A Brief History Of The Motor Car Chapter 2 The Racecars

A Brief History Of The Motor Car
The early years. Chapter 7 The Racecars
Published by: All Car Central Publishing
Date published: 08/13/2014

Chapter 2

Mercedes 1921 Chitty-Bang-Bang-II

Mercedes 1921 Chitty-Bang-Bang-II

The first fifteen years of the last century saw the development of the motor car and its acceptance by the public as a viable means of personal transport. The use of such mechanical transport in the First World War certainly established the car and of course new techniques in design and performance. This is fully illustrated by the desire for speed in the 1920's and the establishment of racing tracks both in the USA and Europe. Motor sport became international and drew thousands of spectators every week of the year.

The 1921 Duesenberg Grand Prix Three Liter is a classic example of the successful competitive design. This car put American racing on the world map when it won the Le Mans. One of the unique features of this car was the use of hydraulic breaks that consisted of a mixture of glycerin and water.

Bentley 6.5-8 Liter LeMans 1926

Bentley 6.5-8 Liter LeMans 1926

The 1924 British Three Liter Bentley won the Le Mans and went on to even greater success throughout the roaring twenties until the company went bust in 1931 and was purchased by Rolls Royce. (It was rumored that this purchase was the result of Rolls wanting to build a racing car but this would not go with the image of grace and luxury so they purchased Bentley), however what happened was that Bentley became another motor car built for the rich and famous.

Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix 1927

Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix 1927

An Italian engineer by the name of Ettore Bugatti whose hobby was breeding race horses designed and built a breed of race cars that are still around today. The 1927 Type 35B with supercharger recorded 120 MPH at the GERMAN Grand Prix . The famous Horseshoe radiator was inspired by Ettore Bugatti's love for thoroughbred horses. Several from his stable went on to be winners in both Europe and North America. Counting the successful race cars of this period Bugatti was in the top bracket of winners. Part of the secret was that his cars could produce a high level of performance from relatively small engines. By keeping the size below the two and a half liter limit yet producing a performance equal to the larger classifications the cars won most of the races that they entered.

Delage 15-S-8 GPs 1927

Delage 15-S-8 GP sn-21642 1927

Following the same principle was the French Delage A with its one and a half liter engine. In 1927 the Delage Grand Prix topped 129 MPH and a year later hit 130 MPH. Despite the fact that Louis Delage lost the sight in one eye at birth he was a brilliant designer and engineer.

Harry Miller was born in Wisconsin and from an early age was fascinated by the motor car and it's potential. In 1928 a Miller race car was introduced with all wheel drive while three years earlier the Miller front wheel drive won three major races in a row. He maintained that the front wheel drive would be the car of the future...(Only time will tell if that's correct!!)

Duesenberg Special, 1935 "Mormon Meteor" Land Speed Record Car

Duesenberg Special, 1935  Mormon Meteor

In 1927 on the Daytona Beach Florida, a forty five liter, three and a half ton driving machine with two WWI aero engines placed in the front and the rear driven by a man named Segrave exceeded two hundred miles an hour. Eight years later the famous Bluebird driven by Campbell topped three hundred miles an hour. I think it would be fair to say that at this point in time the Motor car was here to stay.

Next time we will take a look at the 1930's and the way that the economic depression changed the industry.

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