Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

All things Morgan +4

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Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Andy Downes »

I thought I would share some photos of a very rare (and rarely seen) Morgan 1953 +4.

It is Roy Clarkson's +4 Rally Car that ran successfully in the Monte Carlo, Dutch Tulip and Daily Express (2nd overall) Rallies in 1953.
In 1954 it was 1st in class in the 3-Day Highland Rally, and 1st in the Touring car class at Montlhery Coupe de Salon.
1955 saw it in the Rallye de Dieppe, and the Scottish Rally where it achieved another 1st in class.

Roy sold the car to a Sandy Forrest in Scotland, and much later Vic and Kate Champness bought it in 1980. Vic carried out a sympathetic 'refresh' in the mid 2000s, retaining as much as possible of the original components, its (very fragile) aluminium body - and returning it to its original old blue colour.
The Morgan motor Company supplied Roy Clarkson with a built-up rolling chassis complete with engine, gearbox, axle, instruments etc. It had a special Vanguard engine which was replaced in 1954 with a Morgan factory supplied TR2 unit.

It has 'Superleggera' lightweight body construction - aluminium over a minimal light tubular frame, the chassis legs forward of the bulkhead have been turned into 'box sections, presumably for strength but improving the turning circle into the bargain. Interestingly the SLR bodies employ a similar method of construction. Original construction by Charlie Robinson assisted later by Maurice Gomm. Clarkson asked for it to be styled after his rare Ferrari Inter.

This really is a very interesting car and a true piece of Morgan's competition history, it must be one of the most original unmodified period competition cars around. Vic has compiled a large history file over the years with many original photographs, documents, and even interviews he and Chris Chapman conducted with Roy Clarkson before he died.

Shown here on a run to Zandvoort, Holland, in 2007.

Andy

'Vino' proudly displaying its Morgan wings.
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Wow ! what a profile...
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+4 interior.

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Underneath the bonnet, it's all Triumph TR, note the ash bonnet prop.

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1953 Daily Express National Rally.
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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Alan House »

Great Photos of an interesting one-off, I love to see it in the flesh!
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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by RICHARD PLANT »

I look forward to reading more on this.
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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Andy Downes »

Here are some shots of the 'refresh'.
Note the 'Superleggera' lightweight body construction - aluminium over a minimal light tubular frame, not much structural here ! Interestingly the SLR bodies employ a similar method. Original construction by Charlie Robinson and later assisted by Maurice Gomm.

Superleggera 1.
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Superleggera 2.
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Superleggera 3.
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Morgan front suspension.
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Rear chassis clearly visible.
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'In period' repairs.
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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Andy Downes »

I have updated the historical details and put them all together in the first post of this Topic.

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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Andy Downes »

Vic Champness has kindly provided some older photos.

Andy

VNO 600 in action on the 1953 Daily Express Rally.
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VNO 600 on the 1955 Rallye de Dieppe.
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VNO 600 reunited with 2nd owner Sandy Forrest - Vic and Kate Champness made a special drive up to Scotland to see him.
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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Mark Shears »

Great photos Andy and thank you for posting.

So pleased to see that VNO is in such good rude health!

Cheers,

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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Andy Downes »

Thanks Mark, this +4 is just not well enough known !

There is a surprise in the tale too -'Vino' as VNO 600 is known has a twin sister - based on a Jowett Jupiter chassis !

The Jowett was started soon after Clarkson's Morgan, but the build stalled and it was not completed until 1957. I'm hoping to post some pictures shortly once I get the OK from the photographer regarding copyright.

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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by machiel kalf »

Dear readers,

Maybe it's an idea to give this car some attention in the MHR-news in Miscellany. November or as a X-Mas present in December. Look forward to your response, Machiel.
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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Andy Downes »

I'm pleaased that Eddie Singleton one of our MHR Owners sent me some photos and agreed for them to be used here.

VNO 600 after Vic had bought her, but well before the 'refresh', note the different grille teatment, Silverstone 1982 Bentley Drivers Club - Thanks Eddie.

Andy

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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by machiel kalf »

Thanks Eddie!

It's such a pleasure to see pictures of this unique car.

Any idea what the location and the year/ event was you made those photos?

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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Eddie Singleton »

Hello Machiel,

These were taken at Bentley Drivers Club events at Siverstone :-
- top photo, August 1987.
- middle photo, August 1985.
- bottom photo, August 1982.

Pleased to share these with other members.

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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Andy Downes »

Now tell me that this isn't the car that VNO 600 is based on !

It's a 1950 Ferrari 195 Inter, coachwork by Touring of Milan (specialists in Superleggera, they invented it in 1936) they made just 3 in this style, and by 1950 Ferrari had only made 100 or so cars, total.

The car is for sale at the top Ferrari Dealer Talacrest at https://talacrest.com/Ferrari-Sales/Fer ... /13636.htm who kindly gave me permission to use the photographs.

Andy

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Photo courtesy of www.talacrest.com What a car, split front screen

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Photo courtesy of www.talacrest.com Smart front end treatment

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Photo courtesy of www.talacrest.com There's that profile again

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Photo courtesy of www.talacrest.com Just lovely, note the swage line along the bodywork

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Photo courtesy of www.talacrest.com Compare the rear bodywork round the lights with that of VNO 600

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Photo courtesy of www.talacrest.com Potato cutter grille, look familiar ?
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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by Mary Lindsay »

ian cummings
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Re: Special Bodied 1953 +4 VNO 600

Post by ian cummings »

I took this one when it was on display at Prescot in 2011
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