Posted on 30 May 2018
When we were approached by our client, Philip Kadoorie, to prepare his 1974 Lancia Stratos Group 4 HF for the Tour Auto Optic 2000 in France, we jumped at the chance to take part in this epic event. Starting at the Grand Palais in Paris, this 2,050 km rally passes through the picturesque towns of Besancon, Megeve, Avignon and Aix-En-Provence before finishing at the seaside resort of Nice in the south of France.
The car arrived at our workshops in January and preparation works commenced right away. Following a full inspection and test drive, a major programme of works was agreed with Philip after which the Stratos was given a comprehensive and detailed overhaul to ensure safety, reliability and as much comfort as possible.
Works included replacing every single bearing; overhauling the callipers; inserting new brake lines and master cylinders; stripping and fully rebuilding the pedal box and overhauling the rare Kugelfischer fuel injection system. New, correct pattern fuel tanks were fitted with modern bladders and new fuel lines and filters added.
Philip chose new seats which we fitted with 5-point harnesses mounted on a specially-designed and fitted bar; a fire-extinguisher system was plumbed in; electrical work consisted of fitting a modern cut-out system, hazard and map lights, and several added extras requested by the client. In addition, two rolling road sessions were carried out – prior to the start of works - and just before going on tour.
The Stratos, driven by Philip and his co-driver Julian Byrne, performed beautifully throughout the rally. A minor electrical issue of a broken wire was quickly fixed by our support team after which the car performed better than ever! The Stratos has now come back to us for post-event checks and some additional works as requested.
Philip was delighted with the car’s performance and the efforts of our support team, Wayne Kelham and Damian Le Breuilly, both highly experienced in event support and preparation. Their technical and mechanical knowledge, coupled with a very personalised service from start to finish, including roadside refuelling of car and team, ensured the very best experience for our clients in terms of professional support.
Following the success of the Stratos, Philip is keen to do more events with us in the future and we look forward to working on more of his wonderful cars and providing first class support!
Next step, more power ….
“ The Tour Auto is an epic drive on most true petrolheads’ wish list. In a matter of six months, Thornley Kelham took my 1974 Lancia Stratos Group IV from not having run in years to rally ready. We had glitches caused by the 44 year old wiring that I thought would be a rally-ender but my intrepid mechanics, Wayne and Damian, did not give up and had us going in a matter of hours without any support. Having provided more than just mechanical support, the pit stops where we refuelled both car and drivers on the side of the road made me feel like a true rally driver and provided a welcome break from the difficult drives in the Tour. Our success in completing the Tour Auto was only possible thanks to the preparation Thornley Kelham has put in and their ability to keep the car going with limited tools on the side of the road. A truly enjoyable experience with a great Team!
With my best wishes, Philip”
Photos by Damian Le Breuilly, Wayne Kelham, Julien Hergault and Ashley Border