The Vintage Sports Car Club, more often referred to as the VSCC, has been going for 80 years, set up to celebrate cars and motoring. Originally aimed at embracing cars made before 1931, the scope has been brought forward to include notable sports cars made in the immediate post war years. The VSCC goes from strength to strength and to celebrate the anniversary, a number of special events will be held during 2014, over and above the full program of activities that characterise the Club and probably explain why it has proved so popular for so long. One of the events that features in the year-around calendar of activities is the “Spring Start” meeting which takes place at Silverstone in mid April. Although I’ve been to, and enjoyed, VSCC events at Hill Climbs such as Prescott and Shelsley Walsh, and I’ve been to Silverstone many times before, I’ve never previously combined the two ingredients, and this meet had long been on my list of events to try to schedule. There was an added incentive in 2014 in that as well as celebrating the VSCC’s 80th, 2014 also marks the 80th anniversary of the creation of ERA, and the publicity for the Spring Start promised that 16 of the 18 ERAs ever built would be present. As this is the sort of thing which may never happen again, I etched the date in my diary, bought a ticket and hoped for some decent weather. Everything came together nicely, and although there was a bit of a keen wind, it was a lovely sunny day, making “Spring Start” seem appropriate and I was able to feast on a collection of some lovely historic sports cars, some great action on the track, and even plenty of interest in the public car park.
ERA was founded by Humphrey Cook, Raymond Mays, and Peter Berthon in November 1933 and established in Bourne, Lincolnshire, next to Eastgate House, the family home of Raymond Mays. Their ambition was to manufacture and campaign a team of single seater racing cars capable of upholding British prestige in Continental European racing. With the cost of competing in full Grand Prix racing prohibitive, ERA’s efforts were targeted at the smaller voiturette—1500cc supercharged—class of motor racing, the Formula 2 equivalent of the day. Humphrey Cook financed the operation—using the wealth from the family drapery business, Cook, Son & Co., of St Paul’s Churchyard, London. Peter Berthon was responsible for the overall design of the cars, while Raymond Mays became its principal driver, having already successfully raced several other makes including Vauxhall, Bugatti and Riley. A new chassis was conceived by British designer Reid Railton (who had also successfully designed the Bluebird land speed record cars for Malcolm Campbell) and was constructed by Thomson & Taylor at Brooklands. The engine was based on the well proven Riley 6-cylinder unit, albeit this was modified in a number of significant ways. A stronger forged crankshaft with a large centre Hyatt roller bearing was made and an entirely new aluminium cylinder head designed. The engine was supercharged using a bespoke supercharger designed by Murray Jamieson who had worked with Mays & Berthon on the White Riley. The ERA engine was designed around three capacities—a base 1500cc, an 1100cc and also was capable of being expanded up to 2000 cc. It ran on methanol and in its 1500cc form was capable of producing around 180–200bhp with in excess of 250–275bhp in 2000cc form. The panel-beating brothers George and Jack Gray hand-fashioned the new car’s single-seater bodywork, to a design credited to a Mr Piercy who had previously designed the bodywork for Malcolm Campbell’s ‘Bluebird’ record breaker. The unveiling of the first ERA—chassis R1A—to the press and public took place at Brooklands on 22 May 1934. After initial chassis handling problems, which required a number of modifications, soon ERA had a winning formula. By the end of the year ERAs had scored notable victories against many more established marques. In 1935, in a major race at the Nürburgring, ERAs took first, third, fourth and fifth places. Through the remainder of the decade, with drivers of the calibre of Dick Seaman in the team, ERA dominated voiturette racing.
