Tag Archives: HGPCA Test Day

A Wonderful Doohickey – Franziss

Today’s featured car is another VSCC Special with an aircraft engine.

Franziss, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

The chassis for this one was sourced by Roger Sweet from a 1928 chain drive Frazer Nash and the motor is another WW1 era Curtiss OX5 V8.

Franziss, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

The motor on this car features a Miller roller rocker conversion which gave the motor an additional 10 hours of life, when used in aircraft particularly Jenny training aircraft, these motors were considered disposable and simply replaced when they had run out of hours.

Franziss, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

OX5 motors were available for as little as US$20 after WW1, today these fetch over £10,000 at auction, if you can find one.

Franziss, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

One Australian described Roger Sweets Franziss which was completed in 2004 as “a wonderful doohickey“.

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


Junior Formula One – Heron Alfa Romeo

In 1960 Les Redmond and Syd Diggory built today’s featured Heron to compete in the Formula Junior Series and fitted it with a Formula Junior spec Ford 105E engine.

South African Tony Maggs bought the Heron and fitted it with a Coventry Climax Formula One spec engine with the intention of racing it in the 1960 South African Grand Prix.

Heron Alfa Romeo, Goodwood Revival

Having failed to qualify for the race due to mechanical problems Tony sold the Heron on to Ernest Pieterse who’s Scuderia Alfa Team fitted the car with the road car based Alfa Romeo twin cam engine that remains in the car to this day.

Ernest success with the car include a 6th in the 1961 Rand Grand Prix, 2nd in the 1961 Mozambique Grand Prix and a win in the 1961 Rhodesian, now Zimbabwe, Grand Prix.

Heron Alfa Romeo, HGPCA Test Day Silverstone

Team Valencia’s David Hume bought the car in 1964 and he continued to race the Heron for two seasons in South Africa without success.

In 1966 Andrew Smuts raced the Heron in its final race the Natal Winter Grand Prix.

Heron Alfa Romeo, Eddy Perk, Silverstone Classic,

Eddie Perk is responsible for reviving the Heron and he is seen at the wheel of the car at last years Silverstone Classic meeting.

Thanks for joining me on this Junior Formula One 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 !


Unique GT Coupé – HWM Jaguar GT Coupé

After the ’39 – ’45 war Hersham and Walton Motors (HWM) was operate by partners George Abecassis and John Heath. For the 1948 season John, a self taught engineer, built an Alta powered Special called an HW Alta which they both raced with some success.

The following season an open wheel HW Alta was built and encouraged by it’s success they built the first four HWM cars for the 1950 season, three works cars and one for a privateer, which could run in open wheel or closed wheel form.

HWM Jaguar GT Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

20 year old Stirling Moss was given his first break, beyond 500cc Formula 3, by the team and scored two third place finishes at Reims and Bari despite a lack of reliability and power from the Alta motors.

One of the original works cars retains it’s an Alta motor to this day, another became the first HWM Jaguar and the third went to Hollywood and became the Stovebolt Special.

HWM Jaguar GT Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

With the profits from selling their cars at the end of 1950 the team built new open wheel Formula Two cars for the 1951 and ’52 seasons but there competitiveness dwindled against the likes of Ferrari.

In 1953 HWM built another sports car now powered by a Jaguar motor with which George won a race at Snetterton. HWM focused on building and running Jaguar powered cars until 1956 when John Heath died from injuries sustained after an accident in the rain on the Mille Miglia.

HWM Jaguar GT Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

Thereafter George decided to focus on running the trading side of HWM which had become an Aston Martin dealer in 1951 and has remained so to this day to become the oldest Aston Martin dealership in the world.

The final HWM is today’s featured Jaguar powered HWM GT Coupé built, with unique bodywork the design of which is credited to Aston Martin’s Frank Feeley, as a road car which show’s how HWM might have progressed but for the unfortunate turn of events on the Mille Miglia.

Thanks for joining me on this “Unique GT Coupé” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Formula One BRM. Don’t forget to come back now !


King Of Brighton & The Hills – ERA R4D

For reasons that are not yet entirely clear to me today’s featured car ERA R4D began life with the out of sequence identifier R4B apparently a year before R3B had been built.

R4B was a works apple green race car completed for Raymond Mays use in 1935. It is said to have used all three ERA engine sizes, 1.1, 1.5 and 2 litre, according to the demands of the regulations of the event’s it competed in.

ERA R4D, Goodwood Revival,

This chassis was shared by Raymond Mays and E Von Delius in the 1935 German Grand Prix, it started 9th but retired at half distance with low oil pressure.

R4B was predominantly used by Raymond for sprints and hill climbing and in 1936, mid way through the season R4B and the other works cars were all painted black.

ERA R4D, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

No definitive reason is known for the change of colour, which coincidentally or not first appeared after the death of Marcel Lehoux at Deauville while driving R3B, the only pre war ERA not to have survived.

It is known that Raymond Mays had a Riley and Bentley painted black with silver / chrome wheels and that he detested green the British National racing colour in any shade.

ERA R4D, Mac Hulbert, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone,

It has also been pointed out that Dick Seaman’s successful R1B was painted black in 1935 and maybe after a run of bad luck the decision was taken to use Seaman’s preferred colour.

In 1937 R4B was upgraded to C specification with independent front suspension using torsion bars designed at great expense to ERA by Dr Ferdinand Porsche.

ERA R4D, Goodwood Revival,

R8B and R12B were also to receive this upgrade but R12C was converted back to B Spec after an accident in 1939.

Raymond Mays drove R4C to victory in the 1937 Picardy Grand Prix and in 1937 repeated the feat in 1938 when R4C was upgraded to R4D spec with a lighter fully box framed chassis.

ERA R4D, Goodwood Revival,

Arthur Johnson drove R4D in 1939 prior to Raymond Mays buying the car from the works to continue it’s development privately.

Raymond Mays continued to drive R4D winning the two British Hillclimb Championships in 1947 and ’48 and four Brighton Speed Trials, before selling her to Ron Flockhart in 1953.

Flockhart continued where May’s had left off by setting a record at the Bo’ness hillclimb.

In 1954 Ken Wharton bought R4D and won the RAC British Hill Climb Championship, he nearly repeated the feat in 1955, using R4D and a Cooper 500 Formula 3 car, but the title was awarded to new comer Tony Marsh after he and Wharton finished the championship on level points.

Wharton added three more wins at the Brighton Speed Trials to bring R4D’s total to seven, R4D is still the single most successful vehicle to compete in the event.

Today R4D is owned by Mac Hulbert and is seen with Julian Bronson at the wheel during the VSCC Spring Start Meeting earlier this year.

My thanks to Adam Wragg at facebook, Fuzzi and Vitesse2 at The Nostalgia Forum for informing why the works ERA were painted black in 1936.

Thanks for joining me on this “King Of Brighton” 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 !


All Sizes Including Chevy – ERA R4A

Continuing the 80th Anniversary Celebration of English Racing Automobiles, ERA, today’s featured vehicle ERA R4A was the first to be built for a customer, South African P G Fairfield and it was the first to be built in 1935.

ERA R4A, James Baxter, VSCC Prescott

ERA R4A was originally painted white and fitted with a 1.1 litre 67 cui supercharged motor and in this form Patrick Fairfield won the Mannin Beg street race on the Isle of Man, the Nuffield Trophy at Donington Park and the Dieppe Grand Prix support race for Voiturettes.

ERA R4A, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

After running the car in South African events in early 1936 Patrick returned R4A to the UK where it was fitted with a 1,500 cc / 91.5 cui motor. In this form Patrick and R4A recorded second place finishes in the British Empire Trophy at Donington Park and in the Picardy Grand Prix.

ERA R4A, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

Patrick recorded three wins in South African events in 1937 before he was killed during the 1937 Le Mans 24 hours race. R4A was acquired by Norman Wilson with the smaller 1,100 cc / 67 cui motor fitted. Norman raced R4A mostly in South Africa up until the outbreak of the ’39 – ’45 war in which he would loose his life while serving in the South African Air Force.

ERA R4A, James Baxter, VSCC Prescott

Reg Parnell looked after R4A from 1942 to 1945 before selling her to Bob Gerard. When Bob Gerard appeared with R4A at Cockfosters, one of Britains earliest post war motoring events, in July 1945 it had several modifications to the radiator surround which would eventually enclose a smaller radiator.

ERA R4A, James Baxter, VSCC Prescott

In 1948 Bob fitted the 2 litre / 122 cui which is seen in these photographs, at some point he also had radius rods to the rear suspension of R4A, R6B and R14B though these have since been removed from all three cars.

ERA R4A, James Baxter, VSCC Prescott

After ten years of ownership Bob sold R4A to John McAfee in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, and the following year it went to Jimmy de Villiers in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. During this period in Southern Africa up to the mid 1960’s R4A is said to have been fitted with a unspecified Chevrolet motor for a short time.

ERA R4A, Silverstone Classic,

I believe R4A is currently owned by NJ Topliss and is seen in these photo’s with James Baxter at the wheel during last years VSCC Prescott meeting.

Thanks for joining me on this “All Sizes Including Chevy” 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 !


Unfinished Business – Lister Coupe #

After building a successful range of open top sports racing cars powered by MG, Bristol, Jaguar and Chevrolet motors between 1953 and 1958 Brian Lister turned to Frank Costin to build an all new spaceframe chassis with an open body to be powered by a 3 litre six cylinder Jaguar XK motor for a crack at Le Mans which he considered “unfinished business”.

01 Lister Coupé_7625sc

However after the death of his lead driver Archie Scott-Brown at Spa driving a Lister in 1958 and the fatal accident which killed his 1959 leading driver Ivor Bueb, driving a Cooper open wheeler in 1959, Brian Lister was prompted to retire from building racing cars bearing his name leaving the 3 litre spaceframe project which had never been given a chassis number unfinished.

Lister Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

Rhostyllen, North Wales, garage proprietor Syd Diggory finished the open bodied spaceframe car off fitting a 3.8 litre Jaguar motor in 1960. Syd entered the car in several events for Bruce Halford, who won one race at Brands Hatch with it.

Lister Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

John Coundley acquired it in 1961 after his own Lister chassis #126 with the registration WTM446 had been damaged by Stephen Ouvaroff on the set of the film “The Green Helmet”.

Lister Coupé, Goodwood Revival

12 months later Le Mans racer Peter Sargent bought both the space frame Lister and the damaged, in former owner John Coundley’s eyes ‘written off’ tube framed #BHL126 registered WTM446. Peter commissioned the space framed car’s designer Frank Costin to design the double bubble closed coupé body fabricated from aluminium which is seen on the car today. Frank also made various chassis and suspension modifications to accommodate rising rate front suspension and 15″ Dunlop wheels.

Lister Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

Peter Sargent was joined by Peter Lumsden at the 1963 Le Mans test weekend to drive the barely finished unpainted rebodied car, bearing the registration number WTM446 from the older #BHL126 Lister and temporarily fitted with Webber carburetors.

Lister Coupé, Goodwood Revival

The Coupé proved to be quicker than the E-Type Jaguar the two Peters had shared at Le Mans in 1962 but was in need of further development which continued right up until the day before the race when it was found that a subframe was allowing the front wheels to toe out like a ‘barn door’.

Lister Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

With a fix for the suspension the Lister went to the grid with a fuel injected motor rebuilt by Jaguar fitted with oval exhausts in place of the round ones to raise the ground clearance. The Lister reached 16th place by the third hour of the event when it’s retirement was brought about by clutch failure.

Lister Coupé, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

Peters Lumsden and Seargeant continued developing and racing the Lister Coupé with some success in club meetings through 1963.

In 1964 John Coundley and Jack Fairman shared the car in the 1000 kms race at the Nurburgring where they qualified a lowly 68th and retired with rear suspension failure on the Coupé’s final international appearance.

David Harvey, now Jaguar owners club chairman become the next owner of the unique Lister and had it fitted with a D-Type motor and gearbox. David and his wife drove it competitively in sprints and hillclimbs, earning a class record at Gurston Down, and when his usual road car was off the road the Coupé was also used as a daily driver since it was registered and taxed with it’s WTM 446 registration.

The known chain of ownership of the Coupé includes historic owner and collector Neil Corner before it was acquired by Hexagon of Highgate who had the roof chopped off to return the car to the open top specification as it was raced from 1960 to 1962. In 1972 Gerry Marshall won the last ever motor race run at Crystal Palace in the open top space frame Lister. Some years later Gerry drove the car again under new ownership to win the 1980 Lloyds and Scottish Championship historic series.

The Coupé GT bodywork was returned to the car by Maurice Gomm for Dr Philippe Renault a private museum owner from Le Mans in the mid 1980’s.

More recently the Lister Coupé has become a regular competitor at Goodwood Revival where it survived major damage in 2006 and 2010. In 2012 the Lister Coupé was shared by 1970 Le Mans winner Richard Attwood and 1992 British Touring Car Champion Tim Harvey.

The two entities that have born the registration WTM446 became the subject of a court battle after the Lister #BHL126, which former owner John Coundley had considered a “write off”, was brought back to life.

The new owner of the rebuilt #BH126 took the owner of the spaceframe Lister Coupé and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to court in a dispute over who owned the WTM446 registration. The Court appears to have found that no car should have that number and has not issued it to either vehicle since.

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


4 Pot Square Bore – Maserati 4CL #1566

Fed up with the German Silver Arrow’s from Mercedes Benz and Auto Union stealing their thunder and pride the Italian Motorsports Authorities decided to cut Alfa Romeo and Maserati some slack by announcing that all of the Grand Prix run on Italian soil in 1939 would be for 1.5 litre / 91.5 cui Voiturettes which would exclude the German monsters that had been sweeping all before them in the top European open wheel series since 1935.

Maserati 4CL, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

To take advantage of the new rules Ernesto Maserati designed a new 4 cylinder motor with bore and stroke dimensions roughly equal, known as square bore though the cylinders were of course round, and with four valves per cylinder to replace the 6 cylinder 12 valve motor fitted to the previous moderately successful 6CM.

Maserati 4CL, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

To handle the extra 30 hp of the new motor the 6 CM ladder chassis was moderately upgraded; with more use of aluminium, repositioned suspension to lower the chassis and the track was nearly 2″ wider.

Maserati 4CL, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

For the Tripoli Grand Prix, effectively on Italian soil since Lybia was an Italian colony at the time, Maserati produced one 4CL with a streamlined body for Luigi Villoresi to drive. Luigi qualified on pole in the race, generally regarded as having the finest field of voiturettes ever seen.

Maserati 4CL, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

However both Luigi and the other two 4 CL’s including #1566 seen here, driven in Tripoli by Giovanni Rocco retired leaving, Mercedes Benz to an uncontested victory with two W165 cars they had built in secret, much to the dismay of the Italians.

Maserati 4CL, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

Fortunately the W165’s, having made their point, were never to race again leaving Jonnie Wakefield in a private 4CL to score 3 victories to which the works team added 2 more before the outbreak of hostilities in the 1939/45 war. Luigi Villoresi driving a 4CL won at Targa Florio against opposition only from Axis aligned countries in 1940 and Giovanni Rooco driving #1566 finished third in the same race to record his best result in the car before the war.

Maserati 4CL, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

After the cessation of hostilities #1566 found it’s way to France where it was acquired by Robert Mazaud, a driver who set a lap record in the Le Mans 24 Hours, on his debut there, aboard a Delahaye in 1938. Robert would score his best result aboard #1566, 3rd at St Cloud in Belgium, a few weeks before being killed after an accident at the wheel of #1566 in the Nantes Grand Prix in France.

Maserati 4CL, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

Raymond Sommer, Tazio Nuvolari and Giorgio Pelassa all drove 4CL’s to victory in 1946, but it was 1947 when the 4CL really came on song with 10 victories to the models credit. Luigi Villoresi won 6 races with; Nello Pagani, Reg Parnell, Yves Giraud-Cabantous and Christian Kautz each winning one a piece.

Maserati 4CL, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

To the best of my knowledge Jean Judet entered #1566 in at least six events between 1946 and 1950 recording at least five retirements.

In all 15 4CL’s were built between 1939 and 1946, I believe #1566 seen in these photographs, at the HGPCA Test Day at Silverstone last year, has belonged to the family of the late Rodney Smith since 2004.

Thanks for joining me on this “4 Pot Square Bore” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a Bugatti. Don’t forget to come back now !