Tag Archives: Humber

Classics @ Autumn Classic – Castle Combe

Today’s post looks at some of the non combatants seen at Castle Combe’s Autumn Classic meeting a couple of weeks ago.

Wolseley Hornet, Crayford, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

The story behind the 57 1966 Wolseley Hornet Crayford convertibles has all the makings of a great movie seeing as it involves a global baked bean brand, an exclusive deal with a company operating out of two private garages in London and a nudist colony, the rest of the details will have to wait for a future blog.

FIAT 850 Coupé, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

At my very first race meeting out in Zambia one of the more unlikely competitors drove a FIAT 850 Coupé like the 1969 example above on the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club stand.

Aston Martin DB Mk III FHC, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

The 1959 Aston Martin Fixed Head Coupé with a Tickford notch body is an extremely rare vehicle, only five were ever built.

Daimler Dart SP 250, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

If I had any spare cash I’d be seriously tempted to buy this 1963 Daimler SP250 which has just 38,000 miles on the clock, if you would like to become it’s fifth owner I have the contact details of the vendor.

Humber Sceptre Estate, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Slightly out of period was this 1976 Humber Sceptre based on a design first seen in 1967. The Sceptre Estate first seen in 1974 was one of the earliest UK station wagons to feature a light in the loading area and a rear screen wiper, the Humber name disappeared under Chrysler UK’s post 1976 branding strategy.

Bristol 450, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

One car I have been waiting see first hand for some time is the sole remaining Bristol 450 belonging to Simon Draper, I believe this car finished 7th over all and first in the 2 litre class at the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours. The prize money from the teams success was donated to victims of the 1955 Le Mans disaster after the team withdrew from the sport having scored two consecutive Le Mans class victories.

Triumph Dolomite, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

A nice quiz question what is the connection between all of the vehicles in this photograph ? Answer Donald Healey who was responsible for the Austin Healey’s in the back ground and the Hudson Terraplane inspired 1937 Triumph Dolomite Saloon in the foreground.

Lotus IX, Mike Marsden, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Former Concorde wind tunnel engineer and Historic Lotus Register Lotus Mk IX registrar Mike Marsden is seen above in his 1955 Lotus Mk IX which he has owned since 1967.

Morris Mini Cooper S, Dave Foster, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Dave Foster is seen coming into the pits above in his immaculate 1965 Morris Mini Cooper S which he has driven in competition for the last decade clocking up 10,000 competition miles.

Horstman 4 Seater, Trevor Turpin, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Until the Autumn Classic I’d never heard of a Horstman, it turns out they made nearly 3,000 vehicles just down the road in Bath between 1915 and 1929. These days Horstman, which patented a torsion bar suspension system for tracked military vehicles in 1922, continues to specialise in suspensions for military vehicles. The 1923 Horstman above is believed to have belonged to the companies founder Sidney Horstmann OBE.

FIAT Isotta Fraschini, Mike Vardy, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

In 1905 FIAT drew up plans for a world land speed record car which was to have two in line four cylinder motors producing upto 200 hp. The car never got built but nearly 20 years ago Graham Rankin undertook to build the car anyway. 13 years later he sold the unfinished project complete with a WW1 surplus 250hp Isotta Fraschini 16.5 litre / 1014 cui 6 cylinder aero motor to Mike Vardy who spent another seven years completing the FIAT Isotta Fraschini. Mike appeared to have great fun hanging the tail out on some parts of the circuit during his demonstration.

White Whistling Billy, Robert Dyke, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe

Finally last year I saw this recreation White Sprint Car at Race Retro, this year I finally got to see Dr Robert R. Dyke driving it at speed, only 60% of the boilers potential pressure was used but it still moved at an impressive speed given that it only has 2 x twelve inch brake drums on the rear axle.

Thanks for joining me on this “Classics @ Autumn Classic” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a limited edition Hemi Challenger. Don’t forget to come back now !


Cars, Buses and Aeroplanes – Brooklands Museum

Late last year my appetite was whetted by the William Boddy Tribute Day at Brooklands for a second visit to the museum.


Brooklands lays claim to being the Worlds first purpose built motor circuit, it was the built, along with one of the Englands first purpose built airfields by Hugh Locke King on 330 acres of his estate at Weybridge in Surrey.

Halford, Brooklands

Among the many innovative exhibits is the Halford Special built on an Aston Martin chassis with a Halford 6 cylinder motor designed and built by Major Frank B Halford with a turbo charger in 1925. The turbocharger did not prove to be successful and was eventually replaced by a super charger with which the Halford Special recorded at least three wins at Brooklands. Halford was responsible for designing the air cooled de Havilland Gypsy and working on the Napier Sabre piston aircraft engines and the de Havilland Goblin ‘Gas Turbine’ jet engine.

Humber 14/40, Brooklands

I’m not sure if this late 1920’s Humber 14/40 is an exhibit or someones daily driver, it was one of numerous vehicles that are obviously still in regular use dotted around the museum.

Morgan, Brooklands

Above The Clive Lones Morgan was used by Clive at Brooklands from 1929 to 1935 winning 37 world records during that time, it was the first ‘Light Car’ to lap Brooklands Outer Circuit at an average speed of 100 mph in 1930. This car was also used in an experiment to test the viability of pits to driver radio contact, the loudspeakers eventually proved unequal to the task of competing with the noise from the JAP motor.

Napier Railton, Brooklands

The Napier Railton was comissioned by John Cobb in 1933, designed by Reid Railton with a 24 litre / 1461 cui 500 hp W12 Napier Lion motor the car was driven to the all time lap record at Brooklands in 1935 of 143 mph. It broke 47 World Records at Brooklands, Montlhéry and Bonneville Salt Flats. Capable of 168 mph the Napier Railton, which is regularly driven at Brooklands and Goodwood events, has rear wheel brakes only !

AEC Regent One, Brooklands

Brooklands is also home to the London Bus Museum which houses a splendid collection of public transport vehicles that have graced the streets of London for over 100 years. Above an early double deck 1933 AEC Regent 1 that was converted into a single deck use for attending break downs from 1949 until 1971. Apparently in double deck form it was hit by a flying bomb in 1944 and rebuilt as a double decker only to be rebuilt as a single decker.

Wellington, Brooklands

Flying has been apart of Brooklands history since 1907, AV Roe started trials with his first planes at Brooklands in 1908 during the Great War the Sopwith Pup and Camel were developed at Brooklands and during the Second World War Hawker Hurricane fighters and Vickers Wellington Bombers like the one above were built at Brooklands. Apparently my Grand Mother was involved in pre assembling parts for Wellington’s often bringing home parts which my Dad and Uncle helped put together after school. This is the only surviving Wellington built at Brooklands, it was recovered from Loch Ness in the 1980’s after some Loch Ness Monster hunters found her.

AEC Militant Mk 1, Brooklands

Miss Milly Tant is a six wheel drive AEC Militant built for the British Army in 1954, she spent most of her time in storage and was sold off as surplus to London Transport in 1966. Converted with to a Master Breakdown Tender with a ten ton lifting capability by Boughton’s of Amersham she was used by London Transport until 1980. In 1983 she was acquired by the National Rescue Group and based at Brooklands and regularly used to attend incidents on the A3 and M25 and has been on loan to Brooklands since the 1990’s.

Vickers VC10, Brooklands

From 1962 to 1970 Vickers manufactured 54 VC10 passenger aircraft at Brooklands. Capable of take off and landing from much shorter airfields than the rival Boeing 707 the VC10 was ideal for flying to Britain’s former colonies in Africa, indeed from 1970 to 1977 I clocked up well over 200,000 miles as a VC10 passenger with BOAC / BA and BUA / British Caledonian flying from London to Lusaka in Zambia. The VC10 was particularly quiet as a result of it’s 4 Rolls Royce Conway engines being mounted beneath the tail plane. The VC10 still holds the subsonic speed airliner record for a London to New York Atlantic crossing with only Concorde being faster.

Meteor, Brooklands

The 4 x 4 1987 Gloster Saro Meteor airport fire engine, above, is powered by a 12 litre / 732 cui motor and served at Heathrow Airport. The Meteor can carry a crew of 4 along with 600 gallons of water 50 gallons of foam concentrate amongst several tons of additional kit required to deal with airport fires.

I look forward to returning to Brooklands and exploring the collections of cars, commercial vehicles and aircraft in greater detail.

Thanks for joining me on this Cars, Buses and Aeroplanes edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


The end of the Edward Turners hemi head V8 – Daimler V8 250

The British Daimler Motor Company was the brainchild of Frederick Simms who bought the UK patent rights to Gottlieb Daimlers engines in 1891. Under the ownership of Harry Lawson the company produced the first Daimler with a Panhard engine and then went on to produce Daimler powered machines in 1897 becoming Britain’s second company to serially produce motorcars after Humber.

From 1898 Daimler supplied official transportation for the Royal Household until 1950 when an recalcitrant transmission led the Royal Family to chose Rolls Royce as it’s transport of choice. From 1910 to 1960 Daimler was owned by by the Birmingham Small Arms Company leading Daimler into various military markets alongside it’s treasured roll as preferred purveyor of motorised transport to the Royal Family.

In 1960 Daimler was sold to Jaguar who needed additional production facilities for it’s growing marque. The Daimler V8 250 was the second series based on the MK II Jaguar powered by Daimlers hemi head V8 engine it was 50 kg lighter and more compact than the competition bred six cylinder Jaguar XK engines. The V8 250 was in production from 1967 – 1969 the vehicle in the photo appears to be a 1969 model and as such represents the end of the line of hemi head Daimler V8 production. From that point on all Daimlers were badge engineered Jaguars.

Wishing Racer 187 a Happy Birthday and plenty of Chief 187’s toasted pumpkin seeds.

Slightly off topic congrats to Kyle Busch on his thrilling Talladega truck victory, glad Ron Hornaday was walked away from his wrecked KHI truck. Condolences to friends and family of Jim Hunter NASCAR’s snr vice president of corporate communications.

Here is hoping Kevin ‘Happy’ Harvick finally gets one over Dangerous Denny Hamlin and goody two shoes Jimmy Johnson in a good clean race at one of my all time favourite tracks.

Thanks for popping by, don’t forget to come back now !