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Full-face helmets


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#1 bill moffat

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 17:39

So who was the first F1 driver to use a full-face (Bell) helmet in a Grand Prix. When did an open face helmet make its last GP appearance and whose cranium filled it. I think the answer to the first question may be Jackie Ickx..no doubt somebody will prove me wrong. On the same subject remember the Griffin helmet with the famous frangible bolt ?

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#2 ensign14

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 17:51

First full face helmet was, I think, Dan Gurney sometime in 1968-9.

Last open face helmet was Leo Kinnunen in 1974.

#3 jarama

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 17:56

bill,

IIRC the last GP driver to use an open helmet, was Leo Kinnunen by 1974.

OT, 'cause was at Indy, the first driver with full-face helmet I remember was Dan Gurney, by Indy '68.

Carles.

#4 jarama

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 18:03

ensign,

you've been faster. :up:

Carles.

#5 WGD706

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 18:13

There's a photo of Dan Gurney wearing a full-face black helmet in the 1968 Canadian GP...
http://www.ifrance.c...GP/IMGP171e.jpg
But there is also one of Jochen Rindt in the earlier Spanish GP of 1968 as the wings on his Brabham buckle....
http://www.ifrance.c.../GP/IMGP163.jpg

#6 David Beard

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 18:40

Originally posted by WGD706
There's a photo of Dan Gurney wearing a full-face black helmet in the 1968 Canadian GP...
http://www.ifrance.c...GP/IMGP171e.jpg
But there is also one of Jochen Rindt in the earlier Spanish GP of 1968 as the wings on his Brabham buckle....
http://www.ifrance.c.../GP/IMGP163.jpg


Dan wore the Ned Kelly creation for the first time at the Brands GP in 68, I think.

#7 Roger Clark

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 18:58

Originally posted by WGD706
There's a photo of Dan Gurney wearing a full-face black helmet in the 1968 Canadian GP...
http://www.ifrance.c...GP/IMGP171e.jpg
But there is also one of Jochen Rindt in the earlier Spanish GP of 1968 as the wings on his Brabham buckle....
http://www.ifrance.c.../GP/IMGP163.jpg


The "Rindt" picture is Ickx in the 1969 spanish GP.

#8 WGD706

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 19:11

You're right, it IS Ickx; in looking at the background, it's at Barcelona not Jamara. Anyway, I've found that Dan Gurney is credited with being the first GP driver to wear such a helmet, in 1968.

#9 2F-001

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 19:17

bill -
I remember the Griffin helmet - when I was in school, the brother of one of my close mates was racing and had just moved in Formula Ford (with the ex-works Richard Morgan Crossle 25F) and bought a Griffin. We were design students at the time and thought this helmet was the bees-knees (there WAS a lot of hype about it - but it was quite nice). This guy's mother was not entirely comfortable with his racing and I remember after one meeting said Griffin had to be taken to someone else's house for a thorough cleaning because it had tyre marks all over one side...!

#10 bill moffat

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 20:05

thanks guys..so we'll settle for Gurney first and Kinnunen last. Perhaps I remember Ickx for the curious twin eyehole helmet which I suppose was considered to be the logical development of the full face concept. I believe Rupert Keegan also wore one of these (?Bell) models.

Everything seems to be fairly uniform these days altho' we did go through the phase of those rather trendy Darth Vader helmets. I seem to remember that Graham Hill's transition from "open" to "closed" was via a helmet with a flip up chin piece/visor..the sort that every respectable Gold Wing rider uses these days...

#11 WGD706

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 20:57

I believe John Watson also wore a twin eye-hole helmet for awhile; those
Darth Vaders were Simpson Bandits.
I remember going into a motorcycle shop on Long Island, looking for a helmet and found a bin full of $25 models...and a sign that said "If you have a $25 head, buy a $25 helmet."

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 20:59

http://www.atlasf1.c...&threadid=42135

:)

#13 David Beard

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 21:10

Originally posted by Roger Clark


The "Rindt" picture is Ickx in the 1969 spanish GP.



That's right, and the photo depicts not the first full face helmet but the first F1 application of the dihedral wing ;)

#14 Roger Clark

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 23:31

The earlier thread (referred to by Vitesse ) concluded that the first time a full face helmet was used in a Grand Prix was the 1968 German Grand Prix. In fact, I believe David Beard was correct when he said that Gurney wore it in the British GP, a few weeks earlier.

#15 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 10:05

Tecnically, that inverted "v" shaped wing on Ickx's car should be termed "anhedral".

#16 bill moffat

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 10:15

I have pictures of Jack Brabham in the early 70's wearing ( in F1 and Matra sports cars) a curious looking open- faced helmet. . The side pieces are bulbous and I suspect (and vaguely remember ) that it was an adaptation of an American air force helmet. The fact that he appears to be wearing ski-goggles adds to the curiosity !

Jackie Stewart also wore a similar device when testing the 701 March..despite the fact that he was "enclosed" when racing the Matra so effectively in late '69. Help me out here please.

The Griffin helmet controversy arose after atleast one incident of strap failure caused by ( I think) a driver sustaining a blow to the helmet from a catch-fencing pole. The manufacturer's explanation was that there was a "frangible bolt" which was designed to fail when a certain load was exerted on the helmet. All OK if this failed at the end of your excursion..not so if the catch fencing accounted for your helmet and the Armco/other circuit furniture still loomed...

#17 David Beard

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 11:39

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
Tecnically, that inverted "v" shaped wing on Ickx's car should be termed "anhedral".


oops, yes, think you're right Eric :o

#18 dewittereus

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 11:58

The first version of the Bell Star did not have a flip up visor. It was released in 1967 .
This image http://www.xs4all.nl...FlipUpVisor.jpg
comes from a book by Rin Tanaka (published by Schiffer). Somewhere I have seen a photo of Gurney wearing one, but I could not find it.
The study for the full face helmet was started by Bell in 1962. Bell owner Roy Richter was the driving force.

#19 David M. Kane

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 14:34

I remember going to my friend's Hot Rod Shop on in Georgetown and seeing an
early Bell ad. It had a simple photo of the full face helmet with the caption, "If you have a $5 head, get a $5 helmet". We all agreed that it
made sense to spend the extra bucks and get a full-face helmet. What a great reality line.

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#20 bill moffat

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 18:46

I think we're there. Vitesse is right. I've a photo of the start of the 68 British GP at Brands. Dan Gurney's Eagle is visible to the left of the picture apparently seeking refuge in the pit lane exit. He appears to be wearing an open faced helmet. This means that his closed helmet debut was at a very wet Nurburgring in August '68..this fact is confirmed by the great man himself on Dan's AAR web site...

Anyone had any ideas yet regarding Black Jack's odd looking helmet..see my previous posting...

#21 David Beard

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 19:00

Originally posted by bill moffat
I think we're there. Vitesse is right. I've a photo of the start of the 68 British GP at Brands. Dan Gurney's Eagle is visible to the left of the picture apparently seeking refuge in the pit lane exit. He appears to be wearing an open faced helmet. This means that his closed helmet debut was at a very wet Nurburgring in August '68..this fact is confirmed by the great man himself on Dan's AAR web site...


I'm confused. I was at Brands in 68. I'm sure I remember him in what I thought was a very ugly helmet. :confused:

#22 WGD706

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 19:55

Bill
If you can find any photos from the 1970 Monaco GP, Jack Brabham's odd-looking helmet is very prominent; it does look like there are ear-phones inside the helmet.

#23 Pedro 917

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 09:51

It's a long time ago but I've read somewhere that the helmet contained some kind of a fire extinguisher / liquid or powder. I'll have to look it up.
Poor Piers Courage was wearing one too when he was killed at Zandvoort, wasn't a big help though........

#24 Ian McKean

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Posted 01 November 2002 - 19:42

IIRC, Rindt suffered from sickness when he first wore a full-face helmet. How did he (and/or the helmet manufacturers) get over the problem?

#25 WGD706

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Posted 01 November 2002 - 20:59

Ian
I think that was at the French GP in 1970 at Clermont-Ferrand; Rindt never liked the track - its undulations made him physically sick, which was odd because he was a very good down-hill skier, IIRC.
Warren

#26 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 November 2002 - 21:29

Originally posted by WGD706
Bill
If you can find any photos from the 1970 Monaco GP, Jack Brabham's odd-looking helmet is very prominent; it does look like there are ear-phones inside the helmet.


Blackie's 'odd looking' helmet was a US helicopter aircrew helmet shaped specifically to house a headset but Jack didn't use it with earphones, instead it housed proper ear protection, designed to protect helicopter crews from all that wocka-wocka rah-rah from their flying machines - plus the noise of their chainguns...

He had realised he was losing his hearing from as early as the 1966 season, and he is today somewhat handicapped by profound deafness in both ears. Roy Salvadori recalls how "We all warned Jack he'd damage his hearing if he continued to refuse to ewear earplugs in the 1950s but he just would not, and always claimed he wanted to hear the engine and the gearbox during a race, practice or testing. He heard them all right - and they left him stone deaf!"

