Ferguson Family Museum - museum of tractors, farm machinery, aircraft and racing cars.  Based in Freshwater, Isle of Wight

The Ferguson P99

Model: P99
Made In: Coventry
Engine Size: 1.5 litre
No of Cylinders: Four

The four wheel drive P99 taking the off road route at Goodwood, 2008.

Ferguson car - the R5

Ferguson P99 racing car

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.

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.

Press releases

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

Ferguson Formula logo