Starting off the historic and classic racing season each year, is the Race Retro show held in February near Coventry, England. The show is famous for featuring the latest components to keep your classic race car on the track as well as some of the most prominent historic cars in existent. This years Race Retro show also marked the 50th anniversary of Jim Clark’s first Formula One World Championship. In addition, the Lotus Elan, Lotus Cortina,and the rally achievements of the Hillman Imp were also celebrated.
With all of the Lotus provenance to celebrate, Classic Team Lotus was there with an impressive display of all things Lotus. The virtual podium featured the 1965 Lotus Type 25 Formula One car as well as Colin Chapman’s original design drawings for the 25. Impressive enough for most but the Clark lineage didn’t stop there.
Also on display was Jimmy’s first Lotus Elan, 997 NUR. This early Elan prototype carried chassis number 002 and was originally fitted with an untried 1498cc Twin Cam that later proved unreliable. Jim Clark’s manager, Ian Scott Watson updated the engine to the later 1558cc production version and offered to lady racer Anita Taylor. Miss Taylor placed first in the 1963 Charterhall International Trophy Race with the Elan. The car when on to change hands several times before the current owner, Michael Schryver discovered it in a scrap yard at Mallory Park. Mr. Schryver carried out a full and documented restoration of the car owing to it’s important history to Lotus and Jim Clark.
Also on the Classic Team Lotus Stand was Colin Chapman’s ’63 Lotus Cortina. Jim Clark managed to crash the car one morning on the way to work resulting in a near wright off. The car was converted to race spec with a unique front suspension, multi link rear axle, and BRM fuel injected engine. Clark, Peter Arundell, Jackie Oliver and others piloted the car throughout its career with Clark taking the checkered flag at the 1966 Oulton Park British Saloon Car Championship.
The Hillman Imp with it’s rear mounted Coventry Climax based engine was also celebrated at the show for its success in rally. The display featured works replicas and modern conversions but the star of the stand was LWK 700F that won the team prize on the 1968 Scottish Rally with Andrew Cowan driving.
The lovely A110 Alpine was also a main feature at this years Race Retro. Club Alpine Renault had a full array of cars with some very prominent A110’s on display. The A110’s were massively competitive on tarmac and but somewhat fragile and did not hold up well on forest stages.
Race Retro is not just about cars but the parts and components to keep them going. The latest and newest products are on display in anticipation of the coming racing season. The support from the component manufactures and specialists is impressive with many classic parts being reproduced to spec and also improved material. One example is the classic Girling AR brake caliper, used on so many race cars throughout the 1960’s.
Swiftune Engineering, the classic Mini specialist has re-cast the BL “A series” Cooper S FIA cylinder head. With so many A series engines used in motorsport, the need for fresh cylinder heads is strong and new castings have not been available for over 40 years. These made in the UK castings looked spot on and ready to port.
Of course there is no shortage of Ford 4 cylinder components at Race Retro. SAS Engineering offers alloy blocks and heads for BD and Twin Cam series engines and has just released a new period correct Ford downdraft cylinder head for historic Formula 3.
The Kelvedon stand was busy with all of their Lotus Elan 26R bits for sale. They managed to part with some of my money as well. Once again , Kelvedon has recreated and re-engineered many of the components to keep your Lotus on the road and on the track.
Lucas Development offers slide throttle assemblies for various BMW engines. They also offer Kugelfischer high pressure fuel pumps that are rebuilt to a high standard.
Let’s not forget everyone’s favorite, the Weber DCOE carburetor. This cut-a-way version dispels the mystery of the inner workings of the side draft.
And there’s plenty of slightly used and ready to race parts in the auto jumble section of Race Retro. The sheer amount of parts consumed in racing over the years is staggering, however many of the parts find a second life on a street car. One thing that’s somewhat frustrating at the typical auto jumble is the seller never seem to know how much they want for a part. Of course nothing is marked with a price and the conversation usually starts with ” how much is this” and the reply from the seller is ” I’m not really sure what it’s worth, what will you give for it?”. The offer is generally rebuffed and the reply from the seller is ” oh it’s worth much more than that”. Still though, it’s fun to look at everything.
There seems to be a growing interest in very detailed scale models of prominent race cars and this Lotus 49 , available from Classic Team Lotus is perfect in detail. Of course this detailed perfection comes with a price of 3200.00 GBP but it’s still less expensive than an original.
Crosthwaite & Gardiner displayed this Lotus 19 chassis complete with it’s Coventry Climax engine. There were 17 original 19’s built from 1960-1963 and it was engineered for sports car racing. The attractive and aggressive body was made from fiberglass with the car weighing in at 1000 lb – 1200 lb depending on specification. This car belonged to Swiss Harry Zweifel and was used for hill climbs before being stashed away for years. Crosthwaite & Gardiner plan to rebuild it and race it once again…how exciting!
Silverstone Auctions had a massive lineup for sale at Race Retro. The RS1600 was pleasing to the eye with the BDA lurking under the bonnet. The Forest arches always look right on the MK1 Escort and the yellow color is somewhat unique. The Fiat Abarth 1000 was interesting and would look perfect in a California driveway.
The outdoor rally stage display attracts a large crowd of spectators. This 911 was a favorite and but it’s hard to top a MK 2 Escort complete with BDG 2.0L engine. I really could have watched this all day but the temperature was a little low despite the clear weather.
So that about wraps up coverage from the 2013 Race Retro event. Browse through the image gallery, there’s a lot more to see. Until next time…..