Last Month we asked famous names in motor racing tp name their greatest racing car of all. We also asked the people who make motor racing what it is — you, the public, and your replies have been pouring in since. If the decision went by country, Italy would have walked it. But Alfa Romeo and Maserati, Lancia and Ferrari have provided so many great racing cars that they split the vote. The surprise is that our readers demoted the Porsche 917 to being the second-greatest racing car ever. In its place you voted a Grand Prix car, the Lotus 79, a car both beautiful and successful.
Sandwiching the Porsche, another Lotus, the classic 49, then a phalanx of Mercedes and a slew of Ferraris.
The bottle of Scotch goes to Peter Hobson, who summed up the passion by citing as his greatest car the Ferrari 330P4: “If you had been standing next to me on the Mulsanne straight in June 1967 you wouldn’t need to ask.”
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAID
GREATEST PRE-WAR RACING CAR Mercedes W125
GREATEST RALLY CAR Mini Cooper
GREATEST FORMULA ONE CAR Maserati 250F
GREATEST SPORTS-RACER Porsche 917
GREATEST OVERALL Porsche 917
GREATEST RACING CAR: Mercedes W165: Drawing-board to winners’ circle in six months, 1-2 finish, and built by one of the greatest engineers of all time, Rudi Uhlenhaut. Mark Waller, Hartlepool
GREATEST PRE-WAR, RALLY AND SPORTSCAR: Talbot 105 — No other production model could compete at Brooklands, Le Mans, Phoenix Park, Ulster Tr, Mille Miglia, Alpine Rally and it was the same car! Oliver Wilson, Essex.
GREATEST RACING CAR: Lister-Jaguar, because of seeing Archie Scott Brown driving it. ND Reynolds, Suffolk
GREATEST RACING CAR: BRM V16. Never having raced one I can only judge by sight and sound. What a sight. What a sound. N D Reynolds, Suffolk.
…the only real cars those that go out on real roads raced at Le Mans, or the Targa, or Nurburgring, or Francorchamps Hubert Fabri, Brussels
Nail-biting moments as early leader Porsche 917 was slowly challenged but finally Chapman’s Lotus 79 toppled it. “Elegant and revolutionary,” said Simon Scott of Northants, adding “the perfect vehicle for both Mario and Ronnie to show off their skills”. And another Lotus, the 25, ended on par with the 917. Surprise choice: Voisin Laboratoire
GREATEST PRE-WAR RACING CAR
Readers agreed with the jury, putting the Mercedes W125 on their pedestal but not alone. Its contemporary, the C-type V16 Auto Union, scored equal votes, renewing their period rivalry. Including the D-type puts Auto Union well clear of the Stuttgart marque, as the 3-litre W 154 unexpectedly polled no votes.
Surprise choice: 1912 Peugeot L76.
GREATEST FORMULA ONE CAR
Once more readers echoed the professionals, putting the 250F first, but if it were only the badge which counted, Maserati would have been swamped by Lotus, with Ferrari third. The most recent choice was McLaren’s MP4/4. Surprise choice: Lotus 88
The Mini of course scored highly, but was pipped by Lancia’s glorious Stratos, perhaps reflecting the importance many readers clearly place on sheer sound. Not far behind came the Audi Quattro, while Escorts trailed, even behind the Healeys. Surprise choice: Mike Couper’s 4 1/2, Bentley
Complete agreement here: the heroic flat-12 Porsche 917 polled three times the votes of its nearest rival, Jaguar’s D-type. Ferrari fans spread themselves over GTO, P3/4, and 512M models, while the fiercest minority support was for Jim Hall’s innovative Chaparral 2F. Surprise choice: Talbot 105 but see page 42 of this issue