Prophet without honour

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Sir,

Your article on the resurrection of the Kieft Grand Prix car in the March edition, coupled with earlier writings on the AJB flat-four racing engine, sent me rummaging in my collection of old photos.

You mentioned Cyril Kieft’s recollections and I was surprised that he didn’t make any reference to his earlier attempt at a grand prix car, circa 1952-53, particularly as it was, I believe, the first postwar design for a rear-engined grand prix car. It was well in advance of Jack Brabham’s T40 Bobtail sportscar conversion raced at Snetterton in the ’55 Redex Cup. Of course, in 1952 and ’53 Formula Two was the interim grand prix formula, and Cyril may therefore not regard it as a grand prix car. It was nonetheless an interesting and seemingly forgotten step.

In the AJB article you mentioned the sale of an interim engine to Kieft, and it was this device, in 2-litre form, that was fitted to the car seen at the Prescott hill climb in 1953. The car was driven by Michael Christie, a successful hill climber of that time, who also brought along an 1100cc JAP V twin-engined Kieft F3 car.

The 2-litre car was a typical Kieft design and appeared nothing more than an enlarged F3 car. It had unequal-length wishbone front suspension and swinging arm rear, suspended by bungy rubber!

The engine was fitted with four vertically mounted Amal carbs with long stackpipe intakes which protruded through the rear engine cover. Under the top of the cover and behind the driver’s head was the fuel tank. On the rather bulbous nose was what I can only think was a dummy air intake, since the engine was air-cooled.

I remember that the car’s performance was unspectacular and I assume this resulted in Cyril’s decision to revert to the front-engined layout of the car reviewed.

I do not recall seeing or hearing of this odd car again. Did it die or is it hidden away somewhere?

I am, yours, etc
David Stick, St Austell, Cornwall