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Pitbox 2020

Oliver RV

Following the trip to Sweden in 1949 the Olivers first produced a disc valve replica of the Busy motor and then a shaft rotary valve version, the RV, later known as the Tiger MkI. Exact production numbers are unknown at present but certainly fewer than fifty in total, but this is the only one known to exist (unless someone has another lurking in their collection). For many years it resided in one of Joe Shelton's Bottoms Up cars, but was not the original motor for that car as it was a later version that was cut for a Tiger MkII. Eventually the owner removed it and offered the, so far unique, Oliver RV for sale.         
                               Thanks to John Goodall for the item and photo Dec 2020


Shelton Oliver

S/Sergeant Joe Shelton was a well established racer in the US before he came to serve in the UK and Germany. He raced in several classes, using Oliver cars in 1.5cc and 2.5cc and Bordens amongst others in the larger classes. Two of his Oliver 'Bottoms Up' cars survive in the US, the first we featured in Pitbox in 2015 but this one was unknown until the owner conracted us recently. The odd rear wheels are due to the original Raylites having shed their treads whilst running up the motor. Joe did visit a meeting at Orebro many years later where he met current competitors.
Thanks to Greg Parsons for this item and photo Nov 2020 


Dawson memorabilia:

This remarkable selection of items records the successes of H A L Dawson in the years prior to the second war. Dawson was a member of the Portsmouth Club that ran at the Canoe Lake on Southsea seafront. The hydroplane that has survived (shown) is the later of his two A class boats, 'Grootvlei' with the earlier Drumacrieve series being the better known. The certificate is for the 1938 Speed Boat Competition as is one of the medals, another for the 1937 competition. The third medal is for the Mears trophy in 1935 when it was run in two classes for light and heavy boats.                 Thanks to Tim Dawson for all these items and photos. Oct 2020


1066 Trio

Gordon Williams was a superb engineer who built a large number of engines, including one of only two 1066  Falcon 2 10cc motors known to exist. In the auction of his collection 1n 2019, these three versions of 1066 5cc engines appeared. At the top is the very common Falcon. (who didn't notice the fuel tank awry?) In the middle the Arrow and nearest is the  rarer Hawk, available for just a year and only as a factory built motor, although lots of bits did make their way out of the works to be put together at a later date. The Hawk has a cast iron cylinder screwed into the crankcase yet other parts are shared between the motors.

                                 Thank to Miles Patience for alerting us to these items. Sept 2020


Another GRP Oliver:

Following the 1954 European Championships at Woodside, Ron Thrower set about building a new car for his Oliver motors, but using GRP instead of castings or beaten aluminium. His car is still in existence and was featured in a Pitbox in 2017, but what we were unaware of was that another similar car existed. We can only guess whether it was built by Ron or someone else, using his moulds as it does look very similar, the only clue being the Swiss tyres, but these might have been obtained at a meeting there? Further research is needed to see if we can tie up the racing number with any known competitor.  
                                                                                     Thanks to Ron Reiter for this item and photos.  August 2020


Glass Plate

This glass negative of a tethered car appeared on ebay, purporting to be from the 1920s. The Gerald Smith  Redwing or Lapwing motor, ZN wheels and tyres put it towards the end of the 1940s. The chassis is based on the published Buck 2A plan but without the flared and tapered side rails.

Most unusually the drive train includes a flywheel, magneto, cardan shaft and then a dog clutch, possibly to another centrifugal clutch. Something of a mystery and a great deal of work involved. Wonder what became of it?          July 2020


100 years on:

Each pair of photos is of the same engine but taken over 100 years apart. Fred Westmoreland built both before the First World War so they are remarkable survivors in any case. The two stroke motor appeared on the Northern Association stand at Leamington and is now in their care, along with Fred's Evil Spirit hydroplane. The steam engine was one of an almost identical pair, this one winning Fred all the prizes in the photo, including the Rose Bowl, which is also still in existence. The engine somehow had made its way to India where it is now in the possession of a doctor who supplied the photo.                                            June 2020


Admonishment from Ken Bedford

Cannot be much clearer than this for the new owner of this ETA 29, don't fiddle. Of course, many were convinced they knew better, which has led to a myriad of ruined engines over the years. The Olivers went one stage further by publishing a three page document on how to modify a Mk II twinshaft motor for better performance but adding the rider that 'we cannot guarantee or be responsible for results'. Even then, they were prepared to carry out all the modifications for £3 with a rebore and new piston for an extra     £1-5s. Now there is a get out clause?

                                                   OTW photo May 20202


Sportsdrome relic

At one stage, every club, society, supporters group, event and company used to have cloisonné enamelled badges that were pinned on hats, jackets, bags and more. For many years they were avidly collected, some commanding very high prices. Now they are seldom seen, which is why we were delighted to see this memento from the Eaton Bray Sportsdrome that closed seventy years ago. 

Thanks to Shirley Russell for this item and photo. April 2020


Doc 3.

The third of the cars from the late Dr Rankin was a M&E Wasp. These C Class car kits were produced in substantial numbers, but no serial numbers to indicate just how many were made, although they regularly turn up for sale, mostly fitted with an ED Penny Slot motor. The later motor with a compression screw will not fit under the bonnet. The car can run either end first by flipping the gearbox over, which only drives one wheel. The Wasp has probably provided the widest range of price realised in auction of any commercial car with the most expensive at over £1200. The cheapest complete car £125 with a barn find, even less.

                Thanks to Hamish Rankin for this item. OTW photo, March 2020


Ifit 9:

After many years of competing with A Class flash steam boats, Arthur Cockman moved to the smaller classes, firstly with the C Class Ifit 8 around 1951, which necessitated an entirely new and significantly lighter motor and steam generator. This was not very successful so the B Class Ifit 9 was conceived, using the same motor but with a new, three burner, boiler. After various teething troubles and changes in pumping arrangements it developed an impressive turn of speed, winning the Crebbin Trophy in 1962. When Arthur retired from running tethered hydros, the complex cruciform pump assembly was used for his straight runner 'Guinivere'. Following his death, Ifit 9 featured in the tethered hydroplane collection at the Pitsea Museum until removed and sold at auction in 2005. Despite every attempt, it had vanished until it appeared on ebay late in 2019. Happily, it has found a new home with an enthusiast who is currently renovating the boat and, thanks to a very generous gesture from Phil Abbott, having the original pumps refitted.

Update: Having successfully run the engine on compressed air the plant was finally fired up in late 2020 for a test run. A house move has meant that the fully renovated Ifit 9 is for sale.

Thanks to Kevin Ridley for photos and details. Feb 2020


Another 'Fausch' car:

This is the second of Georg Fausch's cars from the period when extending the wheelbase was in vogue. The chassis of this car is significantly older than the one featured previously as it originally had the front wheels outside the pan. In its converted form and with a Supertigre X15 for power it was very successful, winning Class 2 at the 1987 European Championships in Lyon at a speed of 266.469kph, the fastest to that date. With its all enclosing body it is not the prettiest of cars, but highly effective.
                                                                                       Thanks to Christoph Zaugg for this item. Jan 2020