Jump to content


Photo

The first monocoque F1


  • Please log in to reply
66 replies to this topic

#1 ian senior

ian senior
  • Member

  • 2,140 posts
  • Joined: September 02

Posted 13 November 2002 - 14:55

Was it really the Lotus 25? No doubt some historian will tell me otherwise. An earlier pretender was Lawrie Bond's car of 1960; originally designed for Formula Junior, I understand it was intended for the 1.5 litre F1 too. Not only was it a (fibreglass) monocoque, it was front wheel drive too. Mind boggling. Never made an F1 race, so perhaps it doesn't count.......

Advertisement

#2 petefenelon

petefenelon
  • Member

  • 4,815 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 13 November 2002 - 15:47

Originally posted by ian senior
Was it really the Lotus 25? No doubt some historian will tell me otherwise. An earlier pretender was Lawrie Bond's car of 1960; originally designed for Formula Junior, I understand it was intended for the 1.5 litre F1 too. Not only was it a (fibreglass) monocoque, it was front wheel drive too. Mind boggling. Never made an F1 race, so perhaps it doesn't count.......


Cooper's unraced monocoque was about contemporary with the 25.

The centre-section of the BRM P25 ("overstressed-skin specials"?) was a monocoque.

And there's the obligatory 1923 Voisin ;)

pete

#3 robert dick

robert dick
  • Member

  • 936 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 13 November 2002 - 16:43

Sorry to be a nuisance with my stone age vehicles.

In 1915 Louis Chevrolet designed and drove himself a small racer in the Indy 500: The Cornelian built by the Blood Bros. Machine Co.. It had a steel "monocoque" (I don't know more details about the monocoque construction), independent wheel suspension via transverse leaf springs, a small (in comparison to the 300 cubic inch competitors) four cylinder engine (74,5/108 mm) and weighed only 450 kg.

The Cornelian did not see the finish - piston failure.

#4 Don Capps

Don Capps
  • Member

  • 5,933 posts
  • Joined: May 99

Posted 13 November 2002 - 17:51

Robert,

You took the words right out of my mouth ref the Chevrolet Cornelian. Somewhere I have some info on it that I uncovered several long months ago. It was interesting and very original vehicle.

#5 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,346 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 13 November 2002 - 18:56

There are obviously many luvverly stressed-skin chassis predecessors to the Lotus 25 but if you apply the 'Formula 1' tag it obviously precludes anything built pre-1948 at the earliest - forgetting all the Formula 'A' versus Formula '1' debate - and it also prohibits inclusion of anything which did not comply with said Formulae.

The Cornelian, the Voisin, the Lightweight Special, the Bond, the Trimax are all prior claimants in racing car terms - while the D-Type Jaguar, the Killeen and the MPS and others staked a claim in sports car form.

In an early edition of his wonderful annual 'Racing Car review' DSJ screwed-up by describing the early Gordini as having a monocoque chassis...it's dangerous ground.

The Type 25 BRM in its original 1955-57 form had stressed-skin stiffening permanently fixed to a tubular basic frame, and the 1958-60 Type 25 second series cars had spoon-shaped stressed-skin undertrays stiffening their otherwise all 'spaceframe' chassis.

BUT, all of this - plus other obscurities - still left the Lotus 25 to introduce successfully to Formula 1 the pure stressed-skin 'monocoque' form of construction - pure in that no other form of stress-bearing longeron was used to stiffen the completed chassis structure.

It was impure in that its strength derived from two separate, parallel, D-section fuel-bearing torsion boxes, interlinked by transverse bulkheads and the floor panel. BRM then introduced the 360-degree skinned 'full monocque' - or what became known as such - in their 1963 Type 61, but even then that car was a hybrid, in that its stressed-skin fuselage terminated behind the driver, and the engine was then slung in a multi-tubular engine bay. It wasn't until 1964 and introduction of the BRM P261 with stressed-skin engine-mounting horns at the rear that the fully wrap-around stressed-skin monocoque reached Formula 1 - to race against the open-top 'bath-tub monocoque' Lotus 25/33 family (And the BRP), and the internal tube-framed stressed-skin stiffened Ferrari 'Aero' malarkey.

DCN

#6 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,278 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 13 November 2002 - 19:25

Going into Devil's Advocate mode...
Isn't the Lotus 25 just an extremely crude space-frame? i.e: two large section seamed tubes with a few flat pieces (some with holes in them) holding it all together - and the driver doesn't occupy that the structure that we now tend to think of a monocoque. Duocoque, maybe?

Sorry, not sure what came over me there.

#7 David Beard

David Beard
  • Member

  • 4,887 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 13 November 2002 - 19:38

Originally posted by 2F-001
Going into Devil's Advocate mode...
Isn't the Lotus 25 just an extremely crude space-frame? i.e: two large section seamed tubes with a few flat pieces (some with holes in them) holding it all together - and the driver doesn't occupy that the structure that we now tend to think of a monocoque. Duocoque, maybe?

Sorry, not sure what came over me there.


Maybe, maybe.

I spoke to an ex Lotus person quite recently who claims that there was a contingent of people in Chapman's inner circle who wanted the 25 to be made of wood....

#8 mickj

mickj
  • Member

  • 142 posts
  • Joined: April 02

Posted 13 November 2002 - 22:03

Was Frank Costin in the inner circle??

#9 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,263 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 13 November 2002 - 22:20

Originally posted by mickj
Was Frank Costin in the inner circle??


Hmmm ....Posted Image

:)

#10 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,278 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 14 November 2002 - 08:15

I know that Brian Hart drove a Protos, but who else did?

Other wooden chassis came from Marcos and Nathan?... any other notable ones?
What was the Costin Amigo made of? (Anyone know if that ever raced, by the way?).

I have a film of a Klausenrennen hillclimb revival which includes some footage of a vehicle (its nickname had something to do with a loaf of bread - but I forget its proper name - Hannomag? something like that) whose structure appeared to be a wicker basket, with a single central headlight.

Would it be fair to call all of these machines carbon-based monocoques?

#11 dmj

dmj
  • Member

  • 1,956 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 14 November 2002 - 09:21

Posted Image Hanomag Komissbrot in action... However, I don't know much about technical side of that vehicle...
About Costin Amigo, I seem to remember that Mike Lawrence in "A-Z of sports cars 1945-1990" writes about it being raced but have no book with me to check it.

#12 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,278 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 14 November 2002 - 09:29

Thanks, dmj.
Assuming for the moment that I am not confusing the names - that is a much more sophisticated, and more substantial looking, Hanomag than the model I had seen; the construction - or at least the bodywork - of that vehicle (whatever it is) looks more like the picnic hamper in your picture!

#13 David McKinney

David McKinney
  • Member

  • 14,156 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 14 November 2002 - 09:31

That'sobviously a 'Gran Lusso' Kommisbrot in dmj's picture - the basic models really did have wickerwork bodies

#14 ian senior

ian senior
  • Member

  • 2,140 posts
  • Joined: September 02

Posted 14 November 2002 - 09:47

Originally posted by 2F-001
I know that Brian Hart drove a Protos, but who else did?

Other wooden chassis came from Marcos and Nathan?... any other notable ones?
What was the Costin Amigo made of? (Anyone know if that ever raced, by the way?).

I have a film of a Klausenrennen hillclimb revival which includes some footage of a vehicle (its nickname had something to do with a loaf of bread - but I forget its proper name - Hannomag? something like that) whose structure appeared to be a wicker basket, with a single central headlight.

Would it be fair to call all of these machines carbon-based monocoques?


Other Protos pilots were Eric Offenstadt and (Incredibly) Pedro Rodriguez.

The Costin Amigo was, being Frank C's brainchild, also made of wood. I seem to recall it racing at Le mans at one stage, or at least it practiced. The full story of all Frank Costin's cars is detailed in Dennis Ortenburger's book "Flying On Four Wheels". And a good read it is too.

#15 bill moffat

bill moffat
  • Member

  • 1,407 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 14 November 2002 - 09:59

According to Le Mans records a Costin Amigo raced in the 3 heures du Mans. 1971. Apparently the pilot was Brian Hart no less and the retirement after 16 laps was enigmatically attributed to "wheel". The cars qualification time of 5'09" suggests that it did not pose a great threat to the 917s which lapped some 90 secs quicker.

The entry list ranged from 917s and Ferrari 512s through Lola T70s , onwards and downwards via various Gropas , Darens , Alpine Renaults and Fiat Abarths. Think of the speed differential on the Mulsanne...

#16 Rainer Nyberg

Rainer Nyberg
  • Member

  • 1,756 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 14 November 2002 - 10:14

If we are talking 'wooden' monocoques then I think the McLaren M2B also can be mentioned, it featured a tub made of a balsawood/aluminium composite called 'Mallite'.

Posted Image

#17 robert dick

robert dick
  • Member

  • 936 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 14 November 2002 - 10:29

The introduction in the sixties of what we call monocoque today was a consequence of the requirements of the 1500 cc formula and enhanced tyre grip.

Imagine that in the thirties and forties for some reason monocoques were standard. Then an ingenious workshop, for example Gilco, came and proposed a tubular frame: Such a frame was much easier to build, less expensive and strong enough to deal with the forces coming from the wheels. Of course in the (purely fictional) “old monocoques” the force distribution was more homogeneous and hence the torsional stiffness was higher. But the tubular frame was cheaper, cheaper meaning preferable in this case, easier to repair after an accident.

In the sixties the situation changed. The 1500 cc racers were cigarillos on wheels. Frontal area was the critical point. Lower frontal area meant reduced dimensions. At the same time tyres built up more grip. A higher torsional moment had to be caught by a smaller skin. The only solution was more homogeneous force distribution: a monocoque.

In the case of the 1915 Cornelian the target was nearly the same: a small, light car with low frontal area to compensate humble power output and to reduce tyre wear.

#18 ian senior

ian senior
  • Member

  • 2,140 posts
  • Joined: September 02

Posted 14 November 2002 - 12:58

Originally posted by petefenelon


Cooper's unraced monocoque was about contemporary with the 25.

The centre-section of the BRM P25 ("overstressed-skin specials"?) was a monocoque.

And there's the obligatory 1923 Voisin ;)

pete


A Cooper monocoque? Now I didn't know about that. Presumably they concocted it when Charles Cooper had his back turned, or something. Strikes me as a tad revolutionary for old Charlie to have been involved - he had problems accepting coil springs at one stage.

#19 917

917
  • Member

  • 325 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 14 November 2002 - 19:04

2F-001 and dmj,

the Hanomag 2/10 PS, nickname "Kommissbrot" ("army bread"), had a U-profile platform frame, 15775 were built between 1925 and 1928. Bodies were the open two-seater (as shown in the picture above) - as option you could have a kind of hardtop - and the two-seater saloon, which was also used as taxi. I think the vehicle 2F-001 saw was this:

Posted Image

Picture from this website, where you can find also pictures of the saloon: http://www.autogalle...ru/m/hagkom.htm

Kind regards
Michael

Advertisement

#20 Allen Brown

Allen Brown
  • Member

  • 4,884 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 14 November 2002 - 19:36

Originally posted by David McKinney
That's obviously a 'Gran Lusso' Kommisbrot in dmj's picture ...

"obviously" :lol: :lol: :lol: :rotfl: :lol: :lol:

#21 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,965 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 15 November 2002 - 04:00

How come 2F hasn't mentioned his favourites?

The Chaparrals weren't the first, nor the first in fibreglass, but they were the most demonstrably competitive fibreglass monocoque open sports car ever built.

Or not?

I can't help thinking that Eldred Norman would have come up with something had he still been involved...

#22 dbw

dbw
  • Member

  • 993 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 15 November 2002 - 07:24

a bit ot..but i do recall a monocoque ww1 german fighter [pfalz perhaps?] the fusalage construction was cross-wrapped wood strips laid on a form...the results were quite light and rather strong for the time...

#23 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 2,278 posts
  • Joined: November 01

Posted 15 November 2002 - 08:35

Ray -
I was sorely tempted, but in honesty wasn't too sure about making ''first'' claims.

I have often, gleefully, told my fellow Lotus enthusiasts (I'm a member of the Lotus 7 Club in GB) that
''at the time Chapman was making his so-called monocoque from bits of bent metal, Chaparral were building theirs in molded composites'' but in this company I thought I might get shot down :o)
(Amongst my local circle I'm an ''expert'', but on TNF I know my place!)

Something of a technological dichotomy here - my two great automotive passions are the Lotus/Caterham 7 and Chaparral...

One aspect of the Chaparrals I find interesting is that the '2Fs' that were so competitive in '67 were actually built on the chassis of the original '2As' from five years before. In fact, I think in all Chaparral only built seven chassis themselves that were actually raced.
(I'm sure there's much to discuss here, but maybe in other thread...)


917 -
yes, thank you - that is the one! Do you know where the pic. is taken? Is that the Klausen run again?

#24 roger_valentine

roger_valentine
  • Member

  • 208 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 15 November 2002 - 21:53

Bond???

An interesring Formula Junior car, no doubt, but I find it hard to believe that Lawrie Bond had any serious Formula 1 aspirations for this car.

Have you any sources to substantiate this claim?

#25 David M. Kane

David M. Kane
  • Member

  • 5,399 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 16 November 2002 - 15:09

Rainer:

John Thompson made that mallite tub for McLaren before he struck out on his
own and later did the first Ferrari tub.

#26 karlcars

karlcars
  • Member

  • 603 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 16 November 2002 - 16:42

Originally posted by Doug Nye
the internal tube-framed stressed-skin stiffened Ferrari 'Aero' malarkey.


I do wish that the English-speaking press could get away from its ingrained desire to rubbish the Ferrari approach to making a monocoque. It is no less valid than the making of an aircraft fuselage by attaching stress-bearing panels to a ribbed internal structure. I know it's all the rage to imagine that everything good was done in Britain and that the Italians have made no contribution at all -- see Mike Lawrence's new Chapman book -- but it just ain't so.

#27 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,346 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 16 November 2002 - 18:51

Oo-errr - what tosh....;)

DCN

#28 Eric McLoughlin

Eric McLoughlin
  • Member

  • 1,622 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 16 November 2002 - 19:17

Coo- are we going to have an argument between the two literary giants on TNF?

In fact, I can see Karl's point regarding British assumptions that all technical advances were made initially in the UK - usually followed by a moan that business / government / the military etc (take your pick) failed to back the idea and therefore handed the advantage to the Germans / Japanese / Americans etc (take your pick). I know there are many incidents where this was indeed the case, but it is too often trotted out as the inevitable excuse when Britain's competitors do better.

#29 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,346 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 16 November 2002 - 20:08

:) No on both counts - re-read my original post number 5 - Karl's point doesn't apply.

DCN

#30 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 16 November 2002 - 22:05

As an engineer (to be :blush: ), I wouldn't qualify anything that had closed loops in cross-section (like D-frame of 25) strictly as monocoque- I'd assume the whole stress-bearing structure to be on the 'out-side' of vehicle to strictly qualify as true monocoque (so much for 'my' single-sheet' monocoque construction I devised)... But, OTOH I can understand advocates of Lotus 25 monocoque as the first 'exposed' monocoque, in which stress bearing construction formed part of the 'skin'. With all due respect to Doug, I'd call Type 25 construction as hybrid, in which 'skin' member was separate from frame-work, but used for stiffening nonetheless...

But what about Gilby, with its centre monocoque section, and plans to enter 1500cc F1 once it came into power in '61?

#31 dmj

dmj
  • Member

  • 1,956 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 17 November 2002 - 00:04

Mike Lawrence's attitude can be somewhat... annoying for non British readers...

#32 Allen Brown

Allen Brown
  • Member

  • 4,884 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 17 November 2002 - 21:15

Originally posted by dmj
Mike Lawrence's attitude can be somewhat... annoying for non British readers...

And for British readers, I can assure you ;)

#33 ian senior

ian senior
  • Member

  • 2,140 posts
  • Joined: September 02

Posted 18 November 2002 - 09:47

Originally posted by roger_valentine
Bond???

An interesring Formula Junior car, no doubt, but I find it hard to believe that Lawrie Bond had any serious Formula 1 aspirations for this car.

Have you any sources to substantiate this claim?


I have my doubts too. But it is referred to in Nick Wotherspoon's book on Lawrie Bond and his cars. It makes a certain amount of sense as there wasn't much difference between F1 and FJ cars at the time.

#34 Ian McKean

Ian McKean
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 18 November 2002 - 10:17

Saab made a Formula Junior car with an aluminium monocoque which first raced in 1961. Judging by the pictures in Anders Tunberg's book "From Two-stroke to Turbo" it may well have been a "proper" monocoque (as opposed to the Lotus 25 approach of large fabricated side members joined by bulkheads) but I am not sure.

Perhaps someone who has seen it can verify this? (Rainer is bound to have a photograph!)

#35 just me again

just me again
  • Member

  • 1,128 posts
  • Joined: August 00

Posted 18 November 2002 - 15:20

http://www.saabmuseu.../formulajunior/

History and pictures of the Saab Formula Junior

Bjørn

#36 Peter Morley

Peter Morley
  • Member

  • 1,900 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 18 November 2002 - 17:49

Apparently the Voisin was the first monocoque car to be raced - not sure how true that is (the French always did everything first).

What is certainly true is that Connaught were going to build a rear engined monocoque car around 1955. The car would have had the 2.5 litre Climax Godiva V8 attached to a 5 speed pre-selector transaxle.

Apparently the chassis was designed and some progress was made on its construction, the gearboxes were made but the engine was dropped by Climax so the whole project stalled.

A drawing of the chassis design appeared in one of the motor racing magazines of the time.

The D-type Jaguar had a central monocoque and it was normal aircraft practice by the 50's so a lot of people looked into making monocoques in the 50's. And of course the Lotus Elite was pretty much a monocoque......

The thing that Lotus did with the 25 was to introduce a sensible monocoque design, whether it is a true monocoque or not it was the perfect (or at least the best) solution to the deign requirements of the time.

The new book on Colin Chapman has a lot of information about the 25 and who was actually responsible - as usual Chapman assimilated ideas from all over the place and combined them into a solution (he might not have invented all the things he is given credit for but he certainly made them work).

#37 David Beard

David Beard
  • Member

  • 4,887 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 18 November 2002 - 18:18

Peter..I had a look at your website- very interesting

You have the Shannon F1, complete with Godiva????!!!!

#38 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,032 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 18 November 2002 - 19:11

Digressing slightly, when was the term monocoque first used in connection with racing car design? I can't recall it being used before the Lotus 25; stressed skin was the more usual description.

#39 Ian McKean

Ian McKean
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 18 November 2002 - 20:11

I think the term monocoque had been used much earlier in connection with saloon cars. Perhaps its a French term. The old Light 15 Citroens must have been amongst the earliest monocoque production cars.

Bjorn, thanks for the Saab museum URL. It doesn't answer the question though!

Advertisement

#40 Rainer Nyberg

Rainer Nyberg
  • Member

  • 1,756 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 19 November 2002 - 14:44

Ian, you are right, the Saab FJ was a duralumin stressed skin monocoque design, in contrast to the space frame designs of their competitors. If not the very first monoposto , it was at least ahead of the Lotus 25. Beeing an aircraft contructor, duralumin monocoques were nothing new to Saab.

The 3-cyl 2-stroke was installed, tilted almost 90 degrees, in the front of the gearbox in the front of the car and and it was covered by a glassfibre nosecone. The Saab FJ was, naturally, driven by the front wheels. The engine capacity was stretched to 940cc and 86hp was extracted at 7000 rpm. Some sources suggests higher outputs (nearly 100bhp). The weight distribution of the car put 70% at the front, so while the Saab FJ was fast on the straights and could brake later than its competitors it suffered from excessive understeer into the corners. The car was presented late in 1960 and in May 1961 it made its competition début in Helsinki, Finland at the Djurgårdsloppet.

Posted Image

#41 Peter Morley

Peter Morley
  • Member

  • 1,900 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 19 November 2002 - 15:07

David

Yes I have the 1966 Shannon F1 complete with Godiva V8

All the Godiva engines (around 5 - except for the show engine that was in a pub in Coventry!) went to Paul Emery who stretched some out to 3 litres (producing 320+ Bhp on Chrysler's dyno).

They ran one in the Shannon in the 1966 British GP - until the fuel pump fell off (it had only been fitted the night before!). Then they ran one in a BRP.

Then Paul sold the engines to a saloon car racer (Doc Merfield I think) who ran them with some success.

The Shannon then ran as an F3 car (even winning a race - how many F1 cars have won F3 races??).

Eventually the engines went to Gordon Chapman (who owned the E-type ERAs) who also had the unraced Kieft F1 cars (that would have ran with the Godiva V8). He even aquired the show engine from the Coventry pub!

The previous owner of the Shannon aquired a complete set of 3 litre Godiva V8 parts for the Shannon from Gordon Chapman and restored the chassis.

As soon as my 1963 Scirocco BRM F1 car has found a new home (any takers out there?) I want to get the Shannon running, the current owner of the Kieft F1 car has just got that running so there is no problem getting the engine running (apart from the usual time & cashflow issues), which there shouldn't be because Climax never had a problem with the engines (apart from believing the opposition - and using hairpin valve springs at first!).

Peter
www.petermorley.com

#42 Ian McKean

Ian McKean
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 19 November 2002 - 19:39

Rainer I knew you would find a picture of the Saab!

I would be interested in a few more technical details if you or anyone else can supply the information. The car used obviously used a lot of standard Saab components and I understand that this was a design criterion imposed by management or lack of money. For example it used production 4J X 15 steel wheels, standard front uprights and hubs and (judging by the photographs I have seen) standard front wishbones and dampers (or at least dampers that would have been interchangeable with those of the 96 saloon but probably with different settings).

The unsprung to sprung weight ratio must have been far higher than on other racing cars!

My questions might be answered if you have seen the car in the Saab museum,

1. Did it use a standard Saab 96 'U' shaped back axle? The rear trailing arms are not horizontal (like Saab 96 trailing arms) so I suspect the rear suspension design was quite different to the saloon.
2. What springs did it use? (The standard coils on a 96 are mounted on the top front wishbone, so these could not have been used). It is not possible to see any springs in any of the pictures I have seen. Did it use torsion bars or cantilevered coil springs???
3. The way a Saab engine attaches to the transaxle in the 96 has the centre line of the crankshaft rather higher than you would want on a formula car. How did they lower the engine position for the FJ car? Maybe turn the gearbox upside down????
4. What are those three strange lines down the side of the body?
5. Did the monocoque cover the driver's legs (the cigar tube principle) or was there a fibreglass body covering the driver's legs?

Thanks!


a

#43 Rainer Nyberg

Rainer Nyberg
  • Member

  • 1,756 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 19 November 2002 - 22:56

Ian, I have been trying to track down information about the Saab FJ for some time, but not much seems to be ever published. Only published info comes from the Tunberg book you mention. It was printed in both English and Swedish language versions. AFAIK Tunberg is still working for Saab Automobile at their PR dept, so I think I should try to contact him and find out if he knows more than was published in his book. I have not visited the Saab museum for nearly 20 years, and I didn't pay the funny looking single-seater much attention back then. (I wasn't much into retro at that time!)

As you mention the Saab FJ does feature several clearly recognizable type '96' saloon car parts, and it was also encouraged and even mandated in the original set of regulations for Formula Junior. That explains the standard steel wheels and front suspension. I have not studied they car closely 'in-situ' so I can not tell if the U-shaped beam-axle was used at the rear.

On some images you can see some kind of crude coil design at front.

Not sure either, how the engine was attached to the transmission, other than the engine was laying flat on its side. (Tilted 90degrees).

The 'lines' on the side are probably stiffening 'longerons', but they only featured on the first chassis but were omitted on the second, so I guess they didn't contribute much to the stiffness.

From what I have seen on pictures, the monocoque ended at the front suspension, and a fibreglass nosecone was fitted over the engine.

Posted Image
The crude front coil spring arrangement.

#44 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,346 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 19 November 2002 - 22:59

Originally posted by Rainer Nyberg
Ian, you are right, the Saab FJ was a duralumin stressed skin monocoque design...


I understand from that wonderful bloke Erik Carlsson that the Saab FJ still IS...it's all up together, all singing, all dancing and running and we're keen to get it to Goodwood... Oops the last post just beat me to it... I really don't like the look of that barn-door draught-excluder spring just hooked on at the top... (thinks) perhaps we won't invite it after all!....

DCN

#45 Ian McKean

Ian McKean
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 20 November 2002 - 12:05

Wow,

I don't think I ever came across a coil spring in tension not compression before the Saab. But why not? Seems like a good idea to me. Why haven't more people done it?

Rainer's picture is not in the English version of Tunberg's book, not mine anyway, and is most interesting. I was surfing the net yesterday and found an American sports racing special with the Saab two-stroke engine mounted (so far as I could tell from the photo) in the same way as the Saab FJ and they had also achieved a low mounting position.

It is interesting that they do not seem to have tried negative camber on the front wheels or wider front wheels in order to counteract the understeer. I wonder if they tried an anti-roll bar at the rear. Mind you, Carlsson sitting at the rear must have reduced the percentage of weight on the front wheels.

One of the pictures I have seen shows it with Pirelli Cinturato tyres fitted. Did it ever race with Cinturatos instead of Dunlop racers, I wonder?

I understand that there are two cars in existence, one in the hands of a private collector. Is this the one Doug is trying to get to Goodwood or the one in the Saab museum?

Last point; the rear view reveals a Kamm tail. Another intersting feature!

#46 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Member

  • 14,399 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 08 March 2005 - 15:39

Whilst looking for something else I came across Bob Allan's interesting site on Killeen cars, which features a section titled 'Who Invented the Monocoque?' :

http://tardis.dl.ac....book/node5.html

This includes details of Tom Killeen's fruitless attempts in the mid '50s to interest various car firms (including Aston Martin, BRM, Cooper and Lotus) in his monocoque designs, and quotes the reply he received from Chapman, which begins:

I am afraid my views must differ radically from yours on the question of monocoque costruction, and I am convinced that the method of monocoque construction is totally unsuitable for racing cars.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

#47 eldougo

eldougo
  • Member

  • 6,251 posts
  • Joined: March 02

Posted 09 March 2005 - 10:13

:wave:

Great find there Tim .Now we know the real story ! Funny how one man can forget where he got the idea from and take all the CREDIT. :down: COLIN Shame on you. :( :(

#48 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,965 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 09 March 2005 - 10:15

Shame on him for pinching the idea?

That's nothing to be ashamed of compared to his other related sin... Shame on him for making the mechanics have to work so hard, overcoming the very problems he outlined in that letter!

#49 lanciaman

lanciaman
  • Member

  • 552 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 09 March 2005 - 10:52

Originally posted by dbw
a bit ot..but i do recall a monocoque ww1 german fighter [pfalz perhaps?] the fusalage construction was cross-wrapped wood strips laid on a form...the results were quite light and rather strong for the time...


The Albatros and Pfalz used wood fuselage covering over a framework, for a semi-mono design; the late WW1 Junkers J7 was metal over metal stringers (all riveted), also semi-mono. All recognizably gained structural rigidity from these construction techniques. The Ju7 was extremely advanced for its time, using considerable aluminum.

#50 Mike Lawrence

Mike Lawrence
  • Member

  • 288 posts
  • Joined: September 04

Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:10

Hi guys,

I have been annoying, eh? Just doing my job. Nobody on the planet is more annoying than DCN when he is right and the really annoying thing is that he is more often right than not.

One of my favourite books, I mean books of any kind, from any period, is Doug Nye's 'Motor Racing Mavericks'. We need an update, but first there has to be a publisher. The publisher is the problem and the terrible thing is, these days, not all publishers co9mply with what I woukd call a code of conduct.

On the Lawrie Bond issue, I think the debate should be closed to everyone save those of us who were dumb enough to buy a Bond Minicar. Hello, My name is Mike and I bought a Bond Minicar. I was young at the time.

Lawrie Bond did design a 2.5-litre V8 air-cooled F1 engine which was made as a single-cylinder unit and run by Connaught In prototype form it spewed oil everywhere. I once had an original drawing of this engine, which had sleeve valves if memory serves me right, and I gave it to a chap called Rabagliati whereupon it was sucked into the maw of his collection and was never seen again. Duncan's house is like Dr Who's Tardis, there is more inside than you can imagine from the outside.

Oi, Rabagliati, I want returned my brochure for the Lion Grand Prix car, the F1 car with the twelve wheels and no brake pedal. You think I am joking? I alerted DCN and it was he who wrote the feature for Autosport. If Doug and I had been sharing some really good weed, we might have come up with such a story, but it is a long time since the Sixties. The Lion Grand Prix car was a project and it had twelve wheels and each of those twelve wheels was designed to carry power and braking and also to steer.

Forget about Chevrolet, Voison and Chap,am. what happend to David Cox and the Lion Grand Prix project? I believe that I last met David Cox at least 15 years after Doug wrote his piece but Cox was utteing gibberish, but gibberish which got him government funding. I assume you know all about the Cox H-8 F1 engie which was once condsidered to be an option by some F1 teams.

That must be a tale for another day.

Do I only annoy> Can't I at least irritate?