An Abundance of Bentleys

For those who love the marque, a visit to the Bentley Drivers’ Club meeting at Silverstone is a sheer delight. First, apart from the obvious restrictions concerning the track, the visitor can go everywhere and park anywhere with no officials saying “you can’t park there” etc. – wonderful! And a whole host of Bentleys are to be seen, ranging from the early 3-litres to the very latest Continental GT3 racer. There are invitations to other clubs to support the day’s activities – traditionally the Morgans – and this year the A.C. Ace was celebrating its 60th anniversary. The weather was kind in the morning and a wander around is deeply rewarding – mirabile visu. The Club’s bookstall yielded some very interesting literature too.

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Old and New – a 1927 3-litre tackles Lufforth corner with a 2005 Continental GT at the rear.

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Derby and Cricklewood – #18 is a 1936 4¼-litre with 2-seater bodywork and #12 is a 3-litre dating back to 1924.

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Here is that Continental GT with artwork reminiscent of the Jeff Koons’ liveried Art Car BMW M3 which ran at Le Mans in 2010.

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This is the Generation Bentley Racing Continental GT3 currently taking part in the British GT series. It is chassis 03.

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This is a faithful reconstruction (acceptable in my eyes as the originals don’t exist anymore) of the 1922 Tourist Trophy car with the flat radiator – the three almost standard cars won the Team Prize.

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A rarity was this Zagato-bodied Continental.

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Notice the coachbuilder’s traditional “blips” in the roof.

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Members were invited to take part in a parade around the circuit with their cars after mid-day and here they are lined up ready to be escorted onto the track: modern products of Crewe on the left, a Derby-built 3½-litre in the middle with an old 3-litre and a couple of Speed Sixes on the right – a marvellous selection!

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The highlight of my visit! This is a very special car – it is the Bob Gregory Speed Six Saloon, the last Bentley ever to win a race at Brooklands! Bob raced and rallied it in the Thirties (including the R.A.C. Rally) and on 8 July 1939 he won a heat of the One Lap Handicap.

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His son Graham is seen at the wheel of this beautifully kept car which has been in the family all these years.

TAILPIECE

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This A.C. Aceca Coupé was determined to stop its driver from throwing it off the track!

David Blumlein, December 2014

 

 

The Flying Dutchmen

 

2002 Sebring 12 Hours

News came down the Mojo Wire this week that Spyker had been forced into bankrupcy. I regard this as a great shame as this quirky bunch of Dutch guys were genuine sports-car people, both on and off the tracks.

2002 Sebring 12 Hours

 

They brought welcome relief from the armadas of Porsches that largely made up the LM GT grid in the early part of this century. They were part of a Dutch endurance racing movement of the time, inspired by the efforts of Toine and Mike Hezemans, and, of course, Jan Lammers and Racing for Holland.

2002 Sebring 12 Hours

 

And they were fun guys to work with. Their début outing came at the 2002 Sebring 12 Hours, a tough baptism as anyone who races in the Central Highlands will attest. They failed to finish sustaining accident damage after 93 laps.

2002 Sebring 12 Hours

 

Peter Kox, Derek Hill and Hans Hugenholz were the crew of the Spyker C8 Double-12R in Florida. The car was powered by a Heini Mader BMW-based 4 litre V8. Hans Reiter can be seen here at Tech Inspection as Reiter Engineering provided the technical and engineering support in the early stages of the project.

2002 Sebring 12 Hours

 

The car was designed by Maarten de Brujin utilising aluminium wherever possible and his efforts inspired Dutch industrialist, Victor Muller, to finance the revival of this pioneering Dutch brand.

2002 Sebring 12 Hours

The bodywork was hand made at Coventry Prototype Panels. The whole project marched to a different drum beat, and that was one of the elements that gave it such appeal.

2002 Sebring 12 Hours

One issue that hampered the programme in the early years were the weight and restrictor penalties imposed due to three factors; failing to build the minimum run of 25 vehicles, failing to supply ‘low volume’ homologation papers and finally having too high a percentage of racing cars to road cars produced.

2002 Sebring 12 Hours

 

Victor has finally been forced to give up, but I, for one, would not surprised to see another revival, In his note explaining the current state of play he declared: “They can count on us continuing to live by the Spyker axiom “Nulla Tenaci Invia est Via” (Latin for “For the tenacious no road is impassible”).”

John Brooks, December, 2014

 

Riding Along On The Crest Of A Wave

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Some days things go to plan, not often I’ll grant, but some days……….

