NEC Magic

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Mea Culpa, the Special Correspondent sent me this piece ages back. It got lost in what passes for my filing system but has popped back into view and is too good to waste……..so a quick look back to the 2016 Classic Car Show at the NEC.


The 6/80 and its 4-cylinder counterpart, the 4/50, were the first new post-war Wolseleys, having much in common with Nuffield’s new range of Morris cars presented at Earls Court in 1948 – the Minor, Oxford and Six. They used the same 4-door monocoque body, the newly-introduced torsion bar independent front suspension ( a first for both Morris and Wolseley), the fashionable steering-column gear change and even the pull-out door handles. The Wolseleys, however, used overhead camshaft engines and the Morris Six shared the 6-cylinder unit of the 6/80.

The first public awareness of the future MGA was the appearance of prototypes under the code EX 182. Ken Wharton and Dick Jacobs carried out testing in April 1955 at Silverstone and three cars were entered for that year’s Le Mans 24 Hour race. Ken Miles and racing motorcyclist Johnny Lockett finished 12th in the car shown above and Ted Lund and Swiss Hans Wäffler came 17th. The third car was crashed at the White House corner and burnt out, Dick Jacobs being seriously injured, bringing to an end his racing career.

Three cars also raced in the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod, one with an experimental twin-cam engine.

Singer launched their 1100 c.c. Ten in 1912, the first proper light car (as distinct from the cyclecars), and forged a fine reputation with it. This was enhanced with the introduction of their excellent Junior in 1926, by which time Singer was Britain’s third largest manufacturer behind Morris and Austin. The Junior was given an 847 c.c. overhead camshaft engine, the smallest British car so equipped, although Wolseley and Rhode had been using this layout beforehand. The little Singer came with a variety of body styles from the outset.

On December 4th 1928 Bill Deeley of the Aylesbury Motor Company and Ernest Wood of the Singer dealer in Exeter took a Singer Junior Sports Model to the notorious Porlock Hill in Somerset where the gradient was as much as 1 in 4.5 and where there were two very sharp hairpin bends, and made 100 ascents and descents in 15 hours, all under R.A.C. observation. In recognition of this achievement Singer renamed the boat-tail Sports model the Porlock in January 1929.
This is one of them.

This is a 1936 Rover Speed Twelve Sports Tourer. The Sleaford, Lincolnshire Rover agent, Billy Maidens, entered the car for the 1937 R.A.C. Rally in March and achieved 924.4 points out of 1000. The car also ran in the Scottish and Welsh rallies that year.

It was specially prepared (probably at Rover’s Seagrave depot in London) and had twin downdraft S.U. carburettors.

Good to see the latest Ford GT which won the LM GTE PRO class at Le Mans in 2016.

This Triumph was one of three specially built Gloria four seat Tourers with lightened chassis, all aluminium body construction, a 17-gallon slab tank and twin spare wheels entered for the 1934 Monte Carlo Rally. John Beck and Reg Tanner finished 27th overall. The design became the prototype of the popular sporting “Monte Carlo” model.

TAILPIECE

This is an authentic example of the Military version of the Austin Seven of which about 150 were built in 1929-31 with bodies by Mulliners of Birmingham. They were useful transport for junior officers and NCOs.

David Blumlein, June 2017

London is Calling…………….

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A new concours is always a welcome addition to the season, especially one as well organised and curated as the inaugural City Concours held in the heart of the City of London.

The event was held in the spectacular Artillery Gardens of the Honourable Artillery Company, a Georgian grassy haven in the midst of the capital’s financial district.

By any standards the City Concours was an instant success, a decent crowd appreciating the selection of fine cars on display and for sale. Year two will be even better and the word will get round the City to increase interest, looking forward to June 2018.

