Tag Archives: Haynes International Motor Museum

Spare Smallman Embassy – Lola T370 #HU3

At the end of his relatively unsuccessful, season high 9th place finish in Belgium, 1973 season at the wheel of his privately entered Embassy Shadow DN1, Graham Hill hooked up with Lola, who’s car he had driven to win the 1966 Indy 500, for a two car attack on the 1974 World Drivers Championship.

Lola T370, Haynes International Motor Museum

Embassy sponsored the building of the Lola T370 which was designed by Andy Smallman. Unlike Lola T330 and T332 Formula A/5000 cars with rear mounted side radiators the T370 had the radiators mounted directly behind the front wheels, as would appear on Lola 1975 T400 Formula A/5000 car.

The most remarkable thing about the T370 when it first appeared was the outsize tall airbox which gave the car the appearance of a sail boat, much larger than the one seen in today’s photo as can be seen in this link.

Graham’s efforts with the T370 were rewarded by a 6th place finish in the Swedish Grand Prix, but apart from that the over weight if reliable T370 was not particularly competitive as drivers of the second car; Guy Edwards, Rolf Stommelen, Peter Gethin and Vern Schuppan found out.

Guy Edwards scored a best 7th behind his team mate in the 1974 Swedish Grand Prix and German Rolf Stommelen repeated the feat in the 1975 South African Grand Prix.

Today’s featured chassis HU3, seen at the Haynes International Motor Museum, first appeared as a spare car at the 1974 Spanish Grand Prix a role it remained in for 11 of the 14 events to which it was taken.

The car was first raced by Peter Gethin in the 1974 British Grand Prix where he qualified 21st on the grid but retired with a puncture. Rolf Stommelen then drove the car in the 1975 Argentine and Brazilian Grand Prix where he started 19th and 23rd on the grid respectively and finished 13th and 14th respectively.

HU3’s final appearance was again with Rolf at the wheel during practice for the 1975 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The T370 was superseded by a single T371 chassis in 1975 but as it dawned on Graham it was time to retire he decided to follow the lead of 3 time World Champion Jack Brabham and 2 time race winner Bruce McLaren to become a Formula One constructor.

Thanks for joining me on this “Spare Smallman Embassy” 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 !


140mph Tortoise – Gordon-Keeble

Like the Warwick GT the origins of Gordon-Keeble lie in Peerless Cars Ltd. In 1959 co founder of Peerless John Gordon teamed up with engineer and racing driver Jim Keeble to build a GT car for USAF pilot Rick Neilson who suggested fitting a a 4.6 litre 283 cui Corvette V8 into a Peerless chassis.

The steel body for the Gordon GT was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro working for Bertone who crafted it. The Gordon GT was assembled from scratch over 3 months just in time to be exhibited on the Bertone stand at the 1960 Geneva Show, where they it was well received. Autocar would later test the Gordon GT and proclaim that it was “the most electrifying vehicle that it has ever tested.”

Gordon Keeble, Haynes International Motor Museum

The Gordon GT was later taken to the USA where Chevrolet executives gave the green light for the supply of 5.4 litre / 327 cui to be fitted to a production version of the Gordon GT known as the Gordon-Keeble.

During an advertising shoot for Gordon-Keeble a tortoise wandered on to the set and it became immortalised in the Gordon-Keeble badge. The prototype achieved 70 mph in first gear and had a top speed of 140 mph.

Gordon Keeble, Goodwood Revival

Due to problems with the supply of some parts, in particular the Adwest steering boxes which were held up due to ‘industrial action’ by Adwest employees, the Gordon-Keeble did not go into production until 1964, by which time it was decided to use a fiber glass body similar to the Bertone original built by Williams and Pritchard.

Gordon-Keeble struggled financially until 1965 when it collapsed with 91 cars built. The company was almost immediately revived as Keeble Cars Ltd who built 8 more cars to the Gordon-Keeble specification before insolvency struck again. One further example was constructed from parts in 1971.

Gordon Keeble, Haynes International Motor Museum

In 1968 John de Bruyne bought the rights to manufacture the Gordon-Keeble and he built a further two cars badged as De Bruynes that were shown at the ’68 New York Auto Show.

The two cars seen here’ at Haynes International Motor Museum and Goodwood Revival were both first registered in January 1965, the blue one on the 12th and the red on the 14th.

Thanks for joining me on this “140mph Tortoise” edition of “Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me for a look at an Indy Car tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Four Rings Return – Auto Union 1000 S

At the end of the 1939 – 45 the once great name of Auto Union disappeared off the map as a consequence of the new communist administrative arrangements that emerged in East Germany.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

What assets remained of Horch, Audi and the Auto Union racing departments in Chemnitz and Zwickau were liquidated and those in Zwickau were handed over to VEB (Volkseigener Betrieb = Peoples owned Enterprise) which went on to build a series of two stroke vehicles, starting with pre war DKW designs, that were eventually sold under the Trabant brand after a law suit compelled VEB to desist selling models with the DKW name.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

Auto Union AG was reconstituted in 1949 with only the DKW brand name surviving which sold a variety of two stroke vehicles including a motor cycle and delivery van before moving back into automobile manufacture.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

In 1958 the now Daimler AG owned Auto Union brand returned to the market place with the Auto Union 1000 S powered by a 44 hp 1 litre / 61 cui two stroke straight 3 cylinder motor driving the front wheels.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

The 1000 S model was available in 2 door saloon, as seen here, 4 door saloon, 2 door pillarless Coupé and Estate variations. There was also a “baby” thunderbird” sports car option which I’ll be looking at in a future Wednesday Continental Curiosity edition.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

As with most front wheel drive vehicles the Auto Union 1000S gave occupants greater interior space than their competitors which in this case was the Volkswagen Beetle.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

In 1960 a now 50 HP Auto Union was tested with a rest to 60 mph acceleration time of 23.6 seconds and top speed of 80.9 mph. Auto Union 2 stroke motors branded DKW were to be found in the proving ground open wheel series known as Formula Junior.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

1961 saw the introduction saw the introduction of a clean oil regulator which was intended to reduce the blue exhaust smoke haze, common to two stroke motors, by ensuring an exact 40 to 1 petrol to oil mix using a separate oil tank to feed the carburetor. Unfortunately because of the severe European winter in 1962/63 oil viscosity and flow through the narrower new carburetor feed was adversely affected resulting in crankshaft damage.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

This 1963 model seen at the Rare Breeds show at Haynes International Motor Museum a couple of years ago is said to have come to Britain from Sweden via Norway.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

Between 1958 and 1963 171,008 Auto Union 1000 S models were manufactured at Auto Unions plant in Dusseldorf. By 1964 Volkswagen had acquired Auto Union and DKW and Audi. VW ditched the Auto Union and DKW brands as production of 2 stroke models was phased out in favour of new water cooled four stroke models that derived from the DKW F103 which was marketed as the Audi F103 in 1965 which transformed the fortunes of first Audi and then as the new motor was further developed later Volkswagen.

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


Knight Industrues Two Thousand – Pontiac Trans Am

The 1984 Pontiac Trans Am based Knight Industries Two Thousand (K.I.T.T) was developed for the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG) by Wilton Knight and was essentially an artificially intelligent electronic computer module installed in an advanced, mobile, robotic automobile.

Knight Industies Two Thousand, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

The original 1982 K.I.T.T was a hard top, but no doubt in danger of getting a hot head due to his crime fighting success, it was deemed that Micheal Knight be given a Targa Top for the 1985 crime wave. This particular K.I.T.T, thought to be one of thirty built, is operated by rrelite.co.uk.

Knight Industies Two Thousand, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

Amongst K.I.T.T.s interesting features are the ability of the vehicle to drive itself, front scanner bar with which to ‘see’, and molecular bonded shell body armor invulnerable to the impact of small objects, small arms fire and even diamond head drilling.

Knight Industies Two Thousand, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

The trailer for the original series linked here tells us that the show is a “plank into the shadowy world of a man who does not exist Michael Knight”, a champion of the innocent. One of the myriad of buttons at Michael’s disposal is the Turbo Boost button which when activated give a power boost sufficient to leap over obstacles in the vehicles way.

Knight Industies Two Thousand, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

The Knight Industries Turbojet, with afterburners drives the wheels through an 8 speed turbo drive transmission giving the car a rest to 60 mph time of 2 seconds and a standing quarter mile time of 4.286 seconds.

Knight Industies Two Thousand, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

One of my favorate features of K.I.T.T. is the money dispenser, nice to know when one does not have time to visit the cash machine crime fighting pays after all.

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


Ben’s Bus – Volkswagen Type 2 (T1)

In 1946 production of the VW Beetle was in full swing at maximum capacity at the Wolfsburg plant when Dutch importer Ben Pon paid the factory a visit and observed an improvised parts transporter which he recognised could be vastly improved upon with a new vehicle using a stock Beetle Type 1 chassis pan. Pons first doodles of his proposed vehicle were dated 1947 and two and a half years later the first type 2 rolled off the production line.

VW Type 2 Transporter, Goodwood Revival

The split windscreen was not part of Ben’s original design but was incorporated to improve the aerodynamic efficiency after wind tunnel testing showed marked improvements of the split screen at the University of Braunschweig. The original Type 2 with just 25 hp were rated to carry 1,500 lbs / 690 kgs. Above is a 1959 Type 2 with hinged rear door used by leading historic race car restoration specialists Crosthwaite & Gardiner who pride themselves on manufacturing everything from a Bugatti nut to an entire Auto Union Grand Prix car.

VW Type 2 Camper, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

It was not long before the versatility of the Type 2 began to shine through with, panel vans, 2 and four seat pickups, buses, campers being offered while 3rd parties converted Type 2’s to run on railway tracks and a myriad of other applications. It was not long before Type 2s were manufactured in a new dedicated plant in Hannover.

VW Type 2 Transporter, Goodwood Revival

The Type 2’s underwent continuous development by 1967 a larger motor was producing 54 hp and the load capacity had increased to 1000 kgs / 2,205 lbs. production of the Type 2 (T1) ceased in Germany in 1967 but continued in Brazil until 1975. Above is a 1964 Type 2 Transporter that appears to have served the Kapellen Stadt Moers volunteer fire brigade in North Rhine Westfalen. Like all today’s featured Type 2s it’s a left hooker which goes to show just how popular these vehicles still are in the UK.

VW Type 2 Transporter, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

The period from 1947 to 1991 is often referred to as the era of the Cold War between the Western Allies and East Bloc, a period punctuated by tensions in which mutually assured nuclear destruction reared it’s head as a possibility from time to time. What I did not realise was that the Western Allies were not in a particularly harmonious economic relationship at the time.

Each member nation was keen to preserve it’s own industries from the predatory monopolism of it’s neighbours and alleged friends. This culminated in 1963, soon after the Cuban missile crises, in the Germans and French placing restrictive tariffs on imported US chicken, in return to protect it’s automotive industry the US placed restrictive tariffs on Type 2s, designating them as commercial vehicles, which cut US sales by two thirds at a stroke. These tariffs are still in place today and Ford who these tariffs were to aimed at protecting among others has resorted to importing vehicles built in Europe which comply with passenger vehicle ordinances and then taking them to a warehouse in Baltimore for the passenger vehicle compliant items to be stripped and shredded turning said vehicles to commercial applications.

Above is a 1966 Type 2 which unusually has sliding rear doors on both sides, this vehicle served the Fire services at Zurich Airport and then a small Swiss village before being returned to it’s original colours and converted for use as a race car tow and support vehicle. With the introduction of the Transporter (T4) in 1990 all previous Transporter/Kombi’s/Buses were retrospectively given T1 to T3 identities so original iteration Type 2’s built between 1950 and 1975 became Type 2 (T1), 2nd iteration Type 2s with larger bodies built from 1968 to present became Type 2 (T2) and third iteration wedge shape Type 2s became Type 2 (T3) also known as T25.

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