A day at the orifice
I refer to your Vanwall tales in the May issue. When I ran Dealer Team Vauxhall at Shepreth, Cambs, in the 1970s, we were privileged to have Frank Costin helping us with the design of the two V8 Berthas, Big and Baby Bertha, based on the Vauxhall Ventora and Firenza. Frank spent several weeks with us, and most lunchtimes we repaired to our local for, as Frank put it, “a jar and a bite to eat”. His fund of stories was never-ending and I regret to this day that I did not record them at the time.
One such was about the Vanwall and the struggle to cool the beast. During one of the many test sessions Costin had to find a way to cool the brakes without compromising the aerodynamics and so increasing drag. He ended up cutting a 2.5in hole in the bodywork, which seemed to do the trick. When Vandervell discovered that a hole had been cut in the body of his beautiful car he asked why. Frank had to tell him that it seemed to keep the brakes cooler.
“So please tell me,” asked Vandervell, “does the air go into the hole or does it come out?” Costin had to tell him that he didn’t know: “I’m only interested in getting the air to circulate. Which it does, one way or t’other!”
Apparently, Tony Vandervell roared with laughter and decreed that from that day on the hole should be referred to as ‘Vandervell’s Orifice’!
I am, yours etc,
Bill Blydenstein, Buntingford, Herts