Friday, 30 September 2016

Ferrari 250 SWB - 7 SPA

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Arguably the prettiest of all the competition Ferraris, the 250 GT Short Wheelbase Berlinetta Competizione is a fabulously proportioned and sublimey engineered piece of art. Something as comfortable in a gallery as on a race track.
...and this one, 7 SPA, is more special than most. Stirling Moss won three races in this car in 1960, and Mike Parkes won three more in it the following year. It's now owned by ex-Ferrari F1 technical director Ross Brawn, who reputedly had an SWB with slightly less stellar provenance in his collection before he replaced it with this one. It's simply one of the most desirable examples. (Indeed, the fervour with which enthusiasts hanker after this car is off the charts; chassis #2119GT even has its own official biography, written by Doug Nye.)

What makes it so special compared to other SWBs? Oh, it's the air of jeopardy that it effervescently exudes. Stirling very nearly didn't drive the car at all back in 1960; with the car having been ordered by Rob Walker's race team for Moss to race at Goodwood's RAC Tourist Trophy in August, Stirling then crashed a Lotus 18 in June and broke both legs along with crushing three vertebrae. That he was able to race the Ferrari just a couple of months later is little short of miraculous, and the fact that he won the race proves that the man is some sort of supernatural entity rather than a mere mortal like you or I. He even built up such a lead in the race that he was able to switch on the radio and listen to the commentary to see how his rivals were getting on...

Further adding to the mystique, the car disappeared entirely after the 1961 season and didn't resurface until the inaugural Goodwood Festival of Speed in 1993, to the surprise of many enthusiasts and collectors. It retains its original engine and gearbox, and it's so wonderfully straight and true that it's all over the concours scene these days. Which leads us nicely up to the present day - you see it here on the courtyard lawn at Windsor Castle, basking regally and looking very much at home.

More pics from the 2016 Windsor Concours here.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Baby Huey

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Baby Huey is a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, which you may well recognise from the smoky crucible of the Goodwood Revival. It's been a stalwart of the RAC TT race in recent years, and the history file detailing its race prowess in the US over the decades is thick enough to clobber a whale into submission.
Huey was originally purchased by Louis D'Amico in 1964, who entered it into its first race at Lime Rock Park in May '65. He continued to compete in EMRA, IMSA and SCCA events until 1972 when the car was passed on to friend and fellow racer Skip Panzarella. The car enjoyed a varied and illustrious career, all the while keeping its original orange Alto Racing livery.
The small-block V8 under that artfully sculpted hood kicks out a rumbling 481bhp in its current race tune, which allows it to lap the Goodwood circuit in under 1m30s. And that's where you see it here, prowling around the paddocks and putting the wind up all those fragile E-Types and 250 SWBs. Brutal, angry thing.

Spotted at the 2016 Goodwood Revival - more photos here.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Radford Mini De Ville GT

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

...not just any Radford Mini De Ville GT, but George Harrison's Radford Mini De Ville GT. Starring in the Magical Mystery Tour movie, this was Harrison's own car that he'd had converted by Radford in 1965 from a stock Austin Cooper S. At first it was metallic black, and sported those unusual rally-style front lights and sideways-mounted VW Beetle tail-lights, along with a full-length Webasto roof and custom leather interior, although George didn't opt for the trademark Radford one-piece tailgate. In '67 the Mini was repainted in red and gold, and slathered with designs inspired by the Ajit Mookerjee book Tantra Art: Its Philosophies and Physics, something that John Lennon also did to his Rolls-Royce Phantom V.

After Magical Mystery Tour wrapped, Harrison decided to gift the Mini to Eric Clapton. The custom artwork didn't survive his ownership though, so what you're seeing here is the fully restored version. It's more of a best-guess than a faithful recreation as, for some reason, no detailed pictures of the car in period were available to work from - so its restorers had to piece it together using stills from the movie. Looks pretty incredible though, doesn't it?

Spotted at the 2016 Concours of Elegance - more pics here.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Porsche 924 Carrera GTP 002

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Porsche 924 Carrera GT came as a bit of a surprise in 1980. Following the success of the nat-asp and turbo production cars, this fiery homologation model with its pumped-up arches, massive intercooler and copious vents made a clear statement of Porsche's intent to take the 924 racing. And at the 1980 Le Mans 24hr, that's exactly what they did - three racers, in Carrera GTP form, entered the Prototype Class run by teams from Germany, the USA and Great Britain.

The one you see here, GTP 002, remains the only factory-run Porsche race car to run under the British flag. It finished 12th overall - 5th in class - at the hands of Andy Rouse and Tony Dron, and it's recently been restored by Porsche Cars Great Britain; in fact, to celebrate 40 years of the 924, this project was no ordinary restoration: Porsche Centre Glasgow worked on the suspension and brakes, Swindon dealt with the engine, Hatfield took care of the gearbox, and the plumbing and electrics was sorted by Porsche Centre Leeds. The body was brought back to its 1980 glory by Porsche-approved repairer Road & Race Restorations. You can read more about the work here.

Spotted at Salon Privé 2016 - more photos here.