Tag Archives: Autumn Classic

Bob’s New Era – Cooper Bristol #CB/4/53

Severely short sighted Frederick Roberts “Bob” Gerard was born in 1914 into a family who business, Parr’s, a company that evolved from bicycle manufacture into the haulage.

Cooper Bristol T23, Russell, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

Bob’s first motoring event was the MCC Lands End Trial which he completed driving a Riley Nine an was awarded a Premier Award, Bob continued to successfully compete in trials and races at both Donington and Brooklands until the outbreak of war in 1939.

Cooper Bristol T23, Russell, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

After the war Bob continued competing, now with ERA R4A and later ERA R14B, in 1950 he finished the British Grand Prix in 6th with the latter and 6th at Monaco with the former.

Cooper Bristol T23, Russell, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

For 1953 Bob bought today’s featured Cooper chassis #CB/4/53 which was fitted with a six cylinder Bristol motor and designed to compete in 2 litre / 122 cui Formula 2 races, some of which were part of the World Drivers Championship in 1953 and 1954. Bob finished 11th in the 1953 French Grand Prix and 10th in the 1954 British Grand Prix diving this car, but experienced a good deal more success in British Formula Libre (all comers) events with it.

Cooper Bristol T23, Russell, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

On August 28th 1954 Bob drove this car to victory in the Hastings Trophy Formula Libre race at Castle Combe and beat a mighty V16 BRM in the process.

Cooper Bristol T23, Russell, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

Bob continued to race #CB/4/53 until 1956, with a slightly enlarged motor fitted he finished 11th in the 1956 British Grand Prix. His final British Grand Prix appearance was in 1957 when he drove a Cooper T43 to another 6th place finish.

CB/4/53’s second owner had a 2 litre supercharged ERA motor fitted and the car was later restored to it’s original condition as seen here at Castle Combe, with Steve Russell at the wheel, by Dick Crosthwaite.

Thanks for joining me on this “Bob’s New Era” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


CAD/CAM Body – Mitchell Special MkII

The last in the current series of Bristol Special blogs features the Mitchell Special Mk II concieved by Andy Mitchell of Mitchell Motors in Wiltshire as the ultimate Bristol.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

In 2008 Andy started by designing and building an FIA safety compliant space frame which makes use of axles, suspension and and steering from a wrecked Bristol 401.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

The block for the 1971cc / 120 cui motor was sourced from an even older Bristol 400. Apart from the block and cylinder head castings everything else is modern competition spec running to electronic ignition and an Eaton supercharger which brings the power up to 200hp.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

With the chassis and motor completed Andy approached an acquaintance Stuart Brown to design the body. Stuart had just finished 3D imaging every component of a Bugatti type 35 for The Bugatti Trust and was in possession of all the 3D imaging software needed to design a body for Andy on his computer.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

Andy started by taking Stuart of 50 50’s period sports cars he liked and another 50 of vehicles from the same period which he did not like.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

With the necessary measurements of the chassis Stuart came up with a design that went through 21 stages of refinement in consultation with Andy to arrive at the final design seen on the car today.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

It took just seven months for the body to be completed starting from Andy’s initial consultation with Stuart, which also included e-mailing the 3D images to woodworkers who fed the information into their CAM (computer aided manufacture) machine which cut a full size plywood buck around which Andy could from the aluminium body.

In May 2010 Andy started taking part in competitive VSCC (Vintage Sports Car Club) and AMOC (Aston Martin Owners Club ) events with his Mitchell Special Mk II, seen in these photographs at the Autumn Classic meeting at Castle Combe, recording at least one win and several placings.

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


Supercharged Teardrop Special – Bristol 406

Today’s featured car started life as a Bristol 406 first registered on the 13th of May 1959.

Bristol 406 Teardrop Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

By the late 1990’s the car had unusually for a Bristol become a derelict when Michael Waller decided to renovate the chassis which included shortening it by 11 inches and fitting a Bristol six cylinder motor 8 inches further back from it’s original position.

Bristol 406 Teardrop Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

The smaller and older, than a standard 406, 6 cylinder 1971 cc / 120 cui motor was supercharged by Martin Boon and Spencer Lane Jones to bring the power up from 125 hp to 200 hp.

