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  Connaught C-Type      

  Article Image gallery (38) C8 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1957
Numbers built:1
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 15, 2019
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Click here to download printer friendly versionOn October 23, 1955 Tony Brooks scored the first Grand Prix victory for a British manufacturer in 31 years by winning the Syracuse Grand Prix in a Connaught B-Type. A mere 18 months later, it was all over as company founder Rodney Clarke closed the factory and offered all the assets at auction. Among the lots was the all-new but un-raced C-Type Grand Prix car. The reserve was not met and the car was sold with the rest of the remaining assets to Alan Brown. He did eventually find an interest party for the unique C-Type in privateers Paul Emery and John Turner.

What set the C-Type apart from the previous Connaughts was the lightweight steel spaceframe chassis. At the front double-wishbone suspension was fitted while a revised DeDion rear axle was used. The Dunlop disc brakes from the B-Type were carried over but now mounted in-board at the rear. The C-Type was powered by the tried and trusted Alta four-cylinder engine. Fitted with twin overhead camshafts and a pair of Weber carburettors, it produced around 250bhp. The Grand Prix car was clothed in the 'toothpaste tube' body with a distinct high tail that was also tried on one of the earlier B-Types.

The C-Type did not make its competition debut until the 1959 American Grand Prix at Sebring where it was entered for American racer Bob Said by Emery and Turner. The car arrived late at Sebring as the ship carrying the Connaught across the Atlantic Ocean was diverted 1,000 miles north due to a storm. Once at Sebring, Emery struggled to get the fuel system working correctly with the local fuel. Said also suffered a clutch issue at the start but did get under way. Unfortunately, the erratic fuel system caused Said to crash out of the race.

The Connaught was returned to Europe for repairs. It was then acquired by a consortium of owners, who brought the car back to the United States to race in the 1962 Indy 500. To meet the regulations, the chassis was lengthened, the raised tail removed, a roll-hoop fitted and a push-bar installed. Sadly, the effort ran into the same issues with the organisation failing to supply suitable Castrol R oil. The mineral oil made available for the car once again affected the fuel system, which prevented the car from making the final qualification.

After a spell in California, it was repatriated by Rodney Clarke and eventually restored to its original configuration. Particularly with Rick Hall and Martin Stretton behind the wheel, the unique Connaught C-Type finally showed what it was capable of with successful outings in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix and the Goodwood Revival.

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  Article Image gallery (38) C8 Specifications