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The Alford & Alder upright


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#1 David Beard

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 21:03

The Alford & Alder front suspension upright must be the most frequently used production car component in racing car construction.

I always assumed it first appeared on the Triumph Herald production car, though I have reason to think I could be wrong. What was the first racing car on which it appeared, and what was the last?

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#2 David Birchall

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 02:32

Well, I think the Lotus Eleven mark 2 ( with the "proper" front suspension) may have been the first.

The last? How about the Cooper Maser F1?

#3 Cirrus

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 09:00

It was still a popular component in Formula Ford well into the seventies.

#4 David Beard

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 09:47

Originally posted by David Birchall
Well, I think the Lotus Eleven mark 2 ( with the "proper" front suspension) may have been the first


Wasn't that slighly preceded by the Lotus 12? Either way, this is 1957, and the Triumph Herald didn't appear until 1959. Thus I question my own statement that the Herald was the first road car utilisation.

The most famous useage of course, was on the F1 championship winning Brabham.

#5 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 09:56

I assumed, as it was David who asked this question, that he had some evidence of an earlier Lotus using the part. In fact, I understood that the front suspension of the 18 was based very closely on the 16 and on the later versions of the 11. But David knows more about Lotus 16s than most of us.

The Triumph Herald was introduced in April 1959, so any early use in racing would suggest than another production car had used them. The Herald was considered very advanced by the standards of contemporary British road cars but it wouldn't be surprising to find these components bening re-used.

I was surprised to read that the Cooper Maseratis hasd used the A&A uprights as every part of those cars looked more substantial than earlier cars. I thought that Brabhams used them, at least until the BT19/20 and probably the 24, but I have no evidence for this.

#6 Cirrus

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 11:16

The BT24 used magnesium front uprights. I think I am right in saying that the first Brabham not to use the Alford and Alder item was the F2 BT23 of 1967.

#7 just me again

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 11:33

Could someone point to a description of an Alford and Alder upright

Bjørn

#8 RTH

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 12:52

I could give you a picture I took of one , but under the circumstances probably best we all just see it in our minds eye.

#9 David Beard

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 14:08

Originally posted by just me again
Could someone point to a description of an Alford and Alder upright

Bjørn


See Item 12 here.....

http://www.rimmerbro.../herald/18b.htx

#10 D-Type

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 14:12

Originally posted by RTH
I could give you a picture I took of one , but under the circumstances probably best we all just see it in our minds eye.

If it's a picture you took then surely there's no copyright problem. (Unless of course you are worried that someone will steat your photo for profit.)

#11 David Birchall

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 17:31

Originally posted by just me again
Could someone point to a description of an Alford and Alder upright

Bjørn


I remembered seeing something in MotorSport about the A&A upright and found it this am. In the October 1999 issue there is a description and history which gives the original use as "...the pre-war Standard Eight saloon, introduced in 1938..." Older than we all thought I think. David Beard was right, the Lotus 12 single seater predated the Lotus 11 Mk2 in using the upright. Chapman apparently used the 12 front suspension on the 11. I'll bet Chapman wasn't the first though.
My old sports racer of the period used the Morris Minor upright which was not as stiff or sophisticated.
David B

#12 David Beard

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 17:55

Originally posted by David Birchall


I remembered seeing something in MotorSport about the A&A upright and found it this am. In the October 1999 issue there is a description and history which gives the original use as "...the pre-war Standard Eight saloon, introduced in 1938..." Older than we all thought I think. David Beard was right, the Lotus 12 single seater predated the Lotus 11 Mk2 in using the upright. Chapman apparently used the 12 front suspension on the 11. I'll bet Chapman wasn't the first though.
My old sports racer of the period used the Morris Minor upright which was not as stiff or sophisticated.
David B


I was hoping someone would point me at that article which I remember well...but I would never have guessed it was published nearly 5 years ago. A TNFers sort of problem?

They must be wrong about the pre war Standard 8...they must surely mean the 50s version?

I can understand why a racing car constructor would want to use that nice lean forging, but (and I am probably showing my ignorance here) how did they put up with that silly threaded bottom trunnion? Or was it always modified in some way for racing use?

Another question ...this photo (its MY photo ) shows an apparently strengthened A & A upright on a currently raced Lotus 16. Is this unusual, or was this a common mod that would have been seen often in the 70s on FF cars?

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#13 Peter Morley

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 07:51

Originally posted by David Birchall
Well, I think the Lotus Eleven mark 2 ( with the "proper" front suspension) may have been the first.

The last? How about the Cooper Maser F1?


Not sure about the first use - but early Lotus 11s used Ford 10 front suspension parts.

The Shannon certainly ran them in the 1966 British GP.

But many lower formula cars used them for many years afterwards - Formula Fords etc ran them well into the 70's.

And Marcos still make them (or did so until very recently)....................

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 14:32

The uprights in the Standard 8 and 10 of the fifties was different to that in the Herald, the whole thing being slightly smaller but otherwise similar.

It was this upright that was used in some fifties racing cars. From memory, it was not unknown for it to crack or break through the top bend.

The Herald version also had a stiffening rib that wasn't there on the original IIRC. This ran down the back of the vertical section to the boss for the stub axle.

A bigger version of the upright was used on the Vanguards, I'm fairly sure.

It's not strictly correct to say that modern (1970s etc) FFs use the upright as they almost universally adopted the Spitfire version (was it only from Mk 3 onwards?) that has the inbuilt caliper mount.

One real problem stuck in racing with these was the flexing of the stub axle... this being a bolt-in item that was tapered and retained in the correspondingly tapered hole by the nut seen in the picture above.

#15 Geoff E

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 16:55

I found this on a motoring "time line":

1938

"The first small British saloon to feature independent front suspension is the Standard Flying Eight."

http://www.classicau...om/history.html

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 22:20

I wouldn't be altogether sure, but I don't think this had an independent front end...

Posted Image
photo provided by staff member of Albury Border Mail for publication

The post-war Mayflower did, however... probably using the larger uprights of the Vanguard, but then I'm not sure of that. On reflection, in fact, I think all of these cars would have had upper wishbones as did the BMC stuff of the fifties.. with lever-arm shocks... and thus wouldn't have been using ball joints as on the later Standard 10/Herald suspensions.

#17 T54

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 22:53

The A & A upright is indeed a Triumph Herald piece, and it was used in two ways:

1/ unmodified like in most Cooper T46, 48, 51, 53, 54. Meaning that the "screw" in its base changes the suspension setup as the wheels are steered.

2/ machined to receive a regular Heim joint at top and bottom, no longer influencing the suspension setup, as in the Brabham BT5, BT8, BT15 and 21.

I can tell you from personal experience that they are strong pieces, able to handle quite a bit of tire with no deformation.

The Cooper-Maserati used a magnesium front upright.

T54

#18 David Beard

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 20:31

My Australian Lurking Lotus friend sent me this....

Dave, I have been reading the TNF section. The upright was off the 1953
onwards Standard 8 and 10. This was on the Lotus 12 show car 1956, does
this make it the earliest use? Yes I think so. The upright did not
appear on the Lotus 11 series 2 until 1957 so I believe the Lotus 12
was the first. The Standard upright was also used on the S1 Elite but
that did not appear until the 1957 Motor Show.
The Standard 8/10 upright was different to the Herald item in
that the bottom trunion was secured from each side by a course acme
type screw, with grease nipples on each end. There were threads in the
wishbone to suit. The Herald adopted a simpler arrangement with nylon
bushes, seals and a through bolt. The first S1 Sevens used the Standard
8/10 item briefly but the S1 seven was first seen at the 1957 Motor Show.
Hope this is of use. regards MJB



#19 T54

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 01:15

The upright was off the 1953 onwards Standard 8 and 10.



But the unit used on the Coopers (t46-48-51-53...) appears different in the forging, beefier and more "modern" than the thinner Standard item, isn' it? I do not believe that it is the same basic forging while they look similar.

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#20 dbw

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 07:15

getting back to the first part of the post...i'd have to give a strong vote for a ford model A / V8 rear end...first used in the late 20's they made countless laps around the fairground tracks..later on the street,strip,lakebeds and road courses of the '50s...stock,3/4-full floaters,QC'd TTaxles...the permeations neared infinent...albeit a bigger chunk of steel
[hey!crome-vanadium]i think the pile of those used in anger over the years would dwarf the di-upright-maxion of legend..

#21 David Beard

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 20:18

Originally posted by Geoff E
I found this on a motoring "time line":

1938

"The first small British saloon to feature independent front suspension is the Standard Flying Eight."

http://www.classicau...om/history.html


This of course suggests that the article in Motor Sport magazine was correct,.... but can anyone find a photo or drawing of the pre war Standard 8 ifs ?

#22 T54

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 00:16

In the meantime, a typical installation from 1960:

Posted Image

Regards,

T54

#23 2F-001

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 05:40

With regard to the "last" usage, I guess it depends what you categorize as a racing car, as said upright lives on with the Caterham Seven (in more recent times without the trunnion and the bottom modified to accept sherical joint ).

#24 Ken Smith

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 16:11

The Cooper Maser had its front brake discs mounted inboard of the upright for cooling, that would be difficult with the A&A upright versatile though it may be.

I attemted to start this thread on Pistonheads some while ago but nobody was interested. Different forums different interests I suppose.

#25 T54

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 16:29

The Cooper-Maser had a magnesium cast upright. One can see it on many pictures of the car.

The A&A forging was indeed used first with trunnion, later machined and threaded to fit a Heim joint. There were at least 2 different forgings, a skinnier pre-Herald, a beefier one on the Herald. I have both and have inspected them and it appears that they are indeed from two completely different toolings. Below is a relatively clear view of a car fitted with the trunnion-style lower pick-up point, and the standard overhead sealed ball joint as top link. The steering arms were always bolted in two points, the tapered spindle retained by a simple castle nut, then a nylon locknut.

Posted Image

#26 Cirrus

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 17:27

I was looking at a Lotus 27 at Brands the other week, and it too used the versatile Alford and Alder upright, with a purpose-made steering arm which bolted to the upper brake mountings to give a high trackrod like the Lotus 25, which of course used magnesium front uprights.

Brabham, incidentally, went to the trouble of casting magnesium caliper mounts for the A & A upright, to claw back a little unsprung weight.

#27 T54

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 17:36

Brabham, incidentally, went to the trouble of casting magnesium caliper mounts for the A & A upright, to claw back a little unsprung weight.



In which he simply copied the ones made by Cooper, please see the second pic above.
I had some replicas of the Brabham magnesium caliper mounts made in the 1990's, but from heat treated 356 aluminum so that they will last a bit longer since all the Brabham parts I got for my two BT8's, my BT15 and my BT21 were all radially cracked around the bolt holes. They are indeed a bit on the weak side.
Regards,

T54

#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 15:45

Originally posted by T54
.....and the standard overhead sealed ball joint as top link.....


Actually, it's not...

That's probably a tie rod end from a Vanguard.

#29 T54

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 16:15

Actually, it's not... That's probably a tie rod end from a Vanguard...



And this means that it is not a sealed ball joint? News to me.

#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 16:45

Originally posted by T54
And this means that it is not a sealed ball joint? News to me.


Yes, it is a sealed ball joint. And even a 'standard sealed ball joint'... for that matter it's probably a 'Standard sealed ball joint'...

But, for all that, it's definitely not what you would term 'the standard sealed ball joint' that comes atop these uprights in the Heralds or Spitfires (or even Vitesses) to which they originally belonged. And with the word 'overhead' in there, the need for correction is even greater.

That is a square shaped fitting that bolts between the two arms of the upper wishbone. The joint depicted is one that normally attaches to the steering arm. Like it's mate in the picture...

#31 T54

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 17:04

Ray,
I am talking about the joint on TOP of the upright, not the steering joint. For gawd sake, I have no less than FOUR cars using this setup in my little scuderia. This is as standard a setup as they come, and I really don't care which Standard it comes from since these parts are from a Triumph, at least this is where I got them from. And it they are not "overhead", what are they? These sealed ball joints fit on the very top of the upright through a taper, retained by a compression nut under the bent part of the upright. The other end screws in the top A-arm, and they require to be knocked out of the upright for any adjustment, which is not very convenient indeed. I have no idea of what you are arguing here?

That is a square shaped fitting that bolts between the two arms of the upper wishbone. The joint depicted is one that normally attaches to the steering arm. Like it's mate in the picture...


Eh? :confused:

#32 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 17:13

I'm talking about the original parts that come on the suspension of the Herald or Spitfire or Vitesse...

Yes, at the top of the upright, the ball joint at the outer end of the top wishbone. It's a square block with the ball joint included in it, and there are two through-bolts that hold it all together.

The 'Standard' reference was due to Triumph having been made by Standard at that time.

Just to clarify, my post was to say that a Vanguard tie rod end in the top of the Herald upright was not a 'standard' (ie. mass production) fitment.

'Standard' on various racing cars, perhaps... but not from the original maker.

#33 T54

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 17:19

Actually, it's not...



Just returning to your confusing statement, thank you for clarifying the matter.

:confused: :confused: :confused:

#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 17:25

I gather I didn't do so well enough?

Okay, this is a thread about a production car component used in specials and racing cars. The picture showed the upright as fitted to a racing car, but the paragraph spoke of 'the standard overhead sealed ball joint as top link'.

So one might get the idea that this ball joint was as from a Triumph Herald... or, in other words, was standard fitment to a Triumph Herald.

This it isn't, so I sought to make that plain. And at the same time point out where the components probably came from.

By the way, it's rather ironic that you complain about the inconvenience of having to knock the taper out to adjust your suspension. When Cooper and Lotus et al started using these things, they fitted that tie rod end because it made it easy to adjust the camber.

#35 T54

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 19:37

When Cooper and Lotus et al started using these things, they fitted that tie rod end because it made it easy to adjust the camber.



That's progress for you! :)

Fortunately two of my four thingies do use a regular Heim joint with a bolt and nut on a modified A&A upright, so ne need for an extractor there. Then again, it's Ron Tauranac vs Colin Chapman, and I have always favored the Aussie over the Brit for sound if not revolutionary engineering. I have never been a fan of minimalism, I would rather have the safety.
Regards,

T54

#36 ggnagy

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 14:34

Every nut bolting together a "traditional" Lotus 7 clone seems to use triumph uprights.
However, the VW type IV gearbox casing has had a few fans over the years too.

#37 T54

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 15:24

However, the VW type IV gearbox casing has had a few fans over the years too.



Yes, I see how tedious it would be to modify them to replace the A&A upright... :wave:

#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 15:49

They didn't have much trouble supplanting the Renault Dauphine box, however... and rapidly overtook the Citroen Light 15 unit.

I wonder if anyone ever looked at the Subaru unit?

Unlikely... motor racing types, especially those in motor racing's International 'headquarters' in England, are pretty slow to look at different base materials of this type.

#39 llmaurice

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 16:07

Don't think we knew what a Subaru was in the mid fifties Ray . The only thing we knew from Japan was a certain wartime aircraft from Mitsubishi.

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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 16:27

True, but the Subaru range offered a five speed box over twenty years ago, I'm sure... surely somebody could have looked to see if it presented a better basis for a box (as by Hewland) than the VW in that time?

#41 Geoff E

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 17:31

A university friend of mine had a 1948 Standard Flying Eight tourer in the late 1960s. Although the car itself was built in 1948, I see no reason why it should have differed significantly from the original models built in 1938. I should explain that a review of the model described it as "tough, tiny, reliable" and forever after it was known as the TTR. I asked him to read this thread and comment - his reply was:

"I have scanned through the chatter and think they have got it a bit wrong, as far as I remember the front end of the TTR was independent, it had a transverse leaf spring clamped on the bottom of the chassis and top wishbones. I remember rebushing the top wishbone pivots on the chassis side.

What I can't recall is where the shockers went, they would have been lever arm and I can only assume they were between the top wishbone and the spring underneath. Anyway it was certainly not the fancy double wishbone with coil spring over dampers shown in some of the pics.

The picture of the racing Standard 8 tourer is a bit nostalgic."

#42 john medley

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 00:35

I may have this wrong, but I'm fairly certain that the memorable John Needham showed me a Subaru WRX mainshaft laid on the bench next to a Goliath mainshaft. To all intents and purposes, the two items were the same -- except one was 50 years older than the other.

The reason I mention this ( and the reason John N was showing me ) was that the Goliath gearbox was being rebuilt to go into Mal Reid's 1955 Prad Holden, a single seater similar to a Cooper Bristol Mk 2 but with driver much lower and slightly offset, all assisted by the offset rear mounted Goliath gearbox.

So Subaru gearboxes might not have surfaced 20 years ago, Ray -- but one did in Australia 50 years ago.

#43 Duncan Fox

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 05:34

I've followed this thread with much interest. I have seen two styles that to the average eye look the same, but one is lighter in consruction and has a slightly different top shape,I dont know the source but am asking everyone I know. These two have 4 bolt holes to which the brake backing plate attaches to. I have also seen a 3rd style which is the disc brake version, it has 2 angled lugs attached to the centre . The steering arm attaches to the centre spindle and one of these lugs. I have attached a pic (I hope) of an a new upright assembly for our works M1B McLaren. This is how they prepped thiers.




Posted Image

#44 llmaurice

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 09:29

I understand that the Vitesse item is slightly different to the the Herald version as regards the steering arm securing . The herald just used the two horizontal bolts as opposed to Vitesse.

#45 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 13:11

This might well be because the Vitesse also had the disc brake lugs...

Note the modifications made on the McLaren version... bracing of the top bend (which would break off if not secured!), the bottom screwthread machined off to take the Rose joint, some more bracing above that, and then there's the extension to the top and the non-standard stub axle.

Surely this was the level of modification that led them to understand it might be better to make their own?

#46 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 14:07

Originally posted by Ray Bell
.....The post-war Mayflower did, however... probably using the larger uprights of the Vanguard, but then I'm not sure of that. On reflection, in fact, I think all of these cars would have had upper wishbones as did the BMC stuff of the fifties.. with lever-arm shocks... and thus wouldn't have been using ball joints as on the later Standard 10/Herald suspensions.


Well, here's the Mayflower's front suspension... I was wrong about dampers, they had telescopics...

And a slightly odd looking Alford & Adler upright.

#47 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 14:07

Originally posted by Ray Bell
.....The post-war Mayflower did, however... probably using the larger uprights of the Vanguard, but then I'm not sure of that. On reflection, in fact, I think all of these cars would have had upper wishbones as did the BMC stuff of the fifties.. with lever-arm shocks... and thus wouldn't have been using ball joints as on the later Standard 10/Herald suspensions.


Well, here's the Mayflower's front suspension... I was wrong about dampers, they had telescopics...

And a slightly odd looking Alford & Adler upright. From the Mayflower Club site...

Posted Image

#48 Graham Howard

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Posted 18 November 2004 - 00:35

The Mayflower upright was used on Lotus 27s. When 27s first appeared in Australia, not only were they unbelievably hi-tech but they even appeared to have this specially forged variant of a Herald upright, and all the amateur Chapmans felt utterly defeated.

Later the secret leaked out - bloody MAYFLOWER! Chapman had tricked us again.

Graham Howard

#49 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 November 2004 - 02:19

For the high steering arm, of course...

#50 xkssFrankOpalka

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Posted 18 November 2004 - 03:21

The Mayflower upper A arms look like the ones used on my Elva Mk2, On my racing Triumph TR4, I reversed the lower bronze trunion, knocking out the plug and putting it in the opposite end, this gave us a different lower arm pivot location and a different roll center. My Cooper Monaco also used the A&A upright.