Around and About, July 1977

Jaguar Aquatic Records

A Jaguar V12 engine powered a British boat and British driver to three major water speed records on Lake Windermere at the end of May.

Manchester businessman Tony Fahey drove the hydroplane Vladivar I to a new World production-engined craft record of 130.33 m.p.h., an International R6 (5 to 7-litre) inboard engine class record of 128.375 m.p.h. and a UK National immersed-propeller record of 126.92 m.p.h. Each record meant covering a kilometre twice, in opposite directions and on his most successful run Fahey was clocked at a 131.275 m.p.h. best one way speed for the flying kilometre.

The Jaguar unit was modified and installed in the craft by Forward Engineering Ltd., of Balsall Common, near Coventry, under the direction of their Technical Director and former Jaguar engineer, Ron Beaty. Beaty claims more than 500 b.h.p. for the unit. Another well-known Jaguar figure involved in the project was Phil Weaver, Jaguar’s experimental workshop superintendent until his retirement last year and one of the king-pins of Jaguar’s racing programme in the ’50s.

Vladivar I, sponsored by, but not fuelled by, vodka distillers G. and J. Greenall Ltd., was originally Miss Windermere V, created by the late Norman Buckley to make an attempt on his own one-hour record set up by an earlier Miss Windermere. In its original form the hydroplane had a 6 1/2-litre V8 Maserati engine, a measure forced upon Buckley, who had always used Jaguar engines previously, because the Jaguar V12 was not then available. Arthur Henderson, Buckley’s chief mechanic, has been retained by Fahey, who now hopes to achieve Buckley’s major ambition of covering 100 miles in the hour.

Jaguars at Donington

Donington Park promises to be swamped with Jaguars over the weekend of July 9th/10th. On Saturday the 9th it hosts a Jaguar Drivers’ Club race meeting when Jaguars and other potent motor cars should be in full cry around the picturesque circuit. Sunday will be a little quieter and less hectic during International E-type Day, organised by the E-type Register of the Jaguar Drivers’ Club. There will be a Concours, with separate classes fo1 Series I, 2 and 3 E-types, day-long driving tests on the Melbourne Loop and a display of special bodied and historic E-types, including Lightweights. Non-JDC members’ E-types are elegible for the various events and the general public is welcome to spectate. Action starts at 10 a.m. The Donington Collection will be open all day, into the bargain. Further details from David Nursey (business telephone: 021-454 8022) Northern Area Secretary of the E-type Register.

New Hill-climb

A new hill-climb course “discovered” by the Maidstone and Mid-Kent Motor Club could be challenging for the title of the longest course on in England. We don’t know yet the exact length of the new hill, at Great Farthingloe Farm, near Dover, but apparently it is just short of one mile. Loton Park, the current holder of the English title, is 1,475 yards long.

The Maidstone and Mid-Kent MC has erected Armco and safety barriers ready for the Club’s first hill-climb in a forty year history, and the course’s debut, on July 17th. There will be classes for historic sports cars, sports cars and saloons and regulations are available from Mike Osbourne, 38 Bannister Road, Maidstone (Maidstone 65509).

The Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider Veloce

Since we went to Press with the Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce road test on page 836, the price has risen yet again to £5,299, a massive £1,451 more than at the same time last year, although things like seat belts have recently been incorporated in the price. The GTV 2000 is exactly the same price, so you can take your pick of body styles. Taken on material content, the GTV 2000 is a better buy, as is the BMW 320i at just £50 more. It seems a high price to pay for eyecatching styling and fully open air motoring, albeit allied to good performance and handling, but what’s the alternative? The Lancia Beta Monte Carlo Spider, as a parallel modern alternative to the traditional Alfa, offers little more than sunshine roof “fresh-air” and a great deal of buffeting for £5,927; its mid-engine configuration puts it round corners more quickly, but the engine/gearbox is inferior to the Alfa’s, the brakes are wicked in the wet and this writer for one finds it less satisfying to drive than the Alfa Spider.

Brian Redman

Our best wishes for a speedy recovery go to Brian Redman, who was seriously injured in practice for the first round of the Can-Am Challenge at Le Circuit Mont Tremblant, St. Jovite, Canada, on June 12th. His Lola T332CS flipped end over end after becoming airborne over Hawkins Hump. Brian is said to be “on the mend” in Montreal Neurological Institute.