Cliff Allison

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Cliff Allison
Born (1932-02-08)8 February 1932
Brough, Westmorland, England
Died 7 April 2005(2005-04-07) (aged 73)
Brough, Cumbria, England
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United Kingdom British
Active years 19581961
Teams Lotus, Scuderia Centro Sud, Ferrari, UDT Laystall
Entries 18 (16 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 1
Career points 11
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1958 Monaco Grand Prix
Last entry 1961 Belgian Grand Prix
File:J Crosthwaite (with oily rag) and Graham Hill (on left of picture) with Lotus.jpg
Silverstone Grand Prix, Formula Two Race, July 1956. Cliff Allison, driver of Lotus Eleven car no.16 leaning on car. He finished fourth. Graham Hill, driver of Lotus Eleven no.18 standing on left. Senior mechanic John Crosthwaite holding cloth

Henry Clifford "Cliff" Allison (8 February 1932 – 7 April 2005)[1] was a British racing driver from England, who participated in Formula One during seasons 1958 to 1961 for the Lotus, Scuderia Centro Sud, Ferrari and UDT Laystall teams. He was born and died in Brough, Westmorland (now Cumbria).

Formula Three and Sports Cars

Cliff Allison started his racing career in a Formula Three Cooper 500 in 1953 before being spotted by Colin Chapman. Allison won the performance prize driving a 744cc Lotus in the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans.[2] The Lotus of Allison and Colin Chapman finished sixth in the 1958 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race for sports cars.[3] Allison came in fourth with his Lotus in the 1958 Grand Prix of Europe at Spa-Francorchamps, more than four minutes behind victor Tony Brooks.[4]

Allison and Dan Gurney shared one of three team Ferrari cars that competed in the June 1959 1000 km Nürburgring race. Seventy-five cars entered the 1000 kilometre race which was a world championship event for sports cars.[5]

Allison was paired with Jean Behra in a Ferrari which finished second in the 1959 12 Hours of Sebring.[6] The drivers received $1,500 in prize money.[7] Allison was credited with the fastest lap of the Sebring race in the No. 9 Ferrari. He was clocked at 3 minutes 21.6 seconds on the 97th lap of the 5.2-mile course.[8]

In May 1960 Allison skidded off the road during practice for the Targa Florio in Palermo, Sicily. His Ferrari reached a speed of 100 miles per hour when a tyre burst, or so the driver believed. The car crashed into a scrub forest, destroying itself and most of what it touched. When the mishap occurred the Ferrari was nearing the end of a five-mile straight by the sea. This was the only very fast stretch of road in the event. Allison escaped from the wreck without a scratch, but his face was ashen and his mouth hung open with an expression of fear.[9]

Formula One Lotus (1958, 1960), Ferrari (1959–60)

Allison was forced to make numerous pit stops during the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix. His Lotus finished sixth, 12 laps behind race winner Maurice Trintignant.[10] However this marked the first World Championship point for Team Lotus.[11]

Ferrari's stable of drivers for 1959 were Olivier Gendebien, Phil Hill, Brooks, Behra, Gurney, and Allison.[12]

For the 1959 Monaco Grand Prix the Ferrari factory team fielded truncated versions of the cars they ran in future grand prix races. At Monte Carlo the Ferraris' long sleek snouts (air scoops) were cut away to allow more air into the cooling systems.[13] Wolfgang von Trips lost control of his Porsche in a bend where the street was steeply inclined to Casino. Allison's Ferrari crashed into him as he spun. The Lotus of Bruce Halford came next into the blind curve and became part of the wreck. Allison and his Ferrari suffered the least damage while von Trips sustained a gashed face, and Halford had a cut to his arm. Neither of the three cars could continue.[14]

He suffered a major crash behind the wheel of his Ferrari while practising for the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix, and it took him almost the rest of the year to recover from his injuries. Allison was hurt when his Ferrari slammed into a straw barrier. He was unconscious when he was taken to a hospital. Allison sustained a broken left arm, rib fractures, facial cuts, and a concussion. He was listed in serious condition.[15]

The following year he suffered another crash at the wheel of his Lotus at the 1961 Belgian Grand Prix. He broke both his knees and fractured his pelvis when his car careened off the course and overturned in a field.[16]

Post-Formula One career

This marked the end of his career in motor sport. He kept in touch with the sport through reunions and was always a popular visitor to the paddock.

Allison owned and managed Allison's Garage in Brough. The business had been started by his father and he returned to it after his racing career ended. Allisons also provided the village and school bus services, which Cliff Allison would drive.

Complete Formula One World Championship results


Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Points
1958 Team Lotus Lotus 12 Climax
500 BEL
18th 3
Lotus 16 Climax
Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati 250F Maserati
1959 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Dino 156 Ferrari V6 MON
17th 2
Ferrari Dino 246 Ferrari V6 500 NED
1960 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Dino 246 Ferrari V6 ARG
1961 UDT-Laystall Racing Team Lotus 18 Climax


  1. "Cliff Allison". The Independent. 9 April 2005. Retrieved 21 December 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Flockhart and Bueb Sweep Mark To Win 24-Hour Le Mans Auto Grind, New York Times, 24 June 1957, Page 40.
  3. Collins-Hill Ferrari Wins 12-Hour Race at Sebring, New York Times, 23 March 1958, Page S1.
  4. Brooks Vanwall Finishes First in Grand Prix Race in Belgium, New York Times, 16 June 1958, Page 30.
  5. 75 Cars To Start at Nürburgring, New York Times, 7 June 1959, Page S6.
  6. Ferraris Score in 12-Hour Race, New York Times, 22 March 1959, Page S1.
  7. Hill and Gendebien Split Sebring Prize of $3,000, New York Times, 23 March 1959, Page 40.
  8. It Was Allison, New York Times, 1 April 1959, Page 49.
  9. Crack-up Frightens Driver Out of Targa Florio in Sicily, New York Times, 8 May 1960, Page S6.
  10. Trintignant Drives Cooper Car to Victory in Monaco's Grand Prix, New York Times, 19 May 1958, Page 31.
  11. Henry, Alan (February 1984). "Looking back, with Cliff Allison". Motor Sport. Retrieved 17 March 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Ferrari To Pass Up Auto Races in Italy, New York Times, 10 December 1958, Page 59.
  13. Grand Prix Course in Monaco Is Too Slow, Drivers Complain, New York Times, 10 May 1959, Page S3.
  14. Brabham Wins Grand Prix de Monaco after Moss' Auto Drops Out, 11 May 1959, Page 36.
  15. British Driver Is Injured in Monte Carlo Crash, New York Times, 28 May 1960, Page 16.
  16. Sports Datelines, Los Angeles Times, 17 June 1961, Page A5.

External links