Tag Archives: Pirelli

Wanted Four Black Round Things – Toleman Hart TG185

The story of the Toleman Hart TG185 goes back to 1980 when the Toleman Formula Two team decided to build their own Formula Two car the TG 280 and in the process swap from being a Goodyear to a Pirelli tyre customer, five years later when today’s featured car was built it became quite apparent to the detriment of Toleman that switching tyres suppliers was a less than amicable experience for Goodyear.

After securing the Formula Two championship at their first attempt Toleman, engine supplier Brian Hart and Pirelli did not hesitate to leap up to the top of the motor racing tree with a two car formula one team for 1981. After many trials and the odd tribulation an unknown Ayrton Senna joined the team for 1984 and the team what would be it’s best year scoring 3 podium finishes which contributed to the teams 16 points and 7th place finish in the World Constructors Championship.

Toleman Hart TG185, Silverstone Auction

On the way to that success Toleman made an acrimonious switch from Pirelli to Michelin tyres after the San Marino Grand Prix, but at the end of the 1984 season Michelin decided to quit Formula One with neither Goodyear or Pirelli now prepared to step up to the plate to help Toleman out.

Toleman’s preparations for the 1985 season went on regardless the new Rory Byrne designed TG185 was similar to the TG184 with a tidier body and revised suspension, the 1.5 litre 91.5 cui 4 cylinder turbocharged Hart motor produced around 800 hp and McLaren refugee John Watson was signed up with Spirit refugee Stefan Johansson to drive the new cars, in the end neither did John had a one off drive as a stand in for the injured Niki Lauda at McLaren before retiring from Formula One and Stefan got the second seat at Tyrrell for the first race of the season before being snapped up by Ferrari to replace René Arnoux in circumstances that remain unexplained to this day.

Toleman Hart TG185, Silverstone Auction

Meantime Italian knitwear moguls and Alfa Romeo’s primary Formula One sponsor Benetton were keen to expand their Formula One involvement by finding a drive for emerging talent Teo Fabi, Benetton bought the failing Spirit team who had a contract with Pirelli for a supply of tyres and reassigned it to Toleman after the first three races of the season.

Toleman ran a single entry for Teo for six races before Piercarlo Ghinzani was drafted in as a number two drive from the failing Osella team between them the teams only successes were a pole position start for Teo in Germany along with 14th and 12th place finishes for Teo in France and Italy respectively.

Toleman Hart TG185, Silverstone Auction

Things were not much better at Alfa Romeo where Ricardo Patrese and Eddie Cheever managed to finish eight times in non points paying finishes through out the whole of 1985.

At the season’s end Benetton ditched Alfa Romeo who withdrew from Formula One, while Benetton bought out Toleman and kept Teo Fabi who was joined by Gerhard Berger for 1986 in a restructured team that secured a supply of BMW engines for the new season.

The TG185 seen here at Silverstone Auction, sans Hart engine, was driven by Piercarlo Ghinzani at the end of 1985, prior to his return to Osella and was sold in the auction for £30,940 at the recent Silverstone Classic meeting.

Thanks for joining me on this “Wanted Four Black Round Things” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Mercedes Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Tyre Contract For Sale – Spirit Cosworth 101D

There is no room for sentimentality in sport even if one has designed a triple Indy 500 winning Indy Car and a car that has secured one constructors World Championship and two world drivers championships after 4 year of steady decline to the bottom of the top ten one must expect ones sponsors to either walk or agree a merger with an up and coming team.

Such was the situation Gordon Coppuck found himself in at McLaren at the end of the 1980 season when sponsors Phillip Morris agreed to fund a merger between the upstart Project Four hither to Formula Two team headed by former Brabham mechanic Ron Dennis and McLaren who had not won a race since the Japanese Grand Prix in 1977.

Part of the deal would include Ron hiring John Barnard to design a new car with a fully composite chassis leaving Gordon little alternative to seek employment else where. Gordon joined his former colleague and McLaren employee Robin Herd at March for 1982 and after a year there became a founding member of a new Formula 2 team with March Formula 2 team manager John Wickham which was funded by Philip Morris and was to be powered by potent 2 litre Honda V6 engines with Belgian Thierry Boutsen and Swede Stefan Johansson as drivers.

Thierry won three races and finished third in the 1982 F2 championship behind March BMW drivers Corrado Fabi and Johnny Cecotto but more importantly for the Spirit team they had outscored the similarly powered Ralts of Kenny Acheson and Dr Jonathon Palmer so that when Honda was deciding on which team to partner in their planned for 1983 entry into Formula One it was easy to go with Spirit.

Withdrawing completely from Formula 2, having won the championship with Geoff Lees in 1981, Honda developed it’s turbocharged 1.5 litre V6 engine while Spirit adapted one of it’s Formula 2 chassis to take the engine while simultaneously working on today’s featured design the 101 from scratch.

Spirit Cosworth 101D, Mark Williams, Silverstone Classic,

Spirit entered a limited programme of six races mid way through the 1983 season and Stefan Johansson managed to qualify the adapted Formula 2 201 and later 201C for all the races entered retiring from three of them and finishing a season best 7th in Holland. The 101 was ready for the last two of this programme but was left unraced.

For 1984 the team had hoped to retain the Honda Engines and attract 1972 and 1974 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi out of retirement, but Honda decided to go with the more established Williams team who had the slightly younger 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg already on their books.

Wickham and Coppuck wasted little time and did a deal to run the 4 cylinder turbocharged Hart 415T engines, that had hitherto been developed exclusively with Toleman since 1980 and Spirit adapted the unraced 101 in time for Emerson to test before the season got underway.

Emerson decided that this was not what he really wanted and so Mauro Baldi was entered for the first six races of the season scoring 8th places finishes in South Africa and San Marino before Huub Rothengatter was entered for the next eight races. With Hart motors in short supply Huub failed to qualify with a Cosworth DFV installed in Detroit but finished a best 8th in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on his final start in the car.

Mauro returned to the seat for the final two races of the 1984 season finishing 8th in the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.

For 1985 Mauro was retained to drive the 101, now in D spec with longer side pods, as was a supply of Hart engines and Pirelli tyres, which would become significant because fellow Hart powered team Toleman had switched from Pirelli to Michelin part way through the 1984 season and when Michelin withdrew from Formula One at the end of 1981 neither Goodyear or Pirelli were prepared to step in and supply tyres to the team.

Without tyres Toleman had to withdraw from the first three races of the 1985 season while Mauro could do no better than qualify 24th for the first two races of the season, after qualifying last at San Marino nearly 10 seconds off the pace and posting it’s third consecutive retirement Spirit decided to call it a day and sold their contract for a supply of Pirelli Tyres to Toleman who could do no better than post one 12th and one 14th place finish all season though Teo Fabi did qualify on pole in Germany which helped secure the teams take over by sponsor Benetton at the end of the season.

Mark Williams is seen at the wheel of the 101D powered by a Cosworth DFV motor at Silverstone Classic a couple of years ago.

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


Rambo Lambo – Lamborghini LM002

The origins of the Lamborghini LM002 permanent all wheel pick up lie in a prototype rear engined Chrysler powered Armored Reconnaissance Scout Vehicle built by FMC Corporation (Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation) called the XR311. Under the direction of Lamborghini’s new owners Georges-Henri Rossetti and René Leimer Lamborghini took on a contract to develop a Armored Reconnaissance Scout Vehicle for Mobility Technology International (MTI) who, unknown to Lamborghini, passed on plans for the new vehicle that “borrowed” heavily from the prototype FMC XR311.

Lamborghini LM002, Auto Italia, Brooklands

When the prototype Lamborghini Cheetah with a larger Chrysler motor in the back was announced in 1977 it immediately triggered legal action from FMC against MTI and Lamborgini and the project was abandoned after it had been demonstrated but before it was submitted to the US Military for testing. The US Military contract for which the Cheetah was built to compete for was won by AM General and their M998 Series High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle or HMMWV also known as Humvee which would find a civilian application known as the Hummer.

Lamborghini LM002, Auto Italia, Brooklands

Lamborghini meanwhile went bankrupt in 1978 and was put into the care of Swiss food entrepreneurs Jean-Claude and Patrick Mimran by the Italian courts in 1980. Under their stewardship a second all wheel drive prototype LM001 was developed in 1981 now powered by a rear mounted AMC motor. It was soon realised this had the same handling issues as the Cheetah and so a front engined LMA002 (Lamborghini Militaria Anteriore) powered by 370hp V12 from the Countach super car.

Lamborghini LM002, Auto Italia, Brooklands

By the time the LM002 went into production, in 1986 just before Lamborghini was acquired by Chrysler, it was fitted with a 450 hp version of the Countach V12 complete with 4 valve heads as seen above in this 1991 version. Later a even more powerful version of Lamborghini’s offshore powerboat marine V12 could also be specified.

Lamborghini LM002, Auto Italia, Brooklands

Nickmaned the “Rambo Lambo” the only tyres on which the vehicle of this weight and performance can run were specially commissioned by Lamborghini from Pirelli and are marketed as Pirelli Scorpions which have a run flat capability. 328 LM200’s with air conditioning and leather interiors were built between 1986 and 1993 with none being sold for military service.

Thanks for joining me on this “Rambo Lambo” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I shall be looking at a Countach the last in this series celebrating 50 years of Lamborghini car production. Don’t forget to come back now !

Brighton Speed Trials Under Threat of Permanent Cancellation !

In their infinite wisdom, Brighton & Hove City Council are seeking to ban the Brighton Speed Trials from 2014.

If you care about speed and or motorsport history, please sign this linked petition to save Brighton Speed Trials in 2014 and beyond.

It’s a faf to Register before signing, but relatively painless compared to loosing the event which has been run with few interruptions since 1905.

You do not need to be resident in Brighton or even the UK to sign.

Thanks and please spread the word through whatever social media you have at your disposal.


More Porsche Odds & Ends – GALPOT Automobilia

This weeks GALPOT Automobilia blog features some more Porsche related ads and articles from MotorSport magazine dated 1970 to 1978 which are currently for auction on my lightpress e-bay page.

1970 Monte Carlo Rally, 2 page spread MotorSport Magazine

Bjorn Waldegård and Lars Helmer driving a Porsche 911S won the 1970 Monte Carlo Rally for the second time in a row and Porsche for the third consecutive time. The two page tearout from MotorSport March 1970 above shows the winning Porsche, third placed Alpine Renault, two surviving Lancia Fulvia’s and the 5th place Ford Escort Twin Cam.

1974 East African Safari Rally, 1 page tearout, MotorSport Magazine

Bjorn Waldegård and Hans Thorszelius were on target to win the 1974 East African Safari Rally in their yellow Porsche Carrera bottom, until repairs to their rear suspension dropped them to second behind the Mitsubishi Lancer of Joginder Singh and David Doig seen in the top photo of this single page tearout of the event taken from MotorSport June 1974.

Pirelli P7, Martini Porsche Turbo Ad MotorSport May 1978

The May 1978 edition of MotorSport contained several Porsche related items including this Pirelli P7 tyre ad featuring a Martini striped Porsche 930 Turbo road car.

Porsche 911 SC Targa ad, MotorSport Magazine 1978

In the same issue I found this ad for a 180hp Porsche 911 SC Targa, prices for the Porsche 911 SC range back then started at just £12,600 pounds a number which these days might just get you a Volkswagen.

Porsche 911 SC Sport, article MotorSport Magazine, May 1978

Finally the May 1978 issue of MotorSport Magazine carried this three side Porsche 911 SC Sport road test, one of the pictures show’s the car parked on an unbelievably empty Westminster Bridge in front of Big Ben showing nearly 13:50 and without a single tourist in sight ! The test concluded “Potential customers can make up their own minds, if they are prepared to join the queue !

