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Pointless extravagance on a racing car


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#1 RTH

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 13:59

The Mercedes-Benz three pointed star emblem on the centre of the steering wheels of the Mclaren cars at this weekends Monaco GP will be encrusted with real diamonds ( there has been a BBC TV item on it ).
These steering wheels it is rumoured already cost between £10,000 and £50,000 each without any gem stones!

A bit like laying rare Italian marble floors in the pit garages, and building 3 storey glass and alloy office blocks in the paddock for each race, is this conspicuous display of wealth in order to demoralise the opposition or to force other teams in to bancruptcy trying to keep up or just some vanity beyond my understanding ?

I wonder what items of huge expense and of no purpose have been carried around on racing cars in the past ?

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#2 ian senior

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 14:11

Originally posted by RTH

I wonder what items of huge expense and of no purpose have been carried around on racing cars in the past ?


Nigel Mansell at McLaren?

#3 RTH

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 14:16

:rotfl:

#4 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 14:18

Id go with Nigel actually. the Diamond wheels is a sponsor deal, and last year's version (diamond names on the drivers helmets) at least raised a fair bit of charity.

#5 Chris Bloom

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 14:20

Originally posted by ian senior


Nigel Mansell at McLaren?


:rotfl: That made me laugh :rotfl:

#6 Paul Parker

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 14:31

At least they wont lose the diamond(s) like Jaguar did.

#7 Mallory Dan

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 14:32

Doesn't this just prove how far up its own a--e modern 'Eff One' is.

#8 Ruairidh

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 14:34

Originally posted by ian senior


Nigel Mansell at McLaren?


Ok, that made me laugh out loud to the surprise of my wife and daughter!

#9 ian senior

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 14:52

Originally posted by Mallory Dan
Doesn't this just prove how far up its own a--e modern 'Eff One' is.


I agree. Speaks volumes for the current state of F1, if they have to resort to this kind of stuff to make things seem remotely interesting.

#10 f1steveuk

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 14:56

Wont name the team, but GPS!!!! Why? If the driver is that bad he could just follow the others

#11 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 14:58

Originally posted by Mallory Dan
Doesn't this just prove how far up its own a--e modern 'Eff One' is.


Ive seen dumber stunts for charity...

#12 Racer.Demon

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 15:02

Originally posted by Ruairidh


Ok, that made me laugh out loud to the surprise of my wife and daughter!


And I've just had some very strange looks at me here in the office! :rotfl:

#13 ian senior

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 15:02

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld


Ive seen dumber stunts for charity...


And of "chariddee" excuses everything. Just give 'em the money and forget the bullshit.

#14 macoran

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 15:19

Originally posted by ian senior


Nigel Mansell at McLaren?


PLEASE !!!! never do that again,....I am still in recovery over my last heart attack.

#15 FLB

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 15:21

Originally posted by f1steveuk
Wont name the team, but GPS!!!! Why? If the driver is that bad he could just follow the others

That's easy. A driver could 'pre-program' or at least acquire data for track conditions and feed them to the engineers. Then, with a proper program cross-referenced with a GPS, the car would know where it is on the track and what the grip conditions are like. Theoretically, the car would know exactly when to apply the 'go fast' pedal, how much, and when to get off it.

Not much use for a driver these days apart from data collecting, I'm afraid.

#16 macoran

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 15:24

With all the time it takes to set up the guardrails at Monaco, and no overtaking anyway,
why not just cut a slottrack in the circuit ?

#17 Mallory Dan

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 15:26

Originally posted by ian senior


And of "chariddee" excuses everything. Just give 'em the money and forget the bullshit.


Spot on again Ian, with you 100% on "charidee" events, Roger Mellie had this right years ago!!

#18 f1steveuk

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 16:17

Originally posted by FLB

That's easy. A driver could 'pre-program' or at least acquire data for track conditions and feed them to the engineers. Then, with a proper program cross-referenced with a GPS, the car would know where it is on the track and what the grip conditions are like. Theoretically, the car would know exactly when to apply the 'go fast' pedal, how much, and when to get off it.

Not much use for a driver these days apart from data collecting, I'm afraid.


I was being a tad flippant!! :) It's a bit like the little maps they used to stick on the steering wheel.

One might add mirrors to the list, but maybe only for certain drivers!

#19 Alan Cox

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 22:24

The conspicuous consumption flaunted in the world of F1 is all in the worst possible taste and has nothing at all to do with what little "sporting" element remains. How the world of F1 is still allowed to get away with it all, when the rest of the world is implored to be frugal, and responsible, with its dwindling resources beggars belief.

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#20 David M. Kane

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 22:31

Ian Senior and others:

Amen! Just get in the friggin' cars and drive them damn things!

#21 Bonde

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 00:13

I wonder what items of huge expense and of no purpose have been carried around on racing cars in the past ?


Riding mechanics in the later years where these were required...

Wings...

All kinds of secondary and tertiary bracketry painstakingly hand laid-up in carbon fibre pre-preg with expensive bagging materials on expensively CNC-machined and hand-polished moulds where a piece of bent tin would've done it at a couple of grams extra weight...[this basically applies to any class that allows the use of carbon fibre]...

Refueling pit-stop gear on current F1]...

Carbon-carbon brakes...[iron would be same for everybody]

Electronic driver aids...

$$$$$ driver's helmet decorations in messy computer game commercial "style"...

FIA-stipulated engine configurations for F1...

#22 Wolf

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 01:43

Alan- I think fuel consumption of current cars is not even comparable with '50 Alfettas. I think I've read somewhere that Alfa reduced consumption to 1 l/km (that would be tad over 2 mpg, methinks) for '51 season... And that was 1.5l engine. :eek:

#23 Gary Davies

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 04:44

I think he's talking about more than the fuel consumption of the racing engines.

#24 ensign14

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 06:30

Would monkeys fall under this topic?

#25 Alan Cox

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 09:19

I wasn't specifically referring to fuel consumption in terms of conspicuous consumption, Wolf, it was the overt spending of pots of money to prop up a failing spectacle.

#26 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 09:32

Originally posted by Alan Cox
.... the overt spending of pots of money to prop up a failing spectacle.

The same charge can be rightly levelled against certain other sports. The amount of money - especially the ludicrous salaries for star players - in football is obscene and the raising of t***ers like Wayne Rooney and David Beckham and their airheaded other halves to a false iconic status typifies all that's wrong with the game today. Scanning the sports pages of the Independent the other day I spotted an article about how fans are voting with their feet and not renewing season tickets in favour of buying a Sky subscription for which they get far more football for a fraction of the price. Plus they can watch in comfort and warmth ....

Athletics now seems to be more about the pursuit of money than excellence too.

#27 Roger Clark

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 09:33

Does the Connew airbox count?


That thing took me weeks and weeks to make!

Posted Image Posted Image

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Barry's still in the South of France. Perhaps I'll delete this before he gets back. :)

#28 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 09:44

Originally posted by Vitesse2

The same charge can be rightly levelled against certain other sports. The amount of money - especially the ludicrous salaries for star players - in football is obscene and the raising of t***ers like Wayne Rooney and David Beckham and their airheaded other halves to a false iconic status typifies all that's wrong with the game today. Scanning the sports pages of the Independent the other day I spotted an article about how fans are voting with their feet and not renewing season tickets in favour of buying a Sky subscription for which they get far more football for a fraction of the price. Plus they can watch in comfort and warmth ....

Athletics now seems to be more about the pursuit of money than excellence too.


They show football on sky :confused:

#29 ianselva

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 09:48

I should think this from Grand prix.com must qualify
"The Red Bull Energy Station is an amazing construction at the best of times. It travels from race to race being built and taken down at amazing speed and rushed around Europe in a fleet of 25 trucks. For Monaco, however, things are a lot more difficult because there is not enough space in the paddock to fit the huge construction - which houses the Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso teams. There was an additional problem as construction of the Energy Station had to be done on the weekend before the Grand Prix and Monaco was busy hosting the Historic Grand Prix, which meant that the fleet of trucks could not come and go and normal.

The solution therefore was to construct a barge and float the entire structure into the harbour. Planning for the operation began six months ago and space was rented in the harbour area at Beaulieu sur Mer, eight miles down the coast from Monaco towards Nice. The construction of the barge required 45 trucks and the energy station added another 25. Work took 12 days and 7000 man-hours before the barge set sail for Monaco, a four-hour voyage."
And this is for a couple of treams there only to make up the numbers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#30 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 10:06

Originally posted by Bonde


Riding mechanics in the later years where these were required...

I'd agree that they were of little practical use, but the idea that they were a "huge expense" doesn't hold water, since they didn't usually get paid any extra for it, except maybe a share of any prize money. In fact, they often regarded it as a privilege and a perk of the job! And let's face it - wouldn't you have given your right arm (or whatever body part!) to have been in (say) Alec Hounslow's seat next to Nuvolari in the 1933 TT? I know I would .... :cool:

#31 Rockford

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 11:32

Originally posted by Alan Cox
The conspicuous consumption flaunted in the world of F1 is all in the worst possible taste and has nothing at all to do with what little "sporting" element remains. How the world of F1 is still allowed to get away with it all, when the rest of the world is implored to be frugal, and responsible, with its dwindling resources beggars belief.


Absolutely.

This new qualifying format where the cars burn off fuel for ten minutes... it fair took my breath away (and they still aren't doing anything about it) :(

#32 Wolf

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 12:11

Sorry for misinterpreting Your post, Alan- but 'dwindling resources' and 'frugal' made me think of oil... And to add a point (contemporary even*)- one thing that needs adding is understeer. Maybe I'm just being conservative- but I don't think (inherent) understeer and racing cars should mix. That sounds sooo 'common'.

* just now, in qualifying Massa understeered into barriers at Casino. :p

#33 macoran

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 12:23

Originally posted by Wolf


* just now, in qualifying Massa understeered into barriers at Casino. :p


Yes...............and I just about choked laughing..especially after Ferrari team bla-bla-bla.ed in the morning about the quali rules....the Midlands,Toro Rossos and Super Aguris causing red flag periods
out goes Massa and sticks his boot in his managers mouth. :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

#34 Wolf

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 13:45

Originally posted by macoran


Yes...............and I just about choked laughing..especially after Ferrari team bla-bla-bla.ed in the morning about the quali rules....the Midlands,Toro Rossos and Super Aguris causing red flag periods
out goes Massa and sticks his boot in his managers mouth. :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:


Well, after MS doing last minute Black Jack impersonation (at very opportune time and place for him ;)) the plot thickens- it's up to stewards now. Mind you, I wouldn' be very surprised if he plainly ran out of steering lock after going too tigltly through 1st part of the corner.

#35 RTH

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 14:28

Originally posted by Alan Cox
........ it was the overt spending of pots of money to prop up a failing spectacle.


Interesting that the British GP in two weeks time is still getting heavy advertising in order to try and sell some more admission tickets. All pretence of sell out this year abandoned

#36 RTH

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 14:40

Originally posted by ianselva
I should think this from Grand prix.com must qualify
"The Red Bull Energy Station is an amazing construction at the best of times. It travels from race to race being built and taken down at amazing speed .............. construction of the Energy Station had to be done on the weekend before the Grand Prix and Monaco was busy hosting the Historic Grand Prix, which meant that the fleet of trucks could not come and go and normal.

The solution therefore was to construct a barge and float the entire structure into the harbour. Planning for the operation began six months ago and space was rented in the harbour area at Beaulieu sur Mer, eight miles down the coast from Monaco towards Nice. The construction of the barge required 45 trucks and the energy station added another 25. Work took 12 days and 7000 man-hours before the barge set sail for Monaco, a four-hour voyage."
And this is for a couple of treams there only to make up the numbers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Apparently this paddock shed weighs over 500 tons

#37 Bonde

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 21:21

Vitesse,

...I definitely see your point about "whatwasinit" for the riding mechanic (although I must confess that I'm not too sure I'd really have the guts and stamina to 'partner' Nuvolari) - I was trying to make the point of something pointless rather than unduly expensive in making a racing car big enough for two persons, complete with seat, when only one driver is needed. But I suppose by my logic, that would have to apply to anything other than single seaters and rally/raid cars wher a co-driver is a very useful piece of kit...

Adding to the list, one could add:

'Merican style chrome and umpteen coats of thick, polished paint on any racing car (although I don't mind a smart, non-scruffy looking car - but it is really only the winning that counts)

#38 macoran

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 21:33

Originally posted by Bonde

and umpteen coats of thick,


I can't agree on this one Bonde.
I think teams like McLaren actually "unpaint" their cars after each race and reapply the thinnest (weighed to the micro-whatsit) coat of paint for the next race. I don't know what the truth behind it is, but I have heard someone speak of the adherance characteristics of grime. Seems they think any grime that stays on adds weight !!
As for the polishing, we all want nice pics, aside from what a smooth surface will do to affect the boundary layer at speed.

#39 HistoricMustang

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 22:43

Originally posted by Paul Parker
At least they wont lose the diamond(s) like Jaguar did.


Nothing more than "chump change" at the track where lost!

Henry

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#40 petefenelon

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 23:22

Originally posted by Paul Parker
At least they wont lose the diamond(s) like Jaguar did.


I'd never heard of Steinmetz until the Jag diamond went missing. For a couple of tens of thousands of pounds, they've extended their brand-reach significantly.

#41 petefenelon

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 23:27

Originally posted by Alan Cox
The conspicuous consumption flaunted in the world of F1 is all in the worst possible taste and has nothing at all to do with what little "sporting" element remains. How the world of F1 is still allowed to get away with it all, when the rest of the world is implored to be frugal, and responsible, with its dwindling resources beggars belief.


Show me a successful socialist racing team at international level since EMW/DAMW/IFA?;) Racing needs capitalism (or worse, blatant nationalism) to survive... so it takes on its less attractive aspects. A lot of the money in racing's so new the ink hasn't dried yet; of course there's no "class".

#42 David McKinney

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 05:11

But capitalism used to be able to produce cars and racing with more class than today's version ;)

#43 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 09:38

Originally posted by petefenelon


I'd never heard of Steinmetz until the Jag diamond went missing. For a couple of tens of thousands of pounds, they've extended their brand-reach significantly.

But did you buy anything from them Pete? :p

#44 petefenelon

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 10:50

Originally posted by Vitesse2

But did you buy anything from them Pete? :p


I think the phrase they use these days is "not the target audience" ;)

#45 kayemod

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 17:33

Originally posted by macoran
I can't agree on this one Bonde.
I think teams like McLaren actually "unpaint" their cars after each race and reapply the thinnest (weighed to the micro-whatsit) coat of paint for the next race. I don't know what the truth behind it is, but I have heard someone speak of the adherance characteristics of grime. Seems they think any grime that stays on adds weight !!
As for the polishing, we all want nice pics, aside from what a smooth surface will do to affect the boundary layer at speed.


I'm pretty certain that all the top teams have been doing this for very many years, and certainly in the good old orange days, McLarens were never painted at all, apart from some of the metal bits. That went for fibreglass bodywork in general in fact, though I remember that around 1972 some parts of the elderly Lotus 72s had a fair few layers of paint on them, stone chips on JPS black revealed red gold & white underneath. I was a small child at the time (honest), but I was shown Graham Hill's 1.5 litre BRM being stripped at Bourne after a race to be repainted in BRM metallic green way back in 1962, and I'm sure they weren't the only ones to do that. Incidentally there has been much discussion about the actual BRM colour, but back then it was a stock Aston Martin road car colour, I read the label on the can.

By the way, I'm still laughing at that Nigel Mansell joke at the start of this thread.

#46 kayemod

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 18:13

A word of additional info on my previous post. From distant childhood memory, most of the 1962 BRM bodywork I saw being stripped and painted was hand beaten aluminium. Old-fashioned fibreglass in the orange McLaren era was pigmented and self-coloured all the way through, and back then cars only got painted if a particularly complicated scheme was required, or the bodywork became tatty through repairs or age, wealthy teams just bought replacement mouldings. Modern paint finishes have progressed enormously since the old sprayed cellulose days, the standard of finish achievable is quite superb, and the weight gain astonishingly small for the results achieved. The reason for all the paint stripping is as much to do with the present day obsession with lowering the CG as about the actual weight of the paint.

#47 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 18:44

Originally posted by Alan Cox
The conspicuous consumption flaunted in the world of F1 is all in the worst possible taste and has nothing at all to do with what little "sporting" element remains.....


I'd agree, but I'd put it into different words, I'm sure...

Wastage has grown in proportion with budgets of sponsors. Are the sponsors to blame or the teams? Do the sponsors recognise the outward apprearances of this extravagance might detract from their public image?

Or is it all about looking prosperous and successful?

.....How the world of F1 is still allowed to get away with it all, when the rest of the world is implored to be frugal, and responsible, with its dwindling resources beggars belief.


Yeah, right... the whole world is implored to be frugal and responsible...

Just the fact that there's competition between manufacturers and marketers reduces frugality of resources. Transport becomes important and highly consumptive. The need to employ people in making and distributing goods that are competitive with others creates consumption at all levels.

Look also, for instance, at decentralisation schemes in many (or most) countries. Local governments in various areas compete with each other to attract industry that will, because it's 'decentralised' again become a major consumer of transport.

Costs of setting up in a minor city compared to one of the seaboard capitals and these transport costs are offset against real estate savings, government subsidies and concessions and even lower wage rates accepted by locals living in an area where unemployment has been high.

And then there's 'defence'... just when did any kind of responsibility or frugality of resources apply to defence? Basic food crops burned out to prevent opposers getting them to help them survive, constant re-equiping of military agencies, energy used in 'exercises' and training, the list is endless.

F1, I guess, is kind of like AF1... Air Force One... a display of power and prestige. So, in fact, all of the waste that's at the top in this world, in the most powerful governments and in the UN, for instance, in their grandiose display of their importance, is in opposition to any perception that the world encourages care of resources.

#48 Seanmac27

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 03:52

Didn't David Thieme of Essex make Lotus do something ridiucluous at the start of the '80 championship, Just having a vague recollection of polishing exhausts and causing engine failures, all because of appearance and the sponsorship dollar.

#49 f1steveuk

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 14:44

Originally posted by kayemod
most of the 1962 BRM bodywork I saw being stripped and painted was hand beaten aluminium.


Was it ali'?? The BRM I know of (a P153 stashed somewhere secret) has, hand beaten magnesium, or so I am told, where's Doug when you need him!!