BL Specials

A look back at some of the cars that , whilst flying the British Leyland flag , dared to be a little bit different from the rest of the pack...

Rover

Bill Shaw Rover V8

For a brief moment in time back in 1970 Rover`s flagship saloon the P6 V8 rumbled round the UKs tracks with a view to going fully into Group 2 Touring Car racing , until the project was canned. Its one of the many British what-might-have-been stories of British Leyland in Motorsport. Thankfully the car is still around and a complete account of the story from the horses mouth in Peter Browning`s article
Lost Horizons :

Car : ROVER 2000 P6 ( reg : JXC 808D )
Engine : TRACO-OLDSMOBILE 4.3 V8 ( from John Coundley`s McLaren ) bored to 4.5 litre
BHP : 360 @6800 rpm WEIGHT : 950 KGS
Builder : BILL SHAW with JIM MORGAN + JIM ROSE
Driver : ROY PIERPOINT Colour : RED
Track Record :
debut April 1970 Mallory Park , 8 races , mostly in
BRSCC Hepolite-Glacier Special Saloons.
Won Castle Combe + Silverstone 100-miles.
Sold to Alec Poole 1971 and raced in Ireland.
Now owned by Ian Giles , painted in Leyland
Blue. ran at Silverstone Classic 2013 and
featured in Vintage Racecar ( Nov 2013 )
nb : a sister car in blue ran in the Marathon de la Route event and later raced in yellow livery in Australia. Reg JXC806D

Interestingly there are other Rovers in the same vein currently active.This is David Tetley`s Team Willpower car and ran at Brands and at Spa in Historic races in 2008.

The car pictured at the 2014 Donington Historic Festival raced by Giles / Strachan and looking resplendent in blue.

MG `GNAT`

Amoungst the many , many Minis that buzzed around the UK`s tracks at the turn of the `70s one in particular stood out...Wally Hall fitted so many MG tuning parts and a MG grill to his that he renamed the car the MG Gnat . It was his own peice of British Leyland `badge engineering` but no gimmick as Wally made the car a front runner in 1000cc Special Saloon car racing.

GNAT 2
GNAT

Car : MINI COOPER S with MG grill and tuning parts
Engine : BMC 999cc 4 Cylinders
BHP : initially 78 BHP , most of career with Janspeed-built 92 BHP , finishing with Les Rider-tweaked 115BHP at 11,000 rpm !
WEIGHT : approx 600 KGS
Built + owned by : WALLY HALL Colour : GREEN
TRACK RECORD : debut July 1968 Silverstone and raced regulary by Wally Hall through to end of 1970. Part of the John Stanton race team for 1969 with other team drivers behind wheel including Mike Darrieulat as part of his class win in the BRSCC `Redex` Special Saloons. Hall , as sole driver again for 1970 BRDC `Triplex`finishing 3rd in class ? Last race June 1971.
Car believed broken up whilst Hall was living away in US.

HART TRIUMPH STAG

Hart Stag

The Triumph Stag should have been a great car in Leylands history but it was let down by engine issues leading to reduced sales and a poor reputation. Retrospctive modifications have meant
genrally happier and reliable ownership since however.
Tony Hart is THE authority on Stags , as founder of both his Stag specialist company in the mid-70s and the Stag Owners Club in `79. So it was appropriate that he was the man to take the Stag to the tracks , whilst promoting his company.
The cars return must have felt intimidating for the team faced with class rivals such as the Sugden Skoda , the Ellis Aston and the Sheppard Lola BMW M1. However by concentrating soley on the BHL series and proving the car`s reliability it won the class by 4 points over the BMW.

CAR : TRIUMPH STAG ( Reg. GLW305J )
ENGINE : TRIUMPH 2997cc V8 Cylinder
BHP : 260+
0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds - top : up to 160mph
WEIGHT : 877 Kgs
TRACK RECORD :
Probably the only Stag to race in UK Modsports
when Tony Hart Racing made its debut in 1979
for the cars builder Tony Hart + Gerrard Sayer.
Ran in BARC Modsports + later BARC Special GT.
Returned to racing in 1990 BHL `Churchill
Construction Special GTs` winning Class A
for over 2-litre cars , driven by Malcolm Prior ,the
company Manager at the time.
The car still exists today , see main photo in a new orange colour .

Stag Clippings

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