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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !