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Stuck's AFM


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#1 Racer.Demon

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Posted 09 October 2001 - 14:45

Help wanted with regards to Stuck's AFM in 1953: does anyone know for sure whether he switched from the Küchen engine to the Bristol? And if so, when during 1953?

There are some conflicting sources on this: in the red corner we have Sheldon and Higham who insist on the Küchen for all of 1953, in the blue corner we have Lawrence, Small, Nye, Lang and Reinald Schumann who report a switch to the Bristol 6 'for 1953', do not mention the date but do give Stuck's entry for the German and Italian GP with a Bristol.

Would Sheldon be wrong (he is by no means infallable, of course) with Higham copying his error? Or does the Bristol switch - if there was any - refer to another AFM and not Stuck's?

Perhaps Fines and his German sources are in the know...

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#2 tombe

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Posted 09 October 2001 - 16:13

In the 'Motor Sport' report from the '53 Italian GP, DSJ refers to "Stuck with his Bristol-engined AFM".

#3 TonyKaye

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Posted 09 October 2001 - 20:23

Anthony Pritchard, writing in Antique Auto of May 1974, stated that "The same year (1953) also saw Stuck reappear with his V8 AFM, but powered on occasions by a Bristol engine............This was the swan song for Stuck achieved no success with the Bristol unit and with the introduction of the 2500cc Grand Prix Formula of 1954 onwards the AFM disappeared from the racing scene." He doesn't report on which occasions the Bristol engine was used.

I skimmed through Stuck's autobiography "Tagebuch eines Rennfahrers", but found nothing of relevance. He tended to restrict his memoirs to his successes. He isn't alone in that. Likewise, Gregor Grant in his book on "Formula 2" makes no mention of the Bristol engine, though he does categorize the various weaknesses of the Kuchen V8. Stuck would have had sound reasons for changing his power plant.

Reinald Schumann in "Motorsport in Deutschland 1945-1955' described the 1953 German GP. "Hans Stuck auf senem AFM mit Bristol-Motor beendete sein letztes Nurburgring-Rennen bereits in der ersten Runde an den Boxen." He could have done no worse if he had retained the Kuchen engine. The same source states that he retained the Bristol engine for the Freiburger Schauinsland climb on 8th August, where he was third in the F2 class behind de Graffenried's Maserati and Fischer's Ferrari. Importantly, he beat a slew of fellow countrymen in Veritas and AFM's, plus the Cooper-Bristol of Alan Brown and the Connaught of McAlpine. Regardless of engine, Stuck had not lost his touch on the hills. Schumann also confirms Jenkinson's assertion that Stuck had a Bristol engine in the car for the Italian GP at Monza.

Doug Nye in his "History of the Grand Prix Car 1946-65" contradicts this in part saying "...and eventually replacing the V8 unit with a 328-derived Bristol six-cylinder power unit for 1953, when at major level he ran only in the Italian GP...." This suggests that Nye was not aware that it was used for the German Grand Prix. Since he probably relied upon the usual British sources, which apparently missed the change, this is understandable.

David Hodges in his "A-Z" dismisses the issue in a single sentence saying that Stuck used the Kuchen engine throughout 1951-53. Against this, that meticulous researcher, Cyril Posthumus, in his book "The German Grand Prix" refers to "1934 Grosser Preis winner Hans Stuck's Bristol-engined AFM." And in his list of retirements he begins with "Stuck (AFM-Bristol), lap 1".

It seems inconceivable to me that some writers would be so specific about the use of a Bristol engine if it
were not true. Others probably just ASSUMED that Stuck used the Kuchen engine throughout the year

I don't have a complete list of all the 1953 races in which he entered his AFM, but he did have some relative success in the Eastern Zone. He was second at Dessau and Halle-Saale and third at Sachsenring and Bernau. I have no idea which engine he used for these forays, but either way it was inadequate to deal with the local EMW's, particularly that of Edgar Barth.

#4 fines

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Posted 09 October 2001 - 20:41

I don't think the Küchen engine was used after 1952 at all. I only have a vague memory of these things, and not really the time to check any sources, but I think there was a major fall-out between Stuck and Richard Küchen. It is, somehow, a very interesting subject, but one that hasn't attracted a lot of ink, neither at the time, nor lately. Iirc, the engine was initially supposed to go to Egon Brütsch and his EBS stable, but I don't recall what became of that.

#5 TonyKaye

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Posted 09 October 2001 - 21:15

There may have been a disagreement with Kuchen, but none of the sources I looked at mentioned it. However the press was 'kinder' in those days and might have ignored any acrimony. They all seem agreed that that there was insufficient money to develope the engine, which of course could have been thecause of disagreement. In any case the 2-liter formula was fast running to a close, so why spend more cash on an engine which would soon be redundant. Easier and cheaper by far to buy an off-the-shelf Bristol.

#6 TonyKaye

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Posted 09 October 2001 - 21:45

Did Stuck ever use the Kuchen engine in 1953? Well he competed in that year's International Trophy meeting at Silverstone. Autosport is very specific in saying "Mechanics were busy on the V8 engine of Stuck's AFM, an interesting entry from Germany." In Heat 1 Stuck started on the grid no better than 14th out of 20 and in the race itself, "Stuck's AFM was not running at all well." I don't believe he took part in the Final. Perhaps the writing was already on the wall for the Kuchen engine.

#7 Roger Clark

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Posted 09 October 2001 - 23:20

Autosport 18/9/53 says that Stuck used the Bristol engine at the Sachsenring.

#8 Racer.Demon

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Posted 10 October 2001 - 08:01

Thanks guys, you are already being a big help. I think the general idea is that Stuck did change the engine and that the sources mentioning the Küchen for (the rest of) 1953 just assumed it was still in there, as Tony states.

But Tony also has an interesting quote on the International Trophy, mentioning a V8 - which is hard to confuse with the Bristol straight-six. So perhaps the change was made sometime during the spring of 1953, and after the disappointment of the Int'l Trophy.

#9 Roger Clark

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Posted 10 October 2001 - 17:24

THe report Tony mentions of the International Trophy includes a close-up picture of the V8, so there can be no doubt about that.

#10 Marcor

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Posted 10 October 2001 - 18:28

Hans Stuck and the AFM in 1953:
09/05/53 Daily Express Trophy Finale Silverstone, DNQ in final
24/05/53 GP des Frontières Chimay, 4th
31/05/53 International ADAC Eifelrennen Nurburgring, DNF
07/06/53 Paul Greifzu Gedachtnisrennen Dessau, 2nd
05/07/53 Strassen-rennen Halle-Saale-Schleife Halle-Saale-Schleife, 2nd
02/08/53 German GP Nurburgring, DNF
08/08/53 Freiburger Schauinsland Mountain Climb, 3rd in the F2 class
06/09/53 Sachssenringrennen Sachssenring, 3rd
13/09/53 Italian GP Monza, 14th
27/09/53 Bernau Autobahn-Schleife Bernau, 3rd

This list is maybe not full.

According to André Biaumet's book "Le Grand Prix des Frontières à Chimay, Tome 1", Stuck's AFM was powered by the V8 Küchen at Chimay.

According "25 anni di Formula 1" (Piero Casucci and Tommaso Tommasi) a Bristol unit was used for the German GP and the Italian GP.

According "Les voitures de course" by Giovanni Lurani, Stuck had the Bristol at Monza.

#11 Racer.Demon

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Posted 10 October 2001 - 20:51

Thanks for those additions, Roger and Marc. The contours of a June or July switch are beginning to appear...

#12 TonyKaye

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Posted 16 October 2001 - 23:00

In Volume 5 of his Black Books, Paul Sheldon listed Stuck's engine as the Kuchen V8 in every race in which he took part in 1953. However I checked his Errata book, which was published seven years later in 1995, and he amends this to a Bristol engine at Chimay, Dessau, Halle-Saale and Bernau. Strangely, it is not corrected for the other later races including the German and Italian Grands Prix. But at least he was aware of a discrepancy.

So where does that leave us with this mystery? I think we can make a number of reasonable assumptions:-
1. He definitely did change to a Bristol engine part way through the 1953 season.
2. He only had one AFM chassis available, so at any event he had to use the engine that was installed at that time.
3. Once the chassis was reconfigured to take the Bristol engine he never again used the Kuchen.
All the DETAILED evidence produced in this thread supports these assumptions.

So when exactly was the change made. We know he had the Kuchen at Silverstone on 9th May. Despite Sheldon's amendment, Biaumet is adamant that it was still in place two weeks later at Chimay. I would tend to accept Biaumet on this as he probably obtained his information from a local race report, but Schumann (p.188) is equally adamant that the car was by now equipped with a Bristol engine. The following weekend Stuck was at the Nurburgring for the Eifelrennen and as far as I can see, no-one contributing to this thread has found a source for this race. The following Sunday Stuck was at Dessau for the Paul Greifzu race where he was second.

After this frantic burst of travelling around Europe there was an inexplicable hiatus, for Stuck's next race was not until four weeks later at Halle-Saale, where he again finished second. It is quite possible that he competed in a hillclimb during this apparent intermission, for the Bolzano-Mendola event took place on June 28, three weeks after Dessau. Unfortunately my records don't really extend to European hillclimbs, but we can be almost certain that he did not take part in any additional races as such. And it wasn't because there were no suitable races at that time, for the Belgian Grand Prix was held on 21st June. And then, after Halle-Saale, there was yet another gap in the proceedings of several weeks before the all-important German Grand Prix on August 2nd. It is possible that he may have entered the Vue des Alpes in Switzerland, which was only one week after Halle-Saale. At any rate, by the German GP we can be confident that the Bristol engine was firmly in place, where it stayed for the rest of the year.

So where does all this leave us? Basically, between Silverstone with the Kuchen on 9th May and the German GP with the Bristol on 2nd August, we have little more than conflicting reports and maybe even some missing hillclimbs. The switch could have been made at any time during these three months. But that ignores the complexity of the job; reworking a chassis, drivetrain and all the ancilliaries, which had previously been mated to a V8, to fit a completely different straight six is hardly the task of a few hours. And we have to remember that for much of May and early June Stuck was 'on the road', travelling from circuit to circuit and country to country. Travel in early post-war Europe was immensely more difficult than it is today.

So my best guess was that the Bristol was fitted during the four weeks leading up to the German Grand Prix. As a past winner of the event he would have felt an extra imperative to shine at the Nurburgring and the Kuchen simply wouldn't do the job. But that's just a guess. what we need is some more hard evidence, specifically the contemporary race reports for Chimay, Eifelrennen, Dessau and Halle-Saale. Please, can anybody help! And photos would be even better than text on this occasion.

#13 Racer.Demon

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Posted 16 October 2001 - 23:17

Wow, Tony. You are really taking this subject to heart!

When I posted this mystery I had no real hope for a resolve but we (that is, you all) are inching closer. So rule number zero works again: Ask TNF first. Fantastic :)

#14 Marcor

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Posted 16 October 2001 - 23:24

http://www.motorraci...p53/53ita48.htm

Forget the caption, it's the Stuck's AFM Bristol at Monza (1953 Italian GP)

#15 Don Capps

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Posted 17 October 2001 - 02:30

I looked into this some time ago and my conclusion was similar to Tony's: the switch was done in the latter part of July. Tony lays it out really well and he is spot when you tie the pieces together. Go, Tony!

#16 uechtel

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Posted 20 October 2001 - 09:58

Hello!

Sorry to disturb your harmony a little bit. But I have discussed this subject with 8W via e-mail and there I got information about this thread.

What I can add is the fact, that in the race programme for the Eifelrennen, just one week after Chimay and only three weeks after Silverstone, the entry list gives Stuck´s car already as an AFM / Bristol! So there would have been either 14 or only seven days for the exchange.

I do not know how much effort it would have taken to replace the engine (remember: The original AFM design was intended to accept a BMW, which is similar to the Bristol), but two weeks seem to be a very short time for this, especially when this was to take place in some backdoor garage.

So for me all this ends in that there is a contradiction in the sources. Either Autosport did not worry too much about researching for their Silverstone article (the V8 would possibly make a better story than a Bristol and the AFM certainly was not of SUCH interest outside Germany), or Stuck´s enthusiasm was so high, that he announced the Bristol too early, before the work was done.

How reliable are those ancient race programmes?

#17 Barry Lake

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Posted 22 October 2001 - 00:21

I wouldn't take a programme entry as gospel.

Bearing in mind that closing of entries and also programme deadlines usually were about a month before the meeting in those days, it is not unlikely that Stuck would have entered what he HOPED he would have by the time the race weekend came around.

It would seem he at least had the plan and possibly also the engine at that time (although delivery of the engine might have been delayed). But if I was making calculated guesses I would be going along with the theory that the engine swap occurred during the four week break mentioned.

That doesn't mean it DID happen that way, of course. But it does look the most likely answer with the current evidence.

#18 Marcor

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Posted 22 October 2001 - 00:38

Motor Sport August 1953 says that Hans Stuck finished fourth in the Susa Mont Cenis Hill Climb on July 19th (1953) with the six-cylinder AFM. The mag doesn't specify the name of the engine but it's clearly the 6-cylinder Bristol.