Bridget’s History-1

BCW #110 was shipped to Inskip Motors, New York, arriving on August 6, 1952.

Chester Griffin put less than 6,000 miles on her, despite an ill-fated 1954 run at the now-legendary Carrera Panamericana.(10) He apparently raced her at Watkins Glen, and the new Lime Rock in nearby Litchfield County, blowing the engine–though repair and log records were lost. After Chester’s death in 1966 the car passed to eldest son, John–who replaced the wings and windshield(11) and drove her sparingly…at first.

Top: Letter to Griffin from BCW Pres. Nigel Gantry. Above: Watkins Glenn, circa 1960–note number 68 at lower right

Influenced in part by his car, John became serious Anglophile. After entering her in the November, 1972 Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash,(12) he shipped her to GB during his grad school sojourn at the University of Edinburgh in the mid 1970s. There he joined a “secret society”(13) which allegedly revived the legendary  “Brooklands School of Flying” as a motor and rally club; members numbered fewer than dozen. Griffin campaigned the car, which he dubbed Bridget (or sometimes “Spirit of ‘68”*), in the local club rallies, hill climbs (Bo’ness, Red Marley, etc.) and endurance events mainly to break up the monotony and tension inherent in his doctoral dissertation attempt (which, alas, he never finished).

In late 1977 John endeavored to swap more modern English power into Bridget, having acquired (by means he will not divulge) a dual-cam Cosworth engine and transmission from a special-order Chevrolet Vega. The 110-hp, fuel-injected unit was a tight squeeze in Bridget’s narrow engine bay, but the fit was accomplished with some modifications of the firewall, frame crossmembers and transmission tunnel.

Undated photo of Cosworth engine with partially disassembled Bridget in background. (John Griffin)

Just before Christmas of 1978 John lent Bridget to a fellow student and club member who, on a lark (and knowing nothing of her Panamericana or “Cannonball Run” misadventures), entered her in the Paris-Dakar rally. Unbeknownst to John,** his friend blew the new engine very early in the race, in southern France.(14) Bridget was recovered (less engine), and shipped back to the states in pieces.

From the London Daily Mirror, Dec. 27, 1978

Continued. . . .

*John says he remembers the car wearing the numbers 101 and 68; he later located some of the original paperwork sent with the car, of which more below.
**According to John, Mr. Ben Laden had told him the fire happened during a routine jaunt to Dunkirk, never mentioning that he had been to Paris at all

1 Response to Bridget’s History-1

  1. Pingback: Earlier racing history: Elkhart Lake | bridgetmgtd

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