|The MGA With An Attitude
1960 MGA TWIN CAM SEBRING CAR #39 - TC-105-2575
Why some MGA Twin Cam cars have Pushrod Engines
YD2/2575 - UMO96 - Sebring car #39 - Finished 3rd in class and 24th overall with average speed average of 68.5 mph, driven by Canadians Fred Hayes and O.D. Leavens. Currently owned by Wolf Propsting (and his son Stephen), member of the M.G. Car club Germany. This car has been restored.
At 05:27 PM 11/24/04 -0800, Jim Weissenborn wrote:
"The link you have on your website with the German MG club, we owned the #39 Sebring T/C from 1961-1964. All three cars were purchased after the race and we ended up with #39 which was the one driven by the Canadians, Leavens. We raced it for three years with a 1622 motor a gift from Hambro. The twin cam motor ended up in Skaneateles Lake as a boat anchor. The car had a sad history after that until it was restored and then wrecked in Moroso racetrack in Florida. I had no knowledge of the car until I talked to Tony Simms a few years back. It was sent back to the UK and rebuilt and purchased by the Germans a few years ago. The new owner were at the Monterey Historics this year and stopped by our Pit but I missed them. We currently race a twin cam, 1962 MKll roadster #39 and our special, 1959 Byers MGA special #112 which we chase the sports racers around at the Historics etc. Love those MGs. Thanks for your helpful input to all. -- Jim Weissenborn"
At 06:02 AM 11/25/04 -0600, Barney Gaylord wrote:
>"Boat anchor? Ouch! How did that come about?
>At least I can fill you in with a few details from intervening years. I was at the NAMGAR regional GT in Grand Bend, Ontario, in July 1999. Three of the five 1960 "Sebring" MGA were there. The practice car had apparently disappeared, whereabouts unknown at the time [see addendum below]. The #38 car (British driven one) was undergoing restoration in Florida and couldn't be there (Tony Simm, Marcos Island, FL). The one shipped to Canada and not raced at Sebring was there at Grand Bend (Robin Baker, Ontario). The #40 car was there (Lyle Yorke, Anderson, IN). And the #39 car (Canadian driven in 1960) was there (Martin Gruss, New York, NY). That car was auctioned a month later at Christie's Sale of Exceptional Motor Cars in Pebble Beach on August 29, 1999, going to the gentleman in Germany (later restored)."
At 03:13 PM 11/25/04 -0800, Jim Weissenborn wrote:
"Thanks for the update. The twin cam motors were piece mealed together after Sebring and the tricks we use today were not available in 1961. Gordon Lipe who built and raced the original Pooper, Porsche-Cooper in 1953 was my mentor when we moved to Skaneateles, NY. Great mechanical ability but refused to work on T/C until we got rid of motor. He had a shop and house on the lake so you know the rest of the story. I raced against a few Canadians at Watkins Glen in 1961-62 era. One of them, Frank Mount (we still go at it today on the track) took his T/C home and installed a Chevy V8. Never asked him what became of this T/C motor. There is a T/C being raced at Elkhart Lake with a T/C on a 5 main B block. Ken Brennaman is the owner from your area. Maybe it is time for a fossil website. Google my name and #39 will show up under CSRG. -- Jim"
ADDENDUM: February 25, 2011:
On 2/24/2011, Luke Finlay in Woolford, MD, USA wrote:
"I was the BMC dealer in Syracuse, NY when Jim [Weissenborn] (message above) moved there from New Jersey. When he brought his twin cam in for service I offered him a new MG to swap for his twin cam because I wanted to be on the right side while driving on most tracks and I loved the weight advantage I would have with a Sebring car. Shortly thereafter I swapped again, this time the twin cam motor for the motor from a new car I was delivering to a customer. During 1961 I learned to handle a right hand drive car at speed and thought I was ready for Marlboro -- the last track you wanted to be on in a right-hand drive car. While racing there my left front tire hit an infield obstruction while in a high speed drift taking a hard left turn and I flew off the track, through berry bushes and into Marlboro Creek where most of the car ended up under the water. SCCA member Earl Genge of Hillsboro, NJ, took the attached photo, entered it in the annual SCCA photo contest, and won a blue Ribbon for the photo. #39 is probably the ONLY car to win a blue ribbon while in deep water. To Earl’s credit I must say that the photo that won was a little sharper than is this 50 year old copy". -- LF
UMO96 at MG Silverstone meeting in 2005, and car 44 from the 1961 Sebring meet.
Here is an interesting story about this car. If anyone may take exception to it, take it up with the author. I only post here what was sent to me.
On 12/5/2012, Dave Nicholas in Honolulu, HI, USA wrote:
"I can add a bunch of history to #39. I bought the car in late 1967 from Dick Cosgrove of Watkins glen. The car had a 1622, no hard top, but was very original (never knew about the creek incident). I won the 1968 FP class at the Watkins glen 100 with it, then went to the Marlboro 6 hour and was leading FP when we spun a rod bearing and boom. I drove it on the road for many years until moving to Texas in 1978. It was stored in my fathers garage in Binghamton, NY. A bunch of MG guys came to see it in those days. I moved to New York city in 1963 and drove the car to the country club I was managing on Long Island. When we sold the club I put the car in the hands of a friend who had a body shop. When I went back a few months later to get the car it was gone - stolen. This was 1985. The police had no clue as how to contact the guy or where the car was. I saw an article in a British Magazine years later with my car on the cover. In the years since, I met Stephan Propsting and have no issues with getting my stolen car back. They have done a great job in making it a beautiful car and am happy my old friend is alive and well. As far as I know, winning at the Glen was the only time any of those 1960 cars ever won"!
"Stephan and I have talked several times and even met in Germany twice, so he knows the story and I have written him a letter quitting any claim against it". -- Dave Nicholas
24 May 2014: Photo compliments of Giovanni Delicio in Germany. In the photo, Ron Neal and his family. Current owner of the car is Wolf Pröbsting, on the left in the picture.