Club News, April 1939





The Kentish Border Car Club will hold a freak hill-climb at a new and secret venue near Kingsdown, Kent, on Sunday, April 2nd. Competitors will start from the Clearways Filling Station, Kingsdown at 1 p.m. and be led to the hill. The new hill is said to have a grass surface of a non-chassis breaking nature, and to possess a gradient worse than Knatt’s. Climbs will be timed.

The Club has in operation an Individual Championship award system and up to the Stafford Cup Trial Sydney Allard. was leading with 5 marks, R. M. Andrews was second with 4, and D. G. Sileock and K. N. Hutchison had 3 marks each. A new bulletin was started last month and contributions will be gladly accepted.

Hon. Secretary : K. R. W. Shackel.


The Committee is now formed as follows :–W. J. B. Richardson (capt.), L. 0. Johnson (vice-capt.), T. W. Dargue (treasurer), K. N. Hutchison, E. J. Haesendouck, H. W. Johnson, R. M, Andrews, C. G. Fitt, M. S. Soaines and S. E. ‘G. Tett—a very strong team of unrivalled slime-storm experts.

Hon. Secretary : Paul Hardy, 33, Cyprus Avenue, Whitton, Twickenham, Middleseic.


That really admirable trial, the Highland Two Days, takes place on April 8th-9th. It commences from Rossleigb’s Garage, Stirling, at 9 a.m., and finishes at Glen Devon, Perthshire.

Some 800-400 Miles will be covered. The invited clubs are : Ford Enthusiasts’ Club, Berwick and D. M.C., M.G. C.C. and the Caledonian clubs.

Hon. Secretary : W. L. B. Ca.11ander, 100, West Regent Street, Glasgow.

M.G. C.C.

This year the classic Abingdon Trial is to undergo a change. It will comprise a two day combined trial and, rally, and a move is to be made from the Cotswolds to Wales—where much fresh trials stuff of the right sort is waiting to be used. As usual with an F. L. M. Harris-backed event, the arrangements are most interesting and the prizes very generous. It is expected that competitors will start from controls at Abingdon, Birmingham and Chester. The trials element will be timed up RuShmere’s 1 In If gradient while the rally competitors do a series of tests. After that cars will converge on Shrewsbury and on the Sunday will tackle a route of about 180 miles in Welsh trials’ country. The three different classes will be based on wheelbase. Lady competitors compete for a special trophy. As long as Harris is

in the game, he is never short of new ideas, nor afraid to employ them when there is any point gained by so doing. Regulations will be available soon, and the date of this invitation classic is May 13th-14th.

Secretary : P. L. M. Harris, 80, Holborn, E.C.1.


What a pity classic fixtures still clash ! Because both the Great West M.C. ” Bournemouth ” trial and the Margate & D. M.C. Wye Cup Trial fell on March 19th, the former excellent event was postponed until an unspecified date and the latter classic attracted only about thirty entries.


The Road Racing Club was formed before the opening of the Crystal Palace road circuit, which . course it exclusively controlled. Lots of people who joined it in anticipation of obtaining admission advantages to the London circuit were surprised to find that when the course was in ‘action no special privileges were accorded them and they had to pay for admission on the same scale as non-members. So it is good to learn that this has now been changed. The entrance fee is now 10,and the annual subscription 25!-, instead of the previous total of 0, but privileges include free admission to all meetings, free transfer to stands, use of Members’ marquee and free carparking. The Club’s new address is :— R.R.C., Low Level Stat ion , • Crystal Palace, London, S.E.19. Racing at the Crystal Palace circuit commences this month.


At Easter the Land’s End Trial will take place, true to tradition. Entries are very well up to standard and the hills

are all worth spectating at. Jackie Masters sends something like 700 or more folk Westwards very pleasantly every Easter, not counting those ;ofr us who motor down to watch on oue favourite acclivity and dash home again on the Sunday so that we may be at Brooklands on Bank Holiday.


” W.B.” wishes us to thank all those who have written to him with a promise to support the proposed Austin Seven Club. He has been quite unable to reply to everyone individually, and, indeed, has handed most of the preliminary work of organisation over to Mr. Hunter. A small committee has been formed to decide how the club may be successfully run on small sub

scription and moderate entry fees, and by this time those who promised support should have received notice of how it is proposed to run the Club. The first event will probably be a rally, or a simple trial.


The Croydon Rally of March 26th is the subject of a report elsewhere in this issue. The next important fixture is another Rally at the same venue on July, 16th. Members have gained several notable trials’ successes recently, and another invitation to a classic trial was received in respect of the Scottish Sporting Car Club’s Two-Day Highland Trial. The Club has now acquired its Mascot, in the form of a 1912-13 model-T Ford car with genuine American-built landaulette bodywork. It was used untilsome years ago, as it had been all its life, as a taxi in a Bedfordshire village, and was rescued and brought home from its resting place amongst the fowls. by W. Boddy

on March 22nd. Full details of the Club are now available in pamphlet form and all Ford enthusiasts are welcome.

Hon. Secretary : S. H. Allard, 15, Millbrooke Court, Putney, S.W.15.


The week-end of March 25th-26th was occupied with the ambitious Welsh Rally, of which we hope to insert a report elsewhere in this issue. We know that Forrest Lycett was due to go down, competitively, in his 1914 Alphonso Hispano, that Col. Clutton’s 1909 Fafnir was going and that John Seth-Smith was leaving from Chelmsford on his 1908 one-cylinder Sizaire-Naudin, if the clutch withdrawal mechanism could be put at its ease in time. And there were at

least nine others. So as to include a report of this event—and the tales of Edwardian competitors should fill one issue of MOTOR SPORT very readily—the Club’s ” Bulletin ” is being issued this month instead of in March.

Hon. Secretary : Tim Carson, “Park Club,” Egarston, Park Lane, Basingstoke, Hants.


In view of the pressing problems of obtaining support for race-prize-funds these days, it is worthwhile emphasising who are the donors for the prize fund for the International Trophy Race—one of our foremost fixtures, due to be run off at Brooklands on May 6th. These generous firms and individuals comprise : S.M.M.T., Dunlop Rubber Co. Ltd., Viscount Wakefield of Hythe, Joseph Lucas, Ltd., Vacuum Oil Co. Ltd., J. Coryton Ltd., Capt. Frazer-Nash, W. E. Roote.s, S. Smith & Sons (M.A.) Ltd.,

K.L.G. Sparking Plugs, Ltd., Whitney Straight, the M.G. Car Co. Ltd., and the two leading motoring weeklies. The J.C.C. is organising another American Rally this year, to be held

from June 17th-July 23rd. Details from : J.C.C. Empire House, Thurloe Place, 13rompton Road, S.W.7.


The Stanley Cup Meeting at the Crystal Palace on April 15th promises to be a most enthralling event for amateurs. There will be races for various types of cars, and a handicap for vintage cars and another for pre-1915 veterans.


Second Annual “Club Day” Trial, 11th March, 1939

Though the entry lists for the events of the Old Marlburian Motor Club are never likely to be very large, owing to its limited membership, their trials can always be guaranteed to produce a really good day’s motor sport. The hills are always of the ” sane type since the Club expressly caters for cars which have to serve their normal purposes for the rest of the year bar another event or so. For the second year their “Club Day” Trial, held on the 11th March, took place in the Cotswolds with a main road run to time schedule from the Cotswolds

to the finish near Marlborough. The Start was from Mill Park Garage, Broadway, at 11.80 a.m. and the first hill, Stanton, was situated some three miles away. Owing to heavy rainfall during the previous week, the hill had developed a very sticky patch and consequently failed the whole entry except H. H. Merriman’s M.G. Magna which made a very well-judged climb. The only motor cycle competitor, M. Moore (FrancisBarnett), made an excellent climb but unfortunately his clutch gave up on the higher reaches. A. S. C. Hart’s 8i-litre SS. Jaguar accumulated immense speed at the foot of the hill but not sufficient to take his heavy car over the treacherous patch.

The second hill, which was Old Stanway, including the extra loop as used in the Cohnore Cup a fortnight previously, was fairly dry and. offered no difficulty to the cars though the motor-cycle again succumbed. Kineton (Old Hill) which followed was also quite easy and the complete entry made consistently good climbs. Hart found the Jaguar somewhat of a handful though his large reserve of power brought him to the top.

After this trio of hills the entry had to cover some fifteen miles of main road to reach Greenway Lane, the other side of Cheltenham. Here was situated the Quick-starting Test, similar to that used by theij .C.C. in their Brooklands Rallies. The big Jaguar was the fastest with a time of 7 secs., H. H. Merriman (M.G.) being only .4 secs. longer. The observed section which followed proved to be money for jam and caused competitors no trouble. The second special test, the Brake Test, was held on/the hill down to the foot of Stancombe, the fifth hill. The best time in the test was recorded by Merriman’s Magna with 11 secs. Considerable delay was caused at the entrance to the lane where the test was situated owing to Hart’s SS. becoming “dug in” fore and aft at a hairpin bend (not part of the actual course). After much heaving and digging the car was released

and the trial continued. Stan combe Hill proved very easy except for the motor-cycle which fired and internal salvo with terrific effect, smoke exuding from every joint. The sixth hill before the Lunch Stop at Hyde was Mackh.ouse. This was in a very wet but comparatively easy condition. About the fastest mover on this hill was P. U. D. Vigor’s Morris” Twelve”

which literally romped up. H. M. Sheane’s Riley ” Nine ” also motored hard up this section, having had a few “moments ” at the lower bend. Owing to various delays it was decided to cut out the last observed hill, “Glory Ann,” which appeared to be almost impossible owing to the wet, and continue straight on to the finish at the Red Lion Hotel, Avebury. Here a suitably substantial meal was awaiting competitors after their 80 miles motoring. The Annual General Meeting followed and the results were announced as

hereunder. Merriman’s victory was very well deserved since he had driven a well judged course throughout and was outstanding. .Astede Cup : (for the best performance in the trial) H. H. Merriman (M.G. Magna) First Class Award : H. H. Merriman (M.G. Magna) Second Class Awards: A. S. C. Hart (3*-I, SS. Jaguar) H. M. Sheane (Riley 9) P. Ti. D. Vigors (Morris 12) Third Class : None qualified


The search for Edwardian cars, which the Vintage S.C.C. imbibed into our blood some few moons ago and which that indefeatable letter-writer Sam Clutton has never allowed to subside, was punctuated for a few glorious hours when the passenger’s seat of Lt. Torin’s Maserati was offered us at Brooklands one soaking afternoon. That brief lappery was real motoring at its very best, and well worth the drenching. Thereafter, the vintage germ got down to things again. It may seem idiotic to motor hundreds of miles in search of antique cars of unknown quality and distinctly doubtful reliability, that hitherto unenthusiastic owners may demand at least twice the sum for which you can procure a very serviceable bullnose Morris (yes, I know half-shafts costs 10/apiece, but try buying a prewar 1.t. magneto and set of ” automatic ” candles !) as soon as they smell CastrolR and a couple of ancient leather coats . . . However, we sought consolation in the thought that collectors of antiques in other fields go just as far in their searchings, so at least we can claim a not altogether unique degree of an outlook which our friends refer to briefly and finally as ” bats.” Well, first of all we motored the Austin utility death-box down a fast main-road along which sat, at intervals, sombre men beside little huts, large cards in their laps. They were, of course, engaged in taking a census, and as some trials’ competitors were floating down the route it seems quite possible that Burroughs went down as a “light lorry” and perhaps that Allard and Hutch, were classified as ” Bombs ! ” But what fun these census takers could have think of making your entries and totting them up—so many death-boxes, quite a lot of dice-boxes, some comparatively non-fatalistic glass-houses, a few sportswegen, and a dribbling of real motor-cars (i.e. pre-1931). Oh well! Our objective was a Humberette in a wood-pile, but when we eventually arrived at the town where we believed the old car to be the local wood-yard was shut, the local garage likewise and our

informer, was not at home. “Eighty miles for nothing,” quoth the driver. ” ‘ Fraid so,” said the writer, very conscious that the idea had been very much all his. Off again, we decided to see Cambridge in the twilight, which always pleases, and the Austin was well wound-up when the brakes went on as hard as the earlier Seven’s brakes ever will. In a wayside garage we had noticed, quite by chance . . . a Sizaire-Naudin single-cylinder. She was low and long tor a veteran, but quite unmistakeable, with the little flag on the cylindrical header-tank that forms part of the bonnet. She had no tyres, and apparently the lorry body bad been added after 1909: indeed, we were told she had been used for transporting local coffins until about 1915. But there she was, a Siza ireNaudin and seemingly all complete, though the prop.-shaft had had to be uncoupled before she was towable end her delightful inlet valve speed control had given way to a conventionallythrottled carburetter. Alas, her present owner provul to 13! ” ex-R.A.F. ‘ and a steam-engineer withal, and he knew her worth, if not her age and engine size. But if we rattle the scuderia moneybox long enough she may be ours. Not quite appeased by this wholesome find we went again to the home—a suburban back-garden—of the N.S.U. tricar mentioned last month. At a touch, more bits fell away and even our enthusiasm was damped, but there she is—most likely pre-1904 and not expensive to acquire, if anyone feels like some truly tough work. We also re-inspected the adjacent three-wheeler. It had a s.v. V-twin J.A.P. engine set in line with the frame, motor-cycle fashion, and started by a handle on the near side. It drove by an immense length of chain to what looked more like a two-speed countershaft than a gearbox proper, controlled by a central gear-lever, and final drive was by another long chain. The chassis side members were tubular, with coilsprings at the rear and half -elliptics at the front. The body was a sort of racing tail, a very narrow affair, and she had disc wheels. Doubtless she gave her owner many absorbing hours in the early nineteen-twenties, when to own any kind of car stamped one as either a millionaire, or tinkerer or enthusiast, if not all three. Was she a home-built specimen of the cyclecar breed, or will some student of the ‘LB .,—Coventry-Pretnier-MerrellBrown-L.S.D. era name her marque ? This visit hardly inspired our Edwardian tendencies, but the next week-end or thereabouts we were off again, to a big car-breaker’s dump at a truly remote spot, access to it being along country lanes finger-posted “to the dump.” There we found Sunday afternoon family parties buying cheap spares and embellishments for their family motor-cars. We also found a 1902 Humber, not for sale, a very fine 30/98 O.E. Vauxhall, a special V8 Ford, with, sadly enough, its M.C.C. trials numbers still in place, and an o.h. camshaft sports Beardmore—how interesting to rebuild the latter with the assistance of its famous engineering sponsors, were a large bag of gold avail able for the purpose. We then progressed, on the advice of the extremely friendly breaker bloke, to see a 1911 8 h.p. two-cylinder Renault, in very fine order, which a very pleasant ard enthusiastic young man used to employ as daily transport until a year ago, but for which he now has no further use. Where that find is we are not telling. If you are jealous, the writer knows of a 1913 fourcylinder 11 h.p. Delage in nearly as good order . . Coming home we got mixed up with’ a trial and diced the Austin to such good effect that the ignition distributor drive sheared coming down a hill. Late that night we made Victoria Coach Station in a seemingly very modern Leyland coach, which, our driver explained, had been very slow up a ‘toted climb on the route because, for all its external beauty, it was an old chassis rebodied. The value of the Austin Seven for everyday motoring is indicated by the fact that it was towed in next day behind a Ford Eight and within two hours of arriving at the home garage was running as well as ever

new bits being stripped from a spare engine.

Reverting to our enforced coach and ‘bus riding, one was struck by the comfort of such travel and the satisfaction of putting the dicing in other hands. We had time to reflect on lots of past motoring experiences, to discuss future additions to “Automobiles—Their Shortcomings” and, as a motor-cycle club run went past, to ponder on why the percentage of really keen girls—who defy weather, comfort and general beastliness in the cause of speed and fresh air—is so much higher amongst the motor-cycling fraternity than in the motoring (on four wheels, in a box) world. Have you any theories ?

Later came more vintage adventure, first in the form of a run to see an old Humber and to enquire after a 1914 G.P. Pipe, • which drew blank so far as cars were concerned, but showed us some new country,. good to see, and then to bring home a 1912 model-T Ford Iandaulette fox the Ford Enthusiasts’ Club. -.had already made several journeys to a little Bedfordshire village with the unique name of Heath and Reach, to see the old car and to settle a price with the owner—a most obliging gentleman with great faith in his ex-taxi, which he had .driven since it was new and had pensioned off about ten years ago. He has never driven any other car. We had been up -the week before, loading tradeplates and tools in great confusion into the back of a brisk and beautifully-braked modern Ford Eight saloon, in the hope of driving our veteran home—and what a veteran the old model-T Ford is, as an example of the cat which introduced motoring to thousands and which was doing good everyday service at a time when most cheap motor vehicles were still only playthings. However, work as we might in that quiet field where she had found what might well have been her ,.:final resting-place, sheltered by some substantial outhouses, flanked

by a deserted village street, watched over by an unhappy-looking calf, it was not to be. The coils—you use one per cylinder—were missing, and, in any case, the sleepy afternoon was spent in making the 30″ x 31″ tyres retain air—incidentally, one of these Michelins bore the inscription “made in Italy.” Later, on another afternoon, this time devoid of snowstorm, but again disturbed only by the passage of an occasional vehicle or by R.A.F. aircraft overhead, we dealt with the tyreproblem, got. the steering wheel to act the right’ way and not swing the car left when you steered right, as it was wont to do, and, that evening, made up a tow-bar out of a plank and filled the_paraffin rear-lamp. At 11 p.m. the modehT was hitched to the sleek 22 h.p. V8 Ford saloon and we were away. It was an eerie journey. She steered quite well, and you could literally ,look over the V8’s roof. You sat up appallingly high, and creepy thoughts assailed you as you refleeted on how many queer cargoes she had carried ; how many village funerals she had followed . . Glancing astern, the wheel-spoke, reflected in the red glow of -the oil taillamp, recalled some scare-film we saw last winter. However, we bowled nearer and nearer to London, stoppingevery so often to insert air into a doubtful tyre, or to free the gear-bands, for slie.several times selected a ratio to .suit herself and nearly shookher big cylinders off’ before we could warn the driver of the VS. At 4 a.m. in Acton, a front tyre completely subsided. It was raining hard and we reluctantly called it a day. But as we unhitched her in a public garage that rear lamp was burning as well as .ever . . . Now days pass by when the magnetic flywheel and the technicalities, of the trembler coil oust all other considerations. For we hope that quiteAs-oo. n OUT model-T may yet motor convincingly without -V8 assistance.