Meet Oliver’s African racing cousin
Yes, Hammond’s Opel Kadett has a racecar relative from South Africa…
Posted: 19 Oct 2012
Regular Top Gear viewers will have fond memories of the time Hammond shipped home an old Opel Kadett A from the boys' Botswana epic, then lovingly restored it. Well, it turns out that the infamous Oliver's got a racing cousin...
The internet, meet 113. 113: the internet.
It started with a race back in 1968 at St Albans airfield in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. A little 1.0-litre Kadett A spent the day club racing, and (bafflingly) kept the then-heroic Ford Cortinas honest, rousing the interest of competitors.
Then, a few years later in 1974, 113 got a shot. A driver called Lionel Rowe, owner of an ex Ford/Fitzpatrick Broadspeed Anglia, suffered a cracked piston during the final race of the East Cape and Border Championship. The only way he could win his class was by using another car, so he called on 113. Running a tiny 1160cc engine, he took on the region's best 1300cc cars, including two 1293cc Works Mini Coopers, and trounced the lot, winning Rowe the cup.
Fast-forward another 35 years and a man called Franco Arcidiacone sent an email. He spotted a picture of 113 online, and wanted to build a replica to compete in the German Historiche Tourenwagen Trophy. Eventually, he tracked down the original car's specs and set about building an homage.
After finding a donor car, installing a roll cage, fitting flared wheelarches, getting some CAD-designed pistons built, a bespoke inlet manifold CNC milled, then a paint job in its original two-tone livery, 113 was ready for the track. And this very year, it took its first competition drive in the Historiche Tourenwagen Trophy - making it the oldest, and smallest, car in the race.
And after a successful outing, Oliver's racing cousin ready for its loftiest challenge yet - the 24-Hour Classic race at the Nürburgring.
D'you reckon they should let Richard take it for a stint, TopGear.commers?