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Help sought to trace racing history

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#1 Midget

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 06:42

I’m trying to trace the competition history of a 1964 Lotus Elan S1 that I bought recently. The car was purchased in 1974 by an Australian Bill O’Gorman from Ron Douglas and Brian Ashmeade who operated a used racing car business in Birmingham at the time. It  had obviously been constructed as a race car as it had no Lotus construction plate, but rather an ID plate with engine number, stating that it had been prepared for competition by the Ford Performance Centre, Boreham Airport , Essex.


The car seems to have been constructed to full 26R specification, with 4 pin centre-lock wheels, adjustable centre arms, all-stel dry sump race engine, close-ratio gearbox and alloy housings for diff and gearbox as well as AP Lockheed alloy race calipers and dual-circuit brake system. This is the condition in which the car was delivered to Australia in 1974.


The Lotus forum has suggested that the plate could have been merely  attached and that the car may not have been constructed there. A Google search on Ron Douglas shows that he was a well-known tuner of Escort twin-cams as well as a prominent  Rallycross competitor. However, there  is a fascinating quote on pp 27-28 of Autosport June 2012 which invites further research: “his name does not appear very often in the list of winners of major events, but Ron Douglas’ influence on Rallycross far exceeds anything he achieved on the racetrack..” So, what did Ron Douglas compete in on the racetrack? Does anyone recall him from that era? Does anyone recall the Douglas /Ashmeade business?


I guess  one way of tracking the competition history would be to examine the entry lists of the relevant class that the Elan  would have been entered in in 1964-1974. Can anyone suggest the class that the car would have competed in in the U.K during that period? Does anyone know if there are any records from the Ford Performance Centre available?


Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.


Simon Elliott


#2 RS2000

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 22:48

One point on reading the quote. It may mean the rallycross track rather than the racetrack. I have no recollection of Ron Douglas before his rallycross days. He may well have circuit raced but the wording does not definitively say he did.

Ford comps had just moved to Boreham before 1964 and over the winter 63/4 were busy building new red Cortina GTs (same reg numbers as older cars) for the Monte etc. white Cortina GTs for the Safari. The address was I'm fairly sure "Ford Motor Company Competitions Department, Boreham Airfield". Building Elans doesn't fit and "Ford Performance Centre" sounds of a much more recent era. 

I'm sure the answer to any records is "no". Works Cortina and Escort historians wish it wasn't so...