Lot 313: Stebro Mk. IV Single Seater Grand Prix Car
The Stebro Mk IV will always represent one of the more interesting chapters in Canadian racing history, its story being of one man's pioneering campaign on the racetrack. That man was Peter Broeker, who came to Canada with his family after World War 2 and started an automotive repair business in Hamilton, Ontario. He moved to Montreal in the fifties and opened the Stebro Garage. It was there that he discovered the flourishing sports car culture there, and got hooked single seat formula car racing, the business became a means to the ends of his racing aspirations as a constructor. This, his fourth series formula car, was built over the winter of '62/'63. The chassis is a space frame made of thin wall chrome-moly tubing. Body work is aluminum. The original engine was a Martin prepared Ford FJ engine, connected to a Hewland MkIV five speed gearbox. Suspension was conventional for the time upper and lower A arms at the front , reversed lower A arm and upper top link at the rear save and except for the unusual location of the front springs outboard, but within the bodywork, and out of the air stream. Brakes are Girling and are from a Lotus 21 F1 car. Fuel tanks are oversized to run more than the usual FJ 20 lapper in other words, the car was always intended to be a dual purpose FJ/F1 car and his eyes were firmly set on entry at the US GP. But, difficulties with Martin forced Broeker to build up an essentially stock Ford 1500cc engine, with whatever performance components he could easily take from his current race motors, such as the twin Weber carbs, and trailered the car down to Watkins Glen. Let down also by Ernie DeVos, he found himself as the team's driver. Broeker managed to qualify the car eventually, and only three and a half seconds slower than Baghetti in the ATS not much, but something. Unfortunately, even the race did not go smoothly, as on about the third lap the gearbox jammed in fourth gear, so he never got to show even the limits of the nearly stock motor he had, let alone actually go at racing speeds....Broeker soldiered on and eventually was classified seventh. In the process he became the first Canadian to compete in and finish a World Championship Grand Prix, and the Stebro became the first and only Canadian-built car to do the same. The following season, Broeker took the car to Europe for the inaugural European Championship Formula II season, the Stebro being fitted with an 1100cc Martin Ford motor. Broeker came home, and for the 1965 season he modified the Mark IV slightly, fitting a larger radiator, modified bodywork, and a Lotus Ford twin cam motor and now the Stebro won everything in sight. For the next three years, Broeker and the Stebro were virtually unbeatable, chocking up over 100 victories across North America in Formula Libre and Formula B class races (what we now call Formula Atlantic). Broeker and the Stebro won multiple Canadian and Quebec championships over this time frame. Such was the dominance of the duo that Broeker rather cheekily installed a stand for the checkered flag so he wouldn't have to hold it during victory laps..... All good things come to an end, however, and in late September of 1968 Broeker comprehensively crashed the Stebro at its home track, St. Jovite. Broeker was not seriously injured, but the car was a mess. He hastily rebuilt it, tested it, found it handled "poorly", and came to a major decision to retire from the business of building cars and use those bult by others, though he kept the Stebro in his workshop as a back up should he need it. The Mark IV languished outside in a leaking trailer for the next five years after that, deteriorating at an alarming rate. At this point in 1985 it was acquired by the current owner, a long time club racer and vintage race car enthusiast, who began a complete restoration. During the rebuild process it was found that the chassis had over 40 cracks in it as a result of the St. Jovite crash going a long way to explain the "poor" handling Broeker experienced after he rebuilt it. In late September 1988, 20 years after Peter Broeker last raced the Mark IV, the Stebro won the vintage class at the Canadian Run Offs held at St. Jovite, becoming a Canadian champion in yet another class. Currently the Stebro Mark IV is equipped with the same Ford 1500 cc motor it used in the U.S. GP in 1963. It still has its original gearbox and other major mechanical components. The bodywork is the original 1965 modified, right down to the paint job and the dents and dings of decades of racing. A modern roll bar, a fuel cell, fire extinguisher system, and seat belts were installed during its renovation, but otherwise the car is pretty much what Peter Broeker hoped would put him in the race car business in 1963. Today the car's condition can best be described as aesthetically exceptionally original and well patinated, while mechanically it has been run within the last few years for demonstration but not in anger. In period the Stebro ran in Formula Junior, F1, F2, Formula Libre and Formula B between 1963-1968, which gives it a wide range of National and International Historic racing possibilities. As it is currently fitted it is eligible for Formula B events and if fitted with a Formula Junior engine it could be used in those events which would enable it to participate at the Lime Rock meets, Wine Country Classic and Monterey Historics where it could run in either class E2 or E3, and still be eligible for Formula B. It is also thought that it would be eligible for European racing and that an application for an FIA Technical passport would be successful by its definition provided that all other criteria of its condition was approved.
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