Tag Archives: Len

Aim Sure – MG PA Supercharged Sports #P 0522

Len Miller an aviator who lied his way into the RAF in 1942 by telling them he was a plumber, rather than reserved occupation marine engineer, purchased today’s featured MG PA, after meeting Guy Gibson, leader of the ‘dam busters’, in 1943 who drove an MG J2.

MG PA, Race Retro

Len used to ferry his six crew mates, one on each corner one on the bonnet and one in the passenger seat across the airfield out to his 15 Squadron, motto “Aim Sure”, Lancaster Bomber during the 1939 – ’45 war.

MG PA, Race Retro

In 1944 Len had to eject from his Lancaster at 20,000 ft, he lost and regained consciousness in time to open his parachute and landed well behind enemy lines in Germany.

MG PA, Race Retro

His one man escape through Germany, occupied France into neural Switzerland is documented in the book “Bomber Squadron, the men who flew with 15 Squadron”.

MG PA, Race Retro

Many years later this car was damaged after a roof collapsed across the radiator and bonnet during the Great Storm of 1987 on the night of the 15th/16th October 1987.

MG PA, Race Retro

Repairs started a restoration which included replacing the cracked engine block, and the original seats with the Collingburn seats.

MG PA, Race Retro

Soon after the restoration was completed the motor was fitted with a side mounted Arnott supercharger.

MG PA, Race Retro

Len kept today’s featured car, which still bears 15 Squadron decals on the rear mudguards / fenders, for 59 years until his death in 2002. It fetched £36,500 at the Race Retro Silverstone Auction soon after it was photographed for this blog.

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


Choice Of Champions – Lotus 49B #R10 & #R12

The story of the Lotus 49 in all of it’s guises is inextricably linked to the one component that was a decade ahead of it’s time the Ford DFV motor, which did not win it’s last race until 1983 and was still being used in 1985 running against turbocharged powered cars.

Lotus 49B, Goodwood, FoS

The Lotus 49 was originally built to compete in the 1967 Formula One season for drivers Jim Clark and Graham Hill. Colin Chapman had arranged for Ford to finance the building of the 3 litre / 183 cui Ford Cosworth V8 engine which like the BRM H16 Colin had used in 1966 was to be used as an integral component of the chassis, ie, if you take the motor out of the car the rear wheels would no longer be connected to the rest of the car sufficiently to be able to even push it.

Lotus 49B, Goodwood, FoS

The Lotus 49 design, credited to Maurice Phillipe, was based on the 1965 Indy winning Lotus 38 which Len Terry is credited with being responsible for. Jim Clark drove the Lotus 49 to a debut win in the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix. The Type 49 in all it’s guises won 12 Grand Prix in total the last a lucky last lap win at the 1970 Monaco Grand Prix with Jochen Rindt at the wheel.

Lotus 49B, Donington Park Museum

These air ducts, introduced on the 49B in 1969, allowed air to pass through the radiator and escape over the top of the car, where as on the original car the air had passed through the nose cone and out the sides of the car ahead of the front suspension units.

Lotus 49B, Goodwood, FoS

Producing around 400 hp when it first became available, Colin Chapman had an advantage over every other car in the field with the light and reliable Cosworth DFV which had years of development ahead of it that would see it’s output reach just short of 500 hp in 1985. Unfortunately, for Colin Chapman, realising that they needed to be seen running against other competitive teams Ford renegade on it’s exclusive deal with Lotus at the end of 1967 and allowed Ken Tyrrells Matra team to use Ford engines as well in 1968. By the mid 1970’s only Ferrari and BRM were the only regular runners not using Cosworth DFV’s.

Lotus 49B, Donington Park Museum

In 1968 Brabham and Ferrari copied the high aerofoil concept first seen on the Chaparral 2E Can Am car in 1966 and on the 1967 Chaparral 2F in the World Prototype championship, a month later the Lotus 49B with new rear hubs to carry the 400 lbs of downforce generated by the rear wing appeared at the French Grand Prix.

Lotus 49B, Donington Park Museum

This photo shows clearly how big an issue rear grip was back in 1968 not only is their a rear wing but the Hewland gearbox is surrounded by a large oil tank in an effort to distribute as much weight to the rear of the car as possible to improve road holding.

