The CSCC Special Saloons + Modsports series
The pinnacle of Special Saloon racing was ,without much doubt, the mid 1970`s. Already a crowd-puller the BRSCC launched the first `Super Saloon` series for 1974 completly bucking the trend for the new conservatism in light of the oil crisis of late `73. `Motor Sport` Magazine ( Jan.1974 ) reflected in its `Around + About` Editorial the disappointment that the British Touring Car Championship was downgrading from Group 2 spec to barely modified Group 1...going on to say... `and now for the good news , those who bemoan the loss of Group 2 in Britain-and there are plenty of them-can take consolation from a new Super Saloon series which Peter Browning of the BRSCC is to promote at the suggestion of some of the leading special saloon car drivers. For sheer spectacle and speed this should knock Group 1 into a cocked hat`. Backed up by generous prize money for the time , 200 pounds to the winner , reducing down to the 10th place finisher the scene was set for the golden era of modified , unrestricted, in fact , extreme saloon car racing the UK has ever seen.
These are some of the iconic cars of that period , still debated over today as which were the fans favourites :
Colin Hawker`s F1 Cosworth engined Volkswagen , 1975/76
and in 1977 guise with restored bonnet and new sponsors
1974 BRDC `Esso Uniflo` Champion
Whiting switched from a winning Mark 1 to this equally succesful Mark 2 Escort for 1977...
The famous Daf was restored in 2004 and put back to its original 1973 livery having returned full circle back to Tony Hazelwood
Engine : Oldsmobile V8 5.0 (1974-76 )
Power : 430-450 bhp
Built for Tony Hazelwood during 71/72 using March F2 suspension. By 1974 Super Saloons it had more power and 16 inch wheels. Set first 100mph lap of Thruxton by a special saloon. Raced by new owner Alan Minshaw 1975/76 in Demon Tweeks livery then onto Tony Sugden for 1977/78 with a BDG
engine winning BRSCC class before sold less engine before disappearing for 20 years. 0-60 quoted as 4.37 seconds in 1976 , top speed 160+
Engine : Cosworth DFV 3.0
Power : approx 460 bhp
Serious `superloon`for Colin Hawker for 1975 based on Alain DeCadanet `Duckhams`Le Mans car monocoque with a F1 Cosworth and gearbox from Ken Tyrrell clothed in a VW 1600 body. 0-120 mph quoted as 12 seconds. Sponsored by the Toleman Group , then Burton in 1977. Could lap Silverstone short in 56 seconds. Later rebuilt after a crash by new owner Walter Robertson , painted yellow he won 7races in 1980 and took runner-up in Donington GTs.
genrally believed to have been returned back to DeCadanet form.
Engine : Repco Holden 5.0
Power : 476 bhp Weight : 1018 kgs
Built by Bill Blydenstein using parts from the wrecked `Big Bertha`and debuted May 1975. In the hands of Gerry Marshall the combination of car + driver won the 1975+76 BRSCC Super Saloon titles and became iconic symbols of the time. 1975 was a very succesful season with 21 wins in 24 races , total record with Marshall driving was 33 wins in 43.
`Motor`recorded a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 160mph.
Later raced with less success by Paul Haywood-Halfpenny ( 1978 ) and Phil Barak into the 80`s.
Now restored back to its original livery ,owned and raced by Joe Ward in the CSCC Special Saloons.
Engine : Smith Chevy V8 5.0 ,later 5.7
Power : 520 bhp
Mick Hill was a prolific special saloon driver and series driving force aswell as innovator of some radical cars. His car for 1976 was the amazing Beetle using a Chevy V8 from Mike Wilds` F5000 March , Trojan F5000 suspension , spaceframe chassis but retained actual VW cockpit ,oh and 17 inch Avon tires ! Hill raced it until end of `77 , then Doug Niven in blue livery won some 47 races with it 1978/79 winning the Donington GT before selling it to his mechanic Jeff Wilson to race into the 80s. The car remains one of the all-time favourites for enthusiasts.
This popular car was restored by its current owner Dave Taylor back to its original livery and makes occasional public appearences.
Doug Niven won many times in 1978 + 79 with Scottish patriotic livery
Excellent period photo by Julian Massey never before published of the Daf in 1974
CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Excellent period photo by Julian Massey never before published of the Skoda in 1974
Engines : Ford Boss V8 5.0 (1971-73 ), Ford Weslake V8 4.7 ( 1974 ) , Ford 5.0 ( 1975 ) ,Chevy 7.2 ( 1976 ) ,Chevy 8.1 ( 1977 )
Power : 430 bhp ( 1971 ) , 410 bhp ( 1974 ) , 550 bhp ( 1976 )
Mick Hill`s first V8 Capri was a runaway success , weighing just 838kgs and using a Ford GT40 engine and Lola T70 parts it won 32 of its 39 races entered in 1971 alone , taking its class in the BRDC Triplex and in 1972 winning the BRSCC Hepolite title outright. In 1973 Hill used this and a new 6.0 Capri to take the BRDC Esso Uniflo title. The car was sold to Ireland but soon reappeared in the hands of Tony Strawson with a 410bhp Weslake V8 and it won the 1974 BRDC series again with 8 wins in all races that year. Modified further it gained Chevy power for the Super Saloon era eventually running a huge 8.1 unit making it the highest displacement car of them all. Sold to George Potter for 1978. Current whereabouts unknown.
MY NOMINATIONS FOR THE TOP 10 SUPER SALOONS in no particular order :
Engine : Ford V6 3.4
Power : 450 bhp
Nick Whiting is often overlooked in debates over best car/driver from the period but in his short career he was a prolific winner and one of the few to match Gerry Marshall and was almost unbeatable at his local track Brands Hatch. His yellow `All Car Equipe` 2.0 FVC then BDG Escort MK.1 spaceframe burst onto the scene in 1974, winning 24 races in `75 often at different events on the same weekend. 7 wins + 4 seconds won him the 1976 BRSCC Simoniz series but also was runner-up in both the Forward Trust + Tricentrol series`.
With Baby Bertha in semi retirement for 1977 Whiting`s new Mark 2 Escort 3.4 spaceframe built by John Robinson Racing was the dominant...
...special saloon winning 16 races that year and taking the big class win in the BRSCC `Century Supreme` series and setting new lap records at Brands amoungs others , 47.8 ( 90.56 ) on the indy and 1m35 ( 99 ) on the GP circuit. Rebodid for 1978 with RS2000 nose the car/driver won the BRDC Super saloons , the last season of the `Supers` before the Donington GT era.
Sold on the John Kirk in Scotland.
Engine : Surtees-Weslake Chevy V8 7.2
Power : [email protected] rpm
Used a steel monocoque , Lola suspension and a huge Can-Am engine located where you`d usually find the dashboard , the driver was sat between the B-pillars. This was a true Super Saloon from Tony Hazelwood and like his Daf ran in red and white but with Hughes of Beaconsfield Jaguar backing. Raced by both Hazelwood and Gordon Mayers 1975 to 1977 , a popular car though only an occcasional winner.
At Silverstone 1976 it appeared with revised front aerodynamics in the form of a dramatic droop snoot.
Bought by Mick Hill and raced in 1978 but reported destroyed in a workshop fire. The engine was salvaged and became part of the Phoenix Skoda for 1979. The shell though still exists.
Engine : Chevy V8 5.0
Power : 470 [email protected] rpm
The first of many very fast Skoda Silhouettes based on the rear-engined S 110R Coupe. However unlike later Skoda clones this one retained most of the original structure which helped for backing from Dealer Team Skoda. The wheelarches were the amoungst the widest on the grid , housing 18inch rears and 12 inch fronts. John Turner only had a short career with the car but was a front runner in the 1974 Super Saloons with its F5000 spec V8 making it
a match for Hill`s Capri and winning races in the Simoniz series. For 1975 Arthur Collier had the car and was a regualar in Super Saloons but was somewhat over-shadowed by Alec Poole`s 2.0 version which won twice.
Engine : Ford V8 5.0 ( 1974 ) Power ; 470 bhp
Chevy V8 5.0 ( 1975+ )
Mick Hill won the 1973 BRDC Esso Uniflo title using both his trusted Boss Capri and a new 6.0 Capri which not only won on its debut in July but set the first sub-1 minute saloon lap on the short Silverstone circuit. For 1974 and the new Super Saloons series that Hill himself had help founder the `new` Capri reappeared in white with Tricentrol sponsorship and the Boss engine fitted. The combination won the inargural Super Saloon championship and a class win in the BARC Forward Trust series with 10 wins that season taking his total wins tally to around the 90 mark. The car retained little of the original Capri and had became a semi-monocoque spaceframe , using Lola suspension. It was reported to have been clocked at 176 mph at Silverstone.
and still rumbling in Donington GT series in 1980 with Terry Stone.
as most remember the combination...as part of the class of `74 Supersaloons.
ENGINE : Chevy V8 7.6 (`74 ) , 8.1 (`75)
POWER : 600bhp
Ironic then that 10 years later Ian Richardson would set the first 100mph lap for a saloon car on the Silverstone Club circuit , quite safely.
Of course, his Corsair was not the usual but a body grafted onto a spaceframe and using racing parts from his Can-Am McLaren M8 including engine and suspension. The car was particulary fast at Silverstone taking its maiden win in July 1974 in the BRDC Esso Uniflo with a repeat in October where he also won the supporting Super Saloon race for the `Westwood Cup`, setting a new outright saloon car record on the GP circuit of 1m 31.4 ( 115.29 mph )
Gerry Marshall bought the car but only let Tony Strawson race it briefly ( 1978 ) before it went to Mick Leary. It continued into the early 80s in Donington GT owned by DB Motors of Leicester in a white livery for Terry Stone to drive.
Latterly the car made less of an impact against the Skoda clones and with the rise of historic sports racing was almost certainly returned back to its Can Am roots. The body is believed to still exist.
and in 11th an honourable mention...
ENGINE : Aston Martin V8 5430cc
Now its fair to say this car wasnt the quickest Super saloon on the grid however this interesting car is fondly remembered and still exists today in fact.
John Pope was a retired Farmer and friend and neighbour of Gerry Marshall in St. Albans and wife Joan became Secretary of the Super Saloon Association. John previously raced one of 2 Vivas otherwise written off by DTV after a double-crash at Lydden and `straightened it out` , racing it in the early 70s with a 2.5 engine.
For 1974 and the new Super Saloon championship a Magnum had been built from the ground up with an Aston Martin V8 in a spaceframe front and wraparound aerodynamic bodywork. Remarkably the car was road legal and registered. It was a regular sight on the tracks from 1974 to 1977 or so. Not really a front runner like the 10 cars featured above but still one of the most famous and interesting Super Saloons of the era.
The car has been recently been bought and restored by Geoff Harris and a new website documents the cars history nicely.
When Chevrolet brought out their new , radical coupe with its engine mounted in the back Ralph Nader famously found it so bad he wrote a daming book on it called `Unsafe at any Speed`.
With the engine now a huge 8.1 unit ( Richardson was a tuner for US muscle ) more wins at Silverstone followed in 1975. he set the first 100mph lap on the club circuit to win the Tricentrol Super saloon round that May where the cars grunt was most effective compared to twisty tracks.