Racing Classic Cars

Many of these cars are racing legends and were raced in a day and age when racing drivers needed to have stamina and endurance.

Built between 1962 and 1964 the 250 GTO was typical of sixties sports car styling, with trademark gaping mouth grill and covered headlights. It was built specifically for racing in the Group 3 GT class. A Far cry from the later rear engine Ferrari’s but arguably the most famous Ferrari. GTO stands for "Gran Turismo Omologata", or "Grand Touring Homologated." In English. Only 39 cars were built. 33 normal cars with a 3.0 liter V12, 3 had a 4.0 liter motor, often referred to as a 330GTO and 3 were the “Type 64” with revised bodywork. The Group 3 GT class required 100 “Homologated” cars to be produced but Ferrari got around this with Chassis numbers that were not in sequence and they produced documentation of cars that did not even exist. This was done to retain exclusivity. Today it is the most sought after Ferrari, one example being sold for £ 15.7 million in 2008.

Ferrari 250 GTO

The Jaguar D type was a factory built race car. It initially had a 3.4 litre straight six and later with a larger 3.8 litre. The chassis was an innovative monocoque with an aluminium tubing front section to carry the motor and front suspension. The differential and rear independent suspension was mounted directly to the monocoque chassis. The fuel tanks had a deformable bag inside that was an aircraft innovation. It had highly efficient, aerodynamic bodywork. The motor was slanted by 8 degrees and it had a dry sump to reduce the height of the car. Drag was further reduced from an aerodynamic under body. A vertical stabilizer was mounted behind the driver to improve high speed stability. When Jaguar withdrew from racing in 1957 they had 25 remaining cars, but after a fire broke out at the factory, 9 cars were destroyed and the remaining 16 were made available for sale to the public. They were fitted with wrap around windscreens, a passenger seat, and another door for the passenger as well as a soft top to keep the rain out. This car was known as the XKSS.

Jaguar D Type

The Mercedes Benz 300SLR was a factory built racing sports car made in 1955. It was a completely different design to the similar looking 300 SL Gullwing of the time. It was actually based on the 1954-55 W196 Formula 1 car. Powered by a 3.0 litre straight 8 that produced between 220 and 230 kW depending on manifold configuration. It included some unusual design features like power being taken off the crank from its centre via a gear as opposed to the traditional method at the back of the crank. It had desmodromic valve actuation instead of springs. The motor was also slanted at 33 degrees. Another oddity were the shaft driven inboard drum brakes. Another feature the car had was a wing behind the driver that was lifted up during braking and acted as an air brake, During the 1955 Le Mans event a 300 SLR driven by Pierre Levegh was involved in a horrific accident. The car caught fire and the burning fuel and hay bales was worsened by the cars lightweight magnesium alloy body panels that started to burn as well. 82 spectators and Levegh were killed in the blaze. Mercedes immediately pulled out of the event and motorsport until their return in the mid eighties.

Mercedes Benz 300 SLR

The Maserati 300s was a purpose built racing car built between 1955 and 1958, and competed in the World Sports car Championship. It was powered by a 3.0 litre straight six that was fueled by 3 Weber carburetors and produced 183 kW. It had a trellis structure chassis with aluminium body panels.It had large diameter aluminium drum brakes with extensive fining to assist brake cooling. It had a DeDion linked rear suspension. It did not fare well in the 1955 season due to mechanical and developmental problems but came second behind the Maserati 450c in the series in 1956. The remaining cars were sold off to buyers mostly in the US in 1957.

Maserati 300s

The Ford GT40 was a high performance sports car that was built to compete in long distance events, specifically to win Le Mans that had been dominated by Ferrari between 1960 and 1965. The most successful racing version was powered by a 4.7 litre V8 with special Gurney – Eagle heads. They were powered by 4.7, 4.9 and 7.0 litre motors. Early cars had 4.3 litre V8’s. The cars naming convention was GT “ Gran Turismo” and the 40 was for the 40 inch height from the ground to the top of the windshield, which was a racing rule at the time for the cars class. The first race that a GT40 competed in was the Nurbergring 1000km race in 1964, but it retired with suspension failure. A few weeks later all 3 entries at the Le Mans retired. In 1965 a GT40 won the Daytona 2000km race. Ford eventually achieved Le Mans glory with a 1-2-3 win in 1966 with their 7.0 litre GT40’s.

Ford GT40