Go back to Marques and Men pageMezzolitre

Mezzolitre badge.jpeg (4943 bytes)Gordon Bashford, then Chief Engineer at Rover, designed the Mezzolitre in 1951 for Rupert Instone and another colleague who actually built them. They featured front mounted BSA A7 twin engines driving the front wheels. Suspension was by rubber band. Rupert and Jimmy Byrnes raced through '52 and '53 their best result being a 3rd in heat and 5th in the final at Silverstone in June. The cars were well engineered but the BSA would never compete with the Manx Nortons by then.

mezzolitre.jpg (60848 bytes)Gordon Bashford had a long career with Rover Cars. He joined the company in 1930, straight from school. The first car he was involved with was the Scarab,  an advanced, rear-engined design, however, it was never put in to production. He became involved in the design of the PI models which acquired a good name for Rover during the war, when they were able to keep going with the minimum of maintenance.

After his roles in designing both the P3 and P4 models, Gordon was asked to tackle the layout of the Land Rover. He had no previous experience of designing four-wheel-drive vehicles, but got the design just right, the basic Land Rover layout remains unchanged today. Fellow engineer at Rover, Olaf Poppe, who is credited with the Land Rover's simple but effective chassis also had an occasion drive in the Mezzolitre (including 20th in the International Trophy, Silverstone May 1952). Gordon was also involved in the designs of the P5 and P6 models, and the P6BS and P8 prototypes, and worked closely with King on both the gas-turbine cars and the Range Rover. Gordon Bashford was responsible for the SDl's design a radical departure from previous Rovers. Gordon Bashford retired in 1981 and died in 1991.

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At the 500 OA Garden Party

The Instone car

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