Tag Archives: Spider

Replica Prototipo – Bertone X1/9

After acquiring Lancia in 1969 the FIAT group found it’s self with two marques competing for honours in the Rally competition, Lancia with the Fulvia that was to be replaced by the Ferrari powered Bertone designed Lancia Stratos HF in 1973 and Fiat with the Pininfarina styled 124 Spider that would be replaced in 1975 by the Abarth 131.

Just as those competition models were being changed Abarth also built the Abarth X1/9 Prototipo for evaluation in competition.

Bertone X1/9, Silverstone, Classic,

The X1/9 was designed to exceed the latest US crash test standards so the chassis was immensely strong however it was also a little too heavy for the initial standard FIAT 128 based single overhead cam 1300 cc / 79 cui engine that produced 75hp.

Abarth elected to replace it initially with a 200hp 1,834 cc / 111 cui twin over head cam engine 16 valve lifted from the competition 124 spider and later examples with a 1,756 cc / 107 cui version of the same engine.

Bertone X1/9, Silverstone, Classic,

So far as I have been able to discern the Abarth X1/9 Prototipo’s only offically appeared on two events in 1974 the first was the Tour d’France where three cars were entered of which the #122 shared by Fulvio Bacchelli, Piero Sodano and Sergio Barbasio was the only finisher in 8th place.

A month later Fulvio partnered by Piero Scabini was teamed up with Ferrari Formula One driver Clay Regazzoni and Gino Macaluso for an attack on the Giro Automobilistico d’Italia from which both cars retired with engine failure.

Bertone X1/9, Silverstone, Classic,

In all it is believed that alongside the original 1973 Prototipo four further examples were built 3 of which were used in competition in 1974 and the fourth is believed to have been built as a Stradale road car.

The Abarth X1/9 programme gave way to the Abarth 131 programme which secured FIAT three World Rally Championship titles in 1977, ’78 and ’80.

Bertone X1/9, Silverstone, Classic,

The Replica Prototipo seen in these photographs at Silverstone Classic, was built on a 1988 FIAT X1/9 manufactured by and marketed as a Bertone X1/9, but imported as a FIAT, with a 1500 cc / 91.5 cui single overhead cam 8 valve engine.

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


Shelsley Giant Killer – Spider

Today’s featured Spider was inspired by Capt. Archie Fraser Nash’s successful GN hill climber known a “Kim”.

Spider was built by Basil Davenport who bought a GN chassis from the Captain which he then shortened and converted to a single seater with central steering and fitted a Kim inspired body built from chalk drawings on his workshop floor in 1924.

For 1925 Basil replaced the prototype GN Vitesse 1087cc / 66 cui V twin engine he had originally bought with the chassis for the unique 1500 cc / 91.5 cui V twin with four valve aluminium bronze heads and twin spark plugs from the works GN racer known at Mowgli that had lapped Brooklands at 92 mph.

Spider, Charlie Martin, Chateau Impney,

After fitting lighter pistons and stronger JAP connecting rods Basil turned up at Shelsley Walsh on September the 4th 1926 and became the first man to climb the hill in under 50 seconds.

Further modifications for 1927 including lighter valves and new cam shafts made the car quicker but the engine blew at Colwyn Bay leaving Basil just five weeks to build a new crankcase and motor before Shelsley.

The new crankcase allowed one cylinder to be mounted slightly ahead of the other for added reliability of the connecting rods and the engine compression was raised so the 40mm Solex Carburettors could now feed the engine with an alcohol fuel mixture.

Spider, David Leigh, VSCC, Prescott

At Shelsley in 1927 Basil knocked another second of his record, despite the rain !

The following season Basil left the Shelsley record at 46.4 seconds and it was not until 1929 that Raymond Mays driving a 3 litre / 183 cui supercharged Villiers relieved Basil of the Shelsley record.

In 1930 Basil proved to be quicker up Shelsley that none other than Rudolf Caracciola driving a supercharged 7 litre / 427 cui Mercedes Benz SSK.

Spider, VSCC, Prescott

At the same meeting his temporary 44.6 second record eventually fell to Hans Stuck who drove his 3.5 litre / 213 cui Austro Daimler to a new record of 42.8 seconds leaving Basil and the Spider in second place.

There after Basil fitted new heads to the car and even front wheel brakes, but these did not help make the car any quicker and he retired to look after his business interests in 1931.

In 1946 Basil brought Spider briefly out of retirement to set the best unsupercharged time at Shelsley but elected to cannibalise Spider particularly of it’s body, held on by six bolts and chain drive transmission for the 2 litre / 122 cui Big Spider.

Spider, Charlie Martin, Chateau Impney,

While still at school in 1979 David Leigh started helping Basil rebuild the original Spider.

After Basil’s death David bought bought Spider from Basil’s longstanding mechanic Ron Sant in 1994.

Three years later David managed to drive Spider up Shelsley in under 40 seconds which had been Basil’s dream since breaking the 50 second record in 1926.

Spider, David Leigh, VSCC, Prescott

David modestly credits the achievement to the improvements in the track surface and latest Avon GP motorcycle tyres which sit on period correct size 19 inch rims.

David Leigh is seen at the wheel, recovered from a Handley Page bomber, of Spider in the 2013 photographs taken at Prescott.

At Chateau Impeney Charlie Martin, better known for driving the Morgan RIP Special became only the third person to drive Spider as seen in the above 2015 dated photographs.

My thanks to Tim Murray for kindly lending me his copy of John Bolsters “Specials” 1971 edition with out which this blog would be very brief.

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


Bigger Faster 124 – FIAT 125

Like the FIAT 124 I looked at last week, the FIAT 125 launched in 1967 shared some parts with it’s predecessor notably in this instance the longer chassis from the FIAT 1500.

Fiat 125, BIAMF, Bristol,

The doors and passenger compartment of the FIAT 125 are identical except that the rear seat is mounted 3 inches further back thanks to the slightly longer wheel base.

Fiat 125, BIAMF, Bristol,

The 90hp twin overhead cam 1600 cc / 97 cui 4 cylinder motor was shared with some of the later FIAT 124 Sport Coupé and Sport Spider models as was the initial 4 speed gearbox.

Fiat 125, BIAMF, Bristol,

Like the FIAT 124 the 125 was a global car with examples built in Argentina, Columbia, Chile and Morroco while further 125P variants with less powerful motors were built in Poland, Yugoslavia and Egypt. FIAT stopped building the 125 in 1972 but production continued elsewhere until the early 1990’s.

This particular car seen at the Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival was built in 1969 and first registered in the UK on April Fools day of the same year.

Thanks for joining me on this “Bigger Faster 124” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking for answers to the story about a mysterious 500 Formula 3 car. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Pack Team – Ferrari 250 GT LWB Interim #1519GT

In 1950 5 Swiss MG TC owners, Jean Cottin, Richard Crot, Willy Ducrey, Jaques Jonneret and Edmond Tocchio in Geneva founded Ecurie La Meute, The Pack Team, because the MG Car Club Switzerland did not meet their sporting ambitions.

Nine years later Ferrari produced seven 250 GT LWB Interim models using 250 GT Long Wheel Base chassis as used in the 250 GT LWB Berlinetta and LWB California Spider models but with a Pinin Farina body featuring a rear 1/4 light window.

Ferrari 250 GT LWB Interim, Pappalardo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Today’s featured car, chassis #1519GT, seen at Goodwood earlier this year with owner P Paul Pappalardo at the wheel is the fifth of the seven Interims to be built.

#1519GT was originally sold to Ecurie La Meute member Jean-Pierre Schild who entered the car with co driver Roger de Lageneste in the 1959 Tour d’France in which they finished 3rd.

Ferrari 250 GT LWB Interim, Pappalardo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Jean Pierre is known to have driven the car on one further occasion the 1959 Coupes du Salon at Montlhéry which he won beating the much smaller Lotus Eleven of Bob Hicks.

In May 1960 new owner Dean McCarthy entered the car for the SCCA National Cumberland race but was disqualified, undeterred Dean went to Watkins Glen the following month and won the SCCA sanctioned Glen Classic.

Ferrari 250 GT LWB Interim, Pappalardo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

During the remainder of the 1960 season Dean recorded two 2n place finishes at Thompson and Montgomery before retiring from the Haybale Governor’s Cup at Montgomery with a damaged car.

Ferrari 250 GT LWB Interim, Pappalardo, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The last known event for 1519GT was the 13th Annual Grand Prix Watkins Glen at the end of 1960 where Dean drove the repaired car to a seventh place overall and class victory.

Since then the car spent some time without either engine or gearbox but the original engine and gearbox was reunited with the car when it underwent a two year restoration by Ferrari Clasiche which was completed earlier this year.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Pack Team” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow I’ll be looking at the Flash Special 500 Formula 3 car. Don’t forget to come back now !


Ferrari Friday – Danville Concours d’Elegance

To round out the week we will take another trip to Danville Concours d’Elegance where Geoffrey Horton took today’s photographs a couple of weeks ago.

Ferrari 500 Superfast, Danville Concours d'Elegance

Only 12 Ferrari 500 Superfast Series II’s were built and this 1965 example has been with the same owner for 45 years.

Ferrari 365 GTB/4, Danville Concours d'Elegance

For a while during the 1970’s and 1980’s it looked like front engined Ferrari’s, like the 1972 365 GTB/4 above, might disappear altogether they carried on building front engined 400 and later 412 models up to 1989, then there was a 3 year gap before the front engined 456 appeared in 1992.

Ferrari 512 TR, Danville Concours d'Elegance

The Ferrari 512TR replaced the Ferrari Testarossa in 1992, powered by the same flat 12 motor, but producing 30 more horsepower which increased the top speed from 180 mph to 195mph.

Ferrari Enzo, Danville Concours d'Elegance

Above the interior of a Ferrari Enzo, the gears are shifted using an electrohydraulic shift transmission operated by paddles on the steering wheel with LED lights advising drivers when to shift a transfer of technology from Ferrari’s racing programme.

Ferrari California, Danville Concours d'Elegance

The Ferrari California model above has now been replaced by the Ferrari California T, but it still looks timeless with the roof up or down.

Ferrari 458 Convertible, Danville Concours d'Elegance

Black sheep of this weeks Ferrari Friday post is the 199mph Ferrari 458 Spider above.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing these photos taken at Danville Concours d’Elegance.

Thanks for joining me on this “Ferrari Friday” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Castle Combe for the first 500 cc Formula 3 race run at the circuit in 50 years. Don’t forget to come back now.


Scratched Entry – Lola T70 SL70/13

In 1955 aged just 15 John Mecom Jr went to work for one of the wealthiest independent oil men in Texas and indeed the world, namely his father John Whitfield Mecom Snr. By 1960 Jr had dropped out of University of Oklahoma, but was kept busy negotiating oil deals in the middle east and founding the Mecom Racing Team.

Lola T70, Silverstone Classic

The Mecom Racing Team ran sports cars for the likes of a young Roger Penske and Augie Pabst, a one off open wheel Formula One Lotus for Rob Schroeder in 1962, before running rookies Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill at the Indy 500 in 1966. Graham won the race which had been dominated by Jackie until 8 laps from the end.

Lola T70, Silverstone Classic

Today’s featured Lola T70, which I believe is chassis SL70/13, is one of at least three T70’s that were owned by the Mecom Racing Team. So far as I know the car was driven by Walt Hangsen in qualifying for the 1965 Las Vegas 200 mile race during which Walt crashed and seriously damaged the Ford 4.7 litre / 286 cui powered car after qualifying 6th fastest.

Lola T70, Jones, FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars, Silverstone Classic

As a result of the accident the Mecom Racing Team scratched their entries for this car and the sister chassis SL70/12, which was to have been driven by Jackie Stewart, from the 1965 Nassau Speed Week.

Lola T70, Silverstone Classic

Alongside his racing activities John Mecom Jr founded the New Orleans Saints football, grid iron, team in 1966 and wound up the Mecom Racing Team in 1967.

SL70/13 eventually found its way to the UK where Colin Parry-Williams raced it with a 5 litre / 302 cui Chevy motor in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Howard Jones is seen at the wheel of SL70/13, now powered by a 5.7 litre / 328 cui motor, about to take part in the FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars race at Silverstone Classic above. Howard acquired the car in 2006.

Thanks for joining me on this “Scratched Entry” 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 !


199 mph Spider – Ferrari 458 Spider

To complement the Ferrari 458 Italia Berlinetta, first seen in 2009 and to replace the F430 Spider, Ferrari introduced the 458 Spider in 2011.

Ferrari 458 Spider, Classics at the Castle, Sherborne

Mechanically identical to the 458 Italia the Spider can reach 62.2 mph from rest in the same 3.3 seconds.

Ferrari 458 Spider, Classics at the Castle, Sherborne

However the extra aerodynamic drag from the drop top configuration means the 562hp motor can only push the Spider to 199 mph ….

Ferrari 458 Spyder, Classics at the Castle, Sherborne

… as against the 202 mph capability of the hard top 458 Italia.

Ferrari 458 Spyder, Classics at the Castle, Sherborne

The 458 Spider features an aluminium top, weighing just 25 kgs / 55 lbs, which can be retracted in just 14 seconds.

Ferrari 458 Spider, Classics at the Castle, Sherborne

The aluminium retractable top is said to be lighter than the soft top of it’s predecessor the F430 Spider.

Ferrari 458 Spider, Classics at the Castle, Sherborne

When launched Ferrari were hoping to build up to 2,000 458 Spiders, like the one seen here at Sherborne’s Classics at the Castle, a year.

Thanks for joining me on this “199 mph Spider” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !