Tag Archives: Commer

Encore – Classic Motor Show NEC Birmingham

Today’s blog takes one final look through the recent Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Porsche 917K, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

It was difficult for sports car fans of a certain age to get passed the main entrance where this Porsche 917 Kurzheck, like the car which opened last Wednesday’s blog some of this one starred in a Steve McQueen film, in this case Le Mans, chassis #013 crashed during filming with David Piper at the wheel during filming and was rebuilt with a fresh chassis #034 to become #034/013. This car went on to win the Daytona 24 Hours with Pedro Rodriguez andJackie Oliver sharing the driving.

Tatra T97, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

The Tatra T97 featured a rear air cooled 4 cylinder boxer engine and influenced the design of the Volkswagen Beetle so much that VW made an out of court settlement with Tatra in 1961. Not copied by the Germans were the elegant Tatra door handles nor rear hinged front. suicide, doors as seen on the 1938 model above.

Commer QX TS3 Mk III, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

If you like engineering novelty you’ll love the 1955 Commer QX TS3 Mk III 7 ton truck, it is powered by a 3.3 litre 200 cui 3 cylinder motor with a pair of horizontally opposed pistons in each cylinder connected to a common crank, oh and it’s a supercharged two stroke diesel an was originally developed by the Germans for a bomber aircraft ! A cross section diagram of how the motor works can be found on this link.

Panther De Ville, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

On a more neo-classical note, but perhaps none the less bizarre, the crystals in the radiator cap of this Panther De Ville are real amethysts.

Aston Martin Vignale, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

Very much a work in progress was this unique 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 with body work by Vignale which I understand originally belonged to the King of Belgium.

Jaguar D-Type, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

Rounding out today’s final visit to this years Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham is this 1956 short nose D-Type Jaguar used by the works supported Ecurie Ecose team. Ron Flockhart won two races at Snetterton and Goodwood with this car chassis XKD 561 and many years later it was used as a road car for nearly a decade by a Lancastrian owner.

Thanks for joining me on this “Encore” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be celebrating Kevin Harvicks Sprint Cup win. Don’t forget to come back now !


Autumn Classic – Castle Combe

Castle Combe Circuits second Autumn Classic closed the racing season at the Wiltshire circuit for the second year running a couple of weeks ago and it proved again proved a big hit with the spectators more of whom used the event to dress up 30’s to 50’s costume than I remember last year.

Ecurie Ecosse, Commer, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

After arriving I made my way to the paddock for a Big Boys Breakfast while the practice sessions were getting underway. Above the 1959 Ecurie Ecosse 2 stroke diesel powered Commer Transporter and many ex Ecurie Ecosse team cars, including the 1960 Cooper T49 Monaco, 1961 Sebring Austin Healey Sprite and the rear engined 1962 Tojeiro-Buick Coupé will all be coming up for auction at Bonhams in December.

Triumph Special, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

There were many interesting vehicles in the car park including this sports car about which I know nothing apart from the fact it said “Triumph” on the tax disc, if you know more please do not hesitate to chime on below.

Mods, Rockers & Cops, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

After practice and before racing commenced there were several demonstrations including the one seen above featuring a selection of “mods” on their scooters and “rockers” on their motorcycles with “rozers” in hot pursuit aboard a Wolseley and Triumph Herald squad cars.

Maserati 250F, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Nick Mason’s Maserati 250F arrived a later than intended and sadly sans Nick, but it made a welcome appearance on the track, unfortunately the PA was a little weak at Old Paddock when I took this photo so I’m not sure who was at the wheel, if you know chime in below.

Aston Martin DB3, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

The Historic Aston Martins got the afternoons racing underway, Martin Hunt driving a Fraser Nash Le Mans Replica did well to lead from second on the grid for the opening lap but it was Chris Woodgate, seen above qualifying his Aston Martin DB3 #DB3/6 on pole in the early morning mist, who led from lap 2 until the finish, while Hunt fell back to finish an eventual fifth.

Norman Dewis Trophy, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Grahame Bull and Anthony Reid locked out the front row for the Norman Dewis Trophy for Jaguars with the #12 E Type and #33 XK120 respectively. Reid made a great race of it taking the lead on lap 2 and then again from lap six to 18 until he was slowed by a puncture which left Bull with an unassailable lead.

Big Healey Challenge, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

The Big Healey’s provided the second biggest grid of the day and by far the fiercest competition which saw five competitors trying to go unsuccessfully line abreast into the Bobbies chicane at one point ! Above the #73 Chris Clarkson / Ted Williams, #16 Eric Wolley / Dan Cox and #98 Nils-Fredrick Nyblaeus / Jeremy Welch cars fight over blagging rights for the best entry line into Tower Corner. David Grace and Anders Schildt were declared the winners after Dan Cox driving the fastest car in the race went backwards into the barriers, without injury, at Tower.

VSCC Pre War Sports Cars, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

The rather more leisurely VSCC Pre War Sports Cars race was won by Frederic Wakeman from pole abourd his Fraser Nash Super Sports but only after past a fast starting HRG driven by Andrew Mitchel who led the opening three laps. The brothers Blakeney-Edwards provided the scrap of the race Simon in the #4 Fraser Nash Shelsey got the better of Patrick in the #3 Fraser Nash Owlet Saloon to home 3rd. The brothers are seen congratulating each other on their return to the pits.

FISCAR, 50's Inter Marque, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Andrew Sharp, seen leading in his #45 Aston Martin DB2 a above, from third on the grid managed to lead every lap of The FISCAR 50’s Inter Marque, but only after he had managed to build up a big enough to make his compulsory pit stop 5 mins before the end of the race. Nike Thorn and Johnny Todd driving the #44 Austin Healey 100S did well to finish just 0.07 seconds behind Sharp, from second on the grid, on a thrilling closing lap.

Miller Oils Formula Junior, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

The biggest grid of the day was provided by the Miller Oils Formula Junior Championship competitors. Jack Woodhouse qualified on pole in his #84 Lotus 20/22 and won the close fought race by half a second from Peter Morton who started alongside him in the rare #75 Lightning Envoyette seen above on the opening lap.

50's Lightweight Sports Racing Cars, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

The final race of the day was for 50’s Lightweight Sports Racing Cars had eight entries of which just seven took the start. But it only takes two cars to make a race and Alex Quattlebaum proved it by taking the win from 4th on the grid in his #10 Leco MG after a race long battle with 2nd place starter Brian Arculus in his #17 Lotus IX. Brian might have won the race had he not switched his lights on which appeared to have an adverse effect on the smooth running of his motor. Alex is seen making his final pass on Brian 2 laps from home above.

And so the 2013 season of Motorsport that began with the sad loss of circuit saviour Howard Strawford, drew to a close at Castle Combe in Wiltshire, roll on 2014 !

Thanks for joining me on this Autumn Classic edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a 1990 Thunderbird. Don’t forget to come back now !


Gold Cup Classic – Oulton Park

Oulton Park circuit is one of Britain’s more difficult tracks, while attending racing school there I spun off on two separate occasions, located near Little Budworth in Cheshire.

Oulton Park

The last time I was spectating at Oulton Park in Cheshire then future world champion Damon Hill was given a one off drive in the British Formula 3000 Championship race by Colin Bennett and future Oulton Park circuit owner Dr Jonathan Palmer had a one off drive in the Celebrity car that featured in the Honda CRX championship in 1989.

Aston Martin DBR1, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

On Bank Holiday Monday I got to the track for the second day of the Gold Cup Classic meeting, just as qualifying got under way for the Sir Stirling Moss trophy race. Former FIA Historic Formula One Champion Bobby Verdon Roe, seen here driving a 1957 Aston Martin DBR1, going through a much altered Druids Corner on his way to qualifying on pole.

Skoda Estelle, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Oulton Park now has a tarmac Rally Stage and an interesting variety of vehicles were to be found trying to navigate the slippery conditions, including this Surprising Skoda Estelle, keeping spectators entertained with numerous 360 degree spins.

Lola T200, Merlyn Mk11A, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The Historic Formula Ford race for Ford Kent powered single seaters built from 1969 – 1972 was highly entertaining with Rob Wainright piping Ben Mitchell and Benn Simms in a three way last lap shoot out. Former Grand Prix driver Ian Ashley driving the #62 Lola T200 is seen here passing Stuart Baird in the #6 Merlyn MK11A for fifth prior to Ian’s early retirement.

Lotus Martin, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

I missed the Historic Touring Car race won by Mark Jones in favour of having lunch with friends from The Nostalgia Forum, afterwards the Derek Bell Trophy race for a mixture of open wheel cars was run. Richard Evans in a Formula Atlantic March 79B snatched a last lap victory from Michael Lyons Formula 5000 Lola T400. I did not realise it at the time I took the photograph above but this is a recreation of the Lotus Martin built to Formula One regulations in 1966.

Judy Lyons, Lola T332, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Judy Lyons, Michael’s mother, driving the #33 Lola T332 above, gambled on rain returning during the race and opted for intermediate tyres, at the end of the race she showed no sign of disappointment that her strategy had failed or that she was not classified in the final results.

Chevron B31, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The small grid of Group 6 2 litre / 122 cui cars for the Martini Trophy race included this Martini liveried Chevron B31 belonging to Graeme and James Dodd which failed to finish.

Lola T210, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Charlie Kemp did his best to make a race of it driving the 1970 vintage #10 Lola T210 but was eventually unable to keep up with John Burton who took the Martini spoils driving a Chevron B26.

Jon Minshaw, E-Type, Jaguar, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The E Type challenge was probably the race of the day helped by tricky weather conditions, earning my personal vote for driver of the day was Jon Minshaw who worked through the field from the back of the grid to second place behind Martin O’Connell in a race filled with lurid ‘moments’.

Allard J2, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

John Ure and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards won the Woodcote Trophy driving a Cooper Bristol finishing ahead of the #57 Allard J2 seen here of Malcolm Verey and Dennis Welsh after Stephen Bond, who had rarely been more than a few car lengths behind the Cooper, lost up to a minute making his mandatory pit stop.

Ralt RT1, March 803B, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Benn Simms made up for his disappointment in the Formula Ford race by winning from the back of the grid in the Classic Formula 3 race driving the #1 March 803B seen here lining up
to pass the Keith White in the blue Ralt RT1.

Brian White, Triumph TR2, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Brian White and Keith Stantton drove their Triumph TR2 in both the Stirling Moss and Woodcote Trophy races, Brian is seen here exploring the outer limits of the track at Old Hall during Woodcote Trophy on his way to a 19th place finish.

D-Type Jaguar, Knobbly, Lister Jaguar, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Jon Minshaw teamed up with John Stretton to win the Woodcote Trophy in the #133 ‘Knobly’ Lister Jaguar above lapping the D-Type of Ben Eastick which finished 7th.

Reynard SF79, Delta T79, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Final race of the day was the ‘Amitsead Barnet Financial Services’ Historic Formula Ford 2000 championship race for Pinto powered cars circa 1978 – 1981 which was won by Nelson Rowe. Nelson Duke, in the yellow helmet above driving a Reynard SF79 about to pass the Delta T79 of Robert Trusting, impressed the event race sponsor ‘Mallory Dan’ sufficiently with his drive from the back of the grid to 13th place to win the FF2000 driver of the day award.

Piper GT, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

In between races and watching the rally car demonstration there was a feast of classic cars on display including my personal nomination for car of the day this Piper GT

Commer Transporter, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

After a great day out all too soon it was time to say ‘until next time’ to Barry, Roger, David, Mallory Dan, Alan, Phil and Simon from the Nostalgia forum and head for home.

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