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Mystery Formula Ford?


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#1 Alpine a442

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 20:42

Hello all,

I have just joined the forum having read some fantastic threads and seen some amazing pics :love: , it's all very addictive!

I have just had my first 'Barn Find' experience, i'm not sure if this is the right place to post, but as there seems to be a vast expense of historic motorsport knowledge within these forums i thought there might be a good chance of someone identifying my find.

This appears to be a Formula ford, it has Triumph uprights and kent engine mounts. It is rumoured to be a Rostron, however i'm finding it difficult to obtain any informaton on this marque. The car is in many bits at the moment as can be seen and interestingly it has a boltable rear lower chassis section and chassis to gearbox mount triangulation as well as a bolt on roll hoop! Unfortunately there is no bodywork, but it is otherwise complete.

Hopefully someone out there can identify it from the mess of parts!?

Thanks for looking, Ollie


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#2 HistoricMustang

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 21:04

Originally posted by Alpine a442
[B]Hello all,

I have just joined the forum having read some fantastic threads and seen some amazing pics :love: , it's all very addictive!

I have just had my first 'Barn Find' experience, i'm not sure if this is the right place to post, but as there seems to be a vast expense of historic motorsport knowledge within these forums i thought there might be a good chance of someone identifying my find.

This appears to be a Formula ford, it has Triumph uprights and kent engine mounts. It is rumoured to be a Rostron, however i'm finding it difficult to obtain any informaton on this marque. The car is in many bits at the moment as can be seen and interestingly it has a boltable rear lower chassis section and chassis to gearbox mount triangulation as well as a bolt on roll hoop! Unfortunately there is no bodywork, but it is otherwise complete.

Hopefully someone out there can identify it from the mess of parts!?

Thanks for looking, Ollie

Welcome Ollie :wave: and you will not have to wait long for answers.

Henry

#3 Henk A. Hazelaar

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 22:44

Hello Ollie,

From Steve Nickless "The Anatomy & Development Formula Ford Race Car":

ROSTRON FOMULA FORD

A Kent, England, firm owned by Carl Rostron and Mike Thompson.
Rostron's first '69 CT-1 was a "Brabham-ish" compilation of designs; ASD Engineering built the chassis and other components for this prototype and for approximately 10 subsequent CT-2, CT-3 and CT-4 production models.
Thompson, a market researcher by profession, won the MCD championship in a CT-3 and ultimately acquired the firm wholly in '77, omly to sell it again in '78 as he prepared to launch Quest.
One car raced in '77 was numbered RT77 while a '78 machine was labeled the CT78 in a few race programs.

Regards,

Henk A. Hazelaar

#4 Quixotic

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 22:55

I'm envious. I have been looking for years for a "Barn Find:, but with no luck so far.

Good luck on restoring it.

Regards,

John

#5 Henk A. Hazelaar

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 23:10

Hello Ollie,

A few years ago Mr Jamey Firth (UK) from J Firth racing, Wakefield, England had a Rostron Formula Ford for sale (Type ??????).
Form Mr Jamey Firth I received some photographs of his Rostron Formula Ford.

Copyright Mr Jamey Firth.

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I will looking in my archive for more information of the Rostron Formula Ford but give me a few days.

Regards,

Henk A. Hazelaar

#6 RJE

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 10:00

I fear that Henk has got his Rostron history slightly wrong, or the book he got it from is wrong.

Carl Rostron built his own Formula Fords during the nineteen seventies from a workshop in Wrotham, Kent. The cars were very conventional for the period, it could be said conservative, and bore a similarity more to a Wimhurst Palliser than a Brabham. Carl built his own chassis and wishbones etc. although some components were sourced outside. One of the cars was kept at Carl's and run as a sort of quasi works effort, for a chap from the Channel Isles, whose name escapes me.

Mike Thompson purchased what I think may have been the second car and he and I ran it from my ASD workshop in Leeds, Kent. I modified the car quite heavily, changing both the front and rear suspension geometry and adding some extra stiffeners to the frame. I also built the engine in the Leeds workshop. This car, as you say, Mike drove to the MCD championship, winning if I recall seven races during the year. Carl Rostron incorperarated some of my modifications into the 'works' car.

After the championship year Mike bought a Reynard FF 2000 car and sold the Rostron. Later in the year Mike took over production of the Rostrons from Carl although by this time the car had new bodywork with a rounded nose and side radiators. The chassis were built by Mike's father in Newhaven and the cars were then put together in the ASD works, where Mike rented some space. Later Mike built a garage at his home and put the cars together there. These cars were not a great success, by now being out of date.

Mike Thompson later changed the name to Quest with a new car of his own design, set up his own facility and went on to more illustrious things. Although ASD produced both Rostron and Quest components they never built chassis for either make. Quest eventually went out of business as a manufacturer.

Now the mystery car. I am do not think it is a Rostron as they had round tube chassis and the suspension does not bear any resemblance to the CT cars, it looks way too light as well. The Rostrons did use Triumph front uprights with Lotus 51 rear units. The rectangular top tubes shown in the photographs were quite common around the mid seventies period and I am sure I have seen this type of chassis before as the 'bent' wishbones look very familiar, along with the bolt on top dash tube. In fact I seem to recall once repairing a similar chassis after a shunt. However I would need some more longer range pictures to be sure.

The photographs of the Rostron in the paddock look like the 'works' car to me. They appear to have my suspension changes and the car was black back then although I well understand that colour changes are common and easy.

Best of luck if I can offer any more help get in touch.

#7 Mallory Dan

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 13:51

Was the Channel Islands chap, Lee Wroe-Johnson. Rings a bell with me...

#8 RJE

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 18:34

Dead right.

Thanks

#9 Bloggsworth

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 20:17

Rostron made better cars than that. I can't say it looks like anything I would like to drive!

#10 RTH

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 20:25

It does have rather a home built one-off look about it.

#11 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 20:33

Is Mike Thompson any relation to JohnThompson?

#12 Alpine a442

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 20:44

Thanks all for your replies,

Henk, that car looks very pretty, i wish it was that one i found!

The chassis is getting more mysterious as it seems to not be a Rostron and looks like neither a Brabham or Palliser.

RJE, I will try and get some better pics asap.. shame the bodywork got thrown away. I thought it was early 70's because there is no hoop over the steering wheel and i seem to remember hearing of a regulation change on roll hoop height regarding the forward angle over the drivers head from around this time. It seems unique that from the cockpit back inc the main roll hoop everything is boltable. Can you remember how long ago you repaired that car with similar bent front wishbones? It seems this one has been stood for a long time.. would be fantastic if it was the same one, and it had a name!

Also, i forgot to mention the chassis was found with a METSO gearbox, which i read something about being a custom dogbox vw based similar to the Hewland. I don't know whether this will help with identifying the chassis as i'm not sure it originally ran with the car. The plot thickens :confused:

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 21:02

These old telephone pics!

I doctored a few of them so more detail is visible:

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This makes a few things clearer... details like how the tubes come across the top in front of the cockpit and bolt in place over those rectangular longitudinal members. I've never seen anything like that before, maybe the builder was afraid of being trapped in a crash and wanted it to be easier to be freed from a bent car?

The rectangular tubes, by the way, were used at that time to give extra anti-intrusion protection in the event of a side impact. But what chassis ever had the cockpit bulkhead removable?

#14 Cirrus

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 22:40

Metso gearboxes were around in the early Seventies (probably pre '75). They were more popular in Supervee than FF, but there was nothing intrinsically wrong with them. They were made by a guy called Stuart Wallace. I bought a Reynard FF2000 in 1981 which had a Metso box in it, in order for it to look realistic in its role as a display car. The internals of the box were fairly complete, but I tracked Stuart Wallace down to a house in Kew, and he supplied me with the other bits (including some special tools which made ratio changes very easy).

In the late seventies/early eighties, I remember an article in Autosport describing a Metso geabox with a completely fabricated (bolt-together) case. I would guess that, if the gearbox on your car is original, and bearing in mind the lack of a front roll hoop, it would be pre '76. The chassis does have a very home-built look about it, though.

#15 TonyCotton

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 23:43

Is it definitely a Formula Ford or could it be a special built for Monoposto, Formula4 or similar? I discount speed events as Steve Wilkinson would already have given the right answer!

#16 Stephen W

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 09:31

Originally posted by TonyCotton
Is it definitely a Formula Ford or could it be a special built for Monoposto, Formula4 or similar? I discount speed events as Steve Wilkinson would already have given the right answer!


Thanks Tony; it doesn't look anything like a speed event special. I would go with a home-built car for either FF1600 or Monoposto.

:wave:

#17 Bloggsworth

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 14:48

Originally posted by RTH
It does have rather a home built one-off look about it.


Looks worse than the first Dulon - I saw one clip a wooden post at Mallory, tore the rear suspension off - they'd used mild steel bolts!

#18 Henk A. Hazelaar

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 21:54

Bloggworth, Alpine a442

I think you’re right by saying we’re dealing here with a Dulon Formula Ford.
A detailed look on the attached pictures shows many similarities with the pictures of Alpine a442.

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Photographs Copyright Dulon Registry

Look for more info at the website of The Dulon Registry
http://www.thelolare...on_registry.htm

Regards,

Henk A. Hazelaar

#19 RJE

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 08:47

Sorry but I cannot see much Dulon. A close examination of the two sets of photographs will show very few similarities between them, other than the fact that they are made of tube, all be it different shapes and sections, and both have springs and dampers.

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#20 Stephen W

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 11:21

Originally posted by RJE
Sorry but I cannot see much Dulon. A close examination of the two sets of photographs will show very few similarities between them, other than the fact that they are made of tube, all be it different shapes and sections, and both have springs and dampers.


So what else did the Romans do for us? :lol:

I would agree that it is a very basic spaceframe chassis and it certainly doesn't have the look of a "works" car.

:wave:

#21 ErleMin

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 14:27

Cirrus, Would you know if Stuart Wallace is still around? I have a friend with a Supervee + Metso box so he would like to contact him.

#22 JSDSKI

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 03:07

I dunno. To me the attachment of the steering column to the dash bulkhead says "AMATEUR". I cannot believe a professional would ever bolt that bulkhead to the longitudinals much less hold a steering column under what appears to be a bent nail in a bracket. Maybe it's some kind of homebuilt dirt or dune buggy?

#23 Cirrus

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 07:17

Originally posted by ErleMin
Cirrus, Would you know if Stuart Wallace is still around? I have a friend with a Supervee + Metso box so he would like to contact him.


Sorry - I don't. As I said, he lived in Kew at the time (near the "Maids of Honour" tearoom), and I seem to recall that his wife had died recently (this was back in '80/'81). I've heard nothing of him since, I'm afraid.

#24 RJE

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:49

I'm not sure this car ever ran. I can see no gear linkage attachment points, and how was the gearbox held in place. The steering column was obviously meant to have a bush at the top end but no sign of wear or marks where it would have been.

Although by modern standards the chassis looks a bit basic there were many early FFs that had similar frames to this although usually built with a bit more thought, as is shown by the obviously hasty rethink of the pick up for the bottom rear wishbone. It would also appear that the front top pick up points are bolt on almost as if it was expected that geometry changes may be needed. Perhaps somebodies first try or a prototype for a future project???

Where was it found, that may shine some light on it?

#25 Alpine a442

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 02:17

Hi again,

Sorry it's taken so long to reply, i have been waiting to get some better pics of the chassis; by the time i finally got round to it, i managed to pick the darkest day of the year! So apologies for the poor quality.


Many thanks to all of you that have replied, i am currently in agreement with most that it is a home build possibly monoposto or hillclimb. Although i have now found out that there is a ff1600 dry sump kit, Hewland bellhousing adapter, formula ford spec brakes and wobbly wheels all looking very uncleaned since the 70's!

The rear uprights also look custom made with triumph style hubs as used by ff.

I found a complete gear linkage assembly that has a bearing link which interestingly mounts on the boltable roll hoop where there is a tubular mount welded underneath. The chassis was loosly assembled for pics and i was surprised at how easily and well everything lined up, considering how many parts are removable. Of note, the front and rear chassis sections join together at the top utilising the same bolts that hold the roll hoop assembly and rear top radius rods in place... some important bolts! :eek:

The gearbox has Hewland Style sideplates with lugs which line up with holes in a rear top crossmember that the rear suspension hangs off. The gearbox appears to also be supported from the underneath by a square rear floor section, again boltable as is the rear chassis side triangulation where the engine mounts..side only! :eek:

The car was found in the mid Hampshire area, not sure how long it has been there though.



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#26 Peter Morley

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 12:12

The engine bay frames look to have been made by a different person to the rest of the chassis.
Apart from being round rather than square section the welding looks to be very professional.
If they bolt to the driver bulkhead I would think they are from a monocoque car - they look similar to the frames used on early Marches etc.

The rest is so unusual that anyone who had seen it would remember it!

Could be worth posting the pictures on the 750MC website (if that is possible - maybe under the wanted section) someone there might know more?

#27 Alpine a442

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 14:12

Interesting, and looks very probable as it seems strange someone would custom make a one off car to this poor quality! So this chassis could be made up of bits of other cars. Is it possible that the roll hoop might be from a monocoque car too? Looks similar to some early 70's stuff.

#28 Peter Morley

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 20:45

Originally posted by Alpine a442
Interesting, and looks very probable as it seems strange someone would custom make a one off car to this poor quality! So this chassis could be made up of bits of other cars. Is it possible that the roll hoop might be from a monocoque car too? Looks similar to some early 70's stuff.


Why not - it's not that easy to bend roll over bars and given the quality of other parts I would think the roll over bar was made by someone else.
Maybe someone started with the remains of a monocoque car and replaced teh aluminium part of the tub wit their own ideas.

#29 Alpine a442

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 13:31

Have now uploaded some pictures on the Metso Gearbox thread for reference, these are the only pictures of this gearbox on the internet i believe :smoking:

#30 thom10

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 19:12

hey i was looking up my dad on the internet as you do :lol: and i came across this blog.........my dad is mike thompson and he raced this ronsron and won the british formula ford championship in 1976 !!!!!! hope this helps......... is this ronsron still together ???

#31 paulsenna1

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 19:54

hey i was looking up my dad on the internet as you do :lol: and i came across this blog.........my dad is mike thompson and he raced this ronsron and won the british formula ford championship in 1976 !!!!!! hope this helps......... is this ronsron still together ???


1976 was a classic year for UK Formula Ford. There were a few National Championships run by various clubs drawing drivers of the calibre of Derek Warwick, Derek Daly and David Kennedy. Your dad, from memory, won one of the single venue championships (probably either Brands or Lydden) in his Rostron. No mean feat!

#32 thom10

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 20:53

he won 10 races and won the championship and made 1 lap record. :clap:

#33 thom10

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 20:56

he told me :)

#34 LWJ

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 10:57

Hello all

I have just come across this forum and was suprised to see my name Lee Wroe-Johnson (originally from the Channel Islands now living in Australia) who raced a CT-3 Rostron in the mid 70s. Although the original post is old that chassis is not a Rostron.

JFYI
I was the first driver to win a major championship race in a Rostron (much to Carl Rostron delight) and used to mix it and beat the likes of Nigel Mansell, Derick Warwick, Eddie Cheever and other famous names with this car. I came out of Karts from Jersey and bought this second hand Rostron over a Van Dieman, Royal and other big name chassis as I thought the build quality of the Rostron was very good as it was not a mass produced car. It had some very good design elements and ideas. My faith in an "unpopular" car worked as it (and I) quickly became one of the top UK FF runners in the short races I did.

The car was not a quasi works car.

As a matter of interest during the winter of 74 I asked Carl Rostron to design a special pedal box for me (to his astonishment) with a left foot brake pedal (was I way ahead of time?). The pedal box consisted or 4 pedals from left to right - brake - clutch - brake - accelerator.... fortunately my shoe size was 6. This was a closely guarded secret, when the bodywork was taken off for scrutineering I used to get as many team helpers to stand around or bend over the front of the car so as not to show any other drivers of my secret weapon. I remember Murray Walker trying to have a peak and asking me a few probing questions about the Rostron.... he seemed to sense something... good old Murray.

So if anybody knows of or heard of a Rostron CT-3 with a left foot brake (pedal box) then it was my special car. I would love to hear from anybody.

All the best from Downunder.

Lee



#35 Mallory Dan

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 11:23

Good to see you posting Lee. From memory you mainly did the southern circuits, Brands, Lydden, Thruxton etc. Is this right? And any good stories you can gice us from that golden FF era?

#36 LWJ

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:05

Hey Mallory Dan

Thanks for your interest, tell me how did you know of me and did you have some involvement with FF in the mid 70's?

I did race at those circuits also at Silverstone, the place of my first FF win at the Brush Fusegear championship, Mallory Park and a circuit in Wales called Llandow

I concentrated more on the Townshend Thoresen Championship and I believe I may have been leading the Championship when I got caught up in Fred Sigafoos accident at Brands Hatch which caused enough damage to my Rostron to force me out of racing as I could not afford to repair it (my sponsors had pulled out a few weeks before). The 70's was a hard time to find sponsors as there was hardly any TV exposure.

I have some funy stories but not on the track but the time I spent with my mechanic travelling to and at the circuits. His name is Paddy Ryan ... yes he is Irish and one of the nicest human beings one can ever meet.

One story not funny at the time was when we where driving back home to Southampton from a race meeting at Brands Hatch, Paddy was driving (our Bedford transporter) and about half an hour out we were going down this very steep hill, at the bottom were a set of traffic lights. I thought we were going a little too fast down this hill and looking over to Paddy he had fallen asleep at the wheel (he had an allnighter on the Rostron) hurtling down this steep hill with one fully laden transporter. I slapped him around the face to wake him up and jumped on his lap to take control, with a cloud of tyre smoke we pulled up in the nick of time as the traffic lights were red. The funny thing is the look the other drivers on the opposite side of the road gave us after all the smoke had gone there I was sitting on Paddys lap with my wife in the passenger side with her face pushed up against the windscreen, it must of been a site. Thank god all our racing equipment and the Rostron was tightly secured.

Another story is that we arrived at Llandow circuit very early one mornig and Paddy got out to start unloading while I stayed in front and had a flask of tea with my wife. Anyway we heard (and felt) the transporters back door open and never heard anything else, normally one can hear the equipment being unloaded etc. anyway after about 10 or 15 minutes I got out to help Paddy, I noticed that there was no tools, wheels or anything out so I went around the back of the truck and there lying flat out on his back on the ground was Paddy unconcious with his arms and legs splayed out, next to him was a large lump of wood. What had happened is that this lump of wood had somehow worked loose in the back of the truck when travelling and when Paddy opened the back door it fell out and hit him on the head knocking him out. The thought of him Him lying there with this big lump of wood next to him still makes me laugh. :p

I have a ton more Paddy and transporter stories, there is the one about the pantie hose.... but.. no that is enough for now.

Look forward to hearing to some of your stories....was this thread something to do with the mystery FF....

Lee