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History of the Steady Special to 2012

Ronald “Steady” Barker has, over many years, had a stable of amazing cars including – amongst others – a 1922 6hp Peugeot Quadrillate and Lancia Dilamda.

Napier racing at Silverstone

Napier racing at Silverstone

The Astura the “Steady Special” chassis was based on had been a six-seater limousine body owned by BOAC’s Director of Engineering. Steady had the idea that by removing the massive coach-built body, he could produce a lightweight sports racing car. He therefore reduced the chassis length by almost four feet.

The long wheel base Lancia Astura that was to provide the chassis for the Steady Special

The long wheel base Lancia Astura that was to provide the chassis for the Steady Special

Once lightened the car raced at Silverstone, Oulton Park and Prescott, achieving very respectable results at all three circuits.

Lancia Astura chassis after body removal and 4ft cut from the chassis

Lancia Astura chassis after body removal

Being towed back to Cheltenham from the coach builders with the Steady Special MKI body

Being towed back to Cheltenham from the coach builders with the Steady Special MKI body

Steady and friend when rebuild was nearing completion

Steady and friend when rebuild was nearing completion

Steady driving the re-bodied Astura. Maurice Smith in the passenger seat?

Steady driving the re-bodied Astura. Maurice Smith in the passenger seat?

Start of its first race at VSCC Silverstone

Start of its first race at VSCC Silverstone

Still ahead of an Alfa Romeo after five laps

Still ahead of an Alfa Romeo after five laps

Steady-Special---Motor-Sport----1

Steady Special featured in Motor Sport

After Steady purchased a famous ex-Mille Miglia Lancia Astura, he sold the Steady Special for £400. The car required towing away.

Mille Miglia racing Astura

Mille Miglia racing Astura

The shortened Astura was then painted Italian Red.

En route in France

En route in France

Steady Special alongside an AC ACE Bristol and Mini pick-up

Steady Special alongside an AC ACE Bristol and Mini pick-up

Subsequently the Steady Special MKI was sold back to Ronald Barker as the VSCC had refused to let it race with a non-period Aston Martin bonnet. The car was then sold to fellow Lancia Club member, Roland Grazebrook, who removed the body and did nothing else to the car until he sold it back to Steady 20 years later. The car remained with Steady and he designed the body that he considered to be acceptable to the VSCC as a PVT Tourer.

Steady's design for the replacement body

Steady’s design for the replacement body

The shortened Astura back at Steady's

The shortened Astura back at Steady’s

In 1991 – 30 years later – the vehicle was repurchased by a previous owner, this time for £15,000. Confused yet?

The day MS collected his old car

Awaiting the day it will be re-bodied

Twenty one years later in 2012 the chassis restoration and creation of the new body began.