Tag Archives: C-type

Mavis – Packard Bentley

Today’s featured vehicle Mavis is a creation of Chris Williams, the owner of The Ultimate Laxative Napier Bentley I looked at a couple of years ago.

Mavis, Packard Bentley, Chris Williams, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

Mavis is built on a 1930 Bentley Speed 8 chassis which has been extensively modified to accommodate it’s 41.8 litre / 2563 cui V12 motor which was purchased by Williams at the suggestion of Duncan Pittaway.

Mavis, Packard Bentley, Chris Williams, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

This particular 1500 hp Packard 4M 2500 V12 is a marine variant of an aero engine that was orignally installed in a 45 mph 2nd World War PT, Patrol Torpedo, boat.

Mavis Packard Bentley, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

The supercharged Packard M4-2500 has twin exhaust ports and hence is fitted with 24 exhaust pipes, the faux torpedoes are actually oil tanks.

Mavis Packard Bentley, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

Up to 1500hp is transmitted to the rear wheels through a Bentley C type gearbox that has no synchromesh, note that this vehicle has no front brakes !

Mavis Packard Bentley, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

The rear wheels can be spun in any gear and Chris Williams “drive it like you stole it” attitude ensures that spectators are entertained with copious quantities of fire from the exhaust and clouds of smoke from the rear wheels at every opportunity.

Mavis Packard Bentley, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley Castle

Chris says that Mavis was once lightheartedly described as “biggest automotive waste of time, money and engineering expertise ever built”.

Thanks for joining me on this “Automotive Waste Of Space” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an event which returned Motorsport to Hullavington in Wiltshire. Don’t forget to come back now !


Goodwood Revival – #7 Silberpfile

At the Berlin Motor Show in 1933 Adolf Hitler announced two new projects the (Kraft durch Freude – strength through joy) KdF- Wagen that would eventually become the Volkswagen Beetle and a state sponsored racing programme for Mercedes Benz. Below is a recreation of a 1936 Mercedes Benz racing department transporter based on a 70 hp petrol engine Mercedes Benz Lo 2570 truck complete with a Mercedes Benz W125 racing car on the back.

Mercedes-Benz LO 2750, Goodwood Revival

Once it became clear that Hans Stuck would not be joining Mercedes Benz he got together with Chairman of the newly amalgamated Auto Union Baron Klaus von Oertzen and free lance designer Ferdinand Porsche to make a bid to fund a rival for the Mercedes Benz team. Hitler agreed that two rivals would be better than one and so split the funding he had announced in Berlin for Mercedes Benz with Auto Union much to the disgust of the former. Below is a Büssing Typ 300 of the type used by Auto Union to carry their team.

Bussing Typ 300, Goodwood Revival

There are numerous stories about how the Mercedes Benz and Auto Union team cars came to be called collectively the Silver Arrows. Apparently the earliest use to the term was in a 1932 radio broadcast in connection with a streamlined Mercedes Benz SSKL driven by Manfred von Brauchitsch was called a Silver Arrow. When the Auto Unions were prepared in 1934 they were all painted silver and bitter rivals Mercedes Benz, who would probably be loath to admit it, appear to have followed suit.

Auto Union A-Type, Goodwood Revival

For 1934 Auto Union built the A-Type with, for the period, a wholly unconventional mid engine layout which featured a 291 hp super charged V16 motor there was no championship that year, Alfa Romeo won the first two of the seven major races before Hans Stuck won the German Grand Prix for Auto Union, René Dreyfus managed an unlikely win at the Belgian Grand Prix aboard his Bugatti and Mercedes swept the last two races of the season in Italy and Spain. Above is an A-Type of the type Stuck used to win the 1934 German Grand Prix.

Mercedes Benz W154 and W25, Goodwood Revival

From 1934 to 1937 Mercedes Benz used the W25 powered by a supercharged straight 8 motor that rose from 300 hp in 1934 to 490 hp by the time the W25 was replaced by the W125. In 1935 Rudolf Caracciola won the European Grand Prix Championship with three wins, Stuck one once for Auto Union and Tazio Nuvolari famously upset the Fuhrer by winning for ALFA Romeo in the 1935 German Grand Prix.

Karl Wendlinger had some problems selecting gears with the W25 seen on the left above and when he got a gear on this occasion the car snaked wildly as the narrow power band of his screaming engine kicked in forcing the 1938 W154 onto the grass.

Auto Union C-Type, Goodwood Revival

For 1936 Auto Union introduced the C-Type which produced over 500 hp from it’s supercharged V16. This tipped the scales in favour of Bernd Rosemeyer who won three of the four European Championship rounds to become European Champion in 1936. This left the previous years champion Caracciola with a consolation victory at the start of the 1936 season before the Mercedes Benz team withdrew mid season, after the Auto Unions superiority became obvious, to regroup for 1937.

