Tuesday, January 13, 2009


In April 2002 we got to hear that John Woolley's re-creation of the 1963 works Monte Carlo Vitesse was for sale. It had lain dormant in a north London motor traders premises for some time and now the owner was looking to sell the registration or the car or both together. It would have been a great shame to have lost the works registration 6003VC to a less deserving home, so we jumped at the chance of keeping it attached to a Vitesse and bringing it home to Coventry. This Vitesse is possibly one of the most rallied Triumph's of all time and as such it deserved to be saved (see it's entry list below).

6003 VC On The Starting Line 1992 Pirelli Classic Marathon

Besides being assured the car would be ready to view, all fired up and ready to go, we were a little disappointed when we initially found it sitting forlornly at the back of the garage under an inch of dust. Anyway the deal was done, the registration stayed on the car, and the car was on the trailer on its way back to Coventry.

Courtesy of Triumph World magazine (August 1995)

Back home the next day after washing the dust off, it was evident that this Vitesse had hardly turned a wheel since it's last outing. Still covered in stickers from the 1995 Safety Devices Historic Challenge, it looked like this was the last time the car had been used in anger. On closer inspection I was more than happy with what we had bought as the car came complete with full built in roll cage, plumbed in fire extinguishers, triple SU engine, one of our own heavy duty J type overdrive boxes, Salisbury LSD, perspex window's etc, etc. The carbs and the rest of the fuel system (including twin petrol tanks) needed completely stripping and rebuilding as whatever concoction of fuel had been in there when last used had set hard. The brakes were completely renewed to be on the safe side, and the halfshafts needed rebuilding as they were completely knackered. Apart from that it needed very little doing to get it through an MOT, although the examiner did comment on the state of the underneath of the car, he said it looked as though it had been pebble dashed with house bricks, this car has had a very hard life!

6003 VC On The 1989 Pirelli Classic Marathon

There then followed a couple of months of mundane every day use, or as mundane as you can get in a stripped out full house racer on the public highway! The temptation got the better of me and we booked in for the Classic & Sportscar Action Day at Castle Combe in August along with most of the rest of the Canley Classics crew and their Triumphs.

Castle Combe Track Day

On the second time out on the track we suffered a spectacular head gasket failure whilst pulling 7,500 RPM trying to overtake a DB7 Vantage, with Craig Gingell (our web maestro) acting as ballast in the passenger seat. It was worth it though, the car handled brilliantly and felt bomb proof, up to the point when the head gasket blew! Soon fixed and back on the road, it continues to bring me to work most mornings, complete with the biggest grin a bloke is allowed to have outside the bedroom.

Brief history before our ownership. Built along with 6001VC, 6002VC, and 6004VC (spare car) for the 1963 Monte Carlo rally in which it finished 24th overall and third in class. substantially rebuilt (now 2ltr triple SU) for the Spa-Sofia-Liege of August 1963 it burnt out in spectacular fashion before the finish.

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