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Lotus Ford 49

After a difficult first year for Lotus in the 3 litre formula, Chapman went back to the drawing board and came up with a design that was both back to basics, and a leap ahead. Taking inspiration from earlier designs, particularly the Lotus 43 and Lotus 38 Indycar, the 49 was the first F1 car to be powered by the now-famous Ford Cosworth DFV engine after Chapman convinced Ford to build an F1 powerplant.

The 49 was an advanced design in Formula 1 because of its chassis configuration. The specially-designed engine became a stress-bearing structural member (seen first with the H16 engine in the Lotus 43 and BRM P83), bolted to the monocoque at one end and the suspension and gearbox at the other. Since then virtually all Formula 1 cars have been built this way.

As the engine came ‘on cam’ at 6,500 RPM with a sharp rise there in the power curve - Jimmy Clark likened it to a ‘second engine’ cutting in - the useful range was only 2,500 RPM which caused difficulties even to Clark in some corners. The performance was still ample to defeat its rivals being 20 to 70 HP higher than their outputs, provided the engine and the L49 chassis held together - which they did not do 14 times out of 22 starts in the 1967 Championship, although securing nine poles for the nine remaining races.

Short, wide, moderately draggy. The lightest car (along with the Brabham), with a fairly rearward weight bias. The Ford engine has plenty of torque in the upper rpm range, keep it above 6500 rpm, and good power. The car's rear rims are wider than the others, giving it more rear grip than the other competitors.