Tag Archives: Canada

Factory Right Hooker – Pontiac Parisienne #1102452

The earliest Pontiac Parisienne was a sub-series within the 1958 Laurentian line, in 1959 the first Parisienne’s were sold as stand alone models in Canada.

Pontiac Parisienne, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

With higher taxes, fuel costs and a smaller market GM decided that selling US Spec Pontiacs was not viable in Canada and so they based the Parisienne on a 119″ Chevrolet B Platform and fitted it with a Chevy drive train and shortened Pontiac exterior panels, in this case ’67 Pontiac Catalina, and interior trim. Third generation Parisiennes like the one featured here were in production from 1965 to 1970 and were also built with 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan and 4-door station wagon bodies.

Pontiac Parisienne, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Built with right hand drive at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario production plant this 1967 Parisienne Convertible was destined for the the Australian market but for some reason it was landed at Southampton Docks in the UK from whence it’s original owner bought it.

Pontiac Parisienne, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

It is fitted with a 5032 cc / 307 cui which I believe would have produced around 115hp, I have not found any evidence that this engine size was either available in 1967 or fitted as standard to the Parisienne in period, however if you know better I certainly stand to be corrected.

Pontiac Parisienne, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

When I saw the car at the Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham a couple of years ago it was being offered for sale at auction and the sales description included advice that the car had undergone a restoration by “The Romance Of Rust” costing over £15,000.

Pontiac Parisienne, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

This Parisienne sold for £15,680 and is currently not on the road in the UK so far as I am aware.

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


Son of Silent Sam – Lotus 56

The 1968 Lotus 56 picked up on the technology used by the STP-Paxton Turbocar “Silent Sam designed by Ken Wallis for the 1967 Indy 500 with which Parnelli Jones came within 8 miles of winning before a transmission bearing failure intervened.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

Like the STP Paxton Turbocar the Lotus 56, was also bankrolled by STP’s Andy Granatelli, used four wheel drive transmission.

The Lotus 56Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

However the Lotus 56 rather than mounting the engine alongside the driver on a backbone chassis as had been the case with the STP Paxton Turbocar, Maurice Phillipe’s design had the motor conventionally mounted behind the driver in what was to become an influential wedge shaped vehicle.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

Jim Clark was originally penciled in to drive the Lotus 56 but his death during a race in Germany in April ’68 meant British driver Mike Spence was called in to do the early testing of the Lotus 56, unfortunately Mike was killed during practice three weeks before the start of the Indy 500 after hitting the wall in turn one.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

After an accident with in older STP Paxton Turbo car Joe Leonard joined Graham Hill and Art Pollard in the remaining Lotus 56’s.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

Despite running with an air restrictor plate mandated for 1968 Joe managed to qualify on pole for the ‘500’ thanks in part to the efficient aerodynamics and superior 4wd handling.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

The big advantage of using a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turbo shaft motor, more familiarly seen in a variety of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, was reliability these motors are known to have a mean time between outages (MTBO) of 9000 hours !

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

The disadvantage of turbo shaft motor was eye watering fuel consumption which means turbine powered cars carry more weight and have to re fuel more often than cars powered by conventional piston motor’s.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

In the 1968 500 Graham Hill had an accident Art Pollard broke down while Joe Leonard was leading with a few laps to go when a fuel pump shaft failed meaning Granatelli came close but failed to win a cigar for the second year running.

Turbo shaft motors and four wheel drive were outlawed from the Champ Car circuit from 1969. The Lotus 56 design, in 56B specification, was subsequently sporadically used in Grand Prix races during 1971, but apart from phenomenal performance in the wet no overall advantage was found by using the combination of four wheel drive and turbine shaft propelled vehicles.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Son of Silent Sam’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


A Big Red Cadillac – Ferrari 126 CK

Taking a one day break from GALPOT’s Indy 500 celebrations, for Ferrari Friday today we are celebrating the life of Gilles Villeneuve, father of 1995 Indy 500 winner and 1998 World Champion Jaques Villeneuve, and Gilles Ferrari 126 CK seen here during practice for the 1981 British GP at Silverstone.

81 07 17 #27 126 CK 054 01sc

The Ferrari 126 CK was a development of Ferrari’s first turbocharged Grand Prix car which was launched in 1980. Featuring a fire breathing 600 hp 1,496 cc / 91 cui 120º V6 twin turbo charged motor and six speed gearbox Villeneuve described this car as a ‘big red Cadillac’ because the chronic turbo lag, ferocious power curve combined with ground effect aerodynamics made this car a real handful to keep under control.

Despite it’s wayward characteristics Gilles pulled off two of the most entertaining victories this writer has ever seen on TV, the first at Monaco (apologies commentary in German) came after Champion elect Nelson Piquet spun off after leading for 51 laps and reigning Champion Alan Jones experienced a fuel feed problem which allowed Gilles to steal a late victory on the one circuit least suited to his cars few strengths.

Two weeks later Gilles pulled off an even more unlikely victory at the equally tight and unsuited Jarama Circuit this time Villeneuve took the lead after 14 laps when reigning Champion Jones spun off. Gilles kept a four car train behind him for the rest of this exciting race by using the Ferrari’s brutal power on the straights to pull away out of the corners, going round the corners his pursuers bunched up time after time but did not have the brute strength to get an edge on the straights.

The finish of the 1981 Spanish Grand Prix was one of the closest in history with the first five cars being separated by 1.24 seconds. Sadly this would be the last time Gilles would take the checkered flag.

By the time Ferrari arrived in Britain they were developing a way to minimise turbo lag by injecting fuel into the red hot turbo exhaust pipe when the throttle was off, as the fuel ignited in the turbo exhaust pipe the pressure difference created between the burning fuel in the exhaust and the turbine wheel mounted upstream caused the turbine wheel to spin faster which in turn increased the turbo boost to the motor so that when the throttle was depressed more power was readily available. In this form whenever the 126 CK was off throttle a lick of flame would appear out of the exhausts.

At some point this system was banned, it being successfully argued by teams using naturally aspirated motors that the turbo afterburner constituted a second engine, when the rules clearly stated only one motor was allowed.

At the British Grand Prix, apologies Austrian commnetary, Gilles qualified 8th and made up five places on the opening lap before loosing it on the apex of the last corner of the first lap. Notice in the clip that despite his totaled car Gilles somehow manages to squeeze another 1/4 lap out of the car before retiring, this guy just did not know how to stop when the chips were down.

Another memorable performance that emphasised Gilles never say die attitude came at the 1981 Canadian Grand Prix where despite his damaged front wing obscuring his vision and adversely affecting the already poor handing of his Ferrari for numerous laps, Gilles kept his car on the black stuff to record an amazing third place finish.

Gilles was killed in an accident during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix, May 8th 1982

Salute Gilles RIP.

Hope you will join me for another edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !