Made In: Coventry
Engine Size: 1.5 litre
No of Cylinders: Four
The remarkable creation of the Ferguson Formula four wheel drive system
began shortly after World War II. Harry Ferguson had always loved the
world of motorsport and had a vision of creating a four wheel drive
system with the purpose of improving road safety. The Ferguson car,
known as the R5, designed by Harry Ferguson Research was truly 40 years
ahead of its time. With four wheel drive, anti-skid braking, electric
windows, disc brakes and a hatchback design it was the forerunner of the
modern car. Harry Ferguson decided that the way to prove the importance
of four wheel drive and anti-skid braking was to demonstrate it on a
successful Formula 1 car.
The four wheel drive P99 taking the off road route at Goodwood, 2008.
Ferguson car - the R5
Ferguson P99 racing car
In 1950 designer, Claude Hill, Brooklands Riley racer, Fred Dixon and
Tony Rolt, a POW escapee and 24 hour le Mans winner, teamed up with
Harry Ferguson to start development on what was later to become the
world’s only Formula 1 winning four wheel drive car – Project 99. Later
the Ferguson Formula four wheel drive system was widely adopted by rally
cars and the motor industry worldwide in the form of the viscous
coupling. Although designed as a racing car P99 was also a research vehicle
intended to show the advantages and reliability of the four wheel drive
system. What better way to generate public interest than to successfully
race a car using the Ferguson Formula four wheel drive.
P99 achieved noteworthy success in the hands of Stirling Moss, winning
the Formula 1 Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1961. On his way to winning the
British Grand Prix at Aintree, Sir Stirling was black-flagged for not
having done the practice race in that particular car. Four wheel drive
in Formula 1 was then banned. However, he and Peter Westbury who later
won the British Hill Climb Championship, had proved the extraordinary
roadworthiness that results from the combined system of four wheel drive
and anti-skid braking.
It was an extraordinary achievement not only to design but to win with
one attempt at building a Grand Prix car out of the Ferguson stable. The car was designed to the normal zero tolerance standards which
Harry Ferguson set in all his engineering projects. Sadly Harry Ferguson
died shortly before the car had its amazing success.
This innovative car had a front mounted Coventry Climax 4-cylinder
engine, Ferguson four wheel drive system and Dunlop Maxaret ABS brakes.
P99 was fitted with anti-lock brakes and although not used in racing,
they were used for high speed test purposes.
Please note that P99 is no longer housed at the Ferguson Family Museum on the Isle of Wight but is currently with the Rolt family.
The museum still houses memorabilia, photographs. drawings and books etc. of the car's history.
Stirling Moss drives
Ferguson P99 at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2005
Ferguson P99 -
Goodwood Revival 2006
Ferguson P99 returns to
Hill Climb at Shelsley Walsh Centenary Festival