Tag Archives: oldtimer

Jaguar D-Type Prototype at the 2010 Old Timer Grand Prix #nurburgring

Even among D-Types this is a unique car. It is the factory prototype for the machine which set the seal on the Jaguar Le Mans legend, culminating in a hat-trick of victories from 1955 to 1957. With its advanced monocoque construction and beautiful low-drag body, it maximised the potential of the XK engine, offering over 170mph while remaining tractable enough to be driven on the road. Indeed the works cars were driven from Coventry to Dover, onto the ferry, and then down the main roads to the French circuit.

One of the production units of the above prototype fetched £2,2 million at Bonhams auction in 2008, So the valuation of this unit must be staggering.

Although the C-Type had decisively beaten Europe’s best at Le Mans in 1951 and 1953, the threat from Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari made it clear to Jaguar Team Manager ‘Lofty’ England and engineer Bill Heynes that they needed a new car. This was the result – stronger, lighter and faster than the C-type, yet powered by a 270bhp development of the same XK engine. This meant that private owners could easily buy and maintain these cars, which offered a useful back-up to the works team.

This prototype was completed in May 1954, and immediately travelled to France for the Le Mans test session where development driver Norman Dewis broke the Lap record by five clear seconds. Back at Coventry it was used for more development work, while a further three D-types were built for the race itself. In the event fuel contamination sidelined two cars, but the third finished second after a Ferrari. Victories at Reims and Sebring were a promising pointer for the following year, when Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb won Le Mans – Jaguar’s third victory.

In 1956 two works cars crashed and one suffered engine failure, but the honours fell to another D-type of the private Ecurie Ecosse team. In 1957 Ecurie Ecosse brought Jaguar’s total to five Le Mans wins, three of them for the D-type – a world beating sports-racing car, which you could buy from a Jaguar dealer and drive home.

13-08-2010-OldTimerGP-0540.JPG
13-08-2010-OldTimerGP-0541.JPG
13-08-2010-OldTimerGP-0542.JPG

Lagonda M45 Lemans Team Car – 2010 Eifel Rennen

At the ADAC Eifel Rennen this weekend we spotted one of the Lagonda M45 Lemans Team Car. The Lagonda’s impeccable history included a placing in the 1934 Ards TT in the hands of onetime World Land Speed Record holder John Cobb. The following year it contested in the Le Mans 24 race in the hands of Dr J.D. Benjafield and Sir Roland Gunter a race won outright by its sister car. Another m45 was recently auctioned in the UK for a world price record of £430,000 by H&H auctioneers.[portfolio_slideshow]

The big and powerful 4 -litre Lagonda M45 is rightly regarded as one of the most desirable post-vintage thoroughbred cars. It was introduced by the Staines-based company in 1933, using the famous 6-cylinder 4,453cc overhead valve engine by Henry Meadows, which itself dates back to 1928. The M45 was well received as an elegant, sporting quality car, and was endowed with considerable performance by the standards of the day. It proved an instant success, and was almost as fast in closed-body form as it was with open coachwork. Upon its introduction it was the largest-engined British sporting car available, and very few competitors could even approach the performance its big 6-cylinder engine offered. The M45 model was based on the 10ft 9ins wheelbase chassis of the preceding 3-litre ZM model, reworked to accept the 4 -litre Meadows engine and its associated Meadows T8 gearbox. The long stroke engine had bore and stroke dimensions of 88.5mm x 120.65mm to displace 4,453cc, producing around 108bhp at a lazy 3,100rpm.

Launched at the 1933 Motor Show, the 4 litre Lagonda M45 was the first model from the Staines sports car company to use the straight six Meadows engine, which gave the new car near 100 mph performance, allied to remarkable stamina, a prototype being driven in the 1500 miles from Dieppe to Brindisi, beating the express train by a massive 14 hours. The M45 offered performance to match the new Bentley 3 litre, at virtually half the cost, and it quickly became the fashionable model to have, notable owners being world land and sea speed record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell, and, on the publication of The Saint in 1935, Leslie Charteris in New York, in celebration of his 25th novel.

A full team of specially prepared short-wheelbase M45s were built and raced in the 1934 RAC Tourist Trophy at Ards in Ulster, finishing 4th, 5th and 8th despite the handicap system favouring smaller cars, amongst only 17 finishers from a field of 40 starters. These TT cars were then re-prepared at Fox and Nicholl, locally in Tolworth, to compete in the 1935 Le Mans 24 hour race. It was Hawkers test pilot, John Hindmarsh, and Luis Fontes, a 21-year old Anglo-Portuguese, who excelled, winning this classic endurance race outright.

Exclusive, just 410 M45s were completed in the 1933-35 period, most of them carrying Lagondas own coachwork. The M45 was regarded very much within its period as a fast and rugged gentlemans sporting car, quickly finding favour amongst the wealthy sporting fraternity.

Eifel Rennen 2010 Gallery Click Here

Chuck Porter’s Mercedes 300 SLS – ADAC Eifel Rennen 2010

At the ADAC Eifel Rennen this weekend we spotted the Chuck Porter Mercedes 300 SLS,  the “S” defines that it was a wrecked 300 SL Gullwing and Chuyck Porter went about rebuilding the Mercedes marque.

After Mercedes-Benz retired their highly successful 300 SLR program, many racing teams and amateur drivers started creating their own versions from the 300 SL production cars. These became known as the SLS and most were prepared with a wide variety of modifications. One of the most famous of these is the Porter roadster which was actively campaigned in America.
Chuck Porter used a wrecked 300 SL Gullwing to create his own SLS. A new body was designed out of his body shop in Hollywood, California and executed by Jack Sutton from .064 aluminum sheet. For the most part, the body stayed faithful to the Mercedes-Benz styling. It featured a much wider front opening, no windscreen, removed doors and a custom interior.

Despite working from a fire-damaged hulk, Porter persisted with the SLS. After it was done, the car was considerably taller than the SLR, since the production SL is much taller than the SLR’s grand-prix chassis. This didn’t stop it from keeping up with the fastest cars in its class with drivers like Ken Miles, Billy Krause and Porter himself.

The car was used from 1956 until 1962, later being fitted with a few different American V8s. Throughout this colorful career, the Porter Special challenged even the Ferraris and Maseratis of the period. This was possible even though the engine was pretty much stock except for a factory performance camshaft.

Sports Car Illustrated tested the Porter SLS against a factory aluminum-bodied 300 SL Coupe and found the SLS to be considerably faster. In 1999 the car was restored by HK-Engineering and subsequently raced at the Monterey Historic Races.

Historic Pictures courtesy of  Bill Tibbetts hopefully well see some more of the historic moments in time from Bill !

 [portfolio_slideshow]

Eifel Rennen 2010 Gallery:- CLICK

ADAC Eifel Rennen 2010 – Ford GT40

This weekend at the ADAC Eifel Rennen there was many old marques of distinction taking on the historic Nurburgring in Germany, one of the cars and my personal favorite was the Ford GT-40 and still today a very modern looking car.[portfolio_slideshow]

Going back to the 60’s, Henry Ford head of The Ford Motor Company wanted to improve the image of Ford to the younger generation. He decided that Ford should set out to win both The Indianapolis and the Le-Mans 24 hour race in France, as they were the two major motor races.

After a failed attempt to buy Ferrari, who held dominance over the Le-Mans race, Ford decided to go his own way and to win Le-Mans with a new Ford GT car.

Ford’s Company approached various people to design the new Ford GT can They decided upon Eric Broadley of Lola Cars, who had just produced for racing a Lola GT mid-engined car powered by the Ford 4.2 Ltr engine and driven through a Colotti type 37 transaxle.

It was in August 1963 that John Wyer received an invitation to join Ford’s new GT40 prototype development team. Ford Advanced Vehicles Limited was formed with new premises at Slough and the set-up was managed by John Wyer. Throughout 1964 John Wyer was responsible for the racing programme of the GT40, but at the end of that year Ford decided to split the racing activity between Carrol Shelby, a new Ford racing subsidiary in Detroit. John Wyer and the Slough works were to be responsible for the development of the existing model and in due course to build production road cars.

By April 1964 the first GT40 prototype was completed. The first engine in these prototype cars was a 4.2 Ltr Ford V8, both block and heads were of aluminium, the engine was dry sumped, with IDA Webber carburettor. In this form the engine produced 350 BHP at 7,000 RPM and 275 lbs.ft of torque at 5,600 RPM and weighing dry [no driver]:- 1,835 lbs, or with liquids [no driver] 2,450 Ibs a four speed.

During 1964, The prototype testing began and it became known that the rear of the car was very unstable at speed, after two cars crashed they were repaired and taken to MIRA for the tail lifting problem to be remedied, Bruce McLaren and Roy Salvadori were the test drivers, who found that contrary to earlier wind tunnel test results a spoiler across the width of the tail, forced the rear end down and cured the instability problem. Over the twelve months to 1965 Le-Mans, they tried 289 c. i. and 325 c. i. engines, improved brakes, early ZF transaxles etc and finally the definitive nose cone was confirmed.

By mid 1965 Ford decided that the GT40 had reached a sufficiently designed car to go into a limited production run and build 50 GT cars to qualify them for the Production Sports Car Category.

The right amount of success eluded the early Mk1’s which used the 289 c.i. [4.7 Ltr] engine, 48 IDA Webber carbs, ZF transaxle 5-DS-25/11 5-speed plus reverse with synchromesh and Boroni wire wheels. Ford decided that even after extensive development the Mk1 would not remain competitive in the GT category, so work started on a new prototype design called the GT40 MK2 with a 427 c.i. [7 Ltr] engine, which had been successful in American Saloon Racing Series.

In the Mk2 car this engine produced 485 BHP at 6,200 RPM and 475 Ibs.ft of torque at 4,000 RPM providing a driver with a wide and useful power band, together with a new Ford designed transaxle to handle the extra power. Again they had to alter the bodywork and scoops were added to cool the rear brakes, improved ducting for the radiator and carburettor and ventilated disc brakes were added. First time out in 1966 the Mk2 won at the Daytona 24 hour endurance race – finishing First, Second and Third.

The ultimate challenge was the Le-Mans 24 hour race. The event had GT40 Mk1’s and Mk2’s seeking to challenge the dominance of Ferrari. By the end all the Mk1’s were out, only four Mk2’s were left, but they couldn’t have done better finishing First, Second and Third. Ferrari failed to finish. Ford had finally beaten the italian Ferrari team in the world’s only 24h endurance motor race.

During the early Mk1 years Ford produced a GT40 MK3 to comply for road use, especially in America. These cars differed from the Mk1’s by two pairs of round front headlamps, a longer rear body to accommodate a luggage box of six square feet, the interior was functional, adjustable seats, centre floor mounted gear-lever, [other GT40’s had right hand gear-levers] sound and heat insulation, moving the water pipes from the centre to the sill, softer springs and shockers, and a 4.7 ltr engine with a single Holley Four- choke carburettor. This engine produced 306 BHP.

During 1966-67 there was a new GT40 designed, the J-Car. The J-car was designed mainly from Ford’s styling department than by wind tunnel work. This resulted in aerodynamic problems which together with other teething problems kept the J-car from competition.

The J-car was developed further by Kar-Kraft in Dearborn U.S.A. during the winter of 1966-67. The car now benefited from wind tunnel testing with its improved aerodynamics and a much improved chassis. Again, for Ford the highlight of 1967 was Le-Mans, where they finished 1st and 4th with Ferrari 2nd and 3rd.

Ford now bowed out of GT racing, having achieved its goal of beating Ferrari at Le-Mans. Ford had done it two years running and proved their mastery in a very demanding sport. This left John Wyer with no works cars to compete, so with sponsorship from Gulf Oil he further developed the Mk1 for the 1968 and 1969 seasons.

These developments included wider rear bodywork to accommodate wider racing tyres, with six spoke magnesium knock on wheels, more efficient Girling brakes, a very strong engine:- 400 BHP at 6,500 rpm and 385 lbs.ft of torque in 1968. In 1969 this was raised to 425 BHP at slightly lower revs of 6,250 and 396 lbs of torque at 4,750 rpm with a 302 ci. engine plus other improvements.

The Ford GT40 again won Le-Mans in both 1968 and 1969, the remarkable fact was that the same chassis, P1075 won in both years. This was the very first time that the same car had won Le-Mans twice and the feat was not repeated until the 80’s when a Porsche 956 matched the record.

Speeds of 217 mph were recorded for the Ford GT40 at Le-Mans, which in 1969 was staggeringly fast – a lot of normal road cars did not get to 90 mph then, yet the road version of the Ford GT40 was capable of 165 mph.

In order to curb the high speeds of GT racing new rules governing engine size were introduced at the end of 1969 and so the GT40 was beaten by the rules, not the opposition, It left whilst in command at the top, leaving a fine history by Mk1’s, Mk2’s and Mk4’s, winning Le-Mans in 1966,1967, 1968 and 1969.