Welcome to Who? What? Where? When? Why? on the World Wide Web. Your comments, criticism and suggestions: editors#8w.forix.com (replace # with @).
8W is forix.autosport.com's motorsport history section and covers the drivers, cars, circuits, eras and technology that shaped the face, sounds and smells of motor racing.

A year-by-year look at the Vandervell racing machines, including the Thinwall Specials



Related articles

1949 -- Thinwall Special No. 1 / Ferrari 125 GPC, 1.5 litre supercharged V-12 engine in a short wheelbase chassis with swing axle rear suspension. It was returned to Ferrari (after being examined by BRM). No chassis number has surfaced so far as to the identity of this car.

1950 -- Thinwall Special No. 2 / Ferrari 125 with a 1.5 litre supercharged, twin-plug V-12 in a long wheelbase chassis with swing axle rear suspension. Chassis number 125-C-02. It was returned to Ferrari to be rebuilt as the Thinwall Special No. 3.

1951 -- Thinwall Special No. 3 / Ferrari 375 with 4.5 litre normally aspired single-plug V-12 using a long wheelbase chassis with de Dion rear axle. Used the same chassis as Thinwall Special No. 2, 125-C-02. This car was retained by the team and broken up in 1952.

1952 -- Thinwall Special No. 4 / Ferrari 375 with 4.5 litre normally aspirated, twin-plug engine and de Dion rear axle using "Indianapolis" long wheelbase chassis. Chassis: 010-375. This car was retained by the team.

1954 -- Vanwall Special / Cooper-built chassis (Type 30) with Vandervell engine developed with Norton (upper) and Rolls-Royce (lower). The engine was developed in 2.0, 2.3 and 2.5 litre versions. After being crashed at Barcelona in 1954, it was not rebuilt.

1955 -- Vanwall / The team built four chassis to its own design. Chassis numbers were:

All were broken up at the end of the season and used as the basis for the 1956 cars.

1956 -- Vanwall / The team built four cars using the chassis as re-designed by Colin Chapman and the bodywork designed by Frank Costin. The cars had transverse leaf spring rear suspension. The cars were retained for 1957. Chassis numbers were:

1957 -- Vanwall / A total of 10 chassis planned. but no more than four fully assembled at any one time (well sort of - see below). The cars now had coil spring rear suspension. The first four chassis were those retained from 1956 with the remainder being built-up during the season. The chassis numbers were:

1958 -- Vanwall / The 1957 cars were retained with detail modifications to the suspension and bodywork. The chassis numbers:

1959 -- Vanwall / Three chassis were retained, the rest broken up. Chassis retained:

1960 -- Vanwall / In addition to the chassis retained for show (VW9) and demonstration (VW10) purposes only two chassis used in 1960:

1961 -- Vanwall / A rear-engine chassis was built for the Inter-Continental Formula series using a 2.6 litre Vanwall engine. Engines V4, V6 and V9 converted to rear-engined specification. Driven by John Surtees in its only race at Silverstone:

Note: There were only nine Vanwall engines used by the team, V1 through V9, the latter not being used during competition in a front-engined car.

Note from 1957:

For a fleeting few days - almost literally hours, in fact - in July 1957 there actually were FIVE Vanwalls in full kit. Here's how it happened:

As noted, the team had only one week between the GP de l'ACF at Rouen and the Reims race. Since it would have been quite out of the question to bring the transporter back to Acton, unload the Rouen cars (VW1 and VW4), load up the Reims cars (VW6, VW7, VW8), and return to the Continent, it was decided to send out both transporters to France.

One transporter was sent to Rouen with VW1 and VW4. The other to Reims with VW7 and VW8. After Rouen, on that Tuesday as a matter of fact, VW6 was flown to Calais. It was off-loaded and VW1 and VW4 loaded on the aircraft and returned to Southend. On Wednesday, these were back at the race shop in Acton undergoing the usual post-race disassembly.

Meanwhile, the transporter with VW7 and VW8 was in Reims where it was joined by the transporter carrying VW6 from Calais.

So, from roughly Monday through Wednesday of that week there were five fully-assembled Vanwalls lurking about. Scanning the rest of the 1957 season and the 1958 season, I haven't found a similar situation where there were more than four fully-assembled Vanwalls. I am certain that at some point during the 1958 season there might have been a fifth chassis missing only an engine but otherwise ready for use.

Vanwall Racing Logbook

Note: This racing log covers only the appearances of the Vanwall Special or the Vanwall machines.


