Classic Race Cars

Ford GT40 (1964-1969)
By September 21, 2012 Read More →

Ford GT40 (1964-1969)

In the 1960s Henry Ford II wanted to bring the Ford Motor Company back to the racing circuits. One of the main goals was to win the 24h Le Mans. The endurance race, that Ferrari was dominating at the time. To compete seriously at Le Mans, Ford needed a 200-mph mid-engined car that could maintain a 120-mph average lap speed after 24 hours, and Ford needed the car quickly

Mercedes-Benz 190 SL racing version (1955)
By August 29, 2012 Read More →

Mercedes-Benz 190 SL racing version (1955)

The first sales brochures of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL included also photos of a racing version of the car. The racing version’s doors were made of light alloy and a small racing-car windshield was made of Perspex. The omission of soft-top, bumpers, heat exchanger and insulating material reduced the car’s weight to some 1,000 kilograms, roughly ten percent less than the production roadster’s. In engineering terms, the lightweight 190 SL differed only slightly from the production version. The modifications included a bit of fine-tuning of the engine, lowering of the bodywork and fitting of sports shock absorbers and modified springs.

Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow W 125 (1937)
By April 26, 2012 Read More →

Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow W 125 (1937)

After the successful W 25 Grand Prix racing car, Mercedes-Benz developed a new car for the 1937 season. The new W 125 racing car had an extremely sturdy, tubular oval frame made from special steel, with four cross members. It benefited from tests with production car frames as, for instance, the one used on the 1938 generation of the Mercedes-Benz 230. The wheels were located differently, by double wishbones and coil springs at the front, as on the celebrated, noble 500 K and 540 K models, and by a double-joint De Dion rear axle which ensured constant camber, plus longitudinally installed torsion bar springs and lever-type shock absorbers. Lateral links transferred thrust and brake moments to the chassis.

Bill Mitchell’s Sting Ray (1959)
By December 22, 2011 Read More →

Bill Mitchell’s Sting Ray (1959)

Bill Mitchell, GM’s famed design director and hand-picked successor to the legendary Harley Earl, was a firm believer in the influence that racing brought to improving production cars. Unfortunately, the American Manufacturer’s Association banned factory-backed motorsports efforts in 1957. Undeterred, Mitchell received permission to race privately and bought an experimental Corvette racing chassis from Chevrolet – with the stipulation he alter the bodywork so there was no mistaking it for the earlier factory-fielded Corvette racers. Mitchell and his protégé, Larry Shinoda, got to work and developed the Sting Ray’s design.

BMW 328 in motorsport
By October 19, 2011 Read More →

BMW 328 in motorsport

The BMW 328 was the most successful sports car of the 1930’s racing scene. At the time when powerful supercharged “Kompressor” machines ruled the racing roost, the BMW 328 Roadster – weighing just 780 kilograms and developing a modest 80 horsepower in series production form – was a genuine sensation. The success of the BMW 328 lay in the sum of its parts: rigorously applied lightweight design, ideal weight distribution, aerodynamic lines, the perfect engine and a meticulously tuned chassis delivering flawless roadholding. All of which allowed it to underpin a fresh understanding of what a car could be, one which saw the engine’s output teaming up with the optimum interplay of all the car’s component parts – and complemented by maximum efficiency – to achieve success. These qualities enabled the BMW 328 to embody the values that still underpin the BMW brand today: dynamics, aesthetic appeal and a high degree of innovation.

Saab Sonett I (1956)
By October 3, 2011 Read More →

Saab Sonett I (1956)

Unofficially known as the Saab 94, the Sonett Super Sport was an eye-catching two-seater sports car intended for competition use. Only six cars were ever built.

Porsche 356 Light Metal Coupe (1951)
By September 3, 2011 Read More →

Porsche 356 Light Metal Coupe (1951)

Motorsport has been a part of Porsche’s history right from the start. Before the production lines where set up in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, around 50 examples of the 356 aluminium coupe were produced in the Austrian town of Gmünd between 1949 and 1951. In 1951 these aluminium coupes became the basis for Porsche’s entry into the world of automotive racing. Porsche 356 Light Metal Coupe had a self-supporting steel body with aluminium outer panelling. The length of the car was 3860mm and it had a wheel base of 2100mm. The car’s weigth was 640 kg. It had a torsion-bar suspension and hydraulic drum brakes. The air-cooled, four-cylinder twin-valve induction engine had a displacement of 1488cc and produced 70 horsepower at 5000rpm. With the four-speed gearbox it could reach a top speed of 162 km/h. The car was specially modified for racing. The tank capacity was increased to 78 litres by moving it further forward and shaping it to fit around the spare tyre. In order to accelerate refuelling, the filler neck protruded in the centre through the front lid.

Lola T90 (1966)
By June 17, 2011 Read More →

Lola T90 (1966)

Lola had made its first appearance at the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 with pair of T80 race cars. Due to the late completion of the cars, testing was insufficient and therefore both cars had number of problems in the race. Drivers Al Unser and Bud Tingelstad both complained particularly about the handling problem in the corner. It was later discovered that a flaw in the suspension geometry caused the car to be “heavy” when cornering. Learning from the previous year, Lola made sure the new T90 was ready in plenty of time before the 1966 race.

Datsun Fairlady 1500 SP310 race car
By June 3, 2011 Read More →

Datsun Fairlady 1500 SP310 race car

Fairlady 1500 sports car was based on the Datsun 310 chassis (first-generation Bluebird) and was equipped with the Cedric’s 4-cylinder engine. The race version of Fairlady 1500 entered the 1st Japan Grand Prix at Suzuka in 1963. In race version, the 1488cc engine produced 80 horsepower and 118 Newton metres of torque. The cars overall length was 3910mm, width 1495mm, height 1275mm and wheelbase 2280mm. The curb weight was 870kg.

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Ferguson P99 – the first 4WD Formula One car
By May 25, 2011 Read More →

Ferguson P99 – the first 4WD Formula One car

Designer Claude Hill and racers Fred Dixon and Tony Rolt teamed up with Harry Ferguson to create the world’s first four wheel drive Formula car. Ferguson had always loved motorsport and was keen to promote the transmission systems of his company. Work began on the P99 project in 1960. Claude Hill designed the car to have a 50-50 torque distribution front to rear and it car was built to have an even weight distribution over both axles. P99 was front-engined and was fitted with 1.5-litre Climax 4 cylinder engine, mounted at a slant to make room for the front driveshaft. In addition the driving position was moved slightly off-centre to accommodate the gearbox and rear driveshaft to the driver’s left hand side.