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Beauty and the Beast

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Post Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:37 pm
stewartwillsher User avatar

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A romantic and scary WAFFLE from the sixties.

She looked good, sounded good and she went like the clappers; and there were two of them, like twin sisters.

In August 1961 the Goodwood Tourist Trophy race was won by Stirling Moss in a Ferrari.
Another Ferrari driven by Mike Parkes came second.
But third and fourth were the two Essex Racing Stable Aston Martin DB4GT Zagatos of Roy Salvadori and Jim Clark.
These cars are thought by many to be amongst the most beautiful ever made.

Now at this time, I lived on the top floor of a small block of council flats on the Eastern Avenue (A12) at Newbury Park, about a dozen miles to the East of London.
About three quarters of a mile to the West, closer to the city, were a set of traffic lights at a junction called the Green Gate, by a pub of that name.
In 1961, the traffic petered out to zero late evening, and all was quiet.
In the flat below me lived my best mate, and both of us were car nuts keen on rallying and racing; I marshalled both for track and road events for a local car club long before reaching car driving licence age, and he was still in love with his Manx Norton.

Here's the scene:
In the very early hours of the morning, I shot up in bed as if given an electric shock.
On coming to, I heard a sound that put the hairs up on the back of my neck.
My mate downstairs must have had an equal awakening, as we both threw open our windows and exchanged exclamations.
From the direction of the Green Gate lights there came the most amazing cacophony.
Not one, but two engines being revved up through the gears.
Very soon, as the sound grew and the gears changed up, they came into sight and the windows rattled, as they passed.
VEV 1 and VEV 2 were returning in close formation, to Hanningfield, near Chelmsford, where John Ogier's Essex Racing Stable team was based.
The very same stunning motors that Salvadori and Clark drove the day before were going back to base, driven on the public highway, no doubt by some very fortunate mechanics.
They were certainly not hanging about, and being before the national speed limit was imposed, were making the most of it.
The sound continued for a short while as they headed East.
Then it was silence as usual with the pair of us trying to accept what we had experienced
It was a very short space of time and somewhat incredulous, but it will stick in my mind for ever.
They were the pair of Aston Martin DB4GT Zagatos that had run at Goodwood.
Some say amongst the most beautiful cars of all time.
Auction houses that have had them pass through their books have realised seven figure sums for these cars.
Ogier and Astons themselves had veered away delicately from true British Racing Green to a slightly paler shade, which they retain to this day on some works cars. ... _GT_Zagato

Incidentally, the 1961 Tourist trophy had some of my heroes further down the finishing order.
In sixth was my idol at that time, Graham Hill with co-driver Dan Gurney.
Seventh was Les Leston, who had a shop in Holborn London, where many years later I bought my helmet, racing overalls, boots, etc.
And in nineteenth with co-driver John Whitmore was Chris Barber, one of my favourite trad jazz musicians.

Coincidentally, about eight years later, approaching the very same traffic lights described above, in my Clubman's Formula lightweight racing Lotus Seven (yes quite legitimately and legally testing it on the highway), one of the rear radius rods snapped and the car went sideways.
Gathering up my wits and brown trousers, I drove gently back to base, with the rear end doing a sexy shimmy.
Thank goodness I was not at full chat on a circuit!
On presenting the broken item at the counter at Lotus Cheshunt works I was quickly given a free replacement pair, by a metallurgist moaning "not another dodgy pair".
Chapman would save weight wherever he could, and the tubular chassis in many places was seam welded conduit, which was what electricians used to channel cables in industrial installations; I kid you not!

And just to go back on the Aston topic, I had a chap working for me, who received income also from a huge trust fund left to him by a wealthy German uncle.
This chap's hobby was doing up classic motors, which he would, on occasions, lend to me for the weekend to test for him.
One such, was a DB2, a beast of a motor, which I classified as a "point and shoot" wagon, in that its roadholding left plenty to be desired, being more like a truck, but in a straight line it was awe inspiring.
Cornering or negotiating roundabouts was a hell of a lot of elbow waggling with a huge diameter steering wheel and several turns lock to lock.
The fuel went in via big SU carbs (before many sports engines used Webers) and banging the throttle down caused them to eject petrol, so much so that a haze of fuel invaded the interior; cough, splutter!
It was a fixed head coupe, so it got a bit chewy despite opening windows.
It just so happened that the weekend I had it, was when I went to view the Clubmans Lotus I ended up buying.
I have always wondered if the vendor rubbed his hands with fiscal glee when I turned up in an Aston, albeit one of a past era.
The seller happened to be the Cessna agent for the UK and was based at an airfield.
So, not only did I put the Lotus through its paces on the perimeter road, but I was also able to scare myself with the Aston; getting opposite lock on was a very frantic affair.
However, not until the DB4, and subsequently the DB5, were the general public really aware of the classic marque, driven by 007.
The DB2 I drove was built as a luxury Gran Turismo, but latter years and models gave the title a more refined meaning.
"La Gata Negra" 2.0 HDI 2014 Swiss spec fully loaded.
"Bus" 7 seat 5008 1.6HDI 2014.
"Purple People Eater" 108 1.2 PureTech 2016 Top fully loaded.
"Animal" Linhai 300 4x4 ATV 2008.

Post Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:14 am
Plecodoras User avatar

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You certainly have been around the motor car for a very long time Stewart !

Well I can only guess at what it must have been like to be a petrol head in the late 50's and early 60's before the speed limits slowed everything down.

I often wish I had been born in 1940 and presuming I didn't get bombed and survived WWII, I would have been 15 in 1955 and be at the forefront of the early beginnings of Rock n Roll, the music, the cars, the bikes, the girls :eusa-whistle: wow
The downside to all this Stewart I'm sad to say is - I'd be 77 years old now and probably counting down the years !!

Though being born in 1965 I have seen the birth of the mobile phone, the home computer and all what goes with it, the internet, medical advances - good and bad, solar, the second coming of the electric car, and not forgetting why we are all on here - the birth of the RCZ !!!

You've just got to sit back and marvel at what we have and how far we have come.

Never mind the odds of winning the lottery, what about the odds of our own existence ?

All the things that have to come into play to create a living earth like our very own, when you compare to the hundreds of thousands of planets that we know cannot substain life, what are the odds that everything clicks into place to create eco systems like on earth?

We have to appreciate what we have, rather than trying to destroy it - it is unique in all the solar systems, there will never be another earth ! :wtf:

Er, pass me that drink will you !!! :shock:
:lol: Laugh and the whole world laughs with you.... or is that at you? :eusa-think:

Former owner of Dolphin Blue GT200 fully loaded inc. Quads / Xenons.
Now on second white* R
currently sporting an Avery
Roaring Thunder Gloss flip colour wrap.

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