Desingers – Maurice Philippe

The Colin Chapman F1 design peers series

Maurice Philippe 1932-1989


The A&R considers that Colin Chapman’s design career in FI embraced two periods:-

  1. From the inception of Lotus cars to the late 1960’s early 1970’s
  2. The mature period covering the wings/ ground effect and turbo era until his sad and early death in 1982

We don’t know what he might have achieved had he lived beyond this.

The FI designs of Colin Chapman were considerable not least because of his relatively low budget .He did not have the resources of a multinational to cross-subsidize its racing programme against publicity and a means of developing its engineers.

In order to evaluate Colin Chapman better the A&R is committing to a series of benchmarking exercises analyzing the design achievements of his peers. As part of the exercise we will examine some specific models from the respective seasons.

These design studies are a natural complement to our series on Design Heroes that gives priority to Industrial and Product Designers.

MP was one of the significant designers that worked alongside Colin Chapman [see appendix below]

He was slightly younger than CC but belonged to the same 750 MC “school” of innovating/ improvising driver constructors. He also had an aviation background.

He was known to Chapman, had raced a Lotus and through the 1950’s frequented the factory.

Recommended by Len Terry he must have had potential.

The Designers

We offer the list below and would be interested to hear from our subscribers if they would like to make other recommendation for inclusion and also if they have priority/ preference in our selection.

We appreciate that some of these designers were colleagues of Colin Chapman at Lotus at some point in their careers but went onto achieve success in their own right.

As a prompt subscribers might like to use the list to pencil in those cars they associate with the designers.

Designer Marque Model

Len Bailey
Dave Baldwin
Ralph Ballamy
John Barnard
Michel Beaujos
Nigel Bennett
Eric Broadley
Gustav Brunner
Rory Bryne
Paul Carillo
Colin Chapman
Carlo Chiti
John Clark
Peter Connew
Gordon Coppuck
Andre de Cortanze
Frank Dernie
Richard Divila
Gerrard Ducarouge
Geoffrey Ferns
Mauro Forghieri
Derek Gardner
John Gentry
Chuck Graemiger
Herve Guilpin
Patrick Head
Robin Herd
Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Ray Jessop
Georges Martin
Tico Martini
Alan McCall
Arturio Merzario
Kenij Mimura
Robert Morin
Vic Morris
Gordon Murray
Morris Nunn
Martin Ogilivie
Masa Ono
Enzo Osella
Luciano Pederzani
Maurice Phillippe
Mike Pilbeam
Harvey Postlethwaite
Adrian Reynard
Franco Rochi
Ken Sears
Tony Southgate
Giorgio Stirano
Ray Stokoe
Nigel Stroud
John Surtees
Andy Swallman
Ron Tauranac
Len Terry
Michel Tetu
Antonio Tomaini
Martin Walter
Tim Wardrop
Dave Wass
Peter Wright
Edy Wyss

Each of the assessments will adopt a set format for a degree of uniformity and fairer evaluation. The assessment criteria as follows [but again we are happy to take suggestions from our subscribers]:-

    • Brief biography and design methodology
    • FI car design
    • Sport / sports racing car design
    • Road car design
    • Consultancy and any other product design
    • Legacy or design influence

The editors are thinking of starting with Gordon Murray but will be influenced by our regular subscribers. The editors have been influenced by “The Art of the Formula 1 Car” but aesthetics alone will not influence inclusion.

Maurice Phillippe brief biography from the net

“Maurice Philippe was bought up in Edmonton in East London and educated at Latymer School in Hammersmith. He won an apprenticeship with the De Havilland aircraft company in Hatfield. At the time the company’s technical department boasted a lot of racing enthusiasts, including Frank Costin and Brian Hart. They were members of the 750 Motor Club and in 1955 Philippe built his own racing car – called the MPS (Maurice Philippe Special). While racing in his spare time, Philippe helped to develop the wing structures for the Comet 4 aircraft. His next racing project came at the end of the 1950s when he joined forces with Hart and Len Terry to build a front-engined Formula Junior car called the Delta. This was crashed on its debut by driver Peter Warr.Philippe then left De Havilland to become a development engineer on the Ford Anglia engine. He continued to race a Lotus 7 in 1963 and 1964”

Maurice then went racing and impressed Colin Chapman enough with his designs to move to Lotus” He worked with Colin on:-

  • Philippe and Chapman first redesigned the Lotus 39, then produced the Lotus 43, the classic Lotus 49, the ground-breaking Lotus 72 as well as the Lotus 56 turbine Indy cars.
  • In 1972, Philippe left Lotus He later became a consultant. moving to America for a while and criss-crossed the Atlantic
  • He went to work for Parnelli Jones’s USAC team, designing the Cosworth-Parnelli VPJ4 for F1, which was raced in 1975 by Mario Andretti.
  • In 1978, he replaced Derek Gardner as chief designer at Tyrrell, with the Tyrrell 008 finishing fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.
  • The 1979 Tyrrell 009 ground-effect car was less successful, only scoring four third places.
  • In 1980, the Tyrrell 010 was introduced and was raced in modified form until 1983.
  • In 1988, he designed the March-Alfa 89CE Indy car, but he died in 1989 before the car ran for the first time, up until his untimely death.

