Image credits: © Maserati.
1939 Maserati 4CL
t is true that failure can lead to success. By Formula One's first season in 1950, Maserati was Maserati in name only. Financial trouble led to the brothers selling the company and moving on. But when a person's hand is applied to what the person is born to do there will be an impact. And in this case, the whole band of Maserati brothers were born to build racing machines. Yet, while having to sell and ultimately leave their namesake, their final designs would still play an important role in grand prix racing and Formula One's inaugural season.
In 1914, Alfieri and Ettore Maserati decided to establish their own race-tuning business. Almost as soon as they started they had to suspend activity due to World War I starting. Upon cessation of hostilities, in order to promote their work, the brothers would tune their own cars and then would race them. This caught the eye of the Diotto company. Diotto then approached the Maserati brothers, which by this time included another brother Ernesto, about designing grand prix cars. The brothers agreed and, in 1925, went to work. However, the design the brothers would create would end up never being built. Very soon, the brothers decided to start their own company and only design and build cars of their own. And so, one of Maserati's first cars would be the design Diotto decided not to have built. The Maserati brothers ended up building the car and would enter it in the 1926 Targo Florio.
Not too many teams start out at the top. Often times, teams will compete for years and have to settle with top-ten or top-five finishes. But when someone is meant, or destined, for something, the norm changes. When it is a whole family of brothers focused on one thing, special events can take place and the 1926 Targo Florio was no exception. While the Maserati brothers may have been confident about their first chassis bearing the family name there was still an aura of uncertainty that surrounded the untested entity. Yet, in its first ever race the car would go on to win. And for Maserati, as a team, that was one race entered, one win—100% efficiency. And so it began. To fund their racing endeavors the brothers would design and build custom cars, but always with the intent of being able to get back on the track and compete.
The problem, when starting out from the top, is that it's very easy to realize that only two options remain. Either the team maintains its level of success and performance or it is destined to slip back into the clutches of the competition. What makes declining easy to do is that there are so many variables that can come and disrupt what possibly could have led to further success. And it seemed those variables started to work against the Maserati brothers.
In 1932, tragedy struck as Alfieri died due to kidney problems. Besides the impact this tragedy surely had, the competition also improved making victories harder to come by due to having to battle the likes of Alfa Romeo and the surging German companies like Mercedes. This then meant the larger amounts of money awarded to the winner was also harder to come by. Thus Maserati, despite its immediate success, was facing financial trouble. Due to the financial woes the brothers signed a deal where Adolfo Orsi, an industrialist, would come in and own the company but the brothers would retain technical control for the next ten years. This was a blessing, in a way, for them. Since the bills were being paid all they had to do was focus on racing and their chassis designs. This proved to be beneficial as they were able to design some cars that enabled them to score a string of victories at the Indianapolis 500. Yet, despite the success another variable would come along and truly spell the end for the Maserati brothers at Maserati—another world war. World War II, and the lack of any racing, meant the brothers were unable to try and regain control of their own company. Once again, a world war disrupted the Maseratis. However, with the end of the war in 1945 there was still time for the Maseratis to leave their mark with the very company that bore their name.
Just prior to the war, in 1939, Ernesto designed the 4CL as a competitor against the Alfa Romeo 158 and others. The 4CL's chassis had the appearance of an upside-down T due to the twin box section spars running the length of the chassis. A large rectangular radiator inlet dominated the nose. To save weight in the construction, the 4CLs were designed to utilize more aluminum alloys than any previous Maserati chassis. Also, ladder construction was used which helped save weight by using smaller cross section pieces to provide strength and rigidity. Ernesto designed the car to utilize wishbone suspension parts and large drum brakes. Along the left side of the chassis ran the exhaust pipes from the two exhaust ports per cylinder. The individual pipes blended into a singular pipe running the length of the chassis back past the cockpit. Interestingly, like many other chassis of the day, the exhaust pipe ran right by the cockpit and, therefore, needed a shroud fitted over the pipe to protect the driver from burning himself. One sign of the technology of the day was the drum brakes employed on the 4CL. Drum brakes was really the only practical solution at the time. To dissipate the excessive heat built up during braking, fins were machined into the brake housing to expel the heat to the cooler air rushing by. Stability of the 4CL was better than that of Maserati's previous designs due to the fact the 4CL had repositioned springs that allowed the car to sit lower meaning the car's center of gravity was also lower.
Due to the increased stability and performance, in its debut year, the 4CL was able to earn five victories before the outbreak of the war. However, the outbreak of World War II delayed the chassis from being able to show its full promise and rescue Maserati from slipping out of the hands of the brothers.
When racing resumed after the war the 4CL was a front runner. In fact, the 4CL proved to be in a class all by itself. 1947 was to be a year when the 4CL proved how good a chassis it really was. Despite the improved Alfa Romeo 158, and other competitors' chassis, the 4CL was proving to be the class of the field and would score 10 victories. The 4CL proved itself so well in competition that many privateer teams in Formula One's inaugural season would still be using some modified versions of the 4CL chassis years after it was first designed.
Though some of the Maserati brothers were still with the company into 1946, their influence, specifically their design of the 4CL, would continue to live on in the form of the 4CLT. The antiquated inline 1.5 liter 4 cylinder engine was upgraded with twin-superchargers, which increased power up to around 260hp. However, to deal with the increased power and torque the chassis needed to be strengthened. Maserati would employ the new tubular chassis to help with torsion strength. The tubular construction, which is what the 'T' denotes, helped to provide better rigidity to the chassis to counteract the effect of the power increase. Another change was that the CLT had been designed to utilize hydraulic dampers with forged (instead of cast) suspension components at the rear of the car. The updated engine, construction and components were all meant to take Maserati to the next level of competition. And it would be some version, or form, of the 4CLT that would take part in Formula One's first season.
The most prominent 4CLT model in Formula One's first season was the 4CLT/48. Denoting the year 1948, the model 48 first debuted at the Sanremo Grand Prix. The chassis of the 4CLT/48 compared to the older 4CL was similar in a few ways but quite different in many others. Right away it is observed that the nose had been changed in dramatic ways. Instead of being rather rectangular in shape, the radiator inlet became wider. The upper ridge of the engine cowling was redesigned running almost horizontal to the ground. This redesign led to a more dramatic 'ramp' of the bodywork just prior to the cockpit. By lowering the cowling the angle of the upward flow of the nose increased to be able to clear the engine and its components. The use of a tubular-framed chassis meant the 4CLT was much more contoured, more aerodynamically efficient. The overall shape of the chassis gradually became more tear-drop shaped toward the rear of the car. The 4CLT/48 also utilized coiled springs as part of its suspension. Most other teams were using leaf springs, but the double wishbone arrangement made coil springs a good option. The redesign of the nose and chassis over the engine on the 4CLT further lowered the center of gravity of the car. This leant greater stability to the increased horsepower the driver had available. The lower nose led to a cowling more tightly fitting over the inline 4 cylinder engine. Overall, the chassis design was not as tall as the 4CL. The 48 variant, in true Maserati fashion, would score victory in that debut appearance at Sanremo and would become a sought after version for many teams. In fact, in the 1950 Formula One season it would be the 48 variant that would score the best finish for Maserati in the driver's championship. Despite the fact the 4CLT would take part in Formula One's first season its model reference would always be based around its debut at the Sanremo Grand Prix.
The model 48 wasn't the only variant of the 4CLT however. Like most cars in Formula One today, the 4CLT was going through constant updating. The next variant was practically the same as the 48 but with a few important changes. The fins machined into the brake drum that were used for cooling were replaced with a drum that had slits in it to help cool the drum from the build up of heat during braking. Some of the other small changes made included changes in the layout of the oil header tank and some of the controls in the cockpit. Despite the fact the car underwent some rather minor modifications those changes were made in 1949 and constituted the need for another model variant—the 4CLT/49. The model 49 improved upon the success the 48 achieved the year before. It would end up taking the victory in nine of the first fifteen races. Although the early part of the season was successful the last half of the season was a bit more of a struggle. Despite winning three more races in the season, competition from Ferrari and Talbot-Lago denied Maserati of more success. This would be a sign of what was to come next year during Formula One's inaugural season.
The Formula One World Championship began in 1950. Due to the increased competitiveness from the Alfa Romeo 158, as well as, other chassis like the Ferrari and Talbot-Lago, Maserati needed to respond and, thus, updated the 4CLT chassis making it into the 4CLT/50. Some of the most dramatic changes between the 50 and the 49 or 48 were those that went mostly unseen. The crankshaft on the 50 was changed, to where it was comprised of many pieces. The engine was equipped with a more powerful pair of superchargers. The ignition timing was even adjusted. All of these changes to the engine meant the output was increased to 280hp. Maserati found it was even able to lighten the overall weight of the chassis by some 22 pounds when it updated the chassis construction and design. All of these improvements meant the Maserati 4CLT/50 was almost on an even plane with the championship winning Alfa Romeos when it came to performance.
The performance gain, however, proved to be short-lived as the performance tweaking really stretched the old chassis and engine too far. The 50 proved to be too fragile over long distances. And in fact, the best result a Maserati chassis would achieve throughout the season was one third place, and that achieved by a 4CLT/48. Race-after-race the engines just kept failing. Though the 4CLT didn't seem to have the endurance anymore it still had the speed and handling that made it a threat to the competition. Though not official Formula One races, the 4CLT/50 was able to take victory at the Pau Grand Prix and the Richmond Trophy at Goodwood. Unfortunately, the first season of Formula One for Maserati made it clear the successful, dominant days for the 4CLT were behind it.
Many times there are events or happenings that will repeat; a seemingly perpetual starting over of events. The Maserati brothers started out by tuning racing machines for other people or companies. The ignorance, lack of belief in the brothers, or whatever reason would lead to the Maseratis striking out on their own building extremely good race machines. However, there would be some event, usually a world war, that would delay and hinder them. In the end, the Maserati brothers would end up back working for another despite the fact the company still bore their name. The brothers, after losing technical control, would move on and would start OSCA. Interestingly, the Maserati company knew the brothers, and their OSCA company, produced superior engines and, in fact, modified one of their 4CLT/49s to be able to accept the larger OSCA V12 engine.
Sometimes it's hard to measure success. Perhaps it is difficult to say an endeavor was successful when it ends up that the very people the company is named after end up having to sell their company, walk away to start another, and yet, their own name can't go with them. Based upon what happened to the Maserati brothers it is easy to say they were failures, that they were not able to achieve success. But perhaps the greatest, most enduring compliment (and proof that the Maseratis did it right) that could be given was the fact the name 'Maserati' lived on without them. And at least, racing wise, it was their 4CL, which led to the 4CLT, that made existence for Maserati possible.By Jeremy McMullen
o compete properly in racing has required large sums of money. For the German racing teams, this was not an issue, as they received large sums of money from their government. For the Italian marque's, they were finding it difficult to field competitive racers. Maserati chose to turn their sights towards the Voiturette class, which was mostly fielded by privateers. In the Voiturette class, meaning small car in French, displacement size was limited to just 1.5-liters. In the top class, Grand Prix, featured marquree's such as Mercedes Benz and Alfa Romeo.
During the early 1930s, Maserati's 4CM, the '4' representing the number of cylinders and CM 'Corsa Monotipo', was a strong contender. Competition from ERA had Maserati scrambling to construct a new Grand Prix racer. The result was the V8RI, with the V8 representing the engine and the RI for its independent suspension. The development of the V8RI resulted in the 6CM. It was powered by a six-cylinder engine that displaced 1500cc. A supercharger was added, bringing the horsepower of the DOHC engine to 155. Three years later, in 1939, horsepower had risen to 175. The 6CM was constructed on a tubular chassis that had torsion bars in the front and a rigid live axle in the rear.
The Maserati 6CM made its racing debut in 1936. It made an appearance at the Milan motor Show as a show car, making it the first Maserati to have such honors. In racing competition, both the factory and privateers scored many class victories. In total, there were nearly thirty examples built.
When Alfa Romeo's debuted their 158, also known as the Alfetta, in 1938, Maserati began working on a replacement for the 6CM. The Alfa Romeo 158 had a powerful eight-cylinder supercharged engine which was more advanced than the Maserati. Maserati abandoned their six-cylinder engine and began work on a four-cylinder unit with double overhead camshafts which operated four-valves per cylinder. Each of the exhaust valves had a separate outlet on the manifold. The engine had an equal bore and stroke, measuring 78mm. This was not a completely new setup, but if it would prove to be one of the more successful attempts at using this configuration. The engine was given a Roots-type supercharger which boosted horsepower to an impressive 220.
There were around 25 examples of the 4CL (L represented line of Linguette) constructed, with production lasting from 1939 through 1947. The chassis and mechanical configuration were mostly unchanged from the 6CM.
The 4CL was an impressive racing machine, though it mostly scored victories in minor races. Competition from other marque's was too great, especially from the Alfa Romeo Alfetta. German marque's interests had shifted toward the Voiturette class and competition continued to mount.
For 1948, Alfa Romeo introduced the 4CLT/48 which featured a twin-supercharged engine mounted on a tubular chassis. The engine produced around 260 horsepower with top speed being achieved at just over 165 mph. The car had more success than its predecessor, but part of this was due to less competition.
In the inaugural race, Alberto Ascari drove a 4CLT to a victory. During the 1948 season, Reg Parnell and Villoresi drove the racer to five victories.
For 1949, minor modifications were made 4CLT and the 4CLT/49 was born. The modifications included updates to the drum brakes, slits replaced vanes for cooling, repositioned oil header-tank, and changes to the cockpit layout. The addition of Juan Manuel Fangio and Toulo de Graffenried to the driver lineup helped the 4CLT/49 score nine of the first fifteen races. The second part of the season was not as fruitful for the Maserati team, as they secured only three wins. Other marque's were increasing competition and the 4CLT was loosing ground. one of the 4CLT/49 was modified with an OSCA V12 engine, in an attempt to be more competitive.
For 1950, Maserati improved up the engine of the 4CLT. It was given more powerful superchargers, lightened and balanced rods, and a multi-part crankshaft. Horsepower rose to 280. The weight of the overall cars were reduced by nearly 11kg, bringing the 4CLT closer in terms of specifications with its competition. The improvements did help, but it was not enough. The 4CLT was now a decade old and it was showing its age. Reliability plagued the car and there was only one Formula One victory scored during the season, and it was a non-Championship event.
The Maserati 4CL had begun its racing career in 1939 and continued, in 4CLT form, until the 1950s. Throughout the years, the Voiturette class had varying degrees of competition, and the 4CL and T were popular with many privateers and were driven to many victories in Grand Prix competition.By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2009
rand pix racers like to go it alone; there is no room for anybody else in a single-seater. When it comes to starting teams, grand prix racers like to go it alone; no ego struggle concerning who knows best how to run the team. Competitive juices lead to individual racers shying away from joining forces with other racers to create a team. However, when racers apparently believe in something higher than themselves it is quite possible a union could be forged. And in the case of Giovanni Lurano, Luigi Villoresi and Franco Cortese, their apparent belief in something higher led to the creation of Scuderia Ambrosiana.
Named after the patron saint of Milan, Saint Ambrose, Lurano, Villoresi and Cortese were placing their trust in the patron saint to deliver supernatural results. However, life and the lure of self interests attack unions and can reduce what could have been supernatural to nothing more than just average. And it's these occurrences, when there seems to be so much unfulfilled promise, that a person is left always asking the question, 'What could have been?'
Born in 1905, Giovanni Lurano became an engineer and a racer. Lurano competed in the Mille Miglia almost a dozen times and won three times. After taking part in the second Italo-Abyssinian War, Giovanno started Scuderia Ambrosiana with Villoresi and Cortese in 1937. While racing a Maserati 4CM at Crystal Palace in 1938, Lurano suffered a hip injury which led to his retirement from single-seat competition.
Villoresi, nicknamed 'Gigi', was born in 1909 and was the older brother of the talented Emilio Villoresi. The brothers would compete in races together during the early parts of their careers. In 1936, the brothers, who were from a rather wealthy family, ended up purchasing a Maserati that the two of them would take turns racing in different events. Emilio would end up being signed by Scuderia Ferrari, but while testing the Alfa Romeo chassis Emilio crashed and it ended up costing him his life. In 1937, Luigi joined forces with Lurano and Cortese driving a Maserati chassis. At the time, the main competition was the German Silver Arrows. Luigi would end up winning the South African Grand Prix in 1939, just prior to the outbreak of World War II. After the war, Villoresi went back to racing. He would continue driving Maserati cars, but would end up switching to Ferrari come 1949. He would end up taking part in Formula One's first season, but not for the team he helped found.
Cortese, another Italian born racer, was born in 1903 near Turin. Franco started racing in 1926 with Itala and would end up competing in the Mille Miglia a record 14 times. Cortese drove for some of the most famous teams, as well as, drove some of the most famous chassis in racing history. Franco drove for Scuderia Ferrari in 1930, but also had the privilege of driving cars from Alfa Romeo and Bugatti. Then, in 1937, Cortese began voiturette racing with Maserati. Cortese, however, is most remembered for his years with Ferrari, which produced several victories, including the 1947 Grand Prix of Rome and the 1950 Grand Prix of Naples.
Despite the force these drivers, together, represented, none of them were with the very team they founded when Formula One came into existence. In fact, on a team founded by Italian drivers, by 1950 and the start of Formula One, Scuderia Ambrosiana was comprised totally of United Kingdom drivers. Reg Parnell and David Hampshire were from Derby, England. David Murray was from Edinburgh, Scotland.
Reg Parnell would start out the season driving for Alfa Romeo but would switch to Scuderia Ambrosiana after Indianapolis. David Murray saw limited action throughout Formula One's first season, racing only the first and the last race on the F1 calendar. Travel to and from events was much more difficult in those days and few teams made it to every event and with the same drivers. Only those those truly fighting it out for the first ever driver's championship were the exception.
These drivers from the U.K. undoubtedly desired to put on a good show in Formula One's opening race of its inaugural season, especially since it took place at Silverstone in England. Driving Maserati 4CLT/48s (See Maserati 4CLT article) David Hampshire qualified in the 16th spot. This effort was disappointing but not as bad as Murray who could only manage 18th best. This meant the teammates would start the race on the 5th row together. Though starting from the back of the grid, the race would fair far better for Hampshire. By running consistently, and due to an attrition laden race, Hampshire was able to end the race finishing 9th, six laps behind the leader. Murray's race was a whole less noteworthy. Despite making his way up through all of the attrition, Murray became a victim of car failure himself when his engine let go. Unofficially, Murray finished in the 15th spot after finishing 44 laps.
The team did not make it to the next race in Monaco. After the Indianapolis 500, Reg Parnell made his first start for the team. Parnell was the only Ambrosiana driver that made the trip to Bremgarten for the Swiss Grand Prix. However, the first start did not go well as Reg was unable to qualify for the race.
The Scuderia Ambrosiana team did not make the trip to the Belgian Grand Prix. Between all of the non-Formula One grand prix races and the Formula One events themselves, many of the teams were struggling to field teams for races. As a result of the long season, only 14 cars made the trip to Belgium.
At the next race, the French Grand Prix at Reims-Gueux, Scuderia Ambrosiana brought two cars, piloted by David Hampshire and Reg Parnell. Neither of the two drivers posted a time in qualifying, and so, Reg Parnell was posted a 12th place starting spot and David Hampshire was relegated to the 18th spot on the grid. Despite making it to the race, and bringing two cars, the race did not go well at all. Neither of the two drivers would make it past ten laps. David Hampshire's race ended after only five laps due to engine failure. Reg Parnell's race ended the same way, but at least he made it to lap nine.
The final race of the Formula One season, the Italian Grand Prix, was held at Monza. Scuderia Ambrosiana fielded only one car for the Italian Grand Prix. David Murray started only his second race of the Formula One season. Murray qualified 24th for the race; some 23 seconds off the pace of pole-sitter Juan Manuel Fangio. Officially, the race faired little better for Murray who ended up retiring from the race due to a broken gearbox. However, unofficially, Murray had a good race. Attrition was high, which helped, but Murray drove consistently and kept his Maserati running well until his gearbox troubles. Unofficially, David finished the race 8th, having completed 56 laps.
There was little in the way of highlights for the Scuderia Ambrosiana team competing in Formula One's first season. Neither of the team's drivers scored any points while driving for the team. Reg Parnell had scored a third place finish at Silverstone, but that was while driving for Alfa Romeo. Between the drivers and the car, the biggest letdown for the team was obviously the car. The team only had one driver see the checkered flag throughout the whole of the Formula One events and that was with David Hampshire all the way back at the first race of F1's season at Silverstone.
It seemed the patron saint, Saint Ambrose, left the team when Lurano stopped racing single-seaters, and then took away any blessing at all when Villoresi and Cortese left to go race for Ferrari. However, even up until the start of the Formula One World Championship, Scuderia Ambrosiana experienced little success. Come the start of the F1 World Championship, Scuderia Ambrosiana experienced even less success. Even the team's founders, however, experienced most of their success while driving for other teams. It seemed apparent the team was going to be in need of someone else with even 'higher' connections if the team desired to be one of Formula One's elites. Sources:
'Scuderia Ambrosiana.' Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 24 Dec 2008, 15:25 UTC. 28 Feb 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Scuderia_Ambrosiana&oldid=259916104.
'Giovanni Lurani.' Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 7 Jun 2008, 23:58 UTC. 28 Feb 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Giovanni_Lurani&oldid=217849256.
'Luigi Villoresi.' Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 10 Feb 2009, 15:02 UTC. 28 Feb 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Luigi_Villoresi&oldid=269777476.
'Franco Cortese.' Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 22 Jan 2009, 19:11 UTC. 28 Feb 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Franco_Cortese&oldid=265758563.
'1950 Formula One season.' Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 10 Feb 2009, 16:38 UTC. 28 Feb 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1950_Formula_One_season&oldid=269794778.By Jeremy McMullen
t is said that women have a weakness for chocolate and that it brings comfort and pleasure. It is also said that behind any good man is a great woman. It would seem then there were many great women behind Joe Fry's motor-racing career. As a member of the Fry Chocolate family, Joe spent his time honing his racing skills, alongside his cousin David, instead of working in the family business. In time, Joe became one of the bright stars in Britain's motor racing scene. Joe, and his cousin David, caused the name Fry to be even more synonymous with motoracing as with chocolate.
Born in Chipping Sodbury in 1915, Fry, by his early twenties, was setting many hillclimbing records in the highly successful 'Freikaiserwagen' that David Fry co-created with Hugh Dunsterville. This car was noteworthy in that it was the first rear-engined car created and raced in hillclimbing events. Fry didn't just compete in the 'Freikaiserwagen'. Joe would race events in various other cars like the 4.5 liter Bugatti and Type 55 Bugatti. However, the combination of Fry and 'Freikaiserwagen' seemed to prove special. While developed further by David, the 'Freikaiserwagen', in the hands of cousin Joe, would enjoy abundant success in sprint and hillclimbing races. In the short run up to the second world war Joe and the 'Freikaiserwagen' set a number of hill records and a number of unofficial outright records, including one at Prescott.
At the outbreak of world war two, Fry would remain at the top of the record sheets in both the blown and un-blown categories at the Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb. After the end of the war and the resumption of racing, Fry picked up pretty much where he left off. In 1947, He would end up finishing second in class at the Brighton Speed Trials, but the next year would take the class victory. Fry would also take the class victory at Brighton again the following year.
1949 was a breakthrough year for Joe, if he hadn't already proved himself in hillclimbs and sprint races. In a reconstructed 'Freikaiserwagen', Fry set a brand new hill record at Shelsley Walsh. At the Blandford hillclimb, Joe would end up setting the fastest and winning time of the day at 31.13 seconds. Fry's second-place finish at the Bouley Bay Hill Climb in Jersey meant that he took the lead in the British Hill Climb Championship. Unfortunately, mechanical problems in following events would lead to Fry slipping to fourth overall in the 1949 championship.
All of this success and talent made Joe an obvious choice when it came to who would compete at the first event of Formula One's inaugural season, especially seeing that it would all begin at Silverstone in England. At the first race of Formula One's beginning, Joe Fry brought his own Maserati 4CL. Despite being a 4CL, Fry's Maserati was not the newer 4CLT, and it showed in qualifying. Despite all of the sprint and hillclimbing records, the best Fry could do was 20th on the starting grid, some 16 seconds off the qualifying time of Giuseppe Farina and his Alfa Romeo.
The race, however, fared better for Fry, who would co-drive his car with Brian Shawe-Taylor. Fry completed the first 45 laps, and then, turned the car over to Shawe-Taylor for what ended up being the remaining 19 laps. It was a 70 lap event, but Fry and Shawe-Taylor ended the race some 6 laps down. However, Fry and Shawe-Taylor finished the race, which is more than can be said for many other entries. Despite being the second-to-last running car on the track, Fry and Shawe-Taylor ended up the race coming home in 10th. Though they didn't score any points, they could brag about the fact they ended up the first race faring better then the eventual 5-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio.
The descent finish at Silverstone, and all of his past records, meant that Fry was one of Britain's hopes for the future. However, it all came to a premature end just a couple of months after the Silverstone Grand Prix at the hillclimbing event at Blandford. Fry died in an accident behind the wheel of his 'Freikaiserwagen' during the event. There were so many things on the horizon for Fry that ended up coming to naught because of his death.
Fry, besides his own racing career, was investing in a new car design called the Gordano. The Gordano was intended to be designed with a 4 cylinder 1.5 liter engine with a chassis designed by Dick Caesar. Fry's death led to the project being scrapped and forever abandoned.
It is believed that too much of a good thing is actually unhealthy. The same is believed to be true concerning too much chocolate in one's diet. Despite beginnings in chocolate, Joe Fry developed a whole new successful family business in auto-racing. It appeared this business was on the verge of becoming a thriving enterprise, but like chocolate, too much diet of speed and danger ended up catching up to Joe Fry. Unfortunately, the very business Fry showed promise forever brought his career to an end. 500 Race contributors. 'Joe Fry.' The 500 Owners Association, Web. 13 Apr. 2010
Stowe, Peter. 'Motorsport in the Bristol Area.' Motorsport History; Some of My Special Interests,
Web. 13 Apr. 2010.
Wikipedia contributors. 'Joe Fry.' Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 Apr. 2010. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.By Jeremy McMullen
This Maserati 4CL was delivered on May 29th of 1939 to Johnny Wakefield who campaigned it until the outbreak of the War. Wakefield passed away in 1942, after which, the car was purchased by Reg Parnell. It was raced extensively by Parnell between 194....[continue reading]