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Ross Brawn’s Return to Competition

Tired of the fast-paced world of Formula One, former engineer, strategist and team owner Ross Brawn returns to competition in this year’s running of the London to Brighton Run. Braw, who orchestrated the F1 World Championships of Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button, will be driving the only known surviving British-built Wilson Pilcher. Built in 1904, the car was the creation of Walter Gordon Wilson (who later invented the army tank), and was displayed at the British Tank Museum. Until being purchased by Brawn, it had never been out of the ownership of the Wilson family.

“I know the family and knew about the car. But quite by chance I saw it in an auction catalog last year and made some enquiries,” he says. “I was told that it might leave the country as an American collector was interested. So I went into battle.” The car was taken to noted veteran car expert Nigel Parrot for recommissioning, and it’s first run in anger will be in the Brighton Run this November.

“It was a very advanced car for its day,” admits Brawn. “It has a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine which is suspended in a cradle in the chassis. It also has a sophisticated semi-automatic gearbox which, I believe, was a forerunner of the famous Wilson Pre-Selector ‘box. But compared to a modern car the suspension is crude and the braking takes… anticipation.” Let’s hope Brawn remembers what he learned from Parrott’s driving lessons. — CAS


Protection Film for Matte Finishes

Is it possible to protect your matte-finish paint from getting covered in road rash, without resorting to glossy protection films? Xpel’s Stealth film features a smooth satin texture on a polyurethane substrate. The company claims this gives it strength, durability and longevity, was well as exceptional elongation, memory and flexibility when compared to more rigid films. The film is available in a variety of pre-cut patterns  for hoods, headlamps, fenders, rocker panels, door mirrors, etc., as you might expect. However, it also is offered in rolls of varying widths and lengths, which makes it possible for an installer to give an entire vehicle a matte appearance without repainting.

Offered with a seven-year warranty, Xpel’s Stealth film comes in both DIY and professional grades. A quick trip to the Xpel website will direct you to the installers in your area. — CAS


Fun Things To Do With A 2014 Silverado

This highly modified Chevy Silverado is called “The Reaper” and has been co-developed by Southern Comfort Automotive and Lingenfelter Performance Engineering.  Since Chevy doesn’t offer a competitor for the SVT Raptor, aftermarket groups have to build one and sell it through participating Chevy dealers. This is one of the first.

You can order The Reaper in red, white, gray or black, and it comes with a long list of standard features. These include a three-inch lift, Fox Racing shocks, exclusive 20-in. wheels wearing General Grabber LT tires, a Lingenfelter performance exhaust system, a custom hood and grille assembly, a new front bumper, fender flares, wheel-to-wheel rock guard with removable side steps, embroidered headrests and door panel accents, a gauge package, and LED lights (driving, front marker and an integrated off-road floodlight). But if you want to make it more than just a showboat, you can opt for one of the optional Magnuson TSV1900 supercharged V8s, in 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter form. And, if you’re going to go that far, why not add the 17-in. bead locker wheel and tire package, Reaper graphics and “frozen” matte paint finish? After all nothing exceeds like excess. — CAS


Day Care Drama Vehicles

“My Cobra wasn’t signed by Carroll Shelby or built by AC Cars, but it’s quite special,” says the girl. 

“How’s that?,” answers the diminutive male leaning up against the wooden fence overlooking the spacious yard. 

“Simple,” replies the young lady as she checks her curly auburn hair after a fast ride in the favorite car in her dad’s stable. “The pedal box is adjustable. Oh, and it has the optional leather interior and racing stripes, but not the race numbers; they made it look too juvenile.” 

“I agree,” he says as he places his jacket on the seat of his Roadster. “That’s why I went for the classic color combination with my car. Dad has an XK that looks just like this, and the only change I made was to ditch the wire wheels in favor of alloys that look like steel rims with hubcaps.” 

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Past is Future

Jaguar Heritage, a division of Jaguar Cars, is building a batch of six “Special GT E-Type” using chassis numbers that have remained dormant since the original Lightweight E-Type project wrapped up in 1964. Only 12 of the planned 18 cars were built, and the new cars will be sold as period race cars suitable for FIA homologation for historic racing. Each will be built at Browns Lane in Coventry, England, just like the original dozen. Customers who purchase one of the new Lightweight E-Types also will be able to purchase one of six unique watches from Britain’s Bremont Watch Company. 

As these are hand-made, bespoke watches, Bremont was able to do things that would not have been possible with a large-scale production timepiece. The most interesting is the winding rotor. Shaped out of aluminum to match the alloy-spoke Lightweight E-Type’s steering wheel, the rotor has a real wood rim, and is mounted behind a sapphire crystal case back. 

The 43 mm. (1.7 in.) watch has chamfered hour and minute hands that mimic the tachometer needle. At the six o’clock position on the watch face is printed the number of the relevant car while, on the back, the engine number is displayed. The dial uses the same font and coloring as the Lightweight E-Type’s instruments, while the central portion of the white gold case is made from aluminum used during the construction of the six cars. It will be anodized to match the color of the car whose numbers it carries. In addition, the strap is made of the same Connolly leather used on the interior, and the winding crown is imprinted with the tread pattern of the period-correct racing tires with which the six cars are shod. — CAS