Most classic car enthusiasts when looking for a new project to spend their time and money on, will find a bedraggled example of their chosen model, then progressively strip it down and rebuild it. Few will contemplate building a car from scratch, even fewer a Group K (pre-war) sports , racing special based on some anonymous photograph of a 1930’s Maserati in a classic car book. But that’s what’s kept Doug Armour busy for the last few years and it was the highlight of our September monthly meeting.
Starting with an old Fiat chassis that was earmarked as a possible saw bench, a flat-head Ford V8 engine and some front axles found in Melbourne, Doug sought guidance from CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) to build a car to Group K specifications. This wasn’t received with the jubilation expected, but the seed had been sown and all that was needed was a liberal interpretation of the regulations which allowed for a car similar to those run in the period, but not a replica !
Doug tried to undertake most of the work himself, and apart from engine machining and some brake components, he either made what was needed or sourced parts from local contacts and further afield.
One of the biggest issues was the gearbox, which is from an early Fiat, but it was found without selector shafts and several other parts needed to make it useable, so Doug designed and machined up the parts required. The rear axle housing is Jaguar with an Austin-Healey centre. The spoked wheels are new with Jaguar E-type splines and knock offs. Period type shock absorbers are from a Ford Blitz truck and the steering accomplished by Jaguar with the aid of a more modern reduction box. Doug says the home-made brakes seem to work OK and it’s interesting and fun to drive. The bodywork is a combination of hand-formed steel and alloy panels over a timber frame.
There’s still more work needed to complete the project before it can achieve CAMS Logbook status. It needs a roll-over bar, which will be tricky to mount, some race harness belts and a pair of proper rear axles which will be stronger than the temporary ones Doug welded up in the shed. A truly fantastic effort to build this special from scratch, those present at the monthly meeting enjoyed seeing it the flesh and hearing of Doug’s experiences during the build.
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