Goodwood Festival of Speed

Every year the palacial home of Earl of March, thunders to sounds of the great automotive event of the planet, the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Over the three days in June 150,000 people tred the manicured lawns of the estate to join in the celebration of all things automotive. The Goodwood Festival of Speed was started in 1993 by the Earl of March, a former Formula 1 driver, in order to bring motor racing back to the Goodwood estate — home of the Goodwood Race Circuit.

The driveway of the estate is transformed in a hillclimb circuit where a wide range exotic vehicles from former Le Mans racers, Formula 1 cars, NASCAR racers to the finest Italian supercars race for the fastest time only inches away from the stone walls with just hay bales for protection. In a similar vein a full rally circuit has been carved from the a wood at the top of the hill, allowing spectators to stand only inches from the howling, sideways classic rally cars as they blast through the tracks.

One of the most appealing aspects of the event is the opportunity to examine the cars in the pits while you chat with some of the greats of motor racing. As motor racing events goes it doesnt get any better than sharing a cup of tea with Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart and Jochan Mass as you discuss the latest Formula 1 hero climbing into a pre-war Auto Union, only to have your conversation broken by the sound of a 1930s blower Bentley attacking the hillclimb or the thunder of the RAF Red Arrows performing above you all under the warmth of an English summer.

998cc of pain

So it began. A 1971 Leyland Moke destined for the tip. Full of rust but it ran. Would it be so hard to hard to bring it back to its former glory? I was determined to find out.

What a machine! Rust, rust and more rust. The electricals were non existent with only the ignition working. The car had once upon a time been rescued from a farm and used to carry sporting equipment at a local Little Athletics club. Mechanically the car was a hybrid of Moke and Mini parts boasting a whole 998cc of Leyland A-series power.

The first job was to determine the extent of the rust. The previous owner had welded metal over the rusted floor, hiding the true extent of the rot.

My favourite was the body filler the previous owner used to fill the gaps – cement. Yep – good old quick drying cement. It had about 5 kilos in it.

Cutting out the rust left very little of the original floor and sides boxes remaining. So began the welding-athon. Metres of steel and welding wire was used to bring the floor back to something resembling structural integrity.

The offending grinder – Rebuilt the all the internal panels and battey box from steel sheet. Cutting up the floor

One side done – one to go

Metalwork done , floors, firewall and subframe mounts restored with new metal.

There was no point leaving all that lovely new metal to rust so it has to be protected with putty and etch primer as soon as possible.

All done with a Kmart 2.5hp 40l comp and rubbishy $20 suction gun.

Spray Putty on the inner tub

Down to stripping the beast. Nothing like a heat gun and wire wheel to cut through the house paint(!) that covered the car.

Next was to trial fit the windscreen surround and roll cage. Welding up strengthening panels and then it will be turned over and stripped that side. Painting wasn’t far away

Once it was stripped the car had to be etched so the final paint sticks.

First the bottom and then the top.

The Roll Cage was bolted in and the front bumper bolted loosely until the front subframe went in.

Next the windscreen goes in, steering rack and I start rebuilding the rear subframe.

Assembled the rebuilt rear subframe. The rear subframe has been installed and the engine work started.

The engine before it was taken apart. When we received the car it ran well, blew no smoke and had good compression on all four. The clutch was stuffed. Such a tiny engine is a joy to work on.

While the engine was stored I filled the bores with oil from the jag so the it didnt rust. I tried to get most of it out but as you can see most of it ending up on the garage floor.A giant bag of kitty litter should clean it up. So you can lift an A-series by yourself (as long your wife pulles the subframe away faaasssst)

The pistons and head were very badly carbonised. This is what the piston looked like after about half an hour with 1200grit sand paper. The bores had no scoring and
hadn’t rusted in the time it had been stored.

The head was badly coked and received the same treatment as the pistons and came up well. They seem in reasonable shape with no recession or dings in the valves. The water channels were badly mineralised and will need some attention. The stuff that came out of the radiator looked like the bottom of a river.

Next victim was the clutch. When we got the car the clutch slipped badly so I knew it had to come out. I wasnt looking forward to this with stories of horror about stuck flywheels and busted bolts.

But with some online support and procedures it was easy. No flywheel puller needed. Four whacks with a suitable lump of wood and 4kg brass mallet and off it came.

The worst job always has to be the electrics, another job that I didnt looking forward to.

The loom had been patched and cut all over the place, but once I stripped all the extra rubbish and my own rubbish it wasnt looking to bad. I have drawn up a colourcoded wiring diagram and tags and I am putting the tags on the loom so I can identify what goes where when I put it back in

Clutch went back together well. New gasket and seals in and the motor reassembled. New thermostat and housing and hoses.

There was very little wear in the bottom end and gearbox. So nothing changed. Excellent.

The front subframe needs new boots for the CV and Uni on the Right Hand Side.

