Monthly Archives: November 2013

image_pdfimage_print

Top Kop

The Special Correspondent has been a bit quiet recently, he is working on a grand project, more about that later. The Kop Hill Climb was a recent event that he attended and of course he brings us another feast of Rare and Interesting.

2013 General iPhone

1914 Marlborough
The Marlborough was an Anglo/French car. In 1909 production was taken over by T.B. André, of shock absorber fame. The cars had 4-cylinder engines, 3-speed gearboxes and shaft drive.
2013 General iPhone
This car is powered by a 1043 c.c. side-valve Ballot engine. Ballot was a French engine maker which later turned to car production. Their 3-litre straight-eight Grand Prix car finished 2nd (and 2-litre 3rd) in the 1921 French Grand Prix at Le Mans. Ballot is best remembered for its 2-litre 4-cylinder sports car, the 2LS, the first production car to have a twin-overhead camshaft engine.

2013 General iPhone
1947 Alvis Duncan saloon
Pictures 0546 and 0549
The all-aluminium car bodies built by Duncan Industries of North Walsham, Norfolk, are usually associated with the early Riley-engined Healeys but the company made 30 of these sports saloons on the Alvis TA 14 chassis.

2013 General iPhone

The car had a 4-cylinder 1842 c.c. OHV engine. It is thought that about 15 survive.

2013 General iPhone

Berkeley 2-seater sports
Most car enthusiasts think that Colin Chapman’s beautiful Lotus Elite of 1957 was the first car to have a glass-fibre chassis-body but it wasn’t – this Berkeley sports car, which made its début at Earl’s Court in 1956, was! Built by Berkeley Caravans of Biggleswade, a firm with vast experience with glass-fibre, the car had a 2-stroke twin-cylinder engine driving the front wheels. Fabricated aluminium structures were bonded into the underbody at the centre, as can be seen, and nose to provide additional beam and torsional strength which were necessary in an open car. The design was conceived by Lawrence Bond, better known for his mini-cars.

2013 General iPhone
1926 Morgan Family
Morgan’s first four-seater was seen at the 1919 Olympia Show and this “Family” version of the famous three-wheeler was the company’s most popular model during the Twenties.

2013 General iPhone

This car has the optional OHV Anzani 1078 c.c. water-cooled engine giving about 40 b.h.p.

2013 General iPhone
1925 Cubitt Tourer
Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire may seem an unlikely town in which to manufacture a motor-car but it was here in Bicester Road that Cubitt’s Engineering Co built the Cubitt car from 1919-1925. It was a subsidiary company of Holland, Hannen & Cubitt Ltd, builders who were responsible for the new east wing of Buckingham Palace and the Cenotaph among many other London landmarks. The Cubitt car was a straight-forward design with a 2185 c.c. 4-cylinder side-valve engine. Rather big and heavy, the car was slow to sell. In 1922 the ex-Napier head of A.C. Cars, S.F.Edge, bought Cubitt and engaged J.S. Napier (no connection with the Napier car) from Arrol-Johnston to redesign the car. (It was J.S.Napier who designed and drove the winning Arrol-Johnston in the first Tourist Trophy in 1905). Napier made no drastic changes to the Cubitt, replacing the cantilever rear springs with semi-elliptics and fitting an underslung worm-drive rear axle; he gave the engine aluminium pistons and lighter connecting –rods. But by 1925 the company had gone into voluntary liquidation. This tourer is one of the last survivors as is the car in the Aylesbury Museum.

2013 General iPhone
1919 Hispano-Suiza H6B
This was designer Marc Birkigt’s post-war masterpiece, built in the Paris factory to rival the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and Phantoms.
2013 General iPhone
It had a 6-cylinder 6.6-litre engine with the camshaft driven by a vertical shaft, a feature derived from his amazingly successful World War 1 V8 aero-engine (A8) of which nearly 50,000 were produced, many under licence (Wolseley in Birmingham for example). The shaft can be seen at the front of the engine.

TAILPIECE

2013 General iPhone

Your correspondent is about to be whisked up the hill in the Rowlands’ superb Austin Seven Swallow, courtesy of his friend Robert.

David Blumlein, November 2013

The Way We Were

1983 Silverstone 1000kms

May 1982, 31 years ago we did things a bit differently.

Social media is full of images from the pit lane fire in Shanghai that took place yesterday. Thankfully no one was injured, I doubt that the same happy result would have happened if something had gone wrong at the above refuelling stop, we have come a long way since then. The car was the Janspeed Lotus Elan driven by Max Payne and Chris Ashmore and entered by ARK Racing. The race was the Silverstone 6 Hours, the second event run to Group C rules.

The Lotus was disqualified after 173 laps for a push start…………..well you have to draw the line somewhere, Old Boy.

John Brooks, November 2013

Corkscrewed

1998 Petit Le Mans

Bill Auberlen leads JJ Lehto down Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew in their BMW V12 LMRs. It is October 1999 on the Monterey Peninsula, a very agreeable time and place as I recall. Their main opposition came from the Panoz Roadsters, those rumbling beasts who have passed into legend.

1998 Petit Le Mans

The Williams-built V12 LMR prototypes raced during 1999 and 2000, racking up a Le Mans triumph in the first year but they failed in their quest to win the drivers’ or teams’ or manufacturers’ titles in the American Le Mans Series. A paperwork snafu at Sebring and the team’s withdrawal from Mosport on safety grounds let others slip in front the first season. Audi’s arrival with their new R8 accounted for the following one. Then Munich set sights on Formula One, their endurance prototype campaign was dropped and we all know how that cunning plan panned out in the long run.

John Brooks, November 2013

The Final Run in the Majors

1998 Le Mans 24 Hours

The Le Mans 24 Hours had been a happy hunting ground for the Porsche 956/962 dynasty, seven outright victories at La Sarthe, but even the greatest monarch’s reign must end. In 1998 three Kremer K8 cars were entered but only one made it through the Pre-Qualification weekend, the Rocky Augusta/Almo Coppelli/Xavier Pompidou, example.

1998 24 Hours of Le Mans

Come race week the young Frenchman qualified the K8 in 3:57.814, 29th on the grid and 14th in class, some 22 seconds off pole sitter Bernd Schneider’s AMG Mercedes. However the race would be a different matter.

1998 Le Mans 24 Hours

There was no point in trying to set lap records, the car was too slow for that, so the old virtues of reliability and slick pit work were the weapons that would be best employed by the Kremer squad. Incredibly the factory teams started to implode, AMG Mercedes and BMW gone before sunset on Saturday. When the factory Porsche LM P1 pair also retired by dawn on Sunday a good finish seemed a possibility.

1998 Le Mans 24 Hours

The other privateers prototypes joined in the lemming-like self destruct impulse, all of which propelled the Kremer up the leader board. The race went to plan, just tyres and two brake pad changes, it would another year before HITCO and BMW would go the race distance on one set of carbon pads. OK there were a couple of spins, particularly early morning Sunday morning, but I recall the conditions being especially foul and slippery, catching out the leading Porsche 911 GT1-98 for example.

1998 Le Mans 24 Hours

The upshot for Kremer was second place in LMP1 class and 12th overall, covering 314 laps or 4264.196 kilometres, a fitting way for the Porsche 956/962 family to bid farewell to Les Vingt-Quatre Heures du Mans

John Brooks, November 2013

 

The Last Lap

1999 SRWC Donington

The Porsche 956/962 is one of the truly great cars in motorsport history. Even when Group C and IMSA were assassinated by the forces of darkness it continued as the platform for such evolutions as the Kremer K8. However eventually all things must pass and so on July 18th 1999, the last international race for the K8 took place at Donington, the fifth round of the Sports Racing World Cup. A double Dutch pairing of Bert Ploeg and Remco Papenberg in the former’s car finished 15th, some 14 laps down on the winning DAMS Lola. The final curtain……………..17 years after Jürgen Barth rolled out 956/001 at Weissach, amazing.

John Brooks, November 2013

Rocket Ron

1998 Rolex 24

The first time I got to shoot the Rolex 24 was back in 1998, one of the better Floridian 24’s around the turn of the century. Ron Fellows is pushing into the First Horseshoe in Andy Evans’ 333SP, the pair sharing driving duties with Max Papis, Yannick Dalmas and Bob Wollek. This heavyweight line up led the race for several spells but the transmission blew up in a spectacular manner after 610 laps with just a few hours left to run. Dalmas had recorded a 1:39.195 to grab pole position, Papis followed that up with the race’s fastest lap of 1:40.545, a small consolation for the end of the line for Andy Evans’ dream of victory on the banking at Daytona. His departure was not mourned by the enthusiasts, though it must be said that he was one of the saviours of endurance racing in the mid-90’s after the implosion of both IMSA and Group C in 1992. Credit where credit is due.

John Brooks, November 2013

View From The Top

2000 SRWC Magny Cours

October 1st 2000 at Magny Cours, pit stop for the JMB Giesse Ferrari 333SP, David Terrien out and Christian Pescatori in, on their way to the fifth victory of the season. They took podiums whenever they competed and were Champions by some clear margin.

John Brooks, November 2013

Eye of the Storm

2001 Rolex 24

Another image of the 333 SP, this time shot during the 2001 Rolex 24. I wrote a while back about this race and had this to say about this fabulous car.

Perhaps the Ferrari 333 SP of Risi Competizione was the most popular choice for the top step of the podium at the race’s end. A hotshot team running the car, a driver line up that consisted of Ralf Kelleners, David Brabham, Eric van de Poele and Allan McNish plus the beautiful, sonorous Ferrari seemed to be the obvious selection. McNish has had his eye on a Rolex since winning his class in 1998 at Daytona, the year before the watches were awarded to all class winners not just the overall victors. Of course we are all too gentlemanly to ever mention this small omission in his career, maybe this would be his best chance to get hold of one the fabled timepieces. Fastest lap in practice of 1:41.118, if not in Qualifying, seemed to support the argument. 

2001 Rolex 24

The race was run in conditions more often found at the Nürburgring than Daytona Beach, cold and grey to start then a deluge, most unlike Florida as we Brits imagine it to be sunny all the time.

More thoughts from the past…………

Most of the photographers showed good sense and stayed either in the warm, dry Benny Khan Media Centre or hid under awnings in the pits. Me? Well, Regis Lefebure and I headed out to the back straight, where we spent several hours trying make some sort of acceptable images in the murk. I reckon he got better results than I.

In this sort of dull stuff it is almost impossible to turn Chicken Shit into Chicken Salad. The 2001 Rolex 24 was a personal landmark for me, it was the last race that I shot entirely on film. By the time I crossed the Atlantic again to shoot the ALMS season opener at Texas I had acquired a Canon D30. Digital had arrived, that genie had escaped and things would be very different. Photographers would go on to be software operators, mind you the crap ones would still be crap.

2001 Rolex 24

On track things took their usual course, hard racing and hard luck.

Out at the head of the race #12 and #16 continued to swap the lead. Then Risi Competizione took their turn on the wheel of hard fortune. Out on the back straight McNish lost a front wheel due to lug nut seizing. Fixing this problem cost five laps and probably the race. This diagnosis was confirmed a few hours later, just before dawn. During a routine pit stop it was noticed the oil temperature was rising rapidly, it was suspected that head gasket had failed in the V12. The Ferrari was reluctantly retired, another leader down and no Rolex for McNish.

The race was a cold miserable affair, only the performance of the Corvette team gave any kind of pleasure, they were, and still are, a class act.

One pleasing aspect is that the top picture ran as a double page spread in European Car, I have to say it was a satisfying way to say farewell to exclusively shooting film.

John Brooks, November 2013

 

 

Spin the Wheel

1999 ALMS Las Vegas

Continuing my look back at the fabulous Ferrari 333SP, here back in 1999 Max Angelelli blasts around the wide open spaces of Las Vegas Motor Speedway in one of a pair of Doyle-Risi Racing cars. It was the team’s last appearance in the ALMS with the open topped Ferrari, which was struggling to keep pace with the Panoz and BMW prototypes. Seventh and eighth places for the team was about all they could expect.

John Brooks, November 2013

The French Connection

1999 24 Hours of Le Mans

1999 and the last appearance of the Ferrari 333SP at La Sarthe………..by now this customer programme dating back to 1993 was overwhelmed by the big budget factory efforts from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Toyota.

The JB Racing 333SP was a brand new chassis and was modified aerodynamically for Le Mans with both the engine cover and rear wing getting a make over. A new endurance gearbox was fitted with modifications to the pinions, strengthened shafts and selector forks. The engine also received attention to make it more durable.

1999 24 Hours of Le Mans

It was driven by former Le Mans winner, Mauro Baldi, teamed up with Christian Pescatori and Jerôme Policand. Young Jerôme qualified the car in a 3:38:468, which was roughly the same time that the 1998 winner, Allan McNish had qualified his Porsche 911 GT1-98 some 12 months before. It was a gain of around six seconds on the previous Ferrari best and proved the worth of the modifications. However it was still nearly ten seconds off Martin Brundle’s pole time in his Toyota GT-ONE.

The least said about the race the better. The endurance gearbox was anything but, lasting barely 40 minutes before Baldi had to pit for a replacement. Engine failure just after dark brought the curtain down on the story of the Ferrari 333SP at Le Mans.