Tag Archives: Hill

Super Bug – Volkswagen Trojan Chevrolet Beetle

After successfully racing super saloons that included a race winning Jaguar powered Ford 105E Anglia called “Janglia”, a championship winning Gurney Weslake V8 powered Boss Ford Capri and championship winning 6 litre / 366 cui Capri Mick Hill turned his attention briefly to racing a Formula 5000 March in 1975.

Volkswagen Trojan Chevrolet Beetle, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

On May 9th 1976 Hill announced his return to Super Saloon racing with today’s featured liberal interpretation of a Volkswagen Beetle body which sits atop a chassis fitted with Trojan T102 Formula F5000 front suspension and rear end including a 530hp 5 litre / 302 cui Formula 5000 Chevrolet motor in the back.

Volkswagen Trojan Chevrolet Beetle, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Mick raced the car for two seasons with sponsorship from fellow Super Saloon Competitor Tony Hazelwood’s Templar Tillers business.

Volkswagen Trojan Chevrolet Beetle, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

At the end of 1977 Doug Niven bought the Super Bug who went on a winning rampage recording 47 Super Saloon victories up until the end of 1979 when it was sold on to Jeff Wilson.

Volkswagen Trojan Chevrolet Beetle, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Mick went onto race the ex Tony Hazelwood Can Am powered Jaguar XJ8 before building a championship winning Skoda known as Phoenix using the Can Am engine from the Jaguar and a chassis of his own devising, his last project was a race winning BMW M1 again powered by the Can Am engine now fitted to a Lola T400 Formula 5000 chassis and with a BMW M1 clone body.

Volkswagen Trojan Chevrolet Beetle, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The Super Bug, seen in these photo’s at Goodwood Festival of Speed in it’s original colours in the top three photos and in Doug Niven’s colours in the bottom 2 photos is currently owned and looked after by Dave Taylor who has started a facebook page for the car linked here.

My thanks to Mr Taylor for inadvertently giving me the courage to go with this months Super Saloon Saturday blogs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Super Bug” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Mini Cooper Panda Car. Don’t forget to come back now !


RIP – Hill Cosworth GH2

After serving an apprenticeship with Smiths Instruments and rising to the rank of Petty Officer in the Royal Navy Norman Graham Hill passed his driving test aged 24 in 1953.

The following year he got the motor racing bug driving a 500 Formula 3 Cooper and joined Team Lotus as a mechanic where he eventually talked his way into the cockpit, in 1956 Graham, as he is better known, made his Grand Prix debut at the wheel of a Lotus 12.

Hill Cosworth GH2, The Donington Grand Prix Collection

By 1962 Graham Hill was leading BRM to their one and only Formula One World Constructors Championship and became World Drivers Champion for the first time.

Hill Cosworth GH2, The Donington Grand Prix Collection

After winning the Indy 500 driving a Lola in 1966 Graham Hill rejoined Lotus in 1967 to partner Jim Clark and the following year he won his second world championship in the Lotus 49B.

Hill Cosworth GH2, The Donington Grand Prix Collection

A year after winning the Le Mans 24 Hours sharing a Matra MS670 with Henri Pescarolo, Graham decided to go it alone and set up his own team in 1973 running a Shadow in 1973 and Lola’s and a derivation thereof in 1974 and 1975.

Hill Cosworth GH2, The Donington Grand Prix Collection

Having retired from driving in 1975 Graham put all of his efforts into supporting a rising British star Tony Brise who scored the teams first constructors championship point at the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix at the wheel of the Lola derivative Hill GH1.

Hill Cosworth GH2, The Donington Grand Prix Collection

For 1976 Graham was to run fellow Londoner Tony in a one car team for which Andy Smallman designed the all new Hill GH2 powered by a Cosworth DFV, the development of which Graham had been an instrumental part of in 1967 while at Lotus.

Hill Cosworth GH2, The Donington Grand Prix Collection

On the 29th of November 1975 the team tested the new car, seen in these photographs at The Donington Grand Prix Collection, at Paul Ricard in Southern France and at the end of the test the core members of the team; manager Ray Brimble , mechanics Tony Alcock and Terry Richards, designer Andy Smallman and Tony Brise boarded the Graham’s Piper PA 23-250 Turbo-Aztec which he then piloted back to England.

Hill Cosworth GH2, The Donington Grand Prix Collection

At 10pm in heavy fog while attempting to land at Elstree Airfield the plane crashed with the loss of all on board.

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


Ham Handed Texan – Ferrari 340 Vignale Berlinetta #0222AT

Allen Guiberson struck it rich in his early ’20’s and became a Ferrari collecting Dallas oilman who was once described in Time Magazine as a ham handed Texan.

Ferrari 340 Vignale Berlinetta, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

In 1952 he bought today’s featured Ferrari 340 Vignale Berlinetta, the first of three built for the Carrera Panamericana road race, sometimes referred to as a 340 Mexico Berlinetta.

Ferrari 340 Vignale Berlinetta, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Sponsored by Industrias 1-2-3 #0222AT was driven by Luigi Villoresi and either Piero Cassani or Franco Cornacchia in the 1952 Carerra Panamerica, but failed to finish after a gearbox problem manifested it’s self.

Ferrari 340 Vignale Berlinetta, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

The following year Phil Hill and Richie Ginther drove the same car in the event and retired after an accident, the cars only other known appearance was in the 1954 1000 km race at Buenos Aires where Phil shared the car with Dave Sykes until they retired with a clutch problem.

Ferrari 340 Vignale Berlinetta, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

After 14 changes of ownership during which time #0222AT had it’s original engine swapped out for a Chevy V8 in the 1950’s and then replaced by a larger 342 Ferrari V12 in the 1980’s the current owner bought the car in 2000.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photograph’s taken at Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance earlier this year.

Thanks for joining me on this “Ham Handed Texan” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another open wheel Chevron. Don’t forget to come back now !


Worth Travelling 200 miles To Hear – Autumn Classic Castle Combe Preview

Next Saturday Castle Combe will be marking the 60th Anniversary of it’s one and only International Formula One race that was won by Harry Schell driving a Vanwall with some of the cars that took part in that race present for a fantastic selection of displays, demonstrations and and most importantly races.

The track will also be celebrating the 60th Anniversary since the last in period Formula 500 F3 race was run at the track.

Blue Bird Sunbeam 350hp, Don Wales, Pendine Sands

The National Motor Museum will be bringing along a mouth watering selection of vehicles including Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Blue Bird Sunbeam V12 which 90 years ago became the first car to set a World Land Speed Record of over 150 mph, seen above with his grandson Don Wales at the wheel earlier this year, the NMM will also be bringing along the 1955 Connaught Type B Tony Brooks drove at Castle Combe in 1955 prior to winning the 1955 Syracuse Grand Prix and a 1966 Lotus 49 chassis R3.

Other exhibits and vehicles to look out for will be Nick Mason’s 1957 Maserati 250F, of the type Bristols Horace Gould drove to second place at Castle Combe in 1955, and the Pink Floyd drummers distinctive 1953 Ferrari 250MM.

Gordon Keeble, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

Expect to see many motor clubs in attendance with pre 1970’s vehicles, a rare Gordon Keeble is seen on the Bristol Pegasus Motor Clubs stand last year, this year their stand will feature a couple of Abarth’s from Tony Castle Millers Middle Barton Garage.

Owners clubs confirmed this year will represent Alvis, Bristol celebrating 60 years since the marques last 1-2-3 class victory at Le Mans, Gordon Keeble, Lotus, Marcos and Reliant.

Cooper Mk X, Steve Jones, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

60 years after the very last all 500 F3 race run at Castle Combe in period, the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club will again be sponsoring the BAC MSC Challenge Trophy, won last year by Steve Jones driving the #74 Cooper Mk X after a close race with the pursuing George Shackleton driving a slightly older Cooper Mk 8.

Look out for some rare cars to take part in the races like Richard Bishop Miller’s successful in period Revis and other on display only including the locally built 1950 Milli Union and the Swedish built Effly the owners of these cars all have wonderful stores to tell about them.

Volvo 122, Gavin Watson, Oulton Park

New for this year at the Autumn Classic meeting will be the Terry Sanger Trophy for pre 1966 Saloons like the Lotus Cortina of the type the much missed Terry drove back in the day and the Volvo 122 seen above driven Gavin Watson seen at Oulton Park last year.

Terry drove some incredible machinery including a Ford GT40 V8 powered Cortina with outsize wheels and the 1971 Harrier F5000 car which he designed and built, the latter will be present next as a static display next Saturday, other races will be for fifties sports cars, VSCC pre war sports cars, look out for the ever entertaining Patrick Blakeney Edwards in his Fraser Nash, the ever popular Healey Challenge, Formula Junior and Historic Aston Martin’s in which Nick Mason’s daughters Holly and Chloe driving a pair of Aston Martin Ulsters were stars last year.

05-Jaguar D-type_1947sc

The life and times of two time Le Mans winner Ivor Beub will also be celebrated at the event Ivor born in East Ham but later resident from nearby Cheltenham won Le Mans driving Jaguar D types in 1955 with Mike Hawthorn and 1957 with Ron Flockhart, cars present in the ‘Danco Dream Garage’ that Ivor drove will include a 1955 Cooper T39 Bobtail sports car 1959 Cooper T51 formula two car along with some of the cars already mentioned.

Other cars present in the dream garage will include event sponsor Bristol Forklifts Julian Bronson’s Scarab which has been rendered hors d’combat after it’s recent outing at Goodwood Revival, also lookout for Andy Wallace in the The Norman Dewis Trophy race for pre ’66 Jaguars, last year the 1988 Le Mans winner drove a Jaguar D-type, at Oulton Park Andy was seen at the wheel of a rather more pedestrian but equally effective class winning Mk 1.

BRM Type 15, Doug Hill, BRM Day, Bourne,

Finally the piece de resistance of the day, and worth making a 400 mile round trip to hear in my opinion will be the National Motor Museum’s BRM Type 15, the sound of which is quite unlike any other you will hear in motor racing and will be demonstrated on the track where such a machine was last raced in anger in a Formula Libre event at Castle Combe 60 years ago.

Castle Combes charity of the day will be the National Motor Museum Trust’s BRM Preservation Appeal which will go toward’s keeping the Type 15 in full running order.

Full details of the action packed Autumn Classic day can be found on this link where tickets can also be purchased online, for those who want a sneak preview of the racing action there is usually a test day for competitors on the Thursday before the event.

Hope to see you there.

Thanks for joining me on this “Worth Travelling 200 Miles For” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a hot Mercury Convertible. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Road Racer Dream – Chapman Mercury III

Sheffield auto electrician Phil Chapman dreamed of owning a car he could drive on the road and race at weekends. Short of the necessary brass to buy a vehicle to fit his needs, but blessed with the necessary curiosity, common sense and initiative, he taught himself how to build his first special based on a 1930’s Triumph chassis with Mercury V8 power in a corrugated iron shed in the late 1940’s.

Chapman Mercury III, Oliver Tomlin, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

In 1952 he put the engine into a space frame of his own design known as the Chapman Mercury II and four years later dismantled it to build a second space frame, drawn out in the time honoured way with chalk on his workshop floor, the Chapman Mercury III seen in these photographs.

Chapman Mercury III, Oliver Tomlin, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

After making the molds for the glass fibre body Phil campaigned the car successfully into the early 1960’s including at the original Chateau Impney Hill Climb where the car is seen here driven by Phil’s grand son Oliver Tomlin.

Chapman Mercury III, Oliver Tomlin, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

Phil sold CM III to make way for the Chapman Mercury IV which featured an all wheel drive system of his own devising, this car proved problematic but was sold on when Phil temporarily gave up motorsport in favour of gliding.

Chapman Mercury III, Oliver Tomlin, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

In the 1970’s Phil took the opportunity to buy the Chapman Mercury III back as a retirement project and after restoring the car he went on to compete in her again with his daughter Sandra, now Tomlin, who went on to claim the ladies records at Wiscombe Park, Gurston Down, Prescott, Shelsley Walsh, Loton Park and Harewood hill climbs in more powerful open wheel vehicles.

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


Out Of Obscurity – Elva FJ 100

In 1959 Frank Nichols hitherto sports racing car manufacturer Elva turned it’s attention to building single seaters for the emerging Formula Junior Championship.

Elva 100, Mark Woodhouse, Chateau Impney Hill Climb,

Their first single seater model was the Elva FJ 100, like the one seen driven by Mark Woodhouse at the recent Chateau Impney Hill Climb in these photographs.

Elva 100, Mark Woodhouse, Chateau Impney Hill Climb,

Victories for Bill de Selincourt in his British Motor Corporation ‘A-Series’ example and Peter Arundell in his DKW, supplied by Gerhard Mitter, powered example saw a flood of orders for the 1960 season.

Elva 100, Mark Woodhouse, Chateau Impney Hill Climb,

However by then the rear engined Lotus 18 and Cooper T52 were emerging as the superior machines leaving Jim Hall at Sebring and Roger Loyer at Montlhéry as the only winners for the marque in their DKW powered examples.

