Tag Archives: Veritas

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Investigations in Essen

The sharper blades amongst you will have noticed the absence of the Special Correspondent for most of 2018. There were several reasons for this unfortunate state of affairs, time spent finishing off his next book, then some health issues, all conspired to deprive us of his wisdom. The good news is that he is fighting fit once again and that the book is now in the production stage, more on that exciting prospect later. Even better news is that he has a series of pieces stored up to carry us through this season of short days and miserable weather. Earlier this year we hopped on the train and made our way to Essen for Techno Classica, here are some of the delights that he found in the halls……….

Often overlooked is the Lamborghini Islero, a replacement for the 350GT/400GT and made from 1968 to 1970. It had a body by Marazzi who founded his Carrozziera in 1967 outside Milan, employing some workers from the bankrupt Touring concern – Marazzi is remembered especially for his production of the beautiful Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale.

The Islero was the first Lamborghini to appear at Le Mans: a private Islero 400GT, painted a gorgeous red, practised in 1975 but it was too heavy and failed to qualify.

This Type 640 Skoda was the first of their cars to be given the name Superb. It had a 6-cylinder side-valve engine of 2,492 c.c. and was built from 1934 to 1936. This was also the first Skoda to have hydraulic brakes.

Porsche built 44 of their 365/2 coupés in their original home in Gmϋnd, Austria. They proved ideal for competitions with their aluminium body, high torsional stiffness and aerodynamic efficiency.

The rally-plate on this example recalls the outright win by Polensky and Linge in 1954 on the Liège-Rome-Liège, always one of Europe’s toughest events.

Once in power the Nazi Party was both quick and keen to promote German motorsport and one of the important events of the mid-Thirties was the 2000 km durch Deutschland Trial, a demanding run around this big country.

The major German motor manufacturers built special cars for the event, not least Mercedes and the Auto Union combine, and this Horch 830 Coupé was one of a team which took part in July 1933. A 3-litre V8 supplied the power.

This is a DB-Renault, one of three built for Le Mans in 1954. They were unusual in several ways: they were the first cars to come from Charles Deutsch and René Bonnet with a mid-mounted engine, they used Renault motors whereas all DBs from 1950 had used exclusively the flat-twin Panhard engines and they had central driving positions. This car is chassis 2003 and, like its team-mates, failed at Le Mans It also retired in the Reims 12-hour race but Jean Lucas won his class at Amiens and finished 5th at La Baule.

DB did not repeat the experiment and stuck with Panhard power till the end but when Bonnet split with Deutsch for 1962 he turned completely to Renault power and mounted the 4-cylinder engine amidships in the Djet.

Veritas was one of the main small companies instrumental in the revival of German motorsport in the immediate years after the Second World War. They used the chassis and engine of the pre-war BMW 328 as the basis of their initial production and created modern streamlined bodywork, the tuned machines being successful in domestic sports car races.

The company went on to make some attractive road-going coupés and as the supply of BMW engines dried up, a 2-litre 6-cylinder overhead cam engine made by Heinkel was used. Eventually one of the founders, Ernst Loof, set up on his own at the Nϋrburgring this is one of four Nϋrburgring Coupés of 1957.

TAILPIECE

This microcar, the Zϋndapp Janus, was the only car made by the German motorcycle manufacturer. Powered by a single-cylinder two-stroke 245 c.c. engine giving just 14 h.p., the car with opening front and rear doors was named after the Roman god Janus who had two faces.

 

David Blumlein November 2018

 

 

The Veritas – A Noble Effort

 

At a VLN race in April this beautiful Veritas RS was seen in the paddock at the Nϋrburgring.

At the end of the Second World War Germany’s industries lay in ruins. There was very little to support an immediate revival in motor sport except for some pre-war surviving racers, such as Bugattis, and mostly BMW 328 sports cars. But by August 1946 enthusiasts had made a re-start with a five mile hillclimb at Ruhestein in the Black Forest – it was won by the pre-war Mercédès Grand Prix star Herrman Lang in the 1940 Mille Miglia BMW Coupé.

Then in March 1947 three former BMW employees, Ernst Loof, Georg Meier (racing motorcyclist and ex- Auto-Union driver) and Lorenz Dietrich formed a company to build sports racers using the familiar BMW 328 mechanicals. They called the car a Veritas (Latin for “truth”) and basically customers would have to supply their 328s which would be stripped and re-built using a space –frame chassis based on two oval tubes, all clothed in a streamlined body; the finished product became known as the Veritas RS (Rennsport). Rising star Karl  Kling had already won the 1947 Hockenheim race in the Mille Miglia BMW Coupé when he gave the Veritas its competition début in the Eggberg hill climb – he retired with oil pump failure. But he went on to win the 2-litre German championships with Veritas, scoring five victories in national events in 1948 and seven in 1949.

It is interesting to note that German drivers were not allowed to race abroad before 1950, Germany having only joined the FIA in October 1949. So some Veritas cars found foreign owners, two for example coming to Britain for Dennis Poore and Ken Hutchison; 1938 Le Mans winner Eugène Chaboud drove one to finish a very creditable third in the Coupe des Petites Cylindrées behind two Ferraris at Reims in 1948 and Emile Cornet scored a win at the Grand Prix des Frontières at Chimay in Belgium in 1949.

There were of course only so many BMW 328 cars still  available (just 462 made at Eisenach originally) and these were now being gradually outpaced as the opposition grew. Loof therefore decided to make his own engine, a straight-six with single overhead camshaft which was designed by Erich Zipprich and manufactured by the aircraft firm Heinkel. Lack of development and consequent unreliability meant that Veritas, with limited resources anyway, struggled to survive. The company had also constructed some single-seaters to compete in the Formula 2 category and were making a series of road cars, the Komet coupé, Scorpion 2-seater cabriolet and the Saturn luxury 3-seater coupé; there was even the Dyna-Veritas with the famous Panhard flat-twin but when the company started to fall back on Ford and Opel engines the marque began to fade. Sadly Ernst Loof himself died of a brain tumour in 1956.

 

Veritas

David Blumlein, October 2011