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Old 19 Jan 2021, 16:11 (Ref:4030048)   #1
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Purple Poles

Does anyone remember the "purple pole" spoof from about 1978 or 1979? It was published in either Autosport or Motoring News, I think. Better still, does anyone have a copy?
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Old 20 Jan 2021, 17:50 (Ref:4030309)   #2
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No? No-one? Surely some of the more senior forumites here will remember it.

It was a reflection of the fact that none of the designers seemed to understand why their cars were fast or slow, so they just tried to copy a successful car (nothing new about the pink Mercedes, you see). The writer suggested that if a car won a race with a 2 foot purple pole attached, at the next race everyone would have a purple pole.

According to the article the Ensign (a notoriously cash-strapped team) used a broom handle painted with Dulux. No-one could see one on the Lotus but it was believed to be hidden inside the sidepod. The Renault turbo used a purple liquid inside a glass tube connected to turbo pressure, but it didn't work well as it didn't maintain the correct length as the pressure varied. various other versions were described, that I have forgotten now.
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Old 20 Jan 2021, 18:48 (Ref:4030324)   #3
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Sorry but I don't remember this at all. I do remember being told a story about Lotus testing their F1 car at Brands Hatch a very long time ago and decided (for devilment0 to add Ribena (a blackcurrant cordial for those who don't know of it to the (clear) watering can that they were using to top up their cooling system which aroused a lot of suspicion at the time!
I don't know if this is true or not but is totally believable...
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Old 20 Jan 2021, 20:25 (Ref:4030334)   #4
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Originally Posted by VIVA GT View Post
Sorry but I don't remember this at all. I do remember being told a story about Lotus testing their F1 car at Brands Hatch a very long time ago and decided (for devilment0 to add Ribena (a blackcurrant cordial for those who don't know of it to the (clear) watering can that they were using to top up their cooling system which aroused a lot of suspicion at the time!
I don't know if this is true or not but is totally believable...
Haha. Maybe it was magical coolant "wetting agent" used to lower coolant temps! Everyone must have been trying to examine the active ingredients to determine the trick.

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Old 20 Jan 2021, 22:33 (Ref:4030348)   #5
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No? No-one? Surely some of the more senior forumites here will remember it.

It was a reflection of the fact that none of the designers seemed to understand why their cars were fast or slow, so they just tried to copy a successful car (nothing new about the pink Mercedes, you see). The writer suggested that if a car won a race with a 2 foot purple pole attached, at the next race everyone would have a purple pole.

According to the article the Ensign (a notoriously cash-strapped team) used a broom handle painted with Dulux. No-one could see one on the Lotus but it was believed to be hidden inside the sidepod. The Renault turbo used a purple liquid inside a glass tube connected to turbo pressure, but it didn't work well as it didn't maintain the correct length as the pressure varied. various other versions were described, that I have forgotten now.
Would have been around 1980 when the Williams ground effect car suddenly started working and nobody was sure why.
There was also a lot of outrage, understandably, when Lotus mechanics were caught measuring a Williams chassis in one of the transporters during a qualifying session, not sure if it was the man himself.
The teams were having a lot of trouble with locating the centre of pressure under the cars, and stopping them losing all downforce when they were sucked down too low and the air stalled under the car and suddenly stopped generating downforce.
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Old 21 Jan 2021, 09:20 (Ref:4030400)   #6
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Originally Posted by VIVA GT View Post
Sorry but I don't remember this at all. I do remember being told a story about Lotus testing their F1 car at Brands Hatch a very long time ago and decided (for devilment0 to add Ribena (a blackcurrant cordial for those who don't know of it to the (clear) watering can that they were using to top up their cooling system which aroused a lot of suspicion at the time!
I don't know if this is true or not but is totally believable...
I worked at Lotus Cars during the Lotus 78/79/80 era. I've not heard that particular story but I find it totally believable too.
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Old 21 Jan 2021, 09:25 (Ref:4030404)   #7
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Would have been around 1980 when the Williams ground effect car suddenly started working and nobody was sure why.
There was also a lot of outrage, understandably, when Lotus mechanics were caught measuring a Williams chassis in one of the transporters during a qualifying session, not sure if it was the man himself.
The teams were having a lot of trouble with locating the centre of pressure under the cars, and stopping them losing all downforce when they were sucked down too low and the air stalled under the car and suddenly stopped generating downforce.
I think probably a year or two earlier, when lotus produced the wing car and then the first ground-effect car. Teams were copying without having a clue what was really going on. Aside from Lotus, Williams were the first team to really get a handle on ground effect and proceeded to do it better than Lotus while Lotus overstepped the mark with the 80 and then headed off down a crazy blind alley.
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Old 21 Jan 2021, 10:52 (Ref:4030420)   #8
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I'd never heard of this purple pole thing but it turns up on a few websites, the most notable of which is Forix.

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It was a manifestation of the Purple Pole syndrome. As one mechanic put it, "This bloke Stewart's been winning and we've all got to pretend it's something on his car, so we copy what he's got. If tomorrow he came along with a long purple pole stuck out the front of his car, by next week we'd all have long purple poles as well!"
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Old 21 Jan 2021, 12:06 (Ref:4030427)   #9
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I worked at Lotus Cars during the Lotus 78/79/80 era. I've not heard that particular story but I find it totally believable too.
Here we go TrapezeArtist, found it with Gurgle.

http://www.allinsport.ch/history/instant-notoriety/


Must have been fascinating working for Lotus during that period, the good old days of F1.

Care to add anything?
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Old 21 Jan 2021, 20:20 (Ref:4030519)   #10
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Originally Posted by VIVA GT View Post
Sorry but I don't remember this at all. I do remember being told a story about Lotus testing their F1 car at Brands Hatch a very long time ago and decided (for devilment0 to add Ribena (a blackcurrant cordial for those who don't know of it to the (clear) watering can that they were using to top up their cooling system which aroused a lot of suspicion at the time!
I don't know if this is true or not but is totally believable...

It was done to make the liquid more visible.A test was underway to determine the real world pressures beneath the car due to persistent porpoising problems (Isn't alliteration great!).The tubes were connected to pressure tappings and at speed a valve was closed off to retain the fluid level until the pitlane was reached and a measurement could be taken with a rule.
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Old 22 Jan 2021, 07:59 (Ref:4030567)   #11
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Originally Posted by P38 in workshop View Post
It was done to make the liquid more visible.A test was underway to determine the real world pressures beneath the car due to persistent porpoising problems (Isn't alliteration great!).The tubes were connected to pressure tappings and at speed a valve was closed off to retain the fluid level until the pitlane was reached and a measurement could be taken with a rule.
Fascinating (and typical Chapman), thanks for the explanation.
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Old 22 Jan 2021, 10:51 (Ref:4030595)   #12
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I'd never heard of this purple pole thing but it turns up on a few websites, the most notable of which is Forix.
It looks like that may be the inspiration for the article, but we're no nearer finding the full text.
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