Tag Archives: Crawford

Reflecting Good Taste – Lincoln Capri

From 1952 to 1959 Lincoln manufactured the Capri with 4 door sedan, 2 door coupé and 2 door convertible bodies only the first generation was manufactured from 1952 to 1955 the second from 1956 to 1957 and the third and final generation from 1958 to 1959.

Lincoln Capri, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Powered by the all new 160hp 5.2 litre / 317 cui Lincoln Y-block that replaced the flat heads in all Lincoln’s in 1952 the Capri when tested by Popular Mechanics reached 60mph from rest in 14.8 seconds, covered the 1/4 mile in 21.3 seconds and recorded fuel consumption of 21 mpg at an average speed of 40mph.

Lincoln Capri, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

To mark the Capri out from it’s competitors like the Cadillac 62 series, Chrysler New Yorker and Packard 400 teams of Lincolns were entered in the last three Carrera Panamericana races that saw them win the Tourismo Internacional class on each occasion with Chuck Stevenson and Clay Smith finishing 7th overall in 1952 and 1953 while Ray Crawford and Enrique Iglesias finished 9th overall to claim class honours in 1954.

Lincoln Capri, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

With the strap line “Everything about Lincoln reflects good taste” the 1955 Capri was offered with a 225hp 5.6 litre / 341 cui Y-block atop which sat a 4 barrel carburetor.

Lincoln Capri, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

There was no Carrera Panamericana for the more powerful Lincoln Capri to prove itself as a result of the 1955 disaster at Le Mans and so far as I know the model was never seen in contemporary competition again.

Lincoln Capri, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Today’s featured 1955 Lincoln Capri owned by Dick “El Flaco” de Luna was competition prepared by Dennis “El Gordo” Varni who fitted a modern 425hp 5 litre / 302 cui Ford V8 and all modern safety and handling equipment to the car which is now said to handle like a 4000 lb Porsche. The duo have competed on numerous resurrections of the Carrera Panamericana winning outright in 1999 alongside numerous class awards.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing these photograph’s taken at Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance in 2011.

Thanks for joining me on this “Reflecting Good Taste” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Ferrari that competed on the Carerra Panamericana in 1952 and 1953. Don’t forget to come back now !


Drag Winner – Maserati 450S #4504

Valerio Colotti commenced the initial design of the tubular chassis and body of Maserati 450S in 1954, the model was known internally as the Tipo 54.

Sharing some components with the 3 litre / 183 cui Maserati 300S the 450S, which was first raced in 1957, is differentiated by employing a 4,478 cc / 273 cui short-stroke V8 motor equipped with four Weber carburetors which produced 400hp.

Future Indy 500 entrant Jim Kimberly took delivery of today’s featured 450S chassis #4504 in time to race it at Road America where he finished 6th in June 1957, Jim’s only other known result is a 16th place finish in the 1958 Cudan Grand Prix.

Maserati 450S, Robson Walton, Rolex Reunion, Laguna Seca,

By July 1958 Harry Rollins had become the owner of #4504 and drove it in 3 events over the SCCA Carnival of Speed weekend at Walterboro winning the ITA Drag Event, finishing 2nd in race 3 and retiring from race 5.

Don Perkins bought the car in October 1958 and entered it in three meetings one each for John Haas, Ed Crawford and Hal Ullrich.

Ed scored a best 2nd overall and 1st in class in the 1958 Memorial Trophy during the Nassau Speed Week.

Maserati 450S, Robson Walton, Rolex Reunion, Laguna Seca,

At some point during the 1960’s the motor was taken out and used for a speed boat project.

In 1980 Virgil Milette is credited is reuniting the motor and chassis. Under the ownership of Luigi Mancini in 1987 #4504 was restored by Carrozzeria Garuti in Modena Italy.

I believe that Robson Walton who is seen driving the car in these photographs by Geoffrey Horton at the 2013 Laguna Seca Rolex Reunion has owned #4504 since 1999.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton as ever for sharing his photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Drag Winner” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an Amilcar. Don’t forget to come back now !


Classic Racing Americana – Silverstone Classic

This weeks Americana post comes from Silverstone Classic where an interesting selection of vehicles was on display.

Rigling Buick, Bachmann, Maserati Centenary Trophy, Silverstone Classic

The Maserati Centenary Trophy featured three US cars two of which appear to have been Indy 500 racers including the Rigling Buick, seen with Heinz Bachmann at the wheel above, possibly raced as a Schafer 8 Special between 1931 and 1934 by Paul Schafer who was joined with a second Schafer 8 Special in the 1934 Indy 500 by Al Miller who finished 6th. Coincidentally Paul carried the #26 in the 1934 race and Al the #36.

Kurtis KK500G, Fred Harper, Maserati Centenary, Silverstone Classic

The second Indy Car in the Maserati Centenary Trophy was the 1957 Kurtis KK500G driven by Fred Harper, this car was bought by Ray “The Flying Grocer” Crawford in 1957. Ray was a rare owner driver who failed to qualify the Meguiar Mirror Glaze Special at Indy in 1957 and 1958, but he did bring the car to Europe both years and raced it in both of the “Race of Two Worlds” events held at Monza, Italy in 1957 and 1958 finishing 7th and 4th respectively.

Corvette Stingray, Craig Davies, Chopaed International Trophy, Silverstone Classic

Craig Davis driving the #99 Corvette Stingray drove to an entertaining 13th place finish with Tim Harvey in the Chopard International Trophy, here the car is seen having just passed the #112 Cobra driven by Tim Summers.

Ford Falcon, Martin Melling, Mustang Celebration Trophy, Silverstone Classic

Seeing a Ford carrying a #88 these days seems a little strange, but this was Silverstone not Darlington, the ’64 Ford Falcon above was driven by Martin Melling to a 32nd place finish in the Mustang Celebration Trophy Proudly Presented by Pure Michigan.

Ford Mustang, Jackie Oliver, Mustang Celebration Trophy, Silverstone Classic

The #3 ’65 Ford Mustang above was driven by former Le Mans winner, Grand Prix driver and Arrows Formula One team owner Jackie Oliver to a fine fifth place in the Mustang Celebration Trophy Proudly Presented by Pure Michigan.

Intrepid RM1, Peter Garrod, Group C Endurance, Silverstone Classic

Finally it was great to see the 1991 Chevrolet powered IMSA Intrepid RM1 get a run in the Group C race with Peter Garrod at the wheel. The Intrepid designed by Bob and Bill Riley an built by Pratt & Miller was a forerunner of the Riley Scott’s US Prototype Sports Cars that would win 32 races between 1995 and 2005.

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


Hatched In Germany – Cadillac Catera

In 1994 Opel launched a new Omega ‘B’ model that replaced the Omega ‘A’ model that had served as the basis of the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton which I looked at on Saturday. The Omega B was still rear wheel drive but had a much smoother body that formed the basis on the Vauxhall Omega in the UK and was launched with the aid of Cindy Crawford in the USA as the Cadillac Catera.

Cadillac Catera, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Cadillac Cateras were powered by a 200hp V6 motor with pistons angled at an unusual 54 degrees, the motors gained a reputation for expensive cam belt tensioner bearing failures.

Cadillac Catera, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Sales of the Catera peaked at around 25,000 in 1997 and 1998 but tailed off thereafter and the model was discontinued from the Cadillac range in 2001

Cadillac Catera, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Today’s featured vehicle seen ar last summers “Summer Classics” gathering at Easter Compton is registered officially as a top of the range Vauxhall Omega Elite and has most likely had the Cadillac exterior identifications including the grill fitted post production.

Thanks for joining me on this “Hatched In Germany Edition” of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Indianapolis Excursion – Indy 500 29th May 1988

I was living in Brixton, London in November 1987 when I received an invitation from Rick and Karen, two Canadian friends also living in London, to attend their wedding on May 27th 1988 in Toronto their home town.

The first thing I did after I received the invitation was to check the dates for races in the USA around the wedding date, the Winston 500 was to be run at Talledega on May 1st, the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte on May 29th as was the Indy 500.

The timing was against me getting to Talladega, a track I finally visited 21 years later, and Indianapolis seemed a lot closer to Toronto than Charlotte so I made my mind up to visit the Indy 500 something I had wanted to do since I read a book by Tommaso Tommasi called from Brands Hatch to Indianapolis in which a precise description of driving around the track is given by Peter Revson.

Chevrolet Beretta

The weekend of the wedding I went to Avis and collected this shiny brand new Chevy Beretta, an interesting contrast to the £50 1973 Volvo 144 DL automatic I was driving around London at the time !

Early on the morning after the wedding I packed my stuff and headed around 350 miles west on the 401 which turned into Route 96/94 after I crossed the US border into Detroit and then 200 miles south on Route 69. The only difficulty I had was keeping to the 55 to 60 mph speed limits which seemed excruciatingly slow compared to the 70 mph I was used to in the UK.

Datsun, Indianapolis

Eleven hours after I had set out I arrived at a mall parking lot (Lafayette Shopping Centre ?) a mile or so north from the track having picked up a ticket for the bleachers from a vendor at face value of $15 (?) right out side the track. I felt very much at home as some lads were having a kick about with a proper round football, turned out they were telephone engineers from Manchester, England !

My plan was to spend the night in the car, I got a shock when I opened the boot/trunk of the car and found I had forgotten to pack two important items one of which was my sleeping bag. I need not have worried the weather was more than warm enough to feel comfortable sleeping on the back seat of the car wearing a T shirt and shorts.

On race day I woke up with the dawn, had a round of salami sandwiches I had packed in advance and my customary breakfast apple and headed off to the track which opened at 6am.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

I bought a souvenir T-Shirt from a girl, who like me hailed from Germany, on the way in and before I knew it I was standing on the hallowed pavement of Indianapolis pit lane. I was as inspired as I had been by any other tourist sight I had seen, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and even the Pyramids, by the Indy timing tower which I had seen in countless photographs over the previous 15 years I had been a racing fan.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Pinching myself standing before the gates of Gasoline Alley, I felt a little like I was standing before the gates of heaven itself as the sun came up.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The immaculate team haulers seemed a tad quaint to be carrying 220 mph race cars, but then again a hauler never won the Indy 500.

I took a walk all around the infield while the hullaballoo that starts the days proceedings got underway prior to the 11 am start, including a look at the infamous inside of turn 3 hard partying Snake Pit. I saw ‘Supersonic’ Chuck Yeager prepare himself for duties in the pace car and took my seat in the bleachers as Grand Marshall Garfield was driven around the circuit.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

At this point the fact that I had somehow overlooked packing a telephoto lens I had borrowed specially for the event became painfully obvious.

The race was dominated by Rick Mears on pole with Danny Sullivan and Al Unser Snr who locked out the front row of the grid. All three were driving the new Penske PC 17 designed by Penske new boy Nigel Bennett and all three Penske drivers would be 3 of the only 4 drivers to lead a lap of the 72nd running of the Indy 500.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

’85 Spinner & Winner Danny Sullivan set a blistering early pace driving the Miller PC17, seen here chasing the #92 of Dominic Dobson, led a race high 91 laps but crashed out on lap 101 leaving Rick Mears to almost run away with the race. Sullivan would end the season as the winner of his one and only CART championship.

Lola T87 00

For 8 laps I was beside myself with excitement as Scottish born Brit Jim Crawford became the only non Penske team member to lead the ’88 500 in his year old Buick ‘stock block’ powered Lola T87/00. Jim who just two months earlier had been unable to walk as a result injuries received at Indy in 1987 became a father the following week. Jim retired to become a fishing boat captain and died of liver failure aged 54 in 2002.

March 88C, IMS

Two time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi did not lead a lap but still managed to come home 2nd in his Pat Patrick run March 88C powered by the then relatively new Ilmour Chevy V8. The following year ‘Emmo’ returned to win the fist of his two Indy 500 victories.

Penske PC 17, IMS

Rick Mears ran out the deserving winner of the 1988 Indy 500 a race that ended under yellow flags thanks to a piece of body work that flew off Michael Andretti’s 4th place Kraco March with just 4 laps to go. Ricks third 500 victory marked the first for the Ilmour Chevrolet engine which would dominate at Indianapolis until 1994 when a one off Mercedes push rod engine also designed by Ilmour would take top honours.

After the race I rehydrated and slept in the car for an hour before the 11 hour 550 mile trek back to Toronto. Two weeks later I was back at one of my other favourite race tracks Le Mans, but that story will have to wait for another day.

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


Why does the sight of a little Mini Moke make every body rock ?

Today’s blog is dedicated to Rowdy Mini Moke fan club member ‘Archidude‘ of Brevard NC, who sent me a link to this interesting Mini Moke video.

Designed as a vehicle with military applications in mind the Mini Moke made use of BMC Mini mini parts bin, including the engine, drive train and 10″ wheels which rendered the vehicle useless for military off road purposes because the Moke did not have much ground clearance.

However the vehicle produced between 1964 – 1993 did find a niche as a recreational vehicle in the sunny climate of many former British Colonies and was the first vehicle ever used on Pitcairn Islands, of HMS Bounty Fame, becoming the remotest vehicle on earth.

Correction Edited 29 09 19 The above vehicle is an AMC Andersen Cub not a Moke. Thanks to Dean and every one at www.moke.org who helped me correct this error.

Of the 50,000, Mokes made in Britain, Australia, and Portugal some have a competition history which includes Hans Tholstrup and John Crawford who nursed their Moke from London to Sydney in the 1977 Marathon and most unlikely of all Charlie Smith and Barry Seaton who gallantly jumped in their Moke to take on a field of Ford GT40’s and Ferrari 250 LM’s including winner Andy Buchanan,seen here , co driven by none other than Jacky Stewart at Surfers Paradise in 1966.

Finally Mini Mokes were used as Taxi’s in the surreal television series the Prisoner, a catch phrase of which was; Be Seeing You !