Please excuse my english, we do our best…..
There are less than 50 years in England, dreams could become reality. It was the time of the « garage owners » as Enzo Ferrari liked to call them. The time for Cooper Chapman, of Tojeiro, Lister and many other yet. If you had talent, a good engine, ambition, and some money, you would build your own car.
John Tojeiro was one of these men. A man who decides to create his chassis and make his racing cars.
There are only a few Tojeiro and only two coupés. Both cars were designed to run 24 hours of Le Mans 1962 under the colors of the Ecurie Ecosse, but the fate of these frames was very different.
Born in Estoril in 1923 of a Portuguese father and an English mother, John Tojeiro is interested very quickly to the car. On the death of his father he finds himself in England where he then met Brian Lister at Persia School in Cambridge. Lister will be one of his first clients and will also become one of its most talented competitor.
In 1942 he joined the Fleet Air Arm and work on aircraft structures.
At 22, John Tojeiro was demobilized and left the Fleet Ari Am armed with simple engineering basics. He created a small business in a garage Arrigton and built his first frame in order to participate in some national races. To do so, he carefully analyzed a Cooper Mg belonging to his friend Brian Lister and was inspired by it to create his first car. The work was neat and ingenious and quickly his reputation began to spread in the middle of the English automobile.
In 1953 he worked on AC Ace, which was the first British sports car to offer a fully independent suspension. He designs the entire car frame, a frame based on two tubes of large diameter with sub-front and rear frames to maintain the transverse leaf spring and wishbone suspension. The engine mounted in the car at the time was a six-cylinder 2-liter. (Motor to be replaced the following year)
In 1957 Tojeiro form the Tojeiro Car Company and are produced with 4 cars Jaguar engines with the help of Cavendish for aerodynamics and bodywork. (These cars will be the subject of a future article)
But let’s talk about our 2 Coupés.
In 1962 on the order of 2 cars by David Murray for the Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro proposes using the concept of frame of his Formula Junior. Chassis that once strengthened may be a good basis for the new coupe.
The body will be entrusted to Cavendish Morton who had worked previously with Tojeiro especially on special AC who participated in the 24h of Le Mans 1958. The engines, when with them, will be Climax.
The time is missing and the Ecurie Ecosse sent his best mechanic Senior Stan Sproat, to work on both cars. The body design also put many problems and finally despite foreign aid, a single car will be finished in time to be present at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
It is then decided that the two cars will be on the trip, the second car will serve as a spare part for if necessary.
Only the Tuesday before the race that the Ecurie Ecosse transporter took the road. The cars were not even painted, the paint material was embedded in the carrier to carry out this work once arrived in the Sarthe.
But despite this late arrival the car passed the pre-race tests and validated its participation in the 24h of Le Mans.
From the start the car, driven by Dickson and Fairman, proved to be very fast and its performance in the straight line of Hunaudière had nothing to envy to the other competitors in its class, the 2500cc prototype cars.
But after 8 hours of racing the Cooper gearbox broke, forcing the car to pull over to the side of the track, watching the competitors finish the race.
Once back in Scotland, the car was prepared for the international race of the « 50 laps Guards Trophy Augus » t at Brands Hatch, which took place in heavy rain. Unfortunately Jack Fairman, the driver lost control of the car and off the track.
To save the season, David Mvurray decided to put the car in the speed record at the Monza circuit.
Drived by Jack Fairman everything went smoothly again but the attempt had to be cut short when an oil pipe broke and forced the car to return to the pits. Small consolation, despite the 100KM could not be completed, the record of 152 mph (244km / h) was the highest speed ever achieved by such a car on the Pista de Alta Velocita.
In 1963, the V8 alloy engine produced by General Motors attracted David Murray who wanted to install it in his cars. Note that he was not innovative in the matter because the same engine was used by Bruce McLaren and Teddy Mayer for their very young McLaren car.
For financial reasons, only one Buick V8 engine block and one Corvair transmission could be acquired by the team and Stan Sproat took care of the gearbox / engine transformations of the car. Once adjusted the engine was going to develop 228 hp.
For the 1963 season, the 2 Tojeiro EE Coupés, one with a climax engine, the other with the Buick, will participate in club and national races only. To do David Murray hired the promising young brother of former driver Jimmy Stewart team, Jackie. Doug Graham would also be considered a pilot team..
Jackie Stewart won a race and finished second in another at Charterhall. But in July at Snetterton, the car was crashed by Doug Graham. Meanwhile the car FP-Climax engine ex-Le Mans was also converted into a Buick V8. This car finish, led by Tommy Dickson, fourth in a race on the Ouston airfield. Later in the season yet Jackie Stewart won a race at the Snetterton circuit, the talent of the young driver emerged race after race.
In 1964, the cars continued their harvest. Jackie Stewart finished 3rd at Brands Hatch and 6th at Silverstone. John Coundley also drove the car at Brands Hatch in October and finished 2nd.
In 1966, one of the two Tojeiro EE-Ford Coupé was transformed into a spyder, the roof was removed and sold to the manufacturer, Jack Fisher, who adapted it to his Fisher Special.
The car, driven by Bill Stein, behaved very well at Silverstone and then took part in the race at Brands Hatch, where his driver was very lucky to survive a horrific crash at the bottom of Paddock Hill.
Since then the car has been completely dismantled and entrusted to the main specialists in restoration Crosthwaite & Gardiner. They rebuilt and reinforced the multi-tubular chassis, and rebuilt the car as a whole by incorporating its original roof.
Important detail, the Tojeiro EE Coupé is undoubtedly the first GT prototype with rear engine. Preceding the Lola Mk6 by an entire year. Lola which will give birth to the GT40. A real feat for such a small team.
Here is EE1 1962 Tojeiro EE-Ford Endurance Racing Coupe Chassis no. TAD-1-64
Here is EE2 1962 Tojeiro EE-Buick Endurance Racing Coupe TAD-4-62/EE-2 TSU719
Toute reproduction interdite sans l’autorisation de l’auteur – Reproduction prohibited without permission of the author