Chaparral 2D Project
Starting Bid: €85 000
The history of the Chaparral 2d of 1966, known for his participation in 24H of Le mans.
The 2D was the first closed cockpit variant of the 2-series, designed for endurance racing in 1966. It won at 1000 km Nürburgring in 1966 with “Phil Hill” and Joakim Bonnier driving. It also competed in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, withdrawing after 111 laps. The Chaparral 2D was equipped with a 327 cubic-inch displacement (5.3 liter) aluminum alloy Chevrolet engine producing 420 horsepower; the car weighed only 924 kg.
While still campaigning their front engined Chaparral racers, Jim Hall and Hap Sharp were already designing a replacement. Unlike their first racing car the new project would be an in-house design, constructed in their own workshop at the Rattlesnake race track in Texas. Early on in the project it became clear that a mid-engined layout was a necessity to keep up with the European competition. Hall’s vast experience of racing a wide variety of racers gave him a very useful insight into chassis construction. He combined this knowledge to design a cutting edge racer.
Much of the development work on the first Chaparral consisted of further strengthening the spaceframe chassis with cross braces to cope with the additional power. It was quite possible to design a strong frame from the ground up, but it would be overly complex making quick repairs the chassis or engine nearly impossible. A monocoque chassis would be more suitable, but no one had tried to construct a mid-engined car with this layout before. Successfully applied in front-engined racers like the Jaguar D-Type, the monocoque usually consisted of sheet metal boxes riveted together.
For the construction of the chassis Hall and Sharp called in the help of former airplane engineer Andy Green. In exchange for his help, Hall would finance Green’s racing sailboat business. His vast experience with composite materials was vital as Hall had picked fibreglass for the construction of his chassis. Except for Colin Chapman and his lightweight Lotus Elite, no one had been brave enough to use ‘plastic’ as the main chassis material. Hall believed that a fibreglass structure would be easier to construct, repair and adapt than a similar aluminium monocoque and would also be strong enough to cope with powerful engines.
While Hall and Green were busy designing and building the first mid-engined monocoque sports car, Chapman debuted the monocoque Lotus 25 Formula 1 racer, which used aluminium for the chassis and fibreglass for the body. Development at the Rattlesnake workshop went slowly because of Hall’s busy Formula 1 schedule, but the first car was ready for the final races of the 1963 season. Inspired by Chevrolet’s Monza GT concept car of 1962, Hall first designed a closed body for the ‘2’, as the car was known. For various reasons that design was discarded and replaced by a simpler Roadster body.
Although the chassis was highly advanced, Hall gathered well proven parts to bolt onto it. A straightforward double wishbone suspension was picked for the front suspension, and at the rear each corner consisted of trailing arms, a single top link and a reverse lower wishbone. Girling discs were fitted all around and provided for plenty of stopping power. The Chevrolet V8 was carried over from the front-engined Chaparrals, but equipped with four Weber Carburettors and higher compression heads. A Colotti four speed gearbox was chosen, which already had proven its worth in the mid-engined Lotus and Cooper racers.
Just a few months after the first monocoque single seater, the racing world welcomed the first mid-engined monocoque sportscar; great minds really seem to think alike. Barely completed the Chaparral 2 debuted at the Riverside Grand Prix in October. Hall immediately impressed by claiming pole position, but in the race the lack of development and an electrical fire saw him retire from the lead after only four laps. There were two more outings for Chaparral that season with a third place finish as the best result. Hall retired from Formula 1 and completely focused on developing the Chaparral 2 into a race winner.
Over the winter the ties with General Motors were further strengthened and Hall received back door support in exchange for assisting the manufacturer’s development team. Impressed by its early performance GM’s personnel investigated the Chaparral 2 in detail and decided to build a specimen of their own, but using aluminium instead. It was described as an experimental vehicle, not to break the non-racing agreement of 1957, but it was an obvious answer to Ford’s GT40 program, which effectively ended the agreement. The resulting ‘Corvette GSIIb’ was very light, but by far not as rigid as the similar composite Chaparral. One of the features Hall later adapted for the Chaparrals was the two speed automatic gearbox fitted on the GSIIb.
In March Chaparral commenced their 1964 racing program with two works racers. The most obvious changes were the smoothed out bodywork and the re-routed exhaust system, which now consisted of eight stacks pointed upwards through the rear bodywork. After a second place finish in the season’s first race, Hall scored the 2’s maiden victory in the next. This was a start of an impressive run in American road races, piling victory upon victory. While Hall recovered from a broken arm, Roger Penske added two victories to the team’s tally in the important FIA sanctioned fall races at Laguna Seca and in the Nassau Speed Week.
Hall and Sharp kicked off the 1965 season with a stunning win in the prestigious Sebring 12 Hours. Against America’s and Europe’s finest the further developed Chaparral took the pole position, fastest lap and overall victory leaving the Fords and Ferraris to bite their dust. It was the start of a second highly successful season in the continent’s USRRC and FIA mandated races. In October a more conventional aluminium chassis was debuted in the 2C (the B suffix was skipped to prevent the 2C being confused with GM’s GSIIb), which in familiar fashion took the fastest lap and victory at the season opener.
For 1966 the UssRC was replaced by the all new Can-Am Challenge series, which attracted a lot more European attention. For the FIA mandated races Chaparral developed the fibreglass 2 into the fixed-head 2D, which scored the company’s first European victory in the Nürburgring 1000 km race. The aluminium 2C chassis was used as a basis for the open 2E Can-Am racer. Jim Hall continued to push the boundaries with aerodynamical revolutions, but stronger competition and stricter regulations prevented the Chaparral team to ever match the stunning 1964 and 1965 seasons.
With nearly two dozen victories in two seasons, the original Chaparral 2 remains as the most successful of all of Jim Hall’s racers. The composite chassis was revolutionary and the advantages were not accepted for another two decades when the carbon composites structures debuted in Formula 1 racing. Four chassis were constructed, but only three were used. All three were converted to either 2D or 2F specification and survive to this day. Today the three chassis each represent one version of the fibreglass 2 evolutions, so there is one 2, a 2D and a 2F in existence.
The current owner has made the car according to the original plans and has taken over all the features of the original. This is the only reconstruction of the Chaparral 2D “Le Mans 66”. The car has been reconstructed in detail only the gearbox is not conform, the authentic Chaparral 2d came with an automatic gearbox and this reconstruction comes with a manual gearbox.
The owner declares that unfortunately he no longer has the physical means to complete the project and offers it as it is. He still has to do the paintwork and the electrical circuit and various connections.
The engine is new and has recently been fitted with 4 Weber 48 IDA carburettors corresponding to the original.
The engine still needs to be fine-tuned.
This Chaparral 2d will be sold as a project.
Here are some finishing touches that still need to be done:
-finishing the car
-painting of the vehicle
If you have any more questions, you can always ask them in comments.
Item condition: Used
Auction starts in:
Auction starts: April 6, 2020 12:00 am
Auction ends: April 20, 2020 7:00 pm