These postings are really enjoyable; thanks very much David!
I just can't imagine racing those open cars at such speeds without even a roll bar!
1959 Le Mans results continued.
I just realized that I missed the 8th place finisher.
8th overall was the No.41 Lotus Elite driven by Peter Lumsden and Peter Riley. This was a private entry.
Spark made a nice model of this.
The 1960 Le Mans 24-hours
David Green has graciously allowed me to post the next installment of this Le Mans series. So here goes.
The 28th running of Le Vingt-Quatre Heures du Mans was held on June 25-26, 1960. This was the fifth (and last) round of the FIA World Sports Car Championship and, with wins at Sebring and the Targa Florio, Porsche arrived ahead in the points standings. So the race was set up as a duel between the 3-liter Ferraris and the 2-liter Porsches, which had earned a reputation as giant-killers. Le Mans therefore, was a must-win for Ferrari.
Stirling Moss had been seriously injured at the Belgian Grand Prix a week earlier, so he could not participate. But the entry list was a who’s who of famous and soon-to-be famous drivers. There were numerous classes as well, with eleven engine sizes split between sports and GT, theoretically allowing for 22 class winners!
Ferrari had 13 of the entries, about a quarter of the grid, and including 250 TRs, 250 GTs, and a 250 California. Porsche was counting on their Type 718 RS60, and Briggs Cunningham brought a team of three 1960 Corvettes (plus there was a fourth entered by the Camoradi Team). This was the last appearance of the Jaguar D-Type at the Sarthe, but Briggs also brought along the E2A, a prototype of the forthcoming 1961 E-Type.
The rest of the entries included Aston Martin, Maserati, MG, Triumph, Lotus, DB-Panhard, Lola, and others.
At the start Jim Clark was the first away in an Aston Martin DBR1/300. But by the end of the first hour Masten Gregory held the lead in his Birdcage Maserati. By the third hour the heavens opened up with a deluge of rain and even hail, and resulted in a string of retirements, either from accidents of shorted electrical systems. By 8:00 PM, the Ferrari 250 TR59/60 of Olivier Gendebien and automotive writer Paul Frere had a one-lap lead on the field, which they would never relinquish.
At the end Ferrari No. 11 was four laps ahead of the NART-entered 250 TR59. Paul Frere retired from racing, and went back to journalism. The Clark/Salvatori DBR1/300 was third and followed by four Ferrari 250 GTs, the Tavano No. 16 car netting the 3-liter GT class win.
Eighth place went to the Cunningham Corvette No. 3, piloted by John Fitch and Bob Grossman (1st in 5-liter GT). In one of those legendary Le Mans tales, the Corvette lost water two hours before the end and the pit crew packed the engine bay with ice, sending the car out for 10 miniutes only, then repeated this action. When it crossed the finish line, the engine seized. Porsche could do no better than 10th and 11th, although these were class wins.
I have nine of the 55 cars that started the race (only 20 were classified as finishers). As with all Le Mans winners, several replicas of the Gendebien/Frere car exist, going all the way back to the crude John Day white metal kit. I have the Ixo version, No. LM1960. For a modestly-priced diecast, it is quite good.
I’m ashamed to say I have none of the 250 GTs. My only other Ferrari from the race is another Ixo, the No. 10 Ginther/Mairese 250 TRI/60, a DNF in the 17th hour with a failed gearbox (Ixo LMC080).
The third place Aston has been modeled by Spark (S2443). As a private entry, there was a color change from the old works’ metallic green to a violet-blue used by the Border Reivers team.
Spark also made all four Corvettes from the race (Spark S1537 to S1540). The Halibrand mag wheels are nicely done. No. 1 was a DNF, due to a bad accident in the third hour.
Corvette No. 2 (Thompson/Woodridge) was put out by a fire in the 20th hour.
Corvette No. 3, as stated above, gave the Cunningham Team a class victory.
The No. 4 Corvette Camoradi Team entry (Gamble/Lilley) would have been 10th, but was classified as a non-finisher for failing meet a distance requirement for its class.
