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the car...

CAR : VAUXHALL MAGNUM

ENGINE : ASTON MARTIN V8
CC : 5340
BHP : approx 315 in standard tune on debut. Became a twin-turbo Spring 1975.
Realistic power about 600 bhp.
WEIGHT :
GEARBOX : ZF 5-speed
TOP SPEED : 170 MPH recorded at Elvington speed record runs October 1975
STANDING KILOMETRE : 23.1 Seconds
( Brighton 1975 , fastest special saloon time of the event )

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1974

'the build'

The car was constructed by 'Gentleman Farmer' John Pope on his own Farm and to his own design towards the end of 1973.
The car was built from the ground up and the donor Magnum had a square tube frame front housing an Aston Martin V8 , the entire front being one piece and hinged forwards.
A ZF gearbox is linked to a Salisbury diff and extra large Revolution wheels fitted into the specially crafted wheel arches.
Photo left is one of the first ones taken with car about to go to the paint shop January 22nd 1974.
Thereafter it was fully fitted during February.

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'the launch'

The finished car had a sneak preview photo session on February 28th 1974 for Vauxhall

Motorist Magazine.
The official launch was on March 4th and pictured are John ( left ) ,friend ,neighbour and fellow Vauxhall racer Gerry Marshall and Duckhams' David Farndon who provided some sponsorship.
The launch was at the Three Hammers pub.

The serious stuff came on March 10th when John drove the car to Silverstone for a second press day and for the first time some laps of the circuit as the shake down and the development process began .

'a trying debut...'

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John gave the car a busy racing debut with back-to-back Super Saloon series races over the same weekend. These were the first ever BRSCC-run Super Saloon races , the 'John Player 100' at Snetterton on April 14th and at Mallory Park the next day on the Easter Monday.
Mick Hill ( Capri 6-litre ) and Gerry Marshall ( in the brand new Ventora 'Big Bertha 5-litre ) set the tone with joint pole times at Snetterton. John with 'standard engine and fully road legal' new car was 9th some 12 seconds a lap slower but did finish albeit 6th and last after others had hit problems such as the Daf ,Hawker Capri and indeed Marshall.
The next day John and 6 others decamped at Mallory joining new cars for a fine race in front of a big crowd. Doug Niven won with Pope 7th after qualifying 10th. John seems to have suffered from scrutineering issues worst than anyone over the weekend ,the bootlid in particular at Snetterton and Autosport noted at Mallory 'General teething troubles as well as problems with the 'scrutes' gave Pope a trying debut with the car'.

CCC Cover
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'part of the class of '74'

John had just 4 selected races under his belt in his 'special' prior to the Super Saloon round at Silverstone in early August. On the 2nd many of the top Super Saloons gathered for a photo shoot for CCC Magazine . The resulting Jeff Bloxham cover shot has become something of an iconic image of the super saloon genre. Each driver and his car was featured in the article inside. John and the car visible in the middle of the posing 'grid'.
2 days later the race didnt enjoy the same sunshine for the shoot as it rained throughout ,John placed 9th.

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1974

Race 3 was back at Mallory Park in a BRSCC race.

Tricentrol stickers added by the Autumn of '74

John competed in 5 more races during 1974 and in all of the 10 races 8 of them were Super Saloon ones which shows the high standard John set himself.
One reason for this was that John had become the President of the newly formed Super Saloon Drivers Association and was leading by example with Wife Joan the secretary and based at John's Farm outside St.Albans.

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1975

'going turbo'

In search of more power John decided to be adventerous and turbo charge the Aston V8. With the help of David Morgan ,Arthur Wilson and Barry Rowledge engineers from Aston Martin's experimental department they converted the engine to a dry sump lubrication and fitted two American Impellor Research turbo chargers to each exhaust bank. This gave a theoretical maximum boost of 900bhp though 600bhp was the more realsitic figure.
This at a time when turbo charging was still something of a black art.

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now with the words 'twin turbo' under the reg but a delayed start to 1975 with a blown piston at the Supersaloon opener at Silverstone.

July 6th 1975 - 10th at the 2nd of 3 Supersaloon rounds at Silverstone.

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1975

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September 13th 1975 - John wins the Forrest Lycett Trophy and the Carter Shaw Memorial Trophy for his class win and fastest speed at the Brighton 1km Speed Trials.

July 19th 1975 - 12th at the 3rd of three Supersaloon rounds at Silverstone saw the new bonnet with bigger black grill cut outs to help with the engine cooling.

'A truly shattering performance in the Special Saloon category was 23.1 sec. by John Pope In his Vauxhall Magnum Super Saloon Powered by a V8 Aston Martin engine with two exhaust turbo-chargers' - Motor Sport on the peformance on the Brighton Speed Trial

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'guest drivers'

August 3rd 1975 John let fellow Farmer and special saloon racer John Homewood from Kent have a race in the JPS down at Homewood's local track Lydden. Despite being more used to a 1-litre Imp Homewood won oputright giving the car it's first win.
Boxing Day 1975 and Escort-expert Nick Whiting was the next guest driver at a race at Brands against Gerry Marshall ,Colin Hawker and Tony Hazelwood. Nick lost a turbo pipe whilst in 3rd and retired when the handling then deteriorated.

1976

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The hot summer of 1976 saw John a consistant top 10 finisher in Super Saloons ,a season really headed by friend Gerry Marshall in Baby Bertha at their most effective. Just the one retirement with a small engine fire at Silverstone spoilt an otherwise perfect reliability record.

August 15th 1976 - Brands Hatch Supersaloons Pope finished 7th one place behind Bill Cox in Pete Shelton's Cortina ( number 16 ).

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October 24th 1976- Mallory Park Special saloons - Pope at the hairpin dicing with Escorts.

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1977

May 28th 1977- Donington Park Supersaloons - Pope at the chicane heading Bill Cox. This race seems to be the last all saloon race for Pope before going into Libre/All comers races.

1978-82

Having retired from championship special saloon car racing John entered selected Historic ,Libre ,All comers and Aston Martin club races. Here chasing a nimble Chevron B8 with a Cobra following at Silverstone.
Gerry Marshall became the next guest driver in July 1982 winning the class in the AMOC St.John Horsfall Meeting 'All Comers race'.

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John Pope - JPS V8 - known races 1974

DATE # QUAL CIRCUIT RACE RESULT
APR 14th 2 SNETTERTON SUPER SALOONS R1 6th overall
APR 15th 23 10th MALLORY PARK SUPER SALOONS R2 7th overall
MAY 27th 8 MALLORY PARK BRSCC Special Saloon race 3rd overall
JUL 21st 6 9th INGLISTON SUPER SALOONS R3 9th overall
AUG 4th 10 SILVERSTONE SUPER SALOONS R4 9th overall
AUG 17th 9th? CASTLE COMBE SUPER SALOONS R5 7th overall
SEP 22nd 15 THRUXTON SUPER SALOONS R6 5th overall ( 4th in class )
OCT 6th 16 SILVERSTONE SUPER SALOONS Westwood 9th overall
NOV 16th 14 THRUXTON SUPER SALOONS Wella raced
DEC 26th BRANDS HATCH Special Saloon race raced
Photo crop

APR 15 1974 - MALLORY PARK

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APR 14 1974 - SNETTERTON

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MAY 27 1974 - MALLORY PARK

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JUL 24 1974 - INGLISTON

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AUG 4 1974 - SILVERSTONE

AUG 17 1974 - CASTLE COMBE

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NOV 16 1974 - THRUXTON

DEC 26 1974 - BRANDS HATCH

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OCT 6 1974 - SILVERSTONE

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SEP 22 1974 - THRUXTON

John Pope - JPS V8 - known races 1975

DATE # QUAL CIRCUIT RACE RESULT
MAY 4th 5 DNQ SILVERSTONE SUPER SALOONS R2 DNQ Piston
MAY 25th 19 BRANDS HATCH SUPER SALOONS R3 outside top 6
JUN 28th 104 OULTON PARK SUPER SALOONS R5 outside top 8
JUL 6th 11 13th SILVERSTONE CLUB SUPER SALOONS R6 10th overall
JUL 19th 29 12th SILVERSTONE GP SUPER SALOONS R7 12th overall new bonnet
AUG 3rd 85 LYDDEN Special Saloon race 1st overall ( John Homewood )
AUG 17th 9 9th? THRUXTON SUPER SALOONS R8 8th overall
AUG 24th 10 MALLORY PARK SUPER SALOONS R9 8th overall
SEP 13th BRIGHTON SPEED TRIALS
DEC 26th BRANDS HATCH Special Saloon race DNF ( Nick Whiting )
Photo crop

MAY 25 1975 - BRANDS HATCH

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MAY 4 1975 - SILVERSTONE

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JUN 28 1975 - OULTON PARK

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JUL 19 1975 - SILVERSTONE GP

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JUL 6 1975 - SILVERSTONE

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AUG 3 1975 - LYDDEN

DEC 26 1975 - BRANDS HATCH

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AUG 17 1975 - THRUXTON

SEP 13 1975 - BRIGHTON

John Pope - JPS V8 - known races 1976

DATE # QUAL CIRCUIT RACE RESULT
MAY 9th 7 7th SILVERSTONE G.P. SUPER SALOONS R1 5th overall
JUN 6th 11 SILVERSTONE Club SUPER SALOONS R2 10th overall
JUL 4th 11 SILVERSTONE Club SUPER SALOONS R3 DNF Fire
JUL 10th 36 10th SILVERSTONE AMOC St.John H race 8th overall
AUG 15th 7 BRANDS HATCH SUPER SALOONS R4 7th overall
SEP 11th 7 CASTLE COMBE SUPER SALOONS R5 in entry list - raced ?
OCT 10th 7 MALLORY PARK SUPER SALOONS R6 9th? overall
OCT 23rd non SILVERSTONE SPRINT 3rd overall ( 1st in class )
OCT 24th 5 MALLORY PARK Special Saloon race raced
DEC 26th BRANDS HATCH Special Saloon race ? overall ( 3rd in class )
Photo crop

JUN 6 1976 - SILVERSTONE

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JUL 4 1976 - SILVERSTONE

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MAY 9 1976 - SILVERSTONE

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JUL 10 1976 - SILVERSTONE

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AUG 15 1976 BRANDS HATCH

SEP 11 1976 - CASTLE COMBE

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OCT 24 1976 - MALLORY PARK

 

OCT 10 1976 - MALLORY PARK

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DEC 26 1976 BRANDS HATCH

John Pope - JPS V8 - known races 1977

DATE # QUAL CIRCUIT RACE RESULT
APR 24th 7 SILVERSTONE BRSCC Special Saloon race 7th overall
MAY 15th 7 15th CROFT NSCC SUPER SALOONS R1 10th overall
MAY 28th 7 DONINGTON PARK ELSE SUPER SALOONS R2 raced

MAY 15 1977 - CROFT

Photo crop

APR 24 1977 - SILVERSTONE

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MAY 28 1977 - DONINGTON

Gerry Marshall - JPS V8 - 1982

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