The engine has been reassembled. Put the cleaned rad and new hoses on. Put the engine back in the subframe.

I put the body over the subframe. I think this easier for a Moke than a Mini. The body it easier to lift.

Every garage should have a work bucket to sit on.

The headlights went back in it was starting to look like a Moke again.

The wiring is underway. After marking up all the connections, I placed the loom in the car. As I go from connection to connection. I striped the connector back 3mm and resoldering on a new connector, then retaping up to the next connector. Afterwards I test 12v from one end to the other to ensure all is well. Slow but it worked a treat.

Today with some help from the junior helpers, the car met the engine for the first time in a year. We Picked it like a wheel barrow and walked it over the the subframe.

Not a recommended way of installing an engine.

Well the front subframe is now bolted in the front and at the towers. The subframe and the body wouldnt line up so I had to jump up and down on the body to get one bolt in and shoulder charge the car, with a run up to get the first of the other side. All four finally went after 3 days of effort. The front bolts took about 10 mins once the tower bolts were in.

The first seat finished. Mooooooooo. Seat done by us as well.

Engine bay update. Clutch master and slave in, next the electrics and it went broom.

Next it grew a windscreen. The bottom rail was stuffed, so I cut down a piece of steel tube and welded the brackets on.

So the engine bay starts to look more complete.

Fuel Tank and lines in.

Handbrake cables in and adjusted. Pedals in and connected to masters..gotta love those splitpins.


Well finally it started and stopped when I wanted which was great. After Replacing the cap and earth strap and away she went.

I was very happy to hear the little beast sing again.

At last it emerges from the garage, for a clean up for the final assault.

Its come a long way in under a year

We have electricity. After watching the wiring loom for several days – I decided to go downstairs and eat my childrens Christmas lollies. Whilst chewing on a particularly ghastly soap flavoured purple mass the mysteries of the loom became unravelled in my sugar fueled brain..

Rapidly rising the stairs to the garage of pain, I executed my plan and presto I got a vist from the theories of one German named Ohm. Yippeee

Painting the wheels.

Priming the first

Added repainted rims and new tyres. Goodryde H500 175/70/R13. They are very soft yet hard and extremely heavy. Truely awful

New shocks and brake shoes on as well.

Fix the steering. Pulled the rack and mismantled and reassembled with added newness and it goes around corners.

It went for a fly and successfully navigated the block with no mishap. Got into third, stop and steered well. The lack of drivers seat made headroom more than adequate.

Oil change, rear front subframe bolts, horn, fit seats, wipers, washer, mirrors and stop switch and its rego time

Rear seats are in – I had to drop the rear subframe and weld some captive nuts to the body. Bolted up and done.

The drivers seat is in. The indicators are wired and functional. The brake switch is in and operating.
Wipers on and operating The front bumper has been taken off for a clean-up

Well I finally got a seat. So a new cover will go on and in it goes. From this old dear that had gone to god.

Rebuilt and installed the alternator The radiator blew – so in went a new one.  Welded up some brackets for the mirrors. Mirrors via Stupidcheap.

Built up a cover for the battery – early days – needs some additional belting, cleaning and painting.

New wheel and indicator stalk. The indicator is on the wrong side so matches the Jag so I dont have to think about it

The switches for everything are in and work they just need a legend so I dont have to remember what they are

Washer bottle in and working

Passenger seat cover in – so no more sewing at night in front of the tele

Front seatbelts in

Then the fire – but fortunately it was mostly cosmetic

Half Fixed

The finished product, registered and so much fun.

A moment of doubt – Driving a Formula1 car

Are your heros Formula 1 pilots or does motor oil pulse through your veins? Well in England there just might be the extreme experience for you. Driving a a real 1988 Tyrrell 017B Formula 1 car as fast as self preservation permits. Provided by Everyman Racing all you need is to meet the weight and height requirements and have a hefty sum of cash burning a hole in your pocket

Not they take any ham fisted Nissan Sunny jockey, clutching rosary beads hoping the meeting with their maker may be delayed a little while longer and throw them in what is in effect 500 kilogram 600 horsepower winged canoe. Safety is paramount. After a safety briefing you are driven around the circuit by one of the instructors showing the dos and do nots. To check you have been paying attention they strap you in a road car, in my case a Porsche Cayman, and let you do your thing. If you don’t meet their standards you go home. Simple as that.

So assuming you do well enough your next stop is a Formula Ford. A 1600cc open wheeler used for decades as an introduction to open wheeler motor racing. So you are thinking 1600 cc big deal. You would be wrong, these are proper race cars with no synchromesh and acceleration faster than a Ferrari 458. Treat them like your average street car and you will be visiting the finer parts of Britain backwards through a hedge. These little cars move, with speeds of approximately 200 km/h available on the straights, with immediate and tactile steering and handling to match.


