Tag Archives: Ford

A Q Car – 1955 Ford Popular

To say I have found it irksome to discontinue my daily psychoontyres blogs for the last couple of years would be an inderstatement. It has not been for want of encouragement or indeed enthusiasm, I nearly got it going again during lockdown but there were a million other things to sort out while everything went quiet and before I knew it I was off furlough and back at work. I am afraid future posts will be sporadic, if I can get one done every month I’ll count that as a success for now.

So excuses over I have author Mike Allen to thank for an e-mail he sent 18 months ago which has been needling my conscience to extract the proverbial digit and find my log in details to get the show back on the road. Mikes Dad James Neil Allen, known as Neil, bought a Ford Popular in 1955 and here in his own words is a description of the modifications he made to it.

Allen Ford Pop

The Ford Pop was produced from 1953. It was based on the pre-war Anglia but was stripped of every refinement originally on the Anglia, the most important from my point of view was the opening windscreen (In those days it could get VERY foggy). However the original capacity was increased from 933cc to the Prefects 1172cc giving 30bhp, Max speed 60mph. It only weighed 16cwt so didn’t feel underpowered. I bought mine on Sep 2nd 1955 for £395 from Frank Guest of West Bromwich.I drove away with a Ford 8 cylinder head (£2) in the boot. This had a ground surface but the cylinder heads were “as cast” and I spent many evenings recovering the sandy surface.

The Pop had transverse leaf springs front and back and was dangerous to drive especially on cabered profile roads as it had a tendancy to dive into the kerb. I saw an advert in the classifieds section of “Autocar” for a Panhard rod (16/10d). This came as a short rod silent block ends and replacement (longer) shackle pins. It fitted on one side of the leaf spring anchored to a point on the chassis. It therefore allowed the wheel (front steering) to move in an arc up and down but stopped any lateral movement of the steering. To fit it you jacked up the end of the spring to take the weight of the car off the spring so that when the Ford shackle pin was knocked out, the spring didn’t fall on the ground. The supplied longer pin was then inserted and the rod attached. A nut was then tightened to secure the joint. The same procedure at the outer fixed end.

I still remember the effect this simple mod had. You could drive on a cambered road “hands off” without any ill effects. I then bought a set of “Ridemaster” springs for the rear transverse suspension. This was mainly to stabilise the car if you were towing and consisted of two stout coil springs in line with a tensioning thread in the middle.

Unfortunately I was unable to fit it myself as the clip end was a force fit around the end of the leaf spring. Fortunately one of my minor customers ran a bit of a garage on the side. He put my car on a ramp and using a lump hammer drove the clip over the end of the spring. I then tightened the tension until it was just taut with the car at rest. On cornering it added massively to the strength of the leaf spring. I used to chuckle at the rear view mirror at hapless motorists following me through fast bends.

Back to the Ford 8 cylinder head. I didn’t fit this until we moved to Manchester. As purchased the compression ratio was a laughable 6.16 to one. With the 8 head the CR was a super modern (for 1956) 8:1!!

Obviously it was going to ‘pink’ so I bought a spare choke control which the cabling enabled the control to stay put. The engine end of the cable was attached to the side of the distributor which was mounted on a lug on the side of the cylinder head. I fitted a washer here which allowed free rotation of the distributor.

Any sign of pinking and I pulled the knob on the dashboard out slightly until the pinking stopped. This was during petrol rationing and if I stopped out in the sticks for petrol and bought super shell 100 octane I was often offered more than I had coupons for.

Windscreen washing was achieved by fitting a bracket on the dashboard to hold a narrow polythene bottle which you squeezed and hey presto a small jet hit the windscreen!
The wipers worked by the vacuum in the inlet manifold. At a steady 30mph on a flat road they worked perfectly, they slowed and stopped if you accelerated, going up a long hill you had to keep lifting your foot to get a few wipes. Solution a vacuum reservoir which gave you a few more vital seconds.

