Imp Site logo - imps4ever!

The Imp Site

my apologies - file not presentable

Mike Parkes

1931 - 1977

Michael Johnson Parkes was born on September 24th, 1931 in England: Richmond, Surrey, U.K.
His father was John J. Parkes, Managing Director of the Alvis company, then Chairman. A younger brother John, a younger sister Annabel.

Haileybury public school

1949 - start as an apprentice engineer at Humber Ltd.

Michael Parkes joined the Rootes Group as an apprentice in 1949 and worked in various capacities at the factory until he left at the end of 1962.

1952 - an MG TD for his 21st birthday, on the condition that the car was not raced. Shortly afterwards he made his race debut in it and won, which his father read in the local newspaper...

Tim Fry: "We all wanted to work on cars, help create cars and race cars."

The Rootes years passed in a blur of on-the-limit work and play, with Fry and Parkes largely responsible for the development of the Imp but, in between, finding time to race, fly, party and generally goon around.

"We were very bored with the sort of cars Rootes were producing and with the arrogance of youth we went to the Technical Director and told him we could design just the car he needed. He just said 'All right, get on with it!'"
In 1955 Mike Parkes (24 and 6ft. 4in. / 1.93m.) and Tim Fry (20) started designing the Hillman Imp. At that time it was no more than a feasibility study.

From 1952 to 1955 Alec Issigonis worked for Alvis as a freelancer between stints on the Mini. Parkes & Fry often met up with him.

Mike Parkes
M. Parkes in 1957 or so

By 1957 Mike had received a Le Mans invitation to join Lotus as a reserve driver at the Sarthe, following his stunning Lotus club drives. This set the ball rolling and not before long Parkes was involved in David Fry's Formula 2 project, taking the seat originally intended for Stuart Lewis-Evans. This led to an early GP entry although Mike failed to qualify the Fry for the British GP F2 class in 1959. [8W]

The two would work around the clock, rush down to prepare the Lotus 11 Parkes was racing, then back to work, then race. Mike was also kept busy with girlfriends who tended to live in London while he himself was based in the Midlands.

Parkes ability to drive meant people began to offer him rides. People like Tommy Sopwith, Graham Hill and Jack Sears. When in 1961 Parkes went to Le Mans to oversee the Rootes team of Sunbeam Alpines, he was invited by Ferrari to try a works 250GT. It was discovered that he could hustle it quicker round Le Mans than the regular drivers.
    Michael Parkes 1963

Official Ferrari factory issued postcard of Michael Parkes. One exists that is signed by Enzo Ferrari on 12 May 1963.

At the end of 1962 he left Rootes for a full-time position with Ferrari at Maranello as a development engineer as wel as a racing driver.

One of the events to introduce the early Imp was a demonstration of twenty Imps at Silverstone (May 1963) by 'backroom boys': the men who designed, developed, built and/or tested the Imp. Micheal Parkes started some time after the other nineteen, overtook them all and finished first.

The following year Mike's career moved him to sportscars, where he was to stay until a surprise call-up from Ferrari in 1966 saw him replace the Cooper-bound John Surtees.

L'Equipe, a french racing journal, had a list of the Top 25 drivers every year. For 1964, they placed Michael Parkes as no. 13. l'Equipe's classification went rather thoroughly into each field. They gave points for the first 5 places in a race; and each race or type of race had its own coefficient. E.g. GP championships with coefficient 4 gained the winner 20 points; Le Mans with coefficient 3 scores 9 points for 3rd place. Parkes got 41 points in 1964.

Mike Parkes, sportscars and Ferrari became a formidable trio in the mid-sixties, as a triumphant year for Col. Hoare's Maranello Concessionaires team brought numerous British wins. This led to a works Le Mans drive on board a 250TR. Sharing with Willy Mairesse, Mike took the Testa Rossa to a stunning second place. This superb performance led him to join the Scuderia - originally as a development engineer and reserve driver but the Commendatore could not keep him from winning the Sebring 12hrs and Spa 500kms in 1964, the Monza 1000kms in 1965 and the Monza and Spa 1000kms in 1966. The Old Man begged but at the same time understood that Mike was not prepared to quit.

Had he done so, he might have missed the highlight of his career! When John Surtees fell out with GP team manager Eugenio Dragoni and quit to join Cooper, Mike was suddenly promoted to the GP team. In 1966, the first year of the 3-litre area, Ferrari had caught the British opposition on the hop - just as they had done in 1961 when another transition to a new formula had to be made. The 312 was by far the best car of the field, and Surtees seemed set for a second title after a crushing display at Spa when it all went wrong. With the title up for grabs the Italians contrived to mess things up by upsetting their number one driver. They did this by doing the thing they had become used to in the sixties - divide their attention between F1 and sportscars, with the latter category getting the better treatment until the Le Mans 24hrs was behind them. To Surtees that meant ruining a perfectly good chance to another F1 World Championship. Being the proud man that he was, Big John simply said good luck to you.

Now Lorenzo Bandini was Ferrari's lead man but cruel luck took the Italian out of the title equasion soon, as a French win was lost in the dying minutes when the trottle cable snapped. For the rest of the season, Maranello managed to hand Bandini the 312 that broke. Another opportunity lost.

Although Ferrari's potentially dominating season was handed over gift-wrapped to the Brabham boys, whose thank you came in the form of an ultra-reliable mid-season winning streak, the Scuderia's mishap created Parkes' big break. He delivered by qualifying third and finishing second on his debut at Reims - in our picture he is seen ahead of Graham Hill. At Brands Ferrari were auspiciously absent for precisely the reason Surtees furiously left - Le Mans. Parkes then threw it away at Zandvoort with a spin but was denied a good finish by an engine blow-up at the 'Ring, resulting in a violent crash.


Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006
From: John Parkes
Subject: Re: The Imp Site and Michael Parkes

I'll put together what I remember of the context of the Imp.
I'm a younger brother by the way, Mike was 12 years older than me.

Alec Issigonis fell out with BMC a bit after finishing the Morris Minor project - he wanted it to have a flat 4 engine - you can see this if you look at the engine compartment of a Morris Minor (if you can find one). He went to work at Alvis, the company of which my father was Chairman and Managing Director. Issigonis designed a car with alternitvely a V8 or slant 4 (half the V8) rear mounted gearbox and I think rubber suspension and also worked on the drivetrain and suspension of the Saracen/Salamander etc armoured fighting vehicles. This project was in the mid 50's. Thus it was that when Issigonis went back to BMC, Mike knew a bit about what was going on as Issigonis was a family friend.

After Suez in 1956 Rootes took an interest in a number of small cars. Mike used to bring home cars which Rootes had bought for assessment and drive them to their limits which was great fun for me as a sometime passenger. As well as bubble cars I remember the Goggomobil and I think a small NSU.

I'll have to rack my brains to remember much about the Imp as such although Mike (naturally) and Tim used to be at our house.
I myself had an Imp. Journeys included leaving London after dinner one night and having dinner in Milan the next with motorways only in Switzerland and Italy. (The only motorway was the short stretch up to the Mont Blanc tunnel and down the Aosta valley. Much of the route was twisty -Neuchatel to Lausanne for example- so it was quite a marathon at the time.) Warwickshire to Innsbrucke in one hop. Innsbrucke to Belgrade in another, with 240 miles of broken concrete and pave between Zagred and Belgrade, then to Thessalonika the next day, so from Warwickshire to Greece was done in two and a half days. On the way back I remember crossing Germany with the windscreen demister on full heat and the quarter windows open to provide extra cooling.
Another time I and a girlfriend got caught in a storm between Florence and Rome and ended up at 2.30 in the morning in the middle of nowhere along with hundreds of others as the autostrada bridges were washed away and the autostrada closed. The car had 2 inches of water inside.

I digress, I'll put on my thinking hat regarding the beginnings of the Imp.

Meantime I atttach a zipfile of the stuff I've put together in the last 3 days, mainly pictures.

I'd like to develop material about the earlier years but sources are harder to get hold of and it will take time. Maybe we can cross link the sites if and when mine goes online.

Yours, Zig

Next up was Monza and to the delirious joy of the crowd the top two drivers on the grid raced red cars, Parkes taking pole ahead of Scarfiotti, who had starred in Germany by taking fourth on the grid in a 2.4-litre Ferrari V6, albeit on a track that favoured the nimble 2-litre cars of Clark and Stewart. At Monza, however, it was horsepower that counted and the Ferrari V12s had loads of it. On a famous afternoon it was Ludovico Scarfiotti who brought his Ferrari home first, with poleman Parkes just inching Denis Hulme for second, but not after lead driver Bandini had had to retire with fuel feed problems.

The extent of the 312's intrinsic superiority was shown by the stupendous form of replacement drivers Parkes and Scarfiotti, both drawn from the sportscar team. Without taking anything away from them, here were two sportscar drivers stepping in without any fair warning and delivering the goods. But the damage had been done earlier in the season, with Surtees leaving and Bandini getting the raw deal when the 312s were passed around. In the two away races at the Glen and in Mexico Ferrari were a mere part player, with the team only bothering to turn up at the first with a single car for Bandini, which considering Lorenzo's luck unsurprisingly failed.

In 1967, the team started afresh, showing excellent form in sportcars, resulting in one-twos at Daytona and Monza, Bandini/Amon leading Parkes/Scarfiotti on both occasions in their dominant P4s. And in Grand Prix racing things looked pleasant as well, with Parkes and Scarfiotti obliterating the opposition in the early-season non-championship events at Syracuse and Silverstone. The Sicilian event saw the famous dead heat between the Monza '66 stars while Parkes was streets ahead in the International Trophy. Then came the Monaco GP.

Having skipped the sensational car-breaking season-opener at Kyalami - which fortunately saw no-scores for Clark, Stewart and Rindt and low scores for Brabham and Hulme - the Ferrari team confidently entered the classic at the Principality, knowing that they only trailed the lucky Rodriguez by 9 points. Bandini qualified second behind Brabham while young Chris Amon made his debut for Ferrari.

With Brabham's engine letting go on the get-go it was Bandini leading the first tour. For the next 80 laps it looked like Ferrari was getting off to a great start of their Grand Prix season. Although Lorenzo had to relinquish the lead to eventual winner Denny Hulme he was on a charge to retake it. Then he clipped the barrier at the harbour chicane. The Ferrari rolled and burst into flames, coming to a rest upside down in the middle of the track. It took ages for the rescue crews to arrive. Before the hapless Bandini could be dragged out of the wreck he was badly burned. Miraculously Lorenzo survived the ordeal, only to suffer for three more days in hospital before succumbing to his injuries.

Suddenly, Chris Amon found himself in a similar position to Bandini a year before. And in the meantime the perimeters had shifted. At the next race at Zandvoort, the Cosworth DFV entered the Grand Prix scene, while the title-defending Brabham team was working as slick and routinely as in 1966. And then there was Dan Gurney, whose Eagle was really flying. Ferrari fielded Parkes and Scarfiotti alongside Amon at Zandvoort and Spa but the Lotuses had their measure. Then Parkes suffered a huge first-lap crash at the Ardennes event and was ruled out of action for the remainder of the season. So from the French GP onwards Ferrari entered but a single machine for Chris Amon, who did well to salvage a joint fourth in the championship.

Michael Parkes after accident
Silverstone 1967 - the Daily Express F1 Trophy - Mike Parkes bending over the Ferrari 312

Early 1967 Mike Pakes was awarded the Wolfgang von Trips Trophy by the GPDA as the most succesful new GP driver of the past season.

Michael Parkes after accident    

In 1967 at Spa he crashed due to oil on his tyres. His car overturned and he was thrown out an dragged along behind it. The doctors contemplated cutting his legs off.
He was in coma for a week. Three months of revalidation. But when he went back to work, his bones did not heal properly and he had to come back for another three months.

