Tag Archives: Chris

Sweet Seventeen – Ford Thunderbird

Last, but one, in this series of road vehicles painted in racing colours is today’s tenth generation Ford Thunderbird painted up to look like the #17 DeWalt Fords driven by Matt Kenseth from 2000 to 2011.

Ford Thunderbird, Talladega Superspeedway

Ironically the Thunderbird had been phased out of NASCAR competition by the time Matt joined NASCARS’s top tier circuit in favour of the Ford Taurus. This photo was taken in the car park at Talladega Superspeedway in April 2009.

This blog is dedicated to Sweet Seventeen, who kindly lent me her headphones so that I could follow the Aarrons 499, and her partner Chris who is currently recovering from major kidney surgery. Hang on in there and get well soon Chris.

Thanks for joining me on this “Sweet 17” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at one of my all time favourite Formula One cars. Don’t forget to come back now !


Wheels & Studs – Lotus 23B

The Lotus 23 is a 900 lb / 408 kgs sports racing car, with a nominal passenger seat, built around a wide version of the Lotus 22 chassis frame with identical suspension to the single seater.

Customers had motors installed, from 750 cc / 41 cui to 2 over litres / 122 cui, that were manufactured by Coventry Climax, Lotus, Ford, BMW, Saab and even Ferrari amongst others.

Chris Goodwin, Lotus 23B, Goodwood Revival

In 1962 over 130 Lotus 23’s were built that are known to have been entered in over 600 national and international events and recorded over 110 outright victories and a more than a further 130 class victories up to the Kyalami 9 hours in 1981.

The Lotus 23 has two important footnotes recorded in the annals of Motor Racing history, both dating to 1962 first Jim Clark qualified a Lotus 23 6th for the 1000 kms race at Nurburgring, a race which included an impressive array of powerful Ferrari’s Porsche’s and Jaguars. The race started in the rain and the nimble Jim and the 100 hp Lotus 23 shot away from the Le Mans type start into the lead and remained there ahead of Dan Gurney in a Porsche until lap 12 of 44 when he was overcome by fumes from a split exhaust manifold and crashed, without injury. Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien eventually won the race in a Ferrari 246S.

For Le Mans in 1962 Lotus entered two cars one 750 cc / 45 cui and the other 1 litre 61 cui which is said to have upset several French teams causing the organisers to throw the Lotus team out of the race first on the grounds that the front and rear wheel hubs had 4 and 6 studs respectively, when this was rectified the organisers threw the cars out again because the front a rear wheels were different sizes meaning the spare wheel which had to be carried could not be fitted to front & rear axles. This was the final straw for Colin Chapman who vowed “We will never race again at Le Mans!” a promise he kept until his death in 1982.

Chris Goodwin, Lotus 23B, Goodwood Revival

The Lotus 23B seen here at the Goodwood Revival is driven by Chris Goodwin who finished third in the Madgwick Cup.

T22222 is an Austrian registration number that appeared on chassis 23-S-68 that was driven by Austrian hotelier Alban Scheiber on hillclimb events in 1963.

Chris Goodwin is yet another of my former racing instructors at Brands Hatch, who is better known as a sportscar racer, TV presenter and McLaren Automotive’s Chief Test Driver and Bruno Senna’s Manager.

My thanks to Lutz ‘r.altos’ M for the information regarding Alban Scheiber.

Thanks for joining me on this Wheels and Studs edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

PS Don’t forget …

Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz

Automobiliart, Paul Chenard

December 26th – January 2nd

Win a set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards

Sports-GT cars set, Paul Chenard

Set 1 Sports & GT Cars

Phil Hill, Sharknose Ferrari Set, Paul Chenard

Set 2 Phil Hill World Drivers Championship 50th Anniversary Edition

1934 GP Season Card set, Paul Chenard

Set 3 1934 Season

1950s Grand Prix Engines

Set 4 Grand Prix Engines of the 1950’s


Mike Hawtorns racecars Card set, Paul Chenard

Set 5 Mike Hawthorn’s Race Cars

The Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will comprise 8 categories.

Overall winner chooses one set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards from the five sets shown above.

The cards measure 15.24cm x 11.43cm, come in packs of 12 with 3 copies of 4 designs in each set, plus A6 envelopes.

Which set will you choose ?

The free to enter Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will run from December 26th – January 2nd Entries close January 8th 2012, Winner announced January 16th 2012.

Full details on December 26th at GALPOT.

Looking for Automotive Seasonal Gift Idea’s? Visit Automobiliart Now !


Suspension by Chris Lawrence – Morgan Aero 8

Up until 2000 the last time Morgan had introduced a new body style was 1964, only 26 glass fibre bodied +4+ cars were built over 4 years and since that time Morgan have successfully focused on improving a design that dates back to 1936.

Morgan Aero 8, Morgan Cars Malvern

In 2000 Morgan launched a genuinely ground up new ‘retro’ design the Morgan Aero 8, a clear nod to Morgan’s successful past with an eye on the future.

Morgan Aero 8, Morgan Cars Malvern

The heart of the Aero 8 was a 325 hp 4.4 litre / 268.5 cui BMW V8, with fake Morgan cam covers, capable of accelerating the car from rest to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of over 170 mph.

Morgan Aero 8, Prescott

The all new aluminium chassis, completely unrelated to the steel ladder chassis of earlier models, was developed with the help of Morgan’s best known racing exponent and tuner Chris Lawrence. Unusually for a vehicle with this kind of performance the chassis and suspension are so stiff that the suspension does not have anti roll / sway bars.

Morgan Aero 8, Prescott

The Aero 8 has since been offered as a limited edition coupé the Aero Max, of which just 100 have been built and the Targa topped Aero SuperSports. Production of these cars is coming to an end at the Morgan factory, in anticipation of a new Morgan 4 wheel model.

An insight into some of the work of Chris Lawrence, who passed away on August 13th, can be found on this link.

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


Sprinzel Lawrence Racing – Morgan And Triumph SLR

Towards the end of 1963 former British Rally Champion and Racing Driver John Sprinzel joined forces with noted engineer and Morgan racer Chris Lawrence, under the Sprintzel Lawrence Racing (SLR) banner, to design and build a sports car based on a Triumph TR4 powered ladder frame Morgan +4, with a similar chassis to the one that Chris had co driven with Richard Shepherd – Barron to a class victory at Le Mans in 1962.

Triumph TR4 SLR

(Triumph TR4 SLR, Photo Courtesy David Lawson)

From what I can gather Triumph racer John Hurrell managed to secure some funding for the SLR team and after seeing Chris Spenders drawings for the proposed Williams and Pritchard built bodywork for the Morgan & Triumph SLR car John asked if a similar SLR body could be fitted to his Triumph TR4 that he had been racing since 1960.

As things worked out the Triumph with a slightly shorter chassis was the first to be taken to Williams and Pritchard to have an aluminium SLR body built around it. Neil Dangerfield is known to have been winning races in this car as late as 1967 and the Triumph SLR went down in the record books as being the last to leave the start line at Goodwood as the scratch entry in the last, handicap, race held at the Circuit before it closed in 1966.

Neil drove the Triumph SLR 31 years later at the request of Lord March on a 3 lap demonstration when the Goodwood circuit was reopened in 2006.

Note the registration SAH 137 was originally issued to a Triumph TR3A owned by Jim Hurrell who transferred the number to the Triumph TR4 that was fitted with the SLR body and later sold it to Neil.

Morgan & Triumph SLR I

(Morgan & Triumph SLR I, Photo Courtesy Bob Bull)

The first of the Morgan SLR’s powered by a Triumph TR4 engine and featuring beefed up hubs along with the benefits of other lessons learned from Chris Lawrence’s Le Mans experience appears to have been built around a 1961 chassis for Gordon Spice a well known figure in British racing circles who eventually built and ran his own Spice Group C cars in the late 1980’s.

After just 3 laps of Goodwood Gordon crashed his new car in 1964, necessitating a complete rebuild making this red car both the first and last of the Morgan chassied SLR’s built. In 1975 then owner Sir Aubery Brocklebank suffered burns after a fuel leak in this car caught fire at Silverstone. The car was subsequently painted fire engine red.

Morgan & Triumph SLR II, Silverstone Classic

(Morgan & Triumph SLR II)

The second Morgan and Triumph SLR was built for Pip Arnold, legend has it that this car was never painted because soon after delivery it was due to be raced at Spa and so the aluminium bodywork was merely polished. In the early seventies this car was caught in a severe garage fire and rebuilt by well known fabricator of racing cars Maurice Gnomm.

Morgan & Triumph SLR III,

(Morgan & Triumph SLR III, Photo Courtesy Bob Bull)

The third car was built for Chris Lawrence himself and set an all time class lap record at the very last race meeting held at Goodwood in 1966. Chris Lawrences old car also won a race during the Goodwood Revival in 2006.

Morgan & Triumph SLR II, III & I, Silverstone Classic

(L-R John Emberson, SLR II, Bill Wykeham, Billy Bellinger, SLR III, Jack Bellinger, Simon Orebi Gann, SLR I, Rick Bourne, Photo Courtesy Richard Gilbert)

All three of the Morgan And Triumph SLR’s were united possibly for the first time ever at the 2010 Silverstone Classic. As John Sprinzel rhetorically asked after seeing these photo’s “They were good looking cars weren’t they?”

From The Nostalgia Forum I’d like to thank David Lawson and Bob ‘Bauble’ Bull for the use of their photographs, Pete Stowe, Kurt O and Sharman for responding to my TNF Triumph SLR thread garyfrogeye for contacting John Sprinzel and Tim of the Willliams and Pritchard website for their kind replies.
Thanks also to Andy Downes and in particular Neil Dangerfield of the tr- register forum for his post on the order in which the cars were built to Richard ‘redmorgan’ Gilbert for the use of his photo, John “sprinty” and Steve N22MOG L and everyone at Talk Morgan who responded to my post.

Thanks for joining me on this SLR edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at an exotic Italian that needs a cool pagoda airbox to cover a big block V8. Don’t forget to come back now !

11 11 11 Post Script John Sprinzel has kindly in formed me that the three Morgan SLR’s first had a reunion at Goodwood several years ago.


Follow that Eldorado – Shakespeare County Raceway

Chris Hartnell, Shakespeare County Raceway

A couple of months ago, on my way to Race Retro, I spent several hours in the back of mini bus with ‘Crazy’ Chris Hartnell seen here at the wheel of ‘Backdraft’ a sling shot dragster, in a very short time his enthusiasm for drag racing infected me and on Sunday I finally got a chance to to go to my very first Drag meet.

Cadillac Eldorado, Shakespeare County Raceway

The meeting was held at Shakespeare County Raceway, in deepest Warwickshire, so deep I managed to get so completely lost trying to find the venue, no Sat Nav in this weekends borrowed wheels, that the only way I found it was by following a Cadillac Eldorado I fortuitously came across while trying to work out where I was at a T junction in the middle of nowhere that I could not find on my Google Map.

Chevrolet Advanced Design, Shakespeare County Raceway

The sound of V8’s being tortured for up to 10 secs from the car park was unlike anything I have ever heard before, made 43 cars flying round Talledega at 190 mph sound quite tuneful by comparison.

Dodge Challenger R/T, Shakespeare County Raceway

Bevis the owner of a sumptuous red 450 hp small block road going Chevy Impala, complete with one piece California rear bumper, the subject of a future blog told me that the really big Drag meeting was actually at Santa Pod near Northampton in September, but I was happy enough easing my way into the scene on Sunday.

Morris Minor, Shakespeare County Raceway

Against my expectations there were a few UK bodied vehicles including this Morris Minor, a Rover 400 Funny Car, a standard looking TVR Tuscan, a Ford Anglia and a couple of Mark 2 Ford Cortinas, including an Estate / Stationwagon !

Shakespeare County Raceway

I had hoped to get a photo of Crazy Chris popping a wheely, unfortunately I was a bit slow on the camera shutter, still next time I’ll know what to expect. If you have never been to a drag meeting I’d certainly recommend a visit, the atmosphere is extremely friendly and relaxed in the paddock and the action is short but intense on the track, I look forward to future blogs on some of the wild rides I saw on Sunday.

Thanks to ‘Crazy’ Chris Hartnell infecting me with his enthusiasm, I hope you have enjoyed today’s Drag edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t for get to come back now !


Sub 7 Second Family ? – Chevrolet Corvette C1

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After a thrilling Aarrons 499 in April ’09, my friends Throttleneckracing and Checkeredflagstilettos kindly took me back to Atlanta and put me up in a hotel using TNR’s loyalty points and we had a great meal at a local Cracker Barrel.

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That night my head still buzzing from a combination of jet lag, 3 days of Alabama sunshine and hundreds of laps of 200 mph racing action I found my self watching drag racing for the first time on the Speed Channel.

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Despite the fact I was physically exhausted, I was enthralled and fully engaged mentally by the sight of earth shaking top fuel drag cars spitting flames a good 10 to 20 feet into the air.

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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I met Drag Racer Chris ‘Backdraft’ Hartnell on a Bristol Pegasus Motor Club trip to Race Retro at Stoneleigh and such was his enthusiasm for the sport I am determined to go and see a drag race at Shakespeare County Raceway this year.

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If I am lucky I hope to catch site of this outrageous pro modified Corvette C1 run by Ian Hanson and his family team comprising his wife Pauline son Richard, brother Colin, sister in law Karen and nephew Tom.

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Chris tells me that Ian’s car has this outsize magneto to deliver charge to the spark plugs in place of a battery which would be run flat by the electrical requirements of this humongous motor.

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The blurb on Ian’s motor read something like “8860cc / 540 cui all alloy New Century Chevrolet Big Block, with forged Arias pistons, Brooks alloy rods, Howards billet crank, and Aviade dry sump oil system that is hiding behind an Enderie ‘Big & Ugly’ injector hat and fuel system with an 8/71 Teflon Stage 4 Littlefield Supercharger”.

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Last year Ian set a new Supercharged Outlaws UK et record of 7.29 seconds over a distance of 402 meters.

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The record was set with the engine in a ‘mild state of tune’ producing around 1,700 (Seventeen Hundred) hp !

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This year Ian will be turning up the boost a little further…

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and attempt to cover the 402 meters in under 7 seconds.

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I am sure you will join me in wishing Ian all the best, with a little luck I’ll be there to see it, with a bit more luck I might just have time to take a photograph.

Thanks for joining me on today’s ‘mild state of tune’ edition of ‘Gettin a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Top Class Mini Racer – MINI Cooper S R56

When I first started spectating at motor races Mini’s were a feature at many meetings including the very first meeting I went to where my Mum’s boss George Barkhuizen won the days feature handicap race in a beige Mini with a white roof and a fuel barrel hanging out of the boot thanks to a recalcitrant boot lock out in Zambia. Mini’s were also raced in Britain in spec championships including the 850’s seen here at Silverstone usually producing tight racing and close finishes.

1977 World Grand Prix Drivers Champion James Hunt prepared and raced his own Mini when he first got the bug using extreme weight saving measures such as not fitting windscreen wipers. Today spec racing Mini’s like David Kirkpatrick’s seen at a track day here are very much alive and kicking despite having been out of production since 2000 as indeed are many non spec Mini’s with all sort of non standard Mini power units.

On Sunday at the PistonHeads meeting in Cowley I had the opportunity to familiarise myself with the latest in retro MINI spec racing with this MINI Cooper S R56 prepared by OX4 Racing for Chris Oakham who races in the top tier JCW Class of the MINI Challenge.

This spec racer is of course light years ahead of an original spec racing Mini, the JCW division calls for turbocharged 215 hp motors up from the standard R56 192 hp thanks to upgraded induction, exhaust, Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and race spec intercooler.

To help keep the wheels on the road and all that power in check these vehicles are fitted with KW suspension, limited slip differential and 6 (six) piston front brake callipers.

17″ control racing tyres, slicks or wets, are mounted on Dynamic rims.

Too make sure every one plays fair the Mini Challenge has dedicated championship scales, enforced ‘parc ferme’ rules control fuel, limits on the number of tyres used and to keep the driving standards up each vehicle has an on board camera allowing officials to a valuable source of evidence should things appear to get out of hand !

To complete the purpose bred racer look the JCW Class vehicles have an aero package to play around with too !

On the Lo ‘E’ Nuf Vee Dub Club site Chris Oakham the driver of the #51 Mini Cooper S R56 is known for lashing up Mini’s and ripping up cats’ eyes with his Passat in between his racing activities. Chris took the #51 to victory lane at Snetterton and finished 6th in the JCW Class rankings last year, it is still unclear what his plans are for this year but I’m sure you will all join me in wishing him every success.

Any one wishing to join in the fun here is a link to the Mini Challenge prospectus. There was a MINI Challenge try out day at Brands Hatch on Saturday 29th January which included trials for novices, those keen to continue could gain medical certification and attend Approved Racing Drivers School courses the same day in order to qualify for racing licences.

If you missed the boat and are interested in taking part you could try sending an e-mail to the address on the Mini Challenge home page, they seem particularly encouraging to fresh recruits. Wishing all competitors a fun and safe championship.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s recruiting office edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will all join me again tomorrow for a look at one of my favourite BMW’s. Don’t forget to come back now !