Allan McCall, who enjoyed a career filled with “career moments,” from working with Jim Clark in saloon cars, F1 and at Indy to building his own line of Tui racing cars, has passed away at the age of 76, apparently succumbing to complication from heart valve surgery. Serving at various times during his career as mechanic, engineer, fabricator, designer, constructor and team owner, McCall carried his characteristic excellence along with him wherever he went.
After leaving his native New Zealand during the early 1960s to go to Europe and involve himself in international racing, McCall initially landed as a mechanic for Team Lotus, working first on Clark’s Lotus Cortina then subsequently in F1, Indycars, the Tasman series and Can-Am for both Lotus and McLaren.
He then set out to build his own cars, from a shop at an old WWII airfield. This new car, named the Tui after New Zealand’s equivalent of the Nightingale, was a Formula Three car meant to be driven by McCall’s great mate Bert Hawthorne. It was converted to U.S. Formula B specification and Hawthorne won three of his five FB starts with it despite the team pinching every penny.
McCall’s next design was for a Tui Atlantic chassis to be put into production by Leda Cars, but it first saw action as a Super Vee instead, with Hawthorne finishing 2nd in an international FSV race at Daytona. Several Super Vee Tuis were sold, but McCall preferred Formula Atlantic and, similarly, Formula Two, for which he built the Tui AM29. Then a tangle with another car during F2 practice at Hockenheim in 1972 sent it into an airborne accident that claimed Hawthorne’s life and left McCall distraught. Subsequent Tui chassis numbers included a BH designation in Hawthorne’s honor, They were raced competitively in Formula Atlantic by the likes of Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Brett Lunger, Tom Gloy, David Oxton and Damien Magee.
At the end of 1972, McCall briefly became involved with Italy’s Pederzani brothers to create a design exercise that their company, Tecno, could use in F1. Tecno had enjoyed success in the lower formulae, but its F1 effort never matched expectations because the brothers decided to build their own engines as well as chassis. McCall left the team shortly after the first test.
Surfacing in North America, he turned his attention to Formula Atlantic where he took up the role of mentor for young drivers, and In 1986 he guided Ted Prappas (above) to the West Coast Formula Atlantic championship in his Team Tui Ralt RT4. He also logged considerable time working as an engineer with Indycar teams before subsequently returning home to New Zealand to spend his later years.
To his beloved companion Danielle Montour and all of his many friends in and out of the sport, Vintage Racecar extends its deepest sympathies.