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A question regarding Alan Connell's Ferrari-engined Maserati 'Birdcage'


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#1 Don Capps

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 17:40

Somewhere in my stack of file folders and so forth, I have some info on the Alan Connell Maserati Birdcage - Ferrari. What I am struggling to recall is: where did the engine come from that Connell dropped in the Maserati? I have drawn a complete blank. :confused:

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#2 WGD706

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 18:36

April 1959
Luigi Chinetti sells 0748 to Mr. Gary Laughlin of Fort Worth, Texas. Laughlin believes he is purchasing a “new works specification 1959 model Testa Rossa”. Chinetti has superficial modifications
completed to 0748 while still at the Ferrari Factory. The actual vehicle remains relatively undamged with just the front left fender and suspension bent from Bauer’s accident. Chinetti has a “TR 59-like” perspex (forward facing) hood mounted air scoop, faired-in windshield and “outside” type door hinges fitted to 0748. During these repairs the original engine from E.D. Martin’s 250 TR, s/n 0730 is rebuilt and reinstalled in 0748. (Then engine fitted to 0748 still has the correct internal number stamped by the Ferrari Factory corresponding to engine No. 0730 a fact further documented on the Ferrari Factory Assembly Data Sheets. Additionally this engine has numerous "Le Mans" scrutinering stamps on both the cylinder heads and engine block. (The engine from 0730 remains installed in 0748 to this day. No previous owner of 0748 has ever reported an engine change. The engine from 0730 has been with 0748 since 1959.)

June 1959
0748 was completed and delivered as a new car to Gary Laughlin. Mr. Laughlin campaigned the car actively throughout the South and Southwestern United States over the next several months. On October 11th, he took second place at Midland, TX, edged by fellow Texan and friend Alan Connell who was campaigning his new 335 Sport (chassis 0764). Laughlin continued to campaign 0748 through 1960-61 until the car was no longer competitive.

Summer 1961
Laughlin sold 0748 to Alan Connell so that he could take its engine and install it in his Maserati Birdcage “Hybrid” racer. The engine was far too tired and needed a rebuild; so, he sold the car to noted local racing enthusiast and collector, Mr. John Mecom Jr.
http://www.barchetta...748TR.250TR.htm

#3 WGD706

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 18:40

Alan Connell was a Texas rancher & businessman who had a high level of driving skill, a strong competitive urge, and the means to equip himself with first-rate machinery.
He liked the V12 power of his racing Ferraris -- and the handling of his Birdcage Maserati. Why not take the best of both?
He put a Testa Rossa engine into the ex-Camoradi "Longtail" Maserati #2461 and went racing.
http://www.tamsoldra...lanConnell.html

#4 Don Capps

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 19:26

I thought this was the case, but I was just fuzzy enough in my recollections to consider that perhaps since I could not pull the reference material out to eyeball, maybe I should ask..... : ....plus, I was tired last night when I was sorting this out.

You answered the specific point I was struggling and stumbling over -- I knew that there was a switch of engines in the 1959 period and I remembered that the engine no. and the telaio no. didn't match in the Connell TR, but the engine no. completely escaped me.

Connell ran the Maserati-Ferrari combo at an SCCA National held at Daytona -- as pointed out at Tam's site -- at the end of January 1962 as well as in the Continental 3-hour several weeks later.

Thanks!

#5 WGD706

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 20:32

1959 Chevrolet Corvette Italia Scaglietti...The brainchild of Carroll Shelby, Jim Hall and Gary Laughlin this design study was crafted by Carrozzeria Scaglietti and completed in 1961.
Three were built, one each for Laughlin, Carroll Shelby, and Jim Hall. Jim Hall, of course later became famous for his Chevy powered Scarab Racers. The photos with caption are from the excellent book "CORVETTE: America's Sports Car", written by Randy Leffingwell. The text points out that Carroll Shelby's idea of a lightweight aluminum racer was shared by others as early as 1959, and this prototype was built, with a body made by the Italian firm Scaglietti. Called the Corvette Italia until Chevrolet cancelled the program, the existence of the car raises the interesting question about how different history could had been. If Only...
It also makes clear the intent of Carroll Shelby to produce a car that could win in Europe, three years before the Cobra, and three years before Ford.
Interesting, Indeed!
http://www.cobra65.org/corvette.htm

Also a link to an interesting story from 1987.....
http://www.lenfrank.com/newpage31.htm

Also, a Barrett-Jackson 1959 CHEVROLET CORVETTE ITALIA BY SCAGLIETTI
http://www.barrett-j...l.asp?id=163667

Don't you wish a 'Way-Back Machine' really existed?

#6 Don Capps

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Posted 14 September 2002 - 18:55

Don't mix the folks at Midland and Victoria close closely. Rosebud was way over in southeast Tejas, er, Texas. The manager was Jock Ross and the owners were Don Miles and his father-in-law Tom O'Connor. The name was derived from the fact the Victoria is "the City of Rosebuds." Serious!

There was considerable contact among the three Texas teams of the period, Chaparral, Rosebud, and Mecom in Houston.

BTW, I finally did find my "stuff" but my thanks for the help!!

#7 LittleChris

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Posted 14 September 2002 - 23:04

Originally posted by bertocchi
If memory serves (and there are times when it no longer does), Rosebud Racing of Texas also stuffed a Ferrari V-12 in a Lotus 19 which Innes Ireland drove at least once.


Isn't this how 'All Arms And Elbows' starts ? ie Another big shunt for Innes

#8 Doug Nye

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Posted 14 September 2002 - 23:34

Some years ago I found myself at dinner with some American visitors. When we all introduced ourselves and the chap opposite said 'My name's Gary Laughlin' I nearly fell in a heap. "Not the Gary Laughlin who once had a road accident when being driven by Fangio?".

"Why yes - that's me!".

Amazing - Jenks never believed this story, but now it was confirmed by one of the prime characters.

After the Italian GP 1957 Fangio was driving to Modena for the non-Championship race there. Laughlin - a keen visitor from, I believe, Texas - thumbed a lift with him. En route a truck pulled out in the path of Fangio's car (a Lancia - I believe). The Old Boy did everything he could to avoid it, but there was insufficient space. Wheels locked-up, broadside, the car just clipped the truck and spun wildly. Its doors burst open. Andreina - Fangio's woman - flew out one side. Fangio flew out the other. The car came to rest with only Laughlin in it, upside down being sick on the ceiling one would imagine. Fangio and Andreina both picked themselves up. Fangio checked his lady, she was OK. He was more battered and bruised. He limped over to the truck driver who bawled at him "What were you doing driving like that? Who d'you think you are? Fangio????".

Then he recognised the Maestro and evidently burst into floods of tears - certain that the police would keel-haul him. Fangio smoothed it all over and defended the truckee to the police. He did not drive at Modena.

Both Fangio and Gary Laughlin confirmed these broad details to me. Just for once DSJ retreated. A rare victory...

DCN

#9 Don Capps

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Posted 15 September 2002 - 00:38

DCN -- :up: , :rotfl:

Yes, in 1963, Rosebud lifted the V-12 out of a 250GT it obtained and put it (somehow) into the engine bay of the Lotus 19 the team used during the 1962 season. And then Innes managed to do it great harm when he left the road at Kent and collected a car parked on the side of the course -- Innes also broke a leg and that was that for his Fall Season in the US of A.

#10 Jerry Entin

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 02:11

A belated response by Gary Laughlin, as told to Willem Oosthoek.

The Lancia that carried Fangio, his girlfriend and Gary Laughlin, only to crash into a truck, went according to Gary, the only person left in the car, never was upside down as a result of the collision.

Also, Gary's race career came to an end in 1959 and he never raced his 250TR, chassis #0748, in 1960 and 1961 as suggested in the thread.

#11 RA Historian

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 02:27

Originally posted by WGD706
Jim Hall, of course later became famous for his Chevy powered Scarab Racers.

Jim Hall, of course later became famous for his Chevy powered CHAPARRAL Racers. It was Lance Reventlow who built the Scarab.

Alan Connell won the Daytona SCCA National (back when SCCA Nationals really meant something) in January or February of 1962. For more info on Connell, please refer to the Alan Connell thread.

Tom

#12 Jerry Entin

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 20:16

Here is a little more from Gary Laughlin as told to Willem Oosthoek:

I was in Milano, purchasing a Alfa coupe that was not imported into the US, at the dealership of Franco Cornaccio, an old friend of Fangios. Fangio asked if I wanted a ride to Modena, and since I was headed there anyhow, I said yes.
Halfway down the road to Milano, on a two lane highway, about Piacenza or Fidensa,we were moving at about 120 mph, there was a truck perpendicular to the road, stuck, across both lanes. Instead iof hitting the brakes which would've decapitated us, Fango flicked the wheel, violently, left then right. The nose of our car hit the tail of the truck, and started us spinning. Fangio and the senora were ejected, and now the Lancia was on the road behind the truck.The truck driver screamed "Que piencas es,Fangio "? I replied "Yo no es,pero El Es."
The driver burst into tears. The car never turned over. That's about it and all I remember. I don't even remember the exact date.

