GRR

Doug Nye: Ferrari 1512 – driven by Surtees, Rodriguez, Bandini... and me

19th September 2018
doug_nye_headshot.jpg Doug Nye

When I began to follow Formula 1 racing really closely, and attended my first Grand Prix races, 1.5-litre Formula 1 was at the top of the pile. Old hands who had lived through the preceding 2.5-litre Formula, with its big front-engined Mercedes, Maserati 250F, Lancia-Ferrari, Vanwall and BRM cars as front runners, derided the replacement class – launched in 1961 – for being a bunch of gutless, overweight kiddy cars. Tony Brooks was one totally world-class driver who was so unimpressed by the new cars’ lack of power that his interest evaporated to the point of premature retirement at the close of the ’61 season. OK, he had family reasons too – but he was quite vocally dismissive of the new Formula.

John Surtees in Ferrari 1512 chassis ‘0008’ - now the Goodwood Revival winning car - 1965 German GP at the Nurburgring

John Surtees in Ferrari 1512 chassis ‘0008’ - now the Goodwood Revival winning car - 1965 German GP at the Nurburgring

Well in my youthful naiveté I was not. I thought those cars were fabulous. They were sleek, tiny, often beautifully proportioned, their abbreviated (or non-existent) engine covers revealed a mass of intriguing machinery around the cars’ rear ends – and drivers like Graham Hill, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Dan Gurney and more made the entire colourful circus utterly absorbing to – in my view – any right-minded teenage enthusiast.

These of course are the cars which filled the annual Easter Monday Glover Trophy feature race grids at Goodwood, 1961-63 – while that same race took a replacement sponsor’s name in 1964 (somewhat demeaningly the ‘News of the World’ Trophy) and the final Formula 1 edition on Easter Monday 1965 the slightly more decorous tabloid newspaper title of the ‘Daily Mirror’ Trophy.

Over the years of the Revival Meeting since 1998 I and some colleagues frequently took parties of sponsors’ guests on guided tours of the Motor Circuit paddock. And the one thing that every party – in my experience – shared was total fascination with the 1.5-litre Formula 1 cars lying in wait in their paddock stalls. “They’re just like Swiss watches”, gasped one guest – “Wow, the driver’s lying in there cuddling fuel tanks!” observed another.

1965 Monaco GP - John Surtees in the V8-engined Ferrari 158 on the tight line into the Gasworks Hairpin - Lorenzo Bandini in the flat-12 Ferrari 1512 outside him

1965 Monaco GP - John Surtees in the V8-engined Ferrari 158 on the tight line into the Gasworks Hairpin - Lorenzo Bandini in the flat-12 Ferrari 1512 outside him

Coventry Climax, BRM, Ferrari and more read the names on the engine cam-covers. These sleek little projectiles appealed on so many levels, not just greasy-fingered and technical, but also absolutely upon aesthetic grounds – gloriously svelte and pretty…and quick enough…and capable in the right hands of producing wonderfully competitive racing.

Yes, that’s right, I’m still a fan.

And this year’s Revival Glover Trophy was won, by little more than a car’s length by American visitor Joe Colasacco in Laurence Auriana’s most gorgeous 1.5-litre car of them all – the flat-12 cylinder 1965 Ferrari 1512, chassis ‘0008’. Here was hard-fought success deservedly taken, fulfilling Larry’s faith, enthusiasm – and ongoing investment – in the car which he acquired for just over a million dollars back in 2005 at a California auction sale.

This great Italian-American enthusiast – who has become a great Goodwood supporter over the years – was intensely determined to return the car to full race worthiness. This proved to be a lengthy and complicated progress, punctuated by disappointments, even when original designer Mauro Forghieri was enlisted to help oversee restoration in Italy. The car returned to racing 2012 in the Monaco Historique event, and a second engine was built-up under Forghieri’s direction in time for Revival 2013. Driver Joe Colasacco took care of the jewel on track, but a combination of intense competition and sheer misfortune denied the little team ultimate success… until this year.

Lorenzo Bandini on his way to 2nd place in the 1965 Monaco GP driving flat-12 Ferrari 1512 chassis ‘0007’ - the ex-Nye 1990 'Monaco tunnel' car...

Lorenzo Bandini on his way to 2nd place in the 1965 Monaco GP driving flat-12 Ferrari 1512 chassis ‘0007’ - the ex-Nye 1990 'Monaco tunnel' car...

Few people outside the team could have been more delighted than me when Joe won, just, from multiple Glover Trophy winner Andy Middlehurst in John Bowe’s equally mouth-watering Lotus-Climax 25.

Chassis ‘0008’ is the second of only three of these 1.5-litre Ferrari 1512s to have been built and raced by the Maranello factory team in 1964-65. The Forghieri design was Ferrari’s response to the contemporary fuel-injected British V8s from BRM and Coventry Climax. It became – on the test dyno – the most powerful engine of the entire 1.5-litre Formula 1 years with the possible exception of Honda’s transverse-mounted V12 unit.

Chassis ‘0008’ was driven by team leader John Surtees in the 1965 German GP at the Nurburgring, by team-mate Lorenzo Bandini – who finished 4th in it in the ’65 Italian GP at Monza, and finally by Pedro Rodriguez to finish 7th in his home Mexican GP in Mexico City that year. The car was then preserved long-term by Ferrari’s North American East Coast distributor Luigi Chinetti before passing to enthusiast dealer Monte Shalett. He eventually entered it in the Californian auction at which Larry Auriana made his successful bid, at $1,115,000 including the buyers’ premium.

Lorenzo Bandini studying the 'Swiss watch' flat-12 cylinder engine of his Ferrari 1512 at Monaco, 1965

Lorenzo Bandini studying the 'Swiss watch' flat-12 cylinder engine of his Ferrari 1512 at Monaco, 1965

Meanwhile the first 1512 – chassis ‘0007’ – had made its debut in practice for the 1964 Italian GP at Monza. Its flat-12 engine mounting attracted much attention as it was bolted onto the rear of an ‘Aero’-style – stressed-skin panelling enwrapping a sparse internal tubular frame – as a stressed chassis member, handling many of the rear suspension loads. Tony Rudd of BRM took note for his forthcoming 3-litre H16-cylinder engine of 1966-67, and Colin Chapman and Keith Duckworth of Cosworth Engineering likewise for their Lotus 49 and its load-bearing DFV V8 engine to be introduced in ’67.

In the United States GP at Watkins Glen, Bandini gave the 1512 its race debut, wearing the white and blue American colours of Chinetti’s North American Racing Team since Mr Ferrari was in noisy dispute with his national club over its non-acceptance of his new 250 LM GT design, and he had again turned-in his racing licence…

In the 1964 Mexican GP, Bandini then effectively decided the Drivers’ World Championship in favour of his team leader – John Surtees – when he punted Graham Hill’s BRM into a damaging spin. The flat-12 displayed little competitive horsepower at altitude in Mexico City, and finished third.

The Auriana team’s Ferrari 1512 chassis ‘0008’ being race prepared in the Goodwood paddock 2018

The Auriana team’s Ferrari 1512 chassis ‘0008’ being race prepared in the Goodwood paddock 2018

John Surtees relied upon his proven World Championship-winning Ferrari 158 V8 for seven 1965 events before taking over the team’s 1512s from the British GP forward. Meanwhile Lorenzo Bandini had guided his works 1512 – chassis ‘0007’ – to second place in the Monaco GP, while John drove into 3rd place at Silverstone and 7th in the Dutch GP at Zandvoort. Bandini drove the third and final 1512 – chassis ‘0009’ – to finish 4th in the 1965 US GP at Watkins Glen.

In 1990, back at Monte Carlo, the second-place car from the 1965 Grand Prix – ‘0007’ - reappeared on the round-the-houses course with a very different driver in its cockpit.

Team celebration after winning the Goodwood revival 2018 Glover Trophy race - on the front wheels owner Laurence Auriana and driver/engineer Joe Colasacco

Team celebration after winning the Goodwood revival 2018 Glover Trophy race - on the front wheels owner Laurence Auriana and driver/engineer Joe Colasacco

It was me. Yes, I had wriggled my broad frame down into that confined cockpit. I wasn’t going to be able to escape it unassisted… but no way could I resist the opportunity.

True, all I could hear was the swish of the car’s Dunlop Racing rubber on the road surface apart from the grumble of the tow-car’s exhaust at the other end of the rope ahead as we went scorching (I exaggerate) into the famous tunnel.  I remember imagining myself to be Il Grande John or poor luckless Lorenzo Bandini as we leaned right-handed through that galleria, then burst out into the sunlight for the descent to the harbourside chicane.  Oh what fun.

Back in the 1965 Mexican GP – John Surtees having been severely injured in his Lola-Chevrolet T70 sports car in Canada – Bandini and Pedro Rodriguez drove the works team’s two Ferrari 1512s. And they shared a rare result for the Ferrari factory team, by finishing last and next-to-last – the purse strings for the 1512 programme had been drawn tight before this farewell 1.5-litre Formula 1 race, so it was an inauspicious end to the frontline career of these magnificent Swiss-watch cars.

Job finally done - Joe Colasacco being interviewed on th finish line just after winning the Revival Glover Trophy 2018 – shell-shocked but immensely satisfied car owner Larry Auriana right...

Job finally done - Joe Colasacco being interviewed on th finish line just after winning the Revival Glover Trophy 2018 – shell-shocked but immensely satisfied car owner Larry Auriana right...

Therefore, to see Joe Colasacco scream ‘0008’ past the chequered flag first on Revival Sunday – with his blue-overalled crew going absolutely bananas on the pit wall and owner Larry Auriana equally fit to burst – really had some significance. We were privileged both to witness it – and to hear it... Formula 1 Ferrari flat-12, you’ve got to love it.

Photography courtesy of The GP Library

  • Doug Nye

  • Ferrari

  • 1512

  • Revival

  • Revival 2018

  • Joe Colasacco

  • Glover Trophy

  • 2018

  • F1

  • Single Seater

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