Tag Archives: Whizzo

Nissan’s Fairlady – Datsun 240 Z

Datsun 240 Z

BRDC are the initials of the British Racing Drivers Club and signify that the owner of this vehicle, well known rally and racing driver Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams, is a member.

Datsun 240 Z

The Datsun 240 Z, featuring styling cue’s taken from the E-Type Jaguar, was in production from 1970 – 1973.

Datsun 240 Z

Unknown to me until I wrote this, in Japan 2 litre / 122 cui in line 6 cylinder versions of the 240 Z, known locally as the Nissan Fairlady Z, were available with single and double overhead cam options.

Datsun 240 Z

For the rest of us the 150 hp 2.393 cc / 146 cui single overhead cam six cylinder is the more familiar motor. This vehicle is easily identified as a second series model by the Z in the circle on the C pillar.

Datsun 240 Z

Amazingly in 1971 and 1973 Datsun 240 Z’s driven by Edgar Hermann and Shekhar Mehta respectively won the gruelling East African Safari Rally proving this was no flimsy boulevard cruiser.

Datsun 240 Z

In 1996 Nissan launched a programme to buy 240 Z’s back and restore them to factory specifications and sold them for $24,000.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Fairlady edition of ‘Getting a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Luton’s Finest – Vauxhall HP Firenza 9F37REX111999

Like the recently featured South African Chevrolet Firenza Can Am the High Performance (HP) Firenza was a top of the range Viva HC Coupé model but built for the UK market and though intended to be produced in far larger numbers, 30,000 projected units, only 204 HP Firenza’s were built along with a further 197 estate / station wagon variants.

Vauxhall Firenza, Race Retro

The distinctive ‘Droopsnoot’ grp nose was restyled styled by Wayne Cherry and based on the nose of a well known Dealer Team Vauxhall Firenza raced by Gerry Marshall called ‘Old Nail’ that will it’s self be the subject of a future GALPOT blog. The twined headlights are interchangeable with the Renault Alpine A310.

Under the unusual for the period aerodynamic nose was a 131 HP 2297 cc / 140 cui slanted 4 cylinder engine enough to power the HP Firenza with a drag co efficient of cd 0.4 from rest to 60 mph in 8 secs and to a top speed of 120 mph.

Though the paint work of this particular car built in 1975 is not the original ‘Starlight Silver’ this car carries similar decals to those carried by a small series of vehicles for a one off publicity race organised at Thruxton to launch the model, a race won by Barry ‘Whizzo’ Williams.

The HP Firenza was undoubtedly a styling triumph for Vauxhall yet the car was also an unmitigated marketing disaster thanks to the after effects of the ’70’s fuel crisis, though design elements of the nose did find their way into future Vauxhall products notably the Chevette and Cavalier which were in essence badge engineered Opel models.

Thanks for joining me on today’s Droopsnoot edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at another performance saloon carrying a blue oval badge. Don’t forget to come back now !


Inspiration and Innovation – Prodrive Factory Visit

I was privileged to join fellow members of the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club and Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams on a factory tour of the Prodrive Factory over the weekend.

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David Richards a qualified chartered accountant and 1981 World Championship Winning Rally co-driver who started his business as a motor sport consultant in the middle east, says of his company that it’s purpose is to ‘inject excitement’.

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That injection of excitement is backed with 25 years of Championship winning motor sports success that includes rallying

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and racing …

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to the very highest levels including two spells in which David Richards ran teams in Formula One.

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In 2006 Prodrive built a fully working concept car, but declined to put it into production,

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After numerous successes running Aston Martin racing teams …

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David Richards led a consortium of investors in a $925 million take over of Aston Martin in 2007,

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a company of which he is now the Chairman.

It was uplifting to see British engineering is alive and well in Banbury, Oxfordshire with a fascinating range of activity including the assembly of a range of competition vehicles, computer operated machining of a huge variety of items from solid blocks of material, and truly mind boggling assembly of competition spec wiring looms, if your into engineering and or motor sport the Prodrive tour run by the effervescent Jackie Irwin, who has petrol running through her veins, is an absolute must.

My thanks to everyone at the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club who organised the tour including Andy who kindly did the driving honours.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s excitement injected edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !