2013 All British Day

DSC_0196Monty Python, old fashioned pubs and The Beatles are just some of the gifts offered to the world by Britain. However with the good comes the bad, and Britain is also responsible for Bovril, The Spice Girls and some frankly terrible comedies on the ABC. And so it was with the All British Day; a show completely unique for featuring some of my all-time favorite cars, and some of my least, all in one place.

DSC_0015It’s well worth pointing out, though, that the desirable cars at All British Day are more than enough reason to come.

DSC_0279And come they did. Traditionally held on the Uraidla oval, the All British Day has become so big that it has outgrown that venue. For 2013 the show moved to its new home on the Echunga oval, just a further 20 minutes down some of the nicest hills roads in the state.

DSC_0005Whilst I still think the old venue at Uraidla is a more scenic location, Echunga provides a nice Aussie gumtree backdrop for the show, and plenty of space for all who come. I can’t remember the last time I had to line up to get into a classic car show in Adelaide!

DSC_0009The only problem with the All British Day is that there is just so much to see that it is not really possible to properly take it all in. Taking this into consideration, for my coverage this year I’ve decided to take a more detailed look at the cars that really stood out to me – an Any Given Reason ‘best of show’, if you will.

DSC_0184We’ll start off with this Morgan 3 wheeler. I really don’t know what it is about these cars that I like, but I think they’d be an incredibly fun way to see the countryside.

DSC_0176 DSC_0181This particular example showed some nice patina, especially on the leather seat. If this were mine, I would leave it exactly as is.

DSC_0026Wot iz it? It’s a Noble M12 GTO! These are a bit of an underground cult car in the UK, and are known for being a (semi) affordable way to get into supercar performance levels. Built in the early 2000’s, the Poms are very proud of how the Noble was significantly quicker than its rival from Marenello!

DSC_0029In all honesty it’s still a bit of a kit car. But all is forgiven when you discover the performance: 352hp, 0-100 in just 3.5 seconds, a top speed of 298km/h and the ability to pull over 1.2 lateral g’s.

DSC_0249All that performance comes from the twin turbocharged Ford Duratec V6 engine. It has a steel tube chassis with integrated roll cage, and is all wrapped up in a fibreglass body. Apparently Noble’s are famous for performing duel duties as excellent track cars and smooth, accessible road cars, with suspension tuning that belies their almost kit built nature. As Evo magazine said, “if you like cars, then you like Noble”.

DSC_0027This particular example was a 3R, the final and most highly developed version of the M12.

DSC_0260And this particular example was fitted with Nitrous Oxide injection! One shudders to think about how brutally quick this thing must be – 0-100 in 3.5 seconds in stock trim from the factory is damn quick, but then with the addition of NOS and god knows what else? Crazy!

DSC_0263No wonder the Poms are proud!

DSC_0065The Port Adelaide Aircraft Museum had a Rolls Royce Merlin V12 aircraft engine on display, and were starting it up on the hour. What a machine! There’s one ticked off the bucket list – heard a Merlin in person.

DSC_0087There was plenty to keep an eye on and fiddle with just to get the Merlin started. It had the most complex and intricate dry sump pump setup you could imagine – I guess you need something pretty sizeable to keep a V12 supplied with oil during barrel rolls, nose dives and flying upside down.

DSC_0191And on the other end of the scale is the Austin Allegro. Maybe it’s the brown paintwork or the car itself, but for some reason it just reminded me of Thatcherism. Sensible, conservative and conformist. Although I guess it has a bit of charm, right?

DSC_0188It wouldn’t be an Any Given Reason report on the All British Day without a badge shot!

DSC_0044This TR3 was most definitely a highlight of the show, and would have easily won as the Any Given Reason Car of Show were it not for another highly unexpected surpise. But back to the TR3 – I’ve always like old Triumph’s but they’ve never really been at the very top of my list. But it’s the detailing on this example that is absolutely sublime, and made me fall in love with it. Every single accessory and modification made is oh-so period, and perfectly fits with the theme of the car.

DSC_0274First off, it’s impossible to go past the classic British racing green/tan leather combination. Mazda tried it with the MX5, but this is how it’s meant to be done. The slightly lower stance and body coloured wire wheels add to the vintage race theme, as do the perfectly chosen Brooklands screens.

DSC_0049The wood rimmed Moto-Lita wheel sets the tone of the interior, which isn’t spoiled by anything that wouldn’t have been fitted in the late 50’s. Stunning.

DSC_0052This vintage filler cap harks back to the Le Mans racers of the 50’s and 60’s.

DSC_0046The car was capped off by a period helmet, goggles and leather driving gloves resting on the passengers seat. I’d be very grateful if anyone could put me in touch with the owner of this vehicle – I think it would make an excellent feature story!

So what could possible top this as the Any Given Reason Car of Show?

DSC_0229This 1957/58 Lotus 12, chassis number 353. But what made it extra special is that this particular car is the first ever Lotus entered in a Grand Prix.

DSC_0113Yep – that’s Graham Hill driving it in the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix.

DSC_0226In the 1958 season Graham Hill raced it in the BRDC International at Silverstone, and the Monaco, Dutch and Belgian Grands Prix. It was imported to Australia by Frank Gardner in 1959, and it survives today with its original chassis, bodywork and gearbox.

DSC_0147The 1960cc twin overhead cam Coventry Climax FPF four is good for 170bhp in Formula 1 trim, which with just 290kg in weight makes for sparkling performance. Yes, you read that right – it weighs just 290kg, incidentally making it the lightest Lotus ever. No wonder Colin Chapman was known for his fanatical attention to weight.

DSC_0125The Lotus 12 is from a time we’ll never see again – look at its diminutive proportions and attention to safety, and then consider the performance – at the 1958 Belgian Grand Prix, Hill averaged 220km/h for the race, with a top speed of 280km/h! At its first testing outing at Goodwood, the little Lotus matched the lap record previously held by Stirling Moss in a Maserati 250F!

DSC_0118The LSD transaxle sits directly below the drivers bum. The 5 speed ZF dog engagement gears are in constant mesh, and are kept safe with a seperate oil tank with twin oil pumps inside the gearbox. The entire magnesium cased assembly weighs just 20kg!

The steel tailshaft spins at engine speed, and sits just 1 inch below the drivers seat! The potential for a failure would be catastrophic!

DSC_0143The all important built plate – number 353.

DSC_0136The owner fired the old girl up for the huge crowd that had gathered, and it was a very lucky sight to witness. With big Weber carbies and a 12.5:1 compression ratio the Coventry Climax was very hard to start from cold, with a lot of old fashioned hand choking required. But once she cleared her throat, the sound was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a race engine sound quite so angry!

DSC_0128What a lovely machine, and a worthy Car of Show I think.

DSC_0059So in all, a successful day that just further highlights the popularity of British cars in Adelaide. I think the move to Echunga has been a good one, with more room for future expansion as the event grows. Jolly good, old chap!

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2 Comments

  1. Andy Braker February 18, 2013 Reply

    Noble on NOS! How ridiculously awesome :D I've seen that car around the traps in Adelaide a couple of times and I want it. Gearbox on that thing must be a tight squeeze.

    Also, came for the pics.. stayed for the text :)

    • Andrew Coles February 26, 2013 Reply

      Yea I think it would transcend fast, into the realm of downright scary.

      And thanks for the comment, I try :)

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