Archive for May, 2017

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Mike Barney prepares Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T53 Climax’, French GP Reims, 3 July 1960…

That racing drivers shouldn’t have too much imagination is shown by this shot!

#16 is Brabham’s winning chassis, #18 McLaren’s third placed car. Olivier Gendebien was second and Henry Taylor fourth in T51’s making it a Cooper 1-4!

Yer ‘fancy-schmancy’ high tech relatively, I say it again, relatively safe 2017 carbon fibre GP machine is another world away, 55 years or so to be precise. Mind you, one would hope we would progress.

Owen Maddock’s curvy spaceframe chassis is typical of the day, the spaceframe anyway if not the imperfect in an engineering sense bent tubes! At the front the water radiator and oil tank are the ‘deformable structures’ ahead of the drivers ankles and lower legs. The fuel tanks are neatly and very practically ‘bungee’ strapped to the chassis and prone to leakage as the ‘ally tanks chafe on the steel chassis tubes. The ‘deformable side structures’ are the tanks, no bag bladders in those days so the risk of fire was great, prevalent and occasionally fatal.

The 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF powered T53 ‘Lowline’ was the 1960 successor to the race-winning and built in vast numbers 1958/9 T51. That car in both F2 and F1 spec has to be one of the greatest customer racing cars ever? T53 was the design work of Jack, John Cooper and Maddock.  The Lotus 18, Chapmans first mid-engined car was the quickest bolide of 1960. Moss took wins in Rob Walker’s car at Monaco and in the season ending US GP at Riverside but it was not the most reliable, something Jack was happy to capitalise upon.

McLaren won the Argentinian GP at the seasons outset, then Jack had an amazing mid-season run winning the Dutch GP on 6 June and the Portuguese GP on 14 August. In between Zandvoort and Oporto he won the Belgian, French and British GP’s thereby setting up his and Cooper’s second world titles on the trot.

Its good to look at these cars in the ‘nuddy’ every now and again to remind oneself of just how close to the elements and how brave the drivers of yore were. Yep, the piloti are no more exposed than they had been in the past but the cornering speeds of a 1960 2.5 litre Cooper or Lotus were a good deal quicker than a 1954 2.5 litre Maser 250F, the road circuits in particular just as hazardous…

Cooper T53 Climax cutaway by Brian Hatton

Credits…

GP Library, Brian Hatton

 

 

 

 

 

Compound curvature comprises curves made up of two or more circular arcs of successively shorter or longer radii, joined tangentially without reversal of curvature. The foregoing is illustrated with definitive precision by Helmut Newton’s portrait of perfection above.

The Pirelli calendar is a wonderful institution albeit now somewhat diluted by the dull, shit-boring political correctness which pervades our times! It’s nowhere near as risqué as it once was, always tastefully so in my view.

The image is from the 1985 season, originally published in the ’86 calendar and features a young lady whose specifications more than match the 750bhp, twin-turbo, 1.5 litre Renault EF4B V6 powered Ligier JS25. I’m not sure of the driver but the helmet of Andrea De Cesaris is closer to a color match than those of teammates Jacques Laffitte and Philippe Streiff.

In any event the photo is hardly about the car or driver, what compound curvature, arcs of changing radii and perfect purity of line…

Credits…

Pirelli, Helmut Newton, Merriam Webster Dictionary

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Inboard front suspension, top rocker, lower wishbone and inboard mounted coil spring/Koni shocks (Schlegelmilch)

Mario Andretti psyches himself up before a practice session in his Ferrari 312B2 prior to the 1972 Italian Grand Prix…

Andretti qualified the Ferrari 7th and finished 7th, teammates Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni proved the cars pace by popping the car on pole and 4th.

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Andretti, Ferrari 312B2, Monza 1972 (Schlegelmilch)

Jacky lead the race after Clay Regazzoni’s car clipped the back of Carlos Pace’ March when the latter spun at the Vialone chicane. Ickx snuck back into the lead only to lose it when the Flat-12 failed; Fittipaldo took the win and title in his Lotus 72D Ford.

