Tag Archives: 2

Rebel With Out A Clue – FIAT 128 1100 2 Door Saloon

Today’s featured FIAT 128 1100 2 Door Saloon was first registered in the UK between 1st of August 1970 and the 31st of July 1971 we know this because of the ‘J’ suffix in the registration number, the 2nd and third letters CJ tell us that the car was first registered in the Norwich area about 100 miles North East of London.

In the Spring of 1978 my Grandmother came over to London from Germany and kindly gave me a small sum of cash to buy my first car.

My idea was to spend it on a cheap to run and insure Citroën 2CV which I knew from a friends experience had no go, but was great fun getting there all the same.

My civil engineer Dad had other idea’s, he did not want his one and only to be at risk driving a French tin can on wheels and promised to pay the insurance if I bought something a little more substantial.

I suggested a FIAT 124 like the one I had learned to drive in Zambia, but eventually settled for the front wheel drive 128 seen below which had made it’s way down from Norwich to Uxbridge.

FIAT 128, Haselmere,

The car was originally maroon, a scrape against a fence post was all the excuse I needed to invest heavily in body filler and spray paint to end up with the refrigerator white and bright red paint job seen above.

With hindsight it is amazing my lungs survived two days locked up in a tiny garage with 10 tins of spray paint and little if anything in the way of fume protection.

In case you are wondering I was trying to make the car look something like Niki Lauda’s 1976 Ferrari 312T2, with more time and perhaps a spot of green paint I am sure I would have got there… eventually !

All though the car had half an areal it did not come with a radio or speakers, so an old radio compact cassette combination system served as my ICE, in car entertainment.

Among the many excursions I made in the car I visited Silverstone for the 1978 USAC race won by AJ Foyt, 1979 Six Hour Race won by John Fitzpatrick, Hans Heyer and Brilliant Bob Wollek driving a Gelo Porsche 935 and the 1979 British Grand Prix won by Clay Regazzoni driving a Williams FW07.

Then there was Reading Rock ’79 where Mike and the mechanics with both Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel on stage, The Cure, Molly Hatchet, Motörhead, Scorpions, Eurythmics, the Police and DJ John Peel kept us entertained for my first weekend of unadulterated debauchery, it was so bad I could not remember my own phone number on the way home and finally Knebworth Park for the second of the two Led Zepplin gigs.

The following spring I was hoping to do more of the same, but although the car passed it’s MOT it started falling to bit’s after I gently parked it up a kerb outside a friends flat in Earls Court.

Later that evening I was visiting another friend down in Haselmere when strange noises started coming out of the front of the car, the suspension was collapsing.

I took it to a garage and they showed me that the frame to which the suspension arms were mounted was completely rotten and they advised me this was true on the other side and rather than bodge a repair I’d be better off spending the money on another car, reluctantly I agreed.

Thanks for joining me on this “Rebel Without A Clue” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the last of the current Saturday series of GN Specials. Don’t forget to come back now !


Narrowing Down The Options – Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series 2

Playing the identify the Ferrari in the picture Geoffrey Horton has sent me has proved a fun challenge over the last 5 or so years and so it was with today’s featured 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series 2 seen at the Blackhawk Museum.

Geoffrey kindly sent me a photo of the information board which identified the model but gave no details over which of the 204 Series 2 Cabriolet S2’s built between 1959 and 1962 today’s featured cars is.

Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet, Blackhawk Museum

To give me a clue as to which car this might be I turned to the on line Register of Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series 2’s published by Barchetta, which indicates that only 4 of these cars has been seen with white paintwork in recent years and all have full width front bumpers.

Of those one chassis #2737GT has a hard top and bumper overiders and so can be discounted, of the remaining three chassis #1775GT has it’s fog lights behind the decorative front grill and a tan interior and so can also be discounted.

Of the two remaining white cars chassis #1805GT can be differentiated from today’s car only by it’s tan interior which points to the possibility this car is chassis probably #1779GT which ticks all the identifying boxes available to me short of a photo of the chassis plate.

Barchetta does not have many details on the ownership of #1779GT except that the original owner appears to have been Gianni Agnelli who was of course the head of the FIAT empire.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photo, if you can confirm the identity of the car please do not hesitate to chip in below.

Thanks for joining me on this “Narrowing Down The Options” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be looking at a one off competition car. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Noisy Terror From Poissy – Simca 1000 Rallye 2 SRT 77

SRT the Simca Racing Team was founded in 1972 to “To restore the joy of young people participating in motorsport” for owners and fans of the Simca 1000 chaired by Daniel Cébile the club grew to have 4,000 members with in two years.

Simca 1000 Rallye 2 SRT 77, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Part of the clubs programme was to encourage members to compete in motorsports events with their vehicles in a variety of disciplines, unlike most manufacturer supported programmes of a similar nature it was not designed to manufacture professional drivers more to provide young drivers a framework within which to compete.

Simca 1000 Rallye 2 SRT 77, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

The SRT ’77 is the ultimate evolution of the Simca 1000 Rallye 2 which was a non street legal kit made available in 1977, the year before production of the entire Simca 1000 range was brought to a halt.

Simca 1000 Rallye 2 SRT 77, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

It comprised engine modifications which boosted the power output from 84hp of the standard Rallye 2 to 110hp including a noisy exhaust.

Simca 1000 Rallye 2 SRT 77, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Front and rear spoilers were also augmented by plastic wheel arches which enabled the fitting of wider tyres that included slicks for track applications.

Simca 1000 Rallye 2 SRT 77, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

The SRT ’77 Kit allowed Rallye 2 owners to move up from the production orientated Group 1 to the more racing orientated Group 2 class, perhaps the greatest exponent of the SRT ’77 was German Ernst Thierfelder who drove his SRT ’77 to victory in the first VLN championship, Langstreckenmeisterschaft, at the Nurbürgring in 1977.

The road registered SRT ’77 in these photographs was seen at the Classic Motor Show at the NEC Birmingham.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Noisy Terror From Poissy” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when we will be visiting the Niello Concours at Serrano. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Terror Of Poissy – Simca 1000 Rallye 2

Afrer a varied career, that started aged just 14 when his father disappeared, that included running the family transport business, selling war surplus motorcycles, experience in the coal import business and founding a business importing scrap steel from France to be recycled into FIAT’s in Italy Henri Théodore Pigozzi was appointed as FIAT’s man in France responsible for the distribution of, and later assembly of, FIAT’s for the French market aged just 28.

Henri founded Société Anonyme Français des Automobiles FIAT (SAFAF) to handle the work and purchased premises formerly used by Donnet to establish manufacturing operations in 1934 for a new entity the Société Industrielle de Mécanique et de Carrosserie Automobile (SIMCA) of which FIAT was the major share holder.

The “Simca Mille” was primarily designed by a team headed by Dante Giacosa and was chosen with FIAT’s blessing by Henri from a variety of four door concepts FIAT were exploring to expand the FIAT 500 and 600 series range into the up to 1 litre / 61.5 cui market segment.

Simca 1000 Rallye 2, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Former GM employee Mario Revelli de Beaumont and Felice Mario Boano were responsible for developing the Simca 1000 to production readiness in time for it’s launch in 1961, by which time FIAT had given up on the idea of launching it’s own four door model electing instead to go with another two door vehicle the FIAT 850 which was launched in 1964.

The Simca Mille remained in production until 1978 by which times variants had been built in France, Spain, Colombia and Morroco with 4 cylinder engines in the boot / trunk varying from 777cc / 47 cui to 1294 cui / 79 cui which were sold at a rate of over 100,000 a year up until 1974 with over 2 million examples built by 1978.

FIAT tuner Abarth started producing modified versions of the Simca Mille but they never went into regular production after SIMCA first bought Ford’s French interests and then itself came under the control of Chrysler’s European arm, however Simca started offering the 53hp, red only, Simca 1000 Rallye in 1970, which became known as the The terror from Poissy, where it was built, to fill the rear engine rear wheel drive gap left by the popular Renault 8 Gordini that was replaced by the front engine front wheel drive Renault 12 Gordini.

Simca 1000 Rallye 2, Frank Breidenstein, Oulton Park,

The next evolution of the Mille was the 60hp Rallye 1 which had a top speed of 96mph that was launched in 1972, today’s featured model the twin carburetor 82 hp Rallye 2 was built alongside the Rallye 1 and had a top speed of 100 mph and was the first Rallye to be fitted with 4 discs brakes as standard.

The Rallye 2 was used in touring car racing from 1973 to 1981 particularly in France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Spain and Germany during which time it recorded at least 11 class (1.3 litre / 79.3 cui) victories.

The #31 Rallye 2 seen in these photographs is driven by Daniel Burrows while I believe President of ”Simca Heckmotor (rear engine) Deutschland, Frank Breidenstein is seen at the wheel of the #131 during a track day at Oulton Park a few years ago.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Terror Of Poissy” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a Concours d’Elegance edition of Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”. Don’t for get to come back now !


Rally Day – Castle Combe

A couple of weekends ago I was driving around North East of Bristol when I noticed there seemed to be a lot of Sabaru Impreza’s, Mitsubishi EVO’s, Ford RS’s, the odd Mini, Peugeot 206 and Citroën Xsara headed off towards Castle Combe, not having a lot on that morning I decided to see what was going on and found myself attending the 15th Rally Day at Castle Combe.

 FIAT 126 Proto Honda CBR, Waldemar Janecki , Rally Day, Castle Combe

As I arrived there was some sort of open test session going on, one of the stars of which was Waldemar Janecki from Poland in his FIAT 126 Proto Honda CBR, he uses this 600 cc / 36 cui device in the Polish WRT Extreme Cup, for which I found no official web site on the net though there is no question that it exists, with Grzegorz Kwiecień in the co drivers seat.

Prototype, Rob / Dave Skone, Rally Day, Castle Combe

There are not many cars I know absolutely nothing about and after talking to the owner of the ‘Prototype’ above on facebook just now I’m not sure how much the wiser I am now. According to Dave Skone, who competes in the Safari Britpart Cross Country Challenge organised by the AWDC with his son Rob, “the car is a Matserati, aprox 15-16 years old, but was built with a Porsche 911 engine in it. I think it has had about 5 owners including myself ( and Rob my son ) the car was bought about 3 years ago and then rebuilt 2 years ago when we installed a 4.2 v8 supercharged Jag engine.” Obviously a man with a sense of humour, I shall endeavor to find out what the Safari Britpart Cross Country Challenge organised by the All Wheel Drive Club, AWDC, is all about at their next meeting which will be at Walters Arena Glynneath on the 11th of October.

Screamer, Rally Day, Castle Combe

The AWDC will be busy on October the 11th because they will also be organising an AVT, SVT and MOD trials at Old Down near Thorbury, South Glocestershire which is I understand the type of event where one might expect to see the 200 hp 3 litre / 183 cui Honda V6 powered Screamer 2 driven by Lee Pritchard who also built the all wheel drive, all wheel steer vehicle, above, in action.

Subaru Impreza WRX, Richard Knott, Rally Day, Castle Combe

For those not so technically minded who want to have a go at rallying for a minimal cost you could do worse than sign up for a 3 hour rally course at Castle Combe where Richard Knott, youngest winner of the AWMMC Championship aged 19 some years ago, will show you the ropes and analyse your skills at the wheel of the 2002 Group N Spec Subaru Impreza above for the bargain price of £165.

Volkswagen 1200, Bob Beales, Rally Day, Castle Combe

Over the past few years I have come across Bob Beales 1960 Volkswagen 1200 Bertie many times at various show’s but this was the first occasion on which I had seen the car, originally campaigned in 1960 by 1960 and 1961 British Rally Champion Bill Bengry and driven since 1965 in competition by Bob, in action. This car is so well known among the Rally fraternity Scalextric have issued a slot car model of it.

Ari Vatanen, Ford Escort RS100, Rally Day, Castle Combe

Finally star of the day was Ari Pieti Uolevi Vatanen the 2 twice British Rally Champion, 1981 World Rally Champion, 1983 Safari winner, four time Paris – Dakar winner and twice member of the European Parliament representing a Swedish constituency the first time and a French the second, both while living in France, who drove the same 1975 Mk II Ford Escort RS1800 he drove to win the 1976 British Rally Championship with Peter Bryant, on a couple of demonstration laps.

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


Tiger Or Purring Kitten – Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible

In response to the Buick Gran Sport package and Ford’s own Galaxy 500/XL Mercury built three Special line models, the S-22 Comet launched in 1961, the S-33 Meteor and S-55 Monterey such as the one seen here launched in 1962, the latter of which was only available with 2 door hard top or convertible body until 1963.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The most important feature of the S-55 was the choice of larger engines; 6.4 litre / 390 cui FE V8 which was offered with either 300 or 330 hp and the 6.7 litre / 406 FE aimed squarely at the drag racer with three 2 barrel Holley carburetors that produced 405 hp and 448 ft lbs of torque which enabled the car to accelerate from just 12mph to 120 mph top speed in the floor shifted top gear of the all synchromesh gear box, as one contemporary journalist reported “this is virtually a two gear automobile”.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Additional performance options included; cam-ground forged aluminum pistons, 15 different gear ratios from 3.00 to 8.83:1, limited slip differential, quick ratio steering for track racing and a list of cc’s for a series of deck clearances (distances from the top of block to top of pistons) added to which was the volume of the space the head gasket occupied, plus a range of cylinder head combustion chamber volumes, all essential information for the dedicated competitor.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Inside the S-55 featured the aforementioned floor stick shift that replaced the column shift of the more pedestrian Monterey’s, 2 bucket seats replaced the front bench seat, and the doors were fitted with novel for the period combination white and red lights which came on automatically when the doors were opened to both illuminate the door aperture and warn traffic approaching from behind that the door was open.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The front bucket seats folded flat so that one could stretch ones legs across them from the back seats, the purpose of which escapes me, but might have made camping in the car at night an option on long journey’s.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Deleted from the S-55 was the air conditioning and power assisted brakes all of which took power away from the motor and thus reduced competitiveness in competition, the S-55’s brakes and suspension were however uprated from the standard Monterey.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

One contemporary 405 hp S-55 test concluded that the vehicle was not far from the ad man’s fantasy of a cross between a tiger and a purring kitten and all one needed to appreciate the ’62 S-55 like the one seen in these photographs at last years Summer Classics at Easter Compton was a fondness for a smooth-operating performance and handling package.

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


Safari, Trekker, Kurierwagen, Thing – Volkswagen Type181

The Volkswagen Type 181 was born out of the incompetence of the Governments of West Germany, France and Italy to bring the Europa Jeep project to fruition. While the German military were waiting for this all wheel drive wonder mobile in 1968 the German Government approached Volkswagen to come with an interim vehicle which became the Type 181 seen today.

Volkswagen Type 181, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The Type 181 is based on a Karmann Ghia floor pan, a little wider than that used for the Beetle, and had running gear from the Volkswagen Type 2 which included reduction gears for the driven rear wheels that helped raise the ride height of the Type 181 to give it some off road capability.

Volkswagen Type 181, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Military Type 181’s were adopted my several NATO forces apart from Germany once the Europa Jeep project was abandoned in 1979.

Civilian versions of the Type 181 were first seen in Europe, Kurierwagen, and Mexico, Safari,in 1971 with US versions, Thing, appearing the following year. In 1975 Trekker versions of the Type 181 were sold in the UK but they were not popular and soon withdrawn from the UK market.

90,883 Type 181’s were built in Wolfsburg 1968–1974, Hannover,1974–1983, Puebla, Mexico 1970-1980, and Jakarta, Indonesia 1973 – 1980.

Note the Hannover built 1976 example seen in today’s photographs features a Porsche steering wheel and Porsche alloy wheels.

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