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Frank Kennington


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#1 m.tanney

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 06:00

  I am looking for information about Frank Kennington, who raced MGs and a Cisitalia D46 in Britain in the late 1940s. In a post from last year Doug Nye wrote that, "Kennington's father was director of GM Frigidaire division in the UK, also on the board of GM Detroit (reputedly) - Frank bought 'hot' (in the smuggled sense) Cisitalia D46 from 'Arree Schell...".
  Would anyone have any more information on Kennington's racing career or his personal background?

  Mike

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#2 alessandro silva

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Posted 20 April 2003 - 19:07

Three quotes about Kennington in contemporary sources
1) Owen Finch, who ran Weybridge Motors (near Brooklands) in partnership with the wealthy Frank Kennington. (Gransden 1946)
2) A sports one, K3 752, was driven by wealthy Frank Kennington, who was partner of Owen Finch in Weybridge Motors. (Manx Cup 1947)
3) ”sometimes Kennington appears to suffer from excess of zeal”. (Prescott 1947)

Owen Finch raced two vintage Amilcars until the 50s.
I have a note about Kennington reading "Canadian?" . Maybe you might help with that, Mike.

#3 m.tanney

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 05:20

Alessandro,
  Thank you for saving this thread! I do not know if Frank Kennington was a Canadian or not. He is identified as such in Jimmy Piget's race winners booklet, which is what led me to start this thread. I was hoping that someone could tell me. Do you recall the source of your note?
  Following up on Doug Nye's reference to Kennington's father, I found a webpage on the history of Vauxhall. It lists a Walter O. Kennington as the General Manager of Vauxhall in 1927-28 and as a member of its board through 1940-41. He may have been there longer, but that is as far as the webpage goes. The father could well have been a Canadian. There were strong ties between GM's British and Canadian operations. If father and son were Canadian, they had been living in Britain for at least twenty years by the late 1940s.

#4 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 21 April 2003 - 05:32

Kennington appears twice in the results section of John Eason Gibson's Motor Racing 1946.

He won the sports car class at the Prescott Hillclimb on August 31 and was placed fourth equal in class at the Bouley Bay Hillclimb on October 17. At both events he was driving a 1-litre supercharged MG.

He finished third in the 1949 Manx Cup run on the Douglas circuit, Isle of Man on May 26. He was driving an 1100cc Cisitalia.

#5 m.tanney

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Posted 22 April 2003 - 18:17

Originally posted by m.tanney
I do not know if Frank Kennington was a Canadian or not. He is identified as such in Jimmy Piget's race winners booklet...


  Jimmy tells me that he thinks that the reference to Kennington as a Canadian may have come from Doug Nye's Cooper Cars book. Can anyone confirm this? If it was from Doug's book, I'll ask the man himself.

#6 alessandro silva

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Posted 25 April 2003 - 16:28

I do not know where my note about Kennington's nationality came from. There is no mention mention of him in Nye's Cooper book anyway.
Some more information about his racing career in top of Milan's 1946 results:
In 1947 was refused an entry at Reims, Coupe des Petites Cylindrées, since his Magnette looked too much as a sports car, which it was as a matter of fact. In the Magnette he dnf the Manx cup, was 6th at Prescott in the sports car class on July 7th. In 1948 he used again the Magnette. He dns at Manx, 2nd at Goodwood, Sept 18th, sixth race. His Magnette was raced in the I. o.M. by some John Marshall instead, (10th).
In 1949 he used the ex-Schell Cisitalia. He was 2nd at Goodwood Lavant Cup Easter Meeting, and won the Easter handicap . He was also dnf at Blandford on Aug. 27th, 3rd in the Manx Cup, dnf at goodwood in the Madgwick Cup.
I do not have British hillclimb results for 48 and 49.

#7 bill moffat

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Posted 25 April 2003 - 17:05

Georgano lists him as driving an Emeryson 500, so this would be (presumably) 1949/1950 ish.

#8 m.tanney

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 00:11

  On Martin Krejci's wonderful website, http://wsrp.wz.cz , Kennington is listed among the entrants for the June 15, 1946 sports car race at Gransden Lodge - which was, IIRC, Britain's first postwar race meeting. Martin lists him as "in entry list only". I'm not sure if that means that he did not race, or if it is uncertain whether he raced or not.

#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 11:59

FWIW Kennington is not mentioned at all in the Motor's report of Gransden Lodge 1946. There were six sports car races at that meeting, each of three laps, for six different capacity classes. Martin's data there is incomplete - reading the report, it appears that in the 1100cc race Davidge-Pitts was 4th, Rivers Fletcher 5th. Bowles retired with accident damage. No further details, but there were other starters (at least seven in total)

#10 m.tanney

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 21:39

  If anyone is interested, there's a nice picture of Kennington's Cisitalia following the Riley of Shillito at Blandford in, I assume, 1949 at www.gearwheelsmag.co.uk/archive/good-old-day_feature_27.htm. It's part of an article about the Blandford circuit. There's also a photo of Dudley Folland's Ferrari, a car that Kennington saw the back of on more than one occasion.
  With regard to Kennington's father, can anyone recommend a good history of Vauxhall, one that looks at the corporate side?

#11 Adam F

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 15:03

Mike,

A couple bits of further information :-

The 1950 VSCC Members List shows F.W. Kennington's address as 56, Baker Street, Weybridge.
Was this the address of Weybridge Motors?

Mike Hawke's 1992 book on the MG K3 "K3 Dossier" gives a good listing of Kennington' appearances in his two MG K3's K3752 and K3022.
Let me know if you'd like a copy.

