In 1922 Bamford & Martin built 2 cars to compete in the French Grand Prix, the spare engine for this project was fitted to Razor Blade in 1923.
Bamford & Martin also built a number of vehicles for customers to race and the Halford Special carrying the chassis number #1916 and the registration number OR 1 was one of these. In 1923 W G Barlow is known to have competed with #1916 at the Aston Clinton Hill Climb, from which Bamford & Martin adopted the “Aston” and merged it with “Martin” to arrive at the ‘Aston Martin’ Marque name, and at Brooklands where he finished 4th in the JCC Spring meeting.
Captain G E T Eyston, later of Thunderbolt Land Speed Record Fame, drove #1916 in a Voiturette, (up to 1.5 litre / 91.5cui) race at Boulogne where he crashed. Major Frank Halford, who along with Eyston had competed with Razor Blade bought the wreck and replaced the 55hp four cylinder motor with a new 1.5 litre / 91.5 / cui twin plug, twin overhead cam, 12 valve, six cylinder motor of his own design. The Major fitted the motor with a turbocharger, probably the first to fit such a device to a racing car, but it proved unreliable in testing and so he reverted to using Roots type super charger driven off the crankshaft to produce 95 hp.
Fitted with a new two seater body #1916 the Major raced the car in 1925 only to find the radiator was too small. After it was replaced with a larger one, a second 120 hp motor fitted with a Berk supercharger was also used in the car which was renamed Halford Special. In 1926 the Major drove his Halford Special to 3 victories at Brooklands on the long and short tracks and “podiumed” on at least half a dozen further occasions.
Captain Eyston bought the Halford Special in 1927 and won another race at Brooklands before finishing 4th in the French Grand Prix run at Monthléry. During the 1930’s Viscount Ridley dismantled the Halford Special fitting one of the motors to his Bugatti Type 35 and the other into a speed boat which sank to the bottom of a lake, where it remained for two years.
James Cheyne, seen at the wheel of the Halford Special at Prescott, collected all the pieces and rebuilt the Halford Special in the 1970’s, since when it survived an accident at Silverstone in 2008.
Turbocharging eventually started making an impact on racing, first in the Cummins Diesel Special at Indy, in 1952 and ’53.
Thanks for joining me on this “To Turbocharge of Supercharge” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !