Tag Archives: Peugeot

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.


Pick Up Man – Hillman Imp Super Pick Up

Bob has a passion for Hillman Imps which can be traced back to learning to drive one. Since then he has owned many more and become something of an expert on the model.

Hillman Imp Super Pick Up, Bristol Classic, Shepton Mallet

Living out in the country not far from Bristol he has need of an all purpose run around and one day Bob had the good fortune to be in his autocross racer friend Philip’s garage when Philip was poking holes with a screw driver through an Imp he had just acquired.

Hillman Imp Super Pick Up, Bristol Classic, Shepton Mallet

Philip agreed to give the Imp to Bob for nothing and before Philip could change his mind Bob got the car home and chopped the roof off with an angle grinder and then strategically added some steel to maintain structural rigidity.

He then matched up the C pillars and tailgate with the remaining roof behind the door frame which allowed the seats, rescued from a Peugeot 205 GTi, to be moved all the way back on their runners.

Hillman Imp Super Pick Up, Bristol Classic, Shepton Mallet

Bob has made a few mechanical improvements to the car including removing the original transverse mounted radiator and installing one from a Nissan Micra longitudinally which improves cooling of the alloy engine.

With five years on and off work completed and expenses that “didn’t run in to thousands” Bob took his Imp Pick Up to an Imp Club meeting for it’s first run and came home with second place prize in the modified class.

Best of all his wife finds the pick up far more comfortable than his other car, a Sunbeam Imp but with out the Peugeot seats. Which all goes to show as Joe Diffie observed there is something women like about a pick up man.

Thanks for joining me on this “Pick Up Man” edition of “Getting a li’l psycho on tyres”. I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to came back now !


Championship Clincher – Talbot Sunbeam Lotus (Type 81)

In 1977 the European division of Chrysler launched the Chrysler Sunbeam hatchback which was financed with Government aid that was part of a strategic plan to keep jobs at Chryslers Linwood factory in Scotland where the Hillman Imp production had come to a halt in 1976.

The new hatchback used the floor plan of the Hillman Avenger, another model manufactured at Linwood, of which sales were falling and which was to be discontinued in 1981.

Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

In 1978 Chrysler commissioned Lotus to develop a competition version of the Sunbeam hatchback, which appears to have shared the same type number ’81’ as the Lotus Ford ’81’ Formula One car.

Incidentally this appears to be the third of two completely unrelated projects have shared a Lotus Type number, I have read suggestions this occurred because some one lost the book in which the Lotus projects were recorded, I have also seen suggestions that what ever Lotus type numbers vehicles have now, they were not necessarily the same as those that appeared on the original Lotus drawings.

The Sunbeam Lotus was produced with a 150 hp for road trim and 250 hp for competition rally trim both versions using variants of the Lotus Type 907 motor first seen in the Lotus 62 sports racing car and later in the Lotus Elite, Type 75, road car.

Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

The Sunbeam Lotus was first seen in early 1979 but by the end of the year Chrysler had sold it’s European operations to Peugeot for US$1 (One US Dollar) which came packaged with all of Chrysler Europe’s debt. For 1980 all of Chrysler Europe’s models including the Chrysler Sunbeam Lotus were rebranded as Talbots and all of the road going Sunbeam Lotus models appear with Talbot badges.

In 1979 a works Chrysler Sunbeam Lotus team entered selected World Championship Rally events in anticipation for a full scale onslaught in 1981. The following year the now Talbot entered team scored three wins two for Henri Toivonen one on snow and the other on gravel, while Frenchman Guy Fréquelin partnered by Jean Todt, since of Peugeot and Ferrari management and now president of the FIA.

In 1981 going into the final rally of the season the RAC Rally Guy and Jean led the World Rally Drivers Chanpionship and Talbot the manufacturers championship despite only managing to score one overall victory. For some reason Guy never got to grips with his second RAC Rally start and he retired while Ari Vatenen his only challenger finished second in a Ford Escort behind Hannu Mikkola in his Audi. After Henri Toivonen also retired the manufacturers championship was clinched for Talbot by Swedes Stig Blomqvist and Bjorn Cederberg in the #14 Swedish Dealer Team entered Talbot which carried the registration/license plated LAC999V.

However I can’t be sure that the car shown in the two photos above is the same car because all thought the car above carries the LAC999V plates it is painted in the factory Talbot Sunbeam Lotus colours which were not the same as the colours carried on Stig’s car in the 1981 RAC Rally.

Thanks for joining me on this “Championship Clincher” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Rolls Royce. Don’t forget to come back now !


Di Claudio’s Day – Motors TV Live Race Day

The weather gods decided to give the billed Mini Invasion at Castle Combe an unrelentingly endless variation of track conditions on for the 12 races held on Bank Holiday Monday. Regrettably I missed the opening GadgetHelpline.com Castle Combe Classic race which appears to have been comfortably won by Nick Stagg from pole.

Mini Se7en & Miglia, MTVL, Castle Combe, Race 2

Having parked in a waterlogged field and donned my trusty green wellies I made my way to Quarry Corner in time to catch the 1st of two entertaining Mini Se7en / Miglia races. Kane Astin in the #11 who dropped several places off the line battled through the slippery conditions from 3rd on the grid to take the win in the the larger 1300cc / 79 cui Mini Miglia Class while a 15th place for Gareth Hunt secured a win in the 1000 cc / 61 cui Mini Se7en class. Above Robert Pavey was by no means the first to get caught out by the treacherous conditions at Quarry in the #94 Se7en as he was being lapped by Miglias of Astin #11, Dave Drew #2 and Peter Baldwin #33.

Startline FF1600, MTVL, Castle Combe, Race 3

As ever the 1st of the two Ford Kent powered Formula Ford races proved unpredictable on a drying track Steven Jensen in the #22 Spectrum 011b made the best of a forth place start to take the lead from pole starter Roger Ogree in the #3 Van Diemien RF00 while fellow front row starter Natham Ward in the #23 Spectrum 011c was swamped on the line and came through in 6th on the opening lap. As the race progressed Ogree, with an eye on a good points finish, was content to hold station behind Jensen while Ward made amends for his poor start and ended up out fumbling first Ogree and then Jensen to take a well earned victory by just over a second.

Mini Challenge, MTVL, Castle Combe, Race 4

As the Mini Challenge cars went to the assembly area the track conditions were still damp and all of the cars were on intermediate tyres however sensing a dry spell Shane Stoney’s crew elected to pull their driver from a scheduled 8th place start in his John Cooper Works Class #89 Mini Cooper S R56 in order to fit slicks and start from the pits. Inspired or wise the choice was the correct one as it soon became apparent that Shanes car was the class of the field lapping around 2 seconds a lap faster than anybody else it was only a matter of time before he picked off the entire field and took the flag nearly 10 seconds to the good from Sam Osborne, back in 14th place Jonathon Brown won the Club class.

Volkswagen Golf TDI, MTVL, Castle Combe, Race 5

Having recently become the owner of a VW Golf IV it was an easy pick to root for Lloyd Allard a member of the well known motoring Allard family who was driving an Allard Motor Sport Golf IV TDi in the National Mobile Windscreens Saloon Car race. Unfortunately despite qualifying well in seventh the conditions got the better of him and his race was effectively ended when he got caught out on an oil slick at the Bobbies chicane which sent him into a tank slapper that ended in the infield wheat crop. To his credit Lloyd regained the track to make an unclassified finish. The race run on a sodden and later oily track was won by pole sitter Tony Hutchings in an Audi TT from Mark Wyatt driving a Vauxhall Astra and Mark Funnel’s Mini Cooper S, Will Claudio in a Peugeot 106 GTi took class B honours with a 4th place overall and Russel Ackers driving a Vauxhall Astra in 6th overall won class C.

VADABAR Sports & GT, MTVL, Castle Combe, Race 6

With the track still very wet rain tyres were the only option for the start of the of the VADABAR Sports & GT Championship. Starting from pole in his all wheel drive Mitsubishi Evo Gary Prebble must have fancied his chances for taking a second win in the series and he made the most of it with a good get away to take a comfortable early lead, but as I saw several times last year this Championship is Simon Tilling’s to loose and after a poor start from third the drying track played to the strengths of his #23 Radical SR3long enough for Simon to take the lead. While he was searching for the few remaining wet patches on the drying racing surface Simon was nearly caught by Martin Baker in another Radical who finished just one tenth of a second behind Tilling. Above George Micheal did his best to save his #27 Toyota MR2 from a lurid spin at Bobbies, but ran out of talent and clobbered Douglas Watson series sponsors VADABAR BMW E36 M6.

750MC Toyota MR2, MTVL, Castle Combe, Race 7

George Robinson made the best of a pole position start to lead the early going from fellow front row starter Ben Rowe driving the #21 MR2, in the non championship Toyota MR2 race, a series that was on a day trip from its usual venue at Brands Hatch. However starting from forth Matthew Palmer was soon within striking distance of the pair of them in his #87 MR2. Several laps in Robinson tripped up and Matthew seized the lead and held it to the end with Rowe finishing second and a crest fallen Robinson coming home third. Jim Davies brought his MR2 Mk3 in forth to claim the class win for the newer cars with smaller motors.

Startline FF1600, MTVL, Castle Combe Race 8

Nathan Ward in the #22 Specrum 011c made no mistakes from pole position on his second start of the day, but it was Ben Norton in the #111 Spectrum, seen in third place behind Roger Ogree above, who came through from a fifth place start to take the win in a race where seven vehicles left the track in separate incidents that necessitated the use of the safety car to clear up some of the mess.

Mini Challenge, MTVL, Castle Combe, Race 9

With the first six starting in reverse order that they finished in the first Mini Challenge race and a dry track there was no luxury of a tyre gamble for Shane Storey who started sixth this time round. With just over three tenths of a second covering the top three finishers 3rd place starter Lee Allen got the better of 2nd place starter Lee Patterson leaving pole sitter Martin Depper to claim the last place on the podium unchallenged after the #22 of Chris Smiley, above, completed a whole 1.86 mile lap with a cut tyre in forth place before it finally blew out and sent him into the barriers without any substantial further damage. Henry Gilbert claimed 12th overall and the Club Class win.

National Mobile Windscreen Saloon Cars, MTVL, Castle Combe, Race 10

The second National Mobile Windscreen Saloon Car Race proved to be the race of the day as William Di Claudio in his little green Peugeot 106 GTi sensationally hounded the more powerful Audi TT ‘saloon/sedan’ (?) of Tony Hutchings over the first 8 laps of the race forcing Hutching’s to go lawn mowing of the outside of Camp on the last but one lap which gave William just enough momentum to seize an unassailable lead as they crossed the line going into the last lap. Mark Wyatt finished a further 4 seconds down the road in third, my man Lloyd Allard managed to keep his Golf TDi on the black stuff second time round starting 34th he came in a well deserved 7th !

Mini Se7en & Miglia Race 2, MTVL Castle Combe, Race 11

The Mini Miglia and Mini Se7en combined race was another close fought affair with rain and the safety car interrupting the entertainment, above Peter Baldwin who started 3rd took the win taking the lead on the last lap from the #22 of pole sitter Richard Casey and early leader David Drew in the #2.

VADABAR Sports & GT, MTVL, Castle Combe, Race 12

The twelfth and final event of the day held on drying track proved highly entertaining before the start when coming off pit road pole sitter Gary Prebble when straight into the corn field as his slick shod 4 wheel drive failed to find any grip. Prebble fell so far behind the field that he was still weaving through the field to his pole position on the warm up lap ! Craig Flemming starting second in the white and blue #5 Juno TR250 got the jump on Prebble and held the lead for 8 of the 9 laps. An incident requiring the safety car on lap 5 nearly destroyed the race having incorrectly picked up a hard charging Simon Tilling, in the distinctive orange #23 Radical, as the leader when he was still actually only in second place. Fortunately the incident was spotted and Simon was waved through with 3 laps to go and recovered his lost lap to set up a one lap shoot out. As the safety car came in Simon was marooned behind the lapped #41 Spar Jertona 85/09 of Jeremy Irwin while Flemming made the most of his opportunity to get away from the patient Tilling who waited until he crossed the finish line going into the last lap before blasting past the lapped Irwin as though he was standing still. Tilling then set about catching Flemming in what remained of the last lap. Incredibly Simon turned a 1,7 second lap to go disadvantage into a 0.7 second advantage as he crossed the line in a thrilling finish to the days action packed racing. Simon Tilling was the only driver to win both of his events at Castle Combe on Bank Holiday Monday.

William Di Claudio, Peugeot 106 GTi, MTVL, Castle Combe

William Di Claudio’s giant killing effort in the second saloon car race earned him the Driver of the Day award. As I headed back to the waterlogged car park the sun came out for what turned out to be a mild evening.

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


Blingin’, Slamin’, Surfin’ ‘n’ Driftin’ – Spring Performance Car Action Day Castle Combe

A week ago on Saturday immediately after the Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival I proceeded to Castle Combe thanks to David Roots who gave me a couple of tickets to go to the Performance Car Action Day.

Mitsubishi EVO, Castle Combe, SPCAD

On arrival aft Castle Combe I couldn’t help but notice a lot of bling on an otherwise cold and rainy day dry and shiny metal work stands out like a sore thumb as can be seen from the Mitsubishi Evo above.

VW Golf Driver, Castle Combe, SPCAD

Slammers, car with lowered suspension like the 1989 Volkswagen Golf Driver above were picking their way carefully through the mud,

Peugeot, 206 GTI, HDI, Castle Combe, SPCAD

while the surfers had to be the only ones dreaming of a wetter environment than that experienced at Castle Combe last weekend. Note the F, denoting France on the European Union Style number plate, on the 2005 Peugeot 206 GTi above, an odd choice for a car registered in, and that may well have been at Ryton, in the United Kingdom.

Nissan Skyline, Castle Combe, SPCAD

I have kept an open mind on drifting, never having seen it in person before last Saturday, until then I had the feeling drifting was akin to sheer hooliganism but with some entertainment value. Saturdays demonstrations of varying degrees of skill included a hand full of cars like the Nissan Skylines above running the wrong way round part of the Castle Combe track. With temperatures barely above freezing the entertainment value of the drifting demonstration was significantly diminished by the absence of smoking tyres which are usually associated with the ‘sport’.

HSV Maloo,Castle Combe, SPCAD

Further delights to be found in the car included vehicles of antipodean GM descent inclding this 2004 HSV Maloo.

Vauxhall Carlton Club, Castle Combe, SPCAD

Back in the day when I worked in the motor trade I used to delight in taking on near worthless cars and seeing how far I could drive them. My best effort was to drive 10,000 miles in a £50 Volvo, the legend on the door of this 1993 Vauxhall Carlton Club Estate asks “How far can a £250 car take you ?” and points readers in the direction www.streetsafari.com worth a visit if you have ever had an inkling to take part in a banger rally. Something I have filled away in my to do before I die list.

Mazda MX5 Le Mans Special, Castle Combe, SPCAD

The 1991 Mazda MX5 Le Mans Special above celebrates what was probably the nosiest victory, certainly the noisiest I have ever witnessed, at Le Mans in 1991 by the Wankel rotary powered Mazda 787B driven by Volker Weidler, Johnny Herbert and Bertrand Gachot.

Ford Transit 100D SWB, Castle Combe, SPCAD

Sadly there were not many in need of engines needing their engines cooled down last Sunday but this Cars themed 1993 Ford Transit D 100 SWB ice cream van was a nice touch.

Ford Cougar, Castle Combe, SPCAD

Among the 111 cars clubs present at Castle Combe was the Ford Cougar Owners Club, several with cars displaying Mercury brand badges as these New Edge styled cars were marketed in the USA. Was it really 14 years ago that Denis Hopper appeared in the Cougar television advertisement seems like only yesterday ?

Skoda, Castle Combe, SPCAD

Another club with a large number of members present was Briskoda.net the Bristol based Skoda Forum and Community, could be handy folks to know when I get round to participating in a banger rally if there are any £100 Skoda’s left.

Subaru Impreza Sport AWD, Castle Combe, SPCAD

Ampng the predictable masses of Subaru’s one might expect to see at a Performance Car Action Day, this Impreza Sport AWD combo really caught my attention, I wonder how difficult it would be to add drive to the trailer wheels ?

Rage Against The Scene, Castle Combe, SPCAD

I left the Spring Performance Car Action Day with a head full of ideas as to how I might personalise my recently acquired Golf Estate.

My thanks to David Roots for passing on the tickets so that I could attend the Spring Performance Action Day at Castle Combe.

Thanks for joining me on this “Blingin’, Slamin’ ‘n’ Drifting” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an early monocoque racing car. Don’t forget to come back now !


A Passage From India – Rover CityRover

In 2000 BMW gave up on it’s attempt to revive the Rover Group after six years and sold most of the assets packaged as the MG Rover Group to the Phoenix consortium. At this point all models, bar one the ’75’, in the MG Rover groups portfolio were around five years old and Phoenix determined that their first new car would be aimed at the city car market segment that had once been an almost exclusive preserve of the Mini, a product of earlier incarnations of the MG Rover Group.

CityRover Solo

MG Rover Group did not have any research and development assets so they looked for a partner that would be offered a stake in the group in return for a new car. A deal was done with Indian manufacturers TATA who would build a version of the first ever completely indigenous Indian passenger car the Indica.

CityRover Solo

The design criteria for the Indica were that it would be the size of a Maruti Zen, similar to the Suzuki Cervo Mode, the internal dimensions of the Hindustan Ambasador, a cast off from a previous in carnation of the MG Rover Group that is still in production who’s design heritage can be traced back to the Morris Oxford of 1948, the price of a Maruti 800, another Suzuki related product, and the running cost of a diesel.

