Thursday, 31 March 2011

Original Lightweight - Jaguar Lightweight E - Type 9/12

In 1962 Jaguar built a Low Drag Coupé E-type, with a steel inner tub but aluminium outer pannels, that was more in the spirit of the D-Type from which the E-Type styling and design had evolved. The car was not any more competitive than it's all steel namesake despite it's higher performance and the prototype was sold.

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From 1963 - 1964 12 Lightweight E- Types were built that evolved from the Low Drag Coupé, again making extensive use of aluminium body panels and other components.

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The standard 265 hp iron block straight six engines were upgraded to 300hp aluminium block XK6 specs fitted with fuel injection.

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The cars failed to emulate the international success of earlier 'C' and 'D' types at Le Mans or Sebring but they were moderately successful in club racing.

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Of the 12 Lightweights built and two additional bodies it is thought 'at least one' was a Coupé some of the open top cars were converted to Low Drag Coupes with even more powerful 340 hp motors.

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The vehicle featured in these photographs was the 9th of the 12 originals and carries the chassis number 850666.

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The car was purchased and raced by Peter Sutcliffe from 1963 to 1965.

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This was the most successful Lightweight E-type in the 1964 season scoring victories at Mallory Park, Zolder and Montlhery out side Paris, France.

Hope you have enjoyed another Lightweight edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres', and that you'll join me again, for Ferrari Friday, tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Out of Africa - Noble M12 GTO 3

After his involvement with replica Ferrari P4's, Lotus 23's and original Ultima and Ascari cars Lee Noble founded Noble Automotive in 1999 to build relatively affordable but really fast cars.

He kept the prices of his light weight space framed chassis vehicles down by using the Hi Tech Automotive manufacturing facilities in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to assemble the basic chassis and body and then shipping them to England for drive train installation and testing.

The M12, originally planned in Coupé and Convertible forms, was in production from 2000 to 2008, only one M12 Convertible, a prototype was ever produced.

All M12's are powered by twin turbo Ford V6 Duratech engines this GTO 3 model is a 3 litre / 185 CUI 365 hp variant the top end M400 left the factory with 425hp.

The Nobel M12 production rights were sold to 1G Racing who manufacture & market their M12 as the Rossion Q1. Salica Cars also manufacture M12 derived vehicles known as the Salica GT, 550hp Salica GTR and Salica GTC convertible.

In 2006 Lee Noble sold Noble Automotive and resigned from the company in 2008, setting up Fenix Automotive in the Meridian Business Park in Leicester, a V8 powered <a href=";updated-max=2012-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&amp;max-results=2">Fenix GT</a>, again using the Hi Tech manufacturing facilities is expected to be launched on the market this year.

My thanks to the <a href="">Pistonhead</a> who brought this vehicle along to the <a href="">Sunday Service</a> at the BMW plant back in January.

I hope you have enjoyed today's Twin Turbo Duratech edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

English Corvette - TR7 V8

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The prototype V8 powered Triumph TR7 variant was produced as early as 1972. The performance of the model led to these vehicles being dubbed English Corvettes in some circles.

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The Triumph TR8 Coupe was in production from 1978 to 1980 the TR8 Drophead was designed by Michelotti and introduced in 1980 continuing in production until 1982.

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As a result of poor labour relations and the inherent industrial action it is thought that only 400 TR8 Coupes were built along with an estimated 2400 Dropheads, the majority of which were sold in the United States and Canada.

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In other countries outside North America some TR7 owners upgraded their cars with variations of the all alloy Buick / Rover 3528cc / 215 cui V8. From the best records available to me this appears to be one such upgraded car.

My thanks to the Pistonhead who brought this TR7 V8 along to the Sunday Service at the BMW plant back in January.

Slightly off topic, why is it the only time 'my' driver 'Happy' Harvick wins a cup race I am too busy too catch it ?

Congratulations to Kevin, who is misquoted to give this blog it's name, and the #29 Richard Childress Team :-)

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

Monday, 28 March 2011

DIY with a Fiesta - Quantum 2 + 2

Mark and Harvey Wooldridge founded Quantum Sports Cars in 1987 to produce a Coupé kit car designed by Harvey to take Mk 1 Ford Fiesta running gear, 17 examples were built.

In 1991 Quantum introduced a saloon model with pop up headlights designed around Mk 2 Ford Fiesta running gear .

The 2+2 model seen here was also designed around Mk2 Ford Fiesta running gear and introduced in 1993. To date it is thought around 400 examples have been built, 2 + 2 kits built by Quantum Kit Cars Limited of Bristol are available from Quantum Heritage.

This particular Quantum stated life as a Mk 2 Fiesta with a 1600 cc / 97.6 cui motor in 1985/85 first registered in Shrewsbury. I am not sure when the car was given the Quantum body but it's driver informed me that it recently had a 2 litre / 122 cui engine installed as have many others of the type. Notice the smoked rear light clusteres which were sourced from the Ford Sapphire parts bin.

If you'd like to know more about the marque I'd recommend getting in touch with the extremely active Quantum Owners Club.

I hope you have enjoyed today's DIY edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don't for get to come back now !

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Variable Inlet Cam Phasing - Nissan Skyline GT R33


This 1996 Skyline GT R33 is a two wheel drive forth generation Skyline. The front bumper and spoiler on this one appears to be an after market item.


Power was delivered by an RB25DET 250 hp twin turbo 2490cc / 151 cui straight 6 engine which featured variable inlet cam phasing ( NVCS ). Many of these vehicles have been sent to engine specialists for radical tuning, racing versions of these engines have shown over 500 hp.


It is thought that 217,133 R33 Skylines were produced from 1993 - 1998 and sold in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and the UK, although officially imported many more are thought to have arrived in the UK as personal 'grey' imports.

Hope you have enjoyed today's NVCS edition of 'Getting a little Psycho on Tyres' and that you'll join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

Nailhead Power - Kurtis Buick 500X #3

Today's photograph by Carlyle Blackwell was purchased by Ed Arnaudin back in the 1950's.

Kurtis Buick 500X, San Diego, Carlyle Blackwell

Photo Carlyle Blackwell, Publised Courtesy Blackwell Archive, for sales enquiry's please e-mail and your contact details will be forwarded to the Blackwell Archive.

Bill Murphy's #96 Kurtis Buick 500X seen in this photo, probably at San Diego in July 1956 where Bill won two races, is thought to be the 3rd of 12 500X chassis designed by Kurtis - Kraft who were well known for building successful open wheelers for the Indianapolis 500.

With a 96" wheelbase the 4120 chrome moly tube chassis of this model featured 4 bar torsion suspension and was a variation of the KK500C Indianapolis car covered in a hand formed aluminium body secured with Dzus fasteners.

The Kurtis was powered by a 5276 cc / 322 cui nailhead Buick V8 which is said to have produced between 300 (Bill Murphy) and 400 hp (Carol Shelby), this engine featured Hilbron fuel injection and was connected to a Jaguar 4 speed gearbox with the aid of Zidar adaptors.

The car was raced successfully by Bill Murphy from August 1955 to September 1957 during which time he scored 9 overall wins and 18 class wins. Murphy's employee from his Buick Dealership the Indy Car driver Sam Hanks was asked to shake the car down before races and then acted as engineer and crew chief for Bill during the races.

This car is said to have sat on Bill Murphy's lot until 1979 and resumed it's winning ways in 1980, since then this vehicle has appeared at Pebble Beach, Murphy never took risks on the track and the car is thought to have survived to the present day in original condition with no more than a fresh lick of paint.

Bill Murphy born in Alaska, was a successful UCLA dropout who built a huge car dealership empire which included Desoto-Plymouth and what from 1962 - 1965 was known as the worlds largest Buick dealership in Culver City.

Bill who was over 40 years old when he raced the Kurtis, which thought was capable of over reaching speeds 180 mph, business partner Shelby reckoned that Bills Kurtis was more powerful than any contemporary Ferrari or Maserati.

My thanks to Ed and Steve Arnaudin for forwarding Carlyle Blackwells photograph and to R Shelby and Coneptcarz for details about Bill and the 500X.

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

28 07 12 PS My thanks to Pamela Blackwell who has kindly retrospectively given me permission to post the photo's her father took.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Ferrari by David Bailey - Ferrari 550 Maranello GTS

Some of you who read my Rowdy blogs may remember a blog about the 2002 celebrity Prodrive Ferrari 550 Marranello GTS (03).

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That chassis took part in at least 42 Races in the GT/GTS class for at least four different teams from 2002 to 2006 and had a host of celebrity drivers including,

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Colin McRae World Rally Champion, British Touring Car Champions Rickard Rydell & Alain Menu, British, Luc Alphand former World Cup Skiing Champion and Dakar winner, David Brabham Japanese GT Champion and Le Mans winner 2009, Jan Magnussen Danish Touring Car Champion, Danica Patrick queen of IRL, Darren Manning IRL driver, Christophe Bouchut 1993 Le Mans Winner, and one of my former racing instructors Tim Sugden former British and Asia Pacific GT Champion.

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Prodrive prepared a batch of 20 550 Maranello GTS's for racing in Europe and the States where they were regular winners in the GT/GTS class in 2001.

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In 2003 today's #88 550 Maranello GTS Chassis ZFFZR49B000108462, the 6th of the 20 Prodrive built, was driven by Thomas Enge, Jamie Davies and Peter Kox,

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with around 750hp coming from it's V12 engine,

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beat the Corvettes by 10 laps at the Le Mans 24 hour race winning the GTS class coming home 10th overall.

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This vehicle entered exclusively by the Prodrive team is known to have run in at least 9 races in 2003 in all bar one carrying the #88, this chassis carried the #08 in it's last known final at Petite Le Mans.

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When the effervescent Jackie Irwin, who has petrol running through her veins, told us on my recent visit to the Prodrive factory we were allowed to sit in some of the vehicles parked in the display area like a 12 year old I headed straight for the 550 Maranello,

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the experience of sitting in this fabulous car was an odd mixture of agony and ecstasy, the seat was made for someone with hips the size of a 12 year old, yet at the same time the purposefulness of every last detail inside the vehicle sent my mind straight to Le Mans, by some strange fate I also found my self posing for this photograph taken by David Bailey , I am sure Twiggy would have felt far more comfortable in the seat, but then I doubt she would ever find herself posing for David Bailey of the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club.

My thanks to David Bailey, everyone at the Bristol Pegasus MC and Prodrive who made my visit such an interesting day out.

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

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Heavyweight - Jaguar E- Type 3.8 Coupe

Call me a hopeless romantic but there is something I find irresistible about the notion of walking into a showroom purchasing the fastest vehicle they have in stock, adding a couple towing eyes, a fire extinguisher roll cage and 5 point harness and ignition cut out switch and heading down to the nearest race track.

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This kind of racing used to be called stock car racing in the US and Production racing in the UK.

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Today's stunning 1961 E-type 3.8 litre Coupe has been kept in more or less original trim since new.

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It still has an all steel shell and opening panels.

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Until recently the current owner; ex power boat racer, Michael O'Shea has been racing a 1958 XK150S, he has a decades experience racing Jaguars and a couple of years racing a Cooper - Maserati.

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Michael first started racing karts at 12 but did not start racing cars for another 34 years.

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Racing has been in Michael's blood all his life his Dad was the mastermind behind the O'Shea Racing Organisation which ran a car for a then unknown, future world champion, Jack Brabham.

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Michael will be racing his car in the new HSCC Jaguar E-Type Challenge a series created to cater just for E-types on their 50th Anniversary.

My thanks to Jaguar World and Classic & Performance Car for additional information.

Hope you enjoyed todays Heavyweight edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don't forget to come back now !

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sick Bag Not Included - Prodrive P2

In 2006 David Richards tasked every department in the Prodrive Group with developing the Prodrive P2 into a fully functional concept car in order to demonstrate " the perfect manifestation of what happens when our inspirational ideas combine with our innovative approach.”

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Development from designs by Peter Stevens, whose portfolio includes the Jaguar XJR 15 and McLaren F1, to fully functioning vehicle took just 9 (nine) months.

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Prodrive started by using a much modified All Wheel Drive Subaru R1 platform around which to build the P2.

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Under the hood lurks a 345 hp turbocharged Subaru flat four taken from the Subaru World Rally Championship (WRC) programme complete with Prodrives Anti Lag System (ALS) tuned for the road that minimises turbo lag by burning fuel in the exhaust system at low rpm which keeps the turbo turbine spinning at high speed. Such systems which increase the throttle response of turbocharged vehicles were banned from Formula One in 1981.

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The P2 also uses a modified version of the Subaru (WRC) drive train which features Prodrives ATD™ system which compares what the driver is expecting with what the vehicle is providing. The system modulates torque to individual wheels using a differential control system.

In a four wheel drive application such as the P2, if the car is understeering / pushing, then the system will deliver more torque to the back wheels, making it behave more like a rear wheel drive car; if the car is oversteering / loose then more torque will be delivered to the front wheels. ATD™ enables the car to be driven through corners at much higher speeds.

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When a well known large presenter of a well known motoring programme tried the P2 with the ATD™ switched on he apparently drove the P2 in such a tight circle at such high speeds he made himself ill and had to stop the car and open the door to spill his diced carrots and peas on the tarmac.

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With a power to weight ratio of 350 hp per tonne the P2 can reach 62 mph in 4 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph.

Prodrive estimated that it would have been able to retail the P2 for around £40,000 / $ 65,000 in 2006, but declined to manufacture the vehicle themselves.

Hope you have enjoyed the ride in today's ATD™ edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you'll join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Coming up Short - Triumph TR8 Twin Turbo

All of motor sport is littered with heroic failure and there is possibly none less understandable than the Janspeed Engineering Triumph TR8 twin turbo, when one considers John Buffum's success with the TR8 on the US Rally Stages in North America and Bob Tuliis equally outstanding success with his TR8 on the race tracks, so much in fact Bob was forced into a successful switch from SCCA to IMSA series.

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Like the Buffum and Tullis programmes Janspeed's Le Mans programme had absolutely zero factory backing but unlike Buffum and Tullis, Janspeed did not even have a budget to run the car let alone test it.

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Legend has it that this vehicle started life as a left hand drive test hack used by Janspeed on behalf of British Leyand, when the tests had been completed Jan Odour acquired the vehicle with the intention of preparing it for a British modified series, however a change of rules in that series, around 1977, led Jan Odour to attempt something far more ambitious namely to take on the onslaught of Group 5 Porsche 935's in the World Sports Car series.

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The Janspeed TR8 ran with a dry sumped twin turbo version of the all alloy Olds/Buick V8 design purchased by Rover and was said to produce over 500 hp, but it failed to set a qualifying time on it's debut at Silverstone in 1980, where the car was loaned out to ADA Engineering in a vane effort to get the car onto the track.

Later at Le Mans despite being recorded travelling in excess of 200 mph on the Mulsanne the car failed to qualify.

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I remember looking forward to seeing what the TR8 could do when I returned to Silverstone in 1981, despite arriving in time to catch qualifying I was already too late, the car had been crashed and withdrawn from the race much to my disappointment.

Later in 1981 the car ran again at Brands Hatch where it qualified but failed to finish after a spin and a stall, unfortunately I was in Germany at the time so I never did get to see possibly my all time favourite Triumph run.

Hope you have enjoyed today's twin turbo edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres', and that you'll join me again tomorrow for a look at a truly unique vehicle that was perhaps just an on board sick bag short of reaching production. Don't forget to come back now !