Cunningham’s experimental Jaguar E2A, driven by Dan Gurney and Walt Hansgen, blew a head gasket in the 10th hour. Made by Spark (S2100).
The Ted Lund/Colin Escott MGA was 12th and garnered 1st place in the Sports 2-liter category (Bizarre BZ377).
If anyone has pics of the other entries, feel free to post ‘em!
Harv, thank you for doing this extremely fine coverage of the 1960 Le Mans race. Excellent writing and a group of fine images made this first class.
Here are a few of my models from this race.
First the Winner: No.11 Ferrari 250 TR 59/60
Likely the earliest model by John Day from a kit in white metal from the 1970s.
Here is the Starter of France kit in resin.
The 3rd place No7 Aston Martin DBR1/300 by SMTS in white metal.
The 4th Place No.16 Ferrari 250 GT SWB by Top Model.
The 10th place No.35 Porsche 356 B Carrera GTL Abarth by Best.
The 13th place No.44 Lotus Elite by IXO.
The 15th place No.48 Deutsch Bonnet Panhard by Solido.
Finally, the DNF Cunningham Jaguar E2A which went out at lap 90 with a blown head gasket.
This one is a resin kit by Provence Moulage.
@david-green Thanks for posting yours David. Wish I had caught the Best Porsche and the Ixo Lotus when they were issued. One thing I learned is just how long it takes to make a historical post like those on this string. Too bad we don't get many likes for this effort. So who does 1961 - you or me?
Your excellent 1960 contribution suggests that you may wish to have a go on 1961, if you would like. I don't think that there is any rush. I would suggest we set a target of completing the 1960s by year's end with both of us sharing the effort. This era might be more popular with The Diecast Zone membership.
@david-green I can give it a shot. I have seven 1961 models. I agree spacing this out over the year will be a big help.
1961 Le Mans
The 29th running of the Le Mans 24-hours took place on June 10-11, 1961. There were 65 entries this year, including 55 starters, 8 reserves, and 2 rejected entries. A significant number of these were rear or mid-engined, marking a change that continues to this day. Ferrari was there in force to defend it’s 1960 win, with 11 cars in both sports and GT categories. Other significant entries came from Maserati, Aston Martin, Porsche, and Deutsch-Bonnet (DB).
Ferrari’s racing division (Societa Esercizio Fabbriche Automobili e Corse, or SEFAC) entered four cars: two 250 Testarossas (similar to the 1960 winner), the new mid-engined 246 SP, and a 250 GT coupe. That year’s Sebring winner, another Testarossa, was entered by NART and driven by Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez. Maserati entered its latest, the Tipo 63 (also mid-engined) while Briggs Cunningham brought three Masers (Tipo 60 and 63). There were three Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato coupes and Lotus had two works Lotus Elite coupes on the grid. Porsche showed up with three new RS61s, each with a different flat-four engine. Triumph entered three TR4S cars in the Sports division. The rest of the field included Abarths, DBs, OSCA, and others, including Ted Lund who was back with a modified MGA that he had run the previous two years.
At the end of the first lap, Ginther in the 246 SP led Hill's Testarossa, Hansgen's Maserati, and Pedro Rodriguez in the NART Ferrari. The 246SP was able to run up to 15 minutes longer before refuelling, therefore building up a lead. Around six o’clock the rain began, and so did the accidents, resulting in broken bones for Walt Hangsen (Cunningham Maserati) and Bill McKay (A-H Sprite). Stirling Moss, in the Ferrari 250 GT, recorded the 7th fastest racing lap ever on the circuit, running in 5th overall. The rain continued into the night, with the works and NART Testarossas swapping the lead.
By morning the track was drying, but by now mechanical issues began plaguing various cars. The NART Ferrari pitted with a misfire, yielding second position to the second works Ferrari TR, only to have Von Trips run out of fuel. The Essex Aston DB4GT made it up to 4th, but retired with a leaking oil tank. The NART car, once repaired, made a valiant effort to regain 2nd, but with two hours to go the engine gave up the ghost.
At the finish it was a 1-2 victory for the SEFAC Ferrari 250 Testarossas. The Belgian 250 GT of Noblet and Guichet was third (1st in 3-liter GT) , with the Cunningham Maserati Type 63 (Pabst/Thompson) fourth. Porsche racked up two class wins, including 5th overall. That 5th place RS61 spyder was a US entry, driven by Masten Gregory and Al Holbert. Five DBs were dead last among the 22 finishers. Ferrari’s fifth win put it in a three-way tie with Bentley and Jaguar for the most wins at Le Mans.
I own seven of the 1961 Le Mans entrants in 1:43 scale. My model of the winning Ferrari TRI61 (Chassis 0794TR), driven by Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien, is LookSmart LSLM022. It is a most impressive resin built-up model. No doubt they made the second place No. 11 car (Marisse/Parkes) but I missed out on that one.
But I did get LookSmart LSLM046, the NART Ferrari TRI/61 (Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez) that DNF’d on lap 305.
A bit over thirty years ago the BAM shop (Boutique Auto Moto) made 50 built-ups of the Meri kits Cunningham Maserati Tipo 60/61. This car had a longer tail that the normal Tipo 60/61 and was driven by Briggs himself and Bill Kimberley to 8th place. In 1960 Briggs bought two Tipo 60s (2-liter) and two Tipo 61s (3-liter) from Maserati. One would think he brought the larger displacement Tipo 61 to the Sarthe, but Wikipedia calls it a Tipo 60 and BAM called it a Tipo 61. My Cunningham book is unclear.
Team Lotus finished 12th and 1st in 1.3-liter GT class with an Elite coupe driven by Trevor Taylor and Bill Allen. Ixo did a good job replicating this one in diecast (No. LMC074)..
Now to my DNFs. Vitesse VCC99001 represents the DB4 GT Zagato privately-entered car of Kerguen/Dewes. A battery problem put it out after 286 laps. The No.2 Essex entry (Fairman/Consten) only lasted 22 laps with engine failure as the culprit (Vitesse VCC99043).
And finally, we have poor Ted Lund. After a respectable 12th in 1960, his MGA conked out after a mere 22 laps, putting an end to his run at Le Mans with his MGA. Model by Bizarre (No. BZ347).
I hope David Green and others can fill in some of the gaps.
Excellent post! Thanks for the gripping detail, Harv.
Outstanding and continuing a tradition Harv. I'll try to add soon. Having a little family health issue currently which is limiting my computer time.
@david-green Hope it all turns out well David.
@mg-harv "In 1960 Briggs bought two Tipo 60s (2-liter) and two Tipo 61s (3-liter) from Maserati. One would think he brought the larger displacement Tipo 61 to the Sarthe, but Wikipedia calls it a Tipo 60 and BAM called it a Tipo 61. My Cunningham book is unclear."
Great post, Harvey! I always go to https://www.racingsportscars.com/photo/Le_Mans-1961-06-11.html for photos and they call #24 a Typo 60, maybe that's where wiki got it...
Thanks for the excellent race synopsis.
Inverness, Illinois, USA
A few to be going on with.
Here is the Rob Walker Racing Team No.18 Ferrari 250 GT SWB driven by Stirling Moss and Graham Hill which DNFed at lap 121 when a water hose blew. This is the same car that Stirling Moss won the Goodwood Tourist Trophy that year as No.7.
This one is from a Madyero resin kit ( They also go under Gemini and Remember).
My earliest model of the winning No.10 SEFAC Ferrari 250TRI/61 driven by Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien is a Starter built resin model. This car completed 333 laps.
I love your LookSmart version Harv, Here is the IXO more common version.
I'll add more later.
@david-green My LookSmart was an upgrade to the Ixo I used to have. Even further back into white metal's dark ages, I had a John Day/Equipe version (that I never built).