Tag Archives: Beach

Straight and True – Austin A40 Countryman

For the first official post at the new home of GALPOT I thought it might be appropriate to go back to the birth place of my passion for the automobile and for driving by having a look at an Pinin Farina styled Austin A40 Countryman.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

I was 5 years old when my Folks purchased their first car I remember going to the offices of the British Motor Corporation in Nicosia, Cyprus and looking through seemingly countless brochures full of illustrations of two tone motor cars when we went to order it. The car Dad ordered was grey with a white roof his thinking being that the colours would reflect the fierce Mediterranean sunlight and help keep the interior of the car just a little cooler. The car came with red vinyl seats and red carpets.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

I’ll never forget my excitement when Dad pulled into our grapevine dappled drive for the first time with our shiny new car registered CE 270, we spent what seemed like hours pouring over the details I mistook the shiny chrome heater control panel for a radio and learned where to find the spark plugs, distributor, the spare wheel and jacking tools. Seems incredible to think now that our Austin hatchback was not supplied with any seat belts, though it was not long after we got it that Dad had some fitted to the front seats.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

Over the ensuing two years we explored the ancient history of Cyprus from north to south and east to west, but best of all most Sundays of the summer we loaded up a picnic, home made awning, swimming goggles, flippers, buckets and spades and then headed to Mckenzie Beach, just outside Larnaca, where all our neighbours and my school friends would be. That beach is particularly important to me because one Sunday Dad invited me to sit on his lap in the drivers seat and steer the car. My first lesson being that you could drive it straight and true without any input to the steering wheel at all.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

Without any navigation skills most of the time I spent in the car was naturally on the back seat, in fact I probably spent as much time sitting astride the transmission tunnel where, although exterior view was limited, I used to pretend I was riding a motor bike ! In 1966 when Dad got posted back to the UK our little grey A40 Countryman was loaded onto a ship and we headed for Istanbul and then Athens where the car was unloaded. From Athens we started our first road trip driving over 2,500 miles through Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungry, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and a bit of France on our way to London.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

The last time I saw our A40 Countryman, called Daisy, now with the UK registration DHM 44D was 3 years after we sold it, the hours of fun we had on the beach were telling in the large areas of bubbled paintwork under which rust seeded by the Mediterranean sea had obviously terminally taken hold of the bodywork on our now eight year old A40 Countryman.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Straight And True’ edition of ‘Getting’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Black Cat – Jaguar XK120 #670138

I’d like to thank Geoffrey Horton for sending me these photographs of Phil Hill’s Jaguar XK120 at the 2007 Danville Concours de Elegance.

Danville CC 2007 011s

This chassis #670138 is known to have been raced by Phil, who was guest of honour at Danville in 2007, in at least 3 races in 1950 in which he scored two second place finishes and a win in the 100 Mile race at Pebble Beach in November 1950.

Danville CC 2007 020s

Last week it came to light that I had overlooked something in my original blog on the XK120, namely that while the standard XK 120 took it’s name from it’s 120 mph capability, it has transpired that Norman Dewis was bolted into an XK120 with a streamlined roof and recorded a production car record speed of 172.412 mph on the 21st October 1953 driving along a stretch of Belgian Motorway known as the Jabbeke Straight, between Bruges and Ostend.

My thanks to Terry, Tim, Allan, and Tony at The Nostalgia Forum for the additional details and thanks again to Geoffrey for today’s marvellous photographs.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Black Cat edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow, Ferrari Friday, for a look at my favourite road going V8 Ferrari. Don’t forget to come back now !


West Coast Spyder – Porsche 550

My thanks go out again to Ed Arnaudin & Son for today’s photograph, Ed purchased this photo by Carlyle Blackwell of Jack McAfee in his John Edgar owned 550 most likely being driven to victory at Pebble Beach, a track I know very little about, on 22nd April 1956.

Porsche 550, Pebble Beach

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.

Jack McAfee was an extremely successful West Coast driver who started out in hot rod racing by tuning a neighbour friends mother’s model T, unbeknown to the fellow’s poor mother.

Jack is best known for driving cars owned by John Edgar highlighted by a couple of international appearances including the Nurburgring 1000 kms. Driving the 550 seen here Jack became National class F champion in 1956.

At 29 Jack became the youngest ever Porsche Dealer and was responsible for the often copied McAfee aftermarket wheels for Porsche and VW cars long before Porsche cars were fitted with the iconic Fuchs alloy wheels.

Just 90 Porsche 550 purpose built racing cars, inspired by the 356 specials built and raced by Walter Gloecker, were produced from 1953 – 1956.

Allegedly one of these low slung cars was driven under a pair of railway crossing gates by Hans Hermann during the 1954 Mille Miglia. A light weight 550 A variant was driven to Porsche’s first major out right sports car victory by drivers Umberto Maglioli and Huschke von Hanstein in 1956 Targa Florio.

However all of the 550’s racing successes are dwarfed by it’s position in 20th century movie culture, outside a restraunt on the 23rd of September 1955 Alec Guiness, the original Obi-Wan Kenobi, was shown the #130 Porsche 550 known as ‘Little B*st*rd’ owned by an emerging acting talent and part time race driver.

Sir Alec thought the vehicle looked sinister and advised the owner ‘If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.’ Sadly, a prediction that came true on 30th September 1955 when the legend of James Byron Dean was born.

My thanks to Arnaudin & Son for the wonderful photograph and to racingsportscars.com for the race information.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s edition of getting a little psycho on tyres and that you’ll join me again tomorrow for a look at a Porsche in need of a little TLC. 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.