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September 5, 2007

GTTSR: Day Four.

Filed under: 07 GTTSR,Cars — chuck goolsbee @ 8:32 pm
Delahaye 135 MS
Delahaye 135 MS

For those of you who are experiencing Total Jaguar Overload, I present to you an alternative masthead image.
Jim & Tonya Hull’s 1945 Delahaye 135 MS.

Enjoy it while it lasts because some of us can’t get enough Jaguar Overload. 😉

Click “more” for… well… MORE!

This morning brought us an early rise. Shaun set the alarm clock for 6 am and for some reason it didn’t go off… but oddly enough Shaun woke up at exactly 6:02 and started beeping himself… go figure. Lucky for him he was out of my reach, otherwise I would have smacked him like a snooze button!

We get up, and run out to the garage and install our new alternator:


Photo by Shaun Redmond

I look tired, but happy… because I am both.

That task complete, we wander back to the hotel to pack up our stuff, and eat breakfast. On the way back I note that some practical joker is winding people up by putting bullet hole stickers on Rally cars:

bullet ridden Delahaye
bullet ridden Delahaye

I also run into the “Ol Yellar #1” race car, being driven by James Edwards and Wayne Baker. I hear this car has a storied past, but I’m not aware of it. I’m sure Paul, or somebody can enlighten me… feel free to use the comments section down below to do so. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures:

I really like the whole package, as it really has tons of character. The handpainted bits, the stickers, the machine guns on the fenders, the hand-bend metal… it all just fits on this car.

Breakfast is wonderful, and afterwards I wander out for the driver’s meeting.

Today we’re retracing our route from two days ago, with a couple of minor variations. Lunch will be on the western side of the valley at the Kimberley Ski Area. Seemingly everyone is queued up to go very close to the hotel, unlike us who have left our car in the garage (Shaun was out there with the mechanics and the booster to start the car.) I snap a few shots of folks as I head out to the garage:

Above: Nick & Kathy Blackman’s red 1965 Corvette… I think I should race them all the way to Dead Man’s Curve! 😉

Above: Dave Hammond’s 1968 Triumph TR 250

I arrive at the garage and the first car I encounter is the Reyns’ Jaguar XKSS. Philippe is fettling under the bonnet, preparing the car for the cold weather this morning.

Shaun has the 65E running with the help of the Rally mechanic’s booster to start. They have checked and confirmed with far better equipment than my bargain basement voltmeter that the new alternator is working, charging up our battery. We just hop in and drive, rather than fettle with our usual JagCam setup. (well, I had the laptop in my lap and was starting the JagCam setup…) Shaun drives and we exit the garage for a miniature parade lap through the Banff Springs Hotel Courtyard where the driver’s meeting was held…

We stop for gasoline in the town of Banff and I get the JagCam rolling. Shaun & I head north on Hwy 1, the morning is bright and quite cold. The light is perfect though. Unfortunately it is quite a while before we see any rally cars. Thankfully the ones that show up are very photogenic, the Hull’s Delahaye and the Reyn’s Jaguar as we run through Kootenay National Park on Hwy 93.

What follows is me shooting over Shaun’s head, under the door, or out the “tailgunner” position while coaxing Shaun to go slower or faster, catch this car or that… or try to convey art direction to other drivers via hand signals. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The proof is in the pudding…

Look at that light!

I only had two passes at the Delahaye, as Jim Hull vanished after he passed us once, and then much later we caught him near Radium Hot Springs. The best shot is up above as the masthead.

Philippe Reyns understood my hand gestures and made for a fantastic model in my efforts to get great photographs. We looped around each other several times, and one pass, with the camera hanging low made for a stunning set:

Wow. I have a bunch of photos of the #16 XKSS from every angle but these are the best.

I distinctly recall being right behind the XKSS when first they, then us hit a big bump in the road. The E-type absorbs it without much drama, but the XKSS seems a bit wounded. Philippe slows down the pace a bit and we stop the photo shoot. Not long after we both catch up to the Delahaye on a long uphill grade. We stick together for a while until we exit the park. What a difference a couple of days make! On Labor Day Monday afternoon this was the busiest intersection in western Canada, this morning, two days later it is literally empty save our three cars!

The XKSS & Delahaye stop in Radium, I guess for gasoline, and we continue on ahead to that spot I mentally noted on Monday for shooting. The scene is a steel bridge over a river, with a Hoodoo Cliff as a backdrop. The light is good, though a bit in our faces, and I station myself on the Jersey barrier and wait for rally cars. I set my camera’s drive to shoot many images in close succession in an attempt to capture the cars as they go by. As always, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The Delahaye crosses the bridge.

…followed closely by Rally Organizer Farnum Alston in a Porsche.

I wait for a long time and no cars show up, but as I’m walking back to the Jaguar what should appear but the Golumbs in the Jaguar Mk2 Saloon.

…followed closely by the Sam Haberman’s 1963 Chrysler 300 Convertible. His passengers are Toby Haberman, plus Dave and Stephanie Draper, whose Ferrari spun a transaxle on the second day. All but Sam are sound asleep. Unfortunately shutter lag ruined the shot and I only get a fraction of the big Mopar Barge.

From here we head down to Kimberley BC’s Ski Area for lunch. We’re just about the last car to arrive.

They have picnic tables set out near the base of the chairlifts for us to eat on, but to be honest, I’ve had WAY too much sun already so I duck into the shade of a building and unload images from my camera into my laptop. I’m dying to see the shots from the morning. While I’m doing that Shaun comes over and agrees that the shade is the place to be. We grab lunch and eat in the shade.

After lunch I shoot a few photos and head out to shoot some cars. Shaun stays and talks with Philippe & Francoise. It seems that my observation about the XKSS getting wounded on that bump were correct; Philippe relates to Shaun news that the rear clip of the Jaguar is sagging as two bars that hold it up have cracked. He needs to find a welder. We saw a sign on the way into town, indicating a welding and fabrication shop, so a plan is formulated. If the Rally Mechanics do not have a portable welding kit, we’d help get the wounded XKSS down to the shop and see if it could be fixed.

I try to photograph the broken parts of the XKSS, but they are buried behind the wheel and hard to shoot. The whole rear clip is sagging and flexible, and since the car is made of such lightweight materials it shows. Above you can see the fenderwell at the back of the monocoque/front of the rear clip bending where it sags.

While I’m shooting photos, Philippe gives Shaun a tour of the car and a bit of a history lesson about the odd duck that is the XKSS. Eventually the Rally Mechanics arrive and we find out they have no welding gear. One of the rally members, Conrad Stephenson volunteers to run down to the welding shop seen in town to arrange repairs.

Meanwhile I wander back to the shade with Francoise to show her the photos from this morning. By the time we finish up, everyone is gone except perpetual last car Sir John White, and Capt. Brad Sangrey of the Montana Highway Patrol in his sweep truck. Not wanting to be left behind, Francoise & I hop in the 65E and go find the welding shop. It turns out Shaun rode with the XKSS in the Mechanics’ truck. We find him at the welding shop where they’ve already made progress.


Philippe & Farnum hold up the rear clip while the welder finds supports for it. Photo by Shaun Redmond.


One of the broken supports. Photo by Shaun Redmond.


The pair of broken supports. Photo by Shaun Redmond.


The raised rear end of the XKSS, supported by jackstands and floorjacks. Francoise remarked that it looked like this cat was in heat. Photo by Shaun Redmond.

The broken parts were shockingly light. The racing heritage of this car is quite obvious. My E-type, which is a fairly light car compared to most, seems positively beefy and solid compared to the D-type-based XKSS. Jaguar may have made it “street legal” but I tell you, it was by the skin of their teeth. If you look at the shot I took of the rolling XKSS from low and behind further up on this page you can see two metal bars which run longitudinally under the car from back to front. They are wafer-thin tubes of metal with a brazed-in tab at either end. These tubes are all that supports the rear clip of the car, which holds up the spare wheel and luggage rack, and partially, the 40 gallon petrol tank(!). Unlike the E-type, whose monocoque body extends to the rear of the car, the XKSS’ monocoque only really extended just slightly beyond the rear of the seats. The rear clip is made of very thin aluminum.

The welder fabricated new mounts for the bars and made the XKSS roadworthy once again. It took some time, and Francoise & I departed in the E-type for Whitefish before it was finished. We enjoyed a quiet ride, and an interesting border crossing. We had to tell the US Border Guard about the broken car and that they could expect it in about an hour. Once through we made our way down to Whitefish and checked into our hotel. Dinner was in a big tent near the place where the cars were parked. As I walked out I noted above the Rally Mechanic’s truck, a bunch of guys bouncing up and down at the edge of the parking lot…

It seemed the rear suspension had gotten itself misaligned and out of place. The Mechanics had it up on jackstands and needed the body weighted to enable them to crowbar the suspension back into place. Gotta love that. For a brief time I sat on the rear fender while the standing guys bounced in unison. They finally get it sorted out, and I wander off to the tent for a beer and some socializing.

After a while I realize the Mechanics are still out working and wander over and ask them if they need/want a beer. They happily accept my offer and I jog over to the bar and grab a few for them.

Eventually Shaun & Philippe show up, just in time to hear our featured guest George Follmer stand up and speak for a bit about his life on the track.

That is followed by an auction to benefit the Montana Highway Patrol Fallen Officer’s Fund. All my attempted bids are crushed by the competition. Oh well.

After dinner Shaun tells me all about the ride in the XKSS. He says it is hot, cramped, uncomfortable, and wonderful all at the same time. He says Philippe offered me a ride in the morning, so I drift off to sleep with dreams of D-types in my head…

Here is Shaun’s footage from the left seat of the XKSS as they ran down HWY 93. Enjoy:


Here is today’s JagCam Timelapse… once again missing a significant portion of our pre-lunch run. Go figure.

1 Comment

  1. I’ll spare you the bandwidth in expounding about Max Balchowsky’s wonderful “junkyard dog,” as he self-described it: Plenty is available on the ‘Net about it!
    Suffice it to say, this drawn-out-on-concrete-with-chalklines design kicked the asses of the best in its time: Ferrari, Lamborghini, OSCA…you name it, Ol’ Yeller did as a junkyard dog is wont to do, to the AKC-poodles of the time…and it was a BLAST! Dan Gurney drove Ol’ Yeller too, at one point and showed his considerable mastery of the art of automotive racing.
    Great to see it!

    Comment by vrooomie — September 11, 2007 @ 5:17 am

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