After your 10 or so laps in the Formula Ford, its time to move it up a notch to the F3 Vauxhall Lotus. With double the power of the Formula Ford and little extra weight this orange beast flies, but it is cornering where the difference comes, with cornering speeds a full 60km/h faster than the Formula Ford. The handling comes at a price,only becoming decent at speed, as it is reliant on all the aerodynamic witchcraft for it do its’ thing. So no half hearted attempts here, put the boot in and keep the speed up says the instructor. Like I wasn’t going to do that. What a sweet little car but quite unforgiving.

After ten laps in the F3 Lotus the moment has arrived. Just you and a full blown Formula 1 car. To be honest there have been few moments in my life filled with as much trepidation as this one. Would I crash? Would I break it? Would I be calling the travel insurance company trying to explain how I destroyed a rare Formula 1 car and 150m of armco?

So there was nothing to do but to do it. I lowered myself into to the tiny cockpit and the mechnanics pulled the belts so tight I could not breath and then tightened them again – this was ominous. Instructions – fuel pump there – this light means you are on fire and you hit this button – and remember the rear tyres are nearly a metre wider than the rest of the car and last of all commit to the lap so the aero kicks in. They fire up the 3.5 Cosworth v8 and nothing else can be heard for the next half hour.

Trundle out of the pits onto the back straight and push the loud pedal – aptly named and you are thrown violently at the horizon, just catching a glipse of 10,000 rpm as you grab second in the beautifully precise Hewland gearbox, Grip, grip, grip, turn, and accelerate like being powered by cordite. After a few laps you realise this thing’s limits are far beyond yours and you start to play. Watching further down the straight you work it through the gearbox, hitting the limiter and carrying that speed as deep as you dare before turning for the long, never ending first corner.

Pitching it into corners knowing that those monumental tyres have far more grip than you can lose through abuse, hooking up the appexes and straights with the wail of Cosworth v8 to keep you company. Then its over, your 20 laps are done.

As you emerge from the cockpit you realise a few things, you are dripping with sweat and you are grinning like an idiot with the enchantment of being lost in the moment, the cars, the satisfaction of putting together good laps at speeds you had never experienced. It was truly unforgettable. Go on do it, you know you want to.


Brooklands is a four and half kilometre motor racing circuit and aerodrome built near Weybridge in Surrey, England. It opened in 1907 as the world’s first purpose-built motorsport venue and one of Britains first airfields. Built from bricks and concrete the Brooklands circuit was the scene for many, between the wars, do or die motor races and record attempts with great names such as Woolf Barnato, Tim Birkin and Count Louis Zborowski battling over the Edwardian banking. The track record was set by John Cobb driving the 24 litre Napier-Railton (shown below) at a fearsome speed 143.44 mph (230.84 km/h).

Home to much of Britain’s aircraft manufacturing centre during the both world wars. The circuit hosted its last race in 1939, and and is now remembered with the Brooklands Museum, a aviation and motoring museum.

Exhibits include some Britain’s finest automotive and aeronautical contributions, including Concorde and the Harrier jump jet.

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Mercedes Museum Stuttgart – The cars

The oldest car manufacturer in the world, Mercedes Benz has made some of the most iconic cars of the 20th and 21st centuries. From the all conquering Silver Arrows of the 1930s to the Grosser serious of limousines, Mercedes have made them all. The best place to see them is the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart Germany. A beautiful silver metal clad building, it houses some of the finest examples of the marques work, including replicas of the first Daimler motor car, and Le Mans and Formula 1 winning race cars.

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Mercedes Museum Stuttgart – The architecture

For the many the most impressive part of the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart is the impressive collection of the brands finest vehicles, but somehow they are overshadowed by the building they are housed in.

Located near the Mercedes Benz factory on the outskirts of the city, the Mercedes Benz Museum stands as a silver streamlined metal and glass monument dominating the skyline of the area. The exterior of building, despite its striking appearance doesn’t prepare the visitor to the stunning interior. The interior consists of a wide, sweeping galleries that radiate from the central atrium. The atrium boasts a glass elevator used to whisk the museum goer to the top floor, where the descending circular walkway begins.

So if the beautiful cars of Mercedes Benz aren’t your thing don’t walk past the the Mercedes Benz Museum it worth the visit for the architecture alone.

The Ghosts of Reims Grand Prix

Situated in a field on the outskirts of the French city of Reims, France, sites the remnants of the fastest race road circuit which hosted 14 French Grands Prix and several long distance touring car races.

The Reims circuit was first established in 1926 on the public roads between the small French villages of Thillois and Gueux. The circuit had two extremely long straights between the towns making speeds of over 320km/h achievable.

The circuit was last used by Formula One in 1966 and the last car meeting was held in 1969. Motor bike racingcontinued for 3 more years and it closed permanently in 1972 due to safety concerns.

Today the grandstands have been repainted but much of the circuit has been demolished with only the former straight, a public road recognisable.

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