Tag Archives: National

Kick Down Supercharged – Mercedes Benz 36/220

With the merger of Karl Benz’s and Gottlieb Daimler’s companies into the Daimler-Benz company, the first vehicles to appear with the Mercedes Benz brand name appeared in 1926.

02 Mercedes Benz 36 220_2069sc

One of the first new models sold as a Mercedes Benz was the 36/220 for which chief engineer Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche directed the design, the model was first seen in the UK at the 1927 Olympia Motor Show where the 4 1/2 litre Bentley also made it’s first appearance.

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Among the novel features the 36/220 was powered by a 6 cylinder 6.8 litre / 414 cui motor fitted with a kick down supercharger that only deployed only when the throttle pedal was fully depressed boosting the motors output from “sufficient” to “most effective” as described in one contemporary report.

04 Mercedes Benz 36 220_2073sc

Today’s featured example seen earlier this year at the Wheels Festival in Bournemouth was once the property of Renaissance man and proto petrol head Sir Peter Ustinov who’s novelty record “Grand Prix of Gibraltar” drew on his creative wit and ability at car engine sound-effects and voices.

05 Mercedes Benz 36 220_2074sc

This car first registered in the UK on the 31st of December 1927, has recently been restored to it’s original condition by the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

06 Mercedes Benz 36 220_2067sc

Only 146 36/220’s were built they had a top speed of 110 mph, you can read an entertaining little story about a how a precocious 14 year by the name of Boddy was disappointed to be taken for a test drive in a chauffeur driven 36 220 that only recorded 99 mph on the Barnet By-Pass in 1927 here.

Thanks for joining me on this “Kick Down Supoercharged” 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 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 !


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.

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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 !


Blue Bird & Pandora – Pendine Sands

Anyone passing through Pendine in Camarthenshire might miss the relevance to the checkered flags on the head board of Sunbeam Dinner.

Sunbeam Diner, Pendine Sands

However if they were to turn left before the Dinner and go through to the small beach car park like the couple in the 1909 Alldays below …

Alldays, Pendine Sands

… they might notice the Museum of Speed, entry just £2.00 when BABS below is resident and free when she is not.

BABS, Museum of Speed, Pendine, Carmarthenshire

Regular readers may remember JG Parry-Thomas became the first man of land to travel at over 170mph when he set a new land speed record aboard BABS on the 7 mile beach at Pendine in April 1926.

Darracq 1.9 Twin, Pendine Sands

On July 21st this 1904 Darracq, builders of the first car to travel two miles in less than a minute, 1.9 Twin and all the other vehicles featured in today’s post gathered to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the previous land speed record of 150.87 mph by Malcolm Campbell.

Sunbeam 3 litre, Pendine Sands

Like the 350hp Blue Bird Campbell drove in 1925 the 1930 3 litre heavy sports car above was made by Sunbeam.

Chrysler Prowler, Pendine Sands

Sunbeam merged with Automobiles Darracq S.A. in 1920 to become Sunbeam Talbot Darracq shortly after Automobiles Darracq S.A. had themselves bought Clément-Talbot to sell Talbot Darracqs. In 1935 the triumvirate went into receivership only to be rescued by the Rootes Group owners of Hillman and Humber who created the new Sunbeam Talbot brand in 1938. Rootes sold a 30% stake to Chrysler who were attempting to establish a presence in Europe in 1964 which gives us a tenuous link to the 2002 Chrylser Prowler seen above.

Gilbern Invader Mk II, Pendine Sands

Adding another touch of local flavor in the car park was the 1971 Gilbern Invader built in nearby Pontypridd.

Blue Bird Sunbeam 350hp, Don Wales, Pendine Sands

Above Sir Malcom Campbells Grandson Don Wales, a World Land Speed Record holder for steam powered vehicles, drives his Grandfathers Blue Bird which was built in 1920 when the car was known as the Sunbeam V12. After several unsuccessful attempts at claiming the Land Speed Record Malcolm Campbell bought the car, which now belongs to the National Motor Museum, in 1924 and turned it into a record breaker.

Napier Railton, Alan Winn, Pendine Sands

Also being demonstrated at Pendine was John Cobb’s Napier Railton seen above driven by the Brooklands Museum’s Director & CEO, Allan Winn. In 1950 the Napier Railton was given a new nose and windscreen and called Pandora for an appearance in the film Pandora and the Flying Dutchman staring Eva Gardener as Pandora, James Mason as the Flying Dutchman and Nigel Patrick as a would be land speed record breaker Stephen Cameron. It’s a lovely period flash back movie the trailer for which can be seen on this link, after Stephen pushed the Napier Railton off a cliff to prove his love to Pandora he rescues the car from the sea and restores it and sets an improbably high 200 mph plus record before the car catches fire and has to be driven into the sea to quench the flames. The scenes of the fictional record breaking were filmed at Pendine apparently with Dylan Thomas among the extra’s.

 Jaguar XF Portfolio Sportbrake D, Pendine Sands

Finally this Jaguar XF Portfolio Sportbrake D in the car park was a reminder that Bristol’s own SSC Bloodhound team are making preparations on their own Supersonic World Land Speed Record attempt in South Africa in the not too distant future.

Thanks for joining me on this “Blue Bird & Pandora” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be making the first of three visits to Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Day We Went To Beaulieu – The National Motor Museum

A couple of weeks ago I was at a local Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) meeting when a fellow member mentioned that the South West Mensa group he belonged to was going on an organised trip around The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and invited his fellow IAM members to join him, I of course needed little prompting and ended up taking regular GALPOT contributor Tim and a last minuet guest Alberto from Madrid too.

Grenville Steam Carriage, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

Among the delights of the museum I did not cover on my previous visit was the oldest working self propelled vehicle in the country, an 1875 Grenville Steam Carriage capable of 18 mph, that was built by Robert Neville Grenville in nearby Butleigh Court, Glastonbury, Somerset.

Lancia Corsa, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

When it comes to varied careers few vehicles can beat this 1910 Lancia Corsa that Billy Knipper drove to win the Tiedeman Trophy in Savannah on November 11th 1910, before it was used as a service vehicle by the Fire Chief of Lenox Massachusetts, it subsequently also served as a garage recovery vehicle !

Austin A90 Atlantic, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

Desperate for foreign earnings to revive the war ravaged economy and repay Britain’s huge war debts Austin came up with the wonderful Austin A90 Atlantic which was aimed squarely at the US market with power windows and hood on the convertible, unfortunately it was completely usurped by the more powerful and rakishly styled Jaguar XK120, but the six cylinder engine ended up powering several larger Austin Saloon / Sedan models and the much admired Austin Healey 100-Six.

Cadillac Seville, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

A real surprise was finding the last Cadillac bought by Elvis Presley in the National Motor Museum, this 1977 Cadillac Seville MY series 6K is said to have also been driven by “The King” the day before his death on August 16th 1977.

BRM P301, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

In the learn something new department was that the last time I saw the chassis above was at Le Mans in 1992 when it was fitted with a closed cockpit coupé body and a 3.5 litre / 213 cui V12 BRM motor.

The car caught fire during the race which it started despite the fact that only Wayne Taylor had qualified in it. The fire damage was repaired but the car was not allowed to restart on the Sunday because it had covered insufficient distance.

I knew the car had been subsequently raced in open cockpit form but had not realised the BRM motor was replaced by a turbocharged 3 litre / 183 cui Nissan V6 motor.

In the latter form the renamed P301 was prequalified for the 1997 Le Mans 24 hours with 38th best time by Harri Toivonen and Johnny O’Connell, completed just 6 laps of the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours, from 34th on the grid, after the engine failed, qualified 6th on the grid for the International Sports Racing Series at Donington, but failed to start because of an electrical problem, started 5th on the grid at Misano in 1998, but retired with drive shaft failure and finally failed to start at Donington in 1998 after it crashed during qualifying.

My thanks to Bill and all the Mensa members who made my guests and I feel so welcome.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Day We Went To Beaulieu” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Corvette that raced at Le Mans. Don’t forget to come back now !


100 Grannies Knitting – FIAT 2300S Coupé

At the 1960 Turin Motor Show FIAT showed off a new Coupé based on the soon to be manufactured FIAT 2300 saloon chassis and running gear and with a body styled by Sergio Sartorelli at Ghia, who with hind site produced a 4 seat vehicle not unlike the contemporary Sergio Pininfarina styled Ferrari 250 GT/E.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

The 2300 Coupé was offered with either a 105hp twin carburetor straight six or the S version, as seen in these photo’s taken at Simply Italian, Beaulieu National Motor Museum a couple of years ago, with 136 hp.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

Since Ghia did not have the capacity to build the Coupé bodies the job was contracted out to Officine Stampaggi Industriali known as OSI which was founded in 1960 as a coachbuilding company based in Turin by former Ghia president Luigi Segre and Arrigo Olivetti.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

Luxury fittings including power windows pushed the price of a 2300S Coupé up to nearly double the cost of an E-Type Jaguar so it is hardly surprising that only 220 of the 7,194 2300S Coupés built between 1961 and 1967 were Right Hand Drive examples imported into the UK.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

This particular car was dry stored from 1971 to 2000 with just over 37,000 miles on the clock, it was subsequently recommissioned with a minimum of work required to pass it’s Ministry Of Transport (MOT) test, required to make it roadworthy.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

The owner of this 1964 car, which appears in these photographs with it’s original paint, chrome and interior, and his son own six 2300S Coupe’s in various states of repair between them.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

The motor on this vehicle has been Abarth tuned to produce 150 hp which is good for pushing this car up to a maximum 118 mph, a contemporary report in Autocar noted that the valve tappets “sound like 100 grannies knitting”.

Thanks for joining me on this “100 Grannies Knitting” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an open wheeler raced by an American called Irish. Don’t forget to come back now !


Under The Hood Details – Niello Concours at Serrano

On October 5th Geoffrey Horton took his Jaguar XK 140 to Niello Concours at Serrano where it was shown in the special display class.

Jaguar XK140, Niello Concours at Serrano

Any one interested in what is under the hood of Geffrey’s Jaguar can see it by following this link.

National, Niello Concours at Serrano

Today’s post will focus on what was lurking under the hood of some of the other vehicles on display, above the 1911 National Indy 500 car only had 4 cylinders but with a displacement of 7.5 litres / 460 cui they still packed a 100 hp punch.

Allard K2, Niello Concours at Serrano

I beleive this is the third appearance of this particular 1951 Allard K2 on this blog, but the first appearance of it’s 5.4 litre / 331 cui Cadillac overhead valve motor with three original Stromberg carburetors that produce around 160 hp.

Plymouth Fury, Niello Concours at Serrano

The 281st, off the production line, 1956 Plymouth Fury above boasts a 5 litre / 303 cui polyspherical head V8 with optional twin 4 barrel carburetors which combined to produce 270hp.

Chrysler 300F, Niello Concours at Serrano

For 1960 Chrysler introduced the 6.8 litre / 413 cui wedge motor for the 300F seen above. To maximise power in low to mid rpm range the motor was fitted with tuned 30 inch intake pipes which were fed by the carburetors from opposite sides.
The air resonances inside the air intake pipes helped to force air into the cylinders at low to mid range rpm and thus increase the power which topped out at 375hp.

Lotus 27, Niello Concours at Serrano

Not completely off topic I was reading some information about the early days of racing recently and discovered that while Voiturettes were generally restricted to 1.5 litre / 91.5 cui motors there was a smaller class known as Cycle Cars which were restricted to 1.1 litres / 67.1 cui which would make the much later 1963 Formula Junior Lotus 27 above the equivalent of a cycle car in Veteran times. The motor for this Lotus is clearly a Ford production block with a Cosworth head. Power for these motors has risen from 36hp in original side valve production form to 115 hp quoted by some tuners for a competitive Formula Junior with the Cosworth head.

Lotus 19, Niello Concours at Serrano

In late 1963 Lotus built the last Lotus 19 B chassis #966 uniquely powered with a 4 carburetor 4.7 litre / 289 Ford V8 motor for Dan Gurney. The car was quick, but unreliable and Dan never recorded a win with it although it’s next owner Steve Diulo managed a win at the SCCA Willow springs race in December 1965. The cars last appearance was at Texas International Speedway in November 1969 where Bruce Campbell was running but unclassified in chassis #966 by now rebranded as a BVC Mk 1 and with a Chevrolet motor installed.

Ford Mustang GT 350, Niello Concours at Serrano

Finally, for this week, above is another Ford V8 this time a 306hp 4.7 litre Shelby tuned Ford HiPo 289 inside one of the 252 “carry over” 1965 Shelby Mustang 350 GT’s which feature ’65 Ford VIN numbers and ’66 Shelby VIN numbers.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton once again for sharing his photographs from the California Concours d’Elegance scene through the year.

Thanks for joining me on this “Under The Hood Details” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 3 ton pickup that gets up to 60mph from rest in just 5 seconds. Don’t forget to come back now !