The 24 Hours of Le Mans that took place in 1980 was an odd race by Porsche’s standards. CEO Ernst Fuhrmann had decreed that not only would the 911 not be developed further, but neither would the 936 Sports prototype. Instead, Porsche would campaign at Le Mans with the 924, suitably modified and turbocharged. The transaxle 924 (the 944 was in the wings) and 928 were, in his view, the company’s future. The Porsche racing fraternity was dismayed, while other competitors were puzzled. These GT-class 924s – even with 350bhp – were hardly potential race winners, but Ernst, for whom this would be his last Le Mans with Porsche, was unperturbed.
On the cover of CAR’s July 1973 issue the tabloid-style headline screamed ‘Whose Spanner In Whose Works?’ The story of the British car industry’s woes in the Seventies is wellknown in retrospect, with unrealistic trade union demands and corner-cutting management generally blamed. But this article brings in an international angle that’s rarely discussed. ‘British Leyland’s much vaunted money injection last spring may have come too late,’ wrote Clive Ranger. ‘In 1971 they invested only £48 million against £130 million for Fiat and £124 million for VW. No wonder foreign competitors in the British market have become a cause for concern.’
Due to its aerodynamic magnesium body, lightweight tubular chassis and Jaguar’s powerful 3.4-litre XK engine, ever since its introduction in 1957, the Lister ‘Knobbly’ (so called due to the tall front wheelarches flanking its low nose) had quickly become the car to beat in international sports car racing. One of the other main reasons for the car’s success was Lister’s works driver, the Scot Archie Scott Brown. Despite having a badly deformed hand and severe mobility problems with his legs, he was still an immensely talented and courageous driver.
In the early 1970s, a racing enthusiast in possession of an accident-damaged 910 decided to transform the Porsche into a no-excuses sports car for the road. Calling in leading experts, he succeeded in creating an automobile of rare sculptural excellence…
When Rolls-Royce collaborated with Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina for its new 1970s flagship, the Camargue was the distinctive but divisive outcome. Almost 50 years on, the car is still a contentious subject.
Road Atlanta might be thousands of miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, but what happened at the American circuit four decades ago would have a direct impact on Jaguar’s future success at Le Mans. Ever since Bob Tullius’ Group 44 team had announced its IMSA GTP programme with the V12-engined XJR-5 in the early Eighties, there had been speculation that it would be a spring board for the British company to head back to the famed 24-hour race. Jaguar, though, initially played down its chances.