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  • And, would Peter Revson had lived if Southgate had not designed so much titanium into the DN3?


    • I added some decals...


      • "Would Peter Revson had lived if Southgate had not designed so much Titanium into the DN3"?

        Read an interview by Southgate about this, where he said that the use of titanium (it was not a metal easy to work with, requiring specialized tools, and specific finishing/ polishing techniques to eliminate rough edges) on the suspension (a rough finished ball joint that was missed was what failed) eventually led him to replace ALL of the titanium suspension parts with steel ones after Revson was killed. Was the titanium manufacturer supplying sponsor money, and was that the reason they were using it? Who knows.......

        But, you might as well ask that of Colin Chapman and his penchant for "lightness" in his designs, as Jim Clark (arguably the greatest race driver of modern times) had his career cut short from a F2 race at Hockeheim, Germany in 1968, when it was thought the suspension had collapsed (some thought a tire failure; no way to prove). One thing was you knew it wasn't Jimmy Clark.......

        Or, how about Porsche, whose quest for "lightness" and top speed led them to produce the 917 , an initially unstable and flimsy-chassied car that split in half during testing (luckily the driver was unhurt), but killed privateer John Wolfe at Le Mans in 1968 on a first lap crash? It wasn't until the next year, when John Wyer was contracted to run the team, did the aerodynamic issues get fixed (over the Porsche representatives objections) during testing, eventually leading to the 917K (for "Kurz", or short tail). How about the fact that Porsche used MAGNESIUM (a highly flammable material, that burns even more fiercely when water is thrown on it) on "special" versions of their tube chassis, on not only the 908 but the 917 series (including some of the Can Am 917-10 & 30 cars).........

        Here is the worst example (to me) of a manufacturer ignoring expert advice and having the point proven tragically: 1968 Honda RA302 Fi car: air-cooled V8, Magnesium engine block AND Monocoque chassis/ body, all in the chase for "lightness". Built by Honda, sent to the French GP with NO prior testing by principle driver John Surtees. He tried it, said it was both unstable AND a potential "deathtrap", and refused to drive it. He also asked that the chassis be redone in aluminum for safety reasons. He ran the race in his RA301 V12 (an updated version of the previous years Lola Indy chassis he won at Monza with). Did Honda listen to their driver? Hell, no! Because they were releasing a series of air-cooled passenger cars in France through their distributorships, they entered the car privately, and had 40 year old Frenchman Jo Schlesser (known for sportscar racing, getting his first F1 start) drive the car. Within several laps on a wet track, he crashed heavily, turned over, and the car (full of fuel and again, made of magnesium) burned fiercely, especially when the course workers kept throwing water on it, making it worse. Schlesser hopefully died of smoke inhalation prior to being burned to death. There is a video on Youtube of this tragedy, as the race was not stopped, but proceeded with the cars (including Surtees) passing this lap after lap. Ironically, Surtees had his best finish (2nd) of the year. His point about the car was proven in the worse possible way; but believe it or not, Honda didn't listen! They built another identical car (now in the Honda museum), brought it to Monza, and expected Surtees to race it! He refused, for the same reasons as before. This effectively ended Surtees relationship with Honda, because they had spent all their time developing this "mobile fire bomb" at the expense of the V12 car, and when Surtees said "no", they ran out the year (with the V12 car being left as is by the factory) and dropped F1.

        Truth is, most every F1 design of the era was not capable of protecting it's driver in a crash; same with Indy cars. The drivers were surrounded by a "fuel bathtub", wheels & suspension parts routinely came off and hit (or skewered) the drivers, and track safety (as well as medical treatment on track) was either non-existent or in it's infancy. Frankly, so many drivers in ALL forms of motorsports were maimed or killed in the decades of the 60"s, 70's, 80's, you had to wonder if it was really worth it to those drivers..........
        Last edited by Speedhoppy; 08-04-2017, 07:21 PM. Reason: Additional text/ correction


        • Southgate was the chief designer. They were experimenting with titanium parts on the suspension. They took it to S Africa for testing before the gran prix there. A ball joint failed and Reveson went under the guard rail. Southgate said all parts were changed back to steel after that.

          I know everyone was experimenting with lighter materials, at different expenses, but my question about Revson was purely theorhetical, speculating what might have been had Shadow kept their original designer. Maybe they wouldnt have been as successful.


          • Ntxslotcars,
            I am not disputing or arguing with your question; I in fact agree with your theory. I was just expanding on it, with some extreme examples that ended tragically.

            Unfortunately, advances in technology sometimes is proceeded by not only failure, but tragedy. Auto racing (with it's quest for more speed) shows plenty of examples of this over a long period of time (and is still occurring today).......


            • I know. No arguement here. Are you sure that wasnt 1968 with Surtees and Honda? Clark had a rookie mechanic with him for that race. Jim was worried in practice because he couldnt get any heat in the tires for grip. I think it was a cold damp day. Who knows what really happened. I havent ever found a driver account telling what he saw. As trajic as that was, I think the death of Jochen Rindt was more directly linked to Colin Chapmans decisions.


              • Ntxslotcars,
                You are correct, it was 1968. That was a typo; since corrected. And you are correct about Rindt; that was a front stub axle breakage (the Lotus had inboard front brakes), and Chapman was questioned about the parts quality.

                Come to think of it, Chapman's flimsy wings on his Lotus 49's (which collapsed twice and nearly killed both driver and bystanders), led directly to the FIA banning suspension mounted wings, which was a shame; they should have had standards for mounting the wings correctly.......

                There were questions about broken suspension parts at Indianapolis as well. 1968 the Lotus Turbine car crashed and a wheel broke off and came back and killed Mike Spence. The suspension components were not up to USAC specs, and Granatelli got all of them replaced in time for the race In 1969, the Lotus AWD car that Andretti was driving for STP had a suspension breakage; the subsequent crash had a fire and Andretti was burned. USAC examined the car, and found that the metallurgy on the suspension was again not up to spec; Andretti ended up driving a year old car, and won his only 500. Lotus never returned to Indy again.........
                Last edited by Speedhoppy; 08-03-2017, 08:32 PM. Reason: Additional sentencing.......


                • Originally posted by Ntxslotcars View Post
                  I know. No arguement here. Are you sure that wasnt 1968 with Surtees and Honda? Clark had a rookie mechanic with him for that race. Jim was worried in practice because he couldnt get any heat in the tires for grip. I think it was a cold damp day. Who knows what really happened. I havent ever found a driver account telling what he saw. As trajic as that was, I think the death of Jochen Rindt was more directly linked to Colin Chapmans decisions.
                  Jim Endruweit was at Hockenheim with Clark. He'd been a mechanic for Team Lotus for ten years.

                  The suspension components were not up to USAC specs, and Granatelli got all of them replaced in time for the race
                  Mike Spence's fatal head injury was caused by a part broken by the crash. (It was similar to the swinging suspension/wheel that killed Scott Brayton in 1996.) No defect was found in Spence's car after the accident. The other Lotus 56s were grounded as a precaution. The next day, May 8, the other Lotus 56s were inspected. No defect was found, and they were allowed to return to the track.

                  Last edited by thatguy01; 08-03-2017, 08:50 PM.


                  • Thanks for the redirect Guy!
                    Have you ever heard a driver account of Clark's crash?


                    • I've never heard of any driver account of Clark's fatal crash.


                      • Gentlemen, I didn't mean to create a "he said/she said" kind of situation here with speculation. You can go on Google and pull up video of Jim Clark's fatal crash; one can read any number of opinions about the crashes at Indianapolis with Lotus cars (or elsewhere). You read the stories and opinions, and you decide for yourself what you feel makes sense.

                        The plain fact is there have been a LOT of crashes with Lotus cars due to parts breakage; a LOT of DNF's with Lotus cars due to parts breakage. Is Colin Chapman simply a genius, or did he cut corners too much in terms of achieving lightness in his cars? Maybe, he was both......


                        • That's what she said...


                          • Bryant was an interesting guy. He designed the TI-22 around Ti components (hubs , stub axles , suspension arms , etc and alloy wheels) he bought in from AAR. They are all adapted Indy car parts as on the McLeagle .

                            It was through both of their connections to AAR that Bryant and Southgate were introduced to titanium components .

                            Bryant had figured out that the next generation of Can Am cars needed to be much smaller and lighter with something between 40 and 50% of the fuel capacity . He had realized that a 1200lb racecar that had to carry 700lbs of fuel created a lap time deficiency way in excess of the time it would take to make a refueling stop .

                            Revson's crash may have been caused by a faulty ball joint but his death was more attributable to faulty guard rail installation . If the car hadn't gone under the rail his injuries may very well have not been fatal . Faulty guard rail installation was a recurring theme in accidents and deaths in the early 70's .

                            Southgate had been working with and using Ti components on cars since 67-68 . Revson's crash came in '74 and is more an indictment of man's ability to make a mistake producing the actual part than a condemnation of the material's use .


                            • If you want to blame someone for Clark's death Jim Hall of Chaparral fame is as if not more likely a target than Chapman was .
                              After the crash Chapman had RAF Farnborough , England's equivalent of our NTSB take the car and all the parts to do a thorough forensic examination . No structural damage was found on the car or any of the suspension parts not consistent with accident damage . There was though evidence of a small puncture in the right rear tire and some beginnings of internal delamination indicating overheating from low air pressure . This information was confirmed with Firestone , the manufacturer of the tire ,
                              The conclusion drawn was that an under-inflated/flat tire de-beaded from the rim at speed causing the crash . This is also consistent with the single skid mark on the track and Jack Brabham's statements on the condition of Clark's rear tire on the previous lap .

                              If Jim Hall hadn't shown the world that a 6" tread tire worked better on an 8" bead rim , an 8" tire on a 10" rim ans so on Clark's tire might not have violently decompressed . Does this make it Hall's fault ? I think not .

                              Later on , our man Bryant re-enters the picture as he starts to have this decompression problem on the 13" wheel Shadow with "fully inflated" tires . This led them to start screwing the tire beads to the wheels .


                              • Tom Woolfe was an American writer of such books as "The Right Stuff". John Woolfe was the English PRIVATEER racer killed at LeMans in 1969 in a 917 he had bought . As it turns out the two words "privateer' and "bought" are central to what happened . Woolfe's greatest claim to fame is in that the manner of his death brought about the end of the "LeMans" start .
                                Porsche realized they had bad aero-instabiity issues with the 917's in 1969 . They went to Woolfe and asked him to withdraw the car . He declined that request along with one that he let Lindge his vastly more experienced team mate start the race . Woolfe did not want to do this as he wished to be seen in the car at the start .
                                He crashed on the first lap and was killed when he was ejected from the car at speed because at the start he had not taken the time to put on the seat belts .
                                Porsche had tried to avoid an outcome like this but was thwarted by the fact Woolfe owned the car outright and made his own choices about operating it .


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