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Fantastic Historic Ferrari F1 Car Display at Ferrari Passione

Fantastic Historic Ferrari F1 Car Display at Ferrari Passione

Ferrari North Europe is pleased to announce the addition of a fantastic historic Ferrari F1 car display at the Ferrari Passione event at Silverstone, on 23-24 September, with four cars from different decades on display. Two of the cars are kindly on loan from the Donington Collection: a 312T and a 312 T5.

Super Classic – Replica Ferrari P4

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Super Classic – Replica Ferrari P4

There are some classic automobiles your average enthusiast will be lucky to even see, let alone own. Options are thin on the ground if you desire an iconic race car that thrilled worldwide during the late sixties but one man on Jersey not only achieved his ambition but produced the ultimate in ‘replicas’. When asked to cover the Jersey International Festival of Motoring, an event including classic cars and bikes with hill climbs and sprints on the roads around St Helier, an email from the organisers came my way offering a chance to view a Ferrari P4 replica of the highest quality that had taken local man Rob Romeril ‘seven’ years to complete. Friends on the island confirmed the details and that Jersey was buzzing with stories of its perfection. I was sceptical about how good it really was but a twenty minute flight would give me the opportunity to offer my conclusion. What follows is a story of engineering brilliance, ingenuity and patience; ‘homage’ to one of Maranello’s finest on their quest to dominate sports car racing.

The Ferrari P4 V12 has huge historic status with originally just four of the 330 type built for endurance racing in 1967; the car had a great deal of success in distance events including Monza 1000klm and Le Mans 24 hours. Later the cars were altered to compete in the Can Am series and the model was enjoyed by great drivers such as Jackie Stewart. Up to the present day the P4 still courts controversy one machine built at huge costs using original parts; chassis 0858 was fitted with an all new aluminium body. The question being asked is can it be labelled an original P4? This would not be an issue for Rob; with a Foreman Mark 4 chassis number 51 he knew what he wanted to achieve and why he was doing it. I on the other hand would take some convincing, so my first question to Rob was why? The story goes back to the millennium year and at the time Rob was the quickest driver in the Channel Isles. With no circuits available these small islands in the English Channel have enjoyed hill climbs and sprints on closed off roads for many years and the events are extremely competitive. Running a Pilbeam MP58 with a 600hp F1 Cosworth DFZ still did not guarantee success but after years of competition Rob was just about to hold every record these Islands offered. So, in 2001 the mainland became the target for Rob and it was at Gurston Down when things took a dramatic turn for the worse; 3 weeks on a spinal board in Salisbury Hospital and 6 months off work after losing control after crossing the crest at the finish line. After recovering and putting the car back together Rob returned to the fray but for the next 3 seasons he admits ‘the speed just wasn’t there anymore’. The Pilbeam was sold in November 2005 and a month later a new challenge was needed and the story of the P4 began. The CD and manual arrived in time for some light reading over the festive break. A quote was requested in January and an order confirmed the following month for a Foreman Mk4 kit from Neil and Matt Foreman at NF Auto’s in Kent. Why that kit? ‘Well originally Noble made the kit and it looked right’. So was extensive research undertaken? I asked ‘No not really’ came the reply. Still having the magazines he looked through all those years ago Rob showed me other peoples completed machines, some going back to the mid-1990s. I started to understand what had drawn him to this make. Rob had his own ideas how it would be achieved and the changes required to give the result he would insist on.
The original Ferrari V12 set up would make the car uneconomic but for the kit to wear the prancing horse it would have to be Ferrari in every detail possible. By chance whilst trawling the adverts looking for the right motor Rob purchased a low mileage Ferrari 360 engine and F1 gearbox from of all places EBay on 8th March 2006; now I realised this man has no fear at all. The choice was not made at random, in-fact various options had been considered including a BMW V12 coupled with an Audi A6 gearbox but the Ferrari option always came out on top. This decision lead to the chassis mounts being made up before powder coating so NF Auto’s returned the chassis with engine and gearbox installed. Rob told me ‘that’s when the fun began! The complexity of the project with its 2 engine ECU’s fly by wire Throttle,F1 gearbox & controller & ECU, ABS & traction, which is CAN networked really hit home’. The V8 360 motor runs as two banks of four with separate ECUs, add to that the paddle shift, the electronics alone were too much for a ‘mere mortal’ to take in, let alone make it all work. The location for the electronic shifter control unit would be the right hand side pod if one had come with the gearbox; unfortunately it took several months to source one, by now we are heading into 2007. During this time a relationship had built up between Rob and the Workshop manual, spending endless hours together in a bid to understand the wiring and systems and how to make them compatible and fully functioning. More shopping required, the list was making me nervous and it wasn’t even my money; a new loom, dash, throttle pedal assembly, master cylinder and ABS unit. The exhaust had also caused some head scratching so Rob made his own using the original catalytic convertors; two four into one units were fabricated with the help of JP Exhausts. When I look at any classic car the alterations and modifications made by any owner should be sympathetic to the design and carried out with the correct materials with a preference towards original parts. Looking around the Mk4, the way every part has been fitted and the total attention to detail you just cannot help but admire what Rob has achieved and any preconceptions I had about replicas have certainly diminished.
In order to make the systems and electronics work the F1 gearbox, ECUs and control units all depend on information from the wheel speed sensors, nothing works without them and so another rather large stumbling block reared its head. The kit was designed to incorporate Ford Scorpio hubs with unique uprights and the speed sensors were not compatible with the Ferrari system, ‘this was a bit of a set-back’ Rob explained. The shopping trolley icon on the laptop was again going to get some use as the net was searched for a set of used Ferrari 355 uprights. These in turn had to be modified to accommodate the 360 wheel bearings and speed sensors on which the whole project now revolved. With most of the original kit redesigned very few parts that normally fit together existed and thus more specialist and bespoke parts were needed. Hand-made wish bones, custom built ‘Quick’ steering rack and the chassis modifications required to make everything fit. The geometry and set up for the cars steering and suspension was now a complete unknown, any help the manual could offer was pointless as most of the parts supplied were now just an ever growing pile of scrap. My question was obvious ‘how did you get it all to fit and work then’? Simple answer ‘a chassis genius called Paul James and a computer programme that with expert input offers the optimum chassis set up, mount points and steering geometry’, that didn’t sound very simple to me. Rob is happy to admit that without the help and time Paul put into the project a happy ending may never have occurred. By late 2007 the Mk4 was virtually a rolling chassis but it had taken its toll. The modifications on the chassis itself meant that it would benefit from a repaint and the time was right for a break, so the chassis went away to be made perfect. Rob shut the garage door and it would remain shut for quite a while.
Break Time
