Tag Archives: Nye

Check Tug Glance Dab – Mercedes 18/100 Spare

The 1914 Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France, was to be run over 20 laps of a 23 mile road course around Lyon.

In preparation for the race Mercedes sent their engineer Louis Vischer with two of their 1914 18/100 Grand Prix challengers to check the suitability of the cars to the conditions.

Mercedes 18/100, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Today’s featured 18/100 is one of those cars built with a 4 1/2 litre / 274 cui 4 four cylinder engine with a conservative single cam shaft operating four valves per cylinder designed by Paul Daimler and Fritz Nalliger.

This engine could turn at a maximum 3,000 revolutions per minute, RPM, double that achieved by any previous Mercedes.

Mercedes 18/100, Goodwood Festival of Speed

As well as spurning twin cam shafts as successfully used by Peugeot to win the 1912 and 1913 Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France, Mercedes unlike Peugeot also relied on brakes operating only on the rear wheels to slow the 18/100 which weighed a minimum mandated 1,100 kgs / 2425 lbs.

Because of the length of the track the car carried two spare tyres and a jack in case of punctures while out on the circuit. Mercedes were the first team to ever employing a strategy of scheduling a mid race pit stop regardless of the conditions

Mercedes 18/100, Eddie Berrisford, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1914 Mercedes became the first team to ever employ a strategy of scheduling a mid race pit stop for all of it’s cars regardless of the condition of the tyres.

Note although this car was a team spare today it carries the #41 BIS as used on the fifth team car driven by Belgian Theodore Pilette who is reported as having started the 1914 Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France with an already broken four speed gearbox which lasted only the first hour of the seven hour race before failing completely.

Mercedes 18/100, Eddie Berrisford, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Today this car is part of the Collier Collection and is seen with the collections chief restorer Eddie Berrisford at the wheel at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Highly esteemed motor sport historian Doug Nye noted in the July 2014 edition of MotorSport that when sitting alongside Eddie at an event held in Lyon to celebrate the centenary of Mercedes 1-2-3 victory in the 1914 ACF GP he had to check the fuel pressure was at least 1 kg/sq cm and if not tug at the fuel pump “like an exasperated Dutchman at a slot machine”, act as a living rear view mirror, as there of course there was none, by glancing over his shoulder, then give two dabs on a foot operated oil pump that lubricated the the cam shaft and top end of the engine and all while being dug in the ribs by Eddie’s left elbow and all while hanging on with his right arm clinging on to the seat ledge behind the driver.

After completing his pre race tests Louis Vischer recorded that ” … the prospect of victory is there, given a skilled handling of the car.”

Thanks for joining me on this Check, Tug, Glance, Dab, edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Citroén. Don’t forget to come back now !


Tube Monocoque – BRM P261 #2615

In 1963 Tony Rudd followed the lead set by Colin Chapman’s 1962 Lotus 25 and designed BRM’s first P61 monocoque chassis, unlike the Lotus bathtub monocoque Tony’s chassis was a tube monocoque which dispensed with the need for a fibre glass cockpit surround.

Despite Graham Hill’s 3rd place finish on it’s debut in the 1963 French Grand Prix the P61 raced only twice in the 1963 season as it became apparent that the chassis flexed.

For 1964 a Mk2 P61 evolved that replaced the separate subrame that carried the motor with pontoons made from stressed sheet metal that extended from the back of the monocoque, the P 61 Mk2 became known as the P261.

BRM P2615, Damon Hill, BRM Day, Bourne,

In all 6 P261’s were built in 1.5 litre V8 spec for the 1964 and ’65 Formula One seasons, in 1.9 litre and 2.0 litre V8 spec for the 1966 Formula One season which now permitted 3.0 litre engines and 2.1 litre V8 spec for part of 1967 Formula season.

BRM also opted to compete with 1.9 litre V8 spec P261’s in the 1966 Tasman series of races, which permitted motors of up to 2.5 litres, run during the winter months in Australia and New Zealand, and ran 2.1 litre V8 P261’s in the following year when Jackie Stewart and BRM failed to repeat the title winning successes, 4 wins from 8 races, of 1966.

These cars served the works BRM team up until 1967 and today’s featured chassis #2615 carried on racing in privateers hands until 1969 by which time it had been fitted with a 3 litre BRM V12 motor.

BRM P2615, Damon Hill, BRM Day, Bourne,

#2615 first appeared at the the 1964 Belgian Grand Prix where Graham Hill drove it qualifying 2nd and finishing in 5th place. At the following race Graham finished 2nd in the French Grand Prix his best result in 1964 driving this chassis. Two wins and two further 2nd places helped Graham secure second place to John Surtees in the 1964 Championship season.

Richie Ginther drove the car at the 1964 US and Mexican Grand Prix’s recording a best 4th at Watkins Glen, Graham returned to drive #2615 a couple of times in early 1965 recording a best 2nd place in the Goodwood non championship race.

Jackie Stewart was the last works driver to drive #2615 in a Championship Formula One race in Mexico where he retired but still finished 3rd in the championship behind Jim Clark and team mate Graham.

BRM P2615, Damon Hill, BRM Day, Bourne,

Bernard White Racing bought the car for 1966 and entered it at various non championship and championship events for Vic Wilson, Bob Bondurant and Innes Ireland who all managed best 4th place finishes, at Syracuse, Monaco and Oulton Park respectively, on their first acquaintance with the car.

BRM borrowed #2615 from Bernard White Racing for the 1967 Tasman Series intending it to be a spare car for the works drivers. However it ended up being driven by Richard Attwood who finished 3rd in his first two starts with the car and won the minor Vic Hudson Memorial non championship race at Levin.

Piers Courage then drove #2615 in three events finishing a best 4th in the Teratonga International at Invergill. Chris Irwin was put in the car for the last three meetings of the Sandown meetings of the ’67 Tasman season finishing a best 3rd at Longford where Jackie Stewart borrowed the car for the 2nd preliminary to finish 2nd before returning to his own car which needed gearbox repairs for the final.

BRM P2615, Damon Hill, BRM Day, Bourne,

After #2615 was returned to the UK Bernard White Racing nominated David Hobbs to drive it in the 1967 British and Canadian Grand Prix but he could do no more than finish 8th and 9th even with a 2.1 litre motor.

For 1968 Bernard White Racing fitted the latest 3 litre BRM V12 but David finished only 9th and 6th in the non championship Race of Champions and International Trophy events run at Brands Hatch and Silverstone respectively.

It fell upon Frank Gardener to attempt to drive a P261 in a Championship Formula One event for the last time at the 1968 Italian Grand Prix however incorrect gearing meant he had no hope of even qualifying.

In 1969 #2615 still fitted with the V12 changed hands twice, Tony Dean bought the car and raced it in the Gran Premio de Madrid de F1 at Jarama, which was run for F5000 and F1 cars with a separate Formula 2 division, where he finished third behind the Formula 5000 Lola Chevrolet T142 driven by Keith Holland and F5000 McLaren Chevrolet M10A driven by Peter Gethin.

Later in the year Ben Moore bought #2615 and entered Charles Lucas to race, still with a V12 fitted, in the Gold Cup at Oulton Park where he retired with ignition box failure on the cars and models final “in period” appearance.

Graham Hill’s son Damon is seen demonstrating #2615 in these photograph’s at the BRM Day in Bourne a couple of years ago.

My thanks to Tim Murray or lending me a copy of Doug Nye’s invaluable BRM Volume 3 which proved to be an invaluable reference resource, incidentally there is a photo of in the aforementioned book showing Graham Hill testing #2615 at Snetterton with an “onboard data recorder, wrapped in aluminised cloth, braced on a tall gearbox bracket and steadied by bungee cords.”

The recorder is described as being attached to sensors taped to every suspension link and the data, which revealed for example that Graham Hill’s height accounted for a loss in performance equivalent to 100 rpm on the straights against his more diminutive team mate Jackie Stewart, appears to have been recorded on light sensitive paper tape.

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


A Short Tale – Porsche 917K #917-015

Despite the success of winning the 1969 International Championship for Makes handsomely with a maximum of 45 points with their 3 litre/183 cui 908 model Porsche officially withdrew from the series with two rounds to go having failed to win any of the three marquee events of the series at Daytona, won by Roger Penske’s Lola Chevrolet T70, Sebring and Le Mans won by John Wyers ancient Gulf Sponsored Ford GT40 Mk I’s.

Porsche came to an agreement with John Wyer to run a works supported team of 917’s in all but the Targa Florio and Nurburgring rounds of the 1970 series where the 908 was deemed sufficiently competitive to win outright as it had the previous season.

John Wyers JW Automotive Team tested a 917 at Zeltweg in October 1969 and developed the Kurz Heck, also known as K, KH and Short Tale bodywork seen on today’s featured car, the rear aerofoil would first appear mid season at Le Mans.

Porsche 917K, Niello Concours at Serrano,

The first round of the 1970 International Championship for Makes was the 24 hour race at Daytona where Pedro Rodriguez Leo Kinnunen and Brian Redman qualified chassis #917-015 2nd behind the debutant Ferrari 512S model driven by Mario Andretti, Arturo Merzario and Jacky Ickx.

Pedro, Leo and Brian won the race by 45 laps from the sister car shared by Brian and Jo Siffert with the Ferrari of Mario, Art and Jacky 3 laps further back.

Chassis #015 was used as a team spare at Sebring where Mario Mario was drafted in to join Ignazio Giunti and Nino Vaccarella to drive the race of his life to secure Ferrari’s only championship win of the season.

Porsche 917K, Niello Concours at Serrano,

At the 1970 Watkins Glen Can Am round chassis #015 made it’s only other race appearance of the season with a smart new paint job and a rear wing fitted, Brian finished the race in seventh place and for the remainder of the season the car reverted to the role of team spare.

Porsche went on to secure the 1970 International Championship for Makes with a maximum 63 points from Ferrari, JW Automotive won seven of the ten races only being usurped by the Porsche Salzburg 917 at Le Mans. JW Automotive and Porsche Salzburg each won a race Targa Florio and Nurburgring respectively with the older 908 spyder model.

Now it get’s complicated Porsche sold the chassis #015 to the Finish AAW team while retaining the chassis tag which Porsche reassigned to #917-035 which was taken from stock and given to JW Automotive for the 1971 season.

AAW rebuilt chassis #015 into a spyder and fitted the motor from their 917 chassis number #917-021, the complete car was given the identity #917-01-021.

Leo Kinnunen, who remember had won the 1970 Daytona 24 hours in the chassis with it’s orignal ID tag, was employed to drive #917-01-021 in the 1971 Interserie Championship, a European unlimited series.

The flying Fin Leo scored an outright win at home in Keimola with enough further placings to secure the 1971 Interserie Championship.

Many years later Kevin and Bob Rapp took #01-021 to Gunnar Racing who reconstructed #015 as it is seen in today’s photograph’s, using those parts of the original #917-015 chassis that remained and reconstructed the spyder #917-01-021 from the remainder with a new chassis.

Using respected historian Doug Nye’s principal that a chassis history is not transferable, with it’s chassis plate for example, then today’s featured car can be seen as the original #917-015, though I suspect the Porsche #917-035 which was given the #015 tag by the factory in 1971 probably still has that tag attached, 035/015 which is most certainly not the car that won the 1970 Daytona 24 hour race, today can be seen at the Porsche Museum.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs of Bruce Canepa’s Porsche 917 at Niello Concours at Serrano a couple of years ago.

Thanks for joining me on this “A Short Tale” 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.


Racing Van – Maserati 151/3 Recreation

Parts of today’s featured car started life as the Maserati France entered Maserati 151 chassis #151.002 which raced at Le Mans in 1962 alongside Briggs Cunningham’s chassis #151.004 and #151.006, the latter which I looked at last Monday.

Maserati 151/4, Goodwood Festival of Speed

#151.002 was driven by Maurice Trintignant and Lucien Bianchi in the 1962 Le Mans 24 Hours qualifying 7th, slowest of the three Maserati 151 models and retiring after completing 152 laps with suspension issues.

Maserati 151/4, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In April 1963 #151.002 reappeared at the Le Mans Test with a 5 litre / 302 cui V8 motor replacing the original 4 litre / 244 cui unit. André Simon and Lloyd Casner drove the car to the 4th fastest time and returned in June to qualify 5th for the 24 Hour race but retired after 40 laps with gearbox issues.

