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Racing cars as road cars


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#1 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:21

Ignoring the obvious roadgoing-racers like D Types, GT40s and GTOs which always had a nod to use on the public highway, what pukka track cars have found their way from circuit to street over the years?
I can think of...

Mark Walker's 200hp LSR Darraq
Raymond Mays' ERA which was driven to Shelsley Walsh with mudguards & number plates added.
The 'Grand Mere' Bugatti T59
Jenks famous Christmas 'road test' of a Lotus 12 on trade-plates
The Lotus 51 F Ford which the factory fitted with Lotus 7 wings in the late 60s
Rod Leach's Lola T160 Can Am car which CLASSIC CAR road tested in the early 80s
At least one Porsche 917K in Germany
A Lola T70 or two?
A Sports 2000 car (Tiga?) that appeared in the press late 70s/early 80s

There must be a lot more?

I apologize if this is a subject that's already cropped up in other threads, I've run a search (with no obvious results) but TNF is now so big a resource that finding specific older threads can be tricky and very time consuming


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#2 Macca

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:26

The F1 cars going to the circuit at Riverside in 1960...

Paul M

#3 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:32

The F1 cars going to the circuit at Riverside in 1960...

Paul M


And Monaco, Spa etc.

... but not quite what I meant. :)

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:32

Two general headings

A lot of historic single-seaters still get occasional test runs on quiet country roads in the UK

In New Zealand in the 1950s GP cars could occasionally be seen on public roads on their way to or from circuits

In both cases quite illegal, of course

#5 Catalina Park

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:35

My vote would go to the Ralph Watson Lycoming Special.

#6 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:43

Two general headings

A lot of historic single-seaters still get occasional test runs on quiet country roads in the UK

In New Zealand in the 1950s GP cars could occasionally be seen on public roads on their way to or from circuits

In both cases quite illegal, of course


True. I've seem them on the roads of the Channel Islands as well, hillclimb cars and sand racers, how about we qualify this with examples of those where at least a nod towards legality was offered?

#7 Hamish Robson

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:43

My local mechanic and car nut deals with a genuine T70 road car for a customer. It is, by all accounts, quite something. The big problem at MOT time is squeezing it on to the ramp...

#8 kayemod

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:49

Tom Wheatcroft bought the Moss Monaco & Nürburging winning Lotus 18 for his Donington museum. He was so excited when it arrived, that as soon as it had been unloaded, he drove it on public roads to whichever building site he was involved with at that time. Eventually, he was stopped by police of course, and well-known in the area, thought he'd get away with just a telling off, but Plod burned his arm on the exhaust, after which any bonhomie disappeared. Tom described the incident in his book Thunder in the Park, but I don't think he told us much about the eventual outcome.

#9 D-Type

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:59

The LGS or Le Gallais Special was a single seater hillclimb and sand racer with a rear-mounted Jaguar engine built by Frank Le Gallais on the Island of Jersey. The car had rudimentary readily detachable road equipment and was driven to Shelsley Walsh, Prescott[?] and Brighton Speed trials when it made its sporadic visits to the mainland.

#10 Sharman

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:07

Bobtail Cooper from Ashbourne to Mallory when the transporter burned a piston. Never had so much fun in my life, got a few stares in Derby but nobody stopped me. Its owner wasn't very chuffed though as all his other gear was in the truck, but, as I pointed out to him, at least he got a race.

#11 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:10

My local mechanic and car nut deals with a genuine T70 road car for a customer. It is, by all accounts, quite something. The big problem at MOT time is squeezing it on to the ramp...


That might be a problem that disappears soon, wasn't there a proposal to remove the need for MOTs on classic cars of a certain age?

#12 alansart

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:16

A lot of historic single-seaters still get occasional test runs on quiet country roads in the UK


The late John Jordan was rumoured to have tested his CanAm McLaren on the roads around Biggleswade on several ocassions.


#13 Tim Murray

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:24

I apologize if this is a subject that's already cropped up in other threads, I've run a search (with no obvious results) but TNF is now so big a resource that finding specific older threads can be tricky and very time consuming

Here are a few which may or may not fit Simon's bill:

Competition cars on the road

Lotus F3 road car?

On the open road

#14 Macca

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:24

Photos of cars not usually seen on the road:

This one

and this one

and this one

and the view.

:cool:

Paul M

Edited by Macca, 31 October 2012 - 11:27.


#15 hamsterace

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:25

Simon,

A couple of years ago, I read a book by the title of "Younger brother, Younger son" by Colin Clark, the brother of the late Hon. Alan Clark - and a cracking read it was too.

There is a photo of his Lola T70 MkIIIB which was very definitely a bona fide, legal road smoker. I seem to recall some claim was made as to it being the fastest accelerating road car in the world at the time - perhaps not surprising, given its ancestry - although whether this was ever ratified by relevant authorities (ie. the motoring press) I have no idea.

Hamsterace


Edit: Apologies if this is mentioned in any of the early threads. I can see references made to other T70 road cars, but can't see the photographs where I am at the moment!

Edited by hamsterace, 31 October 2012 - 11:26.


#16 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:56

Simon,

A couple of years ago, I read a book by the title of "Younger brother, Younger son" by Colin Clark, the brother of the late Hon. Alan Clark - and a cracking read it was too.

There is a photo of his Lola T70 MkIIIB which was very definitely a bona fide, legal road smoker. I seem to recall some claim was made as to it being the fastest accelerating road car in the world at the time - perhaps not surprising, given its ancestry - although whether this was ever ratified by relevant authorities (ie. the motoring press) I have no idea.

Hamsterace


Edit: Apologies if this is mentioned in any of the early threads. I can see references made to other T70 road cars, but can't see the photographs where I am at the moment!



That's an interesting one, I havn't heard of that particular book (although Alan Clark's book BACKFIRE is a popular title) or the story before. I seem to recall that for years AUTOCAR or MOTOR had a particularly hot GT40 ( 7 litre Mk2 ?) at the top of their acceleration table until it was famously beaten by Nic Mann's home-brewed Rover V8 Turbo powered Morris Minor.

#17 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 12:05

Here's the Lola T160 Can Am Car I mentioned...

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#18 David McKinney

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 12:38

My vote would go to the Ralph Watson Lycoming Special.

Except that it was built as a road car for fast touring, and also a bit of racing. But it must have done more road miles than most machinery that competed in the NZ Grand Prix (and the like) - driven thousands of miles to and from meetings for more than ten years

#19 jeffbee

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 12:49

A very long time ago I read an article in, I think, Autosport or Motoring News, in which Tony Lanfranchi was being interviewed. He told the story about the time was competing in an Elva sports car and on the way to the race meeting the intended method of transporting the car broke down. He therefore took to the public roads, at some speed, and for part of the journey had a police escort. His final comment on the story was that the prize money he won that day just about paid the fines for that particular jaunt!

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#20 BRG

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 12:56

That might be a problem that disappears soon, wasn't there a proposal to remove the need for MOTs on classic cars of a certain age?

Yes, but only for pre-1960 I believe. And that Lola seems to have an S-suffix (1979?) registration on it.

There are some road-going Porsche 962s, I think.

#21 flacoman

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 13:04

Here's a 962 getting driven around Japan

http://jalopnik.com/...246965925417366

#22 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 13:28

Yes, but only for pre-1960 I believe. And that Lola seems to have an S-suffix (1979?) registration on it.

That would make sense, there were some Lola-built 'continuation' T70s from this era, possibly intended for road use as there would have been no other possible outlet for them in those days.

Checking through the threads Tim Murray suggests (I couldn't find them when I looked - it's all in the exact wording) I came up with this post

There is an indy car in the states that is road legal

Posted Image

and there is a guy in the UK who is putting together what I think is an Indy Light car for the road, its got a Cosworth YB fitted now.

Posted Image

I have looked into doing the same to my Reynard 88d F3000 car ( which is also due to run a YB cosworth engine instead of the DFV) and its actually quite straightforward.

As long as the cars over 10 years old then you dont have to do an SVA type test, and you dont even need headlights, you simply put the car through a daylight MOT and then register it with the DVLA. Its a bit like making an old scrambler or quad bike road legal.

