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Phil Hill autobiography


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#1 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 03:20

Does anyone know about Phil Hill's forthcoming autobiography? It was mentioned briefly in the new issue of Vintage Motorsport but with few details (not even the title!). I contacted the publisher, Dalton Watson, but have received no reply.

Jack




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#2 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 08:29

Phil is cooperating with a Dalton Watson-published compendium volume of previously published 'Road & Track' magazine Ferrari track test and Salon features produced over the years in conjunction with brilliant photographer John Lamm, and designer Chuck Queener. I'm told it's on Ferrari only.

DCN

#3 m.tanney

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 18:41

  What a letdown. I'm sure that Phil Hill's autobiography would be smashing book. From what I've read and the interviews I've seen, he strikes me as an extremely thoughtful, intelligent and observant man. He saw it all from the postwar rebirth of American road racing, through the classic sports car races and GPs of the '50s and '60s, to the start of the GT40 program and the Chaparrals. And think of the photos....

#4 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 21:10

Ahem ...watch a space.... :cat:

#5 Barry Boor

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 21:43

I'm confused here. I thought Yankee Champion was a Phil Hill autobiography.

I tried to order it from W. H. Smiths last year but they assured me that it didn't exist, despite the fact that I had seen it numerous times at Silverstone etc.

So what's the difference between that and this other book?

#6 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 22:00

Barry, 'Yankee Champion' was written by William F. Nolan and I would consider it a biography. I would love to see Phil Hill pen his autobiography as I believe that Phil would write a superb book.

#7 Mark Godfrey

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 23:33

I knew of the Ferrari focus of this book from some people involved, but I did not know that it was previously published material. It is at the printer, so copies may be available at the Monterey Historics.

Barry, I published the revised edition of William F. Nolan's "Phil Hill: Yankee Champion." In the UK it would only be found in the specialty book stores, but I assure you it does exist. See http://brownfoxbooks.com/

On the detailed page at our Brown Fox Books web site you can get a sample of Nolan's book in a PDF format.
Chuck Queener painted the great watercolor featured on the cover of our new book "Red Wheels and White Sidewalls" by Bill Pollack.

#8 D-Type

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 23:35

Barry,
Someone at Goodwood had a copy of Yankee Champion . looking at the programme, could have been Chaters, Collectors Car Books, Andrew Currie, Mill House, David Thomas, or Pooks. (and I also saw The Half Ton Formula at one of them)

#9 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 03:58

Doug, thanks for the (somewhat disappointing) information in post #2, and then the teasingly encouraging post #4. I agree with all that a Phil Hill autobiography is long overdue and would be enthusiastically received. He must be among the most articulate of all the world champions. His chapter in "Ferrari: The Man, The Machines" is superb.

Jack

#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 09:03

Agreed. A great man and also absolutely the thinking man's World Champion racing driver, one for whom I am not alone in having immense respect. Jenks always recommended Phil Hill as being virtually the ONLY Formula 1 driver it was worth spending spare time with because he was/is so knowledgeable, so interesting, and so interested in such a broad spectrum of subjects. By which DSJ meant mechanical subjects - though Phil's also deep into Vivaldi (for example) and when really relaxed is quite capable of bursting into a word perfect recitation - in broad Lancashire - of Stanley Holloway's 'Lion and Albert'.

Get him and Brian Redman together and they perform said piece as a duet... :

Phil was also hyper-nervous, hyper-active and hyper self-critical but combine his F1 and sports car records and you see proof of a formidable world-class driver, indeed. Above all - and quite unusually compared to so many other drivers of similar achievement before and since - he's a lifelong car and motor racing nut!

He says of himself "By the time I was 11 I was already completely absorbed in the romance of motor racing...". He'd read and memorised imported copies of 'The Autocar' and 'The Motor' and knew the 'Bira' books, for example, from cover to cover.

As a trainee British sports cars mechanic he was in England on a course in time to see the V16 BRM's debut at Silverstone and he also witnessed the early races at Goodwood. If ever a great racing driver could be described as being pretty much 'one of us' - he is it...

I'm sure the forthcoming new Dalton Watson Phil-on-Ferrari compendium book should do well, and I understand there's another project in the offing which could/should be pretty extraordinary.

DCN

#11 Lotus23

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 17:56

Next month I shall be fortunate enough to meet with Phil for the first time in ages.

You can guess one of the questions I'll ask him...

#12 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 19:38

Please be sure to post his answer here!;)

Jack

#13 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 01:00

I just ordered "Ferrari-A Champion's View" by Phil Hill, from Dalton Watson. Pretty spendy at $80. Here's hoping it's worth it!

Jack

#14 T54

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 03:16

Less than a month ago and as I brought him his new helmet, I spent much of the day with Phill and his charming wife Alma at their home in Santa Monica. We talked about a lot of subject and had a wonderfiul concert of great music on Phil's new state of the art Yamaha player piano, traded for an old car. he is a man of exquisite taste, and it shows.
Phil's biography was a subject and he talked about the volume presently done with John Lamm's brilliant photography and stories.
Indeed, there is a great need for telling the life of this great champion, much too ignored by the current racing media. For God sake, I remember the clips from the Italian and French press, saying that this American "lucked out" in this 1961 world championship that von Trips SHOULD have won, such an unfair circumstance. Really now!
I have seen Phil race, from the 1958 Ferrari TR with Olivier at le Mans to the 1961 158 Shark Nose to the GT40 to the Chaparral 2F, and he never let me think a minute that he was a moving chicane.
I would love someone of the writing caliber and inspiration of DCN to do him justice.

T54

#15 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 12:51

I heartily agree with all of that.

Jack

#16 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 14:33

I share those thoughts - as so very well expressed by T-54 and others - of what an exceptional individual Phil Hill is. In that spirit, here is something I wrote a couple of summers ago for Bernd's Tasman web site.


Phil Hill – Gentleman, Sportsman, Champion

For an American motor sport enthusiast or would-be race driver – there could be no better role model than Phil Hill.

The quiet but intense man from Santa Monica simply did it all, and he did it with grace and style. Phil Hill was the first American World Champion, the first to win the classic Le Mans 24-Hour race, and the first since Jimmy Murphy in 1921 to win a major European Grand Prix.

When Phil Hill arrived in Europe on a full-time basis in 1956 he was a mature 29-year old and well established as the premier American road racing driver of his era.

He had been an early participant in the rebirth of road racing in America, particularly in his native California where by the early 50’s he was clearly the man to beat on circuits such as Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Carrell Speedway, Palm Springs and many others. By the time he first raced at Watkins Glen in 1952, he had attained a national reputation. At the inaugural race on the new Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake in 1955 Phil Hill in a Ferrari Monza won a thrilling duel from Sherwood Johnston in Briggs Cunningham’s D-Type Jaguar. People still recall this as one of the closest and most exciting races in the history of the Wisconsin circuit.

His international reputation was already developing. Epic drives in the Carrera Pan America – Mexico’s answer to Italy’s Mille Miglia - proved his mastery of rugged road racing under the most trying circumstances and honed his intuitive skills and ability to concentrate for long periods of time.

When Phil Hill joined the works Ferrari team in Europe for the 1956 season, he was very much the junior man on a team of giants. These drivers included Juan Manuel Fangio, Eugenio Castelloti, Luigi Musso, Peter Collins, Alfonso de Portago, Paul Frere, Olivier Gendebien and Maurice Trintignant. On this intensely hierarchical team, and despite being the sole non-European with the disadvantage of seeing most of the circuits for the first time, Hill quickly established himself as fast and dependable and co-drove the winning car with Trintignant at Kristianstad in the Swedish Grand Prix to clinch the manufacturers’ World Championship for Ferrari.

1958 was a year of growth and recognition for Phil Hill. He had his first real drive in a Grand Prix car in January during practice for the Buenos Aires GP. Impatient for his opportunity in Formula One, and despite pressure from Ferrari not to do it, he drove a privately entered Maserati 250F at Reims for the French Grand Prix. This was the final Grand Prix start in the great Juan Fangio’s career, and also the race that claimed the life of Luigi Musso. But for Phil Hill it was the beginning of a formula one career that was to lead him to the World Championship.


This was also the year that Phil Hill won LeMans for Ferrari co-driving with Olivier Gendebien and the Sebring 12-Hour with Peter Collins. His experience at Sebring that year helps portray his unique character. He drove to Sebring, Florida from Santa Monica, California in the classic 1939 Packard he had personally restored. He entered the Packard in the Concours d’Elegance and won his class, and then drove the car back to California. And of course he had won the 12-Hour race itself for Ferrari – the first of three times he achieved that feat.

In October of 1958 Phil Hill again helped make history at Watkins Glen. He qualified on pole position in a Ferrari 4.1 Testa Rosa for the International Formula Libre – the race that set the stage for Watkins Glen to eventually be awarded the United States Grand Prix in 1961.

By 1959 Phil Hill was Ferrari’s number one driver in formula one and sports cars. His victory at Monza in the1960 Italian Grand Prix was the first European Grand Prix win for an American in 39 years. It was also the last ever championship win for a front-engined formula one car.

Phil Hill’s championship year in 1961 has been well chronicled. Winner of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, he clinched the World Championship at Monza by winning the Italian Grand Prix. The tragic death early in the race of his teammate and closest competitor, Wolfgang Von Trips, along with 12 spectators, doubtless stole from this sensitive individual some of the satisfaction he richly deserved. The final race of the season, his home Grand Prix of the United States at Watkins Glen, should have been the site for his title celebration. Instead Enzo Ferrari withdrew his team in response to the Monza tragedy and Hill was honored at Watkins Glen as Grand Marshal.

Although never again to find himself in the right car at the right time in Formula One Grand Prix events, Hill remained a major factor in every race in which he competed. He won Can Am and World Championship sports car races where he was always a force to be reckoned with – and often a dominant one.

Phil Hill ended his driving career in characteristically understated fashion after winning his final race – the 6-Hour BOAC 500 World Championship of Manufacturers race at Brands Hatch in 1967. He was co-driving the works Chaparral with Mike Spence.

Since ending his racing days he has fulfilled his many other passions and interests. These include restoration and collecting of objects of art ranging from musical instruments to fine vintage automobiles. Single throughout his race career, Phil Hill married in 1971 and enjoys a happy and fruitful family life. His son Derek is today considered one of America’s brightest hopes for international racing success and Phil takes a keen and dedicated interest in his career. Younger race fans now recognize Phil Hill’s byline as a prolific and uniquely insightful correspondent for the American magazine, Road & Track.

This writer is hard pressed to think of another man who so exemplifies what was fine and admirable about Grand Prix drivers in the post war era. Great drivers they were, certainly, but the best of them were so much more – they had grace and wit and a myriad of interests and enthusiasms. Phil Hill represents all of that and America has never had a finer champion in any sport.

#17 T54

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 14:44

I have found that one of the common traits of great men I have had the chance to meet appears to be what most would believe to be impatience. I do not believe this to be correct. I believe in fact that Phil only appears to be impatient, mostly because he runs his brain at a faster pace than most other humans do.

T54

#18 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 15:22

Mike, thanks for that. I still remember my excitement that ABC's Wide World of Sports was to televise the 1961 USGP live (if my memory hasn't betrayed me). I was so disappointed when it became apparent that Ferrari had not sent the team over and that Phil was relegated to "expert commentary" with Jim McKay. I looked forward for weeks to seeing Phil drive the sharknose on his home turf as World Champion, but of course my disappointment must have been as nothing compared to his own.

Jack

#19 oldtimer

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 19:08

Mike, more thanks for your post.

But was Phil no.1 over Tony Brooks in the F1 team in 1959?

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#20 Barry Boor

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 19:39

Surely not?

#21 dmj

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 20:30

I find it very encouraging that someone as well in know of facts as Mike can make an obvious mistake or two in a text, whilst still winning nothing but praise for quality of it from the readers (including me, of course, as I really enjoyed reading that piece). I certainly do hope that some of many mistakes I'm making in my articles will be treated same way. But, nitpicking as I am, Fangio certainly shouldn't be considered as an European driver...

#22 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 03:47

Yes. I agree on both the point regarding Brooks and the one on Fangio. Can't really think of an excuse - except to put it down to sloppy self-editing on my part. I should have shown the article to someone else before I sent it to Bernd - but I dashed it off in a hurry the night before leaving on vacation and e-mailed it to him so he would have something about Phil to use on his site. When I was reading this thread, I remembered the article and pasted it in without giving it much of a look-over. Thanks for pointing out the errors.

#23 David McKinney

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 05:10

The point remains however. Fangio was an established driver in Europe at the time in question and Hill wasn't

#24 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 August 2004 - 14:28

Originally posted by T54
.....he never let me think a minute that he was a moving chicane.....


Nor me, though I wasn't prepared for it at the time...

My introduction to following the F1 series came with the 1962 season, and we all know that after the first couple of races in that season there wasn't much Phil Hill noted in the 'performances worth mentioning' columns.

So when he came here for the 1965 Tasman Cup, he could be thought to be well past his prime. Yet I have to agree that his last ever open wheel race at Longford was something worth seeing... repeatedly forging his way to the front so he could fend off Brabham and help his team leader win... sending all onlookers into bewildered questioning mode when he passed Jim Clark over the Long Bridge and taking chunks off the lap record.

