Tag Archives: JR

The Sure Bet – Lotus 22 #22-J-17

In 1962 Lotus built one of their more significant models, the Lotus 22, for competition in the 2nd tier open wheel Formula Junior in 1962. The 22 was an upgraded version of the Lotus 20 but now featuring disc brakes all round.

Cristoph Burckhardt, Lotus 22, Goodwood, Revival

The Lotus 22 dominated Formula Junior in 1962 with Peter Arundell and Alan Rees at the wheel of the works cars which dominated the European Junior scene.

Arundell won 75 % of his races including the Monza Loteria and was crowned British Junior Champion. Moises Solana won FJ races in Mexico.

The design of the 22 was also used as the basis of the two seat the Lotus 23 sports racer, which I’ll be looking at next week, the 22 design was given a second lease of life with the emergence of the third tier open wheel Formula 3 in 1964 which mandated single seat vehicles with space frame chassis like the 22 which was upgraded to Lotus 31 spec in F3 guise though the chassis numbers for Lotus 31 curiously ran 22-F3-xx. The 22 design had yet another lease of life when Jim Russel converted a couple of 22’s and 31’s into Ford Kent powered racing cars and inadvertently invented Formula Ford leading to yet another run of cars being built to the basic Lotus 22 design now upgraded to Lotus 51 spec.

It is thought 77 Lotus 22’s were built in their original Formula Junior spec between 1962 and 1963.

Formula Junior was open to cars weighing a minimum 400 kgs / 880lbs fitted with 1100 cc / 67 cui motors or 350 kgs vehicles weighing a minimum of 350 kgs / 770 lbs with 1000 cc / 61 cui.

Chritoph Burckhardt’s car, thought to be chassis 22-J-17 seen above at Goodwood Revival, like most FJ cars in 1962 is the heavier 400 kgs type with 90 hp Cosworth tuned Ford 4 cylinder engine with a mandated production based block, this one canted over at 30 degrees to lower the centre of gravity and minimise the frontal area of the car.

Other FJ engine options included a BMC and DKW two stroke motor as used successfully by a German Gerhard Mitter in his Lotus 22.

At this point I’d usually wrap up this post in the usual way but I’d be doing the model a grave injustice since the Lotus 22 is the stuff of legend that ultimately brought down hitherto respected Porsche racing driver Richard von Frakenberg who survived flying literally of the Avus track to become an equally respected journalist for Auto Motor und Sport one of Germany’s most successful motoring publications.

On Sept 30th 1962 there was a German Formula Junior Championship race on the short 5 mile Südschleife track at the Nurburgring. There was much rumor and gossip in the paddock that weekend about a simple way to increase the engine capacity of the stock block Ford Formula Junior motors by changing the Ford Anglia crankshaft for a crankshaft sourced from the larger capacity Ford Consul that used the same block with the same diameter cylinders but increased the combined swept volume of the blog by having a longer stroke.

The race was notable because the championship title was to be decided between two drivers, the aforementioned Mitter in his DKW powered Lotus 22 and reigning champion Kurt Ahrens jr driving a Cooper T59 with a Cosworth prepared Ford motor of the type which could be easily oversized.

To secure the title all Ahrens Jr needed to do was finish ahead of Mitter, if he finished just one place behind Mitter the two would share the title. bizzarely the latter is exactly what happened Ahrens trundled around behind Mitter’s DKW powered Lotus until the DKW lost one of it’s three cylinders when Mitter pitted Ahrens Jr drove as far as the Müllenbach corner at the back of circuit and promptly stopped his perfectly good car and waited for Mitter to affect his repairs and come past and then followed Mitter across the line to ensure a tie in the Championship.

Richard von Frankenberg absorbed some of the rumors, which should probably have been taken with a pinch of salt in the first place, from the meeting and the following week published a story full of scandalous accusations under the Title “The Biggest Disgrace in International Motorsport”.

In his exposé Richard pointed out that during the Formula Junior season none of the motors had been checked to measure their capacity during scrutineering either before or after races and alleged that some teams had taken advantage of the situation.

Specifically Frankenberg accused reigning champion Kurt Ahrens jr & Austrian Kurt Bardi-Barry winner of the race of running with an oversize engines on September 30th.

He also accused Alan Rees who was running in a work Lotus 22 with a Cosworth Ford motor of running in practice with an oversize motor during which he crashed and eliminated himself from the race.

Frankenberg then went on to report Alan had openly declared that his team (Lotus) had been running oversize motors through out the season.

Finally Frankenberg challenged Colin Chapman to send two cars to Monza to rerun the Lotteria race distance at the same average speed that the cars had achieved in June and then have the motors legality checked.

In the aftermath of the publication Kurt Ahrens Jr and Kurt Bardi Barry won civil actions against von Frankenberg and Auto Motor & Sport both presented motors which passed inspection well after the event but it was concluded that hear say in the paddock was not sufficient proof that either driver had cheated.

The ONS, governing body of motorsport took Ahrens Jr, Bardi-Brady and Mitter to task about events on the September 30th 1962 and concluded that the hear say evidence of Mitter was not proof positive that Ahrens or Bardi-Brady had cheated but they did find Mitter and Ahrens Jr guilty of conspiring to fix the race results for which they both had their licenses suspended for six months.

Colin Chapman accepted von Frankenbergs suggestion, offering to run one Lotus 22 Formula Junior car at Monza over the 30 lap distance of the Lotteria held in June and made a bet of £1000 that his car would not only achieve the same or better speed at Monza over the 30 race distance and be proved perfectly legal. In the event von Frakenberg and Auto Motor und Sport lost the bet they would pay Chapman £1,000 and publish a retraction of the accusations against the team.

All parties duly deposited their stakes and convened at Monza on December 1st 1962. Peter Arundell did some slow warm up laps and blew his engine, it was agreed this should be repaired for a second attempt the next day.

On December 2nd a new attempt was made after cement had been strewn across patches of ice found under the trees at the first Lesmo Corner. Despite another slow start Peter Arundell soon started lapping ahead of the target time eventually crossing the line for the 30th time 52 seconds faster than he had in June.

On completion of the race distance he did one final blinding flying lap and lowered his lap record of 1’50.9′ in June to 1’49.8′ in December.

It was noted at the time the cooler conditions gave Peter an advantage, as much as 4% extra horse power by my calculations, but his times by my calculations are only 1.5% quicker for the race and and 1% quicker for fastest lap.

Once Peter returned to the pits the car was meticulously weighed, the engine dimensions were measured, as 1092 cc / 66.6 cui, and so the car was declared fully compliant with the Formula Junior regulations to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Immediately after the technical inspection the “Monaza Lion” as the car became known was sold for £2,000 to a Sig. Motta, thereafter Richard von Frankenberg shook Colin Chapman’s hand and formally apologized in front of all those present and an apology with full retraction of the false statements was printed in the following issue Auto Motor und Sport.

Peter Arundell won a second consecutive British Formula Junior Championship in 1963 and looked to have a promising future until an accident in 1964 saw him thrown out of his car. Colin Chapman kept a seat for Peter until his return in 1966, however Peter showed none of his earlier promise during his comeback season and retired from the sport completely in 1969, after selling his Garage Business from which he and his family were lucky to escape from a serious fire he moved to Florida where he founded the notorious adult software gaming company Mystique.

Colin Chapman went from strength to strength his Lotus team wining the first of six World Drivers and seven World Constructors Championships in 1963.

Kurt Ahrens jr regained his German Formula Jr title in 1963 but never quite broke into the big time he did however win the 1969 Austrian and 1970 Nurburgring 1000kms races driving with Jo Siffert and Vic Elford respectively, the 1968 Austrian event was the first ever to be won by a Porsche 917, he also took two consecutive pole positions at Le Mans for the 24 hour races in 1969 and 1970 both in works Porsche 917’s. He retired in 1970 to look after his family’s car dealership and scrap metal business and still takes an interest in the historic racing scene.

Gerhard Mitter drove in seven Grand Prix but like Ahrens Jr never secured a permanent seat on the Grand Prix circuit, he won the 1969 Targa Florio driving a Porsche 908 with Udo Schutz. Gerhard was kiiled during practice for the 1969 German Grand Prix after either suspension or steering failure caused him to crash.

Soon after he lost the Monza bet von Frakenberg left his staff position at Auto Motor und Sport. He was killed in a road accident in 1973 aged 52.

My thanks to every one on The Nostalgia Forum particularly, Doug Nye, Arese, r.atios, Ralf Pickle and Charlieman, on the L’affaire Lotus/von Frankenburg thread, RWB, Macca & Rob on the How many Lotus 22s? thread, finally but not least Cheapracer and saudoso on the Ambient air temperature and car performance thread.

Thanks for joining me on this bumper edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

PS Don’t forget …

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December 26th – January 2nd

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Ciao Enzo – Ferrari F40

Today’s Ferrari Friday blog is dedicated to the person who first suggested Ferrari Friday blogs to me many months ago, Jr Cracker, otherwise known to me as Mike who’s Birthday it is tomorrow.

Ferrari F40, Bristol IAMF

The Ferrari F40 what was technical tour de force intended to bring together 40 years of learning and achievement in one road vehicle to celebrate the first 40 remarkable years in the story of Ferrari S.p.A.

Ferrari F40, Bristol IAMF

With a tested 200 mph capability the F40 held the title of worlds fastest production car, when it was launched in 1987, to underline it’s technical superiority.

Ferrari F40, Bristol IAMF

The F40 was not only the companies most powerful and fastest car, but at US$ 400,000 in 1987, it was also the most expensive car Ferrari had ever offered for sale.

Ferrari F40, Bristol IAMF

1,315 examples of this type were manufactured between 1987 and 1992 the last of them selling for a rumoured US$1.6 million.

Ferrari F40, Bristol IAMF

Many of the technical specifications were advanced from the Ferrari (288) GTO including the twin turbo V8 engine which in this application was increased to 3 litres / 183 cui producing 470 hp.

Ferrari F40, Bristol IAMF

Keeping such a powerful motor cool in such a small vehicle required ventilation through the rear screen.

Ferrari F40, Bristol IAMF

Until 1990 F40’s like this particular 1989 example, seen at the Italian Auto Moto Festival, were bereft of power sapping catalytic converters.

Ferrari F40, Bristol IAMF

During Bonneville Speedweek 2006 Amir Rosenbaum recorded a top speed of 226 mph in his lightly modified F40, standard versions could reach 120 mph in just 11 seconds faster than both the Lamborghini Countach and Porsche 959 which were it’s main competitors.

Ferrari F40, Bristol IAMF

Enzo Ferrari knew when setting out the specifications of the F40 that this would be his final engineering statement and it was indeed the last vehicle bearing his own name that he was to commission before his death aged 90 in August 1988.

Thanks for joining me on the F40 Edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Beep Beep – Plymouth Road Runner Superbird

Thanks to GALPOT’s biggest fan Jr Cracker today we are looking at a Plymouth Road Runner Superbird allegedly seen behind a strip bar.

Plymouth Road Runner Superbird

In 1969 NASCAR legend Richard Petty left Chrysler for Ford, Petty had wanted to run a more aerodynamically efficient Dodge Charger but Chrysler executives insisted Richard run the Plymouth Road Runner in the Grand National Series now known as the Sprint Cup. Richard came second in the 1969 Championship to David Pearson also driving a Ford although Bobby Isaacs took the seasons most wins 17, driving the Dodge Daytona model Petty had been so keen to run, Isaacs finished only 6th in the ’69 seasons final standings.

Plymouth Road Runner Superbird

Chrysler executives managed to tempt Richard Petty back into the Plymouth fold by introducing the Road Runner Speedbird with it’s aerodynamic nose and enormous back wing, the height of which was determined as much by the requirement of the public to be able to open the boot/trunk of the road going versions as by any aerodynamic considerations.

Plymouth Road Runner Superbird

Ironically Richard was injured in an accident driving his Road Runner Superbird in the Rebel 400 at Darlington in 1970, the resultant injuries meant “The King” had to sit out 5 races of the season which allowed Bobby Isaac to win the 1970 title in his #71 Dodge Daytona, effectively Dodge Challenger with the same nose and rear wing modifications as the Superbird.

Plymouth Road Runner Superbird

By 1971 NASCAR had outlawed these aerodynamic curiosities, the advantages of which only kicked in at around 90 mph plus.

Chrysler needed to build 1920 Superbirds, one for every two dealerships in the USA, in order to be allowed to race, published figures suggest up to 2,783 examples may have been built though the generally accepted figure is 1,935, of which 1000 are thought to still exist.

Only 135 Superbirds were originally fitted with the 426 Hemi V8, outlawed from NASCAR racing, while the rest had 440 Super Commando motors with either a single 4 barrel carburettor or three two barrel carburettors.

All road going Superbirds were fitted with horns that imitated the famous cartoon Road Runner who’s logo adorns the rear wing supports and the off side front pop up head light cover.

My thanks to JC for his photographs taken on his Android.

Thanks for dropping in on this Superbird edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now ! Beep ! Beep !


Perfect Car for A Wedding #4 – Lincoln Town Car Widebody Limousine

Going through my back catalogue for last months Indianapolis 500 blog series I came across this pair of photographs of a Lincoln Town Car Widebody Limousine that ferried my friends Rick and Karen from the church where they got married to the wedding reception in Toronto.

Lincoln Town Car

This Limo, based on the first generation (’81 – ’89) Lincoln Town Car, a full size saloon, that was powered by 4.9 litre / 302 cui Windsor V8. The Town car came with an early digital trip computer and novel for the period keypad entry system.

Lincoln Town Car

I am not too sure which body manufacturer was responsible for this particular Widebody, if you know please chime in below, but it would appear that Larry ‘JR’ Hagman owned one.

I hope you will join me in sending best wishes to everyone getting married this week.

Thanks for looking in on today’s two way stretch limo edition of ‘Gettin a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !