Tag Archives: 88

Half A Car – Lotus Ford T 87 #87/R2 & #87/R4

For the 1981 World Championship Lotus had developed the twin chassis Lotus 86 which I looked at last week, no sooner had testing of that car been finished than the ruling body of the sport outlawed the skirts on which the car depended to seal the airflow beneath the body of the car and mandated a minimum ride height.

Lotus Ford 87, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

This led to the development of the Lotus 88 which had twin chassis as did the 86 but no skirts and a 6cm minimum ride height as mandated by the new rules. Unfortunately while the governing the body of the sport accepted the Lotus 88 as legal most of the other teams did not declaring that the second outer aerodynamic chassis was a banned movable aerodynamic aid and not a fully suspended chassis.

Lotus Ford 87, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Set against a back ground to these semantic arguments between the grandee teams of Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo going up against the garagistes of Brabham, Lotus, McLaren, Williams et al made of high drama and in this instance almost every body building cars turned against Lotus in denouncing the Lotus 88 which meant that it only ever took part in a couple of practice sessions.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

For the first half of the 1981 season Lotus were therefore forced into running the Lotus 81 from the 1980 season. By the time the Formula one circus arrived in Great Britain Lotus made one final attempt to run the Lotus 88 in practice but were again refused by their fellow competitors and so Lotus ran the 88 sans second aeroydynamic chassis and with more conventional aerodynamic side pods and wings as #87/R2 is seen being driven by Nigel Mansell during practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1981 and #87/R4 is seen with the later front wings at Hall & Hall and in the Paddock at Silverstone during the classic meeting earlier this year.

Lotus 87, Silverstone Classic

The single chassis version of the Lotus 88 is known as the Lotus Type 87. The highlight of the Lotus 87’s half a seasons competition career was a couple of 4th place finishes, for Elio de Angeles in Italy and Nigel Mansell at Ceasers Palace.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Chassis R2 was used by Elio de Angeles in Monaco, Spain and France scoring a best 5th place finish in Spain, Mansell took the car over for the British Grand Prix and failed to qualify. There after this car was used as a spare for the remainder of the 1981 season and the first race of the 1982 season in South Africa.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

So far as I have been able to determine chassis #87/R4 seen in the more recent photo’s was driven by Nigel Mansell in at least four Grand Prix during the second half of the 1981 season. Note that the use of space age Carbon Fiber and Kevlar was becoming widespread by 1981 the following season the majority of Formula One monocoques were made from the material with the exception of Ferrari.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

The absence of any bodywork around the rear suspension and exhaust shows what a rush job it was to get the Lotus 87’s to the grid most of the contemporary cars of the period had the rear axle covered in body panels by 1981 including the 1981 British Grand Prix winning McLaren MP4/1 of John Watson.

My thanks to Rick Hall if Hall & Hall for generously allowing me to take the photos of #87/R4, which is for sale, on his premises.

Thanks for joining me on this “Half A Car” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be relating a Scandinavian Tale about an unusual fire engine. Don’t forget to come back now !


Danville Detailing – Danville Concours d’Elegance

Last month Geoffrey Horton took his trusty Jaguar XK140 to the 10th anniversary Danville Concours d’Elegance, an event designed to raise funds for Parkinsons research and patient care.

Jaguar XK140 FHC, Danville Concours d'Elegance,

Above Geoffrey’s nephew’s Luke and Jack help out with a bit of detailing as the show get’s underway.

Bentley Mk VI, Danville Concours d'Elegance,

As we saw earlier this year most of the 4000 odd post war Bentley Mk VI’s fell victim to inferior steel supplied for their bodies by government edict. Above is the interior of the only Bentley Mk VI, a 1948 example, fitted with an opulent Sautchick body in France.

Maserati 250F, Danville Concours d'Elegance,

I believe Juan Manuel Fangio drove the Maserati 250F above to two race victories on home soil in Argentina in the space of two weeks in January 1957, his fifth and final World Championship winning season.

Aston Martin DB 2/4 Mk III, Danville Concours d'Elegance,

Between 1957 and 1959 Aston Martin produced 84 DB 2/4 Mark III Convertibles powered by a six cylinder motor, it is believed only 10 of these vehicles were fitted with optional triple carburetors, as seen above, which boosted the output from the standard twin carb 162hp to 195hp.

Land Rover 88, Danville Concours d'Elegance,

The 1963 88″ short wheel base Land Rover at our school was an oft over abused vehicle that used to carry the sailing kit for upto seven dinghies plus up to fourteen school boys plus a member of staff. It might have been a considerably faster vehicle if, like the one above it had been fitted with a a post 1989 200Tdi motor like the one above. The high turbo installation indicates this motor was originally sourced from a Defender rather than the SUV Discovery, in which the iron block aluminium head 200Tdi first appeared with the turbo mounted much lower down in the engine compartment.

RS Design Corsa Spyder, Danville Concours d'Elegance,

Most difficult to identify was this gorgeous red vehicle, from the front it looks a tad like a Maserati and from the rear not unlike a Ferrari P4/P412, but the pushrod motor, possibly a Ford, going on the depth of the rocker covers, gives the game away that this vehicle was unlikely to have been built in Italy. In fact the car is a one off special, made to exceptionally high standards and is known as an RS Design Corsa Spyder. Unfortunately all links to further info on RS Design and the Corsa Spyder built in 2009 have expired so if you know more, please do not hesitate to chip in below.

Geoffrey tells me he had the good fortune to enjoy spending a considerable amount of time with Alma Hill widow of 1961 World Champion Phil Hill who also drove for Geoffrey’s Uncle George Tilp. My thanks to Geoffrey for sharing his photographs, more of which will appear on Friday.

Thanks for joining me on this “Danville Detailing” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me tomorrow when I’ll be looking at what the Dodge Boys cooked up for the . Don’t forget to come back now !


Summer Classics – Easter Compton

After visiting Queen Square a couple of weeks ago I popped over to Easter Compton for the Summer Classics meeting.

Volkswagen Beetle, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Representing the home of the Volkswagen, Wolfsburg (Wolfs Castle), was this 1959 Beetle.

Citroën CX 25 GTi Turbo, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Turbo’s were all the rage in the 1980’s this is a top of the range Citroen CX 25 GTi Turbo from 1985 capable of 130 mph.

Raleigh Safety Seven, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

From 1933 an air cooled twin cylinder Raleigh Safety Seven 3 wheeler, built by the manufacturer in Nottingham better known for building bicycles since 1885 as it does to the present day.

Pontiac Firebird, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

If the signage on this California Highway Patrol car is to be believed this 1997 Pontiac Firebird was converted from a drug dealers car, though I suspect that might just be a bit of PR. If you know different please do not hesitate to chip in below.

Oldsmobile Delta 88, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Delta was an upmarket trim option introduced to the Oldsmobile 88 in 1965, this Oldsmobile Delta 88 was built in 1972.

Dodge Deluxe Convertible, Summer Classics, Easter Compton Convertible, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Dodge is celebrating it’s centenary this year, this 1948 Dodge Deluxe Convertible with Fluid Drive transmission was based on a design that went back to 1940 complete with L head side valve motor. These solid Chrysler Corporation D24 cars outsold Fords in the immediate aftermath of World War 2.

Thanks for joining me on this “Summer Classics” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at another vehicle with Can Am history. Don’t for get to come back now !


Chassis or Aerodynamic Aid – Lotus Ford 88

The Lotus 88 was a development from the ideas tested with the twin chassis Lotus 86. It differed, and was developed, in two crucial respects from the Lotus 86 it was designed to run with out skirts to seal the flow of air and would meet the 6 cm minimum ride height mandated by rules around late in 1980 for the 1981 season.

By having a secondary independently sprung chassis Lotus hoped to avoid the need to run their car with solid suspension which aided the road holding of ground effects pioneered by the Lotus Ford 79 which were sucked to the road surface as they moved through the air.

Lotus Ford 88B, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Gordon Murray designer at Brabham also came up with a solution to the 6 cm ride height rule which involved using hydraulic rams to raise the car above the minimum ride height in the pits, the only place the measurement could be checked, and lowering the ride height out once out on the track. This left the Brabham running effectively solid suspension once out of pit road.

All of the teams protested that the second Lotus chassis was in fact an independently aerodynamic aid and eventually the ruling body changed it’s mind having accepted the idea of a twin chassis car before the season started.

Lotus Ford 88B, Goodwood Festival of Speed

As a consequence after being protested during practice for the the United States West, Brazilian and British Grand Prix Lotus withdrew the 88 bodies with out ever having raced and used the more conventional Lotus 87 which used inner Lotus 88 chassis but with conventional side pods to generate ground effect and a similar hydraulic ram system for the suspension as used by Brabham.

Colin Chapman is said to have been disappointed that the twin chassis Formula One cars developed with Peter Wright, Tony Rudd and Martin Ogilvie were never allowed to compete believing that Formula One was supposed to be a proving ground for new innovation.

Thanks for joining me on this “Chassis or Aerodynamic Aid” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t for get to come back now !