28 May 2014

British Grand Prix, 16 July 1960

Dedicated to Sir Jack Brabham.

The Cooper-Climax T53 F1 driven by Jack Brabham. Qualifying resulted in pole position for Brabham, a second faster than Graham Hill's BRM P48 with Bruce McLaren's Cooper T53 and Jo Bonnier's BRM P48 making it a balanced front row.
The start saw three cars stall; Hill for the second race running) and the two BRP Cooper T51s of Brooks and Henry Taylor.
McLaren was second on the first lap, but soon dropped behind Bonnier and the factory Lotus 18 of Innes Ireland; he then passed Bonnier to take second place. Hill drove a storming race from the back of the field and worked his way back, passing Ireland for second after 37 laps and setting off after Brabham. To the delight of the crowd, he caught him and on lap 55 took the lead. Further back, the Lotus 18 of John Surtees displaced Ireland for third place.
Hill had been suffering brake problems for some time and on lap 72 he spun at Copse Corner and retired from the race. Brabham took the lead and five laps later took the chequered flag, with Surtees and Ireland second and third for Team Lotus.

23 May 2014

Street Life: The South Bank Show

A few stolen hours on the South Bank taking a break from the house of ideas that is nearby Amazo Towers; well that was the idea. Little did I know I'd be walking into an impromptu car show of sorts. I haven't been round the south bank area for a while, and a few things have changed; the catering vans have gone retro! Not for these guys a saggy old Transit or Merc Sprinter.

Take this for example Lovely Morris LC5 ice cream van conversion Stop me a buy one? Hell yeah:

Two Citroen H vans on the South Bank, London. This lovely Heuliez stretch version is owned by Campfire Pizza:

This one is a little bit more of a mystery; Heuliez? Sligtenhorst? Currus? It's a '58 HY, which a some point in it's life was rebodied to become a leather shop (behave) and later a Citroen memorabilia outlet. Even the owners, Wahaca don't know of it's exact provenance, but that doesn't stop their making great tacos.

And as if the starters weren't tasty enough, the main course rolled up:


Don't break the tiles- too late...

'Quick, before it escapes!'

'you can growl all you want, you're going nowhere sunshine'

So why was there a Jaguar F-type R outside of the British Film Institute's bar? Well, Jaguar Land Rover was the headline sponsor of the 2014 Arts & Business Awards which took place at the at the BFI Southbank that night; the current model was the other 'bookend' on the right of the entrance. It's a shame that these pictures don't have sound, as the engine noise from the F-type was worthy on an award on it's own.


Commercial Break: Porsche 944 Turbo, 1985 (US)

19 May 2014

Garage-Find Dino 246 GT - Cavallino Arrugginito

Do you consider yourself brave? I mean really brave? The type of brave that walks into an Arsenal pub wearing a Spurs shirt? The type of brave that uses bullets as car fuses? That uses jalapeno paste to clean your teeth and cheese wire to floss them? That takes on a seriously rusty Ferrari that's spent 39 years in a damp garage? You are? Well, put the cheese wire down, burn that football shirt and walk this way; do we have a project for you.
Now, you do know that 1970's Ferraris are made of the same Soviet steel that blighted the likes of the Fiat 124 and Lancia Beta?  The 5-year plan in 1966 called for establishing a national car maker at a purpose-built city called Togliatti near the Volga River, about 500 miles east of Moscow. The factory would be known as the Volga Automotive Plant, or in short AvtoVAZ. Substantial help was given by Fiat chairman Giovanni Agnelli II, one of the rare western friends of the communist USSR; in exchange for cheap steel, Fiat helped design the Togliatti plant and offered the blueprints of the Fiat 124 to form the basis of the first Russian people's car, the Zhiguli VAZ-2101 launched in 1970, better known to us in the UK as the original Lada 1200.
And that is why any Fiat Group product of the 70's-early 80's rusts for fun. This Dino is no different, not helped by being stored in a damp, leaky garage for all of that time. Story goes that the reason it was interred there was as the result of the second owner (a well-known motorbike racer, apparently) getting involved in a car chase with the Police; although he outrun them, he parked it in the garage until the heat died down, but then bought another car and promptly forgot about the Dino...
It's up for sale here; now it may seem a lost cause, but Dinos are in such demand that restoring this for-wheeled colander is probably a reasonable proposition financially. I hope that is the case; it hurts my eyes to look at it in this condition.


Cuda Close-Up

16 May 2014

Wheels Day Week: Nick Butler's Revenge

They say never meet your heroes, for they will disappoint you. Well true believers, I'm here to tell you that I met one of my all time four-wheeled heroes at Wheels Day for the very first time, and the reality exceeded the expectation.
Revenge was only Nick Butler's second rod (the first being Nykilodeon), built over the winter of 1975/1976. To say it turned the hot rodding scene upside down in the UK is an understatement; it cleared up every award it was eligible for at the first few shows it appeared at and can quite legitimately be judged on the same level as the top American cars of the time. It also raised the bar for every British rod that followed it; cars such as Small Fry, the Invader Bedford CF and Ray Bennis' TR7 may never quite have existed in the form they took had Revenge not been built.
So what makes Revenge such a landmark car? Well for starters, that body. The C-cab style was nothing new; Ford produced a 'delivery car' in 1912, affectionately nicknamed the pie wagon. It has the distinctive 'c' shaped roof for ease of access, a style that was then reproduced (and parodied) in fibreglass bodies in the States in the 60's. But Nick's interpretation is just so perfectly proportioned, surely a legacy of his training as an airframe engineer at Hawker-Siddley. The bare bodies were produced for sale on the back of Revenge's success and several have been built, in the UK and US.
It's surely a no-brainer that Nick scratch-built the chassis, not just because of his skill, but also that the 70's rodding scene in the UK just didn't have ready-to-buy chassis, with the honorable exception of Jeff Jago. The suspension mounted to it was another example of Nick's talent; the drop tube front axle is located by a four-link arrangement and lower links from the chassis to the axle, with a small set of dampers. The rear suspension is based around an E-Type Jaguar differential and Mclaren M23 hub carriers, reversed lower wishbones, adjustable top links, and dual trailing links. Due to the light weight, only two of the four E-Type springs and dampers were used.
Now, fad T-buckets as a whole look better with a big engine; the more brutish and comical looking, the better. There are exceptions, as I've seen examples with turbo V6s and a great one with a Ford Zodiac straight-six. But with a C-cab, you have to go large; scrimping on the engine is like ordering a double cheeseburger and finding a tofu patty between the buns. Fear not, Revenge has prime sirlion between the chassis rails. The Chevrolet L88 427ci V8 is rated for 430bhp straight out of crate, with a 12.50:1 compression ratio, a race-spec cam, high-flow aluminum heads and some upgraded, competition-grade parts; its a humdinger in standard tune, but add in some more trick parts, a GMC 6-71 blower and some free-flow headers and that figure jumps to a heady 800bhp. I'm not sure of the performance figures, but it was tested in Hot Car magazine back in 1978 and I remember they were more than a little impressed with it...
Revenge was originally painted dark green, then dark blue and now the current owner (Roger Fulker) has restored the car with the purple colour seen here; he decided to rebuild the car with the colour Nick first intended, and Nick has commented on his Auto Imagination website that Roger's attention to detail has made the car even better.
And having finally had the chance to meet my hot rod hero in person, I can well believe that.


15 May 2014

Wheels Day Week: The T.W.O. Pictures

Words & pictures: Amazosan

Wheels Day isn't just about cars; theres always a great turnout of bikes and thankfully this year was no exception. They probably had an easier time of negotiating the traffic...


Harley-Davidson FL; maybe a '48. No mistaking that lovely flathead v-twin though:

Your  eyes aren't deceiving you; that isn't a Harley Fl with a water-cooled engine; its a Kawasaki Drifter, as is the blue one below:

Yamaha 650cc twin-powered chopper; love the wood-effect paint:

Lambretta SX:

Vincent Black Shadow. The irony was that this particular bike was constantly overlooked by the next bike in line...

...this gorgeous modified Puch Maxi. I would have paid good money to take this home:

Another, atop a VW camper:

Café racer BMW R65:

Harley 883:

And while I was slashing the cash for the Puch, I'd have to have this wrapped up too: