Monday, 30 April 2012

View from Werneth Low

At 915 feet above sea level Werneth Low offers views over Greater Manchester and, on a clear day, over a much wider area. On a really clear day it's possible to see Jodrell Bank radio telescope and the mountains of Snowdonia. Today's photograph shows central Manchester from about halfway up Werneth Low.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Friday's Ferrari

At the Silverstone Historic meetings I went to in the 1990s and early 2000s David Piper was usually present with a few of his stable of Ferraris. The photographs below show the cars he took along to the Historic Festival meeting of 2001.

1967 Ferrari 330P4, serial number 0822

1964 Ferrari 330P2, serial number 0836

1964 Ferrari 365P, serial number 0824

1967 Ferrari Dino 246S

1964 Ferrari 275LM, serial number 8165

The photograph below, which I took at the 1965 Tourist Trophy race at Oulton Park, is presumably of the same car, although at that time it was labelled a 250LM. The Wikipedia entry for Ferrari says:
'Only the very early LM's were true 250 models, with all the rest made as 3300cc models and as such should have been named 275 LM (the early cars were also converted to the 3300cc engine).'

Correction: The car in the 1965 Tourist Trophy race in 1965 was 5897, now owned by Englebert Stieger.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Things in the garden

When I first started using digital photography I bought a small Olympus camera which I could carry around in my pocket. To get used to the camera I tried it out in the garden at home and one of the first things I tried was the macro facility. The photograph below was one of the first I took and it's of (I think) a common green bottle fly, or Lucilia sericata.

I was pleased with this photograph as flies tend to buzz about a lot and it's difficult to get them to stay still long enough to get a decent photograph. It's much easier with slugs and snails and the like which are much more sedentary. I think the slug shown below is simply known as a black slug, or Arion ater.

Or, for a closer look:

Friday, 20 April 2012

Friday's Ferrari

The Coys International Historic Festival of 1997 at Silverstone featured a tribute to Ferrari and there was an impressive display of cars on show. Today's car is the 1955 Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, serial number FL/9001, an improved version of the 553 Squalo of 1954, but the performance and handling of the car couldn't match that of the Mercedes-Benz W196 and Maserati 250F.

I never saw the Super Squalo in action in 1955. By the time of the British Grand Prix the team had apparently given up on the car and turned up with the old 625 model which was essentially the 1952/53 500 model with an engine enlarged to 2.5 litres.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Juan Manuel Fangio

The Coys International Historic Festival meeting of July 1994 at Silverstone featured a tribute to Juan Manuel Fangio and had a display of some of the cars with which he was associated. The photograph below shows three of the cars which are associated with his World Championship victories.

His first World Championship was won in 1951 in an Alfa Romeo and the car on the left is an Alfa Romeo 158 of 1950. Although he started 1954 driving a Maserati 250F, Mercedes Benz introduced their new car at the French Grand Prix and he won the Championship in that year and 1955 driving the W196 model, an example of which is on the right-hand side of the photograph. The car in the middle is a Maserati 250F which Fangio used in winning the 1957 Championship. He also won in 1956 driving a Lancia-Ferrari and at the time of this tribute there were none left in existence, although since then several of the earlier Lancia D50s and the Lancia-Ferrari have been recreated (or 'faked' as Denis Jenkinson would have said).

Also on display was this 1948 1.5 litre Ferrari 166, serial number 011F, thought to have been raced by Fangio in Argentina.

I was fortunate enough to have seen Fangio drive in the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree and the 1957 British Grand Prix, also at Aintree.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Friday's Ferrari

This is a photograph of a Ferrari taken at the Coys International Historic Festival at Silverstone in 1995. As the numberplate says, it's a 250GTO and this one belongs to Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason. Some people say that the Ferrari 250GTO is the most beautiful car ever made and I've got to admit they've got a point. The serial number of the car is 3757GT.

In fact they're so nice I'm going to show you a photograph of another 250GTO taken at the Coys Silverstone meeting three years later.

The serial number of this car is 3589GT.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Hyde, Cheshire

I said last week that I lived in Hyde, Cheshire, and today's photos show a few views of the town and surrounding area. To the south of the town lies Werneth Low Country Park on top of which is located the Hyde War Memorial. This can be seen in the photo below which was taken from Mottram Old Road.

The next photo was taken from the top of Werneth Low close to the War Memorial and is a view looking over the centre of the town. The Town Hall can be seen in the centre of the picture and behind that the M67 bypass road leading to the M60 Manchester ring road at Denton.

The photograph below is of Nelson Street with the terraced houses which most people would associate with a Northern mill town. Much of the centre of Hyde consists of streets such as this, some with the doors opening directly onto the street and some with a small garden or paved area a few feet deep.

But you don't need to go far to find much more rural scenes. The photograph below was taken in Apple Street which runs to the east from the top of Werneth Low and joins Mottram Old Road just before that road crosses the Hattersley boundary and becomes Stockport Road.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Friday's Ferrari

Before 1955 I had, to the best of my knowledge, only seen one Ferrari. This was during a school trip to France  in 1954 when we spent a couple of days in Paris then about a week in Tours visiting the chateaux of the Loire Valley. I saw the Ferrari in Paris and don't know what model it was, although looking at the models which were around at the time it was probably a 212 Inter.

In April 1955, though, I saw my first race at Oulton Park, the British Empire Trophy race which was run on a handicap basis and won by Archie Scott-Brown in a Lister-Bristol. I remember that Duncan Hamilton drove a Jaguar D-type and the Aston Martin DB3S team was there whilst Colin Chapman drove one of his early Lotus cars. But the cars which really caught my eye were the two Ferrari 750S Monzas driven by Luigi Piotti and Mike Sparken. This Scaglietti bodied car remains my favourite Ferrari and below are photographs of two examples taken at historic racing meetings at Silverstone in the 1990s. I could sit and look at one of these for hours.

1997 Coys Historic Festival at Silverstone 26 July 1997. The serial number of this car is 0520M.

1999 Coys Historic Festival at Silverstone 31 July 1999
Footnote 18 Aug 2014:
I've since found that this second car is, in fact, a 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spyder Scaglietti Series II, serial number 0564MD or 0424MD. The 750S Monza and 500 Mondial Series II are almost identical and as far as I can make out it's only the sizes of the engines that differ.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Early Memories and Mercedes Benz

I think it was the cutaway drawings of racing cars in The Eagle comic from 1950 onwards which first got me interested in motor racing. I remember later reading stories of the Mercedes Benz and Auto Union cars of the 1930s - the 'Silver Arrows' - and thinking how I'd have loved to have seen these cars in action.

In 1958, when I was 16 years old, Mercedes Benz sent 2 cars, a W125 of 1937 and a W154 of 1939 (at that time generally referred to as a W163) to the Richard Seaman Memorial Trophy meeting at Oulton Park for Peter Collins and Tony Brooks to give demonstration runs. It was a time when car ownership wasn't as widespread as it is today and the only way to get to Oulton Park from where I lived (Denton, near Manchester) was to get a train from Manchester to Crewe, another train from Crewe to Beeston Castle, and then walk about 5 miles from there to the circuit. The only alternative was to do the whole journey (about 35 miles) by bicycle which I did quite a few times as a teenager, but on this occasion I chose the train and the walk. I did use my bike though to go to Manchester of the Friday afternoon after school as the cars were on display in the showroom of a Mercedes Benz dealer in Manchester.

Some 12 years later, in 1970, and then again in 1971, a W125 which had been discovered in (I think) East Germany by Colin Crabbe actually took part in the Richard Seaman Trophy race and in fact won on both occasions. The two photographs below are of the car at each of these meetings.

More recently, in 2007, Mercedes Benz sent a W125 to Donington Park, now the venue for the Richard Seaman Memorial Trophy races and it gave a demonstration run driven by Tony Dron, seen below at McLeans corner.

For the 2008 meeting Mercedes Benz sent over to Donington Park one of the W154/163 cars which was again demonstrated by Tony Dron and the photograph below shows the car in the paddock with the Richard Seaman Memorial Trophy just in front of the windscreen.

The Auto Unions are another story and I'll come to that some other time.