Cannon Trials Car ‘BLY 250’ 1935/1958
This Cannon car was first registered as a Ford in 1935 and then rebuilt by Mike Cannon in 1958.
By the 1930s 90% of all motorsport in the UK consisted of Sporting and Hill Trials with everyday cars competing against each other on courses and muddy hills – with the winner being the car that could climb the highest over a series of ascents. In the 1950’s specialist knowledge was applied to weight issues. Cannon Cars, with its miniscule production of one car a month, became the default car with owners including Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Colin Chapman, Tony Marsh and Gordon Jackson.
400 kilogrammes was considered to be the optimum weight for hill ascents. This weight was achieved by combining a space frame chassis with Ford’s powerful 1172cc side-valve engine. The car also gave the driver the unique ability to control his front, rear right and rear left brakes—independently of each other! Over ten years only 120 cars were made and they won the National Championships for eight of these years during the 1950’s and 190’s. About 35 of these 120 cars survive.
This car was ordered for George Simpson in 1958 as a wedding present. He competed in the Championships from 1959-62 and then moved to Italy. The car landed up in a barn in Rome where it was rediscovered 50 years later. It has since been fully restored and has been competing again in this year’s MSA Historic Sporting Trials events.
On display courtesy of Paul Bloxidge from Monday 14 January to Sunday 20 January 2019.
Sherpa ‘Indy no. 1’ Trials Car 2007
Ian Wright built his first trials car in 1975 at the age of 16 and called it the ‘Wrightone’. His car no. 2 followed in 1978 and still exists, competing in various ‘Post- Historic Trials’. Another 16 live-axle Sherpa trials cars followed, through to 2005—when he belatedly decided to join the independent rear suspension cars.
The car on display here in the rotunda was built by the Ian Wright Organisation. ‘ Indy No 1’ first ran in 2007 and followed that by another six outings in quick succession. It has now been competing ever since winning many BTRDA and MSA rounds over the years. It has also won three MSA British Championships with Ian Wright himself driving; it also won the BTRDA championship and the Gold Star final in 2018.
‘Indy no. 1’ has been modified with many small detail changes made over the years. Nevertheless it’s still very much the same car and runs today with the following specifications:-
Suzuki Swift 1560cc twin cam VVTI on fuel injection fully mapped;
Vitara gearbox as a means to reduce the gearing to an Elite Racing 5 speed transaxle;
No chassis as such but it uses the engine, transmission tunnel and gearbox as the back bone and the body is suspended from it;
Pushrod suspension front and rear;
Split rim rear wheels that run with as little as 2psi without the tyre falling off the rim;
Independent rear brakes.
The Ian Wright Organisation has since gone on to restore more than 15 Cannons and additionally has recreated 12 brand new continuation cars for the amazingly popular Historic Trials scene.
On display courtesy of Ian Wright on behalf of Motorsport UK from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 January 2019.