Fam­ily value

Classic Sports Car - - Letters -

In Jan­uary 2017 you pub­lished a let­ter from Charles Wells, about his fa­ther Mar­tin’s Alfa Romeo 1750 GS Za­gato, BGO 242, with which he had com­peted at Madres­field and Sys­ton Park in the 1936. He con­cluded that he thought the car was now in North­ern Ire­land.

I can con­firm that this is the case, my grand­fa­ther Der­mot hav­ing bought the car in 1939. It was sold in 1950, but brought back into the fam­ily in the 1970s. In July I drove the car over for Chateau Imp­ney Hill Climb, where my son Pa­trick raced – pre­sum­ably the youngest com­peti­tor, at 17. He is the fourth gen­er­a­tion of the fam­ily to com­pete in the car. The pre­vi­ous month my brother Andy took the car on hol­i­day and repli­cated a pho­to­graph taken at the top of the Tim Healey pass in Kil­lar­ney by our grand­fa­ther on the ’47 Cir­cuit of Ire­land Rally, where he fin­ished sev­enth. Der­mot John­son

Holy­wood, North­ern Ire­land com­plained about be­ing over­taken by Capris, con­sid­er­ing that some­thing was wrong with their cars. Both works protested to the Tech­nis­che Überwachungsverein (TÜV) in Stuttgart, which had cer­ti­fied Michael’s cars.

The TÜV solved the prob­lem by declar­ing May’s work­shop to be the small­est car fac­tory in Ger­many, and the com­plain­ing cus­tomers were in­formed that the Capris were in­deed faster and that their cars were in proper or­der.

May in­tro­duced the first wing to a race car (to a Porsche at the 1956 Nür­bur­gring 1000km). He was the first Euro­pean FJ Cham­pion, drove a Lo­tus in a few F1 races and, prior to his work on tur­bocharg­ing, was a con­sul­tant to Fer­rari. Michael now lives in Switzer­land and ded­i­cates his time to can­cer re­search.

If you want to read more, I have writ­ten two books – Mac­na­mara Rac­ing and Turbo-may.

Prof Dr Peter Schroeder


Glo­ri­ous Alfa cap­tured on the 1947 Cir­cuit of Ire­land rally and, below, the same shot re-en­acted by Andy John­son, 70 years later

May and wife at his Hechin­gen work­shops

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