Girling Not fade away * and other hit discs of the Sixties

Sponsor, Brands, Specialists and Suppliers: The Companies that supported the Chapman /Lotus Road & Racing Programme

Girling Not fade away * and other hit discs of the Sixties

Figure 1: Image from the net


Lotus cars sold

They were bought for their:-

  • Performance –road or track
  • Driving pleasure
  • Reputation and image
  • Aesthetics
  • Symbolism
  • Owner identification /personality extension etc.

All the above were integrated within a total framework design.

The above list is heavily dependent on a select group of components [either bought in proprietary or in house manufacture] that delivered the desired outcomes and met strict criteria.

Many of these components often contributed significantly to the overall aesthetic, many are extremely functional and beautiful in their own right .They formed part of a complementary whole.

In this series we examine:-

  • significant Individual components from all the marque types
  • Briefly explain their role /contribution /evaluation
  • Analysis form and function with regard to their integration, where appropriate
  • Provide suppliers/specialist advertising materials where appropriate

Understanding Lotus’s use of proprietary parts provides invaluable learning opportunities not just historical but right up to the present day. These lessons are not just applicable to automotive engineers/ designers but to the wider Industrial /Product Design professions.

The Skillful and creative adoption, absorption and integration of components was a powerful factor in the Chapman design methodology and contributed significantly to both competition and commercial success. It also feed his ability to mutate parts and materials to his desired ends.

The use of components is a fundamental skill of the Industrial Designer and the direct provision of added value.

The exact interpretation of sponsorship in conjunction with Lotus is difficult to establish objectively. The appearance of a sponsor’s logo on a car is not necessarily evidence of financial support. Access to historical archive and contracts is sought wherever possible but with the passage of time and for various reasons these are not always available or accessible to the public.

This series also embraces the specialist suppliers to Lotus. We are particularly interested in those suppliers and products that have a connectivity with aviation.

In constructing the historic sponsor series, the A&R looks only at the logos worn in period and assumes the company involved had no objection to Lotus promoting their products. The A&R sees much to be gained by the wider promotion of sponsors but in the event that a specific organization disapproves for any reason that article will be removed.

Sponsorship is an instrument of mutual benefit and promotion. Subscribers might like to see A&R articles on Sponsorship and Product Placement to understand the numerical / financial reach provided by sponsorship with its ability to identify and project status through identification.

The principle continues particularly with regard to education based exhibitions [see below for details]

Each of these articles is devoted to a company/ organization that is believed to have sponsored or supplied specialist items to Lotus.

The intention of each article is to: –

  1. Explain the sponsors own history and outline their products and services – past-present and future
  2. Explain the historical connection with Lotus and the contribution made both in competition and the production cars
  3. To suggest how these two interlocking facets may be translated into exciting, interpretive, educational and commercial exhibitions

Subscribers might to see complementary and structured pieces to this article: –

  • Primary sponsors like Gold Leaf / John Player Specials
  • Product Placement
  • Separate dedicated series on engines and gearbox
  • Logo on Lotus
  • See other related components in this series including AP,Ferodo and Lockheed

Girling Company Profile /Abbreviated summary

The Girling Story from the net

“The Girling Story is one of expansion, development and success, through product range and technologies across Europe. From its beginnings and the engineering know-how of Captain AHG Girling to its extensive racing accolades, Girling is a name synonymous with quality automotive products.”


“Almost 70 years ago, Captain Girling developed a new mechanical braking system for the Hudson Cycle Company. Based on this expertise, the company began to prosper. Captain Girling’s success was brought to the attention of the Joseph Lucas Group who purchased the company and formed Girling Ltd. Since its formation the Girling brand has gone from strength to strength; partly due to the extensive expansion into world markets. The flexibility and business acumen of the Girling team through indirect and direct exports, manufacturing and licensee agreements means that many of the world’s vehicles rely on Girling braking systems. Success comes from dedication and Girling has built a reputation for quality and reliability. Girling products are fitted as original equipment on commercial, agricultural and off-road vehicles, as well as motorcycles, railway locomotives, rolling stock and of course cars.


The achievements of Girling products are perfectly illustrated by successes in motor-sport. The first racing disc brake was designed by Girling and fitted into the 1952 super-charged V16 BRM Grand Prix Car. Since 1959, 12 of the winning vehicles in the Formula 1 World Drivers Championship have been fitted with Girling disc brakes. Success goes hand in hand with the Girling brand.”

Girling [edit]

“The company started as a car brake manufacturer after, in 1925, Albert H. Girling (also co-founder of Franks-Girling Universal Postage) patented a wedge actuated braking system. In 1929 he sold the patent rights to the New Hudson company. Girling later developed disc brakes, which were successful on racing cars from the early 1950s to the 1970s.[7] Girling brakes had the quirk of using natural rubber (later nitrile) seals, which caused difficulties for some American owners of British cars because of incompatibility with US brake fluids.

Girling brake manufacture was taken over by Lucas in 1938, but the patent remained held by New Hudson until this in turn was purchased by Lucas in 1943. Lucas then moved their Bendix brake and Luvax shock absorber interests into a new division which became Girling Ltd. Girling products included:

  • Brake systems.
  • Clutch systems
  • Shock absorbers
  • Hydraulic dampers a short lived Luvax/Girling cooperation that moderated up and down leaf spring movement by turning that motion into a horizontal back and forth motion from center. The damper hydraulically moderates, equally, both upward and downward motion of the wheels. In this sense they are quite different from shock absorbers, which mainly moderate upward movement of the wheel. Such dampers were used for a few years on light-weight British post-war cars, such as MG and Austin. [8]

For other details see importance website:


Figure 2: Image from the net

Figure 3: Image from the net and Graces Guide


Figure 4: Image from the net

In the Chapman/Lotus era the Company was identified with:-

  • Aston Martin DBR’s
  • Mobile workshop at tracks
  • Brakes
  • Dampers
  • Disc brakes
  • Calliper assemblies
  • Hydraulic units
  • Master cylinders
  • Wheel cylinders
  • Hoses and cables

Other teams include Cooper, Tyrell, Ligier, Williams, Brabham and Wolf.

Lotus Connections

We believe that Girling disc brakes were fitted to the following


We believe that the Eleven‘s raced at Le Mans were also fitted with Girling disc.

Girling made significant contribution to Lotus achievements at F1 and Indianapolis.

They are formally recorded as supplies in period publications.

Two published works provide technical details.

Lotus 49 by Wagstaff (which also includes photographs)

“At the front, uprights initially supported ventilated Kelsey –Hayes brake discs (12”/30cm, 1.5”/4cm width) that originated from the Ford Thunderbird, with four piston, Girling calipers using Lotus design alloy bridge pieces ….

The brakes were mounted well inboard of the wheels and therefore were exposed to the direct Airflow….

The rear featured massive brake calipers behind the axle.front and rear, clasping thick ventilated discs.Girling AR calipers were introduced on the 49B.

The heavy ventilated discs had a tendency to over cool and glaze their pads, which would lose their bite….. replaced by thinner, solid discs that offered more consistent temperatures.With a width of 3/8” the solid discs were considerably more slender than the ventilated ones”

The Encyclopaedia of Super Cars (No .30) also well illustrated.

Within the specification the brakes are identified as
“Girling 14-4 calipers with 12” diameter ventilated discs (later solid) mounted on alloy wheel hubs “

Figure 5: Editors sketch of Girling disc on Lotus 16


Figure 6: image from the net

Period Address for economic geography exercise

Girling Ltd,

Kings Road


Birmingham 11


Lucas Girling,

Birmingham Road,

West Bromwich,

West Midlands,

B71 4JR

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.

Understanding the potential of componentry particularly proprietary items provides some of the following learning opportunities; in this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-

Figure 7: editor’s sketches of Girling discs used by Lotus (see text)

Specific to Girling
See other related components in this series including AP, Ferodo and Lockheed

  • What is the size and value of the industry
  • How has it changed? And what is its future 2020 onwards?
  • Discuss the relationship with a multi-national mass-production brand/manufacturer and its links, how and why did it come into existence?


  • Use a technical dictionary where needed to define components and roles
  • Was there a viable alternative to the part under consideration?
  • Is what might it have been /cost?
  • Examine the suppliers/specialist advertising what does it convey? And what is its iconography?
  • Integrate this item with our series on the economic geography of motor sports locations and manufacturing bases
  • Has the component had exposure at any motor shows?
  • Does the company continue to supply classic/heritage parts?
  • What changes in technology and materials have impacted on Lotus through its history?
  • How does component design impact on form and function
  • Does the supplier/specialist have aviation links? If so what?
  • What is the importance of ergonomics and how does it influence modern automobile design?
  • Does excessive safety/ and or ergonomics impact negatively on aesthetics
  • What is the impact of standardization of platforms through mark ranges and indeed shared with other manufacturers? Could uniformity ultimately impact on sales even if economies of scale improved?
  • Enumerate Lotus bought in components
  • How has mass production and proprietary parts assisted the specialist car market?
  • Produce an engineering drawing of a selected component and consider the specification of the materials and assembly process, costs and volume
  • Explore an enumerate supplier/specialists components used in other Industrial Design fields
  • How did the supplier/specialist extract value from their sponsorship/support?
  • Explore Graces Guide for further background detail
  • Study the economic geography of the British auto industry what factors determined locations?
  • What have been the causes of change and circumstance that have impacted on British motor industry?
  • What has been the role of F1 /motor sport valley based around Bicester?
  • What is the importance of outsourcing to the motor industry?
  • Study a British car specialist like Morgan, TVR, Ginetta or Lotus where do they source parts? What are the advantages?

