Kieft GP car makes debut

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The unique Kieft grand prix car, built in 1953/4 but never completed, finally hit the track when it appeared at the VSCC’s Silverstone meeting in September.

The original project was stillborn because Coventry-Climax would not release its 2.5-litre four-cam V8 Godiva engine. It was convinced that the unit wouldn’t be competitive against Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari and Maserati (see page 76). Ironically, one bank of the V8 later became the FPF, one of the best grand prix engines of its era.

Now owned by retired ERA racer Bill Morris, the car is absolutely genuine with its history known from day one. Until Morris acquired it, the car had never had an engine fitted.

Engineer Greg Snape, who works for Morris, has done much of the rebuild and is now entrusted with driving duties. The Aussie raced rear-engined Coopers in his homeland.

Having waited 48 years for the car’s debut, it was fitting that marque founder Cyril Kieft, now 91, was at Silverstone to see the car.

“We never took delivery of the Climax engines. But it’s lovely to be here to see the car run,” said Kieft.

The car will race at selected events in the UK next year.