News — Under the Covers

How English icon Aston Martin was saved by an engineer-designer from Italy

News Under the Covers

How English icon Aston Martin was saved by an engineer-designer from Italy

Although famous today for powerful good looks, Aston Martin came into the world as an ugly duckling. Aston’s first car was known, because of the unattractive metal container it resembled, as the Coal Scuttle. But that name didn’t much bother the vehicle’s creators, Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, because they saw their 1914 open-top two-seater as a first step towards greater things. Martin intended nothing less, he said, than “to put Great Britain right in the very front as regards light cars.” Martin’s mention of his country was typical of the national pride swelling many European hearts during the inter-war...

Read more →


When a “drinking driver” and a Colditz prisoner won Le Mans in Jaguar’s C-type

Under the Covers

When a “drinking driver” and a Colditz prisoner won Le Mans in Jaguar’s C-type

Lewis isn’t the only Hamilton to have achieved international success as a racing driver. Exuberant Englishman Duncan Hamilton, sometimes nicknamed ‘Drunken Duncan’, also enjoyed time in the limelight after winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1953 - and later confessing that he’d stayed up all night before the race, because  he’d thought his works-run Jaguar C-type had been disqualified, enjoying a tipple or three. This French fable is made even more colourful by the fact that Hamilton shared the victorious Jaguar with former army officer Tony Rolt, who escaped from German Prison of War camps eight times before being...

Read more →


Let's not forget Stirling Moss was also a star of the stage

News Readers' Corner Under the Covers

Let's not forget Stirling Moss was also a star of the stage

Stirling Moss, rally driver. That’s not a phrase you’ll find easily, if at all, in recent media reports announcing the retirement from public life of our favourite English knight. Yet any pieced-together picture of Stirling’s career must show rallying for the jigsaw to be complete. News stories of Stirling’s retirement have contained accolades aplenty for the best Formula 1 driver never to win the World Championship, scoring 16 Grand Prix victories from 66 starts. Praise for his giant-slaying victory in the 1961 Monaco and German Grands Prix, peddling a privateer Lotus 18 so hard it defeated the factory-entered ‘shark-nose’ Ferraris....

Read more →


Tazio Nuvolari and the Alfa Romeo Monza: when two legends collided

Under the Covers

Tazio Nuvolari and the Alfa Romeo Monza: when two legends collided

Tazio Nuvolari, the racing driver acclaimed by Enzo Ferrari as the greatest he had ever seen, said that he expected to die at the wheel of a car. Nuvolari had the disadvantage of being short and skinny in an era of big and heavy racing machines bereft of power steering, but overcame his lack of strength by steering the car on the throttle, a cornering technique which made him one of the earliest exponents - if not perhaps, as Ferrari later claimed, the originator - of the four-wheel-drift. This flamboyant driving style thrilled onlookers but appeared to put Nuvolari at...

Read more →


Jim Clark, a famous Austin-Healey, and racing diversity unimaginable today

Under the Covers

Jim Clark, a famous Austin-Healey, and racing diversity unimaginable today

To see one of today’s Formula 1 drivers participating in a club race for production-based sports cars, you’d first have to take a trailer-load of psychedelic drugs, but that’s exactly what thousands of perfectly sober spectators saw for real one Sunday afternoon at Brands Hatch in October 1960. An otherwise insignificant 10-lap event for GT cars was won by a Lotus Elite ahead of a Morgan Plus 4 and an Austin-Healey 3000, with the latter driven by - no, really, rub your eyes and look again! - ascendant F1 star Jim Clark. Earlier that year, Clark had also finished third...

Read more →