|Automobiles of Amelia Island
Saturday, March 13, 2010
|1958 Tojeiro-Jaguar Sports Racer|
Est. 280 hp, 3,781 cc dual overhead camshaft inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed synchromesh manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, deDion rear suspension with coil springs, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 90"
The Second World War changed many things. Among them were the myriad soldiers who survived with small demobilization payments and a few years of intense experience in the theoretical and practical application of mechanics: ordinary guys who learned to weld, fabricate, wrench, tune, drive, adapt and survive on their intuition, skills and perseverance. Thrown into an intense crucible of expediency, they mirrored their forebears who had applied the rudimentary techniques and lessons of The Great War a generation before. But where mules, horses and trenches had characterized the century’s first World War, the conflict of the Forties was comprehensively mechanized. So were its veterans.
Some of them sought, having survived fraught years, to resume racing in the lean years following the war. Even in Great Britain, with depleted resources, a fragmented empire and decimated industry, racing resumed quickly. Skills learned in motor pools, flight squadrons and patrol boats were applied to modifying prewar cars for greater performance and to innovative concepts.
Among the demobbed veterans was John Tojeiro. Apprenticed to Shelvoke and Drewry in Letchworth, he was a maker of refuse collection trucks before the war. He had spent the war years maintaining Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm aircraft in Britain and Canada. He purchased an MG TA after the war, intending to compete with it while resuming his work at Shelvoke and Drewry. Unlike many of his compatriots, however, Tojeiro was not satisfied with competition in the cars available and soon set about trying to resolve the MG’s flexible frame. After concluding it was impractical, he sold the TA and bought an MG special built by Harry Lester. Like Sydney Allard, Brian Lister and Charles and John Cooper, John Tojeiro resolved to build something better.
His first chassis was built in a shed. Based on two large diameter tubes joined with sheet metal box fabrications front and rear supporting fully independent suspension with transverse leaf springs, it attracted the attention of Chris Threlfall who bought it even before Tojeiro could race it.
It began John Tojeiro’s career as a constructor. At the same time he was working for Buckland Bodyworks, suppliers of coachwork to the AC Car Company. Buckland owner Ernie Bailey would later introduce Tojeiro to AC when they needed a new chassis for a new sports car, the AC Ace and Ace Bristol. In fact, Tojeiro would receive a royalty of £5 for each of the first 100 new cars that AC built. At £500, this was a remarkable, if slightly undervalued, compensation, particularly since these cars later evolved into the world famous Shelby Cobras, fitted with Ford’s new lightweight V8 engine.
Brian Lister engaged Tojeiro to build his second car, a JAP-engined sprint and hillclimber which eventually became successful in the hands of Archie Scott Brown. Further specials followed including the Leonard-Tojeiro-MG for Lionel Leonard (bodied with a copy of Touring’s Ferrari 166 barchetta coachwork that would eventually inspire the AC Ace and AC Bristol’s body) and a Tojeiro-Bristol for Cliff Davis.
In early 1954, after seeing the first AC Ace at its introductory auto show display, John Ogier, an ambitious, determined and successful Essex chicken farmer and amateur racer, approached Tojeiro about giving the Tojeiro chassis Jaguar power. Tojeiro declined, noting that the twin-tube frame was barely up to the power of race prepared two-liter Bristol engines (an observation that Carroll Shelby also came to appreciate much later) and showed Ogier the design for a new chassis which he felt would be up to the demands of the larger, heavier and much more powerful Jaguar engine.
Ogier commissioned the first Tojeiro-Jaguar. In the background Ogier turned to David Murray, the eminence behind Scotland’s successful Ecurie Ecosse racing team, for advice about managing a multi-car team, a relationship that would have further repercussions for John Tojeiro and the Tojeiro-Jaguar.
Built on a short 87-inch wheelbase, the triangulated frame structure Tojeiro designed for Ogier’s Jaguar engine eschewed transverse leaf spring suspension and for the first time adopted coil springs with concentric tubular shock absorbers with fabricated upper and lower A-arms at the front and a deDion rear axle located by parallel trailing arms and a Watts linkage also with coil-overs at the rear. It was fitted with disc brakes, the rears located inboard to reduce unsprung weight. John Tojeiro himself designed the streamlined, low slung fully enclosed body with driver’s head fairing and a low wraparound windshield. Panelcraft built it.
