In May 1971 Vauxhall launched a two door coupé version of it’s Viva sedan known as the Firenza and the shell of today’s car started life as one of the prototype Firenza’s on which Vauxhall put through it’s paces to ensure the model met it’s performance and quality criteria.
After Vauxhall had finished with the car they rewarded Bill Blydenstein of Blydenstein Developments who with driver Gerry Marshall had campaigned a success Vauxhall Viva GT with the car and a funding deal which became known as Dealer Team Vauxhall.
Bill Blydenstein and Gerry Johnston prepared the car, which included lowering the front suspension and widening the wheel arches to incorporate wide slick racing tyres, for Gerry Marshall to drive in the 1972 BARC Forward Trust Championship which he promptly won outright.
In 1973 Vauxhall introduced the Firenza HP with its distinctive “droopsnoot” for which Bill Blydenstein claimed some of the credit.
“Old Nail” as Gerry Marshall dubbed her, was similarly modified and raced to two further Class Championship wins in the BARC Forward Trust Championships in 1973 and 1974 by which time Gerry had clocked up 62 race victories in the car.
Bill Dryden acquired Old Nail in 1975 and he drove the car to a further three race victories and a Championship Class win in the 1975 Scottish Saloon Car Championship.
The 250hp 2.3 litre motor fitted with Lotus twin cam heads seen in these photographs, has been in the car since 1973, Gerry’s son Gregor is seen driving the car at Goodwood Festival of Speed a couple of years ago.
Thanks for joining me on this “Old Nail” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !