My thanks for posting re the Lotus 23, Jager. Just about the very first issue of Road & Track magazine that I ever came across and purchase was the 1962 issue featuring coverage of LeMans. As my memory best serves, there was a mention in the text of the hub revisions and a photo showing a 6-stud item modded to a 4-stud pattern. It did look a might dodgy but I'm sure it was adequate to the job. The issue didn't post any photos of the cars proper so I'm very pleased to finally see what the cars looked like c/w tall windscreens.
My 1:43 Le Mans Collection
Posted 03 May 2019 - 11:48
Next up is the first Renaissance model to join my collection. Workmanship is excellent, but they should be for the price. Thankfully this one was found locally for a bargain price.
AC Cars started life as Auto Carriers Ltd, a specialist British automobile manufacturer. After the second World War, the company returned to the market with a 2 litre range of cars in 1947, but it was with the Ace sports car of 1953 that the company really made its reputation in the post war years.
Early cars used AC's elderly two-litre overhead cam straight-six engine but It was hardly a sporting engine. It was felt that something more powerful was required to put the modern chassis to good use, and so from 1956 AC Cars collaborated with Bristol Cars to offer the Bristol two-litre straight-six which saw the top speed leapt to 187kmh (116 mph).
With the new Bristol engine, AC set their sights on a strong competition programme to promote their cars. They became regular competitors at Le Mans from 1957 onward and for a small outfit they achieved some notable results against much larger works teams, finishing 10th in 1957, 8th and 9th in 1958 and 7th in 1959.
This car, the 1962 Le Mans entry, appears to have been built sometime in 1961. The car’s design was undoubtedly influence by the style of the Jaguar E-Type convertible, with a long bonnet and small grill opening for improved aerodynamics. It had appeared at the 1961 "Tour de France Automobile", where owner and driver Jean-Claude Magne had a bad accident. The car had to be sent back to AC Cars Thames Ditton workshops to be repaired, so Magne asked the factory to specially prepare the car for the forthcoming Le Mans by re-bodying the car in thinner sheets of aluminium.
Jean-Claude Magne took his new AC Ace convertible to the 1962 Le Mans test days. By all reports is rained all day, which is perhaps why the convertible received a hardtop roof by the time the race rolled around in June. The #60 AC Ace lined up for the start in 42nd position.
As the race got underway, progress was steady rather than spectacular. The #60 AC Ace gained one position in the first hour, and had made up 7 places by the end of the 3rd hour to be running 35th overall. That’s about as far as it got, because the clutch failed in the 4th hour and its race was over.
Car : 1962 #60 A.C. Ace
Team : Andres Chardonnet
Drivers : Jean-Claude Magne (F)/ Maurice Martin (F)
Qualifying : 30th
Result : 45th (DNF – Clutch)
Model : Renaissance (REN4361M)
Posted 10 May 2019 - 14:53
In 1955, the 24 Hours of Le Mans was expected to be a 3 way fight between the Mercedes, Jaguars and Ferraris. Amongst the other challengers were two 3.0 litre and one 2.0 litre Maserati A6 GCS'. The A6 range of Maseratis were a series of grand tourers, racing sports cars and single seaters made between 1947 and 1956. The "A" came from the name of Alfieri Maserati, one of the founding Maserati brothers, while the "6" reflected their straight-six engine. The “GCS” designation of the sports model was a combination of “G” to denote Ghisa, meaning cast iron block, and “CS” to denote Corsa & Sports.
The #15 3.0l Maserati was entered for Roberto Miéres and Cesare Perdisa, while the #16 3.0l car was entered for Luigi Musso and Luigi 'Gino' Valenzano. Car #31 was the 2.0l entry for Carlo Tomasi ad Francesco Giardini. The Maserati's were quick, but they were not expected to challenge the bigger cars.
When the race got underway, the Maseratis hung on to the back end of the top 10 runners. Castellotti set the pace in his 4.4-litre Ferrari, with Hawthorn’s Jaguar and Fangio’s Mercedes close behind, then came Maglioli, Walters, Levegh, Kling, Beauman and the two 3-litre Maseratis of Mieres and Musso close together.
Following Pierre Levegh’s tragic crash, the Fangio/Moss Mercedes-Benz took the lead from the Hawthorn/Bueb Jaguar, the Maglioli/Hill Ferrari was in third place, while the Musso/Valenzano Maserati was up to 6th position. Unfortunately the #15 Maserati was already languishing at the back of the field and would retire in the coming hours.
Just after 2 am, the two remaining Mercedes-Benz were flagged in and withdrawn following a decision by the directors of Daimler-Benz. The two Mercedes had been running in 1st and 3rd before their withdrawal, which elevated the #16 Maserati to 3rd position. Two hours later, the Maserati inherited an unlikely 2nd position when the #7 Jaguar ran into gearbox problems.
Over the next 7 hours, the #16 Maserati circulated in a steady 2nd place, although the #23 Aston Martin in 3rd was often on the same lap and never far behind.
Throughout the morning the rain drizzled down, often having spasms of a downpour. Around mid-morning the clutch went on the #16 Maserati and it too was out, leaving the #23 Aston Martin of Collins and Frere to inherit second place, which it held to the end of the race.
Car : 1955 #16 Maserati A6 GCS
Team : Officine Alfieri Maserati
Drivers : Luigi Musso (I)/ Luigi 'Gino' Valenzano (I)
Qualifying : 14th
Result : 22th (DNF - Clutch)
Model : Faenza (F43/161)
Posted 17 May 2019 - 11:51
On to another unusual addition, a Sunbeam Alpine from Pinko. To date the Pinko model is the only example of this unusual coupe and while the wheels seem a little oversized, that is probably easily rectified with a wheels swap.
In 1961, Sunbeam displayed a special coupe built by Sussex-based coachbuilder Thomas Harrington & Sons Ltd at the London Motor Show. Subsequently, Sunbeam commissioned this purpose-built coupe based on the Harrington special specifically for competition at the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Originally registered 3000 RW, the car received an aerodynamic frontal treatment with covered headlamps in addition to the special Harrington coupe bodywork as Sunbeam’s “works” entry at the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Sunbeam was entered at Le Mans for Peter Harper and Peter Procter. It started from 32nd position, and ran faultlessly for 24 hours. After 6 hours it was up to 31st position and by the midpoint of the race it was running in 24th position. At the 18 hour mark the #34 Sunbeam was up to 21st position and it eventually finished in 16th place after covering 2,194 miles at an average speed of over 91 mph. It finished second in class behind a Porsche, winning the Index of Thermal Efficiency.
After Le Mans, Sunbeam arranged a limited-production run off 250 Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans road cars. 3000 RW was also converted for road use, then disappeared for 15 years.
It was finally tracked down some 15 years later by Clive Harrington, the son of Clifford Harrington, its original creator. It was found in remarkably complete condition, and eventually restored to period specification.
Car : 1961 #34 Sunbeam Alpine 'Harrington' Coupe
Team : Sunbeam Talbot
Drivers : Peter Harper (GB)/ Peter Procter (GB)
Qualifying : 32nd
Result : 16th (2nd in Class)
Model : Pinko (PIN224)
Posted 17 May 2019 - 19:58
A rather nice Harrington dressed as a NART Ferrari at Goodwood in 2015...
Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:58
Continuing with the theme of quirky Le Mans cars, here's another from niche producer CCC.
Deutsch and Bonnet had a long history at Le Mans which started when they competed at the first post-war race in 1949. The D.B. HBR series first appeared in 1953, designed specifically for small displacement, long distance competition like Le Mans. Cars equipped with the 745 cc Panhard engines were designated the "HBR4", to reflect that they were in the 4CV (horsepower) category of the French taxation system, while the bigger engined 900cc cars were in the 5CV tax category and hence became the “HBR5”. One of the HBR's best outings was at the 1954 Le Mans, where René Bonnet himself together with Élie Bayol finished tenth overall.
At Le Mans in 1959, Deutsch and Bonnet arrived with a record entry of seven cars which were all entered under the banner of "Team DB Panhard". Three of those were attractive HBR4 spyders, including the car featured here, three were HBR5 Coupes and one was a HBR5 spyder. The D.B.Panhards were the only French cars entered at Le Mans that year.
With the starting positions being determined by engine capacity, the 745cc HBR4’s started from 43rd, 44th and 45th position. René Cotton and Louis Cornet in the #46 car started 44th, but within the first 3 hours had the D.B. HB4 spyder up to 36th position. By the halfway mark of the race they were up to 17th position, and with a steady run in the second half of the race finished 9th. The little 745cc car covered 3,485 km at an average speed of 145 kmh, and in doing so won the 501 to 750cc class, won the Index of Performance and the 25th Biennial Cup to give Deutsch and Bonnet their best ever result at Le Mans.
The same chassis was also entered at Le Mans in 1960 and 1961, but failed to finish both times.
Car : 1959 #46 D.B. HBR4
Team : Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet
Drivers : René Cotton (F)/ Louis Cornet (F)
Qualifying : 44th
Result : 9th
Model : CCC (CCC 187)