Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 142,869 pages of information and 228,796 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

R. J. W. Appleton

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December 1937.

Ronald John Walter Appleton was a driver and racing car designer (The Appleton Special). He was born at Forest Hill on 23 April 1910, and trained became a structural engineer. He resided at 14 Bird-in-Hand Lane, Bickley, Kent. He won numerous successes pre-war in sprints and hillclimbs and was the holder of 1100 cc class international standing start mile with 91.3 seconds, and kilometre records. He was a BRDC member.

The Appleton Special had a Riley engine and Maserati chassis.

An extract from Denis Jenkinson's The Racing Car Pocketbook

"In 1934 R. J. W. Appleton bought a 1,100cc Maserati, with a rather underpowered engine, and replaced it with a tuned 4-cylinder Riley Nine engine. He shortened the chassis, fitted a preselector gearbox from an M.G. and a large Zoller supercharger which blew at 25lb/sq in, and the engine developed 118 bhp. This naturally inspired him to greater developments and his next move was to reduce the width of the chassis to make it a very narrow single seater, at the same time developing the engine still further. A new body was built which was similar to the then all-conquering Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix cars, with a cowled radiator and large fairing on the pointed tail."

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