Tag Archives: Dryden

Speedway To 500 F3 – JBS Norton Mk 1 #RAC/002/51/AC

In 1950 Alf Bottoms switched from being a two wheel Speedway star at Wembley to a racing driver with James Bottoms & Sons being responsible for modifying the 1947 Cowlan 500 Formula Three car, originally built by R.L. Coward and Geoff Lang, with help from Chris and Noel Shorrock into the first JBS.

JBS Norton Mk 1, Richard Utley, Silverstone,

Alf and brother shared the driving duties with Alf being the more successful scoring several out right wins as did Miss Elisabeth Store who drove the JBS to victory in the ladies race in October.

JBS Norton Mk 1, Richard Utley, Oulton Park,

For 1951 JBS not only updated it’s design to incorporate double wishbone front suspension and adonised aluminium body, but also put the design into production building somewhere between 13 and 20 cars.

JBS Norton Mk 1, Richard Utley, Castle Combe,

During the season JBS drivers included Alf, Ron “Curly” Dryden, Les Leston, Don Parker, Winco Frank Aikens, Dick Richards, Ron Frost, Jack Westcott, Ken McAlpine, Peter Collins, John Habin, Allan Moore, John Coombs and André Loens.

JBS Norton Mk 1, Richard Utley, Castle Combe,

Despite the deaths of Alf, in an accident at the Luxembourg Grand Prix, and Ron “Curly” Dryden in an accident at Castle Combe JBS scored 120 podiums during the year with Peter Collins and Don Parker finishing 3rd and 4th in the 1951 British F3 Championship behind Cooper drivers Eric Brandon and Alan Brown.

JBS Norton Mk 1, Richard Utley, Castle Combe,

Chassis #RAC/002/51/AC is seen in these photographs with Richard Utley at the wheel, Silverstone top, Oulton Park second and Castle Combe the remainder, Richard who raced a Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica, Tojeiro 1100 and Lotus XI between 1955 and 1962 also worked with John Tojeiro on the 1100 and later Bob Hicks on the MK1 Caravelle Formula Junior car.

Since returning to historic racing in 1987 Richard has also co founded C&R Engines with Charlie Banyard Smith to re-manufacture long stroke Manx engines of the type that powers his JBS.

Thanks for joining me on this “Speedway To 500 F3” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Old Nail – Vauxhall Firenza

In May 1971 Vauxhall launched a two door coupé version of it’s Viva sedan known as the Firenza and the shell of today’s car started life as one of the prototype Firenza’s on which Vauxhall put through it’s paces to ensure the model met it’s performance and quality criteria.

Vauxhall Firenza, Donington Grand Prix Collection

After Vauxhall had finished with the car they rewarded Bill Blydenstein of Blydenstein Developments who with driver Gerry Marshall had campaigned a success Vauxhall Viva GT with the car and a funding deal which became known as Dealer Team Vauxhall.

01 Vauxhall Firenza_6158sc

Bill Blydenstein and Gerry Johnston prepared the car, which included lowering the front suspension and widening the wheel arches to incorporate wide slick racing tyres, for Gerry Marshall to drive in the 1972 BARC Forward Trust Championship which he promptly won outright.

Vauxhall Firenza, Race Retro,

In 1973 Vauxhall introduced the Firenza HP with its distinctive “droopsnoot” for which Bill Blydenstein claimed some of the credit.

Vauxhall Firenza, Gregor Marshall, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

“Old Nail” as Gerry Marshall dubbed her, was similarly modified and raced to two further Class Championship wins in the BARC Forward Trust Championships in 1973 and 1974 by which time Gerry had clocked up 62 race victories in the car.

Vauxhall Firenza, , Goodwood, Festival of Speed

Bill Dryden acquired Old Nail in 1975 and he drove the car to a further three race victories and a Championship Class win in the 1975 Scottish Saloon Car Championship.

The 250hp 2.3 litre motor fitted with Lotus twin cam heads seen in these photographs, has been in the car since 1973, Gerry’s son Gregor is seen driving the car at Goodwood Festival of Speed a couple of years ago.

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