Tag Archives: Kieft

Brynfan Tyddyn Winner – Kieft CK52

After a brief and unsuccessful attempt at hillclimbing in a Marwyn 500 Swansea born Cyril Kieft ended up buying the Marwyn company when it folded.

8 or 9 Kieft Mk 1’s incorporating Marwyn parts and ideas were manufactured for the 1950 season with the works teams greatest achievement being the capture of 13 records in the 350cc and 500 cc class at Monterey using Norton Engines and with Stirling Moss, Ken Gregory (Moss’ manager) and Jack Neill doing the driving.

Stirling and Ken had plans to build their own 500 Formula 3 car to beat the predominant Coopers for 1951, but were short of finance.

Kieft CK52, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

When they approached Cyril with the idea of employing Ray Martin to design and build a car to Stirling’s specifications Cyril agreed and with Stirling aged just 21 and Ken as co directors Kieft Car Construction Ltd, a new entity, was founded in Wolverhampton.

The CK51 with a Norton engine was an immediate success with Moss scoring a debut win, 27 seconds ahead of Alan Brown’s Cooper Mk V at Goodwood in May 1951, unfortunately Stirling’s growing list of commitments elsewhere meant the main beneficiary of the new Kieft would be Don Parker.

After testing Stirling’s prototype Kieft Don bought a Kieft CK51 and incorporated many of his own idea’s into it. With his personalised Kieft Don won the 1952 Autosport Formula 3 Championship, Light Car Challenge and Veterans Trophy and the national title again in 1953 missing out on a hatrick by just one point to Les Leston in 1954.

Kieft CK52, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

Ironically while Don Parker was clocking up 30 wins during the 1953 season Stirling concluded that the Cooper Mark IV was a better bet than the Kieft CK52, like the one seen in these photographs, and he resigned as director of Kieft as a result.

This particular car was sold to Dick Irish of Cleveland Ohio who raced it to numerous victories the most notable of which was the Brynfan Tyddyn Challenge Cup run over a road course north of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Kieft moved on to building Formula 2 cars in 1953 and aborted Formula One project intended for the 1954 season.

Kieft CK52, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

Don Parker kept faith with Kieft until 1956 when he too inevitably bought a Cooper.

Today’s featured car returned to the UK in 2005 and after it was restored was raced by Nigel Ashman who drove it to the 500cc Owners Association Club Championship title in 2010.

Thanks for joining me on this “Brynfan Tyddyn Winner” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. 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 !


Killed By Speculation – Kieft Climax GP

Kieft built up an enviable reputation, with the help of Stirling Moss, in the 500 cc / 32.5 cui Formula 3 series when in 1953 it decided to build a Formula One car for the new 2.5 litre / 152 cui rules that were to be introduced in 1954.

Kieft Climax, Gregory Snape, Goodwood Revival,

Alongside British entrants Cooper and HWM, Kieft built their car around a new V8 “Godiva” motor which Coventry Climax were proposing to sell to prospective customers.

Coventry Climax V8 Godiva, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

The new Coventry Climax FPE Godiva motor produced around 240 hp in early tests, but soon afterwards word got out in the press that Ferrari’s new motor was producing 260 to 270hp.

Coventry Climax V8 Godiva, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone,

On hearing this both Cooper and HWM began looking else where for motors while Kieft had already manufactured 2 chassis for the Godiva before Coventry Climax cancelled the project and Cyril Kieft sold the unraced car on and moved completely out of the motor racing business.

Kieft Climax, Gregory Snape, Goodwood Revival,

The Climax FPE Godiva project including all the spares was sold on in the 1960’s, one three litre / 183 cui version was built for the Shannon Grand Prix car which nearly completed a lap of the 1966 British Grand Prix, while another of similar capacity was used by ‘Doc’ Merfield in his Ford Cortina Mk II until he fell ill.

The car was eventually restored and fitted with the Godiva motor seen here by Bill Morris, a notable ERA restorer, and was entered into it’s first race 48 years late in 2002 with the 89 year old Cyril Kieft in attendance.

The car seen at Goodwood Revival with Gregory Snape at the wheel was sold in September 2012 for GB£ 185,000.

When the cars came out for the new Formula in 1954 it was believed the race winning Maserati 250F had around 240hp, the Ferrari 553 Squallo around 260 in a completely useless chassis and the championship winning Mercedes W196’s upwards of 270 hp approaching 290 by the seasons end.

Thanks for joining me on this “Killed By Speculation” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for “Maserati Monday”. Don’t forget to come back now !