Welcome once again to Classic Wheels and our monthly preview of future events and other information from the classic automotive scene. Coming up later this month in our weekly blog are features by three well-known personalities from the motoring and motorcycle media.
Joe Scalzo was on hand in the 1960s to witness the battles between Craig Breedlove and Art Arfons to set the Land Speed Record in their jet-engined projectiles as well as Mickey Thompson’s efforts to top 400mph with a car powered by normal internal combustion engines. This month he recalls those days for us as well as general LSR history from back in the times of Henry Segrave, Malcolm Campbell, George Eyston and John Cobb from the 1920s to the 1950s. It is an extensive and absolutely fascinating piece, especially about the Breedlove/Arfons rivalry that Joe witnessed at first hand, having interviewed and written about both men on many occasions back then.
Still on the Land Speed Racing theme, Tony Thacker recently took a trip for us to the dry lake at El Mirage, California to watch car and motorcycle guys satisfy their ‘need for speed’. Tony is well-known and highly respected in the US performance car field as an author and journalist. He is recognized as an authority on 1932 Ford hot rods via his books and features on that subject, While with the famed SoCal Speed Shop in 2006, Tony built his own hi-boy roadster with a monster V8 and a ’28 Ford Model A body on ’32 Ford frame rails. He then drove this beast 600+ miles to the Bonneville Salt Flats where it then ran on the salt and set a class record at 206.74mph! We are proud to be able to add Tony to our list of star contributors.
And talking of star contributors, Alan Cathcart is back this month with a feature on an essentially forgotten four-cylinder bike from Ducati. In the mid-1960s the Italian company built a prototype for the US importer which they hoped would sell in large numbers to the American police bike market. That didn’t happen and only the prototype of the 1280cc Apollo V4 remains. Alan, a successful former racer, is probably the world’s best-known motorcycle journalist as he syndicates his writings to magazines in 31 countries around the globe. As such he has strong contacts with all the major motorcycle manufacturers and thus was able to persuade Ducati to freshen up the Apollo so that he could take it out on the autostrada.
To make sure you get all of these features and more, subscribe (free of charge) to Classic Wheels by going to www.brgmultimedia.com and inputting your e-mail address as indicated.
FLORIDA OVAL TRACK SEASON OPENS
The 2021 season for oval track racers will kick off with the Sunshine Nationals weekend at the Volusia Speedway Park, just north of Daytona Beach in north-east Florida from January 14th to 16th. The event will showcase the World of Outlaws ‘Late Model’ stock cars with their unique lowline bodies.
Picture courtesy of Sunshine Nationals organisers
Two weeks later the ‘late model stockers’ will be joined at Volusia by the World of Outlaws sprint cars for the Dirt Car Nationals from February 2nd to 13th – almost two solid weeks of racing on the world’s fastest half-mile oval track. The premier class open-wheel sprint cars are the fastest short course oval track racers in the world, distinguished by the huge aerofoil wings situated above their otherwise traditional-looking front-engined racers. They are powered by 800 horsepower V8 motors and average over 100mph for a half-mile oval lap.
Picture courtesy of Dirt Nationals organisers
FORD GT40s WILL RACE FOR THE AMON CUP IN 2021
The arrival of the Ford GT40 in the 1960s remains one of the most significant moments in motorsport history. Arguably the most iconic GT car of a generation, it shifted the sands of Ferrari’s long-standing dominance in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. A machine of great technological advance, the GT40 still commands great respect and affection from competitors and enthusiasts alike but current owners have limited opportunities to use their cars in anger.
Picture via Bing Images
To address this void, Motor Racing Legends has announced the launch of a brand-new Historic one-make race series for the GT40, with two 80-minute races for the Amon Cup in 2021.
As the 1966 Le Mans winner with fellow New Zealander, Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon will forever be associated with the GT40 and the series organisers are deeply honoured that members of the Amon family will present the awards at each of the 2021 races for the cup that bears their name.
The first race in the Amon Cup series will be held at the Donington Historic Festival on May 1st & 2nd; with the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit being the venue for the final race of the season on October 30th & 31st at Motor Racing Legends’ newly-announced end-of-year meeting. Further details will be published on www.motorracinglegends.com as the season progresses.
MRL TO RUN JAGUAR CHALLENGE SERIES
Photograph by Roger Cooper
The Motor Racing Legends organisation will run the Jaguar Classic Challenge for the 2021 season. Open to Pre-‘66 E-types, C and D-types, XKs and Mk 1 and Mk 2 saloons, the 2021 season will feature UK races at Donington Historic Festival, Thruxton Historic, the new Motor Racing Legends end-of-season soiree on Silverstone Grand Prix circuit; and into Europe for the Spa Six Hours Meeting in Belgium,. Further details and additions to this calendar will be announced via www.motorracinglegends.com.
CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE SHOWS 2021
Mortons Media, UK-based publishers of classic motorcycle magazines and organisers of many bike shows and autojumbles throughout the year, have announced their 2021 events calender, beginning with the popular autojumbles at Newark (on January 30th) and Kempton Park on February 20th,
Highlights are the International Classic Motorcycle Show at Stafford on April 24th/25th, the Classic Dirt Bike Show at Telford on May 15th/16th and the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show at Stafford on October 15th/16th,
For more information on all shows throughout 2021 go to www.classicbikeshows.com. For autojumbles around the country check www.autojumble.info.
MORE FROM MORTONS
Mortons also publish Classic American car magazine – so if you are a fan of ‘big Yanks’ put their car show dates at Tatton Park near Knutsford in your 2021 diary – the Classic Car Spectacular Show on June 5th/6th, the Stars and Stripes Classic American Car Show on July 3rd/4th and the Passion for Power Show on August 21/22nd . More info at www.theclassiccarshows.com.
E-TYPE 60TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AT LONDON SHOW
Next year marks the diamond anniversary of one of the most acclaimed and admired cars in automotive history – the legendary Jaguar E-type. This magical 60-year milestone will be celebrated in style at the London Classic Car Show. For 2021 the show has been moved outdoors
to a new Covid-compliant venue in the scenic grounds of historic Syon Park near Brentford in West London and is scheduled for April 16th-18th.
Photograph courtesy of London Classic Car Show organisers
The show’s central ‘Evolution of Design’ theme will feature seminal cars from all automotive ages stretching back 135 years to the dawn of motoring - and few creations fit that evocative billing better than the iconic E-type. Adding further pertinence to the landmark celebrations being planned for Syon Park, the springtime weekend now chosen for the rescheduled event falls very close to the seminal sportscar’s actual birth date. It was in March 1961 that Jaguar caused a sensation by unveiling the British beauty at that year’s Geneva Motor Show. Quite apart from its film star looks, the dazzling two-seater coupe offered 150+mph performance for a fraction of the price of rivals with similar gusto. Famous early E-type owners included Tony Curtis, Peter Sellers, George Harrison, Charlton Heston, Bridget Bardot, Frank Sinatra, George Best and Princess Grace of Monaco.
To mark the car’s 60th anniversary, a number of very special E-type displays are being curated for the show, dedicated Jaguar dealers, restorers and specialists, as well as the UK’s leading Jaguar car clubs, are also being invited to participate.
MV AGUSTA SPECIAL EDITION SOLD OUT IN SECONDS!
To celebrate its 75th anniversary, MV Agusta announced the launch of a special, limited-series anniversary model, the Superveloce 75 Anniversario. Reservations officially opened online through the brand’s newly designed website on Sunday November 15 at midnight and were originally planned to close exactly 75 hours later. Within seconds, however, the 75 planned units of the Superveloce 75 Anniversario had gone – sold right out!
Photograph provided by MV Agusta
The already iconic Superveloce was chosen as the base for this anniversary collector’s bike as it represents the perfect balance between modern forms and MV Agusta’s racing legacy. The result is a truly beautiful bike, with its Italian flag colour scheme, the dedicated graphic detailing, the black and gold Inmotion spoke rims and the red Alcantara rider and passenger seats. The engine is the same F3 800-derived inline three-cylinder engine as the Superveloce, developing 147 hp at 13.000 rpm for top speeds of over 240 km/h.
NATIONAL MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM WINTER RAFFLE
The UK National Motorcycle Museum has announced the details of its 2020/21 winter raffle, with Museum Director James Hewing stating: “We have yet another great first prize, this time of a brand new/old stock 1979 Triumph T140D Bonneville Special which has never been run or registered and which is showing only 11 ’push’ miles on its odometer!”
Photograph from the National Motorcycle Museum.
The prize draw for the winter raffle will take place on Sunday 25th April 2021 at The International Classic Motorcycle Show, Stafford, UK. Tickets cost £2.00 each & will be distributed during Nov/Dec 2020 via subscription copies of the specialist classic motorcycle press. Tickets may also be purchased on-line by visiting www.thenmm.co.uk.
MOTOR RACING LEGENDS 2021 DATES
Motor Racing Legends is the name behind nine highly prestigious historic racing series that form the main attraction of several classic motor sports festivals during the UK season. These are the Amon Cup for GT40’s; the Jaguar Classic Challenge; the Pre-1966 Three-Hour races for GT and Touring Cars; Pre-1963 GT cars; the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy for Pre-1955 Sports Cars; the Stirling Moss Trophy for Pre-1961 Sports Racing Cars; the Sixties Touring Car Challenge with U2TC for under 2-litre Touring Cars; the Tony Dron Trophy for Touring Car racers from the 1970s and ‘80s, the Historic Touring Car Challenge and the Motor Racing Legends Pre-War Sports Car Series.
Photograph courtesy of Bicester Historic Festival organisers.
Motor Racing Legends season dates for 2021 are May 1-2 - Donington Historic Festival; June 12-13 - Thruxton Historics; July 30-August 1 - Silverstone Classics; October 1-3 -Spa Six Hours Race and October 30-31 – the Silverstone Finale.
HAMPTON COURT CONCOURS 2021
The 2021 Concours of Elegance will take place from Friday 3rd to Sunday 6th of September at Hampton Court Palace by the side of the River Thames, west of London. The Concours of Elegance began at Windsor Castle in 2012, before moving to St James’s Palace in 2013, Hampton Court Palace in 2014 at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (Her Majesty The Queen’s official residence in Scotland) in 2015 before returning to Windsor Castle in 2016 and Hampton Court Palace in 2017. It has made its home at Hampton Court ever since.
Photograph courtesy of Thorough Events
The Concours of Elegance will once again bring together a selection of 60 of the rarest cars from around the world – many of which will never have been seen before in the UK. Many of the Concours cars will also take part in a two-day driving tour in the days running up to the main Concours event. Uniquely, the Concours of Elegance winner is not selected by a panel of judges but by the owners of the cars themselves. Each participant is asked to vote on the other models on display to decide which car is then considered to be the ‘Best of Show’.
Complementing the Concours of Elegance will be displays of hundreds of other fine motor cars, including entrants to The Club Trophy. Now in its seventh year, The Club Trophy sees some of the UK’s most prestigious car clubs offering up their finest examples to an independent panel of judges. The winning Club Trophy car will secure a place in the following year’s main Concours of Elegance event.
CITY OF LONDON CONCOURS MOVES TO JUNE FOR 2021
The London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet, is a luxurious automotive garden party hosted right in the heart of the City of London from Tuesday 8th – Thursday 10th June. This hugely exciting automobile extravaganza will see 80 of the world’s most precious cars gather in the gardens of the historic and beautiful Honourable Artillery Company Headquarters and will include a ferocious collection of horsepower arranged in specially curated and themed displays chosen by the editorial panel of Octane Magazine.
Photographs provided by Thorough Events
MORE ON THE NORTON ‘UNIFIED TWIN’
Thanks to motorcycle historian and Salon Prive judge, Dennis Frost, we can correct an error that we made in our coverage of that Blenheim Palace event back in September. A 1965 Norton 650cc ‘Unified Twin’ topped the class for Exceptional Street Motorcycles and we assumed that the name came about because the bike ‘unified’ parts from both Norton and Matchless, both brands being in the Associated Motor Cycles group. That was indeed the case but there was a lot more to both the bike and its name than just the mix of parts,
Pictures via Bing Images
As Dennis informed us, the Norton on show at Salon Prive has its crankcase and gearbox contained in a single casting, thus giving the machine its name – the Unified Twin. Just two prototype engines were produced before the Norton factory in Birmingham was closed by its parent company, Associated Motor Cycles. With production relocated to AMC’s plant in south-east London, work on the unified twin was abandoned. Now 55 years later one of these engines has been built into a 1960s chassis, re-creating the sort of machine AMC might have produced had the Unified Twin gone into production. We should have taken a much closer look at that bike at Salon Prive!
DUCATI SUPER SIX IN MOTORCYCLE FILES E-BOOKS RANGE
For less than the price of a cappuccino, Ducati enthusiasts can enjoy any one of six Amazon-listed e-books in The Motorcycle Files series by well-known author and journalist, Alan Cathcart. These include the actual V-twins that famously scored victories for Paul Smart in the 1972 Imola 200 F750 race and for Mike Hailwood in his legendary 1978 Isle of Man TT comeback. Plus the only remaining example of the monster 1280cc V4 Apollo prototype that was intended as a contender for American police bike sales in the mid-1960s.
Also featured are three more of the V-twins by legendary designer, Fabio Taglioni, these being Ducati’s 1971 500cc Grand Prix contender. along with the 1973 750SS evolution model that was developed into a two-time winner of the Barcelona 24 Hours race and a 900SS that beat the Japanese four-cylinder opposition in US Superbike racing.
To view The Motorcycle Files complete catalogue go to www.brgmultimedia.com. From there you can link directly to Amazon for lengthy free previews of each book’s content and ordering procedures.