Was That Leslie Crowther Over By The Bar?

Northern Europe’s largest classic race takes place over this weekend, from 17th to the 19th. I sneaked into the race paddock to look around. For once, DTW has something like news, in the form of this sketch of my snooping around the race paddock yesterday evening.

The event is called Classic Race and attracts an impressive number of classics sports cars. I noticed Ford, Alfa Romeo, Triumph and BMW vehicles made up a disproportionate number of the participants. Of those, Escorts, 2002s and Giulias and GTVs dominated. As well gazing at some expensively prepared cars I also had a chance to sit in a Triumph TR6.

The thought of sitting in a race suit in a racing seat surrounded by a roll-cage for 50 minutes and also trying not to crash a 40 year-old car is somewhat daunting. That’ll happen at 9.05 this morning in the Triumph and British HTGT Competition. The Triumph driver had come from northern Germany and was a lot less interested in my theories of Triumph’s demise than I might have expected.

I had a chat with the driver of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta, a fellow captivated at age nine by the sound of the engine. Interesting about this car is that even as a racing machine it looks correct, as if underneath the OEM car there was a racing saloon all along. But then again, as new the car had more of the features than you’d expect in a mass-market family chariot such as a light alloy engine, disc brakes and a cD far lower than the rectilinear styling would lead one to believe.

Normally the Classic Race attracts a secondary crowd of classic road car enthusiasts but that starts tomorrow and I will not be able to document any of the interesting collection of cars that normally gather.

By way of consolation I snagged two photos of American vans, the best part of which is the badging.

There is something of the 1970s spaghetti Western or cowboy TV drama about this lettering (above).

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The diligent staff at Curbside Classics could probably work this sighting into a 900-word article of considerable scholarly value. We’ll have to make do with admiring the florid script.

Finally, we turn to an old friend, the Ford Escort Mk2, which shares with the Giulia the ability to turn in a competition car without losing its personality.  The very same shell served as unremarkable daily transport yet with suitable amendments could also be a race and rally king. Motor Sport in 1981 said “It isn’t surprising that Ford – that sporting make – is top-dog and showing others the way.” By that time the Escort had gone front-drive, I hasten to note.

Given the number of pricey race machines and the amount of costly tools on open view, it was a little surprising I was able to breeze in to the paddock (cycling on a bike) and just look around. People were very forthcoming and willing to talk about their cars (a few asked if I was participating in the races) and I expect this is a function of Denmark’s quite laid back approach to things. It makes for an entertaining few days if you happen to be in Jutland this weekend.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

6 thoughts on “Was That Leslie Crowther Over By The Bar?”

  1. it all (well, some of it) comes back to me now,
    1975 and one of Neil Young’s finest albums, the dark
    and cathartic Tonight’s the Night, and from the song
    of the same name:
    Bruce Berry was a working man
    He used to load that Econoline van.
    A sparkle was in his eye
    But his life was in his hands.

  2. Isn’t there or shouldn’t there at least be a race car at the heart of every proper Alfa?
    What type of Giulietta was it? The Seventies one normally is unsuitable for race use because its gearbox is very fragile.

    1. Looks like an early one, dual lamps and a midline link in the bonnet.

  3. I’ve been to the Silverstone Classic event in previous years, and it’s been possible to walk around the pit area there as well. It certainly makes the day more interesting to be able to talk with the owners and get so close to the cars. Having been to several F1 races where you feel so remote from any racing, I’d choose a classic event any time.

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