Tag Archives: Abecassis

Standing Start World Records – ERA R2A

In 1934 the second works ERA today’s featured chassic R2A was built up for Humphrey Cook, the teams primary source of funding, to drive.

Initially the car was fitted with an 1,100 cc motor and Humphrey drove the car to a debut win in a handicap event at Brooklands before setting standing start world records for it’s class over kilometer and mile distances.

ERA R2A, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Laguna Seca

Humphrey continued to race R2A until his retirement from racing in September 1935 by which time the chassis had been driven in Europe with a 1500 cc / 91.5 cui motor, which has been retained in the chassis since 1936.

Nicky Embiricos bought R2A the following season an he had Giulio Ramponi fit Tecnauto independent suspension, Nicky crashed the car in it’s first race after the modifications were completed and promptly retired from racing.

R2A has retained the independent front suspension ever since but was fitted with further modified body work under the ownership of George Abecassis from 1946 to 1948 and then finally lowered while in the care of Ted Lloyd-Jones from 1956 to 1957.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for kindly arranging to share Karl Krause’s photograph of R2A taken at Laguna Seca during last years Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

Thanks for joining me on this “Standing Start World Records” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again for Mercedes Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Unique GT Coupé – HWM Jaguar GT Coupé

After the ’39 – ’45 war Hersham and Walton Motors (HWM) was operate by partners George Abecassis and John Heath. For the 1948 season John, a self taught engineer, built an Alta powered Special called an HW Alta which they both raced with some success.

The following season an open wheel HW Alta was built and encouraged by it’s success they built the first four HWM cars for the 1950 season, three works cars and one for a privateer, which could run in open wheel or closed wheel form.

HWM Jaguar GT Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

20 year old Stirling Moss was given his first break, beyond 500cc Formula 3, by the team and scored two third place finishes at Reims and Bari despite a lack of reliability and power from the Alta motors.

One of the original works cars retains it’s an Alta motor to this day, another became the first HWM Jaguar and the third went to Hollywood and became the Stovebolt Special.

HWM Jaguar GT Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

With the profits from selling their cars at the end of 1950 the team built new open wheel Formula Two cars for the 1951 and ’52 seasons but there competitiveness dwindled against the likes of Ferrari.

In 1953 HWM built another sports car now powered by a Jaguar motor with which George won a race at Snetterton. HWM focused on building and running Jaguar powered cars until 1956 when John Heath died from injuries sustained after an accident in the rain on the Mille Miglia.

HWM Jaguar GT Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

Thereafter George decided to focus on running the trading side of HWM which had become an Aston Martin dealer in 1951 and has remained so to this day to become the oldest Aston Martin dealership in the world.

The final HWM is today’s featured Jaguar powered HWM GT Coupé built, with unique bodywork the design of which is credited to Aston Martin’s Frank Feeley, as a road car which show’s how HWM might have progressed but for the unfortunate turn of events on the Mille Miglia.

Thanks for joining me on this “Unique GT Coupé” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Formula One BRM. Don’t forget to come back now !


High Class Motor Business – Aston Martin DB2

David Brown Engineering Limited was founded in 1860 to manufacture gears and gearboxes in Huddersfield, by 1898 the company was specialising in machine cut gears. Percy and Frank Brown took over the business when their father died in 1903 and expanded production to include bearings, and worm gears. During the 1914-’18 war they also built propulsion units for warships.

Aston Martin DB2, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

In 1931 (later Sir) David Brown became managing director after his father died and in 1936 the company entered into a partnership with Harry Ferguson to build agricultural tractors. By the end of the thirties Brown and Ferguson parted ways and Brown launched a new tractor design in 1939 of which over 7,000 would be built.

Aston Martin DB2, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

In 1947 after seeing an advertisement in The Times offering a “High Class Motor Business” David Brown bought Aston Martin, then Lagonda the following year and the Tickford coachbuilder, in to whose premises Aston Martin production would be moved, in 1955.

Aston Martin DB2, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

David Browns ownership of Aston Martin led to the DB prefix for models, a 2 litre sports car manufactured from 1948 to 1950 was retrospectively known as the DB1. The Aston Martin DB2 replaced the 2 litre using a upgraded DB 1 chassis to take a 2.6 litre / 158 cui development of the twin overhead cam straight six engine which W O Bentley and William (Willie) Watson had originally designed for Lagonda.

Aston Martin DB2, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Three Aston Martin DB2’s were sent to Le Mans in 1950, George Abecassis and Lance Macklin finished fifth overall ahead of Charles Brackenbury and Reg Parnell to score a one – two class victory.

Aston Martin DB2, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

A car tested with the Frank Feeley designed coupé body was tested in 1950 and shown to be capable of reaching 60 mph from rest in 11.2 seconds with a top speed of 116 mph. In all 411 DB2’s were built between 1950 and 1953.

Today’s featured 1952 DB2 is seen at an Avenue Drivers Club meeting earlier this year.

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


Stovebolt Special – HWM Chevrolet #49 ?

HWM Stovebolt Special, Pebble Beach, Carlyle Blackwell

Photo Carlyle Blackwell, Publised Courtesy Blackwell Archive, for sales enquiry’s please e-mail infoATpsychoontyres.co.uk and your contact details will be forwarded to the Blackwell Archive.

On Wednesday when I started today’s blog I thought lovely black car rare make, probably not too much history. As you’ll see below I could not have been more wrong in my assessment of the task ahead.

Hersham and Walton Motors (HWM) acquired an Aston Martin Dealership in 1951 reputedly making it the oldest such franchise.

Racing drivers & HWM owners George Abecassis and John Heath first built a streamlined body on an Alta sports car chassis in 1948.

The first proper HWM’s were also 4 cylinder Alta powered and built for the second tier European open wheel series called Formula 2 in 1950.

This is one of those 1950 open wheel cars allegedly driven by none other than Sir Stirling Moss at the start of his career.

Thanks to information passed on by David McKinney, it appears that this vehicle still fitted with an Alta engine was purchased in 1953 by 20th Century Fox and used in the film ‘The Racers‘ staring Kirk Douglas and Bella Darvi, this film was also known as ‘Such Men Are Dangerous’ in some countries.

During filming the car was heavily damaged, later Tom Carsten purchased all the vehicles from the film, selling most of them on, but keeping the HWM because it had independent suspension and fitting it with a 302cui /4900 cc Chevrolet V8 which was then bored out to 4994 cc / 305 cui by Edelbrock.

The car was also fitted with a quick change rear axle and experimental disc brakes by Hallibrand.

Bill Pollack, seen in this photograph by Carlyle Blackwell, confirmed as having to be at Pebble Beach by Bill himself, is known to have driven the at least twice in 1956 during which time chassis acquired the nome de course ‘Stovebolt Special’.

Bill was a regular winner at events such as Pebble Beach (two times), Golden Gate Park, Reno, Torrey Pines, Stockton, Madera, Willow Springs, Palm Springs, and the Santa Barbara road races, the most famous of which was in an Allard J2 at Pebble Beach from which his book ‘Red Wheels and White Sidewalls‘ takes it’s title.

JB Miltonian informs me that a version of this photo with the driver in an obviously retouched red shirt appeared on the cover of Sports Car Illustrated in September 1956 with the caption “Rounding the last turn at Pebble Beach is Bill Pollack in the latest Carstens bomb, the HWM-Chev V8. A complete breakdown of the car starts on p12. Ektachrome is by Carlyle Blackwell.”

The Stovebolt Special is known to have been raced until at least 1963.

In 1980 John Matherson restored the car which appeared in the Pebble Beach Concours in 2003.

HWM Stovebolt Special, Alan Raine

As seen in this photo by Alan Raine most recently the Stovebolt Special has reappeared in the UK driven by Simon Taylor.

According to one source Simon’s car is now listed as having a 5737 cc / 347 cui motor.

There is some disagreement as to the chassis number of the Stovebolt Special with options including #49 – 001 ,49/02 and even FB 102, should Simon Taylor get in touch I’ll ask him and add a post script.

My thanks to Carlyle Blackwell for the photo, Ed and Steve Arnaudin who kindly sent it on to me and TNFers David McKinney, Alan Raine, fnqvmuch, Tim Murray, Roger Lund, Mark Godfrey, JB Miltonian, and Vince H, who helped reveal the story behind the ‘Stovebolt Special’.

Please keep the Arnaudin family in your thoughts and prayers at this time.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Stovebolt Special edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

28 07 12 PS My thanks to Pamela Blackwell who has kindly retrospectively given me permission to post the photo’s her father took.