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A visit to Connaught 45+ years ago...


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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 18:47

Aah nostalgia, the real thing... (?)

Usual process - while rummaging for something else and came across the following fruits of a number of different visits to the old Connaught works at Send, Surrey, alongside the main A3 London-to-Portsmouth road just south of Ripley. From front office showroom to the Nissen hut workshop round the back, this is how our most exquisitely well-made Formula 1 and 2 cars were once built in England...

(Usual copyright strictures - don't pinch them for anything other than non-commercial, personal enthusiast use...)

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DCN


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#2 paulhooft

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 19:09

fantastic photo's
Paul :up:

#3 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 19:43

Thank you very much for these pictures Doug !!!! Amazing as usual :up:

AP

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 19:48

Truly beautiful workmanship evident there...

These under the skin pics are fantastic.

#5 Richard Neale

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 19:59

Doug ~ A piece of really magical history !

Along a similar train of thought ~ Hollyfield Road ~ luckily still standing.

Do you know the route to try and get the Hollyfield Road buildings Listed as Grade 2 ????

#6 Udo K.

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 20:17

Just GREAT !

:up:

#7 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 20:44

Originally posted by Richard Neale
]...Along a similar train of thought ~ Hollyfield Road (Cooper Cars factory in Surbiton) ~ luckily still standing. Do you know the route to try and get the Hollyfield Road buildings Listed as Grade 2 ????


Woody - from the Internet:

HOW ARE (UK) BUILDINGS SELECTED FOR LISTING?

Very broadly speaking the criteria for listing buildings are;

all buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition

most buildings of 1700 to 1840, though selection is necessary

between 1840 and 1914 only buildings of definite quality and character, and the selection is designed to include the principal works of the principal architects

after 1914 only selected outstanding buildings are listed

buildings that are less than 30 years old, only if they are of outstanding quality and under threat

buildings that are less than 10 years old are not listed


In choosing buildings, particular attention is paid to:

age and rarity

special architectural interest or social and economic interest (e.g. industrial buildings, railway stations, schools, hospitals, theatres, town halls, markets, exchanges, almshouses, prisons, lock-ups and mills)

technological innovation or virtuosity

association with well-known characters or events

group value, especially as examples of town planning (e.g. model villages, squares, terraces)

--------

From this I would deduce that Hollyfield Road's police patrol car garage - as the former Cooper works was when I last looked - might qualify under the 'special social and economic interest' and association with well-known characters or events' rules, and I would presume the first approach should be made to the local planning authority... Best of luck....

The Connaught works was demolished only quite recently and replaced by an office development perpetuating the Connaught name. What's more the developer threw a pretty darned good party on the site pre-demolition for Connaught old boys and present owners and supporters which we thought showed pretty admirable form on his part. The old buildings had visibly, by the way, lived out their useful life.

DCN

#8 David Beard

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 21:34

Fantastic stuff. Thanks Doug!

I love the the way the bench in photo 2 is made from the same tubing as the chassis...in the same way that modern teams can't resist making ordinary things out of carbon fibre.

#9 Roger Clark

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 22:47

What is the car in picture #1?

#10 Wolf

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 22:53

Originally posted by David Beard
Fantastic stuff. Thanks Doug!

I love the the way the bench in photo 2 is made from the same tubing as the chassis...in the same way that modern teams can't resist making ordinary things out of carbon fibre.


There is some difference between benches and toilet seats... :lol: This is more the case of making do with what's available, methinks.

Great photos, thanks Doug. :)

#11 condor

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 02:20

Great pics Doug :up: ....Got any tales(info) to go with them?

#12 Richard Neale

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 08:33

Doug ~ Thanks for that info on Hollyfield Road ~ I guess architectural interest might come into it too, as Owen Maddock's father was the architect. Not sure howmany other buildings he designed?
I guess the building could make a good museum or 'Shrine' ?

#13 karlcars

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 10:03

Great pix, Doug.

I might be interested in #3 for a future 'Classic Racing Engines' book.

#14 Doug Nye

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 10:34

Karl - we owe you at least one....that's another book I'll just have to buy.

DCN

#15 petefenelon

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 10:43

Splendid stuff Doug - many thanks.

It's interesting to note how much more 'professional' Connaught look than contemporary pictures of (say) Cooper or Lotus even March over a decade later - it really does look like a high-precision engineering works.

Is there a decent history of Connaught out there? (I vaguely recall Johnnie Johnson's "To Draw A Long Line", but was that a personal memoir/autobiography or more of a marque history? I never managed to find a copy of it...)

#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 12:01

Pete - you're absolutely right - the precision engineering look transmitted itself to the cars they manufactured as well. If only they had acquired adequately reliable horsepower and torque the story could have been very different. Duncan Rabagliati has the most exquisitely accumulated archive of Connaught company and team history documentation and photography but the potential market for a dedicated book has generally been perceived as being too confined for a publisher to become seriously interested. 'Johnny' Johnson's book unfortunately was regarded with considerable cynicism/scepticism/criticism/derision by a number of his contemporaries who regarded him as attempting to rise above his station... which was a pity... I quite liked the book as far as it went but as I say, several of his former colleagues did not.

DCN

#17 Don Capps

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 12:31

This is one of the reasons that I love this forum..... What great pictures and what a story they tell! For many and various reasons, I always had a weakness for the Connaught team. These pictures convey just what sort of an outfit it truly was, the professional approach to the task is evident in the pictures. Such a pity that the "market" for the story of this team is considered as virtually non-existent.

One thing I noted almost immediately was that there seemed to be minimal "staging" involved in the shots of the work being done on the cars and components. That along makes them unique!

Again, wonderful stuff and thanks Doug for sharing these treasures with us.

#18 Patrice L'Rodent

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 12:34

Thank you Doug. My dim memory tells me the Beaumann car was very like the one shown in pic 5.
I love how this stuff massages the old memory cells.
Pat D'Rat

#19 lukywill

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 12:35

indeed great pictures :up:
this looks like frankeinstein laboratory  ;)

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#20 David Beard

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 12:46

Originally posted by Roger Clark
What is the car in picture #1?


What's bothering you, Roger....the lack of "A" type snorkel intake?

#21 RDV

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 14:22

...There is some difference between benches and toilet seats... ..



...have noticed this preocupation with carbon used on toilet seats on several threads.... the reason for carbon used on everything in F1 teams is that even when kept in refrigerators, prepreg has a finite shelf life, once past it usualy used to make any item needed at time, so not realy wasteful... in the case of all equipment for flyaway races a gain as equipment will be lighter , thus keeping inside weight restriction...

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 October 2003 - 19:27

I'm not so sure about that... just how big a project is it to make a toilet seat, and how much need would a team have for toilet seats?

A lunchtime project, yeah, possible... but hardly a simple 'where can we use up this stuff?' itme...

#23 Ted Walker

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 08:16

Am I right in thinking that one of the "work benches" has appeared as a CAR. !!!!!!!!!

#24 Richard Neale

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 08:31

:up:

You 'Old Cynic' Ted !!!!!

More than one I guess ~ the bench probablely got 'cloned' at least twice !

#25 soubriquet

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 08:43

I see that there are two different engines. 3) has the camshaft drive train at the front, and the inlet and exhaust mating surfaces are vertical. 4), 7) and 8) has the drive train at the back, and a tapered head. What's the story here?

#26 Peter Morley

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 12:53

Originally posted by Ted Walker
Am I right in thinking that one of the "work benches" has appeared as a CAR. !!!!!!!!!


Not quite.
One of the B-type chassis (probably shown in the 2nd photo) was bought at the Connaught auction by Dudley Gahagan.
Dudley apparently used the chassis as a workbench.
That chassis is now used in our Connaught (which was built up from a virtually complete set of original parts - which were also sold at the auction).

So a Connaught chassis was converted into a workbench and has since reverted to its original purpose.

#27 Doug Nye

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 13:11

:) ...that's one way of looking at it. The other might be that a burned and damaged genuine Connaught frame was used as an engine test-bed mount for a period...while spare lengths of the tube used in Connaught chassis manufacture were also pressed into economical service on occasion by using them to construct firm and steady work benches....?????

DCN

#28 Option1

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 14:13

Originally posted by Don Capps
This is one of the reasons that I love this forum..... What great pictures and what a story they tell! For many and various reasons, I always had a weakness for the Connaught team. These pictures convey just what sort of an outfit it truly was, the professional approach to the task is evident in the pictures. Such a pity that the "market" for the story of this team is considered as virtually non-existent.

One thing I noted almost immediately was that there seemed to be minimal "staging" involved in the shots of the work being done on the cars and components. That along makes them unique!

Again, wonderful stuff and thanks Doug for sharing these treasures with us.

Pretty much sums it up for me. Great pics Doug.

Neil

#29 David Beard

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 17:31

I have the following from Bob Gilbert, who has viewed this thread...

In answer to the question what is the car in picture one I believe the answer is my car AL10. As you probably know AL10 was the last A type to be built with a chassis that was six inches longer than the rest of the A types. The reason that it did not have the usual A Type snorkel was that it was the only car to be fitted with and retain Hilborne Travers fuel injection.It also had a unique mechanism,which it still retains, to allow the rear suspension to be adjustable from the cockpit. This was to accommodate the preferences of both Roy Salvadori and Sir Robert McAlpine who both drove the car as a works car and who had very different preferences for it set up.

The car has only had five owners since new and is regularly campaigned by me both nationally and internationally. I competed with it at Goodwood this year.

The car was also present and running at the invitation lunch at the factory at Send that took place just before the site was redeveloped by its current owners. The new building on the site is called Connaught House!

Please find attached recent photograph of a car at Monza. It was the subject of an extensive article in Motorsport two or three years ago when Martin Brundle drove it.

Coincidentally, the car is featured in Doug Nye's book "The classic single seaters" at Page 49 alongside the picture of the Cooper Bristol that was the first car to go into Tom Wheatcroft's Donington Collection, which I also own and race avidly!


In Alan Cotham's extensive period of ownership the car was very successful and I think still holds the VSCC record at Prescott for a post-war Grand Prix Car. I have only ever been able to get within two tenths of his time!

The only other bit of interesting information is that in 1961 the car won a Swedish historic Grand Prix meeting which was sponsored by the Swedish air force! As a result the car was presented with the Swedish air force colours which it still proudly bears on either side of the cockpit.



#30 David Beard

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 17:39

Photo referred to in post above...Bob Gilbert at Monza.
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#31 Roger Clark

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 18:17

THere were two long wheel base A-series Connaughts, AL9 being the other.

While on the subject of Connaughts, this may be of interest. Sorry about the quality.

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#32 oldtimer

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 20:26

Doug, some more thanks for posting the great pictures.

Tending to be narrow in my focus in motor racing, and that is towards winners, Connaught were never high on my list, though Tony Brooks Syracuse win caught my eye with DSJ's marvellous report. Jenks used to comment on the construction and design of the Connaughts, and these pictures show why. I had no idea it was such a professional set-up. It makes you wonder why they couldn't find financial backing.

Thank you too, Roger, for your post. That looks like a De Dion tube on the rear suspension, which would have been unique in the small rear engined cars. Or did the E-type AU design follow its big brother?

#33 rdrcr

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 20:37

Thanks for the photos Doug - wonderful stuff! Things like this, expose new facets of the historic racing world to me, for which I am most appreciative. :clap:

#34 Ian Stewart

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 21:31

Fascinating photographs - made me realise how little we appreciated what we had back in the 'fifties.

I have one or two photos of A6, which I drove for most of 1953, but alas I haven't learned how to post them yet!

:o

#35 Doug Nye

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 21:32

Good heavens! Welcome to TNF Ian....

DCN :blush:

#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 21:38

I'm sure they would have worked out a way to get the de Dion tube past the clutch, but I wonder just how restrictive those exhaust pipes might have been on a Godiva?

Indeed, Roger, the level of workmanship is superb and well above that of the later (and more successful!) garagistes...




And Welcome to Ian M Stewart, good to see you posting!

Send the photos to raybell@justin-bell.net and they'll appear miraculously before the eyes of attentive readers!

#37 Don Capps

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 21:45

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Good heavens! Welcome to TNF Ian....


Double Ditto!!!! Wow!

#38 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 22:01

Welcome to TNF Ian !! :)

#39 Doug Nye

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 22:12

Digressions are always such fun ... might anyone here perhaps know anything about this sometime Connaught driver scoring a very respectable race win on a public road circuit???

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DCN

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#40 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 22:22

Hmmmm. Ian Stewart in a Ecurie Ecosse Jag C-Type at the Jersey Road Race?

#41 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 22:26

Welcome Ian! :up:

#42 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 22:31

Originally posted by Dennis Hockenbury
Hmmmm. Ian Stewart in a Ecurie Ecosse Jag C-Type at the Jersey Road Race?


Just what I was about to say .... :lol:

Incidentally, and with all due respect, I think Ian must be one of the oldest posters ever on TNF ....

#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 22:43

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Just what I was about to say .... :lol:

Incidentally, and with all due respect, I think Ian must be one of the oldest posters ever on TNF ....


You looked at the filename on the pic too?

I'm not sure how old Ian is, obviously in his seventies, but I recall that there was a Tasmanian posting here (I'm sure it was in TNF) who was in his eighties three or four years ago.

And look at the birthdate on Brent's profile some time... though he hasn't posted for a while either...

#44 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 22:49

I've got the pics from Ian now...

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#45 Ian Stewart

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 23:01

Thank you all for such a generous welcome, and you Doug for the C-Type photo. I have a copy of it, but not as clear as this one!

Extra special thanks too for the introduction to this superb and knowledgeable forum - given to me by a very kind member.

:)

#46 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 23:03

Enough of the graciousness... let's hear why you had the grille blanked off in that second picture!

Oh, say hello to the lady for me, will you?

#47 Ian Stewart

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 23:16

Have a heart Ray - I was only the chauffeur ! :

Maybe it needed the extra chauff on a lovverly Scottish summer day ;)

#48 condor

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 00:04

Nice pics Ian :) those two ladies look a bit 'ethereal'...or was that how they dressed?

where were the pics taken?

#49 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 00:20

I'd guess the first one is Charterhall - can't identify the event though. IIRC Franco Varani had this one in his mystery pics at some point.

And aren't the ladies wearing Pacamacs?

#50 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 01:07

A very warm welcome Ian from a recent member to TNF.

This global community of enthusiasts would sincerely appreciate, and enjoy reading of your experiences, impressions, and recollections that you would care to share.

Only perhaps at the risk of your typing peril, as we would have so many questions!

Thanks. :up: