Tag Archives: McQueen

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.


Star Cars – Classic Motor Show NEC Birmingham

Last weekend I popped up to Birmingham for the Classic Motor Show at the National Exhibition Centre NEC, where some 1,700 classic vehicles were on display with another 300 classic motor cycles.

Dodge Charger R/T, Ford Mustang GT, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

Many of the exhibitors went with a film & tv star theme, of the Highland Green Ford Mustang GT’s and Black Dodge Chargers these two above endeavoured to recreate the scene from Bullitt where Steve McQueen sends the baddies into a gas station to meet their maker.

Ford Cortina 1600E, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

When I bought my first car, a FIAT, it had no external mirrors so the first thing I added to it was a pair of these. These mirrors were not originally supplied with the Ford Cortina 1600E either but the casting crew for the film “Made in Dagenham” over looked this detail.

Ford Escort 1850 GT, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

Polish European Rally Champion Sobiesław Zasada and Marek Wachowski shared this #14 Ford Escort 1850 GT on the London to Mexico World Cup Rally in 1970 in which they finished 8th. It featured in the Ford documentary of the event “Five for the Fiesta“. This is one of two survivors from the six car Ford Escort team the other being the winning #18 car driven by Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm.

Rover 827, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

This Rover 827Si entered service with the Metropolitan Police in 1990 and remained in service with them until after a 151,000 miles it was sold to a TV company. It has subsequently appeared in the TV crime series The Bill and Inspector Wexford. In 2001 it was sold to it’s current owner a serving Police Officer who took her advanced pursuit driving test in one of these and drove many just like it in the early years of her career. It is thought to be the last fully equipped Police Rover 827Si a model which was to become the last British built police car to serve in the UK, excluding Land Rover and Range Rover models.

Sunbeam Alpine Mk III, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham,

The side pipe on this Hillman Alpine Mk III caught my eye, the owner fitted it because the original pipes that wound their way around the back axle caused condensation to form under the body panels and when the condensation got warm it accelerated the rate of rusting. This car appeared in the films “Trial By Combat” with Sir John Mills, “After The War” TV mini series with Adrian Lukis and “The Moving Finger” Episode of Miss Marple with Emelia Fox.

Rolls Royce Silver Cloud 1, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

Finally the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud above appeared in the films The Fast Lady and Carry On Doctor, driven in both films by James Robertson Justice,when it was painted black and in the current two tone livery in the TV Series Heartbeat and The Royal.

Thanks for joining me on this “Star Cars” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me tomorrow when I’ll be looking at Junior Johnson’s ’63 Chevrolet Impala SS. 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 !


Field Filler – Ferrari 512 S #1006

17 Ferrari 512 S’s and parts for 8 others were built in late 1969 in response to the 25 917’s Porsche had built in early 1969 in order to be allowed to race in the World Sports Car Championship which allowed up to 5 litre / 305 cui engines. These rules were introduced so that a few old Ford GT 40’s could continue racing, it was never imagined that Porsche and then Ferrari would build 25 cars each to take part in the series which was intended to be for new 3 litre / 183 cui cars like the Ferrari 312P and Porsche 908.

Unlike Porsche who planned on using private works supported teams to run and develop the 917’s on it’s behalf, Ferrari planned on using a single works team to build and develop the 512 S, supplying the rest of the 512 S models to private entrants to whom Ferrari gave little by way of support effectively treating it’s privateer teams as little more than field fillers.

Ferrari 512 S, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Ferrari had to sell his road car operation to FIAT in order finance the production to the 512 S model, and as it turned out Porsche’s private partners had snapped up most of the best drivers.

Nonetheless Ferrari took the fight to Porsche with a single championship victory at the 1970 Sebring 12 hours courtesy of Mario Andretti, Nino Vaccarella and Ignazio Guinti driving a 512 S who beat Peter Revson and actor Steve McQueen in their Porsche 908 after Mario famously drove the last 90 mins of the race and chased down an exhausted Peter Revson in what Mario once described as the race of his life.