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The Ickx’ and Andretti Ferrari 312B2, the #10 2nd placed Surtees TS9B Ford of Mike Hailwood and #9 de Adamich TS9B DNF. Note Ferrari rear suspension detail as per the text (unattributed)

Background…

The Ferrari 312B2 made its debut in Monaco GP 1972, it was a new car rather than a development of the original car for which the Ferrari 3 litre flat-12 was designed, the 1970 312B.

Said engine had a shorter stroke, aimed to increase revs and thereby increase power. The nose cone was low and squarish, the flanks more straight than the rounded shape of the earlier cars, and the rear wing attached to an appendage of the roll-bar.

The rear suspension was redesigned with twin struts and spring/damper groups mounted above the gearbox and connected to the hub with tubular arms. The aim was to reduce unsprung weight. The coil spring-shocks were shifted towards the centre of the car above the gearbox. The car remained a handful as drivers struggled with the handling in combination with the Firestone tyres, a continuation of some of the problems of 1971.

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Andretti’s 312B2 on the way to 4th place in the 1971 German GP, Stewart won in Tyrrell 003 Ford (unattributed)

Ferrari were struggling with direction at the time after several difficult years, the situation climaxed halfway through 1973 when Luca Di Montezemolo was brought in from Fiat to sort things and provide clear leadership.

312B2 wasn’t a great Ferrari, Jacky Ickx able to scored just a single win with the B2 in 197, the Dutch GP at Zandvoort in rainy conditions whilst teammate Clay Regazzoni placed 3rd twice.

In 1972 Ickx only won the German GP, despite 4 poles. Despite the disappointing results, It raced on into 1973came in action in 1973, Merzario scored 4th at Kyalami before the B3 appeared, a lousy car. with Ickx decamping prior to the German GP…The teams resurgence began with the 1974 B3 variant and the powerful Lauda, Montezemolo, Forghieri cocktail.

Design and Specifications…

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Chassis Type 621/A monocoque of ‘Aero type’ with aluminium panels riveted onto  tubular steel spaceframe structure with a partially stressed engine.

Suspension; Front Double wishbones: upper rocker arm, lower wishbone, inboard spring/damper units and anti-roll bar. Rear; Single upper radius arm, horizontal spring/damper units mounted atop the transaxle and anti-roll bar.

Engine; Type 001/1, Flat-12 derived from the 001, light alloy cylinder block and head, DOHC, 4 valves, Lucas fuel injection, Marelli electrnonic ignition. Aluminium wet cylinder liners, bore/stroke, 80 x 49.6 mm, 2,991cc, compression ratio 11.5:1. 480bhp@12500rpm

Gearbox; 5 speed Ferrai transaxle with slippery diff. Brakes; Lockheed discs and calipers, inboard at rear. Rack and pinion steering.

Tyres/Wheels; F/R 8.6-20-13″, 13.5-24.0-15″ Firestones. Wheels: cast light alloy; front 10×13″, rear 15×15″

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Andretti, 312B2, Monza 1972 (unattributed)

Etcetera…

imageAnother couple of Schlegelmilch shots on Andretti at Monza…

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Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, f1technical.com

Tailpiece: 1971 Monza pre-race engine changes, 312B2…

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bugatti atlantque

The wonderful, outrageous, avant-garde, art deco Atlantic is both a monument to Jean Bugatti’s design talent and also to pre-war Europe. It is one of the last visual wonders of its age before the focus of engineers was forced upon munitions, the resultant devastation the antithesis of the Bugatti’s beauty.

