End of an Era

Having enjoyed running his Pilbeam MP58 since 2006, John Forsyth has decided that it is time for a new challenge in hillclimbing.

John Forsyth at Gurston Down

Forsyth has run a variety of chassis & engine configurations since he joined the Unlimited Single Seater class in the mid-90s.

Initially a Maco F2 chassis was used, mated to a 2.5l Hart engine and this combination saw John achieve FTDs & outright records, mainly in the South West. Then along came a 4.5l Rover V8 (originally run in Les Edmunds BRD sports racer) which stayed in the Maco for a few seasons.

After driving the works MP62 and then Sandra Tomlin’s MP58 in fun drives, John began to lust after a Pilbeam and in 2003 the opportunity to acquire an MP50 came along. He bought the ex. Rob Turnbull/Rob Welch SPA-tubbed MP50 from Bill Bristow and installed the Rover V8 from the Maco.

Son James also drove the car in this form at Longleat and modified it against one of the estate’s trees, but the car was re-built and back in action again pretty quickly. Eventually this combination was split with the rolling chassis being sold to Terry Graves (and now features a Hayabusa engine in Peter Arscott’s hands), the V8 is now used in a TVR Tuscan!

Then, at the end of 2006, having entered a club meeting at Harewood with the MP50, John ended up returning to Dorset with the ex. Patrick Wood Pilbeam MP58 which he had acquired from Rob Romeril.

The MP58 came complete with an ex. Tyrrell DFZ V8 engine. The DFZ was the predecessor to the DFR and was basically a DFV which had been enlarged to 3.5l.

This combination really was a step up for John and he was soon challenging South West hot-shot Tony Wiltshire for outright wins as well as qualifying for Top 12 Run Offs.

The car has been shared regularly by Dave Gardner and by son Andrew (both of whom have won the Gurston Top 10 Challenge in the car) and also on occasion by Rod Thorne, Brian Moody and Mike Tregoning.

John has now decided that it is time for a change of pace and a new challenge for 2012 and beyond. Having driven Mark Riley’s (no, not ‘Mark & Lard’ Mark Riley!) JP 500cc F3 car at Wiscombe in May the decision was made to acquire a 500 of some sort.

After looking at JP, Cooper & various other chassis over the last few months, and having now sold the DFZ engine, John has settled on a 1956 Alfa Dana 500. The Alfa Dana is a Danish-built copy of Cooper Mark 9. The car has a 500cc JAP engine and will make it’s UK hillclimb debut at the 2012 Gurston test day.

Hope you have a great time with the car John, just don’t expect us to push start it in the paddock!


  1. Andy Forsyth says:

    I will miss the Pilbeam but I’m looking forward to having a go in a 500. Should be a bit of a laugh. Shame I won’t be able to give Tony a fight at Gurston next year. He should watch out for Rod and Terry though. By the way James, Dad is planning on fitting an electric starter!!

  2. Carl Klarberg says:

    Andrew, an electric starter will not be necessary. If you read the 500cc Bible closely, it says that the son is bound to push start his fathers 500. It is a hard work, but it will keep you healthy, young and in a good shape, says the former AD owner, and he knows. I hope the car will give you as much joy as it has given to me.


  1. [...] sold the front-running Pilbeam MP58 over the winter, John Forsyth has acquired an historic Alfa Dana 500cc F3 car from Sweden. After his [...]

  2. [...] sold the front-running Pilbeam MP58 over the winter, John Forsyth has acquired an historic Alfa Dana 500cc F3 car from Sweden. After his [...]

Speak Your Mind