Key things are handbrake, brake lights, indicators, horn, and wheel covers and a few other bits and bobs


Do we know any more about any of these?

and while we are at it here's the 917's

The 917 from Count Gregorio Rossi de Montelera is chassis 030 and drove its last race in Austria 1971 where it retired (Larrousse - Marko). It was registered in Alabama (61-27737) and painted silver. Later it was painted dark blue and re-registered in Alabama (61-3086) but kept in Europe. Nowadays, its back in silver and could be seen at the 2009 Goodwood Festival Of Speed with Alabama plate 156947 (fake?):

Posted Image

Posted Image

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Then there's 917-021 (012) who finished its career at the Kyalami 6H of 1970, driven by Siffert-Ahrens (2nd). It was then stored at Freisinger in Germany and bought in 1975 by Joachim Grossmann who converted it for road use and painted it white. The car went to the USA in the early eighties (Sutterfield - Don Marsh - Bobby Rahal) and was raced by Juan Barazi in the Le Mans Classic Endurance Series of 2004 (3 wins). It was bought by Belgian Vincent Gaye in 2007 and completely restored. It will be back on track this year :

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#23 Mallory Dan

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 13:35

What was the S2000 Tiga, Simon. I don't recall that.

#24 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 13:49

What was the S2000 Tiga, Simon. I don't recall that.

Must have been about 1979-80 when S2000 was pretty big. AUTOSPORT ran a story about one being converted with lights in the front wings etc. but I don't recall any follow up so it may have been just a tall story. I remember it struck me as a good idea - when you are 12 these sort of things do - and set me to drawing variations on the theme on the covers of school exercise books during boring lessons (which in my case was almost every one! God I hated school.....) I got told off for it but escaped the corporal punishment that was still rife back then.
How times change..... :drunk:

#25 alansart

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 13:56

The Lotus 51 F Ford which the factory fitted with Lotus 7 wings in the late 60s


It looks at though the Lotus 51 is still around. was this the car the late Nick Britten put together?

http://www.artvalue....I...&height=500




#26 hamsterace

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 14:06

It looks at though the Lotus 51 is still around. was this the car the late Nick Britten put together?

http://www.artvalue....I...&height=500


If memory serves, Roger Williams (of the Willhire truck/ van rental business) built a similar car in the late 70s/ early 80s in order to publicise the 24 Hour race at Snetterton which his company was sponsoring at the time. I think it was a 51 as well, but stand to be corrected on this one. All I recall was that it was predominantly white and had cycle wings, rather than the (marginally) more stylish versions shown on the car above.

I remember it being sold, together with the rest of his collection, by Coys around 1986ish. I used to have the catalogue, but regrettably think I discarded it some time ago - on the basis I would never have to refer to it again. Just goes to show how you should never throw anything away!

Edited by hamsterace, 31 October 2012 - 14:08.


#27 byrkus

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 14:17

Does Uhlenhaut's 300 SLR Coupe qualify? :)


#28 f1steveuk

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 14:26

I have to admit to having started one of the other threads, along a similar line, provoked by the 51 ( I recalled a picture of a bearded man driving it across Tower Bridge.

Anyway, out of that I was shown a F3000 Reynard that is road registered, and to me that is the nub of this. I have driven a 250 E kart on the road, but it wasn't registered, and I'm guessing Simon means race cars made road legal?

#29 timf5000

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 14:38

Must have been about 1979-80 when S2000 was pretty big. AUTOSPORT ran a story about one being converted with lights in the front wings etc. but I don't recall any follow up so it may have been just a tall story. I remember it struck me as a good idea - when you are 12 these sort of things do - and set me to drawing variations on the theme on the covers of school exercise books during boring lessons (which in my case was almost every one! God I hated school.....) I got told off for it but escaped the corporal punishment that was still rife back then.
How times change..... :drunk:


Simon

I think there was an S2000 Lola T492 in one of the comics. Remember it having kart brake calipers to form some sort of handbrake....

#30 Duc-Man

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 14:47

What about the Chaparral 2D and 2F? They were registered from the start.

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 14:55

The other week I was shown this car:

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On the chassis was this plate:

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It apparently had 'full road equipment' fitted for use in Nebraska. The car is the Eisert F5000 which went to New Zealand to race in the early 1970s. I think it would have been very interesting for a trip to the grocery store!

#32 RCH

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 15:02

Leaving aside the notorious tale of the AC Cobra being tested on the M1, I believe the aerodynamics of the De Cadenet were
checked out on the M4. The De Cadenet always sported a registration plate long after it was the norm on sports racers.

#33 nicanary

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 15:08

Loads of cars pre-WW2. The Conan Doyles used Chitty-Bang-Bang as a road car, I'm pretty sure. Was it Jean Behra who once drove a Gordini to a meeting after the truck had broken down?

#34 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 15:43

Simon

I think there was an S2000 Lola T492 in one of the comics. Remember it having kart brake calipers to form some sort of handbrake....


That sounds like the one Tim! I thought it was either a Lola or Tiga but in my head THE S2000 is always the SC80 which looked damn good from all angles so I must have transposed the memory a little.

Running that through Google comes up with....

Posted Image

which appears on the Lola Registry as chassis 76, owned by Ian Willams in Devon. No attribution on the photo but one assumes it's copyright the owner (I'll happily remove if it's a problem)
Bingo.
Of course there might have been others.....

#35 David Birchall

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 15:46

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a certain "local" driver was competing in the Montery Historics in his Climax engined sports racer. So "elated" was he with his performance (not coming last) that following the usual (at that time) mass piss up on local champagne at the prize giving he declined the use of the trailer and drove the racing car back down the Monterey peninsula to a hotel, parked in the underground carpark and, wisely, went to bed. Waking at around 4.00 am he felt something was amiss and went looking for the race car. He found it in the parking garage of the fourth hotel he went into...

Edited by David Birchall, 31 October 2012 - 15:46.


#36 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 16:17

I have to admit to having started one of the other threads, along a similar line, provoked by the 51 ( I recalled a picture of a bearded man driving it across Tower Bridge.

Anyway, out of that I was shown a F3000 Reynard that is road registered, and to me that is the nub of this. I have driven a 250 E kart on the road, but it wasn't registered, and I'm guessing Simon means race cars made road legal?



I do Steve and it wasn't you in central Gloucester with that Kart was it ??? Someone had late night a blast around town about 15 years back and made the local news. You couldn't do it now. Too many drunks in the way!

I remember spectating on Epynt ranges, must have been the Harry Flatters Rally or similar, and waiting for the stage opening car to appear early one misty August morning. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ....BZZZZZZZZZZ...BZZZZZZZZZZ came a noise from the direction of Dixies. Several moments later appearing, literally, under everyone's radar, was a kart! Round Landiello Triangle it went at some speed and off towards the German Village and into the mist. Surreal. My God what a ride that must have been!
Two minutes later the stage was live....


#37 Sharman

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 16:57

Loads of cars pre-WW2. The Conan Doyles used Chitty-Bang-Bang as a road car, I'm pretty sure. Was it Jean Behra who once drove a Gordini to a meeting after the truck had broken down?


Indeed, going back to cars of that era, I covered an awful lot of miles in the 1923 200 mile race Alvis and in the(23?) Aston Martin Green Pea which ran in the French Grand Prix driven by Zborowski

Edited by Sharman, 31 October 2012 - 16:58.


#38 Mal9444

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 17:20

A couple of years ago I took a friend to the Revival and. standing before one of the Aston Martin DBR1s, he remarked: 'I can remember Hamish McTavish' [or some similar hielan name: I cannot now remember] ' driving round Edinburgh in one of these: he bought it cheap at the end of the 'Sixties and used it as his street car for about two years before he got married and had to sell it. It was about £250 then: I bet he wishes he'd held on to it for a while...'

I must confess I was very sceptical (as might be many here) and quizzed him closely: 'are you sure it wasn't a DB3s; there were only ever about five of these built?' but my friend was adamant his friend had owned, and driven as a street car, a DBR1.

Is that likely?

I've never had the chance to question the putative owner (who really must be hacked-off at parting with the vehicle if the story is true) and have not tried to trace the history of every DBR1 (or 2) but given the paucity of examples, someone here will surely know.

#39 john aston

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 17:23

Saw a Chevron B8 in middle of Leeds in 70s.

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#40 hamsterace

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 17:33

A couple of years ago I took a friend to the Revival and. standing before one of the Aston Martin DBR1s, he remarked: 'I can remember Hamish McTavish' [or some similar hielan name: I cannot now remember] ' driving round Edinburgh in one of these: he bought it cheap at the end of the 'Sixties and used it as his street car for about two years before he got married and had to sell it. It was about £250 then: I bet he wishes he'd held on to it for a while...'

I must confess I was very sceptical (as might be many here) and quizzed him closely: 'are you sure it wasn't a DB3s; there were only ever about five of these built?' but my friend was adamant his friend had owned, and driven as a street car, a DBR1.

Is that likely?

I've never had the chance to question the putative owner (who really must be hacked-off at parting with the vehicle if the story is true) and have not tried to trace the history of every DBR1 (or 2) but given the paucity of examples, someone here will surely know.


I suspect that Graham Gauld is the man to confirm/ deny any such story, but certainly DBR1/3 was owned by the Border Reivers team from 1959-63 - and was driven to such great effect by the emerging Jim Clark.

The car was registered FSH 360 during their ownership, and it is perhaps possible that the Patron, Jock McBain, drove the car on the road. As the name suggests, they were based in the Border country rather than Edinburgh, although perhaps a trip to the city was not out of the question. The car was sold in 1963 to Charles Sgonina in South Wales, which would seem to rather contradict the "late sixties" part of the story.

To my knowledge, Chassis 3 was the only DBR1 to have ever "lived" in Scotland, but again I suspect Graham would be the man to confirm this.

Edited by hamsterace, 31 October 2012 - 17:44.


#41 doc knutsen

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 19:02

What about the Chaparral 2D and 2F? They were registered from the start.



I seem to remember a Chaparral carrying the licence plate "AuH2O 64" prior to the 1964 Presidential elections in the USA...fortunately, the racing car was more successful that the candidate.

Edited by doc knutsen, 31 October 2012 - 19:03.


#42 f1steveuk

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 19:14

This lives in Germany

Posted Image


Reynard 91F

#43 Sisyphus

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 19:27

This lives in Germany

Reynard 91F


I recall someone in Orange County in LA had a F5000 converted something like Steve's Reynard photo--I believe it was a McLaren M10. There were some pictures of it in Road and Track back in the 70's IIRC which I'll have to look up...

I also remember seeing a nicely done up Crossle sports racer with a California license plate in the paddock at Long Beach back in the 90's. An S2000 would seem to be a good choice for a "practical" racer to street conversion.

#44 Allan Lupton

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 19:39

Loads of cars pre-WW2. The Conan Doyles used Chitty-Bang-Bang as a road car, I'm pretty sure. Was it Jean Behra who once drove a Gordini to a meeting after the truck had broken down?

Also some older cars post second War - the well-authenticated tales of the Eldridge FIAT special, Mephistopheles, being used by Peter Wike as a shopping car.
More recently (1960s?) John Warden had wings and lamps on the (small) Norris Special which was probably used under the registration of the Frazer Nash it once had been. Push-start in St Albans after the First Friday and back to North London without stalling if he could.

#45 David McKinney

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 20:34

This might be a suitable thread in which to post this link:
http://www.youtube.c...eature=youtu.be

#46 JtP1

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 20:53

It looks at though the Lotus 51 is still around. was this the car the late Nick Britten put together?

http://www.artvalue....I...&height=500


That is doubtful as the original road going 51. It was white and sold by Steelesport of Glasgow to Jim Campbell of hill climb and Aston martin fame. He eventually fitted it with a twin cam before selling it, still fitted with the horn. The pimples were still on the F100 tyres when he got it in 1970, so it can't have done much mileage on the road.

#47 Allen Brown

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 21:33

The other week I was shown this car:

Posted Image

On the chassis was this plate:

Posted Image

It apparently had 'full road equipment' fitted for use in Nebraska. The car is the Eisert F5000 which went to New Zealand to race in the early 1970s. I think it would have been very interesting for a trip to the grocery store!


I'd be very surprised if that was the Eisert that went to NZ. That one was "the fat one" and looked very different to this one.

What's the Nebraska car's story Ray?

#48 bradbury west

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 21:55

Perhaps not quite in keeping with Simon's original premise, but it was always reckoned that John Pugsley tested his S2000 car, with and without bodywork, on the Somerset roads and lanes near his farm, and, after its winter layoff, Dudley Geoghehan was renowned for warming up his red ERA, (R7B????) and giving it a comprehensive run around the roads in his locality, Hants/Surrey, quite close to Jenks' stomping ground IIRC, to check everything worked - as if either would need any encouragement.......
Roger Lund

#49 David McKinney

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 23:03

I'd be very surprised if that was the Eisert that went to NZ. That one was "the fat one" and looked very different to this one.

That was my thought, too

If it's the same car, they haven't done a very good job of restoring it to original :)


#50 Team Result

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 23:10


Here, in Japan, car registration regulations used to be incredibly strict, e.g. an engineers' report required just to fit a pair of after market fog lamps to a car. I then remember watching a documentary about 15 years ago about one man who managed to register this as a new car.

http://www2s.biglobe...BBON/f3000.html