ADAM

#12 m.tanney

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 15:10

Originally posted by Adam F
Mike Hawke's 1992 book on the MG K3 "K3 Dossier" gives a good listing of Kennington' appearances in his two MG K3's K3752 and K3022. Let me know if you'd like a copy.


  Thank you, Adam. Yes, I would be very interested in seeing that list.

  Mike

#13 Adam F

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 16:31

Mike,

A bit more info on Frank Kennington........

In 1949 he was shown as a director of R.J. Shanks & Co. Ltd. - Automobile Engineers, of Baker Street, Weybridge, possibly a successor to Weybridge Motors?. The other directors were O.A.F. (Owen) Finch and J.M. Button.

I also have a small photo of him, which I'll e-mail to you.

ADAM

#14 iicarJohn

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 03:03

After a long silence on this thread ... it appears likely that F.W. Kennington's Cisitalia D46 came to the USA in 1953 to a Cisitalia owner here by the name of Paul Ceresole in Massachusetts. A much-modified car was recently discovered in the eastern USA that is almost certainly Ceresole's car. Thanks to a friend, I have a few photos of Ceresole's D46 beating up on Cooper FIII cars at Thompson Raceway in 1953 and 1954. The photos show a distinctive bulge in the lower body that can not yet be seen as a feature of any other Cisitalia D46 body. Similar? Yes. The same? Not yet. Another feature of distinction is a modifcation to the placement of the rear dampers, seemingly done by Kennington. In any case, this car has the remains of green paint (presumably Kennington) and also white paint (presumably Schell) and I have asked the new owner to see if there is any trace of blue in the lower section (also Schell). The Schell car was raced in Schell's absence once by Zora Arkus Duntov ("father of the Corvette") at Shelsley Walsh in 1948 and there is a marvelous quip in the text covering the event in The Autocar. Aside from the fact that he is referred to as "A. Dundov", the writer hoes on to say, “A. Dundov (Cisitalia), standing-in for the absent Harry Schell, resorts to the Bolster technique of mobile pugilism, but is wrongly geared and slow.”. I can infer the meaning of the statement but is there an actual alliteration here?

Anecdotal complications there are.

Another Cisitalia D46 "ex Australia" in the USA has claimed Duntov racing history. Aside from Shelsley, I have not found another record for Duntov racing in a Cisitalia D46. Photos show that the Harry Schell/Duntov Shelsley Walsh 1948 car is clearly not that "other" car and there is good evidence that another very significant French history belongs to that "other" car. However, a car in France also claims to have ownership history that alludes to the same racing history that is likely for this other car that is ex-Australia.

Three other Cisitalia D46 in France have claimed "Harry Schell" ownership in the past. I'm pretty sure that Schell (his mother?) had at least two Cisitalia D46 cars but I am doubtful that there were four. However, I am open to the opinions of others. They did go through quite a number of cars.

Interestingly, there is a photo of Schell racing at Remparts in 1948 in a car that looks suspiciously like the "Kennington" car. In short, to sort all of this out, I would very much like to generate as many photographic references to Schell and Kennington in Cisitalia D46 racing cars. For that matter, any Cisitalia D46 photo that can be identified even vaguely would be of some interest.

Help?

#15 David McKinney

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 07:12

The Australian car was reported at the time to be the ex-Kennington, but it was imported in 1950 or 1951 - when Kennington was still racing his in the UK.

#16 Graham Gauld

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 07:37

I once spent an hour or so in Frank Kennington's company and he was an amusing character who told the following story roughly in his own words.

"I went to the Isle of Man to race my K3 Magnette and it was my first International event. On the first practice session I ended up fastest and was approached afterwards by Earl Howe who, I think, was driving his ERA. " Excellent performance Kennington, I am having cocktails this evening would you like to join us ?". I thought, I have arrived, Earl Howe is inviting me to his private cocktail party. So I went along and was given a gin and tonic and had a great time speaking to all the drivers. Earl Howe introduced me to a couple of journalists and I was telling them about myself when one of them asked me what gear I used for Onchan Hairpin. Onchan Hairpin ?.....Onchan Hairpin....I don't remember an Onchan hairpin. It then appeared that I had made a mistake on my lap and taken the wrong road and cut out part of the circuit. At this Earl Howe came over, grabbed my gin and tonic and he never spoke to me again ! "

#17 alessandro silva

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:28

Harry Schell owned two different D46s: the first in 1947/48 (then sold to Kennington), the second in 1949. Numbers 011 and 032 are ascribed to these chassis, I do not know how accurately.
The reason that there is a supposedly third "Schell's Cisitalia", is, I believe, that Raymond de Saugé's car (010 by the same sources) was entered by Lucy Schell during 1947. Harry drove this car at the Bremgarten in 1947.
de Saugé's was the first D46 sold to a private entrant and was already raced in 1946 at Mantua and Barcelona. In 1948 its engine was grafted into an Italian sports car chassis (a 1939 Volpini-Colli) also purchased by de Saugé in 1946.

#18 Adam F

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:35

John,

I have some photos of Schell's Cisitalias which may be of interest to you.
I have sent you a PM.

#19 HiRich

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 12:31

A, presumably the, Frank Kennington made several appearances in an Emeryson-JAP Formula III car in 1950. This was the debut year for Paul's front wheel drive car.
I can't find a reference, but I have an idea that Frank's was a sort of works car - this would fit with Frank in Weybridge and Paul in Twickenham.

Results I have are:
DNQ at the International Trophy, Silverstone, 26/08
R at Goodwood 30/09
(result not known) in Heat 2, Castle Combe, 7/10
3rd in the Final of the Junior Race Final, Brands Hatch, 14/10
In the last, Frank's car was driven by Biddie Shields in the Ladies Race