Beach Mk 4 Sports Racer Puzzlers
Disclaimer - I have been calling people out of a clear blue sky and asking
them questions about cars they owned 35 years ago. Recollections are bound to be
fuzzy and I have been trying to tie together as much information as possible.
Everyone has been very helpful (and tolerant!). I may have misunderstood what I
was told or done a poor job of figuring things out - any errors and confusion
are my fault.
0. Who is Jack Gray of Garland TX and where did his car come from?
Jack Grey was driving my Beach (4-103) in GSR in 1967 - In 1970 he sold the
car to Liz Witt - I have no
further info on him.
1. Delaware Mystery Car - What car is this??
Entry List for Aug 1971 SCCA Nationals race at Watkins Glen
Car # 1 -
Beach - Orange - DSR
Driver - L. L. Roushen, Dover Del
Entrant - Forrest W. Glazebrook, Dover NJ
- A. Probably 4-106. The color and northeast location fit.
Other cars are accounted for.
2. Florida Mystery Cars -
- Bill Harris Car
- In early 1973 Bill Harris bought a Beach that
was sitting in a field in Lakeland FL. It had no engine (he thinks it was
Fiat 850 or SAAB), just a Fiat transaxle. He extensively rebuilt the chassis
and added a new body and ran it
as the Harris-Honda in the 1974 and 1975 CSPRRC runoffs. He sold it to
"someone up north, perhaps Ohio". What car could this be and where is it now?
- Click for photos
- British Kit Car? - James Welz bought a
Ford-powered Beach from James Switzer (Ft. Lauderdale) who had acquired it from a fellow who had built it from a kit
(probably built from the plans) in
Britain and brought it to the US along with a custom trailer. Welz
installed a Triumph engine and at some point went into the canal at Moroso.
It was originally painted gray, then orange, then white. Welz sold it in
1973 without engine to someone on the Florida East Coast. It had a rear
suspension and finned drum brakes from a Formula Junior. The front had
Triumph disk brakes. Is this the Purnell car? Several things seem to match
but not the front brakes. Could there have been an intermediate owner who
installed the Imp engine and front drum brakes (that sounds odd).
Car? - Mike Purnell (Tullahoma TN) bought a RHD Begra/Beach
in Tampa Fl in the spring of 1973 and ran it 1973-74. It had an Imp engine, Fiat transmission, and
finned drum brakes.
Mike sold it to Warren Simmons (High Point NC) who installed a Fiat engine and
front disk brakes, and painted it white and yellow. Warren later sold it to Tom Bible (also in NC).
Tom installed a Suzuki engine and
later sold it to someone in SC. It may have ended up in Kissimmee FL. What car
was this? It was called a Begra at the time, but I don't know of any RHD Begra. The photos show what looks like a Mk4B nose with Begra Mk3 rear - there is
no center firewall body section as on the Mk4B.
- James Welz Car - James Welz says he bought
(#102) from Fred Minning - he added a new roll bar plus yellow accents to
Minning's green paint job. Welz drove this Imp-engined Beach in
DSR in the 1969 and 1970 runoffs and later put in a stock Imp crank and ran it in CSR. He
remembers selling it to someone in Ft. Lauderdale. Rick Capone's shop has been mentioned.
Afterwards, it appears this car went on to
- Charles Brown - Charles Brown from North Palm Beach, FL drove a
blue with yellow trim Beach in the 1975 CSPRCC
runoffs. He acquired it around 1972-74 with a Fiat 850 engine and Triumph
disk brakes. It was a LHD blue car. However, a couple
of folks remember it being RHD and having been converted from Imp to Fiat
power - that may have been before Brown acquired it. Brown changed it to Hurst-Airheart brakes and removed the Fiat engine in
preparation for installing a Honda 750 MC engine, but sold it around 1976-77
without finishing the conversion.
- Carey Culpepper - This car is now owned by Carey Culpepper who acquired
it from Billy Bender (near
Moroso) without motor, but with a LeGrand rear end and Hurst-Airheart
- Rita Wetzel Car -
A letter from Rita J. Wetzel (Jacksonville FL) says
she acquired this car directly from Gene
Beach in 1970 ("last one he made") and raced it in the Southeast 1971-75
(including the 1972-73 runoffs) with a Honda motorcycle engine. From some very poor photos,
it looks like a MK 4B-II rear body with MK 4B nose - painted pink with black
"eyelashes". Interestingly it is LHD, not RHD like other MK 4B-II's.