You have to remember that in the 50s there were specialised shops for car bits and pieces for maintenance or modification. Cars were simpler then. My piece de resistance however was my own invention. Castrol oil was sold in round tins with a conical top and screw top about 1 ½ ins in diameter. I sawed off the top (all the conical bit and a bit of side) I then found some electrical protection tubing of push fit diameter to the screw and which stayed in the shape you curled it.

Next I discovered that brazing wire could be tapped, 16BA. Top 4” of radiator blanked off
except for about 4” at one side with tin plate. Same at engine side of the radiator but at the other side so I was forcing hot air in at the left and out at the right. A radiator has horizontal plates so the ram air (only when car in motion) passed across the full width of the rad and not up or down. The can top was soldered at the opening of the back piece. The length of electric bendy pipe was pushed on and fed through a hole I cut in the lower bulkhead to come into the cab just above the passengers feet. The plates were held in place by VERY carefully feeding the tapped brazing wire through holes in the plates and through the radiator being secured by tiny nuts ! There was no temperature control, the passenger just pushed the tube to one side if things got too hot!

On a trip to Wragby, the racket from the engine suddenly stopped. At 40mph I tentatively switched off the ignition which caused immediate deceleration, so I switched on again and stopped to look. I had shed a fan belt. I fitted another and pressed on. It then dawned on me that the fan was the source of the noise, so I took it off and never replaced it till I sold the car. As long as the water pump was going the water temp never got too hot even when commuting via Oxford St in Manchester.

The tiny headlights (6 volt!!) were useless so I fitted twin “Notek” spotlights, in the process finding out that the painted bumpers were made from spring steel and were undrillable. Fitted a Mangoletsi inlet manifold swirler. A Servais straight through silencer and a short circuit plug which put the circuit breaker to earth as an immobiliser.

Nobody ever kept up with me 0-30 but tyre wear was a problem till I fitted Michelin X to the 450-17” wheels.

My thanks to everyone including the Mike and Neil Allen for your continuing support, looking forward to the next edition of Gettin’ A l’il Psychoontyres, don’t forget to come back now !


Half A Car – Lotus Ford T 87 #87/R2 & #87/R4

For the 1981 World Championship Lotus had developed the twin chassis Lotus 86 which I looked at last week, no sooner had testing of that car been finished than the ruling body of the sport outlawed the skirts on which the car depended to seal the airflow beneath the body of the car and mandated a minimum ride height.

Lotus Ford 87, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

This led to the development of the Lotus 88 which had twin chassis as did the 86 but no skirts and a 6cm minimum ride height as mandated by the new rules. Unfortunately while the governing the body of the sport accepted the Lotus 88 as legal most of the other teams did not declaring that the second outer aerodynamic chassis was a banned movable aerodynamic aid and not a fully suspended chassis.

Lotus Ford 87, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Set against a back ground to these semantic arguments between the grandee teams of Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo going up against the garagistes of Brabham, Lotus, McLaren, Williams et al made of high drama and in this instance almost every body building cars turned against Lotus in denouncing the Lotus 88 which meant that it only ever took part in a couple of practice sessions.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

For the first half of the 1981 season Lotus were therefore forced into running the Lotus 81 from the 1980 season. By the time the Formula one circus arrived in Great Britain Lotus made one final attempt to run the Lotus 88 in practice but were again refused by their fellow competitors and so Lotus ran the 88 sans second aeroydynamic chassis and with more conventional aerodynamic side pods and wings as #87/R2 is seen being driven by Nigel Mansell during practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1981 and #87/R4 is seen with the later front wings at Hall & Hall and in the Paddock at Silverstone during the classic meeting earlier this year.

Lotus 87, Silverstone Classic

The single chassis version of the Lotus 88 is known as the Lotus Type 87. The highlight of the Lotus 87’s half a seasons competition career was a couple of 4th place finishes, for Elio de Angeles in Italy and Nigel Mansell at Ceasers Palace.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Chassis R2 was used by Elio de Angeles in Monaco, Spain and France scoring a best 5th place finish in Spain, Mansell took the car over for the British Grand Prix and failed to qualify. There after this car was used as a spare for the remainder of the 1981 season and the first race of the 1982 season in South Africa.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

So far as I have been able to determine chassis #87/R4 seen in the more recent photo’s was driven by Nigel Mansell in at least four Grand Prix during the second half of the 1981 season. Note that the use of space age Carbon Fiber and Kevlar was becoming widespread by 1981 the following season the majority of Formula One monocoques were made from the material with the exception of Ferrari.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

The absence of any bodywork around the rear suspension and exhaust shows what a rush job it was to get the Lotus 87’s to the grid most of the contemporary cars of the period had the rear axle covered in body panels by 1981 including the 1981 British Grand Prix winning McLaren MP4/1 of John Watson.

My thanks to Rick Hall if Hall & Hall for generously allowing me to take the photos of #87/R4, which is for sale, on his premises.

Thanks for joining me on this “Half A Car” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be relating a Scandinavian Tale about an unusual fire engine. Don’t forget to come back now !


HSCC International Trophy – Silverstone

Now celebrating it’s 50th anniversary the Historic Sports Car Club organised a two day International Trophy meeting at Silverstone last weekend of which I popped along to the second.

Jaguar E-type_7278sc

The first race of the day was led by the #91 Jaguar E-Type shared by Julian Thomas an Calum Lockie for opening 13 laps of the Turnkey GT and Sports Car Cup, but they lost ground on the driver change which happened as the course was under a full course caution that became a red flag after three further laps leaving the #75 AC Cobra 289 shared by Leo Voyazides and Andy Wolfe that had been running in the top six to inherit the win.

Formula Junior_7318sc

Sam Wilson in his #53 Lotus 20/22 led the 2nd Formula Junior race of the weekend from start to finish five cars held second place over the 9 lap race with Andrew Hibberd’s red #79 Lotus 22, seen in fourth above securing the spot with two laps to go, a late charge from James Murray secured third in his Lola.

Michael Lyons, McLaren M26, HSCC International Trophy, Silverstone

James Hunt won the International Championship twice when the British Racing Drivers Club organised the event with Hesketh in 1974 and McLaren in his 1976 championship winning year, last weekend Michael Lyons, seen above, drove a 1977 spec McLaren M26 to an easy victory in International Trophy ahead of Andrew Smith’s Gunston liveried March 79B.

Lola T282, Voyazides-Wolfe, HSCC International Trophy, Silverstone

Leo Voyazides and James Wolfe had to work a little harder, than Micheal, in their 1973 Jean-Louis Lafosse / Reine Wisell Gitanes liveried Lola T282 to get the better of the #19 Simon Watson and Andrew Kirkaldy Chevron B19 and the third place #60 Chevron B26 driven by John Burton in the 50 minute Pre 80 Endurance race.

Historic Formula 3, HSCC International Trophy, Silverstone

After several successful seasons running a Cooper in Formula Junior Jon Milicevic has switched to driving the #14 Brabham BT21B in Formula 3 and looks to continue his winning ways, having passed the Micheal Hibberd’s #25 Brabham on the opening lap he retained the lead to the end to finish ahead of Simon Archer’s #22 March 703 which worked it’s way up from 5th at the end of the opening lap.

Guards Trophy, HSCC International Trophy, Silverstone

George Tizzard’s persistence chasing down, the out of shot, #4 pole sitting Chevron B8 shared by Sandy Watson and Martin O’Connell was rewarded when he took the lead in the HSCC Guards Trophy 2 laps from home driving the #2 Gulf liveried Lenham Spyder.

Ford Falcon, Leo Voyazides, HSCC International Trophy, Silverstone

Leo Voyazides took a fairly easy victory third victory of the day with a solo drive in his Ford Falcon in the HSCC ByBox Historic Touring Car Championship beating the Ford Mustang driven by Warren Biggs by 14 seconds from pole position.

HSCC Historic Formula Ford 2000, HSCC International Trophy, Silverstone

In the final race of the day Ian Pearson won the HSCC Formula 2000 race from pole in his #9 Van Diemen RF83 while Andrew Park had to battle back to second in his white #27 Reynard SF81 after giving the place up to the #87 Reynard SF79 driven by Nelson Rowe and #33 Van Diemen RF82 of Marc Mercer on the opening lap.