Every car that was built thereafter is different, so the cars are all referred to by their unique name. Initially a series of four A-Type ERAs, R1A through R4A, were built and raced by the works team in 1934 and 1935. For the first privateers, a slightly revised B-Type chassis featuring a more reliable engine became available in 1935. 13 of these cars were built, R1B through R14B. Chassis number 13 was not used for superstitious reasons. Two of the cars became particularly famous, acquiring nicknames as well. That came about as two Siamese princes, Chula Chakrabongse and Bira Birabongse, ran their own team, operating from The White Mouse Garage. Prince Chula owned the team, and initially he bought the car now known as Romulus as a present for his cousin, Prince Bira, who was the team’s driver. In 1936, when another car was acquired, they named R2B, the first car they had, “Romulus” and the R5B, the new one, “Remus” after the Roman Twins. Both were painted in their team colours of light blue with yellow wheels, a livery they wear to this day. Prince Bira won the Albi Grand Prix in what was otherwise an unsuccessful year in terms of the high standards expected by the “White Mouse” team. It is probably true to say that this duo are the most famous of all the ERAs. Whilst Romulus still lives in Thailand, “Remus” is resident in the UK. and can be seen in action quite frequently.
R3A was the works 2 litre built in 1934. Raymond Mays used this light green car until it was sold at the end of 1935. Mays used R3A to set the Outright World Standing Start kilometre record as well as success in circuit racing and hill climbs. In 1935 Mays won the Shelsley Walsh hill climb and with this car, Mays scored the team’s first major international win at Germany’s majestic Nurburgring using a 1,500cc. Voiturette engine. Other works drivers were Tim Rose-Richards and E. Von Delius. In 1936 it was owned for a time by L G Fontes before new owners Norman Black & Tom Wisdom used the car in 1,500cc. format. In 1937 Charlie Martin successfully campaigned the car across Europe including a fine win in the Voiturette event supporting the German Grand Prix at Avus. In 1938, R3A was sold by garage owner J H Bartlett to Roy Hesketh, who took the car to his native South Africa and the following year, the car was placed fourth in both the South African GP and the Grosvenor GP. After buying the car in 1944 Basil Beall raced in South Africa in 1948-1952 and continued to own the car until his death in 1957. R3A was the car that won the ERA race that provided 20 minutes of unforgettable action from these cars. It was piloted by well known classic car racer Mark Gillies, who had flown in from Florida just to take part
R4A was built in 1935 as the first ERA customer car and run by the team for Pat Fairfield. Then white painted, R4A was fitted with a 1,100cc. supercharged engine. Fairfield had wins in the Mannin Beg on the Isle of Man, the Nuffield Trophy at Donington Park and the Dieppe Grand Prix Voiturette race. In early 1936 Fairfield ran the car independently including a third place in his adopted South Africa. Back in England a 1,500cc. engine was fitted. Results included second in the British Empire Trophy at Donington Park. Later in 1936 R4A returned to works support and Fairfield scored a second at the Picardy Grand Prix. In 1937 R4A was used by Fairfield as a works driver. three wins in South Africa and a third at Donington Park. The 1938 R4A reverted to a 1,100cc. engine and was sold to Norman Wilson who raced in his native South African and elsewhere. Wilson lost his life serving in the South African Air Force during the Second World War. Reg Parnell took over R4A and after the war Bob and Joan Gerard gave the car a successful career in hill climbs
R4D is the last development of this classic voiturette racing car, the only D-Type ever built. Originating as R4B in 1935, the car was rebuilt as a C-Type by modifying the front end of the chassis frame to accommodate independent Porsche-type torsion bar front suspension. Over the winter of 1937-38 the car was given a completely new fully boxed frame, and was designated R4D. This was the first ERA to be fitted with a Zoller supercharger (in 1935), and R4D accumulated a formidable competition record in its various guises, finally being purchased from the works by Raymond Mays, and running as a privately entered car in 1939. Mays set numerous pre-war records in R4D, including Prescott and Shelsley Walsh hill climbs, Brighton Sprints and Brooklands Mountain Circuit. Mays describes his history with the car in his book Split Second. After World War II R4D continued in active competition, but the demands on Mays’s time created by the evolving BRM project meant he competed less frequently. In 1952 Mays sold R4D to Ron Flockhart. In 1953 Flockhart had a phenomenally successful season, winning the Bo’ness hill climb in a record setting 33.82 seconds. The car was featured on the cover of Autosport magazine. This success led to his joining the BRM team as a works driver, and later successes at Le Mans and elsewhere. In 1954 Ken Wharton purchased R4D from Flockhart and used the car to win the RAC Hill Climb Championship. In 1955 he used R4D and his Cooper to finish equal first in the hill climb championship with Tony Marsh. Since Wharton was a multiple previous winner, the RAC awarded the championship to newcomer Marsh. An achievement of R4D in the post-war era is that it has won the Brighton Speed Trials seven times, driven by Raymond Mays four times and Ken Wharton three times, more wins than any other car at this event. The owner after Ken Wharton was the pseudonymous “T. Dryver,” creator of the aero-engined De Havilland-M.G. Special. He raced the ERA in the Brighton Speed Trials in 1957 but his chance of achieving fastest-time-of-the-day was spoiled by rain.From the mid-fifties onward, the car had a variety of owners, but achieved notable success in historic racing in the hands of Neil Corner and Willie Green (the latter driving for Anthony Bamford). R4D rose to pre-eminence again in the hands of Anthony Mayman, achieving many successes and setting many pre-war records at various venues. In recent years the car has been owned and driven by James Mac Hulbert, and continues to be one of the most successful pre-war racing cars still active in competition, having set new pre-war records at numerous venues.
R7B was made in 1936 with a 1.5 litre engine with a white paint scheme and a chrome plated radiator for Arthur Dobson. Cyril Paul drove its first three races, until Dobson took over. 1937 saw success and the start of a string of ERA versus ERA battles with “B.Bira”. Charles Brackenbury raced R7B at Donington Park once (whilst Dobson was otherwise engaged). In 1938, the highlight of another good year was a third place in the Modena Grand Prix, Italy and sixth in the Donington Grand Prix behind the might of Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz. But in 1939, the new ERA E-type taking Dobson’s main interest with R7B being less widely used. Immediately after WW2 Leslie Brooke raced R7B widely. For a long time the car was painted red, but it was returned to white fairly recently.
R8C is one of the cars that I have seen at Shelsley and Prescott many times before. Like most cars of this era, it has had a chequered past. Originally, it was R8B, and was bought new by Earl Howe in 1936. After some successes with the car, he joined the works team in 1937. After a serious crash at Brooklands that year the car was upgraded to C specification and Earl Howe continued to enjoy success with it, now called R8C, until right to the end of his racing career at the outbreak of WWII. It was rebuilt in 1983 to the 1938/39 specification. The car’s long standing owner died last year, and it has passed to his son, so should still be seen in action.
R10B was made in 1936 as a 1.5l itre in black for Peter Whitehead. Whitehead and his regular driving partner, Peter Walker, drove the car singly and as co-drivers. The best result of the year being a third in the important Donington Park Grand Prix for the pair. In 1937 R10B was raced in Britain, France and Italy. Again both Whitehead and Walker drove. In 1938 Whitehead drove the car and had a long but productive trip to win the Australian Grand Prix. 1939 started with Whitehead and R10B having a disappointing South African winter season. Back in Britain Whitehead scored a number of top three finishes. Peter Walker also returned to race R10B before the Second World War called a halt to racing. Post-war Whitehead and Walker were back in business with R10B until they moved on to greater things. Nick Mason bought the car in 1980 and owned it until 2005.
R11B was initially a 1.5litre dark green 1936 car, bought by the experienced amateur driver Reggie Tongue. Tongue named the car “Humphrey” after ERA founder Humphrey Cook.Tongue had wins in hill climbs in Germany, Switzerland and Shelsley Walsh, England. A big circuit win came in the Cork 200, Ireland. In 1937, Tongue raced R11B widely around Europe including a good third in the Albi Grand Prix, France. In 1938, the Hon. Peter Aitken bought R11B to race in British events and in 1938-39 a South African winter season gave Aitken a second place in Cape Town, the during 1939 R11B was used successfully by Aitken around Britain. After the war, Reg Parnell handled R11B and sold it to Peter Bell for his driver, John Bolster. The car was greatly modified during this period, including the use of a 2litre engine, a Murray twin supercharger and having the pre-selector gearbox replaced by a standard box. In 1949, R11B was involved in a fatal accident to its driver St. John Horsfall during the Silverstone Daily Express Trophy meeting. In 1951 Ken Wharton won his first RAC hill climb Championship driving Peter Bell’s R11B. 1955 took R11B to the RAC hill climb Championship driven by Ken Wharton (with the help of Ken’s Cooper-JAP). Modifications for the cars hill climb and sprint life included a smaller 10-gallon fuel tank, the removal of the 5-gallon dry sump oil tank, a smaller radiator and setting the engine three inches farther back. Since then, the car has continued to be used in competitive events.
The history of R12C is one of those where things get a bit tricky. The story starts with R12B, which was a 1936 works car with a 2 litre engine and in the works black colour scheme. Raymond Mays successfully hill climbed R12B at Shelsley Walsh and raced at Brooklands. In 1937, the works rebuilt R12B to C-type specification with a 1.5litre engine and a long-range fuel tank. Pat Fairfield was to be the main works driver of R12B/C for the year. After a win with R12B/C at Crystal Palace and Donington Park, Fairfield was killed in the Le Mans 24-hour sportscar race. R12B/C was successfully used by other drivers during the rest of the year. The Albi Grand Prix was won by Humphrey Cook/ Raymond Mays. The Berne Grand Prix, Switzerland and the JCC 200 mile race were won Arthur Dobson. The Brooklands Siam Trophy was won by Raymond Mays. In 1938 the car was sold to Prince Chula for “B.Bira” to drive. R12B/C was painted with a light blue body and yellow chassis and wheels of the “White Mouse” stable and made the national racing colours of Siam (Thailand). In the tradition of “White Mouse” cars, following R2B “Romulus” and R5B “Remus” R12C was named “Hanuman”. “B.Bira” used R12C to gain wins at Brooklands, Donington Park and Cork, Ireland. In 1939, “B.Bira” raced R12B/C to win the Nuffield Trophy at Donington Park. Somewhat less successfully Bira crashed R12B/C at in practice for the Coupe de la Commission Sportive at Rheims, France. Bira suffered only minor injuries but the car was badly damaged, and it is what happened next which makes history a bit more complex, for as happens with many well raced cars repair and modification keeps cars on the track but complicates their history. R12B had been modified to C-type spec. and was now repaired with the only available chassis frame (a B-type, probably from R8B left over from its rebuild up to C-type spec.) so that the cars code letter reverted to “R12B” and its name was moved on to “Hanuman II”. The spare parts from sorting out the mess were set aside – see R12C “Hanuman”, below, for what happened to them. In 1982, respected car restorer and ERA expert W.R.G. “Bill” Morris rebuilt the wreckage left over from the R12B/C “Hanuman” crash and rebuild, useing the original mangled chassis frame from R12B/C, other R12B/C parts and other period parts with any gaps filled by remanufactured parts. The result was “R12C – Hanuman” a C-type ERA as if the 1939 Rheims accident had not happened. As at the time Bill Morris owned both “R12B – Hanuman II” and “R12C – Hanuman” the question of whether one or the other or both or neither was “genuine” was a matter he would have had to fight out with himself! These days R12C is owned by Terry Crabb, and it is a regular sight at Prescott and Shelsley (and doubtless other places that I’ve not yet visited).
A prototype Riley engined model was produced, and this was present as well.
Anthony J. Merrick prepared and raced R1A until its then owner sold the car. Being without a car the resourceful Merrick shuffled his stock of genuine ERA parts and came up with AJM1. The 1980s brand new 1930s car is said to be an 80% original ERA B-type car using a 1.5litre engine and light green early works colour scheme, though it has since been repainted in red. Owned by Anthony Mayman, his cousin Chris Mayman was the driver of AJM1 while Anthony himself drove his other ERA, R4D. the car has changed ownership a couple of times since then.
The more modern E-Type ERA appeared just before the Second World War but was not fully developed.The Second World War brought a halt to motor racing in Europe, and the team’s Bourne site was sold to the Bus operator Delaine who occupied adjacent premises. The original building is still in use today by Delaine as an office block. By the time racing resumed in the late 1940s Berthon and Mays had moved on to the British Racing Motors (BRM) project.
That was not the end of the story, though. ERA restarted operations in Dunstable under new ownership in 1947 when Leslie Johnson bought the company, together with ERA E-Type GP2, the second of two built in 1939, which had been raced by Reg Parnell and Leslie Brooke. Refitted with a Zoller supercharger and driven by Johnson, GP2 tied with Parnell’s Maserati 4CLT for fastest lap in the 1948 British Empire Trophy and finished fifth. In the same race GP1, upgraded by the works with Murray Jamieson-designed Roots-type supercharging and driven by Reg Parnell’s mechanic Wilkie Wilkinson (who had supervised modification of the E-Types), retired with a broken connecting rod. After posting the fastest time in the opening practice session for the British Grand Prix, Johnson retired GP2 from third place on the first lap when a driveshaft universal joint failed. In practice for the Coupe du Salon at Montlhéry he broke the lap record but retired GP2 from the race with a fractured fuel tank after three laps. In 1949 at Goodwood GP2 broke a back axle universal joint in practice but Johnson took the car to fifth in the Richmond Trophy and third in the Chichester Cup. In the first day’s practice for the Jersey International Road Race, he was second-fastest to Luigi Villoresi’s record-breaking lap in a Maserati but on the second day the engine bearings failed and the car did not race. At Silverstone’s 1950 Grand Prix d’ Europe the supercharger disintegrated after two laps. Meanwhile GP1, driven by Fred Ashmore, failed to finish the 1948 Jersey International Road Race owing to fuel starvation and defective steering. In the 1949 BRDC/Daily Express International Trophy, Peter Walker took GP1 to within 1.2 seconds of Giuseppe Farina’s Maserati in practice and finished fifth in the race, despite gearbox and steering problems, a leaking radiator, and the exhaust burning the driver’s foot. Walker was fastest in practice for Ireland’s Wakefield Trophy road race, but a snatching brake forced him down the escape road at the first corner. Here GP1’s race ended when it was hit by an Alta that had already collided with Salvadori’s Maserati 4CLT. Finally in 1950, GP1 was gutted by fire in a crash at the British Empire Trophy race on the Isle of Man, caused by driveshaft failure when the car was at high speed with Walker at the wheel.
A new 1.5-litre Formula Two car, the G-Type raced in the 1952 World Championship, which was the first season that had been run to Formula Two rules. The car used a Bristol engine. Stirling Moss drove, but results were disappointing. Moss said: “It was, above all, a project which made an awful lot of fuss about doing very little. By this time I was very disillusioned by the Clever Professor approach to racing car design. I would eventually learn that even the most brilliant concept could fail if the team concerned lacks the manpower and organization and money to develop the inevitable bugs out of it.” Johnson sold the project to Bristol—who used the car as the basis for an assault on Le Mans that would bring them several class wins in the mid-1950s—and focused the company on R&D engineering. He eventually sold it to Zenith Carburettor Ltd, which was then purchased by Solex, another carburettor firm.
The vast majority of prewar ERAs are still in existence, and they have continuous and verifiable provenance and most of them are still in the UK, so assembling them for this event, although for sure entailing a lot of detailed planning, was not as hard as you might think. As most of the cars still compete in historic events despite the youngest being nearly seventy years old, getting 11 of them out on track, as happened as this event was also not too difficult a challenge. One of the GP cars, though, as you can see will not be racing for a while, as there is a certain amount of restoration to be undertaken.
IN THE PITS AND PADDOCK
The only Alfa present and competing on the Sunday was this one, Alex Pilkington’s lovely 1930 6C 1750. I’ve seen this car at many an event, and, as is well known in these parts, a car like this, indeed any 1930s Alfa is also likely to emerge as one of my favourites at the end of the day. Today was no exception, though it did have strong competition
A fabulous array of 1930s Aston Martins were present. The combination of Ulster and International models made a very striking sight when they were parked in a line outside their pit garage, and they were joined by the earlier 15/98.
