Tag Archives: Moss

When 6 Is 9 – Mercedes Benz 300 SLR no.10

At 07:04 on the 1st of May 1955 Hans Hermann and Hermann Eger set off from the start ramp of for the Mille Miglia however unlike team mates Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio the two Germans never made it to the finish crashing out before reaching Bologna while in second place over 5 mins behind Moss and Jenkinson but well ahead of Fangio who was running on only 7 of his 8 cylinders.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR Coupé, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The car Hans crashed on the Mille Miglia was chassis #no.6 and it’s next appearance was at Le Mans where Pierre Levegh and John Fitch were to drive the car and two hours into the race Pierre’s Mercedes 300 SLR clipped an errant Austin Healey and was launched into the air which set in motion the greatest disaster in motor racing history as 84 people and were killed as parts of the Mercedes scythed through the spectators and the magnesium bodied car went up in flames, Pierre to was killed as he was thrown out of the car.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR Coupé, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The car seen in these photographs bearing the #704 start number carried by chassis no.6 on the Mille Miglia is the last of the nine 300 SLR’s to be built, and is said to incorporate improvements in anticipation of the 1956 season which Mercedes Benz cancelled in the fall out of the disaster at Le Mans.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR Coupé, Hans Hermann, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Logic tells us the chassis number should be #no.9 but for reasons that even Mercedes Benz are not sure of the car actually carries the chassis #no.10, quite simply there never was a chassis #no.9.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR Coupé, Hans Hermann, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Hans Hermann is seen at the wheel of #no.10 at Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the Mercedes Benz blurb indicated that #no.10 has also carried the #658 Juan started the 1955 Mille Miglia with on occasion.

Thanks for joining me in this “When 6 is 9” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the ultimate Simca Rallye 2. Don’t forget to come back now !


An Unbelievable Machine – Mercedes Benz 300 SLR # no.4

At 7:22 am on the morning of the 1st of May 1955 Stirling Moss and his co driver Denis Jenkinson sitting in today’s featured Mercedes Benz # no.4 registered W21-6170 were flagged away for the start of the Mille Miglia from Viale Venezia in Brescia with 525 cars ahead of them and just six more to start at one minute intervals behind them.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed

With the aid of course notes recorded on an 18ft roll of paper, edited from their six reconnaissance drives along the entire route, Denis used 15 hand signals to keep Stirling informed of what was coming up ahead over the 1000 mile course via Rome back to Brescia.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed

10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds later Stirling and Denis crossed the finish line to record the all time fastest race average speed of 97.96mph / 157.65 kmh over the course which actually measured only 992 miles, and become only the second non Italians to win the event after Rudolf Caracciola and riding mechanic Wilhelm Sebastian won with their Mercedes-Benz SSKL in 1931.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Stirling Moss, Goodwood Festival of Speed
Juan Manuel Fangia came home second in the 300 SLR # no.3 31 mins and 45 s behind the winners in one of the greatest solo drives of all time.

Stirling Moss then drove # no.4 to a second place finish behind Fangio in the non championship Eifelrennen at the Nurburgring before Karl Kling and André Simon were entrusted with the car at Le Mans where it was withdrawn by the board of directors at Mercedes Benz after the fatal accident that killed team mate Pierre Levegh and 84 spectators .

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Stirling Moss, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Stirling drove # no.4 to another second place finish in the non championship Swedish Grand Prix behind team leader Fangio to keep up the models remarkable 1-2 finishing record in all events completed.

Mercedes Benz 300SLR, TNF Herts Film Show, Ware

Amazingly Stirling then drove # no.4 to two more World Championship sports car victories in the RAC TT at Dundrod with John Fitch and in the Targa Florio with Peter Collins so that this car has the rare record of finishing 1st in every World Championship event which it completed.

Stirling Moss called this car which he is seen driving in these photographs at Goodwood Festival of Speed, “The greatest sports racing car ever built — really an unbelievable machine.” Which is why it is probably the most desirable Mercedes Benz ever built and possibly the most desirable car ever built.

Thanks for joining me on this “An Unbelievable Machine” 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 French Simca. Don’t forget to come back now !


Neither Nor – Renault 16

While Citroën was busy trying to develop a suitably innovative vehicle known as Projet F with a wankel motor and torsion bar suspension to fit between it’s successful small 2CV and and successful large DS models Renault’s Gaston Juchet was developing today’s featured Renault 16 with an aluminium straight 4 motor and torsion bar suspension for exactly the same market.

Renault 16 TS, Cotham, Bristol,

Like the Renault 4 launched in 1961 the 16 featured front wheel drive, umbrella stick gear change and an asymmetrical wheelbase thanks to the torsion bar suspension.

Renault 16 TS, Cotham, Bristol,

Another similarity with the smaller Renault sibling was the five door body style, neither car was offered with anything else for private use, though in the case of the 16 the rear door was noticeably more inclined toward the front.

Renault 16 TS, Cotham, Bristol,

Motoring Illustrated in May 1965 reported that “The Renault Sixteen can thus be described as a large family car but one that is neither a four door saloon (sedan) and nor is it quite an estate (wagon). But, importantly, it is a little different.”

Renault 16 TS, Cotham, Bristol,

The important neither nor word the journalist was struggling for was of course “hatchback” a term that was not coined as a body style until the early 1970’s.

Renault 16 TS, Cotham, Bristol,

European Journalists were so impressed with the Renault 16 that it became the first French car, after the Rover 2000 and Austin 1800, to named European Car of The Year in 1966.

Renault 16 TS, Cotham, Bristol,

Initially the Sixteen was launched in Grand Luxe and Super variants both powered by a 1470cc / 89 cui motor producing 54 hp.

Renault 16 TS, Cotham, Bristol,

At the 1968 Geneva Motor Show the TS version was launched with a 1565cc / 95 cui engine, an all-new instrument panel that included; a tachometer, water temperature gauge, two-speed windscreen wipers, column shift, rear defroster, passenger reading light, and optional electric powered windows.

Renault 16 TS, Cotham, Bristol,

In 1970 no less a luminary than Stirling Moss was quoted as saying “”There is no doubt that the Renault 16 is the most intelligently engineered automobile I have ever encountered and I think that each British motorcar manufacturer would do well to purchase one just to see how it is put together”.

Renault 16 TS, Cotham, Bristol,

By the time production of the facelifted Renault 16 ceased in 1980 over 1.8 million examples had been built, and most European manufacturers had a similar 5-door hatchback in their showrooms.

Renault 16 TS, Cotham, Bristol,

It is said that when the Renault 16 was launched Citroën cancelled it’s Projet F because of the similarities of the 16 and F amid rumours of industrial espionage, however these remain unfounded possibly in the light of the similarities of the Renault 4 and 16, possibly because the truth was the planned Wankel engine Citroën hoped to use could not be made as reliable as they would have liked.

Unlikely as it may seen among my earliest motor racing memories was seeing a Renault 16 being raced in Zambia at typically Gaulish angles on the corners by a chap called de Decker who tried in vain to keep up with a similarly standard Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV driven by Sergio Pavan at Nchanga.

The left hand drive non UK spec ’68 model year Renault 16 TX seen in these photographs taken in Bristol was not registered in the UK until October 2008.

Thanks for joining me on this “Neither Nor” 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 Crumpled Cup Auto Solo – Rolls Royce Car Park Filton

On Sunday I headed down to Queen Square for the regular second Sunday of the month Avenue Drivers Club meeting only to find all access roads blocked by Bristol Half Marathon stewards one of whom apparently had no idea where Queen Square was, which made for an interesting point of departure for a conspiracy theory which I shall refrain from repeating here.

