Tag Archives: Ware

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This #5 – Connew PC1 002

One of the many highlights of 2015 were a precious few hours I spent cleaning and polishing all manor of wheels, wings, aluminium panels and nut’s and bolts in the company of Peter Connew and his family with his cousin Barry Boor.

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The reason circumstances brought us together was that Peter, seen at work on his lathe above, kindly accepted an invitation to give a talk about his experience building and racing the Connew PC1 to The Nostalgia Forum Hertfordshire UK Film Show at Ware Village Hall in May.

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Peter and Barry, seen below, devoted a huge amount of time to finding and cleaning the bit’s, many of which had not been seen or handled for forty years, to put as much as was possible of the car back together.

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Along with the foot pedals, steering wheel, instruments, cables, fluid bottles and original leather seat one box contained a couple of Hewland DG300 gear ratio’s which caused Alain de Cadenet to seek a discount when he bought the rest of the gearbox from Peter for his de Cadenet Le Mans car.

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In the absence of springs and shock absorbers pieces of wood were cut to replace them to keep the front suspension in shape, and in the absence of a Ford Cosworth DFV engine or Hewland DG 300 gearbox a sheet of wood was cut to support the rear of the chassis the correct 2″ inches off the ground.

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Peter’s kids Chris and PC all chipped in on the day before the talk as did Peter’s wife Iris, who helped out back in the day when the car was originally built and on this occasion painted the lettering into tyres, amazingly the 40 year old Firestones and Mag wheels still hold pressure though one would not want to use them for anything other than display purposes.

Connew PC1, TNF Herts Film Show, Ware Village Hall

As you can see by the comments on this link, the first appearance of the Connew PC1 in public since the 21st of October 1973, when a broken shock absorber caused Tony Trimmer to crash in to the barriers at Brands Hatch, and the talk by Peter were both welcome and well received.

Peter and Barry are keen to locate a Ford Cosworth DFV engine block and Hewland DG300 gearbox casing so that they can attach the rear wheel’s if you can help locate either at a sensible price please get in touch so that “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This #6” is not too long in the making.

Thanks for joining me on this “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This #5” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Desert Racer. Don’t forget to come back now !


Minivan Pillarless Coupé – Renault Avantime

They say fortune favours the brave, unfortunately the brave fall over every once in a while before they find success if they survive long enough at all.

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Just as Matra had gone out on a limb in 1977 to bring the public the Minivan sized SUV Simca / Talbot Ranchero I looked at last week a concept which Matra later evolved into the Renault Espace minivan in the 1980’s, in 1999 Matra showed a car for a new post minivan market segment which envisaged former minivan customers who’s kids had fled the coop who wanted something minivan sized for the superior view, but with only two doors and 140mph GT performance.

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Patrick le Quément was responsible for the styling, which was loosely based on the upmarket Renault Vel Satis, that featured lots of heat reflecting glass to afford a panoramic view, the complete absence of any B-pillar and double hinged doors that take up less road space than smaller conventional doors when open for ease of entry and egress.

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Initially the Avantime was to be powered by the 3 litre / 183 cui 24 valve 207hp Renault V6, later options included a 2 litre / 122 cui turbo and diesel variants.

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Children were not expected to be carried but the rear features two separate full size seats, instead of the regular bench seat, that are mounted higher than the front seats offering what Renault called “theater seating”.

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The Avantime certainly broke the coupé mold with it’s minivan size, fantastic all round vision and futuristic styling but….

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… it had no competition except from genuine coupés that were smaller, more agile and less quirky to look at, meaning only 8,557 examples were built from 2001 to 2003 and of those only 450 were imported into the UK, much to the disappointment of Matra who called time on their car manufacturing aspirations.

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In light of the vast fleets of highly polished sports minivan sized Chelsea tractors with only one or two occupants one sees flying up and down Britain’s motorways Renault might perhaps have been better aiming the Avantime as an alternative to sports utility vehicle segment.

The Avantime seen in these photographs earlier this year in Ware, Herts is a 3 litre / 183 cui V6 powered model with the 5 speed automatic transmission, it was first registered in the UK on the 2nd of September 2002.

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


All Time Greatest One-Two – Mercedes Benz 300 SLR # no.3

Due to strained financial circumstances at the Mercedes Benz factory Rudolf Caracciola and Wilhelm Sebastian had only a privately entered Mercedes Benz SSKL with Mercedes approval at there disposal when they became the first foreign team in the first foreign car to win the 1931 Mille Miglia and the first to ever do so at an average speed of over 100 km per hour.

When Mercedes Benz returned to the event in 1955 they left nothing to chance sending a team of 60 technicians based at their event headquarters with spares and sufficient for their four 300 SLR entries.

Mercedes Benz 300SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Team manager Alfred Neubauer insisted each of the drivers were to drive the 1000 mile course a minimum of five times in preparation for the event, Karl Kling is believed to have driven at least 30,000 miles in his preparations.

Following the death of his co driver Daniel Urrutia in 1948 while competing in Peru Juan Manuel Fangio never drove in a competitive event with a co driver again, and so Juan made his own preparations for the 1955 Mille Miglia driving a FIAT 1100.

Mercedes Benz 300SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Before the first six hours of the race had been completed both Karl Kling driving solo and the Hans Herrmann / Hermann Eger crewed 300SLR’s had crashed out of the race.

However Stirling Moss aided by directions from 1949 World Champion Motor Cylce side car passenger Denis Jenkinson, who had meticulously made course notes on 15 feet of paper all carefully rolled into a device devised for bomber command during WW2 came home winners covering the 1,000 miles 6 hours faster than Caricciola in just over 10 hours at a record average speed just short of 100 mph, having covered the stretch from Cremona to Brescia at just under 124 mph.

Mercedes Benz 300SLR, Stirling Moss, Goodwood Revival,

In second place 31m 45 seconds behind the winning #722 came Juan in today’s featured #658 chassis # no.3 despite the fact his eight cylinder 3 litre / 183 cui engine was only firing on 7 cylinders to complete in my humble opinion one of the all time greatest 1-2 finishes in all of sports car racing.

28 days after finishing the Mille Miglia Juan stepped back in to # no.3 to drive it to victory in the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring.

Mercedes Benz 300SLR, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

In August 1955 having wrapped up his third World Formula One championship due to the cancellation of several Grand Prix in the wake of the 1955 Le Mans disaster Juan drove # no.3 for a third time to with the Swedish Grand Prix run for sports cars.

Wolfgang von Trips, André Simon and Karl Kling all drove this car in the Tourist Trophy in September 1955 run at Dundrod to complete a 1-2-3 victory behind the sister cars driven by Stirling sharing with John Fitch and the second placed car driven by Juan and Karl.

Finally in October 1955 Juan and Karl teamed up again this time to drive # no.3 in the Targa Florio to finish second behind the sister 300SLR driven by Moss and Peter Collins.

Stirling Moss is seen in the photograph above demonstrating #658 at the Goodwood Revival a couple of years ago and the connecting rod seen above was a gift from Mercedes Benz to Denis Jenkinson and comes from the Mille Miglia winning #722.

Thanks for joining me on this “All Time Greatest One-Two” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me for Mazda Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Golden Wonder Scottish Champion – Triumph TR7

In 1976 Triumph initiated a Rally Programme with it’s TR7 model initially in 2 litre 16 valve 4 cylinder Sprint form and finally in 280 hp 3.5 litre / 215 cui V8 form.

Triumph TR7, TNF Herts Film Show, Ware

Legend has it that today’s featured car was loitering in the Triumph compound of the Triumph Press Depeartment when Triumph Competitions Manager John Davenport was invited to take his pick of four cars for the 1978 season SJW548W was the last of the four allegedly chosen because they were; white, without sunroofs and closest to the entrance which John entered to make his selection.

Triumph TR7, TNF Herts Film Show, Ware

However SJW458S is known to have originally been a Carmine coloured TR7 with a Sprint motor so more likely John Davenport chose four cars whose registration numbers were transferred to the teams scratch built rally cars, SJW458S was the 11th works TR7 to be built the third never to have been in competition with a Sprint engine .

Triumph TR7, TNF Herts Film Show, Ware

Like the Works Rally Spitfire I looked at last week this TR7 was refitted as a left hand drive car so that European drivers; Jean luc Therier, Simo Lampinen and Per Eklund could drive it.

Triumph TR7, TNF Herts Film Show, Ware

During the 1978 season both Jean Luc and Simo recorded retirements when they drove SJW 458S on the Tour de Corse and RAC Lombard Rally respectively.

Triumph TR7, TNF Herts Film Show, Ware

Peter Eklund and Mike Broad scored the cars best result in the 1979 season with a second overall on the Mintex Rally while Simo recorded 12th and 13th place finishes on the 1979 Welsh and Scottish Rallies.

Triumph TR7, TNF Herts Film Show, Ware

Scottish air traffic controller Ken Wood bought SJW 485S for the 1981 Scottish Rally championship in which he and Peter Brown narrowly finished 2nd before making amends and winning the 1982 Scottish Rally Championship with the cars new sponsor Golden Wonder.

My thanks to owner Steve Rockingham who kindly trailered SJW485S to a recent TNF Herts Film show and kindly left it in the snow for the day to be deservedly admired.

Thanks for joining me on this Golden Wonder Scottish Champions edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be sharing the tail of the Derrington Francis Formula One car.

Don’t forget to come back now !


Michelotti Zest – Triumph TR4

Project Zest was the code name for the Triumph TR4 which was launched in 1961.

Triumph TR4, TNF Herts, Ware,

It turns out that the TR4 gave Giovanni Michelloti a second crack at updating the Triumph TR3A having designed the body for the Italia 2000 GT, which was built on a Triumph TR3A knock down kit, first seen in 1959.

Triumph TR4, TNF Herts, Ware,

Michelotti’s new design did away with the window curtain’s of previous TR’s replacing them with proper glass window’s operated by proper window mechanisms, it was also one of the earliest cars to have a removable roof panel, predating the Porsche 911/912 Targa Top by five years.

Triumph TR4, TNF Herts, Ware,

Mechanically new for the TR4 was synchromesh on all gears, with a Laycock overdrive on 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears and the steering was altered to accommodate a rack and pinion.

Triumph TR4, TNF Herts, Ware,

Two engine options were available for the TR4 one just under 2 litres / 122 cui and the other just over.

Triumph TR4, TNF Herts, Ware,

TR4’s found competition success in the USA where Bob Tullis drove a Kas Kastner prepared example to class victory at Sebring in 1961 and SCCA class championships followed in 1962, ’63 and ’64.

Triumph TR4, TNF Herts, Ware,

This particular TR4 was part of the works rally team and was driven to a 4th place overall finish in the 1962 Alpine Rally by Mike Sutcliffe and Roy Fidler.

Triumph TR4, TNF Herts, Ware,

Sadly of the over 40,000 TR4’s built between 1961 and 1965 less than 1,000 are still registered with British Authorities.

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