Tag Archives: Door

Rebel With Out A Clue – FIAT 128 1100 2 Door Saloon

Today’s featured FIAT 128 1100 2 Door Saloon was first registered in the UK between 1st of August 1970 and the 31st of July 1971 we know this because of the ‘J’ suffix in the registration number, the 2nd and third letters CJ tell us that the car was first registered in the Norwich area about 100 miles North East of London.

In the Spring of 1978 my Grandmother came over to London from Germany and kindly gave me a small sum of cash to buy my first car.

My idea was to spend it on a cheap to run and insure Citroën 2CV which I knew from a friends experience had no go, but was great fun getting there all the same.

My civil engineer Dad had other idea’s, he did not want his one and only to be at risk driving a French tin can on wheels and promised to pay the insurance if I bought something a little more substantial.

I suggested a FIAT 124 like the one I had learned to drive in Zambia, but eventually settled for the front wheel drive 128 seen below which had made it’s way down from Norwich to Uxbridge.

FIAT 128, Haselmere,

The car was originally maroon, a scrape against a fence post was all the excuse I needed to invest heavily in body filler and spray paint to end up with the refrigerator white and bright red paint job seen above.

With hindsight it is amazing my lungs survived two days locked up in a tiny garage with 10 tins of spray paint and little if anything in the way of fume protection.

In case you are wondering I was trying to make the car look something like Niki Lauda’s 1976 Ferrari 312T2, with more time and perhaps a spot of green paint I am sure I would have got there… eventually !

All though the car had half an areal it did not come with a radio or speakers, so an old radio compact cassette combination system served as my ICE, in car entertainment.

Among the many excursions I made in the car I visited Silverstone for the 1978 USAC race won by AJ Foyt, 1979 Six Hour Race won by John Fitzpatrick, Hans Heyer and Brilliant Bob Wollek driving a Gelo Porsche 935 and the 1979 British Grand Prix won by Clay Regazzoni driving a Williams FW07.

Then there was Reading Rock ’79 where Mike and the mechanics with both Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel on stage, The Cure, Molly Hatchet, Motörhead, Scorpions, Eurythmics, the Police and DJ John Peel kept us entertained for my first weekend of unadulterated debauchery, it was so bad I could not remember my own phone number on the way home and finally Knebworth Park for the second of the two Led Zepplin gigs.

The following spring I was hoping to do more of the same, but although the car passed it’s MOT it started falling to bit’s after I gently parked it up a kerb outside a friends flat in Earls Court.

Later that evening I was visiting another friend down in Haselmere when strange noises started coming out of the front of the car, the suspension was collapsing.

I took it to a garage and they showed me that the frame to which the suspension arms were mounted was completely rotten and they advised me this was true on the other side and rather than bodge a repair I’d be better off spending the money on another car, reluctantly I agreed.

Thanks for joining me on this “Rebel Without A Clue” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the last of the current Saturday series of GN Specials. Don’t forget to come back now !


Tiger Or Purring Kitten – Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible

In response to the Buick Gran Sport package and Ford’s own Galaxy 500/XL Mercury built three Special line models, the S-22 Comet launched in 1961, the S-33 Meteor and S-55 Monterey such as the one seen here launched in 1962, the latter of which was only available with 2 door hard top or convertible body until 1963.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The most important feature of the S-55 was the choice of larger engines; 6.4 litre / 390 cui FE V8 which was offered with either 300 or 330 hp and the 6.7 litre / 406 FE aimed squarely at the drag racer with three 2 barrel Holley carburetors that produced 405 hp and 448 ft lbs of torque which enabled the car to accelerate from just 12mph to 120 mph top speed in the floor shifted top gear of the all synchromesh gear box, as one contemporary journalist reported “this is virtually a two gear automobile”.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Additional performance options included; cam-ground forged aluminum pistons, 15 different gear ratios from 3.00 to 8.83:1, limited slip differential, quick ratio steering for track racing and a list of cc’s for a series of deck clearances (distances from the top of block to top of pistons) added to which was the volume of the space the head gasket occupied, plus a range of cylinder head combustion chamber volumes, all essential information for the dedicated competitor.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Inside the S-55 featured the aforementioned floor stick shift that replaced the column shift of the more pedestrian Monterey’s, 2 bucket seats replaced the front bench seat, and the doors were fitted with novel for the period combination white and red lights which came on automatically when the doors were opened to both illuminate the door aperture and warn traffic approaching from behind that the door was open.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The front bucket seats folded flat so that one could stretch ones legs across them from the back seats, the purpose of which escapes me, but might have made camping in the car at night an option on long journey’s.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Deleted from the S-55 was the air conditioning and power assisted brakes all of which took power away from the motor and thus reduced competitiveness in competition, the S-55’s brakes and suspension were however uprated from the standard Monterey.

Mercury Monterey S-55 Convertible , Summer Classics, Easter Compton

One contemporary 405 hp S-55 test concluded that the vehicle was not far from the ad man’s fantasy of a cross between a tiger and a purring kitten and all one needed to appreciate the ’62 S-55 like the one seen in these photographs at last years Summer Classics at Easter Compton was a fondness for a smooth-operating performance and handling package.

Thanks for joining me on this “Tiger Or Purring Kitten” 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 !


Rising To The Top Again – Mercury Monterey 4 Door Sedan

With the dropping of the Park Lane and Montclair models in 1961 the the fifth generation Monterey was reinstated at the top of the Mercury model range when it was launched in 1961.

Mercury Monterey 4 Door Sedan, Goodwood Revival,

Styling of the new Monterey was similar to the 1961 2nd Generation Ford Galxie but with many detail differences in the trim detailing which was more refined on the Mercury.

Mercury Monterey 4 Door Sedan, Goodwood Revival,

Initiallly a choice of either 4.8 litre / 292 cui Y-block, or 5.8 litre / 352 cui and 6.4 litre / 390 cui FE V8’s was offered.

Mercury Monterey 4 Door Sedan, Goodwood Revival,

The engine choice was supplemented for the 1962 model year only with a 3.7 litre / 223 cui Milage Maker straight six for the 135 hp Monterey Six for “Top of the line luxury and power for the big car man”.

Mercury Monterey 4 Door Sedan, Goodwood Revival,

The big luxurious Mercury with a 120″ wheel base was offered with 2 doors in hard top and convertible form and three 4 door
versions were estate/wagon, pillarless hard top and sedan.

Mercury Monterey 4 Door Sedan, Goodwood Revival,

Today’s featured 1962 Sedan, seen at Goodwood Revival some years ago, is powered by a 5.8 litre / 352 cui motor FE motor that in this application were marketed as a Marauder engine up until 1962 after which it was marketed as the Monterey pending the arrival of the bigger 6.7 litre / 406 cui motors for the 1963 model year.

Thanks for joining me on this “Rising To The Top Again” 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 !


Goodwood Revival #2 – Rover 2000TC

Welcome to the 365th edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ when I started this blog one year ago I thought I might struggle to make it last a week, I can’t quite believe that my enthusiasm now is stronger than it was then, this is in no small part due to every one of the 44,000 plus hits that I have had from over 20,000 views.

I’d like to thank every one who has popped by, all those who have left comments and especially all those who have generously given, tickets, invitations, time and effort donating photographs details on the vehicles and stories for me to publish. Over the next couple of weeks I will be powering up a dedicated GALPOT website for these blogs, all of the existing blogs will be kept on line, you will receive timely updates as the new website progresses.

Today’s car the Rover 2000TC is a personal favourite, identical to a little Corgi model I had that featured jewel head lights, a sky roof and golden jacks so that I could swap the wheels. I must have driven that toy Rover 2000TC several hundred thousand miles on my hands and knees and changed the wheels several thousand times too.

Rover 2000 TC, Goodwood Revival

Launched in 1963 the Rover 2000 was originally supplied with 104 hp single carburettor 4 cylinder motor, by 1966 Rover launched an export model with a more powerful 124 hp Twin Carburettor (TC) motor.

Rover 2000 TC, Goodwood Revival

Initially the 2000TC was only made available to export markets, officially because the twin carb manifolds were in short supply and because of a 70 mph speed limit introduced in the UK in 1965.

Rover 2000 TC, Goodwood Revival

Six months after the 2000 TC was launched supply of twin carburettor inlet manifolds improved and the 2000 TC was made available in Britain.

Rover 2000 TC, Goodwood Revival

Unlike rivals like the Citroen DS and Triumph 2000 the heavily sculpted rear seats of the P6 meant only two passengers could be carried in the back.

Rover 2000 TC, Goodwood Revival

The de Dion rear suspension used in the construction of the P6 limited the amount of space in the boot and many P6’s used to carry a spare tyre wrapped in a purpose made vinyl bag, on top of the boot lid.

Additional P6 blogs can be found on the following links, P6 Cabriolet, P6 2200SC, P6 Estoura.

Thanks for joining me on this 1st anniversary edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again for the 366th edition tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Under US Influence – Morris Minor 4 dr

When the Morris Minor was launched in 1948 it featured headlights set either side of the radiator grill, making the car look rather like the scariest Sci Fi creatures known to man the ‘Cybermen‘.

In 1949 the Minor was introduced into the US market with the headlights set higher in the wings to meet US regulations giving us the Minor look that is familiar across much of the world today. All Morris Minors post 1951 featured the high mounted US spec lights that can be seen on this early Series II model from 1953.

The centre bonnet contours came about as a result of the car being widened by 4 inches between the prototype and production stages in 1948.

This early Series II model is powered by the same 30 hp Austin designed 803 cc / 49 cui motor as the late Series II Tourer featured yesterday. This engine all though a full 115 cc / 7 cui smaller than the original MM Series engine of 1948 – 1952 was 2.5 hp more powerful than its predecessor.

The extra power improved the Minors top speed performance from 58.7 mph to a full 63 mph, it could accelerate for the first time to 60 mph in just 52 seconds. These improved performance figures were traded against a 6 imperial mpg rise in fuel consumption from 42 mpg to 36 mpg.

One of the stranger things I remember as a child and vehicle passenger in the early sixties in Cyprus is wondering why vehicles ahead would often slow down for no apparent reason then veer into the centre of the road, this happened many times and most times just before the vehicle ahead came to a complete stop in the middle of the road a funny orange coloured pointy thing would seemingly randomly suddenly appear somewhere on the right hand side of the vehicle.

This vertical piece of chrome in the B post is the top of one of those pointy things more commonly known as a Trafficator fully developed by Max Ruhl and Ernst Neuman in 1927 with internal illumination and solenoid operation.

Hard to believe indicators as we know them today on the four corners of the car did not become a legal requirement on new vehicles until the mid sixties in some parts of Europe, the Morris Minor made the switch from Trafficators to corner indicators in 1961.

I mentioned yesterday how the Tourer had big rear lights from 1962, here you can just how small these units would have been on the Tourer when it was new.

I hope you have enjoyed todays edition of ‘Getting a lil’ psycho on tyres, I’d like to wish all of my American readers and particularly all those who have actively contributed so much fun to this blog a Happy Thanksgiving.

Don’t for get to come back for a Ferrari Friday now !