05/15 BRDC International Trophy, Silverstone
  • Vanwall Special No.1 (2.0 litres), #17, Alan Brown, heat 1: 6th, final: retired, broken oil pipe
07/17 British GP, Silverstone
  • Vanwall Special No.1 (2.3 litres), #20, Peter Collins, retired, leaking cylinder head joint
09/05 Italian GP, Monza
  • Vanwall Special No.1 (2.3 litres), #10, Peter Collins, 7th place
09/25 Goodwood Trophy, Goodwood
  • Vanwall Special No.1 (2.5 litres), #8, Peter Collins, 2nd place
Woodcote Cup, Goodwood (Formula Libre)
  • Vanwall Special No.1, #8, Mike Hawthorn, 4th place
10/02 Daily Telegraph Trophy, Aintree
  • Vanwall Special No.1, #8, Mike Hawthorn, 2nd place
Formula Libre Race, Aintree
  • Vanwall Special No.1, #8, Mike Hawthorn, retired, accident - left road
10/24 Spanish GP, Pedralbes/Barcelona
  • Vanwall Special No.1. #42, Peter Collins, non-starter, accident during practice


05/07 BRDC International Trophy, Silverstone
  • VW1, #1, Mike Hawthorn; retired - oil leak
  • VW2, #2, Ken Wharton; accident - crashed
05/22 Monaco GP, Monte Carlo
  • VW1, #18, Mike Hawthorn; retired - throttle
  • VW2, #20, Ken Wharton; entry withdrawn
06/05 Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps
  • VW1, #41, Mike Hawthorn; retired-oil leak
07/16 British GP, Aintree
  • VW3, #28, Ken Wharton; 9th place, relieved by Harry Schell
  • VW2, #30, Harry Schell; retired - broken throttle pedal
07/30 BARC International Trophy, Crystal Palace
  • VW2, #2, Harry Schell; heat 2, 1st place (1st victory); final, 2nd place
08/13 Redex Trophy, Snetterton
  • VW2, #142, Harry Schell; 1st place
  • VW3, #149, Ken Wharton; 2nd place
Formula Libre Race, Snetterton
  • VW2, #142, Harry Schell; retired
09/11 Italian GP, Monza
  • VW2, #42, Harry Schell; retired - broken de Dion tube
  • VW4, #44, Ken Wharton; retired - broken injection pump mounting
09/24 International Gold Cup, Oulton Park
  • VW2, #7, Harry Schell; retired - broken driveshaft bolts
  • VW4, #8, Ken Wharton; entry withdrawn
  • VW3, #9, Desmond Titterington; 3rd place
10/01 Avon Trophy, Castle Combe
  • VW2, #26, Harry Schell; 1st place
Empire News Trophy (Formula Libre), Castle Combe
  • VW4, #26, Harry Schell; 1st place


05/05 BRDC International Trophy, Silverstone
  • VW2, #3, Stirling Moss; 1st place
  • VW1, #4, Harry Schell; retired - broken injection pipe
05/13 Monaco GP, Monte Carlo
  • VW2, #14, Maurice Trintignant; retired - overheating
  • VW1, #16, Harry Schell; retired - accident
06/03 Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps
  • VW1, #10, Harry Schell; 4th place
  • VW2, #12, Maurice Trintignant; retired - engine
07/01 GP de l'ACF, Reims
  • VW1, #22, Harry Schell; retired - engine, piston
  • VW2, #24, Mike Hawthorn; 10th, relieved by Harry Schell
  • VW3, #26, Colin Chapman; did not start - accident during practice
07/14 British GP, Silverstone
  • VW2, #16, Harry Schell; retired - blocked fuel system
  • VW4, #17, Maurice Trintignant; retired - blocked fuel system
  • VW1, #18, José Froilan Gonzalez; retired - broken drive shaft
09/02 Italian GP, Monza
  • VW1, #16, Piero Taruffi; retired - gearbox oil leak
  • VW2, #18, Harry Schell; retired - transmission
  • VW4, #20; Maurice Trintignant; retired - coil spring mounting


04/07 Syracuse GP, Siracusa
  • VW1/engine V6, #20, Stirling Moss; 3rd place
  • VW3/V4, #4, Tony Brooks; retired - split water pipe
04/22 Glover Trophy, Goodwood
  • VW3/V4, #7, Stirling Moss; retired - broken throttle linkage
  • VW7/V1, #6, Tony Brooks; 6th place
05/19 Monaco GP, Monte Carlo
  • VW3/V4, #18, Stirling Moss; accident - crashed at chicane
  • VW7/V1, #20, Tony Brooks; 2nd place
07/07 GP de l'ACF, Rouen-les-Essarts
  • VW4/V4, #18, Stuart Lewis-Evans; retired - overheating
  • VW1/V2, #20, Roy Salvadori; retired - engine, broken valve springs
07/14 Reims GP, Reims
  • VW8/V6, #26, Stuart Lewis-Evans; 3rd place
  • VW7/V5, #28, Roy Salvadori; 5th place
07/20 British GP, Aintree
  • VW1/V3, #18, Stirling Moss; retired - magneto, while driven by Tony Brooks
  • VW4/V4, #20, Tony Brooks; 1st place, relieved by Stirling Moss
  • VW5/V2, #22, Stuart Lewis-Evans; disqualified, incomplete bodywork (no bonnet)
08/04 German GP, Nürburgring
  • VW5/V3, #10, Stirling Moss; 5th place
  • VW1/V2, #11, Tony Brooks; 9th place
  • VW4/V4, #12, Stuart Lewis-Evans; accident - crashed
08/18 Pescara GP, Pescara
  • VW5/V4, #26, Stirling Moss; 1st place, fastest lap
  • VW7/V5, #28, Tony Brooks; retired - engine, seized piston
  • VW1/V6, #30, Stuart Lewis-Evans; 5th place
09/08 Italian GP, Monza
09/28 Demonstration Run, Goodwood
  • VW5/V4, Stirling Moss; retired - broken valve
10/27 Moroccan GP, Casablanca
  • VW5, #20, Stirling Moss; did not start - driver ill
  • VW10/V5, #22, Tony Brooks; retired - magneto
  • VW1/V7, #24, Stuart Lewis-Evans; 2nd place


05/18 Monaco GP, Monte Carlo
  • VW7/V2, #28, Stirling Moss; retired - ignition
  • VW10/V5, #30, Tony Brooks; retired - plug thread stripped
  • VW5/V1, #32, Stuart Lewis-Evans; retired - overheating
05/26 Dutch GP, Zandvoort
  • VW10/V7, #1, Stirling Moss; 1st place, fastest lap
  • VW7/V2, #2, Tony Brooks; retired - handling
  • VW5/V1, #3, Stuart Lewis-Evans; retired - broken valve spring holder
06/15 Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps
  • VW10/V7, #2, Stirling Moss; retired - engine, bent valves
  • VW5/V5, #4, Tony Brooks; 1st place
  • VW4/v1, #6, Stuart Lewis-Evans; 3rd place
07/06 GP de l'ACF, Reims
  • VW10/V1, #8, Stirling Moss; 2nd place
  • VW5/V5, #10, Tony Brooks; retired - gearbox
  • VW9/V2, #12, Stuart Lewis-Evans; retired - engine
07/19 British GP, Silverstone
08/03 German GP, Nürburgring
  • VW10/V7, #7, Stirling Moss; retired - magneto, fastest lap
  • VW4/V4, #8, Tony Brooks; 1st place
08/24 Portuguese GP, Oporto
  • VW10/V1, #2, Stirling Moss; 1st place
  • VW5/V4, #4, Tony Brooks; retired - spun, stalled engine
  • VW6/V2, #6, Stuart Lewis-Evans; 3rd place
09/07 Italian GP, Monza
  • VW10/V2, #26, Stirling Moss; retired-gearbox
  • VW5/V1, #28, Tony Brooks; 1st place
  • VW6/V4, #30, Stuart Lewis-Evans; retired-overheating
10/19 Moroccan GP, Casablanca
  • VW5/V1, #8, Stirling Moss; 1st place, fastest lap
  • VW10/V7, #10, Tony Brooks; retired - engine, valve failure
  • VW4/V5, #12, Stuart Lewis-Evans; accident - crashed, driver injured (burns)


07/18 British GP, Aintree
  • VW5/V6, #20, Tony Brooks; retired - misfiring


04/18 Glover Trophy, Goodwood
  • VW5/V6, #6, Tony Brooks; 7th place
07/03 GP de l'ACF, Reims


05/06 BRDC International Trophy (Intercontinental Formula), Silverstone
  • VW14, #28, John Surtees; 5th place
The racing record for chassis VW6:
  • 8 September 1957/ Italian GP - Monza; engine no. V6; #22, Tony Brooks, 8th place and fastest lap.
  • 19 July 1958/ British GP - Silverstone; engine no. V1; #9, Stuart Lewis-Evans, 4th place.
  • 24 August 1958/ Portuguese GP - Oporto; engine no. V2; #6, Stuart Lewis-Evans, 3rd place.
  • 7 September 1958/ Italian GP - Monza; engine no. V4; #30, Stuart Lewis-Evans, retired on lap 31.