Tag Archives: K1

Patent Monocoque – Killeen K1

Over the last couple of weeks I have been looking at the three MG powered Kayne Specials built by Colin Cooper, today’s extraordinary Killeen K1 is an MG powered special of which from 1979 to 1985 Colin became the seventh owner.

Killeen K1, Donington Park

The Killen K1 was the brain child of Tom Killeen who during World War 2 was serving on an RAF base, on the island of Malta, now the site of the Maltese national football stadium, where he was impressed by the rugged strength and easy maintenance of the Supermarine Spitfire aircraft which operated there.

In 1950 Tom designed the Killeen K1 using a similar monocoque construction technique to that used in the Spitfire, using three equally spaced steel ‘hoops’ around which Tom attached Hiduminium alloy sheets to end up with a structure that was lighter and more rigid than the traditional ladder or space frame type chassis that were prevalent at the time. This type of monocoque construction which was by no means the first time it had been used in a racing car, that honour is thought to belong to the 1915 Cornelian Indy Car, the K1 just predates the semi monocoque D-Type Jaguar of 1954 and preempted the Lotus 25 by a full decade.

Tom Killeen took out a patent on his design in 1952 and proceeded to build the car with independent front suspension and de Dion rear and an stage two MG XPAG for his friend Jack Newton who subsequently raced the K1 in 1953. In 1954 Tom acquired a special motor for the K1, from John Thornely of MG, that had been built for the 1954 MG EX-179 speed record project. Colin found that this motor featured a separated cylinder head cooling system that was sealed at the top of the engine block.

Killeen K1, Donington Park

Tom Killeen who is known to have worked for Jensen’s from at least 1947 to 1965 is known to have designed at least 19 vehicles including motorcycles all built or to have been built with monocoque structure.

More detailed information and photographs on the Killeen K1, which now resides in New Zealand, and the work of Tom Killeen can be found on Bob Allans’ Killeen dedicated website linked here.

My thanks to Colin Cooper, who is seen at the wheel of the Killeen K1 at Donington above, for sharing some of the stories behind the cars he has owned and built and to Bob Allan who helped me get in touch with Colin.

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


Coffee, Croissant, Vintage & Classic – Avenue Drivers Club

The Avenue Drivers Club was formed in 2009 by a small group of enthusiasts of cars that will do at least 100 mph and the Avenue Café on Queen Square, Bristol. Every second Sunday of the month they meet at 9 am at Queen Square for coffee and a chat.

Talbot 10/23, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

Being Bristol the 100 mph criteria is not strictly adhered to, as I found out yesterday when I was pleasantly surprised to find several interesting Vintage vehicles, like this 1925 Talbot 10/23, which would struggle to reach that 100 mph speed under their own steam.

The BSA Ten, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

Like wise The BSA Ten powered by a twin cylinder air cooled engine from 1925/26 would struggle to reach 100 mph and if it did the owner would not know about it as his speedometer fell out on the way over to the meeting.

Morris Cowley, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

Not too sure what the function of these accessory is it appears to shine red yellow or green lights forwards and rearwards and one was mounted either side of a 1933 Morris Cowley. If you know what purpose these lights were designed for please chime in below.

Austin 10/4 Ripley Sports, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

GALPOT regulars may remember this Austin 10 choking on a clothes peg from an earlier blog, turns out the full name for the car is Austin 10/24 Ripley Sport. This car is thought to have been first owned by the Debyshire County Constabulary in black.

MG, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

Despite my many recent Tuesday MG blogs I have not yet been able to establish exactly what model MG this nifty little 1936 racer is, if you know please chime in below.

Bristol 403, MG, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

In the running for car of the day was this absolutely immaculate 1953/55 Bristol 403, the condition of this car really has to be seen in the flesh to be believed, I can imagine this car will still be turning heads in 60 years time.

Austin Gipsey, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

Another vehicle falling into the sub 100 mph bracket was this 1962 Austin Gipsy a would be competitor to the otherwise ubiquitous Land Rover this one with a 110″ wheelbase. There was also an immaculate Series One Land Rover and an early ‘proper’ Range Rover in attendance.

