Around and About, September 1977

Tourist Trophy, Silverstone
September 18th is the chosen date for Britain’s only qualifying round in the European Touring Car Championship 1977. A series dominated by BMW’s big coupes since the withdrawal of the Ford Capris, Silverstone will mark the first anniversary of Leyland Cars’ efforts to displace the Munich straight sixes with Coventry V 12s.

Yes, the troubled Jaguars will be out once more. Drivers John Fitzpatrick/Tim Schenken and Derek Bell/Andy Rouse will have little on their minds but how to score the Jaguar XJ 5.3C’s first win.

Once again the opposition will comprise the big BMWs from the “privateers” at Alpina, Luigi and Martino Finotto. At present Finotto and Facetti have won three rounds, Alpina three and Luigi one. Usually Alpina manage to lay on a couple of star names for Silverstone – Harald Ertl/Derek Bell won it for them in 1973 – and it’s hoped that Gunnar Nilsson will have sorted out his F1 career to the point where he can drive the immaculate Alpina car again.

Further down the field there could be a brace of new Group 2 Triumph Dolomite Sprints to watch out for (prepared by Kessler in Switzerland), fighting a pair of BMW 32ois that are also prepared in Switzerland. The VW Sciroccos have been astonishing in speed, if not gearbox reliability, and the Swiss crew of Anton Stocker/Jorg Siegrist, driving just such a car, currently lead the driver’s section of the ETC. BMW and VW are tying on points at present, so if Jaguar do beat the BMWs, it almost certainly means VW will be the marquee Champions this season.

Brands Hatch Six Hours
The World Championship for Makes returns to Britain for the second time this season with a six-hour round at Brands Hatch on September 25th.
Entries were only just beginning to trickle in when we went to Press, but certain entries of the fearsome, turbocharged 935 Porsches from the works Martini, and private Kermer and Loos teams are expected, along with Bevvies of less potent Stuttgart products and a probable BMW 320i Ronnie Peterson and Gunnar Nilsson.

An unfortunate clash with the Zolder round of the European Touring Car Championship means that a tug-O’–war could develop for some drivers. Leyland are likely to have first call on Derek Bell and John Fitzpatrick for Zolder, for instance, assuming the XJ 5.3Cs survive Tourist Trophy at Silverstone the previous weekend, as mentioned above.

Robin Hamilton intends to run the brutish Aston Martin, vindicated since the Silverstone 6 hours by a good finish in the Le Mans 24 hour race. One British entry which has definitely gone in is from Motor Sport’s Clive Richardson and Jeremy Walton (with Win Percy as a possible third driver), who will be running the Spike Anderson-owned Super Samuri Datsun 240Z in which they finished the Silverstone race. More power, less weight, suspension modifications and a long-range fuel tank will hopefully make the old Datsun a little more competitive. There is even the threat of a set of wet-weather tyres, which suggests the race will be dry.
The weekend’s provisional schedule predicts an unofficial practice session late on Friday afternoon (the 23rd), two official Saturday practice sessions (10 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.). The race is expected to start at 12.45 p.m. on the Sunday. Additional spectacle will come form Century Supreme Special Saloons, Formula ford and Shellsport Escorts.

More Pleasure from Porsche
THREE HUNDRED brake-horsepower in a standard production sports car is what the man buys who parts with a cheque for £23,200 for the latest Porsche Turbo. The 1978 model Turbo has its engine capacity increased to 3.3-litres, to give a 15 % increase in power and a torque increase of 20% from 254 lb ft. to 303 lb. ft.

For those fortunates able to afford the Turbo and capable of using the power, the new model is quicker than ever, with a 0-60 m.p.h. time of 5.1 sec. and over 160 m.p.h. claimed. At the other extreme, there are said to be gains in flexibility and low-speed running. An air-to-air intercooler now included in the specification, housed in the bigger rear wing. This reduced the temperature of air entering the engine via the turbocharger.

The 917-type, wider, 12-in. ventilated disc brakes, with finned alloy callipers, have servo fitted for the first time, to reduce braking effort at low speed or with cold brakes.

Air conditioning, stereo radio/cassette, leather upholstery and electrically-operated sunroof are standard.

The complete 911 range is reduced to three models, plus Targa versions of the two “cheaper” models, but not the Turbo. A 3-litre engine replaces the 2.7-litre unit in the bottom of the range, the £12.600 911 SC. This model has the flared wheel arches and all the luxury equipment previously fitted to the now superseded 3.0 Carrera, but softer camshafts have reduced its power slightly, to 180 b.h.p., whilst increasing torque. This model too adopts servo-assisted brakes. Although costing £1,100 more than the 2.7 911 Lux, which it supersedes too, the 911 SC is £1,400 cheaper than the more directly comparable Carrera 3.0.

Another new model is 911 SC but with all the bells, whistles, wings and things of the old Carrera Sport.

The 924 gains a number of improvements, including upgraded interior trim and the adoption of front and rear anti-roll bars and a leather-covered steering wheel as standard. We see with some glee that emphasis is put on “significant improvements to reduce the overall noise levels”, ironic insomuch our criticisms of noise in our 924 road test (May 1977 issue) were somewhat frowned upon by Porsche and reader Mr. G. B. Woolley. A five-speed manual gearbox joins the list of options; we await eagerly a test of a model so fitted, for that was one of the modifications we suggested.

A new version of the 924 called the Lux includes a number of former options, including 6J alloy wheels with wider tyres, tinted windows all round, a rear window wiper and headlamp washers. It costs £7,800 against £7,350 for the standard car.

A Motoring Day at Cheltenham
The Cheltenham area of Gloucestershire will be a mecca of motoring activity on Sunday, September 4th. The Bugatti Owners’ Club hosts a round of the RAC Hill Climb Championship at Prescott (practice on the 3rd), while Sudeley Castle Winchcombe, provides the backdrop to the Jaguar Drivers’ Club XK Register’s annual XK Day.

While speed and noise from exotic – and not so exotic – machinery in action will be the attraction at Prescott, Sudeley will provide a more serene setting for simply drooling over magnificent Jaguars. The major Concours D’Elegance will have classes for XK 120s, 140s and 150s. Other JDC Registers, including the SS, Mk 7/8/9 and Mk ½ will have separate Concours. Spare stalls will be manned by XK specialists and the various castle attractions will be open. The gates open at 10 a.m.

Dongington Park Pre-War Car Festival
Pre-war cars of any description or Leyland cars of any era are invited to take part in a Pre-War Car Festival, to be organised by the MG Car Club Midland Centre of behalf of Donington Park and Leyland Historic Vehicles, at Donington on September 3rd. Entry will be free to this event, which will consist of a road run of 40 miles for pre-war cars and a concours and gymkhana for all entrants. Entry forms are available from P. Kneebone, 5 Penns Court, Penns Lane, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.

Lincolns at Hatfield
The first meeting for Lincolns ever held outside America is to be organised by the Lincoln Zaphyr Owners’ Club, in association with its American parent club, at Hatfield House, Hatfield Herts., on Sunday, September 4th.

The Club hopes to attract Lincolns of all years, thought its main interest is the Lincoln-Zephyr, Continental and cars using the H-series V12 engine, such as Brough Superior and Atlanta.

Shuttleworth salute
As at many other aerodromes all over Britain Old Warden, near Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, will be celebrating the Battle of Britain month with a flying display. What makes Old Warden so special is the Shuttleworth Collection, and the arduous routines that many of their working exhibits will undertake during such a “Flying Day”.

On September 25th a brace of Spitfires will be the highlight of the day, though Yeovilton’s Historic Flight is beautifully represented too with a Hawker Sea Fury and Fairey Firefly. Other airborne displays will come from a 1932 Blackburn B2, two of the astonishing Pitts S-2 aerobatic biplanes and a Japan Airlines hot air balloon.

Over the years mot of our small staff (numbers not height!) have been up to Shuttleworth and thoroughly enjoyed looking around. The Flying Days can be a bit crowded, but a staff writer who went last year was enthralled by the Spitfire display (one a clipped wing Mk5 that is especially suited for low level aerobatics) and a beautiful Messerschmitt ME108. It’s best to take a picnic, or at least something to drink, as the food and drink stalls are hard pressed to cope on warm days.

Admission on Sept. 25th will be £1 for adults, 50p for children. During weekdays the collection can be seen for 50p (adults) and 25p children. Shuttleworth’s collection is open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Allard turbochargers
ALAN ALLARD, for so many years the stalwart of supercharging for road and competition use, is to offer turbochargers for sale in Britain. Unlike the Shorrock and Wade supercharger units in which he and his staff became so involved, the Rotomaster turbochargers come in either a complete bolt-on kit, or (more commonly) as prototype kits. This means a considerable saying in purchase price, but a reliance on Allard technical expertise and advice to build up an installation.

Typical Allard-Rotomaster kits for the road give a claimed 160 b.h.p. for the s.o.h.c. Ford (£382 plus VAT) and the TR7, which kit is slightly more expensive at £418. Allard can supply turbos for most V8s as well as more usual four and six-cylinder engines.

Allard Motor Co. are at 51 Upper Richmond Road, London SW15 2RD. Rotomaster are from California and are a division of the Echlin Co., marketing their equipment in this line as Turbosonic. Aside from the turbocharger compressors and turbines, the company do a range of suitable ancillary parts to improve turbo performance, including exhaust systems and water injection.

More Power for Vauxhalls
BILL BLYDENSTEIN’s expensive engineering exercise to give the high-camshaft, 1.9-litre Opel engine in the Cavalier coupe more capacity and more power (see pages 1116-1118) will be unnecessary for Cavaliers of the near future. Re-organisation of manufacturing facilities by General Motors will see production of Cavaliers for the British market moved to Luton; at the same time Vauxhall’s own slant-four, single overhead camshaft, 1,759-c.c. engines will replace the Opel engines fitted to the previously Belgian-assembled UK models.

The impressive performance of the bored and stroked Blydenstein engine, fitted with a Stage 2 head, should still enable it to show a clean pair of heels to a standard 2.3-litre car. The engine change means, however, that Blydenstein will be able to wring even more torque-laden performance form the Cavalier (in 2.3 form) without the need for £750-worth of special crankshaft, con-rods, pistons and reboring.

Alfa Romeo bulletin
An even stronger appeal to the Alfa Romeo Alfasud f.w.d. Ti saloon is evident with the adoption of the 1.3-litre Sprint version of the Boxer four-cylinder power plant. For ages owners and testers have been saying “very nice but needs more torque”. Now most of those feelings should be fulfilled as the Alfasud 1300 Ti goes on sale from mid-August onward: prices were £2,999.88 at press time.

The engine is exactly 100 c.c. bigger than the normal unit. Its 1.286 c.c is derived from a bore and stroke of 80 x 64 mm. representing an extra 5 mm. stroke. Compression ratio is a 9.2 to 1 – the same as the present 68 b.h.p. Ti – and the carburetion is by a single twin choke Weber 32 DIR as well.

Maximum power is quoted as 75 b.h.p. at 6,000 r.p.m. Peak torque and an extra 7 b.h.p. Alfa Romeo in Britain say that the effect of the bigger engine is negligible in m.p.g. (about 35 overall) but that a standing kilometre should now take 34.2 sec. against 35.6 sec.

Externally the 1300 Ti is the same as the previous model, save a boot badge betraying a capacity increase. Top speed should now be 102 m.p.h.
Alfa Romeo are now also offering a scheme to help new Alfa owners through, the first 24,000 miles. Called Alfa Plus, the idea is to offer everything, bar road tax, within the original purchase price. An intriguing twist to such schemes is the inclusion of service vouchers that can be exchanged free of charge, for routine servicing items (oil filters, a set of brake pads, eight spark plugs, and so on) which should cover the initial 24,000 miles on all models; except the Alfettas, where the scheme covers 27,000 miles.

Typical all-inclusive prices range from the £2,799.81 for the basic 5M to £5,499 for the 2-litre Alfetta GTV.

Lotus Jottings
Lotus enthusiasts in the Tyne-Wear-Tees area are invited to join the newly-formed North-East Lotus Owners’ Club, Contact the Club Secretary, Jim Wilkie, at 12 Coldstream, Ouston, Chester-le-Street, Co, Durham (Birtley 402448).

Lotus have appointed Fibreglass Services, the firm run by the enthusiastic young Miles Wilkins, BSc, from a base near Goodwood (see MOTOR SPORT, April 1975), as sole concessionaires for the Lotus Elite Mk 1, manufactured between 1957 and 1963. Wilkins supplies a very comprehensive spares and restoration service, including the rebuilding of Coventry Climax engines and crashed Elites. He can be contacted at his home, Little Melbury, Sesley Road, Donnington, Chichester, West Sussex (Chichester 86265).

The BARC South Wales Centre is organising a Concours D’Elegance for “any pre-1967 vehicles of interest” at Pontypool Park, Pontypool, Gwent, on Saturday, September 17th 1977.

One of the entries received for the Fribourg and Treyer Brighton National Speed Trials on September 10th is the remarkable Jameson 27-litre Rolls-Royce Merlin Special. This six-wheeled monster (not the tank-engined pseudo Rolls-Royce of notoriety) should make an astonishing sight along the Madeira Drive.
Fribourg and Treyer tell us that a stamped, addressed envelope addressed to them at 16A West Central Street, London WC1A 3JJ, will elicit a free illustrated leaflet about this unique event, the oldest on the British motor sporting calendar.

Long-distance TRs
The TR Register is looking for ideas for a marathon follow-up to a highly successful Silver Jubilee Week-end John O’Groats run, which was entered and completed by no fewer than 21 assorted TRs.

Next year the marquee TR celebrates its own Silver Jubilee. Suggestions for a celebratory TR endurance test so far have included a London-Moscow-London non-stop attempt and a re-enactment of MOTOR SPORT’S own ten capitals in four days marathon. Any other appropriate ideas would be welcomed by Alec Pringle, 120 Cuckmere Way, Hollingbury, Brighton.

A club for Datsun Zs
THIRTY Datsun 240 and 260Zs turned out at the end of July in Ashford, Middlesex, for the first meeting of a new club catering for these hairy-chested Japanese sports cars. The founders of the Z Club were delighted with this initial enthusiasm and have ambitious plans for the future.

Membership details can be obtained from Eddie Miller (owner of a turbocharged 260Z), 3 Ashview Close, Ashford, Middlesex.

The information came from Samuri Conversions’ Spike Anderson, who has been appointed technical adviser to the Club.

John M. Griffiths informs us about the newly-formed Triumph Sports Six Club, which caters for Triumph Vitesse, Spitfire GT6, Bond Equipe, Triumph-based specials (e.g. Spartan), Heralds and the Amphicar. The versatile Amphicar, of which only 12 are believed extant, qualified by virtue of its Triumph running gear. The Club aims to help owners with technical problems, spares and to develop a social calendar. Sports Six was the name of the American market Vitesse by the way.

Membership details from Mrs. Lesley Shooter, 2 Homefield Gardens, Tadworth Surrey.

The Veteran Car Club’s Rally of Norfolk, organised by the Mid-East Section, takes place on September 24th and 25th, starting from the Blakeney Hotel, Blakeney The first leg will take the cars to Holkham Hall, especially opened by Lord Coke for competitors, followed by a scenic coastal run to Hunstanton and a 51-mile afternoon return route to Blakeney.

On Sunday the route is from Blakeney to Norwich via Cromer. By special request of the Dean of Norwich the veteran cars will be on display in the Cathedral Close, where they will be inspected by the Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Norwich.

The BMW Car Club celebrates its 25th anniversary on Sunday, September 4th, at Longleat, Wiltshire, when more than 200 BMW cars are expected to attend, ranging from a 320 of the 1930s to the latest 7-series models. The event begins at 10.30 a.m. and a Concours d’Elegance at 2 p.m.

The Gilbern Owners’ Club will hold its annual Concourse and Gymkhana at Manor Fram, Bradenham, Bucks, (OS 165/823969) on Sunday, September 11tth, from 11.30 a.m.

A caption omitted from page 1106 in this issue should have described the somewhat brutal-looking car at the bottom of that page at “Whittaker’s astonishing Chrysler”.