Jump to content


Photo

F1 1950 ERA cars


  • Please log in to reply
81 replies to this topic

#1 dudi1

dudi1
  • Member

  • 45 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 14 July 2010 - 22:00

Hello!

I am looking for information about the ERA car´s used in 1950 Formula One season...

I got a list of ERA cars uses in 1950:

ERA A
ERA B
ERA B/C
ERA D
ERA E

Is this list right? What were the chassis types of each car in the list? And which of these types raced where?

P.S.

I was looking for drawings of these cars, and I found drawings of ERA B and ERA D. Has these car something in common with those used in 1950? (because I think they are from 1930s).

B: Posted Image
D: Posted Image

Edited by dudi1, 14 July 2010 - 22:03.


Advertisement

#2 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,284 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 14 July 2010 - 22:20

As before, you can rely on the chassis details on the Old Racing Cars site. Chassis types A to D are all more or less the same, the C and D having more powerful engines. The E was a new design from 1939. But by 1950, virtually all the ERAs had undergone alterations of some sort - different suspensions, lowered bodywork, new bodies etc. Each one is easy enough to recognise from pictures - as long as you know what was done to each one!

You can find all the individual chassis ownership histories here:

http://members.madas...son/ERAcars.htm

You should be able to use that to cross-reference against results and entry lists. However, it doesn't have period pictures and you should be cautious about using modern photos of ERAs as some cars have been rebuilt or restored to how they looked in period - generally pre-1939 - rather than as they were successively modified.

#3 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 14 July 2010 - 22:37

I'm far too young to be an ERA expert but as i understand it from Wiki the pre WW2 ERA's (seen here at Brooklands in 1934) were used in post WW2 racing (1948 seen here) though I believe a new post war designed type G was not a great success.

#4 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,284 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 14 July 2010 - 23:04

Ignore that Wiki article - it's riddled with errors, three of the most obvious being a claim that Chula was a driver (he wasn't), that the E-type was a 1938 car (it was a re-design of a failed GP project and didn't race until July 1939) and that the G-type raced in 1950-51 (it didn't).

Edited by Vitesse2, 15 July 2010 - 08:04.


#5 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 14 July 2010 - 23:47

Ignore that Wiki article - it's riddled with errors, three of the most obvious being a claim that Chula was a driver (he wasn't), that the D-type was a 1938 car (it was a re-design of a failed GP project and didn't race until July 1939) and that the G-type raced in 1950-51 (it didn't).


I did say I was too young to be an expert, thanks for pointing out the errors Vitesse2 AAMOI when did the G type ERA hit the tracks and was S Moss the driver ?

Edited by arttidesco, 14 July 2010 - 23:48.


#6 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,034 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 15 July 2010 - 05:11

Ignore that Wiki article - it's riddled with errors, three of the most obvious being a claim that Chula was a driver (he wasn't), that the D-type was a 1938 car (it was a re-design of a failed GP project and didn't race until July 1939) and that the G-type raced in 1950-51 (it didn't).

I thought that R4D first appeared at the British Empire Trophy in April 1938. I didn't think that it had anything to do with the Grand Prix project, which had independent rear suspension.

#7 David McKinney

David McKinney
  • Member

  • 14,156 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 15 July 2010 - 06:16

Agree with Roger

Mays was supposed to run the E-Type in 1939 (and did at least test it) but dusted off the D-Type when he left the team

#8 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,284 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 15 July 2010 - 08:04

OOPS! I did of course mean the E-type and have edited the post to avoid confusion. The Wiki list of those who drove it actually omits Arthur Dobson, who was the only person to race one in 1939. David: you wouldn't know that from Mays' autobiography. He apparently had nothing to do with it :rolleyes: ;)

The G-type was raced in 1952, by Moss. It had a 2-litre unblown Bristol engine and was an F2 car. Rather more successful when sold to Bristols and developed into the Bristol 450.

#9 D-Type

D-Type
  • Member

  • 8,058 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 15 July 2010 - 08:27

If you had used the "SEARCH" button you would have found 90% of the information you are after. I searched for "ERA" and refined the search by adding "R4D". Amongst the threads it found were This one and This one.
Couple this with the information on "old racing cars" and you should be able to identify the modifications made to individual cars.

#10 Allan Lupton

Allan Lupton
  • Member

  • 3,042 posts
  • Joined: March 06

Posted 15 July 2010 - 08:36

As before, you can rely on the chassis details on the Old Racing Cars site. Chassis types A to D are all more or less the same, the C and D having more powerful engines.

C and D have Porsche trailing-link i.f.s. which is an easy thing to see when looking at the cars or photos, whereas the engine changes are less so.
Just to confuse, R2A was later fitted with Technauto i.f.s. which is similar but different.


#11 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 15 July 2010 - 09:48

The G-type was raced in 1952, by Moss. It had a 2-litre unblown Bristol engine and was an F2 car. Rather more successful when sold to Bristols and developed into the Bristol 450.


Thanks Vitesse 2 :up:


#12 David McKinney

David McKinney
  • Member

  • 14,156 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 15 July 2010 - 10:04

David: you wouldn't know that from Mays' autobiography. He apparently had nothing to do with it :rolleyes:;)

Mays did two slow laps in the E-Type before the 6 May International Trophy, then put it away. He stayed on after the meeting for further testing of the E-Type, and was apparently very fast, but by the 10 June Nuffield Trophy at Donington Dobson had taken over as the works driver

Don't remember now whether that info is from Boddy's Brooklands book, MotorSport, Weguelin, or a combination of all three


#13 dudi1

dudi1
  • Member

  • 45 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 15 July 2010 - 12:40

Those are mentioned as ERA B, but I am not sure about them. Their front mask is more round than these older sharp ERA B style cars. Any more info about them? Who/when/where? Are they reshaped from older E.R.A?

PHOTO 1

PHOTO 2

Edited by dudi1, 15 July 2010 - 12:41.


#14 Jean L

Jean L
  • Member

  • 274 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 15 July 2010 - 12:49

Photo 2: T Cuth Harrison,British GP 1950 at Silverstone.

#15 Allan Lupton

Allan Lupton
  • Member

  • 3,042 posts
  • Joined: March 06

Posted 15 July 2010 - 12:54

Those are mentioned as ERA B, but I am not sure about them. Their front mask is more round than these older sharp ERA B style cars. Any more info about them? Who/when/where? Are they reshaped from older E.R.A?

Posted Image
That'd be R8B/C when it had been rebodied by Cuth Harrison (and had the i.f.s. C/D chassis).
Raced in VSCC by Bertie Brown and later by Bruce Spollon who rebodied it back to a normal ERA style

Edited by Allan Lupton, 15 July 2010 - 13:01.


#16 David McKinney

David McKinney
  • Member

  • 14,156 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 15 July 2010 - 13:03

I think the top one's one of Bob Gerard's - likewise modified out of period

#17 D-Type

D-Type
  • Member

  • 8,058 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 15 July 2010 - 13:09

I think Photo 1 is probably Peter Walker or Peter Whitehead in R10B

Edit - Clearly a case of signature justification in the light of the posts before (which I hadn't seen) and after mine

Edited by D-Type, 15 July 2010 - 15:33.


#18 "Shangry-La"

"Shangry-La"
  • Member

  • 30 posts
  • Joined: May 09

Posted 15 July 2010 - 13:45

I think the top one's one of Bob Gerard's - likewise modified out of period

It is certainly R14B, though whether Gerard was the owner at the time of the photo or Jimmy Stuart I'm not sure

#19 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,284 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 15 July 2010 - 14:22

Mays did two slow laps in the E-Type before the 6 May International Trophy, then put it away. He stayed on after the meeting for further testing of the E-Type, and was apparently very fast, but by the 10 June Nuffield Trophy at Donington Dobson had taken over as the works driver

Don't remember now whether that info is from Boddy's Brooklands book, MotorSport, Weguelin, or a combination of all three

All three. Mays left the company in May, taking R4D with him. But it's certainly not from Split Seconds - which was my point ;) But then when you and your best friend/business partner are busy trying to promote the BRM, you don't necessarily want to further remind people that you had anything to do with the E-type ERA - especially when John Lloyd had stuck a metaphorical knife into you and that best friend/business partner only a couple of years before in a book about ERA.

Agreed on both the identifications. R14B has also been restored back to almost original specification as delivered to Johnny Wakefield in 1938.


Advertisement

#20 Bauble

Bauble
  • Member

  • 1,040 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 15 July 2010 - 16:52

Re-RB8/C; This car was driven by Brian Shawe-Taylor in 1951 and passed to Graham Whitehead, when Brian retired following an accident in the car, which he broke his neck!

The car was originally owned by Earl Howe and was driven at one time by Piero Taruffi. Post war it was owned by Reg Parnell, who sold it to Cuth Harrison who carried out many modifications including the very pretty bodywork.

There is a web site that carries a pretty comprehensive history of ERA's, I have it in my 'favourites, but I can not seem to post a link. I will persevere.

bauble

Edited by Bauble, 15 July 2010 - 17:04.


#21 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 15 July 2010 - 17:27

There is a web site that carries a pretty comprehensive history of ERA's, I have it in my 'favourites, but I can not seem to post a link. I will persevere.

bauble


I lost track of this ERA site a couple of days ago but it seems to have come back it may have been down for site maintenance I wonder if it's the one Bauble was referring to above ?

It seems to cover every chassis built which I am sure someone here at TNF will either confirm or refute ?




#22 Allan Lupton

Allan Lupton
  • Member

  • 3,042 posts
  • Joined: March 06

Posted 15 July 2010 - 19:24

I lost track of this ERA site a couple of days ago but it seems to have come back it may have been down for site maintenance I wonder if it's the one Bauble was referring to above ?

It seems to cover every chassis built which I am sure someone here at TNF will either confirm or refute ?

That's the one that was linked in post 2 or so and I expect it's right so far as it goes, but even I (who am no ERA expert) know that there is a lot more to most ERAs than is in that site's write-ups.

Edited by Allan Lupton, 15 July 2010 - 19:25.


#23 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,284 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 15 July 2010 - 19:59

It's accurate enough on the ownerships, less so on more technical matters. Ownership information was probably copied from JRW Barker's book, which in turn had copied Weguelin, with the original source material being John Lloyd's book (which in turn drew on an article published in Motor Sport in IIRC 1938).

History repeats itself ... historians repeat each other.

#24 Allan Lupton

Allan Lupton
  • Member

  • 3,042 posts
  • Joined: March 06

Posted 15 July 2010 - 20:35

It's accurate enough on the ownerships, less so on more technical matters. Ownership information was probably copied from JRW Barker's book, which in turn had copied Weguelin, with the original source material being John Lloyd's book (which in turn drew on an article published in Motor Sport in IIRC 1938).

History repeats itself ... historians repeat each other.

Accurate but incomplete on ownership, particularly "post-period", e.g.:-
Those who remember Sandy Murray, Bertie Brown and Bill Moss who entered their ERAs a lot in the 1950s/60s won't be able to find which cars they were.


#25 simonlewisbooks

simonlewisbooks
  • Member

  • 2,118 posts
  • Joined: January 02

Posted 15 July 2010 - 21:23

Silverstone 1950 and Leslie Johnson's E Type sits outside...the beer tent !

Posted Image

Two years later and Moss sits aboard the curiously bulky G Type

Posted Image

Dobson at Albi in 1939 with the original E Type

Posted Image


#26 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 15 July 2010 - 22:55

Two years later and Moss sits aboard the curiously bulky G Type

Posted Image


As though the original design brief called for a two seater, which was changed to a single seater well after production had started ?


#27 Allan Lupton

Allan Lupton
  • Member

  • 3,042 posts
  • Joined: March 06

Posted 16 July 2010 - 07:34

As though the original design brief called for a two seater, which was changed to a single seater well after production had started ?

One might be forgiven for thinking that the Bristol 450 was in the designer's mind from the start ):

#28 "Shangry-La"

"Shangry-La"
  • Member

  • 30 posts
  • Joined: May 09

Posted 16 July 2010 - 08:29

Accurate but incomplete on ownership, particularly "post-period", e.g.:-
Those who remember Sandy Murray, Bertie Brown and Bill Moss who entered their ERAs a lot in the 1950s/60s won't be able to find which cars they were.


A definitive ERA ownership list will shortly be available on the ERA Club's web site ( www.eraclub.co.uk )

This will be an update of the list periodically published for Club members, the latest one having been published in 2006.

#29 Dutchy

Dutchy
  • Member

  • 648 posts
  • Joined: March 06

Posted 16 July 2010 - 12:36

One might be forgiven for thinking that the Bristol 450 was in the designer's mind from the start ):


Presumably the intention was to run the G-Type as a sports car as well?

Edited by Dutchy, 16 July 2010 - 12:36.


#30 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 16 July 2010 - 13:01

Presumably the intention was to run the G-Type as a sports car as well?


It would be interesting to try and find further evidence of that 'possibility' but where would one start ?

#31 simonlewisbooks

simonlewisbooks
  • Member

  • 2,118 posts
  • Joined: January 02

Posted 16 July 2010 - 13:18

It would be interesting to try and find further evidence of that 'possibility' but where would one start ?

Moss delves into this car in several of his books. I think the one written with Pomeroy in 1963 (Design & Behavior of the Racing Car) has quite a bit of information on the concept behind the G Type's design, but I don't have one in stock right now to check.
A book well worth obtaining if you can find one. It's quite a bit more technical than the Moss/Nye book which is otherwise quite similar, although it includes all Moss's cars where the 'Pom' book does not include sports and touring cars. Quite deep, but fascinating stuff.



#32 Bauble

Bauble
  • Member

  • 1,040 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 16 July 2010 - 13:33

I lost track of this ERA site a couple of days ago but it seems to have come back it may have been down for site maintenance I wonder if it's the one Bauble was referring to above ?

It seems to cover every chassis built which I am sure someone here at TNF will either confirm or refute ?


That's the one. Thanks. Saves me wrestling with internet technology, which at 73 is no easy matter.

#33 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 16 July 2010 - 13:37

That's the one. Thanks. Saves me wrestling with internet technology, which at 73 is no easy matter.


Pleasure Bauble even at 51 I find life too short for wrestling with internet technology :wave:

#34 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 16 July 2010 - 13:38

Moss delves into this car in several of his books. I think the one written with Pomeroy in 1963 (Design & Behavior of the Racing Car) has quite a bit of information on the concept behind the G Type's design ...


Sounds like it might be time for me to make a trip to the library thanks for the tip Simon :-)


#35 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,034 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 16 July 2010 - 17:19

I found nothing in contemporary Autosport, The Motor or The Autocar to suggest that the G-Type ws planned as a two seater. The main erason for the offset driving position were, I believe, to allow the driver to sit lower and the fuel tank to be alongside his legs. Of course, Bristol had to move the fuel tank when they built the 450.

Hopefully, everybody knows that the company that produced the G-Type had little connection with the one that produced te pre-war ERAs.

I look forward to the owners list mentioned by Shangry-La. There are people in the ERA club who know their cars.

#36 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 16 July 2010 - 18:30

I found nothing in contemporary Autosport, The Motor or The Autocar to suggest that the G-Type ws planned as a two seater. The main erason for the offset driving position were, I believe, to allow the driver to sit lower and the fuel tank to be alongside his legs. Of course, Bristol had to move the fuel tank when they built the 450.

Hopefully, everybody knows that the company that produced the G-Type had little connection with the one that produced te pre-war ERAs.


Thanks for your insight Roger, I was aware some of the Pre War ERA team moved on to BRM and that Post War ERA had even less to do with the nippy ERA Mini Turbo :-)

As I understand it up to four Bristol 450's were built for Le Mans in 1953 were any of these actually the 1952 G Type ERA chassis modified to become a 450, or was the ERA merely used as a pattern for the 450's ?





#37 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Member

  • 14,437 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 16 July 2010 - 19:09

As I understand it up to four Bristol 450's were built for Le Mans in 1953 were any of these actually the 1952 G Type ERA chassis modified to become a 450, or was the ERA merely used as a pattern for the 450's ?

According to Charles Oxley in Bristol - An Illustrated History the Bristol people were wary of the G-type's chassis which was made of 'trouble metal' - magnesium/zirconium alloy - and chose to make their own out of steel, which was apparently only some 3½ lb heavier. Only two cars were built for the '53 race.

#38 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 16 July 2010 - 19:12

Thanks Tim :up:

#39 NanningF1fan

NanningF1fan
  • Member

  • 61 posts
  • Joined: April 09

Posted 17 July 2010 - 07:33

I read somewhere (possibly in Stirling Moss's book about the cars he raced) that the G type ERA had a chassis designed by Robert Eberan von Eberhorst who was one of the designers of the prewar Auto Union GP cars.

It is many years since I read the book and I no longer have a copy to check but the gist of the story was that the space frame was extremely stiff to a degree that British designers of the day couldn't believe and simply didn't work with a suspension designed for cars that flexed much more.

Can anyone confirm or deny this? If it is true then why did von Eberhorst not continue with the programme and sort the car?

Edited by NanningF1fan, 17 July 2010 - 08:35.


Advertisement

#40 fuzzi

fuzzi
  • Member

  • 477 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 17 July 2010 - 08:39

Just to be accurate.
Dr Robert Eberan Eberhorst had moved on from ERA (to Aston Martin) when the G-type was designed. The G-type chassis was the work of David Hodkin, all set out in "Stirling Moss My Cars, My Career" with Doug Nye.

While with ERA Leslie Johnson hired him out to various firms including Jowett to design the Jupiter. As far as I know he only worked on projects which did not reach even prototype stage for ERA, unless someone knows more..

Edited by fuzzi, 17 July 2010 - 08:44.


#41 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 17 July 2010 - 09:37

Just to be accurate.
Dr Robert Eberan Eberhorst had moved on from ERA (to Aston Martin) when the G-type was designed. The G-type chassis was the work of David Hodkin, all set out in "Stirling Moss My Cars, My Career" with Doug Nye.

While with ERA Leslie Johnson hired him out to various firms including Jowett to design the Jupiter. As far as I know he only worked on projects which did not reach even prototype stage for ERA, unless someone knows more..


So am I correct in thinking Dr Robert Eberan Eberhorst was not responsible for designing any ERA's per se ?

#42 fuzzi

fuzzi
  • Member

  • 477 posts
  • Joined: August 06

Posted 17 July 2010 - 13:00

You are correct -
Professor Eberhorst from Racing the David Brown Aston Martins Volume Two:

"Dusio went bankrupt in 1948 and Laurence Pomeroy, an old friend from my pre-war days with Auto Union, came to Turin to ask me if I would take over the racing development at ERA, which was now owned by Leslie Johnson. I went to Dunstable, expecting to find a proper racing plant, but found instead a sort of backyard garage!. Leslie Johnson was a very charming chap, but the company had no money at all and I was loaned out, first of all to Jowett, for whom I designed the Jupiter sports car. this too was a ridiculous situation as we had no tools, really, and I designed the chassis frame by drawing it out in chalk on the shop floor." [after briefly working as consultant for Aston Martin when] "I found out that Leslie Johnson charged David Brown twice as much for my one day's consultancy as he paid me per week. Things went from bad to worse with Johnson. He got no development work and had me designing such things as hair curlers for ladies hairdressers, so I told him I had better leave ERA as I was a designer of racing cars, not hairdressing apparatus."

Eberhorst managed to extract himself from his contract with Johnson and went to work at Aston Martin where he designed the DB3.

An old hairdresser somewhere might have some ERA apparatus..

Edited by fuzzi, 17 July 2010 - 13:01.


#43 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 17 July 2010 - 14:04

You are correct -
Professor Eberhorst from Racing the David Brown Aston Martins Volume Two:

" ... this too was a ridiculous situation as we had no tools, really, and I designed the chassis frame by drawing it out in chalk on the shop floor."

So no Jupiter blue prints left today then :-)

An old hairdresser somewhere might have some ERA apparatus..

Lucky ladies :-)


The professor must have wondered how England ever won the war with such primitive resources.

#44 David McKinney

David McKinney
  • Member

  • 14,156 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 17 July 2010 - 15:07

Note to all: the man's surname was Eberan von Eberhorst

#45 NanningF1fan

NanningF1fan
  • Member

  • 61 posts
  • Joined: April 09

Posted 17 July 2010 - 15:37

The G type was a long time in gestation. It was apparently originally intended to be an F1 car and was conceived in early 1951. The Bristol engine was only substituted when F1 was scrapped at the end of 1951 although I am not clear what engine it was originally meant to have.

My understanding is that Eberan von Eberhorst designed the basic layout of the car and its frame, which used large diameter tubes made of exotic metals to give stiffness, but then moved on. David Hodkin, who was a protege of von Eberhorst, then finished the car but apparently didn't realise how stiff the frame was and the suspension which was based on the type used in the pre war ladder chassis ERAs was incompatible with it.

A number of puzzles arise from this.

Firstly why was the G Type's frame made of exotic metals which were both expensive and difficult to machine? Presumably Eberan von Eberhorst had experience of these materials from his Auto Union or Cisitalia days and believed they were state of the art. But he also knew that Leslie Johnson had no money or proper tooling. There seems to be an element of the same over ambitious wishful thinking here as was evident in the BRM V16.

Secondly were Johnson, Eberan von Eberhorst and Hodkin motivated by a desire to keep up with or surpass the futuristic BRM, Cisitalia and CTA Arsenal projects in sophistication to gain credibility or trade support?

Thirdly it seems unlikely from Eberan von Eberhorst's subsequent criticisms of the ERA operation that they could have made the frame in house whoever really designed it. In which case who did?

Fourthly on what basis did Leslie Johnson believe that Hodkin was "a genius," and therefore able to complete the project successfully?

Finally an interesting sidelight on all this is what happened to David Hodkin? Did his reputation survive the failure of the G Type? Did he continue in motorsport after the G type project was sold to Bristol in 1953 and if so in what capacity?


Three of the four Bristol 450s which evolved from the G type were broken up after the Le Mans disaster in 1955. The fourth survives but was drastically modified during three seasons of competition 1953-55. Unless anyone who worked on the cars is still with us I don't suppose we will ever know if the original G type chassis was used for one of the two cars built in 1953 or replaced.

As to whether the design was originally conceived as a dual purpose car, I think this is unlikely. Johnson wasn't short of ambition and I know of no evidence that the sale to Bristol was planned far in advance. The car's width was due to the decision to run the drive shaft alongside the driver and place the fuel tank there as well to lower the car and presumably put the heavy fuel load near the centre of the design. I suspect this was also a legacy of Eberan von Eberhorst's experience with the weight distribution of the mid engined Auto Unions.

At the time the aerodynamic disadvantages of a wide body were not considered important. HWM built a similar offset single seater with a Jaguar engine at about the same time, Lancia located the fuel amidships, albeit in pannier tanks, on the D50 and even Mercedes ran all enveloping bodywork in F1 at some races in 1954.