Mid-September 2006, Saturday late afternoon at Mugello, I had committed to cover the FIA European GT3 race, not normally an event that would fill me with enthusiasm. I stood out in the gloom as the rain came down cats and dogs and I noticed a small lake of water along the pit straight. The cars struggled to cope, even when they were aware of its presence.

Fast forward a day to the main event, the FIA GT Supercar 500,  I knew, I just knew that the first car through would surf along in a spectacular style. The other gaggle of photographers who had not been dumb enough to endure the GT3 race were conventionally placed much further up in the braking zone.

When Andrea Bertolini hove into view I seized my chance and felt pretty pleased with myself, dps in Sport Auto and large print to Andrea, job done. Makes up for all the other screw ups.

We can be heroes, just for one day.

John Brooks, December 2014

Sir Jack Brabham Memorial Service

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Silverstone’s Wing was the location last month for a celebration of the life of Sir Jack Brabham, three time World Champion, and one of the most important figures in 50’s and 60’s motorsport.

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A good turn out was expected and so it came to pass. Many famous faces and fellow Champions came to salute the great Australian who had made his home in the UK while active at the race tracks.

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Sir Jack had been granted the honour of a State Funeral in Queensland back in June.

A short film from the State Funeral can be seen HERE

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However many of those who raced against him back in the day were not realistically in a position to make the long trek to the Antipodies, so the idea of a Memorial Service here in the UK was conceived. The Brabham family were fully involved and supported the idea of giving those of us here in Europe an opportunity to celebrate an extraordinary man.

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There were tributes from those who raced against him throughout his long career, here Tony Brooks and Sir Stirling Moss recall Brabham’s skill behind the wheel.

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Sir Jackie Stewart also paid a fine tribute, as did many other figures such as John Surtees, John Watson, Gordon Murray, John Judd and many others.

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Current Aussie motorsport stars such as Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo also joined in, even from the farthest corners of the globe by video link.

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There was a collection of cars and memorabilia from Sir Jack’s career, the whole event was a credit to the organisers, Sir Jack would have approved I am sure.

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My personal reason for attending was two fold. I have known Sir Jack’s youngest son, David, for many years during his career as a leading racing driver. In a manner I suspect he learned from his father, he has been fiercely competitive on the track and a delight to associate with away from the cockpit. Supporting David and his family was an obvious thing to do.

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I had another reason, the first race that I attended was the 1970 British Grand Prix which until the last lap Brabham had looked on course to win. I recall clearly the crowd, and myself, at Clearways giving Jochen Rindt ‘the Bird’, as he overtook Sir Jack to score an unlikely win. I felt that I should go and salute a man who had helped to steer me down my current path. I am glad I did.

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So enjoy this great collection of images from that afternoon. Simon Hildrew has once again come up with the goods.

John Brooks, November 2014.

 

Six for C60 – David meets Goliath

2014 Automedon

There were a number of ex-Le Mans cars at the recent Parisian Classic Car Show, Automedon, held at Le Bourget.

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The most modern veteran of Les Vingt-Quatre Heures du Mans was the Pescarolo Sport Courage C60 in 2003 specification and livery. So that comes with the Sodemo-tuned 3.2 litre V6 Peugeot engine.

2014 Automedon

I got the books off the shelf and was surprised to discover that this chassis C60 03 had competed in no fewer than six editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Or at least that what my research shows. I think I was able to confirm this with the great Henri, hopefully I have not lost anything in translation in tracing the history of the remarkable car.

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The La Sarthe saga starts in 2001 when chassis #3 was entered in the LM P900 class as #17 with the talented line up of Jean-Christophe Boullion, Laurent Redon and, local lad Sébastien Bourdais. Powered by the twin turbo 3.2 litre Peugeot V6 engine prepared by Sodemo, the car had already put miles under its belt by racing at Sebring, Barcelona, Donington and Monza. In Qualifying Bourdais wrung the neck out of the car to record a 3:39.789 which, in the era of Planet Audi and the R8, was good enough for thirteenth place, though its race pace was expected to be closer to the German superstars.

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Expectations in the 2001 Le Mans were soon deflated and then virtually drowned as the heavens opened and the race became a fight for survival. #17 was in the top five at the end of the first hour getting up to third by Midnight. That was the high water mark for the local favourite as the gearbox needed replacement and this costs 25 minutes and six places on the leader-board, but at least they get back into the race.

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Le Mans often reserves its full cruelty to those it has already wounded and #17 fell victim to this capriciousness. After a great comeback performance, from Bourdais in particular, fifth place was within grasp during the Sunday morning. Then with just over two hours to go a suspected weakness with a piston forced the C60 to wait in the pit till the last lap when they limped across the finish line to ensure classification back where they had started in thirteenth.

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A year heals some of the hurt and chassis 03 returned to the great race in 2002, determined to make up for the disappointment. Two cars were entered and this time 03 was given #18 slot. There had been substantial changes to the team with the arrival of André de Cortanze and Claude Galopin to bolster the technical side. De Cortanze’s influence could be clearly seen with with the sleek new aerodynamic body hiding the familiar C60 chassis.

Pescarolo Sport enjoyed the reputation of being a team that punched way above its weight, especially when the relative budgets available to factory teams such as AudiSport were considered.

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The drivers of #18 were to be former winners, Eric Hélary and Stéphane Ortelli and ex- Formula One driver, Ukyo Katayama. While it was unlikely that they would trouble the works Audi R8 trio, this was a dark horse team capable of a good result. Nevertheless problems in the Qualifying periods meant that Ortelli’s 3:41.237 was only good enough for 18th.

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Come the race the Pescarolo squad faired much better, still way off the Audi R8s but getting stronger all the time the race progressed. #18 edged into the top ten after Midnight but that was far as it would go, an oil leak caused engine failure and retirement, it is a hard to understand Le Mans sometimes.

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Fast forward twelve months and the team and the car were back with a new major sponsor, PlayStation. C60 03 was once again entered as #17 and was entrusted to Franck Lagorce, Stéphane Sarrazin and Jean-Christophe Boullion. The car had been further developed under the guidance of de Cortanze and was a regular winner in the FIA Sports Car Championship.

Practice and Qualifying went well for the team, with Boullion proving the fastest in the squad at 3:40.839, good enough for 11th overall. This year the works Audi R8s had gone but in their place were a pair of Bentley Speed 8 coupés and they were strong favourites for the race.

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The first issued encountered in the race came at around 19.00 when there was an unscheduled pit stop to change a brake calliper that was causing the brakes to lock, eleven minutes and nine places were lost as a result. The fight back began in earnest and by the halfway mark, the #17 was back into the top ten.

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Thereafter the car ran well with the only other problem being the car catching fire as it crossed the finish line taking the Chequered Flag. Eighth place, four laps in front of its sister car was a solid result, reflecting the quality of the whole team.

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The 2004 edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours saw the 03 chassis renamed as a Pescarolo C60, reflecting the enormous amount of development that the team had put into the original concept. Another major change was that of engine, with a 5 litre V10 Judd replacing the Peugeot unit, this course requiring a major revision to the car. Experienced Emmanuel Collard joined Pescarolo old boys Sébastien Bourdais and Nic Minassian on driving duties. The whole programme exuded a quiet confidence that the gap to the privateer R8s was finally bridged and that the team could have a serious shot at victory in their local race.

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Qualifying and practice went well with Bourdais posting a 3:34.252 for fifth place overall, less than two seconds behind pole sitter Johnny Herbert in the Audi. Things were looking promising for Pescarolo Sport.

As anyone who has followed motor sport at Le Mans will attest, promise often turns to disappointment at the Circuit de la Sarthe and for #17 that was the case. Running a strong fourth the car lost over seven laps while in the pits having a problem with the injectors rectified. The race for victory was lost for them but there was the honour of the team to fight for, getting the car to the finish in the top six would be the aim.

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The climb up the order was helped by a race of attrition that saw two Audis collide on spilt oil, causing them both to suffer serious delays, but this progress was halted when Bourdais hit a stationery car on track. As if this was not enough #17 had to change the alternator belt. The struggle to get back up the leader board began all over again and at the mid point in the race they had recovered to eighth, some eleven laps behind their team mates. Bourdais was involved in another racing incident just after dawn on the Sunday morning but was still running in eighth position.

Then with around 4½ hours to go the call came in on the radio, Bourdais had ground to a halt at Les Hunaudières after the engine failed. Game over. If there was any consolation to be had it was that their sister car scored a fantastic fourth place.

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2005 saw another major set of changes to the regulations governing the prototypes, these were aimed to increase safety and control performance. New cars complying to these rules were mandated by 2007 but recognising that such changes were not financially viable in the short term for the non factory outfits, there was a set of compromises introdced to accommodate a more gradual transition to the new rules. Keeping the old cars running was possible, at some cost to performance. The middle ground was to adapt the old cars to comply with most of the new features and this route, known as Hybrid, was the path that Pescarolo Sport followed.

Andre de Cortanze and Claude Galopin excelled themselves creating a package that was both fast and reliable. In fact the team found themselves as favourites for the big race as they easily outpaced the Audi R8s. Chassis 03 was employed again as the basis for the #17 Pescarolo C60H, its drivers were Pescarolo regular Eric Hélary who was joined by Soheil Ayari. Making his début at Le Mans was Rallying legend and World Champion, Sébastien Loeb. The stakes were high, the fastest car and France’s greatest sporting hero, the pressure was all on the team.

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The best way to deal with such pressure is to perform, Ayari did so by setting the fastest time on a wet Wednesday evening. The following evening, in dry condition he was pipped to pole position by Collard in the sister car, Pescarolo Sport had locked out the front row!

So the race got underway under scorching skies with the whole French nation behind their favourite team, how would the dream pan out?

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Well despite pulling away from the rest of the field at a rate of five seconds a lap it was not an easy ride. Hélary collided with a GT and that cost five minutes repairing a steering arm. So despite breaking the lap record on several occasions their progress back to the top was slow, impeded by a puncture at the four hour point. Then around Midnight Ayari was hit from behind and the ensuing repairs took 23 minutes dropping #17 down to fourteenth, it would be a long night.

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The early morning sun found the car back up to fifth and then disaster struck, Ayari flew off the road at the PlayStation Chicane, #17 was out of the race damaged beyond repair. There would be no fairytale ending for Henri Pescarolo and his team that was running 03 but there was great result on the other side of the pit box with #16 finishing second, so near, yet so far.

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Another year passed and once again Pescarolo Sport entered Le Mans with a pair of their C60 cars, including the great warhorse, 03. Running in the familiar #17 guise, the 2005 driver pairing of Hélary and Loeb were joined by Franck Montagny, then a current Formula One driver. The opposition would once again come from Audi who were back as a works outfit running a brace of diesel powered prototypes. The general feeling in the paddock was that it was now or never for Henri, the diesel technology was unproven at this level and even Audi might stumble, also there were rumbles of others looking at programmes notably Peugeot. Once that spending and technology war was declared even the best privateer teams stood little chance.

De Cortanze had once again worked his magic, as had Judd, making detail improvements throughout the car and engine so that the package was stronger than 2005 but would it be enough?

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The first signs were encouraging, especially after the Test Day when a demon lap from Montagny at 3:30.195 was nearly two seconds quicker than the best of the Audis. The situation was reversed during Official Qualifying but the Pescarolo Sport outfit monopolised the second row behind the two Audis with Montagny posting a 3:32.990 complaining of traffic. Whatever the reason, Audi knew that it had a real fight on its hands.

However in the race it soon became apparent that the Audis were quicker in race trim that the Pescarolo and had significantly better fuel economy, so it would all be down to reliability.

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The first chink in German armour came just three hours into the race when Kristensen was forced to pit to change injectors, losing 21 minutes in the process. One Audi down, would the other last?  The next sign of hope came when fifth gear failed on leading Audi but great work by the crew got it back out and repaired in ten minutes. However other than a headlight change around dawn this was the only problem encountered by the #8 Audi who never surrendered their lead but the #17 Pescarolo C60 kept up their challenge running in second place for over 20 hours.

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That is how it played out at the finish Pescarolo Sport got both cars to the finish, Collard, Minassian and Comas producing the come back drive of the race to grab fifth in #16. Their team mates almost got there taking second spot behind the Audi. Chassis 03 had ended its illustrious career on the highest possible note.

It is difficult to look back now and see how hard the small French outfit had pushed the factory Audis and then consider that they have been forced out of business. The reasons are many and varied, but it is also true to say the Endurance Racing and the Le Mans 24 Hours is the poorer for their absence. Pescarolo Sport were one the great Le Mans competitors, performing miracles on a shoe string budget, they are much missed.

Salut Maddie et Henri!

John Brooks, November 2014

 

 

 

 

Autumn in Paris

2014 Automedon

Le Bourget is the place to head to in the Autumn if you are near Paris and looking for some classic cars. Automedon is the name of the show and it is a very worthwhile effort, focussed on the clubs and enthusiasts who are steadily being priced out of the really big events, such as Retromobile.

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Cutting off the base of the classic car movement in pursuit of profit is not a wholly French trend, I heard similar mutterings at the NEC last week, it really must stop. If not then the big events will suffer too in time.

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However rather than preach to the choir I will instead have a quick look back at the show, which was truly delightful. One of Automedon’s great attractions is the authentic Gallic flavour of the show. At present the French Car industry is in the doldrums, however there is still much to celebrate from the past.

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Typical of the flair traditionally found in French automobiles is this Citroën DS19H Le Paris, only one of nine built the Carrossier, Henri Chapron.

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Chapron’s creations are much in demand, adding style to the already iconic DS range, this is the kind of confident approach that is lacking in today’s French motor industry.

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This Simca 8 Deho Sport, dating from 1938, is an example of pre-war co-operation between car companies as it was built on license from Fiat. Once again the French attitude gives it an art deco feel with form as important an element as substance.

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A Citroën SM may not be an obvious choice for motor sport but this very car ran in the 1974 Spa 24 Hours with factory backing and was entered by Guy Ligier.

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It did not finish the race as Guy Chasseuil crashed out at Les Combes.

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There was a particular tribute to Panhard and D.B. at Automedon with an impressive collection on display. I will prepare a separate piece on the Le Mans’ cars that were at the show. D.B. was the imaginative name that the alliance of pioneering aerodynamicist Charles Deutsch and René Bonnet, a racing driver and constructor of some repute, gave to their business.

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One strange car that did catch my eye was D.B. Formule 1 from 1955. This was one of those ideas from a brain-storming session that should have been dismissed at once, instead of escaping to the drawing board and then into the real world. Front wheel drive and half the weight of the more conventional racers. It was powered, if that is the right expression, by a 750cc supercharged engine derived from a Panhard twin. This unit produced a reported 85bhp, which was about a third of that available to drivers of a Maserati 250F, and the engine was hung out over the front axle.

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This whole project had the hallmark of a cunning plan drawn up by Baldrick and in the one time that the cars raced, the 1955 Pau Grand Prix, the results demonstrated the madness of the scheme. Starting from the rear of the grid, Claude Storez retired but his team mate Paul Armagnac managed to trundle round to the finish, some 18 laps down on Jean Behra, in, of all things, a Maserati 250F.

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Another weird creation that came from the D.B. stable was this D.B. Racer, aimed at the growing 500cc Formula 3 category in the early 50’s. A Panhard engine powering the front wheels, the car enjoyed success in the French arena till more conventional designs from the likes of Cooper relegated it to the sidelines.

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A much better racing record for this Snobeck Racing Services Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2.5 GTV 6 which raced very successfully in the early 80’s in the French Touring Car Championship.

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In 1982 Danny Snobeck finished third in the Drivers’ Championship, the following year he went one better, only beaten by his team mate Alain Cudini. Their twelve victories across the two seasons were racked up against quality opposition such as Jean-Louis Schlesser and Jean-Pierre Beltoise, as well as saloon aces such as René Metge and Claude Ballot-Léna.

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Automedon was much more than motor sport, it afforded an opportunity to stretch the imagination of the exhibitors, like Garage DSMP, whose Citroën DS21 pick up truck had me expressing doubts initially.

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However the more I considered it I grew to approve, it would a seriously cool car to take to the seaside whether Saint-Tropez or Santa Monica. Le Beach Boys, anyone?

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I am not entirely convinced about the though processes that led to this diorama or why anyone would attempt to bring the spirit of Daktari to Automedon.

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At least the image of the Great White Hunter was dented by the lioness smugly about the feast on the poor unfortunate’s right forearm.

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Another strange scene from the wilds of Quebec is this Simca 8 Estate, sorry Station Wagon.

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It would appear to have been modified to do duty as a chainsaw, cue “The Lumberjack Song”, take it away Mr Palin.

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When in doubt chuck a bale of straw on the car and Hey Presto it is a barn find.

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Another prominent feature of shows such as Automedon are the stalls selling, well selling anything………..

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Books anyone?

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Models of course

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Oil cans

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And for those who have a sweet tooth.

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There is a strong motorcycle presence

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And the Custom Car fans are catered for

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Before and after Restoration, Sir. Well that’s what they would like you to believe.

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Outside the car parks have all manner of goodies to enjoy, a very British pair of Rovers.

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A brace of Maigret Citroëns aka Traction Avant.

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A beautiful Panhard CD, named after its designer, Charles Deutsch, sits alongside a VW camper van, which was considerably more popular than the French sportscar.

