This Reborn Vanwall Formula 1 Car Has a Seizure-Inducing Price Tag
Vanwall is reviving its F1-winning car after 62 yearsby Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 04:23
If you’re a fan of the early days of Formula One racing and have around $2 million to spare, we have news for you: Vanwall is building six continuation cars of its championship-winning VW5. If you’re not familiar with the name, Vanwall built and raced Formula One cars from 1954 to 1960, winning nine races and the world championship in 1958. Vanwall was run by Tony Vandervell and his team included famed engineers Colin Chapman and Frank Costin. Vanwall Group, the successor to the British racing team, will build six new continuation cars.
Each Formula One car will be hand-built using original drawings and blueprints from the 1950s.
Vanwall Group stresses that each example "will be painstakingly built over thousands of hours by historic racing and vehicle restoration experts." The continuation VW5 will be powered by replicas of the original 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 270 horsepower.
Details are still slim as of this writing, but the photos released by Vanwall suggest that the continuation cars will feature the company’s historic livery. Like most British racing stables from the era, Vanwall had its cars painted in British Racing Green. The cars will also include yellow accents on the nose and racing numbers on the front deck and rear hump. It’s not clear whether customers will be allowed to choose a different color, but it’s unlikely.
The continuation Vanwall VW5 doesn’t come cheap
Just like Jaguar and Shelby, Vanwall is charging a lot of money for its continuation cars. Each VW5 will cost £1.65 million, which converts to around $2.16 million as of October 2020. The sticker doesn’t include VAT, so the price will be higher depending on where you live.
In Britain, where Vanwall operates, VAT is 20 percent, so this mean that the actual price of the racer comes in at £1.98 million. That's $2.6 million or as much as a modern hypercar.
Vanwall will build six continuation cars, but only five will be offered for private sale. The sixth car will remain with the company to form the core of a Historic Racing Team. There’s no word as to when deliveries will begin, but the first car will probably be ready sometime in 2021.
Formula One success
Vanwall debuted in Formula One in 1954, competing against Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes, Lancia, and Cooper. The British racing team scored modest results in its first three seasons, with the first win arriving in 1957. Vanwall took the checkered flag for the first time at 1957 British Grand Prix with Sir Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks sharing driving duties in a VW5. Vanwall scored two more wins by the end of the season, but Stirling Moss lost the driver’s championship to Juan Manuel Fangio. Formula One did not offer a manufacturer’s championship back then, but Vanwall would have finished in second place, behind Maserati.
Vanwall reached its performance peak in 1958, also with the VW5. The Brits won six of the nine races they entered and won the manufacturer’s title ahead of Ferrari and Cooper. Despite winning four races (three with Vanwall and one with Cooper), Stirling Moss narrowly lost the driver’s championship to Scuderia Ferrari’s Mike Hawthorn. The latter scored just a win, but took the second position in five races, thus gathering more points than Moss, which retired four times throughout the season.
Led by engineers Colin Chapman and Frank Costin, Vanwall pioneered the use of disc brakes in Formula One. With Tony Vandervell’s health failing, Vanwall entered only a few races in 1959 and 1960. The new VW59 and VW11 designs proved unsuccessful against the new mid-engined Coopers and Vanwall abandoned racing after one final attempt in the 1961 Intercontinental Formula.