In 1971, the first headlines appeared of McNally engineering ready to debut in the Formula One. McNally was a company based in Newcastle and famous for their alloy wheels. Gordon McNally told the media already in the late 1960s that he was ready to compete in the Formula One with his own team. Eventually the story kept alive for several years including an involvement with the Hesketh Team and their plans to design their own V12 engine.
The 1971 plans
It’s 1971 when McNally has given an interview stating that they are building a Formula One car for the next season. The reason they were not able to build their own Formula One car before was due to experimental work for other teams who used their wheels. Their first car would be ready before Christmas 1971 and various drivers have been approached at that time if they were interested to race for the team. Probably Chris Amon was one of the drivers that was approached.
The idea was not to debut in the Formula One as constructor. The original plan was to outsource the team activities to another team. McNally engineering would deliver the needed engineers and of course the car. Numerous of revolutionary ideas were pronounced for the car. The car would feature a honeycomb monocoque. While the radiators would be build into the monocoque with special ram ducts. Feeding the fresh air from the front. The Cosworth DFV engine would power the car.
1972 – 1975 the involvement with Hesketh
While the team had big plans, the plans would change rapidly. It seems the team started working on their car. In October 1972 the first messages appeared that McNally was in contact with Lord Hesketh . Regarding their plan to develop their own Hesketh V12 engine. It seems that in September 1973 Lord Hesketh gave the green light to start developing the Hesketh V12 engine. Aubrey Woods, a former BRM designer, and former Westlake (known for their V12 engine) engineer, was contracted to develop the new engine with his company.
It is not sure what has happened. Though during 1974 it seems that Aubrey Woods failed to fur fill it’s contract with Hesketh. That same year the stories arrived that Hesketh was to use the McNally Engineering cars. However, it would be soon clear that they would not continue with them.
Since Lord Hesketh lost it’s interest for the Hesketh V12 engines. Gordon McNally was stuck with six V12 engines from Aubrey Woods. Reports stated that two engines were completed, while four other engines were partly ready, while many parts were already produced to complete the engines. The engines were seen in an advertisement in the Autosport magazine 6th March 1975.