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Thread: Chaparral 1 1961-1963

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    Chaparral 1 1961-1963

    Chaparral 1
    Chassis number: 001

    Text and specs by Wouter:
    When a young Jim Hall competed in his first race in 1954, he was hooked. He had used his brother's Austin Healey 100, but realized that a more potent machine was required to take overall victories. While shopping for a Porsche 550, the brothers stumbled upon the Ferrari 750 Monza Caroll Shelby and Phil Hill drove to second overall in the Sebring 12 Hours race early in 1955. Throughout the second half of the 1950s Hall continued to successfully campaign a wide variety of European racers. His engineering degree proved really useful for the first time when he modified a Lister chassis to fit a Chevrolet small-block V8.

    While racing the legendary Shelby 5.7 litre Maserati 450S at Riverside in 1960, Jim Hall met Dick Troutman and Tom Barnes. They had been responsible for the highly successful Scarab sportscar and were looking for a new backer to build another all-American racer. Impressed by the Scarabs, Hall was immediately interested and work was started quickly after. Together with a small group of investors, Hall had already constructed a race track just south of Midland, Texas, which would come in handy for testing the new cars. One of these investors was James R ''Hap'' Sharp who would be Hall's partner throughout his career as an independent constructor.

    Troutman and Barnes applied the many lessons learned with the Scarab project in building Hall's new car. One of the Scarab's strengths was its rock solid reliability thanks to the sturdy construction. A downside of this was the excess weight and size of the car, which hampered the performance. In many respects the new car was a slimmer and smaller version of the Scarab. The car was constructed around a very rigid steel tubular frame and suspended by wishbones at the front and inverted A-arms at the back. The steering rack was derived from a Triumph Herald. The Scarab was deemed too heavy for disc brakes, but the downsizing was sufficient to install discs all-round, mounted inboard at the rear.

    The obvious powerplant was Chevrolet's small block V8, which had already proven itself a worthy contender in international racing. Traco enlarged the 283ci Corvette engine to 318ci by increasing the stroke. A triple Stromberg carburetor with an Edelbrock manifold setup was initially used for the induction, but shortly into the racer's career they were replaced by a six carb installation. Hall reckoned his small-block V8 was good for around 300 bhp, which gave it a better power to weight ratio than most European engines. The engine was mounted as far back in the chassis as possible to achieve a perfect 50:50 weight balance. It was definitely mounted farther back than was comfortable for the driver who sat more or less next to the engine instead of behind it.

    A conventional aluminum body similar to the Scarab's completed the car, and now all that was needed was a name. A Texas running bird, the Chaparral, supplied the name for Hall's new road-runner. The Chaparral debuted in a 1961 SCCA race at Laguna Seca, where Hall drove it to a stunning second place finish behind a Maserati 'Birdcage'. Coincidentally this was the last car Hall drove before switching to his own. Comforted by the Chaparral's pace, Hall ordered the construction of another example. Compared to the original car the second chassis had a slightly larger wheelbase to free up some space in the cramped cockpit. For the next race Hall's car was equipped with a small chin spoiler, quite possibly the first of its kind and a sign of things to come.

    In total four complete cars were constructed and a fifth chassis, which was exported to Great Britain. Although the front engine, rear wheel drive layout quickly ran out of fashion, the Chaparral's remained remarkably competitive. The first win was scored at the 1962 Sebring 12 Hours race, where the Sharp/Hissom driven Chaparral finished sixth overall and first in class. Later that year Hall and Sharp added two more overall victories to the car's tally, both at Road America. In many other races the white cars were in contention for the top honours, but teething problems often let the drivers down. One of the biggest trouble makers were the inboard mounted rear discs, which proved to be difficult to cool. The last official outing for the first Chaparrals was the 1963 Sebring 12 Hours, where neither of the two cars entered managed to finish the race.

    Hall used the remainder of the 1963 season to compete in Formula 1 for the BRP team driving a Lotus, and more importantly he spent a lot of time on constructing the first car of his own design. This would grow out to become the highly advanced Chaparral 2, which used a fiberglass monocoque chassis with a mid mounted V8 engine. It would take American road racing by force, and form the basis for a number of ground breaking racers that would give Jim Hall a place in history alongside legendary constructors like Colin Chapman and John Cooper.

    Although the Chaparral 1 was not actually designed and built by Jim Hall, it was instrumental in kick-starting Hall's career as a racing car constructor. Being the last of its kind, the Chaparral may very well be the fastest of the front engined sports racers that dominated international motor racing in the 1950s and early 1960s.

    Country of origin: United States
    Years of production: 1961 - 1963
    Numbers built: 5
    Weight: 671 kilo / 1479.3 lbs

    Drivetrain
    Engine: Chevrolet 90º V 8
    Engine Location: Front , longitudinally mounted
    Displacement: 5.205 liter / 317.6 cu in
    Valvetrain: 2 valves / cylinder, OHV
    Fuel feed: 6 Stromberg Carburetors
    Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
    Gearbox: Corvette 4 speed Manual
    Drive: Rear wheel drive

    Performance figures
    Power: 300 bhp / 224 KW @ 6500 rpm
    Torque: N/A
    BHP/Liter: 58 bhp / liter
    Power to weight ratio: 0.45 bhp / kg
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    Last edited by Vaigra; 10-10-2005 at 06:10 PM.
    Audi humbles Porsche. A new dawn starts today.

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  2. #2
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    Chaparral 1 #2
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    Audi humbles Porsche. A new dawn starts today.

    Being nice since 2007.

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    Chaparral 1 #3
    Audi humbles Porsche. A new dawn starts today.

    Being nice since 2007.

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    Chaparral 1 #4
    Audi humbles Porsche. A new dawn starts today.

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    Chaparral 1 #5
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    Nice Car
    Sorry if I cannot express myself correctly, but I don't know English as good as I want, so my answers will probably be the same in many cases.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by carreragt10
    Nice Car
    Why are 95% of your posts exactly the same?
    Audi humbles Porsche. A new dawn starts today.

    Being nice since 2007.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaigra
    Why are 95% of your posts exactly the same?
    Because I don't know english very well, so I have to write always the same in order to don't make mistakes.

    But I like this forum and I want to give my support to some themes.

    P.D: this text was translated by my girlfriend!
    Sorry if I cannot express myself correctly, but I don't know English as good as I want, so my answers will probably be the same in many cases.

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    Chaparral 1 #6
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    Chaparral 1 #7
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    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  11. #11
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    Chaparral 1 #8
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    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  12. #12
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    Chaparral 1 #9
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    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
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