Sunday, 31 October 2010

The end of the Edward Turners hemi head V8 - Daimler V8 250

The British Daimler Motor Company was the brainchild of Frederick Simms who bought the UK patent rights to Gottlieb Daimlers engines in 1891. Under the ownership of Harry Lawson the company produced the first Daimler with a Panhard engine and then went on to produce Daimler powered machines in 1897 becoming Britain's second company to serially produce motorcars after Humber.

From 1898 Daimler supplied official transportation for the Royal Household until 1950 when an recalcitrant transmission led the Royal Family to chose Rolls Royce as it's transport of choice. From 1910 to 1960 Daimler was owned by by the Birmingham Small Arms Company leading Daimler into various military markets alongside it's treasured roll as preferred purveyor of motorised transport to the Royal Family.

In 1960 Daimler was sold to Jaguar who needed additional production facilities for it's growing marque. The Daimler V8 250 was the second series based on the MK II Jaguar powered by Daimlers hemi head V8 engine it was 50 kg lighter and more compact than the competition bred six cylinder Jaguar XK engines. The V8 250 was in production from 1967 - 1969 the vehicle in the photo appears to be a 1969 model and as such represents the end of the line of hemi head Daimler V8 production. From that point on all Daimlers were badge engineered Jaguars.

Wishing Racer 187 a Happy Birthday and plenty of Chief 187's toasted pumpkin seeds.

Slightly off topic congrats to Kyle Busch on his thrilling Talladega truck victory, glad Ron Hornaday was walked away from his wrecked KHI truck. Condolences to friends and family of Jim Hunter NASCAR's snr vice president of corporate communications.

Here is hoping Kevin 'Happy' Harvick finally gets one over Dangerous Denny Hamlin and goody two shoes Jimmy Johnson in a good clean race at one of my all time favourite tracks.

Thanks for popping by, don't forget to come back now !

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Halloween Special - Fafnir Machtigen Werke Special

To put you into the mood for the weekends festivities here is Oliver Way driving BR Thompsons Fafnir Machtigen Werke Special with a non automobile 10 litre / 610 CUI engine seen here at Loton Park.

The car does does always appear with the scary radiator cover, as can be seen here at Prescott.

Fafnirs in production from 1908 - 1927 had in line 4 cylinder engines no bigger than 3990 cc 243 cui.
I am wondering if anyone knows where the huge engine came from, or what type of circa 1918 chassis, with only rear wheel brakes this is?

Thanking you in anticipation of your responses.

Thanks for dropping by, wishing everyone a scary Halloween weekend, don't forget to come back now !

Friday, 29 October 2010

Micro Car Massive Performance - Mini Marcos

This particular MK3 Mini Marcos is kit #7198

The Mini Marcos was designed by Desmond 'Dizzy' Addicott who might be familiar to film buffs as one of the B17 & B25 pilots used in the film Memphis Belle.

The Mini Marcos was born out of the design for Dizzies DART a modified Morris Mini van acquired for £5.00 with a caved in roof. This car was converted in to the Dart with a fibreglass body. All older Mini Marcos cars are slightly asymmetrical at the rear as a result of the original DART chassis twisting when the roof was cut off.

This particular MK 3 Mini Marcos is kit # 7232.

The DART project was taken over by Jem Marsh of Marcos cars who used the DART to make body moulds for and sold finished fibre glass bodies as kit cars from 1965 - 1970 and again from 1991 - 1996.

The DART also gave rise to the Mini Jem sold by Jeremy Delmar-Morgan which in turn gave rise to the Kingfisher Sprint.

Perhaps the most remarkable story about the Marcos is its brief international competition history at Le Mans where in 1966 Claude Ballot-Lena and Jean Louis Marnat were classified last in 15th place, the car was stolen soon after the race.

The following year the Chris Lawrence / Jem Marsh Mini Marcos was timed at an astonishing 146 mph on the Mulsanne Straight, but did not finish .

Steve Roberts in his Trans XL Mini Marcos set four British Land Speed records at 1 mile, half mile, kilometre and 500 meters for cars up to 1600cc which still stand today.

Wishing everyone a fabulous Friday, don't forget to come back now !

