Tag Archives: Beaulieu

Racing – FIAT 131 Super Miafiori

FIAT launched it’s 131 model marketed as the 131 Miafiori, after the suburb in Turin where it was built, at the Turin show in 1974.

FIAT 131 Super Miafiori, Auto Italia, Beaulieu,

The 131 Miafiori range that included 2, 4 and 5 door variants, replaced the FIAT 124 range that dated back to 1966.

FIAT 131 Super Miafiori, Auto Italia, Beaulieu,

In 1978 a second series of 131 Miafiori’s was launched that included upgraded exterior and interiors with twin cam engine options for it’s 1.3 and 1.6 litre engines.

FIAT 131 Super Miafiori, Auto Italia, Beaulieu,

Topping the Series 2 range was the performance orientated 131 Racing, also known as the Super Miafiori in the UK, powered by a 2 litre / 122 cui twin cam engine, previously seen in the 124 Spyder, that produced 115 hp.

FIAT 131 Super Miafiori, Auto Italia, Beaulieu,

The Racing featured unique to model either black or orange colour options, quad head lamps, front grill and short ratio 5 speed gearbox and was quoted with a quoted top speed of 110 mph.

FIAT 131 Super Miafiori, Auto Italia, Beaulieu,

Production of the Series 2 131 Miafiori’s continued until 1981.

FIAT 131 Super Miafiori, Auto Italia, Beaulieu,

The example seen in these photograph’s at Auto Italia, Beaulieu several years ago appears to be a RHD Super Miafiori with non UK market Racing badging, according to DVLA Records the car was built in 1979, but not registered in the UK until the 11th of January 2010.

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


Kick Down Supercharged – Mercedes Benz 36/220

With the merger of Karl Benz’s and Gottlieb Daimler’s companies into the Daimler-Benz company, the first vehicles to appear with the Mercedes Benz brand name appeared in 1926.

02 Mercedes Benz 36 220_2069sc

One of the first new models sold as a Mercedes Benz was the 36/220 for which chief engineer Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche directed the design, the model was first seen in the UK at the 1927 Olympia Motor Show where the 4 1/2 litre Bentley also made it’s first appearance.

03 Mercedes Benz 36 220_2066sc

Among the novel features the 36/220 was powered by a 6 cylinder 6.8 litre / 414 cui motor fitted with a kick down supercharger that only deployed only when the throttle pedal was fully depressed boosting the motors output from “sufficient” to “most effective” as described in one contemporary report.

04 Mercedes Benz 36 220_2073sc

Today’s featured example seen earlier this year at the Wheels Festival in Bournemouth was once the property of Renaissance man and proto petrol head Sir Peter Ustinov who’s novelty record “Grand Prix of Gibraltar” drew on his creative wit and ability at car engine sound-effects and voices.

05 Mercedes Benz 36 220_2074sc

This car first registered in the UK on the 31st of December 1927, has recently been restored to it’s original condition by the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

06 Mercedes Benz 36 220_2067sc

Only 146 36/220’s were built they had a top speed of 110 mph, you can read an entertaining little story about a how a precocious 14 year by the name of Boddy was disappointed to be taken for a test drive in a chauffeur driven 36 220 that only recorded 99 mph on the Barnet By-Pass in 1927 here.

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


The Day We Went To Beaulieu – The National Motor Museum

A couple of weeks ago I was at a local Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) meeting when a fellow member mentioned that the South West Mensa group he belonged to was going on an organised trip around The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and invited his fellow IAM members to join him, I of course needed little prompting and ended up taking regular GALPOT contributor Tim and a last minuet guest Alberto from Madrid too.

Grenville Steam Carriage, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

Among the delights of the museum I did not cover on my previous visit was the oldest working self propelled vehicle in the country, an 1875 Grenville Steam Carriage capable of 18 mph, that was built by Robert Neville Grenville in nearby Butleigh Court, Glastonbury, Somerset.

Lancia Corsa, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

When it comes to varied careers few vehicles can beat this 1910 Lancia Corsa that Billy Knipper drove to win the Tiedeman Trophy in Savannah on November 11th 1910, before it was used as a service vehicle by the Fire Chief of Lenox Massachusetts, it subsequently also served as a garage recovery vehicle !

Austin A90 Atlantic, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

Desperate for foreign earnings to revive the war ravaged economy and repay Britain’s huge war debts Austin came up with the wonderful Austin A90 Atlantic which was aimed squarely at the US market with power windows and hood on the convertible, unfortunately it was completely usurped by the more powerful and rakishly styled Jaguar XK120, but the six cylinder engine ended up powering several larger Austin Saloon / Sedan models and the much admired Austin Healey 100-Six.

Cadillac Seville, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

A real surprise was finding the last Cadillac bought by Elvis Presley in the National Motor Museum, this 1977 Cadillac Seville MY series 6K is said to have also been driven by “The King” the day before his death on August 16th 1977.

BRM P301, National Motor Museum Beaulieu

In the learn something new department was that the last time I saw the chassis above was at Le Mans in 1992 when it was fitted with a closed cockpit coupé body and a 3.5 litre / 213 cui V12 BRM motor.

The car caught fire during the race which it started despite the fact that only Wayne Taylor had qualified in it. The fire damage was repaired but the car was not allowed to restart on the Sunday because it had covered insufficient distance.

I knew the car had been subsequently raced in open cockpit form but had not realised the BRM motor was replaced by a turbocharged 3 litre / 183 cui Nissan V6 motor.

In the latter form the renamed P301 was prequalified for the 1997 Le Mans 24 hours with 38th best time by Harri Toivonen and Johnny O’Connell, completed just 6 laps of the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours, from 34th on the grid, after the engine failed, qualified 6th on the grid for the International Sports Racing Series at Donington, but failed to start because of an electrical problem, started 5th on the grid at Misano in 1998, but retired with drive shaft failure and finally failed to start at Donington in 1998 after it crashed during qualifying.

My thanks to Bill and all the Mensa members who made my guests and I feel so welcome.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Day We Went To Beaulieu” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Corvette that raced at Le Mans. Don’t forget to come back now !


100 Grannies Knitting – FIAT 2300S Coupé

At the 1960 Turin Motor Show FIAT showed off a new Coupé based on the soon to be manufactured FIAT 2300 saloon chassis and running gear and with a body styled by Sergio Sartorelli at Ghia, who with hind site produced a 4 seat vehicle not unlike the contemporary Sergio Pininfarina styled Ferrari 250 GT/E.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

The 2300 Coupé was offered with either a 105hp twin carburetor straight six or the S version, as seen in these photo’s taken at Simply Italian, Beaulieu National Motor Museum a couple of years ago, with 136 hp.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

Since Ghia did not have the capacity to build the Coupé bodies the job was contracted out to Officine Stampaggi Industriali known as OSI which was founded in 1960 as a coachbuilding company based in Turin by former Ghia president Luigi Segre and Arrigo Olivetti.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

Luxury fittings including power windows pushed the price of a 2300S Coupé up to nearly double the cost of an E-Type Jaguar so it is hardly surprising that only 220 of the 7,194 2300S Coupés built between 1961 and 1967 were Right Hand Drive examples imported into the UK.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

This particular car was dry stored from 1971 to 2000 with just over 37,000 miles on the clock, it was subsequently recommissioned with a minimum of work required to pass it’s Ministry Of Transport (MOT) test, required to make it roadworthy.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

The owner of this 1964 car, which appears in these photographs with it’s original paint, chrome and interior, and his son own six 2300S Coupe’s in various states of repair between them.

FIAT 2300S Coupé, Simply Italian,

The motor on this vehicle has been Abarth tuned to produce 150 hp which is good for pushing this car up to a maximum 118 mph, a contemporary report in Autocar noted that the valve tappets “sound like 100 grannies knitting”.

Thanks for joining me on this “100 Grannies Knitting” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an open wheeler raced by an American called Irish. Don’t forget to come back now !


Four Independently Sprung Tons – Bluebird Proteus CN7

Between 1955 and 1964 Donald Campbell, son of Sir Malcom, set 6 World Water Speed records in the remarkable jet powered hyroplane Bluebird K7.

Equally remarkably during much of this time Donald was also raising the funds for todays featured Bluebird-Proteus CN7 for an attack on the 394 mph land speed record which had been set by John Cobb driving the Railton Mobil Special in September 1947.

After Donald had set a new water speed record of 202 mph with his K7 hydroplane he asked it’s designers Lew and Ken Norris if they would like to design and build today’s featured record breaking car.

Bluebird-Proteus CN7, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu,

The Norris brothers set about devising possibly the worlds most sophisticated motor vehicle with a monocoque chassis housing a modified 4,450hp Bristol-Siddeley Proteus turbo prop motor that delivers power through two gearboxes to the front and rear axles which in turn drive the independently sprung 52 inch Dunlop wheels.

The Norris Brothers and many since anticipated that the Bluebird Proteus CN7 would be capable of 500 mph.

