Tag Archives: Florio

The One That Escaped – Mercedes Benz 300 SLR no.5

Giovanni, better known as Hans, and Fritz Schlumpf were born in Italy in 1904 and 1906 respectively before there Swiss father. an accountant, and Alsatian mother Jeanne Becker resettled in Mulhouse, Alsace then under German rule.

Hans became a banker and Fritz a wool broker before going into business together in 1929 founding SAIL a public limited company in 1935 which began acquiring shares and later a controlling interest, in the Malmerspach spinning mill before managing takeovers of further textile manufacturing businesses.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed

On the 28 June 1976 the Schlumpf Brothers had to file for bankruptcy with the loss of 2,000 jobs, just as another Schlumpf pet project is about to come to fruition unbeknownst to the laid off workers.

Nine month’s after the loss of their jobs members of the CFDT union discovered that the Schlumpf brothers had converted one of their old textile mills in to a 17,000 sq meter / 182986 sq foot museum, due to open shortly after the brothers filed for bankruptcy, containing over 400 vehicles mostly Bugatti’s and only a few other European makes, including to day’s featured 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SLR no.5, which were laid out along immaculate gravel avenues of lights separated by tiled walk ways.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Naturally the former Schlumpf employees did not take kindly to the appearance of being paid a pittance while the brothers employed a staff including seven assistant mechanics, two upholsterers, two body-work specialists, an assistant body-work specialist and five painters many of whom were former employees of Bugatti, another business based in Mulhouse that had ground to a halt in the 1950’s, to maintain and indeed restore to their former glory so many cars, not all of which were acquired in pristine condition.

After occupying the factory and apparently holding the Schlumpf brothers hostage for 3 days the French Government negotiated the brothers exile to Switzerland and declared their Collection of national cultural significance ensuring it would not be broken up nor sold abroad and founded the what today has become La Cité de l’Automobile – National Museum – Schlumpf Collection in Mulhouse with various national and regional private and public bodies eventually reimbursing the brothers and presumably their creditors to the tune of 69 million francs.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Just how the Schlumpf brothers managed to acquire 300 SLR no.5 in 1966 remains a mystery, at least one source reckons it was “probably” traded for a fabled W196 Grand Prix car of the same vintage, which only begs the question how did the Schlumpf brother obtain a W196, because Mercedes Benz have been quite meticulous in holding onto their post war racing heritage.

# no.5 has a three race history, it started the 1955 Mille Miglia at 7:01 am with Karl Kling at the wheel who like Juan Manuel Fangio who started at 6:58 attempted to drive the route solo, however he never made it to the finish of the 1,000 race after crashing out.

Juan and Karl drove # no.5 to a second place finish on the in the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod and according to Mercedes Benz the same pairing finished second, to chassis #no.4 driven by Moss and Collins, driving the same car on the Targa Florio where the team secured victory in the 1955 World sports car championship over Ferrari who scored one victory and Jaguar who scored two victories.

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


Additions And Corrections – Ferrari 166MM #0040M

Having run well over 50 consecutive Ferrari Friday blog’s I have to confess I have temporarily run out of Ferrari’s to write about, however while I find some more I will recover some of the vehicles that I first blogged about on the much missed rowdy.com website, adding additional information and corrections where ever applicable in the light of new sources of information.

Ferrari 166MM, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

Only 25 166 MM’s were commissioned by Enzo Ferrari to be built by Carrozzeria Touring who built the roadsters nick named Brachetta’s (small boat) using the patented Superleggra technique of fixing aluminium alloy panels directly to a tubular space frame.

The cars featured a 135 hp 1992cc / 121 cui V12 single overhead cam all alloy engine designed by Gioacchino Colombo. Each cylinder has a displacement of 166 cc / 10 cui from which the model derives its 166 name the MM comes from Mille Miglia, the name of a 1000 mile road race from Brescia to Rome and back which the 166 MM won in 1949.

Ferrari 166MM, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

The 166 in various guises put Ferrari on the the sports car map, a 166 S being driven to victory in the 1948 Milie Miglia by Clemente Biondetti and Giuseppe Navine. In 1949 Biondetti repeated the feat at the wheel of a 166 MM (chassis 0008M) he shared with Ettore Salani.

The same #0008M chassis was then entered by Lord Selsdon, for the 24 hour Le Mans race, who let his team mate Luigi Chinetti drive for an amazing 23 (twenty three) hours en route to victory. Another 166MM, chassis #0010, with Luigi Chinetti and Jean Lucas sharing the driving went on to win the 1949 Spa 24 hour race.

Ferrari 166MM, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

Today’s featured car chassis #0040M vehicle was driven by Luigi Villoresi and Pasquale Cassani finished 12th overall in the 1950 Targa Florio. Note, some sources using “Targa Florio: 20th Century Epic” by Pino Fondi as reference material suggest that Villoresi did not finish, this is probably because Fondi only lists the top ten finishers.

Several weeks later chassis #0040M was entered in the 1950 Mille Miglia for Aldo Bassi with Aldo Berardi in the co drivers seat. The car left the road in wet conditions and hit a tree outside Ponte San Marco, Bassi succumbed to his injuries later that day.

Ferrari 166MM, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

After repairs which included a replacement body, Touring body #3453, the car went to Portugal where Vasco Sameiro is known to have driven it to 9th place in a race at Vila Real on June 20th 1950. The car remained in Portugal changing hands at least twice before turning up in the UK in 1973.

Ferrari 166MM, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

Ferrari 166 MM #0040M has been owned by the Mason-Styrron family since 1989 who have used it in many classic competitions since. #0040M was restored by the Ferrari factory prior to it’s appearance at the 2009 Goodwood Festival of speed where the car is seen here.

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


Specials & Restorations – Colin Cooper

A couple of months ago I set out to find who built an MG that will feature in tomorrow’s blog called the ‘Kayne Special’, see below. Thanks to some help from my friends paulg at the MG Car Club Forum, The Nostalgia Forum, Bob Allan and his friend Peter Croft in New Zealand I have learned that the Kayne Special was built by Colin Cooper and a couple of weeks ago Colin invited me to visit him and discuss his pursuit of speed.

Kayne Special Mk I, Loton Park

Colin Cooper hails from Bolton at 15 he and a school friend purchased an Austin Seven for £2 10s (£2.50) at auction. They drove the car home sans driving licence and between them they built up a special but could not afford to run it and sold it on.

MG VA Tourer,

Colin started driving legally when his Dad bought a 1955 Ford Popular in 1958 which was sold the following year. For his 20th Birthday Colins Mum bought him a £75 MG VA 4 seat tourer seen above around 1960 which seeded his affinity for MG’s.

MB PA, Kinmel Park,

Colin’s interest in cars was primarily a hobby, with a few deals to ease the financial pain, in 1972 he started racing a 1934 MG PA shared with his friend Trevor which is seen above at Kinmel Park near Rhyll in Wales.

Kayne Special Mk I & Mk II, Killeen KI

Having squirrelled various bits pieces away including an MG J2 chassis and MG PB motor Colin set about building the first, see to top photo, of what would be come three Kayne Specials built between 1973 and 1982. The name is derived from Kay, and Neil his children. Above on the left is the Kayne Special 3 in the middle the Kayne Special 2 and the Killeen K1 built by Tom Killeen in 1953 all 3 of these cars will be looked at in greater detail in the coming weeks Tuesday MG blogs.

Lotus Ford 18, Curbrough

In between building and racing his three specials and racing the Kileen K1 Colin acquired, restored, raced and sold numerous fascinating vehicles including a bevy of Lotus 18’s of which the one above, seen at Curborough in 1977 featured some radical bodywork a standard Ford 1500 cc motor with a 4 speed Renault Dauphine gearbox.

Daren Mk 2B, Longridge, Lancs

Some where around 1978 Colin acquired an Ex Targa Florio Daren Mk 2B one of only 8 Mk 2’s built, seen here at Longridge in Lancashire.

Mallock Mk III, Blackpool, 1985, Copyright Frank Hall

Photo Copyright Frank Hall 1985.

Frank Halls photo above taken in 1985 shows Colin competition career drawing to a close at Blackpool, where he drove a Mallock Mk III, one of many early Mallocks that Colin owned over the years.

Colin Cooper, Trophies

Above are some of the trophies Colin won over a span of 15 years in competitive driving, Colin is also a snooker champion, he still uses the same Joe Davis cue he was given on his 13th birthday.

Central England Sports Cars

When Colin retired from his professional career he started a Frogeye restoration business called Central England Sports Cars in 1993, soon after setting up a Mr Ogawa seen on the left signed the first of several deals for batches of six restored Frogeye’s to be exported to Japan paying 50% upfront and the balance when the cars were ready for dispatch to the docks. The business declined with the stagnation of the Japanese economy in 1998 and became the Frogeye Spares Company which was sold in 2000 and is still going strong.

Central England Sports Cars

Before I left, Colin he asked if I could help track down the black Midget seen in the corner of the CESC workshop above. The car registered WHP 94S is still thought to be on the road, it is a MG Midget identifiable by a Sprite grill 1500 cc motor, rear anti tramp bars Frogeye Windscreen and hood with 9 lift of fasteners. Colin sold the car to a policeman for approximately £2000 and he believes the PC bought it for his sister. Colin would like to get in touch with the current owner if you can help please leave a message below, on my fb page or e-mail me direct infoATpsychoontyres.co.uk please type MIDGET in the subject box.

My thanks to Colin for generously giving me the time to discuss his fascinating story and cars, to paulg at the MGCC Forum, to everyone at The Nostalgia Forum, Bob Allan and Peter Croft who helped me find Colin. Thanks also to Tony Gallagher for putting me in touch with Chris Winstanley who kindly granted permission to use Frank Halls photograph.

Thanks for joining me on this Specials & Restorations edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be taking a look at Colin’s first Kayne Special. Don’t forget to come back now !

24/04/12 Photo of Colin driving the Mallock at Blackpool added.