The 1962 2.0-litre Le Mans class-winning Morgan Plus 4 – TOK258 will race at the Le Mans circuit for the first time in forty years this weekend in the 2002 Le Mans Classic, Europe’s most prestigious classic car event.
The car, possibly the most famous Morgan of them all, is to be raced by a team led by its original owner and driver and the designer of the 2002 DEWALT/RSS Morgan Le Mans 24-hour entry, Christopher Lawrence. He will share the driving with his son Stephen, who is flying in from the US especially for the event, TOK’s present owner and restorer Rick Bourne, and Rob Wells.
After years in retirement, TOK258 will be participating in this event thanks to the hard work and dedication of its owner, Proprietor of Brands Hatch Morgans, Rick Bourne. Rick has spent hundreds of hours undertaking the meticulous restoration of the car, ensuring it is back in winning form for the Le Mans Classic. The car also spent some time at Morgan’s legendary Pickersleigh Road, Malvern factory, where specialist work was carried out on the aluminium bodywork.
"I have spent between four and five hundred hours restoring TOK in total but it has been worth every single minute," Rick enthuses. "We brought ‘her’ to this year’s 24-hour race back in June and the reaction of the crowd was overwhelming. She was treated like a celebrity wherever she went – no passes were required!"
"In 1962, this car gave us as drivers exactly what we needed – a totally reliable performance, a bit of understeer, and good brakes. Rick has done an absolutely tremendous job of rebuilding her."
"Racing this car again with my son Stephen, on this circuit, this weekend, exactly 40 years on, is definitely going to be one those special life moments," comments Christopher Lawrence, who drove TOK258 to the Le Mans 24-hour class victory back in 1962.
TOK258 is best known for the Le Mans class victory, but its career in International racing has spanned some 16 years, notably securing the Freddy Dixon Trophies in 1959 and 1965, the 1960 TT at Goodwood, a class win in the 1963 ‘Grand Prix de Spa’ three-hour GT race and a class win at the Nurburgring the same year.
As a tribute to this remarkable Plus 4, Morgan Motor Company recently announced the production of 80 special Le Mans ’62 commemorative edition Plus 8 and 4/4 models. All were sold within just 72 hours of going on sale.
A number of other important Morgan race cars will also be taking part this weekend: Adrian Van der Kroft will be running XOV555, his hugely successful Plus 4 racer, John Clarke in his newly-restored 1939 Le Mans ‘recreation’ 4-4 and Pierre Henry Mahul, Morgan’s French dealer will be behind the wheel of his Plus 4.
As with the 24-hour race earlier this year, the support from Morgan owners will be ever present. Over 40 cars from Britain will be taking part in a special MSCC trip to the meeting with members from other countries joining them in France.Published 20 September 2002