Thanks to everyone who has spread the GALPOT word and especially those who have made purchases.

Thanks for joining me on this “More Porsche Odds & Ends” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when GALPOT will be welcoming a new photographer who attended last months Niello Serrano Concours d’Elegance. Don’t forget to come back now !


Winds Of Change – Volkswagen Golf GTi

In 1964 Volkswagen acquired Auto Union from Daimler Benz and in so doing sowed the seeds for the survival the thriving of both companies well into the 1980’s. Back in ’64 Volkswagen was thriving on a market mix of rather primitive if well built aircooled rear wheel drive vehicles that were developed initially by Dr Ferdinand Porsche, at the same time Auto Union were developing 4 stroke watercooled motors with front wheel drive trains to replace the 2 stroke vehicles that they had been manufacturing since before the 1939-45 war.

Volkswagen Golf GTi, Bristol Classic Car Show, Sheppton Mallet,

The first new all Auto Union became the Audi F103, curiously at the time of it’s launch Volkswagen was intending to simply use the Auto Union productution facilities to build additional Beetles and forbade Auto Union from carrying out any further developments however when a team of Audi engineers showed the Volkswagen management their ideas for the Audi 100 that had been developed in secret Volkswagen was persuaded to change it’s mind and eventually ended up embracing Audi new 4 stroke water cooled front wheel drive technology when sales of the Beetle started to show signs of weakness.

Volkswagen Golf GTi, Bristol Classic Car Show, Sheppton Mallet,

The first water cooled front drive Volkswagen’s were the relatively low volume Passat’s launched in 1973 these were followed by another water cooled front wheel drive car named after a wind, the Golf (translated into English Gulf). The 1974 Volkswagen Golf featured a two box hatch back shape with a hatch back door to the rear which was to be often copied by the likes of Ford, Vauxhall/Opel, British Leyland, Chevrolet and Dodge, to name a few, in the wake of the Golf’s overnight success, though the FIAT 128 based Zastava 101 featured a proper hatch back that predated the Golf by three years.

Volkswagen Golf GTi, Bristol Classic Car Show, Sheppton Mallet,

In 1975 the first Golf GTi was launched featuring a 110 hp fuel injected motor and suddenly any car without ‘i’ in the initialing became suspect as did any car without red piping that was pioneered by the new sports model. Neither communist built Yugo 45s nor US built GMC Syclones were immune to these little red fashion fads which started with Volkswagen’s little hot hatch which had a zero to 60 mph acceleration time of 9 seconds.

Volkswagen Golf GTi, Bristol Classic Car Show, Sheppton Mallet,

It was not long before a third of all Golf’s built were the performance GTi variants which worked wonders for Volkswagen’s finances having come close to going under completely in the early 1970’s. The Golf was mildly face lifted in 1980 without altering any of the crisp lines originally styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro.

Volkswagen Golf GTi, Bristol Classic Car Show, Sheppton Mallet,

The vehicle seen here at last years Bristol Classic Car Show is one the last post face lift models built in 1983, most obviously distinguished by the large rectangular rear lights.

The car seen here is fitted with a factory sunroof and tinted window’s which along with the Pirelli wheels, that were fitted with horrendously expensive Pirelli P6 low profile tyres, point to the car possibly being what is known a a Campaign Model, though some Mk 1 Golfs have been built up to look like Campaign models but with the heavier load bearing Pirelli wheels from the Mark II Golf GTi which had 10mm gaps between the P’s on the 14 inch alloy wheels instead of the original 7mm gaps between the P’s.


General Belgrano – Toleman Hart TG 181C #06

Nearly thirty years ago, July 18th 1982, I had the privilege of taking a couple of day’s off from my summer job, at Golden Arch Foods where I was employed on the production line making 24,000 buns an hour for Ronald McDonald, to visit Brands Hatch for the British Grand Prix.

