Tag Archives: Tomaso

Gold Cup Stars – Oulton Park

For today’s post I thought it would be fun to revisit the Gold Cup meeting and see some of the stars who were not first to the checkered flag but nonetheless contributed significantly to the weekends entertainment.

AEC Reliance, Oulton Park, Gold Cup,

As Tim and I arrived at the circuit two AEC buses were being driven around the circuit with gusto, one even had Autosport club editor Marcus Pye entertaining passengers with a commentary, above a Devon General liveried 1963 AEC Reliance exits the Britten’s Chicane.

AC Greyhound, Oulton Park, Gold Cup,

Car of the day in the car park was this 1963 Ford Zephyr straight six powered AC Greyhound one of just 83 built.

Jaguar XJR9, Andy Wallace, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

The day after our visit 1988 Le Mans winner Andy Wallace, on the right in the photo, gave a demonstration of the 1988 Le Mans winning #2 Jaguar XJR9 in front of him, this time completing his lap of honour unlike a previous visit in 2010.

de Tomaso Mangusta, Michael Eagles, Gold Cup, Oulton, Park

One of the cars that tempted me to visit on the Sunday rather than the usual Monday was Michael Eagles de Tomaso Mangusta, Michael started the Oni Plc Historic Road Sports race from 8th on the grid and got as high as 7th in the race before dropping back to finish 16th.

Sunbeam Alpine, Mike Foley, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

In the same race back marker Mike Foley produced the save of the day, after going into Old Lodge too fast and running wide his Sunbeam Alpine went into a nasty tank slapper upon regaining the track, just after this photo was taken, but some how Mike kept the car from spinning or hitting the barriers and continued to finish the race.

 Mallock Mk 20/21, Mark Charteris, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The Giant Killer of the weekend award goes to Mark Charteris who qualified his Mallock U2 Mk20/21 Clubmans car for the first Derek Bell Trophy race fourth ahead an impressive collection of four more powerful Formula 5000 cars and was in third when the race was red flagged after Ian Ashley’s accident, the following day in damp conditions Mark beat both Neil Glover and Mark Dwyer aboard a Formula 5000 Chevron and Formula 2 March respectively that had finished ahead of him the day before.

Jaguar C-type, Ben Cussons, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Just finishing the Jaguar Challenge race proved a challenge too far for five of the 20 starters, smoke was seen issuing from beneath several cars including the #18 C-type driven by Ben Cussons who was classified 9th a lap down and the #15 E-type in the back ground driven by Paul Castaldini who managed to hang on to finish 2nd over 90 seconds down on the winning E-Type driven by Michael Wilkinson and John Bussel.

Ginetta G12, Chris Blewett, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Wheel lifter of the day went to back marker Chris Blewett driving the #44 Ginetta G12 in the Guards Trophy supported by Dunlop Tyres race whose car struggled to keep four wheels on the ground in the corners.

MG Arkley, Chris Fisher, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

By 1970 there were loads of Austin Sprites and MG Midgets knocking about with seriously rusted bodies when John Britten in Barnet North London came up with the idea of recycling them with the aid of a retro look fibre glass front and rear ends that could easily be fitted to donor cars, thus the Arkley S with standard wheels and Arkley SS with wide wheels were born. Lawn Mower of the day award went to #27 Arkley SS driver Chris Fisher who during the 70’s Road Sports Bob Trotter Celebration race came out of the appropriately named Britten’s Chicane a tad wide and opted for the shortest route, with the least grip, before rejoining the track on the ascent to Hill Top.

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


Choices Choices – Simply Italian National Motor Museum Beaulieu

In the interests of keeping my regular Friday readers happy I needed little convincing by GALPOT regular David Roots to forgoe the delights of the Avenue Drivers Club monthly meeting at Queens Square, in order to take a trip to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu for the third Simply Italian parade on Sunday.

Ferrari F40, Simply Italian, NMM Beaulieu

On the way down I passed at several cars making their way to Queens Square, a magnificent Alvis and several other vintage cars taking part in a Vintage Rally, and a number of classic sports cars taking part in a Classic Rally before stumbling accross this F40 as it slowly made it’s way through the achingly picturesque village of Beaulieu, pronounced ‘Bewley’.

Vignale Gamine, Simply Italian, NMM Beaulieu

In the never seen one before category was the Vignale Gamine, one of just 300 vehicles, based on a FIAT 500 platform with a 21 hp 2 cylinder motor. This slow selling Alfredo Vignale pet project led to Carrozeria Vignale going out of business and the production facility being acquired by de Tomaso for their Pantera models.

Lancia Flamina, Simply Italian, NMM Beaulieu

One of my favourite toys when I was not yet six was a Lancia Flamina similar to the 1962 Coupé seen here which had yellow jeweled headlights.

De Tomaso Pantera, Simply Italian, NMM Beaulieu

Appropriately on the other side of the car park to the Vignale Gamine was this de Tomaso Pantera which with it’s Ford motor and running gear has to be one of the most practical and affordable ways of running a genuine Italian super car.

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Balboni, Simply Italian, NMM Beaulieu

Speaking of practical this 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Baldoni, one of just 250 550 hp 200 mph 2 wheel drive super cars with a distinctive white and gold stripe was carrying a child seat on the passenger side. The owner told me he has had the car just nine weeks and in that time has driven it 5000 miles at 25 mpg on the road and as little as 5 mpg on track days. He has also had to replace a set of tyres !

HMS Sultan Field Gun, Simply Italian, NMM Beaulieu

Around lunch time the grounds of the National Motor Museum echoed to the sound of LEFT ! RIGHT ! LEFT ! RIGHT ! LEFT ! RIGHT ! LEFT ! as a squad of 13 field gunners from HMS Sultan ended a 56 mile weekend yomp with a limber and 12 pounder field gun, of the type used during the Boer War, in tow. The gun and breach alone weighs some 400 kgs, nearly 900 lbs ! All of this was to honour the men of 40 Commando in the Falklands Conflict who covered the same distance in 1982 to retake Port Stanley and to raise funds the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, follow this link to find out more and make a donation.

FIAT Panda 4x4, Simply Italian, NMM Beaulieu

After lunch the results of a public vote for the most popular vehicle present was announced, the 1988 FIAT Panda 4×4 above, which came complete with a fitted tent was awarded a bottle of Beaulieu Bubbly, a local sparkling wine.

Lenham Healey ALFA Romeo Special, Simply Italian, NMM Beaulieu

A well deserved second went to GALPOT regular David Roots and his Lenham based ALFA Romeo 4C Special,

Maserati Merak, Simply Italian, NMM Beaulieu

while most visitors votes went to this Maserati Merak.

My thanks and congratulations to David for telling me about this fabulous event which was interspersed with visits into the National Motor Museum which I shall cover in greater detail on Sunday.

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


Mini Bora – Maserati Merak SS

The Maserati Merak was conceived while the company was in the ownership of Citroen as a more affordable version of the Maserati Bora launched in 1971.

Maserati Merak SS, Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival

Like the Bora the Merak was penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design and featured many similarities in the body panels ahead of the mid mounted motor though the chassis pan featured many differences thanks to the lighter weight of the Meraks 3 litre / 183 cui motor which was first seen in the 1970 Citroen SM with a slightly smaller displacement.

Maserati Merak SS, Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival

The Merak went through 3 phases of development when first launched in 1972 the Merak used many interior Citroen fixtures and fittings including a single spoke steering wheel, dash panel, instrumentation, gearbox along with brakes actuated by Citroen’s high pressure hydraulic system.

Maserati Merak SS, Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival

In 1975 Maserati fell under the Control of de Tomaso and for 1975 most of the Citroen interior derived components were replaced including the high pressure hydraulic operated brakes which became vacuum assisted and the Citroen gearbox which was swapped for a ZF gearbox. The revitalised 220 hp model, like the 1980 vehicle seen here at Bristol’s Italian Auto Moto Festival last year, was lighter than the original and given Merak SS branding to distinguish it from the original.

Maserati Merak SS, Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival

In 1976 the third and final version the Merak 200OGT aimed at avoiding the 38% purchase tax cars in the Italian market attracted if they were fitted with engines over 2 litres / 122 cui. Consequently the 170 hp 2000 GT had an engine measuring 1999 cc 182.986 cui cc.

The Merak was discontinued in 1983 having outsold the Bora by better than 3 to 1 with 1860 being built of which the Merak SS was the most common with around 1000 units built.

