Ferguson Research

Harry Ferguson Research Limited was a British company founded by Harry Ferguson who was mostly known as "the father of the modern farm tractor". He was also a pioneer aviator, becoming one of the first to build and fly his own aeroplane in Ireland, and also went on to develop four-wheel drive systems for cars including pioneering their use in Formula One racing cars. The company was based in Siskin Drive, in Coventry, England.


Ferguson climax P99
Ferguson P99 Formula One car from 1961

Harry Ferguson was part owner of the famous Massey Ferguson tractor company, but grew intrigued with the research of Tony Rolt and Freddie Dixon.[1] In 1950, they founded Ferguson Research Ltd.[2] Their offers of Ferguson 4WD to carmakers were ignored.[2] Over the next few years, Ferguson sold off his interest in Massey-Ferguson and turned to the construction of a Coventry-Climax powered 4WD Formula One car in 1960.

Despite the death of Ferguson later that year, the Ferguson P99 was raced during the 1961 season in UK F1 races by Rob Walker's team. The car raced only once in the World Championship at the British Grand Prix. However the car won a non-championship race, the 1961 International Gold Cup at Oulton Park with Stirling Moss as the driver. As of today, this is the only victory of a four-wheel drive car in F1 (and incidentally the last race won by Moss in Europe), with the technology banned in 1983.[3] Despite its promising beginnings this front-engined car was soon made obsolete by mid-engined cars.

Ferguson Research went on in racing, supplying the Novi-powered P104 to the STP team for Indianapolis. In 1964 the Ferguson P99, by then fitted with a 2.5 litre Climax engine, was lent to Peter Westbury who used it to win the British Hillclimb Championship that year. Ferguson later supplied 4WD transmissions to various Indy and F1 teams, with the BRM team using the Ferguson 4WD system on the BRM P67 car in 1964.

Ferguson Formula 4WD

1952 Ferguson R4 Prototype 2.0
1952 Ferguson R4 4WD prototype

Five years after Ferguson's death,[2] Jensen Motors took up the idea of a 4WD road car, stretching the Interceptor by 5 in (130 mm) to create the FF (for Ferguson Formula, Ferguson's term for 4WD).[2] It appeared in 1966. Design issues and cost kept it from being a commercial success. By 1969 the company was also contracted to make prototype conversions of several road cars for major manufacturers. These included a Dodge Challenger for Chrysler and Ford Zephyr police vehicles.

In 1969, there was a 4WD boom in F1 with the top teams of the era, Matra, Lotus and McLaren, building 4WD cars using the Ferguson system (Cosworth also built a 4WD car but using their own system). The 1968 seasons had seen many wet races and the constructors were searching for means to increase the grip of the cars. The 1969 British Grand Prix, saw a record number of four 4WD cars using the Ferguson system entered,[4] with John Miles in a Lotus 63 achieving the best finish of 10th.[4] 1969 also saw the introduction of wings in F1 and as there was no wet race that year, all the competitors ceased developing 4WD F1 cars as wings appeared as an easier way to increase grip. Team Lotus made a last attempt with the Ferguson system on the gas turbine powered Lotus 56B in 1971, but the car was uncompetitive. A new company called FF Developments was founded in 1971 by Rolt and continued to develop Ferguson's four-wheel drive systems.[5]

Complete Formula One World Championship results


Year Entrant Chassis Engine Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts. WCC
1961 Rob Walker Racing Ferguson P99 Climax L4 MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER ITA USA 0
Jack Fairman/
Stirling Moss

See also



  1. ^ Lyons, Pete. "10 Best Ahead-of-Their-Time Machines", in Car and Driver, 1/88, p.78.
  2. ^ a b c d Lyons, p.78.
  3. ^ Collantine, Keith (1 March 2007). "Banned! Six-wheelers". F1 Fanatic. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b "1969 British GP Race Report". Grandprix.com. Inside F1. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Decembers Past 2001: 30 Years ago December 1971". Classic Driver. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012.


External links

AMC Eagle

The AMC Eagle is a compact-sized four-wheel drive passenger vehicle that was produced by American Motors Corporation (AMC) from 1979 to 1987.

Introduced in August 1979 for the 1980 model year, the coupe, sedan, and station wagon body styles were based on the AMC Concord.

The AMC Eagles were the only four-wheel-drive passenger cars produced in the U.S. at the time. They were affordable cars offering a comfortable ride and handling on pavement together with superior traction in light off road use through AMC's innovative engineering and packaging. Although the definition is not precise, the AMC Eagle is today known as one of the first crossover vehicles. All models featured "passenger-car comfort, plus 4wd security for all-weather security." Fuel-thirsty vehicles built for rugged off-road were on the market. Comparable sedan and compact station wagon models were not available from other manufacturers, especially at the Eagle's price point, and AMC "predicted that consumers would embrace a vehicle with the comfort of an automobile, but the ride height and foul-weather capabilities of a four-wheel-drive utility vehicle."In 1981, the two-door subcompact-sized AMC Spirit-based models, the SX/4 and Kammback, joined the Eagle line aimed at both first-time buyers and fleet sales. The Sundancer convertible conversion for the larger Eagle two-door model was available during 1981 and 1982.

In March 1987, Chrysler Corporation reached an agreement to acquire AMC. Production of the Eagle continued (retaining the AMC badging) until December 14, 1987.

Bitter Cars

Erich Bitter Automobil GmbH (Bitter) is a premium sports-luxury automobile marque produced in Germany and later Austria. Founder Erich Bitter, a former racing driver turned automobile tuner, importer and ultimately designer began crafting his own vehicles after business ventures with Italian manufacture Intermeccanica ended.

Bitter specialises in rebodying other manufacturer's vehicles and its initial production was between 1973 and 1989, selling vehicles in Europe and the United States. Thereafter, several prototypes followed with an eye on resuming low-volume production, but none of those plans came to fruition until the launch of the Bitter Vero in 2007.

Derek Gardner (designer)

Derek Gardner (19 September 1931 in Warwick – 7 January 2011 in Lutterworth) was a car designer known for designing advanced transmission systems. He joined Formula One while employed by Harry Ferguson Research, developing four-wheel drive systems for Matra in 1969. He met Ken Tyrrell in 1970 and Tyrrell chose Gardner to design his chassis. The first chassis, the Tyrrell 001, was built in his garage at home and was raced in the 1970 Canadian Grand Prix.Jackie Stewart qualified the car on pole on its debut and led until an axle failed on lap 34. The car was further developed into the Tyrrell 002 and 003 and drivers Jackie Stewart and François Cevert achieved seven wins between them in 1971. Stewart won the Drivers' World Championship and Tyrrell took the Constructors' title.

Gardner's most iconic car was the Tyrrell P34, commonly known as the "six-wheeler". The car used four specially manufactured 10-inch-diameter (254 mm) wheels and tyres at the front, with two ordinary-sized wheels at the back. Along with the Brabham BT46B "fancar" developed in 1978, the six-wheeled Tyrrell was one of the most radical entries ever to succeed in F1 competition, and has been called the most recognizable design in the history of world motorsports.

Gardner also designed boats, electric bikes and microlites during his long career as a designer.

FF Developments

FF (Ferguson Formula) Developments Limited (FFD) was a British company founded by Major A.P.R. (Tony) Rolt to exploit 4WD technology, Rolt had worked as Technical Director at Harry Ferguson Research for many years.According to Ward's Auto World the influence that FFD had on all wheel drive (AWD) development transcended its size.

Ferguson P99

The Ferguson P99 was a four-wheel drive Formula One car built by Ferguson Research Ltd. for the Rob Walker Racing Team. It was the first AWD F1 car to race and used a 1.5-litre Climax engine. It remains the most famous example of its type as a result of its twin claims to fame – not only the first AWD car, but also the last front-engined car ever to win a Formula 1 event.

Fred Dixon and Tony Rolt considered the possibility of using 4WD in circuit racing, and with Harry Ferguson keen to promote the transmission systems of his Ferguson tractor firm work began on the P99 in 1960. With a 50–50 torque distribution front to rear the car, Claude Hill's design, was built to have an even weight distribution over both axles, which along with the position of the gearbox necessitated a front-engined design despite Cooper's and Lotus's overwhelming recent success with mid-engined cars. Just as the project was nearing completion it was dealt something of a body blow by the governing body's decision to reduce the size of F1 engines by 40% for 1961, making the extra weight of the AWD transmission a much bigger penalty. Nevertheless, the team persevered and fitted a standard 1.5-litre Climax 4-cylinder engine, mounted at a slant to make room for the front driveshaft. In addition the driving position was moved slightly off-centre to accommodate the gearbox and rear driveshaft to the driver's left hand side.The car was first raced in the 1961 British Empire Trophy, where Rob Walker put Jack Fairman in the car, but the start was an inauspicious one as Fairman crashed on lap 2. In the British Grand Prix at Aintree, Fairman drove the car again, but surrendered it to Stirling Moss after his Walker-entered Lotus 18 failed. The car was disqualified for outside assistance on lap 56. The car's last major F1 race was its moment of motor racing immortality, as Moss drove the P99 to victory in a damp International Gold Cup at Oulton Park. In February 1963, the car, having been fitted with a 2.5-litre Climax engine, was driven by Graham Hill in the Australian Grand Prix at Warwick Farm and the Lakeside International at Lakeside, placing sixth and second respectively. The P99's final racing action came in the British Hillclimb championship in 1964, 1965, and 1966, with Peter Westbury winning the title in 1964.The P99 was later used as the basis for the AWD Ferguson P104 Novi Indycar, which Bobby Unser drove in the Indy 500 in 1964 and 1965, retiring on both occasions.

In a 1997 interview for Motor Sport magazine, Sir Stirling Moss nominated the P99 as his favourite of all the F1 cars he drove. This was considered high praise from a man who drove the Mercedes W196, Maserati 250F, Vanwall, and Cooper T51.

Ford Mustang (first generation)

The first-generation Ford Mustang was manufactured by Ford from March 1964 until 1973. The introduction of the Mustang created a new class of automobile known as the pony car. The Mustang’s styling, with its long hood and short deck, proved wildly popular and inspired a host of competition.

It was initially introduced on April 17, 1964, as a hardtop and convertible with the fastback version put on sale in August 1964. At the time of its introduction, the Mustang, sharing its underpinnings with the Falcon, was slotted into a compact car segment.

With each revision, the Mustang saw an increase in overall dimensions and in engine power. The 1971 model saw a drastic redesign to its predecessors. After an initial surge, sales were steadily declining, as Ford began working on a new generation Mustang. With the onset of the 1973 oil crisis, Ford was prepared, having already designed the smaller Mustang II for the 1974 model year. This new car had no common components with preceding models.

Four-wheel drive

Four-wheel drive, also called 4×4 ("four by four") or 4WD, refers to a two-axled vehicle drivetrain capable of providing torque to all of its wheels simultaneously. It may be full-time or on-demand, and is typically linked via a transfer case providing an additional output drive-shaft and, in many instances, additional gear ranges.

A four-wheeled vehicle with torque supplied to both axles is described as "all-wheel drive" (AWD). However, "four-wheel drive" typically refers to a set of specific components and functions, and intended off-road application, which generally complies with modern use of the terminology.

Harry Ferguson

Henry George "Harry" Ferguson (4 November 1884 – 25 October 1960) was an Irish-born British mechanic and inventor who is noted for his role in the development of the modern agricultural tractor and its three point linkage system, for being the first person in Ireland to build and fly his own aeroplane, and for developing the first four-wheel drive Formula One car, the Ferguson P99.

Today his name lives on in the name of the Massey Ferguson company.

Jack Fairman

Jack Fairman (15 March 1913 – 7 February 2002) was a British racing driver from England. He participated in 13 Formula One Grands Prix, making his debut on 18 July 1953. He scored a total of five championship points, all of which came in the 1956 season.

Jaguar XJ220

The Jaguar XJ220 is a two-seat sports car produced by British luxury car manufacturer Jaguar from 1992 until 1994, in collaboration with the specialist automotive and race engineering company Tom Walkinshaw Racing. The XJ220 recorded a top speed of 341.7 km/h (212.3 mph) during testing by Jaguar at the Nardo test track in Italy. This made it the fastest production car from 1992 to 1993. According to Jaguar, an XJ220 prototype managed a Nürburgring lap time of 7:46:36 in 1991 which was faster than any production car lap time before it.The XJ220 was developed from a V12-engined 4-wheel drive concept car designed by an informal group of Jaguar employees working in their spare time. The group wished to create a modern version of the successful Jaguar 24 Hours of Le Mans racing cars of the 1950s and 1960s that could be entered into FIA Group B competitions. The XJ220 made use of engineering work undertaken for Jaguar's then current racing car family.The initial XJ220 concept car was unveiled to the public at the 1988 British International Motor Show, held in Birmingham, England. Its positive reception prompted Jaguar to put the car into production. Approximately 1,500 deposits of £50,000 each were taken and deliveries were planned for 1992.Engineering and emissions requirements resulted in significant changes to the specification of the XJ220, most notably the replacement of the Jaguar V12 engine by a turbocharged V6 engine. The changes to the specification and a collapse in the price of high performance cars brought about by the early 1990s recession resulted in many buyers choosing not to exercise their purchase options. A total of just 275 cars were produced by the time production ended, each with a retail price of GB£470,000 in 1992, making it one of the most expensive cars at that time.

Jensen FF

The Jensen FF is a four-wheel drive grand tourer produced by British car manufacturer Jensen Motors between 1966 and 1971. It was the first non all-terrain production car equipped with four-wheel drive and an anti-lock braking system.

The use of four-wheel drive in a passenger car preceded the successful AMC Eagle by thirteen years and the Audi Quattro by fourteen years, and the Subaru Leone by five years. The Dunlop Maxaret mechanical anti-lock braking system had previously been used only on aircraft, lorries, and racing cars. An experimental version was first fitted to the earlier Jensen C-V8, but this did not go into production.

