20

Minor hiccup now...


No hiccup for me. After close observation and a bit of Photoshop enhencing, I can safely come to the conclusion that these two cars are one and the same. It is almost down to reading welds, the same method that also helped to positively identify the ex-Trevor Taylor Brabham-BRM sports racer in spite of bogus ownership claims from the UK, and the Cooper Indianapolis car. Welds are like fingerprints, hard to match... It's the DNA of of old cars... :)

Also the continuing history of the car being there according to Penske's Norman Ahn and others makes perfect sense. The history is more murky once in South America, but the car never left after that.
You will note that the upper brace on the chassis was raised to fit whatever implement replaced the Olds engine later in its life. As far as I am concerned it could just have well been a Perkins Diesel! :lol:

#221 Allen Brown

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 19:40

Originally posted by T54
... in spite of bogus ownership claims from the UK ...

It really, really, really is time to give that a rest.

#222 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 23:22

A friend of mine who joined McLaren soon after the 'Jolly Green Giant' chassis conversion recalls:

"I have continued to dredge back in my memory about the Zerex which became the Cooper Oldsmobile. Bruce was obviously treading a bit of a tight rope there, so renaming the car a Cooper must have soothed at least a couple of fevered brows at Surbiton. I still think that all that was left ..." (in the McLaren Cooper-Zerex-Oldsmobile)"... of the ex-Mecom/Penske car was just the short parts of the frame which held front and rear Cooper suspensions. All the rest was
new straight tubes.

"As to how the cut-out bits could have survived is sure a mystery BUT I remember that Jack Pearce, he of the burning transporter fame, used to come around quite regularly buying up bits and pieces, as well as doing some glassfibre bodywork for the M1As. Maybe he collected
up the Zerex remains?

"In addition to J.A. Pearce , Bruce Abernethy ( the 'Boa Constructor' as he was known ) was around quite regularly scrounging whatever he could to try to get his Cooper rebuilt after its Austrian burn-out. Perhaps he was given the old frame to salavage some tube ? These are both long shots, but a certain amount of ex-Cooper/McLaren hardware definitely did go to those
two..."

DCN

#223 T54

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 18:47

Doug,
The picture taken from the back of the car shows bulkheads that look identical to those of the T53 from which the car was originally built. The suspension pick up points and suspension bits also look like Cooper stuff with little change if any.
There is little doubt that much everything in between must have been changed, first by Roger P to widen the cockpit per 1963 hastily-modified SCCA regulations regarding the seats, then by Bruce to fit the (possibly) wider Olds engine. But this is not certain since the T53 top frame tubing were mounted rather low, so the Olds COULD fit with really little change, mainly the engine mount pick up points. The tubing showing in the pictures from the rear bulkhead appears to be straight to the cockpit, as was that of the original T53 frame, so was it indeed changed, and if so for what reason?
Years ago I had a long conversation with Roger P about the car and what had actually been done to it before being sold to John Mecom. He said that "they jigged the frame, cut the center off and built a dual seat cage in between but retained the two bottom tubes that linked the front to the back in an effort to keep some structural stiffness."
So why would Bruce need to change that?
Now, assuming that the tubing from rear bulkhead to front bulkhead was discarded by Bruce and given to these two fellows, what could be done with it since the whole identity of the car rests with the fellow in Venezuela?
I believe (but without evidence, just as speculation) that Bruce had little reason to do much more than adding tubing to provide more triangulation to provide greater stiffness for the increased torque. Also according to Tony Mantle, Bruce first ran the car unmodified and with the "other" 2.7 Climax Indy engine that he had inherited in 1961 and used at Riverside in his own Monaco.
And according to Tony, he then blew up the thing and the block was thrashed while the head survived somewhere. He "had seen it once".
Now when looking at the Venezualian remains, the bottom tubing looks now interrupted and going in a tangent... I also love the muffler on the right side, was the car driven on the road!?
Interesting questions that would have Jenks up late at night! :)
Regards,

T54

#224 380W

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 21:49

Originally posted by Allen Brown
Hi Branko

Welcome to TNF. Sorry - I didn't notice this post at first.

Can you tell us more about this? When was the car imported and when did it race?

Thanks

Allen



As far I know, the car supposedly still exists somewhere in the west of Venezuela............

#225 branko

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 21:36

It has been a long time since this post, but whoever is interested in visiting this recent link about venezuelan racing will find some photos of the car in a couple of races in Venezuela, the car is still in the country and some people from overseas came to make an offer and never reached an agreement.
http://server4.foros...orum=muchasrpms
you can leave a message without registering at the main page in Bienvenidos
branko

#226 D-Type

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 15:23

I think it's worth mentioning that branko posted this picture of the Zerex's chassis on the "Wally Wilmott" thread

#227 bill p

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 16:00

Found this in a feature "The Cooper-Oldsmobile - From Crashed GP car to Sports-Racer" by Bruce McLaren in "High Performance Cars 64/65" - an Autosport Publication. If anyone would like a copy of the feature, please "pm" with your e-mail address

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#228 grandprix61

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 00:38

Found this in a feature "The Cooper-Oldsmobile - From Crashed GP car to Sports-Racer" by Bruce McLaren in "High Performance Cars 64/65" - an Autosport Publication. If anyone would like a copy of the feature, please "pm" with your e-mail address

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I thought I would add this photo of the Zerex Special at Road America. guess this would have been in 1962. Ron N.
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#229 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 04:36

I thought I would add this photo of the Zerex Special at Road America. guess this would have been in 1962


I think it would have been 1963...the car didn't run at Road America in 1962, and here, it appears to have two seats and Mecom livery. Tom?

Brian, will you have the car ready for next year? Next year's Legends of Riverside will be almost 50 years since Penske won at Riverside.

Vince H.

Edited by raceannouncer2003, 26 September 2011 - 04:53.


#230 Jean L

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 07:05

It is at the june sprints 63.

#231 RA Historian

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 14:15

I think it would have been 1963...the car didn't run at Road America in 1962, and here, it appears to have two seats and Mecom livery. Tom?
Vince H.



It is at the june sprints 63.

Vince and Jean, I concur!
Tom

#232 bradbury west

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 14:58

Found this in a feature "The Cooper-Oldsmobile - From Crashed GP car to Sports-Racer" by Bruce McLaren in "High Performance Cars 64/65" - an Autosport Publication.


I had forgotten all about that article, it has made me look through those HPC books again. Here is another piece, again from Autosport in 1964. Copyright duly noted. Click on image for larger view.
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Roger Lund

#233 Ted Walker

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 15:10

regarding post No1, I know of a cooper CS5 gearbox thats available .