11 - #168 

the Singapore Eleven


Gordon Jones (#2 at left) leaves the grid at Silverstone.



In a ditch after a dice with Ashdown, Silverstone 1956.



Westcott at Silverstone in 1957




Westcott chases G. Hill (Lotus 15) in 1958



In disguise as a museum car.



While under restoration & return to true identity.

This early Eleven was originally sold to Gordon Jones and Albert Zains in the UK who raced it, painted red with a white triangle on the bonnet, from June 1956 until Jones had a slight shunt at the treacherous Roskilde circuit in Denmark, in April 1957. The car was returned to the UK and rebuilt, but then sold to Jack Westcott of Plymouth. Westcott raced the car generally in club events for the remainder of 1957. As he was to replace it with Series 2 chassis 502, #168 was again put up for sale. New owner Peter Arundel shunted it at the Goodwood chicane on a practice day in early 1958. The bodywork was beaten out and resprayed; a regular task during the 1958 season!  Arundel raced #168 regularly until August 1958 when it had another shunt at Brands Hatch.

            Arundel eventually became a Works Lotus driver, and sold #168 to Tony Huggett who shipped it around the world to Singapore. It was badly damaged in transit and insurance covered repaint; this time to pale blue. The car was then reregistered SS 769 and always raced with competition number 27, winning in Singapore in March 1959. In May, the car went over a cliff on the Gap Hill Climb. It was repaired locally by an opium-smoking panel beater. At the same time various suspension members were chromium plated and a finned remote oil cooler fitted. In February 1960, Huggett finished 2nd in the Jahore Coronation Grand Prix, even after a spin (pictured in Autosport). After advertising the car for sale in July 1961, he put a rod through the side of the engine at Jahore in August 1961. The car was taken back to the paddock by sea, this being the shortest route! The engine was rebuilt to 1216 cc FWE size and the car was sold to Peter Hodson after October 1961 and continued to be based in Singapore until 1974.

            That year #168 returned to the UK where Jeffray Johnstone raced it, still with the FWE engine and now painted green and sponsored by PAO Preparations. His entry forms at the time confirmed that this had been the Singapore Eleven. Johnstone raced #168 until late 1975 when it was sold to Gerry Marshall.  At about this time the claim began that this car was the “ex-Mac Fraser (Monza) record car” on the basis of its chromed suspension!  It appeared at Silverstone, driven by Marshall, in April 1976 in a tribute to Graham Hill. By then the Singapore history of the car with its record at Silverstone (and even against Hill ironically) was lost.

            In June 1976 this car was sold to Mike Wheatley and then on to the Hayashi Collection in Japan, which had contracted Doug Nye to put “the record breaker” back into its original condition. Doug’s brother had made the form for the Monza bubble canopy, which ended up being produced in Japan by Mitsubishi. The car was now green, with “Coventry Climax” painted boldly across its bonnet.

            About twenty years later the car was involved in a series of trades that brought it back across the Pacific to Seattle and then on to Florida. A fake chassis plate was now attached. In 2000, owner Paul Tavilla cautiously allowed an expert analysis of the car to determine its identity. But the "expert" was stupefied by the number of chassis alterations made to the car over the years. The car changed hands again, after a conclusion that it was NOT the Monza record breaker. However, new owner Mike Studley had a lucky break when inquiries to the HLR revealed a continuous history for the Zains / Jones #168 through various owners to Singapore and back. The connection to the Marshall / Wheatley / Hayashi museum Eleven was proven and its identity as the “record breaker” completely refuted.  The strange mixture of early and genuine chassis details with incorrect replacement tubes – some installed in clouds of opium smoke – that defied forensic analysis was explained when the succession of shunts, repairs and restorations was traced.

            The details related here were primarily collected by HLR historian Rob Lyall.  Mike Studley wishes to thank him, Victor Thomas, Jay Sloane, Bill Friend and previous owners Arundell, Wheatly, et al. The fact that #168 has survived several trips around the world and is now correctly restored is the result of luck – and a determination to get the details right. If you have any clues to the whereabouts of Peter Hodson or Jeffray Johnstone, or any other details of the history of this car, please contact the website editor.



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