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Ex-Villoresi Maser is back

An ex-Luigi Villoresi Maserati 4CL will return to racing this season for the first time in decades after an extensive restoration for owner Rodney Smith.

Chassis 1564, the 1938 prototype chassis, was used by several drivers including Villoresi, Felice Trossi and Franco Cortese, but has only raced a few times since WWII.

Now US-based enthusiast Smith has had the engine and ‘box rebuilt by Martin Morris, while Duncan Ricketts has handled the chassis, body and running gear. “We’ve restored it from the ground up,” said Smith. “That whole process has taken a total of three years.”

It was driven by Mark Gillies during the HGPCA test day at Silverstone, but gear-selector problems prevented David Morris from racing it during the VSCC Silverstone meeting two days later.

Villoresi took the car to fourth in the 1940 Tripoli GP and it was later raced briefly in 1946/47 before being put in storage.

Smith also owns 4CL chassis 1566, which has been raced in recent seasons. “1564 is six inches shorter in the wheelbase than 1566, because it was a prototype car built on a 4CM chassis. We’re now giving chassis 1566 a rest,” said Smith, who plans to have 1564 raced regularly throughout Europe.


Repro Birdcage gets ready to fly

Rodney Smith has recently added a Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage replica to his racing stable, which also includes the very real ERAs R2A and R3A.

The Birdcage has been built by Crosthwaite & Gardiner to factory specification, using some original parts but with an all-new chassis.

Smith bought the car a year ago and now plans to have it campaigned by journalist Mark Gillies. “The car is correct to period and we hope to run it in the BRDC Historic Sports Car Championship this season,” explained Smith.

The car was shaken down at the HGPCA test day at Silverstone, but it did not race at the following VSCC meeting after the engine dropped a valve in practice.


Cup Centenary

Around 150 cars from the early years of motoring at the start of the last century are due at Clermont-Ferrand in early June to celebrate the centenary of the last Gordon Bennett Cup.

Running over June 2-5 and organised by the Automobile Club d’Auvergne, the event will revive the spirit of the 1905 Gordon Bennett race. Participants from Europe, Mexico and the United States will cover the same circuit as a century ago, a 90-mile track at the foot of Puy-de Dôme in the Auvergne volcano park.

The field will include five cars that actually took part in the Gordon Bennett Cup races. Two Napier Gordon Bennetts from 1903 will be joined by the Mercedes 60HP in which Count Jenatzy won the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup in Ireland.

From the 1905 race will come a Pope Toledo Gordon Bennett and a PanhardLevassor Z40, which will run for the first time since being restored. In tribute to the car that won the 1905 race, Michelin has commissioned the restoration of one of only two Richard Brasiers left in existence for use in the event.


Walsh champions

Eight former British Hillclimb champions and at least six ERAs are among the early entries for the Shelsley Walsh Centenary celebration event on August 21.

Run over three days, with a British Hiliclimb round on Friday and Saturday, Sunday’s competition will feature classes spanning the 100-year history of the venue.

Mac Hulbert (R4D), Martin Walford (R1A) and David Morris (R11B) head the dedicated ERA class, while other prewar cars include the ex-Sammy Davis MG K3 of Nick Upton and the V12 Delage of Jonty Williamson.

Significant post-war entries among the 160-strong field include Julian Bronson’s Lister-Chevy, Jim Robinson’s Brabham BT31 and David Gould’s’85 title-winning Gould 84G.


Bocar in Blighty

The first race for a Bocar outside the USA was at Silverstone during the VSCC meeting in April. A 1959 Bocar XP5 has been imported into Britain by Dean Butler and was raced by Michael Windsor-Price in the 1950s sportscar race.

Just 12 complete Bocars are believed to have been built by Bob Carnes in Colorado, with 5-litre Chevrolet engines, spaceframe chassis and Porsche 356 front suspension.


Silverstone silverware

Two of the most prestigious trophies in British motorsport will be awarded during the Silverstone Classic over the weekend of July 30/31. The winner of the TGP race will earn the Silverstone International Trophy, while the Group C/GTP winner on Sunday will lift the British Empire Trophy (which was first awarded to John Cobb at Brooklands in 1932). Saturday’s Group C/GTP race will be for the ACO Plate.

The last time the Silverstone International Trophy was run for Formula One cars was in 1978, when Keke Rosberg won in torrential rain. Other trophies during the 17-race weekend will honour the memories of Colin Chapman (Formula Junior), Innes Ireland (Gentleman Drivers Sports and GT), Reg Parnell (BRDC Historic Sports), James Hunt (Grand Prix Masters), Raymond Mays (HGPCA Pre-61 GP cars), Denny Hulme (World Sportscar Masters), Tony Rolt (drum-brake sportscars) and John Cooper (HGPCA Pre ’66 GP cars). The racing will end with the Jack Sears Trophy race for saloon cars.


Monaco 49 return

The Lotus 49 that Jochen Rindt raced to victory in the 1970 Monaco Grand Prix will return to the tracks this summer in the hands of Austrian Jo Willenpart after a complete restoration by Hall & Hall.

The car, chassis number 6, is thought to have last been raced by Tony Trimmer in the 1971 Oulton Park Gold Cup. Now fully restored after decades in private collections, the car will be used in several demonstrations and is likely to race in Grand Prix Masters events.

Willenpart has recently tested his ex-Rindt Lotus 69 F2 car, which has also been restored by Hall & Hall after many years in storage (see p111).


Group C in Italy

Entries are rolling in thick and fast for the Group C/GTP season opener at Monza on May 28-30. American driver Peter McLaughlin has entered his Spice SE90C, which was raced in the WSC in 1991 by Charles Zwolsman Snr and fellow Dutchman Cor Euser along with Brit Richard Piper. Also expected out is Radical Enduro racer Martyn Eyre in his ex-Frank Krämer/Almo Coppelli  Gebhardt-Cosworth DFR — it still retains the distinctive red-and-yellow Momo livery in which it ran in 1992.


Mustang for Mann

Legendary touring car team boss Alan Mann is set for a return to competition this summer in a Ford Mustang in Historic Racing Saloon and Top Hat races.

The 68-year-old is repairing the car after a testing shunt at Goodwood in March when the brakes failed, but is set to be out by July at the very latest. Mann, who became a helicopter dealer after giving up full-time racing, has competed only two or three times in the past 30 years.

Mann is best known for running a range of Fords in the famous red-andgold colours of Alan Mann Racing during the 1960s. “I always tested a lot, but didn’t race very often,” said the still enthusiastic Mann.


Harper for Oporto

John Harper has re-acquired the ex-Stirling Moss Cooper T51 that he raced for three years before selling it to John Beasley, and plans to race the car again this season.

In August 1959 Moss won the Portuguese Grand Prix in the Rob Walker-entered car and Harper, who is now living in France, plans to contest the HGPCA race at the same Oporto street venue.


Historics at Brit GP

A race for 1950s sportscars will again be a feature of the British Grand Prix meeting at Silverstone in July.

For the third year running the BRDC has been asked to put together a support race for cars from its Historic Sports Car Championship at the July 10 event. Up to 44 cars will be allowed to start the race, and coordinator James Beckett of the BRDC is hoping to fill the grid. But the race clashes with the Oporto street event in Portugal, so some drivers may not be able to compete at Silverstone.