229 John Hillam (1977 Supercar)

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Drawing by Keith Barber and reproduced from Stock Car Monthly

One of the great surprises of this year's Formula One World Final was the appearance of an all new car from John Hillam. For some years now there has been a distinct and much copied `HliIlam line'. It was way back in 1972 that John inaugurated the wedge profile stocker, distinctive not only for its overall shape but also for the large rear mounted aerofoil. In this era when seemingly every other driver sports a wing it is easy to lose sight of the fact that Big John was the originator. That original car, which eventually went to Alan England did in fact feature two wings either side of the bonnet as well. Being. 'three in total he for some time got called the Red Baron but those on the front proved impractical and have not featured in any subsequent cars. Such has been the influence of John Hillam that today there are more Hillam replicas than any other, which really means more than the Stu Smith or Doug Cronshaw replicas; the other two great style influences. Through all this time "Big John" has not only been the notable style influence, but has also been a progressive influence in the engineering design of stock cars. No doubt as a result of his pro-fession as an agricultural implement manufacturer John has been able to apply his constructional logic through the years to the cars he builds.

It probably takes an engineer to fully appreciate the Hillam touch, but on a HiIlam machine every piece of metal and every nut and bolt is functional, with the one exception of that big rear wing! This could well explain why in this latest offering by Big John that once famous hallmark has gone, and has been replaced by an aerodynamic device which is little more than an extension of the roof. The number fin has become a further extension of this, and the whole unit unbolts with two wing-nuts for ease of transportation. But this new car differs in more respects than cosmetics like the roof and unique nostril nose treatment. Without recourse to a personal crash diet John has pared nearly two hundred pounds off the weight of the old car and this can be largely attributed to the engineer at work, doing a weight saving exercise. Throughout this new HiIlam supercar are weight saving innovaions which, like the roof and nose, are sure to become immita,ed features as with the original machine of 1972. That John HiIlam is the most immiated car builder around in patently obvious. It is equally likely that this latest Supercar will be only the first of many.