Notes On Some German Formula II Cars
WITH the re-entry of German cars into International competition, as at the recent Grand Prix Suisse and before then at Monza and Erlen, it is interesting to look at the post-war German idea of racing cars. Obviously, for a country with limited means, the Formula II is the most interesting class and it is in this category that German interest lies.
As soon as possible after the war had finished the racing enthusiasts of Germany began to do things to Model 328 B.M.W.s, some examples of which we have seen in this country under the name Veritas. These have been sports racing cars, and similarly another concern known as A.F.M. have been doing the same thing; but now that German participation in International events can be taken seriously, both concerns are building racing cars for Formula II from scratch and not modifying sports car chassis.
In Munich the small, almost amateur, concern of A.F.M., presided over by designer/driver Alex von Falkenhausen, are building single-seater racing cars using some B.M.W. components the engine and gearbox. At Berne two of these cars were entered, the original one driven by Hans von Stuck and a new one driven by Fritz Reiss. The A.F.M. chassis is of tubular construction and the front suspension is by double wishbones with a vertically mounted coil spring, while at the rear a de Dion layout is used, incorporating a double reduction drive to the differential. On Stuck’s car the B.M.W. engine is fed by three downdraught T.T. Amal carburetters, while the other car had Solex instruments. The B.M.W. gearbox is operated by an ingenious system of rods from a small lever on the right-band side of the scuttle, the normal ball-change on the top of the gearbox being retained. Much of the work on the special parts for the A.F.M. is done at a small subsidiary factory of the B.M.W. works, which is run by Herr Sleischer, the B.M.W. engineer. Special light alloy wheels, into which the brake drum is shrunk and spigoted, have been designed by von Falkenhausen and are made by the Sleischer concern. These wheels retain the “328 ” B.M.W. mode of fixing by four studs and a knock-off hub nut, but save a great deal of weight and afford vastly superior brakes. Like many small concerns the A.F.M. is handicapped by facilities and finance, so that the cars are not yet au point, but some idea of their potentialities can be gained from the way Stunk led all the Italian cars at Monza and Berne until he ran into trouble.
The other German Formula II entry into International racing is the single-seater Veritas-Meteor, for cars being run at Berne. This concern, which is much bigger than A.F.M., making production cars as well as racing cars, have now constructed their own engine and gearbox complete, as well as all the chassis parts, so that no longer can the Veritas he considered to be a modified B.M.W. The new engine, which is made in light alloy throughout, follows some of the B.M.W. principles, mainly in the design of the cylinder head, whereby the carburetters are mounted in the centre of the head. A single o.h.c. camshaft is used, operating the valves by rockers, and at the front the camshaft drives a water pump and a fuel pump, while at the rear is the tacho-meter drive and magneto. A one-piece block and crankcase is employed made of aluminium and at 6,500 r.p.m. on a 12-1 compression ratio, with alcohol fuel, 140 b.h.p. is claimed. Three downdraught Solex 40 PAI carburetters are used and the petrol pump draws fuel from tanks mounted low down on each side of the cockpit. Front suspension is similar in layout to the A.F.M., using double wishbones, but the springing medium is torsion bars running along the frame and an anti-roll bar is mounted above and behind the top wishbones. Tubular hydraulic shock-absorbers are mounted at 4.5 deg. both front and rear, and the torsion bars for the rear suspension also run parallel with the frame. The chassis frame itself is made up of small diameter tubing welded in aircraft fashion and the formers for the light alloy single-seater body are welded in with the chassis. Hydraulic brakes of B.M.W. basis are used and “328” B.M.W. wheels, very much lightened by drilling, are employed. The central steering-wheel is connected to the steering-box by a universally jointed shaft running down the near side (if the engine and the control for the five-speed gearbox is a cleverly conceived arrangement of rods operated by a small lever in an open gate change mounted on the side of the scuttle. The single-seater light alloy body has a falling-away frontal treatment wilth a large airscoop for the carburetters built into the top of the bonnet, the bonnet being locked from inside the cockpit. The tail treatment, as on the A.F.M., follows pre-war German G.P. design having a head fairing on the tail. The all-up weight of the single-seater Veritas-Meteor is 12 1/2 cwt. Constructed in a sizeable factory in Rastattmuggensturm and directed by Herr Dietrich and Dip. Ing, Dorls, these cars would appear to be the main source of serious competition from Germany for Formula II racing.—D. S. J.