MOTOR SHOW 82
It used to be the case that the launching of a new model actually took place on the manufacturer’s stand at one of the important Motor Shows. Today. not only have those in the trade already seen, and sometimes driven, the supposedly secret product, but the general public too will have been fed more-or-less unofficial leakages, together with grainy photographs of prototypes in testing. All of this rather diminishes the excitement to the level of publishing in The Times an engagement which has long been a fact. What the Show does provide is an opportunity to compare side-by-side the offerings of rival manufacturers, all presented in what is hoped to be the most tempting possible manner. Whether the -gift-wrapped’. approach sells individual cars is debatable, but inasmuch as it reminds the motorist that his can will soon be out of date, it must be of benefit to the industry.
To this end, it is the aim of every company to have something new to display, and Ford certainly have this year. On the crest of the tidal-wave of publicity for the boldly-styled Sierra, the XR4 finally took its bow as the sporting model in the new range. Powered by an injected version of the 2.8-litre V6, the three-door hatchback develops 150 PS and boasts a five-speed ‘box and ventilated front discs, necessary on low-drag cars. Externally, it is the double-deck rear spoiler which sets she XR4 apart, and which helps to make the car even more slippery than the base models.
Following the success of the XR3, Ford have decided to delete it — but only to introduce the XR3i, on which the power goes up to 105 PS, top speed is increased to over 115 m.p.h., and, with the aid of an over-run fuel cut-off valve, consumption is better also. Suspension alterations mean that the car sits lower than before, but the only other clue to the change is the discreet ‘i on the tailgate. Should that package not satisfy you, you might look at the 551600i. Hottest new Escort yet, Ford hope it will make its mark in Group A racing. Certainly its 50-profile tyres, striking alloy wheels and enlarged rear spoiler mark it out, while a 115 PS CVH power unit combined with competition suspension should rnaintain the reputation of the Ford Motorsport department.
In the face of the current wave of turbochargers, Lancia are promoting the virtues of supercharging with their Trevi Volumes saloon. Their claim is that because of the wide Spread of power available at low engine speeds, the system is very fuel-efficient, and they are reinforcing their confidence by using it in the Lancia Rally, an impressive mid-engined two-seater with which they have contended the European Rally Championship. Since 200 of these must be built in order to compete, some will be available as road-going versions, and with 205 PS pushing the car up to 137 m.p.h., it will be a lucky man why, manages to obtain one.
Much more easily obtainable will be the Panther Kallista, which aims to fill the gap left by the demise of the MI/B, Midget, and TR7. Reminiscent of the old Luna, the Kallista is now based on Ford mechanicals, offers more room under its all aluminium body, and is cheaper! A 2.8-litre version will be /6,800, but if 96 PS is enough power, then a mere /5,850 will enable you to enjoy open-air motoring in the 1.6. Another manufacturer adding fuel-iniection to its range is Audi, whose sporting four-seater C9u1se will be ,toned by an injected version
capable of 122 m.p.h. using the unique five-cylinder 2.2-litre engine. Acceleration from 0-60 m.p.h. is of the order of 9.1 seconds, while fuel-consumption averages 21.2 m.p.g. on the urban cycle and 43.3 m.p.g. at 56 m.p.h. An impressive list of equipment is standard on the Coupe, including electric windows, central locking, sunroof, alloy wheels, and headlamp washers.
Big brother of the Coupe, the four-wheel-drive Audi Quattro could be seen for the first time with right-hand-drive. Many of those who have driven the Quattro in its original left-hand-drive only form commented that it seemed no handicap, but this latest modification will dispel any reservations that potential customers might have had. Otherwise, changes are limited to the addition of two-stage differential locks, and a revised headlamp layout with twin lamps under a single lens. Attracting the greatest attention, however, was the new Audi 100. This model, claim the company, is the most aerodynamically efficient production can eyes, with a drag-factor of 0.30, an improvement of 30 per cent over the European average. Such a big step has naturally required a huge investment of time and money, particularly in the development of the revolutionary flush-glazing system which is crucial to the
smooth airflow over the car, and which was the object of intense interest to a contingent of Japanese motor executives visiting the Show. The already pleasing little Astra further benefits from the SR treatment from General Motors, gaining a 90 PS 1.6-litre engine and a new wide-ratio gearbox as well as the black cosmetic treatment of the Opel Kadett SR it replaces. The Opel Manta, on the other hand, has been given a smaller engine in the interests of economy, but designed on a new principle seas to combine that benefit with less noise and wear while suffering no loss of performance. The unit is known as the LET engine, the letters standing for Low End Torque, and has been designed to run efficiently at lower than usual speeds. According to GM, the 1.8 LET unit, which replaces the previous 2.0-litre in the Manta, will produce nearly 90 per cent of its torque at only 2,000 r.p.m.
Having campaigned a two-litre version of the little 343 in European rallycross events for some time, Volvo were displaying the production model. the 360, alongside the 1400 c.c. 340s. The sporting version is known as the 360 GLT, and uses the Bosch fuel-injection system to push the power output to 115 PS. In addition to she almost obligatory front and rear spoilers, the GLT capitalises on the well-balanced transaxle layout with lowered suspension, gas rear shock.
absorbers, and low-profile tyres.
One car which was something of a surpise at the Show appeared on the Aston Martin l.agonda stand. No, it was rota replacement for the venerable V8 — although it shared the same stand, its humble origins meant that it was firmly fenced off from the more exclusive products of the group. It was the latest exercise of Tickford, AML’s coachbuilding subsidiary, and was a rather dramatic restyling of a Capri 2.8i. By utilising a turbocharger, power is boosted to 205 PS, with 60 m.p.h. arriving in “about six seconds”, and 140 m.p.h. not so long after that. Better axle location plus a limited-slip differential should help keep it on the road and avoid damaging the elaborate body panels which impart
• something of a road-racer look. Inside the 2.8T are to be found the ubiquitous Recaro seats, trimmed in Connolly hide, and a walnut dashboard and although the example on the stand is the only one built so far, it is hoped to offer them in a few months time at around £14,000. In the same hall was to be found the Lotus stand, always the focus of much attention. This year, the Elite, Esprit and the superb Esprit Turbo remain substantially unchanged; instead, it
is the turn of the Eclat “Excel” to take the stage. The Eclat, while andoubtedly a clever package, was never satisfactory visually, and Colin Chapman’s development team have done an excellent job of remodelling it so that the now-beautiful body reflects the considerable engineering improvements they have wrought. The rear suspendon benefits from experience gained with the Turbo Esprit and now uses an upper link so that the half-shaft no longer carries cornering loads. The 2.2-litre 16-valve power unit is unchanged, but with a more efficient transmission, lightened bodyshell, and better drag co-efficient, the overall performance is better in all respects — for instance, the 0-60 m.p.h. time comes down from 7.5s to 7.0s. Visually, the car has a softer nose and new window-line, together with remodelled rear quarters and boot section, all of which combine to make the Eclat Excel a most desirable grand tourer.
An automatic transmission that is more economical than a manual gearbox — that is BMW’s claim foes soon-to-be-available option on the 7-series saloons. This is made possible by a mechanical clutch which “bridges” the torque converter in the overdrive fourth gear. This ratio is so high that at 100 m.p.h. the 735i engine is turning at only 3.020 r.p.m. A number of small aerodynamic improvements further increase economy, the most obvious of which is a redesigned front grille. On a separate stand, but also BMW based, was the Observer Coupe, commissioned by the magazine of that name to explore civilised open-air motoring. The solution developed by MGA, the Coventry-based design company, has a glass roof and rear light which both retract into the boot at the press of a button, overcoming the usual problems of fold-down canvas hoods. The only drawback is that the side-rails are fixed, so that it is no easier to get in and out of than the coupe.
On the Ferrari stand, a casual glance might suggest that there was little change, but he fact close scrutiny revealed the legend “Quattrovalvole” on the tail panels of the 308 GTB and GTS and the 2+2 Mondial. All of these models boast the recently developed 32-valve engine, as standard, which endows them with more power (240 PS) and substantially improved economy, to the point where the 155 m.p.h. 308 almost rivals family-car frugality at 23.7 m.p.g. overall) As for the 400i, Modena engineers have concentrated on improving performance at lower revolutions by revising gear ratios, and have developed a hydropneumatic self-levelling rear suspension for increased comfort. The flagship of the marque, the BB512i, remains unchanged.
The 911 SC Cabriolet was the star of Porsche’s display (apart of course from the 956 with which they have just won the World Championship for Makes) and although mechanically identical with the existing coupe, seems set to further enhance the success of the classic 911. Meanwhile, demand for the new 944 has been such that the Turbo version of the 924 has been discontinued, leaving the 911 the only turbocharged model. Yet again, claims of better performance and economy are made for the ’83 version, with figures of 25 m.P.8. plus possible.
Disappointingly, the Maserati Biturbo was not tube seen, due to transport problems. A compact 2+2, this technically interesting car looks as tire will be good value for the enthusiast when it finally available here. Instead. a QUattrOpOrte features on the stand: quite the opposite of the Biturbo, it is a full five-seater hear-door limousine offering sumptuous high-speed travel for a fortunate few. — G.C.
Historic Grand Prix Cars
THE first B-type Connaught appeared in August 1954 and caused quite a stir in the motor racing world because of its all-enveloping streamlined single-seater bodywork. This was BI and though Rodney Clarke drove it around the Goodwood circuit on a demonstration it was not ready to race, or to be more precise Connaught Engineering were not ready to race. The small firm, situated on the old Portsmouth Road just outside Ripley in Surrey, was financed by Kenneth MacAlpine partly as a hobby and partly to pay for his own personal racing programme, but money was not unlimited so the racing team was run on a tight budget. They had been quite successful in the 1950-53 years of Formula Two, but it strained their
resources to the limit when they embarked on a new design for the 1954 Formula. Much was pinned on the Coventry-Climax “Godiva” V8 engine for the new 2,-litre Formula, and when it was obvious that it was never going to become available Connaught Engineering had to hastily switch roan Alta engine being built by Geoffrey Taylor. Ins joint effort the 2,-litre 4-cylinder engine was developed by Connaught and Alta and this unit was installed in B1, which had double-wishbone and coil-spring front suspension and a de Dion rear suspension sprung on torsion bars. A pre-selector gearbox was mounted at the rear, just ahead of the chassis-mounted differential unit and the Alta engine was mounted well forward in the tubular ladder-type chassis frame, with the driving position also well forward, virtually in the centre of the wheelbase. Connaught were well advanced in steering, road-holding and handling theory and believed in low polar-moments of inertia, and basic understeer with a bias towards neutral steer.
The first B-type did not race until 1955, by which time three more cars had been built. B2 another “streamliner” for MacAlpine, B3 also with the all-enveloping streamlined bodywork for Leslie Mace. and 1,4 for Rob Ilgallter with a conventional single-seater body. Underneath, all the cars were the same, except that Walker’s car had a smaller fuel tank capacity as he did not intend to race it in 300-mile Grand Prix events. The following year Connaught built three more B-types but by this time they had abandoned the fully-enveloping bodywork as they found the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. It was Particularly vulnerable in accidents, even minor ones, and cost a lot of time and money to repair, while handling at race meetings was a major headache as the complete upper half lifted off in one piece and, tthart from needing four mechanics to deal with it, there was never anywhere to put it when it was removed. The 1956 cars were B5, 136 and B7 and that was the sum total of B-types built, for in 1957 the firrn got into financial difficulties and before the whole thing became a total disaster Rodney Clarke wisely &Wed the firm up. Of the set en B-types built it is B3 with which we deal this month.
Connaught B-type 1955 Chassis No. B 3 Engine Connaught/Alta and Jaguar 0-type
As mentioned, this car was built to the order of Leslie Mare, who had previously owned an A-type Connaught, and his main activity was in the smaller National meetings rather than Grand Prix events, but none-the-less the car was built to full Formula One specification and, unlike the prototype when it first appeared in 1954, it had the latest Dunlop alloy disc wheels. Leslie Mare raced the car in small events, going as far west as Davidstow Airfield in Cornwall and east to Snetterton. Naturally enough he took part in his own Grand Prix, at Silverstone, but retired when he spun off the airfield track. He ran in the Gold Cup race at Oulton Park in 1955, but once again spun off the track into retirement. At this time the winter Tasman races in New Zealand and Australia were very popular and were run to Formula Libre rules, so Mace had the 4-cylinder Alta engine removed by Connaught Engineering and a 3.4-litre D-type Jaguar unit installed, still retaining the all-enveloping streamlined bodywork and the longer engine fitted in remarkably neatly, even though the two long external exhaust pipes were a his of an afterthought. Down-under Mare finished fourth in one race, but retired in another with trouble in the Jaguar oiling system. Returning to the UK Mare did not race again and subsequently Connaught Engineering bought B3 off him and it returned to the Ripley works and became an experimental car. For the 1957 season the works team comprised Bl, B2, B5, B6, and B7 and a full season of Grand Prix events was planned, the keynote of which was assured starts for three cars in every race with guaranteed starting money an that the team could plan on being self-supporting. Adding B3 to their existing cars meant that they could ring the changes on two sets of three cars, thus ensuring a race-worthy trio at all the races. While the other cars had normal slim single-seater bodies, all thoughts of continuing with the “streamliner” having been abandoned, B3 was fitted with a one-off body designed on an interesting aerodynamic theory of the time. Its original all-enveloping body was removed and scrapped, and the Jaguar engine disposed of, a Connaught / Alta 4-cylinder taking its place. This engine actually came from B1 which had been destroyed in a fire at Syracuse. In its new guise B3 appeared at Goodwood for the BARC Easter meeting, in unpainted form, driven by Stuart Lewis-Evans, and ran third but annexed the lead when the two cars ahead ran into trouble. The new bodywork had the widest part just ahead of the rear wheels and it then tapered away to the rear, while the front was very low and chisel-shaped and in side elevation the line of the body rose constantly to the tip of the tail. It was referred to as being “dart” shape, though Autosport unkindly dubbed it the “toothpaste tube”, while at the factory is was called “Moby Dick” for obvious reasons. After Goodwood it was painted Connaught green and it formed part of the team for the Monaco Grand Prix, again driven by Lewis-Evans. In deference to the confined spaces on the Monte Carlo circuit the long chisel nose was replaced by a short blunt one which was less vulnerable, and speeds round the Principality were such that aerodynamic stability did not cause any problems. As so often happens at Monaco it was a race of attrition and “Moby Dick” finished fourth out of six finishers, the last
of which was not actually running.
Without warning two major Grand Prix events, the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps and the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. were cancelled due to financial problems and this put the Connaught team into a quandary for their whole existence was geared to a full season of racing. The loss of income from two major events tipped the scales, and before the firm became engulfed in debt Clarke closed it down. All the cars were race-prepared and an auction sale was held and B3, still in its Monaco form with blunt nose and “toothpaste tube” bodywork, was bought by B. C. Ecclestone, along with B7 a normal “Syracuse” type car. Our “Bernie” intended to run a Formula One team with Stuart Lewis-Evans as his principal driver, but the cars were no longer competitive in Grand Prix events so the idea never really got off the ground, though B3 did have some further outings during 1958. Lewis-Evans drove it in the Tasman series, retiring in the New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore when the oil pressure disappeared and finished third in the Lady Wigram Trophy. At the 1958 Easter Goodwood meeting he again drove B3 and finished fifth, and then in the Aintree “200” Paul Emery drove the car and finished fifth. It was entered for the Monaco Grand Prix for American Bruce Kessler to drive, but it did not arrive and he and Emery shared Ecclestone’s other car B7, but neither of them could qualify. In the British Grand Prix Ivor Bueb drove B3 but retired with loss of oil pressure in the pre-selector gearbox and by this time Ecclestone realised he was not going to get anywhere with the old Connaughts so they were put up for sale. B3 had one more outing in 1958 when Tony Skelton competed with it in a Formule Libre race at the last Brands Hatch meeting of the year and then it disappeared into what can be called the “club racing world”. It was still exactly as it had last run as a works car, at Monaco, with the short blunt nose cowling and the long tapering and rising tail.
During this time Rodney Clarke had emigrated to Jamacia where he went in for property dealing, but eventually he returned home and began to collect Connaught “souvenirs”. Among these was B3, which he kept at his motor showrooms in Guildford, along with other B-type Connaughts. Eventually he sold B3, minus its engine, to John ,Harper who installed a Jaguar engine and ran it in Historic racing events.
While Harper undoubtedly had an historic car, its history was muddled, though the details were clear. The car was in its 1957 form outwardly, but mechanically was in its 1956 form, the two entities being very different. After much heart-searching and taking into account the scarcity of 21/2-litre Connaught / Alta engines and their fragility, and the ready supply of Jaguar engines, John Harper had Maurice Gomm rebody B3 with an all-enveloping “streamliner” body as it had been Bard with originally when it was built for Leslie Mace. With its present Jaguar engine it now stands as B3 the Tasman car, born out of 83 the 1955 Grand Prix car. On the sidelines Harper has the “toothpaste tube” bodywork and if a 21/2-litre Connaught / Alta engine appears he then has the possibility of creating B3 in it 1957 Monaco Grand Prix form.
Whatever combination of bits are used, B3 in some form or other still lives and still races. Very soon after finishing the streamlined bodywork Harper discovered to his cost the major drawback of Connaught’s original 1954 idea. He was involved in a minor accident of someone’s else’s making, at Brands Hatch, and the bodywork suffered in consequence, but it has since been straightened out. — O.S.J.
