Tag Archives: CT

Colin’s Eleven – Lotus XI

Today’s photographs by Ed Arnaudin conclude our coverage of Race 1 at Thompson, CT on July 20th 1958 with a look at the winning Lotus XI of Floyd Aaskov.

Approximately 270 Lotus XI’s were produced from 1956 to 1958 including the Series 2, often unofficially referred to as the XIII. the Lotus Eleven Register believes around 200 have survived.

The XI could be built to accept a variety of engines most like Floyd Aaskov’s seen here were fitted with a 4 cylinder 1098 cc /67 cui Coventry Climax engine. Like the Lotus IX we looked at yesterday the bodywork was penned by Frank Costain and crafted by Lotus neighbours in Hornsey, Williams & Pritchard.

It is believed the Lotus XI model was driven to over 148 victories in 1956, additionally Stirling Moss set a class G closed circuit lap record at Monza of over 143 mph in a 67 cui XI with a special cockpit fairing and Peter Jopp and Reg Bicknell took class G honours and 7th overall at Le Mans although the boss, Colin Chapman, driving the larger engine Class E XI having survived a miserably wet night was disappointed to retire while running second in the 1500 cc 91.5 cui class to a Porsche with engine failure.

Legend has it that the XI was so close to Colin Chapman’s affections that early Lotus road models were given names evocative of the number Eleven,hence the Elite, Elise, Elan.

Floyd Aaskov, in the #12 Lotus XI seen taking the starting flag in second place here is known to have raced from at least 1957 to 1968, records indicate he may have started racing in a ’57 Mercedes 300 SL which seems a tad fanciful though no doubt stranger things have happened. Running competitively in the GM class Lotus XI until 1962 he then moved on to the pre Can Am USRRC series with larger sports cars. Records indicate Floyds last season was 1968 when he drove a Camaro in the Trans Am series, this may not be the complete picture on his career, if you know different please chime in below !

The cars I and others have been able to discern on the grid thus far are :-

Row 1 #15 R Nerney, Abarth 207A Spider, #12 Floyd Aaskov, Lotus X1
Row 2 #92 Nick Fallone Jomar MK 2 #28 Ray Saidel, Jomar
Row 3 #113 Paul Bleustein, Cooper, #26 Len Bastrup, Lotus IX
Row 4 # ????? #27 P Sagan, Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato
Row 5 #95 J Iglehart, Nardi MD4 Spyder #46 J Mull D B Panhard # ?????? #?????

Interestingly one source has a #150 Lotus XI anchoring the entry list for this meeting scheduled to be driven by one and only ‘Walter Cronkite‘.

Thanks as always to Ed and Steve Arnaudin for the fascinating photographs, to Terry O’Neil for the results to everyone on the Fuzzy Longshot Identity thread at TNF including Vitesse2 and raceanouncer2003 for their contributions. I believe that is the way it was.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s eleventh hour edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow for a look at a seriously old timer at Bridgehampton in 1957. Don’t forget to come back now !


You can’t reverse that thing here mate ! – Lotus IX

Moving up the field at Thompson CT on 20th July 1958 today Ed Arnaudin’s photo’s feature a Lotus IX driven by Len Bastrup a respected Lotus driver who finished 2nd in Race 1 for class G, HP & HM cars.

Around thirty Lotus IX models were manufactured from 1954 to 1955 with a variety of engines available from MG, Connaught and Bristol, this particular model had the most common 4 cylinder 1098 cc / 65.4 cui Coventry Climax Class G spec motor .

The body was penned by Frank Costin, brother of Mike who gave the Cos to Cosworth, and manufactured by Williams & Pritchard, who GALPOT regulars might remember were responsible for an all time favourite of mine the special body on a BMW 315/1.

Colin Chapman the dynamo behind Lotus Cars and accomplished racing driver entered a IX for the Le Mans 24 hours in 1955.

During the race he crashed his car into a sand bank. Thinking nothing of the incident he reversed out and was promptly disqualified for unauthorised reversing.

Len Bastrup was racing from at least 1953 to 1960 starting in MG’s and then moving to Lotus cars in 1955. He shared a Lotus XI at the Sebring 12 hours in 1956 with Lotus founder Colin Chapman which burst into flames after an accident in practice which caused terminal damage and withdrawal from the race before it had started.

My thanks to Ed Arnaudin for the photographs, his son Steve for sending them on and Terry O’Neil for the race results.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s 45.5cui edition of Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Double Bubble – FIAT Abarth 750 GT Zagato Coupé

Continuing the series of posts relating to Race 1 at Thompson CT on the 20th July 1958 captured on camera by Ed Arnaudin, today we are looking at the fascinating FIAT Abarth 750 Zagato driven by Paul Sagan to 6th place overall the only class H finisher.

After the 22 hp FIAT 600 was launched in 1955 Carlo Abarth set about maximising the potential of tuning the engine by increasing the size from 633 / 38.6 cui to 747 / 45.6 cui fitting a Nardi inlet manifold and increasing the compression ratio to produce 47 hp.

Meanwhile while Zagato set about building a Coupé based on the same car the 30 hp 600 TS, when Abarth saw the coupe he suggested to Zagato they work together to produce a vehicle for racing in the popular 750 cc 45.6 cui sports car class prevalent in national and international racing at the time.

Over 600 of these successful racing vehicles which won the SCCA class H in ’59 ’60 and ’61, are thought to have been built between 1956 and 1960 when the maximum permitted engine sizes for the various national racing classes were changed. The ‘double bubble’ name which is derived from the two humps in the roof stuck in America where a chewing gum brand bearing the same name was popular.

Paul Sagan is known to have been successful driving Porsche 550’s in 1956 and 1957 before he moved over to running the #27 FIAT Abarth 750 during and after which his record is sketchy though he seems to have returned to racing Porsches by 1961.

My thanks to Terry O’Neil for the race results and Steve Arnaudin for his Dad Ed’s pictures, wishing Ed all the best on his return home from hospital.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s double bubble edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres and that you’ll join me again tomorrow for a look at the cool 2nd place Lotus IX of Race 1 at Thompson CT on the 20 July 1958. Don’t forget to come back know !


HM Racer – Nardi MD4 Spyder

Todays post comes courtesy of photographer Ed Arnaudin who’s photo’s were kindly forwarded to me courtesy of his son Steve.

Featured today is a Nardi ND 4 Spyder, seen here at the New York Championship Race meeting, Thompson CT July 20th 1958 where it came in 11th driven by John Igleheart in Race 1, a race which I will be returning to tomorrow.

Enrico Nardi was an Italian racing driver, engineer and designer who worked for Lancia and the works Alfa Romeo Scuderia Ferrari Team. Enrico is credited with being one of the first two drivers to race the Auto Avio Costruzioni 815, considered to be the very first Ferrari model in all but name, in the 1940 Mille Miglia.

In 1951 Nardi established his own workshops on Via Lancia, Torino to build prototypes and one of the strangest vehicles out side of Can Am 2 the twin boom Nardi Bisiluro for the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours.

The mid 1950’s ND4 Spyder is one of many of Nardi’s 750 cc vehicles which came in a variety of shapes powered by a variety motors including JAP, Crosley, Panhard and in the case of this particular vehicle a 4 cylinder 43 hp 747 cc / 45.5 cui FIAT unit sourced from the FIAT 600 parts bin.

John Igleheart driver of the #95 seems to have been a specialist at racing cars with small motors he is known to have raced from at least 1953 to 1968, he seems to have been most successful driving a ‘Bobsy’.

My thanks again to Ed and Steve Arnaidin for todays valuable contribution and to Terry O’ Neil for the race results.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s 45.5cui edition of Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


East Coast Spyders – Porsche 550 Spyder

Thanks to Ed Arnaudin for 3 more superb photographs from Thompson CT on July 20th 1958.

From race 7 we have three Porsche 550 Spyders.

Newton Davis, 550 Chassis 550-04 Finished 1st. Newton is known to have raced both Porsche and later Lotus cars from at least 1957 to at least 1965. He appears to have raced this one from 1958 – 1960.

Bernhard Vihl’s career is much less well known he appears to have entered races in 1955 and 1962 but not much is documented about him in between except we know that he finished 10th on this day in July behind the #123 Lister Bristol, #52 Jaguar C-type and #76 Aston Martin DB 3S mentioned in previous posts.

Warren James is known to have raced a Porsche 356 from ’54 to ’56 and then showed up with this 550 in 1958, this photograph extends Warrens known career by at least one race.

The fact that Newton Davis beat much more powerful V8 Maserati, Jaguar – Cadilllac Special a C-Type and an Aston Martin show’s he must have been an exceptional talent for handling the far nimbler 550 round the tight Thompson CT circuit, I’ll cover some of the technical details tomorrow with a photograph of a 550 on the West Coast.

Thanks to Arnaudin & Son for the photographs and to Terry O’Neil for the results information.

Don’t forget to come back now !


You can’t go wrong with a Bristol under the bonnet – Lister Bristol

It’s a great pleasure to present another couple of photo’s today by Ed Arnaudin courtesy of his son Steve.

In 1954 Brian Lister produced an MG powered sports car at his Cambridge iron works for Archie Scott Brown to drive. Disappointed with the results on it’s debut Brian had a 6 cylinder 2 litre Bristol engine installed and Archie won his class next time out at a meeting supporting the 1954 British Grand Prix beating half a dozen more powerful C-type Jaguars.

For 1955 a handful Lister Bristol’s were built for customers and the vehicle pictured at Thompson CT is one of those cars, driven to a class win on 20th July 1958 by Ray Cuomo who raced a huge variety of interesting vehicles from the mid 50’s to mid 70’s.

The #132 in the back ground top picture is the Lester MG driven by F Stone and the #32 is an Alfa Romeo Veloce driven by R Anderson in a different race.

My thanks to Vince H and Terry O’Neil at The Nostalgia Forum for helping me with some of the background information and as ever to Ed and Steve Arnaudin for taking and furnishing these photographs.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Bristol powered edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, tomorrow I hope you will join me tomorrow for a look at an unusual Bristol 401.


Magnificent Gran Turismo – Maserati 3500 GT

Todays photo’s come courtesy of my Rowdy buddy Steve Arnaudin of Brevard NC who recently kindly sent me some extraordinary photo’s his Dad took in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s.

The vehicle above is the first Maserati Grand Turismo model a 3500 GT which was in production from 1957 to 1964. The evidence is that this picture was taken at Thompson CT in 1958 making the car an early model almost certainly one of the 119 made in the first year of production with drum brakes all round.

The 3500 was developed as part of a survival strategy successfully transforming Maserati from a racing car manufacturer to a manufacturer of road cars. Like its 250 F racing stable mate, that had been competitive in Formula One against all but the Mercedes team, from 1954 to 1957 the 3500 had a six cylinder engine all though at 3485 cc / 212 cui considerably larger than the 2490 cc / 151 cui of the racer.

The superleggra aluminium bodywork is by Carrozzeria Touring and it sits on a chassis with independent front suspension and live rear axle. 1973 of these vehicles were manufactured with around 12 others featuring alternative bodywork, excluding the rare Vignale Spider which sat on a shortened 3500 GT chassis.

Thanks again to Steve Arnaudin and his Dad for giving us a fascinating insight into motoring in 1958, I look forward to bringing you more from the Arnaudin collection in the fullness of time.

Thanks for popping by, looking forward to seeing what delights tomorrow’s post will bring already, don’t forget to come back now !