In Britain in the 1950s, sports car promotions were growing everywhere, all types of engines were integrated into all types of backyard-designed chassis. Jaguar was the boss of big sports cars at the time, and there were specialist manufacturers everywhere, including John Cooper, Brian Lister and the subject of this story, John Tojeiro.
John Tojeiro was Portuguese by birth, but English by education. After years of trial and error, he built dozens of race cars from scratch, worked with many teams big and small, including Scotland’s famous Ecurie Ecosse, and became the ‘one of Britain’s finest and most prolific racing car chassis designers, building cars for such drivers as Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Innes Ireland, Masten Gregory and Jack Brabham, amongst many others. others. A Tojeiro raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans every year between 1957 and 1962.
Tojeiro’s World War II service in the British Fleet Air Arm involved building aircraft, from which he learned much about managing forces and stresses. After the war, he settled near Cambridge.
Tojeiro’s chassis designs were fitted with all sorts of British and, later, American powertrains – MG, JAP, Lea Francis, Coventry Climax, Bristol, Jaguar, Buick and Ford, to name a few.
Young Tojeiro bought a burnt-out MG TA, stripped and reassembled the chassis, redesigned the suspension and chassis, and built an aluminum body for it, using bike fenders. However, he never raced one of his own cars because he was so busy building chassis for other teams and people.
After this first effort, Tojeiro assembled a simple “H” frame of his own design constructed of large diameter steel tubing with independent transverse leaf spring suspension fabricated at both ends. Tojeiro didn’t have a machine shop, so he gave his project to customer (and competitor) Brian Lister, who ordered a second car, which, like the first, had a simple aluminum body with fenders. bike.
Since that start, John Tojeiro has designed and built over 50 racing cars during his illustrious career, including the AC Ace Bristol, which led to the creation of Carroll Shelby’s Cobra.
Tojeiro built a few other cars, these with DeDion rear suspensions and Bristol six-cylinder engines. Then a benefactor arrived and changed Tojeiro’s life.
John Ogier, an Essex farmer who raced a Jaguar XK120, was willing to sponsor the construction of a lightweight Jaguar-powered car. Tojeiro built a space frame for the Jaguar 6 using coil spring front suspension, DeDion rear suspension, Moss 4-speed gearbox and chassis mounted Salisbury ZF differential with manual disc brakes fitted all around . The car, registered 7GNO, had a very short 87 inch wheelbase and 50 inch track. Ogier first raced it at Snetterton in May 1956, then shared driving duties with Dick Protheroe, who won a few races and set several track records.
The second Jaguar Tojeiro, built for Ogier for the 1957 season, received a three-inch longer wheelbase, slightly wider track, front and rear anti-roll bars, new bodywork and spoke wheels instead of disc perforated Dunlop. off wheels. Jack Brabham drove the wire wheel car at the start of the season and Graham Hill towards the end of the season. Ogier took over the car and crashed it on a hill climb in Essex, escaping with minor injuries. The 1956 car went to New Zealand, where it crashed again.
Ogier, recognizing his shortcomings as a racing driver, lent the third Tojeiro Jaguar car to David Murray at Ecurie Ecosse to race for the 1958 season. Ecurie Ecosse (Team Scotland) was founded in November 1951 by Edinburgh businessman Murray and mechanic Wilkie Wilkinson. Ecurie Ecosse won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1956 and 1957.
The car, and many Tojeiro cars to follow, was designed by a Scottish commercial artist, Cavendish Morton. From 1957 he drew the Tojeiros in a most unusual way, first making a painting of each car, which was then shown to the various coachbuilders as the model from which the bodies would be built, without blueprints or blueprints or no wind. tunnel tests whatsoever.
David Murray had acquired the completely worn-out D-Type racing cars from the Jaguar factory and, at the same time, contacted John Tojeiro and Brian Lister to build new racing cars around the proven D-Type components.
Tojeiro built him a pair of space-frame Jaguar motor cars, switching from the D-Type’s live-axle rear suspension to DeDion independent suspension with slightly angled trailing arms instead of the equal-length parallel arms used on the Type. D. The design made the very light and very powerful Tojeiro Jaguar an oversteer monster.
In the same year, Tojeiro built a prototype space-frame Bristol-powered car for AC Cars. Another Jaguar Tojeiro was built for Ecurie Ecosse the following year. At Le Mans she raced in fourth place after six hours but ultimately her Jaguar engine succumbed to overheating.
The last series of Tojeiros came in early 1962 when David Murray commissioned Tojeiro to design and build two mid-engined coupés for Le Mans. Both of these cars, among the very first mid-engine coupés, had a spaceframe chassis, 2.5-litre Coventry Climax engines, Cooper gearboxes, independent unequal wishbone suspension and bodywork designed by Cavendish Morton.
Only one car was completed in time for Le Mans and it suffered gearbox problems which caused it to retire after eight hours. In 1963 the coupes received Ford 289 and Buick 215 engines respectively and Jackie Stewart drove them to club victories.
The car pictured here, also registered as 7GNO, is the third of four Tojeiro Jaguars built, the one owned by John Ogier and raced by Ecurie Ecosse with drivers such as Ken Sanderson, Ivor Bueb, Ron Flockhart and Innes Ireland. After its British racing career, the car was returned to John Ogier, who lent it to Tony Maggs, who shipped it to South Africa and raced it with some success in the Springbok series there. .
The car returned to Britain in 1960 and was featured in a film called The green helmet before it was sold to David Lewis, whose wife Vivienne was sadly killed in the car at Brighton in 1963. The remains of 7 GNP went to racer Paul Emery and lay untouched until restorer Gilbert Dickson takes it back, restores it, and reincarnates it. The car rebuilt years later went to a new owner, Ed Hubbard, who brought it from England to storage in Sebring, Florida with a Costin/Lister.
Enter restorer Ray Mummery, to whom Hubbard owed a substantial sum for the restoration of a McLaren. Mummery offered a half interest in the car to racer, builder and collector Henry Grady of Miami, Florida in 1995.
Grady, who owned a chain of imported auto parts stores, said: ‘The car was in pieces, all over the place. It wasn’t destroyed, but it was a mess, totally disassembled, a bare frame with suspensions and body parts all over it. Grady bought a half stake in the car and eventually bought out Mummery’s share.
Grady had been racing in the South East since 1954 with a variety of production cars, a D-Type Jaguar and an MG Midget among them, as well as six cars he built from scratch with his partner Gene Beach, cars called Begras for Beach and Grady.
Grady says he wanted to make the Tojeiro Jaguar a viable vintage race car as well as a car that could be used for touring. So while the exterior of the car stays true to John Tojeiro’s original design, almost everything under the skin has been changed and updated.
Inside the cockpit there is a second seat for Grady’s wife, Rocky, a pair of padded headrests on the rear bulkhead and a pair of sockets that mount a removable roll bar. The Tojeiro dashboard mounts an upgraded set of gauges to monitor temperatures and pressures. The Tojeiro was fitted with covered headlights, brake lights and turn signals.
The engine that fitted this car was an extremely rare all-alloy 3.0-litre Jaguar 6-cylinder built to meet the 1959 FIA racing rules. Grady removed this engine from the car and put it on display in his collection because there are simply no spare parts.
The engine that currently powers the Grady Tojeiro is a mildly warmed-up 3.8-litre DOHC 6 Jaguar that Grady says is “one of the best engines in the world. So flexible you can take a D-Type that won Le Mans, throw it into fourth gear and pull away from a stop.
Grady’s engine uses new camshafts, three Weber 45 DCOE side-draught carburettors and exhaust manifolds from a Jaguar C-Type, diverted and rerouted to get rid of the engine’s exhaust heat, which runs along the passenger side of right-hand drive. car where his wife is sitting. Grady added a series of louvers on that side of the body to help release heat.
The fuel system uses a custom-built 20-gallon fuel cell and three electric fuel pumps to power the large carburetors. The original ZF 5-speed transmission has been replaced by a Jaguar 4.2-litre full-synchro 4-speed transmission better suited to the torque of the big engine, with a rear axle ratio of 3.31:1.
Grady took it upon himself to literally straighten out the DeDion rear suspension setup by stripping it down and modifying it to a copy of the Jaguar D-Type 4-link suspension which used equal length parallel arms rather than the unequal length, no -parallel arms that Tojeiro designed for the car. The right side of the rear suspension has a pivot mount that Grady designed because “I wanted to hedge my bets.” Grady designed and built a stabilizer bar for the Tojeiro coil-sprung front suspension, and added an electric fan and oil cooler to the cooling system, which still uses the original 1958 radiator.
This car is the centerpiece of Grady’s fine collection, which includes an EMW, a pair of AC Bristols, a Porsche 356 SC, a Ferrari 250, one of his Begras, a Triumph and three Jags. He is 93 years old and still collects.