Category Archives: Classic Cars

London Classic Car Show – Sat 10th Jan 2015

The lack of sunshine during the dark Winter months gives rise to a particular form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which can result in susceptible people suffering from mild depression. This condition is treated by exposing sufferers to bright light.

I suffer from a very specific form of Seasonal Affective Disorder called ICDD or Interesting Car Deficiency Disorder!  The only viable treatment for this terrible affliction is to expose sufferers to interesting cars at any and every opportunity.

The London Classic Car Show at London’s Excel Centre provided just such an opportunity! Judging by the turnout – lots of other people had also opted to for a serious course of ICDD treatment!!!

Continue reading London Classic Car Show – Sat 10th Jan 2015

Regent Street Motorshow – Sat 1st Nov 2014

Following the tradition of the last few years many of the London to Brighton Veteran Cars were on display on the Saturday before Sunday’s Run in the Regent Street Motorshow.

It offers a great opportunity to get up close to these wonderful old cars and to chat to their owners/drivers but it’s no substitute for dragging yourself out of bed to get to Hyde Park before dawn to see the cars embarking on the run (See separate London to Brighton Post).

Continue reading Regent Street Motorshow – Sat 1st Nov 2014

Historic Sports Car Club Meeting – Silverstone Sat 18th Oct 2014

Question: What Do You Do On A Damp Saturday in Autumn?

Answer: Drag your now beautifully running 911 out of the garage and head out to a Historic Club Race Meeting (other classics will do if you don’t have a 911).

My 911 is now running beautifully after diligent further fettling by Steve Winter at Jaz Porsche. Consequently, I’ve been looking for reasons for a bit of a blast and a trip up to the HSCC event at Silverstone was an obvious choice.

The weather forecast was grim but knowing that Silverstone has it’s own micro-climate which defies logic and predictions of the Meteorological Office I thought sod-it, just go and see how things turn out. The clincher was the promise of a coffee, chat and inspection of a fellow DDKer’s 911 2.2S on my way back to London.

Continue reading Historic Sports Car Club Meeting – Silverstone Sat 18th Oct 2014

Classics At The Castle – Hedingham Pre ’73 Porsche Event 7th Sep 2014

Hedingham – 7th Sep 2014

The 2014 event was meant to feature the 1970 Le Mans winning Porsche 917K plus it’s two drivers but sadly only Richard Attwood was able to attend as Hans Hermann wasn’t well enough to travel to the UK.

To make up for this however – Jurgen Barth turned up to delight the crowds with a raucous blast up the driveway in the 917 after it was eventually cajoled into running on all 12 cylinders. I’ve jump started a few cars in my time but seeing a 917 being jump started was a first. It was great that perseverance won out as the sight and sound of this car was a visual and aural delight.

Continue reading Classics At The Castle – Hedingham Pre ’73 Porsche Event 7th Sep 2014

A-Z of Car Stuff: G is for Gordon Keeble

A-Z of Car Stuff

This is one in a series of posts on cars, drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years. I’ve bored my family and friends with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

See A-Z of Car Stuff page for more posts in this series.

So, what’s so special about Gordon Keeble?

1) The name! Let’s face it – if someone asks you what you’re driving these days and you respond by saying with “well actually old chap I’m driving a Gordon Keeble” it’s highly likely to be a conversation stopper. You might as well say – “I’m driving a Milton Keynes”.

2) Beautiful and understated Italian designed GT bodywork. This was a Giorgietto Guigaro design when he was still working for Bertone and it contains some design details which link it to other Guigaro designs for Alfa Romeo in particular. Unusually – the bodywork was executed in fibreglass instead of metal but this doesn’t detract from the overall beauty of the car.

3) Seriously powerful and flexible Chevy Corvette engine, all round disk brakes and De Dion suspension. Depite being manufactured in tiny numbers – there were some great design features on this car and using a race proven engine, Dunlop disk brakes and sophisticated De Dion rear suspension was a master stroke.

4) Its rarity but also it’s influence on cars to follow. Only 100 Gordon Keebles were made of which around 90 are thought to survive. Despite this – certain aspects of Gordon Keeble design had a profound influence on Giotto Bizzarrini in his creation of the Iso Rivolta GT, the Iso Grifo and the Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada/Corsa.

5) Its tortoise badge. This was a more than ironic touch as the car’s power train meant it was definitely no slouch with 70mph achievable in 1st gear and with a 140mph top speed. Continue reading A-Z of Car Stuff: G is for Gordon Keeble

A-Z of Car Stuff: B is for Bizzarrini

A-Z of Car Stuff

This is one in a series of posts on cars, drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years. I’ve bored my family and friends with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

See A-Z of Car Stuff page for more posts in this series.

So, what’s so special about Bizzarrini?

Well it depends if you’re talking about the designer or the car!

Starting with The Designer:-

1) Giotto Bizzarrini designed/developed some truly iconic sports cars. These included the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Ferrari 250 GTO, Ferrari 250 Drogo Breadvan, Iso Rivolta GT, Iso Grifo and the Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada & Corsa.