The letters FF stand for Ferguson Formula, after Ferguson Research Ltd., who invented the car's four-wheel drive system. The FF is related to the similar-looking, rear-wheel drive Jensen Interceptor, but is 127 mm (5.0 in) longer, and mechanically very different.

Standard FF features included front seat belts, a tachometer, and map pockets.

Jensen Motors

Jensen Motors Limited was a British manufacturer of sports cars and commercial vehicles in West Bromwich, England. Brothers Alan and Richard Jensen gave the new name, Jensen Motors Limited, to the commercial body and sports car body making business of W J Smith & Sons Limited in 1934. It ceased trading in 1976. Though trading resumed in 1998 Jensen Motors Limited was dissolved in 2011.

Jensen Motors built specialist car bodies for major manufacturers alongside cars of their own design using engines and mechanicals of major manufacturers Ford, Austin and Chrysler.

The rights to Jensen's trademarks were bought with the company and it briefly operated in Speke, Liverpool, from 1998 to 2002. Under subsequent owners, a new version of the Jensen Interceptor was announced in 2011. It was planned to bring manufacture of that new model back to the former Jaguar motor plant in Browns Lane, Coventry.

List of Formula One constructors

The following is a list of Formula One constructors. In Formula One motor racing, constructors are people or corporate entities which design key parts of Formula One cars that have competed or are intended to compete in the FIA World Championship. Since 1981, it has been a requirement that each competitor must have the exclusive rights to the use of certain key parts of their car – in 2018, these parts were the survival cell, the front impact structure, the roll structures and bodywork. However, one key part that is not covered under this requirement is the power unit.

Peter Westbury

Peter Westbury (26 May 1938 – 7 December 2015) was a British racing driver from England. He participated in two World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, scoring no championship points. In 1969 he raced a Formula 2 Brabham-Cosworth, driving in his first Grand Prix in the 1969 German Grand Prix. He finished ninth on the road, fifth in the F2 class. The following year he failed to qualify for the 1970 United States Grand Prix driving a works BRM, after an engine failure.

Early in his racing career he campaigned a homebuilt special called the M.G.W., graduating to a Cooper-Climax in 1960 which was later fitted with a Daimler V8 engine. Westbury won the British Hill Climb Championship twice, in 1963 and 1964. In 1963 he drove the self-built Felday, with supercharged Daimler V8 2.6-litre motor. The following year he won in the 2.5-litre Climax-engined Ferguson P99 with four-wheel-drive, on loan from Ferguson Research Ltd. Westbury also drove the Ferguson P99 in the 1964 Brighton Speed Trials and at the First International Drag Festival, a series of six events held in England that year, where the car covered the standing-start quarter mile in 11.01 seconds. He also drove a Lotus 23-BRM sports car at the Drag Festival.During 1965 Westbury developed the Felday-BRM 4 sports car with four-wheel-drive. The car won on its debut at Brands Hatch on Boxing Day, 26 December 1965, driven by Mac Daghorn. At Mallory Park on 13 March 1966, Peter Westbury and Mac Daghorn shared the car, each winning a race. Jim Clark raced the Felday 4 in the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch on 29 August 1966. The Felday 5 sports car was fitted with a 7-litre Ford Galaxie engine and four wheel drive, but only raced briefly. The Felday 6 was a 4.7-litre Ford-powered hillclimb single-seater, with rear wheel drive, built for Tony Griffiths.

In 1967 Westbury raced a Brabham-Ford Formula Three car in England and in Continental Europe. He won the F3 race at the Silverstone circuit on 29 April, the Grand Prix des Frontières at Chimay on 14 May, and also at the Auvergne Trophy meeting on 18 June 1967, on the daunting Clermont-Ferrand circuit in France. The same year he resuscitated the old BRM P67 four-wheel-drive F1 car, designed by Mike Pilbeam in 1964, for David Good to campaign in the British Hill Climb Championship. The car led the series at the half-way mark, but then passed into the hands of Peter Lawson, who revamped it for 1968. The car was a dominant winner of the series in 1968.

Rob Walker Racing Team

Rob Walker Racing Team was a privateer team in Formula One during the 1950s and 1960s. Founded by Johnnie Walker heir Rob Walker (1917-2002) in 1953, the team became F1's most successful privateer in history, being the first and (along with Giancarlo Baghetti´s team FISA) only entrant to win a World Championship Formula One Grand Prix without ever building their own car.

Triumph Stag

The Triumph Stag is a 2+2 sports tourer sold between 1970 and 1978 by the British Triumph Motor Company, styled by Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti.

Viscous coupling unit

A viscous coupling is a mechanical device which transfers torque and rotation by the medium of a viscous fluid.

W. J. B. Riddell

Prof William John Brownlow Riddell FRSE FRCPG DOMS (1899–1976) was a 20th-century Scottish ophthalmologist.

2019 season


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