Last month we visited the prolific motoring historian Graham Robson, at his home in deepest Dorset. Here is a trailer of the interview we recorded ...
In 1965, Colin Chapman persuaded Ford to underwrite development of a V8 for the new 3000cc Grand Prix formula. Built by Cosworth, the new DFV engine won Lotus four World Championship Grands Prix in 1967. A year later, and now available to other constructors, the engine began its domination of Grand Prix racing.
This book is based on a concept placed with Veloce by Anthony Pritchard shortly before his death in 2013. Graham Robson has written a detailed and superbly illustrated account of the Formula 1 cars powered by the Ford DFV V8 engine. This all-conquering power unit was the result of discussions between Colin Chapman, boss of the Lotus car company, and the UK Ford Motor Company. Design, development and manufacture was entrusted to the Cosworth company in Northampton, in response to Lotus' desperate need for an engine for the 3000cc Formula 1 regulations that came into force for 1966. Lotus had exclusive use of the DFV in 1967, its first season, when Jim Clark drove the DFV-powered Lotus 49 to four World Championship victories.
Becoming available to other Formula 1 teams in 1968, adopters included McLaren and Matra. Graham Hill won the Drivers' Championship with DFV-powered Lotus cars in 1968, and drivers of DFV-powered cars won the Championship in 13 out of 16 years. Year by year, the power of the DFV engine increased; new companies were set up to overhaul the DFV; and engines prepared by these companies were more powerful than those emanating from the factory.
Robson's narrative starts with a look at Ford's strategy of entering F1, a description of the design and development of this engine, and details the successes – and failures – of every Formula 1 car powered by the DFV engine. During these years the only manufacturer to successfully challenge DFV power was Ferrari, with drivers Lauda and Scheckter winning the Drivers' Championship on three occasions. Because the DFV later gave rise to successful derivatives, such as the turbocharged DFX, and the DFY, DFZ and DFR evolutions, these are also analysed.
This important book is illustrated with more than 300 photographs, most of which come from the UK Ford Motor Company’s own archives.
Graham Robson is one of the most experienced, prolific and versatile motoring historians in the world, and is recognised as one of the authorities on anything concerning Ford in motorsport. He watched his first F1 GP – at Aintree – in 1955, and has never lost touch with the cars, the technical trends, and – most importantly – the personalities connected with placing Ford, and Cosworth, at the pinnacle of F1. He was close to Cosworth, both as a working historian, and as a personal friend of the company's senior personalities, throughout the lengthy period covered by the DFV – and considers it an honour to have been entrusted with the compilation of this amazing story.
Grand Prix Ford – Ford, Cosworth and the DFV by Graham Robson is published next month. Click here for more information about the book.