Around and About
Tuning companies have come and gone in their dozens over the years, but one which has remained constant in its integrity and solvency throughout all the ups and downs of the trade has been Janspeed Engineering Ltd. of Salisbury. The other week we went down to the Wiltshire cathedral town to help Jan Odor celebrate a triple anniversary: 20 years since he escaped to England from Hungary after the Revolution; 15 years since he founded Janspeed after this refugee without a word of English had been given a new start in life, by the Richmonds of Downton Engineering. Jan was also opening a spacious new extension to his premises in Southampton Road.
Jan's success has largely come from the high-perforniance exhaust manifold and system side of his business: he has carved a niche as the leading manufacturer in Europe, his forty staff at his other premises in Church Road, Salisbury (soon to be absorbed into the new premises) producing some 100,000 manibilds and systems per year. The list of customers includes most manufacturers' competition teams: Ford (Britain and Germany), Chrysler UK, Saab and Leyland. On the Continent Jan Can boast a great number of private and semi-works customers, including the tremendously successful team of Zakspeed racing Escorts.
A recent departure for Jan has been into the two-wheel world, developing and supplying manifolds and systems exclusively to the 750 c.c. Hondas of Dixon Racing and producing glorious-looking 4-into-1 road systems for such bikes as the Kawasaki 900 and 1000, and the Honda 250 and 750.
More unusual work includes the supply of special speed-equipment for fitting to Bedford and Rolls-Royce-engined fire-fighting tenders used on airfields throughout the world.
For the last three years the lanky, amiable Jan has had responsibility for the entire competition programmes for the Dutch Datsun Dealer Team. Exciting projects being undertaken for the team this year include two Group 5 cars, a turbocharged 280Z and an F2 Coupe, the successor to the Cherry. The 280Z is a bit of a misnomer for the car has been run with 2.4, 2.6 and 2.8-litre versions of the o.h.c. straight-six, but Jan's ultimate turbocharged engine, expected to give 430 b.h.p. for its fight against Porsches and BMWs, is based upon the smaller engine. Han Tjan drives this fearsome machine.
If all goes well with development, the F2 Coupe should sprout a turbocharger soon, too. Tom CoroneII is driving this currently straightforward fuel-injection-engined car in an assault on the 1,300 c.c. class of the Dutch Championship, trying for the team's fourth successive title. Jan hopes to have a turbocharged version of the engine running in British special saloon and Group 5 races by September in the Sunny Coupe which C.R. and Alex Poole drove last season.
All in all it's a very busy scene at Janspeed, proof that the tuning industry is very far from dead.
Fast Fire-engine at Donington of a one
Are we seeing the beginning of a one-upmanship battle in circuit fire engines? First Silverstone had its XJ12 (a secondhand one, mind you, from Jaguar's development department). Now Donington has a brand-new BMW 633 CSI, presented jointly by BMW dealer Sytners of Nottingham and BMW Concessionaires GB.
This unique fire-tender, valued at £ 17,500, carries fire-fighting equipment in the space previously used for the rear seats. To compensate for the additional weight, the coupe is fitted with self-levelling rear suspension.
Perhaps Silverstone and Donington will get together to organise a race between the two. "Silverstone Sid's" manual XJ12 ought to be quicker, at least in a straight line.
What next in the one-upmanship stakes? Will John Webb invest in a Rolls-Royce Camargue for Brands Hatch? It might look better with a ladder on its roof.
The Assistant Editor's Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider Veloce celebrated the publication day of its road-test in last month's issue, by turning its odometer over trom 6,999 to 14,000. We've heard of clocking back, but really, this is ridiculous!
The Longest Car Rally in History
Some 90 or more cars will face 30 days of sheer hell when they leave Covent Garden Opera House on August 14th. Ahead of them, 30,000 km. (18,600 miles) of motoring adventure en rpute to Sydney Opera House in the Singapore Airlines LondonSydney Rally. Entries include: Mercedes-Benz 280E for the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon winners Andrew Cowan and Cohn Malkin, partnered this time by Birmingham travel agent and rally navigator Mike Broad; Paddy Hopkirk, who comes out of retirement to co-drive a Citroen CX2400 with another well-known name from the past, former Lotus works racing driver Michael Taylor; Keith Schellenberg will be giving his 8-litre Bentley another transcontinental airing. There are some even more unlikely-sounding entries, including a 1927 Bean entered by the Lisburn, Northern Ireland, Fire Brigade and a Leyland Terrier truck entered by the Australian Bottlers of Coca-Cola for three burly Australian lorry drivers. One gets the impression that the emphasis is more on the event being a motoring adventure than a serious rally and indeed organiser Wylton Dickson has not been too concerned at the lack of works teams from the likes of Ford, Lancia and Leyland. Most of the crews are amateurs with the notable exceptions of a few well-known rallying names like Joachim Warmbold, Tony Fowkes (both in Mercedes 280Es), Sobieslaw Zasada (Porsche Carrera), Robert Neyret (Fiat Abarth) and Rosemary Smith (Citroen CX2400).
The route of the rally, claimed to be the longest ever, takes the cars from London on the 14th, through Holland and Germany on the 15th and France and Italy on the 16th to an evening Time Control in Milan. After Milan the route crosses into Jugoslavia at Trieste, passing through Rijeka and Split to arrive at the Makarska Time Control on the morning of the 17th, thence to Korzica, Ljubinje (Passage Control), Ledinichi (PC), Kotor, Citinje (TC), Titograd, Skopje, Veria (TC ), Kalambaka (PC) , Kedhros (TC) and Athens as a Time Control and Rest Halt on the afternoon of the 18th. From Athens the rally proceeds on the 19th to Istanbul (TC), Ankara (TC), Bunyan (PC), Matatya, Elazig, Bitlis, Van (TC), with a Time Control and Rest Halt at Teheran in Sunday, August 21st. On the 22nd the cars proceed via Isfahan, Yazd (TC), Tabas (TC), Fariman (TC), Herat, Kandaher, Ghanzi, Kabul (TC), Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Amritsar, arriving at New Dehli (TC) on the morning of the 24th, with a Rest Halt and Time Control in Bombay on the 25th. From there it heads to Madras (TC) via Bangalore. arriving on the 27th.
Tired crews and cars will have a pleasant respite on the sea-crossing from Madras to Georgetown (Penang) before the re-start on Tuesday, September 6th. from Butterworth (TC) to Kuala Kangsar (TC), Tapah, Kuala Lumpur (TC), Johor Bahru (TC) arriving at Singapore on September 7th.
The Australian route of 11,000 km from Perth to Sydney was not finalised at the time of writing, but will cross four deserts, Aborigine Reserves where few white people have ever been, and pass through Darwin, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane to the finish at Sydney Opera House on September 28th.
Brighton National Speed Trials
For the second year running the historic Brighton National Speed Trials have had a last-minute reprieve from extinction. Last year this famous event along Madeira Drive was threatened by rising costs: it was rescued by Fribourg and Treyer, the tobacconists and cigar merchants, who are sponsoring it once again in 1977. This year the local council refused permission when they discovered the Middle Terrace to he unsafe. However, either the Council's mathematics of the Terrace or both have been shored up and the Brighton and Hove Motor Club have a belated OK to go ahead with the event on September 10th.
Last year's event was a resounding success, with an entry ot more than 200 cars and motorcycles and a shattering FTD by David Render, who put up an 18.77 sec. time in his Lotus 76. Another splendid entry is forecast tor September, with hot competition expected in the lastest class to attempt to break David Purley's FTD record of 18.62 sec.