BABY BERTHA

Pho­tos: LAT, Jakob Ebrey, Mick Walker, Steve Jones, John Turner, Jeff Blox­ham, Paul Lawrence, Rallysport Me­dia

Motor Sport News - - Club Monsters -

The King is dead, long live the king. When Gerry Mar­shall’s DTV Ven­tora (Big Bertha) was de­stroyed at Sil­ver­stone af­ter a ma­jor brake drama, a re­build was canned and in­stead Baby Bertha was born us­ing the run­ning gear from the Ven­tora.

Out came the en­gine, gear­box, De Dion rear end and wheels and new body­work was placed atop the run­ning gear.

In 1975, Baby Bertha won 18 of her 23 races with her 5-litre, Repco-holden V8 en­gine, the car to beat in Su­per Sa­loon rac­ing. She had 500bhp and the Frank Costin-in­spired car could hit 60mph in 4.2s and 100 in 7.8s.

It was per­fect for Mar­shall: it was fast, loud and spec­tac­u­lar and it was a fo­cal point of Bri­tish club rac­ing in a golden age.

It was built in 11 weeks and when Mar­shall first drove it at Snet­ter­ton it was five sec­onds un­der the lap record, one that he him­self had set in the Ven­tora.

Only a change of heart from Dealer Team Vaux­hall could stop her. At the end of 1977, Vaux­hall an­nounced that it would stop its cir­cuit rac­ing ac­tiv­i­ties to con­cen­trate on ral­ly­ing its Chevette, but there was lit­tle else for Baby Bertha to win. She had fended off all ad­vances to­wards her. MJ

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