After a few outings, John Ogier stepped out of the driver’s seat of the rapid special and put Richard Protheroe, an RAF Vulcan Wing Commander, behind the wheel. In late 1956 Ogier and Tojeiro became partners in a new company, the Tojeiro Car Company. Tojeiro meanwhile looked to the popular 1,100 cc classes for further opportunities, teaming up with Maurice Gomm’s KP Engineering for the streamlined envelope bodies.
A second Tojeiro-Jaguar followed in 1957 with a wheelbase three inches longer and revised rear suspension. This car began a long association between John Tojeiro and Cavendish Morton, a well-known seascape artist and contributor to The Sphere where his technical drawings illustrated features of new ships, aircraft, automobiles and racing. The two were introduced by John Ogier, an admirer of Morton’s work in The Sphere. Tojeiro gave Morton a set of chassis drawings to which Morton applied his artist’s sensibilities and what proved to be a refined intuitive sense of aerodynamics.
While the new Tojeiro-Jaguar was still being developed, in October ’57 John Ogier decided to try it at the Stapleford hillclimb. He lost control, spun, hit the hay bales that marked the course and was flipped out of the car as it rolled. Ogier suffered a broken leg. The Tojeiro-Jaguar was less fortunate and its racing career ended.
Meanwhile David Murray at Ecurie Ecosse in Edinburgh, Scotland had been following the Tojeiro-Jaguar’s development, and in early 1958 Ogier agreed to provide the chassis on loan for the 1958 season with an option to purchase it at the end of the season. Murray agreed to cover the cost of the Cavendish Morton designed body to be built by Maurice Gomm and provide assistance in assembly.
Completed in June 1958, it is the car offered here, a legendary British sports-racer and raced by Scotland’s most famous and successful team, Ecurie Ecosse. Its svelte Cavendish Morton designed body is one of the very best to come out of a period in the British Isles which produced a series of racing car designs which have become classics. Lined up alongside a D-type Jaguar and Aston Martin DB3S, it would be hard not to pick the Tojeiro-Jaguar as the most stunning of the lot, fortunately not yet victim to the design trends which produced the effective but lumpy “Knobbly” Listers.
It began its career with a shakedown run at Goodwood in the hands of Ron Flockhart, then made its competition debut in July driven by Ivor Bueb at Silverstone. Development continued as John Tojeiro collaborated with Ecurie Ecosse’s famed crew chief, “Wilkie” Wilkinson. Its next outing was at Charterhall. Murray put the Tojeiro-Jaguar in the hands of Innes Ireland who in the opening race beat his teammate Ron Flockhart in one of the Ecosse D-types and a young Scottish newcomer in another D-type, Jim Clark. In the feature Ireland led at the start but spun when challenged by Flockhart, damaged the bodywork and finished well behind the leaders.
The 1959 season began at Goodwood on Easter Monday. In the meantime new engines had been built to meet the new three-liter displacement maximum for international sports-racing cars. Jock Lawrence finished fifth. At later races – Oulton Park and Aintree in April, Silverstone and Goodwood in May – it was handled by Flockhart, who brought its first win at the Goodwood National Meeting in May. In June Flockhart and Lawrence drove it at the Nürburgring which concluded with an accident that necessitated sending it back to Tojeiro’s workshop for extensive work. Its place on Ecurie Ecosse was taken by a new Tojeiro-Jaguar.
Repaired, the earlier Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro-Jaguar was lent to South African driver Tony Maggs for the September Brooklands and October Silverstone meetings. In the winter of 1959-60, Maggs took it to South Africa for a series of races which would become known as the Springbok circuit, winning twice in handicap events. When it returned to the U.K., it was bought by John Coundley to appear (as a Maserati) in the movie The Green Helmet.
It was then sold to David Lewis in 1961 who competed with it in club sprints and hillclimbs until it was crashed by David Lewis’ wife Vivienne in the 1963 Brighton Speed Trials. The accident killed Vivienne and severely damaged the Tojeiro-Jaguar, and not surprisingly, the remains were put aside after being bought by Paul Emery. Gilbert Dickson acquired the car, still in pieces, in the mid-1970s and had John Harper restore it with a new body built by Maurice Gomm, the builder of the original body in 1958 for French collector Philippe Renault.
Subsequent owners included M.A. Ryan and Ed Hubbard in the U.S. The present owner, Henry Grady, acquired it from Hubbard in 1994 and began a thorough and complete restoration to make it a competitive historic racing car suitable for open road touring events. Grady is by no means an amateur restorer and has enjoyed a long career in racing cars, particularly with noted racing car builder Gene Beach. Beach and Grady partnered in the late 1950s to build the Begra sports racer, the first of which was built in 1958 and the second of which raced at Sebring in 1961.
As Grady restored this Tojeiro-Jaguar, he also resolved the chassis number issue, something to which Tojeiro Automotive Developments paid scant attention, and established it as TAD 1/58 instead of TAD 3/58 as it was described in Graham Gauld’s definitive history of Tojeiro, Toj – John Tojeiro and His Cars.
When acquired from Hubbard, the Tojeiro-Jaguar had with it an extremely rare E1A/E2A type alloy block three-liter dual ignition Jaguar engine and ZF gearbox. Complete with its triple 48DCO Weber carburetors, it is set up with single ignition (the dual ignition having proved in contemporary tests to do nothing for engine output) and is complete although unused since its acquisition. This extraordinary engine is marked F2041-9 on the head and EE1131-9 on the block and is included in the sale of the Tojeiro-Jaguar.
It should be noted that this engine, one of the prototype E-Type motors, is included in the sale of the car and is both very rare and tremendously valuable. Moreover, it affords the new owner the possibility of returning this car back to the correct and mandated three-liter displacement, as it raced at Goodwood in 1959.
Grady built the present 3.8 liter Jaguar engine with triple 45DCOE Weber carburetors and a full synchromesh four-speed. Long efforts have been expended on refining the suspension to resolve problems with the rear suspension geometry. These involved not only precisely establishing the trailing arm mounting points and lengths of the arms but also creating a separate box on the right side which mounts the trailing arms’ front pickups and links to the frame with a single pivot, effectively creating three-link suspension geometry with a four-link system. The original type Watts link to transversely locate the deDion tube was retained. The suspension joints are all Heim-jointed for reliability and precision.
The brakes use large Girling calipers at the front and late E-Type calipers mounted inboard next to the limited slip differential at the rear. Air ducts under the body pick up cooling air for the rear calipers. An adjustable anti-sway bar is fitted at the front; none has been found necessary at the rear. The coil-overs are modern adjustable pieces.
Other characteristics include a modified Sprite rack and pinion steering gear that locates the pinion to the right and requires only one U-joint in the steering wheel shaft, eliminating the original two U-joint center-located pinion’s exaggerated bump steer. The 25 gallon fuel cell has a custom Fuel Safe bladder. There are many redundant systems including three electric fuel pumps and two electrical system cutoffs, one outside the car for corner workers access and one inside accessible to the driver and passenger. A separate enclosure protects the switches and gauges from underhood heat; insulation, carpeting and heat escape louvers have been added to reduce cockpit temperatures.
Aside from its important history with Ecurie Ecosse, the Tojeiro-Jaguar’s appearance set it apart. Riding on a set of polished alloy center and rim Dunlop centerlock wheels, the sensitivity of Cavendish Morton’s design with its flowing curves and upswept lower rear body mark the Tojeiro-Jaguar as something special from every angle. Efforts, including a removable rollbar, have succeeded in retaining the effect of Morton’s original design while raising its performance and safety to modern historic competition standards.
One of the most important and beautiful British sports-racers of its era, if not of all time, the ex-Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro-Jaguar is meticulously prepared and restored to the highest standards of appearance and function. Only four were built and none has a more famous driver lineup than TAD 1/58. On any event or historic racing grid for late ’50s sports-racers, it will be one of the most appreciated. Its performance and perfected handling will make it one of the most competitive, too.
As Innes Ireland proved at Charterhall in 1958, it is capable of outrunning even a Jim Clark-piloted D-Type!