RoToR Racing


2012 promised much. The Clans were ready for testing and the team started to plan the year. The highlight, the team hoped, would be the Tour of Mull rally in October. It was a special event in 2012 being the 40th anniversary of the event being won by Alan Conley in the Car and Cars Conversion sponsored Clan Crusader. Graham is a great fan of the rally and was looking forward to the event. Plans were made to get the rally Clan reliable and work started fitting it out to meet the regulations required for a modern day rally. This was achieved but certain items like seats were difficult to find. The car is very narrow inside and finding a suitable competition seat was difficult. A trip to the Autosport show saw a middle aged gentleman squeezing his ample behind into every seat on show. Finally something suitable was found but the shock of seeing the price nearly finished off all thoughts of using the car in a modern rally. A big cheque was signed and a pair of FIA homologated seats were acquired. Fitting them was not easy but with a great deal of effort they were finally mounted in the car. It was a tight fit but they met the regulations and the driver could get in and out with some degree of difficulty. To get the required headroom the seats were tilted back which made things awkward for your ankles because of the pedal position. There was much debate as to how best to tailor the cockpit to get everything required by the regulations in but everything was squeezed in apart from a spare wheel.

The race Clan was also being worked on at this time. We decided that we would enter the Scottish Classics race series. It looked a good format with a more open set of regulations with a class structure that Graham thought would suit a Clan. Starting from the bare shell the car was built to be as light as possible with nothing added unless it was required by the rules. The car had to be road legal, have a current MOT certificate and be standard looking apart from wheel arch extensions and a front spoiler. Anything out of sight was allowed to be modified so the internals of things like engines and gearboxes were free. The team built a 1040 race engine and coupled it to a close ratio gearbox. The team hoped for around 105 bhp from the engine which in a car weighing around 540KG would give reasonable performance. The car was equipped with race brakes supplied by an Imp specialist. As things started to come together the car was taxed and insured so that the engine and running gear could be run in gently on the road rather than the track but things started to go wrong when the suspension was set up. We discovered just before the first run that the rear brake calipers were fouling the inner arches when the car was on bump. Solving the rear brakes issue was going to take time because the calipers were welded to the rear trailing arms and they could not be mounted in another position due to the bleed nipples needing to be at the highest point. Contacts in the Clan club suggested we use a different caliper, one from a Fiat X19 was suggested but when we managed to source a couple they were no better. We finally, in desperation, changed back to drums as a temporary measure. Worse was to come when we found that, under load, the engine was flat and would not run cleanly. We ten discovered that the carburettors had an air valve blocked off by the air box and this was not allowing air into the system to stop a vacuum forming in the float chambers. This old fashioned technology was proving difficult to master but we persevered and soon got things working to our satisfaction.

With the Clans ready for action Graham turned his mind to the future. Car design had come a long way in the 40 years since the Clan was designed and built. Would something similar work today? There was only one way to find out. Graham started work on designing a new Rotor that would take things to a new level for the team. It would be a lightweight coupe powered by a modern 1600cc engine and could be used for most forms of competition. Some sketches were done and from them things progressed quite quickly. A set of scale drawings came next and before long the team had made a wooden mock up of the chassis and cockpit to finalise dimensions and the general layout.

Things were looking good for the team but it all turned to tears when Graham went on holiday and broke his leg. Graham was out of action for six weeks but this was only the start of his problems. It soon became apparent that he could not get in and out of the Clan easily. It was with some reluctance that the team decided to abandon their plans for the season.