Before we get into the nuts and bolts of this week’s featured car you’ll have to allow me a moments indulgence and a trip down memory lane.
I’ve always referred to this type of car as a ‘sports racing car’ because this is what the class was called in the British Hillclimb Championship – and that’s what I grew up watching as a kid while my dad competed in it. To my mind the over 2 ltr sport racing car class had by far the best looking cars and some of the fastest ones too. It was for closed wheel racing cars, not modified road cars and to me, these were just the best thing since sliced bread….and still are!
We’re talking about iconic cars like the Pilbeam MP43, Lola T296 and Chevron B23’s. They were mostly powered by highly tuned NA 4 bangers like the 2 litre Cosworth BDG or the 2.8 litre Hart which was capable of putting out an impressive 360bhp. Back in the early 80’s that was good going, and still is today to be honest.
Some were fitted with big chevy V8’s and a handful had Cosworth DFV Formula 1 engines which just sounded epic! With hillclimbing, just one car goes at a time and I remember clearly to this day hearing the DFV powered cars coming on cam and the noise bouncing off the trees and up through the valley as they powered up the likes of Prescott hill or Shelsley Walsh. It’d make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, even as a youngster!
I don’t know why but I always thought this style of car was way cooler than the big single seaters and they we’re almost as fast. You’d usually end up with a couple of them in the top ten run-off. Anyway, that’s enough of my misty eyed rambling’s…….the point is, Eyre Massey’s Pulsar reminds me of the cars from this era and for that reason alone it deserves a feature. It’s unique, it’s styling is not for everyone but in my opinion, it’s very very cool.
The Pulsar is actually less like the Pilbeams and Lola’s above and more similar to a Mallock or Vision as it’s actually front engined. This one is powered by a modern Suzuki GSXR1000 bike engine putting out around 180bhp which, again is impressive from an NA 1ltr engine but it’s a strange mix of new and old technology – the rear axle is from a Morris Ital! albeit with Quaife internals and custom made half shafts.
The Car was originally designed in the eraly 90’s by a guy called Rob Bicknell, who’s a well known clubman sportscar designer in the UK. It was intended to be fitted with the 2 litre Vauxhall ‘Red Top’ engine – the marketing push at the time centered around the fact that it was faster than the works Vauxhall BTCC cars around Silverstone.
In total only about 20 of these kit cars have been sold and built and when Eyre bought this car, it actually came with the rights and all the moulds & jigs to manufacture it….which is not something you get every day! So if you want one, you can still buy one as Eyre has done a deal with MNR sportscars who are well established kit car manufacturers and they will actually build you one.
The car was originally fitted with a Honda Fireblade engine but it’s since been updated with a K8 Suzuki GSXR 1000 motor which pushes out about 180bhp in stock form with the addition of a Power Commander. It uses the standard 6 speed sequential box from the bike with a propshaft conversion (as opposed to retaining the chain drive) and it has an electric reverse gear.
The chassis is a tubular steel space frame and the bodywork is all fibreglass. For hillclimbing, which usually requires maximum downforce it has a larger rear wing, a larger front splitter and canards.
Suspension is bespoke to the car and uses double wishbones mounted onto Ford Sierra hubs. The whole package weighs in at roughly 500kg’s
For Eyre this was just a test day as he’d been getting frustrated with reliability issues with the car throughout last season and when you’re competing in hillclimbs you don’t get a whole lot of seat time as it is, so trackdays are an ideal way to sort out reliability issues in a zero pressure environment. Hopefully we’ll see Eyre and the Pulsar back at Mondello in the not-to-distant future!