VINTAGE POSTBAG, April 1962

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VINTAGE POSTBAG

The Hudlass

Sir„

I have been a regular reader of ” Vintage Postbag” for a number of years, but I have never seen any mention therein of the Iludlass car which was manufactured in a small works in Ivy Street, ‘Southport, about the turn Of the Century.

A scale model of the vehicle exists in the museum at the Botanic Gardens in Southport, and a cutting from an old newspaper is displayed in the Lord Street showroom of a local distributor. The cutting mentions the HudlaSs as being probably the first car to be manufactured in Lancashire and states that it was on the road shortly before the abolition of the red flag. It also advises that in 1903 the builder, Mr. fludlasS, left the area and took up an appointment with the R.A.C. as Chief Engineer.

The second car was owned by Mr. R. Bamber, a local gentleman,. and I wonder if any of your readers can throw any further light on this make of vehicle, how ninny were built and when did production cease ? Southport. 0. H. ViAl.K1:11 [There has been some correspondence on this make but this additional information is of interest.—ED.)

The A.B.C. Lorry

With reference to vintage lorries, when is someone.going to dig up the A.B.C.—All British Car Co., Glasgow ? This was 4-cylindered with horizontally-mounted engine cylinders facing forward., 2-speed dog clutch change, silent chain drive and a hinged joint in each connect* rod.

The bonnet was a In ancient Renault and there were two rads, one on each side with fans driven by flat belts. Sevenoaks. ” OLD Tom.” (This sounds very similar to the Pilgrim.—En.]

—And the Kelly

Sir,

With reference to your reader ‘W. H. Pobbs inquiry about the Kelly, I can well remember seeing a few of these lorries as a boy in the early 192os.

I believe that their full nanie was Kelly-Springfield and that they were manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts.

So far as I can recollect they had a Renault-type bonnet with horizontal louvres at the front and gauze-covered vents on either side, the radiator being behind the engine and firming the major part of a rather meagre bulkhead. They had massive, almost vertical, steering columns, which together with the other controls were exposed to the elements. There was no driver’s cab in the accepted sense, the only concession to driver comfort being a canvas ” Gape-cart ” hood.

Other features I recollect were a high chassis frame above the level of the wheels, sonic overhang at the front, close-spoked artillery wheels and final drive by chains.

Altogether the Kelly was a tough, rather formidable looking vehicle And I imagine its appearance in this country was due to U.S. Government war surplus disposal.

The last time I ever saw a Kelly was near Bromley in the summer of 1930. It was boiling badly and ejecting quantities of steam and water from its radiator.

There is still an American brand of tyre called Kelly-Springfield but I don’t know whether it has any ‘connection with the lorry firm.

Bickley. B. W. Rivrrr.

A Letter from the Owner of an P.W.D. Truck

Sir,

As a faithful reader, ,I feel I must add a few words to what other readers have said its January and February MoToa Srowts about the type B F.W.D. 3-ton ” truck.” I have personally owned and consistently driven one of these for 17 years, beginning in 1920 when I bought one at a surplus camp for 5,50o francs:(about t:12o at the rate of exchange ot that period). One particular your correspondents have omitted—probably because they were in the Army—was the terrible petrol thirst of the F.W.D., which I soon discovered at my expense. On the

trip home, with 4-ton trailer and full. load, it drank 120 litres per too km., which works out at about 2.4 m.p.g. Petrol was much cheaper in France than it is now, but„ on the other hand, there was a rather heavy yearly tax per h.p., and the F.W.D., rated at 30 h.p., was quite expensive.

In order to encourage the :development of charcoal gas on vehicles, the French Government let the lorries fitted with a “gazoMe ” go free of tax. The conditions were, that besides the ” gas works ” of course, the capacity of the petrol tank was one gallon maximum and the carburetter small enough to just allow for starting and idling On petrol.

So I equipped’ my F.W.D. according to these specifications. The gas works were huge and the power was small, but I soon ttitid out it was possible to ” get the horses back,” even with a tiny earburetter by fitting a large jet and using the additional air valve for the charcoal gas. BY clever Manipulation of two or three valves, you could obtain quite a range of mixtures—and powers— from pure charcoal to pure petrol. ‘I’he only handicap was the one-gallon tank which called for frequent refills—from a fivegallon call, but the overall economy was satisfaCtory.

The experience gained during those 17 years was priceless. I later lilted a model-A Ford with a ” gazogilne” and a special highcompression taus-Minim head and no carburetter. It was the fastest car on the road during the years of occupation and it went so well I kept it rolling until 1951.

Blessac, France, C. JORRAND.

And Other F.W.D. Lorries

Sir, I have been interested to read the letters about F.W.D. vehicles I had considerable experience of driving another American vehicle which not only drove on all four wheels but steered on all four wheels. It was called a Jeffery Quad and was developed for forestry work, the drive was from a centrally placed differential and shafts ending in a geared drive at each N

I drove this vehicle in London traffic, but it was rather-naughty for skidding on wet wood block surfaces and was eventually converted to steer a front wheel only. The Jeffery Quad had a rather high-loading level with a forward driving position alongside a semi-circular engine cover, the appearance of which caused it to be named ” The Baked Potato Can.”

Another very well designed American vehicle of the 1914-18 War was the Autocart they were fitted with tanks for carrying water. I could say from memory that they had a weight capacity of 2-3 tons. They were unique in ninny features, having a flat front, forward drive with a 2-cylinder h.o. Isle, engine under the driving seat. Access to the engine was obtained with a crank handle at one side Which by 8 system of levers and springs raised the driver’s seat. The radiator was low slung at the front with a very sturdy bumper. Gear-change was by a right-hand lever and quadrant. A most unusual feature was a handbrake which disengaged the clutch when applied.

My father bought many of these from Slough Disposal Depot and found them to be is good that he bought more from a dump in France; several were cannibalised for spares and the rest gave excellent service for many years.

Sidcup. A. C. LAND.

Vintage Police Cars’

Sir, Two articles on Cats in Books have prompted me to write to You about the cars mentioned in ” Flying Squad,” by George ” Jack ” Frost. Unfortunately, less is said about the cars of the Flying Squad than one would have hoped for but after references to CrossleyS, used with various bodywork disguises including the first XII 5706, the change to light cars is described. The first was a Lea-Francis, which in accordance with regmlations was driven with the hood up and rear sidescreens in positim. Experience in driving and controlling this car at speed was gained in a week at Brooklands. Later the need for a heavier but fast car was felt and a 4 Invicta was obtained from Capt. I I. Maddin, being the actual winner of a I..e Mans event. [No Invieta ever won Le Mans.—ED.[ This 30/120 model was again tested at

Brooklands the time when the Invieta engineers were there preparing an identical Invieta chassis for a lOrthcoming soo-mile event. It gave to-6o in 9. sec. I wonder if either of these two ears is still in existence. Amongst the ears Med by crooks there was a 30/98 Vauxhall with a strong tow-bar for polling. out the grilles over jewellers’ windows and fitted with a ” racing body ” to enable the thieves to scramble in over the sides when making a hurried departure. There was also a circa 1928 Bentley with the rear springs reset to give 21-in. clearance, which gave 66 in 2nd, 78 in 3rd, o-6o in 15 sec. and 0-70 in 22 sec. (Any comments ?)

Amongst the interesting cars stolen was Col. McClintock’s racing Invicta, which was pursued at over 8.4 m.p.h. down the Bayswater Road and was still accelerating away, and one intriguing model, marque not revealed, which gave a lot of trouble when pursued, ” a standard model in every way” with a blown 8-cylinder engine. A Page Jowett and a Talbot so 5 arc also mentioned.

Whilst on the subject of police cars, I wonder how many of the special-bodied, 4-door, 2.6-litre M.G. tourers are still in existence. I believe one was advertised in your magazine a few years ago.

Havant. G. W. CAMBRIDGE.

A.C. Sociable Memories

Sir,

I read with interest in your last issue, under ” Recent Discoveries,”. that a 1911 A.G. Sociable delivery van had been found. I say with interest because I was at this period trying hard to reach the age of 16 and take out my licence and career around town in one of these vehicles. Regarding the name of this van, I don’t think it was known as the A.C. True the chassis was supplied by A.C. but I believe (and I stand to be corrected) that the van was built by Darwick Carriers, whose service depot at least was in Edgware Road, on the right-hand side leaving Marble Arch. They specialised in carrier machines, and made cycles,. box tricycles of two types. One of conventional box forward and cycle rear, and another model with a pair of large driving wheels forward, between which the operator sat and pedalled, car type hand-brake, and stirrup type steering through rack and pinion to the rear wheel. All tyres were solid, and I must have pushed one of these machines many hundreds of miles around the West End during 1911/12, not without some fun. I remember coasting down the gradient from Park Lane across Hyde Park Corner, with the intention of proceeding down Grosvenor Place, doing a fair lick, my hand-brake failed, and I finished in the side of a lovely grey Rolls, chaffeur driven, and the passenger was none other than Commander Locker Lampson. The usual names and addresses were taken but I heard no more, and suffered no harm, being well protected by the two driving wheels. There was of course no one-way traffic at this time and no police traffic control. However, I am getting away from the A.C.

The Warwick Carrier had a roomy box over the two front wheels and the driver sat over the rear wheel. The A.G. tiller steering and two-speed gear were as the Sociable, but the linkage had obviously been modified to suit the rear driver’s seat. It interests me to hear of one of these because there must have been many hundreds running about at the time. One Of the major users of Warwick vehicles was J. Sainsbury, and the finish was always a chocolate brown. I would be interested to hear from anybody associated with these vehicles during this period so years age.

S. Nuffield. F. Cows.

Miscellany. In Sweden two Royal cars have been in the same shed since 1940. One is a 1917 V8 Cunningham in sorry state, the other a 1923 T.B. 6/21 sleeve-valve Daimler with Knibbs coupé body, which will be restored if anyone can supply a radiator, block and exhaust manifold for it, these having been stolen. Eighty-two-year-old Miss Amy More has joined the Auckland V&V.C.C. with her 1929 Standard Ten ” TeignmOuth ” saloon, which she has driven over 161,500 miles since new. The head :tas been off twice—for new rings in 1934, a valve grind in 1957. The car has had six batteries, new clutch plates in 1939, 194$ and 19ca, and the front brakes relined in 1946, the rear ones in 1952. The gearbox has never been touched and the horn is original. Miss More learnt to double-declutch on a 1914 Standard tourer. • •

The Bentley Drivers’ Club is organising a unique rally at Easter, their Snowball Run, in which Bentleys of all types and ages will set out along prescribed routes from London, Scotland and the Eastern Region on Good Friday and converge on Oulton Park on Easter Sunday, when the largest one-make assembly ever ‘seen is expected to line the roads of the circuit.

Royal Armoured Corps Tank Museum. If you are motoring in Dorset it is worth remembering that this Museum, wnh 96 tanks and armoured lighting vehicles splendidly displayed in a fine building is open every clay between 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. and 2 p.m. and 4 P.m., including Sundays. Admission and car parking are free and the official guide costs only 6d. There are many ancillary exhibits and models of tanks and appropriate books for sale. Our favourite exhibits are the 1917 solid-tyred Peerless armoured car, the 1920 armoured Rolls-Royce and the tanks in the 1915-18 section. The Museum is at Boving Camp, Wareham, 22 miles from Bournemouth, 120 from L.ondon.

Forthcoming vintage fixtures include Coventry Cathedral Festival Grand Cavalcade of Cars and Motorcycles, 1896-1961 (cars tos. each—T. McElligott, 25, The Hiron, Cheylesmore, Coventry) on June 12th; Varwood, Dorset, Rally (entry forms— M. S. Goodwin, Flintlock Cottage, Westwood Avenue, Ferndown„ Wimbourne, Dorset) on June 11111; Bean Register Summer Meeting, Esso House, Abingdon, on June 17th; Enfield & Dist. V.V.Soc. rally at Albany Stud Farm, Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, from 2 p.m. on August tith, with steam vehicles. lorries, cars, etc., admission 25.

THE MERCEDES-BENZ 300SE

Having remarked last month that in our opinion MercedesBenz make the World’s best cars, we are delighted to announce two new models, the 300SE coupe and convertible. The 3ooSE has a light-alloy 2,996-c.c. Bosch petrol-injection engine developed from the Mercedes-Benz 300SLR sports/racing car, automatic transmission using a hydraulic clutch and 4-speed planetary gearing, with provision for selecting each gear under the driver’s control, disc brakes with hydraulic servo on all wheels. power steering, air suspension and an automatic differential lock adapted from the racing Mercedes-Benz. Both 300SE models seat four and have leather upholstery and rare wood interior panelling. The o.h.c. engine develops 185 S.A.E. li.p. at 5,200 r.p.m. and 204.7 lb./ft. torque at 4,000 r.p.m. The pneumatic suspension incorporatestriple control valves, and the low-pivot swing axle independent rear axles are retained. The claimed top speed is 109 m.p.h., or 124 m.p.h. in Special Equipment form, with an average fuel consumption of 1.11 to 161 m.p.g. Another extremely fine car, this new Mercedes-Benz 3ooSE.

—W. II.

BOXER REBELLION?

The 1.05 Angeles Herald Examiner reports that in Montebello boxer dogs have been terrorising drivers of small imported cars for more than two months, being especially active against open M.G.s. They don’t bother American-made compacts but hate imported jobs, reports a police officer.

A SKODA MOD.

Skoda owners who crave a r.h. brake lever may like to know that Wyton Garage Ltd., of 13ilton, near Hull, have carried out this mod., using a Ford piston-type brake, for £2 as, 30., less titling.

MARCH QUIZ PICTURE

Two readers, J. A. Keep of Worthing and H. M. V. Wright of Paull, E. Yorks, correctly identified this as a Bora car driven at BrOoklands in 1925/6 by A. Boorer, although only Mr. Keep knew that the car had a Sage engine. Incorrect solutions covered Beardmore, Hampton, A.B.C., Aston Martin and Mercer. A. F. Rivers-Fletcher, for whom we instituted this particular Quiz, did not attempt to solve it.

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