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Thread: Photos: The Dean Lester Collection - Part 1

  1. #41
    Without doubt one of the most significant race cars of all time, the magnificent Chaparral 2E. This car was the brainchild of its owner Jim Hall, who had two of them made in 1966, for he and Phil Hill to drive. One was built from scratch, while the other was built from a wrecked 1965 Chaparral 2C.

    The 2E used an alloy tub, originally designed by Chevrolet R&D for their 1964 Grand Sport IIb, but greatly redesigned and improved by Chaparral. Hall had close GM ties. Chevy R&D also supplied the very special small block Chevy engine with aluminium block and heads, as well as the custom made hydraulic torque converter and magnesium cased 3-speed transaxle. So the Chaparrals essentially used semi-automatic gearboxes.

    Race teams had been experimenting with aerodynamics in Group 7 sports car racing for a few years, and cars were slowly sprouting front and rear wings. But Hall was really the first to actually attempt to manipulate the air movement around and inside the car to help with both increasing downforce and reducing drag.

    The most notable feature of the 2E is its tall rear aerofoil. Up to this point, rear wings had been mounted directly onto the vehicles body. While this helped improved downforce, the constant increase and reduction in downforce based on the vehicles speed made it hard to find a spring rate that worked in all situations. This is because the downforce was being applied to the body, and not the tyres.

    Hall had already attempted moving aerodynamics with his 2C of 1965. It featured a large rear ‘flipper’ spoiler, attached to the bodywork, which could be activated by the driver. Thanks to the Chevy R&D automatic gearbox, the Chaparral drivers didn’t have to press the clutch every time they changed gear. They still had to change gear manually by hand, but all they needed to do was ease off the throttle slightly, and select the next gear.

    The 2Cs were set up for left foot braking. But in addition, there was another pedal where the clutch would normally be. This pedal activated the rear flipper wing. The wing was flattened out on the straights to lessen downforce and drag, then flipped back up again for corners to provide downforce.

    The same theory was brought across to the 2E for 1966, but instead of activating the flipper, it was the tall rear aerofoil that was being moved. The difference was, whereas the 2C had a body mounted rear spoiler, the aerofoil on the 2E sat atop a pair of tall struts which connected directly to the rear wheels hubs. That meant the downforce was being applied directly to the tyres, and not the body, which did away with the requirement for increased spring rates.

    In addition, the 2Es had hip-mounted radiators, which freed up space inside the nose to further manipulate air flow. Inside the nose was a pair of flaps, which spun much like a carburettor butterfly.

    So when the driver was travelling along a straight, he’d press the left pedal, the rear aerofoil would flatten out, reducing downforce and drag, and at the same time, the flaps in the nose would close off the holes, which balanced the changing downforce from the rear wing. When he took his foot off the pedal to compress the brake, the rear aerofoil would flip forward, and the nose flaps would open, to greatly increase downforce through corners.

    There were numerous other ground breaking features in the 2Es. Remember, in 1966, Formula 1 cars had no aerodynamics at all. It was the 2E that influenced the hub mounted aerofoils in both F1, and the Can-Am. By 1969, most front running Can-Am cars featured these before the FIA banned them due to failures in F1. However, none of these could be activated by the driver. They sat in a fixed position.

    Given the impact Hall’s designs had in the area of aerodynamics, it seems crazy that Chaparral recorded only a single race victory from five years in the Can-Am series.

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  2. #42
    Originally poted by Steve Holmes
    Yes by all means Ray.
    Seems that it's unnecessary now, Steve, as Ken has explained it all. Some differences in the local terrain, especially with the hills facing different directions.

    These are such good pics, however, that I might put a pointer on TNF to encourage others to come and have a look.
    Last edited by Ray Bell; 04-02-2018 at 10:33 PM.

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell View Post
    Seems that it's unnecessary now, Steve, as Ken has explained it all. Some differences in the local terrain, especially with the hills facing different directions.

    These are such good pics, however, that I might put a pointer on TNF to encourage others to come and have a look.
    Sorry Ray, I hadn't read Ken's reply before replying to your post.

  4. #44
    Jim Hall raced the 2E again in 1967, although the car underwent enough changes it was also given a new designation, the 2G (the 2E was an endurance race car). The most notable change was the addition of a new Chevy R&D supplied 427 cu.in big block, cast in aluminium. Hall actually felt the bigger motor was not a good addition to the car, making it more ponderous. Numerous other changes were made as well as a great effort to reduce weight, but the 2G was around 50kg heavier than the 2E.

    Other notable features were the re-shaping of the chassis tub, which was now more squared off on the bottom edge. In addition, wider wheels and tyres required mild flaring of the rear wheel arches, plus there was a large snorkel above the engine to feed cool air to the injectors.

    In late 1966, Hap Sharp drove the second 2E, but a rear wing failure saw the car wrecked. The only surviving 2E, which was originally the 2C from 1965, was the car upgraded to the 2G, which Hall himself drove.

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  5. #45
    Hall was building a new car, the Chaparral 2H, which was supposed to contest the 1968 Can-Am. But this car was massively radical, and its design and build were delayed, thus requiring the 2G be upgraded and raced once more for 1968. The biggest change was the massive flares grafted into the bodywork to house the latest wide wheels and tyres. From the attractive 2E of 1966, it had now become quite ugly. But regardless, even by 1968, it was still a front running car, and should have won at least one race that season, if not for mechanical problems.

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  6. #46
    Brilliant shot here from Dean showing the side profile of the 1968 2G.

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  7. #47
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    Fantastic photos and history. Thanks Steve

  8. #48
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    In 2005 the Monterey Historic Meeting featured Jim Hall and a Tribute to Chaparral.
    It was a marvelous sight to see some of these cars out on the course and although I have no decent photos of that day, here is a bit of what Pete Lyons had written in the program.
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    (Ken H )
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 04-05-2018 at 12:51 AM.

  9. #49
    Although a little out of the way the Chaparral display at the oil museum in Midland TX is well worth a visit. All the cars that still exist are on display and because I was the only visitor from Australia that day I got to sit in the 2F coupe which was out in the museum's workshop. Wow what a compact car the BBC water pump nestles in your left ear. It is RHD for some reason. The 2F has no roll cage, fits like a glove and must have been one of the rawest driving experiences in any closed car ever. Hap Sharp ran an oil drilling company which is how he knew Jim Hall.When Jim's parents and sister were killed in a plane crash he returned to Texas from California and started building his cars in one of the most remote places in Texas. Jim's brother owned the Chevrolet dealership in Midland and Chevy tail lights were used on Chaparrals.

  10. #50
    Sounds like I'll have to include that in my itinerary when I go to the USA again next year...

    Thanks for that tip, Bill.

    I never knew that about closing off the front air ducts, either. Very clever stuff.

  11. #51
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    Ray,
    Here is a copy of the Chaparral Gallery at Midland, Texas brochure. (2005 edition )

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    Perhaps one day I will make it to Midland, Texas.
    Ken H

  12. #52
    Great stuff guys, thanks for your posts. Its interesting, the thing that killed the Can-Am series was the same thing that is happening in modern Formula 1. The SCCA started enforcing more restrictive aerodynamic rules, particularly when Hall began racing the Chaparral 2J in 1970. The Can-Am allowed huge freedom in aerodynamics, some of which was successful, and some not.

    But once they started restricting the aero, it placed greater emphasis on engines. It then became a prerequisite to either be a car manufacturer, or team up with a car manufacturer, and build more advanced engines with bigger horsepower. With restrictions on aero, engines were the only area where a team could gain an advantage. When Penske teamed up with Porsche and built the 917/10 for 1972, it killed the Can-Am. McLaren knew they couldn't compete, because they weren't teamed with a car manufacturer. So they quit.

    The same thing is happening in modern F1, with its power units. Aero is no longer king, its horsepower. Mercedes-Benz has the best engine, and therefore the best car. They only supply their engines to teams they know can't beat them. But it no longer matters how good a cars aero is. If it doesn't have the right engine, it can't win.

    Funny how history repeats itself, and people don't seem to learn.

  13. #53

  14. #54
    This is a mid-pack grid shot from the 1968 Laguna Seca Can-Am race, which produced probably the most unlikely result in the entire history of the series. The blue McLaren in the foreground is that of Jerry Hansen, who qualified 11th. Two rows behind Hansen is the elderly #62 McLaren M1B of John Cannon, who qualified 15th, six seconds off pole. But qualifying was dry, and the race was run in the wet.

    On the morning of the race, Cannon met with Firestone technician Bruce Harre to ask him which tyres he recommended for the race. Harre showed him a set of intermediates, which had been ordered for an F5000 competitor, but which weren't required. Cannon fitted the intermediates for the practice session prior to the race, did a couple of laps, and parked his car.

    Come the race start, and Cannon quickly moved forward, and had displaced Mark Donohue for fourth by lap 5. The next lap he passed Hulme and Peter Revson, and on lap 7, passed McLaren for the lead. He was lapping 2 seconds faster than the next fastest car, in a three year old tube-frame McLaren customer car. Then he went and lapped the entire field. The rain never let up, and Cannon won by more than a lap. His winners purse was just under $20,000, which would have bought his old McLaren four times over. Cool story, and one of the few real upsets of the Can-Am.

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  15. #55
    Bruce McLaren, chatting with (I believe) Carroll Smith. The guy to the right of photo looks a lot like Allan Moffat, but probably isn't. I know Moffat and Smith were good friends, and Smith actually ran Moffat's race team in Australia for a year or so in 1977.

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  16. #56
    Jim Clark in the Lotus 40. This car never raced in the Can-Am series, Colin Chapman only delved briefly in American big-bore sports car racing in the pre-Can-Am days of the USRRC.

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  17. #57
    Jerry Grant's Lola T70.

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  18. #58
    Stirling and actress Judy Carne.

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  19. #59
    It's not conclusive, but the Moffat lookalike is in the Penske garage with a number that looks a lot like the one Sam Posey (who drove Trans-Am for Penske) on his belt.

    I don't see Moffat being in such a position...

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Holmes View Post
    Jim Clark in the Lotus 40. This car never raced in the Can-Am series, Colin Chapman only delved briefly in American big-bore sports car racing in the pre-Can-Am days of the USRRC.

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    It is 50 years ago this weekend that we lost the great Jim Clark.
    R.I.P. Jimmy. You are still missed.

    (Ken Hyndman )

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