Austin V8 1.5 litre GP Car ...if only....
Posted 11 January 2007 - 10:09
The little 750cc Austin was certainly very quick for it's size and only a little slower than the 1500s of the day. The 4 cyl engine was light and compact and hit enormous revs for it's day (10,000?) so a V8 version would have been an fascinating proposition.
Of course when racing restarted after the war it would also have been eligable for Grand Prix racing...
I wondered if it was a serious consideration which the company squashed when it withdrew from racing or just someone's imagination at work?
Posted 11 January 2007 - 10:57
In 1938 when ERA announced they would build a full GP car, apparently abandoning voiturettes to Maserati and - it turned out - the much-rumoured (and oft-denied!) Alfa Romeo 158, it would have seemed that Britain would lose the lead it had had in the category in 1936 and (especially) 1937. The only other British 1500 was the Alta, which was performing well on home soil in the hands of Abecassis, but there was no real back-up or money for an extended European campaign.
So, again, I'd guess there'd be press speculation that these "pocket rockets" - for that is what they were - could be the basis of a voiturette, but I very much doubt that Lord Austin could have justified the cost in a nation gearing itself up for war. The 750s cost him about £10000 from his personal fortune.
Posted 11 January 2007 - 11:11
had dipped deeply into his own pockets to fund the DOHC and that in the late 30s the cars were always entered by him, personally, against the wishes of the Austin board.
Strikes me this gives an early insight into British industrial decline and the lack of forsight in matters relating to marketing and PR. A great little product, all bought and paid for, sitting in the workshop ready to go and earn some headlines for the company... and the board doesn't want to know!
Surtees recounts a vaguely similar tale of contract negociations with Norton in the late 50s which failed because his fee for a season was more than the chairman's ....
Posted 11 January 2007 - 11:36
Posted 11 January 2007 - 11:46
How that car might have altered the course of motor racing history...