The Bugatti Owners’ Club held a very pleasant dinner and film-show at the R.A.C. at the end of February. We were unable to attend, but how successful this function was is evident from the following report submitted by “J.D.A.,” who came down from Cheshire to be present:—
Some people who are never happier than when they are sunk in gloom doubted whether a club meeting could be successful while there is a war on; they might have gained some courage if they could have been present at the little informal dinner held by the Bugatti Owners’ Club at the R.A.C. at the end of February. Of course they weren’t present, that sort of fellow wouldn’t be, but by now they have heard just what they missed. Perhaps it is just my Bohemian character which makes me think that the attire of state usual in normal times for a club dinner stiffens things up as much as it does the wearer; everybody says they’ve enjoyed it no end, but there is a faraway look in their eyes which suggests that they are praising the Lord because there won’t be another one for a whole twelve months.
There’s no question, however, that a good time was had by one and all, for the R.A.C., which you may have noticed has been rising quietly to the occasion for some time past, rose to an Occasion which Bugatti Owners naturally spell with a big “0,” put on a gorgeous little dinner in just the right surroundings, and made the party so very welcome, that it is to be feared the final departure of some members was delayed until the welcome might have worn a bit thin. The hon. secretary told me that, when the idea was first mooted, it was thought that possibly a dozen or so of the elect might brave the black-out to be present; in fact, over eighty keen members put in an appearance. It was delightful to recognise and be recognised by all the old friends, a bit unfamiliar perhaps, because they lacked racing overalls, or some sporting article of attire—such as a check cap—to which they show themselves addicted, but wearing the same old smile, and showing the same old joie de vivre which they usually exhibit at Prescott, or elsewhere when there isn’t any war on. Vaughan, Lemon-Burton, Shakespeare, Monro, Clutton, Heal, and Peter Clark were amongst those present. Also Raymond Mays, debonnair as usual, and just the same—though a little older— as in the now far-off Kop Hill days. Some of the old brigade turned up in military or naval rig, some admitted they were doing war-work, which they were glad to forget during one evening, some groused because an unappreciative Government has not yet made use of the services they have been holding at its disposal, but everyone was very cheerful. When the main business of the day was done, and the coffee mingled its aromatic scent with that of good tobacco, there was a film show, all the more delightful because we hadn’t got to move from where we sat.
Mays lent what he calls his “personal” film, which seemed to me to introduce others more often than its alleged protagonist; then we had what is known as the “club film,” a pictorial record, which, alas ! closed at what ought to have been the middle, with the International event at Prescott, while a surprise was the interposition of a film showing the obsequies of the late “Graf Spee.”
The 750 Club is not dead. On Saturday, April 6th, at 6,30 p.m., a meeting will be held to “talk cars,” and to make suggestions anent a possible trial in the near future. The rendevous is on the second floor of the “Sunderland ” at the junction of Vigo Street and Sackville Street, in the West End. All who can attend will be very welcome. This original club will certainly make history if it can contrive to hold the first war time car trial. Secretary Hunter has now re-taxed his Austin Arrow four-seater, and is preparing a special.
About sixty members and, friends attended the dinner of March 9th. Raymond Mays was in the chair, and Robin Hanson, Reggie Tongue, Michael May, A. B. Hyde, Brian Twist, George Monkhouse—who showed his films—and Yarborough Bateson (whose A.C. is laid up, so he came on his bicycle), contrived to be present. Twenty new members have recently been enlisted.
The third war-time social, a supper-dance, was held on Easter Monday, at the “Royal.” This club seems to lead in successful war-time motoring social gatherings.
CORD OWNERS’ CLUB
A Cord Owners’ Club has been formed in the U.S.A., following a meeting at the Lake Shore Athletic Club. The president is D. Cameron Peck, the vice-president C. E. Emmer, both of Chicago, and the secretary-treasurer is Glenn Thompson, of Glencoe. The Club’s aims are: spare parts maintenance, possible future production of the now defunct Cord, and “the fellowship of those whose common interests in a fine piece of personal transportation, with many unique qualities of handling and performance, have led them to continue to own and drive Cord automobiles.” The annual subscription is $5.00. An interesting ruling is that, if a member sells his Cord, and does not mean to buy another, he must resign within thirty days of the sale. Only last month we heard Peter Clark praise the Cord, with especial reference to its excellent front-wheel drive, use of a normal Lycoming marine motor, and its unique facia.
In spite of some energetic endeavours, the committee could not be persuaded to think beyond future socials, at the A.G.M. last month. The Club definitely says “No!” to car-trials at present.
If you are shortly to be called up, don’t forget to notify the secretaries of any club to which you subscribe of your Service address. There may be a social or other function happening during a leave-period, of which it will be useful to have prior notice.
A DANGEROUS SUBJECT
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Using a 4¼-litre Bentley, McMinnies put up an overall average of 38 m.p.h. for 1,000 miles, going from London to Kingussie and back via Lancaster, Preston, Warrington, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Banbury. The total distance was 1,040 miles, and the running time average about 40 m.p.h. The other trip was recounted last autumn and came about, so the author, Michael Brown, tells us, because an American friend remembered that he wanted to get some Scotch heather for his grandmother, but only three days before he sailed for home. A l½-litre M.G. saloon was borrowed, and it averaged 44 m.p.h. for 500 miles, overall time. The running time average cannot be quite accurately quoted, as the period of one coffee stop is not logged, but it must have been better than 46 m.p.h. The best hour’s mileage was 51, and 50 miles were put into an hour on two occasions—one would expect a 4¼-litre Bentley to be faster, and on the present writer’s Scottish run, the best hour’s mileage (on the return section, which was the only time we kept such a careful check) was 56. It is notable that some mist is nearly always experienced on long-distance runs in this country, even in mid-summer.
In conclusion, average speed is well worth logging, but it has an almost purely personal value, regarded either as simulating information or as an indication of relative suitability of different cars for fast travel. The clearer roads now prevailing give every opportunity to log excellent averages, but more than ever before are care and restraint essential and their relaxation more than criminal.