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176 NWL & 931 RFC (the twini)         


The cars arrive in Sicily for the start of the 1962 Targa Florio. A 500 Mile Road Race known as one of, if not the toughest in the world.




176 NWL & 931 RFC (the twini)


The cars arrive in Sicily for the start of the 1962 Targa Florio. A 500 Mile Road Race known as one of, if not the toughest in the world.




176 NWL at speed during the 1962 Targa Florio.


Please note that these pictures have never been published previously, I am exeptionally greatfull to Karstem for making them availabls here!






What you would expect to receive if you were to buy a complete Downton Touring Conversions kit. As you can see you get everything including gaskets and new plugs. This example is a Touring Conversion (No22) for the Morris 1300.




The Mini Cooper 'S' in the picture is a personal export model. Large numbers of cars for export are modified and prepared at Downton.







Part of the stock of fabricated manifolds. Several thousand of the Mini Cooper 'S' Type shown have been supplied to all parts of the World.

      





1275 Cooper S that was originally prepared for the 1967 Targa Florio for Prince Meternich (pictured)  

       


The car is currently owned by Karsten Stelk and is undergoing a full restoration back to original condition. More details to follow.

      





The BMC Built Downton Entered Twini Mini.

       

Follow the link opposite for an extensive collection of photos of this remarkable car.

      





The first of 4 fantastic photos taken during the 1962 Targa Florio 176 NWL was driven by Bernard Cahier and Prince Metternich . They finished 23rd overall on this grueling Sicillian Event.  

     





Targa Florio 1962 (176 NWL)  

     





Targa Florio 1963 (176 NWL)  

     





Bernard Cahier and Prince Metternich

        


This picture was taken at the end of the 1962 Targa Florio.  

     





A very rare picture of Karstens Cooper 'S' competeing on the Targa Florio in 1967

      





Another very rare picture of Karstens Cooper 'S' competing on the Targa Florio in 1967.  

     



NLF 80 E on the Targa Florio (1967).


© Pubbli Photo Palermo



Targa Florio 1963 (176 NWL)


© Pubbli Photo Palermo



Targa Florio 1962 (176 NWL)


© Pubbli Photo Palermo



Targa Florio 1962 (931 RFC)


© Pubbli Photo Palermo



NLF 80 E on the Targa Florio (1967).


© Pubbli Photo Palermo



860 MW (997 Cooper).


The 997 Cooper pictured here at Brands Hatch in the mid 60's is 860 MW, this was the first "Downton" tuned Cooper to win an event. It was driven by Geoff Mabbs at Castle Coomb, just 2 weeks after "Coopers" first went on sale. It is pictured here at Brands Hatch being driven by former Downton Employee Mr Barry Hawkins. I would like to thank Barry for giving permission to reproduce his photos.






860 MW.


Another fantastic view of 860 MW this time, not in action but parked on Barry's drive. "MW" was purchased by Barry directly from "Downton" and was raced by him.


Picture courtesy of Barry Hawkins.



Privateer Downton Racer.


This is a shot of Barry in action much later in the 1960's. Its amazing how fast things moved on isn't it!


Picture courtesy of Barry Hawkins.





3 Downton Racers.


A trio of Downton prepared minis ready for action.





860 MW Complete with split 45's.


The Downton staff cars were used for the development of many "trick bits" here 860 MW is seen sporting splits long before they made an appearance on the works cars.



Gordon Allens Mini Racer.


Gordon Allen was not a Downton man but, he was a very well known private engineer who entered Mini's himself and driven by others. He did help us with our cars, I always understood him to be an engineer who enjoyed a real challenge. He once cut the two centre cylinders out of a Jaguar 6cyl engine, making it 4cyl's then fitted it onto a Mini gearbox, amazing. He also produced the Pinion head and many other clever bits.



Don Curry's Xmas card of a silverstone club race grid.


(looks like Doc Murfields Cortina (in the background) , who I (BH) remembers overtaking me with my race car on trailer, when I was doing 100mph with his Lagonda Rapide also towing his car on the way to Snetterton).







A Sean Wiles (Downton Social Club) Car.


This is a car Sean Wiles and I (BH) had a 50/50 in, but I don't know where he got the cups from, I (BH) always used to take the money offered in place of a cup in most races.



Interior of a typical Downton Social Club Car.


This shot was taken in about 1966 and shows the interior detail of one of BH's Racers.



Thruxton in the late 60's.


Barry Hawkins is lead round Thruxton by Richard Longman. What Mini racing is all about!


Longman was consistently one of the quickest drivers of the 60's & 70's. Going on to win the BTCC Championship in 1978 and again in 1979.



Bunty Richmond's Ferrari 250GT.


