Tag Archives: Jim

Jimmy Jimmy – Race Retro 2013

Despite the absence of any signs of a thaw to this winter and record fuel prices last weekends Race Retro held at Stoneleigh showed that there are plenty of people looking to have fun on four veteran, vintage and classic wheels powered by internal combustion motors during the season ahead here are some of the highlights.

Lotus Climax 25, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

The central theme for this years Race Retro was the 1963 World Drivers Championship and World Constructors Championship wins for Jim Clark and Lotus. Above is the Lotus Climax 25 chassis R5 with which Jim narrowly failed to win the 1962 Championship thanks to a loose oil plug just twenty laps from home.

Lotus Elan 1500, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Among several other cars that Jim Clark drove, on the Classic Team Lotus stand, was this Lotus Elan 1500 road car which featured with a kilted Jim Clark in a Lotus ad campaign that can be seen in the back ground.

Lotus Ford 79, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Fifteen years after Lotus scored their first world constructors championship Mario Andretti won the 1978 World Drivers Championship and with the help of Ronnie Peterson secured Team Lotus their seventh and final World Constructors Championship with the aid of the Lotus Ford 79. Seen on the Vintage Race Car (Europe) stand above is the Lotus 79 chassis R3 which Mario drove to victory in the 1978 Spanish, French and German Grand Prix and that Jean Pierre Jarrier qualified on pole for the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix.

Lotus Ford 69, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Another interesting Lotus on display was the Lotus 69 Formula Ford car that Tiff Needel won in a competition run by Autosport in 1970. Tiff Needel went on to become a one time Grand Prix Starter in 1980 and sports car racer through until the 1990’s. Tiff will be racing his Lotus 69 with which he started his career at Thruxton’s Easter Revival meeting at the end of March.

Penske Mercedes Benz PC26, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Also on the Thruxton stand was one of the five 1997 Mercedes Benz powered Penske PC26s of the type which Paul Tracey drove to the Penske team’s 99th CART victory at Gateway. That victory would prove to be the last for a car designed and constructed by the Penske Cars workshop in Poole, Dorset, Engand and it would be three years before the Penske Racing would score their 100th victory in the CART Series.

Lola Chevrolet T140, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

On the Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC) stand was another car that was built in the UK at Lola Cars but raced exclusively in the United States Formula A open wheel series in period. This Lola T140 chassis SL140-7 appears to have been purchased from Lola’s US agent Carl Haas by a Honda dealer Jerry Rosbach in 1968 and raced very little before being crashed. It returned to the UK via e-bay and was restored by Hardy Hall restorations to near factory condition for it’s new owner Richard Summers.

WSM MGB, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

When I visited Race Retro for the first time in 2011 I came across a WSM Sprite for the first time. This year the MG Car Club stand featured the unique WSM MGB which like the Sprites features an aluminium body designed by Douglas Wilson Spratt and built by Peels Coachworks.

Rover 2000SC P6, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Polands reigning 1965 European Rally Champion Sobislaw Zasada entered the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally in this Rover 2000SC. Starting from Warsaw his rally came to an end against a rock face just outside Monte Carlo. Subsequently the car was driven by works driver Ann Hall who used it eventually as her daily driver. The car was used to develop the 2000 TC motor and for development of the second generation Rover 2200. It’s for sale if anybody is interested please do not hesitate to get in touch, usual disclaimers apply.

Ratty, Alpine Renault A110 Berlinette, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

In 1973 Alpine Renault claimed the World Rally Championship with the A110 Berlinette models, this particular originally works prepared competition car was acquired by Roger Clark for Pat Moss to drive in the 1973 British RAC Rally Championship. Pat named the car “Ratty” and after the 1973 chamionship it served as a show car before hibernating for 20 years.’Ratty’ was restored to running order by current owner Chris Rabbets of Roadspeed in 2003.

WB91, Time Traveller, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

I’ve been promising myself a trip to Santa Pod for some years now, Bob Hawkins 167 mph small block Chevy sling shot dragster WB 91 Time Traveller was a welcome reminder that I do not have the luxury of travelling back in time and so this year there will be no excuses.

BMC Ford, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

On Jubilee Day last year I managed to find my way to Aldershot Raceway where the #773 BMC Ford Heritage F2 stock car seen above was driven by Nick Whitby, turns out this is a replica of the car his built drove in 1968 with a BMC 1100/ADO16 look alike body and Ford chassis and motor of varying vintages. If you have never been to a stock car race I’d definitely recommend it as a fun day out with the kids the Heritage F2 calender can be seen on this link.

White Whistling Billy, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Finally had a great time talking to steam car enthusiast Dr Robert R. Dyke who has recreated a 120 mph White Sprint Car that used to rip up the dirt tracks in 1905. Nicknamed Whistling Billy the original set a closed track record of 74 mph on the 4th July 1905 of nearly 74 mph with Webb Jay aboard. The car is scheduled to appear at the Sywell Classic Pistons and Props event at the end of September.

