Tag Archives: AEC

Gold Cup Stars – Oulton Park

For today’s post I thought it would be fun to revisit the Gold Cup meeting and see some of the stars who were not first to the checkered flag but nonetheless contributed significantly to the weekends entertainment.

AEC Reliance, Oulton Park, Gold Cup,

As Tim and I arrived at the circuit two AEC buses were being driven around the circuit with gusto, one even had Autosport club editor Marcus Pye entertaining passengers with a commentary, above a Devon General liveried 1963 AEC Reliance exits the Britten’s Chicane.

AC Greyhound, Oulton Park, Gold Cup,

Car of the day in the car park was this 1963 Ford Zephyr straight six powered AC Greyhound one of just 83 built.

Jaguar XJR9, Andy Wallace, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

The day after our visit 1988 Le Mans winner Andy Wallace, on the right in the photo, gave a demonstration of the 1988 Le Mans winning #2 Jaguar XJR9 in front of him, this time completing his lap of honour unlike a previous visit in 2010.

de Tomaso Mangusta, Michael Eagles, Gold Cup, Oulton, Park

One of the cars that tempted me to visit on the Sunday rather than the usual Monday was Michael Eagles de Tomaso Mangusta, Michael started the Oni Plc Historic Road Sports race from 8th on the grid and got as high as 7th in the race before dropping back to finish 16th.

Sunbeam Alpine, Mike Foley, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

In the same race back marker Mike Foley produced the save of the day, after going into Old Lodge too fast and running wide his Sunbeam Alpine went into a nasty tank slapper upon regaining the track, just after this photo was taken, but some how Mike kept the car from spinning or hitting the barriers and continued to finish the race.

 Mallock Mk 20/21, Mark Charteris, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The Giant Killer of the weekend award goes to Mark Charteris who qualified his Mallock U2 Mk20/21 Clubmans car for the first Derek Bell Trophy race fourth ahead an impressive collection of four more powerful Formula 5000 cars and was in third when the race was red flagged after Ian Ashley’s accident, the following day in damp conditions Mark beat both Neil Glover and Mark Dwyer aboard a Formula 5000 Chevron and Formula 2 March respectively that had finished ahead of him the day before.

Jaguar C-type, Ben Cussons, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Just finishing the Jaguar Challenge race proved a challenge too far for five of the 20 starters, smoke was seen issuing from beneath several cars including the #18 C-type driven by Ben Cussons who was classified 9th a lap down and the #15 E-type in the back ground driven by Paul Castaldini who managed to hang on to finish 2nd over 90 seconds down on the winning E-Type driven by Michael Wilkinson and John Bussel.

Ginetta G12, Chris Blewett, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Wheel lifter of the day went to back marker Chris Blewett driving the #44 Ginetta G12 in the Guards Trophy supported by Dunlop Tyres race whose car struggled to keep four wheels on the ground in the corners.

MG Arkley, Chris Fisher, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

By 1970 there were loads of Austin Sprites and MG Midgets knocking about with seriously rusted bodies when John Britten in Barnet North London came up with the idea of recycling them with the aid of a retro look fibre glass front and rear ends that could easily be fitted to donor cars, thus the Arkley S with standard wheels and Arkley SS with wide wheels were born. Lawn Mower of the day award went to #27 Arkley SS driver Chris Fisher who during the 70’s Road Sports Bob Trotter Celebration race came out of the appropriately named Britten’s Chicane a tad wide and opted for the shortest route, with the least grip, before rejoining the track on the ascent to Hill Top.

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


All Aboard – Busman’s Holiday

Seems summer in the UK is not summer without the traditional four days a week torrential rain, ice cream on a day so hot it has melted onto the pavement by the time one has trousered the change after paying for it and a ride on a classic bus to no place in particular.

Bristol K5G, Castle Combe,

For the last couple of years the 1941 Bristol K5G, above, has served as the Race Winners Victory Parade lap vehicle at Castle Combe, it was one of a fleet of 272 K5G’s purchased by Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company between 1938 and 1941 as part of their tram replacement programme, it was sold on to Brighton and Hove District in 1955 and they are believed to have taken the roof of the top deck.

