Tag Archives: Design

Forward Design – Plymouth Savoy

The arrival of of the 1957 Mopars saw a dramatic shift in styling from a conservative Plane Jane to Virgil Exner’s jet age inspired Forward Design featuring the outrageous tail fins that became synonymous with the late 1950’s and lead Plymouths advertising copy to read “Suddenly – It’s 1960!”

Plymouth Savoy, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

The only car that dared to break the time barrier Plymouth, De Soto, Dodge and Chrysler full size models all featured variations of the same body design that were available to meet a variety of needs at an all important variety of prices.

Plymouth Savoy, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

Two years after Chrysler replaced the ’55 body styles the Plymouth Savoy alone was offered with 2-door coupe, 2-door hardtop, 4-door sedan, 4-door hardtop and station wagon bodies which with 8 engine options and 3 transmission options allowed a diligent salesman to sell up or down according to the purse of just about anybody who walked through the dealers showroom door.

Plymouth Savoy, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

Allegedly “The Forward Look of Motion” caused GM’s styling boss Harley Earl to ask Chevrolet exterior designer C.J. MacKichan “Why don’t you quit?” after seeing the 1957 Plymouth catalogue”.

Despite Torsion-Aire Ride using torsion bars but not airbags as the name might suggest, build quality problems with the Forward Designs meant many did not survive long before they started to rust away, the ’57 Savoy featured in these photographs is seen at last years Summer Classics meeting in Easter Compton.

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


911’s 50th Anniversary – Niello Serrano Concours d’Elegance

I’d like to welcome a new contributor to Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres thanks to Geoffrey Horton who kindly asked Karl Krause to take the photo’s at Niello Serrano Concours d’Elegance which appear in today’s blog.

Karl sent around 200 images and since I’ve been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Porsche 911 through October I thought I’d give the model one more look in today’s blog.

Porsche 911S , Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

I can’t be sure of the age of the 911 above but given that the distinctive 5 spoke Fuchs alloy wheels first became an option on the 911S in 1966 I’ll hazard a guess the car above in a 1966 or later 911S.

Porsche 911T , Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

There is a good chance that any Porsche carrying the distinctive #77 was once driven by Bruce Jennings who clocked up at least 30 victories mostly in Porsche’s between 1952 and 1981. The 911T with the distinctive solid alloy wheels appears to be the car Bruce shared with Bob Tullis in the 1970 Sebring 12 Hours. The pair started 46th and failed to finish.

Porsche 911S, Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

The #77 Carrera RS bodied Porsche 911S above appears to be the car Bruce shared with Bob Beasley and Bill Bean in the 1979 Six Hour race at Watkins Glen, despite a spin the trio started 40th and finished 18th.

Porsche 911 Carrera RSR, Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

Above is a 1974 era Carrera RSR bodied Porsche 911, it appears in the colours of the Gelo Racing Team though if it is one of the Gelo team cars I have yet to workout which one. If you know please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Porsche 934, Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

Bruce Canepa of Canepa Design raced several Porsche’s back early 80’s I believe the single turbo 934 bodied example above was one of them that was originally raced by George Dyer through 1977 prior to Bruce acquiring the car and fitting a 935 flat nose more usually seen on the twin turbo 935 models raced primarily in Europe. If this is the same car then Bruce Canepa, Rick Mears and Monte Sheldon appear to have driven it to a third place finish from 19th on the grid in the 1979 Daytona 24 hours.

Porsche 934/5, Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

Bruce drove several other 935 bodied Porsche’s notably with Gianpiero Moretti in the Momo team, at the time of writing I am not at all sure what the history of the flat nosed 935 bodied Porsche is, again if you know please chime in below.

Canepa Porsche Speedster 962 Twin Turbo, Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

Finally filed under outrageous road car is this twin turbocharged Canepa Design built Porsche Speedster which confirms Bruce Canepa’s addiction to fast cars.

My thanks to Karl Krause for sharing today’s photographs and to Geoffrey Horton for his help in procuring them.

Thanks for joining me on this “911’s 50th Anniversary” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at the final incarnation, to date, of the Ford Thunderbird this one driven by none other than Halle Berry. Don’t forget to come back now.


Lighter Stiffer Faster – Chrysler Viper Phase II RT/10

The Dodge Viper was conceived as a modern Cobra by Chrysler’s Advanced Design Studios in 1988 and realised by 85 “Team Viper” engineers hand picked by Chief Engineer Roy Sjoberg ready the first deliveries in 1992.

Dodge Viper RT/10, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The brutal aesthetics are matched by a few agricultural underpinnings including a pushrod operated 2 valve per cylinder motor originally designed for the Dodge Dakota Pick up as were the tie rod ends and parts of the front wheel hubs.

Dodge Viper RT/10, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

For 1996 the RT/10, like the model seen here at Summer Classics Easter Compton, was revised which resulted in a lighter car with a stiffer chassis and more powerful motor.

Dodge Viper RT/10, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Viper engine blocks aluminium cast versions of the cast iron Dodge Dakota blocks, with the castings originally being done by Lamborghini a Chrysler subsidiary at the time. In Phase II RT/10 form seen here the V10 produced 415 hp from its 7,998 cc / 488 cui.

Dodge Viper RT/10, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The RT/10 is intended to be a garaged vehicle originally these cars are supplied with a roof, side screens and instructional video on how it all fitted together.

Dodge Viper RT/10, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Vipers exported to Europe like the example seen here are sold under the Chrysler brand, but do not appear to differ in any other way than their Dodge branded siblings for the US domestic market.

Dodge Viper RT/10, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Capable of reaching a 119 mph in a quarter mile run and with a top speed of over 180 mph the Viper’s only week spot has been it’s brakes even after ABS became available in 2001.

Second generation Phase II Vipers were replaced by the third generation ZB series in 2003.

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


The Unvanquished Tough Nut From Chippenham – Invicta S1

Invicta is a name that has popped up from time to time in the automotive industry since 1900 when the name appeared on cars made in Finchley, London until 1905. The following year, 1906, the Invicta name was intended to be used by a vehicle manufacturer in Turin.

A third unrelated incarnation of the Invicta name was used by Clarks Eng. Wrks Ltd in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire in 1914.

Invicta S1, Goodwood FoS

The fourth and to date most successful incarnation of Invicta appeared when Noel Macklin teamed up with Tate & Lyle sugar heir Oliver Lyle in 1925. Based in Cobham, Surrey they aimed to build a range of vehicles that matched Rolls Royce for quality and Bentley for speed using proprietary 6 cylinder Meadows engines until it’s demise in 1935.

Invicta S1, Goodwood FoS

The fourth incarnation of Invicta achieved a fair ampun of publicity as a result of Noel Macklins sister in law Violette Cordery being awarded the Dewar Trophy in 1926 after averaging a fraction over 70 mph over 5,000 miles (8,000 kms) at Montlhery and again in 1929 after driving 30,000 miles (48,000 kms) in 21 days averaging a fraction over 61 mph at Brooklands. Donald Healey also won the Monte Carlo Rally outright in 1931, despite bending the chassis in an accident in Norway soon after the start of the event.

Invicta S1, Goodwood FoS

In 1946 the Invicta company was reformed in Virginia Water and produced a Meadows powered Black Prince, only 16 of which were manufactured before production ceased and the brand name was sold to Frazer Nash the vehicle manufacturer, not the same Frazer Nash that bought the remains of the Bristol Car Company recently.

Invicta S1, Goodwood FoS

The Invicta name has also twice been used by Buick as a model name.

Invicta S1, Goodwood FoS

The most recent incarnation of the Invicta vehicle brand surfaced in 2004 with this monster of a sports car, built in Chippenham, available with up to 600 hp from a hand built Ford Special Vehicles Team (SVT) supplied V8.

Invicta S1, Goodwood FoS

Carrying the same name as the most successful pre-war model, used to win the Monte Carlo Rally in 1931, the S1 is built around a steel tube space frame featuring a safety roll cage and is claimed to be the strongest chassis ever tested by UK safety officials.

Invicta S1, Goodwood FoS

The body, designed by Leigh Adams and his Automotive Design & Prototyping studio, is a single piece of carbon fibre which further reinforces the chassis strength.

Invicta S1, Goodwood FoS

Invicta claim the S1 will reach 60 mph from rest in 3.8 seconds and that the aerodynamics will keep the car stable to over 200 mph…. where permitted.

Invicta S1, Goodwood FoS

Production of the S1 is limited to 50 per year, when I was on my way to Castle Combe last weekend I heard one and then saw it come cruising past in my rear view mirror, this car has an awesome presence when on the move.

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


Move Over Henry Let Rover Take Over – Reliant Scimitar GTE V8

The Reliant Scimitar GTE can trace it’s origins back to two vehicles, the chassis is a direct descendent of Reliant Sabre and the fibre glass body which is a direct descendent Ogle SX250 a privately commissioned prototype coupe built on a Daimler SP250 chassis.

Reliant Scimitar GTE V8, Castle Combe C&SCAD

The Ogle SX250 design, which was offered to and turned down by Sir Williams Lyons who owned Daimler, was purchased by Reliant and with a few modifications required to fit the Reliant Sabre 6 chassis became the Reliant Scimitar GT SE4, production models were powered by a variety Ford engines in straight 6 and V6 configurations.

Reliant Scimitar GTE V8, Castle Combe C&SCAD

In 1968 Tom Karen, who had completed the design of the Ogle SX250 after originator David Ogle had been killed on his way to the Brands Hatch racing circuit, and Peter Bailey worked on the design of the Reliant Scimitar GTE.

Reliant Scimitar GTE V8, Castle Combe C&SCAD

With the addition of a rising waist line the GTE was a development of the 1966 Ogle Triplex Scimitar GTS concept car which had featured 43 square feet of safety glass, a vehicle eventually purchased by Prince Phillip.

Reliant Scimitar GTE V8, Castle Combe C&SCAD

Like the preceding Reliant Scimtar GT SE4 Ford engines were used to power the GTE SE5 production models though only the 2994 / 182.7 cui Essex V6. Interestingly the aforementioned Peter Bailey acquired the prototype GTE and had a 4735 cc/ 289 cui Ford V8 fitted which gave the prototype a top speed of 150 mph.

Reliant Scimitar GTE V8, Castle Combe C&SCAD

Somewhere along the way this Scimitar GTE has acquired a 3528 cc / 215.9 cui V8 engine which the engine size and badges suggest is an all alluminium Rover Buick derived unit which could have been sourced from any number of vehicles ranging from MGB V8, Rover 3.5 Coupe, Rover SDI, Triumph TR8 or conceivably even a Land or Range Rover.

My thanks to Dave Poole of sporting-reliants.com whose excellent website covers the Reliant story in fascinating illustrated detail.

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


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 !


Brushed Steel Roof – Maserati Bora

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The Maserati Bora was developed in 1968 to go up against the mid engine De Tomaso Mangusta, Lambourghini Muira and later Ferrari 365 GT4 BB. 524 examples of the model were built from 1971 to 1978.

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Under the direction of Citroen owners of the Maserati marque at the time, the Bora featured a steel monocoque with the longitudinal engine mounted on a subframe at the back and for the first time on a Maserati independent suspension on all four wheels.

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Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design was responsible for the steel bodywork which featured an unusual for the time brushed steel roof.

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289 Bora’s including this 1972 model were powered by a 310 hp 4719 cc / 288 cui V8 with a further 235 built from 1973 to 1978 being fitted with a larger 320 hp US emissions spec 4930cc / 301 cui motors giving the vehicle a 160 – 170 mph capability. The engine compartment featured double glazing to separate it from the cabin and a carpeted aluminium cover to keep the noise down.

By the time production of the Bora had ceased Maserati was in the ownership of De Tomaso.

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