N.B.-Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and MOTOR SPORT does not necessarily associate itself with them.-ED
Historic Racing Cars
In the January 1980 issue of MOTOR SPORT, D.S.J. determined the history of a 1956 Maserati serial number 2522 which was reconstructed in England in 1972. That same article was the prototype for many similar articles which have appeared since in various motoring journals on the subject of replicas or fakes. What was however important in that original D.S.J. story was his summing up, “but if these spares are going to form the nucleus for ‘new’ cars then it makes a mockery of Maternal history, denigrates the interest and enthusiasm for old Grand Prix cars and borders on the fraudulent”. Reading the July issue of MOTOR SPORT (Of This and That) it would seem that the border has been crossed with the appearance of 2505 at Monaco in May 1982.
During the first week of April this year I was permitted by a director of the Biscaretti Museum in Turin to closely examine their Grand Prix Maserati exhibit. Without having to take this lovely old racing car to bits I located the chassis number stamped within its authentic rosettes on the top chassis tube within the cockpit area. It is was number 2505 and was given to the museum by Officine Alfieri Mascrati S.p.A. The special which appeared at Monte Carlo looking like a 250F was manufactured in UK in 1981 and stamped when new with its now accepted prefix CM REP followed by any number from one to seven, since that is the total output of replica 250F’s so far.
Copying an original and terming it a replica is one thing, but compounding the fake by labelling it with an original identification is forgery.
If historic racing was blighted with bad accidents, poor grids, boring competition and low gate returns one could perhaps understand why organisers / entrants bend the rules of acceptance. But the motoring press has always been kind to historic racing, grids are invariably oversubscribed and spectators keep returning. The preparation of historic racing cars is expensive, but fortunately there continues to be a large number of owners who are prepared to risk a lot driving old racing cars for the benefit of many. Thus the appearance in the last few years of replica racing cars is not, as many think for their own justification, a necessary evil. But since they have become part of the regular scene why is it that they cannot be permanently labelled as such?
In my opinion it would be a deplorable situation that permits the governing body of historic racing to have powers of no discretion. Surely either the RAC, FIFA, VSCC or HGPDA must confirm and enforce its attitude towards acceptance of genuine historic racing cars at prestigious invitation events around the world. If not then historic racing will not be taken seriously as D.S.J. suggests, which would be a loss for many both visually and financially.
Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire RICHARD CRUMP
I should be grateful for the courtesy of your column to appeal to all readers of MOTOR SPORT on behalf of SPARKS — Sportsmen Pledged to Aid Research into Crippling.
SPARKS, besides collecting funds to help research into crippling diseases, operates a unique catamaran called “Sparkle”. To date “Sparkle” has carried over 30,000 disabled people, the majority in wheelchairs, and has travelled well over 35,000 miles; more than enough to circumnavigate the world. However, ships and boats don’t last forever, and an appeal is being launched for £100,000 to build “Sparkle II” so that she can be completed and commissioned before the safe life of her predecessor is over.
I hope that readers of MOTOR SPORT who are lucky enough to be able to engage in sporting activities, at whatever level of skill, will join in helping the disabled less fortunate than themselves. Your contributions will be valued, however small.
If you would like to send a donation or are interested in becoming a member of our Sportsmen’s Charity contact me at SPARKS, 25/27 Oxford Street.
London, W1 JAMES HUNT
I read with interest a letter you published in the May issue of MOTOR SPORT from Malcolm R. Winrow. As you might imagine, I was rather dismayed to read the letter and thought it warranted further investigation on my part.
Mr. Winrow’s comparison between your visit to the Arctic Circle and his own experiences gives the impression that his car is a relatively new 99GL. By his own admission in a letter to one of my Swedish colleagues, the car is a 1976 model, originally bought by a friend of his in Denmark before being brought to England and then sold to Winrow, and now has some 130,000 kms. (80,778 miles) on the odometer.
Our dealer is of the opinion that he is not responsible for costs incurred by Mr. Winrow and it would appear to be one of those instances that can only be resolved through an independent arbitrator or by court action — certainly not through vilification in the pages of the press.
In closing, I would like to add that, as a company, Saab (Gt. Britain) Ltd., take great exception to accusations that we are refusing to live up to our responsibility and that we are “trading on the standards of our parent company — whilst making little effort to live up to them”. Such statements by an aggrieved Mr. Winrow are hardly helpful to anyone. As is known, our Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saab-Scania; furthermore, we have on our Board persons who hold very senior executive positions within the Saab-Scania car division, including Sten Gustafsson, President of the Group, and Stem Wennlo, General Manager of the car division, who are hardly likely to allow practices suggested by Mr. Winrow to happen.
Marlow, Bucks IAN J. ADCOCK Press Officer, Saab (GB) Ltd.
A Scalextric Club
Pleasingly you mention the excellence of Scalextric models lately.
Going back to 1960 that same name produced very well scaled and finished racing cars such as D-Type Jaguars, Porsches and Aston Martins. They all go well and in a lighthearted vein I must correct one comment of yours about understeer in the Rover V8 — with “solid” differentials there is nothing but glorious oversteer!
Readers of MOTOR SPORT may well have stored away childhood treasures from this range If that is so, then the recently re-formed “National Scalextric Collectors Club” may be of interest. We organise swap / auction meetings, race meetings and a regular monthly newsletter, details of which can be obtained from 26 Essex Close, Congleton, Cheshire. CW12 1SH.
Weston-super-Mare, Avon REG PALMER
It seems inevitable that the Bill making the wearing of seat belts compulsory will be passed and there seems nothing we can do to stop it. However I have written to Mrs. Thatcher today, giving her very gory details of a recent car fire in Anglesey in which the driver was burned to death and his wife was horribly burned, owing to being trapped by seat belts.
It occurs to me that once the Bill is passed, you could ask readers to do likewise whenever they hear of similar deaths. If possible with newspaper reports clearly marked You caused this.”
Personally, I rarely wear a seat belt except on long journeys but I am not against them, only the “do-gooders” who are going to force me to wear one.
Anglesey F. E. GREAVES
Reading the July issue of your excellent journal MOTOR SPORT, I was amused to find in D.S.J.’s article on the Monaco Grand Prix where he refers to the annual F3 race being a “. . . benefit for French drivers, only one Brit getting into the race, and he was Irishman Tommy Byrne. . . .”
Whereas I am not interested in bringing politics into motor racing (God knows there are enough already!) I think it is worth reminding the same scribe of his reference to Derek Daly’s move from Tyrrell to March and then to Theodore as “Irish progression”. Would he be as jokingly complimentary of Daly’s achievements with the Williams team and significant Championship points thereof?
Irish followers of motor racing in Formula One are regularly amused by the BBC television commentaries of Grand Prix and how John Watson seems to change his nationality from Irish to English, depending on how well or badly he is doing in a particular race. Are there no true Brits left?
Keep sending us your superb magazine.
Dublin TONY COLLEY
Cause of Retirement
May I correct a misleading impression given in your report of the 500 Race at the VSCC’s recent Oulton Park meeting?
Although it is indeed true that I ran out of fuel on the last lap, I never have carried a spare can for topping up! I have ample tank capacity in my Cooper-Norton, but unfortunately I bent an inlet valve at an early stage in the race, which resulted in the engine pumping large quantities of methanol out through the inlet tract. The inlet valve itself was bent as a result of missing a gear, in turn caused by near-terminal brain fade brought on by finding myself in the lead!
May I take this opportunity of thanking the VSCC for inviting us, and to apologise to them for our unreliability. This event has become the highlight of our year, and those of us, such as myself, who have campaigned our 500s for the past 20 years are sincerely grateful for their forbearance and hope that we may be invited again another year.
Gnosall, Staffs PAUL SCHROEDER