March 11, 2005 One of the most famous names in motor racing history is to be reborn in the form of a roadgoing 1950s Formula One racing car replica. The famous Vanwall marque was in existence for just four years during the 1950s but in that time it won nine F1 victories, the F1 Constructors title in 1958 and was driven by the likes of Colin Chapman, Stirling Moss, Mike Hawthorn, Tony Brooks and Stuart Lewis-Evans.
When the marque withdrew from racing due to the ill-health of founder Guy Anthony "Tony" Vandervell, the name remained the property of Vendervell Bearings, and has been dormant for nearly fifty years.
In 2004 British entrepreneur, Arthur Wolstenholme, realised a dream when he was successful in persuading the brand's current owner, Dana Corporation, Glacier Vandervell Bearings Division to licence the name for use on a planned range of replica racing cars.
The first of these products, the Vanwall GPR V12 is a high performance, lightweight, aluminium bodied single seat racing car which is craftsman built.
The design combines many influences from cars of the 1950's Formula One era - afficianados of the era claim to be able to see the influence of designs of the day such as Mercedes, Maserati, Jaguar, Lotus, Aston Martin and of course, the gorgeous Vanwall.
The power plant is a 24 valve SOHC, 6.0 litre V12 Jaguar engine with Cosworth pistons, fed by six downdraft IDF 40mm Weber carburettors, so the car is not lacking for performance - no weight or horsepower figures are available, but given that the car weighs "less than a ton", it would be reasonable to expect the car's performance to be somewhere beyond breathtaking.
The really good news is that despite its Formula One looks, the Vanwall is intended for use on the road as well as the track. The use of modern technologies such as tiny, high-intensity lamps inboard of the front wheels are just one example of how this is made possible and discreet mudguards, that from normal viewing distances appear to blend in with the tyres, ensure that the historic 1950s Formula One car look is never compromised.
The car, registered and in road trim, allows the owner to drive to events such as track days, hill climbs and other motor sport activities where the car's performance can be experienced both legally and to the full.
All the cars are hand built and tailor-made to the requirements of the individual customer.
Wolstenholme is no stranger to cars of this ilk. Prior to securing the rights to the Vanwall name, he produced cars for a decade under the Ronart brand, and the Ronart W152 was similarly period-F1 inspired, and inspirational just to look at. The motoring press raved about every aspect of the W152 from the craftsmanship to the design, so the Vanwall name is in good hands.
Pricing for the Vanwall is expected to start in the vicinity of US$150,000, but where else can you get a 1950s Grand Prix car that you can drive on the road?