Bristol L5G, Frenchay Car Show, Bristol,

Longer than the double decker is the Bristol L5G which like the K5G went into production in 1937, Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company bought this example in 1948 and it is seen at the Frenchay Car Show transporting passengers to the Frenchay Flower Show.

Bedford OB, Silverstone Classic,

Seen above on a parade lap at Silverstone Classic last year is a 1950 Bedford OB which I believe has recently been restored in Northumberland, like the Bristol K5 and L5 series the 28hp OB went into production in 1937 this one has I believe a 29 seat Duple Vista type body and is awaiting period correct headlights.

Mercedes Benz, Silverstone Classic,

Officially the Mercedes Benz seen above, in the Silverstone Classic campsite earlier this year, is registered as having been built in 1959, I believe the destination reads “rarely on schedule” in Norwegian, that might be because it is pining for the Fjords.

AEC Reliance MU3RV, BRM Day, Bourne, Lincs,

Built in 1958 the AEC Reliance MU3RV above is seen on the BRM Day Parade through Bourne, Lincolnshire a couple of years ago, it is one of three such vehicles fitted with Yeates Europa body work for John Boddy & Son in Bridlington, it later was operated in the Scottish Borders before going to the holiday resort town of Skegness.

Leyland Leopard L2, Goodwood Revival,

With a Cavalier body by Harrington the 1962 Leyland Leopard L2, seen above at Goodwood Revival, would originally have been built to undertake inland and continental tours.

Leyland Atlantean, Brooklands Museum,

Looking in need of a little TLC is this 1966 Leyland Atlantean, with bodywork by MCW seen at the Brooklands Museum, back in the day when I was a British Overseas Airways Corporation passenger this was one of 15 vehicles on which I may have traveled twixt London Victoria and Heathrow Airport at speeds of up to 70 mph on my way to the sunny climbs of Zambia for my school holidays.

Bristol LH, Frenchay Car Show, Bristol

Finally back at the Frenchay Car Show the Bristol LH above served with the Bristol Omnibus Company from 1972 to 1980 before finding it’s way to Llangadog, Carmarthenshire, Wales where Thomas Bros. continued to operate her until 1997.

My thanks to all those who take pleasure in maintaining and operating these vehicles.

Thanks for joining me on this “All Aboard” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Brabham. Don’t forget to come back now !


Wings & Wheels – Dunsfold Aerodrome

Last Monday I went to Dunsfold Aerodrome for a bit of a school reunion organised by my friend David. The last time I attended an event similar to Wings & Wheels was at Biggin Hill in 1972 when as a thirteen year old I was impressed by both the motor vehicles on display and the aircraft.

Folland Gnat, BAE Hawk, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

While I was looking for David after arriving I stumbled across the old and new faces of the Red Arrow’s the little Folland Gnat which was used by the display team from 1965 until they were replaced by the larger BAe Hawk in 1979.

AEC Regent III, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

The AEC Regent double deck bus, predecessor of the much loved Routemaster, was developed in 1939. RT2775 seen here is one of three that were selected to represent the British Travel and Holidays Association and London Transport on a tour of the USA and Canada to promote travel to Britain and the purchase of British products in 1952. Because of it’s special status as an ambassador abroad it unusually kept it’s identity through out it’s working life when it returned to the streets of in 1953 where it remained in service until 1977 after which it became part of the Cobham Bus Museum which is now housed at Brooklands.

Surtees Ford TS7, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

One of several pleasant surprises at Duxford was seeing this 1970 Surtees Ford TS7 designed in part by Peter Connew who regular GALPOT readers will remember went on to design and build his own eponymous Grand Prix car after his work on the TS7 was completed.

Sahab Ahmed, Oliver Turvey, John Surtees, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

Sahab Ahmed with whom Peter worked on the design of the TS7 can be seen on the left of McLaren test driver Oliver Turvey and John Surtees, the only man to win World Championships on two and four wheels in the photo above.

Boeing Stearman, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

As someone prone two vertigo by the time I get to the third rung on a ladder I found the Breitling Wing Walkers a genuinely mind boggling sight. A team of six pilots share the flying duties of the pair of 1940’s era Boeing Stearmans, while a team of six very brave women share the wing walking duties while traveling at 150 mph and experiencing up to 4G !

