Welcome to this short but incredible story about the mighty Vanwall race team and the car they built and ran in 1958 to win the inaugural F1 World Constructors Championship Trophy.
Off the track, led by the redoubtable Tony Vandervell; on the track, the world’s greatest drivers: Sir Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and Stuart Lewis-Evans. Three great cars per race, drivers both brave and skilful beyond measure in each cockpit.
F1 in Britain was never to be the same again after Vanwall’s win. British teams, from being labelled “mere garagistas” by Enzo Ferrari himself, have since won more F1 victories than all mainland Europe teams combined.
To celebrate, Vanwall are building to the original drawings, six of the 1958 race cars. This will be a one-off chance to own, and even race, this rare car that set British motorsport on it’s winning trajectory. Many thousands of hours will go into the making of each car. Vanwalls were renowned for their engineering, innovation and stunning looks. The flag is dropping. Enjoy the race before you.
The cars, the characters, a new world emerging
F1 in the 1950s captured the imagination of a battered Europe emerging from the dust and rubble of the 1940s. The cars, the drivers, the girlfriends, the teams and their owners. Pushing boundaries and finding they often weren’t there to save them from themselves.
The media loved it. Real heroes were being created and rightly so. The tracks were created for spectators and speed. The cars were about engineering and innovations to gain the extra seconds a lap. The Germans and Italians dominated with their silver cars and red cars. The latter were especially strong on and off the track – Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Maserati. The British race cars were there – e.g. BRM, Connaught – but the podium remained more the preserve of others than the battling British racing green cars.
One British team wasn’t there to make up the numbers – Vanwall. From their early days of buying ex-race Ferraris from Enzo Ferrari himself, to developing a new race car from the ground up, Tony ‘the Guvnor’ Vandervell was on a mission to win. He saw it simply – Green versus Red; GB versus Italy; Vanwall versus Ferrari. Tony Vandervell and his team were totally committed to winning the Constructors Title and proving themselves against the world’s best.
This Vanwall car led to the creation of British F1 motorsport as we now know it
Chassis by Chapman, bodywork and styling by Costin, engine by Vanwall. Over 90% of the components designed, engineered and made in Britain by Vanwall and a loyal band of fervent ‘best in class’ supplier partners.
The Vanwall 1958 was built with just one purpose – to “beat those bloody red cars” and secure the inaugural F1 World Constructors Championship Trophy for Britain. Historically significant, the Vanwall is one of the most instantly recognisable Grand Prix cars of the 1950s.
Best in class craftmanship
The purpose in revitalising Vanwall is to get the name back on the race track where it rightly belongs. “We passionately believe that the achievements of Vanwall in the 1950s are too great to consign to history. Vanwall cars were always known for extraordinary high quality parts and product finish. Tony Vandervell demanded the best of the best.”
“This enabled the driving team of Moss, Brooks and Lewis-Evans to consistently place front of the grid and atop the podium. Our build of just six continuation cars will reflect that quality, with parts matching the original to the nearest ‘thousandth of an inch’. To truly celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the 1958 Vanwall, we have teamed up with a historic car builder with a global reputation, Hall and Hall. Their reputation for engineering and a set-up of the very highest quality resonates at race tracks on every continent. We have original drawings and the exact dimensions for the 1958 cars. From the original specifications with no deviations, following from the last race chassis VW14, will emerge chassis VW15 to VW20.”
Vanwall engines in ‘58 had an output of between 270 to 290bhp. This range reflects the change to ambient temperature, fuel quality and set up. We will match but not exceed these figures. Our engines will be faithful to the originals.
From the block to the hairpin valve springs, the Vanwall engines are works of art in their own right. Each one takes thousands of hours to build. Hidden behind the louvres and bonnet, once unleashed they make their presence felt. They shake the ground beneath.
Crafted by hand
The aluminium bodywork will be handcrafted and formed in the same manner as the original Vanwall bodies were made in the late 1950s. Dimensionally the same, painted in the exact colour of the original racing cars.
The cars take many thousands of hours to build, each one is a ‘labour of love’. The English wheel is famed for its ability in the right hands to craft the most beautiful curves and shapes ever seen on a race car.
A beautiful body with a sonorous engine means performance. Holding it all in place is the brilliant space frame chassis from Colin Chapman of Lotus fame. Colin’s first big wins came from his work on Vanwall, transforming the cars from barely driveable to driftable.
“A new Vanwall is more than a rare work of art to grace a serious collection. It is also built ready to race and once more grace the great tracks of the world. Each new owner of a Vanwall continuation car will be invited to join the illustrious world of historic motor racing. We will take you and your car on a journey of learning, discovery and excitement.”
Once the build of five continuation cars is underway, we will commission a sixth car to form the cornerstone of Vanwall Historic Racing.
Owners will be invited to become Honorary Members of the race team and to attend historic race events throughout Europe. This is in addition to you entering your own Vanwall continuation car in historic racing events. Each continuation car produced will be fully tested and approved by a FIA scrutineer, with each being awarded its own Historic Technical Passport (HTP) to allow you to be part of the action should you wish. The magic of Goodwood, Spa and Hockenheim all await you as a driver to compete against the other great marques of the era. We will be pleased to assist you in the historic racing season – from race preparation, storage and transport to race support. If you seek to race to maximise your personal enjoyment of ownership, your car has to be prepared to be capable of a podium finish. Our master builders, Hall & Hall, are globally renowned as ‘best in class’ or the quality of everything they do.
Whatever the circuit or event, your Vanwall will be prepared to work as Tony Vandervell and his team intended. With full race support from Hall &Hall, your Vanwall will be 100% ready to take the chequered flag.
The best cars are the ones with the greatest stories.” Jay Leno 2019
Report by vanwallgroup.com