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#1 Pascal

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Posted 21 November 1999 - 07:28

About 15 years ago, I met a Mr Vandervell at my dad's office while we were all watching the Monaco Grand-Prix from there. He seemed to be a nice person, but what really caught my attention was the fact that my dad told me that this man's father was the founder of the Vanwall Formula 1 team.

I recently remembered the episode, and decided to go to www.forix.com to learn more about that team, and I was surprised to see so many legendary names among their drivers list. Even Colin Chapman is mentioned! And they have quite an impressive record to match...

Can anybody here tell me more about this team, beyond mere stats?

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#2 Dennis David

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Posted 21 November 1999 - 12:34

Since the end of World War II Formula 1, except for a brief period when Mercedes-Benz competed, has been dominated by a sea of Italian red. You had to drive an Alfa Romeo, Maserati or Ferrari if you were to have any hope of winning. The British Racing Motors V16 project, which was ruled by committee, was floundering. Tony Vandervell, the "ThinWall" bearing magnate was one of its early supporters. But he soon found himself tiring of the constant delays, brought about by infighting and red tape. He abruptly quit the project and chose to embark on his own course. His first step was to purchase some race cars from Ferrari which he christened the "ThinWall Specials". Being the prudent buyer he had his engineers strip down the cars whereupon it was noticed that many of the parts appeared worn. After some heated correspondence with Enzo Ferrari the situation was never duplicated. These heavily modified Ferrari's soon dominated British Formula Libre events. The experience from running these cars would soon be used against bigger fish. The next step for the new team would be in Formula 2 where he had a custom designed engine fitted to a Cooper built spaceframe chassis. These cars became the test bed for what ultimately would be a full scale Formula 1 team.

The first true Formula 1 Vanwall was designed by Cooper's resident designer, Owen Maddock but would be built in-house. The engine was based on a Norton design. Progress was slow and the team's transport driver suggested to the team manager that he had a friend who might be able to lend a hand. That friend's name was Colin Chapman. Derek Wootton, the driver, called his friend and said "Here Col ... you ought to come down to Acton - old man Vandervell needs help with his chassis" Chapman who was just starting his business and who up to that time worked only with sports cars jumped at the chance to work on a real Formula 1 car. On visiting the workshop he was looking over the car when "the old man" happened by and asked Chapman what he thought of the car. After Chapman answered it was clear to Vandervell that nothing short of starting over would appease the young engineer. Showing the decisiveness that had made him millions, he authorized Chapman to start a new design. For the body Chapman recommended an up and coming aerodynamicist named Frank Costin. Chapman's spaceframe design weighed in at 87.5 lbs. An important aspect of this car was that unlike BRM, Vandervell would use only the best components regardless of which country they originated in. The Costin designed body was striking in its teardrop shape and under body treatment. The car proved fast out of the box but suffered reliability problems. For 1957 Vandervell had two goals, improve reliability and hire the best drivers available - preferably British. The rear suspension was replaced with what would become known as a Chapman strut while the dampers were replaced with German units. Stirling Moss was available and a test was set up so that he could compare the leading British cars including a BRM, Connaught and Vanwall. He found the Vanwall to have the best potential and was promptly signed along with another driver who had made a name for himself driving the Connaught to victory at Syracuse, Tony Brooks. Stuart Lewis-Evens was eventually signed as the third driver. After more reliability problems victory was gained, fittingly at the British Grand Prix. At the Italian Grand Prix the Vanwalls qualified 1-2-3 with Moss scoring a victory on the Italians home ground. 1958 saw Moss in a Vanwall battle the Ferrari of Hawthorn for the World Championship. In the end he lost the title to Hawthorn by one point though he had won more races at 4 to Hawthorn's 1. As consolation Vanwall won the constructor's championship only to suffer tragically when Lewis-Evens crashed and died at the last race. Vandervell was heart-broken at the moment of Britain's greatest triumph. Facing mounting costs and poor health Vandervell decided to end Vanwall full-time racing operation at the end of the year. Even though its history was short lived the door was now open for other British constructors to challenge and beat the best of the continental powers.


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#3 Don Capps

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Posted 22 November 1999 - 13:31

Just some info on the cars for those interested:

Vanwall
Acton, West London

V.A. Vandervell

1949 -- Thinwall Special No. 1 / Ferrari 125 GPC, 1.5 litre supercharged V-12 engine in a short wheelbase chassis with swing axle rear suspension. It was returned to Ferrari (after being examined by BRM). No chassis number so far.

1950 -- Thinwall Special No. 2 / Ferrari 125 with a 1.5 litre supercharged, twin-plug V-12 in a long wheelbase chassis with swing axle rear suspension. Chassis number 125-C-02. It was returned to Ferrari to be rebuilt as the Thinwall Special No. 3.

1951 -- Thinwall Special No. 3 / Ferrari 375 with 4.5 litre normally aspired single-plug V-12 using a long wheelbase chassis with de Dion rear axle. Used the same chassis as Thinwall Special No. 2, 125-C-02. This car was retained by the team and broken up in 1952.

1952 -- Thinwall Special No. 4 / Ferrari 375 with 4.5 litre normally aspirated, twin-plug engine and de Dion rear axle using "Indianapolis" long wheelbase chassis. Chassis: 010-375. This car was retained by the team.

1954 -- Vanwall Special / Cooper-built chassis (Type 30) with Vandervell engine developed with Norton (upper) and Rolls-Royce (lower). The engine was developed in 2.0, 2.3 and 2.5 litre versions. After being crashed at Barcelona in 1954, it was not rebuilt.

1955 -- Vanwall / The team built four chassis to its own design. Chassis numbers were:
VW1
VW2
VW3
VW4
All were broken up at the end of the season and used as the basis for the 1956 cars.

1956 -- Vanwall / The team built four cars using the chassis as re-designed by Colin Chapman and the bodywork designed by Mike Costin. The cars had transverse leaf spring rear suspension. The cars were retained for 1957. Chassis numbers were:
VW1/56
VW2/56 -- won the International Trophy at Silverstone
VW3/56
VW4/56

1957 -- Vanwall / A total of 10 chassis planned. but no more than four fully assembled at any one time. The cars now had coil spring rear suspension. The first four chassis were those retained from 1956 with the remainder being built-up during the season. The chassis numbers were:
VW1
VW2 -- never completed
VW3
VW4 -- won the British GP at Aintree
VW5 -- won the Pescara GP and Italian GP
VW6 -- the Streamliner, converted to normal bodywork
VW7
VW8 -- Lightweight chassis
VW9 -- Lightweight chassis, not assembled during the season
VW10

1958 -- Vanwall / The 1957 cars were retained with detail modifications to the suspension and bodywork. The chassis numbers:
VW1 -- not assembled, used for spares
VW2 -- not assembled, used for spares
VW3 -- not assembled, used for spares
VW4 -- won the German GP, destroyed at Casablanca
VW5 -- won Belgian GP, Italian GP & Moroccan GP
VW6
VW7
VW8 -- not assembled, used for spares
VW9
VW10 -- won Dutch GP & Portugese GP

1959 -- Vanwall / Three chassis were retained, the rest broken up. Chassis retained:
VW5 -- rebuilt with smaller, modified bodywork and lighter components. Later fitted with an experimental rear suspension developed by Colotti, but never raced in this configuration.
VW9 -- retained as a show car by Vandervell Products
VW10 -- retained for testing purposes, but rebuilt in 1960 in 1958 form for "demonstrations."

1960 -- Vanwall / In additon to the chassis retained for show (VW9) and demonstration (VW10) purposes only two chassis used in 1960.
VW11 -- a new chassis built from VW5 components with "low-line" bodywork. Used Colotti transmision and suspension. Driven by Tony Brooks at Reims, then dismanted and retained by the team.
VWL12 -- used for testing; actually Lotus 18 chassis 901 mounted with a Vanwall engine. Sold by the team as a rolling chassis.

1961 -- Vanwall / A rear-engine chassis was built for the Inter-Continental Formula series using a 2.6 litre Vanwall engine. Engines V4, V6 and V9 converted to rear-engined specification. Driven by John Surtees in its only race at Silverstone.
VW14 -- later rebuilt into a Mk.2 vesrion, but never raced in that form.
Note: There were only nine Vanwall engines used by the team, V1 through V9, the latter not being used during competition in a front-engined car.

Notes on the Streamliner, Chassis VW6

The Streamliner was developed for the Reims Grand Prix which was held on 14 July 1957. It followed the GP d'ACF which was held a week earlier at Rouen. On page 97 of the Vanwall book is a picture of the Streamliner.

There was a big gap in the racing schedule in 1957 between the GP at Monaco on 19 May and the GP d'ACF on 7 July. The Vandervell team found itself itself with a driver problem during this interval. Tony Brooks suffered injuries when his Aston Martin crashed at Le Mans and was out of action for several weeks. Then Stirling Moss managed to damage his sinuses while on vacation in the south of France when he inhaled too much saltwater while water-skiing. Stuart Lewis-Evans and Roy Salvadori were pressed into service as drivers.

The Reims GP was one of the "big money" races for back in those dais. Both the starting and prize monies were extremely "generous" and Vandervell wanted to do well. Hence the Streamliner. It was laid out to cover a new chassis, VW6. The body design was supervised by Mike Costin and the work done by Abbey Panels of Coventry. The team mechanic who supervised this work was Cyril Atkins.
The Streamliner was flown out to France the Tuesday after Rouen. The Rouen cars, VW 1 and VW4, were loaded on the plane at Calais and returned to Southend. The Streamliner proceeded to Reim where VW7 and VW8 were already waiting.

Stuart Lewis-Evans was the first to try VW6 in practice and found it badly overgeared. This was worked on overnight and the next day both drivers tried VW6, but the lack of experience by both drivers with cars at speed on the Reims circuit -- or in Vanwalls at any speed for that matter -- meant that both were never comfortable with it. They then concentrated on the "regular" cars for the race. Sadly, the Streamliner was returned to its transporter and not raced that weekend.
However, VW6 did reappear that season, albeit with the Streamliner panels being removed and replaced with normal bodywork.

The racing record for chassis VW6:
8 September 1957/ GP Italy - Monza; engine no. V6; #22, Tony Brooks, 8th place and fastest lap.
19 July 1958/ British GP - Silverstone; engine no. V1; #9, Stuart Lewis-Evans, 4th place.
24 August 1958/ GP Portugal - Oporto; engine no. V2; #6, Stuart Lewis-Evans, 3rd place.
7 September 1958/ GP Italy - Monza; engine no. V4; #30, Stuart Lewis-Evans, retired on lap 31.

For a fleeting few days-- almost literally hours, in fact -- in July 1957 there actually were FIVE Vanwalls in full kit. Here's how it happened:

As noted, the team had only one week between the GP d'ACF at Rouen and the Reims race. Since it would have been quite out of the question to bring the transporter back to Acton, unload the Rouen cars (VW1 and VW4), load up the Reims cars (VW6, VW7, VW8), and return to the Continent, it was decided to send out both transporters to France.

One transporter was sent to Rouen with VW1 and VW4. The other to Reims with VW7 and VW8. After Rouen, on that Tuesday as a matter of fact, VW6 was flown to Calais. It was off-loaded and VW1 and VW4 loaded on the aircraft and returned to Southend. On Wednesday, these were back at the race shop in Acton undergoing the usual post-race disassembly.

Meanwhile, the transporter with VW7 and VW8 was in Reims where it was joined by the transporter carrying VW6 from Calais.

So, from roughly Monday through Wednesday of that week there were five fully-assembled Vanwalls lurking about. Scanning the rest of the 1957 season and the 1958 season, I haven't found a similar situation where there were more than four fully-assembled Vanwalls. I am certain that at some point during the 1958 season there might have been a fifth chassis missing only an engine but otherwise ready for use.

Van

#4 Pascal

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Posted 23 November 1999 - 06:00

Dennis & Don, thanks a lot for the info! :)

And great stories by the way...

#5 Dr.DeDion

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Posted 25 November 1999 - 16:17

What was the key to the Vanwall's performance?According to Stirling Moss, the handling of the car was never very good although they changed just about every design element of the suspensions and frame at least twice.From 1954 to 56 it seemed that you needed a six or eight cylinder motor to be competitive and yet in '57 the 4-cylinder Vanwall starts winning on the 'power' circuits.I know that its aerodynamics were superior but it must have had something in addition.Was the engine a 4-valve per cylinder job?

[This message has been edited by Dr.DeDion (edited 11-25-1999).]

[This message has been edited by Dr.DeDion (edited 11-25-1999).]

#6 Yelnats

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Posted 26 November 1999 - 02:35

About the engine, and this is from memory and some of these neurons haven't been refreshed for almost 40 years so I expect to be corrected.

The engine was adapted from the famous Norton Motorcycle engine and featured a very over-square design. This was expected to allow it to compete with the sixes and eights of the era with similar piston areas (and strokes). Four valves per cylinder has not been optional in a racing engine since the twenties and I belive it retained the hair-spring type valve springs of it's predecessor.

The valve springs and the four cylinder design were the achilles heal of this unit. The valves were constantly failing and the vibration set up by the high reving and unbalanced four simply shook everthing off the engine, including injector pipes (very advanced for the time) and throttle linkages.

By the time the boffins at Vanwall had sorted these problems out, the very fast machine was begining to be caught by the competition and relied as much on the skill and determination of the drivers as the speed of the machine.

The areodynamics was superb and this was the peak of Costin's designs, along with some of his wonderful efforts for Lotus. "Too little, Too late" could have been the moto of the British efforts of the time as most of their development took place during the race rather than on the test track.

It is ironic that it took the simple genius of Cooper to convert blacksmith technology to a British winner when other more and sophisticated efforts like Vanwall and BRM floundered on the finer points of execution.

Just another case of BS (Black Smith) baffles brains!

#7 David Beard

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 13:29

Does Vijay Mallya still have the Vanwall that John Harper raced a few times in the early 90s? I wasn't attending historic races in those days, so the last time I saw one driven in anger was in 1958. :

Why haven't we seen this car more recently?

(with absolutely no apologies for bumping this very old thread!)

#8 David McKinney

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 15:21

Nope, it was sold about ten years ago
I believe it was at the first (1998) Goodwood Revival

#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 18:31

This great car is in the personal collection of a well-known private owner based at Biggin Hill in Kent...

DCN

#10 David Birchall

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 18:37

Pascal, If you had grown up in England in the fifties as I did, you would consider the Vanwall to be THE racing car-nothing else comes close-except perhaps a D type Jag....

#11 David Beard

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:52

Originally posted by Doug Nye
This great car is in the personal collection of a well-known private owner based at Biggin Hill in Kent...

DCN


I see.

Wouldn't it be nice if Sir Stirling was given one more go in it.

#12 Allan Lupton

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 13:02

Originally posted by David Beard

Wouldn't it be nice if Sir Stirling was given one more go in it.


Or more than one, were he willing!

#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 13:41

Stirl's not really that big a fan of the Vanwall...

DCN

#14 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 15:43

Stirl's not really that big a fan of the Vanwall...


Something I have always found interesting, but understandable.

#15 Wolf

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 15:51

Don, why? I take it, reliability might be a part of it; but I wasn't under the impression he had 'issues' with either the car or the team...

As an aside, ISTR hearing that when he took Chapman's redesigned car for his first drive in it, he immidiately asked that the front roll bar be removed (apparently Chapman at the time believed understeer is good, so he set up the car with that premise). I can't recall where I read/heard it, so I should ask- is there any truth in that?

#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 16:07

Car had a difficult and baulky gearchange (which turned the palm of Tony Brooks's hand into "a plate of raw steak" at Monaco) and suffered from a persistent flat-spot in the middle of the engine's torque curve. It was never 'perfect' by SCM's standards, and therefore it is regarded by him as having been a terribly important car in his career, but never one for which he recalls great fondness...

DCN

#17 oldtimer

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 17:20

Doug, wasn't the flat spot present in the 1958 cars, running on Avgas, but not the alcohol burning 1957 cars?

And didn't the Vanwall take a lot of manhandling when SCM was in a real hurry?

#18 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 18:14

My understanding is that the flat spot was ALWAYS there but that it cost them more with the reduced output of the AvGas-burning era post-Jan 1, 1958. Re the cars' handling, let me put it this way - as stable understeerers they excelled on the faster circuits. But they had to be driven within a fairly narrow corridor of control and they were never as forgiving nor as rewarding to drive exuberantly as were the assorted Maserati 250F models, or indeed the little BRM Type 25. This wasn't really a question of them needing 'manhandling' as you write. In fact it's really the opposite - they demanded delicacy of touch, a fine balance.

I should have been flattered, but on the startline at Goodwood Stirl told me "Just watch your step in that, Boy".

He'd long-since told me he'd rarely found another car so sensitive to damper settings and tyre pressures, sizes etc. The Goodyear disc brakes were terrific by the standards of the time - the cars making up a lot of time into corners, especially relative to their rivals late in a race when Italian drum brakes and dampers used to get used up. The gearchange was always more a hindrance than a help.

Whatever - I love the things!...

...and always have... :blush:

DCN

#19 Barry Boor

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 20:01

Given the comment about fast circuits... and thinking about Tony Brooks at the 'Ring (NOT a fast circuit) CASB has just risen even more in my estimation.

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#20 bradbury west

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 20:39

I may have mentioned it before, but Ian Bamsey produced, IMHO, a very good work, Vanwall, A Technical Appraisal, alongside his AU and Lotus 25 books. Lots of detailed but understandable, to an non-engineer oik like myself, techical stuff with a good and lucid written style, and a rounded history of the marque.

DCN, I always considered CASB to have a natural finesse and precision behind the wheel very much along the lines of Richard Attwood. I am sure RA shaved the chicane exactly, each lap in the BRM at the Revivals, and one imagines Brooks to be the same.

Roger Lund

#21 oldtimer

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 20:45

The manhandling descriptor came from my observation of SCM in a Vanwall in the final practice session at the 1957 Easter meeting at Goodwood, which I have described in previous posts. Moss was forcing the Vanwall into an oversteering slide which he immediately had to catch and unwind. There was a lot of arm whirling while the front wheels went from lock to lock, all the while with the right foot hard in it (of course!).

Meanwhile, 200 yards or so further up the road, one C.A.S Brooks was using that "sweet spot" to lap fractions of a second slower with 4 or 500 rpm in hand. His first competitive event in the Vanwall(?)

Doug, I share the long lived love. So functional in appearance and splendid in turn out.

#22 David Beard

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 20:52

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Whatever - I love the things!...

...and always have... :blush:

DCN


Me too. But then only because Moss is the only driver to whom I have ever awarded true hero status. The only driver whose retirement from a race at Silverstone would cause me to dismount from our plank and jerry can grandstand and look for the Coca Cola stall. The Vanwall would have had no interest to me, as a sprog, if the straight armed, white helmeted Moss, head cooly (?) tilted to one side, had not been at the wheel. I want to see him in it again.

The gearbox.

