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Kieft DeSoto


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#1 Chester McKaige

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 21:29

Greetings to all from Australia.

I'm trying to track down a Kieft Sports car that went to America in the mid 1950's fitted with a Desoto engine. It was raced a couple of times by a gentleman with a German surname.

Cyril Kieft remembers the car but can't recall where it ended up. I have been involved with the Grand Prix Kieft owned by Bill Morris in the U.K and we are interested to find out if the Desoto engined Kieft car is still about.

Regards
Chester McKaige

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#2 David McKinney

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 22:42

Can't help with its whereabouts but the man who raced it in 1954 was Erwin Goldschmidt

#3 Chester McKaige

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 22:58

David,
Thanks for that.
I see he raced a Cadillac Allard amongst other things. Do you know if he is still alive?
Regards

Chester

#4 Lotus23

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 03:34

Chester, Erwin Goldschmidt certainly is mentioned frequently at the Watkins Glen Motor Research Racing Center, so I imagine our Don Capps or Mike Argetsinger could help you in that regard.

I ran a quick google at this late hour and found a gravesite in B'nai Israel Cemetery in Madison County, Tennessee for a gentleman of that name b 3 June 1899; d 3 October 1978. But I have no idea if this is our Mr G or not.

Shouldn't be too hard to find out.

#5 Pete Stowe

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 19:06

Des Hammill has a new Kieft book due out soon.
From the publishers website www.assonpublishing.com

"The Definitive History of Cyril Kieft and his Racing Cars 1949-1955
Tracing the working life of Cyril Kieft and the history of these British Racing Cars. Started making Mark 1 Kiefts (Formula III cars) and then the 'swing axle' Kieft Formula III cars at Bridgend in South Wales, followed by the 'central seater' sports cars, the AJB-Kieft, through to the two Formula One cars, Kieft 1100 fibreglass Sports Cars and the Erwin Goldschmidt Sports Car (only one made) at Wolverhampton, England. Written in conjunction with Cyril Kieft."

#6 David Beard

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 12:07

Bump!

Does anyone have any further ideas on the fate of this Kieft?

#7 David Beard

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 17:23

Originally posted by Chester McKaige
Greetings to all from Australia.

I'm trying to track down a Kieft Sports car that went to America in the mid 1950's fitted with a Desoto engine. It was raced a couple of times by a gentleman with a German surname.

Cyril Kieft remembers the car but can't recall where it ended up. I have been involved with the Grand Prix Kieft owned by Bill Morris in the U.K and we are interested to find out if the Desoto engined Kieft car is still about.

Regards
Chester McKaige


I have received all of the following from Greg Snape (many thanks for taking the trouble, Greg!)

The Edwin Goldschmit DeSoto engined car was built alongside the GP car in early 1954. Although the chassis is vastly different from the GP car it does share the same suspension geometery and was originally fitted with a spare set of GP car suspension components. It was installed with a 4.5 litre V8 DeSoto Firedome Engine, a Jaguar 4 speed Moss box with close ratios and, same as the GP car, an ENV rear Axle in a Kieft made housing.
On its arrival in the states we can only find evidence of it being used at a hillclimb where it suffered damage to the front of the car in an accident. The car was repaired shortly after, but its history largely remains a mystery until it turned up again and was restored in the early 80's. In the mid 80's, it was stolen from an aircraft hanger and was subsequently destroyed by fire and an insurance pay out made on the car. If there were any remains, nobody knows what happened to them.
Kieft originally built three sets of components for the GP cars, and two chassis, the first chassis is the car that we all know and love, the second, but not completed, chassis, (which is just the main structural tubes with the magnesium front bulkhead attached) is hanging up in the rafters in Bill's workshop. We are using all the components that came with that second chassis to recreate the sports car. We have obtained lots of photos or the car under construction and from these have been able to create a very accurate recreation of the chassis and completed it with many original Kieft suspension components and wheels. Unfortunately it was not fitted with the Dunlop Disc brakes as are on the GP car, but with large Girling Drums which we have also been able to obtain. The Moss Box was easy to find, the correct engine proved very difficult, but we now have a genuine 1953 (S17 prefix) DeSoto 276 engine that had been shipped from the States and was advertised on Ebay in Melbourne!!.
The chassis is presently at our body builders having the alloy body made (again copied from many period photos), while I am rebuilding the engine, driveline and brakes. Bill and Victoria have asked me to build the car so it could be used on the road as well as the odd circuit event. My initial computer dyno simulations on the engine indicate a power output of 360 bhp with a very flat torque curve between 3000 and 5500 rpm which should be enough to send it along very nicely and still keep it reasonably friendly for road use!
We are hoping to have the project finished by the end of this year, do some testing and development here in Oz early next year and have it shipped back to the UK for the Goodwood revival in 2009.
Please feel free to pass this info on, as Bill is keen for people to know that this is not the original car, but a very faithful recreation using as many original Kieft components as possible. By the way, the original car was painted white, this one will be painted our favorite colour "Cyril Green"!!



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#8 David Beard

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 20:04

Bill Morris has pointed out that the American owner was ERWIN GOLDSCHMIDT, not Edwin Goldschmit...

#9 martyn chapman

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 21:14

dear chester.i hope you dont use the wishbones on the rolling chassis picture on this site as when i crack tested them in 1977 they were cracked i know this and did warn bill which is why there are new ones on my old gp car i painted them hammerite gold just to try and protect them from further deteriation until a jig was made for some new ones tell greg good luck in the future i got a lump in the throat when i saw my old car on this wonderull site i would check the wheels aswell if i was you as they are also of the gp car.again good luck in the future .as for people saying the car should have a roll bar 'it should not' it was never fitted with one origanaly and should'nt have one now ,blooming sissis. martyn chapman.

#10 bradbury west

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 22:28

There is a small period piece in Autosport 16.4.54, p484 telling of this car being built, with a photo of the car in a similar pose to that above. There is also a 3 page JVB article on a visit to the Kieft factory, AS 1.1.54. p9, detailing the then current cars plus info on the Turner 4 cyl engine.
Roger Lund.

#11 fines

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 07:59

wouldnt it be nice if people used punctuation and capitals again remember the times when you could actually read other peoples posts those were the times rant over

#12 David McKinney

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 10:14

Yes, Michael
But I for one would rather see unpunctuated posts from people closely involved with famous cars of the past than no post at all :)
It would not be good if your comments scared off a man associated not only with saving the Kieft but also the 'Monzanapolis' Lister-Jaguar single-seater and both E-Type ERAs

#13 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 10:35

Good call David .. to think that Martyn can chime in with the real deal and be beaten back with how he put a post together is somewhat - well not TNF - or maybe that is what the new owner wants -
Double Windows? ...we don't hear enough from you nowdays - please speak up !

#14 martyn chapman

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 21:53

Dear Michael fenner
If you are refrering to me martyn chapman , i am a restoration engineer, and a historic racing driver ,and a manager of a multi million pound holiday complex, I am not a typist nor a letter writer ,my only concern here is the life of the person who may be the driver of this car in the future, punctuations do not save lives and neither does spelling, as it happens that was my very first attempt on a key board , and i thought that i had done pretty well , and i know more about these car,s than ,punctuations, so why should i bother in the future......
martyn chapman.

#15 275 GTB-4

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 08:27

Originally posted by martyn chapman
Dear Michael fenner
If you are refrering to me martyn chapman , i am a restoration engineer, and a historic racing driver ,and a manager of a multi million pound holiday complex, I am not a typist nor a letter writer ,my only concern here is the life of the person who may be the driver of this car in the future, punctuations do not save lives and neither does spelling, as it happens that was my very first attempt on a key board , and i thought that i had done pretty well , and i know more about these car,s than ,punctuations, so why should i bother in the future......
martyn chapman.


Martyn...thank you..and please "bother" in the future...welcome :)

#16 David Beard

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 17:56

More from Greg Snape on The Kieft DeSoto...

Was very good of Martyn to have a say, and I would like you to pass on
my thanks for his concern and to assure him that the front wishbones
will be replaced with fabricated ones. I have the same jig we used to
make the GP car replacements. The wheels as well will be replaced ( its
a real shame, as we have 10 original wheels, but the crack testing man
laughed at us when we wanted them tested!) Bill has had the new wheels
cast and they are at Tom Darks in the UK for machining when we need
them.

We have still been trying to track down some of the cars early
history, we know it was advertised for sale at Bill Frick Motors in
Rockville Centre, New York in early 1955, but where it went from
there...... Somebody must know something about it!



#17 bradbury west

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 20:54

David, and Greg; Thanks and please keep the info coming, it is making a super file. It is always refreshing to discover stuff about a new/different subject. Autosport material mentioned above is available via e mail to me for anyone interested.
Roger Lund

#18 martyn chapman

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 22:07

hi, I have a massive file on the gp car as this gp car was meant to be my inheritance as between myself and my father ,on the sale of the monza lister,my half ownership of that car, i would then own half of the kieft.Sadly my father could niether read nor write and never wrote it down so i lost my inheritance to bill morris,who bought the kiefts off my STEP mother (Forces Beyond my control) due to what my father could not do.everytime i see or hear anything about the kiefts i feel a great loss and sadness and pain,i dont expect you knew any of this and its taken me along time to talk about this without anger.many people do know now,not from me but from what people have worked out,and found the truth and not the lies.this car was in my family when my real mother was married to my dad,i remember it from the age of 11.There is so much more to this story which i am writeing at the moment, and may post on this site or under a new thread im still undecieded ?.martyn chapman. This is only to do with the GP kieft, and nothing to do with the Goldschmidt sports car.

#19 David Beard

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 21:36

Originally posted by bradbury west
Autosport material mentioned above is available via e mail to me for anyone interested.
Roger Lund


Please Roger :)

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#20 Lotus23

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 19:33

Martyn, thank you so much for your valuable contributions to this forum! (I, for one, do not give a whit about Proper Placement Of Semicolons.)

Your continuing input is most appreciated!

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 21:03

Indeed, Martyn, please keep on contributing...

This is all fascinating to me, and I have absolutely no doubt that it would be so to another member (who I haven't seen around here lately...) CRX Lee. He has, some might recall, a Devin with Chrysler underpinnings.

Martyn, something you might bring us up to speed on is how your father acquired the cars.

And to Greg Snape, what a wonderful project! I love to see this sort of thing, the world was deprived of an interesting car, so why not build a replica?

I'll add here that Erwin Goldschmidt was someone whose personal history shouldn't be neglected. He was the winner of the third Watkins Glen Grand Prix (1950), the tragic race in which Sam Collier died. He's described in one article as a 'prosperous Manhattan insurance broker' aged 34. As there are contemporaries of him around, it's possible he is also, Mike Argetsinger would surely know.

I found an interesting mention of Erwin in a NY Times obit from 2004, not his, but that of Steven N Kaufmann, dubbed 'the unknown man everyone knew'. Interesting stuff...

But Stevie's real gift was for friendship, and here, I am sure, he surpassed Blass. Although I knew that name-dropping would be an inevitable part of a 90-year-old's memories, I was unprepared for what I heard: Gertrude Lawrence, Lena Horne, the 1950's star Ross Hunter, the grande dame Kitty Miller, the investor and art collector Jacques Sarlie, and Rock Hudson. ''D'chya ever hear of Erwin Goldschmidt?'' Stevie said. ''He was married to Miss Argentina.'' He was also the son of Jakob Goldschmidt, a banker who managed to get out of Germany before the war in an automobile full of Picassos and Renoirs. What he left behind in Berlin was seized by the Nazis and sold to finance Hitler Youth. Stevie met Erwin Goldschmidt during the war, on the Queen Mary.



#22 David Beard

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 13:10

Body framework taking shape on the Kieft DeSoto...

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#23 martyn chapman

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 20:43

sure ray,my dad bought the GP kieft at a garage closing down sale in Reditch,the garage was called,Tardybig garage,the gp kieft had a big V8 chrysler hemi sat in it on bricks as podge dealy who owned the garage was thinking of drag racing it,podge bought the car of the maymans i think?who bought it off berwin baxter who bought it of cyril kieft,when dad bought it,he also bought the Brookeweston GP 2 1/2 litre speed engine on the same day after the sale which i still have in my workshop,and dad and i was going to fit this GP engine into the spare Gp chassis which bill has got in his loft,and there might have been two kiefts in stead of one which you have at the moment.martin.

#24 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 22:55

Thanks, Martyn... it's good of you to put in that detail for all to know and understand...

And David, keep those pics coming. I would ask also if I can repost them on another (Chrysler related) forum?

#25 m9a3r5i7o2n

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 19:44

4.5 liter V8 DeSoto Firedome Engine,
276.1 c.i., 7.5 to 1 c.r.
3.500” bore x 3.344” stroke.
“Hemi” head engine.
170 h.p.
I had one of these engines in the basement when I had to move to California. It weighed an almost unbelievable amount, but parts were at that time somewhat available. The Chevy V-8 came out in 1955 so that may be the reason that he never used one. He just didn’t have the money or maybe the time.

What kind of manifold and carburetion did it have, as the only manifold I have ever seen on a DeSoto was either a two or four barrel. One thing I remember were the “weird” hydraulic lifters.
M.L. Anderson

#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 21:06

I don't think money was an issue, Marion...

Erwin Goldschmidt was said to have been 'prosperous' and was in with the right people. I suspect it all centred around a connection he had with someone at Chrysler, or a De Soto dealership, and thus his choice was made for him.

It was planned before the Chevy engine came out, of course. And I've no doubt that the acquisition of the engine took place before anything else.

The look like heavy things, too. Lots of cast iron in the block and heads that weight heaps.

#27 Braggaboutcars

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 18:23

I too have been looking for this car for a very long time. Sometime around 1990 I received a phone call from a gentleman in FL. who claimed that he either knew about or owned the DeSoto Kieft. He tracked me down because he found out through the VSCCA that I own one of the center seat Kiefts. He told me that it was stored in an ariplane hanger and had body damage. I asked him if it was for sale and was told that it might be. Although he gave me his name and address but I never talked to him again. Phone and letters were not answered and messages not returned. About a year ago I tracked him to a new address but again have never been able to communicate with him. I posted an inquerey about this car on another racing forum and was told by a very well respected large collector that the car was now a in New Zealand and was being restored.

#28 martyn chapman

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 20:45

OOPS! here we go again, "oh dear" .and then there was two,or is it the same car on the wrong island?!!!! Martin chapman.

#29 Braggaboutcars

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 14:14

Sorry my memory failed me. I went back to my notes and found the car I was refered to is the one being done by Greg Snipe for Bill Morris. Do you know how I might contact Mr. Snipe?

#30 David McKinney

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 14:17

You might try care of Greg Snape ;)

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 01:27

Originally posted by David McKinney
You might try care of Greg Snape


...and it looks like he's aware of this thread.

#32 David Beard

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 17:56

The bodywork is taking shape. It’s going to be a mean looking machine, I reckon…

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#33 275 GTB-4

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 10:37

Originally posted by David Beard
The bodywork is taking shape. It’s going to be a mean looking machine, I reckon…


Master of understatement :smoking:

#34 David Beard

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 17:42

These are from Terry Cornelious who is doing the body: soon to be painted Cyril green!

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And the awaiting Firedome...

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#35 David Beard

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 17:18

The finished article...due to be shipped to the UK in June. Handsome brute :love:

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#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 18:54

I guess that's why Terry sent me these pics:

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#37 fbarrett

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 01:08

Friends:

Erwin Goldschmidt was a well-known SCCA racer during the early to mid-1950s, as Sports Car magazine of that era shows. Apparently he was considered fairly brash by the more dignified SCCA blue-bloods. No one comes right out and says it, but his religion seems to have been an issue then, too. I recall reading that he had a penchant for Chrysler-powered cars, especially Allards. If you can find a copy of the recent SCCA history, The Gentleman's Club, by Pete Hylton, I bet he's mentioned prominently.

Frank

#38 john medley

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 08:31

Dear Gregory Snape
I believe I was MC( or did I Give You Away?) at your wedding. I believe I may even have made a polite and warming speech at your 21st( despite Carol/Joan/Marlo's misbehaviour dancing on the tables).I believe we've raced once or twice. I believe I've raced your father once or twice.
I raced at Eastern Creek yesterday, drove home 5 hours(past your place, and not far north of Terry Cornelius' place), and am about to leave again to race at a GEAR Club meeting on Wednesday at Oran Park( collect the car, spanner and prepare it, get to the circuit....).
If I find that this splendid beast of yours and Bill's and Virginia's is Not There as Planned, I may well throw a tantrum. I want to see and hear it
If you ( and those others ) have sent it overseas w/o consideration for those from your youth....Please Explain
:-)
JM

#39 ReWind

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 17:45

I'll add here that Erwin Goldschmidt was someone whose personal history shouldn't be neglected. He was the winner of the third Watkins Glen Grand Prix (1950), the tragic race in which Sam Collier died. He's described in one article as a 'prosperous Manhattan insurance broker' aged 34.

The full name of Jakob Goldschmidt's son was Alfred Erwin Goldschmidt, which means on the SSDI he is listed as Alfred Goldschmidt, b. 28 August 1916, d. January 1970 (just 53 years old).

If you want an exact date of Erwin Goldschmidt's passing you should lure Richie Jenkins or Jim Thurman to this thread.


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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 10:14

I have to say that the work done on this body by Terry Cornelius is really eye-opening stuff...

I've been to Terry's place at Corowa and it's nothing really special. He's made a living as a panel beater etc for a long time, so he has the experience, but making a whole aluminium body to this standard from scratch is way more difficult than pulling the corner of a Ford Focus straight and filling the ripples with nicky!

As can also be seen, he has another job or two going on in the background. But this one must rank as the most outstanding work he's ever done. Eclipsing the lovely job he did on the body of the Day Special.

He's to be congratulated for the job he's done. So too has John Medley for being able to compose his important post above while obviously under the influence of the leftovers from Eastern Creek and clearly in an all too rare (these days) alcoholocaust.

If only Greg would respond...

#41 David Beard

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 19:20

If only Greg would respond...


I'm sure he will in time. but today there is the sad news of Bill Morris's passing.


#42 David Beard

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 21:39

This is worth a look:

http://www.bordermai...ne/1485576.aspx

#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 00:18

Originally posted by David Beard
I'm sure he will in time. But today there is the sad news of Bill Morris's passing.


The photo of Bill in a wheelchair in the Corowa workshop is certainly moving in the light of today's news...

He helped took Historic Racing to a new level with his participation in the Phillip Island event in 1978 and has been a 'good guy' to Australian Historic Racing ever since.

Bill Morris will certainly be missed...

#44 john medley

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 10:25

Greg told me today at Oran Park about Bill. I was sad. Greg was immensely sad.
I apologize for my levity in my previous post, unaware as I was of what was about to happen. Certainly I knew how unwell Bill was, but I also suspect Bill would have appreciated my faked effrontery. My condolences to Victoria and Bill's many friends both in Australia and elsewhere.

I was told that Someone rang Bill so he could hear the noise of the the thundering De Soto over the phone. He was pleased, they said.

And I cant leave this post without loudly applauding the remarkable talents over 9 months or so of Terry Cornelius, who did that astonishingly good body, in accord with the original spirit and substance of the car, and in line with the originality that Bill wanted, as well as in line with Terry's principles and credentials. I am looking forward to seeing it in the flesh -- perhaps at Winton, maybe at the next GEAR Club meeting

#45 F1.Goodwood

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 15:05

For the members interested in the Kieft Story..

From The Times
June 26, 2004

Cyril Kieft
Industrialist who built his own Formula One cars and had the satisfaction of seeing them raced by the likes of Stirling Moss

A noted businessman and industrialist, Cyril Kieft was also a member of that exclusive club reserved for those with the temerity and determination to design and build racing cars bearing their names. In the early 1950s Kieft racing cars were popular and successful, competing and winning many Formula Three races in the hands of such drivers as Don Parker and Stirling Moss.
Born in Swansea in 1911, Cyril William Kieft was, despite his Dutch surname, Welsh and proud of it. After his education at Wellington School, Somerset, where he excelled at shooting and won a number of cups at Bisley, he followed his father, Albert Kieft, into the steel industry, training under him at Richard Thomas & Baldwin.

At 22 he was appointed assistant plant manager at the Redbourne steel works, near Scunthorpe. In 1937 he and his father restarted the Haybridge steel works at Wellington, Shropshire, where, from 1939, steel sections were produced for the war effort.

Kieft also joined the Home Guard where, with his love for all things mechanical, he served as an officer in the bomb disposal unit.

In 1943 he moved to become managing director of Wolverhampton steel works, and he also purchased a drop forging company and a steel pressing company, which he ran on his own account. The forge company was based in Derry Street, Wolverhampton, which after the war was to be home to his racing car company.

In 1946, aware of the new Labour Government’s intention to nationalise the steel industry and, in his own words, “not wishing to become a civil servant”, Kieft set up a manufacturing company in Bridgend.

He had always had an interest in cars and motor racing — probably inherited from his father who had been at the opening meeting at Brooklands in 1907. Before the war Kieft had attended meetings at Donnington, and in 1948, at the relatively late age of 38, he decided to try his hand at motor racing.

He chose Formula Three, which was relatively cheap, since it was based on 500cc motorcycle engines. Tenby Motor Club ran a hill climb in the grounds of Lydstep House, Pembrokeshire, and in 1949 Kieft entered a Marwin, which was a rear-engined Austin Seven special, considered too heavy to be competitive. At the end of 1949 Marwin went into liquidation and, although unhappy with the design, Kieft bought certain components off the receiver and set about designing and building his own car.

The Kieft prototype appeared the following spring at Lydstep, with him at the wheel. But with a young family and an expanding business to worry about, Kieft decided at the end of the meeting that it would be best if he concentrated on building the cars and let others drive them.

In 1950 the Kieft Mk1 appeared at hill climbs and race meetings — clad in a variety of body styles as it evolved — winning a number of events and gaining a lot of attention. At the end of the year, Kieft took two cars to Montlhéry and set 14 separate world records.

One of the drivers at Montlhéry had been Stirling Moss, whose services Kieft was anxious to obtain. At the time Moss was enjoying success with a Cooper and declined the invitation. However Moss, an ex-BRM engineer John Cooper, Ray Martin, Dean Delamont and the racing manger Ken Gregory were in the process of drawing up a design for a new car to rival the Coopers. Gregory (who had raced a Mk1 Kieft) introduced Moss and the car to Kieft, who immediately recognised the design’s potential. He offered manufacturing facilities and the new Kieft was wheeled out in April 1951, winning at its first event, at Goodwood, with Moss at the wheel.

Throughout 1951 and 1952 the car continued to win victories for Kieft, while Don Parker, another privateer, won the Formula Three Championship three years running in his Kieft. In 1952 the car was exhibited at Earls Court, in recognition of its success.

Throughout this time Kieft was still running his engineering business, relocating it from Bridgend to Wolverhampton. He also set up the Welsh Motor Racing Club and a race circuit at Fairwood Common, just outside Swansea.

During 1953 and 1954 Kieft continued to design and build racing cars of varying engine sizes and formula. These included a very pretty sports car that ran at Le Mans in 1954, and a Formula One car which, although not completed at that time, was to see the light of day nearly 50 years later.

In 1953 the Conservative Government began denationalising the steel industry, and Kieft, working with the merchant bankers Close Brothers, was to play a major role in this.

Accordingly, in 1955 he sold Kieft Cars, although it continued trading in various guises until 1961.

Kieft now concentrated on his business ventures. As well as his own companies, Kieft Oil Products and Drop Forgings, he was managing director of Raine Co, Newcastle upon Tyne; Millom Askam & Hodbarrow of Cumbria; and Darwyn & Mostyn of North Wales. In the mid-1960s he became managing director of the Arusha Group and from the mid-1970s he was managing director and a major shareholder in the Wrexham Wire Company.

He liked to be occupied, even in his spare time. He built up a collection of Swansea and Nantgarw porcelain, on which he was a noted expert, as well as being an avid stamp collector, specialising in issues from the British Empire. In 1961 he also bought a 51ft Dutch-built motor cruiser, in which he enjoyed cruising around Britain and the Mediterranean. He was also an active member of the Royal Motor Yacht Club.

It was while on his cruiser that his interest in motor racing was rekindled when, while berthed on the Seine at Rouen, he was joined on his boat by a near neighbour from Wolverhampton, Richard Atwood, who at that time was driving for BRM. Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme were also of the company, and they soon got Kieft into the habit of watching grand prix races on television wherever he was on his travels.

Almost from the day he had sold Kieft Cars he had been contacted by enthusiasts and owners for information on his cars. He was always happy to oblige, and on a number of occasions he attended events organised by the 500 Owners Association. Perhaps his proudest moment came in September 2002, at Silverstone, when he finally saw the completed Kieft Formula One car from 1954.

Painstakingly rebuilt by Bill Morris and Greg Snape, the car had been reunited with the 2½-litre Coventry Climax FPE engine, and was wheeled out for the first time to participate in the Boulogne and Hawthorn Trophies Meeting. After the race Kieft was helped into the cockpit and handed a glass of champagne. Suddenly he was no longer 91, but 50 years younger.

After the death of his wife, Megan, Kieft moved to Spain, where he set about having a house built to his own design.

He is survived by his two daughters.

Cyril Kieft, industralist and motor engineer, was born on September 27, 1911. He died on May 10, 2004, aged 92.


#46 bradbury west

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 18:25

.... Natgarw porcelain.. a very discerning man
Roger Lund

#47 Mick Walsh

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 10:14

Dear Sirs,
Threads like this are the joy of the Nostalgia Forum. I've long been fascinated by Kieft Chrysler and always loved those evocative shots of Cyril sitting in the finished beast outside the Derry St works in Wolverhampton. Over the years I've asked various enthusiasts in Florida if they've ever heard of the Kieft but they've never discovered a lead.
Hero Bill Morris reported that an Australian friend was building a replica, but I never imagined it would happen. From the pictures Greg Snape and Terry Cornelious have done a fantastic job. Love the story of Bill hearing the engine run over the phone. He'll be much missed.
Can't wait to see and hear the Kieft . Any news on the Goodwood trip?
Mick Walsh

#48 Duncan Ricketts

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 16:49

Any news on the Goodwood trip?
Mick Walsh [/quote]

Plans arranged for the cars return to the UK. Victoria is hoping that the car will be invited to Goodwood. It would be nice to see the car raced there in Bills memory as he was looking forward to being there himself to see it run.


#49 David Beard

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 18:22

I understand that a couple of outings are planned in Oz before the trip to UK. It will be racing at Historic Winton this weekend and then at the
10th Annual G.E.A.R meeting at Wakefield Park on the 10th June.

More photos of the completed job...(they seem to have shrunk on their way through the ether to the UK, sorry)

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

#50 F1.Goodwood

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 23:06

I understand that a couple of outings are planned in Oz before the trip to UK. It will be racing at Historic Winton this weekend and then at the
10th Annual G.E.A.R meeting at Wakefield Park on the 10th June.

More photos of the completed job...(they seem to have shrunk on their way through the ether to the UK, sorry)

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image


Surprised it was not painted the original white? (OK only details)
I hear whats left of the deSoto Kieft is in a hanger in Florida...
I do look forward to see this recreation /If Lord March gives it a invitation...
Not too sure about the roll bar? I guess it will be a handfull to race, and it might be needed....