Beetle V8 60s Saloons

UK Special Saloon + Modsports Historical Database

Cobras in Modsports

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Shaun Jackson / Mike Smith


Engine : FORD V8 4727cc

Reg : `GPG 4C`

Chassis : HEM-6

Drivers :


MIKE SMITH ( 1971-72 )


Originaly owned and entered by C.T.Atkins in UK sports cars races in 1964 .Chris Amon was 3rd overall in the red car in the 3 hour Sports/GT race at Snetterton and Roy Salvadori in the Goodwood TT.

Then the car was owned and run by Graham Warner of`the Chequered Flag Garage` in Chiswich and painted black and white Raced by Roger Mac and others during the 1965/66 seasons. At the Ilford 500 at Brands Hatch in May 1966 the team entered 2 Cobras `HEM-6`( this car) for Roy Pike and Chris Irwin which retired but the 7-litre sister car (CSX3006) driven by Piper and Bondurant won outright.

In 1967 it was bought for £1800 and entered by Wendy Hamblin in club events. In September 1968 she competed at the Brighton speed trials in the ladies handicap class ( 7 ) winning the class and Keith Hamblin in the Sports Racing/GT class ( 14 )

By 1969 it was back in red and owned by Bill Harding and his driver Shaun Jackson made a name for himself at club level that year. A win in the Mallory Park boxing day Production sports car race was the last of the era before the car lead the way in the new Modsport era for 1970.


Shaun Jackson had very succesful 1970 Modsport season winning the big class in the major series BARC`s `Chevron Oils/Fred Dixon`championship and finished 2nd overall , just 6 points behind 1150cc class winner John Gould. Jackson competed in 13 rounds ,winning 5 outright and his class 6 times in all plus another 6 times class runner-up. Besides that Jackson raced 9 races in the rival MCD `STP`championship winning his class 3 times ( 2 outright wins ) and a further 4 more class and overall runner-ups ,usually to Richard Taft`s version. 29 races in all during a busy season recording fastest race lap 13 times.

At the end of the season HEM-6 was moved on again and bought by the Smith brothers ,who also bought the Taft Cobra. The two brothers made for a fine sight racing against each other but it did take both cars out of the national scene to some extent as they tended to concentrate at races at Croft. Mike Smith taking 12 class wins in 1971 + 1972. 

Today the car is still raced in historic events in the UK and very much in Shaun Jackson era livery.

Now an appreciating classic car the body has been slightly toned down to accomodate the narrower tires and the 2 distinctive vent holes originally drilled below the headlamps have gone in keeping with FIA Historic car rules. As long ago as December 1995 the car went to auction at Brooks valued between £150k to £180k. The car has become a familiar sight at historic events and one incident of note was that former grand prix driver Gerhard Beger crashed the car at the 2011 Goodwood revival meeting.

The car since returned to the track and is usually raced by Grahame and Oliver Bryant.

see the 1960s history of the car on RacingSportsCars website : CheqFlagCobra wpce992b40 wp5da83aba_0f SmithCobra

For the 1971 Modsport season the Smith brothers had swooped to purchase both the Jackson Cobra and the Taft version. Here Mike in the ex-Jackson car leads Vic in the ex-Taft car through the chicane at Croft.

Taft Taft2

Richard Taft / Vic Smith


Engine : FORD V8 4727cc

Reg : `EAB 778B`      `RT1942`

Chassis : COB6046

Drivers :


VIC SMITH ( 1971-72 )

Originaly supplied new to Lord Lichfield as a maroon road car in december 1964. Next owner was Richard Taft who modified the car for racing. He fitted a personalised number plate ,wide whell arches to take the 15inch Pearce mag alloy wheels. Also its distinctive twin nostril air intakes below the Cobras mouth. Taft had a succesful season winning the big class of the MCD STP Modsport championship in 1970 with 6 class wins ,three of which were outright during the whole season.

For 1971 the car was sold to Vic Smith ,brother of Mike who had just bought the Jackson Cobra. Then it was raced by David Shone until damaged at Silverstone. Sold to John Irving in 1975 who rebuilt the car with more standard bodywork and a 430bhp 5-litre V8.

Then the car was sold to the crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in 1981 who later gave the car as a gift to Prince Michael of Kent. Then onto William Loughran in 1995 and then onto Hans-Dieter Klein.


Ian Richardson is best remembered for his engineering firm at Ampthill specialising in the tuning of US big V8s up his retirement in 2012. His Chevrolet Corvair was particulary rapid around Silverstone in the mid-70s.

Earlier Richardson had bought the last AC 289 Cobra chassis built by the factory before production ended at the end of 1968. Like the other Cobras featured a wider body was created as the tires grew bigger. One man difference was that Richardson fitted one of his 5.3 Chevrolet V8 engines instead of the usual Ford.

Richardson also had a good 1970 Modsport season winning his class 13 times,10 of which were outright. He won at least 7 times at Silverstone during the season ,some coming in Nottingham SCC`S `Dick Protheroe` rounds of which he was overall class winner in giving all 3 Cobras a clean sweep of class wins over the 3 main Modsport championships. He already had the lap record on the Silverstone GP track from May 1969 and added the Club circuit record in 1970 ( see below )

Ian Richardson


Engine : CHEVROLET V8 5300cc

Reg : unregistered

Chassis : COB6127

Driver : IAN RICHARDSON ( 1970 )



By November 1970 the Hill Garage at Apthill advertised Richardson`s car for sale for £3500 complete. The advert stating Richardson had won 14 out of 16 races that season ,a remarkable success rate. The car had also set new Modsport lap records at 4 circuits.

CROFT - 1m16.8 ( 82.03 mph ) 20/09/70

SILVERSTONE CLUB - 1m 02.2 ( 93.07 mph ) 02/08/70 + 17/10/70

SILVERSTONE GP - 1m 45.4 ( 99.97 mph ) 18/10/69

SNETTERTON - 1m 42.0 ( 95.65 mph ) 09/08/70 + 11/10/70


Everyone loves Cobras and 1970 was the year of the Cobra in Modsports. They had  started to appear in `production sports` races in 1969 after final production reached almost 1000 cars after years of top level racing in world sports cars famously taking on Ferrari. Most were badged as AC`s and only 89 as Shelby`s ,cars with COB as a prefix were Shelbys as 2 featured here have.

Between the 3 cars in Modsports they won 26 races outright and won the big class in each of the 3 main championships giving real opposition to the dominance of the Jaguar E type brigade.

171_0419_064 Cobra 170_0525_024 Cobra 170_0726_75



Richard Taft - Cobra COB6046 - known modsports results 1970

Vic Smith - Cobra COB6046 - known modsports results 1971

note : some of the Nothern Modsport Championship had only 2 classes due to smaller grids at some races.

Vic Smith - Cobra COB6046 - known modsports results 1972

Shaun Jackson - Cobra HEM 6 - known modsports results 1970

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plus Chevron Oils R14 at Thruxton Oct 11th in a Jaguar E borrowed from John Burbidge 3rd overall ( 2nd in class ).

Mike Smith - Cobra HEM 6 - known modsports results 1971

Mike Smith - Cobra HEM 6 - known modsports results 1972

Ian Richardson - Cobra  6127 - known modsports results 1970

1 more class win ( not outright ) to add as 10 outright plus 3 extra class wins listed in Autosports 1970 wins list.

fastest laps comparison  1970

key : chronological list per track of each race fastest laps involving the Cobras of Richardson ,Jackson and the 1 by Taft.

At the start of the year every lap record for the class were held by Jaguar E drivers except for Rufforth ( Bill Wood Cobra ) and the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit ( Richardson 1 min 45.5 from May 1969 ). JKackson set a new record at Mallory whilst Richardson set a new record at Croft ,Snetterton and Silverstone Club ,which then he lowered and matched .