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Old 30 Mar 2006, 19:27 (Ref:1565366)   #1
chunterer
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Group A Rover 3500 SD1/Vitesse - History & Whereabouts

Guys n Gals!

Already got a similar Capri thread going (which seems to be petering out?!) but it made me think of the phalanx of SD1's that graced domestic and continental shores in the 80's.

I'd like to set the ball rolling on recounting the cars in their heyday and try to determine what happened to them. (what the heck lets include the Group 1 and 2 cars as well!!)

Lets explore certain mysteries?

I.E. Did the original DPR Grp 1 cars pass over to TWR to be constantly developed until the end of '82?

Did the Grp 1 cars become the Group A cars for '83 or were they new builds?

Were the '83 TWR BTCC cars the same 3 that appeared in '84?

And what about the '84 Bathurst 'Mobil' cars...were they a couple of the Sanyo cars repainted and did they then stay in the Antipodoes for the early '85 New Zealand races, again repainted in Brown 'Peanut Slab' liveries?...
And did they stay over there owned by the likes of Tim Slako (who ran one in a rather shocking pink and green scheme!)

Here's an outline of cars i know raced - can we explore what happened to them later on?

In '82 there were:
2x TWR (Allam & Lovett/Sytner)
2X Patrick/Martin Thomas (Muir + spare)
1x Dennis Leech

1983
Ocassional 1 or 2 TWR in ETC
3x TWR (Allam, Lovett, Soper)
1x Leech
1x Spice (Martin Thomas run?)
1x Charles Sawuer Hoare (Red 'Daily Mirror' Rouse run)

1984
3 x TWR ETC (2 'Fleet' and one 'Gitanes' and later 'Barclay'
BTCC
3 x TWR (Pond, Lovett/Schlesser & occasionally Soper ('Fleet') were these '83 cars or new ones?)
1x Neil McGrath ('Connells', ex Spice then still run by Martin Thomas)
1x Leech
2x Rouse (His own 'ICS' & CS-H's red car)
Also 2 cars in Germany Kurt Thiim and Olaf Manthey? who ran them?

1985
3 or 4 ETC TWR cars 'Bastos'
BTCC
1x Rouse (pETE hALL)
1X Leech
1x McGrath (now white instead of green)

after that it's a bit hazy

1986
3X TWR ETC
BTCC
Hall, Leech, McGrath
Mike O Brien (ex Hulme TWR TT winner '86?)
Tom Walkinshaw ETC car one off

1987
Tim Harvey (ex Rouse/Hall)
Skid Scarborough (ex McGrath?)
Brian Chatfield (ex Bastos)
Bill Griffin (ex TWR Marlboro Rene Metge French car)
Dennis Leech
May have been another car too?

I think Nigel Garrett's current car is the ex Rouse/Hall/Harvey/Derek Hales car?

It'll be interesting to find out more detail here and if enough comes of it then we can move it to the chassis thread depending on how many are still knocking about!

Last edited by chunterer; 31 Mar 2006 at 09:16. Reason: omission!
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Old 30 Mar 2006, 20:28 (Ref:1565421)   #2
Tim Wilkinson
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Info on the only Group 2 car here -

http://www.racecarsdirect.com/cars/d...id=27063&cat=6 (the ad is several months old)

I heard somewhere that Nigel's car had been a Thundersaloon at some point, tho that wouldn't preclude a prior works history.
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Old 30 Mar 2006, 20:51 (Ref:1565437)   #3
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Only one Rover came to New Zealand in 1985. I can't remember who co-drove with Walkinshaw. I have a photo of the car somewhere so will track it down. It was white, and sponsored for its Kiwi races by NZ magazine 'More'.

The following year (January 1986) Walkinshaw brought two Rovers, painted brown and sponsored by NZ chocolate company Whittakers (Peanut Slab). Have to say, the brown paint didn't look too good on those cars, not that it looks much good on anything else!

They were lovely cars, sounded beautiful, but didn't live up to expectations on either occassion on the tight, bumpy Wellington street course. I guess they were happier on the fast sweeping European circuits. Interestingly, TWR brought two Jaguar XJS' out in January 1987, he rcieved special dispensation for them to compete, and they went extremely well.

One of the Bastos Rovers now resides in New Zealand, in the South Island, and competes in Historic events. The Bastos livery is completely original. Interestingly, its actually hand painted, not stickers! Heres a photo of it from Ruapuna this year:

http://www.centralmusclecars.co.nz/p.../rnd4_906.html
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Old 31 Mar 2006, 09:09 (Ref:1565855)   #4
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Firstly, Yes Teej, The N Garrett car was a modsaloon/Thundersaloon after it's Grp A life. I'm pretty sure it is the car i've alluded to above. Nigel or someone from CTRC can confirm I hope.

Secondly, Steve, good to have your input. Thats' a very nice pic of a late Bastos car, full front splitter/spoiler suggests an '86 version?

Yeah you're right, it was early '86 that the brown TWR cars were in NZ - but I was sure two were entered. One for Major Tom/Ron Dickson and another for Armine Hahne/Jeff Allam or was it Neville Crichton? I can't remember the report but one of them may not have started?

I'm probably getting a couple of years muddled tbh!

It'll be interesting to know who drove them and where before those 'nice' spray jobs - whether they were BTCC or ETC cars.

BTW, i've also remembered that ex Mini/Metro one make supremo David Carvell drove an RA Potter Vitesse in the '87 BTCC as well. (Possibly the car Mike O Brien used in '86). Now I think that car might have been a TWR car and there were stories that they were trying to get Jeff Allam out in either that one to help sort and maybe even another entry. Not that likelt because there were also rumours that Allam was going to do a few rounds in the early TWR Commodore (a VL, the blue and yellow Herbie Clips liveried car) but instead did the odd ETC event?

Anyway back to the Rovers!!
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Old 31 Mar 2006, 10:34 (Ref:1565938)   #5
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Originally Posted by chunterer


And what about the '84 Bathurst 'Mobil' cars...were they a couple of the Sanyo cars repainted and did they then stay in the Antipodoes for the early '85 New Zealand races, again repainted in Brown 'Peanut Slab' liveries?...
And did they stay over there owned by the likes of Tim Slako (who ran one in a rather shocking pink and green scheme!)
I'm not 100% about this, but I think the Tim Slako car in Australia might be ex-Rouse- possibly the Sawyer-Hoare car? Can't recall where I got that from, (possibly a Bathurst annual?), although I think that car may have been mentioned on here in the past. There was at least one other Rover appeared at Bathurst around 86 or so (John Donnelly I think), but pretty sure that was locally built in Australia, so possibly outside the scope of this thread

A few more randon thoughts/vague memories:

You mentioned the 'German' cars in 84- don't forget they ran on into 86, when Thiim won the DTM- they also made the odd ETC appearance. Think the team name was something like 'Nickel'?
http://www.zandbak.net/classic/86bergischeloewe/004.jpg

A couple of Belgian-entered cars ran in the Spa 24-hours in 88- could these have been ex-TWR?

From memory, one of the 86 TWR cars was sold to Japan -ran at the Fuji race at the end of the year in the hands of Jeff Allam and a local driver, and presumably stayed there- I've got a pic from Autosport somewhere showing it in Bastos livery but with the Japanese sponsor's logos replacing Bastos.

One may have gone to Sweden- According to Frank de Jong's ETCC history website, Kaj Bornebusch, who ran a Sierra in the 88 ETCC, also fielded a Rover at the Nogaro ETCC round that year- (think one of the drivers was his daughter?) and I've got a vague memory that he may have used the car in a couple of 1987 ETCC rounds

Doesn't Jeff Allam own one of the TWR/Bastos cars- think he bought it when the TWR collection was sold off a year or two back?
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Old 31 Mar 2006, 16:47 (Ref:1566191)   #6
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Hi KA,

Hadn't realised Rovers ran in Germany for that long? I has Thiim down as winning it in '84 (dunno why?), doing it in '86 with the Turbo's and the like that he would've been up against was a cracking feat.

There was another guy who partnered Manthey in the earlier campaigns, Dieter Selzer? perhaps it was his outfit that entered them.

Be interesting to know if they were built in Germany or built here and then exported?

Yeah now you mention it I recall a TWR car being sold to Japan, think it was the only one though.

I wouldn't be surprised if TWR entered those occasional overseas races (like NZ, Bathurst and Intertec) to attempt to sell them to people in those series?!

The one off British GP Tom entered in '86 was amusing - a demonstration drive so he could show the MSA just what they were missing by chucking his cars out a couple of years previously!
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Old 31 Mar 2006, 17:55 (Ref:1566248)   #7
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Tim Slakos was an ex Rouse-built car, which was raced by Sawyer-Hoare in 84as KA states.

Olaf Mantheys car was self built IIRC, and put on a good show early on at Spa 24 in '84. Dieter Selzer was indded his partner.

What about thte TWR built Marlboro car from the French Championship. Schlesser drive one in 84 - what regs was this built to? It had the deep airdam before the Bastos cars did. I know the french regs at the time differed to cater for Jarier's Senator and the BMW 535s were all flared arches, but apart from the airdam the Marlboro car didnt look anythng other than Group A. Can anybody clarify?
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Old 31 Mar 2006, 18:36 (Ref:1566282)   #8
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Good excuse to post some photos of the cars.

Andy Rouse in 1984


Neal McGrath


Olaf Manthey at Spa (1984)


Dennis Leech


And finally, the Gitanes car from 1984


Sadly I have no idea of what happened to any of these cars but am I right in thinking that at least one of the TWR cars ended up in Brian Chatfields collection?

Glyn
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Old 1 Apr 2006, 11:43 (Ref:1566843)   #9
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Good excuse to post some photos of the cars.

Sadly I have no idea of what happened to any of these cars but am I right in thinking that at least one of the TWR cars ended up in Brian Chatfields collection?
Glyn
Those photos bring back a few memories...

I'm sure you're right about Chatfield having an ex-TWR car- I'm sure I remember seeing him run a Rover in unsignwritten Bastos colours in at least a couple of Thundersaloon races in 1987/8- (probably Silverstone, Mallory or Donington) and chunterer has already mentioned him having at least one BTCC outing in 87

Going a bit off-topic, does anyone have an idea how many ex-BTCC/ETC/DTM cars Chatfield raced over the years- must be a fair number....?
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Old 1 Apr 2006, 20:15 (Ref:1567089)   #10
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The Kaj Bornebusch car was most probably an ex-TWR car. All white on red 17" Speedline rims, like the TWR-Pacific "sponsored" ETCC entries of 1986. Kaj himself drove this car in Sweden and other nordic contries during 1987, but might have bought the car the year before. A picture from the 1986 Anderstorp-ETCC race suggest 4 Rovers on the grid - 2 Bastos cars and 2 white ones, of which I think one would be the Pacific-car, while the other could be the Bornebusch-car.

There was a third Rover in Australia as well. British Production Saloon Car entry for Barry Robinson/John Jefferey in the 1985 Bathurst race.

The German Rovers were entered by Frieder Nickel of Autotechnich Nickel (ATN), and as far as I know build in Germany, although the engines of at least the '86 car was from TWR. The first car was entered at least as early as 1983 (pre-DTM), with Armin Hahne winning the final round of the Deutsche Rennstrecken-Pokal. For '84 and '85 Austin Rover Deutschland sponsored the DTM effort. Olaf Manthey and Jrg van Ommen was signed as drivers for the first DTM (known as DPM at the time). Van Ommen took three poles from the first six races, but crashed a lot and was subsequently dropped by the team. Dieter Selzer replaced him for the remainder of the season, while Manthey finished 2nd in the championship.
Cut to a one car effort for '85, with Manthey again finishing 2nd, while Walter Mertes drove a few races in the second car.
1986 was a private ATN effort sponsored by Toshiba with Kurt Thiim as driver and eventually champion. Thiim and ATN started the 1987-DTM with this car as well, before their Alfa 75 Turbo was ready, if it ever were! Peter John drove a Vitesse in the '87 Norisring DTM-race, which most probably the ex-Thiim car.

Of the Japanese effort my notes suggests an Austin Rover Japan (sponsored by Dunlop) entry for Suguro Akaike as main driver. Partnered by Jeff Allam for the '86 Fuji 500 and Swede Eje Elgh for the first four races of '87. Kenny Acheson replaced Elgh for the sixth round, while no Rover appears for round 5, which also counted for the World Touring Car Championship. Best result for this six race campain was forth at Sugo on September 20 1987.

Curious about those two Belgian Spa '88-entries. Blue as main color, but not painted/decorated to the same scheme (I have only seen these cars during Eurosport TV reports)

Recently I found an ex-TWR Vitesse on a Spanish web address (which I've at the moment have forgotten) Fits the description of the Bornebusch-car above but with Ronal rims.

Best regards
Jesper
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Old 3 Apr 2006, 15:24 (Ref:1569098)   #11
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Originally Posted by Jesper OH

There was a third Rover in Australia as well. British Production Saloon Car entry for Barry Robinson/John Jefferey in the 1985 Bathurst race.
Yes, a production saloon, rather than full Group A- I think it was originally built by Rouse?
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Old 3 Apr 2006, 17:46 (Ref:1569211)   #12
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Looking back on what we've got so far, have we started to account for at least some of the Bastos/South Pacific ETCC cars?-

one to Japan for the 86 Fuji 500 and the 87 season
one to Sweden for Kaj Bornebusch- maybe now in Spain?
one to Brian Chatfield
one retained by TWR- sold to Jeff Allam when the TWR collection was sold off by the receivers a year or so back
one apparently now in New Zealand- could this be either the ex-Japanese car or the Chatfield one?

Just been looking at the SD1 owners club website and found something interesting- a mention of a TWR/Bastos shell being used to reshell one of the ex-factory rallycars- but was this an actual race shell or one of the show cars?- it also mentions one of the ex-Bathurst 84 Mobil cars....
http://www.roversd1club.net/features...e-ianlines.asp
(scroll about half-way down the page)
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Old 3 Apr 2006, 18:21 (Ref:1569239)   #13
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The Dennis Leech car belonged to Martin Thomas, who also ran a Gp.1 car.
Regarding the issue of Tom "showing the MSA what they were missng" - you mean bent engines? (Volvo rockers with BL logos, over-sized engines, etc...)

Back to Martin Thomas, he still has a Rover hidden away in his barns (at the last count), and being of short armed stock with long pockets, I doubt it'll come out again.
His cars ran in "Letchworth Roofing" colours, and occaisionally got in front of works TWR entries, much to the disgust of Mr Tom.

Here's a factoid... the Gp1 Vitesses occaisionally ran with 4BBL holley's, where they proved better than injection due to the different power curves.

I will make enquiries on the Thomas Rover(s) and report back.

Rob.
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Old 4 Apr 2006, 10:25 (Ref:1569899)   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Holmes
Only one Rover came to New Zealand in 1985. I can't remember who co-drove with Walkinshaw. I have a photo of the car somewhere so will track it down. It was white, and sponsored for its Kiwi races by NZ magazine 'More'.
Ron Dickson co-drove with Walkinshaw.
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Old 4 Apr 2006, 16:03 (Ref:1570569)   #15
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Glyn, love those pics - god I miss those days!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splendid Cat
What about thte TWR built Marlboro car from the French Championship. Schlesser drive one in 84 - what regs was this built to? It had the deep airdam before the Bastos cars did. but apart from the airdam the Marlboro car didnt look anythng other than Group A. Can anybody clarify?
That car was prep'd to France's supertourisme or super production rules (bit like Grp 2 i'd guess.) It did have that fron dam/spoiler and you're possibly onto something concerning it's later appearance on the Grp A cars (perhaps that's why TWR got it homologated for the '86 cars and there was some hullabaloo about that as well at the time!).
I'm pretty sure TWR ran a Dayglo/White Grp A spec car in France too as the French National saloon series changed over to Grp A Regs in 1986 I think? . Certainly one appeared in Britain in '87 briefly (see earlier post re Bill Griffin)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesper OH
There was a third Rover in Australia as well. British Production Saloon Car entry for Barry Robinson/John Jefferey in the 1985 Bathurst race.
Curious about those two Belgian Spa '88-entries. Blue as main color, but not painted/decorated to the same scheme (I have only seen these cars during Eurosport TV reports)
Best regards
Jesper
I also think it was a Rouse built prodsaloon - remember seeing it passed on conrod on the BBC Grandstand coverage!

Wondering what shade of blue the '88 Spa cars were that you mention. If they were light blue - could be ex Sanyo or Fleet cars from TWR's BTCC/ETC efforts of '84?
Quote:
Originally Posted by racing59
The Dennis Leech car belonged to Martin Thomas, who also ran a Gp.1 car.
Regarding the issue of Tom "showing the MSA what they were missng" - you mean bent engines? (Volvo rockers with BL logos, over-sized engines, etc...)

Back to Martin Thomas, he still has a Rover hidden away in his barns. His cars ran in "Letchworth Roofing" colours, and occaisionally got in front of works TWR entries, much to the disgust of Mr Tom.

I will make enquiries on the Thomas Rover(s) and report back.

Rob.
Well Rob, I know what you mean but might be better to be bit less direct! (What about the 'Australian spec' Vitesses or something like that that were homologated?!....allegedly....) I was actually referring to the fact that Tom was always bitter about his cars being thrown out and at a time that the series was lacking depth probably used the opportunity to remind the organisers that they were msssing a couple of decent top class entries - either that or a significant gesture of the 'take that' variety.

Was Dennis Leech's car the same from Grp 1 through to Grp A then? Interesting if it was - but ceertainly the one he pioneered quite well for a time in '88 seemed to be much more developed than his earlier Grp A car - it must have been to get near the Cossies and M3's?

The Letchworth livery must have been the one that Skid Scarborugh campaigned in '87. Certainly will be interesting to discover which car Martin Thomas still has tucked away - I suspect it'll be a late Grp A spec car?
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