Dear Auntie Maud,
A lot has happened since I last wrote to you, business is very busy, that not so unusual but weíve also had the Monaco historic GP to get ready for, it was a dogfight. After the wing and a prayer finishes with open differentials last time, Julian and Charles really had to do something to be sure of keeping up their record. As Iíve told you before the standard axle gets fragile at 200+ horsepower, so we had to get creative. Suffice to say Julian took pole and frightened us all to death in the wet practice. Charles went on to win after Julian left the road, the car was damaged as was Julian, but it could have been a lot worse. The performance also proved that The Blockley Tyre Co three block tyres are a match for the normal five stud from Dunlop.
Adding to the drama up to Monaco was the ex Seaman Type 35a. After being for sale for a while, with five weeks to go before Monaco, Lukas found a buyer. This was OK but the deal was done on the proviso that the car was fitted with a five bearing crank before the Historic GP. Of course needing something done in a rush (and knowing how we like a challenge) he decided to bring the car here rather than go to his usual Bugatti restorer. As it turned out in the five weeks we had to fit not only the crank but new blocks and cam followers, rebuild the back and front axles, fit a new fuel tank, sort out the clutch and a whole list of other minor problems. The new owner had a trouble free GP and has since added a day at Spa and a few road miles to this historic car.
Monaco also saw the launch of TJD GP Engineering, they ran an OSCA, the LDS and a formula junior Lotus, everything finished despite throwing the Lotus into the wall in the last wet practice. Better than that, we won the class with the LDS! This means that Ivan Dutton Ltd can now concentrate at what itís good at Bugattis, without the distraction of racing. So all in all Monaco was good fun for all of us and weíre really looking forward to the next one.
With barely a week to recover, I had to go off to Sienna for the International Bugatti Rally, itís a tough job but someone has got to do it! My companion on the trip was Bess, you remember her, bit long in the tooth but what a goer, five litres and chain drive. I must confess this was going to be a holiday, doing what I like best, driving a great car on interesting roads with a group of like-minded enthusiasts. As they say the best laid plans. I wonít bore you with the details, I mostly avoided work but still had enough to keep it interesting. Like minded enthusiasts, that was OK too, itís always a pleasure to see old friends and the cars we have worked on and with ninety odd cars I was actually surprised how many we had been involved with. The routes were a bit tough for the old girl and you could see the organisers had geared them for Brescias and T35s, the trouble being with so much driving, on difficult roads, you do miss out on the scenery. I canít help feeling that sponsorship and photo opportunities spoil the fun, what was it like in your day? I know the drinking games, bawdy limericks and make do and mend. Talking of drinking games, on the Thursday we were all saddened to learn of the passing of Hamish Moffat. One of our heroes has left the party, our sincere condolences to his loved ones.† Torrential rain on the last day rounded off the week and I was really glad to get back to England.
Back at the farm itís time to take stock, the first half of the year has flown by with Monaco taking up a disproportionate amount of time. The Type 44 block project has slowed to a snails pace, Type 46 blocks have only just come on line and the first batch of production Type 51 blocks are in the machine shop. The workshops is full of cars, more overdrives on touring versions and GP cars being readied for racing and rallying. I donít know how Iím going to get my car done for the Goodwood Festival of Speed! An interesting idea came up in Italy, a seminar for the long suffering ladies so the tech talk isnít quite so baffling, what do you think? I am really looking forward to ďourĒ next generation rally. This is always good fun and it seems to be getting bigger, perhaps weíve not had time to lose sight of enjoying the cars. As usual printers have delayed the parts brochure, how do things get done in the real world? Speaking of which I really must do my Bugantics ad or Barbara will shoot me.
Ta ta for now, say hi to Uncle Fred.