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A Tale of a Hawke


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#1 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 21:30

In the spring of 1983 I bought a 1978 Hawke DL20 Formula Ford rolling chassis from a race shop in North York in Toronto. I had spent the winter refurbishing my well worn ex-Jim Russell Van Diemen RF75 (a topic unto itself) but the new season was rapidly approaching and there was still a lot of work to be done. The Hawke was brand new by comparison and it seemed a simple task to drop in my engine and gearbox and go racing. In order to afford the purchase I sold my RF75 to a buddy who had been racing a Merlyn.

In hindsight I would have been far better off to have kept the Van Diemen. The first thing I discovered was that the motor mounts supplied were from a different car and wouldn't be usable. Then I found that the exhaust sytem was from a different car and was also not usable. Due to these challenges and other things going on in my life, I missed the 1983 and 1984 seasons entirely. I was quite discouraged by the whole project but in the spring of 1985 I did a couple of days of lapping at the Spenard school at Shannonville and the bug bit again. I got a local NHRA fab shop to make me some motor mounts and I tackled fabricating the headers and collector myself.

By late summer I was  ready to roll the car onto the trailer and I headed off to Shannonville for the Ontario Regional race our club was organizing. Unfortunately a few laps into practice I started to shed wheel nuts (along with the studs) from the rear corners and I had to park it. Some bright light had decided somewhere along way to weld the studs to the mounting flanges (I can't imagine it was the original design). But as a result they weren't quite square to the flange and every time they were torqued up the were stressed unnecessarily. Once the cornering loads were added they cracked and pulled out.

To make matters worse, when I tried to get our tool room at work to effect repairs, they found the hubs had been heat treated to the point of being like glass and they couldn't drill out the remaining studs let alone make the modifications I had specified. So I was forced to get new stub axles made up.

 

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From that point on the car was trouble free (apart from terrible bump-steer) and I had two really fun outings at Mosport and Nelson Ledges in Ohio. But then life intervened and I couldn't afford to keep racing. Ultimately I sold the car to a fellow in Welland and, as I understand, it was then returned to England from whence it came.

The purpose of telling this story, which I have tried to keep brief, is to see if I can find out anything about the car's lineage. I don't know how many DL20's were built. I do know that the chassis were used in both FF1600 and FF2000 and that Jonathan Palmer raced one as a FF1600 in 1978. Complicating the matter is that the car had no nameplate. It had supposedly been tied up in customs for a considerable time and was released shortly before I bought it. Its only distinguishing features were its brand new, never painted blue cockpit bodywork and slightly used black nose and sidepods (there was no engine cover). The radiators had been moved from their side mount a la Lotus 72 to a position just ahead of the rear wheels a la March 761. The Hawke Registry site states that this model was the last designed by Dave Lazenby himself and he left the company he had founded in mid 1978. I gather the marque slipped beneath the waves not long after. The Registry lists only one DL20, a MK20B in Australia.

 

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I know Formula Fords were built by the hundreds and individual chassis are not all that interesting to historians but this one was fairly unique. Can anyone shed any light on it? There is a Hawke Racing Cars page on Facebook and I have placed an inquiry there. But the Nostalgia Forum has never failed to deliver so I have my fingers crossed.



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#2 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 01:11

I remembered I still had a file on this car so I dug it out and it was full of all sorts of interesting information. Amongst this were the drawings I made for the motor mounts and a drawing I made to get adapters machined so I could mount the rear calipers on the side of the gearbox. That was another of the challenges to get this car race ready that I had completely forgotten.

I also found receipts that showed that the race shop in Toronto where I bought the car (in April of 1983) was Race Equip at 4544 Dufferin Street run by Derek Harkema. The actual owner of the car was G.P.S. Racing in Scarborough and the receipt was signed by G.P. Macey (maybe Masey?) I know nothing of this person or the business. I had forgotten this wrinkle and only recalled buying the car from Derek.

I also found the name of the fellow in Welland who bought the car from me (in February of 1991) and have messaged him on Facebook to see if he recalls who he sold it to. So we shall see where that goes.

 

I heard from the fellow in Australia who owns the MK20B, Neil McLay, via the Hawke Racing Cars/Formula Ford Facebook page. Here are some DL20 items from that page;

 

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Desire Wilson raced one as well.

 

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There don't seem to have been many of them built. Still hoping this rings some bells.



#3 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 06:06

HAWKE

Type no : DL2.

Wheelbase : 7 ft 6 ins.

Track, front and rear : 52 ins and 52½ ins.

Weight: 890 lbs.

Price of rolling chassis with gearbox : £1,000.

Price of car complete with Lazenby engine : £1,285.

Optional extras : Seatbelts; tachometer.

Manufacturer : David Lazenby & Co Ltd,

rear of 146 High St, Waltham Cross, Herts.

AUTOSPORT, NOVEMBER 27, 1969, Page 47

 

DAVID LAZENBY & CO. LTD.

"HAWKE DL2" FORMULA FORD

WINNER OF 1969 SCOTTISH

FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP

Powered by 1600 cc Lazenby-Ford Engine.

The Car: In full race trim and all extras ready to race ex

works. £1,285.

The Engine: Modified to the limits of Formula Ford regulations, dry sumped, run in and dyno tested. £285.

CONTACT TONY ROBERTS,

DAVID LAZENBY & CO. LTD.,

146 HIGH ST., WALTHAM CROSS, HERTS.

TEL.: WALTHAM CROSS 21745, 31468.

The " HAWKE Dll "

of Tom Walkinshaw.

1st at Thruxton 30/8/69.

1st in Heat Mallory Park 1/9/69.

2nd in Final Mallory Park 1/9/69.

2 1sts at Mallory Park 16/11/69.

AUTOSPORT, NOVEMBER 27, 1969, Page 42

 

RGDS RLT



#4 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 08:06

Following on from the boilerplate above I have found the following:

1978 season

Driver: John Herne

Car: Hawke DL20

Manufacturer: Hawke Racing Cars Ltd of Southend-on-Sea

American importer: Cavanaugh Racing of Philadelphia 

Team: Gordon Medenica Motor Racing team (named for a graduate student at Harvard Business School), also David Aronson, ex-Penske F1

Series: SCCA Northeast Divisionals etc

1977: John Herne, Crosslé FF, New England Regional Champion

The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) Sunday 9 Apr 1978, Page 73

 

Picture shows a dark coloured car, could be blue. 6th at Lime Rock Park, 4th July 1978.

Herne to England for 1979 for Formula Ford 2000: "Herne will drive a Delta T-79 for Delta Race Cars of Hove, England."

 

"Complicating the matter is that the car had no nameplate. It had supposedly been tied up in customs for a considerable time and was released shortly before I bought it."

 

Where had the car come from? England?

 

RGDS RLT   


Edited by Rupertlt1, 11 August 2021 - 13:39.


#5 Shane Bowden

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Posted 11 August 2021 - 04:21

No particular relevance to this thread but my late brother worked for Lazy Davenby in the early seventies preparing FF for Syd Fox 


Edited by Shane Bowden, 11 August 2021 - 04:22.


#6 Rupertlt1

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Posted 11 August 2021 - 13:54

British Formula Ford 2000 Championship

1978 (MCD Allied Polymer/Lord Taverner’s Champion: Syd Fox)

3rd round: Silverstone, Mar 27—David MacPherson (GB)—Hawke DL20

1978 (BARC British Air Ferries Champion: Mike White)

5th round: Snetterton, May 7—David MacPherson (GB)—Hawke DL20

 

R.W. Mackenzie: Could it be that the motor mounts that came with 'your' car were for an FF2000 motor?

Did the car have a wide shovel-type nose?

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 11 August 2021 - 15:22.


#7 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 11 August 2021 - 17:42

Hi RLT,

 

That is a possibility. But I think more likely that they were from a different model of Formula Ford. They bolted to the engine OK but they were no way near long enough. I was able to use to them to temporarily install the motor and gearbox using extra long bolts. I suppose that I could have used spacers either on the inboard or outboard end of the mount to race with. But that didn't seem structurally sensible at the time and I wasn't sure they held the engine and gearbox in the correct position. So I mounted the engine/gearbox without the mounts, positioned and supported them where I thought they should be, took copious measurements, made drawings and had them fabricated by a fellow in Oakville who was an NHRA approved fabricator. They were a bit heavy for a formula car but not by much.

 

The mounts that came with the car were the cone-shaped variety with the cone welded to a square plate that bolted to the engine and a threaded boss at the outboard end. One strange thing was that the mounting plates were not the same thickness on both mounts. One was about 3/16" thick and the other about half of that. When I bought it the car was basically a roller with a box of parts that weren't bolt on. I don't think anything in that box actually fit the car and so, besides the motor mounts I had to fabricate an exhaust system and several other key bits. It took me over two and a half years to get it on the track for this and various other reasons.



#8 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 11 August 2021 - 17:44

Oh, I forgot one of your questions. It had a wedge shaped nose a la McLaren M23 and not a wide, shovel type nose..



#9 Rupertlt1

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Posted 11 August 2021 - 17:50

Oh, I forgot one of your questions. It had a wedge shaped nose a la McLaren M23 and not a wide, shovel type nose..

 

Can you confirm that it came from England?

Does anybody have any idea how many DL20-types were made?

This was not thought to be the best Hawke model made?

 

RGDS RLT



#10 R.W. Mackenzie

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Posted 11 August 2021 - 17:58

And I missed your earlier question. I always presumed it came from England and may have been told that. But I never had any direct communication with the individual who owned the car before me. The guy who owned the race shop where the car was stored was not able to provide too many details.

 

By the way, I guess I haven't provided an update on my search for for this car. I was contacted by a fellow in Australia who is restoring it. He sent pictures and it was still painted as I had raced it with my number and name on it. The owner had picked it up in England and brought it to Australia. Unfortunately it had been cannibalized again and was missing a number of key components  We corresponded for a while but I gather the restoration is awaiting completion of other projects.