The MPS and Delta


“Maurice Phillippe was in the aviation industry when he became an amateur constructor with a one-off sports car, the MPS, in the mid 1950’s [Crombac suggests this might have been a one-off monocoque chassised car for the 750 Formula]; following it with the front –engined Formula Junior car at the end of the decade.

This had a Ford 105E engine, multi tubular frame and independent suspension all round, but like the other Juniors inspired by Clubman’s cars it was to be overwhelmed in the FJ mainstream”

Philippe at Lotus from Wagstaff

“in 1965 Len Terry left Lotus, suggesting MP –an aerospace designer and then development engineer on the Ford Anglia engine- should join the company, MP had been a member of the 750 MC and had built and raced his own cars ,including the MPS 750 Formula car and the Delta FJ.He also raced an ex- Keith Duckworth Lotus Seven.

Aircraft industry influence were strong in the early days at Lotus………….

Philippe could be said to have been thrown in at the proverbial deep end, drawing the BRM H16 powered type 43 and then becoming joint chassis designer with Chapman on the Championship-winning Type 49……………

The detail work on the Type 56 Indianapolis gas turbine car-what could be described as the first of the “wedges” –was the work of Phillippe………..

However prior to the 72 he produced the attractive but ultimately doomed Type 63 four wheel drive GP car…………….”

Martin Waide provides some interesting insights into MP design methodology.

MP is said to have been a very private person.

Lotus cars designed or with contributions from MP

The Lotus 43

Avoiding repetition subscribers are directed to our dedicated articles

Figure 1.Editors sketch working drawing of Lotus 43

The Lotus 56

Avoiding repetition subscribers are directed to our dedicated articles .Its worth recording here that MP suggested aerodynamic recordings that fed later decisions relating to the type 72 [see Crombac]

Figure 2 Editors sketch working drawing of Lotus 56B

The Lotus 72 & variants

Avoiding repetition subscribers are directed to our dedicated articles.

There are many excellent books on the Lotus 72, Wagstaff’s is affordable and generally available.

He discusses important issues such as tyres.

“Perhaps the seminal formula car of the early 1970’s, the Lotus 72 enjoyed a remarkably long term of service given the rapid advances of the time.

In all ,it would contest six seasons –long outstaying its golden period, but only because Lotus once again out-thought itself in trying to develop a suitably advanced replacement for it “

Codling in The Art of the F1 Race car.

Figure 3.Editors sketch head –on view of Lotus 72- wedge profile

The Lotus 73

Avoiding repetition subscribers are directed to our dedicated articles

Figure 4.Scale model of Lotus 73.Image from the net

Figure 5.Editors sketch of front up right and suspension

Learning Opportunities

Our learning /educational opportunities are intended to be challenging thought provoking and requiring additional research and/or analysis.

These opportunities are particularly designed for a museum/education centre location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.

In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-

  • Discuss Lotus F1 design and achievement through the 1970’s what can be deducted?
  • Study F1 designers in appendix below , consider the impact of the Cosworth Ford on design and its cost implications in widest sense [ref 1970’s]
  • Using appendix below rate Lotus designers
  • See previous designers and reference to 750 motor club what is the connectivity
  • What are the links /connectivity between MP and Len Terry?
  • What is the monocoque chassis? give examples of its adoption in motor racing
  • Study of F1 design heroes series how many were hired designers?
  • Coping can have mixed results identify examples of success and failure in F1
  • Design achievements is rarely presented against available budget-debate and explain
  • Study appendix below and consider the culture of design trends and career moves
  • What was the impact of the Ford Cosworth DFV on motor racing car design?

Exhibitions, Education, Economics and Entertainment

In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

In particular we suggest that a number of exhibitions can be held that explores themes of design within FI and how individual designers have approached these. They might include:-

  • Engines and engine power
  • Aerodynamics
  • Structures
  • Tyres
  • Sustainability
  • Design down to budget

Exhibitions could tap into the rich diversity, explore communality and divergence, innovation v caution and place peer designed cars in juxtaposition with one another surrounded by the design principles the respective designers have adopted. This along with race simulators and film ought bring out and provide educational opportunities for students to comprehend how differing design approaches and content have impacted on success.

In this instance we suggest the following exhibition titles might be appropriate:-

  • Phillippe Comets and Cosworth
  • Phillippe Delta Wings
  • Phillippe & Seminal 72
  • Sponsors in the Spotlight
  • Dawn of the Turbo
  • Chapman earns his Wings
  • Racing Radial


MP was accepted by Chapman because of his background and reputation.The editors strongly suspect he was a competent draughtsman and possibly his portfolio confirmed this.

MP made an important contribution to Lotus [not forgetting competition success drove sales and international reputation]

He participated in two out of possibly four ground breaking Lotus F1 cars and possibly fed the transition into these with other intermediate types.

His later career possibly indicated he was not as original as Chapman and possibly felt unable to fulfill early promise. He was unable to write a memoir and possibly record budgets, constraints and parameters that may have been laid down within other teams.

Some tributes are paid to Phillippe:-

Ludvigsen in caption:-

“Thanks to the team that included such talented and experienced designers like MP Chapman was able to realise advanced racing cars like the 1970’s 72”


……….those that did so ignored the fact that the Lotus 72 was largely the work of MP, a designer held in the highest regard by his peers both then and until his death 20 years later.”

Crombac also provides useful insights into MP design approach working with Colin Chapman.

MP died tragically young at the age of 57.

Benchmarking against Chapman can be adopted using appendix below.

Appendix 1:-

Colin Chapman’s Achievement
F1 Constructors & Drivers Championship
Le Mans
British Club level
Single seat formula below F1
Iconic Road cars
Technical /engineering innovations
Development of human talent
Facilitation & sponsorship
Aesthetic appreciation
Product Design
Design Methodology
Legacy, continuity, heritage
Impact on popular culture
Contribution to British economy
Significant Awards
Documentation, books & articles etc.

Appendix 2: F1 designs 1974 & 1979 [from Cimarosti]

Year Marque Model Designer
1974 Brabham BT44 Gordon Murray
ditto BRM P201 Mike Pilbeam
ditto Ensign MN01/02 Morris Nunn
ditto Ferrari 312/B3 Mauro Forghieri
ditto Hesketh 308 Harvey Postlethwaite
ditto ISO 1R John Clark
ditto Lola T370 Eric Broadley
ditto Lotus 72 D Colin Chapman Maurice Phillippe
ditto Lotus 76 Ralph Bellamy
ditto March 741 Robin Herd
ditto McLaren M23 Gordon Coppuck
ditto Parnelli VPJ4 Maurice Phillippe
ditto Penske PC1 Geoff Ferris
ditto Surtees TS16 John Surtees
ditto Shadow DN3 Tony Southgate
ditto Token RJ02 Ray Jessop
ditto Trojan T103 Ron Tauranac
ditto Tyrrell 7 Derek Gardner
1979 Alfa Romeo T177 Carlo Chiti
ditto Arrows A2 Tony Southgate Dave Wass
ditto ATS D2
ditto Brabham BT48 Gordon Murray
ditto Ensign MN09 Morris Nunn
ditto Ferrari 312/T4 Mauro Forghieri
ditto Fittipaldi F5A Ralph Bellamy
ditto Fittipaldi F6 Ralph Bellamy
ditto Ligier JS11 Gerard Ducarouge Paul Carillo
ditto Lotus 79 Colin Chapman Martin Ogilvie
ditto Lotus 80 Colin Chapman Martin Ogilvie
ditto McLaren M28 Gordon Coppuck
ditto McLaren M29 Gordon Coppuck
ditto Merzario A2
ditto Renault RS 10 Michel Tetu
ditto Shadow DN9/B Tony Southgate John Baldwin
ditto Tyrrell 9 Maurice Phillippe
ditto Williams FW07 Patrick Head
ditto Wolf WR9 Harvey Postlethwaite

Appendix 3: Lotus designers


  • 1958: Lotus 12 – Colin Chapman (CD)
  • 1958: Lotus 16 – Colin Chapman (CD)
  • 1960: Lotus 18, 18/21 – Colin Chapman (CD)
  • 1965: Lotus 20 – Colin Chapman (CD)
  • 1961: Lotus 21 – Colin Chapman (CD)
  • 1963: Lotus 22 – Colin Chapman (CD)
  • 1962: Lotus 24 – Colin Chapman (CD)
  • 1962: Lotus 25 – Colin Chapman (CD)
  • 1964: Lotus 33 – Colin Chapman (TD), Len Terry (CD)
  • 1966: Lotus 43 – Colin Chapman (TD), Maurice Philippe (CD)
  • 1966: Lotus 44 (F2) – Colin Chapman (TD), Maurice Philippe (CD)
  • 1967: Lotus 48 (F2) – Colin Chapman (TD), Maurice Philippe (CD)
  • 1967: Lotus 49, 49B, 49C – Colin Chapman (TD), Maurice Philippe (CD)
  • 1971: Lotus 56B – Colin Chapman (TD)n, Maurice Philippe (CD)
  • 1969: Lotus 59B (F2) – Colin Chapman (TD), Maurice Philippe (CD)
  • 1969: Lotus 63 – Colin Chapman (TD), Maurice Philippe (CD)
  • 1971: Lotus 69 (F Atlantic) – Colin Chapman (TD), Dave Baldwin (CD)
  • 1970: Lotus 72, 72B, 72C, 72D, 72E, 72F – Colin Chapman (TD), Maurice Philippe (CD), Ralph Bellamy/Martin Ogilvie (E and F versions)
  • 1974: Lotus 76 – Colin Chapman (TD), Ralph Bellamy (CD)
  • 1976: Lotus 77 – Colin Chapman (TD), Geoff Aldridge (CD), Martin Ogilvie (CD)
  • 1977: Lotus 78 – Colin Chapman (TD), Ralph Bellamy (CD), Martin Ogilvie (CD), Peter Wright (AE)
  • 1978: Lotus 79 – Colin Chapman (TD), Geoff Aldridge (CD), Martin Ogilvie (CD), Peter Wright (AE)
  • 1979: Lotus 80 – Colin Chapman (TD), Geoff Aldridge (CD), Martin Ogilvie (CD), Peter Wright (AE)
  • 1980: Lotus 81, 81B – Colin Chapman (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD), Peter Wright (AE)
  • 1981: Lotus 87, 87B – Colin Chapman (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD), Peter Wright (AE)
  • 1981: Lotus 88, 88B – Colin Chapman (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD)
  • 1982: Lotus 91 – Colin Chapman (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD)
  • 1983: Lotus 92 – Colin Chapman (TD), Gérard Ducarouge, Martin Ogilvie (CD)
  • 1983: Lotus 93T – Colin Chapman (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD)
  • 1983: Lotus 94T – Gérard Ducarouge (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD)
  • 1984: Lotus 95T – Gérard Ducarouge (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD)
  • 1985: Lotus 97T – Gérard Ducarouge (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD)
  • 1986: Lotus 98T – Gérard Ducarouge (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD)
  • 1987: Lotus 99T – Gérard Ducarouge (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD), Tim Feast (DE)
  • 1988: Lotus 100T – Gérard Ducarouge (TD), Martin Ogilvie (CD), Tim Feast (DE)
  • 1989: Lotus 101 – Frank Dernie (TD), Mike Coughlan (CD), Tim Feast (DE)
  • 1990: Lotus 102 – Frank Dernie (TD), Mike Coughlan (CD)
  • 1991: Lotus 102B, 102D – Enrique Scalabroni (TD), Frank Coppuck (CD)
  • 1992: Lotus 107, 107B, 107C – Peter Wright (TD), Chris Murphy (CD)
  • 1994: Lotus 109 – Peter Wright (TD), Chris Murphy (CD)
  • 1995: Lotus 112 (not built) – Peter Wright (TD), Chris Murphy (CD)
  • 2010: Lotus 127 – Mike Gascoyne (CTO), Mark Tatham (CD), Jean-Claude Migeot (Consulting AE)
  • 2011: Lotus 128 – Mike Gascoyne (CTO), Mark Smith (TD), Mark Tatham (CD)
  • 2012: Lotus E20 – James Allison (TD), Naoki Tokunaga (DTD), Martin Tolliday (CD), Dirk de Beer (AE)
  • 2013: Lotus E21 – James Allison (TD), Martin Tolliday (CD), Dirk de Beer (AE)
  • 2014: Lotus E22 – Nick Chester (TD), Martin Tolliday (CD), Dirk de Beer (AE)
  • 2015: Lotus E23 Hybrid – Nick Chester (TD), Martin Tolliday (CD), Dirk de Beer (AE)


The Art of the F1 Race Car.Codling.MBI.2010.

ISBN: 9780760337328

Grand Prix.Cimarosti.Arum.1997.

ISBN: 1854105000

A-Z Formula Racing Cars.Hodges.Bayview.1990.

ISBN: 1870079168

Lotus 72.Wagstaff.Haynes.2014.

ISBN: 9780857331274

Colin Chapman.Lawrence.Breedon.2002.

ISBN: 1859832784

Colin Chapman.Ludvigsen.Haynes.2010.

ISBN: 9781844254132

Colin Chapman.Crombac.Patrick Stephens.1986.

ISBN: 0850597331

See bibliography in all F1 design peers series

Please note the editors of the A&R attempt to give the broadest spectrum of references but not all are available for consultation in an article. However by noting their existence it may assist students in their research.

*Items in italics non A&R library books.