Tag Archives: Eyston

To Turbocharge Or Supercharge – Halford Special / Aston Martin #1916

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.

Cheyne, Halford Special, VSCC, Prescott

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.

Cheyne, Halford Special, VSCC, Prescott

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.

Cheyne, Halford Special, VSCC, Prescott

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.

Cheyne, Halford Special, VSCC, Prescott

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 !


Race Winning Body – MG K3 #K3001/K3003

In October 1932 MG launched the K-Type Magnette at the London Motor Show, featuring a 48″ track and either a 94″ or 108″ wheel base the chassis was powered by a 6 cylinder 39 hp 1087cc / 66 cui motor with a cross flow cylinder head that originated from the 1930 Wolseley Hornet.The K1 Magnet was fitted with a saloon body on the 109″ wheel base and in all 181 were manufactured up to 1934 in KA, KB and lastly KD specifications which reflected a series of motor upgrades during the production run.

In 1933 the K2 a two seater on the 94″ chassis was launched, 16 were built with KB spec motors and 4 more with KD motors and pre selector gear boxes.

MG K3 K3001, Prescott

The princely sum of £795 could secure a supercharged K3 racing variant, as seen driven above at Prescott by Brandon Smith – Hillard, at first, as above, fitted with Powerplus superchargers just below the radiator and later with Marshall units. Fitted with pre selector gearboxes three K3’s including #K3001 above were entered into the 1933 where George Eyston and Giovanni Lurani driving chassis #K3003 came in 21st behind Tazio Nuvolari in an ALFA Romeo but took a class victory with Earl Howe and Hugh Hamilton coming in 22nd overall and 2nd in class in #K3001.

Subsequently #K3001 was raced at Brooklands, shared for the Shelsley Walsh by Land Speed Record holder and Mille Miglia class winner George Eyston with MM team mate Giovanni Lurani, raced throughout Europe by Bobby Kolrusche in 1934.

The Mille Miglia chassis #K3003 meantime had been given to the great Tazio Nuvolari to drive in the 1933 Ulster TT which he promptly won outright beating two 8 cylinder ALFA Romeo’s running in the 3 liter 183 cui class.

At some point after 1934 and before the commencement of the 2nd World War the body from the Mille Miglia and Tourist Trophy winning #K3003 replaced that on #K3001 which is how #K3001 appears in the photo above one of just 33 K3’s to have been built from 1933 to 1934.

My thanks to Ed of the Wessex MG Club Newsletter for details about this chassis.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Race Winning Body’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow, don’t forget to come back now !