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#1 Odseybod

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 09:46

I really ought to know the answers to the following, and perhaps once did, but ...

 

I recall seeing a pic somewhere of the works D-types lined up outside Browns Lane, ready for the drive to Le Mans (maybe 1954 - I don't think they had fins). So, here come the questions:

 

Was this a one-off or were the works cars always driven there, until the factory stopped competing in 1958?

 

Who drove them - presumably trusted mechanics?

 

Were they driven home after the race, assuming they were still roadworthy (i.e. no ocntratemps in the Esses)? I'd assumed the journey out there was part of the running-in process, so why would you tie up team members for an unnecessary exercise when you could put all the cars in (say) a single large van for the return journey? Or so I thought, until I found the photo below lurking in the archive, apparently showing a D-type being serviced AFTER the 1954 Le Mans race (with, I think, Lofty England looking on).  Why would you do that in fairly basic conditions, rather than back at the factory, unless you wanted it to have a trouble-free run back to base?

 

Jag-d-after-1954-Le-Mans.jpg

 

And a supplementary question: were the works cars also driven to Rheims for the  D-type's debut in the1954 12-hour race - and home again with some bottles of victory champgne in the passenger foootwell?

 

I know I can rely on TNF ...

 



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#2 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 12:53

They were commonly driven on the road to and from race meetings including Le Mans.  One of the C-Types was crashed and had to be replaced whecrashed en route.  

 

For me, it was seeing the works D-Type convoy bawling up the Guildford Bypass when I was about 9 or 10 that buggered up - errrmm, sorry, 'that shaped' - the rest of my life.  I was utterly entranced.

 

DCN 


Edited by Doug Nye, 27 July 2020 - 16:09.


#3 Odseybod

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 13:01

Thanks, Doug. A sight like that could certainly corrupt a chap for life (in the nicest possible way, of course).

.



#4 Allan Lupton

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 13:16

There was a classic photo (which I can't easily find) of Tony Rolt and a C-type loading or unloading from a Bristol 170 of Silver City en-route to or from Le Mans and I would expect the D types did the same. Ecurie Ecosse, with a much greater distance to travel, had their purpose-built transporter (still seen about at shows etc.).


Edited by Allan Lupton, 27 July 2020 - 13:17.


#5 Odseybod

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 14:49

I think I've also seen a pic of S. Moss in an XK fhc (the Montlhery car?) about to aviate from Ferryfield, or maybe Southend. But I'd imagine the convoy of Ds would prefer a sea voyage, as I'me not sure you oculd comfortably fit all of them  into a single 170 (or even a Superfreighter).



#6 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 15:05

Cycling home from a Silverstone International Trophy meeting one night we were overtaken as we came into Brackley by three Ecurie Ecosse C Types. I remember looking down into the cockpits and feeling the warmth of the engines. Never forgotten it.



#7 bradbury west

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 15:18

I believe that is Sir William Lyons with the notebook.
Roger Lund

#8 Odseybod

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 15:23

Thanks, Roger - just humble WIlliam Lyons at the time, of course. I did actually wonder at the time if it was he, then plumped for FRWE as being the more likely suspect. 

 

By the way, this was the pic of young Stirlling with the XK I was thinking of, courtesy of Getty - clearly not the Montlhery car., sorry..

 

circa-1952-on-the-ramp-of-a-silver-city-

 



#9 Allan Lupton

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 22:20

Thanks, Roger - just humble WIlliam Lyons at the time, of course. I did actually wonder at the time if it was he, then plumped for FRWE as being the more likely suspect.

Lyons with the notebook facing right and in front of him facing left looking down is most of Lofty England I'd say.
 



#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 22:32

They may not be preparing the car for the drive home...

 

It could be they are preparing it to be freighted, it looks like they're pumping fuel out of it.

 

Or did they run a race fuel which was unsuitable for road use?



#11 roamic

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 07:10

In the mid-sixties, I was at the Pebble Beach concourse and there was a D-Type on the street near the event.

I remember it had a battery charger in the passenger's footwell.



#12 Catalina Park

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 08:38

Ecurie Ecosse, with a much greater distance to travel, had their purpose-built transporter (still seen about at shows etc.).

The famous Ecurie Ecosse transporter was built after their Le Mans wins.



#13 BRG

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 10:54

 

For me, it was seeing the works D-Type convoy bawling up the Guildford Bypass when I was about 9 or 10 that buggered up - errrmm, sorry, 'that shaped' - the rest of my life.  I was utterly entranced.

 

DCN 

Where might they have been going?  A route from Coventry to Southampton or Portsmouth for a ferry wouldn't include Guildford, unless they had a satnav like mine (unlikely in 195x).  



#14 Allan Lupton

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 11:21

Doug didn't say they were en route for Le Mans - Goodwood, however, seems a better bet!



#15 Red Socks

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 11:36

At about one in the morning in summer 1968 I was walking back to the flat in Eccleston St., from a hot date gone cold, when I heard fire up over in Bayswater a motor which shortly afterwards became a D Type which howled down Park Lane, round Hyde Park Corner-no traffic lights then- and back up the other side of Park Lane home.

I've often wondered who was the owner and who was the passenger.The smell of Castrol R hung around for some time after the noise-and car-were long gone.

Nowadays of course it would just be unburnt hydocarbons and noise pollution.



#16 BRG

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 11:47

Doug didn't say they were en route for Le Mans - Goodwood, however, seems a better bet!

True, although still not the obvious route from Brown's Lane.



#17 Perruqueporte

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 11:57

I recall reading that after one of the C-Type Le Mans victories, the drivers were told that they could make a detour en-route back to the factory, and in doing so spent a day or so at the seaside (or should that be "C-Side"!) with their C-Types parked outside a hotel.

 

Christopher W.



#18 Allan Lupton

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 12:14

True, although still not the obvious route from Brown's Lane.

I'd have gone A45-Weedon; A5-St Albans; A412 - Denham; A40-Hayes; A312-Feltham; A244-Esher; A3-Milford; A286-Goodwood

Alternative ways from A5 to A3 through NW London were many and various of course including using Windsor bridge and through Windsor Great Park :cat:
 



#19 Doug Nye

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 13:53

Works Jaguars routing via Guildford Bypass - I have oftewondered why - whetrying to pin down a likely date for my encounter, even once asking 'Lofty' England about it - but have never found confirmation.  If the team was headed Southampton-Londo1954-56ish they would quite probably have used the A3 Guildford route.

 

Maybe I should have asked 'Noddy' Coombs (of Guildford) if they stopped by his place, but I never did.  However, I certainly told the story to Norman Dewis - without seeking confirmation - and he neither turned a hair nor questioned it...indeed he seemed rather pleased potentially to have had (perhaps) such a far-reaching effect upon a young fan's life.

 

It was on that same road, about 300 yards further downhill i1958 - that I equally vividly recall hearing the first report of Archie Scott Brown's death on the radio in my big brother's car.

 

DCN



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#20 BRG

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 16:56

Maybe I should have asked 'Noddy' Coombs (of Guildford) if they stopped by his place

That did cross my mind too.



#21 68targa

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 17:18

It does seem to have been a common occurance for race cars to be driven to or from races in the 1950's. I am sure I have read that Aston Martin on occasion drove the cars out to le Mans.  There is also an entertaining passage in DSJ's book Porsche Past and Present (p83) where he tells of the Porsche works team having finished the Targa Florio had two of the cars driven back to Stuttgart overnight  - 14 laps round Scicily then to Stuttgart - They should have used that in the adverts.

 

Back to Jaguars and  I too remember having a D-type overtake our Standard 8 after leaving Oulton Park in 1959 or 60 - can't remember if it was a race car but to a 12 year old seeing a car like that  just stays in the memory. Light years ahead from everything esle on the road at the time.



#22 bradbury west

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 17:50

I recall in a conversation some time ago with the widow of one of the former Aston mechanics being told how they drove the cars to Southampton then down to the circuit.
Perhaps there is something in one of the old Aston books.
Roger Lund

#23 Doug Nye

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 18:08

Photographer Geoff Goddard always recalled driving down the Soissons Straight at Reims, arriving before practice began for the 1951 French GP, only to be overtaken by the four works Alfettas - dodging in and out of the everyday traffic with team mechanics driving each one.  The exhaust blast as each one boomed by finally hooked him....

 

 

DCN



#24 Bloggsworth

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 19:02

Photographer Geoff Goddard always recalled driving down the Soissons Straight at Reims, arriving before practice began for the 1951 French GP, only to be overtaken by the four works Alfettas - dodging in and out of the everyday traffic with team mechanics driving each one.  The exhaust blast as each one boomed by finally hooked him....

 

 

DCN

You're doing my eyes in Doug...



#25 bradbury west

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 19:56

Re Reims, I always wished I could have seen and heard Michael Parkes thundering over the crest and down to the Soissons hairpin in the 4 litre GTO.
He was timed or calculated at 190 mph..... sheer joy.
Sorry, I cannot make the usual disclaimers, biased you see.
Roger Lund

#26 fuzzi

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 05:24

Ian Stewart bought a new C-Type and collected it from Browns Lane. He had entered the Jersey Road Race and drove it down to Poole to catch the ferry, running it in as he went. To increase the mileage he drove right round every roundabout he came upon on the way. That must have been something to see.



#27 RCH

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 09:09

Whitsun (half term) weekend 1957. I was being driven with my grandmother by a friend of hers to stay with my great uncle in Kingston on Thames. Somewhere between Banbury and Bicester we pulled into a lay-by for the then traditional cup of tea. A bored 7 year old I was watching the passing traffic when out of a bend appeared a low and exciting shape. A D Type howled past, BRG I think. Considering this more recently I'm thinking on its way from Coventry to Goodwood? 

 

I've always been fascinated by the idea of racing cars on the road. Back in the mid '70's I was driving on a country road near Potters Bar one evening, out of the onsetting dusk a pre war GP Maserati loomed.



#28 Sterzo

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 09:56

You're doing my eyes in Doug...

Presumably Doug's Babbage computer has a predictive font facility which clashes with the forum's assembled-from-Bletchley-Park-leftovers software.



#29 Charlieman

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 10:17

To increase the mileage he drove right round every roundabout he came upon on the way. That must have been something to see.

How many roundabouts were there in the 1950s? A brother-in-law took his driving test in Lerwick, Shetland at the end of the 1970s when there was one roundabout and one set of traffic lights.



#30 bradbury west

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 10:49

I always warm to the story of David Piper collecting his first (!) GTO from the factory and driving go it back to the UK for its first race at Goodwood or somewhere, nicely settled in by then, and at a more modest level, a while back Mike Costin was kind enough to send me a photograph showing him testing a new 15 along the open roads round Tottenham.....
Roger Lund

#31 Allan Lupton

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 10:49

I've always been fascinated by the idea of racing cars on the road. Back in the mid '70's I was driving on a country road near Potters Bar one evening, out of the onsetting dusk a pre war GP Maserati loomed.

That would have been Cameron Millar, who lived in Northaw - apart from the 250Fs he owned/made I remember him racing an 8CTF at VSCC meetings.
 



#32 BRG

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 11:46

How many roundabouts were there in the 1950s? A brother-in-law took his driving test in Lerwick, Shetland at the end of the 1970s when there was one roundabout and one set of traffic lights.

There were plenty of roundabouts in the more populace parts of the UK.  Near my childhood home, the A3 Kingston By-Pass had one at each end and a couple in the middle. Lerwick probably wasn't a very good statistical sample for the whole of the UK!



#33 Roger Clark

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 20:35

Re Reims, I always wished I could have seen and heard Michael Parkes thundering over the crest and down to the Soissons hairpin in the 4 litre GTO.
He was timed or calculated at 190 mph..... sheer joy.
Sorry, I cannot make the usual disclaimers, biased you see.
Roger Lund

When was that?