#13 fines

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 22:33

... or the language spoken! :lol:

#14 SWB

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 08:37

Laughlin sold 0748 to Alan Connell so that he could take its engine and install it in his Maserati Birdcage “Hybrid” racer. The engine was far too tired and needed a rebuild; so, he sold the car to noted local racing enthusiast and collector, Mr. John Mecom Jr.



After Connell won quite a few races in 'Old Blue' (#2461) Joel Finn suggests he sold it to a Dr Richard McGuire at the end of May '62? McGuire then raced the car for another three years. In '65 the car was retired and sold to the Teaxs Speed Museum minus engine.

Joel Finn describes the car as going 'like blazes in a straight line, but had vicious oversteer which seemed not to bother Connell in the least'.
Steve

#15 Buford

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 09:04

I don't know much about Alan Connell except I have his autograph in my book obtained at Meadowdale in 1959 I think it was.

#16 Jerry Entin

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 14:10

Posted Image
Walt Hansgen and Alan Connell and the Trophy Queen and Jack Knab.
This is from a National race held in 1959 at Daytona and Alan has just won it.
Buford: Here is a thread I have done on Alan Connell you may enjoy.
http://forums.autosp...ht=alan connell

More on Gary Laughlin here:
Gary Laughlin was a jet pilot in WW II and the Korean War. His subsequent career focused on international oil exploration and as a result, he raced in relatively few events.

On February 15, 1959, he had just returned from a business trip to be a spectator at the Eagle Mountain Frostbite Races. Ebb Rose won the prelim in his Chevy-powered Maserati 300S, a former Cunningham car. Alan Connell entered the feature with two cars, his new 250TR and an older Maserati 250S. He invited Laughlin to drive the 2.5-liter Maserati in the feature.

The race had a storybook ending, as Laughlin won over Mason O'Keiff's potent C-type with Chevy power, with Connell's 250TR third and Bob Schroeder's Pig Pen [Jim Hall's Chevy-engined Monza] fourth overall. In victory lane Gary Laughlin received the silver and a kiss from Miss Texas 1958, Mary Nell Hendricks.

It wasn't Gary Laughlin's first victory at Eagle Mountain. He won the same race in 1957 with his Ferrari Monza.

all research Willem Oosthoek.
photo lent site Willem Oosthoek collection.

#17 Jerry Entin

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 16:07

Posted Image
Gary Laughlin talking to Alan Connell

Practice time at Eagle Mountain in 1959. Still clad in his civvies, Gary Laughlin talks to his friend Alan Connell aboard the Testa Rossa. Connell's 250S Maserati is on the left. Gary took the car to victory in the feature.

Photo credit: Anette Connell, Willem Oosthoek Collection.

#18 RA Historian

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 18:28

Originally posted by SWB
After Connell won quite a few races in 'Old Blue' (#2461) Joel Finn suggests he sold it to a Dr Richard McGuire at the end of May '62? McGuire then raced the car for another three years. In '65 the car was retired and sold to the Teaxs Speed Museum minus engine. Steve

As I understand it (caveat there) #2461, the 1960 Nurburgring winner, went from Camoradi to Alan Connell, who put the V-12 in. Then, as Steve says, to Richard McGuire, then to the Texas Speed Museum. Later it wennt to Sir Patrick Lindsay, to Dieter Holterbosch, to Harmut Ibing, to Philippe Marcq, and currently to Carl Moore. Along the way it has been re-engined, re-framed, re-suspensioned, etc. It may be said that it resembles Grandpa's hammer. Casey Annis wrote a lengthy story on this chassis in the October, 2008, issue of Vintage Racecar magazine. Willem Oosthoek also wrote a bio of Alan Connell in an earlier issue of the same magazine.

I saw Connell race this car in Ferrari V-12 engine form at Meadowdale SCCA National in July, 1961, when it was blue. Then I saw it run in the 1962 Road America 500, where it was painted a garish day-glow lime green. But it still had "Old Blue" painted on both sides of the cowl!

Tom

#19 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 20:26

Hmmm - further fine examples of sloppy reading - where in my post No 8 did I say the Fangio Lancia overturned? :rolleyes:

DCN

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#20 etceterini.com

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 20:54

Here is a picture of the Birdcage Ferrari:

Posted Image

#21 Buford

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 21:13

Buford: Here is a thread I have done on Alan Connell you may enjoy.



Thanks Jerry always enjoy your posts and photos. Should have said so long ago. I had missed that one.

#22 Jerry Entin

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 21:15

RA Historian:
Tom, you are absolutely right with the analogy to grandpa's hammer!

