Friday, 6 April 2012


Historic racing promoter,  HRDC Series owner and Senior Consultant to the Goodwood Road Racing Company, Julius Thurgood, is hosting an exclusive track day at Goodwood for historic racing cars on Thursday 26th April. Unlike most track days, which pack in the cars thus shortening drivers' track time, Julius' day will be restricted to just 20 owners driving an eclectic mix of historic race cars. Needless to say that the talent that will be behind the wheels of these cars will provide a most entertaining 'snapshot' of several of the type of cars that will be out in the Goodwood Revival this September.

Hopefully a very special unveiling of the new Aston Martin DB7-based Evanta Zagato evocation will see this incredible creation run in anger for the very first time and this exclusive track day.

"I can't wait to drive it at Goodwood' commented Julius Thurgood. "I've observed the entire build programme of this inceredible car and the attention to detail paid to building of this wonderful Gran Turismo will hallmark the reputation of quality that emerges from every project that the boys down at Evanta take on - it is truly a novel retro twist on the modern supercar"

The Evanta DB7Z undergoing the final paint process at the Evanta Factory.

Julius Thurgood Track Day at Goodwood
Invited cars:

Rover 105S

Lenham Spitfire GT


Sunbeam Rapier

Jensen 541R

Ford Cortina GT Mk.1

Rochdale Olympic

Jensen 541R

Speedwell Sprite


MG Magnette
Austin A105
Jaguar Mk.2 Works 
Jaguar Mk.1
Sunbeam Rapier
Austin A35
Lenham Le Mans
Austin A40

Sebring Sprite

Julius Thurgood
HRDC Race Director
Host at Goodwood Track Day
26th April


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Historic Speedwell Sprite to race at Castle Combe 9th April.

Just loved this: Guy Harman's original Speedwell Sprite. 

Restored by Rae Davis of RDR. Guy will be racing this famous car for the very first time in his recent ownership at the HRDC 'Historica' Race Day meeting at Castle Combe on the 9th April.

Guy sent me this super little cartoon of his car - as portrayed in a famous French comic book. Excellent!

MGB50 - From a different historic perspective

Anniversaries are all well and good - but they often just state the obvious: 50 years since the Hokey Cokey 500 first stepped off the production line, 100 years since a major manufacturer managed to hook the investment to get out of the potting shed and into proper production - the anniversaries roll on and on. 2012 brings quite a few 50-year anniversaries: The AC Cobra, The Ford Cortina, The Triumph Spitfire and let's not forget the MGB. How many car shows and rallies will we see these cars parked up to form '50' - only visible from the air? A lot of work for little visual reward. I hope not - let's pray that organisers will go for a lateral take on their task and search to find the most obscure examples, the shameful survivors with tortured enhancements foisted upon the standard design by independent designers in a bid to 'improve' the perfectly adequate originals - and, of course, the far braver (or foolhardy) attempts to totally re-invent the original model. Such insights would do so much more to establish that in many cases the original design was by far the best.

Yet trawling through the archives, I was drawn more by the way some of these cars were originally perceived; exactly how cool was the MGB in its day?

By the looks of it - it was considered very cool and far, far away from the Bobble-hat brigade that is now readily associated with its custodianship. Oh, and before the Anoraks descend on me in abject rage - yes, Prince Charles is emerging from a MGC GT - not a 'B'. But hey, Charlie Boy does cut a dash - or is the style of the car helping? Taking a snapshot view of the car in its prime - how cool was it really? Set in context, the 'B' was as sharp as a Saville Row suit. With clean, uncluttered lines and a purposeful stance - if any car was well drawn from the start - here it is. But like all good cars, (the Golf GTi is a perfect example), as the years passed by, the very 'improvements' added to boost flagging sales helped to destroy the original concept and so the crisp Saville Row cut sold out to the cheap suit of 'Man at C&A'.

 The lovely Donna Mae Mins - string back gloves, manicured nails. Just perfect!
 ..........and a smile to die for!
......and never seen without her matching race ensemble. 

The 'Smart Set' took to the clean lines of the MGB.

Flower power...................?

The Jet Set

 How cool for the MGB - to be driven by a Rolling Stone.........................

 The fearless and most fanciful Christabel Carlisle - another great Lady Racer - 
with a great taste in hats.

 Cheap thrills? Maybe, but the package was now edgy enough to be cool.

Look again how outdated the cars looked in their day against the sharp lines of the MGB.

Take a look at the cars parked around Prince Charles' MGCGT - it's easy to see why this design was considered very cool!

The MGB is now getting raunchy - V-8 engine, it's now on Steroids.

 Stylish Burberry - decades before the Chav debasement.

But then it all goes a little off track..............

Quite where this lovely lady found a dress fabric that matched the deckchair covering employed in late MGBs, I'm not sure but the shot sums up the '80s swansong of the venerable MGB perfectly! Too many nips and tucks on the old girl - no, not you Madam - the car!

So the the early MGB was cool - it's Renaissance depends simply on the cut of your suit!

The Historic Racing Drivers Club
Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone. 31st March.
My, my, the enthusiasm shown for historic racing was paramount here at Porsche's superb venue with some 25 HRDC historic race cars being put through their paces by their talented owners was infectious! Journalists were treated to a great exhibition of just how fast you can go in some quite unlikely '50s and '60s machinery! The gorgeous Mrs Beever simply blew away even the most cynical of motoring scribes with her spirited handling of her venerable but indecently agile 'HMS' Rover 105S!

Diversity seems to be the bye-word with the HRDC. Just take a look at the Standard Vanguard Phase 1 racer sitting upon its custom built Standard Vanguard period transporter - style simply doesn't get better in any historic race paddock! The arrival of the Studebaker Lark Daytona 500 sent a prominent collector of rare historic machinery into a spin - what price do you place on this unique example? The MG Magnette ZA  is a tribute to the owner's Grandmother - Nancy Michell - who drove these cars for the Factory Team back in the '50s, with great success! Another unique racer is the Lenham Spitfire GT, veteran of several races at the Goodwood Revival, it is has recently been rebuilt in anticipation for a full season with the HRDC this year. The Cortina GT Mk.1 is well known within the historic racing fraternity and did it's bit to launch the new HRDC 'TC63' Series for pre-'64 touring cars last October at Snetterton - a clever twist on historic tin-top racing that eliminates the high-spending teams with 'homolgation specials' from entering - thus keeping the entry costs down and the spectator interest high as the pre-'64 dateline encourages lateral thinking when choosing a suitable car for the Series. Oh! The MGB? Just the actual Hopkirk/Hedges 1965 Le Mans car................due out at Castle Combe on 9th April with owner Barry Sidery-Smith in the HRDC's 'MGB50' Series - a Series celebrating 50-years of  the MGB in competition.