Tag Archives: Alexander

Triple London Championship Night – Wimbledon Stadium

Thanks to a recent fb friendship struck up by Ray Miles in Florida and Rob Hughes in Liverpool I was alerted to the Triple London Championship Night which ran at Wimbledon Stadium couple of weeks ago.

Ford Escort Mk2, Andy Steward, Classic Hot Rods, London Championship, Wimbledon,

Thanks to a soccer match in Chelsea I got snarled up in traffic and missed the first heats for the Junior Micra Stock Cars, Superstox and 2.0 Hot Rods, but made it just in time to catch the first heat for the beautifully turned out Pinto powered Classic Hot Rods which featured a great battle for the lead between the #198 Mk2 Ford Escort driven by Andy Steward and the #45 Austin A40 Countryman driven by Craig Boyd which went Andy’s way.

Superstox, London Championship, Wimbledon,

The Superstox action featured a bit more bumping and boring for which the cars are better equipped, unfortunately I arrived too late to get a programme and the only thing I can tell you is that the race was won by John Saunders, who also won the first heat and that the green #454 seen above finished 5th in heat to having finished 4th in Heat 1, if you know who the driver of the #454 is please do not hesitate to chip in below.

Nissan Micra,  Samuel Dobbs, Junior Micra Stock Cars, Wimbledon

Samuel Dobbs is seen above on his way to a win in the 2nd heat of the Junior Micra Stock Cars which with all their additional safety equipment and what appeared to be standard suspension have some interesting handling characteristics.

Vauxhall Tigra, Robert Gamble, 2.0 Hot Rod, London Championship, Wimbledon

Robert Gamble seen in his #133 Vauxhall Tigra above held on to win the 2nd Heat for the 2.0 Hot Rod’s from the #71 Citroën Saxo driven by Gordan Alexander.

Barry Lee, Kenny Ireland, Wimbledon Stadium

Four time Hot Road World Champion Barry “#351 Leapy” Lee, and Scottish Saloon Stocks, Superstox & Hot Rods champion Kenny Ireland are seen on a lap of honour above they were joined as guests of honour by 1976 World Champion George Polley and 1980 World Champion Mick ‘Duffy’ Collard.

Ford Anglia, John Bowring,  Classic Hot Rods, London Championship, Wimbledon,

Craig Boyd retired his Austin early in the 2nd Classic Hot Rods heat, leaving Andy Steward to an easy win once he had battled his way into the lead, the race featured a fantastic race long scrap between the Ford Anglia’s driven by #101 John Bowring, #924 Stuart Wright and #911, seen on the outside, driven by Harry Steward who crossed the finish in 6th, 7th and 8th places respectively.

Nissan Micra, Robbie Bruce, Junior Micra Stock Cars, Wimbledon

Repeating his heat one Junior Micra Stock Cars win in the final was Robbie Bruce seen above three wheeling his way around turn 2 aided by second place finisher #340 Will Blazer.

Citroén Saxo, Gordan Alexander, 2.0 Hot Rod, London Championship, Wimbledon

Gordan Alexander fought his way to the front to claim the 2.0 Hot Rod Final in his #71 Citroën Saxo the #565 driven by Dan Smith and the #39 driven by Rick Parnell who were both also pedaling Citroën Saxo’s.

Ford Escort RS2000 Mk2, Lee Wood, Wimbledon Stadium,

Lee Wood is seen above leading Mick ‘Duffy’ Collard during a demonstration run for the fans in their immaculate replica World Championship winning cars.

Ford Escort Mk2, Andy Steward, Classic Hot Rods, London Championship, Wimbledon,

Andy Steward retained his Classic Hot Rods London Championship title despite the best efforts of Craig Boyd in his repaired #45 Austin seen lifting an inside wheel above.

Jason Cooper, Superstox, London Championship, Wimbledon,

Jason Cooper is seen above taking the flag in the Superstox final at the end of an entertaining evening at Wimbledon Stadium which I hope to visit again before it is scheduled to be swallowed up by dreaded property developers.

My thanks to Ray Miles and Rob Hughes for giving me the heads up also to Rob for event programme details, to keep up with news on Classic Hot Rods follow Rob Hughes dedicated fb page linked here, news on Spedeworth events at Wimbledon and their other venues can be found on this link.

Thanks for joining me on this “Triple London Championship Night” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Americana Thursday. Don’t forget to come back now !


PRIMO, ATS, help! – Orion LM #001

Orion is a French manufacturer of racing cars, which appears to have been founded or at least run by Pierre Devaux, Daniel Legrand and Daniel Lentaigne.

Between 1981 an 1992 Orion are known to have built cars to compete in Formula Renault and Formula Renault Turbo series, in 1983 Christian Braconner is known to have won a Formula Renault Turbo race at Nogaro driving an Orion.

By 1989 sportscar racing was enjoying one of it’s periodic heyday’s with works supported teams from Aston Martin, Jaguar, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan and Toyota all competing in Group C class for the World Sports Car Championship and arguably, for most manufacturers, the more important Le Mans 24 Hour race.

For some reason a complete imbecile in the corridors of motorsports administration decided that the future of top line sports car racing ought be with all vehicles powered by motors to meet the recently introduced normally aspirated 3.5 litre Formula One engine regulations, instead of the variety of normally aspirated and turbocharged Group C motors that were being run in a variety of sizes with V6, flat 6, V8 and V12 configurations all offering competitive solutions.

The idea of using 3 litre Formula One motors had been tried, without success in terms of large numbers of entries, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, but the idea, then, provided Matra with a platform on which to shine as it would provide it’s spiritual successor Peugeot the opportunity to shine in the early 1990’s.

In 1990 Peugeot announced their 3.5 litre V10 powered 905 Le Mans challenger for the 1991 season, Jaguar using a Formula One Ford Motor, Mazda, Mercedes Benz and Toyota would follow, but their efforts apart from Jaguars were by no means convincing.

To run alongside it’s 905 Sports Prototype programme Peugeot announced the Peugeot 905 Spider Cup in 1991, the cars would all feature 2 litre / 122 cui 16 valve 4 cylinder Peugeot crate motors and gearboxes while the chassis was free except that it had to carry a standard body supplied by Peugeot.

The 60th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours could have been full of interesting Group C Cars, but instead only Peugeot appeared committed to wining the race with a three car entry against running against the 3 car 3.5 litre V10 powered Toyota team and 2 car proprietary Judd V10 powered Mazda team.

Orion LM, Le Mans

The rest of the field was made up of regulated overweight Group C cars, chronically underfunded vehicles from Lola and BRM with 3.5 litre motors that had no chance of winning at a competitive speed and at the back of the field two vehicles designed to compete in the National Peugeot 905 Spider series, the Welter Racing WR LM92 and today’s featured car the #66 Orion LM chassis #001.

The Orion was entered by former Formula Renault and Formula 3 driver Eric Bellefroid who had attempted to make it in Formula 3000 in 1988, but failed to qualify his Lola Cosworth for the 3 races he entered.

Sponsorship for the Orion came from PRIMO, ATS and help! and it was driven by Marc Alexandre a former Formula Ford Driver who’s motor racing career highlight was taking part in 10 Formula Renault races in 1992. It is believed Marc was also a French judo champion.

Marc shared the driving with Frank de Vita of whom I could find not trace outside his single participation at Le Mans and Welter Breuer who is similarly conspicuous by his absence, on Google, beyond this event in 1992.

With this overwhelming lack of cockpit experience it is probably no surprise to learn that the #66 qualified 28th, 18 seconds slower than the similarly 905 bodied WR 92LM driven by Patrick Gonin, Didier Artzet and Pierre Petit which qualified 27th, but surprisingly 2 seconds faster than the 3 litre 183 cui V6 Alfa Romeo powered Debora SP92 driven by Didier Bonnet, Gérard Tremblay and Jacques Heuclin that qualified 29th and last.

During the race Mark, Frank and Welter chalked up 78 laps, being just under a minute and a half slower per lap, than the fastest car in the race the 905 Coupé driven by Yannick Dalmas, Derek Warwick and Mark Blundell that secured the win after completing 352 laps.

The Peugeot 905 Spider Cup ran from 1992 to 1995 it’s most noted exponents were Christophe Bouchut and Eric Hélary, both Concessionaire Peugeot sponsored driving Martini chassis, both also made lasting careers in sports car racing, starting with a Le Mans win at their first attempt in 1993 when they shared the winning Peugeot 905 Coupé with Geoff Brabham.

Martini is the only one of the three 905 Spider manufacturers never to have been represented in the Le Mans 24 Hours despite building the most, twenty, chassis to accept the 905 905 Spider chassis and the only one of the three manufacturers I have seen credited with winning any of the Spider Cup races.

Orion is said to have built as many as six 905 Spider chassis one Orion SC2 was entered for William David who finished a season best 4th at Pau in 1992, while Eric Bellefroid finished 7th in the same race driving a car also said to be an Orion SC2 in his only known 905 Spider Cup start.

WR went on to develop their own LM Prototype with new chassis, bodies and turbo charged motors to win the LMP class at Le Mans in 1993 and lock out the front row of the Le Mans grid in 1995.

My thanks to Frank “Duc-man” Christmann, fausto, Tim Murray and Arjan de Roos at The Nostalgia Forum for giving me a few clues about today’s featured Le Mans participants.

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


The Kiwi Bear Corrections – McLaren Offy M15

Firstly a big thanks to racer Jerry Entin who kindly corrected a blog I posted a couple of years ago about Denis Hulme’s participation in the 1970 Indy 500 and has kindly sent some additional photo’s from the IMS Archive to complete the story.

McLaren Offy M15, Indy 500

Photo Courtesy Jerry Entin and IMS Archive 1970

For 1970 Bruce McLaren had Gordon Coppock design the first McLaren Indy 500 challenger, above the #73 McLaren Offy M15 is seen in the Indy pit lane with Denny at the wheel, Tyler Alexander crouched beside him and Teddy Mayer with clip board on the pit wall. Jerry tells me the little guy in the back ground is Chickie Hirashima a well known crew chief and Offy engine builder.

McLaren Offy M15, Indy 500

Photo Courtesy Jerry Entin and IMS Archive 1970

The turbocharged Offenhauser’s that McLaren used were prepared by George Bolthoff (R) with help from the legendary Herb “Herbie Horsepower” Porter (L) of Speedway Engines.

McLaren Offy M15, Indy 500

Photo Courtesy Steve Arnaudin Copyright Ed Arnaudin 1970

Ed Arnaudin’s photo above show’s New Zealander Denny taking part in practice,

McLaren Offy M15, Indy 500

Photo Courtesy Jerry Entin and IMS Archive 1970

his team mate in the #75 McLaren Offy M15 was to have been fellow New Zealander Chris Amon with whom team owner Bruce McLaren had won the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours driving a Ford GT40.

McLaren Offy M15, Indy 500

Photo Courtesy Jerry Entin and IMS Archive 1970

Team owner Bruce McLaren, seen above squatting next to Denny, had tested the #79 M15 making a big impression driving in convoy with his #73 and #75 entries on the opening day of practice for the 1970 Indy 500 and Denny was to shake down the #79 back up car to cover all eventualities.

McLaren Offy M15, Indy 500

Photo Courtesy Jerry Entin and IMS Archive 1970

However the #79 developed a methanol fuel leak,

McLaren Offy M15, Indy 500

Photo Courtesy Jerry Entin and IMS Archive 1970

which caught fire, the only evidence of the fire in the photo above is the clearly visible heat haze above the far front wheel as Denny prepares to jump and roll away from his car which was still traveling at 70 mph.

McLaren Offy M15, Indy 500

Photo Courtesy Jerry Entin and IMS Archive 1970

Denny received severe burns to his hands which forced him to miss the Indy 500 and the next two Grand Prix however within a month he was back behind of the wheel of his McLaren Chevrolet M8D Can Am car winning the series with six race victories, a string of three third place finishes also helped Denny secure 4th place in the world drivers championship all while his hands were still healing.

McLaren Offy M15, Indy 500

Photo Courtesy Jerry Entin and IMS Archive 1970

Teddy Mayer engaged Peter Revson to replace Denny in the #73 for the Indy 500, Peter qualified 16th but retired and was classified 22nd.

McLaren Offy M15, Donington Park Museum

On seeing the extent of his countryman Denny’s injuries Chris Amon was not impressed with the Indy safety facilities and withdrew from the race.

McLaren Offy M15, Donington Park Museum

Chris’s place in the #75 was taken by Carl Williams who qualified 19th and brought the car home 8th to record McLaren’s first finish in the Indy 500. The teams next design the M16 would become the class of the field in early 1970’s taking wins with Mark Donohue driving in 1972 and Johnny Rutherford in 1974 and 1976.

McLaren Offy M15, Donington Park Museum

However team owner Bruce McLaren would not see any of these success he was killed a couple of days after the 1970 Indy 500 testing a McLaren Chevrolet M8D Can Am car at Goodwood. Team manager Teddy Mayer took over the running of the Bruce’s legacy which is now the second oldest team in Grand Prix racing behind Ferrari.

My thanks to Jerry Entin, IMS Archive, Ed and Steve Arnaudin who made today’s blog possible and apologies for any confusion caused by getting the car Denny was driving when he got injured wrong in the original post.

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


Phil Hill Tribute – Peterson Museum

It’s a great pleasure to blog about the recent tribute to Phil Hill, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his World Championship win, at the Peterson Automotive Museum thanks to GALPOT’s roving correspondent Geoffrey Horton.

Jay Leno, Phil Hill Tribute, PAM

Ueber car enthusiast Jay Leno was amongst the guests to lend humour to the occasion.

Pierce Arrow, PAM

Amongst the exhibits was this 1931 Pierce Arrow convertible sedan by Lebaron that was ordered new by Phil’s Aunt and in which Phil leaned to drive. He also used the car to attend USC and in 1955 he restored the car with his brother Jerry and promptly unexpectedly won the Best in Show award at Pebble Beach.

Peterson Automotive Museum

Some of Phil’s competitors from his early days at this event shared with the appreciative audience stories of Phil’s early exploits with an MG TC in Cal Club events which were not always entirely legal events held on circuits.

Ferrari 375MM Vignale, Peterson Automotive Museum

Of the delectable Ferrari’s present that Phil has driven was this unique 1953 375MM with Vignale bodywork and non stock tailfin that was added after the car was built in 1954. Phil drove this car to a second place finish in the 1954 Carrera Panamericana. It was also later driven by Carol Shelby.

Peterson Automotive Museum

Nothing remains of the original Shark Nose Ferrari 156 which he used to win the 1961 World Drivers Championship, they were all destroyed on the instruction of Enzo Ferrari, but the helmet seen here was used by Phil in his Championship winning season.

Packard Model 30, Peterson Automotive Museum

This 1912 Packard Model 30 with a gearbox mounted ahead of the rear axle and rear cable operated brakes only was purchased by Phil in 1966 and won it’s class at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the 1970’s

Peterson Automotive Museum

Guests who discussed the life and times of Phil were left to right, John Lamm, Editor at Large “Road and Track, Denise McLuggage racing driver and journalist, Parnelli Jones, Jesse Alexander photographer, Dan Gurney, Jim Hall and Phil’s wife Alma.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sending me the photo’s and the details of the Phil Hill Tribute evening at Peterson Automotive Museum.

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


English T – Ford Model T

Ford Motor Company started manufacturing vehicles in 1903 and that same year three Model A’s were exported to Great Britian, by 1909 the Ford Motor Company (England) was established and began working from an Office in London on March 8th 1911.

Ford Model T, 1911, Goodwood Revival

Ford’s first overseas assembly plant was opened in 1911 at Trafford Park in Manchester where Ford Model T’s were assembled with imported chassis, mechanical parts and locally manufactured bodies. The 1911 Model T above has the distinction of being the first car to be driven up Ben Nevis.

22 year old Henry Alexander, on the instruction of his father the first Ford dealer in Scotland, spent six weeks preparing a route to the top Britains highest peak 4,409 ft / 1,344 m above sea level. It then took Mr Alexander 5 days to reach the summit along the precarious route he had prepared. Mr Alexander repeated the feat in 1928 and to mark Centenary of the Model T reaching the top of Ben Nevis, earlier this year a team of 71 volunteers carried a replica model T to the summit assembled it and then disassembled it and brought it back down again !

Ford Model T, Landaulet, 1912, Goodwood Revival

Although the three pedal system for operating motor cars as used in most cars to this day was familiar when the first Model T’s were built in 1908 the Model T relied on a hand throttle operated on the steering wheel a left pedal that when fully depressed engaged a low gear, when part depressed disengaged the gear box and when not depressed engaged a high gear. The centre pedal when depressed engaged reverse and the right pedal operated the brakes which were attached to the rear wheel only.

Above is a 1912 Landaulet offering minimal weather protection to the front seat occupants while giving the rear seat occupants a choice of protection thanks to a folding roof. The Landaulet body style was a hangover from the age of the horse drawn carriage and has largely disappeared only Maybach are known to offer a Landaulet option at the time of writing.

Ford Model T, Huck Starter, 1915, Goodwood Revival

When designing the Model T Henry Ford new that as well as a motor car he wanted his vehicle to be adaptable to the requirements of a great variety of users in agriculture and industry. Amongst the stranger applications of the Model T was the mobile aircraft starter version.

The long pole that extends beyond the front of this 1915 ‘Huck Starter’ Model T can be aligned with the propellor shaft of an aeroplane and then engaged with it. The chain to the left of the operator connects the aeroplane starter shaft to the drive of the Model T which when engaged will rotate the aircraft engine until it fires under its own power.

Ford Model T, Fire Engine, 1923, Goodwood Revival

When production of the Model T started it took around 12 and half hours to assemble one. By the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 production time had been slashed to just 93 minutes , at one time nearly half of all the worlds motor vehicles were thought to be Fords, in the UK in 1919 41% of all new cars registered for the road were Fords.

The Model T was easily adapted into trucks and buses above is a 1923 fire engine that served on the estate of the Earl of Derbyshire from 1924 to 1948.

Ford Model T, 1924, Goodwood Revival

One of the great myths about the Model T was that one could have a Model T any colour one wanted so long as it was black. In fact this was only true after 1914, up until then Model’s T’s were not available in black at all, from 1912 to 1914 Model T’s were only available in Midnight Blue with black wings / fenders. After 1914 over 30 different black paints were developed to satisfy the various means of applying the paint to different parts of the cars.

The 1924 Model T above is little changed from the 1911 example seen at the top of the post.

Ford Model T, 1924, Atwell Wilson Motor Museum

With over 15 million examples produced when production of the Model T ceased in 1927, the Model T held the title of the worlds most popular vehicle until 1972 when it was eclipsed by the VW Beetle, though it should be noted the Beetle had undergone many more changes in it’s life time than the Model T.

The 1924 example above can be seen at the Attwell Wilson Museum.

Thanks for joining me on this English T edition of ‘Getting a li’l pysycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


A Noble Effort – Hesketh Ford 308B # 308-2

Mid way through 1972 James ‘Hunt The Shunt’ got fired by the STP March Formula 3 team for taking over a vacant seat with a rival team at Monaco after his own car had broken down and been hit by another car.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverstone

James found himself another ride with the ambitious Hesketh Team founded by Thomas ‘Alexander’ Fermor-Hesketh, 3rd Baron Hesketh, who inherited his title aged just four.

The Hesketh team were not experiencing much joy in the 2nd tier European Formula 2 championship and in a double or quits move Lord Hesketh decided that he may as well be loosing his fortune in the top tier Grand Prix Championship for the 1973 Season.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverstone

Things picked up rapidly as James quicky found his feet in Grand Prix racing, notably finishing second in the season ending US Grand Prix running Hesketh’s March 731 engineered through the season by Dr Harvey Postlethwaite. The Hesketh team also brought a legendary ‘ joie de vivre’ to the Grand Prix paddock.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverstone

In 1974 Dr. Postlethwaite designed a new car based heavily on the March 731 from the year before. James in the new Hesketh 308 scored a debut pole position at the non championship 1974 Race of Champions ahead of the Ferrari’s of Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda, and then came home first from pole in the non championship International Trophy at Silverstone.

For the rest of the 1974 season the teams effort suffered from poor reliability mixed with a couple of podium finishes enough for Hesketh to finish a credible 6th in the manufacturers championship and James 8th in the drivers championship.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverstone

Lord Hesketh was adamant about not accepting sponsorship for his team and the cars were upgraded to ‘B’ spec for 1975, the front radiator was replaced by radiators mounted beneath the rear wing. The cars reliability was still less than stellar but when he could get across the finish line James always scored points and often podiums.

On the 22nd of June 1975 the team finally came good at the Dutch Grand Prix held on the drying Zandvoort circuit, after making an early pit stop for dry tyres James was able to leap frog leader Niki Lauda when he made his pit stop and held on to take the Hesketh teams only victory, the last ever by an unsponsored team.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverston

James finished an impressive 4th in the 1975 drivers championship and Hesketh 4th in the constructors championship. Alas the good Lord had to call time on his Grand Prix party for lack of funds and sold up at the end of the season Dr. Postlethwaite and his last Hesketh design 308C joined a partnership between Walter Wolf and Frank Williams, while James Hunt went and drove for McLaren and the remains of the Hesketh team using revised 308B chassis upgraded to ‘D’ spec continued to participate in the 1976 season under the direction of Bubbles Horsely the team manager.

US readers might remember the Hesketh team going out with a front page bang, in qualifying for the the 1975 James team mate Brett Lunger was launched into flight by a chicane kerbstone and a photo of the Hesketh crashing back to earth made the front pages around the world. Brett and the car recovered to make the start of the race but retired soon after.

Hesketh Ford 308B, Silverstone

The car featured in today’s blog is the #308-2 chassis which James drove to victory in the Dutch GP. It was owned by Lord Hesketh until 2007 and was to be auctioned at the Silverstone Classic Auction next week however it has already been snapped up and sold by private treaty.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Nobel edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be taking a look at James Hunt’s world championship winning car. Don’t forget to come back now !