The Peugeot 309 that British legend Will Gollop raced in the FIA European Rallycross Championship is set to return to its original specification.
The car has been bought by Adam Keeler, who recently restored the Gollop-owned MG Metro 6R4 that Tiff Needell raced in the 1989 MSA British Rallycross Grand Prix. Keeler is planning to restore the 309 to its former glory.
Announced in October 1992, following his FIA European title-winning campaign in the monstrous BiTurbo MG Metro 6R4, Gollop’s 309 T16 was only ever going to be a stop-gap car until the new 306 came online and was homologated for 1994 – although at the time the car was launched that could not be made public.
The reigning champion took a gamble on running a 1750cc motor in the 309, the smaller capacity engine allowing him to run the car at 960kg. It’s an experiment that had been tried before, and has been repeated since, but never with great success.
After the first round of the 1993 European Championship season at Lydden was cancelled, Gollop gave the 309 its debut in the British Championship opener on Easter Monday. It was a far from trouble free run and he subsequently decided to skip the trip to Austria for what had now become round one of the Euro season, and joined the series in Portugal for round two having completed a successful test in Holland.
In a difficult season, Gollop’s best result of the 93 campaign was a single podium at Mondello Park, Ireland in mid-June, and the Englishman wound up 10th overall in the standings as Jean-Luc Pailler claimed the first post-Group B crown in his well-developed Citroen BX. The 309 was then discarded for the 306 that went on to win numerous British Championship rounds and championships in the hands of several drivers after Gollop ended his full-time Euro career.
“It took months of negotiating to buy the car, but I’m really happy to have got it. Unfortunately, the original colour scheme was changed a couple of years ago, but I’m going to try and get everything as close to original as I can,” said Keeler. “This is an absolute piece of rallycross history, it’s the original bodyshell with all the original panels. I’m working on finding all the bits and pieces now. We’ll probably use an Mi16-based engine, the T16 engines that Will raced with are rare and very expensive.”
The 309 bodyshell remains largely as it was originally, but has been since altered to accept Honda S2000 running gear and suspension. Keeler in currently in the process of sourcing 205 T16 components on which the 309’s suspension was based, before embarking on the project.
The resurrection of the 309 will mean that each of Gollop’s cars from the end of the Group B era will be complete, and in rallycross specification. Keeler owns the car that Needell used in the Rallycross Grand Prix in ’89, while Irishman Enda Garvey recently acquired Gollop’s legendary BiTurbo title-winning 6R4. Albatec Racing team owner Andy Scott owns the highly successful 306 that replaced the 309, while Andy Grant continues to campaign Gollop’s last rallycross car, the Ford Focus which later carried Andrew Jordan to the British Rallycross Supercar crown in 2008 under Gollop’s watch.« Previous Post Next Post »