The prelude to Paul Emery's last disaster
- Mattijs Diepraam
- 8W Summer 2001 issue
- Emeryson Special - Colin Chapman's single Emeryson appearance, by Mattijs Diepraam/John Cross
- ENB - Lucien Bianchi and the ENB-née-Emeryson, by Mattijs Diepraam/Don Capps
- Scirocco - American heir buys British disaster cars, by Mattijs Diepraam
IX International Gold Cup (1 September 1962)
In another chapter devoted to Paul Emery's marginal but colourful contribution to World Championship Grand Prix racing we could hardly fail to point you to two of Paul's most dismal of efforts: the Scirocco-née-Emeryson Mk3 and the Shannon-Godiva. Hugh Aiden-Jones was involved in both projects as a designer - and in the case of the Shannon he was the designer while Emery did the Godiva engine development.
Some five years before, Aiden-Jones, then a mechanic for Louise Bryden-Browne's Anglo-American Equipe, first set foot on designer territory when he was allowed by the team's patroness to create his own car. Not as much a designer per se (as can be vouched for by the dreadful Shannon) as a bright engineer who could chip in some useful design tweaks to an existing chassis, Aiden-Jones picked an FPF-engined Cooper T59 F Junior from 1962 as the basis of his first Aiden special. But special it was! The "useful" tweaks included the sharp nose and side radiators that are commonplace in F1 as it is today, and in this respect the original Aiden-Cooper showed a clear vision. The difference was, it didn't work.
It showed during the early-Spring run of non-championship events. At Pau, with Ian Burgess driving, the car was 7 seconds off Jim Clark's pace but having made the grid it finished 5 laps down in 8th position. At least it had been on a par with young Jo Siffert's Lotus in qualifying and had outpaced Schlesser's Equipe Lausanne T51, Siffert's team mate Heinz Schiller in a Porsche 718, and the unusual Cegga-Maserati of Maurice Caillet.
The team skipped Goodwood's Lavant Cup and Glover Trophy, preparing for the BARC Aintree 200 which saw Burgess start from the back of the grid, finishing well down in 17th. Two weeks later, Burgess was present again for the International Trophy, where he harvested the breathtakingly miserable result of qualifying last and finishing last, 9 laps down.
The poor showing may have been the reason for Aiden-Jones and Burgess to ship the car to Italy in an attempt to redeem themselves as they decided to enter all the really, really minor events that would follow all through the summer period. This did not include well-entered races such as the Reims or Solitude GPs but a week after the International Trophy they did show up for the Naples GP at Posillipo. In a thin field led by the second-string Ferraris of Mairesse and Bandini, Burgess surprised by being among the 10 starters - with 17 cars present at the circuit. Again he kept the car running to finish 5th, two laps down.
Next up was the 2000 Guineas race at Mallory Park, which the team elected over the Crystal Palace Trophy, and where the entry was led by Clark's Lotus and Surtees' Lola. While Big John won the race, with Clark dropping out with oil pressure problems, Burgess finished in a position he had become accustomed to: last. Things looked slightly better in the team's single World Championship entry. Burgess qualified 16th ahead of Carel de Beaufort and such luminaries as Tony Shelly, Tony Settember (Aiden-Jones' future boss at Scirocco) and Jay Chamberlain, with Wolfgang Seidel bringing up the rear with an unrepresentative time of 2.11s. In the race Burgess had a lonely run to 12th, almost a minute in arrears of Settember. He wasn't last but only technically… A chance to enter Enna's Mediterranean GP was then forsaken for a tour through to Scandinavia which became a moderate success due fifths in the Karlskoga Kanonloppet (won by Masten Gregory) and the three-heat Danish GP at the Roskildering (dominated by Jack Brabham in his customer Lotus 24).
The car's last appearance came at Oulton's Gold Cup - at which point the car's remarkable bodywork and side-mounted radiators had been converted to a more conventional lay-out, with a radiator sitting at the front (see our picture). The two-hour race was a Jim Clark show but near the back Burgess set a respectable 15th time in qualifying before suffering a broken oil pipe in the race - the only time the Aiden-Cooper showed any sign of unreliability. It was also the car's last opportunity to shine as the last portion of the season would be fought over overseas in the long-haul events in Mexico, the US and South Africa.
By that time Aiden-Jones got involved in Hugh Powell's plans to set up his own Scirocco factory for 1963. Perhaps for Hugh it had been an appealing prospect to design and build a racing car at the back of a pub. That's an offer no-one would refuse.
Reader's Why by Richard Armstrong
This was the eleventh and final Formula 1 appearance of the Aiden-Cooper, a one-off special based on a Cooper T59 Formula Junior chassis. Quite why anyone thought that an FJ chassis would or could be competitive in Formula 1 is a bit of a mystery, but perhaps they drew encouragement from the Lotus 18 which had carried all before it in 1960 Formula Junior and won in the hands of Moss in Formula 1. However, the Cooper T59 was no Lotus 18 and Ian Burgess was certainly no Stirling Moss.
Designed by Hugh Aiden-Jones, the Aiden-Cooper was financed by Louise Bryden-Browne through her team Anglo-American Racing. A Climax FPF was fitted, driving through a 5-speed Cooper gearbox, and an attractive body was produced which featured an elegant pointed nose. This was accomplished by locating two radiators on the sides of the car where they sat in sidepods flanking the engine - an interesting innovation for 1962 and a first in Formula 1.
AAR had no pretensions to being a World Championship team, mostly contenting themselves with entries in non-Championship races, and the Aiden-Cooper made its debut in the Pau GP on April 23rd 1962, finishing eighth. That the team travelled so far to race is strange, to say the least, since there were two other Formula 1 races that day in Britain, at Goodwood and Aintree: perhaps the start money at Pau was better! Just five days later they were at Aintree for the '200' but after a troubled race Burgess finished last and unclassified, completing less than half the race distance. It was a similar story at Silverstone although there was an improvement at Naples: Burgess qualified fifth and finished in the same position - the result flatters him more than a little, since apart from two works Ferraris for Mairesse (1st) and Bandini (2nd), there were no World Championship regulars in the race and he finished two laps down, behind Keith Greene's Gilby-Climax and Carlo Abate in a three-year old Porsche.
In the 2000 Guineas at Mallory Park, Burgess resumed his customary last place finish, although he had managed to qualify eighth, matching the time of Masten Gregory in a UDT-Laystall Lotus 18/21 - things were looking up! An entry had been made for the French GP, but this was withdrawn, and the car's next appearance was at Solitude, when Burgess recorded his best finish of the year coming home in fourth place behind Gurney, Bonnier and Taylor. The Aiden-Cooper made its first appearance in the World Championship in the British GP at Aintree, where it arrived shorn of its pointed nose and with a single front radiator - there was also a strange extension of the bodywork over the left-hand side of the rear suspension, presumably to aid induction. He finished 12th, only four laps down, and not last! Two weeks later in Germany Burgess brought the car home 11th at the Nürburgring.
AAR made the trip to Sweden for the Kanonloppet at Karlskoga, but against a strong, select field of runners could only manage fifth of six finishers - last was de Beaufort in his elderly Porsche. A fortnight later, he was in Denmark and finished fifth again in the three-heat Danish GP at Roskilde, managing to go through all three heats without being lapped - a further improvement!
And so to Oulton Park, where Burgess qualified eleventh, but over seven seconds behind Ginther's BRM on pole position. In this race, the car spoiled its 100 per cent finishing record when an oil pipe broke, but the final indignity was reserved for the last European race of the season, when Burgess failed to qualify for the Italian GP at Monza.
That seems to have been the end of the Aiden-Cooper. In 1963 Aiden-Jones was appointed to a design consultancy post with Hugh Powell's Scirocco team, a fiasco with which Burgess also had the misfortune to be involved as a driver. It finished Burgess' F1 career but Aiden-Jones would reappear once more in partnership with Paul Emery as designer of the Shannon-Climax, which managed just one lap in the 1966 British GP.