Five time Le Mans winner Frank Biela is seen at the wheel of the C-type above.

Mercedes Benz W125, Goodwood Revival

For 1937 Mercedes Benz came back with a vengeance upgrading their supercharged straight eight motor with a swept volume 5,662.85 cc / 345.56 CUI which produced 595 hp and a new W125 chassis as seen being handled by Grand Prix and Le Mans winner Jochen Mass above. After a consolation win at the start of the 1937 season for Rudolf Hasse, Caracciola took three wins from the remaining four rounds of the championship to win the 1937 European Championship title for the second time. Only Manfred von Brauchitsch also aboard a W125 interrupted Caracciola’s progress at Monaco. It was not until the late sixties that circuit racers so powerful would hit the tracks again with the emergence of the unlimited Can Am Series in North America.

Auto Union D-Type, Goodwood Revival

For 1938 the organisers changed the rules to bring the speeds down by announcing a maximum swept volume of three litres / 183 cui. Auto Union developed the new D-type with “only” 12 cylinders in a Vee configuartaion that with 24 psi boost from the supercharger developed 478 hp and was still capable of over 200 mph ! The Nuvolari drove the D-Type, like the one seen here, to a single championship victory at the season finale at Monza.

Mercedes Benz W154, Goodwood Revival

Mercedes Benz built the W154 for the smaller capacity formula using an essentially unchanged chassis from the W125 but with a supercharged V12 giving up to 475 hp. von Brauchitsch and Great Britain’s Richard Seaman won the opening 2 races of the four race series. Caracciola won the third round which was enough to secure him a third European Championship title.

For 1939 there were only four rounds of the European Championship Mercedes again winning three of them Hermann Lang winning the first and last and Caracciola winning the 1939 German Grand Prix all for Mercedes. Herman Paul Müller interrupted the Mercedes domination with a win at the French Grand Prix. Two weeks after the final championship round in Switzerland von Brauchitsch drove the #6 seen here driven by Rob Hall to second place in the non championship Belgrade Grand Prix. That same day the Second World War got underway and the European Championship organisers who apparently had never agreed on the points system to be used for the 1939 championship failed to announce a championship winner. Lang or Mülller would have won depending on the scoring system to be used.

Mercedes Benz W165, Goodwood Revival

Finally Mercedes Benz built the 1.5 litre 91.5 cui supercharged V8 powered W165, as driven by Paul Stewart above, to compete in the more competitive, or at least varied since nearly everyone had abandoned hope of competing against Mercedes Benz and Auto Union, voiturette (small) class. Two cars were entered for Lang and Caracciola in the Tripoli Grand Prix and they finished first and second in that order. The cars were never to be raced again despite Caracciola being invited to compete at Indianapolis in 1946, he could not get the car out of Europe through Swiss customs.

Without doubt these are some of the most fascinating cars ever seen in motor racing, they dominated races that were often 10 hours long, but in the early years they were not invincible. However great the achievements of the teams and drivers these cars were built in an industrial context with the conscripted help of men and women who were not free to do as they liked, and I would venture to suggest these vehicles should be remembered as a testimony to those who endured unimaginable hardships and in the greater scheme of things some of the greatest inhumanities known to man.

Thanks for joining me on this “#7 Siberpfile” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again for some California Sunshine tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Two Cats in Hollywood – D-type XKD 531 & C -type XKC 007

Thanks again go to Steve & Ed Arnaudin for providing today’s unusual photograph which Ed purchased somewhere around 1958/59.

Jaguar D and C types

Photo by 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.

Extensive research on The Nostalgia Forum has revealed that not only the cars but also the lead driver AND the photograph itself all have stories to tell.

This photograph appears to have been taken in the studio by Carlyle Blackwell around 1956/57, when he was the owner of the red #18 C-Type XKC 007 which he raced between 1955 and 1957. The #54 D-type is thought to be XKD 531 owned and raced by J Douglas.

It should be noted that this blog is a research project in progress and the identification of the chassis numbers is still not definitive. I have tried to reach the copyright holders but so far in vain so it is possible I might have to withdraw this blog at some point.

The D-type Jaguar like the C-Type was a factory built racing car powered by a variation of the same XK engine design as the XK 120, XK 140 and C-type.

Like the late C-Type the D-Type was fitted with efficient disc brakes. It’s debut at Le Mans in 1954 was thwarted by sand in the fuel, once it was removed Duncan Hamilton & Tony Rolt took their D-type back up the field to second place 1 lap down on the winning Ferrari of Jóse Frolián González and Maurice ‘Racing Is Life’ Trintignant.

The following year Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Beub driving a D-Type won a hollow Le Mans Victory after the Mercedes Benz team withdrew following the horrendous crash in which an estimated 83 spectators lost their lives and a further 120 were injured.

D-types entered by the private Ecurie Ecosse team took two further victories in ’56 and ’57.

The #54 XKD 531, which I believe we are looking at here, is one of 53 customer D-types, this one was raced from 1956 to 1957 by J Douglas and then from 1958 to at least 1959 by Ray Seher.

The red #18 C-type XKC 007 was originally owned by Charles H Hornburg Jnr who had future US World Champion Grand Prix driver Phil Hill drive it to two victories in 1952, Phil said of XKC 007 ” It was the first car I ever drove that had a really precise feel about it – it really felt like a racing car.”

Carlyle Blackwell acquired the car in 1955 and raced it through to the end of 1957 before acquiring the D-type XKD 528.

Jaguar D Type

Photo by 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.

The story of this photo does not stop with the cars however, look closely at the driver of the #54 and some of you might recognise the face as none other than that of Emmy winning writer Jack Douglas.

A detail of this photograph appeared on the cover of Sports Car Graphic in March 1963 the masthead reads “If the face on this month’s cover looks familiar, it should be. It belongs to Jack Douglas, writer, author of among other things, “My brother was an only child”, and sometime race driver. The photo was shot by his friend, Hollywood photographer Carlyle Blackwell.”

Jaguar D Type

Photo by 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.

The whole photograph as seen at the top of the blog first appeared on the cover of Sports Car Illustrated in February 1957 with a masthead that reads “Carlyle Blackwell shot this Ektachrome of a pair of competition Jaguars booming through the night.”
As can be seen studio lights are used to illuminate both drivers and the front of the #18.

Note how the colour from Ed’s purchased slide has darkened around an apparently ivory car, while the colour of the car as it appears on the cover of Sports Car Illustrated appears yellowish, the colour of Jacks car at the time has been described as ‘mustard yellow’ which only goes to show how unreliable photographs can be when trying to identify vehicles back in the day.

To date this is without doubt one of the most fascinating photographs I have ever come across. My thanks to Steve and particularly Ed Arnaudin who first purchased the photograph. Thanks also to everyone on the Auto Slides by Blackwell thread on The Nostalgia Forum for their invaluable contributions including, RA Historian Tom, Frank Barrett, Jean L, Jerry Entin, Frank Sheffield, Frank Hill, JB Miltonian, and raceanouncer 2003 Vince H.

I hope anyone believing they can improve on the accuracy of my hypothesis about this photo or with contacts leading to the Blackwell estate will chime in below.

Hope you have enjoyed this ‘Carceology’ edition of “Getting a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow to see a ‘mystery’ vehicle with a Cat under the hood. 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.

Pamela tells me that her brother is seen at the wheel of the #18 Jaguar C-type in the photograph and that the photo was taken in Carlyle Blackwell’s driveway.


Gordon MacKenzie’s Cockpit – #52 C-type Jaguar XKC 030

It’s a great pleasure to share another of Ed Arnaudin’s photographs on ‘Gettin’ a lil pyscho on tyres’ sticking with this weeks Jaguar theme today we have Gordon Mackenzie’s C-type Jaguar in the paddock at Lime Rock in April 1959.

The C-type is the competition version of the XK 120 with a lightweight aerodynamic aluminium body built around a tubular frame. 52 C-types were built powered by a 205 hp version of the XK engine one of which driven by Peters Whitehead & Walker won Le Mans in 1951.

In 1953 with an engine tuned to 220 hp, thanks to a switch from triple SU carburettors to Webbers and a chassis fitted with disc brakes Duncan Hamilton & Tony Rolt drove their C-type to Jaguars second Le Mans win.

XKC 030 had been raced by amongst others by David Hirsch and both Virginia and Loyal Katsee, when after rolling his XK 120 in 1957 Gordon McKenzie acquired it and subsequently used it with varying degrees of success all the way through to 1962.

Gordon MacKenzie came home 5th behind the #25 Ferrari TRC of G Andrey and 2 spots ahead of Bob Grossman’s 250 GT California on this particular day.

John Aibel informs me that Gordon McKenzie was a well known racing instructor in the North East States and is still active in Vintage SCCA events.

My thanks to Ed & Steve Arnaudin for the photograph, John Aibel and Terry O’Neil for background information.

Hope you have enjoyed to today’s lightweight edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow for two cats in a Hollywood studio. Don’t forget to come back now !