Founded by Tony Vandervell, Acton-based Vanwall became the first British team to win its home grand prix – with Moss/Brooks scoring victory at Aintree in 1957 – but ceased racing after an ill-fated 1961 Intercontinental Formula season.
Now listed as the Vanwall Group, offshore powerboat racing champion Iain Sanderson bought the naming rights from automotive parts supplier Mahle in 2012. The marque’s revival will now be spearheaded by the six continuation VW5s, built by eminent historic race car restorer and preparer Hall and Hall – which was heavily involved in the filming of RUSH.
Sanderson said: “The Vanwall name is too important to consign to history. The Vanwall story is untold to many, but it is a great British tale of innovation and achievement and shows what happens when the right team come together and push themselves fearlessly to reach a clearly defined goal.
“On this [62nd] anniversary, we think the time is right to celebrate this great British story of success. Faithfully recreating the iconic 1958 championship winning car with six 100% accurate and authentic continuation cars is a fitting tribute to their historic success. The DNA that made those cars so successful also serves as an inspiring foundation for the future of the Vanwall marque, which I look forward to sharing in due course.”
With a chassis designed by Lotus boss Colin Chapman, and aerodynamics penned by Cosworth co-founder Frank Costin, the VW5 scored seven victories – four for Moss, three for Brooks – in 1958.
Only a team’s best six results contributed to its constructors’ tally, meaning Vanwall is one of just two manufacturers to score maximum points in a World Championship F1 season. The original 270bhp, 2.5-litre VW5s were part of the Donington Collection, but will now be recreated using original drawings and blueprints.
Vanwall VW5 1958
Photo by: Vanwall Group
Five of the six continuation cars will be offered for private sale at £1.65m excluding taxes, and the final example will form the basis of a Vanwall Historic Racing Team. This project, according to a statement, is part of “investigations to understand how the historic Vanwall brand DNA could translate into a vehicle for the 2020s”.
Andrew Garner, the chairman of Vanwall Group and a former chairman of the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association, added: “I can still remember watching the Vanwalls at Aintree in 1957 when I was a boy and had the pleasure of sitting in one at Goodwood. I drove at all the major circuits in a Cooper T51 for many wonderful years but the Vanwall is the car I coveted.
“These cars will be fully race eligible and in the right hands will be unbeatable, repeating Tony Vandervell’s mission to beat [Ferraris].”