Archive for July, 2011

Machine Shop on the Go


We’ve seen pictures before of the VW Transporter that accompanied the Porsche team to everything from the Mille Miglia to (as seen in this photo) the ’77 press launch of the 928. This is the first time I’ve seen a photo with the door opened. It looks like they could do more than haul spares with that thing.

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The Coolest Kid on the Block

From the definitive source on the scaled Formula 1 cars for kids, Jomoro & Lystonia comes this astoundingly perfect brochure (and transcription!) for the Jaromo “Mighty Microbe”. Click on over for more articles, photos, cars for sale and an owner’s registry. These things are no joke. I’d like to be able to order even just the optional extras for my kid.

The Mighty Microbe

Worlds first formula 1 grand prix car for kids

The dreams of youth for glory at the wheel of a low-slung, fast-handling, hard-charging racing machine are dreams no more, the “Mighty Microbe” has arrived.

The worlds first mini-car copied with superb workmanship and great authenticity from the Formula 1 cars of the international Grand Prix circuit, the “Mighty Microbe” performs as realistically as it looks. Powered by an Italian made, rear-mounted four-stroke engine of 148cc, the “Mighty Microbe” boasts coil spring and hydraulic damper independent suspension along with rack and pinion steering and full monocoque chassis design. At 3600 RPM, the car cruises at just a shade under 30 mph–a level that may be maintained for safety by mechanical governor. With the governor removed, much higher speeds are possible.

The Mighty Microbe comes by its pur sang looks and performance naturally. It was developed by the English racing specialists Jomoro Ltd. design engineers, car preparation experts and former members of the Alan Mann Racing organization, and creation and production of the Microbe has been carried out with the same seriousness and dedication that would accompany a bid for a racing championship. Each car is hand-built with traditional British craftsmanship.

At every point of construction, safety and quality of components have been the primary considerations. Design of the car virtually precludes upsetting, yet a roll bar has been provided. Drum brakes are standard.

Specification

Overall Length: 8’3″
Overall Width: 4’6″
Overall Height: 2’9″
Weight: 180 lbs.
Wheelbase: 62″
Track–Front: 40″
Track –Rear: 42″
Max. Speed: (standard vehicle)
24.5 m.p.h.–effected by reduction gearing based upon a mechanically governed engine speed of 3600 r.p.m.
Welded and stove enamelled mild steel monocoque chassis unit.
Glass reinforced plastic removable body sections.
148 c.c. four stroke side valve engine unit to design by Tecumseh Products Company.
Power transmission by Chain & Sprocket.
Shift operated neutral gear.
Chrome plated coil spring and oil filled hydraulic damper independent suspension.
Rack and pinion steering in hardened steel.
Independent cable operated front wheel drum brakes operated on single leading shoe principle.
Adjustable throttle and brake pedal assembly.
8″ dia. Cast aluminium road wheels 6.5″ wide front and 9.5″ wide rear.
Tyres: Front 16 x 6.50 x 8 Rear 18 x 9.50 x 8
Full harness adjustable safety belts by Britax.
Steel roll-over bar.
Ignition cut out switch.
Fully trimmed and padded cockpit.
Leather covered L.72 aluminium steering wheel.
Rear view mirrors chrome finished.
Rear Wing on chrome plated supports.
Speedometer with mileage recorder.
Tinted perspex screen.
Choice of six standard colours–Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, White, Orange.

Optional Extras:
Overall fitted canvas cover.
Road trailer.
Driver suits in five sizes and four standard colours: Red, Turquoise, Yellow, Green.
Total coverage race helmets.
Craftsman made black leather driving gloves.
Spare parts as required.

Patent and Design Registration filed in Great Britain, U.S.A. And and W. Germany.

Manufactured by: Jomoro Ltd., 10 Mill Lane Estate, Alton, Hampshire, England

Telephone: Alton 84100

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Lotus Powered by Ford Powered by AMT

Now you know. If you’re planning on crafting a Lotus 29 in the livery of Jim Clark’s 1963 Indianapolis entry, you won’t have to suffer the embarassment of inappropriately placed graphics.

The instructions from this AMT model kit of the car make it sound so easy: “Dip decal in water for a few moments to loosen the paper backing. Hold decal in position and slide off paper backing. Smooth out water bubbles by wiping decal gently with damp cloth.”

I can only assume the instructions are cut off there because it is missing the part about swearing for 45 minutes as it dries crooked. Also missing is the bit about sanding the body to remove the decal and the several coats of paint and scouring eBay for replacement decals.

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Track Map of the Past: Prince George Circuit

At first blush the South African track at East London doesn’t look too impressive. A few straights, a few hard corners, not much in the way of esses or chicanes. Just a simple drive along the beach. The move of the South African GP to Kyalami in 1967 must have been received well—a more demanding and interesting circuit. It didn’t have the history though. Prince George Circuit hosted South Africa’s first Grand Prix races in the 1930s. And I’m sure the ocean-front view didn’t hurt. Indeed, it looks like a beautiful location.

What interested me most about this map, though was the section along Butts Bend marked “Prohibited Area – Rifle Range”. You know, because motor racing wasn’t dangerous enough, let’s have them drive through the middle of a shooting range while they’re racing. Of course I realize that there wasn’t live fire during the race, but I’m going to continue imagining it that way. It makes the win that clinched Graham Hill’s 1962 World Championship all the more entertaining to me.

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Chaparral at the Bridge

I didn’t think it was possible, but this image of a Chaparral 2G at The Bridge in 1968 looks almost serene.

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Stirling and his RS 61 Go Up Goodwood Hill

I swear I don’t post every video Porsche puts out.

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Solving the Three Big Problems of Sports Car Tyres

Do you drive a sports car?

Then read this vivid extract from Jimmy Stewart, of Ecurie Ecosse fame.

“Last Saturday morning I decided to take the E-type on Cinturas as far as Inveraray and back, 50 or 60 miles from here. The roads were wet and greasy, with occasional dry patches. I found that on the twisty sections I was travelling at between 70 and 80 miles an hour in 2nd and 3rd gear where on other tyres I would be driving at 45 and 50 mph. And in two straight sections at Loch Lomond I got a speedometer reading of 130 mph, taking it up to a maximum revs in 3rd and banging it into top then braking under racing conditions by tamping the pedal really hard, putting it right through the gears for various corners. And when I got as far as Arrochar I ran into quite a bit of snow and slush, and it was there I was really glad of the Cinturas. They almost felt like all-weather tyres.”

“I’m sure the Cintura is faster in dry road conditions than any other tyre. It almost feels up to the standard of a full racing cover. It gives one the feeling that it’s an entirely different tyre from anything else. It just grips so much better than any other tyre I have ever handled.”

The Cintura solves three sports car problems. Jimmy Stewart’s report amounts to this: the Cintura solves the three big problems of sports car tyres:

1. Tyre wear (“…here at last is a tyre that stands up to the driving I do.”).

2. Tyre heating (“It seems to run extremely cool, even under the most arduous conditions.”).

3. Tyre adhesion under stress (“I feel that the Cintura offers the absolute ultimate in safety.”).

How does the Cintura solve the problem of tyre distortion at speed (which can have unpleasant consequences)? It does so by having a built-in ‘safety belt’: An inextensible textile belt running right round the circumference of the tyre under the tread. It holds the tyre profile virtually unchanged even at very high speeds, and it gives the tyre a much more square and uniform contact area with the road.

Send for Jimmy Stewart’s full report and your free copy of the Cintura book, which lists all sports and saloon cars to which Cinturas can be fitted. See what a difference Cinturas make, even to a brilliant professional driver. If you drive a sports car, really drive it, there is only one tyre for you. In Jimmy’s own words: “I think Cinturas will improve the characteristics of any sports car!”

The standard Cintura: for speeds up to 130 mph.

the High Speed Cintura: for sustained speeds above 130 mph.

To The Pirelli Performance Bureau, 343-345 Euston Road, London NW1

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Rocket Man

Redditor “Neither-nor” dug up this impressive shot of Max Valier testing the rocket car he developed under the patronage of Fritz von Opel at AVUS in January of 1930.

Although Opel lost interest in the project, Valier carried on. This smaller image is from a different test of a continuation model (and may represent Max’s shift from solid to liquid fueled rockets) run in April. Ultimately his interest in rocketry would claim his life a month later when an experimental rocket exploded on the test bench.

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Art Appreciation: Ferrari 750 Monza

We don’t often think of Ferrari’s machines as barchettas; they tended to be the big boys. But before Ferrari was all muscle, all the time, this slippery little slice of perfection with a body by Scaglietti had her share of successes on the track.

RM Auctions is offering the remarkable example (chassis no.0492M) shown above as part of their upcoming Monterey Auction.

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The Return of Stefan Marjoram’s Goodwood Sketches

Is it weird that I look forward to Stefan’s sketches more than I do photography from the Goodwood Festival of Speed? He just manages to capture something about the cars that simple photos cannot. I suspect it may have something to do with the more concentrated experience he has capturing the image. It’s one thing to stroll up to the back of the Marmon Wasp or Mephistophele, snap a picture, maybe pause to admire it briefly, then move on to the next car. Stefan has to find a comfortable spot to sketch and really look deeply at the car while he works. Don’t get me wrong, I love a well composed and shot photograph, but I can’t help but think that this extra consideration and closer study translates to an image that captures more than a quick snapshot would. See the complete set on Stefan Marjoram’s Flickr.

This is our third look at Stefan’s work, we’ve previously looked at his work here and here. What can I say? I love his stuff.

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