Car of the Month — 1959 MG EX186 Prototype LeMans Car

Like the majority of British automobile producers, the MG Car Company developed experimental models which often, but occasionally not, became production models. The founder of MG Cars, Cecil Kimber, realized at an early time, that properly set up and successful experimental cars could provide a great deal of free advertising, and he was happy to supply factory assistance to any MG speed or endurance record attempt. Between 1929 and 1959 MG established 43 international class speed records with factory-supported EX vehicles, and several EX cars were the precursors of well-known production models.

From the very beginning, the EX designation was used for prototype MG projects and cars, but the first of the EX line to be revealed to the public as a prospective ‘record-breaker’ was EX120. It evolved from a collaboration with Captain George Eyston who attempted to establish the first 100mph speed for Class H cars (750cc) cars, using the diminutive 1929 MG Midget. His MG broke six international records on the way to becoming the first 750cc car to go 100 miles in one hour. Designed with the express purpose of smashing every Class H record, and completed late in 1931, the evolution of EX120 was EX127. In its illustrious career EX127 car set numerous records, and was the first car in its class to surpass 120mph.

 

EX186 is pushed out of the Abingdon factory for a first test run

 

The next car for Captain Eyston was the legendary EX135, based on a K3 chassis with both racing and record breaking bodies and built to assault Class G (1100cc) records. The original streamlined body was painted in cream and chocolate stripes, and earned the nickname “Humbug”. In 1934 it re-wrote the record books for its class, and two years later broke both Class G and F records by becoming the first 1100cc car to exceed 200mph. Following World War II, EX135 re-surfaced in a number of different configurations and took many class records before, in 1951, and sporting a TD engine, the car ran on the Utah salt flats to take more records in Class F. In its long career, and wearing an assortment of bodies and engines, the venerable EX135 broke the world record ten times in eight different classes, a tribute to both the builders and the driver. The next significant creation, EX179 was based on an MGA chassis and closely resembled EX135. With it, Eyston and Ken Miles took seven Class F and 25 American records. Using the Wolseley Twin-cam engine, the car took nine Class G records. The final record breaker from MG was EX181, a mid-engine car nicknamed the “Roaring Raindrop” for its unique streamlined body shape. In 1957, with Stirling Moss at the wheel, this model took the Class F record at 245.6mph. Two years later Phil Hill drove the car to an amazing 254.9mph. This was the end of factory supported MG speed cars except one you may never have heard of before today!

Whetted by a three-car entry in the 1955 Le Mans 24-hour race where the brand new MGA EX182, had finished 12th overall and 5th in class, Managing Director of MG John Thornley and Chief Designer Syd Enever laid plans to develop an MGA-based ‘prototype’ for the express purpose of winning the 1961 LeMans 24-hour race outright. They intended to utilize the then-new dual-overhead cam version of BMC B-Series engine, but recognizing that the engine wouldn’t give them a performance edge, (other cars would have more power), they planned to compensate with a specially built, lightweight, and extremely aerodynamic aluminum body. ‘EX186’ is the racecar that resulted from these plans. The car was built and test driven on the road, and by all accounts its performance was impressive, but sadly the Le Mans MG project was cancelled before EX186 was ever raced.

It was normal MG practice to destroy racing prototypes after retiring them, but in 1960 John Thornley managed to dispatch EX186 to US dealer Kjell Qvale, invoiced as “auto parts.” Qvale kept EX186 stored until 1966, after which it was sold and driven on public roads for about a year until its engine required overhaul. At that time, overhaul costs were prohibitive and the car was removed from service, parted from its engine, and stored in a barn on a walnut farm in Red Bluff, CA. Luckily, most of the car including the hand-built aluminum body and unique DeDion rear suspension survived virtually intact and, in 1982, having seen it advertised in Road & Track magazine, MG enthusiasts Joe and Cathy Gunderson and Steve Willis of Denver, Colorado, purchased the car. Since then, they have carefully and painstakingly restored it to the virtually original specification you see here. Tracking down missing original parts such as the gearbox has been one of the special challenges of the unique 30+ year restoration of EX186 which is currently on display at the Hagerty offices in Golden, Colorado.

