AT a recent Goodwood Member’s Meeting a neat silver sports-car with cycle-type wings did battle with and eventually vanquished Bill Moss’ Marcos G.T. and displayed excellent handling qualities in the process. This car, named the D.R.W. after its designer D.R. Warwick and driven by Jack Murrell, was built in a small mews garage off Stratford Road, near Kensington High Street, by a group of ex-Lotus mechanics who specialise in the repair and sale of Lotus and other sporting machinery, although the manufacture of Kart and other types of chassis is also carried out under sub-contract.
The D.R.W. began life towards the end of last year as a 1,172 Formula machine with Ford Ten engine and live rear axle and was driven on a couple of occasions by Jack Murrell without success, so during the close season it was decided to fit independent rear suspension as well as a Ford 105E engine and race the car in as many events as possible although, owing to the lack of suitable races for this type of car, it has often raced against more powerful machinery. In this respect the B.A.R.C. race, for 1,000 c.c. o.h.v. and 1,200 c.c. s.v. cars are particularly suitable for the D.R.W.
The main chassis tubing of the D.R.W. is made up from 18 and 20 gauge square tubing and is fully triangulated in the modern style. Less highly stressed chassis parts are carried out in round tubing. The wishbone front suspension is also fabricated from square tubing using A35 stub axles and Ford brake drums, while the practically indispensable B.M.C. rack and pinion steering is also fitted in a shortened form which has in fact led to some steering troubles. The independence at the rear is also obtained by double wishbones, this time using round tubing heavily cross-braced. The upper wishbones have alternative mounting points so that the steering characteristics can be altered, although handling has proved to be so good that no one has bothered to experiment with them as yet. The hub carriers are fabricated from sheet steel and the chassis mounted differential is a Lotus casting using a B.M.C. nose-piece,
The drum brakes are mounted inboard and the drive shafts are taken from a Mini-Minor. The power unit in the prototype is the Ford 105E tuned by Cosworth Engineering. It has high-lift camshaft which ensures that little power is delivered below 3.000 r.p.m. and not much more until the engine reaches 5,000 r.p.m. from where on it build, up to the region of 7,500 r.p.m. something over 70 b.h.p, being available at these revs. Cosworth reckon that with suitable valve springs, the 105E engine will rev. to 10,000 r.p.m.! The cylinder head has been given a 9.3:1 compression ratio and is gas-flowed so that the twin Weber carburetters can push in more air and petrol. The four-branch exhaust manifold has been made up by D.R.W. Transmission is through special close-ratio gears in a cast aluminium bell housing which saves some 20 lb. over the standard Ford gearbox. Both these items are being manufactured by D.R.W. The large radiator keeps the engine a little too cool. but this is better than having it boiling continually and it is a simple matter to blank off the radiator opening. The battery, which is a Varley aircraft type, resides in the passenger’s compartment.
The body of aluminium was made at the D.R.W. garage and is comparatively simple using cycle-type wings and a combined bonnet and nose-piece. The cockpit is fitted with two lightweight bucket seats and the rexine-covered dashboard has the minimum of instruments, the rev.-counter being mounted on top of the dashboard in front of the steering wheel, so that the driver does not have to look down when changing gear.
So far this season Jack Murrell in only his second season has competed in six races, winning two of them and making fastest lap in no less than five. Experiments are still going on with suspension and the wheels may be reduced from the present 15 in. to 13 in. while such things as a tonneau cover and passenger’s door, will be fitted shortly. Should there be sufficient demand a number of replicas will be made both for racing and for road use if required. Although a price has not been fixed it it should sell for under £800 and at this figure should provide excellent value bearing in mind that it is the only fully independently sprung “special” in its class.