The Ex-Jim Clark 1966 Guards Trophy race, Peter Westbury, Mac Daghorn,1966 Felday-BRM 4 Group 7 Sports-Racing Prototype

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Lot 306
1966 Felday-BRM 4 Group 7 Sports-Racing Prototype
Sold for £ 14,950 (US$ 19,362) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Ex-Jim Clark 1966 Guards Trophy race, Peter Westbury, Mac Daghorn,1966 Felday-BRM 4 Group 7 Sports-Racing Prototype The Ex-Jim Clark 1966 Guards Trophy race, Peter Westbury, Mac Daghorn,1966 Felday-BRM 4 Group 7 Sports-Racing Prototype The Ex-Jim Clark 1966 Guards Trophy race, Peter Westbury, Mac Daghorn,1966 Felday-BRM 4 Group 7 Sports-Racing Prototype The Ex-Jim Clark 1966 Guards Trophy race, Peter Westbury, Mac Daghorn,1966 Felday-BRM 4 Group 7 Sports-Racing Prototype The Ex-Jim Clark 1966 Guards Trophy race, Peter Westbury, Mac Daghorn,1966 Felday-BRM 4 Group 7 Sports-Racing Prototype The Ex-Jim Clark 1966 Guards Trophy race, Peter Westbury, Mac Daghorn,1966 Felday-BRM 4 Group 7 Sports-Racing Prototype
The Ex-Jim Clark 1966 Guards Trophy race, Peter Westbury, Mac Daghorn
1966 Felday-BRM 4 Group 7 Sports-Racing Prototype

Footnotes

  • Sic transit Gloria – 'thus passes glory' or 'worldly glory is but fleeting' – is a phrase very seldom used in any auction description. But here we feel it is entirely apt. It applies emphatically to the neglected condition of what should be – as we hope perceptively connoisseurial bidders will recognize –the still saveable remains of a uniquely significant sports-racing car once driven Internationally by none other than the legendary, the charismatic, the great double-Formula 1 World Champion Driver, Jim Clark.

    The Scots genius was always a curious-minded, inquisitive racing driver – always eager to pit his instinctive talents against a challenge which was different, new, exotic and in this case immensely sophisticated. This Felday 4 had been built by former RAC British Hill-Climb Champion turned most capable circuit-racing driver, Peter Westbury. He had previously won the British title in the ex-Stirling Moss front-engined 4-wheel-drive Ferguson-Climax P99, the only 4WD F1 car ever to win an International Formula 1 race and the last front-engined F1 car ever to do so.

    Peter Westbury had been immensely impressed by the tractive advantages demonstrated by the sophisticated Ferguson Formula all-wheel drive system, especially upon a damp or otherwise compromised track surface. Consequently he had set out with Harry Ferguson Research Ltd's enthusiastic support, to adapt such a system to modern sports-prototype competition.

    The bearded hill-climb star had built his first car while still at engineering college, in 1958, combining a Buckler chassis and 1½-litre MG engine. He began hill-climbing this light sports-racing 'MGW' two-seater, and for 1960 acquired an elderly Formula 2 Cooper single-seater. By the end of 1961 its Coventry Climax engine was growing tired, so he replaced it with a 2½-litre Daimler V8, then replaced the Cooper frame with a new chassis of his own manufacture to carry the same engine into 1963. He had established his Felday Engineering business in his home village of Holmbury St Mary – old name 'Felday' – in the Surrey hills between Guildford and Dorking.

    The new Daimler-powered car became known as the Felday 1 and Peter Westbury drove it brilliantly to win the British Championship. After clinching the 1963 RAC British title he was loaned the Ferguson-Climax P99 to demonstrate at the Wiscombe Park hill-climb. He was already a believer in 4-wheel-drive, and a friendly relationship quickly developed with Major Tony Rolt – the former LeMans winning Jaguar driver who had become head of Harry Ferguson Research Ltd – and his 4WD development team.

