This page is a google translation of the original article published by CURBS magazine in Germany.  The original URL is
Unfortunately, I was unable to determine the author of the article.  If it's on the CURBS page, I couldn't find it.  I have also copied all of the pictures as well as the text, just in case the original article gets removed from the web at some point in the future.  I hope CURBS magazine doesn't get upset since I have given them full credit as well as the reference. I worked on the translation a bit, but if you are fluent in German and English, feel free to send me a better translation.  I know it needs help, but it does get the general idea across.

Formula Vau: The Formcar story

At the beginning of the 1960s, America experienced a great renaissance of motorsport - among other things due to the idea of a "simple" race car based on the Volkswagen. The construction of the Formula V racer in the US goes back to an initiative by businessman Hubert L. Brundage, a successful toolmaker and VW dealer from Miami, Florida.

The renaissance of the formula Vau

When he moved his headquarters to Jacksonville, Florida, he made his former telex address BRUMOS equal to the company name. The implementation of his idea of a low-cost racing car, however, was too stony a way for him. He initially commissioned the well-known racing car designer Enrico Nardi (more familiar from us with the Nardi steering wheels) from Italy and provided him with a brand-new 1200 Beetle for his designs. The result of the Formula Junior with VW technology was sobering, the car unwieldy and slow. The committed professional driver Bill Bencker junior could not change that by voting. To make matters worse, the spirited hobby racer Brundage from Wolfsburg also fluttered a warning in the house with the clear request to omit these activities with Volkswagen parts.

Click on pix for blowup

Hubert L. Brundage, unnerved, sold the two prototypes made to date at a symbolic price of one dollar to Air Force Colonel and SCCA official George Smith and to William "Bill" Duckworth of Orlando, Florida. This was considered a gifted mechanic and had its own workshop. Also driven by the idea of an affordable racing series, both founded Formcar on West Robinson Avenue 1229 in July 1962. Smith, president of the new company, used his involvement in the American motorsport association Sports Car Club of America, SCCA for short, to attract prospects , Duckworth, vice president and product manager, designed a frame and had the plastic dress made by Don Stuart and George Taylor, also from Orlando. It was modeled after the Porsche Formula 2 racing car. The prototype originated in a small corner in the vehicle repair workshop of Duckworth. The other three and thus first "series" vehicles (62-2, 62-3 and 62-4) followed after extensive testing with the prototype and were sold in November and December 1962 for $ 2,495 each - and ready to race , These first vehicles were completely handcrafted by Duckworth personally. The prototype number 62-1 was purchased by Robert C. Smith of Atlantic Beach, Florida. Number four still exists and was sold by Woodstock to Germany less than a year ago. To allow virtually anyone to get started in motorsport, the young company finally offered a kit without VW components (engine, transmission, axles) for only 945 dollars, a complete kit struck just with 1,995 US dollars to book.

Formula Vau Formcar Constructors The first three production vehicles had a successful debut on the Effingham Raceway in Georgia shortly after their completion. The Vaus started at the end of the field behind racers of the punch Porsche 356, Triumph TR 3, AustinHealeys 100/4 and 3000 and Sunbeam Alpines, so vehicles with mostly over 100 hp. The spectators were amazed when all three Formcars, with their modest 34hp, took the 1st to 3rd place at the end of the race. From then on, the Formula Vaus always started at events with mixed starting fields.

The first racing success brought the Monoposti to the front page of the then authoritative Motosport magazine SportsCar - with the result that Formcar Constructors Inc. was overwhelmed by inquiries so that Duckworth closed its thriving repair operation and focused entirely on the construction of racing cars. Shortly thereafter, he had five employees and the company moved into larger premises on the Central Avenue. As a result, twelve outlets have been defined and added to Burgess Enterprises of Denver, Colorado, as a co-operation partner to manufacture and sell vehicles for the West Coast. Orders came in the meantime also from Germany, England, Holland, France, Sweden, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.

A separate race series was now logical. With the help of the SCCA a regulation was established and finally the Formula Vee Racing Association was founded. From 1964 on, pure Formula Vau races were held in the US. Now the key data was created, and it got momentum in the new scene.

Porsche brought the first formcars to Europe

The enthusiasm for racing in the USA also caused a sensation in Europe. The classic form of motorsport with Monoposti had become increasingly insignificant, especially in Germany following the withdrawal of Mercedes-Benz, and very little was done in the 1960s for the junior racers, Huschke von Hanstein - especially in his role as ONS President - very worried. During an America trip in 1964, company boss Ferry Porsche, race director Huschke von Hanstein and factory rider Edgar Barth convinced themselves of the appeal of the V-racing cars. Porsche spontaneously ordered two complete racers from the two leading brands, a "formcar" and a "beach racing car" to extensively test the vehicles and to expand the possibilities of a junior racing series in Germany. Other manufacturers such as Autodynamics of Ray Caldwell and Beach of Gene Beach, the Lynx Car Company of Bob Riley and John Mills and zinc by Ed Zink also put Monoposti to the wheels in no time. Until the year 1966 Formula Vee became the most successful racing series for Monoposti in the USA. These races were so popular that even Grand Prix riders took part, especially Dan Gurney, who even won a race in Florida in 1963. Even actors like Steve McQueen climbed into the cockpit of the Vaus. He finished second in the SCCA Divisional Fernandina Beach for touring cars and GT vehicles on March 3, 1963, supplemented by Monoposti. The company Formcar was closed after the construction of about 250 vehicles or kits in 1966. The reason: regulation changes by the Drivers Association have increased the cost of the monoposti, which was increasingly less the vision of Bill Duckworth to offer cost-effective monoposti. In addition, the numerous providers increased the cost pressure. soldering. This step is all the more surprising against the background that Porsche with the model change from 356 to 911 was already at the capacity limit.

Porsche wanted to import 10 further Renner until the Eberbacher mountain race on May 15, 1965 in kits (five Formcars and five Beach Cars) and finish in the factory 1. Back in Germany was also Hanstein's busiest competitor, the motor sports journalist Richard von Frankenberg, who was also committed to promoting young talent. The first formcar in Germany, which has been owned by the author of this article for 15 years, even had Porsche wheels in the beginning. The conversion took place before the first race at the Norisring, as the regulations specified original VW wheels and brakes.

To give the junior class a professional appearance, Porsche bought for each monoposto a VW flatbed type T1, which was painted in the former Porsche red and left and right on the doors the Porsche logo wore. All T 1 were supplemented with trailers of the Westfalia brand, also painted in red. The VW buses were already in the 50s for the transport of racing cars of the types 356, 550 and Formula 2 use.

But in turn. The first test drives with the first two Vau racers took place in Weissach on the so-called circular orbit through Huschke von Hanstein, Richard von Frankenberg and plant manager Herbert Linge. The magazine hobby asked the racing baron after the tests (for the issue 10/1965, published on May 5, 1965), whether the V-car would be attractive enough to really attract the kids and whether enthusiastic sports drivers would not prefer a fast touring car , Von Hanstein replied: "No, because it makes a big difference whether you are traveling with a touring car or with a real monoposto. And the V-cars are real racing cars. What they lack in top speed, they replace with good road holding. They were about as fast as a racing Carrera 904 in tests on the circular path! "

Even before the debut in Eberbach Porsche presented the first two Monoposti selected magazines such as auto motor and sport, hobby and the good ride.

The first year

In 1965, to be precise on May 15, 1965, on the occasion of the mountain race in Eberbach, the new generation formula was presented to the public for the first time. For the press there was already a smaller show at the factory with Eva Maria Falk, the rally co-driver of Evy Rosqvist. At the Nürburgring, on the Rossfeld, at the Norisring, in Innsbruck, Vienna-Aspern, Zandvoort and on the Solitude, the Formula V races had their European debut. The lap times made even the last doubters sit up and prove that could be operated with a relatively inexpensive vehicle real motorsport.

The model chronicle

There were three model lines of formcars. In 1962, a prototype and three complete vehicles were built under the name Mark I. Even the 1963 built vehicles were still delivered as Mark I. Only in 1964 came the series Mark II, with very few modifications such as a slightly modified rear end and other rear-view mirrors. Also the change to the Mark III vehicles starting from 1965 took place with only slight modifications. In addition belonged mainly the laterally extended disks as well as lateral air inlets to the engine. In the photos of the Porsche armada, these differences can be seen very nice. The complete vehicle imported by Ferry Porsche back in 1964 did not have any lateral air supply and only a small windscreen. In addition, only in this vehicle, the roll bar was painted in black, the other five mounted in 1965 vehicles had a rollover protection in gray.

It is not known that Formcars with 356 engines are said to have existed. If there was such a vehicle, this goes back to a private initiative and has not to do with Porsche itself. The use of Porsche wheels and Porsche brakes, however, has been used on early vehicles. The conversion to VW components had to be made only when pure Vau races were held according to regulations (in the US from 1964 and in Germany from 1966). The first car imported by Ferry Porsche, which was still in its original state, initially had Porsche wheels mounted, as you can see on the photos of the first test drives.

To supplement: Porsche 356 Super 90 engines in Vaus were from the American brand Autodynamics. Probably nine vehicles were built for the so-called Formula B to 1600 cc, and Porsche itself is said to have bought vehicles and used in mountain races.

Portrait of William Duckworth

William "Bill" Duckworth is one of those people who have been able to realize their vision during their lifetime. He Dreamed Of An Affordable Racing Series With Monoposti Race Cars. He Is The Father Of The Success Class Formula Vau. William was born in 1912 in Orlando, the son of a judge. Even as a young boy he was fascinated by technology, built his first vehicle as a teenager and made the streets of Orlando uncertain. The vehicle was so quick that the local police officer "Bulldog" with his Harley-Davidson had no chance to catch the little Bill in Flagranti. He finally lurked him at home. Bill then set aside his motorsport ambitions and opened a repair shop for automobiles on Edgewater Drive in Orlando as a young man.

In 1936 he married the farmer's daughter Barbara Cheney. For Bill the time had come to tackle his motorsport activities more calmly and orderly. The family moved to the foreground, and they had two daughters and a son. In the mid-50s, Barbara and he took part in various rallies. Gradually, various mountain races were added, which were still considered to be family-friendly due to the long waiting times. In 1961 finally his dream formed when he saw the Nardi Formula Junior for the first time.  From then on, He was done with waiting. After William Duckworth had realized his dream with the formcar, the visionary retired from the racing circus at 53 years old . He died in August 1991 at age 79.

Stylish appearance Eberbach 1965 with Porsche Bulli racecars and beach and formcar

Stylish appearance Eberbach 1965 with Porsche Bulli-Renn Transporter for Beach and Formcar racecars.




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