Tag Archives: Lawrence

The Corporation’s 300S – Maserati 300S

If cars had karma one might wonder what on earth today’s Maserati 300S chassis #3060 had been upto in it’s previous life.

Maserati 300S, Goodwood Festival of Speed

#3060 was originally sold to Maserati Corporation of America in October 1955 and the car made it’s debut at the 1956 Sebring 12 hours with Italian Cesare Perdisa and Argentinian Carlos Menditéguy at the wheel.

Maserati 300S, Goodwood Festival of Speed

39 laps into the race the car was retired with accident damage, then on the way back to New York the trailer carrying #3060 was hit by a truck causing further damage.

Maserati 300S, Goodwood Festival of Speed

By 1957 Maserati Corp of America had repaired the car and Dale Duncan drove #3060 to victory on the Little Switzerland Hillclimb at Euraka Springs. A week later Carroll Shelby then drove the car to the first of two consecutive victories first at Caumberland Airport and then a month later at Lime Rock.

Maserati 300S, David Franklin, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Bob Butcher bought the car miway through 1957 and he scored a 2nd at Thompson before hiring Carroll Shelby to drive #3060 in the Road America 500 at Elkhart Lake where he finished 2nd.

Maserati 300S, David Franklin, Goodwood Festival of Speed

It is believed that #3060 passed into the hands of Rallye Motors by 1959 and it is possible that #3060 was scheduled to be driven in the ’59 Sebring 12 Hours by Edwin P. Lawrence and James Cook. However there is at least one other 300S chassis, of a still extant vehicle, that Edwin was driving when he fatally crashed in practice.

Maserati 300S, David Franklin, Goodwood Festival of Speed

During the 1960’s #3060 was seen with a ‘ugly’ fibre glass body allegedly covering the original aluminium body, the chassis was also fitted with a Chevy V8 and GM Auto transmission.

The car was restored in 1991 and fitted with a motor that was assembled from ‘an amalgam of’ parts held by Cameron Miller. 1978 British Hillclimb Champion David Franklin is seen at the wheel of #3060 in these photographs during this years Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Corporation’s 300S” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l pshycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again for a look at a Sultan’s Bugatti tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


£24 Complete Including Packing – Mini Ridgeway Sports Conversion

Soon after starting Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the sleepy little town of Farnham in Surrey close to where I went to school once had a budding motor industry, first by finding out about the Abbots of Farnham Coachworks which amongst other things was responsible for a Fraser Nash BMW body, the bodies of several Bristol’s and several Ford’s, then I found out about the cute little 2 cylinder Carden.

Mini's, Farnham

Today’s story began a couple of weeks ago when I was looking at a facebook page called I Love Farnham Surrey where I stumbled across today’s photo’s of a 1979 gathering of Mini’s in Farnham’s central car park posted by Stephen White.

Mini's, Farnham

I did not notice anything particularly special about the car park behind the bank where I opened my first bank account until the Mini with the special nose caught my attention. It turns out to be a Ridgeway Sports Conversion a £24 fiber glass kit that was marketed by the Ridgeway Rd, Garage in Farnham.

Mini's, Farnham

The garage was owned by a Mr Lawrence who’s son Richard had such a nose on his own Mini as did his Uncle who raced his Ridgeway converted Mini at Eelmor Plain near the Army Training Grounds just outside Aldershot.

Mini's, Farnham

Stephen tells me the meeting was arranged so that he and his friends could go to Donington Park in convoy to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Mini.

I’d like to thank Stephen White for kindly allowing me to use his photo’s and Colin Cole for identifying the Ridgeway Conversion.

Thanks for joining me on this £24 Including Packing edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now.


Suspension by Chris Lawrence – Morgan Aero 8

Up until 2000 the last time Morgan had introduced a new body style was 1964, only 26 glass fibre bodied +4+ cars were built over 4 years and since that time Morgan have successfully focused on improving a design that dates back to 1936.

Morgan Aero 8, Morgan Cars Malvern

In 2000 Morgan launched a genuinely ground up new ‘retro’ design the Morgan Aero 8, a clear nod to Morgan’s successful past with an eye on the future.

Morgan Aero 8, Morgan Cars Malvern

The heart of the Aero 8 was a 325 hp 4.4 litre / 268.5 cui BMW V8, with fake Morgan cam covers, capable of accelerating the car from rest to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of over 170 mph.

Morgan Aero 8, Prescott

The all new aluminium chassis, completely unrelated to the steel ladder chassis of earlier models, was developed with the help of Morgan’s best known racing exponent and tuner Chris Lawrence. Unusually for a vehicle with this kind of performance the chassis and suspension are so stiff that the suspension does not have anti roll / sway bars.

Morgan Aero 8, Prescott

The Aero 8 has since been offered as a limited edition coupé the Aero Max, of which just 100 have been built and the Targa topped Aero SuperSports. Production of these cars is coming to an end at the Morgan factory, in anticipation of a new Morgan 4 wheel model.

An insight into some of the work of Chris Lawrence, who passed away on August 13th, can be found on this link.

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


Sprinzel Lawrence Racing – Morgan And Triumph SLR

Towards the end of 1963 former British Rally Champion and Racing Driver John Sprinzel joined forces with noted engineer and Morgan racer Chris Lawrence, under the Sprintzel Lawrence Racing (SLR) banner, to design and build a sports car based on a Triumph TR4 powered ladder frame Morgan +4, with a similar chassis to the one that Chris had co driven with Richard Shepherd – Barron to a class victory at Le Mans in 1962.

