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Ken Wilson's McLotus


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#1 moffspeed

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 14:26

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Ken Wilson was quite prominent in Welsh motorsport during the 1960's and 1970's. A builder from Bridgend he had the means to equip himself with some serious machinery - the ex E.N.B. Lister Jag that ran at Le Mans in 1958, a BRM P48 and, ultimately, the ex John Woolfe McLaren M1C. He also owned the unique V8 powered Gilbern GT - Ken was also a powerboat racer and the V8 was allegedly swapped from the Gilbern on "wet" weekends to power his racing boat (until it sank).

 

Now the mystery. Prior to the Woolfe McLaren Ken raced a red Lotus 30. I saw this run at Llandow several times and I'm sure it had conventional 30 bodywork. Now I've unearthed the above photo on the net (I hope the link works), allegedly in the paddock at Llandow in 1969. On Wiki the photo is captioned as a Lotus 30, on another site it is referred to as a McLaren Elva.  It features an elongated nose section with twin oval driving lights behind perspex in the centre of the nose section. The rear bodywork is definitely not that of a Lotus 30 but the side vents aren't typical of an early McLaren either. The windscreen arrangement looks unusual whilst those knock-off wheels don't look typical of either car.

 

 

Maybe I'm missing an obvious answer ??

 

** For the eagle-eyed yes that is Charlie Sgonina's ex Border Reivers DBR-1 (FSH 360)  in the background - Llandow invented the word "diversity".


Edited by moffspeed, 08 August 2021 - 14:28.


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#2 Bloggsworth

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 14:43

The wheels look Lotus 30, the nose lights look Chaparral inspired, the tail looks like a clumsy interpretation of a Lola T70 - As you say, confusing.



#3 johnwilliamdavies

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 17:19

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A couple more photographs. I thought this was the McLaren, but it's not something I have much knowledge of. 


Edited by johnwilliamdavies, 08 August 2021 - 17:20.


#4 moffspeed

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 17:52

Interesting. A row of 5 badges up the centre of the nose. BARC and BRSCC are probably two - is the middle one a Lotus badge ?

 

SgonIna's Aston, a decade on from LM glories, looks much un-loved. Note the crude cut out and extended rear arches to accommodate larger/wider wheels.



#5 Roryswood

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 19:35

The Lotus would from photos be the car raced at Dunboyne by John Scott Davies , front suspension collapsed , and a week later at Phoenix Park 1966 , there was a thread on another forum about J Scott Davies , I am sure it is the same car
, In 66 it was red

#6 Doug Nye

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 19:48

Lotus 30 wheels, Lotus 30 door height (?), Lotus 30 roll-over bar, Lola T70-type hip intakes, Welsh body?  

 

What do you see here suggesting McLaren?

 

DCN



#7 moffspeed

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 20:08

Lotus 30 wheels, Lotus 30 door height (?), Lotus 30 roll-over bar, Lola T70-type hip intakes, Welsh body?  

 

What do you see here suggesting McLaren?

 

DCN

It was the "Colin Chapman Archive & Resource" website that stuck the McLaren label on the Lotus. I'm not sure how authoritative a resource that might be but, Doug, they reference you quite freely !

 

I was a very junior reporter (aged 13 - 16) for Motoring News in those days and covered Llandow & the Pontypool hillclimb with a couple of school friends. I'm sure Wilson's Lotus ran conventional bodywork before he acquired the M1C. 

 

So if we assume that it was a Lotus 30 with hacked about bodywork I'm struggling to think who was responsible for this unusual carosserie ?  Maybe it should be dubbed the Lotus 50, a 30 with 20 more mistakes (although I think the Elan +2 was officially the T50).  Having said that Gilbern were just up the road  in Llantwit Fardre and were highly experienced in grp work. Wilson had run the unique Cobra engined Gilbern GT - you never know.

 

I guess this is just an old itch that needs a scratch - which chassis was it and was this a one-off race with this bodywork ?  I can find no images of the car other than those taken in the Llandow paddock (I can still smell the bacon cooking and feel that keen morning wind blowing in off the Bristol Channel...).


Edited by moffspeed, 09 August 2021 - 09:18.


#8 Michael Oliver

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Posted 13 August 2021 - 10:01

Don't know if it helps (not sure of the exact date of your Llandow meeting in 1969) but Ken Wilson was entered for the Nottingham Sports Car Club's races at Silverstone on 6th July 1969 and his car is listed as a red Lotus 30 with a 4.7-litre (most likely 289cu Ford Cobra) engine.