Indian Summer it was – as Americans would perhaps say – on September 27, 1952. But nevertheless, Roy Salvadori’s famous words ring true in this photograph as mechanics roll Louis Rosier’s Ferrari 375F1 back to its paddock stall after one of its races that day. In the typical format of those years at Goodwood, there would be three Formula Libre races for a catchall field with some older Grand Prix cars which were no longer eligible for championship races under the two liter Formula Two regulations which became effective in 1952.
These races were two five-lap affairs (the Woodcote Cup and the First September Hamdicap) followed by the Daily Graphic Trophy, a 15 lap final. Giving some competition for the now at least year-old Ferrari were three factory 1.5 liter V16 supercharged BRMs, Tony Vandervell’s Thinwall Special (a highly modified old Ferrari 125F1 now fitted with a 375 motor) a gaggle of blown 1.5 liter prewar ERAs and Maseratis and several British two liter F2 cars, Cooper-Bristols, Connaughts and an Alta, plus an older two liter F2 Ferrari. Since the BRMs were able, usually, to run well in short races before their myriad mechanical gremlins struck, they dominated the first race, other than Ken Wharton’s BRM which refused to start, leaving the Thinwall, driven by Nino Farina, to finish between them as it broke its final drive in the last corner and was out thereafter. Rosier’s Ferrari came home fifth. The BRMs did not compete in the handicap race which was won by the famous ex-Whitney Straight/Richard Seaman/Prince Bira prewar Maserati 8CM, driven here by Tony Gaze, having been given a 53 second head start. Rosier with only 5 seconds could only finish eighth. The BRMs returned for the final, taking the top three places. Rosier retired and fourth place was a Connaught driven by Denis Poore.
The Rosier 375F1 went on to an interesting history. Rosier had the old F1 car rebodied by Scaglietti as a sports car, thereby extending its useful life in a successful manner as it was quite competitive in that form with Ferrari’s 375 sports cars. Eventually, it found its way to New Zealand where it was finally rebodied in the 1952 Ferrari 375 Indy style. It is now in a Swiss collection.
Rosier had a long and relatively successful F1 and sports car career as a privateer. In 1955 he purchased a new 750 Monza from Ferrari and drove it in at least a dozen sports car races that year. At Montlhéry at the Coupe du Salon race October he had a huge accident shortly after the start where his car landed upside down twice. Rosier died from his head injuries three weeks later. Since he came from the Auvergne region in central France and had been a proponent of an open road circuit near Clermont Ferrand, it would be named in his honor as Le Circuit de Charade Louis Rosier.
Photo by Alan R. Smith ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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