MO­TOR­SPORT EX­CLU­SIVE

New Zealand Classic Car - - Motorsport Exclusive -

Tall and Short

In Au­gust 1966 Andy part­nered with Jackie Ste­wart to win the Roth­mans 12 Hour en­durance race at Surfers Par­adise. Andy had been 1.88m tall prior to his A40 crash, but although per­haps a tad shorter he was still tall, and the diminu­tive Jackie took one look at his co-driver and ob­served that one of them was go­ing to be un­com­fort­able. Per­haps that’s why Jackie used a full har­ness, while Andy used a lap and di­ag­o­nal safety belt.

As well, there was some­thing dan­gling from the ig­ni­tion key, and Jackie was most in­sis­tent that it had to be taken off. “You don’t want that swing­ing around if you’re go­ing cross coun­try at 130mph [209kph].”

With Ste­wart and Andy at the wheel, the 250LM won the race — although there was some dis­pute over the fi­nal re­sults.

Later that sea­son Shell flew Andy first-class to Perth for a six-hour race at the Caver­sham track, with high ex­pec­ta­tions of suc­cess. He was late get­ting to the track and missed prac­tice, but in the race he was 14 sec­onds a lap quicker than the next car. A kan­ga­roo bounded onto the cir­cuit in front of the Fer­rari while the car was trav­el­ling at 240kph, and Andy missed it by a whisker. Then it started rain­ing and the LM was hit by an­other car — that dam­aged the right rear wheel bear­ing. Andy brought the car into the pits to re­tire. When he re­ported what had hap­pened, Mckay’s chief me­chanic, a very re­li­gious man, re­sponded with, “Bum bum!”

Back in New Zealand, a typ­i­cal call from David would be, “A-A-A-ANDY, I-I-I-I’VE en­tered the LM at the F-F-F-F-FARM, I sug­gest you hop upon a kite and get over here.” ‘The Farm’ be­ing, of course, War­wick Farm, and the call would usu­ally come on a Thurs­day for a race on the Sun­day. Andy fondly re­calls the Fer­rari as a lovely, very for­giv­ing car, ex­cept for its fierce clutch and the al­most to­tal lack of fly­wheel ef­fect. No­body, no mat­ter how good a driver, could get the car off the line for the first time with­out stalling it four or five times. It could hit 117kph in first gear.

The 250LM would even­tu­ally end up as part of fash­ion guru Ralph Lau­ren’s ex­ten­sive car col­lec­tion. The Fer­rari, along with many other cars from Lau­ren’s col­lec­tion, went un­der the ham­mer at a Paris auc­tion in 2011 — and fetched US$14.3 mil­lion.

Andy bought a new Elfin 400 to con­test the 1967–’68 New Zealand Sports Car Cham­pi­onship. This lovely-look­ing mon­ster was meant to have an all-al­loy Chevrolet V8 en­gine, but it was pow­ered by a 6.5-litre cast-iron Chevy in­stead. The Aus­tralian ca­pac­ity limit was five litres, so he couldn’t race the car there. Andy reck­ons the en­gine weight caused the brake fluid to boil af­ter a cou­ple of laps, but that wasn’t enough of a hand­i­cap to stop him tak­ing out the New Zealand cham­pi­onship again.

Race of­fi­cials check out the 250LM in the pits at Pukekohe (photo Ger­ard Richards)

Clock­wise from top left: Mur­ray Charles shows off his flex­i­ble skills as he works on the 250LM Andy and the Fer­rari at Surfer’s Par­adise John Ri­ley, Andy and Bill Thomasen, prob­a­bly Renwick 1964 (photo Lang­wood Jackie Ste­wart dur­ing a driver change a

Andy in the Fer­rari 250LM in Australia (photo Lance J Rut­ing)

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