Thursday, 24 April 2014

Swiftune Hornet

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Call me perverse, but I've always preferred the booted variants - the Wolseley Hornet and Riley Elf - to the standard Mini bodyshape. There's just something about that stubby tail that really works for me.
And this little red Hornet's pretty cool, isn't it? The open, carefree nature of the Goodwood paddock allows free access to poke about while the car's undressed, its boot and bonnet resting casually by the fence, so we can peer in and see what makes the little racer tick. There's a saucy Swiftune A-series on twin SU carbs, a stripped and caged interior with a sole driver's bucket, a fuel cell in the boot, and a dinky set of Minilites. Everything you need for a bit of lightweight sixties fun, plus room in the boot for your groceries. (I mean, there would be, if it didn't have the fuel tank in there...)

Spotted at 72MM - click here for more photos.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Fulvia Rallye 1.3 HF

Words & pictures - Daniel Bevis

Lancia's jewel-like Fulvia was, like every car in their canon, a mould-breaking and forward-thinking little thing - V4 engines, lightweight construction, Pirelli Cinturato tyres... and the coupé variant was a little peach.
Given Lancia's enthusiasm for motorsport, a variety of homologation models were inevitable; the original Fulvia HF of 1965 featured aluminium doors, bonnet and boot along with Plexiglass windows and a tuned version of the 1,216cc V4 that offered 88bhp. The next evolution was the car that you see here - the Fulvia Rallye 1.3 HF: much the same, but with a new 1,298cc V4 and 101bhp. Further evolutions naturally followed - the 1.6 HF, the Monte Carlo, the Safari - but the Rallye 1.3 HF is arguably the ideal mix of purity and performance. Looks pretty damn good too, doesn't it?

Spotted at 72MM - more photos here.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

TWR's Jaguar XJS racers were brutal, shouty things. Wide, low, mean, absurdly noisy, and about as far removed from the wood-and-leather grand touring pretensions of the base car as you're likely to get. They're pretty scarce though, naturally, so what do you do if you want to get hold of one and stick it in your garage? Why, fake it of course...

This XJS has had over 1,200 hours of work poured into it by Jaguar themselves back in 2009 to turn it into a faithful TWR replica. The '88 V12 is true to racer specs, including modified roof, A-pillars and bulkheads; it's got an FIA rollcage and fire extinguisher system, racing buckets with 6-point harnesses, and beefy brakes. The 5.3-litre V12 has been fettled in period style (AJ6 throttle bodies, stainless downpipes and so on), and the Getrag 5-speeder and Powr-Lok diff would surely meet with Mr Walkinshaw's approval. And look, it's just £44k. That's a lot of retro race car for the cash.

Spotted at 72MM - click here for more photos.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

'66 Cooper S

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Here's a Mini I'd love to know more about - from the outside, it appears to be perfect in all respects... I wonder what's going on under the bonnet?
As you can see, it's a 1966 Cooper S with Minilites and sticky tyres, and the period-appropriate (and oh-so-cool) leather bonnet strap. It's clearly been contemporised inside to make it fit for purpose in a modern context, with that purposeful rollcage and huggy Sparco bucket, but the coolest thing of all is those side-stripes. Aren't they magnificent?
It's difficult for Minis to stand out in an increasingly homogenised modifying world, but this little '66 pulls off the look-at-me trick spectacularly. Wonderful little thing.

Spotted in the car park at 72MM - click here for more photos.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Millecinquecento Abarth

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

This might not necessarily be the first car that pops into your mind when you think of Abarth-tweaked Fiats...
The 1500 (Millecinquecento) was a rather sensible offering from Fiat in the 1960s, aimed to appeal to small families and sales reps - an Italian alternative to the Ford Cortina, if you will. It was a solid and dependable thing, and sold rather well in period. But of course, there was always an enthusiasm for go-faster parts across the spectrum, and Fiat and Abarth were keenly intertwined at this stage - and so it was that the tuner began to offer kits of upgrade parts to owners, in order for them to craft their own Abarth 1500s.

The car you see here is owned by Guy Harman, and may be familiar to some from its various competitive outings at Goodwood. It's a 1962 model that had enjoyed a lot of competition use in Denmark before being imported to the UK in 2012; it was taken in its road-rally state to renowned retro fettlers CCK Historic in order to freshen things up. They made it fully FIA-compliant before turning their experienced hands to optimising the handling - lowering the suspension and playing with the spring rates, tweaking the camber, banding the 4"-wide steel rims to a more helpful 6"... they also threw in an LSD and a fuel cell (with super-cool filler poking through the bootlid), and gorgeously handpainted the Abarth emblems on the wings. Pretty snazzy, huh? And a wonderful car for making enthusiasts scratch their heads and say 'Er, it's an Abarth, but... um...'

Spotted at 72MM - click here for more photos.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Lotus XI GT Breadvan

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

'Built with loving care. Treat like a virgin!!' So says the handwritten note on the dash of this obscure and unusual little race poppet.
The art of the breadvan is something that's eddied around motorsport history over the years, polarising opinions along the way. They operate from a position of pure function - the Ferrari 250 GT Drogo, for example, could never be viewed as anything like as beautiful as the 250 GT SWB upon which it was based, and yet exists within a unique microcosm of intrigue and awe. And the Sunbeam Tiger Le Mans: while not strictly a breadvan shape, its extended rear and Kamm tail make the thing look rather ungainly next to the sylph-like base car. But it's all about lap times.

And what we see here, a breadvan reworking of Lotus' teeny-tiny XI, is one of the most obscure of all. Entirely absent from the racing world for the last half-century, it popped up competition-ready at Goodwood's 72nd Members' Meeting. Interestingly, it originally came about because racing driver Graham Capel wanted to emulate the success of the aforementioned Drogo, turning the diminutive XI into a lightweight shooting brake. It was reasonably successful, but after its last race at Goodwood in 1964 it was converted back to a standard body. Thankfully its current owners - Twyman Racing - were fastidious in their research into the car's history, and have fully restored its unusual junk-in-the-trunk form, complete with period Plumstead Racing livery. Looks pretty natty, doesn't it?
It kicked no small amount of luxurious arse in the Moss Trophy at 72MM too - belying the humble nature of its Coventry Climax engine, it bested all of the Ferraris and, after an hour of racing, crossed the finish line in second place just half a second after the winning Aston Martin DB4 GT. A thoroughly impressive little machine.

Click here for more photos from 72MM.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Citroën BX 4TC

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Citroën BX is a modern marvel. (Well, I say 'modern' - it was in production from 1982-94 - all about perspective, innit?) It took the pillowy, cushiony ride of the DS/CX's mould-breaking hydropneumatic suspension and combined it with some magnificently angular design, with creases so sharp you could juice a lemon on them. And while those in the know may remind you that the silhouette is technically a Volvo in spirit - Bertone designed the Tundra in '79, but Volvo didn't want it after all - you can't argue that the entire bonkers whole isn't unquestionably Citroën through and through.

...and in 1986, they decided to turn it into a Group B monster. Well, what could possibly go wrong? Renault had successfully achieved the same with the 5 Turbo, and Peugeot were taking all kinds of scalps with their 205 T16. So, with tongues poking out of the corners of mouths, Citroën set about reworking the BX into the 4TC.
The rules of multiplication for turbocharged engines (a factor of 1.4, with an overall ceiling of 3.0-litres) saw the 2,155cc engine downsleeved to 2,141.5cc, and the unit was mounted longitudinally rather than transversely, leading to a cartoonishly long nose. The hydropneumatics comprised the unique setup of the SM and, thanks to homologation rules, they had to build 200 streetable versions too.
OK, the 4TC wasn't very successful. It managed a sixth place finish on the 1986 Swedish Rally, but the model only actually competed in three events before Group B was cancelled. The rumour is that Citroën were a bit embarrassed by the 4TC, and sought to recover and destroy as many of them as possible. Whether or not that's true, it's pretty unusual to see one these days.

This one was growling menacingly at the Goodwood 72MM event - click here for more photos.