above: Test driver and racer Ken Richards in 1953 with the record breaking MVC 575
I have long been a British car and motorcycle geek. In my youth, I learned to turn wrenches on my ‘67 Austin Healey Sprite that provided many great memories. There were also a couple of derelict sports cars that looked like potential production racers (imagined through the lens of many beers), two BSA motorcycles and a ’76 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle that I still own. My cousin in law Steve Martin in Asheville, NC, recently sent some images of his Triumph TR6, included here (along with my Austin Healey), that was purchased from my friend and beer partner Jim Goodwin around 1979. Also shown are photos of my '67 Austin Healey Sprite, the car that still appears in the occasional dream in the back of the now non-existent family garage. I nearly bought the Triumph from Jim myself but was dissuaded by a potential job offer that would move me from Atlanta to St. Petersburg, Florida.
top left: 1986 photographs of aforementioned six cylinder Triumph TR6 still owned by cousin Steve
above left: 1973 photographs of my 1-liter '67 Austin Healey, small and slow but beloved by a few young ladies
OK, Back to the subject. Several months ago, Steve spiked my interest in Triumphs when he sent me some images of a legendary car named MVC 575. This was the pre-production TR2 that set a world speed record in 1953 for 2-liter production automobiles at 125 miles per hour. This speed, difficult for many 2-liter automobiles today, was accomplished at the motorway at Jabbeke, Belgium, on a highway occasionally closed off in one direction for speed testing.
According to Andrew English in his Missing link: MVC 575 may be the most significant car that Triumph ever built (www.hagerty.com)... “There aren’t many bits of early Triumph TR history left these days. Considering the genesis of the Standard Triumph range of sports cars—from TRs to Spitfires, Stags, and GT6s—we have little to point at and say, “That’s the start of it all.” So the lovely, geranium-green, speed machine known as MVC 575 is an important car merely in its role as a prototype TR2 and speed record breaker.”
However, like the recent discovery of a rare and previously unknown portrait of Mary Queen of Scots beneath a later painting of a Scottish nobleman, there’s more to the 1953 record-breaking prototype TR2 than meets the eye.”
What lurked under the sleek bonnet of this automobile? There was a 90 horsepower Standard Vanguard tractor engine that gave 36 miles per gallon of gas, the same engine that would be installed in the TR2 production cars. It had a small windscreen in place of a windshield (a factory option), a metal tonneau cover over the cockpit except for the driver’s seat and rear wheel spats, all to increase airflow and decrease drag. Otherwise, MVC 575 was a standard TR2. The left-hand drive spoke to Standard Triumph’s hopes in the sports car markets of post-war United States and Europe.
Test driver Ken Richardson was sent to Jabbeke on May 20, 1953, accompanied by Sir John Black, chairman and majority shareholder of Standard Triumph, timing officials and the press corps. The roadway was reserved for that day only and problems with the car or the weather could have spoiled it all. Despite ice on the road early that morning, and an oil leak under the car caused by a careless breather tube installation, Richardson set the record; with no driver seat in the car.
Richardson’s Jabbeke record run may be his greatest claim to fame, but he was a recognized test driver, and sports car and endurance racer. He did, in fact, compete once at the World Championship level when, as an engineer and the main development driver for the BRM V16 grand prix car, he qualified the car in 10th place for the 1951 Italian Grand Prix. However, he was disqualified for not possessing the appropriate license confirming the experience necessary for World Championship racing.
MVC 575 was sold in 1956, was modified over time and ultimately languished for many years. It was purchased in parts by Glen Hewitt, founder of Protek Engineering in Wallingford, Oxfordshire in 2015. Founded in 1986, Protek is a restoration specialist in TR2 through TR8 and many other makes of sports cars. After an 18-month restoration, the record breaking TR2 was reintroduced to the motoring world and honored in an exhibition at the opulent Royal Automobile Club in London.
above left and right: Badly rusted body parts in need of repair or total fabrication
top and above; the restored Triumph TR2 MVC 575 honored in the rotunda of the Royal Automobile Museum in London
Sixty-six years ago, MVC 575 and Ken Richardson ignited a successful start to sales of the Triumph TR2 and the popularity of Triumph automobiles for the next quarter century. Considered the poor man’s Jaguar, The TR2 and TR3 became competitive with the MGA’s and big Austin Healey 100’s of the 50’s and early ‘60’s. Truly, the Jabbeke Triumph was maybe the most significant car that Triumph ever built.
If you came this far, you might like British sports cars so see the gallery images at... www.protek-engineering.co.uk.
MVC 575 images above are borrowed from unknown sources. If there is any copyright infringement on any of the images, please let me know and I will remove them.
Dunedin Fine Art Center Uses Non-Traditional Arts Programming to Generate Students, Revenue and Partnerships
above: Guest chefs demonstrate culinary techniques to students
Architect and client Rod Collman, President of sdg Architecture, has played a major role in the design of the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s facilities in Dunedin, Florida since its beginnings in the mid ‘70’s and through several major expansions and renovations. My late wife Nancy McIntyre and I were involved with two major expansions during our nineteen-year tenure with the center which has a history of dedicated studio spaces with customized equipment and engineering for a variety of art media: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, jewelry, ceramics, fiber arts and much more. These programs have all grown out of smaller, grass roots programs. Some successful classes that have been offered, such as creative writing, have strayed outside of the strict definition of visual arts. The idea for a Food Arts program at the Dunedin Fine Art Center was new and required careful research and study to prove its viability.
“The Strategic Plan called for non-traditional arts programming to attract new students and revenue,” said Ken Hannon, Vice President and COO. “There was concern that ‘food as art’ wasn’t part of our mission. However, there were those who thought it was the next great step for the organization, given the ongoing popularity of creative cooking online and on television. The University of Tampa reached out to us with their program for helping non-profits to develop programming, add revenues and develop a business plan.”
Hannon’s thesis project with the University of Tampa was a marketing study to measure the potential of a culinary arts program at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, an idea in which some DFAC members had expressed interest and offered support. Data was required to assure the program was a fit. The results confirmed the program’s viability and several supporters stepped forward to help fund the construction and outfitting of the studio, part of the build-out of the second floor of the west end of the art center.
top: Students get an up close and personal teaching from the guest chef
above: View from the prep and cooking stations toward the Chef's station and video screens
“We realized that we were not experts in the planning of a first-class culinary teaching facility and program,” said Collman. “We enlisted the help of Ted Barber of Theodore Barber & Company in Clearwater. The company has consulted and designed on an international level for restaurants, bars and commercial kitchens for hotels, resorts, convention centers, sports facilities, casinos and more. Additionally, the construction of a utility-intense studio in a continuously occupied building, with daytime and evening classes, presented serious challenges.”
“We learned that new electric service to the building was required to handle the demands of the cooking and washing equipment planned. The studio on the first floor below the food arts studio had to be abandoned during the construction process to provide access to powerlines, gas lines, and water and waste piping within the first-floor overhead space. This presented programming challenges and noise concerns for the other studio activities. Fortunately, when the building was built in 2015, the Food Arts Committee already had a vision. The studio size was pre-determined in advance so that no walls had to be moved, saving time and money, and reducing noise and mess. The work was mostly confined to the two effected studio areas,” said Collman.
above left: Gas range and oven at the Chef's station
above right: View from the Chef's station to the discussion and dining tables and prep and cooking stations
The new studio includes a chef’s station with commercial range and oven, overhead cameras and two 80” monitors for demonstrations and video production. The most unique feature of the facility is the six mobile workstations for students, powered with 220-volt overhead reels, that move on castors. The custom-built units include electric range tops, large preparation surfaces, storage and a built-in exhaust system that takes the place of overhead hoods. Household convection ovens also keep learning within the realm of home cooking. Program and facility comply with all Health Department standards.
Basic build-out was $400,000 and equipment was $130,000, all paid for by donors. This investment needed an ambitious and well thought out program to provide classes that would attract those new students to the center, stimulate partnerships in the community and create opportunities for the center’s current programs to share new ideas.
“The Food Arts program has great potential to build partnerships on a variety of levels,” said Hannon. “It fits in so many ways with what we are currently doing. DFAC’s Sterling Society has successfully conducted numerous art travel tours and we believe travel trips featuring food have great potential. The studio’s serving dishes, bowls and cups were made by our students in our ceramics program. Our fiber arts program can potentially provide creative textiles for use in dining and cooking. Our offsite knife forging program can make creative tools for cooking and dining. Food is the oldest still life subject in the world! Photography featuring the visual appeal of food presentation can link our photography program in creating imagery for exhibitions.”
above left and right: A first class culinary studio requires a first class scullery
below: Closeup of one of the six mobile prep and cooking stations for students with cooktop, prep and storage areas, and self-contained exhaust systems
According to Hannon, Chip Wiener, food photographer and critic for Creative Loafing, will be offering Chip’s Tips, a series of short ideas about improving food photography. The tips might come in the form of print cards and videos. Another offsite outreach opportunity is to partner with the non-profit Dunedin Community Garden, where students can learn how to select fresh organic produce for the kitchen. Such community partnerships can lead to mutual benefits for everyone involved. Restaurant chefs are critical to the mix.
“Chefs Cricket and Jason Borajkiewicz from The Restorative, an award-winning Dunedin restaurant, offered a recent class at the Food Arts studio in Sous Vide (cooking meat sealed in bags in boiling water before searing). This provided an opportunity for meeting people who are interested in great food. Those people get new cooking ideas and an introduction to the restaurant and the chefs. It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Hannon. The Restorative was named Creative Loafing’s Critic's Choice Best of the Bay (BOTB) 2017 Best Chefs; Critic's Choice BOTB 2017 Best New Restaurant; Critic's Choice BOTB 2018 Best Restaurant; among other Tampa Bay area awards.
Dedicated studios have elevated the center’s level of teaching. According to Hannon, the well-equipped Jewelry Making studio “…is perhaps the best this side of the Mississippi”. But the Food Art studio is in league with the best culinary teaching facilities anywhere. And for the art center, it offers something different.
“Everyone is comfortable in the kitchen,” said Hannon. “The Food Arts program builds a sense of camaraderie through the shared experience of chefs demonstrating and everyone learning, cooking and sitting down to eat. In the long-standing reputation of the center as a community hub, the kitchen could become the heart of DFAC.”
An extensive schedule of weekly classes can be found on DFAC’s website for creating the food of other cultures and for pot recipes, soups, vegetables, baked goods, creative chicken and more on a weekly basis.
Go to www.dfac.org.