Tag Archives: Goodwood Festival of Speed

Hot & Dry – Maserati Ghibli

The Lybian term for the hot and dry wind known in Greek as Scirocco is Ghibli.

Maserati Ghibli, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Maserati first used the Ghibli name for their 1967 AM115 2 + 2 grand tourer styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro while he was working for the Ghia styling house in 1966.

Maserati Ghibli, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The Ghibli’s steel body was powered by a 310 hp 4 cam V8 which gave the car a rest to 60 mph acceleration time of 6.8 seconds and top speed of 155 mph.

Maserati Ghibli, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

To help cope with the prodigious fuel consumption the Ghibli is fitted with 2 50 litre / 11 imperial gallon / 13.2 US gallon fuel tanks.

Maserati Ghibli, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

With leather sports seats and standard alloy wheels, the rear seats consist of nothing more than a cushion without a back rest, the original 1966 prototype was only equipped as a strict two seater.

Thanks for joining me on this “Hot & Dry” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again far an aircraft powered veteran tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Mix’n’Match Electric Blue – Plymouth Belvedere

There are few legends in all of motor racing that are quite so enduring as that of the Petty Family, it’s not quite exclusive use of Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler products with an electric blue paint scheme.

Plymouth Belvedere, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

Tea total brothers Lee and Julien Petty used to take time out from their haulage business and enjoy giving the local North Carolina moonshine runners a good whupping in illegal races for large bets with a 1937 Plymouth they built that was possibly powered by an in line 8 cylinder Chrysler motor.

Plymouth Belvedere, Richard Petty, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

After the ’39-’45 war Lee embraced and supported Bill Frances efforts to established a stock car series that was more formally organised and ended up winning NASCAR 3 Championships driving his own Petty Enterprises Chrysler, Dodge, Oldsmobile and Plymouth cars, which usually carried the #42, but occasionally carried the #43.

Plymouth Belvedere, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

Late in Lee Petty’s third and final 1959 championship winning season Lee’s sons Maurice and Richard Petty found they had neither enough traditional Petty white nor dark blue paint to completely cover a Plymouth that was in need of paint, not wishing to waste either pot they mixed the two together which combined to make the ‘electric’ blue that has since been patented as the same ‘Petty Blue’ seen on today’s featured ’67 Belvedere.

Plymouth Belvedere, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

In 1961 an accident at Daytona effectively ended Lee Petty’s career, but by then his youngest son Richard had just completed his first full season behind the wheel finishing an impressive second to 1960 champion Rex White with the first 3 of an eventual unbeaten career total of 200 race wins.

Plymouth Belvedere, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

In 1964 Richard by now running almost exclusively in the #43 won his first of an unbeaten career total of seven Championships starting 61 races, winning 9 of them and scoring 28 further top 5 finishes driving 426 cui Hemi powered Plymouths.

Plymouth Belvedere, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

1967 was perhaps Richards career defining season, the Hemi had been restricted to 405 cui for the 1966 season after being banned completely in 1965 as were overhead cam NASCAR projects intended for 1966 from Ford and Chrysler.

Plymouth Belvedere, Richard Petty, Goodwood Festival Of Speed,

The 1967 Belvedere had not proved quite as fast as the ’66 model which Richard had used to win seven races and claim third in the 1966 championship so Maurice reskinned the 1966 winning car with a ’67 body that allowed Richard to win the 1967 championship with a career high 27 wins in a single season backed up with 11 further top fives that included an unbroken record of 10 straight wins.

Richard is seen driving his ’67 Belvedere wearing the same period correct cowboy boots as he would have worn back in the day on account of ‘they didn’t have anything else back then’.

Thanks for joining me on this “Mix’n’Match Electric Blue” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Plan B – Connaught Type-B #B9

While Raymond May’s was busy pumping the British motor industry for patriotic cash to lubricate the wheels of the newly formed British Racing Motor’s, to ex RAF pilots Rodney Clarke and Mike Oliver, backed by Kenneth McAlpine went about there motor racing in a far more pragmatic understated way.

Setting up behind the Continental Autos Garage in Send, Guildford, Surrey, Connaught, notice the pun, Engineering was founded by Rodney and Mike to build a 2 litre / 122 cui sports car around proprietary Lea Francis chassis and motors for Kenneth and Rodney to race in 1949.

The immediate success of the L2 in Rodney and Kenneth’s hands led the team to try their hand at building an open wheel Type A for Formula 2 using their own development of the Lea Francis motor for the 1950 season.

By 1952 a series of Formula 2 races counted towards the world championship and Dennis Poore finished 4th in the British Grand Prix the teams highest finish in the 1952 season limited to 3 outings in Britain, the Netherlands and Italy.

More sporadic World Championship appearances in 1953 which included private Connaught entries from Ecurie Ecosse, and Ecurie Belge did not bring any further success nor did the final appearance of five 2 litre formula two Type-A’s in the 1954 British Grand Prix run to the new Formula One 2 1/2 litre formula.

Rodney and Mike had hoped to use the Coventry Climax Godiva V8 for their Type-B formula one car in 1954 but when that got cancelled they came up with a plan B to develop a 2.5 litre / 152 cui version of the 2 litre / 122 cui Alta Forumla 2 engine against which they had been competing since 1950.

The Type-B made it’s only 1955 World Championionship appearance at the British Grand Prix where four works cars appeared alongside the private entry for Leslie Marr, they all retired except Jack Fairman’s entry which did not start.

Connaught B-Type, Tony Brooks, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

At the end of the 1955 season there was a non championship event run at Syracuse in Sicily, with the withdrawal of the works Mercedes team in the aftermath of the 1955 Le Mans crash the organisers called up Mike Oliver at Connaught to see if he could be tempted with an offer of £1,000 per car start money to bring two cars to race against the five works Maserati’s on the entry list.

Short of funds this was an offer not to be missed and after briefly testing a stream lined car which was to be entered for Les Leston and open wheeler chassis #B1 entered for debutant Tony Brooks the cars were packed into the back of a pair of converted 1939 AEC 10T10 Regal Greenline buses and sent on their 2,000 mile journey to Sicily.

On the Monday before the race Mike flew his car to Le Toquet in France to find a message informing him that the two transporter had been impounded because their documents were not in order.

Having sorted out the paper work the Connaught convoy set off for Sciliy with the buses being driven non stop in 12 hour shifts by the two pairs of mechanics. By the time they got to the Calabrian mountains the fun really started, the buses needed to reverse back and forth to make it round the hairpins which slowed progress down to 11 mph and one of the buses needed to have it’s brakes relined.

Meantime Tony Brooks, who’s 42 race CV was topped by just three non championship starts in a Formula 2 Connaught Type-A and one start for Aston Martin at Le Mans, took timeout from his dental studies in Manchester and flew down to Syracuse.

With no team in sight he and team mate Les Leston hired a pair of Vespa motor scooters and set about learning the track, in so doing Tony acquired a sore between his throttle hand thumb and index finger.

Both transporters eventually arrived in time for practice on the Saturday before the race and with out any sleep the mechanics set about preparing the cars.

Tony Brooks WB Tribute, Brooklands,

Tony had not so much as sat in his open wheel Type-B before the event and the teams priority in order to at least recoup their travel expenses was to start the race so practice laps were limited.

It came as a great surprise to find that Tony easily qualified a competitive third and would start alongside the leading Maserati’s of Luigi Musso and Luigi Villoresi with Les Leston not far behind.

The 243 mile race was run over 70 laps where Tony observed that “there was none of this business of using a foot of grass, as on an English airfield circuit, then bobbing back’, and reliability would be a major issue, in their favour the tight track suited Connaught’s handling which was at a premium over the outright power advantage of the Maserati’s.

The Maserati’s of Musso and Villoresi and Harry Schell led the three opening laps but on Lap 4 Tony passed Harry and then passed Villoressi with 10 laps completed.

Tony then went into a terrific dice with Luigi Musso who was working hard in his drum braked Maserati to keep the disc braked Connaught of Brooks at bay after swapping the lead several times and raising the average lap record speed from 99 mph to 102 mph Tony was able to ease away to a 50 second lead without putting any unnecessary stress on his car.

The Grand Prix win was the first for an English driver in an English built car since 1924 when Sir Henry Seagrave won the San Sebastian Grand Prix driving a Sunbeam.

After the race while tightening a handkerchief around his hand, injured by the Vespa, with his teeth Tony lost an expensive dental bridge piece from his mouth in the crowd as he prepared to go back to the hotel upon the motor scooter.

He fitted a spare he carried that night for the celebrations but since it was not very secure he restricted his conversation which the Scilians interpreted as another example of the famous British stiff upper lip.

Tony went on to contend for the 1959 World Title with Ferrari, but ended up finishing second to Jack Brabham driving a Cooper, and retired from Formula One in after finishing third in the 1961 US Grand Prix driving for BRM with 6 career championship victories.

Connaught went into steady decline after Ron Flockhart scored the manufactuers best championship finish of 3rd in the 1956 Italian Grand Prix, by the end of 1957 Connaught was auctioned off piece meal and Rodney and Mike returned to running Continental Autos.

Bernie Ecclestone bought two cars which he ran for in 1958 at Monaco and the British GP without success, until the death of his lead driver Stuart Lewis – Evans died from burns received after crashing his Vanwall in the 1958 Morrocan Grand Prix.

The last person to race a Connaught in a World Championship event was Bob “father of Boris” Said who started 13th but pushed his car into the pits after an accident on the opening lap of the 1959 US Grand Prix.

Tony is seen in today’s photographs wearing the blue shirt being interviewed during the the William Boddy Tribute at Brooklands and at the wheel of chassis #B9 at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

#B9 was built up from an unnumbered spare with original Connaught parts by by long-time Connaught specialist Spencer Longland, the original #B1 which Tony drove in Syracuse belongs to Bernie Ecclestone having been damaged in a fire at Syracuse in 1957 and been repaired many years later.

My thanks to Tim Murray, Alan Cox and Peter Morley at The Nostalgia Forum for answering my questions.

Thanks for joining me on this “Plan B” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now.


The Man In Green – Maserati 5000GT Allemano #103.036

In 1958 the Shah of Iran was impressed with a test drive in a Maserati 3500GT Coupé and upon learning of some 450S race cars, made obsolete by the change in sports car regulations to a maximum engine 3 litre / 183 cui engine capacity, loitering in the Maserati factory asked for one of the new Coupé’s to be fitted with an obsolete 4.5 litre race car engine.

Maserati 5000GT, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Maserati were happy to oblige this royal request which got the limited production of the 5000GT Tipo 103 under way. After the Shah’s car was completed in 1959 with Carrozeria Touring bodywork a second car was built with similar bodywork and a motor sourced out of a race car and taken to the 1959 Turin Show where it was sold to South African millionaire Basil Read, owner of the Kyalami race track.

Maserati 5000GT, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Before being sold journalist Hans Tanner was taken for a test drive with Maserati’s test driver Gurrino Bertocchi in the second car and reported that after easily taking a sweeping bend on an autostrada at 158mph the car hit 172mph, not bad for a road car in 2014, absolutely sensational for a road car in 1959 !

Maserati 5000GT, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The 5000GT available only with 4 or 5 speed manual gearbox sold for twice as much as a regular 3500GT.

Maserati 5000GT, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Today’s featured car chassis #103.036, was built in 1962 with one of the 22, most common for the type, Allemano bodies styled by Giovanni Michelotti.

Maserati 5000GT, Goodwood Festival of Speed

#103.036 was originally painted green and supplied to Stuttgart based Maserati dealers Merz & Pabst in 1962, not 1959 as indicated by the display board at Goodwood Festival of Speed where these photo’s were taken.

Maserati 5000GT, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Merz and Pabst sold the car to an interesting chap born James Lablache Stewart who took his mothers maiden name when he took up acting to become Stewart Granger.

Maserati 5000GT, Goodwood Festival of Speed

After making films including A Southern Maid (1933) and The Man in Grey (1943) in the UK Stewart moved to the States to make films including The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) and North to Alaska (1960) before returning to Europe to make numerous of continental productions that included films a trilogy of westerns based on stories by the German author Karl May.

During this time in Europe spanning the 1960’s Granger, who famously declared himself not to be an an actor’s actor, once said he earned and lost US$ 1.5 million.

My thanks to 3500GT and alfieri107 of tipo107.com who kindly responded to my request for details about today’s featured car on the Ferrari Chat forum.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Man In Green” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Amilcar racer. Don’t forget to come back now !


SUV Powered Prototype – Riley Mk XI #018

In 2003 the Grand American Road Racing Association replaced it’s sports racing class with a new Daytona Prototype class with the intention of reducing costs and keeping cars competitive for longer by keeping a tight grip on permitted technological development.

As we shall see today’s featured Riley Mk XI chassis #018 is a testament to the success of Grand Am’s Daytona Prototype vision, even though to my eye’s these cars have always looked a tad quirky due to their mandated dimensions.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Chassis #018 was built with 5 litre / 302 cui Pontiac V8 motor for Pacific Coast Motorsports in 2005 and first raced by Ryan Dalziel and Alex Figge at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City where they finished 5th in the 250 mile race in November.

At Daytona in February 2006 Ryan and Alex were joined by Jon Fogarty and David Empringham for the 24 Hour race, they qualified 14th but retired the Playboy sponsored chassis #018 with an overheating motor.

Alex and Ryan continued racing #018 for the rest of the 2006 season scoring a best 2nd place finish in the 250 mile race at Phoenix, the car then appears to have gone into temporary retirement as was not seen again until 2010 when the new Action Express Racing team took it to the 2010 Daytona 24 Hours.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

In 2009 the Brumos team won the Daytona 24 hours with a similar Riley Mk XI powered by a 4 litre / 244 cui flat 6 developement of the Porsche 911 motor.

For 2010 new kids on the block (NKOTB) Action Express Racing, owned by former Brunos associate Bob Johnson, had replaced the Pontiac V8 motor fitted to #018 with a 5 litre / 302 cui Porsche V8 developed from the SUV Porsche Cayenne by Lozano Brothers Porting in Texas.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The Action Express Racing international team of drivers João Barbosa from Portugal, Mike Rockenfeller from Germany, Terry Borcheller from the USA was and Britain’s Ryan Dalziel who had raced this same car in 2005/6 qualified 8th for the 2010 Daytona 24 hour race.

The debutant team then went on to win the race from the BMW powered Riley XI driven by Max Papis, Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Justin Wilson entered by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, the team that had dominated this event from 2006 to 2008.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

João and Terry continued to race #018, for the remainder of the 2010 season scoring a best 4th place finish at Lime Rock.

For the 2011 Daytona 24 Hours João and Terry were joined by J.C. France, Max Papis and Christian Fittipaldi, together they qualified #018 12th and came through to finish 3rd.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

#018 scored a second victory and final victory, in the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway in May 2011 with J.C., João and Terry sharing the driving.

#018 was retired after the EMCO Gears Classic presented by Key Bank 2011 at Mid Ohio in September 2011 where J.C., João and Terry qualified 10th and finished 4th.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Stock Porsche items used by the Lozano Brothers Porting developed 530 hp V8 include the engine block; cylinder heads, timing chain, hydraulic lifters, head bolts and gaskets.

The work on the SUV Porsche Cayenne V8 by Lozano Brothers Porting in Texas was not sanctioned by the Porsche factory and Porsche has never claimed victory for the 2010 Daytona 24 Hours.

Thanks for joining me on this “SUV Powered Prototype” 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 !


Atgyfodwr Babs – BABS.

Count Louis Vorow Zborowski, the son of pioneer amateur racing driver Count de Montsaulvain who was killed on the La Turbie hill climb in 1903, became one of the richest teenagers in the world upon the death of his mother in 1911.

By 1921 he started building the first of a series of four gargantuan aero engined vehicles for competition at Brooklands.

Today’s featured car started life as the Count’s final project ‘Chitty 4’ perhaps slightly better known as the Higham Special which appeared at Brooklands in 1923.

BABS, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

With it’s with it’s 450hp 27 litre / 1647 cui V12 motor the Higham Special was and still is one of the largest piston powered vehicles ever to have been driven on a closed circuit.

The chassis proved to be too puny for the motor and could not be developed into a competitive proposition by the time Count Zborowski was killed, aged just 29, after hitting a tree in his Mercedes during the 1924 Italian Grand Prix.

The Higham Special was acquired by former Chief Leyland engineer John Godfrey Parry-Thomas, who gave up his career at Leyland to found his own engineering company and to pursue speed, for £125 from the Zbrowski estate in 1925.

BABS, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Welshman JG Parry-Thomas modified the Liberty motor, fitting 4 carburetors and piston’s of his own design but neither he nor future World Land Speed Record holder John Cobb had any success at Brooklands.

However when JG focused his attention on setting World Land Speed Records on the Pendine Sands in North Wales, where Malcolm Campbell had become the first person to exceed 150 mph in 1924, the Higham Special which he renamed BABS started to find it’s legs.

On 28 April 1926, JG drove BABS to a new flying 1 mile World Land Speed Record with an average over two runs in opposite directions of 171.02 mph / 273.6 km/h.

BABS, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

In February 1927 Malcom Campbell returned to Pendine with the first Bluebird powered by a W12 Napier Lion motor and raised the Land Speed Record to over 174 mph.

Nearly a month later on March 3rd 1927 while attempting to regain the World Land Speed Record on the Pendine Sands BABS rolled, it is now believed due to a collapsed wheel, and JG became the first man to die while making a World Land Speed Record attempt.

Following the inquest into JG Parry Thomas’s death, believed incorrectly at the time to have been the result of a snapped drive chain, BABS was buried in the Pendine Sands which later became a military firing range.

BABS, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

42 years later in 1969 Owen Wyn Owen an engineering lecturer at Caernarfonshire Technical College in Bangor managed to negotiate permission from the military and the descendants of the Parry Thomas family to excavate BABS, during the recovery the drive chain that was presumed to have snapped and caused the accident was found to be intact.

Owen Wyn Owen then spent the next 15 years restoring BABS, which can usually now be found at the Pendine Museum of Speed, back to running order, initially the only way to get the motor running was to tow BABS up to 60 mph behind a Land Rover and then bump start the motor !

In 1999 Owen Wyn Owen was awarded the Tom Pryce Trophy which was engraved with the legend in Welsh “Atgyfodwr Babs”, resurrector of Babs in English.

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


Jethro Bodine’s ‘Stang – Mustang Ranchero

Ever wondered what you might get if you crossed the Personal Luxury chique of a Ford Mustang pony car with the all round practicality of a Ford Ranchero pick up ?

Mustang Ranchero, Cartier Style Et Lux, Goodwood Festival of Speed

There is an unsubstantiated myth on the intelnet which says that from 1965 to 1966 Beverly Hills Mustang Limited in California built 50 such vehicles with Ford’s blessing, and further more somewhere around 60% of them were exported to Europe !

Mustang Ranchero, Cartier Style Et Lux, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Beverly Hills Motors Limited of 9280 Alden Drive Beverly Hills, California, did indeed build some pick up Mustangs, one ex employee believes only 3 or 4 may might have been built using fiberglass beds.

Mustang Ranchero, Cartier Style Et Lux, Goodwood Festival of Speed

However a German Pony Car site points to this particular car being built by a Mick Bull who started with a 66′ basket case Mustang for which he fabricated the bed, subframe connectors and a gas strut operated tailgate.

Mustang Ranchero, Cartier Style Et Lux, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The motor is officially registered as 5,331 cc / 325.32 cui which does not equate with any Ford motors I can think of. According to some sources the car is also said to have a 331 cui motor, but again the only motor of this size I know of is the mid to late fifties Chrysler Poly motors. If you know better please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Mustang Ranchero, Cartier Style Et Lux, Goodwood Festival of Speed

It is said the Beverly Hills Motors Mustero conversions cost the same as a Shelby Cobra, over $6,000, which made for prohibitive sales though Harry Morgan and Debbie Boone are believed to have shown an interest in at least one of the cars as it was being built probably at some point in the mid to late 1970’s.

Mustang Ranchero, Cartier Style Et Lux, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Having a love of both Mustangs and pickups this car appeals to me as the kind of upgrade someone might have tried to sell Jethro Bodine in an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies.

Thanks for joining me on this “Jethro Bodines ‘Stang” 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 !