John Crosthwaite

Knowledge Identifier: +John_Crosthwaite


John Crosthwaite

English race car designer and engineer, active in both the United Kingdom and the United States add

Category: Visual Arts

Born in 1925, deceased in 2010.

Countries: United States (28%), United Kingdom (28%), Republic of Korea (11%)

Education: undef.

Main connections: Colin Chapman, Formula One, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

Linked to: Intermeccanica, Iraq Petroleum Company, Armstrong Siddeley, Hyundai Motor Company




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John Crosthwaite was born in 1925 add something


He continued to volunteer for other services until AV Roe finally released him in 1943 to join the Royal Marines add something


Crosthwaite bought a 1944 Canadian Ford Mercury V8 estate ex War Dept. and along with a friend travelled through France, Italy, steamer to Greece add something


In 1944 he was accepted in the Royal Marine Commandos the 'Green Berets' add something


It was the first stock engine to be raced at Indy since 1946 and was the beginning of the rear engine transformation at the Indianapolis 500 add something


Following the end of the war in the far east he remained in the Royal Marine Commandos until 1947 add something


Crosthwaite, standing, examining Ford Mercury. Front wheel in mine hole. Greece 1949


In autumn 1955 he joined Colin Chapman who was starting Lotus cars add something


They married in April 1955 and with a baby on the way he needed to support his family so tried to decide on the best team to join add something


In late 1956 the Suez Crisis meant that petrol was rationed in the UK and motor racing banned add something


Colin Chapman in Lotus 11 at British Grand Prix, Formula 2 Race, Silverstone July 1956


Lotus Elevens at British Grand Prix, Silverstone. Formula 2 race, July 1956



Colin Chapman asked if Crosthwaite would go to the USA with Team Lotus as he needed a senior mechanic to prepare the Lotus cars for the Sebring 12 hour race in March 1957 add something


Crosthwaite with drivers John Biehl and Frank Monise at Riverside in June 1958


Early in 1959 racing driver John Biehl introduced Crosthwaite to anglophile and race car enthusiast Buddy Hull add something


Al Miller II raced one of the modified 1962 cars to 9th place despite only qualifying in 31st position add something


He designed and built cars for Formula Junior and the 1962 and 1963 Indianapolis 500 add something


Thompson and his sponsors, Harvey Aluminium and Jim Kimberly , asked Crosthwaite to design a car to race in the 1962 Indianapolis 500 add something


Crosthwaite with chassis of 1962 Indianapolis 500 car. Mickey Thompson machine shop, Long Beach, California 1962



Colin Chapman - When American Formula One driver Dan Gurney first saw the Lotus 25 at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, he was so struck by the advanced design that he invited Chapman to the 1962 Indianapolis 500, where Gurney made his Indy d├ębut at the wheel of a space-frame rear engined car designed by John Crosthwaite and built by American hot-rodder Mickey Thompson


Soon after the Indy 500 race in 1963 Crosthwaite was approached by and moved to work at Holman Moody, the official race contractor for Ford add something


In December 1963 Crosthwaite returned to the UK to join British Formula 1 team BRM as chassis designer add something


Unused initial design for Holman Moody Indianapolis 500 car. late 1963



Ford wanted Holman Moody to give them a price to run an Indianapolis 500 car for 1964 add something


In 1964 and 1965 Graham Hill finished second in the Drivers' Championship and BRM were second in the Constructors' Competition both years add something


Graham Hill testing the BRM P261 at Folkingham Aerodrome 1964



It was Crosthwaite's idea to surprise Jackie Stewart by making him a tartan driving seat for his BRM P261 at the 1965 Monaco Grand Prix add something


Fulp won the Watkins Glen Sports Car Grand Prix and the Riverside 300 km in 1966 add something


Ray Wiggin at Reliant Motor Company was looking for a chassis specialist in 1966 and Crosthwaite moved there first as a consultant to modify the SE4 Scimitar GT Coupe chassis and suspension so improving the ride and handling add something


Reliant were pleased with his modifications and approached him for the job of Chief Engineer in October 1966 add something


Intermeccanica Italia. 1966



Intermeccanica - Ex-BRM chassis designer John Crosthwaite, working as a consultant for Jack Griffith , designed the chassis for the Bob Cumberford shaped car called the Griffith GT. A Griffith was shown with a Plymouth 4,5-litre V8 engine at the 1966 New York Motor Show


He was a member of the Car and General Technical Board for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders from 1968 to 1974 and a member of the British Racing Drivers Club from 1956 until 1983 add something


The SE5 was conceived and ready for the 1968 Earls Court Motor Show in under 12 months add something


By the late 1970s and ever restless he returned to England to start his own company, Reef Engineering, to produce and export open top cars for holiday resorts in the Seychelles and the West Indies add something


In early 1974 he was head hunted along with five other car engineers and executives including George Turnbull by the South Korean company Hyundai Motor Company to help start up their now thriving car production company add something


This led to the production of the Hyundai Pony in 1975 add something


Crosthwaite retired to the South Coast of England in the late 1980s add something


In the 1980s he was commissioned to do designs for specialist car production companies add something

John Crosthwaite died in 2010 add something


John Crosthwaite died on 5 September 2010 while on holiday in Tralee, Eire add something