Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Guernsey and Grandson

The last couple of weeks haven't been ideal for travelling but the bad weather coincided with the first visit to see our first grandson Edward, who was born in Guernsey on 14th December. It wasn't too bad going there but on the return journey last Friday snow was falling at Manchester Airport, and soon after we landed the airport was closed for a time to allow the snow to be cleared from the runway.

Here are a couple of Grandma Beryl's photographs of Edward.

And here's Edward well wrapped up and in his car seat ready for a trip out.

The proud parents and Grandma Beryl also well wrapped up for a walk along the Cobo Coast Road.

Billy the cat couldn't see what all the fuss was about

Friday, 25 January 2013

Friday's Ferrari

This is apparently a 1959 Ferrari Testarossa TR59 which was at the Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone in August 1996, but it wasn't listed in the programme and as far as I'm aware didn't take part in the 1950s Sports Car race. All may not be as it seems, however, as there was an advertisement in the programme offering a remarkably similar looking car for sale:

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Walter Wolf Racing

Walter Wolf was a Canadian who became a Formula One constructor in 1976 by buying the assets of the Hesketh team when it withdrew from F1. The first car designed and built by the team was the WR1 which, driven by Jody Scheckter, won its first race in Argentina then went on to win the Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix, finishing second to Niki Lauda in the Drivers' World Championship and fourth in the Constructors' Championship.
This is the Wolf WR1 in the pit garage at the Silverstone Historic Tribute meeting in June 2004 and below in action at Luffield Corner in the Grand Prix Masters race driven by Max Samuel-Camps.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Friday's Ferrari

This car, pictured in the pit garage at the Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone in August 1996, is a 1970 Ferrari 512S entered by Ten Tenths Ltd and driven in the Visage Pre '72 Le Mans Car Race by Simon de Latour. This 5 litre V12 engined sports car was developed to challenge the Porsche 917 in the International Championship for Makes. Ferrari won only one race in the 10 round Championship (at Sebring), but picked up two second and four third places to finish the season in second place to Porsche.

It looks as if this is the car that was rebuilt from the remains of serial number 1026.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Manchester early 1970s

Here are a couple of photographs I took from the top of Highland House (now the Premier Inn's North Tower) on Victoria Bridge Street sometime in the early 1970s before many of the buildings shown were demolished to make way for the Arndale Centre. Most of the rest were subsequently demolished when the area was rebuilt following the IRA bomb explosion in Corporation Street in June 1996.
This is a view looking up Cateaton Street and Cannon Street and leading to Church Street. The large greenish coloured building on the right is Longridge House, then the home of British Engine Insurance Ltd which was destroyed in the 1996 bombing. Selfridges building now occupies that site and Exchange Square links it to the building with the dome on the corner which you can see on the opposite side of Cateaton Street and which is the Corn Exchange building, latterly known as The Triangle. The building with the black and white upper storey at the bottom left on the corner of Cateaton Street and Victoria Street is still there, although I had to check on Google Earth to confirm this as I've not been to that part of Manchester for years.
This photograph shows The Old Wellington Inn and Sinclair's Oyster Bar (The Shambles) in their original position off Victoria Street before the building of the Arndale Centre. The little street onto which The Shambles fronted was called 'Old Shambles'. Longridge House is on the left and the Royal Exchange, on Market Street, to the right, with the old Marks and Spencer building behind The Shambles. The grass area at the bottom right adjacent to St Mary's Gate is the site of the former Victoria Buildings, including the Victoria Hotel, which were destroyed in a bombing raid in World War II.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Porsche 908

This is a 1970 Porsche 908/3 which took part in the European Sports Prototype Trophy race at the Silverstone Historic Tribute meeting in June 2004. It was entered and driven by Klaus Flettner.

The site has the following to say about this car when featuring the Classic Driver Dealer Jan Luehn in November 2006:

'One of eleven: 1970 Porsche 908/3
The Porsche 908/3 was designed specifically for the twisty Targa Florio and Nürburgring tracks, where superior handling is essential.The car combined the very light weight of its aluminum-alloy spaceframe and featherlight (a little over 12 kg) glass-fibre bodywork, with a 360 bhp, flat-eight air-cooled motor. In its debut year of 1970, the Porsche 908/3 scored victories in the two races it was designed for; the Targa Florio and the Nürburgring 1000 km.

'Offered here is the ex-Vic Elford 1970 Targa Florio works entry (Porsche Salzburg) with the chassis number 007. In Italy Elford qualified in second position with a lap time of 34.46 minutes, only beaten by its sister car driven by Jo Siffert. Just after the start Elford touched a kerbstone and smashed the car into a wall due to a punctured tyre leading to immediate retirement. The car was then repaired and upgraded to 1971 specification over the winter, and in '71 Gijs van Lennep and Helmut Marko drove chassis 007 at the Nürburgring 1000 km; the now Martini sponsored car finished third behind two other 908/3s driven by Elford/Larrousse and Rodriguez/Siffert. 

