Vanwall and the Lotus IX

Author

admin

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

Sir,

It was an interesting coincidence that you should feature the Lotus Mark IX in the same issue of your magazine as the Vanwall, because these cars have a firm historical link. As helper to Colin Chapman on the design side I remember that the Vanwall’s rear suspension was just a scaled-up version of the Lotus, and your articles reminded me of an incident…

The same type of jig for the de Dion tube that we had used for the Lotus IX was used on the redesigned Vanwall. I did the drawing for this, and Colin asked me to come to the Vandervell works in Acton where the Vanwall was being built. Colin explained that the Vandervell people were very concerned that no limits had been shown for the overall length of the piece of channel section Rolled Steel Joist (RSJ) that I had specified. In fact, it would not have made the slightest difference if it had been three inches longer or shorter, but Colin thought we would have a bit of fun.

He waited until they asked the question again, and turned to me. “What do you think, Peter?” After some moments thought I replied, “Well, plus 10 minus zero, I would say”, meaning that it would have to be cut to a tolerance of 10-thousandths of an inch. “That’s fine” they replied, happy now to be able to carry on!

To elaborate on the difference between the production Lotus Mark IX frame and the works spaceframe, the one shown in your cutaway drawing is the frame that Frank Costin had told Colin was “too heavy” when they had first met. It had 1.875in diameter lower tubes which were far bigger than needed to take the load. Frank said he was only interested in “aircraft design principles”.

The ‘works’ Mark IXs, which were known as P4s, had a completely different chassis frame designed by Mac McIntosh to full aircraft design principles, with tubes of only 1in diameter top and bottom, and one even had a detachable member across the top of the engine bay. Two of them were made, the first, with magnesium body, for the 1500cc car, and the second, with thin-gauge aluminium body, for the 1100cc car which ran at Le Mans. They were the forerunner of the frame of the Lotus XI which came out the following year.

I am, yours etc,
Peter Ross, Historic Lotus Register, Falmouth

You may also like

Related products