Tag Archives: Track

Uncompromising Acquired Taste – Lotus Elise Sport 135R

The second series Lotus Elise shares the same 111 type number as the original Elise despite sharing the same up dated Elise chassis as the Vauxhall VX220 (Lotus Type 116) which I looked at last week.

Lotus Elise Sport 135R, Race Retro

To meet new safety regulations Series 2 Elises goined over 100 kgs in weight but they were also more powerful which made up for some of the in creased weight.

Lotus Elise Sport 135R, Race Retro

One of the major differences between the VX220 and second Series Elise is that the Lotus has 16 inch front wheels and 17 inch rears where as the Vauxhall has marginally compromised the handling of the VX220 by having 17 inches wheels all round.

Lotus Elise Sport 135R, Race Retro

For those who can master the technique of getting into an Elise the handling and acceleration are said to go kart like as is the absence of any carpets, fuel gauge engine temperature gauge or central locking.

Lotus Elise Sport 135R, Race Retro

This 2002 Sport 135R version comes with sports suspension, for ever closer to go kart like handling and a Rover K series motor tuned to produce 135 hp.

Lotus Elise Sport 135R, Race Retro

In this trim an Elise is said to be able to accelerate from rest to 62mph in 5.4 seconds and on up to a top speed of 129 mph.

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


What goes around – Ferrari 250 MM Vignale #0260MM

The Ferrari 250 MM was launched with a tube frame chassis carrying a 237 hp V12 in 1953 weighing just 850 kgs / 1874 lbs.

Ferrari 250MM, Vignale

Phil Hill, who is pictured here by Geoffrey Horton at Danville Concours d’Elegance in 2007 was supplied with this vehicle by US Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti and drove the Vignale bodied 250MM to victories at Pebble Beach and Santa Barbara in 1953 and scored a class victory at Stead AFB Reno, Nevada the same year.

There after the car was sold and continued to be raced up until at least 1957 before resurfacing on the Concours circuit, at Pebble Beach in 1983. Phil appears to have driven the car competitively for the last time at the Monterey Historic races in 1984.

For the 2007 Danville Concours d’Elegance, an annual event which raises money for the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center, Sunnyvale, California, Phil’s former employers Road & Track created the Phil Hill Trophy for the winner of the Concours event.

Phil, who suffered from and died as a result of complications from Parkinson’s disease, may have been understandably a little biased when he selected the Vignale 250MM car he had once owned and raced to victory to be the inaugural winner of the trophy named after him.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton who kindly sent me this image.

Thanks for stopping by today’s Phil Hill Trophy edition on ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now!


Project 100 G – FIAT 850 Idromatic

I found this curiously cute 1967/68 FIAT 850 a couple of weeks ago. The car appears to have emigrated west in the 40 years since it was first registered in Greater London.

Code named project 100 G the FIAT 850 was a large version of project 100 the FIAT 600. G for Grande in Italian. 2.3 million FIAT 850’s were made between 1964 and 1973.

Production of the SEAT 850 version continued in Spain until 1974. Complete Knock Down Kit 850’s were assembled by Pirin-FIAT in Bulgaria from 1967 to 1971. The extravagant decoration on the wheel trim and white striped tyre indicate this was the more powerful high end ‘super’ variant.

This 850 appears to be fitted with the Idromatic transmission, a fully synchronised 4 speed manual gearbox combined with a torque converter and electrically activated clutch operated by a switch on the top of the gear stick knob.

The high end FIAT 850 ‘super’ was powered by a 37 hp 4 cylinder 843 cc /51.4 cui engine mounted in the boot / trunk which when coupled with Idromatic transmission made it the slowest vehicle tested by Road & Track in 1968. The 60¢ May 1968 issue of R&T; noted that while The FIAT 850 Idromatic was not suited for use in ‘American’ conditions it deserved attention as a ‘strictly low speed 2nd car’.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s leisurely start to the week and hope you’ll join me again tomorrow, don’t forget to come back now !