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OSCA S750 Mystery


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#1 Tim Murray

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 21:06

(the following is from Willem Oosthoek, posted by me on his behalf)

A number of fellow historians and I have been trying to identify the red OSCA S750 that appears in the following two photos. So far without any success, so I am aiming for a larger audience.

The first photo shows a red OSCA #63 among the other cars of the Briggs Cunningham stable at Road America in September 1959. From the left are the race-winning knobbly Lister/Jaguar, the red OSCA in question, a white OSCA #65 [chassis 767], a Stanguellini FJ and the tail end of a competitor, George Constantine's Aston Martin DBR2. Note that the red OSCA has wire wheels, a hunch back type headrest and an unpainted front and side base holding the windshield. The red car does not appear in the complete Road America results in the SCCA's Sports Car magazine, so apparently it did not race that weekend. It may have been raced by any of the Cunningham drivers earlier that season.

The second photo shows Denise McCluggage in the red OSCA she drove under #30 in the December 1959 Nassau Speed Weeks. Based on its color, the form of the headrest as well as the unpainted windshield support, it looks very siimilar to the OSCA in the first photo. She ran the car at Nassau as part of Lucky Casner's CAMORADI stable, which may have been a one-race arrangement since Cunningham was a no-show at Nassau that year.

But all of us have been baffled so far in finding its chassis number. Most OSCAs of that period have perforated disc wheels and a more slender headrest. Any takers among the TNF audience?

RedOSCA1.jpg

N7B.jpg

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#2 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 23:58

Terry O'Neil's "The Bahama Speed Weeks" gives the chassis number as 763.



#3 WINO

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 00:23

Tom, 

 

Unfortunately, Terry O'Neal is wrong quoting that chassis number. Chassis 763 was never a Cunningham car. It was bought by Luigi Chinetti, who sold it to Robert Publicker of Florida.

 

Ironically, Publicker also ran chassis 763 as part of Casner's CAMORADI team at Nassau in 1959, but in the team colors of white with a blue stripe and under #21, not in red under #30.

 

Willem



#4 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 01:30

Darn, I was congratulating myself on coming up with a chassis number.



#5 DCapps

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 11:57

The program for the 1959 Road America 500 skips right over the number "63" in the entry listing, although the No. 65 OSCA is, of course, listed.

Interesting given that the organizers tend to list pretty much every car tentatively entered or possibly showing up regardless of whether it would take to the track or not.



#6 68targa

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 15:52

Could it be Ch 951 ?  According to the OSCA owners website McCluggage drove in the Governor's Trophy and in the Nassau Trophy both times as car #30 and in the latter race in chassis 951.

 

https://oscaownersgr...tition/database



#7 WINO

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 16:31

Complete misinformation, 68Targa. Perhaps this data came from the first version of O'Neil's Nassau book, but in his second and revised version he did correct a good number of chassis number errors that appeared in his first opus.

 

Chassis 951 was raced by Ollie Schmidt under #76. He ran the white car in the Governor's Trophy heat, then in the Governor's Trophy itself [both under 2-liter], then in the Nassau Trophy. O'Neil correctly assigned number 951 to Ollie in his second book version.

 

Denise ran the #30 red OSCA in the Governor's Trophy heat, then in the Governor's Trophy [both under 2-liter and in both cases erroneously listed as chassis 763, but in the Nassau Trophy results no chassis number was assigned to #30 [all in the revised version of the Nassau book and perhaps O'Neil forgot to change the numbers in the first two races].

 

The real chassis 763 was raced only once, by owner Bob Publicker in the Memorial Trophy race. It carried #21 and featured the CAMORADI colors of white and a blue strip. No chassis number was assigned to this car in the second book version.

 

Willem


Edited by WINO, 02 April 2024 - 19:32.


#8 Martin Krejci

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 17:17

The program for the 1959 Road America 500 skips right over the number "63" in the entry listing, although the No. 65 OSCA is, of course, listed.

Interesting given that the organizers tend to list pretty much every car tentatively entered or possibly showing up regardless of whether it would take to the track or not.

Actually both OSCAs are listed in the race programme. Number 63 in GM class of the 500 Miles race, while no.65 white is listed in HM class in a support sprint race for smaller classes - Briggs Cunningham won it. 



#9 WINO

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 17:50

Since Cunningham won the first race at Road America in September 1959, restricted to HM class and the smaller production cars, the white #65 must have been a 750-cc car. However, since the red #63 was scheduled to participate in the third race, the actual 500 miles, it could have contained a 1.1-liter, a 1.5-liter or even a 2-liter engine.

 

In another inconsistency in the revised Nassau book, Denise McCluggage's class finishes in the Governor's Trophy heat [first in GM class], the Governor's Trophy itself [third in GM class] and the feature Nassau Trophy [1st in HM class] are different, all with the same red #30 OSCA.

 

Willem


Edited by WINO, 01 April 2024 - 17:55.


#10 DCapps

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 17:59

Actually both OSCAs are listed in the race programme. Number 63 in GM class of the 500 Miles race, while no.65 white is listed in HM class in a support sprint race for smaller classes - Briggs Cunningham won it. 

 

Duh, I forgot to look at the listing for the support race. And, there it is... My bad. 



#11 D28

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 18:06

Since Cunningham won the first race at Road America in September 1959, restricted to HM class and the smaller production cars, the white #65 must have been a 750-cc car. However, since the red #63 was scheduled to participate in the third race, the actual 500 miles, it could have contained a 1.1-liter, a 1.5-liter or even a 2-liter engine.

 

In another inconsistency in the revised Nassau book, Denise McCluggage's class finishes in the Governor's Trophy heat [first in GM class], the Governor's Trophy itself [third in GM class] and the feature Nassau Trophy [1st in HM class] are different, all with the same red #30 OSCA.

 

Willem

Racing Sports Cars does counts Cunningham winning in the # 65 OSCA. For the 500 event # 63 is listed as being present but not used, and it does not feature in the results. It is listed as Did not Practice.


Edited by D28, 01 April 2024 - 18:26.


#12 Martin Krejci

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 18:13

Since Cunningham won the first race at Road America in September 1959, restricted to HM class and the smaller production cars, the white #65 must have been a 750-cc car. However, since the red #63 was scheduled to participate in the third race, the actual 500 miles, it could have contained a 1.1-liter, a 1.5-liter or even a 2-liter engine.

 

In another inconsistency in the revised Nassau book, Denise McCluggage's class finishes in the Governor's Trophy heat [first in GM class], the Governor's Trophy itself [third in GM class] and the feature Nassau Trophy [1st in HM class] are different, all with the same red #30 OSCA.

 

Willem

 
In the 500 Mile race it was entered in the GM Class, which was I believe limited to 1100 cc back then (though sometimes the class allowed cars up to 1300 cc, later it was 1150 cc but not in 1959). 

I still have not ruled out it could have been OSCA S 950, which would fit the GM class. In that case, it would be most likely 951, the only build 950 cc OSCA. Then Terry O'Neil would have been wrong in assigning this chassis to Ollie Schmidt in 1959 and to Joel Jacobs in 1961. I would not be surprised, considering other errors in the Nassau book, as well as the fact they raced S 750 car, not S 950. The only S 950 raced at the period was entered by John Busley in 1960, and I have his entry also assigned with chassis 951, he also ran in the GM class. But it contradicts the info from the Nassau book. I cannot say anything more definite at the moment.

 



#13 WINO

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 19:35

Martin, I agree that an out-of-sequence chassis number of 951 is likely one for an OSCA S950. And Ollie always competed in HM class, even when he put a 750-cc OSCA engine in his Lola MK 1. So, chassis 951 is unlikely to have been Ollie's car.

 

Excited to find a trail for chassis 951 in the form of John Busby's [SP.] ownership, I looked up the SCCA results for 1960 in the December 1960 issue of Sports Car, and it shows him with an OSCA in HM class, not in GM. So, he raced a S750. He earned 20 points that year for 5th place in his class. Class winner Ollie won with his OSCA and OSCA-powered Lola Mk 1, with 86 points. No OSCA scored any points in GM class that year.

 

Willem



#14 Martin Krejci

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 20:08

Martin, I agree that an out-of-sequence chassis number of 951 is likely one for an OSCA S950. And Ollie always competed in HM class, even when he put a 750-cc OSCA engine in his Lola MK 1. So, chassis 951 is unlikely to have been Ollie's car.

 

Excited to find a trail for chassis 951 in the form of John Busby's [SP.] ownership, I looked up the SCCA results for 1960 in the December 1960 issue of Sports Car, and it shows him with an OSCA in HM class, not in GM. So, he raced a S750. He earned 20 points that year for 5th place in his class. Class winner Ollie won with his OSCA and OSCA-powered Lola Mk 1, with 86 points. No OSCA scored any points in GM class that year.

 

Willem

He was John Busley, not Busby (but later really alternatively named as Busby, so I am not sure), and was former Porsche 356 driver. In April 1960 he drove an OSCA 950 to 2dn in GM at San Marcos Regional. SCCA magazine commented his start as: "his first race with an engine in front, being an ex-Porsche driver". I have this entry assigned with the chassis number 951, not sure about the source. Subsequent entries of Busley in OSCA were in standard S 750 in HM class, all happening in 1960. This was I believe a different OSCA and is described as "former Sebring OSCA of Dr. Val Scroggie". I have no idea about the chassis number of this second car but it was light blue. I do not have a photo of the 950 at San Marcos but my theory is that it could have been the red Cunningham GM OSCA but there is no proof or link between them except the unique GM class entry. I think, we do not know if Cunningham's GM OSCA was 950 or 1100. But the the time usually OSCAs 1100 were gone and 951 with Italian history until Sebring factory entry 1959 makes a perfect sense to end up with Cunningham. He would hardly acquire some very old OSCA for GM class and there were no other GM OSCAs being raced, I know of. In 1958 there was an old MT4 Special of Mike Cappiello but it would not be related to the Cunningham entry. I cannot find any other explanation.

Only problem is that the Nassau book assigns the unique chassis 951 to different set of driver racing standard 750. I tend to believe it is most likely wrong, unless real proof of that is found. This is just my current belief. No OSCA with points in GM fits my theory, as it was raced only in Regional races, not sure if more than that one. All Busley/Busby? National races were in the 750 OSCA / HM class - most likely a different car.



#15 WINO

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Posted 01 April 2024 - 21:03

By golly, it is John Busley, so the Busby in the SCCA magazine must be a rare typo. And I have him in my own book Sports Car Racing in the South.

 

Midland 1959, still with a Porsche 1600S in FP

San Marcos 1960, with a GM class OSCA [8th overall and GM2]

Midland 1960, with a HM class OSCA S750

Corpus Christi 1960, with an HM class OSCA S750 and an Alfa Romeo

El Paso 1960, with an HM class OSCA S750

 

So, the car ended up in Texas. Which of the 1959 Sebring OSCA entries do you think it was originally?

 

Willem



#16 WINO

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Posted 02 April 2024 - 14:56

One caveat on San Marcos 1960 and Busley running in GM. If no HM entries were present that weekend, and Busley already raced his HM class 750S like he did later in the season, he would have been forced to race one class up.

 

As for Sebring 1959 as the likely source for that red OSCA, there were four of them present, three works cars and one entered by De Tomaso. Two works cars would qualify because their larger engine size.

 

#56 OSCA S950, 954 cc, a works entry driven by Ricardo Rodriguez and Frank Bott in the 1100 class [the most likely candidate]

 

#38 OSCA S1500, 1491 cc, a works entry driven by Carl Haas, Frank Campbell and Jay Middleton in the 1500 class [only in case of an engine change after Sebring]

 

Both cars retired.

 

What baffles me still is why O'Neil describes Ollie Schmidt as O. Campbell-Schmidt, as if he had a hyphenated name. Campbell was just his middle name and those were never used for any other drivers in the book. And then his insistence on calling Ollie's 750S chassis 951. Did he interview Ollie in person during one of his various US trips [O'Neil had dinner at my place once] and did Ollie pretend he had a hyphenated name? Where else would O'Neil have gotten the idea? Did Ollie mention the chassis number as one of the cars he owned? Perhaps he was the buyer after Sebring, since it took a while for the car to show up as part of the Cunningham stable.

 

Willem


Edited by WINO, 02 April 2024 - 15:46.


#17 Martin Krejci

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Posted 02 April 2024 - 15:42

 

So, the car ended up in Texas. Which of the 1959 Sebring OSCA entries do you think it was originally?

 

Willem

 

I believe it was OSCA S 950 driven Ricardo Rodriguez/Frank Bott. Both car had been listed as chassis 951 in my database for some time but I am not sure about the original source but possible this one: http://www.oscaowner...tition/database. There are errors there, typos and at times less races than in the RSC database but generally not that bad. Unfortunately, last time I checked it, there were less US chassis numbers than I had been aware of at that time. If you checked Nassau 1959, there is Schmidt, Publicker and also Denise all of them listed with 951, which is obviously wrong. They also miss the record of the red car from Road America 500 1959.



#18 Martin Krejci

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Posted 02 April 2024 - 15:58

One caveat on San Marcos 1960 and Busley running in GM. If no HM entries were present that weekend, and Busley already raced his HM class 750S like he did later in the season, he would have been forced to race one class up.

Willem

 

It is correct than in my sparse results of this rather obscure race I really cannot see any HM entry. The race is described in SCCA magazine June 1960. It explicitly says it was an OSCA 950 cc. In other place it speaks about race for Modifieds B through G but this was a preliminary race. Missing HM, which most likely raced with small Production, does not mean much in this context. None of the classes FP, GP or HP is mentioned as well. I know only that Giuliettas was race 6, which is not described in more detail.

SCCA page 21:

 

"Another small race within a race was between G. Harris in a 

Lotus XI and John Busley in a 950cc OSCA. Busley was 
driving his first race that weekend in a car which has the 
engine in the front end—Busley is an ex-Porsche pilot. Har-
ris won first-in-class, and Busley finished second-in-class."

I would say we can really trust it was a 950 cc car, i.e. most likely OSCA S 950 chassis 951. There was no other in existence, I believe. But some cars could have been fitted with a 950 cc engine. I have several such unidentified examples.

But they way, emails sent to you were bouncing back, due to yahoo policy  ):

Edited by Martin Krejci, 02 April 2024 - 15:59.


#19 Martin Krejci

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Posted 02 April 2024 - 16:11

By golly, it is John Busley, so the Busby in the SCCA magazine must be a rare typo. And I have him in my own book Sports Car Racing in the South.

 

San Marcos 1960, with a GM class OSCA [8th overall and GM2]

 

 

I noticed you have there overall position where I had just top 4, plus the two class GM finishers, quoted last time. Would you, please, check the book who was in places 5th to 7th? One of them would be Harris in Lotus Eleven, who won the GM class.



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#20 WINO

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Posted 02 April 2024 - 16:48

San Marcos, Texas, 2nd Annual Carrera del Alamo, held at Camp Gary Air Force Base, April 9-10,1960.

 

Feature Race 7, 15 laps, 43.2 miles, 15 starters

 

1, Jim Hall [Maserati 570S], BM1, #66

2. Hap Sharp [Cooper/Monaco/Maserati], DM1, #95

3. Jack Hinkle [Maserati Tipo 61], DM2, #2

4. Ronnie Hissom [Lister/Chevy], BM2, #62

5. Dick McGuire [Ferrari 857 Monza], CM1, #91

6. Mike Collins [Porsche RSK], FM1

7. G.G. Harris [Lotus 11/Climax], GM1, #34

8. John Busley [OSCA], GM2

9. Homer Rader [Ferrari 500TR], EM1

10. Ernie Grimm [Lotus 11/Climax], GM3

 

I have no race number for Busley.

 

I don't know if any HM cars were entered that weekend. Three races on Saturday, seven on Sunday.

 

Race 2 on Sunday was for HM, FP and GP, but my text mentions only production cars in the top three results. I have the top eight results of race 4 on Sunday [FM and Over] and Busley is not among them. In Race 6 on Sunday, again no HM cars mentions in the top three finishers, only production cars.

 

Willem



#21 Martin Krejci

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Posted 02 April 2024 - 16:58

San Marcos, Texas, 2nd Annual Carrera del Alamo, held at Camp Gary Air Force Base, April 9-10,1960.

 

Feature Race 7, 15 laps, 43.2 miles, 15 starters

 

1, Jim Hall [Maserati 570S], BM1, #66

2. Hap Sharp [Cooper/Monaco/Maserati], DM1, #95

3. Jack Hinkle [Maserati Tipo 61], DM2, #2

4. Ronnie Hissom [Lister/Chevy], BM2, #62

5. Dick McGuire [Ferrari 857 Monza], CM1, #91

6. Mike Collins [Porsche RSK], FM1

7. G.G. Harris [Lotus 11/Climax], GM1, #34

8. John Busley [OSCA], GM2

9. Homer Rader [Ferrari 500TR], EM1

10. Ernie Grimm [Lotus 11/Climax], GM3

 

I have no race number for Busley.

 

I don't know if any HM cars were entered that weekend. Three races on Saturday, seven on Sunday.

 

Race 2 on Sunday was for HM, FP and GP, but my text mentions only production cars in the top three results. I have the top eight results of race 4 on Sunday [FM and Over] and Busley is not among them. In Race 6 on Sunday, again no HM cars mentions in the top three finishers, only production cars.

 

Willem

 

Hi Willem, thank you very much for being that kind and re-rewrite here entire results from the book :up: . I do not know this one. My only book of this kind apart of the older copy of the Nassau book is the one called: Northest American Sports Car Races 1950-59. It was pretty good, providing some useful results of the period. But the chassis numbers are not always without doubts - just like on RSC and other sources  :lol: .



#22 WINO

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Posted 02 April 2024 - 17:55

Martin,

 

I do have all SCCA magazines of that period, but obviously I must have had one or more additional sources. Trouble is, I don't remember from which other magazines I got the information not provided by the SCCA's Sports Car. Sports Car Graphic, Today's Motorsport, Road & Track, Racing Pictorial, Motor Trend's Sportscar, etc, etc. The range is endless, and they are all collecting dust in my closets!  Frustrating.

 

Willem



#23 WINO

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Posted 02 April 2024 - 18:20

In my search for additional information sources on that San Marcos race I came upon a file of Nassau 1959, with official documents listing the starting grid and final results of the Nassau Trophy. I forgot I had it. Denise McCluggage is listed, five laps down from the winning Aston Martin DBR2 of George Constantine. All engine sizes are listed as well and for the red #30 OSCA of Denise it was 1100 cc [GM class]. Ollie Schmidt's car, nine laps down, ran in HM with an engine size of 750 cc. Finally an official, period confirmation.

 

Willem



#24 Martin Krejci

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Posted 02 April 2024 - 19:49

In my search for additional information sources on that San Marcos race I came upon a file of Nassau 1959, with official documents listing the starting grid and final results of the Nassau Trophy. I forgot I had it. Denise McCluggage is listed, five laps down from the winning Aston Martin DBR2 of George Constantine. All engine sizes are listed as well and for the red #30 OSCA of Denise it was 1100 cc [GM class]. Ollie Schmidt's car, nine laps down, ran in HM with an engine size of 750 cc. Finally an official, period confirmation.

 

Willem

 

Great findings. Though that makes the more recent sources rather unreliable  :confused: . My original Nassau book copy had McCluggage twice in Class G, in preliminary races, but for the Trophy she was listed as winner Class H. Thus perhaps all believed she had S 750, and copied it one from another. Though I have some notes that it was entered as ASCA (typo) in Class H.

Checking it, the source was the race programme entry - I believe the document here: https://www.racingsp...1959-12-06e.jpg is from the programme.



#25 Rupertlt1

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Posted 03 April 2024 - 03:45

Don't know if this helps at all, but I have two photographs of Fred Hayes, OSCA 1000S, #8, Mosport, 1961.

The car has disc wheels, Ferrari prancing horse logos.

 

RGDS RLT



#26 WINO

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Posted 03 April 2024 - 11:51

That must have been the former NART car. I am sure those Ferrari logos are square.

 

Willem



#27 WINO

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Posted 03 April 2024 - 20:49

Well, it seems we have uncovered most of the early history as well as the chassis number of the red mystery OSCA. Many thanks to all the contributors to this thread. I wonder if the car has survived.

 

One final comment as to why the OSCA was not raced at Road America in 1959. With all regular Cunningham drivers assigned to the Listers, Denise McCluggage may have been invited to race the OSCA, perhaps with a female co-driver? But if I remember correctly, in September 1959 she was in Italy on assignment, reporting on the Italian Grand Prix and the local racing scene.

 

Willem