Lotus 49B, Donington Park Museum

The inverted aeroplane wing shape and light construction of the rear wing can be seen here, in 1969 similar wings were attached to the front hubs as well, but two bad accidents caused by collapsing wings for Lotus Team mates Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt led to these devices being strictly controlled from the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix on.

Lotus 49B, Donington Park Museum

So far as I can tell the chassis seen here, in the first, second and forth photo’s, at Goodwood is #R10. Chassis R10 was probably the original 49 #R5 which for reasons that are not clear was renumbered.

While carrying the #R5 chassis plate the car was raced in his second world championship winning year by Graham Hill to win the 1968 Monaco Grand Prix, #R10 was subsequently used by 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti to win pole for his first Grand Prix start in the 1968 US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.

Future 1970 champion Jochen Rindt was the first to use running with a 2.5 litre / 152.6 cui version of the Ford Cosworth DFV. Jochen won two Tasman Championship races in #R10.

Reigning 1968 World Champion Graham next used #R10 to win the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix. The following season Graham was driving the Lotus 49 #R7 for the privateer Rob Walker team which he crashed beyond immediate repair during practice at Monaco. Fortunately Lotus number 2 driver John Miles had failed to qualify for the race in #R10 and so it was hastily repainted in Rob Walkers colours the night before the race for Graham to drive. He finished 5th despite having broken his legs in the 1969 season ending US Grand Prix driving the same chassis just 7 months earlier !

1972 & 1974 double world champion Emerson Fittipaldi made his Grand Prix debut in Lotus Ford 49 #R10, at the British Grand Prix in 1970.

Finally the first race I ever recall seeing on TV was the 1968 British Grand Prix which was led by first Graham Hill, then his team mate Jackie Oliver before being won by Jo Siffert all three were driving Lotus 49 B’s Jo’s being the odd one out being entered by Rob Walker, who GALPOT regulars may recall had a lot of success running Stirling Moss in his Lotus 18 during the early 1960’s. Jo’s victory was the last to be recorded by a private entrant in a ‘customer’ non works customer car.

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

24 04 12 PS Tim Murray has kindly pointed out that I originally incorrectly attributed the design of the Lotus 49 to Len Terry when it should have been Maurice Phillipe, apologies for any confusion. If you see an error of fact anywhere in GALPOT blogs please do not hesitate to inform me in the comments box. Thanks to Tim for the correction.

03 08 12 Serious Errata further reading of Micheal Olivers “Lotus 49 the story of a Legend” has shown that the car which is seen in the 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th photo’s above at the Donington Collection is actually chassis #R12 and not chassis #R10 as seen in the 1st, 2nd 4th photo’s above, there are several distinguishing features which should have made this obvious at the time I originally posted this blog including the black ‘Lotus Ford’ lettering on the nose various decals and the chrome exhaust at the rear !

Chassis R12 was built up as a show car, for the Ford Motor Company, using the floor from the Lotus 49B R6/1 which was crashed by Jackie Oliver at the 1968 French Grand Prix. Built as a non runner chassis #R12 is consequently the only Lotus 49 which has never been raced, it was donated to Tom Wheatcroft’s Donington Collection when Ford no longer had a use for it.

Sincerest apologies for this error.


Taxi Driver – Jim Robbins Eagle Ford T/C Mk 2

Continuing GALPOTS potted history of the Indianapolis 500 Ed’s photos shown here today were taken in 1969, when Ed Arnaudin took the opportunity to get good and close to the Jim Robbins team again.

Indy69 001s

The driver of the #67 Eagle Ford is Lee Roy Yarbrough, not related to Cale Yarborough, from Jacksonville, Florida.

Lee Roy is said to have won his first race at 19 at a local dirt track and progressed through the NASCAR Sportsman Division with 11 wins and onto Modifieds where he won 83 features in 3 years.

On reaching the top Grand National Division, today called Sprint Cup he won 14 races from 198 starts over 12 years. His best season was 1969 7 wins, including Darlington, Charlotte and both races at Daytona, from 31 starts in the seasons 54 races. Many retirements due to engine failure kept him out of the title hunt won by David Pearson.

Lee Roy made just three starts in the ‘Indy 500’ in ’67 ’69 and ’70 his best finish was in 1970 when he completed 107 laps and retired with turbo failure and was classified in 19th place.

His career, as were several others,was adversely affected by the withdrawal of Ford from competition and Yabrough disappeared from NASCAR after failing to secure a ride for the Daytona 500 in 1973, he was eventually admitted to a mental hospital where a fall inflicted a fatal traumatic brain injury aged 46.

#67 Lee Roy Yarbrough 1969s

Jim Robbins turned up at the Brickyard in 1969 with three vehicles the #10 and #27 Vollstedts and the #67 Eagle Ford Mk 2, seen here, a design inspired by UK free lance design consultant Len Terry. This vehicle appears to be one of several built in 1968, though at this stage I do not know it’s exact history prior to the 1969 race.

After Denny Zimmerman failed to get the #67 up to speed in 1969 Lee Roy Yarbrough moved over from his ride in the #27 Vollstedt to qualify 8th for the Indy 500, during the race a turbo pipe broke sending him into retirement and a final classification of 23rd.

Indy69 008s

All of Jim Robbins 1969 entries were powered by turbocharged Ford engines, a turbocharger had first been used at Indy in 1952 on the Cummins Diesel.

With the arrival of the normally aspirated 4,195 cc / 255 cui Ford V8’s in 1963, several Offenhauser powered teams turned to supercharging smaller 2,752 cc / 168 cui motors to remain competitive in 1965, following the lead set by Novi some years earlier.

A couple of Offenhauser powered vehicles had mechanically more efficient turbochargers fitted to these smaller motors in place of the superchargers in 1966. Bobby Unser drove his Eagle Offy to the first turbocharged victory at Indianapolis in 1968.

In 1969 Ford also went the smaller capacity turbocharged route and only three cars in the 33 car field of ’69 did not have smaller 168 cui engines with turbochargers fitted.

Note how the large turbocharger air intake on the left rear of the #67 is rearward facing so as to avoid the problems experienced by the Cummins Diesel turbocharger in 1952 which sucked up so much debris from its front facing turbo air intake that the turbines terminally failed on lap 40.

I’d like to thank Steve Arnaudin for scanning today’s photographs and Amphicar at The Nostalgia Forum for his help in identifying the car.

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


Austin Healey Sebring Sprite

The Austin Healey ‘Sebring’ Sprite name refers to any Austin Healey Sprite with front disc brakes and more recently to any Sprite with Coupé or Fastback bodywork.

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Following a change in the sports car regulations in 1960 which allowed special bodies, rally and racing driver John Sprinzel commissioned Williams & Pritchard to build 6 aluminium bodied Sprites with coupé bodywork between Dec 1960 and May 1961.

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This 1960 vehicle purchased new by Cyril Simson started life as a standard Austin Healey Sprite registered YLN13, Cyril changed the registration to S221 and raced it as part of Team 221 with two other sprites H221 and X221.

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Paul Hawkins drove it to victory at Aintree and S221 was part of the Sprinzel Sprite Team that took team honours at the Nurburgring.

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Originally powered by a 43 hp 948 cc / 57 cui motor this particular unit, prepared by Janspeed, was shown to be delivering over 85 hp at the recent Race Retro exhibition.

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For 1961 the car was prepared by John Sprizel and it was one of the six Sprinzel cars sent to Williams & Pritchard to be fitted with a aluminium coupé body.

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The car was then driven in practice by Stirling Moss for the Sebring 4 hours who promptly stripped the clutch and transferred to another team car after repairs were made Pat Moss & Paul Hawkins drove S221 in the four hour race. S221 was then prepared again overnight for Cyril and Paul Hawkins to drive in the Sebring 12 Hours where they came in 37th.

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In August 1961 S221 was sold to Peter Clark and it was reregistered and rolled at the Karrussel on the Nurburgring. The car was repaired and an extended fast back body was fitted by Peel Coach works.

The longest term owner of this vehicle Colin Pearcy had Len Pritchard make a new alloy rear end and coupé top and most recent owner Chris Clegg reunited the car with its S221 registration and has driven it competitively for several years with Archers Motors taking care of the race preparation.

My thanks to Janspeed who facilitated the photo’s of the engine and interior.

Hope you have enjoyed to days Sebring edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !