Crabbe’s initial Formula One foray involved this Cooper-Masearati with which Vic Elford finished 12th in the 1969 International Trophy Race at Silverstone.
Photo: Chris Willows
My story of Formula One came into being after I’d driven my GT40 and got all that out of the way. I thought I could become a decent single-seater driver in the various club events that existed at the time. I was studying Autosport one day in late 1968 and saw a block advert from Coopers offering a Type 86B F1 car powered by a V12 Maserati engine at a price of £3000. Included in the deal were three spare engines and God knows how many spare parts. I was very excited as I waited for the delivery of the car at around 6:30 a.m. one late summer’s morning. The Cooper arrived and was quickly unloaded with all the engines, spares and wheels. I waved farewell to the lorry and couldn’t wait to get into the car, however, it was two hours later before I was able to be levered out by my mechanic, Peter Bracewell—I’d become stuck in the cockpit! Realizing immediately that I was never ever going to be able to drive a modern GP car, someone else was in line to get the drive!
The team prepared the car, painting it in the maroon and white livery of Antique Automobiles. The first event was a non-championship F1/F5000 race in February 1969 at Jarama. Previously, the Madrid circuit had been the home of the Spanish GP, but in 1969 the Grand Prix moved to Barcelona. The start monies were good and my old friend Neil Corner drove the car and finished a very creditable 3rd, although he had lost second gear during the race. I went away with a sack full of Pesetas worth around £1,500, so the car was now half paid for! It was great fun and I wondered what we were going to do next?
Become a Member & Get Ad-Free Access To This Article (& About 6,000+ More)
Access to the full article is limited to paid subscribers only. Our membership removes most ads, lets you enjoy unlimited access to all our premium content, and offers you awesome discounts on partner products. Enjoy our premium content.