Posts Tagged ‘Ferrari Dino 246 F1’

The way it was.

Pat Hoare’s Ferrari 256 V12 ‘0007’ as despatched by Scuderia Ferrari in early 1961…

It was just another chassis after all, Enzo Ferrari was not to know that Dino 256 ‘0007’ would be, so far at least, the last front engined championship Grand Prix winner, so it seemed perfectly logical to refashion it for a client and despatch it off to the colonies. Not that he was an historian or sentimentalist anyway, the next win was far more important than the last.

This story of this car is pretty well known and goes something like this- Phil Hill’s 1960 Italian GP winning Ferrari Dino 256 chassis ‘0007’ was the very last front-engined GP winning machine- a win made possible due to the sneaky Italian race organisers running their GP on the high-speed banked Monza circuit to give Ferrari the best possible chance of winning the race- by that time their superb V6 front engined machines, even in the very latest 1960 spec, were dinosaurs surrounded as they were by mid-engined, nimble, light and ‘chuckable’, if less powerful cars.

 

Hill and Brabham- 256 Dino ‘0007’ and Cooper Climax T53 and during Phil and Jack’s titanic dice at Reims in 1960 (Motorsport)

 

Phil on the Monza banking, September 1960, 256/60 Dino ‘0007’

Pat Hoare bought the car a couple of months after that win with the ‘dinky’ 2474cc V6 replaced by a more torquey and powerful 3 litre V12 Testa Rossa sportscar engine.

After a couple of successful seasons Hoare wanted to replace the car with a 1961/2 mid-engined ‘Sharknose’ into which he planned to pop a bigger engine than the 1.5 litre V6 original- but he had to sell his other car first. Enzo didn’t help him by torching each and every 156 mind you. Despite attempts to sell the 256 V12 internationally there were no takers- it was just an uncompetitive front-engined racing car after all.

Waimate 50 11 February 1961, Pat was first from Angus Hyslop’s Cooper T45 Climax and Tony Shelly’s similar car (N Matheson Beaumont)

 

Pat Hoare, Ferrari Bob Eade, in the dark coloured ex-Moss/Jensen/Mansel Maserati 250F Dunedin February 1962. Jim Palmer, Lotus 20 Ford won from Hoare and Tony Shelly, Cooper T45 Climax (CAN)

Unable to sell it, Hoare had this ‘GTO-esque’- ok, there is a generosity of spirit in this description, body made for the machine turning it into a road car of prodigious performance and striking looks- the artisans involved were Ernie Ransley, Hoare’s long-time race mechanic, Hec Green who did the body form-work and G.B McWhinnie & Co’s Reg Hodder who byilt the body in sixteen guage aluminium over nine weeks and painted it. George Lee did the upholstery.

Sold to Hamilton school teacher Logan Fow in 1967, he ran it as a roadie for a number of years until British racer/collector Neil Corner did a deal to buy the car sans ‘GTO’ body but with the open-wheeler panels which had been carefully retained, the Ferrari was converted back to its V6 race specification and still competes in Europe.

Low took a new Ferrari road car, variously said to be a Dino 308 or Boxer in exchange, running around Europe in it on a holiday for a while but ran foul of the NZ Government import rules when he came home and had the car seized from him by customs when he failed to stump up the taxes the fiscal-fiends demanded- a sub-optimal result to say the least.

Allan Dick reported that the Coupe body could be purchased in Christchurch only a couple of years ago.

Hoare aboard the 256 Coupe at Wigram circa 1964 (Graham Guy)

The guts of this piece is a story and photographs posted on Facebook by Eric Stevens on the ‘South Island Motorsports’ page of his involvement with Pat Hoare’s car, in particular its arrival in New Zealand just prior to the 1961 New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore that January.

It is a remarkable insiders account and too good to lose in the bowels of Facebook, I am indebted to Stephen Dalton for spotting it. Eric’s wonderful work reads as follows.

The Arrival of Pat Hoare’s second Ferrari…

‘…that Pat Hoare could buy the car was not a foregone conclusion. Ferrari sent him off for test laps on the Modena circuit in one of the obsolete Lancia D50 F1 cars. Probably to everyone’s surprise., Pat ended up, reputedly, within about 2 seconds of Ascari’s lap record for the circuit.’ (in that car for the circuit)

‘The Ferrari was schedued to be shipped to New Zealand in late 1960 in time to be run in the 1961 Ardmore NZ GP, in the event the whole program seemed to be running dangerously late. The first delay was getting the car built at the factory. Then, instead of just a few test laps around Modena, the car became embroiled in a full scale tyre testing program for Dunlop on the high speed circuit at Monza.’

‘It can be seen from the state of the tyres (on the trailer below) that the car had obviously seen some serious mileage. Also there were some serious scrape marks on the bottom of the gearbox where it had been contacting the banking. Nobody in Auckland knew what speeds had been involved but upon delivery the car was fitted with the highest gearing which gave a theoretical maximum speed of 198mph.’

(E Stevens)

 

(E Stevens)

‘The car was driven straight from Monza to the ship. I was later told by Ernie Ransley that the car was filled with fuel and the delivery driver was told he had approximately an hour to deliver the car to the ship which was somewhat more than 120 miles away.’

‘Then the ship arrived later in Auckland than expected and although Pat had arranged to get the car off as soon as possible there was great panic when at first the car could not be found. Not only was the Hoare team frantically searching the ship, so too was the local Dunlop rep- eventually the car was found behind a wall of crates of spirits in the deck-liquor locker.’

‘Then there was the problem of the paperwork. At first all that could be found was an ordinary luggage label tied to the steering wheel in the opening photograph, this was addressed to; PM Hoare, 440 Papanui Road, Christchurch NZ, Wellington ,NZ. No other papers could be found but an envelope of documents was later found stuffed in a corner. The car had obviously arrived very late.’

(E Stevens)

 

The 3 litre variant of the Colombo V12 used in the Testa Rossas was based on that used in the 250 GT road cars, the primary modifications to the basic SOHC, two valve design were the adoption of six instead of three Weber 38 DCN carbs, the use of coil rather than ‘hairpin’ or torsion springs- this released the space to adopt 24 head studs. One plug per cylinder was used, its position was changed, located outside the engine Vee between the exhaust ports, better combustion was the result. Conrods were machined from steel billet- the Tipo 128 gave 300bhp, doubtless a late one like this gave a bit more. These Colombo V12’s provided the bulk of Ferrari road engines well into the sixties and provided Ferrari their last Le Mans win- Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory won the 1965 classic in a NART 250LM powered by a 3.3 litre Colombo V12

 

(E Stevens)

‘The day after collecting the car, and after fitting of new tyres, we took it out to the local supermarket car park for its first run in NZ. Pat climbed in and we all pushed. The car started easily but was running on only 11 cylinders and there was conspicuous blow-back from one carburettor- the immediate diagnosis was a stuck inlet valve.’

‘There was no time to get new valves and guides from the factory but Ernie Ransley was able to locate a suitable valve originally intended for a 250F Maserati and a valve guide blank which, while not made of aluminium bronze, could be machined to suit. Over the next day or so the engine was torn down, the new valve and guide fitted, and all the remaining guides were lightly honed to ensure there would be no repeat failure.’

‘The rest is history.’

‘I musn’t forget the tyres. They were obviously worn and would have to be replaced. They had a slighly different pattern from the usual Dunlop R5 and Ernie Ransley had a closer look at them to see what they were. When the Dunlop rep arrived next Ernie asked him “What is an R9?”. “Oh, just something the factory is playing with” was the answer. In fact they were a very early set of experimental rain tyres, the existence of which was not generally known at the time. There had been no time to get them off the car before it left Monza for the ship. No wonder the Dunlop rep was keen to help us find the car on the ship and get the new tyres on the car as soon as possible.’

It is long- i wonder how much longer in the wheelbase than the 2320mm it started as ? (E Stevens)

 

Good look at the IRS wishbone rear suspension, rear tank oil, inner one fuel with the rest of that carried either side of the driver (E Stevens)

The repairs effected by the team held together at Ardmore on 7 January 1961.

Pat qualified fourteenth based on his heat time and finished seventh- the first front engined car home, the race was won by Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax from McLaren’s similar car and Graham Hill’s works BRM P48.

Jo Bonnier won at Levin on 14 January- Pat didn’t contest that race but followed up with a DNF from Q14 at the Wigram RNZAF base, Brabham’s T53 won. The internationals gave the Dunedin Oval Circuit a miss, there he was second to Hulme’s Cooper T51 from the back of the grid. Off south to Teretonga he was Q3 and fourth behind Bonnier, Cooper T51 and Salvadori’s Lotus 18 Climax.

After the Internationals split back to Europe he won the Waimate 50 from pole with Angus Hyslop and Tony Shelly behind him in 2 litre FPF powered Cooper T45’s and in November the Renwick 50 outside Marlborough.

1961 NZ GP Ardmore scene- all the fun of the fair. Ferrari 256 being tended by L>R Doug Herridge, Walter ?, Ernie Ramsley, Don Ramsley and Pat. #3 McLaren Cooper T53, David McKay’s Stan Jones owned Maserati 250F- the green front engined car to the left of the Maser is Bib Stillwell’s Aston Martin DBR4-300 (E Stevens)

 

Hoare, Ardmore 1962 (E Stevens)

 

Pat during the Sandown International weekend in March 1962 (autopics.com)

Into January 1962 Stirling Moss, always a very happy and popular visitor to New Zealand and Australia won his last NZ GP at Ardmore in a soaking wet race aboard Rob Walker’s Lotus 21 Climax from four Cooper T53’s of John Surtees, Bruce McLaren, Roy Salvadori and Lorenzo Bandini- the latter’s Centro Sud machine Maserati powered, the other three by the 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF, and then Pat’s Ferrari. The car was no doubt feeling a bit long in the tooth by this stage despite only having done eight meetings in its race life to this point.

Pat didn’t contest Levin on 13 January, Brabham’s Cooper T55 Climax took that, but the Sunday after was tenth at Wigram from Q12 with Moss triumphing over Brabham and Surtees in a Cooper T53.

At Teretonga it was McLaren, Moss and Brabham with Pat seventh albeit the writing was well and truly on the wall with Jim Palmer, the first resident Kiwi home in a Cosworth Ford 1.5 pushrod powered Lotus 20.

Having said that Pat turned the tables on Palmer at Dunedin on February 3- this was the horrible race in which Johnny Mansel lost his life in a Cooper T51 Maserati. A week later at Waimate it was Palmer, Hoare and Tony Shelly in a 2 litre FPF powered Cooper T45.

Hoare decided to contest Sandown’s opening meeting on 12 March so the gorgeous machine was shipped from New Zealand to Port Melbourne for this one race- he didn’t contest any of the other Australian Internationals that summer, perhaps the plan was to show it to a broader audience of potential purchasers.

The race was a tough ask- it may have only been eighteen months since the chassis won the Italian GP but the advance of technology in favour of mid-engine machines was complete, as Pat well knew. Jack Brabham won the 60 lap race in his Cooper T55 Climax FPF 2.7 from the similarly engined cars of John Surtees and Bruce McLaren who raced Cooper T53’s- the first front-engined car  was Lex Davison’s Aston Martin DBR4/250 3 litre in eighth.

Pat was eighth in his heat- the second won by Moss’ Lotus 21 Climax and started sixteenth on the grid of the feature race, he finished eleventh and excited many spectators with the sight and sound of this glorious, significant machine.

And that was pretty much it sadly…

Hill in ‘0007’ and Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax ‘Lowline’ went at hammer and tongs for 29 of the 36 laps in one of the last great front-engine vs rear-engine battles- here Jack has jumped wide to allow Phil, frying his tyres and out of control as he tries to stop his car- passage up the Thillois escape road, French GP 1960 (Motorsport)

Ferrari Dino 256/60…

I’ve already written a couple of pieces on these wonderful Ferraris- the ultimate successful expression of the front engined F1 car, here; https://primotipo.com/2017/07/14/composition/ and here; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/21/dan-gurney-monsanto-parklisbonportuguese-gp-1960-ferrari-dino-246-f1/

The history of 256/60 ‘0007’ and its specifications are as follows sourced from Doug Nye’s ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’, a short article i wrote about the car a while back is here; https://primotipo.com/2015/11/09/pat-hoares-ferrari-256-v12-at-the-dunedin-road-race-1961/

The 1960 Dinos had small tube spaceframe chassis, disc brakes, wishbone and coil spring/dampers front- and rear suspension, de-Dion tubes were gone by then. The V6 engines, tweaked by Carlo Chiti were of 2474cc in capacity, these motors developed a maximum of 290bhp @ 8800rpm but were tuned for greater mid-range torque in 1960 to give 255bhp for the two-cam and 275bhp @ 8500rpm for the four-cammers. Wheelbase of the cars was generally 2320mm, although shorter wheelbase variants were also raced that year, the bodies were by Fantuzzi.

‘0007’ was first raced by Phil Hill at Spa on 19 June-Q3 and fourth, Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax the winner, he then raced it at Reims, Q2 and DNF gearbox with Jack again up front, Silverstone, Q10 and seventh with Jack’s Cooper up front again and in Italy where Hill won from pole before it was rebuilt into ‘Tasman’ spec. Obviously the machine had few hours on it when acquired by Hoare- it was far from a worn out old warhorse however antiquated its basic design…

Nye records that seven cars were built by the race shop to 1960 246-256/60 specifications- ‘0001’, ‘0003’, ‘0004’, ‘0005’, ‘0006’, ‘0007’ and ‘00011’. ‘0001’, ‘0004’, ‘0006’ and ‘00011’ were discarded and broken up by the team leaving three in existence of which ‘0007’ is the most significant.

The 250 Testa Rossa engine is one the long-lived, classic Gioachino Colombo designs, evolved over the years and designated Tipo 128, the general specifications are an aluminum 60 degree, chain driven single overhead cam per bank, two-valve 3 litre V12- 2953cc with a bore/stroke of 73/58.8mm with 300bhp @ 7000rpm qouted. The engine in Hoare’s car was dry-sumped and fitted with the usual visually arresting under perspex cover, battery of six Weber 38 DCN downdraft carbs.

(E Stevens)

 

Pat Hoare in his first Ferrari, the bitza 625 four cylinder 3 litre at Clelands Road, Timaru hillclimb date unknown (E Porter)

Enzo Ferrari, Pat Hoare, Colombo and Rita…

Many of you will be aware of the intrigue created down the decades by Pat Hoare’s ability to cajole cars from Enzo Ferrari, when seemingly much better credentialled suitors failed.

I don’t have David Manton’s book ‘Enzo Ferraris Secet War’ but Doug Nye commented upon its contents in a 2013 Motorsport magazine piece.

‘Neither Mr Ferrari himself nor Pat Hoare ever explained publicly their undeniably close links. The best i ever established was that Hoare had been with the New Zealand Army advancing up the leg of Italy in 1943, and was amongst the first units to liberate Modena from the retreating German Army. David Manton has plainly failed in pinning down chapter and verse to unlock the true story, but he does reveal startling possibilities.’

‘When Mr Ferrari wanted a trusted engineer to realise his ambitions of building a new V12 engined marque post-war, he sought out Ing Gioachino Colombo, his former employee at Alfa Romeo. In 1944-5, however, Colombo was tainted by having been such an enthusiastic Fascist under Mussolini’s now toppled regime. With Communist Partisans taking control, Colombo was fired from Alfa and placed under investigation. His very life hung by a thread. He could have been imprisoned or summarily shot.’

‘Manton believes that Hoare- who had met Ferrari as a confirmed motor racing enthusiast from the pre-war years- may have been instrumental in freeing Colombo by influencing the relevant authorities. Certainly Colombo was able to resume work for Ferrari when some of his former Party colleagues remained proscribed, ar had already- like Alfa Romeo boss Ugo Gobbato and carburettor maker Eduardo Weber- been assassinated.’

‘But David Manton presents the possibility that such mediation might have been only a part of a more intimate link. Pat Hoare’s personal photo album from the period includes several shots of an extremely attractive Italian girl identified only as Rita. He was an un-married 27 year old Army officer. She was a ravishing 18, believed to have been born near Modena around 1926 and raised not by her birth parents, but by relatives. Some of Pat Hoare’s old friends in Christchurch, New Zealand- while fiercely protective of his memory- share a belief that the lovely Rita was not only just an early love of his life, but that she was also the illegitimate daughter of Enzo Ferrari…which would explain so much.’

‘Nothing is proven. David Manton’s book frustratingly teases but so- over so many decades- has the intrinsic discretion and privacy of the Italian alpha male. As American-in-Modena Pete Coltrin told me many years ago, Mr Ferrari was sinply a “complex man in a complex country”. He had a hard won reputation as a womaniser, which itself earned the respect, and admiration of many of his Italian peers and employees. But if Mr Manton’s theories hold any water they certainly go a long way towards explaining the Pat Hoare/Enzo Ferrari relationship, which both considered far too private ever to divulge to an enthusiastic public…’ DC Nye concludes.

Every Tom, Dick and Irving…

I look at all the fuss about Hoare’s purchase of his two Ferraris and wonder whether every Tom, Dick and Harry who had the readies and wanted an F1 Fazz could and did buy one in the fifties?

Ok, if you got Enzo on a bad day when Laura was pinging steak-knives around the kitchen at him for dropping his amply proportioned tweeds yet again he may not have been at his most co-operative but if you copped him the morning after he bowled over Juicy Lucia from down the Via you could probably strike a quick deal on any car available.

Putting all puerile attempts at humour to one side it seems to me Ferrari were pretty good at turning excess stock (surplus single-seater racing cars) into working capital (cash), as every good business owner- and it was a very good business, does. Plenty of 375’s, 500’s, 625’s and 555’s changed hands to the punters it seems to me.

Just taking a look at non-championship entries in Europe from 1950 to 1956, the list of cars which ended up in private hands is something like that below- I don’t remotely suggest this is a complete, and some cars will be double-counted as they pass to a subsequent owner(s), but is included to illustrate the point that in the fifties ex-works Ferrari F1 cars being sold was far from a rare event.

Its not as long a list as D Type Jaguar or DB3S Aston owners but a longer list than one might think.

Peter Whitehead- 125, 500/625 and 555 Super Squalo Tony Vandervell- 375, Bobbie Baird- 500 Bill Dobson-125 Chico Landi- 375 Piero Carini- 125 Franco Comotti- 166.

Four 375’s were sold to US owners intended for the 1952 Indy 500

Rudolf Fischer- 500,  Jacques Swaters ‘Ecurie Francorchamps’- 500 and 625, Charles de Tornaco ‘Ecurie Belgique’- 500, Louis Rosier ‘Ecurie Rosier’- 375, 500 and 625, Tom Cole- 500, Roger Laurent- 500, Kurt Adolff- 500, Fernand Navarro- 625, Carlo Mancini- 166, Guido Mancini- 500, Tony Gaze- 500/625 Reg Parnell ‘Scuderia Ambrosiana’- 500, 625 and 555 Super Squalo

Ron Roycroft- 375, Jean-Claude Vidille- 500, Alfonso de Portago- 625, Lorenzo Girand- 500, Centro Sud- 500, Jean Lucas- 500, Georgio Scarlatti- 500, Berando Taraschi- 166, Pat Hoare- 500/625 ‘Bitza’ and 256 V12

Don’t get me wrong, I do love the intrigue of the stories about the Enzo and Pat relationship but maybe its as simple as Hoare rocking up to Maranello twice on days when Enzo had had a pleasant interlude with Juicy Lucia on the evening prior rather than on two days when his blood was on the kitchen floor at home.

Etcetera…

(CAN)

Pat Hoare in his first Ferrari ‘bitza’, a 3 litre engined 625 (ex-De Portago, Hawthorn, Gonzales) at Dunedin 1958.

He raced the car for three seasons- 1958 in detuned state the car was not very competitive, in 1959 it kept eating piston rings and in 1960 it was fast and reliable, nearly winning him the Gold Star.

Its said his trip to Maranello in 1960 was to buy a V12 engine to pop into this chassis to replace its problematic four-cyinder engine but Ferrari insisted he bought a whole car.

The specifications of this car vary depending upon source but Hans Tanner and Doug Nye will do me.

The chassis was Tipo 500 (other sources say 500 or 625) fitted with a specially tuned version of a Tipo 625 sportscar engine bored from 2.5 to 2.6 litres. A Super Squalo Tipo 555 5-speed transmission was used to give a lower seating position and a neat body incorporating a Lancia D50 fuel tank completed the car.

When entered in events Pat described it as a Ferrari 625 and listed the capacity as 2996cc.

Pat Hoare portrait from Des Mahoney’s Rothmans book of NZ Motor Racing (S Dalton Collection)

Special thanks…

Eric Stevens and his stunning article and photographs

Photo Credits…

Allan Dick/Classic Auto News, Graham Guy, Mike Feisst, Stephen Dalton Collection, autopics.com

Bibliography…

‘History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye, grandprix.com, the Late David McKinney on ‘The Roaring Season’, Motorsport February 2013 article ‘The Old Man and the Kiwi’ by Doug Nye

Tailpieces…

(M Feisst)

The NZ built ‘Ferrari GTO’ pretty in its own way but not a patch on the genuine article without the extra wheelbase of the ‘real deal’.

 

(E Stevens)

Bag em up Pat…

Finito…

avus 1

Tony Brooks powers his Ferrari Dino 246 out of the Avus hairpin during his victorious German Grand Prix drive, 2 August 1959…

The 1959 event was held at the ‘Automobil Verkehrs und Ubungs-Strasse’ (AVUS) track in Berlin rather than its Nurburgring ‘home’. The vastly quick, banked track was tailor made for the Ferrari Dino 246 which had more power than the Cooper brigade, but considerably less handling. The recent partitioning of Berlin meant that a new south loop was added to the facility which dated back to the 1920’s.

Brooks arrived full of optimism, he had won on the super fast Reims road course on 5 July several weeks before. The Ferrari’s were right on the pace with Brooks taking pole from Moss’ Cooper T51 with Dan Gurney 3rd  in another Dino. Due to fears of tyre wear the race was run in two heats, Brooks won both of them. The minor placings also went Ferrari’s way to Gurney and Phil Hill.

The weekend is also famous as a consequence of Hans Hermanns survival of one of the most spectacular GP accidents ever. His BRM P25’s brakes failed on lap 35 of 70, the car hit hay bales and was launched into a series of somersaults with Hans thrown clear and escaping serious injury. He was a very lucky boy.

avus 2

Tony Brooks Dino ahead of Masten Gregory’s Cooper T51 Climax, the much under-rated Kansas driver qualified 5th but was out on lap 23 with engine failure (unattributed)

The meeting was overshadowed by Jean Behra’s death in a supporting sportscar race, the little Frenchman died instantly after spinning his Porsche RSK and hitting a flagpole in mid-air. Jean’s 1959 season I covered in an article, click on the link at the end of this piece to read it.

Portugal…

brooks

Tony Brooks pre practice at Monsanto Park, Portugal, Tony 9th (Klemantaski)

Brooks looking relaxed before the Portuguese GP at Monsanto, Lisbon. The 23 August race was won by Moss from Masten Gregory, both in Cooper T51 Climaxes, Gurney was the best placed Ferrari in 3rd with Brooks 9th- about where a good front engined car could expect to finish as the mid-engined paradigm shift gathered pace.

Credit…

Louis Klemantasi

Tailpiece: Three Ferrari 246’s in a Monsanto Park row- Dan Gurney, Phil Hill and Tony Brooks steeds await their intrepid pilots…

brooks 2

(Klemantaski)

Finito…

 

image

(Heritage Images)

I’m constantly in awe of the talents of the photographers whose work is displayed in this ‘masterpiece’ of mine…

Take a careful look at the composition and execution of this shot of Phil Hill’s Dino at Monaco in 1959-the use of light, the way the shadows of the palm tree and building architecture frame the shot of the snub-Monaco nosed Ferrari 246 and the expression on the American drivers face. The shadow of the photographer gives a sense of involvement.

image

(Klemantaski)

Things were pretty tough for the front engined brigade by 1959 of course.

Jack’s first Cooper title was bagged that year. In the process of trying to keep up, Enzo’s brigade created quite the most beautiful cars in these later Dino’s. The snub nosed car not so much but checkout Tony Brooks slinky, curvaceous chassis above during the BARC 200 at Aintree on 19 April ’59. Jean Behra took the win that day in a sister car, the Scuderia may have been lulled into a sense of false security by this non-championship event result.

The 1959 Dinos had more voluptuous bodywork by Medardo Fantuzzi, clothing big-tube frames with coil-sprung de Dion rear ends rather than the transverse-leaf setup used earlier. Dunlop disc brakes and tyres were used with Armstong telescopic shocks replacing the ‘unreliable’ lever-arm Houdailles- Doug Nye wrote that some Ferrari team members blamed the Houdailles as the cause of Peter Collins fatal 1958 German GP accident.

image

Brabham on the way to his first GP win at Monaco in 1959, Cooper T51 Climax (Cahier)

It was very much a Cooper T51 Climax year.

They won three of the five non-championship events (Moss took 2, Brabham 1) with Ferrari and BRM taking one apiece (Behra and Flockhart). Ignoring the Indy 500 which was part of the world championship back then, there were eight GP events. Cooper won five (Brabham-Monaco, British and Moss-Portugal and Italy two races each for the Aussie and the Brit and McLaren-US 1 win). Ferrari won two (Brooks-French, German) and BRM won one, the break-through first win for the Bourne marque and Jo Bonnier aboard a P25 at Zandvoort.

image

(unattributed)

Its front is a little ‘fugly’, the looks only a mother could love

‘Snub nosed’ Dino, Hill rounding the Gasworks Hairpin, Quay in the background. Oooh, la, la from the rear tho. All things Italian look great from the back!? Hill hustling his Dino, thru the Mirabeau right hander below.

image

(LAT)

Have a look at Phil’s car below in August on the hugely picturesque and dangerous Monsanto road course during the Portuguese GP.

DNF when Lotus 16 mounted Hill G spun in his path taking out both cars. Moss won in a T51 Cooper Climax from Masten Gregory similarly mounted, Gurney the best placed Ferrari in 3rd.

I guess by definition these Dino’s are the ultimate expression of the front engined GP car given Enzo persevered at least a year longer than he should have.

image

(LAT)

Credits…

Heritage Images, Klemantaski Collection, LAT, Cahier Archive, Ferrari Dino article by Doug Nye in Motorsport November 2007

Etcetera- Technical Specifications…

Two rare photographs of Dinos in the semi-nude.

The first, above, is a 156 F2 in the Nürburgring pits in August 1957, both are by Bernard Cahier. The second is of the Taffy Von Trips (DNF) car during the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix weekend at Spa.

Vittorio Jano’s new 65 degree 1.5 litre V6 gave about 180 bhp @ 9000 rpm on the Maranello test-bed, it burst into life about five months after Dino Ferrari’s untimely death due to renal failure on 30 June 1956.

The cars chassis was a scaled down variant of the Lancia Ferrari 801, its tubular frame comprised of two large diameter bottom tubes braced by a welded on superstructure of thinner tubes- not a true spaceframe in a definitional sense.

The engine was angled across the frame, as you can see, this allowed the prop-shaft to run past the drivers seat to the left. The front suspension, clearly shown, is by wishbones and coil springs with the rear suspension by de Dion tube and transverse leaf spring. Drum brakes and Houdaille lever arm shocks were fitted with Scaglietti providing the sexy aluminium body.

The 1957 German GP was a famous victory for Fangio’s Maserati 250F from the Hawthorn, Collins and Musso Lancia Ferrari 801’s. The Dino, if the photo is captioned correctly, was perhaps in the transporter. Whilst entered in the F2 section, the race results show Maurice Trintignant as a ‘no-show’, Denis Jenkinson’s race report also says the car did not arrive so perhaps the date on the caption is wrong and the shot is of a 1958 246.

The first F2 Ferrari Dino, chassis #’0011′ made its race debut at the Naples GP on 28 April 1957. Enlarged engines of 1983 cc, 2195 cc were built over the ensuing months and- then the 2417 cc variant was raced by Peter Collins during the non-championship 27 October Moroccan GP- the Dino 246 was born!

Stricken by flu, Peter spun off, the 85mm bore, 71mm stroke, 2417 cc engine at that stage gave 270 bhp @ 8300 rpm burning 130 octane AvGas, the 1958 mandated fuel.

The 1960 Dino 246/60 (above) were lightened with engines angled across the frame the opposite way to 1959, with the transaxle turned around to match- providing the drivers with the challenge of a reversed gearchange gate.

They also featured pannier fuel tanks without separate covering body panelling (look closely above) smaller fuel tanks and all-independent coil-spring and wishbone suspension.

At Spa Phil Hill used the Ferrari four-cam power advantage but was still overwhelmed by a Cooper Climax 1-3 finish. Jack Brabham led home Bruce McLaren in T53’s whilst Olivier Gendebien was third in an earlier T51.

Tailpiece: And what a tail. I’m cheating really, this is the butt of Phil’s ’58 Dino, this pictorial article is mainly about the 1959 cars…

image

’58 Moroccan GP; Moss won in a Vanwall VW57 from Mike Hawthorn and Phil, both Dino mounted, Mike won the ’58 World Title at this race (LAT)

The photo is another masterpiece of composition and high-speed shutter work during the Moroccan GP at Ain-Diab, Casablanca Morocco on 19 October 1958.

Check out the different tail treatment from the later cars earlier in the article and ‘three piece’ fabrication of the Ferrari’s rear tail section comprising from driver back- the fuel tank, then oil tank and finally small curvaceous endplate, Italian panel bashing at its best.

Finito…

58 british

(Allan Fearnley)

Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins looking confident with the speed of their Ferrari Dinos prior to the Silverstone start…

Into 1958 the relationship between Enzo Ferrari and Peter Collins had soured a bit as the chief felt the Brit was not as competitive as he had been, he was dropped to the F2 team at the French GP. Mike Hawthorn’s intervention and Luigi Musso’s death at Reims made his position more secure. Nevertheless he was feeling plenty of pressure at the time…

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Peter Collins takes his last win, Silverstone 1958, Ferrari Dino 246 (unattributed)

Collins started the British GP from 6th on the grid, with Moss’ Vanwall on pole, but Collins blasted through from the second row to lead Moss, Hawthorn, Schell’s BRM P25, Brooks Vanwall VW57 and Salvadori, Cooper T45 Climax.

Collins increased the lead steadily with Moss and Hawthorn comprising the lead group. Stirling’s engine blew on lap 26 leaving Peter leading from Hawthorn. Stuart Lewis-Evans was 3rd but was soon passed by Salvadori. Collins won from Hawthorn, Salvadori and Lewis-Evans’ Vanwall VW57, four Brits!

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Peter Collins being congratulated aboard his Dino after the event. Its July 19, he was dead 3 weeks later, Nurburgring on 3 August (Hutton)

Credit…

Allan Fearnley, Hutton Deutsch

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Phil Hill, Ferrari Dino 246, Italian GP Monza 1958. His debut GP for Ferrari

Phil Hill looking fairly relaxed on the occasion of his Ferrari Grand Prix debut…

Hill had been part of Ferraris’ sports car squad since 1955 and ‘shamed’ the chief into promoting him by making his Grand Prix debut in the French GP in Jo Bonniers’ Maserati 250F.

He justified Ferrari’s faith in him placing 3rd in his Dino 246. Tony Brooks Vanwall won the race.

Love Hill’s natty race safety attire! Check, short sleeved blue shirt his first line of defence against fire, mind you the prevailing wisdom of the day was to be thrown clear of the car in the event of a ‘big one’.

It’s interesting to reflect on how far safety advanced in the following ten years- in cars advances included monocoque chassis, roll bars, six-point harnesses and fire extinguishers. In terms of driver safety ‘Nomex’ fire retardant ‘suits with Bell introducing the first ‘Star’ full face helmet in 1968 spring to mind.

Mind you the cars were far faster over that decade, the GP field was ‘winged by the end of 1968 with another leap in performance as a consequence. The circuits hadn’t kept pace though, the Jackie Stewart led Grand Prix Drivers Association crusade to improve circuit standards and safety was just underway, he was a pariah in the views of some traditionalists but many drivers lives were saved as a result.

We lost some of the visual splendour of classic circuits and Phils’ striped blue shirts…

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Enzo Ferrari & Phil Hill Monza 1958- ‘just do as i say and you will be fine…'(Jesse Alexander)

 

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1958 Italian GP Start…# 28 Tony Brooks & # 30 Stuart Lewis-Evans, both in Vanwall VW57’s & Mike Hawthorns’ Ferrari Dino 246. Brooks the winner of the race from Hawthorn & Hill. Lewis-Evans DNF. (Unattributed)

 

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Phil Hill Ferrari Dino 246 Italian GP Monza 1958- that steering wheel is so ‘period’! (Jesse Alexander)

Etcetera…

Phil looking very youthful, 25 years of age, at Torrey Pines, California in July 1952, car is a Ferrari 212 Export- a win it seems!

Photo Credit…

Jesse Alexander

Finito…

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Olivier Gendebien in the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa 59 he shared with Phil Hill to second place in the Nurburgring 1000Km in 1959…

Olivier was an interesting driver, born in Belgium in 1924 he fought the Germans as part of the Belgian Resistance movement, joined the Britsh Army and became a paratrooper.

After the War he worked in the forestry industry in the Belgian Congo and met a rally driver, commencing his own rally career. He won the Tulip Rally with Pierre Stasse in an Alfa 1900 Ti in 1954 and soon  came to the attention of Enzo Ferrari who signed him as both a Sports Car and occasional Grand Prix driver.

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Another view of Gendebiens # 4 TR at rest in the ‘Ring pits. #1 is the winning DBR1 of Moss/Fairman, #15 is the Porsche RSK 718 of Umberto Maglioli/ Hans Hermann (Pinterest)

Grands Prix…

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1961 Belgian GP, Spa. Gendebien finished fourth in a Ferrari 156, behind the other similar cars of Phil Hill, ‘Taffy’ Von Trips and Richie Ginther, Hill on his way to the 1961 World Championship.Gendebiens car is painted in Belgiums national racing color, yellow, the car entered by ‘Equipe National Belge’. Less powerful than his teamamtes cars, the 156 was still a formidable weapon (Pinterest)

He competed in 15 Grands Prix, making his debut in a Ferrari 625 in Argentina 1956 finishing fifth. His best season was in 1960 at the wheel of a ‘Yeoman Credit’ Team Cooper Climax , his best results in the French and Belgian Grands Prix.

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Olivier Gendebien in the 1960 British GP, Silverstone. ‘Yeoman Credit’ Cooper T51 Climax (The Cahier Archive)

Sports Car Ace…

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Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa 59, Olivier Gendebien, Sebring 1959. Gendebien shared the car with Americans Chuck Daigh, Phil Hill and Dan Gurney (Pinterest)

Whilst he was quick in a single-seater he was supreme in Sports Cars, Phil Hill the only driver who was his equal in the Ferrari Team during this period.

He first won Le Mans with Phil Hill in 1958, winning again with him in 1961 and 1962. He also won in 1960 with Paul Frere, his fellow Belgian. He won the Tour of Sicily, the Tour de France, and the Reims 12 Hour twice. Victorious also in the Targa Florio and Sebring 12 Hours thrice, he won the Nurburgring 1000Km once.

Gendebien was from a wealthy family, and under pressure to quit racing by his wife, retired after his fourth Le Mans win in 1962 aged 38. During retirement he ran a succession of businesses dying in the South of France in 1998.

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Pitstop for the Gendebien/Ricardo Rodriguez/Mairesse Ferrari Dino 246SP, Targa Florio winners 1962 (Pinterest)

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Le Mans 1959. The Gendebien/Hill Ferrari 250 TR 59, with Olivier sitting on the car talking to Phil Hill. Salvadori/Shelby won in an Aston Martin DBR1. Car # 15 is the Cliff Allison/ Hermanos da Silva Ramos TR . Both DNF(Pinterest)

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Gendebien, left,  and Hill enjoy the spoils of their 1962 and last Le Mans victory together. Olivier retired shortly thereafter. Car was a Ferrari 330 TRI/LM. The last front engined car to win Le Mans. Hill competed well into the decade, his last international win the Brands Hatch 1000km in a Chaparral 2F in 1967. (Pinterest)

 


Etcetera…

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1959 French Grand Prix in a Ferrari Dino 246. Olivier finished fourth in the race won by his teammate Tony Brooks in a similar car. Olivier made his GP debut in a much less competitive Ferrari 625 in Agentina 1956 but still finished 5th on debut (Pinterest)

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Ferrari pits Spa 1961. The 4 156 cars being prepared, Gendebiens yellow car contrasts the # 2 car of Von Trips, the winning #4 of Phil Hill, and Richie Ginthers third placed car # 6. The more you look the more you see… (Pinterest)

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Same scene from the other side of the Ferrari pit (Pinterest)

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Belgian butt shot..rear of Gendebiens Ferrari 156, Spa 1961 (Pinterest)

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Gendebien watching the Ferrari 250 TR 61 of Ireland/Moss/Fulp/Tavano whizz past. It was disqualified for illegal refuelling. Olivier finished second in a 250GTO with Phil Hill. the race was won by the Bonnier/Bianchi Ferrari Tr 61 (Pinterest)

Photo Credits…

The Cahier Archive, Pinterest

The End…

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

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 slowed Hill to allow Hawthorn into second. Moss ran into Wolfgang Seidels’ Maserati 250F, damaging the Vanwalls nosecone, but fortunately not the radiater core.

Tragedy struck on lap 42 when the engine in the Stuart Lewis-Evans Vanwall blew, the car’s rear wheels locked then the car 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- 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)

 

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

 

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Moss’ car survived the heat despite the damaged Vanwall nosecone having hit Seidel’s Maser 250F ‘up the chuff’ taking the win and the Constructors Championship for Vanwall (Unattributed)

 

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)

Moss won the race, and Hawthorn the Drivers Championship, but the Constructors Championship was won by Vanwall in 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 1 Jag 3.4- an horrific end to a tragic season for British motor racing.

This article started life as a piece I wrote in September 2014 about the Moroccan GP and then over time morphed into a rough bitza on Vanwall of 1,500 words, before substantially re-writing it as a 10,000 word feature in February 2020. The article uses as its primary technical resources two 8W Forix articles- one by Ron Rex ‘The Vanwall Grand Prix Engines’, quite staggering in the level of detail,  http://8w.forix.com/vanwall-grandprix-engine-introduction.html and another by Don Capps ‘A Year by Year Look at the Vandervell Racing Machines including Thinwall Specials’ http://8w.forix.com/vanwalls.html

If you are interested in the topic do read these articles and others on Vanwall on that site- you will be fascinated for a weekend at least.

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 ‘Thin Wall Special’.

He was born on 8 September 1898 and died on 10 March 1967.

The Chief, Tony Vandervell with Tony Brooks in the Monza pitlane in 1958 the day before Brooks went out and won the Italian GP, Vanwall VW5 (John Ross)

 

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

 

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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 (i have used ‘Thinwall’ throughout this article but note the correct names of the cars were ‘Thin Wall Special’) 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. Describing these cars is context for the Vanwalls which followed, a description of the Thinwalls and the modifications made to them is an article in itself for another time.

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 were 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 located 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 to the first car 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 as ‘2’ 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.

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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 Cooper’s Owen Maddock and built at the companies Surbiton factory (given the Type 30 designation retrospectively). 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.

 

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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)

 

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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.

Carburetion 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. There the team wrote it off- Peter bent the frame severely, broke the de Dion tube assembly and rear suspension as well as destroying the rear three Borrani wheels, one of the side fuel tanks and the rear tank which took most of the impact. Clearly Peter was a lucky boy to walk away, the car was not so fortunate.

Preparations for the 1955 season were now well underway, Don Capps notes by November 1954 there were enough spares to assemble two chassis and that TV had acquired two Milling Machines from Count Orsi for then-thousand pounds and the Maserati 250F rolling chassis ‘2513’ in order that the team could suss one of the very best F1 cars of the time.

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.

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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)

 

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

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 decamped though, telling David Yorke in animated fashion to ‘shove it’ whilst having a few brews with some friends in Spa’s Pierre Le Grand restaurant, he ‘cancelled his contract’ and refunded some of his retainer to Vandervell, with Harry Schell engaged as 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, whilst Harry won four of them but it was clear a lighter, stiffer and more sophisticated chassis was needed as engine development came along nicely- the first of Schell’s wins at Crystal Palace in July resulted in Vandervell shelving a plan to pop one of the Vanwall fours into 250F ‘2513’…

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…

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Moss in the 1958 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 concept and create 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 for 1956 which were numbered VW1/56-VW4/56. The new frame 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 VP Maidenhead plant in early 1956- car behind perhaps one of the 1955 cars being reduced to parts?

 

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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)

 

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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’, coaxial coil springs and locating links.

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 with two subsidiary 15 gallon tanks located low on each side of the scuttle.

Engine development continued under Kuzmicki’s direction with Harry Weslake’s oversight, TV focused them on 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, maximum power was 276bhp @ 7300rpm.

The best of everyting was used throughout the machine- Bosch fuel injection, Goodyear disc brakes, Mahle pistons, Porsche designed 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.

Harry Schell was joined by Maurice Trintignant that season. The team missed the British season opening non-championship events at Goodwood and Aintree in April but Moss raced one of the cars at the 5 May Silverstone International Trophy, as Officine Maserati, Moss’ team in 1956 had not entered the event- he set fastest time and won the 175 mile race which included amongst a big field the works Lancia-Ferraris of JM Fangio and Peter Collins in a tremendous start to the season. Moss was sufficiently impressed to make himself available whenever he was not bound to Maserati.

Harry Schell, Vanwall VW56, Belgian GP Spa 1956 (MotorSport)

 

Moss during and after the 1956 Silverstone International Trophy win, Vanwall. Note Colin Chapman third from the left, who are the other fellas in shot? (Getty)

 

Harry Schell with a smile upon his face as Taffy von Trips susses out the Vanwall, DNF for Harry and DNS practice prang for the Ferrari driver- Italian GP 1956. Moss won in a 250F. #26 is the Collins/Fangio second placed Ferrari 801

From that point 1956 demonstrated that the Vanwalls were acquiring the pace they needed to win- straight line speed good and traction out of slow corners but reliability and high speed roadholding were to be areas of focus over the winter of 1956-1957.

The team missed the Argentine opening championship round but at Monaco the cars qualified Q5 and Q6- Schell and Trintignant respectively, Harry had an accident on lap 2 after Fangio made a rare mistake upfront and Harry and Luigi Musso were unable to get through and hit the haybales and Maurice had overheating problems as a result of damage to the nose, the cylinder head cracked so he failed to finish.

At Spa they were Q6 and Q7, Schell finished fourth in the race won by Peter Collins’ Lancia-Ferrari D50, encouraging for Vanwall but the car was a long way adrift of the leaders, deficiencies in handling on high speed corners was readily apparent, whilst Trintignant retired with fuel injection mixture problems which caused a misfire.

At Reims Maurice raced the Bugatti T251, an experience which no doubt reinforced the promise of his Vanwall if not its reliability to this point!- Schell was Q4 and DNF engine, he missed a shift due to gearbox problems but then took over Mike Hawthorn’s car, who was having a run with Vanwall on loan from struggling BRM.

Harry caught the leading Ferraris in a splendid display until he had a problem with the fuel injection control rod linkage which caused him to pit but he was still tenth in a plucky, fast display which endeared him even more to his mechanics- Harry was a popular boy at Vanwall. Colin Chapman- tasting the fruits of his labours missed the cut after a collision in practice with Hawthorn when he locked a brake going into Thillois and hit Mike up the chuff.

french 1957

(Unattributed)

Silverstone was next with hopes of a good result at home dashed- both the regular drivers failed to finish with fuel system problems- fuel starvation caused by blockages which was later traced to the sodium silicate used to seal the fuel tanks when manufactured. Schell had started well from Q5 whilst Trintignant was Q16 and guest driver, Froilan Gonzalez- always quick at Silverstone with Q4 failed to get off the line with a broken universal joint in one of the half-shafts- Fangio won in a Lancia-Ferrari D50.

The team missed the Nürburgring with insufficient time to prepare the cars but were back again for Monza, the final round of the championship where Fangio and Ferrari won the titles but where all three Vanwalls retired- Piero Taruffi- Q4 and oil leak and Schell Q10 held second place for quite a while before suffering gearbox failure whilst Trintignant, Q11 was out with a broken front spring mount.

The ultra slippery shape of De Havilland aerodynamicist Frank Costin’s body is shown to good effect in the shot above 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 VW5 the most successful ever British front-engined GP car with five 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 with an enormous amount of development work devoted to the problematatic hairpin valve-springs, Rolls Royce’ recommendations as to springs being wound from chrome vanadium wire were given to a German supplier S. Scherdel KG to manufacture after the efforts of George Salter and Co and Herbert Terry & Sons in England had still not overcome persistent breakages. Other areas of engine focus were fuel injection pipe and throttle linkage fracture both of which were caused by the big-fours high-frequency vibrations at 4500 and 7000rpm. By this stage the engine numbers ran to ‘V7′, whereas cylinder head numbers were in the forties.

In terms of the chassis’ used during 1957, the four 1956 cars were retained and modified to the latest specifications by a team of eighteen mechanics, Don Capps wrote that ten were planned for the year, his notes on the cars are as follows- VW1, VW2 never completed, VW3, VW4 won the British GP, VW5 won the Pescara and Italian Grands Prix, VW6 was the Streamliner which was converted back to normal bodywork, VW7, VW8 Lightweight chassis, VW9 Lightweight chassis not assembled during the season and VW10.

Moss signed to drive with Tony Brooks as number two- Stirling 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, in so doing two critical elements were put in place- an ace in each car.

Tony Vandervell, without sponsors to whom he would have been in part accountable, again missed the season opening GP at Buenos Aires, Argentina on 13 January where JM Fangio won aboard his Maserati 250F in the season in which he took his fifth and final World Championship.

Vanwall did race at the Siracuse and Goodwood non-championship races in April with both cars showing impressive speed. Moss was Q3 Brooks Q4 in Sicily, they raced at the front when an injection pipe to the number 1 cylinder broke on Stirling’s car caused him to pit- he recovered to third but Brooks retired when the water offtake split causing a misfire and overheating which cracked the head- the race was won by Peter Collins Lancia Ferrari D50.

Before Goodwood a fix for the problems of broken injection pipes and throttle linkages was found in the form of Palmer Aero Products ‘Silvoflex’ high pressure rubber fuel lines which would withstand the 450psi of pressure delivered by the Bosch pump to the injectors. Vandervell realised part of the problem was the overhung nature of the injection pump on the front of the engine- which would have been better mounted elsewhere. This did eventually happen when the engine was adapted for the mid-engined car in 1960. ‘Rose Joints’ made by Rose Bros Ltd provided spherical universal joints to fit the throttle linkage which was also part of the fix.

In the Glover Trophy Stirling started from pole only to DNF again with throttle linkage problems- this time the control rod between the throttle linkage and the injection pump control rack broke on both cars. Tony Brooks started from Q2 and was sixth but 5 laps adrift of the winner, Stuart Lewis-Evans won in a works Connaught B-Type, much to Vandervell’s chagrin, watching from the pits, but Stuart would soon be a permanent part of the Vanwall Team.

Vandervell felt that this problem should have been clear in dyno testing but frustratingly happened only when the cars were competing. Palmer were confident their Silvoflex pipe was strong enough in torsion to be used as a flexible joint in the control rod to the injection pump that had broken at Goodwood- it worked perfectly- problem solved.

Whilst all of the above was happening Stirling Moss suggested some engine changes which would sacrifice a little top-end power for greater mid-range torque at Monaco- this was achieved by a change of cams and valve timing- the two race engines for Monaco gave 275 and 276bhp.

Stirling Moss shot off into the lead of the Monaco GP on 19 May but crashed at The Chicane on lap 4- he felt it was the brakes but the team could find no fault after the race- Tony Brooks started fourth on the grid and finished second despite being hit up the rear by Mike Hawthorn’s Ferrari after Moss’ accident. The two scheduled Grands Prix at Spa and Zandvoort were cancelled after squabbles about money.

Vanwall line up at Abbey Panels early in 1957 (unattributed)

 

Stuart Lewis-Evans on the spectacular, daunting Pescara road circuit in late 1957 (MotorSport)

 

Vanwall Streamliner Reims 1957

Vanwall tested this ‘Streamliner’, chassis VW6, at the Reims GP in July 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)

 

Rouen-Les-Essarts French GP Vanwall line up 1957- #18 Stuart Lewis-Evans and #20 Roy Salvadori (MotorSport)

The circus next journeyed to Rouen on 7 July for the French Grand Prix where the Vanwall line up was impacted by Moss suffering sinusitis when he inhaled too much salt water whilst water-skiing and Brooks recovering from leg injuries as a result of an Aston Martin accident at Le Mans.

Stuart Lewis-Evans and Roy Salvadori- who had just left BRM were offered the drives and did well in the unfamiliar cars. Roy Q6 and DNF engine valve springs (the German jobbies) after 25 laps and Stuart Q10 and DNF cracker cylinder head in a race won by Fangio in a display of a man at the height of his powers with delicate, majestic high-speed drifts throughout the French countryside.

A week later, still in France the team contested the Reims GP- Q5 and fifth for Salvadori and Q2 only a smidge behind Fangio and third for Lewis-Evans, who led easily for 20 laps until the sustained high speeds on the straights caused piston ring blowby and oil mist escaped from the crankcase breathers affecting his rear brakes and causing him to ease off allowing Luigi Musso’s Lancia Ferrari D50 to win. This impressive, mature performance led to TV signing Stuart as his third driver.

The ‘Streamliner’ body was tried that weekend in practice, its design was supervised by Frank Costin and built by Abbey Panels in Coventry, the detail work including adaptation to chassis VW6 done by Cyril Atkins. Initially the cars gearing was too tall, whilst both drivers tried the car they focused on the normal bodied machines, the body never to be tried again. Clearly the car should have been tried by the regular drivers familiar with the machines rather than ‘newbees’ without a frame of reference.

In the lead up to the British GP four cars were prepared and two spare engines, one of which had a new head which gave more power between 3500 and 5000rpm whilst still giving the same output at 7200rpm. All of the engines were fitted with British Hepworth and Grundage Hepolite pistons after experiments with German Mahles were finally abandoned.

Vanwall finally broke through in that home race, winning their first championship GP on 20 July at Aintree in a car shared by Tony Brooks and Stirling Moss. Moss qualified on pole, led for 22 laps having caught Jean Behra who made a wonderful start, but retired on lap 51 with magneto or plug trouble (depending upon the source), Brooks was summoned into the pits, he had been having a hard time of it with his legs still not perfect after the Le Mans accident, and Moss raced the car to win in magnificent fashion after Jean Behra’s leading Maserati 250F retired with clutch failure. Stuart had throttle control problems and was disqualified and pitted to rejoin the race and finish seventh.

Off to the Nürburgring the team missed the experience of running the prior year- Moss was Q7 and fifth and Brooks Q5 and ninth whilst Lewis-Evans was Q9 and DNF spin and crash after oil from his gearbox breather got on his rear tyres after 10 laps in one of the best Grands Prix ever when Fangio hunted down and passed the Lancia-Ferraris of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins.

Two races in Italy rounded out the championship season- on the daunting Pescara road circuit on 18 August and at Monza on 8 September. Moss won from second on the grid on the Adriatic Coast course whilst Lewis-Evans was Q8 and fifth and Brooks Q6 and DNF seized piston after one lap.

At Monza Tony Vandervell finally realised his dream of beating The Bloody Red Cars at home, and to top off Moss win the Vanwalls qualified first to third on the grid in the order Lewis-Evans, Moss and Brooks, Stuart DNF leaking cylinder head core plug but led the race for 5 laps further reinforcing his growing maturity as a driver with Brooks a distant seventh after pitting with stuck throttles.

Given that the Moroccan Grand Prix was a championship round in 1958 David Yorke convinced TV to enter the late October race- there Stuart was second from pole and Tony retired with electrical trouble- a faulty magneto, the race won by Jean Behra’s works Maserati 250F by 30 seconds from Lewis-Evans.

The Bloody Red Cars- that front row in that GP! The three Vanwalls on the Monza front row in 1957- this side is Fangio’s Maserati 250F, #6 is Jean Behra, 250F. Lewis-Evans #20 on pole, Brooks #22 fastest lap and Moss #18 the race winner (unattributed)

 

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 VW4, 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’, to get there is easy to write but was a considerable engineering undertaking.

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 were the mix of modifications which in the end allowed the engines to get along with less friendly fuel. 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, the rear of the car was also re-profiled slightly by Frank Costin, cast alloy wheels were adopted but often Borrani wires were preferred especially at the front where they gave greater driver ‘feel’.

The chassis used in 1958 were the 1957 machines with detail modifications to the suspension and bodywork. Capps notes, again, as follows- VW1-VW3 and VW8 were not assembled and used for spares, VW4 won the German GP and was destroyed at Casablanca (Lewis-Evans) VW5 won the Belgian, Italian and Moroccan Grands Prix, VW6, VW7, VW9 and VW10 which won the Dutch and Portuguese GP’s.

Given the time taken to make all of the modifications to the engines to meet the new pump fuel regulations, the 19 January Argentine Grand Prix was missed as were the early non-championship events but Stirling Moss made hay whilst the sun shone winning the race in Rob Walker’s Cooper T43 Climax 1960cc against all of the odds and won a famous victory- the first championship win for a mid-engined car.

Moss tested the first of the modified cars at Silverstone at the end of April, well prior to Monaco on 18 May. There Brooks ran in second from pole to Behra’s BRM P25 until he retired when stripped thread caused a spark plug to blow out of the head. poor Behra retired and Moss led (Q8) but retired on lap 38 when a valve cap came off whilst Lewis-Evans retired on lap 12 form Q7 when a warped cylinder head joint failed. Maurice Trintignant won in one of Walker’s Cooper T43 Climax’.

Zandvoort was the following weekend with the three Vanwalls up front- Lewis-Evans from Moss and Brooks. Stirling won despite limiting his revs to 7200 given sagging oil pressure on right-handers, Tony retired after 13 laps with handling problems and Stuart finished 46 laps before a broken valve spring holder intervened.

At Spa Mike Hawthorn was on pole in his Ferrari Dino 246 with Moss Q3, Brooks Q4 and Lewis-Evans Q11. Moss was out on the first lap having muffed a gear, bending valves then Tony Brooks took the lead and battled with the Ferraris to win whilst Stuart was third. It was felt that the Vanwalls had more power on the climb from up from Stavelot but the Ferrari’s higher top speed gave them the edge on the downhill straight to the Masta Kink.

Zandvoort 1958 front row- Lewis-Evans at left on pole, then Moss and Brooks at right (Unattributed)

 

The Moss, and winning Brooks Vanwalls are pushed onto the Monza grid in 1958- feel the vibe (John Ross)

 

Brooks at Spa in 1958- alloy wheels front and rear this weekend- he won in VW5 (MotorSport)

Another fast circuit followed- Reims on 6 July. Mike Hawthorn led the race from pole with Moss second from Q6- he was slowed by a misfire between 6400-6800rpm and was down about 10mph to the Italian car in top speed. Brooks retired with valve problems from Q5 after 16 laps and Lewis-Evans was out after 35 laps- a broken inlet valve, he started from grid 10.

In France the Vanwalls were in trouble with warping cylinder heads given the impact of Avgas, two engines dropped valves resulting in pre-race rebuilds. TV had a major standoff with his valve supplier, Motor Components Ltd, given ongoing breakages especially of the sodium-filled inlet valves, that Vandervell Products struck out on their own importing equipment from the US to become self-sufficient by the seasons end.

The Ferraris mid-season renaissance continued at Silverstone where Peter Collins won from Mike Hawthorn. Stirling started from pole, but another broken valve ended his run after 25 laps, Stuart was fourth (Q7) and  Brooks seventh (Q9) despite his car having a trip back to Acton to have the head lifted and valves re-ground, with neither ever really in the hunt.

Experiments were ongoing at Maidenhead to try and solve the valve problem with different materials with some spectacular failures taking a toll on the stock of heads, causing a shortage of engines, as a consequence only two cars were entered at the Nürburgring, Stuart was a spectator for the weekend.

Vanwall were much more competitive in Germany in early August than in 1957 when they paid for their absence in 1956, Tony Brooks qualified second and Stirling Moss third. Moss led comfortably from the start going easy on the revs- 7000-7100 when the usually reliable magneto shorted after 3 laps, Brooks took up the chase of Collins and Hawthorn, gaining on the back part of the daunting circuit, passing one after the other under brakes for a rather well- timed win.

Oil coolers were fitted to the front of all three Vanwalls- they were back to full strength at Oporto on August 24 with Moss winning from pole- he and Hawthorn battled for the lead until lap 8 when Mike’s drum brakes began to fade allowing Stirling to pull away. Stuart was third from grid three but Tony spun and was unable to restart from Q5 having completed 37 laps.

At Monza in a marvellous weekend Tony Brooks won the race and with it secured the Manufacturers Championship with one round at Morocco still to run.

Vanwall had transported the cars direct from Portugal to Italy before removing the engines to be rebuilt back in the UK. The oil coolers were still fitted and Stirling tried a Perspex canopy over the cockpit in practice but it only gave 50rpm more on the straight so he elected not to run it- he muffed a shift requiring an engine change too. He battled for the lead with Hawthorn, Mike’s car fitted with disc brakes for the first time but Stirling retired with a seized bush on the gearbox mainshaft. Then Brooks (Q2) pitted because of an oil leak from a burst driveshaft gaiter but nothing could be done so he had to nurse his tyres to the finish, which he did- and took a well judged win despite Hawthorn coming out of the pits in front of him, but his Ferrari was suffering from a slipping clutch. Lewis-Evans retired with overheating caused by a leaking head joint.

The final race of 1958 in Morocco is where we came in…

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 1957 (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 given the huge pressure of running his various enterprises. He announced the teams withdrawal from full-time competition on 12 January 1959, they raced four times in the final three years, its swansong was the rear engined Intercontinental Formula car competing in May 1961 at Silverstone.

It wasn’t quite that simple though, many of the key team members were retained, the four cylinder engines still ran on the Maidenhead test benches doing engine research, an advance after the cars last raced were cylinder barrels which screwed into the head solving fire-joint sealing.

Vandervell offered Brooks a retainer to stay with the team in case he decided to change his decision but Tony unsurprisingly raced on with Ferrari but he did race VW5 at the 1959 British GP when a strike at Ferrari meant they did not race at Aintree. He raced a modified version of VW5 to the same general specs of 1958 except that the engine, prop shaft, seating position and bodywork had been lowered and some weight removed- in addition more torque had been extracted throughout the rev range but the car was ‘not a shadow of the racing car he had driven in 1958. Even a team as professional as Vanwall could not gear up and suddenly be competitive’ Bill Ben wrote.

Brooks put the car on the third row of the grid but was outpaced in the race with a misfire- he retired, Jack Brabham’s works Cooper T51 Climax FPF took the win- times had moved on.

He also raced the car in the 1960 Glover Trophy at Goodwood for seventh with Brooks advising they were wasting their time on a 1958 design and that they should concentrate on a mid-engined car. To that end a Lotus 18, chassis ‘901’ was bought, the Vanwall engine was mated to the Lotus gearbox and Brooks tested it at Snetterton but work on the front- engine cars continued.

Tony Brooks in VW11 at Reims, 1960 French GP (Unattributed)

 

vanwall vw11

Naked Vanwall VW11 in the Reims paddock 1960 (Unattributed)

Valerio Colotti was hired to design a 5 speed gearbox and independent rear suspension for a new front engined car and to help design a mid-engine machine, Valerio worked in Acton to expedite the process.

Post Goodwood VW5 was modified by fitment of the new IRS- that famous machine, sadly, was then broken up to donate bits for Colotti’s new front-engined machine which was given the VW11 chassis number. This ‘Lowline’ was lighter and lower than the cars which went before and had considerably less frontal area as the gearbox was aft of the driver, he was not sitting atop it as before. The engine was tweaked to give almost 280bhp- no details have been released as to how this was achieved.

Tony Brooks then raced Vanwall VW11 in the 1960 French GP at Reims on 3 July with a less powerful engine fitted.

He qualified the new  but still outdated car thirteenth, 6.5 seconds adrift of pole, retiring on lap 7 with a vibration from the rear having been hit up the chuff by another car at the start. That year Brooks drove most of the season in British Racing Partnership year old Cooper T51 Climaxes and was prodigiously fast amongst newer Cooper T53s.

In terms of progress on the mid-engined front, whilst the team proceeded with Vanwall’s own design, Brooks raced the Lotus 18 Vanwall in the September 1960 Lombank Trophy race at Snetterton with the car showing good pace until valve trouble intervened causing a non-start- 280bhp was claimed for this 2.5 litre F1 engine.

vw14

(Hall & Hall)

The Vanwall VW14, built for the 1961 Intercontinental Formula, was finally competed in 1961 and finished to the usual standards of Vanwall build quality and presentation.

It was fitted with 2.6 litre Vanwall engine variant and a 5 speed Colotti Type 24 transaxle fitted with VP internals.

John Surtees was entered in the new car to contest the Silverstone International Trophy Intercontinental Formula meeting on the 6 May 1961 weekend.

After driving the car Surtees expressed the view that the Vanwall engine was potentially better than the all-conquering Coventry Climax FPF but found the fuel injection tricky to set up to avoid flat-spots. He ran second in the race before spinning in the tricky conditions and then had to pit to have debris removed from the radiator- he finished fifth, in this, the final race appearance of a Vanwall ‘in period’.

Stirling Moss won from Jack Brabham and Roy Salvadori, all three aboard Cooper T53 Climax’.

surtees

Surtees, VW14, Silverstone May 1961 (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)

VW14 was entered in the British Empire Trophy race at Silverstone on 8 July with Jack Brabham at the wheel when Surtees’ team, Yeoman Credit, refuse to release him for the race- Jack did good times in practice but declined to race the car as he didn’t like its handling. What a shame Vanwall did not get the benefit of some chassis development sessions overseen by Brabham! With no other top-liners available Vandervell withdrew the entry, and that, sadly, was that.

A final note in terms of the chassis count in the concluding years of the race program, again using information from Don Capps’ 8W Forix piece.

At the end of the 1958 championship winning season three chassis were retained and the balance broken up- VW5 was rebuilt as we have just covered, VW9 was kept as a show car by VP and VW10 was used for testing purposes but rebuilt in 1960 to 1958 specifications for demonstration purposes.

VW11 was a new car built from VW5 components as a ‘Lowline’ and after being raced by Brooks was dismantled and retained by the team. VW12 was the Lotus 18 chassis ‘901’ which was sold as a rolling chassis, and VW14 was the mid-engined Intercontinental Formula car raced by John Surtees, then rebuilt as a Mk2 variant but never raced in that form and ultimately restored as raced by Surtees at Silverstone.

Vanwall VW14 Mk2 Intercontinental as shown in a contemporary press shot- the car was unraced in this form (Vandervell Products)

 

Etcetera and somewhat at random- Thin Wall and Vanwall…

 

 

(goodwood.com)

GA Vandervell with Giuseppe Farina during the 1952 Goodwood Trophy weekend on 27 September 1952. Ferrari 375 Thinwall Spl – DNS the feature race but did finish second in the ‘Woodcote Cup’ 5 lapper behind Froilan Gonzalez’ BRM V16 who also won the feature race from Reg Parnell’s BRM.

(John Ross)

Journalist/author Graham Gauld points the direction of Aintree travel to Stuart Lewis-Evans during the 1957 British GP. Bucket, spade and pile of dirt to deal with fires and errant pools of lubricant/coolant. Interesting shot, i like it.

(MotorSport)

Tony Brooks, second place at Monaco in 1957, beautiful shot Quayside- Vanwall VW57, Fangio won in a Maserati 250F.

(Unattributed)

Moss on the hop using all the Aintree road and a little bit more during the wonderful 20 July 1957 British GP in which he shared VW4 to win the race together with Tony Brooks- the first championship GP win for Vanwall.

(Unattributed)

Moss and Lewis Evans after the finish at Aintree in 1957- must be a parade lap as Stuart’s race ended after completing 82 laps and Tony Brooks below in VW4 before handing it over to Moss.

(MotorSport)

 

Nino Farina winning the Formula Libre support race during the 18 July 1953 British GP meeting at Silverstone- Ferrari 375 Thinwall 4.5 V12.

Farina won from the two BRM Mk1 P15 V16s of JM Fangio and Ron Flockhart- the Italian finished twelve seconds in front of Fangio in the 17 lap half hour race. Vandervell’s Thin Wall plan plan was in part to give BRM a competitive car to race against when he acquired the first Ferrari, over the ensuing years he certainly achieved that aim!

Note the disc brake on the left-front, it would be a while before the factory cars went down this path…

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- further technical details as per the text.

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, again, further technical details as per text.

(MotorSport)

Mano e mano- first lap of the 1957 Monaco GP with Fangio’s Maserati 250F from pole in front of the Moss Vanwall on the outside and Peter Collins’ big Ferrari 801 menacing from the inside- first, DNF accident times two the outcome.

vanwall types

 

(MotorSport)

Harry Schell dives into La Source at Spa in 1956, Vanwall VW56- he was fourth in the race won by Peter Collins Lancia Ferrari D50 from local boy, Paul Frere’s similar car.

Vanwall VW6 Reims

(Automobile Year)

The Reims ‘Streamliner’, chassis VW6, was tried in practice only during the French GP weekend in 1957. I wonder what, precisely, the difference in lap times was? Attractive up front, not so much so at the other end where the design does not look so fully resolved. Ferrari 801 in the background.

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.

(Unattributed)

John Surtees in VW14 during the rather damp Intercontinental Formula Silverstone International Trophy in May 1961- second place, a spin in the wet, finished fifth in the race won by Stirling Moss’ Rob Walker Cooper T53P Climax.

(Getty-Keystone)

Alberto Ascari races the Ferrari 125 V12 s/c Thinwall during the 26 August 1950 Silverstone International Trophy meeting. Alberto did not start the final after an accident in heat 2- Giuseppe Farina won it in an Alfa Romeo 158.

manza 57

(Unattributed)

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

col

I’ve done the cutaway drawings to death in this article! But here is another variation on the theme, artist unknown- inclusion of the brackets does emphasise just how many attachment points there are!

(Unattributed)

Stirling Moss hooks his Vanwall into a fast left-hander on the Adriatic Coast course out of Pescara during his victorious 1957 Grand Prix drive.

(John Ross)

Stuart Lewis-Evans, with perhaps a tad more understeer than he may want, from Harry Schell, BRM P25 during the 1958 British GP at Silverstone- fourth and fifth place battle, Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn were up front in Ferrari 801s.

I wonder what Harry thought of the merits of the two four cylinder British GP cars of the later 2.5 litre F1 period- ‘his’ Vanwall and BRMs?

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 works-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.

(Unattributed)

Aerodynamic testing of VW11 during 1960- I wonder which wind-tunnel was used for the purpose? Note the wire/alloy wheel combination being tested.

tea

(Unattributed)

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

(goodwood.com)

Peter Collins bustles his Ferrari 375 Thinwall into Madgwick at Goodwood in 1953- he set lap records in the car in the June and September meetings that year at 1:32.6- 93.30mph and 1:32.2- 93.71mph.

(J Saltinstall)

Oporto, Portugal 1958- Moss, Hawthorn, Ferrari Dino 246 and Jean Behra, BRM P25. First, second and fourth in the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Etcetera: Moroccan 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 in Vanwall VW4 on that sad day at Morocco 1958.

Photo 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, MotorSport, John Ross Motor Racing Archive, goodwood.com, John Saltinstall Collection

Bibliography…

‘8W Forix’ Vanwall articles by Ron Rex and Don Capps which are linked early in this piece, ‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye

Tailpieces…

poster

 

(MotorSport)

Tail shot for the tailpiece…

Tony Brooks’ Vanwall chasing Ron Flockharts’ BRM P25 during the 1957 Monaco classic, not a lot of time to take in the quite stunning view I guess. Tony was second behind Fangio’s 250F whilst Ron’s engine cried enough after completing 60 laps.

Finito…