Club News, April 1949

We Hear
Old-timers will be intrigued to hear that a water-cooled, single-cylinder Girling three-wheeler, believed to have been the first tradesman’s van in Plymouth, has landed up on a scrap-heap. It has the friction drive in the rear hub and i.f.s. peculiar to these vehicles and the engine was run not long ago.

A reader is contemplating fitting two two-stroke Scott engines in a “12/40” Lea-Francis chassis. David Clarke has changed his Amilcar for a Corsia-bodied Th. Schneider, first registered in 1933, and seeks information about these cars, while “Steady” Barker is motoring in an intriguing 3 1/2-litre Lagonda with a very light, stark two-seater body.

Dr. Wood, of Scott-engined Aston-Martin memory, has replaced his s.v. Aston-Martin with a “Surbaisse” Amilcar which goes very well and gives about 45 m.p.g. in town-driving. It is destined as a 21st-birthday present for his younger son.

We regret to have to announce the death, at the age of 77, of Mr. Alfred Wright who, as mentioned in these columns last August, was largely responsible for the business success of Metallurgique cars in this country in the early days. The H.R.G. Engineering Co., Ltd., will not be competing officially in this year’s Alpine Rally, but are very anxious to give all the help they can to private entrants of H.R.G. cars. It is expected that last year’s victorious 1 1/2-litre team will enter and some individual drivers as well, and all prospective entrants of H.R.G. cars are invited to get in touch with the manufacturers. R. G. Sutherland has resigned his directorship of Aston-Martin, Ltd. Dr. M. P. Fiddian requires an instruction book for the 1928 Standard Nine tourer which he is overhauling. The reference in a recent “Sideslips” contribution to two-stroke racing engines and our paragraph relating to the V-four D.K.W. two-stroke has prompted the Delta Research Laboratories of Potten Manor, Potton, Beds, to say that their library contains details and illustrations of a three-cylinder 980-c.c. two-stroke car engine with rotary valves and of the V-four D.K.W. engine, if anyone would care to see these. D. P. Howling of St. Albans recently acquired a Ruby-engined Vernon-Derby and would like to contact those with a knowledge of these cars or engines, or with any spares. His address is “Newport,” New Road, Shenley, St. Albans, Herts. G. H. Brooks, of the Australian Vintage S.C.C., is collecting data for a history of the Straker-Squire car and would appreciate anything anyone cares to contribute, particularly about the formation and early history of the company. Brooks can be contacted c/o The Engineering and Water Supply Department, Port Lincoln, South Australia. “Steady” Barker has disposed of his 1924 “12/24” Lagonda coupé to a good home, in order to concentrate on his lightweight two-seater 3 1/2-litre Lagonda two-seater. He has also acquired from Anthony Heal a 1909 40-h.p. Napier landaulette. N. H. Fowler has bought an 11.9-h.p. Westbrook boat-bodied light car for 70s., which he hopes to restore and put on the road. Pierre Maréchal points out that he was runner-up, not winner, of the V.S.C.C. annual best-performance award, taking the Proxime Accessit Cup. It was John Bolster who won the Lycett Trophy, for the absolute best performance, in “Bloody Mary.”

A Camberley, Surrey, photographer uses a 3-litre Invicta, saloon as his business car. Eddie Wrigley has acquired an “8/18” Talbot two-seater, which he intends to run when he has made it thoroughly presentable. The Peterborough M.C. issues a very nicely produced and illustrated magazine, “Chicane,” bi-monthly, price 2s. 6d. Cecil Clutton is having his vintage Brough-Superior solo motor-cycle prepared for competition events by Noel Pope; when it is finished we should see something.

F. M. Selwyn successfully covers up to 150 miles a week on business journeys in his 1929 f.w.d. Tracta two-seater. R. J. Munday, well known at Brooklands before the war, now has a Mark VI Bentley as his personal car. The B.A.R.C. is using a Bradford as its official car. Dunlops have contributed £100 to the Jersey Race fund. A Jowett “Javelin” driven by Robert Wohrer, won the 2-litre class of the Austrian Touring Club’s cross-country trial held on February 13th.

Out in Bulawayo, Wing-Cdr. G. C. C. Bartlett runs a 1933 1 1/2-litre Invicta tourer which he describes as “a joy to look at, it goes round corners as if on the proverbial rails, and it takes to pieces like a Meccano model.” Gilbert Tyrer’s Type 51 Bugatti is now road-equipped.

The Register of Pre-1932 Alvis cars, edited by M. Edwin Sharp, now contains 84 names. Details to, and copies from, P. Quiggin, 6, Grantchester Road, Cambridge. A 1922 Charron-Laycock coupé is being renovated in Lincoln, a 1920 or thereabouts Pick lies in a breaker’s yard in the place where this make originated, and H. C.. Barden is doing ambitious restoration work on a 1929 “14/40” M.G. Then E. A. Twigger has acquired a 1928 Gwynne Eight with discs over its wheels and a 2/4-seater body, and in it averages 100 miles a week with a negligible oil consumption. His address is 11, Church Walk, Eastwood, Notts, and he wishes to correspond with other Gwynne Eight owners — there must be about a dozen of these excellent little cars still in existence.

David White is building himself a “minicar,” using a Type CV2 three-wheeler Raleigh chassis. He has moved the engine forward three inches, is adding another wheel at the front, possibly with Morgan-type i.f.s., with Singer Nine wheels and hubs and Austin Seven steering. A second gearbox is contemplated, to raise the Raleigh 6.5-to-1 axle ratio to 4.6-to-1, and a dural body seating three abreast is planned. Any information on the Raleigh engine, or a handbook, would be appreciated — to 2, Anerley Court, S.E.20. E. Sawers who raced a Douglas car at Brooklands in 1921 and, amongst a big selection of cars, owned in 1926 a 1913 12-h.p., 80 by 120-mm., T-head Hispano-Suiza, now runs a 1929 “Speed Model” 2-litre open Lagonda. Clive Windsor Richards, who also used to race at Brooklands, now has a very fine 3 1/2-litre Bentley two-seater which was at one time the property of George Eyston.

A 1916 Willys-Overland — serviceable except for tyres — is to be broken up if not saved this fate (details from D. B. Jepson, “Greenways,” Hollin Lane, Styal, Cheshire), while a sleeve-valve Vauxhall has come to light near Leeds.

Presentation to “Dunlop Mac”
As an appreciation of his help to the racing fraternity, “Dunlop Mac,” the famous tyre-fitter, was presented last February with a silver cigarette casket, and a book of signatures of many of the racing men whose tyres he has serviced.

D. J. McDonald, or “Dunlop Mac” as he is popularly known, was born in London in the year 1897.

He joined the Dunlop Company in 1911 at the Regent Street depot at the age of 14 as a pump-boy, graduating to fitter during the years preceding the Kaiser war. Mac served in the R.F.A. during the 1914-1918 war. Returning to Albany Street in 1920 on the racing side Mac began fitting tyres once more in company with brother Steve McDonald and Walter Hick, also known as “Fiddle.”

Mac has seen more Land Speed Record attempts than most men, having serviced such famous drivers as Campbell, Segrave, Eyston and Cobb, from Southport and Pendine to Daytona and Utah.

From 1922 until the outbreak of the Hitler war Mac’s headquarters were at Brooklands Track, where the company established a tyre-fitting depot.

During the seasons, Mac is to be found at racing circuits both at home and abroad, in turn, and at one time or another has been to such famous places as Monza and Montlhèry, the Ards Circuit, Donington, Nurburg Ring, Rheims, the Avus track in Berlin, Phoenix Park, Miramas, San Sebastian, the Mile Miglia and Targa Florio circuits and many more.

As evidence of his faith in the Dunlop product and of his tyre-fitting, he has been driven during practice by such renowned aces as the late “Tim” Birkin, Nuvolari, Lord Howe, the Hon. Brian Lewis, George Eyston and the late Tim Rose-Richards, to name only a few.

His nearest escape was at one of the Mannin Moar races. A rather exuberant Dick Shuttleworth, driving an Alfa-Romeo, was signalled to come in next lap. Thinking the sign read now, he clamped all brakes on and landed in the middle of the Dunlop pit amidst tyres and oil drums and shaking up not only Mac, but also the famous Freddie Dixon.

During the Second World War Mac’s valuable experience was directed towards the fitting of aircraft tyres.

Since the resumption of post-war racing Mac has again been in the field, and in 1947 accompanied John Cobb to Utah when he achieved his ambition of exceeding 400 m.p.h. on land.

Now We Know!
The following illuminating report about rocket speedway machines and the ethics of the dirt spectacle have reached us from the Speedway Control Board: —

“There has been speculation recently about the possibility of rocket-propelled motor-cycles being used for Speedway Racing, and the Control Board have received many inquiries.

“This form of motive power has never been considered by the Control Board. Its use will not be sanctioned on tracks this year, if ever.

“It is not known what useful purpose, if any, would be served by introducing rocket-powered machines into the sport. Increasing the power of the motor-cycle would seem to be no advantage.

“Possibility of any spectacular increases in track speeds by the use of ‘rocket’ machines appears unlikely. Even the power of the present standard 500-c.c. engine cannot be used to its fullest.

“Sheer speed is not and has never been decisive in Speedway Racing, which, first and foremost, is a test of the individual rider mounted on a standard machine.

“The Speedway Control Board reiterates that its first duty to the public is to ensure good racing by insisting on the standardisation of machines, leaving it to the rider to use to the best advantage the particular surface and shape of the track on which he rides.”

A Suggested New Club
A small group of enthusiasts met recently to consider the formation of a club in the Buxton and High Peak district, to cater for “the needs of both mild and extreme motorists.” Those interested are asked to contact either Col. R. S. Bann, c/o Lowerwood Engineering Co., Ltd., Horwick End, Whaley Bridge, or W. Fletcher, “Holly Bank,” Whaley Bridge.

Raymond Mays’ Plans
Raymond Mays, in an article in the Daily Mirror dated February 23rd last, expresses the view that young men desirous of becoming racing drivers should band together and buy a motorcycle or out-of-date racing car, take it to pieces, and hot it up for themselves. They should then enter the vehicle for as many races as possible — Mays added “most clubs have meetings of this sort.” At these meetings, explained optimistic Mr. Mays, “promising young drivers are nearly always under the watchful eyes of talent scouts for the major firms. Sometimes bright young men are taken up by these firms who have been impressed by on-the-spot reports about them.” These dazzling young readers of the Daily Mirror who may, overnight find themselves promoted from the wheel of their home-tuned 1925 Bitza to that of a jet-propelled Land Speed Record projectile — or of a B.R.M. — are advised by Mays to avoid drink (except barley water) and smoking, but to woo sleep and sport. The interesting news contained in this article, from our point of view, is that the first B.R.M. (said to have cost £50,000 and to be capable of 200 m.p.h.) will be road-tested by Mays later this year and that “next year it should take part in its first major event.” Mays also states that he is seeking backing for “an official scheme under which proper training could be given to the thousands of young men in Britain wanting to become racing motorists.” We refer to this so that, if the scheme materialises, other youngsters besides those who read the Daily Mirror may join the queue outside Eastgate House, Bourne. As Giles Knight, who conducted the interview with Mays, concludes: “If Mays’s training plan comes off, there’ll be no shortage of young men with their eyes on the cockpits of Britain’s new racing cars.” Mays again referred to his retirement from long-distance International racing after 1950.

The Bentley Drivers’ Club held its A.G.M. on March 26th, and reported a generally satisfactory state of affairs. Membership at the end of 1948 totalled 788, and not less than 700 vintage Bentley cars are owned and run by members. The Club will continue to operate its spares register, register of Bentleys for sale and wanted, instruction book library, etc., and to publish its quarterly “Review,” and it hopes to include a race meeting at Silverstone this season. All this for a 30s. subscription.

The next main event is the Eastbourne Rally on April 9th and 10th, for a Trophy put up by the Borough of Eastbourne. Five interesting driving tests will be held on the Saturday, and a hill-test on Lord Gage’s estate on the Sunday will conclude the event. It is particularly interesting that members of the Aston-Martin, Lagonda, Lancia, and Frazer-Nash section of the V.S.C.C. one-make clubs have been invited to compete, using the make of car their club supports. The Metropolitan Police School of Motor Driving has also been invited. Consequently, there will be a strong one-make flavour about the event and you should go down and support your choice. The Saturday’s events will be held on a section of the Promenade closed by the Corporation of Eastbourne for the purpose. The start is at 10.30 a.m. The public will not be admitted to the Sunday test, but members of the invited clubs, marshals, etc., will find the venue, Bopeep Hill, one mile south of the main Eastbourne-Lewes road, ten miles from Eastbourne (map reference 499056). The start is, again, at 10.30 a.m. Secretary: Lt.-Col. C. H. D. Berthon, “Madges,” Long Crendon, near Aylesbury, Bucks.

Public Schools M.C.
At the recent A.G. M. a new committee was formed and the Secretary — G. H. R. Rice — was re-elected. In conjunction with the club being re-organised since the war it was proposed that the membership be increased. The club is at present affiliated to the South Midland Centre A.C.U.

Those interested should contact the Secretary, “Plough Inn,” Coldharbour, near Dorking, Surrey, who will send them details, and the date of the next Club Night, at which they will be welcome.

For Those with Vintage Sentiments
The following is taken from the New Yorker of February 19th:

“Last week, we examined, at a rough estimate, six thousand of the eight thousand items on display at the exposition of the Automotive Accessories Manufacturers of America at Grand Central Palace, but our report on them will be limited, because we came away with a rather bad case of chrome blindness and have to spare our eyes. In addition to our affliction, we departed with the conviction that the automotive accessories industry would collapse completely if either of two unlikely things should happen: (a) if automobile designers should suddenly become sensible again, or (b) if car owners should ever get over the notion that their shiny new cars look undressed without fender skirts, hood ornaments, gravel guards, and various other items of glittering gook.

“The relationship between faulty design and the prosperity of accessories manufacturers was pointed out to us by a salesman whose tongue we had loosened with a couple of shots of watered-down orangeade. ‘Take our line,’ he said. ‘We sell those big metal visors that you attach just above the windshield to keep the sun out of your eyes. Now, they’re nothing more or less than what every car used to have built right into it fifteen or twenty years ago, before the designers tipped the windshield back at a slant to improve the slipstream or something. If the car people had the sense to build in these visors, instead of depending on those dinky little inside things, we’d be out of business. That is, we would be if we couldn’t count on them to give us a lot of other opportunities. Take this item — a real moneymaker.’ Our salesman held up a small chromium disc, perforated to form a screen. Can’t figure it out, eh?’ he said, turning it in the light and making us blink. Well, you know those ventilator holes along the sides of the new Buicks? Birds and stones and I don’t know what all are apt to hop through the holes and make trouble. This little screen fits in the holes.’ Our man then showed us another sensation — a set of six holes, or imitation holes, made to look just like the holes on the new Buicks. They are called Simulated Turbo-Jets, can be attached to any car, and are guaranteed to make the owner of a debilitated 1937 Chevrolet feel like a millionaire moving at the speed of sound.

“One of the products offered to the public to put on its cars is the Jetex X-aust X-tension, which, in free translation, is a chromium-plated addition to the muffler tail pipe. A representative of the company that makes this X-tra told us that it not only lends glamour to the rear end of a car but is virtually a necessity, to keep the exhaust fumes from staining the chromium plate of the rear bumper. Another virtual necessity is a grille guard, this gentleman told us. In the old days, a car used to have just a radiator. The designers added a grille to protect the radiator, but they thoughtlessly failed to provide a guard to protect the grille, so the accessory people had to step in with one — or, rather, with a couple of dozen. The car owner is offered a considerable choice.

“A hood-ornament man in the next booth leaned over to say that his products are enjoying an unprecedented boom. ‘In hood ornaments, we never had it so good,’ he said. We got chromium-plated, jewel-like swans, bombs, horses, girls, flags, dogs, swordfish . . . ‘ We passed on to a youth who was holding aloft a passel of fur tails. Fox, wolf, and raccoon,’ he said. ‘All imported from Australia and Russia. Attach a couple to the radio aerial on your car.’ We asked if he sold many tails to car owners, remarking that we had assumed that taxi-drivers and bicycle riders about comprised the market. Haven’t even tapped the car market,’ the young man said. And after that there’s houses. Why, in some parts of the South people are hanging them over picture frames and on bedposts. There’s something irresistible about a nice, full raccoon tail. We hurried on past Zip-O-Matic seat covers, Spra-ItOn paints, Stretch it windshield-wiper tubing, back-up lights, polishing mitts, and baby-bottle heaters, our sight weakening.”

A Drop in Prices?
The Daily Telegraph Motoring Correspondent wrote, on March 12th: –

Car dealers who, at this time of year, normally experience an increase in trade in used cars are finding that business has slackened. It is assumed that the decline in sales is largely due to the public’s belief that more new cars will be available on the home market. This follows the proposal of car manufacturers to the Ministry of Supply that the allocation to the home and overseas market be readjusted.”

What was not said is that 90 miles’ motoring a month hardly encourages people to buy new or used cars and that many votes are likely to be lost to the Government unless the basic petrol ratio is increased materially before the General Election. There is no valid excuse why it shouldn’t be.

We have received the following from the Secretary of the North London Enthusiasts C.C.:

On February 24th members of this Club assembled at the Green Man, Edgware, to hear our President, A. F. Rivers Fletcher, describe his experiences in sprints. The talk was illustrated with photographs shown through an epidiascope.

In leading up to the main part of the lecture dealing with participation in the Sport, Rivers introduced us to his early motoring days, and many of the cars he drove, as well as his associations with well-known motoring personalities such as the late Sir Malcolm Campbell, W. O. Bentley and Raymond Mays. A particularly pleasing picture was that of his own first car, a Talbot “8/18.” We also saw the Raymond Mays Special. His description of post-war sprints in which he has driven was of great value to aspirants to the Sport, as it took us behind the scenes and showed the value of an amateur racing équipe consisting of willing and enthusiastic helpers, made up of Penny Rivers Fletcher, Ron Mountford and Charles and Eva Meisl. The pre-war section dealt mainly of course with Brooklands, but after the war came the V.S.C.C. Elstree Speed Trials with Hamish Wier’s K3 Magnette and Leslie Johnson’s Darracq. Longbridge, with his own racing Magnette, mainly N-type, Prescott, Shelsley, Brighton, Great Auclum, Poole, etc. We also saw his “12/60” Alvis and 1,100-c.c. H.R.G. in action, and profited by pictures of how not to take certain corners, told by a man who was sporting enough to point out any errors he may consider himself to have made.

A Morgan Rally
The Morgan Three-wheeler Club is going ahead with its plans for a Rally at Madresfield on June 18th-19th. Events will include a Concours d’Elegance, a driving contest, and speed trials for racing, o.h.v. sports and s.v. Morgans. Prizes will go to the best four-seater and best vintage Morgan, etc. Amongst the vintage Morgans, 1919 and 1921 models are expected. Details from: G. Evans, 10, Chestnut Walk, Worcester.

The Cemian Motor Club
It may not be generally known that the Cemian M.C. is composed mainly of members of the surveying profession. The Club was formed in 1933 and owes its name to the College of Estate Management. It lapsed with the war, but was re-formed with the College’s blessing and now has some 70 members. Half the membership has to be made up of members of the profession, in accordance with an agreement with the College. Socials, visits to race meetings, trials and other events are held and many now well-known personalities gained early experience in these events. Future fixtures include the Chilterns Cup Trial on May 15th, the closed invitation Knowland Trophy Trial on September 18th, and the President’s Cup Trial on November 13th. Details from: R. L. Sadler, 8, Beaumont Mews, Weymouth Street, W.1.

The “Motor Sport” Brooklands Fund
Although the Fund opened by Motor Sport as a memorial to Brooklands Track has not been closed, we shall soon be in a position to make what we think will be a most interesting announcement concerning it.