Lot 222


1969 Merlyn Mk11a

Offered from The Jody Scheckter Collection


€51,750 EUR | Sold

Monaco | Monaco, Monaco



Chassis No.
Bill of Sale Only
  • Offered from The Jody Scheckter Collection
  • The ‘Magic Merlyn’–the marque’s most famous car
  • Raced by Emerson Fittipaldi, Colin Vandervell, Jody Scheckter and Frank Sytner
  • A huge race history with many race wins including the 1970 British Formula Ford Championship
  • Presented in the livery of Jody Scheckter’s European debut in 1971
Addendum: Please note this lot has entered the EU on a temporary import bond, which must be cancelled either by exporting the lot outside of the EU on an approved Bill of Lading with supporting customs documentation or by paying the applicable VAT and import duties to have the lot remain in the EU.

Veuillez noter que ce lot est entré dans l'UE sous couvert d'une autorisation d'importation temporaire, qui doit être annulée soit en exportant le lot en dehors de l'UE avec une lettre de débarquement approuvé accompagné des documents douaniers nécessaires, soit en payant la TVA et les droits d'importation applicables pour que le lot reste dans l'UE.

While Formula Ford was growing in popularity, the likes of Colin Chapman and Jack Brabham sought to capitalise by developing race cars to sell and compete in this new category. Selwyn Hayward, founder of Colchester Racing Developments—a company that produced and sold Merlyn race cars—decided to follow the competition and design a car for the Formula Ford series. In 1968, the Merlyn Mk11 was instantly competitive, with Tim Schenken claiming the BRSCC Formula Ford 1600 championship title that year. For 1969, a revised version dubbed the Mk11a was introduced. These cars featured new bodywork, revised springs, and other minor tweaks.

Chassis 238 was purchased new in Mk11a configuration by Denny Rowland, who had just sold his Mk11 to Sonny Eade. When Emerson Fittipaldi approached Rowland and asked him to race in his car, a deal was struck. Rowland leased the car to Fittipaldi and provided race and mechanical support. The young Brazilian was so successful that he quickly moved up to Formula 3. Rowland then sold chassis 238 to Colin Vandervell, son of Tony, team owner of Vanwall. Like Fittipaldi, Vandervell was extremely competitive and won multiple races. For 1970, what was now dubbed as “The Magic Merlyn” was upgraded to Mk17 specification, with Vandervell totally dominating the Formula Ford category. He won 24 races that season, nearly all in chassis 238 and took home the Les Leston Championship.

In 1971, Jody Scheckter acquired chassis 238, having impressed in the Formula Ford Sunshine Series in South Africa, and winning the ‘Driver of Europe’ award that year. Now based in the UK, he fielded the “Magic Merlyn” in the BOC Formula Ford Series. In his debut at Brands Hatch, he nearly claimed 1st place, but spun out while he leading and finished in 2nd place. Scheckter continued to show how competitive the “Magic Merlyn” was, claiming pole positions, victories, and podium finishes—but also spinning out on several occasions. Following a black flag in the Castellet Euro Series on 3 July, he moved up to Formula 3, selling chassis 238 to Frank Sytner and purchasing a brand new Merlyn Mk21 (also part of The Jody Scheckter Collection and available at RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction).

Debuting the “Magic Merlyn” in September 1971, Sytner raced with the car until mid-1972, when he bought the newer Merlyn Mk20A, which Jody’s brother, Ian Scheckter, had been racing. Sytner could not recall who he sold chassis 238 to. Reappearing in 1990, it was purchased by Californian publisher Paul Pfanner, who in turn had John Bright restore the car. Pfanner used this Merlyn in various historic events in the US until he sold the car back to Jody Scheckter in 1997.

With a fascinating and highly impressive race history—arguably the most successful Merlyn ever built—chassis 238 presents an unrepeatable opportunity to buy an historic Formula Ford driven by Emerson Fittipaldi, Colin Vandervell, Jody Scheckter, and Frank Sytner. It is, of course, highly eligible for a various of historic motor racing events and series.