When he did return full-time to Ferrari in 1969, it was to continue with his engineering work and to manage the sportscar programme. Mike wanted to race, but Enzo Ferrari did not wish to risk his valuable engineer. Ferrari made him a staggering offer, but Mike dearly wanted to be a racing driver. In 1971 he left the Ferrari company to race a privateer Ferrari. And later a Pantera for Filipinetti. His return to racing was inconspicuous, he never regained his old form. Early 1974 the team disbanded and he went to Lancia as a development engineer for the exiting new Ferrari-engined Stratos rally car. No one had designed a supercar for the forests. Parkes was just the man for the job.

Reader's Why [by Geza Sury] Very few people made their debut in Ferraris. One of them is Mike Parkes. (Clay Regazzoni and Ignazio Guinti are another two.) Mike's GP debut happened in interesting circumstances. After the Belgian GP, 1964 World Champ John Surtees had left Ferrari with immediate effect. The Scuderia needed a driver quickly, so they drafted one of their sportscar drivers to the driving seat. He had been racing the scarlet sportscars for a couple of years, and won - amongst others - the 1964 edition of the prestigious Sebring 12-hour race in a Ferrari 275P, which he shared with Umberto Maglioli. In fact Parkes was more than just a mere sportscar driver, he had been testing and developing the street version Ferraris. He wasn't an ideal GP driver anyway, because of his 192 cm height, which ranked him as one of the tallest drivers at that time. Michael Johnson Parkes was born on 24th September, 1924. His father was the president of the Alvis Company, a prominent British car manufacturer in the 20s and 30s. Mike was interested in cars, so he became and engineer. He started to race in British Club events in the late 50s, his first major international race was the 1960 Le Mans in a Lotus Elise. The following year he took part in Goodwood Tourist Trophy race driving a private Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta. He impressed Enzo Ferrari himself, so the Old man drafted him into the sportscar team. John Surtees' sudden exit helped him to the driving seat of Ferrari F1 car. Actually Mike had tried to qualify the luckless Fry-Climax in 1959, without any success. By contrast, he qualified the Ferrari 312 to the front row of the 1966 French GP. The powerful V12 was ideally suited to the long straights of Reims, so his team-mate, the new team-leader of Ferrari, Lorenzo Bandini was in pole position. It was John Surtees - now in a Cooper - who made the best of starts from second on the grid, but before the first lap he was slowed down by fuel-pump problems. By the end of the first lap, Parkes was 3rd, behind Bandini and Jack Brabham. He then got the attention of Graham Hill in a BRM, which lasted until Hill's car suffered and engine failure. So Parkes was on his own in 3rd, but around half a minute behind the still leading Bandini. The Italian had built up of 26-second lead, until his throttle cable broke, promoting Brabham to the lead. Black Jack eased up a bit, since his nearest rival, Parkes was 50 seconds behind. And that's how they finished, Brabham won ahead of Parkes (who reduced the gap to 9.5 seconds by the end of the 48-lap race!), Dennis Hulme took 3rd. Parkes repeated that performance at Monza, where he took pole position and led the race for 7 laps, only to finish 2nd behind Ludovico Scarfiotti, team-orders preventing him to challenge for the lead in the closing laps. Meanwhile, he took his first Grand Prix win at the Daily Express Trophy at Silverstone, the following year. Three weeks later - strangely enough - He and Scarfiotti were decleared the joint winners of the Syracuse GP after crossing the line with exactly the same time (1h 40m 58.4s)! Parkes contested only 6 world championship races for Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari wasn't keen to see one of his best test drivers risking his life on the racetracks. He drove a couple of sportscar races in 1967, but than he suffered multiple injuries at the Belgian GP, after losing control and crashing at the notoriously fast Blanchimont corner. After recovering from the accident, he stayed away form racing for three years. He came back in 1970, still driving Ferraris, but he wasn't able to repeat his formers successes. He retired at the end of 1973. After hitting a truck, Mike Parkes died in road accident in 1977.

Reader's Why [by David Fox] With the change to the 3 litre Formula in 1966 Ferrari should really have been in their pre-1961 position, set to dominate the 'garagistes' - indeed the press at the time had written off the season as a red car walkover. They had years of experience with 3-litre V12 from the sports and GT programmes so steeping this up to GP performance should have been no real problem. However they really struggled with drivers and the continuing political bickering at Maranello. Surtees and Bandini were on the team at the beginning of the year and results were starting to come with the Italian's 2nd place at Monaco and 'Big John's' superlative winning drive through the Ardennes monsoon at Spa. Then came the Dragoni rift and Surtees left the team to waste his talents in Cooper Maseratis. Bandini, excellent racer that he was, wasn't really up to race winning form - despite almost winning the French GP that year. Ferrari's answer was to fill the team with their sports car racers -Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti. -the later winning an emotional Italian GP, and Parkes 2nd at both the French and Italian GP's. For 1967 the original Ferrari F1 line up was to be Bandini, and new boys Chris Amon and Andrea de Adamich. The team gave the opening South African GP a miss. So their season opening event was the Race of Champions at Brands and much was expected. However De Adamich destroyed his car at Paddock Bend in practice and Amon had a serious road accident on the way to the track. Bandini really rose to the occasion here and was mounting a very serious challenge to Dan Gurney's faltering Eagle Weslake in the closing laps of the final. Monaco was the opening round of Ferrari's 1967 Championship tail. With the weight of Italy and the honour of Ferrari on his shoulders Bandini was chasing too hard after Hulme's Repco Brabham when he made his fatal mistake... Amon's 3rd place was no consolation. Parkes and Scarfiotti then rejoined the squad at the Dutch GP-- the team finishing 4th,5th and 6th-Amon, Parkes, Scarfiotti. Parkes then had his huge shunt at Spa, Amon again 3rd and Scarfiotti not classified. "Lulu" was then dropped from the team - more politics! From then until Mexico Amon then carried on as a singleton entry: The Kiwi's race record - French GP dnf, British GP 3rd, German GP 3rd, Canada 6th, 7th at the Italian GP (where incidentally Scarfiotti appeared as Gurney's Eagle team mate!), USA dnf, and then Mexico which brings us to Williams' one-off drive. So after 2 years when they should have swept all before them all the might of Ferrari could manage was Parkes' 8th place in the '67 World Championship and Amon's 5th in 1967. The real cause of this lack of success however was clearly Enzo Ferrari's grim determination to beat Ford at Le Mans - he took it upon himself to sweep back the foreign invaders and concentrated all his efforts on winning. Amon has been quoted as saying that the F1 programme only ever took off after Le Mans was over! The gallant struggle was all for nothing - as Briggs Cunningham once said, "The only substitute for cubic inches is cubic money." Detroit was always going to outspend Maranello and even Turin (through Fiat's involvement). Stewart's GP career started with BRM in 1965, as teammate to G.Hill. The first year was the best with 3rd overall in the championship. 1966 and the new 3-litre Formula found BRM going in the wrong direction with H16 engine complications and he alternate P261 "Tasman" cars suffering from a lack of power his result were not too impressive. The Mexican race was thus his last for Owen. He then joined Ken Tyrrell and Matra International for 1968 - things changed a bit after that!

An active Grand Prix racer from 1959 - 1967

In 1959 he teamed up with Fry to do just the British GP, but they failed to qualify.

Tim and Mike also designed a space car in the sixties. The successfull Voyager that Chrysler made in the eighties is just like it!


Results through the years...



19 August 1961: Goodwood TT - Stirling Moss winning his 7th RAC Tourist Trophy driving Rob Walker's Ferrari 250SWB at Goodwood 1961, followed by Mike Parkes Ferrari 250SWB. Parkes (#6) 2nd overall.
According to another source Moss drove a Rob Walker Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta and Parkes a Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta.


3 March 1961, Parkes (#32) won at Snetterton, driving a dark blue 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competition, all alloy, RHD (2119GT 60).
Then 3rd April he won the Fordwater Trophy.

1961: Brands Hatch, Peco Trophy, M. Parkes. He drove the red 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, LHD (2417GT 61)

1961: Parkes (#97) won (1st overall) the Molyslip Trophy at Snetterton.

Parkes Crystal Palace 1961: did not finish due to an accident

The 24h Le Mans of 1961 (10 June): Willy Mairesse & Parkes (competition#11) finished 2nd in a Ferrari from the works in a 250 TRI/60 Fantuzzi Spyder
in a 3-litre Testa Rossa.

In Formula Junior he once scored six wins in as many races over one long weekend.

He had 14 Formula Junior wins to his name by the end of the year and numerous competitive placings.


his first Formula One outing (fourth in a Cooper at Mallory Park) and had regular drives with Sopwith's Equipe Endeavour and Maranello Concessionaires, where he continued to fly the Fenari GT flag.

Mike Parkes was a driver for Scuderia Ferrari from 1962-67.
Another source: He joined Ferrari in 1963 as a test and development engineer, being promoted to the Formula 1 team after the departure of John Surtees - with whom he had a strained relationship - just before the 1966 Le Mans race.

3589GT, 20 April 1962, 250 GTO, RHD, Dark blue/rosso

23 April 1962: the Easter Monday GT Meeting Sussex Trophy Goodwood. Michael Parkes came 2nd (#52)

1962, the Montlhery 1000km. Surtees & Parkes: 2nd (in a 250 GTO with race number 11)

12 May 1962: Scalextric International Trophy at Silverstone
1st: Michael Parkes (#31)

27 May 1962: Nürburgring 1000 km. Mike Parkes/Willy Mairesse (#120) finished 2nd overall
The Ferari they drive looks like a 250GTO, but it was entered in the prototype category. The Ferrari 3765GT was powered by a 4-Litre Testa Rossa engine.
Parkes was an engineer at Ferrari at that time and had done much of the development work of the GTO he drove. s/n3765 SA was fitted with a tuned 4 liter SA engine (type 163 LM) and a four speed gearbox rather than a GTO's five. The car was finished in early May 1962 and made an impressive debut at the Nürburgring.

June 1962: 24h Le Mans. Mike Parkes/Lorenzo Bandini in no. 7 did not finish
TFL p194
Michael Parkes and Lorenzo Bandini again drove s/n 3765 SA which sported that classic GTO profile. It's hard to fault the purity of this concept; even the tacked on spoiler and the various vents and lights seem right at home.
The combination of the two drivers was expected to do well.
The normally conservative Englishman went wide on a corner and put it firmly onto the Mulsanne sand bank on the first lap. This rudimentary barrier would catch other cars during the race - Parkes was only the first. There was no traction, so he spent a great deal of time digging himself out, and of course, help from spectators or marshals was not allowed.
He later rejoined the race, but by the sixth hour, the car was out because of overheating. This was attributed to the excursion into the sand bank, but no official reason was ever given.
This did not hurt Parkes' relationship with Ferrari, however; he went on to take several first places, and many other good finishes, in the following years in sports and GT Ferraris. Ferrari also valued his expertise as a development engineer for the factory. Ferari did win that race: the 330 TR/LM, s/n 0808 won.

11 June 1962. Michael Parkes (#72) 1st in Mallory Park.

15 July 1962. Michael Parkes (#85) - the Scott Brown Memorial Trophy at Snetterton. First GT and second overall.

There exists a cd-rom called Grand Prix Legends. GPL is tough perhaps too hard for the casual gamer.
A full grid of the years' drivers includes Damon's dad Graham, the irrepressible Jack Brabham and the oft-forgotten talent of Mike Parkes.

6 August 1962: The Peco GT Trophy at Brands Hatch - Michael Parkes (#73): 1st

18 August 1962: Michael Parkes (#5) ended as 3rd in the RAC Tourist Trophy at Goodwood.

1962, the Guards Trophy Race at Brands Hatch Parkes finished 1st driving a Ferari 246 SP/ 196 SP

29 September 1962: Michael Parkes (#41) won the Daily Mirror 3h Trophy at Snetterton.


Enzo Ferrari recognised this unusual young Englishman's talents and engaged him for both his engineering and driving abilities in 1963.

At Ferrari Parkes was to face the greatest challenges possible to his talents, mastering fluent Italian as the months and years went by. In that first year he was 3rd at Le Mans and 2nd in the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood.

