Tag Archives: Hodges

Down The Hatch – Healey Silverstone #D 6

In 1948 the British Government, desperately short of funds in the wake of the Second World War decided to increase the purchase tax on luxury vehicles costing more than £1,000 from 33.33% to 66.66% a move that was disastrous for small luxury vehicle manufactures like Healey.

However just as necessity is the mother of invention, Donald Healey saw the new tax as an opportunity to build a vehicle for less than £1,000 using the latest version of the chassis seen and Riley engines as used to built the Westland, Elliot, Sportsmobile and Duncan models.

Healey Silverstone, Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset

Len Hodges was responsible for the paired down body with head lights mounted behind the radiator grill and for which the spare tyre, mounted horizontally at the back of the car acted as a rear bumper.

Weighing only 2,100 pounds / 952 kgs the 104hp Silverstone’s power to weight ratio gave a rest to 60 mph time of 11 seconds and top speed of 110 mph.

Healey Silverstone, Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset

Notable early successes for the Silverstone in competition included Donald Healey with Ian Appleyard navigating, winning the 1949 Alpine Rally in a Silverstone as did Edgar Wadsworth and Cyril Corbishley in 1951 in the same year Peter Riley and Bill Lamb drove another Silverstone to victory in Liège-Rome-Liège Rally.

51 D Type Silverstones were built between 1949 and 1950 when an updated “E Type” Silverstone with a wider body was introduced.

Healey Silverstone, Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset

Today’s featured Healey Silverstone #D6 was owned by Carlo Castelbarco in 1950, Carlo with F Mosters at the wheel finished the 1950 Mille Miglia in 38th place.

In 1952 R Nabun drove #D6 on the Scottish Rally and according to the Healey Silverstone Register #D6 was the first car to be raced by Tony Lanfranchi, at Brands Hatch on Boxing Day 1957, who after narrowly avoiding becoming a full time Formula One driver in the 1960’s became a very well known championship winning club driver in the 1970’s and 1980’s who raced a diverse range of vehicles from a Muskovich to the famous National Organs Plymouth Barracuda.

Some of Tony’s exploits on the track and in the bar afterwards can be read in his eminently collectible biography “Down The Hatch”, written with Mark Kahn.

Before being acquired by the Haynes International Motor Museum, where the car is seen in these photographs, #D 6 belonged to Danish music producer Flemming Rasmussen, who collaborated with Rainbow, Metallica, Morbid Angel and Blind Guardian among many others, and the car still carries the same paint and decals as when Flemming drove the car on the 1987 retrospective Mille Miglia.

Thanks for joining me on this “Down The Hatch” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for another visit to the Haynes International Motor Museum for Mercedes Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


We Want Information – Juno Triumph

A couple of years ago I took today’s featured photographs of Alistair Hunt’s Juno at Crystal Palace.

Juno Triumph, Motorsport At The Palace, Crystal Palace,

The event Souvenir Programme tells us the car was built in 1955 and there are one or two references on the internet to the car being powered by either a JAP, unlikely or Triumph, more likely, motor.

Juno Triumph, Alistair Hunt, Motorsport At The Palace, Crystal Palace,

Searching the word “Juno” at The Nostalgia Forum led me to a reference regarding the 1920’s play by Sean O’Casey “Juno and the Paycock” and “Juno Beach” which was liberated by Canadian and British Forces in the Normandy Landings on D-Day 1944.

Juno Triumph, Motorsport At The Palace, Crystal Palace,

It would appear the late author David Hodges may have owned the Juno, but this has yet to be confirmed.

So if per chance you know anything about the Juno, who built it, owned it and or drove it please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Thanks for joining me on this “We Want Information” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at one of Jim Clarks Lotus 38’s. Don’t forget to come back now !


Not A de Havilland – Comet JAP

In 1950 Brian Heyward bought the Rudge powered Aikens 500 Formula 3 car from Wing Commander Frank Aikens, Brian only had the opportunity to drive it twice before he was called up to serve His Majesty King George V in the Royal Air Force for two years in Germany.

During his national service Brian’s father Charles bought a Cooper Mark IV which he already found was far too overweight to be competitive.

Comet, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Upon completion of his National Service Brian and Charles used parts of the Cooper Mk 4 and some, lighter, cast magnesium components off a Cooper Mk VI to build the Cooper Heyward Special more commonly known as the C.H.S..

Brian raced the C.H.S. from 1953 to 1957 and is known to have finished 5th at the wheel of the car in a final at Brands Hatch in December 1954.

Comet, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Brian found employment at de Havilland alongside future Lotus designer Maurice Philipe, future Lotus driver Alan Stacey, the Costin brothers Frank and future Cosworth partner Mike, and Brian Hart who would also make an enviable name for himself in the field of race engine production.

Soon after in 1953 Brian and Charles began construction of their second car, today’s featured Comet, named after the the jet powered de Havilland airliner.

Comet, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

With machining help from fellow 500 F3 racer Don Parker in it’s original form the Comet featured Kieft castings and wishbone suspension at the front, with swing axles and bungee cord springs on the rear.

The Comet was developed up until 1958; receiving a Norton engine in 1955, glass fiber body in 1956 and at some point a rear transverse spring, as had been employed by Cooper since 1946, replaced the bungee cords at the back.

Comet, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Construction of a Comet II was started, but never completed, both Comet’s were sold on in 1964 to Brixham Lifeboat Coxwain Arthur Curnow who entered the Comet for Ivor Churchill to race.

Since then the Comet, seen in these photographs at Race Retro, has been restored twice; by Sandy Skinner who fitted the JAP engine along with a new aluminium body in the early 1980’s and by Neil Hodges for Peter Becker in 2003, today the Comet belongs to and is run by James Gray.

Thanks for joining me on this “Not A de Havilland” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the first of this month’s series of cars that ran in the Indianapolis 500. Don’t forget to come back now !