Jump to content


Photo

Anyone remember Robin Darlington?


  • Please log in to reply
42 replies to this topic

#1 Paul Hartshorne

Paul Hartshorne
  • Member

  • 132 posts
  • Joined: March 00

Posted 01 February 2001 - 18:48

As some of you know, I'm always interested in 'phantom' Grand Prix drivers, i.e. drivers that appeared on a Grand Prix entry list, but never actually took part in a Grand Prix weekend.

My latest discovery is Robin Darlington who appeared on the entry list for the 1967 British Grand Prix in a self-entered McLaren. Interestingly, although no engine type is listed, the c.c. is given as 2997, which matches the Maserati V12 used by the Cooper entries in 1967.

Does anyone remember Darlington? Did he perhaps drive a Maserati-engined F1 car in hillclimbs or club races in the UK?

Cheers, Paul

Advertisement

#2 David McKinney

David McKinney
  • Member

  • 14,156 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 01 February 2001 - 19:27

Darlington was best known at that time as one of several very successful drivers in UK libre racing. The McLaren would have been M3A #3 owned by David Bridges but I can't think what engine it would have had. It usually ran with a 4.7 Ford. Perhaps Allen Brown will enlighten us




#3 Rob29

Rob29
  • Member

  • 3,513 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 01 February 2001 - 20:18

The McLaren that Darlington had was the M2A a one-off space frame car that started out as the film car for the movie "Grand Prix" It was fitted with a 4.7 litre Ford V8. Maybe he(Darlingtn) planned to convert it to F1,but around June/July 1967 I was standing on the Silverstone pit roof for a club Libre race when he came out Woodcote ,lost it somersulted several times,reducing the car to small pieces! Robin was thrown clear & basiclly unhurt.

#4 Stefan Ornerdal

Stefan Ornerdal
  • Member

  • 578 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 01 February 2001 - 20:31

In Paul Sheldon's book the Darlington car is a McLaren M3A with a Coventry Climax FPE. As far as I know FPF-engines were 4-cylinder 2.7 litre, but what kind of engine is FPE ?

#5 David McKinney

David McKinney
  • Member

  • 14,156 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 01 February 2001 - 20:41

FPF engines ran from 1500cc through 2.0, 2.2 and 2.5 configurations to 2.7. But I don't recall what an FPE was

#6 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 01 February 2001 - 20:55

FPE is the code for the original Coventry Climax Grand Prix engine, an in-joke as it translates to 'Fire Pump Engine', the business CC was most known for at the time (1953). It is better known under the name 'Godiva', a V8 of 2477cc (76.2*67.9). There were several cars built to accomodate the engine, but it was never released by the factory. Much later Paul Emery bought (some of) them and had (one of) them enlarged to 3 litres. They weren't raced very often.

#7 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,787 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 01 February 2001 - 22:24

This is th Godiva in 3-litre form fitted to a BRP chassis in 1966. It ran in the Oulton Park Gold Cup that year, driven by John Campbell-Jones. In practice he was 6.4 secs slower than the next slowest. He was disqualified after 5 laps for dropping oil (Sheldon) or retired with gearbox trouble (Motor Sport and Autosport)

Posted Image

#8 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 63,632 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 02 February 2001 - 01:10

According to what I've read in the past, the FPF was (as a 1500) simply one bank of the FPE.

That it could ultimately grow to become bigger than the original 8 is a staggering thought and shows that CC could have worked on minimalisation to a greater degree.

I'm sure there was a Motor Sport article about the engine, including its later resurrection, some time in the seventies or eighties.

Looks like the stub exhausts are showing off its greatest problem for cars of the sixties.. its bulk, and the room it took up that was needed for other things. Where is the photo from?

#9 Rob29

Rob29
  • Member

  • 3,513 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 02 February 2001 - 09:48

Re the GodivaV8;the story I read was that it was not released by the factory.as they felt it would be un-comptetive,due to the power claims of the Italians & Germans,which were susequently proved to be exagerated.So it might have been a winner in 54 if they had not believed the foreign hype. it was dug out 9yrs later for the 3 litre F1 in 66.It was tried first in a Shannon(the only Irish F1 car?)before being passed on to Campbell-Jones. It now make sense that Darlington might have acquired one.Certainly it never ran as the car was by then destroyed.
Memo to Atlas F1 admin; Is there a way of splitting or renaming threads? If one was looking in archives for info re Climax engines you would never think of looking under "Robin Darlington"

#10 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 63,632 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 02 February 2001 - 09:54

The interesting question is: "Would the British have achieved that GP supremacy they did with the Godiva?"

Coopers, for instance, would probably not have been able to fit it in the back of their cars... the fours were big enough.

But I might be wrong... they might have done it in 1956. But which chassis would have done it?

#11 David McKinney

David McKinney
  • Member

  • 14,156 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 02 February 2001 - 19:10

Presumably any 1954 F1 Cooper would have been a development of their existing F2 range, and would have been front-engined. When, I wonder, would the rear-engined revolution have come then?

#12 Rob29

Rob29
  • Member

  • 3,513 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 02 February 2001 - 19:17

The only car I recall being designed for a "Godiva" was a Keift which never appeared at all.

#13 KzKiwi

KzKiwi
  • Member

  • 150 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 02 February 2001 - 19:28

Originally posted by David McKinney
Presumably any 1954 F1 Cooper would have been a development of their existing F2 range, and would have been front-engined. When, I wonder, would the rear-engined revolution have come then?


From the Connaught J5 of course. This car, along with the Kieft that Rob has already indicated, was specifically designed for the 'Godiva' engine. Like Cooper did with the Bristol engined car, Kieft changed to a front engined layout for his proposed foray into F2/1. The Connaught design was a lot more radical though, with the engine mounted behind the driver...

Yes, I know progress was never completed on either project, but they were both serious proposals stymied by a combination of circumstances, the most notable being the decision by Climax to abandon the 'Godiva' engine project.

Regards,

Kirk[p][Edited by KzKiwi on 02-02-2001]

#14 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,787 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 02 February 2001 - 20:27

The photo is from motor Racing magazine which track tested the BRP-FPE. I don't think you could regard bulk of the FPe as a problem. This was the BRP of the 1.5 litre formula, the engine doesn'y look too bad. It is a lot more compact than the Bristol that Coope fitted into the back of a couple of Bobtails.

#15 Allen Brown

Allen Brown
  • Member

  • 5,308 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 02 February 2001 - 21:50

Who was Robin Darlington? That should be 'Who is Robin Darlington?'. He is still alive and well and was negotiating the purchase of a Formula 5000 car only a few weeks ago.

Robin rose to national fame in 1966 in the fearsome Formula Libre Kincraft, a 4.7-litre Ford V8-engined machine which dominated libre racing in Britain in the mid-1960's. Darlington only used it in that one year, 1966, but took 23 outright race wins that season! He was Clubman of the Year that year.

His first entry in a F1 car came in Spring Cup on 15 April 1967 where JA Pearce entered him in one of his Pearce-Martins. The team was still recovering from Chris Lawrence's testing accident at Brands which had written off Pearce No 2 and they skipped the race. He was entered again at the International Trophy at Silverstone on April 29th but the two remaining team cars were destroyed in a fire on the Wednesday before the race. Darlington never even sat in a Pearce (only Lawrence did - although they built three!).

He then raced the McLaren M3A (note, not the M2A - that was a monocoque test car, the M3A was a spaceframe libre car) for the rest of 1967 but crashed it badly at Silverstone on 9 September - a crash he was lucky to survive. This was the very same vehicle that MGM had used as a film car in the Grands Prix of 1966.

He only appeared sporadically after that - but he was not the same man since his accident.

My records on club racing are not too good - I can see he was racing a F2 Lola in 1970 and I know he entered a "March 701-Chevrolet" (almost certainly 701/11) for the Oulton Park F5000 race on 14 October 1972. He bought the Kincraft back briefly in 1976 but damaged the engine at Oulton in March and found a F2 March to race instead.

His last experience of a F1 car, as far as I am aware, was briefly owning the ex-Rollason Brabham BT37 in 1977.

Still lives in Radlett as far as I know.

As for the engine expected to be in the McLaren for the GP, I'd agree that it was most likely to be one of Paul Emery's 'Godiva' Climax engines, but another possibility is that he was considering a Martin V8.

Allen

#16 Marcor

Marcor
  • Member

  • 1,198 posts
  • Joined: July 00

Posted 03 February 2001 - 12:35

I was sure I had already post anything about Rob Darlington, but I didn't remember what.

Now reading the excellent post of Allen, I know it was about the Pearce (Ferrari or Martin).

The name Kingkraft was one of the name I associated with Rob Darligton and now I'm sure I've seen one picture of that car !!

#17 Rob29

Rob29
  • Member

  • 3,513 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 03 February 2001 - 13:33

Re the J.A.Pearce team I see to remember some srange rumors conected with them which might be libelous if repeated here!
Has anyone actually ever seen a Pearce-Martin F1 car? Has a Martin engine ever run in any car?
At the time of the Silverstone fire,I understood that it allegedly involved 2 Pearce-Martins & one Cooper-Ferrari.All that was to be seen when I arrived on the Saturday was a pile of ash.
That team also managed to have a fire on the British GP-practice day at Brands the previous year.Fortunately the marshals were quickily on hand,as I was in danger of being trapped between the fire and the paddock fence!

#18 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,787 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 03 February 2001 - 13:53

This is Chris Laurence testing the Pearce-Martin at Brands Hatch in 1967. It is taken from an aticle about the Martin engine in Motor Racing by a young reporter named Douglas Nye.

Posted Image

According to the article (I haven't checked) the engine also ran in a Lotus 35 of Lucas Engineering. Roy Pike drove it at the 1966 Brands Boxing Day meeting finishing third. Piers Courage was to drive it in the 1967 Race of Champions, but the engine failed to start. The car was badly damaged following a crash at Snetterton.



#19 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 63,632 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 03 February 2001 - 14:07

Please forgive my ignorance of things Lotus, but what was the 35? The 33 and 38 I know, and the 39, but 34, 35 and 36 I don't. One of them must have been an Indy car, of course... was that it?

The Pearce is a rough looking gadget in this pic.

Advertisement

#20 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 03 February 2001 - 14:39

Ray, Lotus 35 was an F2/F3/FB car. For more info on Lotus type designations look at http://www.race-cars...lity/lotusr.htm, a great site!

#21 Allen Brown

Allen Brown
  • Member

  • 5,308 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 03 February 2001 - 18:49

Pearce died a couple of years ago but he still has family alive and we should be careful whose feelings we may hurt.

There were many suspicious things about that fire, as noted above, but why, oh why, would anyone spend a year building a team of cars and then set light to them. For the insurance? Oh purleease! If you wanted to have a fire, why not have it overnight in the peace and quiet of your workshops? Or at a test session when nobody else was around? Why do it in the paddock of a major international motor race which would be crawling with nosey jounalists?

And what insurance payout could possible make up for the months of effort that had gone into building those cars and engines? It may sound quite Walter Mitty now, with our persspective of the Cosworth years, but back in April 1967, it all looked like it might just work.

I had two long interviews with John in 1986 and he lent me a wonderful unpublished photo from his wall showing the two remaining Pearces, the first and third cars, lined up alongside the Cooper-Ferrari, outside Pearce's factory just before they went to Silverstone. They were real, they worked, and they were in the transporter when it went up.

Allen

#22 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 47,149 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 19 March 2002 - 20:42

The Martin engine was offered for sale through Autosport and Charles Lucas planned to use it in F1, according to Road and Track in early 1968.

#23 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 9,352 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 19 March 2002 - 20:57

OH NO!

Yet another fascinating thread. I recall the Pearce F1 team very well - and I visited Ted Martin at Haddenham, I believe - adjacent to the Alexander tuning company's works, in fact in a building rented from Michael Alexander Christie, the hill-climbing head of the tuning company. The story I wrote on the 3-litre F1 V8 engine that he was building was published in 'Motor Racing' magazine - of which I was Deputy Editor ('cos we had an editorial staff of two). Somewhere I have a photograph of the ruin of the Pearce team's transporter - cordoned off by steel tube crush barriers in the Silverstone 'runway' paddock - after the fire. The only truly recognisable items in the mess are distorted tubular chassis frames, the distinctively swirled exhausts of the Cooper-Ferrari V12, and bits of the Martin V8s in the Pearces themselves. There was much giggling, nudging and winking at the time that Pearce - whose early life gave rise to enormous speculation at the time - might have set up the whole deal as an insurance scam ... but we did learn later, as Allen has pointed out, that insurance was almost certainly not a factor. Some bits were definitely salvaged, but bits only...

I'll see if I can locate that pic.

DCN

#24 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,787 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 19 October 2012 - 10:34

Robin Darlington was entered, but did not appear, for the 1967 British Grand Prix. Autosport says that the car had a Ford V8, F1R says that it had a Climax FPE and DSJ says that it had a Climax V8. I can't think what the Ford would be (if it was eligible for the race) but does anybody know more?

#25 Stephen W

Stephen W
  • Member

  • 13,548 posts
  • Joined: December 04

Posted 19 October 2012 - 10:53

Robin Darlington was entered, but did not appear, for the 1967 British Grand Prix. Autosport says that the car had a Ford V8, F1R says that it had a Climax FPE and DSJ says that it had a Climax V8. I can't think what the Ford would be (if it was eligible for the race) but does anybody know more?


I believe that it was the McLaren-Ford V8 M2B that Bruce McLaren raced in 1966 at Monaco, Watkins Glen and Mexico City.


#26 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,787 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 19 October 2012 - 10:58

What makes you think that?

#27 JtP1

JtP1
  • Member

  • 753 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 19 October 2012 - 11:31

The MaClaren Ford engine was the Indy 4.2 lt 4 cam reduced to 3lts. Whem BM bought the engines from Ford, they asked what he was going to do with them and he said reduce them to 3lt for F1. He was told that the engine would not work as the cylinder head ports were too big for the reduced gas flow. Guess who was correct.

#28 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,787 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 19 October 2012 - 11:54

I know that was the engine used by McLaren in 1966 but did Darlington have one in 1967? Until Stephen W posted otherwise, I thought that Darlington's car was an M3A which he bought from MGM and raced in Formule Libre with a 4.7-litre Ford. That engine would obviously not have been eligible for F1.

#29 Pete Stowe

Pete Stowe
  • Member

  • 481 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 19 October 2012 - 14:13

Robin Darlington was entered, but did not appear, for the 1967 British Grand Prix. Autosport says that the car had a Ford V8, F1R says that it had a Climax FPE and DSJ says that it had a Climax V8. I can't think what the Ford would be (if it was eligible for the race) but does anybody know more?

Motoring News said in their preview: "Robin Darlington with his McLaren (fitted with one of the 3-litre modified Indy Ford engines)"; in their report just "did not appear".

#30 wsp77

wsp77
  • Member

  • 73 posts
  • Joined: January 06

Posted 19 October 2012 - 16:12

Motoring News said in their preview: "Robin Darlington with his McLaren (fitted with one of the 3-litre modified Indy Ford engines)"; in their report just "did not appear".


When I asked Robin about this earlier this year he explained to me:

'‘The Mclaren was originally entered for the Grand Prix and I had begun to make arrangements to have a 3.0 litre Formula 1 engine fitted, but this deal fell through, leaving the Mclaren with an ineligible 4.7 litre engine. I had made a last minute deal with David Hepworth to drive a Formula 1 Brabham at the Grand Prix, using his original accepted entry.'



#31 Andrew Kitson

Andrew Kitson
  • Member

  • 2,535 posts
  • Joined: July 03

Posted 19 October 2012 - 16:17

Here is Robin Darlington at a Snetterton BRSCC meeting, June 11th 1967. The entry lists him as in a red McLaren 5700cc. I suspect it could be a typo error, should be the Ford 4.7. Note copyright my friend Mike Dixon. It was a single seater Libre race, also in the field were some Jim Russell school Lotus Formula Ford cars - the first time cars from this new class had ever raced, before the Brands MRS v JRRDS first all FF event in July.
Posted Image

..and I think this is Robin Darlington in the Kincraft at Snetterton in 1966, but unsure of date as the race number does not match any programmes I have, however he looks like he was victorious. One of the images I am helping the circuit to identify from their archives.
Posted Image

Edited by Andrew Kitson, 19 October 2012 - 16:25.


#32 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,787 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 19 October 2012 - 16:26

THere's a very similar picture to the one Andrew Kitson posted in the Autosport report. It says that the car was to have a 2-litre BRM V8 fitted for F1 races later in the season. Indy Ford, Climax FPE, BRM - take your choice!

#33 AJB

AJB
  • Member

  • 205 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 20 October 2012 - 08:02

I remember Robin driving the ex-Red Rose Lightweight E-type at Aintree/Oulton Park in 1965 or 66, then briefly a red Lola T70.
One of the first races I saw at Aintree featured a young Brian Redman in the Red Rose car having a mgnificent dice with John Lepp in his Elan.

#34 pete53

pete53
  • Member

  • 533 posts
  • Joined: September 09

Posted 20 October 2012 - 22:10

I remember Robin driving the ex-Red Rose Lightweight E-type at Aintree/Oulton Park in 1965 or 66, then briefly a red Lola T70.
One of the first races I saw at Aintree featured a young Brian Redman in the Red Rose car having a mgnificent dice with John Lepp in his Elan.

I don't remember him in the e-type but I do recall him racing the ex Red Rose Lola 70 toward the end of the 1966 season. He continued with the car for the first part of 1967 and I remember seeing him compete at Brands a couple of times - on one occasion up against Keith St John in his McLaren Elva. Didn't he go on to race a Ford GT in 1968?

#35 Jagjon

Jagjon
  • Member

  • 132 posts
  • Joined: July 10

Posted 20 October 2012 - 22:57

I don't remember him in the e-type but I do recall him racing the ex Red Rose Lola 70 toward the end of the 1966 season. He continued with the car for the first part of 1967 and I remember seeing him compete at Brands a couple of times - on one occasion up against Keith St John in his McLaren Elva. Didn't he go on to race a Ford GT in 1968?

The Gt40 was I think one ex Bob Vincent of Wigan, but I'm not sure if he didn't have two.
I thought Robin was a farmer from Wrexham area, some years ago he was in contact with Brian Redman, I think possibly buying race cars.
JAPearce was an interesting guy/buisness & sold some interesting cars apart from the wheels & other accessories, my pal bought a very quick 7litre Mustang from him for little money!

#36 AJB

AJB
  • Member

  • 205 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 21 October 2012 - 08:56

I thought Robin was a farmer from Wrexham area, some years ago he was in contact with Brian Redman, I think possibly buying race cars.

A colleage of mine in the 60s was a neighbour of his, near Wrexham as you say.

#37 richie

richie
  • Member

  • 425 posts
  • Joined: October 03

Posted 21 October 2012 - 19:23

The Gt40 was I think one ex Bob Vincent of Wigan, but I'm not sure if he didn't have two.
I thought Robin was a farmer from Wrexham area, some years ago he was in contact with Brian Redman, I think possibly buying race cars.
JAPearce was an interesting guy/buisness & sold some interesting cars apart from the wheels & other accessories, my pal bought a very quick 7litre Mustang from him for little money!


Was the Mustang ex Martin Birrane by any chance?

#38 Jagjon

Jagjon
  • Member

  • 132 posts
  • Joined: July 10

Posted 22 October 2012 - 00:30

Was the Mustang ex Martin Birrane by any chance?

No, a road car, but cheaper than you could buy the same thing in USA! I think it was a 68 429 Boss, & I don't know what happened to it.

#39 Giraffe

Giraffe
  • Member

  • 7,209 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 19 March 2015 - 21:12

Via his son Christian, Robin has turned up on the F5000 Racing Cars page of Facebook, having recently purchased the Keith Harris Chevron B48 Rover to add to a seemingly burgeoning collection of race cars.



Advertisement

#40 Giraffe

Giraffe
  • Member

  • 7,209 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 06 January 2019 - 16:01

i3MAg8.jpg[/IMG]

 

Robin pictured with TNFer Andrew Komosa (Jazzyspies) at CarFest North last July.



#41 RogerFrench

RogerFrench
  • Member

  • 581 posts
  • Joined: February 08

Posted 07 January 2019 - 16:06

Giraffe, I know neither of these gentlemen. Which is which, please?

#42 Giraffe

Giraffe
  • Member

  • 7,209 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 09 January 2019 - 17:19

Giraffe, I know neither of these gentlemen. Which is which, please?

Robin to left of pic, Andrew to the right.



#43 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 9,352 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 09 January 2019 - 20:34

I remember Robin Darlington driving the Kincraft quite vividly. It was a good car but he used what it had to offer very well - a fine driver I thought at the time.

 

DCN