Tag Archives: Opel

The Blank Car – Chevron Cosworth B16 #B16-DBE-27

1969 saw Derek Bennetts Chevron launch what turned out to be it’s final closed cockpit model the B16, most of which were powered by 4 cylinder Cosworth FVA or larger FVC motors, though at least one was powered by a Mazda rotary and at least two more were raced with BMW motors.

Chevron Cosworth B16, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

23 Chevron B16’s are believed to have been built, 20 from 1969 to 1970 and three more in 1971, however the desirability of these coupés has increased since the 1980’s and many more than the original 23 exist today as numerous continuation and replica examples have been built and are still available to order from Chevron.

Chevron Cosworth B16, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

I believe the Cosworth powered chassis #B16-DBE-27 was originally delivered to Chevrons Swiss agent and noted racing driver Jo Siffert who sold it onto fellow Swiss driver Arthur Blank who took it hill climbing and won at least one race at Ulm-Laupheim in Germany with it.

Chevron Cosworth B16, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Shortly afterwards the car is said to have been burnt out in a club race and it is believed the useable remains or at the very least the chassis plate were built up into a Steinmetz Opel powered B19 spyder, as were numerous other B16’s after the closed cockpit class for sports racing cars was abandoned.

Chevron Cosworth B16, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Arthur Blank entered his B19 in at least two races at the Nurburgring and Le Mans in 1971 for himself and “Brilliant” Bob Wollek to drive but it would appear the car never took part in either event and Bob appears never to have raced this B19 which Arthur drove to a second place finish in class at Hockenheim at the end of 1971.

Chevron Cosworth B16, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Arthur continued to compete in the B19 through 1972 mostly in hillclimbs and did a deal with Austrian Freddy Link to drive the car, now with a Ford motor installed, at Interlagos where Freddy finished 18th in the 500km race.

It is believed Arthur then upgraded his B19 to B21 spec, as were many other B19’s, which he again took hill climbing in 1973, Gerhard Kobler competed with the car in 1974 and 1975 running a turbocharged Cosworth motor until crashing it while testing at Misano. Chevron aficionado Vin Malkie appears to have been responsible for restoring the B21 spec car back to B16 spec with bodywork in Arthur Blank’s 1970 colours.

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


Super Saturday Part 1/2 – Silverstone Classic

Artist Gerhard Richter once observed something akin to ‘that so long as one still has an object from the past it remains contemporary’, at Silverstone Classic on Super Saturday, the world’s biggest classic car show, there were many objects from man’s not so long past and many came to life in a vibrant crescendo of the twelve races which I was privileged to witness.

de Tomaso ISIS, Gregory, Silverstone Classic

For some time I have been on the look out for a Formula Junior de Tomaso. The 1959 FIAT powered ISIS example driven by Mike Gregory was one of two different de Tomaso models in the opening Peter Arundell Trophy Formula Junior race of the day which was won by Sam Wilson driving a Lotus after his main challenger David Methley spun out in his evil handling Brabham.

March 783, Padmore, Silverstone Classic

Silverstone Classic are great at introducing new events to their crowded schedule and one of the debutant events on this years schedule was the Brian Henton Trophy for classic Formula 3 cars of the type that helped launch the careers of Tony Brise, Tom Pryce, Gunnar Nilsson and Stephen South not to mention Nelson Piquet, Derek Warwick, and a chap called Ayrton da Silva who changed his name to something more snappy. Above Nick Pardmore guides his 1978 March 783, with ’79 side pods, through Stowe Corner on his way to victory.

Ford Cortinas, Shedden, Meaden, Silverstone Classic

For the best part of half an hour British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) regular Gordon Shedden and Richard Meaden kept us entertained with door handle to door handle racing at the front of the Sir John Whitmore Trophy race for under 2 litre / 122 cui saloon cars. Unfortunately when Gordon, seen leading above, came in for his mandatory pit stop his Lotus Cortina expired with an over heating issue before BTCC veteran Matt Neale could take over leaving Richard and Grant Tromans to take a well earned win.

Lister Costin Jaguar, Ward, Silverstone Classic

Chris Ward driving the Costin bodied Lister Jaguar above twice held the lead in the Stirling Moss Trophy for pre ’61 Sports Cars but he could not hold off the winning Knobbly bodied Lister Jaguar driven by Jon Minshaw/Phil Keen.

Hesketh 308C, Jones, Silverstone Classic

In 1975 it was announced that the hitherto enormous air boxes that had become an aesthetic blight on Formula One were to be banned along with various other changes. The first car to be built to the new regulations was the Hesketh 308C which was designed by Harvey Postlethwaite for James Hunt to drive. Above Derek Jones is seen driving a 308C in the FIA Masters Formula One race which was won by Ollie Hancock in a ’78 Fittipaldi F5A, after the race was stopped to allow the extraction of Sidney Hoole from what remained of the fabulous Ensign N173. Sidney was taken to hospital with a leg injury described as not ‘thought to be serious’.

Opel Belmont (sic), Wolfe, Silverstone Classic

The sixth event of the Silverstone Classic ‘Super Saturday’ was the Jet Super Touring Car Trophy for a variety of Touring cars from the Early 70’s to the turn of the Millennium. The close fought race was won by James Dodd from Stewart Whyte both driving Honda Accords. Andy Wolfe is seen driving a 1993 Jet sponsored Opel Astra, listed incorrectly in the programme as an Opel Belmont, which won it’s class in the 1993 Nurburgring 24 hours.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Super Saturday Part 1/2′ edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll continue with the second half of the Super Saturday race programme. Don’t forget to come back now !


Early Morning Risers – Avenue Drivers Club

I have not been posting any irregular blogs from the Avenue Drivers Club meetings this year, this is because most of my Sunday mornings have been dedicated to relearning to drive the Institute of Advanced motoring way, however I have managed to get to a couple of ADC meetings at 8am and stayed long enough to grab a Coffee Croissant and enjoy the company off fellow early risers for an hour or so before my driving lessons.

Talbot Matra Murena, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Among the cars that turned up in January was this recently preserved 1981 Talbot Matra Murena with a galvanised steel chassis and 3 abreast seating which represented the zenith of the Talbot Matra partnership.

Ford Escort RS Van, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

When I first came to Bristol in the late 80’s and early 90’s the lads vehicle of choice for a Saturday night in the city center was a white Escort 35 Van with either an RS, like the 1989 example seen here or RS Turbo power train and styling features including the RS alloy wheels and decals which would normally be seen on hot hatch versions of the Escort.

FIAT GMC, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Two contrasting early risers at the March Avenue drivers meeting were this 1969 FIAT 500D and 1999 dual fuel GMC Sierra Pickup.

Opel GT Roadster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

This 2008 Left Hand Drive Opel GT Roadster is a rebadged version of the Saturn Sky for the European Market, they were never sold in the UK because they were never manufactured with right hand drive.

Jaguar XK150, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

This magnificent 1959 Jaguar XK 150 was amongst the stars of this months Avenue Drivers Club meeting.

06 IMG_7543sc

When Vauxhall introduced the HC version of the Vauxhall Viva in 1970 they dropped the 2 liter twin carburetor version except for the Canadian market where the car was sold without Vauxhall Branding as the Frienza by Pontiac/Buick dealers. This particular car has is a 1971 Viva Deluxe that has been upgraded with a 2 litre / 122 cui motor and an unusual paint job.

Thanks for joining me on this Early Risers edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a ’69 Mustang. Don’t forget to come back now !


Crown Gabelstapler – Opel Omega GSi 3000 24V

A couple of months ago I looked at a Mello Yellow Vauxhall Senator today’s featured tribute car is a 1990 Opel Omega 24V the German branded first generation version of the Mello Yellow Senator.

Opel Omega Senator 24V, Castle Combe

Manufactured from 1986 to 1993 the first generation Opel Senator was voted European Car Of The Year in 1987.

Opel Omega 24V DTM, Klaus Niedwiedz, 200 Meilen von Nürnberg, Norisring

Opel had a presence in the 1990 German Touring Car Championship (DTM) with their entries supported by Crown Forklift Trucks and alloy wheel manufacturer ATS, Klaus Niedwiedz, seen above at the Norisring, and Markus Oestereich were the teams drivers, but they achieved little by way of success, not even making the top 20 in points standings, during a season dominated by the Audi V8 quattro’s with the BMW’s M3’s their closest challengers.

Opel Omega Senator 24V, Castle Combe

The 201hp Opel Omega GSi 3000 24V used as the basis for today’s tribute car has a number of modifications including a Lotus Carlton / Senator exhaust with cast chromed twin tail pipes !

Thanks for joining me on this “Crown Gabelstapler” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at the first in a series of US convertibles. Don’t for get to come back now !


Nobility & Speed – GALPOT Automobilia

I’ve been having a bit of a clear out whilst reorganising my library and the time has come to dispose of a number of items which may be of interest through my lightpress account on e-bay.

Excalibur, Monsieur Rochas, Advertisement, Connaissance des arts

This week among the ads posted is this Monsieur Rochas cologne ad featuring a 1969 Series 1 Excalibur Roadster built in Milwaulkee, which was the brainchild of former Studebaker designer Brooks Stevens. Expect to see more retro vehicles like the Corvette powered Excalibur about as the Steam Punk movement moves towards the mainstream.

Opel, Commodore, GS/E, Advertisement, Connaissance des arts

The global McCann Erickson ad agency appear to have responsible for this 123 mph fuel injected 1970 Opel Commodore GS/E. Unfortunately the photographer responsible for the blurry image that I found influential in my own work as an artist is not credited.

Peugeot, 504, Advertisement, Connaissance des arts

As I am sure anyone who has been to Africa will agree, life on the continent without the ubiquitous Peugeot 504 would be almost unimaginable, a good portion of the continents hard driven taxi’s were /are Peugeot 504’s the last of which was appropriately manufactured in Nigeria in 2005. The Peugeot 504 advertisement above was published soon after the models delayed launch in 1968.

Porsche, 911, Advertisement, Connaissance des arts

J.P. Ronzel & Cie was responsible French Importer Sonauto’s Porsche advertising in 1969 featuring another cool blurry shot, which I replicated a couple of months ago and the strap line Nobility and Speed.

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


Coffee, Croissant & Cars #06/13 – Avenue Drivers Club

As the height of summer approaches flooded in rays of real sunshine it was a pleasure to amble down to Queen Square on Sunday not dressed up like Scott of the Antarctic prepared for sub zero temperatures and floods.

Nash Ambassador, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Sunday’s Avenue Drivers Club meeting was easily the busiest I have ever seen with at least a couple of hundred cars passing through for at least a cruise or like me a piece of cake and cup of tea with fellow petrol heads. Above first time I ever recall seeing a 1947 Nash Ambassador in the flesh.

Opel Ascona DL, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

The late 1970’s early 1980’s Opel Ascona DL like the 1980 example seen above shared many parts with the Vauxhall Cavalier except the Vauxhall had a droop snoot nose. The ATS alloy wheels are correct for the period.

BSA Ten Peerless Coupé, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Sharing a common chassis with a Lanchester 10 is this 1933 BSA Ten Peerless Coupé, the fluid fly wheel combined with the 1175 cc / 71 cui 4 cylinder is not likely to set the world on fire in terms of performance. The owner has found that fitting a modern electric fan helps keep the water temperature at a reasonable level on the hills interestingly the motor has no water pump and is dependent on hot water rising in the radiator for water flow.

Ford, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Hot rods were present in large numbers, this one appears to have started life as a 1970 Ford, according to the official records, it now carries a 5.3 litre / 323 cui motor with six twin choke carburetors.

Excalibur, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

There were two Excaliburs present, built in Milwaukee I beleive they used to be powered by Chevlorlet Corvette motors but I am not sure if that is still the case. This is the first 2+2 Excalibur I have ever seen.

Triumph Spitfire Mk II, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Of the many Triumphs present this 1967 Spitfire Mk II caught my eye, perfect for a summers day.

Opel Manta 4.0, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

My friend Ted told me this Opel Manta is powered by a 4 litre / 244 cui V8, unfortunately he is not to sure of the origins of the motor but those air intakes which replace the inner front lights look like a hot item.

Daimler SP 250, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Another perfect summer car was this 1962 Daimler SP250, the owner certainly seems to be enjoying it.

Lambretta, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Just as I was leaving a load of Scooters from the Bristol Mods turned up, somewhere under all those lights I believe is a Lambretta judging by the logo on the helmet.

Looking forward to seeing who turns up at the next Avenue Drivers Club meeting on July 14th.

Thanks for joining me on this “Coffee, Croissant & Cars #06/13” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Vauxhall VX220 – Lotus 116

In 2000 Lotus needed to upgrade the Lotus Elise Series 1 to meet new European Crash Protection regulations. At the same time former Lotus owners General Motors were looking to build a new sports car for their Vauxhall (UK), Opel (Europe) and Daewoo (Asia) brands that would eventually also be restyled for the Saturn brand in the US.

Vauxhall VX220, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

General Motors employed Lotus to design and build the new Vauxhall VX220, Opel GT and Daewoo Speedster models which are powered by mid mounted motors giving 145 hp normally aspirated or 197 hp in turbocharged form. Exterior design is credited to Niels Loeb and Martin Smith and interior to Steven Crijns.

Vauxhall VX220, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Since the Type 116 is powered by variants of motors that were originally designed for Opel by Lotus while the similar Lotus Elise Series 2 are powered by Rover K series and later Toyota sourced motors arguably the Type 116 has more Lotus input than the Lotus Elise S2 with which it shares the same chassis design.

Vauxhall VX220, Pegasus Sprint, Castle Combe

The turbocharged version of the 116 seen in these photos as the Vauxhall branded VX220 was capable of reaching 62 mph in just 4,0 seconds with a top speed of 150 mph.

Vauxhall VX220, Bristol

Production of the 116 in all it’s forms except the Saturn ran from 2000 to 2005 at Lotus’s Hethel factory in Norfolk.

Thanks for joining me on this “Vauxhall VX220” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !