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1954 French GP and Mercedes return


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#1 Odseybod

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:50

Another week, another big box of negatives from my late father's collection to be sorted through. As a respite, I thought I should share these, which leapt out at me - I haven't yet had my 'digital spotting brush' out, so they're in as-scanned condition - if anyone knows a sympathetic film cleaner, I'll apply that and re-scan instead.

A little background. Philip went to Rheims (I think it usually wore an h in those days!) to cover the 12-hour sports car race, which started on the day before the French Grand Prix, but when Rodney Walkerley (his predecessor as The Motor's Sports Editor) damaged his back by falling down the hotel stairs, he found himself covering the GP as well, while Rodney was confined to bed. A slightly complicated task as when Philip returned to the hotel on the Sunday evening, he found Rodney's room full of Grand Prix drivers keen to tell the invalide what had really happened in the race. Can just imagine that happening today!

Even so, Philip had found time to take a few photos, I think mainly during practice, though the old Leica II's wind-on mechanism was playing up, so there are even fewer than he might have hoped. This race of course marked Mercedes' post-war return to racing with the W196 streamliners, so most of the photos not surprisingly concentrated on them, starting with Karl Kling's car being unloaded.

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They took the opportunity to do a plug change.

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A sneaky view of the underside - I hadn't realised those big front drums stuck out into the airflow for extra cooling - obvious, really.

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Cockpit view.

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Moving around the Paddock.

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And these are described as Mercedes lap scorers - presumably time-keepers?

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There were others cars taking part! This is Hawthorn's Ferrari having its rear axle ration changed, I think watched by JMH.

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And here we are on race day, with car and driver making their way to the grid.

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And finally, Fangio leads Kling, I think on a parade lap rather than during the race, given the attitude of those in front of the pits. But then again, things were more relaxed in those days.

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Enjoy! As always, any comments, additions and amendments very welcome.







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#2 Alan Cox

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:51

What a treat, Tony. Some real gems here, once again. Many thanks for posting.

Edited by Alan Cox, 13 January 2013 - 16:00.


#3 Paul Parker

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 13:53

Great to see these images which highlight just how very different things were then and how much more accessible, interesting and aesthetically pleasing.

As for those enormous inboard drum front brakes on the W196, very impressive.

#4 scags

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 14:18

great shots.

#5 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 16:11

I ate them all , hungry for more , many many thanks for showing !

#6 jj2728

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 16:31

Great photos and thanks for sharing!

#7 Duc-Man

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 19:22

Great shots! Thanks for sharing them.

OT question: When did the pits as we see them on those pictures turn into the garages we have today?

#8 Odseybod

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 21:37

I ate them all , hungry for more , many many thanks for showing !


Here's a little extra bonus, this time one of the entrants in the sports car race (I believe a D.B. Panhard), plus a rather handsome M-B 300 Cabriolet plus, especially for Bjorn, a rather mysterious Rubery Owen/BRM transporter - even though there were no BRMs on the entry list. I think 1954 was the first year BRMs were entered by the Owen Racing Organisation - had they been there for pre-race testing and run into problems, or (pretty unlikely) loaned theirr transporter to another team? No doubt DCN will be along shortly with chapter and verse.

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#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 21:43

No BRMs. But a BRM-entered Maserati 250F for Ken Wharton. :)

#10 Alan Cox

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 22:20

Here's a little extra bonus, this time one of the entrants in the sports car race (I believe a D.B. Panhard)

The book "Reims, Vitesse Champagne et Passion" lists car 66 as a 750 Renault, driven by Guy Michel and Jean Malleret, which finished 6th in the up to 750cc class in the 12 hour race

#11 Odseybod

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 22:40

No BRMs. But a BRM-entered Maserati 250F for Ken Wharton. :)


Ah, thank you. Hadn't heard of that.


#12 Odseybod

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 22:42

The book "Reims, Vitesse Champagne et Passion" lists car 66 as a 750 Renault, driven by Guy Michel and Jean Malleret, which finished 6th in the up to 750cc class in the 12 hour race


Thanks, Alan, was just going by my Dad's rather sketchy notes on the negative index. Let's hope he got it right in his report!

#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 00:04

The book "Reims, Vitesse Champagne et Passion" lists car 66 as a 750 Renault, driven by Guy Michel and Jean Malleret, which finished 6th in the up to 750cc class in the 12 hour race

Is that really a 750 Renault?

#14 bradbury west

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 00:15

Here's a little extra bonus, ... especially for Bjorn, a rather mysterious Rubery Owen/BRM transporter
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Probably one of the Austin Lodestar coachbuilt vans, but Bjorn will correct me if I am wrong.
Roger Lund

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:14

Originally posted by Roger Clark
Is that really a 750 Renault?


One would assume a private entry, a Special with 750 underpinnings...

I grant you, it does look a little large, like it maybe was intended to go on and grow into something larger one day.

#16 Andretti Fan

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 02:16

Those pictures are great just as they are. They capture a grittiness and texture that so suits the times. Don't retouch a thing.

Edited by Andretti Fan, 14 January 2013 - 02:18.


#17 Doug Nye

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:44

Roger's quite right concerning the Owen Racing Organisation transporter. It had lugged their much-modified - and effectively 'unimproved' - Maserati 250F to Reims for Ken Wharton to drive. They might as well have saved the time, effort and cost...

Philip's photos are wonderfully evocative. This was Daimler-Benz's postwar return to frontline Grand Prix racing. The streamlined cars looked (and sounded) simply sensational.

The Men from Mars were back.

DCN


#18 rudi

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:00

One would assume a private entry, a Special with 750 underpinnings...

I grant you, it does look a little large, like it maybe was intended to go on and grow into something larger one day.


The car is a BMS (Bosvin-Michel-Special).

#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:12

The car is a BMS (Bosvin-Michel-Special).

Can you tell me more about it?

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#20 Tim Murray

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:35

Here's an article about the car, based on the book by Robert Bosvin, son of the car's designer Camille Bosvin. The car won the Bol D'Or in 1952 and 1953:

http://autodrome.ove...e-27857018.html

#21 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:50

Thanks, there's an article in English here.

http://www.velocetod...s/#.UPPPP3wgGSM

I've ordered the book. It seems that the BMS cars were advanced for their time, featuring space frames and a mid-mounted engine. It was the difficulty of imagining an engine in that long sloping tail that made me question its being a 4CV.


#22 Alan Cox

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:25

I had found other references and photos relating to Michel and Malleret racing a BMS, but the only reference that came to hand for the '54 Reims 12 Hours was in Dameron-Derauw and Mélin's book, which is fairly sparsely illustrated.

Edit: A further search turns up this photo of the car following the VP of Giraud-Cabantous/Neiret (another make which I had not heard of before)
http://image.doc2pdf...p/1954_1101.jpg

Edited by Alan Cox, 14 January 2013 - 10:43.


#23 Kingsleyrob

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:42

I never tire of seeing any photos of Rheims, and to see these new ones is an extra special treat, thanks Tony.

Well, actually there are some photos I'd rather not see and this site has pictures of what I witnessed during my last visit in 2008 with felow TNFer Roger Clark - the destruction of the part leading up to Muizon. Criminal. :mad: :mad:

http://www.circuitso.../reims/lapreims

Thankfully I've memories - and pictures as yet unscanned - dating back to the 80s when a complete lap was possible - and the RN31 was still a two lane road.

Looking forward to more Tony....

Rob :wave:

Edited by Kingsleyrob, 14 January 2013 - 11:44.


#24 Odseybod

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 13:50

Looking forward to more Tony....

Rob :wave:


1954 British Grand Prix coming soon(ish).

#25 ensign14

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 14:10

I ate them all , hungry for more , many many thanks for showing !

Hungry? Maybe that advert for Aero on the pit roof is responsible...

#26 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 17:28

1954 British Grand Prix coming soon(ish).

Wonderful Rheims images. Thank you very much for posting. I look forward to the 1954 Silverstone pictures. Those Mercedes werent quite as 'sensational' there!. :cool:

#27 Kpy

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 20:46

Hungry? Maybe that advert for Aero on the pit roof is responsible...

Maybe, but the advert is for petrol, not chocolate.