    While a Felday 2 was being built for use in sports car European hill-climbing, Major Rolt loaned Westbury the P99 for the opening rounds of the 1964 RAC British Hill-climb Championship. Before Felday 2 got very far, an 1880cc BRM V8 engine was acquired and another spaceframe two-seater sports car project began, the Felday 3. However, its completion was shelved as the P99 proved immensely successful and Peter Westbury used it to clinch his second consecutive British Championship title.

    Still determined, in the Autumn of 1964, to contest some European Mountain Championship events, the shelved Felday 3's BRM V8 engine was installed instead in a Lotus 23B chassis, without conspicuous success, while Felday Engineering had moved into larger premises - at Forest Green.

    The BRM Formula 1 team had built concurrently its experimental P67 4WD research vehicle around a Ferguson 4WD transmission system, and the Felday/Ferguson/BRM relationship became increasingly close. Still eager to succeed against Porsche, Ferrari, Abarth etc in the European Mountain Championship series, Westbury embarked upon the Felday 4 – the innovative car whose remains are now offered here.

    Departing from previous Felday spaceframe chassis practice, Westbury built a sheet-steel 'monocoque' backbone structure for his 'Mark 4' with the BRM V8 engine turned about-face at the rear, clutch at the front. A short propeller shaft then ran forward to the Ferguson FF gearbox and control unit, mounted in unit with the front-drive assembly. A jointed prop-shaft then ran back from the control unit under the engine's left-side cylinder bank to a rear-drive differential unit.

    This Felday 4 chassis frame was displayed bare at the London Racing Car Show in January, 1965, but progress remained slow thereafter. Meanwhile BRM loaned its P67 4WD prototype to Peter for occasional use in British and Swiss hill-climbs, but they could not spare it enough for him to defend his Championship title successfully.

    The Felday-BRM 4 was eventually completed at the end of 1965 and made its racing debut in the Boxing Day Brands Hatch race meeting. An occasional race programme was then pursued with the 2-litre 4WD car, Westbury and his Channel islander team-mate Mac Daghorn – who had been working at Felday Engineering for some time - both shining with the car at club level. Denis Jenkinson of 'Motor Sport' magazine was a great fan of the programme, and he reported how for the new marque's International debut in the August Bank Holiday Monday Guards Trophy race at Brands Hatch, Mac Daghorn was to drive the brand-new Felday-Ford 5 'big banger' – see Lot 407 – while "...Felday 4 was driven by none other than Jim Clark. Among the many reasons that led up to Clark driving the Felday 4 was the fact that Colin Chapman..."- head of Clark's Lotus Formula 1 team – "...had been showing an interest in the Ferguson 4WD mechanism, and thought his number-one driver should get some practical experience...".

    David Pritchard in 'Autosport'magazine reported how, during practice: "Jim Clark took the wheel of the 2-litre Felday 4 and very quickly got the hang of 4-wheel-drive motoring, recording a time only one second outside Denny Hulme's class record. However, he found the car definitely under-geared for the circuit, and steps were taken to fit a higher ratio. When he turned up for Saturday's session, the car steadfastly refused to start" – the HT electrics had short-circuited, but Jimmy regardless was fastest of the 2-litre contenders, lining up on the starting grid for Heat One of the two-Heat event on row four alongside Denny Hulme in Sid Taylor's famous white Lola-Chevrolet T70 Spyder.

    Tony Dean's Willment team Brabham BT8 led the Felday on the opening lap before crashing in the attempt at Paddock Hill Bend. The Grand Prix circuit's surface was notably greasy, and Jim Clark exploited the Felday's 4-wheel-drive system to the full to win the 2-litre class from Max Wilson's Brabham BT8, eighth overall behind four 'big banger' Lola T70s and three McLarens – all Chevrolet V8-powered.