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René Bonnet’s side of the business, Automobiles René Bonnet, was eventually acquired by Jean-Luc Lagardère’s Matra empire, the first car designed and produced in house was this 530.

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More Matra style was seen outside Automedon, continuing the mid-engined trend these Murenas.

Automedon is a charming, and thoroughly French, classic car show. For those of us on the good side of the English Channel it is just a trains from London, then a suburban service from Gare du Nord, if you have the time in 2015, go, you won’t regret it.

John Brooks, November 2014

 

 

It’s a fair Kop, Guv’nor

2014 Kop Hill

Another weekend, another event, once more celebrating the automotive culture. This time the journey takes me to Buckinghamshire and the revival of the competition at Kop Hill.

2014 Kop Hill

Between 1910 and 1925, excluding the War years, there was a hill climb at Kop Hill. It attracted many of the big names of the time.

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Two giants of the Land Speed Record battles in the 20’s and 30’s, Malcolm Campbell and Henry Segrave, both ran at Kop Hill as did such notable racers such as Count Zborowski and Raymond Mays.

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In 1925 there was a non-fatal accident at Kop Hill, and the RAC banned all competition on public highways on the UK mainland.

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In 2009, after a number of commemorative runs, the hill climb was revived. The aim was to use the event to benefit local charities and to enjoy a good day out mucking around with cars.

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So now in the sixth running of the revived Kop Hill Climb there is very much a party atmosphere, mixing cars and family fun.

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On the Hill there are some like Jay Kay who are serious in his LaFerrari.

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Those in the Rolls-Royce are less so.

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A good crowd in excess of 15,000 enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere in the beautiful Chilterns, just beginning to turn autumnal in the late September sunshine.

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There was much to see and do………..and here is a small gallery that attempts to capture the flavour of the day.

John Brooks, November 2014

Yellow Streak

2014 JB General

Delving into the archives on another project I stumbled across this attempt at ‘art’ in the bygone era of film…………such shots were almost always a leap in the dark with no idea till later as to how they would turn out, if they worked you were a genius, if not quietly slip the slide into the bin and say no more. All you could do is check the light meter, the aperture, the shutter speed and take a deep breath.

This 333 is headed for the back stretch chicane at Daytona International Speedway on route to 4th place in the 1999 Rolex 24.

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It was driven by the non pro crew of Lilian Bryner, Enzo Calderari, Carl Rosenblad and Angelo Zadra, a pretty good result for the Europeans in this tough race.

John Brooks, November 2014

May the Force be with You………….

2013 Brooklands Military Day

One of the benefits of having an outlet like DDC is that I get to decide the priorities, no deadlines to be chased or avoided.

2013 Brooklands Military Day

It is almost 12 months since I trotted along to Brooklands for their Military Day, a fact that I was reminded of when getting notice of the 2014 event.

2013 Brooklands Military Day

So I thought that I would dig out a small selection of shots from 2013 to act as an advertisement for Sunday 16th November.

2013 Brooklands Military Day

It is not just the vehicles but as is typical of such events here in the UK, there are those who enjoy re-enacting history, be they Churchill or MacArthur.

2013 Brooklands Military Day

Or just humble Volkssturm

2013 Brooklands Military Day

Even the Red Army got in on the act.

2013 Brooklands Military Day

Whatever the motivations of those participating it is an event worthy of attendance, particularly in this year of commemorating the First World War and all the other conflicts that have taken place in the last century.

2013 Brooklands Military Day

Details of the day can be found HERE

John Brooks, November 2014

The Classic Style

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

The Silverstone Classic is the World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival, a simple fact.

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

This year’s edition, the 24th, attracted 94,000 spectators who were treated to a full menu of delights on and off the track.

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

The car clubs were on hand, en masse, adding to the occasion.

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

Retail therapy was readily available….

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

Stars old and new joined in.

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

And there was racing on track with some old favourites like this Ferrari 512S

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

Group C was, as ever, a highlight even in this fantastic company.

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

Touring cars in their old battle field – modern

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

And classic

Silverstone Classic 2014 Picture by: Simon Hildrew www.simonhildrew.com

All in all the Silverstone Classic is a great celebration of automotive culture. If there one catch, it would be that it clashes with the Spa 24 Hours, so tough choices have to be made.

DDC is extremely lucky to have the services of top photographer, Simon Hildrew, and his work available to us. Enjoy his personal view of the this great event.

John Brooks, November 2014