John Harper, in his track test in "Historic Race & Rally " (Oct/Nov 1993), alongside an excellent dose of DCN scribing, said the box wasn't as bad as he had been lead to expect....having a beautiful mechanical feeling as nice as that of a 250F. I am extremely unlikely to ever be in the position to make any personal judgement on the quality of the shifting process, but I think of the gearbox as the Vanwall's worst attribute because it caused the car's towering height. Even as a ten year old I disliked the height of the Vanwall and thought it looked daft. I believe that Chapman and Costin had their efforts comprised by having to sit the driver on top of this mechanism, similar in form and volume to a crate of milk bottles. No wonder Chunky went away and invented the compact, but unfortunately under engineered Queerbox for his first single seater.....

#23 oldtimer

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 21:11

Ah David, but those were the days when the manufacturer paid most of the bills, and not the sponsors.

IIRC, Chapman was given the brief to build a chassis using the 1956 mechanical components, bulky or not.

#24 Roger Clark

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 23:24

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Given the comment about fast circuits... and thinking about Tony Brooks at the 'Ring (NOT a fast circuit) CASB has just risen even more in my estimation.

Aintree, Pescara and Zandvoort weren't that fast either.

#25 Roger Clark

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 23:44

Originally posted by David Beard


The gearbox.

John Harper, in his track test in "Historic Race & Rally " (Oct/Nov 1993), alongside an excellent dose of DCN scribing, said the box wasn't as bad as he had been lead to expect....having a beautiful mechanical feeling as nice as that of a 250F. I am extremely unlikely to ever be in the position to make any personal judgement on the quality of the shifting process, but I think of the gearbox as the Vanwall's worst attribute because it caused the car's towering height. Even as a ten year old I disliked the height of the Vanwall and thought it looked daft. I believe that Chapman and Costin had their efforts comprised by having to sit the driver on top of this mechanism, similar in form and volume to a crate of milk bottles. No wonder Chunky went away and invented the compact, but unfortunately under engineered Queerbox for his first single seater.....

As I understand it, it wasn't the size of the Vanwall's gearbox that was the problem, but its position under the driver's seat. Tony Vandervell spent his money where he thought it mattered and where it interested him. Developing a new gearbox wasn't nearly as satisfying as squeezing another few bhp out of his beloved engines. The whole thing was a copy of the 4.5-litre Ferrari.

The effect of gearboxes on British racing cars of the late 1950s would make an interesting study, from the Vanwall and the queerbox to the impact of Colotti on the 1959 World Championship and the inspiration of Jack Brabham in producing something that could stand the torque of the 2.5 litre Climax.

#26 Twin Window

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 00:15

Originally posted by David McKinney

I believe it was at the first (1998) Goodwood Revival

I took this at that meeting - presumably this the car in question?

Posted Image

Originally posted by Doug Nye

I should have been flattered, but on the startline at Goodwood Stirl told me "Just watch your step in that, Boy".

What a great quote!

#27 oldtimer

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 04:42

Notice how the Vanwall green has become blue.

Remember the debate about the colour of the Brabham's Indy Cooper? :)

#28 David Beard

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 04:51

Originally posted by Roger Clark

As I understand it, it wasn't the size of the Vanwall's gearbox that was the problem, but its position under the driver's seat.


That's exactly what I meant, Roger :confused: (Although I might have made myself more clear if I had typed "compromised" instead of "comprised"!)

I agree about gearbox history. Perhaps it would be a nice subject for a thread?

#29 Barry Boor

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 07:38

Perhaps it would be a nice subject for a thread?



Thus spake the man steeped in the lore of the queerbox!  ;)

#30 Rob29

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 08:19

A great thread I had not seen before.Dates from before I found Atlas.Vanwall was I think ,the first car I was a fan of.I remember an item on TV previewing the teams apearance at Silverstone May 1955. Unfortunately the race was not covered as it was the same time as FA soccer Cup Final,which filled only TV channel then in existance :( I think this was the reason I persuaded my parents to take me to Crystal Palace on Whit Monday-sadly no Vanwall entered.1956 BBC managed to show start of International Trophy,and finish(Stirling win) during Wembley half time :clap: First time I recall seeing a Vanwall live was when I think Tony Brooks did a demo at Aintree,during a RAC Rally special stage.

#31 Allan Lupton

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 08:24

Originally posted by Roger Clark
The whole thing was a copy of the 4.5-litre Ferrari.


Er, no it was not.
Before this gets wider currency let's point out that the Ferrari was a v12 and the Vanwall a four in line, derived from the technology of the Norton 500.

You are getting confused with GAV's Thinwall Special which was a Ferrari which he raced to promote his bearings.

#32 David Beard

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 08:37

Originally posted by Allan Lupton


Er, no it was not.
Before this gets wider currency let's point out that the Ferrari was a v12 and the Vanwall a four in line, derived from the technology of the Norton 500.

You are getting confused with GAV's Thinwall Special which was a Ferrari which he raced to promote his bearings.


I assumed Roger was meaning just the gearbox. He doesn't make mistakes like that.;)

#33 SpitfireJEJ

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 09:17

For all its perceived faults, it says a lot for the car that although it was effectively rendered obsolescent by rule changes in 1958, it carried on winning anyway.

Not only did it suffer in the power department with the change to Av-Gas. But also much smaller cars with lower frontal area became possible with the shorter races. Ferrari of course took advantage of both developments and his cars could outpace the Vanwall at the faster circuits like Rheims.

Of course, Chapman's next move was to produce a mini Vanwall of his own. I wonder what would have happened if Chapman had stayed with the team and the Lotus 16 design could have been made with a Vanwall engine and to Vandervell's peerless engineering standards?

Speaking of Rheims. I have seen a photo of Hawthorn practicing the car for the 1956 French Grand Prix - prior to being rammed by his team mate. There are what appear to be 2 small strakes - looking somewhat like sled runners - along the underside of that exquisite body. they extend much the length of the wheelbase. I have never seen another Vanwall so equipped and the books I have read do not mention them. Does anyone know what they were for? Might they perhaps have been airflow straighteners?

#34 David McKinney

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 10:07

Originally posted by Twin Window
I took this at that meeting - presumably this the car in question?
Posted Image

No
That's one of the other two Vanwalls that were there
(I would have said so earlier, but I haven't been able to see pictures all morning, until now)

#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 14:36

Originally posted by Roger Clark
.....The effect of gearboxes on British racing cars of the late 1950s would make an interesting study, from the Vanwall and the queerbox to the impact of Colotti on the 1959 World Championship and the inspiration of Jack Brabham in producing something that could stand the torque of the 2.5 litre Climax.


The effect... yes... and the development of them...

They became central to the whole industry that grew up producing racing cars. Even the ones that shortcut it, like the Sabakat, have interesting asides.

#36 Paul Medici

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 17:07

A rather nice photo of Mr. Vandervell appeared in the 1949 Ferrari Yearbook,
as well as a very sincere and informative description of his contribution to the
team.

Posted Image



The following translation from the Italian was provided by Pete Coltrin.

Posted Image
.
.
.
.

#37 Allan Lupton

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 17:11

Originally posted by David Beard


I assumed Roger was meaning just the gearbox. He doesn't make mistakes like that.;)


Yes, the context implied gearbox, but I misread "the whole thing" as meaning the car. My apologies for that, but if I can misread it others may have. :o

#38 T54

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 20:05

Notice how the Vanwall green has become blue. Remember the debate about the colour of the Brabham's Indy Cooper?


I am not repainting it and that's final. :smoking:

#39 bradbury west

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 21:01

Originally posted by T54

I am not repainting it and that's final. :smoking:


That was a nice piece on your Cooper last Autumn/Fall, in Vintage Racecar. Well done. It was good to see it at goodwood a few years ago.

Roger Lund.

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#40 Alan Cox

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 22:30

Posted Image Posted Image
Dan Gurney - Laguna Seca 1989

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 23:13

First time I've ever seen a pic of a Vanwall in which the driver seemed to be big enough for the car!

Lovely...

#42 David Beard

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 12:58

Originally posted by Alan Cox
Posted Image Posted Image
Dan Gurney - Laguna Seca 1989


Had no idea Dan had ever driven one. Which car is that? And which were the three cars at the first Revival, David?

#43 David McKinney

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 14:21

The three cars at the 1998 Goodwood Revival were:
VW9, entered by the Donington Collection, raced by Rick Hall
VW10, entered and raced by Robert Brooks (for the undisclosed owner)
‘VW11’ (otherwise VW5). Entered by Miles Collier, raced by Surtees, demo’d by Moss

#44 SpitfireJEJ

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 15:38

What became of the 1960 front engined car raced by Tony Brooks at the French Grand Prix that year? I presume it was among the artifacts acquired by the Donington Collection. Does it still exist as an entity? Any plans to restore it?

#45 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 15:53

David B

1989 - the Aston Martin year at Monterey. The Vanwall Dan drove was listed as VW 10 in the program, . Phil Hill was listed in VW 5/11, but turned it over to Innes Ireland. Both cars entered by C.H. Motorcars of Naples, FL (Miles Collier?). Both SCM and Tony Brooks were there too, but neither drove the Vanwalls that weekend!

Vince H.

#46 Thundersports

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 13:37

Interesting fact, Mr Vandervells daughter Mickey was married to Saloon car racer Mike Chiitenden the parents of up and coming lady racer Tiffany Chittenden........

#47 Barry Boor

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 17:45

Saloon car racer Mike Chittenden

I remember him. He was the guy who had, on the back of his car, 'YOU HAVE JUST BEEN CHITTUPON."

I kid you not!

#48 kayemod

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 08:25

Originally posted by Twin Window
I took this at that meeting - presumably this the car in question?

Posted Image What a great quote!


I've bumped this old thread to ask an FOS question. I'm a bit too young to remember Vanwalls in their prime, but on film and in photos, they were always the colour of the car in TW's pic, a rather dark green, slightly altered to more of a blueish colour here through film degradation over time. Can anyone explain why the Wheatcroft car that appears at Goodwood most years is painted in a much lighter and brighter shade? I think I can remember that rear-engined Vanwall appearing in the lighter colour, but not the front-engined ones. I'm not suggesting that the colour is wrong of course, though on the other hand, I think I've become the TNF bore on the subject of McLaren Orange, the two cars exhibited on the McLaren stand at the FOS this year as well as an M8F just weren't quite right, they were never moulded/painted in that bright orange colour in their heyday. I digress, but Ron Dennis was said to be so determined to get everything right, that he wouldn't allow the McLaren book to be released until he was happy with every detail. Printed colour reproduction is a tricky thing to get right, but the book gets McLaren orange spot on, so why does Ron allow some of the 'real' McLarens in his colection to be painted the wrong colour? Surely he didn't just plump for the closest match he could find in someone's paint catalogue? Should I start a new thread here, or is the general feeling that this subject has been done to death already, just as some would say has been done with 'The true BRM green'?

#49 D-Type

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 09:27

A few years ago, someone unearthed a tin of the original paint. Brian Harvey's Grand Prix Models were selling models painted using the original paint , possibly built SMTS kits. So the exact colour is a known quantity and the knowledge is out there ... somewhere.

#50 fw07c

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 10:42

Originally posted by SpitfireJEJ

Speaking of Rheims. I have seen a photo of Hawthorn practicing the car for the 1956 French Grand Prix - prior to being rammed by his team mate. There are what appear to be 2 small strakes - looking somewhat like sled runners - along the underside of that exquisite body. they extend much the length of the wheelbase. I have never seen another Vanwall so equipped and the books I have read do not mention them. Does anyone know what they were for? Might they perhaps have been airflow straighteners?



I have found a picture of these deviices on Mike Hawthorn's 1956 Reims car after the accident with Colin Chapman car if it will help.