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Rear/Mid-Engined Racers

In the 1960s, many racing-car makers realized the benefits of moving the engine from its traditional position at the front of the car to the middle or rear. Improved weight distribution was just one of the advantages of this configuration. Marques that adopted the new setup for their racing models soon reaped the rewards in the form of superior handling and performance on the racetrack.

Huffaker-Offenhauser Special, 1964


Engine4,179 cc, straight-four
Top speed180 mph (290 km/h)

Just three Huffaker-Offenhauser Specials were built for Indy Car racing, with the model featuring a liquid suspension system and rear-engine setup.

Maserati Tipo 61 “Birdcage”, 1959


Engine2,890 cc, inline-four
Top speed177 mph (285 km/h)

Known as the “Birdcage” because of its intricate tubular chassis, the 61 competed at Le Mans and other endurance events from 1959 to 1961.

Simca Abarth GT, 1962


Engine1,288 cc, straight-four
Top speed143 mph (230 km/h)

Italian tuning company Abarth fitted a new 1,300 cc engine into the French Simca 1000, and transformed it into a winning racer in 1962 and 1963.

Lola T70, 1965


Engine4,736-5,735 cc, V8
Top speed200 mph (322 km/h)

Raced successfully on home soil in Britain as well as across the Atlantic, the T70 was powered by either a Ford or a Chevrolet V8 engine.

Ford GT40 Mk II, 1966


Engine6,997 cc, V8
Top speed200 mph (322 km/h)

Two years after its 1964 launch, the legendary GT40 was upgraded; it won a clean sweep at the 1966 Le Mans 24-hour race in France as the MK II.

Jaguar XJ13, 1966


Engine4,994 cc, V12
Top speed175 mph (282 km/h)

Jaguar built just one stunning XJ13 model, which despite its new 502 bhp V12 engine was deemed not competitive enough to race at Le Mans.

Eisert Indy racer, 1964


Engine4,949 cc, V8
Top speed180 mph (290 km/h)

Influenced by Lotus Formula 1 racers of the period, the Eisert was specially built to compete in Indy Car racing in the mid-1960s.

Alfa Romeo Tipo 33.2, 1967


Engine1,995 cc, V8
Top speed162 mph (261 km/h)

Alfa’s decision to develop a new sports prototype model in the 1960s bore fruit with the Tipo 33.2, which won its debut race in 1967.

Howmet TX, 1968


Engine2,958 cc, turbine
Top speed180 mph (290 km/h)

Competing in high-profile endurance events during the 1968 season, the Howmet featured a novel gas-turbine power plant.

Lotus 49, 1967


Engine2,993 cc, V8
Top speed180 mph (290 km/h)

The fruits of a collaboration between Lotus, Ford, and Cosworth, the legendary 49 was piloted by the finest Grand Prix drivers of the late 1960s.

Matra Cosworth MS10, 1968


Engine2,993 cc, V8
Top speed180 mph (290 km/h)

Matra started out in Formula 1 in 1967 with the MS10, which shared the same impressive Cosworth engine as the Lotus 49.

Ferrari 312/68, 1968


Engine2,989 cc, V12
Top speed193 mph (310 km/h)

The 1968 version of Ferrari’s 312 F1 racer first unveiled two years previously was the best yet, with Jacgues “Jacky” Ickx winning that year’s French Grand Prix.

March 707, 1970


Engine8,226 cc, V8
Top speed200 mph (322 km/h)

Designed in the late 1960s, March competed in the North American CanAm racing series with the 707 model, which was powered by a mighty Chevrolet V8 engine.

Ferrari 312P, 1969


Engine2,990 cc, V12
Top speed199 mph (320 km/h)

First raced in 1969, Ferrari’s 312P prototype competed in high-profile endurance events such as the Spa 1,000 km and the Le Mans 24-hour race.

Porsche 718 RS, 1957


Engine1,587 cc, boxer four
Top speed140 mph (225 km/h)

Porsche’s 718 open-topped endurance racer recorded a number of podium finishes, including third place at the 1958 Le Mans 24-hour race. It continued winning races into the early 1960s.

Porsche 906, 1966


Engine1,991 cc, flat-six
Top speed174 mph (280 km/h)

The first Porsche to incorporate gull-wing doors, the 906 from 1966 hit the ground running with class and overall victories in its debut year.

Porsche 917K, 1970


Engine4,494 cc, flat-12
Top speed199 mph (320 km/h)

Conceived in the 1960s with the aim of winning the 1970 Le Mans 24-hour race, the fabled 917 did just that and also won in 1971.


It is a quote. The Definitive Visual History Of The Automobile 2011

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