Tag Archives: Spitfire

’64 TdF Class Winner – Triumph Spitfire

To keep development costs down the Triumph Spitfire was based on the Triumph Herald chassis and running gear and like the Herald the bodywork was designed by Giovanni Michelotti.

Despite the unrivaled demand for British Sports cars it was a sign of the times that Triumph had to wait until it merged with Leyland before the Triumph Spitfire 4, later known as the Spitfire Mk1 could go into production in 1962.

Triumph Spitfire, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

For the 1964 season Triumph built four Spitfires in pale blue for the works and one in pale green for Stirling Moss to take part in tarmac based rallies alongside the four green Spitfires built for endurance racing at Le Mans.

Stirling Moss entered his light green Spitfire for his secretary Valerie Pirie in five events of which she only recorded a finish on the 1965 Tulip Rally.

Triumph Spitfire, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

Of the rally cars today’s featured car ADU 7B was the most successful having taken part in 5 events from ’64 to ’65.

Rob Slotemaker and Terry Hunter won their class driving ADU 7B on the 1964 Tour de France and Terry Hunter drove with P Lier in the co drivers seat of ADU 7B to finish second overall and first in class on the 1964 Geneva Rally.

Triumph Spitfire, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

In 1965 an additional left hand drive Spitfire was built for Finish works driver Simo Lampinen.

It is believed ADU 7B is the only survivor of the series of Spitfires built for rallying.

Triumph Spitfire, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

Mark Field of Jigsaw who was responsible for the recreation of the ADU 1B Le Mans racer found ADU 7B and restored it to it’s current condition which included returning the steering wheel to right where it had been when used by the Triumph works.

Thanks for joining me on this ” ’64 TdF Class Winner” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


White Yellow Red – Triumph Spitfire #ADU1B

The Triumph Spitfire GT Coupé was originally concieved by Giovani Michelotti and Triumph in 1963 as a Coupé concept version of the 4 cylinder Triumph Spitfire Roadster. The styling won plenty of kudos, but the Spitfire’s 4 cylinder 1147 cc / 70 cui engine struggled to cope with the extra, steel, body weight.

Triumph Spitfire, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

The Triumph racing department saw the advantage of using the sleek GT4 body for it’s upcoming Le Mans programme and grafted fibre glass copies of the fast back roof on to the tuned 1147 cc / 70 cui racers they were building with further body weight saved by using an aluminium bonnet / hood in place of the regular pressed steel item.

Triumph Spitfire, Classic Motor Show NEC Birmingham

Three Spitfires were entered for the 1964 Le Mans 24 hours in the 3 litre / 183 cui Prototype Class, the #49 bearing the UK licence plate ADU1B and painted with a white nose driven by Mike Rothschild and Bob Tullius qualified 51st but retired on lap 53 after an accident. The #50 bearing the registration ADU2B and painted with a red nose driven by future broadcaster David Hobbs and Rob Slotemaker was the only Spitfire to be classified, 21st from 48th on the grid.

Triumph Spitfire, Classic Motor Show NEC Birmingham

In 1965 four Spitfires returned to Le Mans. Now competing in the more appropriate 1.15 litre / 70 cui GT Class. Jean – Jaques Thuner and Simo Lampinen driving the #60 registered ADU4B with a Borneo Green nose came home a class winning 13th ahead of the #54 registered ADU3B with a white nose driven by Claude Dubois / Jean-Francois Plot who finished 14th.

Triumph Spitfire, Classic Motor Show NEC Birmingham

The #53 ADU2B still with a red nose and driven by Bill Bradley and & Peter Bolton retired after six laps with engine failure, while the #52 ADU1B now bearing a yellow nose and driven by David Hobbs and Rob Slotemaker qualified 48th only to retire after an accident on lap 71. The fate of ADU1B is not known to the author at this time, but it is thought the car no longer exists.

Triumph Spitfire, Classic Motor Show NEC Birmingham

Somewhere around 1990 the owner of today’s featured car Mark Field found a set of four 1960’s old english white painted magnesium alloy wheels being offered for sale at a car boot sale for the price of the tyres mounted on them. Mark established that they came from the works Triumph Spitfire project and soon set about recreating the team car ADU3B which unknown to him at the time still existed in France.

Triumph Spitfire, Classic Motor Show NEC Birmingham

A suitable donor Spitfire chassis was found and modified in the same way as the original Team cars, the mould for the roof was taken from ADU7B which was used in period as a works rally car. When it became known that ADU3B still existed Mark decided to recreate ADU1B, but with the red nose from ADU2B.

Triumph Spitfire, Classic Motor Show NEC Birmingham

The car was completed with all the mandatory modern day safety equipment in time for the fortieth anniversary of the Spitfire’s first appearance at Le Mans in 2004 and with sufficient original parts to be awarded it’s FIA papers to race in historic events ADU1B took part in the 2004 Le Mans Classic for the first time. The wheels Mark found in the car boot sale proved not to be suitable for further use and so the same pattern was remanufactured with modern materials to fit modern tyre sizes.

During the process of building the car Mark and his brither Jo set up a Triumph restoration business called Jigsaw and they hope to have two further recreations of the Spitfire team cars ready for this years Le Mans Classic.

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

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


Mopar Presidents Station Wagon – Chrysler Town & Country Barrel Back

This month’s Americana Thursdays will feature 4 station wagons. First up is this 1941 Chrysler Town & Country Barrel Back seen by Geoffrey Horton at last years Carmel by the Sea Concours d’Elegance.

Chrysler Town & Country Barrel Back, Carmel by the sea Concours

The Chrysler Town & Country was powered by a 108 hp Spitfire L-Head straight six motor fitted with a Fluid Drive semi automatic transmission.

Chrysler Town & Country Barrel Back, Carmel by the sea Concours

The woody part of the otherwise steel body comprises an Ash frame with Mahogany veneer panels, it is said to have been designed by Chrysler’s President David A. Wallace.

Chrysler Town & Country Barrel Back,Carmel by the sea Concours

Only 496 of these six passenger station wagons were built before the 1939-45 war intervened and prematurely terminated production in 1941. It is thought that just 5 of these cars remain, making them amongst the most sort after station wagons.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs of this difficult to identify vehicle.

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


Goodwood Revival #1 – Track Action

After four all to brief hours sleep I woke up at 4:30 am on Friday and got togged up in swinging sixtyish accessorized fancy dress which included button collard shirt, period scarf, flat hat and a pair of round blue shades.

Jaguar XK 140, Goodwood Revival

By 5.30 am I was headed back towards Lord Marches renowned Goodwood estate, this time to visit his private race track which I had not seen since in 1987. Back then I was visiting to take part in a track day, the circuit had not been used for racing since 1966 and the facilities were in a sad state of disrepair.

Goodwood Revival

Five years after the runaway success of the inaugural 1993 Goodwood Festival of Speed, held on a special hill climb track round the main buildings of his estate, Lord March decided to revive events on his racing circuit with an event dedicated to vehicles that raced in the Circuits halcyon days from 1948 to 1966.

Goodwood Revival

The Revival has become a huge fancy dress party covering possibly the most optimistic two decades the Western World has ever known. More on the fancy dress side of the Revival will follow with a special blog on Saturday. Like the Festival of Speed the Goodwood Revival has also become a runaway success both racing days this year were completely sold out. Seen here a Standard 6CWT Pickup, XK140 and a Mk2 Jaguar.

Brian Redman, Mercedes Benz 300 SE, Tiff Needel, Ford Anglia, Goodwood Revival

I got to the track in plenty of time to catch all the practice sesions which were held on the Friday, but I had not counted on spending well over an hour dribbling around the car park reserved for those spectators arriving in classic cars ! The first action I caught on track came courtesy of the touring cars, here Brian Redman in his Mercedes Benz 300SE leads another former Grand Prix driver and, in my humble opinion, one of the better former Top Gear presenters, Tiff Needell driving a Ford Anglia through Woodcote.

