Around and about, August 1991
Louis Vuitton Concours
The Hurlingham Club was the venue for the 2nd Louis Vuitton Concours d’Elegance in which 46 cars participated. Seven class winners were selected with the “Best of Show” being won by the 1956 Aston Martin DB3S, the Moss/Collins car that was second overall and first in class at Le Mans in 1956. Other winners included two Bentley Continentals, a 1936 Lagonda LG45, a 1938 Rolls-Royce Phantom III (Hooper), a 1933 Aston Martin Le Mans and a 1938 Lagonda V12 Rapide which also won the Special Award of the Jury.
1991 Christie’s International Historic Festival, Silverstone
If last year’s meeting is anything to go by, the Christie’s International Historic Festival at Silverstone on the weekend of July 27/28th looks set to be another successful meeting with a plethora of historic racing machinery taking to the tracks.
First race of the day on the Saturday is the 8-lap Christie’s Cup for pre-war sports cars at 1.00pm followed an hour later by another 8-lap race for Fifties sports cars in the British Aerospace series. The third race of the day is the Historic Grand Prix Cars race for pre-’57 Grand Prix cars at 3.00pm followed by the AT&T Istel Steigenberger Supersports Cup race for CanAm and big engined sports cars of the Sixties.
Final race of the day, at 5.00pm, is the 8-lap race for pre-’65 Grand Prix cars. All five races are the first part of a two part race.
The running order for each race is the same on Sunday, although the timings are different, and the latter day also includes the additional FIA European challenge for Historic Touring Cars which lasts 1 hour.
Interspersed between all the races on Saturday are a series of displays which on Sunday are reduced to just one.
Fun for One
“The bigger the boys, the more expensive their toys.” That’s how the saying goes, so the Rocket should be on the Christmas list for every young man about town.
Designed along the lines of a Fifties formula car, the Rocket is the brainchild of Chris Craft and Gordon Murray whose credentials in top level motor racing go back over two decades. With a power-to-weight ratio better than that of a Ferrari F40 the Rocket is, in Murray’s words, “the ultimate one-plus-one commuter.”
Concealed by the rear bodywork, the power unit is a Yamaha four-cylinder, liquid-cooled motorcycle engine which revs to 11,500 rpm. With five valves per cylinder, the 1-litre engine develops an astonishing 143 bhp, and since the Rocket weighs merely 351 kg (775 lb) the power to weight ratio is in excess of 400 bhp per ton.
Acceleration should be stunning by the standard of four-wheel vehicles. The Rocket goes from standstill to 60 mph in about four seconds as the driver works his way through a 10-speed transmission, and should reach 100 mph in eight seconds.
Top speed is estimated at 140 mph, less perhaps with a “pillion” passenger aboard because part of the enveloping bodywork has to be removed to reveal the passenger seat.
Craft and Murray conceived the idea of making a latterday Lotus 7 around 1972 when they were both involved in Alain de Cadenet’s sports car project. The steel space-frame chassis is a sturdy construction with stressed aluminium alloy panels, and the outer bodywork is made of sandwich construction plastic; only the motorcycle-type mudguards are made of carbonfibre. Apart from the engine and Brembo racing brakes, virtually all the construction is bespoke, manufactured for Craft’s Light Car Company in Cambridge. Bob Curl developed the Rocket from Murray’s original drawings, and construction is in the hands of Tony Mundy, whose Jamun Racing company is to the fore in Formula Ford.
11 firm orders have been taken for the Rocket, which costs approximately £35,000 including car tax and VAT, and the first production car off the line has been ordered by Sir Jack Brabham.
The 3rd World Cup Rally
The indefatigable Philip Young, mastermind behind the Pirelli Classic Marathon, has come up with yet another scheme which looks set to take the historic rallying scene by storm. Billed as the 3rd World Cup Rally, Young and his Marathon team have come up with the idea of running a London-Cape Town event for cars built before 1970, to be held in November, 1992.
Having enlisted the help of Jim Gavin, who was Clerk of the Course for the 1977 London-Sydney Marathon and with the late Henry Liddon was route planner of the 1970 London-Mexico and 1974 London-Sahara-Munich World Cup rallies, the route has been designed to run down the west side of Africa rather than the more usual way of running via Nairobi and East Africa. This means that a good many countries, such as Zaire, Angola and Namibia, will be visited that have never hosted international events before, but the organisers have assured everyone that any political problems will have been overcome beforehand.
Up to 75 cars will be accepted which, the organisers stress, should be biased towards strength and stamina rather than outright speed. They have even gone so far as to suggest that big Triumphs, Austin 1800s, 3-litre or V8 Rovers, any Mercedes, Volkswagen Beetles, all Citroëns, Ford Zodiacs, Ford Cortinas, Hillman Hunters, Sunbeam H120 Rapiers, Austin A90s and Peugeot 404s and 504s all have good potential as inexpensive rally cars.
The organisers have allowed a great deal of latitude when it comes to uprating cars. Engines from the same manufacturer but from different models will be allowed and any kind of gearbox and back axle can be used, the only proviso being that they had to be available before 1970.
Since the event is being run as a Category 2.3 Historic Rally, competition licences will be unnecessary and the amount of advertising allowed on the car is unlimited. The entry fee is likely to be approximately £6000, an amount commensurate with the entry fee for the first World Cup Rally when one takes inflation into account. Other costs will include fuel and running costs while those for hotels should be negligible. In fact the organisers have stated that when the event is not running through the night, the best form of accommodation will be a tent.
At present a returnable deposit of £250 can be made now with invitations being despatched in October, 1991 on a first come, first served basis.
Further information can be obtained from Philip Young at the Rally Office on 0892 24746 or from the Rally Office at Rally House, 85 St Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9TU.