Rumblings, September 1971

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

Two great engineers.—Let us pay tribute to two great automobile engineers. At the end of July, Peter Wilks retired due to ill health from the position of Technical Director of the Rover Company. He held this post since 1964 and had served the dignified Solihull concern for over 20 years. His versatile achievements range from the creation of the now-so-popular Rover 2000, the Rover V8s, the unfortunately still-born Rover mid-engined coupé, industrial Rover gas-turbines, to that single-seater Rover racing car now exercised to such good effect by Frank Lockhart. The last-named Wilks built in conjunction with Spencer King and George Mackie. There is a parallel with the Lightweight Special raced by Sir Alec Issigonis and George Dowson, both Wilks and Issigonis enjoying amateur motor racing and some of the suspension features of their single-seaters being used on their subsequent production cars.

We recall being granted an interview about the light-alloy Rover V8 engine by Mr. Wilks on the eve of his summer vacation. In fact, he was flying that very afternoon to join his holiday yacht. Where? At Monte Carlo, so that he could watch the Monaco Grand Prix. Wilks is a quietly-spoken, modest engineer of rare ability, who is essentially a keen driver and a motoring enthusiast in the true meaning of this sometimes loosely-applied term. Sad that he has had to retire at the age of 51. We wish him happiness and restored health in the years ahead.

In contrast, Director Rudi Uhlenhaut, Chief Passenger Car Development Engineer of Daimler-Benz AG, was 65 last July but instead of retiring will continue his work at Mercedes-Benz. Like Wilks, Uhlenhaut was especially concerned with car safety problems. Born in London of an English mother and going to school in England Uhlenhaut spoke excellent English. He graduated from Munich University in 1931, joined M-B as a research engineer, and from 1936 was responsible for testing and development of the new generation of Mercedes racing cars. This went on until the end of 1955 when Mercedes-Benz retired from racing.

Not only was Uhlenhaut able to drive the fastest F1 cars at speeds approaching those of his top-rank drivers but he is still a very fast road motorist. Many stories are told about this. Of how, with a twinkle in his eyes, he will change down and blast away into the mountains, en route to some ski-ing or sailing relaxation, but, coming to the outskirts of towns in which he is respected as a talented M-B engineer rather than for his ability behind the wheel, will drive sedately along, as befits the townfolk’s image of this quietly-voiced, elegantly dressed, unhurried yet very busy technician.

Or how, at an M-B Press test-day, Uhlenhaut would get into one of the faster models with a selected journalist friend and proceed to lap the circuit at very high speed, taking the elite of Fleet Street any way he could, on either side, into corners or out of them, to return to the Paddock with smoking brakes and walk quickly away—before any of his guests had time to realise that the grey-haired, softly-smiling Chief Engineer was the person who had out-driven them.

Related articles

Related products