When Molsheim’s Aérolithe concept debuted at the 1935 Paris Salon, the public just didn’t get it. It was radical to behold, the body was made out of light, flammable ‘Elektron’ magnesium which was riveted externally giving the car its distinctive central seam. Under the haute couture clothes was a new ultra low, modified T57 chassis, also fitted to the ‘normal’ T57S and SC. The rear axle passed through the rear chassis frame rather than riding under it. Those elements and the T59 GP car derived DOHC 3257cc straight-8 engine, dry-sumped in this application to fit under the low bonnet, made the Aérolithe the most advanced car of its time.

T57 Atlantic cutaway (unattributed)

But Ettore Bugatti was disappointed in the work of art, the solo Aérolithe soon disappeared. To this day its fate is a mystery, explanations include it being a casualty of war or perhaps broken down for its parts. Not so long ago Aérolithe was recreated using original parts and materials with only 15 photographs as a resource and reference base. Quite a job!

After the Aérolithe show car, Bugatti produced four supercharged Atlantic coupes in 1936/7 using aluminum instead of magnesium for the bodies whilst keeping the rivets. Powered by supercharged straight-8’s, these circa 200bhp coupes exceeded 120mph- in 1936! In fact two unsupercharged Type 57S and two supercharged Type 57SC Coupes were built but both T57S’ were later supercharged by the factory, therefore becoming SC-‘surbaisse’- lowered and C-‘compresseur’-compressor in specification. All four cars still exist.

I thought this painting by Dietz the quintessential Parisian Atlantique scene…

Credit…

Dietz

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Engine 4 cylinder monobloc, 1 inlet and 2 exhaust valves, SOHC, 4493cc-100X143mm bore/stroke, 4 speed box, 4 disc clutch, brakes on transmission, front and rear wheels, 1025Kg

Antonio Fagnano blasts his Fiat through a village during the 14 July 1914 event, Lyon…

Fagnano was a Fiat all-rounder and institution, he was a mechanic, foreman, member of the test department and graduated from riding mechanic to race driver of the works team!

For 1914 the GP ‘Formula’ provided for an 1100Kg maxiumum weight and engines of no more than 4.5 litres in capacity. The race was a contest between Peugeot and Mercedes in the context of imminent war; Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated less than a week before the GP at Lyon which drew a crowd of over 300,000 filling hotels within a 50Km radius of the course.

Christian Lautenschlager and riding mechanic on the way to winning the 1914 French GP, Mercedes GP 35HP. Engine 4 separate cylinders, 4 valves per cylinder, SOHC, 3 plugs per cylinder, 4456cc-93X164mm bore/stroke, claimed power 115bhp@2800rpm. 4 speed box, leather cone clutch, brakes on transmission and rear wheels, 1080Kg, top speed circa 110mph (unattributed)

Christian Lautenschlager won from teammates Louis Wagner and Otto Salzer in 7 hours 8 minutes 18.4 seconds at an average speed of 65.665mph.

Sailer led by 18 seconds at the end of the first lap, by lap five he had built a lead of almost 3 minutes and then retired with a blown engine on lap 6.  Boillot’s Peugeot took over the lead for 12 laps, at one point he led by over 4 minutes.

The Mercedes drivers made one stop during the race for new Continentals. This contrasted with the poor wear of the Dunlops of Peugeot, Boillot made eight stops for tyres, the Frenchman’s many tyre changes allowed Lautenschlager to pass on lap 18. By the end of that lap, Christian had opened up a lead of over 30 seconds.

Fagnano’s Fiat was the best placed of the Italian cars, the talented driver died of an illness, aged 35, on 8 July 1918.

France, 1914 and the Art Historians…

If you have a hankering for this era of racing here is a very interesting article with a completely different angle.

http://www.king-of-the-boards.com/articles/france1914.pdf

Credit…

Roger Viollet, Alinari Archive, T Mathieson ‘Grand Prix Racing 1906-1914’, Patrick Ryan Collection

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Tailpiece: Dealership ‘in period’, the first Fiat dealership in Geneva with two 501’s out front, circa 1921…

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(Alinari Archive)