Tag Archives: Marin

To Act Or Race – Cooper T56 Mk II #FJ-2-62

Welcome to the first of a short series of Saturday blogs featuring cars raced in Formula Junior between 1959 and 1963.

Cooper T56 Mk II,  Marin Concours d'Elegance,

Following the successes of their first 1960 T52 Formula Junior design, cobbled together with bits from their 500 Formula 3 and Formula 2 designs, in the United States and Europe Cooper Cars built the T56 for the 1961 season.

Cooper T56 Mk II,  Marin Concours d'Elegance,

Walt Hangsen raced the prototype T56 to victory at Riverside in November 1960 and Ricardo Rodriguez followed this up with a second victory in the same car in Mexico in January 1961.

Cooper T56 Mk II,  Marin Concours d'Elegance,

For the 1961 season lumber merchant Ken Tyrrell ran three T56’s, including today’s featured chassis, as works British Motor Corporation powered team for South Africans Tony Maggs and John Love.

Cooper T56 Mk II,  Marin Concours d'Elegance,

After scoring 8 victories during Tony Maggs finished the season as joint European Formula Junior Champion with Jo Siffert who drove a Lotus 20 for Ecurie Romande.

Cooper T56 Mk II,  Marin Concours d'Elegance,

At the end of the season Ken Tyrrell returned the three T56’s to Cooper who then sold #FJ/2/56 on to actor Steve McQueen who while on location for the film “The War Lover” had attended John Coopers racing school and tried the T56 at Brand Hatch.

Cooper T56 Mk II,  Marin Concours d'Elegance,

After driving #FJ/2/62 to victories at Del Mar and Santa Barbra Steve retired from motor racing after he was given an ultimatum by his Studio bosses that he could either act in the movies or become a racing driver, but he could not do both.

Al “Buster” Brizzard bought #FJ/1/62 from McQueen’s mechanic Stanley Peterson and ran it with a BMC motor in 1963, a larger Ford motor in 1964, and then an Alfa Romeo motor in 1965 when he secured the Pacific Coast Formula B Championship.

By the late seventies the car was reportedly seen with big tyres and wings before another of Steve McQueen’s mechanics, Skip McLaughlin, started to restore it. Unfortunately a house fire put an end to Skip’s project and restoration was not completed to it’s original 1961 BMC powered specification until after the cars last owner acquired it in 2003.

The year before these photograph’s were taken by Geoffrey Horton the current owner bought the car for $198,000 at R&M Auctions in August 2012.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photograph’s taken at Marin Concours d’Elegance in 2013.

Thanks for joining me on this “Act Or Race” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at five decades of classic Formula One cars. Don’t forget to come back now !

Wishing all GALPOT readers in the USA a Happy Independence Day.


Madman’s Kurtis -Muntz Jet #52M-505-3

In 1948 race car manufacturer Frank Kurtis started building a run of High Performance 2 seat convertibles for the road powered by Ford V8’s.

Muntz Jet, Marin Concours d'Elegance

At the first Bonneville Nationals NHRA founder Wally Parks drove one Franks cars to a two way timed run of 142.5 mph.

Muntz Jet, Marin Concours d'Elegance

With only 36 cars built Frank’s Kurtis Kraft Sports came to the attention of the legendary media pitch man Earl William “Madman” Muntz who was sufficiently impressed to buy the whole project including manufacturing rights.

Muntz Jet, Marin Concours d'Elegance

Muntz made a few alterations to the Kurtis Kraft Sport which included lengthening it, putting in a back seat, replacing the Ford V8 with a Cadillac V8 to turn the car into a 120 mph high performance personal luxury car offered in loud selection of colours and called it the Muntz Jet.

Muntz Jet, Marin Concours d'Elegance

The light pink 1953 Muntz Jet, seen in these photographs by Geoffrey Horton at last years Marin Concours d’Elegance, was bought new by Gloria De Haven and delivered to her at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

Muntz Jet, Marin Concours d'Elegance

Only around 400 Muntz Jets had been built by 1954 when Madman Muntz pulled the plug on the project claiming to have lost $1000 on each one. Highly prized today the Muntz Jet is seen as the for runner of the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Thunderbird personal luxury cars.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs.

Thanks for joining meon this Madman’s Kurtis edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Hollywood Legends – 2013 Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance

A couple of weeks ago Geoffrey Horton took his Jaguar XK140 to the 2013 Marin Sonoma Councours d’Elegance where his Jaguar came second in class. Here are some of the other cars that were on display.

Dusenberg J, Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance

Two years after making her Hollywood film debut at, the age of 38, Mae West bought this 1934 Dusenberg J. The most expensive vehicle for ‘Goin’ to town’ would have been a mere trifle for the raunchy sex symbol as she became the second highest paid person in the USA the following year.

Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport, Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance

Going up against Geoffrey’s Jaguar was this 1951 Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport. All T26 Grand Sports were sold as rolling chassis and this one chassis 110160 is unusual because it was sent to Italy, most stayed in France, for it’s bespoke bodywork which was designed by Pinin Farina.

 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II Convertible, Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance

Another among the cars previously owned by Movie legends was this 1961 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II which belonged to Elizabeth Taylor shortly after she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in Butterfield 8.

Cooper T56 Mk2, Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance

This 1961 Cooper T56 Mk 2 Formula Jr car chassis FJ-2-62 was originally run for the Cooper works team by Ken Tyrrell in Formula Junior with Tony Maggs at the wheel. In 1962 Steve McQueen was in the UK filming “The War Lover” when he tried the Cooper at Brands Hatch and ended up buying it and shipping it to California. He won races in this car at Del Mar and Santa Barbra after which Steve’s racing career which included successfully racing motor cycles was temporarily put on hold by the needs of the needs of the film studios for whom he was working.

Ford Torino GT Convertible, Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance

Henry Fords last surviving grand son William Clay Ford, Sr driving Ford Torino GT convertible pace car like the one above led Joe Leonard driving the Pratt and Whitney turbine powered Lotus 56 and the other 32 starters on the warm lap of the 1968 Indy 500, which was won by Bobby Unser driving an All American Racers Eagle Offy.

Moal Aerosport, Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance

Moal Coachbuilders specialise in building one off and low volume cars for their customers in Oakland California. The Aerosport appears to be loosely based on the one off 1938 Huispano Suiza H6C Xenia.

Moal Torpedo, Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance

Mimicking an early fifties Alfa Romeo Grand Prix car, the Moal Torpedo above is Ferrari powered. Moal Coachworks is a fourth generation family run business which was set up at the turn of the 20th century by William Moal to build bodies and wheels for horse drawn vehicles.

Moal Gatto, Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance

Taking three years to build from the ground up the Moal Gatto, above, is powered by a 300hp Ferrari V12 of the type used to power the Ferrari GTO and Testa Rossa.

My thanks to and congratulations to Geoffrey for the photographs and to the contributors to the Steve McQueen Cooper thread at The Nostalgia Forum for the Cooper T56 Mk2 details.

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


Dentists Body Art – Huispano Suiza K6 Convertible

Marc Birkigt’s K6 design, which replaced the earlier Ballot/Junior model first saw the light of day in 1934.

Huispano Suiza, Marin Sanoma, Concours d'Elegance

Offered to fill the market segment below the exclusive J12 model the K6 featured a new 120 hp straight six motor with overhead pushrod operated valves which followed Rolls Royce practice in the pursuit of silence when in motion.

Huispano Suiza, Marin Sanoma, Concours d'Elegance

Depending on the body work which varied in weight and aerodynamic efficiency from one coach builder to the next a K6 could reach a speed over 85 mph.

Huispano Suiza, Marin Sanoma, Concours d'Elegance

Following the trend set by the Huispano Suiza H6 the K6 was fitted with four wheel cable operated brakes with servo assistance as licensed to Rolls Royce.

Huispano Suiza, Marin Sanoma, Concours d'Elegance

Carrosserie Pourtout is one of a number of coachbuilders who built bodies for clients what ever chassis they bought. The company is probably best known for it’s the revolutionary Eclipse retractable hard top roof and a class winning Le Mans entry, the company ceased operating as a design business in the 1990’s but is still involved in body shop repairs.

Huispano Suiza, Marin Sanoma, Concours d'Elegance

It seems most likely that the lines for the coachwork of this 1936 Huispano Suiza K6 Convertible were drawn by former dentist turned designer Georges Paulin who started working for Carrosserie Pourtout in 1933 and remained with the company until he was executed by occupying German forces for his allegiance with the French Resistance and British Intelligence in 1942.

Huispano Suiza, Marin Sanoma, Concours d'Elegance

The K6 could be built for owners to drive with a shorter wheel base or for a chauffer to drive with a longer wheel base.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs which were taken earlier this year at the Marin Sanoma Concours d’Elegance meeting.

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


All or Nothing – Hispano-Suiza H6

Aged just 22 French Captain Georges Guynemer is reported as having downed 53 enemy planes before Hisano Suiza powered Spad XIII disappeared on the 11th of September 1917 for the final time somewhere north east of Ypres. The captain, who’s best known maxim was “Until one has given all, one has given nothing”, had already survived being shot down seven times, well before parachutes had become either reliable of issued to pilots. After the Great War of 1914/18 Hispano Suiza adopted the stork symbol of Alsace which Guynemer had painted on the side of his Spad as their radiator mascot.

Huispano Suiza H6, Marin Sanoma Concours d’ Elegance

In 1919 Hispano Suiza designer Marc Birkigt brought his Type 41 to fruition which became known as the H6. Having been amongst the pioneers to develop shaft driven overhead cam shafts and amongst the innovators of joined up motor and gearbox housings with earlier models the H6 featured a 135 hp light alloy mono block six cylinder overhead cam motor that, although noisier than the competition in the form of the Rolls Royce 40/50 with it’s push rod operated side valve cast iron twin block straight 6 cylinder motor, produced a full 50 hp more than it’s contemporary from Derby England.

Huispano Suiza H6, Marin Sanoma Concours d’ Elegance

The H6 was not only more powerful than it’s contemporaries but it the first to adopt power assisted four wheel brakes as standard, leaving Rolls Royce, Lanchester and Napier with their unassisted two wheel brakes well behind when in the safety stakes. Indeed Rolls Royce were quick to acquire a license to replicate Birkigt’s power assisted four wheel braking system on their own models. Rolls Royce would continue to use the Hispano Suiza braking system until the introduction of disc brakes on it’s Silver Shadow model in 1965.

Huispano Suiza H6, Marin Sanoma Concours d’ Elegance

Hispano Suiza counted not only Royalty, including the King of Spain, and the nouveaux riche of Hollywood amongst it’s H6 clientele but also French alcohol heir, Spad XIII flying ace, athlete, inventor and race car driver André Dubonnet who entered his H6 in the 1921 Coupé Boillot sports car race run in Boulogne which he promptly won.

Huispano Suiza H6, Marin Sanoma Concours d’ Elegance

The 6,597cc / 403cui H6 like this 1925 example, which resided in the UK until 2000, gained a larger 8 litre / 488 cui H6B sibling in 1922 with the H6C series in 1924 using only the larger motor. In all 2,350 H6s of all types, including a unique 6 wheel H6 built for feature length film pioneer and director D.W.Griffith, are thought to have been built between 1919 and 1933.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs taken at this years Marin Sanoma Concours d’Elegance.

Thanks for joining me on this “All or Nothing” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


But Is It A Real Car ? – Ferrari 330 GT #7123

I never had children but I imagine anyone who does who also has a leaning towards the rational must have a few heart strings pulled when their dearly beloved little might is struck with doubt and asks “Is Father Christmas real ?”

Ferrari 330 GT, Marin Sanoma C D'E

Last year I went to a friends daughters wedding, the only wedding present she asked for from her family was a pair of shoes, I’ll be honest the price of them nearly brought tears to my eyes. When I was talking to my friends daughter afterwards she candidly let slip that she would have been perfectly happy if they had been fakes because they were so uncomfortable she could only imagine wearing them the once.

Ferrari 330 GT, Marin Sanoma C D'E

A couple of weeks ago I was at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and I was looking at what was labelled as a Shelby Cobra thinking there is something about those funky stripes that is not quite right even if the license plate is correct for the period, turns out the car really was a Shelby Cobra with a small amount of history, but it’s owner had chosen to deviate from the common Cobra straight pair of stripes. I felt a little silly having my suspicions raised by those non standard stripes.

Ferrari 330 GT, Marin Sanoma C D'E

Somewhere in the late ’80’s early ’90’s a titled gentleman who’s family motto is “A cat stroked is gentle” sold a Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, to the president/director of a well known software company for top dollar, over $500,000. Sometime later a real 250 SWB emerged in France bearing the same chassis number and it became evident upon further inspection that the titled gentleman had in fact sold a replica based on on a 250 GTE and so had another 2 years added to his five year sentence.

Ferrari 330 GT, Marin Sanoma C D'E

I guess the moral of these anecdotes is that it is very easy to be deceived by what we see, deceptions can happen for all sorts of reason’s some good some bad, therefore it is always wise to adhere to the Roman saying ‘Caveat Emptor’. For a car nut like myself it means always keeping an open mind and enjoying the process of finding out the stories behind the paintwork.

Ferrari 330 GT, Marin Sanoma C D'E

The car featured in these fabulous photo’s by Geoffrey Horton taken at the recent Marin Sanoma Concours d’Elegance started life as a Ferrari 330 GT chassis #7123 just like the one John Lennon once owned.

Ferrari 330 GT, Marin Sanoma C D'E

In 1965 chassis #7123 was originally sold to Auto House Becker in Germany painted silver with a black interior.

Ferrari 330 GT, Marin Sanoma C D'E

The next time #7123 surfaced was in 2002 in California. I am not sure when the replica ’59/’60 250 TR body was added but the interior looks well weathered suggesting the owner/s have had a lot of fun with her.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for the photo’s.

Thanks for joining me on this “But Is It A Real Car” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”. I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a Lotus VI. Don’t forget to come back now !


All Adjectives Used To Define Exquisite – Marin Sanoma Concours d’ Elegance

Among the hand chosen, to require all the “Adjectives Used To Define Exquisite”, participants gathered at Marin Sanoma Concours d’Elegance for the May weekend 18th – 20th was GALPOT’s Geoffrey Horton and his pristine Jaguar XK 140 FHC SE/MC.

Hispano Suiza K6, Mairn Sanoma Concours d'Elegance

So far as I can tell the vehicle above is a Hispano Suiza K6 built somewhere between 1934 and 1937 with bodywork by Pourtout. 204 K6’s were built in France before hostilities in Spain forced the manufacturer to abandon motor vehicle manufacture focus on the production of aircraft engines.

Talbot Lago T 150 C SS Goutte d'Eau, Marin Sanoma C d'E

Consecutive three time Le Mans winner, driving Bentleys, Woolf Baranto ordered the Talbot Lago T150C SS with “Goutte d’Eau”, water drop, bodywork by Figoni & Falaschi in 1938. The car belongs to the Mullin Automotive Collection which celebrates the art deco movement at the Mullin Automotive Museum located in Oxnard California.

Delahaye Type 165 Cabriolet, Marin Sanoma C d'E

Judged to require all the adjectives to define exquisite at the 2012 Marin Sanoma Concours d’Elegance was the 1939 Delahaye Type 165 Cabriolet again with bodywork by Figoni et Falaschi and belonging to the Mullin Automotive Museum !

Jaguar D-Type, Marin Sanoma C d'E

D-Type Jaguar chassis XKC#404 registered OKV 3 was part of a three car works team at Le Mans in 1954 where it retired with gearbox failure, at Rheims Peter Whitehead and Ken Wharton were able to make the car last 12 hours and crossed the line first. The car was acquired by John Love in 1959 and he drove it two victories before Neville Austin bought it drove it to two further victories, giving the car at least four known victories on the African continent.

Jaguar XK 140 FHC SE/MC, Marine Sanoma C d'E

Geoffrey Horton’s 1955 XK140 can be seen getting thoroughly inspected by the Concours d’Elegance judges above, he was awarded second place in the Imports to over $3,500 1946 through 1962 class.

Ferrari 330 GT TR Replica, Marin Sanoma C d'E

The Ferrari above started life as a silver Ferrari 330 GT which appears to have been sold new to the German importer Auto Becker Gmbh & Co in 1965. Somewhere between 1965 and 2002 the body was replaced with a TR 59/60 replica as seen here.

Porsche 906, Marin Sanoma C d'E

The 1966 Porsche 906 above is credit with numerous class wins from 1966 to 1977 in the hands of drivers 1966 E-modified champion Don Wester, Lew Florence from 1967 – 68, Milt Minter and John Morton in 1970/71 and Harald Kirberg from 1971 to 1977 when the car appeared with a different body in the rejuvinated Can Am series.

Shadow Mk II, Marin Sanoma C d'E

Looking a tad workman like in the company outlined above was the Shadow Mk II above. A one off built for Jackie Oliver to drive in the 1971 Cam Am series. Powered by a 8.1 litre / 494 cui Chaparral prepared Chevrolet V8 Jackie scored a best third place finish at Edmonton when the car appeared painted white with black lettering on all the upward facing surfaces except the rear wing. This car now belonging to Mr Losher won the Closed Wheel Sports Racing Cars class of the Marin Sanoma Concours d’Elegance.

I hope you will join me in congratulating Geoffrey on his second place class award and thanking him for sharing his photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “All Adjectives Used To Define Exquisite” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” and that you will join me again tomorrow when I shall be visiting Middle Barton Garage which is celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary. Don’t forget to come back now !