Success in Formula 3 and beyond
From 1978 to 1983
In UK the opening Vandervell F3 Championship race Danny Sullivan was called upon. The car attracted a lot of attention and came 6th overall and scored points on its maiden outing. The Team decided to let the car speak for itself by racing it in the European Championship. Ruedi Gygax was the sole driver for the first race but at the Oesterreichring the talented Swedish driver Stefan Johansson joined him.(later to drive F1 for Ferrari and McLaren). At the prestigious Formula 3 race in Monaco Stefan finished 4th and Anglia Cars managed to qualify two-thirds of their total production. Stefan won the Swedish Formula 3 Championship in his Argo JM1.
Interest in the cars was growing and soon Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and David Kennedy were in Argos. David Kennedy brought Group Waterworks and Findus sponsorship to Anglia Cars (Argo). He also helped to put the cars ‘on the map’ and from then on cars began to be sold.
Success in 1978 was not entirely in Formula 3. American Bill Alsup won both the American road race and oval track Formula Super Vee Championships. During 1977 and 1978 12 Formula 3 cars were built and sold, and eight Super Vee cars. (JM2). The JM2 won the American Robert Bosch Race Championship plus the USAC Mini-Indy series.
By this time Argo Cars was settling in well to the 5000 sq.ft factory which housed the CNC machine shop, fabrication area and engine shop (including Dynamometer and Cylinder Head flow bench). For 1979 a three model range was established for Formula 3 (JM3), Super Vee (JM4) and Formula Atlantic (JM5). Sixteen cars of this model range were sold.
In this year (1979) Arie Luyendyk raced in the works team, supported by Roberto Guerrero. Arie Luyendyk was later twice winner of Indianapolis 500. He raced for many years in the States and was inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame in America.
Private Bliss Through a Racing Connection:
Roberto had progressed from success in Go Kart racing in Colombia. He came to the Jim Russell Racing School Snetterton in Norfolk. John Kirkpatrick introduced him to Nick and Jo. Roberto raced, and helped in the development during the successful years of the JM3 and JM6 cars. A close relationship was formed and Roberto was instrumental in helping Jo and his wife Jackie to adopt their daughters, Kate and Resi, who had been born in Colombia. Roberto went on to race in Formula 1 and later had a successful career in the States in Indycar Racing. On retirement he turned to Broadcasting and tuition.
1980 A Good Year for Argo Cars
For 1980 the new model line-up included the Argo JM6, a logical development to the JM3. With Roberto Guerrero and Thierry Tassin as the works drivers Anglia Cars won seven races, five to Guerrero and two to Tassin. This clinched equal second for Guerrero (sponsor/Caribu Jeans) and fourth place for Tassin (Petite Bête) in the British Formula 3 Championship. A young David Sears was also driving a JM6 and was often winning points. The Championship, however, was won by Stefan Johansson. He changed to a Ralt late in the Championship and won the last 4 races. The JM6 is still a desirable and competitive car in Historic Racing.
Success in 1980 was not only in F3 in UK. Arie Luyendyk finished 2nd in the European Super Vee series using his original JM2 chassis. Mike Nugent won the Irish Atlantic series. Due to Jo's Swiss connections a large number of cars were sold in Switzerland over the years and driven by more than 20 Swiss drivers.
The elation was not to last. Rival teams were taking over at the end of the last season and a new concept was required. This came as the JM8 (ground-effects car). Not a car which is remembered in a good light. Eleven cars were built and sold but none did well and there was not time for the required development. There are still debates as to why the car didn't work well. 'elegant magnesium oil tank contributed to the problem' ' not enough resistance to torsional flexing'. However the cars did race in Europe and the US with some success and do occasionally turn up today. Further ground-effects designs followed and from 1982 onwards appeared as F3 and Super Vee versions racing in US and Europe. The Formula Atlantic version JM11 dominated in the US racing season.