    As the starting grid formed up for Hat Two, the Kentish sky clouded ominously, and after five laps heavy rain began to fall, and flooding at Bottom Bend caused the red flags to be shown three laps later. After a long delay it was decided to cancel that race, and re-run Heat Two over 20 laps instead of the originally-scheduled 30. Sadly for Felday, Jimmy Clark's BRM engine died on the grid and a push-start incurred a one-minute penalty. However, matters got even worse as the car began to trail a thickening cloud of oil smoke, for which the World Champion was black-flagged. Even so he still qualified as a finisher, being credited with fourth place in the 2-litre class while he shared the class fastest lap with Innes Ireland's Willment-BRM at 1 minute 43.2secs, 92.44mph. Earlier in the day Jim Clark had won the saloon car race outright in his works Lotus-Cortina, taking full advantage of a damp track to keep clear of Jackie Oliver's much more powerful Ford Mustang. It was a Brands Hatch day in which traction counted.

    With the demise of major-league sports car racing in the UK at the end of that year, a closed-car GT Championship being given precedence, there was little evident future for the sports-racing Feldays. Peter Westbury advertised the ex-Clark '4' for sale and it was campaigned by hill-climber John McCartney in 1967-70, with some success – and ultimately with much-modified abbreviated bodywork.

    John McCartney then advertised the car for sale in 'Autosport' during October 1970, the car being pictured wearing its original body paneling.
    According to aFebruary, 1971,'Autosport'report McCartney was then transferring the Felday 4's BRM V8 engine into the Techcrafthill-climb chassis for that season while reducing its capacity to 1600cc. The information file compiled for the car by its late owner Graham Galliers also includes other notes suggesting that the BRM engine and Ferguson FF 4WD transmission system both passed to hill-climbing BRM P67 owner David Good at that time.While still being advertised for sale in March 1971, the 4WD transmission was mentioned by the phrase "could be made available", so presumably by this point the Felday 4's original power-trainwas on the verge of being split up

    By April 1971 the car was being advertised by 'Low Cost Racing of
    Farnham' (title seems a contradiction in our experience) as
    An engineless rolling chassis presumably still with its bodywork included. The advertisement trail dries up after October 1971
    so presumably it had been sold by that time.

    We understand that it was converted by Tammy Aberg and John
    Head of Rosary Garage, Bramshaw, who then installed a Rover V8 engine and conventional Hewland box for autocross exponent Ken Piper. The resultant special enjoyed some success in his experienced hands, while the car's long-discarded FF4WD transmission seems to have been last heard of with an American mechanic named Rob Thurman who had been with Mike Spence in the late 1960s, obviously before that great driver's untimely death at Indianapolis in 1968.

    According to his then colleague Bob Dove, Mr Thurman had all of the
    Felday 4's transmission parts in the living room of his London house
    in1971. He is assumed to have taken the system with him when he returned to the US soon after...

    Another lead part followed-up by Graham Galliers involved Malcolm Angood who had been David Good's mechanic when he ran the 4WD
    BRM P67 and who reputedly "had a complete spare transmission for that
    car under his bench". This trail also appears to have petered out, but there remains the possibility that the Felday 4's FF 4-wheel-drive system may yet be retrievable, or at least re-sourceable...

    The badly deteriorated remains of this fascinating – and significant – sports-racing prototype (including cut-down bodywork of 'beach buggy appearance') were retrieved from contemporary intermediate owner David Kendall in the West Country by leading restoration and preparation specialists Hall & Hall in 2005, and were then acquired – complete with Rover V8 engine and Hewland gearbox - by Graham Galliers in 2006.

    For a new owner with the compassion, the heart and the wherewithal to rescue this iconic 4-wheel-drive sports-racing prototype, posterity will plainly be indebted. It will certainly be a complex process to bring the original Felday-BRM 4 offered here back from the near-dead, but the potential of owning, promoting and campaigning this uniquely sophisticated ex-Jim Clark contender could in future years provide an immense 'up-side'.

    We at Bonhams recall the car most vividly from that Brands Hatch international race meeting 47 years ago, flickering around the Grand Prix circuit at jaw-dropping pace, driven by that familiar little figure in the dark-blue crash helmet with his trademark white peak...Jim Clark, no less – Jim Clark...

    This lot is sold strictly as viewed.
Activities
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Contacts
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