Driving to your chosen event, competing, popping the numberplates back on and driving home again is how motorsport used to be, and still can be – if you choose the right car, that is.
Ahead of traditional collectors’ car sale at the 2019 Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham on 12 January, we have picked out five road-legal competition cars, all just as capable as winning on Sunday as doing the shopping on Monday. Well, almost…
This F-reg example of the wild Group B machine is a bit special: it has covered just 115 miles from new. Britain’s rallying reply to the Audi Quattro and the unlikeliest Metro ever, the 6R4 boasts a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine behind the two seats, four-wheel-drive and that memorable rear wing.
This example is one of around 200 Clubman roadgoing 6R4s sold to the public, and has around 250bhp. The car used to belong to Williams Grand Prix Engineering (whose Patrick Head had a hand in its development) and it had a full mechanical re-commission in 2016/17.
1968 Lotus Elan S4
Price guide: £28-32,000
LMJ 20G is a race-prepared and road-legal Elan with a record of class wins and, says Silverstone Auctions, in a condition where it could take to the grid tomorrow. Its FIA HTP (Historic Technical Passport) papers are valid until 2025 and the car is complete with Safety Devices roll-cage, new plumbed in extinguisher and Tillet FIA seat. Plus it’s in Team Lotus colours and its 1,600cc four-pot Lotus twin-cam engine was rebuilt in 2017, the gearbox rebuilt in 2018.
Eligible for a range of events including the Swinging Sixties Championship and HSCC Historic Road Sports Championship, the car looks to us like a little gem… to compete in but also surely fun to drive to and from the circuit.
Do you have a classic rally on your bucket list? Here’s just the machine to do it in, one that’s already been there and done it. KNH 909N is a veteran of four East African Safaris (best result: seventh overall in 2009), plus many other events. And it hasn’t just survived with all matching numbers and original colours, but is now ready to do it all again with a new owner.
We reckon that’s down to the car, originally a 1975 3.0 SC, being built to East African rally spec in 2008/9 by the famed Tuthill Porsche (cost of conversion: £129,500). And it has been expertly looked after since its conversion – with invoices totalling another £150,000. All of which makes that guide price look more and more tempting… especially since spare wheels and tyres and all the other bits to make it competitive once more are included.
1965 TVR Griffith 400
Price guide: £120-140,000
In its last eight races this hairy-chested TVR has chalked up five wins – most recently in the HRDC Coys Trophy at Silverstone in April – and plenty of podiums in a variety of historic championships. As well as being a race winner, the Starmist Green car is thought to be the last Griffith 400 made (of about 300, most of which were sold in the US).
As a 400 it’s got the Ford 289 (4.7-litre) V8, redesigned rear suspension and Salisbury slippery diff, plus an all-up weight less than that of the AC Cobra, the Griffith’s Anglo/American inspiration. The car has FIA papers to 2025 and a history of being looked after by TVR racecar experts Nigel Reuben Racing in Droitwich. The car is right-hand drive and has numberplates – but the drive to the circuit surely won’t be for the faint-hearted.
Works racer one day, fast road car the next, this MGC can seamlessly move between road and track. It actually started out as a road car, only morphing into its “Works” spec in the 1980s, long after the actual Works had stopped building competition MGCs. In fact BMC at Abingdon only built two lightweight GTS versions in the 1960s – they raced in the Targa Florio and at Sebring – and today they are precious things.
So precious in fact that the owner of one of them decided to make an exact copy of it so it could be raced without the six-figure risk. That’s this car. It’s a replica then but one done to perfection – right down to its bubble-arched aluminium body – and a car that has been owned and raced by some of British motorsport’s greats, such as Gerry Marshall. One of BMC Competition department’s most charismatic creations, the car has been recommissioned and is ready go on track (with current FIA papers)… or (with a current V5) as that fast – and very cool – road car.