When it was still a long-tail Birdcage Connell was very successful with the Maserati/Ferrari, once it was fully sorted. Its tail-hanging-out was more the result of Connell's typical driving style than any deficiencies in the car's handling. At Mansfield in 1961 Alan beat Jim Hall's Chaparral 1 in its second appearance, followed by additional victories in Muskogee's 1961 Oklahoma's GP, the 1962 Daytona National, the 1962 Green Valley prelim and feature, and the 1962 Mansfield prelim.


Doug: "upside down being sick on the ceiling one would imagine"

Buford: I also enjoy your post. I should have said something to you. Were even now.

Cliff: Thanks for putting up your great picture also.

#23 Jerry Entin

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 21:26

Fines: Michael, this comes from Gary Laughlin: My Spanish was adequate. My daughter advises it should've been : "Che catso pensi sei, Fangio" and the answer "Non sono io e tui".
I cannot BELIEVE such info is available on a long forgotten era of my life.Thanks for the revival.

Merry Christmas to everyone on the Forum.

Gary Laughlin

#24 fines

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 20:52

I was actually refering to the fact that the accident happened in Italy...;)

#25 D-Type

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 21:06

Come to think of it, given his parentage I would expect Fangio was fluent in both languages. Did he speak Italian with a [Argentine] Spanish accent or Argentine Spanish with an Italian accent?

#26 Jerry Entin

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 19:11

More details regarding the history of Alan Connell's Ol' Blue, the Testa Rossa-engined Birdcage chassis 2461.
 
Conventional wisdom has Connell selling the car to Dick McGuire at the end of the 1962 season. However, there was another owner in between.
 
The March 3, 1965 edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had the following ad by Bernie Russell in Fort Worth:
 
"Ferrari-Maserati: A winner at Daytona, Mansfield, Green Valley, etc, etc.: extraordinary Ferrari-engined Maserati engineered by the famed Juan Miller. Lotuses and Cobras don't scare it none. Not licensed for street but you might try and be the sensation of your block. $4,000.
 
Russell was a Fort Worth-based mechanic of various Texas racers. It seems that after Connell offered the car for $8,500 at the end of 1962, it was Russell who bought it for his collection. Only in 1965 did McGuire become the next owner, which corresponds with his race appearances in 2461 that year.
 
Based on conversations with R. David Jones [who worked for Connell] and Willis Murphey [who became owner of Testa Rossa, chassis 0724, in 1962], the Ferrari engine in Ol' Blue came from chassis 0724, which Connell bought from Buck Fulp. Before buying the V12 unit from Fulp, Connell had his chief mechanic John Miller try out the V12 from 0748, the former Gary Laughlin Testa Rossa. This car had blown its engine and had been sitting under a tarp at Bernie Russell's shop for 18 months, after Laughlin quit racing.
 
According to Willis, Connell eventually bought engine 0748 as well, as a spare for the Birdcage that carried engine 0724.
 
All research: Willem Oosthoek 


#27 Jerry Entin

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 19:14

 
More details regarding the history of Alan Connell's Ol' Blue, the Testa Rossa-engined Birdcage chassis 2461.
 
Conventional wisdom has Connell selling the car to Dick McGuire at the end of the 1962 season. However, there was another owner in between.
 
The March 3, 1965 edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had the following ad by Bernie Russell in Fort Worth:
 
"Ferrari-Maserati: A winner at Daytona, Mansfield, Green Valley, etc, etc.: extraordinary Ferrari-engined Maserati engineered by the famed John Miller. Lotuses and Cobras don't scare it none. Not licensed for street but you might try and be the sensation of your block. $4,000.
 
Russell was a Fort Worth-based mechanic of various Texas racers. It seems that after Connell offered the car for $8,500 at the end of 1962, it was Russell who bought it for his collection. Only in 1965 did McGuire become the next owner, which corresponds with his race appearances in 2461 that year.
 
Based on conversations with R. David Jones [who worked for Connell] and Willis Murphey [who became owner of Testa Rossa, chassis 0724, in 1962], the Ferrari engine in Ol' Blue came from chassis 0724, which Connell bought from Buck Fulp. Before buying the V12 unit from Fulp, Connell had his chief mechanic John Miller try out the V12 from 0748, the former Gary Laughlin Testa Rossa. This car had blown its engine and had been sitting under a tarp at Bernie Russell's shop for 18 months, after Laughlin quit racing.
 
According to Willis, Connell eventually bought engine 0748 as well, as a spare for the Birdcage that carried engine 0724.
 
All research: Willem Oosthoek 


#28 RA Historian

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 00:11

I was always amused about the color of "Old Blue". At the 1962 Road America 500 Connell raced the car in a day-glow chartreuse color, but it still had "Old Blue" lettered on the sides! The color was so off beat that the Ektachrome film that I was using could not capture the color; the slides gave the car what was essentially a yellow color instead of what a magazine called "bile green".

Tom