Hansen "I & II"

Kaj Hansen had been a prominent name in Danish inter-war racing and when competition resumed again in 1947 he was one of the first Danes to build a car for the new 'Midget' class. Later he switched to an Effyh, and in 1952 he made yet another home-built 500cc F3 chassis, which he raced alongside the Effyh in Continental events. The cars were neither given names nor numbers. In the press they were usually known simply as "Hansen's car" so we have retrospectively dubbed them Mk I and II.

Mk I For his first 'Midget', which eventually corresponded fully to the 500cc F3 regulations, Kaj Hansen used a shortened Fiat 500 chassis frame that was drilled to save weight. At the rear a rigid rear axle was used, and it was sprung by a pair of longitudinally mounted Fiat 500 leaf springs, while both hydraulic and mechanical dampers were used. The front end featured uprights and bottom wishbones from a Fiat 500, a top transverse leaf spring, while the dampers and the wheels stemmed from a Fiat Simca and an Austin respectively. Modified Fiat 500 steering was used, whereas the steering wheel had Mercedes origins. Front and rear tracks were 1130 and 1080 mm respectively, while the wheelbase measured 1970 mm. The car was the first to use the 500cc JAP engine in Denmark. This power unit was mounted behind the driver and transferred its output to the rear axle through two pairs of chains and a 3-speed BSA gearbox in between.

Hansen Special.jpg (50332 bytes)

A nice bodywork was fitted, built on 25 mm tubes that were covered by 1 mm aluminium sheets, and immediately after the large cockpit cut-outs side-mounted ducts dragged fresh air into the engine bay. From there on the flat decked bodywork tapered off and finished immediately after the rear axe, where the exhaust pipe ended centrally about 100 mm before the opening, "so that the exhaust would drag out excess heat". The car featured several safety devices. There were 'nerf' bars in front of the rear wheels, while the car not only had a roll over bar , it also extended over the driver's head and thus made the car 840 mm high, while the quoted weight was 318 kilos.

Kaj Hansen debuted his creation in June 1947 at Hem Odde, beating main rival Robert Nellemann, and proved just as invincible in the four other events he entered that year. An alleged shortage of fuel caused Danish politicians to put a temporary ban on motor racing in 1948, so the car was only aired in Sweden where Hansen won at Trekanten, beating a KE Special and an Effyh. In 1949 Hansen had acquired an Effyh himself, and although the Mk I was taken over by Carl Amelung, Hansen had a last outing in the inaugural Danish Formula 3 Championship, which he won. Amelung took one win and string of runner-up positions with the car, which then disappeared for a couple of years only to be entered by Bille Andersen in a 1956 Roskildering meeting. It is not known whether the car did appear for that race.

Mk II Having sold his first car to Amelung, Hansen continued in the Effyh which he raced regularly outside Scandinavia on the Continent, as the opportunities to race at home were rather limited in the early 50s. Hansen kept the Effyh for the 1952 season, when he also built himself another car, which was inspired by the Kieft, as the driver was seated far forward in the tubular space frame. The steering was by rack and pinion, while the front suspension had double "wishbone-shaped leaf springs and telescopic dampers." At the rear there was a top transverse leaf spring as well as bottom wishbones or links. The car featured hydraulic brakes. The engine was a Norton Manx that drove through a specially-built ZF differential. The car had four fuel tanks mounted to the side members, and the whole idea behind this concept was that if one of the tanks started to leak, it would be turned off completely.

According to a contemporary interview Hansen used the Mk II for the major Continental events, while the entry list usually had his car as an Effyh. Which car he did use is thus not known for sure, but in Luxembourg in May 1952 he came eighth in a heat, while he took seventh place in the 42 car field at Amiens on June 15. On July 13 he came fifth in the Porrentruy final, while he finished ninth at Zandvoort and retired from the Grenzlandring meeting on August 31 respectively. However, it is certain that Hansen took the Mk II to the Orleans F3 race on May 31, 1953, where a steering arm broke due to component failure. The car spun at 150 kmh and threw out its driver, who was hospitalised for a long period. Hansen intended to repair the car for the September 1953 event at Toulouse, but as he had now reached the age of 51 and his name did not appear in later records, he had probably taken the wise decision to quit racing completely.

Our sincere thanks to Morten Alstrup for researching Hansen's cars. If anyone has any more details or photos, please get in touch.