A performance worthy of some detailed attention...

#25 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 13 August 2004 - 14:52

What was Phil driving and who was his team leader at that race? (I could look it up, but then I wouldn't have the benefit of your eyewitness account!)

Thanks,

Jack

#26 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 19:08

Apparently, and at long last, the Phil Hill book is coming to market, although not in the form anticipated in the first few posts in this thread. From the web site and other images I have seen on the web, it looks to be a stunner.

Congratulations to all involved in the project, Doug Nye, Steve Dawson, Derek Hill, Ian Lambot and Christianne Long at Watermark Publications and Paul Vestey for making this available to motor sports enthusiasts and particularly Phil Hill's many fans and admirers.

My purchase order has been placed!

www.phil-hill-book.com

Edit: My goodness, 12 years since the previous post!

Edited by Jack-the-Lad, 30 June 2016 - 19:45.


#27 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 06:22

Yes - absolutely imminent.  Sorry that even the cheapest volume will still be quite costly, but the pictorial and textual content will offer great value for that money...  Phil's photos are jaw-dropping in content and quality. The website, by the way, shows book content and design still under finalisation for publication this coming winter... Every proof stage it's looking better.

 

http://insidetrack.hodfords.net/home

 

DCN



#28 ellrosso

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 09:38

Thank god for Kodachrome (and Leicas too....), the taster pics look amazing. Can't wait to see the book - I had no idea he was such a keen photographer. If they are struggling to find a good home for his collection I'd be very happy for them to park it at oldracephotos....

yes I know Doug, I can see 12 pigs at 10 o'clock out my window....  Seriously though, we both know how rare and special those photographs are. They really broke the mould when they made Phil Hill.



#29 E1pix

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 16:38

This first photo alone just blows me away... what a life well-lived:
http://insidetrack.h....net/about-phil

#30 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 16:53

Doug, no need to apologize for the price. I'm sure the result more than justifies the cost.

Will prints of any of Phil's photographs be available for purchase?

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 17:21

Incredible...

That site cited omits the race he reckoned was the best he ever drove!

Doesn't even mention the series.

#32 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 17:46

Incredible...That site cited omits the race he reckoned was the best he ever drove!Doesn't even mention the series.


Which one is that, Ray?

#33 Macca

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 18:25

Longford 1965.

Paul M

#34 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 18:47

Longford 1965.
Paul M

Thanks, Paul.

I just re-read Ray's post nearby upthread, but 12 years old!:)

Jack

#35 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 18:49

Unless I have misread the book's web site it appears that Phil's interests outside of racing and his post-racing activities aren't really covered in the books. I hope I am wrong about that.

#36 E1pix

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 20:33

Can we all please focus on what's in the book rather than what isn't?

 

(Edit: this was directed at Ray, just a friendly suggestion about respecting what is surely one fine production:)


Edited by E1pix, 01 July 2016 - 21:01.


#37 SJ Lambert

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 21:26

All the best drivers end up in Tasmania!!!!!



#38 E1pix

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 21:46

Is that an invitation?  :eek:

 

 ;)



#39 ellrosso

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 22:48

Ha! Tassy is just that kind of place James! Must be the clean air and water.......



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#40 E1pix

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 22:54

No, it's F5000.   ;)  :wave:



#41 SJ Lambert

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 00:03

Is that an invitation?  :eek:

 

 ;)

 

BYO helmet!



#42 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 06:05

Originally posted by Jack-the-Lad
What was Phil driving and who was his team leader at that race? (I could look it up, but then I wouldn't have the benefit of your eyewitness account!)


I am sorry I missed this all those years ago!

His team leader was Bruce McLaren and Phil was driving a 1964 Tasman Cooper in the '65 series, he had a long stroke engine while Brabham and McLaren both had short stroke versions.

Here's how the field shaped up:

It was just before 3:00pm on a hot Monday afternoon that the cars faced the starter. It was a field filled with class drivers. Taking past and future titles into account these drivers accounted for eight World Championships, four Tasman Cups, seven Australian Grands Prix, seven New Zealand Grands Prix, six New Zealand Gold Stars, five Australian Gold Stars, seven Australian Sports Car Championships, a Sports Sedan Championship, four Touring Car Championships, a Formula Junior Championship, an ANF1½ Championship, three British Saloon Car Championships, a European F5000 Championship and a Springbok series – there was even an Australian Hillclimb Championship.

