Tag Archives: Frank

Out Of Hours Melissa – Saleen S7-R #610

Launched in 2000 the carbon fibre Saleen S7 was the brainchild of Steve Saleen designed by Phil Frank with a chassis engineered by Ray Mallock Limited and financed by Hidden Creek Industries.

The car was powered by a 427cui / 7 litre all aluminium derivative of Ford’s 351 Windsor block that produced 550hp in normally aspirated form or 750hp post 2005 twin turbocharged form.

Alongside the production cars 21 S7-R race chassis were manufactured between 2000 and 2009 and initially completed by Ray Mallock Limited in the UK and later by ORECA in France, seven of these chassis were given vehicle identification numbers (VIN), but never completed as race cars.

Saleen S7-R, Sébastien Dumez, Roland Bervillé, Laurent Groppi, Silverstone 1000 Kms,

S7-Rs were raced by teams including; Ray Mallock Limited (RML) 2001 European Le Mans Champions (ELMS), Saleen-Allen Speedlab 18th Le Mans 2006, Fordahl Motorsports, Konrad Motorsport, Park Place Racing, Graham Nash Motorsport 2002 British and Spanish GT Champions, Dominique Dupuy’s DDO team, Vitaphone Racing, ACEMCO Motorsports 11th Le Mans in 2006, ORECA 2006 FFSA GT Champions, Zakspeed, Balfe Racing, Racing Box, and Larbre Compétition who won the GT1 class at Le Mans in 2010 with today’s featured chassis #610.

Due to a funding shortage fabrication of chassis #610 was carried out by Saleens engineering team at Irvine, CA as an out of hours project and named Melissa after one of the girl friend of one of the Saleen engineers working on the project in 2006/7.

Chassis #610 was then built up into a complete race car by ORECA at their base in Magny-Cours, France and delivered to Labre Competition for the 2009 season.

Saleen S7-R, Sébastien Dumez, Roland Bervillé, Laurent Groppi, Silverstone 1000 Kms,

Sébastien Dumez, Roland Bervillé and Steve Zacchia debuted the car in the 2009 Catalunya 1000 Kilometres where it finished 22nd from 26th on the grid, for the Algarve 1000 Kilometres Sébastian and Roland were joined by Stéphane Lémeret and they finished 23rd from 22nd on the grid.

For the ADAC 1000KM-Rennen at the Nürburgring Roland and Sébastian were joined by Laurent Groppi where they finished 1st in GT1, 23rd overall from 21st on the grid, at the Silverstone where today’s photographs were taken, the same trio finished 21st from 20th on the grid.

At the 2009 season ending Okayama 1000 Kilometres Roland was rejoined by Stéphane Lémeret and with Dutchman Carlo van Dam they retired from Heat One and finished 10th in heat two.

Saleen S7-R, Sébastien Dumez, Roland Bervillé, Laurent Groppi, Silverstone 1000 Kms,

Gabriele Gardel, Patrice Goueslard and Julien Canal drove #610 at the 2010 season opening Le Mans Series Test at Paul Ricard finishing with 32nd fastest time a month later the same trio finished the 8 Heures du Castellet at the same venue 24th from 26th on the grid.

At the 1000 Km de Spa Francorchamps Gabriele and Patrice were joined by Brazilian Fernando Rees and together they finished 31st from 46th on the grid before the car was sent to Le Mans.

For the French classic Julien Canal was back in the third seat and from 46th on the grid they finished 1st in GT1 and 13th overall, Fernando then replaced Julian for the 2010 Algarve, Hungaroring and Silverstone 1000 km races and the car was driven to 3 more straight GT1 class victories.

Laurent Groppi was then joined in #610 for it’s final known appearance by Pedro Lamy and Patrick Bornhauser for the 1000kms race run at Zuhai in the Peoples Republic of China and Melissa rounded out her career with a 5th straight GT1 class victory from 12th on the grid she finished 18th overall.

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


Twelve Hundred Horsepower – Shadow Chevrolet DN2 #DN2-2A

Despite the loss of it’s sponsor Johnson’s Wax, the number of events being cut back to eight, down from eleven in 1970 and the number of entrants falling to an all time low, just 15 at Edmonton, the 1973 Can Am Challenge was still a huge draw for spectators who wanted to see the worlds hitherto most powerful racing cars competing on road courses. According to contemporary reports attendances at all of the races in the 1973 Can Am Challenge were up.

Shadow Chevrolet DN2,  Rosso Bianco Collection,

Only two teams prepared new cars for the 1973 one of them was Shadow who built two DN2’s designed by Tony Southgate, one of those cars ran a regular 730 hp 8.1 litre / 494 cui Chevrolet V8, while the second car, featured today ran with a turbocharged version of the motor.

Shadow Chevrolet DN2,  Rosso Bianco Collection,

Both DN2’s were completed too late to undergo any testing prior to the start of the season and so presented little challenge to the teutonically prepared Porsche 917/30 driven by Mark Donohue for the Penske team. Jackie Oliver retired the normally aspirated DN2-1A from the opening two rounds of the 1973 Can Am Challenge run at Mosport and Road Atlanta with gearbox and suspension failures respectively.

Shadow Chevrolet DN2,  Rosso Bianco Collection,

Shadow team owner Don Nichols was entered to debut today’s featured car, seen at the Rosso Bianco Collection by Frank ‘Duc-man’ Christmann in Germany several years ago, at Watkins Glen in July 1973 but the car did not show. When #DN2-2A did show up at the next round at Mid-Ohio it was kept as a spare. Jackie Oliver scored a 3rd in the final at Mid Ohio which translated to a final 8th place overall having finished 12th in the heat.

Shadow Chevrolet DN2,  Rosso Bianco Collection,

James Hunt took over the normally aspirated DN2 at Road America while Jackie Oliver tried the turbocharged DN2-2A, they qualified 14th and 21st respectively. James did not start thanks to recalcitrant fuel metering unit while Jackie who had not set a time in qualifying lasted just 3 laps before the 1200 hp motor failed.

Shadow Chevrolet DN2,  Rosso Bianco Collection,

At Edmonton the Shadow team ran just DN2-1A and Jackie recorded a third place finish from seventh on the grid, driving the same car at Laguna Seca Jackie went one better finishing second from 5th on the grid, while Vic Elford tried the turbo charged DN2-2A which he qualified 18th but retired with brake failure after completing 22 of the 66 scheduled laps.

Shadow Chevrolet DN2,  Rosso Bianco Collection,

At the season ending race run at Riverside Jackie qualified 9th in DN2-1A, while Vic was 14th on the grid, however neither car lasted more than a handful of laps, Jackie retired with bodywork damage on lap three while Vic retired with a broken throttle linkage after the opening lap.

Shadow Chevrolet DN2,  Rosso Bianco Collection,

The Shadow DN2’s, which bear a passing resemblance to the 1972 Lola T310, were not seen again in period. It should be noted George Follmer never raced a Shadow DN2 although he did join the Shadow team for the Can Am Challenge in 1974, it remains a mystery as to why George’s name should appear on the side of the car.

I hope you will join me in thanking Frank “Duc-man” Christmann for sharing today’s photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Twelve Hundred Horsepower” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I shall be visiting Quail Councours d’Elegance for Ferrari Friday. Don’t forget to come back now !


Towing and Competing – Kayne Special III

A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to meet MG Special Builder and Frogeye restorer Colin Cooper. Today I am looking at his third, and final, Kayne Special III.

Kayne Special III & Kayne Special II, Oulton Park

Colin originally conceived the Kayne Special III as a towing car for his Kayne Special II as seen above at Oulton Park in 1983 and his Killeen K1 which I’ll be looking at next Tuesday.

Kayne Special III, Baitings Dam

Photo Copyright Frank Hall 1984.

However since he was taking part in events which allowed a driver multiple entries he decided to see what the Kayne Special III could do. Colin is seen above at Baitings Dam in 1984.

Kayne Special III, Castle Combe

Kayne Special III was designed from scratch to Colin’s own design between 1981 and 1983.The green radiator cowl seen on the Kayne Special III above at Castle Combe like the more substantial safety cage was fitted after Colin sold the car.

Kayne Special III, Castle Combe

Colin cut all of the square section tube chassis members with a hacksaw, no short cuts were taken with angle grinders, tacked all the members together and then had the chassis frame mig welded by a friend.

Kayne Special III, Castle Combe

The 3.5 litre / 215 cui V8 motor came from a Rover SD1 complete with an automatic transmission which was attached to a rear axle sourced from an MG B. Note the steering column needs two universal joints to avoid fouling on the right hand bank of cylinders, this feature resulted in the Kayne Special III being unsuitable for anybody to drive with shoes size 7 1/2 or larger.

Kayne Special III, Castle Combe

Running on 14″ MG B wire wheels at the front and 15″ MG C rear wheels at the rear and with a 0-100 mph capability in the region of 15 secs Colin could tease motorcyclists with his beautifully finished Kayne Special III.

Kayne Special III, Castle Combe

With the automatic transmission Colin could drive the car to within 1 second of the times he achieved with the Kayne Special II. By 1984 Colin had fitted a manual transmission.

Kayne Special III,

Colin sold the Kayne Special III when he retired from competition in 1985 for £2,700. The present owners and drivers of the car are John and Jonathon Biggs.

My thanks to Colin Cooper for sharing his memories and providing his photographs and to Chris Winstanley for allowing me to use Frank Halls photograph.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Towing and Competing’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


MGCC Speed Champion – Kayne Special II

After selling the original MG J2 with a PB motor Kayne Special, which I looked at last week Colin Cooper started work on Kayne Special II.

Kayne Special II, Oulton Park, Copyright Frank Hall 1981 C213/9

Photo Copyright Frank Hall 1981

Colin began with a scrap 1965 MG B found in Cheshire from which he cut out the engine sub frame and added a pair of chassis rails around which he built up the rest of the car with an under slung rear axle featuring a limited slip differential. Kayne Special II ran on specially made bespoke wire wheels.

Kayne Special II, Baitings Dam, Copyright Frank Hall 1983

Photo Copyright Frank Hall 1983

The motor was a 4 cylinder MG B unit which was eventually fitted with an HRG Cross Flow cylinder heads and twin 45 Weber Carbs. Colin notes this car, his favorite, was always totally reliable.

Kayne Special II, Colin Cooper

Among many successes were winning the 1981 MG Car Club (MGCC) Speed Championship, 1981 Ellison Trophy at Oulton Park, see Frank Halls top photo, the 1979 Kimber Trophy, 2nd 1983 Kimber Trophy at Baitings Dam, see Frank Halls second photo, named after MG founder Cecil Kimber, and several awards for fastest MG in Sprint and Hill Climb events.

Kayne Special II & III

Colin said of Kayne Special II it was “a bit of a shed but it didn’t half go, (it was) timed at 115 mph at Blackpool Sprint.”

The car was eventually sold to a sprinting novice and is thought to have been eventually broken up with many of it’s parts going into a road going MG B.

Colin’s third special, Kayne Special III, seen towing Kayne Special II in the photo above will be the subject of next Tuesdays blog.

My thanks to Colin for sharing his memories and photographs and to Tony Gallagher for putting me in touch with Chris Winstanley who kindly gave me permission to use Frank Hall’s photographs of Colin in action at Oulton Park and Baitings Dam.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘MGCC Speed Champion’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

24 04 12 Added Frank Halls photo’s from Oulton Park and Baitings Dam.


Indy Winning Roadster Heritage – Kurtis 500 S

Frank Kuretich was born in the Crested Butte a Colorado mining village to Croation immigrants in 1908. At six Frank started helping in his Dads blacksmith shop, in Sunnyside Utah, fixing horse shoes and wagons and automobiles as they began to populate the neighbourhood.

The economic instability of the times saw Franks family move to California where his Dad took a job with Don Lee Coach & Body Works in 1922. Standing over 6 feet tall at 14 years old Frank claimed to be 18 years old and landed a job as a helper to his father customising cars for Hollywood stars where his and his fathers names were anglicised to Kurtis by the personnel dept.

Kurtis 500S, Silverstone Classic

While at Don Lee’s Frank started an apprenticeship at seventeen and such was his skill that he swiftly rose to become manager working in the shop for a short time with designer Harley Earl before the latter left for General Motors in 1927. After work hours Frank engaged in building numerous hot rods and special and eventually started working on midget racers with Don Lee’s son Tommy building the bodies.

In 1937 Frank went to work for the Hollywood Trailer company where he learned to how the work tubing to build vehicle frames and by 1938 Frank had set up his own shop to build “virtually unbeatable” midgets of which he would build over 1000 supplied either complete or as kits.

Kurtis 500S, Silverstone Classic

During the 1950’s Frank also built 120 champ cars for the Indy 500, building 5 winners. During this time Frank also built several road cars selling the design for on which became the Muntz Jet. The 500S, as seen in todays photographs at last years Silverstone Classic, along with the fully enclosed body 500KK and 500M models are all based on the 1953 Roadster Frame and suspension as used by Bill Vukovich to win the Indianapolis 500 that year.

Kurtis 500S, Silverstone Classic

The 500S could accommodate any motor and transmission available between 1953 and 1955 when it was manufactured. Bill Strope appears to have been one of the more successful exponents on the track with his Mercury powered 500S. Of the 20 – 20 500S known to have been built 14 are known to exist during the 1980’s a further 24 continuation models were built with the approval of Frank Kurtis son Ahren.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘indy Winning Roadster Heritage’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psych on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


You can’t go wrong with a Bristol under the bonnet #2 – Lotus X

The Lotus X was a variant of the Lotus marks VIII and IX, built in 1955 to accommodate a larger engine than its siblings.

Lotus X - Silverstone Classic

Using essentially a strengthened chassis the Lotus X carried a 6 cylinder 2 litre /122 cui Bristol engine as used by Lotus competitors Cooper and Lister.

Only 6 or 7 Lotus Mk X’s are thought to have been built and some of them raced with Turner or Coventry Climax motors instead of the Bristol as used by Team Lotus.

The Lotus X was driven to victories in both Europe and the United States. This particular Bristol engined example is seen at the recent Silverstone Classic with Nick Adams at the wheel. Nick and Co Driver Adrian Hall drove this car to three straight victories in 2008 and were awarded the Woodcote Cup.

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


Designed By An Accountant #2 – Lotus Elite

After he had finished with his Lotus VI PGP182 complete with a body of his own design Peter Kirwan Taylor purchased one of the last Doretti sports cars and ‘took the back off’ and turned it into a Coupé too meet his needs.

Lotus Elite, Castle Combe

A couple of years later he was talking to Peter Lumsden and Paul Fletcher who planned on compete at Le Mans in 1956 with a Lotus XI and he suggested that they might fair better with a Coupé body. Peter K-T put the idea to Colin Chapman who responded that they would be better starting with a fresh design from scratch with the idea of designing of designing a car that would be competitive on the race track and be a viable proposition for ‘driving to the office’.

Lotus Elite, Castle Combe

As on his special bodied Lotus VI Peter again opted for designing a car with a high waist line but now with an integral roof influenced by the design of his Doretti Coupé, the design was finalised in collaboration with Frank Costin, who not only had developed a special bodied Lotus Mark VIII but was also an aerodynamicist at the aircraft manufacturer de Havilland where Peter coincidentally was also working in his day time capacity as an accountant.

Lotus Elite, Castle Combe

The uncluttered design has a drag coefficient of just 0.29 that compares favourably with vehicles being designed and manufactured today. The Elite, as the new Mark 14 became known, features a glass fibre monocoque with a steel sub frame to carry the engine and front suspension. Power came from a 75 hp Coventry Climax four cylinder engine which was inclined to lower the bonnet / hood line.

Lotus Elite, Castle Combe

On the track the Elite was a huge success with six class wins scored at Le Mans, two of them including winning the Index of Thermal Efficiency, former ESPN commentator David Hobbs fitted his with a special 4 speed automatic gearbox took 15 wins from 18 starts during 1961 and ’62 and in the Antipodes Leo Geoghegan won the 1960 Australian GT championship also driving an Elite.

Lotus Elite, Castle Combe

This particular well known example, seen here at Castle Combe, was first registered in 1962 and now belongs to a fellow member of the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club who restored it after it had been lying in bits for 20 years.

Thanks for joining me on this second accountants edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an award winning orange movie star. Don’t forget to come back now !