More on Chris Insalaco's MG Special
Is this Chris's car?

The photo is from the "KTUD Archive" but beyond identifying the venue as Willow Springs and the year as 1955 they offer no information on the car beyond calling it an "MG Special".

Uh oh, this car is right hand drive and Chris's car is left hand drive.   Good try, though!  The other minor differences could have been modifications, repairs, or upgrades in period.

From Chris Insalaco:

"Thank you so much for posting those photos. I feel like a fisherman with a baited waiting hook.  Here also is a more detailed description of the car 
in current form.

None of the of the factory bodywork remains; it is all aluminum over 3/4" steel tubing (pipe?) that is welded directly to the original chassis. The frame has been shortened by choice or after a crash, either way the wheelbase is about seven inches shorter, cut behind the original front suspension crossmember. 

The lower A-arm pivots are now bolted to the frame box sections. The spring pans have been replaced with a piece of one-inch channel welded to the arm sides providing some stiffness and a lower mount for the tube shock. There is no longer an Armstrong dampener (shock absorber) upper A-arm unit,  the upper link and springing is now provided by a pair of tranverse leaf springs. The standard steering rack is retained. At the rear it is basically stock with radius links (traction bars?) from under the front spring eye to the U-bolt pad.

Cutting off the front suspension crossmember made it lighter for sure but why stop there, why not drill until you run out of bits. The top and sides of the frame have been attacked with a hole saw. The brake backing plates have been vented and drilled. The starter and dynamo (generator) bodies are drilled. They forgot the gas tank and oil pan. It is definitely of the Swiss Cheese Special school of thought. I hear those OSCAs were fast.

Colors over time appear to have been black , silver and red for the body. The transmission and oil pan were factory MG maroon, yellow, black and yellow again.

The transmission and oil pan appear to be the oldest dateable parts, the block and head are a later type with the bore the same as a 1466cc TF1500. There is no engine number tag but it is from XPAG/TD2/22735 on as it has round water passages at the head and deck surface. These have been plugged with bronze or brass, the coolant exits a rear side core plug boss and enters the cylinder head through the plate at its rear. This might be insurance against head gasket failure and I've read Ken Miles R1 had one of the factory racing blocks cast without these holes and bolt on plates instead of core plugs.

The oil pan and transmission are from engine number range XPAG/TD/ 6533 to 9407. The stock oil pick-up is abandoned with hose and fittings leading to the front of the oil pan.  Other features are twin SU H4 (1.5") carburettors with GJ needles that were standard for the TF. They are fed by two SU fuel pumps from a tank of unknown origin with two outlets. The tachometer is later TD recalibrated to 8,000rpm and the spark plugs are Champion NA10. The radiator is modified TF with an air bleed, replacing the pressure cap, that ran to a now missing remote pressure tank. It has an MG TC horn. 

The rear fenders are fiberglass and the fronts are from the band of a spare tire cover. The fronts are supported by a bowed piece of tubing with an airfoil cross section. It has two tubes brazed into it for stock head light assemblies. I was told  this piece might have been from a light plane, tying the two main fixed landing gear together.

From Etceterini expert John DeBoer  (12-18-07)

"Chris Insalaco's MG special was probably raced at Torrey Pines 10/22-23/55 as entry #215.  It was an MG Special, 1466cc, driven by Ron Pearson to 7th overall in race 4.  Note that, although the front suspension is transverse leaf, the parts are not Fiat/Simca Topolino. 

Link to program page from the Torrey Pines event on Frank Sheffield's website.  Note car #215.

On this page above:  The "KTUD" photo posted of the MG special showing race #61 is one of the Barlow Simca cars ("Pringle" or "Van Dyke" come to mind as possibilities ... without having checked further) fitted later with MG engine in place of Simca. Not the first reference I've seen to that."

Historian Ron Cummings found a photo of this car in the April, 1956 issue of "Sports Cars Illustrated". 

(6-19-09)  From Ron Cummings:

"The #61 Class "F" modified car at the top of this page is the Van Dyke Barlow Simca Special.  This is the third of the Barlow Simca Specials. The photo was taken at the CalClub races at Willow Springs California raceway in 1954.  The car was running the Offenhauser 1450cc Sport motor at the time."

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