Kieft makes his Formula 3 debut with promising drivers: Don Parker, Bernie Ecclestone and Stirling Moss
Cyril Kieft makes himself known thanks to his Formula 3 piloted by Stirling Moss, Bernie Ecclestone or even Don Parker during the English Championships in 1952 and 1953. The Kieft established in Montlhéry some world records in 350 and 500 cm3. At the end of 1952 the factory moved from Bridgent to Wolverhampton and Cyril Kieft asked Gordon Bedson, his engineer, to design a Formula II with the Bristol 2-liter 6-cylinder engine. But the regulations would change which prompted him to modify his projects !
The Kieft sport is designed from a single-seater
The single-seater project is modified into a tray to run in the Sport category. Thus the new "Sport" is found with the center pipe and a nice body made of aluminum by JW Humphries.
An advertisement was made to announce the new car: a 3-seater Sport with an MG or Bristol on-demand engine. And from the start, the “Monkey Stable” team showed great interest in the new car and ordered 4 copies.
This stable, founded at the end of 1950 by Jim Mayers and Pat Griffith, raced Lester-MGs and achieved great success from 1952 (14 first places). The organization of the team was finalized with Peter Avern as manager and Mike Keen and Trevor Line as new members. Harry Lester began at the end of the 1940s to deeply modify MG 1250 cm3 engines, to line them to 1467 cc. With a cylinder head reworked by Harry Westlake, a special camshaft, a lightweight flywheel, two large carburetors, a beautiful exhaust and improved cooling (especially for oil), the MG-Lester engines developed a little over 100 HP. .
Providing 8 cars Cyril Kieft reserves in February 1953, registrations from LDA 1 to LDA 8, but there were also OAC 2, MJW 55 as well as 3 cars for the USA.
The Kieft 1100 Sport CK107 offered for sale is the most prestigious of the line, having been entered in 24 hours of Le Mans ...
From January 1954, the car was scheduled to run, under the colors of the factory, the 24 Hours of Le Mans driven by AP Hitchings, as indicated in the request for participation signed by Cyril Kieft himself.
On June 4, the car arrived in France through the Calais customs office. On June 8, she arrived at Le Mans for weighing at 9.45 a.m. with the registration number 1093 WO on the garage plate. The complete file of the 24 H of Le Mans indicates that the car is registered under the race number 48. The chassis number is CK 107, the engine carries the number 54/11 where 54 is the year and 11 is the planned displacement 1,100 , the engine type is MS8, like Monkey Stable n ° 8. The car is new and its year of manufacture is therefore 1954. The drivers are Georges Trouis who also represents the competitor: Kieft Cars Ltd, AP Hitchings and substitute Allègre. For this great race, the car had received an additional headlight held by a special support, traces of which remain on the chassis!
Unfortunately at the seventh hour Kieft n ° 48 gave up due to a cooling problem.
After Le Mans, the engine is re-sheathed and the pistons are changed to arrive at a displacement of 1467 cm3 and thus participate in the fight in the 1.5 liter class. The bore has increased from 62 to 72 mm.
... and many races across Europe.
In August 1954, the car was at the Nürburgring for the German Grand Prix (Rheinland Pfalz Preis) driven by Georges Trouis with the n ° 36 but was forced to retire. In October, she entered the Coupe du Salon in Montlhéry under the n ° 42 piloted by Fred Helles. In March 1955, Georges Trouis was registered in Montlhéry for the Coupe de Vitesse with the Franco-British Stable, the name of the team with which Georges Trouis raced his cars.
It is again Fred Helles with the Franco-British team who is registered on the Kieft at the Paris Cup in April 1955 under the n ° 116. We find Georges Trouis in Hockenheim in May 1955 under the number 2, he takes the start but must give up. A week later, the car took part in the 24 H Grand Prix de Paris, Bol d'Or in Montlhéry with the drivers Allègre and Barbey under the n ° 48 registered by the Franco-British team.
Our Kieft goes to Portugal for the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Coppa Oporto, III Cidade de Oporto raced on the Boavista circuit, driven by Allegre but it is a new retirement. At the end of August, the Franco-British team took part in the 500 km of the Nurbürgring with two Panhard cars driven by Georges Trouis and Harry Merkel. The Kieft is present driven by Theo Geither registered by Kieft Cars Ltd, Agency for France, it is Georges Trouis who was the "dealer" of the brand in France and it seems that he only succeeded in selling the one that 'he bought, and it's abandonment again. The rear part of the body was redone at the end of 1954 or the beginning of 1955 in the style of Italian trays like Osca or Ferrari, certainly following a crash! It's much sleeker than the rear of other mid-drive Kieft's which is a bit short. Moreover, there are the remains of the old rear. On the period photos we can see that the car had at the factory, at Le Mans and at the Nürburgring in 1954, the “Factory” rear. But on the photo taken in Hockenheim in May 1955, the rear is already modified.
A known history
Towards the end of 1955, the car was damaged in Montlhéry, certainly during the Coupe du Salon. She stayed there until 1966 or 1967, parked under the ring. It is the famous collector Maurice Broual who recovered it in a lot of cars. He sold it in May 1976. The damaged car was very complete, just missing the two hoods, the dashboard, the badge and the rocker cover. The body was "crumpled" and a brake drum was broken. It was then restored by its new owner.
This Kieft Sport is today in a very good presentation and working condition. It still has its original engine number 54/11, its 2 large SU race carburettors with separate tanks and its special oil pan.
Recently, major works have restored it to its former glory. The engine, gearbox, suspension and the brakes have been restored. The dashboard has been brought into conformity and it has received a new tank up to standards for participating in historic competitions (the original tank having been precisely preserved). It also received a hoop which is bolted and therefore easily removable.
In 2014, the Kieft Sport took part in Le Mans Classic. By its authenticity and originality, it is a car eligible for leading events such as Goodwood Revival, Goodwood Members' Meeting, the prestigious Woodcote Trophy, Le Mans Classic, the Mille Miglia etc ...
It is a rare and authentic car that stands out on each of its outings, whether on the circuit or on the open road. (car with a French registration card).
Sources: 24 h of Le Mans 1923 - 2010 C Moity, Catalog Osenat, Autosport 1952