1952 Connaught A-Type
This car is a very historic Connaught A-Type Formula 2 single seater that raced in period for the Connaught works team and the legendary Scottish racing team Ecurie Ecosse.
The Connaught project originated from Continental Autos, a company run by engineers Rodney Clarke and Mike Oliver and received financial backing from Kenneth McAlpine. Clarke and Oliver had intended to specialise in Bugattis but began to build their own cars when it became clear that Bugatti would not re-start production post-war. The earliest Connaughts were the small L series sports cars, which utilised Lea-Francis components and appeared in competition from June 1949. They were soon followed by the prototype A-Type single-seater, which debuted at Castle Combe in October 1950 where McAlpine took 2nd place behind the HWM of Stirling Moss. Development of the prototype continued throughout the 1951 season and by 1952 the company felt confident enough to build six further cars, which were eventually intended for private sale. One of these cars was chassis A-6, the example offered here.
By the start of the 1952 season the new A-Type cars all had an increased engine capacity, revised big end bearings, suspension bushes had been replaced by steel universal bearings and the exhaust now incorporated a four-branch manifold. On July 15th 1952 Chassis number A-6 had its competition debut at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone where it formed part of a four-strong line-up of A-Type Connaughts. In a magnificent performance by the Connaught Racing Syndicate all four cars finished with Dennis Poore coming 4th and Eric Thompson in chassis A-6 coming home in 5th place – a result which was all the more remarkable given it was Thompson and Poore’s first race in a Grand Prix. The next important event for Connaught was the Italian Grand Prix at Monza held on September 7th. On this occasion Stirling Moss drove A-6, qualifying fastest of the British drivers and placing 9th on the grid, a position he held for almost half the race until a broken pushrod top forced his retirement. A little under three weeks later A-6 was back in action, this time for the Madgewick Cup at Goodwood where Thompson was back behind the wheel. Unfortunately he was involved in a collision with the ERA of Moss and Dennis Poore’s A-Type on the first lap and retired. In spite of this disappointment for Thompson, it was not all bad news for Connaught with Ken Downing, driving chassis A-3, coming home 1st. Thompson and A-6 were next seen at Charterhall for the Newcastle Journal Trophy on October 11th where they finished but some way down the field. At the end of 1952 Chassis A-6 was displayed on the Connaught stand at the Motor Show and it was here that it was purchased by Major Edward Gordon Thomson, a friend and benefactor to David Murray, for the Ecurie Ecosse team to use in the 1953 season.
Its first outing for the Scottish team was on 6th April at Goodwood where Sir James Scott-Douglas finished 11th in the Lavant Cup against stiff competition including the likes of Moss, Rolt, Salvadori and Whitehead. Scott-Douglas took the car north to Charterhall the following week and then on 18th April Ian Stewart drove A-6 to victory at Ibsley. Stewart and Scott-Douglas both shared the driving at the Daily Express Trophy Meeting held at Silverstone on 9th May where they placed 9th in one heat and 17th in the final. Throughout May of 1952 Stewart continued to campaign the Connaught achieving a 2nd at Thruxton and a 1st at Snetterton in the Formula Libre race. Stewart was again at Snetterton on 27th June but rear axle problems caused him to retire just two laps from the end of the race. Another retirement at Silverstone in July brought A-6’s 1953 season to a close. The 1954 season began on April 3rd and it was Jimmy Stewart who drove A-6 on this occasion securing an excellent 2nd at Castle Combe. Leslie Thorne was the pilot of A-6 at the 19th April Goodwood meeting and he achieved a creditable 6th in the Chichester Cup but sadly did not finish in the Glover Trophy. He made up for this poor result the following week with a 3rd at Snetterton during an AMOC race meeting. Over the remainder of the 1954 season Thorne was the principal driver, although Peter Hughes also drove at Charterhall and Goodwood in September.
At the end of 1954 the car was sold on and eventually went into long term storage, a fact which no doubt contributed to its excellent degree of preservation. By 1989 chassis A-6 had been purchased by a Mr Burrell who initiated a major recommissioning and testing programme before entering it into historic races at Silverstone, Donington and Curborough over 1989-1991. Interestingly the car also featured in an episode of Top Gear at this time when it was driven at Boreham by Tiff Needell. In 2005 it was fully restored and made race ready by JD Classics and then entered into some of the world’s most prestigious events including the Goodwood Revival in 2009, and Monaco and Goodwood once again in 2010.
The car is now available again for the first time in over 10 years and comes with a fantastic provenance and history file including period photographs and original booklet that documents testing results of this car and another Connaught. In race-ready condition it comes with a good spares package and offers an exceptional opportunity to acquire a genuine Ecurie Ecosse competition car that would be welcome in historic races the world over. Please contact us for further details. SOLD.