In 2019 Australian Formula Ford celebrated 50 years since the first official race in the country in November 1969. 2020 marks 50 years of National Formula Ford Series and we would like to celebrate by presenting one-by-one the various chassis manufacturers that have competed in Formula Ford since the introduction of the category in Australia. To do so, each month we will elect a "manufacturer of the month" and will present their history and some photos of relevant cars. We would like to thank all of the people who have shared their images and knowledge of the various manufacturers. This feed would not be possible without the collaboration of many supporters from our worldwide Formula Ford community.
The first manufacturer that we would like to present is Aztec Racing. Although they have never won a National Formula Ford Series, Aztec Racing sponsored the very first Formula Ford race in Australia, donating what was then called the "Aztec Cup".
Aztec Racing was founded by Allan Ould in late 1968. Ould had previously worked with various motor racing legends in the United Kingdom, America and Australia, including the late Sir Jack Brabham, but had always dreamt of building his own racing cars.
After some months spent in the US, Ould caught up with Bill Patterson, a Piper Aircraft dealer, and, while flying in Patterson's latest purchase, a Piper Aztec aircraft, a decision was made to call the soon-to-be-founded business "Aztec Racing".
Ould then set up the newly founded racing car business in a corner of his brother's (John Ould) workshop in Melbourne and started concentrating his efforts into finishing the design of the very first Aztec race car, the AR8. The build of the first Aztec took longer than expected, with Ould getting called up by Sir Jack Brabham to work at a few more race meetings in Australia and the US (including the 1969 Indy 500).
The Aztec AR8 participated in the inaugural Formula Ford race at Sandown in November 1969, finishing third behind Richard Knight's Elfin 600 FF and Murray Coombs' Lynx FF.
The wedge-shaped design of the Aztec AR8 was influenced by the Lotus Turbine Indycars, but according to Ould was "in hindsight a bit too progressive for Australia in 1969". The car's shape received, in fact, some negative comments, which Ould thinks may explain the low number of orders despite the success on the track. In response to the critics, Ould decided to build a re-designed Aztec FF, called the AR8B.
The original Aztec AR8 bodywork was then modified to give more clearance to the nose, which was "getting battered on the track edges", and reduce drag on the engine cover. Ould then sold the car to the late John Edmonds.
Ould had by then moved to his own workshop in the Melbourne suburb of Highett, with four brand new chassis - one would be campaigned by Mike Hall, two were sold incomplete and the last one was converted into a Formula 3 and is still being raced by Ould in Historic Racing.
No other Aztec Racing cars were built after these five chassis, as a new price cap of $1,800.00 per rolling chassis was imposed in Formula Ford in order to keep the category affordable. This was, in Ould's own words, "not realistic and not possible to legally meet", so Aztec Racing was closed in 1972 and Allan Ould started working in other areas of manufacturing.
Ould has recently re-acquired the original Aztec AR8. The car is currently undergoing a "major restoration" and should be ready to race again sometime during the 2020 season.
We decided to begin this new feed with Aztec Racing because the history of this company, like many other small manufacturers, represents the essence of the early years Formula Ford.