Racing Car Development

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

As mentioned last month the special builder is the genius at developing a racing car beyond all recognition or redemption. The Freikaiserwagen is a classic example, its pre-war design and post-war design having link similarity though, in fact, the aim and concept were the same.

Before the war Bristol was a hot-bed of racing enthusiasts and special builders and Dick Caesar was the inspiration for the hillclimb and sprint car built by David Fry, with the assistance of Robin Jackson and cousin Joe Fry. At the time the unconventional Auto-Union racing car designed by Dr. Porsche was very impressive in Grand Prix racing, and you either loved the mid-engined V16 Auto-Union, or you hated it; if you hated it you worshipped the conventional W125 Mercedes-Benz. Down Bristol way they were obviously Auto-Union fans, and Caesar and David Fry concocted a special for short speed events that they affectionately called “Porsche”, but it was known officially as the Freikaiserwagen, a play on the names of Fry and Caesar and the then-popular German word wagen for car. They could have called it the Frycaesarcar, but that would not have sounded so exciting.

Using a GN chassis and chain transmission, a Morgan 3-wheeler independent suspension layout was grafted on to the front. The driver sat as far forward as possible with a short steering column acting directly onto a circular rack-and-pinion. A V-twin 1,097 c.c. Blackburne engine from a racing Morgan was mounted transversely behind the driver, driving to the GN bevel-box and thence through the chain transmission to the solid rear axle. The engine was supercharged by a Marshall Roots type blower giving 14 p.s.i. running on alcohol fuel and Robin Jackson was the man behind this power-plant. As the engine was meteor less hidden behind the driving scat, and was air-cooled, a fuel tank in the form of an aircraft wing section was mounted on struts above the engine so that it deflected air downwards on to the cylinder-heads. The internals of the engine were all pretty special, thanks to Jackson, including the cams and it could rev to 6,000, an that with a dry weight of 730 lb. it was no mean performer, its maximum speed being over 100 m.p.h. Acceleration was its strong point, with a rearward weight bias and running on 600 x 16 rear tyres.

After the war it underwent a total rebuild as well as a total redesign, The Morgan i.f.s. was retained, as was the V-twin Blackburne engine, but the channel-section GN chassis frame was replaced with a tubular frame as used on the Bristol-built Iota 500 (F3, cars. Independent rear suspension was deemed desirable and as this was impossible with the GN chain transmission the whole layout was changed. The V-twin engine was turned through 90º so that it sat fore-and-aft and a chain drove from the crankshaft to a Norton motorcycle gearbox. Another chain drove to a counter-shaft above the rear axle and a third chain ran downwards to a ZF self-locking differential. Fixed-length tubular half-shafts drove to the wheels, these shafts forming swing-axles for the independent rear suspension, the ends being located by nailing arms.

The engine was again supercharged but this time by two Marshall blowers driven in series to give a more efficient 14 p.s.i. and they drew from a 48 mm. SU carburetter while the fuel was a heady mixture of methanol, nitromethane, acetone, benzoic and nitrobenzine and something like 120 b.h.p, was realised at 6,000 rpm.

In the early days both David and Joe drove the car while Jackson ministered to the engine and Dick Caesar watched benevolently and proffered advice. Of the two cousins Joe proved to be the better driver, apart from being much smaller and lighter than David and soon Joe was doing all the driving, leaving David to do the engineering. In its 1948/50 form the Freikaiserwagen was one of the stars of the sprint and hillclimbing scene and was a truly outstanding and successful special. Joe Fry’s driving had a real flair to it. Alas tragedy struck this happy little band of amateur sportsmen in 1950 when Joe Fry crashed at the Blandford hillclimb and was killed. David put the wreckage away and finished with the hillclimb and special-building scene. Since those days both Dick Caesar and Robin Jackson have passed-on and we can only look back on the Freikaiserwagen and its development with interest and admiration. – D.S.J..