Spanish character

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The Hispakart Formula IV

At the end of 1965, Jorge de Bagration, whom Ramón López had prepared a Fiat 1600 with which he made his debut in motor racing, asked him to accompany him to Italy. "Jorge asked me to go to Rome to pick up an Abarth TC 850 that his grandmother had given him." Back in Spain, Ramón suggested the idea of ​​going to the well-known Tecnokart factory, to find out the latest news.

[su_quote] “The factory was nothing more than a shed of corrugated metal sheets, it was incredible that there they made world-class karts together with Formula 3 cars. There was even a bank of engines, and as a culmination they introduced us to a very nice "Clay" Regazzoni. I took a look at the new Formula IV Tecno K250 and started to take action, as I was planning to build one. When I had already made the decision and was starting to weld parts, Jorge de Bagration appeared by the workshop with a used Tecno K250 chassis that had some deficiency. This helped me to confirm or rectify parts of the design and construction of what was the Hispakart Formula IV. [/ su_quote]

The Formula IVs began their journey in Spain and the Catalan kartists Tapias, Urgell, Molons (Selex) and Pepe Pérez (Columbia) were already preparing theirs. "And when TVE called us, to go to the Miramar studios and present the formulas, we went Guepardo and Hispakart".

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The unfortunate prince Luis de Baviera (cousin of Juan Carlos I), at the wheel of the Hispakart F IV on the climb to Morcuera in 1967
The unfortunate prince Luis de Baviera (cousin of Juan Carlos I), at the wheel
of Hispakart F IV on the climb to Morcuera in 1967

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Ramón López will build a total of 26 complete chassis and spare parts for a total of 50, which were never assembled. Many of the components of the F IV were of their own design, such as steering boxes, bushings or tires. "I was on the verge of ruining myself with the history of Formula IV, people took the cars without having paid them completely ... Even several orders were made without formalizing, not finally curdling."

The Hispakart Formula IV equipped with a Bultaco engine will make its debut in the hands of de Bagration on June 29, 1966, on the climbs to the ports of Morcuera and Canencia, in which it achieved third and fifth places in the scrach classification; although finally, for reasons of the Regulation, they did not appear in the general classification.

As stated by its manufacturer, "We tested the cars on a deserted road near the INTA facilities, next to Torrejón." And also, without knowing it, Ramón and his F IVs were the first racing cars to ride the brand new Jarama circuit: "At the beginning of September 1966 they paved the starting straight and the end of the straight curve, so we went there to test the cars, going up and down the main straight."

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Summer 1966, Ramón López tests Hispakart F IV chassis on the INTA road, which although it had little traffic, was open to normal traffic
Summer 1966, Ramón López tests Hispakart F IV chassis on the INTA road,
that although it had little circulation, it was open to traffic

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Hispakart had become the largest Formula IV manufacturer in Spain and their cars were preferred by Madrid drivers, although 6 or 7 chassis were also sold in Mallorca -some with a Ducati- engine, thanks to the efforts of Bartolomé Nadal. In reality, the first circuit races in Palencia and Alcañiz were a real disaster, the engines all broke ...

[su_quote] “Paco Bultó, the boss of Bultaco, had promised Jorge (from Bagration) an engine that gave 34 hp, but they all ended up gripping at high revs. I think the problem was that they were motocross engines. In the end, and after strenuous efforts on my part, it turned out that the Amal carburettors had the duct from the bowl to the main jet smaller than necessary for the propellant consumption, and this was the reason for the seizure ”. [/ su_quote]

The first confrontation with Catalan cars was in Montjuich on October 23, 1966, where Abilio Calderón, with a Montesa engine, and Jorge de Bagration, with Bultaco, will finish in second and third position respectively, being beaten by Pepe's Tapias-Bultaco. Perez. "The best Spanish Formula IV car was the one built by Miquel Tapias, who was also a great guy."

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At first the carburettors seized the F-1430
At first the carburetors seized it

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Certainly this Formula did not have the desired success in Spain and, despite holding a few circuit races up to 1969, it slowly languished, never succeeding in excelling; however, most of the cars were long used in popular hill races. In an attempt to save it, it was proposed to enhance it, adapting 360 and 500 cc engines, an aspect in which Ramón always disagreed: "We had spent a lot of money on the engines we had, and it was silly to continue betting on something without a future."

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Ramón López, coach

In addition to the repair shop, Ramón had slowly entered the world of special preparations. We have already commented previously that there was tuned up Jorge de Bagration's Fiat 1600; also his Abarth 850, a vehicle that he also had to rebuild after a very serious accident and subsequent fire. Already in 1966 he specialized in the preparation of the English BMC Cooper, cars that achieved innumerable victories in the hands of Pedro Puche or Jorge himself.

The inauguration of the Jarama circuit was an outbreak of trainers in Madrid, and Ramón López always stood out among them.

[su_quote] ”Everybody would pass by there: I remember a very young Emilio de Villota, who appeared every two by three with his Lotus Seven; or Ángel Nieto, who brought me his first “Automobile” to get it ready! » [/ su_quote]

Pedro Puche's Mini Cooper (No. 31) prepared by Hispakart, about to start the 1966 Juan Piñol Trophy, held in Montjuich, where he would end up achieving victory
Pedro Puche's Mini Cooper (nº 31) prepared by Hispakart, about to start
of the 1966 Juan Piñol Trophy, held in Montjuich, where he would end up achieving victory

He worked with nationally manufactured cars such as the Seat 600D with the 850 cc engine, which in the hands of E. de la Concha became famous in Madrid races. He also prepared all kinds of Renault and Alpine.

[su_quote] “I made a four-point safety arch to the Renault of“ El Oso ”(Alberto Ruiz-Giménez). In a rally he had a serious accident, falling down a ravine, and was undoubtedly saved thanks to it. Then Fernando Villamil, the head of the Renault Competition Department, called me and proposed to make all the arches for the new Renault 8 TS Circuit Cup ”. [/ su_quote]

He also dared with the Mini-Authi, to which he fitted self-locking differentials, closed ratios and other accessories of his own manufacture. One of the best known, Group 2 of Jaime Sanz from Madrid, was able to ride in 1'55 '' on the Jarama circuit, and that ... that was to ride very fast. He also prepared a Seat 1970 for de Bagration in 1430, with an engine that reached 130 hp on the Weber Bressel manufacturer's test bench.

Does any reader know what this is?
Does any reader know what this is?

The creative mind and work capacity of Ramón López did not seem to have limits. Repair and preparation workshop, manufacturer of karts and Formula IV, supplier of material for the General Directorate of Traffic, manufacturer of trailers and children's cars ... and he still had time to continue racing in F IV and kart races, proclaiming himself Champion of Castile for more than ten years, without abandoning this discipline that he had made known.

Without a doubt, one of Hispakart's most unknown projects is the 1968 Hispakart GT. Influenced by the repair of various vehicles, such as Mini Marcos, Unipower, Porsche 908 and Ford GT40, as well as the “Campeador” by Artés de Arcos, which had been presented in the Automobile Sector of the Barcelona Trade Fair in 1967, Ramón decides to build a two-seater sports car, with a self-made fiberglass body.

"The idea was to build a tubular chassis, put a Mini transverse engine at the back and use 10-inch wheels", Explain. The plans were never made and finally only the molds that make up the complete body were built and a copy of it that was never finished. Hidden among a mountain of old molds, it was located by Àlex Vergés and Paris Francés on a visit made in March 2010 to the facilities that Ramón López has in Torrejón de Ardóz. "It's a shame we didn't build the car, but we had a lot of work and there wasn't time for everything" whispers Ramón, while he opens a door of the GT and explains to us how the locks should be mounted.

Spectacular bodywork of the unprecedented Hispakart GT
Spectacular bodywork of the unprecedented Hispakart GT

Despite his excellent technical qualifications, Ramón did not hesitate to find time to travel to Germany, in order to take training courses at the Porsche factory. This is how he was able to take over the maintenance of the 908 of the Escudería Nacional CS, which Jorge de Bagration used to drive. "I even made a mold of the front of the body, in case Jorge broke it in a race, but it was never used." The 911 and BMW 2002 also passed through his hands, with which the Madrid driver won the national speed title in 1969.

By then, he had become an excellent specialist in fiberglass and polyester work, making huge quantities of molds for all kinds of doors, spoilers, hoods or flaps, among others, that he applied in his preparations. He was also a pioneer in the construction of baquets, which were even upholstered in Hispakart. "In the end I stopped making them in 1970, when they became very heavy with the issue of approvals ... I did not want to waste time on those things."


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Written by Álex Vèrges & Paris French

Álex Vèrges and Paris Francés: Motor historians. Creators, along with Antonio Palacín, of the magnificent quarterly magazine "Autódromo. Notebooks history of the motor in Spain."


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