Now in its fourth year, the London Classic Car has established itself firmly in the calendar of the enthusiast. Although some complain that the ExCel, where it is held is difficult to get to, it is well served by the DLR and connections to the tube and other rail services and there is ample parking on site, as well as a still growing number of hotels within walking distance, and for those coming from further afield, London City Airport is only a few minutes walk. There’s plenty of display space at the ExCel, too, and for the 2018 show, the organisers booked 43,000 square feet of it , up a bit from 36,000 in 2017 and just 18,000 in the inaugural 2015 event. In 2017 the event also embraced what was called the Historic MotorSport International Show, which occupied a discrete space in halls across the central concours. Although unfortunately timed to coincide with the more established Race Retro event at Stoneleigh Park, which also covers historic motor racing of every genre, its addition was deemed a success and so the 2018 event included the HMI once more, but this time more integrated into the main event. Wisely, the organisers chose not deviate from the formula they have established in previous years, with the same mix of special features, the Grand Avenue, Car Club Square, an array of dealers, and a stage for live interviews all featuring once more. After the gates closed for the final time on the third day, it was announced that there had been 38,550 visitors, an increase of around 1500 on the previous year. I was able to pop along on the Friday, and at no point did the Show feel particularly busy, though there was a good buzz in the atmosphere. Here is what I saw:
THE GRAND AVENUE
Perhaps the most popular feature of the event, and certainly one which makes it very distinctive, is the Grand Avenue. The centre of the main exhibition area is given over to an area which is used at intervals during each day for a subset of the 60 cars that have been carefully selected for their pedigree, rarity or likelihood to appeal to the visitors. A total of 60 cars, broadly all encompassing a theme of “specials” but then further sub-divided into a number of sub-categories, made up the collection for 2018. There was a really diverse mix from the world of Formula 1 and Rallying to road cars from the ages, with the oldest cars dating from more than a century ago and among them were the familiar and the downright obscure. When each was called forward, the cars in that group paraded up and down the avenue several times whilst the commentator provided some details about the car we were all seeing.
PRE WAR CARS
Dating from 1928 this Alvis Front-Wheel-Drive Carbodies Four-Seat Tourer. Alvis pioneered production front-wheel-drive in 1928 but had actually been racing F.W.D. cars since 1925, achieving success in hillclimbs and at Brooklands. This led on to the construction of F.W.D. G.P. cars, which were astoundingly advanced for their time featuring independent suspension and Duralumin in their construction; they were also the first European racing cars made with a central seating position. This experimentation in racing led to the small-scale production of the 1.5-litre o.h.c. F.W.D. in 1928 – one of the first cars to have all-round independent suspension. In un-supercharged form, the car immediately proves itself in racing by finishing sixth and ninth at Le Mans, drivers Harvey and Purdy easily winning the 1.5-litre class with their teammates second. It was first registered Jan 1929, to a Mr. R. Cecil in London and was uniquely fitted from new with Smiths auto searchlight type C270, extra long range fuel tank and non standard racing instruments; including Brooklands calibration tag. Its last pre war owner, a Royal Naval Officer, placed the car in storage but never returned for it. The car was barn stored until the 1960s when it was restored by Alvis. Around 150 F.W.D.s were constructed but of the 28 made with this body style, only four survive.
There were a couple of Austin Seven-based sports cars here. This is a 1926 Austin Seven Ulster replica. While Alvis and other prestige makes pushed the technological envelope, the Longbridge-based Austin company were unwittingly laying the foundations for Britain’s post-war motorsport resurgence by launching the Austin Seven, a complete car in miniature, attainable to the working man. Produced from 1922 to 1939, it motorised Britain. Almost 300,000 were made and that ubiquity meant they became a cheap basis from which specials could be produced. Colin Chapman’s first Lotus was an Austin Seven Special. Today, Britain dominates F1; every team, including Ferrari, uses British components and the Austin Seven is part of the bedrock on which today’s ‘motorsport valley’ was built. This car is a replica of that raced by Gunnar Poppe, ex-captain of the London Welsh Rugby XV and part of the Austin Seven team that successfully competed in the 1920s and ’30s. These ‘Super Sports’ Austins, christened ‘Ulster’ after the team’s success in the 1929 Ulster T.T., were lightweight supercharged racers which beat far more powerful cars worldwide.
With it was another Seven, which bore a badge on the front which read PGS, in the style of an ERA badge. PGS turned out to stand for “Pea Green Special”, a reference to the colour which is the ERA team racing colour.
This is believed to be the sole surviving pre-war Daimler DB18 Drophead Coupe and, more significantly, it is also the very car used by Winston Churchill for his political campaigns between 1944 and 1949. As he toured the country, Churchill would sit on the rear deck addressing packed crowds via a loud speaker system fitted on top of the car’s bonnet. The DB18 was deemed appropriate as its relatively compact size ensured the huge numbers packing the streets could have a good view of their national hero. As depicted in the Oscar nominated Darkest Hour movie, Churchill was without doubt one of the most inspirational and charismatic leaders in British history, and during the Second World War the driving force against Nazi Germany. This extraordinary Daimler played its part, too. Announced in 1939 just before the outbreak of hostilities, the DB18 was the ultimate version of Daimler’s famous Fifteen model. It was the first Daimler to boast independent suspension and was powered by an enlarged, 2,522cc version of the overhead-valve six first introduced in 1933. An initial production run of 23 Drophead Coupés was planned for 1939, but production was soon halted when war broke out and didn’t resume until 1945. Adding to the disruption, only eight of the original cars had been built when Daimler’s factory was destroyed during the Blitz of 1940 and five of those were destroyed during the attack. Today only one of the surviving three DB18s exists: chassis number 49531 – Winston Churchill’s car with its unique Carlton Carriage Company designed drophead coupe body. The remarkable machine has just been returned to its former splendour having undergone a major £120,000 restoration.
The Delahaye 135, a model also known as “Coupe des Alpes” after its success in the Alpine Rally, was first presented in 1935 and signified Delahaye’s decision to build sportier cars than before. The 3.2-litre overhead valve straight-six with four-bearing crankshaft was derived from one of Delahaye’s truck engines and was also used in the more sedate, longer wheelbase (124 in) Delahaye 138. Power was 95 hp in twin carburettor form, but 110 hp were available in a version with three downdraught Solex carbs, offering a 148 km/h (92 mph) top speed. The 138 had a single carburettor and 76 hp, and was available in a sportier 90 hp iteration. The 135 featured independent, leaf-sprung front suspension, a live rear axle, and cable operated Bendix brakes. 17-inch spoked wheels were also standard. Transmission was either a partially synchronised four-speed manual or four-speed Cotal pre-selector transmission. Competition 135s set the all-time record at the Ulster Tourist Trophy and placed second and third in the Mille Miglia in 1936, and the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans.The list of independent body suppliers offering to clothe the 135 chassis is the list of France’s top coachbuilders of the time, including Figoni & Falaschi, Letourneur et Marchand, Guilloré, Marcel Pourtout, Frères Dubois, J Saoutchik, Franay, Antem and Henri Chapron. Production of the 3.2-litre version ended with the German occupation in 1940 and was not taken up again after the end of hostilities. A larger-displacement (3,557 cc) 135M was introduced in 1936. Largely the same as the regular 135, the new engine offered 90, 105, or 115 hp with either one, two, or three carburettors. As with the 135/138, a less sporty, longer wheelbase version was also built, called the “148”. The 148 had a 3,150 mm wheelbase, or 3,350 mm in a seven-seater version. On the two shorter wheelbases, a 134N was also available, with a 2,150 cc four-cylinder version of the 3.2-litre six from the 135. Along with a brief return of the 134, production of 148, 135M, and 135MS models was resumed after the end of the war. The 135 and 148 were then joined by the larger engined 175, 178, and 180 derivatives. The 135M continued to be available alongside the newer 235 until the demise of Delahaye in 1954. An even sportier version, the 135MS, soon followed; 120–145 hp were available, with competition versions offering over 160 hp. The 135MS was the version most commonly seen in competition, and continued to be available until 1954, when new owners Hotchkiss finally called a halt. The MS had the 2.95 m wheelbase, but competition models sat on a shortened 2.70 m chassis. The 135 was successful as racing car during the late 1930s, winning the Monte Carlo rally 1937 and 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1938. The Le Mans victory, with Chaboud and Trémoulet at the wheel, was decisive, with two more Delahayes coming in second and fourth. A regular 135 came seventh at the 1935 Le Mans, and in 1937 135MS came in second and third. Appearing again in 1939, two 135MS made it to sixth and eighth place, and again after the war the now venerable 135MS finished in 5th, 9th, and 10th. 135s finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 11th and 12th in the 1936 French Sports Car Grand Prix at Montlhéry. John Crouch won the 1949 Australian Grand Prix driving a 135MS.
This is a one-off recreation of the 1916 Packard Twin Six Typhoon, an experimental car built by Packard to set a new land-speed record of 103.5mph in 1915.
This is a 1934 Rolls Royce 20/25 with a Gurney Nutting body. The 20/25 was the second of Rolls Royce’s “entry level” models, pre-war. Built between 1929 and 1936, it was tremendously popular, becoming the most successful selling inter-war Rolls-Royce. Its success enabled Rolls-Royce to survive the economic difficulties of the Great Depression years and remain one of world’s great brands. A total of 3,827 20/25s were produced, of which over 70% are still on the road today.
The oldest car in this section was the brilliantly-monikered 1907 Stanley H4 ‘Gentleman’s Speedy Roadster’. The Stanley Motor Carriage Company was founded in 1902 in Newton, Massachusetts by twin brothers F. E. and F. O. Stanley. In 1906, Fred Marriott drove the Stanley Rocket on Ormond Beach to set a Land Speed Record at 127.66mph. Over 10,000 cars were produced before the company closed in 1924. This car is a 1907 H4 Gentleman’s Speedy Roadster – one of only two produced. Costing $1,200 when new, Stanley described this as “the fastest stock car in the world… a gentleman’s speeding car, and is intended for those who wish to hit up a speed of 75 or 80 miles an hour on a good safe road, without going to the expense of importing a $10,000 racing machine with its noisy cylinders and high expense for tires and maintenance.” A steam engine produces maximum torque from a standstill which gives this lightweight (under 650k.g.) car fantastic acceleration. It will then go on to easily achieve Stanley’s advertised top speed of 75m.p.h. as long as the driver is brave enough! To operate the car, a paraffin burner heats water in a 23″ vertical fire tube boiler to produce 600p.s.i. steam at 550°F. This is then fed to a 20h.p. two-cylinder double-acting steam engine that is directly fixed to the differential gear (1:1) ratio with no clutch or gearbox. Reverse is achieved by reversing the rotation of the engine rather than by selecting a reverse gear. As this is a non-condensing car (steam is not reused), the range is limited by the water tank size to approximately 25 miles.
The Dolomite name first appeared in 1934 as a sports car and the name was then used from 1937 on a series of sporting saloons and open cars until 1939 when the company went into receivership. All except the Straight 8 featured a “waterfall” grille styled by Walter Belgrove, versions of the saloons with conventional grilles were sold as Continental models. With the 1937 car, the car this time had a 1,767 cc four-cylinder engine and saloon body. The design was overseen by Donald Healey and the cars were marketed as “the finest in all the land” and targeted directly at the luxury sporting saloon market. Triumph had been moving progressively upmarket during the 1930s, and the 1938 Dolomites were very well equipped, with winding windows in the doors, automatic chassis lubrication, a leather-bound steering wheel adjustable for rake and reach, dual hydraulic brake circuits, twin trumpet horns, and spot lamps included in the price. There was even a tray of fitted tools slotted beneath the driver’s seat cushion, and for an extra 18 guineas buyers could specify a radio. The body was aluminium over a rot-proofed ash frame. Like many Triumphs of that time, the car followed the American trend of concealing its radiator behind a flamboyant shining metal grille. The British market, then as now, was in many ways a conservative one, however, and, before Dolomite production was suspended completely, Triumph had time to introduce a “Vitesse”-branded version of the Dolomite on which the grille had been removed and the car’s own radiator was exposed in the traditional manner. In April 1938 an increased compression ratio and mild further engine tuning justified a changed designation from 14/60 to 14/65 (where 14 was the fiscal horsepower and 65 was the claimed actual horsepower. There was an open version of the 14/65, announced 29 March 1938, with seating for three people on a single bench seat and “two additional outside seats in the tail, reminiscent of the dickey seat that was at one time common” for two more people behind. The hood folded completely into the body to give the appearance of an open sports car. The car was announced with the 1,767 cc engine with twin SU carburettors, and it is this version which is seen more often these days, and indeed was the car here.
SPORTS and GT CARS
Alphabetically first is the Abarth 595SS. Based on the Fiat Nuova 500, the first of these was seen in 1963 and was called the 595 SS, taking its name from the fact that Abarth had increased the engine capacity to 594 cc, just under the limit for the European 600cc racing sedan class. High compression 10:1 pistons were used together with a special camshaft, a specific alloy sump, Abarth valve covers and air filter, propped up engine lid and wheels were fitted and of course the exhaust system was a special in house model. This package together with lowered suspension, flared arches and 10 inch rims amounted to what was known as the Assetto Corsa SS model. These cars have become very rare as many were crashed in competition or simply rotted away due to bad rust protection in the 70s A number of recreations have been built.
The Montreal was introduced as a concept car in 1967 at Expo 67, taking its name from the city where the event was held. Originally, the concept cars were displayed without any model name, but the public took to calling it The Montreal. It was a 2+2 coupe using the 1.6-litre engine of the Alfa Romeo Giulia TI and the short wheelbase chassis of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT, with a body designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. One of the two concept cars built for Expo 67 is displayed in the Alfa Romeo Historical Museum in Arese, Italy, while the other is in museum storage. Reaction to the concept was sufficiently encouraging that Alfa decided to put the car into production. The result, the Tipo 105.64, was shown at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show and was quite different from the original, using a 2593 cc 90° dry-sump lubricated V8 engine with SPICA (Società Pompe Iniezione Cassani & Affini) fuel injection that produced around 200 PS (197 hp), coupled to a five-speed ZF manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential. This engine was derived from the 2-litre V8 used in the 33 Stradale and in the Tipo 33 sports prototype racer; its redline was set at 7,000 rpm, unheard of for a V8 at that time. The chassis and running gear of the production Montreal were taken from the Giulia GTV coupé and comprised double wishbone suspension with coil springs and dampers at the front and a live axle with limited slip differential at the rear. Since the concept car was already unofficially known as The Montreal, Alfa Romeo kept the model name in production. Stylistically, the most eye catching feature was the car’s front end with four headlamps partly covered by unusual “grilles”, that retract when the lights are switched on. Another stylistic element is the NACA duct on the bonnet. The duct is actually blocked off since its purpose is not to draw air into the engine, but to optically hide the power bulge. The slats behind the doors contain the cabin vents, but apart from that only serve cosmetic purposes. Paolo Martin is credited for the prototype instrument cluster. The Montreal was more expensive to buy than the Jaguar E-Type or the Porsche 911. When launched in the UK it was priced at £5,077, rising to £5,549 in August 1972 and to £6,999 by mid-1976. Production was split between the Alfa Romeo plant in Arese and Carrozzeria Bertone’s plants in Caselle and Grugliasco outside Turin. Alfa Romeo produced the chassis and engine and mechanicals and sent the chassis to Caselle where Bertone fitted the body. After body fitment, the car was sent to Grugliasco to be degreased, partly zinc coated, manually spray painted and have the interior fitted. Finally, the car was returned to Arese to have the engine and mechanicals installed. It is worth noting that because of this production method, there is not necessarily any correspondence between chassis number, engine number and production date. The Montreal remained generally unchanged until it was discontinued in 1977. By then, production had long ceased already as Alfa were struggling to sell their remaining stock. The total number built was around 3900. None of them were sold in Montreal, Quebec since Alfa did not develop a North American version to meet the emission control requirements in the United States & Canada. The car was both complex and unreliable which meant that many cars deteriorated to a point where they were uneconomic to restore. That position has changed in the last couple of years, thankfully, with the market deciding that the car deserves better, and prices have risen to you whereas a good one would have been yours for £20,000 only a couple of years ago, you would now likely have to pay more than double that.
It was more than 10 years after the Montreal had ceased production before Alfa offered another high-end and costly Coupe model, and the result, seen for the first time in 1989, could hardly have been more different than its forebear. That car had been praised for its looks, whereas this one, the SZ, and cruelly nicknamed “Il Mostro”, was almost wilfully, well, “different”. First seen at the 1989 Geneva Show, the car was also first shown simply as a concept, called the ES-30, for Experimental Sports car 3 litre. It was produced by Zagato. Robert Opron of the Fiat design studio was responsible for the initial sketches while Antonio Castellana was largely responsible for the final styling details and interior. Only the ‘Z’ logo of Zagato was kept. The car possessed unusual headlights positioned in a trio on each side – a styling used more subtly on later Alfa Romeos in the 2000s. Mechanically and engine-wise, the car was based on the Alfa 75, production being carried out by Zagato at Terrazzano di Rho near the Alfa factory in Arese. The thermoplastic injection moulded composite body panels were produced by Italian company Carplast and French company Stratime Cappelo Systems. The suspension was taken from the Alfa 75 Group A/IMSA car, and modified by Giorgio Pianta, engineer and team manager of the Lancia and Fiat rally works team. A hydraulic damper system was made by Koni. The SZ was originally equipped with Pirelli P Zero tyres (front 205/55 ZR 16, rear 225/50 ZR 16) and is able to sustain over 1.1 G in cornering, some drivers have measured a cornering force of 1.4 G, which remains an excellent performance figure. Low volume production got underway late in 1989, and over the next three years, 1036 were built, slightly more than planned. With the exception of a black car made for Zagato, all of them were red. Subsequently a convertible version, the RZ (for Roadster Zagato), was produced from 1992 until December 1994. Although almost identical to look at the two cars had completely different body panels save for the front wings and boot. The RZ had a revised bumper and door sills to give better ground clearance and the bonnet no longer featured the aggressive ridges. Three colours were available as standard: black, yellow and red, with black and yellow being the more popular choices. Yellow and red cars got a black leather interior and black cars burgundy. Although the interior layout was almost unchanged from the SZ, the RZ had a painted central console that swept up between the seats to conceal the convertible roof storage area. 350 units were planned but production was halted after 252 units when the Zagato factory producing the cars for Alfa Romeo went in to receivership, a further 32 cars were then completed under the control of the receivers before production finished at 284 units. Of those final three were painted silver with burgundy interior and another pearlescent white. Both SZ and RZ were here.
Follow on model to the Aston Martin DB2 was the DB4. Technically it was a development of the DB Mark III it replaced but with a completely new body. The DB4’s design formed the basis for later Aston Martin classics, such as the DB4 GT Zagato, the Lagonda Rapide 4-door saloon. It was eventually replaced by the Aston Martin DB5. The lightweight superleggera (tube-frame) body was designed by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan, and its Continental looks caused a sensation on its unveiling at the 1958 London Motor Show. Although the design and construction techniques were Italian, the DB4 was the first Aston to be built at the company’s Newport Pagnell works. The 3670 cc engine, designed by Tadek Marek, was a double overhead cam straight-6, with cylinder head and block of cast R.R.50 aluminium alloy, a further development of the earlier engine. The engine was prone to overheating initially, but the 240 hp produced by the twin-SU carburettor version made buyers forgive this unfortunate trait. Servo-assisted disc brakes were fitted all round: early 11.5 in Dunlops were replaced by Girlings. The independent front suspension used ball-jointed wishbones, coil springs and rack-and-pinion steering. The live rear axle also used coil springs and was located by a Watt’s linkage. The normal final-drive ratio for British and European use was 3.54:1: in the United States the ratio was usually 3.77. Customers wanting a car with an especially high top speed could choose a 3.31:1 ratio. A car with the British standard 3.54 final drive ratio tested by The Motor magazine in 1960 had a top speed of 139.3 mph and could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 17.7 mpg. The test car cost £3967 including taxes. There were five “series” of DB4. The most visible changes were the addition of window frames in Series II and the adoption of a barred (rather than eggcrate) grille in Series IV. The Series III cars differed from the earlier ones in having taillights consisting of three small lamps mounted on a chrome backing plate. Earlier cars have single-piece units and the last Series V cars of September 1962 have similar taillights but recessed. The Series V also has a taller and longer body to provide more interior space, though the diameter of the wheels was reduced to keep the overall height the same. The front of the Series V usually was of the more aerodynamic style as already used on the Vantage and GT models, a style that was later carried over to the DB5 cars. A convertible was introduced in October 1961. It featured in-house styling similar to the Touring saloon, and an extremely rare factory hardtop was also available. In total, 70 DB4 convertibles were made from a total DB4 production run of 1,110 cars. 30 of these were Series IV, with the remaining 40 belonging to the Series V. 32 of the total convertibles built (11 and 21 of the different series respectively) were equipped with the more powerful Vantage engine. Top speed for the regular version is about 136 mph. Seen here was a 1961 DB4 Series III which was originally the factory demonstrator and press car.
This rather gawky looking car is an Autech Stelvio. Autech was founded in 1986 as a subsidiary of Nissan. Nissan named Shinichiro Sakurai, the former general manager of the company’s Advanced Vehicle Design Department, as the first president of the new company. The company sells the cars through Nissan dealers rather than through other means. On 27 May 1987 Autech and the Italian company Zagato signed an agreement to jointly produce a luxury sports car aimed mainly at the Japanese market. Autech was responsible for the engine and chassis, and Zagato of the interior and exterior design. The new car used the platform of the Nissan Leopard and was called Autech Zagato Stelvio AZ1. It was unveiled in 1989, with 203 cars planned to be made (three of which were prototypes). Costs kept increasing during development and in the end 104 units were produced.
In 1970, Lamborghini development driver Bob Wallace created a test mule that would conform to the FIA’s Appendix J racing regulations. The car was appropriately named the Miura Jota (the pronunciation of the letter ‘J’ in Spanish). Wallace made extensive modifications to the standard Miura chassis and engine. Weight reductions included replacing steel chassis components and body panels with the lightweight aluminium alloy Avional and replacing side windows with plastic, with the resulting car weighing approximately 800 lb (360 kg) less than a production Miura. A front spoiler was added and the headlights were replaced with fixed, faired-in units. Wallace substituted two smaller, sill-mounted fuel tanks for the single larger original unit. The suspension was reworked and widened (9″ in the front, 12″ in the rear), and lightweight wheels were fitted. The engine was modified to produce 418–440 bhp (312–328 kW) at 8800 rpm, with an increased compression ratio, altered cams, electronic ignition, dry-sump lubrication and a less restrictive exhaust system. This single example was eventually sold to a private buyer after extensive testing. In April 1971, the car crashed on the yet-unopened ring road around the city of Brescia, and burned to the ground. It was once widely believed that the Jota had the chassis number of #5084 (a number well out of sequence for the date in question), it has been clarified by Miura expert Joe Sackey in his book The Lamborghini Miura Bible that this is not the case, and that #5084 is in fact a factory modified SV to SVJ spec. A recreation of the Jota was later undertaken by Chris Lawrence of Wymondham Engineering for Lamborghini owner Piet Pulford from the United Kingdom on chassis #3033, and this is the car which was seen here.
Second Lamborghini here was this gargantuan LM002, the brand’s first four wheel drive model. Although it was not introduced until 1986, its origins go back nearly a decade before that. Lamborghini built its first military vehicle, a prototype vehicle codenamed the “Cheetah”, in 1977. Lamborghini had designed the vehicle with hopes of selling it to companies in the oil exploration and production industry. The original Cheetah prototype had a rear-mounted Chrysler V8 engine. The only finished prototype was never tested by the US military, only demonstrated to them by its designer, Rodney Pharis. It was later sold to Teledyne Continental Motors by MTI and is apparently still in the US. This led Lamborghini to develop the LM001, which was very similar to the Cheetah, but had an AMC V8 engine. It was finally determined that the engine being mounted in the rear caused too many unfavourable handling characteristics in an offroad vehicle, and the LMA002 was built with an entirely new chassis, moving the engine (now the V12 out of the Lamborghini Countach) to the front. After much testing and altering of the prototype, it was finally given a serial number and became the first LM002. The production model was unveiled at the Brussels Auto Show in 1986. It was dubbed the “Rambo-Lambo”. Civilian models were outfitted with a full luxury package, including full leather trim, tinted power windows, air conditioning, and a premium stereo mounted in a roof console. In order to meet the vehicle’s tire needs, Lamborghini commissioned Pirelli to create the Pirelli Scorpion tires with custom, run-flat tread designs. These were made specifically for the LM and were offered in two different tread designs, one for mixed use and the other for sand use only. These tyres could be run virtually flat without risk and could handle the desert heat, the loading, and the speeds of the LM. The LM002 was fitted with a 290-litre fuel tank. For those requiring even more power, the Lamborghini L804 type 7.2 litre marine V12, more commonly found in Class 1 offshore powerboats, could be specified. In 1988, Lamborghini sent an LM002 to a team of special engineers with the intention of making it capable of participating in the Paris Dakar Rally. They stripped it of anything that added unnecessary weight and gave it an upgraded suspension, engine modifications which brought it to 600 hp, full roll cage, plexiglas windows, and GPS equipment. Funding ran out before it could officially be entered in competition, although it did participate in the Rallye des Pharaons in Egypt and another in Greece, both times driven by Sandro Munari.
In 1997 the Mantis name was re-used on a 2-seater coupé or convertible road car based on the LM series powered by the 4.6-litre all-aluminium quad-cam Ford ‘Modular’ engine producing 327 bhp and capable of 170 mph (270 km/h). To accommodate the engine the bonnet of the Mantis was significantly remodelled from the previous LM range (that used the Rover V8), and the upper chassis rails in the engine bay were widened. Price for the Mantis was £46,883. In 1998 it was decided to supercharge the engine to produce one of the few British production sports car with over 500 bhp, this being named the Mantis GT. It was first sold in Italy by Martes Spider Cars. Using a Vortech supercharger and intercooler the Mantis GT engine produced 506 bhp, which could accelerate the car from 0–60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Price for the Mantis GT was £64,331. Production of the Mantis was 51 cars, with 16 being the supercharged GT version (this does not include the Mantis Challenge race cars).
Unless you go back to the 1930s. when MG made a few high performance cars which had racing more in mind than road use, the only model to get anywhere supercar status that bears the famous roundel is the SV, and this was also represented here. This car came about after MG-Rover acquired Qvale of Italy. Taking the Qvale Mangusta as a base, a car which had been designed, but not quite made production, MG Rover allocated the project code X80 and set up a subsidiary company, MG X80 Ltd., to produce their new model. A big factor behind the project was that was seen as having the potential sales in the United States, as the Mangusta had already been homologated for the American market. The MG X80 was originally revealed as a concept car in 2001. However, the styling was considered too sedate, so when the production model, now renamed MG XPower SV, was eventually launched the following year, designer Peter Stevens had made the car’s styling more aggressive. The conversion from a clay model to a production car, including all requirements, was done in just 300 days by the Swedish company Caran. The production process was complex, partly caused by the use of carbon fibre to make the body panels. The basic body parts were made in the UK by SP Systems and then shipped to Belco Avia near Turin for assembly into body panels. These were then assembled into a complete body shell and fitted onto the box frame chassis and running gear and shipped to MG Rover’s Longbridge factory to be trimmed and finished. Several of the cars’ exterior and interior parts were borrowed from current and past Fiat models. The headlights, for example, were taken from a Punto Mk.2 and the rear lights borrowed from a Fiat Coupe. The goal had been to get a street price of under £100,000, and on launch, the base model came in well under that at £65,000, and even the uprated XPower SV-R model was priced at £83,000. Those were ambitious prices for a car bearing MG badges, though, so not surprisingly, sales were slow. It is understood that just 82 cars were produced excluding the 4 ‘XP’ pre-production prototypes. This included a few pre-production and show cars which were later dismantled, before production was stopped due to lack of sales. Most were sold to private owners, with the final ones being sold to customers in early 2008.
This is the original Skyline GT-R. There had been Skylines for some time before this, initially from Prince Motors, before the firm was acquired by Nissan. The first to bear the now legendary GT-R badging appeared in February 1969. Called the PGC-10 (KPGC-10 for later coupé version) internally and Hakosuka (ハコスカ) by fans. Hako (ハコ) means Box in Japanese, and suka（スカ） is short for Skyline (スカイライン; Sukairain). It used a new new 2 litre DOHC engine (which was designed by the former Prince engineers) producing 160 bhp and 180 Nm (133 lb/ft) of torque, and was similar to the GR8 engine used in the Prince R380 racing car. The GT-R began as a sedan, but a 2-door coupé version was debuted in October 1970 and introduced in March 1971. The cars were stripped of unnecessary equipment to be as light as possible for racing, and performed well at the track. The sedan racked up 33 victories in less than two years, and the coupé stretched this to 50 through 1972. The C10 raced against many cars including the Toyota Corona 1600GT (RT55), Isuzu Bellett GTR, Mazda Familia (R100) & Capella (RX-2) – even Porsche. In late 1971 the new Mazda RX-3 became the GT-R’s main rival. The GT-R managed a few more victories before the RX-3 ended the GT-R’s winning streak.
This is the little known Porsche Abarth 356B Carrera GTL. In keeping with FIA regulations, Porsche created a new lightweight 356 with help from Abarth. After Porsche had considered numerous Italian companies to manufacture a lightweight 356 body, they settled on Abarth. Franco Scaglione penned the first initial drawings which attempted to reduce frontal area, overall height. Included was an adjustable scoop on the rear deck lid. Made entirely of aluminium, Abarth’s body was smaller than the Reutter 356 in every dimension and reduced drag from 0.398 Cd to 0.365 Cd. This new body also contributed to considerable weight loss, coming in at 1762 lbs, very near the FIA’s minimum 1780 lbs.Delivered from Turin, the first prototypes were delivered in February of 1960. They were somewhat rough, but sporting enough to win the Targa Florio. Paul Sträle bought the second prototype and finished the Targa first in class. he would go on to repeat this feat the following year. Before production began, the rear engine cover was modified with an excess of louvres on both prototypes to avoid hot air reaching the Schubladenmotor’s cooling fan. After the first prototypes had been sent to and tested at Zuffenhausen, Porsche committed to 20 orders for the GTL. Carlo Abarth took advantage of the cottage industry in Turin, outsourcing the aluminium bodies to Rocco Motto. The final version sold for 25,000 deutsche marks or $6,500 USD. There were many detail differences from car to car with regard to body shape, taillights and side windows. The first production GTLs appeared at at the Nürburgring 1000km alongside the factory’s prototype fitted with experimental disc brakes. In 1961, Porsche introduced a stronger version of their Carrera engine called the 692/3a. It featured wider main bearings to allow higher rpm. he top end was also changed, with more aggressive intake camshafts and small flywheels on the end of the camshaft. Carburation reverted back to Solex units but a larger 44PII-4 unit. This provided about 165 bhp when used with the unmuffled Sebring sports exhaust. Following sucess 1960 Targa Florio and Nürburgring 1000km, a sole Porsche GTL appeared at Le Mans The new car could reach 138 mph down the Mulsanne straight. Drivers Linge and Walter finished 10th overall and first in class.The following 1961 and 1962 seasons were contested by both factory and private entrants. Sträle repeated his Targa victory. The factory raced 1013 extensively and won the 1600cc class at the 1962 Sebring 12 hours. Later in the year the same car was joined by 1018, taking class victories at the Nürburgring 1000km and 24 Hours of Le Mans. This pair continued their success in 1963 at the Daytona Continental and Sebring 12 Hours.
This 1923 Alfa Romeo RL Targa Florio was raced by the legendary Enzo Ferrari and Alberto Ascari on the 1923 Targa Florio. In the early 1920s, the Italian automotive engineer, Giuseppe Merosi, designed the Alfa Romeo RL. This was not his first design for Alfa; his history with the company dates back to the early 1910s when he designed the A.L.F.A. 24 HP. During the mid-1910s he designed a DOHC four-cylinder engine that had 16-valves and displaced 4.5-litres. The Alfa Romeo RL was produced from 1922 through 1927. It had a displacement size of 2.9-litres from its six-cylinder engine, that would continue to increase in size throughout the years, culminating with a 3.6-litre size and around 125 bhp. There were four versions of the RL created, the Normale, Turismo, Sport, and RLTF (for Targa Florio). The RLTF was a purpose-built, racing versions that was stripped of non-essential items, given sleek designs, and weighed about half of the other versions. The engine was finely tuned and given seven main bearings and double carburettors. It was used in competition by such legendary drivers as Ugo Sivocci, Enzo Ferrari, Antonio Ascari, and Giulio Maset. The stage on which the Alfa Romeo RL achieved its greatest triumphs was the Targa Florio, where it secured a one-two finish in 1923 (in the two-seater spider configuration). Ugo Sivocci piloted the winning car and a third RL finished in fourth place. Sivocci’s car was the first painted with a green cloverleaf on a white background, which would later become the hallmark of Alfa Romeo competition cars and sportier production models. Numerous racing drivers enjoyed success after choosing the RL, from Giulio Masetti and Antonio Ascari to Giuseppe Campari and a young Enzo Ferrari. The 1923 edition of the Targa Florio served up a barnstorming finale. Alfa Romeo entered five RL models driven by: Antonio Ascari (the father of future Formula 1 World Champion Alberto), Giuseppe Campari, Giulio Masetti, Enzo Ferrari and Ugo Sivocci. On the fourth and final lap of the Madonie circuit, Ascari emerged first from the hills, but around two hundred metres from the finish line his car broke down and stopped on the Cerda station bend. With the help of mechanics, who climbed into the car with naive enthusiasm, Ascari managed to cross the finish line first, but the race commissioners ordered him to retrace his steps and finish the race without the extra passengers. In the meantime Sivocci, who had been in second place until that point, took over the lead and clinched the first of Alfa Romeo’s ten victories in the Targa Florio, as well as the first international triumph for the Milanese car maker.
This recreation of the iconic Ferrari 250 Testarossa was the first of three which would be seen at the event. This fantastic-looking machine was built by Russell Cowles of Minnesota as a ‘tool-room’ copy of 0732 TR, the Testa Rossa he owned and raced during the 1960 season. His trusted mechanics developed and modified a Ferrari 250 GTE for the build and utilised the legendary Ferrari 330 GT V12 engine. Driven through a Ferrari four-speed gearbox with overdrive, the car is considered so correct it was used in historic racing in the U.S.A. An exciting and visually stunning racing car with a Maranello symphony exhaust note to match, which makes a strong case for the tool-room copy special – all the fun without destroying a priceless piece of history.
Competition Jaguars are also well represented with XJ220 and XJR15 Le Mans sportscars as well as what is widely regarded as the most famous saloon racing Jaguar – the ex-John Combs entered Mk1 complete with its unique BUY 1 number plate.
PROTOTYPES, CONCEPTS and ONE-OFFS
Something I certainly did not recognise was this 1953 Chrysler Thomas Special by Ghia. Chrysler President K.T. Keller deserves much of the credit for Chrysler’s stylistic renaissance of the early 1950s. In particular, he hired Virgil Exner to design several “Idea Cars” and contracted Ghia to build them. Exner’s resulting Italian-built dream cars were all usable and running examples that were based mostly on the New Yorker chassis and had “FirePower” Hemi V-8 engines. One of the first of these dream cars was the Chrysler Special, which was a three-passenger coupé on a shortened chassis. It debuted at Paris in 1952 with Continental-inspired styling elements, which included a long bonnet/short deck profile, knife-edge wings, and a trapezoidal grille. The Thomas Special, built for C.B. Thomas, the president of Chrysler’s export division, retained this overall styling, as it had a notchback profile and seating for five, which was based upon the standard-length New Yorker chassis. The Thomas Special was highly acclaimed, and series production of the car was heavily contemplated, with sales ultimately being handled by Chrysler’s French distribution arm, Société France Motors. Over the years, these cars were known alternatively as the GS-1, the Chrysler Special, and the Ghia Special. Ultimately, just six vehicles were produced for Chrysler, whilst Ghia built another twelve for themselves. With beautiful proportions, fully exposed wheels, minimal brightwork, and powerful engines, these cars provided a stylistic benchmark that continues to inspire designers to this day. The Ghia Special seen here was delivered by Société France Motors to Leon Coulibeuf, and it was later shown by his wife at the 1953 Concours d’Elegance d’Enghien-les-Bains, as featured in the September 1953 issue of L’Action Automobile. Coulibeuf made his fortune by manufacturing the iconic concrete electric poles that were used by the millions when rebuilding post-war Europe. Coulibeuf was a passionate enthusiast and invested his fortune in owning and racing such vehicles as a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, a Porsche 356, and an Alfa Romeo 1900. In 1957, he competed at Le Mans alongside José Behra in a Maserati 200S, with famous Bugatti and Gordini Works mechanic Albert Aumaire providing support. Coulibeuf and Aumaire also ran the Tour de France Automobile together in 1953. Coulibeuf’s Ghia Special has always remained in France, and in 1990, it was restored by the previous owner of 30 years, a Chrysler dealer in Brittany. When stripping the body to bare metal, it was reported that the body was found to be extremely solid. New, correct leather upholstery was installed. Whilst the drivetrain was removed from the car and checked completely, and the engine seems to run smoothly, it is recommended that the steering and gearbox be checked before further use. The car retains its original engine, as is documented by the copy of the build sheet that accompanies the Chrysler today. This Ghia Special had only been shown once, at the Louis Vuitton Concours at Bagatelle in 2001, before it came up for auction in 2014.
This 1954 Jaguar XK140 Maurice Gomm Special started out as an altogether different car, it was commissioned from Paul Emery by Sir Waterlow as a personal race car to compete in weekend races across Britain in 1955. They originally used a 1938 Grand Prix Alta Monoplace chassis, fitted with a 2.6 litre Aston Martin DB2 engine. The design of the body took some cues from the Aston Martin DB2 and some other cars from the era – but it’s its own machine, with a body shaped by hand. The early competition life of the car is largely a mystery, all we know is that it was discovered in rather poor condition in the late 1980s, though thanks to its alloy construction, the body was rust free. The decision was made to separate the body and chassis – the 1938 Grand Prix Alta was restored back to its original monoposto configuration, and it can now be seen regularly taking part in vintage motor sport competition. The body was kept in storage for many years until Charles Fripp (a Jaguar XK specialist from Twyford Moors) had the idea of fitting it to an XK 140 chassis, as the wheelbase was practically the same. He sourced a Jaguar XK140 chassis/engine from the same year, 1955, and set about building the car paying great attention to develop it in the same way it would have been developed in 1955. The XK140 engine was moved backwards in the chassis to offer better weight distribution, and the bonnet was curved up before being modified with twin “nostril” hood vents to allow better cooling and breathing. The engine was rebuilt to competition specification by Sigma engineering, then mated to an E-Type gearbox with a heavy duty clutch. Power is sent back through a limited-slip differential and there’s adjustable dampers and stiffer polyurethane bushings on all four corners. The completed car weighs in at just 900 kilograms, and in proper Le Mans specification the XK engine is capable of over 250 hp, so the Maurice Gomm Special has performance not dissimilar to the Jaguar C and D-types, or the Aston Martin DB3S.
This is the Lancia Astura “Steady Special”. It was created by and belonged to the well known journalist Ronald “Steady” Barker until he passed away in early 2015, at the grand old age of 95. The car started off as 1934 Lancia Astura. A large 7 seater seater, once owned by General Studd, and fitted with numerous ventilators and air ducts, one of which directed warm air onto the driver’s feet, Barker bought it cheaply as it was said to have a cracked piston. He proceeded to drive it for over 6000 miles before taking the engine apart and finding that indeed there was a cracked piston. With the car dismantled, he hit on the idea of making it a much smaller and more sporting car. That entailed reducing the 11 foot 10″ wheelbase to just 8 foot 1″, by cutting the chassis, then setting the rejoined rear section at an angle to take rear 1/2 elliptic springs. Otherwise the chassis was unaltered and he kept the same gearbox and axle ratios, but he converted the brakes to hydraulic action, using a wheel cylinders from a 1927 Chrysler Imperial, Lockheed actuation and a Clayton vacuum servo motor. Girling shock absorbers from a Morris Six went on the back, whilst he retained Lancia’s coil spring independent front suspension. A new all-enveloping body shell was made by AG Shaw of Sandgates. Although he cut t down a foot, the traditional Lancia grille was retained. Behind it was a radiator core adapted from a Morris van with a Ford header tank. The 17 degree narrow angle V6 3 litre engine was retained, though new pistons raised the compression ratio (still low at 6.0 to 1, as he intended to fit a supercharger at some later date. The Zenith carburation remained, but with bigger jets. Originally the engine put out 82 bhp at 4000 rpm, but Barker’s changes improved this to 95 – 100 bhp at 5000 rpm. With a significantly lower weight, the performance gains were significant. Barker turned up for his job interview at “The Autocar” (as it was known at them time), and it stayed with him until shortly before his death. Since then, it has undergone a full restoration.
This is an example of the original ‘Centre Steer’ Land-Rover (then hyphenated) prototype. Based on a 1942 Jeep, it featured a novel steering wheel mounted in the middle – an effort to serve all global export markets. The novel set-up, though, had little legroom and thus was dropped.
This is a 1974 Carmichael conversion of the Range Rover. Carmichael & Sons of Worcester were the first to create a six-wheeled Range Rover in 1971 and continued to produce variations on this theme until the mid-1990s, making over 400. Some were luxury hunting vehicles but most were fire and rescue appliance machines which used the six-wheel format in order to substantially increase their possible payload. This 3.5-litre V8 manual Carmichael 4×4 was delivered to Switzerland then fitted with a custom rear-section body by Hess before entering service with the Schweizerische Bundesbahnen, or Swiss Federal Railways. It is in stunning rust-free original condition and is preserved by the Dunsfold Land Rover Collection.
Many people would see this and have no idea as to what it might be. I have seen it a couple of times before, at other events, so did actually know. it is based on the Elan, with a special body produced by Ian Walker Racing. Ian Walker had previously owned both an Eleven and an Elite, which he raced, but by the time the Elan came along, he had hung up his helmet and founded Ian Walker Racing. He thought that a streamlined version of the small new Lotus could work and he got Williams and Pritchard to construct a car with an aluminium body, featuring fixed headlights, a longer and lower nose and muscular rear haunches with Cortina rear lights. The car was debuted at the 1964 Racing Car Show and it caused a sensation. Plans to take it to Le Mans were scuppered when Mike Spence rolled it at Montlhery. Although Walker received orders for several cars, Chapman did not like this car and put a stop to it all One person who was keen on it was a Swiss collector called Hermann Huber, who managed to take delivery of a road-going version of the project. This car looked very different to the racer, even though its body was also constructed by Williams and Pritchard, with angled front headlights which looked rather like a Gordon Keeble. The well appointed interior was installed by Radford, and some features, such as the wrap around dashboard did make it into later production Elan models. The car appeared in the UK a few years ago and has now appeared at a number of events.
At first glance this looks like a regular Issigonis style Mini. But it harbour something of a secret as it is actually a twin-engined, four-wheel-drive Mini. Back in 1963, decades before Audi unleashed the quattro, BMC’s Experimental Department created a pair of motor sport prototypes each armed with two standard 997cc Mini Cooper engines – one under the bonnet, the other in the boot. Following the success of the BMC twin-engine Mini Moke designed by Alec Issigonis and continued motor sport success, the idea of a twin-engined competition Mini was taken a step further in 1963 by BMC’s Experimental Department. Two prototype ‘Twini’ Minis were built, one with two standard 997cc Mini Cooper engines and the other, 931 RFC, with two Downton Engineering tuned engines. The BMC/Downton car was entered for the 1963 Targa Florio road race in Sicily. However, due to a rear engine radiator failure and no servicing allowed, the rear engine overheated and the car lost precious time during the race. Motoring Journalist John Blunsden commented at the time: “Remember, you only need to build 100 of them to get them homologated as a Grand Touring, and I reckon there are a lot more than 100 people in this world who would pay a lot of money for one – if only to twiddle with the two ignition switches, and find out just what is the difference between understeer, neutral steer and oversteer!” Unfortunately, both cars were reputed to have been broken up by BMC following the Targa Florio teething problems and the idea was not developed any further.
This is a TVR Trident. In 1965, TVR produced four prototypes of a car named the Trident. It was powered by the same Ford V8 as was found in the Griffith, and the body was hand-built of aluminium and steel by Carrozzeria Fissore in Savigliano, Italy. The styling was the work of Trevor Fiore (born Trevor Frost, who borrowed the shape from his previous styling exercise for the Lea Francis Francesa (a conceptual roadster that never reached production). Carrozzeria Fissore displayed a prototype Trident coupé at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1965. Despite very positive public reaction to the car, it was not well received by Jack Griffith, and the one prototype that had been shipped to the United States was returned to the UK in 1965. When TVR collapsed in 1965, the third and fourth Tridents were under construction at the time, and they were put into storage. In the wake of the company’s liquidation, TVR dealer Bill Last acquired the rights to the Trident by some means not viewed as legitimate by later TVR management. In 1966, Last established in Trident Cars Ltd and started building the car under the model name “Clipper”.
This is a WB Special, a one off prototype, designed in 1956 and first licensed in 1963 after a 7 year home build. The joint designers and builders were Bob White and Dr John Best. It has been built on a tubular steel space-frame with all alloy bodywork. The gearbox is from a 1098cc Austin Healey Sprite. The bodywork was designed as a low drag, aerofoil section where the upper surface creates stability and the full length, curved undertray provides downforce. All other parts are original and castings, including the wheels and the suspension uprights. The reason for the narrow track at the front is to induce mild understeer and allow an adequate turning circle. The engine (1220cc FWE Coventry Climax) is placed well back to give equal corner weights on the wheels.
AMERICAN MUSCLE POWER
This category contained a mix of American cars and a group of classic cars featuring European styling and American muscle, most of them rare and largely forgotten marques.
This is a Bitter SC Cabrio, one of just 22 such cars that were made. The first SC model launched was the coupé in 1979, followed by the convertible in 1981 at the Frankfurt Auto Show and the sedan in 1984. Like the CD, the SC was based on Opel’s largest model at the time, the Opel Senator. It remained in production until 1989. Exterior styling design echoed that of the Pininfarina-designed Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2 first shown in 1972, and later marketed as the 400 (1976) and 412 (1979). The SC was powered by a fuel-injected Opel 3.0-Litre in-line 6-cylinder engine of (177 bhp) or a stroked 3.9-Litre version of (207 bhp). Along with the introduction of the convertible in 1981, a four-wheel-drive version of the coupé was also added. The four-wheel-drive system was developed by Ferguson Research who also offered it for installation into the Opel Senator/Vauxhall Royale. In 1984, Bitter announced at the New York Auto Show that it would enter into a limited marketing agreement with GM to sell the sedan version in the United States, through participating Buick dealerships. By being able to offer a premium European product, GM had hoped to regain market share lost to BMW at the time. The option of importing Opel cars was dismissed on the basis that it was perceived to be an entry-level brand, relative to BMW’s premium status. Ultimately, less than a dozen Buick dealers (mostly in the metro New York City area), would bear the Bitter signage as a result of which sales proved minimal. Bitter’s failure was based on its business model, and the diminishing trend of rebodying other manufacturers’ vehicles, which became unpopular by the 1980s.
The two all-American cars in this section were a second generation Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C2 and a Ford Mustang from the late 60s.
The Gordon-Keeble came about when John Gordon, formerly of the struggling Peerless company, and Jim Keeble got together in 1959 to make the Gordon GT car, initially by fitting a Chevrolet Corvette V8 engine, into a chassis by Peerless, for a USAF pilot named Nielsen. Impressed with the concept, a 4.6 litre Chevrolet V8 was fitted into a specially designed square-tube steel spaceframe chassis, with independent front suspension and all-round disc brakes. The complete chassis was then taken to Turin, Italy, where a body made of steel panels designed by Giugiaro was built by Bertone. The car’s four headlights were in the rare, slightly angled “Chinese eye” arrangement also used by a few other European marques, generally for high-speed cars such as Lagonda Rapide, Lancia Flaminia and Triumphs, as well as Rolls-Royce. The interior had an old luxury jet feel, with white on black gauges, toggle switches, and quilted aircraft PVC. The car was displayed on the Bertone stand at the Geneva Show in March 1960, branded simply as a Gordon. At that time problems with component deliveries had delayed construction of the prototype, which had accordingly been built at breakneck speed by Bertone in precisely 27 days. After extensive road testing the car was shipped to Detroit and shown to Chevrolet management, who agreed to supply Corvette engines and gearboxes for a production run of the car. Further development then took place, to ready for production with some alterations, the main ones being a larger 5.4 litre engine and a change from steel to a glass fibre body made by Williams & Pritchard Limited. “Production” started in 1964, but problems with suppliers occurred and before many cars were made the money ran out and the company went into liquidation. About 90 cars had been sold at what turned out to be an unrealistic price of £2798. In 1965 the company was bought by Harold Smith and Geoffrey West and was re-registered as Keeble Cars Ltd. Production resumed, but only for a short time, the last car of the main manufacturing run being made in 1966. A final example was actually produced in 1967 from spares, bringing the total made to exactly 100. The Gordon-Keeble Owners’ Club claim that over 90 examples still exist – an incredible survival rate.
Least well known of all the cars in this section was this Intermeccanica Murena 429GT, another car brought over by the Isle of Man Motor Museum. Called the “fastest wagon in the world” the Murena used American underpinnings and a unique wagon body from Intermeccanica of Italy. The Murena was built as sports wagon with luxury appointments, yet had the power of an American V8. The concept was dreamed up by Jospeh Vos, the president of Murena Motors. He had Intermeccanica built the first prototype which was displayed at the 1969 New York Motor Show. Inside was an executive affair with four bucket seats. An ample stereo, air conditioning and automatic rumble window, which separated the rear from the passenger space, made the car certainly habitable. Seating four people comfortably, the Murena weighed in at 3770 lbs which was 1000 less than the Thunderbird. This was paramount, since the Murena used the Thunderbird’s V8 engine and 3-speed automatic transmission. In 1970, Road & Track was able to reach 60mph in just 7.5 seconds and the ¼ mile in 15.5 seconds. At $14,500, way more than a Thunderbird, the Murena was a tough sell. Although over 35 orders were reported, under ten of these specialist wagons were ever made.
This is a nice example of the Grifo, the best known of the small number of different models produced by ISO in the 1960s and early 70s at this event, but this time there was just the one. The prototype ‘Grifo A3/L’ was revealed at the Turin show in 1963 to overwhelming approval. First production Iso Grifo’s followed and all used reassembled and blueprinted Chevrolet Corvette 5.4 litre engines until a 7.0 litre option was introduced in 1968. The larger engined cars were distinguished by some detail modifications, such as a “subtle” bonnet scoop, necessary to accommodate the taller engine and a black band across the rear roof pillar. 322 Series I Grifos were produced before the design received a facelift in 1972 after which time a further 78 Series II Grifo’s were built. In total 90 Grifos were specified in seven-litre form, with only four being built in right-hand drive. The 7 litre cars had a 454 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 engine, and following a rebuild, this car recorded dynamometer results of 490bhp at 5,500rpm. The engine is mated to a modern Tremec TKO600 five-speed gearbox capable of handling this mighty power house.
CLASSICS WITH A MODERN TWIST
Adding further to the automotive intrigue, there is also a special category for classics with a more modern twist. There’s a growing market for resto-mods, as they are often called, where a much-loved classic is updated, usually quite subtly, and generally under the skin so it is not immediately visually obvious, with things to make the cars easier to drive on modern roads with today’s levels of traffic. It’s not always about adding convenience features like power steering or air con, though, as often there is a significant power boost, and usually much better brakes to go with it. Such mods rarely come cheap. There were several very different examples of the genre here.
This splendid Alvis 4.3 litre VdP is from the Continuation Series of cars being produced in very small quantities by the reborn Alvis Car Company. Though Alvis effectively died in 1968, another victim of the British-Leyland debacle, the company’s stock of chassis, engine blocks and other components, plus all the plans, drawings and data sheets for its vehicles, were transferred to service and restoration firm Red Triangle on its demise. Red Triangle relaunched the marque as The Alvis Car Company in 2010 and produced several Continuation cars based on an Alvis 4.3 Short-Chassis bodied by Vanden-Plas. With lots of interest in the idea, Alvis has added further models to the “range”, with a choice of six bodies and two engines, all of which are entirely in keeping with the original plans and also fully road-legal. The Continuation Series cars split neatly into three pre- and three post-war models. The Bertelli Sports Coupé, Lancefield Concealed Hood and Vanden Plas Tourer are all based on 1930s cars and use the firm’s 4.3-litre engine with a six-speed transmission. These are true ‘continuation’ models, in that their production will complete an original run curtailed by the bombing of Alvis’ Coventry factory in 1940 – indeed, their chassis numbers will even follow on from those allocated to the pre-war production run. “The factory had planned to build 150 4.3-litre chassis in 1938. As the site suffered serious damage by bombing in 1940, only 73 chassis were completed so we will continue that series, with new chassis, built to the original drawings.” As a result, the three early models will be limited in number, with no more than 25 of each Continuation version built. The other three models hark back to 1960s cars built before Alvis was absorbed into first Rover and then BL. The Park Ward Drop Head Coupé and Graber Coupé and Cabriolets all use a 3-litre engine and five-speed ’box and also have the option of an automatic transmission and power steering. These three models won’t be limited-edition and will be assembled using original chassis and engine blocks unused since production stopped in 1968. Whether you go pre- or post-war, the engines are in-line six-cylinder Alvis units manufactured from the original drawings, but both use up-to-date tech including fuel injection and engine management to meet modern emissions standards. And, unlike with many continuation models, these ones are fully road-legal; Alvis has worked with automotive regulating bodies the IVA and VOSA to ensure they’re more than mere track toys.
Alfaholics have produced this car, the GTA-R290 which looks like the legendary GTA, but with far more power than the original car boasted. It features bespoke uprated brakes and suspension and uses a 2.3-litre, 240b.h.p. version of the Alfa engine which, in a car weighing only 830k.g. because of extensive use of carbon fibre, titanium and aluminium, is more than enough for a fabulous driving experience on road or track.
There were two examples of the Eagle Speedster here, a Roadster and one with a fixed roof. These were built in 2011 but based on an original car re-imagined by Eagle, specialists in E-Types for over 30 years. The restyling purifies the detail and emphasises the original legendary design that Enzo Ferrari famously declared “the most beautiful car in the world.” This isn’t just a pretty face, however. Weighing under 1,000k.g. and powered by a 4.7-litre fuel-injected all-alloy version of Jaguar’s legendary XK engine, it provides the same power-to-weight ratio as the latest Porsche 911 Turbo and a 0-60 time of under five seconds. The suspension and brakes have been modified to match its prodigious performance, of course. The Speedster combines the original’s classic charm with contemporary supercar performance. All are built to order and only six are currently extant, making this a true exclusive. This one appeared on Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson hailed it “the most beautiful thing in the world and [his] favourite car of all time.”
This is an MGB LE50. Brainchild of Abingdon-based Frontline Developments, whilst these cars are clearly MGBs, and old ones even if you look at the number plates on them, that’s only part of the story. This is an MGB with a difference. The first cars had a 2 litre Mazda engine under the bonnet which put out 212 bhp. Mazda was so impressed with Omex’s work for Frontline that it commissioned its own version of the engine for their MX-5 GT. With different mapping and freer-breathing camshafts, Omex ignition and fuelling systems and a throttle body for each cylinder. they were able to come with an engine for the LE50 Plus that produces 238bhp at 7400rpm from its 2.0-litre Mazda engine. The engine can be in Euro 4 management spec and, in a sort of Euro-previous-century style, can run without a catalytic converter because this is nominally a 1968 car. Hence that mighty 238bhp, backed up by 174lb ft of torque at 4200rpm. This sounds great until you think 1960s levels of torsional stiffness, a live rear axle and archaic lever-arm dampers, dated when the MGB was launched in 1962 and impossible even to consider now. All of which is why these Frontline LE50s, 50 of which will ultimately be made (26 ordered so far) and which celebrate a half-century’s passing since the B’s launch, have a seam-welded bodyshell (brand new, from British Motor Heritage) with extra reinforcing gussets and a heavily re-engineered suspension system. Visible seams are spirited away and the rear side window apertures get bigger flanges, to take seals better able to banish wind noise. Suspension is still double wishbones at the front, but just the original crossmember remains, with wishbones, hubs, Avo coilover dampers and geometry all new. At the back, the live axle stays but is properly located with four links and a Panhard rod and sprung, again, by Avo coilovers. Brakes, as you would hope, are hefty discs all round. None of this comes cheap, as you might imagine. The LE50 costs from £52,700 in its simplest form, or £55,500 in the Plus Pack guise. Add some choice options and you could touch £60,000, which seems a lot for an MGB, however beautifully constructed.
The regular Renault 4CV of the late 40s and 50s was a small family saloon with just about enough power to propel it when filled with people and luggage, its 747cc engine not really being that man enough for the job. No such issues here, though. Renault built 4CVs for the British market in Acton, London, in order to get around import quotas from 1959 to 1961, and the car displayed is actually the last British-built 4CV. It is also very much part of the retro car scene display as it’s been rebuilt by Paul Sage of Renault Alpine Racing and sports an R5 1.4-litre engine running a twin-choke downdraught Weber connected to an R8 gearbox. The result is a Ferrari Rosso Red pocket rocket which stops and steers commensurate with its performance courtesy of its R8 Gordini braking system. The bespoke Connolly hide interior and Jaguar cloth roof-lining complete the package.
Final car in this section was a mildly customised VW Karmann Ghia. Owner Lee Smith, an engineer by trade, wanted to create the ultimate Karmann Ghia and has worked with Darryn Coleman of Midlands-based DC Classics to create this beautiful machine. The lowered stance is superb and although there is a 2in. roof chop, it’s not immediately obvious because the B-pillar has been leant forward by 2in. to retain the original designs proportions and feel; the shaved rain gutters help this visual trick. The colour was created especially for the build, while the interior is fitted with lowered Audi TT seats trimmed in saddle brown leather with matching door cards. The dashboard was created especially for the car and is actually based on a l.h.d. split-screen camper unit. Mechanically, it uses custom narrowed air suspension to create that all-important stance without widening the wheel arches, with a 2.1-litre engine in place producing 154b.h.p. A beautiful car, beautifully built, and one of the stars of the retro car scene.
The Lotus 22 was a racing car built by Lotus cars in 1962, and a total of 77 cars were built. It was developed from the 1962 Lotus 20, with the major differences that it had disc brakes all round, a top lin k and the ‘rubber donut’ to the rear suspension and a dry sump engine that was canted over to lower the centre of gravity. Also notable is the smoother bodywork covering the engine, compared to the boxy design of the 20. The 22 is a single-seat race car primarily for the Formula Junior series and most had a 1,098 cc Cosworth Mk.IV or Mk.XI engine with about 100 hp. However, seven of the Lotus 22s were built with the then newly introduced 1,498 cc Lotus TwinCam engine (designed for the Lotus Elan) for Formule Libre. Unlike the 20, the 22 received outboard mounted disc brakes all around as standard equipment. It was available with four-speed transmissions from either Renault or Volkswagen. For cars with the Renault transmission, the shifter was mounted on the right, while it was on the left side for those with the German box. The 22 was very successful and the works car driven by Peter Arundell won nearly 75% of the races for the FIA Formula Junior European championship in 1962. The car was also successful in 1963, the final year of FJr, and up against the new Lotus 27, a full monocoque car, the 22 won several races early in the season before the stiffness problems that plagued the 27 were solved. The 22 chassis was later reintroduced several times, although modified, as other “new” Lotus models becoming first the Lotus 31 F3 car in 1964 and then, most famously, the Lotus 51 in 1967, the first Formula Ford race car created for the Jim Russell racing school in England. The Lotus 22 was the car from which the Lotus 23 was derived, being essentially a two-seat 22 widened in the middle but using the same front and rear suspension and gearbox as the 22. The 23’s introduction at the Nürburgring 1000km in 1962 was made legendary by Jim Clark, who led many laps in the tiny 1,000-pound 23, with only a 1,498 cc engine, against cars with many times the displacement, at one point leading by a minute or more in the wet. A Lotus 22 was entered in the 1963 and 1965 South African Grands Prix for Brausch Niemann finishing in 14th place (20 laps down) and failing to qualify respectively.
Dating from 1958 is this Cooper-Climax T51. Charlie Cooper started his career at Napier under S. F. Edge and set up his own garage in 1919 after being invalided out of the army. His son, John, thus grew up around Brooklands cars and, at 12 years old, was given an Austin Seven, which he and his father modified into the Cooper Type 1, a special capable of 90m.p.h. Charlie Cooper’s first racing car, built in 1936, was also based on an A7 but when John entered 500c.c. racing in 1946, he wanted independent suspension so welded to Fiat Topolino front ends together back-to-back. From that acorn came two F1 drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 1959 and ’60 as he revolutionised F1 with his small rear-engined cars. The Cooper here was a Rob Walker Team car, one of two fitted with 2.5-litre Coventry-Climax engines and the five-speed Colotti gearbox favoured by Stirling Moss and his engineer Alf Francis. Its numerous victories included the 1959 New Zealand G.P. driven by Stirling Moss, which was the first F1 victory for a rear-engined 2.5-litre car. It was also driven successfully in period by Maurice Trintignant.
For many visitors, this seminal scarlet 1960 Ferrari 246 Dino was the star performer – an example of the last traditional, front-engine car to win a Grand Prix.
The Aston Martin DBR4/250, commonly referred to simply as the DBR4, is a Formula One racing car, designed by Ted Cutting for the sports car manufacturer Aston Martin. Following notable successes in sports car racing during the mid- to late-1950s — culminating in winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race and the World Sportscar Championship title in 1959 — the DBR4 was intended to repeat this success in the highest tier of open-wheel racing. The DBR4 was largely based on the DB3S sportscar, and borrowed that vehicle’s basic chassis and engine layout. Although it was tested as early as 1957, the DBR4 did not make its World Championship debut until the 1959 Dutch Grand Prix, driven by Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby. However, its long gestation period meant that by the time it finally entered competition much of its concept and technology had been superseded, and the car was not a success. The DBR4 was replaced by the lighter Aston Martin DBR5/250 in early 1960, but when that car also failed to provide competitive results Aston Martin abandoned Formula One to concentrate on their more successful sports car projects.
A 1970 Brabham BT33
This one is not actually an F1 car, but a Formula 3 entrant. a 1978 RALT RT1 Formula 3 Toyota Novamotor. After Jack Brabham sold his eponymous racing car construction company to Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Designer Ron Tauranac founder RALT (Ron and younger brother Austin Lewis Tauranac) in 1974; the RT1 was his first product. This deceptively simple, easy-to-set-up design used a 16-gauge L72 aluminium monocoque with a steel subframe behind the cockpit. It was used in F2, F3 and F Atlantic, equipped with a variety of engines that had its most successful year in 1978, taking victories Europe-wide for young drivers such as Elio de Angelis, Nelson Piquet and Derek Warwick. Jan Lammers used the favoured Toyota 2T-G Novamotor to win the European Championship for Racing Team Holland in this car, winning eight races of a 48 race season. This set him up for a long motorsport career in which he would win both the Le Mans and the Daytona 24 hour races in 1988, both with Jaguar, and race numerous F1 cars.
The Lotus-Judd Type 101 was Team Lotus’ entry for the 1989 season. Gérard Ducarouge’s departure during 1988 had necessitated the former Williams aerodynamicist Frank Dernie to be appointed as Technical Director in November 1988. Despite his appointment the majority of the work for the 101 had been conducted by chief designer Mike Coughlan. The 101 was to be a rushed design built within weeks and to a series of constraints. Ducarouge’s departure had coincided with end of the 1,500 cc turbocharged era. Lotus, along with other competitors, now had to incorporate 3,500 cc normally aspirated engines into their cars. Judd were therefore enlisted to supply their CV 32 valve V8 engine, but as Lotus were only a “customer” (Judd’s principal contact was the supply of their latest EV V8 engine to the March team) solutions were sought to make up the power deficiency by appointing Tickford to research and develop a five-valve-per-cylinder head. The use of the Judd engine did permit Dernie and Coughlan to design a smaller and lighter car than before; indeed the narrowness of the cockpit required Momo to build a special steering wheel to allow the drivers to fit their hands between the wheel and bodywork of the car. The initial optimism and favourable reception by management and driver alike shortly evaporated, as the 101 proved to be a disaster. Not only were the customer Judd engines rated at around 610 bhp ) (about 80 bhp less than the dominant Honda V10 engine used by McLaren), but it was apparent that the Goodyear tyres that the team were using had been designed principally for use by the McLaren and Ferrari teams, who were able to test and tune their chassis to work better with the compounds. The 101 failed to collect significant results as the season progressed, culminating in the events following the British Grand Prix where Nelson Piquet had driven to a fighting fourth placed finish. The Chapman family, who were still the shareholders in Team Lotus International, persuaded Peter Warr and Chairman Fred Bushell (who was about to face charges arising from the De Lorean affair) to leave. Tony Rudd, who was at the time working for Group Lotus, was appointed executive chairman. Also the Tickford head was abandoned. The renewed optimism briefly helped to improve results; however, at Spa both Lotuses failed to qualify for a Grand Prix for the first time since 1958. The season ended with two fourth place finishes for Nelson Piquet and Satoru Nakajima in Japan and Australia respectively. Given the dreadful start to the season (Lotus only scored points in one of the first seven races), the total points tally of 15 points was almost a positive Lotus could take out of the 1989 season. Indeed it would prove to be the highest number of points Lotus were to score in a season during the normally aspirated engine era until the team´s collapse at the end of the 1994 season.
The Ferrari 642 (also known as the Ferrari F1-91) was a Formula One racing car designed by Steve Nichols and Jean-Claude Migeot and was used by Scuderia Ferrari in the 1991 Formula One season. It was a development of the team’s 641 chassis, which had mounted a championship challenge in 1990. Ferrari started the 1991 season with high hopes of winning the championship. Jean Alesi signed a contract with the Scuderia when Nigel Mansell returned to the Williams team. The 642’s best result was a second place taken by Alain Prost at the 1991 United States Grand Prix, held at the Phoenix street circuit. The 642 was replaced by the Ferrari 643 at the 1991 French Grand Prix.
This 1993 Benetton B193 is the car driven by Schumacher at the start of his Formula 1 career.
Oldest of the rally cars was this 1953 Mark 1 Ford Zephyr Six. Driving a 2.2-litre Zephyr Six which had been prepared at Lincoln Cars in West London, Dutch driver Maurice Gatsonides, with his British co-driver Peter Worledge, won the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally. The team performed immaculately during the five-day event over snow- and ice-bound roads; their total timing error over the tests was a mere two seconds. This was the first time Ford had entered Works Zephyrs in the Monte Carlo Rally. Amazingly, despite many podium finishes, a Ford would not win the Monte again until the Delecour/Grataloup pairing won in an Escort Cosworth in 1994. Special equipment included snow tyres by Tyresoles, an auxiliary instrument panel including navigation instruments and a passenger seat which could be folded flat to make it into a bed. On the winning car, Gatsonides also fitted a massive shield over the auxiliary lamps to stop glare. In this era, rallying was very much about endurance and accurate timing rather than outright speed across a stage.
This is an original example of the world’s first purpose-built ‘homologation special’ stage rally car, the Austin Healey 3000. As rally developed towards the modern flat-out stage format, Marcus Chambers and his team at the B.M.C. Competitions Department realised the ‘Big Healey’ was ideally suited to this newsworthy new sport. It had plenty of power and was loved by the drivers, although ironically it’s often said the true master of this macho beast was a woman, Pat Moss. Cambers’ team went through the rulebook with great care and systemically developed the Healey to the point where it had more than 200b.h.p. and was as tough as they come. No reflection of rallying history is complete without a Big Healey. This car finished first in class and third overall on its debut outing at the 1961 Acropolis Rally, driven by Peter Riley and Tony Ambrose. After its works career, it was purchased by Rauno Aaltonen. It is one of the most original, authentic Works Healeys extant.
Three more Fords featured: a Mark 2 Escort, the Sierra Cosworth and the RS200.
Needing little in the way of introduction is the Lancia Stratos, Lancia picked up the goalposts and ran off the pitch with them by designing a car specifically for rallying. Others had plotted this but failed to progress, Ford’s GT70 being an obvious example. However, Lancia’s team manager, Cesare Florio, wanted a car to replace the Fulvia which could win on every surface; gravel, tarmac, snow ice or sand. The Stratos was designed from the start to deal with them and be instantly serviceable in a car park.. With engineering design by Gianni Tonti, development by Giampaolo Dallara, a Ferrari engine and the most amazing shape by Marcello Gandini at Bertone, it couldn’t fail and didn’t. Debuting in 1973, it was still winning rallies in the early 1980s, scored 18 W.R.C. wins, gave Sandro Munari victory in the inaugural Drivers’ World Championship and won two Manufacturers’ Championships. The Stratos here was built in July 1974 and has had a varied competition career. It has been restored to the livery it wore during the 1976 season.
Unlike other car makers who had to manufacturer 200 road going versions of their chosen car to get a ticket into Group B, the RX-7 was accepted into the mix through prior homologation in Group 1, Group 2 and its subsequent Group 4 upgrades and the fact that the car was based on the standard Series 3 version of the road-going RX-7 that had been in production since 1977 and of which over 400,000 units had been sold. Group B homologation, signed off by the FIA on February 1 1984, still required 20 ‘Evolution’ competition models to be built, though. The Group B car looked very much like the road car, with wider wing flares and a large rear spoiler being the best visual clue. It had an uprated engine which put out around 300 bhp and an oil cooler was included. There was limited success, with a third place on the Acropolis Rally of 1985 being the only notable result in the car’s very short career as whilst the Mazda Rally Team Europe (MRT) Group B RX-7 was a highly capable rally car, the overall package built around a naturally aspirated engine and rear-wheel-drive chassis proved no match for machines like the Audi Quattro S1, Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 and Lancia Delta S4 which all featured forced induction and four-wheel-drive and bespoke bodies. Then there was the fact that MRT never had full factory backing from Mazda Motor Company, which ultimately shunned the RX-7 and decided to put its weight behind the development of the Group A Mazda 323/Familia 4WD. But that’s another story.
This 4WD mid engined MG Metro 6R4 of 1984 (6-cylinder, rally car, four-wheel-drive) was a world away from the best selling city car to which it bore only a superficial cosmetic resemblance. The competition car effectively only shared the name of the production Metro as it featured a mid-mounted engine with four wheel drive transmission enclosed within a semi-monocoque seam-welded tubular chassis. The development of this vehicle had been entrusted to Williams Grand Prix Engineering. The resulting car was shown to the world in May 1985. It was powered by a David Wood designed bespoke 3-litre V6 powerplant which used some of the engine architecture of the Cosworth DFV. It featured twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. The engine was a break from the norm, as it wasn’t turbocharged as the majority of its competitors were. The engine was mounted back to front in the car, with the forward end of the engine facing the hatchback and the gearbox attached conventionally behind it and, therefore, in the middle of the vehicle. The four-wheel-drive was permanently engaged, and drove separate propshafts to the front and rear differentials. The rear differential was mounted on the side of the engine sump with one driveshaft running through the sump to the nearside rear wheel. Much of the outer bodywork was made of GRP, with the only exception being the roof panels (which were aluminium), the steel doors and the remaining panels from the original Metro shell. The doors were, however, concealed by plastic airboxes. Indeed, models now on show generally have stickers demonstrating where it is safe to push from when moving the vehicle, so as not to damage the bodywork. The 6R4 appeared in two guises. There was a so-called Clubman model which was the road going version which developed in the region of 250 bhp, of which around 200 were made and sold to the public for £40,000 (the homologation version). A further 20 were taken and built to International specifications which had a recorded output of over 410 bhp. At its launch in 1985, Rover announced that it would complete the necessary number of cars required for homologation by November of that year. This was undertaken at the group’s large manufacturing facility at Longbridge. The car was to participate in the Lombard RAC rally in November 1985, and an example, driven by works driver Tony Pond, finished a highly respectable third, behind two Lancia Delta S4s. This good start was unfortunately not repeated, and although a 6R4 was entered in rallies at Monte Carlo, Sweden, Portugal and Corsica during the 1986 season, none of the Metros managed to complete a course. The majority of these problems were related to the V6 powerplant which suffered teething issues. Halfway during the 1986 season, Group B was banned (following a series of fatal crashes in which both competitors and spectators lost their lives). From that point on, the 6R4 was always going to be limited in front line competition, although they were run with limited success for the remainder of the year. A number passed into private hands and have proved formidable rally and rallycross cars. Despite the expiry of the 6R4’s homologation the MSA still allow the cars to run in competition although engine sizes have been limited to 2800cc (single plenum engines) and 2500cc (multi-plenum engines). Austin Rover withdrew from the rallying scene at the end of the season, but in 1987 all the parts and engines were sold to Tom Walkinshaw Racing, whereupon the V6 engine reappeared in the Jaguar XJ220, this time with turbochargers added.
Peugeot produced their 205 T16 to compete against the Audi Quattro and Lancia Delta of the mid 80s. To homologate the 205 T16 (“Turbo 16”) Group B rally car, Peugeot had to produce 200 road-going examples. According to the Group B regulations, these had to be based on a current production road car. Peugeot decided to base the Group B rally car on the two door version of the 205. The engine was based on the cast iron block of the Diesel version of the then new XU engine family, albeit with a specially developed 16-valve head. The gearbox came from the Citroen SM but was mounted transversely. The car had all wheel drive. The body was built by Heuliez, where standard three door bodyshells from the production line were delivered and heavily modified. Heuliez cut off the complete rear of the car and welded in a transverse firewall between the B-posts. The rear frame was then built in a mixture of sheet steel profiles and tubes. The front was modified in a similar way with a tube frame carrying the front suspension. The completed bodies were delivered to Simca (Talbot) for the 200-series production cars and to Peugeot Talbot Sport for the competition versions. All street versions (VINs P1 to P200) were left hand drive and identically kitted out in dark grey colour, except the first (VIN P1) that was painted white and carried all the competition cars’ decoration for demonstration purposes. The competition cars of the first evolution series (VIN C1 to C20) were built at the sport department Peugeot Talbot Sport and presented to the public at the same day as the standard street version. Later competition vehicles of the Evolution 2 series (VIN C201 to C220) were built differently as the rear spaceframe had no more sheet steel profiles in it but was completely made from tubes only. Apart from the appearance, the road variants had practically nothing in common with the regular production model and shared the transverse mid-engine, four-wheel drive layout of the rally car, but had less than half the power; at around 200 PS. The T was for Turbo; the 16 stands for 16 valves. Outwardly similar to a normal 205, the T16 had wider wheel arches, and the whole rear section lifted up to give access to the engine. Underneath, the complex drivetrain from the rally car was kept to abide by the Group B rules In addition to the Group B model, the lesser 205 GTI was also FIA approved for competition in the Group N and Group A categories. Peugeot Talbot Sport’s factory 205 T16s under Jean Todt were the most successful cars to compete in the last two years of the World Rally Championship’s Group B era, winning the 1985 and 1986 Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles with Timo Salonen and Juha Kankkunen respectively against such notable competition from Audi, Lancia and Ford, with an Evolution 2 model being introduced for the latter of those two seasons.
Final car in the display was a Renault R5 Maxi Turbo. In response to Lancia’s rallying success with the mid-engined Stratos, Renault’s Jean Terramorsi, vice-president of production, asked Bertone’s Marc Deschamps to design a new sports version of the Renault 5 Alpine supermini. The distinctive new rear bodywork was styled by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. Although the standard Renault 5 has a front-mounted engine, the 5 Turbo featured a mid-mounted 1,397 cc Cléon-Fonte with fuel fed by Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and a Garrett AiResearch T3 turbocharger OHV 2 valves per cylinder Inline-four engine placed behind the driver in mid-body in a modified Renault 5 chassis. In standard form, the engine developed 160 PS at 6000 rpm and maximum torque of 221 Nm (163 lb/ft) at 3250 rpm. Though it used a modified body from a standard Renault 5, and was badged a Renault 5, the mechanicals were radically different, the most obvious difference being rear-wheel drive and rear-mid-engined instead of the normal version’s front-wheel drive and front-mounted engine. At the time of its launch it was the most powerful production French car. The first 400 production 5 Turbos were made to comply with Group 4 homologation to allow the car to compete in international rallies, and were manufactured at the Alpine factory in Dieppe. Many parts later transferred to the Alpine A310, such as the suspension or alloy wheel set. The R5 Turbo was conceived with dual intent, promoting the sales of the common R5 and being homologated in the FIA group 3 and 4 categories of the rally championship (today WRC). All the motorsport derivatives were based on the Turbo 1. The factory pushed the engine output up to 180 PS for the Critérium des Cévennes, 210 PS for the Tour de Corse, and by 1984 as much as 350 PS in the R5 Maxi Turbo. Driven by Jean Ragnotti in 1981, the 5 Turbo won the Monte Carlo Rally on its first outing in the World Rally Championship. The 2WD R5 Turbo soon faced the competition of new Group B four-wheel drive cars that proved faster on dirt. There are several victories throughout the early 80’s in the national championships in France, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, and Spain, many victories in international rallies throughout Europe, with wins in iconic rallies such as Monte-Carlo. After the factory ceased support, it lived a second life being developed by many teams and enthusiasts to compete in regional championships and local races in which it was ubiquitous and reached many success for almost 20 years. At the time of retirement, the newly created historical categories allowed these cars to return to international events and competitions, living a third life. For these reasons it has accessed to a legendary status and has a huge fan base.
NIGEL MANSELL DISPLA Y
Every year, the achievements of one person have been recognised by what the show calls their “Icon Award” and a number of cars associated with the recipient form a special display. For the 2018 event, the award was presented to Nigel Mansell, not least as a celebration of the fact that it is 25 years and a few weeks since he won the 1992 Formula 1 World Championship. Nigel was present in person at the event on at least two of the days, and drove some of the cars from the Grand Avenue display, as well as taking to the interview stage and there was a special and quite varied display of cars associated with his career. Mansell, now aged 64, first came to prominence when winning the British Formula Ford Championship in 1977 before graduating to Formula Three. He then made his Formula One debut for Lotus in 1980 and over the following 15 years won no fewer than 31 grands prix with Williams and Ferrari – an amazing tally only now topped by reigning champion Lewis Hamilton among British F1 drivers. The Englishman is also in the record books for being the only driver to win back-to-back Formula One World Championship and CART IndyCar World Series crowns, a feat he achieved when clinching America’s premier open-wheel title in 1993. Although Mansell’s outstanding race record marks him out as one of motor sport’s greatest-ever drivers, it was his astonishing ability to overcome adversity that won him special respect and affection with fans right around the globe. It was this incredible fighting spirit which caught the public’s imagination, earning him the nickname ‘Il Leone’ (The Lion) from Ferrari’s famous fans, the tifosi. His courage was equally adored by British followers, with ‘Mansell Mania’ erupting at Silverstone as ‘Our Nige’ overcame the odds to score emotional victories in front of record crowds.
Mansell had a fairly slow start to his racing career, using his own money to help work his way up the ranks. After considerable success in kart racing, he moved to the Formula Ford series to the disapproval of his father. In 1976, Mansell won six of the nine races he took part in, including his debut event at Mallory Park. He entered 42 races the following year and won 33 to become the 1977 British Formula Ford champion, despite suffering a broken neck in a qualifying session at Brands Hatch. This 1977 Crosle 32F is the Formula Ford car which he drove that year.
Doctors told him he had been perilously close to quadriplegia, that he would be confined for six months and would never drive again. Mansell discharged himself from the hospital and returned to racing. Three weeks before the accident he had resigned from his job as an aerospace engineer, having previously sold most of his personal belongings to finance his foray into Formula Ford. Later that year he was given the chance to race a Lola T570 Formula 3 car at Silverstone. He finished fourth and decided that he was ready to move into the higher formula. Mansell raced in Formula Three in 1978–1980. Mansell’s first season in Formula Three started with a pole position and a second-place finish. However, the car was not competitive, as a commercial deal with Unipart required his team to use Triumph Dolomite engines that were vastly inferior to the Toyota engines used by the leading teams. After three seventh-place finishes and a fourth in his last race, he parted from the team. The next season saw him take a paid drive with David Price Racing. Following a first win in the series at Silverstone in March, he went on to finish eighth in the championship. His racing was consistent, but a collision with Andrea de Cesaris resulted in a huge cartwheeling crash which he was lucky to survive. Again he was hospitalised, this time with broken vertebrae. His driving was noticed by Colin Chapman, owner of Lotus, and shortly after his accident, hiding the extent of his injury with painkillers, Mansell performed well enough during a tryout at the Paul Ricard circuit with Lotus, where he was pitted against a number of other drivers to determine who was going to take the second seat for the 1980 season alongside Mario Andretti, as Argentinean Carlos Reutemann was leaving to go to Williams. Driving a 79, the seat eventually went to Italian driver Elio de Angelis, but Mansell was selected to become a test driver for the Norfolk-based Formula One team. Mansell stayed at Lotus for the next four years. In 1984, Mansell finished in the championship top 10 for the first time, and took his first career pole position but still finished behind teammate de Angelis, who finished third, in the championship. At the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix Mansell surprised many by overtaking Alain Prost in a wet race for the lead, but soon after retired from the race after losing control on the slippery painted lines on the road surface on the run up the hill on lap 15. Late in the season, Lotus announced the recruitment of Ayrton Senna for the following year, leaving Mansell with no race seat at Lotus. After receiving offers from Arrows and Williams, and first turning down Williams’s offer, it was announced before the Dutch Grand Prix that he would indeed be joining Williams. Mansell was remembered by many that year when he collapsed while pushing his car to the finish line after the transmission failed on the last lap of the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix. The race was one of the hottest on record, and after two hours of driving in 104 °F (about 40 °C) conditions Mansell fainted while pushing his car over the line to salvage a sixth-place finish (and thus one championship point) in a race of which he had led half, having started from pole. In his autobiography, Mansell claimed that his final race with the Lotus team—the 1984 Portuguese Grand Prix—was heavily compromised by Warr’s unwillingness to give Mansell the brake pads he desired for the race. With 18 laps of the race remaining, and with Mansell in second position, the brakes on his car failed. On Mansell’s departure, Warr was quoted as saying “He’ll never win a Grand Prix as long as I have a hole in my arse”. This is a Lotus 95T from 1984.
In 1995, Mansell moved to Williams, where he would spend the next four years, before moving to Ferrari. After two seasons with the Italian team, he returned to Williams for the 1991 season. His second stint with Williams was even better than the first. Back in the familiar ‘Red 5′, he won five races in 1991, most memorably in the Spanish Grand Prix. In this race he went wheel-to-wheel with Ayrton Senna, with only centimetres to spare, at over 320 km/h (199 mph) on the main straight. Quite a different spectacle was offered following Mansell’s victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Senna’s car had stopped on the final lap, but, rather than leave his rival stranded out on the circuit (the two had actually come to blows in the pits following their first lap tangle during the 1987 Belgian Grand Prix and were hardly close friends), Mansell pulled over on his victory lap and allowed Senna to ride on the Williams sidepod back to the pits. The Williams team’s decision to develop their new semi-automatic gearbox by racing with it at the start of the season, was at the cost of points in the opening rounds of the championship. Senna was on 40 points with four straight wins to open the season by the time Mansell gained his first finish with a second in Monaco. Mansell then had the next race in Canada practically won when his Williams FW14 stopped half a lap from the finish with what was reported to be transmission failure, though it was suspected that Mansell had let his engine revs drop too low while he was waving to the crowd in celebration and stalled his engine. Ironically this handed Nelson Piquet his 23rd and last F1 race win. Despite a good mid-season, which included a hat-trick of victories, Senna’s consistency (and Mansell’s retirements at key races) meant that he finished second in the Championship for the third time in his career, this time behind Senna. 1992 would be Mansell’s finest season. He started the year with five straight victories (a record not equalled until Michael Schumacher in 2004). At the sixth round of the season in Monaco, he took pole and dominated much of the race. However, with seven laps remaining, Mansell suffered a loose wheel nut and was forced into the pits, emerging behind Ayrton Senna’s McLaren-Honda. Mansell, on fresh tyres, set a lap record almost two seconds quicker than Senna’s and closed from 5.2 to 1.9 seconds in only two laps. The pair duelled around Monaco for the final four laps but Mansell could find no way past, finishing just 0.2 seconds behind the Brazilian. Mansell became the most successful British driver of all time when he won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, as he surpassed Jackie Stewart’s record of 27 wins with his 28th. Mansell was finally crowned Formula One World Champion at the age of 39 early in the season at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the 11th round of that season, where his second-place finish clinched the Drivers’ Championship, securing the title in the least number of Grands Prix since the 16-race season format started. Mansell also set the then-record for the most wins in one season (9); both records stood until broken by Schumacher in 2002. He managed 14 pole positions that year, a record only broken by Sebastian Vettel in 2011 in the Brazilian Grand Prix on 26 November. He also held the record for the most races before becoming World Champion with 180 races; this record was broken by Nico Rosberg in 2016 with 206 races. Other Formula One records set in 1992 that he still holds are the highest percentage of pole positions in a season (88%), most wins from pole position in a season (nine) and most runner-up championship finishes before becoming World Champion (three). Mansell also holds the record for obtaining pole position and scoring the fastest lap and subsequently retiring from the race (1987 German Grand Prix, 1990 British Grand Prix, 1992 Japanese Grand Prix, and 1992 Italian Grand Prix). He is the driver having the most wins (31) without ever winning Monaco. He won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award again in 1992, one of only four people to have won the award twice. This is the FW14B from that season.
Final car in the exhibit was this Rover SD1 Touring Car. Mansell did have a short stint driving in the BTCC in the 90s, driving a Mondeo, but it was not successful.
The other special display at the 2018 event focused on “Getaway Cars”. This was curated by Philip Glenister, renowned for ‘firing up the quattro’ as DCI Gene Hunt in the hugely-popular television series Ashes to Ashes, and he was at the show in person on the Saturday, to answer questions from the crowd. Each of the cars in this display was specially selected for its role in notorious and well-known getaways over the past 50 or so years. Across the hall, actor Nick Moran of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Harry Potter fame was reliving various of his film roles on the special display of Getaway Cars.
Adding to the rogues’ gallery Nick Reynolds was reunited with the very Lotus Cortina that his late father Bruce Reynolds used to stake out the Great Train Robbery in 1963. The beautifully preserved car has just 3,500 miles on the clock and is still fitted with the same tyres that left the tracks which police found to hunt down the gang.
During the 1960s, the Jaguar Mark 2 was probably the getaway car of choice, as the car was much faster than most other cars on the road, and there were quite a few of them around, as the pricing meant that even the top of the line 3.8 was in reach of many people.
Those who needed more space opted for the Ford Transit, so there was one of these in the display, as well.
Fans of the “Italian Job” will need no reminder that bigger is not always better when it comes to getaway cars, with the three Mini Cooper models that starred in his film being remembered to this day for the agility and ability to get through small and improbable spaces before all three cars were swallowed up from view when they reached the sanctity of the converted bus.
More recently, there has been a much wider choice of cars with plenty of high performance models out there, and from the last couple of decades, the display contained an Audi S8, an E34 generation BMW M5, a top of the line Range Rover LSE Overfinch 630 and a Subaru Impreza P1.
And of course the display had to contain the legendary Audi Quattro.
DEALER and CAR CLUB DISPLAYS
The majority of what was on show could be found a mix of Car Club, Manufacturer and Dealer Display stands. Over 25 Car Clubs were present, and their stands were all grouped together in one corner of the Show. They were outnumbered, by some margin, by the dealers, Most of these were UK-based, and many of the biggest and best known who trade in historic, classic and high-end machinery were here, with names such as Nicholas Mee, CMC, Joe Macari and Prindiville all represented. There were all manner of other dealers and traders with something interesting to show. In total, there were around 700 cars on show, all of them immaculately presented. With a combined estimated value of more than £300m, these ranged from barn-finds and in-progress restorations to unique concepts and pure-bred, championship winning race cars. As well as providing a staggering selection of magnificent classic cars for visitors to relish, dealers confirmed considerable interest from buyers with many significant sales. Saturday’s busy Coys auction also witnessed notable lots coming under the hammer, topped by the sale of a 1984 Ferrari 512BB ‘Boxer’ for more than £260,000.
The HMI Drivers’ Club is supported by leading companies at the heart of historic motorsport including British Motor Heritage, Dunlop HP Tyres and Piloti, makers of professional and competition driving shoes and this was a central meeting place where exhibitors could catch up with existing and potential customers, colleagues, friends and the trade. HMI exhibitors read a bit like a who’s who of the historic motorsport world. They include organising clubs such as the Veteran Sports Car Club (VSCC), Under 2-Litre Touring Car (U2TC) and Pre ’63 GT Championships, the Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC), and the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association (HGPCA). Equipe GTS, which runs racing championships for pre-1966 FIA GT cars, took space, alongside racing manufacturers such as Crosslé and Lister Cars and specialist dealers and preparation experts like Hall & Hall, the Old Racing Car Company, Quinntech Racing and Tech 9 Motorsport. Engine experts including Gosnays and Cosworth and event organisers and support companies including Rally Round, Supagard, Lista and Motor Racing Medics were also on hand.
As well as the static displays, there was plenty of live action, with a series of interviews conducted during each day, and there was even some dancing which stopped many in the crowd in the tracks.
There were a number of Cobra-style cars here. Original Cobra models from the early 60s are rare, but there are plenty of replica cars that have been produced since then, as well as the various continuation series that AC themselves have made, so the car is quite a common sight at events like this and indeed there were several of them here.
A much rarer AC is the 428. Sometimes known as the AC Frua, the AC 428 was launched in 1965. The 428 is built on an AC Cobra 427 Mark III chassis extended by 6 inches (150 mm). The chassis were built at the AC plant in England then shipped to Frua’s workshop in Italy where the body was fitted and then sent back to England to have the American-built 7 litre power train and trim added. The cost was high and the cars could not be sold at a competitive price. Unlike similar cars such as the Iso Grifo, Iso Rivolta, Monteverdi, and De Tomaso models of the period, the AC Frua features fully independent racing based coil spring suspension. The AC Frua was never fully developed because AC Cars lacked the financial means. The car’s main drawback is a tendency of the V8’s heat to bleed into the cabin. Production ceased in 1973 by which time 81 cars he been built in total: 49 coupés (known as fastbacks), 29 convertibles, and 3 special bodied.
Alfa followed up the 1950 launch of the 1900 Berlina with a smaller model, the Giulietta. Known as the Type 750 and later 101 Series, the Giulietta evolved into a family of models. The first to be introduced was the Giulietta Sprint 2+2 coupé at the 1954 Turin Motor Show. Designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone, it was produced at the coachbuilder’s Grugliasco plant near Turin. A year later, at the Turin Motor Show in April 1955, the Sprint was joined by the 4-door saloon Berlina. In mid 1955, the open two-seat Giulietta Spider, featuring convertible bodywork by Pininfarina, and it was a couple of examples of this achingly pretty car that were to be seen here. Alfa replaced the Giulietta with the Giulia in 1962, but as the Coupe and Spider were not ready, the Giulietta based models were kept in production, and renamed as Giulia. They gained a larger 1600cc engine, and this meant that the bonnet need to be raised a little to accommodate the new unit, so the easy recognition beyond Giulietta and Giulia Spiders is whether there is a flat bonnet or one with a slight hump and a vent in it. Accordingly, this car, shown by Coys Auction House, is a Giulietta.
The 2600 was an evolution of the 2000 (102 Series), which replaced the 1900, the first volume production model that Alfa had made. By the time the 2000 was launched in 1958, Alfa had added the Giulietta family to their range, and these cars were always going to be sell in far greater volume than the larger ones in a world that was still getting back on its feet after the war, but the 2000 was an important flagship, nonetheless. The 2000 models ran for 4 years, from 1958 to 1962, at which point they were updated, taking on the name of 106 Series, with minor styling changes being accompanied by a larger 2600cc engine under the bonnet. As with the 2000 models, the new 2600 cars were sold in Berlina (Saloon), Sprint (Coupe) and Spider (Convertible) versions, 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 of 2.6 litres, 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. These days you are more likely to see any of these than the Berlina, though. The saloon car just did not sell, with just 2092 of them being made over a 4 year period, making it the least popular Alfa saloon of all time. The one seen only came to the UK a few months ago, from South Africa and is one of less than 500 right hand drive models that were built. It is one of the later series of cars, with a floor gear change, as opposed to the column change of earlier cars, and with individual front seats as opposed to a bench. As standard, the Berlina had twin Solex carburettors with primary and secondary chokes, the latter being opened progressively for greater smoothness and economy. This one has acquired twin Webers at some point. It has a hand throttle (common on Italian cars of the period) and fan motors to demist front and rear screens. There is a five speed gearbox. One down side of a car of this era is the fact there are 16 grease points which need to be attended to every 2500 miles. This is a 2600 Coupe.
Looking very different from the rest of the Giulia range was a rather special Coupe, designed by Zagato. 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 Zagato.so 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. This is definitely 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.
There were three different Alpina models based on the E28, the B7S Turbo and the B9 and B10 Saloons. The B9 came first, launching in November 1981, a few months after the debut of the standard E28, featuring a 3.5 litre inline 6 cylinder engine. When this unit was updated in 1985, the model designation changed to B10. 577 of these cars were made. In standard form, the BMW 3.5 litre engine delivered 218 bhp, but after the special Alpina treatment, this was upped to 245 bhp. Other changes included new springs, gas-filled dampers, uprated discs and 16″ Alpina wheels on the outside, and a leather steering wheel, Alpina upholstery and Recaro seats on the inside. The second generation B7 Turbo arrived in April 1984 and just like the E12 based B7S Turbo cars which had been built between November 1981 and May 1982, this was the fastest 4 door saloon in the world, and this latest one took performance to new levels. Using the BMW 3.5 litre engine again, as it now had a higher compression than before, boost was not quite as great as it had been, at 0.7 bar, but that and the other detailed changes Alpina made were enough to give the new B7 Turbo an output of 300 bhp and 320 bhp in the catalyst equipped models, along with 509 Nm of torque, resulting in a top speed of 265 – 270 km/h, and a 0- 100 km/h time of either 4.8 or 6.1 seconds depending on which test source you believe. The gearbox was a Getrag 5 speed manual unit that had been developed for the 745i. Uprated Bilstein suspension was fitted, with height adjustable rear dampers and the car had what for the time were huge wheels, 205/55 16″ at the front and 225/55 at the rear. Inside the car was much like the B7 Turbo but with a black roof lining. Alpina made 236 non cat and 42 catalyst cars before “production” ended in the summer of 1987.
The Aston Martin DB5 was an evolution of the DB4. The principal differences between the DB4 Series V and the DB5 are the all-aluminium engine, enlarged from 3.7 L to 4.0 L; a new robust ZF five-speed transmission (except for some of the very first DB5s); and three SU carburettors. This engine, producing 282 bhp, which propelled the car to 145 mph, available on the Vantage (high powered) version of the DB4 since March 1962, became the standard Aston Martin power unit with the launch in September 1963 of the DB5. Standard equipment on the DB5 included reclining seats, wool pile carpets, electric windows, twin fuel tanks, chrome wire wheels, oil cooler, magnesium-alloy body built to superleggera patent technique, full leather trim in the cabin and even a fire extinguisher. All models have two doors and are of a 2+2 configuration. Like the DB4, the DB5 used a live rear axle At the beginning, the original four-speed manual (with optional overdrive) was standard fitment, but it was soon dropped in favour of the ZF five-speed. A three-speed Borg-Warner DG automatic transmission was available as well. The automatic option was then changed to the Borg-Warner Model 8 shortly before the DB6 replaced the DB5. The high-performance DB5 Vantage was introduced in 1964 featuring three twin-choke 45DCOE side-draft Weber carburettors and revised camshaft profiles, delivering greater top-end performance at the expense of overall flexibility, especially as legendary Webers are renowned as ‘full-throttle’ devices. This engine produced 325 bhp at 5,500 rpm. 65 DB5 Vantage coupés were built. 123 convertible DB5s were produced (also with bodies by Touring), though they did not use the typical “Volante” name until 1965. The convertible model was offered from 1963 through to 1965. Originally only 19 of the 123 DB5 Convertibles made were left-hand drive. 12 cars were originally fitted with a factory Vantage engine, and at least one further convertible was subsequently factory fitted with a DB6 specification Vantage engine. A rare factory option (actually fitted by Works Service prior to customer delivery) was a steel removable hard top. From October 1965 to October 1966, Aston Martin used the last 37 of the Aston Martin DB5 chassis’ to make another convertible model. These 37 cars were known as “Short Chassis” Volantes and were the first Aston Martins to hold the “Volante” name. Although calling it a “Short Chassis” is a bit of a misnomer as the “short” comes from comparing it to the subsequent DB6, which has a longer chassis. When compared to the DB5, it is not “short” but rather the same size, however these cars differ to the DB5 convertible models as they feature DB6 split front and rear bumpers and rear TR4 lights, as also used on the DB6.
Next up was the DB6, a model launched in 1965 as a replacement for the DB5 which had run since 1963. The wheelbase was now 4″ longer than before, resulting in an extensive restyle with a more raked windscreen, raised roofline and reshaped rear quarter windows. Opening front quarter lights made a reappearance, but the major change was at the rear where a Kamm tail with spoiler improved the aerodynamics, greatly enhancing stability at high speeds. “The tail lip halves the aerodynamic lift around maximum speed and brings in its train greater headroom and more luggage space”, declared Motor magazine, concluding that the DB6 was one of the finest sports cars it had tested. Famed employee, Tadek Marek, designed the six cylinder engine, which had been enlarged to 3,995cc for the preceding DB5 and remained unchanged. Power output on triple SU carburettors was 282bhp, rising to 325bhp in Vantage specification. Premiered at the 1965 London Motor Show, the DB6 Volante marked the first occasion the evocative ‘Volante’ name had been applied to a soft-top Aston Martin. After 37 Volante convertibles had been completed on the DB5 short wheelbase chassis, the model adopted the longer DB6 chassis in October 1966. A mere 140 DB6 based Volantes were manufactured, and of these only 29 were specified with the more powerful Vantage engine.
Representing the longest lived design in Aston Martin’s history were the DBS and V8 range of cars. By the mid 1960s, Aston Martin’s customers had been clamouring for an eight-cylinder car, so Aston Martin designed a larger car. The engine was not ready, however, so in 1967 the company released the DBS with the straight-six Vantage engine from the DB6. Two years later, Tadek Marek’s V8 was ready, and Aston released the DBS V8. Though the body and name was shared with the six-cylinder DBS, the V8 sold for much more. The body was a modern reinterpretation of the traditional Aston Martin look, with a squared-off grille and four headlights (though some consider the styling derivative of the early Ford Mustang). Distinguishing features of the V8 model are the larger front air dam and lack of wire wheels, though some six-cylinder DBS cars also used the V8’s alloy wheels. The tail lights were taken from the Hillman Hunter. A road test report of the time noted that the car had gained 250 lb in weight with the fitting of the V8 in place of the previously used six-cylinder unit, despite the manufacturer’s assurance that the engine weighed only 30 lb more than the older straight-six. Other contributions to the weight gain included heavier ventilated brake discs, air conditioning, fatter tyres, a new and stronger ZF gearbox as well as some extra bodywork beneath the front bumper. Marek’s V8 engine displaced 5,340 cc and used Bosch fuel injection. Output was not officially released, but estimates centre around 315 hp. The DBS V8 could hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and had a top speed of nearly 160 mph. 402 DBS V8s were built. In April 1972, the DBS V8 became just the Aston Martin V8 as the six-cylinder DBS was dropped, leaving just this car and the six-cylinder Vantage in production. The V8 became known as the AM V8, a model retroactively referred to as the Series 2 V8 to separate it from later models. Visual differences included twin quartz headlights and a mesh grille, a front design which was to last until the end of production in 1989. AM V8 cars, produced from May 1972 through July 1973, used a similar engine to the DBS V8, albeit with Bosch fuel injection rather than the earlier carburettors. Just 288 Series 2 cars were built. Although David Brown had left the company, he had overseen development of this model. The first 34 cars still carried leftover “DBS V8” badging. The car switched back to Weber carburettors for the Series 3 in 1973, ostensibly to help the car pass new stricter emissions standards in California but most likely because Aston Martin was unable to make the Bosch fuel injection system work correctly. These cars are distinguished by a taller bonnet scoop to accommodate four twin-choke (two-barrel) Weber carbs. The car produced 310 hp and could reach 60 mph in 6.1 seconds with an automatic transmission or 5.7 with a manual. Performance suffered with emissions regulations, falling to 288 hp in 1976. The next year, a more powerful “Stage 1” engine with new camshafts and exhaust brought it up to 305 hp. Production of Series 3 cars lasted from 1973 through October 1978, but was halted for all of 1975. 967 examples were produced in this time. While earlier V8 cars have louvers cut into the little panel mounted beneath the rear windshield, the Series 3 and later cars instead have a small lip at the bottom of this panel, just ahead of the leading edge of the bootlid. The “Oscar India” specification was introduced in October 1978 at the Birmingham International Motor Show. Visually, the former scoop on the bonnet gave way to a closed “power bulge”, while a spoiler was integrated into the tail. Most Oscar India cars were equipped with a Chrysler “Torqueflite” three-speed automatic transmission, with wood trim fitted for the first time since the DB2/4 of the 1950s. Just 352 Oscar India models were built from 1978 through 1985. The power of the now de-smogged engines kept dropping on American market cars, down to a low of 245 hp in the early eighties. The convertible “Volante” was introduced in June 1978, but featured the Series 4 bonnet a few months before the coupé received the Oscar India update. The Volante Series 1 weighs 70 kg (155 lb) more than the coupé, due to the necessity of reinforcing the frame. US market cars received much larger bumpers beginning with the 1980 model year, adding weight and somewhat marring the car’s lines. Owners of US-specified cars often modify them to have the slimmer European bumpers. By 1981, the success of the Volante meant that the coupé model was only built on individual demand. The fuel-injected Series 5 cars were introduced in January 1986 at the New York International Auto Show. The compact Weber/Marelli system no longer needed the space of the previous carburettors, so the bonnet bulge was virtually eliminated. 405 Series 5 cars were built before production ceased in 1989. The Volante Series 2 received the same changes; 216 were built. Seen here were a DBS as well as a good number of the later V8 Coupe and Volante cars.
After using the same body shape for 20 years, Aston Martin launched something new at the Birmingham Motor Show in 1988, the Virage. A 2 door coupe, it was later joined by an open-topped mode, and then the high-performance Vantage in 1993. The name of the standard car was changed to V8 Coupe in 1996. When compared to the preceding V8, the design was fresh and more modern. It looked more like a Lagonda than the V8 it replaced. Indeed, the chassis was an evolution of the Lagonda’s, with a de Dion tube rear suspension, located by triangulated radius rods and a Watts linkage, and a double wishbone unit at the front. To cut costs, many of the less-important pieces came from other companies, as had been the case for many an Aston past. The sleek headlights and taillights were Audi 200 and Volkswagen Scirocco units, respectively, while General Motors, Jaguar, and Ford provided the steering column, climate control panel, and dash switches. In fact, Ford had purchased Aston Martin and Jaguar shortly before the Virage debuted. The Virage was a large, heavy car in spite of its all-aluminium body, but the 32-valve 5,340 cc V8 engine’s 364 lb/ft torque elevated its performance to near super car levels. “Acceleration just never seems to run out”, claimed Sports Car International on a first test. They also praised the “eager and quicker revving” nature of the 330 hp engine with its Callaway-designed heads and Weber-Marelli fuel injection. “Nothing sounds quite like an Aston V8,” they concluded. The 1,790 kg (3,946 lb) car could reach 158 mph (254 km/h). The automatic could reach 60 mph from standing in about 6.5 seconds. An upgrade to 349 hp was announced at the 1996 Geneva Show. The actor Rowan Atkinson owned a Virage Coupe which featured on the front cover of Car (magazine) May 1990. In the article he commented how the modern climate control system provided heating efficiency beyond the veteran Aston driver’s dreams and couldn’t believe warm air would emanate from the footwell within 90 seconds of start up. The five-speed ZF manual was fitted to about forty percent of Virages. The more popular automatic option was Chrysler’s three-speed Torqueflite transmission. For 1993 the three-speed was replaced by a four-speed automatic unit. The six-speed manual from the Vantage also became optional late in the Virage’s production run. This V8-powered car was intended as the company’s top model, with the 6-cylinder 1994 DB7 positioned below it. Although the DB7 was switched to a V12 engine and claimed a performance advantage, this V8 model remained the exclusive, expensive, and hand-built flagship of the Aston Martin range. It was replaced in 2000 with the Vanquish. By the end of the 2000 model year, 1,050 of all Virage related models had been produced.
There was also an example of the hairy-chested Vantage V600 here. This car is full of extremes; a genuine top speed of 200 mph, a weight of almost 2000 kg, power output peaking at 600 bhp @ 6500 rpm and a price tag at launch of a whopping £233,682 with all the mods. But all of this is eclipsed by its full name of Works Prepared Aston Martin Driving Dynamics V600 Vantage or something like that. Strictly speaking, this isn’t a discreet model as such but is a collection of modifications developed and fitted by Works Service for the supercharged Vantage model post registration. As well as an uprated engine, other modifications available for the car were numerous and included ultra lightweight hollow spoke magnesium Dymag wheels, giant brake discs with circumferential cooling grooves plus AP racing callipers, stack digital instruments and reworked suspension with Eibach springs, adjustable Koni’s and a stiffer anti-roll bar. Many cars also have a five speed close ratio manual transmission although it is possible to see V600’s with automatic transmission. Central to the V600 is this, the most powerful Aston Martin road car engine of all time until it was toppled by the One-77. Essentially, this final version of the Tadek Marek V8 features performance engineering of the charge air intake cooling system, increased boost pressure and a big bore sports exhaust, described by AML as ‘Super Sport’. So far as is known, Aston Martin Works have converted in excess of 80 engines to V600 spec including regular V8 Vantage, Special Series Cars, Vantage Le Mans and Special Edition Vantage Volantes. That said, Works have also stated that only 9 standard V8 Vantages were made V600 immediately after first registration. Even now, Works are still able and capable to upgrade any supercharged Vantage to V600 spec, 17 years after the modification was first introduced.
With the DB7, produced from September 1994 to December 2004, Aston Martin made more cars from a single model than all Astons previously made, with over 7000 built. Known internally as the NPX project, the DB7 was made mostly with resources from Jaguar and had the financial backing of the Ford Motor Company, owner of Aston Martin from 1988 to 2007. The DB7’s platform was an evolution of the Jaguar XJS’s, though with many changes. The styling started life as the still-born Jaguar F type (XJ41 – coupe / XJ42 – convertible) designed by Keith Helfet. Ford cancelled this car and the general design was grafted onto an XJS platform. The styling received modest changes by Ian Callum so that it looked like an Aston Martin. The first generation Jaguar XK-8 also uses an evolution of the XJ-S/DB7 platform and the cars share a family resemblance, though the Aston Martin was significantly more expensive and rare. The prototype was complete by November 1992, and debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March, 1993, with the car positioned as an “entry-level” model below the hand-built V8 Virage introduced a few years earlier. With production of the Virage (soon rechristened “V8” following Vantage styling revisions) continuing at Newport Pagnell, a new factory was acquired at Bloxham, Oxfordshire that had previously been used to produce the Jaguar XJ220, where every DB7 would be built throughout its production run. The DB7 and its relatives were the only Aston Martins produced in Bloxham and the only ones with a steel unit construction inherited from Jaguar . Aston Martin had traditionally used aluminium for the bodies of their cars, and models introduced after the DB7 use aluminium for the chassis as well as for many major body parts. The convertible Volante version was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 1996. Both versions have a supercharged straight-six engine that produced 335 bhp and 361 lb·ft of torque. The Works Service provided a special Driving Dynamics package, which greatly enhanced performance and handling for drivers who wanted more than what the standard configuration offered. In 1999, the more powerful DB7 V12 Vantage was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. Its 5.9 litre, 48-valve, V12 engine produced 420 bhp and 400 lb·ft of torque. It has a compression ratio of 10.3:1. Transmissions were available with either a TREMEC T-56 six speed manual or a ZF 5HP30 five speed automatic gearbox. Aston Martin claimed it had a top speed of either 186 mph with the manual gearbox or 165 mph with the automatic gearbox, and would accelerate from 0–60 mph in 4.9 seconds. It is 4,692 mm long, 1,830 mm (72.0 in) wide, 1,243 mm (48.9 in) high, with a weight of 1,800 kg (3,968.3 lb). After the launch of the Vantage, sales of the supercharged straight-6 engine DB7 had reduced considerably and so production was ended by mid-1999. In 2002, a new variant was launched, named V12 GT or V12 GTA when equipped with an automatic transmission. It was essentially an improved version of the Vantage, its V12 engine producing 435 bhp and 410 lb·ft of torque for the manual GT, although the automatic GTA retained the 420 bhp and 400 lb·ft of torque of the standard DB7 Vantage. Additionally, the GT and GTA chassis had substantially updated suspension from the DB7 Vantage models. Aesthetically, compared to the Vantage it has a mesh front grille, vents in the bonnet, a boot spoiler, an aluminium gear lever, optional carbon fibre trim and new wheels. It also has 14.0 in front and 13.0 in rear vented disc brakes made by Brembo. When being tested by Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear in 2003, he demonstrated the car’s ability to pull away in fourth gear and continue until it hit the rev limiter: the speedometer indicated 135 mph. Production of the GT and GTA was extremely limited, as only 190 GT’s and 112 GTA’s were produced worldwide with 17 of them shipped to the US market, for a total of 302 cars.
The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish was designed by Ian Callum and bore a large resemblance to the production DB7 Vantage. However, the car had a strong influence from the Project Vantage Concept prototype which debuted with a V12 engine at the North American International Auto Show in January 1998. As underneath the car featured a strong aluminium/carbon composite construction, bonded chassis with a 5,935 cc V12 engine. It was available in 2+0 and 2+2 seating configurations. The 48-valve 60° engine produces 460 bhp and 400 lb⋅ft of torque. It is controlled by a drive-by-wire throttle and a six-speed Electrohydraulic manual transmission. The standard Vanquish model had 14.0 inch drilled and ventilated disc brakes with four-pot calipers, ABS, with electronic brake distribution. Its appearance in the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day earned the V12 Vanquish the number three spot on the list of Best Film Cars Ever, behind the Minis from The Italian Job, and DB5 from Goldfinger & Thunderball. The car also appears in the video games Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, James Bond 007: Nightfire, and James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing. The Vanquish S debuted at the 2004 Paris Auto Show, with increased horsepower and performance and slight styling revisions. The engine displacement remained at 5,935 cc with power increased from 460 to 520 bhp. Visual changes included new wheels, a slightly different nose shape, a new raised bootlid with a larger integrated spoiler incorporating the third high level brake light (in the rear window on the original Vanquish), a Vanquish S badge on the bootlid (the original Vanquish had no rear model designation) and the addition of a small front splitter (although this was mainly done for aerodynamic reasons). As part of its improvements, the Vanquish S featured a slightly improved coefficient of drag of 0.32 (from 0.33), with help from a redesigned splitter and boot lid. Its front and rear track were 1,524 mm (60.0 inches) and 1,529 mm (60.2 inches), respectively. It also incorporated the features of a 2004 option package, the Sports Dynamic Pack, which incorporated sportier suspension, steering, and brake features. This model was sold for the 2005 (alongside the base Vanquish) and 2006 (as a stand-alone) model years in the United States with only minor running changes; it was not sold in the United States for 2007. The Vanquish S featured larger brakes than the V12 Vanquish; 14.9 in front discs with six-pot calipers and 13.0 inches rear discs. The end of the Vanquish’s production run was celebrated with the Vanquish S Ultimate Edition. Aston Martin announced that the last 50 cars built would have a new ‘Ultimate Black’ exterior colour, upgraded interior, and personalised sill plaques. 1086 Vanquish S were built. With a 200+ MPH top speed, the Vanquish S was (as measured by top speed capability) the fastest Aston Martin ever until the Vantage V12 S was introduced in May 2013. Vanquish production ended on 19 July 2007, coinciding with the closing of the company’s Newport Pagnell factory after 49 years of operation.
Most recent Aston was this rather nice looking Vantage. Following the unveiling of the AMV8 Vantage concept car in 2003 at the North American International Auto Show designed by Henrik Fisker, the production version, known as the V8 Vantage was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005. The two seat, two-door coupé had a bonded aluminium structure for strength and lightness. The 172.5 inch (4.38 m) long car featured a hatchback-style tailgate for practicality, with a large luggage shelf behind the seats. In addition to the coupé, a convertible, known as the V8 Vantage Roadster, was introduced later in that year. The V8 Vantage was initially powered by a 4.3 litre quad-cam 32-valve V8 which produced 380 bhp at 7,300 rpm and 409 Nm (302 lb/ft) at 5,000 rpm. However, models produced after 2008 had a 4.7-litre V8 with 420 bhp and 470 Nm (347 lbft) of torque. Though based loosely on Jaguar’s AJ-V8 engine architecture, this engine was unique to Aston Martin and featured race-style dry-sump lubrication, which enabled it to be mounted low in the chassis for an improved center of gravity. The cylinder block and heads, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, camshafts, inlet and exhaust manifolds, lubrication system and engine management were all designed in house by Aston Martin and the engine was assembled by hand at the AM facility in Cologne, Germany, which also built the V12 engine for the DB9 and Vanquish. The engine was front mid-mounted with a rear-mounted transaxle, giving a 49/51 front/rear weight distribution. Slotted Brembo brakes were also standard. The original V8 Vantage could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds before topping out at 175 mph. In 2008, Aston Martin introduced an aftermarket dealer approved upgrade package for power and handling of the 4.3-litre variants that maintained the warranty with the company. The power upgrade was called the V8 Vantage Power Upgrade, creating a more potent version of the Aston Martin 4.3-litre V8 engine with an increase in Peak power of 20 bhp to 400 bhp while peak torque increased by 10 Nm to 420 Nm (310 lb/ft). This consists of the fitting of the following revised components; manifold assembly (painted Crackle Black), valved air box, right and left hand side vacuum hose assemblies, engine bay fuse box link lead (ECU to fuse box), throttle body to manifold gasket, intake manifold gasket, fuel injector to manifold seal and a manifold badge. The V8 Vantage had a retail price of GB£79,000, US$110,000, or €104,000 in 2006, Aston Martin planned to build up to 3,000 per year. Included was a 6-speed manual transmission and leather-upholstery for the seats, dash board, steering-wheel, and shift-knob. A new 6-speed sequential manual transmission, similar to those produced by Ferrari and Lamborghini, called Sportshift was introduced later as an option.
An open-topped model was added to the range in 2006 and then in the quest for more power a V12 Vantage joined the range not long after. All told, Aston produced 18 different versions of the model in a production run which continued until 2018, with a number limited edition cars swelling the ranks.
Still well-regarded over 35 years since its launch is the Quattro, a legend which transformed rallying and brought the idea of four wheel drive as a performance benefit to the market. The idea for a high-performance four-wheel-drive car was proposed by Audi’s chassis engineer, Jörg Bensinger, in 1977, when he found that the Volkswagen Iltis could outperform any other vehicle in snow, no matter how powerful. Bensinger’s idea was to start developing an Audi 80 variant in co-operation with Walter Treser, Director of Pre-Development.. Following an unveiling on 1st March 1980, Audi released the original Quattro to European customers in late 1980, with the car featuring Audi’s quattro permanent four-wheel drive system (hence its name), and the first to mate four-wheel drive with a turbocharged engine. The original engine was the 2,144 cc in-line-5-cylinder 10 valve SOHC, with a turbocharger and intercooler. It produced 197 bhp propelling the Quattro from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds, and reaching a top speed of over 220 km/h (137 mph). The engine was eventually modified to a 2,226 cc inline-5 10 valve, still producing 197 bhp, but with peak torque lower in the rev-range. In 1989, it was then changed to a 2,226 cc inline-5 20v DOHC setup producing 217 bhp, now with a top speed of 230 km/h (143 mph) Audi Quattros are referred to among owners and enthusiasts by their engine codes, to differentiate between the earlier and later versions: the earliest 2144 cc 10v being the “WR” engine, the 2226 cc 10v being the “MB” engine, and the later 20v being the “RR” engine. Hence, Quattro models may be referred to as either the WR Quattro, MB Quattro, and RR or “20v” Quattro, respectively. Quattro car production was 11,452 vehicles over the period 1980–1991, and through this 11 year production span, despite some touch-ups, there were no major changes in the visual design of the vehicle. For the 1983 model year, the dash was switched from an analogue instrument cluster, to a green digital LCD electronic instrument cluster. This was later changed in 1988 to an orange LCD electronic instrument cluster. The interior was redesigned in 1984, and featured a whole new dash layout, new steering wheel design, and new centre console design, the switches around the instrument panel were also redesigned at this time. In 1985 the dash changed slightly with harder foam and lost a diagonal stripe, the dash switches were varied slightly and the diff lock pull knob gave way to a two-position turning knob with volt and oil temp digital readouts. External styling received very little modification during its production run. Originally, the car had a flat fronted grille featuring four separate headlamp lenses, one for each of the low and high beam units. This was altered for the 1983 model year, and replaced with combined units featuring a single lens, but housing twin reflectors. This was changed again, for the 1985 model year, in what has become known as the ‘facelift model’ and included such alterations as a new sloping front grille, headlights, and trim and badging changes. Max speed was 124 mph. The RR 20v Quattro also featured a new three spoke steering wheel design, leather covering for door arm rests, gloveboxes, centre console and door pockets. There was also a full length leather-wrapped centre console running all the way to the rear seats. The 20v was also the first Ur-Q to have “quattro” script interior with partial leather seats. The floor on the drivers side had a bulge due to dual catalytic exhaust setup. The different models may be distinguished by the emblems on their boot lids: the WR had a vinyl ‘quattro’ decal or a brushed aluminium effect plastic emblem, the MB had chrome plated ‘audi’, ‘audi rings’ and ‘quattro’ emblems, whilst the RR had only chrome plated ‘audi rings’. The rear suspension was altered early on with geometry changes and removal of the rear anti-roll bar to reduce a tendency for lift-off oversteer. For the 1984 facelift, the wheel size went from 6×15-inch with 205/60-15 tyres to 8×15-inch wheels with 215/50-15 tyres. At the same time the suspension was lowered 20 mm with slightly stiffer springs for improved handling. For 1987, the Torsen centre differential was used for the first time, replacing the manual centre differential lock. The last original Audi Quattro was produced on 17 May 1991, more than two years after the first models of the new Audi Coupe range (based on the 1986 Audi 80) had been produced.
This is a 1928 Gordon England Super Sports version of Austin’s diminutive Seven. Herbert Austin’s masterpiece which did much to put Britain on wheels in the 1920s was first seen in 1922, as a four seat open tourer. Nicknamed Chummy, the first 100 featured a 696cc four cylinder engine, which was quickly upgraded to the 747cc unit that remained until the end of production some 17 years later. The first cars had an upright edge to the doors and a sloping windscreen, but from 1924, the screen became upright and there was a sloping edge to the doors, as well as a slightly longer body. Stronger brakes came along in 1926, along with a slightly taller nickel-plated radiator grille, conventional coil ignition, a more spacious body and wider doors. An even longer and wider body arrived in 1930, as well as a stronger crankshaft and improvements to the brakes which coupled front and rear systems together so they both worked by the footbrake. In 1931 the body was restyled , with a thin ribbon-style radiator and by 1932 there was a four speed gearbox to replace the earlier three-speeder. 1933 saw the introduction of the Ruby, a car that looked more modern with its cowled radiator. There were also Pearl and Opal versions. Development continued, so in 1937 there was a move to crankshaft shell bearings in place of the white metal previously used, and the Big Seven appeared. The last Seven was made in 1939, by which time 290,000 had been produced. Aside from saloons and tourers, there had been vans and sports derivatives like the Le Mans, the supercharged Ulster and the rather cheaper Nippy. Around 11,000 Sevens survive today.
Also here was a hearse based on the larger Austin Sixteen of 1933.
There were a number of examples of the “Big Healey” here, one of Britain’s most popular classics. Donald Healey had been producing a range of expensive sports cars from the 1940s, cars such as the Silverstone, the Abbott and the Farnham. For the 1952 London Motor Show, he produced a new design, which was called the Healey Hundred, based on Austin A90 mechanicals, which he intended to produce in-house at his small car company in Warwick. It was one of the stars of the 1952 Show, and it so impressed Leonard Lord, the Managing Director of Austin, who was looking for a replacement to the unsuccessful A90. that Lord struck a deal with Healey on the spot, to build it in quantity. Bodies made by Jensen Motors would be given Austin mechanical components at Austin’s Longbridge factory. The car was renamed the Austin-Healey 100, in reference to the fact that the car had a top speed of 100 mph. Production got under way in 1953, with Austin-Healey 100s being finished at Austin’s Longbridge plant alongside the A90 and based on fully trimmed and painted body/chassis units produced by Jensen in West Bromwich—in an arrangement the two companies previously had explored with the Austin A40 Sports. By early 1956, production was running at 200 cars a month, 150 of which were being sold in California. Between 1953 and 1956, 14,634 Austin-Healey 100s were produced, the vast majority of them, as was the case for most cars in this post war era, going for export. The car was replaced by an updated model in 1956, called the 100-6. It had a longer wheelbase, redesigned bodywork with an oval shaped grille, a fixed windscreen and two occasional seats added (which in 1958 became an option with the introduction of the two-seat BN6 produced in parallel with the 2+2 BN4), and the engine was replaced by one based on the six-cylinder BMC C-Series engine. In 1959, the engine capacity was increased from 2.6 to 2.9 litres and the car renamed the Austin-Healey 3000. Both 2-seat and 2+2 variants were offered. It continued in this form until production ceased in late 1967. The Big Healey, as the car became known after the 1958 launch of the much smaller Austin-Healey Sprite, is a popular classic now. You come across the 3000 models more frequently than the 100s, as they accounted for more than 60% of all Big Healey production.
A close relative of the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, the S Type was first revealed in April 1955. It represented a complete redesign of the standard production car, the R Type. It was a more generously sized five- or six-seater saloon with the body manufactured in pressed steel with stressed skin construction, with the doors, bonnet and boot lid made of aluminium. The external appearance was very different, although the car still had the traditional radiator grille. Compared to the outgoing R Type, the new model had a three inch longer wheelbase, was lower of build without reducing headroom and with an enlarged luggage boot, softer suspension with electrically operated control of rear dampers, lighter steering and improved braking. The engine, still a clear descendants of the one originally used in the Rolls-Royce Twenty from 1922 to 1929, had its capacity increased to 4887cc, and a four-speed automatic gearbox was standard, with the ability to select individual ratios if desired, which was enough to give the Bentley a top speed of just over 100 mph and 0 – 60 acceleration times of around 13 seconds. Standard and from 1957, long wheelbase saloons were offered and some were sent to the coachbuilders for alternative bodies to be fitted. An upgrade in 1959, creating the S2, saw the installation of a new V8 engine, and in 1962, the S3 cars gained four round headlights. 3072 S Types were made, 145 of them with coachbuilt bodies as well as 35 of the long wheelbase cars, before the model was replaced by the new T Type in 1965.
This is a rare Bentley version of the Corniche. This was a development of the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, with the two door variants of that model marketed as the “Silver Shadow Mulliner Park Ward two door fixed head coupé & drop head coupé” until March 1971 when the Corniche name was applied. The exterior design was by John Polwhele Blatchley. The model was assembled and finished in London at Mulliner Park Ward as continuation of the 1965 Silver Shadow coupe and 1966 drophead. A Bentley version was also sold, becoming known as the Continental in 1984. The Corniche, available as coupé or convertible, used the standard Rolls-Royce 6750 cc V8 engine with an aluminium-silicon alloy block and aluminium cylinder heads with cast iron wet cylinder liners. Twin SU carburettors were initially fitted, but were replaced with a single Solex 4A1 four-barrel carburetor introduced in 1977. A three-speed automatic transmission (a Turbo Hydramatic 350 sourced from General Motors) was standard. A four-wheel independent suspension with coil springs was augmented with a hydraulic self-levelling system (using the same system as did Citroën, but without pneumatic springs, and with the hydraulic components built under licence by Rolls-Royce), at first on all four, but later on the rear wheels only. Four wheel disc brakes were specified, with ventilated discs added for 1972. The car originally used a 119.75 in (3,042 mm) wheelbase. This was extended to 120 in (3,048 mm) in 1974 and 120.5 in (3,061 mm) in 1979. The Corniche received a mild restyling in the spring of 1977. Difference included rack-and-pinion steering, alloy and rubber bumpers, aluminium radiator, oil cooler and a bi-level air conditioning system was added. Later changes included a modified rear independent suspension in March 1979. In March 1981, after the Silver Spirit had gone on sale, the Coupé version of the Corniche and its Bentley sister were discontinued. For 1985 there were also cosmetic and interior changes. Corniche models received Bosch KE/K-Jetronic fuel injection in 1977. This engine, called the L410I, produced approximately 240 PS at just above 4,000 rpm for a top speed of 190 km/h (118 mph). The Bentley version was updated in July 1984 with a new name, the Continental, revised and colour-coded bumpers, rear view mirrors, a new dash and improvements to the seats. Production totalled 1090 Rolls-Royce Corniche Saloons, 3239 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertibles, 69 Bentley Corniche Saloons and 77 Bentley Corniche Convertibles.
The success of the Mulsanne Turbo and Turbo R brought new life to Bentley, changing the position of the preceding 15 years where sales of the marque’s badge-engineered Rolls Royce cars had been only a very small percentage of the company’s sales. The obvious next step would be further to enhance the distinctive sporting nature of the Bentley brand and move away from a Bentley that was merely a re-badged Rolls Royce. Bentley appointed stylists John Heffernan and Ken Greenley to come up with ideas for a new, distinctive, Bentley coupé. The fibreglass mock up was displayed at the 1984 Geneva Motor Show in Rolls-Royce’s “Project 90″ concept of a future Bentley coupé. The concept was met with an enthusiastic reception, but the Project 90 design was largely shelved as the company began to work towards a replacement for the Rolls-Royce Corniche. During this process, Graham Hull, chief stylist in house at Rolls Royce, suggested the designs before the board for the Corniche, would suit a Bentley coupé better. From this point it was decided the Corniche could continue as it was, and efforts would once again be channelled into a new Bentley coupé. In 1986 Graham Hull produced a design rendering of a new Bentley coupé which became the Continental R. Based on the Rolls Royce SZ platform (which was an evolution of the SY platform), an aerodynamically shaped coupé body had been styled. John Heffernan and Ken Greenley were officially retained to complete the design of the Continental R. They had run the Automotive Design School at the Royal College of Art and headed up their own consultancy, International Automotive Design, based in Worthing, Southern England. Greenley and Heffernan liaised constantly throughout the styling process with Graham Hull. The interior was entirely the work of Graham Hull and the small in house styling team at Rolls Royce. The shape of the car was very different from the somewhat slab sided four door SZ Rolls-Royce and Bentley vehicles of the time and offered a much improved 0.37 coefficient of drag. The Continental R also featured roof-cut door frames, a necessity to allow easier access into the car which had a lower roof line than its 4-door contemporaries. A subtle spoiler effect was also a feature of the rear. The finished car is widely acknowledged as a very cleverly styled vehicle, disguising its huge dimensions (The Continental R is around 4” longer than a 2013 long wheelbase Mercedes S Class) and a very well proportioned, extremely attractive, car. The “Continental” designation recalls the Bentley Continental of the post-war period. The “R” was meant to recall the R Type Bentleys from the 1950s as well as the Turbo R of the 1980s and 90’s where the “R” refers to “roadholding”. 1504 Continental R and 350 Continental T models were made before production finally ceased in 2003. The revival of the Bentley marque following the introduction of the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo, and then the Continental R, is widely acknowledged to have saved Rolls Royce Motor cars and formed the groundwork which led to the buyout and parting of the Rolls Royce and Bentley brands in 1998. Bentley was once again capable of standing alone as a marque in its own right.
This is a BenSport La Sarthe. Constructed and coachbuilt as a bespoke body with options on an original Bentley R type chassis used as a donor car, this modern interpretation is in effect a brand new Bentley Fastback being delivered 65 years late. Every nut bolt bearing & component has been remanufactured to as new. Traditional coachbuilding techniques are employed producing the aluminium body hammer formed on a traditional buck. Whilst the body is being completed the chassis is disassembled & rebuilt to brand new. The engine is typically bored out to around 5 litres and a free flow exhaust fitted considerably uprating the performance. The rear axle is also upgraded to continental specification allowing for very relaxed cruising at modern motorway speeds. Production time is 6 to 8 months from receipt of order but will vary depending on other orders placed. Payment is done in four 25% increments at the start of the build with the final tranche due just prior to delivery. Paint colour, interior colours & woodwork are of course entirely at the customers discretion. Being a bespoke item there are numerous options to choose from. Power Steering, Custom embossed leather luggage, heated seats , visible or hidden fuel filler caps, revised & uprated springs, spats to the rear wheel arches, wire or solid wheels, upgraded engine performance etc. We strongly encourage customers to visit the factory in Somerset & discuss the full range of options & also to visit the car car as it is being built. As standard the car comes with electronic period looking instruments (with Tachometer redlined at 4,300 rpm as per original continental spec), Electric windows, Electronic ignition, Bijur Chassis lubrication, Lightweight aluminium fuel tank, high efficiency Radiator, to name but some of the items.
The BMW Car Club had a sizeable stand with quite a variety of models on show, and this seemed to be popular, as it was always busy whenever I stopped by. Oldest of these was a 507, a roadster that was produced by BMW from 1956 to 1959. Initially intended to be exported to the United States at a rate of thousands per year, it ended up being too expensive, resulting in a total production figure of 252 cars and heavy losses for BMW. The BMW 507 was conceived by U.S. automobile importer Max Hoffman who, in 1954, persuaded the BMW management to produce a roadster version of the BMW 501 and BMW 502 saloons to fill the gap between the expensive Mercedes-Benz 300SL and the cheap and underpowered Triumph and MG sports cars. BMW engineer Fritz Fiedler was assigned to design the rolling chassis, using existing components wherever possible. Early body designs by Ernst Loof were rejected by Hoffman, who found them to be unappealing. In November 1954, at Hoffman’s insistence, BMW contracted designer Albrecht von Goertz to design the BMW 503 and the 507. Thirty-four Series I 507s were built in 1956 and early 1957. These cars had welded aluminium fuel tanks of 110 litres (29.1 US gal) capacity behind the rear seats. These large tanks limited both boot space and passenger space, and gave off the smell of fuel inside the car when the hood was erected or the hardtop was in place. Series II and later 507s had fuel tanks of 66 litres (17.4 US gal) capacity under the boot, shaped around a space for the spare tyre to fit. The 507 frame was a shortened 503 frame, the wheelbase having been reduced from 2,835 millimetres (111.6 in) to 2,480 millimetres (98 in). Overall length was 4,385 millimetres (172.6 in), and overall height was 1,257 millimetres (49.5 in). Curb weight was about 1,330 kilograms (2,930 lb). The body was almost entirely hand-formed of aluminium, and no two models were exactly the same. 11 cars were sold with an optional hand-fabricated removable hardtop. Because of the car-to-car differences, each hardtop fits only the car for which it was made. The front suspension had parallel double wishbones with torsion bar springs and an anti-roll bar. The rear suspension had a live axle, also sprung by torsion bars, and located by a Panhard rod and a central, transverse A-arm to control acceleration and braking forces. The brakes were Alfin drum brakes of 11.2 in diameter, and power brakes were optional. Late-model 507s had front Girling disc brakes.& Pirelli 185VR16 Cinturato radial tyres. The engine was BMW’s aluminium alloy OHV V8, of 3,168 cc displacement, with pushrod-operated overhead valves. It had two Zenith 32NDIX two-barrel carburettors, a chain-driven oil pump, high-lift cams, a different spark advance curve, polished combustion chamber surfaces, and a compression ratio of 7.8:1, yielding 150 bhp at 5,000 rpm. It was mated to a close ratio four-speed manual transmission. The standard rear-end ratio was 3.70:1, but ratios of 3.42:1 and 3.90:1 were optional. A contemporary road test of a 507 with the standard 3.70:1 final drive was reported in Motor Revue, stating a 0–100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time of 11.1 seconds and a top speed of 122 mph. The 507 made its debut at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in the summer of 1955. Production began in November 1956. Max Hoffman intended the 507 to sell for about US$5,000, which he believed would allow a production run of 5,000 units a year. Instead, high production costs pushed the price in Germany to DM 26,500 (later 29,950) driving the U.S. price initially to $9,000 and ultimately $10,500 ($93,000 today).Despite attracting celebrity buyers including John Derek and most notably Elvis Presley (who owned two), Hans Stuck and Georg “Schorsch” Meier, and being powered by a V8 engine, the car never once reached more than 10% of the sales volumes achieved by its Stuttgart rival, the six cylinder Mercedes-Benz 300SL. Intended to revive BMW’s sporting image, the 507 instead took BMW to the edge of bankruptcy—the company’s losses for 1959 were DM 15 million. The company lost money on each 507 built, and production was terminated in late 1959. Only 252 were built, plus two prototypes. Fortunately for the company, an infusion of capital from Herbert Quandt and the launch of new, cheaper models (the BMW 700 and later the ‘New Class’ 1500) helped the company recover. The styling of the 507 later influenced the Z3, the Z4,and, most noticeably, the Z8, with its chromed side vents and horizontal front grilles. The 507 remains a milestone model for its attractive styling. 202 507s are known to survive, a tribute to the car’s appeal.
The first car to bear the 6 Series nomenclature was the E24, which was launched in 1976, as a replacement for the E9 model 3.0 CS and CSL coupés first produced in 1965. The 3.0 CS was almost changed by adding a few cm in height to make it easier for customers to get into the car. However, Bob Lutz rebelled against the decision and rough drafted an alternative version that soon became the 6 series. Production started in March 1976 with two models: the 630 CS and 633 CSi. Originally the bodies were manufactured by Karmann, but production was later taken in-house to BMW. In July 1978 a more powerful variant, the 635 CSi, was introduced that featured as standard a special close-ratio 5-speed gearbox and a single piece black rear spoiler. The bigger bore and shorter stroke facilitated max 218 hp at 5200rpm and a better torque curve. For the first year, the 635 CSi was offered in three colours (Polaris, Henna Red, Graphite), and could also be spotted by the front air dam that did not have attached fog lights. These simple cosmetic changes reportedly worked to reduce uplift on the car at high speeds by almost 15% over the non-spoiler body shape. This early model shared suspension components with the inaugural BMW 5-series, the E12. In 1979 the carburettor 630 CS was replaced with the 628 CSi with its fuel injected 2.8 litre engine taken from the BMW 528i. In 1980 the 635 CSi gained the central locking system that is also controlled from the boot. Also, the E24 body style converted from L-jetronic injection to a Bosch Motronic DME. In 1982 (Europe) and 1983 (US), the E24 changed slightly in appearance, with an improved interior and slightly modified exterior. At the same time, the 635 CSi received a new engine, a slightly smaller-bored and longer-stroked 3430 cc six to replace the former 3453 cc engine and became available with a wide-ratio 5-speed manual or an automatic. This slight change was in fact a major change as pre-1982 cars were based on the E12 5-series chassis; after mid-1982, E24s shared the improved E28 5-series chassis. The only parts that remained the same were some of the exterior body panels. E24s produced after June 1987 came with new, ellipsoid headlamps which projects beam more directly onto road surface (newly introduced E32 7-series also sporting them). The sleeker European bumpers were also discontinued. Previous cars had either a European-standard bumper or a larger, reinforced bumper to meet the US standard requiring bumpers to withstand impact at 5 mph without damage to safety-related components. 1989 was the last year for the E24 with production stopping in April. The E24 was supplanted by the considerably heavier, more complex, and more exclusive 8 Series. BMW Motorsport introduced the M 635 CSi in Europe at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1983. It is essentially an E24 powered by the powerplant of the BMW M1 – the M88 with 286 PS). Most of the cars were equipped with special metric 415 mm diameter wheels requiring Michelin TRX tyres. A catalysed, lower compression ratio version of the car with the S38 engine (260 PS ) was introduced in the U.S. in 1987. All M6 cars came standard with a 25% rear limited slip differential. U.S. models included additional comforts that were usually optional on models sold in Europe such as Nappa leather power seats and a dedicated rear A/C unit with a centre beverage chiller. 4,088 M635CSi cars were built between 1983 and 1988 with 1,767 U.S. M6 built. Seen here was a rather nice M635 CSi.
Displayed alongside it was this fabulous E30. Produced initially purely as a homologation special, the car achieved far greater levels of interest than ever imagined, and the rest, as they say, is history. Based on the 1986 model year E30 3 Series, the car was initially available with the 2 door body and was later offered as a convertible bodies. The E30 M3 used the BMW S14 engine. The first iteration of the road car engine produced 195 PS with a catalytic converter and 200 PS without a catalytic converter in September 1989 power was increased to 215 PS with a catalytic converter. The “Evolution” model (also called “EVO2”) produced 220 PS. Other Evolution model changes included larger wheels (16 X 7.5 inches), thinner rear and side window glass, a lighter bootlid, a deeper front splitter and additional rear spoiler. Later the “Sport Evolution” model production run of 600 (sometimes referred as “EVO3”) increased engine displacement to 2.5 litres and produced 238 PS. Sport Evolution models have enlarged front bumper openings and an adjustable multi-position front splitter and rear wing. Brake cooling ducts were installed in place of front foglights. An additional 786 convertibles were also produced. The E30 M3 differed from the rest of the E30 line-up in many other ways. Although using the same basic unit-body shell as the standard E30, the M3 was equipped with 12 different and unique body panels for the purposes of improving aerodynamics, as well as “box flared” wheel-arches in the front and rear to accommodate a wider track with wider and taller wheels and tyres. The only exterior body panels the standard model 3 Series and the M3 shared were the bonnet, roof panel, sunroof, and door panels. The E30 M3 differed from the standard E30 by having a 5×120 wheel bolt pattern. The E30 M3 had increased caster angle through major front suspension changes. The M3 had specific solid rubber offset control arm bushings. It used aluminium control arms and the front strut tubes were changed to a design similar (bolt on kingpins and swaybar mounted to strut tube) to the E28 5 Series. This included carrying over the 5 series front wheel bearings and brake caliper bolt spacing. The rear suspension was a carry over from the E30. The E30 M3 had special front and rear brake calipers and rotors. It also has a special brake master cylinder. The E30 M3 had one of two Getrag 265 5-speed gearboxes. US models received an overdrive transmission while European models were outfitted with a dogleg version, with first gear being down and to the left, and fifth gear being a direct 1:1 ratio. Rear differentials installed included a 4.10:1 final-drive ratio for US models. European versions were equipped with a 3.15:1 final drive ratio. All versions were clutch-type limited-slip differentials with 25% lockup. To keep the car competitive in racing following year-to-year homologation rules changes, homologation specials were produced. These include the Evo 1, Evo 2, and Sport Evolution, some of which featured less weight, improved aerodynamics, taller front wheel arches (Sport Evolution; to further facilitate 18-inch wheels in DTM), brake ducting, and more power. Other limited-production models (based on evolution models but featuring special paintwork and/or unique interior schemes commemorating championship wins) include the Europa, Ravaglia, Cecotto, and Europameister. Production of the original E30 M3 ended in early 1992.
Final BMW on the stand was this Z8. Originally presented as a concept, the Z07, a styling exercise intended to evoke and celebrate the 1956-’59 BMW 507 and to celebrate the millennium change, the car was a sensation at the ’97 Tokyo Auto Show and its overwhelming popularity spurred BMW’s decision to produce a limited production model. Fortunately, the Z07 had been designed with production in mind. As a result, practical and regulatory considerations necessitated very few changes for the production model. Nevertheless, the windscreen of the Z8 was extended upward, and a larger front airdam was fitted. Both changes were implemented to provide aerodynamic stability and a reasonably placid cockpit environment. The four-spoke steering wheel of the concept car was replaced by a three spoke design. The hardtop was changed from a double-bubble form with a tapering faring to a single dome with a truncated convex backside. The concept’s exotic driver’s side helmet fairing was eliminated to allow easy operation of the power soft top. Despite these changes, the Z8 remained extremely faithful to the concept car. The side-mounted indicators were integrated into the side vents in a fashion that rendered them invisible until activated. The vintage simplicity of the interior was preserved by hiding the modern equipment under retracting panels. Complex compound curves were preserved through the use of an expensive MIG-welded aluminium space frame. The Z8 even retained the concept’s five-spoke wheel design, albeit without the race-style centre lug nut. The Z8’s spaceframe was produced in the Dingolfing Plant and the car hand-finished in Munich. It had an all-aluminium chassis and body and used a 4941 cc 32-valve V8, that developed 400 hp and 370 lb·ft (500 N·m) torque. This engine, known internally as the S62, was built by the BMW Motorsport subsidiary and was shared with the E39 M5. The engine was located behind the front axle in order to provide the car with 50/50 weight distribution. The factory claimed a 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) time of 4.7 seconds; Although it could outperform a Ferrari 360 Modena in several respects, as with most BMW products, its top speed was electronically limited to 155 mph (250 km/h). The Z8 used neon exterior lighting, the tail lights and indicators are powered by neon tubes that offer quicker activation than standard lightbulbs and expected to last for the life of the vehicle. The Z8’s head and tail lights were done by Vipin Madhani. Every Z8 was shipped with a colour-matching metal hardtop. Unlike many accessory hardtops, which are provided for practical rather than stylistic considerations, the Z8 hardtop was designed from the outset to complement the lines of the roadster. In order to promote the Z8 to collectors and reinforce media speculation about the Z8’s “instant classic” potential, BMW promised that a 50-year stockpile of spare parts would be maintained in order to support the Z8 fleet. Due to the limited volume of Z8 production, all elements of the car were constructed or finished by hand, thereby compounding the importance of ongoing manufacturer support for the type. The price point and production process allowed BMW to offer custom options to interested buyers. A significant number of Z8s with non-standard paint and interior treatments were produced over the course of the four-year production run by BMW Individual. 5,703 Z8s were built.
There were a number of other classic BMWs on the various dealer stands.
BMW E21 is the first generation of the BMW 3 Series compact executive car, produced by from 1975 to 1981. Most E21s were sold as 2-door compact sedans, however a Baur cabriolet was also available. Under the direction of its 51% percent shareholder, Herbert Quandt, BMW decided upon a replacement for their aging 02 Series. Paul Bracq, Director of Design at BMW from 1970 to 1974, is credited with setting the design direction of the E21. In July 1975, BMW’s Board of Management first presented this new model series in the Munich Olympic Stadium for public appraisal. The frontal view of the new car was dominated by the BMW trademark kidney grille standing out clearly from the radiator cover. The styling of the new car bore a resemblance to the BMW E12 5 Series. The wedge shape of the two-door model was distinctive, extending all the way to the unusually high rear end. In response to criticism of the tail design, a black plastic trim panel between the tail lights was added. Like many other BMW models, the C-pillar of the E21 features a Hofmeister kink. The cockpit design of the E21 marked the introduction of a new design concept, with the centre console and central dashboard area angled towards the driver. This feature has become part of BMW’s interior design philosophy for many years. As a sign of passive safety, all edges and control elements within the interior were rounded off and padded. The suspension incorporated rack and pinion steering and MacPherson strut suspension at the front, and semi-trailing arm type independent suspension at the rear. The rear suspension design causes camber changes, which can introduce “snap oversteer” at the handling limits, and the car was castigated repeatedly for this (now, of course, the press would shout in joy about such an attribute! The power assisted brakes were discs on the front wheels, while the rear wheels had drum brakes. Initially, a Getrag four-speed manual was the standard transmission fitment. Five-speed overdrive Getrag gearboxes were fitted as standard in 1980, but close ratio ‘sport’ gearboxes were available at the car’s release as an option. Alternatively, purchasers could opt for the ZF 3 HP-22 three-speed automatic transmission. At the E21’s release, three models were available: with 316 (1.6-litre), 318 (1.8-litre) and 320 (2.0-litre) versions of the BMW M10 4-cylinder engine. To differentiate between models, the 320 model came with dual headlights, while the 316 and 318 had single headlights. The fuel-injected 320i was introduced at the end of 1975. It featured the M10 4-cylinder engine with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, and a limited slip differential was available as an option. At the 1977 International Auto Show in Frankfurt, BMW unveiled its new variants of the E21, featuring the new straight-6 M20 engines (which were initially called “M60”). BMW had invested DM 110 million the M20 engine series. The 4-cylinder 320 model was replaced with the 320/6, featuring a 2.0 version of the M20 engine. The 323i model was introduced, featuring 2.3 litre with 141 hp, which gave the 323i a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). The braking system was also upgraded, with the 323i featuring disc brakes on all wheels. Options include power steering, a 5-speed close-ratio ‘dogleg’ sport gearbox, and 25% limited slip differential. For the 1980 model year, the four-cylinder models were upgraded: the 1.8 litre carburetted M10 unit was revised to produce 89 hp and entered the market in the updated 316, while a fuel-injected version of the 1.8 litre M10 was introduced in the 318i model (which replaced the carburetted 318 as the mid-range model). The 320is model (USA only) was released in 1980 using a 1.8 litre version of the M10. The “S Package” featured Recaro sport seats, a modified dash with no air conditioning (A/C could be added by the dealer), upgraded suspension components that included a rear anti-roll bar and a larger front anti-roll bar, a 5-speed transmission and limited-slip differential, cross-spoke alloy wheels, an upgraded tool kit, a dual operation manual sunroof, an AM/FM Blaupunkt radio with cassette player, fog lights, a 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather shift knob, a front air dam, a “delete” of the alphanumeric 320i markers on the rear boot lid and a limited colour palate of white, silver or black. Just 2,500 320is’s were produced. In 1981, the economy model 315 was introduced as a reaction to the second “oil crisis” in late 1979. More spartan than the other E21 models, it was the last E21 to be built and shared production with the E30. Seen here was a 323i.
Also here was one of the larger, and earlier E3 saloon. After a long hiatus, BMW decided to develop a six-cylinder car in the early 1960s. Work on what was to become the E3 commenced in 1965. The engine was based on the existing fours, sharing their overall layout while not merely an addition of two cylinders. The design team was led by Wilhelm Hofmeister, with some detail work executed by Italy’s Bertone and Michelotti studios. A goal was to allow for more passenger space and comfort than what the earlier “Neue Klasse” saloons had been able to offer. The new sedan was noticeably a “driver’s car”, focusing on the front-seat occupants, and the smaller coupé was only barely a full four-seater. A new feature was the twin headlights, set into the grille, a design which was to define BMW styling for decades. Early mockups of the E3 featured broad rectangular single headlamps with rounded corners, but these never went into production – perhaps as a result of the lukewarm reception of the similarly designed 2000 CS. The new car also required a new welding plant at BMW’s Munich site. In spite of the car’s all-new construction it only cost 70 million D-mark to develop. This was less than half of what one might have expected at the time. Models were given names denoting their engine sizes, and suffixes to indicate the long-wheelbase (L) and fuel injection (i) available on later cars. The coupés were all named CS, followed by i (for fuel injection models) or L (for light-weight models, which also had fuel injection and higher power). The two initial models, introduced in 1968 and sold through 1977, were the 148 bhp 2.5 litre 2500 and 168 bhp 2.8 litre 2800. The airy design was roomier than BMW’s existing range and appeared rather large, in spite of being no more than 1 cm (0.4 in) longer than Mercedes’ midrange sedans, which were generally considered to compete in a lower class than the new E3. They were large six-cylinder cars that handled well and impressed contemporary reviewers. Road & Track called the later Bavaria “delightful” and “superb”, concluding that it was “one of the world’s best buys”. Aside from the larger engine, the 2800 also had bigger tyres and a somewhat sportier suspension, as well as various creature comforts such as a heated rear window, a full tool set, Boge Nivomat self-levelling rear suspension, and a smattering more external chrome. The big-bore, dual-carburettor 3.0 S with 178 bhp was introduced in 1971, being a more powerful and expensive model than the 2800; a fuel-injected version was also made and this had 192 bhp. Also produced were long-wheelbase L models (3.0L, 3.3Li, etc.), whose sharp handling was a stark contrast to the large Mercedes-Benz models of the time. Langley Motors in Thames Ditton UK also produced an estate (tourer) version. With a fully independent suspension along with four wheel disc brakes, the E3 was well ahead of its time in the early 1970s. Surprisingly quick, the 3.0 Si sedan was faster than the 3.0 coupé; which was a heavier car by 50 kg, with the same engine configuration. The body was surprisingly light for its size, weighing less than the smaller E9 coupé. Vision is also good, with narrow pillars and no less than 2.5 m2 (27 sq ft) of overall glass area. At the end of 1973 the new, larger 3.3 L was presented, going on sale in January 1974. It had the longer wheelbase and a bigger engine, although the power was no more than that of the 3.0 Si. Instead, more torque meant to provide a more luxurious rather than BMW’s usual sporting feel. This engine was updated to fuel injection in June 1975, with a few more horsepower. Subsequent to the introduction of a 3.2 liter version of this engine in the 1976 BMW 633CSi, this slightly smaller model found its way into the 3.3 Li as well. The E3 Sedan was in production from 1968–1978, with a total of circa 190,000 cars produced. Of these, 71,804 were of the US-only “Bavaria” model.
The Bond Bug was built from 1970 to 1974. Following the purchase of Bond Cars Ltd., Reliant commissioned Tom Karen of Ogle Design to design a fun car. The Bond Bug was based on chief engineer John Crosthwaite’s newly designed chassis and some Reliant Regal running gear. The original concept was explored by chopping down a production Regal vehicle, the rear of the car being shortened to end over the rear axle. The engine is the front-mounted 700 cc (later uprated to 750 cc) Reliant light-alloy four-cylinder unit, developed from the Austin 7, and which protruded into the passenger cabin. At launch 29 bhp was claimed for the less expensive 700 and 700E models. The more up-market 700ES incorporates a redesigned cylinder head which permitted the compression ratio to be increased from 7.35:1 to 8.4:1. This provided a power increase to 31 bhp as well as improved torque for the then range-topping 700ES. The Bond Bug 700ES also offers more supportive seats as well as more padding over the engine cowl, twin mudflaps, an ashtray, a rubber front bumper and a spare wheel. The car enjoyed an upbeat launch, at which Reliant’s Ray Wiggin stated: “The fact it has three wheels is quite incidental. It’s a new form of transport. So now, in fact, we think it’s going to appeal to a much wider section of the market than we originally envisaged.” The Bug was available in a bright orange tangerine colour, although six white Bugs were produced for a Rothmans cigarette promotion – one of which was also used in an advertisement for Cape Fruit. Only three Rothmans bugs are known to exist. In contrast to the image of three-wheeled Reliants as being slow, the Bond Bug was capable of 76 mph, in excess of the UK 70 mph national speed limit, and comparable to small saloon cars such as the basic 850 cc Mini (72 mph) and the Hillman Imp (80 mph). However, it could not match the speed of the Mini Cooper S (96 mph) or larger saloons such as the Ford Cortina Mark III (104 mph). The Bond Bug was sold as being fun to drive, with the low seating position giving a similar exaggerated impression of speed as in a go-kart, while the actual speed was similar to that reached by high performance cars only a few years earlier (indeed, earlier versions of the Lotus 7 had a top speed of 76 mph/122 km/h right up until 1968, and their trim level, e.g. side curtains instead of windows, was also similar). The Bug was, however, no cheaper than more practical cars. It cost £629, while a basic 850 cc Mini, a four-seater much faster round corners but with considerably inferior acceleration, cost £620. Production ceased in 1974, after 2270 had been built. The car’s fame was helped by a distinctive Corgi Toys die-cast toy car, and it has a dedicated following today.
The Borgward name – long forgotten by almost everyone – is staging a come-back, but it will be very different from the last cars to bear the name, one of which was here, an Isabella TS Coupe. Originally planned to have been marketed as the Borgward Hansa 1500 but the Isabella name was used on test vehicles and proved popular with engineering staff and media, so the production car was subsequently renamed and only the first few hundred examples were built without Isabella badging, though Hansa badging was also used through to 1957. Despite its aspirational positioning in the marketplace, the Isabella had a smaller engine (and was marginally shorter) than its immediate predecessor, the Borgward Hansa. Late in 1952, the firm had launched their six cylinder Hansa 2400 model. The larger car never found many buyers; but in 1954, it made commercial sense to keep the two models from competing too directly with each other. 11,150 Isabellas were produced in 1954, an early indicator that commercially this would be the most successful Borgward ever. The early cars enjoyed an enthusiastic reception in the market place. Unfortunately, early models were afflicted by teething troubles, reflecting a rushed development schedule, and the marketplace would later prove unforgiving as Borgward’s Stuttgart based rival, Daimler-Benz demonstrated that new models did not have to involve customers experiencing such problems. The advertised launch price of DM 7,265 was higher than that of competitor family sedans from Opel and Ford, but significantly less than Mercedes Benz was asking for their 180 model. In view of the car’s spacious cabin and impressive performance, the pricing was perceived as very competitive. The Isabella was constructed without a separate chassis, applying the monocoque technique which during the 1950s was becoming the norm. Like its predecessor, the car was designed with a modern ponton, three-box design, but the line of the Isabella was more curvaceous than that of the first Hansa, and the car’s body made greater use of chrome trim. Ground clearance was 6.9″. The Isabella featured a swing axle at the back: it was supported by coil springs on all four wheels. The four-cylinder 1493 cc engine had a claimed power output of 60 bhp, and was connected by means of a then innovative hydraulic clutch to the four speed full synchromesh gear box. Gear changes were effected by means of a column mounted lever. A road test at launch reported a maximum speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) and fuel consumption of 8.4 l/100 km. The testers described the modern structure of the car in some detail: they particularly liked the wide cabin with its large windows, and they commended the effectiveness of the brakes. The inclusion of a cigarette lighter and a clock also attracted favourable mention. Unlike the Mercedes 180 however, (and unlike its predecessor) the Isabella was only delivered with two-doors. A year after presenting the sedan, Borgward presented the Isabella estate version. Also introduced in 1955 was a two door cabriolet, known as the Isabella TS and featuring a more powerful 75 bhp tor. Production of the cabriolet was contracted to the firm Karl Deutsch in Cologne: converting an early monocoque design to a cabriolet necessitated considerable modification in order to achieve the necessary structural rigidity, and the resulting cost was reflected in a much higher selling price for this version. Initial sales volumes were not maintained. Responding to a sales decline of almost a third in 1955 and 1956, Carl Borgward decided to produce a more beautiful Isabella with a shortened roof line. The Borgward Isabella Coupé was developed, and the four hand built prototypes were well received by the press. Borgward gave one of these prototypes to his wife, Elisabeth, who would continue to drive it into the 1980s. Commercial production of the coupé, powered by the more powerful TS version of the engine first seen in the cabriolet, commenced in January 1957. The coupe appears to have achieved its marketing objective of further distancing the Isabella’s image from similarly sized competitors from Opel and Ford. By 1958, the more powerful 75 bhp TS motor had also found its way into the more upmarket Isabella sedan and estate versions. At the time of Borgward’s controversial bankruptcy in 1961, the firm carried a substantial stock of unsold Isabellas. Nevertheless, the model’s production at the Bremen plant continued until 1962, suggesting that overstocking had not been restricted to finished vehicles. By the end, 202,862 Isabellas had rolled off the Borgward production line which was nevertheless an impressive volume in the 1950s: overall, and despite being hit by falling demand in the economic slump that briefly hit Germany in the early 1960s, the car is believed to have been the firm’s most lucrative model by a very considerable margin. Borgward enjoyed a brief afterlife: the production line was sold and shipped to Mexico where later during the 1960s the P100 (Big Six) was produced. The Isabella was never produced in Mexico. Back in the German market, BMW’s stylish new 1500, launched by the Bavarians in 1961, convincingly filled the niche vacated by the Isabella, and was credited by at least one commentator with having rescued BMW itself from insolvency. In Argentina, the Isabella was manufactured from 1960 to 1963 by Dinborg, a local subsidiary of Borgward. 999 Isabellas were made in Buenos Aires.
Brabus specialise in tuning and customising the products of Mercedes-Benz, and that includes the G Wagen as seen here.
The Bristol Owners Club adopted a theme of open-topped models for their display, with four very different cars on show. Oldest of these was a 402. The 402 was the open version of the tBristol 401 saloon produced between 1948 and 1953 by Bristol Cars, an offshoot of the Bristol Aeroplane Co.. They were the successors to the initial Bristol 400. Although mechanically the 401 and 402 used an improved version of the BMW M328 hemi-head engine and its unusual arrangement of two separate pushrods to operate the exhaust valves (necessitated by the hemispherical combustion chambers and opposite facing valves) used in the 400, the styling was a huge advance on the pre-war bodies of that first Bristol model. It was inspired by the Milanese designer, Carrozzeria Touring, and its most notable feature was that the door handles were not exposed and to open the doors the owner pressed a button into a groove in the door. The body also was more spacious than the 400 and was a full five-seater. At the front the 401 and 402 were also quite distinctive with their headlights moved quite a distance into the centre of the body on either side of the narrow grille, which resembled BMW a little less than did the 400. They were also deeply curved at the front: this, along with the then-unique door handle arrangement, is believed to give the 401 a drag coefficient of less than Cd 0.36 — competitive even by today’s standards and remarkable for the time. The engine was the same 2-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol unit of the 400, but was upgraded through improved Solex carburettors to increase power by 5 bhp to 85 bhp, which improved the performance further beyond what was achieved by the aerodynamics. The suspension is independent at the front using a transverse leaf spring and wishbones and the rigid axle at the rear uses torsion bars. Steering is by rack and pinion. The brakes are Lockheed hydraulic with 11 in (279 mm) inch drums all round. Although the 401’s production figure of 611 is still the largest of any Bristol model, the 402 is regarded as one of the rarest classics among cars of its day. In a recent survey, 13 of the 23 produced could be accounted for.
For the next generation, Bristol offered the 404 and 405 ranges. The Bristol 404 came first, manufactured from 1953 to 1958, and the 405 from 1955 to 1958. The 404 was a two-seat coupé and the 405 was available as a four-seat, four-door saloon and as a four-seat, two-door drophead coupé, as seen here. Unlike previous or later Bristol models, there is considerable confusion in nomenclature when it comes to the Bristol 404 and 405. The 404 had a very short-wheelbase (8 feet) as against 9 feet 6 inches for the 405. The 405 itself was seen in two versions. The more common (265 of 308 built) is a four-door saloon built on the standard chassis of the previous Bristols, whilst the 405 drophead coupé or 405D (43 built) had a coupé body by Abbotts of Farnham and most built had a highly tuned (through advanced valve timing) version of the 2 litre six-cylinder engine called the 100C which developed 125 bhp as against the 105 bhp of the standard 100B 405 engine. All engines for the 404 and 405 had higher compression ratios than previous Bristols — 8.5:1 as against 7.5:1. Compared to the 403, the 404 and 405 had an improved gearbox with much shorter gear lever which improved what was already by the standards of the day a very slick gearchange. The 405, though not the 404, had overdrive as standard. Seen here was a 405 Drophead.
This is the one-off 407 Viotti, a four-seater convertible that the Carrozzeria Viotti from Turin produced on the bare chassis of the 407. The body was relatively simple and took out some perspective, anticipating the design of the Fiat 1500 Spider. The car was first presented at the Viotti booth at the 1960 Turin Motor Show. This was followed by another showing in the UK, this time at the Bristol Cars stand. The actor Peter Sellers, who valued Bristol vehicles, owned the car for a short while. It has a steel body, a unique feature for a Bristol.
Styled by Zagato, the final Bristol here, a 412, was, along with the Bristol 603, one of two concurrent successors to the long-serving 411 that had carried Bristol Cars through from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. The 412 was the last in the continuously numbered series of Bristols beginning with Bristol 400. Whereas the 603 was a dramatically restyled version of the characteristic Bristol two-door saloon, the 412 was different in that it was a Targa-type convertible with a removable roof that could be placed in the large luggage compartment. The earliest versions of the 412 were also very unusual for a post-World War II car in that the body was made by Zagato in Italy and attached to a chassis built by Bristol Cars in Filton, England. This chassis was almost exactly the same as that of the Bristol 603, but the earliest 412s retained the Chrysler B series petrol engines 6,277 cc that had been used in the 411. However, the second series of 412, which arrived towards the end of 1977, changed to the same 5,899 cc petrol engine as that used in the Bristol 603 and later in its successor, the Bristol Britannia. The 1977 second series cars incorporated front suspension modifications to allow for the lighter engine along with a final drive ratio changed to 2.88:1. Other changes included improved ventilation, redesigned seats and service intervals extended to 10,000 miles. In an effort to move into the United States market, Bristol designed a 412USA that complied with the extremely strict emissions and safety regulations of the US, with a catalytic converter and a much stronger roll bar than on the first 412. However, the company’s specialist status made exporting very difficult and most of these modified 412 models were exported to Europe and markets such as West Germany and Switzerland. An updated version of the car, called the Beaufighter, took over in 1982. Bristol have never revealed production figures, but it is fair to say that not that many 412 were ever built.
Many would tell you that this is THE classic Bugatti, is the Type 35 and there were three of these models entered: a pair of Type 35B and a single Type 35C. The Type 35 was phenomenally successful, winning over 1,000 races in its time. It took the Grand Prix World Championship in 1926 after winning 351 races and setting 47 records in the two prior years. At its height, Type 35s averaged 14 race wins per week. Bugatti won the Targa Florio for five consecutive years, from 1925 through 1929, with the Type 35. The original model, introduced at the Grand Prix of Lyon on August 3, 1924, used an evolution of the 3-valve 1991 cc overhead cam straight-8 engine first seen on the Type 29. Bore was 60 mm and stroke was 88 mm as on many previous Bugatti models. 96 examples were produced. This new powerplant featured five main bearings with an unusual ball bearing system. This allowed the engine to rev to 6000 rpm, and 90 hp was reliably produced. Solid axles with leaf springs were used front and rear, and drum brakes at back, operated by cables, were specified. Alloy wheels were a novelty, as was the hollow front axle for reduced unsprung weight. A second feature of the Type 35 that was to become a Bugatti trademark was passing the springs through the front axle rather than simply U-bolting them together as was done on their earlier cars. A less expensive version of the Type 35 appeared in May, 1925. The factory’s Type 35A name was ignored by the public, who nicknamed it “Tecla” after a famous maker of imitation jewellery. The Tecla’s engine used three plain bearings, smaller valves, and coil ignition like the Type 30. While this decreased maintenance requirements, it also reduced output. 139 of the Type 35As were sold. The Type 35C featured a Roots supercharger, despite Ettore Bugatti’s disdain for forced induction. Output was nearly 128 hp with a single Zenith carburettor. Type 35Cs won the French Grand Prix at Saint-Gaudens in 1928, and at Pau in 1930. Fifty examples left the factory. The final version of the Type 35 series was the Type 35B of 1927. Originally named Type 35TC, it shared the 2.3 litre engine of the Type 35T but added a large supercharger like the Type 35C. Output was 138 hp, and 45 examples were made. A British Racing Green Type 35B driven by William Grover-Williams won the 1929 French Grand Prix at Le Mans. The Type 35 chassis and body were reused on the Type 37 sports car. Fitted with a new 1496 cc straight-4 engine, 290 Type 37s were built. This engine was an SOHC 3-valve design and produced 60 hp The same engine went on to be used in the Type 40.
The Corvette Owners Club had examples of a number of different generations of America’s sports car here: the first of the type, the C1, its replacement dating from 1963, the C2 and the much more recent C5.
It is hard to imagine just how revolutionary this car must have seemed when it was unveiled at the Paris Show in 1955. 18 years in secret development as the successor to the Traction Avant, the DS 19 stole the show, and within 15 minutes of opening, 743 orders were taken. By the end of the first day, that number had risen to 12,000. Contemporary journalists said the DS pushed the envelope in the ride vs. handling compromise possible in a motor vehicle. To a France still deep in reconstruction after the devastation of World War II, and also building its identity in the post-colonial world, the DS was a symbol of French ingenuity. It also posited the nation’s relevance in the Space Age, during the global race for technology of the Cold War. Structuralist philosopher Roland Barthes, in an essay about the car, said that it looked as if it had “fallen from the sky”. An American advertisement summarised this selling point: “It takes a special person to drive a special car”. Because they were owned by the technologically aggressive tyre manufacturer Michelin, Citroën had designed their cars around the technically superior radial tyre since 1948, and the DS was no exception. The car featured a novel hydropneumatic suspension including an automatic levelling system and variable ground clearance, developed in-house by Paul Magès. This suspension allowed the DS to travel quickly on the poor road surfaces common in France. In addition, the vehicle had power steering and a semi-automatic transmission (the transmission required no clutch pedal, but gears still had to be shifted by hand though the shift lever controlled a powered hydraulic shift mechanism in place of a mechanical linkage, and a fibreglass roof which lowered the centre of gravity and so reduced weight transfer. Inboard front brakes (as well as independent suspension) reduced unsprung weight. Different front and rear track widths and tyre sizes reduced the unequal tyre loading, which is well known to promote understeer, typical of front-engined and front-wheel drive cars. As with all French cars, the DS design was affected by the tax horsepower system, which effectively mandated very small engines. Unlike the Traction Avant predecessor, there was no top-of-range model with a powerful six-cylinder engine. Citroën had planned an air-cooled flat-6 engine for the car, but did not have the funds to put the prototype engine into production. The 1955 DS19 was 65% more expensive than the car it replaced, the Citroën Traction Avant. This did impact potential sales in a country still recovering economically from World War II, so a cheaper submodel, the Citroën ID, was introduced in 1957. The ID shared the DS’s body but was less powerful and luxurious. Although it shared the engine capacity of the DS engine (at this stage 1,911 cc), the ID provided a maximum power output of only 69 hp compared to the 75 hp claimed for the DS19. Power outputs were further differentiated in 1961 when the DS19 acquired a Weber-32 twin bodied carburettor, and the increasing availability of higher octane fuel enabled the manufacturer to increase the compression ratio from 7.5:1 to 8.5:1. A new DS19 now came with a promised 83 hp of power. The ID19 was also more traditional mechanically: it had no power steering and had conventional transmission and clutch instead of the DS’s hydraulically controlled set-up. Initially the basic ID19 was sold on the French market with a price saving of more than 25% against the DS, although the differential was reduced at the end of 1961 when the manufacturer quietly withdrew the entry level ID19 “Normale” from sale. An estate version was introduced in 1958. It was known by various names in different markets: Break in France, Safari and Estate in the UK, Wagon in the US, and Citroën Australia used the terms Safari and Station-Wagon. It had a steel roof to support the standard roof rack. ‘Familiales’ had a rear seat mounted further back in the cabin, with three folding seats between the front and rear squabs. The standard Break had two side-facing seats in the main load area at the back. During the 20 year production life, improvements were made on an ongoing basis. In September 1962, the DS was restyled with a more aerodynamically efficient nose, better ventilation and other improvements. It retained the open two headlamp appearance, but was available with an optional set of driving lights mounted on the front bumpers. A more luxurious Pallas trim came in for 1965 Named after the Greek goddess Pallas, this included comfort features such as better noise insulation, a more luxurious (and optional leather) upholstery and external trim embellishments. The cars were complex, and not always totally reliable, One of the issues that emerged during long term use was addressed with a change which came in for 1967. The original hydropneumatic system used a vegetable oil liquide hydraulique végétal (LHV), similar to that used in other cars at the time, but later switched to a synthetic fluid liquide hydraulique synthétique (LHS). Both of these had the disadvantage that they are hygroscopic, as is the case with most brake fluids. Disuse allows water to enter the hydraulic components causing deterioration and expensive maintenance work. The difficulty with hygroscopic hydraulic fluid was exacerbated in the DS/ID due to the extreme rise and fall in the fluid level in the reservoir, which went from nearly full to nearly empty when the suspension extended to maximum height and the six accumulators in the system filled with fluid. With every “inhalation” of fresh moisture- (and dust-) laden air, the fluid absorbed more water. For the 1967 model year, Citroën introduced a new mineral oil-based fluid liquide hydraulique minéral (LHM). This fluid was much less harsh on the system. LHM remained in use within Citroën until the Xantia was discontinued in 2001. LHM required completely different materials for the seals. Using either fluid in the incorrect system would completely destroy the hydraulic seals very quickly. To help avoid this problem, Citroën added a bright green dye to the LHM fluid and also painted all hydraulic elements bright green. The former LHS parts were painted black. All models, including the Safari and ID, were upgraded at the same time. The hydraulic fluid changed to the technically superior LHM (Liquide Hydraulique Minéral) in all markets except the US and Canada, where the change did not take place until January 1969, due to local regulations. Rarest and most collectable of all DS variants, a convertible was offered from 1958 until 1973. The Cabriolet d’Usine (factory convertible) were built by French carrossier Henri Chapron, for the Citroën dealer network. It was an expensive car, so only 1,365 were sold. These DS convertibles used a special frame which was reinforced on the sidemembers and rear suspension swingarm bearing box, similar to, but not identical to the Break/Safari frame.
The Costin Amigo was a lightweight sports car built in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. It was designed by Frank Costin and built in Little Staughton, Bedfordshire. Its 2-litre engine and running gear came from the Vauxhall VX 4/90, but its plywood monocoque frame and aerodynamic fibreglass body gave it a top speed of 137 mph (220 km/h), and a quoted 0-60 time of 7.2 sec. Only eight (or perhaps nine) cars were ever sold.
In 2017 there had been an amazing display of 21 very special Ferrari models in honour of the marque’s 70th anniversary. That was clearly a one-off, so there was no special feature for the marque in 2018, but there were plenty of Ferrari cars to be seen throughout the Show, some on the Ferrari Owners Club stand, organised by the Kent section of this large Club, and others with the dealers. The cars to be seen varied from the familiar to some rare race models which were on offer by the Old Racing Company at prices I did not dare to ask about.
Top of the Ferrari range from the mid 70s for 10 years was the Berlinetta Boxer, object of many a small child’s intense desire, as I can attest from my own childhood! Production of the Berlinetta Boxer was a major step for Enzo Ferrari. He felt that a mid-engined road car would be too difficult for his buyers to handle, and it took many years for his engineers to convince him to adopt the layout. This attitude began to change as the marque lost its racing dominance in the late 1950s to mid-engined competitors. The mid-engined 6- and 8-cylinder Dino racing cars were the result, and Ferrari later allowed for the production Dino road cars to use the layout as well. The company also moved its V12 engines to the rear with its P and LM racing cars, but the Daytona was launched with its engine in front. It was not until 1970 that a mid-engined 12-cylinder road car would appear. The first “Boxer” was the 365 GT4 BB shown at the 1971 Turin Motor Show. Designed to rival the Lamborghini Miura and the newly developed Lamborghini Countach, it was finally released for sale in 1973 at the Paris Motor Show. 387 were built, of which 88 were right-hand drive (of which 58 were for the UK market), making it the rarest of all Berlinetta Boxers. The Pininfarina-designed body followed the P6 show car with popup headlights. Though it shared its numerical designation with the Daytona, the Boxer was radically different. It was a mid-engined car like the Dino, and the now flat-12 engine was mounted longitudinally rather than transversely. Although referred to as a Boxer, the 180° V12 was not a true boxer engine, but rather a flat engine. It had 380 hp, slightly more than the Daytona. The 365 GT4 BB was updated as the BB 512 in 1976, resurrecting the name of the earlier Ferrari 512 racer. The name 512 referred to the car’s 5 litre, 12 cylinder engine; a deviation from Ferrari’s established practice of naming 12-cylinder road cars (as the 365 BB) after their cylinder displacement. The engine was enlarged to 4943.04 cc, with an increased compression ratio of 9.2:1. Power was slightly down to 360 hp, while a dual plate clutch handled the added torque and eased the pedal effort. Dry sump lubrication prevented oil starvation in hard cornering. The chassis remained unaltered, but wider rear tires (in place of the 365’s equally sized on all four corners) meant the rear track grew 63 mm. External differentiators included a new chin spoiler upfront, incorporated in the bumper. A NACA duct on the side provided cooling for the exhaust system. At the rear there were now twin tail lights and exhaust pipes each side, instead of triple units as on the 365 GT4 BB. 929 BB 512 models were produced. The Bosch K-Jetronic CIS fuel injected BB 512i introduced in 1981 was the last of the series. The fuel injected motor produced cleaner emissions and offered a better balance of performance and daily-driver temperament. External differentiators from the BB 512 besides badging include a change to metric sized wheels and the Michelin TRX metric tyre system, small white running lights in the nose, and red rear fog lamps outboard of the exhaust pipes in the rear valance. 1,007 BB 512i models were produced.
Launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1975 as a direct replacement for the Dino 246, and designed by Pininfarina with sweeping curves and aggressive lines, the 308 GTB and later targa-topped 308 GTS have gone on to become one of the most recognised Ferraris of all time. Fitted with a 2.9 litre DOHC V8 engine fed by four Webber 40DCNF Carburettors, the power output of 255bhp was sufficient to propel the 308 from 0 to 60mph in 6.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 159 mph. Tougher emissions standards in the 1980s challenged Ferrari more than many other marques. In 1980, fuel injection was adopted for the first time on the 308 GTB and GTS models, and power dropped quite noticeably fro 240 bhp to 214bhp. Two years later, at the 1982 Paris Motor Show, Ferrari launched the 308 quattrovalvole, in GTB and GTS form. The main change from the 308 GTBi/GTSi it succeeded were the 4-valves per cylinder—hence its name, which pushed output back up to 240 hp restoring some of the performance lost to the emission control equipment. The new model could be recognised by the addition of a slim louvred panel in the front lid to aid radiator exhaust air exit, power operated mirrors carrying a small enamel Ferrari badge, a redesigned radiator grille with rectangular driving lights on each side, and rectangular (in place of round) side repeaters. The interior also received some minor updates, such as a satin black three spoke steering wheel with triangular centre; cloth seat centres became available as an option to the standard full leather. Available included metallic paint, a deep front spoiler, air conditioning, wider wheels, 16-inch Speedline wheels with Pirelli P7 tyres, and a satin black roof aerofoil (standard on Japanese market models). Apart from the 32-valve cylinder heads, the V8 engine was essentially of the same design as that used in the 308 GTSi model. The gear and final drive ratios were altered to suit the revised characteristics of the four valves per cylinder engine. One other significant benefit of the QV four valve heads was the replacement of the non-QV models sodium valves which have been known to fail at the joint between the head and the stem. Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and Marelli Digiplex electronic ignition were carried over from the GTBi/GTSi. The car was produced in this form until the launch of the 328 models in the autumn of 1985 which had larger 3.2 litre engines and a number of styling changes. 308 GTB models are becoming increasingly sought after, with prices rising steadily and quite steeply.
The 1984 288 GTO was built to compete in the new Group B Race series and a minimum of 200 cars were required for homologation. However, after the death of Henri Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto in the 1986 Tour de Corse, the FIA disestablished the class, leaving just the Group A Rally championship. As a result, the GTO never raced and all 272 cars built remained purely road cars. Some of the GTO’s styling features were first displayed on a 308 GTB design exercise by Pininfarina shown at the 1977 Geneva Salon. The 288 GTO started out as a modified version of the 308/328 to hold down costs and to build the car quickly, but little of the 308/328 was left when the 288 GTO was finished. Easily noticeable differences were the GTOs bulging wing flares, larger front/rear spoilers, large “flag-style” outside mirrors and four driving lights at the far sides of the grille. Retained from the original 250 GTO were slanted air vents, put in the GTO’s rear wings to cool the brakes. The GTO also had wider body panels than the 308’s because they had to cover much larger Goodyear tyres mounted on racing wheels. The suspension’s height could be set higher for road use and lower for racing on tracks. Bodywork material was new and lighter for better acceleration and handing. The GTO’s weight was only 2,555 pounds, compared to 3,085-3,350 for the 308/328. Steel was used just for the doors because major body panels were made from moulded fibreglass. Kevlar was used for the engine cover, and the roof was made from Kevlar and carbon fibre. The “288” refers to the GTO’s 2.8 litre V8 engine as it used a de-bored (by 1 mm) V8 with twin IHI turbochargers, intercoolers, and Weber-Marelli fuel injection. The 2855 cc engine capacity was dictated by the FIA’s requirement for a Turbocharged engine’s capacity to be multiplied by 1.4. This gave the GTO a theoretical engine capacity of 3997 cc, just under the Group B limit of 4.0 litres. Unlike the 308’s 2926 cc engine, the GTO’s 2855 cc engine was mounted longitudinally, using the 308’s rear boot space. This was necessary to make room for the twin turbochargers and intercoolers. The racing transmission was mounted to the rear of the longitudinal engine, moving the rear differential and wheels aft. The arrangement also let the GTO use a more conventional race-car engine/transmission layout for such things as quick gear ratio changes for various tracks. As a result, the wheelbase was 110 mm (4.3 in) longer at 2,450 mm (96 in). The track was also widened to accommodate wider wheels and tyres to provide increased cornering and braking performance and the ability to apply 400 hp and 366 lb·ft of torque to the ground. The GTO was an impressive performer, with 0-60 mph times around 5 seconds. Ferrari claimed 0-125 mph (201 km/h) in 15 seconds flat and a top speed of 189 mph (304 km/h), making it the first street-legal production car to reach 300 km/h all 272 cars left the factory painted in Rosso Corsa, though a few have since been given a new look and colour.
There was a mouth-watering array of old and rare Ferrari models displayed by the dealer Old Racing Car Company. Oldest of these was a 19501 Ferrari 212. According to Ferrari Classiche Chassis #102 was originally sold in March 1950 to Giovanni Bracco, later winner of the 1952 Mille Miglia, as a 125 F1-166F2 Monoposto featuring a 1500cc supercharged engine, which he raced several times during the 1950 season. When the factory resold the car to Giannino Marzotto, in 1951, it was fitted with a 12 -cylinder 2.5 litre engine, to comply with the regulations of the newly created formula within Grand Prix which restricted engine sizes to 2.5 litres. But it was the De Dion rear axle which was to be was a significant distinguishing feature of #102 and the factory team cars, and it was in this configuration that it was raced by Dorino Serafini at Syracuse GP and Pau GP in March 1951. Later sold to Scuderia Bandentieres in Brazil, it raced for a number of seasons in South America before it was eventually laid up. Nearly two decades later it was discovered by the renowned motoring ‘archaeologist’ Colin Crabbe and is pictured in his book The Thrill of the Chase. Returning to Europe in the 1970s #102 underwent the first of several restorations culminating most recently with a bare chassis-up rebuild by renowned Ferrari specialists DK Engineering, including a full engine overhaul in preparation for its invitation to run at the 2008 Goodwood Revival. It was driven on that occasion by Simon Diffey but has been a regular participant in international events since the 1990s, driven by David and Jeremy Cottingham of DK Engineering.
There were two examples of the legendary 250 Testarossa here, a 1959 and a 1960 car. The Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, or 250 TR, is a racing sports car built by Ferrari from 1957 to 1961. It was introduced at the end of the 1957 racing season in response to rule changes that enforced a maximum engine displacement of 3 litres for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Sports Car Championship races. The 250 TR was closely related to earlier Ferrari sports cars, sharing many key components with other 250 models and the 500 TR. The 250 Testa Rossa was initially developed to compete in the 1957 World Sports Car Championship racing season, in response to rule changes planned for the upcoming 1958 season that would enforce a maximum engine displacement of 3 liters. The objective was to improve on the existing 4-cylinder 2.0L 500 TR/500 TRC Testa Rossa by integrating the more powerful Colombo-designed 3.0L V12 as used in 250 GT series. Along with the new engine, Ferrari improved the existing Testa Rossa chassis and bodywork. As with other Ferrari racing cars, Enzo Ferrari demanded absolute reliability from all components, resulting in a somewhat conservative design approach that aimed for endurance racing success through durability rather than overall speed. Carlo Chiti was the chief designer during 250 TR development and his continual experimentation counterbalanced Mr. Ferrari’s conservatism and led to the many revisions that kept the car competitive through 1962. Other Ferrari engineers had major contributions to the 250 TR, notably Giotto Bizzarrini, who helped with aerodynamic improvements for the 1961 season, and Andrea Fraschetti, who helped developed the first 250 TR prototype before his 1957 death during a test drive. The 250 TR was raced and continually developed by Scuderia Ferrari from 1957 through 1962. In total, 33 250 TRs of all types were built between 1957 and 1962.Included in this total are 19 “customer versions” of the 250 TR sold to independent racing teams, replacing the 500 TRC for this market. All customer cars had left hand drive Scaglietti “pontoon fender” bodies and live rear axles. They did not benefit from the continual improvements to Scuderia Ferrari cars, although many independent teams modified their 250 TRs or purchased ex-Scuderia Ferrari cars in order to stay competitive. The 250 TR achieved many racing successes, with variations winning 10 World Sports Car Championship races including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958, 1960, and 1961, the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1958, 1959 and 1961, the Targa Florio in 1958, the 1000 Km Buenos Aires in 1958 and 1960 and the Pescara 4 Hours in 1961. These results led to World Sports Car Championship constructor’s titles for Ferrari in 1958, 1960 and 1961.
This is a one-off car, the 250 GTO Drogo Special. In 1964, Ferrari GTO 3445GT was rebodied into the design you see here. Before this new body was fitted, the racing career of 3445GT was extensive, competing in the greatest endurance races of the era. After a long and hard life, the GTO’s body was too tired to consider saving and its owner Ulf Norinder sent the chassis to Carrozzeria Sports Cars in Modena for a new lease on life. At that time, Piero Drogo was in charge of the company with partners Otello Benedetti and Mario Allegretti under the official name Sports Cars di Benedetti & C. (1963 to 1969). This car followed a string of Ferrari competition cars that were remodelled by Drogo throughout the sixties. By 1965, the GTO had outlasted its usefulness in racing so a more lavish body was drawn up which wasn’t too dissimilar from the GTO. The new body featured a much wider front grill, sleeker fastback profile, Ferrari 250LM front windscreen (which was much lower), larger side vents and a rear hatch. At the same time, the car retained its original headlamps and doors. Eventually, the car was damaged in 1976 and subsequently restored back to its 1962 configuration. At some point the Drogo body was either saved or fitted on another chassis. 4769GT was sold at RM Auction’s 2006 Monterey Sports car Auction for $275,000 USD with a replica of the original design. It was described as “a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 with a gorgeous Drogo inspired replica body. The work done by Allegretti was top notch and today the car remains in very nice cosmetic condition with very strong mechanicals.” This body design is one that was made by Carrozzeria Sports Cars under the direction of Piero Drogo. Giotto Bizzarrini has been attributed to the design which was very similar to the current Ferrari 250 GTO. Chassis 2735GT started out life as one of the potent SEFAC Hot Rods initially raced under the Rob Walker by greats like Stirling Moss and Graham Hill at Le Mans. After a long string of races in 1961 it was then sold to Laystall then Christopher Kerrison who severaly damaged the car at the 1962 Goodwood Tourist Trophy. Kerrison sent his car to Piero Drogo’s Carrozzeria Sports Cars to be updated and reflect the performance of the 250 GTO. The car was very distinct with a very low front noise, plexiglas front intake bluge and fashback rear profile. Inside a bespoke interior was fitted. The entire car was so low a regular dashboard couldn’t be fitted, and so the gauges were all mounted on the transmission tunnel. In this configuration it was raced heavily in 1963 and 1964 in dark metalic green until it was eventually sold off. By 1980, the car had lost original GTO-spec engine, but this didn’t stop Grand Prix Metalcraft from making a replica SWB body in aluminum to suit that car. Eventually the original specification and livery were fabricated. The scrap body was then installed on 250 GTE 2+2 chassis 3611GT. John Starkey bought the ‘GTO-ized’ chassis and began to complete the project with help from Christopher Kerrison.
The 250 LM model looks to be very much the prototype racer but was intended for production as a road-going GT. Descended from the 250 P, the Le Mans also appeared in 1963 and sported Pininfarina bodywork. Ferrari was unable to persuade the FIA that he would build the 100 examples required to homologate the car for GT racing. Eventually, 32 LMs were built[ up to 1965. As a result, Ferrari withdrew from factory participation in the GT class of the 1965 World Sportscar Championship, allowing the Shelby Cobra team to dominate. A 250LM, competing in the Prototype category, won the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only the very early LM’s were true 250 models. All the others made as 3300cc models, and as such should have been named 275 LM. The early cars were converted to the 3300cc engine.
Also here was what looked like a 250 GTO but given the rarity and value of these cars was almost certainly a genuine Ferrari chassis sitting under a replica body.
Needing series production to stabilize his company’s finances, Enzo Ferrari asked Pininfarina to design a simple and classic 250 GT coupé. After the 250 GT Boano/Ellena, Pininfarina’s Grugliasco plant expanded and now had the capacity to produce the new 250 GT Coupé Pininfarina. It was introduced at Milan in 1958, and 335 near-identical examples were built by 1960. Buyers included Prince Bertil of Sweden. The GT Coupé eschewed the fender vents for simple, clean lines and a notchback look with panoramic rear window. The oval grille was replaced by a more traditional long narrow look with protruding headlights. Telescopic shock absorbers were also fitted instead of the Houdailles on previous 250s, and disc brakes were added in 1960. The original 165R400 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) were later changed to 185VR16. The final 250 GT Coupé had a Superfast tail and was shown at the 1961 London Motor Show. In line with the high-volume coupé, Pinin Farina also designed a plainer 250 GT Cabriolet for series production. Introduced at the 1959 Paris Motor Show, the GT Spider sported a look similar to the GT Coupé of the previous year, including the removal of the side vents. 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) were standard. On the Coupé the headlights were uncovered. About 212 were produced. In line with the high-volume coupé, Pinin Farina also designed a plainer 250 GT Cabriolet for series production. Introduced at the 1959 Paris Motor Show, the GT Spider sported a look similar to the GT Coupé of the previous year, including the removal of the side vents. 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) were standard. On the Coupé the headlights were uncovered. About 212 were produced.
Dating from 1969 is this 365 GTC, one of just 22 UK right-hand drive examples of the model. This was a development of the earlier 330 GTC, offering increased power and torque over that car. In Ferrari terms the 365 GTC has been somewhat overlooked and with only 150 examples built and production only lasting a single year, the Ferrari 365 GTC is known by few. It is, by all accounts, one of the finest all-rounders Maranello has ever produced. Pininfarina designed and built the GTC’s steel body, blending the general design of the 275 GTS and 330 GTC while incorporating a nose resembling the 500 superfast. The Kamm-like ducktail rear from the 330 remained unchanged with the exquisite light cluster and two-element chromed bumpers adorning the rear-end. The main difference between the Ferrari 365 GTC and its older brother the 330 GTC was the bonnet slats instead of louvres on the front wings to improve the cooling of the engine compartment. Further minor yet important modifications were made such as the handbrake mechanism which switched from the umbrella-type mechanism as seen in the 330 GTC to a more modern fitment between the seats on the 365GTC. The clutch on the 365 GTC was also improved from a hydraulic to cable operation and the half shafts went to CV joints instead of the 330’s more basic U-joints. The more exciting news, however, was inside the engine bay. This Ferrari was equipped with the latest version of Gioacchino Colombo’s V12 engine, giving it power to match Pininfarina’s elegant bodywork. The displacement was increased to 4.4 litres over the 330’s 4.0 litre engine and the single camshaft improved bottom-end performance while retaining sonorous power at the other end of the rev-counter, this Colombo V12 is the one to have. It is no coincidence that this is the most powerful Single Overhead Cam of any Columbo V12 Ferrari producing an incredibly potent 320 bhp. The Ferrari 365 GTC’s short production run is likely explained by a range of factors. The ever-more stringent safety laws in the US contributed to its short run but it was the arrival of Ferrari’s brand new model, the Daytona, that really spelled the end for the Ferrari 365 GTC.
The 365 GTS/4 Spider was derived from the exceptionally quick 365 GTB/4 “Daytona, a name adopted after Ferrari’s legendary 1-2-3 finish at the 1967 Daytona 24 Hours race. Designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti, as was the case for the Coupe, just 122 of these were official Spiders. Far more have been produced in more recent years, by what some would call the sacreligious act of removing the roof from a Coupe model.
Still seen by many as the most beautiful Ferrari ever built was the 246 GT Dino and there was a rather nice example here. The Ferrari Dino was created to honour Alfredo ‘Dino’ Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari’s only legitimate son, who sadly died of muscular dystrophy in 1956. Unlike any previous road-going Ferrari, the Dino utilised a V6 engine, the Tipo 156, which Alfredo himself had helped develop and strongly advocated during his working life. Following continued motor racing success and in order to homologate Ferrari’s 1966 Formula Two campaign, a new line of mid-engined production V6 coupés with Fiat running gear went on sale in 1967 in two litre 206 GT form. However, in 1969 a larger 2.4 litre Dino was introduced, named the 246 GT or GTS in the case of the Spider. Only 3,913 definitive Dinos were built before the introduction of the completely restyled V8 engined 308 in 1973. The voluptuous bodywork of the 246, which many regard as the prettiest ever to grace a road-going Ferrari, was designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti. It clothed a tubular chassis which carried wishbone independent suspension at each corner. The compact four-cam, 190bhp. engine was mounted transversely above the five-speed gearbox and just ahead of the rear axle, allowing for both a comfortable cockpit and some usable boot space.
Stung by the criticism of the 348, Ferrari undertook a comprehensive revision, creating the F355 model which they launched in May 1994. An evolution of the Ferrari 348, just about everything was changed, and improved. Design emphasis for the F355 was placed on significantly improved performance, but driveability across a wider range of speeds and in different environments such as low-speed city traffic was also addressed, as the Honda NS-X had proved that you could make a supercar that could be lived with every day. Apart from the displacement increase from 3.4 to 3.5 litres, the major difference between the V8 engine in the 348 and F355 was the introduction of a 5-valve cylinder head. This new head design allowed for better intake permeability and resulted in an engine that was considerably more powerful, producing 375 hp. The longitudinal 90° V8 engine was bored 2mm over the 348’s engine, resulting in the small increase in displacement. The F355 had a Motronic system controlling the electronic fuel injection and ignition systems, with a single spark plug per cylinder, resulting in an unusual 5 valves per cylinder configuration. This was reflected in the name, which did not follow the formula from the previous decades of engine capacity in litres followed by number of cylinders such as the 246 = 2.4 litres and 6 cylinders and the 308 of 3.0 litres and 8 cylinders. For the F355, Ferrari used engine capacity followed by the number of valves per cylinder (355 = 3.5 litres engine capacity and 5 valves per cylinder) to bring the performance advances introduced by a 5 valve per cylinder configuration into the forefront. 5. The frame was a steel monocoque with tubular steel rear sub-frame with front and rear suspensions using independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs over gas-filled telescopic shock absorbers with electronic control servos and anti-roll bars. The car allows selection between two damper settings, “Comfort” and “Sport”. Ferrari fitted all road-going F355 models with Pirelli tires, size 225/40ZR 18 in front and 265/40 ZR 18 in the rear. Although the F355 was equipped with power-assisted steering (intended to improve low-speed driveability relative to the outgoing 348), this could optionally be replaced with a manual steering rack setup by special order. Aerodynamic designs for the car included over 1,300 hours of wind tunnel analysis. The car incorporates a Nolder profile on the upper portion of the tail, and a fairing on the underbody that generates downforce when the car is at speed. These changes not only made the car faster but also much better to drive,m restoring Ferrari to the top of the tree among its rivals. At launch, two models were available: the coupe Berlinetta and the targa topped GTS, which was identical to the Berlinetta apart from the fact that the removable “targa-style” hard top roof could be stored behind the seats. The F355 would prove to be last in the series of mid-engined Ferraris with the Flying Buttress rear window, a lineage going back to the 1965 Dino 206 GT, unveiled at the Paris Auto Show. The Spider (convertible) version came later in the year. In 1997 the Formula One style paddle gear shift electrohydraulic manual transmission was introduced with the Ferrari 355 F1 adding £6,000 to the dealer asking price. This system promised faster gearchanges and allowed the driver to keep both hands on the steering wheel, It proved to be very popular and was the beginning of the end for the manual-transmission Ferrari. Ferrari produced 4,871 road-going Berlinetta models, of which 3,829 were 6-speed and 1,042 were F1 transmissions. The Spider proved to be the second-most popular F355 model, with a total production of 3,717 units, of which 2,664 were produced with the 6-speed transmission and another 1,053 produced with the F1 transmission. A total of 2,577 GTS models were produced, with 2,048 delivered with the 6-speed transmission and another 529 with the F1 transmission. This was the last GTS targa style model produced by Ferrari. This made a total production run of 11,273 units making the F355 the most-produced Ferrari at the time, though this sales record would be surpassed by the next generation 360 and later, the F430.
It was with the 360 Modena that sales of Ferrari models really took off, with unprecedented volumes of the car being sold. The 360 Modena was launched in 1999, named after the town of Modena, the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari. A major innovation in this all new model came from Ferrari’s partnership with Alcoa which resulted in an entirely new all-aluminium space-frame chassis that was 40% stiffer than the F355 which had utilised steel. The design was 28% lighter despite a 10% increase in overall dimensions. Along with a lightweight frame the new Pininfarina body styling deviated from traditions of the previous decade’s sharp angles and flip-up headlights. The new V8 engine, common to all versions, was of 3.6 litre capacity with a flat plane crankshaft, titanium connecting rods and generates 400 bhp Despite what looks like on paper modest gains in reality the power to weight ratio was significantly improved on over the F355, this was due to the combination of both a lighter car and more power. The 0 to 100 km/h acceleration performance improved from 4.6 to 4.3 seconds. The first model to be rolled out was the 360 Modena, available as a manual, or an F1 electrohydraulic manual. Next up was an open car. The 360 was designed with a Spider variant in mind; since removing the roof of a coupe reduces the torsional rigidity, the 360 was built for strength in other areas. Ferrari designers strengthened the sills, stiffened the front of the floorpan and redesigned the windscreen frame. The rear bulkhead had to be stiffened to cut out engine noise from the cabin. The convertible’s necessary dynamic rigidity is provided by additional side reinforcements and a cross brace in front of the engine. Passenger safety is ensured by a strengthened windscreen frame and roll bars. The 360 Spider displays a curvilinear waistline. The fairings imply the start of a roof, and stable roll bars are embedded in these elevations. Due to use of light aluminium construction throughout, the Spider weighs in only 60 kg heavier than the coupé. As with the Modena version, its 3.6 litre V8 with 400 bhp is on display under a glass cover. The engine — confined in space by the convertible’s top’s storage area — acquires additional air supply through especially large side grills. The intake manifolds were moved toward the center of the engine between the air supply conduits in the Spider engine compartment, as opposed to lying apart as with the Modena. In terms of performance, the 0-60 mph time was slightly slower at 4.4 seconds due to the slight weight increase, and the top speed was reduced from 189 to 180 mph. Despite the car’s mid-mounted V8 engine, the electrically operated top is able to stow into the compartment when not in use. The convertible top was available in black, blue, grey and beige. The transformation from a closed top to an open-air convertible is a two-stage folding-action that has been dubbed “a stunning 20 second mechanical symphony”. The interior of the Spider is identical to that of the coupé.
Firmly placed in Ferrari’s history as one of their finest big GTs, the 550 Maranello’s combination of stylish Pininfarina lines and front mounted 12-cylinder engine meant this car had the potential to become an instant classic, following in the footsteps of its forebear, the 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’, and if you look at the way the prices are steading to go, it’s clear that the potential is being realised. Launched in 1996, and with modern styling cues, a 5.5 litre V12 engine producing around 485bhp and a reported top speed of 199mph, the 550 Maranello was a serious motor car. A less frenetic power delivery, the six speed manual box and excellent weight distribution were all factors in the 550 becoming the perfect European Grand Tourer. Ferrari updated the car in 2002 to create the 575M.
A variant of the 575 was the 575M SuperAmerica, created to satisfy demand for open-topped V12 motoring and with a rather better roof arrangement than had been on the 550 Barchetta. The 575M Superamerica featured an electrochromic glass panel roof which rotated 180° (both of these attributes being production car firsts) at the rear to lie flat over the boot. The patented Revocromico roof incorporates a carbon fibre structure that is hinged on the single axis with a luggage compartment lid, allowing the access to the latter even with an open roof. With the roof open the rear window, apart for holding the third stop light, also acts as a wind deflector. This roof design was previously used on the 2001-designed Vola by Leonardo Fioravanti. The Superamerica used the higher-output tune of the V-12 engine, F133 G, rated at 533 hp and Ferrari marketed it as the world’s fastest convertible, with a top speed of 199 mph. The GTC handling package was optional. A total of 559 Superamericas were built; this number followed Enzo Ferrari’s philosophy that there should always be one fewer car available than what the market demanded.
The next V12 engined Ferrari was the 599 GTB (internal code F141) a new flagship, replacing the 575M Maranello. Styled by Pininfarina under the direction of Ferrari’s Frank Stephenson, the 599 GTB debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2006. It is named for its total engine displacement (5999 cc), Gran Turismo Berlinetta nature, and the Fiorano Circuit test track used by Ferrari. The Tipo F140 C 5999 cc V12 engine produced a maximum 620 PS (612 hp), making it the most powerful series production Ferrari road car of the time. At the time of its introduction, this was one of the few engines whose output exceeded 100 hp per litre of displacement without any sort of forced-induction mechanism such as supercharging or turbocharging. Its 448 ft·lb of torque was also a record for Ferrari’s GT cars. Most of the modifications to the engine were done to allow it to fit in the Fiorano’s engine bay (the original Enzo version could be taller as it would not block forward vision due to its mid-mounted position). A traditional 6-speed manual transmission as well as Ferrari’s 6-speed called “F1 SuperFast” was offered. The Fiorano also saw the debut of Ferrari’s new traction control system, F1-Trac. The vast majority of the 599 GTB’s were equipped with the semi-automatic gearbox, with just 30 examples produced with a manual gearbox of which 20 were destined for the United States and 10 remained in Europe. The car changed little during its 6 year production, though the range did gain additional versions, with the HGTE model being the first, with a number of chassis and suspension changes aimed at making the car even sharper to drive, and then the more potent 599GTO came in 2010. With 670 bhp, this was the fastest road-going Ferrari ever made. Just 599 were made. The model was superceded by the F12 Berlinetta in 2012. It was the 599 GTO version that was on show here.
The F40 was the successor to the 288 GTO, and it was designed to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary and the last Ferrari automobile personally approved by Enzo Ferrari. At the time it was Ferrari’s fastest, most powerful, and most expensive car for sale. As soon as the 288 GTO was launched, Ferrari started the development of an evolution model, intended to compete against the Porsche 959 in FIA Group B. However, when the FIA brought an end to the Group B category for the 1986 season, Enzo Ferrari was left with five 288 GTO Evoluzione development cars, and no series in which to campaign them. Enzo’s desire to leave a legacy in his final supercar allowed the Evoluzione program to be further developed to produce a car exclusively for road use. In response to the quite simple, but very expensive car with relatively little out of the ordinary being called a “cynical money-making exercise” aimed at speculators, a figure from the Ferrari marketing department was quoted as saying “We wanted it to be very fast, sporting in the extreme and Spartan,” “Customers had been saying our cars were becoming too plush and comfortable.” “The F40 is for the most enthusiastic of our owners who want nothing but sheer performance. It isn’t a laboratory for the future, as the 959 is. It is not Star Wars. And it wasn’t created because Porsche built the 959. It would have happened anyway.” Power came from an enlarged, 2936 cc version of the GTO’s twin IHI turbocharged V8 developing 478 bhp. The F40 did without a catalytic converter until 1990 when US regulations made them a requirement for emissions control reasons. The flanking exhaust pipes guide exhaust gases from each bank of cylinders while the central pipe guides gases released from the wastegate of the turbochargers. Engines with catalytic converters bear F120D code. The suspension was similar to the GTO’s double wishbone setup, though many parts were upgraded and settings were changed; the unusually low ground clearance prompted Ferrari to include the ability to raise the vehicle’s ground clearance when necessary. The body was an entirely new design by Pininfarina featuring panels made of Kevlar, carbon fibre, and aluminium for strength and low weight, and intense aerodynamic testing was employed. Weight was further minimised through the use of a plastic windscreen and windows. The cars did have air conditioning, but had no sound system, door handles, glove box, leather trim, carpets, or door panels. The first 50 cars produced had sliding Lexan windows, while later cars were fitted with wind down windows. The F40 was designed with aerodynamics in mind. For speed the car relied more on its shape than its power. Frontal area was reduced, and airflow greatly smoothed, but stability rather than terminal velocity was a primary concern. So too was cooling as the forced induction engine generated a great deal of heat. In consequence, the car was somewhat like an open-wheel racing car with a body. It had a partial undertray to smooth airflow beneath the radiator, front section, and the cabin, and a second one with diffusers behind the motor, but the engine bay was not sealed. Nonetheless, the F40 had an impressively low Cd of 0.34 with lift controlled by its spoilers and wing. The factory never intended to race the F40, but the car saw competition as early as 1989 when it debuted in the Laguna Seca Raceway round of the IMSA, appearing in the GTO category, with a LM evolution model driven by Jean Alesi, finishing third to the two faster space-framed four wheel drive Audi 90 and beating a host of other factory backed spaceframe specials that dominated the races. Despite lack of factory backing, the car would soon have another successful season there under a host of guest drivers such as Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Jacques Laffite and Hurley Haywood taking a total of three second places and one third. It would later be a popular choice by privateers to compete in numerous domestic GT series. Although the original plan was to build just 400 cars, such was the demand that in the end, 1311 were built over a 4 year period.
Known as project 110, the brief for the Nuova 500 was to create a micro-car that would not only carry on the tradition of the earlier Topolino, but which would also take sales away from the ever popular Lambretta and Vespa scooters of the day. It clearly needed to be smaller than the 600 which had been released with a conventional 4 cylinder engine. Not an easy task, but development started in 1953 and by August 1954, two designs were ready to be shown to Fiat management. They selected one, and serious development began. At first the car was referred to as the 400, as it was going to have a 400cc engine, but it was soon realised that this was just too small, so a larger 500cc air-cooled engine was developed. It was signed off in January 1956, with production starting in March 1957 in advance of a June launch. Fiat’s marketing department got busy, with hundreds of the new car taking to the streets of Turin, each with a pretty girl standing through the open sunroof that was a feature of all the early cars. The press loved it. 50 units were shipped to Britain, where the car made its debut at Brands Hatch, and again the reception was enthusiastic. But the orders just did not come in. Fiat went for a hasty rethink, relaunching the car at the Turin Show later that year. power was increased from 13 to 15 bhp, and the poverty spec was lessened a little, with headlight bezels, brightwork on the side and chrrome hubcaps, a Nuova500 badge on the engine cover, winding side windows (the launch cars just had opening quarterlights) and the option of a heater fan. It was enough to get sales moving. The original car was still offered, at a lower price, called the Economy. In the first year of production, 28,452 Fiat 500s were made. Over the next 19 years, the car changed little in overall appearance, but there were a number of updates with more power and equipment added. A 500 Sport was launched in August 1958, with a more powerful version of the 499cc engine. It lost the soft top, having a ridged steel roof, to increase strength of the body. It was only available in grey with a red side flash. The first major changes came in 1960 with the 500D. This looks very similar to the Nuova, but with two key differences. One is the engine size: the D features an uprated 499 cc engine producing 17 bhp as standard, an engine which would be used right through until the end of the L in 1973; and the other is the roof: the standard D roof does not fold back as far as the roof on the Nuova, though it was also available as the “Transformable” with the same roof as the Nuova. The D still featured “suicide doors”. There were larger rear light clusters, more space in the front boot thanks to a redesign of the fuel tank and new indicators under the headlights. A year later, Fiat added a light on the rear-view mirrors and a windscreen washer, but the car still lacked a fuel gauge. Sales increased from 20,900 in 1960 to 87.000 in 1961, 132,000 in 1962 and by 1964, the last year of production, they hit 194,000 units. The D was replaced in 1965 by the 500F, which finally moved the door hinges from back to the front, owing to changes in Italian safety laws. There was a deeper windscreen and thinner door pillars, which increased the height of the car by 10mm, improving visibility for the driver. The 500F ran through to 1975, from 1968 alongside the more luxurious 500L which was added to the range in 1968. The L is easy to tell apart, with its bumper overriders. The final updates created the 500R, which incorporated many changes from the 126 under the skin of the classic shape, and in this form production continued alongside the newer 126 until 1976.
Carrozzeria Ghia custom manufactured a “Jolly” variant of the 500, inspired by the limited edition Fiat 600 Jolly,and featuring an open-air, doorless design with wicker seats and a removable fabric canopy roof — similar in concept to the Citroën Méhari, BMC Mini Moke and Volkswagen Type 181.
Following the success of the 500 and 600 models, Fiat introduced a slightly larger and more expensive variant, the 850 in 1964. The regular 2 door saloon was soon joined in the range by other models and they are the ones you see more often these days, not that they are exactly common now. The 850 Coupe, early and later versions of which were to be seen here was seen for the first time at the 1965 Geneva Show. As was generally the case at the time, the body looked completely different from the saloon on which it was based, but underneath it shared the same mechanicals including the the original 843 cc engine producing 47 hp, which gave it a maximum speed of 84 mph. A Spider model was launched at the same time. In order to separate the sportier variants, equipment levels were raised, with both models getting sport seats, a sport steering wheel and round speedometer; The Spider even received a completely rearranged instrument panel. The front drum brakes were replaced with disc brakes, although drum brakes remained on the rear wheels. In 1968, Fiat revised both the Spider and Coupé and gave them a stronger engine with 903 cc and 52 hp. They were called Sport Spider and Sport Coupé. The Sport Spider body stayed essentially the same, but with a restyled front, whereas the Coupe gained twin headlights at the front and a revised tail with a slight lip on the trailing edge of the engine cover. Despite its popularity, the Coupe was the first model to cease production, being deleted in 1971. Seen here was an 850 Spider.
Oldest Ford here was this Model T.
The history of the Lotus Cortina begins in 1961, before the launch of Ford’s family saloon. Colin Chapman had been wishing to build his own engines for Lotus, mainly because the Coventry Climax unit was so expensive and his chance came when he commissioned Harry Mundy (a close friend and designer of the Coventry Climax engine and technical editor for Autocar) to design a twin-cam version of the Ford Kent engine. Most of the development of the engine was done on the 997cc and 1,340cc bottom end, but in 1962 Ford released the 116E five bearing 1,499 cc engine and work centred on this. Keith Duckworth, from Cosworth, played an important part in tuning of the engine. The engine’s first appearance was in 1962 at the Nürburgring in a Lotus 23 driven by Jim Clark. Almost as soon as the engine appeared in production cars (Lotus Elan), it was replaced with a larger capacity unit (82.55 mm bore to give 1,557 cc). This was in order to get the car closer to the 1.6 litre capacity class in motorsport. Whilst the engine was being developed, Walter Hayes (Ford) asked Colin Chapman if he would fit the engine to 1,000 Ford saloons for Group 2 homologation. Chapman quickly accepted, although it must have been very busy in the Cheshunt plant, with the Elan about to be launched. The Type 28 or Lotus Cortina or Cortina Lotus (as Ford liked to call it) was duly launched. Ford supplied the 2-door Cortina bodyshells and took care of all the marketing and selling of the cars, whilst Lotus did all the mechanical and cosmetic changes. The major changes involved installing the 1,557 cc 105 bhp engine, together with the same close-ratio gearbox as the Elan. The rear suspension was drastically altered and lightweight alloy panels were used for doors, bonnet and boot. Lightweight casings were fitted to gearbox and differential. All the Lotus factory cars were painted white with a green stripe (although Ford built some for racing in red, and one customer had a dark blue stripe due to being superstitious about green). The cars also received front quarter bumpers and round Lotus badges were fitted to rear wings and to the right side of the radiator grille. Interior modifications were limited to a centre console designed to accommodate the new gear lever position, different seats and the later style dashboard, featuring tachometer, speedometer, oil pressure, water temperature and fuel level gauges. A wood-rimmed steering wheel was fitted. The suspension changes to the car were quite extensive; the car received shorter struts up front, forged track control arms and 5.5J by 13 steel wheel rims. The rear was even more radical with vertical coil spring/dampers replacing the leaf springs and two trailing arms with a A- bracket (which connected to the differential housing and brackets near the trailing arm pivots) sorting out axle location. To support this set-up, further braces were put behind the rear seat and from the rear wheelarch down to chassis in the boot. The stiffening braces meant that the spare wheel had to be moved from the standard Cortina’s wheel well and was bolted to the left side of the boot floor. The battery was also relocated to the boot, behind the right wheelarch. Both of these changes made big improvements to overall weight distribution. Another improvement the Cortina Lotus gained was the new braking system (9.5 in front discs) which were built by brake specialist Girling. This system also was fitted to Cortina GTs but without a servo, which was fitted in the Cortina Lotus engine bay. Initially, the engines were built by J. A Prestwich of Tottenham and then Villiers of Wolverhampton. In 1966, Lotus moved to Hethel in Norwich where they had their own engine building facilities. The Cortina Lotus used a 8.0 in diaphragm-spring clutch, whereas Ford fitted coil-spring clutches to the rest of the range. The remainder of the gearbox was identical to the Lotus Elan. This led to a few problems because although the ultra-close gear ratios were perfect for the race track or open road, the clutch was given a hard time in traffic. The ratios were later changed. The early cars were very popular and earned some rave reviews; one magazine described the car as a tin-top version of a Lotus 7. It was ‘THE car’ for many enthusiasts who before had to settle for a Cortina GT or a Mini-Cooper and it also amazed a lot of the public who were used to overweight ‘sports cars’ like the Austin-Healey 3000. The launch was not perfect however, the car was too specialist for some Ford dealerships who did not understand the car; there are a few stories of incorrect parts being fitted at services. There were a few teething problems reported by the first batch of owners, (most of these problems show how quickly the car was developed) some of the engines were down on power, the gear ratios were too close and the worst problem was the differential housing coming away from the casing. This problem was mainly caused by the high loads put on the axle because of the A bracket it was an integral part of the rear suspension. This was made even worse by the fact any oil lost from the axle worked its way on to the bushes of the A bracket. There were 4 main updates made to the Mk1 Lotus during its production to solve some of these problems. The first change was a swap to a two-piece prop shaft and the lighter alloy transmission casing were changed for standard Ford items; this also included swapping the ultra close ratio gears for Cortina GT gear ratios, the main difference was 1st, 2nd and reverse were much higher ratios. from 1964, standard panels were used rather than the light alloy ones. Alloy items and ultra-close ratios could be specified when buying new cars. The 2nd main change came in late 1964 when the entire Cortina range had a facelift which included a full width front grille and aeroflow outlets in the rear quarters because the Cortina Lotus also gained Ford’s new ventilation system which also included an update to the interior. The third and probably most important change came in mid-1965, when the Lotus rear suspension was changed for the leaf springs and radius arms of the Cortina GT. This replaced all the stiffening tubing as well. The last update also came in 1965 when the rear drums were swapped for self-adjusting items and also the famous 2000E gearbox ratios were used. These lowered 1st and reverse about halfway between the Cortina GT ratios and the ultra close-ratio box. All these changes made the cars less specialised but far more reliable and all the special parts were still available for competition as well as to members of the public. The Cortina Lotus had by this time earned an impressive competition reputation. It was also being made in left hand drive when production finished around late 1966 and the Mk2 took over. 3306 examples were made. It is sometimes suggested that the survival rate is well in excess of that, with many cars being created out of non-Lotus models. There certainly are plenty of those around, so it really is a case of “buyer beware” if in the market to acquire one of these cars.
Original Ford GT40 cars are extremely rare. but over the years there have been many different replica and recreation models produced, and there were a number of them here. Technically the GT40 is an evocation of the Shelby-developed fast Ford that won Le Mans, but the South African-built Superformance machines are so close to the real thing – some 70 per cent is interchangeable with the original – that they are recognised by the Shelby American World Registry. Hand-built in an ultra modern factory, the Superformance GT40 is offered in MkI or MkII guise with left- or right-hand drive and with a choice of potent V8 engines from 5.6 to 7.0 litres. The only thing that isn’t interchangeable with an original is the price. The Superformance cars, which are imported to the UK by Le Mans Coupes Ltd, start at just £99,800 (plus VAT)… one of the four ex-Works Gulf Le Mans racers sold for $11 million in 2012.
Sporting Escorts appeared only a matter of months after the launch of the regular 1100 and 1300cc cars. The first of these was a higher performance version designed for rallies and racing, the Escort Twin Cam. Built for Group 2 international rallying, it had an engine with a Lotus-made eight-valve twin camshaft head fitted to the 1.5 L non-crossflow block, which had a bigger bore than usual to give a capacity of 1,557 cc. This engine had originally been developed for the Lotus Elan. Production of the Twin Cam, which was originally produced at Halewood, was phased out as the Cosworth-engined RS1600 production began. The most famous edition of the Twin Cam was raced on behalf of Ford by Alan Mann Racing in the British Saloon Car Championship in 1968 and 1969, sporting a full Formula 2 Ford FVC 16-valve engine producing over 200 hp. The Escort, driven by Australian driver Frank Gardner went on to comfortably win the 1968 championship. The Mark I Escorts became successful as a rally car, and they eventually went on to become one of the most successful rally cars of all time with arguably the Escort’s greatest victory in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally, co-driven by Finnish legend Hannu Mikkola and Swedish co-driver Gunnar Palm. This gave rise to the Escort Mexico, which had a 1600cc “crossflow”-engined, as a special edition road version in honour of the rally car. Introduced in November 1970, 10,352 Mexico Mark I’s were built. In addition to the Mexico, the RS1600 was developed with a 1,601 cc Cosworth BDA which used a Crossflow block with a 16-valve Cosworth cylinder head, named for “Belt Drive A Series”. Both the Mexico and RS1600 were built at Ford’s Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) facility located at the Aveley Plant in South Essex. As well as higher performance engines and sports suspension, these models featured strengthened bodyshells utilising seam welding in places of spot welding, making them more suitable for competition. After updating the factory team cars with a larger 1701 cc Cosworth BDB engine in 1972 and then with fuel injected BDC, Ford also produced, in the autumn of 1973, an RS2000 model as an alternative to the somewhat temperamental RS1600, featuring a 2.0 litre Pinto OHC engine. This also clocked up some rally and racing victories; and pre-empted the hot hatch market as a desirable but affordable performance road car. Like the Mexico and RS1600, this car was produced at the Aveley plant.
Production of the Capri began on 14 December 1968 in Ford’s Dagenham plant in the UK and on 16 December 1968 at the Cologne plant in West Germany, before its unveiling in January 1969 at the Brussels Motor Show, and sales starting the following month. The intention was to reproduce in Europe the success Ford had had with the North American Ford Mustang; to produce a European pony car. It was mechanically based on the Cortina and built in Europe at the Dagenham and Halewood plants in the United Kingdom, the Genk plant in Belgium, and the Saarlouis and Cologne plants in Germany. The car was named Colt during its development stage, but Ford was unable to use the name, as it was trademarked by Mitsubishi. Although a fastback coupé, Ford wanted the Capri Mk I to be affordable for a broad spectrum of potential buyers. To help achieve that, it was available with a variety of engines. The British and German factories produced different line-ups. The continental model used the Ford Taunus V4 engine in 1.3, 1.5 and 1.7 litre displacements, while the British versions were powered by the Ford Kent straight-four in 1.3 and 1.6 litre forms. The Ford Essex V4 engine 2.0 litre (British built) and Cologne V6 2.0 litre (German built) served as initial range-toppers. At the end of the year, new sports versions were added: the 2300 GT in Germany, using a double-barrel carburettor with 125 PS, and in September 1969 the 3000 GT in the UK, with the Essex V6, capable of 138 hp. Under the new body, the running gear was very similar to the 1966 Cortina. The rear suspension employed a live axle supported on leaf springs with short radius rods. MacPherson struts were featured at the front in combination with rack and pinion steering which employed a steering column that would collapse in response to a collision. The initial reception of the car was broadly favourable.The range continued to be broadened, with another 3.0 variant, the Capri 3000E introduced from the British plant in March 1970, offering “more luxurious interior trim”. Sales in other global markets got underway with the Capri reaching Australia in May 1969 and in April 1970 it was released in the North American and South African markets. These versions all used the underpowered Kent 1.6 engine although a Pinto straight-four 2.0 litre replaced it in some markets in 1971. The Capri proved highly successful, with 400,000 cars sold in its first two years. Ford revised it in 1972. It received new and more comfortable suspension, enlarged tail-lights and new seats. Larger headlamps with separate indicators were also fitted, with quad headlamps now featured on the 3000GXL model. The Kent engines were replaced by the Ford Pinto engine and the previously UK-only 3000 GT joined the German line-up. In the UK the 2.0 litre V4 remained in use. In 1973, the Capri saw the highest sales total it would ever attain, at 233,000 vehicles: the 1,000,000th Capri, an RS 2600, was completed on 29 August. A replacement model, the Capri II was launched in February 1974.
Among the Capri models on display was this South African-built Perana. The Capri Perana came out in 1969 as V6 version. About 20 units of this model were built; the top speed was 186 km/h. As Ford offered the Essex engine as standard from 1970 on, Basil Green had to take a more powerful engine. So he replaced the V6 with the Windsor V8 of the Ford Mustang. Technically the Capri Perana was a mix of the Australian Ford Falcon (XW) and the American Ford Mustang. It was sold with a 4 speed Ford Toploader transmission and the 3 speed C4 automatic transmission. In the beginning the price for this car was 4,450 Rand. Top speed was 228 km/h, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h was possible in 6.7 seconds (automatic version 7.0 sec). Officially the Capri Perana was only sold in “Bright Yellow” and “Piri Piri Red”, but some cars were painted in different colours, for example Basil Green’s Perana naturally was green. The cars were manufactured by Ford of South Africa (a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company of Canada). Production ended in 1973.
