The race track known as the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps must rank as one of the best known, the world over. Dsigned in 1920 by Jules de Thier and Henri Langlois Van Ophem, the original course used public roads linking the Belgian towns of Francorchamps, Malmedy, and Stavelot. The track’s inaugural race was planned for August 1921, but was cancelled when only one driver entered. The first car race was held at the circuit in 1922, and 1924 saw the first running of the now famous 24 Hours of Francorchamps race. The circuit was first used for Grand Prix racing in 1925. It is the current venue for the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix, with the race having been included on the F1 calendar every year since 1985, with the exceptions of 2003 and 2006. Spa also hosts several other international events including the 24 Hours of Spa and the World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, and the TCR Spa 500. It is also home to the Uniroyal Fun Cup 25 Hours of Spa, one of the longest motor races in the world. The circuit has undergone several redesigns through its history, most extensively in 1979 when the track was modified and shortened from a 14.10 km (8.76 mi) circuit using public roads to a 6.95 km (4.32 mi) permanent circuit due to safety concerns with the old circuit. With such a rich motor-sport history, it is no surprise to learn that there is an museum associated with the circuit. This is to be found in the pretty town of Stavelot, in the basement of the Abbey. There are a few signs in the immediate vicinity, but you could easily be in the area and not know it was there, which would be a shame, as, whilst not huge, there was more than enough on show to make me pleased that I decided to pay my first visit for nearly 30 years. The exhibits are moved around quite frequently, so here is what was on show in March 2020.
The focus is very much on racing cars, with most of the displays having a specific connection to the circuit.
Oldest vehicle on display was this 1925 FN , which claimed victory here in 1925 and 1926 at the 24 Hours Coupe du Roi
Ferrari 246 GT Dino: This car 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.
Porsche 911 RS Carrera: This is one of the legendary Carrera RS 2.7 cars. RS stands for Rennsport in German, meaning race sport. The Carrera name was reintroduced from the 356 Carrera which had itself been named after Porsche’s class victories in the Carrera Panamericana races in Mexico in the 1950s. The RS was developed to meet motorsport homologation requirements. Compared to a standard 911S, the Carrera 2.7 RS had a larger engine (2,687 cc) developing 210 PS with Bosch (Kugelfischer) mechanical fuel injection, revised and stiffened suspension, a “ducktail” rear spoiler, larger brakes, wider rear wheels and rear fenders, to fit 185/70VR15 & 215/60VR15 Pirelli Cinturato CN36 tyres. In RS Touring form it weighed 1,075 kg (2,370 lb), in Sport Lightweight form it was about 100 kg (220 lb) lighter, the saving coming from thin gauge steel used for parts of the body shell and also the use of thinner glass. In total, 1,580 units were made, though a lot have cars have since been converted to “look-a-likes”.
Ferrari F40: The F40 of 1987 was the successor to the 288 GTO. It was designed to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary and was 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.
Ford Mustang GT3 : This car completed at Spa from 2010 to 2012.
1970 Chevron B16: Produced in Lancashire, in the north-west of England, under ownership of the self-taught engineer turned racer Derek Bennett, Chevron produced some of the most dramatic and successful race cars the world had ever seen, which was an incredible achievement for a company that never built a single road car. Chevron produced cars without compromises, cars that took the racing world by storm and against all odds, in true David and Goliath fashion. Starting with their first car in 1965, the B1 (with “B” standing for Bennett), they would go on to produce over 47 models, until Bennett’s death in 1978. Nearing the height of their success in 1969, Chevron introduced the incredible B16 at the Nürburgring 500 km. The B16 would prove to be their best creation yet. It was a car that not only had breath-taking good looks, but it also had the performance to match. Featuring a design that was much more flowing and aerodynamically efficient than its predecessor, the B8, the B16 looks beautiful in the flesh. The fibreglass body was originally designed and conceived by Bennett and later refined by Jim Clark, of Specialised Mouldings, whom Chevron later contracted to build B16 bodies. It was initially produced as a coupé, but a single spyder version was later built to further reduce weight, ultimately providing the template for the cars successor, the B19. A welcome bonus was the greater start money awarded to open cars in U.S. racing at that time. Under the stunning bodywork was a space-frame chassis that was reinforced with steel and aluminium panels to create a semi-monocoque centre section. The design used tubular frames in the front and rear to carry the suspension and a mid-engine drivetrain. Powered by a Ford Cosworth 1,800-cubic centimetre FVC engine, the superlight B16 was successful from the start. At its first outing at the Nürburgring in 1969, with Brian Redman at the wheel, the car finished 1st, setting the tone for the newest Chevron in its future outings and proving the company’s worth against competitors with much larger teams and budgets.
1988 Spice SE88C Group 2: Already an accomplished and hugely successful driver, Gordon Spice established Spice Engineering in the early 1980s. Initially, the Silverstone based company focused on preparing and developing existing sports racers. Ahead of the 1986 season, however, Spice was tasked by Geneva Motors with the construction of a new Pontiac IMSA GTP racer. In addition to the cars headed Stateside, Spice also fielded Group C2 variants in the World Championship with great success. For the 1988 season, Spice readied a second generation prototype racer. Designed to be very versatile, it could be used on both sides of the Atlantic, as a Group C, Group C2, GTP or GTP Lights depending on the engine fitted. For Group C and Group C2, the cars were most commonly equipped with a choice of Ford Cosworth engines, most commonly the 3.2-litre DFL or the 3.5-litre DFZ. Among the engines used in the IMSA GTP championship were production-based Pontiac V8s, Buick V6s and even a Ferrari V8. Like its predecessor, the new-for-1988 Spice SE88 was built around an aluminium monocoque chassis designed by Graham Humphrey and constructed by specialists B.S. Fabrications. Suspension was by double wishbones on all four corners with the in-board springs and dampers at the rear actuated by rockers. The most significant change compared to the earlier Pontiac commissioned Spices was a sleeker bodywork that replaced the slab-sided Fiero look-a-like body. In the World Sports Car Championship, the SE88C carried on where the earlier SE86C and SE87C had left off. The works cars, one of which was piloted by Gordon Spice himself and Ray Bellm, absolutely dominated the Group C2 class. The Cosworth-engined Spice won 10 of the 11 rounds, including a class win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Spice, Bellm and Pierre de Thoisy. At the end of the year, Spice and Bellm were World Champions, which was Spice’s fourth consecutive drivers’ title in the Group C2 class. The new Spice was not quite as immediately successful in the IMSA series. Powered by either Buick or Pontiac engines, several GTP Lights victories were scored in 1988 but not enough to win the championship. The following year, there was more success and the Lights category was dominated by Spices, in particular the Schubot-entered and Buick-engined SE88P. In the GTP category, the stock-block powered Spices struggled against the works teams despite being allowed to run at a lower weight. A change in the Group C regulations, which included a low minimum weight for naturally aspirated 3.5-litre engined cars, made the C1 class a viable option for Spice from 1989 onwards. Accordingly, the evolutionary SE89C was offered as a C2 but also as a C1 with a F1-derived Ford Cosworth DFZ V8. The works team had stepped up to C1 but struggled against the much better funded works teams. At Le Mans, the privateer Spice teams also failed to defend the C2 class win. New cars were built for the 1990 season but they once again followed the same lines as the Spices built the previous two years. For 1991, the Spice works were looking at fielding Lamborghini V12-engined examples but a lack of funding meant the project was cancelled. Spice withdrew its factory effort but several more cars were built for customers. The specialist manufacturer also continued to support existing customers by supplying spare parts and also with updated aero packages for existing cars. Spice Engineering ceased operating altogether after the 1992 season. Between 1986 and 1992, the specialist manufacturer had produced over three dozen Group C and GTP cars, a number only matched by Porsche. Especially in the Group C2 class, the nimble machines were in a league of their own. Many of the surviving cars are still raced with great verve in historic events.
