101Smart Ltd.

Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th June



LOT 744

Estimate:  £20,000 - £25,000

Result inc Premium: £23,760


This 1953 Martin 500 F3 racing car (chassis number 019, registration VIF 001) is one of a small batch of cars designed and built by Ray Martin, the constructor of the Kieft racer (which Sir Stirling Moss competed in early in his career). Martin called his model the Martin Special, and it shares some characteristics with the Kieft, such as the swing axle rear suspension. 

This example was supplied to Jim Mays, who built bodies for Martin, and was converted for circuit racing. It then passed to Dave Watson and was fitted with a long-stroke Norton engine. Its next custodian was Mike Trackman, who fitted it with a JAP unit and had some success during the late 1950s, including being the first JAP car in the 1959 Commander York Trophy. After passing through the hands of several other owners - including Roy James (one of the Great Train Robbers) and Roger Mills (the director of Ogle Cars) - it was acquired by Charlie Smith and raced by his neighbour Reg Hargraves, now with a shortened-stroke Triumph Twin installed. It then went to a short-stroke Manx Norton engine and passed to Roy Hunt, who competed in it from 1996 onwards, winning the occasional race and 500 Owners Association circuit racing championship. With Roy, it became one of the most prolific cars in resurgent 500 Club racing, up until last year. 

The Martin is Goodwood-eligible (it has taken part in the Earl of March Trophy at the Goodwood Revival multiple times) and would also be welcomed at most historic events for its type across Europe. It is described as running and driving as it should, with working brakes. It has a current and valid Vehicle Identification Form (VIF - the individual car papers needed to enter historic races) which just needs the new owner details to be notified. It last raced in October 2022 at Castle Combe. The Manx Norton engine has just returned from a refresh by Andy Molnar, who carried out a barrel replacement. It is fitted with the correct AMC gearbox. The vendor feels that it would benefit from a service and mechanical overhaul prior to use though.  

Accompanying the vehicle are a Brian James two-wheel trailer along with new tyres, ramps, spare wheel and winch. There's also a Powerstart battery-powered car starter, various body panels including the nose and tail, and some other spares including engine plates, gearbox and clutch parts, front suspension uprights and a custom-made fitted car cover; essentially a complete racing package. There are also two large ring-binder files of history chronicling the car's life and adding greatly to its provenance. The paperwork includes the VIF, invoices, information on maintenance of the Manx Norton engine, and a huge stack of bills dating back to the mid-1990s. The information on the events in which the Martin has taken part in dates back to the same period.  

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