The best pre-war monsters to see at 81MM

11th April 2024
Ethan Jupp

There’s something amazing about the oldest cars at the 81st Members’ Meeting presented by Audrain Motorsport and it should be obvious to you. We have a race dedicated to cars that are over a century old. Likewise we have another celebrating the hundredth birthday of a famous Bugatti.

Just think about that for a second. These are cars that have survived on this planet for in the region of one hundred years, through numerous generations, World Wars, economic peaks and troughs and all manner of disasters, while also surviving the ravages of father time. That they exist still at all, let alone that they’re raced, is something of a miracle. So let’s hear it for the oldest cars at this year’s Members’ Meeting. Here are a few you simply have to see.


Mors GP

We begin with the visual, visceral delight that is the 1907 Mors GP. Packing the 8.2-litre Curtis V8 from a WW1 airplane, the Mors has theatricality at a standstill that few other cars can muster. Even when turned off, it looks like the sort of car you’d see being used as a prop in a Hellboy movie. It’s pure four-wheeled Steampunk madness. Then when it fires up, rockers and valve springs start bouncing on the exposed, open-to-the-elements engine, fully visible thanks to the lack of covers. Keep your fingers to yourselves or risk being maimed. Also avoid the flames and noxious fumes being belched from the exhaust.


Peugeot Indianapolis

You don’t associate certain brands with certain events. Ferrari isn’t really a rallying brand, just as Land Rover isn’t exactly known for its exploits at Le Mans. Nor ordinarily, is Peugeot a brand you’d associate with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And yet Peugeot has three Indy 500 wins to its name, albeit they are wins that came over a century ago. Quite a lot’s changed since then, but the 1913 Peugeot Indianapolis survives and will be racing in the S.F. Edge Trophy.


1911 Scat Type C Targa Florio

Speaking of incredibly important historical races and their very early years, the Targa Florio. Unlike the Indy 500, the Targa Florio is far from a race that’s running today. In fact, it’s a race that’s not run for over 50 years. And yet here we have a car that hails from its very earliest years. Its first year, in fact, some 60 years on from its last year. This is a Scat Type C Targa Florio, which represents to the best of possibility (the original was destroyed, with this being a faithful recreation) the car that won in 1911, over eleven decades ago. It’s racing in the S.F. Edge Trophy, deploying its 9.0-litre Simplex engine in full anger on our Motor Circuit.


81MM entry list

04th April


Bugatti Type 35

This is a big year for the Bugatti Type 35, given that it should by rights be getting a letter from the King. Why? It turns 100 in 2024, having made its debut a century ago in 1924. That’s why we’re holding a race almost exclusively for Type 35s, with a few stray rivals from the period. The circuit will echo to the sound of swarms of straight-eights for the Grover-Williams Trophy and it will be glorious. So this isn’t as much a ‘make sure you see this car’ as it is a ‘make sure you see these cars’. A huge icon of Bugatti’s sprawling and storied history.


Alfa Romeo RL Targa Florio

One of those key rivals to the Bugatti Type 35 on its debut, was the Alfa Romeo RL, of which an example of the Targa Florio variant will feature in the Grover-Williams Trophy. Short for RL Targa Florio, this car was discovered by owner Christopher Mann in quite the state of disassembly and disrepair. The car was saved and has for almost 20 years been a regular feature of Goodwood grids.


Bentley Barnato Hassan Special

A legend of pre-war grand prix racing is the Bentley Barnato Hassan Special of 1934, which had to its name a number of broken records at Brooklands. The unique bodywork for this single-seater is the creation of Wally Hassan. Even now 90 years on from its creation, it sits restored in the exact specification that it raced in period. See it do battle in the Parnell Cup for grand prix and voiturette cars that raced between 1935 and 1953.

Photography by Jochen Van Cauwenberg, Peter Summers and Tom Shaxson

  • 81MM

  • Members' Meeting

  • S.F. Edge Trophy

  • Grover-Williams Trophy

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