Figure 8: editors sketch of the Lotus type 43giving prominence to rear upright and disc

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

Figure 9: editors sketch of Lotus 49 –see text for details


Girling Hard discs
Girling Compact discs
Girling Not Fade Away and hit discs of the Sixties
Girling winning with Clark a driver with the right caliper
Girling Discs a real brake through
Girling Stirling work
Girling Braking and Entering
Girling Cutting discs
Girling Hit disc with refrain
Girling Hitting the brakes


  • Lotus Parts: Past ,Present Future
  • Lotus Parts: The Winning Factor
  • The Principle Part
  • Act the Part
  • Assign the Part
  • Lotus Components
  • Lotus Components :Parts and Parcel
  • Lotus Sponsors, Specialist and Suppliers:Form,Function and Forte
  • Lotus Components:Parts and Partiality
  • Lotus Aesthetics : With little to spare
  • Lotus Cars: Spare and Slender
  • Product launch with title of dedicated specific relevance

Figure 10: image from Graces Guide and net

Conclusion: “The whole is greater………”

There can be little doubt about the significant contribution made by Girling.

They assisted Lotus achieve multiple F1 World Championships.This was supported by efforts in sports racing, production cars and rally.

Our appendix spread sheet below confirms the extent of the relationship and benefits.

They also provided brake systems for Lotus production road cars notably the Elite, Elan and Ford Lotus Cortina.

Figure 11: image from the net

Components were material to reliability and competitiveness.

Girling extracted publicity gain and many of its advertisement recorded their joint achievements with Lotus.

“This company started as a car brake manufacturer after Albert H. Girling in 1925 patented a wedge actuated braking system. In 1929 he sold the patent rights to the New Hudson Company.

Girling later developed disc brakes, which were very successful on racing cars from the early 1950s to the 1970s.

The Future

Girling, under the ownership of the prestigious Lucas Industries Corporation for many years, now has a young and talented management team.

Girling is justifiably proud of its achievements and of the reputation of the products in the market. The company is now determined that its reputation is not only maintained but improved upon to provide the best service to customers throughout the industry and across Europe.

The company’s sales operation is responsible for providing expert support and replacement parts to the independent aftermarket, to keep braking systems up to the standards which are demanded by original equipment manufacturers”

Chapman’s design and manufacturing methodology rather confirms the adage that “the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts”.

It’s an interesting an important study to consider deployment of components. It contributes to aesthetics, assembly economics and sales [attractive components/ known accepted performance and servicing ability etc.]

It is equally and mutually relevant and beneficial to the component manufacturer.

Chapman and his colleagues often took the best / most appropriate mass produced item and almost reinvented it in its service to design objectives. In this manner many components acquired a new status and indeed their aesthetic was enhanced surrounded by the Chapman conceptual whole.

It’s also extremely significant how many of these components were also used in Lotus competition cars. This created a powerful dynamic and interrelationship. Many components:-

  • Performed well in competition gaining beneficial publicity and sales
  • Both the component and racing reputation carried through to road cars and assisted sales
  • The component manufacturer gained disproportionate publicity and assisted products sell in other applications
  • All together a beneficial spiral was commenced. Publicity of the era often opted to highlight the Lotus dimension in publicity material. In fact there was a powerful synergy.

The relationship between Lotus and is sponsor specialist suppliers is significant and worthy of close study and has lessons for Engineering, Industrial Design and Manufacturing disciplines.

Along the way it’s possible too to study the wider British motor component industry and how it has helped foster the specialist car manufacturers.

Sponsorship is a worldwide phenomenon of immense commercial impotence. Both to host and sponsor organization.

With the Passage of time it’s likely to become more sophisticated and focused and the internet /multimedia technology will play greater role.

Sponsors have existed in motorsport before Chapman but he vigorously exploited the concept with Gold Leaf c 1967/68 and set a pattern for others to follow.

Sponsors of Lotus were likely to benefit financially and in terms of exposure to an extent greater than their investment. The benefits were, and remain essentially similar to present day:-

  • Access to mass international audience consistent with mass production distribution marketing branding etc.
  • Demographics of viewing audience and interest groups
  • Additional subsidiary /secondary advertising through media, news, magazines etc.
  • Identification with market /brand /marque leader in both F1 and road cars
  • Association with success and continuity evolving, developing technology, materials etc.
  • In period the identification with the charm ,charisma and ability to articulate that Chapman possessed
  • All the attendant glamour , drama ,danger ,and spectacle of F1
  • Ability to provide conducive hospitality to conduct business
  • Cost effectiveness of audience cost ratio
  • Possible further complex corporate benefits

Appendix 1

Type No. Formula Year Caliper
12 Two 1957 Girling
16 One 1958 Girling
18 Junior 1960 Girling
18 One 1960 Girling
20 Junior 1961 Girling
21 One 1961 Girling
22 Junior 1962 Girling
24 One 1962 TBC
25 One 1962 Girling
27 Junior 1963 TBC
29 Indianapolis 1963 Girling
31 Three 1964 Girling
32 Two 1964 Girling
32B Tasman 1964 Girling
33 One 1964 TBC
34 Indianapolis 1964 Girling
35 Two 1965 Girling
35 Three 1965 Girling
38 Indianapolis 1965 Girling
39 Tasman 1965 Girling
41 Three 1966 Girling
41B Two 1967 Girling
42 Indianapolis 1966 Girling
42F Indianapolis 1967 Girling
43 One 1966 TBC
44 Two 1966 TBC
48 Two 1967 Girling
49 One 1967 Girling
51 Ford 1967 TBC
55 Three [prototype] 1968 TBC
56 Indianapolis 1968 Girling
56B One 1971 TBC
57 One 1968 TBC
58 Two 1968 TBC
59 Three 1969 Girling
59B Two 1969 Girling
59F Ford 1969 TBC
61 Ford 1969 Girling
63 One 1969 Girling
64 Indianapolis 1969 Girling
68 A 1969 TBC
69 Three 1971 TBC
69 Two 1970 TBC
69F 1971 TBC
70 A/5000 1970 Lockheed
72 One 1970 TBC
73 Three 1972 TBC
74 Two 1973 Girling
76 One 1974 TBC
77 One 1976 TBC
78 One 1977 TBC
79 One 1978 TBC
80 One 1979 TBC
81 One 1980 TBC
86 One 1980 TBC
87 One 1981 TBC
88 One 1981 TBC
88B One 1981 TBC
91 One 1982 TBC
92 One 1982 TBC
93T One 1983 TBC
94T One 1983 Girling
95T One 1984 TBC
96T One 1985 TBC
97T One 1985 Brembo
98T One 1986 Brembo
99T One 1987 Brembo
100T One 1988 Brembo
101 One 1989 Brembo
102 One 1990 Brembo
102B One 1991 Brembo
107 One 1992 AP
107B One 1993 AP
109 One 1994 TBC

Appendix 2

*Not Fade Away.The Rolling Stones

Figure 12: editors sketch of rear suspension on the Lotus 56, Indianapolis turbine car


Marks of Excellence.P.Mollerup.Phaidon Press.1997.

ISBN: 0714838381

Graces Guides

Internet websites and local History

Aircraft of the Fighting Powers.Cooper&Thetford.Vol.1.Aircraft [Technical] Publications.1940.

An extensive bibliography is provided in A&R article on John Players Specials/Gold Leaf

Industrial Design A-Z.C&P Fiell.Taschen.

ISBN: 3822863106

Lotus Book.Taylor.Coterie.1998.

ISBN: 1902351002

Art of the Formula 1 Race Car. Mann, Codling.Motorbooks.2010


Lotus 24, 25, 28, 29, 33.Unique.

Lotus 49, 49B, 49C, 49F.Unique.

ISBN: 1842555185

International Corporate Identity.Olins.Laurence King.1995

ISBN: 1856690377

International Motor Racing 1978.Ed by B.Gill.Macdonald and Jane’s.1978

ISBN: 035409033X

The International Motor Show. Offical Catalogue.1966

Motor Racing Directory 1955-56 [Ed by staff of “Motor Racing”] Pearl Cooper.

Motor Racing Directory.Kettlewell.

ISBN: 0906556007

Autosport A-Z Motorsport Directory. [Annual editions] Haymarket

The Automobile.Reyat.Chand.2013.

ISBN: 8121902142

Fundamentals of Motor Vehicle Technology.Hillier & Pittuck.Hutchinson.1967.

Lotus 49.Wagstaff.Haynes.2014.

ISBN: 9780858334121

Lotus 72.Wagstaff.Haynes.2012.


Colin Chapman.Lawrence Breedon.2002.


Colin Chapman.Ludvigsen.Haynes.2010.