Ford updated the Fiesta in August 1983 with a revised front end and interior, and a bootlid mirroring the swage lines from the sides of the car. The 1.3 L OHV engine was dropped, being replaced in 1984 by a CVH powerplant of similar capacity, itself superseded by the lean burn 1.4 L two years later. The 957 and 1,117 cc Kent/Valencia engines continued with only slight alterations and for the first time a Fiesta diesel was produced with a 1,600 cc engine adapted from the Escort. The new CTX continuously variable transmission, also fitted in the Fiat Uno, eventually appeared early in 1987 on 1.1 L models only. The second generation Fiesta featured a different dashboard on the lower-series trim levels compared to the more expensive variants. The recently launched XR2 model was thoroughly updated with a larger bodykit. It also featured a 96 bhp 1.6 litre CVH engine as previously seen in the Ford Escort XR3, and five-speed gearbox rather than the four-speed gearbox which had been used on the previous XR2 and on the rest of the Fiesta range. The engine was replaced by a lean-burn variant in 1986 which featured a revised cylinder head and carburettor; it was significantly cleaner from an environmental viewpoint but was slightly less powerful as a result with 95 bhp. Also here was a rare drop-top version of the regular model.
The convertible version of the Mark III Escort , made by coachbuilder Karmann appeared the same year as the five-door estate (1983). It was the first drop-top car produced by Ford Europe since the Corsair of the 1960s. The Escort Cabriolet was initially available in both XR3i and Ghia specification, but the Ghia variant was later dropped. Its development mirrored that of the hatch models, receiving the same mid-cycle facelift in early 1986 and the style continued with the next generation model in the autumn of 1990.
The Ford Escort RS Cosworth is a sports derivative and rally homologation special of the fifth generation European Ford Escort. It was designed to qualify as a Group A car for the World Rally Championship, in which it competed between 1993 and 1998. It was available as a road car from 1992–96 in very limited numbers. Ford developed the car around the chassis and mechanicals of its spiritual predecessor, the Sierra Cosworth to accommodate the larger Cosworth engine and transmission, whilst clothing it in Escort body panels to make it resemble the standard car. Designed under the guidance of Rod Mansfield and John Wheeler of Ford’s SVO department, the styling was carried out during 1989, a year before the standard Escort was launched, by Stephen Harper at MGA Developments in Coventry. The spoiler was added by Frank Stephenson, who originally proposed a three-deck piece. The body tooling was created by coachbuilders Karmann at their facility in Rheine, Germany, where the cars were manufactured. Changes were made to the engine management system and a new turbocharger was fitted. Permanent four wheel drive with a 34/66% front/rear split came courtesy of an uprated five speed gearbox as used in the Sierra Cosworth. Recaro sports seats came as a standard fitment. Later production models were available without the oversize tail spoiler although by far the majority were still ordered with it. Like its Sierra predecessor, they are commonly nicknamed “Cossie” by enthusiasts. The car’s top speed was 150 mph, which rivalled lower-end supercars including the Audi Quattro, BMW M3, Nissan 300ZX and Toyota Supra, and comfortably outperformed traditional “hot hatchbacks” like the Volkswagen Golf GTI. It was much faster than the 126 mph which the Escort RS2000 and earlier Escort RS Turbo were capable of. Two versions were produced. The initial 2,500 units were “homologation specials” used to get the FIA accreditation for entry into the World Rally Championship. They were fitted with a Garrett T3/T04B turbocharger. Among these initial units, a handful were badged as Motorsport versions, these lacked certain refinements such as a sunroof and sound deadening. The initial cars included features that, although they made the Cosworth a more effective car, did not enhance it as a road vehicle, and once the rules were satisfied Ford attempted to make the car less temperamental and easier to drive under normal conditions. The second generation, starting production from late 1994, were fitted with a Garrett T25 turbocharger, a smaller unit which reduced turbo lag and increased usability in everyday driving situations. With these later models, the ‘whale tail’ spoiler became a delete option. . The Escort Cosworth was a rare car, with 7,145 vehicles produced from the start of production on 19 February 1992 until the last car rolled out of the factory on 12 January 1996.
A number of race-prepared Ford models were displayed in the HMI part of the show.
Now rare are examples of the first generation Transit which was introduced in October 1965, taking over directly from the Thames 400E. This generation had the longest production run of any Transit to date, staying largely unaltered for 12 years until the major facelift of 1978, with overall production lasting for over 20 years before finally being replaced by the all-new VE6 platform in 1986. The van was produced initially at Ford’s Langley facility in Berkshire, England (a former Second World War aircraft factory which had produced Hawker Hurricane fighters), but demand outstripped the capability of the plant, and production was moved to Southampton until closure in 2013 in favour of the Turkish factory. Transits were also produced in Ford’s Genk factory in Belgium and also Turkey. Transits were produced in Amsterdam for the local market from the mid-1970s until the end of 1981. This factory had ample capacity, since the Ford Transcontinental produced there had little success (total production 8000 in 6 years). Although the Transit sold well in the Netherlands, it was not enough to save the factory, which closed in December 1981. The Transit was introduced to replace the Ford Thames 400E, a small mid-engined forward control van noted for its narrow track which was in competition with similar-looking but larger vehicles from the BMC J4 and J2 vans and Rootes Group’s Commer PB ranges. In a UK market segment then dominated by the Bedford CA, Ford’s Thames competitor, because of its restricted load area, failed to attract fleet users in sufficient numbers. Ford switched to a front-engined configuration, as did the 1950s by Bedford with their well-regarded CA series vans. Henry Ford II’s revolutionary step was to combine the engineering efforts of Ford of Britain and Ford of Germany to create a prototype for the Ford of Europe of today—previously the two subsidiaries had avoided competing in one another’s domestic markets but had been direct competitors in other European markets. The Transit was a departure from the European commercial vehicles of the day with its American-inspired styling—its broad track gave it a huge advantage in carrying capacity over comparable vehicles of the day. Most of the Transit’s mechanical components were adapted from Ford’s car range of the time. Another key to the Transit’s success was the sheer number of different body styles: panel vans in long and short wheelbase forms, pick-up truck, minibuses, crew-cabs to name but a few. The engines used in the UK were the Essex V4 for the petrol-engined version in 1.7 litre and 2.0 litre capacities. By using relatively short V-4 engines Ford were able to minimise the additional length necessitated to place the engine ahead of the driver. Another popular development under the bonnet was the equipping of the van with an alternator at time when the UK market competitors expected buyers to be content with a dynamo. A 43 bhp diesel engine sourced from Perkins was also offered. As this engine was too long to fit under the Transit’s stubby nose, the diesel version featured a longer bonnet – which became nicknamed as the “pig snout”. The underpowered Perkins proved unpopular, and was replaced by Ford’s own York unit in 1972. For mainland Europe the Transit had the German Ford Taunus V4 engine in Cologne 1.3, 1.5, and 1.7- or Essex 2.0-litre versions. The diesel version’s long nose front was also used to accommodate the Ford 3.0 litre Ford Essex V6 engine (UK) for high performance applications such as vans supplied to police and ambulance services. In Australia, in 1973, to supplement the two Essex V4 engines that were available the Transit was released with the long-nose diesel front used to accommodate an inline 6-cylinder engine derived from the Ford Falcon. The Metropolitan Police reported on this vehicle in 1972 via a Scotland Yard spokesman that ‘Ford Transits are used in 95 per cent of bank raids. With the performance of a car, and space for 1.75 tonnes of loot, the Transit is proving to be the perfect getaway vehicle…’, describing it as ‘Britain’s most wanted van’. The adoption of a front beam axle in place of a system incorporating independent front suspension that had featured on its UK predecessor might have been seen as a backward step by some, but on the road commentators felt that the Transit’s wider track and longer wheelbase more than compensated for the apparent step backwards represented by Ford’s suspension choices. Drivers appreciated the elimination of the excessive noise, smell and cabin heat that resulted from placing the driver above or adjacent to the engine compartment in the Thames 400E and other forward control light vans of the 1950s and early 1960s. The Transit was also assembled in South Africa between 1967 and 1974, the last Transit to be sold in that country until 2013, when a fully imported model was introduced. A facelifted version was introduced in 1977 and would continue until early 1986 when an all-new model was introduced.
This is a 1951 Custom 4 door Sedan, part of the family of Ford models first seen in 19149, as the first all-new automobile design introduced by the Big Three after World War II, civilian production having been suspended during the war, and the 1946-1948 models from Ford, GM, and Chrysler being updates of their pre-war models. Popularly called the “Shoebox Ford” for its slab-sided, “ponton” design, the 1949 Ford is credited both with saving Ford and ushering in modern streamlined car design with changes such as integrated fenders and more. This design would continue through the 1951 model year, with an updated design offered in 1952. The crest was designed by Frank L. Engle. After sticking with its well-received previous model through model year 1948, Ford completely redesigned its namesake car for the year 1949. Save for its drive-train, this was an all-new car in every way, with a modern ladder frame now supporting a coil spring independent suspension in front and longitudinal semi-elliptical springs in back. The engine was moved forward to make more room in the passenger compartment and the antiquated “torque tube” was replaced by a modern drive shaft. Ford’s popular 226 CID (3.7 L) L-head straight-6 and 239 CID (3.9 L) Flathead V8 remained, now rated at 90 bhp and 100 bhp, respectively. The 1949 models debuted at a gala at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City in June 1948, with a carousel of the new Fords complemented by a revolving demonstration of the new chassis. The new integrated steel structure was advertised as a “lifeguard body”, and even the woody wagon was steel at heart. The convertible frame had an “X member” for structural rigidity. From a customer’s perspective, the old Custom, De Luxe, and Super De Luxe lines were replaced by new Standard and Custom trims and the cars gained a modern look with completely integrated rear fenders and just a hint of a fender in front. The new styling approach was also evident in the 1949 Mercury Eight and the all-new Lincoln Cosmopolitan. The styling was influential on many European manufacturers, such as Mercedes Benz, Borgward, Austin, Volvo and many others. The all new 1949 Ford was said at the time to be the car that saved the Ford Corporation. Competition from GMH was surpassing the Old Ford designs. In some ways the vehicle was rushed into production, particularly the door mechanism design. It was said that the doors could fling open on corners. In the 1950 model there were some 10 changes in the door latching mechanism alone. 1950 saw a new Crestliner “sports sedan”—a 2-door sedan with 2-tone paint intended to battle Chevrolet’s popular hardtop coupe of 1950. Another new name was Country Squire, which referred to the 2-door wood-sided station wagon. All wagons received flat-folding middle seats at mid-year, an innovation that would reappear in the minivans of the 1990s. The 1949 and 1950 styling was similar, with a single central “bullet” in the frowning chrome grille. In the centre there was a red space that had either a 6 or 8 depending if the car had the six-cylinder engine or the V8. The trim lines were renamed as well, with “Standard” becoming “Deluxe” and “Custom” renamed “Custom Deluxe”. The new Fords got the now-famous “Ford Crest” which appeared on the division’s vehicles for many decades in one form or another. A Deluxe Business Coupe was also marketed. The 1951 Fords featured an optional Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission for the first time. Ford finally answered the Chevrolet Bel Air and Plymouth Belvedere charge with the Victoria hardtop in 1951, borrowing the term from the victoria carriage. The car was an instant hit, outselling the Chevrolet by nearly 10%. The Crestliner continued for one more year, however. All 1951 Fords sported a new “dual-bullet” grille and heavy chrome bumpers. This year Ford also added a new “turn-key” ignition. Front suspension is independent coil springs. Head room was 36.1 inches.
Final Ford is this example of the 1967 Shelby Mustang. The first Shelby modified Mustangs were seen in 1965, only a matter of months after the launch of Ford’s “pony car” and they were an instant hit, even before, in a PR coup, the placement of a number of them into the Hertz fleet, the oft called “rent a racer” program. The 1967 redesign made for a heavier Mustang, along with a longer, fibreglass hood, and new front and rear fascias. The design of the original 1965 version was evident, but these styling upgrades gave the car a more aggressive appearance and achieved Carroll Shelby’s goal of differentiating his car from the Mustang on which it was based. The separate high-beam headlamps in the grille added more character, while a thin, chrome front bumper sat below a mesh grille with the classic “Shelby GT350” logo in place (except for the very early cars). The small hood scoop was there to deliver fresh air to the engine. Shelby also included new, horizontal sequential taillights (sourced from a ’67 Cougar in 1967 and a ’65 Thunderbird in 1968) and an integrated Kamm-type rear spoiler. Functional rear brake-cooling scoops adorned the rear quarter panels. Ten-spoke, fifteen-inch, cast-aluminium rims were the wheel choice with Goodyear white-lettered radials. The GT350 was available with air conditioning and an AM/FM radio. The steering wheel was a wood-rimmed and satin-trimmed design with the classic Shelby logo in the centre. Behind this wheel was a very classy-looking set of gauges. A 140-mph speedometer and a whopping 8,000-rpm tachometer were joined along with a smaller analog clock, fuel level, water temperature, and oil pressure gauges. The 1967 GT350 came with an iron-block, 289-cubic-inch (4.7-litre) V-8 rated at 306 horsepower and 329 lb-foot of torque. For a pushrod design, the GT350 revved relatively high, with the horsepower peak not in full swing until the 6,000-rpm redline. 1967 was well before modern fuel injection came about, and the car used a single Holley four-barrel carburettor. The true dual-exhaust with H-shaped crossover system came standard with low restriction mufflers and chrome exhaust tips. Power was routed to the ground through a sturdy, four-speed manual transmission with a single, dry-disc clutch. A three-speed automatic was made available as an option. Rear-end ratios were 3.89-to-1 for the four-speed manual and 3.50-to-1 for the automatic. Acceleration was impressive, with a 0-to-60 time of around seven seconds and a top speed of 140 mph. Braking duties were handled by 11.3-inch discs up front and drums in the rear. Power assist was standard. The front suspension consisted of unequal-length control arms, coil springs, adjustable tube arms, and an anti-sway bar. Out back was a live axle, with multi-leaf, semi-elliptical springs and tube shocks. The steering was a power-assisted recirculating ball design. In 1968 the 289ci V8 was replaced with a factory 302 V8 using an aluminium Cobra intake manifold and Holley 600 cfm carb. The 302 had less racing parts than the 289 and was rated at 250 hp. A Paxton Supercharger was available that was rated at 33 hp at 5,200 rpm. The 1967 Shelby G.T. 500 was the first model built in the Shelby G.T. 500 range. It is based on the 1967 Mustang and is equipped with a FE 427 cu in (7.0 L) 428 Police-interceptor V8 engine topped with an aluminium mid-rise intake and 2X4-barrel 600 CFM Holley carburettors producing 355 bhp at 5,400 rpm and 420 lb/ft at 3200 rpm of torque. Two thousand forty eight were produced in 1967. Several body parts of the G.T. were made of fibreglass including the front-end, hood, rear tail light panel, deck lid, quarter panel extension, and side scoops. Beginning in April 1968, Ford began factory installing a version of the 428 engine known as the “Cobra Jet”. The GT500 was subsequently known as The Cobra GT500 KR. The initials KR stood for “King of the Road.” Ford rated the Cobra jet at 335 hp), but with 440 lb⋅ft (597 N⋅m) of torque at 3,400 rpm, but the horsepower was considered significantly under-reported, as it was later found that the car made 435 hp. Shelby’s KR engine was left stock adding die-cast aluminium valve covers with “Cobra Lemans” to note Ford’s FE engine family victory over Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966 and 1967. There were significant body and styling changes again for 1969.
The Apollo came to general attention when it appeared on the tv show Top Gear and posted the fastest lap around the track. In 2000, Roland Gumpert proposed a new generation of sports cars. One of the primary criteria for this car was that it be street-legal yet ready for the racetrack. He returned to Germany at the end of 2001, after over three years in China where he was the head of sales and marketing responsible for the development of the dealer network of the Audi-VW joint enterprise there. Subsequently, automobile designer Roland Mayer asked him if he would assist in building a prototype sports car. Audi approved Gumpert’s involvement in this project, on the condition that, if they did eventually develop a new sports car, it would not be a prototype, but a series product. The company, located in Altenburg, Germany was founded in 2004 under the name GMG Sportwagenmanufaktur Altenburg GmbH. The technical guidelines were defined and the first designs of the car were drawn by Marco Vanetta. Upon Vanetta’s completion of this process, the first 1:4 scale model of Gumpert’s car was produced in 2001. Gumpert continued with the development of the Apollo, along with the Technical University of Munich and the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences. They assisted him with the constructional work, computer simulations, and wind tunnel tests. This research and development helped forming the blueprint for the first 1:1 scale model. Finally, two prototype cars were constructed. Production of the Apollo started in October 2005. Soon after the first fully functioning road car made its way to Europe, the car became fully road-legal and was sold in various Gumpert dealerships. Very soon after, car reviewers praised the car’s speed and cornering. During a review in Autocar magazine, chief test driver Matt Prior stated that “the Apollo recalibrates the meaning of pure speed and driving feel”. On Series 11 of Top Gear, the Apollo lapped the Top Gear test track in a time of 1:17.1, setting a record that lasted for 2 years until surpassed by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. During April 2005, the Apollo made its racing debut in the Divinol Cup. It was driven by Belgian race car driver Ruben Maes; he finished third on the Hockenheimring race track. Three years later Gumpert announced that they would enter a hybrid version of the Apollo in the 2008 24 Hours Nürburgring, driven by 2004 winner Dirk Müller and ex-Formula One racer Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Three months passed between the first discussions and the finished hybrid Apollo. The Apollo was driven in the 24 Hours Nürburgring in May 2008. The hybrid Apollo can deliver up to 519 PS (512 bhp), powered with a 3.3 litre V8 twin-turbocharged engine coupled with a 100 kW (136 PS; 134 hp) electric motor. The car has the ability to recharge the battery under braking. The Apollo can weigh between 1,100 kg (2,400 lb) and 1,200 kg (2,600 lb) (depending on options), and is fully street-legal. It is a mid-engine, rear wheel drive two-seater constructed on a tubular chromoly frame, with fiberglass or optional carbon fibre body panels. Gumpert claims the design of the Apollo is optimised so that the car could drive upside-down in a tunnel if driven at sufficiently high speeds [over 306 km/h (190 mph)], but this has not been tested. The company was declared bankrupt in 2013.
Introduced at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, the S800 would replace the successful Honda S600 as the company’s image car and would compete with the Austin-Healey Sprite, MG Midget, Triumph Spitfire and Fiat 850 Spider. Like the S600, it was available as either a coupe or roadster and continued the advanced technology of its predecessors. The 791 cc straight-4 engine produced 70 hp at 8000 rpm, thus making this Honda’s first 100 mph automobile, but still allowing for 35 mpg. In April 1967 the car was described as the fastest production 1-litre car in the world thanks to its high revving engine (up to 10,000 rpm) and the manufacturer’s history of manufacturing powerful relatively low capacity motor-cycle engines. Early examples continued to use the chain drive and independent suspension in the rear. 752 roadsters and 242 coupés were then produced. After that Honda switched to a conventional drive-shaft, live axle rear end with four radius rods and a Panhard rod. 604 roadsters and 69 coupes were built with this setup before disc brakes replaced the front drums. In 1967, the S800 became available in Britain. By this time the model had the more conventional drive layout as stated above, with predictable handling and a firm ride. It was also cheaper than the Mini Cooper and Triumph Spitfire, in Britain. In February 1968, the S800M (aka S800MK2) was introduced with flush mounted interior door handles, side marker lights outside, dual-circuit brakes, lean burn carburetion under the bonnet and safety glass. These changes were made for the American market, but the car was never exported there officially. Production ended in May 1970 with 11,536 S800s produced. Honda did not manufacture another S roadster for nearly thirty years until the release of the S2000 for the 2000 model year.
A special collection of Jaguars with racing connections were displayed in an area adjoining the Grand Avenue. First to attract my attention was this Lister-Jaguar “Knobbly”. This ended up as Britain’s most successful sports racing car of the 1950’s. It won at almost every circuit in Britain and was virtually unbeatable both in the UK, overseas and in the USA and continued to keep the Jaguar name in the forefront of sports car racing long after the Jaguar D Type had become obsolete. The ‘Cars from Cambridge’ designed, and built by Brian Lister, were simply the best of their kind and dominated the field with Archie Scott Brown driving, even when driven by Stirling Moss, who also drove a stint for Lister. Brian Lister’s big break came when he was offered the engines and gearboxes by William Lyons from the retiring Jaguar D Types which had previously dominated at Le Mans, but which by 1956 were fast becoming outdated. Lyons was correct in believing that Lister would be capable of developing a race winning car, thus keeping the Jaguar name in the forefront of racing and at little cost to Jaguar and so Lister-Jaguar was born. Brian Lister designed and built a new lightweight and aerodynamic chassis and ‘knobbly’ body to take the Jaguar drive train and the world’s best sport racing car of the 1950’s was born! For five seasons from 1954 Lister cars were always in the headlines and consistently beat the much larger works teams such as Aston Martin and Jaguar. It caught the public’s imagination, especially popular was the mercurial and respected Archie Scott Brown, he was fiercely competitive, fun to be with, adored by everyone with film star looks even though he was severely disabled from birth. Unfortunately, in 1958 Archie Scott Brown died after suffering severe burns in a racing car accident at Spa. The car was criticised for having magnesium alloy bodywork which was inflammable, although an RAC examination found no faults with the car. Brian Lister persevered for a few years afterwards, but without his friend Archie things were just never quite the same. It was left to Laurence Pearce in 1995 to take up the charge, Pearce designed a new series of Lister Storm GT race cars and spent the next decade rebuilding the racing heritage the ‘glory days’ were back with winning drivers such as Tiff Needell. And then in September 2013, an exciting announcement came. that after a gap of almost 25 years since the last Lister had rolled off the production line, the three Lister companies of Lister Jaguar, Brian Lister Light Engineering and Lister Storm, had been reunited into one organisation, called Lister Motor Company Limited, after a significant investment by Warrantywise, one of the UK’s most successful aftermarket used car warranty providers, to herald the return of one of the Lister ‘Knobbly’ Jaguar. The plans called for the production of 10 of what was once of the most exiting British sports/racing GTs. Lister Motor Company Limited had invested in a new, a state-of-the-art facility in Cambridge, including CNC machining, 3D scanning and Catia design, all of which would enable George Lister Engineering to develop and deliver an exciting and near identical development of the historic, race-winning, competition and track car. Brian Lister’s original working drawings and manufacturing jigs were all re-commissioned, and many of the team involved in the original 1950’s project with Lister Cars were called back into service, including Martin Murray, Colin (Chippy) Crisp, Graham (Curley) Hutton, Laurence Pearce and even Brian Lister himself. Heading up the manufacturing project was Mark Hallam, technical director at George Lister Engineering. The cars were planned to be identical to those of 1958, out of the box and ready to race with BHL-C (C for Continuation) chassis insignia and up to FIA/HTP Appendix K specification. Race proven, Jaguar D Type-specification engines and D Type gearboxes were to be supplied by world-renowned experts, Crosthwaite & Gardiner, and all race preparation and track commissioning would be undertaken by Chris Keith-Lucas of CKL Developments, another leading specialist in historic Jaguar restoration and preparation. Last but not least, that fantastic streamlined Knobbly body was to be re-created, using the original jigs. The first car was seen in 2014, and production has continued at a very gradual rate ever since.
One of the most loved Jaguars of all time, both when it was new, and still now, is the Mark 2 saloon. Many will tell you that it is not the 3 Series BMW that “invented” the “compact sports saloon” car class, but this model, which dates back to 1959. A thorough revision of the small Jaguar saloon that had joined the range in 1955, the Mark 2 was notable in that it was the first car to use the Arabic numeral in its name, as opposed to the Roman numerals of the larger Jaguar models. At launch, the earlier model which had hitherto been known by its engine size was christened the Mark 1. Although clearly based on that car, the updated car looked significantly different, with an increase of 18% in cabin glass area greatly improving visibility. The car was re-engineered above the waistline. Slender front pillars allowed a wider windscreen and the rear window almost wrapped around to the enlarged side windows now with the familiar Jaguar D-shape above the back door and fully chromed frames for all the side windows. The radiator grille was amended and larger side, tail and fog lamps repositioned. Inside a new heating system was fitted and ducted to the rear compartment (although still notoriously ineffective). There was an improved instrument layout that became standard for all Jaguar cars until the XJ Series II of 1973. As well as the familiar 2.4 and 3.4 litre engines, what made this car particularly special was that it was also offered with the potent 220 bhp 3.8 litre unit that was fitted to the XK150 and which would later see service in the E Type. This gave the car a 0 – 60 time of around 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. No wonder that the Mark 2 became popular as a get-away car for the criminal fraternity, and to keep up with and catch them, many police forces bought the car as well. With revised suspension and standard four wheel disc brakes, the car was effective on the track, taking plenty of class wins when new, and it is still popular in historic racing circles today. The quickest and most successful private entries came from John Coombs, a man with significant race experience who operated a large Jaguar dealership in Guildford. Coombs would undertake modifications to meet the demands of his customers, so not all the cars that he worked on are the same. Jaguar replaced the Mark 2 with simplified and slightly more cheaply finished 240 and 340 models, as an interim measure until an all-new model was ready to take over from them. The 3.8 litre disappeared from the range at this time, but in the 7 years it had been in production, it had been the best seller of the range, with around 30,000 cars produced, as compared to 28,666 of the 3.4 litre and 25,741 of the 2.4 litre model.
As is well known, the XJ220 was developed from a V12-engined 4-wheel drive concept car designed by an informal group of Jaguar employees working in their spare time. The group wished to create a modern version of the successful Jaguar 24 Hours of Le Mans racing cars of the 1950s and ’60s that could be entered into FIA Group B competitions. The XJ220 made use of engineering work undertaken for Jaguar’s then current racing car family. The initial XJ220 concept car was unveiled to the public at the 1988 British International Motor Show. Its positive reception prompted Jaguar to put the car into production; some 1500 deposits of £50,000 each were taken, and deliveries were planned for 1992. Engineering requirements resulted in significant changes to the specification of the XJ220, most notably replacement of the Jaguar V12 engine by a turbocharged V6 engine. The changes to the specification and a collapse in the price of collectible cars brought about by the early 1990s recession resulted in many buyers choosing not to exercise their purchase options. A total of just 271 cars were produced by the time production ended, each with a retail price of £470,000 in 1992. The production XJ220 used a 3.5-litre twin turbocharged engine, which was given the designation Jaguar/TWR JV6. This engine, which replaced the Jaguar V12 engine featured in the concept car, was a heavily redesigned and significantly altered version of the Austin Rover V64V V6 engine. The decision to change the engine was based on engine weight and dimensions, as well as to environmental emission considerations. Use of the shorter V6 engine design allowed the wheelbase of the XJ220 to be shortened and its weight to be reduced; the V12 engine was definitively ruled out when it was determined it would have difficulty in meeting emissions legislation whilst producing the required power and torque. TWR purchased the rights to the V64V engine from Austin Rover in 1989 and developed a completely new turbocharged engine, codenamed JV6, under the auspices of Allan Scott, with proportions roughly similar to the V64V, and suitable for Sportcar racing. TWR redesigned all parts of the engine, increasing the displacement to 3.5 litres, and adding two Garrett TO3 turbochargers. The JV6 engine would first be used in the JaguarSport XJR-10 and XJR-11 racing cars; its compact dimensions and low weight made it an ideal candidate for the XJ220. The engine had a 90° bank angle, four valves per cylinder and belt-driven double overhead camshafts. It shares a number of design features with the Cosworth DFV Formula One engine. The V64V engine chosen had a short but successful career as a purpose-designed racing car engine. It was designed by Cosworth engine designer David Wood for Austin Rover Group’s Metro derived Group B rally car, the MG Metro 6R4. The redesign work necessary to create the Jaguar/TWR JV6 engine was undertaken by Andrew Barnes, TWR’s Powertrain Manager, and also involved Swiss engine builder Max Heidegger who had designed and built the race engines used in the XJR-10 and XJR-11 racing cars. The XJ220’s engine had a bore and stroke of 94 mm × 84 mm, dry sump lubrication, Zytek multi point fuel injection with dual injectors and Zytek electronic engine management. The engine was manufactured with an aluminium cylinder block, aluminium cylinder heads with steel connecting rods and crankshaft, and in the standard state of tune, it produced a maximum power of 550 PS at 7200 rpm and torque of 475 lb·ft at 4500 rpm. The XJ220 can accelerate from 0–60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 213 miles per hour.The exhaust system had two catalytic converters, which reduced the power output of the engine. During testing at the Nardò Ring in Italy the XJ220, driven by 1990 Le Mans Winner Martin Brundle achieved a top speed of 217.1 miles per hour when the catalytic converters were disconnected and the rev limiter was increased to 7,900rpm; owing to the circular nature of the track, a speed of 217 mph is equivalent to 223 mph on a straight, level road. The V64V engine had the additional benefit of being very economical for such a powerful petrol engine, it was capable of achieving 32 mpg, in contrast, the smallest-engined Jaguar saloon of the time, the Jaguar XJ6 4.0 could only achieve around 24 mpg. Four-wheel drive was decided against early in the development process, for a number of reasons. It was thought rear-wheel drive would be adequate in the majority of situations, that the additional complexity of the four-wheel drive system would hinder the development process and potentially be problematic for the customer. FF Developments were contracted to provide the gearbox/transaxle assembly, modifying their four-wheel drive transaxle assembly from the XJ220 concept into a pure rear-wheel drive design for the production car. A five-speed gearbox is fitted; a six-speed gearbox was considered but deemed unnecessary, as the torque characteristics of the engine made a sixth gear redundant. The transaxle featured a viscous coupling limited slip differential to improve traction. The transmission system featured triple-cone synchromeshing on first and second gears to handle rapid starts, whilst remaining relatively easy for the driver to engage and providing positive feel. The exterior retained the aluminium body panels of the XJ220 concept, but for the production vehicles, Abbey Panels of Coventry were contracted to provide the exterior panels. The scissor doors were dropped for the production model, and significant redesign work was carried out on the design when the wheelbase and overall length of the car was altered. Geoff Lawson, Design Director at Jaguar took a greater interest in the car and insisted the design had to be seen to be a Jaguar if it was to be successful in promoting the company. Keith Helfet returned to undertake the necessary redesign work mandated by the change in the wheelbase, which was reduced by 200 mm. The turbocharged engine required larger air intakes to feed the two intercoolers. Situated between the doors and the rear wheels, the air intakes were larger on the production version of the XJ220 than on the concept car. A number of small design changes for the body were tested in the wind tunnel; the final version had a drag coefficient of 0.36 with downforce of 3,000 lb at 200 mph. The XJ220 was one of the first production cars to intentionally use underbody airflow and the venturi effect to generate downforce. The rear lights used on the production XJ220 were taken from the Rover 200. The production model utilised the same Alcan bonded honeycomb aluminium structure vehicle technology (ASVT) as the concept car for the chassis. The chassis design featured two box section rails which acted as the suspension mounting points and would provide an energy absorbing structure in the event of a frontal impact, these were successfully tested at speeds up to 30 mph, an integral roll cage formed part of the chassis and monocoque, providing additional structural rigidity for the car and allowing the XJ220 to easily pass stringent crash testing.The rear-wheel steering was dropped from the production car to save weight and reduce complexity, as was the height adjustable suspension and active aerodynamic technology. The suspension fitted to the production model consisted of front and rear independent suspension, double unequal length wishbones, inboard coil springs and anti-roll bars, with Bilstein gas-filled dampers. The suspension was designed in accordance with the FIA Group C specifications. The braking system was designed by AP Racing and featured ventilated and cross-drilled discs of 13 in diameter at the front and 11.8 in diameter at the rear. The calipers are four pot aluminium units. JaguarSport designed the handbrake, which are separate calipers acting on the rear brake discs. Feedback from enthusiasts and racing drivers resulted in the decision to drop the anti-lock braking system from the production car. The braking system was installed without a servo, but a number of owners found the brakes to be difficult to judge when cold and subsequently requested a servo to be fitted. Rack and pinion steering was fitted, with 2.5 turns lock to lock; no power assistance was fitted. The Bridgestone Expedia S.01 asymmetric uni-directional tyres were specially developed for the XJ220 and had to be rateable to a top speed in excess of 220 mph, carry a doubling of load with the exceptionally high downforce at speed and maintain a compliant and comfortable ride. Rally alloy wheel specialists Speedline Corse designed the alloy wheels, these are both wider and have a larger diameter on the rear wheels; 17 inches wheels are fitted to the front and 18 inches are fitted at the rear, with 255/55 ZR17 tyres at the front and 345/35 ZR18 tyres at the rear. The interior was designed for two passengers and trimmed in leather. Leather trimmed sports seats are fitted together with electric windows and electrically adjustable heated mirrors. The dashboard unusually curves round and carries onto the drivers door, with a secondary instrument binnacle containing four analogue gauges, including a clock and voltmeter fitted on the front of the drivers door. Air conditioning and green tinted glazing was also fitted.The luggage space consists of a small boot directly behind and above the rear portion of the engine, also trimmed in leather. The car was assembled in a purpose-built factory at Wykham Mill, Bloxham near Banbury. HRH The Princess of Wales officially opened the factory and unveiled the first production XJ220 in October 1991. The JV6 engines used in the Jaguar racing cars were produced by Swiss engineer Max Heidegger, but delivering the number of engines required for the XJ220 program was considered beyond his capacity. TWR formed a division, TWR Road Engines, to manage the design, development, construction and testing of the engines for the production cars. The JV6 engine used in the XJ220 featured little commonality with the engines Heidegger built for use in the XJR racing cars, being specifically engineered to meet performance and in particular, the European emissions requirements, which the race engines didn’t have to meet. FF Developments, in addition to their design work on the gearbox and rear axle assembly were given responsibility for their manufacture. The aluminium chassis components and body panels were manufactured and assembled at Abbey Panels factory in Coventry, before the body in white was delivered to the assembly plant at Bloxham. The car, including chassis and body components, consists of approximately 3000 unique parts. The first customer delivery occurred in June 1992, and production rates averaged one car per day. The last XJ220 rolled off the production line in April 1994; the factory was then transferred to Aston Martin and used for the assembly of the Aston Martin DB7 until 2004. The regular Jaguar XJ220 is both rare and special enough, but for those who wanted something that bit more exclusive, Jaguar made a more potent version, the XJ220S. Just six were made. Think of it as a sort of XJ220 GT3 RS. Built to homologate the XJ220C GT racecar, it’s Jaguar’s supercar with extra power and added lightness. Tom Walkinshaw Racing who played a big part in XJ220 development, helped bring the S to life, stripping its weight by almost 400kg to 1080kg (thanks to all the aluminium bodywork being replaced by carbonfibre) and making it look meaner with a new front splitter, rear wing and more snarling side sills. The twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 engine also had its output boosted from 542 to 680bhp. Enough to take its power-to-weight ratio way past a Bugatti Veyron’s. It is also somewhat louder than the standard car.
Oldest Jaguar model type here was an SS100. The first of William Lyons’ open two-seater sports cars came in March 1935 with the SS 90, so called because of its claimed 90 mph top speed. This car used the 2½-litre side-valve, six-cylinder engine in a short-chassis “cut and shut” SS 1 brought down to an SS 2’s wheelbase. Just 23 were made. It was the precursor to one of the finest pre-war sports car ever made, the SS100. That car benefitted from some significant engine development work that was led by Harry Westlake, who was asked to redesign the 2½-litre 70 bhp side-valve engine to achieve 90 bhp. His answer was an overhead-valve design that produced 102 bhp and it was this engine that launched the new SS Jaguar sports and saloon cars in 1936. Shown first in the SS Jaguar 2½-litre saloon, the new car caused a sensation when it was launched at a trade luncheon for dealers and press at London’s Mayfair Hotel on 21 September 1935. The show car was in fact a prototype. Luncheon guests were asked to write down the UK price for which they thought the car would be sold and the average of their answers was £765. Even in that deflationary period, the actual price at just £395 would have been a pleasant surprise for many customers, something which characterised Jaguars for many decades to come. Whilst the new Jaguar saloon could now compete with the brand new MG SA, it was the next application of the engine that stunned everyone even more, with the launch of the legendary SS100. Named because it was a genuine 100 mph car, this open topped sports car looked as good as it was to drive. Only 198 of the 2½-litre and 116 of the 3½-litre models were made and survivors are highly prized and priced on the rare occasions when they come on the market. Such is their desirability that a number of replica models have been made over the years, with those made by Suffolk Engineering being perhaps the best known, and which are indeed hard to tell apart from an original 1930s car at a glance.
This is a Mark V 3.5 litre Drophead Coupe. The origin of the Mark V name is somewhat mysterious as there had been no Mk I to IV Jaguars and the MK IV designation was only given to its predecessor after the launch of the Mk V. It was perhaps a nod to Bentley who built 11 advanced Mark V saloons in 1939, resuming with the Mark VI in 1946-52 and who then dropped the “Mark” naming thereafter, while Jaguars continued with the Mark VII to X. The Mark V was launched at the 1948 London Motor Show at the same time as the XK120, with which it shared a stand. However, the Mark V vastly outsold the XK120 by roughly 5,000 cars per year as compared to 2,000 per year for the XK120. While the XK120 had a new overhead-camshaft XK engine, the Mark V retained the 1936 driveline including the “Jaguar” overhead-valve pushrod straight-6, 2½ litre and 3½ litre units for which the company was renamed after the war. No 1½ litre version was offered. Claimed power output in this application was 104 bhp for the 2664 cc Mark V and 126 bhp for its more popular 3486 cc sibling. The chassis was new with independent front suspension by double wishbones and torsion bar, an arrangement that would be used by Jaguar for many future vehicles. It also had hydraulic brakes, which Jaguar had been slow to adopt compared to other manufacturers, and an all pressed steel body. The styling of the car followed prewar SS-Jaguar lines with upright chrome grille and the leaping Jaguar radiator cap mascot became available as an option. There is a distinct hint of the recently modernised Bentley look in the style of the front grille. The wheels were 16-inch steel-disc type, significantly smaller than the 18-inch ones on the MK IV. From the side, a distinctive styling touch was a “tuck in” curve at the base of the rear window following the curved profile of the side glass. Rear-wheel spats (fender skirts) were standard. Production ran through to 1951, and although the majority of Mark Vs were Saloon models, around 1000 Drophead Coupés were made as well, and these are now highly sought after.
Jaguar stunned the world with the XK120 that was the star of the Earls Court Motor Show in 1948. Seen in open two seater form, the car was a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The display car was the first prototype, chassis number 670001. It looked almost identical to the production cars except that the straight outer pillars of its windscreen would be curved on the production version. The roadster caused a sensation, which persuaded Jaguar founder and design boss William Lyons to put it into production. Beginning in 1948, the first 242 cars wore wood-framed open 2-seater bodies with aluminium panels. Production switched to the 112 lb heavier all-steel in early 1950. The “120” in the name referred to the aluminium car’s 120 mph top speed, which was faster with the windscreen removed. This made it the world’s fastest production car at the time of its launch. Indeed, on 30 May 1949, on the empty Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, a prototype XK120 timed by the officials of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium achieved an average of runs in opposing directions of 132.6 mph with the windscreen replaced by just one small aeroscreen and a catalogued alternative top gear ratio, and 135 mph with a passenger-side tonneau cover in place. In 1950 and 1951, at a banked oval track in France, XK120 roadsters averaged over 100 mph for 24 hours and over 130 mph for an hour, and in 1952 a fixed-head coupé took numerous world records for speed and distance when it averaged 100 mph for a week. Roadsters were also successful in racing and rallying. The first production roadster, chassis number 670003, was delivered to Clark Gable in 1949. The XK120 was ultimately available in two open versions, first as an open 2-seater described in the US market as the roadster (and designated OTS, for open two-seater, in America), and from 1953 as a drophead coupé (DHC); as well as a closed, or fixed head coupé (FHC) from 1951. A smaller-engined version with 2-litres and 4 cylinders, intended for the UK market, was cancelled prior to production.
There was also a very special XK120 model here, on the stand of marque specialist CMC. This is the one-off Pininfarina-bodied car, fresh from a meticulous restoration and looking very different to when I last saw it just over a year ago when work had only just started. This XK120 features unique bodywork by the renowned Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina. It was first delivered to Max Hoffman in 1954, who was an Austrian-born, New York-based importer of luxury European cars into the USA during the Fifties. After its unveiling at the 1955 Geneva motor show, the XK appeared at the Autocar show in April that year. There had been a report that it was due to be exhibited at the Turin motor show in 1956, but never arrived due to the owner wanting to take delivery of it. “There is little trace of the car’s history, but it does seem certain that Hoffman was the supplying dealer, then first owner, of the car and that there was only one XK120 by Pininfarina produced, which makes this one of the rarest Jaguars in existence. In 2015, CMC purchased the car from a German collector who had bought it in the USA in 1978 with the intention of restoring it. Unfortunately, he never got around to it and eventually decided to sell. Some of the original parts were impossible to find so CMC have had to remake items such as the bumpers and chrome work by hand from photographs.
Although bearing a family resemblance to the earlier XK120 and XK140, the XK150, launched in the spring of 1957, was radically revised. A one-piece windscreen replaced the split screen, and the wing line no longer dropped so deeply at the doors. The widened bonnet opened down to the wings, and on the Roadster the windscreen frame was moved back 4 inches to make the bonnet longer. The XK140’s walnut dashboard was replaced by one trimmed in leather. On the early Drophead Coupés, the aluminium centre dash panel, which was discontinued after June 1958, had an X pattern engraving similar to the early 3.8 E-Type. Thinner doors gave more interior space. On the front parking lights, which were located atop the wings, a little red light reminded the driver the lights were on. Suspension and chassis were very similar to the XK140, and steering was by rack and pinion; power steering was not offered. The standard engine, the similar to the XK140, but with an new “B” type cylinder head, was the 3.4 litre DOHC Jaguar straight-6 rated at 180 SAE bhp at 5750 rpm but most cars were fitted with the SE engine whose modified cylinder head (B type) and larger exhaust valves boosted the power to 210 SAE bhp at 5500 rpm. Twin 1.75-inch (44 mm) SU HD6 carburettors were fitted. While the first XK150s were slower than their predecessors, the deficit was corrected in the spring of 1958 with a 3.4-litre “S” engine whose three 2-inch SU HD8 carburettors and straight-port cylinder head increased power to a claimed 250 SAE bhp. For 1960, the 3.4 litre engine was bored to 3.8 litres, rating this option at 220 hp in standard tune or 265 hp in “S” form. A 3.8 litre 150S could top 135 mph and go from 0–60 mph in around 7.0 seconds. Fuel economy was 18mpg. Four-wheel Dunlop 12 in disc brakes appeared for the first time although it was theoretically possible to order a car with drums. When leaving the factory the car originally fitted either 6.00 × 16 inch Dunlop Road Speed tyres as standard, or you could specify 185VR16 Pirelli Cinturato CA67 as a radial option on either 16 × 5K½ solid wheels (basic models) or 16 × 5K wire wheels. Production ended in October 1960, and totalled 2265 Roadsters, 4445 Fixed Head Coupés and 2672 Drophead Coupés.
Replacement for the XK models came in 1961 with the E Type, and it stunned the world at its premier at the 1961 Geneva Show. Considered by many to be Sir William Lyons’ greatest achievement, not only did the car have stop-you-in-your-tracks gorgeous styling, but it had explosive performance (even if the 150 mph that was achieved in The Autocar’s Road Test is now known to have been with a little “help”), but it was the price that amazed people more than anything else. Whilst out of reach for most people, who could barely afford any new car, it was massively cheaper than contemporary Aston Martins and Ferraris, its market rivals. It was not perfect, though, and over the coming years, Jaguar made constant improvements. A 2+2 model joined the initial range of Roadster and Coupe, and more powerful and larger engines came when the 3.8 litre was enlarged to 4.2 litres, before more significant styling changes came with the 1967 Series 2 and the 1971 Series 3, where new front end treatments and lights were a consequence of legislative demands of the E Type’s most important market, America. There were examples of all three Series here.
There was also an example of the S Type here. Having made 2 significant new car launches in 1961 at the top of the range, with the gargantuan Mark X and the E Type, for their next new model, Jaguar turned their attention lower down, believing that the Mark 2, based on design which had first launched in 1955 would need updating to keep it competitive. Sir William Lyons believed that the car would need to adopt some of the innovations that had been seen on the Mark X and the E Type, such as Jaguar’s new independent rear suspension and the triple SU carburettor version of the 3.8-litre XK engine Accordingly work started on a call which was codenamed “Utah Mk III”, (the Mark 2 having been “Utah Mk II”) and which made its public debut as the S Type. Both time and budget were limited, so rather than being an all new car, the S Type was a major redevelopment of the Mark 2. It used a mid-scale version of the Mark X independent rear suspension to replace the Mark 2’s live rear axle and featured revised styling, with the changes more obvious at the back with a longer tail giving more boot space. rear bodywork, with only minor changes to the front and a slightly flattened roofline, which is one reason why a lot of people have trouble distinguishing the car from its smaller brother. A more luxurious interior was fitted, with greater use of burr walnut and leather than was to be found in the Mark 2. The S Type was available with either 3.4 or 3.8-litre XK engines but only in twin carburettor form because the triple carburettor set-up would not fit into what was essentially still the Mark 2 engine bay. By the time of the S Type’s release in 1963, the Mark 2 was still selling strongly, despite its age, whereas the Mark X was selling less well than had been hoped, especially in its intended market of the USA, so Sir William decided to retain all three models in the Jaguar range concurrently. Sales of the S Type were relatively modest throughout its 6 year production life, with 9928 of the 3.4 litre and 15.065 of the 3.8 litre cars made.
Successor to the E Type was the XJ-S, launched in September 1975, and to a not universally approving public. This was a very different sort of sporting Jaguar, more boulevard cruiser than sports car, even though the car had plenty of appeal with its smooth V12 engine which gave it genuine 150 mph performance. Press reports were favourable, but a thirsty V12 and a car with inconsistent build quality and styling that not everyone warmed to meant that sales were slow, and they got slower as the decade passed, leading questions to be asked as to whether the car should continue. As well as sorting the saloon models, Jaguar’s Chairman, John Egan, put in place a program to improve the XJ-S as well, which also benefitted from the HE engine in early 1981. A Cabrio model and the option of the new 3.6 litre 6 cylinder engine from 1984 widened the sales appeal, and the volumes of cars being bought started to go up. A fully open Convertible, launched in 1988 was the model many had been waiting for, and by this time, although the design was over 10 years old, it was now brimming with appeal to many. 1991 saw an extensive facelift which changed the styling details as well as incorporating the latest mechanical changes from the Jaguar parts bin, making the XJS (the hyphen had been dropped from the name in 1990) a truly desirable car.
Among them was an XJ-S Cabriolet with royal connections. This one-off 150mph Jaguar was fashioned especially for Diana, Princess of Wales. Dating back to 1983 this famous XJ-SC was not only one of the most photographed cars of its era but was also totally unique, built to the Princess’ own bespoke specification. While the other 5,012 cabriolets created in Coventry between 1983 and 1988 were all hedonistic two-seater speedsters, this stately XJ-SC (reg E763KYX) was uniquely fitted with two small rear seats just so the young Princes William and Harry could ride along with their mother and her bodyguard. It is generally accepted that the Princess enjoyed driving her custom-made Jag so much that her protection officer was often relegated to the front passenger seat! Additionally, the V12 powered regal cabriolet features an individually made, and permanently fixed, rear hard top to ensure that the two Princes could not strike their heads on the solid targa roof bar in the event of an accident. Also, unlike any other XJS, the once royal roadster is fitted with personalised leather and Harris Tweed seat trims, chosen by Princess Diana. What’s more the exterior bodywork came with four round headlights similar to those seen on the US export and was finished in British Racing Green to match the Aston Martin that husband Prince Charles had acquired around the same time. The Princess was regularly seen driving this majestic model from 1987 to 1991. Then, when the two Princes outgrew their small rear seats, she sold it to the Jaguar Heritage Trust, an educational charity established to preserve the legacy of Jaguar for the nation, in exchange for a contribution to one of her own charitable causes. The following year, Diana replaced the British-made XJ-SC with a German-made Mercedes 500SL – a controversial decision which caused quite a commotion at the time as no member of the Royal Family had purchased a foreign car in memory.
Also here was a second example of the XJR15, the world’s first road-car made entirely from carbon-fibre. Tom Walkinshaw conceived the concept in 1988 after seeing the XJ220 concept at the British Motor Show. Following Jaguar’s success at Le Mans, he enlisted Peter Stevens to develop a road-going version of the XJR-9, originally designated the R-9R. A number of wealthy racing enthusiasts were keen to own such a car and pressed Walkinshaw into manufacturing a ‘road going racer’. This car was originally intended to be a better alternative to the XJ220. Original owners included Derek Warwick, Bob Wollek, Vern Schuppan, Matt Aitken, Andy Evans and the Sultan of Brunei. In order to adapt the XJR-9 for road use, Stevens made a number of modifications to increase space and improve access. “Taking the race car as a base, we widened the cockpit by 75 mm (3.0 in) and raised the roof by 40 mm (1.6 in) to allow more headroom”, he said when interviewed in 1991. “The scale model was ready by Easter 1989, from there we went to clay… which was finished by October (1989). The first prototype was held up by Le Mans preparations but it was ready for Tom (Walkinshaw) to drive when he came back from France in July 1990”. TWR explicitly developed the XJR-15 as a road-going racing car, in the mould of the Jaguar C and D types, the Ford GT40 and the Ferrari 250 GTO. As such, the car complied with British construction and use regulations and could be registered by the owner for road-use in the UK, although with such a limited production run, the car was never type-approved. XJR-15 was derived from the Le Mans winning XJR-9 racing car, sharing many component parts The mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car is powered by a 450 bhp, naturally aspirated 24-valve V12 engine of 5993 cc, with a Group C bottom-end and Group A top-end. The engine features an advanced electronically managed fuel injection system with a very advanced (for its time) ‘fly by wire’ throttle. Transmission is via a TWR six-speed manual, unsynchronised transmission (a five-speed, synchromesh transmission was also available as an optional extra). The XJR-15’s chassis and bodywork are composed of carbon fibre and Kevlar (XJR-15 was the first road-going car built entirely of carbon and Kevlar composites, before the McLaren F1 used similar techniques in 1992). It was designed to comply with 1990 Group C regulations, being 480 cm long, 190 cm wide and 110 cm high. At 1,050 kg (2,315 lb), the XJR-15 weighed about the same as a contemporary VW Golf. Suspension is fully independent, with non-adjustable Bilstein shock absorbers all round. Front suspension is by wide-based wishbones, working push-rods to spring damper units mounted horizontally across the centre of the car. TWR racing practice is also followed at the rear, with vertical coil-springs mounted in units with uprights within the rear wheels, allowing for the maximum possible venturi tunnels. The engine forms a stressed member for the rear-frame. The bottom of the car is completely flat, in line with Group C practice. Steel disc brakes are fitted, with powerful AP four-pot callipers. The XJR-15 has a 0–60 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a (gearing limited) top speed of 191 mph (307 km/h). Although marketed as a racer, the car had been developed as a “road-going-racer” and as such, the ride height was somewhat higher than required to take full advantage of under-body aerodynamics. Additionally, the suspension was softer than would be found on the XJR-9 racer and – in a last-minute deal – Tom Walkinshaw switched tyre suppliers from Goodyear to Bridgestone just before the race series started. When interviewed by Autosport in 2011, Ian Flux recalled: “The worst thing was that Tom had done a deal with Bridgestone. At first, it was going to be on road tyres, but then they changed to slicks and wets. The fronts weren’t a problem, but they didn’t have moulds for the rears, so used F40 moulds instead. They went off very quickly and it was hard to judge how hard to push.” As Tiff Needell, who road-tested a development car at Silverstone early in 1991, put it: “the result is oversteer”. However, once accustomed to the characteristics, he went on: “Through the very tight chicane, the XJR-15 showed excellent change of direction and I was able to pick up power early for the long right hander leading up to Beckett’s. This gradually became a long right-hand power slide as my confidence increased.” Users of the car as a racer in later years would lower the suspension, fit a larger wing and proper tyres to restore race-car dynamics. As a road-car, the suspension was more softly set-up and with the right tyres, testers were unanimous in their praise. Ian Kuah, writing in World Sports Cars in 1992: “Considering its racing pedigree, ride quality is pretty good – at low speeds, better than a Ferrari 348…Levels of grip are far beyond those transgressed by any sane man, except perhaps when exiting a tight corner in a low gear when the sheer grunt pushing you through can persuade the huge Bridgestones to relinquish some grip. Seat of the pants feel and communication is terrific and the steering nicely weighted so that smooth inputs are easy. When it comes to stopping, the huge AP Racing brakes – with softer pads for road use – wash off speed with steely determination.” Ron Grable, the racing driver, writing in Motor Trend in May 1992: “As the engine sprang into a muted rumbling idle, it was impossible to keep from grinning. Easing the unsynchronised six-speed into gear, I accelerated onto the straight. Many race cars are diabolical to get moving…not so the Jag, the smooth V-12 pulled cleanly away, nearly as docile as a street-car. On the track, the XJR-15 is a truly wonderful ride, the perfect compromise between racing and street. You can say the savage edge of a pure race car has been softened slightly, or conversely, that it’s the best handling street car you can imagine. Being 100% composite, it’s so light that every aspect of performance is enhanced. Relatively low spring and roll rates are enough to keep it stable in pitch and roll, as well as deliver a high level of ride compliance. The brakes are phenomenal and the acceleration fierce. And always, there’s that V-12, a medley of mechanical noises superimposed over the raucous rise and fall of the exhaust.” The XJR-15 offers little in the way of practicality. Entry to the car, over a wide sill, requires the driver to step onto the driving seat. The gear-lever is mounted on the right-hand side of the driver (all cars are right-hand-drive), while the driver and passenger seat are extremely close together – almost central in the car. There is little in the way of sound insulation, so an in-car head-set system is fitted. There is virtually no storage space. However, considering the purpose for which it was intended, the interior was highly praised in contemporary road reports. Ron Grable again: “Aesthetically, the XJR-15’s interior is breathtaking. Expanses of shiny black carbon fibre woven with yellow Kevlar are everywhere, all fitting together with meticulous precision. Instrumentation is detailed and legibly analogue. The shift lever is less than 3 inches (76 mm) from the small steering wheel, and the motion between gears is almost imperceptible. The reclined seating position provides excellent forward visibility – over the top of the instrument panel you see only racetrack.” The car’s production was announced in a press release on 15 November 1990 with an official launch at Silverstone early in 1991. The XJR-15 was built by Jaguar Sport in Bloxham, Oxfordshire, (a subsidiary of TWR; it was a joint venture between Jaguar Cars and TWR to produce high performance sports cars) England from 1990 to 1992 and had no official involvement from Jaguar itself. Only 50 were made, each selling for £500,000.
From the modern generation of Jaguar was this rather nice F Type Convertible.
