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  1. #1
    Contributing Member bob darcey's Avatar
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    Default Rostron CT-2 and CT-3 FF's--Anyone Familiar??

    Rostron Formula Fords

    Our club, RMVR in Colorado has two pre-1973 Rostron FF's. That's pretty unusual since there were only ten Rostron FF's produced, and that total includes a CT-1 prototype in 1969 and an unknown quantity of CT-2, -3 and -4 production models. History for the Rostron FF's is pretty scarce; per Steve Nickless, Carl Rostron and Mike Thompson started the company but Thompson acquired full ownership in'77, then sold it in '78; the name Nigel Fright (?) is associated with the marque in the eighties.

    One of the Rostron FF's in RMVR has FIA papers citing the car as a '72 CT-3, (ex-Paul Sleeman), has a removable dash panel and the bottom chassis rail is square tubing. The other car may be an earlier version--it has a fixed (welded) dash panel and uses round tubing in the bottom chassis rail. These appear to be the only differences between the two, and we think the "other" car may be a CT-2.

    Any recollections, contact info or best guesses would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Contributing Member Bernard Bradpiece's Avatar
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    Default Sleeman Rostron

    Paul Sleeman won championships in the UK with the Rostron. Possibly the pre-74 championship. It was the fastest FF by a margin. It went to Stuart Kestenbaum who was also wickedly fast in the car and possibly won a championship in it - age dims the memory. Stuart was still racing until recently. I do recall that a demon tweek that transformed the car was a wide tube front roll bar. Great car, good luck with it. BB

  3. #3
    Contributing Member bob darcey's Avatar
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    Thanks, BB2. The Sleeman car has a .875" OD tubular front ARB; the other has a solid .750". Not sure if either qualifies as "wide". Another curiosity is the "J. Firth Racing" decal (with a GB phone number) on the other car. Does that ring any bells?
    Last edited by bob darcey; 03.08.18 at 11:35 PM.

  4. #4
    Contributing Member Bernard Bradpiece's Avatar
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    Default Sleeman Rostron

    Bob, you have the magic roll bar. Originally it was a bar and Paul swapped it for a tube - transformed the handling. Looks like A J Barnard did the engineering on the car and they took the '84 Pre-74 championship in the UK. Stuart is still racing.

    Best
    BB

  5. #5
    Contributing Member bob darcey's Avatar
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    Thank you again. Here is the long story re. the two Rostrons here in Colorado:

    One of our RMVR (Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing) members, Steve P., owned the two Rostrons; he passed away last summer. Before his death, he sold one of the cars back to the prior owner, and I purchased the second car from his estate. The second car came with FIA papers which reported the prior owners to include Paul Sleeman and Stuart Kestenbaum. The owner of the other car and I got together and compared notes, and we discovered that the FIA papers were actually for his car; the car I have is black bodywork on black chassis and has “J. Firth Racing” decals on both sides. Under the black body paint is green--the car must have been green at some earlier time.

    So, my buddy Terry has the Sleeman car, but I'll copy his ARB for sure. He wasn't aware of the car's substantial history but is happy to have it (arrgh). I’m currently restoring the Firth car, so it is disassembled and the frame is out to be sandblasted and painted. I’d like to determine the year and model of the car—it differs from the Sleeman car (a 1972 CT-3) in that the dash panel is one-piece, welded to the frame (not removable like the Sleeman car) and that the lowermost frame rail is round tubing (the Sleeman car has square tubing). I’m thinking that it may be a CT-2 and am communicating with a guy in the Netherlands who remembers the car when it was being sold by Jamey Firth back around 200X--correction, 2000.
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    Last edited by bob darcey; 03.09.18 at 6:47 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Rostron CT3

    Quote Originally Posted by bob darcey View Post
    Rostron Formula Fords

    Our club, RMVR in Colorado has two pre-1973 Rostron FF's. That's pretty unusual since there were only ten Rostron FF's produced, and that total includes a CT-1 prototype in 1969 and an unknown quantity of CT-2, -3 and -4 production models. History for the Rostron FF's is pretty scarce; per Steve Nickless, Carl Rostron and Mike Thompson started the company but Thompson acquired full ownership in'77, then sold it in '78; the name Nigel Fright (?) is associated with the marque in the eighties.

    One of the Rostron FF's in RMVR has FIA papers citing the car as a '72 CT-3, (ex-Paul Sleeman), has a removable dash panel and the bottom chassis rail is square tubing. The other car may be an earlier version--it has a fixed (welded) dash panel and uses round tubing in the bottom chassis rail. These appear to be the only differences between the two, and we think the "other" car may be a CT-2.

    Any recollections, contact info or best guesses would be appreciated.
    I purchased a CT3 from Carl in 1973 when he was based at Borough Green, Kent & raced it for about 3years.

  7. #7
    Contributing Member bob darcey's Avatar
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    Thanks, John. Do you have any recollection of the car pictured in post #5? The body work is painted black, but underneath is a bright green, which may be the original color. Have you any photos of your car or know who owned it after you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob darcey View Post
    Thanks, John. Do you have any recollection of the car pictured in post #5? The body work is painted black, but underneath is a bright green, which may be the original color. Have you any photos of your car or know who owned it after you?
    A bit late but I just came across this thread about one of the cars I wish I'd kept.

    The Paul Sleeman Rostron was painted black. I don't recall seeing any other colours on the bodywork although (unusually) I don't think I damaged it in the year I owned it so didn't see underneath the top coat.

    Paul said putting a much stiffer front anti roll bar on was the secret of transforming the handling & it was one of the best handling & chuckable FFs I've ever driven. The car was fitted with forward facing safety bars from the roll hoop which I'm guessing must have been done during Paul's ownership as cars of that vintage didn't have them & which certainly made it stiffer than its contemporaries. The nose had a sort of widow's peak front a bit like a squared off Eagle F1.

    Paul won the pre 74 championship with it, finished in the top 10 of the Festival & I think won the Autosport Golden Helmet in 83.

    Neil St. Clair owned the car subsequently & also did well (may have won the championship?) & sold it to Bernard Horwood who won the championship in 1990.

    I bought it from Bernard & had a very successful 1991, winning the pre 74 championship, finishing 3rd in a Star of Mallory race against good competition in modern cars & winning a pre 85 race (officially 74-84) at Donington Park. I was then banned from entering any more pre 85 races in it as the car was too old! I took it as a compliment.

    At the end of 1991 I sold it to well known trader Chris Alford who exported it to USA.

    At the time it was one of the most winning cars in the UK.

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    Rather faded pic of Rostron in 1991 at Donington. Forward facing bars visible. I remember it had fantastic lock; enough to take a second handful in extremis although you had to seriously overcook it to find out.
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    Last edited by Stuart K; 08.20.19 at 4:16 PM.

  10. #10
    Contributing Member bob darcey's Avatar
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    Stuart, thanks for chiming in. The two CT-3 Rostrons here in Colorado are the only examples I've found, maybe the last two in existence, as only ten or so were built. Your old car (St. Clair/Sleeman/Horwood/Kestenbaum) has great, well-documented history, but I've found nothing for the second car (which I'm restoring). The prior owner of both has passed away, but your old car did come to the states via Chris Alford. UK prior owners for my car are Jamie Firth, Steve Banks, Albert Clements and Dave Cowan, but I haven't found any info for any of them. This car came to the US with black frame and black body work (see pic in post #5) but had been green at some point as well. There are a couple of minor differences between the two cars, and my car may be a CT-2. Mechanical restoration is about complete and I hope to get the body and paint done over the winter. Any recollections you may have would be appreciated.

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    I'll see if Albert remembers anything.

    Neither of your pictures show the forward facing bars mine had. Unless your rules about period spec forbid them I can't see why they'd be removed. They certainly make it safer & as a welcome by product stiffer. Not many cars of that era could accommodate them.

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    Contributing Member bob darcey's Avatar
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    The frame was replaced after your car came to the states, but the current owner still has the original frame. It shows where the forward braces were attached to the roll bar. I don't know when or by whom the braces were removed:

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    The new frame did not incorporate the braces and my frame doesn't appear to have ever had them. They would seem to be a good feature.

    The FIA papers also show a Lee Wroe-Johnson as an owner of your car, prior to Sleeman. He also had some success with the car:

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    Contributing Member bob darcey's Avatar
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    After much R&D (reconnaissance and duplication), I did replicate the magic front ARB:

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    Contributing Member bob darcey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart K View Post
    I remember it had fantastic lock; enough to take a second handful in extremis although you had to seriously overcook it to find out.
    Like this?

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  18. #15
    Senior Member SEComposites's Avatar
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    That looks like Devils Elbow at Lydden Hill to me!?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob darcey View Post
    Like this?

    Just like that! That does look like Lydden Hill which was Paul's home circuit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob darcey View Post
    The frame was replaced after your car came to the states, but the current owner still has the original frame. It shows where the forward braces were attached to the roll bar. I don't know when or by whom the braces were removed:



    The new frame did not incorporate the braces and my frame doesn't appear to have ever had them. They would seem to be a good feature.

    The FIA papers also show a Lee Wroe-Johnson as an owner of your car, prior to Sleeman. He also had some success with the car:

    Hi Guys

    I came across this as that is me Lee Wroe-Johnson who owned and raced this CT-3 between September 1974 and August 1975. I originally bought it from a guy called Barry Aikenhead who did a few races with it.
    For the 75 season It had a full rebuild by Carl and he found a the chassis was "out of shape". He repaired that and added a couple of minor updates to stiffen the car BUT the big item (which I think may interest you) was I asked Carl (due to my karting days) to design a new pedal box for me with a left foot brake (a bit ahead of time I believe especially for a Formula Ford in those days). So what he did was due to very tight room restrictions he replaced the left foot brace with another brake pedal therefore I had two brake pedals that was joined by a bar so the line up was L to R, brake pedal - clutch pedal - brake pedal - accelerator. Of course the idea was to trail brake and set the car up for fast bends while still keeping my foot (sometimes hard) on the accelerator which keep the engine in the power band. This was my secret weapon and we made a lot of effort to not let anyone know about it including the famous Murry Walker who was trying to get a closer look at the brake box during scrutineering... Anyway thought you might be interested in this....Oh yes it was a successful bit of kit..except for the very first time I tried it in a practice session when I was coming up to Druids Bend in Brands Hatch and went to change gear ..and yes I pushed on the left hand brake pedal instead of the clutch.. Ouch that hurt...I stopped very quickly, lucky there was no one behind me. I still have the welt marks on my body from the safety harness straps...LOL. I sold it in August 75 and cannot remember who bought it to but it definitely was not to Paul Sleeman. It think it was 1976 Sleeman was successful with a Rostron. I believe the person who bought it from me got Carl to revert to the standard pedal box and I do not believe this owner had any success with it.

    I would love to know where my Rostron ended up. Apart from the modified pedal box I cannot remember any other distinctive changes it had. It did have the tubular chassis. It was a cracking little car light and compact car. Carl had some great ideas for the next version of his FF but he just did not have the funds to fully carry them out. Unfortunately due to lack of funds and an illness I had to pull out of racing. So moved to Australia where I did come back to racing 125/250 SuperKarts and what mighty machines these are, unbelievable excitement to drive these awesome machines (I did win a a state championship... ah good old days).

    Anyway guys I hope you enjoyed this If one of these Rostrons you have in your club is mine would luv to hear about it. It gave me a number of wins, poles and fasted laps during my short time with it.

    As you can see I have added a couple of photos of when I had it one photo has the illustrious Mr Carl Rostron who never liked to have his photo taken (he is the one in the red overalls... I am the good looking one...Lol )
    All the best.

    Lee

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  22. #18
    Contributing Member bob darcey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeSpeed View Post
    Anyway guys I hope you enjoyed this If one of these Rostrons you have in your club is mine would luv to hear about it. It gave me a number of wins, poles and fasted laps during my short time with it.
    Hi Lee. Your old Rostron is alive and well in Colorado, racing primarily with RMVR. The current owner is Terry Allard. Terry initially bought it from Chris Alford, raced it for a number of years, sold it to Steven P. (also RMVR) and bought it back a couple of years ago. It's in good hands and I'll try to post a current photo sometime.

    I have a copy of the FIA papers for the car, but the ownership history there is a bit sketchy--I believe it was Chris Alford's best attempt to list the car's history:
    Factory 1972; Lee Roe (sic) Johnson 1973 (apparently wrong); unknown owner; Jim Gowan unknown date; Paul Sleeman 1978; Bernard Horwood 1985; Nigel St. Clair-Ford 1987; Bernard Horwood 1990; Stuart Kestenbaum 1991; Chris Alford November 1991.

    Your old car has a stellar history; your wins in 1975; Sleeman won the Golden Helmet Award (most race wins in a season) in 1978: Bernard Horwood and Stuart Kestenbaum won multiple pre-'74 championships with the car, and Terry A was pretty much unbeatable for a few years when the car first came to the USA. In contrast, the Rostron I'm restoring (see post #10) doesn't appear to have any history.

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    Re "Hi Lee. Your old Rostron is alive and well in Colorado, racing primarily with RMVR. The current owner is Terry Allard. Terry initially bought it from Chris Alford, raced it for a number of years, sold it to Steven P. (also RMVR) and bought it back a couple of years ago.

    Hi there Bob
    Thanks for the reply, hope all is good with you. JFYI at the time I was competing there were two other Rostron's racing a white one owned and raced by a Peter Dadson he called his a CT4 but had the same bodywork etc as the CT3 ??? and also Mike Thompson who called his Rostron CT3 a CT75 (I am sure you already know Mikes racing history). I never ever saw a CT1 or CT2.
    Sorry I can't give you any further history the other Rostron you have in Colorado. I only talked about my pedal box to see if any of your Roston's still had a part of the connecting bar on the main brake pedal...

    "It's in good hands and I'll try to post a current photo sometime.""

    Would luv to see some photos

    Cheers

    Lee

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    Here's a photo of Terry in the Rostron this past season at Pittsburgh VGP:

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    Contributing Member bob darcey's Avatar
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    Default Earlier Paint Scheme

    Getting the Rostron body work prepped, we find this paint scheme beneath the black paint. It looks like the car was all green initially, with the red and blue added later. Since I'm still trying to trace history, does anyone recognize this?

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    Here's another one from 2019 of Terry Allard at Pueblo Motorsports Park in Pueblo, CO.



    Quote Originally Posted by LeeSpeed View Post
    Would luv to see some photos

    Cheers

    Lee
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    Default Rostron Done (finally)

    After multiple delays and sidetracks, the Rostron is finished and back on the ground.
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    Contributing Member Bernard Bradpiece's Avatar
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    Default Rostron Finished

    Quote Originally Posted by bob darcey View Post
    After multiple delays and sidetracks, the Rostron is finished and back on the ground.
    Congratulations, looks fantastic. Wish you well with the car, you will have a ball driving it. Keep us up to date with progress on track.

    BB
    BB2

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    Stunningly beautiful car. NICELY done, Bob. Excellent in every respect.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob darcey View Post
    After multiple delays and sidetracks, the Rostron is finished and back on the ground.
    V/r

    Iverson

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    Default First Race w/the Rostron

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard Bradpiece View Post
    Congratulations, looks fantastic. Wish you well with the car, you will have a ball driving it. Keep us up to date with progress on track.

    BB
    We had the first event with the restored Rostron at Pueblo Motorsports Park this past weekend. Car worked well, driver rusty, but qualified second in VFF, placed second and third in Saturday races, two firsts on Sunday. I'm in the trailer trying to hide from the heat---96 degrees on Sunday. A very satisfying weekend.

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    Default Ex-Sleeman/Kestenbaum/Horwood/Johnson Rostron is For Sale

    Terry has listed his CT-3 (the famous one) for sale:

    https://motorsportsmarket.com/raceca...-formula-ford/
    There is a glitch in the continuum...

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