Posts Tagged ‘Colin Chapman’

lot 72

This photo of the front of the epochal Lotus 72 Ford was taken in the Jarama paddock upon the cars race debut during the Spanish GP weekend on 19 April 1970…

It wasn’t quite the debut the equally trendsetting Lotus 25 Climax and Lotus 49 Ford made in ’62 and ’67 respectively, but Jochen popped it 8th on the grid and then failed to finish, his Cosworth DFV had ignition problems. Jackie Stewart won the race in Ken Tyrrell’s March 701 Ford.

I like the shot as it shows the car as Maurice Phillipe originally detailed it. The jewel of a thing won at Zandvoort on June 21, 2 months later as a Lotus 72C! It evolved from 72, 72B to 72C spec in 2 months.

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‘Gees Colin it needs some work!’ Rindt to Chapman in the Jarama paddock 1970. The ‘SOL’ pitboard is local boy Alex Soler-Roig who had a steer of Jochen’s old Lotus 49C, failing to qualify, as did John Miles in the other works 72 (unattributed)

Jochen loathed the 72 in its original form. It had severe handling deficiencies, the car rolled excessively and lifted inside rear wheels. The anti-dive geometry made the light steering lack feel as the suspension stiffened under braking. Anti-squat was suspected of inducing a diagonal jacking moment across the car causing that inside rear wheel to lift in corners.

Chapman prescribed a raft of changes including removing the anti-dive and anti-squat aspects of the cars suspension geometry front and rear. It’s easy to say but involved Hethel’s fabricators unpicking the cars lovely aluminium monocoques to change the suspension pick up points at the front, and to make a new subframe at the rear.

Chapman, not only one of the design greats but also a race engineer of extraordinary ability and perception turned a ‘sows ear into a silk purse’, the car famously winning its first titles that year, Rindt’s drivers championship posthumously of course.

Other changes to the car before the French GP, held that year on the rolling glorious roads of Clermont Ferrand included stiffening the rear of the chassis by cross bracing it, fitting stronger suspension pick-up points and re-siting the rear Koni shocks which were being ‘fried’ by hot air exiting the hip radiators.

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Lotus 72C Ford cutaway; aluminium monocoque, wishbone upper and lower front suspension, torsion bars providing the spring medium and Koni shocks. Single top link, parallel lower links and again torsion bars and Koni shocks at the rear. Ford Cosworth DFV 3 litre V8 and Hewland FG400 gearbox (unattributed)

Checkout the following in the first photo at the articles outset; the monocoque ending at the front, drivers feet bulkhead, fabricated tubular steel front subframe and all it supports. The infamous inboard front brakes are clear, a design tenet of the car was reduced unsprung weight. I can’t see the front torsion bars, but the lack of co-axial coil springs and use of long solid torsion bars as the springing medium was also revolutionary at the time. The front battery is handily placed to be removed in the event of a front impact, as is, sub-optimally, the onboard fire extinguisher.

The front of the 72 is far less ‘butch’ or strong, than, say, the ‘full monocoques’ of a 1970 BRM P153, or a McLaren M14 but the perils for racing drivers of frontal impacts at any speed in all of the cars of the period are clear in this shot. Note the hip-radiators, Chapman was playing with weight, which he placed increasingly onto the rear of the car over the 72’s long, 1970-75 life as well as aerodynamics. Still, the wedge wasn’t new, his 1968 Lotus 56 Pratt & Whitney Indycar first deployed the approach.

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Press launch of the Lotus 72 wedge in London, 6 April 1970 (Norman Quicke)

A magic car with a long competitive life, yet again Chapman set a path so many others followed…

Credits…

The GP Library, Norman Quicke, Doug Nye ‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’

Tailpiece: Jochen Rindt riding the Lotus 72 roller-coaster at Jarama in 1970, ‘anti-dive’ inclination of top wishbones clear in shot…

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Jack Brabham ponders wing settings on his Brabham BT26 Repco during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend at Mont Tremblant, 22 September 1968…

I blew my tiny mind when Nigel Tait sent me the photo, neither of us had any idea where it was. A bit of judicious googling identified the location as Mont Tremblant, Quebec, a summer and winter playground for Canadians 130km northwest of Montreal.

