CONSTRUCTORS: HARRY FERGUSON RESEARCH

Name: Harry Ferguson Research

Ulsterman Harry Ferguson was born in 1884 and began working with his brother in an engineering business in 1902. In 1909 he built his own airplane and completed the first powered flight in Ireland. Two years later he set up his own motor company and during the war designed a cheap tractor which was designed to make Irish farmers more efficient. As his success grew he became a regular racer in Ireland and in 1953 merged his company with the Massey company in the United States to form Massey-Ferguson tractors. He retired to Gloucestershire and turned his attention to developing four-wheel-drive technology. In the last months of his life Ferguson decided to build a four-wheel-drive racing car to demonstrate the technology he had developed. He died in October 1960 but former Grand Prix racer Tony Rolt continued to program and in the summer of 1961 a Claude Hill-designed front-engined racing car was run by Rob Walker in the British Empire Trophy, a race in the Intercontinental Formula. The P99 was driven briefly by Jack Fairman but retired with transmission trouble. A week later the car appeared at the British GP with a 2.5-liter Coventry Climax replacing the 1.5-liter engine used for the Intercontinental Formula. Both Fairman and Stirling Moss drove the car but were disqualified for receiving a push-start. In September the car was raced at the Oulton Park Gold Cup by Moss and, against all expectation, he won the event.

The car went on to race in Australia and New Zealand before being sent to the United States where it was run at Indianapolis in 1963. This led to the Novi P104 project overseen by Andy Granatelli and Rolt.

Print