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Worst Grand Prix car of all time


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#1 Graham Clayton

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Posted 22 February 2001 - 21:28

While cars such as the Lotus 72, Maserati 250F, and the pre-war Mercedes-Benz's are all hailed as the greatest GP cars of all times, what about those failures that should never have seen the light of day?

I have 3 candidates for the worst GP car of all time:

1. SEFAC/Dommartin (Fr) 1930'3-40's
2. CTA-Arsenal (Fr) 1940's
3. ATS (I) 1960's.

I have just moved house, so I can't access my books
that have the details of these 3 cars. From what I can
remember, they were absolute shockers!

Would anyone else like to nominate their choice for
the worst GP car of all time?

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#2 david_martin

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Posted 22 February 2001 - 21:37

The 1990 Life would have to go on the list. The 1997 Lola would probably go close too.

#3 Graham Clayton

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Posted 22 February 2001 - 21:58

David_Martin said:

Originally posted by david_martin
The 1990 Life would have to go on the list. The 1997 Lola would probably go close too.


David,
Do you have any details of those cars.
I seem to remember that the ATS had part of the
chassis tubing located right over the top of the
engine. When it came time to change the spark
plugs, the mechanics had to remove the tubing
with a saw to gain access to the plugs!

#4 Barry Boor

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Posted 22 February 2001 - 22:06

Life would certainly be right up there, but reading Perry McCarthy's comments in Motor Sport some months ago, I think that the Andrea Moda must be very close to the top of the '*hit' parade.

#5 LB

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Posted 22 February 2001 - 22:30

Didn't someone try to qualify a sprint car at the US Gp once, Roger Ward at Sebring from memory, it was 40 secs off the pace, surely that has to be up there

#6 Graham Clayton

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Posted 22 February 2001 - 22:41

Originally posted by LB
Didn't someone try to qualify a sprint car at the US Gp once, Roger Ward at Sebring from memory, it was 40 secs off the pace, surely that has to be up there


LB,
That was the 1959 US GP at Sebring. Ward drove
a 1750cc Kurtis speedway midget.
That was an example of a good car for one type
of racing being used for something it was not designed
for. However, there are GP cars that were designed
specifically for GP racing that were terrible.

#7 Dave Ware

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 00:35

I'll register a vote for the Maki (late seventies.) Although I do think it qualified for a race or two, and some cars didn't even do that.

#8 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 00:54

Surely the Life must be the worst ever on the grid.
The Andrea Moda was not even in the same league...
I think that the Life never ever did a lap under racing speed.

How about this record ??

Here are the best times of 1990 for the (no?) Life.

USA - 38 seconds off the polesitters pace.
BRA - no timed laps
RSM - 5 min 52 seconds off the pace
MON - 19.8 sec
CDN - 29.8 sec
MEX - 2 min 47 sec
FRA - no timed laps
GBR - 18.5 sec
GER - 30.5 sec
HUN - 23.5 sec
BEL - 29.0 sec
ITA - 32.7 sec
POR - no timed laps
SPA - 24.3 sec

Do you see what I mean...?

The 1997 Lola only appeared once and it was barely put together, so it would not be fair to judge the car on that only appearance. If it would have been tested and developed it would surely been safely on the grid.


Rainer


#9 ray b

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 01:02

scarab usa 1960
buggatti fr 1955?
both way worst than ats

#10 Graham Clayton

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 01:09

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Life would certainly be right up there, but reading Perry McCarthy's comments in Motor Sport some months ago, I think that the Andrea Moda must be very close to the top of the '*hit' parade.


Barry,
I am not familiar with the Andrea Moda.
When did the car grace Grand Prix racing?
Graham

My recollections of the Life were that the
manufacturer built their own in-house engine,
which was the car's greatest downfall.
Was it a V-12 or something equally as
complicated?

Speaking of complicated, the H-16 BRM
of the late 40's and early 50's also
deserves a mention.

Graham

#11 MattFoster

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 03:22

Eurobrun was pretty crappy.

#12 Lus Sampaio

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 03:26

What do you think about '79 GP car Kauhsen WK1-Cosworth???

#13 MN

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 03:53

Posted Image
How about 1968 Honda RA302.
Too unique.

Forced Air Cooled
3-liter 120 V8

#14 MattFoster

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 05:04

The Toleman 181

#15 Sid Rutty

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 05:55

Graham, Andrea Moda entered cars in 92. Perry McCarthy and Robero Moreno were the drivers. Moreno hauled onto the grid at Monaco.I think that speaks for his ability.

#16 Option1

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 06:29

Originally posted by Rainer Nyberg
The 1997 Lola only appeared once and it was barely put together, so it would not be fair to judge the car on that only appearance. If it would have been tested and developed it would surely been safely on the grid.


Surely, thought that definitely qualifies it. It was one of the most embarrassing things I think I've seen an ex-WDC have to go through on a grid.

#17 Gil Bouffard

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 06:36

Graham,

Your comment: "Speaking of complicated, the H-16 BRM of the late 40's and early 50's also deserves a mention."

The V-16 Cylinder BRM was a complicated well intentioned mess. The H-16 was a 3 liter BRM engine that was essentially a pair of V-8's "glued together," one on top of the other. Lotus used the H-16 also. the only time an H-16 won a race was in the back of Jim Clark's Lotus 43 at the 1966 US Grand Prix.

Gil Bouffard

http://www.norpaccrows.org

#18 Walrus

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 07:17

Didn`t the Life get their second gearbox from an automuseum when they broke their first one?! It was Life I think. You wouldn`t believe this kinda thing even happening now when it`s professional and all, but no, Life was something else.

#19 Hissing Sid

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 09:14

I would say the Life team was up there with the worst of them. The team regarded it as an achievement if the car lasted a single flying lap (which it rarely did). They used the SAME set of tyres for every race and had to BORROW tools from other teams.

Another team would be the Montiverdi. Formally known as Onyx it was bought out by Peter Montiverdi who had some strange ideas - he started to fit parts on the F1 car from his car museum.

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#20 jmcgavin

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 09:30

Wasn't the whole Life situation the reason why GP is now fixed at a certain number of teams. Some more nominations
the 95 canary yellow Forti
87 AGS, wasn't this one at 1983 Renault chassis that had been hacked about with??
the 88 Ligier, put little fuel tanks around the car, result, terrible weight distribution, appalling chassis flexibility, i remember seeing it in Autosport when it was launch and just immediately thinking 'that's a really bad idea'

#21 Falcadore

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 13:01

Most disappointing as opposed to worst car?

The BAR 001 Supertec

Maybe most noise for least results.

Although there was a lot of noise about the 60's ATS (not to be confused the the 80's ATS-BMWs)

Worst for pedigree? I remember Alan Jones being fairly uncomplimentary about his stay with the Embassy Hill Cosworths.

Remember the Brabham BT55 BMW 'skateboard'? Engine tilted over to get a lower proifle and thepumps didn't work?

Remember the early Osellas? The recycled Alfa Romeo V8 turbos?

Worst though - please give it to the Life Racing Engines W12. There's no way Gary Brabham deserved that car. At least the Andre Moda was a recycled car. The Life was bad from the go.

#22 Patrick Italiano

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 13:27

An article in a recent magazine listed the GP engine which failed the most blatantly, and the Life W12 showed the bigger potential as 'winning failure' :lol: Other ones included another, french designed, W12, which did only marginally better.

I have to look home for the article, it may be a Classic and Sportscar.

I would argue that the Bugatti 251 is one of the most 'beautiful' failures, for its caracteristics (some great ideas and a front live axle) and the names involved (Bugatti and Colombo).



#23 FlagMan

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 14:29

The BRM H16 might not have been the most successful of engines but I think it should be excused on account of the sound ;)

#24 ZippyD

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 16:35

I'll add another vote for the Scarab of 1960.

#25 Barry Boor

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 19:00

Zippy, I cannot accept the Scarab. It was a very fair car for its time. Unfortunately, its time was 1958 and it didn't appear until 1960.

If you had seen the way Don Orosco pedalled one around Silverstone last July at the Coy's Historic Festival (into 2nd place ahead of a lot of very illustrious rivals) there would be NO WAY you could consider it as a 'bad' Grand Prix car.

On the subject of Scarab, how do you pronounce Daigh ?

#26 David McKinney

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 20:23

If Scarab had been allowed to use 3-litre engines in 1960, as Orosco is with his car, they would no doubt have been more impressive :)
I THINK Chuck pronounces his name like "day", but others will no better than I do

#27 David McKinney

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 20:25

If Scarab had been allowed to use 3-litre engines in 1960, as Orosco is with his car, they would no doubt have been more impressive :)
I THINK Chuck pronounces his name like "day", but others will know better than I do

#28 ZippyD

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 21:34

I don't know Barry. It was slow and it was not a very attractive car.

#29 Keir

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 22:11

Daigh is pronounced "Day".

The Scarab was two years too late, but not that bad looking a car.

The 1970 Bellasi of Silvio Moser was ugly by any comparision.

#30 Barry Boor

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 23:06

I guessed that someone would come on with a comment about the 3 litre engine that is in the car now, but I still don't agree that it was the worst, or even close to being the worst-ever Grand Prix car.

As for ugly, surely you don't call these ugly?

Posted Image

#31 Keir

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 23:27

Barry,
Nice slot cars!!!!

Your work or from a kit??

#32 luisfelipetrigo

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 23:51

Rebaque / Ford

First race Italy 1979
-- Slowest of 'non qualified' at 8.189 seconds behind pole sitter
Second race Canada 1979
-- Qualified in 22nd (of 24) at 4.237 seconds behind pole sitter
-- Completed 26 (of 72) laps, retiring due to "Chasis"
-- His fastest lap was 4.790 seconds slower than the fastest lap
Third race USA 1979
-- Did not qualified being 7.445 behind pole sitter

... and that's it !!! (I will try to get a picture of it)

or

Amon / Ford

Firs race Spain 1974
-- Qualified 23rd (of 25) at 3.35 seconds behind pole sitter
-- Completed 22 (of 84) laps, retiring due to "Brakes"
-- His fastest lap was 10.17 seconds slower than the fastest lap
Second race Monaco 1974
-- Qualified 20rd (of 27) at 3.5 seconds behind pole sitter
-- Completed 0, did not started
Third race Germany 1974
-- First car did not qualified being 45.4 behind pole sitter
-- Second car did not qualified being 1:25.4 behind pole sitter
Fourth race Italy 1974
-- Did not qualified being 5.05 seconds behind pole sitter


#33 Barry Boor

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 08:09

Keir, they are entirely home made. Well, not entirely because I have to purchase wheels and tyres, etc but the chassis and bodies and all the painting I do 'in house'. Have a look at www.bboor.freeserve.co.uk

As for calling the Amon a bad car, believe me I'm sure anyone who qualified only 3.5 seconds behind the pole-sitter at any Grand Prix in the seventies could not have been in a bad car! Granted the Amon had its flaws, but the biggest one was lack of £££££££'s.





#34 Roger Clark

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 09:41

THere was only one Amon car at theNurburgring in 1974, and I think, only one ever. Chris Amon and Larry Perkins both drove it.

#35 Rob

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 12:32

Originally posted by Graham Clayton


LB,
That was the 1959 US GP at Sebring. Ward drove
a 1750cc Kurtis speedway midget.
That was an example of a good car for one type
of racing being used for something it was not designed
for. However, there are GP cars that were designed
specifically for GP racing that were terrible.


Here's the picture

Posted Image

#36 Roger Clark

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 13:26

Ward had some grounds for optimism before Sebring. Earlier in the year he had won a formula Libre event at Lime rock against a field which includedChuck Daigh (250F) Pedro Rodriguez (300S Maserati) John fitch and Lance Reventlow (F2 Coopers). not quite Grand Pris quality, but the midget won from pole position.

#37 David McKinney

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 13:52

John Fitch's Lime Rock Cooper was a Monaco sports
But that doesn't change anything


#38 Roger Clark

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 22:01

I was going to suggest that all posters to this thread read Barry Boor's story of the Connew car. Apart from being a good read, it shows what dedication, effort and humour is required to build and run even an unsuccessful Grand Prix car.

Unfortunately, it seems to have disappeared and the URL points you to an advertising site which brings forth an uncontrolled stream of unwelcome adverts (a bit like modern F1) What's happened, Barry?


#39 Barry Boor

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 22:40

If you are going to the story via my website, it took you to Franco Varani's Motor Racing Retro site. Unfortunately, Crosswinds have lost a lot of Franco's stuff. I suspect that is the problem.

The story can be read, as far as I know, on the F1 Test Site, which I seem to have lost the URL for. I'll check it up.

Obviously, Roger, I need to insert my story onto my own site. That would simplify matters, wouldn't it?

I wondered if anyone would attach the 'worst grand prix car' tag to the Connew eventually. I cannot argue with anyone who puts us in that bracket.

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#40 Megatron

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Posted 25 February 2001 - 12:04

The Life was actually a devolpement of the 1989 car that NEVER turned a lap at all.

The car was basically built to "highlight" the W12 engine. The theory was that teams would see the engine as a good deal and possibly go for it as a customer engine instead of a Cosworth or Judd.

Well, after Spa, they dumped the W12 and went with the Judd. Didn't improve at all. They were so far off the pace it wasn't even funny.

Andrea Moda was derived from the old Coloni team. It was a less than professional operation that was doomed from the start. Moreno dragged it on to the grid in Monaco then retired with gearbox problems.

Mastercard Lola tested a prototype as early as 1995 but the car that went to Aus had been put together in December and had never seen a wind tunnel. In Brazil, they were ordered by the headquarters in UK to come back ASAP and were never seen again.

Pacific tried to do F1 on a ridulous budget and it showed. The first year they used 2 year old Ilmors and the old still born Reynard chassis. In 1995, they ran both Deletrez and Lavvagi, enough said.

Coloni was formed in 1987 and has the record for the most DNQ's. They did have a relationship with Subaru in 1990 with Motori Monderini's B12 engine, but after a buy out from Subaru was rejected, they quit and Coloni languished until selling it to the above mentioned Andrea Moda.

Forti were a team with plenty of money in 1995, with Parmalat and Marlboro, plus getting a discount on Ford engines from Ford of Brazil. The first car looked like something straight out of the 1980s, and the second car was actually much better, but the money had ran out. When a bid by the mysterious Shannon Group had no money behind it, they owed everyone, not the least of which was Goodyear and Ford Cosworth. In Germany, they were out of engines and Ford were not about to give them anymore. They left never hitting the track and have not been seen since.

#41 Graham Clayton

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 01:52

I have found my book on GP cars, and can give some
information on the 3 cars mentioned

1. ATS (I) - 1963
Phill Hill & Giancarlo Baghetti drivers
The team was made up of ex-Ferrari personnel

- Belgian GP - both retired
cars arrived looking very scruffy, with chassis reinforcement
welded across top of engine bay.
- Dutch GP - both retired
- Missed French & British GP
- Withdrew from German GP after transporter involved in
accident on route to track
- Italian GP - Hill 11th - 7 laps down
- Baghetti 15th - 23 laps down
- US GP - both retired
- Mexican GP - both retired
End of team!

2. CTA-Arsenal (Fr) - 1947
Car had 90 degree v-8 with two stage supercharging.
Ground clearance was high, while the chassis was
dreadful. It was impossible to keep the car in a straight
line at speed.
Testing was rushed in order for the car to compete in the
1947 French GP at Lyon, with Raymond Sommer driving.
On the start line, the clutch seized, which led to the
drive-shaft breaking
A second car was built, and both cars were entered
at the Reims meeting in July 1948. After practice both
cars were withdrawn, and never raced again.

3. SEFAC/Dommartin (Fr) 1935/1948

SEFAC first appeared at 1935 French GP
The supercharged engine produced only 250 bhp and weighed a massive 931 kg, compared with a Mercedes-Benz W25 which had
402 bhp and weighed only 750 kg. The car had also one
of the ugliest bodies ever seen in GP racing.
The car was withdrawn for being overweight.
It appeared in practice for events in 1936 and 1937, but
was always withdrawn prior to the race.
In 1938, it actually qualified for the French GP, but retired
after 2 laps.
In 1939, it qualified for the Pau GP, but again retired after
a couple of laps.

The 1948 Dommartin was the SEFAC with a new body and
supercharger removed. It never appeared in public or raced.

I think the CTA-Arsenal has to take the gold medal.
To withdraw a car in practice is the sign of a really
bad design

#42 Keir

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 03:09

A bit of subtext on the ATS.

In order to change the engines, they had to be sawn out their rear tube framework.

#43 Graham Clayton

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 03:20

Originally posted by Keir
A bit of subtext on the ATS.

In order to change the engines, they had to be sawn out their rear tube framework.


Keir,
By the time of the Dutch GP, the bracing was actually
removable, to eliminate the need to use the saw!

One would think that the need for such bracing would
be an indication that someone was wrong with the
chassis, don't you think? :-)


#44 dbw

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 06:01

i'd have to add the type 54 bugatti to the list....even great men have a bad idea now and then.as a bridge between the type 35 and the type 59,it was ill conceived in a rush....way too heavy, too much power,and apparently quite evil handling ...in this case with only five cars delivered, it managed to kill off a high percentage of european royalty..count czaykowski[chassis 54209] and prince lobkowitz[chassis 54201]...even bugatti maven hugh conway politely called it "an unhappy model"

#45 David McKinney

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 06:34

H J von Morgen disliked his T54 so much he returned it to the factory and reverted to his T51 - only to be killed in it a few weeks later



#46 twillis

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Posted 02 March 2001 - 04:28

How about the Fittipaldi? It certainly brought Emmo's F1 career
to an end.

Tony

#47 Timm

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Posted 03 March 2001 - 23:32

The Andrea Moda was a warmed-over BMW design study done by Nick Wirth in '90/'91. All anyone needs to know is that during the '92 Belgian GP, Roberto Moreno was going through Eau Rouge when the steering locked because the chassis flexed so much it jammed the steering rack. Believe it or not, Moreno qualified it at Monaco.

The '86 AGS was a bit of a truck. The tub was so weak that if a corner was jacked up, it could be heard to crack. Moreno scored a points finish in Adelaide with it.

Conclusion;- Roberto Moreno is a superstar.

The Onyx project was taken over for '90 by museum-owning Peter Monteverdi. JJ Lehto reported that the mechanics installed the differential the wrong way around and when parts failed, as they would when their design life was grossly exceeded, the cars in Monteverdi's meuseum were cannibalised for parts.

Contenders;- '88 Lotus, '95 McLaren & '93 Lola-BMS

Could the '00 jaguar be added to the list????

#48 Barry Boor

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Posted 04 March 2001 - 09:23

....or maybe the '00 Benetton?

#49 Allen Brown

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Posted 04 March 2001 - 13:58

I'm amazed nobody has nominated the Dywa yet. So bad it couldn't even start an Aurora race, let alone a GP.

Marcus Pye was at Monza to report for Autosport and his description of the car cannot be bettered:

The Dywa can best be described as a collection of inch square tubing randomly thrown around an aluminium monocoque-type structure which seems to lack any kind of unitary strength. The box section around the forward roll hoop enclosing the driver's legs is attached by two rivets on one side and one on the other, while the front brake pipes were unattached to the front bulkhead and chafed on the noseframe. This abysmal creation looked like a relic from an O-level metalwork class and one could only commiserate with poor Piercarlo Ghinzani, who heroically agreed to be harnessed into it, commenting only that the set-up lacked professionalism. That the 1977 F3 champion of Europe should have to stoop so low for a drive is a crying shame, and he called it a day having looked every inch a passenger in the self-steering device for all of five laps. Even then oil was spewing all over the rear brake calipers, but mercifully Ghinzani did not have to chance his arm again. Monguzzi got the message, as the driver could only heave it round some 37 secs off the pace, and the ghastly machine was pushed away, never to be seen again.


Allen


#50 fines

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Posted 04 March 2001 - 14:19

Well, it WAS seen thereafter, in F3000 some SIX years later, as the MonteCarlo/Ford, at Imola where it, needless to say, failed to qualify. Fulvio Maria Ballabio was the unfortunate driver. Somewhere I've seen a picture of the car, it really looked ridiculous! How anybody could've ever hoped to make it work is beyond me.