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Saidel's SSR1 - optimism of the moment


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#1 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 00:31

The moment was 1959, as we all know a time of change in racing car design, knowledge was overtaking artistry and established principles.

The Saidel Sports Racing Cars people built this car and even intended campaigning it in European F2. An entry in the 1959 World Championship US GP at Sebring was even intended.

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Today we can look back and smile, but then they were serious about it, so serious it made the pages of theAustralian magazine Sports Car World and filled two of those pages in the October 1959 issue.

Finned alloy drum brakes (Austin Healey options) are the first stand-out as being 'old technology,' but wire wheels were still well used. But the fact that it retains the front-engine layout shows the builders (Ray Saidel and Lou Turner - both formerly employed at Layton Sports Cars in England) weren't watching the trends closely. Incredibly, it uses a worm and sector steering box from the Ford Anglia!

The suspension (torsion bars were used for their instant adjustability) seems from the pics to be double wishbone all round, the engine initially installed was a single cam Climax, but the FPF was scheduled for the F2 assault in Europe planned in 1960 and BMC engines were to be fitted for Formula Junior. Best part of the car was the quick-change differential, made by Layton's, while the gearbox was to be the MGA close ratio model. Presumably the FJr would have had the Sprite box to fit with the smaller engine.

The driver was offset well to the right in the 30" wide body, with a cutaway for access on that side. the high tail was intended to carry extra fuel for long races in F2.

Anyone know how it got on, either in F2 or FJr? They planned to build eight or nine cars over the winter of 1959 at their Manchester, New Hampshire workshop.

Oh, nearly forgot... they also were looking towards the new 1.5-litre F1 of 1961...

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#2 David McKinney

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 07:30

Saidel's Jomar sportscars had been quite successful in the small-car classes of US sportscar races before this.
The F2 Jomar took part in that famous 25/7/59 Lime Rock libre race, the one when Rodger Ward in the Offy midget beat Chuck Daigh's 250F Maserati. Saidel brought the Jomar to the line 13th.
I have not seen any record of it racing after that, and I doubt very much if any cars made it to Europe.

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 08:22

Strange that it should make that race and then not the Sebring event...

Although the story does say that it would go there "if it comes up to expectations..."

I guess that was quite a lot to ask. Though one Lotus 12 had essentially the same mechanical package (given the FPF).

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 10:55

I suspect 13th place at Lime Rock in a field largely made up of sportscars, and some fairly ordinary ones at that, was enough to put them off entering any Grand Prix. If it was as good as a Lotus 12, even with an FWB engine, it would have shown better in the libre race. And don't forget that even the Lotus 12 had been replaced by the 16 some eighteen months before the Sebring race in question.

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 12:21

And I'd say the Lotus 12 had about half the frontal area...

#6 Don Capps

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 15:09

What I never cease to be both amazed and delighted by was that these machines, the teams, and their creators were all such daring and imaginative people -- regardless of how misplaced their ambitions might be. And perhaps we are the poorer for their absence.

One of the great joys I have when poring through magazines of the 1950's and 1960's is often the amazing racing machines that one finds there in many different classifications. Look at the wonderful variations on the BMW 328 in Germany for a decade or so after the War. Look at all those wonderful American sports car specials and the many attempts by the small constructors worldwide to crack into GP or sports car racing.

Sometimes the joy is in the effort of trying, regardless of the outcome. Not all dreams come true, but at least some had dreams and made an attempt to realize them. Today, most of these efforts are the object of scorn or the butt of jokes. That is too bad, since I don't share the opinion of most that "real" racing requires the manufacturers. But, that is another story for another time.

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 16:19

You are so right, Don...

The variety of ideas was enormous, and today the other thing is that nobody just goes racing, they compete in some series or another... it's the total focus.

My surprise was at seeing this so enthusiastically covered (and branded "America's newest international racing challenger") in an Australian magazine. I doubt that the Scarab got such lavish coverage.

#8 JOMAR

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 18:20

The moment was 1959, as we all know a time of change in racing car design, knowledge was overtaking artistry and established principles.

The Saidel Sports Racing Cars people built this car and even intended campaigning it in European F2. An entry in the 1959 World Championship US GP at Sebring was even intended.

Posted Image

Today we can look back and smile, but then they were serious about it, so serious it made the pages of theAustralian magazine Sports Car World and filled two of those pages in the October 1959 issue.

Finned alloy drum brakes (Austin Healey options) are the first stand-out as being 'old technology,' but wire wheels were still well used. But the fact that it retains the front-engine layout shows the builders (Ray Saidel and Lou Turner - both formerly employed at Layton Sports Cars in England) weren't watching the trends closely. Incredibly, it uses a worm and sector steering box from the Ford Anglia!

The suspension (torsion bars were used for their instant adjustability) seems from the pics to be double wishbone all round, the engine initially installed was a single cam Climax, but the FPF was scheduled for the F2 assault in Europe planned in 1960 and BMC engines were to be fitted for Formula Junior. Best part of the car was the quick-change differential, made by Layton's, while the gearbox was to be the MGA close ratio model. Presumably the FJr would have had the Sprite box to fit with the smaller engine.

The driver was offset well to the right in the 30" wide body, with a cutaway for access on that side. the high tail was intended to carry extra fuel for long races in F2.

Anyone know how it got on, either in F2 or FJr? They planned to build eight or nine cars over the winter of 1959 at their Manchester, New Hampshire workshop.

Oh, nearly forgot... they also were looking towards the new 1.5-litre F1 of 1961...

Dear Ray,
Several things to correct.
1. Lou Turner spent his entire life working here at the dealership first making the Jomars with dad, later as a Volvo tech until 1991 when we semiretired him to rebuild the Jomars with me. He has never been outside the USA. My dad also has worked here since my grandfather died in 1950, and except for fighting Rommel in North Africa and the Germans throughout the Italien camp never left the USA, except for a trip to England in the spring of 1959 to become a member of the TVR board of directors. The purpose was to finalize his contract etc. the results weren't good and over zealous changes to the contract in terms of min amounts of cars to be taken by Saidel Sports racing Cars really were the straw that broke the relationship.

2. The SSR1 was dads attempt at getting a jump on Formula Jr. He took chassis 7c111 and cut the front and rear suspension off and he Lou and Norm leads made a ladder frame of their own. Fabricated their alloy body in the winter of 1958 to be ready for the 59 season. Prior Chris Shoorock and Bernard Williams had convinced dad to go with supercharged climax 1220 and 1500s. So that winter they built 3 new supercharged Jomars. 7c-s113 which ran at Daytona 1000km, 7c-s116 rebodied with body from dads team car 7c104, and the SSR1. He left USAC at the end of 1959 after finishing well, but with the smallest displacement car. He did run the SSR1 on and off in SCCA until 1963. It was asleep until 1991 when i resurected it with lous help. Dad vintage raced his SSR1 until 3 years ago when at age 83 he figured it was time to stop racing. The car is still quite fast today.

3. The worm and sector box were standard issue on the tvr chassis, thus they used what they could from 7c111. 7C111 was a spare racing chassis that was not being bodied or used at the time.