Tag: 1971

The Questor Grand Prix was a non-championship race for Formula One and Formula 5000 cars held on 28 March 1971 – @second-a-lap.blogspot.com

The Questor Grand Prix was a non-championship race for Formula One and Formula 5000 cars held on 28 March 1971 – @second-a-lap.blogspot.com


The worlds of Formula 1 and Indycars were possibly at their closest in the early 1970s. Big money would force them apart in the early 1980s as the FIA grew increasingly bullish about open-wheel competition outside their control and FOCA wanted to crack the lucrative American market for themselves.

However, before this both drivers (including Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti) and constructors (such as Lotus, Penske and Parnelli) happily dabbled in both disciplines, and there was none of the bickering about circuits. This left some obvious crossover potential, something spotted by American entrepreneur David Lockton, head of athlete management company Sports Headliners. Convinced of the viability of a major race circuit on the West Coast he raised $25.5m to build the Ontario Motor Speedway, located some 40 miles from Los Angeles. 

The track was a 2.5 mile oval with an infield that could be converted into a 4.2 mile road course using part of the banking, not dissimilar to the configuration later added to Indianapolis in 2000 for Formula 1 cars. The nineteen turns were numbered rather than named, with the number 13 skipped for superstitious reasons. Seating was provided for some 140,000 spectators (both infield and in grandstands), and when the circuit opened in 1970 it was state-of-the-art, with luxurious facilities and a computerised real-time position board.

The owners rapidly secured interest from USAC, NASCAR and Formula 1. The latter agreed to add a second United States Grand Prix to the calendar in 1972, subject to the successful running of a non-championship race in 1971. To raise local interest the organisers decided to effectively make the race a Formula Libre event by inviting ten prominent American USAC drivers to compete in Formula A (5-litre single-seaters which were the most powerful class in the American F5000 series) cars against the Grand Prix regulars. It wasn’t a new idea – the Race of Two Worlds had tried a similar thing on the Monza banking – but it satisfied the FIA. It didn’t hurt that the Formula 1 cars were more powerful than their Formula A opponents, albeit not by much, loading the dice so the Grand Prix drivers could give their Indycar rivals a nice trouncing on their own doorstep.

In return for title rights for the event the Questor Group put up a combined prize fund of $278,400, which raised considerable interest from the major teams. The race was scheduled for the 28th of March, the weekend following the traditional Race of Champions meeting at Brands Hatch and also clashing with the USAC race at Phoenix. The British teams all left in a flight of freight planes from Gatwick the Tuesday after the race. Only one demurred – Surtees had originally entered Rolf Stommelen and Big John himself, but with their Cosworth DFV engines badly in need of a rebuilt decided to skip the meeting


In all seventeen Formula 1 cars attended. Lotus had planned to run the innovative Pratt & Whitney turbine-powered 56B for lead driver Emerson Fittipaldi but after a difficult debut for the machine at the Race of Champions he instead opted to stick with the proven Lotus 72 (borrowed by club racer Tony Trimmer at Brands). Reine Wissell would take the second machine, using the latest Series 11 DFV.

Team Lotus drivers Reine
Wissell and Emerson Fittipaldi.

Ferrari flew Jacky Ickx and two cars – the other for South African Grand Prix winner Mario Andretti – over directly from Italy, having dispatched a small team to run Clay Regazzoni at Brands. The winner of the Race of Champions, Jackie Stewart, entered in Tyrrell 001. He was further boosted by the installation of the other available Series 11 Cosworth.

March intended to enter two works cars – one for Ronnie Peterson and another for Alex Soler-Roig – but after teething troubles with the new ‘tea-tray’ winged 711 chassis only entered the Swede. Brabham entered Graham Hill in the new ‘lobster claw’ BT34 machine also first seen at Brands, where the combination had set fastest lap; junior team-mate Tim Schenken had to make do with the old BT33.

Graham Hill in the promising
Brabham BT34.

McLaren arrived with the promising new M19A for Denny Hulme and an older M14A for Peter Gethin. BRM meanwhile dispatched three cars – two of the new P160s for Pedro Rodriguez and Jo Siffert and an older P153 for young Kiwi Howden Ganley. Matra sent a single updated MS120B for Chris Amon, flown direct from France after the French concern elected to skip the Race of Champions. 

Privateers were thin on the ground due to the freight costs. However, Frank Williams made the transatlantic journey with his new March 711 for Henri Pescarolo and arranging a deal with Derek Bell to run in his old 701. Another 701 was hired by STP to enter USAC driver – and reigning F5000 champion – John Cannon . Volkswagen dealer and serial local Grand Prix entrant Pete Lovely also belatedly arrived with his Lotus 49B (which he was still running in F5000), but due to his lateness was only allowed to practice as a prospective reserve.

John Cannon, entered by
STP in a March 701

The Formula 1 drivers would be challenged by 15 Formula A cars. The most numerous type was Lola’s T192, powered by a V8 Chevrolet engine. Examples of these were on hand for Mark Donohue (a sportscar specialist but no slouch in single seaters, entered by good friend Roger Penske),  Al Unser (the reigning USAC champion), Bob Bondurant (well-known to most from his European escapades in the 190s with the Shelby Cobra GT team and a stint in Formula 1), Lou Sell (1968 F5000 champion) and Tony Adamowicz (Sell’s successor). Older but modified T190s were provided by Charlie Hayes for Bobby Unser (Al’s brother, who had briefly guested for the BRM team but was better known as one of the biggest names in Indycars, winning the title – and the Indy 500 – in 1968) and Ron Grable (a winner of two rounds in the 1970 F5000 series), with Jack Byers on hand as a reverse.

Ron Grable in a Lola-Chevrolet.

Lotus’ Formula 5000 models were only represented by George Follmer (later to drive for the Shadow F1 team) in a Boss Ford V8-engined Lotus 70; while the machine was considered something of a disappointment Follmer had won two races in the 1970 season with it. Surtees TS8s with Chevrolet engines were entered for Peter Revson (the Revlon heir in between his two stints of Grand Prix racing, being largely known in Europe at the time for his unsuccessful early-1960s stint with the Parnell team) and Sam Posey (a regular in both TransAm and Indycars who would guest for the works Surtees F1 team at Watkins Glen before the end of the season). McLaren’s F5000 models were represented by Chevy-engined M10Bs for A.J. Foyt (already a three-times Indy 500 winner) and David Hobbs (an Englishman who had dabbled in F1 with BRM and Honda but found greater success in America during a nomadic career). Like Lovely, Hobbs was a late entrant and would only be allowed to practice as a reserve.

Hutchison in the unusual

There were two more entrants for the Formula A class. Firstly, Dan Gurney – having finally called time on his Formula 1 career the previous year after helping McLaren after the loss of founder Bruce – entered his wild protegee Swede Savage, who had won the 1970 Bobby Ball 150 Indycar race, in a Plymouth-engined Eagle 69/511. The other was Gus Hutchison (who had privately entered a Brabham at the 1970 US Grand Prix) in the unusual Aero Structure Developments American car, another to use a Chevrolet engine.

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Looking Back At The “Stockholm Syndrome” 1971 Ford Mustang Getaway Car – Mark J McCourt @Hemmings


It sometimes happens that an ordinary car becomes famous through extraordinary circumstances, like the Triumph Herald whose inadvertent parking spot on Abbey Road made it part of pop culture royalty. Perhaps infamous might be the more appropriate term for an otherwise unremarkable 1971 Ford Mustang Hardtop. It was one of more than 65,000 built; it just happened to have been sold new in Sweden.

That Swedish pony car also just happened to play a small but important role in one of the most internationally famous bank heists of the 20th century, and it recently came up for online auction with the firm, Bilweb Auctions.

The Ford, chassis 1TO1F100286 and license plate AMP 083, is known today as the Norrmalmstorgsdramat Mustang. It was to be the getaway car for Jan-Erik “Janne” Olsson and Clark Olofsson, Olsson being the man who, on August 23, 1973, held up the Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm, and set off a five-day saga that involved four bank employee hostages and the demand for freedom of notorious criminal Olofsson, then in Swedish prison. This event, and the hostages’ ultimate reactions to the robber who held them captive, led to the coining of the psychological term, “Stockholm Syndrome.”

The history of this blue Mustang—factory-equipped with a 2-bbl.-carbureted 302-cu.in. V-8 and C4 SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic automatic—was quite interesting from the start, as it had diplomatic ties, having been purchased new by the Embassy of Brazil in Stockholm. From the fall of 1971 through the time of the siege, it belonged to Kenth Svensson, the on-duty policeman who was shot in the hand during the drama.

The car was parked in front of the bank with a full tank of fuel, as demanded by Olsson, but was never used; the hostage crisis was ended with no fatalities or criminal escape.Its five days of fame over, the Mustang faded into obscurity, being sold off and eventually heavily modified with the intent to turn it into a drag car. It was last registered in 1987, when it showed 46,600 kilometers, or 28,956 miles. Bilweb Auctions tells its history:

After the robbery, he used it as a utility vehicle for the family became too large and it was sold to Mats Fahlgren in Umeå. Mats drove the car until 1987 when he had to rebuild the car for drag racing (he then had no idea about the history). The car was emptied of interior, wheelhouses at the back were widened and rebuilt at the front. A roll bar and some reinforcements had time to be fitted before a reporter came to do a report on the car and the history was discovered for Mats. Then he decided to interrupt the construction and parked the car with parts in a dry lodge.

It stood there until 2019 when the current owner Fredrik Johansson in Trensum bought it and aimed to build it completely original. He has meanwhile collected a lot of parts and a donor car that is included in this auction. As the time is difficult for Fredrik who is self-employed, he chooses to sell this exciting object on to someone who wants to take over.

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The 1971 Indy 500 was so much more than the pace car disaster – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Pretty much all anybody recalls the 1971 Indianapolis 500 for these days was the pace car crash into the photographer’s stand at the start of the race. Or maybe the fact that pre-late show fame David Letterman interviewed Mario Andretti while covering the race for a local TV station. But it also had its merits as a good race, featuring the likes of the Unsers, Mark Donohue, A.J. Foyt, Peter Revson, and other racing greats in what was billed as a battle between Indy 500 veterans and a new crop of road racers driving McLarens who thought they could take on the Indy establishment. Definitely worth watching beyond the pace lap.

These 8 car movies from 1971 brought hot rubber to silver screen – Priscilla Page @Hagerty


With the era’s racing films and road movies, James Bond and Bullitt, the 1960s gave us the genesis of the modern action film, but the decade that followed defined and refined it. Stunts and stunt driving were more impressive than ever, and there was a boom in road movies and car chases. The 1970s is remembered as one of the best and most innovative decades in film, and cool cars were essential to this cinematic evolution.

Road films like Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider had been watershed moments in film history, and so the late ’60s through the early ’70s became a particularly prolific period for the genre: they reconfigured the western, trading in horses for cars. The American psyche had been fundamentally altered by a tumultuous period, from assassinations to the Vietnam War, and films reflected this change, abandoning the peace and love era for the new decade’s darkness, disillusionment, and fascination with antiheroes. And so the car-centered movies of the early ’70s would be defined by rebellion and wanderlust and loners on the road in search of new frontiers in dusty muscle cars.

Advances in technology also helped shape and pave the way for great films with equally great cars. Films like Grand Prix and Bullitt changed how vehicular action was shot, bringing about the advent of camera cars and the ability to put real people in real cars on a real road, meaning rear projection was slowly becoming a thing of the past.

These circumstances would come to a head 50 years ago in 1971. It was the perfect storm of road odysseys, gripping car chases, and spectacle, a year that gave us some of the best star cars of all time. Splashed on screen was an embarrassment of riches from James Bond’s 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 to Kowalski’s 1970 Dodge Challenger.

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Rarities, oddities, and Full Classics from the 1971 Hershey car show and car corral – Matt Litwin @Hemmings


Digging into my Hershey memory bank led me to the discovery of another series of photos my father took of the AACA Eastern Fall Meet in October 1971.

1947 Continental

Veteran Hershey-goers will quickly point out that the car show was still held within its original location inside what is now Hersheypark Stadium, which not only hosts summer concerts today, but remains the home of the town’s high school football team.

1919 King

 It’s also where the vintage race cars are now paraded in front of their class judges, and where the entertaining high-wheeler race is held during Meet Week (weather pending).A closer look at the pictures, however, reveals that some of the subjects captured on Kodak were not only rare examples, but also vehicles for sale on the east side of the stadium’s exterior.

1921 Jewett

Regardless of whether these images were cars on display or up for grabs, I couldn’t help but wonder where each of them ended up in the ensuing years. Enjoy this entertaining albeit brief look back in time.

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