1964 Cannon GT
- Unique GT racer built in 1964 by Mike Cannon
- Great period documentation and race history including Brands Hatch, Castle Coombe, Thruxton, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Lydden Hill
- Effective combination of lightweight spaceframe chassis; Lotus Elan 26R suspension, brakes, hubs and LSD differential; and rebuilt all steel 1,098cc Ford ‘screamer’ engine
- Eligible for wide variety of events including HRDC, HSCC and Goodwood Revival’s Fordwater Trophy
This car was designed and built in 1964 by Mike Cannon to take on the Diva GTs, Lotuses and Ginettas that were dominating the small capacity class of G.T. racing in the 1960s. The builder, Mike Cannon, was best known in the trials world where he was not only one of the most successful trials drivers but also went on to build around 120 Cannon trials cars of his own design. Indeed Mike Cannon and his trials cars largely dominated the trials scene and were regularly able to outperform Colin Chapman’s best efforts in the sport!
The Cannon GT uses an effective combination of a lightweight spaceframe chassis, Lotus Elan 26R running gear, a Martin 1,098cc Ford ‘screamer’ engine, and lightweight aluminium and fiberglass bodywork. Specifically the front wishbones are Lotus 23B, whilst the uprights, disc brakes, hubs, rear wishbones, and L.S.D. differential are all Lotus Elan 26R. Indeed the handling is quite phenomenal particularly given it weighs substantially less than a Lotus 26R. Having raced only once since being rebuilt and having recently had a full shakedown at Goodwood in April 2018, the engine is a 1,098cc all-steel Ford 'screamer' unit incorporating some Martin parts, which drives via a Ford straight-cut close-ratio gearbox with alloy bell housing. Other noteworthy features include a plumbed-in fire extinguishing system and Dunlop racing tyres.
The car comes with an extensive history file including period photos, race programmes, references in Autosport and Motoring News. Indeed the Cannon GT was raced in period with quite some success running in the up to 1,150cc Class in GT races predominately driven by Mike Cannon himself, John Alexander and Colin Taylor. Circuits competed at include Brands Hatch, Castle Coombe, Thruxton, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Lydden Hill, with Autosport specifically reporting the car’s success at Brands Hatch in September 1966, a class wins at BARC Oulton Park on 11 March 1967 and a podium at Lydden Hill on 19 March 1967. There are also some fantastic photos on file of Mike Cannon testing and setting up the car at Brands Hatch in 1964. In the early 1970s the car was being used for the occasional sprint, hillclimb and even competed at an autocross at Lydden Hill (photos on file).
During the late 1990s and 2000s the Cannon underwent a complete and rather lengthy restoration, with photos of the restoration on file showing the car stripped right back to a bare chassis and fully rebuilt. The car returned to the track in 2012/13 under the ownership of Ed Glaister and was raced for a number of years by himself and his son at HRDC and HSCC events, having successfully obtained an HSCC Historic Passport. More recently the Cannon was tested at Goodwood in April 2018 in preparation for the 2018 racing season where the car ran faultlessly, even embarrassing some of the more powerful and less nimble machinery on track. Interestingly it also garnered a lot of attention from one of the Goodwood selection committee members and said to be a good prospect for the Fordwater Trophy at the Goodwood Revival.
With period race history, a fascinating and fully documented story starting with Mike Cannon, and with an incredibly effective combination of Lotus 26R parts, lightweight chassis and a Ford ‘screamer’ engine, the Cannon GT offers a great and cost effective entry into historic racing, with the Cannon’s phenomenal lightness and handling allowing it to embarrass some of the beefier bits of machinery on track!
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