The History Channel…….
Blast from the Past
The inaugural International Historic Motorsport Show held at Stoneleigh, near
Coventry was a resounding success and the organisers could justifiably be very
proud of their efforts. Never have there been so many positive comments from
exhibitors and visitors alike. I anticipated spending half a day at the Show and
ended up staying for two; I know I was not alone in that respect either.
The Show displayed magnificently the amazing wealth of talent there is in the
industry, particularly amongst the restoration experts who rarely get the opportunity
to show what they can do. At the forefront of them must be Crosthwaite & Gardiner;
from Sussex farmyard premises (albeit with well-equipped workshops) they have
been responsible for the re-creation of the pre-war Auto Union Grand Prix cars.
They make everything themselves apart from tyres, spark plugs & windscreens.
Oh, and there are no original drawings either! Parked almost casually on their
stand was a complete Auto Union rear end. Alongside it was a rebuilt Birdcage
Maserati – imagine tackling one of them.
Not to be outdone, just across the way Rod Jolley was exhibiting his partially
restored Lister Monzanopolis, the sort of crossover sportscar/single-seater
created for the Race of Two Worlds at Monza. Jolley acquired the car from
Germany where it had languished for many years and is now returning it to its
former glory – a return to Monza later this year is planned. The polished aluminium
bodywork is mesmerising.
There was a liberal presence of pristine cars too, many of them sportscars with an
interesting history. Motor Racing Legends had the 1930 No 3 Speed Six Bentley
driven at Le Mans by Sammy Davis and Clive Dunfee, the MG Car Club had the
diminutive Cream Cracker whilst the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club were showing OVC
501, the original 1954 D-Type prototype. Not to be outdone the Aston Martin
Owners Club were showing the DBR ½ that won Le Mans in 1959 together with
LM19 from 1934, the car which raced at La Sarthe in ’35 & ’36. British Racing
Green was much in evidence on the Dunlop stand where a Lister-Jaguar and an
ex TWR XJR6 took pride of place.
No show would be complete without some racing red and this was supplied by
the ’34 Maserati 8CM from the Donington Collection and the breathtaking Ferrari
P3. This was the car driven to victory by Mike Parkes at Spa and Monza in 1966,
driving with Lodovico Scarfiotti and John Surtees respectively. You never knew
quite what you were going to trip over next; tucked away incongruously in one
corner was an ex Jo Bonnier Lola T70, then lurking in the sale section was a Mini-
based Cox GTM. Haven’t seen one of those in years.
Crossle and Chevron
Sports racers have an enduring appeal and it’s amazing how many different cars
can still be built new. Crossle, from Northern Ireland claim to be the oldest
surviving race car manufacturer with a history going back some 40 years. They will
still build you a 9S, the design dating back to 1966 when it was raced by the likes
of John Watson and Peter Gethin in European 2-Litre Sports car races. Nowadays
a Dunnell-built 2-litre Ford Zetec engine powers it. In the UK the Crossle can be
purchased through Terry Hoyle Race Engineering, and not to be outdone they
were also displaying a replica Maserati 450S, one of 11 such cars built.
Chevron is another name from the past that is still very much alive. Their B16
looks just as pretty today as it did 30 or more years ago. They will happily build you
a new one, now powered by a production BMW M3 motor. Many of the original cars
were fitted with 4-cylinder racing engines from the same German manufacturer
but the modern unit gives at least as much power and requires rather less
maintenance. One B16 racer ran with a Mazda rotary unit – it still exists, in the
ownership of Kent Abrahmson in Sweden – and there are plans to go down that
On the Block
If you prefer your old cars to be old, there was plenty on offer both on sale privately
and in the H&H Auction where top seller was an ex Kremer 1990 Porsche 962
CK6 in red and black Kenwood colours. Its new owner paid £180,000 for it. He
should have plenty of opportunity to exercise it though, for Group C is going
through something of a renaissance. The Group C/GTP Racing organisation
(www.groupc-gtpracing.com) are organising an invitation series of four races this
year and are confidently expecting fields of 40 cars, amongst them the likes of
Aston Martin, Argo, Bardon, Ecosse, Jaguar, Lancia, Nissan, Porsche, Spice and
Tiga. Some of the would-be entrants were to be found at the Show. Creation
Sportif brought along the Courage they will be running whilst the enthusiastic
Richard Oddie was more than happy to talk about the Argo that Hepworth’s are
currently fettling for him. The car was brought back from the ‘States in something
of a state following a dubious GTP career.
Should that have whetted your appetite there are still cars to be had. Amongst
those on sale was a 1986 Tiga C2 run by the late Roy Baker (how the big man
would have enjoyed the show) and known as the ‘Pink Panther’. Or if you fancied
something completely different you could have purchased a pile parts that claimed
to have been A.J.Foyt’s 1984 Lola Indycar. Only for the very brave, that one….
GROUP C/GTP RACE DATES
|August 28/29||Donington Park|
MOTOR RACING LEGENDS
|June 12||Le Mans|