Panavia Tornado GR4, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

A couple of huge explosions on the ground which scared the brown stuff out of me as I had my back to the airfield at the time preempted the arrival of a pair of swing wing Panavia Tornado GR4’s and a simulated ground attack demonstration. These aircraft which have been operation for the last 20 years were deployed last year in the liberation of Libya and are currently deployed as part of the allied forces in Afghanistan. With two Rolls Royce conceived RB199 jet engines fitted with afterburners this multirole platform can reach speeds of Mach 2.

Curtis Kittyhawk, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

Manufactured in Buffalo New York the 1943 Curtis P40M Kittyhawk / Warhawk fighter seen above served in the Royal Canadian Airforce amassing just 732 flying hours before it was retired in 1950 when it became an instructional aircraft at Oregon State University. In the early 80’s after a long period of storage she was restored to full airworthiness in California. More recently she was flown to Prague where she stared in the film Red Tails released earlier this year.

Napier Railton, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

The Napier Railton seen above not only holds the Brooklands lap record in perpetuity but after the ’39-’45 war it was fitted with heftey aircraft style Dunlop rear disc brakes and used to test experimental aircraft braking parachutes on this very same runway by the GQ Parachute Company which was based at Dunsfold Aerodrome.
Some of the backdrops in today’s photographs may also be familiar to avid fans of the Top Gear television show which operates from a studio on the site.

Daimler SP 250, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

Among the many vehicles demonstrated on the runway was this 1961 Daimler SP250 which I post a picture of especially for one of GALPOT’s most loyal readers Ryan also known as Racer 187.

Honda Sidecar, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the programme which tells me that the side car combination above is a 1972 Honda, but I am reasonably certain the person at the helm is the remarkable Neil Trundle who has spent over 40 years in motorsport working with the likes of Jack Brabham, setting up shop with Ron Dennis building the famous six wheel Tyrrell P3/4’s then joining Dennis again at Project 4 Motorsport which took over McLaren. If you know what type of combination Neil is riding please do not hesitate to chime in below.

North American P51-D Mustang, Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXB, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

As the day came to an the 1945 North American P51-D Mustang, above on the left and 1943 Supermarine Spitfire IXB gave us a more than welcome double dose of, respectively, Packard and Rolls Royce built Merlin music as they waltzed the sky.

Avro Vulcan B.2, Wings and Wheels, Dunsfold Aerodrome

Just before I said good bye to my school friends and left the last flying Avro Vulcan caressed the sky and if nothing else showed that if it had ever been used as originally intended, to deliver a nuclear payload, it would have wasted the world in mutually assured destruction with elegance and grace. As it was after the Vulcan’s nuclear defense capabilities were deemed surplus to requirements several of them were converted for low level conventional bombing roles. A single Vulcan delivered twenty one 1,000lbs on Port Stanley airport in 1981, though it is debatable how effective the worlds longest range bombing sortie was as Argentinian forces, which had invaded the Falklands Islands, were able to repair the damage to the runway. The invaders were subsequently dispatched by the yomping British ground forces. The Vulcans were eventually replaced by the Panavia Tornado’s seen at Dunsfold earlier in the day.

This Vulcan has been restored to airworthy condition by The Vulcan To The Sky trust thanks to over £7 million raised from public subscription, if you are interested in helping to keep it in the air please visit the Vulcan to the sky site linked here.

Thanks for joining me on this “Wings & Wheels” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be breaking from the usual Tuesday MG edition to celebrate an unusual 45th Anniversary. Don’t forget to come back now !


Theme Lotus – Goodwood Festival Of Speed

On Friday I headed off under grey skies with friends, Tim, Pete and Dave to Goodwood House just outside Chichester for the Festival Of Speed.

AEC Swift, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The featured manufacturer this year was Lotus which was founded 60 years ago by Colin Chapman who’s cars not entirely uncoincidentally are currently also featured every Saturday here at GALPOT. Welcoming us on the way into Goodwood House was this 1967 AEC Swift based transporter used by Gold Leaf Team Lotus from 1967 to 1970 during which period team won two world drivers championships with Graham Hill(’68) and Jochen Rindt (’70) and two world constructors in the same years.

