In the lead-up to the Gulf Oil How­den Gan­ley F5000 Fes­ti­val, Jim Bar­clay looks back at How­den’s mo­tor-sport ca­reer

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - By Jim Bar­clay


James How­den Gan­ley was born in Hamil­ton, New Zealand, on De­cem­ber 24, 1941. As a boy, his great in­ter­est was in yacht­ing, a sport in which he com­peted with some suc­cess — but ev­ery­thing changed when he at­tended the 1955 N Z In­ter­na­tional Grand Prix at Ard­more. Watch­ing a pair of 1955 Fer­rari 625 mono­pos­tos speed­ing around the air­field cir­cuit, How­den was in­stantly hooked on mo­tor rac­ing.

It wasn’t long be­fore he was build­ing his own go-kart.

Fin­ished in 1956, his new cre­ation was fit­ted with a 1.5kw (2hp) en­gine and named the Gan­ley MKI. How­den says the MKI could reach speeds of up to 50kph — but it had no brakes!

From those early begin­nings, by the late 1950s How­den was fol­low­ing his fa­ther’s in­ter­est in motorsport club events, and oc­ca­sion­ally he was able to score a drive in a va­ri­ety of cars in­clud­ing his mother’s Morris Mi­nor, a Buck­ler MKV sports, and a Gan­ley fam­i­ly­owned Ford 10 Spe­cial sports car.

Then in 1960 he com­mit­ted all the funds he had, as well as all he could bor­row from his fam­ily, to buy a 1956 Lo­tus XI sports rac­ing car [you can read about this car else­where in this month’s magazine]. With vir­tu­ally no bud­get, How­den com­peted in it with some suc­cess through­out New Zealand for two years in 1961 and 1962.

How­ever, by this time How­den had a new goal — to gain a drive in For­mula 1. With that goal in mind, he left New Zealand in 1962 to work in Eng­land, and thus gain the means to fur­ther his dream. He raced a Fal­con Cli­max GT car in Eng­land in 1962, and in 1963 be­came a works me­chanic, and later works driver with the Gemini Mk4 For­mula Ju­nior team.

Team Kiwi

In June 1964 How­den joined the Bruce Mclaren Mo­tor Rac­ing team as a me­chanic, and the fol­low­ing year he found him­self work­ing on the Ford GT40 X1 pro­to­type that was be­ing de­vel­oped at Mclaren, and driven by Chris Amon.

In 1966 he was one of two me­chan­ics for the Mclaren M2B Ford F1 car at the Monaco Grand Prix — Bruce’s very first GP with his new Mclaren team. Later in 1966, af­ter pre-sea­son testing in the USA with the works Mclaren M1B Can-am cars, How­den re­mained there as crew mem­ber for an Amer­i­can CanAm team for the three-month six-race 1966 Can-am sea­son that ran from Septem­ber un­til Novem­ber.

How­den re­turned to the UK in late 1966 to race a new For­mula Three (F3) Brab­ham BT21-20 in the UK and Europe through­out 1967 and 1968.

In 1969 he pur­chased a new Chevron B15-09 F3 sin­gle-seater car, and raced it very suc­cess­fully to achieve third place in the 1969 F3 Euro­pean Cup.

How­den had wisely kept Bruce Mclaren fully in­formed of his progress through­out his three years in F3 and, in late 1969, Bruce of­fered How­den a drive in a semi-works-spon­sored Mclaren M10B For­mula 5000 rac­ing car for the 1970 Euro­pean F5000 Cham­pi­onship.

How­den drove this Barry New­man–spon­sored 1970 Mclaren (M10B 400-05) with much con­sis­tency and speed through­out 1970, so much so that by the end of the fi­nal event of the 20-event sea­son, he fin­ished run­ner-up in the cham­pi­onship. Sadly, Bruce had ear­lier been killed — in June 1970 — when testing a Mclaren Can-am car, so How­den’s hopes of mak­ing the Mclaren F1 team in 1971, as pre­vi­ously in­di­cated to him by Bruce, were dashed.

In­stead of a place as a driver in the Mclaren F1 team in 1971, How­den be­came a works driver for the Yard­ley BRM F1 team.

Into For­mula One

The first of How­den’s 41 F1 World Cham­pi­onship Grand Prix drives (plus a fur­ther 16 F1 non­cham­pi­onship races) came at Kyalami, South Africa, in March 1971 in a year-old BRM P153 V12 3.0-litre car.

The BRM P153 F1 cars that How­den drove for the first F1 races of 1971 were, at best, mid­field run­ners, but in the newer BRM P160 V12, he was able to score a fifth place at Monza in Septem­ber 1971 — where the first five cars to fin­ish were within 0.62 sec­onds of each other.

How­den also scored a fine fourth place at the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in the last GP of the year, and he was named as the win­ner of the Wolf­gang von Trips Memo­rial Tro­phy for the best per­for­mance by an F1 new­comer in 1971.

Away from the grand prix cir­cuits of Europe, in his only Can-am race, How­den drove the BRM P16701 Chev V8 Can-am car to third place at the LA Times GP held at River­side, Cal­i­for­nia — a race won by Denny Hulme in his Mclaren M8F from Peter Rev­son, also in a M8F.

How­den drove in the Rand Daily Mail Nine Hour race at Kyalami, South Africa on Novem­ber 6, 1971. With fel­low driv­ers Mike Hail­wood and Paddy Driver, How­den drove the Team Gun­ston Chevron B19 sport­srac­ing car, and was de­lighted to fin­ish in third place over­all, as well as be­ing the first 2.0-litre car to take the che­quered flag be­hind two 3.0-litre Fer­raris.

In 1972 How­den con­tin­ued as a works driver in the BRM team, now with Marl­boro spon­sor­ship. The 1972 BRM P160B was not a front-run­ning car, so early GP re­sults were mod­est. How­ever, with the up­rated BRM P160C he was able to pick up a good fourth place in the Ger­man GP at Nür­bur­gring on July 30, and a sixth in the Aus­trian GP at Oster­re­ichring on Au­gust 13. He also had a one-off drive of the new BRM P180-02 V12 at Monaco on May 14, 1972 (this car will be at the Gulf Oil How­den Gan­ley F5000 Fes­ti­val to be held at Hamp­ton Downs in Jan­uary 2015).

As a driver for the works Ma­tra-simca MS670 V12 sports-rac­ing-car team, How­den com­pleted three ‘prac­tice’ 24-hour test ses­sions be­fore rac­ing to an

ex­cel­lent se­cond place in the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans race while shar­ing the drive with François Cev­ert.

When he was not oth­er­wise in­volved with F1 rac­ing, How­den drove the BRM P167 Chevro­let sports pro­to­type in most of the Euro­pean In­ter­serie races. He fin­ished run­ner-up in the In­ter­serie cham­pi­onship with some good re­sults, in­clud­ing wins at Nür­bur­gring (Ger­many) and Zeltweg (Aus­tria,) and fifth in Fin­land.

F1 and Sports Cars

In 1973 How­den be­came a works Iso Marl­boro Wil­liams F1 driver. Us­ing the pre­vi­ous sea­son’s 1972 Wil­liams-built Poli­toys FX3 (How­den refers to these cars as the Wil­liams FW03) in the first three 1973 GP races brought only mid­field plac­ings. For the Span­ish GP in April the new Wil­liams FW04 —with a now­com­pli­ant de­formable struc­ture — was in­tro­duced, but such was the un­re­li­able na­ture of the car he failed to fin­ish in Spain, Bel­gium and Monaco. His best fin­ish in the fi­nal seven GP races was to se­cure a sixth plac­ing at the Cana­dian GP.

Once again How­den tried his hand at an­other type of rac­ing as well as F1, tak­ing a drive in the 1973 Gulf Rac­ing–spon­sored Mi­rage M6 Cos­worth DFV V8 cars in the World Sports Car Cham­pi­onship. Teamed with Derek Bell, he scored a fourth place at Watkins Glen, USA, and a fifth place at Zeltweg. In the Spa 1000km in Bel­gium, How­den was en­tered to co-drive, as he nor­mally did, with Derek Bell in the No. 5 Mi­rage M6. How­ever, Mike Hail­wood suf­fered from fuel burns while driv­ing the se­cond, No. 6 Mi­rage M6, so How­den took over Mike’s driv­ing du­ties in this car and, to­gether with Vern Schup­pan, fin­ished se­cond to the Bell/hail­wood Gulf Mi­rage. Iron­i­cally, if How­den had driven as planned in his reg­u­lar place as co-driver with Derek Bell, he would have fin­ished in first and se­cond in this race!

In 1974 How­den drove briefly for the March F1 team. He com­pleted two GPS and one non-cham­pi­onship race in South Amer­ica in the March 74 F1.

Ris­ing and Set­ting Sun

Af­ter those brief in­ter­ludes with March F1, How­den moved to the fledg­ling Ja­panese-owned Maki F1 team. While much was promised, the new Maki F1 was just not ready to be raced. How­den failed to qual­ify for the Bri­tish GP at Brands Hatch in July, and then suf­fered se­vere an­kle and leg in­juries two weeks later when a rear sus­pen­sion rose joint broke at Nür­bur­gring on the first lap of qual­i­fy­ing for the Ger­man GP. A long pe­riod of con­va­les­cence fol­lowed, so there was no fur­ther rac­ing for How­den in 1974.

