Luckiest 14-year-old at the 74th Members’ Meeting? It has to be James Alexander. His parents bought him the star historic racer – the ex Gerry Marshall Vauxhall Firenza Magnum coupe – in the Bonhams auction on Sunday. James, already an enthusiastic kart racer, just has a few more years to wait before he can drive it!
An excited James said: ‘I really like it. It’s a really cool car and I think my friends will think so too.’
The famous 1977 Spa 24 Hours winning car, driven by Marshall with Australian touring car legend Peter Brock, sold to James’ parents for £82,000. When they splashed out they hadn’t opened the bonnet or sat in the car.
James’ dad, Tom, told GRR: ‘It was a spur of the moment purchase. We saw the car yesterday for the first time. I looked at the phenomenal history file and thought it might be a good car to buy.
‘£82,000 is a bargain. It is remarkably cheap for a car with enough history to get into Goodwood when Capris and suchlike sell for over £100,000.’
Tom, who used to race against Gerry Marshall, has his own historic race team in Derby, 22GT, where the Firenza Magnum coupe will be heading after the Members’ Meeting.
The former mobile phone supremo will race the Vauxhall himself – including, he hopes, at Revival and MM next year – while waiting for James to be old enough to get behind its wheel.
‘I know it’s a few years away but I would like to get James into historic saloon racing. I am hoping he will drive it in the Gerry Marshall Trophy race at MM in the future.’
Louise Alexander added: ‘No pressure then James!’
The car is the actual 1977 2300 Firenza Magnum coupe that Gerry Marshall and Peter Brock drove in the 1977 Spa 24 Hours, coming home second overall and winning its class to record one of Vauxhall’s greatest modern-era racing successes. The car had been specially built by Bill Blydenstein’s DTV team for the Spa race.
Like Gerry Marshall himself, the car is legendary among Vauxhall race fans. As Bonhams catalogue says, ‘the Spa Magnum represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a unique piece of Vauxhall’s motor sporting heritage.’
For James Alexander, 14, the next couple of years won’t pass quickly enough!
Photography courtesy of Bonhams and Bob Murray