Maserati 151/4, Baxter / Mass, Goodwood Revival

#151.002, also known at the time as 151/2, appeared in three more events in 1963 scoring a best 8th place finish in the Trophée d’Auvergne at Clermond Ferrant (F) with Lucien Bianchi at the wheel.

Maserati 151/4, Baxter / Mass, Goodwood Revival

For 1964 #151.002 was further upgraded with a dry sump motor mounted lower in the chassis which was also altered to accommodate wire tires and wheels. Finally the car also had a new Piero Drogo penned unpainted aluminium body fitted just in time for the 1964 Le Mans test, the new body quickly earned the “Racing Van” sorbriquet.

Maserati 151/4, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Maurice Trintignant and France’s Maserati importer André Simon set 4th fastest time in the reworked Maserati and found it capable of 196 mph on the Mulsane straight. For the ’64 Le Mans race the Maurice and André qualified #151.002 15th, but retired after 99 laps with electrical issues. The same drivers were entered to drive #151.002 in two more events but retired with ignition issues from the Reims 12 Hours and after an accident from the Paris 1000 kms at Circuit de Linas-Montlhéry.

For 1965 the final incarnation of #151.002 also known as 151/4 included fitting a slightly larger 5055cc / 308 cui V8 which produced 450 hp. The car was again taken to the Le Mans Test weekend where Lloyd “Lucky” Casner of Camoradi Racing Team fame met his untimely demise in #151.002 at the kink on the Mulsanne Straight being fatally thrown from the car which was effectively destroyed in the accident.

During the 1980’s Herr Kaus of the Bianco Museum owned one of the 151/3 spec motors from the crashed #151.002, as he did the uncrashed #151.006 car, and was supplied by Maserati with drawings to build a new 151/3 spec chassis and the original 151/3 body buck so that Sig Allegretti, who built the original body, could build another !

Herr Kaus never got the project finished, but more recently Barrie Baxter, seen sharing the car with Jochen Mass at Goodwood Revival, has.

My thanks to Doug Nye and driverider at The Nostalgia Forum for their comments.

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


Balena Close, Poole, Dorset – Penske PC1 #001

After he had finished fabricating the Len Terry designed Eagle monocoques for All American Racers (AAR) in California, John Lambert returned to the Untied Kingdom and started a new business which was located on a small industrial estate outside Poole in Dorset where the rent was cheap. When Len Terry fell out with Frank Nichols they wound up Transatlantic Automotive Consultants based in Hastings where they had designed the AAR Eagle and Terry went to join Lambert, with whom he had worked at Lotus and AAR, in Poole starting a new business together called Design Auto.

In 1969 Len Terry started to design a series of stock block Formula 5000 open wheel cars called Leda’s, John Lambert looked after the construction of them in a facility off Balena Close on the Creekmore Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Poole, Dorset. When Leda Cars ran into financial difficulty they merged into the Malaya Garage Group in 1970. Three years later Malaya Garage Group did a deal with New Zealand racer Graham McRae selling the Leda Cars premises “lock, stock and barrel” with the cars manufactured now rebranded as McRae’s.

At around this time Roger “The Captain” Penske and Mark “Captain Nice” Donohue were experiencing many successes on the US racing scene which included three Trans Am championships, then only for manufacturers, driving the Captains Chevrolet Camaro in 1969 and AMC Javelins in 1970 and ’71.

In 1972 Mark won the Indy 500 in Roger Penske’s McLaren M16 and at the end of the year drove Penske’s McLaren M19 in the Canadian and US Grand Prix finishing a more than credible 3rd in his debut Grand Prix. The following year Mark and Roger won the Can Am championship with the “Turbo Panzer” Porsche 917/30. Having achieved pretty much everything in the US, including a NASCAR Winston Cup win at Riverside driving a Penske AMC Matador to become the last ‘road ringer’ to win a non oval race in that series back in 1973 Mark announced he would hang up his helmet at the end of the season.

Roger Penske made plans for a Formula One team in 1974 and sent Heinz Hofer to look at Graham McRae’s ‘low profile’ premises on the Creekmore Industrial Estate in Poole, Dorset UK as a possible base and concluded a deal for the premises. The Ford Cosworth DFV powered Penske PC1 was built to a design by Geoff Ferris and Mark Donohue was persuaded to come out of retirement to drive the car on it’s debut in the 1974 Canadian Grand Prix where he qualified 24th and finished 12th 2 laps down.

Penske Ford PC1, US Grand Prix, Watkins Glen

At the US Grand Prix, where Mark Donohue and Roger Penske fan, Brian Brown took today’s photograph of Mark in the PC1 at Watkins Glen the car started 14th on the grid, but retired after 27 laps with rear suspension problems. Brian recalls his first visit to a Grand Prix thus :-

“I was of course very excited to be seeing Mark race again, but being that it was my first live Formula One event, I was equally excited to be seeing Mario’s effort with Vel’s Parnelli Jones and the rest of the grid in person. We owned a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona and a 246 GT Dino at the time, so were very supportive of the Ferrari effort too.

My brother, friends and I spent a great deal of down time in the Kendall Garage watching the teams go about their business of working on the cars. One thing that was apparent was the absolutely professional presentation of the Penske team. Everything was spotless, just like their successful Indy Car counterpart that I’d observed in person since 1969 at Indianapolis. I was then, as now, a huge fan of Mark Donohue and Team Penske, but that aside, I always felt that they had too many positive resources not to be successful in Formula One.

I knew racing well enough to understand how tall the task Mark and the Penske team had ahead of them, but I also had the highest faith in their collective talents that I felt, given time, they would come right. I look back now and remember how I’d call in to our local ABC news tv affiliate to get the results of the races in 1975, always asking about the top six finishers along with Mark and Mario’s results.

Then came Austria and it was over for Mark and eventually Penske stopped the project – I was always appreciative that they carried on to get the victory with John Watson in Austria a year after Mark’s accident, something of a vindication for the mighty challenges that Team Penske faced in their Formula One foray. Watkins Glen 1974 was the last I ever saw Mark in person and despite the nearly 40 years that have passed, it seems like yesterday.”

Penske ended up building 3 chassis to the PC1 design chassis #001 seen here achieved a best 5th place finish, from 16th on the grid in the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix. Three races later Penske ditched the PC1 in favour of a March 751 which was raced until a new challenger until the new Penske PC3 was ready. As Brian alluded to above Mark Donohue was killed during practice for the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix after a tyre deflated pitching him off the track in to an accident which killed a marshal. Although Mark initially survived the incident he died the next day from a cerebral hemorrhage.

The debut of the Penske PC3 was delayed until the 1975 US Grand Prix where John Watson drove it in practice. Due to a misfire with the motor in the new car the team elected to wheel out today’s featured chassis one more time, John qualified 12th, finishing the race in 9th.

The following season Penske entered John in the PC3 and later PC4 models. With the latter the team won the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix, despite this success The Captain closed the Formula One program down at the end of 1976, deciding his future lay in the US racing seen where he would become the dominant force in Indy Car racing, with many of his winning cars being built in Poole, Dorset. Penske maintained facilities in Poole Dorset up until 2006. When the factory was closed one employee, Ivor, remained who had been part of the story going back to the Leda days, through the McRae years and into the Penske era.

In 2012 Brad Keslowski won his first NASCAR Championship driving a Penske entered Dodge a hitherto elusive goal on ‘The Captains’ to do list.

My thanks to Brian ‘ B² ‘ Brown for kindly agreeing to share his photograph; to kayemod, Nigel Beresford, Tim Murray, Tony Matthews, Dogearred and Doug Nye at The Nostalgia Forum for their help in piecing together the story behind Roger Penske’s presence in Poole, Dorset and a tenuous connection in the form of Lambert & Terry and their Leda Cars premises between the AAR Eagle and Penske Formula One efforts.

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

PS Shortly before this blog was posted some confusion has come to light about which buildings in Poole Penske and McRae occupied and when, local resident kayemod and Nigel Beresford who worked for Penske have confirmed that Penske took over the Balena premises from McRae, while artist Tony Matthews is sure he visited a second facility a couple of miles away on Factory Road to do cutaway drawings for McRae and Penske is not so sure the Balena Close address is correct. If any further developments come forth I shall post them below, and if you know the answer to the riddle please do not hesitate to chime in.

