Lot 334: 1963 Marina Rolls-Royce ‘Andrews Special’ Racing Sports Prototype
This simply amazing British one-off sports-racing car was tailor-made for the 1963 British season of national and international sports car races, events which during that period graced every one of the numerous non-Championship Formula 1 race meetings held annually in England.
These immensely entreating races traditionally preceded the opening of the Formula 1 World Championship season at either Monaco or Zandvoort in Holland. They began usually at Snetterton in Norfolk in March, and then progressed via the annual Easter Monday meeting at Goodwood through the Aintree ‘200’ in the Beatles’ home city of Liverpool to the major BRDC International Trophy race meeting at Silverstone in May – a hugely popular event which regularly featured as a dress rehearsal for the British Grand Prix back there in July. The great star drivers of the period not only competed in their works team Formula 1 cars, but also drove in these supporting events behind the wheel of saloon, sports and often GT cars too.
This Marina-Rolls-Royce sports-racing car was the brainchild of none other than Alan Mann of Andrews Garages, Southwick, Sussex who would become better known subsequently for his team’s exploits with Shelby American Cobras, Ford GT Mark II and GT40 Le Mans cars and European and British touring car Championship-winning Ford Cortina and Escort sedans.
Alan and Brian Mann managed to cram the 6 ¼ liter Rolls-Royce V8 engine into a neat multi-tubular spaceframe chassis very reminiscent of a contemporary Cooper Monaco sports-racing car, but with straight tube runs between junctions, instead of Cooper’s rather unsophisticated curved tube designs. The result was an extremely attractive machine with low frontal area and good balance in its front to rear weight distribution.
The Marina was actually designed and built by Malcolm King and had been sold to the Manns at Andrews Garages. Its multi-tubular spaceframe chassis carried a conventional front-mounted radiator and its main longeron tubes performed double duty, carrying coolant to and from the Rolls-Royce power unit. Girling discs brakes were fitted, while the front and rear suspension systems were essentially Formula 1 Cooper.
The power unit itself was a 6 ¼ liter Rolls-Royce V8 taken from stock and converted to dry-sump lubrication, which permitted this voluminous engine to be mounted very much lower within the chassis than would have been possible with a wet-sump beneath it. The 3-gallon oil tank was located beside the driver’s legs, while a standard oil pump and filter were retained, although a separate scavenge pump had been added.
The engine featured a special large-overlap camshaft machined by contemporary specialists Reece of Carshalton, and it breathed through a rack of four large Weber 58DC03 twin-choke sidedraught carburetors, mounted on specially-fabricated manifolds produced by another well-known contemporary specialist, Ruddspeed. This suit of lowline horizontal carburetors replaced the Rolls-Royce V8’s standard two 1 ¾ inch SUs. The sidedraught Webers had been adopted together with the dry-sump system in order to maintain a low rear deck line above the engine – while a Ford V8 distributor replaced the tall standard type for the same reason.
Both Rolls-Royce V8 cylinder heads had been machined to provide the higher compression ration of 8.7:1 while the pistons, con-rods and crank had been left as standard, since Mr. King and the Manns felt they were “adequate” …as Rolls-Royce was fond of saying when questioned about its standard engines’ power output. Power was transmitted to the rear wheels via a five-speed Colotti Type 32 transaxle, now fitted with a ZF unit enabling it to take on more power if required.
The Marina’s constructors were looking for some 360-380-horsepower from their aristocratic V8 engine, which promised fine performance by contemporary terms when allied to a weight of around 1,500lbs.
Jimmy Blumer was a leading amateur racing driver of the time with considerable Cooper Monaco experience and he was known as an extrovert ‘hard charger.’ The new car was entered by Alan Andrews Racing Ltd’s ‘Marina Roll-Royce’ for the Easter Monday Goodwood meeting, in which it appeared with its aluminum bodywork still unpainted. It suffered predictable teething troubles, the weather was wet on raceday and Jimmy Blumer retired it after a couple of laps. The new car also ran in the sports car race at the Aintree ‘200’ Formula 1 meeting, where it was again the largest in the entire field, facing a Chevrolet V8-engined Cooper Monaco, one of the brand-new Shelby Cobras and 4-cylinder Lotus 19s in its class.
But most significantly the Rolls-Royce Motor Company was not at all happy with one of its engines being deployed in motor racing at that level, and we believe that a tacit agreement was reached under which the Marina or ‘Andrews Special’ was quietly put away, and not raced again.
The car survived for many years under wraps, before re-emerging in recent times. It made a tremendously popular reappearance at the 2004 Goodwood Festival of Speed, in the hands of Chris Buncombe, a rising star in the BRDC, storming up the famous hill-climb spectacularly within earshot of the neighboring road-racing circuit on which it made its brief international debut in 1963.
The car offered here as a kind of British ‘King Cobra’ – it has the spectacular cachet of being Rolls-Royce powered – it is simply unique and, what is more, it is road-registered for use on the street in the United Kingdom. What more could one ask of this attractive sports-prototype, a potential front runner and the biggest-engine to be produced in the UK until the advent of the later Lola T70s and McLaren M8s several years later.
Important Sale of Rolls-Royce and Bentley|
Bonhams, R-ROC Annual Meet, Greenwich
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