FIRST RALT CARS
The First Ralts -1949 – 1960
A mid-engined 500cc Formula Three car, built 1949/50; double wishbone front suspension; swing axle rear with lower transverse leaf spring. Tauranac-modified Norton ES2 pushrod engine, eventually bored-out to 600cc. Originally fitted with motorcycle wire wheels, later with Tauranac-designed cast wheels.
New low-pivot swing axle rear suspension with low roll centre and long arm length from late 1951. This was possibly a world first and it predated the Mercedes-Benz W196 of 1954. The original Ralt was sold in 1955 and was subsequently driven with considerable success by Merv Ward.
A cycle-winged sports car built 1949/50. It had a four-cylinder side valve Ford E93A engine which was lightly tuned by polishing the ports and fitting stronger valve springs. This drive through a four-speed Standard 10 gearbox while a Morris Eight provided the brakes, wheels and and back axle.
Ron Tauranac-designed square-tube chassis; front suspension by Armstrong shock absorbers, upper radius arms and lower transverse leaf spring; rear suspension by semi elliptical springs. Body by aluminium panels over a steel tubular frame with a sheet steel tail section.
With a weight of just 10 cwt. (about 500 Kg) and a height of just 2′ 9″ (82.5 cm) it was considered the outstanding Australian special of its day. Mainly built and used by Austin Tauranac who fitted 10:1 compression ratio cylinder head and twin Amal carburettors s for its occasional competition outings. It was sold when Austin married in late 1950.
Ralt Mk III
Based upon successful Formula 3 Hopper Special, but developed, re-engined and given a body – it had none when bought. Originally had 19ins wire front wheels (from a prewar Morris Eight) and 16ins rear wheels from a Raleigh tree-wheeler. Eventually receiving Tauranac coast alloy wheels. Used for 18 months by Austin Tauranac with great success.
Ralt Mk IV
Vincent powered mid-engine single-seater begun early in 1956 with spaceframe, double-whishbone from suspension, de Dion rear suspension with transverse leaf, and glassfibre body. Used a couple of time by Ron before accepting an offer and using money (about £700) to lay down a series of 5 cars.
Ralt Mk V
Front-engined single-seater for Austin begin at the same time as Mk IV. Featured spaceframe and similar suspension to Mk IV and would probably have had Peugeot engine and gearbox, but sold, uncompleted by Austin on his retirement from racing.
In 1958/59 Ron Tauranac laid down the batch for 5 cars for what was normally 500cc Formula 3 but racing class was virtually dead first production Ralts were expected to be used for hillclimbs, Formula Libre races, handicaps, etc. Multi-tubular frame, from suspension by a transverse leaf spring and lower wishbones. Rigidly mounted engine/gearbox contributed to chassis stiffness.
On departing for England Ron sold the drawings, wheel patterns and completed parts to Lyne Engineering and design form basis for Lynx Mk II Formula Junior car of 1962, although double-wishbone rear suspension replaced original leaf-spring arrangement. Later Lynx MkIII was essentially a new design.
With thanks for Mike Lawrence, the author of Brabham+Ralt+Honda, for the information provided above.