Tag Archives: Michael

9 Mins Of Fame – EMKA C84/1

Trained accountant Steve O’Rourke and EMKA productions became the management team for Pink Floyd post Syd Barrat and both Steve and drummer Nick Mason shared an interest in racing cars.

EMKA C84/1, Silverstone Classic Test Day,

Steve’s international racing career got of the ground with a Ferrari 512BB which he entered and drove from 1979 to 1980 scoring a best 7th place finish in the 1980 Silverstone 6 hours with Chris Craft and Vic Norman.

EMKA C84/1, Rudolf Ernst,  Silverstone Classic Test Day,

In 1981 Steve had Michael Cane Racing convert Niki Lauda’s 1979 Project Four Motorsports BMW M1 Procar to a more liberal Group 5 spec and raced that for two season’s scoring a best 2nd place in the 1981 Silverstone 6 Hours whith Derek Bell and David Hobbs sharing the cockpit, Nick Mason also co drove Steve’s BMW M1 on it’s two outings in 1982.

EMKA C84/1, Rudolf Ernst,  Silverstone Classic Test Day,

For 1983 Steve made the bold decision to follow in the footsteps of Robin Hamilton and Nimrod to build his own Aston Martin powered Le Mans challenger the EMKA C83/1.

EMKA C84/1, Silverstone Classic Test Day,

Len Bailey who was based at Gomm Metal Developments in Woking did the design work, Gomm did the metal work, the fibre glass body was constructed by Protoco, Aston Martin Tickford supplied 5,340 cc / 325.8 cui V8 engine and the whole car was prepared for competition by Micheal Cane Racing.

EMKA C84/1, Silverstone Classic Test Day,

On it’s debut at Silverstone the C83/1 was driven by Tiff Needell, Jeff Allam and Steve, they qualified 17th but retired on the last lap due to a failed wheel bearing. Nick Faure replaced Jeff at Le Mans for the 24 hour race where the car qualified 25th and finished 17th despite spending 2 hours in the pits with a suspension problem.

EMKA C84/1, Rudolf Ernst,  Silverstone Classic Test Day,

Due to uncertainty over the 1984 fuel regulations the C83/1 did not race again until 1985, by which time the ground effect venturi had been replaced with a flat floor, the rear suspension had been revised and the car had been renumbered as C84/1.

EMKA C84/1, Tiff Needell, Mark Galvin, Steve O'Rourke, Brands Hatch, 1000 kms

At Silverstone the C84/1 driven by Steve, Tiff and Bob Evans was nearly four seconds a lap in qualifying than two years earlier and qualified 15th for the six hour race but it retired again this time due to an engine issue.

Nick Faure again drove the car at Le Mans in 1985, in place of Bob, and the trio were now nine seconds a lap faster in qualifying and started from 13th on the grid. By employing an out of sequence fuel strategy Tiff Needell was able to lead the 24 Hour classic for 9 mins during the opening hours before finishing a respectable 11th.

C84/1 appeared at Spa where James Weaver took over the guest seat from Nick Faure and at Brands Hatch, as seen in the last photo where Mark Galvin took over from James. The car qualified 17th and 10th respectively, retiring from both races fuel pressure and drive belt issues respectively.

Steve retired from competition until 1991 when he returned racing GT’s winning the British GT GT2 and GT1 class drivers championships with co-driver Tim Sugden in 1997 and 1998 respectively, his highest Le Mans finish was 4th also in 1998 when he shared his McLaren with Tim and Bill Auberlen.

A second EMKA was built in 1989 using the discarded ground effect floor from the C83/1 and spare parts from C84/1 including the revised type of suspension, with the original red C83/1 bodywork.

Owner Rudolf Ernst is seen at the wheel of C84/1 in the photo’s above taken at the Silverstone Classic Test Day earlier this year.

Thanks for joining me on this “9 Mins Of Fame” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Le Mans Challenger from Mercedes Benz. Don’t forget to come back now !


Blakely Oil Special – Schroeder Offenhauser

The Blakely Oil Special was designed and built by Gordon Schroeder for owner John McDaniel to enter in the 1951 Indianapolis 500.

Blakely Oil Special, Schroeder Offenhauser, Desert Classics, Concours d'Elegance

The #52 qualified 29th and finished 5th, having run has high as second, with rookie Bobby Ball at the wheel. Schroeder and Clint Brawner were on the crew led by Myron Stevens formerly of Miller who was also responsible for the fabrication of the chassis and the body work.

The Blakely Special was powered by a 4 cylinder 4.4 litre / 270 cui Offenhauser motor as were all the other cars in the 1951 Indy field apart from the two Novi powered Novi Purelube entered Kurtis chassis. Indy 500 historian Michael Ferner informs me that the The Blakely Oil Special failed to qualify for the 1952 500 after Bobby Ball crashed the car in practice.

Blakely Oil Special, Schroeder Offenhauser, Desert Classics, Concours d'Elegance

The Blakely Oil Specials next appearance in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing came in 1953 with Jimmy Bryan at the wheel. Jimmy qualified 31st and was classified as a runner in 14th place with 183 laps completed.

Blakely Oil Special, Schroeder Offenhauser, Desert Classics, Concours d'Elegance

In 1954 Andy Linden and Len Duncan driving for entrants Brown Motor Company and Brady qualified 23rd and 26th were classified 25th and 31st respectively driving Schroeder Offenhausers. Today’s featured car, seen in these photographs by Geoffrey Horton at last years Desert Classics Concours d’Elegance, did not qualify for the ’54 Indy 500 after Frank Mundy failed to complete his rookie orientation programme.

Blakely Oil Special, Schroeder Offenhauser, Desert Classics, Concours d'Elegance

John McDaniel nearly had a third DNQ at Indy in 1955 when Duke Nalon failed to make the cut, but rookie Keith Andrews saved the day by qualifying 28th and was classified 20th with 120 laps completed.

Michael Ferner has also told me that Tony Bettenhausen raced the car on dirt tracks in 1954 as did Bill Cheesebourg in 1956 when the car ran as the #23 McDaniels. Dick, father of 1979 Le Mans winners Bill and Don, Whittington bought the car in 1957 and ran it in dirt events and at Pikes Peak where the #36 came home with 21st fastest time slowest of the USAC entires to complete the course.

The car has been restored by Gary Schroeder, Dick Russell and Gary McCourt the original body by Wayne Ewing and Jerry Weeks, upholstery by Darel ‘Whitey’ Morgan and the motor by Phil Reilly & Co.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs and to Michael Ferner at The Nostalgia Forum for sharing his wealth of knowledge.

Thanks for joining me on this “Blakely Oil Special” 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 !


King Of Speed – March 86 C

March Cosworth 86C, Goodwood FoS

This vehicle, seen at Goodwood Festival of Speed, was driven to Victory Lane at the Indy 500 in 1986 by Bobby Rahal in one of the closest three way finishes in Indy history. Bobby beat Kevin Cogan and Rick Mears to the line with the fastest race lap, ever at the time, of 209.153 mph.

11 days after Rahals win his team owner, Jim Trueman, succumbed to cancer.

March Cosworth 86C, Goodwood FoS

The 1986 victory was the first time the Indy 500 had been won in under 3 hours, Rahal completed the distance in 2 hrs, 55 mins, 43.470 secs averaging 170.722 mph breaking a record set by Mark Donohue in 1972.

The March 86 C became a two time Indy 500 winning design the following year when Roger Penske pulled his old March 86 C from a show at the Sheraton Hotel in Reading Pennsylvania so that Al Unser could stand in for an injured Danny Ongais. Starting from 20th Al took his March to his 4th Indy 500 win.

March Cosworth 86C, Goodwood FoS

In the process the March Cosworth combination took its 5th consecutive Indy 500 and Al Unser, who in ’78 had taken the first Cosworth DFX to victory also took the tenth and final Cosworth DFX powered victory at the Brickyard.

March Cosworth 86C, Goodwood FoS

Bobby Rahal went on to become 1986 CART champion a title he retained in 1987 and won for a third time, now as a driver owner in partnership with Carl Hogan, in 1992. In 1984 Bobby made one NASCAR Cup start as a road ringer in the Wood Bros #21 Seven/Eleven Ford at Riverside, qualifying 20th coming in 40th winning $875 for his trouble.

Last year Bobby was spotted at Mallory Park getting some laps in classic Lola and Cooper sports cars. For those with the time a visit to Mallory Park on a Wednesday morning is a must !

March Cosworth 86C, Haynes IMM

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Haynes International Motor Museum and came across a second March 86C, chassis 5, originally driven by Micheal Andretti. Micheal qualified 3rd one spot ahead of Bobby in a #18 Kraco March 86C and came in 6th one lap down at Indy in 1986.

In an open wheel career spanning 1983 – 2007 spent 18 years driving in CART Championship cars, Micheal won the CART Championship in 1991 driving for Newman / Hass and finished 2nd in the Championship 5 times including the 1986 season during which he won 3 times driving a #18 Kraco March.

Andretti has a remarkable record at Indy of leading 431 laps on nine occasions but never winning the race as a driver, however as an owner of the Andretti Green Racing team his cars won the Indy 500 in 2005 with Dan Weldon at the wheel and 2007 with Dario Franchitti at the wheel AGR has also won three IRL campionships with Tony Kanaan 2004, Weldon ’05 and Franchitti ’07.

March Cosworth 86C, Haynes IMM

The car seen above was on pole at Pocono and won at Phoenix International Raceway by a clear lap. This particular vehicle has appeared at Goodwood Festival of Speed driven by owner Nick Mason, and former Indy 500 winners Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan.

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


Heavyweight – Jaguar E- Type 3.8 Coupe

Call me a hopeless romantic but there is something I find irresistible about the notion of walking into a showroom purchasing the fastest vehicle they have in stock, adding a couple towing eyes, a fire extinguisher roll cage and 5 point harness and ignition cut out switch and heading down to the nearest race track.

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This kind of racing used to be called stock car racing in the US and Production racing in the UK.

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Today’s stunning 1961 E-type 3.8 litre Coupe has been kept in more or less original trim since new.

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It still has an all steel shell and opening panels.

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Until recently the current owner; ex power boat racer, Michael O’Shea has been racing a 1958 XK150S, he has a decades experience racing Jaguars and a couple of years racing a Cooper – Maserati.

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Michael first started racing karts at 12 but did not start racing cars for another 34 years.

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Racing has been in Michael’s blood all his life his Dad was the mastermind behind the O’Shea Racing Organisation which ran a car for a then unknown, future world champion, Jack Brabham.

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Michael will be racing his car in the new HSCC Jaguar E-Type Challenge a series created to cater just for E-types on their 50th Anniversary.

My thanks to Jaguar World and Classic & Performance Car for additional information.

Hope you enjoyed todays Heavyweight edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don’t forget to come back now !


Don’t get mad get even – Replica Revenge Mini.

Today’s featured vehicle is a replica of ‘The Revenge Mini’ which won the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally in the hands of Rauno Aaltonen and Henry Liddon. Unusually the car is probably most famous because of the events that took place on the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally.

There has always been a bit of an edgy competition between France and Britain in just about every field of endeavour, I guess no one wants to be first loser against their immediate neighbour. Evidence of this can be seen in the Monte Carlo Rally of 1966. The Mini Cooper S had been the winning car on the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964 in the hands of Paddy Hopkirk and Henry Liddon and again in 1965 with Timo Mäkinen and Paul Easter at the wheel. Timo and Paul crossed the line in first place in 1966 with Roger Clark in a Lotus Cortina second followed by Aaltonen and Hopkirk both driving Mini’s in third and forth.

However much to the surprise of everybody the top four and two other British cars were disqualified for cheating. Their crime was running non standard (performance enhancing ?) single filament headlight bulbs. It transpires that when teams had entered they had done so on the understanding that these bulbs would be legal as they had been over the previous two years but then the rules were changed after entries had closed making these bulbs illegal because the models of the disqualified cars did not have single filament bulbs fitted as standard.

Curiously the car declared as the winner Pauli Toivonens Citroen was allowed to and did run with these bulbs because some ID19’s were fitted with the single filament bulbs on the normal production lines. Naturally the result upset everyone Prince Rainer snubbed his own prize giving ceremony , Pauli Toivonen, declared the winner, swore he would never drive a Citroen again, and kept his word, and the British Motor Corporation protested the result which 10 months later was declared final and stood.

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Of course better than getting mad is to get even so in 1967 BMC came back and Rauno Aaltonen with Henry Liddon co driving the #177 took the Mini’s third and final Monte Carlo Victory. Observant fans of Michael Caine and the original 1969 film ‘The Italian Job‘ will remember Crocker making reference to the ’66 Monte disqualification in the workshop where the Minis are being prepared and some one is checking the head lights Crocker says ‘I hope their dual filament bulbs, we wouldn’t want to be caught doing anything illegal now, would we ?’

Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend. ‘Don’t forget to come back now. Hear ?’