VINTAGE VEER INGS ***
VINTAGE ears will be well catered for by I he V .S.C.C. this season, peace and
petrol permitting. In April 71 Ii the Northern Section has its Blubberhouses follow-my-leader trial, starting (at 11.31 a.m.) and finishing at. Ilkley, this being confined to vintage ears :mil vintage light cars. On May 19th there is the Silverstone Race Meeting, when the vintage sports, vintage racing and even the Edwardian ears disport themselves on the tarmac, and the programme includes a One-Hour High Speed Trial and the 100 kilo. Seaman Trophies Race for vintage and historic racing ears, and a second Silverstone Meeting on June 23rd, to which other clubs are invited.
The Pomeroy Memorial Trophy Competition will be decided on July 7th, a rally will be held at .711adrestield on July 29th and Prescott. Hill taken for a day’s speed on August 18th. A speed trial may be held in September if a course becomes available. The week end of August fithi7tIt will be devoted to a trial and tests in Wales, November 3rd to the Nidderdate Trial and December 2nd to one of the Bisley dash-abouts.
Two other vintage dates for your diary : on June 3rd the V.C.C., together with the V.S.C.C., will be holding a Festival of Britain Cavalcade of okl ears from London to Windsor, which sounds a good day out, and on .June 23rd at the Anniversary Meet ing at Shelsley Walsh aseents of the kin will be made by a selection of vehicles dating from 1001 to 1951, to represent the progress made by the Industry during this period. We gather that some of the actual ears and drivers who competed in 1901 will drive—and that, surely, must include George Lanchester’s Larichester ? Apart front these fixtures, further proof of the prevailing enthusiasm for vintage ears (as if any were needed I) is provides! by that wonderful organisation, the Bentley Drivers’ Club. Some time ago we announced that the B.D.C. had over 1,000 members, mostly owning vintage Bentley ears. Yet, in the first quarter Of this year 83 further members were enrolled, bringing in with (Item 35 more 3-litre and 22 44-litre ears, as well as an 8-litre and some ” 0Is.” One new member has that potent. combination, a 3-litre with 41-litre engine, and the reinainder enrol on the strenath of ai and 41-litre Derby-built. Bentleys, the club admitting these and reminding any sceptics that one of Woolf Barnato’s deepest. wishes was that one day the new Bentley should carry into present-day motoring the great traditions of the vintage versions of the marque. Such. entlussiasm for one make is quite infectious This club’s fixtures seem to fall on unlucky dates from MOTOR SPORT’S
point of view, their Eastbourne Rally falling on March 31st/April 1st, so that this ambitious event cannot be reported here. A pity, for it embraced a longdistance road sect-ion at night, driving tests, and timed ascents of Firle hill, resurfaced for the occasion.
Another date for your vintage diary— vintage date for your diary—anyway, a date—is July 21st, when the B.D.C. stages its Silverstone Bace Meeting, replete with the traditional triangular duel bet ween Bentley, Sunbeam and Mereedes-Benz ears. (Inc Saturday morning when the sun decided to shine I handled a front-wheeldrive Alvis for a few miles, a car with the classic blown four-cylinder (site. engine, reputed to have been one of the team cars. It. produced some surprises. –11 clutch Si) light that the action was as if the pedal were disconnected, a rat her pleasing righthand ball-gate gear change, awl much lighter steering than I should have
expected, which Wati also endowed with a good lock. There was lots of mechanical noise, of eourse, but no sound that I could discern from the neatRoots supercharger mounted on the near side of the cylinder block. This particular car, incidentally, lual a fuel tank in the pointed tail of its two-seater body ; Ii vulnerable part was the front brake linkage, this being the lowest point of the chassis. The brakes were really effective.
Ofil ears eontinue to come to light in odd idaces, us the picture above and the letter which follows serve to emphasise. The ” supply ” cannot be inexhaustible but will probably last for a lOng time yet. Sir, A promised introduction to someone who is prepared to give away two motor ears is sufficient. to turn the head of any enthusiast. However, this really happened to me a few weeks ago, and since the affair appears to bristle with question
marks I am prompted to record an account of what actually took place.
A friend dropped in one evening to ask if I would go with him to ” vet ” special he had spotted in a local advertisement. And, as if to encourage me, he said casually ” By the way, I happen to know where there are two motor cars you can have for nothing—if you can get them here. I don’t, know much about them, but one is a Lagonda.” I must point out. here that nay friend is noted for his leg-pulling, so that at first I did not take much notice of his remarks ; but gradually my curiosity got the better of me, and I began to question my friend most carefully on the matter. It then came to light that a business acquaintance of a friend of his had had these ears in a derelict foundry where they had been undisturbed for nineteen years, but as the premises were being put to some other use the ears were just in the way.
A day or so later I was introduced to the owner, and I was conducted to the resting place of a 1922 ” 11.9″ Lagenda arid an Anzani A.C. of similar vintage. Words fail to describe the scene of desolation that confronted me, but, as will be observed in the accompanying photographs. in the midst of chaotic piles of digu.sed machinery, core boxes and mounds of casting sand, were the ‘complete, though sadly neglected, cars.
My first reaction was to forget the whole thing, but after climbing over tons of scrap iretri to obtain a closer examination of the Lagonda and finding it in awarently good condition once the dust of ages had been removed, the situation ,began to seem more promising. Idly I .engaged the starting handle and attempted to turn, and, much to my surprise, the engine revolved quite freely. Perhaps It was this willingness of the old Lagonda that decided me on embarking on the seemingly impossible task of removing the sad remains to my home. Willing hands soon appeared, and after half a day Spent in lifting, levering and lugging, a clear path was forged from the doors of the foundry to the rear Of the car. . During the ” trail blazing ” activity, many small gold mines were discovered, including a spare engine for the Lagonda, five spare wheels, a complete front axle, gearbox and transmission, and a whole box of sundry other spares, all in a fine state of preservation. Hopefully a foot-pump was obtained and, after much activity two of the 3 by 26 in. beaded-edge tyres responded to treatment and assumed their proper shape, but alas, the other half of the set refused even to allow air to enter the
rusted remains of their valves. At this point we all felt rather thirsty, and the lowering of the necessary was commenced by four of the dirtiest motorists ever seen in the saloon bar of the local.
After the refreshments we all felt more equal to the task of moving the Lagonda out of its captivity and on to the highway–a task which .proved to be much easier than expected, for by engaging reverse gear and turning lustily on the handle, and with the occasional assistance Of a crow-bar under the rear axle, my newfound friend was cautiously manoeuvred between the heaps of heavy machinery, and finally arrived on the road. This resuscitation was greeted by dicers from our side and jeers front hoards of children who miraculously appeared from out of the ground and who stared goggle-eyed at quite the oldest. car they had ever seen.
Further unsuccessful attempts were made to inflate the remaining tyres, but hope was finally abandoned and it was unanimously decided that the vehicle should be towed as it was the seven miles to its new home. With gaudy chalk, the proud back of the car was inscribed with the degrading Words ” On Tow,” followed by the registration numbers and letters of a 1929 Austin Seven, which was the only towing appliance available. Having procured a suitable rope and firmly attached each end to the respective vehicles, there commenced for me quite the most exciting seven miles’ journey it has ever been my lot to make. Under ideal conditions, being on tow is not pleasant, but when such hazards as two fiat tyres, doubtful two-wheel brakes, and one inch of snow on the roads are added, the prospect of crossing a town of one-quarter million population (a large proportion having apparently turned out to watch the ghastly spectacle) is not my idea of an enjoyable ride.
Again luck was on our side, and St. Christopher was working overtime, for, assisted and encouraged by the good humour of ether road users and the indefatigable strength of that worthy Austin Seven, which after the first mile emitted chards of steam but nevertheleSs maintained an average speed of 7 m.p.h., the journey was completed. The arrival home after such expeditions as this is always faced with sonic apprehension. Sure enough, long before the tow rope was disconnected the reception committee appeared on the doorstep, and my long-suffering wife’s remark, “You’ve had your lunch,” followed in the same breath by ” Where on earth did you get that thing and what do you think you’re going to do with it ? “was rather an anti
climax to the morning’s toils. The matter was duly rectified, however, when, later in the afternoon, the dear lady appeared in slacks and an old coat, armed with a vacuum-cleaner and sundry brushes, and casually remarked : ” If I have to go in it I suppose I had better clean the inside.” ant, Yours, etc.,
Syston. A. E. JERROMES. Sir,
In your January issue in ” Vintage Veerings ” you say of the 1926 Delatinay Belleville ” the forerunner of all subsequent versions of quick-action radiator caps.” This is hardly correct. This distinction belongs to Armstrong. Whitworth. All Armstrong kilitworths front the first turned out in 1907 or 1908 were fitted with a quick-action radiator cap. This was a hinged cap secured by an overcentre toggle lever. Further, the Wilson Pitcher car, whiell was made by Armstrong Whitworth. also had the same cap from its commencement in, I think, 1905. I am, Yours, etc.,
.1oniq HARRIS R1:ED. Newcastle-on-Tyne. * *
I feel the wish to take Mr: Oldhatri to task for his letter in your March issue, and for his p:mgent comparison between his present Austin Twentys and his despised ” Heavy Twelve.”
Once again—and how very often 1— we meet the error of formulating comparison between two cars of widely differing capacities, and designed by Mr. Herbert Austin (as he then was) for two widely differing sets of potential customers.
I entirely disagree with Mr. Oldham that the ” Twelve ” has an ” absolutely nil ” performance. It. may not he brilliant—it isn’t meant to be ! One must appreciate that Mr. Austin designed and marketed this ” Twelve ” for, may I say, the middle-aged, and bodied it accordingly, without fear or favour. Very comfortable seating, see-over-the-hedge visibility, and easy ” in-and-out,” plus your hat. In short, dignity of mien, and a touring progression of 30-40 m.p.h. Primarily, a ” Twelve ” is, beyond
doubt, much over-cooled. Therefore, obviously, fan off and a partially blanked radiator. Further, I would suggest a ” Grade 20 ” oil to reduce sluggish running from cold. Personally, in my very early 1930 saloon, I use ” Sprol 20,” graphited, and find it excellent. (No advertisement intended !) Perhaps, also, slightly larger jets may prove advantageous.