Changing world of motor racing.

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I found this film of the 1957 German Grand Prix. Fascinating comparison with the racing today. Not a crash barrier to be seen, front wheel drive cars, pit stops that take up to a minute. The thing that surprised me the most was the fact that there was a formula 2 race run at the same time! And the drivers who finished 2nd and 3rd were genuinely congratulatory of the winner.

The first BMC Mini Cooper was made 4 years after this race and the largest engine they ever got was 1275cc.
However there was at least one Cooper in that race placing 5th but they had nothing to do with the Mini Cooper other than John Cooper, were rear-engined, rear-wheel drive using Coventry Climax 1.5 or 2L motors.
Yes by era I meant before I was born

Theres a stunt driver vid about showing 60s BMC cooper sporting the very 1.8 litre engine I mention being quite an avid mini nut, I know the 1275gt was the usual cooper model.

Thinking on, it may be that very rear drive mini that used the Climax engine, and not 1.8 as I recalled (probably bad recollection, but I knew it was much larger than the Cooper engine for sure)

Also I believe the 1071cc "s" model was rallied quite a lot. Incidentally my favourite of the mk1 era Morris mini, I believe this was the cooper S upgrade to the standard 850cc mini.

I've yet to squeeze myself into the 1430cc charged cooper I dreamt about as a youth. Being 6'3" didn't help!

But...dont get me started on the Climax engines (I lived about 5 mins walk from the factory in Coventry) -

Didn't Climax engines find their way into Hillman Imps?

Another brilliant car, I'd love to own, but struggle to fold myself into.
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Yes I knew they were fire pump engines too.

Not a engine expert (I dont drive), but the non push rod Climax engine (which I believe, or was lead to believe was used in Hillmans for racing), was far more tunable than the Morris A series, being as it didn't have a push rod valve train, so didn't bend push rods at high RPMs. Unlike the A series.

I often write many things, wrong and correct, without consulting Wikipedia. Thankfully, for once, I wasnt faraway from the truth!
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Yeah I guess in hindsight a 3 port exhaust manifold/header wasnt the smartest idea.

Still, there are (fairly sure) other performance engines from far more modern times, sharing the same "failing".

It beats taking a V8, knocking two cylinders off the block, and calling it a V6 (without any firing changes) - and that was popular, for a while.
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Hillman imp was my first car, easy to work on though my parents were a bit peeved off when i had the gearbox in bits on the dining table! the good old days

It was my first car too. OBH773L. Endless head gasket problems, even after a new short engine was installed. I got so I could change the gasket on the drive with the engine still in situ.

I well remember (long story behind it) having to remove the starter motor, with the engine still running!, on the hard shoulder of the M5 near Taunton. Got back to Manchester with no stalls!

Cooling was always an issue - in Summer you needed the heater on full and windows open to keep the engine cool - the heater matrix was at the front and was quite useful as extra cooling. Not nice to drive like that!

One night the drivers door got smashed whilst parked. Could not replace the door as no tool was available that could shift the bolts, even the departmental impact driver could not shift them.

Eventually sold it to an older lady who used it get around a private estate.
My dad had a Hillman Imp. Lovely car but not reliable. There was a TV program on them a few years ago. Several interesting things on it. The inward tilt of the front wheels (causing terrible uneven tyre wear) was a result of the lights not quite being the legal height above the ground, and the swing arm front suspension needing to be raised.
The front wheel camber would change depending on the amount of fuel in the front mounted petrol tank and the outside tread on the front wheels would wear quicker than the inside. And the engine could rev up to about 8k before valve bounce (even higher on tuned motors, check out the tacho on this YouTube )
I think there was a modified version of the same motor that was used for the early Godiva fire engine water pumps
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The Climax firepump engine came first, then the car engines then the race car engines.

Us Brits did come out with some bonkers suspension designs. The worst was from Triumph where they managed to combine the complexity of independant suspension with the unsprung weight penalties of live axles.
I'm no expert either, but I've owned a number of British sports cars, have worked on many as a hobby, and currently own two Lotus Elans, a Triumph TR6, and a couple of Alfa Romeos for a different perspective.

For two years I hosted and produced a podcast I created called Vintage Racing Podcast, in which I interviewed race car drivers who were winners on the track in period and today, race engine builders, race car preparers, vintage car preparers, and many others. I'm currently building, with much assistance, a Cosworth BDA engine with my good friend who recently retired after 45 years in the business, about 30 of those as a pinnacle vintage race engine builder and race car prep shop owner.

This all has shown me that an engine as "crude", one might opine, as the BMC engines were so ubiquitous and have been so popular for many reasons, including ease of manufacture, low cost (minimal development over the decades), and size (not much you can stuff into a Mini unless you stretch the subframe and change the front bonnet bodywork, which is done here to accommodate Honda engines by the Ricky Racers). The intake ports were also siamesed, but as mondogenerator noted, this has been copied in many more current designs to good effect (e.g. Cosworth engine I'm building). The limitations of Siamesed exhaust ports are much more difficult to overcome.

Interviewing so many in the vintage racing hobby/business and attending many years of vintage races (even serving as tech inspector) has also shown how much subsequent development has occurred with the mechanicals of each motor and car; performance today typically exceeds that in period. There are also those who simply favor one design over another, even if their selected car or motor is not as competitive as another.

Don't know about a 1.8 liter in a Mini, but they were of course used in many street cars (MGB among them), as well as race cars. I doubt it would be possible to fit it into a Mini, particularly because there is no integral gearbox available for it I know of, which is one of the most profound features of the Mini. I have seen engines mounted in the rear of the car using transaxles, but that certainly wasn't done back in period on the race track. If someone managed it back in the day, I'd actually be intrigued how the implemented it. I do know of a Fiat 500 with a Lotus Twin Cam stuffed into the rear...
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