1964 was a further step forward for what we would call special saloons. The arrival of factory spec Lotus Cortinas whose drivers would race in the British Saloon Car Championship one weekend and an `open` saloon race the next boosted the grids. In the end it was the `Mod Squad` boys though who won the 2 club championships. Teams were making modest family saloons go quicker and quicker with progressive development in engine tuning and weight saving. Teams like the British Vita who were pushing the Mini to its limits and by the end of the season even had a fitted a Buick V8 in one. The year also saw the debut of Doc Merfield`s Cortina V8 as imaginations began to think more and more outside of the box. Here are the key runners and riders from that season...
CAR : FORD ANGLIA ENGINE : FORD 1650cc
TEAM : JOHN WILLMENT RACING
COLOUR : WHITE
1964 : BARC 2nd overall - CLASS WINNER ( 5 wins from 5 races )
BRSCC 3rd overall ( 2 wins from 6 races )
( plus other race wins )
The Jersey man enjoyed a fruitful season winning his class in the Barc Spring Grove Championship and 2nd in class in the BRSCC Championship in the John Willmet 1650cc push-rod Ford Anglia. His efforts were rewarded by a drive to 4th in the Oulton Park Gold Cup for the Willment Team. His Anglia was actually damaged by another car on the inlap after winning the Britax race at Silverstone on Oct 3rd , forcing an overnight switch to a Willment Cortina for the Brands Hatch finale the next day !
Boley moved into international sports car racing and Formula 3 in Italy.
Tragically Pittard would succumb from his injuries at Monza in a Formula 3 race on June 4th 1967 before his full potential was realised. He was 29.
CAR : FORD ANGLIA ENGINE : 1594cc t/c
TEAM : TEAM ANGLIA COLOUR : RED
1964 : BRSCC CHAMPION ( 9 Races , 5 wins )
BARC ( 4 Races , no wins )
A Ford employee and gifted racer/engineer he was one of the first to put the new Lotus Twin-Cam into an Anglia for racing. This took him to the BRSCC title with 5 wins. Later Abbott raced a rapid Escort Mk.1 with a Formula 2 Cosworth FVA engine of his own building setting a new lap record around Brands Hatch short in december 1971.
CAR : FORD ANGLIA ENGINE : 1650cc
TEAM : SUPERSPEED COLOUR :
1964 : BRSCC ( 2 Races , 2 wins )
BARC ( 1 Races , no wins )
Along with Brother John the pair ran the well known Superspeed Conversions Limited Team from Ilford in the 1964 British Saloon Car championship , taking 2nd in the 1200cc class with their Anglia. The boys kept up their support of the BRSCC Championship though with 2 wins in their 1650cc Racer. Mike having been BRSCC Champ in 1962 and John Champ in 1963.
CAR : MINI COOPER S ENGINE : 1370cc
TEAM : BRITISH VITA RACING COLOUR : BLUE
1964 : BRSCC R-UP ( 10 Races , 2 wins )
The British Vitafoam Developments team gained a reputation for pushing the boundaries with what was possible in modified Minis. These included the twin engined Mini on the Targa Florio and the Buick V8 Mini that Rochdale-born Ratcliffe debuted on Boxing Day at Mallory. His regular car was in the big class as it ran a bored-out BL A-Series engine of 1370cc and took 2nd place in the BRSCC Championship.
Boley Pitard won 5 races at Goodwood during the 1964 season , 2 of them in the BARC `Spring Grove `Championship. Further Spring Grove wins at Mallory Park and Aintree won him the class
CAR : LOTUS CORTINA ENGINE : 1594cc t/c
TEAM : MOONRAKER COLOUR : WHITE
1964 : BRSCC ( 4 Races , 2x 2nds )
BARC 2nd in class ( 4 Races , 1 win )
Roger Swanton was one of the influx of privateer racers that bought a Group 2 Lotus Cortina for both the British Saloon Car and for club events. His car had the plate `2 CAM` and featured in the first half of the BARC and BRSCC seasons before breaking into the British Saloons , appearing at the Aintree and Brands Hatch rounds.
CAR : FORD CORTINA ENGINE : FORD V8 4737cc
TEAM : BOOMARANG COLOUR : YELLOW
1964 : 6 races , best finish 3rd twice
Australian-born Dentist cum racer Doc Merfield had already won the BARC Championship in 1961 + 62 in an Anglia and was one of the first Cortina racers in 63. His idea of dropping a V8 into one of his Cortinas for 1964 created one of the most mythical and historically ground-breaking `special saloons` of all time. The car made its debut on May 18th at Brands BRSCC round but was damaged the following week at Goodwood , returning late on in the season.This car would later take Brian Bolton to the 1968 BARC title and continue in Tony Hazelwood`s hands.
HARRY DIGBY ( MIKE CAVE )
CAR : AUSTIN A40 ENGINE : BMC 1098cc
TEAM : MIKE CAVE COLOUR : GREY
1964 : BARC OVERALL CHAMPION ( 6 Races )
Owner Mike Cave had won the BARC title in 1963 in his Austin A40 and his driver Harry Digby made it a double in 1964. One win and five seconds in the 1200cc class was enough to pip Pittard by 3 points. Prepared by Lorraine Engineering, the Downton Agency in London. Autosport described the car as ` his veteran A40 , a car with remarkable roadholding qualities`. Cave winning the class in the BRSCC Brands Hatch finale.
CAR : MINI COOPER S ENGINE : 1098cc
TEAM : NEWTUNE COLOUR :
1964 : BRSCC ( 9 Races , 2 wins )
Sligo-born London based Bill McGovern had a very good debut season in racing with a rapid Mini and gained an immediate reputation as a hard charger. Moving into the British Saloons in 1965 McGovern would go on to win the the championship 3 times racing well prepared Hillman Imps.
CAR : MINI COOPER S ENGINE : 998cc
TEAM : BRITISH VITA D COLOUR : BLUE
1964 : BRSCC ( 5 Races , 2 wins ) 2nd in class?
BARC ( 3 races , 2 wins ) joint 3rd in class
Goodliff from Bath joined British Vita at the end of May 1964 and competed in both championships in the small class.
CAR : MINI COOPER S ENGINE : 1098cc
TEAM : COLOUR :
1964 : BRSCC ( 7 Races , 0 wins )
Costello was one of the Mini regulars in the BRSCC along with McGovern , McDougall and Goodliff. His time would come in 1967 when he won the BRSCC Championship outright in a 1.3 Mini after the class had moved from 1200 to 1300 to incorporate the A-series Minis.
ALSO COMPETED :
In the wake of the new Lotus Cortinas on the scene the good old Ford Anglias still proved to be both popular and competitive in the big class. As well as the Pittard , Young and Abbott cars these also starred in 1964 :
HOWARD FAWSITT ( Risborough Racing ) in the ex-Chris Craft orange 1650 Anglia
TED WILLIAMS ( Tony Kilburn Racing ) in the older ex-Mike Young Anglia
JOHN MITCHELL ( Team Forspeed ) 1650 Anglia.