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Front-engined F3 ( 500 cc ) racing cars


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#1 Paul Medici

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 09:06

Browsing through C. A. N. May's book "Formula 3" and found several wonderful photos of Paul Emery's f.w.d. EMERYSON. Looked pretty neat. Were there other front-engined F3 cars around during the early years of 500 cc racing?

Also enjoyed the author's caption for a photo of Frank Aikens on his WINGCO, "doing a typical Knees-up-Mother-Brown drive..... ." I am almost afraid to ask how that phrase originated. :blush:

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#2 ian senior

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 10:24

Laurie Bond, of Minicar fame. also created a neat front engined (and FWD) 500cc F3 car. Lots of details of it in Nick Wotherspoon's book about Bond and his cars.

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 12:11

The Clisby was the ultimate...

Douglas engine mounted at the front, attached to a piece of steel tubing through which the drive shaft passed. A differential at the back had suspension members attached to it, the front suspension anchored somehow to the engine.

That, with the addition of a steering wheel and seat, was it...

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 12:29

But not a 500, IIRC

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 12:37

Maybe he bored it out?

You're right, it was a 350cc engine to begin with.

#6 David Beard

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 12:53

Emeryson and Bond included here...

http://www.atlasf1.c...&threadid=47867

#7 Pete Stowe

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 19:13

One of the very first 500's, Clive Lones' Tiger Kitten, was front engined, as was another early car, Kenneth Neve's KN.

#8 Ian McKean

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 19:29

Originally posted by Paul Medici
Browsing through C. A. N. May's book "Formula 3" and found several wonderful photos of Paul Emery's f.w.d. EMERYSON. Looked pretty neat. Were there other front-engined F3 cars around during the early years of 500 cc racing?

Also enjoyed the author's caption for a photo of Frank Aikens on his WINGCO, "doing a typical Knees-up-Mother-Brown drive..... ." I am almost afraid to ask how that phrase originated. :blush:


Not that frightening really; an old music hall song! I would sing it for you but you wouldn't be able to hear.

#9 Barry Boor

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 19:34

Knees-up-Mother-Brown



It may be prudent to explain to those who do not know, that the comma in the phrase above should come after the word 'UP' NOT after 'KNEES'.  ;)

#10 Ian McKean

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 19:49

Just explored the Nick Wotherspoon site to find out about the Bond, as I could only remember the later FJ Bond. I was amazed to see the miniature 500 knicknamed "Doodlebug". This was what the people called Hitler's V1 flying bombs in the War, in case anyone doesn't know.
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What amazed me was that I had seen the Doodlebug in one of the Pathe films but had not realised it was a Bond. If you want a look, search using Prescott or Shelsley Walsh. I can't remember the name of the film, but think it was labelled Prescott but actually showed a Shelsley film. Year 1947. I wonder where Bond got the tiny tyres from. certainly not a car and scooters were not invented then (or were they?), so I can only assume it was some kind of industrial cart, probably safe to about 15 mph.

Talking about tyres being used way above the design speed ratings, the original Martini Special must have been the best (worst) example with its Lambretta wheels and tyres. Tico Martini sold it to a chap called Peter Wilson who turned up at the Great Auclum hillclimb with a hired van containing the Martini Special and a large can of methanol. He did not have, or at least he did not bring, a tool box with him from Jersey or Guernsey or wherever he came from. He did not even have a tyre gauge. So my friend John Lindley and I decided we had better act as his mechanics. But how could we set his tyre pressures for him when he had no idea what they were meant to be? Perhaps it doesn't matter in sand-racing.

Considering his laid-back attitude, I was slightly surprised to find that Peter Wilson was quite a quick driver, although not perhaps quite up to Tico Martini's standard. (I had watched Martini a year or two earlier at Prescott and the image of him opposite-locking round the corner is still fresh in my mind after nearly forty years).

#11 sat

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 21:29

It was Jawa 500 F3 in 1951, made by M. Struzka, but no races for this formula in Czechoslovakia was held, so it was converted to sport car and later equiped Aero Minor 750 ccm without any success.

#12 Doug Nye

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 21:43

'Doodlebug' had been used long pre-war in Britain in a motor racing context to describe the shennanigans in America with embryo midget racing cars - and when that scene translated itself to London's Lea Speedway and Greenford Speedway during the 1930s the Skirrows etc were often described by the popular press and public alike as 'Doodlebugs'.

The music hall song, incidentally - for the benefit of non-British TNFers - became a great wartime morale booster, sung and danced in pubs and clubs as closing time approached and the patrons were well oiled - in the alcoholic sense, you understand - extrovert and sociable. "Knees up Mother Brown" - properly pronounced "Muvver Brahn", London Cockney style - "Knees up Mother Brown... Under the table you must go! .... Ee-eye-ee-eye-ee-eye-oh..." etc etc etc.

It did progress to become faintly blue, but its blueness - like the majority of music hall songs dating from Victorian and Edwardian times - was infinitely adjustable and almost entirely dependent upon the mind-set, and worldly wisdom (dirty-mindedness) of the audience.

Yes indeed - it could be harmless - or it could be absolutely "Filfee"...

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#13 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 10:49

Originally posted by Ian McKean
Talking about tyres being used way above the design speed ratings, the original Martini Special must have been the best (worst) example with its Lambretta wheels and tyres. Tico Martini sold it to a chap called Peter Wilson who turned up at the Great Auclum hillclimb with a hired van containing the Martini Special and a large can of methanol. He did not have, or at least he did not bring, a tool box with him from Jersey or Guernsey or wherever he came from. He did not even have a tyre gauge. So my friend John Lindley and I decided we had better act as his mechanics. But how could we set his tyre pressures for him when he had no idea what they were meant to be? Perhaps it doesn't matter in sand-racing.

Considering his laid-back attitude, I was slightly surprised to find that Peter Wilson was quite a quick driver, although not perhaps quite up to Tico Martini's standard. (I had watched Martini a year or two earlier at Prescott and the image of him opposite-locking round the corner is still fresh in my mind after nearly forty years).


I grew up in Guernsey, and from an early age went to all the hillclimbs and sand race meetings, (and, later, autocross type events held in St Sampsons harbour when the tide was out) and, believe it or not, Pete Wilson was THE MAN on the Val des Terres hillclimb. This was before the climb became a round of the RAC Championship in 1973 (?) when the top names started coming across, and it was very rare for Wilson not to set FTD. I don't think the Martini was ever used for sand racing, though.

#14 Ian McKean

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 14:32

Tim,

How interesting to hear your recollections of Peter Wilson, as I have never heard of him before or since that day at Great Auclum in 1963 or 4. I am not familiar with the Val des Terres hillclimb, and wonder if it is the one where 250cc karts are allowed and last year they beat the RAC hillclimb boys (good OLD boys, many of 'em).

Not having heard of him anywhere else, naturally I don't recall him sand-racing the Martini, but seem to remember he said something about it that day at Great Auclum.

Perhaps I was unkind in suggesting that Wilson was not quite as quick as Martini; after all, the opposition must have moved on since Prescott in 1962 and the Martini Special obviously hadn't. It just seemed that he was not quite so competitive against the Championship contenders. Could have been the tyre pressures, of course. I think that when Martini drove it it had single rear wheels and later, when Peter Wilson drove it, it had twins. Did it eventually sprout a supercharger?

It would be nice to see a picture of the machine. Maybe Rainer will oblige since he's got pictures of EVERYTHING.

It got us thinking about building a 650 cc Triumph powered special (but with Mini wheels and tyres if you don't mind), and Patrick Head (a school friend at that time) suggested we could fit a compressed oxygen cylinder for hillclimbs in lieue of a supercharger.

#15 David Beard

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 16:46

Originally posted by Ray Bell
The Clisby was the ultimate...

Douglas engine mounted at the front, attached to a piece of steel tubing through which the drive shaft passed. A differential at the back had suspension members attached to it, the front suspension anchored somehow to the engine.

That, with the addition of a steering wheel and seat, was it...


Clisby as in the 1 1/2 litre V6 F1 motor?

According to the Mike Lawrence book wherein I have read about the Clisby motor, it was abandoned because the block was porous. Today there is a vacuum impregnation process to deal with that. What if?

#16 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 19:27

Originally posted by Ian McKean
Perhaps I was unkind in suggesting that Wilson was not quite as quick as Martini; after all, the opposition must have moved on since Prescott in 1962 and the Martini Special obviously hadn't. It just seemed that he was not quite so competitive against the Championship contenders. Could have been the tyre pressures, of course. I think that when Martini drove it it had single rear wheels and later, when Peter Wilson drove it, it had twins. Did it eventually sprout a supercharger?


This has prompted me to dig out the old programmes. They seem to indicate that by around 1970 the Triumph engine had grown to 750 cc. Sometimes it was listed as supercharged, sometimes not. At one meeting it was entered twice (different competition numbers), one with supercharger, one without. Presumably the blown version was somewhat unreliable. Wilson was still driving it at the first RAC Championship round in 1973 (which is where my programmes run out).

Other regular Val des Terres entries in the 1960s were Ernie and Graham Priaulx (Andy's grandfather and father respectively) and Maurice Ogier's Emeryson-Daimler. This was a rear-engined single seater fitted with a 2.5 litre Daimler V8, which at the time dominated the sand races. At the time the name Emeryson meant very little to me. Now I would love to know its provenance - could it have been one of the ex-Ecurie National Belge F1 cars?

#17 Ian McKean

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Posted 11 January 2003 - 10:02

Originally posted by Tim Murray


This has prompted me to dig out the old programmes. They seem to indicate that by around 1970 the Triumph engine had grown to 750 cc. Sometimes it was listed as supercharged, sometimes not. At one meeting it was entered twice (different competition numbers), one with supercharger, one without. Presumably the blown version was somewhat unreliable. Wilson was still driving it at the first RAC Championship round in 1973 (which is where my programmes run out).

Other regular Val des Terres entries in the 1960s were Ernie and Graham Priaulx (Andy's grandfather and father respectively) and Maurice Ogier's Emeryson-Daimler. This was a rear-engined single seater fitted with a 2.5 litre Daimler V8, which at the time dominated the sand races. At the time the name Emeryson meant very little to me. Now I would love to know its provenance - could it have been one of the ex-Ecurie National Belge F1 cars?


So Peter Wilson campaigned this car for ten years or more! Was it still using Lambretta wheels and tyres by 1973? When I met him he would have been relatively new to the car and perhaps not pushing quite so hard as later. After all you don't get many miles under your belt hill-climbing.

Another strange car from the Channel Islands that came over to Prescott, around 1957 IIRC, was Frank Le Gallais' special with a rear-mounted Jaguar engine. I wonder what sort of gearbox and final drive it used. Do you remember this machine?

#18 Tim Murray

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Posted 11 January 2003 - 21:44

Originally posted by Ian McKean
So Peter Wilson campaigned this car for ten years or more! Was it still using Lambretta wheels and tyres by 1973? When I met him he would have been relatively new to the car and perhaps not pushing quite so hard as later. After all you don't get many miles under your belt hill-climbing.

Another strange car from the Channel Islands that came over to Prescott, around 1957 IIRC, was Frank Le Gallais' special with a rear-mounted Jaguar engine. I wonder what sort of gearbox and final drive it used. Do you remember this machine?

The old memory is not what it was, but I don't recall anything unusual about the Martini's wheels - I think I would have remembered if it had had scooter tyres. Wilson was certainly a spectacular driver, and thus was something of a hero to us small boys who (stranded on an island) didn't know any better.

The original Le Gallais Special was before my time. Its replacement (the Mk II) was along the lines of Martini, with a supercharged Triumph 500 engine behind the driver. In the hands of its creators it was very quick, sometimes beating Wilson, but later owners were never as competitive. There were, though, many weird and wonderful contraptions built for the sand racing, some with Jag engines in front or rear. They didn't usually go very well on the hill, however.

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 10:23

Originally posted by David Beard
Clisby as in the 1 1/2 litre V6 F1 motor?.....


As mentioned, this car had a Douglas motorcycle engine, I think it was 350cc...

The Clisby V6 takes pride of place in the entry hall of the SASCC clubrooms.

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#20 uechtel

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 20:27

How about this one?

Secret.jpg

Do you recognize it? There is a clue in the link...

and this is also nice, even if it just fails to fit under the topic. Was built by the lucky driver himself, Jakob Lauer from Eppelborn / SouthWest Germany, using a 680 cc DKW twin and the rest consists mainly of parts of an old American bomber airplane!

Lauer_Eigenbau.jpg

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 21:26

That's BMW-powered, right?

Amazingly large for a 500... but the driver's feet could hardly go each side of the engine!

#22 uechtel

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 09:59

That's BMW-powered, right?

Amazingly large for a 500... but the driver's feet could hardly go each side of the engine!



But despite that it seemed to work reasonably: Winner at Grenzlandring 1950 and second at second at the Schauinsland in the same year, admittedly still in 750 cc configuration. So perhaps the true secret about the car is that it could be driven without legs... :lol:

Indeed the word "secret" is not simply to mislead everybody here, but does in fact lead to the solution, as the car was called "GvB" by its builder, Bobby Kohlrausch, which simply stands for "Geheimnis von Bobby", which means "Bobby´s Secret"!

It started its career as a 750 cc racer but this Formula was already dead in 1953, so obviously he had converted it into Formula 3 spec. And it is probably one of the last pictures of Bobby "in action", taken at the start of the race at Leipzig in May 1953. Very sad, only three months later he died from a heart attack.

#23 fines

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 12:12

Originally posted by uechtel
It started its career as a 750 cc racer but this Formula was already dead in 1953, so obviously he had converted it into Formula 3 spec. And it is probably one of the last pictures of Bobby "in action", taken at the start of the race at Leipzig in May 1953. Very sad, only three months later he died from a heart attack.

I don't think this is the original Geheimnis von Bobby, at least I don't recall it like that. Maybe he built a second one?

#24 uechtel

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 15:23

I have it from the 1954 East German yearbook. The caption says, that it is the GvB and that it was taken at Leizig in 1954. Sorry, no fruther inromation.

Do you have other pictures of the car in different configuration?

#25 fines

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 18:23

Von Bobbys Geheimnis
Ich habe ein Bild
Doch es ist der Scanner
Der mir immer noch fehlt!

:) :) :) :drunk:

#26 uechtel

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 19:59

Grrr! Scanners missing everywhere! Maybe we should start a worldwide techological development programme for improvement of opto-graphical computer periphery or something like that, of course funded by the UN...

I for myself would not give mine away any more. Would not know what to do with the plenty of spare time then.

Die Dinger kosten doch praktisch nix, einfach nur mal bei Aldi gehen und schon kann´s losgehen! (Sorry couldn´t translate that, but it doesn´t mean anything outside Germany anyway...)

#27 Tim Murray

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 20:18

Originally posted by uechtel
Die Dinger kosten doch praktisch nix, einfach nur mal bei Aldi gehen und schon kann´s losgehen! (Sorry couldn´t translate that, but it doesn´t mean anything outside Germany anyway...)


Don't worry, even we monolingual British get the gist. (We also have Aldi). So, please Michael, go for it!

#28 fines

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 21:44

:lol:

The problem is not the money, rather...

Originally posted by uechtel
Would not know what to do with the plenty of spare time then.

I am behind in so many things these days, and a scanner would only add to the problems :(

Also, space is at a premium in domo fines, since the place is literally littered with books and magazines and notes and stuff... It actually gets frightening! Somebody want to lend me his home helper?? :D

#29 uechtel

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 22:24

no, but I know a good address for left-over books, magazines etc! :rolleyes:

Seems that you´re quite good sorted!

But never mind. It´s only some frustration as I just had to accept yet another of Murphy´s laws: No chance to find a person, who has interesting pictures AND a scanner at home...

#30 fines

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 15:49

Don't despair, I'll keep it in mind! Must find that magazine first, though...;)