Saturday, 21 May 2011

Winning Jaguars

I met Peter Lindner in 1962. As part of its sponsorship of a six-hour saloon car race at Brands Hatch, The Motor arranged to test the winning cars afterwards and Lindner had driven one of the leading Jaguars. That’s me in the lower picture (below), in a white shirt, talking to him and co-driver Peter Nöcker as we prepared to take the cars away. Lindner was already a successful racing driver. I was a new member of the road test staff yet I recall him as genial and understanding, not a bit aloof or patronising, even handing over his precious Jaguar to a callow journalist.

I see from Octane magazine that an immensely painstaking restoration of Lindner’s Low Drag Lightweight E-type has been accomplished. This was the car he crashed fatally at Montlhéry in 1964 and it has been rebuilt from the original wreckage, Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth taking 5000 hours bending every bit straight again. A magnificent tribute worthy of the gentle German.

Roger Bell, Charles Bulmer and I took the cars to the MIRA test track for performance testing that included hours on the banked track, measuring their steady-speed fuel consumption. That was the dreary bit. Driving them on the circuit let you feel what a car prepared for racing was like. Driving them back and parking outside my small bachelor pad in South Kensington was thrilling. Taking them out at night on to a still incomplete M4 might explain why we didn’t get any Jaguars to test after the following year’s race.


The Motor Six Hours THE MOTOR October 17 1962
This select load consists of the Lindner/Nocker Jaguar and the class winning MG. and Mini-Cooper. The transporter (for getting the cars to the M.I.R.A. test track) was used purely for convenience all the cars tested were subsequently driven on the road.
Five of the fastest cars were tested by “The Motor” shortly after the race • They were the two leoding Jaguars and the class winning Sunbeam Rapier, MG 1101 and Mini-Cooper. • David Piper’s inipressions of the other class winner—the Lancia Flaminia — appear on page 474
THE only people barely moved h the drama on the day following the Six Hours Race were members of The Motor Road Test staff. They found themselves with not one but two 3.8 Jaguars to test, since it now appeals likely that the issue will he decided in favour of one of them. The two Jaguars (the blue Equipe Endeavour-entered 3.8, No 1 in the race, and given as winner on race day driven by Mike Parkes and Jimmy Blumer, and No. 4. the green Peter Lindner/Peter Nocker 3.8. placed second overall) differed in their preparation. The British car is starker and seemed to have undergone the six-hour ordeal more successfully than the German one. Weight reduction is noticeably more ruthless, all the trim, headlining, carpets, sound-damping, and even draught-excluding material having been removed. The wooden facia on the passenger’s side has been taken away and replaced with a stiff board. The result, with a dual, unsilenced exhaust is not unexpectedly a very noisy car. There is very little difference in the noise level outside or in, occupants having not only the yowl from the exhaust, but the screech of wind passing outside the body and also through it by holes in the bulkhead and the gaps round the doors. Winding mechanism has been discarded in three Perspex side windows (the driver can wind his glass one down and watch the mechanism, there being no trim panel( and Perspex is used also for the rear window.
Power as well as noise is supplied in great lumps by the 3.8-litre engine with two 2-in. S.U. carburetters instead of the two 1¾-in. units fitted as standard. Air cleaners are banished, but the engine, apart from being air-flowed internally and balanced, is completely standard, Stock inlet and exhaust systems are maintained together with the optional “ blue top” high compression cylinder head.
Other obvious modifications under the bonnet are an improved oil breather system at the front of the two cam boxes, a large crankcase oil filler with a snap-action cap, removal of the heater installation, and the substitution of a lightweight battery. There are additional oil breathers for the gearbox, and the car is distinguished at the rear by an enormous fuel filler cap supplying three tanks, and by two small breathers for the rear axle.
The Endeavour Jaguar used 7.00-15 Dunlop racing tyres which had their 50-odd-lb. pressure educed to 40 for our use on the road. The racing tyres, high-geared steering (2.9 turns lock to lock) and the Jaguar competition seats combine to give this saloon a completely different character, The handling is improved out of all recognition and the car can be guided with precision whether complete adhesion between the tyres and the road has been maintained or not. The throttle pedal is used to commit the car to a line and keep it there, although inevitably, the result is a rather extravagant consumption of
tyre, a great deal of which seems to adhere to the road.
The Lindner car is a little less stark; the cloth headlining, complete wood facia and door trim (non-standard and rather sketchy) by comparison giving an impression almost of opulence. The interior heater had not even been taken out. Most of the modifications undertaken on the Endeavour ear had also been applied to the German one, but important differences lay in standard 1¾ in. S.U. carburetters, 6.50-15 tyres and the use of a normal heavy battery. A well-made cool air duct has been run from the left hand horn grille over the top of the engine to the intake side, and an oil cooler fitted.
Registered in Weisbaden. West Germany, where its owner sells Jaguars, the Lindncr car has left-hand drive, which must be a handicap on racing circuits where most corners are right handed. Steering and handling were vastly improved, like those of the Endeavour Jaguar, but noise seemed little subdued by leaving some of the trim in place.
Both cars have overdrive, and both had new pads fitted to the disc brakes immediately after the race as a safety precaution. The seat harness in the Endeavour car looks immensely strong, the shoulder straps anchoring behind the back seat.
Performance of both cars was affected by clutches which had suffered somewhat during the race. Racing starts with either were impossible although they performed satisfactorily during the other testing and when the cars were used in all their grandeur on the road. Both could he used in traffic but were much more at ease on fast roads, far from disturbable public and policemen with ready ears for a racing exhaust. But they could be (and were) used on the road and only the Endeavour car showed signs of distress during the 30 m.p.h. constant-speed fuel consumption tests.
Proof that both cars remain close to each other’s (and standard) specifications can he obtained by reference to the data panel. This shows how closely matched their performances are with the balance fractionally in favour of the Endeavour entry, which finished four laps ahead. While substantially ‘same-as-you-can-buy.’ these are nonetheless exciting racers.
[caption] Firm suspension of the leading Parkes/Blumer 3.8 counters body roll at Southbank bend. Racing tyres at high pressures also helped to give the car a harsh ride on the road. Below: Lindner (in car) briefs The Motor. Nocker is on the right.
Endeavour Jaguar, 27½ cwt. Standard 3.8, 30 cwt.

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