Tag Archives: Rose

Balls Of Steel – Delahaye 135 CS

Today’s featured car is a Delahaye 135 was first registered in the UK on the 24th of March 1938. It appears to be a short wheel base CS version fitted with similar body work to the Competition Special which Eugène Chaboud and Jean Trémoulet drove to victory over the sister 135 CS driven by Gaston Serraud and Yves Giraud-Cabantous in the 1938 Le Mans 24 Hour race.

This car is fitted with a 3557 cc / 217 cui straight six motor that in it’s highest state of tune, with three carburetors, produces around 160 hp.

Delahaye 135, Sir Ralph Robbins, VSCC, Prescott,

The man seen driving this car at the VSCC Prescott meeting a couple of years ago is Sir Ralph Robin, an unsung hero of British Industry who joined Rolls Royce as an Engineer from Imperial College as a graduate apprentice in 1955.

When he retired from Rolls Royce in 2003 he was the companies longest serving employee and had risen all the way to the Chairpersonship 11 years earlier.

He helped turn the company around from a troubled nationalised enterprise in 1971 to a privatised world leader in it’s field by 1987, his deals with Cathy Pacific in 1979 and billion dollar deal with American Airlines in 1988 helped secure a future for British manufacturing for decades to come.

His CEO Sir John Rose once pithily described Sir Ralph as having “balls of steel”.

Thanks for joining me on this “Balls Of Steel” edition of ‘Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a closer look at the car in front. Don’t forget to come back now !


AJ Watson RIP – Racing Associates Watson Roadster

Today’s post is dedicated to the memory or AJ Watson who passed four days past his 90th birthday on May 12th. AJ designed and built 23 Watson Roadster Indy Cars after redesigning John Zinks 1955 Indy 500 winning Kurtis KK500C driven by Bob Sweikert.

Rathman Watson, Sachs Ewing, 1960 Indianapolis 500

AJ’s own designs won the Indy 500 in ’56 with Pat Flaherty driving John Zinks car followed by Rodger Ward in the ’59 Leader Card Watson and Jim Rathman in the 1960 Ken – Paul Watson seen above being chased Eddie Sachs in the Van Dean Lines Ewing.

1962 Indianapolis 500

Rodger Ward won again in the Leader Card Watson in ’62, seen in the middle of the front row above, followed by Parnelli Jones in JC Agajanian example in ’63 seen below.

Jones, Agajanian , Watson, 1963 Indy 500

Finally AJ Foyt, seen above drove the Ansted-Thompson Racing Watson to victory in ’64 which would become the last Indy 500 victory for a front engined Roadster.

Foyt, Ansted-Thompson Racing Watson, 1964, Indianapolis 500

Today’s featured car is perhaps the ultimate development of the Watson line, it was built in 1963 for Racing Associates who entered Ebb Rose. Ebb got bumped off the grid, but the following year the car was entered for Johnny Rutherford who qualified 15th and was classified 27th.

Racing Associates Watson, Goodwood Festival of Speed

For 1965 Bobby Grim was entered in the Racing Associates Watson and failed to qualify the 252 cui Offy powered machine.

Racing Associates Watson, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1966 Racing Associates has a 168 cui Offy fitted which gave an additional 50 hp thanks to the white pipes and turbocharger fitted to the exhaust. This time Bobby Grim just qualified 31st and was classified 31st after being involved in the start line pile up, on what would be the last appearance of a Watson in the Indy 500.

Racing Associates Watson, Goodwood Festival of Speed

This was also the beginning of a new and final chapter in the story of the famous Offy motor which in turbocharged form would power Bobby Unser to victory in 1968; Mark Donohue ’72, Gordon Johncock ’73, Johnny Rutherford in ’74 and ’76 interupted by Bobby Unser in ’75 and would continue to be used until 1983 when the two Offenhauser Volstedts failed to qualify.

My thanks to Steve Arnaudin for sharing his late Dad Ed Arnaudin’s photo’s of the Watson Roadster’s in their heyday.

I hope you will join me in wishing AJ Watson’s family and friends including GALPOT contributor my sincerest condolences.

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


Hydraulics & Pre Selectors – Maserati 8CM #3011

Entering his third and final season of motor racing American born Whitney Willard Straight decided to pull out all the stops and create his own Grand Prix team with Reid Railton and the Earl of Brecknock for 1934 called Whitney Straight Ltd.

The team ordered no less than three Maserati 8CM’s of which chassis #3011 was the first, featuring a narrow 1933 specification 20″ inch wide chassis and a 3 litre / 183 cui straight 8 motor designed by Alfieri Maserati who died early in 1932 just before the first 8CM was completed.

Maserati 8CM, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

Unusually the 8CM was fitted with hydraulic brakes, a feature that had first been seen in the early 1920’s but an idea that had not been taken up by the likes of Bugatti on their Type 35’s for example.

Former Alfa Romeo mechanic Giulio Ramponi was employed to prepare the Straight cars and he was responsible for fitting a Wilson pre selector gearbox to #3011 and the remaining team cars.

Maserati 8CM, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

To the best of my knowledge Whitney drove the white and blue painted #3011 exclusively in 1934 and after recording a speed of 135.49 mph over a flying mile at Brooklands he won four events 2 at Brooklands one at Donington and another in East London, South Africa.

At the end of the year Whitney retired from the sport as he had promised his wife and #3011 passed onto Harry Rose who recorded a class win on the Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb in 1935.

Maserati 8CM, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

Richard Seaman, who had introduced Whitney Straight to motor racing while at Cambridge, drove #3011 to a victory at Donington Park in 1936 shortly before it was acquired by White Mouse Racing for the Siamese Prince Birabongse Bhanutej Bhjanubandh Bira.

Bira had the car painted blue and kept #3011 until 1947 winning events at Brooklands in 1937 and 1939 and following the end of hostilities recorded two second place finishes in the Brighton Speed Trials in 1946 and 1947.

Maserati 8CM, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

Kenneth McAlpine of the construction empire bearing the same name became the next owner of #3011 and raced the now black car through 1948 wining the Weston Super Mare sprint on what appears to have been his final drive in the car.

In 1951 Leslie W. Boyce drove #3011, painted red, for a final appearance at the Brighton Speed Trials where he finished with 8th fastest time.

Maserati 8CM, HGPCA Test Day, Silverstone

#3011 remained in the UK, spending some time on display in the Doune Motor Museum.

In the 1980’s #3011 went to San Francisco where it was reunited with it’s original motor that had been swapped out by Harry Rose in 1935.

Maserati 8CM, Robert Newall, Goodwood Revival

Today #3011 is one of the 10, from the original 17, 8CM’s built known to remain.

#3011 is owned by Christopher Jaques and is seen with Robert Newall at the wheel during the 2012 Goodwood Revival where it was demonstrated with the Silver Arrow’s some of which it was designed to, unequally, compete against in 1934.


Visited Mother Invented Brake Pads – Benz Patent Motorwagen (Replica)

This months continental Tuesday blogs will feature 4 Veteran cars, defined by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain (VCC) as being built up to and including December 1904.

There is no doubt that the first self propelled vehicles to use public highways were powered by external combustion, steam, engines, the earliest such vehicle was built by Frenchman Nicolas Cugnot in 1770 to pull heavy artillery, unfortunately Cugnot had not got the weight distribution sufficiently sorted to steer the vehicle with any degree of accuracy so it never went into production.

There followed Scotsman William Murdoch, the pioneer of gas lighting, who built and demonstrated two fully working models of a three-wheeled locomotive with a single cylinder powered by a boiler fired by a spirit lamp around 1786. These models are thought to have influenced a design by his neighbour Richard Trevithick and partner Andrew Vivian who patented their own steam coach in 1802.

Walter Hancock is then said to have built 10 variously successful steam cars before 1810. A steam coach by Goldsworthy Gurney (later Sir) carried passengers on the London to Bath Road in 1827, later still Walter Hancock built an Omnibus named “Enterprise” in 1833 which ran between the Paddington and Bank railway stations in London.

It is believed that Karl Friedrich Benz started thinking about a self propelled vehicle with an internal combustion engine while studying engineering at the University of Karlsruhe which he attended in 1860 and from which he graduated 1864 aged just 19.

Benz Patent Motorwagen, Mercedes Benz World, Brooklands

His post graduate professional training included working as a mechanical engineer, a draftsman and designer in a scales factory, working for a bridge building company and cast iron construction company.

Benz Patent Motorwagen, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1871 Benz founded an iron foundry and mechanical workshop with August Ritter a year later Karl’s fiancée Bertha Ringer bought out Ritter, who proved to be unreliable, with her dowry.

Benz Patent Motorwagen, Mercedes Benz World, Brooklands

From 1878 Benz focused his attentions on new patents which included; a 2 stroke petrol motor, throttle, carburettor, ignition using spark plugs (separately patented) and battery, clutch, gearshift and water radiator. Benz was forced by his banking partners to turn his company into the joint stock Gasmotoren Fabrik Mannheim in 1882 which he left in 1883 due to the diminution of his standing as owner of just 5% of the new companies shares.

Benz Patent Motorwagen, Mercedes Benz World, Brooklands

The following year Benz went into partnership with Max Rose and Friedrich Wilhelm Eßlinger the owners of a bicycle repair shop to form Benz & Company Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik which produced static petrol motors.

Benz Patent Motorwagen, Goodwood Festival of Speed

This successful venture gave Benz time to devise the Benz Patent Motorwagen, with tiller steering, a four stroke petrol motor, coil ignition and evaporative cooling and wooden blocks for brakes, acting on the rear axle, by the end of 1885, the following November it too was granted a patent making Karl Benz the inventor of the first internal combustion powered automobile.

Benz Patent Motorwagen, Mercedes Benz World, Brooklands

After tests in public, which included accidentally crashing into a wall thanks to the tricky steering, improved second and third versions were built in 1887 which featured various improvements including a carburetor on the second and wooden wheels on the third.

Benz Patent Motorwagen, Mercedes Benz World, Brooklands

Bertha Benz took the third vehicle for a 110 mile spin with her sons to see her mother without her husband Karl, who invented and built the machine, even knowing about it in 1888. She stopped at a pharmacist to refuel with petrol which was sold primarily as cleaning fluid.

When the brakes began showing signs of wear Bertha asked a cobbler to nail some leather to the friction surface of the brake blocks and in so doing invented the first brake pads.

Bertha’s journey highlighted the need for a second gear to get up the hills unaided, but demonstrated the viability of Karls design of which 25 examples are thought to have been built between 1888 and 1893.

Today’s featured car is a replica of the original design owned by Mercedes Benz and is often to be found at Mercedes Benz World, Brooklands.

Thanks for joining me on this “Visited Mother Invented Brake Pads” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. 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.

More on Brighton Speed Trials on this link.

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