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Tony Birchenhough tells us something of the history of T290 HU22, one of the most successful 2-litre models.



The car started off as the 1972 LOLA WORKS/BARCLAYS BANK sponsored Group 6 car driven by Guy Edwards, I purchased the car in the winter of 1972 and raced it in most of the European 500K races and 1000K races under the World Sports Car Championship. Other long distance events were undertaken during this period including the Interserie Races, the Portuguese races in 1973 and 74 consisting of Villa Real, Estoril and then Luanda, Nova Lisboa & Benguella in Angola.

Le Mans was contested in 1976 through to 1980.

Circuits were then the original Spa, Ring, Austria and others now changed and in some cases rather boring.

The team had many co-drivers during this period and had 1st, 2nd and 3rd in class many times.

At the end of 1973 the car was returned to LOLA where Bob Marsden used it to update the next season’s 2 litre car and this went on until about 1976. To obtain entries each year we merely changed the bodywork to confirm it as a 292, 294, 296 and even had a chassis plate 297 (no such cars were ever called that). The car was purchased by Nick Mason in about 1983 and remained in a corner rather sad for itself.


HU22 showing signs of a hard season's racing.

In 1992-1993 with Mason’s agreement we took the car to demonstration runs at Le Mans and were invited to the Ring by Porsche, who were running an event for Le Mans cars celebrating their first Le Mans win 25 years earlier.

I then suggested we race it but he declined and said I was welcome to use it and look after it, which we did. In 1996 we did a major rebuild new 290 bodywork, engine rebuilt etc. and the car has contested many events since then within the historic movement. Several class wins have been enjoyed. The car undertook the Le Mans Classic in 2002/2004 and is entered again this year.

“Old Faithful” as she became known must be one of the most successful 2 litre cars around and still has the original chassis and much of the suspension. The Cosworth FVC was changed to a BDG in 1978 and the same engine remains in the car today.

Martin Birraine co-drove with me on a number of occasions and competed with me in the Spa 1 hour race in September 1998. Some of the recent races may not have been entered in the history but the bulk of it is covered.

The car is now driven by “yours truly” and David Alborough who is my godson. He is very good and quicker than the “old man”!

The car is currently having a full check-up before the season starts and we hope to do several races, funds allowing.


HU22 at the 1972 BOAC 1000Kms. (Picture Gerald Swan)


HU22 at Le Mans 1976 with extended rear wing for extra speed on the Mulsanne Straight.


HU22 at Vila Real in 2004. (Picture João Abreu)


HU22, again at Vila Real in 2004. (Picture João Abreu)