Saturday, 30 April 2011

Brushed Steel Roof - Maserati Bora

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The Maserati Bora was developed in 1968 to go up against the mid engine De Tomaso Mangusta, Lambourghini Muira and later Ferrari 365 GT4 BB. 524 examples of the model were built from 1971 to 1978.

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Under the direction of Citroen owners of the Maserati marque at the time, the Bora featured a steel monocoque with the longitudinal engine mounted on a subframe at the back and for the first time on a Maserati independent suspension on all four wheels.

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Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design was responsible for the steel bodywork which featured an unusual for the time brushed steel roof.

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289 Bora's including this 1972 model were powered by a 310 hp 4719 cc / 288 cui V8 with a further 235 built from 1973 to 1978 being fitted with a larger 320 hp US emissions spec 4930cc / 301 cui motors giving the vehicle a 160 - 170 mph capability. The engine compartment featured double glazing to separate it from the cabin and a carpeted aluminium cover to keep the noise down.

By the time production of the Bora had ceased Maserati was in the ownership of De Tomaso.

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

Friday, 29 April 2011

Grazin' Arizona - Ferrari 166 MM #0052M

Thanks to more photographs from Geoffrey Horton today we are looking at possibly one of oldest and most original known Ferrari race cars, one which regular eagle eyed reader Racer 187 spotted in my blog last week on the Phil Hill XK120.

Ferrari 166 MM, Danville Cd'E

This is a Ferrari 166 MM chassis #0052M shown here at the 2007 Danville Concours d'Elegance some 3 years after it was credited as having been identified by Ferrari Expert Marcel Massini in Arizona in 2004 where, it had been grazing in a barn for forty five years.

An unusual right hand drive model this 166 MM appears to have been delivered to Chinetti & Plisson in Paris and originally purchased by the 1949 Le Mans 24 hour winner, who famously won aboard another 166 MM #0008M after driving for just 20 mins, Lord Selsdon. Selsdon, real name Peter Mitchell-Thomson, raced #0052 at Le Mans in 1950 with Jean Lucas, a race from which the car retired after accident damage.

The car then was turned over to Luigi Chinetti and Jean Lucas who won the Paris 12 hours race. It came second in the 1950 Daily Express Trophy race at Silverstone driven by Dorino Serafini before Chinetti took the wheel and drove it to some 2 litre class speed records at Monthlery in France.

In 1952 owner TASO Mathieson finished 8th in the Targa Florio driving this car and in 1954 the car was fitted with a larger 2.3 litre / 142 cui Colombo V12 from the 195 S model. In 1955 the car was converted back to 166MM spec with a 140 hp 2 litre / 121 cui V12 by the factory.

Ferrari 166 MM, Danville Cd'E

By 1958 this Touring Superleggera bodied car was known to be owned in Switzerland and in 1959 a couple of owners later it was with Chinetti Motors in New York, Chinetti sold it to a Mr RL Litton of Scottsdale, AZ and despite being registered for road use in Arizona in 1964 it apparently was never seen on the road in his hands.

When the car was found in 2004 it transpired that the engine was not an original 166MM type rather a 2 litre V12 more commonly found in a Ferrari Formula 2 open wheel racer, while it is not unusual for Ferrari racers of this period to swap engines, as indeed has been recorded for this vehicle it is still a mystery as to why this car should have an engine common to an open wheel Ferrari.

Under the stewardship of Manny del Arroz the car was preserved and returned to working condition and won the Preservation Award at Pebble Beach in 2007.

#0052M is last known to have transferred ownership in Germany to Mr J Pawluk of Poland in 2008 for a reputed € 3.5 million, approx £ 3 million or US$ 5 million at todays prices.

Ferrari 166 MM, Danville Cd'E

Readers of my 2009 Rowdy posts might remember the freshly restored 166 MM chassis #0040M Reg YPY 333 belonging to the Mason - Styrrons at Goodwood.

This is a clear case where, in my humble opinion, the preserved bucket of rust is worth far more than the restored brand new machine. More photo's of #0052 M, as it was found by Marcel Massini, in Arizona can be seen on this excellent thread at Ferrari Chat, you will probably have to sign up to see the thread.

My thanks to Geoffrey for today's photo's, to Michael Platzer for the chassis number and to every one who posted on Marcel Massinis Ferrari Chat thread.

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

Thursday, 28 April 2011

'Making Time' - Jaguar 3.8 MK 2

The MK 2 Jaguar introduced in 1959 was available with a choice of 3 six cylinder XK6 motors this 1962 model is fitted with the top of the range 220 hp 3.8 litre / 231 cui engine that was slightly detuned from that found in E-Type Jaguars.

Jaguar, 3.8, Mk 2, Prescott VSCC

Sharing the same shell as the contemporary Daimler 2.5 V8 and later budget Jaguar 240, 340 and Daimler V8 250 it is thought around 110,000 vehicles of this type were built between 1959 and 1969 including all the variations on this shell.

MK 2 Jaguars with their rest to 60 mph 8.5 secs performance and top speed of 125 mph were used as Motorway cruisers by the police and have gained what is generally considered an unfair reputation as the criminal car of choice thanks no doubt to films like the hard core, for it's time, 'Get Carter' (see 55 secs) clip contains violence and strong language.

TV detective Inspector Morse drives a 120 hp 2.4 litre MK 2 Jaguar, which actor John Thaw described as an 'arse' to drive, though in the original novels, by Colin Dexter, Morse is described as driving a Lancia.

My favourite Jaguar MK2 media appearance is in 'Withnail and I' warning this clip contains strong language.

Hope you have enjoyed today's MK2 edition of 'Gettin' a lil psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Springbok Special - ALFA Romeo GTV6 3.0

The ALFA Romeo GTV 2.5 was in production from 1980 to 1987 it featured a a fuel injected 156 hp 2,492 cc / 152 cui V6 motor from the Alfa 6 model, a rear mounted gearbox to optimise weight distribution just like the Porsche 924/944/968 and an attractive Giorgetto Giugiaro body with a bulge in the bonnet / hood to accommodate the V6 engine.

ALFA Romeo GTV6 3.0, BIAMF

These vehicles won four consecutive European Touring (stock) Car titles, however out in South Africa the touring cars were running to different regulations with a 3.5 litre / 213 cui class cut off as opposed to the 2.5 litre 152 cui class cut off as used in much of the rest of the world.

ALFA Romeo GTV6 3.0, BIAMF

In order to race competitively against BMW which ran 3.5 litre engines in South African Touring Car Races ALFA Romeo in South Africa approached Autodelta the competition arm of ALFA Romeo who obliged by supplying enough parts developed for a rally programme to build around 220 2934 cc / 179 cui carbureted V6 engines which were assembled and tuned in South Africa.

ALFA Romeo GTV6 3.0, BIAMF

The outcome was a vehicle that in 1983 beat BMW to win the South African Touring Car Championship and in mid 1984 was declared the fastest South African assembled vehicle with a top speed of 139 mph / 224 kph.

ALFA Romeo GTV6 3.0, BIAMF

With that ALFA Romeo Montreal inspired NACA duct in the bonnet and deep spoiler this 3 litre GTV6, belonging to Richard an acquaintance from 'The Nostalgia Forum', is quite easy to distinguish from its 2.5 litre brethren.

My thanks to Richard for bringing his pride and joy to the Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival.

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

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Mechanical Orchestra - TVR T350

TVR T350, Pistonheads, BMW Plant

The TVR T 350 is probably as close as one can get to a four wheeled motorcycle that will scare a young mans prospective in laws to death, it's small and according to one journalist in 2004 the engine belongs in an orchestra pit.

TVR T350, Pistonheads, BMW Plant

The T 350 comes with TVRs own 350 hp 3605 cc / 219.9 cui Speed Six all alloy 24 valve engine that is canted over at 30 degrees so that it fits into the svelte T 350 body that measures just over 13 feet long by six feet wide by 47 inches high.

TVR T350, Pistonheads, BMW Plant

TVRs under the direction of previous owner Peter Wheeler dispensed with creature comforts like interior lights, air bags and traction control, though these vehicles did come with air conditioning.

TVR T350, Pistonheads, BMW Plant

Weighing just 2,616 lbs / 1,187 kg performance from rest to 62 mph was 4.4 secs up to 100 mph in 9.5 secs with an official top speed of 175 mph.

TVR T350, Pistonheads, BMW Plant

Production of the T350 ran from 2002 until 2006 when Russian/Greek/British baby oligarch Nikolai Smolenski took over the company and soon after halted production of all TVR models.

Allegedly Mr Smolenski has announced various plans to restart production most recently with a Corvette powered model which might be built anywhere between Blackpool and Cape Town, here is hoping this hairiest of automobile brands finds its way back to the market soon.

My thanks to the Pistonhead who brought this T350 along to the Sunday Service at the BMW plant back in January.

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

Monday, 25 April 2011

Mission Accomplished - Bristol Cars Ltd

Bristol 411

Bristol 411

On Saturday I was very pleased to receive an e-mail from Geoff Hawkins, Chairman of the Bristol Owners Club, informing members that the future of Bristol Cars Limited which was in administration has been secured by Kamkorp Autokraft which also owns Frazer Nash Research Ltd.

FN Namir

Italdesign Frazer Nash Namir (Photo Italdesign)

It should be noted that Frazer Nash Research which made the 2009 prototype Italdesign Frazer Nash Namir is

Fraser Nash, Loton Park

Frazer Nash Colemore

not directly related to the company that made pre WW2 Frazer Nash chain drive vehicles,

Fraser Nash BMW

Frazer Nash BMW

Frazer Nash BMW's and

Fraser Nash, Thompson CT

Left F Thwaits Fraser Nash 100/163 (Picture Ed Arnaudin)

post WW2 Frazer Nash Bristols from 1927 to 1957.

That company, AFN Ltd, was sold by Archie Frazer Nash to the Adlington brothers when it ran into financial difficulties.

Under the Adlington's stewardship in 1946 AFN were briefly partners with Bristol Aeroplane Company in Bristol Cars, however BAC bought Adlington out of Bristol Cars when it became clear the two companies had differing visions of the future.

After AFN Ltd ceased manufacturing in 1957 it became a successful Porsche dealer which along with the Frazer Nash trademark was sold in turn to Porsche.

In 1929 after Archie Frazer Nash had divested himself of his interests in AFN Ltd and motor vehicle manufacturing he set up Nash & Thompson which specialised in manufacturing hydraulic gun turrets for aircraft, this led to the development of a variety of 2 and 4 gun turrets used on WW2 Beaufort, Blenheim, Halifax, Lancaster, Manchester, Sterling, Sunderland and Wellington bombers.

Nash & Thompson which in 1996 was acquired by ML Aviation and later defence contractor Cobham spun off Frazer Nash Research Ltd which specialises in Electric and and Hybrid Power Trains, automotive multiplexing, advanced composites and mass transit systems.

It is this engineering branch of Archie Fraser Nash's post vehicle manufacturing business that is now connected for the first time with Bristol Cars Ltd.

Kamkorp Autokraft a private limited company with offices registered in Mytchet, Surrey, is majority owned by chairman Mr Kamal Siddiqi, who like Archie Frazer Nash appears to have been born in India, and who has / had interests in Cicco Holding AG, Lithium Technology Corp, Electrosource Inc and Think Nordic, prior to acquiring Frazer Nash Research and Bristol Cars Ltd.

Spokesman for the Kamkorp Autokraft group and Director of Operations at Frazer Nash Research Mr 'William' Tet Hin Chia issued the following prepared statement :-

"Bristol Cars is a British institution and an important part of our national motoring heritage. Over the next few months we will start to reveal the details of our plans to combine Bristol Cars' tradition and iconic marque with Frazer-Nash's pioneering technology to showcase our cutting-edge electric and range-extended powertrains.

British engineers are globally recognised for their inventions and the quality of their innovation - and these attributes are inherent in all our systems and products. Mindful of Bristol Cars' rich heritage and our responsibility as custodians of the brand, we are certain that our technology will blend seamlessly and successfully with the Bristol Cars tradition of engineering integrity.

Owners and enthusiasts of the cars should be assured that, even though these are early days in our tenure of the brand, we are committed to providing them and their cars with the highest levels of quality, technology and service".

