In the mid-1960s Jim Hall redefined Group 7 racing with his Chaparral 2E with its driver-adjustable wing. The 2E was a further development of the prior year’s 2C with rear-mounted radiators and the huge wing which acted directly on the rear suspension uprights. The wing produced substantial downforce and a pedal in the cockpit allowed the driver to adjust the wing position to minimize downforce on the straights and increase it for cornering. In order to avoid a collection of pedals for the driver to operate, the 2E used a General Motors-designed transaxle which used a torque converter instead of a manual transmission.
This is Phil Hill in one of the two 2Es at Mosport during the Canadian Grand Prix on September 24, 1966 where Hill finished second behind Mark Donohue in Roger Penske’s Lola T70. The other 2E, driven by Jm Hall, retired with engine failure early in the race. This race was the third round of the 1966 CanAm series. The overall series winner was John Surtees with the two Chaparrals fourth and fifth with one series victory to Surtees’ three.
In the years that followed Jim Hall and his Chaparrals continued to introduce innovative design ideas – some so innovative that they were quickly banned after fearful competitors objected.
Jim Hall says that the 2E was his favorite Chaparral. It probably influenced future racing design more than any other car.
Photo by Jack Whorword ©The Klemantaski Collection – www. klemcoll.com