Thanks for joining me on this International Trophy edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me for the next Packard edition soon. Don’t forget to come back now !


Torrential Drizzle – Odyssey Battery MSA Rally Cross Pembrey

May 1st dawned overcast as I headed down to Pembrey for the third round of the Odyssey Battery MSA Rally Cross Championship, by the time I got there the drizzle was approaching torrential helping to prepare the track for a full day’s entertainment that was scheduled to include no less than 52 starts.

Ford Fiesta, Kevin Procter, Odyssey Battery, MSA Rally Cross Championship, Pembrey

Ford Fiesta driver Kevin Procter seen taking the inside line above, out fumbled his rivals to win the Supercar class.

Suzuki Swift, Tom Llewellin, Odyssey Battery, MSA Rally Cross Championship, Pembrey

Rally Cross debutante Tom Llewellin is seen leading his rivals in the Junior class for Suzuki Swift 1300’s, after finishing second in his first heat Tom led the final from start to finish.

Peugeot 206, Guy  Corner, Odyssey Battery, MSA Rally Cross Championship, Pembrey

Guy Corner is seen above making a splash, in his Peugeot 206 above, on his way to victory in the Super National Class.

Citroën C2, Phil Chicken, Odyssey Battery, MSA Rally Cross Championship, Pembrey

The Super 1600 class was won by Phil Chicken in his #62 Citroën C2 beating the #72 Suzuki Swift driven by Tristan Ovenden.

Citroën Saxo, Graham Rumsey, Odyssey Battery, MSA Rally Cross Championship, Pembrey

Graham Rumsey saw off four Polish challengers to win the Hot Hatch class in his #45 Citroën Saxo beating 2nd place finisher Tomasz Wielgosz in his #1 Peugeot 106 and 3rd place finisher Robert Potyra in his #18 Saxo.

BMW Mini Cooper S, Keifer Hudson, Odyssey Battery, MSA Rally Cross Championship, Pembrey

After getting liberally caked in mud by his fellow competitors in the 1st qualifier for the BMW Mini class Kiefer Hudson seen above, jet washed his #53 Mini down and came back to win the final.

Swift Sport Championship, Odyssey Battery, MSA Rally Cross Championship, Pembrey

The Swift Sport Class final had not one, but four starts after first Aiden Hills rolled his car, then Jeff Hankin followed suit on the second attempt, on the third attempt Bradley Durdin backed into the barriers and finally Nathan Heathcote completed 3 laps in his #55 Swift ahead of Chris Woollett in the #7.

RX 150, Chrissy Palmer, Odyssey Battery, MSA Rally Cross Championship, Pembrey

Chrissy Palmer held off two generations of Llewellin in the Honda Fireblade powered Rage RX150 final beating the younger Ben in the green #7 above and Dad double British Rally Champion David who put on a notably spectacular display in his white example.

Porsche 911, Barry Stewart, Odyssey Battery, MSA Rally Cross Championship, Pembrey

Regular readers might remember the last time I saw Barry Stewart’s spectacular Porsche 911 was at the Brighton Speed Trails a couple of years ago, above Barry is seen leading the field on his way to a win in the Retro class ahead of the Metro 6R4 driven by Rob Gibson and Rear Wheel Drive Ford Escort Mk III driven by Ray Morgan.

Thanks for joining me on this “Torrential Drizzle” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be looking at another Packard. Don’t forget to come back now !


Moorland’s Successor – Gemini Mk 2

As we saw a couple of weeks ago after the withdrawal of their backers the Moorland Formula Junior project, designed by Len Terry and built by Leslie Redmond, was taken on by Graham Warner of The Checkered Flag.

Len Terry moved on to designing the Terrier Formula Junior car, which would lead him into conflict with one of his other employers Colin Chapman at Lotus.

Gemini Mk II, Graham Barron, Castle Combe,

Leslie Redmond remained as Chief Engineer for Graham Warner who financed the building of a production version of the Moorland, naming it Gemini Mk2 after Gemini House on Edgware Road, where one of his businesses was based.

Thirty Gemini Mk 2’s are believed to have been built all but four being BMC powered with remainder fitted with Ford engines.

Gemini Mk II, Graham Barron, Castle Combe,

Graham Warner is shown as having been entered in a Ford powered Gemini Mk2 at Brands Hatch in October 1959, but he did not attend.

At the John Davy Trophy on the 26th of December, also at Brands Hatch, Graham was entered in a BMC powered Gemini Mk2 but again did not appear.

Gemini Mk II, Graham Barron, Castle Combe,

Jim Clark did however drive a works Ford powered entry in the John Davy Trophy to an 8th place on the models debut with the private Ford powered entry driven by Geoff Williamson failing to finish the same race after a spin.

Graham finally got to the grid in a BMC powered Gemini Mk II in March 1960 at Snetterton where he finished 3rd behind to DKW 2 stroke powered Elva 100’s and the following month Graham recorded his marques first win at Brands Hatch in a Ford powered Gemini Mk 2 this time leading two DKW powered Elva’s home.

Graham Barron is seen at the wheel of today’s featured Gemini Mk II at Castle Combe.

My thanks to Richard Bishop – Miller for filling in some of the gaps in my Moorland / Gemini knowledge with some comments he left on facebook.

Thanks for joining me on this “Moorland’s Successor” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at the last in the present series of Healey’s. Don’t forget to come back now !


Worplesdon Racer – Condor S11

1959 Le Mans 2 litre Class winner Ted Whiteaway teamed up with Michael Thorburn and Bert Barrett both formerly with Connaught to build a Formula Junior car under the Condor Motor Car Company of Worplesdon, Surrey, name operating from The Grosvenor Garage, Worplesdon Road, Guildford in 1960.

Condor, Oulton Park

The Condor was designed by draughtsman Dick Basher who fitted a modified Triumph engine to the prototype, though later examples were powered by Ford and BMC motors.

Condor SII, Keith Roach, Oulton Park,

While the incomplete records available to me show Ted Whiteaway entered for several events, in a Triumph powered Condor, he did not attend, the earliest start I can find for a Condor was in the 22nd British Empire Race at Silverstone on the 1st of October 1960 from which Mike Thorburn retired in his Ford powered Condor.

Condor SII, Keith Roach, Oulton Park,

At the time of writing I am not sure how many production Condor’s were built, but there appears to be at least one other example currently extent in the United States.

Keith Roach is seen in these photographs at the wheel of his 1960 Condor S11 at Caslte Combe and Oulton Park respectively.

Thanks for joining me on this “Worplesdon Racer” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Healey. Don’t forget to come back now !


Coffee, Croissant & Cars 04/16 – Avenue Drivers Club

Finally managed to pop along to another Avenue Drivers Club meeting at Queen Square in Bristol on Sunday, here is a selection of the cars looking for somewhere to park at around 8 am !

Mercedes Benz E280 Auto, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Above a smart low riding 1993 Mercedes Benz E280.

Trabant 601, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Not sure of the age of this low riding Trabant 601, but it looks in way better than new condition.

Rambler American, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Swinging in from 1966 a Rambler American.

Italia 2000, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Only 329 Italia 2000 GT’s were ever built and this 1962 example is only the third I have ever seen.

Ford Popular 327 Chevy, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

I believe Merv Barnett’s 327 Chevrolet V8 powered 1954 Ford Popular Gasser, known as Psychedelic Relic, is usually to be found on the 1/4 mile strips at Santa Pod and Shakespeare County Raceway rather than the cobbled streets of Queen Square, Bristol.

Volkswagen Golf E, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Finally it was great to see some one else in a 2000 Volkswagen Golf Mk IV Estate, this 1,400 cc E example appearing to have bodywork and hubcaps in considerably better condition than my own.

Thanks for joining me on this “Coffee, Croissant & Cars 04/16” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Packard. Don’t forget to come back now !