This year really started for me with the London Classic Car Show at the ExCeL in London. The show is a celebration of classic motoring and features many machines from the top marques of the 20th Century along with stands from restorers and classic car dealerships.
This week I shall be taking a look at the cars of the show. Today, we will be looking at something a little different. The classic Grand Prix cars that were on display.
There were a wide variety of cars on display. The earliest was the Aston Martin Razor Blade, named after the slats that opened at the front to allow air to the radiator, from 1923. The Razor Blade isn’t technically a Grand Prix car, it is a speed record car that was derived from a Grand Prix car so I am listing it here. This car is normally on display at Brooklands should you wish to see it.
The Bugatti Type 35 was a pleasure to see in person. It is a true icon of 1920s motor racing to me! Interestingly, these were also available for the (wealthy) public to buy to use as road cars!
Aerodynamics became much more prevalent in Grand Prix racing following the Second World War. The sleek, front engined cars of the 1950’s such as this Maserati 250F and what I believe to be a Ferrari 533, are some of the best looking Formula 1 cars ever produced in my opinion.
In the early 1960’s Cooper revolutionised Formula 1 by building a car with a rear mounted engine. The cars were so successful that other teams soon followed suit. Most teams at this stage were also using the Cosworth DFV engine which equalled the power out and so aerodynamics became much more prevalent as cars began to spout spoilers and wings to help the air flowing over the car push it to the ground. As we can see here with this Lotus Type 49, Brabham BT26 and Ferrari 312B.
The 1970’s were really a continuation of the 60’s. The Cosworth DFV remained the power plant of choice for many F1 teams yet tyres became wider and teams were beginning to experiment with ground effects as an understanding of aerodynamics continued to flourish.
The 1980’s on Formula 1 reflected the decade in real life. There was a lot of excess! With the introduction of mid race refueling and forced induction engineers were able to turn up the power and cars began reaching 1000-1400 horsepower! With that power came the need for more grip! Cars of the early 80s were pretty much limitless with the downforce they could produce!
Then there were the 90’s. A decade remembered more for the drivers than the cars. Especially by the mid 90’s when electronic driving aids were pretty much banned and the cars started becoming more sensible again.
This brings us to the noughties and up to present day!
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