Go Back to Marques and Men PageDane

The Dane was built in 1955 and raced by Stuart Dane. It used a Triumph Tiger engine and featured wishbone front and De Dion rear suspension. The car proved to be quick and reliable throughout 1956. Stuart Dane was an English ex-pat who moved to California (although we have no record of him competing in England). With friend Mark Latker he built the Dane special (initially calling it the Viking). Although rather primitive-looking, it was very competitive with the mid-period Coopers, and held its own even when Joe Lubin began importing Cooper Mk VIIIs and later. It was perhaps the only 500 anywhere in the world to properly resolve the "numb-bum" vibration issues inherent in large single. To damp the vibrations, but maintain drive chain tensions, the entire driveline was mounted on a sub frame that was then supported on rubber mounts. The design drawings were offered for sale, but it seems that just one such chassis was built, run later by Steve Schaffer.

In 1959, Stuart moved to Brazil. However, he maintained contact with Alden "Red" LeGrand, who he had helped introduce to Formula III racing. With Neil Hillier, they worked on several Renault-engined specials, which were leading towards the Cheetah/LeGrand Mk 1 Formula 4 car (as 500cc Formula III was rebranded in the USA). Dane apparently did much of the early design work for the Cheetah, but tragedy struck on the 2nd February 1963. Stuart was taking his first race start for three years in the Formula III race at Riverside. Records are vague, but most likely in the Dane rather than one of the LeGrand specials. On the first lap he slid wide and hit the guardrail (Riverside was known to be a very dangerous circuit). He died in hospital an hour later. Red LeGrand pressed on with the Cheetah, which proved highly successful and led to a series of sports cars in the LeGrand stables.

Stuart at San Diego, 21st July 1956. Beside him is Raymond Poe in another Californian "homebuilt", the Hodge Podge Special (No.6), both ahead of Harry Morrow's Cooper Mk V.

STU DANE.jpg (135624 bytes)

Courtesy Doug Stokes

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