Tag Archives: Sonoma Historics

Teen Designed Body – Jaguar XK120 Special

Phil Hill’s brother in law, Los Angles based Architect Don Parkinson is known to have raced a Fraser Nash at least once in 1949 before buying an Jaguar XK120 for the 1950 season.

Don is known to have raced the XK120 on at least four occasions, winning at Carrell Speedway in February 1951 before hitting a tree and rolling the car during practice for an event at Pebble Beach in May 1951.

Jaguar XK120 Special, Sonoma Historics

Unharmed and undeterred by the mishap Don had the car rebuilt as a special enlisting International Motors Hollywood mechanic Jim Thrall to move the motor back 12 inches in the chassis and offset it by 4 inches.

Teenager Robert Cumberford is credited for the design of the specials body which was crafted from aluminium by Marvin Faw, under supervision of Phil Hill.

In October 1951 Don drove his Special to a class win at Reno first time out and then recorded an outright win at Palm Springs the following week.

Don raced the car on at least eight occasions until May 1953 never finishing below 5th place before apparently retiring from the sport.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photograph of the car seen at the Sonoma Historics meeting earlier this year.

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


Not So Felice Carlo – Maserati 4CL #1564

Today’s featured 1939 Maserati 4CL chassis #1564 is one of 14 4CL siblings of chassis #1566 that I looked at a couple of weeks ago.

Maserati 4CL,  Sonoma Historics

Like chassis #1566 today’s car appears to have taken part in the greatest ever race for 1.5 litre Voiturettes the 1939 Tripoli Grand Prix.

Maserati 4CL,  Niello Concours at Serrano

It appears most likely that Carlo Felice Trossi qualified #1564 10th on the grid over two seconds slower than Giovanni Rocco in the 8th placed #1566.

Maserati 4CL,  Niello Concours at Serrano

The only results that I can find for the 1939 Tripoli Grand Prix show that Carlo retired with an engine problem without completing a lap.

Maserati 4CL,  Sonoma Historics

The rest of the #1564’s period history is not known within the confines of the internet, although it is believed to have been driven by Maserati team mates Franco Cortese and Luigi Villoresi.

In the 1960’s #1564 was resident in the UK and in 1992 it fetched nearly $300,000 at auction in Monaco. If you know any further details about #1564 please do not hesitate to chip in below.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton who took these photographs at Sonoma Historics and Niello Concours at Serrano.

Thanks for joining me on this “Not So Felice Carlo” Edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I be looking at a Bugatti. Don’t for get to come back now !


I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clue – Sonoma Historics

Most teachers know that they can walk into a room with a dozen students and tease pretty much anything they want to teach out of them, on almost any subject, over the space of an hour or so. In the spirit of such student participation I’m inviting you dear reader to help me out here, because at fast glance I’m sorry to say I haven’t a clue about what any of today’s six featured vehicles are, neither manufacturer or age.

Sonoma Historics

At first sight this green racer looks like a cross between the second incarnation of the Bristol 450 Le Mans racer and the later Bristol Arnolt. The British registration plate on the back reads “SAR 336”. At a guess this vehicle is British and Bristol powered but do you know where the body came from and when ?

Sonoma Historics

Chip slicer radiator grills, as on the vehicle above, often point to a Ferrari or Chevrolet but I cannot think of any models from those manufacturers who built anything that looked like this. If you think you know what this might be, please do not be scared to chip in below.

Sonoma Historics

California is the home of the fiber glass special and the white racer above looks like one of the majority I have not heard of. The HM sticker tells us it probably ran in SCCA events for vehicles up to 750 cc / 45.7 cui. Does anyone recognise this pint size racer ?

Sonoma Historics

My first thought was that the vehicle above was a Kes Kastner & Pete Brock designed Triumph TR250K, but it is not. Confusingly it says Phoenix on the front and advertises Piranha kits on the side, I feel like a fish out of water on this one too, can you help ?

Sonoma Historics

The rear body reminds one of the Lotus 19 and Lotus 23 sports racing cars, but everything forward of the roll bar does not. All suggestions welcome below.

Sonoma Historics

Finally the Can Am type vehicle above looks part McLaren and part Chaparral with out fitting the mould of either, unusually for a vehicle of this type, if it is a Can Am car, it appears to have an aluminium body at a time when fiber glass was very much de riguer.

If you can help identify any of these vehicles please do not hesitate to chip in below, as soon as I have all the answers I’ll do a follow up blog.

My thanks to Karl Kause and Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs taken at Sonoma Historics at the end of May.

Thanks for joining me on this “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at some of the vehicles at the recent San Morino Motor Classic. Don’t forget to come back now !