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The 1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans is For Sale

Submitted by on August 5, 2015

1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans

Images by Jayson Fong, via William I’Anson

The 1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans was built for, and raced by, Pink Floyd’s manager Steve O’Rourke. It was the last Aston Martin-powered car ever to lead at Le Mans. And now, it’s up for sale at William I’Anson.

EMKA racing was formed by Steve O’Rourke in 1981 to take his motorsport passion to the next level. They got started racing a BMW M1, before setting their sights on endurance and kicking off the EMKA Aston Martin project.

They recruited designer Len Bailey, who had previously overseen Ford’s GT40, had Maurice Gomm’s factory build an aluminium monocoque and commissioned Protoco Mouldings for outer body panels. A 5340cc Aston Martin V8 was race prepared by Tickford to drop 50 pounds while being more reliable and providing improved power delivery.

1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans

For drivers O’Rourke recruited Tiff Needell and Jeff Allam, filling the third seat himself.

They debuted in the 1983 Silverstone 1000 KMS, but dropped out with suspension failure. For Le Mans the driving lineup was revised to include Nick Faure in place of Jeff Allam. They saw the chequered flag, but could not keep up with the fierce pace set by Porsche. They did, however, take home the Motor Trophy for the first British car across the line.

1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans

EMKA chose to sit out the 1984 season to focus on further developing the car. Richard Owen was brought in for a redesign, giving the car a new rear wing section and suspension design.

The team returned to Le Mans in 1985 with the same trio at the wheel. They were immediately faster, with Tiff Needell going a full nine seconds quicker than they’d done in 1983 to put them lucky 13th on the grid – the fastest naturally aspirated car.

1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans

Tiff took the first driving shift and by the first fuel stops had the car in 3rd overall. With some quick thinking the team pulled off a shortened fuel stop and was leading the race by the end of the first hour.

Clutch problems crept in on Sunday morning and the car developed a fuel leak just an hour before the finish, but the team still managed to take an 11th place overall finish. It was the last time EMKA would race a car of their own design, but Steve O’Rourke would compete in the race several more times and secure a best finish of fourth overall in a McLaren GTR in 1998.

1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans

John Dennehy eventually bought the car and raced it from the mid-’90s until he sold it to Jim and Penny Graham in 2002. They raced in Group C for another five years before selling the car to its current owner in 2011.

A full nut-and-bolt restoration by Michael Hibberd Motor Engineers was then commissioned for the car. It was stripped back to a bare tub, completely rebuilt and fitted with a new steel roll cage. All components were fully restored and tested, two new fuel tanks were fitted and the engine and gearbox were both fully rebuilt. A new body was even manufactured, incorporating the original doors, along with two new sets of wheels. The original body was kept, as were two original sets of wheels.

1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans

With the restoration complete, the car returned to the limelight at the 2015 Goodwood 73rd Members Meeting. It will also be racing in Group C at the upcoming Silverstone Classic.

This special car has an exciting and unusual history in its books, and with its recent restoration would make a stunning car to take racing in historic Group C. It’s up for sale at William I’Anson and you can head to their website here for the full details.

Images by Jayson Fong, via William I’Anson. Film by GridStars.

1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans

1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans

1984 EMKA Aston Martin Group C Le Mans

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