Club News, April 1943

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We Hear……

At a big breaker’s yard in Berkshire a really early 2-cylinder, chain-drive Daimler, of probably around 1898 vintage, has put in an appearance, and it is something of a shock to find that it has really sound tyres. Stewart Forrest, chairman of the Midland Motoring Enthusiasts’ Car Club, is hoping to acquire an unblown 1.75 litre Alfa-Romeo drophead coupe and to fit it with a body on the lines of that on the Type 328 B.M.W. G. F. Lomas, who wrote about his Straker-Squire Six in Motor Sport in November, 1940, is extremely anxious to trace and re-buy his old car or to find another of the type, but all that this has led to so far is the discovery that his car was sold at Beckenham in 1937 to person or persons unknown. Does anyone know of this or another Straker-Squire, please? F/O. Anthony Phelps, A.T.A., is now using the ex-Forbes 1924 side-valve Aston-Martin as his official mode of progression. He says he is fortunate in having a regular journey embracing almost every sort of going, from a twisty but fairly wide country lane and a wide 0.75-mile straight, to a good wide arterial road with very fast open bends, negotiation of a village and the perimeter track of the airfield. The Aston, we gather, is still healthy enough to achieve 60 in 3rd, but is not so very much more rapid in top gear. Phelps thinks perimeter roads will make useful tracks after the war, and suggests a dice with Boston aircraft from which the wings have been removed to fill in the hiatus between the end of the war and the recommencement of motor racing. Diana Barnato, daughter of Babe Barnato, is another enthusiast who is with A.T.A. She has laid up her 4.5-litre Bentley and is running an Opel “Cadet”.

Can anyone locate a V8 Autovia engine, or blue prints of same, for a reader who has motored side-valve V8s very quickly in the past, and who thinks that overhead valves are the wear for after the war? That sports cars are still in widespread use on supplementary petrol is well known and in the course of a recent 150-mile drive in the north, which “Mafty” reports in the January newsletter of the Scuderia Chemvamo, the interesting cars encountered included a “J2” M.G. Midget driven by a young P/O., a Lancia “Aprilia”, a very well-preserved model-T Ford grocery lorry, a red Singer Le Mans 4-seater, an old-type black Bugatti coupe, a Rolls-Bentley coupe, a 2-litre M.G. saloon, two more Rolls-Bentleys, two P-type M.G. Midgets, a black B.M.W. coupe, a 540K Mercedes-Benz saloon, and a very well-kept blue “12/50” Alvis beetle-back 2-seater.

Norman Routledge is running an Alvis “Speed Twenty” Van den Plas coupe with a well-tuned Alvis “Firefly” engine installed, which, he says, pulls the 4.5 to 1 rear axle ratio, and is not much faster in top than in third gear, although it “can be really wound-up down hills”. He is in the fortunate position of having to motor all over the country, doing as much as 430 miles at a sitting. He also has a “special” in course of construction, comprising an Alvis chassis with 5:22 to 1 rear axle, which is to be shortened and given a lively engine and an E.N.V. gearbox for trials and hill climbs. L. C. Snowden, “Sandilands”, Ashley Drive, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, would be glad to hear from anyone who has for disposal a straight-eight f.w.d. Alvis, or an engine, gearbox and transmission unit for one of these cars. A 2.3-litre supercharged Zagato-bodied Alfa-Romeo, in the traditional Alfa red, can be seen any day standing in Woking Car Park – another sports car helping the war along. Group Capt. Scroggs, R.A.F., has at last laid up his famous Trojan and is using an Austin Ten saloon, while Wooding has been seen in a very smart V12 Lagonda drophead coupe, which carries his B.R.D.C. badge in solitary state. The pilot of the Consolidated “Catalina” in that excellent film “Coastal Command” is none other than David Fry, of Freikaiserwagen fame. A certain A.I.D. inspector, who has to cover really large mileages each week, prefers motorcycles to cars, and uses an immaculate Triumph “Speed Twin” with Dawson spring-heel. We momentarily thought the worst had happened in Fulham the other day when a Type 34 B.M.W. coupe went past, closely followed by a Type 320 Mercedes-Benz saloon. The “22/90” Alfa-Romeo is not quite so rare as we thought, because the car driven at Shelsley Walsh by Rosa and Major Coe has now turned up at a Sussex farm and is for sale at around £40, with plenty of tyres. J. V. Bowles has acquired a very beautifully-preserved Type 37 G.P. Bugatti and his partner a Type 40 Bugatti, so there is a strong Molsheim element at Epping; Birkett, too, is rebuilding a Type 40 and has amassed many pieces. Bowles also has a supercharger for his “Ulster” Austin Seven, and P/O. Mallock is having a blown sprint Austin Seven assembled by Ballamy. A sports Sequeville-Hoyeau is rumoured to have been found at Farnborough. “12/50” Alvis engine spares are available in London.

Peter Hampton has bought the ex-Monkhouse twin o. h. camshaft Amilcar Six from Ian Metcalfe without even seeing the car; he plans to race it after the war. Metcalfe now has a side-valve Amilear amongst his stock. T. B. O’Reilly is at a U.S. air base “somewhere in this country” and intrigues the Yanks by driving around in an unblown 1.5-litre Bugatti. From a “spy” at Tripoli comes a report that, although no Axis racing cars have yet fallen into his hands, a pair of sparking plugs engraved “Maserati” suggest an exciting clue. Marcus Chambers intends to go “Austin Seven mad” after the war, and would like to hear from anyone having “Ulster” spares and a suitable supercharger for sale.

Ralph Venables has received an interesting letter from someone at Newbury, who shares his enthusiasm for motoring off the hard road. The writer, however, omitted his name; will he please, therefore, write again to ” The Moors”, Tilford, Surrey. A. E. Antell, whose address is 32, The Grove, Brookman’s Park, Herts, has acquired the ex-J. C. Elwes “J4” M.G. Midget, which is quite a potent piece of machinery, with a No. 8 Powerplus blower giving 15 lb./sq. in. boost with a compression ratio of 6.6 to 1, special R. R. Jackson brakes, the M.G. divided track rod, and a body which was on the M.G. with which Hamilton finished second in the 1933 TT. Antell is anxious to obtain spares for the “J4” and a windscreen for a “J2” M.G.

The next Brains Trust

The second motor-racing Brains Trust, with Donald McCulloch, of the B.B.C., as Question Master, was due to happen at the “Rembrandt” on March 28th. Rivers-Fletcher organised a lunch as well this time, as only thus is it possible to obtain the required accommodation, while statistics show that this sort of meeting appeals to a bigger public than the shorter, less expensive gatherings. Microphones and loudspeakers were to be used this time, which should be a considerable improvement.

Midland Motoring Enthusiasts’ Club

This club’s first meeting on February 17th was attended by 29 enthusiasts, and another gathering, at the “Bull’s Head”, Birmingham, was scheduled for March 3rd —we would welcome similar gatherings in the south; the “750” Club seems to have dried up.

Junior Car Club

At the Junior Car Club’s monthly council luncheon those present included Major Bale, Major-Gen. J. S. Crawford, Major R. E. C. Jennings, Capt. R. L. Walkerley, Cecil Kimber and Rivers-Fletcher. These meetings keep those who will be invaluable to the Sport in touch with one another throughout the war, and the club also serves us well by inviting guests prominent in non-motoring spheres, who may well look more kindly towards our world through meeting with some of its leading exponents under pleasant conditions. But can we, please, have just one wartime gathering for the ordinary member?

Instruction Book Library

Motor Sport’s Instruction Book Library now covers Rover Eight,”12/50″ and “12/60” Alvis, “14/45” Talbot, “40/50” “Silver Ghost” Rolls Royce, 3-litre Sunbeam, M.G. Midget, Wolseley Hornet Special, Straight-eight Railton and Lagonda Rapier cars. The books covering the last two makes were kindly sent by Mr. L. C. Snowden, of Walton-onThames. Queries, which should be accompanied by a stamped envelope or postcard, on the maintenance of these cars are invited, but, please, only if you have a genuine difficulty—clerical work is very restricted these days. Further books will be most acceptable.

Badges

The Editor is desirous of obtaining Vintage S.C.C. and Bugatti Owners’ Club badges, to replace those lost at the beginning of the war, if anyone can oblige. He was, of course, a member of the Vintage S.C.C. until the club was put to bed for the duration, and is an honorary life member of the Bugatti O.C.

Looking back

Extract from the Gordon-Bennett Extra Number of The Motor, dated July 7th, 1905: The Fiat cars had particularly clever check-springs, consisting of band brakes held to the spring shackles by an arm, the brakes gripping a phosphor-bronze drum securely fastened to the frame. As the axle jumps up the encircling brake revolves rather easily on the drum by reason of the sudden kick-up, but the return is made very sluggish by reason of the grip on the drum, and so the lively action of the axles is checked.

An interesting Talbot

We recently had the opportunity of accompanying L. S. Daniels, late of Squire Motors and the M.G. Car Co., Ltd. racing department, in a fast drive in his ex-Fox and Nicholl Talbot 90— PL4, of the well-known team. This car, one of the Alpine Trial 4-seaters, now has an engine and a Wilson pre-selector gearbox from a standard Talbot “105” saloon installed. Nevertheless, a speedometer 94 m.p.h. in top and 80 in 3rd showed up. The car proved to corner in a most unexpected manner, in as much as we have seldom been cornered faster, yet in this instance there was very little tyre noise, no sliding and an entire absence of roll from the quarter-elliptic rear suspension. Normally, of course, the car is driven much more sedately, when the fuel consumption is over 20 m.p.g. The car can certainly hurry, however, when required to do so, as it sometimes has been in the course of 18 months’ service as hack transport in connection with aircraft development work. Daniels has owned the car for 2.5 years. When the racing “90” engine blew up, he installed a standard “90” engine and a 4.9 to 1 axle ratio. The car now has a 4.6 to 1 rear axle ratio again, and in non-economy tune would do 102 m.p.h. It stands in the open every night and starts easily the next morning. The owner has kindly offered to write us an article on this interesting car, and on other Talbots he has owned.

Stop press!

A. R. Jaques, “Clifton”, Northey: Avenue, Chearn, Surrey, offers a 1930 sports Austin Seven to anyone who cares to save it from a breaker. David Gandhi is now running a 1934 20.9-h.p. Citroen ex-taxi, and has acquired the Adams and Webb 1922 E-type “30/98” Vauxhall. One of the twin o.h.c. Amilcar Sixes, with plated chassis parts and new tyres, is for sale at £100 in Stockport. David Morgan has bought, and driven, Morgulie’s E-type “30/98” Vauxhall 4-seater, and Potter has been doing some quite long runs in a Type 44 Bugatti. He and Hardie are expecting each to acquire Type 55 Bugattis, so Potter offers his “Hyper” Lea-Francis for sale at £100 and Hardie has sold his Austin “Nippy” to French, and wishes to dispose of his 2-litre G.P. Bugatti, at around the £100 mark. This northern shuffling of motor-cars also puts Hardie’s immaculate “Red Label” Bentley on the market. The next meeting of the Enthusiasts’ Car Club is scheduled for April 4th, at 3 p.m., at 134, Heaton Moor Road, Stockport. Inman-Hunter has acquired a 1931 Meadows Frazer-Nash. The Veteran Car Club seems to have been wrongly reported generally. According to Clutton it is willing to accept 30-year-old cars right away, and not in the distant future, as first seemed to be the case. Fitzpatrick finally got the ignition of his supercharged “Phantom II” Rolls Royce correct before he went abroad, and recorded top-gear acceleration figures of 10-30 m.p.h. in 7 secs., 30-50 m.p.h. in 7 secs., and 50-70 m.p.h. in 8.8 secs., 10-30 m.p.h. in 3rd taking 5 secs. and in 2nd gear, 3.5 secs. Congratulations to Wing-Commdr. R. M. B. Duke-Wooley, of Fighter Command, on receiving the American D.F.C. He used to race an M.G.