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|Hamill SR 3 Sports Racer|
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|Chicago-based American Ed Hamill set about building his first big-engined sports racing car - the Hamill SR2 - in the autumn of 1963. However, a rush order for an Indycar (SR1) caused the two-seater project to be placed on the back burner. It was finally completed early in 1965 and due to be driven in the USRRC* series of that year by Hamill's workshop neighbour, and renowned Corvette racer, Roy Kumnick. Unfortunately, Kumnick rolled and badly damaged the newcomer while testing it for the first round of the championship, which was being staged at Illinois' now defunct Meadowdale Raceway. |
Undeterred, Hamill created the all but identical SR3 by the close of 1965, salvaging as many parts from the original car as possible. This was duly campaigned by Kumnick in a variety of USRRC and Can-Am** races during 1966 and 1967 under the banner of Tero Corvette - the events entered included the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix of October 29th 1967. Of space-frame design, the sale SR3 was constructed from round tube and clothed in a mix of aluminium and fibreglass. Power emanated from a Chevrolet V8 engine of 5970cc capacity. Some references suggest this was initially mated to a McKee transaxle but, if so, that has long since been replaced by a more user-friendly Hewland unit. Suspension was independent all round with coil-over damping and steering by rack and pinion. Braking was by outboard discs on all corners and the Hamill rode on five-spoke alloy wheels.
Following its Kumnick days, the Hamill was campaigned and modified by several other American historic racers before crossing the pond to Europe, and it was in late 2007 that the vendor acquired it from a Dutch dealer. Since then it has been thoroughly restored in its original Purple Tero Corvette livery and in accordance with the FIA's Appendix K regulations by Classic Racing Cars Ltd of Stafford, and run in a number of Sports Racing Masters events across Europe. It also featured in the Goodwood Revival meetings of 2009 and 2010, and also 2011 when it achieved a podium finish in the Whitsun Trophy race. Said the vendor: "We have focused on sorting the Hamill's handling, which is now equal to that of the
front-running McLarens and Lolas in the Sports Racing Masters series. We are confident there is still considerably more potential in the car - not least via simple upgrades to the engine and exhaust system."
Interestingly, there was a second SR3 that Ed Hamill built for himself. Outwardly almost identical to the sale car, it was in fact constructed from square rather than round tube and raced in period with both Oldsmobile and Chevrolet engines. With Hamill at the wheel, it is understood to have finished third behind Bruce McLaren (McLaren M1B) and Hal Sharp (Chaparral 2A) in the December 1965 Nassau Governor's Trophy race, that formed part of that year's Nassau Speed Week - no mean achievement. He also campaigned the car in a mix of USRRC and Can-Am events.
It is understood that Ed Hamill still owns this SR3 but has absolutely no plans to part with it. Nor were any further Hamill racers of any description ever made, making the sale car a uniquely rare and desirable proposition, which all but guarantees its next owner entry to any of the world's premier historic race meetings. Smartly presented and on the button, this powerful survivor of one of motorsport's golden periods is ready to go racing once more!
*Founded in 1962, the USRRC or United States Road Racing Championship was created by the Sports Car Club of America for the benefit of professional racing drivers. It continued until 1968, by which time its champions included such all-American heroes as Jim Hall and the late Mark Donohue (twice).
**Can-Am is short for Canadian American Challenge Cup - the very popular series for Group 7 (Formula Libre) sports racing cars that ran from 1966 right through to 1986. It comprised two races on Canadian (Can) soil and four in America (Am). With no restriction on engine size, Can-Am featured some of the most powerful cars ever raced on planet earth - 1,000bhp engines were not uncommon, with a few units rising to a claimed 1,500bhp in qualifying trim. The roll of honour is a veritable Who's Who of motor racing talent and includes no less than three world champions - ie John Surtees, Denny Hulme and Alan Jones.
Photograph copyright Jeff Bloxham
Sold on the 30.07.2012
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