What a month, with wonderful sunshine continuing right to the end for much of England... in particular for the Donington Show and the first ever DAX Autumn Open Day. In fact, Saturday the 27th saw perfect DAX weather in Harlow for a day to remember.
Undoubted star of the show at Donington was a fabulous new DAX 427 De Dion Le Mans Coupe shown by Dave Brookes of DB Classics in Cheshire. This dramatic car – built for a customer and the first road-going 427 De Dion to near completion – drew the crowds throughout both days and attracted more orders for DB's turnkey DAX 427.
The proprietary hardtop was customised by Dave to fit the DAX 427. The car's owner wants to use it as a coupe all the time, so Dave and his team have also modified the boot opening for use with the hardtop in place and moved the fuel filler to the offside rear wing.
Fitting the off-the-shelf hardtop to the DAX 427 was not an easy job, says Dave, and he doesn't recommend it to anyone who isn't an expert in working with glass fibre.
Such was the interest shown in the coupe, however, that Dave has now committed himself to going ahead and developing his own hardtop to fit the Toj without modification. He hopes to make this with a hatchback arrangement to avoid the need for boot lid and fuel filler modifications.
Dave has been liaising with DAX development engineer Gary Sanders on the build. He says that the De Dion car went together just as easily as a conventional DAX 427. It will be sva'd shortly and then visit Harlow for its suspension to be set up by Gary and designer Peter Walker before the lucky owner takes delivery of this unique car. It's going to stop traffic.
DAX 427 leads sales boom
Also drawing the crowds at Donington was DJs own DAX 427 De Dion demonstrator, which is being developed in tandem with the Dave Brookes car. Yet to have its body fitted, it was shown in chassis form with its 502ci, 502 bhp, fully-catalysed Chevrolet engine in place.
Visitors to the DJ stand were able to study the details of its unique suspension arrangement –Peter Walker's patented camber-compensation system at the front and a De Dion system at the rear – which is designed to keep the full width of the tyres in contact with the tarmac at all times for optimum grip. The extensively braced De Dion chassis is also significantly stiffer than that of the conventional Toj, which is already one of the stiffest in its class.
Such was the interest, that DJ took firm customer orders for three more cars straight off the stand. "The impact of this car really is remarkable," said MD Brian Johns. "We are almost into double figures already... and that doesn't include the export orders. I have never known people to order a new model before we have had a finished demonstrator to show them. It is a fantastic demonstration of our reputation for producing great new cars straight our of the box through sound and innovative engineering."
Talking of export orders, German agent Christian Nowak of CN Fahrzeugbau – who builds turnkey DAX 427 in Germany – has switched all his orders to the new chassis after seeing it on a recent visit to Harlow. Christian, who also races a Toj – winning in Holland this month - builds around 12 cars a year for customers in Germany, Italy and Portugal and is about to start selling into Switzerland.
Sales of the conventional DAX 427 are also booming – Dave Brookes alone has 10 on order – matching, and sometimes exceeding, those of the ever-popular Rush and Rush MC, which continue to sell well. In fact, DJ sold seven cars in total in the three or four days either side of the Donington show.
With considerable demand from Benelux agent John Kox as well, mostly for the Rush, there is obviously pressure on delivery dates. "We are taking on additional staff ," said Brian, " but it isn't always easy to find the right people to meet our high standards. I would advise anybody wishing to have a Rush or DAX 427 for delivery next Summer to get their order in as soon as possible."
Plenty of Harlow visitors gathered around Duncan Cowper's remarkable championship-winning Rush Turbo'busa as well and were treated to a video of some of this year's successes. So far this year, Duncan has clinched his class in the CCC Speed Championship – the main target for the season –some 100 points ahead of his nearest competitor. In fact, he has scored maximum class points and has only missed out on the overall title by one point because of a system which awards bonus points according to the number of people you beat in your class. Sadly, Duncan scared some of his class rivals away.
What is not generally know is that Duncan has been competing with a massive tyre disadvantage for most of the season. Now he has been able to obtain the latest construction radial Avon slicks in the correct size for the car and he is going even faster. In fact, the day after the Open Day he took the car to a North Weald sprint and beat all the single-seaters by more than two seconds for his seventh ftd of the year.
Having tied up the CCC class championship, Duncan finds he still has a chance of winning both the London Counties and Borough 19 championships, so he is going for a hattrick. Next season he hopes to take on the new challenge of circuit racing – still with the 777bhp-per-tonne Turbo'busa – in the BARC Thundersport series. This is a more expensive option than sprinting so additional sponsors are needed. If anybody is interested in helping Duncan's efforts please contact me (details below or simply reply to this email, remembering to delete the newsletter content from your reply) and I'll be happy to put you in touch.
One of Duncan's regular 'sponsors in kind' has been Matt Coulter, who provided the spectacular bike-style graphics for both Duncan's car and DJ's Turbo'busa demonstrator. Matt's company – Image Worx Signs & Grafix of Loughton, Essex – can provide all sorts of original decals for DAX cars, including stripes for both the Rush and DAX 427' and can be contacted on 020 8508 0066 or by email to email@example.com.