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  1. Mark (smokey mow)

    Costin Walker F3/F4/FJ Imp Rebuild

    I like to start my build threads with a little bit of background and history and although this cars history started all the way back in 1968 my knowledge and involvement with it began much later than that. Those of you that have seen my other posts and build thread will know that my involvement in single seaters and specifically Johnny Walker's F4 cars began in around 2014 when I bought my first JW4 Formula four car, one of the first 1966 250cc Mk2 chassis. Walker only made 56 cars of which only 12 were Mk2's and search to find original parts to rebuild my particular car lead me on an unexpected journey which culminated in me obtaining much of the original factory records, drawings and tooling for the JW4. One car that had always intrigued me during my research was the very last car that Johnny Walker made; the Costin Walker. This car was something quite different to any of his previous F4 chassis and for which Walker had employed the talent's of Aerodynamist Frank Costin to design the chassis and bodywork who was famed for his early work with Lotus cars then later Marcos. More used to working with a wooden monocoque for his chassis construction on previous projects, for this commission his 18th car Frank Costin chose to adopt a space-frame construction and in his words to "carry it to its logical ultimate". Costin set out to design what was to become one of the stiffest space-frames ever produced for its weight and this very car went on to be displayed at the 1969 Racing Car Show at Olympia. I will continue the full history in later posts but, the history of the prototype was short lived when in 1971 during an F4 race at Lydden, the car spun striking the bank which caused damage to the front suspension upright and steering rack. Rather than rebuilding the car a disillusioned and financially strained Walker sought to sell the car, but it was not to be run again by any of the subsequent owners. The last recorded information I had of the car was a magazine cutting from 1991 where then then owner of the remains was seeking information about it's past. This article was the first breadcrumb in my search to find the whereabouts of the car as I wanted to learn of it's fate. As luck would have it the owners name in the article was quite unusual and after a session of googling I was able to find somebody with the same name but promisingly working in the motorsports industry. An enquiring email was sent and luck was again on my side as I had not only found the right person but also they were still the owner of the car having by then had it for nearly 40 years. I would add that at this time I had no intent in buying the car as my interest was in the researching the history of the marque. I arranged to meet the owner Denis and I was grateful that he was also willing to show me the car and fill in a few blanks about its history and whereabouts over the preceding years. Denis had bought the car in 1976, 5 years after its Lydden accident. back then it was in a sorry state having languished in a damp and draughty barn for 5 years and it's original 85bhp imp engine and jack knight gearbox had long since gone. After a period of storage Denis had set out to restore the car and at the time I first saw it in 2016 the car was still in pieces and the only part which had then been restored was painting of the chassis. A pleasant afternoon was spent kicking tyres and talking cars then I went on my way back home. A few more emails were exchanged between us over the next few weeks as I found out more about the cars history and we shared information and then that was it.
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