Club News, April 1946



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We Hear
In spite of trouble, worry and strife, and a revival of austerity the lads and lasses continue to drive, work and generally concentrate on motor-cars. A good thing, too!

George Sanders regularly uses his “30/98” Vauxhall, 0E63, for business travel, and C. R. Galla More has acquired a twin-o.h.c. 1,750-c.c. Alfa-Romeo which he is stripping down. Then W.B.G. Warham has been lucky enough to get hold of one of the 1925 bull-nose M.G. tourers, believed to be one of the original demonstration cars (No. YK6528). He has disposed of his old Calcott tourer to Michael Avery and this car does 52 m.p.h. and, when nursed, returns over 43 m.p.g. It has now done nearly 10,000 miles since new and spares are still obtainable for it from Elephant Motors.

Capt. C. N. Jones, Hill House, Dagger Lane, West Bromwich, Staffs, is home from the C.M.F. and seeking a sound “14/40” Delage. An 1898 Daimler 2-cylinder motor-carriage, originally with tiller steering, but converted to wheel-steering in 1905, is safely preserved by Lewis Bros., of Dover. In that area, too, a 1929 “12/50” Lea-Francis 2-seater is in daily use. E. J. Steel, definitely an old-car enthusiast, followed a nicely reconditioned air-cooled Rover Eight across Wimbledon Common one day last February. It is astonishing how many early small cars are reappearing — and, based on the postcards which The Register has brought in, how interested folk are in them. Apart from those thus listed, a 1921 Coventry-Premier was advertised recently in a weekly journal.

Turning to more modern matters, although J. Clegg seeks a veteran, his present stable comprises a 2 1/2-litre Jaguar saloon, a modified Fiat “500,” and the ex-Stancer-Beaumont Ford Ten Special. M. D. Tooley reports that his brother’s M.G. Magna with Opel i.f.s., which Motor Sport wrote up last year, has done 2,300 miles and can achieve 0-50 m.p.h. in 15 seconds, while fuel consumption has deteriorated somewhat, from 34 to 30 m.p.g., as, the car being run in, it is now driven faster than before. Tooley threatens a “special” from two derelict 12/6 Riley “Kestrels,” the idea embracing shortened wheelbase, overdrive achieved by a Riley Nine gearbox set back-to-front and using only 3rd and 4th gears, i.f.s. from Vauxhall or Studebaker, and a general lightening and, maybe, a mild supercharge. Recipe for lots of fun and toil!If you feel thirsty, Norman McCaw, hon. treasurer of the Vintage S.C.C., has been demobbed and has taken over the George Inn at Piercebridge, near Darlington.

A very early bull-nose Morris Cowley saloon was noticed in the Edgware Road recently. P. Friston has acquired a 1922 G. P. Salmson with the four-push-rods-to-eight-valves engine. John Coleman has taken delivery of a very beautiful 1924 Scott combination; in looking about the Beverley-Barnes we mentioned last month he discovered this unique car to have a Krefeldersthalwerke crankshaft — which shows you never can tell! Sharman has taken delivery of an ex-Lones Blackburn engine for his Morgan, which is said to have been built for a 200 mile race and to give 50 b.h.p. on petrol, at 4,500 r.p.m. Lones is reputed to have won between fifty and sixty “firsts” with this engine. Quite a lot of interest seems to centre about M-type M.G.s and S. J. Humphries, A.M.I.B.E., 333, Watford Way, N.W.4, is willing to advise over technical queries, having rebuilt several of these little cars himself. R. H. Dyson is hoping to compete in the 500-c.c. class, using a 1932 Austin Seven chassis, with i.f.s. and Lockheed brakes, powered with two 250-c.c. motor-cycle engines set horizontally opposed. He hopes to get 25 b.h.p. from each engine, driving through a flywheel clutch and Austin box to a 4.9-axle carrying 17-in. wheels. So far, the outfit has absorbed over £56 sterling.

Interest in the veterans and other oddities grows apace and the “Register” was an immense success. Overflow from it covers a 1911 single-lunger Rover in just about saveable condition at Burnham-on-Crouch, two single-cylinder cars of unknown make, one a runner, one rotting, at a garage in Billericay; some early De Dion spares at Bristol and a well-shod “20/60” Star 2-seater at Ipswich. Then a garage proprietor at Kelvedon intends to restore a 1911 2-cylinder Renault for V.C.C. and similar events; a Suffolk farmer regularly uses a 1913 Belsize and Yorkshire looks like yielding up another early Argyll and a 1913 Delahaye. Over and above which, S/Lt. M. G. White, R.N.V.R., wants to find an enthusiastic home for a very fine 1910 Vickers-Wolseley, and MacLagen is anxious to do likewise for his touring G.N., ex Breen. In the latter’s stable is a racing A.V. cycle car.

Roland Heath has bought Harbutt’s “14/40” Delage, and D. Pierpoint is installing a 3-litre Sunbeam engine in an “Ulster” Aston-Martin chassis. Budderley has every hope of soon getting on the road with his modified Brescia Bugatti (registered in 1936 as a Giron Bugatti), while R. J. Foster has acquired a PB M.G. T. F. Green, 11, Romilly Avenue, Handsworth Wood, Birmingham, will be pleased to help re Hardy Spicer propeller shaft problems.

On being demobilised, Col. J. C. Elwes, O.B.E., was appointed Sales Manager to University Motors, Ltd. Harrogate possesses a very virile, early Chrysler taxi, and amongst unusual farmer’s cars in this area are “14/75” Alvis saloon and Crossley Ten. Lt. Andrew Wilson has a f.w.d. Tracta 2-seater to dispose of if Peter Clark doesn’t want it for spares. A dismantled f.w.d. Alvis was for sale in Leeds and some 6-cylinder Alvis bits lie at Cooper’s yard, Ipswich. J. Hammersley is putting a Triumph “Scorpion” engine into a Vale-Special, while Patrick Green is out of the R.A.F. and working on his “Ulster” Austin Seven, Amilcar and “Grasshopper” G.N. He uses a 1932 Morris Minor as a hack and hears a lot from Salmson enthusiasts. Yes, there is plenty happening !

Vintage S.C.C.
It is very good news that by the time this issue of Motor Sport appears another Vintage S.C.C. “Bulletin” should have been issued — light relief, perhaps. Anyway, another pointer that the war is over, if not forgotten. As Tim Carson has been demobbed from the R.A.F. he again takes up the secretaryship, Heal continuing as press secretary. Carson’s address is: 1, Downsland Court, Worting Road, Basingstoke, Hants. This very go-ahead and deserving club is open to accept new members, and it is a mighty economical investment, too.

750 Club
Circular No. 3 of the 750 Club is so poorly duplicated as to be almost indecipherable, but we gather the dinner-dance was cancelled through lack of support. The oft-postponed trial finally became known as the Spring Trial and happened on March 3rd — on the same day as the Harrow C.C. and Yorkshire S.C.C. trials.

Veteran C.C.
A supply of tyres and tubes for veteran cars is now available, and the new club badge, at 15s. 6d. post free, is ready. Enquiries to Capt. Cullimore Allen, Wooten, Iffley, Oxford.

Clashing Fixtures
It pains us to see fixtures clashing at the present time, when petrol is scarce and there really isn’t much happening. On March 3rd the 750 Club, Harrow C.C. and Yorkshire S.C.C. all held trials, and on March 9th an event at Blackwater put on by a brand-new club clashed with the Colmore. Your attention, please, Capt. Phillips.

Berkhamstead M.C. And C.C.
This old-established club is fully alive to the future and hopes to run its Winwood Cup Trial and two sprints this year.

For Your Records
The winner of the Bristol M.C. and L.C.C. Full Moon Cup Trial was G. W. Best (M.G.). In the Liverpool M.C. Invitation Trial the under 1 1/2-litre victor was C. L. Bold (Riley) and the over 1 1/2-litre winner our old friend Guy Warburton (Ford).

More Veterans
After “We Hear” closed for Press came news of more veteran cars — a 1913 Morris, 1914 model-T Ford and a 1911 Talbot — for sale, in Ballymena.

According to the Belfast News Letter of February 18th, the council of the Ulster A.C. was taking up with the R.A.C. the latter’s refusal to issue a permit for the proposed race at Long Kesh airfield on March 30th. The R.A.C. is said to have refused permission because information from certain quarters suggests the roads are dangerously narrow. The Ulster A.C. say the R.A.C. has not carried out an inspection of the course, which is 45 ft. wide at the narrowest point. This is a matter that needs clarifying.

Cover Picture
This month’s cover picture is rather appropriate, inasmuch as the Donington G.P. has been booked for October 6th this year — although whether we get a Donington race depends on the War Office and the Ministry of Fuel and Power. In the picture Charles Martin’s monoposto Alfa-Romeo leads Eccles’s “3.3” Bugatti and Fane’s “Shelsley” Frazer-Nash into Red Gate corner in the 1936 Empire Trophy, an E.R.A. making the background. In the end Seaman’s Delage won at 66.33 m.p.h. Eccles was 6th, outside the time limit. Martin retired with the scavenge pump of the Alfa useless and Fane had transmission trouble.

A Good Thing
So many readers ask if we know of vintage cars and spares for sale that we mention those we know about in “We Hear” and occasionally even run to a “Register of the Unique.” Those who seek mainly spares will be interested in a monthly advertising medium known as the Motor Market, in which are listed spares under make headings, from vendors all over the country. As a random shot we turned up “Vauxhall” and there found an entry under “30/98.” This paper is supplied to subscribers only and details can be had from the Palgrave Puhlishing Co., Ltd., High Holborn House, London, W.C.1.

The Editor again apologises for desultory replies to correspondents and would explain that he was last month engaged in returning to London, all his records consequently being packed. And on February 28th, to make matters more complex, the Editor’s wife presented him with a daughter. His temporary address is 47, Frankfurt Road, S.E.24. The Library has been in greater demand than ever — if books do not arrive it is because they are on loan and will be sent as they come in — it is quite impossible to acknowledge applications. If you hold a book please return it to the London address given above, not to Harrogate.

Australian Activity
The N.S.W. Sporting C.C. held its Nichol’s Hill speed hill-climb last December. F.T.D. went to Kleinig’s Hudson-Special, which did a terrific ascent in 21.68 sec. Runner-up was Reed’s Ford V8 Special, in 23.7 sec., with Clarke’s 1924 Alvis, now Terraplane engined, third best, in 24.26 see. Crouch’s blower 4 1/2-litre Bentley was beaten by a McLachlan-Hudson. Najar’s TB M.G. managed 25 sec., and such cars as “30/98” Vauxhall vied with Ford V8 and Terraplane,engined midgets of the cinder-loving variety.

General Notes
InfIuenza having coincided with the Vintage S.C.C. trial, it was pleasant to recover and go motoring again. Certain personal effects had to be taken from Yorkshire to the Metropolis, but before this was undertaken we went in the Austin to Naburn, via the age-old city of York, to inspect a boat at “dry-dock” in a field beside the river Ouse. After a post-mortem on the rather shot-about Gray engines in a friend’s steel-hulled cabin cruiser (newly acquired from the Admiralty, who didn’t want it any longer) we picnicked, drank beer in a little country pub and then went through some of the flattest country in East Riding, via Howard Park, to Pickering. The temptation to see Rosedale Chimney, with its reputed gradient of 1 in 2 could not be resisted and we got the Austin up with but one involuntary stop, the view from the top compensating for the biting wind. From here we retraced our steps to a farm where sports cars are definitely understood.

Next day various factors delayed us, so that we lunched in Harrogate iristead of getting clear by 10 a.m. as intended. Even then, at the last moment we remembered a necessary call at the sleepy village of Kirby Overblow. That over, we foolishly get lost in familiar lanes looking for the route to Wetherby, so that the driver said “Let’s go via Castleford, instead.” So the gutles, but cosy and reliable 3-bearing Austin Seven, rendered quite stable by reason of 5.00 x 16-in, rear tyres, skirted Leeds after climbing Harewood Hill in wintry sunshine. We fell to discussingthe ideal house and when we had partially disposed of this absorbing subject, we were into the mining district of Kippax — where we don’t want to build a house.

Pontefract came up and we joined the Great North Road at Barnsdale Bar. As far as Grantham we put up with A1. Have you ever tried avoiding main roads on a longish run? It is an excellent pastime, introduced to me by Holland Birkett when we motored North from Fleet in his Bugatti, an outing doubtless referred to in these notes at the time. On the present occasion we went left on the outskirts of Grantham and went through Rutland, England’s smallest County, noting the way in which the road went several times under the same railway line, by way of high, arched brick bridges. There was the level crossing, at which the passenger had to dismount and ring a bell before the gates were opened — at Boothby Pagnell, in England, in 1946 — personally, we like the idea. On through Little Bytham and Essendine into Stamford, where A1 was used for a Mile or so. Then we used secondary roads again to Kettering, and came down by way of Burton Lattimer to Bedford. We are becoming accustomed to stupidity in sign-posting (or the lack of it) and here the red lights of Cardington airship station told us we were off the route. Luton offered a curious back-street detour. London was finally made via St. Albans and Radlett and the squalor of the Edgware Road.

On the return journey one day later we were even more ambitious, having some veteran cars to inspect in Essex — overflow, as it were, from the “Register.” After a call at Welwyn we left A1 for Hertford. Hoddesdon, with its greenhouses, smallholdings, river and canal running parallel, produced more bad sign-posting. We got away eventually and motored through the Essex flatness, noting a very well-kept Swift Ten 2-seater in Writtle and a Bentley, probably a 6 1/2, in a garage yard in the same town. Several early Austin Twelves are spending the tail-end of their life hereabouts. Our immediate destination was Burnham-on-Crouch, very “Wednesday-afternoonish,” bitterly cold in a half-gale, but productive of a few yachts at the quay and a not too-far-gone single-cylinder Rover in a field.

Retracing our steps, and thankful for a roof and glass windows, we went northwards through Maldon, to the main Colchester double-track road, Which was followed to Kelvedon, to talk with an intelligent garage-enthusiast about his 1911 two-cylinder Renault. Off again in a sudden rain squall the Austin rolled on to Sudbury, the country becoming more undulating as we got into Suffolk. Bury St. Edmunds, a depressing town, was enlivened by the passiwe or a very nice open old-school Bentley, which reminded us we had, now many hours ago, seen an equally fine Van den Plas 3-litre at a Hatfield garage — and a s.v. Aston-Martin and fast-travelling 2-litre Lagonda near Welwyn.

The light began to wane as we entered Thetford, where a satisfactory tea was taken at a cafe at the beginning of the town, near a bridge over the river, beside which ran an inviting tow-path. In the dark we attempted to “cross-country” to King’s Lynn, only to encounter, first, an ammunition dump completely across the road and then a notice directing us to the “Field Director: Aero Club.” Completely baffled, we continued until confronted by a factory in course of erection beneath bright flood-lights. The operator of the concrete-mixer quite understood when we explained we were lost and in a heavy snowstorm, aided later by enquiry at an oil-lit railway station, we finally emerged from the storm and the narrow lanes into civilisation at Swaffham — fun, this “cross-countrying.” From here it was a main road to King’s Lynn, and over the swing bridge shared by road and rail, to Long Sutton into Sleaford, in which town the sign-posting was completely crazy, likewise the airmen intent on extinguishing a tall street lamp! After this fatigue set in and it was Newark and up A1 through Doncaster and so to bed.

As a change from motoring in a British baby car, there were brief, but satisfying, runs in a 327 B.M.W. fixed-head coupé and a Lancia “Aprilia” saloon — just to remind us how far ahead of our products are the Continentals. The B.M.W., apart from superlative bodywork construction, gave an easy 80 m.p.h. uphill, a very responsive engine (it is the one used in the 328), useful brakes and that smooth-as-cream, absolutely accurate, if ultra light, steering. The “Aprilia” went, four up, as no British 1,100-c.c. car knows how and did a lot more than 16 miles after the lighted panel warning you there is only that much fuel left, started to blink — for, as with most of its fellows, it is bettering 30 m.p.g.

Next, a meeting of Austin, “Speed Twenty” Alvis, “16/80” Lagonda and Lancia “Aprilia” one Sunday afternoon, complete with wives and girl-friends, to view a racing M.G. And thereafter a run in a typical British carriage, to wit, a huge Morris saloon of 18 or 25 h.p. or something, hanging on to the “grabs” in state while body tremor and dashboard-dither took place around us. Actually, this car serves well, doing 20 or more m.p.g., add is in its element towing a large Winchester caravan. We went to see a very spick 1924 3-litre Bentley with Cooper coupé body and not a lot of oil pressure, and received a rude shock when the vendor named the irreducible price as — £500. So we motored away to retrieve the Lagonda and Austin — quite like old times save for the Bentley incident.