“We were perhaps fortunate in having almost continuous rain while we covered some 800 miles in the car,” wrote our testers. “The Ferguson formula shows to best advantage when the conditions are slippery, and we soon came to enjoy our superior controllability over the other traffic.
Full-power step-offs could be used without wheelspin and corners could be rushed through as if the roads were dry.
“At MIRA we took even greater liberties in exploring its limits, which came eventually at extraordinarily high speeds on the inner road circuit.
“Initially there is some marked understeer as the wheels are turned for the beginning of a corner, but from this point on the car just drives round and pulls its way out from the apex without any tail flick or running wide.
“The braking system demonstrates the effectiveness of anti-lock for safety. It has not yet been perfected, but it still offers more control than present cars without it. The biggest criticism is the high pedal load needed for an emergency stop on a wet surface. As this effort is applied, the pedal ‘bounces’ under the foot at quite a slow and rhythmic rate as pressure in the lines is relieved cyclically to unlock the wheels.”
The R5 was bristling with other neat ideas, apart from proving the potential of the four-wheel drive philosophy.
“From the roller blind to cover the luggage behind the folding rear seats to the novel arrangement of switches around a fixed steering wheel boss, a lot of thought has gone into the R5. Perhaps for the time available, such an ambitious project has had too small a team.”
Small team or not, later that year some of the technology underpinning the R5 reached production in the Jensen FF.
Previous Throwback Thursdays
4 March 1899 - Steam, electric or combustion engine?
26 June 1906 - The first French Grand Prix
9 July 1907 - The beginning of Brooklands
14 February 1913 - 100 miles in one hour
8 April 1916 - Making post-war predictions
25 March 1922 - Caterpillar tracks are the future
4 July 1925 - Citroën lights up the Eiffel Tower
2 February 1934 - The ethics of skidding
6 July 1934 - A tour of Cowley
1 June 1935 - Introduction of the driving test
22 June 1945 - Driving through post-WW2 Europe
21 January 1949 - Tidier tails
24 April 1959 - Aston Martin enters Formula 1
27 January 1961 - Ford Thunderbird road test
17 November 1961 - TVR Grantura road test
6 May 1971 - Driving Ford's Supervan
12 June 1976 - Cars for under £100
10 July 1976 - Land's End to John O'Groats on one tank
13 May 1978 - Ferrari 512 BB road test
19 January 1980 - Talbot Horizon road test
13 February 1982 - 4x4s tested on the farm
17 April 1985 - Secrets of a lost British supercar
15 August 1990 - Giugiaro's vision of a 1990s Jaguar
28 April 1993 - BL's unseen concepts
16 March 1994 - Bentley's Concept Java
16 April 1997 - When Bugatti bit the dust
4 April 2001 - 0-260mph in 6.0 seconds
25 July 2001 - 180mph in a Chevrolet Corvette
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