Chapter 1.6: A Dying Breed
After moderate success in GT-class racing with the DS4 LM, Silver Stone Motors was ramping up for a class win.
The release of the Silver Stone DS5 GT ('65) was greeted with universal praise by critics and customers for it’s light and rigid construction, snappy steering, and a smooth 3.2L V12 that loved being revved. The car featured an interior and suspension focused on comfort and luxury over sportiness for the first time in its lineage. It was the right call to make, as it became a commercial success for Silver Stone and Bronck’s Engineering who supplied the power units.
- GT Premium: 169/94%
- GT 161/90%
- Muscle Premium: 137/84%
- Family Sport Premium: 114/64%
- Sport: 110/50%
- Covertible Sport: 94/64
- Muscle: 89/39%
Silverstone - DS5 - DeLuxe Sport V GT (1965).car (39.3 KB)
This wasn’t without some bittersweet feeling. The world of sports car racing was evolving and it left SSM wanting to achieve more, but also finding itself outclassed for the overall win at LeMan, let alone a constructor’s title in the World Sportcar Championship. Desptite a 2nd-place finish in the GT 3.0 class behind (and ahead) of Ferrari at the '64 race, the GT class overall went to Shelby in their Cobra Daytona Coupe, which sported a massive 4.7L Ford V8. Even though there were only 6 laps separating the top 4 GT cars, the Prototypes were a dozen laps ahead of that pack. This was the beginning of a downward trend for 3-liter GT cars.
1965 saw 24 GT class entries, with 10 cars in the +3.0L classes. Even though SSM didn’t have a factory-backed entry, there were 2 DS4’s running under a private team. Completing 308 and one DNF laps, the private team’s car managed to defeat the AC Cars factory team (304 laps) - which was running a Cobra Daytona Coupe - for 2nd overall amongst GT cars, behind the Ferrari 275 GTB which completed an impressive 3rd-overall 340 laps. The overall win going to a Ferrari 250LM Prototype car.
In 1966, Silver Stone dropped the top on the DS5, introducing the Volante variant. It featured smaller rear seats, a softer suspension, and longer gearing for cruising. That year saw only 3 vehicles enter in the GT Class at the 24 Hours of LeMans, no SSM entries.
- Convertible Sport: 136/56%
- Convertible Super: 129/94%
- Muscle Premium: 122/85%
- Super: 104/97%
- GTP: 97/92%
- GT: 94/87%
- Convertible Premium: 91/65%
- Sport: 84/44%
Silverstone - DS5 - DeLuxe Sport V Volante (1966).car (41.9 KB)
Silver Stone hoped the Bronx V12 would someday be the answer to the Colombo. Being a realist, Jormungand knew his engine had limited capabilities. An experimental mule was able to extract 380hp from a 3.2L block, but it wouldn’t last beyond a few hours running at full tilt. Still, the racing public, enamored with the new DS5’s silhouette wondered collectively if there would be any racing in this car’s future.
1967 featured only 5 entries in the GT Class for the 7th round of the World Sporscar Championship at LeMans, marking the 2nd consecutive year without an entry - private or factory-backed - by any Silver Stone cars. The DS5 LM was introduced at the 1967 Frankfurt Auto Show where they accepted orders for cars by private racing teams, with sales opened to public gentleman drivers in early 1968.
Featuring a displacement over 3.0L in a race car for the first time, the Silver Stone DS5 would be competing directly against the Ferrari 275GTB and Shelby Cobra Daytona for GT Class supremacy for the next few years. Even though all eyes were on Ferrari vs Ford in the Prototype class, the DS5 LM garnered a loyal following. The car was beautiful in motion and made a glorious noise. It was also deemed an underdog, despite formidable performance, for being the only American V12 achieving any success in the WSC circuit.
The vehicle continued to race until 1971, the year before new FIA regulations made its 3.2L engine ineligible for racing. Silver Stone Motors also pulled all factory-backed efforts out of contention as they considered financially impractical for them to pursue developing a new Prototype vehicle to contend for the endurance supremacy.
Highlights include a class win in the 1970 race, where a contending Corvette C3 failed to qualify due to not completing the required distance. SSM’s car managed 301 laps. But would soon find itself constantly falling behind the lighter, more reliable swarm of Porsche 911’s that began to outnumber every other car on the track in years to come
- Super: 165/97%
- Muscle Premium: 153/85%
- Track Premium: 125/76%
- Light Sport Premium: 122/65%
- GTP: 120/92%
- Sport: 116/44%
- GT: 110/87%
- Convertible Sport: 105/56%
- Convertible Super: 100/94%
- Muscle: 81/34%
Silverstone - DS5 - DeLuxe Sport V LM (1967).car (38.7 KB)