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R.A.F roundels on Belgian C-type


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 04 March 2003 - 23:17

Can anyone throw any light on the reasons why the Ecurie Francorchamps C-type Jaguar that finished 9th at Le Mans in 1953 was carrying 2 R.A.F roundels on the bonnet just ahead of its windscreen?

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#2 D-Type

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Posted 05 March 2003 - 13:17

Could they be for the Coupe Biennial or Coupe Trienniel?

I've heard of them but never understoon how the rules worked.

#3 Vitesse2

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Posted 05 March 2003 - 14:34

Originally posted by D-Type
Could they be for the Coupe Biennial or Coupe Trienniel?

I've heard of them but never understoon how the rules worked.


Amazing what's been discussed in TNF .....

http://www.atlasf1.c...&threadid=47675

Mind you, I'm not sure you'll be any clearer after reading it! :rolleyes:

:)

#4 Rob29

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Posted 05 March 2003 - 15:07

Answer to the original question may be a lot simpler.Quite a few Belgians served in the RAF during WW2. Maybe some sort of tribute?

#5 Seppi_0_917PA

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Posted 05 March 2003 - 16:25

Good question, I've wondered about this myself. I've seen this sticker (the "R.A.F, roundel") on many 1950s Le Mans entries. For example, open up the book 'Sports Car Heaven' to pages 58 - 59; 1957 Le Mans. On the right is a picture of team Ferrari cars 6 through 9, only the number 7 car has the sticker. On the right is a picture of the Aston Martin team and only the number 20 car has it.

Also, during the sixties, Le Mans entries often had yellow or red color spots. Look at the '67 Gurney-Foyt Mark IV winner, there are yellow spots on the roof near the front window pillars.

I think it's some code from the Le Mans organizer but I have never known the meaning.

#6 David T.

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Posted 05 March 2003 - 16:29

May be the single colours of the roundels referred to the bodywork different materials just in order to let firemen immediatley know if a car was going to catch easily fire or not?

#7 ensign14

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Posted 05 March 2003 - 17:38

British car so British roundels? They later added a green stripe to the Belgian yellow so they were keen to reflect the original nationality of the car. (Think it was Francorchamps who did this.) Did anyone else have aircraft roundels on their car of any sort? Did any of the French cars have the French roundel - for some reason that rings a bell?

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 March 2003 - 20:06

Originally posted by David T.
May be the single colours of the roundels referred to the bodywork different materials just in order to let firemen immediatley know if a car was going to catch easily fire or not?


Difficult to imagine they would have thought of this before 1955...

#9 Alan Cox

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Posted 05 March 2003 - 23:02

The roundels were, indeed, signifying an entrant in the Rudge-Whitworth Triennial Cup (later to become the Biennial Cup). It was assessed on a handicap basis, with average speeds, based on class, which the competing crew had to maintain over 24 hours, the handicaps, as ever at Le Mans, being designed to give those generally without much hope of overall honours, a prize to aim for.

There were fairly complicated criteria laid down to ensure that cars were not holding speeds down in the early stages, with 6-hourly checks being made to ensure that minimum distances were being covered. Failure to maintain these averages resulted in disqualification from the Cup.

Teams that met the minimum set averages would qualify for the Triennial (later Biennial) Cup, and would have to perform likewise the following year, and those cars wearing the roundels showed that they had qualified from the previous year's event.

#10 Seppi_0_917PA

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 02:45

Thanks and welcome to TNF Alan. Any knowledge regarding the solid color spots found on the sixties entries?

Originally posted by David T.
May be the single colours of the roundels referred to the bodywork different materials just in order to let firemen immediatley know if a car was going to catch easily fire or not?

This is what is what I thought these meant but I have no basis what-so-ever for thinking this. (If this is true, was it a reaction to the magnesium Honda burning-up, on French soil IIRC?)

Ray - I do not see the single colored spots on cars run there in the fifties.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 07:32

I didn't appreciate that when I made my post, Siffert supporter...

However, I would think that it would more likely be related to the 1955 crash and the problem there with burning elekron, at least as much as it might have been to do with Schlesser's fire.

#12 Pils1989

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 08:59

Originally posted by ensign14
British car so British roundels? They later added a green stripe to the Belgian yellow so they were keen to reflect the original nationality of the car. (Think it was Francorchamps who did this.) Did anyone else have aircraft roundels on their car of any sort? Did any of the French cars have the French roundel - for some reason that rings a bell?


Hi ensign14

A Renault 4CV had the french roundel but i think it was more a patriotic thing :confused:
but I don't know if it's was for Le Mans or some Rallies:
Posted Image

Sorry if a thread has already mentioned the 4CV.

Toine

#13 Seppi_0_917PA

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 12:47

Barry, are you assembling a model of this Jaguar? I never noticed these roundels/color spots until I started building 1/43rd scale kits of sportscars/prototypes and found these on the decal sheets.

#14 Barry Boor

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 18:37

Barry, are you assembling a model of this Jaguar?


No, but I purchased a 1/43rd scale model of the car on Tuesday. It is a 'Top Model' model, and the display box has a GREEN outer cover. This is new to me; all my other Top Model boxes are red or yellow.

I don't know if this makes this model particularly old or rare....

Anyway, here it is:

Posted Image

Incidentally, on reflection, I suppose those roundels could be French; they are the right colours. I am not an aviation expert!

#15 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 19:27

I'm not claiming to be an aviation "expert" but French roundels have a red outer circle with a blue central boss - the opposite of RAF/ Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm roundels which have blue outer circles and a red central boss.

#16 Barry Boor

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 19:31

Ah, thank you, Eric. So the ARE R.A.F then?

What a strange choice......

#17 marat

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 20:49

;) the 1951 Le Mans winning Jaguar wore those RAF roundels.
I wonder if the yellow Jaguar wore the RAF roudels or rather the belgian roundels?
Not only the small Renault wore the french roundels but also the Talbot but not Gordini.

#18 D-Type

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 21:15

Alan,

Do you know how qualifying for the Bienniel Cup worked?

David Hodges History of Le mans P 57 shows the Cunningham/Huntoon C2R with a roundel and the Rand/Wacker car without one in the 1951 race and on other pages some of the cars have roundels and some not.

Those with roundels appear to have a driver who had finished the year before so I would guess the qualifying criterion was one of the drivers had to have finished the year before.

Does anybody know for sure?

#19 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 00:20

At the beginning of World War One, Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) aircraft carried Union Flags on each side of their fuselage. It was found that, from a distance, these flags could be mistaken for the German "Maltese Cross" emblems (not a good thing considering the Germans were the enemy) so an alternative marking was sought. The French were already using their Red/White/Blue roundels so the British decided to adopt the same style, only with the colours reversed. When the RFC and RNAS merged in 1918 to form the Royal Air Force (RAF), the markings were retained. In the 1930s the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm was formed and they also adopted these markings as did the British Army Air Corps These RAF style roundel have remained in use to the present day although the shades of red and blue have varied over the decades as has the amount of white included in the roundel (since the mid 1970s aircraft on front line duty have carried red and blue roundels with no white at all).

By the way, the BRM logo is actually an RAF roundel with a motif superimposed.

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#20 Alan Cox

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 17:57

In response to the enquiry from "D-Type", the information which I have is that all cars were eligible and they qualified for the second (and, in the early days, the third) leg of the Cup competition by meeting, or exceeding their given handicaps during the first leg.

As mentioned previously, cars were eliminated from the competition by failing to meet the set distances during a six-hour session - i.e. Any car 20% below the set target during the first six hours was excluded, 15% below at twelve hours and 10% below at 18 hours were all disqualified. All cars which succeeded in meeting or exceeding their handicap targets, and managed to finish the race, would then qualify for the competition the following year. The result was determined by the marque showing the greatest proportionate distance above their target over the two successive years.

The contest was formulated from the outset of the Grand Prix d'Endurance in 1923 when Charles Faroux conceived the idea of a 24-hour race which would test the efficiency of electrical equipment and lighting and lead to improvements which could be passed on to the car-buying public. He obtained support from Georges Durand, secretary general of the AC de l'ouest, and Emile Coquille, who was MD of the French arm of the Rudge-Whitworth Wheel Company, and hence their support for this interesting subsidiary contest - although when the first event was run, it was seen merely as the first round of this Triennial Cup competition. It lasted, I think, until the late fifties/early sixties.

Can anyone add anything else to this somewhat sketchy assessment?

#21 cm50

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 13:16

I recall seeing similar roundels on a Aston Martin DB2 in OZ. The car was referred to as an ex works Le Mans car dont recall much else, it was many years ago but I do recall it being "as raced at LM."