Over the coming Saturday’s I’ll be looking a few vehicles built by Buckler of Reading including today’s Smith Special Mk2 500 Formula 3 car for which Buckler built the space frame in 1950.
‘500’ Formula 3 was a low cost formula devised by a group of enthusiasts working for the Bristol Aeroplane Company during the 1939-45 war. After the cessation of hostilities the group organised an event at the wartime Silverstone Aerodrome in 1946 which had to decamp to the nearby grounds of Lord Hesketh where a hill climb was run for open wheelers with 500 cc / 30.5 cui motorcycle motors.
Ken Smith built his first Smith Special in 1948 to run in the class and after this was damaged at Brands Hatch in October 1950 Ken ordered a new one off frame from Buckler in Reading to build the Smith Special Mk2.
The 9′ 10″ car with the chain drive Norton transmission was powered by a mid mounted Norton twin cam shaft motor fed by two two fuel tanks one a 1 1/2 gallon gravity tank over the motor and another 7 1/4 gallon saddle tank mounted over the drivers legs from which fuel was directed to the gravity tank by a fuel pump.
The suspension featured upper transverse leaf springs and lower wishbones, the road wheels, front brakes, steering box, steering column and track rods were sourced from a FIAT while the brake master cylinder and rear brakes were sourced from a Morris.
Ken Smith drove the car from 1951 to 1954 during which time if it finished it usually finished in the top six, more often than not in the top 3 which included several wins of which the 1953 Autosport Non production Car Trophy was it’s last in Ken’s hands.
These photo’s show the car being driven by present owner Richard de La Roche at the Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting last year, more detailed information on the Smith Special can be found on this link. I hope to be returning with a fuller history of ‘500’ Formula 3 towards the end of the year when the ‘500’ Formula 3 class cars will returning to Castle Combe for the first time since 1955 to compete for the “Bristol Aeroplane Company Motor Sports Club Challenge Trophy”, owned by the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club, on Sunday the 5th of October.
Thanks for joining me on this “Buckler Framed” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Formula One car built by one of New Zealands most accomplished race car drivers. Don’t forget to come back now !