Crystal Palace was a short circuit in South London and a scene of many British National Races in the 1950s and 60s. Part of the circuit ran through a somewhat forested left-bending section called The Glade before diving downhill through a right hand bend onto the lower straight. Here going through The Glade in this dynamic image is Harry Schell driving an early Vanwall which was just beginning to show some real potential.
The race was called the International Trophy and was run in two 10-lap Heats and a 15-lap Final with the top six finishers in each Heat being allowed to start the Final. Schell’s main competition was Mike Hawthorn who had the loan of Stirling Moss’ Maserati 250F. Hawthorn and Schell each were easy winners in their Heats. In the Final Hawthorn held off Schell by 1.4 seconds and also lowered the lap record during the day by 2.6 seconds of a just over one minute lap. Crystal Palace rarely saw modern Grand Prix cars, so that new record was perhaps understandable.
The early Vanwalls built in 1954 used a chassis built by Cooper, based on the Ferrari chassis of the earlier Thinwall Special. The Vanwall engine was, in effect, four Norton Manx 500 heads mounted on a single crankcase cast in alloy but copied from a Rolls-Royce unit. In 1956 the chassis was redesigned by Colin Chapman and a new body was designed by aerodynamics expert Frank Costin. These changes and further development led to real success.
Photo by Alan R. Smith ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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