Tag Archives: Elvis

IMSA King Elvis – Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo #88-01

According to the results available to me Don Devendorf a “scientist” at the Hughes Aircraft Corporation was campaigning a Triumph Spitfire and then Mueller Fabricators Triumph GT6 in the GP and EP SCCA classes with some success from 1968 to 1970.

By 1978 Don had founded Electramotive Engineering of California with John Knepp to prepare and successfully race a succession of Datsun’s.

Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Starting with a IMSA GTU Class 240Z before moving onto GTU Class 280ZX and GTO Class 280ZX turbo models up until 1984.

In 1985 Nissan decided to drop the Datsun brand in favour of Nissan and entered into a partnership with Electramotive to field cars in the top GTP class of the IMSA series.

Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

From 1985 Electramotive used Lola chassis similar to the Lola T710 chassis used by General Motors Corvette GTP team but adapted to take the Electramotive tuned turbocharged Nissan VG30 V6.

Initially the Nissan variant of the Lola T710 was known as the T810 in 1985, but for 1986 and 1987 the cars were known as Nissan GTP ZX-turbo’s with Lola T710 chassis numbers.

Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The Nissan Lola chassis carried bodywork devised by Yoshi Suzuka which was easily distinguished from the Hendricks Motorsports GTP Corvette body by the large front intakes mounted below the windscreen.

By 1987 the GTP ZX Turbo had been developed into one of the faster cars on the IMSA GTP circuit scoring 5 pole positions and one win with Geoff Brabham and Elliot Forbes-Robinson sharing the victory spoils at Miami.

Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

For 1988 Electramotive commissioned Trevor Harris to design the chassis for today’s featured car, #88-01 built by Jim Chapman’s JC Prototypes, using the same Electromotive alloy block motor and running gear as the ’87 GTP ZX-Turbo and similar Yoshi Suzuka designed bodywork.

After gifting the two endurance events at Daytona and Sebring to the new Castrol sponsored Jaguar team, by not entering them. Geoff Brabham won nine of the remaining events, with a season high streak of 8 consecutive wins to secure the 1988 drivers and team championships for the Electramotive team.

Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Chassis #88-01 was known as the King of the IMSA circuit and given the nickname Elvis, much of the success of the car was due to an electronically controlled turbocharger waste gate devised by John Knepp.

Four of Geoff’s wins were with John Moreton acting as co driver, they also scored a fifth non championship win together at Tampa in November 1988 and one more with Tom Gloy sharing the driving duties at Mid Ohio.

Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Surprisingly in 1989 Geoff Brabham drove #88-01 to a further seven victories to secure a second drivers title and team title for the Electramotive team, this included securing pole with Arie Luyendyk, Chip Robinson and Michael Roe for the Daytona 24 Hours where they failed to finish and winning the 1989 Sebring 12 Hours with Chip and Arie sharing the driving.

During the 1989 season Geoff and Chip shared #88-01 with team founder Don Devendorf to win at Miami and Atlanta and shared another two victories as a driving pair.

Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

In 1990 Don sold Electramotive to Nissan and the team became Nissan Performance Technology Inc, NPTI. Elvis was wheeled out for it’s third and final season of competition and scored three more wins, including a second win at Sebring where Derek Daly and Bob Earl shared the driving. Derek and Geoff shared the driving to secure the chassis final two wins at West Palm Beach and Road Atlanta.

In all from 1988 Elvis made 32 starts, 16 from pole, finished 26 of those races and won 20 of them. Geoff went on to secure the 1990 IMSA GTP championship using a new twin turbo V6 NTP 90 chassis and the 1991 championship with a combination of a twin turbo V8 Nissan R90CK, twin turbo V6 NTP 90 and NTP 91 chassis.

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


Shopping Around #1 – Cadillac Series 62 4 Window Hard Top Sedan

Shopping Around for ideas to mark the 35th Anniversary of Elvis Presley’s passing I thought it would be interesting to look at one of the few Cadillac models that evaded the King on his notorious Cadillac buying sprees.

Cadillac Series 62 Sedan 4 Window Flat Top, Goodwood Revival

Bill Mitchel was responsible for the design of the 1959 13 model Cadillac range, 11 of which shared the same chassis with a 130″ wheelbase, the Fleetwood 75 Limousine and Sedan shared a chassis with a 149.5″ wheelbase.

Cadillac Series 62 Sedan 4 Window Flat Top, Goodwood Revival

A 6.4 liter / 390 cui V8 was used to power all of the ’59 Cadillacs, which weighed between 4690 and 5570 lbs, all tuned to produce 325 hp with the exception of the Eldorado which had 345 hp.

Cadillac Series 62 Sedan 4 Window Flat Top, Goodwood Revival

Differentiating the ’59 models from the exterior can be quite easy, if all of the exterior trim is attached.

Cadillac Series 62 Sedan 4 Window Flat Top, Goodwood Revival

We can tell this is a base 6239 model by the small badge below the arrow behind the front wheel on the front wing / fender.

Cadillac Series 62 Sedan 4 Window Flat Top, Goodwood Revival

Popular options for the ’59 Cadillacs included radio with rear speaker for $165, or radio with rear speaker AND remote control $247, a six way power seat came in at $89.

Cadillac Series 62 Sedan 4 Window Flat Top, Goodwood Revival

The 4 window sedans with their distinctive wrap around rear screens are also known as ‘flat tops’.

Cadillac Series 62 Sedan 4 Window Flat Top, Goodwood Revival

It may seem strange that Elvis, a well documented Cadillac enthusiast, never bought or owned a ’59 model, which is so clearly identified with the rock’n’roll era. Until one realises that he was doing his duty for his country at the time, serving with the 3rd Armoured Division in Friedburg Germany where he enjoyed the delights of his VW Beetle and BMW 507 convertible while keeping a lowish, by his standards, profile.

Thanks for joining me on this “Shopping Around #1” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Elvis Investigations – The Triumph Detective

A couple of weeks ago I received a enquiry from Hazen Wardle about reviewing a couple of his self published books the first of which is “The Triumph Detective” a Reche Plimpton Novel, in the spirit of nothing ventured nothing gained I agreed, I must confess life at GALPOT towers rarely leaves me time for engaging in pure fiction, there is enough of it when I am looking into the myths that surround some of the vehicles I blog about.

The Triumph Detective - A Reche Plimpton Novel

The Triumph Detective tells the tale of how plaid attired investigator ‘Reche Plimpton’ takes on a case to investigate a temporary abduction by aliens of the ‘up there’ kind of Sarge a German shepherd dog.

In solving the mystery Reche the proprietor of ‘Elvis Investigations’ follows up a number of clues that start with an alleged alien message, alternately using either his own Triumph GT6 which his assistant Laura is not so keen on, or Laura’s Hummer as transportation on the road to solving the mystery.

The story is peppered with entertaining characters such as those from the UFO Church of His illuminated Universe and a ne’er do well neighbour of his client.

Resche Plimpton - Guitar Thief

The second book ‘Resche Plimpton : Guitar Thief’, which not entirely coincidentally is launched today, carries on nicely from the first and is undoubtedly a more complete volume which sees our plaid dressed hero get framed for the theft of a broken guitar and then employed to find the guitar when it gets stolen a second time.

If I ever had any doubts about Hazen being a first time lucky writer they were completely dispelled by ‘Guitar Thief’ to the point where I am wondering if I can blag a copy of the third Resche Plimpton novel ‘Bigfoot: Triumph Enthusiast’ as and when it appears.

Without wishing to give the plot away I heartily recommend the first two Resche Plimpton Triumph Detective novels ‘The Triumph Detective‘ and ‘Guitar Thief‘ as amusing light reads available in handy e-book formats.

Triumph GT6

Alongside his writing Hazen describes himself as being ‘in over my head’ rebuilding a Triumph GT6 Coupé using the rear end panels from a Triumph Spitfire convertible.

The process of cleaning repairing and refabracation has given Hazen the opportunity to become familiar with every panel, rivet, nut and bolt of his vehicle.

Hazen Wardle

Hazen has been working on his GT6 project since 1997, since when he has moved 6 times ! Hazen’s dedication to Triumph sheetmetal is faithfully documented on his blog linked here.

I hope you have enjoyed this Elvis Investigations edition of ‘Getting’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz

Automobiliart, Paul Chenard

December 26th – January 2nd

Win a set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards

Sports-GT cars set, Paul Chenard

Set 1 Sports & GT Cars

Phil Hill, Sharknose Ferrari Set, Paul Chenard

Set 2 Phil Hill World Drivers Championship 50th Anniversary Edition

1934 GP Season Card set, Paul Chenard

Set 3 1934 Season

1950s Grand Prix Engines

Set 4 Grand Prix Engines of the 1950’s


Mike Hawtorns racecars Card set, Paul Chenard

Set 5 Mike Hawthorn’s Race Cars

The Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will comprise 8 categories.

Overall winner chooses one set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards from the five sets shown above.

The cards measure 15.24cm x 11.43cm, come in packs of 12 with 3 copies of 4 designs in each set, plus A6 envelopes.

Which set will you choose ?

The free to enter Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will run from December 26th – January 2nd Entries close January 8th 2012, Winner announced January 16th 2012.

Full details on December 26th at GALPOT.