Archive for December, 2015

engine blue

(Automobile Year #10)

‘One of the most classic racing engines of all time – and unquestionably the most widely copied – was the 1913 3-litre four cylinder Peugeot conceived jointly by Georges Boillot, Jules Goux and Paolo Zuccarelli whose ideas were interpreted by the brilliant draftsman Ernest Henry’ ; Harry Mundy in Automobile Year #10…

The team first expounded the advantages of twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and compact combustion chambers.


Jules Goux fourth and Robert Peugeot at the 1914 French GP. Goux winner at Indy in 1913  in a Peugeot L56. Mercedes Christian Lautenschlager won the race, Boillot was well in the lead before a spate of Dunlop tyre problems. 4 July 1914, less than a week after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the imminent start of WW1  (unattributed)

‘The Three Charlatans’; driver/technicians Goux, Boillot and Zuccarelli, the latter the most important in terms of his conceptual ideas, as they became known within Peugeot HQ, put a proposal to M Robert Peugeot to develop, outside the factory a team of cars for the 1912 French GP. The race was being revived that year, and two 3-litre cars for the Coup l’Auto at a cost of 4000 pounds for each car.

The 1912 GP engine of 7602cc was estimated to develop 140bhp@2200rpm, the car very successful as covered in the contemporary magazine articles included at the end of this piece.

‘Overhead camshafts had been used earlier by Mercedes and Clement-Bayard…The technical contribution of the Peugeot engine was in the use of the hemispherical combustion chamber, four valves per cylinder operated directly by twin overhead camshafts and a central sparking plug. In other words, Zuccarelli, from whom this conception emanated, appreciated the virtues of a compact combustion chamber, large effective valve area and low valve stresses’.

‘A stirrup-type valve tappet guided top and bottom ad having its own return spring was used and the entire mechanism was fully enclosed and lubricated; the valves and springs were exposed to assist cooling…The one piece cylinder block and head was bolted to a two piece crankcase split on the horizontal centre line of the five main bearings’ said Mundy.

Boillot won the 1912 French GP at Dieppe by 13 minutes from the closest Fiat at an average speed of 68.5 mph. The Fiats, to demonstrate the efficiency of the Peugeot engine were of 14143cc.

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Georges Boillot, Peugeot L3, Coup l’Auto 1913 (Getty Images)

The 3-litre Peugeot engine produced for the 1913 Coupe de l’Auto race run concurrently with the French GP, was the more important in its technical influence as its efficiency and light chassis was more than a match for the 1912/13 GP cars built for an unlimited formula and having in some cases twice the capacity.

Many features of the 3-litre were common with its bigger brother but other key elements copiously copied were;

.A train of spur gears contained in a separate and easily detachable casing which replaced the former bevel gear and shaft drive to the camshafts

.The heavy stirrup type of valve tappet was discarded in favour of a finger interposed between the cam and valve stem

boillot french

Boillot on the way to Peugeot L3 victory on the Amiens 31.6 km road course used only once for the French GP, in 1913. Zuccarelli was killed when he hit a cart before the race; five fatalities at the place in two months (unattributed)

.A novel construction was introduced for the crankcase and the three main bearing crank, made of the highest quality BND/Derihon steel. The latter was made in two halves and bolted at the centre, at which point a double row ball bearing was used; a single row roller bearing was used for the front and rear mains. This type of construction permitted the use of a  one-piece crankcase casting, the two end bearings for the crankshaft being contained in a separate housing.


Ernest Henry at his drawing board, year unknown. Hiss exact contribution to the design of the Peugeot’s and the engine still the subject of debate after 100 years; a key member of the team whichever way you cut it (unattributed)

.It was also the first engine to use dry-sump lubrication; better cooling with full pressurisation to all bearings and also allowing engines to be placed lower in the chassis.

The influence of the engine was also profound in the sense that it lead to the adoption of a capacity limitation from 1914, a principle adopted for most subsequent formulae. From 1914 onwards there was no effective alternative to the overhead camshaft as stroke to bore ratios were reduced and rotational speeds increased, two basic requirements of increased performance…


‘The Three Charlatans’ circa 1912; Paolo Zuccarelli, Jules Goux and Georges Boillot (TNF)

Contemporary ‘The Automobile’ articles on the 1912/1913 Peugeots…

1912 L76 7.6-litre.

4 pug 1

4 pug 2

4 pug 3

4 pug 4

1913 L3 3-litre.

3 litre 1

3 litre 2

Bibliography and Credits…

Automobile Year #10 article by Harry Mundy on Grand Prix engines, ‘The Automobile’ 26 September 1912 and February 1914 articles via, The Nostalgia Forum Peugeot GP thread, Jacques Henri-Lartigue

Tailpiece: Boillot, winner on Peugeot L3. French GP, Amiens 12 July 1913…

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(Jacques-Henri Lartigue)


art car

The first BMW Art Car was proposed by the French racer/auctioneer Herve Poulain who wanted to invite an artist to create a canvas on a car…

In 1975, Poulain commissioned his American artist friend Alexander Calder to paint a BMW 3.0 CSL which Poulain raced partnered by pro’s Sam Posey and Jean Guichet in the 1975 Le Mans classic.

The car ran in the ‘Touring’ class, failing to finish with a CV joint failure on lap 73.

bmw art car le mans

‘Art Car’ BMW 3.0CSL, Le Mans 1975 (unattributed)

BMW won the class, a little 2002Ti completed 252 laps, Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx won the race in a Gulf GR8 Ford DFL, the first Le Mans win for Bell and for the long distance variant of the great Ford Cosworth DFV V8.

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Derek Bell in the victorious Gulf GR8 Ford DFL he shared with Ickx. Behind is the 2nd placed Ligier JS2 Ford DFL of Lafosse/Chasseuil (unattributed)

Since Calder’s work many other renowned artists have created BMW Art Cars including David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. 17 Art Cars based on both racing and production vehicles have been created.

The most recent car is Jeff Coon’s 2010 model M3 GT2. The 4 litre V8 engined car competed in the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours driven by Andy Priaulx/Dirk Muller/Dirk Werner but did not finish.

aert car 2010

BMW’s Thomas Girst says the purpose of the project has changed over time: ‘In the beginning the cars were raced. There wasn’t much public relations around them…Since then some of the Art Cars have been used in advertisements to show that BMW is a player in the arts…Part of what we are doing now is raising awareness of alternative and renewable energy sources’.


peteray/, wikipedia, Team Dan

Tailpiece: 2010 BMW M3 GT2…

bmw modern art car


rb cowboy

David Coulthard’s Red Bull Renault RB’4WD’ trys to avoid being lassooed y’all, Johnson City, Texas 19 August 2011…

There was no American GP from 2008 to 2011 this Red Bull promotion was of Coulthard driving the ‘Circuit of The Americas’ then under construction outside Austin, Texas.

YouTube footage thereof…


DC Red Bull Renault, ‘Circuit of The Americas’ first ‘race laps’, August 2011 (Getty Images)

Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images


coul and cowboys

(Getty Images)


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British privateer, Horace Gould’s ‘crew’ time his Maserati 250F, he finished eighth in the race won by Moss’ similar car…i love this unattributed shot, it somehow captures the waiting game of a drivers lover in those very dangerous days…

Gould was a Bristol motor trader who competed in sixteen Grands’ Prix, his best result in this car , an ex-works 1954 250F ‘2514’, in the 1956 British Grand Prix, finishing fifth and earning two championship points.

He raced Jack Brabhams’ similar Cooper Bristol on an ‘Australasian Tour’, at Mount Druitt, New South Wales, in 1953 beaten by Jack, and in the 1954 New Zealand Grand Prix, the race won by Stan Jones’ Maybach 2.

Horace Gould Mt Druitt

Horace Gould in his Cooper T23 Bristol at Mt Druitt, he ‘was left for dead off the line, Jacks car with its lightweight flywheel, Harley clutch and Stromberg carbs’. (

Gould was the quintessential passionate privateer, eking out an existence on start and finish money in events throughout Europe in the late 1950’s, he stopped racing around 1959 and died of a heart attack in 1968, aged 47.



Elliot Forbes-Robinson’s Spyder NF-11 Chev chases Jacky Ickx’ Lola T333CS Chev, Round 1 of the 1979 Can-Am Championship on May 6…

Terry Capps terrific shots capture the essence of this challenging Braselton, Georgia circuit and all of the ‘fun of the fair’ from a spectators perspective in watching and hearing these 5 litre beasties around the courses undulations.

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Keke Rosberg winner at Road Atlanta 1979. Spyder NF-11 Chev (Terry Capps)

Keke Rosberg won the race in another of Paul Newman’s Lola T333 based Spyders with Ickx and EFR second and third. Keke took pole in 8 of the 10 races but had poor reliability and a couple of shunts; Ickx took the title that year in the ‘factory’ Haas Lola.

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Jacky Ickx in Carl Haas’ Lola T333CS Chev. Road Atlanta ’79 (Terry Capps)

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Elliott Forbes-Robinson in the other Newman-Freeman Spyder NF-11 Chev. Road Atlanta ’79. (Terry Capps)

Tailpiece: A Spyder Departs…

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Road Atlanta 1979 (Terry Capps)

Photo Credits…Terry Capps



One of the greatest poster artists of all time, ‘Geo Ham’ was born in Laval, France to wealthy parents on 18 September 1900. Georges Hamel showed great artistic skills from childhood. Encouraged by his father, whose enterprises included postcard publishing, he initially painted Mayenne countryside landscapes. Other inspirations included a biplane flown overhead by a local politician tossing leaflets below and a 1913 motor race in Laval. Soon all he wanted to do was to sketch and paint these motorised  devices.

ham plane

Armed with advice from painter and playwright Eugene Morand, at 17 he moved to Paris and enrolled at Art Deco, the National School of Decorative Arts.

At 20 he drew his first cover for Omnia, a prestigious French car magazine. By 23 he was receiving regular commissions and into the 1930s was regarded as one of the finest painters of cars and aeroplanes, his clientele included Amilcar, Rolls-Royce, Talbot, Delahaye and Chenard et Walker. He was engaged by most race organisers, including the ACO, and was recognised as an official painter of French aviation by Aeropostale in 1931.

In 1935 he went to Ethiopia to cover the Second Italo-Ethiopian War for L’Illustration, that yaer “he was found with General Franco’s troops in Spain.”

geo ham 1


Villeneuve/Hamel Derby L8, Le Mans 1934 (Jorge Curvelo)

Hamel with his September 1927 built, Bugatti T40 ‘Sport Modifiee’ #40576. To Ernest Friderich 4/1928-G M de Marsilan-then Hamel in 11/1928 for a ‘prix couvreur’ of Frs 15000 (H Conway Collection)

He enjoyed competing when not in his studio, often racing or acting as mechanic for gentleman racer Michel Dore. With him, he contested the Toul-Nancy and Arpajon events at Aisne and Picardy before performing on a larger stage at Le Mans in 1934. He co-drove a French, front wheel drive, 2-litre V8 Derby L8 owned by Louis Villeneuve. Fuel feed problems forced withdrawal of the car on lap 44, the race was won by the Luigi Chinetti/Philippe Etancelin Alfa Romeo 8C2300.

His work continued post-war, but with the advent of greater photographic content in newspapers his business declined. He sold his Bugatti Type 40 (#40576) and “made a reputation as a seducer with Paul Morand,” a writer, diplomat and academic.

In a sad end to a life lived full, he died in June 1972 at the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris, with another friend, Jean-Adrien Mercier at his side. He passed without an heir, forgotten. Only 19 people attended his funeral with his artworks “dispersed or sold.”

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Crop of ‘Prix de Paris’ poster, Montlhery 1958 (Geo Ham)


Wikipedia, Jorge Curvelo, Bob King, Julien Dub, Kees Jansen


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