Eoin Young's Collector's
Column no. 10
Forza Amon! and Colin Chapman
putting the finishing touches to not one, but two books due out
next year. The first, "CLASSIC RACERS - New Zealand's Grand
Prix Greats" is due to be launched in February during the Southern
Festival of Speed, and the second is my biography of Chris Amon
which has the working title of "Forza Amon" and is due in September. Writing
the few words that make up the title is always the most difficult
part of writing the whole book, in my experience and I think
the touch of Italian enthusiasm gives the reader the honorary
title of tifosi while re-living Chris's three seasons as leader
of the Ferrari Grand Prix team. In fact this Forza title
fell upon me while reading thread leader Keir's entries in the
Chris Amon nostalgia listing on Atlas F1.com.
Racers" is a collection of feature profiles on racing drivers and
cars from New Zealand racing history, many never written about between
hard covers before. Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon
are staple diet, but there are also chapters on Howden Ganley, Ron
Roycroft, Ross Jensen, Tom Clark, Johnny Mansel, Ernie Sprague, and
C.W.F. (Bill) Hamilton, who invented the jet boat - and also drove
in the record books winning three races in one day at Brooklands
in his Bentley. There are also features on the indigenous Stanton
Special and the Lycoming Special, both aero-engined but as different
as chalk and cheddar. Plus the P3 Alfa Romeo that Nuvolari
drove to win the 1935 German GP on the Ring and which ended its racing
days in New Zealand. Also the 375 GP Ferrari V12 which Froilan
Gonzales drove to win the first Grand Prix for Ferrari at Silverstone
in 1951. When the book is published I will be offering signed
copies to web site catalogue customers, so form an orderly queue!
See the Books page for more information and a review..
Mike Lawrence's latest book is "Colin Chapman - Wayward Genius." It
certainly made my Qantas flight seem a good deal shorter en route
to New Zealand. Mike is in the fortunate position of
being a contemporary motor racing historian and while he never
explored the accepted route and went to every GP to be able to
be a part of the fortnightly fight for cash and glory (on account
of being an academic and away in hallowed halls becoming a chap
of letters) he has been able to meet and work with the people
of the immediate past away from the field of battle and find
out the stories of what 'really happened'. Thus he has had the
knowledge and the time to write definitive books on Ron Tauranac
and thus the Brabham team, Cooper, March Engineering and all
the machinations therein, plus a dozen or so other titles set
in and around the worldwide village of motorsport. He is
a man with an eye for a fact that others may not have dared to
point out and since he owes no paddock favours, he is uniquely
positioned to tell like it was.
you're a fan dedicated to the Lotus legend and inclined not to listen to any
of the many and startling stories about Colin Chapman, since his untimely death,
or are a Lotus owner of a nervous disposition, I implore you DO NOT READ THIS
BOOK. If, on the other hand, you're like me and can't resist a good dig
around in the foundations of what we were told could, possibly, have been facts,
plus a few well-placed tugs at the hem of the Leader's garment, get a copy
as quick as you can.
over legend with Lotus. I wanted to get to the bit where Fergy (team
manager Andrew Ferguson) hid the Indy cars in 1969 after an argument with Andy
Granatelli. Mike says Fergy found a family garage 40 miles from Indianapolis
and tucked them away where Andy couldn't find them. I prefer the story
I heard: "Fergy was desperate to find a garage unit to hide the cars
(read the book to find out why) and it was dark before he was told about a
small factory unit that was available short term at a cheap rental. But
when the coast had cleared and Fergy could go back to get the cars he was appalled
to realise that they were rusty - and discovered that the reason for
the modest rent was that the roof was sagging in, something he hadn't noticed
in the dark!" Shame that Andrew isn't about to tell us which story was
the right one. Read his book on the Lotus Indianapolis years.
grew up in Formula 1 as a mate of Bruce McLaren and enjoyed long,
late coffee avec cognac evenings with John Cooper in GP cities
around Europe, and so Colin Chapman was inevitably "the opposition'
and I never got to know him very well, except in passing. Mike
sparks memories of things we took for granted, like the transporter
races in 1970 as the mechanics battled back to Northampton from
whichever corner of Europe the race had been, to get a good place
in the Cosworth service queue. He also points out things
that had quite simply never occurred to me, such as that Jackie
Stewart's win in the 1970 Spanish GP in Ken Tyrrell's March 701
was the last GP win by a private entrant - and I owned that very
car a few years later! I suppose the obvious is really
facts and comparisons are laced into the narrative: Chapman was awarded
the CBE in 1970 at age 42; at 42, Enzo Ferrari had yet to make his first
car. When Emerson Fittipaldi became the youngest driver ever to win the
world title in a Lotus, his team-mate, Dave Walker, failed to score a single
point. The Lotus 'Eleven' was never known as the Lotus XI, and every
Lotus road car thereafter started with an 'E'. Stuff like that.
points to the Jensen-Healey with Lotus engine as a loser. "It was a decent
car, but every successful sports car has just a touch of indecency about it. It
was hard to think of a good reason for preferring a Jensen-Healey to a Triumph
TR6, which was flawed but hairy-chested."
quality problems were sometime difficult to diagnose, such as when composite
body panels were not being cured properly. It was discovered that some
of the workers had been opening the autoclave door to heat their lunchtime
rides boldly into the Chapman/ DeLorean fracas. "Charmer and chancer
met charmer and chancer and there was a challenge." He addresses all
sides of the cloudy situation and reminded me of being telephoned by the American
magazine Autoweek for whom I was then writing an F1 column, and asked to interview
Chapman at Watkins Glen about his part in the proposed DeLorean car deal. It
was not at all my scene, but I knocked diffidently on the door of the JPS motor-home
and requested an interview. Colin was affability-plus, answering all
my questions. But how, I asked, can you take all this Government money
to develop a car that will be in direct competition to your own Lotus sports
cars? "Oh, it'll never work, and the Government wants to give the money
to someone so it might as well be us!"
author wonders why the Lotus 86 and 88 were called "twin chassis" cars when "the
word 'chassis', like 'sheep' or 'deer' is both a singular and a plural." That's
the sort of thing I wish I'd said, but you can be sure I will"
is both praised to the skies for the brilliance of his idea and designs, hung
out to dry for the way he commandeered the ideas of others on an on-going basis,
and also for the financial deals that would have seen him behind bars, but
for the fatal heart attack that took him in 1982. Lawrence, does, however
- apart from chronicled minor misdemeanours in the early days - insist that
Chapman was never interested in breaking the rules. "He was only interested
in being ahead of the rules."
played so important a part in the lives of so many people that some were reluctant
to believe that his life was snuffed out by something as mundane as a heart
attack." Be very sure that a man with as many fascinations as Colin Chapman
will not come this way again in motor racing.
almost forbids me to mention that in the contributor's biog details
on the dustwrapper of Gerry Donaldson's amazing glossy new tome "Formula
1 - The Autobiography" I get a mention as "One of the sport's
first media celebrities" for writing columns just such as this one
for more years than I care to remember. And I understand that
Maurice Hamilton dedicated his definitive biography on Ken Tyrrell,
to me which I presume is to remember the good old days when he was
just starting out and had sort of apprenticed himself to me when
I was working with Elf on the Tyrrell sponsorship and we became a
part of the extended Tyrrell Team on Tour for several amazing summers
in the days when drivers drove the cars they won in, they didn't
have a phone-a-friend help-line to the pits, and they were still
people who were mates with their competitors before and after the
race. During the race was always different, but the cars were
unsafe enough to discourage contact with each other or the scenery
and the money was attractive rather than bordering on the numbers
that make squillionaires of Herr Schumacher's little lads, and threaten
the very existence of the cellar dwellers on the grids these days!
To read previous
click on the links below:
SCRAPBOOKS and THE EDDIE HALL PHOTO ALBUM MYSTERY
GOODWOOD CIRCUIT REVIVAL 2001
SPRING RACING IN NEW ZEALAND
5. "CHASING THE TITLE"- A 'must-read' book...
HERMANN BEATS THE TRAIN
OLD CAR IMAGININGS
NEW BOOKS, PRESCOTT AND GOODWOOD 2002
FIXING FORMULA ONE
CLASSIC RACERS, FORZA AMON! and COLIN CHAPMAN
MY NEW BOOK... & BERNIE'S NEW BOOK
SELLING AT GOODWOOD AND BUYING AT BEAULIEU
TARGA NEW ZEALAND, BRABHAM ON SCHUMACHER, AMON ON CLARK
IT STILL BEATS WORKING!
PUSHING BUTTONS; F1 DRIVER SHUFFLES
STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS
EXCITING COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS IN WARSAW
BERTIE WOOSTER'S SUNBEAM
MY NEW BRUCE McLAREN BOOK
"FORZA AMON" COLLECTOR'S EDITION
DURANT RECORD BREAKING RUN
BARLEY MOW DOWN UNDER
MAN - RELINED
FERRARI FIRST AND LAST
25. SCRIBE'S WALL OF FAME
26. STIRLING OR TAZIO TOPS?
27. LEW NORRIS
28. RARE FERRARI BROCHURES
29. FRANK GARDNER LIVE ON STAGE!
Eoin Young is a
who left a bank job to join Bruce McLaren and help set up his racing
More or less. He arrived in the UK in 1961 as a freelance journalist,
the Formula Junior season with Denny Hulme, joined McLaren in 1962.
director of team. Established Motormedia 1966. Started weekly "Autocar" diary
page in 1967 -- it ran until 1998. Covered CanAm, Indy and GP series.
In 1979 established as a dealer in rare motoring and motor racing books
and ephemera. Still trading with regular lists. Autobiography "It
Beats Working" published in 1996. with its sequel "It Still beats
in 2003. After more than three decades based in the UK he has now returned
to his native New Zealand.
The stock of
books and ephemera is constantly changing.
here to view the current catalogue.