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McLaren M4A


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#1 Giraffe

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 11:40

I was excited to see that Michael Lyons is entered in a McLaren M4A in the HSCC Classic Racing Car event at Silverstone on Saturday. I have always thought this iconic McLaren to be one of the best proportioned little racing cars ever, and I'm trying to find out more about them before Saturday's race.
What I do know is that there were 2 built at the factory and about 25 built by Trojan. I remember reading about Graeme Lawrence campaigning one down under, and I vaguely remember The Chequered Flag entering either 1 or 2 of them in various races with a distinctive noseband for Robin Widdows. I also seem to remember Scalextric producing one?!?! Was there some sponsorship tie-up? Of course, the M4 is inextricably linked with Piers Courage.
The only one I seem to remember seeing was a red and white one driven by T.Philip in Libre events in 1970. I believe Duncan Dayton has one in his collection, and now the Lyons would appear to have one aswell. Whatever happened to the original 2 from the factory?

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#2 Wirra

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 11:59

scan0013nw2.jpg

 

IMG-0141-b.jpg


Edited by Wirra, 03 May 2019 - 05:56.


#3 kayemod

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 12:17

One of the original factory-built cars is the red one in the Donington Collection, and it's still fitted with the original FVA that it raced with.

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 12:18

Ah yes, that one...

In their time they were said to be a bit poor in the handling department, but that Courage's car was an exception and handled really well. It became, of course, the tool for Niel Allen to become a true star and at one time outright lap record holder at Warwick Farm IIRC. And the car that nearly killed him.

But before it did, it became the only small-engined car to win a Tasman Cup race. That was at Longford in '68, when the super-fast circuit was drenched and Courage had just the right tyres for the conditions.

#5 David McKinney

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 12:22

Yes, very nicely proportioned cars

OTTOMH, Bruce McLaren raced one in F2 in 1967, and a second was entered by John Coombs and raced by Piers Courage, destroyed and replaced. Both cars had subsequent success in NZ and Australia

The Flag ran a two-car works team in 1968, without conspicuous success



#6 Stephen W

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 12:40

I also seem to remember Scalextric producing one?!?! Was there some sponsorship tie-up?



The Flag ran a two-car works team in 1968, without conspicuous success


Posted Image
Mike Walker in the Chequered Flag FORMULA THREE version at Monaco in 1968.
NB the F3 team were sponsored by Scalextric hence the tie-up.

:wave:

#7 kayemod

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 12:55

One of the two factory-built cars is the red one in the Donington Collection, and it's still fitted with the original FVA that it raced with.


Just had a thought, if one of the two original M4As is the current Donington car, wasn't the second one the car that Bruce ran with a 2.1 litre BRM engine in a few F1 events? He finished fourth in the 67 Monaco GP, and would have been second if he hadn't had to pit for a new battery. I think that this car was destroyed later that year in a fire while testing at Goodwood?


#8 Macca

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 13:01

I've seen two or three racing in historics in recent years; Paul Dudley with a white one in HSCC, and and a maroon one at Coys in 1999.

There was a scarlet one for sale in the US not long ago, and there is an orange one that races over there.

Paul M

#9 Alan Cox

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 13:49

Some info here concerning the car owned by Loe Wybrott - interesting to note that, at one stage, it carried and M7A-type nosecone. It also says here that this was the car in the Donington Museum
http://www.warm.org..../McLaren-M4.htm
Here are some photos of one which sems to have had a fairly hard life (now sold)
http://www.race-cars...01/m4ax01pp.htm
http://commons.wikim...ory:McLaren_M4A
Details from a Bonhams sale in 2005
http://www.bonhams.c...SaleSectionNo=2
Some Tasman Series results for the M4A
http://www.tuttomcla...?...d Gold Star
The F3 team
http://www.russell-s...rum/MCL_M4A.jpg
The race record of the M4B
http://www.oldracing...php?CarID=M4B/1

#10 RA Historian

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 14:25

Chuck Dietrich raced an M4 very successfully in the SCCA's Formula B category, winning, IIRC, the 1967 class National Championship. The car was red, IIRC. Sometime in the late 80s or so Joel Finn had an orange example as some historic events.
Tom

#11 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 15:35

I have just looked in Eoin Young's book McLaren and it says that the M4A was driven by Bruce McLaren as a F2 car in about seven events, and that Piers Courage won the model's only major victory in the 1968 Tasman series. He doesn't quote any production numbers.

Trojan produced 25 M4B's for Formula B racing in North America. One of these ws adapted as an interim F1 car for the 1967 season. Its wheelbase was 3 inches longer to accomodate a 2.1 litre BRM Tasman engine. This was quite successful until gutted by fire in an accident at Goodwood during Goodyear tire testing.

This book has photos of Bruce driving the F2 car, the F1 car at Monaco, and one of the production M4B cars.

I trust that I have got all of this right.

#12 David McKinney

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 16:32

Just had a thought, if one of the two original M4As is the current Donington car, wasn't the second one the car that Bruce ran with a 2.1 litre BRM engine in a few F1 events? He finished fourth in the 67 Monaco GP, and would have been second if he hadn't had to pit for a new battery. I think that this car was destroyed later that year in a fire while testing at Goodwood?

I think the 1968 M4B is counted separately from the M4As, ie it was built by the works rather than Trojan, but was neither of the two earlier works-built F2 M4As
I presume the Donington car is Bruce's 1967 F2 car, back from life down under


#13 David McKinney

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 16:35

Trojan produced 25 M4B's for Formula B racing in North America. One of these ws adapted as an interim F1 car for the 1967 season. Its wheelbase was 3 inches longer to accomodate a 2.1 litre BRM Tasman engine. This was quite successful until gutted by fire in an accident at Goodwood during Goodyear tire testing.

What was called an M4B in the US seems to be the same as the European M4A; I'm sure Trojan didn't build 25 F2/F3 cars for the European market and another 25 for North American FB
M4B in European parlance is the V8-powered F1 car mentioned above


#14 Giraffe

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 16:38

I don't know where the Lyons got their M4A from, and I am unaware of them running it as yet, but I shall endeavour to find out more about it and to photograph it for this thread on Saturday at Silverstone.

#15 petestenning

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 16:52

I don't know where the Lyons got their M4A from, and I am unaware of them running it as yet, but I shall endeavour to find out more about it and to photograph it for this thread on Saturday at Silverstone.



That is also on my list of must see cars, Also there was an M4A entered for the F2 race at Oulton Park 31 st may 1971 entered by ACA Racing Club for Georges Schafer Swiss driver FVA in Yellow .



Pete

#16 David Force

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 18:08

The maroon one referred to is the ex Piers Courage FVA engined car which David Coplowe has owned and run for many years in FORCE and HSCC races.

Some TNFers should get to more races...

:cool:

#17 Vicuna

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 20:45

a beautifully proportioned but flawed car.

Talk to Jimmy Palmer about chassis flex...

Ken Smith ran the ex Jo Schlessler one at E.Creek in Dec 06 and made it fly. One of the mechanics on the day was non other than Walter Willmott!

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 22:19

The US M4A/M4B mixup might be because the car was used in their Formula B...

Another one to race in Australia was based in Melbourne and driven by Peter Macrow and Alfie Costanzo. Allen's car (the Courage M4A), in the meantime, had a total rebuild after its crash and there was a 'spare' chassis built which featured an extension of the rear of the chassis M10 style, tapering down beside the engine to the rear crossmember.

Erol Richardson could fill us in with greater detail about the latter part of that chassis' life... rms, where are you?

#19 Vicuna

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 22:47

The US M4A/M4B mixup might be because the car was used in their Formula B...


That's how it happened.

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#20 rms

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 01:01

The US M4A/M4B mixup might be because the car was used in their Formula B...

Another one to race in Australia was based in Melbourne and driven by Peter Macrow and Alfie Costanzo. Allen's car (the Courage M4A), in the meantime, had a total rebuild after its crash and there was a 'spare' chassis built which featured an extension of the rear of the chassis M10 style, tapering down beside the engine to the rear crossmember.

Erol Richardson could fill us in with greater detail about the latter part of that chassis' life... rms, where are you?


Undoubtably one of my numerous mistakes was parting with the M4A !!!!!
Sorry Ray, can't help much. Sold the lot to Bob Vickers.

#21 David McKinney

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 06:18

Another one to race in Australia was based in Melbourne and driven by Peter Macrow and Alfie Costanzo

That was McLaren's 1967 F2 mount, raced by Palmer in the 1968 Tasman before joining Argo Racing and now apparently at Donington


#22 Leo D

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 07:03

Posted Image

The Team Argo unit.....

Ken Hastings ran one as well......

Edited by Leo D, 16 October 2009 - 07:06.


#23 Vicuna

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 08:09

What a beautiful colour scheme to accentuate the shape of the M4A

#24 David McKinney

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 08:54

Ken Hastings ran one as well......


