Around and about, September 1991

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Motor Sport Formula One Meet

We are delighted to announce that Motor Sport will be sponsoring the HSCC’s final championship round at Silverstone on Saturday, September 28. One of the very best historic meetings of the year, it features a 15-lap race for pre-’85 Formula One cars. Entries already include the only Osella racing in this country, and Don Wood’s unique DFV-engined Minardi M185.

Other races pit F1, F2 and F5000 cars of the pre-1971 era together, as well as road sports, standard and modified, the HSCC Novice series, a round of the Classic Championship and a round of the Top Gear Heritage Challenge which is being filmed by the BBC.

A one-off pre-’73 Lotus 7 race is a new departure with classes for all engines.

In addition, we will be holding two Concours d’Elegance. The first boasts 100 road cars, with prizes going to those adjudged to be the top three. And, in what we believe to be a unique scheme, we will also be holding a concours for racing cars, with some 20 vying for the top three prizes.

The cost of entry is £7, but if you flourish your copy of September’s Motor Sport or that week’s Motoring News on the day, drivers can get in for £4.

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HSCC’S Birthday

The Historic SCC celebrated its 21st birthday at Donington Park on July 20/21, with a commemorative 10-lap race for sports cars to the one-time Griffiths Formula. Guy Griffiths, who originated this formula for racing such cars as C and D-type Jaguars, Aston Martins, Frazer Nashes, Allards, Healeys and the like, at a time when they were under-valued and might well have been scrapped, was the Guest of Honour. He recalled that the first race to his formula was run off at Castle Coombe in May 1966 and won by Neil Corner in his D-type Jaguar, the 1991 race was won by Mike Freeman’s 1959 Jaguar-powered Lister-Costin. He was awarded a photograph of Stirling Moss in the Empire Trophy-winning Le Mans Replica Frazer Nash, taken by Guy, who commented that if races for such cars had not been organised many of these wonderful cars would not have survived, or would have been butchered. Perhaps the auction houses should make a presentation to Griffiths!

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Historic Rally for RAC

The first international historic special stage rally to be held in Great Britain will be flagged away from Harrogate this November when the Historic Rally Car Register runs the RaIly Britannia.

This will take the form of a one-day event running two hours ahead of the RAC Rally on the first day. A planned 100 car entry will tackle six of the spectator stages and should provide a popular sideshow for the expected 90,000 spectators.

The Register has held a rally based on one of the RAC’s stages for the past five years, but this is the first time it has organised a special stage rally on the international stage.

Entries are now open for cars manufactured before the end of 1966. For further information contact Alison Woolley, Tibberton Court, Gloucester, GL19 3AF. (Tel.: 0452 79648).

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New Collectors’ Car Showrooms

During the past six years as a senior member of Coys of Kensington’s sales team, Gregor Fiskin has handled countless sales of important cars and also organised their many successful international auctions, but he has now made the big jump and opened up his own showroom.

Located in Queen’s Gate Place Mews, Fisken opened his showroom on 1st August, on the site previously inhabited by CAR Howard. It is his intention to offer a wide range of cars, dealing in all the great marques, both pre and post-war with an emphasis on the more sporting models. He is joined by Peter Bradfield, formerly of CAR Howard International who brings with him a broad knowledge of vintage vehicles.

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Seven Go Green

A green Caterham 7? It sounds unlikely, but it’s finally happened. Caterham have gone to Rover for the 14th type of engine to be fitted to the Seven, and this time it boasts a catalytic converter. Borrowed from the Metro GTi, the 1400cc K-series unit revs to 7200 rpm, useful headroom since the twin-cam 16-valver’s torque peaks at a high 5000 rpm. It is lighter than the more powerful Vauxhall 2-litre now on offer, so the new machine, though small, is not slow. The modest 103 bhp hauls the skimpy machine to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, despite being the cleanest ever product from the tiny Surrey company.

Most companies relish a chance to update the look of their product; Caterham’s challenge is to hide every evidence of the work which goes into a new project. For the in-line-engined Seven, the Metro’s transverse engine received a new sump and bell-housing to mate with the existing five-speed Ford gearbox, retaining the same angle of block inclination. A sinuous exhaust manifold leads forwards and then folds back to a tiny soup-can of a catalytic converter, squeezed between the block and the chassis. The closer the cat is to the block, the quicker it swings into action, and Caterham believe they have got theirs closer than anyone so far.

A new silencing system was required to meet EC rules. Two thin underfloor pipes lead to twin silencers behind the rear axle, while intake air for this, the first injection engine in a Seven, is ducted from the centre tunnel inside the cockpit to minimise those gargling noises. New suspension geometry, springs and dampers complete the mechanical changes, the De Dion axle located by A-frame and radius arms now being standard. 6J alloy wheels come with 185/60 HR14 Goodyears, but can be swapped for HPC-spec 205/45 ZR16 covers.

Prices for the UK “customer completion” package (involving a weekend’s work) begin at £13,883, though the cat version is £490 extra. If you buy the cheaper kit version, Caterham fit the cat when you take it for its build check.

Inevitably there is a new race class for K-cars, aimed at novice drivers, using sealed engines and control tyres. Cars must be road-registered and taxed, and will compete for several Rover trophies. — GC

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Heritage Motor Centre

The first step in the creation of the new Heritage Motor Centre for the world’s largest collection of British cars was taken in late July when Sir Graham Day, Chairman of the Rover Group, cut the first turf for the Centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire.

If plans reach fruition the Centre will have 300 vehicles which reflect the history and development of the British motor industry from its beginnings in 1896 to the present day. The Centre will also house a vast collection of archival material of many million individual records and provide an unparalleled educational facility for specialist academic research into the motor industry. It will also be a major leisure attraction with spacious grounds, adventure and picnic areas and a “rough road” track for demonstrations of Land Rover four-wheel drive vehicles, all within a countryside park setting. It will be open to the public from Spring 1993 onwards.

The Centre is scheduled to be open to the public by Spring 1993, by which time the existing Heritage Motor Museum, at Syon Park, London, which houses less than half the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust collection, will be closed.

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Improved Status for Longleat Historic Rally

The RAC MSA has agreed to the 182 Classic Rally Car Club’s request to upgrade the Longleat Historic Rally to National status upon the basis of this year’s event. The club is therefore still on schedule for turning the event into a full International Historic stage rally in 1993.

The upgrading means that the club will promote two rallies on the same weekend of 29th February/lst March. The National will be a two day event and will offer 74 stage miles over some 10 stages (4 stages totalling 74 stage miles on Saturday and 6 stages totalling 48 miles on the Sunday) while the Restricted event will cover the same route, but just on the Sunday. The organiser’s ultimate goal is to be a European Championship event covering some 100 stage miles over 2 days.

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