Race Track, Gerry Judah, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Gerry Judah’s art work on the lawn in front of Goodwood House featured no less than six cars five of them winners and a contemporary F1 car built in Enstone which I find as difficult to call a Lotus in the same way as I had trouble calling the Lotus 76 a John Player Special back in 1974.

Williams FW08B, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In the paddock there were several cars I had heard of but never seen in the flesh including the six wheel, 4WD, 1982 Williams FW08B which was never raced thanks to a late call to ban more than four wheels from Formula Once cars with only two to be driven from the start of the 1983 season.

BRM P15 Mk 1, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Of all the many stories of British grit in Grand Prix Racing perhaps none exemplifies how not to organise a team better than BRM which managed to organise the support in cash, kind and facilities from the British Motor Industry to make two of the most complex racing motors ever built. The first was a 1.5 litre / 91 cui supercharged V16 which comprised to 750 cc / 45.5 cui V8’s mounted back to back. The 500 hp motor, which could be taken up to 12,000 rpm, was more powerful than any of it’s contemporaries but the combination of organisational and design complexity did not result in a particularly reliable motor car. It did not win any championship Grand Prix, it was only entered in two but it did score championship points, and won a non championship 12 lap race at Goodwood. The most memorable thing about this vehicle is the sound it makes, utterly unmusical in comparison to a V8, and as harsh as granite, note two people in this photo are wearing ear defenders ! The smell of oil coming off it’s engine after the warming up session seen here was quite unforgetable too !

Maserati Tipo 151/3, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Amongst the sports cars this Maserati Tipo 151/3 is a 1980’s replica of one of three 151’s that were prepared for Le Mans in 1962 and then continually modified. The 151/3 seen here made of from orginal parts and fitted with the low Pierre Drogo body made from the same buck as the body made specially for the 1964 24 Hours at Le Mans where 151/3 was timed at 196 mph on the Mulsanne Straight, like the BRM P15 it suffered poor reliability and retired as it has had in ’62 and ’63.

Shelby American Cobra 'Daytona' Coupé, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Racing successfully against the original 151/3 were the Shelby American Cobra Coupé’s also known as the ‘Daytona’ Coupé. So far as I can tell this #12 car is chassis CSX2300 which scored a best 6th place finish at Daytona in 1965 with Ed Leslie and Allen Grant at the wheel, the cars next appearance was at Sebring where it carried the #12 with Leslie and Grant again driving finishing 13th.

Ford Mk IV, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt won the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours driving this Ford Mk IV, beating two Ferrari P4’s in the process thus avenging Enzo Ferrari’s last minuet refusal to sell out to Ford earlier in the decade.

Matra MS670 B, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Matra 670 B with a long tail, by Matra standards, won Le Mans in 1973 with Henri Pescarolo and Gerrard Larrousse at the wheel, also beating a Ferrari this time a 312PB driven by Art Mezario and Carlos Pacé.

Tony 'Giraffe' Gallagher, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Above regular GALPOT contributor, through The Nostalgia Forum, Tony ‘Giraffe’ Gallagher happily accepts an invitation to sign 1980 IMSA Champion John Fitzpatrick’s programe.

De Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Continuing the Diamond Jubilee celebrations this years Concours d’Elegance centered on numerous vehicles the Queen and other state dignitary’s have used, this De Haviland of Canada DHG – 1 Chipmunk was used by both HRH Prince Phillip and HRH Prince Charles for training purposes in the 1950’s and 60’s. Back in the day when I was a schoolboy and an RAF Cadet I went up in one of these on a couple of occasions, being handed the controls mid flight on one of them !

de Macross GT1, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The De Macross GT1 appears to be constructed from a mix of Korean Finance, Canadian Manufacturing and US Roush Yates power and any number of styling queues taken from an equally diverse range of vehicles. The drivers name on the side of the car was none other than that of motorsports TV presenter Justin Bell.

Goodwood Action Sports, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Keeping folks entertained on two wheels were a number of youngsters who were doing things on motor bikes that I have only been able to aspire to dreaming of.

Jaguar C Type, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Sir Stirling Moss shares a little joke with former Jaguar works test driver and team mate Norman Dewis as they prepare for a quick blast up Goodwood’s hill climb.

Lotus 49, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Jackie Oliver drove a Gold Leaf Team Lotus 49B in 1968 here he is seen driving the 1967 Lotus 49 chassis R2, later renamed R11, that Jim Clark used to win the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix the first of 155 Grand Prix victories for the Ford Corworth DFV engine that powered it and the first of 12 for the Lotus 49 type.

Eurofighter Typhoon, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Delivered nearly five years late and horrendously over budget the Eurofighter Typhoon made up for it with a simply stunning display of power, speed and maneuverability. With 40,000 lbs of thrust this plane can be flown like one of the better short nosed paper aeroplanes I used to make when I was a kid with the added bonus it does not crash when landing.

Ferrari 712, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Paul Knapfield’s Ferrari 712 chassis #1010 haa a long story to tell suffice to say here that in period it has underwent two body upgrades from it’s original 512S spec and an engine upgrade to make it the Ferrari with the largest Ferrari motor ever raced. This car will be the subject of a blog in the fulness of time.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Le Mans 24 hours will be remembered this year as the first ever to be won by a hybrid diesel, the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of André Lotterer, Marcel Fässer and Benoit Tréluyer beat the the sister car of Allan McNish, Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen, with a regular diesel coming in third. McNish is seen driving the e-tron quattro above which despite the stickers is not necessarily the car that crossed the line first at Le Mans.

Vauxhall Firenza 'Old Nail', Goodwood Festival of Speed

The ‘Droop Snoot’ Vauxhall Firenza “Old Nail” belonging to Paul Chase-Gardener scored over 60 victories with Gerry Marshall at the wheel back in the 1970’s Gerry’s son Gregor, another contributor to GALPOT through The Nostalgia Forum, was scheduled to drive this car later in the weekend.

Citroen DS3 WRC, Goodwood Festival of Speed

There were several Citroen DS3’s entered on the Goodwood Rally stage I believe this may have been the DS3 WRC example of Thierry Neuville, but I’ll happily take a second better informed opinion if you have one to add below.

Skoda Octavia vRS, Goodwood Festival of Speed

One of the pleasant rewards for taking the time to walk to the top of the hill was finding this Skoda Octavia vRS, a car that might not ordinarily bring the phrase ‘psycho on tyres’ to mind however this one had it’s turbo 2 litre / 122cui engine uprated from 200 hp to 500 hp and along with a few other safety mods achieved 227.080 mph at Bonneville to claim the 2 litre production car class record with Richard Meaden at the wheel last year.

McLaren M6B 'McLeagle', Goodwood Festival of Speed

Four time World Drivers Champion Alain Prost was the honoured driver at Goodwood this year, though there were probably more vehicles present that were associated with Dan Gurney including the McLaren M6B, driven on this occasion by owner Andy Boone, which Dan modified so much it gained the ‘McLeagle’ sobriquet. Dan’s efforts were not enough to beat the Bruce and Denny show, Denny won the championship. Gurney’s best result with the car was a 4th place in the 1968 Can Am race at Riverside.

Chevrolet Silverado, NCWT, Goodwood Festival of Speed

It’s always great to see and hear a little NASCAR action, Goodwood marked the first occasion on which I have seen a Camping World Truck Series (CWTS) truck in action, the #3 Chevrolet Silverado was driven by Austin Dillon to the Championship last season his brother Ty was scheduled to drive over weekend.

MAN 8x8, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Largest vehicle on the track was the Race 2 Recovery MAN 8×8 Dakar support truck driven by Ben Gott. Race 2 Recovery plans to enter a team of Land Rovers in next years Dakar Rally all driven by injured soldiers. If you would like to help their cause you can find details on this Race2Recovery link.

DeLorean DMC-12, Goodwood Festival of Speed

All too soon after a pleasurably exhausting day wondering around the grounds of Goodwood House without having seen everything it was time to say a quick hello to a couple of friends and then rejoin my passengers for the two hour back to the future drive home, my nomination for top car in the car park award went to the DeLorean DMC-12 which was substantially re-engineered by Lotus founder Colin Chapman, prior to the commencement of production in 1981.

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


Cars, Buses and Aeroplanes – Brooklands Museum

Late last year my appetite was whetted by the William Boddy Tribute Day at Brooklands for a second visit to the museum.


Brooklands lays claim to being the Worlds first purpose built motor circuit, it was the built, along with one of the Englands first purpose built airfields by Hugh Locke King on 330 acres of his estate at Weybridge in Surrey.

Halford, Brooklands

Among the many innovative exhibits is the Halford Special built on an Aston Martin chassis with a Halford 6 cylinder motor designed and built by Major Frank B Halford with a turbo charger in 1925. The turbocharger did not prove to be successful and was eventually replaced by a super charger with which the Halford Special recorded at least three wins at Brooklands. Halford was responsible for designing the air cooled de Havilland Gypsy and working on the Napier Sabre piston aircraft engines and the de Havilland Goblin ‘Gas Turbine’ jet engine.

Humber 14/40, Brooklands

I’m not sure if this late 1920’s Humber 14/40 is an exhibit or someones daily driver, it was one of numerous vehicles that are obviously still in regular use dotted around the museum.

Morgan, Brooklands

Above The Clive Lones Morgan was used by Clive at Brooklands from 1929 to 1935 winning 37 world records during that time, it was the first ‘Light Car’ to lap Brooklands Outer Circuit at an average speed of 100 mph in 1930. This car was also used in an experiment to test the viability of pits to driver radio contact, the loudspeakers eventually proved unequal to the task of competing with the noise from the JAP motor.

Napier Railton, Brooklands

The Napier Railton was comissioned by John Cobb in 1933, designed by Reid Railton with a 24 litre / 1461 cui 500 hp W12 Napier Lion motor the car was driven to the all time lap record at Brooklands in 1935 of 143 mph. It broke 47 World Records at Brooklands, Montlhéry and Bonneville Salt Flats. Capable of 168 mph the Napier Railton, which is regularly driven at Brooklands and Goodwood events, has rear wheel brakes only !

AEC Regent One, Brooklands

Brooklands is also home to the London Bus Museum which houses a splendid collection of public transport vehicles that have graced the streets of London for over 100 years. Above an early double deck 1933 AEC Regent 1 that was converted into a single deck use for attending break downs from 1949 until 1971. Apparently in double deck form it was hit by a flying bomb in 1944 and rebuilt as a double decker only to be rebuilt as a single decker.

Wellington, Brooklands

Flying has been apart of Brooklands history since 1907, AV Roe started trials with his first planes at Brooklands in 1908 during the Great War the Sopwith Pup and Camel were developed at Brooklands and during the Second World War Hawker Hurricane fighters and Vickers Wellington Bombers like the one above were built at Brooklands. Apparently my Grand Mother was involved in pre assembling parts for Wellington’s often bringing home parts which my Dad and Uncle helped put together after school. This is the only surviving Wellington built at Brooklands, it was recovered from Loch Ness in the 1980’s after some Loch Ness Monster hunters found her.

AEC Militant Mk 1, Brooklands

Miss Milly Tant is a six wheel drive AEC Militant built for the British Army in 1954, she spent most of her time in storage and was sold off as surplus to London Transport in 1966. Converted with to a Master Breakdown Tender with a ten ton lifting capability by Boughton’s of Amersham she was used by London Transport until 1980. In 1983 she was acquired by the National Rescue Group and based at Brooklands and regularly used to attend incidents on the A3 and M25 and has been on loan to Brooklands since the 1990’s.

Vickers VC10, Brooklands

From 1962 to 1970 Vickers manufactured 54 VC10 passenger aircraft at Brooklands. Capable of take off and landing from much shorter airfields than the rival Boeing 707 the VC10 was ideal for flying to Britain’s former colonies in Africa, indeed from 1970 to 1977 I clocked up well over 200,000 miles as a VC10 passenger with BOAC / BA and BUA / British Caledonian flying from London to Lusaka in Zambia. The VC10 was particularly quiet as a result of it’s 4 Rolls Royce Conway engines being mounted beneath the tail plane. The VC10 still holds the subsonic speed airliner record for a London to New York Atlantic crossing with only Concorde being faster.

Meteor, Brooklands

The 4 x 4 1987 Gloster Saro Meteor airport fire engine, above, is powered by a 12 litre / 732 cui motor and served at Heathrow Airport. The Meteor can carry a crew of 4 along with 600 gallons of water 50 gallons of foam concentrate amongst several tons of additional kit required to deal with airport fires.

I look forward to returning to Brooklands and exploring the collections of cars, commercial vehicles and aircraft in greater detail.

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


Eminently Fit For Purpose – AEC Routemaster RML 2583 ER

It used to be a right of passage for some lucky small boys and probably a few lucky small girls to receive a big red bus for Christmas some where between the ages of 2 and 4. It is an enormous thrill to share these photo’s on which by far the most popular of these toys was based, namely the iconic red Routemaster more commonly known as a ‘London Bus’ on the 12th and final day of Christmas.

On my way home from a visit to the dentist last month I thought I must have been given a few extra doses of painkiller when this wholly familiar, from my time spent in London variously in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, beautiful red bus came into view on a roundabout in Bristol.

The Routemaster was developed by A.A.M. Durrant, Colin Curtis and styled by Douglas Scott between 1947 and 1956 to replace London’s fleet of 1,891 trolley buses which themselves had started to replace London Trams in 1931.

The first Routemaster was exhibited at Earls Court in 1954 and in 1956 four prototypes went into service prior to full production getting underway from 1958 to 1968.

Routemasters were constructed by the Associated Equipment Company, AEC, in Southall, and were completely overhauled every 5 years at the Aldenham Works near Elstree in Hertfordshire up until 1986.

Novel features of the Routemaster, for buses, included the first use independent front suspension, power steering, a fully automatic gearbox and power assisted – hydraulic braking. The construction took its queues from methods of aircraft construction, also similar to the D and E type Jaguar (!), featuring an aluminium (English pronunciation) body with two steel sub frames, one on the front for the engine/suspension and steering gear and one on the rear for the rear suspension and axle.

115 hp for the Routemaster was originally provided by either the 9,600 cc / 586 cui AEC AV590 or 9,800 cc / 598 cui Leyland O.600 6 cylinder diesel engines. After the Routemaster had been in service 15 years longer than originally anticipated from 1992 to 1994 many of the AEC and Leyland engines were swapped for Iveco or Cummins units.

Routemasters came in two flavours standard 27′ 6″ RM or 30′ RML, designed to negotiate the narrow roads of London’s metropolis they are all only 8′ wide and 14′ 4 1/2″ high.

An example of how easy the RM / RML busses were to handle can be seen in this clip from a comedy film ‘On The Buses’ which includes stock footage from the London Transport driver training facility at Chiswick.

Longer wheel base RML’s are distinguishable by a half size window between the 2nd and 4th window’s of the bus.

While the official capacity for the long wheel base RML was 72 I have been on these buses when they were so packed getting one more sardine on board would have been impossible.

The bus conductor would signal his driver that it was safe to proceed with two rings of the bell operated by this button attached to an easily reached cord that runs the length of the lower deck of the bus. Passengers rang the bell ‘once’ to signal to the driver when they wished to alight at the next stop.

The beauty of having no doors to pass on entry and exit was that the bus would only need to be stationary for as long as it took for people to alight and board no time was wasted waiting for doors to open and close. The disadvantage of having no doors was that in could get a bit ‘parky’ riding on these buses with inclement weather.

On the 9th of December, 2005 after much trading of Routemasters back and forth between London and other regional operators, having outlasted its intended replacement the Daimler Fleetline by over 20 years these splendidly fit for purpose vehicles were finally withdrawn from service on all but a couple of ‘Heritage’ routes, not even the Mayor of London who said in 2001 that “only some sort of ghastly dehumanised moron would want to get rid of Routemasters” could save them.

Allegedly in October 2008 a Top Gear presenter destroyed a Routemaster in a publicity stunt, presumably to publicise what “ghastly dehumanised moron” he is.

Ding ! Ding ! Any more fares please !

Hope you have enjoyed my 12 vehicles of Christmas series concluding with todays ride on the Routemaster, and that you’ll join me again tomorrow when I’ll be upping the pace with a 200 mph vehicle named after a ferocious bull raised by the Duke of Veragua, famous for fighting an epic battle with ‘El Chicorro’ in Madrid. Don’t forget to come back now !