A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
V.S.C.C. Silverstone Race Meeting—April 23rd. The first Vintage Sports Car Club Race Meeting of 1966 takes place at Silverstone on Saturday, April 23rd, starting at 12.15 p.m. It is open to the public and there is usually a very good attendance to watch this varied and entirely amateur racing over the 1.6-mile Club circuit, Organisation being notably efficient. The programme includes the 10-lap G.P. Itala Trophy Race for vintage racing cars, the 10-lap Merrydown Trophy Race for vintage sports cars, on a class-handicap basis, and a 10-lap All-Comers Scratch Race in which Maserati and other post-war 2 1/2 -litre racing cars will be unleashed, as well as a One-Hour High-Speed Trial open to vintage and p.v.t. cars, and several 5-lap scratch races.
Practice will take place on the Friday and between 9 am. and 11.30 a.m. on the Saturday, and the entry list is open until April 7th. Details of admission to the public enclosures and stands are available from T.W. Carson, V.S.C.C., 3, Kingsclere House Stables, Kingsclere, Newbury, Berkshire (s.a.e. please), and all lovers of old cars and historic racing will no doubt make every effort to be present. As at the pre-war Brooklands Easter Meetings, this opening V.S.C.C. fixture is exciting because “new” cars will be present, such as Peter Moores’ ex-Kay Petre replica s.v. Austin racer, Crabbe’s 250F Maserati, if it’s bearings behave, his new-found 1934 Maserati 8CM, thought to be an ex-Nuvolari car, if the bands of its pre-selector gearbox can be relined in time, Crump’s Cromard Special, the Connaughts of Gardner, Brewer and Margulies, the E.R.A.s of Brewer, Marsh and Gahagan, Brown’s Cooper-Bristol, Lockhart’s Rover, Kain’s and Bergel’s Bugattis, Sowden’s oversize 8 1/2-litre Bentley, a G.N. Special, Russ-Turner’s ex-Birkin blower-4 1/2 track Bentley, Barker’s enormous Napier and Lord Strathcarron’s ex-Mayhew Riley 9—plenty of sound and fury!
If you have been before, this is something you won’t wish to miss; if you have never seen this sort of racing, now is the time to sample it—you are unlikely to be disappointed! Admission is by 10s. car park ticket and it is advisable to apply for an advance ticket (s.a.e. please—address above), but you can pay at the gate. No dogs are allowed.
The Ford Model-T Register commented in its February News Letter about a so-called 1910 Model-T Ford sold for £1,075 at last year’s Measham Auction Sale, which they obviously thought of suspect date and described as a “Ford-based hybrid with home-made radiator”! Max Beaumont’s racing-bodied Model-T Ford was due to go out for its first test run last March. A circa 1928 Morris-Cowley saloon which has been off the road since 1940 and may be for sale has turned up in Berkshire, together with a Model-T Ford one-tonner l.h.d. steering column and engine, a couple of Bullnose Morris engines, a Singer engine, chassis and gearbox believed to be a 1923 10-h.p. model, and the remains of a Hadfield-Bean tourer, the last two having been exposed to the elements for some 25 years. Letters can be forwarded.
Knock off a nought!
The increasing anxiety about the absurd prices which are being asked (but not always realised) these days for pre-war cars is being commented on by many of the clubs and organisations which cater for such vehicles. The Bean C.C., for instance, returned to the subject in February, citing in its magazine the case of a vintage Bean tourer that had “been slowly decaying in Guernsey. Without hood, upholstery or lights … and the chance that it has a suspect back axle.” The car was bought for £95 but before it could be shipped to England “the vendor was offered £150” so “the first sale was cancelled ..” The Bean C.C. goes on to point out that its members own old cars for the fun they have restoring them, driving them, winning prizes with them, and the social life they build around them. The club emphasises that ideas of profit-making hardly enter into it, and where exorbitant prices will affect their future (and the future of similar organisations) is when their members want to change cars (Bean for a better Bean ?) or perhaps buy a second one— also, perhaps fewer new young members will appear as owners and the social side of the vintage and one-make movement will suffer. “On balance,” says the Bean Car Club “we would much prefer prices to remain at a stable, sensible level.” Reverting to the aforesaid, apparently rather sad Bean, the Club remarks “Our estimate of the value of the car—£15.” This suggests that it might be prudent to start by knocking off a nought when negotiating with profit-seeking vintage-car vendors. For instance, the immaculate, fully-restored Bentley or similar car for which £5,000 is suggested, is really worth £500, for that 1930 Austin 7 fabric saloon advertised at £150 you should offer £15, and for those nondescript vehicles of the ’30/40 period, which bear a price tag or chalked-up figure of £50, you should make an oder of £5!
E.R.A. Club Dinner
This year’s annual E.R.A. Club dinner was held at the Public Schools’ Club in Piccadilly on March 7th. In the absence of Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon the chair was taken by Bill Moss. Tommy Wisdom proposed the Club, and Peter Wailer replied, dealing amusingly with the Club members who were present and hinting at the imminent appearance of Alan Cottam’s beautifully prepared “Hanuman” and the possability of an E-type E.R.A. with replica chassis. The Rivers Fletcher Trophy was awarded to Peter Waller, the presentation being made by Mrs. Moss. Rivers Fletcher was in Hong Kong, but sent a telegram; his wife was present to see the Trophy change hands, however. It was nice to see Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey Cook, Mr, and Mrs. Rob Gerard (Joan Gerard an E.R.A. driver in her own right), Philip Fotheringham-Parker, Leslie Brooke, Graham Whitehead and Douglas and Peter Hull amongst the earlier E.R.A. exponents, and the Hon. Patrick Lindsay, David Kergon, Barry Eastick, Peter Brewer, Barry Swann, Dudley Gahagan, Pat Marsh, Martin Brewer, etc., representing more recent exponents of the art of racing E.R.A.s. Birks, Rover-Collard, Finlayson and other E.R.A. mechanics were present, as well as timekeepers King, Farlow and Mayne, and Philip Turner of the.-pre-war E.R.A. Club.
The bars were used for liquid lubrication of nostalgic reminiscence, which was just as well, because dinner was a very unappetising meal.—W. B.