A DB2 was also to be found in the Paddock and this DBR4 was definitely a rare car that you don’t see often.
There were a number of the iconic Type 35s competing.
This splendid Type 73 was the very first car I came across as I entered the paddock area. Most people think that, barring the handful of Type 101s produced after the war, that the Bugatti story ended with the Type 59 in the late 1930s. Not so. Having lost control of his factory in Alsace to occupying German forces in the 1939/45 war Ettore Bugatti spent the duration making plans for a new post war facility in Paris and a Type 73 which was to be built in it. The new car was conceived with designers Noel Domboy and Antoine Pichetto and was planned to have a single overhead cam 4 cylinder 16 valve engine for sports car use and a twin overhead cam for racing purposes. The Type 73 was going to cost 500,000 French Francs, and the plan was that racing models would be built in batches of 5. One was first seen at the Paris Motor Show in October 1947. However by this time Ettore Bugatti had died and no further Bugatti’s were completed. The existing stock was dismantled and stored, so the Type 73C never turned a wheel in anger. In 1960, Bugatti dealer Jean de Dobbeleer in Brussels managed to acquire the parts for one of the five Type 73C chassis, #73002, and this became the first Type 73 to enter private hands. In 1962 #73002 was described by Hugh Conway of the Bugatti Owners Club as not ‘pur sang’, pure blooded. It appears that the parts for #73005 were built up some time from the mid 1960’s. Today #73005, this car, is run in VSCC events by Tom Dark.
A good mix of C and D Types and the XK120
Vying with the ERAs for attention was this, the amazing Lancia D50. A Formula One racing car, it was designed by Vittorio Jano for Lancia in 1954. The car’s design made use of many innovative features, such as the use of the engine as a stressed chassis member, the off-centre positioning of the engine to allow a lower overall height, and pannier fuel cells for better weight distribution and aerodynamics. The D50 made its race debut toward the end of the 1954 Formula One season in the hands of two-time and reigning World Champion, Italian driver Alberto Ascari. In its very first event Ascari took both pole position in qualifying and fastest race lap, although his car’s clutch failed after only ten laps. Following Ascari’s death, and in increasing financial trouble, the Lancia family sold their controlling share in the Lancia company, and the assets of Scuderia Lancia were given to Scuderia Ferrari. Ferrari continued to develop the car, although they removed many of Jano’s most innovative designs, and the car was rebadged as the Lancia-Ferrari D50 and later simply the Ferrari D50. Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1956 World Championship of Drivers with this car modified by Ferrari. During their competition lifespan D50s were entered into 14 World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, winning five. Just six D50s were built and two of them are displayed in Italian museums, so to see one out and in action on the track is really special.
The distinctive sloping front grille makes this car readily identifiable as a Lea Francis Hyper, a small sports car made in Coventry in the mid 1920s.
Another pair of lovely cars were the two Maserati that were racing. There is a whole class of classic Maserati at the forthcoming Donington Historic Festival but seeing and hearing these two was a good appetiser. The red car started off life as an 8CM, and it was first driven by legendary race driver Tazio Nuvolari. He had made his Maserati debut in 1933, driving an earlier car. By June 1934 Maserati had supplied Tazio with this 8CM, and he drove in the Eifel GP at the Nurburgring where he retired. Two more retirements followed until he scored a 4th place finish in the 1934 German Grand Prix which was followed by successive 3rd and 2nd place finishes at Vivorno and Pescara respectively. In August 1934 the original 3 litre 8 cylinder motor was replaced with a 1.5 litre 6 cylinder unit for voiturette races, making the car the first Maserati 6CM a full 18 months before the 6CM went into production in 1936. Tazio drove #3018 in voiturette spec to victories in the at Modena and Naples.
Not actually competing – I think it would have come a resounding last in any race in which it was entered, was this, Joy Rainey’s trusty 1904 Curved Dash Oldsmobile. This is the car that she drove coast to coast across America in April 2013. She has now published a book detailing her experiences, and she was on hand not only to promote it, but also to talk about her latest plans for an adventure which are to take the Oldsmobile back to her native Australia and drive it even further. Top marks to her for coming up with ideas, and executing on them.
Doyen of the affordable sporting car in the 1930s, there were plenty of Riley models competing. Most of them were Specials, based on the popular Nine or Twelve chassis of the era
A couple of Hornet Specials were competing.
FOR THOSE WITH DEEP POCKETS
Bonhams had a display of cars that they will be putting up for auction later in the year. Star attraction, for sure, was this fabulous 1968 Lotus 49 R8 as raced by Graham Hill, Richard Atwood, Jo Bonnier and most successfully by Dave Carlton in South Africa in two local F1 championships. It is expected to fetch between £700,000 and a million at Goodwood in June.
Also on offer were a trio of Bentleys. An early 3 litre model was joined by a slightly later model as well as an HJ Mulliner bodied S Type Continental Coupe.
IN THE CAR PARKS
A separate area for VSCC period road cars was set aside, and whilst this never completely filled, there were some splendid machines parked up in there during the day.
There are an awful lot of 1920s and 1930s Alvis that have survived, and indeed along with Riley, these probably constitute the most numerous cars in the VSCC. There were quite a few Alvis in this area of the car park, including a 12/50
Although we tend to think of 1930s Astons as out and out sports cars, they did produce some saloon bodied cars as well, such as this 1.5 litre.
A splendid line of classic BMW formed during the day, starting with a 319/1, and quickly joined by a 327 and a 328.
By the 1950s, Frazer Nash was producing small numbers of cars with a very obvious racing or sporting intent. This is a Sebring.
I rather think that was the genuine SS100 article and not a modern Suffolk recreation.
A classic M45 sports tourer. Very nice.
The smaller Rapier model which was offered in the mid 1930s, but which found little commercial success.
No problem identifying this very distinctive car, the 1922 Lancia Lambda.
Also well known, and impressive for many of the same reasons as its 1920 forebear was this 1950s Aurelia GT
I think (but please correct me, if I am wrong) this is a mid 1930s PA
No doubts about this one, it is a supercharged J2.
Older still was this an 18/80 from the mid 1920s.
Imp, I think.
A 20/25 Rolls-Royce.
The 30/98 was a costly and powerful car in its day, but following the GM acquisition, the Vauxhall brand was repositioned lower in the market and cars like this have not born the Griffin badge ever since.
This 1926 Clinton model 30/98 is the only one of its type. It appeared in an advert in Classic & Sports Car recently.
Even in the main car park, which, thanks to the relatively unbusy nature of the event was just behind the old Pits, and thus readily accessible whenever you wanted to go to the car during the day, there was plenty of interesting machinery among the more prosaic stuff. Later in the day, a number of people move their cars up on to the banking so they could be both near their cars and watch the action on the track.
This one puzzled me, as it bears Oxford plates, and there are no Abarth dealers who would issue those. Then I noticed that it was a left hand drive car, so I have to assume that it arrived in the UK some time after being first registered.
There was a rather grubby 695 Tributo Ferrari which I came across in the Paddock, and which then seemed to be constantly moved and parked up in different places. Nice to see that not quite all of these have been exported out to the Far East (yet!).
A very nice Aceca, the coupe version of the better known Ace, as well as the more familiar open-topped Ace itself.
I came back to my car mid morning to find that its nearest neighbour was this fabulous DB6 Volante. A cool three quarters of a million or so, just parked up like everything else (but there was a more extreme case of that as you will see if you read on a bit more).
Worth a tiny fraction of that is this, one of the rare Virage models that appeared in the late 1980s to replace the long running V8 series.
Later in the day I came across a DB6 Vantage as well. These are worth far less than the Volante, but their values have rocketed in recent times and for good reason, as it is a very nice car. In my opinion as good looking as the generally preferred DB5.
Final Aston was a rather nice DB7
It was noticeable that there were an awful lot of Audi in the Paddock, many with trailer behind them. Clearly for VSCC members who do not have the full race transporter, an all wheel drive Audi is the next best thing. Someone seemed to have brought this (clean-ish for once in its life) S5 Sportback with them.
There were a good mix of Big Healeys and Marks 1 and 2 Sprite.
An interesting contrast when I came upon the latest Flying Spur and the older Arnage parked right by each other, giving you the opportunity to compare and decide which is preferable. Although I like them both, I think I would take the older car, thank you. Both of them are preferable, in my opinion, to the latest Mulsanne which does not quite do it for me.
This lovely 2002Tii looks really rather dainty compared to modern bloated cars. And just look at how much glass relative to body pillars there is. No wonder it went well, despite what now would seem to be a pathetic power output.
Even by the time this E28 model 5 series was built, some 15 years later, cars had not got that much bigger or heavier, but the trend was starting. E28s are rare these days.
There were a couple of the rarer Bristols, and as “rare” applies to any car with that name, then these really are beasts you will see often: a 402 Convertible and a 404 Coupe.
The wonderful DS21. Magnifique!
This lovely 275 GTB4 was also just parked up among the ordinary cars. Worth a 7 figure sum, it was a very special find in among the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astras and other moderns.
This 458 Italia was much more prominent, and was attracting plenty of attention from everyone who wandered by it.
Nice though the 458 is, I have to say that I prefer the looks of the 328 GTS. This is a late model produced just before the unlamented 348ts took over the position as entry level Ferrari in the range. The F355 is also a particularly good looking model.
Until very recently, it was customary to decry the 412i like this as unworthy. Indeed, it has featured in lists of “crap cars”, but gradually people are realising that this is neither fair nor accurate and the elegant V12 2+2 Coupe is gaining new fans.
Parked up near that very valuable 275GTB was this, a 600 Multipla, and, believe it or not, it was probably attracting more attention. Everyone I saw came up to it, had a good look, took several pictures and uttered words like “cool”, “charming” and “desirable”. And yes, it is all of those.
We will see far more of the Mustang later in the year, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. This is an early car.
A very nice Mark 2 3.8 Jaguar.
Nicer still was this XK150.
This D Type was most definitely a replica. In case there were any doubt – and it was nicely presented – the fact that road tax was payable rather gave the game away. How will we tell so easily once the paper tax discs have been abolished later this year?
There were, of course, E Types present as well.
There were a couple of very pretty Fulvia Coupe present.
Also nice was this relatively early Delta HF Turbo 4WD, the precursor to the Integrale models.
A 2 litre LeaF from the early 1950s.
First generation Esprit Turbo
As well as this Excel, there were a pair of the short lived front wheel dive “M100” Elan models which were parked up next to each other.
There was an example of the original car to bear the Elan name, as well. These really do look petite in this day and age.
The eagle eyed among you will spot the despite my careful positioning, I could not quite hide the fact that the nearside rear light cluster on this Ghibli Coupe was broken, which is a pity, as despite all the nay-sayers who castigate the BiTurbo generation, by the time the Ghibli version emerged, the car had been sorted and was a pretty competitive and desirable machine.
No surprise to find example of the classic MGA, MGB and Midget present.
More recent, and far rarer was this Maestro Turbo. When launched in 1989, it was the most powerful car in its class. Despite some help from Tickford who attended to the chassis, it was probably a bit too powerful for front wheel technology at the time, so it was a bit unruly. Definitely an almost unknown and ignored car these days, unfairly in my opinion.
Also relatively rare, largely because the model was only produced for 3 years and most of the production went (initially) to America, was the TD like this one.
There were plenty of 911 models, of all vintages from some early cars right up to the latest 991 models including one of the rare 1980s Speedsters.
There were a pair of the very elegant Stag models parked up on the banking.
Of course, there were TR models, too, such as this TR6.
This was a great day out. I always enjoy VSCC events, and it was fascinating to see a slightly different focus by being with them at a race circuit rather than a hill climb, as this introduced some variety into the cars assembled and that were in action. And to see all those ERAs in one place and so many of them on the track all at once is something that will live with me for a very long time.