Goodwood Festival of Speed Inside stories on the Porsches, Mercedes, an Alfa and a Volvo fresh to the Goodwood hill climb
Plethora of anniversaries sees Porsche’s 70th top the Goodwood Festival of Speed
Aclutch of significant anniversaries – including 70 years of both Porsche and Lotus, 60 years of the British Saloon Car Championship and the 25th birthday of the Goodwood Festival of Speed itself – drew a huge field of classics to the Sussex hill climb course, many of which had been restored especially for the occasion.
Porsche 911 RSR
The 911 RSR that won the last World Championship Targa Florio, held in 1973, made its post-restoration debut at the Festival.
Historic racer Joe Twyman was there to drive it, ‘It’s just done a one-lap shakedown at Donington.’
After Herbert Müller and Gijs van Lennep scored that Targa victory, beating the factory Ferrari 312PBS and Alfa 33TT12S, chassis 360 0588R6, known simply as R6, went on to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours, where it didn’t finish, and the Österreichring 1000Kms (eighth) and Watkins Glen 6 Hours (sixth) that year.
Says custodian Simon Harper, ‘When Maxtedpage started the restoration it was halfway between Targa Florio and Le Mans spec and was in a poor state. They went to great lengths to restore it to its Targa Florio-spec, right down to the correct number of pieces of tape on the rear wings.’
Tracking down correct parts was a challenge, ‘For example, they had to source 917 rear hubs, genuine throttle bodies and a fuel injection pump. One of those is €30,000.’
Dauer Porsche 962
This veteran of the 1994 Le Mans 24 Hours – complete with cracked windscreen – was brought to Goodwood from the Porsche Museum’s reserve collection. It was the first time it had been seen in public since Hans-joachim Stuck, Danny Sullivan and Thierry Boutsen brought it home in third place. ‘In 1994 there was a loophole in the regulations,’ said Armin Burger of the Porsche Museum. ‘Group C cars had been banned and replaced with Gtbased cars, but chief constructor Norbert Singer had a small number of Group C 962s made road legal, so it could be homologated in the GT1 class. The road cars were built by Jochen Dauer, so it had to be entered as a Dauer rather than a Porsche. ‘Three racing Dauer 962s were built – this one, the Dalmas/heywood/baldi car, which won, and a spare car that was never used. The winning car is in a private collection, and the unraced spare is the one that went on display at the Museum. But this was just put straight away. It never raced again.’
Jochen Mass was demonstrating this radical evolution of Porsche’s all-conquering Group C car, freshly restored by the Museum, although as he explained, modifications didn’t always work.
‘As you can see, it uses a lot of diüerent aerodynamic ideas,’ said Mass, pointing out the unusual nose, tail and ducting. ‘It was Richard Lloyd’s project – he wanted to improve on the works cars’ design – which no-one ever did, despite several attempts!
‘I drove this car at Kyalami and won. It only did a few races. The truth was, only original engineer Norbert Singer truly understood the 962. The key to the 962’s stability is its sculpted underfloor, and the body’s aerodynamic fine points work in conjunction with this. Lloyd’s revisions reduced drag and made it quicker in a straight line, but harder to control on the limit.’
Mercedes unveiled its stillborn Land Speed Record car, the, six-wheel and four-wheel-drive T80, for the first time since it was built in 1939. After a plan to run it on the autobahn near Dessau, Mercedes realised that the concrete surface was too dusty. Before the rescheduled run on the Bonneville salt flats could happen, war intervened and the T80 was consigned to the stores.
Said Jürgen Wittman, head of the Mercedes collection, ‘The body and its tubular aluminium frame is displayed in our museum, but the rolling chassis has always been in the storage depot. In December we decided to bring it out, so we built a replica body frame and reacquired a correct DB603 aero engine from the Hamburg Museum.’
The 44.5-litre, supercharged 48-valve V12 was good for 3500hp, which Mercedes realised was necessary to hit the 650km/h target. A model of the slippery body was later tested at Cd0.19. ‘Hans Stuck must have been very brave,’ said Wittman.
Alfa Sportiva prototype
This year’s Festival of Speed was the first time this radical Alfa Romeo 1900 Sportiva Spider prototype has left Italy. ‘Alfa Romeo built a small run of four prototypes based on the 1900 Berlina in 1954, with the intention of building a sports-racer to compete in the 2.0-litre class,’ explained Stefano Agazzi, Alfa Romeo Heritage Collection manager. ‘But mechanically it was completely diüerent from the saloon – all-alloy 2000cc engine with dry sump, and de Dion rear suspension like an Alfetta would have 20 years later. It had 130bhp, and was capable of 220km/h (137mph).
‘To ensure it could compete in both Sports and GT categories, Bertone built them as Spiders and coupés – two of each – although a few years later Alfa Romeo destroyed the other Spider.
‘It was never raced. Productionising the technology turned out to be very difficult and Alfa was still rebuilding itself post-war, so all its resources were concentrated on development and production of the new Giulietta. However, the ‘cuttlefish’ design of the tail of this one influenced the Duetto Spider a decade later – the other Sportiva Spider prototype had tailfins.’
Volvo 850 Super Tourer
‘It’s been 20 years since this last ran,’ said co-owner Johnny Haraldsson of the Volvo 850 Estate that Rickard Rydell raced in the 1994 British Touring Car Championship. ‘I used to work with Volvo, running the 850 then the S40 in the Swedish Touring Car Championship from 1996-99. In the Nineties, TWR provided cars to Swedish teams as well as running them in the BTCC, so we had a good relationship. After the 1994 BTCC, this car went to race in Australia. By the time its racing career had finished and I’d bought it and returned it to Sweden in 1997, it had been fitted with updated aerodynamic kit from 1995 and finished in a red livery.
‘Everything had to be dismantled, gone through with an eye to originality and repainted, but mechanically it was in good shape. Bodily not so much – it had spent several months in a shipping container and the metal had had a tough time.
‘In truth, there was no real advantage to running an estate in the BTCC – Volvo knew it would sell more 850 estates than saloons so it was just PR. There was a slight aerodynamic advantage in a dead-straight line, but it was undermined by extra weight and susceptibility to crosswinds.’
DTV ‘Mega Bertha’
This radical spaceframed Vauxhall Cavalier V8 Coupé completed its maiden voyage having been found as a pile of parts in an Irish garage last year.
‘Bill Blydenstein came up with the idea for ‘Mega Bertha’ after Vauxhall expressed concern that ‘Baby Bertha’ [a silhouette racer with enormous bonnet and side-scoops] looked too far removed from the production Firenza it was supposedly based on,’ explained Ric Wood, who was still finishing the car a few hours before the Festival began. ‘The idea was to completely conceal the spaceframe chassis and big-block Chevrolet engine with a Cavalier Coupé body a foot wider than the production car, but with fewer cooling and aerodynamic add-ons. I have a letter from Blydenstein saying the intention was to race it alongside Baby Bertha as part of a two-car team.
‘I bought the bodywork, but fabricated the rest based on the detailed description in Marshall’s book. It’s a handful – 800bhp plus rear-wheel drive equals rear-wheel steering! It’s never been developed either, so it’s at its rawest. Scary too – I’m sitting beside the engine. It won’t be a museum piece though – it’s eligible for Historic Modsports!’
Opel Manta 400
Jimmy Mcrae’s AC Delco-sponsored Opel Manta 400 from the 1985 British Rally Championship ran for the first time since 1992, after a hard life and a long and convoluted restoration. ‘It’s actually a 1984 car, and was originally driven by Russell Brookes under Andrews livery for that season,’ said owner Jiri Jirovic. ‘It was updated to 1985 specification the following year, and run by Jimmy Mcrae. It has certain modifications compared to Brookes’ 1985 car – that was infamously known as the ‘Bendi-bus’ because the acid-dipped chassis was so flexible that the nose would droop going over crests. With this car, Opel welded extra tubes into the chassis rails to stiffen it.
‘Immediately after the 1985 British Rally Championship it went to New Zealand, where it was owned and run by a guy called Simon Powell. In the Nineties, he sold it to Andy Horne in Scotland. It had suffered a lot of corrosion, and sadly Andy didn’t know much about Group B Mantas so he just fixed the rust. The unique Group B parts were in a bad way.
‘I bought it as a restoration project at an auction in Birmingham five years ago and took it back to Prague. It’s all sorted now but it won’t be rallied – it wouldn’t take much to destroy its originality.’
Dauer Porsche 962 proudly sports the same windscreen that was cracked during its 1994 Le Mans podium finish
1973 Targa Florio-winning 911RSR made its postrestoration debut
Even Jochen Mass found this tweaked 962C tricky to drive
First public viewing of the 3500bhp Land Speed Record car
Mercedes T80 was high-tech for 1939
Hans Stuck was due to sit here and chase 650km/h