Home  »  Car Racing  »  Features  »  Gallery

Baby Bertha, Gerry Marshall’s Unbeatable Vauxhall Firenza V8 – Widescreen Gallery

Submitted by on May 7, 2015

Baby Bertha - Turn 4 exit - Front three-quarter pan 1

Images: Chris Nicholls

Spend a few minutes with Baby Bertha thanks to this stunning widescreen gallery, and learn the story of one of the more unusually-named and ferociously successful British Super Saloons.

Baby Bertha was built by Vauxhall in 1975 for the Tricentrol Super Saloon Championship, which was promoted by the BRSCC in response to toned down Group 1 regulations.

Baby Bertha - Profile shot 13

She has a five-litre Repco-tuned Holden V8 under the hood running through a Salisbury diff. Tyre-to-road contact maintenance is performed by inboard rocker suspension up front and de Dion rear suspension out back. Inboard discs at the rear help to manage the speed. The spaceframe subframes front and rear are wrapped in a body that is stock Vauxhall Firenza for the centre section, but joined by a high-downforce setup front and rear.

Campaigned by Dealer Team Vauxhall, the car was handed to Gerry Marshall to drive, and he wasted no time in building near-unassailable racing record in it. The pair claimed one second place and fifteen wins in 1975, winning the Tricentrol championship. They even claimed a fourth place finish in a Formula Libre race at the Christmas Brands Hatch Meeting, racing Formula Twos and Le Mans sports prototypes.

Baby Bertha - Interior shot 4

’76 would see them finish back on top after piling up a further eight wins. The following season they produced a 100% win rate, but Vauxhall was no longer providing financial support for the Super Saloon Championship, so the team were only able to compete in three rounds.

And that unusual name? Vauxhall built a Ventora V8 racing car in 1973 to promote the production Ventora V8. It was designed to put in hours both as a show car and race car, which made it a hefty beast and earned it the name Big Bertha.

When the Ventora was cancelled in the aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis, the racing car lived on and built up a successful racing record in its own right. Sadly its racing career ended in a crash during a race at Silverstone, but its internals were retained for use in a smaller, lighter machine. One which Gerry Marshall would come to name Baby Bertha.

Baby Bertha - Rear shot 5

Retiring from its period career in 1978, Baby Bertha moved through a number of hands before landing with its current owner, Joe Ward. Joe bought the car from Gerry himself in 1986 and has lovingly restored her to her original condition.

Enjoy this stunning photo gallery, with photography by Chris Nicholls

Baby Bertha - Front three-quarter shot 8

Baby Bertha - Bonnet detail 3

Baby Bertha - Turn 4 exit - Front three-quarter shot 6

Baby Bertha - Door skin detail shot 2

Baby Bertha - DTV Castrol detail 2

Baby Bertha - Ducktail spoiler detail 4

Baby Bertha - Exhuast and sticker detail 1

Baby Bertha - Front section profile shot 8

Baby Bertha - Front shot 10

Baby Bertha - Goodwood sticker detail 2

Baby Bertha - Headlight detail 5

Baby Bertha - Interior detail shot 2

Baby Bertha - Front wide shot 12

Baby Bertha - Mid-section rear three-quarter shot 6

Baby Bertha - Rear three-quarter shot 5

Don't miss out! Our best stories, direct to your inbox!

[dfp name="home_tile11_300x250"]

Sign up now - it's free, weekly, and spam-free.