Tag Archives: Riley

VSCC Spring Start – Silverstone

A couple of weeks ago I headed over to Silverstone for the VSCC Easter Spring Start meeting during which 11 races took place.

GN Ford Piglet, Doug Cawley, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

Dougal Cawley headed the opening lap of the Fox & Nichol Trophy in his GN Ford known as Piglet, but after 12 mins it was a surprised Rudiger Friedrichs who took the flag on his debut on the 1932 #138 Alvis Firefly seen above in third place.

Frazer Nash Targa Florio, Ian Dalglish, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

Eddie Lees won the race for Frazer Nash and GN cars from Martin Hunt both driving Frazer Nash’s, Tony Lees in COGNAC is seen above about to relieve Ian Dalglish in the #172 Frazer Nash of third place while Martin Stretton is seen with head lights blazing on a mission to make up ground from a fall to eight
place on lap 2, he finished an eventual 5th.

Lotus 18/21, Peter Horsman, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

After a first corner in which Connaught driver Micheal Steele was sent airborne to the detriment of his car but fortunately without injury to the driver, the Pre 1966 HGPCA race for Grand Prix cars was restarted and Peter Horsman in his 1961 #22 2 1/2 litre Lotus Climax 18/21 led all the way after starting 3rd on the grid.

Frazer Nash Fast Tourer, Chris Chilcott, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

Chris Chilcott and Andy Bush are seen dicing for fourth on the opening lap of Race 4 for pre war sports cars, aboard Frazer Nash and Riley respectively, Chris never made it to the end of the first lap and Andy retired on lap 6 of the 8 lap race leaving Jo Blakeney – Edwards to win aboard her Frazer Nash.

Amilcar Hispano Special, Tom Walker, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

Seen blasting past Astrophysicist Robin Tuluie’s #20 Riley Menasco Pirate above is the GP Italia Trophy race winner Tom Walker in his Amilcar Hispano Special.

Lagonda V12 Le Mans, Darren McWhirter, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

The longest race of the day, half an hour, was the Tom Cole Trophy Race for 1950’s sports cars, won by Darren McWhirtter in the 1954 #64 Lagonda V12 Le Mans seen lapping the 1952 #10 Nash Healey Le Mans driven by Sam Stretton.

Riley 12/4 Special, James Whitmore, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

The longest race of the day was followed by the shortest, the 5 lap All Comers Short handicap that was won by James Whitmore in the 1934 #156 Riley 12/4 Special seen leading a gaggle of earlier starters above.

Farrallac Allard Sports, Tony Bianchi, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

After early leader Lister driver Roberto Giordaneli out braked himself on the end of the Club straight on the opening lap, Tony Bianchi took the lead of the 50’s Sports and Sports Racing cars race in his Cadillac powered #7 Farrallac and holding off eventual winner Mark Lewis in his #100 Lister Chevrolet for four laps of the ten lap race.

Lotus 12, Andrew Smith, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

For the first 11 laps of the 13 lap Patrick Lindsey Memorial and Amschel Rothschild Trophy Andrew Smith looked set to finish 2nd in his #10 Lotus 12, seen above being followed by eventual third place finisher Frederick Harper in his Kurtis Roadster, until pole sitter and leader Philip Walker spun his Lotus 16 and had to settle for second.

Morgan Plus 8, Keith Ahlers, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

Keith Ahlers smoked the field in the the AR Motorsport Morgan Challenge Series race leading all 18 laps from pole and setting fastest lap of the race to win by nearly half a minute in his fire breathing #29 Morgan Plus 8.

ERA E-Type GP1, Duncan Ricketts, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone

Three ERA’s took turns leading the final All Comers Scratch Race for Pre War cars but Terry Crabb aboard ERA 12C, Nick Topliss aboard ERA R4D both gave way to 3rd place starter Duncan Ricketts aboard the ERA E-Type GP1 who took the lead on lap 3 and help it to the finish 5 laps later.

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


Down The Hatch – Healey Silverstone #D 6

In 1948 the British Government, desperately short of funds in the wake of the Second World War decided to increase the purchase tax on luxury vehicles costing more than £1,000 from 33.33% to 66.66% a move that was disastrous for small luxury vehicle manufactures like Healey.

However just as necessity is the mother of invention, Donald Healey saw the new tax as an opportunity to build a vehicle for less than £1,000 using the latest version of the chassis seen and Riley engines as used to built the Westland, Elliot, Sportsmobile and Duncan models.

Healey Silverstone, Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset

Len Hodges was responsible for the paired down body with head lights mounted behind the radiator grill and for which the spare tyre, mounted horizontally at the back of the car acted as a rear bumper.

