Tag Archives: Briggs

The Smoothest Car Afloat – Dodge Deluxe Convertible

To mark the Centenary Anniversary of the foundation of Dodge, by brothers Horace and John, in 1914 this months Americana Thursday posts will feature five post ’45 Dodge models starting with today’s featured 1948 Dodge Deluxe Convertible.

Dodge Deluxe Convertible, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

When Dodge resumed production of private motor vehicles in 1945 like most manufacturers it turned to it’s 1942 designs with minor cosmetic alterations. The D24 1948 Dodge Deluxe Convertible, seen here at Summer Classics Easter Compton, is no exception being based on a design that can be traced back to 1940.

Dodge Deluxe Convertible, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Power for the ’48 Deluxe models came from an L head 3.8 litre / 231 cui in line six which produced 100 reliable horsepower. Note the DVLA records for this car show it is fitted with a 5 litre / 302 cui motor of unspecified age and origin.

Dodge Deluxe Convertible, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

1948 D24 Dodges were available with 6 or 7 passenger sedan, 4 door town sedan, 2 door club coupe or convertible bodies supplied to Dodge by Briggs Manufacturing Company which was eventually purchased by Chrysler in 1953 after the death of Walter O. Briggs in 1952.

Dodge Deluxe Convertible, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The success of the D24 models can be judged by the fact that 10 years after the model had stopped being produced they were still being used by taxi operators across the USA such was their comfort for fares and reliability for operators.

Dodge Deluxe Convertible, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

One of the innovations the series benefited from was Fluid Drive, a fluid clutch which meant a stick shift manual could be operated like an automatic requiring less clutch operation than a conventional friction clutch and no doubt contributed to the strap line “The Smoothest Car Afloat” which stayed with the Dodge D24 series from 1946 to 1949.

Dodge Deluxe Convertible, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Production of the Dodge D24 Deluxe and sister Custom models peaked in 1948 at over 250,000 units, production of these models continued into the first three months of 1949 before they were replaced by an all new design.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Smoothest Car Afloat” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Built by Craftsmen – Lanchester LD10 #L63579

Lanchester LD10, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

Lanchester founded as the Lanchester Engine Company Ltd in 1899 by the Lanchester brothers Frederick, George and Frank who are credited with being the first British builders of a motor car, not a horseless carriage, in 1895 which ran on a public road in 1896. The brothers are also credited with being the original purveyors of disc brakes in 1902. Fredricks uncompromising attitude to mechanical perfection led Lanchester into financial difficulties and an eventual merger with the British Daimler Company in 1931.

Lanchester LD10, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

The post war Lanchester LD10 was a compact companion to the Daimler range, like it’s bigger Bretheren Lanchester’s were built by craftsman at a time when most vehicles of this size were already much cheaper to build on assembly lines. Initially this model was available with a steel body by Briggs of Dagenham and later models like the one in these photographs with alloy body work by Barker.

Lanchester LD10, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

This model is powered by a 4 cylinder 40hp overhead valve engine which transmits power to the rear wheels via a 4 speed preselector gearbox. This combination of engine and geabox was considered both reasonably powerful, with a 69 mph capability and exceptionally smooth for it’s time. The engine number of this particular vehicle is #18557.

Lanchester LD10, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

It is thought 3,030 examples of this model were built between 1946 and 1951. This particular vehicle, chassis L63579, was built in 1951.

With thanks to David Roots who invited me to the Classic and Sports Car Action Day at Castle Combe where these photographs were taken.

Thanks you for dropping in on today’s 69 mph edition of “Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow ! Don’t forget to come back now !


Knobbly Cat – #61 Lister Jaguar

Thanks again to Steve and Ed Arnaudin for today’s photos from Lime Rock in April / May 1959.

The story of the Jaguar powered Lister is that it only came about despite the initial reticence of builder Brian Lister and that it was only after a) the failure of the difficult to maintain Maserati engines which powered Listers in 1956 to improve on the the Lister Bristol of 1955, b) a diamond merchant Norman Hillwood had dropped a 300 hp Jaguar D type engine into his own second hand chassis after Brian had refused to do it for him and c) Jaguar supremo Sir William Lyons had shown his enthusiasm for supplying Lister with the D-type power train in order to back up the private D-types of Ecurie Ecosse to double the odds against the increasingly competitive Aston Martins that Brian Lister eventually saw sense and built 17 series 1 ‘Knobbly’ Jaguar powered Listers and between six and eight more with small block Chevrolet motors from 1957 – 1958.

The #61 Lister Jaguar seen here is one of the Cunningham team cars, Ed Arnaudin’s photo throws up a mystery since neither the Cunningham Website or Terry O’Neils Northeast American Sports car races 1950 – 1959 list the car as being present at Lime Rock for the April 24th meeting that got held over to May 9th after rain stopped play and the cops shut the show down on the original date.

The best fit theory thrown up on The Nostalgia Forum is the possibility that this car had different gearing to the #62 Lister Jaguar that was raced by Briggs Cunningham that day and may have been used for comparison by Briggs Cunningham.

With thanks to all those on The Nostalgia Forum Lister Register thread who contributed including David McKinney , raceanouncer 2003 Vince H, RA Historian Tom and Terry O’Neil.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Knobby Cat edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me for the concluding edition of this Jaguar week featuring a vehicle that out qualified Stirling Moss driving a Maserati 250 F in a historic race. Don’t forget to come back now !


The conspicuous underdog – ‘Petit Pataud’ Replica 2/2

Today I’ll be sharing some details about John Aibels fabulous ‘Petit Pataud’ Replica 1950 Series 61 Cadillac Coupe, if you missed the story about the original here is a link to yesterdays post.

John found his bottom of the range Series 61 Cadillac with the correct Petit Pataud 121″ wheel base in Iowa, it did not have the optional power windows, amazing I had no idea they had even been thought of in 1950, but Johns car was originally fitted with a Hydra – Matic automatic transmission and he went to considerable trouble to locate a correct manual one as used at Le Mans, an item difficult to find because it is also the transmission of choice amongst hot rodders.

Being a volunteer at CAM (The Collier Collection) John was given access to the original and correctly identified the Marchal driving lights, GI two way radio among many other parts, and noted how and where they were correctly installed. It took around a year to meticulously hunt down these items on E-Bay and to collect all the bits and pieces prior to the car being sent to a restoration shop for a three year restoration.

The car is fitted with a roll bar and five point harness though John is a little sceptical about the capability of the drum brakes to handle serious competition, I am not sure he has the Alfin drums and additional brake ducting
Cunningham had fitted to the original.

Apparently the Cunnigham ‘Petit Pataud’ was used as both a tow car and shop vehicle after its sturdy service at Le Mans, evidence of this can be seen in this link to a photo of the restored original where a chrome tow hitch cover is plain to see under the bumper, also the original no longer has the 35 gallon long range fuel tank and filler as can be clearly seen on the passenger side of Johns car just behind the C pillar.

He says of his car “You are right everytime we drive the car we get the thumbs up and smiles from a lot of people. It also drives great, it is very comfortable, it just soaks up the bumbs on the roads. She rolls like a ship in the turns, but holds very well.”

I’d like to thank John for sharing his photo’s and thoughts on his marvellous motor car, a reminder of a golden age of optimism, a time when with a few good connections a showroom car fitted with a double barrel carburettor, some French springs, a long range fuel tank and GI two way radio you could compete in one of, if not the most romantic race in the world.

Thanks also again to Chief 187 who so thoughtfully set these last two blogs up for me.

Hope you have enjoyed this weekends extraordinary vehicle, new followers and comments are always appreciated and a useful tool to help me source more for you in future, thanks for dropping by don’t forget to come back now !

Slightly off topic, today is a big day for all three contenders in the post season NASCAR Chase for the Cup, covered by less than 40 points the only strategy to win the cup now has to be to win the next three races, looking forward to seeing if Kevin Harvick can step up to the plate and pull it off. Go Harvick ! Go #29 ! Go Happy !

10/11/10 Erratum, I got the model types a bit mixed up and have removed all ‘de Ville’ references from the text above, the Series 61 shown here is the shorter model known as Type 61 Coupe, not Coupe de Ville which was the Type 62. Apologies for any confusion.


The conspicuous underdog – ‘Petit Pataud’ Replica 1/2

It’s a great honour to feature on ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ a ‘Petit Pataud’ replica belonging to John Aibel. This will be another two part blog starting today with the history of the real ‘Petit Pataud’ finishing tomorrow with some of the fascinating details about this faithful replica.

The ‘Petit Pataud’ legend starts with an invitation from 1949 Le Mans winner Luigi Chinnetti to facilitate an entry in the 1950 Le Mans entry for Briggs Cunningham.

Seeking advice from a well respected mechanic Bill Frick, Cunningham made a false start building a hot rod like device by dropping a Cadillac V8 into a Ford body and dubbed a Fordillac. If any one knows of any pics of this ‘device’ please leave a message below.

The Le Mans organisers deemed the Fordillac ineligible so Briggs bought two showroom 1950 Series 61 Cadillac Coupes one was given an open aluminium body devised by employees of the Grumman aircraft manufacturer and dubbed ‘Le Monstre’ by the French press, the other was more modestly prepared for endurance racing by Frick – Tappett Motors and dubbed with typical French irony ‘Petit Pataud’ ‘little clumsy’ a name I believe usually referring to new born pups.

The Cunningham team were surprised to find ‘Petit Pataud’ the more or less stock underdog of the stable driven by Miles and Sam Collier proved quicker than the heavily modified ‘Le Monstre’ straight out of the box. Though this was rectified during the course of practice for the race.

The 24 hours of Le Mans had an unusual start procedure, drivers stood on the opposite side of the track from the car and at the drop of the flag sprinted across the track and jumped in to their cars fired them up and drove off, in a piece of comedy reminiscent of a ‘Herbie’ film ‘Petit Pataud’s’ doors were found to be locked after it’s driver sprinted across the track at the start, fortunately the window was open so he reached inside to unlock the door from the inside !

Miles Collier who raced in the 1939 Le Mans race advised Briggs to equip his cars with fold away shovels in case either car found itself buried in the famously unforgiving artificial sand banks installed to prevent the more wayward vehicles from venturing too far from the notoriously fast and dangerous circuit.

Briggs rejected the advice and paid the price on lap 2 of the race when he found himself trapped in the sand bank at the end of the 4 mile long Mulsanne straight, Briggs probably wasted several minuets borrowing a shovel from a spectator and wasting half an hour successfully digging his car out and resuming the race.

‘Petit Pataud’ meanwhile as to be expected from a land yacht was sailing along at a nice and steady pace reaching 120 mph on the Mulsanne and running 1,956 miles to average 81.5 mph for 24 hours and finish in a commendable 10th place overall, 2nd in class behind a Cadillac powered Allard.

Briggs and Phil Walters brought ‘Le Monstre’ in one lap down, about the time it would have taken to borrow a shovel, on ‘Petit Pataud’, a small victory for the clumsy team underdog perhaps but just the stuff of legends that makes Le Mans such a fascinating race.

Tomorrow I’ll continue with details about Johns fabulous replica and some surprising differences with the restored original which make Johns car today arguably closer to the original Le Mans spec as raced in 1950.

Thanks to Chief 187 who set up my connection with John Aibel, and thanks to John, unfortunately I was not able to visit Florida to take these magnificent pics which he kindly sent to me.

Thanks for stopping by wishing everyone a wonderful weekend, don’t forget to come back now !

10/11/10 Erratum, I got the model types a bit mixed up and have removed all ‘de Ville’ references from the text above, the Series 61 shown here is the shorter model known as Type 61 Coupe, not Coupe de Ville which was the Type 62. Apologies for any confusion.