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BRM P142 wing car windtunnel model


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#1 scarbs

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 12:37

I came across this picture of a windtunnel model of an old BRM, it seems an early attempt at ground effects and with wind tunnel modelling.

I wondered if anyone knew about this development, or had any more pictures, or can date the model?

Searching the internet I couldn't find anything on the car...

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cheers

Scarbs

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#2 MCS

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 12:57

I wonder if this should really be P241 ???

#3 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 13:22

Just by the tire size alone, neat stuff, where did you find this photo?

#4 scheivlak

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 13:35

Searching on the 'net I found this: http://www.imeche.or...ddress_2006.pdf

"Design leadership on the BRM P139 Formula 1 car was closely linked to a prototype F1 car conducted in great secrecy. This car – designed jointly with Peter Wright, who was later to become Managing Director of Lotus Engineering – was a breakthrough in the application of aerodynamic downforce. Known as the “Wing” car, the project was completed through to wind-tunnel tests, car design and monocoque build. Unfortunately, organisational upheaval led to cancellation of the project; however the design principles appeared again in the Lotus 78 Formula 1 car."

There are some more references to the 1969 project e.g. http://www.ddavid.co...la1/lotus79.htm

#5 MCS

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 13:50

Originally posted by scheivlak
Searching on the 'net I found this: http://www.imeche.or...ddress_2006.pdf


Fascinating stuff, although I find it incredible that the "P142" was spawned as early as it is claimed.

#6 kayemod

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 13:54

Well good golly Miss Molly, never thought I'd see that one again. For all of the time that Peter Wright spent at Specialised Mouldings, that very same model was gathering dust underneath his desk in the drawing office. To go back a year or two, after university, Peter went to BRM, where he convinced Tony Rudd that they should do various experimental things with aerofoil side pods etc on the 1968-69 cars, but testing results were inconclusive. PW claims to be the inspiration for the larger side pods that appeared on Robin Herd's March 701, though these weren't terribly effective either. While at BRM, Peter got Tony's approval for the wind tunnel model in the photo, but little work was done with it, and when BRM 're-organised' in 1969, Peter brought the model with him to Specialised Mouldings. Part of the reason PW came to SM was to supervise the design and construction of their wind tunnel, and the BRM model was the first one to be tested in it, though it already had wool tufts on it, so it had obviously been tested somewhere before, probably Imperial College. Peter Wright eventually followed Tony Rudd to Lotus, where he worked on the 78 and 79 wing cars. Several people have claimed various credits for the Lotus wing cars' success, but I've always believed that Colin Chapman was the first man to truly grasp the true ground effect concept, though Peter Wright certainly played a big part in getting it to work. Peter Wright tried to explain the thinking behind the model to me at SM, but without much success. When the Lotus 78 appeared with moving side skirts, suddenly everything became clear, but I'm sure that the real breakthrough came from ACBC understanding the fundamental principles, and pointing everyone in the right direction. Without skirts, that BRM model wasn't even halfway there.

#7 kayemod

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 13:59

Originally posted by MCS
Fascinating stuff, although I find it incredible that the "P142" was spawned as early as it is claimed.


If Peter Wright is a member of this BB, we might find out, but I'd say the model was conceived built & tested at BRM in late 1968, possibly early 69.

#8 Allen Brown

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 14:32

I think this is a wind-up. The model is clearly post-1979.

I don't have my notes to hand but the T142 was an engine project wasn't it? An update to the P101 V12 engine for the 1970 or 1971 season IIRC.

Where's Doug? He can sort this out.

Allen

#9 kayemod

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 14:38

Originally posted by Allen Brown
I think this is a wind-up. The model is clearly post-1979.

I don't have my notes to hand but the T142 was an engine project wasn't it? An update to the P101 V12 engine for the 1970 or 1971 season IIRC.

Where's Doug? He can sort this out.

Allen


Doug could indeed sort this out, and he'll confirm what I've said, definitely 1968/69. No idea where the T142 number came from, PW only ever referred to it as the BRM wing car.

#10 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 14:40

I'm sure I'm going to get blasted for this; but let's give Peter Wright proper credit here as well as Tony Rudd. I think you're giving Colin Chapman too much credit on this one; after all Colin mind also gave birth to the Lotus 30 and Lotus 40...

#11 kayemod

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 14:52

Originally posted by David M. Kane
I'm sure I'm going to get blasted for this; but let's give Peter Wright proper credit here as well as Tony Rudd. I think you're giving Colin Chapman too much credit on this one; after all Colin mind also gave birth to the Lotus 30 and Lotus 40...


David, I worked with all three of the names you mentioned, though not much on ground effect projects, and there's no doubt that all three deserve a lot of credit. The bottom line though is that we're talking about three very clever men, only one of whom was a true genius. Chapman could grasp complicated concepts like no man I've met before or since. Flaws? too many to shake a stick at, but I've never experienced true practical intelligence like ACBC's with anyone else.

#12 Stoatspeed

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 15:11

Originally posted by Allen Brown
I don't have my notes to hand but the T142 was an engine project wasn't it?

Maybe there was a related engine project specifically for this car ... if you look at the model, it has a "vipers nest" of exhaust pipes in the centre of the vee - clearly the concept to get the aero to work involved rearranging the engine breathing to accomodate that. It also appears to allow the low-line rear body, since the intake air is fed from the NACA ducts alongside the cockpit shroud. I'd guess the concept had the intake ports vertical between the cams.
Why does Allen think the car is "clearly post 1979"?

Great detective work, scarbs!

#13 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 16:24

Kayemod:

Your points are well taken and are clearly based on experiences I never had, please accept my apology.

How would you answer Allen Brown's statement that is a post-1979 model? I don't think it is. Given the state of BRM during this period IMHO I don't think they had the chemistry to pull this project together. How it lay silent for almost 10 years is amazing and it also shows the grit and belief Peter Wright had in his idea.

As Allen said, maybe Doug would know. The thought that BRM had a shot at this ground effects is, however, a very exciting what-if.

#14 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 16:36

The height/profile of the roll hoop is typical of late 60s. If it was later than 79 surely it would be higher? Could some of the inspiration for the body shape come from the 1960s STP Indycars?

#15 Allen Brown

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 16:54

My reason for believing it is post-1979 is a cursory look at the inboard (rocker-arm?) front suspension and what appear to be rear diffusers. This looks like a second generation ground-effects car, not the simple wing cars that March were looking for with the 701 and Lotus attained with the 78. The roll hoop is nothing like a 1969 period hoop which would have been cylindrical in profile. And then there's the width of the tyres...

The P142 was an engine project - I just checked. If there had been an engine project designed for thus "P142" then it would have been the P143 or P141; it would not have had the same number.

Come on guys, this is utterly implausible.

Allen

#16 kayemod

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 17:09

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Kayemod:

Your points are well taken and are clearly based on experiences I never had, please accept my apology.

How would you answer Allen Brown's statement that is a post-1979 model? I don't think it is. Given the state of BRM during this period IMHO I don't think they had the chemistry to pull this project together. How it lay silent for almost 10 years is amazing and it also shows the grit and belief Peter Wright had in his idea.

As Allen said, maybe Doug would know. The thought that BRM had a shot at this ground effects is, however, a very exciting what-if.


David, absolutely no need to apologise for anything.

On Allen Brown's post 1979 suggestion, maybe he's confusing the model and T142 designation with something else. I can't remember the precise year, but Peter Wright came to Specialised Mouldings in 1969 give or take a year, he brought that model with him, and it looked far from new then. I know, because I held it in my hands, and with Peter, actually made some small mods and repairs to it. I'm finding it difficult to recall exact years, but I think PW moved to Lotus around the early to mid-70s, becoming head of Team Lotus aerodynamic research in 75-76, when he started working seriously on a fairly wide ranging ground effect concept formulated jointly by Tony Rudd and Chapman. This all took place at Ketteringham Hall in great secrecy, ACBC understood full well the importance of what he hoped he might be on to. The Hall was more or less out of bounds to other Lotus employees, some of whom used to refer to the place as 'Fawlty Towers'. I wasn't directly involved in any of this work at Lotus, but when I left to start my own small operation, I took with me a letter from my then boss Tony Rudd, I still have it, warning me never to divulge anything of 'various projects and processes' at Group Lotus. Actually, I knew very little, but I've kept silent for almost 30 years until today!

#17 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 17:12

Isn't this place just great!

#18 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 17:14

Allen:

The rollbar is marginal i agree; but how would you explain the rear wing. Surely you not going to try and sell that as post '79? The mirrors also don't look circa '79.

#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 19:25

From "It Was Fun" by Tony Rudd:

"Also on my return I found Peter Wright in a state of suppressed excitement. He had been running a wind-tunnel test programme and had been investigating aerodynamic side-pods as eventually used by March a year later. He had gone further and tested a quarter-scale model shaped like an inverted wing, with the wheels slightly inset and a long thin fairing underneath for the driver crankase and gearbox. It gave very good results in the Imperial college wind tunnel, but I was rather sceptical that he had managed to get so much advantage from an open-wheeled car, and suggested further tests which he rushed off to perform."

"Peter's results from his second set of tests were even better than the first and I had to decided what to do next. Obviously we had to build such a car...

I cancelled the second P139 car .. picked a small team, mainly sheet metal workers, and sent them off to the chapel - a building we rented on the other side of Bourne where the Raymond Mays cylinder heads used to be assembled - telling them all to keep their mouths shut. If the car was as good as the wind tunnel results we would have a few months to make a killing before everyone copied it.

I was tempted to save it for 1970 when we would have a whole season to make a killing but such was the state of BRM affairs we needed to get it to Monza and win two or three races...I told Sir Alfred very briefly what I was doing and the danger of any leaks.... He agreed and asked how I was funding it. I said I had cancelled the second car so I did not need any additional funding. "Have you told anyone else?" he enquired. I said "No". not even my sister?" he asked. I said "No, again to which he replied "Good!".

We then had a visit from John Surtees for a fitting in the new car. He did not say much but it was obvious he was not impressed. He kept asking who did what, and it was clear that he had noticed the absence of some key people now in Peter Wright's team......

...I was summoned to Mr and Mrs Stanley's suite where I found john Surtees...whatever project I had been running in the Chapel at Bourne was to stop at once and the staff returned to their regular work. "

Within a week Tony Rudd left BRM.

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#20 Twin Window

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 19:50

This is a little like discovering that the X-Files was real!

Brilliant stuff... :up:

#21 MCS

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 20:03

Originally posted by Twin Window
This is a little like discovering that the X-Files was real!

Brilliant stuff... :up:


It's fabulous, isn't it. :clap:
Well done Scarbs for starting such a great thread.

The picture reminds me of one taken of the Kauhsen F1 car for some reason......

I think somebody in Farnham may be chuckling at all this - wonder when he'll pass comment?

#22 Bonde

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 20:28

All ye owners of 'our' DCN's superb "History of The Grand Prix Car 1966-91" should be familiar with the contents of page 102 of that work, which even has a picture of the model in the windtunnel, tufts 'n'all - so Doug has already helped us out. Also, there was an article in 'The Now Green 'Un ´(again)' a few years back (the one about BRM titled 'Bourne to be which also mentioned it and showed an engineering drawing - I'll look for it later). In addition, Peter Wright's excellent 'Formula 1 Technology' obviously mentions it, as did Rudd, of course, in 'It was fun!'

It's one of those great "what if" cars, isn't it? I'd love to get my hands on more detailed engineering data and photos on that project and do a detailed cutaway drawing of it sometime...

#23 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 20:35

Bonde why don't you post some of your cutaways?

#24 angst

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 20:45

Originally posted by Twin Window
This is a little like discovering that the X-Files was real!

Brilliant stuff... :up:


Absolutely. I've often heard bits and pieces about a Peter Wright led BRM 'wing car' project, but had no idea it was as far advanced as it seems it was. Another BIG what if.

Combined with the failure of his own team, this story sheds some light, perhaps, on the wrangles within Ferrari which led to JS being 'pushed'. We only ever seem to get the British version, but the influence he seemed to wield at BRM (not for the better in this instance, imo), and his willingness to be so 'political' might explain some of the antagonism felt by others within Ferrari. This episode also shows that he was perhaps not quite the engineer he gave himself credit for. This is all with the greatest of respect to JS, who as a rider and driver should rank among the very, very best.

PS - what a striking looking car that would have been in the dark green and orange colours of BRM.

#25 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 21:01

I'm not an engineer, but it looks like a lot of the original concept made it into the 78.

#26 Bonde

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 21:11

Dave,

Thanks for your interest in my scruffy cutaways - I need much, much more practise, but time and/or worthwhile commissions are hard to come by!

There's a fairly recent one here: http://forums.autosp...y=&pagenumber=2 post no. 129.

You can find an old one of a Delta T-83 on my website under 'Gallery'. I'm afraid most of my cutaways have been stuff done for my employers in aerospace, so I don't have many cars (or other interesting stuff) to show (other than the really awful fictitional ones I did as a teenager).

If I ever find the time I'll do one of my latest real project, the brand-new Danish Aquila FZ1 Formula Ford...

Back OT: Can anyone else think of other really fascinating (either through performance potential or simply technical novelty or both) "what if they'd carried it through" projected cars? (Perhaps this should be the topic of another thread?)

All the same, for instance, how far did the design-work for Murray's BT47 get? (Speaking of Murray, now there's another gent I'd love to have on this forum...)

#27 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 22:05

That Pantera looks pretty good to me...why not a Porsche 908/3 foe example that would look pretty neat. Now if you were real creative you could take the wind tunnel model and turn it into a cutaway! Just kidding!

I wish I had half your talent and creativity!

#28 dolomite

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 22:32

Originally posted by Bonde
All ye owners of 'our' DCN's superb "History of The Grand Prix Car 1966-91" should be familiar with the contents of page 102 of that work, which even has a picture of the model in the windtunnel, tufts 'n'all - so Doug has already helped us out. Also, there was an article in 'The Now Green 'Un ´(again)' a few years back (the one about BRM titled 'Bourne to be which also mentioned it and showed an engineering drawing - I'll look for it later). In addition, Peter Wright's excellent 'Formula 1 Technology' obviously mentions it, as did Rudd, of course, in 'It was fun!'

It's one of those great "what if" cars, isn't it? I'd love to get my hands on more detailed engineering data and photos on that project and do a detailed cutaway drawing of it sometime...


This is based on the drawing that was published in Motor Sport a few years ago (my attempt to 'enhance' their rather unclear photo)

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#29 Doug Nye

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 22:38

No fellers - it's NOT a wind-up. Peter's concept wasn't quite fully formed then, but it was still brilliant, and that photo is genuine, 1969. I was hoping to keep all this for Vol 4, circa 2048ish...

Now then, does anybody know anything about Lola T70 chassis SL72/137 - originally a roadster, rebuilt as a T70GT?

DCN

#30 Stoatspeed

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 22:42

Originally posted by Twin Window
This is a little like discovering that the X-Files was real!

What ...you mean it ISN'T? :rotfl:

Seriously, though, this is a very intriguing thread ... I briefly met Peter Wright at Lotus in the 90's when we were discussing some consulting gig for him ... I really can't remember what it was now (not that I COULD tell you, having had similar letters to those mentioned by kayemod further up the thread!), but he clearly had thoughts and ideas about everything in the automotive engineering world.
It's interesting to me that Tony Rudd's push was to get the car to Monza - surely a track that would not have been an easy place to sort out a radical new aero package? This was in the days before the teams spent miliions on testing (well, they really didn't spend millions on anything , come to think of it!). I really must track down Doug's book to add to the library ... I'd love to see more pics ... can we post a scan here, Doug?
Strange to think that if the project had actually happened, I would have seen it race in my first GP attended at Silverstone in '71 ...

Dave

#31 scheivlak

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 22:58

BTW if you haven't recognised it yet - looks like scarbs pic is taken from the leaflet I mentioned: http://www.imeche.or...ddress_2006.pdf
So it's Alec Osborn who calls it P142.

#32 2F-001

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 06:43

I'm surprised that the underlying story of PW's early 'wing car' work has been met with quite so much astonishment since I was sure we had discussed this here before... but maybe I'm thinking of stuff I've read elsewhere...

Peter W touches on this subject and his spell at SM in his weighty book ("Formula 1 Technology" SAE, 2001), although he doesn't specifically mention the details of the model revealed in the Tony Rudd piece (described above). He does, though, mention using the Imperial College wind tunnel (as surmised by kayemod) for that work at BRM, and describes a whole-car aerofoil shape with radiators mounted away from the nose fed by surface (naca-type) ducts. As an aside there is also a picture labelled as a P126 (full size, rather than a model) with wing-section sidepods. Peter's text says that this ran at Snetterton - anyone have recollections of that?

#33 Roger Clark

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 07:18

Originally posted by 2F-001
As an aside there is also a picture labelled as a P126 (full size, rather than a model) with wing-section sidepods. Peter's text says that this ran at Snetterton - anyone have recollections of that?

Tony Rudd says that Jackie Oliver tested them at Snetterton, but they had little effect.

#34 Neil Smith

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 08:38

Didn't Specialised Mouldings use this model in their adverts which occasionally appeared in Autosport (and other magazines?) in ca. 1971 and 1972 ??? I seem to remember that the adverts were in colour and the model was painted red - it was the mention of the NACA ducts on the top surface which dredged this memory up.

I guess I'll have to spend the morning in the loft checking my Autosports ...

Neil

#35 Mallory Dan

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 12:54

Originally posted by MCS


It's fabulous, isn't it. :clap:
Well done Scarbs for starting such a great thread.

The picture reminds me of one taken of the Kauhsen F1 car for some reason......

I think somebody in Farnham may be chuckling at all this - wonder when he'll pass comment?


I thought 'Kahusen' too Mark when I saw it. I tended to agree with Allen when I first looked here, seems it was real though...

#36 MCS

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 13:14

I'm sure it is real now - although I was very sceptical initially. More fool me. :rolleyes:

The naca ducts for the radiators clinched it.

What a great thread though.

#37 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 13:17

The old SM wind tunnel is still there, drove past recently.
A bit derelict looking, green growing over it but can just make out the SM logo on the end wall.

#38 kayemod

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 13:36

Originally posted by Andrew Kitson
The old SM wind tunnel is still there, drove past recently.
A bit derelict looking, green growing over it but can just make out the SM logo on the end wall.


Probably just an empty building now though, we called it the Nissen hut, but who owns it all? I think the wind tunnel itself was sold to Frank Williams many years ago, rather different from the multi-million pound state of the art device that Williams have now. If anyone is fortunate enough to have a copy of Autocourse 1972, there's a full page SM ad with a picture of that BRM wing car model being tested inside the SM tunnel.

#39 scarbs

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 14:25

This is great stuff thank you everybody.

If any one has any of these other pictures I'd love to see them. Hopefully I can report back with some more info from some people involved in the original project and I'm doing some clearer illustrations of the car based on these pics...

Scarbs...

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#40 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 14:46

That's it! I knew this rung a bell from somewhere. The Autocourse ad '72.
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#41 MCS

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 15:11

Well, I never. Certainly remember that ad.

I wonder how many people at the time saw that ad and thought "yes, that's the BRM" ?! :D

#42 bigears

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 15:17

This is an amazing thread to read!

#43 Stoatspeed

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 15:46

The model pictureds in the SM ad seems to be less complete than the one at the top of the thread - no rear wing, and can't make out a cockpit shroud. But it's definitely the right shape.
I see from the discussion that my original hypothesis about the purpose of the NACA ducts was off the mark - I had then as intake air, not radiators. IMHO, they look a little small to cool 400+hp of V12 engine unless the car was going very fast ALL the time ( :D ), so delivering a practical car looking like this might have been challenging. Can't quite see (from the limited pictures) how the ait was going to exit the rads without negating some of the planned downforce by venting into the tunnels. The rads don't appear on the scanned sketches either ...
We definitely need one of our resident artist/engineers to construct a hypothetical cutaway of the car and see if it all fits together ... next we all need to chip in a few quid to get Hall & Hall to make one ... anyone seen a BRM V12 with central exhausts lying around? Doug? ... now there's a "recreation" project fit to write a whole book about ...

Where else on the planet could you get the people together to do this much detective work, this fast and all for free!!! TNF is amazing, I am honoured to be able to hang out with you folks!

Dave

#44 2F-001

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 15:57

Peter Wright wrote:

"Working with chassis designer Alec Osborne, I drew an inverted aerofoil-shaped body, with a slender central fuelage for driver and engine. Internal radiators were fed by NACA surface intakes, while nose wings and a trailing edge flap permitted the overall downforce and its distribution to be adjusted. Wind tunnel tests at Imperial College indicated that overall downforce would be similar to that of a winged car ( presumably at that time that meant tall wings front and rear on the uprights, where they belong - the bit in italics is my addition - Tony ) and that L/D would be significantly better. Cooling might be a problem because the NACA intakes in the top surface were very sensitive to details of the front suspension."

(Peter Wright: Formula 1 Technology, SAE, 2001)

#45 Roger Clark

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 16:30

The general shape of the car in the Specialised Mouldings advert reminds me of the STP Indianapolis turbine car.

#46 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 16:33

My thoughts too in post 14.

#47 2F-001

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 16:33

... and the merest hint of March 711 too.

#48 dolomite

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 16:55

Here is the photo that was published in Motor Sport showing the original drawing

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#49 Bonde

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 17:12

Dolomite,

What MS issue is that? (saves me prodding through the piles)

#50 dolomite

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 19:33

Sorry I don't have the actual mag here - only that scan which I did some time ago. I think it was about five or six years ago, it was an issue devoted to the history of BRM.

Edit - This one I think!