phil

Phil Hill turns his Ferrari Dino 246 into an open right hander on the prodigiously fast Ain Diab road circuit, Casablanca, Morocco 1958 . He finished third. (Unattributed)

Stirling Moss, Vanwall VW 57 and Mike Hawthorn, Ferrari 246 went to Morocco for the final round of the 1958 Championship, with Moss needing to win and set fastest lap and Hawthorn to finish no lower than third to take the title…

Morocco had recently gained its independence from Spain and used the race to help establish its global identity. The newly crowned King Mohammad V attended ‘Ain Diab’, a very fast, dangerous road circuit on public roads near Casablanca.

Moss took the lead, with Phil Hill also starting well. Hill waved teammate Hawthorn through to chase Moss with Brooks challenging in the other Vanwall. Moss set a new lap record, Ferrari slowing Hill to allow Hawthorn into second. Moss ran into Wolfgang Seidels’ Maserati 250F, damaging the Vanwalls nosecone, fut fortunately not the radiater core.

Tragedy struck on lap 42 when the engine in Stuart Lewis-Evans Vanwall blew, the cars rear wheels locked, careering into a small stand of trees. The vulnerable tail tank ruptured and caught fire, Lewis-Evans jumped out but was disoriented and headed away from fire marshalls who may have been able to minimise the terrible burns from his overalls and despite being flown home to the UK, he died in a specialist hospital six days later.

moroc

Stuart Lewis-Evans, Morocco 1958. His death robbed Britain of its great ‘coming-man’ (The Cahier Archive)

Moss won the race, and Hawthorn the Drivers Title. The Constructors Championship was won by Vanwall, a fitting reward for Tony Vandervell who had passionately supported the BRM program before setting out on his own, frustrated by Management By Committee…

Hawthorn shortly thereafter announced his retirement from racing, aged 29, and ‘dicing’ with Rob Walker on the Guildford Bypass not far from his home, crashed fatally in his Mark 2 Jag an horrific end to a tragic season for British Motor Racing.

moss

Stirling Moss on his way to Ain Diab victory in his Vanwall VW5,  1958 (Moss Archive)

moroc

Stunning Moroccan backdrop…Hawthorn 1958, Ferrari Dino 246 (Unattributed)

moss morocco 5

Moss’ car survived the heat despite the damaged Vanwall nosecone, having hit Seidels Maser ‘up the chuff’ taking the win, and Constructors Championship for Vanwall. (Unattributed)

Vanwall Racing Cars…

cutaway

Lotus’ Colin Chapman designed the car using a multi-tubular space frame chassis, aerodynamics by Frank Costin. 4 cylinder DOHC, Bosch fuel injected engine developing circa 280-290BHP depending upon fuel. 5 speed Ferrari derived gearbox, Goodyear disc brakes. Front suspension by upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/damper units. De Dion rear suspension and from 1957 ‘Chapman Struts’

Tony Vandervell…

Vandervell bearings ad

Guy Anthony ‘Tony’ Vandervell started his independent race program with a series of Ferraris modified by his company and called ‘Thinwall Specials’, he had become frustrated with the lack of progress of the BRM Project, of which he was a founder shareholder.

BRM V16 Vandervell ad

Vandervell Products ad in the ‘BRM Ambassador for Britain’ booklet 1949. (Stephen Dalton Collection)

The Ferraris raced mainly in British Formula Libre events, the main opposition the BRM V16 which was essentially too late for F1 before the formula changed rendering it obsolete.

Vandervell was restless and wanted to race in the new 2 Litre F1 of 1952/3.

thinwall

Mike Hawthorn in the Ferrari 375 V12 ‘Thinwall Special’, Turnberry 1953. Tony Vandervell is to the left of the mechanic (Unattributed)

vanwall goodwood

Peter Collins, then 22, at the wheel of the original Vanwall ’01’, ‘Goodwood Trophy’ in September 1954. He qualified and finished 2nd to the Moss Maser 250F. (Louis Klemantaski)

In 1954 he started building Vanwalls… the name an acronym of his Acton based ‘Thinwall’ bearing company and his surname. The chassis was designed by Coopers’ Owen Maddock, and built by them.

Vandervell was a Director of Norton and impressed by their very successful 500cc single. The engine was  designed by Norton designer Leo Kuzmicki and was essentially 4 Norton single cylinder barrells integrated ‘en-bloc’ with added water jackets.

This DOHC cylinder head used twin inclined valves in each combustion chamber, and also utilised motor cycle style hairpin valve springs. It was then married to the bottom end of a Rolls Royce ‘B40 military engine’, the crankcase cast in aluminium rather than the originals iron.

Laystall provided the crank and Bosch the fuel injection system.

vanwakll engine

Vanwall 4 cylinder, gear driven DOHC design a marriage of contemporary Norton head design and a rugged Rolls Royce ‘bottom end’ as per the text. Of note are the hairpin valve springs, train of gears to drive the cams and auxiliaries and high pressure fuel injection pump, both at the front of the engine. (Vic Berris)

Vanwall engine

Vanwall engine 1958. (Jesse Alexander)

The car made its debut at the 1954 International Trophy at Silverstone, the Goodyear disc brakes proving successful but the cars front suspension was unsatisfactory. The engine progressed from 2237cc to 2490cc .The car was raced by Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins who wrote it off in Spanish GP at Barcelona.

Vandervell ordered  four chassis based on the Cooper design which picked up Ferrari suspension and steering, the team by that time having plenty of Ferrari parts!

1954

1955 Season…

hawt

Mike Hawthorn in the Cooper designed Vanwall chassis VW 55, Monaco GP 1955, DNF with throttle linkage problems in the race won by Trintignats Ferrari Squalo 625 (Unattributed)

The four cars were to be raced in 1955 by Ken Wharton, Harry Schell, Desmond Titterington and Mike Hawthorn. Schell won four minor British events but it was clear a lighter, stiffer and more sophisticated chassis was needed to make the most of the competitive engine.

Vandervells staff modified the basic Cooper frame at which point Colin Chapman was introduced to Vandervell via the Vanwall transport driver, Derek Wootton, to look at the frame. Vandervell was impressed with Chapmans knowledge and track record and signed him on.

Colin Chapmans 1956 Vanwall Design…

dutch

Moss in the Dutch GP winning VW10. Shot shows extreme attention to aero for the day by Frank Costin. Borranis’ at front Moss’ preference for driver feel but cast alloy wheels adopted in 1958 to save weight. This Vanwall, with 2 GP wins survives today. (Unattributed)

A defining moment in Vanwalls’ future success was the choice of Colin Chapman, then an up and coming racer/designer/builder of Lotus sports cars. Chapman designed a modern space-frame chassis and engaged aerodynamicist Frank Costin to design the gorgeous, low drag ultra-slippery body.

Chapman used the 1955 double wishbones and coil spring front suspension, Ferrari derived gearbox layout and brakes but laid out new De Dion rear axle geometry using a Watt linkage for lateral location whilst retaining the transverse leaf spring.

The space frame chassis featured round section top and bottom longerons in 1.5 inch diameter. At the front a sheet metal fabrication provided a cross member for anchorages for the coil and wishbone suspension setup. The frame was complex and rigid but weighed only 87.5 pounds.

vanwall front

High quality of forgings and fabrication of spaceframe chassis evident. Front cross-member visible, steering arm, top link, radius rod, coil spring/damper unit and Goodyear patented disc brakes (Vandervell Products/The GP Library)

Whilst the De Dion rear end was retained the suspension geometry was changed to allow much more negative camber at the rear to enhance the loaded outside tyres adhesion. For 1957 the transverse leaf spring was replaced by ‘Chapman Struts’ a coaxial coil spring and locating link.

Vanwall rear end

Vanwall rear end 1957 with Chapman struts, coil springs and Armstrong dampers.De Dion rear axle with Watts linkage. 5 speed ‘box in unit with diff, see the ducts for the disc brakes. The tail tank is connected to auxiliary tanks mounted alongside the chassis. (Automobile Year 5)

The most striking feature of the car was its Costin designed, teardrop shaped body. Painstaking attention was devoted to underbody fairing, the elliptical body section designed to minimise deflection in cross winds and drag.

Flush ‘NACA’ ducts were used, and the distinctive tall headrest faired a 39 gallon fuel tank, two subsidiary 15 gallon tanks were located low on each side of the scuttle.

Engine development continued under Harry Weslakes’ direction and the best of everyting was used throughout; Bosch fuel injection, Goodyear disc brakes, Mahle pistons, Porsche gears, Ferrari designed gearbox cum final drive…Vandervell didn’t get hung up on the whole ‘only British BRM thing’, simply buying the best when he could not readily or cost-effectively build it.

