Back-dated British royalty

If you got yourself all amped up over our recent report on how Bentley is re-creating its early Le Mans cars of the Bentley Boys era, this news ought to make you swoon. The same sort of back-engineering techniques that Bentley has applied are now being used to re-create an even more famous British racing car. The Vanwall was the spawn of English industrialist and philanthropist Tony Vandervell, who got rich making insert bearings under license in Great Britain. Vandervell was also a patriot, and was determined to take on the grand names of Formula 1 with an entirely British car. He recruited three of British motorsport’s sharpest minds – Colin Chapman, Frank Costin and Harry Weslake – to create a new car from scratch. The Vanwall, as it came to be called, scored six F1 wins in 1958, with Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and Stuart Lewis-Evans as drivers. It was enough for the Vanwall VW5 to win the newly established F1 Constructors Championship, while Moss lost the Drivers Champsionship to Mike Hawthorn by a single point. The Vanwall also gets credit for establishing British Racing Green as the United Kingdom’s national color in international racing.

These six planned Vanwall continuation cars – you can contact the builder for ordering information – will be priced at 1.65 million pounds each, plus the British VAT. Each will be assembled using parts re-created from the original blueprints, which are now in the custody of company principal Iain Sanderson, a former world champion powerboat racer who more recently built the Lightning GT supercar EV. Each continuation Vanwall will be powered by the same in-house 2,489cc Vanwall engine that Weslake helped design. I recently finished a story on a Tucker 48 that was restored using back-engineered parts created from the car’s original blueprints, much like Vanwall is doing. It’s fascinating to learn how precisely these old faves can be renewed with modern technology such as CAD drafting, 3D printing and precision machining. Imagine showing up at a vintage meet in one of these, a hugely historic British racing car, which represents the closing days of the front-engine F1 era.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s