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Full name of the 1940s driver 'Ayrton'?


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#1 Paul Taylor

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 19:46

I was reading a Motorsport Magazine from 1949 and came across a driver who raced a Monaco bodied Bugatti Type 51. The magazine simply referred to him as 'Ayrton'. What was his full name?

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#2 Marc Ceulemans

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 21:46

Where did he race ?

#3 Paul Taylor

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 21:48

1949 V.S.C.C Member's Day at Silverstone. He drove his Bugatti in the Four-Lap Scratch Race for Racing Cars and spun it on the first lap. There's a picture of his spin in the centre pages of the magazine.

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 04:14

That will surely have been R O Ayrton
The car was actually based on a T55 and had been built by J Allan-Arnold
During Ayrton's ownership it was also driven by John Willment and Eric Thompson; I think Willment later bought the car

#5 taylov

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 14:14

David, I have details of a Bugatti with a lightweight body built and driven in 1948-9 by J Allan Arnold.

However this was a type 51 - chassis 51153. Allan Arnold had considerable success in the car in sprints at Brighton, Weston and set course records at Hartlepool, Queensferry (Cheshire Moror club) and Ellesmere Port. The car still exists having been restored back into a classic type 51 and is well known on the VSCC scene

Was this a different Bugatti?

#6 David McKinney

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 16:20

No, I think they're different cars
The Monaco-bodied T55 was usually entered as a 'Bugatti T51 Special' in Ayrton's day, and according to Eaglesfield was 51155.
Allan-Arnold also owned 51153, but I wouldn't have thought he rebodied it. But I would be happy to be corrected :lol:

#7 taylov

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 17:12

Bugatti 51153 was the rebodied sprint car that J Allan Arnold built. He had bought the car from Jack Lemon Burton in the early days of the War. I have a signed photo of Allan Arnold racing the car to a FTD at Queensferry in 1949

The story of 51153 is covered in detail in Bugantics Vol 13, No 2 of March 1950. This has been reprinted in a recent copy of Bugantics in 2006.

For those with a weak heart, do not read on......

The original radiator, body, undershield and fuel tank were THROWN AWAY !!!!! the modern replacements saving some 150lbs of weight.

Both Bugantics articles carry photographs of the much modified Type 51.

#8 Paul Taylor

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 17:20

Originally posted by David McKinney
That will surely have been R O Ayrton
The car was actually based on a T55 and had been built by J Allan-Arnold
During Ayrton's ownership it was also driven by John Willment and Eric Thompson; I think Willment later bought the car


Thanks for the information :) Was Ayrton British?

#9 alessandro silva

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 17:53

Randle Ormrod Ayrton, was born in Chester in 1901 and died in Bedford in 1969.

His Bugatti was an original T55 with red body and balck mudguards. Rebodied by Monaco Motors in 1949 and raced as Bugatti T51 Spl. R.O. Ayrton's son told me that the original body went to Briggs Cunningham in the Usa.

#10 Adam F

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 18:21

I hesitate to step into such a minefield as modified T51 Bugattis, but here goes....

Car 51155 was the ex King Leopold Type 51, given by Ettore Bugatti to the (U.K.) Bugatti Owners Club. During the war it was sold to Peter Monkhouse, one of the partners in Monaco Motors & Engineering. After the war Monkhouse appeared in the car at early post-war events such as Cockfosters and Elstree. In 1947 the car was comprehensively crashed by Monkhouse, in a very serious road accident on his own wedding day.
According to the latest British Bugatti Register which I have (2000), the remains of 51155 were sold to one E. Charles, and then to R.O. Ayrton, who had a lightweight body fitted by Monaco to his design. I have a photo of this car at the September 1949 Shelsley meeting, where it was entered by Ayrton, but driven by Dudley Folland, another director of Monaco.

Car 51153 was a different car, ex Lemon Burton, which, from the photos in Bugantics (March 1950), also had a lightweight body fitted, very similar to the one on 51155. This is probably no coincidence, as the Bugantics article implies that J. Allan Arnold had considerable help from Monkhouse and John Wyer of Monaco in his lightening modifications. As has been said, J. Alan Arnold successfully sprinted this car during 1949, achieving several FTDs.

#11 alessandro silva

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 18:28

Adam, the entire letter of R.O. Ayrton's son, Chris, might be of interest to you.
"Father was born in Chester in 1901 and died in Bedford in 1969. He always told me that he raced at Brooklands before the war, but have never found anything to back that up.

I was at school when father bought the car, I think that it must have been 1947 or 1948. He bought a prestine Bugatti Type 55. Red with black mudguards. Father was then working as Sales Director for a main Ford dealer in Cambridgeshire and he used two of the mechanics to help him tune and prepare the car. He only drove the car himself at that time, in CSCC and Bugatti Owner Club events and further speed trials, hill climbs and club races to which those club members were invited. Prescott and Brighton Speed Trials were his two favorites. He got some results and I remember a cupboard of cups. Mother must have thrown them out after he died.
In late 1949, he met Dudley Folland and John Wyer, who were then running Monaco Motors in Watford. At one time they were unofficial Buggati agents. They agreed to build a new special body on the Bugatti Type 55 chassis and keep all mechanicals, including the Supercharger. The old Type 55 body was sold to Briggs Cunningham in USA. The final Monaco Bugatti Special was built as a sports car with cycle wings which could be removed so that the car could also enter racing car events. Double rear wheels were used for Hill Climbs.
He tarted racing the special in 1950 and then met and got to be a best mate of John Willment, who was racing some vehicles of his own. John was then allowedto drive father's car and in fact probably drove it more than father.
As I approached the age when I would get a driving licence, he decided to sell the car. I remember in my last year at school sitting all day in the car in a garage forecourt situated on the main raod from Silverstone, on the day of the British Grand Prix. That was 1953. He was asking £420 for the car complete with spares. What would the value be today, just for the chassis and mechanics.
Eventuall he sold it to a dealer, Chiltern Cars in Bedfordshire who show it for sale at £650 in the September 1953 Motor Sport.
Father left his job and joined John Willment, in 1958 as Sales Director of his very large Ford Dealership in Twickenham, Middlesex.
He was involved with John Willment and Jeff Uren inproducing the Willment Cortina. At that time they were also racing the Galaxy and Fort Zodiac.
At that time most of the John's cars, other than the Galaxy were driven to the race meetings and one thrill of my life was driving the Ford Zociac, in race trim from Twickenham to Brands Hatch, through London. The car won it's class and had to stay at Brands overnight for scrutineering the following day. It won and missed driving it back.
John Willment and John Wyer were then involved, with father in the background, in forming JWA and building the GT40s.
Hope that this bit of our family history is of some interest.
etc etc"

#12 Adam F

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 19:17

Thank you, Sandro

Fascinating background, particularly Ayrton's link with J.W.A.
The mention (again) of a link with a Bugatti 55 is interesting - it would be interesting to see what the Bugatti Trust files say, as these would be the basis for the British Bugatti Register. Maybe Ayrton's car was T55-based but using some of the parts of the crashed "Club Car".