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Davida are proud to be partnering with Castrol Classic Oils and Bruce Chapman for his entry into the 2009 Mille Miglia. Bruce contacted Davida and asked if we would be interested in helping produce some helmets displaying his sponsor’s logos and Davida were obviously delighted to be able to help. We produced three helmets bearing the Castrol Classic Oils Logo and Davida Logos for his 2009 Entry.
This entry has a emotional attachment for Bruce as well, in 1955 the works MGA originally competed in the event as an MG works entry with his Grandma, Nancy Mitchell, driving in 1956. Below is a summary of the cars specification and history:
Works Race & Rally Car – The Oldest Surviving? MGA in the World
Chassis no. HDE 13/10105 Body no. 20006 Engine no. XSP 1264-2
Colour - originally Tyrolite green then Colorado red
Built - between 25 May and 8 July 1955
Despatched from Production to Competition Dept.- 18 October 1955
First registered to MG Car Co. Limited - 1 February 1956
MaBeL is the oldest MGA known to survive intact — the fifth car made, one of the five pre-production cars kept by the Works & the only one used for competition – the first Works competition MGA post-Le Mans.
Spending it early life in the Production and Competition departments it may well be the car used for speed trials at Montlhery (it was either MaBeL or 10104) in October 1955 when, standard, Ken Wharton covered 103 miles and, streamlined (le Mans trim with 3.7 diff), John Gott covered 113 mile in one hour.
A lucky and successful car, MaBeL had a near-perfect Works Competition history, always driven by ladies, a virtual Who ‘s-Who of contemporary British female drivers:
February 1956 ~ Thames Estuary Auto Club’s National Cats-Eyes’ Rally
• Pat Moss & Ann Wisdom
• The first competitive Works entry for an MGA
• Retired, 2 hours late, officially due to bad weather, but later confessed to be a navigation error
April 1956 ~ Mille Miglia (no 227)
• Nancy Mitchell & Pat Faichney
• 72nd Overall, 1st Ladies, 3rd in class
• The only ladies team ever to finish the “real ” Mille Miglia ~ 1,000 miles in 15 hours in heavy rain behind aero-screens.
• Painted red to obtain favour from Italian officials and thereafter the standard colour for Works cars.
July 1956 ~ Alpine Rally (no 326)
• Nancy Mitchell & Pat Faichney
• 15th Overall, 1st Ladies, 3rd in class, Coupes des Alpes & Coupe des Dames, Team winners. Beat all four other MGA’s in the Works team ~ driven by men!
September 1956 ~ Liege-Rome-Liege (no 38)
• Nancy Mitchell & Anne Hall
• 26th Overall, 2nd 1 .adies
Match 1957 ~ Lyon-Charbonnieres Rally (no 98)
• Nancy Mitchell & Doreen Reece
• 32nd overall, 1st Ladies, Coupe des Dames
Nancy Mitchell won the European Ladies Championship in 1956 & 1957. MaBeL is the car mosdy associated with that success, carrying the Mille Miglia Badge that she used on all her cars.
MaBeL was the “Roads-Opening ” car for the 1956 Isle of Man TT motorcycle races, driven by Brian Mylchreest.
Sold by the works in 1957 to Robert Butler (St Albans), ensuing owners were Neil Dangerfield (Redbourn & Guernsey 1959-60), Roy Mertens (Dagenham 1960-3), Derek Sandle (Chingford 1963), John Jenkins (Leicester 1963-9), Richard Cook (Leicester 1969-1975) andPat Antill (Leicester 1975-85). Some competed her, but all used her on the road.
Bob West restored MaBeL to her Mille Miglia specification for the 1992 Abingdon Works show and a reunion there with Nancy Mitchell and later, Pat Faichney. The hard top still has period transfers from the 1956/7 events. Since obtaining FIA/FTVA historic papers, MaBcL has appeared at the Goodwood Revival 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2005, Mille Miglia 2001, Goodwood Festival of Speed 2003, Le Mans 2005 and Liege-Rome-Liege Rally 2004.
MaBeL has a close-ratio gearbox and a standard differential. The brakes are standard drums, ventilated at the front An anti roll bar replaces the retained Andrex friction dampers whilst the suspension is stiffened and there is a small negative camber. The 20 Gallon tank with central filler cap feeds a double pump supplying the SU carbs. The large Works Chronometric rev-counter with tell-tale survives with other dashboard refinements.
For more information about Castrol Classic Oils visithttp://www.castrolclassicoils.co.uk
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