Tag Archives: William

Morris Centenary – Morris Oxford

2013 marks the centenary of the production of the first Morris Car and every Tuesday for the month of April I’ll be featuring a Morris model.

If you are new to GALPOT you may be wondering why no Morris Minors will be featured this month, that is because I did a run of Morris Minor features not so long ago, here are the links for those who missed them; 1953 Morris Minor Series II 4 door, Morris Minor Tourer and 1967 Morris 1000 Traveller.

Morris Oxford, VSCC, Prescott

The first Morris car was a Morris Oxford which was assembled around a pressed steel chassis using many proprietary parts including a White & Poppe motor which sat behind a distinctive ‘Bullnose’ radiator not unlike the one seen on toady’s featured car.

Production of the original Bullnose Morris Oxford was halted by hostilities in 1914 and in 1919 a new Oxford model was launched featuring a larger Bullnose radiator and a Continental Red Seal motor built by the French Company Hotchkiss et Cie at their works in Coventry.

Today’s featured car was built in 1925 the first year the model was available with optional 12 inch front brakes one of which can be seen behind the AA badge in the photo.

A longer wheel base 4 seat version of the 1925 Morris Oxford went on to become the basis of the first MG 14/28 Super Sports model.

Production of the Bullnose Morris Oxfords came to an end in 1926 when it was replaced by the flat nosed Morris Oxford.

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


William Boddy – Brooklands Tribute

On Saturday events conspired to allow me to visit for the first time the worlds first purpose built motor sport venue, Brooklands.


Brooklands was built in 1907, it was simultaneously also one of Britains first airfields. Brooklands became a centre of engineering excellence and racing continued their interrupted only by the Great War of 1914 – 1918. By 1939 what would become the all time lap record was set at 143.44 mph by John Cobb. A well known photo of John’s record breaking run show’s his 24 litre / 1461 cui Napier Railton, weighing several tons, flying along with all four wheels off the ground ! Such was the unevenness of the track. After the second world war racing failed to resume as industrial and residential pressures on the previously rural circuit took it’s toll on the circuits fabric.

Sunbeam, WB Sat Here, Brooklands

Enthusiasts gathered on Saturday to pay tribute to William ‘Bill’ Boddy MBE who in a career spanning 81 years served as editor of the publication Motor Sport from 1936 – to 1991. He famously kept the magazine going through out WW2 during his spare time while working for the Ministry of Aircraft Production.

Sunbeam Super Sports, Brooklands

Bill passed away in July and this Saturdays gathering included many of the actual cars, like this 1926 Sunbeam 3 Litre Super Sports, with which Bill had been associated during a career that played a significant part in firing this writers imagination during his miss spent youth. Owner of the Sunbeam Oliver Heal tells me WB was a passenger in this car one cold wet November day while being chaufferred by John Wyer, future team manager at Aston Martin, Ford and of his own Gulf Sponsored JWA teams that successfully ran Ford, Porsche and Mirage chassis in sports car races.

Berliet V8, Brooklands

In 1930 Bills first article published in Motor Sport was on the history Brooklands, the above 1907 Berliet V8 seen on The Hill is contemporaneous with the year the track opened 20 years before Bill made his first visit to Brooklands.

Gwynne 8, Brooklands

One of my favourite irregular features in Motor Sport is Bills ‘Forgotten Makes’ series into which category I would have to include this 1926 Gwynne 8 of which WB, as Bill was known to his readers, owned 3 using one as his transport through out WW2.

Tony Brooks, Brooklands

The ‘racing dentist’ Tony Brooks is seen above on the left retelling his memories of WB when his career was in the ascendant scoring the first Grand Prix win, since 1923, by an Englishman driving a British built car, the Connaught, at Syracuse in 1955.

E-Type Jaguar, Brooklands

While working at the Ministry of Aircraft Production WB met conscientious objector Denis ‘DSJ’ Jenkinson who was building a motorcycle by torch light in a shed during WW2. WB would eventually employ DSJ, who was so obsessed with racing that when he settled down he eschewed both mains electricity and mains water, to become Continental Correspondent at Motor Sport. Among many cars that DSJ enjoyed was the red E-Type Jaguar above in which he drove 110,000 miles between 1965 and 1970 visiting all the top races and the best circuits in Europe during that time.

Volkswagen Beetle, Brooklands

This 1947 Volkswagen was road tested by WB in 1952, he was so impressed VW’s that he used them for editorial transportation. This particular vehicle is possibly also responsible for coining the ‘Beetle’ name for the model, VW importer and owner of this car John Colborne-Barber founded the VW Owners Club of Great Britain and published a magazine called ‘Beetling’ because contemporaries of his sons at school referred to this very car as a ‘Beetle’.

Napier Railton, Brooklands

Finally perhaps the greatest thrill of the WB tribute day was to see a few of the cars, including Cobb’s Napier-Railton, that made history at Brooklands being demonstrated out on part of what the remains of the famous 100 ft wide Brooklands banking. Sure they were only tootling about having fun, but the noise was absolutely unforgettable and sure to have been heard by the spirit of WB where ever it resides. A fitting tribute to the man who was involved in saving much of what remains at Brooklands for us to enjoy well into the future.

Thanks for joining me on this Bill Boddy edition of ‘Gettin’ a little psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Exploring The Limits Of Handling and Performance – Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept Car (Replica)

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept Car (Replica)

The 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray concept car was based on the tubular steel chassis 1957 Corvette SS racing car that was abandoned after the 1957 Sebring 12 hours as a result of an agreement between members of the Automobile Manufacturers Association (AMA) not to build factory developed racing cars.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept Car (Replica)

Vice President of GM Styling William (Bill) L Mitchell is credited with designing and building the Stingray Concept Car featuring a fibreglass body which weighed in at 2,200 lbs around 1,000 lbs lighter than a contemporary production Corvette.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept Car (Replica)

The one off concept was entered by Bill in numerous races from at least April 1959 to at least October 1960 mostly for Dick Thompson and a couple of races for John Fitch, by early 1960 Dick had clocked up several class BM wins.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept Car (Replica)

Powered originally by a fuel injected 4.6 litre / 283 cui which was good for 315 hp at 6,200 rpm the car was used as a test bed for a four speed manual transmission once it’s racing days were over. Today the car which resides General Motors Design Center has a 375 hp 5.5 litre / 327 cui motor fitted.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept Car (Replica)

Styling of the Stingray Concept Car heavily influenced the styling of 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray production car. The strong line around the mid rift would become a feature on many vehicles of the 1960’s the Chevrolet Corvair, Alfa Romeo GTV 2000, almost the entire 1960’s BMW range, the Hillman Imp / Singer Chamoise and NSU Prinz to name but a few.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept Car (Replica)

This particular replica which I have seen at Silverstone many times over the years appears to be based on a 1977 Chevrolet (Corvette ?) chassis and is powered by a 5.4 litre 283 cui engine.

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


When Colleen’s away …. – Allard J2 – 1513

Today’s story begins in the sun fried podunk called Bell on the west side of an arid ditch called Los Angeles River in California, where ‘Okie’ George Wright drifted in 1919 and started a wrecking business that transformed over time to become the world first speed shop called Bells Auto Parts for competitors running Model T’s.

Just before the second world war a lanky redheaded kid called Roy Richter from Maywood California, a perfectionist with a genius for pattern making and fabrication started building a reputation at Cragar, a company owned by George White , manufacturing Leo Goosen designed cylinder heads and at Bell Auto Parts where Roy built his first Saxon midget, then raced it successfully.

Roy moved to Detroit where he continued to manufacture dirt track cars, but in 1938 after a racing tour of New Zealand, Roy settled again in California where he built an extremely successful Offenhauser powered midget for Sam Hanks, the eventual 1957 Indy 500 winner aboard the Belond Exhaust Special.

During the war Roy worked in the aircraft industry and his former employer George Wright of Bell Auto Parts passed away, Roy took the opportunity to lease Bell Auto Parts, raising the money by selling his Model T.

After the war a huge demand for racing equipment was unlocked as hundreds of thousands former forces personnel who had built up an enthusiasm for all things mechanical during the war now had the time and disposable income to explore their curiosity to go faster and further.

Allard J2

(Photo Courtesy Bernard Dervieux)

Bell Auto Parts took full advantage of it’s position as a distributor of performance parts and diversified with a mail order catalogue. Roy with an eclectic taste in vehicles midgets, desert streamliners and sports cars became the California distributor for Allard cars and imported this vehicle the 3rd J2 built and the 8th ever imported to the USA.

Allard J2

(Photo Courtesy Bernard Dervieux)

Allard J2 1513 was shipped to the USA without a motor, as was customary, and Roy installed a Cadillac 331 cui V8.

Allard J2

(Photo Courtesy Bernard Dervieux)

On one occasion when Roy’s wife Colleen was away he took his #1 Allard J2 down to the US Navy airship base at Santa Ana and entered a race with amongst others a couple of XK120’s driven by Phil Hill (#18), and Jack McAfee (last row), Tom Frisbey (#3) Allard K2, Basil Panzer (#2) Allard J2, and Sterling Edwards (#10) Edwards R26.

Roy won the race and when his wife came home he is said to have confessed all and promised never to race again.

In 1953 Richter diversified his interests into the manufacture of safety helmets hoping to capture the market occupied by English Cromwell leather head gear which he distributed. The success of the Bell 500 was followed by the first helmet to meet Snell standards the Bell 500 TX helmet in 1957.

Roy followed the diversification into safety equipment with a response to the ‘strength and style deficiency’ in after market performance wheel market sold under the Crager brand name he had acquired from the White estate.

Allard J2

(Photo Courtesy Bernard Dervieux)

In 1954 William ‘Bill’ Leach acquired Roy’s J2, now painted white, from a third party, Bill raced the car without much success and sold it in 1956 to pursue his interest in horse racing.

Allard J2

(Photo Colin Warnes)

Bernard Dervieux, acquired Roy Richter’s J2 1513 in 2000,

Allard J2

(Photo Colin Warnes)

it is still fitted with its Cadillac motor

Allard J2

(Photo Colin Warnes)

powerful enough to provide plenty of excitement 60 years after it’s debut win.

Allard J2, Desert Classic C d'E

(Photo Geoffrey Horton)

Earlier this year the #1 J2 -1513 was seen at the Dessert Classic, apart from its non period yet apt Cragar wheels,

Allard J2, Desert Classic C d'E

(Photo Geoffrey Horton)

the car is in original immaculate shape,

Allard J2, Desert Classic C d'E

(Photo Geoffrey Horton)

a fitting testament to the extraordinary figure who first owned her Roy Richter.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton, who initiated today’s blog, Colin Warnes, of The Allard Register, and Bernard Dervieux, the owner, for sharing their photos.

Further thanks to Frank, Woody and David at The Nostalgia Forum, to Mr Holland at The Cadillac Forum and Brock Yates of Car & Driver for background information.

Hope you have enjoyed this ‘Roy will play’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for a trip to the Atwell Wilson Museum. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Ugly Duckling – Jaguar S-Type

Amongst two classic vehicles I recently found in the car park of the Morgan Motor Company was this beautiful Jaguar S-Type that in silver epitomises Sir William Lyons maxim “grace pace and space”, though it was considered the ugly duckling of its two contemporary 4 door siblings the smaller MKII and larger MK X.

The S-Type was a reworking of the Jaguar MKII / Daimler V8 250 shell and ended up looking like a half way house between the MK11 and MK X indeed when I first saw this car from the back I thought it was a MK X.

This particular vehicle is powered by a 210 hp twin carb 3442 cc / 210 cui cast iron bloc 6 cylinder motor which was significantly less popular than the 3.8 litre variant. The 3.4 was capable of reaching 60 mph from stationary in 13.9 secs and had a top speed of 115 mph figures that were down on the lighter 3.4 litre MK II.

However where the S-Type excelled was in its superior traction ride and cornering capability thanks to an independent rear suspension whose origins can be traced back through the MK10 Jaguar to the E-Type and it’s D-type prototypes E1A and E2A.

Back in the day companies that excelled in exporting products were given a Queens Award for Export in recognition of their contribution to minimising the UK’s balance of payment deficit with the rest of the world.

Production of the S-Type commenced in 1963 and continued until 1968 with 9,928 examples of the 3.4 litre being built compared to 15,065 of the 3.8 litre variant. This vehicle appears to be one of the last 909 3.4 litre vehicles built in 1968. Mr Crouch a Jaguar Body Engineer allegedly reported “that everyone (at Browns Lane) was glad to see the end of the S” a sentiment I find difficult to agree with 42 years later.

Thanks to Phillip Whiteman over at The Nostalgia Forum for bringing the role of E2A to my attention.

Slightly off topic, 20 years after Dale Earnhadt pulled off one of the most spectacular finishes in history by making up 16 places to take his final win, Talladega produced another thriller yesterday, an absolute heart stopper for fellow Kevin Harvick fans I am sure with over eighty lead changes amongst 20 odd drivers.

I was most despondent when Kevin T-boned someone with around a third of the race left to run, yet somehow the Happy pit crew kept Kevin on the lead lap after patching his car up with copious quantities of tank tape and Kevin crossed the finish line first with one lap to go (white flag lap) however the big one occurred as Kevin being pushed by David Reutimann on the outside of Turn One fell slightly behind team mate Clint Bowyer who was himself being pushed by pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya.

Though AJ Almendinger ended up on his roof it was noticeable that none of the vehicles at Talladega went airborne in the same way as last year which might be attributable to the switch from the rear wing to the rear gurney flap earlier this year. Fortunately it would appear no one was hurt either and after agonising minuets off decision making Bowyer was declared the winner.

Harvick has closed the points deficit to 38 on Johnson who got shuffled down the pack on the last restart to an eventual 7th and sits just 14 points ahead of Dangerous Denny Hamlin who had a torrid race going a lap down but thanks to a lucky dog still salvaged a ninth place finish by the end. They don’t call this race the Alabahma Lottery for nothing.

Next week NASCAR moves to Texas where Denny Hamlin won last time out and he Happy and Johnson will have it all to play for, my only prediction is that Johnson will be staying well away from the #77 of Sam Hornish Jr.

Thanks for stopping by wishing everyone a momentous Monday, don’t forget to come back now !


On the Origins of Brands – Riley & Wolseley

Today I am looking at two storied brands Riley & Wolseley born out of industrial diversification which were woven into that DNA of the nationalised merger British Motor Corporation in 1952.

From 1961 – 1969 they marketed top end 3 box versions, featuring wood veneer dashboards, of the Mini known as the Elf and Hornet respectively.

In 1896 William Riley jr purchased the Bonnick Cycle Company of Coventry which was born out of the cycling craze that swept England in 1890 and renamed it Riley Cycle Company.

Williams son Percy secretly built his first car, featuring an engine with the the worlds first mechanically operated inlet valve, in 1898 aged just 16.

Percy who also patented the detachable wheel went into business with his brothers forming the Riley Engine Company in 1903 supplying motorcycle engines and in 1905 they built their first car.

During restructuring in 1918 Riley car manufacture was transferred to Riley Motor Manufacturing which went into receivership in 1938 and was absorbed into the Nuffield Organisation along with Morris and MG, which in 1952 would merge with Herbert Austin’s companies into the nationalised BMC.

By 1947 Riley had ceased manufacturing it’s own designs and became a top end brand for shared designs in the Nuffield and later BMC organisations.

The Riley brand is easily identified by its blue diamond badge originally designed by Harry Rush with the strap line ‘As old as the industry, as modern as the hour’, was discontinued in 1969 and currently belongs to BMW.

Between 1961 and 1969 30,912 Riley Elfs were built.

In 1896 Herbert Austin working for the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company made a copy of a Leon Bollee vehicle that he had seen in Paris. By 1899 he had built a Voiturette that went into production in 1901 with Herbert Austin in charge of the Wolseley car division that had by now been spun off as an independent concern.

In 1905 Herbert Austin left to set up his own Austin Motor Company.

After several mergers and changes of ownership the Wolseley Motor Company came into existence in 1914 in the hands of Armstrong Siddeley. At this time operations were started in Toronto and Montreal which became British and American Motors after WW1.

In 1918 Wolseley started a joint venture with Ishikawajiama Ship Building and Engineering for the production of Wolseley models under license, in 1947 this venture became Isuzu.

In 1927 William Morris (Lord Nuffield) purchased Wolseley outbidding his rival Herbert Austin and General Motors using his own money.

Woseley became another top end brand for shared designs after WW2 and would become part of the merged BMC a combination of the assets of William Morris and Herbert Austin who between them had been responsible for the rise of much of the British motor industry.

The brand disappeared in 1975 the last model being a wedge shape forerunner of the Austin Princess which was in production for just 7 months.

Today the brand is owned by Nanjing Automobile Group along with the assets of the MG Rover Group. The Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company is today known as Wolseley plc.

28,455 Wolseley Hornets pictured above were built between 1961 and 1969.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s post, don’t forget to come back now !