Monday, June 25, 2007

Type 723 Formula Ford

Valour Formula Ford Type 723 (72 for 1972 and Formula 3 was Formula Ford) was produced in a factory in Lake Road, Hamilton by a company called the Auto Research. It was New Zealand’s first racing car production line. Approximately twelve 723 cars were manufactured to different levels of finish. These cars were debuted at the Hamilton Motor Show in 1971.

One of the Valour works cars
The chassis design and suspension were taken from a Titan Formula Ford. The body was built by Trevor Larsen and John Hyde (directors of Auto Research Ltd) with the help of a body builder and overseas tradesman. Moulds were made from the shell and fibreglass were taken from these for the production cars.
"There is no profit in the prototype. This one will cost about $9000 when it is finished," said Mr Larsen. The car was planed to be tested on the 11-12 March 1972. They had planned to have three Fords racing as a works team and also used by the New Zealand Racing Drivers School for training cars. The kit was to cost $960 with out the Ford GT motor, $3300 as a rolling chassis or $5200 ready to race.
Auto Research was the fist company in New Zealand to begin making racing cars on a production basis. Eight of the 10 cars to be made in the first year were meant to have been sold even before the first car was completed.
Here are some of the differences between the two cars.
  • The front nose cone.
  • The cars had a hammerhead shark looking front nose cone when they first started racing. This was subsequently banned as it was considered to be a down force aid.
  • The radiators on the side of the car and not in the nose that was normal at the time. Therefore the fluids were not carried though the chassis tubes
  • The rear top engine cover is ramped at the rear when the Titan cover is flat Two pedal options were offered. Top mounted or bottom mounted. The body may have started by using Mark 6 Titan components but by the time they were finished it was quite different.

Back in the 70s some parts were hard to find so as kiwi's they adapted other parts or just made them. In the sale brochure there was two gearbox options. The first was a Hewland Mk8 if you could find and afford one or a modified VW gearbox.
The 723 had quite unique rear uprights that were cast aluminum with the words VALOUR cast in the side. I have also seen the same upright with M.J. casting marks. I understand that this is for Mark and John being Mark Petch and John Olson. These uprights utilized a CV joint from a Morris 1100 a disc is from Triumph 2000 and the caliper from a Hillman Hunter.
The steering wheels on the Valour’s are quite unique in they have three fingers supporting the outer ring. On each of these fingers is a series of holes. There was also an arrangement that would allow the steering wheel to be removed by unwinding the badge although I have never seen one.
You hear some interesting stories when you start asking around about these cars. I spoke to the original radiator supplier about how the calculated the size necessary to cool then engine. He laughed at me. He said he was given two shrouds and asked to make radiators to fit them.

Original Owners of Valour Formula Fords
John Broomhead
Dennis Martin
Ian Simcox
Ross Martin
David Tait


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