Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Interesting afternoon!

I spent yesterday afternoon in the company of Peter Clarke, he needs no introduction if you know anything at all about the Le Mans/Rally Spitfires and their subsequent history. If you don't then here's a very brief summary. Peter was a very active member of the experimental/racing department at Triumph throughout the Spitfire period. He helped build and maintain all of the 'works' cars but in particular his involvement was with the circuit cars. Peter went to both the '64 and '65 Le Mans, and Sebring, in fact he was working in the paddock virtually every time the circuit cars appeared, he is pictured more times in the many books on the subject than any of the drivers! After the works effort closed Peter went on to build and maintain Spitfires with firstly his old Triumph team mate Peter Cox, and then for the Richard Lloyd Gold Seal Racing effort. It didn't stop there as Peter has continued to work on Spitfires right up to the present day. This is the reason for this short piece from me, because yesterday I was helping Peter empty his lock-up of the years of racing Spitfire parts and memorabilia, as he has finally hung up his spanners and retired. Some real jems were unearthed, including the remnants of a 70X engine, a strut type rear suspension Spit chassis (as in the 1966 ADU 1B/ERW 412C Bradley racer), this was rescued by Karl who came along with me to help, and will probably end up under his race car. Another mystery was solved for me with the strange PI inlet manifold I found (pictured below). I have most of a 4 cyl PI set from the Spitfire racing days, but not the inlet manifolds, well I do now! We filled Peter's van to the roof, one of the last things to go in was a 70X tubular exhaust manufacturing jig, and we then baide our fairwell's and headed back to Canleys in Karl's Volvo and trailor combination loaded with our bit of treasure! Good luck in your retirement Pete, I'm sure the people of Wales may still hear the occasional clatter of forged pistons in a 70X on full chat yet!

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