Same one (ex-Argo)


#25 fester82

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 14:23

According to our esteemed Mr. Nye's book that I just pulled off the shelf, the M4B designation was for the modification to accept the Tasman BRM 2.1L V8 that developed about 280hp, extra fuel pannier, and ballasted for F1 minimum wieght. It debuted the Brands Hatch ROC in March and competed at Oulton Park, Silverstone IT race, Monaco, and Dutch GP events that year. It was replaced by an Eagle for three races until the M5A/BRM V12 was available in Aug/67.

#26 Macca

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 15:15

The front cover of 'Motor Sport' for April 1967 had a terrific photo of the McLaren team in the pitlane at Goodwood with the first M4 and the M4B.

The M4B was a stop-gap car because BRM were (as usual) late with the V12, just to keep McLaren racing in F1 until the M5 could be finished. After it was destroyed by a fire, the Eagle team were short of a driver since Ginther had retired from racing, so Bruce drove those three races for Dan Gurney.

Regarding the stiffness of the M4; when I first saw one at an HSCC meeting, I thought that the bulkheads joining the full-length shallow monocoque tanks weren't very substantial, certainly not as complex as the built-up bulkheads of a Lotus of that period.


Paul M

Edited by Macca, 16 October 2009 - 15:16.


#27 RA Historian

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 15:23

What a beautiful colour scheme to accentuate the shape of the M4A

Especially the racers' tape! :lol:

Tom

#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 20:38

Obviously the pic was taken at Calder...

If KB can weigh in here, it would be nice for him to tell us what it was like to drive in company with the M4A, how it looked to handle close up. He spent some circuit time following both the M4As that were in Australia at times.

Especially at place like the Farm and Lakeside.

#29 Damien Duigan

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 21:10

From sources like John Blanden and Doug Nye, I gather there were 2 M4As built and have had a stab at putting their later histories together;

M4A-1
Raced by Bruce in 1967
Sold to Graeme Lawrence
Sold to Jim Palmer in 12/67 and raced with an FVA/Hewland FT200
Sold to John Osborn's Argo Racing Team in 7/68 for Alf Costanzo and Peter Macrow
Sold to Clive Millis in 8/71
Sold to Ken Hastings in 1/72
Sold to John Sheppard of Australia in 8/73
Sold to Tony Armstrong of Victoria, Australia in 11/82
Rebuilt c.1985 and was advertised by Armstrong of Victoria, Australia in 1985
Offered at Christie's Melbourne auction on the 22nd of November, 1990 when painted red
Where is it today?

M4A-2
Sold to John Coombs for Piers Courage in 1967
Sold to Niel Allen and raced in with an FVA until his crash
Sold to Pat Burke Racing for Warwick Brown and Len Goodwin in late 1969
Sold but went back to Burke in the mid-1970s after being found in Brisbane and restored by Peter Molloy
Offered at Brooks' Motorfair auction on the 26th of October, 1989.
Remained in Burke's Modena Collection in Sydney until 1990, when sold. Painted blue.
Sold to Art Valdez of California.
Sold to David Coplowe of the United Kingdom.

M4B-1
This was Bruce's BRM raced in 1967 until his crash at Zandvoort.
I remember reading it was in Bruce McCaw's collection in Seattle, WA about 10 years ago but have no confirmation.

As for the rest, the lowest serial number in the 200 series I have a record of is 200-10B and the highest is 200-27B.

Any updates/corrections welcomed.

Cheers,
Damien




#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 21:33

Originally posted by Damien Duigan
.....Sold to Niel Allen and raced in with an FVA until his crash.....


You leave out the part where Niel spectacularly continued to race it for another year or more...

Rebuilt with a new tub from the factory, I assume, it was to equal the outright record at the Farm and run a good place in the '69 Australian Grand Prix at the place where he crashed it so comprehensively seven months earlier.

I mentioned the other locally made tub earlier, thinking that had been built in the Niel Allen period. But I now recall talking to Tony Williams about that tub, and that was in the Pat Burke Racing era of ownership... so maybe it was PBR who built that very different replacement that they never used?

Len Goodwin only raced it under the Pat Burke Racing banner while Warwick was 'learning the game' in the 1100cc Brabham. Consistently late for practice, they'd arrive at the end of the day and run a few laps in the discretionary session after driving across from the Homestead. You could count on it... Paul Collins preparing them.

#31 horizon

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 23:43

So perhaps the wonderful folks here could shed some light onto some design changes on the M4a's and B's.
The first one is the pick up points on the tub of the Factory/earliy cars are folded/welded sheet steel in the shape of a triangle and the latter cars made by Trojon are rounded or rolled in shape.
The other change is that the upper rear radius rod pick up. Some of the earliy cars had the pick up point on the engine side of the rollover bar and the latter cars were on the cockpit side of the rollbar. Who made the design changes??