Triumph TR4 SLR

(Triumph TR4 SLR, Photo Courtesy David Lawson)

From what I can gather Triumph racer John Hurrell managed to secure some funding for the SLR team and after seeing Chris Spenders drawings for the proposed Williams and Pritchard built bodywork for the Morgan & Triumph SLR car John asked if a similar SLR body could be fitted to his Triumph TR4 that he had been racing since 1960.

As things worked out the Triumph with a slightly shorter chassis was the first to be taken to Williams and Pritchard to have an aluminium SLR body built around it. Neil Dangerfield is known to have been winning races in this car as late as 1967 and the Triumph SLR went down in the record books as being the last to leave the start line at Goodwood as the scratch entry in the last, handicap, race held at the Circuit before it closed in 1966.

Neil drove the Triumph SLR 31 years later at the request of Lord March on a 3 lap demonstration when the Goodwood circuit was reopened in 2006.

Note the registration SAH 137 was originally issued to a Triumph TR3A owned by Jim Hurrell who transferred the number to the Triumph TR4 that was fitted with the SLR body and later sold it to Neil.

Morgan & Triumph SLR I

(Morgan & Triumph SLR I, Photo Courtesy Bob Bull)

The first of the Morgan SLR’s powered by a Triumph TR4 engine and featuring beefed up hubs along with the benefits of other lessons learned from Chris Lawrence’s Le Mans experience appears to have been built around a 1961 chassis for Gordon Spice a well known figure in British racing circles who eventually built and ran his own Spice Group C cars in the late 1980’s.

After just 3 laps of Goodwood Gordon crashed his new car in 1964, necessitating a complete rebuild making this red car both the first and last of the Morgan chassied SLR’s built. In 1975 then owner Sir Aubery Brocklebank suffered burns after a fuel leak in this car caught fire at Silverstone. The car was subsequently painted fire engine red.

Morgan & Triumph SLR II, Silverstone Classic

(Morgan & Triumph SLR II)

The second Morgan and Triumph SLR was built for Pip Arnold, legend has it that this car was never painted because soon after delivery it was due to be raced at Spa and so the aluminium bodywork was merely polished. In the early seventies this car was caught in a severe garage fire and rebuilt by well known fabricator of racing cars Maurice Gnomm.

Morgan & Triumph SLR III,

(Morgan & Triumph SLR III, Photo Courtesy Bob Bull)

The third car was built for Chris Lawrence himself and set an all time class lap record at the very last race meeting held at Goodwood in 1966. Chris Lawrences old car also won a race during the Goodwood Revival in 2006.

Morgan & Triumph SLR II, III & I, Silverstone Classic

(L-R John Emberson, SLR II, Bill Wykeham, Billy Bellinger, SLR III, Jack Bellinger, Simon Orebi Gann, SLR I, Rick Bourne, Photo Courtesy Richard Gilbert)

All three of the Morgan And Triumph SLR’s were united possibly for the first time ever at the 2010 Silverstone Classic. As John Sprinzel rhetorically asked after seeing these photo’s “They were good looking cars weren’t they?”

From The Nostalgia Forum I’d like to thank David Lawson and Bob ‘Bauble’ Bull for the use of their photographs, Pete Stowe, Kurt O and Sharman for responding to my TNF Triumph SLR thread garyfrogeye for contacting John Sprinzel and Tim of the Willliams and Pritchard website for their kind replies.
Thanks also to Andy Downes and in particular Neil Dangerfield of the tr- register forum for his post on the order in which the cars were built to Richard ‘redmorgan’ Gilbert for the use of his photo, John “sprinty” and Steve N22MOG L and everyone at Talk Morgan who responded to my post.

Thanks for joining me on this SLR edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at an exotic Italian that needs a cool pagoda airbox to cover a big block V8. Don’t forget to come back now !

11 11 11 Post Script John Sprinzel has kindly in formed me that the three Morgan SLR’s first had a reunion at Goodwood several years ago.


Micro Car Massive Performance – Mini Marcos

This particular MK3 Mini Marcos is kit #7198

The Mini Marcos was designed by Desmond ‘Dizzy’ Addicott who might be familiar to film buffs as one of the B17 & B25 pilots used in the film Memphis Belle.

The Mini Marcos was born out of the design for Dizzies DART a modified Morris Mini van acquired for £5.00 with a caved in roof. This car was converted in to the Dart with a fibreglass body. All older Mini Marcos cars are slightly asymmetrical at the rear as a result of the original DART chassis twisting when the roof was cut off.

This particular MK 3 Mini Marcos is kit # 7232.

The DART project was taken over by Jem Marsh of Marcos cars who used the DART to make body moulds for and sold finished fibre glass bodies as kit cars from 1965 – 1970 and again from 1991 – 1996.

The DART also gave rise to the Mini Jem sold by Jeremy Delmar-Morgan which in turn gave rise to the Kingfisher Sprint.

Perhaps the most remarkable story about the Marcos is its brief international competition history at Le Mans where in 1966 Claude Ballot-Lena and Jean Louis Marnat were classified last in 15th place, the car was stolen soon after the race.

The following year the Chris Lawrence / Jem Marsh Mini Marcos was timed at an astonishing 146 mph on the Mulsanne Straight, but did not finish .

Steve Roberts in his Trans XL Mini Marcos set four British Land Speed records at 1 mile, half mile, kilometre and 500 meters for cars up to 1600cc which still stand today.

Wishing everyone a fabulous Friday, don’t forget to come back now !