Grahame Goudie’s iconic Alan Mann racing saloon is edging ever closer to completion
The best laid plans, and all that… Given the leisurely pace at which XOO 346F’s restoration began – and several lengthy interruptions along the way – it might surprise regular readers that I’d been hoping to have the car ready in time for the Historic Sports Car Club’s Brands Hatch meeting, towards the end of September.
As I explained last month, I have no intention of racing the car – it can’t compete without a rollcage, and as I’m hell-bent on maintaining original specification I won’t be fitting one of those. As the HSCC had a special 50th anniversary race for the Ford Escort, however, it would have been nice to have the car at the event for people to see, but it wasn’t to be. There have been a few frustrating little hurdles, but nothing that can’t be overcome and in time I intend to demonstrate the car at appropriate events.
As things stand, it isn’t too far from completion – although the engine is about to be taken out and will be going up to Init Racing in Northampton for some dyno work. The company is run by Chris Gilbert, once of Ilmor, and he’ll be making some final checks before the car is screwed fully back together.
On the subject of originality, there have been some interesting quests during the time I’ve owned the car – because some of its parts were from unlikely sources. The inner rear wheel arches, for instance, come from a Mk1 Ford Transit van, although they weren’t too hard to find.
The trickiest thing to locate was probably the 140mph speedometer, which came from a BSA Gold Star – specifically an American export model. I was desperately trying to identify what I needed from a photograph and one day went to a motorcycle autojumble at Kempton Park. Somebody pointed me towards a chap that dealt exclusively in gauges. He took one look at the photo, recognised immediately what it was and, remarkably, had one available for sale. I’d been looking for about two years and ended up finding one reasonably close to home…
The belt-driven alternator came from a Triumph motorcycle. Its output isn’t much, but it was enough to cope with a race meeting – and Alan Mann Racing used it because it was small and light, which was typical of the team’s inventiveness.
That applied to the fire extinguisher, too. Period rules said that cars had to be fitted with one, but AMR opted for something absolutely tiny – barely enough to put out a cigar, let alone a 1960s fuel fire. It was a matter, as ever, of saving weight.
“A switch was connected to the stop lights, which could be turned off so that nobody could see where the driver was braking. Graham Hill’s idea…”
One thing I have still to find, although it won’t prevent the car running, is a period-correct gearbox. It is presently fitted with a four-speeder, but raced with a five-speeder developed from the Corsair 2000E, so in due course I’m hoping to get one of those.
The whole process has been a constant education – and has taught me a great deal about the spirit of racing in the 1960s. The interior is now virtually complete and, just beneath the dash, you can see a small hole where a switch was once mounted. It was connected to the stop lights, which could be turned off manually so that nobody could see where the driver was braking – Graham Hill’s idea, I believe.
As it was on the car first time around, it’s probably best that I replicate it…
Featured regularly in Garagista, Warren Stean’s Jordan 195 has been awaiting a few parts – not least its Peugeot V10 engine – at the Tour-de-Force workshops in Bedford. Motor Sport will revisit the story very shortly, when there is more progress to report.
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