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Why Coopers and not Auto Union?


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#51 uechtel

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 09:08

At this distance it's difficult to know, but certainly in Britain motorcyclists were viewed as (if I can use such a pejorative term) Untermenschen. Gentlemen raced cars, greasy mechanics raced motorcycles.


And Gentlemen drove Mercedes, not DKW...





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#52 RCH

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 10:15

I suspect that it was the case in, say, 1939 that a rear-engined design showed no obvious advantage over front-engined but that companies like Mercedes and Alfa felt it worthwhile to at least consider the possibilities. After the war racing resumed on the basis of what was available, it was presumably just easier to develop what was known. Perhaps if Auto-Union had been in a position to return or the Cisitalia had been on more financially stable ground things would have different?

The Cooper was "built up" from a 500cc. Formula 3 car and had the advantages of light weight and simplicity. Maybe early success in 1958 was more due to this and served to bring the inherent advantages of the engine layout to the Grand Prix world?

Edited by RCH, 04 September 2009 - 10:16.


#53 uechtel

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 10:57

And the first Formula 2 Coopers were front engined as well. Was this because at this point they obviously hadn´t not yet accepted the rear engine as an alterantive for bigger classes themselves?

Edited by uechtel, 04 September 2009 - 10:59.


#54 Roger Clark

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 14:43

And Gentlemen drove Mercedes, not DKW...

and they drank champagne but beer drinkers won more races.

#55 RCH

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 16:05

And the first Formula 2 Coopers were front engined as well. Was this because at this point they obviously hadn´t not yet accepted the rear engine as an alterantive for bigger classes themselves?


I seem to remember seeing somewhere that they originally considered the Bristol engine too big a lump to put in the back of one of their chassis.


#56 T54

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 17:50

A little sidestep in response to the comment about the Mini:
As far as the first successful FWD car, should that not be given to the Citroen 7, sold until 1957 even after the DS came out? Yes there were previous examples such as the Tracta and others, but the "Traction Avant" is the one that popularized the concept, no? And mid-engine at that!
What the Mini and Issigonis did were simply use the space better.


#57 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 18:38

Some people swam against the current, however...

There was a Cooper of the air cooled rear engine variety here that was fitted with a supercharged MG engine. To do this, the chassis was altered somewhat and the driver and engine swapped places.

#58 RStock

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 22:39

Couldn't agree more, Roger

I have long believed that the Auto Unions' handling difficulty was a myth - compare the lap-times for each team-member with, say, Rosemeyer early on and Varzi and Nuvolari later, and then compare those differences with the ones for individual members of the Mercedes-Benz team, and see what conclusions can be drawn...



I've seen it said that since the AU was the first racing car that Bernd drove , he didn't know the difference as he had no pre-disposition as to how a car should handle . Which is why the rear-engine set up didn't bother him .

I've also read that when Bernd test drove a Merc , he was astonished at how much better it handled .

#59 RStock

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 22:50

Perhaps a front-engined layout was the only thing Ferrari and Ricart agreed on? Horse pushing the cart and all that ....


I don't think those two would agree on anything . But , wasn't Enzo gone by then ?


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#60 Rob Miller

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 00:08

Should the Porsche 550 and 718 be given some recognition along with Cooper?