1968 Porsche 910: The Porsche 910 or Carrera 10 was a race car from Porsche, based on the Porsche 906. 29 were produced and were raced in 1966 and 1967. The factory name for the 910 was the 906/10. The 910 was considered the next sequence in the 906 line. The main difference to the original 906 is the use of 13 inch wheels and tyres as in Formula One (F1), plus a single central nut instead of the five nuts as in a road car. This made the car unsuitable for street use, but it saved time in pitstops. Overall, the 910 was lighter and shorter than the 906. The Porsche 910 was entered in mid 1966, starting with the 1966 European Hill Climb Championship from Sierre to Crans-Montana in Switzerland. Engines used were 1991cc 6-cylinder (901/20, Weber 46IDA3C) with 200 hp, 1991cc 6-cylinder (901/21, MFI Slide Throttle) with 220 hp, 2195cc 6-cylinder (907, MFI) with 270 hp, or the 1981cc 8-cylinder (771, MFI) with up to 275 hp. The 8 cylinder version was referred to as 910/8. The Porsche 910 is 4113 mm long, 1680 mm wide and only 980 mm high. The 910 was only raced for about one year by the factory. The main class rivals were the Ferrari Dino 206P, overall victories on fast tracks against the much more powerful and faster Ford GT40 for example, or another class competitor Ferrari Prototypes proved unrealistic. At the 1000 km Nürburgring in 1967, a fleet of six factory cars were entered in an attempt to score the first overall win in Porsche’s home event. Two of the three 8-cyl broke, and the remaining one finished fourth. The three 6-cyl won 1-2-3, though, giving Porsche its first outright win in a third major event of the World Sportscar Championship for Porsche, after the 1956 Targa Florio and the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1960. In Le Mans, the new Porsche 907 “long tails” were already entered, finishing 5th in front of a 910 and two 906.
1969 Brabam BT28-1: The first production racing Brabham was actually constructed by Motor Racing Developments, a 1961 offshoot of Jack Brabham (Motors) Limited set up by Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac. However, from 1962 onwards all Brabham single-seater and sportscar racers were produced by Brabham Racing Developments, who not only made cars for sale to other teams and privateers, but also built the works team F1s for the Brabham Racing Organisation. The BT28 was a Formula 3 car produced at the end of the 1960s.
1969 Lotus Formula 2
1968 Formule Mistrale: Formed in the late 1960s, Pringett Racing produced 17 Mistrale Formula Fords. In period the cars held lap records in the hands of Dave Morgan, Bev Bond and the works driver Sid Fox.
1961 Berkeley SE328: The SE328 enjoyed considerable success and press exposure through their involvement with lightweight motor racing, and their famous drivers included Pat Moss who drove one in the 1958 Liège-Brescia-Liège rally for cars up to 500 cc. The Berkeley team – a works-supported entry of six cars including BBC commentator Robin Richards – led as far as Slovenia, but slow climbing in summer heat found their weakness and Pat ended up being towed back to Italy by another Berkeley. None of the Berkeleys finished the event.
Ford GT 40 – Jacky Ickx
1963 Ford Lotus Cortina: The history of this version began 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 coulds 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.
An eclectic mix of race cars from various Formulae comprise the next part of the display. Find here not just a few F1 cars, but also Formula 2,3 and Junior and some less than familiar machinery.
1988 Benetton B188: A Formula One racing car designed by Rory Byrne and raced by Benetton team in the 1988 Formula One season and in the first half of the 1989 Formula One season. Dating back to when the team started as Toleman in 1981, the B188 was the first car produced by the team not to be powered by a turbocharged engine. Benetton was effectively the Ford works team as they had exclusive use of the 3.5L Ford DFR V8 engine for 1988 where others running Ford-Cosworth power had to make do with 1987’s DFZ engine. When the FIA announced that turbos would be banned after 1988, Ford made the decision to halt development of the V6 Ford TEC turbocharged engine used in the B188’s predecessor the B187, and instead concentrated on the development of an engine for the new 3.5L rules. As Benetton were under contract to run the Ford engine (a contract they did not wish to break), the teams designers were forced to design a car to take the naturally aspirated V8 rather than the turbocharged V6. Despite this, the B188 was visually similar to the B187 it replaced, though it featured a bulkier engine cover to house both the larger engine and a larger fuel tank, as well as featuring larger twin air intakes (located above each sidepod, rather than above the drivers head as would become the norm). The B188 also featured a longer, sleeker looking nose section to take advantage of the rule that would come in from 1989 that meant the drivers feet had to be behind the front axle line. The DFR, a development of the Cosworth DFV that had been introduced to F1 by Lotus in 1967, developed approximately 620 bhp, the most powerful ‘atmo’ engine of the season. This compared to the 650 bhp of the turbocharged Honda and Ferrari engines and only 590 bhp for the older DFZ V8. However, where as the turbo powered cars were restricted to a fuel tank size of 150 litres, the atmospheric cars fuel tank size was able to be much larger. The B188 reportedly had the largest fuel tank on the grid at 215 litres. The B188 was driven by the teams 1987 driver, Belgian Thierry Boutsen, and the hard charging, chain smoking Italian Alessandro Nannini, who had joined Benetton for his 3rd F1 season after two years driving the uncompetitive Minardis with their overweight and underpowered Motori Moderni turbo engines. The B188 was a consistent performer and was usually the class of the atmospheric cars, a class which also included the F1 Constructors’ Champions of the previous two years Williams, and the up-and-coming March team (whose car was designed by a young Adrian Newey), both of whom were using the new 600 bhp Judd CV V8 engine. Boutsen would score 27 points, including 5 podium finishes, to claim 4th in the Drivers’ Championship with five 3rd-place finishes, while Nannini scored 12 points, including his first ever podium with 3rd at the British Grand Prix (despite two spins on the very wet Silverstone Circuit) and a second 3rd place later in the season in Spain. Overall with the B188, Benetton finished 3rd in the Constructors’ Championship with 39 points, 16 points in front of 4th placed Lotus, who not only used the same Honda engines as the dominant McLarens, but also had reigning World Champion Nelson Piquet as lead driver. Benetton would have in fact finished the season with 46 points but both cars were disqualified from the Belgian Grand Prix for using irregular fuel. The disqualification of the Benettons was not made official until a month after the season had finished, so many published records list Boutsen and Nannini as having finished third and fourth respectively at Spa. For 1989 Boutsen left to join Williams and was replaced by British rookie Johnny Herbert while the highly rated Nannini assumed the role of lead driver. The B188 was to be replaced by the B189 early in the season which would also see the team with exclusive use of the new development Ford HB4 V8 engine. Unfortunately due to delays with the new engine and a testing crash by Nannini before the San Marino Grand Prix, the team was forced to use the B188 with the old DFR engine as the new motor was designed around the new car and didn’t fit in the 1988 model (the DFR was a 90° V8 while the new HB was a 75° V8. Using the DFR in the B189 would have required a complete re-design of the rear suspension and engine cover). Despite the B188 being seen by the team as obsolete being a previous years model and with other teams now running customer DFR’s, Nannini and Herbert scored 13 points in the first six races of the season with the best being Nannini’s 3rd at San Marino. Herbert, who was also recovering from a horrific Formula 3000 crash at Brands Hatch in 1988, scored points on debut in Brazil, finishing 4th (only 1.123 seconds behind 3rd placed Maurício Gugelmin’s March-Judd and only 10.493 behind the Ferrari of race winner Nigel Mansell), and two places and 8 seconds ahead of Nannini. Despite a 5th-place finish in the desert heat in Phoenix where the race ran its full two hours, it became obvious in the opening rounds that he needed more time to recover from injuries that included both legs being badly broken (he was actually still in laid up hospital when the team announced him as their new 1989 driver at the 1988 Spanish Grand Prix). Herbert was replaced after the Canadian Grand Prix by McLaren test driver Emanuele Pirro. Pirro was chosen as even though he was an F1 rookie, he had experience driving F1 cars with McLaren, and as an Italian he satisfied the team owners want for an Italian driver. Despite driving for Benetton for from the French Grand Prix until the end of the season, Pirro was mostly based in Japan where he continued working with Honda as McLaren’s test driver at the Suzuka Circuit. Nannini debuted the B189 at the 1989 French Grand Prix while the last race for the B188 was by Pirro at the British Grand Prix. He qualified 26th and last and finished 11th. The Ford V8 powered Benetton B188 competed in 24 races, scoring 52 points and 8 podium finishes. Nannini also scored the car’s only fastest lap at the 1988 German Grand Prix at a wet Hockenheimring.
1970 March 701/1: The March 701 is a Formula One racing car model, designed by Robin Herd with Peter Wright, and built by March Engineering. The 701 was March’s first Formula One design – following their one-off March 693P Formula Three prototype of 1969 – and was designed and built in only three months. The March 701 made its race debut a month after its public unveiling, at the 1970 South African Grand Prix. In total, eleven 701s were constructed, with March supplying many privateer entrants as well as their own works team. The 701’s career started well, March drivers taking three wins and three pole positions from the car’s first four race entries, but lack of development through the 1970 Formula One season resulted in increasingly poor results as the year wore on. The 701 was superseded by the March 711 in 1971, and made its last World Championship race appearance at the 1971 Italian Grand Prix.
1975 Lola T400 Formula 5000: after the great success of the T332 in the 1974 Formula 5000 season (18 out of 21 top 3 finishes in the US), much was expected of the new high-tech Lola T400. Described by development driver Frank Gardner as “the most sophisticated Formula 5000 to be built so far”, the T400 was a completely new design, strikingly different from its T300, T330 and T332 predecessors. Built with a heavily revised aerodynamics and suspension system the T400 baffled and perplexed teams. The radiators were mounted in front of the rear wheels, as part of the mandatory deformable structure, so the aerodynamics could be significantly cleaner. However, the key difference was designer Eric Broadley’s adoption of rising rate suspension, with rocker arms and inboard springs, both front and rear. This would, eventually, prove very successful but at first nobody really understood how to make it work. This design was not only the first to move the shock absorbers inside the bodywork and out of the air-stream, but both mounting points of the shocks moved with the suspension, increasing the spring rate and shock damping with the movement, and therefore referred to as “rising rate”. Haas and Vel’s Parnelli Jones, the top two US teams, quickly forgot about their T400s and wheeled out their 1974 T332s. In Australia, the two leading drivers had returned to their earlier cars mid-way through the Tasman series but later persevered with the T400s and eventually made winning cars out of them. In the UK, VDS also pressed on and got one of their cars working really well at the end of the season; four wins in the last eight races securing a second F5000 title for Teddy Pilette. Of 27 top 3 finishes in the US, the T332 took 20, including all nine wins, the T400 just three and everyone else put together shared the other four. Eventually, the very advanced and complex suspension system was figured out by Lola and updates and chassis setup instructions tamed the beast. However, the US series ended in 1976, so little time was available to demonstrate the T400’s full potential. In recent years sophisticated computer modeling has been used to further enhance the T400’s chassis performance. Two of the 14 T400s were wrecked in accidents but the recent whereabouts of all twelve of the survivors are known
2001 G-Force GF05 Indy Car: G-Force Technologies (formerly Chip Ganassi Racing Ltd.) was an American racing car manufacturer originally formed by Americans Chip Ganassi and Ken Anderson in 1991. Ganassi would leave the company early on and the company was renamed G Force Precision Engineering. The company built successful cars in the Indy Racing League and 24 Hours of Le Mans. G-Force race cars won 4 Indianapolis 500’s, and 2 IRL Championships. G-Force was purchased by Élan Motorsport Technologies in 2002 and all manufacturing was moved to Elan’s facilities in Braselton, GA. Ken Anderson would leave to form Falcon Cars with Michael Kranefuss to build a competing chassis for the 2004 IRL season. Former Lola designer Simon Marshall would be brought on to design its new IRL chassis for 2004 which was branded the Panoz G-Force. During the winter of 2004, all remaining G-Force operations in England were moved to Braselton, GA and the England operations of G-Force were shut down. By the start of the 2005 season, the G-Force name was retired. G-Force began constructing chassis for the Indy Racing League as one of their original chassis fabricators beginning with the 1997 season (others were Dallara and Riley & Scott). G-Force chassis won the Indianapolis 500 in its first attempt in 1997 with Treadway Racing’s Arie Luyendyk, sweeping 1–2–3 finishing positions. The first generation G-Force IRL chassis competed in the series from 1997–1999. G-Force was once again a constructor for the second generation of IRL cars. G-Force would again visit victory lane in the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Juan Pablo Montoya. Élan purchased G-Force in 2002, and the production of the chassis was moved to Braselton for its final season. The second generation G-Force IRL chassis competed in the series from 2000–2002.
1998 Dallara F396: This is one of a long line of Formula 3 cars produced. Gian Paolo Dallara left the Milan Polytechnic in 1959 with an aeronautical engineering degree and went to work for Ferrari, during the next few years he also worked at Maserati and Lamborghini, at the latter he was responsible for the Miura. By the end of the sixties Dallara was working for De Tomaso on their short lived F1 and F2 projects and he also worked on the ISO-Marlboro F1 car run by Frank Williams. In 1975 Dallara decided it was time he set up his own company in his home town of Varano Melegari and he began by producing a sportscar, the X1-9, he then moved into competition work by developing racing versions of the Lancia Stratos and Beta Monte Carlo. The first Dallara F3 car was actually the Wolf car built for Walter Wolf racing in 1978 which as the renamed Emiliani won the 1980 Italian F3 Championship. The first true Dallara was produced in 1981 and within a dozen years Dallara had seen of all-comers including Ralt and Reynard. Their dominance has continued since then and despite the occasional competition from companies like TOM’s and Martini they seem immovable. In the late 1980’s Dallara returned to F1 when they built cars for Scuderia Italia, despite often impressing the cars lacked sufficient financial backing to ever be really successful. In 1999 Dallara were commissioned by Honda to build a F1 car for a projected return to F1 but in the end Honda decided to remain as engine suppliers only. They were also responsible for the design of the underfinanced and unsuccessful Hispania F110 and in 2016 the much better financed (and successful) Haas VF16. The full history of Dallara is too long to recount in detail here but as the years progressed Dallara became the dominant supplier of single-seater chassis’ continuing to provide cars for F3 as well as F2, IndyCar, World Series by Renault as well as Sportscar projects and design projects for other manufacturers. 1996 would be the last year of the 24mm restrictor in the airbox and therefore the new F396 was very much an evolution of the F395, in fact many teams, especially in the UK, favoured retaining their F395 and updating it to F396 spec. Opposition to Dallara was minimal, TOMS with the 036F, Martini’s MK73 and the Elise 396. Tom Coronel managed to finish 3rd in the Japanese Championship with his TOMS taking a single win but otherwise it was the expected Dallara domination. In the UK the F396 won every race and took the top nine positions in the championship. It was a similar story in Germany with the first ten championship places being taken by the F396. Not unexpectedly every point scorer in Italy was Dallara mounted and it was a first to eighteenth clean-sweep. Most of the lesser Championships also fell to Dallara with the Sudam, Swiss, Austrian, Greek and Central European all being taken by cars of various vintages.
1992 Bowman FB: Bowman Automotive is a former racecar constructor and current racing kart producer. Bowman produced cars for Formula Ford, Formula 3, USF2000 and other racing series. Steve Hollman built up experience building PRS Formula Ford cars with his brother Vic and designer Sergio Rinland. After working at Ralt in 1987, running Eddie Jordan Racing, Hollman formed his own racing team: Bowman Racing. The team fielded a Volkswagen powered Ralt RT32 for Gary Brabham in the 1988 British Formula Three season. Brabham won four races and was placed second in the championship standings. The second driver of the team, Ross Hockenhull, finished seventh in the championship standings. In 1989 Bowman Racing won the drivers’ championship with David Brabham. 1990 was the last season Bowman Racing entered Ralt cars. Steve Robertson and Peter Kox finished third and fifth in the series standings. For the 1991 season Steve Hollman built his first Bowman racing car, the BC1. The car was designed by Bruce Cary (BC). Robertson was again the lead driver for the team in the British Formula Three Championship. The team struggled with their alternatively designed car and an engine which was less competitive. Roberston won two races at Thruxton Circuit. For 1992 Bowman built the BC2. Two cars went to race in the French Formula Three Championship. Jean-Christophe Boullion won three races in the championship with the BC2. For 1993 the Bowman chassis were outclassed by Dallara in the French and Japanese Formula 3 championships. Near the end of the season the BC4 emerged. The BC4 was technically identical to the BC3. The aerodynamics were very similar to that of a Dallara of that era. In 1998 Bowman entered the American USF2000 championship. Highcroft Racing entered the BC5 for Andy Lally, Jeff Shafer and Duncan Dayton. Lally was the most successful driver finishing fourth in the series standings. In the manufacturer’s standings Bowman finished third, behind Van Diemen and Tatuus. In 1999 Bowman only appeared in the first and second rounds of the championship. In the second round, in the second race, Lally finished third but pulled out of the championship. In the late 1990s Hollman entered Bowman Racing team in the National Saloon Car Championship building Peugeot 306 cars for the series. Dan Eaves finished fourth in the series in 1999 and 2000. The operation was taken over by Vic Lee. Currently the company makes karts for indoor and outdoor competition.
1965 VW Formula Vee 1300cc: Formula Vee is built on Volkswagen components from the VW 1200 and 1300 models where the engine, front suspension and gearbox were used with adjustment and tuning according to the regulations. In the beginning was the trimming rate is almost zero, but in 1968 it began to occur wide rear axles VW 1300. Formula Vee was introduced in 1965 in Sweden when Scania Vabis (now Swedish Volkswagen ) hired 10 cars from Holland and arranged an international match between Sweden and Holland. The race went on Knutstorp on September 12th and the Netherlands won . The first national championship was run in 1966 at both racing and ice rink . The class was very popular with approximately 70 participants per race. Since the car was built at VW components, the price was affordable, which meant that more could afford to start driving racing. Famous names from that time are Leif Hansen, Curt Johansson, Tommy Brorsson and Kennerth Persson. Even Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg started once in this class!
Completing the display was this 2/3rd scale Ferrari.
BMW 1800Ti/SA 1965
Ford Capri RS2600 Group 2: Homologating the Capri RS2600 as a four seat Touring Car involved some flexible interpretation of the Group 2 rulebook. A big front spoiler kept the nose planted, ever bigger wheelarches made it look more menacing and development finally brought a matching rear spoiler. Under the bonnet a special 2.9 litre V6 was fitted with Weslake heads and further tuning at Ford Motorsport’s base in Cologne saw power creep up from 260 bhp in 1971 via 290 bhp in 1972 to a peak of 325 bhp in 1973. 1970 was something of a nightmare season for Ford, but their fortune changed in 1971, where the RS2600 won six of the eight races in the European Championship and Dieter Glemser took the driver’s crown, though Ford missed out on the constructor’s title. Ford’s first victory that year was at Salzburg. More glory would follow at the Spa 24 hrs. There were 60 starters but only 18 finishers. Only one Capri, driven by Alex Soler-Reig and Dieter Glemser did finish, but with a three lap lead over the redoubtable “Pink Pig”, the thunderous Mercedes 300 SEL 6.3. The scene was set for what would become years of epic battles with BMW, even though the Munich marque only managed sixth at this event that year. The Capri would go on to win at the 12 hrs at Paul Ricard, actually two 6 hr races on successive days. The same drivers took the Capri to third place in the 1972 championship. BMW hit back in 1973 with the 3.0 CSL, but the staggering 137 mph average set by Hans Stuck cost lives and Group 2 cars were banned from Spa, with a new set of rules devised for the following season, staying a bit closer to showroom spec. These rule changes meant that the mightiest Capri, the RS3100 did not race at Spa, but the Capri’s racing career was far from over. The 73/74 oil crisis forced Ford to cut their motorsport budgets, but there was enough money to develop a new 3.0 litre Capri that would become a popular choice for privateers, including British entrant Gordon Spice.
Vauxhall Magnum 1976
Ford Capri 3.0S 1978: for 1978, four newly-built Mark 3 Capri 3.0S in striking Belga racing colours lined up at the Spa circuit, the last time that the old 9 mile track was used. The ongoing battle between Ford and BMW, who had entered the 530i saw a massive fight-back from Gordon Spice and Teddy Pilette who snatched back the lead in the final hours of the 24 hr race following a series of mishaps that included a 140 mph blowout. After 5 years of BMW victories, Ford had regained the crown they so desperately sought, and as this was the last time that the old track would be used, Spice’s record for up to 3.5 litre cars would stand for ever. The Capri scored victories again in 1979 and 1980, but with new regulations in place from 1981, the Capri’s hey day was over. Ford moved on to something new, which would eventually give us the Sierra Cosworth.
Toyota Corolla 1985
Opel Vectra: Driven at the time by Pierre-Alain Thibaut, Alain Cudini and the “Tintin” national, Eric Van de Poele, this car took part in the 24h race in 1996 and 1997 leading the race for the first hour in 1997.
MEMORABILIA and ROLL of HONOUR
As well as the cars, there is plenty of associated memorabilia on show, and there is a Roll of Honour depicting all the winners of the Formula 1 races that have been held at the circuit.
OTHER DISPLAY CARS
This 1949 Ford Custom was driven in 1951 by Roger Warmatte at an average speed of 122 km/h.
Fasa-Renault A110: In Spain, the Alpine A110 was produced by FASA in Valladolid between 1967 and 1978. These were the only versions built outside France that were commercialised under the same names and to the same specifications as the French-built ones. FASA manufactured version A110 1100 (from 1967 to 1970) with 1108 cc engines, version A110 1300 (from 1971 to 1976) with 1289 cc engines, and version A110 1400 (from 1977 to 1978) with 1397 cc engines.
Austin Healey 3000: 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
Lotus Elan 26R
Porsche 911 SC
BMW M1: In the late 1970s, Italian manufacturer Lamborghini had entered into an agreement with BMW to build a production racing car in sufficient quantity for homologation, but conflicts arose and Lamborghini’s increasingly tenuous financial position at the time meant that BMW reasserted control over the project and ended up producing the car themselves after 7 prototypes had been built. The result was the BMW M1 a hand-built car that was sold to the public between 1978 and 1981 under the Motorsport division of BMW. The body was designed by Giugiaro, taking inspiration from the 1972 BMW Turbo show car. The only mid-engined BMW to be “mass”produced, it employed a twin-cam M88/1 3.5 litre 6-cylinder petrol engine with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection, a version of which was later used in the South African version of the BMW 745i, as well as the E24 BMW M6/M635CSi and E28 BMW M5. The engine had six separate throttle bodies, four valves per cylinder and produced 273 hp, giving it a top speed of 162 mph. Turbocharged racing versions were capable of producing around 850 hp. Only 453 production M1s were built, making it one of BMW’s rarest models. Of these, 20 were race versions created for the BMW M1 Procar Championship.
Lancia Stratos: A Bertone-designed concept car called the Lancia Stratos Zero was shown to the public in 1970, but shares little but the name and mid-engined layout with the Stratos HF version. A new car called the New Stratos was announced in 2010 which was heavily influenced by the design of the original Stratos, but was based on a Ferrari chassis and engine. Bertone had no previous business with Lancia, who were traditionally linked with Pininfarina, and he wanted to come into conversation with them. Bertone knew that Lancia was looking for a replacement for the ageing Fulvia for use in rally sports and so he designed an eye-catcher to show to Lancia. Bertone used the running gear of the Fulvia Coupé of one of his personal friends and built a running showpiece around it. When Bertone himself appeared at the Lancia factory gates with the Stratos Zero he passed underneath the barrier and got great applause from the Lancia workers. After that a co-operation between Lancia and Bertone was formed to develop a new rally car based on ideas of Bertone’s designer Marcello Gandini who already had designed the Lamborghini Miura and Countach. Lancia presented the Bertone-designed Lancia Stratos HF prototype at the 1971 Turin Motor Show, a year after the announcement of the Stratos Zero concept car. The prototype Stratos HF (Chassis 1240) was fluorescent red in colour and featured a distinctive crescent-shaped-wrap-around windshield providing maximum forward visibility with almost no rear visibility. The prototype had three different engines in its early development life: the Lancia Fulvia engine, the Lancia Beta engine and finally for the 1971 public announcement, the mid-mounted Dino Ferrari V6 producing 190 hp. The use of the Dino V6 was planned right from the beginning of the project, but Enzo Ferrari was reluctant to sign off the use of this engine in a car he saw as a competitor to his own Dino V6. After the production of the Dino car had ended the “Commendatore” (a popular nickname for Enzo Ferrari) agreed on delivering the engines for the Stratos, and Lancia then suddenly received 500 units. The Stratos was a very successful rally car during the 1970s and early 1980s. It started a new era in rallying as it was the first car designed from scratch for this kind of competition. The three leading men behind the entire rallying project were Lancia team manager Cesare Fiorio, British racer/engineer Mike Parkes and factory rally driver Sandro Munari with Bertone’s Designer Marcello Gandini taking a very personal interest in designing and producing the bodywork. Lancia did extensive testing with the Stratos and raced the car in several racing events where Group 5 prototypes were allowed during the 1972 and 1973 seasons. Production of the 500 cars required for homologation in Group 4 commenced in 1973 and the Stratos was homologated for the 1974 World Rally Championship season. The Ferrari Dino V6 engine was phased out in 1974, but 500 engines among the last built were delivered to Lancia. Production ended in 1975 when it was thought that only 492 were made (for the 1976 season, the Group 4 production requirement was reduced to 400 in 24 months. Manufacturer of the car was Bertone in Turin, with final assembly by Lancia at the Chivasso plant. Powered by the Dino 2.4 litreV6 engine that was also fitted to the rallying versions, but in a lower state of tune, it resulted in a power output of 190 hp, giving the road car a 0–100 km/h time of 6.8 seconds, and a top speed of 232 km/h (144 mph). The Stratos weighed between 900 