Clive Lones

Clive Lones

10/6/1895

One of the best Morgan three wheel racers pre WWII, after the war he was a pioneer of the 500cc F3 Class.

Born in Smethwick in the West Midlands, Lones started racing just after the Great War. Around 1920, he aquired a pre-war Morgan and in 1922 he upgraded to a Morgan-Blackburne. One of the best know campaigners of Morgans, during a race in 1927 the cross head tie bars on his Aero broke. As a result both front chassis tubes bent and thus lowered the front of the car, which improved the handling. This then became the way other Morgans were set up for racing.

In 1928, Clive installed a JAP engine and went on to set 37 World and National records at Brooklands. In August, the newly formed New Cyclecar Club held a meeting at Brooklands. Lones finished third in the Three-Wheeler Handicap and went on to win the Cyclecar Grand Prix at 54.1 mph.

In 1931 he was part of the Morgan Team in the Relay Grand Prix held over 270 miles. Apparently the Morgan driver had their hand throttles held open with elastic bands when on the banking so that they could concentrate fully on steering! The finished 12th out of the 22 teams competing.

For the 1932 running of the Relay Race, Lones blew the Bert Le Vack tuned 733 c.c. ETOW/R J.A.P. engine up but was back in 1933 and despite the team being heavily handicapped they finished second at an average speed of 89.01 mph. The Relay Race, often run in wet conditions, was no exception in 1934. Once again the Morgan team finished second at an average speed of 90.91 mph.

In 1934, when three-wheelers were banned from competing as cars and in motorcycle races they could not compete against purpose built sidecar units, Lones bolted a GN axle to the back of his 1929 Morgan JAP Aero and turned it into a 4-wheeler. Called the Tiger Cat, he raced it up to the Second World War doing particularly well on hillclimbs.

After the war, and keen to get back to racing, he became one of the pioneers of the new 500cc class. In 1946 he was the first person to appeared with a 500cc racing car, the Tiger Kitten. He was joined at Prescot by another 500c machine built by Colin Strang.

The car used an inverted Austin 7 van chassis and was not as quick as the Strang or Cooper T2. However with all the experience he had built up before the war with JAP motors, he upgraded the car for 1947 with a special motor.

In May 1948 he became the first person to take a 500cc car up the Prescott hill in under 50 seconds. His time of 49.98s was remarkable as the outright record stood at 45.67s, set by an ERA driven by Bob Gerard.

More success followed, mainly in hillclimbs and sprints but with occasional forays into racing. At the end of 1949, he purchased the first Iota P1 production car into which he installed his trusty JAP engine. The car, painred in Clive’s traditional bright red, became known as Tiger Kitten II.

In 1953 he purchased Don Truman's Cooper Mk VI which raced as Tiger Kitten III. At nearly sixty years of age, he retired from racing, though he continued to make occasional hillclimb appearances for another thirty years.

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