1971 MERLYN MK20 FORMULA FORD SINGLE SEATER
Green with gold stripe, black seat
Engine: four cylinder, over head valve, 1,600cc, 100bhp; Gearbox: four speed manual; Suspension: front and rear by wishbones with coil springs and dampers; Brakes: four wheel disc. Single seater
Colchester Racing Developments built their first single seater, a Formula Junior prototype with front engine layout, in 1960, under the name Merlyn. The next step was for a production version of this to be offered for sale, the Mark 2, before manufacture turned to the more popular rear-engined configuration, the Mark 3. Successive developments brought 37 models in total of Formula Ford, F2, F3, and Formula B cars until 1978, when CRD moved stopped building race cars to develop their precision engineering business.
A year after Formula Ford was introduced, Merlyn built the Mark 11 in 1968 which quickly became the car to beat, drivers such as Tim Schenken eclipsing the first manufacturers to join the series, Lotus and Alexis. The series proved extremely popular and quickly grew into Europe and around the world, with Merlyn products recording many successes.
The car on offer is an example of the Mark 20, which with its S designation would have originally been supplied to a racing school. Features of the model, introduced in 1971, were a revision of the front suspension and bodywork, the oil tank was moved to the rear and a new style of exhaust system exiting over the engine. Successfully campaigned for many years by John Beesley in the Formula Ford series, the Merlyn was acquired by the current owner three years ago.
Presented in appropriate British Racing Green livery with a gold stripe, the Merlyn has continued to be raced in series, and was used in 2000 at Brands Hatch and Castle Combe amongst other events in the season. Throughout the vendor's ownership preparation of the single seater has been entrusted to renowned specialists Hoole Racing.
Offered for sale due to its owner's developing racing interest, the car would benefit from a mechanical freshen up, which would be possible during the winter months prior to the next season's events in the Spring. It is otherwise in excellent and very presentable cosmetic order.
CRD remain in business to today, and continue to supply spares for Merlyn cars making them the most usable and straightforward historic Formula Ford to maintain. The car comes with FiA papers.