Geoff Hawkins e-mail suggests that Samuelson Wylie Associates, who represented TVR from 1993 to 2003, will be handling the PR and Marketing of Bristol Cars Ltd.

It will be fascinating to see what the future has in store for my local automotive manufacturer, with the prospect of all fossil fuelled vehicles being phased out of Europe by 2050, Bristol Cars may be well placed to become a leading edge manufacturer in the decades to come.

I hope you will all join me in wishing Bristol Cars every success.

My thanks to Geoff Hawkins of the Bristol Owners Club, James Trigwell a trustee of the Frazer Nash Archives, and bristol 7527 also known as Claude for the detailed information in this blog.

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of 'Gettin' a lil psycho on tyres and that you'll join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

Sunday, 24 April 2011

In with the new.., ish - Volkswagen Passat TDI B6

VW Passat TDi

Last week my landlady traded in her faithful 1990 B3 Passat in for a 2007 model year B6 Passat TDI. The B6 was in production from 2005 - 2010.

VW Passat TDi

Having driven the car for less than 100 miles my impressions is of an effortlessly smooth ride, aided by light controls and a slick 6 speed gearbox and some remarkable fuel mileage figures.

VW Passat TDi

The TDI comes across like the Starship Enterprise in comparison with its 20 tear old traded in sibling, more knobs and buttons than one can shake a stick at.

VW Passat TDi

Gone is the old fashioned key to be replaced by an electric one which is of absolutely no use unless the driver is strapped in AND has her / his foot on the clutch.

The car all so dispenses with the old hand brake leaver and has in it's place a hand brake button, which takes a little getting used to even for a driver experienced in driving many vehicles. Once engaged the hand brake is released automatically when puling away.

VW Passat TDi

With her two kids my landlady needs all of this space when she goes camping with a 20 ft bell tent, it also comes in useful for shifting furniture and building materials about.

VW Passat TDi

Other interesting features include exterior lights that come on when locking and unlocking the doors at night, again no conventional keys are required for this operation.

VW Passat TDi

I'm not sure how the car will perform when I come to borrow it and attempt to defend the Cross Trophy Car Trial next year but I am sure I'll have plenty of fun giving it a go. With thanks to my landlady.

Hope you have enjoyed today's late model edition of 'Gettin' a lil psycho on tyres', and that you will join me again tomorrow.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter.

Don't forget to come back now !

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Perfect car for a wedding #3 - FIAT 500 Lusso

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Mindful of the fact that in a weeks time much of the TV watching world will be tuned in to the nuptials Mr William Windsor and Miss Kate Middleton, I thought it might be fun to look at a wedding mobile that will almost certainly not feature in next Fridays Royal extravaganza.

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The FIAT 500 Lusso (Luxury), produced from 1968 to 1972, was externally distinguished from its base F (or Berlina) models by its extra chrome nudge bar.

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The original Nuova Cinquecento (500) was launched in in 1957 and replaced the delightful Topolino which had also been designed by Dante Giacosa.

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With a 6 ft wheel base carrying a body 4" shy of 12 feet the 500 is considered to be one of the first city cars.

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Like the Volkswagen Beetle and Renault 4CV the Cinquecento has its engine in the boot, this particular model was originally fitted with a 17 hp 499cc / 30.4 cui two cylinder motor.

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As one might expect from a vehicle less than 10' long and just over 4' wide the space inside might best be described as intimate, in fact just perfect for a couple of newly weds.

Wishing everyone getting married in the coming week all the best.

Hope you have enjoyed todays wedding edition of 'Getting a lil' psycho on tyres' and hope that you will join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

Also in the Perfect car for a wedding series :-

Citroen Traction Avant

Humber Super Snipe MK IV

Friday, 22 April 2011

Too Dangerous To Race - Ferrari GTO

The Ferrari (288) GTO was designed to meet the 4 litre Group B regulations for rallying and racing sports cars which came into effect in 1982 .

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To be homologated, granted approval, to compete in the liberal loose Group B classes of rallys and races 200 identical examples of a model had to be manufactured.

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From 1984 - 1986 272 examples of the Ferrari 288 GTO were manufactured with a view to competing against the similar, albeit fitted with 4 wheel drive, Porsche 959/961.

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The 288 GTO was loosely based on the Ferrari 308 GTB though the rear bodywork was extended to incorporate the engine which was now longitudinally mounted rather than transversely mounted as in the 308 GTB.

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Pininfarina designed body panels for the 288 GTO were manufactured from a combination of fibreglass, aluminium and F1 technology Kevlar however in the interests of safety the door panels were made of steel.

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With four hundred horsepower available, in road trim, from the twin turbo charged 2855 cc / 174 cui V8 it is regrettable that the 288 GTO never saw any competitive action as a result of the Group B regulations being deemed to dangerous for competition after a number of fatalities in Group B rally events during 1986. By 1987 the Group B regulations and even more lax Group S regulations had been suspended in the interests of safety.

This 1985 model, known officially as a Ferrari GTO but often called 288 GTO to distinguish it from other Ferrari GTO models, is seen at the recent Italian Auto Moto Festival in Bristol.

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

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Black Cat - Jaguar XK120 #670138

I'd like to thank Geoffrey Horton for sending me these photographs of Phil Hill's Jaguar XK120 at the 2007 Danville Concours de Elegance.

Danville CC 2007 011s

This chassis #670138 is known to have been raced by Phil, who was guest of honour at Danville in 2007, in at least 3 races in 1950 in which he scored two second place finishes and a win in the 100 Mile race at Pebble Beach in November 1950.

Danville CC 2007 020s

Last week it came to light that I had overlooked something in my original blog on the XK120, namely that while the standard XK 120 took it's name from it's 120 mph capability, it has transpired that Norman Dewis was bolted into an XK120 with a streamlined roof and recorded a production car record speed of 172.412 mph on the 21st October 1953 driving along a stretch of Belgian Motorway known as the Jabbeke Straight, between Bruges and Ostend.

My thanks to Terry, Tim, Allan, and Tony at The Nostalgia Forum for the additional details and thanks again to Geoffrey for today's marvellous photographs.

Hope you have enjoyed today's Black Cat edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again tomorrow, Ferrari Friday, for a look at my favourite road going V8 Ferrari. Don't forget to come back now !

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Cobra Killer - de Tomaso Mangusta # 8MA 1216

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This Mangusta is one of a handful of genuinely show stopping cars at the Italian Auto Moto Festival on Bristol last weekend and my personal favourite of those present.

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When I was a kid and we got our first black and white television I was completely captivated by a Sci Fi puppet series called Thunderbirds and there were three real machines representing transport that seemed to capture that vision of the future, the Mangusta with its clean lines and gullwing engine cover, the supersonic Concorde and the ship named Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2.

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Mangusta translated means mongoose a carnivore immune to some snake venom known to kill vipers and typically avoid cobra's. However the myth is that Mongeese are cobra killers and that is why the name was chosen for this vehicle because de Tomaso wanted to build a car that was better than the Shelby Cobra after a misunderstanding about a supply of engines that went to Shelby.

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The Giorgetto Giugiaro body is fitted on to pressed steel back bone chassis which has it's origins in de Tomaso's first road car the Ford 4 cylinder Kent powered Vallelunga.

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401 Mangusta's are thought to have been built from 1964 to 1968 of which around 128 may have survived.

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All bar one Mangusta were fitted with Ford V8's the 306 hp 4729 cc / 289 cui for the European Markets, and the 220 hp 4949 cc / 302 cui for the US Market, the US versions had pop up lights in place of the twin headlamps of the European versions. The odd Mangusta was built with a Chevrolet Small Block V8.

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Tarantino aficionado's might recognise the 155 mph Mangusta from Kill Bill Vol. 2, see trailer at 1m 27 seconds, and Kylie Minogue fans might recognise the Mangusta from the 2001 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' video.

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Chassis 8MA 1216 seen here was purchased by Alitalia pilot Giancarlo Furiosi and kept by him until 2009 when portrait photographer Jonathan Root acquired it.

Hope you have enjoyed today's Cobra Killer edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a black cat. Don't forget to come back now !