Tag Archives: Pritchard

Rally Day – Castle Combe

A couple of weekends ago I was driving around North East of Bristol when I noticed there seemed to be a lot of Sabaru Impreza’s, Mitsubishi EVO’s, Ford RS’s, the odd Mini, Peugeot 206 and Citroën Xsara headed off towards Castle Combe, not having a lot on that morning I decided to see what was going on and found myself attending the 15th Rally Day at Castle Combe.

 FIAT 126 Proto Honda CBR, Waldemar Janecki , Rally Day, Castle Combe

As I arrived there was some sort of open test session going on, one of the stars of which was Waldemar Janecki from Poland in his FIAT 126 Proto Honda CBR, he uses this 600 cc / 36 cui device in the Polish WRT Extreme Cup, for which I found no official web site on the net though there is no question that it exists, with Grzegorz Kwiecień in the co drivers seat.

Prototype, Rob / Dave Skone, Rally Day, Castle Combe

There are not many cars I know absolutely nothing about and after talking to the owner of the ‘Prototype’ above on facebook just now I’m not sure how much the wiser I am now. According to Dave Skone, who competes in the Safari Britpart Cross Country Challenge organised by the AWDC with his son Rob, “the car is a Matserati, aprox 15-16 years old, but was built with a Porsche 911 engine in it. I think it has had about 5 owners including myself ( and Rob my son ) the car was bought about 3 years ago and then rebuilt 2 years ago when we installed a 4.2 v8 supercharged Jag engine.” Obviously a man with a sense of humour, I shall endeavor to find out what the Safari Britpart Cross Country Challenge organised by the All Wheel Drive Club, AWDC, is all about at their next meeting which will be at Walters Arena Glynneath on the 11th of October.

Screamer, Rally Day, Castle Combe

The AWDC will be busy on October the 11th because they will also be organising an AVT, SVT and MOD trials at Old Down near Thorbury, South Glocestershire which is I understand the type of event where one might expect to see the 200 hp 3 litre / 183 cui Honda V6 powered Screamer 2 driven by Lee Pritchard who also built the all wheel drive, all wheel steer vehicle, above, in action.

Subaru Impreza WRX, Richard Knott, Rally Day, Castle Combe

For those not so technically minded who want to have a go at rallying for a minimal cost you could do worse than sign up for a 3 hour rally course at Castle Combe where Richard Knott, youngest winner of the AWMMC Championship aged 19 some years ago, will show you the ropes and analyse your skills at the wheel of the 2002 Group N Spec Subaru Impreza above for the bargain price of £165.

Volkswagen 1200, Bob Beales, Rally Day, Castle Combe

Over the past few years I have come across Bob Beales 1960 Volkswagen 1200 Bertie many times at various show’s but this was the first occasion on which I had seen the car, originally campaigned in 1960 by 1960 and 1961 British Rally Champion Bill Bengry and driven since 1965 in competition by Bob, in action. This car is so well known among the Rally fraternity Scalextric have issued a slot car model of it.

Ari Vatanen, Ford Escort RS100, Rally Day, Castle Combe

Finally star of the day was Ari Pieti Uolevi Vatanen the 2 twice British Rally Champion, 1981 World Rally Champion, 1983 Safari winner, four time Paris – Dakar winner and twice member of the European Parliament representing a Swedish constituency the first time and a French the second, both while living in France, who drove the same 1975 Mk II Ford Escort RS1800 he drove to win the 1976 British Rally Championship with Peter Bryant, on a couple of demonstration laps.

Thanks for joining me on this “Rally 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 !


Mistaken Identity – Ferrari 290MM #0606

In April 1956 Luigi Musso was given a brand new Right Hand Drive Ferrari 290 MM chassis #0606 by the factory team to drive in the Giro di Sicilia he did not finish but the next occupants Phil Hill and Maurice Trintignant did win the Swedish Grand Prix, for sports cars, on the cars second appearance in August 1956.

