Brooklands Autumn MotorSport Day – October 2014

Proof that you need constantly to assess even well established events and potentially change the schedule came in 2011 when GingerBeer promotions, the names used by Phil Ward and the crew at Auto Italia magazine for the events that they run, decided to axe the Italian Car Show that had been held at the Gaydon Motor Museum in early to mid September,  thanks to dwindling attendances, and to replace it with an Autumn MotorSport day at Brooklands a few weeks later in mid October. The first event was a little on the small scale, but with every year, it has grown with more cars with a sporting theme in the main display, far more invited Car Clubs bringing interesting machinery along and a greater number of spectators, attracted by the combination of static displays, track action around the adjoining Mercedes-Benz World circuit at lunchtime and the opportunity to test their prowess on the famous Hill in the afternoon. After two years of glorious autumn sunshine, the 2013 event was memorable for the truly terrible weather which tested even the most loyal fans, so everyone was hoping that 2014 would not be similarly afflicted. And it was not. with a bumper turn out meaning that this was the best yet of this event which to me pretty well marks the end of the outdoor events for the season. Read on to see what treats were in store:


As has been the case at previous versions of this event, a number of cars are selected in advance as being of particular interest and invited to park right in the middle of the event outside the entrance to the main building on site. Although there was both an Italian and a sporting theme to the vehicles selected, this was not the sole criteria and there was plenty of variety in the display. With cars moving around during the day, including taking time out to go and run around the adjoining Mercedes-Benz World track and in some cases also to be tested on the slopes of the famous Test Hill, there was ample opportunity to see these cars from more than one angle and in many cases with an unobstructed view which the photographer particularly appreciated.


As ever, an interesting assembly of historic Abarth models, comprising a mix of some individual cars I have seen before and a couple I have not. The familiar 595 was joined by 850TC the OT1000 and the utterly bonkers 1700cc Alfa Sprint engined beast that makes regular appearances at Ace Cafe’s Italian Night among other outings.

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I was pleased also to see a couple of the legendary 131 models.

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This striking Alfa 4C was on loan to the organiser, and you could see Phil using it to get around the site during the day  – and why wouldn’t you, given the chance? – as well as its role as one of the course cars for the track action.

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It was later joined by its larger and older brother, the 8C Competizione.

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Other special Alfas that took up a position in the centre of the event were the stylish Montreal and the SZ

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A very imposing 1928 4.5 litre model

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Established in 2002, Brooke Cars is a Devon based manufacturer who currently produce one model, the Double R, a lightweight two-seater open sports car weighing around 510 kg (1,120 lb). It is powered by a 2.3-litre Cosworth engine with a range of outputs from 200 bhp to 400 bhp The Double R is similar to the previous 1990s Brooke Kensington ME 190.

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I’d seen, and heard this astonishing Chapparal 2B at Prescott only the weekend before, so it was a real surprise, and a treat to come across it again, especially as it did not remain solely as a static exhibit but was taken around the track, and also for ascents up the hill.

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This 1951 212 made its debut at the event last year, but had to be covered over when the rain lashed down, so it was nice to get the chance for a proper look this time round. One of just two such cars (the other is in the Schlumpf Collection in France), it is based on an F2 car but fitted with a 2.5-litre V12. The car made its debut in 1951 at the Siracusa Grand Prix, driven by Dorino Serafini and is thought to have also been driven by Villoresi, Marzotto and Gonzalez. Raced extensively during the 1950s, it was later discovered stored in Uruguay and eventually found its way into various UK, Italian and Japanese collections. Restored by DK Engineering in 2008, the car is currently owned by a UK collector who has brought it to a number of events during the year.

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Frazer Nash is known for making a series of small sports cars in the late 1920s and early 1930s, which featured a chain drive, mostly with 1.5 litre engines. Initially successful on the track as well as popular on the road, the limitations of their solid rear axle and relatively crude chassis started to tell, and in the mid 1930s, the company set up an arrangement with BMW to import their models instead, losing focus on their own cars. Frazer Nash models are nevertheless still popular among enthusiasts today. This one dates from 1934 and has a 3.5 litre engine under the bonnet., a one-off, it is known as the Norris Special, and it makes regular appearance at vintage motor sports events around the country.

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This rare racing Rivolta had been at the event in 2013 as well, so it was good to see (and hear – and it was probably second only to the Chapparal on the noise stakes) it again.

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An example of the legendary  D Type.

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Born in 1952, William Joseph “Joey” Dunlop, O.B.E., M.B.E. was a world champion motorcycle racer from Ballymoney in Northern Ireland, best known for road racing. Known throughout the sport as “Joey” or “Yer Maun”, his achievements include three hat-tricks at the Isle of Man TT races (1985, 1988 and 2000), where he won a record of 26 races in total. During Joey’s career he won the Ulster Grand Prix 24 times and the North West 200 13 times. In 1986 Joey won a fifth consecutive TT Formula One world title. In 2005 he was voted the fifth greatest motorcycling icon ever by Motorcycle News. He was awarded the MBE in 1986 for his services to the sport, and in 1996 he was awarded the OBE for his humanitarian work for children in Romanian orphanages, to which he had delivered clothing and food. The whole world was shocked when Joey Dunlop died in Tallinn, Estonia, in 2000 while leading a 125cc race (he had already won the 750cc and 600cc events) on Pirita-Kose-Kloostrimetsa Circuit. He appeared to lose control of his bike in the wet conditions and was killed instantly on impact with trees. As a mark of respect, the Estonian government’s official website was replaced with a tribute to Dunlop within hours of his death. Northern Ireland television carried live coverage of his funeral. Fifty thousand mourners, including bikers from all parts of Britain and Ireland and people from all backgrounds in Northern Ireland, attended the funeral to Garryduff Presbyterian church and his burial in the adjoining graveyard. A special display here included a Transit van which was used as a racing transporter used when he was racing as well a couple of his old bikes.

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The legendary Stratos needs no introduction. Most successful rally car of the 1970s, it was the first car that was purpose designed for this particular brand of motor sport.

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Looking very dainty, especially thanks to those narrow tyres was this M Type Midget from 1930. Interestingly, the DVLA think it is red, so it must have been repainted recently.

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Rather more purposeful was this race version of the popular MGB.

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The SV is a bit of an oddity. An adaptation of a design that was originally going to bear De Tomaso badges, only a small number of these cars were made before the demise of the MG-Rover Company in early 2005.

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Always a highlight is the chance to see the amazing Napier Railton in the great outdoors. This dramatic machine lives in the museum at Brooklands, but is wheeled out, and fired up on special occasions like this. It never fails to pull the crowds.

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Porsche followed up their 1975 front engined 924 with a more powerful version, the 924 Turbo in 1978, which was intended to bridge the gap between their entry level car and the most costly 911. Once a revised version was offered which addressed early reliability issues from what by today’s standards is a rather primitive turbo installation, sales of both cars were decent, and generated some much needed DM into Porsche’s bank account, so it was something of a surprise when in 1980,  Porsche released the 924 Carrera GT, making clear their intention to enter the 924 in competition. By adding an intercooler, increasing compression to 8.5:1 as well as various other little changes, Porsche was able to develop the 924 Turbo into the race car they had long wanted.  Visually it differed from the 931  (the factory designation for the 924 Turbo) in that it had polyurethane plastic front and rear flared guards, a polyurethane plastic front spoiler, a top mounted air scoop for the intercooler, a much larger rubber rear spoiler and a flush mounted front windscreen. It lost the 931’s NACA duct in the bonnet but retained the air intakes in the badge panel. This more aggressive styling was later used for as motivation for the 944. In order to comply with the homologation regulations, the 924 Carrera GT and later 924 Carrera GTS were offered as road cars as well, producing 210 and 245 hp respectively. Clubsport versions of the GTS were also available with 280 hp, and factory included Matter rollcage and race seats. 924 Carrera GT variations were known by model numbers 937 (left hand drive) and 938 (right hand drive). The ultimate development of the 924 in its race trim was the 924 Carrera GTR race car, which produced 375 horsepower from a highly modified version of the 2.0 litre in-line 4 used in all 924s. In 1980 Porsche entered three 924 GTRs at the 24hrs of Le Mans, which went on to finish 6th, 12th and 13th overall. They also built a 924GTR Rally race car, and 2 other GTR’s (Miller & BF Goodrich). This is an example of the road-going version of the 924GTS.

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Produced more than 20 years earlier, from 1953 to 1956, also with motorsport in mind, was the 550RS, a derivative of Porsche’s road car, the 356. It was followed by the 718, a development of the earlier 550 RS with improvements being made to the body work and suspension. The new front frame resembled the letter K if viewed from the front and this led to the car being referred to as the RSK. It had a mid-engined layout and used the 142 horsepower 1.5-litre Type 547/3 quad-cam engine introduced in the 550A. The car made its racing debut at the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans driven by Umberto Maglioli and Edgar Barth. The car failed to finish the race due to an accident. It did then go onto enjoy much success in races for the several years. In 1958, the car finished first in class and third overall at Le Mans. Jean Behra also brought one of the cars home second at the Targa Florio. In 1959, the car, driven by Edgar Barth and Wolfgang Seidel, claimed overall victory at the Targa Florio. A 718 also won the European Hill Climb Championship in both 1958 and 1959. In 1961 Masten Gregory and Bob Holbert piloted a 718/4 RS Spyder to a class win at Le Mans.  The 718 evolved considerably in this time, with changes being made to the body work and the mechanicals. Original 718s are few and far between, so there has been a ready market to build replicas, just as there has been for 550s and 356s, and the pair of cars on show were indeed replica models rather than the original thing. Still nice, though.

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British marque Riley produced a bewildering array of different models in the late 1920s and 1930s, one reason why the company collapsed in 1938, allowing it to be purchased by the Nuffield Group. Telling them apart from each other is difficult especially as many of them have had replacement or special bodies fitted. I can tell you that this one dates from 1932 and has a 1087cc engine, which makes it a Nine of some sort.

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Founded in 1992 by Ted Marlow and Richard Marlow, Ultima Sports Ltd manufacture and distribute worldwide a number of sports cars. Current models in the range are the Ultima GTR and Ultima Can-Am supercars, but previously they have also offered  the Ultima Sport and the one shown here, the Ultima Spyder. All models in the Ultima range have always been primarily supplied in component form. This has been the only way to receive such a vehicle in the USA, though the kit is supplied as a ‘rolling body’ fully constructed minus engine and transmission). Cars for Europe are  manufactured and assembled on-site and sold complete. The preferred engine supplier for Ultima is American Speed, a company who specialise in re-engineering Chevrolet V8s for increased performance. It was with a 640 hp version of the Chevrolet small-block V8 built by American Speed, that company director Richard Marlow was able to set a number of performance records in an Ultima GTR during 2005, this combination now being dubbed the Ultima GTR640.

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Although there was an inevitable dominance of Italian marques among the Club displays, there were other brands here as well. There were far more cars here than in previous years, with the approach to the banking almost full, and many of the other spaces around the site also containing an array of interesting cars.


Abarthisti managed to amass 10 cars to show, and the reward for bringing that number was a parking place right in the middle of the event, unlike all the other Clubs whose cars were further away on the approach to the banking or around the museum buildings. As ever, even with only 10 cars, there was plenty of variety, from my own “NP” 500 to later 595 models, in regular and C guises, as well as the rare treat of seeing a 695 Tributo Maserati that is the proud possession of an owner and not a dealer. The Punto was not forgotten with a couple of those as well including a SuperSport and one of the earlier Grande Puntos.

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A classic 595 was also here, parked up on the approach to the banking.

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The Alfa Owners Club had a sizeable display of cars which was parked in an area just beyond the Concorde and when was that full, a further array of Alfas assembled on the approach to the banking.

Oldest Alfa of the day, and probably the most special of the lot was this fabulous 2600 Sprint (Coupe). Freshly back from an extensive restoration, this was quite superb. The big Alfas (the 106 Series) have long been largely ignored in favour of the smaller 101 Series Giuliettas and the 105 Series Giulias, not least of the reasons for which is that there are far fewer of these models around, as they were an expensive car when new.  Based on the visually very similar 2000 models, which preceded them, Berlina (Saloon), Sprint (Coupe) and Spider (Convertible) versions were available, along with a dramatically styled SZ Coupe from Italian styling house Zagato and a rebodied Berlina from OSI, all of them with an inline twin overhead cam six cylinder engine, the last Alfas to offer this configuration. Just 6999 of the Sprint models were made and 2255 Spiders, very few of which were sold new in the UK where they were exceedingly expensive thanks to the dreaded Import Duty which made them much more costly than an E Type.  Many of the parts were unique to these cars, so owning one now is far harder than the more plentiful 4 cylinder Alfas of the era. Whilst the rather square styling of the Berlina, which won it relatively few friends when new and not a lot more in recent times means that there are few of these versions to be seen, the Sprint and Spider models do appear from time to time.

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Far more common, of course are the 105 series Spider models that were produced in four distinct versions from the early boat-tailed Duetto models of 1966, through to the last S4 cars in 1996. Only officially sold in the UK for a small proportion of the 30 year production life, there are quite a number of them on our shores now, some of which have been converted to right hand drive. These are late model S4 cars.

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Anyone who bought a 105 Series GTV a few years ago, for not a lot of money must be feeling quite smug when they see how valuable these cars have become. Good ones -and far from all those that are around come in this category – tend to be priced between £15 to £20,000 these days and prices are still heading upwards. Who can be surprised, as this is a supremely elegant car, with its simple Bertone lines, and it is endowed with jewel like engines and road manners which mean that this was a star car of the 1960s and early 1970s.

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Whilst the GT and GTV cars of this era are commonly encountered, the closely related saloon model, the 1750/2000 Berlina is not, so it was good to see one of these at the event.

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First seen in public at the Turin Motor Show of 1969, the GT 1300 Junior Zagato was a limited production two seater coupe with aerodynamic bodywork penned by Ercole Spada while he was at renowned Milanese styling house Zagato  Based on the floorpan, driveline and suspension of the 1300 Spider, the Junior Zagato had a  floorpan shortened behind the rear wheels to fit the bodyshell. the model evoked the earlier, race-oriented Giulietta Sprint Zagatos which featured aluminium bodywork and had a very active competition history. However, the Junior Zagato featured a steel bodyshell with an aluminium bonnet and, on early cars, aluminium doorskins. The Junior Zagato was not specifically intended for racing and did not see much use in competition.  In total 1,108 units were constructed, with the last being built in 1972 although the records suggest that a further 2 cars were built in 1974. In 1972 the 1600 Zagato came out of which 402 units were produced. In this case the floorpan was unaltered from the 1600 Spider, so that the normal fueltank could be left in place. As a consequence, the 1600 Zagato is approximately 100 mm (3.9 in) longer than the 1300 model. This can be seen at the back were the sloping roofline runs further back and the backpanel is different and lower. The lower part of the rear bumper features a bulge to make room for the spare wheel. The 1600 Zagato has numerous other differences when compared to the 1300 Junior if you ever see two side by side, and were a real expert, you could probably tell them apart easily. The last 1600 Zagato was produced in 1973 and the cars were sold until 1975. The owner of this one did say that he is well aware that this is a “marmite” car, with some people loving the rather bold styling and others finding to just odd for their tastes. I am in the former category.

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As often happens, there are more survivors of the costlier coupe model of the Alfetta than the Berlina version, so it is no surprise that the saloon was absent, but there were a number of Alfetta GTV present. This Giugiaro styled car still looks good, nearly 40 years after being released, and although the plastic bumpers and other changes that came with the 1981 facelift are very period, they spoil the visuals far less than was the case for a lot of other cars of the time. The facelift did mark the introduction of Alfa’s classic 2.5 litre V6 under the bonnet as a (popular) option, and there was an example of that version, in red, as well as a silver  2 litre car. A further red example was originally sold new in South Africa where lucky buyers were able to specify the car with a 3 litre V6.

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Everyone knows that the AlfaSud suffered even more than most cars of its era for rust, and you don’t see them that often, leading people to think that the model is down to a handful. Look on a site like, though, and you will discover that there are literally hundreds in SORN state, so from time to time, a car that’s not been seen before will appear. I’m not sure whether that is true for this one, although I’ve not seen it before. The grey plastics of the bumpers look to have suffered, but otherwise it was not in a bad state. One of my “star” cars of the day, as I have a soft spot for the ‘Sud.

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There was a nice progression of mid size Alfas from the past 30 years or so, with examples of the 75, 155 and 156 all on show.

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Although prices do not yet reflect it, received wisdom is that the 916 Series GTV and Spider is a future classic, and it is not hard to see why, with its elegant styling, nicely presented interiors and a choice of the classic 2.0 Twin Spark or sonorous 3 litre and later 3.2 litre V6 engines under the bonnet.

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Former “Car of the Year”, the 147 was represented in both GTA and regular forms. I still think that the facelift did the front end no favours, but otherwise this was a good looking car, and in the case of the GTA, by all accounts an absolute blast to drive.

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One of the most elegant cars of recent times, in my opinion, is the Alfa GT, a true 4 seater Coupe that was based on a mix of 147 and 156 components and underpinnings.

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The 159 has been out of production for a couple of years now, and with a replacement still promised, but information about it still scarce, those who want a family sized modern Alfa are still in the elegant 159. And they could do far worse, as this was a nicely styled car that was well put together. Only its excess weight and the disappointment of the distinctly “ordinary” GM/Alfa V6 engined really counted against it.

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Current Alfas are just as loved by their owners as the classic ones, and to prove the point, there were several MiTo and Giulietta models parked up with their older relatives.

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A late arriver in the day was this Seven Ruby.

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With an elegance that so completely eludes today’s bloated and over stylised BMWs, was this E30 Cabrio model.

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Introduced in the 1959–1960 model years as a direct response to the success of the Ford Ranchero, the El Camino was a coupé utility vehicle produced by Chevrolet. The first model only ran for a couple of years, but the concept was reintroduced in 1964, based on the Chevelle platform, and there were El Caminos in the range until 1987. This is a nicely presented  version of that second generation model.

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Of the “TriStar” Chevrolets that were produced from 1955 to 1957, it is the 1957 Bel Air, like this one, which is sought after above all others. Bel Air was the top of a large range of different models, and was offered in Sedan, Convertible and this 2 door Coupe formats.

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A couple of C5 model Corvettes were tucked away in a corner among the historic buildings of the site.

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You don’t see examples of the Pantera that often in the UK, and when you do, they tend to be the later cars, with the massively wider wheel arches and other styling changes which change the look of Tom Tjaarda’s original design, so it was refreshing to come across this one, an early, 1973 car.

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What started out as just a handful of Ferraris parked up around the back of the site ended up as a large display of the Prancing Horse models, with representatives of just about every different type made in the past 30 years or so.

308 GTS and 328 GTB

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348 tb and Spider

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F355 GTB, GTS and Spider

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550 Maranello

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456 GT

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360 including a Challenge Stradale and a Spider

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F430  and Spider

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612 Scaglietti

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599 GTB

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458 Italia and Spider

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A small number of Coupe models were here. The first couple initially gate-crashed the Abarth parking area, one of which later moved to be with other models on the approach to the banking.

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Attracting lots of attention was this 128 Saloon. Once a common sight on our roads, these small family cars all disappeared when the dreaded tin worm got to them, which, sadly, was pretty quickly. Only a handful remain in the UK (and indeed elsewhere), making this one of the rarer cars of the day.

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Another Fiat that was once a common sight, if you wind the clock back a few years further, was the 850 Coupe. These very stylish small Coupes were based on the boxy 850 Saloon, so brought a touch of style into the lives of those who spent the extra for the fastback bodywork, which many people did. They were particularly popular among lady drivers, often being the second car in a household.

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You could view the 128 3P as a sort of successor to that 850 Coupe, though it was a bit larger and more costly. Taking over from the short lived 128 Coupe in 1976, this model introduced a hatchback to make it more practical. There are only a handful of these left in the UK now, though thankfully, their owners do bring them to events like this on a pretty regular basis.

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Surely a modern classic in the making is the Panda 100HP.

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Less obviously heading for that status is the 500L. Compare it with the old 500 to see just how tiny one is and how massive the other has become!

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Final Fiat here was an X1/9, seen in Gran Finale guise.

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There can’t be an enthusiast left by now who does not know that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the legendary Ford Mustang, as there have been celebrations and special gatherings throughout the year to mark the model’s half century. There was no special mention made here, but there were a number of this American icon on display, reminding us of the part this car has played in automotive history.

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In the early 1960s, Ford decided to try to change their image by putting more effort into motorsport, in the belief that “race on Sunday means sales on Monday”. And it worked, especially when they added more sporting cars to the range, such as this Mark 1 Cortina GT, a practical family saloon that had an 78 bhp 1500cc engine under the bonnet in place of the 63 bhp of the standard 1500 Super or weedy 1200cc that gathered most of the sales.

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Contemporary with that Cortina was the 105E Anglia, Ford’s entry level car, notable for the reverse angle rear window and more recently for a starring role in a certain Harry Potter movie. This is the slightly less basic Super model which was added to the range in 1962.

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By the time of the Mark 2 Escort, a range of sporting models had been created, topped off by the RS1800 and RS2000. Those were beyond the reach of many, so Ford added Sport versions of the less potent cars, meaning that the family motorist could afford to buy and insure something that bit different from the volume selling L and GL cars. This is a 1600 Sport from 1977.

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There was just one example of the classic and much loved E Type here, an early 3.8 litre model.

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A very strong showing from Lamborghini, whose Owners Club have brought along a massive trailer caravan for the event,. Highlight for many people would be a chance to see one of the first Huracan models in the country. This was clearly a dealer car, but I believe the model is now starting to reach the first owners.

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It was actually the Aventador, parked next to its newer and smaller stablemate, which seemed to be attracting the most interest, and in front of which the largest number of people seemed to want to pose for photos.

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In production for 10 years, Lamborghini have made more Gallardo models than any other car in their history, and they are quite a common sight on the streets of London. They are still a traffic stopper, though, and the models on show here were very popular with the crowds.

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There was also an example of the larger model which ran contemporaneously with the Gallardo, the V12 engined Murcielago

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It might be more than 40 years since Lamborghini stunned the world with the bold Gandini-styled Countach but this is still a head turner as the presence of this one reminded us all.

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The 4 seater Espada had a production run of 10 years, from 1968 – 1978, and over 1200 of these cars were produced in the three different series. This is a late model Series 3 car.

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The Silhouette was launched in 1976, as an evolution of the V8 engined Urraco, Lamborghini’s smaller and cheaper car, aimed fairly and squarely at rival Ferrari’s 308 GT4 Dino and 308 GTB. It featured a removable targa top roof, as well as plenty of other changes from the car which begat it.

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The Lancia collection was dominated by the Delta Integrale, which is no surprise, as there are quite a lot of these classics around, and although values are increasing steadily, this much loved car is still relatively affordable. I doubt that will last for ever, though! If you studied the display cars carefully, you could see the evolution of this model from the early HF Turbo 4WD model that debuted in 1986 through to the Integrale and later Evo cars of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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In the 1960s, Lancia offered elegant Coupe versions of their “regular” Saloon (Berlina” models, each of which was styled and built one, or in most cases more than one of the renowned Italian styling houses, and there were several examples of the very pretty results of their endeavours here. Perhaps the most attractive of the lot was the Fulvia Coupe, which ran from 1966 to 1976. As well as stunning us all on the roads, this was turned into a very successful rally car in the late 1960s.

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Larger brother was the Fulvia Coupe. Farina produced the model which sold in the greatest quantity, with an elegant design notable for its large glass area giving excellent visibility, something that often eludes Coupe designs. Early cars had 1800cc engines, which were later enlarged to 2 litres and then more power was extracted with the addition of fuel injection. This is one of the 1800cc cars.

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Top of the Lancia range was the Flaminia. Three different Coupe models were made on the Flaminia chassis. The first came from Farina and then in the 1960s, a rather bold Zagato design and the best selling of them all, the Touring model were added to the range. On show was one of the Touring cars.

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The Aprilia was the mainstay of Lancia’s range in the 1930s, and true to form, it wrapped a number of innovative engineering solutions into the then fashionable aerodynamic looking body.

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The Aurelia B20 GT is widely credited with being the first car to bear the GT moniker. An exquisitely engineered car, these stylish Coupes were made in 8 different series from the early to late  1950s. A couple of examples were on show here.

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There was quite a contrast between the 2 Lotus models parked up next to each other, an early 1970s Elan Sprint and the latest V6 engined Exige

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Parked up on the bottom of the approach to the banking was this 1800GT, an example of the long lived Marcos from the late 1960s.

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Just as the Ford Mustang’s 50th has been much in evidence during the year, then so has Maserati’s centenary, with even more excuse to see some of the lovely models from this Modenese marque’s illustrious and somewhat chequered past. A small number of Maserati were at this event.

The Merak was the “volume” seller of the range in the 1970s, “volume” being a relative term. A mid engined car that mostly came with a 3 litre V6 engine, although a 2 litre model was offered for those who could not afford the tax buren in Italy at the time, this car had plenty of Citroen influence which means that people have been scared off buying them lately, by  the combination of mechanical complexity and Italian build quality. Shame, as it is a good looking car, though this does mean that the prices are reasonable!

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From the current catalogue comes the GranTurismo and parked nearby was the recently superceded Quattroporte, one of the best looking large saloon cars ever made, in my opinion.

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This brand new Ghibli was parked up among the Ferrari models.

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There was a very impressive collection of MGB models here, reflecting once again the enormous popularity of this British classic.

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Precursor to the MGB, of course, was the MGA and a nice black Hardtop model was on display.

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There was a neat line of classic Mini models with some of the more recent Cooper cars joined by a very rare, and well turned out Van.

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There were a number of 911 models, all of them relatively recent, from the 996 and 997 generations, including a GT3 and Turbo cars.

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When someone had the idea of shoe-horning the new 3.5 litre V8 engine that Rover had acquired to improve the performance of the larger P5 model into the compact executive P6, creating the 3500, I will guess that they were probably not entirely sure how the market would take to it. Sold initially only with a lazy automatic gearbox, it took Rover nearly 4 years to offer a manual alternative, by which time this had become one of the most desirable cars on the market, offering an unmatched level of performance and value for money.

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The Alpine was derived from the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 Saloon, and has become colloquially known as the “Talbot” Alpine. It was a two-seater sports roadster initially developed by Sunbeam-Talbot dealer George Hartwell in Bournemouth, as a one-off rally car. It had its beginnings as a 1952 Sunbeam-Talbot Drophead Coupé, and was supposedly named by Norman Garrad of the works Competition Department, who was heavily involved in Sunbeam-Talbot’s successes in the Alpine Rally during the early 1950s using the 90 saloon models. The car has the four-cylinder 2267 cc engine from the saloon, but with a raised compression ratio. However, since it was developed from the saloon platform, it suffered from rigidity compromises despite extra side members in the chassis. The gearbox ratios were changed, and from 1954 an overdrive unit became standard. The gearchange lever was column-mounted. The Alpine Mark I and Mark III (no Mark II was made) were hand-built – as was the 90 drophead coupé – at Thrupp & Maberly coachbuilders from 1953 to 1955, and remained in production for only two years. Of the 1582 automobiles produced, 961 were exported to the USA and Canada, 445 stayed in the UK, and 175 went to other world markets. It has been estimated that perhaps as few as 200 have survived. This is one that has.

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No, not real Bugatti, either of them, and that’s fairly obvious when you look at them and realise that these lack the exquisite delicacy of Ettore’s Type 35 These are Teals. Like many a low volume car, there’s quite an involved story which takes longer to tell than it does to list the number of products that got made. That’s true here. The first Teal, then called a Worsley, was designed by Ian Foster on the back of several fag packets in the bar of The Pack Horse Inn at Affetside, Bury in 1983. Ian had been a chassis designer for Daimler (including the Daimler Dart) before setting up his own business, Trafford Brake Services, in Patricroft, Eccles, near Manchester. The story goes that at the Pack Horse one night in 1983,  Alan Hunter  told his friends Ian Foster  and Tony Rogers, a part time motor-sport driver, that he had just flown back from America, where he was on business for Mitchell Shackleton Ltd, a large engineering company making marine crankshafts, and that at Los Angeles airport, he  had seen what he thought was a Bugatti Type 35, but in fact the brochure which Alan had picked up revealed this to be a rear-engined VW-based fibreglass kit car replica. The glorious Bugatti-style bonnet was,of course, empty. Ian then described on the ‘fag packets’ how an effective, strong chassis for a front-engined Bugatti replica could be designed to make use of the good GRP bodywork available. Alan listened in silence, then asked quietly: ‘would that work?’ When Ian and Tony both chorused ‘yes!’, Alan told them he would collect £330 off each of them the following week, and he would bring a body kit back from America! Within six weeks the kit of excellent GRP bodywork had arrived from the USA. Ian took accurate dimensions, the trio persuaded a Heywood fibreglass boat-builder to produce a mould and commence production, and Alan Hunter had the first 12 chassis welded up at Mitchell Shackleton Ltd to Ian Foster’s measurements. They were delighted with the result. Publicity was required to sell the new car, and Tony Rogers felt that the original Tudor courthouse in Worsley, Manchester, would make a suitable backdrop for photos. Brochures giving the Worsley’s spec were produced. In mid 1983, Granada TV’s Look North ran a piece, and the Worsley was launched. From mid-1983 Worsley cars were built at Trafford Brake, Patricroft, Eccles on a very strong twin-ladder box steel chassis with extensive triangulation to enhance rigidity. The GRP bodywork was well moulded in five sections, Morris 1.3 or 1.8 litre engines were fitted, and Morris Marina running gear/brakes were used with the smaller 8-spoke wheels. The first 8 cars were called Worsleys; but Ian remembered from his days with Daimler that in Brummie slang a ‘worsley’ meant a Friday car – a duff one, so a search started for a new name. At this time Ian was running his main business Trafford Brake, and he had also linked up after the February 1984 Target Motor Trade Show in Birmingham with Mike Alderson from Hampshire, who with Bob Buckley of Thistledown Engineering became his southern sales agents. After a bit of midnight oil burning, and some long distance phone calls, it was decided that the new car would be called TEAL, which has been variously described as standing for Trafford Engineering Automotive Limited; Trafford Engineering Automobiles Limited; Thistledown Engineering Automotive Limited; Trafford Engineering Associates Limited. Whichever it really is, the cars became TEALS; Mike Alderson had the new Teal badge rapidly designed and manufactured in Andover. He fitted the badge to the Teal which he had picked up from Ian in Birmingham, and had driven in leathers, flying helmet and goggles with Bob Buckley through a frozen March 1984 day first to Cirencester to thaw out in front of a hotel log fire, then on to Hampshire to appear on Southern TV at Southampton with the Teal in the studio , the first recorded long-distance drive of a Teal. The summer of 1984 was hectic at Teal. The car had appeared in Autocar magazine of March 1984, formed the front cover of Kit Car magazine July 1984, with a comprehensive report by Ian Hyne, had been on television twice, displayed at the Birmingham NEC (July 1984) and queries were coming in from all over the world. By July 84 eight Teals had been built, some at Eccles and some as kits, and Mike Alderson in Hampshire put in orders for eight more completed cars for clients in the South. The question now was could Teal cars cope with the rapid throughput of orders? The Teal kit price in the summer of 1984 for chassis and body was £3000 with 3 weeks delivery; the completed, drive-away car was £5700 and 12 weeks delivery quoted. Meanwhile Ian Foster was trying to run his own business at Trafford Brake, and was being pressed in 1984/85 to carry out a range of modifications to increase the sophistication and the appeal of the original Teal. He was also trying to arrange a move of Trafford Brake to Burscough. Something had to give, and in 1985 after about 30 GRP Teals had been manufactured in all, several going to the Continent, Ian Foster decided to sell Teal Cars – he discussed it with Mike Alderson in Hampshire, but in the end Teal Cars was purchased by Bob Jones in March 1986. Bob,  redesigned the chassis, replacing the GRP body with an all- aluminium skin, developing the design through the late 1980s and 1990s using a steel box chassis of great strength and rigidity, hand-wheeled aluminium boat-tail and louvred aluminium bodywork, refining the styling of the Teal to look very much like an original Bugatti T35A, but larger. A real Type 35 is quite small, with only a 2.40 metre wheelbase and 1.20 metre track; in the Teal T35 the wheelbase has been increased by 40cm, and the track by 20 cm, providing a footprint nearly 40% bigger on the ground – a much more comfortable size to drive on contemporary roads. The large 18 inch wire wheels from MWS (Motor Wheels Services) were now used, and Bob lowered the centre section of the chassis to provide improved handling, and a much more purposeful stance which is particularly evident in the Type 35B. The cars were built at Harrowby Mill near Bolton and near Altrincham in Cheshire, and could be purchased complete and ready to drive from the ‘works’, or in the kit form of chassis, suspension, wheels, bodywork and trim for assembly at home, thereby avoiding tax. Nearly all 2-seater Teals have no hood, but most owners do have a tonneau and a wind-blown complexion. The standard engine options were BMC 1700 or 1800cc/MGB 4-cylinder motors, but later there cars also came with 2.0 or 2.5 litre Triumph straight six options. Fiat-Lancia 2.0 twin cam engines have been used in the Teal T35, as well as Rover 2.6 litre straight sixes, Nissan motors and, in the strengthened Teal T35B, even the Jaguar 3.4 or 4.2 litre straight 6 engines. The Teal is also seen in a four-seater Tourer version, with ‘proper’ windscreen and hood, ideal for the sporting family motorist – or those who need to carry lots of baggage. In 1996 Bob Jones sold the Teal Type 35 designs to Norman Durban of Bisley, Surrey, but they agreed that Bob should complete all existing orders, which resulted in Bob building Teals and Teal kits until early 1998. Norman Durban, with his son, has competed in his interesting Teal T35 ‘April’ (from the registration number RPA1L) in the Liege-Roma-Liege Rally on the Continent. It is hoped by many Teal enthusiasts that production of the further-developed Teal Type 35 might restart, but that does not appear likely. In December 2010 The Teal Owners’ Club purchased the rights to the name Teal, and the right to manufacture all Teal cars except the Type 59 (Ted Riley). It also purchased the bucks for the Teal Type 35 mudguards, radiator, bonnet and boat tail. These days you can buy one for a few thousand £, though the very best cars have sold for around £35,000, an astonishing figure, though of course this is a fraction of the price of a genuine Bugatti Type 35.

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There were a couple of Stags, Triumph’s elegant grand tourer from the 1970s, on display parked up around the back of the site

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The Dolomite Sprint is one of my favourite saloon cars of the 1970s. In many ways an idea before its time, the 16 valve engine gave the car impressive performance, and it was delivered in an elegant body and with a nicely appointed interior. If only the build quality had been better, this should have been a world beater.

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Final Triumph that I noted was a TR5, the six cylinder fuel injected evolution of the Michelotti styled TR4 model.

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At 2:30pm, the Test Hill was declared open, and anyone who wanted to test themselves and their car was able to have a go. Quite a few people did, but there was ample time for those entered to try three or four times. One of the most spectacular ascents was from the big Bentley, with tyres smoking on one side, and on the next run, the other, laying a long black line. After the drama on a previous occasion when a Ferrari got airborne near the top and came back to ground in a rather spectacular way, there was nothing like that this time, though there were a couple of over-exuberant drivers who went straight on at the top rather than coping with the sharp right hander which is one of the things which makes the climb not that easy.

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This was a great day out. A very relaxed atmosphere, lots of cars to see and plenty of action with the use of the track and the hill. In 4 years, this event has moved on from slightly tentative beginnings to something that really should not be missed, and a fitting finale to the outdoor events calendar.

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