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 VW57 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 the Stuart Lewis-Evans Vanwall blew, the cars rear wheels locked and then careered 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

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)

Moss won the race, and Hawthorn the Drivers Title, but 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 the process of Management By Committee and the lack of agility which went with it…

Hawthorn shortly thereafter announced his retirement from racing, aged 29, and, ‘dicing’ with Rob Walker’s Mercedes 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.

Tony Vandervell…

BRM V16 Vandervell ad

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

Guy Anthony ‘Tony’ Vandervell (TV) was the son of Charles Vandervell, the fouder of CAV, later Lucas CAV. He made his fortune from the production of ‘Thin-Wall’ bearings under licence from the innovative American inventor- Cleveland Graphite Bronze Company, these products were made by Vandervell Products Ltd (VP) from 1933 in a purpose built factory at Western Avenue, Acton, west of London.

As a captain of the automotive industry Vandervell was invited to be a member of the British Motor Racing Research Trust (BRM) in 1947 but he soon tired of BRM’s ‘management by committee’ and the consequent lack of agility so started an independent race program with a series of Ferraris modified by VP called ‘Thinwall Special’.

Reg Parnell in Ferrari 375 Thinwall 3 before going out and beating the three Alfa Romeo 159s of Fangio, Farina and Bonetto in the May 1951 International Trophy at Silverstone- the race was held in teeming rain and ended after 6 laps, no official winner apparently but Parnell got the prize which tends to indicate he won! Car #29 is Johnny Claes, Talbot Lago T26C (Getty-GP Library)

 

Peter Whitehead in Thinwall 3, Ferrari 375 during the 1951 British GP at Silverstone, 9th in the race won by Froilan Gonzalez Ferrari 375- Ferrari’s first championship GP win

 

thinwall

Mike Hawthorn in the Ferrari 375 V12 ‘Thinwall 4 Special’, National Trophy Race, Turnberry Airfield circuit, Scotland 23 August 1952. Tony Vandervell is to the left of the mechanic, Hawthorn is on pole and sportingly allowed the BRM mechanics to repair a leak in a water rail on Reg Parnell’s car, before stepping aboard his car, and then found a box full of neutrals at the start and retired it shortly thereafter. Parnell won the race from Bob Gerard’s ERA and Ken Wharton in the second BRM V16  (Unattributed)

The first Thinwall was a 1949 Ferrari 125 GPC- a 1.5 litre supercharged V12 short wheelbase machine which was returned to Ferrari after examintion by BRM, chassis number unknown.

By 1950 VP had built an additional factory at Cox Green, Maidenhead complete with engine test beds and it was here that the Ferrari, and later Vanwall engines would be built and tested. The Vanwall racing team (VR) itself was based at Acton with Fred Fox in charge and Phil Watson as Chief Mechanic with close access to VP’s drawing office, toolroom and major workshop in the main factory over the road. In essence, by the end of 1950 all the necessary infrastructure was in place to take on and beat the best in the world.

Thinwall 2 was a 1950 Ferrari 125, it was similarly powered but had a more powerful  twin-plug V12. The long wheelbase chassis was numbered ‘125-C-02’ and had swing axle rear suspension, it was returned to Maranello to be rebuilt into Thinwall 3.

The 1951 Thinwall 3/Ferrari 375 used, as noted above, the same chassis but fitted with a normally aspirated 4.5 litre, single-plug V12 with a de Dion rear end. Retained by the team, it was broken up in 1952.

Thinwall 4/Ferrari 375 was a long-wheelbase ‘Indianapolis’ 375, chassis number ‘010-375’ and was again a 4.5 litre V12 but this time twin-plug and de Dion rear axled- the car was retained by the team.

The Ferraris raced mainly in British Formula Libre events providing the main opposition to the BRM Type 15 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 F2 of 1952-1953 which of course became the category to which the World Championship was run in those years.

vanwall goodwood

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

In 1954 the Thinwall Specials became a Vanwall Special…

The name was an acronym of Vandervell’s Acton based ‘Thinwall’ bearing company and his surname. The chassis was designed by Coopers’ Owen Maddock and built at the companies Surbiton factory and given the Type 30 designation. The machine had Ferrari inspired suspension and steering components together with a Ferrari 4 speed gearbox modified by VP. Goodyear disc brakes were used, as on the Thinwall, the interesting bit at this early stage was the heart of the car- its engine.

Vandervell became a member of the Norton Motors Ltd Board in 1946 and was naturally impressed by their very successful 500cc single but he felt the company needed to develop a multi-cylinder engine to combat the Italians and contracted BRM’s design arm, Automotive Developments Ltd to design a 500cc four-cylinder engine for Norton. BRM experimented with a water-cooled version of the Norton 500cc single which developed more power than the air-colled original- the design was to be significant in 1954 when Vandervell sought an engine for his new car.

Technically minded and interested, TP had spent plenty of time in the Norton test house with Chief Engineer Joe Craig and Polish Design Engineer Leo Kuzmicki as they developed their latest 500 singles which developed 45bhp on 80 octane fuel in 1951. TP could see how four times that amount and a bit more given alcohol based fuels were allowed in the new 2 litre F2 would be competitive. Additionally the BRM 500 test engine gave 47bhp on test whereas at the time Norton’s air-cooled motor gave 44.2bhp- and so the die was set.

Norton were prepared to help with the head design, Eric Richter, who had worked on the Norton project at BRM, joined Acton from Bourne in late 1950 so Fred Fox and his team were tasked to do the overall engine design, working closely with Craig and Kuzmicki at Norton on the the head and valve gear with specialist tradesmen in milling, grinding and turning seconded from VP to Vanwall Racing- with the coming change to F1 from 2 to 2.5 litres in 1954 the design was to be capable of taking that jump in capacity.

And so it was that the Vanwall engine was essentially the same as the Norton/BRM water cooled single- four Norton single cylinder barrels spigoted into the cylinder head and crankcase, integrated ‘en-bloc’ with added on non load-bearing water jackets.

The bore and stroke of the 2 litre motor mirrored those of the 1952 Norton 500- 85.93cc X 86mm for a total capacity of 1995cc. This double overhead camshaft cylinder head used twin inclined valves in each combustion chamber with motor cycle style hairpin valve springs.

The engine had a deep crankcase into which the four cylinder barrels were spigoted atop which sat the shallow cylinder head casting. Both these key components were held together by ten long, threaded high-tensile steel rods which passed through the head, beside the barrels and through the crankcase and main bearing caps and were secured at each end with nuts.

In the interests of time the team were looking at proprietary crankcases they could adapt to their needs, the ‘winning choice’ was made by TV’s eldest sone Anthony, who had been apprenticed at Rolls-Royce and suggested the four cylinder variant of the R-R B Series military engine, the ‘B40’. This engine was of aluminium ‘F-head’ configuration- overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves, the five main bearing crankcase was made of cast iron and its capacity when fitted to the Austin Champ military vehicle was 2838cc.

An order was placed for a crankcase cum block in February 1952. Later Leyland were approached- who were making the engine under contract for Rolls-Royce to supply a set of patterns and baked cores for suitable modification.

Vandervell machined a B40 crankcase to their needs as a pattern, together with the cores provided by Leyland to cast a prototype crankcase in aluminium- plenty of work was required by VP to increase the wall thickness to allow for the reduced strength of the alloy to be used and to incorporate the change from five to four main bearings.

The choice of the change from five to four main bearings was thought to be due to savings in weight and friction- Ron Rex in his wonderful series of 8W Forix articles on Vanwall engine design points out that Richter had worked with Stewart Tresilian at ERA and BRM- he was a strong proponent of the use of four main bearings in four cylinder race engines inclusive of BRM”s successful 2.5 cylinder four which raced in the P25 and P48 GP machines from 1953 to 1961.

The crankcase was cast by Aeroplane and Aluminium Castings Ltd of Coventry in RR53B aluminium, the engine used a forged crankshaft machines by Laystall with Vandervell ‘Thin-Wall’ copper-lead-indium bearings used. The wet cylinder barrels were made of cast-iron with the surrounding water-jacket made of RR50 aluminium again by ‘Aeroplane’. The engine was of course dry-sumped with two gear type oil pumps- a triple pinioned scavenge pump and single pressure pump housed in a casting fixed to the front of the engine below the crank.

 

vanwakll engine

Vanwall 4 cylinder, DOHC design. Of note are the hairpin valve springs, the train of gears to drive the cams and auxiliaries and high pressure fuel injection pump- at the front of the engine (Vic Berris)

 

Vanwall engine

Vanwall engine in 1958 (Jesse Alexander)

The head was to all intents and purposes the latest Norton 500 head with the combustion chamber, ports and valve sizes identical- similarly Harry Weslake’s changes to the Norton heads to promote swirl were also adopted. The inlet and exhaust valves were inclined at an included angle of 64 degrees, as per the works Norton of the time- the inlet ports were 44.5mm in diameter and the exhausts 39.4mm in diameter.

Annular recesses were incorporated into the head into which the barrels were spigoted, around thess were Wills pressure ring copper gaskets. Twin plugs were used (the Norton single had only one), the head was quite shallow as the two camshafts were carried in separate housings on steel pedestals 40mm clear of the head.

The cam housings were open top magnesium boxes capped by beautiful flat plates secured by many screws, the cams were driven off the crank by a train of spur gears contained in a magnesium casting bolted to the front of the engine, an outer gear case provided drives for the magnetos and fuel pump.

Carburation was provided by four motor cycle type Amal 3GP’s probably with throat diameters of 49.2mm, air intake trumpets with large radii bell-mouths were ftted to each carb. Fuel injection would come soon enough of course, when Bosch and Vanwall worked together on such a system with Mercedes Benz blessing- there existed an exclusivity arrangement between the two companies. The exhaust system was designed and manufactured with Norton practice in mind but in use a four-into two- into one set up was used- with a single pipe extending to the back of the car.

Vanwall contracted British Thomson-Houston Co to supply magnetos which could fire two plugs at up to 8000rpm, when these were late twin Scintillas were used firing KLG plugs.

It became clear the car/engine would miss the final F2 year of 1953 with development of the 2 litre and design of the 2.5 litre happening in parallel throughout that year, the 2 litre first ran in December 1953, producing 148bhp @ 5150rpm in January 1954. By March 1954 235bhp @ 7500-7600 was claimed.

After extensive testing at the RAF Oldham Airfield the machine made its public debut in the 15 May 1954 International Trophy at Silverstone, driven by Alan Brown.

Brown was fifth quickest in practice, three seconds clear of the other 2 litre cars, second practice was wet and the car was quickest starting heat 1 from the front row for sixth and ran a shigh as fifth in the final before retiring on lap 17 with a broken oil pipe.

After the race the 2 litre engine was removed for further development doing over 20 hours on the dyno but it never raced again as it destroyed itself during edurance testing.

Collins raced the car in the British Grand Prix in July fitted with an interim 2.3 litre engine, this was achieved by increasing the bore to the maximum permissible, Peter qualified on the third row and raced well amongst the other cars until a cylinder head joint leaked forcing his retirement.

The major change to the 2490cc engine (bore nor 96mm) was the adoption of a five, rather than four main bearing crank, the valve incuded angle was also reduced from 64 to 60 degrees. Amal carbs were used initially but work progressed with Bosch on the port fuel injection TV wanted with the German company making a four-cylinder injection pump specifically for the purpose.

Peter Collins The Vanwall Spl during the Goodwood Trophy in September 1954

 

1954

The first 2.5 litre engine, the third engine built was running on the Maidenhead test-beds by August 1954 with an Italian GP entry planned but the engine dropped a valve in endurance testing so the 2.3 litre engine was used at Monza by Collins, there the car again showed promise despite carburetion problems again. In the race Peter pitted with an oil pressure gauge line leaking but he soldiered on to finish seventh.

The 2.5 litre engine finally made its race debut at the Goodwood Trophy on 25 September.

Peter Collins raced the car into second place behind Moss’ Maserati 250F- the added grunt did expose some chassis shortcomings however, then Mike Hawthorn drove it in the Formula Libre race to fourth.

On 2 October at Aintree Hawthorn was second in the F1 race but retired in the Libre event after Mike spun and ingested dirt into the oil coller causing overheating. Hawthorn commented that real power didn’t come in until after 4500rpm but above that it was quite fast with fluffiness over 7000rpm he put down to fuel starvation.

It was time to test the car in a GP so an entry was made at Pedralbes, Barcelona on 24 October for the Spanish race- the Lancia D50 made its race debut that weekend.

Between Aintree and Pedralbes there was much testing of fuel blends and hairpin valve springs which were breaking- by race weekend the engine was giving good results but Peter Collins crashed in practice, he took on rather a large tree- too badly damaged to be repaired the machine was taken back to Acton, but not rebuilt, preparations for the 1955 season were now well underway.

David Yorke had been signed on as Team Manager with Mike Hawthorn and Ken Wharton signed to drive the two cars the team planned to run.

The main focus of development was to get the fuel injection working- by February the first of the Bosch pumps had been set up on a test engine- these 1955 engines were given the drawing office type number ‘V254′ (the 1954 engines were typed ’54’) and numbered V1 onwards, whereas the cars were now called ‘Vanwall’ not ‘Vanwall Special’ with the chassis’ numbered from VW1 onwards- four 1955 spec cars were built- VW1-VW4 and were essentially based on the Cooper design which picked up Ferrari suspension and steering.

hawt

Mike Hawthorn in the Cooper designed Vanwall chassis VW55, Monaco GP 1955, DNF with throttle linkage problems in the race won by Trintignant’s Ferrari Squalo 625 (Unattributed)

When fitted with fuel injection the engine weighed 163kg and on a compression ratio of 12.5:1 gave an estimated 270bhp. Much work was done on the cars suspension to improve the handling but Mike Hawthorn was disappointed in testing at Oldham Airfield to still find a big flat spot between 4000-5500rpm- as events proved it would be a very challenging year.

At the International Trophy at Silverstone in May Hawthorn qualified second to Salvadori’s Maserati 250F but retired in the race due to a gearbox oil leak- Wharton pitted with throttle linkage problems and then crashed trying to unlap himself- the car then burst into flames with both car and driver the worse for it.

Only Hawthorn raced at Monaco and Spa with disappointing results- he was 4.5 seconds off the pace of Fangio’s Mercedes Benz at Monaco and 14.9 seconds behind Ascari’s Lancia D50 pole in the Ardennes. A broken throttle linkage ended his race at Monaco and an oil leak at Spa. TV approached Rolls-Royce about the vibration induced throttle linkage failures with R-R suggesting fitment of Hoffman ball bearings in the ends of the control rod.

Mike Hawthorn during the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix weekend, Vanwall (Getty)

 

Harry Schell awaits the start of the 1955 British GP at Aintree with the lads including the chief at far left. #4 is the Luigi Musso Maserati 250F, #20 is Eugenio Castellotti’s Ferrari 625,  #8 Andre Simons’s 250F

Mike Hawthorn decamped though, he ‘cancelled his contract’, with Harry Schell his replacement in time to contest the British GP at Aintree in July. There Harry and Ken were 3.4 and 8 seconds off Moss’ Mercedes W196 pole time. Harry muffed the start but made up time until he pushed the throttle linkage off its mount whilst Wharton pitted with an oil leak- Harry then set off in his car but still finished last.

In the wake of the Le Mans disaster many races were cancelled so Vanwall Racing entered some minor British events with Harry winning four but it was clear a lighter, stiffer and more sophisticated chassis was needed to make the most what was clearly a competitive engine.

The team took three cars to Monza in September but again were way off the pace- Harry retired with a broken de Dion tube and Ken when the steel bracket supporting the fuel injection pump fractured.

Vandervell’s staff modified the basic Cooper frame and had a mock-up of the proposed chassis for 1956 at which point Colin Chapman was introduced to Vandervell via Vanwall’s transport driver, Derek Wootton, an old friend of Chapman to look at the frame- Vandervell was impressed with Chapman’s knowledge and track record and signed him on to start from scratch rather than evolve the Owen Maddock design.

1956 Vanwall…

dutch

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

The choice of Chapman, then an up and coming designer and manufacturer of Lotus sportscars in Hornsey behind his fathers pub was a defining moment in Vanwall’s future success.

For his first single-seater project Chapman designed a modern multi-tubular spaceframe chassis and engaged aerodynamicist Frank Costin to design the gorgeous, low drag, ultra-slippery body which clothed it.

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

All four of the 1955 chassis were torn down to form the basis of the four new cars which were numbered VW1/56-VW4/56.

The new chassis featured round section top and bottom longerons of 1.5 inch diameter tube, at the front a sheet metal fabrication (see photo below) provided a cross member for location of the coil and wishbone suspension setup- the frame was complex and rigid weighing only 87.5 pounds.

One of Chapman’s new frames coming together at Maidenhead in early 1956

 

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)

 

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)

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.

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 was 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 Kuzmicki’s direction with Harry Weslake’s involvement, TV focused them on the areas of camshafts, cylinder head design, fuel injection control and exhaust systems. New cylinder heads were being cast by Aeroplane and Motor Aluminium Castings the key element of which were larger inlet valves. The power curve of the engine was now much broader than the year before with maximum torque of 218 lb/ft developed at 5000rpm with plenty of punch from as low as 4000rpm, with the maximum power 276bhp @ 7300rpm.

The best of everyting was used throughout the machine- Bosch fuel injection, Goodyear disc brakes, Mahle pistons, Porsche designed a 5 speed synchromesh gear set for the 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 season opener, the Silverstone International Trophy, as Maserati, Moss’ team that year had not entered- he set fastest time and won the race which included Fangio’s Lancia-Ferrari in a tremendous start to the season.

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

(Unattributed)

The ultra slippery shape of De Havilland aerodynamicist Frank Costin’s body is shown to good effect in this shot of Stuart Lewis-Evans at Rouen in 1957. Its 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 signed him on as the teams third driver.

1957 and 1958…

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)

Further evolution of the design took place over the winter, the ‘Chapman Struts’ were fitted and Fichtel & Sachs dampers in place of Armstrongs, the engines were teased to develop 285bhp at 7300rpm and Moss signed to drive with Tony Brooks as number two. Moss tested BRM, Connaught and Vanwall’s 1957 offerings at both Silverstone and Oulton Park, on the same days, before making his decision as to his mount for the season.

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 even greater depth, Moss won in Pescara and at Monza, the Vanwalls qualifying 1-2-3 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)

 

Moss’ Vanwall at Silverstone during the 1958 British Grand Prix, DNF engine after 25 laps, Peter Collins Ferrari 801 won (Getty)

 

germany

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

Alcohol fuels were banned for 1958 causing big problems for Vanwall and BRM both of whom used ‘big banger’ four cylinder engines which needed the cooling effect of the alcohol- as a consequence the engine power dropped from 290bhp on alcohol to 278bhp on ‘pump fuel’.

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.

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 raced four times in the final three years, its swansong was the rear engined Intercontinental Formula car competing in May 1961 at Silverstone.

vanwall french

(Unattributed)

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 was not raced again

vanwall vw11

(Unattributed)

Naked Vanwall VW11 in the Reims paddock 1960.

The 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

vw14

(Hall & Hall)

Vanwall VW14 built for 1961 Intercontinental Formula. Fitted with 2.6 litre Vanwall engine.

surtees

(Getty)

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

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)

Vanwall VW14, the very last car in a line of very successful cars.

John Surtees during the Silverstone International Trophy meeting in May 1961.

He qualified the 2.6 litre engined ‘Intercontinental Formula’ car sixth, ran second, spun and finished fifth in Vanwall’s last race as a factory team

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

(Doug Nye ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’

Vanwall VW10 ‘stripped’.

Chapman spaceframe chassis, four cylinder DOHC engine, tail and cockpit fuel tanks, under-seat transaxle, this 1957 car has Chapman struts at the rear.

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

Vanwall VW10 rear

(Doug Nye “History of The Grand Prix Car’

Vanwall VW10.

Ferrari derived transaxle, cockpit layout, rear and twin side fuel tanks and radius rods to locate rear suspension fore/aft all visible

vanwall shadow

 

vanwall types

 

Vanwall VW6 Reims

(Automobile Year)

The Reims ‘Streamliner’ chassis VW6 tried in practice only during the French GP weekend in 1957.

cockpit

(Unattributed)

Cockpit by the standards of the day is comfortable, swivelling face level vents to keep the driver alive in the carefully faired space, the gearbox notoriously difficult to use. The car was 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 in modern times.

manza 57

(Unattributed)

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

col

I’ve done the cutaway drawings to death in this article! But here is another variation on the theme, artist unknown.

fang

(The Cahier Archive)

This shot shows the relative height of the Vanwall, which was very tall, the driver sitting atop the drive-shaft. Fangio is alongside and in his last grand prix in a Maserati 250F ‘Piccolo’ and finished fourth. Moss in VW 10 was second in the race won by Hawthorn’s Ferrari Dino 246- French GP Reims 1958.

tea

(Unattributed)

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

Etcetera: Moroccoan GP 1958…

hawthorn morocco

(Unattributed)

Too many great photos, so lets not let them go to waste. Mike Hawthorn, Ferrari Dino 246.

hill g

(Unattributed)

Graham Hill finished sixteenth and last in the Lotus 16 Climax, whilst his teammate Cliff Allison was tenth in the earlier Lotus 12 Climax.

The Lotus 16 was also designed by Colin Chapman and immediatley branded the ‘Mini Vanwall’, the same concepts were applied by Chapman and Frank Costin who did the aerodynamics.

The car was much lower than Vanwall, the engine was ‘canted’ in an offset way to allow the driveshaft to be located beside the driver rather than him sit atop it. But the Coopers had arrived, the Lotus 16 was an ‘also ran’ in 1959, whilst the Lotus 18, when Chapman applied himself to the mid-engined approach then vaulted the marque forward.

masten

(Unattributed)

Masten Gregory was a great sixth in the by then ageing Maserati 250F .

stu

(Unattributed)

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

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, JARROTTS.com, Motor Cycling September 1951

‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye, 8W Forix Vanwall articled by Bill Ben and Don Capps

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.

  2. Thanks for this rare insight. Short straight to the point details.

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Chris,
      Tony Vandervell and his achievements are of perennial interest to all of us- one mans obsession and all that kind of stuff.
      I wrote that article a long time ago!, there are a few bits that are a bit ‘rough around the edges’, when I have the time I might tidy it up a bit, but glad you enjoyed it.
      Mark

  3. John Michael Brummer says:

    At 15 I attended my first Grand Prix at Zandvoort and saw Stirling Moss winning in this awesome Vanwall VW10….. To me it is still the most iconic and beautiful shaped F1 racingcar…..

    • markbisset says:

      You are a lucky boy John,
      I’ve never seen any of the Vanwall’s in action- I guess they appear sometimes in European events but none have found their way to Australia thus far. Costin got the shape well and truly correct didn’t he. Of all the fifties GP cars its the 250F and later Vanwall’s for me.
      Mark

  4. Lizzie says:

    It has come to our notice that you are displaying a photograph (caption below) which is part of the JARROTTS archive. Permission has not be granted for its use and I would therefore respectfully ask you to update the copyright immediately. This should be displayed as Copyright JARROTTS.com – please update your photo and reference credits. Thank you.

    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)

    • markbisset says:

      Cheers Lizzie,
      It is a great photograph, I have changed the caption and credits accordingly. It is some years since I wrote that article, your shot was an internet random find- I do always attribute when I can as you have no doubt noticed. Thanks for allowing me to use it- in a photo rich piece it is an exceptional shot! Who took it, out of interest?
      Mark

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