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Cliff Allison releases his Lotus 12 Climax from the Monaco haybales in 1958, whilst teammate Graham Hill passes in the sister car…

It was a significant race for Lotus, their debut as Grand Prix competitors, Allison was classified 6th and Hill’s race ended on lap 15 with engine dramas.

Coventry Climax had still not built a 2.5 litre version of their FPF 4 cylinder engine, so Lotus, like Cooper were competing with engines of 1960cc, well below the 2.5 litre F1 capacity limit.

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Jesse Alexander’s shot captures the atmosphere of Monaco ’58, shot taken from the ‘Milk Bar’

 

Times of change in racing are of immense interest to those of us with an historic bent, 1958/9 is one of those eras with the growing influence of the ‘Green Cars’ a portent of the British dominance to come. And of course Cooper showing the mid-engined path still with us today.

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Cliff Allison at Monza in 1959 (Cahier)

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Lotus 12 in all its naked glory at Zandvoort in 1958. It was about as small as a front engined GP car could get, ignoring the fact it was designed as an F2 car! In 1958 ’twas as modern as tomorrow and as passe as yesterday simultaneously (Cahier)

Indicative of  mid-engined growing superiority was the failure of all the Maserati 250F’s entered to qualify; driven by Godia-Sales, Kavanagh, Taramazzo, Gerini, de Fillipis, Testut, Gould and the great, but aging Monegasque Louis Chiron. In 1957 Juan Manuel Fangio won the race in a factory ‘Piccolo’ 250F.

Successful British motor-cycle dealer BC Ecclestone had acquired the Connaughts but Bernie, Paul Emery and Bruce Kessler all failed to qualify the cars too.

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Bernie Ecclestone trying hard to qualify his Connaught Type B Alta, to no avail as was the case for his 2 teammates (unattributed)

Things were better for the Green Cars at the front of the grid with Brooks, Behra and Brabham in Vanwall, BRM and Cooper respectively. Salvadori and Trintignant were next up in Coopers, the quickest Ferrari, Mike Hawthorn, 6th in his Dino.

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# 18 Savadori Cooper T45 Climax, # 6 Behra BRM P25, #16 Brabham Cooper T45 Climax, # 30 Brooks Vanwall VW57, winner Trintignant partially obscured behind Brabham Cooper T45 Climax, # 32 Lewis-Evans Vanwall VW57…and the rest, turn 1, lap1 (unattributed)

In a race of changing fortunes Behra, Hawthorn and Moss all led but suffered mechanical failures. Trintignant won the race in Rob Walker’s Cooper T45 Climax from Musso and Collins in Dinos. Moss’ Argentina Cooper T43 win was no ‘flash in the pan’…

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Moss, Hawthorn, Brabham and Trintignant. Ferrari Dino 246, Vanwall VW57 with Monaco ‘snub nose’ and Coopers T45 Climax x 2 (unattributed)

Etcetera…

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Photo Credits…

Jesse Alexander, The Cahier Archive, John Ross Motor Racing Archive

Tailpiece: Allison made the Lotus 12 sing…

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As here at Monza 1958. He put the car 5th on the British GP grid, well in front of Hill in the new Lotus 16, finished 6th at Zandvoort, 4 th in the Belgian GP at Spa and 7th at Monza, such were his performances he was off to Ferrari in 1959 at Enzo’s invitation (John Ross)

 

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