To their credit while Rover must have realised the cost of producing a gas turbine powered motor car for the masses was prohibitive because of the cost of the exotic materials required and because of the high fuel consumption they continued experimenting with the technology until 1966.
Today’s featured 1961 T4 prototype was their final attempt at making a gas turbine vehicle for production to replace the Rover P4 models that had been in production since 1949.
For this application Rover engineers had their gas turbine producing 140hp enough to power the T4 from rest to 60 mph in 8 seconds, about the same as would be achieved 7 years later with the 155 hp aluminium Rover V8.
Designers Spencer King and Gordon Bashford carried a number of ideas over from the Rover T3 I looked at last week including all wheel disc brakes and de Dion rear suspension.
Even though the fuel consumption was improved from 13 mpg on the T3 to 20 mpg on the T4 the notion of a gas turbine powered car was eventually put to rest with the T4 and the nose was redesigned to accept a variety of petrol engines for the P6 series Rover 2000’s launched in 1963 and later Rover 3500’s launched in 1969.
Thanks for joining me on this “T4 Turbine” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another rallying Triumph. Don’t forget to come back now !
Today’s featured Rover T3 Coupé was Rovers third gas turbine powered car.
Spencer ‘Spen’ King and Gordon Bashford are credited with the design of the Coupé which first saw the light of day in 1956.
Among the designs novelties are all wheel drive, all wheel disc brakes and de Dion rear suspension which offers some of the advantages of independent sear suspension, but with additional complexity.
The T3 was powered by a variant of Rovers 1S gas turbine which produces 60hp that was used for fire pump, auxiliary power for aircraft like the Vulcan B2 nuclear bomb delivery system, hovercraft and as the main engine for light aircraft.
The motor, mounted behind the passenger cabin, has an operating speed of 46,000 rpm, unfortunately this gave a fuel consumption of 13 – 14 miles per gallon of paraffin.
Some features of the T3 including the all wheel disc brakes, and de Dion rear suspension found their way into the Rover P6 production model but unfortunately the gas turbine did not.
Louis Delage founded the company bearing his name in 1905 by giving up his 600 Fr monthly income and borrowing 35,000 Fr, his company had two lathes and three employees on if whom was a former Chief Designer at Peugeot.
Delage began manufacturing bodies for Helbé before building cars to it’s own design powered by a one cylinder de Dion motor.
By 1910 Delage had experienced competition success and steady growth such that it had moved into it’s third premises to keep abreast of the required production capacity.
The move coincided with the launch of the Type R powered, I believe by a Delage built side valve 4 cylinder motor that produced 15 hp.
In 1946 Delahaye became one of the first manufacturers to show a new chassis onto which customers were to fit individually tailored bodies built by third parties.
The 175/178/180 chassis featuring new Dubonnet front independent and de Dion rear suspension, was available in three different lengths all powered by the same 4,455 cc / 271 cui 6 cylinder motor, the two longer models were fitted with a single carburetor to produce 140hp.
The 1953 chassis featured today is one of 37 178 chassis and the Henri Chapron Cabriolet body was originally painted monotone black.
Apparently back in the day Delahaye owners were not averse to showing off their new cars at Concours events wearing the latest haute coture designs in colours matching their cars.
Sadly most of the third party bodies fitted to the Delahaye chassis were too heavy for the suspension and the companies reputation went into rapid decline.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs taken at this years Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance at Palm Springs.
Thanks for joining me on this “Automotive Haute Coture” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !
Acknowledged Norton tuning expert Ray Petty, no known relationship to the Petty’s of Level Cross, NC, turned his attention to building a 500 Formula 3 car in late 1955.
The Petty Norton featured a space frame chassis and suspension with rocker arm actuated inboard coil springs and shock absorbers at the front and de Dion rear with a transverse leaf spring.
Powered by one of Ray’s tuned 497 cc / 30.3 cui Norton Motors Alan Cowley led on the cars debut at the Boxing Day Brands Hatch meeting, until he spun into retirement.
Alan continued driving the Petty Norton through 1956, with Ray Petty taking over for the Brighton Speed Trials and Freddie Campbell for the Commander Yorke 100 mile race at Silverstone in September 1956.
The Petty Norton is not known to have competed in 1957, though why remains a mystery since when Jeremy Menzies took over the wheel in 1958 he recorded at least three “Junior” wins at Brands Hatch and a respectable 4th in the Commander Yorke 100 run in August 1958.
Dave Lecoq driving the unique Petty Nroton won the Earl of March Trophy at Goodwood in 2005.
Seen at the wheel at Oulton Park in 2013 and Castle Combe two weeks ago is present owner Nigel Challis.
Thanks for joining me on this “Advanced Suspension” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l pscho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1936 ERA. Don’t forget to come back now !