Jack believes the damage began in his earliest days of midget car racing, when the open exhaust of his car and those around him battered back particularly from the grandstand canopy roof at the Sydney Showgrounds and other similar tracks. "That really was ear-splitting and you could feel your eardrums flutter every time the noise hit peak decibels...".

DCN

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 November 2002 - 21:34

I know that noise...

Like when a GTA or GTZ goes by at full song in one of the intermediates... the ears hurt till it arrives again the next lap!

The speedway also had the exhausts echoing back from the everpresent (and quite close) fences...

#28 David Beard

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 20:24

Originally posted by bill moffat
I think we're there. Vitesse is right. I've a photo of the start of the 68 British GP at Brands. Dan Gurney's Eagle is visible to the left of the picture apparently seeking refuge in the pit lane exit. He appears to be wearing an open faced helmet.


Oh no he wasn't......

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#29 Mohican

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Posted 05 February 2003 - 08:46

More on odd 70's helmets:

there was the (Griffin ?) helmet with a very large aperture, worn by Pryce and others;
the AGV version with a ventilation hole on the top (pre-accident Lauda and Brambilla in 1976);
the twin-aperture ("eyes only") version used by Ickx;
the later (early 80's) "Darth Vader" version, used by De Angelis and others.

#30 Simpson RX1

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 14:20

[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by Mohican
More on odd 70's helmets:


the later (early 80's) "Darth Vader" version, used by De Angelis and others.

Did someone mention my name :D

#31 Alan Baker

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 15:14

Gurney was certainly the first to wear a full face helmet in a Grand Prix, but it was Graham Hill who was the first to actually win a GP wearing one (Monaco 1969). The last open face Grand Prix winner was Clay Regazzoni at Monza in 1970. Funnily enough, the usually super safety conscious Jackie Stewart was slow to adopt the full face type, preferring from mid '68 on to wear his open face Buco with a rain visor. Even after adopting the full face type during 1969, he occasionally reverted to the open face with rain visor, as late as Monaco 1970. Anyone know why?

#32 Cirrus

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 17:14

A couple of other observations on full face helmets.

In the mid seventies, I worked for Gordon Spice, the UK distributor for Griffin helmets. After the "frangible bolt" episode, when Tony Brise's helmet came off in the big '75 British GP shunt in the rain, Terry Ogilvie-Hardie, the boss of Griffin offered free non-frangible bolt kits to anybody who wanted to upgrade to a helmet that actually stayed on. Needless to say, there was a healthy demand !

Derek Spice used to demonstrate the strength of the Griffin GP visor by firing a 12 bore shotgun at one at a range of about three metres, and although heavily pockmarked by the pellets, none actually penetrated the visor - quite impressive.

On the subject of Niki Lauda's AGV helmet - the one with the air vent at the top - I believe it came off in his German GP shunt. The rumour at the time was that due to his small head there was a lot of padding at the back of the helmet. The chinstrap was quite well forward on the shell, and when he had a large blow to the back of his helmet, the chinstrap came off his chin and the helmet came off too. Of course, that may just have been a bit of PR spin by Griffin !

#33 eldougo

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 02:52

;)

Here a question for you ----- TNF eerrrss.


WHO WORE THE FIRST "DARTH VADER" HELMET MADE BY SIMPSON?????????????

#34 fines

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 09:09

Bill Simpson???


__________________
Michael Ferner

Habana cigars, Mellaha circuit. As a German, I feel pretty swell, Mr. Bumsfeld.

#35 Simpson RX1

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 14:02

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

#36 Mischa Bijenhof

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 22:18

I remeber Elio De Angelis and Jan Lammers wearing Darth Vader helmets during the 1979 season, when they were teammates at Shadow. I shall ask Jan if he knows more about this.

#37 David Beard

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 22:30

Wasn't there a rather bizarre version of the Bell Star with 2 eye holes, rather than a letter box slot? I'm sure I remember at least 1 F1 driver trying it.

#38 Simpson RX1

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 23:33

Yep Lammers and de Angelis both used Simpsons, as did Mario Andretti, James Hunt, Jochen Mass, Riccardo Patrese and (I think) Jody Scheckter. There were probably many others too (I seem to remember a Metallic Blue lid with styleised flames - one of the Fabi brothers?), as well as virtually all Indycar and Drag racers.

I'm not sure who was the last to use one, but I'd toss a coin on de Angelis or Mass.

As for the twin eye hole Bell XFLSS, not many tried this as there were problems with side vision (imagine, a crash helmet with a built in blind spot - clever...NOT!), but for sure John Watson and Emerson Fittipaldi were users; come to think of it, Emmo had an RX1 as well.

I think you'll find pictures of all these on Forix.

#39 WGD706

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 23:33

The only 2 F1 drivers that I can recall using the 2-eye-hole Bell were Jacky Ickx and John Watson.

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#40 Simpson RX1

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 23:39

Not sure about Ickx - I would have thought he'd finished in F1 by the time this lid came out.

#41 WGD706

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 23:44

If you go to the following web-site, there are a few photos of Ickx wearing this helmet at Belgium ('78), and France & Germany in '79. Photos are about halfway down.
http://www.jacky-ick...sh/gal_news.php

#42 Simpson RX1

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 00:04

And you learn something new every day!

Thanx WGD

#43 eldougo

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 10:39

Simpson RX1 QUOTE.

Yep Lammers and de Angelis both used Simpsons, as did Mario Andretti, James Hunt, Jochen Mass,

JOCHEN MASS

He did have the 1st one in f1 followed by M.A. J.H. & Hector Rebaque . :up:

#44 arttidesco

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 17:48

Interesting pic of young master James (S) Hunt clearly wearing an open face helmet at the 1973 Canadian GP meeting, I am guessing he lived up to his yet to be fully disregarded nick name, judging by the borrowed wing he is running, does anyone remember the story here ?

#45 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 22:56

I am surprised the our esteemed moderator has not contributed to this thread!

#46 Twin Window

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 23:24

As for the twin eye hole Bell XFLSS, not many tried this as there were problems with side vision (imagine, a crash helmet with a built in blind spot - clever...NOT!)

Nah, there was no 'blind-spot' when using the XFLSS; I used one for two years and got used to the centre-bar within minutes. No F1, nor any other top-level driver, would have stayed with it had there been; the problem was that it was introduced at the same time as 'ground-effect' came to the fore which significantly increased the cornering g-load on a driver's head & neck. Thus the onus was soon focused upon saving weight on the head, and the end result was the Bell XFM-1, Simpson 'Star Wars' and so on - all of which were significantly lighter-weight than the earlier Bell lids.

GPA had already produced a significantly lighter helmet sometime earlier, but incidents such as Jarier's at the '75 British GP caused scepticism. However the advent of 'ground-effect' brought it into back favour by merit of their light-weightedness, only to be scuppered for a second time primarily due to Gilles Villeneuve's accident at Zolder after which their unique 'horse-shoe' fastening caused concern. Having briefly held a strong position - they used to replicate the livery of every F1 driver's current lid (be they contracted to Bell, Simpson or whoever) and send them lids free-of-charge! - GPA faded away from top-level use, even though conventional chin-straps were always an option...

#47 Twin Window

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 23:24

I am surprised the our esteemed moderator has not contributed to this thread!

:wave:

I got distracted mid-reply!

#48 Marc Sproule

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 00:44

Ickx, in Haas' Can Am car '79, wearing a "twinny".

http://www.flickr.co...57623311345506/

Rahal wore a two-holer one year. I'll have to dig up snaps of that. Pretty sure it was '79 in Can Am and I think he wore it in F2, too.

IIRC, Gilles wore a Griffin in '75 and '76. More images to add to my find'em and scan'em list.

Here's Gilles at Laguna in '76. Doesn't show it very well, but I have others that do.

http://www.flickr.co...57624008130538/

#49 f1steveuk

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 18:41

Interesting pic of young master James (S) Hunt clearly wearing an open face helmet at the 1973 Canadian GP meeting, I am guessing he lived up to his yet to be fully disregarded nick name, judging by the borrowed wing he is running, does anyone remember the story here ?


1973 was the year of the rain and the confused results. Quite a few drivers choose to use open face helmets because of the amount of water about, and the danger of visors misting up. I think Denny Hulme used a heated visor in that race. I have to say I don't recall seeing Hunt with an open face helmet, but that means nothing!

Many of the drivers who used full face helmets in that race used bubble visors for the same reason.

Prior to this I recall Graham Hill using the spinning visor that you see a lot in karting.

Edited by f1steveuk, 14 September 2010 - 18:43.


#50 Chris Townsend

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 20:52

Ickx, in Haas' Can Am car '79, wearing a "twinny".

http://www.flickr.co...57623311345506/

Rahal wore a two-holer one year. I'll have to dig up snaps of that. Pretty sure it was '79 in Can Am and I think he wore it in F2, too.

IIRC, Gilles wore a Griffin in '75 and '76. More images to add to my find'em and scan'em list.

Here's Gilles at Laguna in '76. Doesn't show it very well, but I have others that do.

http://www.flickr.co...57624008130538/


Your memory is spot on Marc!
Just talking to Bobby and he said he did indeed wear a two-hole Bell in 1979 in both F2 and Can Am.
I went to a lot of F2 that year and I didn't remember that