If the blower-Bentleys, 30/98 Vauxhalls, twin-cam 2-litre Sunbeams, Hyper Lea Francis and similar types constitute the cream of vintage cars, spare a thought for those lofty, Emmet-like vintage closed carriages, the like of which will never be made again. Such cars evoke cries of “taxi” from the uninitiated, but they possess great serviceability and charm. There is the Editor’s Delauney-Belleville Maythorn limousine, for instance, the rear doors of which lock with a spidery key like a back-door key, very “Emmett” !—and whose occasional seats swivel out and raise their backs so easily the children can do it for themselves. There is that big sleeve-valve Peugeot with Victor Broome saloon which we referred to last February as seeking a kind home. And there is John G Hay’s 3-litre Bentley Blue Label Harrison partitioned landaulette, about which he writes at length in the current issue of the BDC Review, describing how it did a tour to Scotland and back, 1,750 miles, with no more mishap than one puncture and loss of water due to a badly furred-up radiator, and at 21.5 mpg. Incidentally, this reminds us yet again what a marvellous organisation is the BDC, its membership now exceeding 1,100.
It is nice to know that Archie Butterworth is out and about again after his sensational carobatics at Shelsley Walsh last year. Moreover he follows the vintage cult, for recently we encountered him driving an early AC Six two-seater, which-was proceeding hood up, at a steady 45 m.p.h.
From the Vintage Postbag
I am a member of the Cornwall Vintage Car Club and have recently acquired a 1923 12/50 Alvis. This, I believe, was one of the first 12/50 models produced and, considering its age, it is in remarkably fine condition. It has been somewhat spoiled by a previous owner who, perhaps with good intentions, removed the gravity feed fuel tank to the rear and fitted an electric petrol pump. Cycle type wings have also been fitted and the wheels have been rebuilt to take 600 by 16 tyres, no doubt due to difficulties in obtaining the original 21-in tyres. This has made the steering a little heavy at low speeds, but has improved the car’s ability to climb the local hills.
I would be pleased to hear from any previous owners of OL 330, and for any information available regarding the tuning and maintenance of these fine cars. I have had the usual difficulty in insuring the Alvis. My usual insurers offered me Road Traffic Act Cover only at a premium of nearly £13 per annum ! I replied by removing all my insurance business to a more reasonable office.
I am, Yours, etc.,
David Sheldrick. Mount Hawke.
Having read with great interest the letter from Mr LW Rawlings concerning his E-type 30/98 Vauxhall, I feel compelled to tell you of my own car of the same type and, strangely enough, bearing the next engine number to his—–E-390. I acquired this car whilst on Bahrein Island in the Persian Gulf, after the departure for the UK of its late owner, Johnny Woods, who had it shipped out there in, I think, 1948.
When I took her over the Vauxhall was in poor voice and only running on three cylinders, which trouble was found to be due to a broken valve. This was not too bad, but the real blow came when, after large helpings of desert and some very black oil were drained from the sump, a sizeable piece of main bearing stud complete with nut and split pin issued forth! It took three months of hard graft to get it into reasonable running order, and in this I was ably assisted by Bill Froggatt, who has kept a benevolent eye on the car throughout its stay on Bahrein. Unfortunately I was due to leave for the UK the very day after we got it going! You can imagine my feelings at having to leave the car behind, one day’s driving having confirmed for me the many things I had been told concerning the merits of 30/98s. So much so, that during last Summer the old car was shipped to the UK and it is now being overhauled.
I shall be coming on leave in the course of the next month or two, and would very much like to get in touch with Mr. Rawlings if it can be arranged. I think we might have some fun comparing notes, and possibly his friend, the former owner of his car, may be able to throw some light on the early history of my car.
The snap, which was taken in Bahrein, is a favourite of mine, as I feel, in it, the 30/98 is shown up to some advantage by the “tinware” in the background.
I am, Yours, etc.,
David F Sillem. Accra.
It gave me considerable pleasure to read the letter from your correspondent, MJ Huckstepp, in the issue dated March, 1952, as I too am the proud possessor of a Triumph Super-Seven. My model is also of 1929 vintage, having been first registered at Kingston-upon-Hull in April of that year. This car has been in my possession since February, 1931, and has had but two previous owners, both enthusiasts like myself.
Perhaps a few details of the body and engine would be of interest to Mr. Huckstepp, and dealing with the engine first, I had this rebored about 3,000 miles ago, and this has brought the measurement to 40-thou oversize. She will still do a steady 35 miles to the gallon at 30 mph, and has an all-out top speed of about 40 mph or a little more ; the oil consumption is very small. The ignition is by BTH magneto (clockwise). The chassis is as sound as a bell and built like a battleship, and the body is solid from end to end. Certain light mods have been made at the tail end and, up front, in the headlamp mountings.
I am. Yours, etc.,
Vincent PG Bryan, West Kirby.
Following up Mr GCW Wilson’s letter in the January edition of this magazine. I own a 1926 Lancia Lambda. Last August and September my sister and I took this car down through France to the French Riviera, then down the coast of Italy to Naples. We then returned via Switzerland, crossing the Alps over the Stelvio Pass, the highest pass in the Alps, and home. Mileage was just over 4,000 and the fuel consumption about 27 mpg. The only trouble we had on the trip was a big oil consumption, due to want of a rebore, and also a noisy water pump due to worn bearings.
The car has been owned by my father and me since 1928, and the total mileage is 47.000 miles. At the moment the car is having a rebore, and when I get her back I consider she will be good for quite a number of years.
These are indeed very good and strong cars. Can anyone tell me how many there are left in England now ?
I am, Yours, etc.,
AJ Paton. Portmadoc.
I thought you might be interested to hear that having sold my Alvis Silver Eagle, once more with the help of Motor Sport, I have bought a rather nice 1925 12/50 Alvis. I should like to say how pleased I was to find Lodge Plugs so helpful and interested in the Alvis. As it was tending to oil up plugs. I wrote to them for “gen”. The suggestion put forward was to change over to 14-mm plugs as there is a wider choice, CLNs being their pick for my oily engine, and not only did they supply the plugs by return, but also the adaptors free of charge, which, if not entirely satisfactory, they will investigate and change. “Dad is regaining some of his faith in human nature.”
I am, Yours, etc,
HE Aicken, Winnersh.
[But has Dad read what the Sunday Express has been saying about the excessive cost of sparking plugs ?–Ed.]