Mike Parkes drove a red 250P 4 liter Ferari 12 cylinder in Reims on 30th June 1963. The 3967cc prototype competed in the 4000 class with race number 10. It was part of the Sefac Ferari Team, owned by Enzo Ferari.
He did not finish due to clutch problems.

Chapter in a book
Competitive Driving / by Peter Roberts (1925 - ....). - London: S. Paul, 1964. - 140 pgs.; 22cm. - MBC edition fine, dw £10.00
With chapters on F1 (by Innes Ireland); Rallies (John Sprinzel), Sports Cars (Mike Parkes), Hillclimbs (Tony Marsh) and others.

The 1963 RAC Tourist Trophy Goodwood was won by Graham Hill (Ferrari GTO). Mike Parkes (Ferrari GTO) came second.

1963 - Easter Monday Meeting at Goodwood - M. Parkes came 2nd

1963 Parkes/Salvadori entered for the Peco Trophy at Brands Hatch.

Le Mans 24h of 1963: While their team-mates Bandini and Scarfiotti won, Mike Parkes and Umberto Maglioli (#22) finished 3rd with the 330 P s/n 0810.
FIC p196 FMT p189 'Prova MO 49'

The Tourist Trophy at Goodwood in 1963 - Parkes (#12) came 2nd overall and 2nd in class (GT)

1963. Parkes did not finish in Daily Express Trophy at Silverstone

Nürburgring 1000 km 1963 / 250 P
No. 111, retired. Scarfiotti - co-driver was Michael Parkes - crashed at Aremberg.


A talented aviator

His father wrote

"Michael was an impeccable flyer : as a former RAF instructor and an aviator of 53 years' experience I can fairly say he was exceptional. He never put a mark on anything to the best of my knowledge.
"I was a little apprehensive when he bought the powerful Beach Baron twin, but I have been with him at 22,000 feet on oxygen above the Alps and know what an outstanding pilot he was.
"He started flying in Italy and I see here - from one of the two logs I have - that his first flight from the club at Modena was on October 10th 1965. He subsequently earned a full commercial pilot's licence in America, and also held Italian and British air licences.
In connection with motor sports I remember that he used to act as a pilot on the Safari Rally, acting as 'satellite' to transmit messages and act as a flying HQ. "


During the next season he had his first long-distance classic victory (Sebring 12 Hours paired with Maglioli) and followed it up with another win, this time at SpaFrancorchamps.

In 1964 (21 March) Mike Parkes & Umberto Maglioli (#22) won the Sebring 12 hours in a 275 P Ferari (250 P 63 ?). Entrant: Sefac Italia.

Victory: Spa-Francorchamps 500 km Parkes in a 250 GTO Ferari.

64 / 2nd / 1st GT / 1000 km Nuerburgring / Guichet/Parkes / #83 / TFL p202, p291
Red 250 GTO, LHD

That 1964 season was curtailed by a testing accident.


1965 Monza 1000 km Parkes-Guichet won in a 275 P2 Ferari.

This performance was backed up by a brace of 2nd places at Reims and Nurburgring. The last a bit of a British affair as the other driver was John Surtees.

The weekend of August 22/23 1965 the Austrian Grand Prix was held in Zeltweg. Jochen Rindt won the race in a Ferrari 250 LM ahead of Mike Parkes in a Ferrari 365 P2 which, on paper, was the favorite but had to stop for fuel.
Not a World Champioship GP, this was held for sportscars.

Le Mans 24 h 1965: The works-330 P2 s/n 0836 of Jean Guichet and Mike Parkes retired.

275/330 P2 Spyder, later converted to 365 P specifications
65/apr/25 / 1st / 1000km Monza / Parkes/Guichet / 275 P2
65/jun/19-20 / ret. / 24h Le Mans / Parkes/Guichet Scuderia Ferrari 330 P2 / #20 / Ferrari at Le Mans / p82

65/may/23 / as 275 P2 / 2nd / 1000km / Nuerburgring / Parkes/Guichet / #2 / FIC p224
Nürburgring 1000 km 1965
Michael Parkes drove the 275 P2 s/n 0832 together with Jean Guichet -finishing 2nd. [another picture]

65 / 6th / Guards Trophy Brands Hatch / Michael Parkes / #24 / FIC p40



Formula One
6 Grand Prix starts, no wins, but he came 2nd twice.
Once a pole position, twice in the front row.
He raced 224 laps (1409km.), but he never did the fastest lap.
He lead in one grand prix for 7 laps (40km.).
Leader in 6 tours
34,500 km.

The 1966 season saw his Formula 1 career blossom firmly as the 3-litre Formula was the subject of a particularly strong Ferrari challenge. The usual fortunes of racing at Ferrari put more emphasis on driving than Parkes would have anticipated with his commitment to development engineering.
Teamed with Scarfiotti and Bandini in the wake of the Surtees departure, Mike's 6 ft. 4 in. frame presented the team with some problems in just fitting it within the scarlet body!

The trouble was worth it and Mike was second in his Reims debut. Another second place, this time in a Ferrari 1-2 at Monza, gave him high hopes for 1967.

He entered the Formula One Championship in 1966 in a Ferrari. His very first GP was the one in France (several sources say so - don't know why they don't count Zeltweg in 1965 - not a GP) and he came second - which he repeated at the Italian GP (Monza, 4 Sep 1966: 391km in 68 laps of 5.750 km). He started in pole position: 1.31.3 and finished behind L. Scarfiotti (also in a Ferari, 1:47:14.8 = 218.748 km/h) clocked 00:05.8 later...
That year he finished 8th (14 points).

66 8th OA / Austrian GP / Michael Parkes
250 LM, rhd, Drogo long nose, , motore tipo 211, China red/panno blu

Victory: 1966 Monza 1000 km Parkes-Surtees won in a 330 P3 Ferari.

66/apr/25 / 1st / 1000km Monza / Surtees/Parkes / #14 / Ca11 p19, 21
66/may/22 / 1st / 1000km Spa / Parkes/Scarfiotti / #1 / Ca11 p25
66/jun/18-19 / dnf / accident / 24h Le Mans / Scarfiotti/Parkes / #20 / FIC p260 / Ca11 p33 / Le Mans 24h 1966: Scarfiotti crashed heavily into the barriers with the 330 P3 s/n 0848. He had gone of the road at the Tertre-Rouge with the car he shared with Mike Parkes.

Nürburgring 1000 km 1966
The 330 P3 s/n 0846 of John Surtees and Michael Parkes lead the race but retired.

1966 - 1000 km di Spa-Francorchamps, Parkes-Scarfiotti won in a 330 P3.

1966 - Paris 1000 km, Parkes-Piper won in a 250 LM Ferari.

330 P3 in 66 converted P3/4 specs
66/mar/26 / dnf / transmission lap 172 / 12h Sebring / Parkes/Bondurant / #27 / Ca11 p16, 18
66/jun/5 / dnf / 1000km Nuerburgring / Surtees/Parkes / #1 / FIC p255 / Ca11 p26, 28

330 P3 Berlinetta 66 / 2nd completed for the 66 season
66/apr/25 / 1st / 1000km Monza / Surtees/Parkes / #14 / Ca11 p19, 21
66/may/22 / 1st / 1000km Spa / Parkes/Scarfiotti / #1 / Ca11 p25

30 April 1966: M. Parkes (#42) ended 21th in a 206 S Dino Spyder at the Oulton Park TT. On 16 July 1966 he won his class in the Eagles Trophy Brands Hatch and ended 6th overall. Racenumber 32. But then, on 8 August, again at Brands Hatch, he did not even start for the Guard Trophy.

Nürburgring 1000 km 1966: The 330 P3 s/n 0846 was the only Ferrari P at the start of the race. It was driven by John Surtees and Mike Parkes. The Englishmen retired. [another picture]

66 - 1st - 1000km Paris - Piper/Parkes
250 LM, RHD, Drogo long nose, motore tipo 210

66/jul/3 / GP of France at Reims
(John Surtees had finally lost his temper with the politics at Ferrari and had walked out - leaving Jack Brabham a clear run to the title.) Ferrari promoted British engineer-driver Mike Parkes to the F1 team.
Parkes qualified as third. Parkes finished second on his F1 debut, one of the best debut results in Grand Prix history, behind Jack Brabham.

66/jul/24 / Dutch GP at Zandvoort
The Italian team fielded Lorenzo Bandini and Mike Parkes, but it was clear that Brabham's development has left the Ferraris behind. Parkes (Ferrari 312, car# 4) qualified as 5th. He retired due to an accident in the 10th lap. (no other cars involved)

66/aug/7 / German GP at Nürburgring
As the entry for the Grand Prix was rather small the organizers at the Nurburgring decided to run Formula 2 cars alongside the F1 machinery, although the races were treated as separate events. Ferrari entered three cars for Lorenzo Bandini, Mike Parkes and Lodovico Scarfiotti. Parkes (Ferrari 312, car# 10) qualified as 7th. He retired dus to an accident in lap no. 9. (no other cars involved).

66/sep/4 / GP of Italy at Monza
One of the highlights of Parkes brief spell as a Ferrari Formula 1 driver: Qualifying resulted in pole position going to Mike Parkes (Ferrari 312) with Scarfiotti (Ferrari 312) second and Clark third in the Lotus-BRM 43. Parkes led briefly. Scarfiotti finished six seconds clear of the battle for second which went (by 0.3sec) to Parkes. Hulme third.


When asked what private cars he ran, the answer was:

'I have a 1,000 cc Rally Imp and a 1952 manual gearbox mark 6 Bentley'

In 1967 he drove his Ferrari only in the Dutch and the Belgian GP. Finished 16th in the championship
with 45 11 04

Parkes with Scarfiotti at Daytona, Monza and Le Mans: a string of 2nd places in the sports/ racing P4 Prototype.

4 Februari 1967 Parkes/Scarfiotti (#24) came 2nd in the 24h Daytona, driving a 330 P4 Spyder (0856 67).
Daytona p32, Ca11 p39

8 April 1967 Parkes (#21) came 2nd in the 4h LM.

In the Spring of 67 Mike was back in Britain for the Daily Express non-Championship F1 event, and he won convincingly.

Parkes/Scarfiotti competed in the 1000km Spa of 1967.

330 P4 Spyder; 2nd of 3 / .. - engine extended to 4,2 l
67/apr/25 / 2nd / 1000km Monza / Parkes/ Scarfiotti / #4 / Ca11 p44
67/may/1 / 5th / 1000km Spa / Parkes/Scarfiotti / #9 / Ca11 p109
LM67/jun/10 / 2nd / 24h LM / Parkes/Scarfiotti / #21 /FIC p271 / Ca11 p56 / 24h Le Mans 1967 / Ludovico Scarfiotti and Mike Parkes placed 2nd with the 330 P4 s/n 0858

67/may/1 / dnf / 1000km Spa / Parkes/Scarfiotti / #11 / Ca11 p46, 107
Yellow 412 P P3/P4

Their Ferrari 330P4 was placed 2nd at the 1967 Le Mans by Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti. Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt won in a Ford GT-40 Mk IV.
(In the 1966 Le Mans, three Ford GT-40 Mk IIs had won over the Ferrari 330P3.)

29 April 1967: Mike Parkes won the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone in a Ferrari - the highlight of his brief spell as a Ferrari Formula 1 driver.
21 May 1967: Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti won the Syracuse GP ex-aequo in a 312 F1-1966 Ferari.

Monaco GP of May 7
On lap 82 Lorenzo Bandini lost control of his car at the chicane and the car overturned and caught fire with Bandini trapped underneath. The fire was put out and Bandini rescued and rushed to hospital. He died of serious burns on the Wednesday after the race.

67/jun/4 / Dutch GP at Zandvoort
Ferrari had named British engineer-driver Mike Parkes as Bandini's replacement. He shared victory a few days later with Lodovico Scarfiotti in the non-championship F1 race at Syracuse although most of the F1 big guns missed the Italian road race because they were in America for the Indianapolis 500.
Parkes qualified as 10th, and finished 5th in his Ferrari 312, with car # 4.

Mike Parkes, who had finished second at Le Mans sharing his car with Lodovico Scarfiotti

67/jun/18 / Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Parkes qualified as 8th. in car # 3
An enormous accident on the opening lap left Parkes lying beside his upturned Ferrari 312 with head injuries and a badly broken leg. Towards the end of the first lap Parkes slid on some oil from the BRM and crashed at 150mph in the Blanchimont corner. He suffered serious leg injuries, a broken wrist and a head injury which ended his F1 career - although he remained on the staff at Ferrari for many years as a test driver and engineer. The accident virtually finished his career, for although he subsequently had some sports car drives, the old magic had deserted him.
Following his retirement he managed the private Scuderia Filipinetti Ferrari team and operated a team of Fiat 128s contesting the European Touring Car Championship. Later he became involved in the management of the Lancia rally team for whom he was working when he died in a road accident near Turin.

Spa-Francorchamps brought the accident that was to end his brief F 1 career. A long slide on oil, eventually led the car into a somersault that left Mike with severe leg injuries. It was to be 1969 before he raced again.


In fact his energies were given over to developing the 312Ps, but these were not destined to take the limelight· until the FIA took out the 5-litre machinery, long after Mike had left Ferrari for the chance of driving (a Ferrari 512) at Filipinetti, based in Switzerland.

February 1968 Mike Parkes and Tim Fry gave an interview to Motor: "The devil we know". At the time Mike Parkes commuted between his office in the Ferrari factory at Maranello and Luton Hospital for repairs to his leg, damaged in June 1967 at the Belgian GP.


In 1969, the Italian car industry was having some problems. These problems culminated in the Fiat Corporation being involved in a partial takeover of the Ferrari marque and a total takeover of Lancia.


His best results after the accident were fourth places in 1970 at Daytona and the Nurburgring.

The year of the great battle between Porsche and Ferrari sports cars.
In GPs, only Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni drove for Ferrari amongst a mainly Cosworth engined field.

70/apr/17 / 13th / Brands Hatch / Parkes/Müller / #3
70/apr/24 / 8th / 1000km Monza / Parkes/Müller / #4
70/may/3 / 6th / Targa Florio / Parkes/Müller / #4 / .. - coda lunga / FIC p303
70/jun/14 / dnf / 24h Le Mans / Parkes/Müller / #15 / C72 p30
Two of three Ferraris that were entered by the Swiss Scuderia Filipinetti: The 512 S coda lunga s/n 1016 (no. 15) for Müller/ Parkes and the 512 S s/n 1032 (no. 16) for Moretti/ Manfredini. Both retired.
Parkes qualified the car 8th and soon moved up to 6th and in the third hour to 4th. But then, while avoiding a slower car, he was forced to the sidelines ending the day in the sand.

   Parkes, Giunti and Schetty
Parkes and Giunti listen to Schetty telling about his accident in practice.

70 / 4th / 1000km Nürburgring / Müller/Parkes / #58
512 S Berlinetta (Spyder), also called the Filipinetti-512S, entered by the swiss Scuderia Filipinetti
Jacky Ickx / Giunti drove a 512S with car# 55. Giunti drove it a few rounds in practice, but they did not start.
John Surtees / Peter Schetty (swiss) drove a 512 with start number 56. Schetty had an accident during practice. Then Surtees was given the 512S with #55 and Nino Vaccarella as co-pilot (they ended 3rd). Ignazio Giunti und Jacky Ickx were given the last remaining Ferrari.


1971: Bonnier/Parkes (#8) came 7th in the 1000km of Buenos Aires. The car was 512 M s/n 1048. FCR V2 p228
They did not finish in the 1000km of Monza (Again race#8).
Then neither did Parkes/Pescarolo finish the 1971 24h Le Mans (#7).


Although he continued to work with Filipinetti for some time his driving was confined to testing after the 1971 season. Inexorably he was drawn back to Italy, and some of his old contacts, by a largely unsuccessful project that involved running Filipinetti Fiat 128s in the European Touring Car Championship (attempting to beat an Alfa Romeo stranglehold).

72 - Filipinetti / 7th OA, 3rd IC / 24h Le Mans / Parkes/Lafosse / #34 / C81 p23
365 GTB/4 Competizione Series 2, 6th of 15 / 96 - eligible Challenge storico Ferrari Shell

In 1972 Parkes (#13) finished as 10th in the Riverside.


In 1976 when Mike Parkes was Lancia's Stratos development engineer, a Stratos Group 5 car was constructed under his guidance. Carlo Facetti was the collaborating engine tuner. Only two were ever built. The mid engined car had a strut type rear suspension, ideal for rallying. They were challengers in the 1976 Le Mans.
Marlboro liveried StratosThe first one was in Marlboro livery. It was destroyed by a turbo related fire. The other one, the Alitalia version, was made with a 150mm longer wheelbase to make the chassis more suitable for circuit racing. It disappeared, recently surfacing in the Matsui Collection in Japan - for sale at £300,000!
Further development was halted when Parkes was killed in a road accident during the summer of '77. At about the same time Fiat, owners of Lancia, decided to abandon the project in favour of other racing interests.

See also a prototype created in the Stratos mould.


At the time of his death Michael Parkes was ~till employed by the Fiat organisation,workmg as the competition development engineer for Landa at their Turin factory departmcnt. He was responsible over a period of years for the tremendously impressive Lancia Stratos programme and was involved in the current Montecarlo development work to replace this unique vehicle in the Lancia motor sporting armoury. The fact that the Stratos raced on odd occasions was almost entirely due to Mike Parkes and his bubbling determination to, "do something about those blasted Porsches everywhere !"

Mike Parkes died at age 46 in a Road Rally crash, 28 August 1977

His Lancia struck the rear of a 43-ton lorry in heavy rain at Chieri, South East of Turin. It is thought he died instantly. The accident happened late at night on a section of road notorious for flooding under such conditions.

