LM1's ROLE IN CANADA'S MOST ADVANCED FIGHTER JET
Here is the story of the Canadian past of one of the most famous Astons and a few bits it left behind.
One of my acquaintances inherited a very large collection of automobile and aircraft parts and literature from the estate of his Aunt’s late husband. My acquaintance was not very oriented to the historical significance of some of the material and asked me, as a long term Aston owner and local chapter “old Aston” guru to help identify some of his collection. I subsequently purchased the Aston portion of the collection spanning pre-war to 2005.
I was intrigued by the fact that his Aunt’s late husband was Colin Clark who owned LM1 whilst it was in the Toronto area in the 1950’s to 1980’s. Even more fascinating the car was linked to an infamous chapter of Canadian history having been imported by a British aeronautical engineer Mr. J.W. Gillies working at AV Ro Toronto on the famous AVRO ARROW jet fighter. When the short-sighted Canadian government quashed the project at the request of our USA “partners” the ARROW achieved cult status due to the political uproar that followed. However. having lost his job, the engineer returned home to the UK and not wanting to re-import LM1, sold it to Mr. Clark who drove it for ,any years and subsequently sold it to Dr.Rob Follows (another Canadian AMOC stalwart) who owned it until quite recently.
In the collection I found a Newport Pagnell Aston Martin small shipping crate containing a set of 4 pistons with attached connecting rods and 2 headlamp screens all marked in paint crayon “LM1”. All of these are well worn. The late John Keen of Cheshire Motors remembered replacing the pistons and exhaust manifolds in the 1970’s while he worked at Grand Touring, the local Toronto Aston dealer at the original Front Street location
Thanks to Donna Bannister’s help at AMHT, Andy Bell at Ecurie Bertelli has helped validate that the pistons came from LM1 and were probably installed post LeMans when the car was sold to private hands.
This unique discovery led to a number of very pleasant chats with Dr. Follows, and the rediscovery of the incredible AVRO ARROW saga, more of which can be found at this BBC documentary discovered by John Skelton. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200615-the-record-breaking-jet-which-still-haunts-a-country?fbclid=IwAR06FZB5ZSLwFhWZLKlGyA4_IPTW7cv-BnHeMQTTphy_j9OimVJTIzbMxLw
All in all an intriguing part of LM1's history and it's little known life in Canada.