My thanks to everyone who enthusiastically contributed to today’s blog at Race Retro 2013.

Thanks for joining me on this “Jimmy Jimmy” 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 Saturday Club – Jaguar XJ220

What better way to show your passion for your work than by attending informal after hours meetings with like minded fellow employees to work on unofficial pet projects ? Such was the enthusiasm of Cheif Engineer Jim Randle and select fellow employees at Jaguar in the 1980’s that their ‘Saturday Club’ generated Jaguars XJ220 super car designed to take on Ferrari, Lambourghini and Porsche in the super car market head on.

Jaguar XJ220

The XJ220 as originally proposed and shown to the public featured a mid mounted quad cam 6.2 litre / 378 cui V12 all wheel drive scissor doors and a projected top speed of 220 mph.

Jaguar XJ220

The XJ220 was further developed into a production model by Jaguar Sport and Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) who ran factory backed racing programmes for Jaguar with the XJS and later XJR models.

Jaguar XJ220

In production guise the XJ220 appeared rear wheel drive and with a smaller but more powerful 3.5 litre / 213 cui twin turbo V6 taken from the MG Metro 6R4 rally programme.

Many customers and above all speculators were not best pleased with the change in specs of the production model and tried unsuccessfully to sue Jaguar for the return of thier deposits. The last XJ220’s were sold for a third of their asking price in 1997, and still fetch a similar price today.

In 1992 works Jaguar racer Martin Brundle recorded a top speed of 212 mph road spec XJ220 which with the catalytic converters removed managed 217 mph at the Nardó Ring in Italy.

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


Jig Free – Lea Francis 30/230

In August 1895 Richard Lea and Graham Francis entered into a partnership to manufacture bicycles, like the another cycle turned motor manufacturer Rover, Lea Francis was based in Coventry. In 1903 Lea Francis manufactured three unconventional vehicles with complex three cylinder motors that were not a success and from 1912 to 1924 the company manufactured motor cycles.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Lea Francis entered motor car manufacture again in 1919 with vehicles using popular Meadows engines, Lea Francis became the first marque to offer a supercharged production car, the Hyper in 1927 and the following year a Hyper won the Tourist Trophy.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The company went bankrupt in the early 1930’s and was revived in 1937 to produce a fresh vehicle designed by former Riley engineer Hugh Rose, the successors to this car proved popular after the second world war in saloon and sports car forms.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Car production ceased again in 1962 since when the company was kept alive by Barrie Price who provided spares and restoration services and occasional new low volume cars. In 1996 father of the Jaguar XJ220 Professor Jim Randle was engaged to design the 30/230 seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The aluminium bodied car was to be powered by a 235 hp 3 litlre / 183 cui V6 Vauxhall (UK GM) motor.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Among the novel features the chassis was made by riveting laser cut aluminium panels, a process that requires no conventional jigs, and a patented active suspension system.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Unfortunately, like the planed Lea Francis Limousine which aimed to fill the niche left by the Daimler DS240, the 30/230 did not go into production.

Thanks for joining me on this Lea Francis edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’. I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be reviewing some of the event’s at this weekend’s Goodwood Revival. Don’t forget to come back now !


Developed by Lotus – Ford Consul Cortina Lotus

It never ceases to amaze me how little I know about motor vehicles despite a lifetimes interest, for example when I took the photo’s featured today, I was sure I was taking pictures of a Lotus Cortina, the clues being the Green Stripe and Lotus badges.

Lotus Ford Consul, Castle Combe C&SCAD

However when I got home I was surprised to find the name plate on the front of the car read ‘Consul’. Thanks to Brian C at the Official Lotus Cortina Register Forum I have found out that the original Lotus Cortinas were badged as Consuls and indeed the car was marketed as the Consul Cortina – Developed by Lotus.

The original Lotus 28, Consul Cortina package based on the 2 door Consul Cortina body launched in 1962, included a 105hp 1558cc / 95 cui twin cam version of the Ford Kent ohv engine as used in the Lotus 23 racing car and Elan production car with a close ratio gearbox also from the Elan.

A unique A frame rear suspension was developed for the Consul Cortina by Lotus that proved so fragile that it was dropped in favour of the Cortina GT semi eliptic rear suspension when the model was upgraded in 1964 and rebadged as the ‘Cortina’ by Lotus.

The boot, bonnet and doors were made in light weight alloy with additional dash gauges, tachometer, oil pressure and water temperature included with a wood-rimmed steering wheel to complete this highly desirable 100 mph saloon car.

The thinking behind this model was that it should be used for racing and works Lotus driver Jim Clark was one of many to drive a Consul Cortina Lotus to victory lane.

All bar one of the original Consul Cortinas designed by Lotus were painted white with a green stripe, one suspicious customer had a dark blue stripe and Ford built several cars for racing painted red. The Consul Cortina by Lotus was not the most reliable of vehicles, the perceived performance bonuses were credited in the publics mind to Lotus while the unreliability problems were credited to Ford much to the latters annoyance.

My thanks to David Roots for his invitation to attend the recent Classic and Sports Car Action Day at Castle Combe and to Brian C at the Lotus Cortina Register Forum for his help identifying today’s featured car.

Thanks for joining me on today’s Consul edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don’t forget to come back now !


Butt Naked – Borg Warner Trophy

To round out my month of May centenary celebration of the first running of the Indianapolis 500 today I’ll be looking at possibly the most coveted prize in all of motor racing, the Borg Warner Trophy seen here in 1960 courtesy of Ed Arnaudin.

Borg Warner Trophy, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

1960 Photo by Ed Arnaudin

The Indianapolis 500 always run on Memorial Day weekend is full of traditions including the early morning explosion that signals the opening of the gates to The Brickyard at 6 am on race morning, the marching of bands starting at 8 am, which includes the Purdue University All American Marching Band who play the worlds biggest drum.

The National Anthem and Invocation are followed by a rendition of Taps in remembrance of the fallen complete with a military flyover.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway/a>

1961 Photo by Ed Arnaudin

Another traditional highlight since 1972 is Jim Nabors accompanied by the Purdue Marching band for a rendition of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana‘ during the performance of which thousands of balloons are released, a tradition that started earlier in 1946.

Then there is the call for the ‘Ladies and Gentleman’ to start their engines in the build up to the race before the pace car laps and first fall of the green flag that gets the race started.

Once the race is won the winner is ushered into Victory Lane and since 1936 in a tradition started by three time winner Louis Meyer the winner drinks milk, Meyer actually drank buttermilk.

Wilbur Shaw a three time Indy winner and President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway who was not partial to milk interrupted the milk drinking tradition from 1947 to 1955 with a bowl shaped trophy filled with iced water for the winner to drink.

Since 1956 milk was reinstalled on the winners menu and only Emerson Fittipaldi, owner of several orange groves, in 1993 has broken the tradition by drinking orange juice. The winner is then photographed with the Borg Warner Trophy a tradition which also started in 1936.

The Borg Warner Trophy was designed by Robert J Hill and Gorham Inc of Providence Rhode Island at a cost $10,000 in 1935. A likeness of all the winners faces back dated to first Indy 500 in 1911 adorns the 52 inch 153 lb sterling silver trophy which had to have its base expanded in 1987 to accommodate the faces of the most recent winners.

Bobby Rahal’s face, sans spectacles unlike Tom Sneva, was the last drivers likeness attached to the original trophy since then likenesses of winners have been attached to the base which was last extended in 2004.

The trophy used to be displayed on the roll bar of the winners car however it is now so large and heavy that it is displayed along side the winners car.

Borg Warner Trophy, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

1960 Photo by Ed Arnaudin

One thing I discovered while preparing this blog and is verified by Ed’s photo is that the flag man atop the trophy is cast as a traditional ancient Greek athlete and is in fact butt naked.

Louis Meyer described winning the Borg Warner Trophy like “winning an Olympic Medal”. Prior to 1988 a 24 inch model of the trophy mounted on a walnut base was given to winners since 1988 winners have been given an 18″ replica during preparations for the following years race.

Also since 1936 the winner of the Indy 500 has taken home the Official Pace car, more on which will have to wait until next year.

Wishing all the competitors in today’s centenary running of the Indy 500 the best of luck.

Evidence provided by Tim Murray shows that as of 2005 the Johnny Parsons spelling error I mentioned in my blog on the Wynns Friction Proofing Special had not been corrected. Apologies for any confusion caused.

Thanks to Steve Arnaudin for the scans of his Dad’s slides also to Tim Murray and B² from The Nostalgia Forum for their help clarifying dates concerning the Borg Warner Trophy.

That concludes what for me has been a fascinating month of May looking at a potted history of the Indy 500, thanks for joining me on today’s ‘Butt Naked’ truth edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


King Of Speed – March 86 C

March Cosworth 86C, Goodwood FoS

This vehicle, seen at Goodwood Festival of Speed, was driven to Victory Lane at the Indy 500 in 1986 by Bobby Rahal in one of the closest three way finishes in Indy history. Bobby beat Kevin Cogan and Rick Mears to the line with the fastest race lap, ever at the time, of 209.153 mph.

11 days after Rahals win his team owner, Jim Trueman, succumbed to cancer.

March Cosworth 86C, Goodwood FoS

The 1986 victory was the first time the Indy 500 had been won in under 3 hours, Rahal completed the distance in 2 hrs, 55 mins, 43.470 secs averaging 170.722 mph breaking a record set by Mark Donohue in 1972.

The March 86 C became a two time Indy 500 winning design the following year when Roger Penske pulled his old March 86 C from a show at the Sheraton Hotel in Reading Pennsylvania so that Al Unser could stand in for an injured Danny Ongais. Starting from 20th Al took his March to his 4th Indy 500 win.

March Cosworth 86C, Goodwood FoS

In the process the March Cosworth combination took its 5th consecutive Indy 500 and Al Unser, who in ’78 had taken the first Cosworth DFX to victory also took the tenth and final Cosworth DFX powered victory at the Brickyard.

March Cosworth 86C, Goodwood FoS

Bobby Rahal went on to become 1986 CART champion a title he retained in 1987 and won for a third time, now as a driver owner in partnership with Carl Hogan, in 1992. In 1984 Bobby made one NASCAR Cup start as a road ringer in the Wood Bros #21 Seven/Eleven Ford at Riverside, qualifying 20th coming in 40th winning $875 for his trouble.

Last year Bobby was spotted at Mallory Park getting some laps in classic Lola and Cooper sports cars. For those with the time a visit to Mallory Park on a Wednesday morning is a must !

March Cosworth 86C, Haynes IMM

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Haynes International Motor Museum and came across a second March 86C, chassis 5, originally driven by Micheal Andretti. Micheal qualified 3rd one spot ahead of Bobby in a #18 Kraco March 86C and came in 6th one lap down at Indy in 1986.

In an open wheel career spanning 1983 – 2007 spent 18 years driving in CART Championship cars, Micheal won the CART Championship in 1991 driving for Newman / Hass and finished 2nd in the Championship 5 times including the 1986 season during which he won 3 times driving a #18 Kraco March.

Andretti has a remarkable record at Indy of leading 431 laps on nine occasions but never winning the race as a driver, however as an owner of the Andretti Green Racing team his cars won the Indy 500 in 2005 with Dan Weldon at the wheel and 2007 with Dario Franchitti at the wheel AGR has also won three IRL campionships with Tony Kanaan 2004, Weldon ’05 and Franchitti ’07.

March Cosworth 86C, Haynes IMM

The car seen above was on pole at Pocono and won at Phoenix International Raceway by a clear lap. This particular vehicle has appeared at Goodwood Festival of Speed driven by owner Nick Mason, and former Indy 500 winners Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan.

Thank you for visiting this King of Speed edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Yellow Submarine – Chaparral 2K

In 1978 Colin Chapman revolutionised Formula One car design by introducing ‘ground effect’ to the upper echelons of open wheel racing with his Lotus 79.

By 1979 many Formula One teams were making copies and variations of the Lotus 79 using curved ‘venturi’ in the side pods between the wheels to gain traction grip by controlling the airflow between the lower surfaces of the car and surface of the road to create lowered air pressure underneath the car which ‘sucked’ the car to the road as it moved, the faster these vehicles were driven the more grip there was available.

800px Chaparral 2 Ks

Photo Dan Wildhirt

When, in 1978, former Taurus Super Vee designer and McLaren draftsman John Barnard was employed to build an Indy Car for Jim Hall and the Chaparral team to replace their Lola T500 Champ Car, Barnard was the first to transfer the latest Formula One thinking to the Brickyard for the Indy 500.

Al Unser Snr qualified the Chaparral 2K 3rd on it’s debut at Indy and then ran away with the race until the transmission failed on lap 104.

The following year Al Unser Snr moved to the Longhorne team who were building a car based on a design by former Super Vee engine builder Patrick Head who’s Williams FW07 design started winning formula one races in 1979 and would win the Formula One World Constructors championships in 1980 and 81.

Indy80 023s

Photo Ed Arnaudin

Johnny Rutherford pictured here alongside Mario Andretti, became the beneficiary of Al Unsers decision to move taking the Chaparral to Victory Lane at the Brickyard in 1980 and onto the PPG Indy Car World Series championship.

In all the Chaparral 2K won six races from 27 starts over three seasons. John Barnard moved back to Formula One with McLaren in 1980 where he introduced the first Carbon Fibre Composite (CFC) chassis into the series, almost all top open wheel series run vehicles using CFC chassis these days, and later in 1989 while working for Ferrari in 1989 he introduced the worlds first paddle shift electronic gear shift mechanism.

Between them Barnard and Patrick Head were the dominant designers during the 1980’s in Formula One interestingly they once worked together for a 46 year old London Taxi driver come racing driver Ronnie Grant on his Formula Super Vee team.

My thanks to Steve Arnaudin for scanning his Dad’s photo.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Yellow Submarine edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !