Built for the new Canadian – American Challenge Cup, or Can-Am as it became known, the 2E earned instant fame as the first car to carry a high wing which generated and applied down force directly on the rear wheel hubs. This innovation dramatically increased grip to the tires. The added tire grips helped the car corner faster, brake and accelerate more quickly than its competitors.
Like previous Chaparrals, the 2E used an “automatic” transmission and did not need a clutch pedal. In its place, the Chaparral team installed a floor pedal to control the wing. With his left foot, the driver could hold the wing in a flat low-drag position when accelerating on high-speed straight sections. When cornering, the driver released the pedal, which moved the front of the wind to a downward angle. The angled wing provided added down force in the corners. It also increased drag to help slow the car. In addition, the pedal controlled the air flow in a tunnel at the front of the 2E to provide a balancing aerodynamic force on the front of the car.
“It was time to get the wing off the car and onto the suspension. No one seemed to agree with me at the time… but I guess we changed a few minds.”
-Jim Hall, discussing the Chaparral 2E
Chaparral 2E gets prepared for monthly live drive around the Petroleum Museum.
Engine: Chevrolet aluminum small block 327 cubic-inch V-8
Horsepower: 450-475 at 6,800
Carburetion: 4x twin-throat Weber
Transmission: 3-speed Chaparral “automatic”
Bodywork: Fiberglass one piece: three-piece fiberglass rear with separate rear radiator moldings
Cooling: Mid-mounted radiators and oil coolers with air exiting upward over rear wheel arches
Aerodynamics: Two-position hydraulically-operated wing acting on rear wheel hub; tunnel with driver-operated valve in front to balance down force on body; front wheel well pressure outlets
Chassis: Aluminum semi-monocoque
Wheels: Chaparral spoked single-piece cast magnesium; 16-inch diameter with six bolt mounting
Tires: Front 10.10 x 16, rear 12.10 x 16; Firestone
Brakes: Solid discs, front 12 inch, rear 11.9 inch, Girling calipers
Dimensions: 90-inch wheelbase, 158-inch length, 64-inch width, 53.5-inch front track, 52-inch rear track, 27-inch height, 3.25-inch ground clearance
Average Weight: 1,560 pounds, dry