PH1127 ‘Gahagan Special” was first registered on the 18th May 1927 as an Amilcar CGSS a car which remains a highly desirable Amilcar model. In July 1931 accomplished aero engineer George Gahagan purchased the CGSS for competition purposes, the car reminded in the family until 1981. At the time Donald Lake acquired the Gagahan Special from the estate of Dudley Gagahean. It is from Donald Lake’s notes along with living links from the Gagahan family that I have compiled the write-up.
George used the CGSS Amilcar in standard form for a few years competing at Southport sands and other sprint locations from 1931 onwards. By 1936 George had developed the car as far as he could in standard form including an OHV conversion. Also removing the original body, fitting single seater bodywork. George contained using the car in this setup for sprint competition up until the outbreak of war. It is my understanding from studying the photos that the tail section is original to the first incarnation of the pre-war single seater.
When he laid the car up in 1939 George failed to drain the water and the engine was frost damaged. The first post war outing was April 1950 and VSCC Silverstone (Spring Start), a Riley 9 (1100cc) engine was installed along with a Bugatti T46 supercharger. The radiator was re-positioned ahead of the front axle to accommodate this. During the mid 50’s the Amilcar rear axle was dispensed with in preference to a GN chain drive rear end, and a second supercharger! Following a comprehensive engine blow up at Gamston, a replacement Riley 9 engine was fitted this time just with the single T46 blower.
My Grandfather always drove it bare headed, no goggles, no overalls, just trousers tucked in socks, ordinary shoes. It had 4 open stub exhausts, each about 8 ins long & when running the exhaust contained multiple diamond shock waves for about 8 feet! The noise was unbelievable and could be heard from my father's house, indoors, which was over 2 miles away through the woods. At the Brighton Speed Trials they had to turn off the public address system! The car left twin rubber streaks from start to finish with only short gaps for gear changes.
Active competition stopped in 1960, on Georges death, Dudley took up storage a development of the car as he was to busy with his Bugatti and ERA R7B to drive the car on competition. In 1981 a sale was agreed with Donald Lake after Dudley Death. Dudley developments included the engine internals with modern crank and shell bearings etc details of all these works are in the history file.
Donald’s activity in VSCC really came into its own during 1991-1995 his finest hour came at 1994 VSCC Colerne straight-line sprint where he covered the ¼ mile in 14.84 seconds crossing the line at 120mph setting a new class record.
Ownership then passes to the vendor in 2001 where he has 5 fabulous years with many VSCC awards for Handicap and class honours.
I short this is an unrivalled opportunity to acquire a pre-war developed special which continued to evolve in the early post war years into the car you see today. With only four custodians during her history this is an opportunity not to be missed to add your own legacy in her history file.
Original CGSS Amilcar chassis # 19080
Riley 9 1100cc engine
Bugatti T46 Supercharger
Original GN Bevelbox