Regular readers will recall  Nigel as the ex-Repco Brabham Engines Pty. Ltd. engineer who co-wrote the recent Matich SR4 Repco article (a car he owns) and has been helping with the series of articles on Repco’s racing history I started with Rodway Wolfe, another RBE ‘teamster’ a couple of years ago.

When Nigel left Repco in the ACL Ltd management buyout of which he was a part, he placed much of the RBE archive with his alma mater, RMIT University, Melbourne. Its in safe hands and available to those interested in research on this amazing part of Australian motor racing history. The archive includes Repco’s library of photographs. Like every big corporate Repco had a PR team to maximise exposure from their activities including their investment in F1. The Mont Tremblant shot is from that archive and unpublished it seems.

Its one of those ‘the more you look, the more you see’ shots; from the distant Laurentian Mountains to the pitlane activity and engineering of the back of the car which is in great sharpness. It’s the back of the BT26 where I want to focus.

The last RBE Engines article we did (Rodway, Nigel and I) was about the ’67 championship winning SOHC, 2 valve 330bhp 740 Series V8, this BT26 is powered by the 1968 DOHC, 4 valve 390bhp 860 Series V8. It was a very powerful engine, Jochen plonked it on the front row three times, on pole twice, as he did here in Canada in 1968. But it was also an ‘ornery, unreliable, under-developed beast. Ultimately successful in 4.2 litre Indy and 5 litre Sportscar spec, we will leave the 860 engine till later for an article dedicated to the subject.

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Check out the DG300 Hewland 5 speed transaxle and part of the complex oil system beside it to feed the 860. Also the big, beefy driveshafts and equally butch rubber donuts to deal with suspension travel. It’s interesting as Tauranac used cv’s in earlier designs, perhaps he was troubled finding something man enough to take the more powerful Repco’s grunt, the setup chosen here is sub-optimal in an engineering sense.

The rear suspension is period typical; single top link, inverted lower wishbone, radius rods leading forward top and bottom and coil spring/damper units. It appears the shocks are Koni’s, Brabham were Armstrong users for years.

The uprights are magnesium which is where things get interesting. The cars wings that is, and the means by which they attach to the car…

See the beautifully fabricated ‘hat’ which sits on top of and is bolted to the uprights and the way in which the vertical load of the wing applies it’s force directly onto the suspension of the car. This primary strut support locates the wing at its leading edge, at the rear you can see the adjustable links which control the ‘angle on the dangle’ or the wings incidence of attack to the airflow.

I’ve Lotus’ flimsy wing supports in mind as I write this…

Tauranac’s secondary wing support elements comprises steel tube fabrications which pick up on the suspension inner top link mount and on the roll bar support which runs back into the chassis diaphragm atop the gearbox.

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The shot above shows the location of the front wing and it’s mounts, this time the vertical force is applied to the chassis at the leading front wishbone mount, and the secondary support to the wishbones trailing mount. This photo is in the Watkins Glen paddock on the 6 October weekend, the same wing package as in use in Canada a fortnight before. The mechanic looking after Jack is Ron Dennis, his formative years spent learning his craft first with Cooper and then BRO. Rondel Racing followed and fame and fortune with McLaren via Project 4 Racing…

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Jim Hall and Chaparral 2G Chev wing at Road America, Wisconsin 1968 (Upitis)

 

 

The great, innovative Jim Hall and his band of merry men from Midlands, Texas popularised the use of wings with their sensational Chaparral’s of the mid sixties. Traction and stability in these big Group 7 Sportscars was an issue not confronted in F1 until the 3 litre era when designers and drivers encountered a surfeit of power over grip they had not experienced since the 2.5 litre days of 1954-60.

During 1967 and 1968 F1 spoilers/wings progressively grew in size and height, the race by race or quarter of a season at a time analysis of same an interesting one for another time.

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Hill’s winged Lotus 49B, Monaco 1968 (Schlegelmilch)

In some ways ‘who gives a rats’ about the first ‘winged Grand Prix win’ as Jim Hall pioneered ‘winning wings’ in 1966, the technology advance is a Group 7 not F1 credit; but Jacky Ickx’ Ferrari 312 win in the horrific, wet, 1968 French Grand Prix (in which Jo Schlesser died a fiery death in the air-cooled Honda RA302) is generally credited as the first, the Fazz fitted with a wing aft of the driver.

But you could equally mount the case, I certainly do, that the first winged GeePee win was Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B Ford victory at Monaco that May.

Chapman fitted the Lotus with front ‘canard’ wings and the rear of the car with a big, rising front to rear, engine cover-cum-spoiler. Forghieri’s Ferrari had a rear wing but no front. The Lotus, front wings and a big spoiler. Which car first won with a wing?; the Lotus at Monaco on 26 May not the Ferrari at Rouen on July 7. All correspondence will be entered into as to your alternative views!

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Jacky Ickx’ winning Ferrari 312 being prepared in the Rouen paddock. The neat, spidery but strong wing supports clear in shot. Exhaust in the foreground is Chris Amon’s Fazz (Schlegelmilch)

 

 

Lotus ‘ruined the hi-winged party’ with its Lotus 49B Ford wing failures, a lap apart, of Graham Hill and then Jochen Rindt at Montjuic in the 1969 Spanish GP. Both drivers were lucky to walk away from cars which were totally fucked in accidents which could have killed the drivers, let alone a swag of innocent locals.

A fortnight later the CSI acted, banning high wings during the Monaco GP weekend but allowing aero aids on an ongoing basis albeit with stricter dimensional and locational limits.

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Mario Andretti has just put his Lotus 49B on pole at Watkins Glen in October 1968, Colin Chapman is perhaps checking his watch to see why regular drivers Hill and Jackie Oliver are being bested by guest driver Andretti who was entered at Monza and Watkins Glen at seasons end! Andretti put down a couple of markers with Chapman then; speed and testing ability which Chapman would return to nearly a decade later. More to the point are the wing mounts; direct onto the rear upright like the Brabham but not braced forward or aft. Colin was putting more weight progressively on the back of the 49 to try and aid traction, note the oil reservoir sitting up high above the ‘box. Stewart won in a Matra MS10, Hill was 2nd with both Andretti and Oliver DNF (Upitis)

 

 

 

Chapman was the ultimate structural engineer but also notoriously ‘optimistic’ in his specification of some aspects of his Lotus componentry over the years, the list of shunt victims of this philosophy rather a long one.

Lotus wing mounts are a case in point.

Jack Oliver’s ginormous 125mph French GP, 49B accident at Rouen in 1968 was a probable wing mount failure, Ollie’s car smote various bits of the French countryside inclusive of a Chateau gate.

Moises Solana guested for Lotus in his home, Mexican GP on 3 November, Hill won the race whilst Solana’s 49B wing collapsed.

Graham Hill’s 49B wing mounts failed during the 2 February 1969 Australian Grand Prix at Lakeside, Queensland. Then of course came the Spanish GP ‘Lotus double-whammy’ 3 months after the Lakeside incident on 4 May 1969.

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Faaaarck that was lucky one suspects the Lotus mechanics are thinkin’!? The rear suspension and gearbox are 200 metres or so back up the road to the right not far from the chateau gate Ollie hit. It was the first of several ‘big ones’ in his career (Schlegelmilch)

For the ‘smartest tool in the shed’ Chapman was slow to realise ’twas a good idea to finish races, let alone ensure the survival of his pilots and the punters.

