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17 Aug 2014

One man's trash is another man's treasure...


This collection of very badly corroded racing car parts-with quite a few of the important transmission parts missing was once a Felday 4-BRM 4WD sports car.It was sold at Bonham's Goodwood Festival of Speed auction back in June for an extraordinary 14950 pounds(A$26767/US$24954).

Built by Peter Westbury the Felday won on its first ever outing at the Brands Hatch Boxing Day Meeting in December 1965.Its true moment of fame came a few months later in the 1966 Guards Trophy in May at Brands Hatch where Jim Clark drove it.Jim won the under 2 litre class in the first heat but mechanical problems intervened in the second heat.
For those reading this blog who are unaware of Jim Clark's pedigree he was a Scottish racing driver who won the F1 World Championship twice (1963 and 1965).Jim was superfast,supersmooth ,very versatile and a real gentleman.He was the antithesis of today's pampered prima donnas the F1 one trick ponies.He raced at Indy,in sports cars,saloon cars and F2 as well as F1.Often he raced different categories of cars at the same meeting.Imagine Sebastian Vettel racing and winning in a saloon car an hour or so before jumping into his F1 car.
Sadly Jim Clark was killed in a minor F2 race at Hockenheim in Germany in 1968.

Through the mid-late 1950s when I first became interested in motor racing Stirling Moss was my hero driver but after his enforced retirement following his crash at Goodwood in 1962 Jim Clark replaced him as my hero and I can still remember the moment when I heard on the news that Jim had been killed.I was actually studying for my final university exams at home listening to the commentary of the BOAC 500 sportscar race at Brands Hatch where Jim Clark should have been racing when the announcement came.They have never established why he crashed that day .
My brother,Bob ,was at the 1966 Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch when the Felday 4 raced and he used his Olympus Pen S half frame camera loaded with Kodachrome 2 to get this absolutely classic shot of Jim Clark in the Felday.

As for the pile of badly corroded parts which is all that now remains of the Felday I cannot imagine what the buyer is going to do with them.They are way too far gone to be used in a restoration or even a reconstruction and anyway so many unique parts are missing.And whilst the Felday was an interesting car it wasn't that special.Hopefully we will find out what happens to them.I hope that the buyer did not get carried away in the heady atmosphere of the Festival of Speed auction and is now suffering a serious bout of buyer's remorse.

After receiving this photo from my brother ,who lives in the UK,I asked him to look into his archive and he has sent me another very poignant slide which I will post soon.I had no idea that Bob has these photos.Hopefully it is a deep slide box which neatly segues into a link with another very recently found slide archive on the blog of American photographer John Oliver see Lost archive.This looks like being a very interesting blog for motor racing/photographers to follow.

Meanwhile my brother has moved on a long way from motor racing and is a respected authority on classical music and has one of the best known blogs on the subject at An Overgrown Path however motor sport must be deeply embedded in the family genes as his son James is technical director of one of the premier motor sport technology suppliers.James is getting married next week so best wishes James .

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