In 1974 How­den, to­gether with Aus­tralian driver Tim Schenken, formed TIGA Race Cars. Nearly 400 of them would be built be­fore the com­pany fi­nally closed its doors in 1989. The type of cars built at TIGA var­ied, rang­ing from open wheel­ers, such as For­mula Ford and For­mula At­lantic, through to sports-rac­ing cars in­clud­ing World Sports Car Cham­pi­onship ve­hi­cles, some of which took class wins in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. From the out­set, How­den told Tim he would stay with the com­pany for no longer than 10 years — and he stuck to his word.

With a busy com­pany to run, rac­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for How­den now be­came rare. In early June 1975 he drove a now pri­vately-owned Mi­rage GR7 (née Mi­rage M6 and then Gulf GR7) be­long­ing to Ge­orge Loos of Ger­many in the Nür­bur­gring 1000km. Teamed with his busi­ness part­ner, Tim Schenken, he fin­ished in se­cond place. Later in June 1975, How­den teamed with Tim again to run a Gelo Rac­ing Porsche 911 RSR 3.0 at the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the car re­tired dur­ing the event, fi­nally clas­si­fied in 35th po­si­tion out of the 55 cars en­tered.

How­den’s pri­vate life took pole po­si­tion on June 1975, when he was mar­ried to Judy (née Kon­drati­eff ) — his new wife be­ing a very ac­com­plished lady in her own right, and a for­mer Us-based race driver.

How­den rounded off 1975 with two fur­ther races in the Mi­rage GR7 — the In­ter­serie Race 6 at Nür­bur­gring in early Septem­ber, where he was se­cond, and In­ter­serie round seven at Hock­en­heim in late Septem­ber where he fin­ished in third place.

Gelo Rac­ing en­tered its Porsche 911 RSR 3.0 for How­den to drive with Cle­mens Schick­en­tanz in the 1976 24 Hours of Le Mans, but an early re­tire­ment re­sulted in the car be­ing clas­si­fied 47th of 55 cars en­tered.

Fol­low­ing that, How­den be­came in­volved with testing the ex­per­i­men­tal March 741 six-wheeler F1 car in 1976, and then notched up his fi­nal race in mid 1978 driv­ing a Mi­rage GR7 in a Can-am race at Mid-ohio, USA, where he fin­ished fifth over­all and the first 3.0-litre car.

How­den’s rac­ing ca­reer was over.

A Full Life

How­den’s boy­hood dream to be a For­mula 1 driver was achieved, al­beit in F1 cars that never gave him a gen­uine op­por­tu­nity to race com­pet­i­tively for the lead. But he ‘made it’ to For­mula 1, while many oth­ers did not.

With great con­sis­tency while driv­ing very quickly he was run­ner-up in the 1970 Euro­pean F5000 cham­pi­onship. He drove pow­er­ful sports rac­ing cars with con­sid­er­able skill, and suc­cesses that in­cluded run­ner-up in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. His three years of For­mula 3 rac­ing in the late 1960s in a highly com­pet­i­tive field of driv­ers to achieve an ex­cel­lent third plac­ing in the 1969 Euro­pean F3 Cham­pi­onship proved to be in­stru­men­tal to his later suc­cess.

Hav­ing for­mally re­tired from rac­ing, How­den was fully in­volved with his busi­ness at TIGA Race Cars un­til he re­tired in the mid-1980s.

In 1993 he was asked to stand for the Bri­tish Rac­ing Driv­ers Club (BRDC) Board, and was duly elected and served for the max­i­mum-per­mis­si­ble nine years — be­ing re-elected three times. He was also ap­pointed to the boards of the two BRDC sub­sidiary com­pa­nies — he was a di­rec­tor of Sil­vers­tone Cir­cuits Ltd for many

years, and was also a di­rec­tor of Sil­vers­tone Es­tates Ltd.

In 1998 How­den was asked to take over the po­si­tion of BRDC club sec­re­tary too, a po­si­tion he ac­cepted on con­di­tion that Judy’s health im­proved. How­ever, af­ter about eight months it was clear that she needed more of his at­ten­tion, so he re­signed the sec­re­tary’s po­si­tion, just af­ter the new BRDC Club­house at Wood­cote cor­ner was com­pleted — a ma­jor project he had over­seen.

He re­mained on the var­i­ous boards for some years af­ter­wards, and when he fi­nally re­tired he was ac­corded the hon­our of an ap­point­ment to be a vice pres­i­dent of BRDC, a po­si­tion he still holds. How­den said one of his most en­joy­able jobs was to re­design sev­eral of the cor­ners on the Sil­vers­tone cir­cuit, all but one of which are still in use today.

