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#1 Graham Clayton

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 02:29

Here is an article about a replica that was made of Fireball Robert's 1957 Ford NASCAR stock car.

http://www.hotrod.co...grand-national/

 

What I found interesting were some of the features of the car, such as:

1. Vertical piece of wood mounted to stop Roberts sliding in the seat.

2. Firewall trap door so that the wear on the right front tyre could be checked during a race.

3. Leather strap to hold the transmission in second gear.

 

These features were not considered "cheating", but just things used to make the driver more comfortable, or the car safer.

 

This got me thinking about such features in other cars, such as:

1. Tilting of a tachometer in the instrument panel so that the safe rev limit appears at 12 o'clock, which the driver could immediately recognise.

2. A strip of tape placed at 12 o'clock on a steering wheel, so that the driver has a visual indicator of how far the wheels are turned.

3. Tubing mounted on the door of a sedan to blow air into the cockpit.

 

I would be interested in any other similar/unusual features that forum members have noticed in racing cars that they have seen.


Edited by Graham Clayton, 03 December 2016 - 02:30.


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#2 arttidesco

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 06:54

IIRC David 'the Silver Fox' Pearson had the Wood Brothers tape one piece of gum for every 100 miles of a race to the dash of his #21 Ford / Mercury and a cigarette lighter tucked in next to the tacho.

#3 Tim Murray

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 07:32

2. Firewall trap door so that the wear on the right front tyre could be checked during a race.


It was this trap door which brought a rapid end to the racing career of Jocko Flocko the racing monkey, after he opened it during a race, scared himself and went berserk:

http://www.timflock.com/jocko.htm

#4 Sharman

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 08:41

Where do you find all these little tit-bits Tim? You can always be relied on to produce illuminating facts
John

Edited by Sharman, 03 December 2016 - 08:41.


#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 11:12

Thank you John, you're most kind. We've discussed many things here on TNF in the fourteen-plus years I've been here, and sometimes my memory works and remembers the relevant info. I'm not the only one - I'm often very impressed by the obscure facts that Graham Clayton manages to track down, and there are many more like him here on TNF, which is why it's still by far my favourite place on the net. :clap:

#6 E1pix

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 12:53

It was this trap door which brought a rapid end to the racing career of Jocko Flocko the racing monkey, after he opened it during a race, scared himself and went berserk:http://www.timflock.com/jocko.htm

Feel sorry for Jocko, animal lover and all, but what a great story!

And -- overall -- concur with John 111%. Always a pleasure having you 'round here. :-)

#7 arttidesco

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 13:10

06_Image282sc.jpg

 

As discussed elsewhere on this forum recently, wood has many uses in the modern racing automobile.

 

In this application it is used to help Buck Bakers 1951 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 stay mobile until the last drop of fuel is used on circuits where the only corners are left ;-)



#8 ensign14

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 13:14

14521929631_9713d756f8_c.jpg

 

The little lap counter on the pre-WW1 GP Mercedeses.  Shows the attention to detail.  I don't think I've seen anything like that on other cars of that era.



#9 E1pix

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 13:18

Beautiful photo, E!

#10 bradbury west

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 13:40

The pre war Alfa 8C sports had lap counters on the inside panel on the ns door. I will see if I can find my shot of one from a Cou's Silverstone years ago.
Roger Lund

#11 Allan Lupton

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 15:43

I remember Tony Cox looking for a period lap counter for his FWD Alvis restoration and I think we deduced it was originally a billiard scorer.



#12 Rob G

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 18:35

Certain Ford GT40s (and presumably other cars too) had a little dome popped into their roofs to accommodate taller occupants, thereby saving them the trouble of having vertebrae removed.



#13 FLB

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 18:48

Certain Ford GT40s (and presumably other cars too) had a little dome popped into their roofs to accommodate taller occupants, thereby saving them the trouble of having vertebrae removed.

The Filipinetti Ferrari 512M/F raced at Le Mans in 1971 had a bulge in the roof to accomodate Mike Parkes's head.



#14 arttidesco

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 19:00

Here is an article about a replica that was made of Fireball Robert's 1957 Ford NASCAR stock car.

http://www.hotrod.co...grand-national/

 

What I found interesting were some of the features of the car, such as:
 

2. Firewall trap door so that the wear on the right front tyre could be checked during a race.

 

 

 

It was this trap door which brought a rapid end to the racing career of Jocko Flocko the racing monkey, after he opened it during a race, scared himself and went berserk:

http://www.timflock.com/jocko.htm

 

03_IMG_1306sc.jpg

 

An example of the string operated trap door on a replica of Fred Lorenzen's 1965 Holman & Moody Galaxie complete with personal reminder of a Ralph Moody pit instruction received when Fred was driving an open top Sunliner at Darlington in 1961.


Edited by arttidesco, 03 December 2016 - 19:02.


#15 E1pix

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 21:04

The Filipinetti Ferrari 512M/F raced at Le Mans in 1971 had a bulge in the roof to accomodate Mike Parkes's head.

This car was owned for a time by a friend's father (Bob Donner), and I once sat in it while staying in the family home.

It was later owned by Tom Hollfelder, domed roof and all.

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 11:31

There was a Porsche driver about 1972 who was tall enough to cause a lump to grow on Porsches...

But I can't remember which driver it was.

#17 Emery0323

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 12:09

IIRC David 'the Silver Fox' Pearson had the Wood Brothers tape one piece of gum for every 100 miles of a race to the dash of his #21 Ford / Mercury and a cigarette lighter tucked in next to the tacho.

This picture would be from the Holman-Moody #17 Ford, before Pearson moved to the Wood Brothers, but a similar arrangement of chewing gum is shown on the dash of Pearson's car for the 1970  National 500 at Charlotte:

https://revslib.stan...log/vg752mk0425



#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 12:59

Originally posted by myself
There was a Porsche driver about 1972 who was tall enough to cause a lump to grow on Porsches...

But I can't remember which driver it was.


Maybe a little earlier... Joe Buzetta?

#19 Porsche718

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 22:23

I seem to recall late '60s, Falcon GT drivers jamming rolled up beach towels either side of the standard front seat to stop them sliding around during Bathurst 500 events



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#20 Stephen W

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 09:28

Several sports racing cars had 'gates' fitted to the gear selection mechanism to prevent 'accidental engagement of reverse'.

 

I seem to remember several vintage racers had leather straps fitted to secure the external handbrake.



#21 BRG

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 17:10

I seem to recall that Timo Makinen used to have bottle holders fitted to his works Healey 3000 rally car to carry his bottles of whisky*.  Whereas a little later, Roger Clark had a holder for his apples in his Boreham Escorts.

 

* Naturally, he never drank and drove, he always stopped first....



#22 Henri Greuter

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 08:14

Between '38 and '40 car owner Lew Welch had entered one of the 1935 built Miller front wheel drive chassis and replaced the original Ford V8 engine with an Offy and had scored decent results with the car, including a 3rd and a 6th place.

For 1941 he had a 3 liter supercharged V8 engine built for him exclusively to be fitted within the Miller. That V8 however had at least 150 if not more hp more than that of an Offy. Besides that the engine was quite a bit more heavy that the Offy. Because of that the fine handling of the car had gone away. Besides that, the transmission was put under too much stress as were the tires when full power was applied. Driver Ralph Hepburn concluded that he had to prevent to push the accelerator down to the floor, even if by accident. So he had a piece of wood at the bulkhead of the car which made it impossible to apply full throttle. He sacrified nearly his entire power advantage and compared with the year before he had about the same power level but in a car that had a much worse handling than the year before.....

 

In the final lap of the 1941 race, Hepburn overtook Cliff Bergere who was the first ever driver who managed to finish the "500" without a single pit stop and finished 5th, behind Hepburn in his monster.

Hepburn's car was powered by the Winfield V8, in the years after WW2 this engine became better known as the Novi V8 and special chassis were built for it. But one of the best ever results for the engine was this 4th place of 1941 when its output was reduced by a piece of wood on the bulkhead of the car.....

 

 

 

Henri



#23 Graham Clayton

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 09:21

For many years at the Le Mans 24 hour race cars had to have fitted to the doors small spotlights which would illuminate the racing number during the night time portion of the race, as seen in this picture of the Claude Ballot-Léna/Jean-Louis Marnat Marcos Mini GT from 1966:

Mini%2BMarcos%2BLe%2BMans%2Bhistoric%2B8

 

Source: http://maximummini.b...i-marcos-2.html

When was this stopped? Are similar features used in any of the other 24 hour races held around the world to help identify cars during the night?



#24 nicanary

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 10:32

For many years at the Le Mans 24 hour race cars had to have fitted to the doors small spotlights which would illuminate the racing number during the night time portion of the race, as seen in this picture of the Claude Ballot-Léna/Jean-Louis Marnat Marcos Mini GT from 1966:

Mini%2BMarcos%2BLe%2BMans%2Bhistoric%2B8

 

Source: http://maximummini.b...i-marcos-2.html

When was this stopped? Are similar features used in any of the other 24 hour races held around the world to help identify cars during the night?

Transponders have made it all a bit unnecessary..



#25 Allan Lupton

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 13:04

Transponders have made it all a bit unnecessary..

Except for the paying spectator!



#26 PeterElleray

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 13:51

the numbers themselves are now backlit by led's - or were in 2008, last time i was there.



#27 nicanary

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 13:57

Except for the paying spectator!

I don't think the organisers care about that these days!



#28 arttidesco

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 15:05

I don't think the organisers care about that these days!

 

14_IMG_3103sc.jpg

 

You have obviously not been to a WEC event in recent years above the 2015 Le Mans winning #19 Porsche 919 driven by Nico Hulkenberg, Eric Bamber and Nick Tander ...

 

08_IMG_3095sc.jpg

 

... notice that where as the #19 has a single red light next to the race number the #84 Corvette Racing-GM C7.R driven by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor, which finished first in the GTE Pro class at the same event, has two greenish lights next to the number, the colour of the light indicates the class and up to three lights indicate the class position to help the spectator keep some track of which cars are in the top three positions, these lights are mandatory and cars with defective lights on the numbers or position markers are required to call into the pits for repairs.

 

01_55_IMG_3084sc.jpg

 

To further aid drivers the slower GTE cars all have yellow forward facing lights while the fast LMP's have white forward facing lights, unusually the #55 AF Corse Ferrari Italia entry crewed by Duncan Cameron, Alex Mortimer and Matt Griffin displays a strip of lights along the side of the windscreen as did all the other AF Course cars which further helped the spectator if only unintentionally distinguish one from another.



#29 sabrejet

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 18:00

Spotlight-illuminated numbers go up to the late Gp C era (LM 91) at least. I'm sure I recall the neon backlit method first used on a sun visor logo at the same time (90/91?) and use on race numbers a year or so later? Japanese team (Toyota maybe?)

 

Edit: The #83 Nissan at LM 1990 definitely had an illuminated "Nissan" windscreen logo (just watched it on YooToob), so I think I remember it correctly.


Edited by sabrejet, 07 January 2017 - 18:20.


#30 arttidesco

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 18:42

Spotlight-illuminated numbers go up to the late Gp C era (LM 91) at least. I'm sure I recall the neon backlit method first used on a sun visor logo at the same time (90/91?) and use on race numbers a year or so later? Japanese team (Toyota maybe?)

 

Edit: The #83 Nissan at LM 1990 definitely had an illuminated "Nissan" windscreen logo (just watched it on YooToob), so I think I remember it correctly.

 

I do not have a photo to prove it definitively but I am fairly certain that when I first went to Le Mans in 1981 the #1 Porsche 944 LM driven by Juergen Barth and Walter Rohrl which finished 7th, had back lit race numbers on the doors, I would be surprised if back lit numbers do not date back further than that. 



#31 AJB

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 19:48

The  "Hippy" Martini Porsche 917L at Le Mans in 1970 had electroluminescent (?) number discs that glowed green, matching the psychedelic green stripes.



#32 arttidesco

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 19:52

The  "Hippy" Martini Porsche 917L at Le Mans in 1970 had electroluminescent (?) number discs that glowed green, matching the psychedelic green stripes.

 

So were electroluminescent number discs a Porsche innovation perhaps ?



#33 D-Type

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 20:04

Back in the fifties, the Aston Martin team painted the noses and wing edges of their cars different colours for identification: red, blue, yellow, white.  At Le Mans

they had lights on the driver's door that matched these.  I have a suspicion that these coloured lights also vaguely illuminated the numbers. 



#34 sabrejet

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 21:16

I think the Astons (1956?) were maybe the first to illuminate the race numbers - at LM at least. Luminescent seems to be a Porsche innovation circa 1970. Back-illuminated maybe early '80s by the sound of it?



#35 10kDA

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 15:36

The  "Hippy" Martini Porsche 917L at Le Mans in 1970 had electroluminescent (?) number discs that glowed green, matching the psychedelic green stripes.

As I recall there were a number of Porsches in the endurance races with backlit number roundels in that era. My guess is they left the roundel area unpainted and applied a translucent field that looked "white" in daylight, with solid numbers, then backlit through the fiberglass. Probably green light bulbs on the Hippie Porsche.



#36 chunder27

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 08:59

I am fairly sure Markku Alen and Walter Rohrl had similar little domes fitted into the roofs of their 037 rally cars in the mid 80's as they were so tall.

 

A lot of rally cars have all sorts of great little touches in them as they are environments in the past that drivers spent an awful lot of hours in over several days!

 

I remember a flash bike racer had a luminous bit on his helmet for the Suzuka 8 hour in Japan, mainly highlighting the helmet manufacturer.

 

And even in the modern day riders in wet races will often have a part of the radiator covered in the early laps and a sort of tear off strip coming through the steering head they can strip off after a few laps! Looks a little odd, but quite a clever idea really



#37 HairyScalextrix

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 18:16

As a few people have mentioned, I've also seen a few cars with the roof bulge, a Chevron B8 and a Cobra in red/maroon with gold stripe had a massive one which springs to mind, whether they were present in period in those cases is questionable. One other additional safety feature that's been well discussed but not mentioned here as far as I could see was JYS taping a spanner to the steering wheel.

Mike Hawthorn also had that radiator blind chain pull addition in VDU881.

#38 Graham Clayton

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 08:20

The "Superstar" drivers in BRISCA Formula 1 stockcars racing have orange flashing lights attached to their cars, so that spectators can identify them as they work their way through from their starting positions at the back of the field.



#39 D-Type

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 20:57

The "Superstar" drivers in BRISCA Formula 1 stockcars racing have orange flashing lights attached to their cars, so that spectators can identify them as they work their way through from their starting positions at the back of the field.

Presumably this is in addition to the roof colour - I think the top drivers had gold tops


Edited by D-Type, 06 May 2017 - 20:58.


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#40 Tim Murray

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 21:06

The top grade, 'Superstars', have red roofs and flashing lights. Only the current World Champion has a gold roof. Full details of the variously coloured roofs here:

https://en.m.wikiped...la_1_Stock_Cars

#41 Graham Clayton

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 05:12

The reinforcing tubing placed across the top of the engine of the ill-fated 1963 ATS Tipo 100 to stop chassis flexing - the only disadvantage was that the tubes had to be sawn apart before an engine change, and then rewelded after the engine had been put back into the chassis!

 

ats-phil.png?w=614&h=412



#42 john aston

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 06:06

Dick Trickle , the NASCAR driver with an unimprovable name , reputedly had a hole drilled in his helmet so he could spark up a Marlboro mid race. 



#43 Tim Murray

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 06:40

He apparently didn't always need to modify his helmet:

http://q103albany.co...g-a-race-video/

#44 2F-001

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 07:59

A little O/T, but somewhere I have a photo (which I must now try to find) of an early Tour de France (the cycling version) with a section of the peleton sitting up to light their cigarettes.

ps:
Didn't know Trickle did drag racing...

Edited by 2F-001, 27 May 2017 - 08:05.


#45 2F-001

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 08:33

re. the topic of illuminated race numbers, discussed by several others above,

I think the Astons (1956?) were maybe the first to illuminate the race numbers - at LM at least. Luminescent seems to be a Porsche innovation circa 1970. Back-illuminated maybe early '80s by the sound of it?


My first awareness of highlighting the numbers other than by small conventional lamps dates from Le Mans, 1969, and the report in Motor Sport where a picture is captioned thus:
"Many cars were using electrically-energised phosphorescent number discs…"
The picture shows a close up of the number rectangles of car No. 28, which a search elsewhere suggests was a works Alpine A220.

#46 JacnGille

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 12:42

Dick Trickle , the NASCAR driver with an unimprovable name , reputedly had a hole drilled in his helmet so he could spark up a Marlboro mid race. 

I have a pic squirreled away somewhere of IMSA driver Gene Felton enjoying a tobacco product during a driving stint.



#47 2F-001

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 12:45

Back to illuminated numbers for a moment...

 

1965 Sebring 12-hours saw some back-lit pit signalling boards (like a large lightbox) used at night;
does anyone know of a prior use for such a thing?



#48 Graham Clayton

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 07:26

I attended the Australian round of the World Rally Championship at Perth for a few years back in the mid-1990's, and as well as watching the stages, I also had a look at the pre-event scrutineering at Langley Park. While the factory teams had vans full of spare parts and tools, the privateers were the exact opposite. I am pretty certain that I saw one car that had a hole drilled into the rear door inside arm rest with a lug wrench sitting in the hole. Maybe they couldn't afford a spares van and had to fit as many of their tools as they could inside the car?


Edited by Graham Clayton, 09 June 2017 - 07:26.


#49 BRG

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 18:55

They all take a selection of tools with them.  Having a fine array of tools in the service area is no help when you are stuck by the side of the road miles away with the rear suspension hanging off. 

 

The difference would be that the works and other professionally built cars probably have their tools stowed away more neatly!



#50 Graham Clayton

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 04:49

Due to the deep watercourses in the East African Safari, nearly all cars which compete in the vent are fiited with an external snorkel, which is not seen at any other major rally.

safari_entradawrc_2016.jpg