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History of Lawrence Tune     ...... continued

Blydenstein went on to do fabulous things with Vauxhalls, but it all started at Lawrence Tune which soldiered on in the 1960s with aftermarket tuning for the Triumph and Morgan, Vauxhall and Ford cars; racing the Morgan and Deep Sandersons and some engines for Marcos.

Then, in the late sixties, Lawrence Tune became almost totally involved with the design and development of the C.F.P.M. Monica, 4 seat, 4 door, sports saloon for Jean Tastevin.

The Monica, Goodwood 2005 The final version of this car, the Monica 560, was far from the car originally specified by C.F.P.M. It was a fine example of what the French call "Une grande routière", weighing nearly two tons this, all steel, car was powered by a 5.6 litre Chrysler V8 tuned to produce about 350 lbs ft of torque, and allied to a modified torque flight, 3 speed automatic as used by Rolls Royce. A much more detailed specification and history of this Lawrence Tune designed, styled, and put into production, car can be found elsewhere on this website.

The Monica Project was closed down in 1975 when Paul Frere, certainly the leading technical journalist of his time, wrote the following obituary:

It is sad to think that this high grade car, developed with loving care and regardless of expense to reach quite remarkable standards of roadworthiness, together with a high degree of refinement and top class performance, will never publicly give those who designed, developed and fought for it, the credit they merit.

Monicas, Goodwood 2005 Completely deflated after nearly seven years work on the Monica Lawrence was still keen enough on his 12 man Monica development team to decide that, somehow, he must keep them together. The result of determined efforts was an association with OCL Limited (Offshore Container Lines) which the team in straddle carrier design, 25,000 special safety latches for containers and an automatic generator set for electrical supply to reefer refridgerated containers when they were on truck trailers. John Peterson, in the machine shop, was also involved with the final design and the manufacture of the very sophisticated and heavily over-engineered Lawrence Tune Marine Sailing Craft Winch. He also obtained the job of designing and manufacturing completely new control brakes for all the London cranes. These were “little masterpieces”, but the company was manoeuvred into making quite a loss on the project owing to the docks closing down shortly after the job was completed. The writing was, by this time, on the wall for Lawrence Tune and Christopher J. Lawrence & Co., and it was time to look for an escape route. This came about in two ways. The first was that, after very good comments about the winch were made by - Ted Heath, Prime Minister and owner of Morning Cloud, Ocean Racing Yacht; Lloys, the owners of a 55ft Nicholson Ocean Racer called Lutine; and Bill Williams, round-the-world “Mono Hull” winner, the patent for the design could be sold to Knowsly Marine in Manchester for 25,000, a considerable sum in those days. The second escape route came about through the obtaining of an order for 35 automatic generator units for O.C.L. With this order in hand, Lawrence was able to sell out to Hans Moorkerk from Rotterdam for sufficient money to clear the books entirely, pay all employees handsomely and move on to pastures new.

This turned out to be the hand building of five MKV1 Bentley Specials. The first of these was an “absolute horror” that was a commission, and called by its owner, a Rapide. From this disaster the project moved onto a pair of two seat MKV1 Specials for Messrs Burrer and Robertson, one of which was tested by Autocar to some acclaim.



................... continued


 

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