The Historic GP Cars Are Here

The UK-based Historic Grand Prix Car Association (HGPCA) has brought 16 cars to South Africa to take part in the annual Passion For Speed races at Zwartkops on January 26/27 and Killarney on February 2/3. And six of the cars entered have South African connections…

In the Pre-1964 1,5-litre F1 class, Car #37 is a Heron-Alfa Romeo to be raced by Eddy Perk. This car was built for Tony Maggs with a Climax FWB engine to run in the 1961 South African GP, but it non-started due to mechanical problems. It was then sold to Ernest Pieterse whose Scuderia Alfa Team fitted an Alfa Romeo 1500cc engine. Pieterse raced the car during 1961/2, including finishing sixth in the Rand Grand Prix at Kyalami, first in the Rhodesian Grand Prix and second in the Mozambique Grand Prix. The car was sold in 1964 to South African Team Valencia who raced it for a couple more years, ending with its final race in the 1966 Natal Winter Grand Prix.

In the same class, Car #36 is a 1961 Lotus 18/21-Climax to be raced by Erik Staes. Tim Parnell drove the car during 1962 at Snetterton, Aintree, Silverstone and finished eighth in the Naples Grand Prix. Welsh-born Rhodesian GP motorcycle and four-wheel racer Gary Hocking finished eighth in the Danish Grand Prix and raced at Oulton Park. Fellow Rhodesian Clive Puzey drove in the Rand Grand Prix in 1963 and 1964 and the South African Grand Prix in 1965.

Also in the same class, Car #99 is a 1961 Lotus 21-Climax to be raced by Mark Shaw. Designed by Colin Chapman and built for the 1961 season, Jim Clark won his first three Formula One events in this car including the Rand GP, Natal GP, East London/South Africa GP, and finished second  in the Cape Grand Prix at Killarney on 2 January 1962. The car was then sold to Ernest Pieterse, who was South African Champion in 1962 and runner up in 1963.

In the combined Pre-1966 F1 cars and 1964-66 F2 cars under 1000cc class, Car #128 is a 1,5-litre Cooper T56/59-Lotus Ford to be raced by Geoff Underwood.  Known as the ‘Blokdyk Cooper’, this car has a long history of racing in South Africa. It started out as a T56 Junior, raced very successfully by Richard Attwood in the UK. It was sold at the end of 1961 to Trevor Blokdyk. Blokdyk ran the car as a junior, but soon fitted a 1 500 cc Alfa-Romeo twin-cam with T59 suspension. For 1964 he fitted a 1 500 cc Lotus twin-cam and, among other notable finishes, he won the Van Riebeeck Trophy at Killarney on September 19. Eventually, he sold the car to the USA where it never raced. When the car was shipped back to the UK in the mid-noughties, it was found to have pages from the Johannesburg Star newspaper of March 1973 stuffed into the carburettor trumpets!

In the Pre-1966 1,5-litre F1 class, Car #5 is a 1964 Lotus 24-Climax V8 to be raced by Stephan Jöbstl. Run by Brabham Racing Organisation for Jack Brabham to drive during the 1962 season while his first Brabham Grand Prix car (the BT3) was being built. Lent to John Surtees and the Bowmaker team for the ’62 Mexican Grand Prix, qualified third but retired on the first lap. Sold from Brabham to South African racer Syd van der Vyver who raced it in the SA F1 championship races from 1962 to 1964. It was damaged in a workshop fire but rebuilt and raced by Dave Hume at the ’66 Rand Autumn Trophy. Eventually the car found its way back to Europe via America and has raced at Goodwood, Monaco and with the HGPCA from 1980 to date with various owners.

Finally, in the Pre-1966 Tasman and International Cars under 2,7-litres class, Car #17 is a 2,5-litre Cooper T79-Climax  to be raced by Michael Gans. It was a works car for Bruce McLaren in the 1965 Tasman series. Bruce won the Australian GP, finished second at Wigram and Teretonga and took second place overall in the championship.  The car was then sold to John Love who used it to dominate the South African F1 series from August 1965 (when it won its debut race) until May 1967. It was sold back to England in early 1968 and before being sold to the USA in 1988. The car will be running in period livery in the Passion For Speed races.