Lot details Registration No: N/A Chassis No: GC289.368 Mot Expiry: N/A
Group C1 and C2 Tigas
Tim Schenken and Howden Ganley (pictured in 2001) formed the Tiga (phon: 'tiger')company in 1976 and during the period to 1982, when Schenken left, they had designed and built Formula Fords, F2s, F3s and even Atlantic NDS CanAm cars, and by the time production ended in 1989, some 400 cars had been built.
In amongst this huge range was a Sports 2000 racer but, whilst it may have given them some ideas, nothing (other than the gearknob!) was carried over to the Group C car. With Schenken gone, Ganley 'designed' the new car and Mike Coughlan and Colin Smith carried out much of the detail work. The result was a neat attractive car of which 30 were made in C2 and IMSA specification.
Strangely enough the original idea with the GC83 was to run with a DFL and give the Porsches a run for their money but, without this (expensive) engine, a Chevrolet V8 was fitted with good power but a thirsty appetite! The prototype car ran in 1983 as a C1 entry with the Chevrolet engine, driven by Crang and Spice (13th at Brands and 7th at Imola).
In 1984 the C Junior category was introduced and the GC284, planned for IMSA and Mazda engines, was adapted by Ganley to match a request from Roy Baker to fit the Ford BDT engine.
Such was the success of the Spice that many will forget that, following the Ford C1 close down, Gordon Spice had teamed up with Neil Crang, who now had a 3.3l DFL in place of the Chevrolet, and they were very successful with five wins. Indeed, if they had contested more of the championship rounds, they would almost certainly have 'lifted' the class championship, which went to the innovative carbon fibre 'tubbed' Alba.
Spice split with Crang in 1985 and bought a new Tiga (in 'kit' form) and had the car built up by RAM Racing with some small modifications that resulted in them calling it the Spice-Tiga, not something that 'impressed' Ganley!
However, the basic design of the Tiga must have been very good for, with Ray Bellm sharing the driving, Spice won both the C2 and Driver's titles, taking the class at Le Mans and five other wins. As Spice Engineering, they subsequently went on to even greater things.
Following some success in the US, a slightly larger car was designed to allow for the mad proliferation of engine packages now demanded.
The cars ran with numerous motors including, Ferrari, Buick, Porsche, Volvo and even Lamborghini, not to mention Cosworth DFLs and later in 1990-92 Cosworth DFZs (as currently fitted to the 'Pink Panther') in the national UK series.
There are always accidents in motor racing and Ganley was determined that driver's feet would stand the best possible chance of survival in a shunt. The aluminium honeycombe tub and Kevlar and carbon fibre weave bodywork added up to a strong and reasonably light car, which was deliberately designed to be easy to drive, the majority of drivers coming from the non professional ranks.
And light and easy to drive it is too.
With Spice and Ecosse able to produce a more dedicated design and development line, the production Tiga routine left less scope for new and frequent innovations and, with the former battling each other, Tigas took a bit of back seat in 1987-89.
However, in the USA, several IMSA Lights successes in '85 and '86 were followed by a totally lean year in '87 but all came right in 1988 when the Essex Racing team car won at Daytona, Sebring, West Palm Beach and Columbus to take the IMSA Lights Championship.
The Pink Panther Tiga
Roy Baker was one of the real characters in the sports racing world, who lived and breathed competition, and he managed (in most cases) to just raise just enough money to race, even taking advantage of local businesses to raise last minute 'sticker' sponsorship at the circuits!
Having raced since the mid fifties Roy started his first group C race at Monza with a Harrier in 1982 ("The worst car I ever owned") and proceeded to race in nearly every Group C race up to 1989.
For most of that period he ran and raced in two Tigas and one of them was this car, known as the 'Pink Panther', due to the colour it raced in at Kyalami (in narrow body form) and later at Le Mans in 1988.
World Traveller over five years!
Roy Baker purchased the car in 1986, having had it engineered for a Ford BDT.
With limited funds, the car was inevitably driven by privateers and had limited success but with around 30 races under its belt, including FOUR times at Le Mans (finishing in 1988 and 1990), it must be one of the most prolific race cars of all time! The following list of circuits, many of which it visited on several occasions, gives some idea of its staggering 'career'.
Brands Hatch Brno Daytona Fuji Jarama Jerez
Kyalami Le Mans Miami Monza Norisring Nurburgring
Sandown Sebring Silverstone Spa
Competed in a variety of European events including Le Mans 1986, with David Andrews and Duncan Bain as his main drivers.
In 1987 fitted with a Cosworth DFL engine and David Andrews as principal driver. It again competed in many European and world events including Le Mans with Michael Allison/ Robert Peters/ David Andrews where it competed 139 laps before the gearbox failed.
Again raced in a variety of events in 1988 including Le Mans with a striking pink livery, where it was christened 'Pink Panther' and known as such from then on! It was driven by Michael Allison/ Stephen Heynes/ David Andrews and finished 23rd. It again competed in many European events.
Updated in 1989 to GC289 specification (given new chassis number GC289.386) but only entered a few events.
In 1990 was entered at Le Mans by GP Motorsport and sponsored by the Fenwick Group, finishing 29th with Craig Simmiss, Alastair Fenwick and Alex Postan.
The car was purchased in 2001 by Jim Graham and raced in Group C revival events, finishing 9th overall (2nd in class) in the two hour Empire Trophy 'night' race in August 2001, driven by Jim Graham and John Mayston-Taylor (Lynx).
Subsequently raced at Donington, Snetterton, Nurburgring and Silverstone, clocking up around 12 hours on the 'new in July 2001' Nicholson McLaren 3.5litre Cosworth DFZ (520bhp with 'soft' cams, pulling from 4,500 - 9,200rpm).
A new bag tank was fitted in summer 2001 and will require re-testing in 2006. Although fully crack tested for 2001/2002 and low race hours, this should now be repeated before racing in the very safety conscious Group C/GTP Racing events.
Various spares, wheels, bodywork and so on can be purchased direct from vendor.