When the Aston Martin factory weighed-in seriously again against the GTOs and ‘Lightweight’ E-Types in 1963, their very special Project 212 and 214 Coupes proved much more of a serious threat to Ferrari – but failed on reliability if not outright performance – until Roy Salvadori toppled Michael Parkes’ works Ferrari upon the Italian’s most prized stage of all – the Monza Autodrome in the GT race supporting that year’s Italian Grand Prix. That was the occasion upon which much of the Milanese crowd thought that ‘Salvadori’ must be a hitherto unknown Italian star, and they ended-up cheering on the ‘new boy’ in the British car against that Inglese “Parkers” in the home-grown Ferrari… Lucien Binachi brought the second Project 212 home third just to rub salt into Ferrari’s wound… But, as I’ve said, the Project cars were very, very special Aston Martins indeed.
In the Goodwood TT that year they were in effect scrutineered out of a very real chance of winning when controversial RAC official Stuart Proctor ruled that they should run on wheel-rims too narrow for choice.
That day saw Innes and Bruce McLaren struggle in a race they could quite possibly have won – the absolutely enraged Innes, eyes standing out like organ stops, finishing a troubled 7th – after multiple spins and repeated spectacular recovery drives through the field – while Bruce had to retire. That was the day Innes described how he knew he had hung it out too far and “lost it when I felt the airstream blowing on my face through the hole in the side window”.
Then - and now – these early-’60s GTs from Ferrari, Jaguar, Aston Martin – and more – look (and genuinely are) a zillion-Dollars just sitting stationary. Put them out on track, full-chat, and they really are all-action, squatting, rolling, pitching in tune with their drivers’ inputs – and with headlights on running into the dark the Kinrara Trophy race should – as a spectacle - look simply, simply, wonderful…
Photography courtesy of The GP Library