She sold it to John Robinson who raced it until 1980 (1979 runoffs). It was
then raced by Andy Johnston, who left it at a Jacksonville Honda dealer
when he moved in 1981. What car
is this and where is it now?? Was
there a s/n 115? I have heard this from several people, but Gene Beach only has a list
through 114. This car appears to have a Mk4B chassis, not Mk4B-II.
- Glenn Diemond Car - Glen
Diemond found this car in a vacant lot in Florida about 20 years ago.
It looks like a Mk4B front and rear body and parts of the frame are
certainly Beach-like. It has a portal frame and the front structure looks
like a Beach although the radiator mount doesn't. It is RHD. Is it a Beach?
If so, which car? Could this possibly be the Jim Hahn car? Some features
match and Hahn might have taken the car to Florida when he moved there in
3. Maury Schlossberg Car #104 - Maurice (Maury) Schlossberg from
Wilbraham, Mass. acquired #104 in early 1966 with an Imp engine and Fiat gearbox. It
had a light metallic blue body and was RHD - perhaps this was a copy of Denton's #101? He ran
it in the ARRC runoffs in 1970 and 1971. In 1972 he sold it to "someone very
tall who cut it in half to lengthen it". Nothing else is known since then.
- Mystery solved 7/04! - This car surfaced in a Mass. salvage yard
after 30 years in storage - acquired by Mary Whitton (North Carolina). This
car is configured like Denton's #101 - with RHD, instrument blister, but not
Mk4B-II tail like later cars.
4. Ken Edwards Car - Ken Edwards (Kansas City) was listed as having
SCCA National points in August 1967, driving a Beach in HSR. What car
could this have been?
- Mystery solved 2/04! - Edwards definitely drove Begra 3-004 <Mk3-004>
it was owned by Bob McCollum.
5. John Fleming Car - John Fleming of Columbus OH inquired about
installing a Nathan Imp engine in his Beach DSR in 1968. Is this perhaps the Albert Smith car
- Mystery solved 7/06! - This is the car now owned by John Rankin,
which was previously thought to be #113. Fleming and his wife identified it
at a Portland OR vintage race. This chassis was built about the same time as
#104 (late 1965) and used by Beach in making Mk4B-II molds. Fleming bought
it in 1968 and fitted a Mk4B-II body. I have assigned this chassis #104A
because it fits between 104 and 105 in chassis construction date.
6. Albert Smith Car - Albert Smith in NE Pennsylvania bought a
robin's-egg blue Series II car (Imp-powered) from a fellow at
Mid-Ohio in 1970-71. Smith thinks the previous owner (maybe named Bob Pegassus?) was from Ohio and supposedly
built it from a kit. Smith sold it to Larry Long in Pennsylvania who raced it
for several years and then sold it to Hugh Kleinpeter.
After Hugh's death it was offered for sale by Andy Greene and bought by John
- Mystery solved 7/06! - This was originally thought to be #113, but
actually is the #104A car originally owned by John Fleming. See above.
7. Hugh Grammer's car - Beach's records
show that Mk4B s/n 100 kit was shipped to Hugh Grammer on 9/18/64. In 1995 Hugh Kleinpeter
wrote that Grammer got #100 and then sold it to Fred Cox before completing it. Grammer and Cox are
both deceased, but Don Westerheide, who helped Grammer finish his Beach-Bandini,
says that Grammer only had the one car, which he completed in late 1964. And Grammer's
Beach-Bandini definitely raced in Texas in 1965-69 (Grammer is pictured in SCCA Sports
Car racing at Green Valley 6/5/65), so that particular car can't have gone to
- Mystery solved! - I now have a complete record of Grammer's Beach-Bandini all the way
from 1965 to today (Frank Sible in Illinois has
- Grammer's Beach-Bandini had a "portal frame" at the instrument panel.
The photos of Sible's car show this. Denton's car (#101), Minning's car (#102),
and mine (#103) also have this kind of frame. Gene Beach wrote in
1992 that Grammer's 4B was the first with this portal frame, so
this is more confirmation that his is #100 - and Gene has found a list of
cars that indicates Grammer got #100.
8. Fred Cox's cars - Fred Cox of Nashville owned 3 cars, but didn't buy any of them
directly from Beach.
- #001? - Fred Cox raced an early Mk4 Beach (Imp-powered) in
and later sold it to Dr. Philip Porch. A June 1965 photo shows this car with
a Mk4 body and a 1966
photo shows this car with a Mk4B body (which agrees with Philip Porch's
recollection). But where did Cox get it
from? - Hugh Kleinpeter thought it was an unfinished car from TX -
but it can't be Grammer's Beach-Bandini - Maybe it was a Lotus Southwest car
- see below for a possible theory. Steve Gesse in Colorado now
has this car. Mystery solved 5/05! - I have gotten confirmation that
this was indeed a kit car that Cox obtained from Texas in 1964
- #101 - J.W. Denton raced Mk4B #101 with an Abarth engine in 1965 (see photos in
Mk4B brochure). In late 65 he converted it to RHD, installed an Imp engine and
repainted it blue with white
trim. In 1967 he sold it to Cox, who raced it against Dr. Porch in 68-69.
Last heard of when Anatoly Arutunoff sold it to someone about
1972. What happened to it? Update 1/06 - this car went to Virginia after
Arutunoff sold it. Last word was it crashed in an autocross. Whereabouts
- #108 - Denton bought an Imp-powered Series II car from Russ Norburn in
1968 and then sold it to Cox. This car then went to Buzz Cason, who ran it in
the 1970 ARRC, and then to Mike Goodyear and Bob Atkinson. Hugh
Kleinpeter acquired it in 1989 and I acquired it from Hugh in 2001. It then
went to John Rankin.
9. Lotus Southwest cars - Gene Beach notes show that two cars were sent
to Lotus Southwest in June and August 1965. One was un-numbered and the other numbered #103
. He recalls that there may also have been a Mk4 sent to Lotus Southwest, but it
doesn't show on his shipping notes. All were unbuilt kits without engines.
- First car (Mk4 shipped 1964) - possible theory - Suppose a Mk4
(#001?) was shipped to Lotus Southwest in 1964 - then it could be Fred Cox's first car, accounting for
the Fred Cox Texas kit car story and the Mk4 shipment story. Additional info 5/05 - I
have gotten confirmation that Fred Cox obtained a kit car from Texas in
1964. Cox was the service manager for the Lotus dealer in Nashville, making
the connection stronger, so quite probably this theory is correct. Mk4
- Second car (Mk4B shipped 6/65) - possible theory - Several people
recall that James Hahn of Dallas had a Beach sports
racer around 1966-68 (maybe with "Sunova
Beach" written on the rear). The SCCA records list Hahn driving a
"Sunova Beach" and "Sharp
Special" in HSR in 1966-67. Confirmed 1/06 - I now have
definite info that Hahn raced his "Sunova Beach" car with a destroked Ford 105E engine.
Hahn built it from a kit as a RHD car. It may have ended up as the abandoned
car found in Florida by Glen Diemond. I
have assigned this Mk4B serial #102A.
- Third car (Mk4B #103 shipped 8/65) - possible theory - I believe I now own the
second of the 1965 Lotus Southwest Mk4B cars (Mk4B #103
shipped 8/4/65). My car was definitely raced by Liz Keller Witt of Dallas in 1971 with a Honda S-600 engine. It was
LHD and metallic green when
she got it in late 1970. For many years, I thought my car may have
originally owned by Hahn, but the 2006 info on Hahn's car rules that out. Update
12/11 - Jerry Melton sent photos
of my car running in GSR (driver Jack Gray) at Green Valley in June 1967. Update
2/15 - I got this 1970 ad
showing the car for sale. I am still looking for info on Jack L. Gray of
9. Cars racing in 1965 - I am pretty sure that
the following Beach Mk4 and Mk4B cars were racing in 1965 - Here's an interesting
photo of Downing, Cox, and Denton in June 1965:
- Jim Downing Mk4 (#3-005, DB) - Blue
- Fred Cox Mk4 (#001?, Imp) - Red - listed as "Sunbeam Special"
- Hugh Grammer Mk4B (#100, Bandini) - Salmon
- J.W. Denton Mk4B (#101, Abarth) - Red
- Fred Minning Mk4B (#102, Imp) - Green - listed as "Sunbeam Special"