"Salote" The Roger Richmond Special
1926 Morgan/GN Four Wheeler Monoposto
Chassis no. LTOWS39283 see text
Engine no. 2A31312H6 see text
Former UK Registration. UV 2202
This highly interesting Morgan is comprehensively described in John Bateman's 'The Enthusiast's Guide to Vintage Specials'. A nod to 'Salome' the similar 'Special' built by Tommy Sulman, this was built by British enthusiast, Roger Richmond and followed a period of his toying with both 'two speeder' Morgans and a 'Nash TT Replica. The car combines the best known elements of both, mating a B Type Morgan two speed chassis to a GN rear axle and was constructed through the 1970s, with debut runs in April 1977.
A period of refinement, which included a certain amount of lightening and the odd 'inversion' when in active competition, brought the car to the form in which it can be seen today, with its wind-cheating single seater body. In true British 'Specials' fashion, the car required a name, so Richmond named her after the long time Queen of Tonga, Salote Mafile'o Pilolevu Topou III, thankfully choosing 'Salote' for short.
For more than two decades Richmond regularly campaigned the car in the UK and Europe, including hill climb meets such as Shelsley Walsh and Prescott and circuit meetings of Silverstone and Cadwell Park, and even three Raids with the Frazer Nash Club to the Dolomites.
As acquired from Richmond by the current owner in 1990, the car was powered by one of the 'Queen of the V Twins' the Blackburne KMC 1096cc 60 degree, and transferred its power to the road through the GN chain driven two sprocket rear axle. It was run in this form at a similarly wide range of events including at Road America, Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, VIR etc. Throughout this period, this custodian has continued its development.
Following on-track damage to the Blackburne engine four years ago, this unit was shelved and a Harley Davidson shovelhead was carefully engineered to replace its more fragile predecessor, which is how it has been run in recent times and has proven to be a successful power unit. The Blackburne KMC remains with the car, but would require comprehensive rebuilding to be returned to use.
Throughout the current owner's active use of the car it has been maintained by specialist Jim McHenry of Reading, PA, with a particular emphasis to its safety on the road and track, such that kingpins, spindles, uprights, hubs, wheels are all new, the brakes are as efficient as they could be, being shod with aircraft-grade material, and there is a removable roll bar. Testament to this preparation, it has passed its 2012 Technical inspection and so is ready to be used in fresh ownership this season. The car is actually titled by an 'LTOW' pre-fixed number most probably relating to a former power unit.
A business like and more stable alternative to a Three Wheeler, Salote is the quintessential British Vintage Special bringing together at least two of the most eccentric of the country's rich history of motor manufacturers together.