For most of the rest of the 1970 season the Ferrari 512 S was out classed every where, except at the non championship race run at Kyalami in South Africa, by the Porsche 917’s, particularly those of the JW Automotive team. Ferrari had difficulty selling all of it’s 512 S models, where as Porsche had to build a second run of 25 917’s to meet demand.

Ferrari 512 S, Goodwood Festival of Speed

This 512 S spyder, chassis #1006, was developed in order to save 25 kgs by the factory and sold to Luigi Chinetti’s N.A.R.T. team. Ronnie Buchnum and Tony Adamowicz drove it into second place at the 1971 24 hours of Daytona.

#1006 had to have both front and rear bodywork replaced during the course of the race, the body work is as it appeared on #1006 when it started the 1971 Daytona 24 hours with aerodynamic lips on the nose, which were not on the second nose fitted when it finished the race.

Thanks for joining me on this “Field Filler” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a one off Formula One Lotus that never raced. Don’t forget to come back now.


One Of Those Blue Italian Things – Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder #10691

Way back when I was a teenager my folks took me to the Cinema to see a film staring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway called the Thomas Crown Affair, a story about a millionaire businessman, Thomas Crown played by Steve McQueen, who got his kicks by executing a near faultless bank robbery.

Ferrari 275 GTB/4, Concours by the Sea, Carmel

After the job a dirty thinking insurance investigator Vicki Anderson played by Faye Dunaway is sent to help squeaky clean Detective Eddie Malone solve the case, and after narrowing the list of suspects down correctly intuits that Thomas Crown is her man. She shows up in a high profile dark read Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder at a polo match in which Thomas is playing and starts to openly film with on a small movie camera, they inevitably meet and she introduces herself as an investigator and makes no secret of the fact that he is the person she is investigating.

Ferrari 275 GTB/4, Concours by the Sea, Carmel

Later on Thomas turns up at an auction room and parked outside is the dark red NART Spyder which catches his attention and his assistant remarks “isn’t that one of those red Italian things” to which Thomas responds in the affirmative.

Ferrari 275 GTB/4, Concours by the Sea, Carmel

After much cat and mouse Thomas decides to do one more job and lets Vicki in on the idea to see if she really loves him or wants to turn him in. I’ll leave it to you to see the film to find out what happens, here is a link to the trailer.

Ferrari 275 GTB/4, Concours by the Sea, Carmel

Luigi Chinetti had plans to have 25 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyders built with Pininfarina bodies in 1967. The first chassis 09437 was supplied with a 330 hp race motor, Chinetti had a roll cage fitted and entered it into the 1967 Sebring 12 hours for Marianne ‘Pinky’ Rollo and Denise McCluggage who finished a credible 17th overall and second in class behind a Ford Mustang. The car was later scouted for The Thomas Crown Affair and painted dark red for the film.

McQueen liked the car that Dunaway had in the film and ended up buying chassis #10453. Todays featured car is chassis #10691 which won the Carmel by the Sea Concours d’Elegance best in show award last August where these photographs were taken by Geoffrey Horton.

Despite the good performance at Sebring and the appearance in the Oscar winning, best original song, Thomas Crown Affair Chinetti had trouble selling ten NART Spyders with out heavy discounts and so only ten were built. They now change hands depending on history and condition for between US$ 3 to 4 million.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “One Of Those Blue Italian Things” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t for get to come back now !


Highland Green 302 – Ford Mustang Fastback

In 1968 a Highland Green Mustang GT Fastback running on Torque Thrust alloy wheels with Steve Mcqueen in the drivers seat became one of the motorised film icons of all time when it starred as the pursuit vehicle in a 10 min 53 sec car chase through the streets of San Francisco in the film Bullit. Thanks in no small part to that chase sequence the films editor Frank P Keller won an Academy Award for Best Film Editing.

Ford Mustang Fastback, Brooklands Double Twelve

In 1967 the Mustang was given it’s first face lift with more aggressive styling the Mustang became larger, thanks to a Ford Thunderbird type big block 6.4 litre FE V8 heavier, but now with 320 hp also more powerful.

Ford Mustang Fastback, Brooklands Double Twelve

For 1968 the Mustang gained mandatory side reflectors, the ’67 only brushed steel interior trim was replaced with woodgrain interior trim, 3 point seat belts became standard for the front seats as did seat belt warning and door ajar warning lights. Those last two safety items were way ahead of their time, I did not see those sorts of warning lights on any vehicle at all until I sat inside a brand new Honda while I was working as a car valet at a Honda Dealership during a college break in the summer of 1979.

Ford Mustang Fastback, Brooklands Double Twelve

Unlike Lt Bullit’s Mustang today’s 1968 model is powered by a, then new addition to the Mustang range, 4.9 litre / 302 cui Windsor V8 a motor. The 302 was designed to meet Federal Standards being introduced and would become a regular for the option for mustangs through to the end of third generation Mustang production in 1993.

Ford Mustang Fastback, Brooklands Double Twelve

Although two Mustangs were supplied by Ford Motor Company to the producers of Bullit both cars were debadged of all Mustang lettering logo’s that normally appeared on the model.

Ford Mustang Fastback, Brooklands Double Twelve

If one were foolish enough to steal this Mustang one would be disappointed to find that one could not recreate the double declutching sounds that are a strong aural feature of the Bullit car chase, not only is the motor smaller but this car has an automatic transmission. The Bullit film soundtrack also won an Academy Award.

Ford Mustang Fastback, Brooklands Double Twelve

In the United Kingdom Ford made a promotional film to launch the new Ford Puma in 1997. The film used some of the San Francisco Bullit film sets and edits from the Bullit film to make it look like Steve McQueen, who died in 1980, is driving a Silver Puma, pulling into his garage next to which is parked Lt Bullit’s Highland Green Fastback GT ‘stang, as can be seen in this link.

Thanks for joining me on this “Highland Green 302” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now.


Lovin’ Spoonful – Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta #5953

The first of a final total of 350, 250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta’s, known more commonly as the 250 Lusso, was shown to the public at the 1962 Paris Motor show.

250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta, Castle Combe, Tour Britannia

The Lusso is immediately recognisable by it’s graceful lines and unusual three piece front bumper.

250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta, Castle Combe, Tour Britannia

Hiding under the bonnet / hood are 250 of Maranello’s finest horses from an all aluminium 3 litre / 183 cui Colombo V12, the sound of which goes something like this.

250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta, Castle Combe, Tour Britannia

The 250 Lusso, which translates as luxury, came with a Pininfarina designed steel body manufactured by Scaglietti.

250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta, Castle Combe, Tour Britannia

Steel being far heavier than aluminium used in the production of the racing versions of the 250, like the 250 GTO, would normally not make a 250 GT Lusso a competition car of choice, however some customers and later owners like Tim Lewis, seen in this car at Castle Combe with his son Daniel co driving, did not hesitate to strap themselves in and head for the nearest competition.

250 GT Lusso Pininfarina Berlinetta, Castle Combe, Tour Britannia

Today’s featured car chassis #5953GT was one of the last 250 Lusso’s produced in 1964, it was originally sold to Austrian Wolfgang Denzel, note this is a left hand drive car (LHD) not RHD as stated by barchetta cc, among it’s former owners somewhere between the late 80’s and early 90’s was former Aston Martin chairman Victor Gauntlett.

Anyone who likes a mystery might be interested to know that according to Wiki Steve Boone, of the band Lovin’ Spoonful’ owned one of these cars chassis #4237, said to be the the very first production Lusso, that was subsequently stolen from a repair shop in Queens New York. The stolen vehicle is probably not worth quite as much as the $2.3 million that Steve McQueens 250 GT Lusso fetched at auction in 2007 but tracking it down might make an interesting tale. At the time of writing I am still checking the veracity of the Wiki claim.

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