The Daring Daren


The editors felt justified in wanting to share details of the Daren Mk.1 built and raced by John Green.

We felt that there was some communality of background sufficient to make links with Lotus. Amongst these are:-

  • The Daren used a Vegatune version of the Lotus Twin Cam engine
  • John Green and Daren were peers /competitors to Chapman in limited way through the 1960’s
  • Daren is one of the lesser known British specialist marques but still a significant contributor
  • The editors photographs capture both the Daren and Lotus racing at Llandow in the late 1960’s

We have borrowed and quoted extensively from the net and subscribers are directed to internet and particularly images where it becomes possible to trace the evolution and development of Daren racing cars [there are some extremely good images both technical and deeply period redolent]

Subscribers might like to see directly relevant A&R articles:-

  • Llandow :Laps 1&2
  • Lotus 23,47/62
  • Merlyn

Daren 1

Figure 1.Editors photograph of Daren, taken at Llandow c 1968 cf with Lotus 23 below and Ford F3L/F3LO P69. [Note 1 negative reversed] See internet for additional images.

John Green and the Daren Mk.1

The following has been taken from the net:-

“John Green’s decision to build a GT car came about in 1967 when he raced a Diva. At 35 he was already national monoposto racing champion in Britain and at one time was also Fairthorpe’s works manager. He had his own garage called JG Motors at Station Road, Leighton Buzzard. The decision to build a GT race car attracted the attention of David Taylor. David had worked for Ford before joining JW Automotive Products (thus becoming involved with the Mirage Ford) and was a potential customer of John’s before he got involved in the design of Daren. John himself worked on chassis design with mechanic Mike Aird. The end result was an exquisite shape that the press billed as being faultless with a sparkling engine.

Daren Cars was first founded in 1967 with the development of the MK1 Daren which first raced in 1968. This car was built by John Green for his own use. This car was built as a one off using all the running gear from a Merlyn single seater that John was racing at the time. The car had a full aluminium body. This car driven by John Green still holds the outright lap record at Llandow in Wales. The MK1 was so successful in 1968 season that John was getting requests to build cars for customers which led to the development of the MK2. As the MK2 was built as a customer car it had a fibreglass body for quick replacement. The car on the left was John’s own car fitted with a 3lt Martin engine and the one on the right was originally sold to Martin Raymond who won the 1969 Motoring News Championship in this car. This very successful car was designed by Dave Taylor and this is the car that we currently own. There were eight of the MK2 cars built in total. 1971 saw the development of the MK3 which was launched at the Earls Court Racing Car Show. There were 25 cars built in total. The original selling price of the car as a rolling chassis (no engine or gearbox) was £2,500 but if they find their way into the market place now they can fetch £60,000 complete. This is the car that we currently own, it is a 1969 MK2 in 1996 it was competing in modern GT races and was still wining its class. The MK6 is fitted with a rotary Mazda engine providing some 280 bhp

Bodywork for the Mk1 was a joint project. John Green did some parts himself and Maurice Gohm Associates (a specialist sheet metal company) the other parts. Maurice Gohm also did the Ford F3L. Dave Taylor worked for Jeff Uren who ran the Ford saloons in the 60’s that led to the JW Automotive set up. Dave was a traditional draftsman – no CADCAM in those days. John normally roughed out the design outline and Dave completed the drawings in detail.

It was about the time of John Green’s return from the 1000 km that David Sewell became involved with Daren Cars. Sewell recalls that the Mk1 had had a carb fire that caused the retirement and it was after the event that John decided to fit the de Dion tube rear end whilst other work and the repairs were being carried out. The Merlyn rear uprights were discarded and the rear uprights became part of the fabricated tube assembly.


The little GT’s debut was as Castle Combe with a class win. The following day (sounds like a busy weekend), John took an outright win at Llandow (15th April 1968), near Cardiff with a new lap record. Before heading for the Nurburgring 1000km (in 1968), there would be yet another win, at Silverstone. John tool a number of class wins and placings during the 1968/69 season, notably at Mallory Park, Snetterton and Silverstone.

A change in GT racing rules for 1969 meant that minimum weight restriction would be lifted, thus making the Daren Mk1 obsolete, and hence the sale”

Brief Technical specification Daren Mk.1

The following has been deducted from various internet forums.

Lotus Connection

The editors deliberately include photographs of Lotus models from the 1960’s.

It’s believed that car with race number 38 is a highly modified Lotus 23 possibly converted to compete in GT class and improve on aerodynamics?

It also demonstrates what was once done to racing cars to keep them competitive.

This is very much about the culture of the era and the nature of the racing etc.

