The AC Cobra, sold as the Shelby Cobra in the United States, is an Anglo-American sports car with a Ford V8 engine, produced intermittently in both the UK and the US since 1962. Like many British manufacturers, AC Cars had been using the Bristol straight-6 engine in its small-volume production, including its AC Ace two-seater roadster; this had a hand-built body with a steel tube frame, aluminium body panels that were made using English wheeling machines. The engine was a pre-World War II design by BMW. Bristol decided in 1961 to cease production of its engine and instead to use Chrysler 313 cu in V8 engines. AC started using the 2.6 litre Ford Zephyr engine in its cars. In September 1961, American automotive designer Carroll Shelby wrote to AC asking if they would build him a car modified to accept a V8 engine. AC agreed, provided. Shelby went to Chevrolet to see if they would provide him with engines, but not wanting to add competition to the Corvette they said no. However, Ford wanted a car that could compete with the Corvette and they happened to have a brand new engine which could be used in this endeavor: the Windsor 221 in³ engine – a new lightweight, thin-wall cast small-block V8.
Ford provided Shelby with two engines. In January 1962 mechanics at AC Cars in Thames Ditton, Surrey designed the "AC Ace 3.6" prototype with chassis number CSX2000. AC had made most of the modifications needed for the small-block V8 when they installed the 2.6 litre inline 6 Ford Zephyr engine, including the extensive rework of the AC Ace's front end bodywork. The only modification of the front end of the first Cobra from that of the "AC Ace 2.6" was the steering box, which had to be moved outward to clear the wider V8 engine. The most important modification was the fitting of a stronger rear differential to handle the increased engine power. A Salisbury 4HU unit with inboard disc brakes to reduce unsprung weight was chosen instead of the old E. N. V. unit. It was the same unit used on the Jaguar E-Type. After testing and modification, the engine and transmission were removed and the chassis was air-freighted to Shelby in Los Angeles on 2 February 1962, By this time the small-block's displacement was increased to 260 in3.
Shelby's team paired this engine along with a transmission into CSX2000, in less than eight hours at Dean Moon's shop in Santa Fe Springs and began road-testing. A few changes were made to the production version: Inboard brakes were moved outboard to reduce cost; the fuel tank filler was relocated from the fender to the center of the trunk. The trunk lid had to be shortened to accommodate this change. AC exported completed and trimmed cars to Shelby who finished the cars in his workshop in Los Angeles by installing the engine and gearbox and correcting any bodywork flaws caused by the car's passage by sea. A small number of cars were completed on the East Coast of the US by Ed Hugus in Pennsylvania, including the first production car; the first 75 Cobra Mk1 models were fitted with the 260 cu in. The remaining 51 Mk1 models were fitted with a larger version of the Windsor Ford engine, the 289 cu in V8. In late 1962 Alan Turner, AC's chief engineer completed a major design change of the car's front end to accommodate rack and pinion steering while still using transverse leaf spring suspension.
The new car entered production in early 1963 and was designated Mark II. The steering rack was borrowed from the MGB. About 528 Mark II Cobras were produced in the summer of 1965. In 1963 to keep production focused on producing cars for Shelby American Inc. the Ruddspeed Ace was discontinued. To supply cars to the European market, AC began to sell the Cobra in Europe. Advertisements from the time state that the Cobra was designed to meet the requirements of Shelby American Inc. Shelby experimented with a larger Ford FE engine, of 390 cubic inches in chassis number CSX2196; the car was not able to receive the development it needed, as resources were aimed at taking the crown from Ferrari in the GT class. Ken Miles drove and raced the FE-powered Mark II at Sebring and pronounced the car undriveable, naming it "The Turd", it failed to finish with the engine expiring due to damper failure. CSX2196 was revised for the show down at Nassau which allowed a more relaxed class division of racing; this allowed the GT cobras to run with prototype Ford GT, GM Grand Sport Corvettes and Lola Mk.6.
It was for this event in 1964. An aluminium 390 cubic inches engine was used. However, the car failed to finish. A new chassis was required and designated Mark III; the new car was designed in cooperation with Ford in Detroit. A new chassis was built using 4 in main chassis tubes, up from 3 in and coil spring suspension all around; the new car had wide fenders and a larger radiator opening. It was powered by the "side oiler" Ford 427 cu in FE engine equipped with a single 4-barrel 780 CFM Holley carburetor rated at 425 bhp @ 6000 rpm and 480 lb⋅ft @ 3700 rpm of torque, which provided a top speed of 164 mph in the standard model and 485 bhp with a top speed of 185 mph in the competition model. COMPETITION MODELS Cobra Mark III production began on 1 January 1965. Cars were sent to the US as unpainted rolling chassis, they were finished in Shelby's workshop. The
1957 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 25th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Grand Prix of Endurance, took place on 22 and 23 June 1957, on the Circuit de la Sarthe. It was the fifth round of the F. I. A. World Sports Car Championship; some 250,000 spectators had gathered for Europe's classic sports car race, around an 8.38-mile course. The prospect of an exciting duel between Ferrari, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Porsche was enough to draw large crowds to the 24 Hours race, now back at its usual date and reintegrated into the World Championship. Never before had a single nation swept the board so as Britain did in 1957; the great success of the Jaguars in taking the first four and sixth places became all the more significant when it is considered that all of the cars were entered, matched against the works entries of some of the greatest sport car manufacturers. After the major changes in the previous year, the ACO relented on its engine-size limitation – prototypes were again an open limit, they did, address body-shape requirements: the token second seat.
Cars now had to have at least two doors and both seats had to be the same size, in a cockpit a minimum 1.2m wide. The minimum windscreen height was reduced from 20 to 15 cm, maximum fuel-tank size was 120 litres, the total fuel usage restrictions were removed a year after they were imposed. One of the oldest regulations was removed – of having to carry all spares and tools on the car, allowing them to be left in the pits; this all re-aligned with the FIA/CSI, who themselves issued a major new Appendix C to the Sports Car regulations based on the 1956 ACO regulations. Therefore, the Le Mans race was drafted back into the World Sportscar Championship; the number of starters was fixed at 55. The maximum drive time stayed at 14 hours, but drivers were now limited to a maximum single stint of 36 laps, down from the previous year's 72 laps; the interval between refuelling was reduced for the first time, down to 30 laps from 34 laps. This year, for the Index of Performance, the target distances for nominal engine sizes were set as follows: The Hors Course rule was revised: there would be systematic disqualification after every 6 hours of cars that had fallen more than 20% below its nominal Index of Performance at that time.
The ACO formalised a ban on female drivers, after the death of Annie Bousquet in the 1956 12 Hours of Reims A total of 82 racing cars were registered for this event, of which 58 were allowed to practice, trying to qualify for the 55 starting places for the race. The big talking point with the entry list was the non-appearance of the works Jaguar team, which had retired from racing at the end of the previous year. In the absence of the works team, the defending champions put their support behind their customer teams. Ex-works driver Duncan Hamilton and Ecurie Ecosse both had one of the experimental fuel-injected 3.8L-engined cars, capable of nearly 300 bhp. Ecurie Ecosse ran the 3.4L car that Paul Frère had crashed early in the previous year's race. Frère himself was racing for his native Equipe Nationale Belge using the same car the team had finished 4th in 1956. There was the car for French industrial diamond-manufacturer privateer Jean Brussin in conjunction with the Lyon-based Los Amigos racing team.
Aston Martin, now managed by Reg Parnell as John Wyer had moved up to be general manager, brought three works cars: their new DBR2, as well as two DBR1/300s with uprated 3.0L engines generating 245 bhp. Their regular drivers Roy Salvadori and Tony Brooks were paired with new team-members Les Leston and Noël Cunningham-Reid respectively; the one-off DBR2 used the defunct Lagonda P166 frame fitted with the 3.7L engine of the new DB4 road-car and given to the Whitehead brothers. The team had good reason to be confident for outright honours, after Brooks and Cunningham-Reid raced to victory over the Italians in their DBR1/300 at the most recent round of the championship: the 1000km of Nürburgring. There was an older DB3S entered for two French gentleman-drivers filled a vacant fourth works entry. Ferrari arrived, it hoped, with an overwhelming force of ten cars; the works team had two of their mighty new Type 335 S, with its big 4.0L V12 engine for their grand prix drivers: Mike Hawthorn / Luigi Musso and Peter Collins / Phil Hill - their driver ranks were sadly depleted after the deaths, earlier in the year, of works drivers Eugenio Castellotti and Alfonso de Portago.
The team ran a pair of Type 250 TR prototypes testing for the upcoming CSI regulations changes. One with a 3.0L V12 for Ferrari test-driver Martino Severi and Stuart Lewis-Evans, the other with a 3.1L V12 for Maurice Trintignant and Olivier Gendebien, Ferrari's best performers in the previous year's race, finishing 4th. There were a pair of entered 3.5L 290 MM and three 2.0L Testarossas. Maserati turned up with confidence this year: Stirling Moss was now a Maserati works driver, was to drive the coupé version of the 450S with French-American Harry Schell, while the spyder version was run by Jean Behra / André Simon, its 4.5 L V8 developed 420 bhp although the cars still used obsolete drum brakes. Along with these were a 3.0L car and a pair of smaller 2.0L cars. Juan Manuel Fangi
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
1957 Venezuelan Grand Prix
The 1957 Gran Premio de Venezuela took place on 3 November, through a park and along the autostrada leading to Caracas. Although this was the fourth running of the race, it was the first time as a round of the F. I. A. World Sports Car Championship; the previous year’s race, won by Stirling Moss, the organiser, Touring Club Automovil de Venezuela dealt with it so well, albeit at a loss, the F. I. A. promoted the race to full World Championship status. General Marcos Pérez Jiménez, the President of Venezuela, brought sports car racing to his country in 1955, which Juan Manuel Fangio won, but the organiser lost over $100,000, because no one collected the admission charges from the thousand who lined the street circuit, whilst the grandstands were empty but for officials and friends of the government; when Moss won the following season, taking home a solid gold cup, the Auto Club again made big losses. The 1957 event had to pay its own way or else. A grand total of 41 racing cars were registered for this event, of which 37 arrived for practice and 34 qualified for the race.
Although this was the last round of the championship, there were only two manufacturers who could take the world title, namely Ferrari and Maserati. As a result, the entry list for this race was entirely Italian. Both teams were represented by four cars in the race. Ferrari send a pair of Ferrari 335Ss and a pair of Ferrari 250 TRs for their squad of eight drivers, while Eqiupo Maserati was represented by a pair of Maserati 450S, supported by a 300S and a 350S and their squad of eight pilots, they were backed up by a privateer entry. If Maserati could win, they would take the manufacturers crown away from Ferrari, champions since its inception, except for the brief Mercedes-Benz interlude in 1955; the only ray of hope from outside of Italy, were a works Porsche 718RSK. During the two qualifying sessions held on the Friday days prior to the race on Sunday; the Maserati of Stirling Moss emerged the fastest, putting his 450S on pole, by nearly half a second ahead of Tony Brooks in another Maserati.
The race was held over 101 laps of the 6.170 miles track, laid out around Caracas, giving a distance of 623.193 miles. The race day dawned heavy; as the cars lined up for the Le Mans style start, ready to get the race underway, Pérez Jiménez materialised and wanted to meet each of the drivers so delaying the start. The President strolled among the 34 cars and their pilots who were nervously waiting under a broiling sun; when the flag fell, both the Maserati 450Ss stalled on the line, this enabled Dick Thompson’s Corvette to take to initial lead with the Ferrari 335Ss in close formation behind. As for Masten Gregory in the Temple Buell Maserati, he got off to a good start, found it easy to past the Ferraris and Thompson on the long back straight; as Gregory braked for the narrow turn over a bridge, he glanced over his shoulder to see how far ahead of the Ferraris he was. This was a near-fatal miscalculation. In doing so, his car overturned, trapping Gregory underneath; as this was on the opening lap, the Maserati would have had a full tank of petrol, fearing fire he did not waiting for the marshals and kicked one of the doors off its hinges and crawled away, covered in blood from facial cuts.
Meanwhile, Jean Behra’s 450S had moved up into third place, trailing Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins. As for Moss, he cut through the field at an incredible pace, passing 22 cars on the first lap, to cross the start line in tenth place. By lap seven, Behra had overtaken Hawthorn. By lap 16, Moss had passed both Behra and Hawthorn, with Jo Bonnier’s 300S moving into a position of close support, raising Maserati championship hopes despite the demise of Buell’s car. On the 32nd lap, Moss had held a two-minute lead over Behra. Disaster struck, as on the next circuit Moss flashed his headlights as a warning to Joseph Hap Dressel in a slower AC Ace. Dressel pulled right into Moss's braking line. Moss could not and the cars collided; the AC was cut in half, nearly costing Dressel his life. As for Moss, he was badly shaken and front end of Maserati was torn off. Just four laps Behra brought the remaining 450S into the pits for re-fuelling. Once the car was refulled, the mechanic pulled out the hose and Behra told to go.
When he hit the started button, there was an explosion and a belch of flame at the rear of the car, with burning petrol spewing out the fuel hose. The mechanic tried to smother the flaming hose while Behra vaulted out of the car, his overalls afire; the local fire brigade had the fire out as as it began. Behra was badly bruised from failing on the concrete pit apron, while the mechanic, Guerino Bertocchi was painfully burned; as for the car, it was all right, so team principal, Nello Ugolini instructed a dazed Moss to drive the smoking car, only three minutes behind the Ferrari. A lap Moss was back in pit lane, the seat was still smouldering, so was Moss; the embers were doused, Harry Schell took over the car. Schell was due to relieve Bonnier. Schell put up a tremendous show, pushing the 450S as fast as it could go and he took the lead. On lap 55, Schell was lapping Bonnier. Although Bonnier fought it, his car slewed around Schell’s path. With both cars out of control, Bonnier elected to bail out at about 80 mph when he realised his car was going to collide with a lamppost.
The post first cut halfway through the car, near the driver’s seat fell brokenly on top of Schell’s car. At one single stroke, the last