Mike Parkes was actually set to return to Britain to marry his fiancee and work within this country.


Twenty Questions : Mike Parkes tells Motor Racing what it is like working for Ferrari / Motor Racing 1967, February. - p.80-81
also Cover picture

Michael Johnson Parkes 1931-1977 / J.W. - Motor Sport, October 1977. - p.1232

The Imp Site
   Rootes personnel
© Franka


Unsorted bits:

The Sports Prototypes 1963-64

Drivers' World Championship
Position 8 (10 points) Mike Parkes (shared with Lorenzo Bandini), both in a Ferari

The 24 Hours of Le Mans 1970 in a Ferrari 312P by Tony Adamowicz
Winning the 1968 under two-liter Trans-Am championship in a Porsche 911, then the Formula 5000 championship in a Chevy-powered Eagle the following year had opened doors to new adventures and travel. My Formula 5000 team manager, Carroll Smith, and my former team owner Marvin Davidson had provided entree to Luigi Chinetti's team of N.A.R.T. Ferraris, and at the 1970 24 Hours of Daytona I'd been hired to co-drive one of the team's two 312Ps with Englishman David Piper. The other car was entrusted to Ferrari engineer Mike Parkes and Sam Posey.
Mike Parkes had crashed during the early morning hours and the only spare radiator between the two cars had been used in the repairs. The track conditions would eventually render our own radiator useless, and David and I would drive five and a half hours without any water at all in the system, using the oil temperature alone to guide us.
Our N.A.R.T. 312Ps came home 4th and 5th overall, and 1st and 2nd in class, Mike and Sam finishing 15 laps ahead of David and I. So my first association with Ferrari had been a moderately successful one. While I'd been paired with David at Daytona, and had also driven with him at the Monza 1000 Kms in a Porsche 917, my co-driver for Le Mans was to be Chuck Parsons of Can-Am fame.

Michael Parkes
Mike Parkes
Mike Parkes
Mike Parkes

The Australian and New Zealand Lancia Stratos and Stratos replica register
Stratos Replica Club UK

As you may be aware, the original Lancia Stratos was the first car to be specifically designed and built with the intention of winning rallies. The car was powered by the Ferrari V6 engine from the Dino, had a steel centre monocoque section with fibreglass for the doors and front and rear bodywork. It proved to be a winner in rallying through the late seventies, until it was withdrawn due to Fiat company politics.

As the end of the Millennium approaches, few cars have ever been produced which can match the futuristic style of the Lancia Stratos, designed by Bertone for Lancia, and first seen in public at the 1970 Turin Motor Show.
Only 492 of these fabulous supercars were ever produced, but this mid-engined 'homologation special' provided Lancia with three successive World Rally Championship titles, from 1974 to 1976.

The original inspiration for the Lancia Stratos was the 1970 Turin Show Car, produced by cachbuilders Bertone for Lancia
The futuristic, and radical, styling was the result of extensive wind tunnel testing to achieve the minimum possible coefficient of wind resistance, and produced a vehicle which looked more like somthing from a Sci-Fi movie than a realistic supercar. In fact, the name Stratos is reputed to be given because one of the designers thought the car looked like something which had come from the Stratosphere!!

In 1970, the BERTONE company displayed a 'concept' car named Stratos at the Turin Motor Show. The car was a low wedge shaped vehicle that utilised a Fulvia motor and gearbox midmounted. Access to the car was through the windscreen.
Within this beautiful but highly impractical car, the people at Lancia saw the potential for a special build of 500 cars (as required under Group 4 of the rules governing motor sport) to use as a Rally winner. The Lancia Stratos was to become known as the first homologation special. The requirement for 500 cars proved to be a problem for the company. On one hand there were not enough to warrant the massive tooling costs required to build a production car, and on the other hand, far too many for hand building. Thus, all of the chassis and fibreglass bodywork was created outside the factory at the Bertone workshops.
A full scale mockup named the 'Stratos HF' was displayed at the 1971 Turin Motor Show on the Bertone stand. The next big step was to secure an engine to use. Lancia did not have a suitable unit available so the designers turned to Fiat. The 246 Dino V6 had just ceased production and so arrangements were made for 500 plus of the Ferrari units to be produced for use in the Stratos. This did not happen overnight and took much negotiation. The design of the Stratos was as follows a central monocoque with a cage attached to it front and rear to hold the engine and suspension. It was an immensely strong chassis, designed to cope with the variety of conditions experienced in the World Rally Championships.
The front and rear body panels were created in one piece using fibreglass, and were hinged to lift up for easy access to mechanicals. To all of this was attached adjustable suspension, huge brakes, and of course the Ferrari Dino V6 engine.
Production of the Strato's did not commence until the end of 1973 at the Bertone factory. Motor sport homologation was granted on the 1st of October in 1974.
In 1975, production of the car ceased although you could still buy a new car for a number of years later.

Born 24 Sep 1931 Richmond
Died 28 Aug 1977 Turin
F1 Debut 1959, Great Britain
Seasons 1959-1967

Son of a former chairman of the Alvis company, Mike Parkes was born into a world of cars and motor racing, and rose to become a long-distance sports car driver of considerable status. He also briefly enjoyed a spell as a Ferrari F1 driver, the highlights of which were second place to Scarfiotti in the 1966 Italian Grand Prix and victory in the following year's Silverstone International Trophy. He trained as an engineer with the Rootes Group in Coventry, staying with them until 1962 by which time his professional racing career had started. He joined Ferrari in 1963 as a test and development engineer, being promoted to the F1 team after a string of international sports car successes following the departure of John Surtees with whom he had a somewhat strained personal relationship. An enormous accident on the opening lap of the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix left him lying beside his upturned Ferrari with head injuries and a badly broken leg.

The accident virtually finished his career, for although he subsequently had some sports car drives, the old magic had deserted him. After his retirement he managed the Filipinetti private Ferrari team and operated a team of Fiat 128s contesting the European Touring Car Championship. After that he became involved in the management of the Lancia rally team for whom he was still working when he died in a road accident near Turin.

F1 Championship Race Results [IE only]