We also include a photograph of a Lotus Europa also seen in the paddock at Llandow.

This model of course would be adapted into the Type 47 in order to be classified for racing .In this guise its likely on occasions to have competed against Daren.

Figure 2.Editors photograph of what is believed to be “modified” Lotus 23.

Figure 3.Editors photograph of Lotus Europa at Llandow note Type 47 derivative would have been competitor to Daren Mk.1.

Smaller Capacity Sports Racing cars of 1960’s

The 1960’s was very rich decade in terms of amateur motor sport designers and drivers. Often on quite small budgets remarkable results were achieved.

The technical specifications and designs were diverse.

Some of the more significant include:-

  • Lotus
  • Bonnet
  • Brabham
  • Deep Sanderson
  • Diva
  • Elva [Mk.7 & 7S]
  • Lola
  • Merlyn
  • Crossle
  • Nomad
  • Ginetta G16A
  • Chevron B8-B16
  • Astra
  • Costin-Nathan

Learning Opportunities

Our learning /educational opportunities are intended to be challenging thought provoking and requiring additional research and/or analysis.

These opportunities are particularly designed for a museum/education centre location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.

In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-

  • Research race results on net and compare entry /results against Lotus
  • Trace the development of Daren racing cars and determine if they bore any similarity with Lotus
  • Where possible obtain race programme for LLandow and benchmark Daren against competitors ;estimate advantage of aerodynamics to results
  • Study race culture of times and consider how such an advanced and beautiful car could be constructed on relatively low budget etc.
  • Consider if a book devoted to John Green and Daren would be feasible /attractive proposition

Exhibitions, Education and Economics

In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

In this instance and relative to Daren in the 1960’s we suggest the following:-

  • Sixties Groups :Group racing in period –Wingless Wonders: The organic beauty of Sports Racing Cars before aerodynamic devices
  • Cunning Plan: Slippery Shapes :Drawing and building aluminium bodies for racing cars
  • Lesser known British specialist marques ,marques and specifications drawn from examples listed above
  • Giving them the slip: Slippery shapes of the era –automobile bodies on sports racing cars of the 1960’s
  • Keeping track off: Racing car set up for specific tracks –the impact of aerodynamics


The editors have for a long time been unable to identify the Daren partly as result of misinterpretation /spelling etc. However determination and luck have given results.

The internet provides some wonderful opportunities for research but equally the editors were pointed in the right direction by a real enthusiast.

The Daren is very much a product of its era and well worthy of analysis.

We hope in some small way to contribute a small piece to the jigsaw of its history.

Subscribers might like also to consider the continuum of design where ideas are constantly adopted amended and how perhaps Colin Chapman fed more into motor racing than is associated just with his own designs and marque.


The following technical specification is taken from Twite:-

Marque Merlyn Mk.IVA

Model Sport/Racing car

Year c1964

Engine /Cyli 4 cylinder water cooled

Bore /Stroke 85 x 48.4mm

CC 1,098cc

Valve Gear ohv

Comp Ratio 10 to 1


Max.Power 100 bhp @ 8,000 rpm

Trans/Gears 5 speed

Front Brakes Girling dis 9in.dia

Rear Brakes Girling dis 9in.dia

Steering rack & pinion

Front Susp’ wishbone & coil spring

Rear Susp’ wishbone & coil spring

Chassis multi-tubular frame

Wheel base 7ft-5in

Front Track 4ft-2.5in

Rear Track

O’length 11ft-8in

O’width.body 4ft-11in

Kerb weight n/a

Front Tyres 4.50 x 13

Rear Tyres 5.50 x 13

Twite adds:-

  • The chassis of the Merlyn is multi –tubular space frame of 1 in x .75 in ,16 & 18 swg round and square tubing
  • Complies with formula C fitted full width body, compulsory passenger seat, and regulation luggage storage
  • Front suspension is double wishbone of unequal length, with coil spring dampers
  • Rear suspension also double wishbones with trailing arms ,coil spring damper units and anti-roll bar [fitted front and rear]
  • Camber and castor angles of the wheels fully adjustable
  • Girling disc outboard
  • Rack and pinion adjustable for height and rake
  • Bodywork of glass fibre with nose and tail sections hinging for accessibility
  • Ford 1,100 cc engine developed from 105E Anglia, tuned by Cosworth for 100 bhp also possible Coventry Climax 1,098 cc or 1,600 cc twin ohc Lotus-Ford
  • Fitted with Hewland modified Volkswagen gearbox


The editors have not seen any reference to Daren racing cars in the standard text books but this is compensated for in the excellent internet coverage. These are highly commended!!

The World’s Racing Cars. Twite. Macdonald. 1964.