MCW Metrobus MkII, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Later at mid day I made my way over to the Rolls Royce Car Park at Filton for the Bristol Pegasus Motor Clubs first Crumpled Cup Autosolo. Upon reflection I wish I had stopped off longer at The Ark Bus, 1982 MCW Metrobus, a faith in motion project, to ask for some much needed devine intervention to help me to remember the three different routes through the 31 cones that were to make up the three timed tests of the event.

01 Crumpled Cup_5894sc

The Volkswagen Golf Mk IV Estate is not an obvious choice of vehicle for this type of event and certainly not when carrying more than half a tank of fuel, but I determined that I would have fun and that I did in spades despite the fact that of my nine runs, three times through each of the three routes I actually only managed to complete the course correctly on five occasions ! Fortunately this was still better than some so I did not come last in the front wheel drive class.

Honda Civic, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton,

Martyn Mitchell warned me that his Honda Civic would only be in contention for the slowest time of the day and perhaps next time he will join me by the bus in some requests for devine intervention on the memory front.

Citroen Saxo, George/Ashley Pope, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Father and son George and Ashley Pope shared their Citroën Saxo to take front wheel drive honours with Ashley only scoring two clean runs on the final test which ironically was the only test on which George scored only one clean run, George was the comfortable winner of the front wheel drive class and would have finished 3rd overall had the event been run as an open competition between all eight competitors.

Westfield SEiW, Andy Moss, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Struggling with the turning circle of his self built Westfield SEiW was club chairman Andy Moss.

Vauxhall VX220, Martyn Lidbury, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Despite having the smaller Lotus Elise size front tyres on his Vauxhall VX220 Martyn Lidbury also struggled with the turning circle of his car which otherwise made all the right noises as he drove it to third in class on his first event with the club.

Westfield SEiW, Ben Bishop, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Second in the rear wheel drive class was Ben Bishop in his Westfield SEiW with the second best score overall too.

Mazda MX5, Chris Buckley, Rolls Royce Car Park, Filton

Lowest scores of the day were recorded by Chris Buckley in his supercharged Mazda MX5 who only scored maximum points on his very first run of the afternoon.

Everybody seemed to enjoy the event which I hope shall be the first of many to come, my thanks to Pete Goodman for getting permission from Rolls Royce to use the venue, to Alan Spencer for organising the event, to Tim Murray the events secretary and score keeper, marshals Ann Mitchell and Nick Woods and not least my fellow competitors who made the 4 hours of the competition fly by.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Crumpled Cup Auto Solo” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Mercury Monterey. Don’t forget to come back now !


Development & Publicity – Mercedes Benz 300 SLR # no.1

Earlier this year Geoffrey Horton kindly forwarded some of today’s photos taken by Otto A Rentsch a tool and die maker at Adam Stamping in Union, New Jersey.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Adam Stamping, Union, New Jersey.

Adam Stamping was owned by Geoffrey’s uncle George Tilp who was selected by Mercedes Benz to run a highly successful team of works built and supported 300 SL’s driven by Paul O’Shea and Phil Hill from 1955 to 1957.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Otto R Rentsch, Adam Stamping, Union, New Jersey.

In 1958 Mercedes Benz shipped a 1955 World Sports Car Championship winning type 300 SLR complete with the “Blue Wonder Rennwagen Schnelltransporter” to Georges facility in New Jersey prior to the vehicles being loaned to the Ford Museum in Michigan, Otto A’s son Otto R is seen above at the wheel of the car with it’s distinctive sign writing down the side.

Mercedes 300 SLR, Goodwood, Festival of Speed,

It turns out that the 300 SLR sent to the USA for the loan to the Ford Museum was none other than the original 300 SLR chassis no.1.

Mercedes 300 SLR, Goodwood, Festival of Speed,

No.1 was used for extensive pre 1955 season testing and later for practice on the Mille Miglia, where of course there was no qualifying, but according to Mercedes this car was never raced.

Mercedes 300 SLR, Goodwood, Festival of Speed,

Along the side of the car the five one – two victories scored by no.1’s siblings are recorded; the Stirling Moss / Denis Jenkinson partnership beat the solo Jaun Manuel Fangio on the Mille Miglia, Fangio then beat Moss at the Eifelrennen where Karl Kling finished fourth in a third 300 SLR behind a Ferrari 750 Monza driven by Marsten Gregory, Fangio also finished ahead of Moss in the Swedish Grand Prix.

Mercedes 300 SLR, Goodwood, Festival of Speed,

Moss partnered by John Fitch beat Fangio and Kling at the Tourist Trophy where Kling was joined by Wolfgang von Trips and André Simon in the third placed 300 SLR, before Moss teamed up with Peter Collins to beat Fangio and Kling again on the Targa Florio where Fitch and Desmond Titterington finished fourth behind the Ferrari 857 S driven by Eugenio Castellotti and Robert Manzon.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Adam Stamping, Union, New Jersey.

The one omission from these results being of course the 1955 Le Mans race where the 300 SLR driven by Fangio and Moss was leading the Jaguars by two clear laps when it was withdrawn on the orders of the board of the Mercedes board of directors after parts of the sister car driven by Levegh ploughed into the spectator enclosures killing 82 spectators and injuring 100 more following an accident involving a slower car.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for initially forwarding Douglas Rentsch’s photographs and to Otto R Rentsch’s son Douglas for kindly giving me permission to use them, the remaining photo’s of no.1 were taken at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

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


European Highlights – Goodwood Festival Of Speed

As the years roll by going to Goodwood Festival Of Speed is more and more like going to the best toy shop in the world with more and more cool stuff to be found every year, this was my sixth visit since 2009 and already having completely failed to compose my thoughts about some of the highlights of this years event, as I write this I am looking forward to next years event !

Kremer K8, Derek Bell, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

One of the highlights of the event was a collection of 15 vehicles celebrating the career of five time Le Mans 24 hour winner, 3 time Daytona 24 Hour winner and twice World Sports Car Champion Derek Bell, seen above in his 1994 Le Mans 24 Hour entry the Porsche powered Kremer K8 with which he Robin Donovan and Jürgen Lässig qualified 2nd and finished 6th.

Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2, Hannu Mikkola, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

The Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 was Audi’s final Group B evolution producing an initial 500hp in 1985 when Walter Röhrl and Christian Geistdörfer won the San Remo Rally and over 600hp when Walter Röhrl drove one to victory on Pikes Peak in 1987, above 73 year old Rally Legend Hannu Mikkola show’s he still has no problem handling the cars 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds performance.

Jaguar XJ12C, Andy Rouse, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

In the mid 1970’s one used to hope against hope that British Leyland would get it’s act together and thrash BMW in the European Touring Car Championship, but alas despite starting from pole in 6 from nine events the Jaguar XJ12C’s best result was a second place finish at the Nurburgring in 1977 with Derek Bell and Andy Rouse at the wheel, former works driver Andy Rouse is seen demonstrating the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust’s 1976 example above.

Lotus BRM 43, Andy Middlehurst, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

While Lotus were waiting for the arrival of Ford’s DFV for the 1967 season Jim Clark had to make do with the woefully underpowered Climax powered 1965 Lotus 33 until the arrival of the BRM H16 powered Lotus 43 in time for the last three races of the 1966 season, the car was instantly quick qualifying 3rd at Monza, and 2nd in the USA and Mexico but also unreliable suffering gearbox failure at Monza and Mexico but the car with one of the most complex motor configurations on earth held together at Waltkins Glen where Jim Clark won scoring a fourth consecutive victory at the circuit for a BRM powered car, Andy Middlehurst is seen driving the 43 above.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR, Sir Stirling Moss, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

Mercedes Benz prepared for the 1955 World Sports Car Championship by building 9 300 SLR’s of the eight survivors seven were at Goodwood, above Sir Stirling Moss demonstrates chassis #0004/55 with which he and navigator Denis Jenkinson won the 1955 Mille Miglia ahead of the sister car #0003/55 driven by Juan Manuel Fangio.

FIAT S76, Duncan Pittaway, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

Finally with a Herculean effort Duncan Pittaway got his recreation of a FIAT S76 to Goodwood last year, but did not dare try and start it. With help from Leonardo Sordi he has since got the car running and as can be seen above it is a wonderous sight to be hold as the 28.3 litres / 1,727 cui four cylinder motor belches flame from it’s monstrous exhaust stubs.

Thanks for joining me for this “European Highlights” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at some of the American Highlights at Goodwood. Don’t forget to come back now !


All Time Greatest One-Two – Mercedes Benz 300 SLR # no.3

Due to strained financial circumstances at the Mercedes Benz factory Rudolf Caracciola and Wilhelm Sebastian had only a privately entered Mercedes Benz SSKL with Mercedes approval at there disposal when they became the first foreign team in the first foreign car to win the 1931 Mille Miglia and the first to ever do so at an average speed of over 100 km per hour.

When Mercedes Benz returned to the event in 1955 they left nothing to chance sending a team of 60 technicians based at their event headquarters with spares and sufficient for their four 300 SLR entries.

Mercedes Benz 300SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Team manager Alfred Neubauer insisted each of the drivers were to drive the 1000 mile course a minimum of five times in preparation for the event, Karl Kling is believed to have driven at least 30,000 miles in his preparations.

Following the death of his co driver Daniel Urrutia in 1948 while competing in Peru Juan Manuel Fangio never drove in a competitive event with a co driver again, and so Juan made his own preparations for the 1955 Mille Miglia driving a FIAT 1100.

Mercedes Benz 300SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Before the first six hours of the race had been completed both Karl Kling driving solo and the Hans Herrmann / Hermann Eger crewed 300SLR’s had crashed out of the race.

However Stirling Moss aided by directions from 1949 World Champion Motor Cylce side car passenger Denis Jenkinson, who had meticulously made course notes on 15 feet of paper all carefully rolled into a device devised for bomber command during WW2 came home winners covering the 1,000 miles 6 hours faster than Caricciola in just over 10 hours at a record average speed just short of 100 mph, having covered the stretch from Cremona to Brescia at just under 124 mph.

Mercedes Benz 300SLR, Stirling Moss, Goodwood Revival,

In second place 31m 45 seconds behind the winning #722 came Juan in today’s featured #658 chassis # no.3 despite the fact his eight cylinder 3 litre / 183 cui engine was only firing on 7 cylinders to complete in my humble opinion one of the all time greatest 1-2 finishes in all of sports car racing.

28 days after finishing the Mille Miglia Juan stepped back in to # no.3 to drive it to victory in the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring.

Mercedes Benz 300SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

In August 1955 having wrapped up his third World Formula One championship due to the cancellation of several Grand Prix in the wake of the 1955 Le Mans disaster Juan drove # no.3 for a third time to with the Swedish Grand Prix run for sports cars.

Wolfgang von Trips, André Simon and Karl Kling all drove this car in the Tourist Trophy in September 1955 run at Dundrod to complete a 1-2-3 victory behind the sister cars driven by Stirling sharing with John Fitch and the second placed car driven by Juan and Karl.

Finally in October 1955 Juan and Karl teamed up again this time to drive # no.3 in the Targa Florio to finish second behind the sister 300SLR driven by Moss and Peter Collins.

Stirling Moss is seen in the photograph above demonstrating #658 at the Goodwood Revival a couple of years ago and the connecting rod seen above was a gift from Mercedes Benz to Denis Jenkinson and comes from the Mille Miglia winning #722.

Thanks for joining me on this “All Time Greatest One-Two” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me for Mazda Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !