The Keller Special - A Swiss "500"



When in Zurich recently, We were able to meet Jakob Keller, a Swiss engineer who was sufficiently interested in the growth of 500-c.c. racing to build himself a car complying to “500 ” rules. It is unfortunate that enthusiasm for 500-c.c. racing has not enjoyed the following in Switzerland that it has in this country, so that Keller has not had an opportunity of driving his car in any races, although he has competed in Swiss national hill-climbs, running against 1,100-c.c. cars.

Like many successful “500” builders, he used as a basis a “Topolino” F.I.A.T. chassis and suspension, and mounted a 498-c.c. J.A.P. engine in front of the driver, coupled to a F.I.A.T. gearbox, the drive then being taken to a modified F.I.A.T. rear axle, incorporating a reduction gearing to give a low floor line and at the same time to give a suitable final-drive ratio for the J.A.P. engine. The car was fitted with a shapely single-seater body and. the front cowling directs cooling air on to the engine, while slots in the under-tray disperse the air once it has passed over the engine. Fuel is fed to the Amal carburetter from a gravity scuttle tank and the oil reservoir, for the Pilgrim pump, is also incorporated in the scuttle. The steering column is staggered to clear the engine and works a normal F.I.A.T. steering box. At the rear of the F.I.A.T. chassis, tubular frame extensions have been added and these carry the half-elliptic springs. Brakes are hydraulic and knock-off, Rudge-Whitworth wheels are used, the latter having been specially made. The whole car is extremely well finished, including the upholstering of the cockpit, and, unlike many home-built “500s,” the Keller looks like a scaled-down Grand Prix car.

Whether 500-c.c. racing will ever grow in Switzerland is not known and it is a pity that such racing as there is for these machines has not approached nearer to Zurich than Holland, but if such racing does happen nearer his home country, Keller is very keen to take part and would like to see other of his countrymen building 500-c.c. cars. At present the car is out of use, awaiting the delivery of a B.M.W. engine to replace the J.A.P. — D.S.J.