This event is the Prescott season finale, the very last chance to take in some hill climb action before the winter. There was the usual eclectic mix of competition cars ranging from vintage Bugattis through to Pilbeam, Reynard, Gould and Lola race cars. There was also an American theme weekend, with a stateside flavour to the proceedings.
Muscle cars, hot rods, customs, classics and choppers, not to mention some very fine Indian motorcycles – they were all here. The Demon Drome Wall of Death motorcycle stunt display was a very popular attraction, along with music from Sam and his Sax as well as the Brava Boys, the Las Vegas Showgirls, lunchtime cavalcade and club displays. The Steam Car Club of GB, Vintage Hot Rod Association, National Hot Rod Association and the National Chopper Club turned up too.
Frank Scrase imported his 1924 Stanley Model 750 from the USA around 18 months ago, but unfortunately, as Frank puts it, ‘the car was wrecked by the shippers’. Following much repair work, all that remains is to tackle the mechanical restoration. The car was rebuilt in the 1960s from a wreck, and it spent much time residing in a museum.
Philip Serrell, who makes regular appearances on the BBC television program Bargain Hunt, was at Prescott supporting his wife Briony, who was racing her 1967 Lotus 51A Formula Ford race car. ‘The Lotus did quite a lot of circuit racing prior to me purchasing it about eight years ago,’ said Briony. ‘I too intended to race it on circuits, but never got there and instead compete in hillclimbs, where the car is great fun to drive.’
Roger Ballard’s 1915 Lenox Speedster Model 4-40 cut an imposing Edwardian dash. Lenox cars were made in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA, and first shown at the Boston Automobile Show in 1911.
Dr Robert Dyke has built a faithful recreation of ‘Whistling Billy’, the White Dirt Track steam race car, incorporating a 1907 Tourer 20hp engine and a 30hp mono tube steam generator. It’s estimated that running steam pressure will be 600-800psi should represent an achievable and scary top speed of 100mph!
Graham Watkin brought along his 1932 Ford Model B that’s powered by a V8 Flat Head 24 stud 4.5-litre engine that came out of a WW2 Brengun carrier. A C4 transmission from a Ford Mustang now handles the power and torque admirably. The most powerful car of the day was the ex-Emerson Fittipaldi 1990 Penske PC-19 Indy race car. The Chevy/Ilmor V8 engine featuring a Holset Turbo is rated at 750bhp@12,200rpm. It runs on methanol, has a top speed of 232mph and does 1.8mpg! The PC-19 was the first Indy car to set a four lap average qualifying speed of over 225mph at Indianapolis and proved very successful in the hands of Danny Sullivan, Rick Mears and Fittipaldi.
The Autumn Classic was a splendid way to finish another very busy and most enjoyable season at Prescott.