Elva 100, Mark Woodhouse, Chateau Impney Hill Climb,

Mark Woodhouse’s Elva was built in 1960 and spent it’s early life in relative obscurity in the United States. Since returning to the UK in the 1970’s Mark Woodhouse has driven the car to four championship successes in the front engined class and winning the outright Historic Formula Junior Championship with this car in 1999 as did his son Jack in 2009.

Thanks for joining me on this “Out Of Obscurity” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Stanley-BRM. Don’t forget to come back now !


Thrills ‘n’ Spills – Chateau Impney Hill Climb

A couple of weeks ago the Hill Climb at Chateau Impney which ran from 1957 to 1967 was revived by the Hagley and District Light Car Club attracting over 200 Edwardian, veteran, vintage and classic entries which ran over an exciting course that was nearly doubled in length from the original 550 yards to 967.8 yards, just over 1/2 a mile.

FIAT S76, Duncan Pittaway, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

Stars on the hill included Duncan Pittaway’s stupendous flame belching FIAT S76 which proved an entertaining handful on the narrow winding course with it’s low revving 28.5 litre / 1,739 cui Goliath of an engine and spindly pram like wheels, Duncan was classified 197th overall and 13th in the Edwardian and Veteran class.

Bugatti Type 35B, Chris Hudson, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

Cocking a front wheel going into Raven’s Nest above is the Type 35B Bugatti driven by Chris Hudson which was classified 72nd overall and 12th in the Pre 1940 up to 3 litre / 183 cui class which was won by…

ERA R4A, James Baxter, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

… James Baxter, who was classified 6th overall, seen above kicking up the verge driving Mac Hulbert’s ERA R4D.

AC Ace Ruddspeed, Steve Gray, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

Steve Gray’s 1954 AC Ace Ruddspeed was on track just as an otherwise light spot of rain turned nasty, Steve’s afternoon time was 174th fastest overall of the day, 13th in class.

Mogan RIP Special, Charlie Martin, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

Charlie Martin can always be relied upon to display thrilling sideways driving skills driving the Morgan RIP Special, on this occasion he was classified 37th overall and 2nd in the up to 1500 cc Pre 1940 racing car class to Paddins Dowling driving the ERA R10B.

Grannie, Gary Clare, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

Gary Clare, who was classified 2nd in the Pre 1940 up to 1100cc racing car class and 91st overall, went one better than Charlie by managing to lift the inside rear wheel of “Grannie” exiting Raven’s Nest.

Frazer Nash TT Replica, Chris Batty, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

Front wheel lifter Chris Batty, 110th overall and 4th in the over 1500cc Pre 1940 sports cars class, is seen above exiting the roundabout in his 1930 Fraser Nash TT Replica.

de Dietrich, Richard Scaldwell, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

Richard Scaldwell, who regular readers may remember built the V8 powered GN JAP, used this event to debut his newly restored 1909 16.5 litre / 1006 cui de Dietrch which was classified 162nd overall and 4th in the Edwardian and Veteran class.

Napier Bentley, Chris Williams, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

King of the burn out’s at Impney was Chris Williams in his Napier Bentley which was classified 131st overall and 5th in the Pre 1940 racing cars over 3 litre / 183 cui class.

Kurtis Kraft KK 500G, Fred Harper, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

Another car probably not best suited to the discipline of Hill Climbing was Fred Harper’s Kurtis Kraft KK500G designed to run on the wide open space of Indianapolis, above Fred appears to have remembered a bit too late that he and his 1957 Indy Roadster have a roundabout to negotiate, relying on his earlier morning time Fred was classified 5th in the pre 1961 over 1500 cc class and 128th overall …

Sunbeam Rapier Series III, George Shackleton, Chateau Impney Hill

… one spot overall ahead of George Shackleton seen drifting his 1960 Sunbeam Series III on his way to a 10th place finish in the pre 1968 production saloon car class.

Lotus 20/22, Jack Woodhouse, Chateau Impney Hill Climb

Local man from Bromsgrove and first time hill climber Jack Woodhouse is seen above setting fastest time of the day in his 1962 Lotus 20/22 Formula Junior car, the Woodhouse family had cause for a double celebration as Jack’s Dad Mark won the Pre 1961 up to 1500 cc class driving an Elva 100 Formula Junior car.

Plans for next years event at Chateau Impney are well underway, and if you have never been to a Hill Climb before this one should certainly keep you entertained.

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