Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Proteus Mercedes Benz 300SLR

This is a photograph taken at the Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone in August 1996 and is of a replica of a Mercedes Benz 300SLR made by Proteus Cars Ltd. Proteus are better known for their replica Jaguar D-type, C-type and XJ13. The car next to the Mercedes is a Jaguar XJ13 and the E-Type Lightweight on the far left is also possibly a Proteus car. The 300SLR replica has been built to resemble the Stirling Moss/Denis Jenkinson 1955 Mille Miglia winning car, is one of six replicas made and is possibly the one shown in this Hofmann's website. That website calls it a recreation rather than a replica, but I recall that Denis Jenkinson called all such cars 'fakes'.

Monday, 28 July 2014


Sounds like a football club (Kilmarnock Football Club? Keswick Football Club?), but as far as Hyde is concerned it stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken and there's a drive-through restaurant currently being built in Hyde.
This is the multi-storey car park (if two upper levels can be called multi-storey), pictured here in August 2013 which has been demolished to make way for the KFC.
This photograph was taken in April this year during the demolition of the car park
Work is now going on at the upper end of the site, at the corner of Union Street and Clarendon Place where it appears the KFC building is to be situated. It looks as if it will be some months before the drive-through restaurant will be finished and in use.
Fear not though - the bottom end of the site adjacent to the Clarendon Square Shopping Centre and John Grundy House is going to be a car park and the pay machine for that car park has already been installed.
Since I wrote the above a tarmac surface has been applied to the car park and it has been brought into use. Entry to it is along the entrance to the old multi-storey car park (formerly Beeley Street) and along the side of the construction work at the top of the site.

I was intrigued by this banner for the new restaurant. What's it got to do with Rolf Harris? Appropriately, though, because of the fencing he appears to be behind bars, or sogood one might say.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Friday's Ferrari

I photographed this car in the paddock at the Ferrari & Maserati Festival of Racing meeting at Donington Park in May 2003.
It's a Ferrari F50, but doesn't get a mention in the programme of the event. Joe Macari, whose website is shown on the windscreen of the car, is apparently a London motor dealer specialising in Ferrari and Maserati cars, and who has entered cars in the Gumball 3000 Rally several times. This is the best site I've found for describing what the Gumball 3000 is all about.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Kieft F1 Car

I'd read about the Kieft F1 car some years ago, how construction started in 1954 but the car was never completed. I'd also read many years later that someone had bought the car and was intending to finish the project and race the car in appropriate historic racing events. So when I went to the SeeRed meeting at Donington Park in September 2005 I was most interested to see the car in the paddock.
Unfortunately the meeting was a two-day event which I attended on the Sunday and the Kieft, then owned by Bill Morris, had been driven by Gregory Snape in the Ron Flockhart Memorial Trophy race on the Saturday, so I didn't see it race. There's a comprehensive history of the car on this Bonhams website in which it says that tests in 1954 of the Coventry Climax Godiva V8 engine showed it to produce only 240bhp against the 260-270bhp claimed by the rival Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia power units which caused Coventry Climax to abandon its Formula 1 racing ambition at that time. What the article doesn't say is that the figures claimed by the Italian manufacturers were wildly optimistic and they achieved at best 230bhp, so the Kieft would probably have proved extremely competitive in 1954 (until Mercedes Benz entered the fray, that is). The car must hold a record, however, for the longest time (48 years) between the start of the project (in 1954) and its first race (in 2002).

Monday, 21 July 2014

ERAs at Silverstone

The Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone in July 1998 included a race billed as the HGPCA Pre-1952 Grand Prix Car Race which included amongst the entry list eight ERAs. Here are three photographs showing four of those cars.
This is the 1936 ERA B Type of Ludovic Lindsay who drove the car in the race. The car is R5B 'Remus' and is one of those formerly driven by Prince Bira of Siam - you can see the Siamese colours on the rear of the car.
This is the 1937 C Type of Bill Morris and was driven by him in the race. It is designated R12C and is known as 'Hanuman', but has a confusing history and I've somewhat condensed the story of the car(s) told  in to produce the following:

ERA R12B 'Hanuman / Hanuman II'
R12B was a 1936 works car with a 2 litre engine and in the works black colour scheme. Raymond Mays successfully hill climbed R12B at Shelsley Walsh and raced at Brooklands.
1937 The works rebuilt R12B to C-type specification with a 1.5 litre engine and a long-range fuel tank. 1938 The works sold R12B/C to Prince Chula for Bira to drive. R12B/C was painted with a light blue body and yellow chassis and wheels of the 'White Mouse' stable and made the national racing colours of Siam (Thailand). In the tradition of 'White Mouse' cars, following R2B 'Romulus' and R5B 'Remus' R12C was named 'Hanuman'
1939 saw Bira race R12B/C to win the Nuffield Trophy at Donington Park. Somewhat less successfully Bira crashed R12B/C at in practice for the Coupe de la Commission Sportive at Rheims, France. Bira suffered only minor injuries but the car was badly damaged. NOW THIS IS WHERE THINGS GET A BIT TRICKY! As happens with many well raced cars repair and modification keeps cars on the track but complicates their history. R12B had been modified to C-type spec. and was now repaired with the only available chassis frame (a B-type, probably from R8B left over from its rebuild up to C-type spec.) so that the cars code letter reverted to 'R12B' and its name was moved on to 'Hanuman II'. The spare parts from sorting out the mess were set aside – see R12C 'Hanuman', below, for what happened to them.

ERA R12C 'Hanuman'
1982 - Respected car restorer and ERA expert W.R.G. 'Bill' Morris rebuilt the wreckage left over from the R12B/C 'Hanuman' crash and rebuild (see R12B Hanuman / Hanuman II', above). The project used the original mangled chassis frame from R12B/C, other R12B/C parts and other period parts with any gaps filled by remanufactured parts.

The result was 'R12C – Hanuman' a C-type ERA as if the 1939 Rheims accident had not happened.  As at the time Bill Morris owned both 'R12B – Hanuman II' and 'R12C – Hanuman' the question of whether one or the other or both or neither was 'genuine' was a matter he would have had to fight out with himself !

Here are three of the ERAs at Luffield Corner during the race. Number 44 on the outside is R12C 'Hanuman' driven by Bill Morris, number 16 at the front is the 1937 B Type R14B of Donald Day driven by Goff Tidball and the light green car bringing up the rear is the 1934 A Type R1A of E Dean Butler driven by Martin Walford.

A full list of all the ERA cars and their various owners is shown on the ERA Club website.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Friday's Ferrari

I've showed photographs of the Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta previously and here's one which took part in the Coys of Kensington Pre 1964 GT Cars race at the Coys International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone in July 2000.
The car, which appears to be serial number 3401GT, was driven by Franco Meiners and Sir Ralph Robins in the 50 minute long race at that meeting. The history of 3401GT confirms that it was owned by Franco Meiners in 2000, and although it doesn't say that it was entered in the Silverstone 2000 meeting you can see at the rear of the car the external fuel filler which it says was fitted in 1998.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Guernsey July 2014

Another trip to Guernsey for a few days to see Grandson Edward. The early part of the first day we had more or less to ourselves and after a walk along Cobo beach we went into St Peter Port for lunch then a walk round Candie Gardens.
We stayed with Anna's father Martyn, whose house is surrounded by a wonderful display of flowering plants.

Later in the afternoon we all had a trip to the beach where some went for a swim in the sea, others a paddle and some of us just stayed dry and enjoyed the sunshine.
On the Friday we spent some time in the garden where Edward likes to help his daddy with his jobs, especially watering the plants.
There's a bit of a slope on the paved area in the garden at his house and Edward's got a couple of cars he sits in and pushes backwards with his feet to the top of the slope then runs them down to the bottom again.

He likes kicking his ball around, both in the garden and in the house and already has quite a powerful, and accurate kick favouring his left foot. Perhaps one day he'll play for the Green Lions of Guernsey FC!
After watching me do it several times Edward decided that it was extremely funny when I changed my distance glasses for my reading glasses when I wanted to read something.
Peter Rabbit made an appearance at a Floral Guernsey Summer Party at Le Friquet Garden Centre on the Saturday, but Edward looked a little bit apprehensive about meeting him.
On the Sunday before we flew home we all went to the Food Seafront Sunday along the pedestrianised seafront in St Peter Port where on a gloriously warm and sunny day we had lunch at some tables set up outside the Ship & Crown.
Here's Edward with his Grandpa, Auntie Louise and Cousin Barnabas

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Some more of the competitors in the Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship race at Donington Park at the SeeRed meeting in September 2006, this time a couple of the Williams cars.
This is the 1982 Williams FW08/3 entered by RJM Motorsport
Here's the car at Redgate Corner being driven by Richard Eyre during a practice session
This 1981 Williams FW07C/14 was entered by Colin Bennett Racing and is again seen at Redgate Corner during the practice session, this car being driven by Peter Sowerby.

Monday, 14 July 2014

'Except for access'

What do the words 'Except for access' mean when you see them on a sign at the side of the road? Here is a photograph of a street in Hyde with a signpost with those words on it:
Below is a close-up of the sign
Now to me the 'No vehicles Except for access' means that vehicles are only allowed to pass this sign if they are making a delivery to any premises within the prohibited zone, which is shown on the Google earth picture below:
The sign shown above is on Hamnett Street, just to the right of centre, and the prohibited zone is the red-brick part of the road which loops round onto Market Place and then back again onto John Street, to the left of centre. The parts of Market Place to the right and left of the red-brick zone are fully pedestrianised.
This is a photograph taken looking along Market Place and shows a van which is (apparently) making a delivery to one of the shops and which the sign allows it to do. But it seems that a large number of motorists car drivers think that the restriction shouldn't apply to them either.

Here are three more photographs:

Not all the photographs above were taken on the same day, but the last three were and in such quick succession that my camera records all three to have been taken at 11:34am. The black car in the first photograph dropped off a passenger who seems to have gone into the Farmfoods shop whilst the driver sat waiting in the car. The taxi in the second photograph dropped off two young ladies who sauntered across the road and possibly into the shopping mall behind the shops on the right. The car in the third photograph also stopped to drop off passengers but I didn't see where they went. It strikes me that the kind of person who ignores these 'no access' signs is the same person who doesn't see a double yellow line as meaning 'no parking at any time' but that 'this stretch of road is reserved exclusively for you to park on'.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Friday's Ferrari

This is a car photographed at the Christie's International Historic Festival meeting at Silverstone in July 1992 which featured a special Ferrari display.
It's a 1979 Ferrari 512 BB/LM and the programme of the event had this to say about the car:

'512 BB/LM
Mid-engined flat 12; 4.9 litre; 480bhp at 7200rpm; twin
ohc per bank; fuel injected; all-round independent
suspension by A-arms/coil springs. A number of these
were built in mainly 1979 and to meet the 'Silhouette'
regs which required cars to have some resemblance to
the production versions in the windshield, doors and roof

The car is serial number 27577, originally an Ecurie Francorchamps car and owned by Nick Mason in 1992.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Knickerbrook, Oulton Park

On Monday I showed a photograph of a Bugatti near the Knickerbrook Corner at Oulton Park. I was a schoolboy of 13 when I first went to Oulton Park and was curious, as any schoolboy would be, about how the corner had come by this name.
This, courtesy of Google earth, is the Oulton Park circuit. Knickerbrook Corner is the one at the bottom of the picture in the middle. Above it is a narrow pond between Knickerbrook Corner and Cascades Corner. When the circuit was originally laid out in 1953 the loop between Cascades and Knickerbrook did not exist - the circuit carried straight on, though I'm not sure which side of the pond it ran so Knickerbrook Corner may have been some way to the left away from its current postion. The loop was added in 1954 and since then two chicanes have been introduced on the long straight from Shell Oils Corner at the extreme right to cut the speed of the cars (and motor bikes) before they get to Knickerbrook.
Here are three Lotus Elans during a race at the Gold Cup meeting in August 2012 exiting Hislop's Chicane and going towards Knickerbrook Corner. The cars are driven by Paul Tooms, Peter Shaw and Vicky Brooks.
Here, a lap or two later, are the Elans of Paul Tooms and Peter Shaw going round the Knickerbrook Corner.
This is the actual 'Knicker Brook' - the circuit is on the other side of the barrier and tyre wall you can see at the top of the photograph and it's the bottom side of the circuit as you see it in the top picture From here it flows underneath the circuit into the pond and from there underneath the circuit at Cascades and into Oulton Lake.

As to the story of how it got its name.......Well, I don't know if the story is true but it's said that it was given this name by 'Blaster' Bates, an explosives and demolition expert. He had been engaged to remove the stumps of some beech trees before the circuit was built. At the first explosion a courting couple were seen to run from the vicinity of the brook in a state of disarray and afterwards an item of ladies' underwear was found there, leading to the naming of the corner.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Bugatti 35B

Mike Preston's 1926 Bugatti Type 35B photographed at the Hawthorn Memorial Trophies race meeting at Oulton Park in June 2008. I always have difficulties in identifying the different Bugattis, particularly the Type 35 models, but this Wikipedia article tells you how they differ.
All the Type 35 models have the straight-8 engine and that of the 35B is of 2.3 litres capacity and is supercharged.
Here's the car during the Boulogne Trophy race just starting the run up Clay Hill after Knickerbrook Corner.

The car is apparently a replica, that is to say a replica 35B not a replica Bugatti, and a forum on said this about the car in 2009:

'PRESTON, Michael S.P. A Cheltenham, UK, optician and computer software specialist who, at the latest count, owned three Bugattis who joined the UK BOC in June, 1995. The car he has used most latterly is an immaculate fully road equipped emerald blue type 35B (SV 4798). According to the BBR (p.65) the car is probably based on a type 37 (37165) which was imported from Argentina in the early nineties and was rebuilt to 35B specifications by Ivan Dutton Ltd in 1995/6. The car which was owned by George Minden for most of the nineties was issued with the no. BC 080 in April 1994. He has recently taken to running the car in stripped form in racing car events and achieved second place in the 2005 Williams Trophy race run at Cadwell Park behind Geraint Owen also driving a 35B. His most recent success was a Second Class award in the 2006 VSCC Pomeroy Trophy event.'

Friday, 4 July 2014

Friday's Ferrari

Today's Ferrari is one I photographed at the Richard Seaman Memorial Trophies meeting at Oulton Park in 1970. Unfortunately I can't find the programme for that event so I don't know who entered or drove the car that day, nor if any information was given about the car. I seem to recall that it was said to be the car with which Alberto Ascari won the World Championships of 1952 and 1953, in the course of which he won nine consecutive races, the final six of 1952 and the first three of 1953.
If it is that car it's the one which is now in the Grand Prix Collection at Donington Park in Leicestershire and the photograph below is one I took there in October 1989.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

More Ford GT40s

I've featured the Ford GT40 previously and here are three photographs of cars in Gulf livery taken at the Coys International Historic Festival meetings at Silverstone in 1994, 1998 and 1999.
This is Martin Colvill's car which took part in the Motor Sport Pre-'70 Le Mans Car Race at the 1994 meeting, sharing the driving with John Fitzpatrick. Car number 89 alongside is the Ford GT40 of Bobby Bell.
The 1998 meeting celebrated 50 years of racing at Silverstone and there was a special display featuring a car for each of those 50 years. This is the car representing 1969 and the programme of the event says that it's the Ford GT40 of Martin Colvill, although it doesn't seem to be the same car he raced in 1994. It's not listed in the programme as taking part in any of the races at this meeting.
In 1999 Martin Colvill entered this car in the Coys of Kensington 80th Anniversary Trophy for Pre-1972 Le Mans Cars race, and it seems to be the same car I'd photographed the previous year. The programme has it listed as 'Ford GT40 P1084', the '1084' presumably being the serial number of the car as detailed here.