Veteran – Edwardian – Vintage

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A section devoted to old-car matters

The April V.S.C.C. Silverstone meeting

The race meetings so ably organised by the Vintage S.C.C. attract notably large numbers of spectators because, apart from their own members and friends and others who prefer old to modern motoring sport, the variety of the competing cars appeals greatly even to those who, in general, side with Henry Ford in thinking that history is bunk.

So make a note, if this sort of informal yet deadly serious, comparatively slow yet highly competitive motor racing interests you, that the first V.S.C.C. Race Meeting of 1965 will take place at Silverstone on April 24th, commencing at 12.15 p.m. V.S.C.C. members who are thinking of taking part are reminded that entries close on April 5th. You must report by 9 a.m. Non-members are admitted, for a car-park charge of 10s., which seems a very modest outlay for so much unique entertainment, particularly for those with large cars. (It is necessary for indemnity reasons to be in possession of admission tickets, but these are available free if early application is made to T. W. Carson, 3, Kingsclere House Stables, Kingsclere, Newbury, Berkshire, enclosing a s.a.e. and quoting Motor Sport.)

This year there is no one-hour High-Speed Trial reminiscent of those the M.C.C. and J.C.C. used to have at Brooklands, as this will take place at Castle Combe in September. So the programme is entirely composed of races, which the advent of the later historic racing cars such as 250F Maseratis, etc., may greatly enliven.

Apart from 5-lap scratch races incorporating handicap groups, the big race of the afternoon is the 1908 G.P. Itala Trophy Race over 10 laps of the Club circuit, for vintage racing cars. This is supported by the often even-fiercer 10-lap Allcomers’ Scratch Race, open to vintage, p.v.t. and historic racing cars. Then there is the Spero and Voiturette Trophies Race for the smaller vintage and p.v.t. cars like Ulster Austins, Brooklands Riley Nines and Amilcars, from scratch over 10 laps, another 10-lapper in the form of The Merrydown Trophy (something to do with cider!) for vintage sports cars, including the supercharged machinery, and a series of 5-lap handicaps which can be heart-stopping if the leaders come down to Woodcote Corner on the last lap to a ”’photo-finish.”

Even if you cannot tell a Bugatti from an Alfa Romeo and think of a blower as slang for a telephone, the commentators will do their incessant best to sort it all out for you and provide a potted history of the evolution of the horseless-carriage over the Antones.

Regular readers of this feature will need no prompting to turn their wheels, preferably vintage, in the direction of Silverstone early on the morning of the last Saturday in April. It is sure to rain!—W. B.

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Under fire!—The popularity of vintage cars has penetrated to B.B.C. 1s “Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life,” in which, on February 20th, Dee Wells and Clive Irwin quoted them as amongst their motoring dislikes. Both apparently see such cars as “vehicles with straps round their bellies, driven by men in sheepskin jackets”!

V.S.C.C. fixtures

The remaining Vintage S.C.C. fixtures for this season, after the Silverstone Race Meeting this month, are:–

Cudborough Sprint – May 16th*

Driving Tests, Barton Stacy – May 23rd

Talyllyn Railway Rally – May 29th

Edwardian and Light Car Rally – June 13th

Oulton Park Race Meeting – June 19th*

Beaulieu Concours d’Elegance and Tests – July 4th*

Silverstone Race Meeting – July 31st*

Prescott Speed Hill-Climb – August 15th*

Castle Combe Race Meeting – September 18*

Welsh Rally – October 2nd/3rd

Eastern Rally – November 7th

Driving Tests, Silverstone – December 11th.

Those marked * are open to the public. Details from T.W. Carson, address opposite

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The Fiat Register dinner

This annual function, which was held on February 27th at the Montague Hotel in Bloomsbury, had a special significance this year, because it celebrated, to quote the menu, the “trentesimo anniversario delle mille miglia a Brooklands,” which George Liston-Young and Ian Smith endorsed at Goodwood with the former’s sports Fiat Balilla.

Most of those associated with this informal but gallant lappery were present—the drivers, the patient pit-crew, Roland King-Farlow who timed the run with notable sympathy, the Curator of the Montagu Motor Museum which sponsored the attempt, and representatives from Fiat, Pirelli, etc., who also materially assisted. The dinner seemed like good English fare to us, although the menu was in Italian, but the Fiat Company generously donated the Italian chianti and worthwhile presents for the lady and gentlemen guests. There was but one speech, more of an announcement, by Liston-Young himself (other Clubs please copy!), the prizes were quickly presented (David Manning being the recipient of a nicely-mounted broken Fiat 500 piston in memory of a broken Balilla crankshaft on a memorable occasion!), and the evening concluded with the showing of the Club colour film of members supporting the Monza vintage meeting last summer.

It was hoped that many ex-Brooklands Fiat Balilla drivers would attend but unfortunately only V. H. Tuson, A. C. Westwood and Vic Derrington were able to do so.—W. B.

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Vintage miscellany.—Old cars are becoming quite a feature of television plays. There was an odd-looking Alvis used by the villain in I.T.V.’s “No Hiding Place,” but that channel’s version of H. E. Bates’ “An Aspidistra in Babylon” was ruined for motoring enthusiasts because Major Blain drove about, at a period which couldn’t have been later than 1917 (judging by a zeppelin raid) in a Hands light-car of 1923/4 vintage—shame on Executive Producer Antony Kearey! Yet this rare vintage light-car got its picture in TV Times, to add to the confusion! Whose was the 14/45 Talbot 2-seater, another rare car, apparently abandoned in Brentford as dusk came down on one February evening?

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