Back in 1998 Judy was di­ag­nosed with can­cer and, as she’d been given only a short time to live, she and How­den moved from their UK home to their US home in Black­hawk in the San Fran­cisco Bay area of Cal­i­for­nia. Judy fought against her ill­ness valiantly for eight years, but sadly passed away on April 27, 2007.

How­den con­tin­ues to re­side in Black­hawk, mak­ing pe­ri­odic trips to see fam­ily in New Zealand as well as vis­it­ing the UK, where he still has many ties. He is the pres­i­dent of the Grand Prix Driv­ers’ Club, for­merly known as the An­cien Pi­lotes or­ga­ni­za­tion. He ap­pears reg­u­larly at many his­toric mo­tor-sport events, and these in­clude tak­ing the role of guest judge at Con­cours events in US, at­tend­ing the bi­en­nial Monaco His­torique event, driv­ing pe­riod F1 cars at the an­nual Good­wood Fes­ti­val and the Good­wood Re­vival — plus, of course, at­tend­ing the an­nual NZ Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor Rac­ing at Hamp­ton Downs.

As well as demon­strat­ing some of the cars in which he once com­peted — in­clud­ing the 1972 BRM P180 V12 F1, 1974 Maki F101A and 1956 Lo­tus XI — How­den will also be on hand at 11am each day at the Bruce Mclaren Trust mar­quee to sign copies of his new au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, en­ti­tled The Road to Monaco, which will be re­leased for sale only a few days prior to the first week­end of the Gulf Oil How­den Gan­ley F5000 Fes­ti­val. How­den and his many tales will be the theme for the ca­sual din­ner to be held af­ter rac­ing con­cludes at Hamp­ton Downs on Satur­day, Jan­uary 17 — tick­ets at $40 each to cover food are avail­able on nzfmr.co.nz. The theme for the se­cond Satur­day evening will be For­mula F5000.

01 In Gan­ley Snr’s Ford 10 Spe­cial at a sprint near Mata­mata in 1960 (photo cour­tesy Denise Gan­ley) 02 Ard­more, Jan­uary 7, 1961 — How­den in the Lo­tus XI

03 How­den in the Gan­ley MKI in 1956 04 How­den and Morris Mi­nor at a sprint in the Cam­bridge-mata­mata area in 1960 (photo Eoin Young / NZ Clas­sic Car) 05 Brands Hatch 1963 — How­den and Fal­con– Cli­max FWA 1100cc 06 1960 Wa­haroa. How­den and Buck­ler Mk5

09 Hämeen­linna, Fin­land Au­gust 6, 1967 — How­den fet­tles the BT21 (photo cour­tesy Denise Gan­ley) 10 Cas­tle Combe, May 29, 1967 — How­den and Brab­ham BT21-20 F3 (photo cour­tesy Denise Gan­ley) 11 Crys­tal Palace June 26, 1969 — How­den rac­ing a Chevron B15 1

13 Northsea Tro­phy race, Zolder, April 5, 1970 — How­den and Mclaren M10B 400-05 F5000 (photo Paul Kooy­man)

16 Re­lax­ing at the Nür­bur­gring with Denny Hulme prior to the 1971 Ger­man GP, Au­gust 1 (photo Locke de Brettville) 17 The 1971 Daily Ex­press Tro­phy Race at Sil­vers­tone on May 8 — How­den and BRM P153 (photo Terry Mar­shall archives)

15 How­den in 1971, now a Yard­ley BRM driver (photo Terry Mar­shall archives)

19 The 1971 Ital­ian GP — How­den leads in BRM P160 No. 19, fol­lowed by Ron­nie Peter­son’s STP March, Jacki Ickx’ Fer­rari and Henri Pescar­alo’s March (photo cour­tesy Denise Gan­ley) 20 An­other shot of How­den and his BRM at the 1971 Ital­ian GP (photo Terry

18 How­den at Le Mans in 1972 (photo Terry Mar­shall ar­chive)

24 Le Mans, 1972 — How­den in the Ma­tra MS670 V12 he and François Cev­ert drove to se­cond place (photo Terry Mar­shall ar­chive) 25 How­den and Frank Wil­liams’ IsoMarl­boro — sixth at the 1973 Cana­dian GP at Mosport 26 1973 24 Hours of Day­tona, Fe­bru­ary 4, 19

30 How­den at the Sil­vers­tone His­toric Fes­ti­val in 2000 (photo Gary Kuntz) 31 How­den Gan­ley in his old 1967 Brab­ham BT21 chas­sis 20 (now owned by Rob Forbes) at Thun­der­hill in 2013 32 How­den, John Fitz­patrick and the Maki F101-001 now re­stored and owne

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