Tag Archives: Carter

Americana Paddock Questions – Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

At the end of May Geoffrey Horton popped along to the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival and kindly sent a large number of photographs, including those selected today which have an American theme.

Kurtis 500S, Tom Claridge, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival,

Built in 1953 Tom Claridge’s Kurtis 500 S #022 was originally supplied with a de Soto motor, after an accident in 1954 the car was rebuilt with the current Chrylser Hemi # C53-8-I5990, this car has been seen at the Goodwood Revival meetings.

Chevrolet Corvette, Bruce Miller, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival,

I am not sure of the racing provenance of Bruce Millers Sunoco liveried 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, but I understand the chassis number is #30867S118408, if you know more please chip in below.

Mercury Cougar XR7, Ike Keeler, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival,

The racing provenance of cars raced in the 60’s is never easy, there are references pertaining to Ike Keeler’s #14 Mercury Cougar,chassis #7F91C597587, being the Bob Estes sponsored #79 driven by Mark Waco which do not tie up on the dates I have found elsewhere on the internet, a Burien Mercury sponsored #14 Cougar was driven at least twice in 1967/68 by Dave Tatom, again if you can clarify these anomalies please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Doug Schultz, Dodge Daytona, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

I beleive Doug Schultz’s #7 Hilton Charger is a 1969 Dodge Daytona driven by 1966 and 1973 NASCAR Camping World Series West Champion Jack McCoy who recorded 54 wins during his career from the late 1950’s to early 1990’s.

Ford Boss Mustang, Jim Hague,  Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival,

Ken Epsman’s #16 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 appears to be the car Bud Moore entered for Peter Gregg in the 1971 Trans Am series.

Pontiac Firebird, William E. (Chip) Connor, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

After an accident during practice for a Trans Am race at Road America Jerry Titus lost his life in August 1970 after crashing his #8 Terry Godsall Racing Pontiac Firebird similar to the one belonging to William-E.-Chip-Connor above.

Chevrolet Camaro, John Hildebrand, Sonoma Historic

2011 Indy Rookie of the Year JR Hildebrand was inspired to start racing after watching his Dad John race the #56 Peerless Racing Chevrolet Camaro that I believe was raced by Craig Carter from late 1978 to 1979.

If you have any additional information on any of the vehicles above please do not hesitate to chip in below. My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Americana Paddock Questions” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at five favorite Ferrari’s that have appeared at Silverstone Classic. Don’t forget to come back now !


Large & Small – Cooper Mk V (T15)

For 1951 Cooper built the Mark V to compete in “500” Formula 3 events, the Mark 5 has also been given the retrospective Cooper T15 moniker.

Cooper Mk V, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

Improvements over previous “500” Coopers listed in their contemporary advertisements included a completely redesigned chassis, lighter body with hinged top panels for easy access fore & aft, reduced weight, smaller frontal area and rubber suspended alloy side tanks.

Cooper Mk V, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

A Mark 5 chassis could be supplied for £500 without an engine or £582 with a JAP excluding taxes, customers for the Mark 5 included a Mr Bernhard “No Angel” Ecclestone and a semi works team run by Ecurie Richmond with drivers Eric Brandon, who became the inaugural 1951 National Formula 3 Champion and Alan Brown was run alongside the team of works drivers Ken Carter and Bill Whitehouse.

Cooper Mk V, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

Today’s featured Mark 5 was modified to accommodate the larger frame of works driver “Big” Bill Whitehouse who raced the car in the UK, Italy and Germany during the 1951 season scoring a win at Silverstone and many podium finishes.

Cooper Mk V, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

The following season it was bought by Lewis “Pop” Lewis-Evans who shared the driving duties, with an emerging talent, his son Stuart who scored wins at Silverstone, Brands Hatch and finally at Chimay in Belgium during the 1952 season.

Cooper Mk V, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

Over the winter of 1952 ’53 a lowline body work was fitted to the car to capitalise on Stuarts 5′ 4″ frame, this kept the car competitive for 1953 before it found it’s way to Tom Wheatcroft’s hands in 1954.

The car remained in Tom’s Donington Collection until 2014 when the current owner acquired it and restored for racing this season.

Thanks for joining me on this Large & Small edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at Jim Clarks 1965 World Championship winning Lotus 33. Don’t forget to come back now !

03/05/15 PS Yesterday I learned from Doug Nye that Stuart Lewis-Evans was one of the earliest racers to use seat belts, this link shows Stuart wearing what appears to be seat belts of a type designed for use in aircraft at the Crystal Palace meeting in July 1953.

The Lewis-Evans family also had a novel way of carrying their Cooper atop their Land Rover as seen in this link.


A Season At Cannes – Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder #3195GT

Sharing the same short wheel base (SWB) chassis as the Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta first seen in 1959, a 280 hp version of the Ferrari 250 V12 motor and disc brakes the first of 54 or possibly 55 250 GT SWB California Spyders was shown to the public by Scaglietti at the 1960 Geneva motor show.

In 1962 the 32nd SWB California Spyder #3195GT painted green with a black interior was delivered to Jan de Vroom. de Vroom was a young man from Dutch Indonesia who was one of two men vying for the attentions of the much older Margaret de Cuevas.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea

Born Margret Strong in New York de Cuevas’s grandfather was oil billionaire John D Rockefeller.

Of the two men competing for Margret de Cuevas, de Vroom is painted as a roguish subterranean adventurer who walked on the wild side leading the increasingly eccentric Margret into a “pit of vipers” characterised as “male and uninterested in women”.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea

Margret set de Vroom up in the business of importing Italian glass and lamps, it is believed that having raced a variety of Ferrari’s from 1956 to 1958 which included making an appearance at Le Mans, de Vroom may have been one of a number of backers of US Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART).

#3195GT is said to have been purchased for “a season at Cannes” and later in the 1960’s it was imported to the USA. During the 1970’s after a change in ownership the car was reported as having a dark blue with tan interior and later again as painted red.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea

de Vroom met an unpleasant end at the hands of a thug who demanded money. He was found with his throat cut and multiple stab wounds by a house guest in 1973, a crime for which the perpetrators were convicted and imprisoned. This left the way open to Margret’s other suitor to move in and marry her when she was eighty and allegedly relieve her of most of her remaining wealth.

Since the 1990’s #3195GT has been a regular on the Concours circuit with Robert Baker being awarded a first in class at the 1994 International Ferrari Concours at Monterey and I believe current owner Larry Carter took home another class award from the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing these photo’s taken at the 2012 Concours on the Avenue at Carmel by the Sea and to Jerry Entin, Willem Oosthoek, Richard ‘Vitesse2’ Armstrong, Arjan de Roos and Rob Semmeling at The Nostalgia Forum for their help with Jan de Vroom’s story.

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


D.A. Lubricant Special – Kurtis Offenhauser KK500H

For the 1958 Indianapolis 500 D.A.Lubricants sponsored an Offenhauser powered Kurtis KK500H that was to be driven by Johnny Thomson. Unlike previous Kurtis Indy cars this one did not lift it’s inside front wheel when going through the corners because it was the first Kurtis to be fitted with independent front suspension.

Kurtis Offenhauser 500H, Rolex Reunion, Laguna Seca

Johnny qualified the D.A.Lubricants Special 22nd and on the first lap got tangled up in the accident that killed Pat O’Conor damaging the suspension. Johnny continued for another 51 laps before the team called it a day, to be classified 23rd, with damaged steering. The race was won by Jim Bryan in the Salih Offy Belond Special.

Kurtis Offenhauser 500H, Rolex Reunion, Laguna Seca

In 1959 the D.A.Lubricants Special became the Smokey’s Reverse Torque Special driven by Duane Carter who qualified 12th and finished 7th to record the cars only Indy 500 finish in a race dominated by the Watson Offy’s driven by Roger Ward and Jim Rathman. Interestingly Smokey Yunnick had realised that by reversing the direction of the crankshaft and flywheel rotation the car should have had a better balance through the corners, hence the Smokey’s Reverse Torque name.

Kurtis Offenhauser 500H, Rolex Reunion, Laguna Seca

This cars final appearance in the 500 was in 1960 when Don Freeland drove the car now known as the Ross-Babcock Traveler qualifying 11th but being classified 22nd after withdrawing from the race with a magneto problem.

Ron Fournier restored the car to 1958 D.A.Lubricants configuration and to meet current vintage racing requirements in 2007.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photo’s of the car seen at last years Rolex Reunion at Lagunna Seca.

THanks for joining me on this “D.A. Lubricant Special” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Why Worry No: 6 ? – Scammell Highwayman

I hope you’ll forgive me taking a break from my usual Thursday Americana blog so that we can to start celebrating regular GALPOT reader and contributor Steve Arnaudin’s Birthday a day early with a look at a 1961 Scammell Highwayman.

Scammell Highwayman, 1961

This particular vehicle is part of a fleet of vehicles used by John Carter and Sons to transport their steam fair around Britain.

Scammell Highwayman, 1961,

So far as I can discern Carter & Sons operate 7 Scammells in their fleet of 15 vintage trucks.

Scammell Highwayman, 1961,

“Why Not” is regularly tasked with pulling 40 tons of Steam Fair paraphernalia and with that weight can reach 40 mph, too slow to be seen on Britain’s motorway network which normally requires vehicles to be able to maintain a minimum speed of 50 mph.

Scammell Highwayman, 1961

A big clue as to why Steve might remember this type of vehicle is the number 6.

Scammell Highwayman, 1961

Highwayman were commonly used to pull Scammell low loading trailers which were built at the Scammell works at Moor Park just outside North London.

Scammell Highwayman, 1961

Joby Carter reckons that each of his trucks covers around 1000 miles per year some of them only need to be filled with diesel once a year !

Scammell Highwayman, 1961

One of the problems of running a fleet of vintage trucks is keeping the Gardiner diesel engines maintained this truck is 50 years old and the mechanic who has been looking after them should have retired some time ago.

Scammell Highwayman, 1961

In case your wondering why this truck might be of interest to our GALPOT birthday boy may I heartily recommend to you 42 mins 10 seconds of this linked surreal youtube clip for all to be revealed.

Happy Birthday and best wishes tomorrow Steve !

Be Seeing You !


1962 DNQ – John Zink Trackburner

The other day I caught a bit of a radio programme about interview questions asked of potential Oxbridge (Oxford & Cambridge) university students, one of which was “If you are not in California how do you know it exists ?”

This got me thinking about if one was not at a particular race how could one know what happened ?

Looking into the story behind today’s photograph by Ed Arnaudin several ‘beliefs’ I have long held were ‘corrected’, namely that after the appearance of Jack Brabham’s Cooper Coventry Climax T54 the next car with an engine in the back to appear at Indianapolis was Jim Clark’s #92 Lotus Ford 29 in 1963.

Much to my surprise I found out that there were two rear engine vehicle types at Indianapolis in 1962 !

John Zink Trackburner, Indianapolis

The John Zink Trackburner, above, and Mickey Thompson’s Harvey Aluminium Special, remarkably they were both driven by Dan Gurney who invited Colin Chapman of Lotus over, all expenses paid, for the 1962 Indy 500 in an attempt to secure a deal with Lotus & Ford to have a winning shot at the race in 1963 !

The history of running turbines in Indy cars goes back to 1955 when a Kurtis Kraft 3000 chassis was fitted with a 175 hp Gas Turbine with the support of USAF General Curtis Le May. This vehicle known as the SAC Fireboid, see images at the bottom of this link, was used for testing by Firestone and for a demonstration at Indy in 1955.

In 1958 a Mr Williams of the Boeing Aircraft Company approached Frank Kurtis in 1958 to design a purpose made turbine powered vehicle, allegedly Frank drew up plans for a vehicle with the engine at the rear, primarily do deal with the 1000º F plus exhaust gas temperatures. However the powers that be at USAC were not sufficiently timely or co-operative to get the project up and running.

For 1962 the 1955 and ’56 winning owner John Zink had his Chief Mechanic Denny Moore build a rear engine chassis to take a Boeing Turbine.

Prior to the Indy 500 the car was tested and crashed by John ‘Jack’ Zink at his own private 5/8ths mile circuit which included 11º banking ! After repairs the car was taken to Indianapolis where the rookie road racer Dan Gurney tried it after passing his Rookie test in a front engine Roadster.

Gurney managed to run at 143 mph not fast enough to qualify in the gas turbine Trackburner and felt that though more speed was achievable throttle lag in traffic would present insurmountable problems during the race. Dan ended up qualifying and racing Thompson’s Buick stock block, under, powered Harvey Aluminium Special instead.

Indy veteran Duane Carter was next to run in the Gas Turbine Trackburner, Carter ran slower in the corners but faster on the straights than Gurney recording a best time of 142 mph.

John Zink Trackburner, Indianapolis

Duane qualified for the ’62 Indy 500 in a conventional roadster belonging to Zink and Bill Cheesebourg, most likely the driver seen in the car here, had a shot at running in the turbine Trackburner he managed a best time of 145 mph but like Gurney fancied his chances in a Buick stock block powered Thompson, unlike Gurney he could not get up to qualifying speed before crashing.

Finally Duane Carter in danger of being bumped off the grid had one more shot at qualifying in the turbine Trackburner but he could not record a time faster than 143 mph. It was concluded that despite running nearly a full race distance during qualification for the 500 the combination of throttle lag, high track side temperatures, and inconsistencies born out of the three different drivers who spent time in the cockpit led to the cars failure to qualify.

My thanks to Steve Arnadin for scanning his Dad’s photograph, to Tom, E.B, Michael, Tim, at The Nostalgia Forum, for filling a large gap in my knowledge.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s belief changing edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


‘Making Time’ – Jaguar 3.8 MK 2

The MK 2 Jaguar introduced in 1959 was available with a choice of 3 six cylinder XK6 motors this 1962 model is fitted with the top of the range 220 hp 3.8 litre / 231 cui engine that was slightly detuned from that found in E-Type Jaguars.

Jaguar, 3.8, Mk 2, Prescott VSCC

Sharing the same shell as the contemporary Daimler 2.5 V8 and later budget Jaguar 240, 340 and Daimler V8 250 it is thought around 110,000 vehicles of this type were built between 1959 and 1969 including all the variations on this shell.

MK 2 Jaguars with their rest to 60 mph 8.5 secs performance and top speed of 125 mph were used as Motorway cruisers by the police and have gained what is generally considered an unfair reputation as the criminal car of choice thanks no doubt to films like the hard core, for it’s time, ‘Get Carter‘ (see 55 secs) clip contains violence and strong language.

TV detective Inspector Morse drives a 120 hp 2.4 litre MK 2 Jaguar, which actor John Thaw described as an ‘arse’ to drive, though in the original novels, by Colin Dexter, Morse is described as driving a Lancia.

My favourite Jaguar MK2 media appearance is in ‘Withnail and I‘ warning this clip contains strong language.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s MK2 edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !