It is some time since we had a brief look at the new things happening in specialist parts and cars, so this month we begin with a type of special that is really an offshoot of the Beach Buggy market, although the finished product is a closed coupé. Once more GP Speed Shop Ltd., at Hanworth Air Park, Feltham, Middlesex, have pioneered a new VW-based car, and once again we hear of others who are planning, or producing, similar GT’ coupés, based on VW running gear and propulsion.
GP’s latest car is known as the Centron and it features low sIeek styling incorporating gullwing doors: we have not yet ascertained if these are exactly along the lines of the immortal Mercedes, but we have been told that they serve their purpose admirably. The Centron is likely to be supplied mainly in De Luxe form costing £684. For this sum of money one obtains a complete bodyshell, all trim, two seats and glassware. The problem then is to obtain a Volkswagen saloon, from which you will need the engine, gearbox, suspension and other ancillaries to complete the car. The makers estimate that a complete Centron could be built for £800 to £850: this is more expensive than a Beach Buggy or Mini-based vehicle would be, but with luck the final product should be a good deal better finished, and handle extremely well thanks to the mid-mounted VW engine and the wide alloy wheels that most owners will specify.
Other manufacturers are expected to show their VW-based coupes at the bi-annual Racing Car Show, Olympia, which takes place between the 6th and the 16th of this month, organised by the BRSCC.
Stargazing Spitfire top
Some years ago the Caribbean hard-top was all the rage for MG-Bs with its twin windows let into the roof. Naturally enough the firm responsible for that glassfibre moulding, Heron Plastics Ltd., at Calvert Road, Greenwich, London SE10, have made variations on this theme for other convertibles, one of the more successful—at least from an appearance point of view—being with the model for the Triumph Spitfire.
The top is available with tinted or plain windows and with a number of trim options, at prices varying from £54 to £72. Incidentally, attachment is by two screws in the windscreen frame and a pair of hooks which locate in the hood frame slots.
Think oil coolers
Think Automotive, at 1a Greenford Avenue, Southall, Middlesex, have been selling oil coolers for some time. Now they have reached the stage where they can offer a great variety of kits, including models for such comparatively rare beasts as the competition Chevrolet Z28 Camaro and the more popular Japanese models. Apart from the oil cooler kits they also sell interesting individual items such as quick release oil line connections, thermostats (a good idea in Britain’s climate, for cold oil is more often a problem than hot), temperature gauge adaptors and so on. Costs vary from £10 5s. for a Mini oil cooler kit up to £30 for a Z28 Camaro.
Allard’s seventh annual catalogue
At Standard House we can always tell what time of year it is by looking to see if there is a current copy of the Allard Performance Equipment catalogue around, if there is it is definitely winter! As usual this year’s offering is just full of bits and pieces for any application from making the driver look pretty—and virtually flameproof—to doing the same for his car, and making it more competitive.
There are two interests which Alan Allard follows which are a little out of the ordinary: they are supercharging and drag racing. The results of these pursuits are portrayed in the catalogue, his company manufacturing, selling and fitting Shorrocks blowers. Allards’ drag racing Anglia is also shown in the catalogue as an example of the useful applications of the glassfibre body panels sold by Allard. The company also market complete, modified new cars such as the Escort 1300GT Supersport. This Ford derivative has a supercharged engine giving a claimed 98 b.h.p., the same figure as Ford claim for the uprated 1970 1600 GT engines, and a number of body refinements such as a front grille with spotlamps let into it, sports steering wheel and mudflaps. The author tried such a car years ago and found it exceptionally impressive, even though it suffered a misfire at high r.p.m. We are hoping that an opportunity will come our way shortly to try a similar vehicle. Enquiries about the catalogue should be sent to: Allard Motor Co Ltd, 51 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, London SW15.
More on Spitfire tops
The earlier mention of hard-tops for Triumph Spitfires reminds us that Lenham Motor Co., at 47 West Street, Harrietsham, Kent, —have always made good quality glassfibre components, and they also sell the Torado detachable roof section hard-top for all Spitfire marques, including the latest version tested by W.B. in this issue. This model is unique in having a detachable centre roof section à la Targa Porsche 911, but not only is there a rigid lift-out portion, there is also a detachable soft-top panel. The basic price is £54, with an additional £12 chargeable if you want the soft-top section in addition to the fibreglass panels.
Extra capacity to order
As the public becomes more sophisticated in its requirements from a tuned engine, there is increasing interest in having extra horsepower and low speed torque, qualities that are not usually available by the conventional camshaft, raise the compression ratio and add-a-carb approach. Super or turbocharging is one way of getting that extra 1,000 c.c. feeling, but a cheaper and better known method is to bore and stroke the customer’s engine.
Neal Davis Racing at 106 Main Road, Sidcup, Kent, have decided on the latter approach, and they now offer to bore blocks for Minis. Imps, Lotus Twin-Cams, plus the popular Ford crossflow and pre-crossflow in-line four-cylinder engines. A six-month guarantee is offered on this work, charges varying from £35 10s. to enlarge a 1500 c.c. Ford non-crossflow engine to 1,650 c.c., to £94 for an 1,800 c.c. Lotus Twin-Cam. Davis quotes increments in b.h.p. as well, typical examples being 43 b.h.p. for an 1,125 cc. Mini unit up to 126 b.h.p. for the big bore Lotus TC.