The poor man's formula


A lot of enthusiasm has surrounded the recent attempt to provide a poor man's formula, in the shape of Formula Ford. May I, as one of the infinite number of impoverished racing aspirants, express a view which, I feel, must reflect that of the whole of our unenviable fraternity.

The proposed combination of Lotus chassis and Cortina GT engine adds up to something of a dream concept – a car which could fire the imagination of any aspirant. And for most of us this is all it represents – a dream! A machine that is going to cost £1,000 might just as. well cost £2,500 as far as I am concerned.

Perhaps my interpretation of a "poor man's formula" is distorted as well as prejudiced, but I feel £600-£650 must be the absolute ceiling regarding outlay. Johnny Walker had the right idea in mind with his Formula IV. Whilst his price was right, he was unable to provide a power unit with sufficient performance to render it an attractive proposition; his recent attempts to correct this have resulted in the cost going up.

Without doubt, Monoposto or Formula Vee appear to provide something of a practicable solution, despite the criticisms levelled at them.

Monoposto still allows the enthusiast with a little more capital to be more competitive, but at least it provides a start for an outlay of £400 or less. One cannot have it all ways.

Formula Vee must surely be a success in this country already were it not for, what I suspect is derived from dubious patriotic motives, the claimed lack of VW spares. John Hall, of Continental Car Conversions, Birmingham, has built one of ten bodies, which is well built, functional and attractive. He is prepared to offer these at £375 each and can guarantee VW parts to complete the car.

Despite the Formula Vee Association having complicated matters by including the VW 1300 engine in the accepted specification, the beauty of this formula must surely be in the close racing which is bound to result from machines with equal power output competing together. The snag? It would be something of a mortal blow if one were to invest £500 in a formula which did not come off.

Still … I suppose is we poor men must be prepared to take the risk. Mind you, if the football coupon comes up this week, you will be on your own; this ex poor man will be driving a Brahham!

Wolverhampton. T. Scarrett.