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It’s not an Alfa, but you gotta love the Stovebolt!

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aaSimon Taylor & HWM minues before first practice laps.LS 03

This is the famous HWM “Stovebolt” racer now owned by Simon Taylor.  The top photo is from a 1995 Road & Track feature on the car.  The next is a 2003 shot I took at Laguna Seca, just minutes before Simon took the car out for a Friday practice session, prior to the vintage races (Now known as the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion .. until someone else buys the naming rights).  So, you’re asking, why is this terrific car on an Italian car page?  Certainly not because HWM originally used Alfa engines (They were Alta motors, not Alfa).  Not even because the car was built by HWM’s legendary mechanic Alf Francis.  No, it’s here because the Stovebolt has a legitimate Italian connection and because the Stovebolt is an example of what happens when a bunch of really good hot-rodders and tuners go to work on an already fine racer.  Switching the 4-cylinder Alta engine for a 265 cube Chevy was just a start.  Now, about the Italian connection, Simon shares that “in 1950 Stirling Moss had his first Formula 1 race in it, even though it was merely a 2-litre Formula 2 car, and he finished a sensational third to the works Alfa Romeos of Farina and Fangio … that was in the Bari Grand Prix.  Then a few weeks later Moss had the first bad accident of his career in my car.  He was leading, holding off the pursuing Ferraris, when a back-marker moved across on him and put him head-on into a tree.  Among other painful injuries, he knocked out his front teeth on the cockpit edge.  In 2000, when I told Stirling I’d bought the car, he said, ‘Have a look in the undertray, boy – you’ll probably find my teeth.'”

See Simon and the Stovebolt compete at a hillclimb by clicking here.

Simon Taylor Stovebolt and friends

Simon Taylor, on the left, chats with John “Bat” Masterson and a friend.  Masterson, who is sitting in the car, is a former Stovebolt owner.

Simon Taylor in HWM enters turn 4 copy

Above: Simon applies the Stovebolt’s Chevy power at the 2003 Monterey Historics, in California.  Below are two more photos from Laguna Seca Raceway.


6 Taylor catches Jag at turn 4 copySimon Taylor in HWM.Pits at LG 03