 

 

 

Car of the Month — 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 (Ferrari Daytona)

Introduced to replace the 275 GTB/4, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4, two-seat grand tourer was, like so many new Ferrari models of the period, revealed to a surprised public at the 1968 Paris Auto Salon. The sleek and stylish Pininfarina designed front-engined car featured a heavily revised version of the Colombo-designed V12 power-unit fromthe 275 GTB/4model, bored out to 4.4-litres (4,390cc), and was the only production Ferrari at that time use a high-performance dry-sump lubrication system on its engine. Although a Pininfarina design, as with many previous Ferrari road cars styled by Leonardo Fioravanti, the new 365 GTB/4 was radically different to the model it replaced.Many people felt that its sharp-edged styling resembled a Lamborghini rather than a traditional Pininfarina Ferrari.

The Ferrari 365 GTB/4, is more commonly know to most people as the Ferrari Daytona. This unofficial name is reported to have been applied by the media rather than Ferrari themselves, and was reputedly named to commemorate a Ferrari 1-2-3 finish in the February 1967 24-Hours of Daytona. The unofficial name was quickly adopted by everyone and continues to be widely used today, however, to this day, Ferrari itself only rarely refers to the 365 GTB/4 as the “Daytona”.

 

 

 

Unlike Lamborghini’s then-new, mid-engined Miura, the Daytona was a traditional front-engined, rear-wheel drive car. The engine, known as the Tipo 251 was a two-vales per cylinder, Double-Over-Head-Cam (DOHC) V12 with a 60° bank angle, 365cc per cylinder, a 3.2-inch bore diameter and 2.8-inch stroke, featuring six Weber 40DCN20 twin-choke down-draught carburettors (40mm Solex twin-choke carburettors were used on some versions). With a compression ratio of 9.3:1, the Tipo 251 unit produced 352bhp and the car could reach a top speed of 174mph, and accelerate from zero to 60mph in just 5.4 seconds. For the American version, slight modifications were made – the compression ratio was reduced to 8.8:1 and the exhaust system was equipped with a large central silencer, necessitating visible alterations to the primary pipes. Early Daytonas featured fixed headlights behind an acrylic glass cover, but in 1971 a new U.S. safety regulation banning headlights behind covers resulted in the adoption of retractable, pop-up twin headlights.

The five-speed manual transmission transaxle was mounted in the rear for optimal weight distribution, and a race-derived four-wheel independent suspension featured wishbones and coil springs. The excellent weight distribution provided by the rear gearbox transaxle produced a front-engined car of rare balance. The generally accepted total number of Daytonas built is 1,406. This figure includes 122 factory-made spyders and 15 competition cars. All bodies except the very first Pininfarina prototype were produced by Italian coachbuilder Scaglietti. The first racing version of the 365GTB/4 appeared in 1969 when a prototype aluminium bodied car was built and entered in the Le Mans 24-hour race. The subsequent fifteen official racecarswere built in three batches of five in 1970-1, 1972 and 1973. Each featured a lightweight body (by as much as 400lbs) that used aluminium and fibreglass panels, along with plexiglas windows. In the first batch of competition cars the engine was unchanged from the road car, but the five 1972 cars had revised powerunits with around 400bhp. By 1973, the last five ‘race’ cars built had a little over 450bhp. The cars were raced by a range of private entrants and enjoyed particular success in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, including a 5th overall in 1971, followed by GT class wins in 1972, 1973 and 1974. The final major success for the Daytona was in 1979 (five years after production had ended), when a 1973 car achieved a class victory and and incredible second overall in the 24 Hours of Daytona.

The 1971-built, US-specification ‘Daytona’ on Display at Hagerty during December was owned in the late ‘70s by Walker P. Inman (heir to the Duke fortune). In the early ‘80s Inman had the car modified to ‘Competition’ spec with flared wheel-arches and gold, factory-correct, BBS Competition wheels. After the car had been ‘parked’ for 28 years current owner Bill Bowdish acquired the car in 2012 and has had it sympathetically restored to period correct ‘Semi-Race specification’ with a few minor (easily reversible) modifications such as coil-over shocks, larger rotors and a lightened stripped-out interior, that Bill says, “make it a real blast at track-days!”

Image of the Month — Raybestos Brake Pad

4/15/1971
News Release from Raybestos

RAYBESTOS Disc Brake Pads taken from Al Unser’s winning car (ABOVE) in the 1970 Indy 500 are contrasted with a new and unused Raybestos disc brake pad. Note the very slight wear on the pads which braked Unser’s Johnny Lightning Special as it raced 500 miles to victory in the 1970 Classic. The minimal amount of wear is attributed to Raybestos’ wonder compound R-4528-19M, a special formulation designed to work more efficiently at the high braking temperatures (as high as 1200 degrees) experienced in Indianapolis type racing. Raybestos disc bake pads have been on the winning Indy 500 car for the last 14 years.

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Sam Hanks, 1957 Indy 500 winner and a Raybestos consultant, says, “the pads used on my car wouldn’t last ten laps at today’s speeds.” Hanks drove his 350 horsepower car to victory at an average speed of 135.60 compared to last year’s winning average speed of 155.749.

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More conservative Warren Jensen, Raybestos Research Director, figures pads made from R-4528-19M perform better and wear about five times longer at today’s speeds than would pads made from the previously used material.

Car of the Month — 1986 Citroën 2CV6 Spécial (The Deux Chevaux)

Citroën unveiled the 2CV— The Deux Chevaux: signifying two nominal horsepower (initially it was only 12hp)—at the 1948 Paris Salon. The 2CV, conceived and designed by Citroën Vice-President Pierre Boulanger, quickly became a bestseller, achieving his aim of providing rural French people with a motorized alternative to the horse and cart the majority were still using in the early 1950s. It was unusually inexpensive to purchase and with its tiny two-cylinder, two-stroke engine, inexpensive to run as well. The early 2CV model pioneered a very soft, interconnected suspension, but did not have the more complex self-levelling feature that would appear later. The 2CV remained in production, with only minor changes, until 1990 and was a relatively common sight on French roads until fairly recently. It is astonishing to know that nearly nine million 2CV variants were produced, in eleven countries from France to Argentina, between 1948 and 1990.

The Citroën 2CV featured; low cost; simplicity of overall maintenance; an easily serviced air-cooled engine,  low fuel consumption; and an extremely long-travel suspension offering a soft ride and light off-road capability. Often called “an umbrella on wheels”, the fixed-profile convertible bodywork featured a full-width, canvas, roll-back sunroof, which accommodated oversized loads and until 1955 reached almost to the car’s rear bumper.

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Over the next forty plus year the 2CV went through many iterations (including the 2CV Fourgonnette van, the ‘Weekend’ version of the van that had collapsible, removable rear seating and rear side windows, enabling a tradesman to use it as a family vehicle at the weekend, as well as for business in the week) and modifications, including different size engines (from 375cc to 435cc and then 602cc), revised lights, extra windows, re-styled seats, and even door locks! The key to the 2CV’s huge success was its clever, lightweight engineering, which combined a small, fuel-efficient engine with an extremely light body and drivetrain.
In July 1975, a base model called the 2CV Spécial was introduced with the 435cc engine. Between 1975 and 1990 a drastically reduced trim basic version was sold, at first only in yellow. The small, square speedometer (which dates back to the Traction Avant), and the narrow rear bumper was installed. Citroën removed the third side window, the ashtray, and virtually all trim from the car. It also had the earlier round headlights. From the 1978 Paris Motor Show the Spécial regained third side windows, and was available in other colours. Beginning in mid-1979 a larger 602cc engine was installed in some models.

The 2CV Special seen here was privately imported from Belgium (it still has a Belgian registration plate on the front), and had two previous U.S. owners, before the current owner Frank Barrett bought it in 2011. It is a totally original, un-restored car with only 53,000 miles (85,000km) on the odometer. This ‘Spécial’ features a four-speed transmission, front-wheel drive; shift lever on dashboard, and inboard front disk brakes, with drums at the rear. The unique longitudinal coil spring on each side works as both front and rear suspension. The roof folds back, and the seats are easily removable if you need them for a Picnic!

 

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Car of the Month — (Bocar) Bob Carnes’ Short Lived 50s Brand

What is a Bocar you may be thinking? Its no ordinary vehicle, its quite a speed machine.

The Bocars were created and produced by BOb CARnes (do you get where he came up with the name from?) during the late 1950s and early 1960s in Lakewood, Colorado. The vehicles were available in both kit or assembled form. The majority of Bocars were intended for track and competition use, but they could be driven on the road.

Bob’s first creation was the Bocar X-1, which was built using Jaguar suspension and brakes at the front and a Lincoln live axle at the rear. The powerplant was a 283 cubic-inch Chevy V8 engine. The body was made of lightweight fiberglass. The X-1 was entered in the 1958 Pikes Peak Hill Climb where it finished in fifth place in the sports car class. The car was promising, but needed more refinement and power. After several iterations, the XP-4 was born (P for ‘production). An unknown number of XP-4s were available near the end of 1958 and offered as a kit car or as a complete package.

The fiberglass body sat on a 90-inch wheelbase chassis to which Volkswagen or Porsche suspension could be found in the front, of course given extra modifications by Carnes. At the back was an Oldsmobile live axle with torsion bars. One Bocar was given a set of the latest Jaguar disc brakes, but most were fitted with either Chevrolet or Buick drums. Engines were mostly eight-cylinder units from either Pontiac or Chevrolet and matted to a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual gearbox. A completely assembled example would set the buyer back about $6450.

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The Bocar XP-5 (white car above) was very similar to the XP-4. Main changes were to the brakes which now incorporated Buick Alfin drums. Weight distribution was improved; the XP-5 had a 44% of its weight in the front and the remaining in the rear. This was achieved by moving the engine back into the frame and offset to the right. This improved weigh distribution enhancing the vehicles balance and giving it better traction. Several XP-5 Bocars competed in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and proved very competitive in the sportscar class. Bob Carnes himself raced a number of times, competing against local racer Frank Peterson (see image below) for several years. Frank was reunited with this very chassis at the November Hagerty Coffee & Cars event in Golden Colorado this year (below).

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The Bocar XP-6 (the darker car in the top image) incorporated a supercharged version of a Chevrolet V8. The chassis was enlarged by 14-inches to accommodate the supercharger unit. Horsepower was around 400bhp which required changes to the suspension. The suspension was beefed up to include a solid axle with torsion bars in the front and a live axle with torsion bars in the rear. The car was quick, but never really gained much national attention. It seems only one example was ever created and was used as Carnes’ person car.

The Bocar XP-7 was the next evolution of the Bocar racers. It was very similar to the car it replaced and had a Volkswagen front end. At a price tag of nearly $9000, the XP-7 was produced in very low numbers.

Bocar’s last racer built was for the 1960 season, the longer, more streamlined Bocar Stiletto. It would appear that less than four were created and carried a price tag of about $13,000. The car was intended to race during the 1960 season. Power was again from a supercharged Chevrolet V8 engine mated to a four-speed Borg-Warner T-10 transmission, and once again it had a space frame chassis and a fiberglass body.

The early Bocar Stiletto was raced at Pikes Peak by Carnes himself, but it encountered problems. A second example was built and sold to Tom Butz for driver Graham Shaw. This second car had a Hillborn-injected small-block engine. A third example is believed to have been built.

Авто Панорама is Auto-Archives first Russian magazine!

Auto-Archives recently received a donation of magazines from Christian and Katya Braun of hobbyDB. In amongst them we came across this unusual magazine that Katya brought back from a recent trip. It is the first Russian magazine in Auto-Archives!

To be honest it has been hard to find much information on Russian magazines, in English that is, so if there are any Russian speakers out there who can help me put together a story on Авто Панорама, which translates to AUTO Panorama, it would be good to hear from you.

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This 112-page edition of AUTO Panorama (2016 #7) features some interesting looking stories on recent car releases from European manufacturers Renault, Citroen, Audi, Skoda and Ferrari. Far Eastern cars featured include Nissan, Mitsubishi and Kia. There are nice stories on the new Bentley Flying Spur and the Corvette ZO6. Both of these cars are photographed with Russian license plates on, so it’s nice to know they are real road test stories. Just wish I could read them to know their opinion of these cars.
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There is also a 6-page section in the magazines covering an awards ceremony which I am guessing was some sort of 2016 car awards.