This car was build in 1972 bij CRD, Colchestor Racing Developements, in the U.K. The car was designed bij mr. Clive Hayward who is still in business with CRD. Although they are specialized toolmakers now, they still supply parts and information for all their still existing Merlyn racing cars.
This particular car, the Merlyn MK20AS with serialnumber
392FF72, was build for the Jim Russel Racingschool at Silverstone
and was supplied with a dry-sump system.
Some people stated that the 'S' would stand for 'School Version'. The 'regular' MK20 had no dry-sump system. The car's original color was orange. The Merlyn MK20 is powered by a Ford 1600 KENT engine which is tuned by Scholar. The gearbox is build bij Hewland. The engine delivers about 104 HP and has a topspeed of 115 mph (= 185 kmh).
There are not many of these cars left. There where about 50 cars build, several of them went to the USA, the others remained in Europe. The cars were very competitive and popular in the early seventees. The 'battle' of the Formula Ford was nearly always between a Merlyn FF and a Lotus FF. Famous racecar drivers have driven a Merlyn Formula Ford. Names like Emerson Fittipaldy, Jody Scheckter, also known as 'Sideways Scheckter' for his spectacular power-slides, and Huub Vermeulen are just some of them.
At this time the Merlyn MK20's are almost all gone. Some of them crashed, others disapeared to the junk-yard. As far as I know, there are about 5 cars in the U.K., one car in Holland (my car), one or two in Belgium and several in the USA. Because of the number of cars left and the great historical value the Merlyn cars have become relative very expensive. The original price was never more then UKP 999,= (UK pounds). The originality and state of the car determine the value. At this time Chris Alford has a Merlyn MK20 for sale for about UKP 13.000,=
I've bought my car 3 years ago from a friend of mine, Roelen,
who had stashed the car on his attic. It was in very bad
condition. All chrome work was completely rotten away, and
somebody had made a 'conversion' to the cooling system and front.
As far as i can recall the car had been on the attic for about 10
or 12 years. Roelen had bought the car from Ad den Teuling in
Breda, owner of MaxSpeed. I think that Ad den Teuling had bought
the car from Andre Pilette, who has/or had a racing school at
Zolder, Belgium, because there was a decal on the engine cover
from his racing school. Andre Pilette had bought 4 Merlyns MK20
from the Jim Russel Racingschool, probably in '77/'78. Phillipe
DEMEYER has one, MK20 298FF71, there seems to be one in Brussels
and the other one is also still in Belgium. Somewhere in this
time-line there must be another owner. Why ? Because the
alterations to the car must have been done by somebody who has
absolutely not any knowledge of racing cars or car restoration.
All forementioned people do have these skills, so there must be
Shortly after I'd bought the Merlyn I contacted Clive Hayward of CRD to inquire about available parts. From the archives of CRD it appeared that the car was very original. The engine number and gearbox number were still the same as when it left the CRD factory ! It is very seldom in the racingworld the a car keeps his original engine and/or gearbox. The only thing that was missing were the mirrors.
After storing the car in my garage for almost 3 years i
decided that this year, 1997, the car had to be back on the
track. This ment a complete restoration and rebuild of the car.
The car was ofcourse completely taken apart. All chrome work has
been re-done in a professional way. The chassis has been
sand-blasted and powdercoated. All hydraulic brake/clutch parts
have been renewed. A complete new GRP body has been build by CRD.
Almost every bolt/nut has been replaced by a new one, ofcourse
all in UNF thread.
Every metallic part has been glaspearl sandblasted and if necessary re-polished. Every other part which showed a bit of wear was replaced by a new one which resulted in an almost amazing new car. The car is colored BRG (British Racing Green).
At Friday the 15th of August the car was taken back on the track in Zandvoort during a HARC racing/testing day.
Several people were amazed about the almost new and original condition of the car. After a couple of laps on the track, at relatively slow speed, the car performed like expected. Although small ignition problems preventing full power the car was ready to race !
The past and the future:
Since the restoration completed in 1997 the car has been on the track.
Several races in the Netherlands on the Zandvoort circuit, races in Belgium and France.
|1998||several practices/races||Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg||-|
|1999||FF1600 championship||Netherlands||3rd place overall|
|2000||no races this year||-||-|
If you have any information about Merlyn racing cars don't
hestitate to contact me.
Some people collect them, we race them !