Weighing only 2,100 pounds / 952 kgs the 104hp Silverstone’s power to weight ratio gave a rest to 60 mph time of 11 seconds and top speed of 110 mph.

Healey Silverstone, Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset

Notable early successes for the Silverstone in competition included Donald Healey with Ian Appleyard navigating, winning the 1949 Alpine Rally in a Silverstone as did Edgar Wadsworth and Cyril Corbishley in 1951 in the same year Peter Riley and Bill Lamb drove another Silverstone to victory in Liège-Rome-Liège Rally.

51 D Type Silverstones were built between 1949 and 1950 when an updated “E Type” Silverstone with a wider body was introduced.

Healey Silverstone, Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset

Today’s featured Healey Silverstone #D6 was owned by Carlo Castelbarco in 1950, Carlo with F Mosters at the wheel finished the 1950 Mille Miglia in 38th place.

In 1952 R Nabun drove #D6 on the Scottish Rally and according to the Healey Silverstone Register #D6 was the first car to be raced by Tony Lanfranchi, at Brands Hatch on Boxing Day 1957, who after narrowly avoiding becoming a full time Formula One driver in the 1960’s became a very well known championship winning club driver in the 1970’s and 1980’s who raced a diverse range of vehicles from a Muskovich to the famous National Organs Plymouth Barracuda.

Some of Tony’s exploits on the track and in the bar afterwards can be read in his eminently collectible biography “Down The Hatch”, written with Mark Kahn.

Before being acquired by the Haynes International Motor Museum, where the car is seen in these photographs, #D 6 belonged to Danish music producer Flemming Rasmussen, who collaborated with Rainbow, Metallica, Morbid Angel and Blind Guardian among many others, and the car still carries the same paint and decals as when Flemming drove the car on the 1987 retrospective Mille Miglia.

Thanks for joining me on this “Down The Hatch” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for another visit to the Haynes International Motor Museum for Mercedes Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Dropflow Coupé – Healey Sportsmobile #B 1760

In 1948 Donald Healey added three new models to his existing Elliot Saloon and Westland four seater roadster.

Healey Sportmobile, Silverstone Classic

All three new models like today’s featured Sportsmobile ran on the same chassis with independent front suspension as the Elliot and Westland.

Healey Sportmobile, Silverstone Classic

They also used the same Riley running gear with a 104hp twin cam 4 cylinder Riley engine.

Healey Sportmobile, Silverstone Classic

The “Dropflow Coupe” 2+2 drop head coupé body said to be influenced by contemporary American styles was made in aluminium by Sam Morris and Co.

Healey Sportmobile, Silverstone Classic

High end pricing aimed the Sportsmobile squarely at the exclusive end of the market and all Sportsmobiles were built only to order, hence the “Custom Built” legend on the model name badges and boot / trunk handle.

Healey Sportmobile, Silverstone Classic

World Land Speed record breaker John R. Cobb drove a Sportsmobile on the official circuit opening ceremonial lap at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire on the 20th of August 1948.

Healey Sportmobile, Silverstone Classic

It is believed by the Sportsmobile Register that 25 such cars were built, but only five are known to remain.

Healey Sportmobile, Silverstone Classic

I believe chassis #B 1760, featured in these photographs taken at Silverstone Classic was built in 1949, in 1951 it was with Shukers in Sheffied and moved to Germany in 1980 the current owner, who also owns a Healey Silverstone, bought #B 1760 in 2008.

Thanks for joining me on this “Dropflow Coupé” 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 !


Riley Inside – Healey Westland

Having spent a number of difficult years engineering Triumph’s around the companies struggling finances Donald Healey joined Humber and spent his spare time working on a sports car which Triumph had declined to back.

Healey Westland, Silverstone Classic

He then found backers of his own to the tune of £50,000 and set up shop in Warwick after securing a supply of Riley engines and transmissions.

Healey Westland, Silverstone Classic

The chassis of his sports car, which would be shared with a saloons and other body styles featured, expensive, front independent suspension of the type made popular by the pre war Auto Union Grand Prix cars with a Riley rear axle that combined gave a wheelbase of 102 inches.

Healey Westland, Silverstone Classic

The four seat roadster bodies like the one seen here at Silverstone Classic, were manufactured by Westland bodies in Hereford, the four seat Elliot saloon body was manufactured by a shop front manufacturer in Reading.

Healey Westland, Silverstone Classic

Donald Healey specified various modifications to the Riley 2443cc / 149 cui four cylinder twin cam engine, of similar design to those which ERA had also modified for their 1930’s Voiturette Grand Prix cars, to bring the power up to 104hp.

Healey Westland, Silverstone Classic

With a top speed of 100 mph and rest to 60 mph time of 12.8 seconds the Westland was one of the fastest cars of it’s time suffering, like contemporary Bristol’s, only from their relative expense.

