Tag Archives: Jarama

Wife’s New Clothes – Iso Rivolta Lele IR6

Before designing the body for the 2+2 Lamborghini Jarama which I looked at a couple of weeks ago, Bertone’s Marchello Gandini was commissioned to design what was intended to be a one off 2+2 body for an ISO Rivolta IR300.

ISO Rivolta Lele IR6 Sport, Silverstone Classic

Piero Rivolta was so impressed with Gandini’s new design that he had the one off put into production lending his wife’s name to the new ISO Rivolta Lele which was launched in 1969 powered by a Chevrolet V8 tuned to either give 300hp or 350 hp.

ISO Rivolta Lele IR6 Sport, Silverstone Classic

In 1972 after General Motors demanded payment for it’s motors prior to shipping ISO Rivolta switched to using Ford Cleveland motors in it’s Grifo, Fidia and Lele models with the Ford powered Lele becoming the Lele IR6 with 325hp of which 130 were built from 1972 until ISO Rivolta went bankrupt in 1974. Around 20 Lele IR6 models with manual transmissions were built with their Cleveland motors tuned to give 360 hp and these were known as IR6 Sports.

ISO Rivolta Lele IR6 Sport, Silverstone Classic

In all 285 ISO Lele’s, of all types, are thought to have been built including 3 or possibly 4 cars commissioned by Philip Morris for ISO Marlboro F1 drivers Howden Ganley and Nanni Galli along with associated promotions.

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

Brighton Speed Trials Under Threat of Permanent Cancellation !

In their infinite wisdom, Brighton & Hove City Council are seeking to ban the Brighton Speed Trials from 2014.

If you care about speed and or motorsport history, please sign this linked petition to save Brighton Speed Trials in 2014 and beyond.

It’s a faf to Register before signing, but relatively painless compared to loosing the event which has been run with few interruptions since 1905.

You do not need to be resident in Brighton or even the UK to sign.

Thanks and please spread the word through whatever social media you have at your disposal.


Happy Days – ‘Rush’ Snetterton Set

A little departure from the usual Ferrari Friday blog to day but I as you will see not completely un Ferrari related. The last time I visited the former home of the 96th Bombardment Group (H) 8th USAAF was to test my 27hp 2 CV on the Snetterton Circuit in preparation for a 24 hour event in Ireland.


On Tuesday evening I saw a twitter post from the @RealRonHoward to go and visit the set of his current project called ‘Rush’ which is all about the relationship between off track friends and on track rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda which culminated in the tumultuous 1976 season which I have retold from Ferrari and McLaren perspectives in past blogs.

Rush Set - Snetterton

Setting off at 2am I arrived at Snetterton just after 7am to find not very much happening, I even got inadvertently got ushered into the pit area where the crew were grabbing breakfast and sorting themselves out for a tough days shooting. I then made my way to the Bombhole, a corner with a nasty dip marking the apex where I found preparations underway for several scene’s which were to represent the controversial ‘wide vehicle’ 1976 Spanish Grand Prix.

Rush Set - Snetterton

After watching the driver representing John Watson getting in and out of his car numerous times as he retired with a blown motor several cars came round together representing James Hunt in the #11 ‘wide vehicle’ McLaren M23, Jaques Laffite in the #26 Ligier JS5 and Niki Lauda in the #1 Ferrari 312 T2 on the right John Watson’s double can be seen having exited the smokey #28 Penske PC3 for the millionth time that morning.

Rush Set - Snetterton

Among my fellow extra’s I met Jess who thoughtfully brought his copy of the 1976 – 77 Autocourse Annual to make sure Ron was keeping his legendary reputation for details correct.

Rush Set - Snetterton

I was not exactly sure which, from a choice of two, style AGV helmet wore for 1976 Spanish GP,

Rush Set - Snetterton

Looking at Autocourse it was immediately clear Ron was on the button with that particular detail.

Ron Howard, Rush, Snetterton

Somewhere around mid day Ron came over to thank the by now 50 enthusiasts who had managed to come along and soon after we were invited over to the other side of the circuit to watch what was going on in the pits for the next batch of takes representing the 1976 German Grand Prix the one race of the 1976 season where I was present !

Rush Set, Snetterton

Above a shoot is prepared with Guy Edwards #25 Hesketh 308 on rain tyres with Laffites Ligier on slicks as unseen in the pit lane Niki Lauda is about to come out on slicks prior to his near fatal crash on the drying Nurburgring that would take a hefty points advantage out of Lauda’s 1976 season but still left him in with a fighting chance at the 1976 seasons finale.

Rush Set, Snetterton

Ron can be seen above in the passenger seat of the Mitsubishi Evo Camera Car that was probably the best sounding car at Snetterton on Wednesday.

Rush Set, Snetterton

Left to right the Hunt, Laffite and Lauda stand in drivers have a quick break between shoots.

Rush Set, Snetterton

As one wag amongst the enthusiasts noted the Renault Traffic took the wrong option tyres before getting chased down by Niki Lauda in the 1975 Ferrari 312 T, not sure why this car and it’s sister with Clay Regazzoni at the wheel were bereft of any sign writing or sponsors logo’s, perhaps a test session was being reenacted. The cars we saw on Wednesday were all £50,000 50 foot specials designed to look right at a distance at a fraction of the cost of insuring let alone hiring the real cars of the period, many of which still exist and indeed are still raced. Some of the real cars are and have been used for close ups and to get the sound track right.

Rush Set, Snetterton

I was curious as to why the Penske PC3 was selected and not the much sharper and race winning Penske PC4, turns out that John Watson drove the PC 3 for the nearly the entire first half of the 1976 season, another detail the legendary Ron Howard got right for the Spanish Grand Prix sequences.

I understand that Rob Austin was responsible for building the Ferrari 312 T and T2 vehicles, WGK Motorsport the McLaren M23 and Hesketh 308D vehicles and Mirage Motorsport the Ligier JS5 and Penske PC3 vehicles which I believe are powered by Rover V8 motors and were built in just 3 months.

After watching seven hours of watching the set action I reluctantly headed for home, with a renewed appreciation for all the work that goes into making a film on my favorite subject.

Thanks for joining me on this Happy Days edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a Lotus Europa Special. Don’t forget to come back now !


A Big Red Cadillac – Ferrari 126 CK

Taking a one day break from GALPOT’s Indy 500 celebrations, for Ferrari Friday today we are celebrating the life of Gilles Villeneuve, father of 1995 Indy 500 winner and 1998 World Champion Jaques Villeneuve, and Gilles Ferrari 126 CK seen here during practice for the 1981 British GP at Silverstone.

81 07 17 #27 126 CK 054 01sc

The Ferrari 126 CK was a development of Ferrari’s first turbocharged Grand Prix car which was launched in 1980. Featuring a fire breathing 600 hp 1,496 cc / 91 cui 120º V6 twin turbo charged motor and six speed gearbox Villeneuve described this car as a ‘big red Cadillac’ because the chronic turbo lag, ferocious power curve combined with ground effect aerodynamics made this car a real handful to keep under control.

Despite it’s wayward characteristics Gilles pulled off two of the most entertaining victories this writer has ever seen on TV, the first at Monaco (apologies commentary in German) came after Champion elect Nelson Piquet spun off after leading for 51 laps and reigning Champion Alan Jones experienced a fuel feed problem which allowed Gilles to steal a late victory on the one circuit least suited to his cars few strengths.

Two weeks later Gilles pulled off an even more unlikely victory at the equally tight and unsuited Jarama Circuit this time Villeneuve took the lead after 14 laps when reigning Champion Jones spun off. Gilles kept a four car train behind him for the rest of this exciting race by using the Ferrari’s brutal power on the straights to pull away out of the corners, going round the corners his pursuers bunched up time after time but did not have the brute strength to get an edge on the straights.

The finish of the 1981 Spanish Grand Prix was one of the closest in history with the first five cars being separated by 1.24 seconds. Sadly this would be the last time Gilles would take the checkered flag.

By the time Ferrari arrived in Britain they were developing a way to minimise turbo lag by injecting fuel into the red hot turbo exhaust pipe when the throttle was off, as the fuel ignited in the turbo exhaust pipe the pressure difference created between the burning fuel in the exhaust and the turbine wheel mounted upstream caused the turbine wheel to spin faster which in turn increased the turbo boost to the motor so that when the throttle was depressed more power was readily available. In this form whenever the 126 CK was off throttle a lick of flame would appear out of the exhausts.

At some point this system was banned, it being successfully argued by teams using naturally aspirated motors that the turbo afterburner constituted a second engine, when the rules clearly stated only one motor was allowed.

At the British Grand Prix, apologies Austrian commnetary, Gilles qualified 8th and made up five places on the opening lap before loosing it on the apex of the last corner of the first lap. Notice in the clip that despite his totaled car Gilles somehow manages to squeeze another 1/4 lap out of the car before retiring, this guy just did not know how to stop when the chips were down.

Another memorable performance that emphasised Gilles never say die attitude came at the 1981 Canadian Grand Prix where despite his damaged front wing obscuring his vision and adversely affecting the already poor handing of his Ferrari for numerous laps, Gilles kept his car on the black stuff to record an amazing third place finish.

Gilles was killed in an accident during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix, May 8th 1982

Salute Gilles RIP.

Hope you will join me for another edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !