Once again, Graeme Rice looks back on the motoring worlds of 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago
An English writer claimed America’s sole contribution to car design was the electric engine starter. Prior to that he claimed, America’s contribution had been nil. “The fitting of an electric engine starter is likely to become a standard item in the near future just as detachable wheels are now.”
After all of the record-breaking activities of the Talbot, Vauxhall and Sunbeams at Brooklands through 1913, there was more excitement to come with the announcement that Duray’s 300hp GP Fiat was on its way as well as L G ‘Cupid’ Hornsted’s 200hp Blitzen Benz.
Hornsted had just returned from the Benz works in Germany where they had been trying to keep the big Benz competitive by working on the camshafts and valves to lift the massive engine’s rev limit from 1600 to 1800 rpm and altering the gearing to add another 20mph to the previous maximum of 130mph.
“Happiness is a warm bottom,” said the Benz’s third passenger
Stanley Riley took control of another Riley-owned company, the Nero Engine company, instead of joining his brothers Percy, Victor, and Allan, and began making a prototype four-cylinder 1096cc car, with its engine rated at 10 RAC-type HP, and intended for sale alongside the larger four-cylinder 17-30 model.
Leslie Hounsfield completed the prototype 1.5-litre two-stroke Trojan, though it did not reach production until the production-ready version was shown at the 1922 Motor Show and a production deal was arranged with Leyland in 1923.
Even though the new Nuffield-based Rileys lacked many of the traditional Riley features, testers seemed to feel they were still true blue Rileys. Gone was the diamond shaped instrument cluster, and in its place was a dignified flat polished wooden fascia sloping upwards and therefore slightly easier to read. Even the new disc wheels received favourable comment in comparison to the usual wires. There was no overdrive either, and the new cars instead used a four-speed gearbox with synchromesh on second, third and top. Riley’s hallmark rear passenger footwells were gone but the tester claimed there was just as much headroom as before. Nuffield management had wisely retained the Riley 1½ and 2½-litre high camshaft motors, both with small power increases, and the larger engine returned an average of 19mpg.
Once again Edsel Ford succeeded in widening the appeal of the Ford range by introducing the new Mercury brand. As well as bridging the gap between run-of-the-mill Ford and the upper crust Lincolns, Ford needed a brand to go head to head with GM’s Oldsmobiles and Buicks. Although it retained a family likeness, the Mercury had a bigger body shell with no interchangeable panels between it and the Ford. A longer 9ft 8inch wheelbase put an extra four inches into the passenger space. For more performance the Mercury was fitted with the larger, more powerful 3917cc 95bhp V-8 engine, instead of Ford’s 3622cc 85bhp unit. Bob Gregorie, Edsel’s favourite designer, did the styling.
Available in four body styles, the Mercury sold for $917, just $167 more than the Ford.
Major Goldie Gardner staggered the record-breaking world with all but cracking the 200mph barrier on one of his record runs with the six–cylinder 1100cc supercharged MG EX135 special, with its streamlined body designed by Reid Railton. His outward runs were 179.38mph, while both return runs were 194.52mph giving the MG the 1100cc record at 187.61 for the kilometre. To put that into perspective, it was just 32.2 mph slower than the streamlined version of the Auto Union Type C GP car, with its 6-litre 520bhp V16 engine.
Goldie Gardner’s MG EX135
Yet another Anglo-American hybrid faded from the British market. Designed to outdo the SS Jaguars with its stylish coachwork from Carlton, Bertelli, or Abbott, the six-cylinder supercharged Lammas–Graham was “a car built to a new ideal”. However, the Lammas with its American Graham chassis and supercharged Graham 3.6-litre side valve engine sold perhaps about 30-45 cars between 1936 and 1938, not enough to stay in business, alas.
Jim Clark secured the World Drivers Championship with his sixth win of the season in the Mexican Grand Prix, completing the 208 mile 65 lap race at an average speed of 93.3mph. Two minutes behind Clark was Jack Brabham in his car, with Richie Ginther and Graham Hill occupying third and fourth places in BRMs.
Studebaker announced they were going to run a team of three 742bhp, 2.8-litre, V8 Paxton supercharged front engined Novi four-wheel-drive cars under the banner Studebaker STP Specials at Indianapolis in 1964. “We will run at Indianapolis and we intend to win at Indianapolis,” announced Studebaker CEO Sherwood Egbert. The all-new cars were planned to be built in England at the Ferguson works. Four-wheel-drive was intended to give the Studebaker STP Specials the abilty to go deeper into the corners under power and then accelerate out much faster owing to all that extra traction. Famous record-breaker Andy Granatelli headed up the Chemical Compounds Division of Studebaker, makers of the famous STP additives.
Road & Track tested another newcomer to the super luxury GT car world, the Apollo GT, following Lamborghini, Iso and Gordon-Keeble. The car was conceived in California by chassis man Milt Brown, styled by Ron Plescia and gained some financial backing by Newt Davis. Next in the development/production story came the involvement of Frank Reisner of Intermeccanica who built the bodies after some styling tidy-ups by Franco Scaglione, and soon the prototype Apollo had been modified and twelve had been sold. Fit and finish of the Italian-built body was excellent, but the car was let down by sticking with drum brakes all around and a tendency to wander at high speeds. Powered by a 3.6-litre Buick V8, the Apollo would get from zero to 50km/h in just 2.8 seconds and up to 100km/h in 8.4. Top speed was just over 160km/h with 176km/h (110mph) seen on occasions.
Apollo GT 1964
A wintery RAC rally was won by Tom Trana and Lindstrom driving a Volvo PV544, with Harry Kallstrom exploiting the good traction of the underpowered Volkswagen 1500S in the difficult driving conditions to take second place. Third came another lower-powered car, the 841cc two-stroke SAAB 96 driven by master driver Erik Carlsson. After him came the first British driver, Paddy Hopkirk in a 1071cc Mini-Cooper S in fourth spot, followed by Timo Makinen in an Austin-Healey 3000 and Henry Taylor’s Ford Cortina GT in fifth and sixth places with Pat Moss in another Cortina GT taking seventh place overall and the Ladies Prize.
Out of 169 starters in the RAC Rally, including two Allardettes, 27 Fords, two Humbers, 27 Morrises, 12 SAABs, 13 Sunbeams, one Tornado, nine Triumphs, and 10 VWs, just 86 cars finished. Austins fared worst with just eight out of the 23 entrants finishing, while Humber had a 100% finishing record – two out of two.
Mercedes-Benz released the first photos of the new SL range of coupés and convertibles due to be shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1989. Top of the range was the 500SL with the 5-litre, 32 valve 320bhp V8. Next was the 300SL-24 with a six–cylinder 3-litre, 24 valve head and225bhp,and the base model was the 12 valve version of the 300SL. Listed as standard on higher spec models were Anti-Slip control, pop-up roll bars, activated when the car assumed a certain angle and Continental run-flat tyres.
Disappointment was expressed at the absence of the keenly awaited 6-litre 400bhp 48–valve V12, now not expected until 1992.
Chrysler was developing a new V10 engine, labelled King Kong by those who were working on it. The statistics were daunting – 7.9-litres, 375bhp and a whopping 475lb/ft of torque. It was rumoured to have accelerated a three ton truck from 0 to 60mph in under 8 seconds. Wonder who suggested they try it out in a two-seater lightweight sports car?
Meet King Kong!
It was a bit of a shock for the Poms, when the decision was made to change the official measure for petrol from gallons to litres. 25 years later in Britain you still meet older drivers who measure their fuel consumption in miles per litre – reluctant converts to metric measurements!
Having access to the right tools as and when required, whether undertaking a complete engine rebuild or a simple tune-up, can make a difficult job so much easier for the classic car enthusiast.
If your toolbox is looking a little bare and you’ve been putting off purchasing some new tools (or maybe your old ones are due to be upgraded) then you’re in luck with this great opportunity to get some fantastic savings at the Laser Tools Big Spring Clearout.
Save up to 50% off top-quality, British-designed tools in stock; including hand tools, specialist timing tools, fuel- and diesel-injection tools, and sockets and sets. As well, if you order any other tools on the day, you’ll earn yourself a 15% saving.
Plus — RSVP on their web page now and you could win a $100 Laser Tools voucher to spend at the sale!
The Laser Tool girls will be giving out free copies of NZCC, NZPC and NZV8 magazines as well as free tickets to Ron Howard’s latest movie, Rush. If this doesn’t get you excited, then the stunning Aston Martin Virage and other classic display cars will definitely make a visit worthwhile.
Laser Tools Big Spring Clearout — October 5, 9am to 1pm — The Toy Shop, 562 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland.
Although we tend to associate the name Anglia with the so-called ‘Anglebox’ of the ’60s — the 105E — these small Fords had been around since the EO4A produced between 1939 and 1948. Ford first essayed a panel van on the Anglia platform with the E494A (1949–’53) and, later, with the 100E-based Thames 300E. However, what we have here is a model of the 105E panel van — in this instance, a 1:43 die-cast model from the Oxford Roadshow collection. Limited to only 2000 examples worldwide, this Anglia comes in London Transport livery.
Possibly even more of an iconic delivery vehicle than the Anglia panel van, the Ford Thames was once a very familiar sight on our roads. The 1:43 die-cast model from Oxford Commercials is finished in Post Office Telephones livery, and comes complete with a pair of ladders — perfect for checking out overhead phone wires.
Thanks to online model shop, Awesome Collectables, we’re giving away both these super models – just answer the following question to be in to win:
Q: What European-only version of the final 123E Super Anglia featured a rear–mounted spare tyre?
To enter this competition, click here to post your answer. Competition closes on October 24, 2013.
This month we’re giving readers the chance to win this lovely Corgi 1:120 die-cast model of Call Boy, an A3 Class steam locomotive. Introduced in 1927, the A3 Class trains were introduced by LNER in an attempt to compete against increased competition from air and road travel as the demand for speed, efficiency and luxury grew. Although initially converted from older A1 units, 27 A3 locos were built from new. Call Boy entered service on April 19, 1930, and remained on active duty for over 33 years, frequently being used for the famous non-stop Flying Scotsman run.
This model depicts Call Boy between 1930 and 1937 when it carried LNER apple green livery, a dome-type boiler and a single chimney.
Thanks to the NZ Corgi distributor, Toymod, we have one example of this model to give away to a lucky reader — just click here to answer the following question to be in with a chance to win:
Q: Name the two major UK cities connected by the Flying
Competition closes on October 24,
Once again, Graeme Rice looks back on the motoring worlds of 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago
Sunbeam introduced a new type of racing car to the Brooklands motor-racing fraternity, when engineer Louis Coatalen somehow crammed a 9048cc V12 aero-engine into one of the company’s standard 25/30hp road car chassis. The resultant confection was christened ‘Toodles V’, and with 200bhp in a road car chassis with a skimpy but partly streamlined body, the company now had arguably the fastest racing car in Britain. It proved a handful on testing, and to aid rear wheel adhesion, a bit of chassis tuning was required – so Sunbeam filled the rear sections of the chassis side members with lead!
No doubt publicity was one motive for the construction of Toodles V, but in fact, Sunbeam also found the existence of this fast car gave them the chance of testing the new aero engine (later to see WW1 service as the Sunbeam Mohawk) more frequently and more thoroughly than test flying (in the UK winter) could have done.
Brooklands race success for the new car came in September, but more importantly for Sunbeam, the new car achieved a World’s One Hour record on October 11, covering 107 miles in the hour, plus other international Class H speed records at up to 121mph.
Mechanic, car salesman, manufacturer and record-breaking Talbot driver, Percy Lambert, died attempting to regain the hour’s record on Friday, 31 October, 1913. He’d fitted a 4½ liter engine to his Talbot to get the maximum speed up around the 120mph necessary to recapture his record. He had to succeed as he had promised his fiancée this was to be his last season of racing, and that he would give up record breaking after this one final attempt. The Talbot was lapping at around 110 mph when a rear tyre burst on lap 21. The car flew out of control and crashed, fatally injuring Lambert who died on the way to Weybridge Cottage Hospital. Five days later he was buried in Brompton Cemetery in a coffin streamlined to match his car. His epitaph read – ‘A modest friend, a fine gentleman and a thorough sportsman. The first man to exceed 100 miles in one hour.’ The remains of the Talbot were acquired by a young G A ‘Tony’ Vandervell, (later builder of the Vanwall GP cars,) who incorporated them in a post-war Brooklands racer, while the sister car was driven in the 1920s by Malcolm Campbell.
Australian racing driver Rupert Jeffkins, recently retuned from competing in the Indianapolis 500, described how racing drivers had to undergo strenuous training for each race. Before starting in the race drivers were rubbed down with Vaseline and wrapped in flannels to protect them from the cold and keep them supported. Some drivers wore corsets to take the strain imposed by the constant jolting of the car on their kidneys.
In 1913, could a car have been regarded as a work of art? This was a point of law argued in Dunedin when a local man Charles Shiel tried to raffle a Ford car to raise funds for building a new boy’s high school. Apparently Shiel had obtained a permit under the 1908 Gaming Act to raffle Works of Art. While the magistrate posed a question to Mr Callan, Shiel’s defence counsel, in what appeared to be a sympathetic way – “Mr Callan – is not the car a work of art?” Callan passed on the opportunity to push the issue. “I have decided not to raise the point as to whether the motor car was a work of art,” he replied. Sad, because it could have been an interesting debate. Mr Shiel was fined £10.
The acquisition of Wellington’s new fire engine chassis was creating more debate than expected. Not over how efficient the new appliance might be at putting out fires, but if it would be powerful enough to cope with the city’s hills and distance to outlying districts. Auckland had two fire engines, a 125hp unit and an 85hp one. Christchurch, Dunedin and Napier had ordered 85hp models, so how could Wellington be content with a 65hp chassis? Good grief.
In its first year of production in Nuremberg, Wanderer’s Puppenchen appeared as a 1147cc model with tandem seating for two. For 1913 the Puppenchen was upgraded to a 1220cc 15bhp monobloc four cylinder engine featuring overhead inlet and side exhaust valves, a proper three speed gearbox and shaft drive. It was still a two seater but now the passengers could sit side by side.
Louis Chevrolet was ‘released’ to pursue other interests by Willy Durant. After a disagreement over what type of car best reflected the values of the Chevrolet name, a large luxury tourer or a smaller economy car to go head to head with the Ford Model T, Durant edged Louis Chevrolet out of the company bearing his name.
At the same time the famous Chevrolet ‘bow–tie’ emblem is attached to the cars. To this day the origins of the bow tie remain a mystery. Was Durant inspired by a wallpaper design in a Parisian hotel room, or did he copy it from an advertisement for fire briquettes? His wife claimed one thing, but his daughter said another.
On October 10th Rudolph Diesel’s floating body was recovered by the crew of the SS Coertson – a Belgian ship.
Morris introduced their newest version of the successful Eight, the somewhat streamlined Series E. Using much the same chassis as previous Eights, the new Series E’s points of difference were its modified 22kW(29.5bhp), 918cc side valve engine, wider body, a four speed gearbox and faired-in headlamps. Road testers would enthuse over its roominess, the smooth gearchange and the 105km/h top speed giving the new, more aerodynamic Eight the ability to cruise comfortably at 90-100km/h while returning 6.4 to 7.6 l/100km (37 to 44mpg). Available in two and four door versions, with a sunroof as an extra, or as a two or four seater convertible, prices started at £128 rising to £139.
The new offering from Standard in the small car market, the Flying 8 model, was more stylish with its Airline-influenced body styling than the Morris. It had been introduced in September, and this month it was the Tourer version, with a bodyshell by Carbodies. The new Standard range was interesting, as Standard had opted for independent front suspension, by a low-mounted transverse leaf system, and the whole chassis in fact was new, with a 2.1m (83″) wheelbase and 1.14m (45″) tracks. The 8hp engine (according to the then-current RAC formula) was achieved by adopting the basic design of Standard’s existing small side-valve engine family, narrowing the bore down to 57mm, and the end result was a 1021cc engine giving 23.1kW(31bhp), giving the new car 100km/h performance. Other aspects of the engine were changed, with a smaller block, changed cylinder bore centres, and new crank and camshaft. Quite an investment for Standard, overall, but at this time, they were a profitable company and strong rival to Nuffield, Ford and Austin in this small car category.
Nuffields completed the take-over of Riley, the most obvious result being a drastic pruning of Riley’s sprawling model range.
Jaguar showed their SS Jaguar fixed head coupé available on special order in small batches. While the rear of the coupé was streamlined, and the frontal area was kept reasonably low, it seems William Lyons was reluctant to abandon the classic look as he did 10 years later with the remarkable XK120, retaining the SS100′s upright radiator and massive Lucas P100 headlights. Still, if you stumped up with a cheque for £545 you got a very comfortable 3.5-litre two-seater coupé weighing just 25cwt and claimed to be capable of well over 160km/h.
It was a sign of the times that the ancient and honourable coachbuilding firm of Barker & Co, founded in 1710 was put into liquidation. Businessman Alan P Good who had saved Lagonda, brought Barkers under the control of another coachbuilding firm, Hoopers.
The fourth Donington Grand Prix was finally run on the 22nd of October 1938 after being delayed from the 1st of October while British PM, Neville Chamberlain, felt sure he’d settled Hitler down to be a good little Nazi and achieved “peace in our time” – putting an end to the Munich crisis.
For three hours 60,000 English enthusiasts were treated to an amazing spectacle while four Mercedes-Benzes and four Auto Unions piloted by the top drivers of the day, Nuvolari, Lang, Seaman, von Brauchitsch and Hasse, battled for the lead. Nuvolari, new number one driver for Auto Union, proved what an asset he was for the team, and led from the start only to be slowed by some crook plugs and lost 53 seconds sitting in the pits while the mechanics fitted a new set. Hermann Lang in his Mercedes took over first place. An oil spill on the hairpin from an Alta caused Seaman’s Mercedes to leave the track, losing several minutes while it was manhandled back onto the circuit. Hasse wasn’t so lucky, spinning off the track and being thrown out of his car. Nuvolari was almost a minute behind Lang at half-way, but steadily eroded Lang’s lead by 40 seconds over the next 20 laps, finally passing Lang with just a few laps to go.
So, forty-eight year old Nuvolari won in superb style to tremendous ovations from the crowd. Mercedes driver Hermann Lang, who finished a distant second, collapsed after climbing out of the car. His head had been exposed to a cold 200km/h wind for an hour and that had seriously affected the blood circulation. Dick Seaman had passed Müller near the end of the race to finish third.
By October 1938 two remarkable cars, were causing comments around the streets of Paris. One was the aerodynamic Bugatti Type 57 designed and built by Jean Bugatti for his father’s 57th birthday. This supercharged straight eight featured many of Jean Bugatti’s favourite design features, the split rear window, a two piece glass roof, the low-mounted faired-in headlamps, the steeply raked windscreen and an elegant downward curve from the bonnet line to the rear mudguard. Inside this 119kW supercar there were aircraft style seats, a pre-selector gearbox activated by a tiny lever and massive speedo and rev-counters. What was the other remarkable car, you ask? A future Timelines will tell you more!
Stateside, the big news for the month was FoMoCo’s announcement of their new Mercury brand. Edsel Ford was the name behind the brand, and intended the new marque to sell entry-level luxury cars to fill the gap in the FoMoCo range between Ford’s family models and the upmarket luxury Lincoln range. The Ford range would provide the chassis platforms and engines, though suitable modification would lift the model ranges upmarket.
Clark Gable had started something cruising around Hollywood in his handsome Jensen V8. Now the small British firm had sent its seventh drophead coupé to the Los Angeles film colony. Some of the Hollywood cars used a Lincoln V12 4.4-litre motor. Six ratios were on offer with the fitting of a dual range rear differential.
Obituaries for an American who was claimed as the Father of the Automobile appeared this month. Charles E Duryea passed away in Philadelphia late in September, aged 77. His first car was completed in 1893 and by 1895 he had formed the Duryea Motor Wagon Company. In 1896 he shipped one of his cars to London to take part in the original London to Brighton emancipation run. It’s rumoured one of his cars was first to arrive under its own power after having driven the whole journey only to find others had railed their cars to a station near Brighton and arrived before the Duryea.
The Autocar received reports that Russia’s car industry, previously described as the Cinderella of Russia’s five year plan, was now receiving greater attention. Two plants were cranking up production, the Stalin Plant in Moscow and the Molotov Plant in Gorky. Two models, based on American lines, were in production, a saloon, the Zis 101 and a tourer, the GAZ 11-40. A number of utes could also be seen in the photos. Along with these new models Russia was developing wood-gas producer plants for the northern regions in spite of being petroleum rich. There were two main reasons for this, one was the plentiful supply of wood in the north and the second the difficulty in transporting liquid petroleum into extreme cold areas.
Ferruccio Lamborghini’s new Ferrari competitor, the Lamborghini 350GTV was ready in just 4 months to be exhibited at the Turin Motor Show.
Why did tractor maker Ferruccio create the Lamborghini? “In the past I have bought some of the most famous GT cars and in each case of these magnificent machines I have found fault. They are either too noisy, too hot, too uncomfortable, not sufficiently fast, or not perfectly finished. Now I want to make a GT car without faults. Not a technical bomb. Very normal. But a perfect car.”
Designed by Gianpaolo Dallara with Paolo Stanzani doing the chassis, the first Lambo was powered by a new quad cam 3.5-litre V12, developing 216.3kW (290bhp) at 9800rpm when fed by six twin-choke Webers. Carburetion was to have been by two Lucas fuel-injection units, but that would have added $1000 to the cost. A ZF five-speed gearbox offered 245km/h(152mph) in 5th, 205km/h(128mph)in 4th, 146km/h(91mph) in 3rd, and 82km/h(51mph) in 2nd.
Also headlining at Turin were a couple of Maseratis, the staggering 225km/h (140mph) Quattroporte, their first foray into the luxury saloon market, and the upcoming Frua-styled Mistral.
Other heavy metal at Turin included the Iso Grifo and its fiercer version the A3C, the Bizzarrini Strada, the ATS GTS and the Buick-engined Apollo GT from Intermeccanica. But there were small cars too, of which probably the cutest was the rather delightful AutoBianchi Stellina.
Earls Court was absolutely ablaze with exciting and in some cases, ground-breaking, new models. Vauxhall’s move into the Mini/Imp/Anglia/Herald field with the super orthodox Viva got rave reviews. The boxy little 1057cc saloon was described as a crisp little car with plenty of space and performance for its class.
Most editorial space was given over to the new mid-sized sports luxury saloons, the Rover and Triumph 2000s. Packaging in the Rover was hinted at as being tight and for such a futuristic design, mounting a spare wheel externally to provide sufficient boot space was, to say the least, odd. The Rover introduced some advanced chassis and mechanical engineering solutions, somewhat to the surprise of many older Rover customers used to the stately P4 and P5 models. Use of a four–cylinder engine distinguished it from its Triumph rival. It was an immediate hit with the motoring press, but ultimately the Triumph was to prove the more commercially successful vehicle.
Jaguar’s S-types always had that uncertain air about them as well. It was an unhappy mix of the ‘50s MkII front end with a 1960s MkX rear, but at least it could offer space for the MkX’s excellent IRS and a decent sized boot. It lost some performance compared to the Mark II models, as it was 178kg heavier, but gained on refinement and internal space.
Both Morgan with their full-width bodied Plus 4 Plus and Porsche with the new 901 (later the 911) coupés earned rants from hordes of traditionalists. Porsche stuck with their concept which was the right thing to do. Morgan hastily abandoned theirs – equally right.
If you wanted luxury without the ostentation and bulk, BMC had topped the 1100 range with the beautifully finished and superbly equipped little Vanden Plas Princess 1100. Externally one got fog lights, wrap around bumpers, the noble grille, a sunroof and a deep lustre paint job. Internally there were padded armrests, deep cushioned leather seats, walnut and heated rear window. Using the twin SU-carbed 41kW(55bhp) engine from the MG 1100 kept performance of this luxurious little car up to standard. An enduring little classic.
Ford showed the short-lived Corsair with overtones of the American Thunderbird’s slab sides, pointed mudguards and recessed headlights even though the Cortina seemed able to occupy the same market slot. The Corsair and Corsair GT used much the same engineering as the Cortina in a slightly bigger body, but customer reaction was never very positive for this range.
Bond’s Equipe coupé was based on a Herald chassis, using Herald doors, windscreen and Spitfire running gear with a Vitesse dashboard.
Facel Vega were ailing, but showed two Chrysler V8-engined Facel IIs and the new Facel III which was now using a Volvo P1800 motor, detracting somewhat from the exotic appeal demanded to justify a £3400 price tag.
Alvis introduced their new model, the TE 21, in effect a further facelift of the 1956 Graber saloon, but power was up to 97kW (130bhp), with the engine mated to the ZF five-speed (or Borg-Warner three-speed auto) gearbox. Bristol changed from 407 to 408 series with suspension improvements and a styling change to a lower, sleeker look. The Sunbeam Rapier moved along from Series IIIA to Series IV, with engine improvements lifting power and torque, and the suspension was softened slightly.
For Studebaker this would be their last Earls Court show.
Mercedes-Benz showed their 1960s ‘Grosser’ – the 600. Indications were that it would cost about the same as a Rolls-Royce Phantom V – somewhere between £8000 and whatever you had in mind.
Stirling Moss showed his ideal car. Very obviously based on a Ford Cortina GT this wasn’t quite the revolution people were expecting although it was full of electronic gadgetry, much of which is now commonplace in the cars we drive.
Pontiac were starting to get up the noses of European connoisseurs by attaching names which had gained huge reputations and been part of the European motor racing heritage for decades to their less than ho-hum domestic range. Buick had already come under fire a couple of years before by using the Invicta name for one of its models, but here was Pontiac misappropriating the name of one of the best Ferraris ever, the GTO, for their upmarket coupé or convertible version of the Le Mans Tempest. And use of the Le Mans name had already drawn criticism.
While the Japanese motor industry had not yet started their major move into overseas markets, astute observers at the tenth Tokyo Show would have noticed Mazda showing rotary motors plus their Mazda Luce prototype with Bertone-styled body, which was due for production in mid-1964, and the first Japanese V8 passenger car from Toyota, the Crown Eight, with its 2599cc, 85.8kW, aluminium engine. Isuzu showed their Bellett 1500GT sports prototype, and a new series Datsun Bluebird was introduced, though still powered by 1189cc and 988cc engines dating from 1959, developed and improved from BMC designs manufactured under licence. The Prince Skyline 1500 was introduced on the eve of the show. Hino showed the Contessa S, with tuned 893cc engine, another cute little coupe not dissimilar to the aforementioned AutoBianchi Stellina. Motorcycle maker Suzuki showed some intentions of moving upmarket, showing a two-stroke engined 800cc Suzulight Fronte 800 prototype.
As a change from all this industry news, few in the motor-racing world were surprised when Jim Clark won the Mexican GP in the Lotus 25-Climax V8, the sixth win of his first World Championship season. Dominant all year in the Lotus 25, he had also scored two second places and a third, and he scored fastest lap in the Mexican GP, his fifth FL of the season.
Giovanni Agnelli, maybe to distract from the internal ructions taking place at Fiat, suggested that BMW needed a partner in order to survive into the 1990s. “First Ford has offered to have discussions which the BMW board rejected, and they have said they never want to sell, but in my opinion there’s no such word as never.” Considering Fiat were about to stand by while Bertone chopped production of the scintillating little XI/9 just as there was about to be a renaissance in small open two-seater sports cars between BMW, Lotus, Reliant and Mazda, any tie up may have been uncomfortable.
Motoring mastermind and the creator of the car which changed the way the public perceived small cars died on the 9th of October after 81 productive years. Alec Issigonis was born to a Turkish mother and a Greek father who worked as a marine engineer. His career spanned time at Humber and Morris Motors working on suspension systems in the years before World War II. In 1933 he began building his tour de force, the brilliant little all independent suspension single seater racing car, the Lightweight Special. Towards the end of the war he began working on the agile and likeable Morris Minor. In spite of crusty old Lord Nuffield referring to it as a marshmallow, it was hugely successful by UK standards selling over 1,000,000 units between 1948 and 1972. By far his most ambitious project was a luxury 3.5-litre V8 sports saloon intended as a replacement for the Alvis Grey Lady. Money ran out after fuel rationing during the closure of the Suez Canal stunted the public’s appetite for big thirsty cars. This turned out a good thing, as Leonard Lord who was running BMC seized the chance to get Issigonis back to design a revolutionary small car. The result was the classless, all-conquering Mini. Poor people bought one, rich people bought one, it won races and rallies. Issigonis’ greatest achievement was changing the basic layout of the cars we drive in his search for space and fuel efficiency.
Extravagant, exotic Bugattis were about to hit the Autostradas and Route Nationales again. Being built in Ettore Bugatti’s native Italy, under the direction of ex–Lamborghini Miura and Countach designer Paolo Stanzani, the new Bug was aimed at the Porsche 959, Ferrari’s F40 and Jaguar’s brand new XJ220. At the heart of the new 336km/h contender was a quad cam, 373kW(500bhp), 3.5-litre, twin-turbo V12 with five valves and two spark plugs per cylinder. Four-wheel drive and a six-speed gearbox were trusted to deal with the power.
The hard-fought Formula 1 Championship continued with two more races at the beginning and end of the month. In the Spanish GP, Prost in the McLaren-Honda was pretty much the master, with a 27 second win over Mansell in the Williams-Judd, with Nannini taking out third in the Benetton-Ford, ahead of Senna in the second McLaren. Late in the month came the Japanese GP, with Senna 13 seconds ahead of his team-mate, while Thierry Boutsen scored third in the Benetton ahead of Berger’s Ferrari.
Still looking for that last minute Fathers’ Day present? Well, you’ve still got time before this Sunday to rush out & buy a copy of our new book – Classic Cars of New Zealand!
Drawing on two decades of involvement with the local classic car scene, NZ Classic Car magazine has selected over thirty gorgeous classic cars in order to celebrate our nations’ continuing love affair with the automobile.
Celebrating the diverse and broad–ranging passion Kiwis have for their classic cars, this new book reflects that diversity by featuring an amazing breadth of cars – including much–loved Kiwi favourites like the Ford Zodiac, Morris Minor and Holden Monaro; modern classics like Ferrari’s stunning F40. As well, you’ll find bespoke cars from upper–crust British marques such as Aston Martin and Alvis, not forgetting nimble sports cars from Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Alpine and Triumph.
Of course, we also acknowledge our enduring passion for US cruisers and the mighty V8 engine and include studies of the iconic split–screen ’63 Sting Ray, Cadillac’s unforgettable Coupe de Ville and Ford’s famous Skyliner – all of them find their place within this new book.
Combine stunning and evocative photography, gorgeous classic cars and authoritative text from the Editors of NZ Classic Car magazine and you have Classic Cars of New Zealand – a celebration of Kiwis and their classic cars.
All this for only $49.95 – now that has to be the perfect present for a special Dad!
Available now from all good booksellers or direct from Myread.co.nz
A new addition to the Vitesse Rallye series of 1:43 models, this Subaru Impreza — as driven by Solberg and Mills on the Rally of Mexico — should appeal to those with a taste for more modern rally machinery. Limited to only 1820 examples worldwide, we’ve got one example of this well-detailed model to give away, courtesy of online model shop, Awesome Collectables. Simply answer the following question to be in to win …
To enter this competition, fill in the form below and answer the following question. Competition closes on September 16, 2013.
Q: What car did Petter Solberg drive on his very first rally event?
Want to buy this model, or need more information about Vitesse models? Visit www.awesomecollectables.co.nz and check out their range of quality die-cast models. If you have a query, send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month we look at three additions to the Scalextric range of slot-car racers. First up, an for those with more modern sensibilities, is this Audi R8 LMS, as raced by Phoenix Racing at the 2012 Bathurst 12 Hour Race. Sticking with an Aussie theme, this 7-litre V8-powered Camaro is modeled on the car that Frank Gardner drove to win his third British Touring Car Championship in 1973 — having previously won in a Falcon V8 and a Ford Escort.
Finally, we have a model of the legendary Ford GT40 — this particular MkI car, being the Ford France entry carrying number 15 (chassis P1007), as driven by Guy Ligier and Bob Grossman at Le Mans in 1966. Ford’s strategy was ultimately successful when despite only three GT40s finishing the race, they still secured first, second and third place on the podium.
Thanks to Toymod, the New Zealand Scalextric distributor, we have one example of the GT40 to give away to a lucky reader — just complete the form below and answer the following question to be in to win …
Q:Name the GT40 drivers who won the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 1966?
Competition closes on September 16, 2013