Tag Archives: Duff

Heavy Metal Classic – Standlake Arena

With a full entry of 228 National Bangers and the first date of the season the Heavy Metal Classic at Standlake Arena near Witney in Oxfordshire attracted a full stadium of spectators and almost full overflow car park despite the promise of heavy rain and just above freezing temperatures.

MG B GT, Amie Chandler, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

I confess my brain was so frozen I do not remember too many details of what went on though I do remember an interesting conversation regarding the machinations of Dr Jonathon Palmer’s empire based at Brands Hatch, above the #418 MG B GT was driven by Amie Chandler in the “Under 2 litre RWD Classics” class.

Ford Granada Estate, Pat McPhilimy, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

Pat McPhilimy strikes a professional pose in his #42 Ford Granada Estate during the first race for the Unlimited Class.

Rolls Royce Corniche, Garry Webb, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

The Unlimited Class featured 2 Rolls Royces, above the rare Rolls Royce Corniche driven by Garry Webb is seen passing the #155 Ford Zodiac Mk IV driven by Robert Philips.

Ford Ka, Paul, Quinell, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

Paul Quinell easily won the unofficial most trashed rear axle with both wheels still attached and rotating award in his #469 Ford Ka which ran in the Micro Banger Class.

Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

Peter Dodge guides his BMC Farina, could be an Austin or Morris but is almost certainly not a Wolseley, past the wreck that comprises the #909 Triumph Toledo driven by Jamie “Mr Blobby” Duff and #183 Morris Marina Estate Jack Strudwick that has been rear ended by an unidentified competitor.

Morris Marina Van, Billy Bond, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

Short on steering control but still making progress Billy Bond dips his #72 Morris Marina van in the infield mud above.

BMC Farina, James Dodge, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

James Dodge like Peter pedaling a BMC Farina engages in a bit of rim riding hoping he will not get T boned by the green #632 Ford Cortina driven by Kallum Reed.

Jaguar Mark X, Steven Hart, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

The #70 Jaguar Mark X driven by Steven Hart above in the Unlimited Class sports a deflector on the bonnet, how effective it was at either keeping the occupant dry or giving him improved vision is debatable.

Ford Granada, Randy Mulder, Heavy Metal Classic, Standlake Arena

I’m pretty sure the winning car of the unlimited class was the #88 Ford Granada driven by Randy Mulder, though looking at the entry list I see there was a second #88 entered for Billy Page so I am now not quite so sure.

Either way after an entertaining afternoon getting rather wet and cold watching 228 Bangers slip and slide through the mud I headed back to the overflow car park and was pleased to get my Golf Estate out of the parking facility without the aid of a four wheel drive pickup truck that was standing by just in case.

Thanks for joining me on this “Heavy Metal Classic” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres.” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Daytona 24 Hour competitor. Don’t forget to come back now !


Fastest Machine In The World – Benz 200hp Reconstruction

Despite the fact that Carl Benz was of the opinion that motor racing did not add anything of value to the production of motor cars, in 1909 he was persuaded to build a 200hp Benz racing car by fellow Benz & Cie board member Julius Ganss argument that there was one thing above all to be gained from the proposed car, which was to be built with the aim of becoming the first internal combustion powered machine in the World to travel at 200 km/h / 124 mph, publicity.

The Benz engineers based the new 200hp model on their 150hp 1908 Grand Prix challenger but enlarged the four cylinder bores so that the capacity was increased from 15.1 litres / 921 cui to 21.5 litres 1312 cui, making the largest engines that were ever fitted into a car by either Benz or their later partners with whom they would merge Daimler.

Benz employee Fritz Erle is credited with the 200hp models first success when he won the Grand Duchess of Hesse prize after recording a speed of 159.3 km/h / 98.98 mph over a flying kilometer at Frankfurt am Main in August 1909.

Benz 200hp Reconstruction, Bill Evans, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed,

The concrete had barely dried at Brooklands when Victor Héméry driving the same car with it’s original 1908 Grand Prix style body arrived in November 1909 and promptly raised the internal combustion powered World Speed Record recorded over a flying kilometer to 202.7 km/h / 125.95 mph.

Meantime a second 200hp machine No.2 was being prepared with a slimmer body, similar to the one on today’s featured car, better suited to Land Speed Record braking, and with venues in Europe struggling for space to accommodate the speeds being achieved it was sent to the Benz US agent Jesse Froehlich for George Robertson to drive in a head to head race against Ralph de Palma.

However it appears Barney Oldfield’s manager found out about the 200hp cars presence in the USA and wishing to protect his client’s position Ernie Moross made an offer to swap the new machine for his older 150hp Benz plus $6,000 which was accepted.

Benz 200hp Reconstruction, Bill Evans, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed,

In March 1910 Barney Oldfield drove the car, dubbed “Lightening Benz” by Ernie, to a new one way, unofficial in Europe, record of 211.97 km/h / 131.71 mph, beating the times set by Fred Marriot aboard the steam powered Stanley Rocket in 1906.

Barney was barred from AAA sanctioned events for participating in unsanctioned Barnstorming events in April 1911 when Bob Burman set a one way record, unrecognised in Europe, of 225.65 km/h / 140.21 mph over the flying mile and 228.1 km/h / 141.73 mph over the flying kilometer at Daytona driving Ernie’s Blitzen Benz.

By 1913 the UK Benz agent L. G. “Cupid” Hornsted acquired the 200hp No.3, for which he had specified a number of modifications, this car became known as “Schlanker Joseph” or “Lean Joseph” with which he set the first two way record at Brooklands over the flying mile leaving it at 199.70 km/h / 124.09 mph in June 1914.

Benz 200hp Reconstruction, Bill Evans, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed,

The history of the six 200hp Benz racing cars is a little clouded, not least because there was only one Blitzen Benz built, 200hp No.2, but almost all of the 200hp car’s are referred to by that name.

Today’s featured Reconstruction of the car Bob Burman drove at Daytona in April 1911 was commissioned and built regardless of cost by Bob Burman enthusiast Bill Evans, who is seen at the wheel in these photographs taken at Goodwood.

The motor #9141 comes from Benz 200hp No.3 that L. G. “Cupid” Hornsted drove at Brooklands in 1914, Captain John Duff and his passenger survived after No.3 swerved off the banking at Brooklands in September 1922 and the remains of the car were returned to Benz at Manheim.

Daimler Benz lent Bill their own 200hp model, which was reconstructed for 50th anniversary of the founding of Benz in 1935 using some parts from No.3 believed to include the radiator and central body, in order to help him reconstruct the rest of his car.

Thanks for joining me on this “Fastest Machine In The World” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again for Mors. Don’t forget to come back now !


Open Road Demon – FIAT SB4 Mephistophele

Some years after possibly serving on the western front as an ambulance driver Ernest Arthur Douglas Eldridge started appearing at Brooklands with a succession of cars that included a 1907 Isotta-Fraschini powered by a 20 litre / 1220 cui Maybach aero engine and a more modest and successful 10 litre / 660 cui FIAT.

In 1922 John Duff was racing his FIAT SB4 at Brooklands when the 18 litre / 1098 cui motor exploded in spectacular fashion and afterwards accepted an offer from Ernest Eldridge to buy the car.

Ernest managed to acquire a 260 hp 6 cylinder 21.7 litre / 1324 cui FIAT A 12 “Bis” aero engine to replace the blown SB4 original but had to lengthen the chassis of his SB4 by some twenty inches, allegedly using parts from a London Bus, to get the new engine to fit.

FIAT Mephistophele, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The power output of the 2 plugs and 4 valve per cylinder engine was increased by fitting four carburetors and 4 plugs per cylinder that were charged by four magnetos.

With 320hp to power his two ton car Ernest turned up at Brooklands in 1923 and immediately set a new one way standing start 1/2 mile record by covering the distance in 23.17 seconds (77.68 mph).

In June 1924 Ernest took today’s featured car Arpajon near Montlhéry in France where he was faster than a Delage V12 that was running on the same day and smashed the Land Speed Record that had stood at stood at a smidgen over 124 mph since 1914. Delage however protested the result because Ernest’s FIAT had no reverse gear as required by the regulations of the day.

FIAT Mephistophele, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The FIAT was taken to Paris where a device was fitted that allowed the car to reverse and returned to Arpajon on June 12th 1924 and Ernest claimed the World Land Speed Record over one mile at a speed of 145.89mph / 234.98kph, that night the FIAT was allegedly parked across the street from the Delage show room where the slower Delage V12 took center stage.

This would be the last World Land Speed Record to be set on a public road, at the Monterey circuit the FIAT, now named after the Faustian demon Mephistopheles, also broke the 5 and 10 km records.

Ernest sold Mephistophele to the French driver “Le Champion” in 1925 and moved onto building Grand Prix Specials of his own devising which used Amilcar chassis and Anzani motors.

FIAT Mephistophele, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

In 1926 Ernest ran two cars in the Indy 500 for Douglas Hawkes who was classified 14th with 91 laps completed and himself, classified 19th with 45 laps completed.

While attempting to break records at Monterey in the winter of 1926 the front axle of his car collapsed and Ernest lost an eye in the ensuing accident.

Afterwards he continued record breaking notably with a Chrysler at Monterey before becoming “Record Attempt Manager” for Capt Eyston.

FIAT Mephistophele, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The record Ernest claimed in Mephistophele stood until September 1925 when Malcolm Campbell raised the World Land Speed Record to just over 150mph driving the aero engined Sunbeam V12, which I looked at last week.

Mephistophele was acquired by FIAT Chairman Avvocato Giovanni Agnelli in 1969 and when not out on the road it can be seen at Centro Storico Fiat in Turin.

Thanks for joining me on this “Open Road Demon” 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 !


Hooded Fuel Consumption – Bentley 3 litre #1138

Le Mans is not so well remembered by numerous teams for quirky rules which have seen them retire if not be outright disqualified from the 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race.

Bentley 3 litre, Brooklands Double 12, Brooklands Museum

1925 saw the organisers of the third running of the 24 hour endurance classic introduce a rule that cars had to run the first 20 laps of the race with the hood, convertible roof, up.

Bentley 3 litre, Brooklands Double 12, Brooklands Museum

After winning the twice round the clock race in 1924, Bentley Motors Ltd had two 3 litre cars entered in the 1925 event one of which is chassis #1138, seen here at last years Brooklands Double 12 meeting, which was to have Herbert Kensington-Moir and Dudley Benjafield at the wheel.

Bentley 3 litre, Brooklands Double 12, Brooklands Museum

It appears that Bentley aimed to make their fuel stop at 20 laps to coincide with being able to lower the hood and put in just enough fuel to cover the distance. Herbert Kensington-Moir is said to have made a good start and was timed at speeds of over 90 mph, however on the 19th lap the car ground to a halt out of fuel.

Bentley 3 litre, Brooklands Double 12, Brooklands Museum

It would appear no one had factored in the additional fuel consumption created by the additional drag created by the hood and so Dudley Benjafield never got to race the car. The sister car chassis #1040 driven by 1924 Le Mans winners Captain John Duff and Frank Clement ground to a halt just short of half distance after a carburetor fire.

Bentley 3 litre, Brooklands Double 12, Brooklands Museum

The following year Bentley returned to Le Mans with 3 cars but all three retired but in 1927 Dudley Benjafield joined Sammy Davis and their 3 litre Sport known as Old No. 7 delivered Bentley a second victory in the French endurance classic.

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