Toleman Hart TG 181C, British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch

Niki Lauda driving a McLaren starting from 5th on the grid easily won the race from the Ferrari 126 C2’s of Didier Pironi and Patrick Tambay who had both fought hard from their respective 4th and 13th place starts.

One of the best stories of the race however came from the fledgling Toleman Team which was founded in 1981. Their car was designed by a Formula One novice Rory Byrne who had designed many successful open wheel vehicles first with Royale who manufactured many Ford Kent and Pinto powered racers and then with Toleman in the the second tier Formula 2 who’s Hart powered cars dominated the European Formula 2 championship in 1980 with drivers Brian Henton, who was crowned champion, and Derek Warwick came second.

For 1981 Toleman and Brian Hart made the brave move to step up to Formula one with a car designed by Byrne and a turbocharged 1.5 litre / 90.5 cui 415T four cylinder motor which was a development of the Hart 420R 2 litre / 122 cui motor successfully used in Formula 2. The team ran with unfancied Pirelli tyres who were returning to the top tier of the sport after a prolonged absence of 32 years.

During the 1981 season Henton and Warwick each made 12 attempts at pre qualifying for Grand Prix races each missing the cut for qualifying just once at Monaco. However both drivers only qualified once Henton at Monza where he finished 10th and Warwick in the parking lot at Ceasers Palace where he retired.

For the 1982 season Henton opted out and moved to the Tyrrell team while Warwick, who used to be a regular competitor at Aldershot Raceway had won the World Super Stox Championship aged 16 in 1973, was joined by Formula One novice Teo Fabi who had finished third in the 1980 Formula 2 championship.

From 28 attempts to pre qualify in 1982 Warwick and Fabi both failed make the cut once with Warwick qualifying for 11 races and Fabi 7. Warwick managed to finish just two of his 11 starts with a best of tenth place in Germany equalling Henton’s best result at Monza the year before, while Fabi did not finish any of the races he started.

The hight light of the Toleman Teams 1982 season was however the British Grand Prix, having set fastest lap during the previous Dutch Grand Prix, Warwick qualified
16th and proceeded to march through the field with some breath taking maneuver’s during the race. Having worked his way passed Elio de Angelis in a Lotus, Derek Daly in a Williams he next set about attempting to get past the Ferrari of Pironi which proved a little more troublesome as both cars had similar performance thanks to their turbocharged motors however he eventually went past Pironi on the start finish ‘straight’, it’s actually a curve, out braking the Frenchman into the heart stopping paddock bend.

Now in second place Warwick set about catching Niki Lauda who was well ahead however after 40 glorious laps Warwick retired thanks to a broken CV joint in the back of his car, chassis #06, which had acquired the ‘General Belgrano’ nick name from the ancient Argentinian battleship that had been sunk in the 1982 Falklands Conflict. The next week the hitherto back marker and underdog was on the cover of all the magazines and Toleman, Byrne and Warwick began to enjoy some hard earned respectability.

Toleman started scoring points finishes in 1983 and were taken over by Benetton in 1986. Rory Byrne penned many winning cars for them including those driven to championship victories by Micheal Schumacher in 1994 and 1995. Byrne followed Schumacher to Ferrari after a retirement that became a sabbatical for the 1997 season.
Byrnes cars driven by Schumacher dominated the sport from 1999 to 2004 securing 71 victories and six constructors championships and five drivers championships before he retired for good in 2006.

Brian Henton driving his Tyrell got fastest lap at the 1982 British GP and retired from Formula One at the end of the season. Derek Warwick gained a reputation for never being in the right place at the right time in Formula One his best championship finish being 7th in 1984 when he drove for Renault. Derek was crowned World Sports Car Champion in 1992 when he also won the Le Mans 24 hours driving for Peugeot. His 1982 Toleman Team mate Teo Fabi was crowned 1991 World Sports Car Champion in 1991 driving a Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) Jaguar.

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