Healey Westland, Silverstone Classic

64 Westlands were produced between 1946 and 1950 and it is believed only 13 survive, today’s featured car was built in 1949.

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


Scottish Hillclimb Champion – Chevron Holbay B17 #F3.70.08

1967 Chevron started building cars with 1 litre / 61. cui “Screamer” motors to comply with the tertiary international Formula 3 regulations.

The manufacturers first Formula 3 model was the one off B7 driven by Peter Gethin towards the end of 1967, this was followed by a batch of 8 production versions of the B7 built in 1968 known as B9’s

Chevron Novamotor B17, Grand Finals, Castle Combe,

A one off B9B with stressed panels incorporated into the frame was built at the end of 1968 and again raced by Peter Gethin who drove the car to a debut win.

The following year Chevron built 14 production versions of the B9B known as the B15 and in 1970 9 upgraded Formula 3 cars followed known as B17’s.

Chevron Novamotor B17, Grand Finals, Castle Combe,

I believe today’s featured car seen in these photographs at the recent Grand Finals Castle Combe meeting where it was driven by Jim Blockley is the same car as that advertised by David Pullen in October 2013.

Distinguishing features include the one piece top body work from the back of the cockpit to the nose, the exhaust, and the universal joint with sliding spline driveshafts in place of the more common for the period Rotoflex driveshaft couplings.

Chevron Novamotor B17, Jim Blockley, Grand Finals, Castle Combe,

According to former Derek Bennett Engineering employee Kevin ‘Ossy’ Hodge, who was involved in building nearly all the B17’s, the car formerly belonging to David Pullen is the eighth Formula 3 B17 to be built and was originally supplied to Ken Sedgley.

Kevin also established recently that unlike Chevron’s GT’s chassis frames for the B8, B16 and later B19 models which were built by sub contractor Arch Motors the frames for the open wheelers were subcontracted out to Racing Frames in Ware, Hertfordshire.

Chevron Novamotor B17, Jim Blockley, Grand Finals, Castle Combe,

In his notes on Ken Sedgley’s B17, see note 13 on this link, Allen Brown records that #F3.70.08 was raced by Ken in Formula 3 and Libre events with Holbay motors and upgraded the following year with a 1600 cc / 97 cui Holbay motor compliant with the new for 1971 spec Formula 3.

John Finch of Chesterfield bought and raced the car midway through 1971 and shared it with Graham Lynch in 1972, the following year a Formula Atlantic Spec production based twin cam was fitted and the car was raced in both Formula Atlantic and Formula Libre events.

Chevron Novamotor B17, Grand Finals, Castle Combe,

Alan Thompson bought the car for hillclimbing campaigning it in 1975 and 1976 which culminated in him securing the 1976 Scottish Hillclimb Championship.

Russell Paterson acquired the car in 1977 but crashed it before it passed through the hands of Bobby Howlings and M Wakefield-Brand in 1978.

Chevron Novamotor B17, Grand Finals, Castle Combe,

David Pullen bought the car in 1991 and in the spring of 2009 the car was significantly rebuilt with a 1964 to 1970 F3 spec 1 litre / 61 cui Holbay R70 MAE engine rebuilt by Stuart Rolt and Mk8 Hewland 4 speed gearbox by Cavan Riley.

John Pearson raced this car in 2014 prior to selling it to Jim Blockley who raced a Brabham in Historic Formula 3 events up until appearing in the Chevron at Castle Combe.

Chevron Novamotor B17, Grand Finals, Castle Combe,

The 1964 to 1970 Formula 3 engine specs required the use of a production engine block and a single choke carburetor fitted with a 36mm restrictor twixt the carburetor and inlet manifold.

The cylinder heads were free to be modified with gear driven cams replacing cam chains and dry sump lubrication for the crankshaft, the 1 litre / 61 cui Formula 3 motor’s were known as “screamers” because they could occasionally be buzzed up to 13,000 rpm with little or no damage.

Chevron Novamotor B17, Grand Finals, Castle Combe,

By far the most popular blocks used in the “Screamer” formula were the three crank bearing 105E and 109E blocks from Ford, Cosworth built a Modified Anglia Engine known as the “MAE” based on 105E but the term “MAE” appears to have carried over onto products for the same market from both Holbay and Novamotor who also used Ford 3 bearing engine blocks.

It was soon realised that the least resistance to flow was offered by a twin choke Weber IDA down draught carburetor with a blanked off choke, for which special inlet manifolds were built to fit engines that were tilted over at 30 degrees along the crankshaft axis in the chassis.