and 950 kilograms, depending on configuration. Power output was around 275 hp for the original 12 valve version and 320 hp for the 24 valve version. Beginning with the 1978 season the 24 valve heads were banned from competition by a change to the FIA rules. Even with this perceived power deficit the Stratos was the car to beat in competition and when it did not suffer an accident or premature transmission failure (of the latter there were many) it had great chances to win. Despite the fact that the Stratos was never intended to be a race car, there were two Group 5 racing cars built with 560 hp, using a single KKK turbocharger. The car won the 1974, 1975 and 1976 championship titles in the hands of Sandro Munari and Björn Waldegård, and might have gone on to win more had not internal politics within the Fiat group placed rallying responsibility on the Fiat 131 Abarths. As well as victories on the 1975, 1976 and 1977 Monte Carlo Rally, all courtesy of Munari, the Stratos won the event with the private Chardonnet Team as late as 1979. Without support from Fiat, and despite new regulations that restricted engine power, the car would remain a serious competitor and proved able to beat works cars in several occasions when entered by an experienced private team with a talented driver. The last victory of the Stratos was in 1981, at the Tour de Corse Automobile, another World Rally Championship event, with a victory by longtime Stratos privateer Bernard Darniche. When the Fiat group favoured the Fiat 131 for rallying Lancia also built two Group 5 turbocharged ‘silhouette’ Stratos for closed-track endurance racing. These cars failed against the Porsche 935s on closed tracks but proved successful in hybrid events. While they failed in the Tour de France Automobile, one of these cars won the 1976 Giro d’Italia Automobilistico, an Italian counterpart of the Tour de France Automobile. One of the cars was destroyed in Zeltweg, when it caught fire due to overheating problems. The last surviving car would win the Giro d’Italia event again before it was shipped to Japan to compete in the Fuji Speedway based Formula Silhouette series, which was never raced. The car would then be sold and reside in the Matsuda Collection before then being sold to the renowned collector of Stratos’, Christian Hrabalek, a car designer and the founder of Fenomenon Ltd, who has the largest Lancia Stratos Collection in the world, 11 unique Lancia Stratos cars, including the fluorescent red 1971 factory prototype and the 1977 Safari Rally car. His interest in the car led to the development of the Fenomenon Stratos in 2005. The Stratos also gained limited success in 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a car, driven by Christine Dacremont and Lella Lombardi, finishing 20th in 1976.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV
Alfa Romeo GTA 1600
Renault Sport Spider
MG PB: The PA and later PB replaced the J Type Midget. These 2-door sports cars used an updated version of the overhead camshaft, crossflow engine that was also used in the 1928 Morris Minor and Wolseley 10 as well as the J-type Midget of 1932 to 1934. It drove the rear wheels through a four-speed non-synchromesh gearbox. The chassis was a strengthened and slightly longer version of that used in the J-type with suspension by half-elliptic springs all round with rigid front and rear axles. Steering was initially by a Marles Weller and later a Bishop Cam system. The two-seat car had a wheelbase of 87″ and a track of 42″. Most cars were open two seaters, but streamlined Airline coupé bodies were also made. The P-type was also available as a four-seater, a car that suffered from a lack of power and poor rear ground clearance. Whereas J, K and L-type MGs differentiated between versions with the use of numbers, with 1 indicating a four-seater (the J1) and 2 a two-seater (the J2), this was not the case with the P-type (or its six-cylinder sister, the N-type Magnette), and there is no clue to the type in the name. The first version, the PA used an 847 cc engine similar to the one on the J-Type, but now with a 3-bearing crankshaft, larger camshaft and twin SU carburettors. It produced 36 bhp at 5,500 rpm. In 1935, a PA open two-seater cost £222. Around 2,000 PAs were made. In late 1936 the PA was replaced by the PB, which had a larger 939cc 43bhp engine and which is distinguished by a grille of vertical slats as opposed to the honeycomb pattern of the PA. 526 examples of the PB were made.
A vast array of motorbikes of all sizes, types and ages lines one wall of the museum.
These days the circuit is closed off apart from for race and test activity, and as it snakes through the forest, there are not that many vantage points from outside the perimeter fencing. These are one of the gates which tell you that you’ve arrived.
AND A BONUS
And it was whilst I headed to that vantage point that I spotted an array of interesting cars all parked up at a combined fuel station and cafe. Several of them bore the stickers “Go for Killian”, and a bit of internet research later in the day elicited the fact that in early 2018 Killian had been victim of a terrible road accident which completely changed his life. He has been making a slow but steady partial recovery with further surgery still being required, so this group came together to try to raise funds to support him with the hope of providing an adapted vehicle to give him some future mobility. Around 50 cars ha been entered for this second annual event, though not all of them were parked up where I found these treasures.
Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV: By 1963, Alfa were ready to add a Coupe version to their new 105 Series Giulia range. It evolved over a 14 year production life, with plenty of different models, though the basic design changed little. The first car was called the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT, and was revealed at a press event held at the then newly opened Arese plant on 9 September 1963, and displayed later the same month at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In its original form the Bertone body is known as scalino (step) or “step front”, because of the leading edge of the engine compartment lid which sat 1/4 an inch above the nose of the car. The Giulia Sprint GT can be distinguished from the later models by a number of features including: Exterior badging: Alfa Romeo logo on the front grille, a chrome script reading “Giulia Sprint GT” on the boot lid, and rectangular “Disegno di Bertone” badges aft of the front wheel arches; flat, chrome grille in plain, wide rectangular mesh without additional chrome bars; single-piece chrome bumpers; no overriders. Inside the cabin the padded vinyl dashboard was characterised by a concave horizontal fascia, finished in grey anti-glare crackle-effect paint. Four round instruments were inset in the fascia in front of the driver. The steering wheel was non-dished, with three aluminium spokes, a thin bakelite rim and a centre horn button. Vinyl-covered seats with cloth centres and a fully carpeted floor were standard, while leather upholstery was an extra-cost option. After initially marketing it as a four-seater, Alfa Romeo soon changed its definition of the car to a more realistic 2+2. The Giulia Sprint GT was fitted with the 1,570 cc version of Alfa Romeo’s all-aluminium twin cam inline four (78 mm bore × 82 mm stroke), which had first debuted on the 1962 Giulia Berlina. Breathing through two twin-choke Weber 40 DCOE 4 carburettors, on the Sprint GT this engine produced 105 hp at 6,000 rpm. Like all subsequent models, the Sprint GT was equipped with an all-synchromesh 5-speed manual transmission. The braking system comprised four Dunlop disc brakes and a vacuum servo. The rear brakes featured an unusual arrangement with the slave cylinders mounted on the axle tubes, operating the calipers by a system of levers and cranks. According to Alfa Romeo the car could reach a top speed of “over 180 km/h (112 mph)”. In total 21,902 Giulia Sprint GT were produced from 1963 to 1965, when the model was superseded by the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce. Of these 2,274 were right hand drive: 1,354 cars fully finished in Arese, and 920 shipped in complete knock-down kit form for foreign assembly. For 1966, the Giulia Sprint GT was replaced by the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT Veloce, which was very similar but featuring a number of improvements: a revised engine—slightly more powerful and with more torque—better interior fittings and changes to the exterior trim. Alongside the brand new 1750 Spider Veloce which shared its updated engine the Sprint GT Veloce was introduced at the 36th Geneva Motor Show in March 1966, and then tested by the international specialist press in Gardone on the Garda Lake. Production had began in 1965 and ended in 1968. The Giulia Sprint GT Veloce can be most easily distinguished from other models by the following features: badging as per Giulia Sprint GT, with the addition of round enamel badges on the C-pillar—a green Quadrifoglio (four-leaf clover) on an ivory background—and a chrome “Veloce” script on the tail panel; black mesh grille with three horizontal chrome bars; the grille heart has 7 bars instead of 6; stainless steel bumpers, as opposed to the chromed mild steel bumpers on the Giulia Sprint GT. The bumpers are the same shape, but are made in two pieces (front) and three pieces (rear) with small covers hiding the joining rivets. Inside the main changes from the Giulia Sprint GT were imitation wood dashboard fascia instead of the previous anti-glare grey finish, front seats revised to a mild “bucket” design, and a dished three aluminium spoke steering wheel, with a black rim and horn buttons through the spokes. The Veloce’s type 00536 engine, identical to the Spider 1600 Duetto’s, featured modifications compared to the Giulia Sprint GT’s type 00502—such as larger diameter exhaust valves. As a result it produced 108 hp at 6,000 rpm, an increase of 3 hp over the previous model, and significantly more torque. The top speed now exceeded 185 km/h (115 mph). Early Giulia Sprint GT Veloces featured the same Dunlop disc brake system as the Giulia Sprint GT, while later cars substituted ATE disc brakes as pioneered on the GT 1300 Junior in 1966. The ATE brakes featured an handbrake system entirely separate from the pedal brakes, using drum brakes incorporated in the rear disc castings. Though the Sprint GT Veloce’s replacement—the 1750 GT Veloce—was introduced in 1967, production continued throughout the year and thirty final cars were completed in 1968. By then total Giulia Sprint GT Veloce production amounted to 14,240 examples. 1,407 of these were right hand drive cars, and 332 right hand drive complete knock-down kits. The Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce (also known as 1750 GTV) appeared in 1967 along with the 1750 Berlina sedan and 1750 Spider. The same type of engine was used to power all three versions; this rationalisation was a first for Alfa Romeo. The 1750 GTV replaced the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce and introduced many updates and modifications. Most significantly, the engine capacity was increased to 1779 cc displacement. Peak power from the engine was increased to 120 hp at 5500 rpm. The stroke was lengthened from 82 to 88.5 mm over the 1600 engine, and a reduced rev limit from 7000 rpm to 6000 rpm. Maximum torque was increased to 186 N·m (137 lb·ft) at 3000 rpm. A higher ratio final drive was fitted (10/41 instead of 9/41) but the same gearbox ratios were retained. The result was that, on paper, the car had only slightly improved performance compared to the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce, but on the road it was much more flexible to drive and it was easier to maintain higher average speeds for fast touring. For the United States market, the 1779 cc engine was fitted with a fuel injection system made by Alfa Romeo subsidiary SPICA, to meet emission control laws that were coming into effect at the time. Fuel injection was also featured on Canadian market cars after 1971. Carburettors were retained for other markets. The chassis was also significantly modified. Tyre size went to 165/14 from 155/15 and wheel size to 5 1/2J x 14 instead of 5J x 15, giving a wider section and slightly smaller rolling diameter. The suspension geometry was also revised, and an anti-roll bar was fitted to the rear suspension. ATE disc brakes were fitted from the outset, but with bigger front discs and calipers than the ones fitted to GT 1300 Juniors and late Giulia Sprint GT Veloces. The changes resulted in significant improvements to the handling and braking, which once again made it easier for the driver to maintain high average speeds for fast touring. The 1750 GTV also departed significantly from the earlier cars externally. New nose styling eliminated the “stepped” bonnet of the Giulia Sprint GT, GTC, GTA and early GT 1300 Juniors and incorporated four headlamps. For the 1971 model year, United States market 1750 GTV’s also featured larger rear light clusters (there were no 1970 model year Alfas on the US market). Besides the chrome “1750” badge on the bootlid, there was also a round Alfa Romeo badge. Similar Quadrofoglio badges to those on the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce were fitted on C pillars, but the Quadrofoglio was coloured gold instead of green. The car also adopted the higher rear wheelarches first seen on the GT 1300 Junior. The interior was also much modified over that of earlier cars. There was a new dashboard with large speedometer and tachometer instruments in twin binnacles closer to the driver’s line of sight. The instruments were mounted at a more conventional angle, avoiding the reflections caused by the upward angled flat dash of earlier cars. Conversely, auxiliary instruments were moved to angled bezels in the centre console, further from the driver’s line of sight than before. The new seats introduced adjustable headrests which merged with the top of the seat when fully down. The window winder levers, the door release levers and the quarterlight vent knobs were also restyled. The remote release for the boot lid, located on the inside of the door opening on the B-post just under the door lock striker, was moved from the right hand side of the car to the left hand side. The location of this item was always independent of whether the car was left hand drive or right hand drive. Early (Series 1) 1750 GTV’s featured the same bumpers as the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce, with the front bumper modified to mount the indicator / sidelight units on the top of its corners, or under the bumper on US market cars. The Series 2 1750 GTV of 1970 introduced other mechanical changes, including a dual circuit braking system (split front and rear, with separate servos). The brake and clutch pedals on left hand drive cars were also of an improved pendant design, instead of the earlier floor-hinged type. On right hand drive cars the floor-hinged pedals were retained, as there was no space for the pedal box behind the carburettors. Externally, the series 2 1750 GTV is identified by new, slimmer bumpers with front and rear overriders. The combined front indicator and sidelight units were now mounted to the front panel instead of the front bumper, except again on the 1971-72 US/Canadian market cars. The interior was slightly modified, with the seats retaining the same basic outline but following a simpler design. 44,269 1750 GTVs were made before their replacement came along. That car was the 2000GTV. Introduced in 1971, together with the 2000 Berlina sedan and 2000 Spider, the 2 litre cars were replacements for the 1750 range. The engine displacement was increased to 1962 cc. Oil and radiator capacities remained unchanged. The North American market cars had fuel injection, but everyone else retained carburettors. Officially, both versions generated the same power, 130 hp at 5500 rpm. The interior trim was changed, with the most notable differences being the introduction of a separate instrument cluster, instead of the gauges installed in the dash panel in earlier cars. Externally the 2000 GTV is most easily distinguished by its grille with horizontal chrome bars, featuring protruding blocks forming the familiar Alfa heart in outline, smaller hubcaps with exposed wheel nuts, optional aluminium alloy wheels of the same size as the standard 5. 1/2J × 14 steel items, styled to the “turbina” design first seen on the alloy wheels of the Alfa Romeo Montreal, and the larger rear light clusters first fitted to United States market 1750 GTV’s were standard for all markets. From 1974 on, the 105 Series coupé models were rationalised and these external features became common to post-1974 GT 1300 Junior and GT 1600 Junior models, with only few distinguishing features marking the difference between models. 37,459 2000 GTVs were made before production ended and these days they are very sought after with prices having sky-rocketed in recent years.
Fiat 133: A real rarity now, the 133 was a small rear-engined car designed and sold by SEAT in Spain from 1974 to 1979. The car used the chassis and engine of the by then defunct Fiat/SEAT 850 and featured a new body in the style of the contemporary, somewhat smaller and only indirectly related Fiat 126. The car was first exhibited at the Barcelona Motor Show in May 1974. Noteworthy at that time was the compression ratio of only 8:1, which permitted the car to run on 85 octane petrol/gasoline. This was still appropriate in Spain, but elsewhere in western Europe even “regular” fuel grades by now generally guaranteed a higher minimum octane rating. The 133’s design premise was that it had to be a cheap car both to develop and build. Thus, the final product inherited most of its components from the SEAT 850 (or very closely related Fiat 850). As with the 850, it was a rear-wheel drive, rear-engined car – a layout that was being supplanted by front-engined, front-wheel drive hatchbacks like the Renault 5 and Fiat’s own Fiat 127 at the time. The 133 effectively replaced the SEAT 850 and the SEAT 600 both of which had been produced in considerable numbers with around 800,000 of the more venerable 600 built – almost exclusively for the domestic market – by 1974. It was developed in Spain by SEAT, with which Italian company Fiat had signed an agreement of collaboration in the 1950s. Initially the 133 was only sold in Spain and did not enjoy great success, since it suffered from frequent overheating problems. It was intended to replace the old 600 and 850 models, and was also meant to provide a means for SEAT to open new markets and make up for the loss of sales in Spain that would come with the disappearance of the restrictions in car imports during the 1970s. Export rates were higher than for the 133’s predecessors (as well as the remainder of the SEAT range), reaching 36.7 percent in 1976. Reflecting the rear engine lay-out, there was just a small well for parcels behind the back seats, with more room for luggage under the ‘bonnet’ at the front of the car. Up to 200,000 SEAT 133s had been produced by 1979 in Spain. The SEAT 133 was named as the Fiat 133 in certain export markets where the SEAT brand was unknown. Around 127,000 units were exported, mostly under the Fiat name. The SEAT 133 was exported to Germany from the autumn/Fall of 1974: there it found some success among rear-wheel-drive loyalists in the mid-seventies. It was also sold in Britain from June 1975. These countries had no SEAT dealership network at the time, and the cars were branded as Fiat 133s, to be marketed alongside the Fiats 126 and 127.
Opel Kadett GT/E: The Kadett C, which was the third generation of the Opel Kadett, was released in August 1973, and was Opel’s version of the General Motors’ “T-Car”. It was the last small Opel to feature rear-wheel drive, and remained in production at Opel’s Bochum plant until July 1979, by which time Opel had produced 1,701,076. Of these, 52% had been exported outside West Germany, most of them to markets in other parts of western Europe. In other world markets however, various badge engineered versions of the Kadett C remained in production as late as the mid 1990s under other GM brand names. The body of the Kadett C was seen as being less lumpy and better proportioned than that of the Kadett B. In terms of overall dimensions, however, the two were actually very similar. Most customers opted for the “Limousine” bodied saloon/sedan car which came with two doors. A four-door “Limousine” was produced mostly for export to markets where cars of this size with only two doors encountered customer resistance. In West Germany itself, however, the small family car market continued to be dominated and defined by Volkswagen for whom two doors in a small family car was still quite sufficient: the four door Kadett C is remembered in Germany as an “export special”. The Limousine body accounted for just under 63% of the Opel Kadett Cs produced. A further 11% were three door estate-bodied cars badged, following Opel tradition, as the Kadett Caravan, with the two-door coupés accounting for slightly under 10%.Publicity of the time, possibly originating with Mercedes-Benz, indicated that in order to minimize the risk of fire in the event of collision, the safest position for a car’s fuel tank was above the rear axle between the passenger cabin and the boot/trunk, and this is where the Kadett C “Limousine” and “Coupé” had their fuel tanks fitted, accessible for replenishment via the (unexpectedly, hinged,) extractor vent on the car’s right-side C-pillar. On the “Caravan” bodied estate car the fuel tank was a flatter shape, and was positioned under the rear cargo area. At the end of May 1975 the “Kadett City” was added to the range. This was a three door hatchback intended to compete on price (though not on space efficiency) with the Ford Fiesta, launched in Germany in the same month. The concept had first originated on the Kadett C’s Vauxhall sister car the Chevette which was launched first. The unique panelwork for the Kadett City was in fact produced at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant and exported to Bochum for assembly into finished bodyshells. The Kadett City sat on the same wheelbase as the other Kadett Cs, but the rear overhang was shortened. The fuel tank was positioned under the floor of the luggage compartment at the back, as on the Caravan bodied cars, but the fuel tank on the “Kadett City” had a capacity of only 37 litres as against 43 litres for the slightly longer “Kadett Caravan”. Both models featured rear seats that could be folded forward to give a long and relatively unimpeded load area. 263,090 “Kadett City” bodied cars were produced, representing more than 15% of the Kadett Cs produced by Opel, Germany. German production ceased in 1979 when the car was replaced by an all-new front wheel drive model.
Opel Ascona B: The second generation Opel Ascona B was presented in August 1975 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was available as a two or four-door saloon. There were related two and three-door coupé models in the Opel Manta range. There was no estate body available. The Ascona B retained the same engine range as its predecessor, versions with higher compression ratio and needing 98 octane petrol, dubbed S, were available alongside the 90 octane models. The first change took place in January 1976, when laminated window glass became available as a no-cost option. The 1.9 L “S” cam-in-head engine was replaced by the modernised 2.0 L (20S) in September 1977. The 20N became available in January 1978, and all models now also received electric windscreen washers. A 2.0 L diesel motor was added to the Ascona B range in 1978, mostly targeted at the BeNeLux countries and Italy, where local tax structures provided an incentive for diesel-powered automobiles – in 1979, 97% of diesels were exported, while 59% of petrol powered cars went in the export. By the end of 1978 the 1.6 S engine was discontinued in Germany (where it was replaced by the 19N, with the same power but lower fuel consumption), but continued to be available in some markets in a somewhat down-tuned version with 70 PS. In January 1979 the street legal version of the Ascona 400 with 2.4-litre engine (16 valves, 144 PS) appeared, followed a month later by the more prosaic 1.3 liter OHC engine. This largely replaced the old 1.2 litre pushrod unit which dated back to 1962, but production continued in dwindling numbers into 1980 for some export markets. In September 1979 the Ascona received a minor facelift, including plastic bumpers and a grey front grille with a larger mesh. The 2.0 E model with a Bosch L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection arrived in January 1980, after having been first installed in the Manta and Rekord models. In addition to a front spoiler, the 2.0 E equipped Ascona also received an upgraded clutch and transmission, differential, radiator, and other parts shared with the sporting Manta GT/E. In January 1981 the Ascona underwent its last changes, when adjustments made to the 16N and 20N engines. The 1.9 N and 2.0 N engines were discontinued in the German market, while the 1.6 N engine was now only available coupled with an automatic transmission. Over 1.2 million Ascona B units were produced worldwide until August 1981. The two millionth Ascona was an Ascona B, built in April 1980, and the one millionth Ascona sold in Germany was registered in July of that same year.
Peugeot 203: The Peugeot 203 was the first new design that Peugeot produced after WW2. The car was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show in 1947, but by then had already been under development for more than five years. Volume manufacturing was initially hampered by strikes and shortages of materials, but production got under way late in 1948, with buyers taking delivery of 203s from early 1949. During its twelve-year production run nearly 700,000 203s of all variants rolled off the assembly line in Sochaux, France. Between the demise of the 202 in 1949 and the launch of the 403 in 1955, the 203 was the only model produced by Peugeot. The majority of the 203s were saloon bodied, but Estate, Coupe and Cabrio versions were offered as well.
Porsche 993: Representing the 911 family on this occasion was a 993-generation car. Replacing the 964, the 993 models were first seen in October 1993, with production starting a few weeks later. Its arrival marked the end of air-cooled 911 models. The 993 was much improved over, and quite different from its predecessor. According to Porsche, every part of the car was designed from the ground up, including the engine and only 20% of its parts were carried over from the previous generation. Porsche refers to the 993 as “a significant advance, not just from a technical, but also a visual perspective.” Porsche’s engineers devised a new light-alloy subframe with coil and wishbone suspension (an all new multi-link system), putting behind the previous lift-off oversteer and making significant progress with the engine and handling, creating a more civilised car overall providing an improved driving experience. The 993 was also the first 911 to receive a six speed transmission. The 993 had several variants, as its predecessors, varying in body style, engines, drivetrains and included equipment. Power was increased by the addition of the VarioRam system, which added additional power, particularly in the mid-ranges, and also resulted in more throttle noise at higher revs; as a consequence, resulted in a 15% increase in power over its predecessor. The external design of the Porsche 993, penned by English designer Tony Hatter, retained the basic body shell architecture of the 964 and other earlier 911 models, but with revised exterior panels, with much more flared wheel arches, a smoother front and rear bumper design, an enlarged retractable rear wing and teardrop mirrors. A major change was the implementation of all alloy multi-link rear suspension attached to an alloy sub frame, a completely new design derived from the 989, a four-door sedan which never went into production. The system later continued in the 993’s successor, the 996, and required the widening of the rear wheel arches, which gave better stability. The new suspension improved handling, making it more direct, more stable, and helping to reduce the tendency to oversteer if the throttle was lifted during hard cornering, a trait of earlier 911s. It also reduced interior noise and improved ride quality. The 993 was the first generation of the 911 to have a 6-speed manual transmission included as standard; its predecessors had 4 or 5-speed transmissions. In virtually every situation, it was possible to keep the engine at its best torque range above 4,500 rpm. The Carrera, Carrera S, Cabriolet and Targa models (rear wheel drive) were available with a “Tiptronic” 4-speed automatic transmission, first introduced in the 964. From the 1995 model year, Porsche offered the Tiptronic S with additional steering wheel mounted controls and refined software for smoother, quicker shifts. Since the 993’s introduction, the Tiptronic is capable of recognising climbs and descents. The Tiptronic equipped cars suffer as compared to the manual transmission equipped cars in both acceleration and also top speed, but the differences are not much notable. Tiptronic cars also suffered a 55 lb (25 kg) increase in weight. The 993’s optional all wheel drive system was refined over that of the 964. Porsche departed from the 964’s setup consisting of three differentials and revised the system based on the layout from its 959 flagship, replacing the centre differential with a viscous coupling unit. In conjunction with the 993’s redesigned suspension, this system improved handling characteristics in inclement weather and still retained the stability offered by all wheel drive without having to suffer as many compromises as the previous all-wheel-drive system. Its simpler layout also reduced weight, though the four wheel drive Carrera 4 weighs 111 lb (50 kg) more than its rear wheel drive counterpart (at 3,131 lb (1,420 kg) vs. 3,020 lb (1,370 kg)). Other improvements over the 964 include a new dual-flow exhaust system, larger brakes with drilled discs, and a revised power steering. A full range of models arrived before the arrival of the 996 generation in 1998.
Renault R8 Gordini: The R8 was first launched in the autumn of 1962, as a replacement for the Dauphine, still rear engined, but featuring a boxier and roomier body and an all new 956cc engine that developed 43 bhp. A more powerful model, the 8 Major, was released in 1964, featuring an 1108 cc engine developing 49 hp. A still more powerful version, the R8 Gordini, was also released that year, with a tuned engine of the same capacity but developing 89 hp. The extra power was obtained by a cross-flow head and twin dual-choke 40mm side-draft Solex carburettors. A four-speed close ratio manual transmission, dual rear shock absorbers and uprated springs were fitted. The Gordini was originally available only in blue, with two stick-on white stripes. It was also distinguishable from the 8 Major by the bigger 200mm headlamp units. In 1965, the Renault 10 Major, a more luxurious version of the 8 with different front and rear styling, was released, replacing the 8 Major. In 1967, the R8 Gordini received a facelift including two additional headlights (in effect Cibie Oscar driving lights), and its engine was upgraded to a 1255cc unit rated at 99 hp. The original Gordini cross-flow head design was retained, and twin dual-choke 40mm Weber side-draft carburettors. Both the R8 and the R10 were heavily revised for 1969, with some of the R10’s features being incorporated in the R8, resulting in a new R8 Major which replaced the basic model. The changes also saw the addition of the R8S, a sportier model with a 1108cc engine rated at 59 hp. The R8 Gordini continued largely unchanged until production ceased in 1972, by which time over 11,000 units had been built. The vast majority of surviving R8s are now presented as Gordinis, though many of them are recreations that started out as a more humble model, much as has happened with Mark 1 Escorts and Lotus Cortinas.
Renault Alpine A310: Successor to the more commonly seem A110 was the A310 and there was one here. Launched in 1971, the four-cylinder car was larger, heavier, and no more powerful than its predecessor, which meant it was generally considered underpowered. The car was first shown at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. The prototype A310 had louvres across the rear windscreen; these were not carried over to the production model. Early models had a NACA duct mounted near the window atop the left front fender, later four-cylinder cars received two, mounted closer to the front of the car. In 1976, to help flagging sales, the lower-cost A310 SX was presented. This model has a 95 PS version of the Renault 16/17’s 1647 cc inline-four and simplified equipment. The basis of the A310 was a hefty tubular steel backbone chassis, clothed in a fibreglass shell. As for the previous A110 the entire body was moulded in a single piece. Like the ill-fated De Lorean DMC-12, which used the same PRV powertrain, the engine was mounted longitudinally in the rear, driving forward to the wheels through a manual five-speed gearbox. The driving position was low and sporty, although the front wheelwells encroached on the occupants’ feet, pointing them towards the centre of the car. The A310 was labour-intensive, having been developed for small-scale artisanal production – a car took 130 hours to build from start to finish. The front axle also came in for some criticism, although in 1974 the balljoint mountings were replaced by rubber/steel bushings (silent-blocs) which somewhat improved the longevity. While many bits of the A310 came from the Renault parts shelf as expected, others are more surprising – the steering rack is from the Peugeot 504, while the turn signals are Simca 1301 units. In 1976 the A310 was restyled by Robert Opron and fitted with the more powerful and newly developed 90-degree 2664 cc V6 PRV engine, as used in some Renaults, Volvos and Peugeots. The later V6 received a black plastic rear spoiler as well, useful for keeping the tail planted but somewhat marring to purity of the original’s lines. With 150 PS on tap, the A310 PRV V6 was Renault’s performance flagship capable of 220 km/h (137 mph) and acceptable acceleration. The tail-heavy weight distribution gave handling characteristics similar to the contemporary Porsche 911. Beginning with model year 1981 (in late 1980), the rear suspension was shared with the mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo. Rather than the previous three-lug wheels, the A310 also received the alloys used for the 5 Turbo, albeit without the painted elements In the later models (1983-1984) of the A310 a “Pack GT” which was inspired from the Group 4 A310 racing cars would be developed, it gained wheel arches and larger spoilers front and rear. A few Alpine A310 V6 Pack GT Kit Boulogne were built (27 examples), here the PRV V6 was bored out to 2.9 litres and was then further modified by Alpine, fitted with triple Weber 42DCNF carburetors that pushed power to 193 PS. 2340 examples of the 4 cylinder car and 9276 of the V6 were made. It is a rare car these days.
Trabant 601: The Trabant was the result of a planning process which had intended to design a three-wheeled motorcycle. In German, a trabant is an astronomical term for a moon (or other natural satellite) of a celestial body. The first of the Trabants left the VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau factory in Saxony on 7 November 1957. It was a relatively advanced car when it was formally introduced the following year, with front wheel drive, unitary construction and independent suspension. The Trabant’s greatest shortcoming was its engine. By the late 1950s many small Western cars (such as the Renault) had cleaner, more-efficient four-stroke engines, but budgetary constraints and raw-materials shortages mandated an outdated (but inexpensive) two-stroke engine in the Trabant. It was technically equivalent to the West German Lloyd automobile, a similarly sized car with an air-cooled, two-cylinder four-stroke engine. The Trabant had a front, transversely-mounted engine and front-wheel drive in an era when many European cars were using rear-mounted engines or front-mounted engines with rear-wheel drive. Its greatest drawback was its largely unchanged production; the car’s two-stroke engine made it obsolete by the 1970s, limiting exports to Western Europe. The Trabant’s air-cooled, 500 cc engine—upgraded to 600cc in 1962–63—was derived from a pre-war DKW design with minor alterations during its production run. The first Saab car had a larger (764cc), water-cooled, two-cylinder two-stroke engine. Wartburg, an East German manufacturer of larger sedans, also used a water-cooled, three-cylinder, 1,000 cc two-stroke DKW engine. The original Trabant, introduced in 1958, was the P50. Trabant’s base model, it shared a large number of interchangeable parts with the latest 1.1s. The 500 cc, 18 hp P50 evolved into a 20 hp version with a fully synchronized gearbox in 1960, and received a 23 hp, 600 cc engine in 1962 as the P60. The updated P601 was introduced in 1964. It was essentially a facelift of the P60, with a different front fascia, bonnet, roof and rear and the original P50 underpinnings. The model remained nearly unchanged until the end of its production except for the addition of 12V electricity, rear coil springs and an updated dashboard for later models. The Trabant’s designers expected production to extend until 1967 at the latest, and East German designers and engineers created a series of more-sophisticated prototypes intended to replace the P601; several are on display at the Dresden Transport Museum. Each proposal for a new model was rejected by the East German government due to shortages of the raw materials required in larger quantities for the more-advanced designs. As a result, the Trabant remained largely unchanged for more than a quarter-century. Also unchanged was its production method, which was extremely labour-intensive. The Trabant 1100 (also known as the P1100) was a 601 with a better-performing 1.05-litre, 45HP VW Polo engine. With a more-modern look (including a floor-mounted gearshift), it was quieter and cleaner than its predecessor. The 1100 had front disc brakes, and its wheel assembly was borrowed from Volkswagen. It was produced between from 1989 to 1991, in parallel with the two-stroke P601. Except for the engine and transmission, many parts from older P50s, P60s and 601s were compatible with the 1100. In mid-1989, thousands of East Germans began loading their Trabants with as much as they could carry and drove to Hungary or Czechoslovakia en route to West Germany on the “Trabi Trail”. Many had to get special permission to drive their Trabants into West Germany, since the cars did not meet West German emissions standards and polluted the air at four times the European average. A licensed version of the Volkswagen Polo engine replaced the Trabant’s two-stroke engine in 1989, the result of a trade agreement between East and West Germany. The model, the Trabant 1.1, also had minor improvements to its brake and signal lights, a renovated grille, and MacPherson struts instead of a leaf-spring-suspended chassis. When the 1.1 began production in May 1990, the two German states had already agreed to reunification. By April 1991 3.7 million vehicles had been produced. However, it soon became apparent that there was no place for the Trabant in a reunified German economy; its inefficient, labour-intensive production line survived on government subsidies. The Trabant ceased production in 1991, and the Zwickau factory in Mosel (where the Trabant 1.1 was manufactured) was sold to Volkswagen AG.
VW 1300 Beetle
This was a good day out. The Ardennes are a beautiful part of Belgium, and are easily accessible from Brussels, which is where I was staying.
More information can be found on the museum’s own website: http://www.musee-circuit.be/en/