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Late 1960's Formula 4

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#1 Graham Clayton

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 10:09

I recently read that the Gilbern car company built an open wheeler in 1969 (GT 17) for the newly created Formula 4, using a 998cc Hillman Imp engine. Apparently the Formula 4 formula disappeared as quickly as it had arisen. Could forum members give some details about the cars, drivers and races in this lesser-known formula?


#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 10:35

I suspect you may be thinking of the Ginetta G17, which was built for Formula 4 racing. Formula 4 and Formula Ford were announced at around the same time, and Ginettas designed cars to suit both Formulae (the FF car being the G18). As Bob Walklett says in his history of Ginetta: "For some reason Formula 4 was poorly supported, but Formula Ford took off." I suspect this could have had some connection with the Ford support for FF.

The Imp-engined G17s went on to have successful careers in UK hillclimbs and sprints.

#3 ian senior

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 10:35

Are you sure you don't mean Ginetta? Their G17 was a Formula Four car from 1969, very similar to the G18 Formula Ford car (in fact they were probably more or less the same thing). The Imp-powered car also appeared on the hills here in the UK.

Early Formula Four cars used motorcycle engines - not sure if they were 250cc or 400cc, but the formula only took off (not that it was ever a big thing and didn't go beyond club level racing) when the Imp engine was introduced. There were some nice looking cars from Alec Bottoms's Vixen company ( one appeared in Rootes/Chrysler UK advertising) and Harrison. Once the 1-litre F3 cars were made redundant by the introduction of the 1600cc formula, they were allowed to compete in F4 races.

#4 Cirrus

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 10:36

I think this has been discussed before, but anyway........ The late 60s, early 70s F4 used Imp engines, and there were a number of constructors, Vixen being the most prolific. Bob Sparshott made a very nice little car called a Spartan, and there were a few others. In the mid seventies, a lot of 1 litre F3 cars were around at very reasonable money, so the rules were opened up to include them as well, and the championship was won by MAE engined cars until 1977. The Imp then made a comeback when Ian Briggs had a Delta (based on the Patrick Head FF2000 design) built to take brand new Hartwell engines. He dominated the series for the next couple of years, until the 1300 Ford crossflow was included.

The formula, administered by the 750MC still runs today, but with somewhat different regulations.

#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 11:29

Originally posted by Cirrus
I think this has been discussed before...

This thread.