Monthly Archives: April 2012

Never Seen It As Bad As This ! – Prescott Speed Hill Climb

Britain’s wettest drought in history continued apace this weekend, but I did not let that get in the way of attending 3 very different events in 3 days. I’ll not be blogging them in order for any particular reason but I’ll start with the last one, Prescott Speed Hillclimb which I attended yesterday afternoon, first and post blogs on the Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival on Sunday and the Spring Performance Car Action Day at Castle Combe next Monday.

March 792, Prescott SHC

I got to Prescott yesterday afternoon just in time to have a quick £3.00 bacon sarnie and have a quick look around the paddock before making my way to the top of the hill. The last time I saw a March 792 sporting Philip Morris Marlboro colours for Swedish hot shot Eje Elgh, like the one above belonging to Stuart Ridge, was 25th March 1979 at Silverstone.

Porsche 996 GT3, Prescott SHC

The two days had much in common it was close to freezing at Silverstone and only 4º C yesterday, at both events it was absolutely tipping with rain but mercifully there are a few more trees at Prescott which gave a vestigal illusion of shelter from the strong Easterly winds. Above Robert Lancaster-Gaye above heads for a over 2000 cc / 122 cui Road Going class win in his Porsche 996 GT3.

Ginetta G15, Prescott SHC

Before I left home I checked the weather and there were severe weather and flood warnings for the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside in which Prescott is located. Andrew Russell could not get below 60 seconds in the Modified Series Production class Hillman Imp powered Ginetta G15.

Westfield iRacer, Prescott SHC

With a 120 mph capability and 0-60 time of 5 seconds the Westfield iRacer is shockingly quick for a vehicle that is barely audible thanks to it’s two 100 hp electric motors which drive each rear wheel. The iRacer was being demonstrated in racing spec which has a 15 minute battery life. 2/3rds of the battery weight can be saved for hill climb events which, in the UK, rarely last more than a minute per run.

Chevrolet Special, Prescott SHC

Part of the attraction of going to Prescott was the promise of seeing some big brutal cars with plenty of horsepower, nothing quite prepared me for the two Chevrolet Specials and Jagernought Rover which were built for sand racing in the Channel Isles, thats Gurnsey, Jersey and Alderney in the English Channel. Scot Rayson’s Chevrolet Special above used to be Jaguar powered, it still has the Jaguar running gear but is now powered by a 6.3 litre 384 cui Chevy V8. Spare a thought for the Sand Racers who as I write this are headed back across the English Channel in significantly less than calm waters.

OMS 25, Prescott SHC

One reason today’s blog was posted a little late is that the intelweb will tell you the driver of the car above is Tricia Davis to add to the confusion the programme tells me that the car is a Reynard 913 which it most certainly is not. The programme tells me Tricia did not take part while a Terry Davis did but also in a Reynard. I believe most of the photo’s on the interweb showing this helmet and ascribing it to Tricia are incorrectly labeled and vice versa for Terry Davis. I further believe that Terry has acquired or at the very least borrowed an OMS 25 for the event. My ears were too wrapped up against the weather to discern if this information was disseminated over the Prescott tanoy. Please correct me below if I have that completely wrong !

DJ Firehawk, Prescott SHC

As I was walking down the hill during the event one marshal quipped that he had never seen the conditions so bad, fortunately this did not stop Wallace Menzies claiming a Race Cars over 2000 cc / 122 cui class victory in the #4 Cosworth powered Tillicoultry Quarries DJ Firestorm, that’s a Firestorm model manufactured by DJ Race Cars. To the left of the #4 DJ Firestorm Lee Adams can be seen telling a journalist….

GWR Raptor, Prescott SHC

how he stormed up Prescott in 43.82 seconds to claim fastest time of the day (FTD) in his giant killing up to 1600 cc / 97.6 cui class GWR Raptor Extreme, seen commencing his final run above.

My thanks to the Prescott press office for a hot off the press copy of the unconfirmed results which not only allowed me to share the information here but also warmed my hands up nicely as I walked back to the car.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Never Seen It As Bad As This !’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I shall be looking at continuing the series of blogs on Colin Coppers specials looking at the Kayne Special III. Don’t forget to come back now !


Giving Up Is Hard To Do – Cross Trophy

Last Wednesday, after a break of some 20 years, I became a car owner again. Thanks to my folks purchasing a new Golf TSI, I found myself taking on their 12 year old Golf Estate.

Volkswagen Golf, Bristol Classic Car Show

My first adventure in it was on Saturday to the Bristol Classic Car Show at Shepton Mallet, see above, and on Sunday I drove my new pride and joy to Duncan’s farm just outside Bristol in Dundry and attempted to retain the Cross Trophy which I won at last years Bristol Pegasus Motor Club‘s production car trial meeting.

Cross Trophy, Dundry

Arriving promptly at mid day the first problem, thanks to the wettest drought on record, was to get all the competitors on to that part of the field where the competition was scheduled to take place. Pete, one of the marshals, thoughtfully brought his Land Rover with him so that Andy, in the Citroen Saxo above and I could, with the aid of a tow, at least make it to the start line of the first test.

Volkswagen Beetle, Cross Trophy

My next problem was to find a passenger, fortunately Zoë from the Bristol Motor Club, who had come along to help with the marshaling and watch her 15 year old daughter Clare make her production car trial debut with her father Mark in the 1967 Beetle above, kindly volunteered to forgo standing in the rain and agreed to be my passenger.

Marlin, Cross Trophy

After a short drivers briefing with event organiser Mal we dispersed to the four competitive sections of the event. Laura my passenger last year is seen above in her Dad’s Marlin Roadster.

Suzuki X-90, Cross Trophy

Alan who has recovered from inverting his Parsons on the recent Exeter Trial was sharing his newly acquired Suzuki X-90 named ‘Barbie’ with Pat who is seen at the wheel above with Pete observing on the first section.

Citroen AX, Cross Trophy

Winner of the National Class B event was Chris in his Citroen AX seen here trying to clear the second section which like all the sections got progressively more difficult through the afternoon as the rain came and went and then came back again.

Volkswagen Golf, Cross Trophy

Despite competing in the lower Clubsport event Paul in the Golf II above just managed to pip National Class B winner Chris to win the overall event. I managed to come 3rd in class the front wheel drive Clubsport class and 7th overall in the Clubsport event and 12th overall in the two combined events.

Volkswagen Golf, Cross Trophy

Afterwards I was joined at the nearest garage by Chris who had driven his Nissan Micra 145 miles from Gravesend for a long engagement with the steam cleaner.

My thanks to Mal, Pete and everyone involved in the organisation and marshaling of this veritable mud bath of an event, to Tim for the results, and Zoë my passenger who did her bit to dispel the myth that the Bristol Motor Club is ‘the enemy’ of the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club.

Giving up the Cross Trophy at the end of the year will be hard to do even though Paul took a well deserved victory, I look forward to attempting to win it back again next year !

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Giving Up Is Hard To Do’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Black Badge Myth – Lotus Europa #54/2108

In 1966 Lotus introduced the Lotus Europa known as Type 46 which was apparently born out of Colin Chapman’s attempt to win the Ford contract to build Ford’s Le Mans challenger which went to Lola and eventually became known as the GT40.

Lotus Europa S2, Race Retro

The Europa came with a mid mounted Renault engine and gearbox, of the type usually found in the Renault 16, albeit boosted from 52 hp to 82 hp mounted on a steel back bone chassis with a fiberglass body bonded to the chassis.

Lotus Europa S2, Race Retro

A racing version of the Europa, Type 47 was also built which was intended to replace the Lotus 7, which it never did. In April 1968 Lotus introduced the Europa S2 which used the same running gear and chassis as the original but featured electric window’s, fully adjustable seats, polished wood facia and the body was now secured to the chassis by bolts in place of the resin bonding, this package of refinements were sufficient for Lotus to give the Europa S2 a new internal Type number 54.

Lotus Europa S2, Race Retro

The 1969 Europa S2 seen here fetched over £16,000 at the recent Silverstone Auction held at Race Retro. Interestingly this car was advertised as a Black Badge Car, which romantics would have you believe was something to do with a myth allegedly marking the death of Jim Clark in 1968 when in fact the truth is considerably more mundane.

Lotus Europa S2, Race Retro

According to the late Graham Arnold Lotus Marketing Director in 1968 the Black Badge Elan’s and Europa’s came about because Graham arranged for the production of a batch of black ‘Lotus’ badges because he ‘thought’ they would look classier and would not clash like the yellow and green ‘Lotus’ badges did with the red white and gold ‘Gold Leaf‘ colours carried by many road going Lotus models at the time. Colin Chapman did not approve of the new badges and vetoed their use. Subsequently some of these badges however did find their way on to various cars not least the press fleet for which Mr Arnold was responsible, causing him to attract the ire from Mr Chapman who thought Mr Arnold had fitted the black badges in contradiction to Mr Chapman’s wishes.

Subsequently replica black badges have found their way on to owners cars often as a mark of respect to Jim Clark but these badges were never sanctioned officially and should not attract any kind of premium if fitted.

Thanks for joining me on this “Black Badge Myth” edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Lovin’ Spoonful – Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta #5953

The first of a final total of 350, 250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta’s, known more commonly as the 250 Lusso, was shown to the public at the 1962 Paris Motor show.

250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta, Castle Combe, Tour Britannia

The Lusso is immediately recognisable by it’s graceful lines and unusual three piece front bumper.

250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta, Castle Combe, Tour Britannia

Hiding under the bonnet / hood are 250 of Maranello’s finest horses from an all aluminium 3 litre / 183 cui Colombo V12, the sound of which goes something like this.

250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta, Castle Combe, Tour Britannia

The 250 Lusso, which translates as luxury, came with a Pininfarina designed steel body manufactured by Scaglietti.

250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta, Castle Combe, Tour Britannia

Steel being far heavier than aluminium used in the production of the racing versions of the 250, like the 250 GTO, would normally not make a 250 GT Lusso a competition car of choice, however some customers and later owners like Tim Lewis, seen in this car at Castle Combe with his son Daniel co driving, did not hesitate to strap themselves in and head for the nearest competition.

250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta, Castle Combe, Tour Britannia

Today’s featured car chassis #5953GT was one of the last 250 Lusso’s produced in 1964, it was originally sold to Austrian Wolfgang Denzel, note this is a left hand drive car (LHD) not RHD as stated by barchetta cc, among it’s former owners somewhere between the late 80’s and early 90’s was former Aston Martin chairman Victor Gauntlett.

Anyone who likes a mystery might be interested to know that according to Wiki Steve Boone, of the band Lovin’ Spoonful’ owned one of these cars chassis #4237, said to be the the very first production Lusso, that was subsequently stolen from a repair shop in Queens New York. The stolen vehicle is probably not worth quite as much as the $2.3 million that Steve McQueens 250 GT Lusso fetched at auction in 2007 but tracking it down might make an interesting tale. At the time of writing I am still checking the veracity of the Wiki claim.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Lovin’ Spoonful’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !



Colour Of The Advocado – Cadillac Eldorado

The eight generation Cadillac Eldorado was built between 1971 and 1978 receiving face lifts in 1973 and 1975.

Cadillac Eldorado, Shakespeare County Raceway

Sharing a 126 in / 3120 mm E body platform with the Oldsmobile Tornado and Buick Riviera the Eldorado was 79.8 in / 2030 mm wide.

Cadillac Eldorado, Shakespeare County Raceway

Under the bonnet / hood of this 1973 model lurks a honking 400 hp 8.2 litre 500 cui V8, said to be the largest production V8 when it was first introduced in the 1970 Seventh Generation Eldorado.

Cadillac Eldorado, Shakespeare County Raceway

At 224 in / 5690 mm long the Eight Generation Eldorado’s matched the Sixth Generation Eldorado’s as the largest ever made though the Eight Generation were giving away over 6 inches in wheel base to the older model.

Cadillac Eldorado, Shakespeare County Raceway

One thing I did not know until preparing this blog was that like the Oldsmobile Tornado the Eldorado was front wheel drive which must lead to some interesting handling characteristics, while the Buick Riviera on the same platform was rear wheel drive.

Cadillac Eldorado, Shakespeare County Raceway

It is thought the opera window in the C panel which replaced the opening quarter window seen in earlier models was necessary to conform to roll over safety standards that came into effect in the mid 1970’s.

Cadillac Eldorado, Shakespeare County Raceway

Until I heard the Jonathon Richman song Pablo Picaso, I’d always thought of Eldorado’s as lumpy land yachts with as much appeal as a block of flats, however once I heard Jonathon’s lyric about girls turning advocado colour as Pablo Picaso drove down the street in his Eldorado, I began to see this leviathan’s in a slightly different light.

Cadillac Eldorado, Shakespeare County Raceway

In 1973 51,451 Eldorado’s were built just over 15% of Cadillacs total production for the year.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Colour Of The Advocado’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to came back now !


Terry’s Jam Jar – Ford Capri II 2.0S

After selling more than a million Mk 1’s Ford Capri’s between 1969 and 1974 Ford gave the ‘Car you always promised your self‘ a new body with a shorter bonnet / hood and hatch back tailgate while retaining most of the original running gear.

Ford Capri II 2.0S, Bristol Classic Car Show

The 4 cylinder 2.0 litre / 122 cui Pinto motor was offered as a half way house between the top of the range 3.0 litre / 183 cui V6 Essex powered vehicles and the lesser 4 cylinder Kent powered models.

Ford Capri II 2.0S, Bristol Classic Car Show

The Capri II, like it’s predecessor was sold under the Mercury brand in the USA, it was taken off the US market after the 1977 model year.

Ford Capri II 2.0S, Bristol Classic Car Show

The 2.0S, seen here at last weeks Bristol Classic Car Show, was available with came with standard alloy wheels, in 1975 a John Player Special, (tobacco brand !) limited edition was announced with gold coloured alloy wheels, the 1976 example seen above has similar black and gold paintwork to the JPS limited edition which mimicked the colour scheme seen on the world championship winning JPS Lotus team cars of 1972 and 1973.

Ford Capri II 2.0S, Bristol Classic Car Show

The most famous Ford Capri II 2.0S, in British circles at least, was a white one that was seen on the Intro to a TV series called Minder, about London’s criminal under world featuring a crooked entrepreneur Arthur, pronounced Arfur, Daley and his ‘Minder’ Terry McCann who is seen in the opening sequences test driving and accepting a 1976 white 2.0S in return for his ‘services’.

Ford Capri II 2.0S, Bristol Classic Car Show

Terry’s Jam Jar, cockney slang for car, registered SLE 71R was voted the 28th most popular TV car in a 2005 pole by Sky satellite TV viewers.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Terry’s Jam Jar’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


MGCC Speed Champion – Kayne Special II

After selling the original MG J2 with a PB motor Kayne Special, which I looked at last week Colin Cooper started work on Kayne Special II.

Kayne Special II, Oulton Park, Copyright Frank Hall 1981 C213/9

Photo Copyright Frank Hall 1981

Colin began with a scrap 1965 MG B found in Cheshire from which he cut out the engine sub frame and added a pair of chassis rails around which he built up the rest of the car with an under slung rear axle featuring a limited slip differential. Kayne Special II ran on specially made bespoke wire wheels.

Kayne Special II, Baitings Dam, Copyright Frank Hall 1983

Photo Copyright Frank Hall 1983

The motor was a 4 cylinder MG B unit which was eventually fitted with an HRG Cross Flow cylinder heads and twin 45 Weber Carbs. Colin notes this car, his favorite, was always totally reliable.

Kayne Special II, Colin Cooper

Among many successes were winning the 1981 MG Car Club (MGCC) Speed Championship, 1981 Ellison Trophy at Oulton Park, see Frank Halls top photo, the 1979 Kimber Trophy, 2nd 1983 Kimber Trophy at Baitings Dam, see Frank Halls second photo, named after MG founder Cecil Kimber, and several awards for fastest MG in Sprint and Hill Climb events.

Kayne Special II & III

Colin said of Kayne Special II it was “a bit of a shed but it didn’t half go, (it was) timed at 115 mph at Blackpool Sprint.”

The car was eventually sold to a sprinting novice and is thought to have been eventually broken up with many of it’s parts going into a road going MG B.

Colin’s third special, Kayne Special III, seen towing Kayne Special II in the photo above will be the subject of next Tuesdays blog.

My thanks to Colin for sharing his memories and photographs and to Tony Gallagher for putting me in touch with Chris Winstanley who kindly gave me permission to use Frank Hall’s photographs of Colin in action at Oulton Park and Baitings Dam.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘MGCC Speed Champion’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

24 04 12 Added Frank Halls photo’s from Oulton Park and Baitings Dam.