'In 1973, chassis 007 was sold to a Mr Fernandez in Spain, who sold the car in 1976 to Egon Evertz. It is documented that the car stayed in German hands until 1995 before it was sold to a collector in the US. Today the car is presented in perfect condition throughout, after its full restoration in 2000 to correct white and red 1970 Targa Florio livery. 

'It has its original 3-litre, eight-cylinder magnesium engine with the matching number 908034 and it is ready to go. It comes complete with FIA papers, many spare parts (six cylinder engine for track use, extra bodywork in 1971 shape and for Le Mans use,etc) and a large history file including full documentation of the restoration, invoices and period photos.'
This is the car rounding Luffield corner during the Silverstone race

Friday, 11 January 2013

Friday's Ferrari

At the race meetings for historic vehicles at Silverstone it's always interesting and enjoyable to have a walk round the area devoted to the various owners' clubs and marque displays on the infield adjacent to the paddock. These photographs were taken in the Ferrari Owners Club area mainly at various of the Coys International Historic Festival meetings I've attended.
A line of Ferraris at the 1992 meeting headed by a 330GT 2+2 and a 275GTB
Again at the 1992 meeting a 250GT Boano and a 250GT California
This is a line of Ferraris as far as the eye can see at the 1997 meeting
This is a Ferrari F50 in 1998. The F50 was introduced in 1995 to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary.
This Ferrari 500 Superfast was seen at the 2001 Coys meeting. There's also an F40 and a 250GT Coupe.
In 2010 at the Silverstone Classic meeting I took this photograph of a Ferrari 365GT 2+2 and a 365GTC
This is a line of Dino Ferraris, also at the 2010 Silverstone Classic meeting

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Guernsey Classic Vehicle Club Show June 2012

I've previously shown some photographs taken at the Guernsey Classic Vehicle Club Show in June 2012. All kinds of vehicles take part in this show and below are two tractors which were on display:
This is the 1951 Ferguson Tractor T20 which won the award for the Best Commercial/Tractor
I didn't take the details of this tractor, but it's a Massey Ferguson, possibly a type M35

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Aintree Motor Racing Circuit

The old motor racing circuit at Aintree was constructed round the Grand National course, crossing the horse race track at two points so that the motor racing track was partly on the inside of the Grand National course and partly on the outside. The British Grand Prix was run on this circuit five times, in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1962, and I was fortunate enough to see all of these races as well as other events during this period such as the Aintree 200 and 100. Unfortunately in the 1950s I didn't have a camera capable of taking photographs of cars in action on the track and in the early 1960s I had a suitable camera, but not a telephoto lens. The following photographs, however show some features of the track.
This is a good picture of the pits at Aintree with some people watching the start of the 1962 Aintree 200 race. Between the pits and the line of people you may be able to make out some cars, Jim Clark in a Lotus 24 is on this side of the track leading the race (which he won) and beyond the Lotus are the number 11 and 12 BRM P57s of Graham Hill and Richie Ginther, both of whom retired. Just in front of the pit with the red 'Daily Mirror' banner is the Ferrari 156 'Sharknose' of Phil Hill who finished third.
The rest of these photographs are from the 1962 British Grand Prix, and the first one shows John Surtees in a Lola-Climax Mk4 returning to the paddock after a practice session. The paddock was in the centre of the circuit between the Start/Finish Straight and the Sefton Straight and access to the circuit was across the Grand National course using a line of duckboards. The mechanics sometimes found it difficult to push the cars along these duckboards to the pits and I remember at the practice for the 1961 Grand Prix, when Ferrari entered a team of four cars, one solitary mechanic was attempting to push the fourth car on his own. I gave him a hand in pushing the car to the pits, but have since regretted not taking the opportunity to get some photographs in the pit area. To get from the paddock to the stands on the other side of the Start/Finish Straight there was a similar line of duckboards across the Grand National course then a tunnel underneath the motor racing track.
John Surtees' car during practice just after the Start/Finish line. He finished second to Jim Clark's Lotus 25.
Phil Hill during practice in the Ferrari 156 on the Start/Finish Straight going towards the Waterway corner. He retired early in the race.
Masten Gregory, who finished seventh in a Lotus 24, signing autographs in the paddock. In the background you can see the cooling tower which was one of my enduring memories of the Aintree circuit. It apparently belonged to the power station for Courtaulds Polymer Plant and was demolished around 1969.

The favoured point from which to watch the races was Waterway, the first corner after the start. Motor racing at the time the Aintree circuit was in use was not as safety conscious as it is now and I've often told people about one feature of the track which seemed particularly dangerous even then. Just recently I've been wondering if my memory of it had become distorted by time but with the help of Google Street View I've been able to refresh my memory, and if anything it looks even worse now than I remember it. Melling Road cuts across the circuit at Melling Crossing and Anchor Crossing and had to be closed for the duration of race meetings, as still happens today for horse race meetings. The photograph below from Melling Road (courtesy of Google Street View) shows Anchor Bend, the second corner from the start, and you can see running alongside the track the concrete wall which I remember from when I used to go there.
The next photograph, from just a little further on, shows the view down the straight towards the Waterway corner and on the other side of the wall the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. You can see that there's no run-off area whatsoever - the wall runs alongside the edge of the track.
I remember on a couple of occasions seeing cars hit this wall, fortunately without injury to the drivers involved. The first one was in the Aintree International sports car race in September 1955 when Alfonso de Portago lost control of his Ferrari 750 Monza and went into the wall backwards. In the Aintree 200 race in April 1956 Horace Gould did exactly the same thing in his Maserati 250F. There was no such thing as a Safety Car in those days and when accidents such as this happened the marshals just dragged the car off the track and it was left there for the duration of the race. The spectators just stood behind a wooden fence about 3 feet high - there was no other barrier of any kind except perhaps (though I don't recall them there)  some straw bales. I also seem to recall (but can't find any confirmation of this) that on the inside of the track at Waterway, between the motor racing track and the boundary of the Grand National course, was a barbed wire fence!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Friday's Ferrari

Last Friday's Ferrari was a Series 2 Ferrari Mondial and today's car is the earlier Series 1 version, seen here at the 1997 Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone. The board in front of the car says that it is a 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial and was a factory team car which was used in the Mille Miglia and the Supercortemaggiore race. The Ferrari Mondial site which I highlighted last week seems to indicate that this car is chassis 0414MD, about which it has this to say:

0414MD was a Ferrari 500 Mondial with Pinin Farina Spyder coachwork and a Scuderia Ferrari Team Car, raced in The Giro di Toscana by Paolo Marzotto and Marino Marini (dnf), in the Mille Miglia by Enzo Neri and Alberto Neri (dnf) and in the GP Supercortemaggiore.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Lancia D50

The Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone in July 1998 included a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the opening meeting at the circuit in 1948. There was a display in the paddock that weekend of representative vehicles for each of those 50 years which included this Lancia D50 of 1954.
The programme had this to say about the car:
'The Lancia Ferrari D50
Silverstone is proud to display a Grand Prix car that has not been seen in Britain for over 40 years. The Lancia D50 was not only a winner, giving Fangio his fourth world title, but the project itself was so costly that it was instrumental in bringing the company to its financial knees and forcing a takeover by Fiat.
Vincenzo Lancia, while one of Italy's leading racing drivers in his day, kept the car company he founded out of serious  competition, fearing the cost and diversion from the main task of building road cars. However, his son Gianni had a rather different approach and thus Lancia successfully raced sportscars in the 1950s.
' For the 1954 season he decided the company should take in the might of Mercedes Benz and Maserati at the highest level of the sport: Grand Prix racing. Designer Vittorio Jano produced an innovative design with a high-revving 2.5 litre 90-degree V8, and the engine was utilised as a stressed member with the front suspension assembly bolted to it.
'The engine was also mounted at an angle in the chassis to allow for an offset propshaft that assisted with a low cockpit. But the most obvious innovation was the outrigger pannier tanks between the wheels which improved the airflow and the balance of the car as the fuel load lightened.
The suspension incorporated a De Dion tube at the rear with a tubular front wishbone and leaf spring set-up at the front. The chassis was largely constructed from small diameter tube and overall the car was beautifully detailed and also very light.
'After two wins in minor Formula 1 races in Italy, the D50-mounted Alberto Ascari qualified second at Monaco and was set to take the lead when he crashed spectacularly into the harbour, amazingly sustaining only a broken nose. Tragically, he was killed four days later in an accident at Monza while testing a sportscar.
'By then Lancia was in financial trouble, and Fiat struck a deal whereby the D50 project, including six cars, were handed over to Ferrari. Engineers Jano and Luigi Bazzi moved over to their former rivals at Maranello to further develop  the cars and the following year they were developed into true winners. Using a car, now known as the Lancia Ferrari, in 1956 Fangio took the machine to victories in Buenos Aires, Silverstone and the Nürburgring on the way to his fourth World title. Peter Collins won with the car at Spa-Francorchamps and Reims.
'The car was further modified in 1957 and re-designated the 801 but no major victories followed. Two of the ten D50s have survived, one at the Biscaretti Museum and one retained by Fiat which is the car Silverstone proudly displays today.
by Andrew Marriott'

In September of 1955 after the cars had been handed over to Ferrari two of the cars were entered in the Gold Cup race at Oulton Park, to be driven by Mike Hawthorn and Eugenio Castelloti, and I was fortunate enough to be there on that day. The race was won by Stirling Moss in a Maserati 250F, Mike Hawthorn was second and Eugenio Castelloti finished seventh.