I have an M4 in the USA that was raced by Sketter McKitterick in 1969 using a Alfa Romeo twin plug. the car was Painted red and with Formula 2 wheels and brakes and FT200. Unable to confirm who/how the car got to the states. It has had the same owner from 1970 to 1996.At some point the car was dissassembled and of course the chassis number lost !!The car as it sits today is in Formula B trim (twin cam/MK5 hewland) with the rear radius rod pick ups on the engine side of the rollbar but with the F2 parts.

PLease post more pictures of these brilliant little cars.

cheers

#32 David McKinney

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 06:30

Damien:

Graeme Lawrence never owned M4A/1 and I don't think Clive Millis did either, though he may have driven it during Argo's ownership. It is supposedly now in the Donington Collection

I believe TNFer Erol Richardson may have owned M4A/2 before it went back to Pat Burke. David Coplowe bought it c1994

#33 Damien Duigan

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 06:39

Damien:

Graeme Lawrence never owned M4A/1 and I don't think Clive Millis did either, though he may have driven it during Argo's ownership. It is supposedly now in the Donington Collection

I believe TNFer Erol Richardson may have owned M4A/2 before it went back to Pat Burke. David Coplowe bought it c1994


Thanks David, my listing was by no means 100% accurate but will hopefully jog a few more memories. Any clues as to when M4A/1 went into the Donington Collection and if it's still there?

Also which M4A is the car that kicked off this discussion, ie. Michael Lyons example?

Cheers,
Damien

#34 Giraffe

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 07:05

Also which M4A is the car that kicked off this discussion, ie. Michael Lyons example?

Cheers,
Damien


I should find out as I will see it in a couple of hours! :wave:

#35 Catalina Park

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 08:10

I saw one in Wally Storeys workshop at Greenacre sometime in the early 90s. (or maybe very late 80s) I wonder which one it was?
The chassis looked tiny, I would never have fitted. :D

#36 Wirra

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 09:33

So perhaps the wonderful folks here could shed some light onto some design changes on the M4a's and B's.
The first one is the pick up points on the tub of the Factory/earliy cars are folded/welded sheet steel in the shape of a triangle and the latter cars made by Trojon are rounded or rolled in shape.
The other change is that the upper rear radius rod pick up. Some of the earliy cars had the pick up point on the engine side of the rollover bar and the latter cars were on the cockpit side of the rollbar...PLease post more pictures of these brilliant little cars.

 

IMG-0141-b-c.jpg

 

NA-M4a-2-1a.jpg

The Courage car went to Niel Allen - the second image, IIRC, is Neil but the car has the different suspension geometry. Ray might know if this is the rebuilt version after the big off at Lakeside.

Here it is a Bathurst just after Niel purchased it - no time to repaint the tub.
NA-M4a-1-1.jpg

Here is one I've posted before of Alfie.

IMG-0153-b.jpg


Edited by Wirra, 03 May 2019 - 06:16.


#37 David McKinney

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 10:43

Any clues as to when M4A/1 went into the Donington Collection and if it's still there?

Having not seen the Donington car, I'm taking others' word for it being the one in question. AFAIK, it's been there since 1992


#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 10:49

The pic of Niel Allen in the blue car is after the crash...

The car was maroon and white when it crashed.

#39 Wirra

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 11:13

Ray - It's interesting that while Niel's accident has been regarded as the seminal point in the need to adopt seatbelts in open-wheelers in Australia, they were still apparently oblivious to the complementary need of a rollover bar of a functioning height.

Edited by Wirra, 17 October 2009 - 11:16.


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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 11:46

I think that was also understood... but you needed to seen the wreckage of the original car to understand why the blue one was as it's shown...

The original bar had a brace of substantial size back to the engine, so when the engine tore out of the chassis it ripped the roll bar hoop out too, which seriously ruptured the tub so that it broke right off at that point. Niel came to rest with only the section of tub from the front bulkhead to the point at which the rollover hoop was attached, that all lying on its side in the Lakeside grass, everything else was elsewhere.

#41 Jerry Entin

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 13:14

Posted Image
Wally Willmott and his good friend Eoin Young with McLaren Mk 4
Wally had just driven some practice laps in this car and Eoin was there to cheer his friend on.
This car is currently owned by Lindsay O'Donnell from Christchurch (N.Z.)
A Elva/Trojan car that Lindsay bought out of Europe and painted orange on arrival into NZ.

Lindsay O'Donnell also has and drives, among other things, a Begg Formula 5000 car.


photo- Wally Willmott collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 17 October 2009 - 20:01.


#42 Giraffe

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 21:19

The Lyons M4 was run in practice today by Michael Lyons, but not raced due to the unavailability of gears 4 & 5....

Posted Image
By giraffe138

Posted Image
By giraffe138

Posted Image
By giraffe138

The car was acquired via Mike Scott as a box of bits stored in a French barn. No chassis number is known. but the car had been run by Patrick Jamin Racing in France.

#43 Vicuna

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 21:50

The O'Donnell car that Willmott and Young are holding down is the ex Schlessler car that Ken Smith drove at Eatern Creek in D

#44 petestenning

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 22:33

I noticed the odd coloured wheel centres, looked weird when on track during Qually , from the stands i could not quite make out what they were so the picture shows them better.

There were a lot of spinners at Beckets during that session and some rather odd lines .


The cars reminded me of Matthew Watts when he slapped some slicks on his Brabham and showed half the F5000 cars the way at a Snetterton DBT race a few years back . The handling of those old F2 cars without wings is amazing as though on rails.


Pete

#45 Damien Duigan

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 23:45

The O'Donnell car that Willmott and Young are holding down is the ex Schlessler car that Ken Smith drove at Eatern Creek in D


Am I right in thinking the O'Donnell car carries number 200-18F?

At least one other M4 exists in New Zealand, namely the ex-Graeme Lawrence 200-14E with Peter Herbert.

Another overlooked car is the ex-Jan Bussell car that raced in SE Asia, later in the Fremantle Motor Museum in West Australia. Reported as having plate FJB4.

Does anyone know which M4 Joel Finn used to race in vintage events back in the mid-1990s (was painted in Papaya).

Cheers,
Damien

#46 horizon

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 01:16

Okay.....Some chassis numbers! Please, if you have any input, that would be appreciated.

#1 B. McLaren F2, J. Palmer Tasman
#2 P. Courage F2
#3 chequered Flag Scalextic's F3.Ian Ashley. Sold as a Twin cam.
#4 to 9 ???
#10 F/B Twin cam. Chuck Dietrich 67 SccA c/ship car.
#11 Rollinson
#12 ?
#13 C/flag F2. 2009 T. Lee seattle,usa Is currently for sale.
#14 G Lawrence Tasman car. 2009 Peter Herbert NZ
#15 F2 R. Griot. 2009 Seattle usa
#16 Eccurie Intersport F2.
#17 Eccurie Intersport F2
#18 Eccurie Intersport F2 Jarrard Larousse. L. O'Donnell NZ 2009
#19 Ford France F2. Ligier/schlesser/1971 G. schafer switzerland F2
#20 C/Flag F2. Robin Widdows Crashed 3.6.68 @ C/Palace. needed new chassis
#21C/Flag F3? Maybe sold to Bill Stone in 1969
#22 C/flag F2 G. Lawrence
#23-25??
#26 F/B Martin Sellers calif. USA. Owned since new
#27 F/B Chuck Deitrick. Mathews collection ??

Thx goes to P. Herbert & D. Fox for helping with this project. Looking forward to filling the gaps.

Cheers


#47 Vicuna

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 03:04

I hear Peter Herbert is working furiously to get the exLawrence M4A ready for the Bruce McLaren Festival next January.

Wonder what colour he'll do it in...I think it was black when it came out of Aus. Hope it's not 'McLaren orange/tanderine/papaya/Rhyman's Traffic Yellow/whatever like the O'Donnell car. Wrks open-wheelers weren't orange when the M4A ran in period.

What is the significance of the Blue and yellow colour scheme? My first thought was MRP!

#48 Wirra

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 04:12

Graeme Lawrence

Posted Image

#49 Stephen W

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 08:42

What is the significance of the Blue and yellow colour scheme? My first thought was MRP!


That's my take as well - MRP ran various cars in 1960s with this colour scheme although maybe the yellow wasn't quiet as loud and there wasn't a white stripe either!

:wave:

Edited by Stephen W, 18 October 2009 - 08:42.


#50 Giraffe

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 09:19

I hear Peter Herbert is working furiously to get the exLawrence M4A ready for the Bruce McLaren Festival next January.


The Lyons M4 will be going down under for the Bruce McLaren Festival too, according to Judy Lyons yesterday. I gather they acquired it so that they would have something to bring to the party!

Posted Image
By giraffe138, shot with EX-M2 at 2009-10-18
Posted Image
By giraffe138, shot with EX-M2 at 2009-10-18
Complete with Brabham steering wheel!
Posted Image
By giraffe138, shot with EX-M2 at 2009-10-18