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Pit Box

Joe Riding medal Rowell Bobtail Cameron GHQ Weaver Cooper Bristol
Curwen car Bob Dixon Sparky  MCM Austin Home Build
Australian car Alton Special Korn Indianapolis  


Ultimate British Record

On 2nd June 1952 at the Sunderland track, Joe Riding of the Blackpool Club set a 1/4mile record of 115.83mph with his Rowell engined car. This remains to this day, the fastest speed ever recorded by a British car and motor. The motor was an amalgam of MKI and MKII Rowell parts while the car was based on a Rowell Sabre pan. The record had been held for several years by Gerry Buck with 'Topsy'. Riding photo archive

Thanks to James Riding for this item and photographs.   June 2011


Ultimate British Car

This represents the pinnacle of development of the all British tethered car. Dating from the early 1950s, the bobtail chassis is fitted with a close coupled Rowell MKII motor. The 'pan handle' tether connection was universal by then, but the GRP body must have been a very early example of the use of this material. This configuration of car still holds the record for the highest speed with an all British car.

                                                                  May 2011. Photo by OTW


A Scottish 'mystery'

This car was seemingly built without any reference to plans of any sort. The front axle and gearbox is slotted into the frames and driven through a normal centrifugal clutch. Wheels and tyres are an assortment, while the ignition system and wiring are a trifle agricultural as well. It seems that the GHQ motor lurking beneath the removable bonnet was the most desirable part of the car as it has changed hands four times in almost as many years. Update May 2012: Now known to have been one of the cars built by Mr R.G. Cameron of Gatehouse-In-Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire.
                                                March 2011. Photo from OTW


Any Idea What This is?

From Australia came the enquiry at to whether we had any ideas about this car. That it is a model of a Cooper Bristol and a very well made scale model was evident, but there was a niggling suspicion that there might be more to it than that. Another batch of photos confirmed that this was another example of the fine work produced by Arthur Weaver. For more details of this car and other work from the 'North London Maestro', go to our Weaver 'Pitbox Special'.

Thanks to Rohan Cleary for this item and the excellent photos. Feb 2011


Curwen tethered car?

This tethered car came from the estate of Bob Curwen, but elements suggest it could be the work of one of the other 'pioneers'. Curwen had largely moved away from cars and tended to work in wood. There is some serious panel beating and fabrication that could be from Jim Cruickshank or Jack Gascoigne. It is certainly not a rail car as there is evidence of two tether brackets. The filler gives the impression that the car was stripped for some bodywork and never finished. Thanks to Michael Gardener for photos Jan 2011


A 'Quirky Little Car'

The notorious 'Sparky', built by Bob Dixon and bought from him for a small portion of my meagre pocket money when I was about 15. It ran in the 1950 MG trophy at Eaton Bray and was described in Model cars as "looking more like a warning notice from the 'Min of Ag' about garden pests than a racing car. I have run it on the outdoor track at Downend Bristol, but the fragile balsa wood body broke up when I ran it at Brean Sands in the 1970s. ED MKIII 2.49cc motor gave it a 'fair turn of speed'. Thanks to Geoff Sheppard for the text and photo. Dec 2010
Sparky was
sold to the US in 2014 following Geoff's sudden death


MCM Austin

This is a lovely example of the car designed by 'Formula' and described as a constructional article by Capt Stubbs in the Model Car Manual. The semi-scale design is based loosely on the GP Austin, although everything about it is typical for a tethered car of the period. Stubbs made patterns for the pan and had them cast up locally and a similar one was available from Warren and Clarke with cast tether brackets. This is an original type pan with bolted on tether brackets and follows the plan almost exactly, except the tank is for CW running while the car is set up for ACW. The Hornet motor with a magneto did away with the need for all the ignition components on the original.

Thanks to Ron Reiter for this item and photo.   Nov 2010


'Coxheads Flyer'

Very well made, but by whom?

Rowell wheels and a Warren & Clarke pan provide the basis for this very well engineered car. The engine is entirely home built showing the level of craftsmanship evident in this lovely car. The only problem is that so far we do not have a clue who was responsible for it. This wonderful car has not been touched, making it a perfect 'loft find'. Sold on ebay for £1220, Feb 2011.
                                                              Thanks to Howard Luscombe for photos Oct 2010


A 'Mystery' engine in a 'Mystery' chassis

So far this sideport engine has eluded all attempts to identify it. From the complexity and quality of the castings it looks as if it should be commercial, but what? The chassis looks a lot of work if cut from plate but has an almost cast look. The owner is in Australia, which may give a clue to its origins. Getting the support bearing to line up with the engine mounts looks an interesting job. Any thoughts on the motor or chassis would be much appreciated.
Update. David Owen has kindly identified the engine as either a Cub, sold by The Model Dockyard or the Gnome sold by Central. These 3cc motors were identical in every respect, and both firms were located in Melbourne as well. Thanks to David for this information. March 2011
Thanks to Gary Maslin for passing on this item. Sept 2010


Alton Special

The Alton Special was designed by Phil Smith around 1947 and kitted by Veron, one of Guy Rickard's companies. The Rickard's lived at Beech, just outside Alton, hence the name. The car was all wood and intended for the 6cc Stentor using components from 'Replica Ltd', of Sloane Street London, another of Rickard's companies. The kit alone was £3-3-0 and it was claimed that the car had been tested at over 60mph. Original versions of this car are very rare.

                                             Aug 2010


The world's most expensive tethered car?

We reported the sale of this Korn Indianapolis in November 2008 when it made $21,100, something over £15,000 at today's rate of exchange. It had no real provenance other than a suggestion that it might have been owned by Barney Korn's wife Annemarie. We have recently obtained this picture to show exactly what the purchaser got for their money.

One wonders if 2A or 'Topsy' with their impeccable histories would command this sort of value if they ever came on to the market. Makes the Gascoigne MG seem a giveaway by comparison!      July 2010