In January 2019 the British Commercial Vehicle Museum reopened following a 15-month long, £1.8m refurbishment programme which had seen major alternations taking place.
The museum building is the sole surviving part of the original 1930s Leyland Motors factory. Today more than 60 vehicles are displayed, tracing the development of both public and commercial transport from times well before the advent of motorways.
An impressive ‘Time Line’ of archive photographs and projected videos on the museum walls now traces the history of road transport from the earliest of days right up to present times. There are many hands-on interactive displays to entertain all age groups, including new interactive consoles and a specially designed ‘Lorry Driving Experience’ for the young and young at heart. Not to forget of course the fine display of historic vehicles, engines and transport related artefacts.
In addition, a brand-new Archives Department was constructed within the existing building. The museum is home to a huge collection of technical literature and photographic materials. A team of archivists works continually at preserving early photographs and supplying information worldwide to those who may be writing books or reconditioning old vehicles.
Groups from engineering colleges, vehicle manufacturers, and motor retailers regularly visit us. The museum is a perfect venue for tracing the development of vehicle building from the days of horse-drawn buses and steam-powered lorries, right through to today’s latest turbo-charged and charge-cooled diesel-engined trucks. It's the ideal place to learn where modern accomplishments originated – there’s nothing new in the use of bio fuels... or even the use of hybrid vehicles!
The Jim Clark Motorsport Museum is a brand-new visitor experience which opened July 2019.
This is a £1.6 million project supported by Scottish Borders Council, NHLF, The Jim Clark Trust, The Jim Clark Memorial Room Trust and charity Live Borders.
Jim Clark inspired a generation. The aim of the new museum is to inspire generations to come with a modern and vibrant celebration of his incredible career and impact on motorsport around the world.
The museum displays his trophies, pictures and film footage of his life and career, and some of the cars in which he raced.
Jim Clark tragically died at a race in Hockenheim in Germany in 1968. Today he is remembered as one of the greatest racing drivers of all time, but the numbers of people who actually remember seeing him race is diminishing. One of the keys aims of the project is to enthuse future generations with his exploits.
Jim’s life story is told using key artefacts to illustrate his achievements combined with period film, photographs and modern reminisces.
The Jim Clark Trophy Collection is displayed in a clean modern style which allows them to be viewed easily while iPads, which slide above the label rail, provide interactive access to layers of information about the races, circuits and cars of Jim’s career.
The museum displays two of cars that Jim raced: a Lotus 25, R6 on loan from the Tinguely Museum and Dario Franchitti’s Lotus Cortina BJH 417B.
The historic Bugatti Trust Museum and Study Centre is situated at the foot of the famous Prescott hill climb and open to visitors all year round. A UK registered charity dedicated to the study of the works of Ettore Bugatti, The Bugatti Trust was formed in 1987 by the late Hugh Conway supported by a small group of Bugatti enthusiasts with a key objective of encouraging the next generation of engineers and designers.
The Trust houses a permanent display and holds exhibitions with vintage Bugattis, racing memorabilia as well as sculptures by Rembrandt Bugatti and furniture by Carlo Bugatti.
The completely original and unrestored Works Type 59/50B Bugatti made a historic return to Prescott in 2019 as one of the main exhibits of The Bugatti Trust summer exhibition ’Jean Bugatti and Jean-Pierre Wimille - Prescott 80 years ago’.
It opened on May 25th to coincide with the La Vie en Bleu Festival and the Bugatti Owners Club’s 90th anniversary celebrations. The car was on loan from the Cité de L’Automobile – National Museum – Schlumpf Collection. (Mulhouse, France) and had not been out of the country since it came to Prescott during the Summer of 1939.
The Trust’s archives include 27,000 technical drawings, 10,000 photographs and thousands of historic documents made available for academic and educational research.
The Bugatti Trust Museum and Study centre is unique in its set up and uses this historic archive collection to support educational initiatives with Bath University’s TBR Formula Student Team, Robotics teams, Coventry University Design and Engineering competitions, the Misha Black awards, Tewkesbury School, local science events and many more.
With seven electrifying races, awe-inspiring historic vehicle demonstration laps and an unending array of static car displays, it’s fair to say 2018’s Autumn Classic race meeting – held at Castle Combe Circuit on 6th October – successfully combatted the particularly damp weather that descended on the Wiltshire circuit for the day.
One of the highlights of this year’s step-back-in-time for the thousands of classic car fans that made the annual pilgrimage was the Dream Garage paddock in the middle of the venue’s display area. This time celebrating Le Mans winners, the area was dominated by ex-competition Ford GT40s that were there to commemorate the car’s outright win at Circuit de la Sarthe back in 1968.
The GT40s were in great company, too – namely Mark Finburgh’s incredibly rare Porsche 917 – a machine that dominated in several endurance races across the globe in the early ‘70s before going on to star in Steve McQueen’s Le Mans Hollywood blockbuster.
Aside from the endless stream of races, the track action also included an extremely memorable parade demonstration at lunchtime, including the aforementioned GT40s as well as machines like Nick Mason’s Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione.
This was a particularly poignant year for the Autumn Classic as it was chosen as the backdrop for the unveiling of a memorial stone to commemorate the Wiltshire circuit’s past life. With the help of Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust, circuit Managing Director Graham Marshallsay unveiled the new memorial that pays tribute to RAF Castle Combe – a crucial training airfield during World War Two, whose perimeter road formed the bases of the race circuit we know today.
The Chateau Impney Hill Climb encompasses the very best of classic motorsport giving visitors access to a diverse array of classic cars and their drivers.
The quality and variety of motorsport content at this year’s event took another leap forward, bringing hill climb racing to a new audience and inspiring a new generation of classic car and motorsport enthusiasts.
Highlights of the 2019 event included Bentley 100th and Mini 60th anniversary celebration displays and crowd-pleasers such as BABS, ‘Beast of Turin’ and Mavis, entertaining the crowds with their fire spitting engines included a ‘flame off’ on the Friday.
Fiercely competitive driving saw over 200 pre-1967 cars and their drivers being tested to their limits. Rare cars taking part this year included the Barnato Hassan Special driven by Jorg Lemborg, Mclaren M12 driven by Rupert Marks, BRM P261, Parnell Challenger ERA, TVR prototype, the Jaguar D-type and the winning Lola T160 driven by Tom Walker. The Wasps and Gnat and Brabham BT8 driven by Jack Brabham’s grandson, David Brabham.
The National Hill Climb Association motorcycles competed in their own class, alongside the Ralli22 class which returned for a second year.
The Footman James Concours d’Elegance showed off exquisite marques of motoring luxury and sophistication ‘Through the Ages’, with the 1931 Alfa Romeo 1750 6C crowned Winner, and the classic car park was immensely popular, guests brought their classic cars especially to be a part of this display and as visitors arrived they were welcomed by a fine display of classic cars before they even entered the main event.
The opening round of the VSCC Formula Vintage Season, held at Silverstone on 13 and 14 April 2019, brought the spectacle of a Le Mans Start back to British shores for the first time in over 50 years.
Working closely with the Benjafields Race Club, the VSCC brought 40 vintage Bentleys to Silverstone, where they lined up for a pre-race grid walk enjoyed by hundreds of spectators before drivers sprinted for their cars and a place in the history books in front of a crowd of thousands.
Eighteen other races, almost all full grids, featured historic car clubs from the Edwardian era to the 1960s and ‘70s. These included the AR Racing Morgan Aero Challenge, HRDC, 31st Hawthorn International Trophy Race & Tom Cole Trophy Race, Historic Grand Prix Car Association, F3 500s, 51st GP Itala & 57th Lanchester Trophy Race, 47th Fox & Nicholl Trophy Race, 11th Silverstone Trophy Race and the 21st Amschel Rothschild and 34th Patrick Lindsay Memorial Trophies Race, which featured the eight of the most revered ERAs seen in a single race with the VSCC since 2014.
Off track, thousands of spectators and competitors alike enjoyed the extensive trade village, which featured more than fifty traders in historic and vintage motorsport.
