Don­ing­ton His­toric

Arnolt Ber­tone As­ton Martin DB2/4 Spyder en­ters the fray at the Don­ing­ton His­toric

Classic Cars (UK) - - Contents -

An Arnolt-as­ton DB2/4 Spyder makes its his­toric rac­ing de­but

The sev­enth Don­ing­ton His­toric cel­e­brated a host of an­niver­saries, in­clud­ing a half­cen­tury of Formula 2 and 40 years since the track’s re­birth. But this unusual As­ton – still wear­ing the be­spoke body Ber­tone gave it for the 1954 Chicago Auto Show – was the star of the cen­tre­piece Wood­cote Tro­phy.

Arnolt’s As­ton DB2/4

‘Stan­ley “Wacky” Arnolt com­mis­sioned Ber­tone to build th­ese bodies with the in­ten­tion of per­suad­ing As­ton to let him build a rac­ing Spyder for the US mar­ket,’ said David Reed, who was look­ing af­ter the car for owner Heinz Stamm. ‘This one was based on a DB2/4 chas­sis and ex­hib­ited suc­cess­fully at the 1954 Chicago Auto Show, so Arnolt went back to As­ton to re­quest a run of DB2/4 chas­sis and en­gines for limited pro­duc­tion. As­ton said no, so Arnolt ap­proached Bris­tol in­stead and the rest is his­tory with the bet­ter-known Arnolt-bris­tols.’ Arnolt only built three As­ton Martin Spy­ders of which this is the sec­ond, although a fur­ther four were com­mis­sioned from Ber­tone. ‘We’ve had to give it a full me­chan­i­cal re­build for his­toric com­pe­ti­tion, but the body is orig­i­nal,’ said Reed. ‘It raced in the US when new, com­pet­ing against Fer­rari 250 Testa Ros­sas and the like in SCCA races – in fact it still has its Jack­son Hill Hill­climb scru­ti­neer­ing tags from 1957 and 1958.’

Ford Cortina GT

‘It was an in­dus­trial unit find from Kent – doesn’t sound as ro­man­tic as a barn find!’ quips BTCC leg­end Steve Soper of his per­sonal restora­tion project which raced for the first time at Don­ing­ton.

‘It was just an or­di­nary Cortina GT, but the bodyshell made the ideal ba­sis for a racer. Ev­ery­thing else came cour­tesy of Lo­tus, Neil Brown en­gines, and Barry Plow­man at Team Dy­nam­ics.’

Team Dy­nam­ics – best known as Honda’s works BTCC squad – col­lab­o­rated with Soper on the restora­tion. ‘Steve’s been re­ally hands-on, putting blood, sweat and tears into this car over the past three weeks,’ said Plow­man, Team Dy­nam­ics’ tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor. ‘He took on some pretty ma­jor jobs him­self, in­clud­ing in­te­rior trim, body­work

fit­ting and fuel tank in­stal­la­tion, but it was built along­side the works Honda BTCC cars at the Team Dy­nam­ics HQ.

‘We got into his­torics for a bit of fun,’ says Plow­man. ‘There’s so much pres­sure to per­form in the BTCC, but with his­toric rac­ing you can still drive away from a bad week­end happy, with­out feel­ing like you’ve lost!’

It looked com­pet­i­tive, and it was. ‘I qual­i­fied third in the U2TC Tro­phy,’ said Soper. ‘That’s not bad for its first time out, con­sid­er­ing it ran for the first time on an air­field at 8pm last night!’ Soper per­formed even bet­ter in the race it­self, fin­ish­ing sec­ond be­hind Al­fa­holics’ Gi­u­lia Sprint GTA.

Tri­umph Herald Coupé

This Tri­umph – one of just two his­toric rac­ing ex­am­ples – has en­joyed a re­mark­able turn­around.

‘I bought it from an old lady in Car­shal­ton,’ said Daryll Davies, owner of Mo­tor­build Rac­ing and brother of rac­ing driver Rae. ‘She used to take it to clas­sic car shows in the Nineties and was very proud of it, win­ning 100 club con­cours tro­phies, but it reached a point where she just couldn’t af­ford to re­pair it, and put it in her garage where it de­te­ri­o­rated badly.

‘It’s a 1959 car, which makes it ex­tremely rare be­cause the Coupé was launched late that year and has never been com­mon, but it also makes it el­i­gi­ble for the HRDC’S Pre-1960 Touring Greats.

’It cost me £2000, but then I gave it a no­ex­pense-spared restora­tion which came to £40,000. I’m pre­pared to be cor­rected but at a guess I reckon it’s prob­a­bly the world’s most ex­pen­sive Tri­umph Herald!’

Dino 166

This Dino Formula Two car was the high­light of the His­toric’s 50th an­niver­sary F2 cel­e­bra­tion race, and has just been re­stored to how Ernesto ‘Tino’ Bram­billa would’ve re­mem­bered it in 1969 – as op­posed to Chris Amon in 1968.

‘This chas­sis – 004 – has two spec­i­fi­ca­tions, Tas­man and F2,’ said Rob Hall of Hall & Hall. ‘It’s was re­stored to Tas­man spec­i­fi­ca­tion in New Zealand in the Eight­ies. Chris Amon drove it in 1968, win­ning at Pukekohe and Levin, but it was at its most suc­cess­ful when re­con­fig­ured for Formula Two, Bram­billa win­ning at Hock­en­haim, Val­lelunga, and at Buenos Aires in the Tem­po­rada series in 1969. That’s how we’ve re­stored it now, and this is its first race in his­toric F2 af­ter a suc­cess­ful test at Sil­ver­stone last week­end.

‘Af­ter its F2 ca­reer it was main­tained by Fer­rari and used to eval­u­ate the skills of po­ten­tial F1 driv­ers up to 1971.

‘Then Luigi Chinetti put it in his New York show­room, where it was bought by busi­ness­man Larry Wil­son who kept it in his of­fice un­til 1985, dis­played on an Ori­en­tal rug!’

Arch Formula Clas­sic

Fancy a Fifties-style sin­gle-seater for £8000? That’s how much War­ren John­son’s 1992 Formula Clas­sic was be­ing of­fered for in the pad­dock, ad­mit­tedly with­out an engine, and although it’s a pas­tiche it’s still got pedi­gree.

‘They cost £70,000 each to build – 15 were made in to­tal,’ said John­son. ‘They were made by Arch Mo­tors, who made chas­sis for F1 teams in­clud­ing Brab­ham. It was a con­cept of Tom Wheatcroft’s – cor­po­rate race days in Fifties-style Grand Prix cars – but the Ford Sierra Cos­worth-based en­gines were ter­ri­bly un­re­li­able.

‘Don­ing­ton’s board of di­rec­tors fell out over the whole idea so they only raced once be­fore be­ing auc­tioned off. Most were bro­ken for spares be­cause they have such parts as the Cos­worth engine, bag fuel tank, AP Rac­ing F3000-de­rived brakes, Wil­lans har­nesses and Sparco seats. This one – chas­sis 13 – is one of two or three re­main­ing.’

Fit your own engine and it’d make a fan­tas­tic track day or hill­climb project – call John­son on 07961 871230 if you’re in­ter­ested.

Soper’s Cortina was a BTCC team’s af­ter-hours project

Arnolt-as­ton’s Swiss owner bravely al­lows it to be raced with orig­i­nal body Dino 166 ap­peared at Don­ing­ton newly re­stored to its orig­i­nal F2 spec The Arches promptly col­lapsed Sixty-six genre-defin­ing Af­ter an im­pres­sive con­cours ca­reer, and now a £40k re­build, this Herald now races in his­torics

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