The Jim Russell Racing Drivers School headquarters, Rosamond, CA, circa 1967
Sandy Shepard (in car) and Wally Ward at the Jim Russell School, 1967
1967 Lotus 51
Price: $4,000 delivered, tax paid and ready to race.
Delivered: October 30. 1967 by Wally Ward of Jim Russell International Racing Drivers School, Rosamond, California
Driver: Sandy Shepard of Denton, TX (current owner)
Mechanics: Sandy Shepard and Dad, H.V. Shepard, Howard Williams, Ernie Lozano, Danny Barboza, Roland Payne, and Larry Womble.
Copies of the original invoices:
51-FF-30 Race History:
At the time of purchase, in 1967, there was no Formula Ford class, yet, the car was required to race in Formula B.
Texas Region Drivers School: December 1967, Green Valley Raceway, Fort Worth, Texas
Drag Race: Green Valley Raceway 1/4 mile. Class X-dragster 1st, et 14.51, mph 89.61.
S.C.C.A had a fit. "Sacrilege to put a race car on a drag strip!" Being an old drag racer, I had to try it.
Regional Race: Green Valley Raceway, January 1968. Crashed from Pole, in heavy rain; roll bar broke off, injured car, right arm and neck. Glad I was the shortest kid in school. Car repaired with new roll bar by Wayne Calvert of Denton, TX.
Regional Race: Stardust Raceway, Las Vegas, NV, February 1968. Diced with Bill Wolf of Austin, TX, in a Lotus 41 F/B and Bill Simpson in a modified Lotus 51. Beaten badly on horsepower; could close in the corners. Finished 6th.
Regional Race: New Braunfels. March 16, 1968. Raced with Lynn Beaumont in F/C Cooper. Great battle; won race. Penalized back to 2nd for passing off course (airport course)
Regional Race: Warbonnett Raceway, Tulsa, OK, April 7, 1968 . Raced with Larry Harley in another Lotus 51 and other cars. Finished 1st.
Regional Race: Stuttgart, AR, April 20, 1968. Qualified 5th; broke gearbox at green flag (standing start). DNF
Regional Race: Pennwell, Odessa, TX, May 19, 1968. Finished 1st. Completed requirements for SCCA National License.
Retired 51 from competition; bought Bill Wolf's 41C
The Lotus 41C was stolen in California, between races in 1969, so the Lotus 51 was brought out of mothballs and upgraded for the current Formula Ford specs. It was updated with a 1600c motor, Hewland MK 8 gearbox and Lotus 51C adjustable suspension, by Howard Williams and Ernie Lozano. The original 1500 engine and Renault gearbox were sold.
1969 Austin Aqua Festival. Oldest car in field; qualified last; pulled other driver from destroyed car at start; restart; finished 15th.
1969 Texas International Speedway, inaugural race. Not competitive against newer cars, finished near back.
1969 Inagural Race at Dallas International Motor Speedway, duct taped camera to roll bar. Filmed in car footage.
Finished near back..
Click on image to the left to view 8mm in car footage.
The file is about 12MB and may take up to 45 minutes to download on a dial-up
Took delivery of new Brabham BT29 in March, 1970. Lotus 51 was retired for good.
Current photo of 51-FF-30
Fort Worth Car Show, December 1967
Practice, Warbonnet Raceway, Tulsa, OK, April 1968