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Race Retro - Stoneleigh Park 20-22 February 2015

It's All About The People

The London Classic Car Show must have taken the edge off the exhibitors at Race Retro. One or two of the favoutrites were missing. Crossthwaite and Gardiner for one, manufacturers of the impossible dreams, and at the more practical end of the spectrum, Powervamp batteries. But Friday was busy, and several of us on the Mono stand went for a "quick look" at something at were away for a long time having "met somebody". It continues to be a show where the enthusiasts meet up. Sadly, I suspect this may not satisfy the punters at the weekend. Although the rally cars, in the coldest of the cattle sheds, were lining up to be a history of rallying 1970's to 1990s, so hopefully that would have been a dramatic "hook" as they ventured out onto the special stage. After all, whilst London might have a slowly driven ex-Adrian Newey's dad Elan, I reckon that's trumped by a Lancia 037 in action. And by seeing a lot of old friends. The other thing very much in RR's favour is that there are a lot of exhibits which repay a bit of effort in finding out about them, as I've tried to highlight elsewhere in this piece.


The Mono stand was distinctly busy on Friday, with more than a few people drawn in (as last year) by attractive and well-priced racing cars which could be towed away on Sunday. Just to put things in perspective, you could buy the Van Diemen and the Vauxhall Lotus 50 times over for the price of the Miura featured later. As always thanks to the stand manners - Steven Connor (all days), David Cox, Eddie Guest (Friday), Nick Harrison, Douglas McLay (Saturday), Emma and Andrew Cliffe and Jonathan Baggott (Sunday).


Phil Will's Van Diemen FF2000, Eddie Guest's Lola and the ex-Simon Lonnergan VA Howe Vauxhall Lotus Jeremy Goodman and David Cox had a good conversation about RT3's - between them they own at least 5. Julian Cutler and his brother popped by and have lost none of their infectious enthusiasm.
Phil Johnson of Peterborough Motor Club is always welcome - long standing members will recall our traditional season starter of PMC and SUNBAC at Silverstone. The club is still thriving and now organises autotests and other events. Eddie Guest was tempted by another Ford powered single seater Paul Smith (right) of BMTR had a stand aimed at the historic folk, but welcomed several Monoposti. His tyre piece is still a popular element of Startline, and googling it leads many a non-Mono eccentric to waste his time with rambling emails.
The Lancia Monoposto Special behind the Fraser Nash is an early 80's special based on a Lancia Aprilia, shown here because it contains the name Monoposto We aren't the only Monoposto Championship - a rather nice Twincam (sorry, for younger readers that means Lotus Twincam) powered Crossle bore allegiance tom our American Cousins (who are no relation.)  





Slightly not-mainstream
We love people with a different view of life; in fact some people even think we're odd. But it was a pleasure to meet the thoroughly enthusiastic and distinctly unconventional Tom Anable. He rides a Monowheel, which is the device shown below. It's powered by a Honda lawntractor engine with a tyre driving the inside of the wheel. He says it wobbles a bit like a rolling coin until it gets up speed. He's developing it to break the world Monowheel record (currently at 57mph) and says that he would like to do 200mph on (in?) one before he dies. What could possibly go wrong?
Above left, the wheel, left in action and above, Tom, who kindly didn't hit me when the first thing I said to him was "well of course you must be completely mad".





















The Mid-Engine Revolution
The Formula 3 500's of the 1940's and 50's were a genuine revolution in race car design. Light, balanced with (at the time) superb handling, they were where Moss began his career, and when they became old and unwanted (and I wouldn't say this to the really nice chaps on the 500 Owners' Association stand) they were ideal to butcher around and fit a nice Ford sidevalve to make an early Monoposto car. Truly, without them Monoposto wouldn't be what it is.(The writer used to be their treasurer).
Left top, "Pop" Lewis Evans Cooper Mk5 in front of an early 500 "IOTA", whilst (above) the Kieft CK52 brought in swing axles and aforward driving position with great success, followed by the Erskine Starride and One-Off Heyward Comet left.






Featured Marque 1 Chevron
Derek Bennett's Bolton based marque produced a number of exceptionally pretty and effective cars (plus the occassional quite ugly one). They were well represented. Bennett, of course, died in a hang gliding accident in 1978, aged only 45. Odd that such a short career should span 1000cc F3s and ground effect.

Left, chassis 01 B1. Originated in 1965, hence 50 years anniversary.

Right, B25 in Atlantic trim (Keith Harris)

Left B8, right B16 welcomed visitors in the main entrance.


Nice Dallara....

"Our own" Gian Paulo Dallara led the mechanical design team for the Lamborghini Miura, being inspired by the Mini for the engine/gearbox layout. Bertone did the styling and in those days designers put the pen down when they'd finished rather than add loads of superfluous lines and creases.I love the rivets being visible, like an RT1or a B29.

Cheshire Classics had this one for sale at £849,500, and if it doesn't suit you they have other Miuras in stock.




MotorSport Magazine
Besides having quite a good area for a sit down and a cuppa, MotorSport brought out its heavy hitters on Friday, its popular columnists Simon Arron (left) and Nigel Roebuck. I didn't get to see NSR, which is probably just as well because you should never meet your heroes.
They displayed the 1935 Lancia Astura based "Steady Special". An interesting history and not what it might appear. It began life as a big 1930s Lancia limo, had its chassis shortened and the body replaced by a 50's sports racer by Ronald "Steady" Barker in the 50's and was then rebuilt recently as a 30's style sports car. The "patina" is artificial as far as I can tell by googling, it's had an expensive paint job and been "distressed". I really must ask Martin Cliffe what he thinks of all these pretend Lancias.













Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover. Subheadlines and captions are not originated from the named author. We are unable to reproduce results due to copyright reasons. If any pictures are copyright and the owner wishes them removed please email us.