Triumph TR5PI, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

Representing Triumph was a 2000, 2500PI a GT6 and this 1966/67 TR5PI which rather took my fancy.

Aston Martin DBS, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

At the more powerful end of the scale was this 1969/70 Aston Martin DBS, with an even more powerful Ferrari 365 GTB/4 parked up behind it.

Fisher Fury, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

Among many things I learned yesterday was the existence of Fisher cars, I mistook this for a Ginetta G4, it is actually a Fisher Fury powered by a 1 litre / 61 cui motorcycle motor.

Attack K1, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

Car of the day was without doubt this K1 Attack, another vehicle I had never heard of before which originates from Slovakia and is powered by a Honda Type R engine. Sundays blog will reveal more about this car. Only 4 are thought to exist in the UK and this is the only one with RHD.

Lenham ALFA Romeo, Avenue Drivers Club, Queens Sq, Bristol

At the end of the meeting which lasted a very short 3 hours David Roots, who told me about the Avenue Drivers Club a couple of weeks ago kindly gave me a highly entertaining ride home ‘aboard’ his unique Lenham ALFA Romeo.

My thanks to David and everyone else who brought out their pride and joy I simply did not have time to include in today’s blog, can’t wait for the next meeting on the second Sunday in May.

Thanks for joining me on this Coffee, Croissant, Vintage & Classic edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l pscho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

12 04 12 Errata I originally had the cool white car down as a Attack K1, it’s actually a K1 Attack and it is not powered by a motor cycle engine but a Honda Type R, apologies to all concerned.


The Alpine Job – Allard K1 #156

One of the cool aspects of The Italian Job (1969) is that it features 3 Mini get away cars one Red, one White and Blue.

On my recent visit to the Haynes International Motor Museum I was surprised to learn that the idea of continental forays in three patriotically colour co-ordinated vehicles was not born in the ‘Swinging 60’s’ but rather dates back to at least 1947 when Allard entered three cars for the Alpine Rally one Red one White and one Blue.

David Hooper tells me that two of the cars used in this event chassis 156 seen here and 595 left the factory painted blue so presumably chassis 595 was repainted white especially for the Alpine event.

Allard K1, Haynes IMM

The model used by Allard on the Alpine adventure was the K1 fitted with a British built 3622 cc / 221 cui 85 bhp side valve Ford V8 with aluminium cylinder heads and twin carburetors, not to be confused with the externally visually similar 100 bhp 3917 cc / 239 cui Mercury V8 from the WW2 Universal Carrier known as the Bren Gun Carrier with which the Allard brothers had worked during the war and supplied as standard with the Allard J2 model.

Allard K1, Haynes IMM

The K1 chassis featured independent front suspension, Marles steering gear and hydraulic brakes.

Allard K1, Haynes IMM

Production of the Allard K1 ran from 1946 to 1948 with 151 examples built, though thanks to a rushed order an early K2 chassis, #1703, one K2 was delivered with a K1 body. Meaning there were actually 152 K1 bodied vehicles and only 118 K2 bodied vehicles built.

Allard K1, Haynes IMM

[Photo courtesy David Hooper]

Leonard Potter drove this particular vehicle, the only one of the 3 1947 Alpine team cars in original unrestored condition, to fifth place in class in the 1947 Alpine Rally despite a damaged front. There were no overall awards in this event until 1952 if there had been Potter would have been classified no better than 17th.

The remaining two cars did not fair so well Goff Imhoff in the white car (which according to some sources is described simply as pale) won a trophy on the manoeuvrability test at Aix but ultimately retired with a gearbox problem, while Maurice Wick retired with a big end failure.

My thanks to David Hooper for his photograph and recollections, to Colin Warnes of the Allard Registry along with David McKinney, Allan Lupton, Tim Murray, Peter Stowe, and Richard ‘Vitesse2’ Armstrong of The Nostalgia Forum, for rifling through a library of information that I can only dream of accessing.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Alpine edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for a visit to an interesting collection of cars in Calne. Don’t forget to come back now !

22 06 11 mikeC has kindly confirmed that the Allard team cars were definitely red, white and blue on the 1947 Alpine Rally.