HISTORIC GRAND PRIX RACING

During 1997, just for fun, I built a

1961 F.1 Ferrari 'sharknose'.

That particular car has always been one of my favourite-ever Grand Prix cars, and I built it simply because I wanted to, although I had nothing to race it against.

When I set my sights on a series of older cars, I had to choose an era to make my cars from. I did consider the 1'5 litre F.1, which would have included the Ferrari I had already made, but really, apart from that car, the rest of the cars from that time were astoundingly unspectacular.

         

MOSS IN ROB WALKER'S LOTUS #42,

AND THE 3 FACTORY CARS, IRELAND, SURTEES AND CLARK

In the end, I settled on the last two years of the 2'5 litre formula; 1959-60. The attraction of that time was that there was a great diversity of design ideas. Ferrari, Aston Martin and Scarab had front-engined cars, while Cooper had their engine behind the driver. Also, during that 2 year period, both B.R.M and more importantly Lotus, had cars with the engines in both places.

     

THE FULL FERRARI SQUAD

PHIL HILL, VON TRIPS, GURNEY & GINTHER

Initially, I thought I would have to carve out the wooden patterns myself, but thanks to a bit of web surfing, I found the site of Bruce Paterson down in Sydney, Australia, who makes a fantastic range of slot-race bodies from the nineteen-twenties, through to the fairly recent past. This saved me weeks and weeks. I bought one example of each of the cars I wanted, and made a car-body filler pattern from them, which I then put on the B-B-Vac, and moulded as many examples of each one as I needed.

        

THE WORKS B.R.M TEAM

After several years of racing the above front-engined B.R.Ms, I have finally made 2 rear-engined P.48 cars. This has enabled me to introduce a new driver to the ranks - Graham Hill.

My first 'run' of cars was set at 24, and all 24 were completed between February and June. I had great pleasure in building one or two unusual cars; notably the all American-built SCARAB

      

which was desperately uncompetitive, but a welcome splash of colour on the grids.

Back in those days, if you had a few thousand pounds, and no job, you could go to the Cooper company, buy a car, and go Grand Prix racing. And many did

    

THESE THREE WERE POWERED BY MASERATI, CLIMAX & FERRARI ENGINES RESPECTIVELY

As I write this page, I have 2 front-engined Lotuses in mid-build, and patterns on the way for the 1960 Ferrari and the rear-engined P.48 B.R.M.

All the above cars are now made and can be seen in the line-up on my home page.

Here is another angle on the cars.....

I used to race in a room which was 16 feet by 9 feet, (5 metres by a tad over 2.5 metres) which was adequate for most of my circuits, but a bit restrictive for some of the longer circuits used years ago. Happily I have now emigrated into the garden, into a large wooden structure that I call The Millennium Shed. It is 20 feet by 10 (just over 6 metres by 3) and although it is not that much bigger than my old room it has improved the possibilities for building longer circuits such as Reims, Rouen, Spa, Solitude and the southern circuit of the Nurburgring in Germany, but two tracks present huge problems; the Nurburgring Nordschleife and Pescara.

You may not know this but Pescara in Italy was even longer, at 16 miles, than the Ring, at 14 miles. I can see I'm going to have to organise for myself the use of a small hall, or a very large room, to build realistically long tracks. We are not talking about scale length here, of course, but any race that ran only 15-20 laps needs a long circuit otherwise the races would be so short that it would barely be worth bothering.

Click here if you would like to know where I intend my hobby to go in the future.

Move on   if you want to find out more about these old cars or go back if you wish to return to my home page.