STEWART WRIGHTSON 4-HOUR RELAY RACE
NOW that there is such a proliferation of rival formulae in racing, grids tend to be closely matched. The ultimate examples of this are of course the various one-make championships such as the Unipart Metro Challenge. It was interesting, therefore, that the two races held at Oulton Park on October 2nd should be so diverse. The first was a round of the Champion of Oulton Formula Ford 1600 series, involving almost identical machines, while the main event was the Stewart Wrightson 4-hour Relay Race, in which a range of widely differing vehicles competed on handicap. The object of such a race into accumulate as many laps as possible, using a team of cars which can be interchanged freely as long as only one is on the track at a time. Winner of the Formula Ford race was Richard Peacock in his Crossle, who beat the Van Diemens of David Mellor and Martin Allinson into second and third respectively. Attention next *turned to the relay teams, of whom the Chevrons were on scratch, with a big gap to the next team, of 14 credit laps. Maximum credit laps went to the Vintage Spent Car Club who fielded three Alvises, an Aston, a Riley Snipe and a Frazer Nash Ti’ replica.
The grid was flagged away under an overcast sky at 1 p.m. and soon settled to a steady pace, presenting the unusual sight of mid-engined sports-racing cars such as the Chevrons tangling with road cars as diverse as Aston Martin DB4s and the Austin A35 of Tim Blackburn. The first casualty was Geoff Mansfield’s TR3A which retired after hitting the armco at Deer Leap. Being a handicap event, the commentators had the full responsibility of trying to make things comprehensible to the spectators and, indeed, coped very well. Interim positions took into account a proportion of the credit laps, and showed that Team Ginetta had taken the lead from the organising club, Lancashire & Cheshire Car Club, who included a rally Chevette in their line-up. Impressive for their silence were the Turbos of Dealer Team Saab, although the shriek of a locked tyre betrayed how close Andrew Grocott came to spinning at Fosters. The same tight corner saw the VUolseley 15/50 of Chris Logue mount the outer kerb, but he continued with undiminished speed back on to the circuit. Although Team Chevron were leading on the road, it was the Ginettas who retained first, pursued by the Escort / Golf Lotus Team “Cheshire Vagrants.” David Ellis was piloting his thunderous V8 Aston, untouchable on the
straights, but not as nimble as the little Chevrons in negotiating traffic.
By half-way, L&CCC, the home team, were challenging for the lead, while the TB Register had pulled themselves up into third, pursued by the VSCC. It was a pleasure to watch the D-Type of David Duffy flying the flag for the Jaguar Drivers Club, although the team were not really in the hunt on corrected laps. The Chevrons seemed to have an uphill struggle against their handicap, being .appreciably faster than their rivals but never figuring on the leader board, and in his determination to rectify this. Richard Dodkins spun off at Old Hall and could not restart for some minutes.
For a while, Grahame Dowler in his Midget managed to hold off Ellis’s yellow Aston by dint of sticking firmly to his line, but inevitably the power of the big machine told in thread. It was noticeable that, mechanical problems excepted, the faster teams kept each of their cars out for regular periods. The Saabs, on the other hand, were making more changeovers than anyone, which did not improve their average. Safety first Racing were caught out by an unexpected pit-stop with only 13 minutes to go, when one of their Midgets pulled in and no replacement was ready. losing them perhaps half a lap before Max Tyler was strapped in and sent off to rejoin the fray. After nearly four hours of racing, the final minutes were amongst the most exciting, the VSCC suffering their second misfortune at Fosters only seven minutes before the flag fell. In practice, Rob Dean’s Alvis Silver Eagle had damaged a wheel, and it was another Alois, John Brydon’s Speed 20 Special, which came to grief in the final dash. The balance-weights flew off the front off-side wheel, and the sudden and unexpected tutle-shinuny sent the car tail-first into the armco, and it was retired. Meanwhile, Aston and Ginetta were intent on a fighting finish and the Saabs continued to swop drivers. Adam Wiseberg was lucky to avoid black-flagging, as the boot-lid of his MGA was standing on its left-hand edge, but it seemed secure enough. The last pit-stop of all was by Richard Thwaites, who, after a steady, neat and fast drive in his Chevron 86, was replaced with only three minutes to go by Richard Dodkins. Team Ginetta took the flag and overall victory at 5 p.m., local clubs being second and third, with a ladies team fourth.
The handicapping produced a close array over the rest of the field, although Team Chevron might have expected more recognition for their top road-distance performance. — G.C.
Ras.: 1st — Team °Mem. 214
1st — Team °Mem. 214 laps 2nd — Lanes and Cheshire CC, 208 hips 3r4 — Cheshire Vagrants, . laps 4th — Lenhain Storage BWRDC. 204 laps