Tag Archives: Weaver

9 Mins Of Fame – EMKA C84/1

Trained accountant Steve O’Rourke and EMKA productions became the management team for Pink Floyd post Syd Barrat and both Steve and drummer Nick Mason shared an interest in racing cars.

EMKA C84/1, Silverstone Classic Test Day,

Steve’s international racing career got of the ground with a Ferrari 512BB which he entered and drove from 1979 to 1980 scoring a best 7th place finish in the 1980 Silverstone 6 hours with Chris Craft and Vic Norman.

EMKA C84/1, Rudolf Ernst,  Silverstone Classic Test Day,

In 1981 Steve had Michael Cane Racing convert Niki Lauda’s 1979 Project Four Motorsports BMW M1 Procar to a more liberal Group 5 spec and raced that for two season’s scoring a best 2nd place in the 1981 Silverstone 6 Hours whith Derek Bell and David Hobbs sharing the cockpit, Nick Mason also co drove Steve’s BMW M1 on it’s two outings in 1982.

EMKA C84/1, Rudolf Ernst,  Silverstone Classic Test Day,

For 1983 Steve made the bold decision to follow in the footsteps of Robin Hamilton and Nimrod to build his own Aston Martin powered Le Mans challenger the EMKA C83/1.

EMKA C84/1, Silverstone Classic Test Day,

Len Bailey who was based at Gomm Metal Developments in Woking did the design work, Gomm did the metal work, the fibre glass body was constructed by Protoco, Aston Martin Tickford supplied 5,340 cc / 325.8 cui V8 engine and the whole car was prepared for competition by Micheal Cane Racing.

EMKA C84/1, Silverstone Classic Test Day,

On it’s debut at Silverstone the C83/1 was driven by Tiff Needell, Jeff Allam and Steve, they qualified 17th but retired on the last lap due to a failed wheel bearing. Nick Faure replaced Jeff at Le Mans for the 24 hour race where the car qualified 25th and finished 17th despite spending 2 hours in the pits with a suspension problem.

EMKA C84/1, Rudolf Ernst,  Silverstone Classic Test Day,

Due to uncertainty over the 1984 fuel regulations the C83/1 did not race again until 1985, by which time the ground effect venturi had been replaced with a flat floor, the rear suspension had been revised and the car had been renumbered as C84/1.

EMKA C84/1, Tiff Needell, Mark Galvin, Steve O'Rourke, Brands Hatch, 1000 kms

At Silverstone the C84/1 driven by Steve, Tiff and Bob Evans was nearly four seconds a lap in qualifying than two years earlier and qualified 15th for the six hour race but it retired again this time due to an engine issue.

Nick Faure again drove the car at Le Mans in 1985, in place of Bob, and the trio were now nine seconds a lap faster in qualifying and started from 13th on the grid. By employing an out of sequence fuel strategy Tiff Needell was able to lead the 24 Hour classic for 9 mins during the opening hours before finishing a respectable 11th.

C84/1 appeared at Spa where James Weaver took over the guest seat from Nick Faure and at Brands Hatch, as seen in the last photo where Mark Galvin took over from James. The car qualified 17th and 10th respectively, retiring from both races fuel pressure and drive belt issues respectively.

Steve retired from competition until 1991 when he returned racing GT’s winning the British GT GT2 and GT1 class drivers championships with co-driver Tim Sugden in 1997 and 1998 respectively, his highest Le Mans finish was 4th also in 1998 when he shared his McLaren with Tim and Bill Auberlen.

A second EMKA was built in 1989 using the discarded ground effect floor from the C83/1 and spare parts from C84/1 including the revised type of suspension, with the original red C83/1 bodywork.

Owner Rudolf Ernst is seen at the wheel of C84/1 in the photo’s above taken at the Silverstone Classic Test Day earlier this year.

Thanks for joining me on this “9 Mins Of Fame” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Le Mans Challenger from Mercedes Benz. Don’t forget to come back now !


Cats with Grace & Pace – Jaguar XK 120

The post war success of the Jaguar Company was built around the twin overhead cam alloy head iron block XK engine which was in various guises from was in production from 1948 – 1992.

The motor was designed by William ‘Bill’ Heyes and Walter ‘Wally’ Hassan prior to the outbreak of WW2 hostilities, during the period of hostilities Jaguar staff realised the design in between duties as fire watchman over the heavily industrialised city of Coventry which was a major target of German bombing raids.

The XK 120 launched at the London Motor Show in 1948 was the first vehicle designed around a 160 hp 3442 cc / 210 cui version of the XK engine, at the time the XK 120 mph capability made it the worlds fastest production car.

The racing and rallying success of the XK 120 is incalculable including the Daily Express One Hour Race in 1949, Class win at Palm Beach Shores, class win in the Mille Miglia both in 1950 all three with Leslie Johnson at the wheel and a 1,2,3, victory in the 1950 Tourist Trophy. Ian Appleyard took overall wins in the Alpine Rallies of 1950 & ’51 and the first Alpine Rally Gold cup in 1952. An XK 120 driven by Al Keller is also credited with being the only foreign ‘built’ car to win a NASCAR sanctioned event at New Jerseys Linden Airport in 1954 to name but a few.

Leslie Johnson started a three year record breaking spree in 1950 at the 1.58 mile L’autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry outside Paris which features 30 degree banking.

Sharing the driving in 3 hour stints with Stirling Moss for 24 hours they averaged 107.46 mph, covering 2579.16 miles in 1950.

The following year ’51 Johnson drove 131.83 miles in one hour saying afterwards ‘the car felt so good it could have gone on another week’ sowing the seeds for the 1952 attack on the week speed record.

In 1952 a four man team comprising Johnson, Moss, Hadley and Fairman only managed 96 hours at their first attempt at the week record, because a spring broke after 85 hours, Johnson drove with the broken spring for a further 9 straight hours to spare his compatriots any additional risk setting 96 hour, 72 hour and 10,000 mile world and class records all at over 100 mph.

After the spring had been replaced the team then set a full seven day & night record of covering 16, 851.73 miles at an average speed of a staggering 100.31 miles and hour.

The first 242 roadsters, of which the 1949 #267 driven by Roderick Spollon is one, were hand built with aluminium bodies on ash frames, as demand picked up by 1950 pressed steel bodies were used with aluminium bonnet, doors and boot lid. Production of OTS roadsters (no roof) , DHC (convertible) and FHC (steel roof) XK120 variants came to an end in 1954 when the XK 140 was introduced.

Hope you have enjoyed todays 120 MPH edition of ‘Getttin a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and will join me on a safari looking at some big cats in Africa as I continue my quest for new information about events that occurred long ago. Don’t forget to come back now !


In memory of former XK 120 owner Barbara Weaver wife of ARCA and founding SCCA member George Weaver who recently passed away I am posting this photo by Ed Arnaudin of the pits complex at Thompson CT during it’s construction in July 1958.

Barbara, who’s car carried the licence plate ‘SCCA’ and her husband located the Thompson CT site and with financial assistance from Briggs Cunningham the Weavers built and ran the road circuit until 1967, when land could no longer be acquired for the facility to expand.

She was an affirmed motor sport aficionado allegedly falling in love with the Maserati belonging to her husband to be before falling in love with it’s lucky owner.

Amongst many roles in motor sport she played host to Fangio, Shelby, George Constantine, Jackie Cooper and Joan Fontaine, Bob Holbert, Bob Grossman, the entire Cunningham team, Chuck Daigh, Lance Reventlow, and Walter Cronkite.

A full and proper obituary of this wonderfully decidedly hands on character is linked here.

Sincere condolences to Barbara’s family and friends.