My thanks to all who contributed to the B17 thread at TenTenths and to the Ford 105E thread at The Nostalgia Forum especially Snakedriver, Ray Bell, John Saunders and David Birchall who kindly answered my question regarding the use of the blanked off twin choke carburetors.

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


VSCC Science – Riley Menasco Pirate

Looking at the information on the net about the Minnesotan owner of today’s featured Riley Menasco Pirate one might concluded he was a polymath in the making given that Dr Robin Tuluie is credited with a Doctorate in Astrophysics, he has risen from a position with Polaris Snowmobiles to head the Renault Formula One Research and Development department and more recently has been appointed the Chief Scientist at the Mercedes GP Petronas F1 team.

Riley Menasco Pirate, Dr Robin Tuluie, VSCC, Loton Park,

Along the way Rob, as he apparently prefers to be known, has built a highly acclaimed Tularis motor cycle powered by a 183 hp two stroke Polaris snowmobile motor and the 1929 Riley seen here which is powered by an aircooled 5.9 litre / 363 cui 4 cylinder aeroplane engine built in Burbank, California.

Riley Menasco Pirate, Dr Robin Tuluie, VSCC, Loton Park,

Like the Riley the Menasco Pirate is of inter war vintage and was used to power training and sports aircraft of the day that included the Great Lakes 2T-1MS, Ryan ST, Stearman-Hammond Y-1, VEF I-17 and Willoughby Delta 8.

From the official records it would appear the vehicle was registered for the road in this configuration in August 2010 several weeks before these photographs, with the good Doctor at the wheel, were taken at the VSCC Loton Park meeting.

Thanks for joining me on this “VSCC Science” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at five more classic moments from the Silverstone Classic meetings over the years. Don’t forget to come back now !


SUV Powered Prototype – Riley Mk XI #018

In 2003 the Grand American Road Racing Association replaced it’s sports racing class with a new Daytona Prototype class with the intention of reducing costs and keeping cars competitive for longer by keeping a tight grip on permitted technological development.

As we shall see today’s featured Riley Mk XI chassis #018 is a testament to the success of Grand Am’s Daytona Prototype vision, even though to my eye’s these cars have always looked a tad quirky due to their mandated dimensions.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Chassis #018 was built with 5 litre / 302 cui Pontiac V8 motor for Pacific Coast Motorsports in 2005 and first raced by Ryan Dalziel and Alex Figge at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City where they finished 5th in the 250 mile race in November.

At Daytona in February 2006 Ryan and Alex were joined by Jon Fogarty and David Empringham for the 24 Hour race, they qualified 14th but retired the Playboy sponsored chassis #018 with an overheating motor.

Alex and Ryan continued racing #018 for the rest of the 2006 season scoring a best 2nd place finish in the 250 mile race at Phoenix, the car then appears to have gone into temporary retirement as was not seen again until 2010 when the new Action Express Racing team took it to the 2010 Daytona 24 Hours.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

In 2009 the Brumos team won the Daytona 24 hours with a similar Riley Mk XI powered by a 4 litre / 244 cui flat 6 developement of the Porsche 911 motor.

For 2010 new kids on the block (NKOTB) Action Express Racing, owned by former Brunos associate Bob Johnson, had replaced the Pontiac V8 motor fitted to #018 with a 5 litre / 302 cui Porsche V8 developed from the SUV Porsche Cayenne by Lozano Brothers Porting in Texas.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The Action Express Racing international team of drivers João Barbosa from Portugal, Mike Rockenfeller from Germany, Terry Borcheller from the USA was and Britain’s Ryan Dalziel who had raced this same car in 2005/6 qualified 8th for the 2010 Daytona 24 hour race.

The debutant team then went on to win the race from the BMW powered Riley XI driven by Max Papis, Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Justin Wilson entered by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, the team that had dominated this event from 2006 to 2008.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

João and Terry continued to race #018, for the remainder of the 2010 season scoring a best 4th place finish at Lime Rock.

For the 2011 Daytona 24 Hours João and Terry were joined by J.C. France, Max Papis and Christian Fittipaldi, together they qualified #018 12th and came through to finish 3rd.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

#018 scored a second victory and final victory, in the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway in May 2011 with J.C., João and Terry sharing the driving.

#018 was retired after the EMCO Gears Classic presented by Key Bank 2011 at Mid Ohio in September 2011 where J.C., João and Terry qualified 10th and finished 4th.

Riley Mk XI, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Stock Porsche items used by the Lozano Brothers Porting developed 530 hp V8 include the engine block; cylinder heads, timing chain, hydraulic lifters, head bolts and gaskets.

The work on the SUV Porsche Cayenne V8 by Lozano Brothers Porting in Texas was not sanctioned by the Porsche factory and Porsche has never claimed victory for the 2010 Daytona 24 Hours.

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