Even among those backing them up there was a fine record, Team Managers had two Gold Stars and a Touring Car Championship behind them. Altogether it could be said there was a lot of race-winning determination and experience here. To top it off, the cinematographer filming Graham Hill’s tacho at the start of the race was later to win the Australian Sports Car Championship!


Phil Hill's first major job was to stay ahead of Jim Clark, this battle keeping him occupied until after half-distance:

The race between McLaren and Brabham was one of high speed stalking, not a cut-and-thrust duel. Lap times fluctuated as slower cars were caught and passed, McLaren lapping in 2:20.8 on lap 10. On the other hand the race between Clark and Phil Hill was alive and enthralling, passing and repassing, passing in unlikely places, Clark showing his great skill in making up for that high speed miss while Phil Hill was revelling in the dice, the opportunity to race at these speeds on this kind of circuit. One lap he surprised everyone by passing Clark on the Long Bridge while another he lost the advantage as he missed a gear at Newry. They were also making a little ground on Graham Hill.....


It was 'no holds barred' and then, after Brabham's altercation...

McLaren had lapped in 2:18.4 that time round, he came by 11.5 seconds ahead of Graham Hill. But it didn’t take long for things to start to develop behind him. Brabham caught and passed Clark on lap 19, Phil Hill latched onto the tail of the Brabham as he sought to gain an advantage over Clark. The second Cooper driver put in a 2:18.3 on that lap, then the next time round he lowered the record again to 2:18.2 – with a long stroke engine – and repassed Brabham. And they were rapidly closing on Graham Hill.

Lap 22 – with four laps to go – the pair of them passed Graham Hill. Brabham equalled Hill’s record the next lap and was back in second place, but McLaren had done 2:18.5 and was still eleven seconds ahead. Graham Hill lapped in 2:19.7 the next tour, his best lap of the race, but Brabham outdid them all with a 2:18.0.

Then it was clear that McLaren was in trouble, his times slowed as he had a clutch problem. Brabham was hunting him down and Phil Hill was making it hard for Jack, getting in his slipstream and looking for a way by. There was drama in the pits too, Phil Kerr approaching McLaren’s crew and asking them to slow down Phil as he was holding up Jack.


All in all, there was plenty for Phil to remember about this event, the last open-wheeler race he ever drove.

#43 Colbul1

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 08:24

£1200 (or £1400 post publication) is an obscene amount of money for the Connoisseurs Edition, no matter what the content or rarity.  Buying the 3 volumes (collectors and autobiography) separately still comes to £600.  That is very disappointing as it essentially prices out everyone bar the extremely well to do from purchasing what I am sure will be 1 of the finest books in years.  Even the bookshop edition at £160 is a triflingly high price, but 1 I shall begrudgingly pay as I wish to see and read the work of the great man.  Oh, and I'm a publisher so I know how much it costs to publish books.



#44 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 19:18

Ray,

Thanks for filling in the blanks, even if it did take 12 years!:)

I knew very little about that race. Do you think there's video of it somewhere? Phil's post-F1 career was quite interesting and diverse.

Jack

#45 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 23:03

I believe there are some short clips of the event on You Tube...

But it wasn't televised. I don't know who Peter Hopwood was filming for, but seeing as it was a Shell-sponsored car it might have been Shell Australia.

#46 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 08:18

Incredible...

That site cited omits the race he reckoned was the best he ever drove!

Doesn't even mention the series.

 

Ray, mate, if you're going to go off on one one concerning your specialist subject, it would be nice if you'd get it right. 

 

Quote from 'That site' - "He also drove for Ford GT team-mate Bruce McLaren’s emergent personal team in the 1965 Tasman Championship series ‘down-under’ in New Zealand and Australia, shining in the final round at Longford, Tasmania, in what would prove to be his single-seater racing swan song."

 

Not at all Aggrieved - of Farnham



#47 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 12:47

Did I miss something?

My apologies...

Posted in downtown Tucumcari.



.

Edited by Ray Bell, 07 July 2016 - 16:52.


#48 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 13:30

Yes - and accepted.

 

DCN

 

Posted from up a tree in Lower Bourne



#49 E1pix

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 18:32

Enjoy the Route, Ray!

You might enjoy my friend's series of vids, "Genuine Life on Route 66."

#50 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 13:28

The near-definitive (though still developing) Phil Hill book(s) website is now up and running - with sample pages showing some of Phil's fabulous photography as available in the winter-published volumes - at:


Edited by Doug Nye, 01 August 2016 - 13:28.