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  Ensign N175 Cosworth
 

  Article Image gallery (21) MN04 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1975
Numbers built:1
Designed by:Dave Baldwin and Mo Nunn
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:January 04, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionA car dealer by trade, Mo Nunn stumbled into motor racing when his family's businesses traded in a racing car. During the second half of the 1960s, he raced himself but by the turn of the decade set about designing and building his own Ensign racing cars. By 1973, he had moved up to Formula 1 after Ricky von Opel had commissioned a car. The same basic design with minor revisions was carried over for 1974.

Impressed by the results of the early Ensigns, the Dutch HB Bewaking company backed the development and construction of a fresh design for Gijs van Lennep to drive. The increased funding meant that Nunn could add the talented engineer Dave Baldwin to his staff. Starting with a clean sheet, they together designed the new-for-1975 Ensign N175.

A conventional 1970s Formula 1 car, the N175 was built around the readily available drivetrain consisting of a Cosworth DFV V8 and a Hewland gearbox. This was bolted onto a sheet-aluminium monocoque chassis as a fully stressed unit. The front suspension had a rising-rate geometry and the front brakes were mounted in-board. The car was only entered in select events but Van Lennep did manage to score Ensign's first point by finishing sixth in the German Grand Prix.

A dispute with HB saw Nunn lose ownership of the N175 at the end of the year. This prompted him to build a new car for 1976, which featured outboard brakes as per the request of new signing Chris Amon. He added two further points to Ensign's tally with the N176 in Spain. Amon lost faith in the team and the car after two crashes caused by component failures. His vacant seat was taken by Jackie Ickx, who ultimately destroyed the car at the penultimate round of the year.

Despite a difficult 1976 season, Nunn managed to compile a bigger budget for 1977 thanks to increased sponsorship from Teddy Yip, whose Theodore team ran a new N177 for Patrick Tambay in the second half of the year. The car itself was a further evolution of the existing car with detail design changes only. Clay Regazzoni drove the factory Ensign and together with Tambay he accrued a total of 10 points, which would be Ensign's best ever result.

The 1977 cars were re-used the following season by a colourful mix of drivers. One car was updated with the latest ground-effect tunnels but this did not improve the performance much. Only a single point was scored by the Ensign and Theodore teams. The uprated N177 was used into the 1979 until the all-new ground-effect N179 was introduced. Scoring 11 points in two seasons, the N177 was to be the most successful Ensign ever.

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  Article Image gallery (21) MN04 Specifications