Monday, 31 December 2012

Hersham and Walton Motors (HWM)

HWM was a racing team owned by George Abecassis and John Heath who ran a team of Formula 2 cars between 1950 and 1952, competing in several Grand Prix races. It was the car which introduced Stirling Moss to Grand Prix racing, finishing 8th in the 1951 Swiss Grand Prix and retiring from the same event in 1952. The car is pictured here at the Richard Seaman Memorial Trophy meeting at Donington Park in May 2001. The race programme says this about the car:
'......HWM lead the way with their Alta powered cars and it is pleasing to see a car (4) entered by Mike Harting who now runs HW Motors the original manufacturer. The original owners, John Heath and George Abecassis ran a team, which toured the Continent, living off starting money. To get a real feel of what these teams endured for their sport you should read Alf Francis Racing Mechanic.'

Friday, 28 December 2012

Friday's Ferrari

Today's car is a Ferrari 500 Mondial pictured at the Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone in August 2001. The Mondial was outwardly similar to the 750 Monza, but had a smaller 4 cylinder 2 litre engine and was produced from early 1954 to August 1955. This is one of the later models and is painted in the American racing colours. I've found a site here which features this particular car, serial number 0454MD, and which has this to say about it:

0454MD was a Ferrari 500 Mondial Series I Spyder with Scaglietti coachwork, delivered to US citizen Bob Said. Bob raced the Mondial in Europe. The car was sold to American Tony Palmer-Morewood, he raced it in the States and in Venezuela. 

The car was in the Ferrari Owners Club area and the photograph below shows several other Ferraris which were on display that day.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Crich Tramway Museum

These photographs were taken on a visit to Crich Tramway Museum on 9 August 1994.
Number 45 is a 1903 Southampton tram, and the purple tram is a 1953 model from Leeds

Number 399 is a 1925 Leeds tram and number 40 is a Blackpool tram of the same year

Another shot of the 1925 Leeds tram number 399
Another shot of the 1925 Blackpool tram number 40

The tram sheds

Two Blackpool trams, a 1927 model (number 166) and number 2 is from 1898

A Blackpool tram loco

Friday, 21 December 2012

Friday's Ferrari

This car was in the Ferrari Owners Club area at the Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone in July 1995. I didn't take any details of the car at the time, but it seems to be a 1950 Ferrari 166 Le Mans Berlinetta.

Note April 2015: This car appears to be a 1950 Ferrari 166 MM, serial number 0060M.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Aston Martin DB3S

Here are photographs of three different Aston Martin (or Astin Martin as Jeremy Clarkson would say) DB3S models at the Aston Martin Owners Club Autumn Historic Car Races at Oulton Park in September 1993.
The 1956 DB3S of Hubert Fabri in the paddock
The same car during Race 3 at Foulston's Chicane

Tony Smith's 1955 DB3S (No. 80) and Simon Draper's 1954 model (63 EMU)
The same two cars at Foulston's Chicane. Both cars have the front-end bodywork modifications which were made to the works cars in 1956 prior to the introduction of the DBR1.

Monday, 17 December 2012


Silverstone was originally a World War 2 RAF bomber station and, appropriately, on the day of the British Grand Prix each year it becomes the busiest airport in the UK, and on at least one occasion, in 1999, the busiest airport in the world. The major historic car meetings usually attract a few aircraft visitors, and below are some I've photographed at the Coys International Historic meetings.
A Spitfire at the 1996 meeting

This is the 1997 meeting and something's telling me it's a Harvard, but it may be telling me wrongly

This P51 Mustang was at the 1999 meeting

A 1929 De Havilland DH60M Gypsy Moth in 2001

On some occasions there have been tethered Hot Air Balloons in which one could have a low-level ascent on payment of a suitable fee. The ones below are pictured in 1993.
A search reveals that 'Aircraft' G-BUVT (the balloon on the left) was made by Thunder and Colt Ltd, and is a Colt 77A model made in 1993. Number of Seats: N/A and Number of Engines: 0. The 'Aircraft' on the right apparently has the registration number G-LOAN, was made by Cameron Balloons Ltd, and is a Cameron N-77 model. It also, unsurprisingly, has an unspecified number of seats and no engine. It's operated by the Newbury Building Society.

Flying displays usually feature during these meetings and below is a photograph of the Red Arrows taken in 1999.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Friday's Ferrari

Today's car is a 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Spider, serial number 0198ET, with bodywork by Vignale, shown above at the Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone in 1996. Wikipedia says this about the 225:
'A predecessor to the 250 line was the 225 S introduced at the 1952 Giro di Sicilia. Two of the two-seat prototypes were built, an open barchetta and closed coupe both by Vignale. Seven 225 S cars were entered at the Mille Miglia, but these were overshadowed by their larger-engined 250 S brother.Although not as heralded as the 250 line, the 225 did play one unique historical role: A 225 S tested at Imola was the first Ferrari to drive on that course.'

The history of this particular car is shown here.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bugatti EB110

The original Bugatti company was founded by Ettore Bugatti in 1909 and was best known for the sports and racing cars produced in the years between the two World Wars. After the death of Ettore Bugatti in 1947 only a few of the Type 101 Coupe models were produced and a Formula 1 racing car, the type 251, was built. This car started in only one race, the French Grand Prix of 1956, but retired after 18 laps, and is now in the National Motor Museum of France, better known as the Schlumpf Collection, in Mulhouse. The original Bugatti company closed in 1962, but the name was revived in 1987 as Bugatti Automobili SpA by the Italian Romano Artioli. This company ceased operations in 1995 and three years later was acquired by Volkswagen AG, who went on, under the name of Bugatti Automobiles SAS, to produce the Bugatti Veyron in 2005. Romano Artioli's company had, in 1991, produced the EB110 model, and the photograph below is of one of these cars pictured at the 1993 Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone.
Michael Schumacher apparently owned one of these cars from 1994 to 2003.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Red car, Pink Floyd

Three of the Aston Martin Ulster 1.5 litre cars were built for the 1935 Le Mans race, LM18, LM19 and LM20. LM21 was added to the team after Le Mans and before the 1935 TT race, where it finished in 11th place, and that car is shown below at the 1996 Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone. The car is owned by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, standing next to the car, and was driven at this meeting by his wife Annette, who is sitting in the car in this photograph.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Friday's Ferrari

This is a 1951/2 Ferrari 375 4.5 litre Formula 1 car which was modified to take part in the 1952 Indianapolis 500 race. Four of the cars were entered for the race but three, driven by Americans Johnny Mauro, Bill Vukovich and Danny Oakes, failed to qualify. The fourth car, driven by Ferrari team driver Alberto Ascari, qualified but did not finish the race due to a failed rear wheel bearing. The Indianapolis 500 race at that time was one of the races which counted towards the Formula 1 world championship, which in 1952 (apart from Indianapolis) was for the smaller-engined Formula 2 cars because all the previous year's Formula 1 teams except for Ferrari had pulled out of racing. Because he was qualifying for the Indianapolis race Ascari missed the Swiss Grand Prix, the opening round of the Championship but was then victorious in the remaining six Grands Prix in his Ferrari 500 and became the 1952 World Champion. The car pictured here, serial number 04, was in a special display of Ferraris at the 1997 Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone.

In the Coys meeting the following year a Ferrari 375 Indianapolis car was entered in the HGCPA Pre-1952 Grand Prix car race by Carlos Monteverde of Brazil and the two photographs below are of that car.

As an aside, I never saw Alberto Ascari race. The first British Grand Prix I went to was at Aintree in 1955 - on 16th July. In the Monaco Grand Prix on 22nd May Alberto Ascari lost control of his Lancia D50 at a chicane and crashed into the harbour but fortunately managed to get out of his sunken car and into a rescue launch at the surface. Four days later he went to Monza to watch Eugenio Castellotti test the Ferrari 750 Monza they were to share in the Supercortemaggiore 1000km race. He borrowed Castellotti's helmet to try a few laps, but on his third lap he was exiting the Vialone Curve when the car skidded and overturned throwing him out and he died from his injuries shortly afterwards. No reason was ever found for the accident and the Vialone Curve has since been replaced by a chicane, named the Ascari Chicane.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Red Arrows

The Red Arrows were regular participants at the RAFA Woodford Air Show and the photographs below were taken at the 1995 show, which took place on 24th June of that year.
The BAe Hawk, which replaced the earlier Folland Gnat in 1979

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The Return of Auto Union - Donington Park May 2001

May 2001 marked the first appearance of the Auto Union C-type and D-type Grand Prix cars at Donington Park since the late 1930s. Here, interspersed with photographs I took of the cars that weekend, is what the programme of the event said about the circumstances surrounding their reappearance:

'Memories of Bernd Rosemeyer and Tazio Nuvolari wrestling their fearsome mid-engined Auto-Unions to victory in the 1937 and '38 Grands Prix helped fuel Tom Wheatcroft's  ambition to bring back racing to Donington Park. Yet back in the '70s, as Tom's JCBs shaped his dream into reality, even this master of the impossible could not have dreamt that one day his circuit would reverberate again to the awesome bellow of these V12 and V16 Silver Arrows. The cars had vanished into thin air.
1937 Auto Union C-type

'While most of their Mercedes-Benz challengers had surfaced safely in the West after WW2, the legends from Zwickau, Saxony, had evaporated into Russia. Grabbed by the Soviets as war reparations in 1945, 18 hidden Auto Union team cars had been packed on a train to Moscow. Distributed to motor manufacturers and research institutes, the most advanced racing cars of their epic era gradually succumbed to breakers' yards. The only reminder in the West of Auto Union's halcyon racing days was a V16 C-type show chassis in Munich's Deutsches Museum. Against all odds, though, just as Donington's revival gathered pace, seeds of an Auto Union renaissance were germinating. Years later they would flower in rural East Sussex where VSCC members Dick Crosthwaite and John Gardiner have combined their engineering talent for nearly 40 years. Today, Crosthwaite and Gardiner's base at Buxted has replaced the pre-war Horch Works in Zwickau as the epicentre of Auto Union Grand Prix car expertise. For six years it has been home to one of the most important racing car restoration projects ever as C&G has reinstated the lost Grand Prix heritage of Audi, a founder of the Auto Union with DKW, Horch and Wanderer in 1932 and owner of the name.
The first sign that not all Auto Union's racers had perished came when Count Doenhoff repatriated to Germany a 1938 Auto Union V12 D-type display car, war-locked in Czechoslovakia. Acquired from him by American Kerry Payne, its revival as a working car was entrusted to Colin Crabbe in the UK. VSCC stalwart Neil Corner became its next owner.
1938 Auto Union D-type

'Then, an ex-HP Mueller 1939 V16 3-litre C/D short-wheelbase Mountain Climb car turned up in the Riga Motor Museum, Latvia after museum founder Viktors Kulbergs negotiated a remarkable rescue from Zil's Moscow factory in 1976. The only surviving complete, original V16 Auto Union team car was just hours from being scrapped.
Next to re-emerge was a pair of V12 3-litre D-type Grand Prix cars – one 1938, the other to final '39 two-stage supercharged specification – brought out of Russia piecemeal over several years by Florida couple Paul and Barbara Karassik. One by one, Crosthwaite and Gardiner has resuscitated these surviving Auto Unions.
1937 Auto Union C-type

'Dick and John's introduction to the marque came when Corner asked them to sort out his problematic ex-Payne D-type. Experience gained led to a commission  from the Karassik's to rebuild their two D-types. After restoration, C&G demonstrated both at the Nurburgring in Autumn 1994. Among admirers were Audi people from Ingolstadt, coincidentally negotiating to acquire the Riga museum's V16 Mountain Climb car. It wasn't long before they knocked on C&G's door.
Audi delivered its mountain climber to C&G in July 1995, by which time the brief had escalated into the still-current grand project. It started with the mountain climber's restoration and creation of a clone replacement for the Riga museum. Next came a Grand Prix V16 C-type recreation identical to Rosemeyer's 1936 European Championship-winning car. A sister car followed for VW's Wolfsberg Museum. Then the piece de resistance: a sensational recreation of a 1937 Auto Union V16 Streamliner. Finally, and still in build for Audi's Belgian importer, there's a recreation of a 1934 A-type.
1938 Auto Union D-type

'The scale and precision of the project is mind-blowing. Every component, even nuts, bolts and fasteners, has been faithfully reproduced, mostly in-house using the Mountain Climb car as a template. The Deutsches Museum C-type came to Buxted so C&G could copy the rear swing axle. Chassis were built from specially sourced steel tubing to match the original. Everything had to be made from scratch, mostly without drawings, a challenging task even for C&G's flexible workshops, where ancient machine tools sit side by side with the latest CNC equipment. Suspension uprights, delicately finned brake drums and magnesium backplates pay tribute to extraordinary skills.
1937 Auto Union C-type and 1938 Auto Union D-type

'But C&G's most awe-inspiring achievement has been to authentically reproduce from the mountain climber's original 520bhp/630lb ft C-type unit a series of the massive, 6-litre V16 aluminium engines. Each takes around 600 hours to build. Apart from the obvious multiple components, reflect on this; the segmented Hirth crankshaft contains around 700 components. And how, without drawings and unable to section the original, do you reproduce the hugh crankcase? "Put yourself in the minds of the people who made it and think about period manufacturing methods," says John Gardiner. "You know they had to make it this way."
That's the principal adopted, too, by Roach Manufacturing, run by VSCC member Keith Roach near Southampton, which has built all the Bodies without drawings. After delicately restoring the mountain climber's aged alloy and building its clone, Roach's artist in metal, Gary Yates, recreated C-type bodies, including tanks, from photographs and his knowledge of the old-time panel beater's art. But it's the Streamliner's body that's the finest monument to his skills and research.
When Audi's V16 C-type and ex-Karassik D-type celebrate Auto Union's great Donington Grand Prix victories this weekend it will be a tribute to British craftsmen who've made the impossible come true.'

1937 Auto Union C-type (above) and 1938 Auto Union D-type (below)
rounding Coppice Corner on a demonstration run