Ferrari, 290 MM, Goodwood Revival

In 1957 the car was variously entered under the Ecurie Francochamps and Equipe Nationale Belge banners with Willy Mairesse winning pole for a 2 hour race held at St Etienne in France and Alain de Changy finishing 4th in Monsanto, Portugal being the cars most notable race performances.

Ferrari, 290 MM, Goodwood Revival

After the car was returned to the factory it was driven by Austrian Gotfried Koechert in August 1958. His best result being 3rd overall and 1st in class in the Großer Bergpreis von Oesterreich, hillclimb at the Gaisbergrennen in Austria.

Ferrari, 290 MM, Goodwood Revival

In September 1959 the car was converted to 250 TR specs with a TR motor and sold to Brazilian Jean Luis Lacerda who appears to have won at least two races at Interlagos and Brasilia with #0606 during 1960.

Late in 1960 ownership of #0606 was transferred to Aguinaldo Goes who scored a second place finish in a 500 km race at Intelagos in Spetember of that year.

In 1962 Fernando Mafra Moriera borrowed the car to make up the numbers for a race at Interlagos with strict instructions to park it at the end of lap 1, unfortunately Fernando who raced under the name Rio Negro did not do as he was asked with fatal consequences as he ended up hitting a eucalyptus tree with the unfamiliar right hand drive and equally unfamiliar central throttle pedal thought to have played a role in the tragedy.

The engine and front of the car was separated from the gear box and the back of the car which remained embedded in the tree.

Ferrari, 290 MM, Goodwood Revival

What remained of the car was given by goes to Camilo Christofaro who used the fuel tank and de Dion rear suspension in a fearsome Corvette engined special called Carrettera 18 in March 1965 Christofaro and Goes drove the car to a 3rd place finish, 1st in class, in a 1600 km race at Interlagos.

The TR motor that had been installed in #0606 when it went to Brazil went into another Brazilian racing car the Furia Ferrari owned by Toni Bianco and later still it replaced a blown up motor in a street Ferrari.

Ferrari, 290 MM, Goodwood Revival

In 1986 Paolo Sebastiani bought some Ferrari parts including part of a type 520 Ferrari 290MM chassis frame from Camilo Christofaro and allegedly mistook them for parts from a type 525 Ferrari 250 TR chassis frame which he thought came from chassis #0726TR which had also been involved in a fatal crash and abandoned in Cuba in 1960.

Sebastiani had Ferrari chassis builder Viccari “guide” him in the construction of a Left Hand Drive type 525 250TR chassis using the salvaged parts he had acquired from Brazil. The car was given a new body by Len Pritchard and sold to John Godfrey who upon further inspection realised that the parts Sebastiani had found in Brazil were actually from the Right Hand Drive #0606 290MM.

The car is seen here at last years Goodwood Revival by Mike Malone.

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


Low Rider – Lotus 15

The Lotus 15 was built to accept larger motors than had been possible with the hitherto very successful Lotus XI.

Lotus 15

Built to take 4 cylinder Coventry Climax motors of between 1.5 litres / 92 cui and 2.5 litres / 153 cui the Lotus 15 stood just 24″ tall. The #37 built in 1958 seen at Silverstone above of Philip Walker and Danny Wright is powered by a 2 litre / 122 cui motor.

Ewan McIntyre, Lotus 15, Oulton Park, 2011

In order to lower the centre of gravity and improve the aerodynamics and handling the Coventry Climax 4 cylinder motors were 17 degrees off horizontal, one degree more than the 1958 Epperly Belond Exhaust Special that won the Indy 500 in 1958 and 1959, under the Williams and Pritchard designed and created aluminium skin.

Ewan McIntyre, Lotus 15, Oulton Park, 2011

The combination of slippery shape and good handling allowed Graham Hill to record 5th best time in practice at Le Mans in 1958 with a 2 litre Lotus 15 ahead of numerous 3 litre cars entered in the race.

Ewan McIntyre, Lotus 15, Oulton Park, 2011

However the Lotus 15 was hampered by unreliability Hill managed only three laps at Le Mans in 1958 before he had to retire with head gasket failure. It has been suggested that the Lotus 15 suffered a lack of development and attention to detail due to Colin Chapmans efforts to get his open wheel programme under way, along with development of the Lotus Elite road car. However the fact that three distinct variations of the 15 were built between 1958 and 1960 suggests this might not have been the case.

Ewan, McIntyre, Lotus 15, Oulton Park, 2011

The Lotus 15 was not as successful as the Lotus XI and only 27 were built. Despite the lack of success today examples of the Lotus 15 like the the #15 of Ewan McIntyre seen chasing the #133 3.8 litre / 231 cui Lister Jaguar of Jon Minshaw and Martin Stretton at Oulton Park above are still capable of punching well above their weight in Historic events.

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


You can’t go wrong with a Bristol under the bonnet #2 – Lotus X

The Lotus X was a variant of the Lotus marks VIII and IX, built in 1955 to accommodate a larger engine than its siblings.

Lotus X - Silverstone Classic

Using essentially a strengthened chassis the Lotus X carried a 6 cylinder 2 litre /122 cui Bristol engine as used by Lotus competitors Cooper and Lister.

Only 6 or 7 Lotus Mk X’s are thought to have been built and some of them raced with Turner or Coventry Climax motors instead of the Bristol as used by Team Lotus.

The Lotus X was driven to victories in both Europe and the United States. This particular Bristol engined example is seen at the recent Silverstone Classic with Nick Adams at the wheel. Nick and Co Driver Adrian Hall drove this car to three straight victories in 2008 and were awarded the Woodcote Cup.

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


Designed By An Accountant #1 – Lotus VI #34

In 1942 Peter Kirwan-Taylor was 12 when he returned to England after a temporary evacuation to North America. He accompanied his step father Charles Loraine Hill, a director of Lagonda Cars, on trips to visit Lagonda and Westland the aircraft manufacturer where his interest in design took hold.

After a military career, during which he was member of the British Sking team, Peter settled down to follow his fathers footsteps and trained as an accountant. On the April 13th 1954 in between his 3 nights a week studies Peter found time to purchase and build a new Lotus VI, chassis #34, and decided to design his own body for it.

He provided Williams & Pritchard with the drawings and a claymodel which featured a high crease line and because of the suspension set up when the body was mounted to the chassis the car accidentally had a futuristic wedge appearance due the forward sloping aspect of the crease line.

Peter raced the car several times and as his family and career in finance took off he sold PGP 182 after two years.

Peter Kirwan Taylor, Lotus VI, Brands Hatch

Peter Kirwan Taylor in his #19 Lotus VI at Brands Hatch Undated,

Photo Beaulieu National Motor Museum

The exact details of the ownership of PGP 182 from 1956 to 1963 are not recorded however as can be seen on this link we do know Peter’s car made an appearance at Silverstone in June 1957 in the hands of Tony Wilson-Spratt. (See postscript below)

Thomas Kikaldy owned PGP 182 from 1963 to 1969 and he removed the unique body and sold it to an Italian restaurant owner in London and it has not been seen in public since.

In 1983 Len Pritchard, who produced the panels for the original Lotus VI kits, fabricated new panels for PGP 182 in the style of original Lotus VI’s with which the car, seen on this link 4th from right, is fitted today.

Peter Ross of the Historic Lotus Register informs me that the whereabouts of the drawings for Peter Kirwan Taylors bodywork are known and his one off body work could be recreated if some one desired.

As we shall see next Saturday Peter Kirwan-Taylor’s friendship with Lotus founder Colin Chapman grew from the time he purchased PGP 182 and he would design another Lotus which made a larger mark on the Lotus Cars story.

My thanks to Paul Rochdale of The Nostalgia Forum for first identifying PGP 182 as a Lotus VI to Peter Ross from the Historic Lotus Register for details about Peter Kirwan-Taylor and PGP 182 and to Ted Walker aka Ferret Fotographics for permission to use today’s photograph.

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

10/10/11 POSTSCRIPT. Peter Ross of the Historic Lotus Register has kindly sent a few comments about this blog it would appear the photograph in the link is of Ian Duncan at the wheel and the photographer was Tony Wilson Spratt.

Peter also informs me that an article ‘The Story of the Kirwan-Taylor bodied Lotus VI’ appeared in the Historic Lotus magazine issue #64 which can be ordered through the HLR website linked here.


Awaiting TLC #3 – Lotus Mark 6

Third in my occasional series of blogs about cars in need of tender loving care is this uniquely ungainly looking Lotus Mark 6 seen earlier this year at the Silverstone Classic.

Lotus XI, Silverstone Classic

The Lotus Mark 6 was the first Lotus design to go into to production and it was sold in kit form saving purchasers a small fortune in new car taxes. The reason this particular vehicle is both unique and ungainly is because it is the only Lotus Mark 6 built as a mud plugging trials car requiring more ground clearance than either the road going or track racing versions.

Lotus VI, Silverstone Classic

The chassis and Williams and Pritchard built body was originally supplied to Mr Horace Sinclair Sweeney in 1953 at a cost of £110. Once Mr Sweeney had finished installing the engine and running gear he entered and won the London Motor Club’s Annecy Spring Sporting Trial on the 7th of June 1953.

Lotus VI, Silverstone Classic

The motor is an Aquaplane tuned 1172 cc / 71.5 cui side valve E93A unit sourced originally from a Ford 10 built in the 1930’s.

Lotus VI, Silverstone Classic

In 1954 Mr Arthur Hay acquired this Mark 6 and over the next ten years won three Motor Cycling Club (MCC) Triple awards for completing the Exeter, Lands End and Edinburgh trials unpenalised in three separate calendar years. Since then car has remained in the Hay family, but unused since 1964.

Lotus VI, Silverstone Classic

The current owner hopes to restore the car to working order and use it for sporting trials as originally intended by Mr Sweeney.

Thanks for joining me on this mud plugging edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I shall be looking at a Jensen. Don’t forget to come back now !


Austin Healey Sebring Sprite

The Austin Healey ‘Sebring’ Sprite name refers to any Austin Healey Sprite with front disc brakes and more recently to any Sprite with Coupé or Fastback bodywork.

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Following a change in the sports car regulations in 1960 which allowed special bodies, rally and racing driver John Sprinzel commissioned Williams & Pritchard to build 6 aluminium bodied Sprites with coupé bodywork between Dec 1960 and May 1961.

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This 1960 vehicle purchased new by Cyril Simson started life as a standard Austin Healey Sprite registered YLN13, Cyril changed the registration to S221 and raced it as part of Team 221 with two other sprites H221 and X221.

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Paul Hawkins drove it to victory at Aintree and S221 was part of the Sprinzel Sprite Team that took team honours at the Nurburgring.

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Originally powered by a 43 hp 948 cc / 57 cui motor this particular unit, prepared by Janspeed, was shown to be delivering over 85 hp at the recent Race Retro exhibition.

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For 1961 the car was prepared by John Sprizel and it was one of the six Sprinzel cars sent to Williams & Pritchard to be fitted with a aluminium coupé body.

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The car was then driven in practice by Stirling Moss for the Sebring 4 hours who promptly stripped the clutch and transferred to another team car after repairs were made Pat Moss & Paul Hawkins drove S221 in the four hour race. S221 was then prepared again overnight for Cyril and Paul Hawkins to drive in the Sebring 12 Hours where they came in 37th.

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In August 1961 S221 was sold to Peter Clark and it was reregistered and rolled at the Karrussel on the Nurburgring. The car was repaired and an extended fast back body was fitted by Peel Coach works.

The longest term owner of this vehicle Colin Pearcy had Len Pritchard make a new alloy rear end and coupé top and most recent owner Chris Clegg reunited the car with its S221 registration and has driven it competitively for several years with Archers Motors taking care of the race preparation.

My thanks to Janspeed who facilitated the photo’s of the engine and interior.

Hope you have enjoyed to days Sebring edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !