THE “FIFTEEN HUNDRED” FORMULA
THE first full description of the revived li-litre Talbot of A. PowysLybbe, published in this paper last month, focused attention on the 11-litre G.P. Formula, and as the 11-litre class will be in a very flourishing state this season, there is reason to enlarge on the palmy days of 1i-litre racing. The 1i-litre Formula came into force in 1926, in conjunction with a stipulation that minimum weight should not be less than 700 kg. and the body width not less than 800 mm. This ruling was retained internationally for the 1927 season, after which the French G.P. went rather to fragments, becoming a sports-car race in 1928, although 14-litre racing was by now firmly established and it has continued in a flourishing state, although the Formula has never been so constituted since. The limited capacity ruling was first applied in 1914, being set at 4ilitres and. resulting in exultation for Mer
cedes. In 1921 the Formula specified a maximum of 3-litres with a minimum weight of 800 kg., in 1922 the 2-litre maximum was in force, with a minimum weight of 650 kg. and for 1923, when Sunbeam won at Tours, the same held good. Likewise, this Formula was used throughout 1924, when Alfa-Romeo had found full efficiency under this ruling, and again for 1925, when Delage proved superior. The four-year plan necessitated a change for 1926 and, probably on account of the extremely potent outputs realised from tiny engines by reason of supercharging, small cylinders and high rates of crankshaft rotation, the famous ]litre capacity limit was introduced for 1926. The minimum weight allowed for the cars, mostly two-seaters to begin with, of 650 kg., compares with the permissible minimum of 560 kg. for blown 1 Flitre cars under the existing Formula. The changed Formula was not altogether popular, but the leading racesupporting manufacturers got busy building, designing or circulating rumours of new 1k-litre cars. Bugatti had introduced his type 37 the year previous, and was at work on a straight-eight job, as were Delage and Talbot. Sima-Violet was expected to be in the field, and Fiat engineers had started to evolve a 11litre opposed-piston twelve-cylinder two stroke racing-engine to run up to 11,000 r.p.m. O.M. was said to be building 1 Hare straight-eights, while Itala favour
ed twelve-cylinders and front drive, and told of cars ” on the stocks,” which, of course, is vastly removed from “on the road.” Vet all these beautiful plans failed to produce more than three Bugattis for
the premier fixture of 1926—the A .C. F’. French Grand Prix. This Molsheini procession was dispatched on the 312f mile race round Miramas track, and Vizcaya and Constantini were soon in trouble owing to unsuitable fuel, so that J tiles Goux was flagged the winner, when Constantini was still in action, which awarded him a second place both easy and difficult of attainment. Goux’s average was 08 m.p h. The next Formula race counting towards the “Championship of the World” was the European
G.P. run over the Lasarte circuit near San Sebastian. The heat was appalling, as the Delage and Bugatti teams drew up for the start—the only starters out of a promising entry. The Delage cars were the new straight-eights, very lowbuilt, and soon their drivers discovered that the cockpits were warmed not only by the sun in. heaven but by the exhaust pipes running alongside the body. Senechal took over for a time from Bourlier, and incurred the displeasure of the officials for so doing. Goux brought his Bugatti home in first place and eventually the wrath of the organisers subsided and Bourlier, with Senechal, was given second place with Constantini’s Bugatti third. Goux did the 484 miles at 70i m.p.h.
In August the R.A.C. organised the first Grand Prix on British soil—or rather, concrete, for the race was run over a circuit at Brooklands embracing artificial corners. The new straight-eight Talbots and the Deluge team competed against Sir Malcolm Campbell’s blown straighteight Bugatti, Capt. Eyston’s AstonMartin and the Halford-Special. The lastnamed was the child of Major F. B. Halford, who now presides over the very fine D.H. drawing office as designer of the Gypsy aero-motors. The Halford had a six-cylinder engine of advanced design, with wet cylinder liners, three o.h. valves per cylinder and a Roots blower, the design of Halford, in an old Aston-Martin chassis. Right at the start Moriceau’s front axle collapsed and one Talbot was out. The Talbots left the Delage cars OD acceleration, but their
brakes were weaker. The trouble of overheating returned, Divo’s car almost catching fire, and Wagner needing to bathe his feet. Eventually Wagner won at 71.61 m.p.h., Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bugatti was second and Benoist and Dubonnet third with another Delage.
In MOTOR SPORT of September 192G appear some very excellent photographs which exactly recapture the Brooklands atmosphere on that hot and historic afternoon. The Halford-Special retired after running well, with a broken universal joint, and the A.M. went out with cylinder head and water-pump trouble.
In September the last of the Formula races was contested—the Italian G.P. at Monza. Once more the field was mediocre, consisting as it did of three Bugattis, two Maseratis, and a Chiribiri. ” Sabipa ” came home the victor, his Bugatti averaging 85.87 m.p.h. for the
372 miles. Constantini on a Bugatti was second. Bugatti thus looked back on three
firsts and three second places in the Championship classics, easily winning the title. He used the straight-eight, roller-bearing car with Roots blower beside the engine and single o.h. camshaft operating three vertical valves per cylinder. 11-litre cars were prominent in some of the less important 1926 races. For example, Segrave won at Miranias in the G.P. de Province, driving a non-Formula four-cylinder sixteen-valve blown Darracq, leader of the l 4-litre class up to that year. Segrave covered 115.8 miles at 81.8 m.p.h. and beat Moriceau on a sister car. Emphasis was placed on the minimum weight rule at I3oulogne, when Eyston and Douglas finished first and second respectively in the 11-litre race, only to discover that Douglas’s exhaust pipe had discarded itself and put the Bugatti 6 lb. under the limit. Eyston drove his Bugatti. In the G.P. du Salon at Montlhery the new Talbots dominated the 11-litre race. Divo, Segrave and Moriceau leading throughout to finish in that order, Divo at 62.6 m.p.h. And, of course, the J.C.C. again put on the ” 200 ” at Brooklands, always a” fifteen hundred ” race, wherein -the new Talbots really got down to things, Segrave winning at 75.56 m.p.h., with Divo second, followed by Purdy’s Bugatti, and the very fast 1,100 c.c. .Amilcars, which had previously shown up well
amongst the larger voiturettes abroad. The same Formula held force for the 1927 season, but hopes of obtaining worth-while entries were at low ebb, probably on account of the great cost of building sufficiently potent small G.P. cars, which were—and still are—very delicate and expensive productions. In the article on Powys-Lybbe’s Talbot published last month the original cost of a car of this class was estimated at about 0,000. The O.M. 11-litre Formula cars had not appeared, neither had the f.w.d. Itala, while the two-stroke Fiats had been tested at Monza by Bordino but not entered for any races, and it was said that entirely new engines were in hand. Other rumours were flying around and about at the opening of the 1927 season, notably that Diatto and IsottaFraschini were producing 11-litre racingcars. But hardened followers could not hope for more than a continuance of the Talbot-Delage duel, with some old Bugattis and possibly the two-stroke Sima-Violets that ran at Boulogne in
1926 as supporters. Maserati, Guyot and Alvis with the eight-cylinder f.w.d. cars they had in the last ” 200 ” were other looked-for and looked-forward-to entries and America was expected to take some part in European races, following an agreement between the A.A.A.
and central steering being permissible henceforth in Formula races, though in the States they had no love for the minimum body-width ruling. The history of the year 1927 is a story of a Delage triumph. In the French G.P. at 14Tontlhery Benoist won at 77.24 2n.p.h. for the 373 miles, followed home by his team mates Bourlier and Morel. The Spanish G.P. saw the master, Benoist again victorious, at 80.5 m.p.h. for 430 miles, though Conelli’s Bugatti was second with Bourlier’s Delage third. Benoist then won the European G.P. at Monza from 0.M., covering 250 miles at just over 90 m.p.h. In the Milan G.P. the sensational twelve-cylinder Fiat came out in care of Bordino, to win from an Alfa-Romeo and a Bugatti to the
tune of 94f m.p.h. for the 31f mile final race. At Boulogne the Molsheim cars came home first, second, third in the 1,500 c.c. category, Campbell’s Bugatti averaging 67.2 m.p.h. for the 278+ miles. But in the second British G.P. at 1,Vey bridge, Benoist, Bourlier, and Divo set the seal to a Delage year, Benoist leading home at 85.59 m.p.h. for the 325 miles. So, very conclusively, M. Louis Delage and his engineers showed that there was very little they did not know about ” fifteen-hundred ” Formula motors. Undoubtedly the previous full year’s experience with the same design and the earlier experiments with the blown and unblown V12 2-litre cars assisted towards winning the last “Championship of the World.” In our own 200 Mile Race Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bugatti won at 76,62 m.p.h., with Purdy on the eightcylinder Thomas-Special second and an Alvis third. Again, the 1,100 c.c. Amlicar Sixes proved almost as potent as the 1f-litres, which sets one pondering on what would have happened had the 1928 Formula been a limited capacity one with 1,100 c.c. the sky-line. The 0.M.s, now out of date, had run at Monza and beaten the American cars but not the Delage, and the Fiat ran in another race besides winning at Milan, and Maserati was too small a star to shine brightly in the Formula firmament. Thereafter the 11-litre limit was abandoned as the international factor, just in time it would seem, for support would have
been sadly lacking. Thereafter we survived a series of sports and class contests and the position strengthened with four years of the .Formule Libre ruling. Now we look forward to the new Formula, whereby 11-litre cars may again dominate the international GI-ands Prix, Or at all events be in the picture over certain circuits, as seems more probable, experts having agreed that 3-litres of forceinducted motor will win all the races under the 1938-40 ruling. But, although from 1928 onwards racing engines grew steadily bigger, the 11-litre classes continued and, indeed, grew in popularity. Maserati did particularly well in this sphere of activity and we have seen late examples of both the four and sixcylinder cars in action in this country. Then, in 1934, Humphrey Cook and Raymond Mays drew back :a very significant ‘curtain, and the E.R.A. soon focused the attention of the world on Britain’s power in 1 f -litre racing, until, with the present cars, the E.R.A. stable has the satisfaction of knowing that its cars are the most potent 1f-litres in existence, by universal recognition after their numerous successes. There is great satisfaction in remembering that they were developed front the sports Riley, more inexpensively than the G.P. class cars they have had to compete against. So we come to the beginning of another season, with the inevitable rumours very much in the air. One thing is certain and that is that the lf-litre cars, both in Formula races and their own contests, will be very well worth following—E.R.A., Maserati, and
Alfa-Corse should definitely be in the field. The]-litre class is especially interesting as representing a very high degree of engine efficiency as applied to racing-car development. Small engines lend themselves to burning as much fuel as possible in a given time, by reason of high rates of operation being permissible on account of light moving parts, and also to the efficient burning of the fuel by reason of compact combustion chambers. The 11-litre E.R.A. must now develop
well over 130 b.h.p. per litre. And it weighs less than the 1927 Formula cars. Possible future developments may be indicated by the fact that the six-cylinder twelve-piston 1 f -litre Zoller two-stroke aero-motor is said to give 133 b.h.p. per litre at 5,500 r.p.m. and that the fourcylinder eight-piston 58.5 X69 x2 mm. Fiat aero motor, also a supercharged two-stroke, is claimed to give 113 b.h.p. per litre at 6,000 r.p.m.
I propose to conclude this article by giving a few details of the leading lf-litre cars of 1926-7. The Delage was a 55.8 x76 mm. 1,486 c.c. straight-eight, with inclined o.h. valves actuated by twin camshafts driven by spur-pinions. The pistons were aluminium ; the con-rods I-section. The one-piece crankshaft had. circular webs and was case-hardened and heat-treated. It ran in nine roller main bearings, and the big-ends were also roller bearings. A single plug per cylinder was fired by an engine-speed Bosch magneto on the right of the block. The lubrication system was dry-sump with triple pumps. Twin blowers were used for 1926 but in 1927 a single Roots blower was utilised, the carburetter mounted directly on the casing. The engine was off-set to the near side and it peaked at about 7,500 r.p.m. The dry, multi-disc clutch and five-speed gearbox were in unit with the engine. An open-shaft transmitted the drive to a bevel final drive and differential. The chassis was conventional, with mechanical servo four-wheel brakes, with driver adjustment. The wheelbase was 8 ft. 2 in., the track 4 ft. 3 in., and weight, empty, 14 cwt. 85 lb. Maximum height
35 ins. Seaman’s car was still highly potent in 1936, but has not been so since ‘ Bira ” has had it further modified. Lord Howe reintroduced the 1927 Delage to Continental racing. The Talbots were of very similar design. Steel cylinders were set in two pairs of four, and had welded waterjackets. There were two oil-pumps and twin magnetos. The gearbox gave four speeds. Bugatti used his eight-cylinder twenty-four valve car, with Roots blower and very light engine internals, if his strict and conservative rev, limits may be taken as a guide. Alvis had straighteight f.w.d. cars with twin o.h. camshafts, Roots blower and four oil pumps with sump oil storage. E. A. D. Eldridge built two 11-litre cars, the engines developed from Anzani designs, and the Halford-Special has been mentioned. The twelve-cylinder Fiat had two blocks of six-cylinders set side by side, with two crankshafts, geared together. Most of
the Talbots vanished quite quickly, but Powys-Lybbe has saved one of them, as detailed in MOTOR SPORT last month. This car, possibly with the ” Bira ” Delage, and the air-cooled C. E. C. MartinSpecial should enliven our 11-litre races this season. Parry Thomas built two 1litre straight-eight blown ThomasSpecials for G.P. type races in 1926, but his death in 1927 disrupted the work and the cars only ran in track events. Since the demise of the 11-litre Formula the I.O.M. Light Car Race and the Nuffield Trophy Race at Donington have been our most important 11-litre races. The speeds at which these and the important Continental 11-litre races have been won make instructive comparison with the earlier 1/-1itre races quoted, in the hey-day of the “fifteen-hundred.” Last year, E.R.A. won the I.O.M. race at 70.69 m.p.h., the Nuffield Trophy Race at 65.89 m.p.h., the Picardy G.P. at 91.3 m.p.h., the Berne G.P. at 87.5 m.p.h., the 200 Mile Race at 69.67 m.p.h., and the Phenix Park Race 100 Mile Scratch Race at 102.9 m.p.h. Distances were considerably shorter than in 1926-7, while naturally a knowledge of the nature of the circuits is necessary in making
intelligent comparison. Certainly the 11-litre cars go very potently indeed and the new Formula should have its beneficial effect on their future, even if cars of double the capacity beat them easily—as we are told to expect—in open combat.