Tony Settember

Tony Settember

10/7/1926 - 4/5/2014

Settember raced sports cars in the USA before travelling to Europe to try his hand a F1. After a year with an Emeryson he formed his own team Scirocco-Powell and commissioned his own car. Quit single-seaters after two years and returned to the USA in Can-Am and F5000 with little in the way of results.

Tony Settember was a Californian of Italian descent who was born in Manila, Philippines.

Tony raced Corvettes and a Mercedes 300SL in the States before coming to Europe, where, initially driving a WRE-Maserati sports car, he took a win in the Naples GP at Posillipo but achieved little else before returning home.

Tony was the guardian of Hugh Powell, a superbly wealthy American teenager. In 1962 Tony persuaded Powell to buy into Emeryson Cars Ltd. Paul Emery was retained to put together an assault on the 1962 Grand Prix season for for Settember and John Campbell-Jones. Emery always one for the unusual initially penned a 4 wheel drive car powered by two 750 cc motorcycle engines. However Settember persuaded him to design something slightly more sensible. This was to be built around a glass-fibre monocoque but because of budget constraints it ended up as a semi-monocoque with fuel tanks on the side carried by a stressed mid-section. The front mounted radiator was almost horizontally.

Unfortunately Settember did not fit the car properly which seriously hampered his performance. Not only was John Campbell-Jones the faster of the two but the cars were also easily outpaced by the competition in their few Championship appearances. Relationships in the team became strained and before the end of the season, Emery and Campbell-Jones quit.

He raced at Le Mans that year with an Ecurie Scirocco Corvette with John Turner, retiring with gearbox prolems after 150 laps.

Thus in 1963 Powell and Settember moved into premises at the back of the Seven Stars pub in Goldhawk Road, London, and formed the Scirocco-Powell team. Powell commissioned Roy Thomas to build up the new Scirocco and three chassis were constructed. They were a combination semi-monocoque and tube frame design with the fuel tanks mounted mid-ship, wrapping around the cockpit. John Tojeiro constructed the suspension. The two completed team cars were powered by 1.5 litre BRM V8 engines fitted to Colotti six speed gearboxes with aluminum bodywork by Williams & Pritchard.

The new cars though attractive, were not only slow but, when fitted with wheels, handled exactly as you would expect a car built behind a pub would. The cars were painted in the blue-and-white American national colours and driven by Settember and Tony Burgess. They were always well off the pace and when they did manage to qualify for World Championship events it was invariably at the back.

Though they rarely lasted the distance Settember did finish second in the Austrian GP, however it was a non-championship event which had just three finishers and Settember was five laps down on the winner.

When Powell finally called a halt to proceedings, Settember continued his racing activities in the US with Lotus 23 and 30 sports cars, and then an AC Cobra 427 Roadster in which he entered Le Mans in 1966. He was the last away when the 7-litre engine flooded and was detained in the pits. He eventually finished the race as 36th.

He then tried his hand at Can-Am 1967 starting in the Monterey GP with a Lola T70 Chevrolet but failing to finish. He switched to a Matich SR3 Oldsmobile for the L. A. Times GP at Riverside but went out with a broken oil line. At the Star-dust GP in Las Vegas he clashed with Roger McCluskey putting them both out.

In 1968 he was back in Can-Am as well as the US Road Racing Championship. In Can-Am he only posted one finish at the Monterey GP at Laguna Seca where he came 14th in the Lola T70 Chevrolet. It was a similar story in the USRRC with one finish at Riverside coming home 10th.

He reappeared in the early seventies in the L&M F5000 series between 1972 and 1974, but never seriously threatened the front-runners.

He retired and moved to Nevada where died after a short illness at a hospice in Reno in May 2014

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