The Costin-Nathan Racer, The Ultimate Restored Barn Find, Is Being Unveiled
In 2016 we reported on the most extraordinary barn find, which was up for grabs at auction having just been discovered after nearly half a century of hibernation. The car in question was a Costin-Nathan GT prototype, which we described as “very niche but history-rich”. And little wonder. In 1965 the Lotus aerodynamicist Frank Costin—brother of Mike of Cosworth fame—teamed up with racer Roger Nathan to hand-build this all-new lightweight racer to compete in the Group 6 series. The Costin-Nathan had an unusual wooden construction and weighed just 700 pounds; this plus its highly-tuned 998cc DOHC Hillman Imp engine meant its power-to-weight ratio was an amazing 100bhp per liter.
And with Nathan at the wheel to tame the fast but twitchy machine it had success on track; its crowning glory was a David-slaying-Goliath victory in the 1966 Coupes de Paris at the famous Montlhéry circuit. The car the following year then faced the ultimate challenge of the Le Mans 24 Hours, again with Nathan at the wheel, paired with Mike Beckwith, though the machine sadly lasted only 15 laps. Still Nathan got another race win in the car at Mallory Park later that year and the Costin-Nathan was raced regularly into the early 1970s.
We added in ’16 that anyone who restored the car was in prime spot “to be a hero at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, or any vintage motoring celebration, for that matter”. And this very restoration has happened, as a new American owner snapped the car up and commissioned Nathan himself to mastermind the painstaking restoration back to its original condition. Now the Costin-Nathan is set to make its public debut in its fully restored state, and will be at Beaulieu’s Spring Autojumble event, which takes place on May 18 and 19 at National Motor Museum in the New Forest in southern England. At 3pm on Saturday May 18 show-goers will be able to see this incredible machine up-close with a start-up by Nathan himself. This is prior to the car becoming an exhibit at the museum.
The unveil will also be part of Spring Autojumble’s 25th anniversary celebrations. The event has been going since 1994 and, given the annual event was cancelled amid extreme weather in 2001, it also means this year’s is the 25th running. Exhibitors at the event are invited to decorate their stands in silver and send their memories and pictures to SAJ25@beaulieu.co.uk. Spring Autojumble will also contain a number of additional points of interest, such as a Mini 60 display to mark the iconic car’s 60th birthday. Tickets are on sale now and they cover entry to the whole Beaulieu attraction, including the National Motor Museum with its new Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 Years display, World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the ancestral Montagu family home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the grounds and gardens. Exhibitors and trunk traders can also book their stand for the Spring Autojumble now.
Images courtesy of Beaulieu