I’m not saying Lotus were the only marque to have aero appendages fall off as designers and engineers grappled with the new forces unleashed, but they seemed to suffer more than most. Ron Tauranac’s robustly engineered Brabhams were race winning conveyances generally devoid of bits and pieces flying off them given maintenance passably close to that recommended by ‘Motor Racing Developments’, manufacturers of Ron and Jack’s cars.

The Brabham mounts shown earlier are rather nice examples of wings designed to stay attached to the car rather than have Jack aviating before he was ready to jump into his Piper Cherokee at a race meetings end…

‘Wings Clipped’: Click on this article for more detail on the events leading up to the CSI banning hi-wings at the ’69 Monaco GP…https://primotipo.com/2015/07/12/wings-clipped-lotus-49-monaco-grand-prix-1969/

Credits…

Nigel Tait, Repco Ltd Archive, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Cahier Archive, Alvis Upitis

Etcetera…

Hill P, ‘Stardust GP’ Las Vegas, Chaparral 2E Chev 1966

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Now you see it, now you don’t; being a pioneer and innovator was the essence of the Chaparral brand, but not without its challenges! Phil Hill with 2E wing worries at Las Vegas in 1966, he still finished 7th. Jim Hall was on pole but also had wing problems, John Surtees’ wingless Lola T70 Mk2 Chev won the race and the first CanAm Championship  (The Enthusiast Network)

The 13 November 1966 ‘Stardust GP’ at Las Vegas was won by John Surtees Lola T70 Mk2 Chev, CanAm champion in 1966. Proving the nascent aerodynamic advances were not problem free both Jim Hall, who started from pole and Phil Hill pictured here had wing trouble during the race.

The Chaparral 2E was a development of the ’65 2C Can Am car (the 2D Coupe was the ’66 World Sportscar Championship contender) with mid-mounted radiators and huge rear wing which operated directly onto the rear suspension uprights. A pedal in the cockpit allowed drivers Hall and Hill to actuate the wing before corners and ‘feather it’ on the straights getting the benefits in the bendy bits without too much drag on the straight bits. A General Motors ‘auto’ transaxle which used a torque converter rather than a manual ‘box meant the drivers footbox wasn’t too crowded and added to the innovative cocktail the 2E represented in 1966.

Its fair to say the advantages of wings were far from clear at the outset even in Group 7/CanAm; McLaren won the 1967 and 1968 series with wingless M6A Chev and M8A Chev respectively, winning the ’69 CanAm with the hi-winged M8B Chev in 1969. Chaparral famously embody everything which was great about the CanAm but never won the series despite building some stunning, radical, epochal cars.

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Phil Hill relaxed in his 2E at Laguna Seca on 16 October 1966, Chaps wing in the foreground, Laguna’s swoops in the background. Phil won from Jim Hall in the other 2E (TEN)

Hill G, Monaco GP, Lotus 49B Ford 1968

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Interesting shot of Hill shows just how pronounced the rear bodywork of the Lotus 49B was. You can just see the front wing, Monaco ’68 (unattributed)

Hill taking a great win at Monaco in 1968. Graham’s was a tour de force of leadership, strength of mind and will. Jim Clark died at Hockenheim on 7 April, Monaco was on 26 May, Colin Chapman was devastated by the loss of Clark, a close friend and confidant apart from the Scots extraordinary capabilities as a driver.

Hill won convincingly popping the winged Lotus on pole and leading all but the races first 3 laps harnessing the additional grip and stability afforded by the cars nascent, rudimentary aerodynamic appendages. Graham also won the Spanish Grand Prix on 12 May, these two wins in the face of great adversity set up the plucky Brits 1968 World Championship win. Remember that McLaren and Matra had DFV’s that season too, Lotus did not have the same margin of superiority in ’68 that they had in ’67, lack of ’67 reliability duly noted.

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Hills 49B from the front showing the ‘canard’ wings and beautifully integrated rear engine cover/spoiler (Cahier)

Ickx, Rouen, French GP, Ferrari 312  1968

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Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari’s Chief Engineer developed wings which were mounted above the engine amidships of the Ferrari 312. Ickx put them to good use qualifying 3rd and leading the wet race, the Belgian gambled on wets, others plumped for intermediates.

Ickx’ wet weather driving skills, the Firestone tyres, wing and chaos caused by the firefighting efforts to try to save Schlesser did the rest. It was Ickx’ first GP win.

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It looks like Rainer Schlegelmilch is taking the shot of Jacky Ickx at Rouen in 1968, note the lack of front wings or trim tabs on the Ferrari 312 (Schlegelmilch)

Tailpiece: The ‘treacle beak’ noting the weight of Tauranac’s BT26 Repco is none other than ‘Chopper’ Tyrrell. Also tending the car at the Watkins Glen weighbridge is Ron Dennis, I wonder if Ken’s Matra MS10 Ford was lighter than the BT26? If that 860 engine had been reliable Jochen Rindt would have given Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill a serious run for their money in 1968, sadly the beautiful donk was not the paragon of reliability it’s 620 and 740 Series 1966/7 engines generally were…

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Jim Clark takes a deep breath as he aims his big, heavy Lotus BRM around Oulton Park in 1966…

The Oulton Park Gold Cup was one of  numerous non-championship F1 races still run in the mid-sixties.

Clark practised the car but discretion was the better part of valour, he raced his reliable, nimble Lotus 33 Climax in the race won by Jack Brabhams’ BT19 Repco, the dominant car of 1966.

Clark finished third in the 33, a car he took over from teammate Peter Arundell after the H16 engine in his Lotus blew up shortly after setting the third fastest time, a time equalled by Jackie Stewarts’ BRM ‘H16′.

The engine famously had it’s only victory, in a Lotus 43 in Clarks’ hands in the US Grand Prix several months later.

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Brian Watsons shot of the smoky H16 engine in Clarks’ Lotus 43 about to pop at Oulton Park!

The Lotus 43 was a much maligned car…but the facts tend to suggest it wasn’t quite as bad as many would have us believe. Clark raced the car four times in the 1966 Italian, US and Mexican GP’s and in the first of the 1967 Grands’ Prix in South Africa. He scored one win at Watkins Glen, qualified on the front row three times, once on the second and was competitive in all four events…i’m not saying he wasn’t happy to race a nimble 33 at Monaco rather than the 43 or that he was sorry to forsake the 43 for the 49 at Zandvoort however!

Its technically interesting in that the P75 BRM engine was used as a stressed member of the chassis in the same way the Ford Cosworth DFV in the  49 which followed was, much is made of this aspect of the Ford DFV’s attachment medium to the car but Vittorio Jano used the technique in his 1954 Lancia D50 GP car. T’wasnt the first time it was done.

The BRM engine was attached to the rear bulkhead, as was the DFV to the 49, the suspension mounted to the engine and gearbox as was the case with the 49.

Look at the 43 and 49 from the front and they are hard to pick…conceptually they are similar in terms of chassis and suspension, but look aft of the rear bulkhead and the massive girth of the BRM engine is in marked contrast to the svelte Keith Duckworth designed, Ford Cosworth 3 litre DFV V8… Chapman famously concepting the engine he wanted and the means by which it was to be attached to his chassis…

Jim Clark Lotus 43 BRM Italian GP 1966

The BRM P75 engine was a massive lump…essentially it was two of the P56 BRM 1.5 litre V8’s, but at 180 degrees, placed on top of each other.  Its designed weight of of 380Lbs ballooned to 555Lbs…the DFV weighed less than 400Lbs.

‘Road and Track’ magazine published the scrutineered weights of the cars at the 1966 Italian Grand Prix, the ‘Twiggy like’ Brabham BT19 weighed 1219Lb, a marked contrast to the Cooper Masers 1353Lb, and the ‘pork-chop’ BRM and Lotus 43 at 1529Lb and 1540Lb respectively.

Mind you, the Honda topped the scales at 1635Lb. Interestingly the ‘Hondola’ (Lola designed chassis) which won Monza in 1967 weighed 1309Lb, having lost 300 Kg in twelve months whereas the BRM’s had gotten heavier at 1570Lb…the Lotus 49 weighing 1200Lb.

The DFV at that stage developed about 405 BHP whereas the BRM P75 ‘H16’ never developed its claimed 400BHP and had a lot of weight to carry.

The Lotus 43 was far from the worst Lotus ever built…and many of its GP cars didn’t win Grands Prix, for sure the BRM P75 ‘H16’ engine was never to have the reliability of the 49’s Ford Cosworth DFV which one wag descibed as ‘ the spacer between the rear bulkhead and the gearbox’ such was its dependable nature!

The 49 deserves its place in the pantheon of Great Grand Prix cars but the 43 is conceptually closer to the 49 than Chapman probably wanted to admit at the time…

Jim Clark Lotus 43 BRM US GP 1966

Clark launches his Lotus 43 off the line at the start of the 1966 US GP. He is using the BRM teams spare ‘H16’ engine , his own failing at the end of practice having just qualified behind Brabhams BT 19 on pole. Clark against the odds won. Thats Surtees Coopet T81 Maserati behind and the nose of Bandini’s Ferrari…(unattributed)

Jim Clark Lotus 43 BRM Monza 1966

Clark looks happy enough as he mounts his Lotus, Monza 1966. It looks like Brabhams BT19 Repco being pushed alongside…bulk obvious, weight of engine and gearbox 675 Lbs! (unattributed)

Lotus 43 BRM drawings

Etcetera…

Jim Clark Lotus 49 Ford Dutch GP 1967

Front shot of the Lotus 49 Ford at Zandvoort 1967. Clark up. Hill won on debut after Clarks car retired whilst in the lead..not so different from the 43 at the front at least! (unattributed)

Lotus 49 Ford rear, Clark Dutch GP 1967

The delicate rear end of Jim Clarks’ Lotus 49 Ford on its debut at the Dutch Grand Prix in 1967, in marked contrast to the big, butch BRM ‘H16’! ZF gearbox. Suspension and chassis design oh, so similar to the Lotus 43…as was attachment of engine to chassis and its use as a stress bearing member (unattributed)

BRM H16 engine article

Photo Credits…

The Nostalgia Forum, Brian Watson

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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…

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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.

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

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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.

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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)

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

ronnie & col

Colin Chapman and Ronnie Peterson ‘chewing the fat’ on the French GP grid, Clermont Ferrand 1972. Car is a March 721G Ford, Peterson finished 4th in the race won by Jackie Stewart (Pinterest)

‘C’mon Ronnie, its time to move to Hethel?! Other than Bernard Charles Ecclestone there were few people with Lotus boss Colin Chapmans’ charm, and powers of  pursuation when it suited him…

I doubt the weather was the topic of conversation! Ronnie learn’t his F1 stuff with March, starting with a quasi-works 701 in 1970, but the 721G, on which he is leaning, was an F2 car onto which a Ford Cosworth engine was grafted after the failure of its 721X and not as quick as the Lotus 72 Chapman is talking to Ronie about!

Ronnie replaced Aussie Dave Walker at Lotus in 1973, Peterson proving quicker than Emerson Fittipaldi, the 1972 World Champion. As is usually the case, these ‘Dream Teams’ usually end in tears.

Chapman refused to apply team orders later in the season, costing Fittipladi, the better placed driver, his second title, Lotus did pick up the Manufacturers Championship however.

Fittipaldi decamped to McLaren at the years end and a second title in ’74, Ronnie and Jacky Ickx were quick in the Lotus 72 in ’74 but it was getting long in the tooth and Lotus missed Emerson’s testing and development skills, neither of which were Petersons’ forte…