Car with a Spitfire engine races down runway again

A contestant on the catwalk in a Miss Southsea competition in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

NOSTALGIA: Bathing belles drew huge crowds to their seafront beauty pageants

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Some of you might remember the splendid picture on the right of a supercar at RAF Thorney Island in the 1950s – a vehicle with a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine from a Spitfire in a Leyland bus chassis.

Keith Shepherd, the chairman of Southsea Motor Club, identified it as the Swandean Special.

1950's on Thorney Island.''This car was built there using a Rolls Royce Spitfire engine on a Leyland Bus chassis..'This picture was taken by Mr Webb of Waterlooville.

1950's on Thorney Island.''This car was built there using a Rolls Royce Spitfire engine on a Leyland Bus chassis..'This picture was taken by Mr Webb of Waterlooville.

It was built by Swandean Garage on the A27 at Worthing soon after the Second World War.

Keith has now unearthed some rare colour footage of the car in action on the Thorney runway during the club’s speed trials event. He suspects it was filmed in May 1956 and says ‘it must have been one of the last appearances of the car in the UK as it was shipped to the United States that year’.

Go to portsmouth.co.uk/community to see the car in action.

Poignant ceremonies will be held in Portsmouth on Sunday to mark one of the biggest maritime tragedies of the First World War.

On February 21, 1917, the 4,000-ton troopship SS Mendi was all but sliced in two by a much larger British postal ship nine miles south of the Isle of Wight in thick fog.

All 33 British crew members, nine white officers and NCOs, and 607 black South Africans died. They were members of the 5th Battalion South African Native Labour Corps who were being sent to France and Belgium to dig quarries, build and repair roads and railway lines, load and unload ships, and cut timber.

Several of the bodies were washed up around Portsmouth and they are buried in Milton Cemetery.

At 11am on Sunday a memorial service will be held at their gravesides followed by a service of remembrance at 1pm at the Naval War Memorial on Southsea seafront.