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Longest-used racing cars


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#51 500MACHIII

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 23:13

The Ford GT40 had a long racing carreer , as like as the Ferrari 250 LM and the Berlinetta 275 GTB I dare say.
In GT class the Alfa Romeo TZ and GTA did challenge for years as well.



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#52 D-Type

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 08:42

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Mini - from the introduction of the original Austin Se7en/ Mini-Minor in 1959 through the Mini-Cooper and Mini-Cooper S and on to the various forms in club racing until when[?], surely the Mini must hold the record for continuous competition use.


#53 David McKinney

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 09:14

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Mini

That's because the thread's supposed to be about indiividual cars (see Post 1)


#54 Stephen W

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 09:52

If you are talking longest used racing cars as in single-seaters built for competition but used in speed hill-climbing as opposed to racing, British enthusiast Basil Davenport's GN 'Wasp' enjoyed extraordinary longevity, with Basil campaigning it from the 1920s into the 1970s. The two grew old disgracefully together...

DCN


I personally would discount Spider on two grounds - first, because its later apperances were restricted to vintage events, which is cheating a bit, and also because the 1946 car had a different chassis, engine and transmission from the original, which by my definiition would make it a different car.


Most of Basil Davenport's specials are still taking part in 'historic' events. Recently at the second Bo'ness Revival Hill Climb meeting both the GN Spider and GN Spider II were being thrashed up the hill.

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#55 D-Type

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 11:10

That's because the thread's supposed to be about indiividual cars (see Post 1)


The news that Ferrari will use their F2001s at Melbourne set me thinking. What is the longest a single car has competed for: ie how many seasons or races has a single model competed in? Inevitably there will have been some long-lived ERAs which are still in competition, but I'm thinking of cars racing in the series for which they were designed, such as the Lotus 72 or 102.


The sentence is ambiguous and I read it the other way. I accept that a Mini-Cooper S and an Austin Se7en are not the same model, however the Mini Cooper S alone had a long innings.





#56 HistoricMustang

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 14:52

I also read the original question as a single "model", not individual "car".

Henry :wave:

#57 Catalina Park

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 09:53

The Mini is only 50 years old. There are a few cars with a continuous racing history that goes back pre-war.
The Mini is only a youngster by comparison.

#58 D-Type

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 14:02

I don't think historic racing should count.

#59 maoricar

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 17:04

The Lycoming Special surely deserves a mention. Designed, built and raced by the late Ralph Watson, it had an extremely active career spanning approx 10 years. Unlike many candidates in this category, throughout its long and very hard competitive life, the Lycoming retained its original body, chassis, gearbox, rear end and many of the original engine components.
During this time it performed with distinction in single seater events, sports car events, sprints and hill climbs. It was driven by Jim Clark and raced by Bruce McLaren amongst others and almost uniquely, was driven to almost all of the events it raced in. In fact in its early days it served as Watson's road car and it would accumulate several thousand road miles per year, just getting to and from events, the length and breadth of NZ.
The Lycoming Special was designed and built by one (very talented) man, in a somewhat rudimentary workshop, to compete with the very best that Europe had to offer in the early-mid 50's. It succeeded and outlasted many of them.
nev

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#60 D-Type

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 20:05

Somewhat OT, I know the Lycoming had an aircraft engine, but what capacity was it?

Edit: I know it's probably on the forum somewhere but I'm too lazy to look

Edited by D-Type, 10 October 2009 - 20:07.


#61 David McKinney

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 21:45

4733cc originally, and from 1961 5.3 litres

#62 D-Type

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 23:21

So, the engine wasn't that big then.

#63 David McKinney

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:38

Not in your 24-litre Napier class, no :)

#64 maoricar

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 15:38

Engine size was not the real reason for the success of the Lycoming Special, nor was horsepower... never much over 200BHP, as I recall. The Lycoming engine WAS light and had a very low ( for the time) profile. It was mounted upsidedown and back to front relative to aircraft useage.
It DID have gobs of torque, transmitted through a home-made transaxle comprising a 3 speed Studebaker gearbox with an old Ford rear end.
The success for the Lycoming over a long period and in a variety of events was in the very careful selection of components; selected for both strength AND light weight. Interminable and complex calculations were done in this respect. in long hand, well before the onset of CAD and computers. The DeDion rear end was self designed and built and the chassis itself designed to allow a minimum of deflection.
The vehicle seldom experienced mechanical or structural failure(s), yet weighed in at less than 1400lbs, fueled with driver.
Perhaps some of the European 'names' builders could have profited from Watson's input re; their vehicles.
nev

#65 wenoopy

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 10:39

Engine size was not the real reason for the success of the Lycoming Special, nor was horsepower... never much over 200BHP, as I recall. The Lycoming engine WAS light and had a very low ( for the time) profile. It was mounted upsidedown and back to front relative to aircraft useage.
It DID have gobs of torque, transmitted through a home-made transaxle comprising a 3 speed Studebaker gearbox with an old Ford rear end.
The success for the Lycoming over a long period and in a variety of events was in the very careful selection of components; selected for both strength AND light weight. Interminable and complex calculations were done in this respect. in long hand, well before the onset of CAD and computers. The DeDion rear end was self designed and built and the chassis itself designed to allow a minimum of deflection.
The vehicle seldom experienced mechanical or structural failure(s), yet weighed in at less than 1400lbs, fueled with driver.
Perhaps some of the European 'names' builders could have profited from Watson's input re; their vehicles.
nev


The racing career of the Lycoming extended from 1957 to at least 1971, when Charlie Benseman ran it into third place in the NZ Beach Racing Championship at Tahunanui Beach, although it disappeared from mainstream circuit racing about 1968-69.

While looking through my photo collection for Lycoming pictures, I realised there was another sports car which appeared quite regularly for most of the same period, namely the HWM imported by the Avery brothers in the mid 1950's. It was often quite competitive and was raced, mostly in the North, with a variety of engines over the years; the original Cadillac, a 7850 cc Continental engine, and later Thunderbird and Corvette motors when owned by Donnelly, and then by George Hallen. Could the Continental have been the largest-capacity engine raced in NZ? At least in the post WW2 era.

#66 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 10:21

wenoopy
The Lycoming Special is still raced in historic events by Ralph Smith
Re NZ Beach Racing Championship Race 1971. Rod McElrea placed 1st in a Elmac Special [ Chev V8 powered ] and I placed 2nd in my Ford V8 [Flathead] Special No 77 which has been racing since 1949 and was used last early this year in a vintage speedway deno event

Edited by Peter Leversedge, 17 October 2009 - 10:22.


#67 wenoopy

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 11:04

wenoopy
The Lycoming Special is still raced in historic events by Ralph Smith
Re NZ Beach Racing Championship Race 1971. Rod McElrea placed 1st in a Elmac Special [ Chev V8 powered ] and I placed 2nd in my Ford V8 [Flathead] Special No 77 which has been racing since 1949 and was used last early this year in a vintage speedway deno event


Peter : I see plenty of photo's of you in and out of your car in Mike Stephens' book on the Nelson Beach races. You must have qualified for a complimentary entry fee, surely! I see the Lycoming had grown a roll-over bar by 1971. I don't remember that from the late 1960's.


#68 David McKinney

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 15:22

Boyd ran a more subtle rollover bar in his last season (at least)

#69 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 09:49

wennoopy
I get your point re the complimentary entry fee but in fact there was no entry fee for the Nelson beach races unless it was a "late entry" not like today when in a lot of cases the total of the entry fee for an event exceeds the total of the prize money ):