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Art & Inspiration Aero-Engined Vintage Racers

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SteveLines, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. Dirtynails
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 843

    Dirtynails
    Member
    from garage

    This is a really old pic(95 years) that i have so it didn't scan too well. it's Ralph Depalma in a car he bought from Germany just for the 1914 indy race . it was powered by a Mercedes 6 cylinder 75/80 HP aero engine.
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  2. Dirtynails
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 843

    Dirtynails
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    from garage

    [​IMG]

    A Mercedes 'Dieppe Grandprix type' car ,pic taken in the USA in 1948. I wonder this is Now?
    [​IMG]
     
  3. I think that is backwards, the Aero Engine was developed from or inconjuntion with the '14 GP engine, which was the '13 GP engine with 2 cylinders lopped off, to meet the displacement requirements.

    One of the '14 GP cars ends up in England at a Mercedes dealership in London. At the out break of the warit was requisitioned by the English Gov't. The car was torn down and studied an the engine was used in developement of the English Aero engines. One of the men involved in the "disection" was W.O. Bentley. This engine becomes the basis for all subsequent SOHC Bentley's after the war, most famously the 3 litre.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  4. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,094

    jimdillon
    Member

    Without looking at my notes I may be off but I thought the German fighter planes had six cylinder inline aero engines and believed they were very similar to the 1913 GP engines. The 1914 engines you are correct had two cylinders lopped off to meet the new displacement requirements. Things may have been different had it not been for the unfortunate demise of the Archduke.

    The DePalma car pictured was his anticipated ride for Indy in 1914 but it had some real vibration problems (at least that is what I saw reported). It was a unique car for the new aerodynamics but the chain drive was a bit archaic.
    I often wondered what happened to the car.

    As to the 1908 GP Merc above I thought that was the car that George Wingard restored some time ago (as well as the big red Fiat).

    You have to hand it to George as he has had the best prewar racecars of anyone I can think of.Jim
     
  5. hugh m
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 2,143

    hugh m
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    from ct.

    Really neat thread. Johnny Gerber, shown above in this photo, as a footnote, surely deserves his own thread...He beat the best with that little car, and at the very least, thought outside the box.
     
  6. Apparently George Wingard used to put out a calendar annually with his cars and other Pre-WW1 racecars in it. I would really, really, really like to find a copy.
     
  7. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,094

    jimdillon
    Member

    "really like to find a copy"-So would I- his workmanship and cars are second to none-Jim
     
  8. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,065

    The37Kid
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    George Wingard does have the best Pre World War ONE race car collection, and is a true gentleman/car nut, seeing what he brings to Hershey every year is a highlight of the event. One year in the early 1980's he had the above mentioned Mercedes GP car, or a twin to it that he looped on a wet parking lot on Run in Day. Real crowd pleaser, but I found out later it sure wasn't a planed event. :eek:
     
  9. racinman
    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
    Posts: 952

    racinman
    Member

    That is soooo neat... of course I like the old vintage racers
     
  10. sorry this is kinda turning into large bore racing cars as opposed to aero engined specials...

    [​IMG]
     
  11. a few repeats...

    [​IMG]
     
  12. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,094

    jimdillon
    Member

    Hey FB the Count Zaborowski Chitty Chitty Bang Bang cars are also a crowd pleaser. What a ride they must have been. Is my memory correct and didn't that car have one of the Blitzen Benz altered chassis and drive gear as well (besides Babs)? Your post #166 appears to be Fisher's Premier at Indy with the pagoda in the distance. A pretty cool OHC car but not quite an aero engine.

    What's the story on the #14 car, nice long hood?-Jim
     
  13. Mephistopheles...:D
     
  14. Dirtynails
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 843

    Dirtynails
    Member
    from garage

    The owner of the car ( Dieppe Grand Prix type ) in the black and white pic I scanned was Mr George Waterman at the time that pic was taken around 1948. Although it looks similar to the car in the color photo it's engine was completely different. The engine in Mr Watermans car was a cross flow design ( i have pictures somewhere..:rolleyes:) with carburetor next to the steering column and the exhaust on the other. The White car has the intake mounted under the exhaust.
    This is the car that had the four cylinder engine Number 28.
    [​IMG]
    And it's classicly lovely engine.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. That would be one of the 4 team cars from that year. With out checking it is Lautenshlagers car that won that year.
     
  16. Dirtynails
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 843

    Dirtynails
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    from garage

    it was suggested above that W.O Bentley had copied the design, in fact he did not. A bentley engine is completely different in design ,especially the cam drive which is a couple of rods on the front of the engine.
    The actual story is more interesting. In 1913 , before the outbreak of WW1 the Germans were racing in France,That had a team of Four cars.
    It was well known the Germans had a very special engine in their aircraft but it's appearance and method of construction were tottaly secret. It had become known that the four cylinder race engine was derived from the aircraft engine,so by means of subterfuge 2 cars were Secured and held long enough to examine the engines before they could be returned to Germany,thus the entire thinking of the liberty engine ,the Rolls royce V12 and the italian aircraft engines,etc all benefitted from this as it was realised that the waterjackets and so on were all welded construction .As pictured in my previous post it can be seen that the four seperate cylinders welded steel contruction,with sixteen valves operated by overhead cams with two magneto's supplying spark to four plugs per cylinder. the engine displaced 270.9 cubic inch.
    Unlike the Single overhead cam Bentley mentioned before,the Mercedes had a shaft driven cam on the rear of the engine close to flywheel .
    The conrods were all tubular and at 3600 RPM developed 110 HP>.
    The complete history of these tewo cars is unknown but eye witness reports suggest that Ralph DePalma wit assistance of his Friend Mr E C Patterson took one of the cars to the united States and a second was shipped to the mercedes dealers in London where it remained in hiding in a box until discovered by some Rolls Royce engineers.
    The car Depalma Liberatred (number 28 above) was raced by him in 1915's Indy,which is Not the car I have pictured him in 1914,that car didn't even Qualify that year. That car ended up in the Packard plant and served as design for the 299 inch 12 cylinder racing car they produced in 1915.
    they quickly built a second version of 905 cubic inch and the third version produced between 1916 -17 finally culminated in the Famous Liberty V12 Aero engine . It was considered unfortunate that the American designers chose to go with the single overhead cam rather than the twin cams of the original Mercedes design.
     
  17. The Rolls Royce owners club just published a full run down on the 3 litre engine and it's lineage. Next time I am in San Diego I will go pull it.
     
  18. Dirtynails
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 843

    Dirtynails
    Member
    from garage

    An example of the ideas copied from the mercedes engine,this is a Rolls Kestral.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] This belongs to famous car collector down here .
     
  19. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,094

    jimdillon
    Member

    Dirty nails, some time ago I went up to George Wingards house and photographed his 1914 GP Mercedes. There is no question that he has the #28 car. The museum at Stuttgart had their GP Mercedes carrying the #28 but George documented his and Stuttgart removed the numbers from theirs. I saw a number of the photos as found and went over his documentation and George is quite thorough. I was under the understanding that he had bought the George Waterman 1908 spare team car, although I cannot swear to that, but once again I thought that is what George Wingard told me.

    As to the 1913 car that DePalma attempted to qualify at Indy in 1914 it was a failure as set up and experienced serious vibration probmes (at least my research shows that) and I never read about the car in that configuration again. Whether they morphed it into a car similar to the Pillette car is a likely scenario.

    As to the car that DePalma brought over I have a number of references that DePalma bought the #40 Wagner car (and according to my grandfather who worked in the experimental department with DePalma on the development of the Liberty and the racecars he also brought back a spare engine or a bunch of spare parts approximating an engine). I have one reference though that places that in question but I cannot swear that reference is correct either. Mercedes raced three but had five 1914 GP Mercs and a few spare parts (engines) so who knows who's on first. The whereabout of DePalma's 1914 Mercedes is unknown, the last known owners of the car were Frank and Herbert Book. The Book brothers made what some people refer to as a Mercedes copy (the Detroit Special) which they kept and drove around the streets of Detroit on occasion until the mid thirties. In speaking to Herbert's widow, she knows they disposed of the 1914 Merc but she cannot remember exactly when and where- athough they may have off loaded it in California in 1920-where the trail has sadly run cold, (she gave me a couple of stories but she was in her eighties and remembered more than I would have expected- a grand lady).

    The story of the development of the Liberty and DePalma and his Mercedes has fascinated me and put me on a quest that has lasted over 30 years. As a result I searched for years and finally bought the 299 Packard OHC 12 and pretty much know of the exploits of the 299 since they rolled DePalma's 1915 Indy winning (1914 GP Merc-prepared by Packard in the experimental department) into the experimental department and used it as an example of the development of the liberty. The 299 may not be the "classic" Twin cam design but it set many track and world's records and the railbirds prior to Indy called it the fastest car in America and until it suffered several setbacks in the 1919 Indy it ran away from the field (led pretty much during the first half of the race), finishing in 6th after changing a frozen wheel bearing and experiencing some valve problems. My grandfather Barney Pollard and his best friend Carl Smith were given the task of removing DePalma's 1914 GP Merc racing motor out of the racecar and place it on a jackstand as they called it to run the engine at various angles etc ( I recently met up with Carl Smith's great grandson who I met here on the HAMB-when he inquired if anyone had ever heard of his great -grandfather). I had a number of discussions with my grandfather about the racecars in the department including, of course DePalma's 14 GP Merc, Toodles V the 12 cylinder Sunbeam and the Twin Six racers (of which Packard "experts" for years told me did not exist but curiously one was found in the jungles of South America and has now been restored).

    Could go on and on but had better get to work-Jim
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009

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