2) He created one of the most fantastic and enduring V12 engines. The V12 engine created for Ferruccio Lamborghini was an up-scaled version of Bizzarrini’s design for an unused ATS engine. The Lamborghini V12 remained in production from 1964 (when it initially powered the Lamborghini 350GT) until 2010 (when in much expanded and highly developed form it powered the Lamborghini Murcielago).

3) He was a brilliant hands-on development engineer. Bizzarrini masterfully combined insightful test driving technique with his engineering skills to effectively and directly convert issues into engineering development solutions. This approach was epitomised in his rapid development of the Ferrari 250 GTO and he subsequently applied the same principles to other cars he created and developed.

Moving onto The Car:-

4) The wonderful Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada/Corsa. This Livorno (Bizzarrini’s hometown) manufactured car was built for an all too brief period between 1965 and 1969 resulting in just 133 examples. This beautiful car was a wonderful amalgam of Italian style, inspired engineering and reliable/powerful Chevrolet grunt. Thankfully many survive and some are still enthusiastically raced at historic events.

Continue reading A-Z of Car Stuff: B is for Bizzarrini

Donington Historic Festival – Sun 4th May 2014

Donington – Sun 4th May 2014

I’ve always liked Donington as a racing circuit. Like Brands Hatch – its setting in rolling countryside makes it much more visually interesting for spectators than the airfield-flat-frozen-tundra of Silverstone.

Maserati 250F
Maserati 250F

I used to visit Donington regularly many years ago to attend historic racing events and it’s really great to see this historic racing tradition being successfully revived over the last couple of years under the Wheatcroft family’s fantastic stewardship.

From the vast array of earth moving vehicles parked at the entrance and evidence of what they’ve been doing inside  the circuit – its clear that Donington is slowly but surely being remodelled after the disastrous attempt to convert it into an F1 circuit simply to pander to Ecclestone’s pathological hatred of Silverstone and the BRDC.

My 911 parked amongst Porsche Club GB cars on the inside of Redgate Corner
My 911 parked amongst Porsche Club GB cars on the inside of Redgate Corner

The Donington atmosphere is also as it was – open, friendly and catering really well for classic car enthusiasts by providing cheap ticket deals for car club members, free access to the paddock/garages, Car Club reserved parking in the infield and opportunities for owners to drive their beloved classics around the circuit on parade laps during breaks in the racing. Continue reading Donington Historic Festival – Sun 4th May 2014

Aston Martin Owners Club Event – Silverstone Sat 5th April 2014

AMOC Event

Sat 5th April 2014

1934 Aston Martin Ulster Le Mans Team Car
1934 Aston Martin Ulster Le Mans Team Car

In BM/BD years gone by (Before Marriage/Before Daughter) me and my mates used to regularly attend club races at Silverstone, Donington and Brands Hatch. They were always incredibly friendly and enjoyable events with full access to the paddock, the garages and the grandstands around the track. It was great to be able to wander around chatting to drivers, owners and other enthusiasts and it was a privilege to see some lovely old motors being flung around the circuit as if the driver’s lives depended on a good finish.

1963 Aston Martin DP214 Replica
1963 Aston Martin DP214 Replica

I’m pleased to report that my latest visit to the AMOC event at Silverstone on Sat 5th Apr clearly shows that cheap (£10 a ticket), friendly, well organised and open access motor racing experiences can still be had.

This is in stark contrast to the increasingly remote and expensive F1 experience and even to events such as Goodwood Revival which have become a little too puffed up with their own self importance. Don’t get me wrong – there are some great cars (and bikes) at the Revival but it seems to be more dominated these days by professional/celebrity drivers rather than enthusiast/gentleman/amateur owner/drivers.

1976 Aston Martin V8
1976 Aston Martin V8

Surprisingly – the World Endurance Championship has managed to stay relatively sensible and down to earth in terms of expense – £20  a ticket for this year’s Silverstone round is very reasonable for 6 hours of full-on racing. The WEC events also maintain a good degree of roving access to the pits and open grandstands for the paying enthusiasts. Long may it remain so!

Coming back to my AMOC day out – it a was a really great if bone jarringly freezing experience.

Continue reading Aston Martin Owners Club Event – Silverstone Sat 5th April 2014

911 saga

DSC_0166DSC_0171DSC_0178

My 911 saga began actually began with a dream of owning an earlier Porsche model – the 356, but much research and inspection of cars led me to the conclusion that:-

a) Buying a decent 356 at that time was beyond my means and

b) Using a 356 as a daily driver wasn’t really terribly practical.

The 356 engined 912 became toy next Porsche target and I looked at a few cars until Porsche expert Andy Prill pointed out that the cost of fully restoring a 912 are pretty well the same as for a 911 but with two cylinders less than a 911 the resulting value of the car would be significantly lower and thereby represent a less compelling long-term investment.

Continue reading 911 saga