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Largest GP engine.


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#1 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 23 June 2002 - 18:08

Some sources suggest that the 1907 Christie GP car had the largest engine ever, to have competed in Grand Prix.

It entered the 1907 French GP and featured a 19981 cc V4 with a square cylinder dimensions of 185 x 185 mm.

As can be seen on the image below, it had the V4 mounted transverse over the front axle and it also had front wheel drive. The Christie marque was founded by John Walter Christie and he operated out of New York. His cars were produced during 1904-1910.


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#2 Barry Lake

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 07:27

The largest I have listed are:

1907 Christie at 19.891 litres, 1906 Panhard at 18.279 litres and the 1906 Lorraine-Dietrich at 18.146 litres.

#3 schuy

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 09:22

How many HP's are we talking about with these things?(Hoping not to get stoned upon entrance to the TNF)

Liran Biderman.

#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 10:04

The Panhard developed about 130bhp, but I can't find any figures for the others at the moment.

And this is TNF, Liran, not RC - we don't do things like that here! :)

#5 Ian McKean

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 10:13

Amazing! My understanding is that universal joints weren't too good in those days. Does anyone know anything about the U/Js employed on the Christie?

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 10:34

Sounds like the whole chassis wasn't up to the job, let alone the UJs - it was described as having a "curious longitudinal rocking motion" at speed and it retired with a clutch failure (it had two!) Although the biggest-engined, it was the lightest car built to the 1007kg Formula - only :rolleyes: 810 kilos.

#7 dretceterini

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 16:16

As the Iron Chef would say:

If I remember correctly (and I often do NOT)..

The Christie didn't have "real" U-joints...the wheels were pretty much bolted to extensions of the a long shaft connected directly to the output of the engine crank by gears!!

and just how much power would a 20 liter car produce today???!!!!

:eek:

Stu

#8 BRG

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 16:39

Originally posted by dretceterini
the wheels were pretty much bolted to extensions of the a long shaft connected directly to the output of the engine crank by gears!!

Wouldn't that make life pretty difficult on a front wheel drive car? The steering would be heavy, to say the least!!

#9 dretceterini

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 19:35

Ok, what I meant is that the joints were not what we would "normally" think of as u-joints..of course there was some sort of set up so the wheels could actually turn...

Stu

#10 2F-001

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 19:45

Liran - I don't think anyone gets 'stoned' around here, unless they are gratuitously rude or persistently ''off-topic''.
So, welcome! Hope you find things here to interest you.

#11 2F-001

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 19:53

When you see typical pre-war (or I suppose, pre-mass aviation?) castings and other metallurgy and general metalcraft, I find it remarkable that some of these machines could get well below a ton (or a tonne). Many racecars today are over 810kg. What's the weight of a current F1 car? 600kg?

#12 GunStar

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 20:08

Note that those cars were a simple chassis, engine, wheels, seat, stearing wheel, gas tank and driver. There wasn't much else like we have today. Today's chassis is made of either aluminum or a carbon fibre blend. They may be light compared to a steel tube frame, but not so light compared to what they carried back then. The engines are smaller and lighter today, even with the transmission bolted on, they did not have most of the ancilliary requirements. Just a simple alternator and water pump. Given todays wheels and tires, they aren't like the spoked bicycle tires/wheels anymore. They weight a lot in todays world. The "seat" back then wasn't anything really. Maybe some cloth or light padding over a contured sheet of steel. Ok, you will win some weight on the stearing wheel :p . Gas tank capacity differed by what they need. Could vary. Won't say anything about driver size PERIOD!!!

#13 Ian McKean

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 22:08

Originally posted by dretceterini
As the Iron Chef would say:

If I remember correctly (and I often do NOT)..

The Christie didn't have "real" U-joints...the wheels were pretty much bolted to extensions of the a long shaft connected directly to the output of the engine crank by gears!!


Does this mean that the car steered by swivelling the whole front axle (like a cart) complete with engine and transmission?

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 23:48

Having just two cylinders, each with such a low specific output, there is a huge reduction in complexity.

Some U-joints of the day were fabric or rubberised fabric... I'd like to know more about this particular application.

As for the 'longitudinal rocking,' could it have been simple torque reaction to the slow-revving twin?

#15 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 12:21

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Having just two cylinders, .....


Four, actually :)

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 12:50

Ah, yes..

Two crank throws, perhaps?

#17 schuy

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 15:45

Originally posted by Vitesse2
The Panhard developed about 130bhp, but I can't find any figures for the others at the moment.


Cheers.

And this is TNF, Liran, not RC - we don't do things like that here! :)


Phew :D

Originally posted by 2F-001
Liran - I don't think anyone gets 'stoned' around here, unless they are gratuitously rude or persistently ''off-topic''.
So, welcome! Hope you find things here to interest you.


Cheers!

#18 lynmeredith

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 23:02

Originally posted by schuy


Liran - I don't think anyone gets 'stoned' around here, unless they are gratuitously rude or persistently ''off-topic''.



Phew :D



Cheers!


Mind you some of these characters are obviously stoned, but in a different way. Sherry for me please. Cheers.

Lyn M

#19 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 23:13

:drunk: :drunk:

:lol:

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#20 Barry Lake

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 01:45

I hadn't really thought about it until now, but I don't thiunk I have ever seen details in words or pictures regarding the steering mechanism of the Christie.

My memory agrees that there was no transmission, that the crankshaft was, more or less, the "live" part of the live front axle but there's nothing there about steering or universal joints.

I don't have time to do the research on this, being well and truly occupied elsewhere. I was rather hoping that Hans Etzrodt might jump in with some more details.

Again, dipping into the sludge pit at the bottom of my memory bank, I seem to remember that Christie had a similarly set-up road car and perhaps more than one version of the race car. The message emerging from the sludge also is that both road cars and race cars were difficult to drive and spectacularly unsuccessful.

Can someone confirm or disprove this memory?

#21 Barry Lake

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 01:49

I have found mention of 130 bhp output for the 18.1 litre Lorrainne-Dietrich - at the dizzying speed of 1,100 rpm!

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 02:30

Originally posted.....
Again, dipping into the sludge pit at the bottom of my memory bank, I seem to remember that Christie had a similarly set-up road car and perhaps more than one version of the race car. The message emerging from the sludge also is that both road cars and race cars were difficult to drive and spectacularly unsuccessful.

Can someone confirm or disprove this memory?


Sure thing... BL (Brian Laban this time) says this in The World Guide to Automobiles on pages 96 & 97... road cars were planned, but was in the business of proving his "drive patents" before he took this step.

First car was built in 1903, having been conceived from 1901, with a 30hp engine. Then within a year came a 60hp version with one exhaust and eight inlet valves per cylinder (!), both apparently four cylinders...

The following year, after some racing appearances, it seems people expressed interest in touring versions, so John Walter Christie formed the Christie Direct Action Motor Car Co in Hoboken and offered shares to the value of $330,000. Of this, the article says, $299,000 was his valuation of his 'drive patents'...

By September 1905 he built a 4WD, which was like a Twin-Mini... the same back and front, but this was crashed by George Robertson in the Long Island elimination race (elimination is right!) for the Vanderbilt Cup... "he failed to take a bend and lost both front wheels."

Christie himself drove another car in that race, but it was also eliminated by tangling with Lancia's Fiat.

Work was begun the following year on a road car, which sold for $7,500, and new investors were attracted by the project. Intending to build no fewer than 30 100mph runabouts selling at $7,000 each in 1907, with plans to increase production to 100 cars the following year, he ran into conflicts with the investors.

They were disillusioned by the racing failures!

There were apparently a half dozen Christie racers in all, the final one failing on the fifth lap of the 1907 French GP. Laban says "the understeer so spectacularly displayed on the American dirt tracks was entertaining to watch but hardly calculated to encourage road car sales."

Receivers moved in, Christie started again, built a taxi and one final racer, used by Barney Oldfield until 1915. Out of business altogether in 1910, he returned to the automotive field (he had an Iron works and built marine and stationery engines) two years later and formed the Front Drive Motor Corporation, building "600 highly-regarded fire engine tractor units."

He then moved into building tanks, with Britain, Germany and Russia showing interest in their speed etc, but the US shunning his designs. He died in January 1944.

Interesting that 1915 is given as the year he went into the tank business, and that Germany is mentioned as a potential customer...

#23 schuy

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 08:11

Originally posted by lynmeredith


Mind you some of these characters are obviously stoned, but in a different way. Sherry for me please. Cheers.

Lyn M


Hehe.

Originally posted by Barry Lake

at the dizzying speed of 1,100 rpm!


Woohoo!

Liran Biderman.

#24 Catalina Park

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 09:29

Here is a picture of the Christie from the book "American Grand Prix Racing" by Tim Considine.

You can see the front spring mounts but not the drive shafts or steering gear, I would guess it was a kind of sliding pillar suspension but I have no idea how the driveshafts or steering worked.

Posted Image

#25 VAR1016

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 09:39

The biggest is surely "The Beast of Turin", the FIAT that had the 28-litre 4-cylinder airship engine and allegedly 300 BHP. I cannot remember the type number.

Years ago, I had an article about this car that appeared in Veteran and Vintage magazine. It was siad that one had to stand on the dumbirons to fill the radiator.

I recall that the car went to America - possibly to be driven by Ralph de Palma and I think the car was last heard of in Tampico in Mexico.

VAR1016 :smoking:

#26 David McKinney

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 10:37

What Grand Prix did the Fiat race in, VAR?

#27 dretceterini

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 11:26

Are you speking of the big tall monster with the grille that is rounded at the top? It did come to America, but I have no idea when and where it ran. I thought it was prmarilly a record car.

As to the Christie, I have no idea how the steering worked, but seem to remember from somewhere that it had 2 crankshafts, one for the right and one for the left wheel coupled together in some sort of wierd arrangement(!)

PS: I'll take a Grand Marnier and a slice of butter pound cake please.. :stoned:

Stu

#28 VAR1016

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 11:53

Originally posted by David McKinney
What Grand Prix did the Fiat race in, VAR?


Good point! Perhaps it was a record car.

In response to a subsequent posting, It did have a rather domed radiator shell I seem to remember.

There's a hefty-looking FIAT GP car from about 1912 that I have seen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed - it belongs to an American Judge. I believe that its capacity is in excess of 12 litres.

It has a very short wheelbase and enormous torque!

Finally on the Christie, that car must have been the all-time understeerer!

VAR1016 :smoking:

#29 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 11:58

Originally posted by VAR1016
The biggest is surely "The Beast of Turin", the FIAT that had the 28-litre 4-cylinder airship engine and allegedly 300 BHP. I cannot remember the type number.

Years ago, I had an article about this car that appeared in Veteran and Vintage magazine. It was siad that one had to stand on the dumbirons to fill the radiator.

I recall that the car went to America - possibly to be driven by Ralph de Palma and I think the car was last heard of in Tampico in Mexico.

VAR1016 :smoking:


That's the S76, but it was never a GP car, just a record car, as Stu says.

Originally posted by VAR1016
There's a hefty-looking FIAT GP car from about 1912 that I have seen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed - it belongs to an American Judge. I believe that its capacity is in excess of 12 litres.

It has a very short wheelbase and enormous torque!


An S74?

#30 BRG

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 12:54

Originally posted by Catalina Park
Here is a picture of the Christie from the book "American Grand Prix Racing" by Tim Considine.
Posted Image

Now presumably the barrel effort between the front wheels is the crankcase, but does it also include the transmission? I guess so, becuase the shaft thingy across the front has a linkage back to a lever by the cockpit, and is presumably the gearchange. Was there a differential? If not, that would explain the serious understeer that Ray mentioned. There must be a UJ or CV joint of some sort at each wheel, but it doesn't look like the steering lock could have been very great so maybe that joint did not need to be so sophisticated. What was under the body - there is a big gap between engine and cockpit that seems to be simply empty space?