Final Jaguar here was a Project Seven. First seen in the summer of 2013, more of an indication of what could be done with the new F Type rather than as something which was going to be produced, such was the clamour from enthusiasts that Jaguar decided to build a limited run of them, and even at a starting price of £130,000, there were more people who wanted to buy one than cars that Jaguar planned to make, with the car selling out before it officially went on sale. Just 250 will be built, 80 available to buyers in the UK, 50 in Germany and the balance to the Americans, who, generally were the first to get their cars. The Seven in the name refers to Jaguar’s seven Le Mans wins (two of them with the help of Ecurie Ecosse, of course). Visually, it is easy to recognise from a standard F Type, with its abbreviated screen, its new front bumper, many aero mods (carbonfibre splitter, blade-like side skirts, rear diffuser and deck-mounted rear wing) and its nose stripes and racing roundels. The owner explained that he is not allowed to put a number on the roundel for road use, and he is also agonising over whether to put on a front number plate, as it would spoil the looks of the car. The Project 7 starts as a standard V8 drophead, with its 5.0-litre supercharged engine modified to produce 567bhp, which is 25bhp more than an F-Type R Coupé and 516lb ft of torque (15lb ft more). Proportionally speaking, these aren’t huge increases, but they’re delivered via unique throttle maps that let you feel the extra energy from around 2500rpm and these figures do make this the most powerful Jaguar ever made. Combine this with the benefits of a 45kg weight reduction (35kg of this comes from that rather ungainly “get you home” hood and the seats have race-bred carbonfibre shells) and you get an F-Type capable of the 0-60mph sprint in 3.8sec. The top speed is electronically limited to 186mph or 300km/h, as with other F-Types. With the exhaust butterflies open (there’s a special console switch), the car emits a superb growl-bark that turns into a magnificent crackle on the overrun. It’s the one thing that makes you want to slow down, though we did not get the real benefit of this as the car was driven, carefully around the rough and cobbled surfaces of the Square. A lot of the engineering effort spend on developing the car was in rebalancing the suspension and aerodynamics for high-speed duty. Font negative camber was increased from 0.5 to 1.5deg, to encourage the front wheels to dig in, and rear torque vectoring – differential braking of the rear wheels – is there to make the car turn easily. The car’s rear-biased aerodynamic downforce was addressed by fitting side skirts and a large front splitter, while slightly reducing the effectiveness (and drag) of the bootlid wing. Project Seven is fitted with all the top-end running gear: eight-speed Quickshift transmission, electronic differential, carbon-ceramic brakes, unique-tune adaptive dampers and its own special settings for engine management and chassis stability control. The Project 7 also has unique springs and anti-roll bars, the most prominent feature being front springs that are a stonking 80% stiffer, to cope with the potential force generated by the brakes and withstand turn-in loads at high speed on the soft standard Continental Force tyres. Engineers also moved the Sport and standard suspension settings further apart, to provide good options for short and long-distance use. The modifications are apparently most obvious on track, and Jaguar SVO reckon most owners will take their cars there as part of the limited mileage that they will probably cover in an average year.
The Jensen 541 was first exhibited at the London Motor Show in October 1953, and production started in 1954. The 541 used fibreglass bodywork mounted on a steel chassis and was fitted with a straight-six engine, three SU carburettor version of the 4-litre Austin engine and four speed transmission with optional Laycock de Normanville overdrive. The body consisted of three major mouldings and the entire front was rear hinged and could be raised for engine access. The doors were aluminium. Suspension was independent at the front using coil springs with a Panhard rod located rigid axle and leaf springs at the rear. A choice of wire spoked or steel disc wheels with centre lock fitting was offered. At first the car had servo assisted 11 in drum brakes but from 1956, the newly introduced 541 Deluxe version featured Dunlop disc brakes both front and rear—the first British four seater thus equipped. It was also a luxurious car with the well equipped interior featuring leather seats as standard. The individual seats in front separated by a high transmission tunnel and the rear seats had a small centre armrest and could also be tilted forwards to increase luggage space. Standard colours (1955) were black, ivory, imperial crimson, moonbeam grey, Boticelli blue, deep green and Tampico beige. By employing lightweight materials, Jensen managed to make the car significantly lighter than their contemporary Interceptor model, with a dry weight of 1,220 kg (2,690 lb) as against the older design’s 1,370 kg (3,020 lb). Performance benefitted. In 1957 the 541 R was introduced, and in 1960 the 541 S arrived with wider bodywork and revised grill styling. Production of the Jensen 541 ended in 1959 and the 541 S early 1963 when the range was replaced by the C-V8.
The Jensen C-V8, a four-seater GT, was launched in October 1962, It had fibreglass bodywork with aluminium door skins, as did the preceding 541 series. All C-V8s used big-block engines sourced from Chrysler; first the 361 and then, from 1964, the 330 bhp 383 in³. Most of the cars had three-speed Chrysler Torqueflite automatic transmission, but seven Mk2 C-V8s were produced with the 6-litre engine and four-speed manual gearbox , followed by two manual Mk3s. While the great majority of C-V8s were made in right-hand drive, ten were made in left-hand drive. The car was one of the fastest production four-seaters of its era. The Mk II, capable of 136 mph, ran a quarter mile in 14.6 seconds, and accelerated from 0–60 mph in 6.7 seconds. The upgraded Mk II, introduced in October 1963, had Selectaride rear dampers and minor styling changes. Changes on the Mk III, the final version of the series which was introduced in June 1965, included a minor reduction in overall length, deeper windscreen, equal size headlamps without chrome bezels, improved interior ventilation, wood-veneer dashboard, the addition of overriders to the bumpers, and a dual-circuit braking system. The factory made two convertibles: a cabriolet, and a Sedanca that opened only above the front seats. The front of the C-V8 was styled with covered headlamps, similar to those on the Ferrari 275 GTB and Jaguar 3.8 E-type as a key element of the design. But because of concerns that they might reduce the effectiveness of the headlamps, the covers were deleted for the production cars. As a consequence the C-V8’s front-end appearance was compromised and proved controversial for decades. Owners are now starting to return their cars to the original streamlined styling intended by the car’s designer Eric Neale. The model was discontinued in 1966 after a total production run of 500. The fibreglass body, and the fact that the twin-tube frame was set in from the perimeter of the car, have contributed to the model’s comparatively high survival rate.
Launched as a replacement for the rather gawky looking CV8 of the early 1960s after a false start when a car with the same name was shown in 1965, which received a massive “thumbs down”, Jensen went to Italy to find a new stylist for another attempt. They ended up with Carozzeria Touring, who produced a stunning looking grand tourer which, although sharing some styling cues with other models that they had designed, had a style all of its own, and they then approached another, Vignale, to build the bodies before they would be shipped back to West Bromwich for final assembly. As with the CV8, motive power came from a large Chrysler V8 engine, which gave the car effortless performance, and a somewhat prodigious thirst. The original specification included electric windows, reclining front seats, a wood rimmed steering wheel, radio with twin speakers, reversing lights and an electric clock. Power steering was included as standard from September 1968. The Mark II was announced in October 1969, with slightly revised styling around the headlamps, front grille and bumper and revised rear lights. The interior was substantially revised in order to meet US regulations, and air conditioning was an option. The Mark III, introduced in 1971, revised the front grille, headlamp finishers and bumper treatment again. It had GKN alloy wheels and air conditioning as standard, and revised seats. It was divided into G-, H-, and J-series depending on the production year. The 6.3 litre engine was superseded by the 7.2 litre in 1971. A Convertible version was premiered in 1974,. but just 267 were built, and then in 1975 a Coupe model was shown, effectively a fixed roof version of the Convertible, just 60 of which were made as by this time, the company had fallen on hard times due to the then world-wide recession, and massive and costly reliability problems with its Jensen-Healey sports car. It was placed into receivership and the receivers allowed production to be wrapped up using the available cache of parts. Production of the Interceptor ended in 1976. Enthusiasm for the car remained, though, so in the late 1980s, a group of investors stepped in and re-launched production of the Interceptor, as the Series 4, back as a low-volume hand built and bespoke affair, marketed in a similar way to Bristol, with a price (£70,000 and more) to match. Though the body remained essentially the same as the last of the main production run of series 3; the engine was a much smaller Chrysler supplied 5.9 litre unit which used more modern controls to reduce emissions comparatively and still produce about 230 hp. In addition, the interior was slightly re-designed with the addition of modern “sports” front seats as opposed to the armchair style of the earlier models, as well as a revised dashboard and electronics. The then owner sold up in 1990 to an engineering company believed to be in a stronger position to manufacture the car which lasted until 1993 with approximately 36 cars built, and while work commenced on development of a Series 5 Interceptor, once again receivers were called in and the company was liquidated. Even that was not quite the end of the story, as the Jensen specialist based at Cropredy Bridge has made a business out of rebuilding original Interceptors using modern components, with a General Motors supplied 6.2 litre LS3 engine and transmission from a Chevrolet Corvette. In May 2010, Jensen International Automotive was set up, with the financial backing and know-how of Carphone Warehouse founder and chairman Charles Dunstone who joined its board of directors. A small number of Jensen Interceptor Ss, which had started production under a previous company, are being completed by Jensen International Automotive (JIA), in parallel with JIA’s own production of the new Jensen Interceptor R; deliveries of the latter started at the beginning of 2011.
With the demise of the Austin-Healey 3000, Donald Healey opened discussions with Jensen Motors, who had built the bodies for Healey’s Austin-Healey cars. The largest Austin Healey Car Dealer in the US, Kjell Qvale was also keen to find a replacement to the Austin-Healey 3000 then became a major shareholder of Jensen, making Donald Healey the chairman. The Jensen-Healey was designed in a joint venture by Donald Healey, his son Geoffrey, and Jensen Motors. Hugo Poole did the styling of the body, the front and back of which were later modified by William Towns to take advantage of the low profile engine and to allow cars for the U.S. market to be fitted with bumpers to meet increasing US regulations. The unitary body understructure was designed by Barry Bilbie, who had been responsible for the Austin-Healey 100, 100-6 and 3000 as well as the Sprite. It was designed to be cheap to repair, with bolt-on panels, to reduce insurance premiums. Launched in 1972 as a fast luxurious and competent convertible sports car, it was positioned in the market between the Triumph TR6 and the Jaguar E-Type. The 50/50 weight balance due to the all alloy Lotus engine led to universal praise as having excellent handling. It all looked very promising, but it was the engine which was the car’s undoing. Various engines had been tried out in the prototype stage including Vauxhall, Ford and BMW units. The Vauxhall 2.3 litre engine met United States emission requirements but did not meet the power target of 130 hp. A German Ford V6 was considered but industrial action crippled supply. BMW could not supply an engine in the volumes needed. Colin Chapman of Lotus offered, and Jensen accepted his company’s new 1973 cc Lotus 907 engine, a two-litre, dual overhead cam, 16 valve all-alloy powerplant. This multi-valve engine is the first to be mass-produced on an assembly line. This setup put out approximately 144 bhp, topping out at 119 mph and accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. The problem was that it was a brand new engine, and Lotus were effectively using Jensen-Healey to complete the development. There were numerous issues early on, which meant that warranty claims rocketed and then sales stalled, so whilst this soon became the best selling Jensen of all time, it also helped seal the fate of the company. In total 10,503 (10 prototypes, 3,347 Mk.1 and 7,146 Mk.2) were produced by Jensen Motors Ltd. A related fastback, the Jensen GT, was introduced in 1975. Values are surprisingly low these days, which is a shame, as the problems are long since ironed out, and the resulting car looks good and goes well.
The Agera R made its debut at the March 2011 Geneva Motor Show with a Speed Racer livery, and special Michelin tyres. It can accelerate from 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 2.8 seconds and attain a theoretical top speed of 439 km/h (273 mph). The Agera R has a drag coefficient of Cd=0.37, or Cd=0.33 at high speed due to its adaptive rear wing, while producing 300 kg (660 lb) of downforce at 250 km/h (155 mph). This adaptive rear wing system is lighter than conventional hydraulic/electrical adaptive systems, and has the unique ability to compensate for head/tailwind due to its spring-loaded design. Furthermore, the pylons holding the wing play not only a role in the Agera R’s aerodynamic performance, but also assist in extracting hot air from the engine bay. On 2 September 2011, during test sessions in Ängelholm, the Agera R broke six world land speed records for a production car, including 0–300 km/h (0–186 mph) in 14.53 seconds, and 0–300–0 km/h in only 21.19 seconds. The braking performance required to maintain this record is enabled in part by the Agera’s stability, demonstrated by Koenigsegg test driver and drivetrain technician Robert Serwanski, who was recorded by passenger Rob Ferretti (founder of the group “Super Speeders”) braking from 300 km/h to 0 without holding the steering wheel. The Agera R can produce lateral cornering forces of 1.60 G, due to a combination of mechanical balance and high levels of grip from the specially developed Michelin Supersport tyres. The 2013 version of the Agera R premiered at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Upgrades included carbon fibre wheels, enhanced aerodynamics, and engine upgrades allowing the Agera R’s twin-turbo V8 engine to have a power output of 1,140 PS (1,124 hp) at 7,100 rpm and 1,200 N⋅m (885 lb⋅ft) of torque at 4,100 rpm on E85 biofuel. Koenigsegg’s Flex Fuel Sensor technology allows the ECU to respond to varying fuel qualities and alcohol content by reducing power levels as a means of protecting the engine. On standard low-octane fuels, power is reduced to 960 PS (947 hp).
The Lamborghini Owners Club had a stand backed by their massive support trailer which showed the progression of the marque’s top-line V12 sports cars. Oldest of these was the legendary Miura. Some will say was the first true supercar. For sure, this car, produced between 1966 and 1973, is widely considered to have instigated the trend of high performance, two-seater, mid-engined sports cars. When released, it was the fastest production road car available. The Miura was originally conceived by Lamborghini’s engineering team, Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and Bob Wallace who in 1965 put their own time into developing a prototype car known as the P400. The engineers envisioned a road car with racing pedigree – one which could win on the track and be driven on the road by enthusiasts. The three men worked on its design at night, hoping to convince Lamborghini such a vehicle would neither be too expensive nor distract from the company’s focus. When finally brought aboard, Lamborghini gave his engineers a free hand in the belief the P400 was a potentially valuable marketing tool, if nothing more. The car featured a transversely-mounted mid-engine layout, a departure from previous Lamborghini cars. The V12 was also unusual in that it was effectively merged with the transmission and differential, reflecting a lack of space in the tightly-wrapped design. The rolling chassis was displayed at the Turin Salon in 1965. Impressed showgoers placed orders for the car despite the lack of a body to go over the chassis. Bertone was placed in charge of styling the prototype, which was finished just days before its debut at the 1966 Geneva motor show. Curiously, none of the engineers had found time to check if the engine would fit inside its compartment. Committed to showing the car, they decided to fill the engine bay with ballast and keep the car locked throughout the show, as they had three years earlier for the début of the 350GTV. Sales head Sgarzi was forced to turn away members of the motoring press who wanted to see the P400’s power plant. Despite this setback, the car was the highlight of the show, immediately boosting stylist Marcello Gandini’s reputation. The favourable reaction at Geneva meant the P400 was to go into production by the following year. The name “Miura”, a famous type of fighting bull, was chosen, and featured in the company’s newly created badge. The car gained the worldwide attention of automotive enthusiasts when it was chosen for the opening sequence of the original 1969 version of The Italian Job. In press interviews of the time company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini was reticent about his precise birth date, but stressed that he was born under the star sign Taurus the bull. Early Miuras, known as P400s (for Posteriore 4 litri), were powered by a version of the 3.9 litre Lamborghini V12 engine used in the 400GT at the time, only mounted transversely and producing 350 hp. Exactly 275 P400 were produced between 1966 and 1969 – a success for Lamborghini despite its then-steep price. Taking a cue from the Mini, Lamborghini formed the engine and gearbox in one casting. Its shared lubrication continued until the last 96 SVs, when the case was split to allow the correct oils to be used for each element. An unconfirmed claim holds the first 125 Miuras were built of 0.9 mm steel and are therefore lighter than later cars. All cars had steel frames and doors, with aluminium front and rear skinned body sections. When leaving the factory they were originally fitted with Pirelli Cinturato 205VR15 tyres (CN72). The P400S Miura, also known as the Miura S, made its introduction at the Turin Motorshow in November 1968, where the original chassis had been introduced three years earlier. It was slightly revised from the P400, with the addition of power windows, bright chrome trim around external windows and headlights, new overhead inline console with new rocker switches, engine intake manifolds made 2 mm larger, different camshaft profiles, and notched trunk end panels (allowing for slightly more luggage space). Engine changes were reportedly good for an additional 20 hp. Other revisions were limited to creature comforts, such as a locking glovebox lid, a reversed position of the cigarette lighter and windshield wiper switch, and single release handles for front and rear body sections. Other interior improvements included the addition of power windows and optional air conditioning, available for US$800. About 338 P400S Miura were produced between December 1968 and March 1971. One S #4407 was owned by Frank Sinatra. Miles Davis also owned one, which he crashed in October 1972 under the influence of cocaine, breaking both ankles. The last and most famous Miura, the P400SV or Miura SV featured different cam timing and altered carburettors. These gave the engine an additional 15 hp to a total of 380 hp. The last 96 SV engines had a split sump. The gearbox now had its lubrication system separate from the engine, which allowed the use of the appropriate types of oil for the gearbox and the engine. This also alleviated concerns that metal shavings from the gearbox could travel into the engine with disastrous and expensive results and made the application of an optional LSD far easier. The SV can be distinguished from its predecessors from its lack of “eyelashes” around the headlamps, wider rear wings to accommodate the new 9-inch-wide rear wheels and Pirelli Cinturato tyres, and different taillights. 150 SVs were produced.
The Espada, a 4-seat grand touring coupé, arrived in 1968. The car was designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. Gandini drew inspiration and cues from two of his Bertone show cars from 1967, the Lamborghini Marzal and the Jaguar Piraña. The name “Espada” means “sword” in Spanish, referring to the sword that the Torero uses to kill the bull in the Corrida. During its ten years in production the car underwent some changes, and three different series were produced. These were the S1 (1968–1970), the S2 (1970–1972) and the S3 (1972–1978). Each model featured interior redesigns, while only minor details were changed on the exterior. The Espada was launched at the 1968 Geneva Motor Show. The original design of the dashboard was inspired by the Marzal concept car, and featured octagonal housings for the main instruments, topped by an additional binnacle for the secondary gauges. Wheels were Campagnolo alloys on knock-off hubs, of the same design seen on the Miura. The tail lights were the same units mounted on the first series Fiat 124 Sport Coupé. 186 were made up until January 1970. At the 1970 Brussels Motor Show Lamborghini unveiled the Espada S2. Outside the only change was the deletion of the grille covering the vertical glass tail panel. Inside changes were more radical: all-new dashboard, centre console and steering wheel were installed. The instrument binnacle was of a more conventional rectangular shape, with round gauges. A wood-trimmed fascia extended along the entire width of the dashboard. Power output increased to 350 PS (345 bhp) due to a higher 10.7:1 compression ratio; the brakes were upgraded to vented Girling discs. Power steering was offered as an option. 575 Series II Espada were made, making it the most popular and desirable variant. The Espada S3 was launched in 1972. Its 3.9 litre V12 engine produced 325 PS (321 bhp) With the second redesign the dashboard changed to a aluminium-trimmed cockpit that kept all instruments and most controls (including the radio) within easy reach of the driver. Newly designed wheels on five-stud hubs replaces the earlier knock-off wider wheels fiitted with Pirelli Cinturato 215/70WR15 CN12 tyres, making the Espada S3 instantly recognisable; other exterior changes included the square instead of hexagonal mesh grille and tail lights from the Alfa Romeo 2000 replacing the previous Fiat-sourced ones. In 1974 a Borg Warner automatic transmission became available. From 1975 large impact bumpers had to be installed to meet United States safety requirements; some people consider cars produced with them as a separate fourth series, but Lamborghini did not officially change the model designation. In total, 1217 Espadas were made, making it the most successful Lamborghini model until the expansion of Countach production in the mid-1980s.
Which small boy (and perhaps car loving girl) did not lust after a Countach back in the 1970s and 1980s. A dramatic looking car, this was the stuff of dreams that you would only ever see at the London or NEC Motor Shows. Countach first made an appearance, as a concept in 1971, but it was 1973 before the production car made its debut, and despite unfortunate timing with fuel shortages and a recession, and a number of financial problems for its maker, the car sold well throughout its production life. The Countach entered production as the LP400 with a 3929 cc engine delivering 370 hp. The first production Countach was delivered to an Australian in 1974. Externally, little had altered from the final form of the prototype except at the rear, where conventional lights replaced the futuristic light clusters of the prototype. The styling had become rather more aggressive than Gandini’s original conception, with the required large air scoops and vents to keep the car from overheating, but the overall shape was still very sleek. The original LP400 rode on the quite narrow tyres of the time, but their narrowness and the slick styling meant that this version had the lowest drag coefficient of any Countach model. The emblems at the rear simply read “Lamborghini” and “Countach”, with no engine displacement or valve arrangement markings as is found on later cars. By the end of 1977, the company had produced 158 Countach LP400s. In 1978, a new LP400 S model was introduced. Though the engine was slightly downgraded from the LP400 model (350 bhp), the most radical changes were in the exterior, where the tyres were replaced with 345/35R15 Pirelli P7 tyres; the widest tyres available on a production car at the time, and fibreglass wheel arch extensions were added, giving the car the fundamental look it kept until the end of its production run. An optional V-shaped spoiler was available over the rear deck, which, while improving high-speed stability, reduced the top speed by at least 16 km/h (10 mph). Most owners ordered the wing. The LP400 S handling was improved by the wider tyres, which made the car more stable in cornering. Aesthetically, some prefer the slick lines of the original, while others prefer the more aggressive lines of the later models, beginning with the LP400 S. The standard emblems (“Lamborghini” and “Countach”) were kept at the rear, but an angular “S” emblem was added after the “Countach” on the right side. 1982 saw another improvement, this time giving a bigger, more powerful 4754 cc engine. The bodywork was unaltered, however the interior was given a refresh. This version of the car is sometimes called the 5000 S, which may cause confusion with the later 5000 QV. 321 of these cars were built. Two prototypes of the 1984 Countach Turbo S were built by Lamborghini, of which one is known to exist. The Turbo S weighed 1,515 kg (3,340 lb), while its 4.8 litre twin-turbo V12 had a claimed maximum power output of 758 PS and a torque output of 876 N·m (646 lb·ft), giving the car an acceleration of 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 335 km/h (208 mph). A turbo adjuster, located beneath the steering wheel, could be used to adjust the boost pressure from 0.7 bar to 1.5 bar at which the engine performed its maximum power output. The Turbo S has 15″ wheels with 255/45 tyres on the front and 345/35 on the rear. In 1985 the engine design evolved again, as it was bored and stroked to 5167 cc and given four valves per cylinder—quattrovalvole in Italian, hence the model’s name, Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole or 5000 QV in short. The carburettors were moved from the sides to the top of the engine for better breathing—unfortunately this created a hump on the engine deck, reducing the already poor rear visibility to almost nothing. Some body panels were also replaced by Kevlar. In later versions of the engine, the carburettors were replaced with fuel injection. Although this change was the most notable on the exterior, the most prominent change under the engine cover was the introduction of fuel injection, with the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, providing 414 bhp, rather than the six Weber carburettors providing 455 bhp. As for other markets, 1987 and 1988 model Quattrovalvoles received straked sideskirts. 610 cars were built.
Lamborghini had been toying for some time with the idea of a smaller and cheaper car, powered by a V8 engine, to rival the smaller Ferraris, and the result, the Urraco, was first seen at the 1970 Turin Show. It was styled by Marcello Gandini, and engineered by Paolo Stanzani. It was launched with a 2.5 litre V8 engine, engineered to be cheaper to build, with belt-driven camshafts, situated within a steel monocoque structure suspended on McPherson struts. It reached the market before the rival Maserati Merak and Ferrari 308 GT4 Dino, which should have given it a big advantage. But it did not. For a start, it was deemed not powerful enough, so even before the difficulties of the late 1973 Fuel Crisis made things difficult, the car did not sell well at all. The solution was to add more power, and this came when the engine was enlarged to 3 litres, with four chain-driven cams, which took power from 220 bhp to 265 bhp. A roll-hoop across the back of the cabin improved rigidity, and more powerful brakes were fitted. It sold better, though never in the sort of volume that had been anticipated, and the addition of an Italian market tax special P200 did not help much, either. Just 66 of these were built, whereas 520 of the original P250 models found buyers, and 190 of the more powerful P300s added to the total before production ceased in 1979. The story did not quite end there, as in 1976 a heavily revised version, with removable targa roof panels, appeared, called the Silhouette, and both were replaced by the Jalpa in the 1980s, though neither of these sold as well as the Urraco. Seen here were two examples of the Urraco.
At a time when the company was financed by the Swiss-based Mimran brothers, Lamborghini began development of what was codenamed Project 132 in June 1985 as a replacement for the Countach model. The brief stated that its top speed had to be at least 315 km/h (196 mph). The design of the car was contracted to Marcello Gandini, who had designed its two predecessors. When Chrysler bought the company in 1987, providing money to complete its development, its management was uncomfortable with Gandini’s designs and commissioned its design team in Detroit to execute a third extensive redesign, smoothing out the trademark’s sharp edges and corners of Gandini’s original design, and leaving him famously unimpressed. In fact, Gandini was so disappointed with the “softened” shape that he would later realise his original design in the Cizeta-Moroder V16T. The car became known as the Diablo, carrying on Lamborghini’s tradition of naming its cars after breeds of fighting bulls. The Diablo was named after a ferocious bull raised by the Duke of Veragua in the 19th century, famous for fighting an epic battle with ‘El Chicorro’ in Madrid on July 11, 1869 In the words of Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, the Diablo was designed “solely to be the biggest head-turner in the world.” The Diablo was presented to the public for sale on January 21, 1990. Its power came from a 5.7 litre 48-valve version of the existing Lamborghini V12 featuring dual overhead cams and computer-controlled multi-point fuel injection, producing a maximum output of 499 PS and 580 N·m (428 lb/ft) of torque. The vehicle could reach 100 km/h in about 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 202 mph. The Diablo was rear-wheel drive and the engine was mid-mounted to aid its weight balance. The Diablo came better equipped than the Countach; standard features included fully adjustable seats and steering wheel, electric windows, an Alpine stereo system, and power steering from 1993 onwards. Anti-lock brakes were not initially available, although they would eventually be used. A few options were available, including a custom-moulded driver’s seat, remote CD changer and subwoofer, rear spoiler, factory fitted luggage set and an exclusive Breguet clock for the dash. The Diablo VT was introduced in 1993. Although the VT differed from the standard Diablo in a number of ways, by far the most notable change was the addition of all wheel drive, which made use of a viscous centre differential (a modified version of LM002’s 4WD system). This provided the new nomenclature for the car (VT stands for viscous traction). The new drivetrain could direct up to 25% of the torque to the front wheels to aid traction during rear wheel slip, thus significantly improving the handling characteristics of the car. Other improvements debuting on the VT included front air intakes below the driving lamps to improve brake cooling, larger intakes in the rear arches, a more ergonomic interior with a revised dashboard, electronically adjustable dampers, four-piston brake calipers, power steering, and minor engine refinements. Many of these improvements, save the four-wheel drive system, soon transferred to the base Diablo, making the cars visually nearly identical. Further updates would follow before the car gave way to the Murcielago in 2001. The Diablo sold in greater numbers than its predecessor with 2898 examples being made during its 11 year production life.
The Gallardo was launched in 2003, and stayed in production over 10 years, In excess of 10,000 were made, making it by some margin the most popular Lamborghini yet made. During the long life, lots of different variants were produced with a mixture of all wheel drive and rear wheel power only, open topped bodies, and lightened Superleggera models. Seen here was one of the Superleggera cars.
The Aventador came out in 2012, to take the place of the Murcielago, and it remains every inch a true Lamborghini, with bold looks and an awesome sound track from its 7 litre engine. More recently, the SV model has been added to the range, only the fourth Lamborghini to bear the description SV (for Superveloce), and they have all been very special. This one is, too. It has a significant power upgrade over the regular Aventador, churning out 740bhp from a 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine that revs to 8500rpm. Lamborghini chose not go go down the forced induction route for the extra power, but rather created a whopping, easier-breathing engine in the middle of the car, with a new exhaust and a raised rev limit over the standard V12. It also makes 509lb ft at 5500rpm. It is mated to a single-clutch automated manual gearbox with an improved shift calibration, and more significantly still, an SV is an impressive 50kg lighter than the regular Aventador. There are new door skins and a couple of lighter carbonfibre panels, clad over the carbonfibre monocoque, but I suspect the real weight saving comes in the stripped-out interior. Lamborghini quotes a dry weight of 1525kg, which you could probably make closer to 1700kg by the time it sits at the kerb. Other changes include a big rear wing that gives serious downforce. Magnetorheological adaptive dampers are standard on the SV, as is dynamic steering – which changes ratio depending on road speed and a host of other factors like how much of a ‘bung’ you give the car on the way into a corner. Whilst the regular Aventador did not receive a totally rapturous reaction from the press on launch, they all seem to have loved this one.
Newest Lamborghini is the Huracan. Replacing Lamborghini’s sales leader and most produced car, the Gallardo, the Huracán made its auto show debut at the March 2014 Geneva Auto Show, and was released in the second quarter of 2014. The name of the Huracan LP 610-4 comes from the fact that this car has 610 metric horsepower and 4 wheel drive. Huracán (huracán being the Spanish word for hurricane) is inspired by a Spanish fighting bull. Continuing the tradition of using names from historical Spanish fighting bulls, Huracán was a bull known for its courage that fought in 1879. Also Huracan is the Mayan god of wind, storm and fire. Changes from the Gallardo included full LED illumination, a 12.3 inch full-colour TFT instrument panel, Fine Nappa leather and Alcantara interior upholstery, redesigned dashboard and central tunnel, Iniezione Diretta Stratificata (IDS, essentially an adapted version of parent Audi’s Fuel Stratified Injection) direct and indirect gasoline injections, engine Stop & Start technology, EU6 emissions regulation compliance, Lamborghini Doppia Frizione (LDF) 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with 3 modes (STRADA, SPORT and CORSA), 20 inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brake system, optional Lamborghini Dynamic Steering variable steering system and MagneRide electromagnetic damper control. In early 2015, the Huracán appeared on Top Gear. It got a neutral review from Richard Hammond who said that it was too tame to be a “proper Lamborghini.” However, it got around the Top Gear test track in 1:15.8 which is faster than any other Lamborghini to go around the track to date, including the Aventador. Now it has been available in the UK for some a couple of years, there are now quite a few on our roads, so it was no surprise to find the model here.
Also here, on the Coy’s auction stand, was an example of the Lamborghini tractor. This is a 2R and it dates from 1962.
Designed by Vittorio Jano, the Lancia Aurelia was launched in 1950 and production lasted until the summer of 1958. The very first Aurelias were the B10 Berlinas. They used the first production V6 engine, a 60° design developed by Francesco de Virgilio who was, between 1943 and 1948 a Lancia engineer, and who worked under Jano. The first cars had a capacity of 1754 cc, and generated 56 hp. During production, capacity grew from 1.8 litres to 2.5 litres across six distinct Series. Prototype engines used a bore and stroke of 68 mm x 72 mm for 1569 cc; these were tested between 1946 and 1948. It was an all-alloy pushrod design with a single camshaft between the cylinder banks. A hemispherical combustion chamber and in-line valves were used. A single Solex or Weber carburettor completed the engine. Some uprated 1991 cc models were fitted with twin carburettors. At the rear was an innovative combination transaxle with the gearbox, clutch, differential, and inboard-mounted drum brakes. The front suspension was a sliding pillar design, with rear semi-trailing arms replaced by a de Dion tube in the Fourth series. The Aurelia was also first car to be fitted with radial tyres as standard equipment. Aurelia was named after Via Aurelia, a Roman road leading from Rome to France. The B21 version was released in 1951 with a larger 1991 cc 70 hp engine and a 2-door B20 GT coupé appeared that same year. It had a shorter wheelbase and a Ghia-designed, Pininfarina-built body. The same 1991 cc engine produced 75 hp in the B20. In all, 500 first series Aurelias were produced. This is generally believed to the first car to use the name GT, or Gran Turismo. The B20 GT Aurelia had a successful career in motorsport, too. In the 1951 Mille Miglia the 2-litre Aurelia, driven by Giovanni Bracco and Umberto Maglioli, finished 2nd beaten only by the Ferrari America. The same year it took first in class and 12th overall at LeMans. Modified Aurelias took the first three places on 1952’s Targa Florio with Felice Bonetto as the winner and another win on Lièges-Rome-Lièges of 1953. The car seen here is a rather special Aurelia B50 Cabriolet, and is the actual 1951 Geneva Show car.
The Defender and its predecessors all the way back to 1948 have quite a cult following and this vehicle once bought solely for its utility is now often treated to expensive upgrades to the mechanicals and the trim and equipment, with several firms having sprung up who specialise in this, Here is an example.
In a world exclusive, the legendary Lister Motor Company launched its fastest, most powerful and most luxurious supercar at the event, The Lster Thunder will have a top speed in excess of 200mph and blistering 0-62mph acceleration in just over three seconds. Potential purchasers will need to be quick off the mark, too, as just 99 models will be built. Founded by businessman/racer Brian Lister back in 1954, Cambridge-based Lister has always had strong competition ties to Jaguar. Its iconic Lister-Jaguar sportscar – an aluminium bodied racer powered by a Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-type 3.4-litre, straight-six engine – enjoyed notable track successes when raced by Stirling Moss among others in the late fifties and, more recently in 2000, the Lister Storm employed Jaguar V12 power to win the FIA World GT Championship. Harking back to that illustrious racing heritage back, the eagerly-anticipated Thunder is based on the current Jaguar F-type. While the new car’s full specification remains secret until its reveal, to whet appetites Lister has confirmed that power from the showroom model’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8 has been increased to 666bhp.
This is a Type 14 Elite, the first enclosed Lotus, intended for use as a road car as well as for competition purposes. An ultra-light two-seater coupé, the Elite made its debut at the 1957 London Motor Car Show, Earls Court, as chassis #1008 , following a year in development, aided by “carefully selected racing customers”, before going on sale. The Elite’s most distinctive feature was its highly innovative fibreglass monocoque construction, in which a stressed-skin GRP unibody replaced the previously separate chassis and body components. Unlike the contemporary Chevrolet Corvette, which used fibreglass for only exterior bodywork, the Elite also used this glass-reinforced plastic material for the entire load-bearing structure of the car, though the front of the monocoque incorporated a steel subframe supporting the engine and front suspension, and there was a hoop at the windscreen for mounting door hinges and jacking the car up. The first 250 body units were made by Maximar Mouldings at Pulborough, Sussex. The body construction caused numerous early problems, until manufacture was handed over to Bristol Aeroplane Company. The resultant body was both lighter, stiffer, and provided better driver protection in the event of a crash. Sadly, the full understanding of the engineering qualities of fibreglass reinforced plastic was still several years off and the suspension attachment points were regularly observed to pull out of the fibreglass structure. The weight savings allowed the Elite to achieve sports car performance from a 75 hp 1216 cc Coventry Climax FWE all-aluminium straight-4 engine with fuel consumption at 35mpg. All production Lotus Elites were powered by the FWE engine. (Popular mythology says that cars left the factory with a variety of engines, but this is incorrect.) The FWE engine, derived from a water pump engine usually found bolted to a fire truck, was used by Lucas Electric for electrical component life testing in the presence of intense vibration. The car had independent suspension all round with transverse wishbones at the front and Chapman struts at the rear. The rear struts were so long, that they poked up in the back and the tops could be seen through the rear window. The Series 2 cars, with Bristol-built bodies, had triangulated trailing radius arms for improved toe-in control. Girling disc brakes, usually without servo assistance, of 9.5 in diameter were used, inboard at the rear. When leaving the factory the Elite originally fitted Pirelli Cinturato 155HR15 tyres. Advanced aerodynamics also made a contribution, giving the car a very low drag coefficient of 0.29 – quite low even for modern cars. This accomplishment is all the more remarkable considering the engineers did not enjoy the benefits of computer-aided design or wind tunnel testing. The original Elite drawings were by Peter Kirwan-Taylor. Frank Costin (brother of Mike, one of the co-founders of Cosworth), at that time Chief Aerodynamic Engineer for the de Havilland Aircraft Company, contributed to the final design. The SE was introduced in 1960 as a higher performance variant, featuring twin SU carburettors and fabricated exhaust manifold resulting in 85 bhp, ZF gearboxes in place of the standard “cheap and nasty” MG ones, Lucas PL700 headlamps, and a silver coloured roof. The Super 95 spec, with more power, from a higher-tuned engine with raised compression and a fiercer camshaft with 5 bearings. A very few Super 100 and Super 105 cars were made with Weber carburettors, for racing use. Among its few faults was a resonant vibration at 4000 rpm (where few drivers remained, on either street or track) and poor quality control, handicapped by overly low price (thus losing money on every car produced) and, “perhaps the greatest mistake of all”, offering it as a kit, exactly the opposite of the ideal for a quality manufacturer. Many drivetrain parts were highly stressed and required regreasing at frequent intervals. When production ended in 1963, 1030 had been built, although there are sources claiming that 1,047 were produced.
There has only ever been one front wheel drive model with Lotus badges on it, the “M100” Elan sports car. Like many specialist produced cars of the era, there was a long wait for this car form when news first broke that it was under development to the actual release of cars people could buy. The M100 Elan story goes back to 1986 and the purchase of Lotus by General Motors which provided the financial backing to develop a new, small, affordable car in the same spirit as the original Elan, the last of which had been built in December 1972. A development prototype, the M90 (later renamed the X100) had been built a few years earlier, using a fibreglass body designed by Oliver Winterbottom and a Toyota-supplied 1.6-litre engine and transmission. Lotus was hoping to sell the car through Toyota dealerships worldwide, badged as a Lotus Toyota, but the project never came to fruition and the prototype was shelved, although Lotus’s collaboration with Toyota had some influence on the design of the Toyota MR2. The idea of a small roadster powered by an outsourced engine remained, however, and in late 1986 Peter Stevens’s design for the Type M100 was approved and work began by Lotus engineers to turn the clay styling buck into a car that could be built. This process was completed in just under three years, a remarkably short time from design to production car. The M100 Elan was conceived as a mass-market car and in particular one that would appeal to US buyers. Consequently, Lotus put an enormous effort (for such a small firm) into testing the car; over a two-year period 19 crash cars and 42 development vehicles were built, logging nearly a million test miles in locations from Arizona to the Arctic. The Elan was driven at racing speeds for 24 hours around the track at Snetterton. Finally each new car was test-driven for around 30 miles at Lotus’s Hethel factory to check for any manufacturing defects before being shipped to dealers. The choice of front-wheel drive is unusual for a sports car, but according to Lotus sales literature, “for a given vehicle weight, power and tyre size, a front wheel drive car was always faster over a given section of road. There were definite advantages in traction and controllability, and drawbacks such as torque steer, bump steer and steering kickback were not insurmountable.” This was the only front-wheel-drive vehicle made by Lotus. Every model made since the M100 Elan, such as the Lotus Elise, has been rear-wheel drive. The M100 Elan’s cornering performance was undeniable (on release the Elan was described by Autocar magazine as “the quickest point to point car available”). Press reaction was not uniformly positive, as some reviewers found the handling too secure and predictable compared to a rear-wheel-drive car. However, the Elan’s rigid chassis minimised roll through the corners and has led to its description as ‘the finest front wheel drive [car] bar none’. Unlike the naturally aspirated version, the turbocharged SE received power steering as standard, as well as tyres with a higher ZR speed rating. The M100 Elan used a 1,588 cc double overhead camshaft (DOHC) 16-valve engine, sourced from the Isuzu Gemini and extensively modified by Lotus (a third generation of this engine was later used in the Isuzu Impulse), which produced 162 hp. 0–60 acceleration time was measured by Autocar and Motor magazine at 6.5 seconds, and a top speed of 137 mph was recorded. Significant differences in the Isuzu-Lotus engine from the original include a new exhaust system, re-routed intake plumbing for better thermodynamic efficiency, improved engine suspension, and major modifications to the engine control unit to improve torque and boost response. Almost all models featured an IHI turbocharger. Two variants were available at launch, the 130 bhp Elan 1.6 (retailing at £17,850) and the 162 bhp Turbo SE (£19,850). Initial sales were disappointing, perhaps because its launch coincided with a major economic recession in the UK and USA, and perhaps also because it coincided with the cheaper Mazda MX-5 which was arguably similar in concept, though the MX-5 was quite intentionally nostalgic and old fashioned (apeing the original Elan), while the M100 was deliberately futuristic, modern and forward looking. The Elan was regarded as a good product in a bad market, but was also very expensive to make (the cost to design and produce the dashboard alone was more than the total cost of the Excel production line), and sales figures were too low to recoup its huge development costs. Altogether 3,855 Elans were built between November 1989 and July 1992, including 129 normally aspirated (non-turbo) cars. 559 of them were sold in the US, featuring a ‘stage 2 body’ which had a different rear boot spoiler arrangement together with a lengthened nose to accommodate a USA-compliant crash structure and airbag, and 16-inch wheels (optional in most markets, standard in the U.S.) instead of 15-inch as on the UK model. A limited edition of 800 Series 2 (S2) M100 Elans was released during the Romano Artioli era (produced June 1994–September 1995) when it was discovered that enough surplus engines were available to make this possible. According to Autocar magazine, the S2 addressed some of the concerns over handling, but power was reduced to 155 bhp and the 0–60 acceleration time increased to 7.5 seconds, due to the legislative requirement to fit a catalytic converter in all markets. The S2s have very similar performance to the USA vehicles, having an identical engine management system calibration and a slightly lower overall vehicle weight.
MANX MOTOR MUSEUM
As well as supplying a number of cars for the Grand Avenue feature, the Manx Motor Museum had a display stand in the main part of the show.
One of the vehicles they were showing was their local product, the Peel P50, a three-wheeled microcar originally manufactured from 1962 to 1965 by the Peel Engineering Company on the Isle of Man. At 54 inches long and just 41 inches wide, it was then, and is still now, the smallest production car ever made. The P50 was the brainchild of inventor and Peel Engineering Company founder, Cyril Cannell. He envisioned an ultra compact and exceptionally small commuter car capable travelling at 40 mph while comfortably seating one adult carrying a briefcase. Two P50 prototypes were made (known as the P55 Saloon Scooter), these were even smaller than the production version and featuring an opposite, and less-stable, wheel layout with one wheel at the front and two at the back. Peel Engineering were specialists in the then new art of glass fibre manufacturing, so the P50 was made around a glass fibre monocoque, with no chassis. Powered by a tiny 2-stroke 49cc DKW Zweirad Union engine, that put out 4.5HP, enough to propel the tiny P50 to a (limited) top speed of 40mph. The unit originated from a scooter and drives through a scooter gearbox with 3 forward ratios and as Top Gear showed us, it has no reverse gear but a handle at the rear allows the very lightweight car to be physically manoeuvred when required, the P50 weighing just 59kg. The vehicle’s only door was on its left side and equipment included a single windscreen wiper and one headlight. Standard colours were Daytona White, Dragon Red, and Dark Blue. The 1963 model retailed for £199 when new (about £1,400 in 2010). As a publicity stunt, in 1963, Peel took a P50 to the top of Blackpool Tower, using the standard lift and drove it around the observation balcony. In the early sixties, Production of the original P50 ceased in 1964, after just 50 of them had been produced, and only 27 of them are known to still exist. Today an original P50 is a sought after prize for bubble car collectors around the world. In 2013 an ultra rare 1964 P50 was sold by RM Auctions, with the hammer falling on a price of over £80,000. In 2011 Peel Engineering was acquired by car enthusiasts Gary Hillman and Faizal Khan, and a new formed company, called Peel Engineering Ltd based in England (not to be confused with the original Peel Engineering Company from the Isle of Man restarted production. Externally this car was very similar to the original but with many major mechanical differences in the suspension, steering, and drivetrain. The initial version was produced as a display vehicle and was not road legal. In 2011 production commenced on new road legal petrol & electric versions, and they have since made approximately 50 more P50’s, with plenty more on order. Most colours from the original are used in the 2010 models with only Dark Blue being replaced by Capri Blue.
And this is a White steam car, one of the entrants in the 1905 Tourist Trophy, a motor race held on 14 September 1905 on closed public roads along the Highroads Course on the Isle of Man. It was organised by the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland, and was the first time that what became known as the RAC Tourist Trophy was awarded. The race lasted over six hours and was won by John Napier, driving an Arrol-Johnston. Percy Northey finished second in a Rolls-Royce, while the Vinot-Deguingand driver Norman Littlejohn was third. Prior to the Tourist Trophy the Isle of Man had hosted the English trials for the Gordon Bennett Cup as the English government had banned motor racing on its roads. The Automobile Club wanted to run an event to help develop fuel efficiency in motor cars and opted to use the same route as had been used for the trials. In order to make the event relevant to those cars on general sale they imposed rules to prevent specialist race cars from entering, though there were complaints that the rules were too restrictive and detracted from the spectacle. The cars were subject to a number of criteria: the chassis had to weigh between 1,300 and 1,600 pounds (590–730 kg), they were required to have a wheelbase of at least seven point five feet (2.3 m), and to carry a load of 950 pounds (430 kg), including the driver, an optional passenger, and ballast. Additionally, the car had to be able to carry four people, including the driver, and the model of car had to be available for sale for at least a month after the race.Initially, it was decided that each car was only allowed to use one imperial gallon of fuel per 25 miles of the race, but due to the conditions, this was altered to one imperial gallon per 22.5 miles. Most of the cars opted to use Continental tyres; just the Maudslays and Napiers used Palmer, the Whites and Swifts used Dunlop, while the Wolseley and Darracq vehicles used Michelin. The rules were introduced in an attempt to make the cars more representative of the touring cars that members of the public could drive. There were 58 entrants but only 42 of these started the race. Less than half of the cars completed the full 208.5 miles and there were more retirements due to mechanical failures and crashes than a lack of fuel. The top three were separated by just over five minutes, while the final finisher took almost three hours longer than Napier.
The event was held again in 1906 though the overall distance covered was shortened to around 160 miles and this car, also a White, was the official course car.
There were a number of Marcos models on the Owners Club stand. Designed by brothers Dennis and Peter Adams, this well-known car caused something of a sensation when it was shown at the 1964 Racing Car Show. Known as the Marcos 1800, it had a glassfibre body, with a wooden chassis and was offered for sale fully built or in kit form. This was to be the design that would become familiar to sports car enthusiasts for more than 30 years, even though the original plywood chassis would later be replaced by a steel chassis and the futuristic scalloped dashboard also vanished after a few years. The plywood chassis was glued together from 386 separate pieces and was not only light and strong, but also required a minimum up front investment to construct. The extremely low Marcos required a nearly supine driving position and fixed seats, mounted lower than the floor of the car. In return, the entire pedal set could be moved fore and aft with a knob on the dashboard. If this proved not to be enough Marcos also offered optional booster pillows. This setup, with the fixed seats, remained until the end of Marcos production in late 2007. The original Marcos 1800 had a two-spoke steering wheel and a novel dash with a prominent centre console, a rather expensive design which did not survive onto the Ford-engined cars. The entire nose portion, of a long and tapered design, was hinged at the front and was held down by latches behind the front wheelwells. It used the cast-iron four-cylinder 96 hp Volvo 1778 cc B18 unit with overdrive gearbox from the Volvo P1800S enough for a 116 mph top speed and a 0-60 mph time of 8.2 seconds. Successful in competition, the rather expensive 1800 sold very slowly, and after the first 33 cars the de Dion rear suspension was replaced by a live Ford axle. The price was dropped from ₤1500 to ₤1340, but it was not enough to make the car profitable. Cars were stockpiling in 1966, and after 106 (or 99) had been built, the 1800 was replaced by the Ford-engined 1500. Normally fitted with a four-speed manual transmission a five-speed one was also available, allowing for a higher top speed. According to some sources, a few of the last cars built had the 2 litre Volvo B20 engine fitted, as did some of the racing cars. The 1800 is the only Marcos that is eligible for historic racing and as such is considerably more valuable today than later models. In 1966 the GT was changed to a pushrod inline-four Ford Kent engine of 1500 cc, in order to lower costs as the 1800 had been rather too expensive to market. The complex dash was also replaced with a flat polished wood unit, which was soon downgraded further yet to a mass-produced “wood-effect” one. Power and performance were both down on the 1800, but sales increased considerably. To hide the fact that a common Ford engine was used, Marsh replaced the rocker covers with Marcos ones and switched from Weber to Stromberg carburettors. An overbored Lawrencetune 1650 cc version was made available in 1967 (32 built) to ameliorate the power shortage, for the Marcos 1650 GT. The 1650 also had bigger disc brakes and a standard Webasto sunroof, but proved somewhat less than reliable It and the 1500 were both replaced by Ford’s new Crossflow four not much later, in late 1967. The 1600 proved to be the most popular model yet, with 192 cars built until early 1969. Weight was 740 kg (1,631 lb) and disc brakes up front were standard, although power assist was an optional extra. Production ended in October 1969 as the new steel chassis was not well suited for the crossflow engine. A new model, the 2 litre, appeared at the January 1969 London Show with the engine changed to the Ford Essex V4 engine from the Ford Corsair – while a V6 engine had already appeared at the top of the lineup in 1968. Also in 1969, the plywood chassis was gradually replaced by a square section steel one, which shortened production time and saved on cost. These steel framed cars required a lower sill panel and have reshaped rear bumpers, as well as some subtle interior differences. The wooden chassis had also begun to meet a certain amount of resistance from buyers. There seem to have been no V4-engined wooden cars made, although there is a few months overlap between the introduction dates. The V4 received most of the same standard and optional equipment (except the overdrive) and the same central bonnet bulge as did the V6 models; very few of the Marcos 2 litres still have their V4 engines, as a V6 swap is a rather quick job and makes for a much faster car than the original’s 85 hp. It was not exactly a success story, 78 2 litres were most likely built, although numbers as low as 40 have also been mentioned. New at the October 1968 London Show was the more powerful Marcos 3 litre. Fitted with the double-carb Ford Essex V6 engine and transmission from the Ford Zodiac, production beginning in January 1969. Max power was 140 bhp and aside from the badging, this car is most easily recognised by the large, central bonnet bulge necessary to clear the larger engine. The 3 litre had a four-speed manual with a Laycock-de-Normanville Overdrive for the third and fourth gears fitted. In December 1969 a twin-carburetted 3-litre Volvo B30 straight-six became available (initially only for the US), and in 1971 eleven or twelve cars were fitted with the 150 bhp Triumph 2.5-litre straight-six. These were called the Marcos 2½ litre. As the bonnet was a close fit over the various larger engines, this resulted in a corresponding variation in the bonnet design as regards changes designed to clear engine air intakes, often the only external sign of the type of engine fitted. All inline-sixes required a rather angular bulge right of centre on the bonnet to clear the carburettors. Around this time, some V6 cars begun sporting single rectangular headlights (not on US-market cars), borrowed from the Vauxhall Viva HB. Later in 1969 the six-cylinder cars, as with their four-cylinder counterparts, received the new steel chassis. Either 100 or 119 of the wood-chassied V6 cars were built. The Ford V6 version achieved over 120 mph on test and the Volvo-engined model was not far behind it, but the heavy cast-iron engines increased nose-heaviness in comparison to the four-cylinder variants. With US sales going strong, Marcos production was up to three per week and they had to invest in a bigger space in 1969. Cars for the North Americas market had Volvo’s inline-six cylinder, 3 litre engines with a standard Borg-Warner Type 35 automatic transmissions. They sat on tubular steel space frames, have a higher ride height, and no headlight covers – all of this was in order to get US road certification. Air conditioning was also listed as an option by New York-based importers Marcos International Inc. Delays and problems with the federalised cars were beginning to mount. In 1970, 27 exported cars were impounded by US Customs for supposedly not meeting federal law, causing Marcos to withdraw entirely from the US market. Together with the development costs of the Mantis and the introduction of VAT on kit cars on the horizon, Marcos had to close its doors for what turned out to be the first time. About sixty US market cars were built, some of which were brought back after the US market dried up in 1970 and converted to RHD for sale in the home market. Production of the Volvo 3 litre continued for the rest of the world, with these cars fitted with a four-speed manual transmission. Either 80 or 172 of the Volvo I6-engined Marcos were built until early 1972, with the final one destined to become the last Marcos built for the next ten years. After Marcos had run out of money the company was sold to Hebron & Medlock Bath Engineering in mid-1971. They themselves had to call in the receivers only six months later. The Rob Walker Garage Group bought the factory only to sell off everything, including some finished cars such as all six Mark 2 1600s built. Jem Marsh bought up spares and other parts at the liquidation sale and proceeded to run a company servicing existing Marcos, until he resumed production of Marcos kits in 1981. The original GT continued to be built until 1989 or 1990, being developed into its altered Mantula form. This was further developed into more powerful and aggressively-styled designs, culminating in the 1994 LM600 (which competed in the 1995 Le Mans 24-hour race).
Also here was one of the very rare, but promising TSO models. These were manufactured between 2004 and 2007 and featured a Chevrolet V8 engine in either 350 bhp or 400 bhp versions. The car’s components were CAD designed in England, while chassis engineering has been done by Prodrive. Also in 2004, the 5.7-litre Chevrolet Corvette (LS1) V8 TSO GT was announced, but solely for the Australian market. It was joined in 2005 by the GT2 for the European market. In 2006 Marcos announced the TSO GTC, a modified version of the current TSO with a racing suspension, racing brakes and a rear diffuser. The car continues on with its Chevrolet-sourced 420 bhp V8, but there is also a 462 bhp Performance Pack available as well. With the extra power from the Performance Pack the TSO GTC accelerates to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and to 100 mph in 8.5 seconds. With the bigger brakes, 340 mm AP Racing brakes, the TSO GTC delivers a 0-100-0 time of 12.9 seconds. With the extra power, its 50 to 70 mph time is just 2.1 seconds. Top speed is over 185 mph. Marcos Engineering Ltd went into administration on October 9, 2007, with production of only 5 or 6 road cars plus some incomplete examples.
Sole Maserati this time was this fabulous 3500GT Vignale Spider. Maserati had made their first forays into the grand tourer market, with the 1947 A6 1500, 1951 A6G 2000 and 1954 A6G/54, but whilst these cars had proven that the expanding the business beyond race cars was feasible; these A6 road cars were still built at the rate of just a dozen examples a year, which hardly constituted series production. A different approach was going to be needed, with the objective of building fully accomplished grand tourers. An engine was not really a problem. The 2 litre twin cam unit that had enabled Maserati to achieve racing success and international visibility in the early 1950s, thanks to cars such as the A6GCM;, had already been enlarged to three litre capacity on the Maserati 300S. Chief engineer Giulio Alfieri felt the next step was to design an all-new 3.5-litre engine; the resulting long-stroke six, designed foremost for endurance racing on the Maserati 350S, was ready in 1955. The main development efforts that led to the 3500 GT were carried out in 1956–57, despite the frantic activity required by Maserati’s participation in the Formula 1 world championship. Alfieri modified the 350S’s engine to suit a touring car, such as switching to a wet sump oil system and changing the engine accessories. He also made several business trips to the United Kingdom in order to contact components suppliers. None were found in Italy, as Italian taxation system and the industry structure forced manufacturers to design every part in-house; a daunting task for small companies like Maserati. Thus the 3500 GT alongside Italian Weber carburettors and Marelli ignition, used many British-made components such as a Salisbury rear axle, Girling brakes and Alford & Alder suspension parts. Clearly the bodywork would have to be Italian. According to Carrozzeria Touring’s Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni it was Commendatore Franco Cornacchia, a prominent Ferrari dealer, that put in contact Maserati owner Omar Orsi with the Milanese Carrozzeria The first 3500 GT Touring prototype had a 2+2 body, with superleggera construction and was white in colour; it was nicknamed Dama Bianca (White Lady). Two 3500 GT prototypes were shown at the March 1957 Salon International de l’Auto in Geneva. Both had a 2,600 mm (102.4 in) wheelbase and aluminium bodywork; they were Touring’s Dama Bianca, and another one by Carrozzeria Allemano. Touring’s proposal was chosen for series production; few changes were made to it, chiefly a more imposing grille. Production of the 3500 GT started in late 1957; eighteen cars were built that year, the first handful leaving the factory before Christmas. All 3500 GTs had leather interior and Jaeger-LeCoultre instruments. A first Touring convertible prototype was shown at the 1958 Turin Motor Show, but it was a proposal by Carrozzeria Vignale (designed by Michelotti) shown at the 1959 Salon de l’Auto in Paris that went into production as 3500 GT Convertibile. The Convertibile did not feature Touring’s Superleggera construction, but rather a steel body with aluminium bonnet, boot lid and optional hard top; it was also built on an 10 cm (3.9 in) shorter wheelbase, and weighed 1,380 kg (3,042 lb). Front disc brakes and limited slip differential became optional in 1959, and were standardized in 1960; rear discs became standard in 1962. The 3500 GTi was introduced at the 1960 Salon International de l’Auto, and by the following year became the first fuel-injected Italian production car. It had a Lucas mechanical fuel injection, and developed 232 bhp. A 5-speed gearbox was now standard. The body had a lowered roofline and became somewhat longer; minor outward changes appeared as well (new grille, rear lights, vent windows). From 1961 convertible 3500s for export markets were named 3500 GT Spyder and GTi Spyder. In total, 2,226 3500 GT coupés and convertibles were built between 1957 and 1964. In the first year, 1958, just 119 cars were sold, while 1961 was the best-selling year, totalling 500. All together, 245 Vignale convertibles and nearly 2000 coupés were manufactured, of these, 1981 being Touring coupés, the rest were bodied by other coachbuilders: Carrozzeria Allemano (four coupés, including the 1957 prototype), Zagato (one coupe, 1957), Carrozzeria Boneschi (1962 Turin Motor Show and 1963 Geneva Motor Show ), Pietro Frua (two or three coupés, one spider) and Bertone (one coupé, 1959 Turin Motor Show) The last was a coupé by Moretti for the 1966 Geneva Motor Show. The car was replaced by the Sebring in 1964.
Commanding a significant price premium over the regular 650S cars, the 675LT sits in the “Super” part of the range (P1s are in the “Ultimate” collection). Those who thought that the 675LT might look little different from the “regular” 650S, with a simple elongation of the rear end underestimated the engineers at Woking, as the 675LT has a style and appearance all of its own, with lots of different detailing to distinguish it from the standard car, with carbon fibre wings and twin circular titanium exhaust pipes exposed at the rear deck to improve cooling, sitting above a new bumper and diffuser both made from carbon fibre. At the front there is a larger carbon fibre splitter and new front bumper design, aimed at improving cooling and downforce. Designed to be far more track focused than the 650S, it contains many elements aimed at improving handling and performance. The biggest difference to the way it feels is apparently down to 100kg reduction in weight, but it does also contain a significantly modified 666 bhp version of the 650S’ twin turbo 3.8 litre V8. 50% of engine parts are new, including the turbos, camshafts and connecting rods, along with detailed revisions to the cylinder heads and manifolds. As a consequence, the 0-60 time is reduced to 2.9 seconds, 0.1 seconds less than the 650S, though the top speed is slightly reduced due to the extra drag of the aerodynamic pack. 500 examples were built, and they all sold out within weeks, to the surprise of no-one, as this is a very impressive machine indeed.
Third of the hypercars considered to be the “holy trinity” (with the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder) is the McLaren P1, and there was one of these here, presented on Tom Hartley’s stand. Debuted at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, sales of the P1 began in the United Kingdom in October 2013 and all 375 units were sold out by November. Production ended in early December 2015. The United States accounted for 34% of the units and Europe for 26%. It is considered by the automotive press to be the successor to the F1, utilising hybrid power and Formula 1 technology, but does not have the same three-seat layout. It was later confirmed that the Speedtail served as the actual successor to the F1. The P1 has a mid-engine, rear wheel drive design that used a carbon fibre monocoque and roof structure safety cage concept called MonoCage, which is a development of the MonoCell first used in the MP4-12C and then in subsequent models. Its main competitors were the LaFerrari and the Porsche 918. They are all similar in specifications and performance, and in a race around Silverstone circuit they were all within half a second of each other, the P1 finishing first at 58.24 seconds and the LaFerrari finishing last at 58.58 seconds; the 918 was in-between with 58.46 seconds. 58 units of the track-oriented P1 GTR and 5 units of its road legal counterpart, the P1 LM were produced after the initial run of 375 cars. 13 experimental Prototype ‘XP’, 5 Validation Prototypes ‘VP’ and 3 Pre-Production ‘PP’ cars were produced by McLaren before the production of the P1 started, a number of which have been refurbished, modified and sold to customers.
Oldest, and most valuable of the cars on show were examples of the 300 SL Gullwing. Known under development as the W198, the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer was the fastest production car of its day. Introduced in 1954 as a two-seat coupé with distinctive gull-wing doors, it was later offered as an open roadster. Built by Daimler-Benz AG, the direct fuel injected production model was based on the company’s highly successful yet somewhat less powerful carburettor overhead cam straight 6 1952 racer, the W194. The idea of a toned-down Grand Prix car tailored to affluent performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market was suggested by Max Hoffman. Mercedes accepted the gamble and the new 300 SL – 300 for its 3.0 litre engine displacement and SL for Sport Leicht (Sport Light) – was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show rather than the Frankfurt or Geneva gatherings company models made their usual debuts. Immediately successful and today iconic, the 300 SL stood alone with its distinctive doors, first-ever production fuel injection, and world’s fastest top speed. Even with the upward opening doors, the 300 SL had an unusually high sill, making entry and exit from the car’s cockpit problematic. A steering wheel with a tilt-away column was added to improve driver access. The 300 SL’s main body was steel, with aluminium bonnet, doors and boot lid. It could also be ordered with an 80 kg (180 lb) saving all-aluminium outer skin at tremendous added cost; just 29 were made. Like the W194, the 300 SL borrowed its 3.0 litre overhead cam straight-6 from the regular four-door 300 (W186 “Adenauer”) luxury tourer introduced in 1951. Featuring an innovative diagonal aluminium head that allowed for larger intake and exhaust valves, it was canted to the right at forty-five-degrees to fit under the SL’s considerably lower bonnet line. In place of the W194’s triple two-barrel Solex carburettors, a groundbreaking Bosch mechanical direct fuel injection was installed, boosting power almost 25% over the Grand Prix car’s. Derived from the DB 601 V12 used on the Messerschmitt Bf 109E fighter of World War II, it raised output from 175 hp to 215 hp, almost double that of the original Type 300 sedan’s 115 hp. An optional, even more powerful version, with radical camshaft developed 240 hp @ 6100 rpm and a maximum torque of 217 lb⋅ft @ 4800 rpm, but was rough for city use. The result was a top speed of up to 260 km/h (160 mph) depending on gear ratio and drag, making the 300 SL the fastest production car of its time. However, unlike today’s electrically powered fuel injection systems, the 300 SL’s mechanical fuel pump would continue to inject gasoline into the engine during the interval between shutting off the ignition and the engine’s coming to a stop; this unburned gasoline washed lubricating oil from the cylinder walls, which not only left them unprotected in affected areas during start-up but would dilute the engine’s entire oil supply if the car was not driven hard or long enough to reach a sufficient temperature to evaporate the fuel out of the oil. Exacerbating the problem was the engine’s large racing-oriented oil cooler and enormous 10 litre oil capacity, which virtually guaranteed the oil would not get hot enough. In practice, many owners would block off airflow through the oil cooler and stick rigidly to the appropriately low 1,000 mile recommended oil change interval. An auxiliary fuel pump provided additional fuel for extended high speed operation or cold starts; overuse would also lead to dilution of the oil., Clutch operation was initially very heavy, remedied by an improved clutch arm helper spring which reduced pedal force. From March 1963 to the end of production later that year, a light alloy crankcase was used on a total of 209 vehicles. Aerodynamics played an important role in the car’s speed, with Mercedes-Benz engineers placing horizontal “eyebrows” over the wheel openings to reduce drag. Unlike many cars of the 1950s, steering was relatively precise and the four-wheel independent suspension allowed for a reasonably comfortable ride and markedly better overall handling. However, the rear swing axle, jointed only at the differential, not at the wheels themselves, could be treacherous at high speeds or on imperfect roads due to extreme changes in camber. The enormous fuel tank capacity also caused a considerable difference in handling depending on the quantity of fuel on board. More than 80% of the vehicle’s total production of approximately 1400 units were sold in the US, making the Gullwing the first Mercedes-Benz widely successful outside its home market and thoroughly validating Hoffman’s prediction. The 300 SL is credited with changing the company’s image in America from a manufacturer of solid but staid luxury automobiles to one capable of rendering high-performance sports cars. It should be noted initial sales were sluggish due to many things, of which the price was one. Initial prices were about $6,400, a new Chevrolet Bel-Air could be purchased for $1,700 in the same year. Then there were few mechanics, even at the dealers, who understood the fuel injection system enough to do repairs. Nonetheless, 1400 were built by 1957, at which point Mercedes introduced a roadster version which was broadly similar, but with conventional doors. It was produced until 1963, and achieved sales of 1858 units.
Joining it was a 300SL Roadster. This was the later evolution of the model known under development as the W198, the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer and fastest production car of its day. Introduced in 1954 as a two-seat coupé with distinctive gull-wing doors, it was later offered as an open roadster. Built by Daimler-Benz AG, the direct fuel injected production model was based on the company’s highly successful yet somewhat less powerful carburettor overhead cam straight 6 1952 racer, the W194. The idea of a toned-down Grand Prix car tailored to affluent performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market was suggested by Max Hoffman. Mercedes accepted the gamble and the new 300 SL – 300 for its 3.0 litre engine displacement and SL for Sport Leicht (Sport Light) – was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show rather than the Frankfurt or Geneva gatherings company models made their usual debuts. Immediately successful and today iconic, the 300 SL stood alone with its distinctive doors, first-ever production fuel injection, and world’s fastest top speed. Even with the upward opening doors, the 300 SL had an unusually high sill, making entry and exit from the car’s cockpit problematic. A steering wheel with a tilt-away column was added to improve driver access. The 300 SL’s main body was steel, with aluminium bonnet, doors and boot lid. It could also be ordered with an 80 kg (180 lb) saving all-aluminium outer skin at tremendous added cost; just 29 were made. Like the W194, the 300 SL borrowed its 3.0 litre overhead cam straight-6 from the regular four-door 300 (W186 “Adenauer”) luxury tourer introduced in 1951. Featuring an innovative diagonal aluminium head that allowed for larger intake and exhaust valves, it was canted to the right at forty-five-degrees to fit under the SL’s considerably lower bonnet line. In place of the W194’s triple two-barrel Solex carburettors, a groundbreaking Bosch mechanical direct fuel injection was installed, boosting power almost 25% over the Grand Prix car’s. Derived from the DB 601 V12 used on the Messerschmitt Bf 109E fighter of World War II, it raised output from 175 hp to 215 hp, almost double that of the original Type 300 sedan’s 115 hp. An optional, even more powerful version, with radical camshaft developed 240 hp @ 6100 rpm and a maximum torque of 217 lb⋅ft @ 4800 rpm, but was rough for city use. The result was a top speed of up to 260 km/h (160 mph) depending on gear ratio and drag, making the 300 SL the fastest production car of its time. However, unlike today’s electrically powered fuel injection systems, the 300 SL’s mechanical fuel pump would continue to inject gasoline into the engine during the interval between shutting off the ignition and the engine’s coming to a stop; this unburned gasoline washed lubricating oil from the cylinder walls, which not only left them unprotected in affected areas during start-up but would dilute the engine’s entire oil supply if the car was not driven hard or long enough to reach a sufficient temperature to evaporate the fuel out of the oil. Exacerbating the problem was the engine’s large racing-oriented oil cooler and enormous 10 litre oil capacity, which virtually guaranteed the oil would not get hot enough. In practice, many owners would block off airflow through the oil cooler and stick rigidly to the appropriately low 1,000 mile recommended oil change interval. An auxiliary fuel pump provided additional fuel for extended high speed operation or cold starts; overuse would also lead to dilution of the oil., Clutch operation was initially very heavy, remedied by an improved clutch arm helper spring which reduced pedal force. From March 1963 to the end of production later that year, a light alloy crankcase was used on a total of 209 vehicles. Aerodynamics played an important role in the car’s speed, with Mercedes-Benz engineers placing horizontal “eyebrows” over the wheel openings to reduce drag. Unlike many cars of the 1950s, steering was relatively precise and the four-wheel independent suspension allowed for a reasonably comfortable ride and markedly better overall handling. However, the rear swing axle, jointed only at the differential, not at the wheels themselves, could be treacherous at high speeds or on imperfect roads due to extreme changes in camber. The enormous fuel tank capacity also caused a considerable difference in handling depending on the quantity of fuel on board. More than 80% of the vehicle’s total production of approximately 1400 units were sold in the US, making the Gullwing the first Mercedes-Benz widely successful outside its home market and thoroughly validating Hoffman’s prediction. The 300 SL is credited with changing the company’s image in America from a manufacturer of solid but staid luxury automobiles to one capable of rendering high-performance sports cars. It should be noted initial sales were sluggish due to many things, of which the price was one. Initial prices were about $6,400, a new Chevrolet Bel-Air could be purchased for $1,700 in the same year. Then there were few mechanics, even at the dealers, who understood the fuel injection system enough to do repairs. Nonetheless, 1400 were built by 1957, at which point Mercedes introduced a roadster version which was broadly similar, but with conventional doors. It was produced until 1963, and achieved sales of 1858 units.
There was a 190SL present as well. Produced between May 1955 and February 1963, having first been seen in prototype at the 1954 New York Auto Show, this was designed as a more affordable sports car than the exclusive and rather pricey 300SL, sharing its basic styling, engineering, detailing, and fully independent suspension. While both cars had double wishbones in front and swing axles at the rear, the 190 SL did not use the 300 SL’s purpose-built W198 tubular spaceframe. Instead, it was built on a shortened monocoque R121 platform modified from the W120 saloon. The 190 SL was powered by a new, slightly oversquare 105 PS Type M121 1.9 litre four cylinder engine. Based on the 300 SL’s straight six, it had an unchanged 85 mm bore and 4.3 mm reduced 83.6 mm stroke, was fitted with twin-choke dual Solex carburettors, and produced 120 gross hp. In detuned form, it was later used in the W120 180 and W121 190 models. Both the 190 SL and the 300 SL were replaced by the Mercedes-Benz 230SL in 1963.
Most imposing were a number of examples of the 600 model, a high-end large luxury sedan and limousine produced by Mercedes-Benz from 1963 to 1981. Generally, the short-wheel-base (SWB) models were designed to be owner-driven, the long-wheel-base (LWB), often incorporating a central divider with power window, by a chauffeur. The forerunner of the modern Maybach marque, the 600 “Grosser Mercedes” (“Grand Mercedes”) succeeded the Type 300 “Adenauer” as the company’s flagship and most expensive model. Positioned well above the 300-series Mercedes-Benz W112. Its few competitors included certain models of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, the Cadillac Fleetwood 75, stretched Lincoln Continental Lehmann-Peterson, and the Chrysler Imperial Crown Ghia. The 600 marked the last super-luxury model the brand produced in an unbroken line with its demise in 1981 since the model 60 hp Simplex from 1903. The 600 came in two main variants: a short wheelbase 4-door sedan, available with a power divider window separating the front seats from the rear bench seat, although most were built without this feature; along wheelbase 4-door Pullman limousine (with two additional rear-facing seats separated from the driver compartment by a power divider window, of which 304 were built), and a 6-door limousine (with two forward-facing jump-seats at the middle two doors and a rear bench-seat). A number of the Pullman limousines were made as landaulets, with a convertible top over the rear passenger compartment. Two versions of the convertible roof were made- long roof, and short roof. Of them, the short roof, which opens only above the last, third row of seats, is the more common version. Rarer, especially by the 6 door Landaulets, is the long roof, called- Presidential Roof. In all, 59 Pullman Landaulets were produced, and of them, only 26 were 6 door landaulets. And of these 26, only very few- 9, were 6 doors Landaulets with the long Presidential type opening roof. One of these 9 cars was used by the former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito. Landaulets like these were notably used also by the German government, as during the 1965 state visit of Queen Elizabeth II. Also the Vatican, in addition to a elongated Mercedes 300 type D, 4 door convertible, have used for the Pope, specially ordered 4 door Pullman Convertible, which now resides in the Mercedes Benz Factory Museum. Production of the Landaulet versions of 600 model, ended in 1980. Mercedes also made two coupés, one as a gift for retiring long-time Mercedes chief designer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and the other to Fritz Nallinger. head of Research and development center of Mercedes in the 50s and 60s. These cars had a wheelbase 22 cm (8.6 inches) shorter than the SWB sedan. A third was much later constructed by 600 experts and restorers Karl Middelhauve & Associates of Wausau, Wisconsin from a SWB sedan. Karl Middelhauve has also created a pair of matching Chevrolet El Camino-style coupes from 600 SWB sedans. One of them has a Vortech supercharger. Some purists question the reason for modifying a classic such as an original 600 into a modified vehicle, while other purists think Karl is extending function in the true spirit of the “Grosser” Mercedes. A single example of a SWB 4-door landaulet, combining the handling of a short-wheelbase with the qualities of a landaulet, was built by Mercedes in 1967 for former racing driver Count von Berckheim. The 600’s great size, weight, and numerous hydraulically driven amenities required more power than Mercedes’ largest engine at that time, the 3-litre 6-cylinder M189, could produce. A new V8 with more than twice the capacity was developed, the 6.3 L M100. It featured single overhead camshafts (SOHC) and Bosch mechanical fuel injection. It developed 300 Hp, however the total usable output was 250 Hp as 50 Hp was used to power the hydraulic convenience system. The 600’s complex 150-bar (2,176 psi) hydraulic pressure system powered the automobile’s windows, seats, sun-roof, boot lid, and automatically closing doors. Adjustable air suspension delivered excellent ride quality and sure handling over any road surface. Production began in 1964 and continued through to 1981. During this time, production totalled 2,677 units, comprising 2,190 Saloons, 304 Pullmans, 124 6-door Pullmans and 59 Landaulets.
This is a W111 series 220SE Convertible. The Mercedes range of the 1960s was quite complex, with body styles and mechanical updates proceeding at a different rate, and even by referring to the cars by their internal development codes (the “W” number), they are still quite hard to define unambiguously. In the W111 family, the Coupe was the first to appear, a replacement for the two-door W120 “Ponton” models, and work on it began in 1957. Since most of the chassis and drivetrain were to be unified with the sedan, the scope was focused on the exterior styling. Some of the mockups and prototypes show that Mercedes-Benz attempted to give the two-door car a front styling almost identical to what would be realised in the Pagoda (W113), but ultimately favoured the work of engineer Paul Bracq. The rear featured small tailfins, subtle compared to the fintails’ and evocative of the later squarish styling of the W108/W109. Production began in late 1960, with the coupe making its debut at the 75th anniversary of the opening of Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart in February of the next year. The convertible followed at the Frankfurt Auto Show a few months later. Almost identical to the coupe, its soft-top roof folded into a recess behind the rear seat and was covered by a tightly fitting leather “boot” in the same colour as the seats. Unlike the previous generation of two-door ponton series, the 220SE designation was used for both the coupe and convertible; both received the same version of the 2195 cc M127 engine. Options included a sliding sunroof for the coupe, automatic transmission, power steering, and individual rear seats. In March 1962, Mercedes-Benz released the exclusive two-door M189-powered 300SE. Like the 300 sedan, it was based on the W111 chassis but shared both Daimler’s top-range 2996 cc fuel-injected engine and the unique W112 chassis designation, efforts on Mercedes’ part to distance it from the maker’s modest W110 and W111 lineups and link it to the prestigious W188 300S two-door luxury sports tourer. It was distinguished by a chrome strip, and featured air suspension and a higher level of interior trim and finish. In summer of 1965, Mercedes-Benz launched replacements for both W111 and W112 sedans, the W108 and W109 respectively. With the tailfin fashion well eroded by the mid 1960s, the new design was based on the restrained W111 coupe, widened and squared off. Work on a future new chassis that would fully replace the Ponton-derived W111/W112 and W108/W109 was well under way. With a concept car of the first S-Class shown in 1967, Daimler declined to develop a two-door W108/W109 vehicle, instead continuing production of the aging W111/W112 with modest changes. The 220SE was superseded in early autumn 1965 by the 250SE, which featured the new 2496cc M129 engine. Producing 150 hp. it gave the vehicle a significant improvement in top speed, to 120 mph. Visibly the only changes affected the new 14-inch rims, which came with new hub cabs and beauty rings accommodating the larger disk brakes and new rear axle from the W108 family. In November 1967 the 250 SE was superseded by the 280 SE. It was powered by the new 2778 cc M130 engine, which produced 160 hp. The top speed was hardly affected, but acceleration improved to 10.5 seconds. Inside the car received a wood veneer option on the dashboard and other minor changes, including door lock buttons and different heater levers. The hubcaps were changed yet again to a new one piece wheelcover, and the exterior mirror was changed. Despite its smaller engine, the 280 SE could outperform the early 1950s M189 powered 300 SE, resulting in the more expensive model’s retirement. The coupe and cabriolet retained their shared model model designation until replaced by a new-generation chassis in 1968. A final model was added in August 1969, the 280 SE 3.5. The car was fitted with the brand-new M116 3499 cc V8. It produced 200 hp, and had a top speed of 130 mph and a 0-100 km/h at 9.5 seconds. To accommodate the large engine, the car’s front grille was widened; front and rear bumpers were also modified with the addition of rubber strips. The rear lenses changed to a flatter cleaner design. This change was carried across the standard 280 SE. As the top of its range, the 280 SE 3.5 is seen as an ideological successor to the W112 300 SE, though it lacked the W112’s air suspension. The last 280 SE was produced in January 1971, with the 280 SE 3.5 ending in July. The total production over the decade was: 220 SEb – 16,902, 250 SE – 6,213, 280 SE – 5,187, and 280 SE 3.5 – 4,502 units. Not including 3,127 W112 300 SE models, the grand total of 2-door W111 models was 32,804 of which 7,456 were convertibles. These days the cars are much sought after and prices, especially for the convertible, are high and still rising.
Also here was the equivalent saloon. These were the W108 and W109 generation. The line was an update of the predecessor W111 and W112 fintail sedans. The cars were successful in West Germany and in export markets including North America and Southeast Asia. During the seven-year run, a total of 383,361 units were manufactured. The car’s predecessor, the Mercedes-Benz W111 (produced 1959–1971) helped Daimler develop greater sales and achieve economy of scale production. Whereas in the 1950s, Mercedes-Benz was producing the coachwork 300 S and 300 SLs and all but hand-built 300 Adenauers alongside conveyor assembled Pontons (190, 190SL and 220) etc., the fintail (German: Heckflosse) family united the entire Mercedes-Benz range of vehicles onto one automobile platform, reducing production time and costs. However, the design fashion of the early 1960s changed. For example, the tail fins, originally intended to improve aerodynamic stability, died out within a few years as a fashion accessory. By the time the 2-door coupe and cabriolet W111s were launched, the fins lost their chrome trim and sharp appearance, the arrival of the W113 Pagoda in 1963 saw them further buried into the trunk’s contour, and finally disappeared on the W100 600 in 1964. The upgrade of the W111 began under the leadership of designer Paul Bracq in 1961 and ended in 1963. Although the fins’ departure was the most visible change, the W108 compared to the W111 had a lower body waist line that increased the window area, (the windscreen was 17 percent larger than W111). The cars had a lower ride (a decrease by 60 mm) and wider doors (+15 mm). The result was a visibly new car with a more sleek appearance and an open and spacious interior. The suspension system featured a reinforced rear axle with hydropneumatic compensating spring. The car sat on larger wheels (14”) and had disc brakes on front and rear. The W109 was identical to the W108, but featured an extended wheelbase of 115 mm (4.5 in) and self-levelling air suspension. This was seen as a successor to the W112 300SEL that was originally intended as an interim car between the 300 “Adenauer” (W189) and the 600 (W100) limousines. However, its success as “premium flagship” convinced Daimler to add an LWB car to the model range. From that moment on, all future S-Class models would feature a LWB line. Although the W108 succeeded the W111 as a premium range full-size car, it did not replace it. Production of the W111 continued, however the 230S was now downgraded to the mid-range series, the Mercedes-Benz W110, and marketed as a flagship of that family until their production ceased in 1968. The W108 is popular with collectors and the most desirable models to collect are the early floor shift models with the classic round gear knob and the 300 SEL’s. The car was premièred at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1965. The initial model lineup consisted of three W108s: 250S, 250SE, and 300SE, as well as a sole W109, the 300SEL. Engines for the new car were carried over from the previous generation, but enlarged and refined. The 250S was the entry-level vehicle fitted with a 2496 cm³ Straight-six M108 engine, with two dual downdraft carburettors, delivering 130 bhp at 5400 rpm which accelerated the car to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 13 seconds (14 on automatic transmission) and gave a top speed of 182 km/h (177 on auto). The 250SE featured an identical straight-six, but with a six-plunger fuel injection (designated M129) with performance improved to 150 bhp at 5500 rpm, which decreased 0-100 acceleration by one second and increased top speed by 11 km/h (7 mph) for both manual and automatic versions. Both the 300SE and 300SEL came with the M189 2996 cm³ engine, originally developed for the Adenauers. It had a modern six-plunger pump that adjusted automatically to accelerator pedal pressure, engine speed, atmospheric pressure, and cooling water temperature, to deliver the proper mixture depending on driving conditions. Producing 170 bhp at 5,400 rpm the cars could accelerate to 200 km/h (195 km/h with automatic transmission) and reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in 12 seconds. The cylinder capacity of the three litre Mercedes engine was unchanged since 1951. From 1965 to 1967, fewer than 3,000 W109s were produced. However, approximately 130,000 of the less powerful 250 S/SE models were built during the first two years of the W108/109’s existence. By 1967 the fuel consumption of the 3 litre unit in this application was becoming increasingly uncompetitive. During the winter of 1967/1968 Daimler launched its new generation family of vehicles, called Stroke eight for the model year. The headline was the new W114 and W115 family, built on a new chassis, but the existing models were given an upgrade with a single engine, the 2778 cc M130. The W108 now included 280S and 280SE, with production starting in November 1967. These replaced the 250S, 250SE and 300SE, however production of export-designated 250S would continue until March 1969. For the W109, the 300SEL finally retired the M189 engine, and received the 280Se’s 2.8 M130. In January 1968, the model line was joined by yet another car, the 280SEL. The car had the longer wheelbase of the W109, but lacked the pneumatic suspension and other features of the 300SEL. Hence the chassis code remained W108. Performance on the cars improved. On the 280S the two downdraft carburettors produced 140 hp and could push the car to 185 km/h (180 on auto), whilst 0-100 was done in 12.5 seconds. The fuel-injected delivered 160 hp, and featured a new pump which was not affected by temperature or altitude. Thanks to the air oil filter and better arrangement of cylinders, cooling and hence economy improved. Performance of the 280SE, 280SEL and 300SEL was all but identical, a top speed of 190 km/h (185 on auto) and a 0-100 acceleration in 10.5 seconds for the W108s, the W109 due to its larger weight, took slightly longer, 12.2 seconds. Back in 1964, Mercedes-Benz launched its top-range W100 limousine which featured an OHC 6.3 litre V8 engine. However the hand-assembly of the limousine and its very high price limited the sale of the car, whilst the size and weight affected performance. In 1966 company engineer Erich Waxenberger transplanted a big V8 into a standard W109, creating the first Mercedes-Benz muscle car and Q-car. Despite the large size of the W109, the automaker claimed 0-62 mph (0–100 km/h) time of 6.6 seconds. Full-scale production began in December 1967. Claimed as the fastest production sedan (top speed of 220 km/h), the 300SEL 6.3, held this title for many years. West Germany’s stringently applied trade description laws and figures resulted in these figures being under quoted. The 6.3 also introduced a new numbering scheme, whereby the model name described the parent model and the engine displacement was separate. This nomenclature was used by Mercedes-Benz until the introduction of the class system in 1993. The 300SEL 6.3 was a special model and production of the fuel-thirsty M100 engines was limited. As new models were being developed the export markets had to be considered, and the United States in particular. The American car production by the late 1960s has largely switched to V8 powered cars, and Mercedes-Benz had to produce its own eight-cylinder engine to stay competitive. The new engines arrived in late 1969. The first was the 200 hp M116 3499 cc V8 with Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection, and was shown fitted to the W109 on the Frankfurt Auto Show. The car was christened the 300SEL 3.5. Its performance included a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) and 0–100 km/h in 10 seconds. During summer of 1970, the M116 was added to the W108 lineup on both regular and LWB, the 280SE 3.5 and the 280SEL 3.5 respectively. The next year saw the 2-door W111s and the W113 Pagoda roadsters being phased out of production. This left the W108 and W109 as the sole survivors of the ageing family. However the arrival of the big-block 4520 cc 225 hp M117 engine allowed for a final set of vehicles to be launched in the spring of 1971, the W108 280SE 4.5 and 280SEL 4.5 and the W109 300SEL 4.5. This, was destined solely for the US market. Performance improved, top speed – 205 km/h, 0-100 – 9.5 seconds. However, as the mainstream V8 models were being introduced, production was already drawing to a close. The straight-six 300SEL was finished in January 1970, and in April 1971 the 280SEL followed. The 280SE 3.5 and 280SEL W108s were retired in summer of 1972. In September the last 300SEL 3.5 and the 6.3 rolled off the conveyors. A month later, the final 300SEL 4.5 ended the W109’s output, and in November saw the final models of the W108 280SE and 280SEL 4.5s end a seven-year history.
Contemporary with these cars was the W113 “Pagoda” and there were examples of this here. By 1955, Mercedes-Benz Technical Director Prof. Fritz Nallinger and his team held no illusions regarding the 190 SL’s lack of performance, while the high price tag of the legendary 300 SL supercar kept it elusive for all but the most affluent buyers. Thus Mercedes-Benz started evolving the 190 SL on a new platform, model code W127, with a fuel-injected 2.2 litre M127 inline-six engine, internally denoted as 220SL. Encouraged by positive test results, Nallinger proposed that the 220SL be placed in the Mercedes-Benz program, with production commencing in July 1957. However, while technical difficulties kept postponing the production start of the W127, the emerging new S-Class W112 platform introduced novel body manufacturing technology altogether. So in 1960, Nallinger eventually proposed to develop a completely new 220SL design, based on the “fintail” W 111 sedan platform with its chassis shortened by 11.8 in, and technology from the W112. This led to the W113 platform, with an improved fuel-injected 2.3 litre M127 inline-six engine and the distinctive “pagoda” hardtop roof, designated as 230 SL. The 230 SL made its debut at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show in March 1963, where Nallinger introduced it as follows: “It was our aim to create a very safe and fast sports car with high performance, which despite its sports characteristics, provides a very high degree of travelling comfort”. The W113 was the first sports car with a “safety body,” based on Bela Barényi’s extensive work on vehicle safety: It had a rigid passenger cell and designated crumple zones with impact-absorbing front and rear sections built into the vehicle structure. The interior was “rounded,” with all hard corners and edges removed, as in the W111 sedan. Production of the 230 SL commenced in June 1963 and ended on 5 January 1967. Its chassis was based on the W 111 sedan platform, with a reduced wheelbase by 11.8 in, recirculating ball steering (with optional power steering), double wishbone front suspension and an independent single-joint, low-pivot swing rear-axle with transverse compensator spring. The dual-circuit brake system had front disc brakes and power-assisted rear drum brakes. The 230 SL was offered with a 4-speed manual transmission, or an optional, very responsive fluid coupled (no torque converter) 4-speed automatic transmission, which was popular for US models. From May 1966, the ZF S5-20 5-speed manual transmission was available as an additional option, which was particularly popular in Italy. The 2,308 cc M127.II inline-six engine with 150 hp and 145 lb/ft torque was based on Mercedes-Benz’ venerable M180 inline-six with four main bearings and mechanical Bosch multi-port fuel injection. Mercedes-Benz made a number of modifications to boost its power, including increasing displacement from 2,197 cc, and using a completely new cylinder head with a higher compression ratio (9.3 vs. 8.7), enlarged valves and a modified camshaft. A fuel injection pump with six plungers instead of two was fitted, which allowed placing the nozzles in the cylinder head and “shooting” the fuel through the intake manifold and open valves directly into the combustion chambers. An optional oil-water heat exchanger was also available. Of the 19,831 230 SLs produced, less than a quarter were sold in the US. Looking identical, the 250 SL was introduced at the 1967 Geneva Motor Show. Production had already commenced in December 1966 and ended in January 1968. The short one-year production run makes the 250 SL the rarest of the W113 series cars. The 250 SL retained the stiffer suspension and sportier feel of the early SLs, but provided improved agility with a new engine and rear disc brakes. Range also improved with increased fuel tank capacity from 65 litres to 82. Like its predecessor, the 250 SL was offered with a 4-speed automatic transmission, and 4-speed or ZF 5-speed manual transmissions. For the first time, an optional limited slip differential was also available. The main change was the use of the 2,496 cc M129.II engine with a larger stroke, increased valve ports, and seven main bearings instead of four. The nominal maximum power remained unchanged at 150 hp, but torque improved from 145 lb/ft to 159 lb/ft. Resiliency also improved with a new cooling water tank (“round top”) with increased capacity and a standard oil-water heat exchanger. The 250 SL also marked the introduction of a 2+2 body style, the so-called “California Coupé”, which had only the removable hardtop and no soft-top: a small fold-down rear bench seat replaced the soft-top well between passenger compartment and boot. It is estimated that only 10% of the 250SLs that were brought into America were California Coupes. Of the 5,196 250 SLs produced, more than a third were sold in the US.The 280 SL was introduced in December 1967 and continued in production through 23 February 1971, when the W 113 was replaced by its successor, the entirely new and substantially heavier R107 350 SL. The main change was an upgrade to the 2,778 cc M130 engine with 170 hp and 180 lb/ft, which finally gave the W 113 adequate power. The performance improvement was achieved by increasing bore by 4.5 mm which stretched the limits of the M180 block, and required pairwise cylinder casts without cooling water passages. This mandated an oil-cooler, which was fitted vertically next to the radiator. Each engine was now bench-tested for two hours prior to being fitted, so their power specification was guaranteed at last. The M130 marked the final evolution of Mercedes-Benz’ venerable SOHC M180 inline-six, before it was superseded by the entirely new DOHC M110 inline-six introduced with R107 1974 European 280 SL models. For some time, it was also used in the W109 300 S-Class, where it retired the expensive 3 liter M189 alloy inline-six. Over the years, the W 113 evolved from a sports car into a comfortable grand tourer, and US models were by then usually equipped with the 4-speed automatic transmission and air conditioning. Manual transmission models came with the standard 4-speed or the optional ZF 5-speed, which was ordered only 882 times and thus is a highly sought-after original option today. In Europe, manual transmissions without air conditioning were still the predominant choice. Of the 23,885 280 SLs produced, more than half were sold in the US.
With prices of the classic Pagoda model having risen to unaffordable for most people attention has started to switch to it successor, the R107 SL range, which had a long production life, being the second longest single series ever produced by the automaker, after the G-Class. The R107 and C107 took the chassis components of the mid-size Mercedes-Benz W114 model and mated them initially to the M116 and M117 V8 engines used in the W108, W109 and W111 series. The SL variant was a 2-seat convertible/roadster with standard soft top and optional hardtop and optional folding seats for the rear bench. The SLC (C107) derivative was a 2-door hardtop coupe with normal rear seats. The SLC is commonly referred to as an ‘SL coupe’, and this was the first time that Mercedes-Benz had based a coupe on an SL roadster platform rather than on a saloon, replacing the former saloon-based 280/300 SE coupé in Mercedes lineup. The SLC was replaced earlier than the SL, with the model run ending in 1981, with a much larger model, the 380 SEC and 500SEC based on the new S class. Volume production of the first R107 car, the 350 SL, started in April 1971 alongside the last of the W113 cars; the 350 SLC followed in October. The early 1971 350SL are very rare and were available with an optional 4 speed fluid coupling automatic gearbox. In addition, the rare 1971 cars were fitted with Bosch electronic fuel injection. Sales in North America began in 1972, and cars wore the name 350 SL, but had a larger 4.5L V8 with 3 speed auto (and were renamed 450 SL for model year 1973); the big V8 became available on other markets with the official introduction of the 450 SL/SLC on non-North American markets in March 1973. US cars sold from 1972 through 1975 used the Bosch D Jetronic fuel injection system, an early electronic engine management system. From July 1974 both SL and SLC could also be ordered with a fuel-injected 2.8L straight-6 as 280 SL and SLC. US models sold from 1976 through 1979 used the Bosch K Jetronic system, an entirely mechanical fuel injection system. All US models used the 4.5 litre engine, and were called 450 SL/SLC. In September 1977 the 450 SLC 5.0 joined the line. This was a homologation version of the big coupé, featuring a new all-aluminium five-litre V8, aluminium alloy bonnet and boot-lid, and a black rubber rear spoiler, along with a small front-lip spoiler. The 450SLC 5.0 was produced in order to homologate the SLC for the 1978 World Rally Championship. Starting in 1980, the 350, 450 and 450 SLC 5.0 models (like the 350 and 450 SL) were discontinued in 1980 with the introduction of the 380 and 500 SLC in March 1980. At the same time, the cars received a very mild makeover; the 3-speed automatic was replaced by a four-speed unit, returning to where the R107 started in 1971 with the optional 4 speed automatic 350SL. The 280, 380 and 500 SLC were discontinued in 1981 with the introduction of the W126 series 380 and 500 SEC coupes. A total of 62,888 SLCs had been manufactured over a ten-year period of which just 1,636 were the 450 SLC-5.0 and 1,133 were the 500 SLC. Both these models are sought by collectors today. With the exception of the SL65 AMG Black Series, the SLC remains the only fixed roof Mercedes-Benz coupe based on a roadster rather than a sedan. Following the discontinuation of the SLC in September 1981, the 107 series continued initially as the 280, 380 and 500 SL. At this time, the V8 engines were re-tuned for greater efficiency, lost a few hp and consumed less fuel- this largely due to substantially higher (numerically lower) axle ratios that went from 3.27:1 to 2.47:1 for the 380 SL and from 2.72:1 to 2.27:1 for the 500 SL. From September 1985 the 280 SL was replaced by a new 300 SL, and the 380 SL by a 420 SL; the 500 SL continued and a 560 SL was introduced for certain extra-European markets, notably the USA, Australia and Japan. Also in 1985, the Bosch KE Jetronic was fitted. The KE Jetronic system varied from the earlier, all mechanical system by the introduction of a more modern engine management “computer”, which controlled idle speed, fuel rate, and air/fuel mixture. The final car of the 18 years running 107 series was a 500 SL painted Signal red, built on August 4, 1989; it currently resides in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart.
Also here was the follow-on model, the R129 SL. Designed in 1984, and launched in 1989, the R129 was based on the shortened floorpan of the Mercedes-Benz W124 and featured many innovative details for the time, for instance electronically controlled damping (Adaptive Damping System ADS, optional) and a hidden, automatically extending roll-over bar. The R107’s somewhat dated rear suspension with semi-trailing arms gave way to a modern multi-link axle. The number of standard features was high, with electric action for the windows, mirrors, seats and hydraulic convertible top. This car has the distinction of being the first passenger vehicle to have seat belts integrated into the seats as opposed to anchoring to the floor, B-pillar, and transmission tunnel. Initially, there were three different engines available: 300 SL with a M103 3.0 L 12-valve SOHC I6 (188 bhp), a 300 SL-24 with a M104 3.0 L 24-valve DOHC I6 (228 bhp) and the 500 SL with a M119 5.0 L 32-valve DOHC V8 (322 bhp) . These were joined in July 1992 by the 600 SL with a M120 6.0 L 48-valve DOHC V12 (389 bhp). There was a choice of 5-speed manual or 4–5 speed automatic for the six-cylinder cars; the V8 and V12 could only be ordered with a 4-speed automatic gearbox. In autumn 1993 Mercedes-Benz rearranged names and models. Also, the 300 SL and 300 SL-24 were respectively replaced by: SL 280 with a M104 2.8 L 24-valve DOHC I6 (190 bhp) and the SL 320 with a M104 3.2 L 24-valve DOHC I6 (228 bhp). Only the 280 was available with a manual gearbox. SL 500 and 600 continued with their respective engines.Starting in 1993, the cars were re-designated. For example, 500 SL became SL 500. Starting in model year 1994, Mercedes-Benz offered special SL models from time to time, such as the Mille Miglia edition cars of model year 1994 or the SL edition of model year 2000. 1994 cars had minor updates for the car and then in 1995 there was a minor facelift for the car, with the front fender vents updated to only 2 rounded slots, rather than 3 squared slots, and bumpers in body colour. The V8 and V12s were upgraded to 5 speed electronic transmission, the previous transmission was hydraulic 4-speed. A second facelift occurred in 1998 with many detailed changes applied, including new external mirrors, 17″ wheels and new bumpers. Also new were the engines, a SL 280 with a M112 2.8 L 18-valve SOHC V6 (201 bhp); SL 320 with a M112 3.2 L 18-valve SOHC V6 (221 bhp) and a SL 500 with a M113 5.0 L 24-valve SOHC V8 (302 bhp). The V12 engine remained unchanged. The car was replaced by the R230 generation SL in 2001, after 213,089 had been built.
Also here was a W126-generation S Class. This premiered in September 1979 at the Frankfurt IAA Show, with sales starting in Europe in March 1980 and October 1980 for the UK. Following the debut of the 1970s generation W116 (which also included the limited-production Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9), Mercedes-Benz began plans for the next-generation S-Class model in October 1973. Codenamed “project W126,” the project aimed to provide an improved ride, better handling, and improved fuel efficiency, to help retain the model’s marketing position. Mercedes-Benz made fuel efficiency a goal (named “Energy Program”), in the large V8 engined versions of the S-Class. The W126 design team, led by Mercedes-Benz’s Bruno Sacco, sought to produce a car that was more aerodynamic than the previous model. The application of lighter materials and alloys combined with thorough wind tunnel testing to reduce overall drag meant the car consumed about 10% less fuel than its predecessor. The W126 featured the first seatbelt pretensioners. After six years of development, the W126 was introduced at the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (International Motor Show, or IAA) in Frankfurt on September 1979. The initial rsnge featured seven models in standard (S S-KLasse-Vergaser, SE S-Klasse-Einspritzmotor, SD S-Klasse-Diesel) and long (SEL, SDL) wheelbase sedan body styles: the 280 S/SE/SEL, 380 SE/SEL, 500 SE/SEL and 300 SD. The long-wheelbase (SEL) variants were internally codenamed V126. In 1981, the coupé version C126 (SEC, acronym for S-Klasse-Einspritzmotor-Coupé) of the W126 S-Class premiered at the IAA with the 500 SEC model. In 1981, Wheels Magazine selected the W126 model 380 SE as its Car of the Year. Although the top of range Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 of the previous generation was not directly replaced, the W126 carried forward the hydropneumatic suspension of the 6.9 as an option on the 500 SEL and later on 420 SEL and 560 SEL models. Four years after the introduction of the fuel-efficiency “Energieskonzept” (Energy Concept) in 1981, the model range was extensively revised. In September 1985, again at the IAA in Frankfurt, the revised model range was introduced. Apart from visual changes to the bumpers, side covers and larger 15-inch wheels with a new design on the hubcaps and alloys (optional), there where technical upgrades as well as revised engines availabe. A new generation of inline-six petrol and diesel engines and new 4.2- and 5.5-litre V8s were added, and other engines were revised. The W126 generation was replaced by the W140 in 1991. Over the twelve years,1979-1991, W126 S-Class production reached 892,123 — including 818,063 sedans and 74,060 coupés.
Oldest MG here was this one-off K3 model on the Old Racing Car company stand. Known as the Reg Parnell MG, it was built using an MG K3 Magnette, with a 1.1 litre supercharged 6 cylinder engine and was raced by him in 1935 and 1936. The car was upgraded to a twin-cam engine. Reginald Parnell competed in seven Formula One championship races and scored 9 championship points. He went on to be the manager of the Aston Martin racing programme, and in 1959 he guided the team to a one-two finish at Le Mans with drivers Roy Salvadori, Carroll Shelby, Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frere.
The post-war TC sports car – a continuation of a model announced just before the start of hostilities – proved particularly popular with Americans who took the majority of production. It was replaced in 1950 by the TD, which combined the TC’s drivetrain, a modified hypoid-geared rear axle, the MG Y-type chassis, a familiar T-type style body and independent suspension using coil springs from the MG Y-type saloon. A 1950 road-test report described as “most striking” the resulting “transformation … in the comfort of riding”. Also lifted from the company’s successful 1¼-litre YA saloon for the TD was the (still highly geared) rack and pinion steering. In addition the TD featured smaller 15-inch disc type road wheels, a left-hand drive option and standard equipment bumpers and over-riders. The car was also 5 inches wider with a track of 50 inches. For the driver the “all-weather protection” was good by the standards of the time. For night driving, instrument illumination was “effective but not dazzling, by a pale green lighting effect”. There was still no fuel gauge, but the 12 gallon tank capacity gave a range between refuelling stops of about 300 miles and a green light on the facia flashed a “warning” when the fuel level was down to about 2½ gallons. In 1950 the TD MkII Competition Model was introduced, produced alongside the standard car, with a more highly tuned engine using an 8.1:1 compression ratio giving 57 bhp at 5,500 rpm. The higher compression ratio engine was offered with export markets in mind, and would not have been suitable for the UK, where thanks to the continued operation of wartime fuel restrictions, buyers were still limited to 72 octane “Pool petrol”. The TD MkII also featured twin fuel pumps, additional Andrex dampers, and a higher ratio rear-axle. Nearly 30,000 TDs had been produced, including about 1700 Mk II models, when the series ended in 1953 with all but 1656 exported, 23,488 of them to the US alone.
This is a well-known MGA Twin Cam race car, known as the Ted Lund MGA. In stark contrast to the pushrod MGA’s introduction in prototype form at Le Mans in 1955, the Twin Cam never enjoyed full official factory support at the classic French race. A special Twin Cam road race car was built under the factory code name EX186, but was never used in competition. The car hung around the factory for a few years, then was suddenly packed up and shipped to the U.S. EX186 still exists and is currently being restored to its original condition, but to my knowledge it has never participated in a major race. No factory sponsored MGAs raced in the 1956-58 period, and it was only through the efforts of the MG Car Club’s Northwest Centre that the type returned in 1959. Members of the Northwest Centre, keen to see an MGA back at Le Mans, contacted John Thornley and convinced him to support an effort. The Twin Cam roadster Abingdon prepared for the event was not significantly removed from the standard road going car of that period. The engine was specially prepared but produced little more power than a standard engine. An under-shield was fitted, a long range fuel tank was installed and other necessary modifications were made for the gruelling race. The 1959 Le Mans team consisted of the one MGA, a dozen car club volunteers, mechanic Henry Stone who took a vacation from his job in MG’s experimental shop to participate and the drivers Ted Lund and Colin Escott, both of whom had raced MGs previously. Despite the amateur nature of the team, they ran extremely well up until the eighteenth hour when Colin Escott struck a large dog on the Mulsanne straight. Damage resulting from the impact caused a restriction of airflow to the engine and gearbox which ultimately led to overheating and a seized gearbox. What started as a promising performance, ended as a disappointing failure. The team decided to run again in 1960, so once more the car was prepared. This time, the body was rebuilt into a fastback coupe under the direction of Don Hayter from the Abingdon Design Office. The body was hurriedly constructed at Bodies Branch and employed pop rivets to hold all the panels together. Despite this questionable construction technique, the car’s exterior is beautifully smooth in the best Abingdon tradition. The engine was bored out to 1762cc and other work was done to ensure reliability, but once again the car’s basic mechanical specification bore a strong resemblance to a standard car. Things went well in 1960, the Twin Cam finished first in class and 13th overall. Among the cars beaten by the MG were a team of three experimental Triumph Twin Cams which despite a 200cc displacement advantage, couldn’t keep up with the MG. The MGA Twin Cam went out of production in 1960, but the Northwest Centre team returned to Le Mans for one last try in 1961. To improve streamlining and provide more downforce, a special nose was built for the car. The traditional MG grille was discarded and the headlight locations moved back along the fenders. With the promise of another good performance ahead the Twin Cam started the ’61 race and within two hours came to rest, the victim of a broken rod bolt. SRX 210 never ran again at Le Mans, instead it “retired” to the club circuits of England where it put up creditable performances until its overall weight (the car was built for reliability, not pure speed) made it uncompetitive against the current crop of super-lightweight roadsters. Although some accounts tell that no effort was spared to lighten the car, this is not true. Certain components of the rolling chassis have been drilled until there is little left, but the basic frame and its superstructure were never touched. Considering how overbuilt the MGA frame has proven, I think they could well have taken a great deal of weight out of the frame without ill effects. The coupe body and extra racing equipment more than made up for any weight saved by drilling the floorboard mounting rails.
Another unusual MG, this is a 1959 Milano, one of three built. Offered for sale by auction, this is the first Milano MG built by Bruce Leer in 1959 using a Ferrari Monza styled open top Milano coachwork on an MG J2 chassis. The Milano body was constructed by renowned specialists JWF Glass-Fibre Industries (Australia). Ian Johnson was the J in JWF and joint owner with Bruce Leer. A TC engine running twin 1.5 inch SUs was used for power, driving a close ratio MG TC gearbox, TC diff housing with a modified A series diff centre. The Milano MG made its first competition appearance early in 1960 at Enoo Blass circuit at Orange. By 1961 the Milano MG held the under 1500cc lap record at Warwick Farm, and had bettered a top speed of 107 mph recorded on Con Rod Straight at Bathurst, and is reported to have achieved 120mph at Orange.
As one of Britain’s most popular classic cars, it was no surprise to find several examples of the MGB here, with cars from throughout the model’s long life, both in Roadster and MGB GT guise, as well as one of the short-lived V8 engined cars. Launched in October 1962, this car was produced for the next 18 years and it went on to become Britain’s best selling sports car. When first announced, the MGB was an innovative, modern design, with a monocoque structure instead of the traditional body-on-frame construction used on both the MGA and MG T-types and the MGB’s rival, the Triumph TR series, though components such as the brakes and suspension were developments of the earlier 1955 MGA and the B-Series engine had its origins back in 1947. The lightweight design reduced manufacturing costs while adding to overall vehicle strength, and with a 95hp 3-bearing 1798cc engine under the bonnet, performance was quite respectable with a 0–60 mph time of just over 11 seconds. The car was rather more civilised than its predecessor, with wind-up windows now fitted as standard, and a comfortable driver’s compartment offered plenty of legroom. The roadster was the first of the MGB range to be produced. The body was a pure two-seater but a small rear seat was a rare option at one point. By making better use of space the MGB was able to offer more passenger and luggage accommodation than the earlier MGA while being 3 inches shorter overall. The suspension was also softer, giving a smoother ride, and the larger engine gave a slightly higher top speed. The four-speed gearbox was an uprated version of the one used in the MGA with an optional (electrically activated) overdrive transmission. A five-bearing engine was introduced in 1964 and a number of other modifications crept into the specification. In late 1967, sufficient changes were introduced for the factory to define a Mark II model. Alterations included synchromesh on all 4 gears with revised ratios, an optional Borg-Warner automatic gearbox, a new rear axle, and an alternator in place of the dynamo with a change to a negative earth system. To accommodate the new gearboxes there were significant changes to the sheet metal in the floorpan, and a new flat-topped transmission tunnel. US market cars got a new safety padded dashboard, but the steel item continued for the rest of the world. Rostyle wheels were introduced to replace the previous pressed steel versions in 1969 and reclining seats were standardised. 1970 also saw a new front grille, recessed, in black aluminium. The more traditional-looking polished grille returned in 1973 with a black “honeycomb” insert. Further changes in 1972 were to the interior with a new fascia. To meet impact regulations, in late 1974, the chrome bumpers were replaced with new, steel-reinforced black rubber bumpers, the one at the front incorporating the grille area as well, giving a major restyling to the B’s nose, and a matching rear bumper completed the change. New US headlight height regulations also meant that the headlamps were now too low. Rather than redesign the front of the car, British Leyland raised the car’s suspension by 1-inch. This, in combination with the new, far heavier bumpers resulted in significantly poorer handling. For the 1975 model year only, the front anti-roll bar was deleted as a cost-saving measure (though still available as an option). The damage done by the British Leyland response to US legislation was partially alleviated by revisions to the suspension geometry in 1977, when a rear anti-roll bar was made standard equipment on all models. US emissions regulations also reduced horsepower. In March 1979 British Leyland started the production of black painted limited edition MGB roadsters for the US market, meant for a total of 500 examples. Due to a high demand of the limited edition model, production ended with 6682 examples. The United Kingdom received bronze painted roadsters and a silver GT model limited editions. The production run of home market limited edition MGBs was split between 421 roadsters and 579 GTs. Meanwhile, the fixed-roof MGB GT had been introduced in October 1965, and production continued until 1980, although export to the US ceased in 1974. The MGB GT sported a ground-breaking greenhouse designed by Pininfarina and launched the sporty “hatchback” style. By combining the sloping rear window with the rear deck lid, the B GT offered the utility of a station wagon while retaining the style and shape of a coupe. This new configuration was a 2+2 design with a right-angled rear bench seat and far more luggage space than in the roadster. Relatively few components differed, although the MGB GT did receive different suspension springs and anti-roll bars and a different windscreen which was more easily and inexpensively serviceable. Although acceleration of the GT was slightly slower than that of the roadster, owing to its increased weight, top speed improved by 5 mph to 105 mph because of better aerodynamics. 523,826 examples of the MGB of all model types were built, and although many of these were initially sold new in North America, a lot have been repatriated here.
Sitting alongside the MGB in the MG range was the smaller Midget, and there was an early model here. The 1961 Midget resurrected the name that was used by MG for their smallest car, the M Type, in the late 20s, was the Midget announced in 1961, and was essentially a slightly more expensive badge-engineered version of the MkII Austin-Healey Sprite. The original ‘Frogeye’ Sprite had been introduced specifically to fill the gap in the market left by the end of production of the MG T-type Midget as its replacement, the MGA had been a significantly larger and more expensive car with greater performance. Many existing MG enthusiast and buyers turned to the Sprite to provide a modern low-cost sports car and so a badge-engineered MG version reusing the Midget name made sense. The new Midget differed from the Sprite only in its grille design, badging, colour options and having both leather seats and more external chrome trim as standard to justify its higher purchase price. Mechanically the car was identical to its Austin-Healey counterpart, retaining the rear suspension using quarter-elliptic leaf springs and trailing arms from the ‘Frogeye’. The engine was initially a 948 cc A-Series with twin SU carburettors producing 46 hp at 5500 rpm and 53 lb/ft at 3000 rpm. Brakes were 7″ drums all round. A hard top, heater, radio and luggage rack were available as factory-fitted extras. In October 1962 the engine was increased to 1098 cc, raising the output to 56 hp at 5500 rpm and 62 lb/ft at 3250 rpm, and disc brakes replaced the drums at the front. Wire spoked wheels became available. The doors had no external handles or locks and the windows were sliding Perspex side-screens. A heater was still an optional extra. The car sold well, with 16,080 of the small-engined version and 9601 of the 1098 being made before the arrival in 1964 of the Mark II. Externally the main changes were to the doors, which gained wind-up windows, swivelling quarter lights, external handles and separate locks. The windscreen also gained a slight curvature and was retained in a more substantial frame. The hood, though modified, continued to have a removable frame that had to be erected before the cover was put on. The rear springs were replaced by more conventional semi-elliptic types which gave a better ride. The engine block was strengthened and larger main bearings were fitted, increasing the power to 59 hp at 5750 rpm and torque to 65 lbf·ft at 3500 rpm. A total of 26,601 were made. 1967 saw the arrival of the Mark III. The engine now grew to 1275 cc using the development seen on the Mini-Cooper ‘S’. Enthusiasts were disappointed that this was a detuned version of the 76-bhp Cooper ‘S’ engine, giving only 65 hp at 6000 rpm and 72 lbf·ft at 3000 rpm. A reduced compression ratio of 8.8:1 was used instead of the 9.75:1 employed on the Cooper S engine. The Midget used the 12G940 cylinder head casting that was common to other BMC 1300 cars, whereas the Cooper ‘S’ had a special head with not only larger inlet, but also larger exhaust valves; however, these exhaust valves caused many ‘S’ heads to fail through cracking between the valve seats. The detuned engine was used for reasons of model range placement – with the Cooper ‘S’ spec engine, the Midget would have been faster than the more expensive MGB. The hydraulic system gained a separate master cylinder for the clutch. The hood was now permanently attached to the car, with an improved mechanism making it much easier to use. Minor facelift changes were made to the body trim in late 1969 with the sills painted black, a revised recessed black grille, and squared off taillights as on the MGB. The 13″ “Rostyle” wheels were standardised, but wire-spoked ones remained an option. The square-shaped rear wheel arches became rounded in January 1972 and later that year a Triumph steering rack was fitted, giving a gearing that was somewhat lower than earlier Midgets. A second exhaust silencer was also added in 1972. Alternators were fitted instead of dynamos from 1973 onwards. Many consider the round-arch Midgets with chrome bumpers produced for model years 1972 and 1974 to be the most desirable. These round-arch cars started leaving the Abingdon factory in late 1971. Between 1966 and the 1969 face lift, 22,415 were made, and a further 77,831 up to 1974.
In advance of the all-new MX5 rival that was still some way off production, MG decided to re-enter the open topped sports car market in 1992 when they launched the MGR V8, which combined new body panels with the standard MGB body shell to create an updated MGB model. The suspension was only slightly updated, sharing the leaf spring rear of the MGB. The boot lid and doors were shared with the original car, as were the rear drum brakes. The engine was the 3.9-litre version of the aluminium Rover V8, similar to the one previously used in the MGB GT V8. A limited-slip differential was also fitted. The interior featured veneered burr elm woodwork and Connolly Leather. The engine produced 190 bhp at 4,750 rpm, achieving 0–60 mph in 5.9 seconds, which was fast but largely due to the rear drum brakes and rear leaf springs, the RV8 was not popular with road testers at the time. A large proportion of the limited production went to Japan – 1579 of the 2000 produced. Only 330 RV8s were sold initially in the UK, but several hundred (possibly as many as 700) of these cars were re-imported back to the UK and also Australia between 2000–2010 with a peak number of 485 registered at the DVLA in the UK.
In 1969, now under the ownership of British Leyland, the Mini was given a facelift by stylist Roy Haynes, who had previously worked for Ford. The restyled version was called the Mini Clubman, and had a squarer frontal look, using the same indicator/sidelight assembly as the Austin Maxi. The Mini Clubman was intended to replace the upmarket Riley and Wolseley versions, and a new model, dubbed the 1275 GT, was slated as the replacement for the 998 cc Mini Cooper, the 1,275 cc Mini Cooper S continuing alongside the 1275 GT years until 1971. The Clubman Estate replaced the Countryman and Traveller. The original “round-front” design remained in production alongside the Clubman and 1275 GT. Production of the Clubman and 1275 GT got off to a slow start because the cars incorporated “lots of production changes” including the relocation of tooling from the manufacturer’s Cowley plant to the Longbridge plant: very few cars were handed over to customers before the early months of 1970. The 1275 GT is often incorrectly described as the “Mini Clubman 1275 GT”. The official name was always just the “Mini 1275 GT”, and it was a separate, distinct model from the Clubman (although it shared the same frontal treatment as the Mini Clubman, and was launched at the same time). It had the 1275cc A Series unit and a 4 speed gearbox, as well as larger wheels. It was also deleted in the autumn of 1980. Although moderately popular when new, it is now seen as something of a poor substitute for the Cooper models, and the survival rate is pretty low, so you don’t see them that often. Classic Mini Finder sold one of the Mini 1275GTs at the 2017 show for a world record price of £30,500.
The Mini was the model that refused to die, with sales continuing after the launch of the Metro in 1980, and gathering momentum again in the 1990s, thanks in no small part to interest from Japan and because Rover Group decided to produce some more Cooper models. The first series of Cooper cars had been discontinued in 1971, replaced by the cheaper to build 1275GT, but when a limited edition model was produced in 1990, complete with full endorsement from John Cooper, the model was a sell out almost overnight, which prompted the decision to make it a permanent addition to the range. A number of refinements were made during the 90s, with fuel injection adding more power, a front mounted radiator and more sound deadening making the car quieter and new seats adding more comfort and a new dash making the car look less spartan inside
There were also a couple of examples of the Moke here. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and John Sheppard, the Mini Moke is noted for its simple, straightforward, doorless design, and its adaptability. Originally prototyped as a lightweight military vehicle using the engine, transmission and suspension parts from the Mini van, the design’s small wheels and low ground clearance made it unsuitable as an off road military vehicle. The design was subsequently offered in civilian form as a low-cost, easily maintained vehicle, achieving global popularity as a lightweight, recreational and utility vehicle. The first Mokes were manufactured at BMC’s Longbridge, Birmingham plant, with 14,518 produced in the UK between 1964 and 1968. 26,000 were manufactured in Australia between 1966 and 1981, and 10,000 in Portugal between 1980 and 1993 when production ended.
Perhaps the best loved of all Peugeot models is the 205 GTi, and there was a nice one here. Peugeot launched their new “supermini”, the 205 in January 1983, just one day after Fiat had presented the Uno, one of the car’s principal rivals. It was an immediate hit, with smart styling and a range of engines which combined with sharp handling made it good to drive. Mindful of the success of the Golf GTi, in the class above, and how a small car with good handling could take more power, as the Mini Cooper had proved, Peugeot came up with the GTi in early 1984. The first models had a 1.6 litre XU5J engine, producing 105 PS, which was uprated in 1987 with a cylinder head with larger valves thus becoming XU5JA, which took the power output up to 115 bhp. Visually the car retained the good looks of the 3 door version of the regular models, but it featured plastic wheel arch extensions and trim, beefier front and rear bumper valances and judicious use of red badging and trim. The shell also underwent some minor changes, including larger wheel arches (to suit the larger wheels , and the suspension was redesigned and sat lower on the GTI with stiffer springs, different wishbones and a drop-linked anti-roll bar. Red was a dominant colour inside. The car was an instant hit. At the end of 1986, Peugeot followed up with a more potent model, the 1.9 GTi, whose XU9JA engine produced 128 PS. Internally the engine of this car and the 1.6 model are very similar, the main differences on 1.9 litre versions being the longer stroke, oil cooler, and some parts of the fuel injection system. The shorter stroke 1.6 litre engine is famed for being revvy and eager, while the 1.9 litre feels lazier and torquier. Outside the engine bay the main differences between the 1.6 GTi and the 1.9 GTi are half-leather seats on the 1.9 GTi vs. cloth seats and disc brakes all-round (1.9 GTi) vs. discs at the front and drum brakes at the back; as well as the 14-inch Speedline SL201 wheels on the 1.6 GTi vs. 15 inch Speedline SL299 alloys on the 1.9 GTi. The 205 is still often treated as a benchmark in group car tests of the newest GTI models or equivalent. Peugeot itself has never truly recreated this success in future GTI models, although they came very close with the highly regarded GTI-6 variant of the Peugeot 306.
Oldest of the Porsche models on display were a number of 356s, the car created by Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche (son of Dr. Ing. Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the German company), who founded the Austrian company with his sister, Louise. Like its cousin, the Volkswagen Beetle (which Ferdinand Porsche Senior had designed), the 356 was a four-cylinder, air-cooled, rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car utilising unitised pan and body construction. The chassis was a completely new design as was the 356’s body which was designed by Porsche employee Erwin Komenda, while certain mechanical components including the engine case and some suspension components were based on and initially sourced from Volkswagen. Ferry Porsche described the thinking behind the development of the 356 in an interview with the editor of Panorama, the PCA magazine, in September 1972. “….I had always driven very speedy cars. I had an Alfa Romeo, also a BMW and others. By the end of the war I had a Volkswagen Cabriolet with a supercharged engine and that was the basic idea. I saw that if you had enough power in a small car it is nicer to drive than if you have a big car which is also overpowered. And it is more fun. On this basic idea we started the first Porsche prototype. To make the car lighter, to have an engine with more horsepower…that was the first two seater that we built in Carinthia (Gmünd)”. The first 356 was road certified in Austria on June 8, 1948, and was entered in a race in Innsbruck where it won its class. Porsche re-engineered and refined the car with a focus on performance. Fewer and fewer parts were shared between Volkswagen and Porsche as the ’50’s progressed. The early 356 automobile bodies produced at Gmünd were handcrafted in aluminium, but when production moved to Zuffenhausen, Germany in 1950, models produced there were steel-bodied. Looking back, the aluminium bodied cars from that very small company are what we now would refer to as prototypes. Porsche contracted with Reutter to build the steel bodies and eventually bought the Reutter company in 1963. The Reutter company retained the seat manufacturing part of the business and changed its name to Recaro. Little noticed at its inception, mostly by a small number of auto racing enthusiasts, the first 356s sold primarily in Austria and Germany. It took Porsche two years, starting with the first prototype in 1948, to manufacture the first 50 automobiles. By the early 1950s the 356 had gained some renown among enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic for its aerodynamics, handling, and excellent build quality. The class win at Le Mans in 1951 was clearly a factor. It was always common for owners to race the car as well as drive them on the streets. They introduced the four-cam racing “Carrera” engine, a totally new design and unique to Porsche sports cars, in late 1954. Increasing success with its racing and road cars brought Porsche orders for over 10,000 units in 1964, and by the time 356 production ended in 1965 approximately 76,000 had been produced. The 356 was built in four distinct series, the original (“pre-A”), followed by the 356 A, 356 B, and then finally the 356 C. To distinguish among the major revisions of the model, 356’s are generally classified into a few major groups. 356 coupés and “cabriolets” (soft-top) built through 1955 are readily identifiable by their split (1948 to 1952) or bent (centre-creased, 1953 to 1955) windscreens. In late 1955 the 356 A appeared, with a curved windshield. The A was the first road going Porsche to offer the Carrera 4 cam engine as an option. In late 1959 the T5 356 B appeared; followed by the redesigned T6 series 356 B in 1962. The final version was the 356 C, little changed from the late T6 B cars but with disc brakes to replace the drums.
The Porsche 906 or Carrera 6 is a street-legal racing car from Porsche. It was announced in January 1966 and 50 examples were subsequently produced, thus meeting the homologation requirements of the FIA’s new Group 4 Sports Car category to the letter. The type would also compete in modified form in the Group 6 Sports Prototype class. Built as a successor to the Porsche 904, and designed under Ferdinand Piëch’s new regime at Porsche R&D, the 906 replaced the boxed steel structure of the 904 which used the fiberglass body for extra structural strength with a tubular space frame and unstressed fibreglass body. The fibreglass itself was laid up by hand, producing consistent results, instead of the uneven spraying technique used on the 904. The result was a car that weighed 580 kg (1,280 lb), approximately 113 kg (250 lb) lighter than the 904/6 (the 6-cylinder 904). The engine regularly fitted was the 901/20 6-cylinder lightweight racing engine with 220 hp and carburettors, although some examples that were raced by the factory team received fuel-injected or 8-cylinder engines, especially in hillclimbing events where Porsche competed with Ferrari Dinos for the European championship. Unlike previous racing Porsches, the 906’s body was tested in a wind tunnel, resulting in a top speed of 280 km/h (170 mph) at Le Mans, quite fast for a 2-litre engine car. At the time it showed a close resemblance to future Porsche racing cars. As in the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, gull-wing doors were fitted, and the mid-ship mounted engine was covered with a large plexiglas cover. In order to save money, spare suspension components produced in advance for a possible new series of Porsche 904 had to be used for the 906, along with big 15-inch wheels. Yet, Formula One used lighter 13-inch wheels, and Porsche had already used Team Lotus suspension parts in earlier years. The wheels were bolted on with 5 nuts as in a road car, which cost time in pitstops compared to a single central nut. To take advantage of the lighter wheels and F1 tyres, the Porsche 910 was developed and entered in mid-season of 1966, starting with the hillclimb from Sierre to Crans-Montana in Switzerland. In its debut in the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona, the Carrera 6 finished 6th overall, and won its class against Ferrari Dino 206 Ps. At the 12 Hours of Sebring, Hans Herrmann/Herbert Müller finished fourth overall and won the class, as at the 1000 km of Monza. 906s recorded class victories at the 1000 km Spa and the 1000 km Nürburgring, and Willy Mairesse/Gerhard Müller, driving a privately entered 906, secured an overall victory at the 1966 Targa Florio when the factory cars failed. At the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 906 placed 4-5-6-7 behind three Ford GT40 Mk IIs, outlasting all of the previously dominant V12-engined Ferrari Ps.
There were vast numbers of 911 models here, not surprisingly. These ranged from some of the very early models from the mid 1960s and extended through the later iterations of the 911, and then successive generations, such as the 964 and 993. As well as the road cars, reminder of the 911’s competition pedigree was provided by some of the race versions as well.
The Porsche 962 (also known as the 962C in its Group C form) is a sports-prototype racing car built by Porsche as a replacement for the 956 and designed mainly to comply with IMSA’s GTP regulations, although it would later compete in the European Group C formula as the 956 had. The 962 was introduced at the end of 1984, from which it quickly became successful through private owners while having a remarkably long-lived career, with some examples still proving competitive into the mid-1990s. The vehicle was later replaced by the Porsche WSC-95. When the Porsche 956 was developed in late 1981, the intention of Porsche was to run the car in both the World Sportscar Championship and the North American IMSA GTP Championship. However IMSA GTP regulations differed from Group C and subsequently the 956 was banned in the US series on safety grounds as the driver’s feet were ahead of the front axle centre line. To make the 956 eligible under the new IMSA regulations, Porsche extended the 956’s wheelbase to move the front wheels ahead of the pedal box. A steel roll cage was also integrated into the new aluminium chassis. For an engine, the Porsche 934-derived Type-935 2.8L flat-6 was used with air cooling and a single Kühnle, Kopp und Kausch AG K36 turbocharger instead of the twin K27 turbochargers of the Group C 956, as twin-turbo systems were not allowed in IMSA’s GTP class at the time. The newer Andial built 3.2L fuel injected flat-6 would be placed in the 962 by the middle of 1985 for IMSA GT, which made the car more competitive against Jaguar. However it would not be until 1986 that the 2.6L unit from the 956 was replaced in the World Sportscar Championship, using 2.8L, 3.0L, and 3.2L variants with dual turbochargers. The cars run under World Sportscar Championship regulations were designated as 962C to separate them from their IMSA GTP counterparts. The 3.2L unit, which had been eligible under IMSA’s Group 3 engine rules, was banned by IMSA in 1987. In 1988, to counteract against the factory Nissans and the threat of withdrawal from Porsche teams, water-cooled twin-turbo Porsche engines would be allowed back but with 36 mm restrictors. In total, Porsche would produce 91 962s between 1984 and 1991. 16 were officially used by the factory team, while 75 were sold to customers. Some 956s were rebuilt as 962s, with two being previously written off and four others simply rebuilt. Three 962s that were badly damaged were also rebuilt and had been given a new chassis number due to the extensive reconstruction.Due to the high demand for 962 parts, some aluminium chassis were built by Fabcar in the United States before being shipped to Germany for completion. Derek Bell, a 5-time Le Mans winner, drove the 962 to 21 victories between 1985 and 1987, remarked that it was “a fabulous car, but considering how thorough (Norbert) Singer (the designer of the 962 and head of Porsche’s motorsport division at the time) and the team were, it was really quite easy to drive.” Due to the sheer numbers of 962s, some teams took it upon themselves to adapt the car to better suit their needs or to remain competitive. These modifications included new bodywork for better aerodynamic efficiency, while others changed mechanical elements. Long-time Porsche campaigner Joest Racing heavily modified a pair of 962s for the IMSA GTP Championship in 1993 to better compete against Jaguar, taking the 962’s final sprint race victory (Road America) that season. Beyond minor modification, some private teams reengineered the entire car. One noted problem of the 962 was a lack of stiffness in the aluminium chassis, which lead some teams to design a new chassis, and then buy components from Porsche to complete the car. Some custom cars also had unique bodywork. Some teams would then offer their 962s to other customer teams. Among the most popular privately built 962s was that from Kremer Racing, named the “962CK6, which did away with the original aluminium sheet tub of the original Porsche chassis, replacing it with a carbon fibre tub. Eleven chassis were built, campaigned by Kremer and other teams. John Thompson designed a chassis for Brun Motorsport, eight of which were built and helped the team take second in the World Sportscar Championship in 1987. Thompson would later build two chassis for Obermaier Racing. Richard Lloyd Racing’s GTI Engineering would turn to Peter Stevens and Nigel Stroud to develop five 962C GTis, which featured entirely revised aero and aluminium honeycomb rather than sheet tubs. Former factory Porsche driver Vern Schuppan would also build five new chassis, some known as “TS962s”. In the United States, the ball got rolling when Holbert Racing began making modifications to their own chassis and rebadging them with “962 HR-” serial numbers. The search was always on for a stiffer and safer 962 monocoque and Jim Busby contracted Jim Chapman to build a more robust version of the 962 monocoque. Fabcar would become the de facto factory tub supplier, supplying chassis with official Porsche serial numbers. Fabcar incorporated changes to the factory tub, replacing the simple sheet aluminum construction with a combination of sheet aluminum and aluminum honeycomb in addition to billet aluminum bulkheads. These changes substantially increased the tub’s crashworthiness and stiffness. Dyson Racing purchased a Richard Lloyd Racing / GTi Engineering 962 monocoque for use in their Porsche 962 DR-1 chassis. A Fabcar tub was used in Dyson’s Porsche 962 DR-2. Some 962s were even more extensively modified, with several open-cockpit versions being developed in the mid-1990s to run under new sportscar regulations. Kevin Jeanette built the Gunnar 966, mimicking elements from the 917/30 Can-Am cars. Kremer Racing would once again develop their own chassis, with the open-cockpit CK7 running in Interserie and K8 running at most international sportscar races, including Le Mans and Daytona. These cars shared little with the original 962s, using custom bodywork and chassis designs, yet retaining the engine and some suspension elements. Heinz-Jörgen Dahmen converted his 962 (chassis 011) to an open-top version that he raced in the Interserie in 1995 and 1996. The car had previously been campaigned by him in the Interserie since 1990. Porsche debuted the 962 at the 1984 24 Hours of Daytona with Mario and Michael Andretti driving the factory car which led the race until it retired during lap 127 with engine and gearbox problems. The first 962 to appear at Le Mans and indeed in Europe was also in 1984 when American Preston Henn entered one in the IMSA GTP class. The car, driven by Henn, Michel Ferté and Edgar Dören, was classified in 26th position despite their race ending after 247 laps with ignition failure. For 1985, the 962C would debut in the World Sportscar Championship, but ironically the car lost to an older 956, which had already taken WEC top-honors four times. Under pressure from new cars from Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, in 1987 Porsche again brought in a new engine, a more durable and powerful 3.0 L unit which powered the car to an overall win at the 1987 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche’s record seventh consecutive victory at the race. After a post-’87 “dry spell”, Porsche customer Jochen Dauer got the 962 re-classified as a road legal GT1 car under a loophole in the new ACO regulations for the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The GTA was the first car launched by Alpine under Renault ownership (though Alpine had been affiliated with Renault for many years, with its earlier models using many Renault parts). It effectively updated the design of its predecessor, the Alpine A310, updating that car’s silhouette with modern design features like body-integrated bumpers and a triangular C pillar with large rear windshield. It used the PRV V6 engine in a rear-engined layout, with extensive use of Polyester plastics and fibreglass for the body panels making it considerably lighter and quicker than rivals such as the Porsche 944. It was one of the most aerodynamic cars of its time, the naturally aspirated version achieved a world record 0.28 drag coefficient in its class. The GTA name, used to denote the entire range of this generation, stood for “Grand Tourisme Alpine” but in most markets the car was marketed as the Renault Alpine V6 GT or as the Renault Alpine V6 Turbo. In Great Britain it was sold simply as the Renault GTA, Rather than being cast in a single piece as for the preceding A310, the new Alpine’s body was cast in a large number of small separate panels. This required a major overhaul of the Alpine plant, leaving only the sandblasting machinery intact. The car was also considerably more efficient to manufacture, with the time necessary to build a finished car dropping from 130 to 77 hours – still a long time, but acceptable for a small-scale specialty car. The PRV engine in the naturally aspirated model was identical to the version used in the Renault 25, a 2849 cc unit producing 160 hp. Also available was the smaller (2.5 litres) turbocharged model. The central backbone chassis (with outriggers for side impact protection) was built by Heuliez and then transferred to Dieppe – aside from the body, most of the car was subcontracted to various suppliers. At the time of introduction, daily production was ten cars. This soon dropped considerably, as the somewhat less than prestigious Renault had a hard time in the sports car marketplace. The average production for the six full years of production was just above 1000 per annum, or just above three per day. The first model introduced was the naturally aspirated V6 GT, which entered production in November 1984, although press photos had been released in September 1984. The car was first shown at the 1985 Amsterdam Rai, immediately after which it also went on sale. In July 1985 the Europa Cup model appeared; this limited edition model was intended for a single-make racing championship and 69 cars were built (54 in 1985 and 15 more in 1987). In September 1985 the turbo model followed, which increased the power of the PRV unit to 200 PS. At the 1986 Birmingham Show the right-hand-drive version was presented and UK sales, as the Renault GTA, commenced. In early 1987 a catalysed version appeared, with fifteen less horsepower. This meant that the Turbo could finally be sold in Switzerland, and later in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands when they adopted stricter legislation. The catalysed model had lower gearing in fourth and fifth gears, in order to somewhat mask its power deficit. In 1988 anti-lock brakes became available. For the 1989 model year the Mille Miles version appeared. With the non-catalysed engine, this model heralded a re-focus on the Alpine name. The Renault logo was gone from the car, with an alpine logo up front and a large “Alpine” print appearing between the taillights. However, as the name ‘Alpine’ could not be used in the UK the name Alpine was removed from cars destined for the UK; there was no large print at the back of these cars and a UK specific logo was fitted to the front of the car. The Mille Miles, a limited edition of 100 cars, also featured a special dark red metallic paintjob, polished aluminium wheels, and a large silver grey triangular stripe with the Alpine “A” across the left side of the front. In February 1990 the limited edition Le Mans arrived, this car had a more aggressive body kit with polyester wheel arch extensions and a one piece front with smaller headlights. Wheels were 3 piece BBS style produced by ACT, 8×16″ front & 10×17″ rear. Many of these changes were adopted for the succeeding A610. The regular V6 GT and V6 Turbo ended production during 1990, while the Le Mans version continued to be produced until February 1991. 325 of these were built in total. Also in 1990, Renault was forced to install the less powerful catalysed engine in cars destined for the home market, leading to grumbling amongst Alpine enthusiasts about the loss of power (down to 185 PS) while the 25 Turbo saloon actually gained power when it became catalysed. In response Danielson SA, a famous French tuner, created an upgraded version of the Le Mans with 210 PS.
Oldest of the Rolls Royce motor cars on show was this 40/50, sometimes referred to as a Silver Ghost, though technically that name belongs on one specific car. Originally named the “40/50 h.p.” the chassis was first made at Royce’s Manchester works, with production moving to Derby in July 1908, and also, between 1921 and 1926, in Springfield, Massachusetts. Chassis no. 60551, registered AX 201, was the car that was originally given the name “Silver Ghost.” Other 40/50 hp cars were also given names, but the Silver Ghost title was taken up by the press, and soon all 40/50s were called by the name, a fact not officially recognised by Rolls-Royce until 1925, when the Phantom range was launched. In 1906, Rolls-Royce produced four chassis to be shown at the Olympia car show, two existing models, a four-cylinder 20 hp and a six-cylinder 30 hp, and two examples of a new car designated the 40/50 hp. The 40/50 hp was so new that the show cars were not fully finished, and examples were not provided to the press for testing until March 1907. The car at first had a new side-valve, six-cylinder, 7036 cc engine (7428 cc from 1910) with the cylinders cast in two units of three cylinders each as opposed to the triple two-cylinder units on the earlier six. A three-speed transmission was fitted at first with four-speed units used from 1913. The seven-bearing crankshaft had full pressure lubrication, and the centre main bearing was made especially large to remove vibration, essentially splitting the engine into two three-cylinder units. Two spark plugs were fitted to each cylinder with, from 1921, a choice of magneto or coil ignition. The earliest cars had used a trembler coil to produce the spark with a magneto as an optional extra which soon became standard – the instruction was to start the engine on the trembler/battery and then switch to magneto. Continuous development allowed power output to be increased from 48 bhp at 1,250 rpm to 80 bhp at 2,250 rpm. Electric lighting became an option in 1914 and was standardised in 1919. Electric starting was fitted from 1919 along with electric lights to replace the older ones that used acetylene or oil. Development of the Silver Ghost was suspended during World War I, although the chassis and engine were supplied for use in Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars. The chassis had rigid front and rear axles and leaf springs all round. Early cars only had brakes on the rear wheels operated by a hand lever, with a pedal-operated transmission brake acting on the propellor shaft. The footbrake system moved to drums on the rear axle in 1913. Four-wheel servo-assisted brakes became optional in 1923. Despite these improvements the performance of the Silver Ghost’s competitors had improved to the extent that its previous superiority had been eroded by the early 1920s. Sales declined from 742 in 1913 to 430 in 1922. The company decided to launch its replacement which was introduced in 1925 as the New Phantom. After this, older 40/50 models were called Silver Ghosts to avoid confusion. A total of 7874 Silver Ghost cars were produced from 1907 to 1926, including 1701 from the American Springfield factory. Many of them still run today.
The Silver Wraith was Rolls-Royce’s first post-war offering, holding the distinction of being the first model built in the now legendary Crewe factory, which, to that point had served as the main production line for Merlin aero engines during World War II. In the spirit of the post-war recovery, Rolls-Royce started with a fresh slate for the new Silver Wraith. It would, as with the pre-war models, be the standard model, slotted below the ultra-exclusive, eight-cylinder Phantom IV. Unlike previous Phantom models, the Phantom IV was strictly reserved for royalty and heads of state, and just 18 would be produced, making it one of the rarest and most desirable models in Rolls-Royce history. Despite the fact that Rolls-Royce had this new inline-eight at their disposal, the Silver Wraith would be strictly limited to six-cylinder power. Both models would still be sold as bare chassis, and coachbuilders would share much of the Phantom IV’s stately elegance in the basic styling of the Silver Wraith, particularly on long-wheelbase versions, albeit on a somewhat less-exclusive scale. This particular car dates from 1952 and was fFormerly owned by Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of the Monaco royal family.
Representing the post war period was this Silver Cloud II. First introduced in 1955, it was, with its later iterations the Cloud II and III, to prove the core of Rolls-Royce production until the arrival of the monocoque Silver Shadow in 1966. Construction of all Cloud models was body-on-frame, which allowed a number of creative coach-builders to work their magic, but over the course of its eleven years of production the vast majority were built with the standard Pressed Steel shell. The Silver Cloud II was notable for introducing a new engine, the essence of which is still used by Bentley today. The Silver Cloud III was the final version and deliveries to customers commenced in mid 1963. External dimensions were slightly altered with a one and a half inch reduction in grille height and by necessity, a slightly more sloping bonnet, but the most distinctive difference was the grouping of the headlights in a four headlamp unit which was sufficiently attractive to be carried over to the new Shadow. The car’s weight was reduced by over 100kg, and performance was improved by fitting 2″ SU carburettors and increasing the compression ratio to 9:1. One of the respected coach-builders who created something different on the Cloud III chassis was H.J.Mulliner (later Mulliner Park Ward), who offered a supremely elegant two door Drophead Coupe. These cars are now very sought after and are few and far between.
It is hard to imagine now just how excited people were when this dramatically different looking Rover burst onto the scene in July 1976. These days it takes a very extreme supercar for most car enthusiasts to get truly animated, but back then, a 3.5 litre V8 engined 5 seater British hatchback was all it took, and it was no surprise that the model collected the “Car of the Year” award later in 1976, fending off the second placed Ford Fiesta and the new Audi 100. Replacing both the Rover P6 and the big Triumphs which had been launched at the 1963 Motor Show and updated only in detail since then, this new David Bache styled car, with more than a hint of Ferrari Daytona in its profile really was something very different indeed to look at, even if underneath it was more of a clever update of proven mechanicals, with the 3.5 litre V8 engine carried over from its predecessor. Early press reports suggested that the car was as good to drive as it was to behold, and quickly there were long waiting lists as Rover struggled to produce the car fast enough in an all-new manufacturing facility in Solihull. Sadly, it did not take too long before it became apparent that although the car had been a long time in gestation, there were a number of design and manufacturing quality issues, quite apart form the extra ones that were inflicted by a still very truculent and strike-prone workforce. These frustrations did little to quell demand, though, which increased when the promised 6 cylinder models arrived in the autumn of 1977. 2300 and 2600 models sported a new 6 cylinder engine and were the more obvious replacement for the big Triumph and the Rover 2200 than the V8 car had been. BL’s next move was to take the car up market with the launch of the V8S in 1979 which was available in a rather bright Triton Green metallic paint and a choice of gold or silver alloy wheels, as well having a far higher standard level of equipment. It was replaced by the even more luxurious Vanden Plas model in late 1980. More significant was a facelift which came in early 1982. A revised rear window line was aimed at improving the rather limited rear visibility and finally a rear wiper was fitted, this having been excluded from the earlier cars as it had been deemed unnecessary by a BL management who still thought that they knew better than the customers who clamoured for one) and the bumpers and lights were altered, along with significant interior trim and equipment changes. A few weeks later, a cheaper 4 cylinder 2000 model appeared, with the O Series engine under the bonnet, aimed at the all important fleet market and later that year it was joined by a diesel version, using the VM Motor engine, creating the 90 bhp 2400SD. The real joy though was the car revealed at the 1982 British Motor Show, the Vitesse, which boasted fuel injection and 190 bhp to give the car better performance, and with a new front and rear spoiler, the looks to suggest that this was an Autobahn-stormer to rival BMW and Mercedes. Of course, the other reason for the Vitesse was so as to homologate some of the changes for what turned out to be a less than successful career on the race track. It was this which led to the final handful of Vitesse models having a further power upgrade with the TwinPlenum versions, and these are the most highly prized cars of the lot these days. That said, values of SD1 remain very low, with the result that the majority of the cars have been scrapped as they are economic to restore. You see more Vitesse models than anything else so it was nice to see here that there are other models still around.
This is a rather special car, as it is the 1997 Impreza that was driven by the late Colin McRae in the World Rally Championship.
This Teal is a Type 35 Bugatti replica, of sorts. The story of the Teal is quite involved story, and it probably takes longer to tell than it does to list the number of products that got made. 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.
This very special car is the TR2 that was used for a record breaking speed run on the Jabbeke Highway in Belgium. With the announcement of the new Triumph TR2 just months away in early 1953, Black had read of Sheila Van Damm achieving a speed of 120 mph over a measured mile at Jabbeke in a 2.0-litre Sunbeam-Talbot Alpine. Concerned that this would affect his launch, Sir John told Richardson to organise a rival record attempt. A few days later, Black summoned Richardson to tell him the Jabbeke highway was booked for 20 May. Richardson was ‘flabbergasted’. He thought the risks of car problems or bad weather meant a two-day window was the bare minimum for such a speed record attempt. Typically Black brooked no opposition: ‘Everything’s organised now, so we’ve got to get on with it.’ Richardson wrote: ‘When Sir John says “Get on with it”, you get on with it.’ Staying at the Queen and Castle pub near Kenilworth (it’s still there), which became an unofficial base for the record-breaking run, Richardson and his small team would rise early for what became known as ‘red-eye special’ speed tests on the Bicester road near Oxford; they’d measure the road and stick in marker posts. Again disaster could have struck: ‘Those icy roads were damn dangerous,’ recalled Richardson. ‘A patch of ice caught me out on the Bicester straight, which caused a bit of a moment.’ It doesn’t bear thinking about – an engine seizure at speed, say, throwing this narrow prototype sports car into an uncontrolled slide that even a skilled and resourceful driver such as Richardson would have been able to do nothing about. ‘They had wanted to let the press drive the car after the run,’ says Glen Hewett, boss of Triumph specialist Protek of Wallingford, ‘but they couldn’t because the engine was knocking for all it was worth and there was oil all over the rear bodywork and even on the rear tyres.’ It was Hewett who tracked down MVC 575, purchased it in November 2015 and over the following 18 months painstakingly restored it. This wasn’t Black’s first attempt to challenge MG and Sunbeam in the lucrative sports-car market. Triumph’s first post-war model was the Two Litre (as driven by television detective Bergerac), which was slow, ponderous and old fashioned – one of the last new cars to have a dickey seat. A second shot was the 20 TS prototypes (later erroneously known as TR1s); most historians concede there were at least two. These Manx-tail sports cars had ghastly flexible chassis and sleepy Vanguard engines and were roundly condemned by the press on a test drive. This is where Richardson, hired from BRM, comes in. On his first test drive, he is reputed to have described it as ‘bloody awful’. Richardson stayed with the project, which went back to the drawing board. Harry Webster improved the chassis, Lewis Dawtrey teased 90bhp out of the tough wet-liner engine, Walter Belgrove redesigned the body with a longer tail and a more practical boot, and Richardson tested and fed back. The resulting TR2 was unveiled in March 1953 at the Geneva show. And what became of those two 20 TS precursors? Things moved too fast at Standard Triumph in those days to keep accurate records and they had no money. ‘They wouldn’t have thrown anything away,’ says Hewett. ‘There simply weren’t the resources.’ So when Richardson required a pre-production TR for his record attempt, whence did he acquire the donor car? The solution became clear to Hewett as he revealed the secrets beneath the bespoke coachwork and lovely special bonnet badge of MVC 575. Riveted parts, special panels and hand fabrications, including a cover plate for the 20 TS’s strange single-sided rear trailing arm, persuaded him that MVC had been built up from one of the two 20 TS models. Piggott, too, is convinced and says that Hewett’s car was in fact the second of the two 20 TS prototypes to be converted into a prototype TR2; the first being MWK 950, which used the uncompleted second 20 TS as a base. ‘That other prototype also exists,’ he says, ‘and we know that it was the first car to be converted as its surviving logbook shows it as registered in January 1953, two months before MVC 575 was first registered. ‘When I spoke to Ken [Richardson] he couldn’t remember which one was the Geneva show car, but it was in fact MVC 575, which was also the one he’d jollied up with an aerodynamic kit to get the record. There is a third prototype as well, ORW 666, but that right-hand-drive car wasn’t based on a 20 TS and no one is sure exactly what happened to it.’ You can see how important this run was in a film commissioned by Standard Triumph (find it on YouTube by searching for ‘Triumph TR2 Jabbeke speed test’). With cut-glass commentary from Raymond Baxter, the faded film shows Sir John Black, managing director of Standard Triumph, dapper in a trilby and overcoat. ‘It was important enough to warrant a film crew,’ says Hewett, ‘but it’s doubly important as the boss is there.’ As the film shows, not just Black but the cream of the European press corps, including Basil Cardew of The Daily Express, Courtenay Edwards of The Sunday Telegraph, Peter Garnier of The Autocar, Laurie Cade of the London evening newspaper The Star, and Paul Frère. All told there were about 70 people at the eve-of-run dinner hosted by Black, all corralled by jovial PR chief Ivor Penrice in a bowler hat. But that’s really only half the story for this extraordinary car, which has been on display pretty much full-time since it was restored last year by Hewett. Like so many prototypes, MVC was then used as a test-department hack in the factory (it was Richardson’s personal car for a while) and was sold on in October 1956 to a Mr John Hedger. Hewett has the original bill of sale for £650 from Welbeck Motors of London W1, where it was part exchanged for a Ford Popular. But through two more owners and the passage of years, it was driven into the ground until it was eventually dismantled with the intention of a restoration in 1976. And it was in that dilapidated state, spread around several lock-up garages, that Hewett tracked it down after persuading its reclusive owner to sell.
British Leyland ran a team of TR7s in rally competitions from 1976 to 1980. These cars initially used the 16-valve Dolomite Sprint engine and later switched to the Rover V8 engine (before the introduction of the TR8, so dubbed “TR7 V8”). They were reasonably successful on tarmac events but were less successful on gravel sections. The most successful driver of these cars was Tony Pond.
Also here was a Grinnall modified TR8. This Bewdley-based firm started to modify TR7s from the early 1980s and also converted a number of them to the TR8 mechanical spec. Around 350 were created.
The TVR M Series cars were built between 1972 and 1979, replacing the Vixen and Tuscan models. The styling showed a clear resemblance to the models that the M replaced, with the centre section of the car being carried forward and conceptually, the cars were little different, with a front mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout and body-on-frame construction. The bodies themselves were built from glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). The engines were bought in, sourced from Triumph and Ford, which resulted in a number of different models being made. These included the 1600M, 2500M, 3000M, 3000S, and Taimar, as well as turbocharged versions of the 3000M, 3000S, and Taimar. The first model to start production was the 2500M in March 1972, after being built as a prototype in 1971, which had the 2500cc engine from the Triumph 2.5PI and TR6 under the bonnet. Ford engined 1600M and 3000M models followed later. The American market was financially very important to TVR, and Gerry Sagerman oversaw import and distribution of the cars within the United States from his facility on Long Island. Approximately thirty dealers sold TVRs in the eastern part of the country. John Wadman handled distribution of the cars in Canada through his business, JAG Auto Enterprises.. A small number of 5.0 litre Ford V8-powered cars were finished or converted by the TVR North America importer; these were sold as the 5000M. A total of 2,465 M Series cars were built over the nine years of production. Because of the hand-built and low-volume nature of TVR production, there are many small and often-undocumented variations between cars of the same model that arise due to component availability and minor changes in the build process. The M Series was regarded by contemporary reviewers as being loud and fast and having excellent roadholding. This came at the expense of unusual ergonomics, and heating and ventilation systems that were sometimes problematic. The first major alteration to the M Series body was the hatchback Taimar, introduced at the October 1976 British International Motor Show and using the same mechanicals as the 3000M. The name was inspired by the name of Martin’s friend’s girlfriend, Tayma. The opening hatchback alleviated the previous difficulty of manoeuvering luggage over the seats to stow it in the cargo area, and the hatch itself was opened electrically via a solenoid-actuated latch triggered by a button on the driver’s doorjamb. Over its three-year production, a total of 395 normally aspirated Taimars were built. The final body style for the M Series, an open roadster, arrived in 1978 as the TVR 3000S (marketed in some places as the “Convertible”, and referred to at least once as the “Taimar Roadster”.) Like the Taimar, the 3000S was mechanically identical to the 3000M; the body, however, had undergone significant changes. Only the nose of the car was the same as the previous coupes, as the windscreen, doors, and rear end had all been reworked. The redesign of the doors precluded the possibility of using wind-up windows, so sliding sidecurtains were instead fitted. These could be removed entirely and stowed in the boot, which, for the first time on a TVR, was a separate compartment with its own lid. The boot lid was operated electrically in a manner similar to the Taimar’s hatch. Its design was not finalised by the time the first cars entered production, so the first several cars (including the prototype) were built with no cutout for boot access. The final styling tweaks and the production of moulds for the fibreglass were done by Topolec Ltd. of Norfolk. The styling of the 3000S was revived in a somewhat modernised form later, with the 1987 introduction of the TVR S Series (although the S Series shared almost no components with the M Series cars.) The windscreen and convertible top had been adapted from those used on the Jensen-Healey roadster. Because Jensen Motors had ceased operation in 1976, the windscreen and sidecurtain designs were done by a company named Jensen Special Products, which was run by former Jensen employees. The design for the convertible top was finalised by Car Hood Company in Coventry. One of the minor undocumented variations found on M Series cars is the presence of a map light built into the upper windscreen surround of the 3000S. It appears to have been included only on a very small number of cars built near the end of the production run. When production of the 3000S ended (with 258 cars built), it cost £8,730. Reportedly, 67 of these cars were in a left-hand drive configuration, and 49 were exported to North America.
The Griffith was the first of the modern generation TVRs. First seen as a concept at the 1990 British Motor Show, it wowed the crowds sufficiently that unlike the Show Cars of precediing years, may of which were never seen again, Peter Wheeler and his small team in Blackpool immediately set about preparing it for production. It took until mid 1992 before they were ready. Like its forerunner namesakes, the Griffith 200 and Griffith 400, the modern Griffith was a lightweight (1048 kg) fibreglass-bodied, 2-door, 2-seat sports car with a V8 engine. Originally, it used a 4.0 litre 240 hp Rover V8 engine, but that could be optionally increased to a 4.3 litre 280 hp unit, with a further option of big-valve cylinder heads. In 1993, a TVR-developed 5.0 litre 340 hp version of the Rover V8 became available. All versions of the Griffith used the Lucas 14CUX engine management system and had a five-speed manual transmission. The car spawned a cheaper, and bigger-selling relative, the Chimaera, which was launched in 1993. 602 were sold in the first year and then around 250 cars a year were bought throughout the 90s, but demand started to wane, so iIn 2000, TVR announced that the Griffith production was going to end. A limited edition run of 100 Special Edition (SE) cars were built to mark the end of production. Although still very similar to the previous Griffith 500 model, the SE had a hybrid interior using the Chimaera dashboard and Cerbera seats. Noticeably, the rear lights were different along with different door mirrors, higher powered headlights and clear indicator lenses. Some also came with 16-inch wheels. Each car came with a numbered plaque in the glove box including the build number and a Special Edition Badge on its boot. All cars also had a unique signature in the boot under the carpet. The SEs were built between 2000 and 2002, with the last registered in 2003. A register of the last 100 SEs can be found at TVR Griffith 500 SE Register. These days, the Griffith remains a much loved classic and to celebrate the car, the owners have a meet called “The Griff Growl.”
The Tuscan was launched in 2000, by which time there had been a series of what we think of as the modern era TVRs produced for nearly a decade, the Cerbera, Griffith and Cerbera. The Tuscan did not replace any of them, but was intended to help with the company’s ambitious push further up market to become a sort of Blackpool-built alternative to Ferrari. It did not lack the styling for the task, and unlike the preceding models with their Rover V8 engines, the new car came with TVR’s own engine, a straight six unit of 3.6 litre capacity putting out 360 bhp. The Tuscan was intended to be the grand tourer of the range, perfectly practical for everyday use, though with only two seats, no ABS, no airbags and no traction control, it was a tough sell on wet days in a more safety conscious world, but at least there was a removable targa top roof panel for those days when the sun came out. The car may have lacked the rumble of a V8, but when pushed hard, the sound track from the engine was still pretty special, and the car was faster than the Cerbera, but sadly, the car proved less than reliable, which really started to harm TVR’s reputation, something which would ultimately prove to be its undoing.
Final TVR present was a Tamora. This car was launched in 2002, as the entry point of the range, taking over from the Chimaera. It was fitted with TVR’s in-house ‘Speed Six’, a DOHC 3605 cc six-cylinder engine rated at 350 hp and 290 lb/ft of torque at 5500 rpm, mated to a five-speed manual. Brake rotors were 12.0 inches up front, and 11.1 inches in the back, both clamped by AP Racing calipers. The suspension is a double wishbone setup at all four corners. Standard wheels are 16×7 inch aluminium, with 225/50ZR-16 Avon ZZ3 tyres. The Tamora was built on a 93-inch wheelbase, and the car’s overall profile measured 154.5 inches long, 67.5 inches wide and 47.4 inches high. It weighed 2,337 pounds, with 58/42 weight distribution. Keeping with the TVR tradition, the Tamora lacked driving aids such as traction control and ABS as well as air bags. It was still in production when TVR went bankrupt in 2006.
The Unipower GT was a British specialist sports car first shown at the January 1966 Racing Car Show, and produced by truck maker Universal Power Drives Ltd in Perivale, Middlesex and later by U.W.F. Automotive in London until production ceased in early 1970, by which time around 71 cars are believed to have been made, including about 15 built by U.W.F. Originally the brainchild of Ernie Unger and Attila sports racing car designer Val Dare Bryan in the early 1960s the design of Unipower GT was actually said to have been penned by a moonlighting member of the GT40 design team. The car was based on BMC Mini mechanical components with the transverse engine and gearbox unit mounted in a mid-engine configuration. A strong square tubular spaceframe chassis with integral roll-over protection was produced by racing car specialist Arch Motors and was bonded to a fibreglass body made by Specialised Mouldings who supplied many of the top sports, racing and F1 constructors of the day. The end product was a light yet rigid structure, with all-round independent coil spring and wishbone suspension. Combining light weight, a low centre of gravity and low aerodynamic drag from a body that measured just 40.5 inches high, the Unipower GT offered very good performance and excellent road holding and handling characteristics. Available with the 998 cc Mini-Cooper or more potent 1275 cc Cooper “S” engine, this later version was reported to be capable of 0–60 mph in around 8 seconds and to have a maximum speed of almost 120 mph. Several lightweight competition models were produced by the factory with disc brakes all round, the first one shown at the 1967 Racing Car Show with Stirling Moss featured a Downton tuned 1275cc Cooper S engine and knock on Minilite wheels. This car was purchased by Salisbury tuning firm Janspeed and raced internationally for them by BMC works driver Geoff Mabbs throughout 1967. Other race cars were campaigned by John E Miles (for Em Newman / Gordon Allen), UWF part owner Piers Weld Forrester (who took two cars to Le Mans in 1969 but failed to qualify), BMC works racing driver and Unipower head of sales Andrew Hedges, John Blanckley, Stanley Robinson, Roger Hurst, Tom Zettinger and Alberto Ruiz-Thiery who all raced cars on the continent at such venues as Mugello, Nurburgring, Spa, Barcelona and Jarama. Two Mk1 race cars were also shipped to the U.S, the first for Paul Richards to race in Gp6 events. Kris Harrison and Bob Barell also raced a Unipower GT at the Watkins Glen 6 Hours in 1969 amongst other events whilst Roger Enever and Piers Weld Forrester were to take a car to Sebring for the 12 hour race in the same year but did not race. A design was produced for a larger Unipower but this did not go into production with the original makers instead eventually evolving into the AC ME3000.
A real rarity was this Viceroy. Based on the Opel Commodore C, first shown in late 1977, at the same time as the Rekord E, the Vauxhall version was launched in 1980, but only ever sold in small numbers. The Commodore continued to be a larger and more luxurious version of the Rekord. There was no coupé version of the Commodore C, as it was replaced by the Opel Monza, the coupé version of the Opel Senator, but a two-door notchback saloon was briefly available. The single engine used by the Commodore in Europe was the well-known straight-six 2.5-litre unit with 115 PS or 130 PS when fitted with fuel injection. The model featured a similar front end to the larger Senator. Both the Commodore and the Vauxhall Viceroy were sold in the UK, with the Viceroy being a slightly more luxurious version of the Carlton. There was an estate version (dubbed the “Voyage” in Germany) offered in the Opel range from 1979 to 1982, which became a mainstay in the Holden range in Australia, and was also available in the Chevrolet range in South Africa. It was never offered in the UK as a Vauxhall Viceroy, although a one-off estate car was built in 1981 for Queen Elizabeth II, for her to carry her Corgi dogs. The car still survives today. The Commodore was never a success, occupying an uncomfortably narrow niche between the Rekord and Senator. Another concern was the fuel consumption, with a fuel injected Commodore taking considerably more fuel than the larger three-litre Senator. The outdated engine also had little torque available at lower engine speeds, and was noisy. The Commodore was dropped by Opel in Europe and absorbed into the Rekord range of 1983. Just 15 Vauxhall Viceroys remain in the UK.
The Type 1 Karmann Ghia Coupe debuted at the October 1953 Paris Auto Show as a styling concept created for Ghia by Luigi Segre. In the early 1950s, Volkswagen was producing its economy car, the Type 1 (Beetle), but with an increase in post-war standards of living, executives at Volkswagen proposed adding a halo car to its model range, contracting with German coachbuilder Karmann for its manufacture. Karmann in turn contracted the Italian firm Ghia, who adapted styling themes previously explored for Chrysler and Studebaker to a Beetle floorpan widened by 12 in. Virgil Exner claimed that the design was his, based on the 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance. In contrast to the Beetle’s machine-welded body with bolt-on wings, the Karmann Ghia’s body panels were butt-welded, hand-shaped, and smoothed with English pewter in a time-consuming process commensurate with higher-end manufacturers, resulting in the Karmann Ghia’s higher price. The design and prototype were well received by Volkswagen executives, and in August 1955 the first Type 14 was manufactured in Osnabrück, Germany. Public reaction to the Type 14 exceeded expectations, and more than 10,000 were sold in the first year. The Type 14 was marketed as a practical and stylish 2+2 rather than as a true sports car. As they shared engines, the Type 14’s engine displacement grew concurrently with the Type 1 (Beetle), ultimately arriving at a displacement of 1584 cc, producing 60 hp. In August 1957, Volkswagen introduced a convertible version of the Karmann Ghia. Exterior changes in 1961 included wider and finned front grilles, taller and more rounded rear taillights and headlights relocated to a higher position – with previous models and their lower headlight placement called lowlights. The Italian designer Sergio Sartorelli, designer of the larger Type 34 model, oversaw the various restylings of the Type 14. In 1970, larger taillights integrated the reversing lights and larger wrap-around indicators. Still larger and wider taillights increased side visibility. In 1972, large square-section bumpers replaced the smooth round originals. For the USA model only, 1973 modifications mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) included energy-absorbing bumpers. A carpeted package shelf replaced the rear seat. In late 1974 the car was superseded by the Porsche 914 and the Golf based Scirocco.
This was a beautifully presented Type 2 Pickup, quite a change from the Bus versions that you see more frequently at events.
Also built by Karmann was the Golf Cabrio. Conceived as a replacement for the popular Beetle Cabrio, and at the time unique in the market place, a convertible version of the Golf was presented to Volkswagen’s management by coachbuilder Wilhelm Karmann GmbH as early as 1976. This early prototype lacked the roll-over bar of the later version, and had a flat body line in the rear, where the soft top folded down below the sill level. The production version of the convertible Golf was designated Type 155. In Europe and Canada it was called the Golf Cabriolet, while in the United States it was sold as the Rabbit Convertible until 1985, when it was also renamed “Cabriolet”. The Cabriolet was sold from 1980 to 1993. It had a reinforced body, a transverse roll-over bar, and a high level of trim. From stamping to final assembly the Mk1 Cabriolet was built entirely at the Karmann factory. Volkswagen supplied engines, suspension, and interior trim for Karmann to install. The tops, of vinyl or cloth, were heavily insulated, with a heated glass rear window. The top was raised and lowered manually until 1991, when it became electrically operated. The body of the Cabriolet did not change through the entire production run except for a larger fuel tank. It kept the pre-1980 style of rear lamp clusters. A space saver spare wheel was fitted from the outset, including 1978 pre-production models, unlike the saloon which did not adopt this until 1984. All Cabriolets from 1988 on left the factory fitted with a “Clipper” bodykit that featured smooth body-coloured bumpers, wheel-arch extensions, and side skirts. Prior to the 1984 model year the highest standard specification Cabriolet was the GLI, which was essentially a GTI in all but name. It was only in late 1983 with the introduction of the 1984 model that an officially badged GTI version of the cabriolet finally became available.
I enjoyed my visit to this event. Unlike some of the more established European shows, with which the event sometimes would like to be compared, this one is not so overwhelmingly large, so you really can see everything easily in an unhurried day. The Grand Avenue concept is a definite winner, as not only does it mean you can see some of the cars in action, but it also pulls the crowds so if you want to see the display stands, they are almost deserted whilst the cars in motion. It’s definitely an event I shall be marking in my 2019 diary.