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Cycle-winged sports cars


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#1 D-Type

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 22:49

I’ve been wondering why the cycle winged or separate winged sports car died out when it did.

 

Prewar, sports cars generally had separate wings and in some cases running boards as well.  For competition cars these wings were often reduced to the bare minimum, ie cycle wings. This allowed many cars to be dual purpose – remove the wings and you have a racing car.  Then Bugatti came along with the T57 ‘tank’ and the Adler coupé which totally integrated the wings into the body.  Several cars had the wings progressively integrated into the front bodywork: the BMW 328, postwar T-Series MGs and Jaguar XK120 represent a halfway house where the wings were integrated but still visually separate.  Then the Ferrari Barchetta, Jaguar C-Type, MGA etc had fully integrated front wings.

 

But some makers continued to produce cycle-winged cars.  The 1950 Le Mans winning Talbot and the Le Mans Replica Frazer Nash come to mind.  Possibly because the idea of the dual purpose car was still current.  Or maybe the body was lighter and because of the smaller frontal area the aerodynamic disadvantage was not as great as it appears at first glance.

 

Then overnight they all vanished.  By 1956 about the only sports cars with separate mudguards were the Lotus Mk 6 and the Morgan.

 

Can anyone suggest why the final change was so rapid?  Previously it had been a slow evolution then suddenly the rate of change speeded up.

 

I believe that at some stage the CSI banned separate cycle wings and required them to be integral with the bodywork.  When? And why did they decide to do so?



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#2 RCH

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 23:38

Cycle type wings were banned at Le Mans from, I think, 1952 onward.



#3 uechtel

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 10:35

Indeed in Germany it was made clear by the sporting authorities, that the sports car rules were to be more strictly obeyed in 1952. This included fenders that had to be mounted "fixed" to the bodywork instead of the previously used "motorcycle" wings. Drivers like Ulmen reacted by fitting BMW 328 style fenders, means directly linked to the bodywork, but still detachable if necessary.

 

Until that there had been discussions between two parties, the streamline fans claiming the more 'scientific' approach and the 'oldschool' boys, referring to the better visibility and driveability of the more 'open wheel' cars. But with the change in 1952 I think this advantage was not as much decisive as before anymore, as the new 'attached' fenders were also quite wide and huge and obviously did not leave too much visibility for the driver either, so that maybe it seemed better to switch to more consequent streamlining.



#4 AJB

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 12:33

Caterham, of course, have bucked the trend here. The previously standard "flared" wings attached to the body had been almost totally replaced by suspension mounted cycle wings since the late 1990s. My own car was built in 1996 with flares but converted to cycle wings by a previous owner.

 

Alan



#5 bradbury west

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 12:57

[quote name="D-Type" post="6538183" timestamp="1388098180"]I’ve been wondering why the cycle winged or separate winged sports car died out when it did. Prewar, sports cars generally had separate wings and in some cases running boards as well.  For competition cars these wings were often reduced to the bare minimum, ie cycle wings. ....Then overnight they vanished. (quote]

Phil Scragg, of course, was well known for re introducing them in competition later.
Roger Lund

#6 David McKinney

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 13:28

True

I fell in love with his Lister - maybe Rod Jolley could knock up some cycle wings and give it a run somewhere

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 13:31

The attraction of cyclewings was that - in the days of less prescriptive regulation - you could easily run the same car in both sports car and racing car events, simply by adding or subtracting them - not to mention driving it there on the road. Sports car races always specified a minimum of two seats of course, but if you look at the Formule Internationale rules you'll see that even after riding mechanics were banned they also specified two-seater bodywork. The first Formule Internationale to permit single-seaters was actually the '750kg' of 1934-37: Maserati, Alfa and Bugatti had already built monopostos by that time, but they were essentially constructed as Formule Libre machines, complying to no existing rules.

 

The last purpose-built Grand Prix/sports car was the Delahaye 145, built for the 1938-40 rules - although thanks to the loose interpretation of the French sports car regulations the Talbot MDs (Monoplace Décalée - literally 'offset single-seater') were able to run in national races with wings attached.

 

It was certainly possible to still run two-seaters in both F1 and F2 in the early post-war years, but I believe the rules specified single-seater bodywork from 1954 in F1 and from 1957 in F2 - although individual organisers seem to have allowed sports cars to run in F2 during 1957, mostly in British clubbies.



#8 Tim Murray

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 14:07

... but if you look at the Formule Internationale rules you'll see that even after riding mechanics were banned they also specified two-seater bodywork. The first Formule Internationale to permit single-seaters was actually the '750kg' of 1934-37 ...

 

As discussed in the 'First single-seat race cars' thread, the Formule Internationale for 1927 permitted single-seater cars, and that year's Delages were only fitted with one seat.



#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 14:41

As discussed in the 'First single-seat race cars' thread, the Formule Internationale for 1927 permitted single-seater cars, and that year's Delages were only fitted with one seat.

Ah, good point, Tim. I'd forgotten they changed that one mid-currency. The exceptional year that proves the rule. But that change  was combined with a 100 kilo increase in minimum weight! It's also interesting to note that the Delages would have had to be widened in order to comply with the 750kg and 1938-40 rules.



#10 D-Type

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 18:06

I think the minimum cockpit width for the 750kg formula was a token continuation of the 'two seater cars' rule.  The rule makers still wanted a GP car to resemble a road car.  Remember that they were thinking of something like a Type 59 Bugatti or Monza Alfa Romeo and not the W25 or P-Wagen



#11 David Birchall

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 18:10

My understanding has always been that it was due to the change in International regulations, not just at Lemans.  The new regulations requiring wings/fenders/mudguards to be attached to the main body.  I was under the impression this was from the start of the 1953 season but it could have been 1952.   The idea being to prevent pure racing cars from competing in sports car events.



#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 18:19

I think the minimum cockpit width for the 750kg formula was a token continuation of the 'two seater cars' rule.  The rule makers still wanted a GP car to resemble a road car.  Remember that they were thinking of something like a Type 59 Bugatti or Monza Alfa Romeo and not the W25 or P-Wagen

Indeed, but it was actually slightly wider than had been specified in previous formulae. In the mid-20s it was 80cm and in the never-implemented 1930 formula it was to be 78.7cm (31 inches).


Edited by Vitesse2, 27 December 2013 - 18:20.


#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 18:33

Indeed, but it was actually slightly wider than had been specified in previous formulae. In the mid-20s it was 80cm and in the never-implemented 1930 formula it was to be 78.7cm (31 inches).

Pomeroy, in the Grand Prix Car, says that in 1927 the minimum width was increased from 80 to 85cm and that in1929-30 it was 100cm.   Is he correct?



#14 D-Type

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 18:42

My understanding has always been that it was due to the change in International regulations, not just at Lemans.  The new regulations requiring wings/fenders/mudguards to be attached to the main body.  I was under the impression this was from the start of the 1953 season but it could have been 1952.   The idea being to prevent pure racing cars from competing in sports car events.

But, ironically, they still accepted central seat sports cars such as the 'Bobtail' Cooper



#15 john aston

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 18:44

Caterham, of course, have bucked the trend here. The previously standard "flared" wings attached to the body had been almost totally replaced by suspension mounted cycle wings since the late 1990s. My own car was built in 1996 with flares but converted to cycle wings by a previous owner.

 

Alan

 Another Seven owner here- mine has cycles (2007 car) but previous 93 car had flares which I preferred aesthetically. ACBC's original Seven and Six both had cycles as standard but I think that the flares were introduced for US spec export Sevens as cycles were illegal there. This was 63ish ?



#16 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 18:54

He may very well be correct for 1929-30, Roger. I've never found anything on cockpit measurements for that formula and as far as I'm aware pretty much the only rule was that cars should weigh not less than 900 kilos. But then AFAIK nobody actually built a car to it ...

 

Coupled with the weight increase, an increase to 85cm in 1927 might make sense, but I've never seen anything to suggest that the improvements to the Delages included widening them either.

 

For example: http://petergiddings...ars/delage.html



#17 Roger Clark

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 19:43

Cyril Posthumus, in his section of The Racing Car, also says that the 1929/30 rules required a minimum width of 100cm.  This was written after Pomeroy of course, but I've never thought of Posthumus as a slavish follower of Pomeroy, or indeed anybody else.  He also says that those rules required a fuel consumption limit of 14kg per 100km, the fuel having a density of 720 at 15 deg C.  An uncovered fuel tank of non-streamlined shape had to be fitted.  I'm not aware of any cars being built to it, but, presumably those that ran in the spanish and French Grands Prix did comply, (though I'm not sure how a Bugatti compied with the fuel tank requirement).



#18 opplock

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 19:53

Apologies if we seem to be hijacking this thread but cycle wings are still the only sensible option for anyone intending to use a Lotus 7/Caterham for competition purposes. I know of only one person who raced using flared wings, this was in mid 90s in the Jaguar Car Club's Centurion Challenge series. He told me that at anything approaching maximum speed the front end started to lift. Not likely to be a problem at road going speeds.


Edited by opplock, 27 December 2013 - 20:35.


#19 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 20:27

 An uncovered fuel tank of non-streamlined shape had to be fitted.  I'm not aware of any cars being built to it, but, presumably those that ran in the spanish and French Grands Prix did comply, (though I'm not sure how a Bugatti compied with the fuel tank requirement).

I think Cecil got that bit wrong. It must surely be a confusion with the ACF's fuel consumption formula of 1929 which required a fuel gauge that was visible to spectators: Bugatti and (IIRC) Peugeot fitted simple barrel tanks with big gauges on top. There's a picture on this page which shows 'W Williams' crossing the line to win: http://beaumont55.sportblog.fr/18/ You can just see the tank - but not the gauge.



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#20 bradbury west

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 20:46

TrueI fell in love with his Lister - maybe Rod Jolley could knock up some cycle wings and give it a run somewhere


David, his open wheel T70 was a fascinating idea, too. I only saw it once.
RL

#21 Roger Clark

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 22:43

I think Cecil got that bit wrong. It must surely be a confusion with the ACF's fuel consumption formula of 1929 which required a fuel gauge that was visible to spectators: Bugatti and (IIRC) Peugeot fitted simple barrel tanks with big gauges on top. There's a picture on this page which shows 'W Williams' crossing the line to win: http://beaumont55.sportblog.fr/18/ You can just see the tank - but not the gauge.


That picture looks to me very much like the non-streamlined tank that Cyril (not Cecil) described.

#22 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 23:18

That picture looks to me very much like the non-streamlined tank that Cyril (not Cecil) described.

Indeed - but it was fitted due to a rule devised by the ACF, not the AIACR.



#23 Roger Clark

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 23:35

David Venables, in Bugatti, A Racing History, and Hugh Conway in Grand Prix Bugatti also say that the AIACR rules for 1929 required a cylindrical fuel tank without bodywork covering it. A photograph of Chiron in the 1930 Belgian Grand Prix (which was run to the AIACR formula) in Conway seems to show the special tank. It is not definitive. Why do you say it was the ACF?

#24 Roger Clark

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 00:24

More photographs of the 1930 European (Belgian) Grand show bolster tanks.

#25 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 09:50

Hmm, I appear to have mixed this with the 1928 GP de l'ACF ... :blush:



#26 RCH

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 10:56

Back on topic. The sports car races of the early post war era were, seemingly, reluctantly for "prototypes" the idea being that they should get back to production cars. By '52 most up to date production sports cars were wearing full width streamlined type bodies so banning cycle type wings could have been seen as a step towards more production based cars.

 

The 1950 Le Mans winning Talbot-Lago was quite obviously a one and a half seater GP car so such a move would remove such vehicles. However AFAIK the Talbots were just rebodied with full width bodies. So far as I can remember Richard Pilkington's Talbot had two interchangeable bodies.