Whether the G Type could ever have been developed into a successful F2 given sufficient money and a more professional attitude from Leslie Johnson is one of those great might have beens which make motor sport history so fascinating.



#46 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,034 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 17 July 2010 - 16:38

The G type was a long time in gestation. It was apparently originally intended to be an F1 car and was conceived in early 1951. The Bristol engine was only substituted when F1 was scrapped at the end of 1951 although I am not clear what engine it was originally meant to have.

My understanding is that Eberan von Eberhorst designed the basic layout of the car and its frame, which used large diameter tubes made of exotic metals to give stiffness, but then moved on. David Hodkin, who was a protege of von Eberhorst, then finished the car but apparently didn't realise how stiff the frame was and the suspension which was based on the type used in the pre war ladder chassis ERAs was incompatible with it.

I hadn't heard that the G-type was conceived as an F1 car. May i ask the source of that information? Eberan left ERA in late 1950, so even if the car was conceived in 1951 it is unlikely that he would have been involved.

I don't think it's correct to say that the G-type suspension was based on the pre-war ladder chassis cars. The C and D type had trailing link front suspension while the G used double wishbones. Ironically, Eberan would have been familiar with trailing links from his time with Porsche. THe G had de Dion rear suspension. The D and earlier cars had live axles. The E did have de Dion but the method of location was different from the G.

Looking at te G-type's racing record, it seems to me that the advanced chassis was largely successful. The problems came from the ERA modified engine which didn't deliver sufficient power and was unreliable.


#47 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,681 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 18 July 2010 - 00:24

The G type was a long time in gestation. It was apparently originally intended to be an F1 car and was conceived in early 1951. The Bristol engine was only substituted when F1 was scrapped at the end of 1951 although I am not clear what engine it was originally meant to have.

My understanding is that Eberan von Eberhorst designed the basic layout of the car and its frame, which used large diameter tubes made of exotic metals to give stiffness, but then moved on. David Hodkin, who was a protege of von Eberhorst, then finished the car but apparently didn't realise how stiff the frame was and the suspension which was based on the type used in the pre war ladder chassis ERAs was incompatible with it.

A number of puzzles arise from this.

Thirdly it seems unlikely from Eberan von Eberhorst's subsequent criticisms of the ERA operation that they could have made the frame in house whoever really designed it. In which case who did?

This is wild speculation fuelled only by a healthy shot of a cognac, but is it possible the Bristol Aircraft Company or Car Company might have had access to the exotic materials and tooling required to make the oval tubes and cross members for the G Type chassis ?

Three of the four Bristol 450s which evolved from the G type were broken up after the Le Mans disaster in 1955. The fourth survives but was drastically modified during three seasons of competition 1953-55.

Would that surviving 450 be PVS258 as see in this to this post period picture which is no longer a coupe ?

As to whether the design was originally conceived as a dual purpose car, I think this is unlikely. Johnson wasn't short of ambition and I know of no evidence that the sale to Bristol was planned far in advance. The car's width was due to the decision to run the drive shaft alongside the driver and place the fuel tank there as well to lower the car and presumably put the heavy fuel load near the centre of the design. I suspect this was also a legacy of Eberan von Eberhorst's experience with the weight distribution of the mid engined Auto Unions.

Seems to be the case that the G -Type was a sophisticared low polar momentum single seater design.

Whether the G Type could ever have been developed into a successful F2 given sufficient money and a more professional attitude from Leslie Johnson is one of those great might have beens which make motor sport history so fascinating.


Certainly does  ;)

I hadn't heard that the G-type was conceived as an F1 car. May i ask the source of that information?

Evidence here suggests the G Type was conceived as an F2 Car, and here that Leslie Johnson had it in mind to build a 2.5 litre F1 car to follow the G Type for the 1954 see readers Why ? by Michael Ferner .