The VSCC Silverstone race meeting dates back to 1949 and has built on its success year on year over decades; undoubtedly, the 2019 meeting will deservedly take its place in the history books as one of the greatest race meetings the VSCC has ever hosted.
To commemorate the centenary of Bentley Motors, the Bentley Drivers Club (BDC) decided to do something really special for their Annual Rally and Concours d’ Elegance this year.
They announced that they would gather the largest ever number of Bentleys in one place and thus establish a world record. They set their sights high, entered into association with Salon Privé and, despite many people’s reservations, even gave the event the title ‘1001 Bentleys at Blenheim’. The Club opened the event to members and non-members and, through their dealerships, Bentley Motors also encouraged their customers to attend.
And they did it! On Sunday 8 September 2019 the club set a world record for a gathering of these very special cars, when 1,321 Bentleys of all ages and models were parked up on the pristine lawns of Blenheim Palace. It was an unforgettable spectacle and one which perfectly commemorated Bentley’s illustrious 100-year history.
Immediately outside the gates to the Great Courtyard stood 40 stunning cars which were entered into the Concours, together with a special Exhibition class featuring four extremely rare cars: a 1941 Mk V which is one of only seven remaining in the world; a 1947 Mk VI Frannay Cabriolet, one of only two in the world, a 2008 Continental GT Zagato, one of only nine ever built, and a totally unique 2015 Continental GTC V8 S, with ‘pop art’ paintwork by the celebrated artist Sir Peter Blake.
300 cars were entered in the Patina classes and then as far as you could see on the north side of the Palace was covered with Bentleys from the very oldest to the very newest. Adding further to the memorable spectacle, was a special Spitfire fly-past.
The first Super Scramble at Bicester Heritage received international acclaim. As a new, open, laid-back and friendly, access-all-areas event, it took the Bicester Heritage events calendar to a new level.
This sell-out event, attended by more than 6000 avid car enthusiasts, offered visitors the chance to get up close to a spectacular array of rare motor cars and to see them in action, with demonstrations on the Test Track just yards away at the UK’s best preserved WW2 RAF Bomber Station.
More than 100 carefully selected vehicles were invited from around the world to take part and crowds were treated to display laps from more than 80 of these as well as to the noise and drama of several other exceptional cars being started and run-up throughout the day.
With a broad mix of motoring history from the 1939 Delage D8-120 of Peter and Merle Mullin's famous collection to Lewis Hamilton's 2013 Mercedes AMG F1 car, Ten Tenths Racing’s 1953 Carerra Panamericana Ferrari 250 MM to Richard Frankel’s Jaguar C-type, driven in period by Sir Stirling Moss, Bicester Heritage curated a star list of important vehicles for public viewing in unique surroundings.
With something for everyone, not just motor cars but motorcycles, aircraft, WW2 history, contemporary skills, engineering, enterprise, apprenticeships, horology, dogs and family involvement, the Super Scramble was an all-inclusive event which will help build bring on a younger generation and create a sustainable future for the historic motoring industry.
The Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace (6-8 September) was arguably a collection of motoring spectacles more than it was just one. A world-first gathering of every single Aston Martin Zagato model ever built (17 in total), a gathering of 166MM Ferraris, including the most significant Ferrari in the world, the first Bentley to race at Le Mans, the first Bentley to win back-to-back at Le Mans. All spectacular, and that’s without even mentioning what’s known as the ‘Main Concours’ event.
As guest said: “Hampton Court Palace seems to have been designed for concours”. The carefully pruned ancient trees and the long-sweeping gravel paths fanning out from the Palace in all directions provide the perfect setting for a display of the world’s finest cars. Parked in the grounds of Henry VIII’s former home were the ‘world’s first minivan’, a one-of-nine Stout Scarab, the first car to ever win the Italian Grand Prix – a 1921 Ballot 3/8 LC and a totally unique Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost that would eventually be crowned ‘Best in Show’.
Each day a collection of concours entrants fired up their engines and carefully made their way through the crowds to the Concours Live Stage. Movement, smells and sounds of cars that many visitors will have seen for the first time, and many will never see again.
Unlike many classic car events worldwide, owners of these fine machines stand proudly by, ready to engage with visitors. Inviting guests to experience their cars from the driver’s seat or passionately detailing the history and story behind their particular vehicle, the Concours of Elegance is as much about the personalities and the atmosphere as it is the cars.
Every once in a while, a car comes along that breaks the rules. A car, so quick, so stunning, it takes your breath away. In the late 1950s, Jaguar’s XKSS redefined cool. Claimed by Jaguar to be the world’s first supercar, only 16 were sold. Today, they are precious metal worth around £15 million each. But there were nine others that never saw the light of day, destroyed by accident in a catastrophic factory fire on the 12th February 1957.
This 60-minute documentary, produced & presented by Mark Evans for Channel 4, documents Jaguar’s engineering challenge to bring the incinerated supercars back to life.
Re-mastered archive film from the heyday of Le Mans sets the scene. In the 1950s the race was dominated by one car – Jaguar’s D-type. Surprisingly, the XKSS was never created by design or desire, but simply as a convenient quick fix to get shot of some unsold D-type race cars that Jaguar had in stock and couldn’t shift!
Mark Evans secured exclusive access, behind-the-scenes, at Jaguar’s Classic Works in Coventry - the largest facility of its kind anywhere in the world. He was the only journalist invited to witness and record the complete resurrection, from scratch, of the first of the legendary lost supercars.
He also filmed at independent, specialist workshops to showcase the extraordinary skills and craft of some of the world’s most talented automotive artisans including engine builders, chassis fabricators, trimmers, painters and chrome-platers. And he was the first journalist to drive the finished car – even before its new owner.
You’d think that all that could be said about Enzo Ferrari has already been said, wouldn’t you? And yet, when was the last time you read a really good feature on Enzo, that gripped you from start to finish?
For issue 2 of Magneto the editorial team aimed to produce the best possible feature on Enzo Ferrari. It had to be informative, authoritative, entertaining and also appealing in appearance. It had to work for those who hadn’t read much about Enzo as well as those who assumed they knew everything about him.
There was only one man for the job: Doug Nye, arguably the greatest living motor racing historian, who had had many dealings with Enzo over the years, in various capacities, and who knew plenty of the drivers and staff who had worked with Enzo.
Doug not only wrote the feature but personally curated the archive pictures used, picking many that had never, or rarely, been seen before.
The striking design of the feature and the front cover was the work of Magneto art director Peter Allen – and the cover has already won awards from the prestigious USA-based Society of Publication Designers and the cult Cover Junkie website.
It took a long time to build trust with the Porsche Museum (Nick first visited as a journalist in 2005) but he is now fortunate to have access to both their cars and archives for in-depth features – best demonstrated by the cover story in issue 2 of The Road Rat published in 2019.
This 7500-word feature took three months of research, plus interviews with key factory personnel and a deep dive into the Porsche archive. It was a deeply satisfying story to write, with emphasis on the human rather than technical story.
Rosaline (letter to The Road Rat)
My mood darkened as I turned the last page of the 917 story and my mind accepted that I’d come to the end of one of the best pieces of automotive journalism I’ve ever read. This from one who grew up with Car magazine in the 70s and 80s. Nichols, Cropley, Setright, Bishop, Bulgin and now Trott can be added to the roll call of the greats. It helped that the 917 story is a great one, but Trott made it above brilliant.
Finally found a moment to read your 917 piece this evening. Superb! Totally entranced by the images, and the blueprints… And then the writing bringing the whole improbability of the scheme to life, combined with an even balance of suspense and technical details reminded me of Ian Helming in his pomp. Bloody loved absorbing every bit of this - thank you!
Just finished the 917 article Nick, I’ve read your stuff for a long time and I think this might be your best work. Well done!!
The stewardship of the VSCC Library is not a role to be undertaken lightly; the responsibility for the guardianship, preservation and development of such a huge body of knowledge is a substantial one.
Ian Ferguson, current Chief Librarian at The Old Post Office and VSCC member for more than fifty years, took on the (voluntary and unpaid) role some 12 years ago.
At that time there were just two Assistant Librarians, Ian and his good friend, Andy Butcher. However, as word of the excellent service the Library provided the numbers of volunteers (and enquiries!) increased and now a team of eight librarians and archivists work voluntarily under Ian’s leadership every Wednesday.
No two days are the same in the VSCC Library and requests for information are varied and can be very specific! One of the strangest requests was advice as to what to use to bind the springs on a very special racing car to maintain originality. The team’s response was to use some kind of natural fibre, waxed to keep it waterproof. “What kind of wax?” was the response. Struggling a little the team suggested beeswax: “What kind of bees?”. They admitted defeat at that point...
As well as the role of Chief Librarian, Ian is a staunch supporter of the Club and regularly volunteers at meetings, exhibitions and events – anywhere that needs a safe pair of hands! Not only is he a cornerstone of the many volunteers that support the Club in so many ways, but his patient assistance and support to Club staff and to members across the globe does much to ensure that the world of vintage motorsport is preserved for future generations and that the encyclopaedic body of knowledge of so many members over so many decades is passed on.
In recent years, certain classic and historic cars have been seen less and less on the circuits as their nemeses have gradually been developed way beyond the levels of period performance.
Rather than compete in an 'arms race' the owners of such lesser developed cars have elected to retire them, or at least refrain from regular motorsport. The result not only being a loss for both competitors and spectators alike, but also eliminating much desired diversity from grids.
One sector, in particular, that has suffered such a fate is the Alfa Romeo marque. Once a prolific sight on British circuits with buoyant club championships and series engaging a rich cross-section of models, the numbers of these evocative racers have dwindled alarmingly.
In a bid to bring these glamorous racers back onto British circuits, Julius Thurgood - founder of HRDC - ran a pilot race for classic and historic Alfa Romeos at Donington in October 2018. Such was the take up to this exploratory race that Julius pressed ahead with a series for 2019 under the title of the HRDC ‘Classic Alfa Challenge’.
A tentative programme of three, 30-minute races was announced and proved a huge success, with strong and diverse grids.
Such has been the take-up to date that predicted expectations have already been exceeded; no mean feat in a year that has proved to be a challenge to all race clubs in the UK.
Many cars have come out of hibernation to race with like-minded competitors and there is now a thriving industry building new cars, expressly for this series.
In a category for individual personal achievement, why have a ‘two-person’ finalist? It’s simple; twin brothers Paul and Andrew Wood come as a pair.
They started their own Rolls-Royce and Bentley restorations, service and sales company (P & A Wood) in 1967 and have worked tirelessly ever since to build a highly reputable business that means they now have customers from every continent. They are totally unique in that they are the only authorised company to maintain and sell every era of Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor car from 1904 to present day.
At 22 the twins lived in a caravan behind very humble premises. Now, at 74, the twin brothers still come to work every day and are very much involved in the day-to-day running of the business they worked so hard to build.
The car placed best in show at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2019 is one which was completely restored by the brothers and their team in 2009 and has been looked after by them ever since. The 8 litre Bentley by Gurney Nutting is the first-ever British-restored car to win this significant accolade.
The car, owned by Sir Michael Kadoorie, has been maintained by Paul and Andrew ever since its restoration and paid them a final visit for fettling before heading out to California for the event this year.
It has long been a dream of Paul and Andrew Wood to win Best in Show at Pebble Beach, which is considered the best car concours event in the world. Following many successes with class wins and a runner-up to Best in Show at the event, people said to them that it would not be possible. But this year they proved otherwise and achieved it!
Their passion for Rolls-Royce and Bentley is boundless and one that has been marked by the company itself, with P & A Wood servicing Rolls-Royce motor cars’ personal heritage collection.
CRMC have been racing classic motorcycles for 40 year. Today they cater for bikes raced between 1945 and 1986.
Race meetings are held each year at all the top circuits in the UK such as Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Silverstone, Cadwell Park, Mallory Park and Oulton Park.
They generally average around 260 riders per meeting but at feature meeting they have signed on more than 500 riders. For the past few years this feature meeting has taken place at Donington Park. The Classic Motorcycle Festival attracts a large entry and has featured guests including Steve Baker, Freddie Spencer, Steve Parrish and Maria Costello.
Bikes are split into two distinct groups; one for GP bikes such as Manx Nortons, Seeley G50s and TZ250/350s and the other for a huge range of road-based machines, from the famous works-type Rob North triples through Seeley Weslakes and on to the big Japanese fours like Harris Suzukis and P&M Kawasakis.
CRMC also runs sidecar racing and the ‘slidies’ can always be counted on to provide great racing and not a little chaos, so are always welcome. They also host the prestigious Lansdowne Series who run very original GP bikes from the 50’s and 60’s.
Also part of the programme are very popular Parades where members can run their lovely classic bikes round the racetrack in a non-competitive environment but are allowed to ‘exercise’ their bikes properly.
A band of loyal and enthusiastic marshals, officials, helpers turn up to all meetings whatever the weather to enable the meetings to run well and allow the racers to indulge themselves racing amazing bikes on great circuits.
The Equipe Pre ’66, pre ‘63 and Relay series goes from strength to strength, with sell-out grids throughout 2019 and some events requiring a second grid due to an influx of entries.
This isn’t necessarily the case with all historic grids in the UK at present, but the Equipe organisers continue to punch above their weight.
The series is for Sports and GT cars running on Dunlop Historic Tyres, with an emphasis on recreating the atmosphere, charm and friendliness of clubman racing in the 50s and 60s.
The series delivers tight racing, with a great variety of cars doing battle up and down the grid. Driving standards are very good, and perhaps best of all the series promotes a great social atmosphere including paddock parties and events. At the Equipe Relay this year, the organisers laid on a live band in a pit garage!
Series organisers John Pearson and Rub Cull moved the bar even higher this year. They invested in a large hospitality truck, and have maintained their personal touch (and high standards) over the championship.
It’s little wonder that the Equipe events receive considerable interest from entrants, media, and social media followers - British historic club racing at its best!
The Silverstone Classic proved to be a spectacular showcase for the Historic Sports Car Club’s International Historic Formula 2 Series, with a record-breaking field of more than 50 Formula 2 and Formula Atlantic single-seaters from the late 1960s and 1970s, two tremendous races and unparalleled interest in the category.
The pair of Historic F2 races delivered a glorious sight and sound and the opening race on Saturday was one of the best of the weekend as Miles Griffiths, Martin O’Connell and Darwin Smith battled for victory. With fine contests all down the order and across the category’s five divisions, F2 was a real hit.
In the remarkable 56-car field were a number of fresh cars and new driver. The entry included cars from 10 manufacturers and drivers from ten countries including Australia and America.
For the first known time since their participation in the 1977 European F2 Championship, all three Team Opert Chevron B40s were together on track, driven by Martin O’Connell, Terry Fisher and Frazer Gibney. Fisher was making a racing comeback after nearly a decade out of the sport.
The ex-Bruno Giacomelli March 772 car raced for the first time in more than 20 years in the hands of Frenchman Pascal Gerbout. He found chassis number 1 in a garage in France two years ago where it had been stored for at least two decades and this was the car’s first race for over 20 years.
Historic Formula 2 is the success story of the 2019 historic racing season. The Silverstone Classic was a brilliant showcase for the championship and it can only go from strength to strength.
Bentley has re-created a long-lost car from its illustrious past that provides a crucial link in the history of its most important models.
In the late-1930s, Greek racer André Embiricos commissioned a sporting Bentley, based on the old 4¼ Litre chassis. It was styled by Georges Paulin, and built by French coachbuilder Pourtout. Although privately commissioned, it was much-admired and secretly encouraged among Bentley engineers and management, who were convinced that the factory should produce a more sporting version of the forthcoming MkV saloon, itself a technological advance.
The styling of the Corniche was a radical step forward from the traditional Bentleys of the 1920s and ‘30s, introducing ‘Streamlining’ to help deliver greater speed and performance, and heavily influenced post-war models from the R Type Continental right through to the current Continental GT.
The original Corniche was lost in France in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. It was extensively damaged in a traffic accident whilst undergoing road tests in France in August 1939. Sent for repairs, the chassis made it home to the Bentley plant in Derby, but the bodywork was destroyed in a bombing raid on Dieppe later in 1939 and was never seen again. Until now.
The project was originally started several years ago by volunteers from the WO Bentley Memorial Foundation and the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation, but was brought in-house in February 2018 under the watchful eye of Chairman and Chief Executive Adrian Hallmark, who asked for it to be completed in 2019 to celebrate Bentley’s centenary.
Using only the original technical drawings and the skills of the men and women of Mulliner, Bentley’s in-house bespoke and coachbuilding division, this unique Corniche has been rebuilt in Crewe using original Corniche and MkV mechanical components and a completely re-made body, identical in every detail to the original.
The Corniche made its first public appearance at Salon Privé at Blenheim Palace and now joins Bentley’s Heritage fleet.
In September 2019, the ‘missing’ original launch Land Rover demonstration vehicle from the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show returned to the road for the first time since the 1960s, following a year-long sympathetic ‘patina restoration’ by Land Rover Classic in Coventry.
This historically important pre-production vehicle, which had vanished for decades, was found in 2016 in a garden near the Solihull factory where it was built. Throughout the full nut-and-bolt strip-down restoration, it has been kept as authentic as possible and returned to its correct 1948 specification – including left-hand drive configuration.
The original through-dash selectable 4WD system controls have been reinstated, with the original combination of rods, levers and linkages.
Land Rover Classic referenced period drawings to restore the rare Lockheed braking system, engineering replacement master and wheel cylinders, drums, pads and backplates before the brake pipes were carefully hand-fitted to match the routes followed on the original vehicle.
The flaking exterior paintwork doesn’t look like it has been subject to a year-long restoration, but the goal was always to retain the patina of this important vehicle.
The team went to great lengths to ensure the original badge was recreated exactly as it was more than 70 years ago, digitising a photograph of another Land Rover on the stand at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show. In-house Computer Aided Design specialists then transposed the photograph to calculate the size of the lettering and its position on the front wing to cast an accurate replacement. In addition the team worked with the Forestry Commission to identify the wood used for the sections at the rear of the seats. These ash elements were replaced like-for-like.
With a rebuilt engine incorporating specially-made pre-production-specification high-compression pistons, the vehicle drives just as it left the factory
In 1965 the Lotus 38 changed the course of the Indy 500 Race forever:
· The first rear-engined car to win the race.
· The first car to win with asymmetric suspension.
· The first time a Ford powered car had won.
· The first time a foreign team had won.
· The first full monocoque chassis.
38/7 was constructed in 1966 by Team Lotus for the Indianapolis 500 race. It was to be driven by Al Unser. Whilst lying in 4th place he was hit by debris from a back-marker and retired.
Team Lotus repaired the car to be next raced by Jim Clark at Fuji Speedway, Japan in October 1966. The car was then readied for Jim’s drive in the 1967 Indy 500, car #31. After 35 laps the engine failed and Clark retired.
Following Indy, the car was sold, and then again in the 1980’s to a Japanese collector.
In 2016, 38/7 was acquired by Nick Fennell, who was determined to restore the car to exactly 1967 race day specification and tasked Classic Team Lotus with the job.
38/7 was outstandingly original, but overall in a fairly poor condition.
The period 4.2L 525HP methanol fuelled Ford V8 quad cam engine was sent to Indianapolis to be rebuilt. A rare original ZF 2 speed gearbox was found.
The Indy regs required an aero style fuel system. Alloy tanks were treated with the original military aircraft grade rubberised fibreglass coatings.
From 1966, safety harnesses were mandatory at Indy. The GQ Parachute Company items were remade using original hardware.
The Firestone Indy tyres were remade using the original moulds.
The dual airflow screens were remanufactured using the original bucks.
Finally, the famous Dayglo Rocket Red paint of the STP Corporation was reapplied. To complete the detail, the decals were either sign written or sourced from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
The car was completed and run for the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed and will be displayed in the future at the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum in Duns, Scotland.