VANWALL: “BEAT THOSE BLOODY RED CARS!”
the Nürburgring that same year, he was
physically sick because of the battering that
the Vanwall, its suspension too taut, had
meted out on the way to a ninth-place
finish: “I drank 15 cups of tea straight
after the finish.” Very British, very Brooks.
“The engine had lots of torque but
suffered from a flat spot that got better
during 1958 without ever going away
completely,” continues Brooks. “We had
Compared with its main 1958 rival, the
Ferrari 246, the Vanwall was extremely
tall – reason being the Vanwall’s drivers
sat on top of the transmission and drive
shaft. Aerodynamicist Frank Costin’s
iconic teardrop bodyshape minimized the
drag penalty, but the layout made for a
relatively high center of gravity.
to modify our driving style to fit around it.
And although our road holding was
better, we definitely lost out to Ferrari
with that switch to Avgas; Mike Hawthorn
blew past me on the ’Ring’s long straight
in ’ 58.” Yet Brooks still won the race.
As does Moss, Brooks forgives the
Vanwall its flaws because “it produced
the results. Anything I have to say about
A TALL COOL ONE...
The Vanwall cockpit was comfortable by
contemporary F1 standards (complete with
swiveling air vents), but the steering was
heavy and the left-mounted gear lever dug
in to its driver’s thigh on clockwise circuits.
With alcohol fuel banned for ’ 58, Vanwall
took a while to get its 2.5-liter, straight-four engine tuned for AvGas. Initially, the
lost cooling effect of the alcohol dropped
power from around 290hp to 275.
(MAIN) High and handsome...
The unmistakable shape of the
1957-’ 58 Vanwall. Lotus founder
Colin Chapman designed the
chassis, and Frank Costin
wrapped it in its teardrop body.