Tag Archives: Hawkins

Cobra Caravan Itinerant – Ford GT40 Mk 1 #GT40 P/1084

So far as I have been able to discern the chassis numbers for the production Ford GT40 Mk1 ran from P/1000 to P/1086, suggesting at least 87 production GT40 Mk1’s were built at Ford Advanced Vehicle facility in Slough, though as we shall see things are not always quite so simple.

Colvill, Ford GT40, Brands Hatch

Today’s featured car is a case in point, known as #P/1084 it has the highest chassis number of those known to have raced in period, though chassis P/1071 did not make it’s race debut until 14 month’s after #P/1084 appeared at Spa in May 1968 with Paul Hawkins and David Hobbs at the wheel.

However it turns out that #P/1084 started life as #P/1004 in 1965, a car that was entered into the 1965 Le Mans 24 hours by RRC Walker Racing and Shelby American for Bob Bondurant and Umberto Maglioli, this car running the #7 qualified third but retired with a leaking head gasket on lap 29, coincidentally the same lap as it’s sister #P/1005 driven by Ronnie Buckum and Herbert Müller retired with the same problem. #GT40 P/1004 then appears to have gone on Carrol Shelby’s promotional tour of America known as the Cobra Caravan.

When the JW Automotive Gulf team, operating from the same factory as Ford Advanced Vehicles had in Slough, needed a car for the 1968 Spa 1000kms they found they were a car short and so they rebuilt #P/1004 to 1968 specification and gave it a ‘new’ GT40 P/1084 identification although the factory records refer to the chassis entered at Spa where Hawkins and Hobbs finished 4th by it’s old number.

Some sources believe that #P/1084 was then shipped, by JW Automotive, to Watkins Glen two month’s later where Hawkins and Hobbs finished 2nd however I believe this is a typo, GT40 über authority Ronnie Spain identifies the car that Hawkins and Hobbs drove at Watkins Glen as GT40 P/1074.

During the 1970’s P/1084 was raced by Paul Wheldon for owner Connaught Engineering founder Rodney Clarke. Martin Colville seen in the #P/1084 here at Brands Hatch in July 1982 where Martin was taking part in a support race on the British Grand Prix weekend bought the car in 1981 and had a bubble fitted to the upper part of the drivers door to accommodated his frame.

Subject to revisions in Ronnie Spain’s much anticipated second edition bible on the subject “GT40: An Individual History and Race Record” this is my best understanding of the car known as #GT40 P/1084. If you know different please do not hesitate to chip in below.

My thanks to David McKinney, Pete Taylor and Ron54 at The Nostalgia Forum for their help in yet another carceology adventure.

Thanks for joining me on this “Cobra Caravan Itinerant” 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 !


SCORAD Demonstrator – Chevrolet Corvette #1399 Tribute

When I set out to find out about the car in today’s photographs taken at the Rolex Reunion at Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca by Geoffry Horton I mistakenly thought it couldn’t be that difficult to find out about a 1st generation Corvette C1 carrying a big #16 and a couple of NASCAR stickers. Boy was I proved wrong, but the upside is I have found out not only what it is, but also found out about a race series I am not sure ever got off the ground !

Chevrolet Corvette SCORAD Tribute, Rolex Reunion, Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca

An internet search soon led me to the owner / driver Noel Park and several descriptions of the car being a tribute to the 1955 Corvette better known as X87/5951 in which Zora Arkus- Duntov set a new flying-mile record of 150.583 mph at Daytona Beach in 1956. However that car had a 1956 body and two other ’56 Corvettes Chevrolet took along to Daytona Beach for John Fitch and Betty Skelton did not feature the distinctive #16 on the side although at least one photo caption on the net, subsequently shown to be wrong suggested otherwise.

Chevrolet Corvette SCORAD Tribute, Rolex Reunion, Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca

My break came when I found a second identical copy image of the #16 at Daytona Beach making reference to chassis #399, although again no driver was mentioned. A search for Corvettes with the number #399 led me to discovering that along with the three Corvette’s Chevrolet took along to the 1956 Daytona Speed Weeks for competition, two further Corvettes were supplied to NASCAR for promotional purposes and one of them was chassis #E55S001399 a 1955 model, described as a well used up former race car. The vehicle was rebuilt with a stock 4.6 litre 265 cui small block V8 and the body taken from another ’55 ‘Vette by Chevrolet Engineering in January 1956 with a “NASCAR” kit comprising aero screen and fiberglass torneau over the passenger area.

Chevrolet Corvette SCORAD Tribute, Rolex Reunion, Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca

Jack Hawkins and Bill France Jr are among those NASCAR individuals known to have demonstrated, but not competed in, the #16 at the 1956 Daytona Speed Weeks. It has also emerged thanks to Loren Lundberg over at The Nostalgia Forum that the #16 and an similarly upgraded ’53 Corvette which appeared carrying the #27 were to be used in NASCAR’s SCORAD ( Sports Car Owners and Drivers ) dirt track series. At the time of writing I’m not sure if this series ever got underway or not, if you know anything at all about SCORAD at all please do not hesitate to chip in below since there is zero but the name that appears about the series on the net as of now.

After the speed weeks #1399 spent two years under the direction of NASCAR’s Alvin Hawkin at various tracks primarily in North Carolina before being passed into private hands that included a spell as a donation with the Bible Broadcasting Church. As of 2009 #1399 was reported to be with the Lingenfelter Collection all though when I checked their website no mention was made of it.

I’m not too sure how or why Noel Parks cool tribute to the #1399 came to be made, but it has been an absolute blast getting to the bottom of the story of the #16 that ran at Daytona Beach in 1956.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photo’s from the Rolex Reunion and to Loren Lundberg at The Nostalgia Forum and of the Registry of Corvette Race Cars for his help in clarifying the story of the #16.

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

PS Opinions and predictions on Formula One and the Italian Grand Prix linked here at Motorsports Unplugged.


Austin Healey Sebring Sprite

The Austin Healey ‘Sebring’ Sprite name refers to any Austin Healey Sprite with front disc brakes and more recently to any Sprite with Coupé or Fastback bodywork.

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Following a change in the sports car regulations in 1960 which allowed special bodies, rally and racing driver John Sprinzel commissioned Williams & Pritchard to build 6 aluminium bodied Sprites with coupé bodywork between Dec 1960 and May 1961.

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This 1960 vehicle purchased new by Cyril Simson started life as a standard Austin Healey Sprite registered YLN13, Cyril changed the registration to S221 and raced it as part of Team 221 with two other sprites H221 and X221.

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Paul Hawkins drove it to victory at Aintree and S221 was part of the Sprinzel Sprite Team that took team honours at the Nurburgring.

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Originally powered by a 43 hp 948 cc / 57 cui motor this particular unit, prepared by Janspeed, was shown to be delivering over 85 hp at the recent Race Retro exhibition.

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For 1961 the car was prepared by John Sprizel and it was one of the six Sprinzel cars sent to Williams & Pritchard to be fitted with a aluminium coupé body.

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The car was then driven in practice by Stirling Moss for the Sebring 4 hours who promptly stripped the clutch and transferred to another team car after repairs were made Pat Moss & Paul Hawkins drove S221 in the four hour race. S221 was then prepared again overnight for Cyril and Paul Hawkins to drive in the Sebring 12 Hours where they came in 37th.

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In August 1961 S221 was sold to Peter Clark and it was reregistered and rolled at the Karrussel on the Nurburgring. The car was repaired and an extended fast back body was fitted by Peel Coach works.

The longest term owner of this vehicle Colin Pearcy had Len Pritchard make a new alloy rear end and coupé top and most recent owner Chris Clegg reunited the car with its S221 registration and has driven it competitively for several years with Archers Motors taking care of the race preparation.

My thanks to Janspeed who facilitated the photo’s of the engine and interior.

Hope you have enjoyed to days Sebring edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !