Paul Emery

Paul Emery

12/11/1916 - 3/2/1992

An innovative and visionary designer and engineer, many of Paul's ideas where decades ahead of their time but lack of resouces meant that they were never properly realised. Drove in the 1956 British Grand Prix.

Paul's father, George Emery, began building racing specials in the 1930s. Paul worked as an apprentice in his father's workshop however they frequently fell out and whent hey did, Paul would go and work over at Alta.

After the war the pair built a prototype single-seater called an Emeryson, powered by a 1934 Lagonda Rapier engine that was reduced to 1087cc and fitted with two stage supercharging. The car was very quick and it was hired out to Eric Winterbottom in 1947 for the race at the Gransden Lodge airfield circuit which he won.

Paul, like his father was innovative and visionary. Many of his ideas where decades ahead of their time but lack of resouces meant that they were never properly realised.

The 500cc F3 class was very popular in Britain around 1950 and Pauldesigned a front-wheel drive car with disc brakes. These cars were quite successful until the new F3 regualtions made the class too costly and too professional.

So in 1953 he decided to convert one of his 500s into an F2 car. The resultant Emeryson Special was driven by none other than Colin Chapman in his only F1 start at the 1954 International Trophy. The car was fitted with an Aston Martin LB6 6-cylinder engine that Paul reduced to 2 litres. He also devised a complex system for lowering the prop shaft and hence the driver's seating position. The lengthened chassis was fitted with wishbone IFS and coil-sprung de Dion rear.

Unreliable and uncompetetive, the car benefitted from the fitting of a second-hand Alta engine and an ENV pre-selector gearboc. With the 2.5 litre F1 regulations, Paul bored the engine out to 2471cc and entered a number of British races.

What had been bit of a joke in 1954 was suddenly on the pace into 1955 and further improved in 1956. Especially good on tight twisty circuits, even giving Moss in a 250F a good race at Crystal Palace, leading for a time before ending up a fine second.

For the British GP at Silverstone circuit, the three-year-old self-built spcial outqualified the 250Fs of Maglioli, Godia, Rosier and Brabham as well as the Gordini of Da Silva Ramos. In the race however, ignition trouble forced his retirement after just four laps.

It all looked very promissing though unfortunately it was not to be. In 1957 he slotted in a 2.4-litre Jaguar XK engine fitted with a fuel injection system of his own design, but he only ran it once at Goodwood before selling it to Roberta Cowell who enjoyed various Ladies Class winds in hill-climbs. Roberta was an ex-fighter pilot who had a sex change (See else where on the site). Eventually it was converted to a sports car and still survives in France somewhere.

By this time Emery had become involved in various projects that diverted his focus away from GP racing. In 1958 he turned his attention to racing Connaughts for a new team owner by the name of Bernie Ecclestone.

In 1960 a group of racers agreed to fund the construction of a new series of Emeryson cars. The team took over the Connaught factory in Send, near Woking, in Surrey and started out with an F2 car and in 1961 built a Coventry Climax-engined F1 car. Several cars were sold to the Ecurie Nationale Belge. A Formula Junior car proved to be quite competitive and a young Mike Spence made his F1 debut with an Emeryson.

Emeryson Ltd was sold to Hugh Powell, an American, in 1961. Emery agreed to stay on as the designer. For 1962 Powell established Scirocco-Powell Racing. 'Emerysons' were renamed Sciroccos and fitted with BRM engines. Emery remained involved until the end of the year. He then turned his attention to engine-tuning while his son Peter carried on the family tradition of building racing cars with the Formula Junior Elfin.

Paul Emery and Willy Griffiths then went to work on the Hillman Imp, preparing and tuning them for road and competiton use.

hr

Leave a comment

Comments