Tag Archives: Sports

Christmas Window Shopping – Hall & Hall

Last week I got a phone call from Ted “Ferret Fotographics” Walker asking if I’d like to accompany him on a 300 mile round trip to Bourne, Lincs and back to visit Hall & Hall where he had some cars to inspect. I accepted on the basis that this might be an interesting window shopping trip, and as you shall see below it was close to the ultimate Christmas window shopping trip for petrol heads and race fans.

Mercedes 300SL, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Among the cars I was kindly allowed to photograph was the Donington Collection’s 1952 Gullwing Mercedes 300 SL complete with experimental roof mounted wing that was around 15 years ahead of it’s time, this car was tried in practice, but not raced, for the 1952 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Delhaye 235 Chapron Coupé, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Moving chronologically on this 1953 Delahaye 235 Coupé with a standardised Chapron body at a price when new of FF3,800,000 cost twice as much as the much faster contemporary Jaguar XK120.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Pierre Dumay and Jo Schlesser drove this Ferrari 250 GT SWB, chassis #2127, to a second place finish overall in the 1960 Tour de France, it’s last known in period race was in the 1964 6h Dakar race in which “Cicoira” drove it to a 3rd place finish.

Lotus 48, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Unknown to all but a select few at Ford, Cosworth and Lotus the Lotus 48 was powered by a sign of things to come. The 48 was campaigned successfully in Formula Two and Jackie Oliver drove one to a fifth place finish in the 1967 German Grand Prix against cars with engines nearly twice the size and around a third more horsepower. The Cosworth FVA motor, which dominated Formula 2 from 1966 to 1972, has a four valve head, that was developed as part of Ford’s contract with Cosworth that would give birth to the Ford Cosworth DFV. The DFV in turn dominated the top tier of motor sport from 1969 until 1983 during which time the DFV motors powered 11 Drivers championship winners interrupted on three occasions only by Ferrari. This is one of several cars currently for sale on the Hall & Hall website linked here.

Alfa Romeo T33, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

The 1967 270 hp V8 powered Alfa Romeo T33 ‘Periscope’ was first used in competition by Belgian Teodro Zeccolini in his home country for a hill climb event at Fleron which he promptly won. By 1975 a flat 12 version of the T33 had been developed that won the Sports Car World Championships in 1975 and 1977.

Porsche 911T, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

German born Kenyan Edgar Hermann bought this Porsche 911T early in 1967 in preparation for an attempt on the 1968 East African Safari rally but when the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon was announced he returned it to the factory to be prepared for the longer event in which he finished 15th. Hermann sold the car to Australian Porsche importer Alan Hamilton who converted it to RHD and drove in Australian Rally events until 1970. In 1987 this 911 had a second wind and was driven to a Class C championship win in the Australian Porsche Cup.

Matra Ford MS80, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

From 1969 was one of Jackie Stewarts World Drivers and World Constructors Championship winning Matra MS 80s, powered by a Ford Cosworth DFV as heralded by the Cosworth FVA. Team owner Ken Tyrrell managed to do deals with Matra to use their chassis, and at Stewarts insistence Ford to use the Ford Cosworth DFV for the 1968 and 1969 seasons. These deals were remarkable because Matra were trying to develop their own V12 for Formula One at the time.

BRM P153, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

While I was window shopping two V12 powered cars from 1970 took my fancy the first was this BRM P153 chassis #3 according to the Hall & Hall website, these cars were the first of three race winning designs by Tony Southgate, Pedro Rodriguez drove a car like this to victory at the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa at an average speed of 149.9 mph. Chassis #03 was driven by George Eaton in 1970 who’s best performance was a 9th place finish in the Canadian Grand Prix, Howden Ganley drove the car in 1971, his seasons best result 4th in the non Championship Spring Trophy at Oulton Park . Sweden’s Reine Wisell and Spains Alex Soler-Roig both qualified the car for a race each in 1972 but neither finished which left Austria’s Dr Helmut Marko to drive for the last time in the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix where he finished 8th.

Matra MS650, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

According to the best sources I have the 1970 V12 Matra MS650 chassis #02 above has been used in just 6 events, unsurprisingly most of those who drove the car are French the three exceptions being Dan Gurney, who shared the it with Francois Cevert to record a 12th place finish in the 1970 Sebring 12 hours, Jack Brabham who shared the car with Cevert and retired from the 1970 Le Mans 24 hours and Algerian Bernard Fiorentino who shared the car with Maurice Grélin when it failed to finish the 1971 Tour de France. Chassis #02 was shared by Henri Pescarolo, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Johnny Rives for the cars career best 2nd place finish, behind the sister car driven by Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Patrick Depailler and Jean Todt, on the 1970 Tour de France carrying the registration 197WS75 as seen above.

Ligier JS17, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Finally there were two 1981 cars which grabbed my attention, first this Ligier JS17, powered by a fabulous sounding Matra V12, not sure which of the 5 JS 17’s built this is but Jacques Laffite drove the type to victory in the 1981 Austrian and Canadian Grand Prix which gave Laffite an outside chance of wining the title going into the final race of the season held in the car park at Caesers Palace. A 6th place finish meant Jacques secured his third consecutive career best 4th place in the championship.

Lotus Ford 81, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

I’ll be publishing a full blog about the Cosworth DFV powered Lotus 87 on 29th of December, the car seen here is chassis #87/R4, also currently offered for sale, was driven in 1981 by Nigel Mansell. Like many cars of this era it is probably more reliable now than it was in period .

I’ll save the best car in the building as a surprise, it was a prototype Friday car and it was a dream come true to see it in person. Don’t forget to tune in this Friday to find out what it was.

My thanks to Ted Walker for inviting me to join him on his trip to Hall & Hall and to Rick Hall for letting me take photographs of some of the vehicles in his care.

Wishing Abba Kogan, whom I believe owns some of the vehicles seen in these photographs, a swift recovery from his injuries, sustained in the Baku City Challenge, Azerbaijan recently.

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


Grand Finals – Castle Combe

On Saturday I popped along to Castle Combe for the Grand Finals meeting where the sun was trying in vain to dissipate the clouds, but the fine quality of the racing made up for it’s inadequacies.

Reynard/Fisher Spectrum/Moyers, FF1600, Castle Combe

The afternoons racing got off to a scintillating start with the Drive Soutwest and Empire EV Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600, Kent engines, Championship, in which Josh Fisher starting from third on the grid in his 1989 #81 Reynard engaged in a thrilling battle with pole sitter Michael Moyers driving the #125 Spectrum 11c that was twenty years younger than the Reynard.

Josh took the lead on lap six, relinquished it for the next two laps before grabbing it for good on lap 9, Josh is seen above exceeding track limits as he takes the flag after 15 thrilling laps by just 0.212 of a second from Michael, Roger Orgee clinched the championship, 41 years after his farther Roger Snr, won the same championship at he same track, with a third place finish.

BMW 320i, Swaffer, Wileman, Palmer, Davison, Castle Combe

The penultimate round of the Toyo Tyres Production BMW championship saw Gary Feakin and Harry Goodman storm away from the rest and leaving the #145 of Matthew Swaffer, #131 of Matthew Wileman, #8 of Mark Palmer and #17 driven by William Davison to squabble over the final place on the podium in another entertaining race.

When the dust settled William finished third behind Harry but ahead of Matthew Wileman, Rob Cooper and Mark while Matthew Saffer retired the #145, Gary’s win sealed the championship in his favour with one round, run later in the afternoon, to go.

Spire GT3, Tim Gray, Castle Combe

Nottingham’s Tim Gray drove his #96 Spire GT3 to set a pole time for the Castle Combe Sports Racing Series race over three and a half seconds ahead of fellow front row starter Robert Gillman in his #66 Radical Prosport.

It was hardly surprising there for that the closest anyone got to Tim was on the warm up lap when the race ended Robert was 53 seconds ahead of the #12 Radical SR4 driven by Darcey Smith who remained the only unlapped runner, hopefully next year Simon Tilling might bring his Radical out to play in what could be a competitive series.

Audi Hutchings, Volkswagen Scaramanga, Castle Combe

Dave Scaramanga, driving the #6 Volkswagen Scirocco from 9th on the grid, accepted some responsibility for killing Tony Hutchings opportunity to clinch the Class A title of the On Pole Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship after a coming together with the #33 Audi TT a couple of hundred yards after the photo above was taken, leaving Gary Prebble to win the class championship unchallenged in his SEAT Leon 20V T.

Earlier in the race Dave missed the same Bobbies chicane where he came together with Tony on the penultimate lap, after 19 years of trying Mark Wyatt secured his first championship with his class B Vauxhall Astra.

Brabham Thompson, March Armer, Castle Combe

Like Dave Scaramanga, Simon Armer also misjudged Bobbies chicane on the opening lap of the first of two HSCC Historic Formula 3 Races, Simon driving the #22 March 703 is seen making up time as he looks to deprive the #65 Brabham BT21 driven by Peter Thompson of the second place on lap 3 on his way to victory.

Legendary club motorsports journalist and racer Marcus Pye in the commentary box informed us that the Simon’s March belonged to Tom Walkinshaw, who went on to found Tom Walkinshaw Racing with which he won the 1984 European Touring Car Championship at the wheel of a TWR Jaguar before taking Jaguar back to Le Mans in 1986 which resulted in wins for the marque in 1988 and 1990.

Spectrum/Moyers, Reynard/Fisher, FF1600, Castle Combe

The Formula Ford boys made a second appearance at the meeting for the non championship Formula Ford Carnival which again saw a close battle between Michael Moyers and Josh Fisher, this time Michael did not give an inch and won the 15 lap adrenaline rush by less than a second, for his two entertaining drives in such an ancient machine Josh quite rightly won the man of the meeting award.

Ginetta Krayem, Mazda Putt, Castle Combe

Bristol’s Oliver Bull driving a Ford powered Vauxhall Tigra Silhouette in class B of the Avatar Sports Cars Castle Combe Sports and GT Championship managed to secure the overall title with an incident free drive to second overall from pole. Claimants for the win included Barry Squibb who took the lead on the opening lap only to retire his fire belching Mitsubishi Evo on lap 3 which handed the lead to the fearsome 7 litre / 427 cui V8 powered Zilla Killa Mazda RX7 driven by Steve Putt who started second on the grid.

4th place starter David Krayem, driving a 3.5 litre / 213 cui V8 powered Ginetta G50 is seen above at Quarry having just taken the lead, which he held until the end of the race, from Steve with three laps to go.

BMW 320i, Feakins, Goodman, Wileman, Davison, Castle Combe

Gary Feakin #2, Harry Goodman #4 and William Davison #17 again deprived Matthew Wileman of a podium as they finished the second Toyo Tyres Production BMW championship in the same order as the first, Matthew held third place in the #131 until lap 5 before giving way to the William in another event full of close racing through out the field.

March 703, Simon Armer, Castle Combe, Castle Combe

Simon Armer made no mistakes in the second HSCC Formula 3 race in which he smoked the field and led from start to finish to win by just over 3 seconds, although the finishing order with Peter Thompson and Michael Scott finishing second and third the battle was never certain until the checkered flag was shown.

Ginetta Kraymen, Audi Hall, Castle Combe

Finally the Castle Combe Sports and GT’s came out to play with the Castle Combe Saloons for a bit of end of term fun, Steve Hall in the #19 Audi TT starting from 5th on the grid made the move on David Kraymen seen above as they approach the The Esses stick and led the opening lap before relinquishing the lead back to David who won the race by 2.5 seconds from the Audi with Adam Prebbles steel bodied Rover Tomcat a highly entertaining 3rd ahead of the Audi TT driven by Tony Hutchings.

With another full day of motorsport planned in Wales for the following day I declined the kind invitation to all to attend a party at the Strawford Centre where no doubt a good time was had by all.

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


Four Cylinder Zenith – Plymouth PB Sports Roadster

Six months before production of the Plymouth PA came to an end production of the PB commenced on February 4th 1932.

Plymouth PB, California,

The PB would be the last 4 cylinder model using the same 196 cui / 3.2 litre 4 cylinder motor inherited from both the PA and earlier U series Plymouths, though now with oil filters fitted as standard equipment.

Plymouth PB, California,

The 109″ chassis was the same wheel base as the PA and U series to but with X pattern cross bars for additional chassis rigidity.

Plymouth PB, California,

The hydraulic brakes were also upgraded to a centrifuse type featuring steel drums with fused cast iron friction surfaces.

It is believed that 2,163 PB Convertible Coupés were built like the example seen here in a California car park, though they were only available new from the factory painted; Black with either Black or Casino Red mouldings, Limousine Blue No. 4, Uhlan Gray, Merrimac Beige, or Biscay Sand, bodies, the 4 cylinder PB’s would be replaced by 6 cylinder PC’s and PD’s in 1933.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs.

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


Ian’s Great Escape – Oulton Park Gold Cup

At the weekend I took a break from attending the Gold Cup on Monday as in recent years and went on the Sunday, my decision was influenced by slightly larger grids for the races and slightly better weather, I was rewarded with a short lie in and a great day’s racing which kicked off when Tim Murray and I visited the press office where we were greeted with a warm welcome and great cup of coffee by friends made over several years on The Nostalgia Forum.

Morgan, Kivlochan, Ginetta, Ward Booth, Lotus, Barter, Ginetta Boland, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

After a quick visit of the pit area we made our way to Deer Leap for the 10 lap Oni Plc Historic Road Sports race which was led on the opening lap by front row starter Kevin Kivlochan in the #98 Morgan Plus 8 seen above already in second place on lap two. Pole starter Julian Barter driving the #51 Lotus Elan S4 completed the opening lap in 4th but recovered to relieve the races second leader Roger Waite in another Lotus Elan on lap 5, the red #32 Ginetta G4 driven by Patrick Ward Booth finished 3rd ahead of Kevin’s Morgan and the blue #27 Ginetta G4 driven by Dave Boland.

Lightening Envoyette, Peter Moreton, Lotus 22 Andy Hibberd, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

We moved to the inside of Lodge for the next couple of races. Above Peter Moreton had an electric opening lap in the first of the two Silverline Historic Formula Junior races leading the field from 4th on the grid in his #75 Lightening Envoyette, front row starter Andrew Hibberd in the #179 Lotus 22 completed the opening lap in third and is seen above lining up to relieve Peter of the lead for good at the end of lap 3, John Fyda driving a Brabham BT6 finished second ahead of Peter with less than 6 seconds covering the top three after 20 mins of close racing.

TVR Griffith, Gardner/Cox, Mike Whitaker, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Mike Gardiner and Dave Cox qualified their #77 TVR Griffith on pole for the HSCC Guards Trophy supported by Dunlop Tyres GT Race but there was no stopping Mike Whitaker in the similar #46 TVR seen above about to take the lead at the end of the 2nd lap which he would hold onto until pitting on lap 11 handing over the lead to the similarly Ford 289 powered AC Cobra driven by Robert Bremner. After the pit stops had cycled through Mike Whitaker led until the end of the race ahead of the Gardiner / Cox TVR and Robert in the over steering (loose) AC.

Brabham BT21, March 703 Simon Armer, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

By the end of the 40 min GT race Tim and I had made our way over to the inside of Old Hall from whence we watched the start of the first of two The Cubicle Centre Historic Formula 3 races. Fourth place starter Steve Seaman in his #26 Brabham BT21 nipped through to lead the opening 4 laps of this race from pole man Simon Armer driving the #22 March 703 who is seen above about to pass Steve to claim the lead which he held onto to take the flag a gnats over 17 seconds ahead of Micheal Scott’s Brabham BT28. Steve came home forth behind clear championship leader Leif Bosson driving another Brabham BT28.

Chevron B37, Neil Glover, March 742, Mark Dwyer, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

One of the highlights of the weekend was seeing Neil Glover driving the one off 5 litre / 302 cui 1976 Chevron, celebrating it’s fiftieth anniversary this year, B37 F5000 car which he qualified second for the first of the weekends Derek Bell Trophy races behind the 2 litre / 122 cui 1974 March 742 Formula 2 car driven by Mark Dwyer. Neil snatched the lead for the opening 3 laps of the race with Mark snapping at his heals in the nimble March who finally grabbed the lead on the third lap and pulled out a nearly six second advantage when a major incident between Denton’s and Cascades required the red flag to be shown on the 8th lap.

Ian Ashley, Derek Bell Trophy, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

5th place starter 67 year old former Grand Prix driver Ian Ashley driving the #188 Lola T300 Formula 5000 car came down the chute between Denton’s and Cascades for the 8th time in 4th place behind the Clubmans Mallock driven by Mike Charteris when he came across a hapless lapped Brian Cullen driving a 1970 1600 cc Formula 2 spec #18 Crosslé 19F. Just after the Denton’s right hand kink Ian clipped the left rear wheel of the Crosslé with his right front and went flying down the track until his rear end hit the retaining barriers which sent the car into a barrel roll before landing on it’s right side and then came to rest miraculously the right way up. Fortunately Ian was able to release himself from the remains of his Lola unaided and gave spectators a thumbs up to a good dose of applause, neither driver suffered any injury that I know of.

 Jaguar E-type, Micheal Wilkinson, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

After the dramatic low’s and high’s of the incident the 40 min Jaguar Heritage race passed by in relative tranquility. The third place starting #50 E-type of Michael Wilkinson and John Bussel took over a commanding lead with 6 laps to go, when Martin O’Connel’s pole winning E-type retired 1 lap after his compulsory pit stop, to finish over a minuet and a half clear of Paul Castaldini who was just third placed pairing of Dave Coyne and Robert Gate who made it an all E-type podium as several of the cars struggled to the end with smoking brakes, exhausts and or transmissions.

Lenham P69 Waggitt/Needham, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Normal service returned with the Guards Trophy supported by Dunlop Tyres Sports Racing cars race. On the opening lap 5th place starter Jon Waggitt was the man on the move with the #33 Lenham P69 seen here followed by the pole sitting and eventual winning #18 Elva Mk 7, driven by Maxim Bartel and Callum Grant, ready to pounce by the front row starting #6 Chevron B6 driven by Nick Thompson and Sean McClurg. Jon kept the lead for all of two laps before the #18 reasserted qualifying form and went on to win the 40 min race by over 8 seconds from the #33 Lenham that Jon shared with Peter Needham that finished a further 5 seconds ahead of the Chevron B8 driven by Charles Allison. In the back ground seventh place starter Marcus Mussa spins his #88 McLaren Elva M1B going into the Hislops chicane.

70's Road Sports, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The 20 min 70’s Road Sports Bob Trotter Celebration Race may have been shorter than some, but provided the most closely contested victory as second place starter Jim Dean made the running over the first five laps in his little green #72 Lotus Europa, eventual winner, by just .089 of a second, was Charles Barter whose powerful blue #24 Datsun 240Z started 3rd but had to take to the escape road going into Hislops on the opening lap in order to avoid the spinning 5th place starting Lotus Elan driven by Iain Daniels. Jim finished 2nd just under 5 seconds ahead of the light green #1 TVR Tuscan driven by Peter Shaw.

March 703, Simon Armer, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

The starting grid for the second Cubicle Centre Historic Formula 3 race was exactly the same as the first, unusually the finishing order of the first race played no part in the starting order for the second, once again it was third place starter Steve Seaman in the Brabham BT21 who went into the lead on the opening lap, but this time he held onto it until lap 6 before a determined Simon Armer found away past for the final two laps of the race which he finished just over half a second ahead of Steve and nearly 8 seconds ahead of Michael Scott.

Historic Formula Junior, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

The grid for the final race of the day, second Silverline Historic Formula Junior race was determined by the finishing order of Junior race one, but pole sitter Andrew Hibberd finished the opening lap in third as the electric Peter Moreton again led with John Fyda between them. Andrew is seen above having just taken the lead from Peter who was demoted to third as John followed Andrew to take second on lap 3. The order remained the same until the end of the race with the top three again finishing less than six seconds apart with plenty of entertaining battles through the field to keep the results uncertain until the very end of a great day’s racing.

Thanks for joining me on this “Ian’s Great Escape” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Don’t forget to come back now !


Giordanengo Replica TR – Ferrari 250 GT #0611GT

Sitting on the Coy’s stand at the Autosport International show a couple of months ago was this eye catching Ferrari, the car appears to be part of the Coys showroom stock and acted as eye candy for the Coy’s stand despite not being entered into the auction.

Ferrari 250 GT, Coys, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

This particular 1956 Ferrari chassis #0611GT started out as the 53rd Boano low roof coupé bodied 250GT of a total of 88 built, a left hand drive model originally sold new to Mario Machiarelli of Genova, Italy.

Ferrari 250 GT, Coys, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

By 1988 a Mr Robert Fehlmann, whom I believe once raced a rare, if not unique,Ghia Supersonic bodied Conrero and ran a garage business in Altenhaus Switzerland, owned #0611GT.

Ferrari 250 GT, Coys, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

Fehlmann had the Boano body on #0611GT replaced by highly respected restoration specialist Giovanni Giordanengo of Cuneo Italy with a likeness of a Le Mans winning 250 Testa Rossa Scaglietti pontoon body with right hand drive.

Ferrari 250 GT, Coys, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

It is believed of the 33 original 250TR’s, which can fetch upwards of $10 million, as many as 46 exist today some unsurprisingly with disputed identities.

Ferrari 250 GT, Coys, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

Sources I have seen suggest a car like #0611GT featured today would have cost around #150,000 to build excluding the cost of the donor car.

Ferrari 250 GT, Coys, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

In 1990 #0611GT was bought by Peter Heuberger of Oberramsern in Switzerland.

Ferrari 250 GT, Coys, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

Peter is known to have driven the car at classic events at the Nurburgring and Montreux up until at least 2002.

Ferrari 250 GT, Coys, Autosport International, NEC, Birmingham

It is unlikely that this car will handle or perform anything like as well as a well maintained original 250TR which it imitates, but at less than 1/50th of the cost of an original it will probably turn just as many heads.

Thanks for joining me on this “Giordanengo Replica TR” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a Liege Trials Car. Don’t forget to come back now !


Floreat Lindum – F.L. Automobiles of Paris Sports

Over the last few years I have come across Ron Birkett’s F.L. Sports several times and yesterday it was time to bite the bullet and find out what an F.L. Sports was.

After several hours I came up with not a lot, to be precise plenty of photo’s of today’s featured car, mention of a 1911 F.L. Torpédo that was auctioned so long ago in France there are no longer any photos of it on the web and two adverts the first from June 1912 and another depicting a 1909 12 hp 4 cylinder model that might have some relevance to the subject of this blog.

F.L. Sports, Brooklands Double Twelve

If there is an F.L. Owners club they are keeping a very low web profile. It would appear that the F.L. story begins with an organisation called Compagnie Française de Moteurs à Gaz which for 20 years manufactured stationary Otto 4 stroke motors perfected and designed by Nikolaus Otto and his partner Eugen Langen.

Between 1900 and 1914 Compagnie Française de Moteurs à Gaz got involved in the manufacture of motor cars through a company called Societé Générale des Voitures Automobiles Otto of Paris which were branded Otto, not to be confused with a brand of the same name manufactured in Philadelphia from 1909 to 1912.

F.L. Sports, Birkett, Prescott

A Mr de la Frennaye came across an engineer called M Serex who had designed a simple yet reliable machine and de la Frennaye negotiated a licence for Societé Générale des Voitures Automobiles Otto of Paris to manufacture it.

To differentiate the Serex designed car from the Ottos, which appear to have gone out of production by 1909, Societé Générale des Voitures Automobiles Otto of Paris invented a new brand F.L. Automobiles of Paris, F.L. being a phonetic spelling eff ell of Eiffe, as in the Parisian Tower, a symbol of technological progress which appears on the F.L. badge.

F.L. Sports, Birkett, Prescott

From at least 1908 F.L. manufactured vehicles with 2.4 litre / 146 cui 4 cylinder motors and from 1912 3.6 litre / 219 cui 6 cylinder motors that were fitted to vehicles with Landaulet, Double Phaeton, Coupe de Ville, Roadster bodies.

It would appear Mr de la Frennaye had good connections with Russia so it is possible some of these vehicles may have been sold there. Production of the F.L. marque came to a halt in 1914 with the onset of the 1914-18 Great War.

F.L. Sports, Brooklands Double Twelve

Today’s featured car was originally sold in 1909 and still bearing it’s original licnece plate number was sold to a lady in County Galway she sold it in 1914 and records of its 2nd and 3rd keepers in Ireland are known up until 1919.

When the chassis of today’s car was discovered in Nottinghamshire in 1998 it emerged that the English F.L. Agents RM Wright & Co of Lincoln sold F.L. vehicles with a different badge RM Wright & Co Licence Serex appeared around the out side, the FL letters within, but the Eiffel Tower illustration replaced by one of Lincoln Cathedral, and the Latin words “Floreat Lindum”, Flower Of Lincoln, appeared above and below the overlapping FL letters.

F.L. Sports, Brooklands Double Twelve

Starting with a bare chassis and no motor Ron Birkett has built the car up into a two seater runabout which was completed and put back on the road with it’s original licence plate number in 2001.

This vehicle is officially listed with a 3 litre / 183 cui motor, a size which I have not otherwise heard about in connection with the Marque and given that the chassis was found sans motor in 1998 it is possible the motor is of a similar period but different make. If you can put me out of my misery please do not hesitate to chip in below.

F.L. Sports, Birkett, Prescott

Since starting this article it has emerged that a further circa 1908 F.L. fitted with a four seat tonneau body was known to reside in Australia in 1998. With no known production figures and just three examples known to have survived there may be a simple reason why the F.L. Owners Club keeps such a low profile.

F.L. Sports, Birkett, Prescott

My thanks to TNFer’s Tim Murray, Steven Lines and Udo Leischner for additional information about the Marque and to Udo again for finding this linked period photo of an FL 12/16hp.

Thanks for joining me on this “Floreat Lindum” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you’ll join me tomorrow when I’ll be looking at Force India’s 2013 season. Don’t forget to come back now !


Blue Velvet – Bentley Mk VI Special

In May 1946 Rolls Royce, owners of Bentley, announced that there subsidiary would be making an all new model known as the Mk VI standard steel sports saloon which would mark a break in several production traditions but which would maintain it’s air of exclusivity by becoming the the most expensive production car and the worlds fastest 4/5 seat saloon.

Bentley Mk VI Special, Blue Velvet, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

The novel feature for the marque and indeed the marques owners was the steel body, complete with sliding sunroof manufactured by Pressed Steel Ltd of Coventry which meant a Bentley no longer had to be sent to an independent coach works for a bespoke body before it was sold although that was an option pursued by around 20% of Mk VI customers between 1946 and 1952.

Bentley Mk VI Special, Blue Velvet, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

Initially from 1946 to to 1951 these cars were fitted with uprated straight F-head 6 cylinder 4.257 litre / 259 cui of Rolls Royce origin but with Bentley rocker covers. 4 1/4 litre engines were replaced by 4.566 litre / 278 cui 4 1/2 litre motors featuring twin exhausts in 1951.

Bentley Mk VI Special, Blue Velvet, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

Rolls Royce never gave away hp figures for it’s motors, but a contemporary report of a vehicle powered by the earlier motor related that top gear provided “flexibility down to 6 mph” and could “climb a hill of 1 in 9 maximum gradient, complicated by bends. A vehicle tested with the later motor was independently tested from rest to 60 mph in 15 seconds with a top speed of 100 mph.

Bentley Mk VI Special, Blue Velvet, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

To illustrate just how much demand there was for the Bentley Mk VI standard steel sports saloon a pre owned vehicle report in 1951 observed that a three year old 4 1/4 litre Mk VI with under 10,500 miles on the clock sold brand new for £4038 in 1948 and in 1951 was being offered for sale at £5,335, such was the quality of the car and the post ’39 – ’45 shortage of vehicles in the UK.

Bentley Mk VI Special, Blue Velvet, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

Over time the Mk VI’s Achilles Heel manifested itself when the quality of the steels used in the bodywork, proscribed by government edict in the post war aftermath, showed itself to be inferior. As a consequence many surviving Mk VI Bentley’s, like Blue Velvet seen here at the Bristol Classic Car Show, have been fitted with cheerful one off bodies displaying varying degrees of professionalism in their finish. With the loss of the weight of the original steel body one would imagine the performance while accelerating to be quite exhilarating.

Bentley Mk VI Special, Blue Velvet, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet

In all 4000 4 1/4 litre Mk VI’s like Blue Velvet were built with standard steel sports saloon bodies from 1946 to 1951 with an additional 832 being fitted with bespoke bodies from independent coach builders.

Thanks for joining me on this “Blue Velvet” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a sports pick up from Ford. Don’t forget to come back now !

Brighton Speed Trials Under Threat of Permanent Cancellation !

In their infinite wisdom, Brighton & Hove City Council are seeking to ban the Brighton Speed Trials from 2014.

If you care about speed and or motorsport history, please sign this linked petition to save Brighton Speed Trials in 2014 and beyond.

It’s a faf to Register before signing, but relatively painless compared to loosing the event which has been run with few interruptions since 1905.

You do not need to be resident in Brighton or even the UK to sign.

More on Brighton Speed Trials on this link.

Thanks and please spread the word through whatever social media you have at your disposal.

A tweet on the Save Brighton Speed Trials site this morning says that so far over 10,000 signatures have been received, thanks if you have responded, if not please do so you have until January 23rd, it would be nice to receive 100,000 signatures world wide.