TFC Moves Up a Gear to Solve a Classic Problem

The origins of British Motor Sport began in the final year of the 19th century with a number of events described as 'hill-climbs', but a key event was to be a dash along a public road and up a gentle hill at Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex in 1902. This event neatly combined the essence of what was to become sprinting and speed hill-climbing, and in 1905 the world's first permanent hill-climb took place at what has now become the iconic Shelsley Walsh in Worcestershire.

When Martin Rutter, an avid hill-climber, contacted us for help we were keen to assist as the heritage of the competition venue was matched by the application. Martin was looking to solve a problem with the race developed Colotti gearbox used in his specially adapted Fiat X1/9. Colotti Transmissions began in Italy, in 1958 when Valerio Colotti established himself as an independent racing gearbox designer having spent many years working in the technical departments of Ferrari and Maserati. His company went on to successfully develop gearboxes for many leading race teams of the time including the legendary Lotus, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Minardi and, the iconic Ferrari.

Martin said, “Racing historic classic cars brings its joys but major headaches when it comes to sourcing components. This is where TFC came to the rescue for my Fiat X1/9 that I campaign in national speed hill-climb championships. An urgent and muchrequired upgrade was a Colotti race gearbox originally developed many decades ago by Valerio Colotti, the famous designer of many F1 and Ferrari transmission systems. However, the build of the gearbox was held for weeks as the correct retaining ring for a motion shaft could not be located - that is until TFC facilitated the supply of a Smalley retaining ring perfect for the job. It wouldn't be possible to keep historic race cars racing if it wasn't for the support of companies such as TFC”.

As the leading European supplier of Smalley products, TFC offers thousands of retaining rings to fit any application requirement. Smalley retaining rings are available off the shelf in carbon steel, 302 stainless steel and 316 stainless steel.

Visit for more details or contact our engineering team to discuss your application.


How efficient is your supply chain solution?

Use our free Efficiency Calculator and see how you score.