One incident that has always amused me (BH) partly because Bunty was Somerset Maugham's niece and he had written a story which was part of a film trilogy about a spurious string of pearls. (W. Somerset Maugham, "A String of beads")


Well Bunty owned Ferrari 250GT reg FX 9 and was very proud of it and truly thought it had competed at Le Mans. I don't know the true facts but this is what happened.


A Downton customer I know well from Newbury, who I can only describe as a true English gentleman came to Downton. He arrived in a beautiful Dark Blue 250GT, the same model as Bunty's FX 9. Bunty saw him and went out to greet him and have a look over his car. After Bunty had gone he came to see me and asked if I could do him a favour and let him have a quick look at FX 9. To keep my job, I said lets wait until Bunty and Daniel went to lunch. As soon as they left I took him around to see Ray Shepard who had FX 9 safely tucked up in the experimental dept. The chap took a small magnet from his pocket and tried to see if it attached it's self to the body panels of FX 9 and it did. We then went back to his car and he showed me that his was virtually all aluminium, the magnet just feel to the ground. He told me he had only recently bought the car and was told it was Stirling Moss's Goodwood car. Bunty and Daniel later arrived back and Bunty seeing him still there came over to say goodbye to him and in doing so mentioned that her car was driven at Le Mans but said all 250GT's were nice cars and was sure he would enjoy his. He gave Bunty the feeling that she was very lucky to own such an historic car, he said his goodbye's and left without saying another word about his car, what a gentlemen.


NLF 80 E on the Targa Florio (1967).


© Giorgio Tagliabue



NWL During The Targa 1962.


This is the image that Daniel & Bunty Richmond chose for their 1962 CHRISTMAS CARD. Somehow you suspect that they were very pleased with the giant killing performance of this little car. It was the performance of 176 NWL & MW 860 that established Downton as the pre eminent A series tuners.



Daniel Richmonds Bugatti Atlantic Coupe.


This is the Bugatti Atlantic Coupe that Daniel was planning on restoring until it was totally destroyed in the mysterious fire that leveled the original "Headlands Garage" site. Daniel did pick over what was left in the hope of salvaging it, but as the car was mainly aluminium and the fire was very hot indeed the vast majority, including the engine block was reduced to nothing more than a pool of metal. The garage was not insured so that was the end of a very rare motor car.


Following a recent e-mail I can confirm the following;


The car was rebuilt in the UK as an open Tourer in the style of Corsica coachworks. It now lives in the US with a collector.


The car did not have a factory Atlantic body but one made by Corsica for the owner from new.


© Ted De La Riviere



The Richmonds Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.


(The Honourable Charles)


This is typical of the sort of vehicle Downton specialised in before it was taken over by Minis. The Richmonds used this car as a tow barge when they went hill climbing. On one occasion, on the way home towning the Lagonda Rapier, things didn't exactly run smoothly. As Paul Ivey remembers;


After only a few minutes of towing, Bunty decided it was time to stop off at a roadside pub for some refreshment. After being thoroughtly "refreshed" the three got back into their respective vehicles, Bunty driving the Rolls, Daniel in the passenger seat, and Paul Ivey steering the Lagonda on a tow rope behind. They made it to the gate of the pub with no problems, but seeing that a car was approaching on the road, Bunty reved the engine of the Rolls dropped the clutch and glided off as only a roller can do. Of course the tow rope snapped instantly, and no matter how hard Paul shouted the occupants of the Roller, having been "fully refreshed" were totally oblivious to his cries for help. Unperturbed, Paul returned to the pub, confident that Daniel & Bunty would realise what had happened and return to recover their faithful employee and their Lagonda. Needless to say, Paul heard nothing until the following morning when he was met by an absolutely livid Mrs. Richmond, who couldn't believe how stupid HE had been to let this happen.


Paul was a very early employee of the Richmonds, from somewhere around 1954. He has the distinction of being the first Downton man to work on an A Series engine. It is said that he was made to do this under a tree in the yard as Bunty didn't want one of those "horrid little engines" in her workshop. If only she knew what was around the corner! Paul of course went on to forge a career for himself producing specialised engine  parts, his name is still synonymous with quality engineering.


© Ted De La Riviere



Deep Sanderson 107 Registration No: ARX 2.


In 1963 Chris Lawrence decided that the best way to promote his Deep Sanderson 301 coupe, chassis no. 3 a Mini based Sports car was to compete it at Le Mans. The car was sent down to Downton for them fit an appropriate engine. Unfortunately the car failed to finish the event. Find out more about Deep Sanderson in the VARIANTS section of this site.


This car is currently under restoration, hopefully more to follow.


© Ted De La Riviere



An exotic visitor to the works circa 1964.


A very rare Porsche 904 owned by Dicky Stoop. Alan Haddock with Frank Hardcastle look on.


Dicky Stoop was one of Daniels chums who lived somewhere near Cambridge. Dicky was a very wealthy guy, but had a reputation for being careful how he spent his money, he even bought a stopwatch to put by his phone to time his calls. The occasion of him arriving with the Porsche was to bring Daniel a case of beer to celebrate a large inheritance.


© Ted De La Riviere



An exotic visitor (Pic 2).



© Ted De La Riviere



"Sophie", Nurburgring 1963.


Another previously unpublished photo of "Sophie" the Downton 1275 S on the 1963 Nurburgring 6 hour race. This picture was supplied by Dale "Clem" Clement.


© Dale Clement.



860 MW Brighton Speed Trials 1962.


A nice picture of Daniel Richmond at the wheel of 860 MW during the 1962 Brighton Speed Trials. These take place annualy down the promenade of this popular south coast resort.



777 MCG June 1965.


777 MCG makes one of its regular press apearances in Autosport. This time it is being used to demonstrate the new "Paddy Hopkirk" style grille buttons. Nice engine detail though.







Downton Sponsored Cooper F3 (1964).


In 1964 Daniel Richmond purchased a Cooper F3 Chassis direct from John Cooper.


The car was raced for a short time by Rob Sletemaker amongst others.





Another unknown Downton Hillclimber.


This picture was also taken around 1964 and shows a sports racer that is believed to heave run under the Downton Social Club banner. Any info would be appreciated.



176 NWL Targa Florio 1963.


Taken on its second Targa this is a rare engine shot of 176 NWL.



176 NWL Targa Florio 1963.


Taken on its second Targa.



176 NWL Targa Florio 1963.


Taken on its second Targa.



176 NWL Targa Florio 1963.


A very rare close up engine shot showing more detail than I have ever seen before, note the big fat breather like the one used on UHR 850, the steel inlet manifold is also similar. Note the radiator doing an impression of a geyser!



176 NWL Targa Florio 1963.


Taken on its second Targa.



176 NWL Targa Florio 1963.


Undoubtedly taken at the same time as the shot 2 above, note the giant water container being offered to cool things down a bit.



The Last Of The British Racing Green Coopers.


By 1968 the era of the British Racing Green Cooper Car Co. Racers was coming to an end. For the Cooper stand at the 1968 Racing Car Show (Autospeed 68) there was 1 green car displayed along with 2 of the new yellow Britax Downton Coopers. Depicted here is that last green car complete with Lucas injection using throttle bodies.


© Tommy Jaggerwall.



The First of the Yellow Britax Coopers.


Taken at the same time as the image above the next 3 depict the new "Britax Downton Coopers" driven with such flair during the 1968 season.


© Tommy Jaggerwall.


© Tommy Jaggerwall.

© Tommy Jaggerwall.


Britax Coopers "Where are they now".


Following their successful campaign in 1968 & 1969, two of the original Britax cars were sold direct to Tommy Jaggerwall. This is an image of one of the original Britax cars shortly after their move abroad.







176 NWL Targa Florio 1963.


Taken on its second Targa.





Targa Florio 1963.





B. Cahier Targa Florio 1962.


Taken during Cahier's first Mini powered Targa


176 NWL Targa Florio 1963.

176 NWL Targa Florio 1963.

176 NWL Targa Florio 1963.


176 NWL Engine Bay taken during the Targa Florio 1963.


This is the first of a series of superb images taken by Denis Beattie. Denis was a keen motor racing fan and chums with a few drivers of the time, especially Innes Ireland. He ran the Goodwood Arms during the late 1950s and was also a Goodwood circuit pit marshall.


Denis's pictures have been submitted by his nephew Mark. I would like to thank Mark very sincerely, for allowing me to publish these very interesting images. © Mark Beattie



176 NWL taken during the Targa Florio 1963.


© Mark Beattie



176 NWL taken during the Targa Florio 1963.


© Mark Beattie



931 RFC taken during the Targa Florio 1963.


© Mark Beattie



931 RFC taken during the Targa Florio 1963.


© Mark Beattie



700 HCG The Downton "Works" 1275 S "Sophie".





700 HCG The Downton "Works" 1275 S "Sophie".








RGF 9 Downton Tuned “Clubman” Race Mini.


This car was successfully campaigned by Roy Fry in the 1960’s.

On this page you will find a large number of images of Downton engineering & the cars they produced.

Regarding Copyright: Where possible I have given all relevant copyright information and have thanked the person who supplied them... This has however not been possible in all cases as the images have come from many sources. If I have inadvertently infringed your copyright, please contact me and I will do everything in my power to come to some arrangement. If however an agreement can't be reached then I will remove any offending images.