The Original Vanwall British Grand Prix Winning Car Returns To Sefton
THIS YEAR MARKS THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY of the famous win by Sir Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks at the British Grand Prix at Aintree, which also had the prestige of being the Grand Prix D’Europe for 1957.
The Vanwall Grand Prix car made motor racing history and was the last hurrah of the soon-to-be obsolete front engine Grand Prix cars as it scooped the first ever constructor’s World Championship.
A special celebration event is being held at The Atkinson, Southport’s beautiful home for music, theatre, art, poetry, literature and history, right in the middle of Lord Street in Southport, on Thursday 13 July to celebrate Sefton’s sporting heritage and to fundraise for The Atkinson Development Trust, which works with the collection to help families, schools and the community access the arts.
With its new ‘teardrop’ design and guest driver Stirling Moss (pictured below in the Vanwall) aka ‘The Boy’ as he was affectionately known, the Vanwall drove to victory at a time when the red of Italy dominated Formula 1 racing.
What started out as a hobby of the hypercompetitive millionaire, British Industrialist, Mr Anthony Vandervell developed into a life’s obsession. As an early backer of the BRM V16 Grand Prix Car he quit and embarked on his own team so he could have sole control.
The name Vanwall was an amalgamation of Vandervell and Thinwall [Thinwall Bearings were Vandervell’s Company’s best known product]. The first Vanwall Special was built for the new Formula 1 regulations for 1954. The Vanwall engine consisted of four 500 cc Norton engines combined into one 2-litre unit. The engine was designed by Norton engineer Leo Kuzmicki. Vandervell was able to use Norton engines and expertise due to the fact that his father was Chairman of Norton!
At the end of 1955, Vandervell commissioned a young aircraft engineer, Frank Costin, to design a new sleek, aerodynamic body shape for the Vanwall and Colin Chapman (Lotus) to design the chassis. This resulted in an immediate success as Stirling Moss won the 1956 International Trophy at Silverstone in May.
150,000 people are estimated to have been spectators at Aintree in 1957 as the now three-car Vanwall team took on the power of Lancia-Ferrari and Maserati. After Moss qualified on pole, on lap 27 he had car failure and with Brooks still bandaged from his crash at Le Mans, he brought in his sister car and handed over to Moss – who re-joined the race and won at our home Grand Prix for an unprecedented win!
This was the first World Championship win for a British car and Moss and Brooks were the first British drivers to win the British Grand Prix in a British Car. The Vanwall’s history may have been short-lived but it had paved the way for other British constructors to challenge and beat the best of the continental powers.
The Vanwall historic motor racing car will take pride of place in The Atkinson foyer for 2 weeks from 7-17 July thanks for the generosity of our sponsors AJEstate Agents, Fletchers Solicitors and Stubbs Parkin Chartered Accountants. They have made it possible to have the Vanwall in Sefton for this time and during the British Grand Prix Weekend, which will make it extra special for motoring fans.
Emma Anderson, Director The Atkinson said: “We would like to say a huge thankyou to the Donington Museum for lending us the Vanwall and to Peter Cowley and John Searle who have worked so hard with us to make this piece of history come to life.”
from p. 4 of issue June 2017
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