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Bill Beattie's 1947 in 1961

The picture below is from the "Ulster Motorist" dated Nov 1961

It shows the 1947 VW Bill bought for £10 (not £12.10 as stated) and in which he won the premier event of the season at Kirkistown, Northern Ireland (the Baird Memorial Trophy). It was a handicap event of course so his trumpet is well muted.

The car was left hand drive and he converted it to right hand by fitting right hand pedals bought from a scrap yard and simply moving the steering wheel to the other side. It had cable brakes and a crash gear-box. The shockers were an odd size and useless so he did without and the rear wheels were turned inside-out which widened the track and lowered the back-end.

The engine, which he built from spare parts, was fitted with OKRASA twin port heads which he had obtained 2nd-hand (the original owner found that they were prone to break cranks) he also fitted a Porsche crank and flywheel giving an extra 10mm throw, this was accomplished by machining the VW rods to fit the crank, grinding the big-ends to VW size and fitting spacers below the cylinders. He fitted an out-side oil cooler, made from the coils of a commercial air heater and mounted across the inlet grills above the engine door, and to take care of oil surge, he installed an oil tank below the sump attached at the oil filter and extended the oil inlet pipe.

The engine certainly went and when fitted to his ordinary beetle, he had endless fun beating Mini Coopers etc.

He also had a few class wins in hillclimbs and sprints before selling the "racer" to a well known rally driver who used the engine for many thousands of hard miles.

Incidently, the race went very well. The scrutineers were not so strict in those days and no attention was paid to the observers who reported that the car was adopting strange attitudes when cornering!

Winning the class (saloon cars up to 1600cc) at Knockagh Hill Climb on 7th Oct 1961.

© Bill Beattie