When Gregor Grant published Autosport's first edition on 25 August 1950, the Cooper Car Company had been running for almost four years. Father-and-son Charles and John Cooper had built a few cars in Surbiton before the FIA adopted the 500cc single-seater category as Formula 3. It signalled a boom, and their small army of talented artisan cohorts were ready. More than 400 Cooper 500s would number a third of the company's total output.
Their response pioneered the production racing car industry, cementing Great Britain as its hub, and underpinned a meteoric rise to become F1 world champion constructor within a decade.
When your scribe joined Autosport in July 1977, Van Diemen International Racing Services was into its fifth year. Founded by Ralph Firman and Tasmanian Ross Ambrose, its first cars - FA73 Formula Fords - had rolled out of a cold farm unit on the demobbed Snetterton Heath airfield in Norfolk. The first, Canadian David McCullum's, made its debut in the spring of 1973. When Scot Donald MacLeod switched from a Merlyn Mk11A to the second Van Diemen and won first time out at Snetterton in June, rivals were on high alert.