A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
+buyer's premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%
Taken from Chris Lawrence's auto-biography - "Morgan Maverick" (a signed copy of which acompanies this car):- "One other Deep Sanderson model that I should mention is a real oddball that does not fit in with the others, except its number is DS401; otherwise known as 'the Twinny'. It is a single seater car with a 1071cc Cooper Mini engine at both ends and was the most fun car I have ever built. The project was thrust on me quite by chance by Downton Engineering in the autumn of 1963. Daniel Richmond had been approached by Reg Harris, the racing cyclist retiring for at least the third time, to provide him with a fun hill climb car. At that time 'twinnies' were all the rage. John Cooper had fitted an extra engine in the back of a Mini, and Downton were following suit, so Daniel talked Mr Harris into having a single seater twinny built. Daniel then ran foul of his contract with BMC, and Appleby told him firmly that he was no longer in a position to take on commissions of that sort. As luck would have it, on the day that I had taken the 1963 1000cc DS301 Le Mans car down to Salisbury for Daniel to play with he suddenly had a brain-wave and said he would get Reg Harris to take the project to Lawrence Tune, except for the engines, which Downton would continue to supply. All that came to pass and we duly got stuck in to the build of a real 'weirdie'. I made it absolutely as simple as I could, with a Mini sub-fame at the front strictly as per Mini, and a Deep Sanderson cross member and suspension at the rear hitched together with a few strategically placed one and a half inch square tubes. The rest of the build put the driver in the middle, with a small fuel tank behind him and a suitable body trying to make something that was inherently ugly look good. Finally, there were lots and lots of linkages working two gearboxes, two throttles, two clutches and the rest simultaneously. The linkages were obviously going to be the key to the whole thing and I was just getting into the job of sorting them out when the project blew up in my face. First of all Mr Harris announced that he could not actually afford the car. Then I received a whopping bill from Bunty Richmond for the two engines once she had discovered that Mr Harris was not going to pay for them as arranged. I politely informed her that Downton had retained the contract for the engines with Mr Harris and she would have to look to him for payment. I did say that if the matter was still not resolved, if or when I was able to sell the finished car, I would pay for the engines then. Alternatively, if they preferred it, I could see them in court right now. The car was finished in time for me to enter it in the 1963 Boxing Day Brands Hatch meeting where it caught the imagination of the popular press. It also put me in a difficult situation regarding the Bunty Richmond impasse, as by using the engines I had made certain that we would have to pay for them, and I did so on the press day of the first Racing Car Show at Olympia in January 1964. Carrie Spender and I discussed the problem of sitting on a stand not far from a glowering Bunty for ten days and decided we couldn't tolerate that, so I went to the bank and drew the money in cash, marched up to the Downton stand, put the money on the desk and left without a word. Unfortunately the car was still unpainted and looked pretty awful at Brands and only went well in fits and starts, mainly due to an error I had made in the cooling water circuit. It was, however, in much better shape for an Easter Monday Mallory Park Formula Libre race, which means anything goes. Not only had the cooling problem been sorted, but an interesting new linkage had been added. That linkage allowed me, the driver, to control the way the two engines were balanced; or perhaps I should say it allowed me to introduce an imbalance when required. For example, on the approach to the hairpin at Mallory I could set the throttle linkages so that the rear engine came in before the front one, which helped me to get the tail out for the tight corner. Alternatively, on the approach to Gerrards, which is a long right hand sweeper, I could reverse the procedure and bring the front engine in first, and cause gentle understeer allowing me to barrel round Gerrards flat out all the way. Huge fun. I can remember just hooting with laughter inside my crash hat all the way round. Unfortunately, we had also fitted the car with the first set of Deep Sanderson alloy wheels we had designed for the 850cc 301 road-car kit which had drum brakes all round, it being primarily a sprint and hill climb car. The brake drum was cast integrally in the wheel and at ten inches diameter they were very light and nice looking to boot. The unfortunate bit came from them not being up to the rigours of the Twinny when used on the track, and after seven and a half laps precisely, three times in a row, the outside or left front tyre went pop at precisely the same place on the back straight. Nothing further was done to the car before Le Mans in June from which I did not return. When I did finally start to pick up the pieces there was no trace of the car or record of its sale. I discovered eventually that John Pearce had helped himself to the car and it was gathering dust in the back of his emporium in Southall. I retrieved it from there in great haste as I had heard about Sidney Allard's upcoming 'Festival of Speed and Sport'. There were to be six drag race meetings, held on three consecutive week-ends, all round the country and this would clearly be a perfect shop window for selling the Twinny. With the expected arrival in England of Don Garlitz and Tommy Ivo and other top line fuel Dragsters, we decided to give the little car an American style paint job. It had huge white numbers highlighted in red on a royal blue metalescent base and very smart it was too. I had not at that point returned to driving and I asked Tony Kinch of Acton Garage to drive it for me, as he was rather a dab hand at sprints. Although Kinch did not win anything, he and the car were still a star turn at all six meetings, mainly in the morning Eliminators. For those, it is the car that is first over the line that wins, not the one with the fastest time. The Twinny, with its fairly light weight, four wheel drive and manageable torque, was nearly always leading at one eighth of a mile, often causing the other driver to get flustered and start to miss gears and the like. Our esteemed hill climb champion of the time, Tony Marsh, who had borrowed the Ferguson P99 four wheel drive Formula 1 car, was beaten twice by the Twinny whose best elapsed time for the standing quarter mile was 10.9sec, despite not being as competitive as the Ferguson." The car was returned to Chris Lawrence in 2007 and restored with great pains by him over the course of 12 months. It was a sensation at the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where Chris took the wheel and was "clocked" at an impressive 111mph! The car also took part in Goodwood Revival's Mini 50 celebration that September. Since then Chris, who sadly passed away in August 2011, refined a number of items and indeed the car has FIA HTP papers in process under the number GB7859.It is hoped that this process will be completed and that the car will be in posession of full paper work by the time of the Auction. A really fascinating motor car which would attract both interest and invitations to many of the leading events.