Spice SE86C #131 – Spark

1988 Spice SE86C
Pilots: J. Terrien, J-P. Grand, M. Guenoun
Team:  Graff Racing
Race: DNF (C2) at Le Mans in 1988
Spark - S3587 (resin) 

Published 04/10/20

British race pilot Gordon Spice and his brother Derek Spice established Spice Engineering in the early 1980s. At first they were only a racing team but by 1985 they began the development of their own cars. At the 1985 Le Mans race Gordon Spice won the C2 class with the Spice-Tiga GC85. The following year they started to build their cars, and even expanded they’re racing into the IMSA championship. Backed by Pontiac, in 1986 Spice debuted the SE86C, with a silhouette that resembled the Pontiac Fiero. In the C2 class at La Sarthe in 1986, their SE86C was the last car to classify. The following year they were back, again with the SE86C, but this time won the C2 class. With the success of the SE86C, for 1988 they further developed the project. The new car was the SE88C, that they used in the 1988 season.

The project for the SE86C was from the dawn of the ground effect era.

However, with the development of the SE88C, the 86C model became obsolete to Spice. But it was still competitive, so for 1988 Spice sold their old cars to other teams. The engine of the SE86C was the Ford-Cosworth DFL. The DFL, a 3298 cm³ V8, was the endurance version of the classic DFV. In the mid 1980s, for the C2 class cars at Le Mans it was one of the most common engines. And for a chassis the car had an aluminum honeycomb monocoque, covered by fiberglass panels.

A typical 1980s small team endurance prototype – DFL engine and fiberglass body.

In the 24 Heures du Mans of 1988, Graff Racing was one of the two teams using the SE86C. Graff’s car was the SE86C #131 (chassis #001). Though they started in the back of the grid, #131 was doing a consistent race. But on the 263rd lap an engine mounting broke and that was the end of the race for them. The SE86C would race one more year at La Sarthe and then it retired for good.

Honestly, it looks almost “normal” in my eyes.

Gordon and Derek Spice are without a doubt garagisti. They had a small operation but built their cars and went up against the big dogs. Just like Jean Rondeau. Unfortunately though, they were the last, and nowadays you’ll never see anything but big corporations with huge budgets at La Sarthe… In spite of that, the SE86C #131 is a GREAT model. Usually garagisti cars like this are way more quirky than this. In fact, the SE88C #131 looks normal – reminds me of a Saleen. Well, if it was quirky it would probably have been from Bizarre instead 😁. In the end, a very nice representation in scale of a Spice, one of the last of the garagisti’s cars.

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