Despite the cars front wheels having only a 4 degree turning angle Donald Campbell gave the CN7 it’s first public outing at Goodwood in 1960 managing a couple of demonstration laps. With the engine running at idling speed it still managed to reach 100 mph on the straight.

Bluebird-Proteus CN7, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu,

Donald’s first attempts to break the World Land Speed record at Bonneville in 1960 ended with an accident in which he suffered a fractured lower skull and a broken ear drum.

While recuperating Donald learned to fly and rebuilt CN7 for a Land Speed Record Attempt in 1963.

Bluebird-Proteus CN7, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu,

Lake Eyre in Australia was chosen not only because more space was available by also because it had not rained there for 20 years… until Donald and CN7 turned up.

In 1964 Donald returned to Lake Eyre and without a properly dried out salt surface managed to raise the World Land Speed Record to a disappointing 403 mph, nearly 100 miles an hour short of his target.

On the 31st of December 1964 Donald became the first man to set World Speed Records on Land and Water in the same year when he set his final new record aboard K7 of 276 mph on Lake Dumbkeyung also in Australia.

Bluebird-Proteus CN7, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu,

The regulations for land speed records were relaxed to allow thrust powered vehicles without driven wheels shortly after Donald set his record in the four wheel drive CN7.

The Norris brothers were envisaging rocket propulsion for a new Bluebird Mach 1.1 vehicle when Donald was killed aboard K7 on Coniston Water in England while he was trying to raise the World Water Speed record on January 4th 1967.

Bluebird Proteus CN7 is seen in these photographs at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu where it is usually to be found when not out on loan.

Thanks for joining me on this “Four Independently Sprung Tons” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Triumph Rally car. Don’t forget to come back now !


150.87 mph / 242.80 kph – Sunbeam V12

These day’s if one had just £500 to spare it would probably not be too difficult to scan a few classified car ads and find a car that was still capable of reaching 150 mph.

Sunbeam V12, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

When Sunbeam’s chief engineer and racing team manager Louis Coatalen conceived today’s featured Sunbeam V12 in 1920 the World Land Speed Record stood at 124.09mph / 199.70kph set by Lydston Hornsted driving a 200hp Benz at Brooklands in June 1914.

Sunbeam V12, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Louis’s idea was to fit a 350 hp 18.3 litre / 1116 cui V12 Sunbeam Manitou V12 aero engine in to a chassis and clad the vehicle in the most aerodynamically slippery shape that could be devised.

Sunbeam V12, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Harry Hawker was given the task of driving the Sunbeam V12 at two Brooklands race meetings in 1920, but the car suffered from damage after a tyre blew on the Whitsun Weekend and then could not start after the engine stalled in August, but René Thomas drove the car to a new 108 mph course record on the Gaillon Hill Climb in France.

Sunbeam V12, Doug Hill, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1921 Kenelm Lee Guinness drove the car at Brooklands recording a top speed of 140 mph and an average lap speed of 116 mph at the Autumn meeting, the following year Kenelm set a one way flying kilometer record of 133 mph, but this was never recognised as a World Land Speed record for which the speed is determined by the average of two runs in opposite directions.

Sunbeam V12, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Malcolm Campbell borrowed the Sunbeam V12 to compete in the 1923 Saltburn Speed Trials and recorded a one way run of 138 mph which was enough to convince him that he should purchase the car for further Land Speed Record attempts in 1924.

Sunbeam V12, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

After Ernest Eldridge raised the official Land Speed Record to just over 145 mph aboard the FIAT Mephistopheles, a vehicle I shall be looking at next week, in June 1924 at in Arpajon in France, Malcolm took his now blue and silver, previously green and silver, Sunbeam to the Pendine Sands in September 1924 and recorded a two way average speed of just over 146 mph for his and the Sunbeams first World Land Speed Record.

In July 1925 the combination returned to Pendine Sands and raised the World Land Speed Record to 150.87 mph / 242.80 kph a record that stood for just under a year when a car that I shall be looking at in two weeks took the record up to 170 mph.

Thanks for joining me on this “150.87 mph / 242.80 kph” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Tax Man Has Taken All My Bugs – Bugatti Type 15 #366

Milanese Ettore Bugatti was working for, the company founded by Nicolas Otto that became, Deutz Gasmotoren Fabrik in Cologne, Germany where he designed his Type 8 and Type 9 between 1907 and 1909 when he decided to build his own car in his basement.

Upon completion of the project, known as the Type 10, in 1909 Ettore packed his possessions and family into his new creation and headed for Alsace to found Automobiles E. Bugatti and look for a factory in which to build more cars of his own design.

Bugatti Type 15, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Settling in Molsheim, Alsace Ettore set about building the Type 13 which like the Type 10 featured advanced, for the period in which chain drive was the norm, shaft drive, a larger 1368cc /83 cui version of the 4 cylinder Type 10 motor and for racing variants only cutting edge of technology 4 valve heads.

Unlike the Type 10 which only had leaf springs at the front and an unsprung rear axle the Type 13 featured leaf springs all round.

Bugatti Type 15, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

The 16 valve Type 13 produced around 30 hp at 4,500 rpm an extraordinary high output for such a small motor thanks to the 4 valve heads, bearing in mind that the slightly earlier 35/45 hp Itala required a 7.4 litre / 453 cui motor to produce only 5 – 15hp more.

Automobiles E. Bugatti produced 5 Type 13’s in 1910 and in 1911 Ernest Friderich drove one of them in the 7 hour marathon French Grand Prix in which he finished 2nd, albeit 2 laps down, to the winning 10 litre / 589 cui 4 cylinder FIAT S61 driven by Victor Hemery.

Bugatti Type 15, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Today’s featured 1910 Type 15 is similar to the Type 13, except that it was built with a longer chassis, 14 inch longer wheel base and is fitted with a 15hp 8 valve motor number #16.

This car, seen at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu was first owned by Ettore’s wife Mdme Barbra Bugatti and fitted with a saloon / sedan body. Before being registered in the UK by Col. Dowson in 1921, #366 is said to have been of service on the battlefields of the 1914 – 18 war.

Bugatti Type 15, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

The next known owner of #366 was Bugatti enthusiast CWP ‘Peter’ Hampton, the head of an international firm of land agents who lived in Effingham Common, Surrey and later Bolney, Sussex where he tended his collection reported to include Rolls-Royces, Mercedes Benz of all ages, at least one Hispano Suiza and 25 Bugattis, one of which was ‘recovered’ from Czechoslovakia in what has been described as a James Bond style operation when the country was still heavily under Soviet influence behind the Iron Curtain.

Peter replaced the original saloon / sedan body on #366 for the 2 seat sports tourer seen today in the 1930’s and used to compete with it regularly at Prescott along with four of his other competition Bugatti’s which included a Type 13, Type 18, Type 30, and Type 57C of which the Type 15 was unsurprisingly the slowest having achieved a best time of 80.7 seconds.

Bugatti Type 15, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

The highly polished brass box above is an acetylene gas generator, for the gas powered headlights, which featured a Patented Automatic Shaking Grate Generator manufactured by Rushmore Dynamo Works at Plainfields N.J., U.S.A between 1905 and 1914 when the company was bought for $750,000 cash by Bosch Magneto Co.

During the ’39 – ’45 war, Peter served as a War Substantive Lieutenant in the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Armoured Corps and was in the first wave to land at Gold Beach in the D-Day landings at Normandy in support of the infantry regiments.

 Bugatti Type 15, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Five of the 4th/7th’s tanks were lost before making shore despite being dropped off 200 yards from the beach, instead of the planned two miles, because of the unexpectedly high seas.

During the landings Peter received a permanent shrapnel injury to his left arm which was henceforth completely unusable, after relinquishing his commission due to his injuries Peter returned to Suffolk where his cars had been kept in working condition by farmer Stanley Sears, father of two time British Saloon / Sedan champion Jack.

Bugatti Type 15, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

To over come the problem of his left arm Peter had Stanley convert all of his vehicles to right hand gear change and Peter kept competing at Prescott and other events with #366 until 1952.

#366 is the oldest example of the marque in the UK and thought to be the second oldest Bugatti in the world and it along with the rest of the cars in Peter’s collection were dispersed after his death in the 1980’s.

Bugatti Type 15, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

Although #366 is road fund licence exempt it has not been issued with a valid tax exempt disc since 1985, though ironically, the vehicle actually belongs to Her Majesties Government who acquired it from Peter Hampton’s estate in lieu of inheritance tax.

My thanks to Allan Lupton for enlightening me about the Rushmore Dynamo Works Patented Automatic Shaking Grate Acetylene Generator, to Doug Nye, Roger Lund, John Winfield, Vitesse2, Carl R.S. and Hipperson who all contributed to the ‘C.W.P. ‘Peter’ Hampton; racing driver and collector’ at The Nostalgia Forum and likewise to everyone who contributed to the ‘great bugatti collectors’ thread at Bugattibuilder.com forum.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Tax Man Has Taken All My Bugs” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at McLaren’s 50th Anniversary efforts in the 2013 Formula One season. Don’t forget to come back now !