Looking at te G-type's racing record, it seems to me that the advanced chassis was largely successful. The problems came from the ERA modified engine which didn't deliver sufficient power and was unreliable.

With the benefit of a proper development budget maybe the lack of power and reliability could have been addressed while the G Type was running properly Stirling certainly seemed to be able to get into the ball park with Hawthorn if not with the Maseratti's.

#48 NanningF1fan

NanningF1fan
  • Member

  • 61 posts
  • Joined: April 09

Posted 18 July 2010 - 03:57

[quote name='Roger Clark' date='Jul 17 2010, 17:38' post='4482236']
I hadn't heard that the G-type was conceived as an F1 car. May i ask the source of that information?

This story comes from the detailed Wikipedia page on Leslie Johnson "Johnson’s ambitious and technically advanced E-Type successor, the G-Type ERA, was designed to race in both Grands Prix and Formula 2." (http://en.wikipedia..../Leslie_Johnson). Of course Grands Prix were run for Formula 2 in 1952 and 1953 but prior to that had been two seperate categories.

I have always believed that the G type was conceived in early 1951 or even earlier because throughout the 1950 season Johnson had been repeadly stymied by the mechanical unreliability of the E type and needed a replacement. He certainly intended to continue racing himself in F1 despite worsening health. He was scheduled to test the V16 BRM prior to the Italian GP at Monza in 1951 perhaps because the G type ERA was late and he had no funds to finish it. In the event he never made it to the circuit in time and nothing further came of the BRM connection.

The article linked by artidesco doesn't cite any evidence so I think that question remains open. Apparently Leslie Johnson had been leaking titbits about the G type to the motor racing press for months before the 1952 season started. If anybody has the references for the resulting articles they might shed more light on the matter.

As for Eberan von Eberhorst's role Fuzzi's comments are interesting. I had previously understood that he was still employed by ERA until he returned to Germany in 1953 and merely subcontracted to Jowett, Aston Martin and others. Apparently this is correct in the case of Jowett "I was loaned out, first of all to Jowett." However Fuzzi writes that subsequently, "Eberhorst managed to extract himself from his contract with Johnson and went to work at Aston Martin where he designed the DB3," If that is correct then the exact date of the initial design of the G type becomes crucial.

As to the possible role of Bristol in building the Magnesium and Zirconium chassis frame, if that was true why did they then discard it and replace it with conventional materials after buying the car? Incidentally why did Bristol buy the G type project anyway? Anthony Crook knew enough about racing to know that the car had been a failure.

Perhaps they wanted a good look at the engine? This was a Bristol but had been dry sumped to lower what was a nortoriously tall unit. Does anybody know if this affected its power and reliability? Did any of the other Bristol engined specials of the period go the same route technically?

#49 David McKinney

David McKinney
  • Member

  • 14,156 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 18 July 2010 - 06:21

Of course Grands Prix were run for Formula 2 in 1952 and 1953 but prior to that had been two seperate categories.

Whether that's your statement of Wiki's, I hope it's not indicative of the reliability of the rest of the post

Every year from 1948 to 1953 some Grands Prix were run to Formula 2 and some to Formula 1. There were two separate categories throughout that period


#50 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Member

  • 14,437 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 18 July 2010 - 06:53

Incidentally why did Bristol buy the G type project anyway? Anthony Crook knew enough about racing to know that the car had been a failure.

Perhaps they wanted a good look at the engine? This was a Bristol but had been dry sumped to lower what was a nortoriously tall unit. Does anybody know if this affected its power and reliability? Did any of the other Bristol engined specials of the period go the same route technically?

Anthony Crook would not have been involved. He played no part in the actual running of Bristol Cars until he and Sir George White bought the operation from the Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1960. Anyway, as I understand it there was nothing much wrong with the G-type's chassis. It was the extreme unreliability of the engines that let the project down.

According to the Oxley book the engines used in the 450 were developed entirely in-house at Bristol and took no account of anything done by any outside tuner/developer of these engines