Tag Archives: Bryant

Ken’s Samaritan Karma – Ford Escort RS1800

When Ken Jones set off from Nottingham with his mates in his 1970 3 litre / 183 cui Ford Capri registration “EVO 281J” to spectate on the Lombard Esso Scottish Rally in June 1976 he could have had little idea how his Samaritan spirit would either enter rallying folklore or be rewarded.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

Today’s featured Allied Polymer Group sponsored works Ford Escort RS1800 first came to the public’s attention in November 1975 when Timo Mäkinen and Henry Lydden over came several punctures and drove the car to victory on the RAC Lombard Rally to become the first driver and co driver pairing to win the Rally three times in a row.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

The following season LAR 801P was assigned to Finish young gun Ari Vatanen, seen at the wheel in these photographs taken at Castle Combe’s recent Rally Day, who despite crashing out of the 1975 RAC Rally was offered a shot at the 1976 British Rally Championship.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

Ari and co driver Peter Bryant went into the 1976 Scottish rally on a high, having won the previous championship round the Western Mail International Welsh Rally a month earlier and were leading the Scottish at the start of stage 13, but only managed to roll out of the stage after the crown wheel and pinion in the differential broke, depriving the rear wheels of any drive from the engine.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

These parts were hitherto considered so reliable that no spares were carried by the Ford Team and rival manufacturer Opel’s service chief Robin Turvey recommended to Ford service chief Mick Jones that he look for a 3 litre Ford Capri which would have the necessary parts in the back axle to keep Ari in the Rally.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

With time ticking away innocent passer by Ken Brown was flagged down by Peter Bryant and kindly agreed to let Mick and and Ari along with Fords Competition manager Peter Ashcroft take the pieces they needed from his back axle of his 3 litre and fit them to the stricken Escort.

Ford Escort RS1800, Vatanen, Rally Day, Castle Combe,

Ari and Peter set off with just enough time to remain in the rally, but with the rear axle ratio’s no longer optimised for the high rpm four cylinder BDA motor, they completed just four more stages before retiring from the event that was won by the RS1800 driven by Russell Brooks who finished ahead of another RS1800 driven by Roger Clark.

Ari and Peter went on to win the 1976 Manx International Rally which was enough for them to secure the British Rally Championship, Ari won the title again in 1980 with Dave Richards a year before the same duo won the 1981 World Rally Championship.

A couple of weeks ago I was at an event where Ford’s Mick Jones was one of the guests of honour and he recounted how after Ken Browns back axle was repaired the dealer had a mishap when trying to deliver the Capri back to Ken and so the damaged car was sent to the works competition department at Boreham for further repairs, when Boreham tried to deliver the car they too had a mishap and eventually it was decided to rewards Ken’s loyalty to the brand with a spanking new car.

Footage of Ken Brown’s 1971 Capri’s encounter with works Ford Rally team described above can be seen on this youtube link.

Thanks for joining me on this “Ken’s Samaritan Karma” 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 !


Rally Day – Castle Combe

A couple of weekends ago I was driving around North East of Bristol when I noticed there seemed to be a lot of Sabaru Impreza’s, Mitsubishi EVO’s, Ford RS’s, the odd Mini, Peugeot 206 and Citroën Xsara headed off towards Castle Combe, not having a lot on that morning I decided to see what was going on and found myself attending the 15th Rally Day at Castle Combe.

 FIAT 126 Proto Honda CBR, Waldemar Janecki , Rally Day, Castle Combe

As I arrived there was some sort of open test session going on, one of the stars of which was Waldemar Janecki from Poland in his FIAT 126 Proto Honda CBR, he uses this 600 cc / 36 cui device in the Polish WRT Extreme Cup, for which I found no official web site on the net though there is no question that it exists, with Grzegorz Kwiecień in the co drivers seat.

Prototype, Rob / Dave Skone, Rally Day, Castle Combe

There are not many cars I know absolutely nothing about and after talking to the owner of the ‘Prototype’ above on facebook just now I’m not sure how much the wiser I am now. According to Dave Skone, who competes in the Safari Britpart Cross Country Challenge organised by the AWDC with his son Rob, “the car is a Matserati, aprox 15-16 years old, but was built with a Porsche 911 engine in it. I think it has had about 5 owners including myself ( and Rob my son ) the car was bought about 3 years ago and then rebuilt 2 years ago when we installed a 4.2 v8 supercharged Jag engine.” Obviously a man with a sense of humour, I shall endeavor to find out what the Safari Britpart Cross Country Challenge organised by the All Wheel Drive Club, AWDC, is all about at their next meeting which will be at Walters Arena Glynneath on the 11th of October.

Screamer, Rally Day, Castle Combe

The AWDC will be busy on October the 11th because they will also be organising an AVT, SVT and MOD trials at Old Down near Thorbury, South Glocestershire which is I understand the type of event where one might expect to see the 200 hp 3 litre / 183 cui Honda V6 powered Screamer 2 driven by Lee Pritchard who also built the all wheel drive, all wheel steer vehicle, above, in action.

Subaru Impreza WRX, Richard Knott, Rally Day, Castle Combe

For those not so technically minded who want to have a go at rallying for a minimal cost you could do worse than sign up for a 3 hour rally course at Castle Combe where Richard Knott, youngest winner of the AWMMC Championship aged 19 some years ago, will show you the ropes and analyse your skills at the wheel of the 2002 Group N Spec Subaru Impreza above for the bargain price of £165.

Volkswagen 1200, Bob Beales, Rally Day, Castle Combe

Over the past few years I have come across Bob Beales 1960 Volkswagen 1200 Bertie many times at various show’s but this was the first occasion on which I had seen the car, originally campaigned in 1960 by 1960 and 1961 British Rally Champion Bill Bengry and driven since 1965 in competition by Bob, in action. This car is so well known among the Rally fraternity Scalextric have issued a slot car model of it.

Ari Vatanen, Ford Escort RS100, Rally Day, Castle Combe

Finally star of the day was Ari Pieti Uolevi Vatanen the 2 twice British Rally Champion, 1981 World Rally Champion, 1983 Safari winner, four time Paris – Dakar winner and twice member of the European Parliament representing a Swedish constituency the first time and a French the second, both while living in France, who drove the same 1975 Mk II Ford Escort RS1800 he drove to win the 1976 British Rally Championship with Peter Bryant, on a couple of demonstration laps.

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


Full Size Wheels – Shadow Mk III

As we saw last week Shadow owner Don Nichols had a thing about keeping the frontal area of his Can Am challengers to a minimum by using under sized wheels. For the 1972 season Shadow Mk II designer Peter Bryant convinced Don it would be better to build a car with bigger wheels in order to gain an increase in cornering performance that would be the result of the improved suspension geometry bigger wheels would afford.

Shadow Mk III, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Two Shadow Mark III’s were built two using the Shadow Mk II chassis tubs raced in 1971 and a third Mk II chassis tub was built and appears to have remained unraced in either 1971 or 1972. Confusingly that third unraced chassis tub, has been built into the only car now in the 1971 Shadow Mk II spec which I looked at last week.

Shadow Mk III, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Aside from the larger wheels and improved suspension geometry which required new suspension pickup points, the Mk III had mid mounted radiators which replaced the single front mounted radiator of the Mk II. A variety of different front aerodynamic appendages were tried on the front of the Mk III as the season progressed suggesting that moving the weight of the radiators back may not have done any favours to the front end handling of the car.

Shadow Mk III, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Jackie Oliver was again retained as the teams primary driver and he proved capable of competing with the other Chevrolet powered Can Am challengers in qualifying, only failing to qualify inside the top 10 on one occasion, however by 1972 Porsche has significantly raised the bar with a pair of Penske entered RC Cola Porsche 917’s. Reliability was still not Shadow’s strong suit and Jackie managed only a single second and third place finish during the season. Joining Jackie as team mates during the year were Brazilian Carlos Pacé, who managed a 4th place at his third and final run in the car at Edmonton, and NASCAR winner Donnie Allison.

Shadow Mk III, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In fact Donnie only ended up doing some qualifying laps in the final race of the season at Riverside, seen on this link wearing the red helmet, before having to hand his car over to Jackie Oliver who had attempted to qualify his own car, that had been fitted with a turbocharged Chevrolet big block, before it blew a piston.

Shadow Mk III, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Today’s featured car, which I believe is built around the first Shadow Mk II chassis tub, is owned by Fred Cziska and seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed with Scott Dmek at the wheel.

Thanks for joining me on this “Full Size Wheels” 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 !


Formula One Wheels – Shadow Mk II

A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to receive today’s featured photo’s from Geoffrey Horton of a Shadow Mk II , a vehicle that had been built for Jackie Oliver to drive in the 1971 Can Am Series.

Shadow Chevrolet Mk II, Marin Sanoma Concours d’ Elegance

The story of the Shadow racing team begins with an orphan Don Nichols who as a child was influenced by The Shadow radio series, after service in the ’39 – ’45 war and a career in military intelligence Don appears to have gravitated to the world of motor racing supplying American tyres to the Japanese racing fraternity during the 1960’s.

Shadow Chevrolet Mk II, Marin Sanoma Concours d’ Elegance

In 1970 Don founded Advanced Vehicle Systems which built a red vehicle notorious for it’s tiny size and wheels designed by Trevor Harris called the Shadow Mk I. The car qualified well with first George Folmer and then Vic Elford at the wheel, but was hampered with a 100% unreliability record not finishing any races.

in 1969 Peter Bryant had designed and entered his titanium chassised Ti 22 Can Am car which Jackie Oliver had been qualifying even better, than the Shadow, ever since it was first seen and managed two 2nd place finishes in 1970.

Shadow Chevrolet Mk II, Marin Sanoma Concours d’ Elegance

Bryant ran out of funds for the Ti 22 and both he and Jackie Oliver joined Don Nichols for the 1971 season. Don was keen that Peter keep the frontal area of the Shadow Mark II to a minimum and so the Mk II was designed around Formula One size wheels and tyres which were smaller than those ordinarily found in Can Am.

Powered by a 8.1 litre / 494 cui Chaparral prepared Chevrolet V8 Jackie scored a best third place finish at Edmonton when the car appeared painted white with black lettering on all the upward facing surfaces except the rear wing. Jackie used chassis Mk II #1 through out the 1971 season.

Shadow Chevrolet Mk II, Marin Sanoma Concours d’ Elegance

As we shall see next week Peter Bryant was responsible for designing the 1972 Shadow MK III and Jackie for driving it. What I did not know until recently was that Advanced Vehicle Systems built three Mk II monocoque tubs and that all three were used to build the Shadow Mk III which ran on full size Can Am tyres.

In 2009 Don Nichols sold off the chassis, seen here at Marin Sanoma Concours d’Elegance where it won it’s class, which is actually the third chassis that was only ever raced in Mk III specification. Mr Losher the owner decided, that as the first two chassis are still in 1972 Mk III spec, he would build his up to the older 1971 Mk II Formula One wheel spec.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sending me these photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Formula One Wheels” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho” on tyres”, next week I’ll be looking at the Shadow Mk III on Americana Thursday, meantime I hope you will join me for another edition of Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !