With reference to the first paragraph on page 162 of the current issue of Motor Sport, I would beg to draw your attention to a copy of a letter of mine, which appeared in The Weston Mercury and Somersetshire Herald, on January 16th, 1959. The contents are as follows:
“I was very interested in last week’s article on the Wedmore Cricket Club and their antique means of transport. The car that the late Dr. Bracey is seated in, is no longer a mystery.
“After consultation with Mr. F. Hutton-Stott, chairman of the events committee of the V.C.C. of G.B., he confirms that the. car is almost undoubtedly an Argyll of about 1902 vintage.
” Argyll’s produced some quite good cars at the early part of the century. They were fitted either with De Dion or Aster engines, and later produced a single sleeve-valve engine of their own. In 1910, they were the first British car to adopt a four-wheel braking system. In Italy Isotta-Fraschinis were also adopting the principle. I well remember my father saying that it was in an Argyll that he made his first ascent of Porlock Hill.
” The firm, however, went into liquidation in May, 1914.”
I am, Yours, etc.,
This letter was inspired by seeing the illustration of a vintage Citroën chassis. This car is almost certainly of about 1924-25 date, certainly no later than 1926. I possess a similar car in a slightly (but only slightly) more advanced state of restoration, of which I enclose a photograph. The general shape of the chassis, the suspension, wheels, and position of the petrol tank are identical on both cars. I presume that the model illustrated is the 7.9 h.p. or “Cloverleaf,” so named because of its method of seating the three passengers. Though my car is the 11.4h.p. model, I have no doubt that I can supply your correspondent with some information as to the basic mechanics of his car, if he should wish to contact me.
For my part, I also am looking for information about my model, the 11.4-h.p. tourer, especially with regard to the electrical circuit, the shape of the front wings and running-boards, and the hood and sidescreens. If any of your readers can help me in any way with information, books, or photographs, I would be most grateful.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Talking to an acquaintance about my Trojan reminded him of his grandfather’s cars. He produced a photograph (which I have enclosed) which aroused my interest. The car is a 22-h.p. S.C.A.T., made in 1910 in Italy, the magnificent body being made by Newton & Bennett, of Manchester. They also fitted their own patent self-starter, which worked by compressed air. The engine was of 101.5-mm. bore and 140-mm. stroke, the gearbox being four-speed and reverse. The clutch ran in oil. Its braking system consisted of a foot-brake on the Carden shaft, and a hand-brake operating on the two rear wheels.
The car in the photograph was delivered by the slightly dwarfed young man standing beside it to a certain Mr. Gail, of Bushey Heath, Herts. The young man (my friend’s grandfather) worked for Newton & Bennett and subsequently owned a S.C.A.T. himself, and many other famous old cars.
I have only been able to discover a little about the make of S.C.A.T from reference books, and I wonder if there are any of them left. Perhaps a reader knows something of this particular car. The only part of its registration number known is that visible in the photograph — 422. Perhaps, somewhere, it still exists. Somehow it seems too monumental and permanent to ever wear out.
I am, Yours, etc.,
As one who has owned no fewer than ten Salmsons at various times, I feel I must hurl myself into the current controversy.
I had, altogether, four of the “push-rod” models, and a round half dozen of the infinitely more satisfying twin overhead camshaft Grand Sport. These cars — with one exception — were all owned during a few glorious years in the late ‘twenties and early ‘thirties. That the “push-rod” was a cheap, gaudy, ramshackle thing, with poor lighting, impossible brakes, and weak road springs, there is no doubt. On the other hand, the engine itself really was a most efficient unit if you learned to look after it. (None of the garages of that time had a clue). I’m sure many a simple mechanic has dropped the bonnet with a crash, emitting cries of disbelief, at first sight of the spindly push-rods, with the whole unorthodox overhead valve gear, which required the improbable tappet settings of 20 thou. inlet and 8 thou. exhaust.
But the things could go. These early “push-rods” took me on more than one satisfying holiday in Devon and Cornwall; made many hectic ascents of the rocky old Porlock Hill of 1929 or so, and other of the notable “pimples” which festoon the West Country roads. Against all probability, they never failed to get me home from the longest jaunt, although there was an occasion when part of the valve gear disintegrated, necessitating the use of a very long meat skewer and several strong elastic bands before we could crawl the last 70 miles home. When, on one occasion, I was stranded for the night at Ashburton in Devon, it was no mechanical fault, but a shattered front spring which laid me low. So helpful and efficient were the London concessionaires at Church Wharf, Chiswick, that it only needed a few minutes of rather expensive telephoning to ensure that the first train into Ashburton the following morning carried a new Salmson front road spring in the luggage van.
Of the excellently designed Grand Sport, I can speak with the highest respect. Of the six I owned, three were the long-tailed, fabric covered type — one underslung, and with a four-cog box –and one was the famous long-tailed three-seater (this was a de luxe edition on a special chassis which, unlike most other Salmsons, boasted full differential). The fifth one had a stark old San Sebastian body temptingly arranged to catch the eye of the first Muggins that came along (me!), but it derived such feeble motive power as it possessed from a very clapped out engine which “blew up” soon after purchase. (The only Salmson which was a complete failure, and the only time I ever had to be ignominiously towed home in a Salmson.) But the sixth was the greatest. A special-bodied four-seater, with G.P. engine, it was the finest running car I have ever known in 31 years of motoring, and one which made it easy to work in London and often get home to Cornwall for summer week-ends.
I had forgotten Salmsons for many years when, in 1937, I chanced to drop into the old Vadum Co.’s premises at Willesden Green. There stood a courtly old “push-rod,” with a huge, sit-up-and-beg two-seater and dickey body complete with Bedford cord upholstery et al. A discreet card announced that this old aristocrat would be willing to share my life for a mere £10, so I gladly coughed up, and it did just that, for I drove the old warrior until all private motoring stopped in 1941. I might be driving it still, if some perisher hadn’t pinched it, no doubt for the excellent aluminium which it contained, while I was away driving more important things than Salmsons under the jurisdiction of H.M. Government.
I must end this saga with the strange tale of a “procession” of Salmsons. This drew up, improbably, at my front door one Sunday morning when I was temporarily living at Ealing a few years back. Yes, I had advertised my remaining Salmson bits and pieces in Motor Sport and was amazed and delighted at the very practical result.
I am, Yours, etc.,
J. Ewart Marshall
I owned two Salmsons between 1946 and 1956. The first was a 1922 four-push-rod model with the long tail. This car, after I had carefully pulled down and re-assembled the engine, gave no trouble at all, apart from the magneto, which I had rewound. It would cruise happily at 45-50 and could attain 60 m.p.h. I owned it for a year and covered many enjoyable miles over Southern England. The pushrods never jumped out.
The second Salmson was a 1927-28 “G.P. Special” with the three-bearing engine, four-speed box and tubular con-rods. This car, after it had been pulled right down and rebuilt, provided me with reliable and lively transport for nine years, taking me daily to and from my place of work and, at holiday time, all over England, Scotland and Wales.
Of course, these cars did need fairly regular and skilled maintenance to get the best from them, and l can only conclude that your correspondent, Mr. W. H. Dobbs, did not fulfil this condition.
I am, Yours, etc.,
M. V. “Wanganella”
I am enclosing a photograph of my 1910 Rex cyclecar. This machine was found in an old coach-house in Wales and restored in my spare time.
The engine is a Rex air-cooled V-twin, chain drive to Bozier two speed epicyclic gears, chain drive to countershaft, V-pulleys and V-belt drives to both rear wheels, no differential being fitted. It has an external contracting brake on the countershaft, hand-brake connected to shoes operating on rear-wheel belt rims.
I understand these machines were sold in “kit” form and assembled by enthusiastic amateurs. Can any of your readers enlighten me, and are there any more in existence?
I am, Yours, etc.,
As an ardent reader of Motor Sport , it was with great interest that I read the letter from Mr. Earl, as I have a very soft spot for the Austin Seven. It seems amazing the way they seem to hang on, and the way you come across them buzzing along in all types of country.
Two years ago I was the proud owner of a 1929 Swallow two-seater. She was in remarkable condition for her age, having no rust anywhere, and was really smart in two-tone red with the original plated “vee” windscreen and “bull-nose” cowl. The interior was also well preserved, with red upholstery and stained dash.
Performance was quite average, with fuel consumption around 55 m.p.g. and a comfortable cruising speed of 45-50 m.p.h., the only modification on the engine being a modern Solex carburetter. As usual with Austin Sevens, she lacked stopping power.
After twelve months’ happy motoring with her I sold her for something a little faster and noisier, in the form of a 1929 Austin Seven with a 1957 reconditioned Ford Eight engine. This is really a lethal missile and extremely noisy, having a straight-through exhaust — people look round expecting to see a Bugatti — and I have great fun “baiting” modern cars, as she can really hold her own against the average family car.
The body is rather a mixture, consisting of old-type Ford Anglia cowl, Dellow bonnet and home-made back. Unfortunately, my ideas of fitting a body shell were cut short by two years’ employment by Her Majesty.
May I, like so many others, take this opportunity of thanking you for your excellent magaine, and say how I look forward to its arrival out here in Germany from home?
I am, Yours, etc.,
I was very interested to read the letter from Mr. Bjorn Linn, of Bromma, Sweden, in the February Motor Sport. While much admiring the photograph of his lovely Delage D8, my attention was drawn to his remarks on the B.S.A.
Now that a number of modern motor cars are being driven by the front wheels and f.w.d. has proved its worth in the recent Monte Carlo Rally, perhaps a wider interest will be aroused in the B.S.A.. Scouts and three-wheelers of the 1930s. B.S.A. were among the first few makes to employ front-wheel-drive with any measure of success, and while their sporting abilities were limited, these cars amply fulfilled their intended role of economical touring runabouts with sporting lines. Our own 1930 three-wheeler has a B.S.A. four-cylinder water-cooled engine of 1,075 c.c. As the car weighs only 8 cwt., performance is by no means sluggish. The engine is quiet and, with transmission up front, and a worm final drive at that, there is very little mechanical noise. The rear suspension arrangement gives a comfortable ride, and altogether it is a most delightful little car to drive; 200 miles in half a day is well within its scope. We have also had a lot of fun with the o.h.v. twin-cylinder air-cooled engine, but it is definitely noisier than the four-cylinder side-valve engine!
B.S.A. enthusiasts have recently been pleased to hear that a front-wheel-drive club is forming. A quarterly bulletin will contain useful information, with a spares register, etc., and arrangements will be made for members to meet each other at some of the more popular motorsport events. In this way it is hoped that members will be encouraged to preserve the remaining examples of these quite interesting little cars.
I am, Yours. etc.
With reference to your recent article on Mr. Robert Thwaites’ Turner car, he mentions in his article that he would like to hear of the existence of any other Turner cars.
We have in our possession a 1906/1908 (not completed, so the Veteran Car Club are unable to date) Turner light car. The car number is 934, this being located on a brass plate giving the manufacturers as the Turner Manufacturing Co., Wolverhampton.
The car was discovered and purchased by us from a place called Bannfoot on the shores of Lough Neagh, in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, and bears the Reg. No. IB 24. We understand this car was the property of the late Mr. Christopher Boyce and that he bought the car new.
A few brief details of the vehicle are as follows. The, engine is a 48-deg. water-cooled twin with overhead inlet and side-valve exhaust. Spark is supplied by a Bosch magneto type DAV 617758. The spark plugs are one Bluemel and one unmarked. The carburetter is of the motor-cycle type bearing a number 18587, comprising float chamber, bottom-feed carburetter. Speed is controlled by air slide.
The pistons have three rings each 1/4 in. wide, the piston length is 3-3/4 in. and the diameter 3.562 in. The gearbox is of the epicyclic type haying two forward speeds and reverse; this transmits the power via an open propeller-shaft to the worm-drive rear axle. The springing is semi-elliptic, front and rear.
The steering and front axle appear to be similar to Mr. Thwaites’ car, i.e., tubular front axle with worm-and-sector seemingly very high geared.
The engine, when stripped, was in excellent condition and, apart from renewing small-end bushes, needed very little further attention: The gearbox was in a rather sad condition, one of the bands being broken in two: this we have managed to repair successfully. However, the axle is proving rather more of a teaser, the trouble being that the planet wheels were rather badly chewed up and we are having difficulty in finding someone able to cut new ones.
We hope these details of the car will be of interest and if you would be good enough to pass this information on to Mr. Thwaites we should be delighted to hear from him.
When we contacted the Turner Manufacturing Company they informed us that it was quite impossible for them to date the car except to say it was pre-1910 as all their records date from 1910, previous records having been destroyed by fire.
We are, Yours etc,
Allens Autos Ltd., Edgar Richardson, Director