December 2009, in the garage again and the first issue was the rather large workspace looked tiny with the repainted chassis ready to accept the endless parts and panels that were by this time scattered around randomly. One part that the Mk4 would not run without was the Ferrari instrument panel or binnacle. Inside this rather subtle looking part was a host of electronics that one way or another connected to just about every sensor or control unit on the Mk4 and it didn’t fit. The dash cross member had to be cut and reshaped with location mounts moved so the panel not only fitted correctly it also sat angled towards the driver. The MR2 steering column was modified at this time so it sat correctly, had adjustment and was able to accept the 360 ignition switch, paddle shift levers and column switches. Next came the fly-by-wire throttle pedal and air con unit installation. With all the electronics situated it was time for the dreaded wiring loom to be tackled; when a 360 loom is installed in its natural environment it runs straight down the centre of the car, this was not going to be possible so Rob devised a way of using the right hand side pod and the only loom extension required would be to the dual fuel pumps (one for each bank of the engine). With the fuel tank not able to accommodate the height of the pair of Ferrari pumps the tank had to be cut and a six inch box section gave the extra space needed. Locating a 360 oil cooler above the gearbox allowed for the original hoses to be used and an electric fan was fitted. The 355 air filter boxes and pipes needed modification but with that all finalised was there light at the end of the tunnel? Time had moved on, it was now September 2011 and after years of toil and sometimes uncertainty the time had come to bring the Mk4 to life and start the 400bhp motor and enjoy the moment. The magnificent engine wasn’t having any of it! Rob found that by ‘hot wiring’ the ignition the Ferrari motor burst into life but this was going to be a problem and a main dealer diagnostic machine would be needed to find the source of the fault. When the machine was unable to communicate with the car months of wire testing followed, then a new loom was fitted with a new ignition switch and everything worked first time and every time. Even 18 months later whilst retelling the story I could sense the relief in Robs voice when the Mk4 lived and he was on the home straight, or so it should have been; whilst contemplating the wiring/non start problem Rob realised he was unhappy with the shape of the rear body section.
Visually Correct
The Foreman is designed to accommodate owners of all shapes and sizes and thus the roof was shaped to allow a six footer to fit in to the cabin. The Ferrari P4 was made with aerodynamics a priority and the sweeping shape culminated in a lower more rounded roof line and that’s what Rob wanted. So out came the grinder! To keep the flow of the body, just cutting 50mm off the roof was not going to be an option, the whole rear section needed to be re worked back to the side pods and a revised frame installed. The doors and rear quarter section also met with some dramatic alterations; Rob found this an easy decision as he would never have been happy with the shape of the roof, so for him there was only one option, change it. This massive alteration would allow fitment of a rear section hinge system that enables the rear body section to not only lift and tilt forwards but also remove two bolts and it tilts backwards, very clever and allows easy access to all parts of the engine bay. I looked for any tell-tale signs of the re shaping of this huge section of the body, there are none. Perfectly cut, reshaped and finished, as I now expected of this car, the attention to detail and the craftsmanship that began in 2005 was still apparent as another Christmas approached and the completed Mk4 went to Bel Royal Motors for its colour. Looking splendid in the appropriate red (what else!) the DVS test was completed in April 2013 and news spread fast, across to the mainland and my inbox, for that I am very grateful. Rob eased the car out of his drive and with the roof section removed we headed to Five Mile Road. The Islands speed limits are strictly enforced and with a maximum of 40mph the Mk4 has been promised a trip to Le Mans in the near future to enjoy the V8 at higher revs. Conscious of the rules we made steady progress, the suspension is firm but not harsh and the car is creak and rattle free. Steering is as expected, direct and precise. I can confirm that on one occasion Rob allowed the Mk4 to stretch its legs (at all times observing the Islands speed limit) and it was savage, with head slammed back against the partition the Italian motor howled with delight as the incredibly quick paddle shift clicked up 2nd 2 seconds, 3rd 3 seconds, 4th and we were running out of Island, let alone the road. Wow and that wasn’t even in ‘Sport Mode’; Rob is waiting for a circuit to try that out. I have been lucky enough to enjoy some fast, powerful cars and motorbikes in the past but this was the best 5 seconds I have had sitting down. My thanks To Rob Romeril for his time and hospitality and the Foreman Mk4/Ferrari P4 it was a privilege to spend time with you.
P4 A Brief History
Not only was the P4 everything that a race car should be it carried out its task as part of the almighty struggle between two great manufactures, with the backdrop of World Endurance Racing and in particular Le Mans 24 hours (last won by Ferrari in 1965) . The P4 was born out of the Ferrari obsession to beat their main rival at the time Ford and its early GT40 the Mk2, not helped by Ford Motor Company’s attempt to actually buy out Ferrari; when that failed Ford were determined that they were going to beat them on the track. With only four of these machines built, the first chassis 0846 was a P3 that was modified to accept the new F1 derived V12 engine but without the later cars fuel injection. Ferrari hoped to avenge Fords clean sweep 1st, 2nd and 3rd and the Mk2 GT40 win achieved at Le Mans in 1966. Daytona in February and revenge struck as the prancing horse took all the podium spots with 0846 taking the win 0856 also a P4 in runners up spot and on the final step a ‘412 P’, a customer version of the 330 P3. Another great win at Monza but losing out to Porsche at a wet Spa the season headed towards Le Mans. Ford triumphed again, the rest of the podium taken up with Ferrari red race suits and another Ford in 4th the race for the championship. With Fords MkIV GT40 season limited in preparing for Le Mans the US manufacturer was 9 points adrift from Ferrari who in-turn tailed Porsche by a single point. At the Brands Hatch BOAC 500 race a full grid saw a titanic struggle with all the major teams fielding as many cars as possible and three P4s entered in the prototype category minus their roofs. The race was won by Phil Hill and Mike Spence in the 7 litre Chaparral four minutes ahead of the P4 of Stewart/Amon, one lap ahead of the Porsche of Siffert/McLaren; a fantastic end to a hard fought season and the World Endurance Championship went to Ferrari. As for the P4 story, rule changes forced the stunning machines out of Europe and World Endurance, the Can Am series offered a chance to race but their days were numbered. Of the four original cars 0846 was heavily damaged at Le Mans and discarded by Ferrari and up to year 2000 they claimed the car did not exist. 0856 is the only P4 in its original form and therefore considered the most valuable, estimates of £20 million and more are not uncommon. 0858 and 0860 were both converted to a 350 Can Am specification.

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Unique Ferrari Headlines Hexagon Classics Collection at Salon Prive 2015

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Unique Ferrari Headlines Hexagon Classics Collection at Salon Prive 2015

Hexagon presents a stunning collection of classic cars at Salon Privé, headlined by a one-off Ferrari 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ Shooting Brake.

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Five Ferraris Head To Bonhams SPA Sale

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Five Ferraris Head To Bonhams SPA Sale

Five fantastic offerings from Italian marque Ferrari will be offered at Bonhams Spa Classic Sale, taking place Sunday 24 May at the famous Spa Francorchamps Circuit, Belgium.

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Rare multimillion Ferraris to exclusively go on display at Chateau Impney

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Rare multimillion Ferraris to exclusively go on display at Chateau Impney

Two rare Ferraris, which are due to be sold to raise funds for the RNLI, will make their only public appearance ahead of their October auction as part of the Chateau Hill Climb Concours d’Elegance this July.

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H&H Classics to offer a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB and 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4

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H&H Classics to offer a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB and 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4

H&H Classics to offer a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB and 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 from the estate of the late Richard Colton, a pre-eminent British V12 Ferrari collector.

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Ferrari world records at Race Retro auction

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Ferrari world records at Race Retro auction

Silverstone Auctions started the year strongly, achieving no less than four world record prices, a sales rate of 78 per cent and total sales of £3.62 million in its sale at Race Retro this weekend.

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New Manual Reveals Unique Insight Into Iconic Ferrari

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New Manual Reveals Unique Insight Into Iconic Ferrari

The 250 GTO is one of the most sought-after cars in existence among collectors, due to its magnificent styling, impressive track record and rarity. This latest title in the Haynes Manuals classic racing car series – Ferrari 250 GTO Owner’s Workshop Manual, by Glen Smale – offers a unique insight into owning, racing and maintaining this iconic sports racer.

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New Classic Car Record for Ferarri 275GTB

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New Classic Car Record for Ferarri 275GTB

Held at the stunning Grand Palais in Paris, the Bonhams auction sale took place today (6 February) during Rétromobile Week.

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1964 Ferrari 158 Formula One

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1964 Ferrari 158 Formula One

Ferrari 90 degree V8, Bosch direct fuel injection, 1500cc Semi-monocoque chassis with aluminium panels riveted to steel tube frame.

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