Schell was joined by Maurice Trintignant that season but Moss raced the car at the non-championship Silverstone International Trophy, as Maserati, Moss’ team that year had not entered. Moss set fastest time and won the race.

In 1956 the cars showed great speed but poor reliability and ordinary high speed roadholding. For 1957 they needed reliability and drivers capable of fully exploiting the cars performance.

french 1957

Ultra slippery shape of De Havilland aerodynamicist Frank Costins’ body shown to good effect in this shot of Stuart Lewis-Evans at Rouen 1957. Practice for the French GP , he retired with steering problems. Brooks and Moss absences gave him his chance in several events, he was quick and reliable, Vandervell signing him as the teams third driver (Unattributed)

1957 and 1958…

Vanwall cutaway drawing 1957

James Allington period cutaway drawing of the car as raced in 1957 and published in ‘Automobile Year 5’.

brooks

Tony Brooks, winner of the Belgian GP at Spa 1958. Pictured here at Eau Rouge. Chassis is VW 5 the most successful ever British front-engined GP car with 5 wins to its credit. Subsequently dismantled and rebuilt around a fresh frame. (Unattributed)

The ‘Chapman Struts’ were fitted and Fichtel & Sachs dampers, the engines were teased to develop 285BHP at 7300RPM and Moss signed to drive…with Tony Brooks as number 2. Moss tested BRM, Connaught and Vanwall cars at both Silverstone and Oulton Park, on the same days before making his decision about which car to drive in 1957..

The Vanwall finally broke through, winning the British GP at Aintree in the hands of Moss…and Brooks sharing cars. Lewis-Evans, the young British 500cc F3 star, joined the team in Monaco when Moss was ill, the team now had great depth, Moss won in Pescara and Monza, the Vanwalls qualifying 1,2, and 3! ahead of all the Red Cars.

Vanwall Streamliner Reims 1957

Vanwall tested this ‘Streamliner’, chassis VW6, at Reims in 1957 in practice. The changes were not successful the increase in weight and ‘sighting’ out of the car not greater than the increase in top speed. (Automobile Year)

Alcohol fuels were banned for 1958 causing especially big problems for Vanwall and BRM who both used ‘big banger’ four cylinder engines which needed the cooling effect of the alcohol. As a consequence the engines power dropped from 290BHP on alcohol to 278BHP on ‘pump fuel’ in 1958.

Changes to the engine involved investigation of cam profiles, three and four valve heads and water injection. Changes to port shapes, valve timing, and metering cams was finally involved. The Ferrari Dino was reckoned to have circa 286BHP but Italian dynos’ have always been a bit ‘eager’…

Weight saving was investigated but the cars were already light, cast alloy wheels were adopted but often Borrani wires were preferred especially at the front where they gave greater driver ‘feel’.

Drivers were the same as 1957, with Moss winning in Holland, Portugal and Morocco, and Brooks in Belgium, Germany and Italy. As stated earlier whilst Moss missed out on the drivers title to Hawthorn by one point, Vanwall won the inaugural Constructors Championship.

germany

Stirling Moss German GP 1958, Vanwall VW10, DNF magneto , teammate Tony Brooks took the win. Vanwall VW4  (Unattributed)

End of The Beginning of Dominance of The Green Cars…

moss and vandervell

Moss and Vandervell share the spoils of victory, Pescara GP, Italy 1958 (Unattributed)

For Vandervell it was ‘mission accomplished’ and whilst Vanwall raced on they did so without the full campaign of previous years. Vandervell took the death of Lewis-Evans very hard and his own health was failing. He announced the teams withdrawal from full-time competition, the team racing four times in the final three years, its swansong the rear engined Intercontinental Formula car competing in May 1961 at Silverstone.

vanwall french

Tony Brooks raced the Vanwall VW11 in the 1960 French GP at Reims on 3 July. He qualified the new low-line but now outdated front-engined car 13th, retiring on lap 7 with a vibration from the rear of the car. That year Brooks drove most of the season in British Racing Partnership year old Cooper T51 Climaxes and was prodigiously fast amongst newer Cooper T53/Lotus 18’s but was keen to give the Vanwall a try. VW11 not raced again. (unattributed)

vanwall vw11

Naked Vanwall VW11 in the Reims paddock 1960. Car a new chassis built from VW5 components in 1960. Car featured double wishbone rear suspension and Colotti 5 speed gearbox, the whole rear end designed by Colotti. Small, compact ‘box mounted behind the diff, drive running in at the bottom and exiting higher giving a low propshaft and seating position. Mid-ship location of fuel tanks made the car wider than the earlier cars. Wheels alloy and Cooper like. Engine reputedly developed around 280bhp. (unattributed)

vw14

Vanwall VW14 built for 1961 Intercontinental Formula. Fitted with 2.6 litre Vanwall engine. Auction photos. (Hall&Hall)

surtees

John Surtees in VW14 during the Silverstone Intercontinental May meeting. ’tis a pity there is not more of the car in this shot, period photos of it are so rare! Nice smile all the same (Getty)

Vanwall VW14

Vanwall VW14, the very last car. John Surtees at the Silverstone International Trophy in May 1961. He qualified the 2.6 litre engined ‘Intercontinental Formula’ car 6th, ran second, spun and finished 5th in Vanwalls’ last race as a factory team. (unattributed)

Etcetera Vanwall…

Click on this site for a chassis/year summary of cars built and raced;

http://8w.forix.com/vanwalls.html

Vanwall VW10 front

Vanwall VW10 ‘stripped’. Chapman spaceframe chassis, 4 cylinder DOHC engine, tail and cockpit fuel tanks, under-seat transaxle, this ’57 car has Chapman struts at the rear. (Doug Nye ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’

Vanwall VW10 rear

Vanwall VW10. Ferrari derived transaxle, cockpit layout, rear and twin side fuel tanks and radius rods to locate rear suspension fore/aft all visible. (Doug Nye “History of The Grand Prix Car’

vanwall shadow

 

vanwall types

Vanwall VW6 Reims

The Reims ‘Streamliner’ chassis VW6 tried in practice only, French GP 1957. (Automobile Year)

cockpit

Cockpit by the standards of the day confortable, swivelling face level vents to keep the driver alive in the carefully faired space…gearbox notoriously difficult to use. Car very fast but not as forgiving to Moss as a 250F. car needed the best to get the best from it. This is chassis VW9 (Unattributed)

manza 57

The Vanwall Team in the Monza paddock 1957. Moss won the Italian GP in ‘VW5/57’ (Unattributed)

col

fang

This shot shows the relaitve height of the Vanwall, which was very tall, the driver sitting atop the drive-shaft. Fangio is in his last grand prix in a Maser 250F ‘Piccolo’ and finished fourth. Moss in Vw 10 was second in the race won by Hawthorns’ Ferrari Dino 246. french GP Reims 1958 (The Cahier Archive)

tea

A spot of tea at what appears to be a Silverstone test session, circa 1957 . Moss up. (Unattributed)

Etcetera…Morocco

hawthorn morocco

Mike Hawthorn, Ferrari Dino 246 , Morocco 1958 (Unattributed)

hill g

Graham Hill finished sixteenth and last in the Lotus 16 Climax, teammate Cliff Allison tenth in the earlier Lotus 12 Climax. Lotus 16 also designed by Colin Chapman and was called the ‘Mini Vanwall’, the same concepts applied by Chapman..and Frank Costin who did the aerodynamics. Car much lower then Vanwall, the engine ‘canted’ in an offset way to allow driveshaft to be locted beside the driver rather than sit atop it. But the Coopers had arrived, the Lotus 16 an ‘also ran’ in 1959. Lotus 18, when Chapman applied himself to the mid-engined approach then vaulted forward… (Unattributed)

masten

Masten Gregory was a great sixth in the by then ageing Maserati 250F (Unattributed)

stu

Stuart Lewis-Evans Vanwall VW (57) Morocco 1958 (Unattributed)

poster

Photo and Reference Credits…

The Cahier Archive, Stirling Moss Archive, The GP Library, Walter Wright Illustrations, Louis Klemantaski, The Autocar, James Allington cutaway drawing, Jesse Alexander, Automobile Year 5, Stephen Dalton Collection, Vic Berris, Hall & Hall, Getty Images

‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye

Finito…

Comments
  1. graham64 says:

    The exhaust pipe location on the Ferrari Dino 246 has always looked like an afterthought – all the other front-engined cars had exhausts that were neatly tucked under the bodywork.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s