Tag Archives: ALFA Romeo

Christmas Window Shopping – Hall & Hall

Last week I got a phone call from Ted “Ferret Fotographics” Walker asking if I’d like to accompany him on a 300 mile round trip to Bourne, Lincs and back to visit Hall & Hall where he had some cars to inspect. I accepted on the basis that this might be an interesting window shopping trip, and as you shall see below it was close to the ultimate Christmas window shopping trip for petrol heads and race fans.

Mercedes 300SL, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Among the cars I was kindly allowed to photograph was the Donington Collection’s 1952 Gullwing Mercedes 300 SL complete with experimental roof mounted wing that was around 15 years ahead of it’s time, this car was tried in practice, but not raced, for the 1952 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Delhaye 235 Chapron Coupé, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Moving chronologically on this 1953 Delahaye 235 Coupé with a standardised Chapron body at a price when new of FF3,800,000 cost twice as much as the much faster contemporary Jaguar XK120.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Pierre Dumay and Jo Schlesser drove this Ferrari 250 GT SWB, chassis #2127, to a second place finish overall in the 1960 Tour de France, it’s last known in period race was in the 1964 6h Dakar race in which “Cicoira” drove it to a 3rd place finish.

Lotus 48, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Unknown to all but a select few at Ford, Cosworth and Lotus the Lotus 48 was powered by a sign of things to come. The 48 was campaigned successfully in Formula Two and Jackie Oliver drove one to a fifth place finish in the 1967 German Grand Prix against cars with engines nearly twice the size and around a third more horsepower. The Cosworth FVA motor, which dominated Formula 2 from 1966 to 1972, has a four valve head, that was developed as part of Ford’s contract with Cosworth that would give birth to the Ford Cosworth DFV. The DFV in turn dominated the top tier of motor sport from 1969 until 1983 during which time the DFV motors powered 11 Drivers championship winners interrupted on three occasions only by Ferrari. This is one of several cars currently for sale on the Hall & Hall website linked here.

Alfa Romeo T33, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

The 1967 270 hp V8 powered Alfa Romeo T33 ‘Periscope’ was first used in competition by Belgian Teodro Zeccolini in his home country for a hill climb event at Fleron which he promptly won. By 1975 a flat 12 version of the T33 had been developed that won the Sports Car World Championships in 1975 and 1977.

Porsche 911T, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

German born Kenyan Edgar Hermann bought this Porsche 911T early in 1967 in preparation for an attempt on the 1968 East African Safari rally but when the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon was announced he returned it to the factory to be prepared for the longer event in which he finished 15th. Hermann sold the car to Australian Porsche importer Alan Hamilton who converted it to RHD and drove in Australian Rally events until 1970. In 1987 this 911 had a second wind and was driven to a Class C championship win in the Australian Porsche Cup.

Matra Ford MS80, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

From 1969 was one of Jackie Stewarts World Drivers and World Constructors Championship winning Matra MS 80s, powered by a Ford Cosworth DFV as heralded by the Cosworth FVA. Team owner Ken Tyrrell managed to do deals with Matra to use their chassis, and at Stewarts insistence Ford to use the Ford Cosworth DFV for the 1968 and 1969 seasons. These deals were remarkable because Matra were trying to develop their own V12 for Formula One at the time.

BRM P153, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

While I was window shopping two V12 powered cars from 1970 took my fancy the first was this BRM P153 chassis #3 according to the Hall & Hall website, these cars were the first of three race winning designs by Tony Southgate, Pedro Rodriguez drove a car like this to victory at the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa at an average speed of 149.9 mph. Chassis #03 was driven by George Eaton in 1970 who’s best performance was a 9th place finish in the Canadian Grand Prix, Howden Ganley drove the car in 1971, his seasons best result 4th in the non Championship Spring Trophy at Oulton Park . Sweden’s Reine Wisell and Spains Alex Soler-Roig both qualified the car for a race each in 1972 but neither finished which left Austria’s Dr Helmut Marko to drive for the last time in the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix where he finished 8th.

Matra MS650, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

According to the best sources I have the 1970 V12 Matra MS650 chassis #02 above has been used in just 6 events, unsurprisingly most of those who drove the car are French the three exceptions being Dan Gurney, who shared the it with Francois Cevert to record a 12th place finish in the 1970 Sebring 12 hours, Jack Brabham who shared the car with Cevert and retired from the 1970 Le Mans 24 hours and Algerian Bernard Fiorentino who shared the car with Maurice Grélin when it failed to finish the 1971 Tour de France. Chassis #02 was shared by Henri Pescarolo, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Johnny Rives for the cars career best 2nd place finish, behind the sister car driven by Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Patrick Depailler and Jean Todt, on the 1970 Tour de France carrying the registration 197WS75 as seen above.

Ligier JS17, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Finally there were two 1981 cars which grabbed my attention, first this Ligier JS17, powered by a fabulous sounding Matra V12, not sure which of the 5 JS 17’s built this is but Jacques Laffite drove the type to victory in the 1981 Austrian and Canadian Grand Prix which gave Laffite an outside chance of wining the title going into the final race of the season held in the car park at Caesers Palace. A 6th place finish meant Jacques secured his third consecutive career best 4th place in the championship.

Lotus Ford 81, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

I’ll be publishing a full blog about the Cosworth DFV powered Lotus 87 on 29th of December, the car seen here is chassis #87/R4, also currently offered for sale, was driven in 1981 by Nigel Mansell. Like many cars of this era it is probably more reliable now than it was in period .

I’ll save the best car in the building as a surprise, it was a prototype Friday car and it was a dream come true to see it in person. Don’t forget to tune in this Friday to find out what it was.

My thanks to Ted Walker for inviting me to join him on his trip to Hall & Hall and to Rick Hall for letting me take photographs of some of the vehicles in his care.

Wishing Abba Kogan, whom I believe owns some of the vehicles seen in these photographs, a swift recovery from his injuries, sustained in the Baku City Challenge, Azerbaijan recently.

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


Junior Formula One – Heron Alfa Romeo

In 1960 Les Redmond and Syd Diggory built today’s featured Heron to compete in the Formula Junior Series and fitted it with a Formula Junior spec Ford 105E engine.

South African Tony Maggs bought the Heron and fitted it with a Coventry Climax Formula One spec engine with the intention of racing it in the 1960 South African Grand Prix.

Heron Alfa Romeo, Goodwood Revival

Having failed to qualify for the race due to mechanical problems Tony sold the Heron on to Ernest Pieterse who’s Scuderia Alfa Team fitted the car with the road car based Alfa Romeo twin cam engine that remains in the car to this day.

Ernest success with the car include a 6th in the 1961 Rand Grand Prix, 2nd in the 1961 Mozambique Grand Prix and a win in the 1961 Rhodesian, now Zimbabwe, Grand Prix.

Heron Alfa Romeo, HGPCA Test Day Silverstone

Team Valencia’s David Hume bought the car in 1964 and he continued to race the Heron for two seasons in South Africa without success.

In 1966 Andrew Smuts raced the Heron in its final race the Natal Winter Grand Prix.

Heron Alfa Romeo, Eddy Perk, Silverstone Classic,

Eddie Perk is responsible for reviving the Heron and he is seen at the wheel of the car at last years Silverstone Classic meeting.

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


Coffee Croissants And Cars 01/15 – Avenue Drivers Club

The second Sunday of the month saw the first Avenue Drivers Club meeting of the year at Queen Square in Bristol.

Singer Vogue, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Among the delights struggling to find somewhere to park was this 1969 Singer Vogue.

Jaguar XJ6, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Another 1969 car was this early, Mk 1, Jaguar XJ6 4.2 which the current owner bought fitted with E-type wire wheels, not recommended by the manufacturer for a vehicle of this weight, and a set of standard steel spares.

ALFA Romeo 1750 GT Veloce, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Built in 1971 but not registered in the UK until August 1972 was this ALFA Romeo 1750 GT Veloce, I suspect the vinyl roof and gold pinstripes might not have been original factory options.

MG Midget, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Sporting the original coffee and cream works MG colours above is a 1981 MG Midget with federal spec bumpers.

Vauxhall Viva, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

According to a sticker in the back window this 1971 Viva SL estate is maintained with “Genuine Scrapyard Parts” which appear to include a non standard turbo charged diesel motor which going on the officially registered 1686 cc / 102 cui size maybe of GM Poland Circle L origin.

Ford Mondeo TDCI 140, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Also diesel powered, and keeping an eye on everything being orderly, ship shape and Bristol fashion were officers of the Avon Constabulary in their 2010 Ford Mondeo TDCI 140.

The next Avenue Drivers Club meeting at Queen Square will be Sunday February 8th.

Thanks for joining me on this “Coffee Croissants And Cars 01/15” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a short tale about a Porsche 917. Don’t forget to come back now !


Dash For Lemon Cake – Frenchay Village Show

Last week I received an e-mail advising me that the Frenchay show would be taking place on Saturday but a prior engagement meant I’d struggle to make it. Remembering how good the Lemmon cake was last time I went, I thought I’d give it a go.

Riviera by Buick, Frenchay  Village Show

As you can see I made it and enjoyed not only a quality slice of Lemon Cake, but also reacquainting my self with the Riviera by Buick which I first saw a couple of weeks ago at Yate Town Football Club.

ALFA Romeo 1750 Zagato, Frenchay  Village Show

Cockpit ergonomics have advanced considerably since this 1930’s Zagato bodied ALFA Romeo 1750 was built, but one wonders if the fun factor has not been inversely proportional.

Hillman Huskey, Frenchay  Village Show

While at boarding school I used to clean one of the teachers cars, a Hillman Husky like the 1959 example seen here, for something like a shilling / 12d / 5np a week. The parking light seen here is operated when parking on the side of a road or on a lay-by on a road with a speed limit of more than 30 mph, as mandated to this day by paragraph 249 of the highway code.

Triumph Herald, Frenchay  Village Show

Back in the day before I went to boarding school I remember going on a tour of a Metropolitan Police station in London, the sweet essence of disinfectant in the cells left a lasting negative impression. I’m not sure on the date of this sticker seen on a 1963 Triumph Herald that has been turned into a period Panda Car.

MG TC, Frenchay  Village Show

Looking back it is amazing how sports cars like this 1949 MG TC were built with exposed fuel tanks strapped to the back, MG carried on this practice until they replaced the MG TF 1500 in 1955.

Hillman Imp, Frenchay  Village Show

Bristol’s Tim Fry and later Ferrari racer Mike Parkes lead the team that developed the Hillman Imp with it’s all aluminium overhead cam 4 cylinder motor developed from a Coventry Climax fire pump. The 998 cc / 61 cui version of the Imp was first seen in 1964 and was popular among side car racers in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Thanks for joining me on this “Dash For Lemon Cake” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Americana Thursday. Don’t forget to come back now !


Classic & Retro Action Day – Castle Combe

The day after attending Goodwood Festival of speed David Roots invited me along to Castle Combe for the Retro & Classic Action Day which was a mixture of car show and track day.

MG TC, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

In between the rain and thunder there was a fascinating array of vehicles to see like this 1946 MG TC.

Healey Duncan Drone, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

Like some of the storied vehicles at Goodwood, some at Castle Combe had tragic tales to tell. The Healey Duncan Drone was built with a throw away body to keep the list price, and attendant 66% taxes, down on the domestic market. Extras for this car would have included a second seat and the spare wheel. This particular car took the start of the 1949 Mille Miglia at 6:25 am with James Cohen and Reg Hingett aboard. 35kms later Reg was dead after their car collided with a bridge and while James would eventually be repatriated back to the UK, he too would succumb to his injuries.

Ford Squire Cosworth, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

In Latvia the Ford Prefect was built under licence as the Ford-Vairogs Junior I am not sure they would have had an estate / station wagon variant because the UK Ford factory was so busy they farmed out production of the Prefect Estate known as the ‘Squire’ to the coach builders Abbots of Farnham who were given brand new off the assembly line Prefect saloons / sedans to convert. This particular vehicle, built in 1960, is officially shown as no longer having it’s original 1,172 cc / 71.5 cui side valve motor good for 71 mph, but instead the official capacity is given as 1993 cc / 121.6 cui which is usually the sign of the presence of a 200hp motor taken from a Ford Sierra Cosworth or similar.

Datsun Fairlady 1500, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

Before Datsun got the Jaguar E-Type inspired Fairlady ‘Z’ series up and running in 1970 their sports cars tended to follow the lines of the slightly more mundane MG’s and Triumph’s of the day. Above is a 1965 Fairlady with a 1500 cc / 91.5 cui 4 cylinder motor.

Ford Escort Cosworth Estate, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

In 1969 I was lucky enough to travel overland from Durban in South Africa to Mufulira in the back of a Ford Escort Estate Mk 1 with my folks, over following holidays we made it as far as Malindi in Kenya in the same car. In 1977 when my folks came back to the UK they bought a Ford Escort Estate Mk II not unlike the one seen above. The gentleman who own’s the yellow car tells me it was his first car, unlike my folks, he has swapped out the original 1300cc / 79.3 cui motor for a 200hp Ford Sierra Cosworth unit which would probably get him from Durban to Malindi days if not a week faster than we could ever have hoped to do it.

ALFA Romeo 33 Cloverleaf 2, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

My first visit to Castle Combe in 1987 is indelibly linked to the memory of friends race winning #143 ALFA Romeo 33 which got wrecked, after he had abandoned the car at Quarry, by an errant ALFA Sud. My friend was unhurt and he came back toward the end of the season with another car to score a win. Seeing the later Red ALFA Romeo Cloverleaf 2 33 above in the paddock brought those memories flooding back like it all happened yesterday.

TVR Tamora, Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe

Finally I was parked opposite this lush Opal White Pearlescent TVR Tamora and couldn’t take my eye’s off it while sat in my car waiting for the thunder and rain to abate. The owner tells me that while the car was undergoing various mechanical upgrades by ex TVR factory personnel he had the car resprayed, at £300 pounds a tin the paint is not cheap the whole respray came in at an eye watering £7,500. About ten times the value of my Golf and probably two or three times the sum I have spent on every one of the twenty or thirty cars I have ever bought combined ! Still it was without question worth it, there is only one other Tamora painted the same colour.

My thanks to David Roots for inviting me along to Castle Combe.

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


ALFA Screen – Maserati Tipo 151 #151.006

In order to compete in the top 4.0 litre / 244 cui GT Prototype Class in the 1962 Le Mans 24 hours Briggs Cunningham and Frances Maserati agent John Simone funded the production of 3 Tipo 151’s.

Ing. Giulio Alfieri abandoned the Birdcage construction of his Tipo 60/61 models and returned to using large tube chassis construction as had been used on the one off Maserati 450S, the 151’s body featured a proprietary windscreen sourced from the ALFA Romeo Giuleitta Sprint Speciale parts bin.

Maserati Tipo 151, Colasacco / Hill, Goodwood Revival

Briggs Cunningham entered two of the Tipo 151’s, chassis 151.004 and 151.006 seen here, and Maserati France chassis 151.002 for the ’62 Le Mans 24 hours.

William Kimberly and Dick Thompson driving #151.006 qualified 3rd behind the Ferrari 330 TRI driven by eventual winners Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill and the 330 GTO driven by Mike Parkes and Lorenzo Bandini.

Maserati Tipo 151, Colasacco / Hill, Goodwood Revival

During the race William and Dick completed 62 laps before a brake issue caused Dick to crash and retire, the Maserati France car driven by Maurice Trintignant and Lucien Bianchi was withdrawn after 152 laps because the suspension was causing the rear tyres to wear out every 10 laps. The second Cunningham 151 driven by Walt Hangsen and Bruce McLaren retired after completing 177 laps with a blown motor.

#151.006 was then driven in two US events by Augie Pabst whose best result was a 7th place in the LA Times Grand Prix at Riverside. Bev Spencer then bought the car for Stan Peterson to drive in the ’62 SCCA meeting at Vacaville, however Stan crashed in the qualifying race and after it was repaired Bev sold the car to Skip Hudson whose best result, from three known starts, was a 3rd place in an SCCA race at Cotati in May 1963.

Joe Colasacco and Derek Hill were drove #151.006, now owned by Lawrence Auriana when it was photographed during practice for the RAC TT Celebration races at Goodwood in 2011 and 2012.

Thanks for joining me on this “ALFA Screen” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a French WM Le Mans entry. Don’t forget to come back now !


Made In Zambia – Costa Borthers ALFA Romeo Special

Season’s Greetings today’s post is only possible thanks to the wonders of the Internet being able to put people in touch who have never met, but have the briefest of shared experiences. Today’s featured car the Costa Brothers Alfa Romeo was built to compete in local races in Zambia at the end of the 1960’s.

 Costa ALFA Romeo Special

Inspired by Carlo Abarth, who had designed several successful racing cars with the engine behind the rear axle, the Costa Special was conceived as a single seater with the driver offset to the right, and with enclosed wheel body work and built in their shop in Ndola on what is known as the Copperbelt.

 Costa ALFA Romeo Special

The design was finalised by trial and error by brothers Remo and Alberto Costa, qualified structural and mechanical engineers from Borgo Val di Taro , Parma, Italy, Remo moved to Zambia as a technical supervisor for FIAT. By 1968 Remo and Alberto had settled into Ndola and having messed around with a FIAT 500 Abarth in Italy fell in with the Racing Club at Ndola Park.

 Costa ALFA Romeo Special

In it’s first incarnation the special appears to have used a crashed Fiat 850 as a donor car and had a 1570cc ALFA Romeo motor, taken from Remo’s Giulia Spyder hanging out behind the rear axle driven through a Volkswagen Beetle gearbox with bodywork covering the motor.

 Costa ALFA Romeo Special

The car was built in the brothers spare time, with the help from a considerable proprotion of the substantial expatriate Italian population in Ndola. They even had contacts that were able to secure some parts at short notice by Alitalia one of the few European Airlines operating scheduled flights out of Zambia. The all enclosing rear bodywork was replaced with a rear deck to improve engine cooling.

 Costa ALFA Romeo Special

Remo and Alberto shared the driving. Ken Lancashire who wrote many reports on local racing for the Zambian Press seems to have made a habit of mistakenly refering to Alberto as Alfredo, that “might” have had something to do with the consumption of a local brew called Castle.

 Costa ALFA Romeo Special

The car was classified as a Group 6 prototype sports car, although it was the only entry in the class, it was allowed to race against a potpourri of entries, above stalled Kevin Cameron raises his arm on the grid in his modified Elan, at Ndola Park as the Costa Special and an as yet unidentified driver in a modified Mk 1 Ford Cortina get away cleanly.

 Costa ALFA Romeo Special

Remo tells me he has no idea how many races the special won up until the car was sold in 1973 when Remo moved to Nigeria and Alberto to Botswana. Remo says “Alberto (was) faster but also more impulsive , or won or broke , I calmer and slower. Above the Costa Special takes another victory at Ndola Park ahead of a modified Ford Anglia driven by an as yet unidentified driver, note the rudimentary safety features there is a rudimentary bank and a fence between the spectators and and the cars,

Costa Alfa Romeo Special

this was not always the case as seen in the photo above at a track I believe to be the Lawrence Allen Circuit outside Chingola. Race meetings were run with practice in the morning a mid day scratch race with all the cars starting together followed by an afternoon handicap race with the cars starting individually according to handicap with the slowest away first.

Costa Alfa Romeo Special

When the Costa Brothers left Zambia in 1973 they sold the car by now fitted with a 1750 cc twin spark Alfa Romeo motor and Colotti 5 speed gearbox to Sergio Pavan. They do not know the ultimate fate of the car but do know that Sergio turned the engine and gearbox round to make it a mid engined racer.

Multo grazie to Remo Costa for sharing today’s photographs from his collection and telling me the details, after seeing a post I left on The Nostalgia Forum three years ago.

During my parents time in Zambia there were 4 or 5 motor racing meetings a year of which my parents and I would go to one or two during school holidays from England. These would draw several thousand paying spectators to the two road courses, Ndola Park and Lawrence Allen Circuit.

If you have information about one other road course Bennett’s also in the Copperbelt, possibly near Kitwe, which I have not been able locate on Google Earth and at least one street circuit that ran through the streets of Garneton a suburb north of Kitwe please get in touch.

I believe Garneton was the scene of the countries first motor sport events held on tarmac, though I am not sure exactly when that was.

If you have any further information and or photographs about motor sport in Zambia or the former Northern Rhodesia on two wheels or four, on road or offroad, please do not hesitate to get in contact. In particular if you are, or know of, journalists by the name of Fidelis Munsongo, Dan Fisher (also a kart racer), or Ken Lancashire all of whom I believe might have reported stories to the Times Of Zambia.

Finally if anyone knows of the wearabouts of Sergio Pavan the second owner of the Casta Brothers Special please get in touch.

Thanks for joining me on this “Made In Zambia” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Ford GT40 MIII. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, don’t forget to come back now !

Brighton Speed Trials Under Threat of Permanent Cancellation !

In their infinite wisdom, Brighton & Hove City Council are seeking to ban the Brighton Speed Trials from 2014.

If you care about speed and or motorsport history, please sign this linked petition to save Brighton Speed Trials in 2014 and beyond.

It’s a faf to Register before signing, but relatively painless compared to loosing the event which has been run with few interruptions since 1905.

You do not need to be resident in Brighton or even the UK to sign.

Thanks and please spread the word through whatever social media you have at your disposal