It had to happen
THE Maserati firm of Modena did not make very many Tipo 250F racing cars so that each one was known by its personal chassis number and most of them have had their movements well documented. Recently a car named up at Monaco, for the historic race, that looked like a 250F but was in fact a Maserati “special” built up from some spare parts and some recently made parts on a recently made tubular space frame that was a good copy of a 250F chassis frame. So far so good, it was just a rather unimaginative home-made special, built to look like a 250F Maserati; the only thing wrong with it was the plater carried on the instrument panel that said it was chassis No. 2505.
Now 2505 was scat built in 1954 for the factory team that went to the South American races at the beginning of the year. Later in the season it was driven by Roberto Mimes and Harry Schell and after it left the factory team it was owned by the French driver Andre Simon and in 1958 it passed to Joakim Bonnier who used if for various “deals” in order to acquire a much later car. During these “deals” 2505 found its way back into the Modena factory and when the management decided to present a Tipo 250F to the Biscaretti Museum in Turin, to perpetuate the memory of one of their more successful Grand Prix models, they used 2505. They had sold all the good 250F cars and the very first one they made, so they re-numbered 2505 as 2500 and let it be known that they were presenting “the very first 250F” to the Museum. It was assumed that they had used 2501 which had been the first car and the works experimental car, a totally erroneous assumption, as it later transpired that 2501 had been rebuilt by the racing department into a later car.
Recently, Richard Crump had the opportunity of closely inspecting the car in the Turin museum and discovered the original 2505 markings, to one more piece in the jig-saw fits into place. The spurious Maserati “special” at Monaco masquerading as an historic 250F, even to looking like one, is something we have been afraid would happen for a long time. Some readers wonder why MOTOR SPORT does not take Historic racing very seriously, but mostly they are people who have built fake cars or are trying sell one. Hopefully those people who organise Historic racing are aware of what is going on and will deal with fake cars accordingly. Calling them “replicas” does not cover up the truth that they are fakes.
A New Austin 7 Book
IN this year of the Immortal Seven it is good to find that a really attractive little book about Austin Sevens has just been published by the 750 MC. Iris called “Austin Seven Competition Cars, 1922-1982” and is by Martin Eyre, with a pleasing look-back Foreword by Bert Hadley, the well-remembered pre-war driver of racing Austin 7s. The idea has been to describe 16 different competition cars in separate chapters, these being the first “works” racing Sevens, the Gordon England “Brooklands” model, the GE “Cup” model, the 1928 Super Sports Austin, the TT Ulsters, the production Ulsters, those 100 m.p.h. and “Rubber Duck” single-seaters, the 120 m.p.h. Jamieson side-valve racers, the sports 75 and the Speedy, the trials “Grasshoppers”, the classic Jamieson-designed Class-H twin-cam single-seaters, Maclachlan’s well-known Special Austin, Jack French’s all-rounder “Simplicity”, the Worden of modem times, the Roll modified Ulster and those Australian single seaters that so impressed us when they came to the British sporting scene last season. There is a data table relating to all these cars, the whole adding up to a well-produced 64-page soft-cover book.
The only place where a greater amount of information of this kind can be found is in “The MOTOR SPORT Book of the Austin Seven” that we published for 75p ten years ago. This covered nearly all the sports and racing Sevens, including the Maclachlan and Brettell’s Specials, and it included reports of lectures on the A7, Holland Birkett’s famous discourse about how to improve them, notes on the “Seagull” A7-powered launch, my history of the racing Sevens, how a converted Chummy was driven at Le Mans and Chaplin raced his 1924/28 Chummy pair, “Mr. and Mrs. Frequently”, four road test reports, and a description of the 750 MC’s first trial etc, in 95 pages. However, this book is out-of-print and obtainable only from the specialist book-shops. So it is nice to have the new one, which is ava lable only from the 750 MC, 16, Woodstock 1 Road, Witney, Oxon, OX8 6DT, for £2.50 per copy, packing and postage 50p extra. — W.B.
The FIA World Cup
ALTHOUGH there is a World Championship for both Formula One and endurance racing competitors, it could be argued that they are not truly “World” Championships as they confine their activities mainly to the Northern Hemisphere with events in Europe and North America. On only two occasions this year has the Grand Prix circus penetrated the Southern Hemisphere (to Brazil and South Africa) and there are no events in the Middle or Far East or in Australasia. Last December the FIA decided to do something about this state of affairs and drafted plans for their new FIA World Cup which will cater for cars loosely based round what we in Britain know as Formula Atlantic and those on the other side of the globe call Formula Pacific.
For the purpose of this new contest, the World will be divided up into four geographic regions: Europe, North America, North Pacific and South Pacific. Each region will run regional championships or series to a common set of technical regulations and the results of these regional events will qualify drivers for entry into the FIA World Cup finals. Each of these regions will annually hold an FIA World Cup race and the total points accumulated in the FIA World Cup rounds, which will take place in September and November 1983 for the first time, will determine the “FIA World Cup Champion”.
The series will cater for single seater racing cars powered by engines currently used in F/Atlantic and F/Pacific: i.e. production four cylinder units with four valves per cylinder, although consideration is being given to increasing the capacity to 2,000 c.c. Obviously concerned about the way chassis development has progressed in other categories, the FIA hopes that the FIA World Cup will thrive as a drivers’ championship and not a contest between manufacturers. We await with interest to see whether this novel new idea is met with equal favour in the various regions: we can understand its appeal in the Pacific and North American areas but feel that Formula 3 is too firmly entrenched in Europe for the series to attract a great deal of attention there.