My First full year as a member of the GT40 Club
by: Mike Osborne
from: Fortification - January 1997

Fortification is the Club Magazine of the GT40 Enthusiasts Club
Copyright: GT40 Enthusiasts Club 1997

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My First full year as a member of the GT40 Club

Its difficult to know where to start, its been a very busy year and I might add a very enjoyable one with something going on nearly every weekend, with the real bonus of making many long term new friends who all have similar interests.
Back at the beginning of 1996 1 was a little apprehensive as I only knew a handful of members, this however soon changed as 1 found that after attending a few monthly meetings and getting to know one another the ice was soon broken, after all we all have at least one common interest to discuss, 1 have found that if 1 have a problem which is proving difficult to solve it is soon reconciled once offered for discussion.
The most recent being the problem of over heating even at this time of the year, it would appear that there are several causes of this problem which have affected many of the club members cars especially those who attended Le-Mans this year. The main cause besides mechanical faults would appear to be one of two things, the first being the lack of a vent pipe from the top of radiator to the header tank. The easiest way to solve this problem is to remove one of the two bleed vents from the top of the radiator and purchase a small bore pipe with a suitable threaded ends and connect to the bush in the radiator, the other end being connected to the header again in one of two ways.
If you have a header tank with an overflow, plus flow pipe from the inlet manifold and outlet pipe to the main radiator, remove the pipe from the inlet manifold and plug the manifold leaving only one outlet from the manifold which should be connected to the heater. Once this is done connect the new vent pipe to the header tank in place of the manifold pipe.
If on the other hand your header tank only has an overflow pipe and a pipe connected to the radiator fee then a new hole must be inserted in the header tank near the top (approx 3/4 of the way up from the bottom of the tank) purchase a bush and seal and connect to the tank then connect the vent pipe.
Another improvement would be the fitting of a 6 core full width radiator in place of the normal 4 core and twin electric thermostatic fans.
One other solution to improve cooling is to insert a new 76 deg C thermostat in place of the normal 86-88 deg C stat, this will result in a much quicker warm up time allowing the engine to reach its optimum operating temperature sooner. If the above are carried out I can almost guarantee no overheating problems will occur provided the rest of the cooling system and engine is in good working order.
I have tested the above in all traffic and temperature conditions without any loss of coolant or rise in temperature of more than a few degrees (95 deg - 98 deg C). This is in stark contrast to the trip to Le-Mans when overheating proved a real problem and necessitated copious amounts of water to top up the system after only 75 miles or so.

XR Owners

Sorry I got carried away a bit there, back to my first year as a club member and I suppose the first meeting of the year when the car got wheeled out was the Stoneleigh AGM which in spite of the time of the year proved both warm and dry, it was at this meeting that I offered my services as club secretary and was duly elected by those present. To date this has proved a shrewd move as I've been asked to do virtually nothing (bliss) other than write the odd article. This I feel is due to change shortly as I am planning to sponsor a club calender for 1997 showing the fixtures which are known at this time and featuring a nice colour photo of the race at Elkhart Lake's Road America which featured no less than 18 GT40 cars. I am hoping that the calender will be with this news letter, if not I promise it will be included in the next issue of Fortification.
One other item which may be of interest to you is that Ken Saunders and myself are looking into fuel injection systems for the Ford V8 which if fitted gives the cars a considerable boost in performance, no doubt Ken will publish more details on this item when we have got a car fitted successfully with this type of system, together with any technical information and costs.

TRAX

There have been many track days in 1996 which I have attended almost without exception, the most notable being the RS Owners day at Castle Coombe, Kit Car days also at Castle Coombe and several other similar days at Silverstone and Donnington. These have proved very popular with both members who have cars and those that don't. If you are thinking of building a car then come along to the next track day and I'll try and take you around the track to give you a feel of the truly inspiring performance the cars have. If I don't scare you to death then I'm sure you will be convinced to start saving to build a car or be spurred on to complete your project.
The best day in my opinion was XTRAX at Silverstone on the 1st September when I at last got my car to handle properly, I think Ken and I lapped at least once most of the other cars on the track with the exception of a few other GT40s. The weather was perfect for this event and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.

Ford Fest

If you have a car and are interested in more serious outings without actually racing then the RACMSA test days might suit you, I attended such a day at Oulton Park 19th September earlier this year with Tony Cooper who owns a full race GT40 and a Capri race car, but be warned these are more expensive than our club track days but do provide hours of access to the track.
Other dates Margaret and I remember well are Le-Mans 8th - 17th June trip which has to be the highlight of the year, having never attended Le-Mans before I can only say what I've said before, if you can afford the trip "go" you won't be disappointed. This was one of the best holidays we've ever had. A great bunch of GT40 owners and enthusiasts, both male and female made this a memorable holiday, it also produced long lasting friendships not the least of which was that my youngest daughter Amie not only had a great 21st birthday party whilst on the trip but met her current boy friend Ady (another GT40 nut) who after some 6 months she has moved in with (this club has a lot to answer for). It wasn't however all romance and pleasure, we had several days of serious wine sampling and food testing. From what I've heard most of those who went this year have already enlisted to go on next years trip, such dedication is truly inspiring. It should be noted that next years trip will feature a large transit van to carry one piece of luggage each (ladies please note) and a vast amount of wine, champagne, and food on the return trip (Ken you are not having the key to the van, we need to bring some champagne home this time for our eldest daughters wedding later next year or the trailer chain padlock key as we feel it would be prudent to give it to the local gendarmerie upon arrival), plus a large trailer for Ken and Robin's cars.

Ken on the Radio

6-7th July Sports Car Spectacular at Brands Hatch. This was a popular event but a little disappointing due to having to follow a pace car! 18th July Silverstone BBC Top Gear Live. 4th August Ford Fair 96, at this event Ken was asked to display his car on the Fast Ford stand and was requested to do a radio live interview which promoted the club very well. 17th August classic Car Action Day at Castle Combe followed by a barbecue at our home. 3rd September RACMSA test day at Thruxton. 8th September Beaulieu Auto jumble. 14th September National Kit and Performance Show at Donnington, if anyone decides to attend this event or Castle Coombe for that matter make sure your exhaust noise level is below 102dbs. 19th September RACMSA Test day at Oulton Park. 21st September Kit Car Action day at Castle Coombe followed by the reunion of those who went to Le-Mans and Robin Sundt's 50th birthday celebrations which also featured a showing of the Le-Mans 1996 trip (which is still available from Ron Farmer). 22nd September GT40 Club Go Cart Grand Prix at Bristol. 6th October Kit Car Classic and Auto Jumble at Malvern, 16th November Great Western Kit and Sports Car show Exeter and last but not least the National Restoration Show at Stoneleigh.
As you can see from the list above a busy year and hopefully one to be repeated with even more track time next year. Both Margaret and I wish you all a happy Xmas and a prosperous New Year, hope to see you all at next years events or if your passing through Westbury drop in for a chat.

Mike Osborne


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