During the four years of Formula 1—Part 1, from 1954-57, there were some makes that did not last the full span of Grand Prix racing; such as Mercedes-Benz, who had achieved their objective and retired honourably, or like Connaught, who fought a losing battle with finances and conditions and withdrew before complete disaster overtook them. Above we depict some of the cars that failed to last throughout the full four years of development, for one reason or another.
On the left at the top is seen the open-wheeled ultra-short wheelbase Mercedes-Benz W196 used at Monaco, while below it is the last fully-streamlined version to come from the Stuttgart firm, as used at Monza in 1955. Apart from these two types, there was a version of the W196 to suit almost every type of circuit, and Mercedes-Benz came as close to the ideal racing team of “cars for courses” as anyone. Below, left. we see the six-cylinder Gordini which struggled along to collect starting-money for Amedee Gordini to keep his team going, and at the bottom the eight-cylinder Gordini that never received the full development programme it justified.
On the right are three photographs depicting Connaught progress, starting at the top with the fully streamlined car of 1954/55, then to the most successful of all Connaughts, the slim “Syracuse” model named after its famous victory, and the third photograph shows the 1957 high tailed car at Monaco, the last official race of the works team.
Finally, we see the ill-fated Bugatti Type 251 which made but one Grand Prix appearance. lts only claim to fame lay in its very unorthodox design and construction, which some people thought had a future, others not. As so often happens in motor raring, the idea wan practically still-born, so we shall never know what the outcome would have been had it undergone complete development.
From the technical standpoint the last four years Grand Prix racing have been full of interest and a great variety of cars were produced, and as the basic form of the Formula 1 has not been changed for Part 2, namely 2,500 c.c. limit unsupercharged, we can look forward to four more years of interesting development.
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