PPS Nigel Beresford has kindly confirmed with another former Penske employee Nick Goozée that the Balena Close facility is the only one Penske purchased from Graham McRae. My thanks to Nigel and Nick for settling the matter so promptly.


Balena Close, Poole, Dorset

Kayemod Rob from the Nostalgia Forum has kindly sent me this photo showing “how that corner of Balena Close looks today, the small unit to the right is the original Penske UK base, formerly McRae Cars. The three parked cars more or less cover the width of the premises. The ‘Elegance’ unit to the left of Penske was once FKS Fibreglass, later Griffin Design. My ex-Specialised Mouldings chum stylist Jim Clark worked at FKS, and as well as Penske’s stuff, they also did almost everything for the Gulf GT40s and Mirages among others, their unit extended leftwards to fill the corner of the block. Penske later rented an identical unit to the right of the pic, which doubled their floor area, after some of the dividing wall was removed, they used to run their F1 operation out of that.”

Thanks Rob.


20th Anniversary – Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Last weekend saw the 20th Anniversary celebrations of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. According to tea total journalist Doug Nye the event only got off the ground because he was present at a rather drunken evening at which Lord March and some friends were fantasising about an event which might attract a few thousand motor enthusiasts. Next morning when Doug reminded the Lord of what had been said they decided to act and so was born the Goodwood Festival Of Speed which has become one of the highlights of the British Motoring Season.

Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

The event has become so big that it sells out on both the Saturday and Sunday and an extra day has been added on the Thursday, called the “Moving Motor Show” on which the hill climb track is turned over to corporate sponsors who entertain their guests with rides up the hill. It was on the Thursday that I went with my parents after my Dad found a free ticket offer in the “Daily Telegraph“. Many anniversaries besides Goodwood’s 20th were being celebrated, the three Porsche’s above formed the tip of a sculpture by Gerry Judah celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Porsche 911 featuring a 1963 911 on the left, a ’73 Carrera RS in the middle and a 2013 Carrera 4 on the right.

Mercedes W196, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

On the Friday a 1954 Mercedes Benz W196 similar to the one pictured here was sold at the Bonham’s Festival of Speed Auction for US$ 29.6 million to become the most expensive car ever sold at auction. John Lennon’s Blue ’64 Ferrari 330GT fetched US$ 543,750 setting a new record for the 330 GT 2+2 model.

Honda RA300, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

In the autumn of 1967 my folks purchased their first television, a black and white model, one of my earliest memories of it was a news cast featuring the 1967 Italian Grand Prix which was won by John Surtees driving this very V12 Honda RA300, a car that was very easy to distinguish from the rest of the field because it was white and all the others were various shades of grey.

McLaren M23, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

Emerson Fittipaldi moved from Lotus to join the McLaren team which had relieved BRM of Marlboro sponsorship and Lotus of Texaco sponsorship for the 1974 season. Emerson driving a Marlboro Team Texaco McLaren M23 ended up winning a very open World Drivers Championship by just 3 points from Clay Regazzoni driving a Ferrari 312 B3.

Renault RS01, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

Having won Le Mans in 1978 Renault put all of it’s effort into winning the Formula One Drivers and Constructors championships with the first turbocharged Formula One car. Above is the 1978 RS01 which proved fast on occasion, particularly at altitude, but fragile.

Audi R18 E-tron Quattro, Goodwood, Festival Of Speed

Fresh from victory lane, and looking several thousand miles the worse for wear, in the 90th Anniversary edition of the Le Mans 24 hours was the Audi R18 E-tron Quattro driven by Tom Kristensen, Alan McNish and Loic Duval.

Campbell-Railton Blue Bird, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Sir Malcom Campbell became the first man on four wheels to exceed 300 mph when he set a new Land Speed Record at Bonneville of 301mph on September 3rd 1935 when driving the 2300 hp supercharged Rolls Royce V12 powered Campbell-Railton Blue Bird. The piece of land on which Blue Bird was displayed normally serves as Lord Marches cricket pitch.

Lotus Ford 29, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Regular readers will remember that the #92 Lotus Ford 29 driven by Jim Clark at Indianapolis in 1963 was destroyed in a fatal accident with Bobby Marshman at the wheel during a gruesome testing accident at Phoenix at the end of 1964. The car seen above is chassis #29/1 actually driven with a white and blue paint job by Dan Gurney to a seventh place finish at Indy in 1963. The car has been seen at the Indy Museum for many years (decades ?) bearing Jim Clark’s livery. The spare ’63 Lotus 29 chassis #29/2 currently carries the #91 white and blue livery used by Gurney.

Ford Galaxie 500, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

“According to the programme” the Ford Galaxie 500 above was driven to victory in the 1965 Daytona 500 by Fred Lorenzen and then given a ’66 body for testing at Daytona the following year, however a search on the internet show’s that this might not be the only car sharing the story.

Peugeot 208 T16, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Another car to arrive at Goodwood from victory lane was the 875 hp twin turbo V6 Peugeot 208 T16 with which Alsatian 9 (nine) time World Rally Champion Sebastian Loeb won this years Pikes Peak race to the clouds hill climb in a mind bending 8m 13.8 seconds an astonishing 95 seconds faster than Rhys Millens 2012 full 12.42 mile course record of 9m 46.1s. Tighten your reality belts to see how Mr Loeb set the record in the film linked here.

Mercedes 60hp, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Any one who was reading GALPOT back in January might remember I spent a night and a day on the Exeter Trial being chased by a 4×4 Panda and following this 1903 Mercedes 60 hp Simplex crewed by Ben and Roger Collings, my appreciation of what these vehicles can do rose sharply as a result of the experience.

Porsche 911SC, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Car of the show for me was this 1978 Porsche 911 SC driven by Kenyan Vic Preston Jnr with co driver John Lyall to second place in the 1978 Safari Rally. I always thought if I was going to have a 911 for the road I may as well have one that could survive the rigours of Africa where I learned to drive and this one has a particularly cool paint job.

Over the coming months some of these vehicles will be featured in more depth.

Thanks for joining me on this “20th Anniversary Festival Of Speed” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

Check out the latest from the Formula One silly season at Motorsports Unplugged on this link.


Baby Hemi – Peugeot EX4/L3

May used to be the month where US open wheel racing was centered entirely on the story coming out of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this month the iZod Indy Car Series breaks with tradition and will also be visiting Sao Paolo on May 6th, however GALPOT will be dedicating the next 5 Americana Thursday Posts to The Greatest Spectacle in Racing in years long gone by thanks to Geoffrey Horton who over the last two years has sent me numerous photo’s of Indy Cars from the Concours d’Elegance scene in California.

Peugeot EX4/L3, Palo Alto, 2011

This months five part potted history of the Indy 500 returns to 1914 when, as I found out two years ago, rookie René Thomas went to victory lane driving Delage Y, I forgot to mention René was accompanied by riding mechanic Robert Laly.

Today’s featured car the #14 Peugeot EX4/L3 was also entered in the 4th running of the Indy 500 for another rookie called Arthur Duray and US riding mechanician Henry Mattheys by Jacques Menier a member of the French Menier Chocolatier dynasty.

Peugeot EX4/L3, Palo Alto, 2011

In 1914 qualification for the 500 was slightly different procedure from what we are familiar with today, in the first two editions of the Indy 500 qualification was by date the entries were received providing a minimum speed had been achieved over a measure mile of the circuit in 1911 and a full flying lap in 1912. For 1913 and 14 with the arrival of foreign competitors a qualifying lap with a minimum speed was compulsory but the grid positions were determined by blind draw.

Peugeot EX/4 L3, Palo Alto, 2011

The Peugeot EX4/L3 that Jaques Menier bought featured an ‘L3’ 4 cylinder 3 litre / 183 cui version of the giant killing 7.6 litre / 463.78 L76 Motor that had successfully seen off the 15 litre / 915 cui FIAT’s in the 1912 French Grand Prix. Having proved with success the benefits of technical innovations that included twin gear driven overhead cams operating 4 valves per cylinder, which also featured the original hemi heads, designer Ernst Henry, aided by his driver engineers collectively known as “Les Charlatans”, proceeded to produce three further evolutions of of the motor with sizes of 5.6 litre / 341 cui, as used by Georges Boillot and riding mechanic Prévost to win their second consecutive French Grand Prix in 1913, 4.5 litre / 274 cui and the smallest of the family 3 litre / 183 cui L3 seen here.

For those interested in the minutiae of veteran era production methods there is a fascinating story regarding this particular motor whose block was found to have inconsistent longitudinal bore center lines on this thread on The Nostalgia Forum led by distinguished historian Doug Nye linked here.

Peugeot EX4/L3, Palo Alto, 2011

Alongside the winning two car Delage team Arthur Duray faced two EX3/L56 powered Peugeots of Georges Boillot with a riding mechaninc M. Brevot who ‘might’ have been Boillot’s regular mechanic Prévost with 1913 rookie winners Jules Goux partnered by Emil Begin. Boillot set the fastest time in practice of 99.860 mph but the draw by ballot for grid slots saw Jean Chassagne’s Sunbeam start from pole.

Peugeot EX4/L3, Palo Alto, 2011

Boillot was in a comfortable position to win the 1914 Indy 500 until repeated tyre failures led to a 14th place finish while Goux in the second large Peugeot finished 4th with Duray coming home second to the Delage of René Thomas.

Peugeot EX4/L3, Palo Alto, 2011

Arthur Duray who set three land speed records between 1903 and 1904 carried on racing until the 1930’s for manufacturers that included Hispano-Suiza, Ariès, B.N.C and Amilcar. At the 1921 French Grand Prix he was a spectator when running in second place Albert Guyot’s riding mechanic got hit on the head by a rock, Guyot pulled his Duesenberg up in the pits and it became apparent that his mechanic was too dazed to continue. On seeing this Arthur Duray is said to have vaulted the spectator fence pushed the mechanic aside cranked the Dusenbergs motor to life and jumped into the mechanics seat alongside Guyot who went on to record a sixth place finish.

The aforementioned Mr Nye has kindly informed me courtesy of Scott George at the Collier Collection, current owners of the vehicle, that “After its Indy days there is some suggestion it (today’s featured car) returned to France, plus a parallel suggestion that it stayed in the US. Sold to Harry Harkness who ran it a little in the north-eastern area, then sold to Kaufman, himself a New York Peugeot agent and team owner. The engine might have been “swapped out” of the chassis at some stage. Car then found at Benny Brandfon’s yard for old race cars and exotics in NY…”

Esteemed Indy historian Michael Ferner has expanded on what may have become of the car while in the care of Peugeot Dealer Alphonse Kaufman “The (#14) Meunier/Duray car, on the other hand, is a possible candidate for having served as the basis for the 1916 “Peusun Special”, apparently a Peugeot chassis with a Sunbeam engine and a Delage radiator!” If today’s featured EX4/L3 did form part of the Peusun Special this may tie up with Doug’s suggestion that the engine “might have been ‘swapped out’.”

Michael suggests James O’Keefes forthcoming book ‘Peugeot Racing In America (pre-WW II)’ should be a worthwhile read on the subject.

Harry Miller who had maintained and rebuilt a Peugeot L series motor copied the basic twin over head cam 4 valves per cylinder hemi head architecture for his own Miller motors that would come to dominate the Indy 500 in the 1920’s and 1930’s which would in turn be succeeded by “Offy” engines that former Miller employee Fred Offenhauser developed having bought the rights to the Miller motors when Miller went bust. The Offenhausers would remain competitive in ultimate turbocharged form at Indy until the mid 1970’s.

Of the 900 odd blogs I have posted to date this has without question proved one of the more challenging and I hope I have given an accurate summary of our knowledge of the car to date, my thanks to Doug Nye, Michael Ferner and Tim Murray, at The Nostalgia Forum and Scott George at the Collier Collection for their contributions to my understanding of the fascinating history of today’s featured Peugeot EX4/L3. Finally thanks to Geoffrey Horton without whose photographs their would have been no Peugeot EX4/L3 to blog about.

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

03/05/13 PS Geoffrey has informed me the electrical equipment attached to the front axle was a sensor connected to a computer seen in the cockpit by students of the Revs Programme at Stanford University to examine the Peugeot’s dynamics in motion.