Trident Venturer 1970 World Cup car

Trident Venturer is a rare car in itself and this one is even rarer because it has history. The seller on eBay claims that this is the very car that took part in the 1970 World Cup Rally. I quote from the advert.

A great opportunity to invest in a rare classic and only selling to make space and reduce my collection. To say this car is rare would be an understatement The unique Venturer coupé was purpose built by the Trident works to compete in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally and driven on that event by a British Army team. It can clearly be seen at Wembley stadium at the start of the race with many old clips on the British Pathe news reels via utube.It was originally intended H.R.H Prince Michael of Kent would drive but he was later to persuaded to drive for BLMC to help the British car manufacture. The Trident Venturer was a development of the Clipper that had started out as a Trevor Fiore styling exercise commissioned by TVR and first exhibited at the Geneva Salon in 1965. When the Blackpool-based sports car maker went through one of its many financial crises the Clipper project was sold to Bill Last, one of its dealers. Early Clippers used the TVR Grantura chassis before Last switched first to the Austin-Healey 3000 frame and then to that of the Triumph TR6 for the related Venturer and Tycoon models. Ford’s 3.0-litre ‘Essex’ V6 engine was used in the Venturer and the 2.5-litre fuel-injected Triumph TR6 unit in the Tycoon. It is estimated that Trident built approximately 225 cars of all models between 1967 and 1978.

‘VAD 30H’ incorporates a number of special modifications including a strengthened chassis and an impressive roll cage that serves as an integral part of the car’s reinforced chassis/body assembly. Trident also equipped the car with suitably ‘beefed up’ suspension (coil and wishbone front, semi trailing arm rear), dual circuit brakes and increased ride height, all of which, together with left-hand drive, were considered prerequisites for the 16,000-mile adventure ahead. The contemporary interior is a great place to be and you can almost smell the history with a dash full of 1970 dials and toggle switches.

‘VAD 30H’ was entrusted to Captains Marriott and Dill of the 21st Lancers and Royal Green Jackets respectively, both of whom were veterans of the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon. This car is known in rallying circles as ‘The Flying Picasso’ for its multi coloured paintwork depicting the World Cup and various footballers, painted on a green base. It is believed the car was signed by the then England football World Cup team however, the night before the race there were worries that green may be unlucky and so Bill Last’s wife hand-painted over it in white. Despite a promising start and good progress through mainland Europe, the car was damaged by a rock in Yugoslavia and whist fixing the bent steering arm, to co drivers helmet was also stolen. like many of the competitors, the Venturer never made it to Mexico. Forced to turn back, the intrepid Army officers maximised their duty free allowance by filling the large washer bottles with gin before heading home!

The Venturer disappeared after the race and was rediscovered a few years later in an East Anglian farmyard, minus its engine and gearbox. It was later restored and given a thorough mechanical overhaul, fitted with a Ford RS 3.1-litre V6 (incorporating Powermax pistons and gas-flowed cylinder heads) and a five-speed gearbox. Rewired and its brakes refurbished, the car was given a clean bill of health. Left untouched cosmetically, with its distinctive multi-coloured ‘World Cup’ livery.

Crewed by famed navigator Rodney Carter and driver George Holt, ‘VAD 30H’ later participated in the 2004 Monte Carlo Winter Challenge in which it finished 5th in Class 9 despite being handicapped by a wheel bearing failure early in the event.

Running well and sounding awesome the Venturer starts on the button without fail and is lively to drive especially with the off road/snow tyres. A nice gear change as you expect from Ford, helps you make good progress and you soon find yourself settling in to the rhythm and noise of a 70’s rally car. What is not surprising is the amount of attention you get as seemingly every driver and passer by takes a look! In my opinion it looks similar to the Lancia Stratos with it’s sloping bonnet and short cut off rear end. All front and rear guards can be removed if required which you might prefer.

VAD 30H comes complete with boxes of papers including newspaper clippings, lots of Rally photo’s etc. Also included is the official Wembley to Mexico city programme. Lots of invoices going back years with many new detailing it’s history. It would take you months to read it all!

Mot’d till 29th April 2019 the car is ready for it’s next venture, whatever that may be! The previous owner was keen to do the London/Mexico re run but fell short of the 50k needed to complete the Rally although i’m sure the car is up to it. A great car for shows or put in your own collection as an investment, the car is unique.

Viewing recommended,located in the Halstead, Essex CO9 postcode area