Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas Quiz - Question 3

Our final question this year is from Cliff Morrell who sent this photo. Click Here for a Bigger Picture

My interest is that I owned and trialled the 4 wheel ‘Tiger’ XOR 500 
which is the vehicle shown on the left of the picture prior to me owning
it from May 1963. This was one of only 16 or so cars in the country then.
(It still sort of exists, was ‘rebuilt’ from a box of parts a few years
ago by a man in Colchester and this year was sold to someone in Germany
for in excess of £50,000 !!!)

I entered it in MCC events in 1963 and 1964 and in fact got a 1st on
the 64 Exeter.

This copy from the original photo was given to me by the concessionaires
for the TG500 Testwood Motors who were at Totton, near Southampton.
They imported these cars and modified and entered 2 or three of them
from 1959 to about 1962 in all sorts of events, trials, rallies and
speed hill climbs.

They also raced cars at the MCC Silverstone meetings in the early 60s.
(I have race programmes from 1960 and 1961)

The driver in the picture is Ken Piper (black hair and moustache) who
was one of Testwoods drivers, the car is of course generally known as a
Messerschmitt and the main bodyshell was identical to the 3 wheeler,
with 10 inch wheels instead or the 3 wheeled versions 8 inch, hydraulic
brakes and a 500cc 2 stroke twin engine.

It was actually marketed as a FMR Tg500, they wanted to call it ‘Tiger’
but that name was of course used by other manufacturers, so they
abbreviated it to Tg, but enthusiasts did and still do call it a ‘Tiger’.

The event shown in the picture is some sort of inter regional car trial
with front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and rear engined team members,
other than that I do not know who the other drivers were or where the
event took place,

Year is between 1959 and 1962, cannot be more specific than that.

I realise that it is of limited interest but someone out there may
remember such events, I can recall watching televised inter region
Sporting trials which took place in Wendover woods, so perhaps the event
in the photo was something similar for Production cars?

Would love to know more,


  1. I can say that a 500 Messerschmitt competed at Trengwainton Speed Hill Climb in1961 ,62 and 63 by T.L.Wood from Southampton at Easter, so possibly after doing the Land's End as many did. I remember it well - it was very quick!
    John Lees

  2. T L (Tommy) Wood was an International racing Motorcyclist who entered several Grand Prix between 1949 and 1954.
    In 52 he won the Spanish 350cc GP and the Isle of Man 250cc race.

    Born in 1912, he also drove 4 wheeled Messerschmitts in the 60s in conjunction with Testwood Motors.

    I was spectating at the July 1960 MCC Silverstone meeting at which Tommy drove a Tg500 and a few years later was marshalling on the 1964 Derbyshire trial and saw Tommy attempt Bamford, but unfortunately only got about half way up.

  3. From John Hammill:-

    I cannot shed light on the photo Cliff posted but, like him, I recall the sporting car trials featured on BBC TV in the early 60s. As far as the Messerschmitts’ participation in MCC trials is concerned I have certainly witnessed one attempting Bluehills, and this was presumably Cliff in either 1963 or 1964, when I was at home for Easter in South West Cornwall. I now have a question for Cliff, because I first drove my newly acquired Dellow in the 1966 Lands End. Looking through the results list, car number 233 is a Messerschmitt Tiger, driven by one C N Morrell. So, it appears that his MCC Messerschmitt career went beyond 1964? I’m afraid it resulted in retirement, probably after Darracott and before the special test in Bude car park. I should add here, that although we finished, and got up Bluehills, there were several failures elsewhere! I have an interesting Motoring News report on the 1966 Lands End, which includes references to John Sargeant, Ivey-Mollard’s XK120 and other familiar names, including H E Postlethwaite who won Class V in his Morgan; was this Harvey Postlethwaite, learning the principles of grip to apply to subsequent F1 designs?

  4. Yes John, that would have been me competing with XOR 500 in the 64 Lands End, and getting a 3rd class award, failing the Station Lane restart and then Beggars Roost.
    Autosport (April 10th issue) covered the event, and snapped me on Bluehills 1.

    I sold the Messerschmitt about June 64, and trialled a Ford Pop for a year or so before spotting another TG500 for sale in London around August 1965, and when I went to see it was amazed that it was another ex Testwood Motors car, UHO 505.
    This car also had lots of competition history, again driven mainly by Ken Piper who did MCC events and also won outright the National Cats Eyes Rally, making the front cover of the March 1959 Motor sport magazine.
    Admittedly the timed rally stages were cleaned by several cars, and the event was decided finally on a series of timed special tests, which obviously suited the small but very agile Messerschmitt.

    I just had to buy this car, but it had been very very neglected by previous owners, and although I entered it a couple of trials, it retired each time with mechanical problems.
    Yes I did enter it in the 66 Lands End, but with a couple of weeks to go finally gave up tinkering with the Tg500 and competed in a quickly aquired (for £50) 1949 split rear screen cable braked VW Beetle.
    Surprise surprise, as John noted, we retired again when the 1131cc engine went onto 3 cylinders, (burnt valve).
    Sorted for the 66 Derbyshire where a 1200cc engine and Judson supercharger got us up all but one hill (cannot recall which we failed).
    The 2nd Tg500 was finally sold on later in 66.

  5. Ken Piper also used a TG500 in Autocross to good effect. I have a photo of him at a Cambridge Car Club event in the early 60's. Reg. no 500 BOR, I think the car was red. The car was entered as a 2 seater spors car as he took the canopy off. This car was replaced with a fearsome rear engined vehicle,Jaguar powered, which rarely went in the direction he wanted, other than straight.

  6. Thanks for the info Robin. 500 BOR was another of Testwood Motors cars, and yes it was red.
    A few years on when now in private ownership, it was one of a team of 3 in the 1963 MCC Scoot to Scotland/Edinburgh run. I was also in the team with XOR 500 and there is a picture of us on my Message Board Members page (Cliffs Site).
    Any chance of a copy of the photo at the Cambridge CC event please as I have been helping someone from the Messerschmitt Owners Club compile data for the Clubs files.
    I also have a couple of other photos of Ken Piper in XOR 500, again with a tonneau cover in place of the canopy, competing at a Speed Hillclimb, rear wheel well tucked under like Triumph Heralds used to do if pushing them too hard into corners !!.

  7. Hello Cliff, Do you remember Peter Dicker, a printer from Kent/Essex area who owned and drove Troll T6b/04 677 TKN for a season? He'd bought the car from Brian Bradshaw and sold it back to Brian later. The reason Peter sold the Troll was because he'd found a TG 500 that he was intent on buying for the princely sum of £17,000 that would be circa 1991/2, sorry don't have any contact details for Peter anymore but perhaps someone else has and perhaps he still has the TG500. PS don't forget to let me have some TG500 copy and photos for Falconry! Brgds David

  8. Thanks David, afraid I do not remember Peter, but I will ask my contact in the Messershmitt Owners Club if Peter did have or may still have a Tg500.
    I wrote an article for their Club magazine last year as 2009 was the 50th anniversary of the Tg500, will forward this to you for Falconry.

  9. I forwarded the picture to ken Piper and received the following reply

    "Mark.....I believe car no 1 was Len drake of Testwood Motors to me Ann Rose passenger don't know no 3 Harry Rose father of Ann Rose...........hope this helps. Ken "

  10. Hello there. We need to know your real name for you to be a member and for you to post here. Who are you? - Michael

  11. Fmrtg500 = Mark Smith. Current Tg 500 (Messerschmitt Tiger) owner.

  12. Thanks for your info Mark, that helps a lot. Do not suppose Ken mentioned what type of event it was or where?
    I had heard of Harry Rose and looking at my results of the 64 Lands End trial see that he competed in that in a Morgan. Also Tommy Wood took part but this time driving a BMW 700.

  13. Hi there I think the meeting may have been one of the West Hants and Dorset Motor Car Club events televised by the BBC. Son Geoff feels it was being held near Salisbury and as you can see it was a team event. If I find anything relevant on my ongoing search through our cellar I will let you know! Unfortunately when we had a flood in the basement at Brooklyn a few years ago we lost a vast amount of records and racing memorability.........and now unfortunately the memory is not what it once was........but the enthusiasm is still as keen as ever!! from Ken Piper