Supermarine Spitfires, Goodwood Revival

Organisers hoped to gather 15 Supermarine Spitfires at last weekends event here a Mk5, short wing 5 blade screw Mk 15 and two seater Mk9 fly past these awesome machines are powered by 24 litre / 1465 cui Rolls Royce Merlin motors.

Ford P68/F3L, Goodwood Revival

Ford of Britain celebrated it’s centenary with a stupendous collection of passenger, military and commercial vehicles, none quite as breathtaking as the Ford 3 litre / 183 cui formula 1 DFV powered Ford P68 /F3L designed by Len Bailey and built by Alan Mann Racing. Jim Clark was to have driven this car on it’s debut at Brands Hatch but because of conflicting tyre contracts Jim ended up racing a Formula 2 car at Hockenheim with fatal consequences.

Marina Rolls Royce, Goodwood Revival

Surprise car of the meeting that I had never heard of before is the #23 Marina Special powered by Rolls Royce V8 driven by Mark Ashworth, turns out this car was built by Alan MacDonald at the Beagle Aircraft Hanger in Shoreham for Alan Mann who would later be responsible for the Ford P68. Rolls Royce were not in the least impressed with the Marina RR and the car appears to have been exiled in Belgium for fear that it might be impounded.

Adrian Newey, Jaguar, E-type, Goodwood Revival

Ueber Formula One aerodynamicist Adrian Newey has an important day job at with reigning Formula One Champions Red Bull Racing, during this rare weekend off he teamed up to drive the #25 E-type Jagaur with 10 time Grand Prix winner Gerhard Berger. Some interesting tweaks to the boot lid helped the pair stick this car on pole over 2 seconds clear of the rest of the field for Saturdays Fordwater Trophy Race.

Bill Hemming, Elfin Ford, Goodwood Revival

I had never seen or heard a screaming formula Junior car before Friday and their 1100 cc / 67 cui 4 cylinder motors scream enough to make your eyes water. The #9 Elfin Ford above of Bill Hemming was one of two Antipodean designed and built Formula Junior cars entered in the Chichester Cup.

Sir Jackie Stewart, Masrati 250 F, Goodwood Revival

Among the many features was a display of cars driven by the first five time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio. The #1 Maserati 250 F seen above was driven by Fangio to his last and perhaps the most masterful Grand Prix victory of all time at the Nurburging in 1957, after a botched pit stop Fangio made up over 50 seconds on two Ferrari’s over taking them on the penultimate lap and holding on to win by three seconds. Seen at the wheel of a 250F for the first time in his trade mark hat is Sir Jackie Stewart, who by his own admission also drove his finest race at the Nurburgring winning a wet and foggy 1968 German Grand Prix by four minutes despite driving round the torturous 14 mile track with a broken wrist !

Ben, Schuckburgh, Cunningham C4R, Goodwood Revival

Among many evocative vehicles of US origin at Goodwood was this 1953 Chrsyler Hemi powered Cunningham C4R replica roadster, initially designed to compete at Le Mans, driven by Ben Shuckburgh during practice for the in the Freddie March Memorial Race.

Elva Porsche Mk7P, Helmut Reis, Goodwood Revival

The Madgwick Cup for under 3 litre / 183 cui sports cars built between 1960 and 1966 featured this rare Elva Porsche Mk 7P driven by Helmut Ries. Most Elva’s entered for the Madgwick Cup were BMW powered.

Aston Martin DBR4, Hubert Fabri, Goodwood Revival

The Richmond Trophy of the last front engined Grand Prix Cars had a fittingly international entry of vehicles, Hubert Fabri is seen here at the wheel of his Aston Martin DBR4.

Saab 96 Sport, Anders Jensen, Goodwood Revival

The one and only Stig Blomquvist, 1984 World Rally Champion, mercifully no relation to the poor imitation on Top Gear, shared the 2 stroke #28 1963 Saab 96 Sport with Anders Jensen seen here at the wheel during the second touring car practice for the St Mary’s Trophy.

Paul Chenard, Goodwood Revival

I made time to take a break from the on track action to catch fellow blogger artist Paul Chenard who came all the way from Nova Scotia to promote his latest publication the illustrated story of the 1934 Grand Prix season “Silver Clouds”. Apparently the Daimler Benz Museum were so impressed with this hand bound limited edition they have acquired two copies. Going fast, act now ! To avoid forthcoming seasonal disappointment you can contact Paul to order your copy on his blog here.

AC Cobra, Gerhard Berger, Goodwood Revival

A number of incidents during the days qualifying sessions for the races held on Saturday and Sunday conspired to delay the proceedings by up to an hour. Gerhard Berger, sharing Grahame Bryant’s #1 AC Cobra entered in the Glover RAC TT Celebration race, left the course going into Woodcote,

AC Cobra, Gerhard Berger, Goodwood Revival

the resultant damage precluded the vehicles participation in the rest of the weekends proceedings.

AC Cobra, Gerhard Berger, Goodwood Revival

Fortunately Gerhard was not seriously injured and finished second sharing Adrian Newey’s E-type Jaguar in the Fordwater Trophy Race on the Saturday.

BRP-BRM, Brabham Climax, Lotus BRM, Goodwood Revival

The 1.5 litre / 91.5 cui era of Formula One goes back to the heyday of British driver participation in Grand Prix racing when Graham Hill, Jim Clark and John Surtees took three consecutive World titles from 1962 to 1964 and Jim Clark won his second title in 1965. Above Kurt DelBene in the 1964 #29 BRP-BRM, Roy Walzer the 1964 #1 Brabham Climax BT11 and Paul Drayson in the 1962 #18 Lotus BRM during qualifying for the Glover Trophy. This era of cars were immortalised in the film Grand Prix, though many of the chassis used in the film are actually cheaper Formula Juniors.

Jaguar E2A, Goodwood Revival

For romantic dreamers like myself there is a sad tale to relate to the prototype E2A ‘VKV 752’ seen here being driven by Tony Dron. This was the second of two E type Jaguar prototypes featuring components including the independent rear suspension that would be carried over into the production ‘E-Type’ model.

E2A was driven at Le Mans by Hangsen & Gurney without success in 1960 and used by the Cunningham team in the USA with Sir Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren amongst others at the wheel scoring a single minor victory against weak opposition. In 1961 Jaguar used E2A as a test mule back in England.

Roger Woodley Jaguar’s customer competition manager at the time was allowed to save E2A from the scrap heap on condition that the car would not be raced again. Sadly the first thing new owner Stefan Ziegler did after acquiring E2A for US$4,957,000 was turn E2A into a weapons grade racer and disregard Jaguars request that the car not be raced again.

Seems rather pointless when any number of weapons grade ‘D-types’ can be acquired for a fraction of the cost of E2A. More on the ‘to race or not to race E2A’ argument can be seen on this Nostalgia Forum thread.

Goodwood Revival

After the qualifying sessions were over it was time to head back through the spectators Classic Car Park, I could have stayed longer but it was getting to the dark end of an already long day.

Thanks for joining me on this Goodwood Revival edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I will continue to bring you more stories from Goodwood all week, I hope you will join me again for the first anniversary edition of ‘Gettin a lil’ psycho on tyres’ tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Federal Spec – MG Midget 1500

Today’s blog is a little thank you to peteran51 whom I know as Piet who a couple of weeks posted a link to one of his favourite cars the #238 Frank Hernandez Austin Streamliner on the Spridget Register website www.spridgets.net in Germany.

The British Motor Corporation MG Midget started out life as a badge engineered Austin Healey Sprite MK II in 1961 reviving the successful Midget name which MG had used in the 1930’s.

By 1972 the Midget had completely replaced the Sprite in the now British Leyland Motor Corporation model line.

This 1979 version is powered by a 1493cc / 91 CUI motor taken from the Triumph Spitfire with a modified 4 speed all synchromesh gearbox from the Morris Marina.

Production ceased on 7th December 1979 making this particular vehicle registered in 1979/80 in Reading one of the last of the 73,899 Midget 1500’s that had been produced since 1974.

Midgets today are still raced regularly with dedicated Midget series in the UK which has been running since 1977. Parts are still available thanks to British Motor Heritage which owns original press tools sufficient to supply complete Midget body shells.

My thanks again to Piet for the heads up, I hope you have enjoyed today’s US Federal bumper spec edition of Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres and that you will join me again tomorrow for something that I will photograph at a Piston Heads Sunday Service later this morning. Don’t forget to come back now !

PS It’s sad to report that Psycho on Tyres contributor Ed Arnaudin, who took all of the late 50’s sports car photographs it has been my humble privilege to share this past couple of months is not very well, I hope you will join me wishing him a full and speedy recovery.


Race Winning Myth – Triumph GT6

Race Winning Myth – Triumph GT6

A couple of months ago I got up horrendously early to go filming with the only namesake I know, Opposite his house was this MK3 Triumph GT6.

The GT6 was originally concieved by Giovani Michelotti and Triumph in 1963 as a Coupe version of the 4 cylinder Triumph Spitfire and was to be known as the Spitfire GT4. Unfortunately while the styling won plenty of kudos the Spitfires 1147 cc / 70 cui engine struggled to cope with the extra body weight.

However the boffins in the Triumph racing department saw the advantage of using the sleek GT4 body for it’s upcoming 1965 Le Mans programme and made fibre glass copies of the fast back and grafted them on to the tuned racers they were building, thus the racers did not incur the same weight penalty as the one off GT4 built by Michelotti. The Spitfires of Jean – Jaques Thuner / Simo Lampinen and Claude Dubois / Jean-Francois Plot came in 13th and 14th winning their class against several Alpines non of which were classified as finishers.

Triumph decided to capitalise on the racing success by developing the GT6 fitted with the 6 cylinder 1998cc 121.9 cui engine from the Vitesse model. The handling of the Mark I GT6 launched in 1966 was so bad, it understeered/pushed terribly compared to the Spitfire because of the extra weight of the 6 cylinder engine, that huge improvements to the rear suspension were introduced for the 1968 MK2.

The MK3 GT6 introduced in 1970 features a completely different body to the earlier versions broadly in line with upgraded of the Spitfire MKIV. The GT6 MK3 comfortably out performed it closest competitor the MGB 0-60 mph by nearly 3 seconds and top speed by 12mph yet the MGB outsold the GT6 despite the marketing myth that the GT6 was developed from the “race wining Le Mans Spitfires”, when as we have seen the GT was a separate programme that predated the racing programme.

History class over, wishing you all a fine day, don’t forget to come back now.


Best laid plans in PR – Bond Equipe 4S

Continuing the theme of rare Triumph based cars started yesterday, today we are looking at this 1965 Triumph Herald based Bond Equipe GT 4 S.

The Equipe GT 4S was built on a Triumph Herald chassis and was powered by a 63 hp 1147 cc / 69.9 cui 4 cylinder used in the Triumph Herald and Spitfire.

The opening boot was only introduced to the Equipe range with the GT 4s in 1964 ! 1934 examples of this 4S were built from 1964 – 1967. The Equipe in various guises was built from 1963 to 1970, when Bond was taken over by Reliant and the factory in Preston was closed.

A little footnote on the Bond Equipe 4S, Bond supplied several of these vehicles to the press for the official opening of a new stretch of the M6 Motorway on 23rd January 1965, big news in those days with thronging crowds as can be seen in this picture. The publicity coup however fell flat when Winston Churchill died the next day.

Hope you enjoyed todays show, don’t forget to come back now !