Formula One

Vanwall continuation cars usher in a new era for the legendary Formula One team

Motor racing boss Tony Vandervell (standing behind car) inspecting a new motor car with a group of mechanics, April 12th 1952.

Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In the early 1950s, Tony Vandervell took the considerable money he made producing thin-wall bearings and his passion for speed, marrying them together and forming Vanwall. The racing team constructed their first Formula One cars for the 1954 season and achieved their first win at the 1957 British Grand Prix, becoming the first British-built car to win a World Championship race. The company won the first F1 Constructors' Championship in 1958 with six wins.

In those days Vanwall cars, with Stirling Moss behind the wheel, were known for their unique engineering. Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, designed their chassis. Famed automotive engineer Frank Costin, best known for his advancement of monocoque chassis design, created the car's aerodynamics.

1957 Pescara Grand Prix Stirling Moss of Great Britain driving the #26 Vandervell Products Vanwall VW5 takes the checkered flag to win the Pescara Grand Prix on August 18, 1957 at the Pescara Circuit near Pescara, Italy. Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Their cars used disc brakes rather than the drum brakes that were popular in F1 at the time. This is cited as the main advantage Vanwall had over Ferrari on the track.

By late 1959, the failing health of Vandervell caused the team to pull out of racing. The Vanwall name was dormant until 2013 when Iain Sanderson purchased the trademark.

Sanderson will now offer five continuation cars for sale out of six constructed. The remaining car will be heart of a Vanwall Historic Racing Team.

"The Vanwall name is too important to consign to history," said Sanderson. "The Vanwall story is untold to many, but it is a great British tale of innovation and achievement and shows what happens when the right team come together and push themselves fearlessly to reach a clearly defined goal. On this anniversary, we think the time is right to celebrate this great British story of success. Faithfully recreating the iconic 1958 championship winning car with six 100-percent accurate and authentic continuation cars is a fitting tribute to their historic success. The DNA that made those cars so successful also serves as an inspiring foundation for the future of the Vanwall marque, which I look forward to sharing in due course."

The vehicles will take thousands of hours to build and will be crated by historic racing and vehicle restoration experts from Hall and Hall in Lincolnshire, England. The continuation cars will have a 270 brake horsepower 2,489cc Vanwall engine powering them. Each engine has been engineered using original drawings and blueprints from the 1950s.

The cost of each car is £1.65 million excluding VAT.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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Automotive toys

McLaren and LEGO team up on two new models

The automaker released two LEGO models for the holiday season.

McLaren

McLaren cars are among the quickest and most sought after vehicles on the planet, but not everyone can swallow their six-figure price tags. There's good news, though. Those of us who aren't able to get in the driver's seat can pick up the new LEGO kits and build our own mini-McLarens at home. The automaker partnered with the toy brand to offer two models for the holidays.

McLaren The open-top McLaren Elva in LEGO form.McLaren

McLaren is also offering auto-themed luggage from Tumi and a special line of clothing, but that's not why where here. We're most interested in the LEGO versions of the McLaren Elva and McLaren Senna GTR. However, with hundreds of pieces each, these aren't the simplest of toys. The Senna GTR LEGO replica comes in 830 pieces and features a V8 engine with moving pistons, opening dihedral doors, and a deep blue livery.

The McLaren Elva is *only* 263 pieces and replicates the cleverly designed, super-aerodynamic open-top car. McLaren says that the real car uses aero to shelter its occupants from wind. There is no windshield and no windows on the car, both of which are details that look great in the blocky LEGO format.

McLaren McLaren also worked with Tumi to develop car-themed luggage.McLaren

If you're itching to hand-assemble either McLaren LEGO model at home, the Senna costs $49.99 and the Elva costs $19.99.

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