Club News, April 1950

We Hear
R. J. Barton, whose 1904 Wolseley we referred to recently, has found quite a number of old cars in his searchings, including a 1920 Vauxhall at Trevor, and scores of “period” lamps. Barton is at present in the Middle East and successfully using an Austin Seven, in which he hopes to drive home to England. He has also acquired a rather fine 1920 Austin Twenty chassis and intends to fit it with an open body. Is this another sports Twenty, we wonder? In Truro a garage has rebuilt a 3-litre Bentley two-door saloon, soon to be given a replica of a Vanden Plus open body, 1934 Alvis Speed Twenty, a 1½-litre, single-cam Alfa-Romeo, and a “12/60” Alvis for local enthusiasts. The last-named has a “19/50” big-port head, a new type 40 BFGVL Solex updraught carburetter, polished ports and h.c. pistons, also the rare electron clutch housing, and there are strong expectations of a genuine 85 m.p.h.
R. C. Hillier has endowed his rebuilt “12/50” Lea-Francis with light sporting bodywork but at present retains a standard engine and gearbox. He hopes to run in the V.S.C.C. One-Hour High-Speed Trial. Eric Lister has replaced his Shorrock-blown Ford Eight with a J.B.M., in which he intends to install a hotted-up Mercury engine, while Ralph Venables has bought Frost’s bored-out Mercury-Allard and is selling his “Le Mans ” Aston-Martin four-seater. One of the rare front-drive V-twin B.S.A. four-wheelers was encountered last month in Hampshire. The early L.S.D. three-wheeler which we referred to recently is available to anyone interested and would be an interesting cyclecar to restore—J. C. Brierley, 211, Halifax Road, Rochdale, Lancs, will supply details.
We hear of an Albatross four-seater at a garage in Cardigan and learn that Easterbrook-Smith, Hon. Secretary of the New Zealand S.C.C., now uses a three-carburetter, short-chassis Alvis Silver Eagle sportsman’s saloon and finds it much to his liking—of course, petrol rationing has gone, over there! There seems to be a minor cult in air-cooled Rover Eights, another having been unearthed in chassis form at Middlesbrough and due for renovation.
Bert Fountain has acquired a Le Mans Aston-Martin team car in mint condition. A letter from the Aston-Martin Owners’ Club was published in the Evening News recently, approving the obvious fact that the boy-friend of “Judy” of the strip-cartoon runs a Le Mans Aston-Martin!—we hasten to point out that these two news items are not correlated!!
J. Lindsay Hatchett has almost installed a Light Sports Daimler engine in the ex-Kaye Don Type 54 Bugatti chassis, using a close-ratio preselector gearbox—which sounds like at very real motor-car! The original appearance is being adhered to as closely as possible and the front axle will be highly polished as befits a Bugatti. Besides this car Hatchett has a “Shelsley” Frazer-Nash with Roots-blown Gough engine, while he toys with the idea of putting a new V12 Lagonda engine which he acquired into a J-type Allard chassis. Recent experience of “hotted-up” Ford and Mercury Allards with raised axle ratios and dual downdraught carburetters has encouraged him in the Lagonda project. The following advertisement appeared in a North Country paper recently:—
1928 Morris Oxford 14-h.p. saloon, colour blue (where visible), upholstery to tone, mileage unknown, but must be colossal as the speedometer (now reading 99999) has been disconnected since 1931—numerous owners. We could wish the frequency with which the ownership has been changed had been applied to changes of engine oil—condition of bodywork shocking—of its mechanical condition, our tester reports: “It amazes me that any mechanical contrivance could have withstood this treatment for so long a period.” Fitted with discs (3 missing), bulb horn (punctured), H.M.G. gramophone, footwarmers (ex-L.M.S.), and Pyrene fire extinguisher (in working order). Price £3 2s. 11¾d. for quick sale, or would exchange full set of film star cigarette cards.
Some people always do poke fun at old cars!
John Simpson has acquired a Ruby-engined Vernon-Derby and Eminson, whose 1924 “12/40”-base “12/50” Alvis is in everyday service and has been for the last 6,000 miles (it weights 18 cwt. and accelerates from many modern Twelves like billy-oh) has acquired an A.V. cyclecar with V-twin J.A.P. engine. N. E. Stone-Peam, 68, University Street, Belfast, needs an instruction book for a 1933-35 Daimler Fifteen.
The March sunshine brought out many interesting cars and we espied a two-stroke three-wheeled cyclecar of modern conception at Hampton Court, with single coil sprung front axle and at Worcestershire registration number, and an open “38/250” Mercédès-Benz on the Portsmouth Road.
Francis Hutton-Stott has added another Edwardian Lanchester to his notable collection. It is a 1910 28-h.p. six-cylinder with an enormous landaulette body and had belonged all its life to G. P. J. Taylor, one-time Lanchester director. Hutton-Scott found it in Leeds last year. He also expects to have the 1902 de Dietrich, which Motor Sport unearthed during the war, running in some of this year’s V.C.C. events. The Sunbeam Register is coming along well, but those who have not yet sent details to Mrs. Boddy (“Carmel,” Wood Lane, Fleet, Hants) are requested to do so by April 10th. Pleasing sight in Hounslow High Street—a vintage V-twin Coventry Eagle combination and, just behind it, a window-cleaner’s Scott combination. A late-model Minerva straight-eight is used by a London hire firm, and a 7.5-h.p. Citroen with lorry body is in use at a country mushroom farm.
Again The Moderns!
The daily newspapers seem to be veering vintage, if some recent articles are any indication. Here is what Courtenay Edwards of the Daily Mail wrote recently:—
“It is being said in mechanical circles that if an English motorist, accustomed to driving a simple little pre-war horseless carriage, were to be privileged to see the breath-taking new Coventry Airslip Super-Squid Silken-Eight, he wouldn’t be able to make head or tall of it. We can but hysterically concur.
“Here are the specifications, for lack of a better word:
THE SUPER-SQUID SILKIN-EIGHT POWER UNIT.—Invisible selecto-thrust with twin-screw slither-sniffer actuated by eight condensing chuffs fed by gyroscopic variable-ratio torping stabilisers and self-centring graple-spraggets. A thermostatically-controlled Grundsen reduplicator minimises upthust, and rectifies quality and torque lash.
TRANSMISSION.—Wundt atomic over-compensator with introverted cyclothymic baffling-bars and pathogenic manic cogs. A Helmholtz vosamotor, sex-linked to the plasmic rebuffing-pinions, eliminates compression-slip and static, and a laminated steel endocrine gland encased in a small psychogalvanic oil bath, is stimulated by alcohol fed by auto-suggestion through reflex hooching tubes from the Lombroso transference tank, giving added power and a sense of enormous relief.
BODYWORK.—Pre-shrunk, air-splitting wind-tunnel design, with soft coil, sponge-soak, road-hugger fuselage, containing twin Leds, combination hip-bath and sunk sink, toaster, cam-driven egg whisk, medicine chest, coaching horn, self-clamping strait-jacket, and a complete set of the works of Sigmund Freud, fitted with an art electric page-turner and a rust-proof chromium book-mark.
“And to think, Elinor, that in the short space of a century, with only Science to guide us, we have come so far from the old-fashioned rein-controlled horse? As Mr. Jorrocks once shrewdly observed, (Handley Cross, page 111), ‘Ow are you all? ‘Opes you are well.'”
Permitted Tyres
When the recent R.A.C. Regulations for vehicles taking part in trials and rallies were prepared, it was also agreed to examine existing tyre regulations. The result has been that the present list of permitted tyres will cease to exist and as from March 1st, 1950, a new rule is to be introduced. This is as under:—
“In any event held under R.A.C. Permit, the course for which embraces sections of the public highway, competing vehicles shall be equipped with tyres of a type designed for use by private cars running on a highway.
“No competing vehicle shall use tyres of:
(a) Sports, track grip, agricultural or goods vehicle type, or of any type specifically designed primarily for use on unmade road surfaces.
(b) A size exceeding 6.00 inches where the engine capacity of the vehicle is less than 1,500 c.c. and a size exceeding 7.50 inches where engine capacity of the vehicle exceeds 1,500 c.c.
(c) A type on which:
1. The tread projects beyond the tyre wall.
2. The width of any gap in the tread exceeds:
13 millimetres in the case of tyres up to 6.00 inches in size.
14 millimetres in the case of tyres up to 7.50 inches in size.
3. The depth of any gap in the tread exceeds 13 millimetres measured at the nearest point to the centre line of the tyre.
4. The face of the tread varies in height by more than 3 millimetres.
“In making the measurements defined above, secondary features in the tread pattern, such as moulding lines, may be ignored and all measurements subject to a plus allowance of 10 per cent.”
This new regulation carries on the principle that only standard tyres shall be used for competitive events on the highway, and therefore does not affect any competitor who has been operating under the previous list of approved tyres. It was considered, however, that as the approved list was due for revision, a simple formula, such as the above, would clarify the position both for competitor and tyre manufacturer or retreader.
R.A.C. Hill-Climb Championship
The R.A.C. British Hill-Climb Championship will be decided in 1950 in a manner similar to last year. The Championship will be open to any individual driver of British nationality driving cars of the same make, category and class in each of the hill-climbs which contribute towards the Championship marking.
The following six hills have been approved for the Championship: Shelsley Walsh, England, June 10th; Bo’ness, Scotland, June 24th; Rest-and-be-Thankful, Scotland, July 1st; Bouley Bay, Jersey, August 3rd; Craigantlet, Ulster, August 12th; Prescott, England, September 19th.
The marks obtained in four out of the six above meetings only will count towards the Trophy and competitors must nominate the four events in which they intend to compete before the Championship commences. No alteration to this nomination will be permitted. The system of marking is: For the fastest time of the day by a Championship contender, 10 marks; second fastest time, 9 marks, and so on to ten places. In addition, every competitor from the tenth place onwards who starts gets one mark.
R.A.C. Trials Championship
In order that all the “classic” trials of the year can be taken into consideration when assessing qualification for the R.A.C. Trials Championship, the date of this event has been changed to December 16th, 1950. The Championship will be operated on a similar basis to that of last year, with the winner determined by one trial which will be organised by the R.A.C. Entries for this trial will be by direct invitation to competitors who have qualified by their performances in selected trials-held during 1950.
The first ten competitors in order of merit from each of the Trials listed below will be eligible to receive an invitation and, in addition, entries will be reserved for a maximum of ten competitors from Scotland and five from Northern Ireland, the selection of these latter competitors being on a basis to be agreed specially with the Royal Scottish Automobile Club and Ulster Automobile Club, respectively. In case of necessity the R.A.C. may invite fewer than the first ten from the designated trials. The events on which qualification will be determined are:—
March 11th. The Colmore Trophy
March 19th. The “4/44” Trial.
March 26th. The Cockshoot Trial.
April 23rd. The Derbyshire Sporting Trial.
Sept. 2nd. The Davis Trophy.
Sept. 24th. The Knott Cup.
Oct. 7th. The Jeans Gold Cup.
Oct. 21st. M.C.C. Sporting Trial.
Oct. 22nd. The High Peak Trial.
Nov. 11th. The Cheltenham Trial.
Nov. 12th. The Bossom Trial.
Nov. 18th. The Cottingham Memorial Trophy.
Nov. 25th. The Roy Fedden Trophy.
Dec. 2nd. The Gloucester.
N. London E.C.C.
The North London Enthusiasts’ Car Club announces an event which is intended to have a widespread appeal, yet not call for a specialised car. This announcement reads as follows:—
“The N.L.E.C.C. is holding, on Saturday-Sunday, July 8th-9th, the first event in an annual series, to be called the Radcap Rally. This year it will incorporate map-reading, a tight time-schedule all the way, with time-checks en route, a number of hills, and a half-mile high-speed sprint and braking test. It will start in North London on Saturday night, and the route will take competitors through the night via the various check points to Hythe, Kent, where there will be breakfast laid on. On Sunday morning there will be a series of driving tests, followed by lunch, which will conclude the event.
“The awards will include that for the best performance by it saloon, and also for the highest placed lady driver, if there are more than three running.
“It is intended this should be in the nature of a small-scale Monte Carlo Rally, or Alpine Trial, and will be open by invitation to a number of clubs.”
This sounds an interesting event, although perhaps more adventurous on a winter’s rather than on a summer’s night. It does not quite line up with our proposed event embracing a sprint, a timed run up Prescott or Shelsley Walsh, trials hills, driving tests and a rally all in one event, but it isn’t far short of this ideal and altogether should be one of the brighter and more memorable of this year’s club events. Details from G. Bance, 7, Queens Avenue, Muswell Hill, London, N.10.
Busy Silverstone!
Silverstone will be easily the busiest of British circuits this year, in point of race meetings to be held there. The fixtures as they appear in the National Calendar are:—
April 29th.—V.S.C.C. closed meeting.
May 13th.—R.A.C. International G. P. D’Europe.
June 3rd.—Eight Clubs closed invitation meeting.
June 13th.—Maidstone & Mid-Kent M.C. closed invitation meeting.
June 17th.—Bugatti D.C. closed invitation meeting.
June 241h.—V.S.C.C. closed invitation meeting.
July 1st.—Midland M.E.C. closed invitation meeting.
July 8th.—500 Club closed meeting.
July 15th.—Bentley D.C. closed invitation meeting.
July 22nd.—Frazer-Nash C.C. closed invitation meeting.
July 29th.—Aston-Martin O.C. closed invitation meeting.
Aug. 26th.—B.R.D.C. International “Daily Express” Meeting.
Sept. 2nd.—S.U.N.B.A.C. meeting.
Sept. 9th.—M. C. closed meeting.
Sept. 16th.—N.W. London M.C. closed invitation meeting.
All the club dates are allocated, so this list appears to be complete. Club meetings are held on the understanding that paying members of the public are not admitted, but it is sometimes possible to attend as a friend of a member. The admission charges applying to the G.P. d’Europe are given in the Editorial in this issue.
Another Register?
To the Bentley, Alvis, Aston-Martin, Lagonda, Sunbeam, Salmson, Lea-Francis and Delage Registers or proposed Registers, is to be added a “Sporting Morris Minor Register,” which John Wrigley wants to compile to help those who have special Morris Minors to find spares and exchange tuning experiences. Please write to: J. Wrigley, 62, Gerard Road, London. S. W.13.
The Election
Vintage and Edwardian cars received two unexpected bits of publicity from the Election. In describing the campaign in Hampstead, Hugh Massingham wrote in the Observer of February 19th: “Along the road an old woman trundles by in a very old Rolls-Royce. It seems odd she has no horses.” Then, in the Daily Telegraph of February 22nd, it was reported that Mr. Randolph Churchill, addressing dockyard workers at Devonport, “used an open car of 1912 vintage.”
We were sorry to observe that Illustrated stooped to the sensational in their issue of March 4th, choosing as the first of a series of “Pictures of a Lifetime,” Peter Waught’s photograph of Joseph Paul’s V12 Delahaye crashing in the 1938 International Trophy Race at Brooklands, when Murray Jamieson and Miss Peggy Williams were fatally injured. We, too, have pictures of this accident, and of the Talbot crash of 1930, when spectators were involved, but they will NOT appear in Motor Sport or in “The Story out Brooklands.” Whether or not we are unduly self-righteous in making this statement we leave our readers to decide.
In company with others, Motor Sport has given the size of the tyres on the front wheels of the B.R.M. incorrectly. These are 5.25-18 Dunlops, not 5.25-16.
Mr. R. Baillie, late Hon. Treasurer to the old E.R.A. Club, points out that the E.R.A. model we illustrated last month is not a silver model, as the photograph’s publicity caption misled us into saying, but an accurate scale model of the very first E.R.A. The model dismantles and took Rex Hays, its builder, six months to complete. We have seen the model and it is a very fine piece of work. The tail is shaped as it was on the original car, of course, whereas later E.R.A.s were modified to carry more fuel. The correct title of this fine trophy is, of course, the E.R.A. Club Trophy.
The Davis Trophy Trial of September 2nd will be run by the Lancashire A.C., not the L. & C. C.C. as given in the B.T.D.A. fixture list.