#34 D-Type

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 21:32

There are some gems about driving sports cars on the road in Duncan Hamilton's "Touch Wood".  And in the DSJ tribute book "Jenks: A passion for motor sport"



#35 Doug Nye

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 19:58

Only recently JohCoombs's former chief mechanic Roland Law was telling me how he was sent out to Modena in 1962 to collect 'Noddy's new Ferrari 250GTO '3729' - driving it back to Guildford on the public roads and cross-Channel ferry.  He's now in his 90s but still cherishes his memories of "that magnificent motor".  Rob Walker mechanic Tony Cleverley had a matching experience in 1962 collecting the team's second 250GT '2735' for Moss and driving it back home here...

 

I am not prone to envy, but....

 

DCN



#36 Dipster

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 20:40

 

Only recently JohCoombs's former chief mechanic Roland Law was telling me how he was sent out to Modena in 1962 to collect 'Noddy's new Ferrari 250GTO '3729' - driving it back to Guildford on the public roads and cross-Channel ferry.  He's now in his 90s but still cherishes his memories of "that magnificent motor".  Rob Walker mechanic Tony Cleverley had a matching experience in 1962 collecting the team's second 250GT '2735' for Moss and driving it back home here...

 

I am not prone to envy, but....

 

DCN

 

 

I am!...................  What an adventure that must have been.



#37 Perruqueporte

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 22:46

Peter Clarke once told me that when he collected his 250GTO from Maranello Concessionaires in order to run it in before its first competition outing, he headed West to spend the weekend just driving it around. He said that he nearly lost control of the car when, driving fast across Salisbury Plain, he crested a rise and was stunned to see the Red Arrows in formation, crossing the road in front of and below him, which rather confused and disoriented him.

Christopher W.

#38 Nick Wa

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 03:01

Bill Lyons ordered that the competing cars should be driven to and from the relevant venues. He believed in the value of the publicity of demonstrating the use of the cars on the public roads.



#39 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 05:24

As for GTO's, I've always liked this video...somewhere in the forests outside Seattle, I suppose...

 

 

And then, I was looking for videos on D types...in this one, I almost fell over when Steve Brooks said it was XKD558...ex-Rattenbury/Calvert car that raced here in the Northwest.  Steve flies a Spitfire too.  He and another fellow flew around the world in one last year.  Did somebody say something about envy?

 

 

Vince H.



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#40 Glengavel

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 08:37

Bill Lyons ordered that the competing cars should be driven to and from the relevant venues. He believed in the value of the publicity of demonstrating the use of the cars on the public roads.

 

So, in 1957 the D-Types drove from Edinburgh to Le Mans, finished 1-2, then drove down to Monza, did another 500 mile race, and then drove home.



#41 Nick Wa

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 09:39

800px-Ecurie_Ecosse_Car_Transporter.jpg

 

 

Glengavel

 

In 1957 the cars you refer to would have traveled in this beautiful blue transporter. They were privately owned, entered and run by  Ecurie Ecosse.

 

Bill Lyons only had the say over his own factory controlled cars. The Jaguar factory team did not compete in events after 1955.


Edited by Nick Wa, 01 August 2020 - 09:42.


#42 Glengavel

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 16:31

800px-Ecurie_Ecosse_Car_Transporter.jpg

 

 

Glengavel

 

In 1957 the cars you refer to would have traveled in this beautiful blue transporter. They were privately owned, entered and run by  Ecurie Ecosse.

 

Bill Lyons only had the say over his own factory controlled cars. The Jaguar factory team did not compete in events after 1955.

 

Catalina mentioned above that the transporter was built after their Le Mans wins. However this article http://www.ecurieeco...sse-transporter indicates that the Commer replaced two older transporters.



#43 Paul Parker

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 18:22

Catalina mentioned above that the transporter was built after their Le Mans wins. However this article http://www.ecurieeco...sse-transporter indicates that the Commer replaced two older transporters.

Jaguar carried on into 1956 with Hawthorn/Titterington racing XKD 601 at Sebring where it retired with brake failure, XKD 506 for Spear/Johnston had valve problems and Hamilton/Bueb in XKD 508 also with brake failure, all entered under the auspice of Jaguar of New York.

 

XKD 601 with Hawthorn/Titterington retired at the Nurburgring 1000 km with drive shaft failure on lap 43 whilst Frere/Hamilton in XKD 504 was stopped after just 7 laps due to gearbox problems which left Hamilton without a drive. Additionally Frere crashed XKD 603 during practice.

 

At the Reims 12 Hours the works cars finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd for Bueb/Hamilton, Hawthorn/Frere and Titterington/Fairman.

 

The final curtain for the factory long nose D types was at Le Mans which began with XKD 606 driven by Frere/Titterington that was crashed by Titterington during practice and withdrawn. They then moved onto XKD 603. The other two cars were XKD 605 for Hawthorn/Bueb and XKD 602 for Fairman/Wharton.

 

Sadly Frere crashed XKD 603 at the Esses on lap 2 and Fairman spun on the slippery surface avoiding Frere's car but was then hit up the rear by de Portago's works Ferrari 625 LM, leaving the Hawthorn/Bueb car still intact but later developing misfiring (it had already had to change its engine during practice due to weak settings that burnt out a piston) that was finally found to have a hairline crack in a fuel line which cost them 22 laps. Thereafter they managed to reach 6th place, a miracle given the circumstances but a disappointing end given that XKD 605 was the fastest car in the race.

 

This was the era of meddling by the Le Mans authorities who decided that so called prototypes had to be no more than 2.5 litres, a consequence of the 1955 Le Mans tragedy, but Jaguar and Aston Martin were able to race, the former was allowed whilst Aston Martin were OK on the basis of building 50 DB3S's, although in reality only 31 were ever built.



#44 Roger Clark

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 07:08

This was the era of meddling by the Le Mans authorities who decided that so called prototypes had to be no more than 2.5 litres, a consequence of the 1955 Le Mans tragedy, but Jaguar and Aston Martin were able to race, the former was allowed whilst Aston Martin were OK on the basis of building 50 DB3S's, although in reality only 31 were ever built.

As well as the 2.5-litre limit, Le Mans in 1956 had severe limits on fuel consumption, amounting to about 12mpg. This meant that the race was a bit of an economy drive  and caused Jaguar to weaken mixture, probably leading to the engine problems. 
 

Those restrictions didn’t last long. In 1957 we had 4.1-litre Ferraris, 4.5-litre Maseratis and a battle in the opening laps which put them all out. 



#45 Catalina Park

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 05:20

800px-Ecurie_Ecosse_Car_Transporter.jpg

 

 

Glengavel

 

In 1957 the cars you refer to would have traveled in this beautiful blue transporter. They were privately owned, entered and run by  Ecurie Ecosse.

 

Bill Lyons only had the say over his own factory controlled cars. The Jaguar factory team did not compete in events after 1955.

How could they have used a 1960 Commer to travel to Le Mans in 1957?



#46 Paul Parker

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 08:59

As well as the 2.5-litre limit, Le Mans in 1956 had severe limits on fuel consumption, amounting to about 12mpg. This meant that the race was a bit of an economy drive  and caused Jaguar to weaken mixture, probably leading to the engine problems. 
 

Those restrictions didn’t last long. In 1957 we had 4.1-litre Ferraris, 4.5-litre Maseratis and a battle in the opening laps which put them all out. 

Yes indeed, I left the fuel issue and the about turn in 1957 having taken up too much space, but for the record in 1958 the sports racers were victim of the 3 litre limit by the FIA  which finished off Jaguar's already fading performance including the Listers et al, (not forgetting E2A in 1960 which was run by Briggs Cunningham but actually belonged to Jaguar) although thankfully Aston Martin won the Nurburgring 1000 km in 1958/59 and Le Mans '59 and the Goodwood TT mainly due to SCM, that gave them the World Sports Car Championship in '59.

 

For those not aware of these long ago times the 3 litre limit was removed in 1962 thank goodness but by then Ferrari had won the championship in 1960/61 and continued on for several more years.