Bristol 406 Teardrop Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Michael Waller commissioned Ken Arthur to form a body from aluminium inspired by Talbot Lago T150C SS with “Goutte d’Eau”, water drop, crafted by Parisian coach builders Figoni & Falaschi for Woolf Baranto in 1938.

Bristol 406 Teardrop Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

After ten years Michael’s vision was realised in the form of the unique vehicle seen in these photographs taken at the Autumn Classic at Castle Combe.

Thanks for joining me on this Supercharged Teardrop Special edition of “Gettin’ a little psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a another big banger Formula 5000 car built in Bolton, Lancashire. Don’t forget to come back now !


2014 Highlights – Motor Racing

45 years after I was taken to my first motor race meeting in the middle of Africa it is hard to believe that one of my greatest joy’s is getting up in the middle of the night and heading to the next one.

M4 East Bound

This year I managed to get to at an average of one meeting month from March through to October.

Gould GR55, Colin Calder, Great Western Sprint, Castle Combe,

For the last couple of seasons my motor racing year has got underway in March marshaling at the Bristol Motor Clubs Great Western Sprint, this year my duties in the pit lane were over for the top ten run off, above Colin Calder made his 15 hour trip from Scotland worthwhile by grinding out the fastest time of the day narrowly pipping his daughter heather by just over 1/10 of a second.

Lola, Goodliff, Elva, Woodhouse, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

The VSCC Spring Start meeting at Silverstone saw the start of the 80th Anniversary of ERA celebrtions, top race of the day was the Formula Junior event which saw a race long scrap twixt the red 1960 Lola Mk2 of Simon Goodliff and the 1959 Elva 100 driven by Mark Woodhouse fall in Simon’s favour.

Ocon, Verstappen, Dallara F312, Silverstone

2014 was Max Verstappen’s first season in car racing, in his third car race ever, above, he is seen overtaking Esteban Ocon on his way to second place in the 3rd European Formula Three championship of the season run at the Silverstone 6 Hours meeting. Even then he probably would have found it unlikely to believe that aged seventeen years and one hundred and sixty-six days old he is set to become the youngest driver ever to start a Formula One Grand Prix when making his 33rd race car start driving a Torro Rosso in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne next season.

Benhard / Webber / Hartley, Porsche 919 Hybrid, 6 Hours of Silverstone

The 6 Hours of Silverstone meeting was my second visit to Silverstone in 8 days. Timo Benhard Mark Webber and Brandon Hartley in the #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid above started the event in 6th place and survived to finish 3rd. At the end of the season Mark Webber became world news and ended up in hospital after crashing his 919 Hybrid with in half an hour of the finish of the race run in São Paulo an event which completely eclipsed the fact that #14 Porsche 919 Hybrid team mates Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb went on to score the teams first World Endurance Championship race win since returning to top level endurance racing at the start of the year.

Maserati MC12 Goodwood Cent 100, Michael Bartels, Goodwood Festival of Speed

At the end of June I popped over to Goodwood for the Festival of Speed where Sebastian Loeb driving his 2013 Pikes Peak winning Peugeot 208 was tipped to make an attempt on the Goodwood Hillclimb course record set by ‘Quick Nick’ Heidfeld driving a Formula One McLaren Mercedes in 1999. Dark horse for the Goodwood Hillclimb turned out to be Michael Bartles driving the specially liveried Maserati MC12 ‘Goodwood Cent 100’ which finished just over a second down on Loeb who missed taking the outright record thanks to the gearing being short on top speed.

Lotus Cortina, Shedden, Meaden, Silverstone Classic,

Gordon Shedden and Richard Meaden provided the tyre smoking dice of the day driving their Lotus Cortina’s on the Super Saturday morning of the Silverstone Classic meeting. Richard Meaden seen following above won with team mate Grant Tromans after Gordon’s car over heated during the mandatory pit stop in the Sir John Whitmore Trophy.

07 14 07 26 Lola T70 Voyazides Hadfield_2455sc

Having already won the Mustang Celebration trophy during the afternoon of the Super Saturday Silverstone Classic meeting Leo Voyazides swapped his Ford Falcon for his Lola T70 Coupé and won the FIA Historic Masters Sports Cars race with Simon Hadfield after Martin O’Connel’s 2 litre/122 cui Chevron B19 mysteriously went off road with out injury to the driver.

Mallock Mk 9, Michael Mallock, Oulton Park,

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend I managed to get up to Oulton Park for the Gold Cup meeting, while the day was fairly wet and miserable the racing was hot from beginning to end. Michael Mallock achieved the rare feet of not only winning a race in a car, #9 Mallock Mk 9 Formula Ford, bearing his family name but also beating a field of rear engined Formula Ford cars with the only vehicle carrying it’s engine in front of the driver.

Plymouth Satellite, Cheng Lim, Brighton Speed Trials,

Having encouraged readers to help save Brighton Speed Trials at the beginning of the year I managed to make my way down to Sussex for the saved event in September. Slowest car in the event but none the less entertaining was Cheng Lim’s Plymouth Satellite.

BY-Pod, Chipping Sodbury School, Renishaw Castle Combe Heat 2014

Counting as one of the most awesome vehicles I have seen all season is Chipping Sodbury Schools BY-Pod electric vehicle taking part in the Renishaw Castle Combe Heat 2014 of the Greenpower Challenge. I left the meeting with my spirits for the future of motorsport in what ever form it might take thoroughly uplifted.

Cooper Mk X, Steve Jones, Cooper Mk XI, George Shackleton, BAC MSC Challenge Trophy, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

One of the many highlights of the third Autumn Classic meeting run at Castle Combe was the dice between the Cooper 500 Formula 3 cars of Steve Jones and George Shackleton for the BAC MSC Challenge Trophy, Steve claimed the spoils in his slightly older #74 Mark X. Next year among the many attractions of the 4th Autumn Classic at Castle Combe on October 3rd will be one of the BRM V16’s which for my money would be worth the price of entry if nothing else showed up.

Thanks for joining me on this “2014 Highlights” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Americana Thursday. Don’t forget to come back now !


SM Approved – Wingfield Special

Aged just 17 Bryan Wingfield built his first special in Glasgow with a 1172 cc Ford 4 cylinder motor.

Wingfield Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

While still studying and completing an apprentice ship with Albion motors Bryan built a second special, today’s featured car this time a Bristol engine.

Wingfield Special, Peter Campbell, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

It would appear the car was raced by a Miss Jill Hutchinson but I have been unable to confirm any results.

Wingfield Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

After completing his apprenticeship Bryan went to work for Ford and his Special had lain dormant for decades before it was taken to Spencer Lane Jones in Warminster to be revived.

Wingfield Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

Peter Campbell is seen driving the car which has been fitted with a new nose cone and bonnet fabricated by Coachbuilt Cars also of Warminster.

When Sir Stirling Moss saw the impressive Wingfield Special he was moved to sign the bodywork.

While at Ford Bryan continued building reproductions of Jaguars in his spare time such that by the time he retired from Ford in 1986 he moved Bryan Wingfield Racing into supplying parts for GT 40’s and more recently acquired a Group C Ford C100 which he has single handedly refeteled despite being well into his seventies.

Thanks for joining me on this “SM Approved” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Lola Formula 5000 car. Don’t forget to come back now !


English Wheel Master Gomm – Gomm Jaguar Special

The Gomm special is an amalgam of 1955 Jaguar XK 140 chassis, engine and running gear with bodywork craftsmanship attributed to a master of the english wheel Maurice Gomm.

Jaguar XK140 Gomm Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

I believe the motor is a 3442 cc / 210 cui double overhead cam Jaguar straight six.

Jaguar XK140 Gomm Special, Charles Fripp, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

The Maurice Gomm crafted body is said to have once been fitted to an ‘Alta GP chassis’ in these linked 2013 Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting race notes.

Jaguar XK140 Gomm Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

So far the only photo’s I have been able to find of such a vehicle are recent ones of Amy Tomlin’s Alta Jaguar GP with cycle mudguards, if you know which Alta GP chassis the body on today’s featured car was fitted to, please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Jaguar XK140 Gomm Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

While looking for information on the Alta chassis the body work featured here may have been attached to, I stumbled across this fascinating “Bring-A-Trailer” thread showing one of the last 4 unfinished Cunnigham CR3 chassis built with similar if not an identical right hand drive,RHD, body.

Jaguar XK140 Gomm Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

The Cunnigham CR3 chassis #5238 was bought separately form the body by Ben Shuckburgh and turned into a continuation Cunningham C4R featured on this link last June. If you know what became of the Cunningham’s body, seen in the Bring-A-Trailer thread please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Jaguar XK140 Gomm Special, Charles Fripp, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Former Twyford Moors Classic Cars proprietor Charles Fripp commissioned his former business to fit the body to the XK140 chassis with racing suspension, Charles is seen at the wheel of his Gomm Jaguar Special in these photo’s taken at the Castle Combe Classic in October.

Thanks for joining me on this “English Wheel Master Gomm” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me tomorrow for a look at Emerson Fittipaldi’s favourite McLaren. Don’t forget to come back now !


Classics @ Autumn Classic – Castle Combe

Today’s post looks at some of the non combatants seen at Castle Combe’s Autumn Classic meeting a couple of weeks ago.

Wolseley Hornet, Crayford, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

The story behind the 57 1966 Wolseley Hornet Crayford convertibles has all the makings of a great movie seeing as it involves a global baked bean brand, an exclusive deal with a company operating out of two private garages in London and a nudist colony, the rest of the details will have to wait for a future blog.

FIAT 850 Coupé, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

At my very first race meeting out in Zambia one of the more unlikely competitors drove a FIAT 850 Coupé like the 1969 example above on the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club stand.

Aston Martin DB Mk III FHC, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

The 1959 Aston Martin Fixed Head Coupé with a Tickford notch body is an extremely rare vehicle, only five were ever built.

Daimler Dart SP 250, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

If I had any spare cash I’d be seriously tempted to buy this 1963 Daimler SP250 which has just 38,000 miles on the clock, if you would like to become it’s fifth owner I have the contact details of the vendor.

Humber Sceptre Estate, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Slightly out of period was this 1976 Humber Sceptre based on a design first seen in 1967. The Sceptre Estate first seen in 1974 was one of the earliest UK station wagons to feature a light in the loading area and a rear screen wiper, the Humber name disappeared under Chrysler UK’s post 1976 branding strategy.

Bristol 450, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

One car I have been waiting see first hand for some time is the sole remaining Bristol 450 belonging to Simon Draper, I believe this car finished 7th over all and first in the 2 litre class at the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours. The prize money from the teams success was donated to victims of the 1955 Le Mans disaster after the team withdrew from the sport having scored two consecutive Le Mans class victories.

Triumph Dolomite, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

A nice quiz question what is the connection between all of the vehicles in this photograph ? Answer Donald Healey who was responsible for the Austin Healey’s in the back ground and the Hudson Terraplane inspired 1937 Triumph Dolomite Saloon in the foreground.

Lotus IX, Mike Marsden, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Former Concorde wind tunnel engineer and Historic Lotus Register Lotus Mk IX registrar Mike Marsden is seen above in his 1955 Lotus Mk IX which he has owned since 1967.

Morris Mini Cooper S, Dave Foster, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Dave Foster is seen coming into the pits above in his immaculate 1965 Morris Mini Cooper S which he has driven in competition for the last decade clocking up 10,000 competition miles.

Horstman 4 Seater, Trevor Turpin, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Until the Autumn Classic I’d never heard of a Horstman, it turns out they made nearly 3,000 vehicles just down the road in Bath between 1915 and 1929. These days Horstman, which patented a torsion bar suspension system for tracked military vehicles in 1922, continues to specialise in suspensions for military vehicles. The 1923 Horstman above is believed to have belonged to the companies founder Sidney Horstmann OBE.

FIAT Isotta Fraschini, Mike Vardy, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

In 1905 FIAT drew up plans for a world land speed record car which was to have two in line four cylinder motors producing upto 200 hp. The car never got built but nearly 20 years ago Graham Rankin undertook to build the car anyway. 13 years later he sold the unfinished project complete with a WW1 surplus 250hp Isotta Fraschini 16.5 litre / 1014 cui 6 cylinder aero motor to Mike Vardy who spent another seven years completing the FIAT Isotta Fraschini. Mike appeared to have great fun hanging the tail out on some parts of the circuit during his demonstration.

White Whistling Billy, Robert Dyke, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Finally last year I saw this recreation White Sprint Car at Race Retro, this year I finally got to see Dr Robert R. Dyke driving it at speed, only 60% of the boilers potential pressure was used but it still moved at an impressive speed given that it only has 2 x twelve inch brake drums on the rear axle.

Thanks for joining me on this “Classics @ Autumn Classic” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a limited edition Hemi Challenger. Don’t forget to come back now !