The sports car campaign had been expensive, particularly when the NZIGP organisation had promised it would help with travel expenses to take the car to the Grand Prix meeting, but then reneged. There was nothing unusual about that casual treatment of South Island drivers by the NZIGP in those days.

So, for his next car, George decided on a single-seater to contest South Island meetings – it would be another space-frame car and powered by the Daimler SP250 V8 engine originally destined for the sports car.

The car’s debut was to be a meeting at Teretonga on June 12, 1967, and work commenced in mid-April. The first month’s progress was slow, but in mid-May George decided if he made a big effort the car would be ready for that meeting.

However the Daimler motor was still requiring modification. A quick measure-up and it was obvious the motor and gearbox out of the sports car would fit.

So, whoosh, bang, in it went.

By midnight on Saturday, June 11, the car was sitting on its wheels and the workshop lights were switched off.

The first proper F5000 car was the FM2, seen here at its debut at Teretonga with Geoff Mardon driving. A second FM2 was built for American Pierre Phillips

By 10am the next morning it was being driven up and down the roads around Drummond to make sure it would go, steer and stop. Then it was rushed to Teretonga and by 1.30pm had won its first race!

Not unexpectedly, there were problems: the gearbox jammed in fourth gear and there was an engine misfire, but Barry Keene equalled the fastest lap put in at Teretonga (by Geoff Mardon in the Stanton Corvette) at one minute 10.8 seconds.

This was the first time a Begg had been fitted with a professional body, the front bodywork on the car being a fibreglass unit made by Ferris de Joux and based on a Brabham.

Has a car ever been built to such a tight schedule? Yes, the construction of a later Begg was to be even tighter.


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