CityRover Solo

The design work was carried out by I.D.E.A. in Italy and after a false start with some quality issues the TATA Indicia, launched in 1998, with a Peugeot derived motor proved to be a big hit on the Indian sub continent. Despite the absence of a development budget, apart from the badging, alterations made to the Indicia to suit the needs of European motoring included an upgraded engine to produce 84 hp and exceed more stringent emissions regulations, increase in road wheel size from 13 to 14 inches and corresponding alteration of gear ratio’s, stiffer front and rear spring rates, lowered suspension and increased gearing for the steering.

CityRover Solo

Production of the Rover CityRover began in Pune India in 2003 but the cars launch was marred by questions over the MG Rover Groups finances and by the newly crowned 2004 European Car of the year the FIAT Panda which was a game changing generation ahead of the CityRover and cheaper too.

CityRover Solo

While the CityRover was praised for it’s performance and handling it was let down by interior quality, lack of equipment and above all headlining city car market segment price. In July 2005 MG Rover was liquidated with the loss of 6,000 jobs in the company and a further 25,000 jobs in related suppliers companies. Nanjing acquired the assets of the MG Rover Group.

Around 6000 CityRovers, such as the base Solo model seen here, were sold in it’s first year and a further 1200 Mk2 versions were sold through non franchised dealers after the MG Rover Groups liquidation.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘CityRover’ edition of getting a lil’ psycho on tyres’. I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Coupé built in The Netherlands. Don’t forget to come back now !


Wessex Sprint – Castle Combe

This week I will be catching up with a couple of days activity at Castle Combe, a morning at Mallory Park and a visit to the Bugatti Trust at Prescott.

A couple of weeks ago I took some advice from our Prime Minister, David Cameron, and had great fun doing my bit for the motor racing community by marshaling at the Wessex Sprint, organised by the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club, of which I am a new member and the MG Car Club (SW).

A sprint is an event in which competitors race against the clock on this occasion around a single lap of the Castle Combe Circuit. Here are a few snaps taken during the lunch break and suspension of the competition.

MG J2, Castle Combe

Jeremy Hawk told me his MG J2 above has been in his family since 1953 when it was acquired for the princely sum of £85 some years later it made STD at a sprint at Castle Combe just like it did last week.

Peugeot 309 GTi,

This #73 Peugeot 309 GTi was shared by Tom Siebert and Henry Siebert Saunders was completely stripped out and running with plastic side window’s to reduce weight.

Audi Quattro

Car of the day IMHO, if only because of the sound of it’s 5 cylinder turbocharged motor, was the #75 Audi Quattro shared by Tim Clark and Andy Tanner, wondering if anyone knows if this a genuine works car ? It certainly looked and sounded the part. Andy just beat Tim to win the Modified Limited Production Class.

MGB Kayne Special, Castle Combe

The Rover V8 powered MGB Kayne Special shared by John and Jonathan Biggs ran in the Sports Libre Class.

Terrapin Kawasaki, Castle Combe

Tim Moreton and Dean Robertson shared the ‘Dick’ Terrapin a Kawasaki powered vehicle with a Wharholian paint job.

Royale Vauxhall RP 30

I do not remember the last time I saw a Royale RP 30 in action, but the first time was around 31 short years ago ! This example driven by Bob and Anne Adams is powered by a Vauxhall 16v motor in place of the Ford Pinto with which it was originally supplied to race in Formula Ford 2000 events. Bob took the Racing Cars over 1600 cc class honours.

Pilbeam Vauxhall MP62

Proudly displaying it’s V8 kills from a couple of years ago was the similarly Vauxhall, 4 cylinder, powered but methanol fuelled Pilbeam MP62 chassis #14, built in the late 1980’s, of Kevin Lealan who won the Fastest Time of the Day award.

Start line marshalls

Running cars one at a time in batches of four meant my fellow start line marshals and I only got a break from the action for lunch, very nice sweet and sour chicken with rice & chips, then again later when the weather turned sunny, the sunlight interfered with the timing beam until the beam receiver was fitted with a shroud and on a couple of occasions when the Castle Combe farmer wanted to cross the track in order to bring in his hay bales.

I would recommend volunteering to be marshal to anyone who is interested in getting involved in motor sport, you will probably have a fun day and get to make a few good friends in the local motor sport community.

Thanks for joining me on this Wessex Sprint edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at this weekends racing at Castle Combe. Don’t forget to come back now !