abarth


Brooklands, the birthplace of British motor racing, is home to a fascinating museum and the very impressive Mercedes-Benz World. Every October the Museum with Autoitalia Magazine organise a motorsport day at the Museum and on the test track at Mercedes-Benz World. All sorts of competition cars are invited to the event and this year I took along my MG SV.

IMG_7717.JPG

Queuing up for some hot laps on the MBW test track. The broken concrete circuit is part of the original Campbell road circuit. Note the variety of other competition cars. Not sure the standard F Type and Testerosa count!

IMG_7719.JPG

In the paddock the variety continues. Note the top fuel dragster. When the engine is running the pit crew need to wear gas masks.

IMG_7721.JPG

This fearsome Fiat 500 Abarth looks like it is on steroids. It has a 1.8L 220 bhp engine!

IMG_7720.JPG

A very smart MG M Type Midget Le Mans. A similar car won the 500 Mile Race at Brooklands driven by Lord March’s grandfather, Freddy.

IMG_7725.JPG

Alfa Romeos 8C and 4C

IMG_7728.JPG

TT Legend Joey Dunlop’s Ford Transit complete with smart looking BSA

IMG_7722.JPG

Two more Fiat 500 Abarths, one luke warm and the other hot!

IMG_7724.JPG

MG SV in front of the iconic Brooklands Club House

IMG_7730.JPG

JPS Team Lotus transporter. The stock car isn’t quite a Lotus 72.

IMG_7731.JPG

A team Lotus JPS Motorhome, former home to Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson.

IMG_7726.JPG

A miraculous survivor of a time when Fiats rusted to oblivion in 5 years! This 128 is immaculate. My Grandad had a green one which I remember with fondness. In production from 1969 to 1985 it was European Car of the Year in 1970 and its front engine front wheel drive design became the standard for most other manufacturers.

After a hiatus of 50 years, April saw the return of the Goodwood members’ meeting. Intended originally for GRRC members only, disappointing ticket sales saw invitations extended to other motoring clubs and subscribers to various motoring magazines. The comparatively light crowds may have been disappointing for the Earl of March but they were fantastic for those who attended. Not having to force your way past crowds of bored wives and girlfriends was a welcome contrast to the Revival Meeting as was the lack of corporate sponsors.

The event was blessed with remarkable weather – warm bright sunshine in what was otherwise a wet and miserable spring. The sun, coupled with the lack of crowds created a relaxed atmosphere most unlike other Goodwood events. But the best thing about the event was seeing cars that most of us had never seen before. Wonderful though the Festival of Speed and Revival are, many of the top cars return year after year. Having gone to both events for nearly 20 years I am afraid I have become a little blasé about even the most expensive exotica. Embarrassingly, at the last Revival, I found myself spending more time looking at the cars in the car park than in the paddock.

It’s this overfamiliarity with the usual Goodwood fare which made the cars at the Members meeting so interesting. For the first time we were shown cars that raced after the date the circuit closed in 1966. Le Mans prototypes and Turbo Era F1 cars did demonstration laps whilst colourful 70s touring cars battled it out in full on races. It was fascinating stuff and I can only hope that the event is repeated in a similar format next year.

20140531-202659-73619982.jpg

In a previous post I mentioned my love of the Matra 670 that Graham Hill and Henri Pescarolo raced to victory at Le Mans in 1972. Imagine my delight when I found the very car at the members meeting. I also got to hear its V12 howl as it accelerated away from the chicane – something I had been longing to hear for years.

20140531-203008-73808533.jpg

20140531-203111-73871599.jpg

The fantastic 70s touring car race is going to do wonders for the price of neglected 70s saloons. Dolly Sprint anyone?

20140531-203308-73988346.jpg

20140531-203307-73987925.jpg

 

The Dolly Sprints below seem to have lost a little oil….

20140531-205853-75533520.jpg

20140531-210012-75612583.jpg

Sports Car Heaven – Alfa leads Aston Martin and Jaguar C Type

20140531-210105-75665568.jpg

Jaguar Le Mans Prototypes exit the chicane

20140531-210104-75664810.jpg

Jaguar XJR8LM

20140531-210158-75718882.jpg

Martini Lancia Abarth 038 Delta S4 – this Group B rally car won the 1986 Monte Carlo Rally

20140531-210159-75719807.jpg

Group B Rally Renault 5 GT Turbo

20140531-210259-75779587.jpg

Prost and Lauda Turbo Era McLarens

20140531-210300-75780349.jpg

Beatrice team Haas Turbo Ford’s

20140531-210342-75822952.jpg

Visiting Rolls Royce Phantom with serpentine horn!

20140531-210342-75822191.jpg

Donald Campbell’s Jaguar XK150 Coupe – in Bluebird blue.

20140531-210425-75865043.jpg

The great Sir Stirling Moss checks out the 70s touring car grid. He drove touring cars in that period as an unsuccessful reprise to his career.

It’s unlikely that Stuttgart was an attractive city even before its drastic remodelling by the RAF and USAAF,  so finding myself in an airport hotel on the outskirts of town was not a major drawback.  In fact it was very convenient for my first stop in Stuttgart, the Retro Classics show at the smart new conference centre by the airport. One of the big German classic car shows,  it has suffered in the past from being held on the same weekend as Techno Classica Essen, the biggest of the lot. This year it was held on a different weekend and that no doubt helped to explain the thousands of neatly dressed enthusiasts who joined me at 9am outside the doors before opening.

The show was a cracker taking up seven large halls and featuring an exceptional collection of vehicles on show and on sale. An excellent autojumble occupied one hall, another was devoted to the Mercedes-Benz Club and another was themed on American cars.  One of the other halls featured smaller clubs, with everything from Tatra owners to the Rover Owners Club of Stuttgart. You have to be pretty keen on Longbridge’s finest to be in a Rover club in the City of Porsche and Mercedes Benz.  The MG Car Club of Germany had a nice selection of cars on display including a fine K3.

stutt show k3

MG K3

Many of the halls were given over to restoration businesses focussing particularly on Mercedes Pagodas and early Porsche 911’s.  Scores of those particular car were on display in various stages of restoration.  The finished products were truly stunning – better than new and with a better than new price tag. 100,000 Euros plus seemed to be the going rate for a restored Pagoda.

Lots of pristine Pagodas

Lots of pristine Pagodas

stutt show porsche

…and 911’s – this is a 911S

Stuttgart marks featured strongly amongst the cars dealers had brought to sell. In amongst the German iron there were some interesting alternatives. This smart 1958 Fiat Abarth Sestiere Coupe had patina (!) but was Mille Miglia eligible and was priced at 43,500 Euros.

Fiat Abarth Sisterie

Fiat Abarth Sestiere

Manufacturers were also present. Opel brought along their new Adam hatchback to show with a smart rallying Opel Kadett from the seventies. In fact it was the fortieth anniversary of the Kadett, a car that looks so much nicer than its Vauxhall sibling, the execrable Chevette.

Opel Kadett

Opel Kadett

Amongst the more unusual cars on display was a Messerschmitt KR bubble car driven by a propeller. Not quite a ME 109 – but a KR200!

Achtung! Messerschmitt!

Achtung! Messerschmitt!

The most attractive cars on display were the Horchs brought to the show by Audi Heritage. I had not realised that the now defunct mark was the predecessor of Audi. In fact Audi is Latin for “horch” which means “hear” in English. The 1937 Horch Sportcabriolet stood out in particular with a level of opulence equivalent to any contemporary Mercedes Benz.

stut show 1

1937 Horch Sportcabriolet

All in all a fantastic show. If you have an understanding partner, combine it with a weekend visit to the Stuttgart car museums, especially if you like German cars.