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A Lotus question


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#1 Roger Clark

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Posted 23 March 2002 - 23:01

After Jim Clark's fatal crash, an investigation was carried out into its cause by Peter Jowitt, who was the RAC's chief scutineer and an aircraft accident investigator at Farnborough. Jowitt sai that he admired Chapman's honesty in asking him to undertake this task as thay had crossed swords many time in the past, including once when he had disqualified a Team Lotus entry on the starting grid.

Can anybody recall the incident he was referring to? The nearest I can think of is the debut of the Lotus 18 at the 1959 Boxing Day Brands Hatch meeting.

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#2 Felix Muelas

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Posted 23 March 2002 - 23:34

Originally posted by Roger Clark
...Peter Jowitt...when he had disqualified a Team Lotus entry on the starting grid.
The nearest I can think of is the debut of the Lotus 18 at the 1959 Boxing Day Brands Hatch meeting.


Let me get this straight, as you all know English is not my mother language : Are you saying that Alan Stacey´s Lotus 18 making its debut race at the John Davy Trophy @ Brands Hatch on Boxing Day 1959 (26 dec) was disqualified?
I know the story of the engine (the Ford 105E) switch from the back of Jim Clark´s Gemini -on his very first single-seater race- to Alan Stacey´s unpainted Lotus but I have never heard about the Lotus actually being disqualified, and definitely not on the starting grid...he finished 10th --as far as I am aware! :confused:

Felix

#3 Roger Clark

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Posted 24 March 2002 - 00:29

No, but it should have been. The Lotus didn't have the obligatory roll-over bar behind the driver's head. If the car had finished higher up it would surely have been disqualified. Whether this has anything to do with the Peter Jowitt story I was trying to recall, I don't know.

#4 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 24 March 2002 - 05:34

I quote from Jabby Crombac's book 'Colin Chapman':

At the 1959 Boxing Day meeting the first Lotus 18 appeared with Alan Stacey at the wheel and it finished a very poor fourth.

#5 Roger Clark

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Posted 24 March 2002 - 07:05

Where Crombac got the idea of fourth from I don't know. In fact, it was a quote from Peter Warr, but where did he get it from? Historic Motor Racing magazine did an article on the race and said that Stacey was tenth, or possibly ninth as Jim Clark who was in the results as 8th was actually disqualified for a push start. Ian H Smith in "Lotus the Story of the Marque" says Stacey was seventh.

Smith has this to say about the roll-bar: "To the many who protested, Colin pointed out that no minimum height for such an attachment was mentioned, and that on the Lotus the frame hoop behind the driver fulfilled this function. But this was far lower than the driver's head, pointed out the critics. Chapman then asked to be shown a roll-bar on a junior which was higher than the driver's head; all protests were withdrawn! In fact after this meeting the Lotus Juniors were fitted with a roll hoop higher than the heads of most who drove the cars."

It's understanding what the rules said, not what they meant again! It's also interesting tht the 1960 Juniors had a sensibly sized roll-over hoop, unlike the F1 cars from 1961 onwards. Perhaps Chapman valued his customers more than his works drivers...

#6 ensign14

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Posted 24 March 2002 - 09:16

Originally posted by Roger Clark

It's understanding what the rules said, not what they meant again! It's also interesting tht the 1960 Juniors had a sensibly sized roll-over hoop, unlike the F1 cars from 1961 onwards. Perhaps Chapman valued his customers more than his works drivers...


Maybe he trusted his own drivers more! :lol:

Was the John Davy Trophy for different classes? That may explain the 4th discrepancy.

#7 David McKinney

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Posted 24 March 2002 - 09:37

The John Davy Trophy race in question was for FJ cars only.
Results from the relevant "black book" are:
1. Peter Arundell (Elva-DKW)
2. Peter Ashdown (Lola-BMC)
3. Chris Threlfall (Elva-DKW)
4. Mike McKee (Cooper-BMC)
5. Chris Lawrence (Elva-BMC)
6. Bill de Selincourt (Elva-BMC)
7. Bill Lacy (Cooper-BMC)
8. Jim Clark (Gemini-BMC)
9. John Hine (Cooper-BMC)
10. Alan Stacey (Lotus-Ford)
The race was notable for the first appearance of not only the Lotus 18 but also of the first FJ cars from Cooper and Lola - in fact the three makes which would take the class over from the Italians (and Germans) in 1960.

#8 kayemod

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 19:01

After Jim Clark's fatal crash, an investigation was carried out into its cause by Peter Jowitt, who was the RAC's chief scutineer and an aircraft accident investigator at Farnborough. Jowitt sai that he admired Chapman's honesty in asking him to undertake this task as thay had crossed swords many time in the past, including once when he had disqualified a Team Lotus entry on the starting grid.

Can anybody recall the incident he was referring to? The nearest I can think of is the debut of the Lotus 18 at the 1959 Boxing Day Brands Hatch meeting.


Holy resurrected threads Batman!

While searching for something completely unconnected, I stumbled across this, and I can add just a little to what's claimed here about the Peter Jowitt/Colin Chapman relationship. While at Lotus working on glassfibre moulding applications, we were having problems finding a lightweight foam substance that could be incorporated into body structures at the moulding stage, without crumbling or being attacked by the polyester resin we used. What we were working on was in many ways Colin Chapman's pet project at the time, and on the Monday morning after the 1972 (I think) British GP at Silverstone, he came over quite excited to tell us that he'd been talking to "some bloke" in scrutineering at the GP about the deformable structures that were being grafted onto cars like the 72D to improve their side-impact resistance, when he'd started telling Chapman about using polyester foam as a reinforcement material. Chapman thought that this could be the answer to our problems, and asked or more probably told Albert Adams, Body Process Manager and a Lotus employee from the Hornsey days, to find out more about this wonder material. He told us where he'd heard about it from "Some big bloke with a bushy beard", and I guessed straight away that he meant Peter Jowitt and said so, which impressed Chapman no end, but Roger's quote above is interesting in that Chapman clearly hadn't a clue who PFJ was when away from the RAC. I gained an incalculable number of brownie points by informing Al & The Old Man, that I knew PFJ, very slightly if truth be told, where he worked, and how to get hold of him, so the task was delegated to me, and very difficult it proved. Contact was eventually established, and it turned out that Jowitt knew almost nothing about the subject, confusing polyester with polyurethane foam, that honey-coloured stuff that crumbles in your fingers, and is used mainly as an insulating material, having very little structural strength in its most common form. Chapman's final verdict on Peter Jowitt? "Typical bloody Government employee, never made a thing in his life, and knows almost nothing about how people like us do things". There was one small benefit though, The Great Man actually addressed me by name for a week or two after that, not something he was known for around the Company. It didn't last long of course, but for a time I was one of only a select few of the hundred or so in the big main Lotus office whose name Chapman could remember, he was never renowned as a 'people person'.


#9 Geoff E

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 19:51

By Peter Jowitt:

I was initially quite surprised to have a telephone call from the RAC to the effect that
Colin Chapman had asked whether I would assist in the investigation of the accident.
At that time the relationship between Colin and myself could best be described as armed
neutrality. I had rejected a number of his cars, including at least one from the start line.


from "Jim Clark Remembered" (Graham Gauld)

(edited to correct typo)

Edited by Geoff E, 03 December 2010 - 20:20.


#10 kayemod

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 20:10

By Peter Jowitt:

I was initially quite surprised to have a telephone call from the RAC to the effect that
Colin Chapman had asked whether I would assist in the investiation of the accident.
At that time the relationship between Colin and myself could best be described as armed
neutrality. I had rejected a number of his cars, including at least one from the start line.


from "Jim Clark Remembered" (Graham Gauld)


Yes, I've read that in GG's excellent book. My impression at the time was that it was Peter Jowitt 'bigging himself up'. Not something that would come as a surprise to anyone who knew or had dealings with the man, not at all unlikeable, but very full of his own self-importance. My initial contact with him was as a writer for the model car magazine Miniature Auto, a magazine I rarely saw, and which I was very surprised to learn recently from another thread, was co-founded by none other than Doug Nye, who I'd impugned by naming as "possibly an occasional contributor", sorry Doug, but I only ever saw an occasional copy after its Knightsbridge take-over. As PFJ, Peter Jowitt used to do what I thought were rather poor track-tests of ready to run slot cars, while I as a teenage scribbler, used to do much the same for the magazine's more racing orientated competitor Model Cars. Peter Jowitt was a man for whom the word 'pompous' was invented, he treated me like a schoolboy, which in truth of course, I'd not long before been, but he could have been nicer about it.

#11 elansprint72

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:59

...................Holy resurrected threads Batman!........
Agreed.


How anyone can quote CROMBAC as a reliable witness, when it comes to Chapman is beyond me.

#12 David Birchall

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 19:01

How anyone can quote CROMBAC as a reliable witness, when it comes to Chapman is beyond me.


Do tell more.

#13 Graham Gauld

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 20:03

Yes, I've read that in GG's excellent book. My impression at the time was that it was Peter Jowitt 'bigging himself up'. Not something that would come as a surprise to anyone who knew or had dealings with the man, not at all unlikeable, but very full of his own self-importance. My initial contact with him was as a writer for the model car magazine Miniature Auto, a magazine I rarely saw, and which I was very surprised to learn recently from another thread, was co-founded by none other than Doug Nye, who I'd impugned by naming as "possibly an occasional contributor", sorry Doug, but I only ever saw an occasional copy after its Knightsbridge take-over. As PFJ, Peter Jowitt used to do what I thought were rather poor track-tests of ready to run slot cars, while I as a teenage scribbler, used to do much the same for the magazine's more racing orientated competitor Model Cars. Peter Jowitt was a man for whom the word 'pompous' was invented, he treated me like a schoolboy, which in truth of course, I'd not long before been, but he could have been nicer about it.



I found Peter quite an open person and I still have some draft notes he sent me on his views on the development of racing car design. Also when Colin Chapman gave me a copy of Peter's conclusions on the Jim Clark accident he did not display animosity towards Peter.

#14 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 21:14

If you punch 'Jowitt' into the TNF Search facility and press the requisite tit, you will find a list of topics including references to Peter. You will find one thread amounting to eight pages (I think) debating Jim Clark's fatal crash at Hockenheim. On page 7 of that thread dated December 2004 there's a post from me recounting a lengthy conversation that I had had on the telephone to him that evening, in which he clarified several points now being raised again here. I hope this helps.

DCN

#15 kayemod

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 22:38

Also when Colin Chapman gave me a copy of Peter's conclusions on the Jim Clark accident he did not display animosity towards Peter.


I wouldn't have expected him to, but I found it hard to believe PFJ's claim that Chapman specifically asked for him to conduct the investigation.