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Adding Lightness 50 years on - Caterham 7 Superlight

The Caterham 7 Superlight comes in two sizes regular S3 as the original Lotus 7 and the SV which is 4.3" wider to accomodate those of us who were not born with jockey size hips.

Colin Chapman's guiding principle when conceiving his vehicles including the Lotus 7 of which the Caterham 7 is the direct descendent was to add lightness, which in his day meant extensive use of aluminium and on the Superlight shown here means extensive use of carbon fibre including the mudguards and dashboard.

Engine options for the Superlight are 150 hp Ford Sigma, 210 hp or 263 hp Ford Cosworth Duratec. The latter option should be able to propel you from 0 - 60 in 2.88 seconds and if your head is still attached to the rest of your body on to 150 mph.

I'd like to finish by wishing my fellow 'The Prisoner' fan and 'Rowdy' buddy from Brevard, North Carolina, Steve Arnaudin a very Happy Birthday.

Thanks for dropping by, don't forget to come back now ! BSY !

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Spirit that never breaks down - Rolls Royce Silver Spirit.

The radiator grill design and tragic Spirit of Ecstasy mascot makes Rolls Royce one of the few instantly recognisable brands no matter what age or model. The mascot on this model instantly retracts if dislodged allegedly preventing injury to pedestrians and making the item much harder to collect by even the most determined fans of the Beasty Boys.

The Silver Spirit was a development of the Silver Shadow with a new body and suspension that brought RR into the 1980's.

Sufficiently powered by a 6750cc / 411 cui V8 the Silver Spirit and slightly longer Silver Spur no longer featured the Citroen licensed self levelling suspension of the Silver Shadow but one using a Girling automatic hydraulic ride height control system riding on gas charged shock absorbers.

The Registration of this vehicle suggests that this might be a 1984 model but the alloy wheels to my not so well trained eye look to be of a more recent vintage. The Silver Spirit/Spur series is the twin of the Bentley Mulsanne / Eight series.

The Silver Spirit is the only Rolls Royce model that has ever come in to my hands, albeit briefly in my capacity as quality controller at a Volvo Garage, it certainly is an impressive machine to be seen driven around in, the ride quality is superb but the feel of the car with its spindly steering wheel and column shift left me feeling I was driving a very well appointed 1972 Volvo 144.

It should always be remembered that a Rolls Royce never 'breaks down', but if not looked after properly it might 'fail to proceed'.

Erratum: in response to a question about the Citroen SM suspension on October 20th I stated that 'Rolls Royce / Bentley took out licenses to use similar (Citroen hydropneumatic self levelling) systems on the Silver Shadow/T, Silver Spur/Mulsanne' in fact as I have written above the Silver Spirit/Spur have a Girling self levelling systems. Apologies for any confusion that arose.

Hope you have enjoyed your stay, don't forget to come back now !

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Bristol's big seller - Bristol 401

28 10 10 Erratum this blog was originally posted with pics I thought were of a Bristol 401 in good faith, however it has transpired thanks to Sinclairstinton & Geoffrey Hawkins at BOCForum@yahoogroups that the car pictured was in fact a Bristol 403.

Since the information posted on the 401 has proved useful and interesting to at least one Bristol owner I have decided to remove the original pictures from the text and write a new blog to cover the Bristol 403, and post new photo's of 401's kindly sourced from the archive of Teb Marius and taken by John Lomas. The original text remains with additions in italic :-

Source Teb Marius

Continuing the 100th anniversary of the Bristol aeroplane company todays vehicle is the Bristol 401, which took its styling direction from a prototype by Carrozzeria Touring in 1948. The big external change from the Bristol 400 was the addition of large side lights in the front wing and hidden door handles.

Source Teb Marius

Internally the BMW based 6 cylinder engine was upgraded from 80 to 85 hp with the use of improved carburettors.

Source Teb Marius

The 401 had a very low drag coefficient of the order of 0.36 comparable to many modern vehicles, which helped the vehicle reach 97.3 mph. Between 1948 and 1953 611 of these vehicles were built making it Bristol's all time best seller !

The model was so popular that in 1955 Mr. and Mrs. Glasby in a Bristol 401 with a total of 1497 points won class B of the second Ndola Rally in Northern Rhodesia now known as Zambia.

Note: Teb did offer some photos of 401's in concours condition however I am a huge fan of original patina and will always show vehicles on this blog with original patina over re sprayed vehicles where I have the choice.


Posted with kind permission of the copyright owner John Lomas.

As can be seen from the fabulous photo above the 401 (green closest to the camera) and 403 are almost indistinguishable if like me your not an expert, the 403 has a small chrome numeral badge to the rear of the bonnet, the bumper grill is chromed on the 403, there is a chrome numeral badge on the boot of the 403 and the roundel on the 403 Bristol badges are dark red as opposed to the orange on the 401.

Apologies for any confusion arising from my original post thanks to everyone who helped correct the error.

Thanks for popping by, wishing everyone a thriving Tuesday, don't forget to come back now !

Monday, 25 October 2010

Much in common with the NASCAR COT - AC Ace

Much in common with the NASCAR COT - AC Ace

The AC Ace was originally designed by John Tojeiro who produced a Weller engined Toj and in 1953 sold the design to AC.

AC first put straight six Cylinder Bristol engines into their Ace and later Ford Zephyr Straight 6's before Carroll Shelby introduced Ford 289 - 427 V8's and branded them Cobra's in 1962.

The car features a ladder chassis and space frame around which the body in manufactured, the body like the body on the NASCAR COT is shaped using an English wheeling machine.

As has been noted in an earlier post there is a remarkable resemblance between the AC Ace and the 1948 Williams and Pritchard Fraser Nash BMW 315/1.

Off topic Congrats to Kevin Harvick on finishing ahead of Jimmy Johnson at Martinsville yesterday, 62 points is a far from insurmountable advantage with four races to go :-)

Wishing everyone a happy Monday, don't forget to come back now !

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Born out of an Austin Maxi - AC 3000 ME

Born out of an Austin Maxi - AC 3000 ME

Stumbled across this lovely little AC 3000 ME at Silverstone many, many moons ago.

Auto Carriers (AC) can trace it's roots back 1903, but is probably best known to my generation for two cars that it did not design, namely the AC Ace a design which started life as a Weller engined Tojero and was purchased by AC before eventually morphing into the brutal AC Cobra.

Similarly the AC 3000 ME started out as an Austin Maxi, I'll repeat that for the more incredulous reader Austin Maxi (!) powered special built by Peter Bohanna and Robin Stables which after AC took it over became a Ford, top of the UK range, 3 litre / 183cui Essex V6 powered vehicle.

AC made just 71 of these vehicles starting in 1979 until production was halted at the Thames Ditton works in 1984. A further 30 3000 ME's were produced under license by AC (Scotland) including a unique Alfa Romeo V6 prototype. One for collectors to look out for one would imagine.

No AC's of any kind were built between 1985 and 1996.

Wishing you all a relaxing Sunday and hoping Kevin Harvick can put one over the #48 and #11 at Matinsville tonight. Hope springs eternal for this 'Happy' fan :-)

Don't forget to come back now !

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Ultimate Laxative - Napier Bentley

This year marked the first time I have witnessed a hill climb event in fact I liked it so much the first time I went to two the first at Prescott and the second at Loton Park. Both were VSCC run meetings and highly entertaining despite the fact that no over taking is guaranteed.

The reason I enjoy these events is because of the breath taking variety of vehicles many by manufacturers long since disappeared and probably most models are completely unknown to me. Falling into the category vehicles unknown to me is this beautiful Napier Bentley driven by Christopher Williams which races in the Pre 1941 Racing Cars over 3000cc 183 cui class.

The car easily qualifies for the big engined class as it is powered by a Napier Lion Marine engine rescued from a WW2 Motor Torpedo boat. The 550hp engine is a 24,000 cc / 1464.5 cui, Arrow 12 with 3 banks of 4 cylinders that was originally developed in 1917 for aircraft applications being used in over 160 different aircraft types, the engine was also used to power Sir Malcom Cambell to over 250 mph in 1932, and John Cobb to 394 mph in 1947.

This car was originally built by David Llewellyn in 1968 with a Sunbeam chassis but after an accident the Sunbeam chassis was replaced by a 1929 chassis from an 8 litre Bentley. Chris Williams , see the man in the bowler hat, has been looking after it since 1999.

It would appear a sense of humour is essential to drive such a fearsome beast...

....easily capable of spinning its wheels in any gear.

Just noticed that Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres has somehow made it through it's first month and has just had it's 1,000 th page view ! Thanks to everyone who has popped by and especially all those who have contributed to making this so much fun, looking forward to tomorrow's instalment of Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres already, don't forget to come back now !

Friday, 22 October 2010

A Spider for the sqeamish ! - Fiat 124 Spider

Way back in the Dark Ages I learned to drive in a Fiat 124 Special T, the car I'd rather have been driving is the shorter wheelbase 124 Spider.

With body work designed by Pininfarina the Spider was introduced in 1966 and production continued until 1985.

This particular model was sold as the 2000 Spider between 1979 and 1982 before production moved from Fiat to Pininfarina for three final years.

Thanks to everyone who has joined me this week, wishing you all a fabulous weekend, don't Forget to come back now !

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Nothing can extinguish the Olympic Flame - Rochdale Olympic Phase I

This comes under the category of cars I had not heard of before I took the picture.

Rochdale Motor Panels and Engineering were beased in Rochdale, Greater Manchester between 1948 and 1973, best known for making fibre glass bodied kit cars .

In 1959 they designed the glass fibre monocoque for the Olympic the only other such monocoque at the time was the Lotus Elite. After a factory fire the car went into production in 1960.

The Olympic was designed by Richard Parker to take a variety of engines including the twin cam 1.5 litre 91.5 cui Riley, Morris Minor, MGA and Ford 109E, unusually for kit cars of the time it featured wind down door windows.

With the Riley engine the car was capable of 0-60 mph in 11.9 secs and could reach 102 mph.

It is estimated that 250 of these vehicles were built of which 100 survive.

Remarkably the Olympic flame is still kept alive by a group of enthusiasts who own the original moulds making it technically possible to build a new Rochdale Olympic.

Hope you enjoyed this Mancunian edition of Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres, don't ferget to come back now !

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Sa Majesté conduit par technologie ! - Citroen SM

If ever there was an automobile manufacturer that highlighted how conservative the automobile industry is, it would be Citroen, who during their years of ownership by Michelin really pushed the envelope with some out of the box thinking in terms of approach, technical innovation and design to their automotive solutions.

Top of the list of Citroens innovative vehicles I would put the UFO like Citroen SM launched in 1970. This GT car was born in part out of Citroens ownership of the Maserati brand. Note the inner pair of headlights turned with the steering wheel to help drivers see around corners, an innovation carried over from the Citroen DS.

Powered by a 178hp 2.7 litre / 164.7 cui (US 180 hp 3 litre / 183 cui) 90 degree V6 as used in the Maserati Merak, the SM was the most powerful front wheel drive vehicle of its time. The car featured not only self levelling suspension capable of running on just three wheels but also innovative variable assist power steering with just one turn from lock to lock, that was also self centering.

Just as the DS became known as 'La déesse' - 'The Goddess' the SM became known as 'Sa Majesté' - 'Her Majesty', though the S probably stems from 'Project S' which started the SM ball rolling and M unsurprisingly probably comes from Maserati.

Styling by Robert Opron reflected his American influenced tastes including these stainless steel fins in the rear bumper design.

The SM had an exceptionally low drag co efficient of 0.26, does anyone remember the fuss Audi made in 1982 when their C3 100, 200, 5000 series came out with a drag co efficient of 0.30 ?

Amazingly when Citroen decided to prove the SM's prowess in motor sport they chose to debut the car not on the race track but on the hard core African 1971 Rallye du Maroc which it promptly won. Later a 'bread van' version was also used in rally events.

In 1987 Jerry Hathaway turbocharged an SM and his wife Sylvia took a production class land speed record at 202 mph at Bonneville that still stands. Jerry also built a cool matching SM tow truck and trailer rig on which to transport the LSR SM.

Hope you enjoyed today's edition of Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres, don't forget to come back now !

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Superleggera ! A Q car to leave Mr Bond eating dust - Aston Martin DB4 GT

Anybody who thinks of them selves as any kind of a car enthusiast will have to admit a visit to a VSCC meeting at Prescott is worth it just to see the mouth watering vehicles in the car park.

The vehicle above is a case in point. When I first saw it I thought it was a DB5 or DB6 those faired in lights were a bit of a give away... but boy was I ever wrong ! The clue as to the identity of this vehicle is the 'egg box grill' which predates the horizontal bars of the grill of a DB5 or DB6, making this model a DB4 of series 3 or earlier.

The red and white badge in the centre of the grill indicates that the owner is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

The car bears the legendary Superleggera badge on the side of the bonnet indicating it is built using the light weight tubeframe duraluminium construction pioneered and licensed by Carrozeria Touring of Milan.

At 5 inches shorter than the 1110 regular DB4's this car is one of only 75 DB4 GT's sharing the same short wheel base chassis as the 20 original DB4 GT Zagato's (plus 4 Sanction II's and 2 Sanction III's). The DB4 GT also has thinner body panels than the standard DB4 and an upgraded 302 hp 3750 cc / 228 cui in line 6 cylinder engine distinguishable by a twin spark plug head. It was capable of 153 mph (8 miles and hour faster than Mr Bonds DB5) and 0 - 60 in just 6.1 secs, not bad for 1959 !

The final give away that this model is a DB4 GT are the clearly visible bulky racing fuel filler caps. If like me you like your performance vehicles to be slightly understated, relative to say the DB4 GT Zagato then you'll absolutely love this car.

Thanks for dropping by, don't forget to come back now !

Monday, 18 October 2010

The #3 From 1/32nd scale to 1:1 - Scalectrix Mini.

There used to be a joke that the first thing a man would do on the announcement that his partner had given birth to a boy he would go out and buy a Scalectrix set. And indeed I remember buying one for a friend as his wedding gift, prophetically his wife gave birth to three sons, triplets !

Photo Neil Munn -

Scalectrix is Britain's premier entry brand into the world of 1:32 scale slot car racing. Launched in 1957 Scalectrix has produced many sets based on various layout's with two little Mini's to race.

The 1970's #3 1275 GT Mini shown here, picture courtesy of Nei Munn, is a fictionalised racer based loosely on the 1960's Britax Mini Cooper .

It was perhaps no surprise to see a full size replica of the #3 Scalectrix Mini at the Mini Festival recently. The 1275 GT replaced the Mini Cooper completely in in 1971. The hideously restyled, by Roy Haynes, boxy front end was based on the Austin Maxi and was safer but comically less efficient aerodynamically than it's predecessor. For all it's faults the restyled Mini did achieve success in racing Richard Longman becoming two time British Touring Car Campion in 1978/79 in his 1275 GT and still has its fans today.

Thanks for coming by, don't forget to come back now !

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Take a bow Dave Randall - Ginetta G4

A couple of months ago I was visiting my folks up near London, went for a walk and and stumbled into this wonderful 1966 Ginetta G4 belonging to Dave Randall.

He told me his car is fitted with a Ford 1500 cc 91 cui engine and that he races it in the HSCC Historic Road Sports Series. It turns out the next day Dave went to Mallory and scored a perfect Q1, F1, C1 and fastest lap !
Not bad racing against more powerful Morgan's and Triumphs.

Research has revealed that Dave won the 2010 HSCC Historic Road Sports Series Championship with one round to go. Congratulations Dave !

Wishing everyone a sunny day, don't forget to come back now !

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Perfect car for a wedding #2 Humber Super Snipe MK IV

This is a magnificent Humber Super Snipe MK IV from my collection of Wedding vehicles.

Powered by a 113 hp 4138cc / 252 cui overhead valve straight 6 this vehicle is capable of 91 mph with an average fuel consuption of a wallet burning 15.5 miles per (imperial) gallon.

Production of 17,993 examples of this model commenced in 1952 and ceased in 1958. The car is by UK standards an enormous measuring 197" by 71".

Wishing all the best to every one getting married today, don't forget to come back now !