1968 Ferrari 246T Dino V6
Chassis 004 – Owner: Graham Adelman, USA
Perhaps the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ for many attending the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing celebrating Chris Amon will be the 1968 Ferrari 246T-004 Dino V6 formerly driven in the 1968 Tasman Series by Chris Amon and now owned by Graham Adelman of Virginia, USA.
This car was the second of seven Tipo 166 F2 Ferraris designed to be run with a 1600cc F2 engine. Chris Amon, then a Ferrari ‘works’ driver drove, this very car to overall second place in the 1968 Tasman Cup. Having had a successful year in Formula One, Enzo Ferrari sent this wonderful car to New Zealand where Roger Bailey and Giovanni Morelli assembled it in Bruce Wilson’s Hunterville garage. Bruce was the highly talented mechanic on Chris’s earlier cars, including the A40 Special, Maserati 250F and a series of Coopers.
The first race for Chris in the Ferrari was the New Zealand International Grand Prix (NZIGP) at Pukekohe on 6 January 1968, and resulted in a win for Chris. He was delighted to have won his home Grand Prix in front of a big home crowd. The Prelim race at Levin a week later on 13 January saw Chris finish second to Jim Clark in the Lotus 49 and in the Rothmans Levin International main race that followed, Chris brought the Ferrari home in first place again. On to the Lady Wigram Trophy race on 20 January in Christchurch, Clark once again won the Prelim race from Chris. Starting second on the grid to Clark, Chris finished second less than 7 seconds behind Clark after 44 laps. The final leg of the Tasman Cup in New Zealand was at Teretonga on 28 January. Very heavy rain prevented Chris getting off the grid in the Prelim race as his engine died and refused to start. Starting from pole position in ‘watery’ sunshine in the 60-lap Teretonga International, Chris lay 4th at the end of the first lap and moved up to second on lap 7 behind Clark. On lap 39 in heavy rain, again, he spun and dropped back to finish fourth behind Bruce McLaren (in current owner Graham Adelman’s BRM), Clark and Frank Gardner (Brabham BT23-Alfa.)
Over to Australia and four further Tasman races followed. The first race was at Surfers Paradise on 11 February for the 50-lap Rothmans 100. Chris by now had the new four-valve head fitted to his engine, but even this could not even the power differential with the Cosworth V8 engines of Jim Clark and Graham Hill in their Lotus 49s. Chris managed to qualify first for the main race at Surfers, and ran closely behind Clark until his engine overheated forcing retirement on lap 24. Round 6 of the Tasman Cup was held on 18 February at Warwick Farm, Sydney. Racing for the Sydney Trophy over 45 laps, Chris had qualified third to Clark and Hill. In temperatures exceeding 30 degrees, he spun from third position and finished fourth to Clark, Hill and Piers Courage (McLaren M4A). On to round 7 for the 33rd Australian GP held at Sandown, near Melbourne, over 55 laps, Chris was fastest in the first practice session but second in qualifying to Jack Brabham in his Brabham. In heat-wave conditions over 36 degrees for the main race, Chris slip-streamed and momentarily passed Jim Clark many times throughout the entire race, but, without the engine power to stay in front, he finished a mere 0.1 second behind at the flag. Clark credited Chris with a ‘wonderful drive’. The final race for 1968 Tasman Cup was at Longford in Tasmania for the South Pacific Trophy. Chris was lying six points behind Clark in the Tasman Cup and needed a good result to overtake him on points. In practice the sealing rings in his engine blew, and in subsequent qualifying he was third fastest behind Clark and Hill. Heavy rain on race day had all but washed out the circuit, so the organizers delayed the start while reducing the race to only 15 laps. In the lottery that followed, Chris took to an escape road on the opening lap and dropped to seventh place but was unable to gain any places on a track awash with water before race end – a disappointing finish, but he nonetheless finished runner-up to Clark in the Tasman Cup.
Graham Adelman is looking forward to having the car at the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing celebrating Chris Amon. Rob Hall of Hall & Hall UK, engineers, will drive the Ferrari while Graham drives his ex-Bruce McLaren 1968 BRM P126 V12. Graham is keen for Chris to do a few demonstration laps in the Ferrari ‘for old time’s sake’. We all send a very big round of thanks to Graham and Sharon Adelman for bringing these two iconic cars to the Festival
Source: NZFMR 2011, Cars Of Interest – 1968 Ferrari 246T Dino V6 -Page 53,54