The 2012 Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival will be held this coming Saturday April 28th and will be celebrating not only the 40th Anniversary of the Maserati Merak and Khamsin but also the 40th Anniversary of the Lancia Beta and 50th Anniversary of the Alfa Romeo Giulia along with the 100th anniversary of the founding of Bertone. Motorcycle fans will be able to see a large selection of Italian bikes with MV Agusta being the featured manufacturer, an interesting selection of Lambretta’s and Vespa’s will also be in attendance. Best of all the event is free and can be found in the streets around St Nicholas Market.

I have arranged to meet David Roots at 11 am near his unmistakeable Lenham ALFA Romeo, SEE THIS LINK, if your visiting why not pop by and say hello ?

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Mini Bora’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Cobra Killer – de Tomaso Mangusta # 8MA 1216

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This Mangusta is one of a handful of genuinely show stopping cars at Bristol’s Italian Auto Moto Festival last weekend and my personal favourite of those present.

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When I was a kid and we got our first black and white television I was completely captivated by a Sci Fi puppet series called Thunderbirds and there were three real machines representing transport that seemed to capture that vision of the future, the Mangusta with its clean lines and gullwing engine cover, the supersonic Concorde and the ship named Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2.

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Mangusta translated means mongoose a carnivore immune to some snake venom known to kill vipers and typically avoid cobra’s. However the myth is that Mongeese are cobra killers and that is why the name was chosen for this vehicle because de Tomaso wanted to build a car that was better than the Shelby Cobra after a misunderstanding about a supply of engines that went to Shelby.

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The Giorgetto Giugiaro body is fitted on to pressed steel back bone chassis which has it’s origins in de Tomaso’s first road car the Ford 4 cylinder Kent powered Vallelunga.

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401 Mangusta’s are thought to have been built from 1967 to 1971 of which around 128 may have survived.

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All bar one Mangusta were fitted with Ford V8’s the 306 hp 4729 cc / 289 cui for the European Markets, and the 220 hp 4949 cc / 302 cui for the US Market, the US versions had pop up lights in place of the twin headlamps of the European versions. The odd Mangusta was built with a Chevrolet Small Block V8.

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Tarantino aficionado’s might recognise the 155 mph Mangusta from Kill Bill Vol. 2, see trailer at 1m 27 seconds, and Kylie Minogue fans might recognise the Mangusta from the 2001 ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ video.

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Chassis 8MA 1216 seen here was purchased by Alitalia pilot Giancarlo Furiosi and kept by him until 2009 when portrait photographer Jonathan Root acquired it.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Cobra Killer edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a black cat. Don’t forget to come back now !


Eye popping variety – Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival

Yesterday was a long day due to a variety of pleasurable commitments which meant I got up at 7 am so that I could go down to watch the Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival being set up.

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Getting up so early was not in the least disappointing , seeing my home city centre full of Ferrari’s, Maserati’s, a couple of De Tomaso’s and a familiar Lamborghini amongst many others, some models of which I saw close up for the very first time.

It was a particular joy to briefly meet David who’s Special ALFA Romeo Lenham Healey was featured on this blog some month’s ago and Richard Harman who’s extremely rare South African Autodelta 3 litre / 183 cui ALFA Romeo GTV6 will be feature on this blog in the not to distant future.

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As the name suggests this Festival is a veneration of all modes of Italian powered personal transport including a stunning array of motor bikes, Benelli, Laverda, Ducatti, Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta among them, many worthy of inclusion in this blog and indeed one will also appear on this blog in the near future.

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Finally mention should be made of the many ‘Mods’ who turned up on their Lambretta’s and provided a welcome Quadrophenia inspired sound system to their area of the Festival.

I’d like to thank the organisers for arranging a memorable day out in my adopted home town and thank all those who took the time and trouble to bring their bella machina’s from far and wide, I look forward to sharing more detailed images and stories of some of the 50 vehicles I photographed during my all too brief two hour visit.

Compared to last years excellent Festival the organisers excelled themselves and cranked up the level of expectation for next year up another notch.

Hope you have enjoyed todays Italian edition of ‘Gettin a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow when God willing I’ll be reporting on my competition debut in the discipline of Production Car Car Trial’s. Please keep your fingers crossed for me and don’t forget to come back now !