Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Ant Anstead: Master Mechanic

As Bloody Hell, I'm always suitably Impressed by Anyone who can Build His own Car from the Ground Up!

I suppose in some small way, it's ironic, Isn't It Alanis? Err Karmic or more likely symbiotic that I began Scribblin' this on the very same day Jolly 'Ol Silverstone was hosting the 70TH Anniversary Grand Prix.

Which was won seven decades ago by the very same racing car that Starred in the Motortrend TV television show Ant Anstead Master Mechanic that I watched all six weeks of its two half hour vignettes from May 20th until June 24th "Encore" presentation.

If you're a Formula 1 Diehard like Mwah, then you'll already know that the car in Questione is none other than the All Conquering Alfa Romeo Tipo 158. Having enjoyed Domination of the Sport A la Mercedes is currently enjoying, albeit for a far shorter duration "technically" if only considering the beginning of our current Formula One World Championship in 1950.

although it was as every bit Uber Dominant a la Mercedes over its very long racing tenure, beginning in 1937 thru 1951, interrupted obviously by World War II. Racking up a most impressive Win Tally of 47/54 Grands Prix outings! Not to mention the only racecar to go Undefeated in a season, winning 11 of 11 Races in 1950 Me Thinks...

As Giuseppe Farina and Alfa Romeo won the inaugural Formula 1 race of the modern day F1 series sanctioned by the FIA held at Bloody Silverstone Wayback on May 13, 1950, which I've previously chronicled in the following No Fenders tome.

Birth of the modern F1 championship

Ant Anstead is a most interesting character to Mwah, since although I like the main cog of Wheeler Dealers Mike Brewer, it's Anstead which keeps me tuned into Ye Motortrend TV show, as I just find him to be hugely charismatic.

As Ant, whose first name is Anthony was previously a British Constable, reportedly one of the youngest to become a member of the Tactical Firearms Unit (TFU) permitted to carry a Firearm in Bloody England!

Whilst he also played Semi Professional European "Football," what us Yanks refer to as soccer here. First as Goalkeeper and then moving to Striker for Ryman for 15 years, claiming to have made over 700 Caps.

As I particularly enjoyed him telling about his extremely modest beginnings when he Quit the Police Force in 2005 to chase his Dream of becoming a Car Builder. Noting he'd made a Deal with Arse-sumedly a Farmer, that if he made his One room Cow Barn fully functional, i.e.; lighting, heating, Cleaning etc. He could have the Barn the first year rent Free.

As the premise of the show which was produced in 2019 was that Anstead has three months (12 weeks) to build his Dream Car. As he'd better be Done by then because he's got a Son on the way! For which Hudson was born on Sept 6, 2019.

Ant's Dream Car is the aforementioned legendary Alfa Romeo Tipo 158, for which he muses how he'd like to have been a part of those Heady late 1930's era, presumably as a Mechanic at Alfa Course, fabricating the magnificent voiturette Tipo 158's.

Whilst a few times when mentioning how much larger he was than Juan Manuel Fangio, noting how El Maestro appeared to be almost spilling out of the Alfa's Cockpit, anstead mused he was 6 Feet two inches and 230lbs, I immediately muttered Out-loud He's a Big boy!

The series began with Ant having acquired a Knackered Out 1950's era MGTD, for which wisely includes rack & pinion steering, for which he effectively Chucks everything minus the front suspension and ladder chassis frame rails, which is the basis of his new racecar. As Ant then takes it to a nearby Bead Blaster, where he goes into the Blasting Shed himself to "Sand Blast" his frame, using walnut shells I believe.

My favourite episode follows, as Thars a Hilarious bit 'O Slapstick when he goes to retrieve what he thinks will just be a live rear axle. As the Auto Wrecking Shop's proprietor plays along Beautifully, telling him, Yours is Outside. To which Ant says Deadpan, you Didn't tell me it's still on a Car!

Then he ends up taking the Clapped-out Alfetti Spyder for a brief spin. Growling there's No clutch Pedal, before merrily Grinding Gears with the proprietor saying I Hope he Doesn't take it on the Freeway!

As I think it's really Cool that Ant ended up using much of the Alfa Spyder's Guts for his racecar, i.e.; engine, transmission, rear axle with locking Differential, and many of the car's gages and various sending units et Al.

Next Anstead flies Across Thee Puddle, back to his former European Workshop where he just so happens to have an Alfa Romeo 158 Fiberglas Mold in Storage, from a previous One-off he built for a charity Drive.

While I'm still Cornfuzed over how exactly he Detached his Bicep muscle playing Football? Which adds extra Drama to the Car's build Deadline. Along with one Episode's "Intro" having him whisper Never Wake a Sleeping Pregnant Woman," i.e.; his wife Christina, a TV Actress who previously co-Hosted Flip or Flop on the HGTV Network, and subsequently has her own TV Show aptly titled Christina On the coast on the same television network.

Meanwhile Anstead's back in California and the show takes a few Detours, notably visiting somebody with a "real" Alfa Romeo 158, albeit I could never discern if it's a replica somebody built? Since the apparent owner said it took four years to build, and claims is worth a cool $20m as in Millions, Aye Karumba!

Although apparently this Alfetta is a real Honest-to-Goodness Racecar, having all aluminum panels and being built from a Treasure Trove of left over surplus Alfa Romeo 158 Bits that came up for sale several years ago.

Birth of an Alfeta: The Alfa Romeo 158 Made from Spare Parts

As I've never heard the name Peter Giddings before, who reportedly was the guiding force and Backer behind the exquisite Tipo 158 creation, who succumbed to Cancer in January, 2019...

Peter Giddings Racing Bio

Along with visiting the Car Collection of a noted Ferrarista owner. Since Thars Michael Schumacher's F2002 on-hand, presumably that year's f1 Championship Winner. Along with a Ferrari F40, F50, Enzo and la Ferrari...

Ant has his Alfa Romeo two-litre straight four rebuilt by an engine specialist who does serious porting, polishing and rebuilding work to boost the 'lil Four-banger's Horsepower, including converting to Dry Sump lubrication. Which naturally Ain't what real Tipo 158's have.

Although Ant cleverly pays Homage to the magnificent Gioacchino Colombo 1,479cc Straight 8-Cylinder Roots Supercharged Formula 1 lump' by adding four fake exhaust headers to his Bundle 'O Snakes pipes exiting the side of his fiberglass bodied replica.

And while Ant's anxiously awaiting the arrival of his Alfa transplant lump', he sets about welding together his integral Space Frame amongst thou myriad 'O tasks still awaiting completion.

As Ant wisely upgrades All four corners with Disc Brakes, along with separate Master Brake Cylinders for the Front/Rear Brakes, with a slick Cockpit adjustable Brake Bias lever. And also upgraded to new modern era Shock Absorbers; Err Dampers.

Then for the car's paint scheme, Anstead consulted his Pal', renown Automotive Designer Chip Foose, who does a quick rendering and gives some tips regarding potential liveries, including a mustache on the nose? Telling Ant whatever you do, it has to reflect you...

As the race was on for the car's public Debut no less than at the 2019 United States Grand Prix Formula 1 race at Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, for which Anstead claims got much praise over the race's weekend, since they weren't allowed to bring any cameras inside the circuit.

As the only part of the whole build that puzzles me was the brief mention of how he'd be running lights on the racecar, Huh? Like does this imply he was adding headlights to it? Which makes No sense to Mwah for a Track Only vehicle.

As the show concludes with him spending the day at Willow springs raceway I believe? Running the car Solo, for which I seem to recall him saying he needed to add an extra silencer to the exhaust since it's too Bloody L-O-U-D! Whilst we're left watching 'N listening to the soothing sounds of his tweaked Alfa Romeo two litre Four Banger singing around the race course...

Ant Anstead Drives his Alfa Romeo 158 Replica for the First Time video

As I highly recommend watching the whole 12-part series, which weighs in at 6hrs running time if you're a Car Nut, as the whole show's quite entertaining...