John Brooks, June 2017

 

 

Stoneleigh Special

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A while back The Special Correspondent travelled up to Stoneleigh for the latest edition of Race Retro. As ever he spotted a few gems hidden away amongst the sheds……………so Rare and Interesting it is…………………

The exhibiting club did nothing to enlighten their visitors about the cars on their stand but in fact the two Triumph TRs have important competition history. I am indebted to my good friend Rob Rowland, the former TR archivist, for giving me corrected information on them. This TR3 is an ex-works factory car driven by Annie Bousquet and Jo Ashfield in the 1956 Midnight Sun Rally to 13th in class.

A month later Tom and Anne Wisdom took it on the Alpine Rally, came 5th in class, winning an Alpine Cup. The car was then prepared with two other TR3s as factory entries for the 1957 Sebring 12-Hour race where it finished 21st and second in class, driven by Bob Oker and Ed Pennybacker.

This TR4 also has Sebring history. It was one of three selected at random from a shipment to the U.S.A. by Kas Kastner and race-prepared by his team for the 1963 race. This number 38 was hit from behind by an A.C. Cobra not long after the start but managed to finish 24th and second in class, piloted by Charles Gates, Bob Cole and Ed Diehl.
Some published results of the TRs at Sebring may contain unintended errors – these are the corrected versions.


This is a 1958 Lotus 15, powered by an aluminium alloy 3532 c.c. Buick V8 with twin Holley carbs giving 240 bhp and driving through an XK140 gearbox. The car was campaigned by Dizzy Addicott in 1961 and 1962.


Arnott was a family-owned manufacturer of superchargers and carburettors in Harlesden, north London. In 1951 they decided to design and construct a car for the 500 c.c. Formula 3 category. Designed by Daphne Arnott and George Thornton, the prototype had its first outing at Brands Hatch in the October. The car has a tubular chassis and uses torsion bar suspension. This car is one of a batch of 9 built in 1952 and in the September Gerald Smith had two wins on the day at Brands Hatch. Further successes were scored by Ivor Bueb, John Brise and Dennis Taylor.
An Arnott sports coupé with an 1100 c.c. Coventry Climax engine ran at Le Mans in 1957.


Not many will remember the Toj sports racers, the name an acronym for “Team Obermoser Jörg”, which embraced the racing activities of its German leader, a successful supplier of electrical equipment to industry in the 1970s. This is the SC302, built in 1977 and powered by a 3-litre Cosworth DFV motor. That season it gave the Alfa Romeos something to worry about especially when Rolf Stommelen was at the wheel!
TAILPIECE


A brace of 21st century racing Bentleys, the Le Mans Speed 8 and the GT3.

Donington Historic Festival

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The Donington Historic Festival continues to grow in scale and importance, 2017’s version was evidence of that. Our award-winning shutter-meister, Simon Hildrew, was on hand to capture the action for our edification………………

John Brooks, June 2017

Tip of the Hat

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I have the good fortune to edit this irregular website, I have a great bunch of contributors who are all champions in my view. Well, this opinion is shared by others as the work of our master photographer, Simon Hildrew, has been chosen as Sports Picture of the Year, at the National Association of Press Agency Awards.

You can see more HERE

Congratulations from us all, the award is well deserved.

John Brooks, June 2017

Kind of Blue

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Here in the UK we honour those who have achieved something special in many ways, titles, medals, honours, even good old cash and sometimes we put up a Blue Plaque on a building associated with them.

Earlier this year such an honour was bestowed to a school that was built on the former site of John Cobb’s house in Esher, Surrey. John Cobb was one of a band of intrepid British speed merchants whose exploits made them household names in 20’s and 30’s Britain.

Cobb held the Land Speed Record on three occasions and died while trying to add the Water Speed Record to his roll of honour.

On 7th October 1935 he smashed the lap record at Brooklands posting a 143.44 mph average speed round the banked track at Weybridge, driving the fearsome 24-litre Napier Railton. The track closed with the commencement of World War Two in September 1939 and Cobb’s record will stand for all time.

Allan Wynn of  the Brooklands Museum brought out the Napier for a demonstration that enthralled the school kids of all ages who were present on the day.

Amongst the guests of honour was Richard Nobel, the modern day successor to the lineage of Sir Malcolm Campbell, Sir Henry Seagrave and Cobb, who raised the bar to 633.468mph in 1983.

John Brooks, June 2017

View from the Gasworks End

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The 75th Goodwood Members’ Meeting was a perfect example of how to run a classic car event; speed with style, even the chilly weather did not soak us, rare for March down near Chichester.

Taking encouragement from others I broke out the Canon gear and shot for fun, I hope that the results are worth it.

John Brooks, April 2017

The Members Assemble

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The recent 75th Goodwood Members’ Meeting was a timely reminder of the good things about our sport. Great cars driven with verve and élan in front of a knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience, even the Spring weather held up, a great way to kick off another season.

Simon Hildrew was on hand armed with cameras, here is his brilliant catch.

John Brooks, March 2017

Rare and Interesting at the 2017 Rétromobile

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The Special Correspondent has been on his travels, the target in February was the Porte de Versailles and the Rétromobile, that celebration of the automobile that is an unmissable part of classics scene. He brings us a menu of rare and interesting……….


Today hatchbacks are justifiably popular but to the French they are nothing new. Citroën and Peugeot were, for example, making the “commerciales” from the late Twenties onwards. Here we have a 1939 Traction Avant Citroën Commerciale showing off the considerable capacity available.

Jacques Bignan was one of the big names in French motor sport in the Twenties. He made a variety of sporting cars , a 3-litre version winning the 1921 Corsican Grand Prix, a race considered to be the first proper sports car race. This car is a blatant case of badge-engineering – it is a Salmson AL3 with a Bignan radiator! Ever the enthusiast, Bignan spent too much money on racing and his company did not last the decade. However, one of his 2-litre cars won the 1924 Monte Carlo Rally and Jacques himself went on to win the 1928 event in a Fiat 509.

This is a very rare car, in fact the only known survivor. It is a Crossley Bugatti Brescia, part-machined and assembled by Crossley Motors Ltd of Gorton in Manchester.

Bugatti’s factory was in a pretty poor state after the Great War and he licensed out some production of his successful Brescia model to Rheinische Automobilbau AG in Dϋsseldorf in Germany ( the Rabag cars), to Diatto in Italy and to Crossley. Not many were made in England, possibly 24/25. A Diatto-Bugatti led home two O.M.s in a race at Brescia in 1921.

This was a surprise because this unique car has normally resided in the Le Mans Museum. It is the 2-litre class-winning Moynet which ran at Le Mans in 1975 with an all-female crew.

Still at Le Mans but a year later and again a unique car. This Lenham P71 used a 1.8-litre Ford engine but retired just after half-way.

The DB3 was Aston Martin’s first sports racing car. The company was hoping that the Le Mans organisers would soon abandon the prototypes which were introduced after the war as a temporary stand-in and get back to production-based sports cars but the prototypes were too big an attraction, so Aston Martin was obliged to join in!Prof. Eberon von Eberhorst was called in to design the car but its development turned out to be too protracted; furthermore it was late on the scene, it was too heavy and was powered only by Aston’s 2.6-litre engine which was inadequate.

It did take some class wins and won outright the 1952 Goodwood Nine Hour race against works Jaguar C-types but Aston Martin only found real success when “Willie” Watson, on his own initiative, offered the team his much lightened version, the DB3S.

J.A.Prestwich (JAP) was famous for making single and twin-cylinder engines for a wide variety of motorcycles, cyclecars, road cars such as the three-wheeled Morgan, the 500c.c. Formula 3 racing cars and others. In 1908 JAP decided to construct some V8 and V4 engines aimed at the budding aviation industry.
Here we see an overhead valve JAP V8 engine mounted in a pre-WW1 GN wooden chassis. It is the prototype unit and is one of only four known surviving JAP V8s; it has a capacity of 5-litres.
In a more modern context, JAP made the cylinder heads for the Lotus Cortina.

This is a DB Panhard 848c.c. with bodywork in aluminium by the coachbuilder Cottard of Bourg en Bresse. It was lighter than the plastic-bodied cars but only five were constructed, all in 1958. The third car made was destroyed during that year’s Tour de France Automobile at Reims.

A rare sight indeed! We associate the all-conquering 1100c.c. Salmsons of the Twenties with their superb twin-cam engines but before these Emile Petit had devised a clever arrangement whereby his 4-cylinder engine had its valves operated by only four pushrods! The special rockers can be seen.
TAILPIECE

Breguet was well- known as a French aircraft manufacturer from Toulouse and, because of the acute shortage of petrol during the German occupation in World War Two, Louis Breguet joined the ranks of electric car makers.

This is his A2 2-seater coupé with a Paris-Rhône motor mounted at the rear. It had a range of 65 miles, top speed 30 m.p.h.

David Blumlein, March 2017

Drive to Arras

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40th ARRAS BOURSE D’ECHANGES

With the centennial commemorations of the Battle of Arras just three weeks away, the organisers of the city’s annual classic car event must have felt they were fighting a new battle as gale force winds and lashing rain poured down during the run-up. Fortunately the rain at least had abated by the day itself and Club Ravera will have heaved a collective sigh of relief as the 500-space outdoor parking once again filled-up with classics of every sort, whilst indoors the large autojumble thronged with those anxiously seeking that vital component.

Fighting a battle of their own must have been Ray and Kathleen Brogan as they had journeyed over from Kent to display their ex-London County Council 1952 Reliant Regent three-wheeler van. With open sides and a top speed of 40mph it would have been quite a journey – their first problem was convincing Eurotunnel that the vehicle actually existed! They are regular visitors to the show, more usually with a Sunbeam Talbot, but this was the first time with the Reliant.

And they were not the only Brits to take part, with others bringing vehicles ranging from a stunning fabric-bodied Austin Seven saloon to a Ferrari 328 GTS. Morris Minor owners from Kent were also in attendance. They are in the main repeat visitors, knowing that they will get a very warm welcome from the organisers and show visitors alike.

The indoor display represented good variety, ranging from pre-war machinery such as a Chenard Walcker, Panhard and Peugeot, through to familiar cars and ‘bikes from more recent times. There was variety a-plenty too, from a Fiat Dino Spider to a 1941 Gnome-Rhone motor-cycle and sidecar that was used in large numbers on the Russian Front. Many were imaginatively displayed too, such as the Peugeot 404 and caravan in holiday mode. Amongst the clubs, the Matra Simca Rancho owners were celebrating the cars’ 40th anniversary, and in true French style the members were tucking into some very creamy chocolate cake!

Outside there was the inevitable plethora of Citroen 2CV’s and Traction Avante’s, including one rare LHD Slough-assembled 1950 Light 15, one of just 304 built between 1949-54, it was delivered new to Casablanca in 1951. There was even a couple of Lomax’s, one three-wheeled, the other with four wheels. The British-built kit car is based on 2CV components, but now with the relentlessly upward trajectory in 2CV values in recent times it must be becoming increasingly hard to source donor vehicles.

Otherwise there was the full spectrum from rat-look VW 1500 to a superb Aston Martin DB6 that appeared to have travelled a bit. Although French registered, the RHD car bore a Wales badge on the back and a New York City technical inspection sticker on the windscreen.

It was not the only car present to have crossed the Atlantic as Americana was very much in evidence with several Ford Mustang’s, an enormous Buick LeSabre and Chevrolet El Camino pick-up amongst others. The show was stolen late in the day though, by the arrival of a stunning black 1971 Buick Riviera which quickly had the crowds gathering round.

An extremely enjoyable event that not even the weather could spoil; always held on the third Sunday in March, it’s well worth a quick hop across the Channel.

John Elwin March 2017