Veteran - Edwardian - Vintage, April 1967

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A section devoted to old-car matters

V.S.C.C. Pomeroy Memorial Trophy Contest, March 18/19th -Talbot BGH 23 proves itself again.

Intended to define the best all-round touring car, this is the only V.S.C.C. event open to cars of all ages; this year’s entry embraced 79 post-war, 17 each vintage and p.v.t., and four Edwardians. The fastest were Crabbe’s DB4GT Aston Martin with 4.2-litre 375-b.h.p. engine, Corner’s ex-works Jaguar D-type, the Hon. P. Lindsay driving Crossthwaite’s ex-Kerrison 250GT Ferrari Special (to do which he had to remove the seat cushion), Penny Griffiths in her ex-Atkins/ Salvadori fuel-injection lightweight Jaguar E-type, and McGrath with an ex-Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-type with i.r.s. grafted on. But some just used their tow cars, like Douglas Hull with his Jaguar XK150S and Edwards with his faithful £125 Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire. Stoyel had a B.W.M.-engined Lotus 6 but Winder’s Triumph TR Special did not pass the Scrutineers. Non-starters included Black’s Monza Alfa Romeo, because he had a boil, and Smith’s 3-litre Bentley with magneto trouble, while Durdin’s rebuilt 30/98 Vauxhall missed the tests due to deranged valve gear, but ran on the Sunday.

Saturday at Silverstone Crabbe made best time in the brake test (6.0 sec.), s.s. (14.2 sec.), in which Corner did 14.63 sec. and Miss Griffiths and McGrath 14.72 sec., and f.s. 1/4 -mile (7.76 sec.), Corner clocking 7.87 sec. and McGrath 8.22 sec. But these very quick cars were penalised for sending the decibel meter off the scale, Lindsay, who was fastest in the steering test (21.67 sec.), Leo in the Le Mans V12 Lagonda, Conway (Type 43 Bugatti), and Charnock’s 4.3 Alvis Special being likewise penalised. Although Crabbe and Corner had spun through 360 deg. in the steering zig-zag, they were not the slowest! Miss Griffiths was ladylike in the zig-zag and failed the brake test. Some of the cars, including the 1908 Itala and Blight’s team of three Talbots, erected hoods for the sprints and so gained bonus marks. This must have suited Harry Rose, who never seems to lower the hood on his Le Mans 4-1/2 Bentley. Sears, in the ex-Lycett 8-litre Bentley with Sir John Whitmore as passenger, was amongst those going impressively fast at the end of the flying-1/4, Mrs. Russell’s 7-1/4 -litre 23/95 Mercedes overtook a bicycle, and Conway, Junr., had inlet manifold gasket trouble and crawled pitifully along in the Type 43 Bugatti.

The one-hour High Speed Trial, run as two events, was a magnificent spectacle, with wildly mixed fields, and took the greatest toll. In the first, Bailey went racing, lamps on, in his Mk. 6 Bentley pseudo-racer, leading Sears and soon lapping the Mercedes, which was being continually overtaken on the right as it pursued its slow if majestic path on the extreme outside of the course, and the white-overalled Hancock in his 1927 O.M., Sismey’s Speed 20 Alvis misfired, and after No. 6 plug had been changed broke a valve-spring cap and dropped No. 6 exhaust valve. Elliott’s fast manx-tail 3-1/2 / 4-1/2 Lagonda split a water hose, Rippon’s 328 B.M.W. retaliated for having been advertised for sale by blowing shut its radiator shutters and overheating, Oddie’s ex-Waine 328 B.M.W., after a good run, lost its fan belt and blew its gasket, or worse, and Bowler, Junr., driving Talbot GO 52, ran out of petrol, whereas last year he started with too much, which ruined the handling! Most unfortunately, the G.P. Itala ran a big-end on its last lap.

As Carson led the field off behind his Volvo to the rolling start of the second hour-run, Lord Strathcarron’s Jensen C-V8 was having its nave-plates feverishly removed from the wheels. He went very fast, until dropping oil pressure and fuel level made him ease up. Crabbe was soon hurtling round, but Corner’s Jaguar eventually got ahead. The Aston Martin later dropped a valve. Leo’s Lagonda lost one bank of cylinders when a head sealing ring failed, causing loss of water via the exhaust pipe, and McGrath’s oil scavenge pump packed up. The Armstrong Siddeley lapped in under 1-3/4 minutes, as if to prove something or other. Rose was going well, but without headlamps (so was his Bentley a tourer ?). Charnock’s Alvis was another car that apparently resented its owner having tried to sell it, because in towing away McGrath’s sick Jaguar it broke its Silver Crest gearbox and had to retire.

Sunday morning proved those competitors still running as roadworthy, on a 40-mile navigational run which included a hill re-start. Crabbe navigated for Hull, Kain for Conway; the Mercedes and Miss Griffiths’ Jaguar stayed at home. Blight made no mistakes, winning the Pomeroy Trophy for the second year running, in that most appropriate car, Talbot 105/110 BGH 23. Now all who intend to set off on the Grand Tour must search for Roesch Talbots and the S.T.D. Register should be jubilant! Especially as Blight beat Rose’s Le Mans Bentley by 56 points and Conway’s Type 43 Bugatti by 68-1/2. Altogether a splendid event.—W.B.

***

Results — Pomeroy Memorial Trophy:

1st: J. A. F. Blight (1934 2,969-c.c. Talbot), 1,208.5 pts.; 2nd: H. Rose (1928 4,398-c.c. Bentley), 1,152.5 pts.; 3rd: H.G. Conway (1928 2,300-c.c. s/c. Bugatti), 1,140 pts.; 4th: M. H. Morris (1951 1,971-c.c. Frazer Nash), 1,136 pts.; 5th: The Hon. P. Lindsay (1960/4 2,953-c.c. Ferrari), 1,129 pts. . All these won First Class Awards.

Second Class Awards: M.H.L. Bowler (1929 4-1/2 Bentley), A. M. Wadman (1934 Alvis Speed 20), B.M. Gilbart-Smith (1960 A.C.-Bristol), G. Daniels (1930 4-1/2 Bentley) and S. G. Curtis (1931 Talbot 105 GO 53).

Third Class Awards: G. T. Shoosmith (1929 Bentley Speed Six), E. N. Corner (1955 Jaguar-D-type), P. E. L. Carmichael (1957 Aston Martin DB2/4), N. Arnold-Forster (Lord Montagu’s 1913 Prince Henry Vauxhall) and D.H.C. Hull (1959 Jaguar XK150S).

***

Pomeroy Prattle

Some odd tyre sizes were in use, from “castors” on the front wheels of Curtis’ Talbot to the big, podgy back tyres on the 1908 Itala. Why cannot all vintage cars run on sensible-looking tyres ? A spectating 30/98 Vauxhall 2-seater on b.e. tyres set a good example!

***

The Itala did the hour-run sans screen, Sismey, Russ-Turner (1939 4-1/4 Bentley), Shoosmith and Daniels folded their screens flat, Sowden’s 1930 8-litre Bentley and Weeks’ 1929 Riley/M.G. Special had aero-screens.

All credit to three of the Edwardians for completing the hour run. The Lotus’ bonnet was nearly as high as its hood! The GO Talbots and Sears’ Bentley carried plates listing pre-war racing honours.

***

Why not include a timed hill-climb and cold and hot starting tests, next year ? The fuel-consumption test has been abandoned, as difficult to organise. Banbury’s Town Clerk reserved a car park for V.S.C.C. use. Good show!

***

V.S.C.C. Film Show

The annual Vintage S.C.C. Film Shows are for the entertainment of all members, not public showings, but as friends of members attend them, and as this year they were screened not only in London but at Manchester, Birmingham, Bath, Mottram, and Newcastle-on-Tyne, it permissible to comment on them. We chose to attend the showing at Bath, because this was an excellent excuse for exercising the 1930 Sunbeam Sixteen, going first to call on Hervé Coatalen (whose famous father designed the car) for the purpose of looking at his photographs, paintings and scrap-books, that recall nostalgically the racing exploits of the great Wolverhampton company, as well as Sunbeam’s activities in the air and in the sphere of motor-boat racing, before taking tea in Hungerford and then driving on to Freshford in the gathering dusk of a February evening.

The attendance was excellent, many vintage cars were in the car park outside the new Memorial Hall, and apart from the Club Film for 1966 by Roscoe Films, we were treated to a Harold Lloyd silent comedy featuring a Model-T Ford, the hero far more boyish than I remember him (and I was a schoolboy Harold Lloyd fan), a fabulous Mark Sennett comedy embracing a hilarious motor-race, and were able to enjoy again the 1930-34 instalment of Bill Mason’s inimitable Shell motor-racing-documentary and his splendid “Age of Adventure” film. The Club film was disappointing, for although it included some fine action shots taken in colour at Oulton Park and Prescott, the two Silverstone race meetings and the Prestigne Rally were omitted and much of the film was taken up with episodes the cameraman thought comic instead of with vintage-car activities. As humour is so easily provided at these shows by hiring professional funny films, surely the Club Film should strive to be a serious annual documentary of the more important V.S.C.C. fixtures and the highlights thereat ? Anyway, we had a splendid run home in the moonlight in our vintage car, at an average speed of quite 29 mp.h.—W. B.

***

Fiat Register dinner

The Fiat Register held its annual dinner last month at the Montague Hotel in London, presided over by George Liston Young. Amongst the pre-war Fiat celebrities present were Tuson and Derrington. The Inter-Register Shield, won last year by the Register, was presented and other prizes handed over by charming Mrs. Paula Marioni. The evening concluded with two Fiat films, one depicting the very severe testing to which prototypes of the Tipo 124 Fiat were subjected before this brilliant new saloon was put into production, the other a rather clinical documentary showing how dummies react to crashes in cars, radio control of full-size cars from pilot cars and helicopters being used to simulate various kinds of accidents, even to 70 m.p.h. head-on impacts, proof of the serious approach Fiat of Turin is making into research of this nature.—W. B.

***

V.S.C.C. racing again — April 22nd

Everyone who likes vintage cars and who can get there will presumably go to Silverstone on April 22nd for the first V.S.C.C. Race Meeting of 1967, which commences at 12.15 p.m. with a One Hour High Speed Trial for vintage and p.v.t. cars, followed by races which will include the 10-lap Itala Trophy for vintage racing cars, the 15-lap Allcomers’ Scratch Race, the 10-lap Melville and Geoghegan Trophies Race for vintage sports cars, and supporting 5-lap handicaps and group handicaps. This meeting qualifies for points towards the 1967 Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest, details about which appear elsewhere. Entries close on April 4th. The public is welcome, the admission charge 10s. per car; the B.R.D.C. is charging 2s. 6d. a head for a seat in the Woodcote and Pits grandstands. There is to be a special Members’ car park for those arriving in Edwardian, Vintage or p.v.t. cars, an idea instituted by W.B. and D.S.J. some years ago but which was, for some unfathomable reason, frowned on in those days, by the V.S.C.C. Committee.

These meetings are redolent of a mixture of pre-war G.P. races and post-war Brooklands served with a spice of 1967, and usually attract bigger crowds than ordinary Club meetings for modern cars. So discerning enthusiasts should note the date and place—April 22nd at Silverstone.

***

The Bull-Nose Morris Club

That excellent institution, the Bull-Nose Morris Club, extinguished itself at the end of last year when the Committee resigned en bloc. The Club has now been revived but will cater only for bull-nose Morris cars; the new Secretary is Mrs. R. Moore, 3, Glebe Lane, Great Shelford, Cambridge. The Oxford Rally is on September 17th.

***

A Bit of Road/Rail History

The February issue of The Dalesman contained an article about the now defunct Kilnsea-Spurn Point railway. Laid down as a War Department line in 1915 or thereabouts, it was closed in 1951 and the rails lifted ten years later, although one of the locomotive name-plates still hangs in the bar of the “Blue Bell Inn” at Kilnsea. The reason why this line is referred to here is that one of the published pictures shows a rail car used on the line, which was said to have been built by an Army Officer around 1930, based on a converted racing car. The radiator, steering wheel, bucket seat and back mudguards were retained and the vehicle looks suspiciously like an ltala racing car or certainly a very large Edwardian touring car. We seem to have heard of this before and it is about time some railway enthusiast cleared the matter up, telling us what car was used and what became of it.

Another rail car used on this line is described as a “rattling claptrap of motorised wagon which was converted from a Wolseley car”, but if it was a Wolseley it seems more likely to have started life as a commercial vehicle. We are indebted, as is so often the case, to a reader for this information, Mr. J. W. D.. Long of Northallerton.— W.B.

***

March Phoenix

There was a good attendance of interesting cars at the V.S.C.C. Phoenix Meeting last month, including 328 B.M.W., Chummy Austin 7, Nutter’s handsome 8-litre Bentley saloon which was once W.O.’s personal transport, sporting examples of 4-1/2 -litre vintage and Derby Bentleys with open bodies and aero-screens, an open Invicta, a Chain Gang Frazer Nash, that V8 Talbot-Darracq and a certain lofty Sunbeam Sixteen. Inside, the bars were packed as prices, personalities, the past and the future were discussed over tankards of beer, and pictures of early American and Brooklands races were examined.

***

Lanchester Forties

The Lanchester 40 luxury car has never been encountered in recent years to the extent that Rolls-Royce cars are entered and driven in suitable events. But we learn from a reliable source that there are more of these fine cars still in existence than was realised a few years ago. Apart from the one that is wrongly cast in the film “The Blue Max,” a tourer which was shown as a chassis at the 1921 New York Fair and purchased by film-star Norma Talmadge, a saloon body being built for it by Dietrich, has recently come to light. The car was allowed to rot in the open for many years and the body perished. Around 1962 Mr. A. Eby of Ohio acquired the remains and spent three years restoring this Lanchester chassis. At a rally he encountered a recently-imported 1911 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and on opening the door of its touring body saw a brass plate inscribed “Lanchester, England.” He was able to obtain this body for the Lanchester chassis, the Rolls-Royce being given a replica 1911 body.

Apart from these two 1921 Forties, a 1920 tourer and a 1924 State limousine are said to be for sale in India, the Maharajah of Alwar still has a 1924 State landau in active service, and two more Lanchester Forties have turned up in Australia, one in the Giltrap Museum and the other in need of a back axle. Then, in Southern Ireland a 1919 Forty has been left to someone in a will and a two-door saloon has cropped up in New Zealand. In fact, the Lanchester Register now has no fewer than 21 Forties on its list.— W. B.

***

Wrongly Cast

There are some superb flying shots in the film “The Blue Max” and as it revolves round the German Air Force in the First World War there is every excuse for some of the aeroplanes therein looking a bit bogus. For instance, lots of innocent Tiger Moths do duty as S.E.5’s and are duly shot down for their impudence. The leader of a British Squadron is frequently seen flying a realistic-looking S.E. but the supporting pilots are obviously flying Tiger Moths, it being difficult to disguise a D.H. tailplane. And the high-wing Morane monoplane that kills the arrogant young hero is surely about sixteen years too modern to be used in this film ? However, several very interesting aeroplanes do appear, including a couple of Fokker Triplanes. Maybe Air Commodore Wheeler will write a book about these ancient aeroplanes and how the film was made, as he did after helping with “Those Magnificent Men.” What is so unfortunate is the poor casting by 20th Century Fox of the cars in many of the scenes. For instance, the Staff limousine seen motoring through riot-stricken Berlin in 1918 is very obviously a 1921 open-fronted Lanchester 40 limousine, which presumably was in Ireland when the film was being made. Then a circa 1927 Humber tourer, equipped with front brakes, is used by a German General even though the Armistice has yet to be signed ! Not only that, but its characteristic radiator is held in one close-up shot. What appears to be a Wolseley tourer is used as another Staff car. Surely it would not have been difficult to have obtained a 1914 Mercedes for the General to ride in and other German pre-war vehicles for the other scenes ? It is obviously time 20th Century Fox employed someone as expert about old cars as Air Commodore Alan Wheeler is about ancient aeroplanes, to advise them when casting cars for leading parts.—W. B.

***

V.-E.-V. Odds and Ends —Information is sought about rebuilding a 1923 Paige-Jewett tourer which was bought recently in Somerset. A circa 1926 Austin 12/4 tourer was seen motoring unconcernedly amongst the rush-hour traffic of London’s West End the other Saturday night, a Straight-eight Daimler was encountered on the Bath Road proceeding towards London, and a neat Austin 10/4 tourer was noticed motoring in Kensington last month, not to mention a Trojan in Odiham. Ex-Calthorpe employees, and anyone who has data to impart about this make of car, are asked to contact a reader who is collecting historical information about this make of car. The Phoenix at Hartley Wintney used to be The Home of the 30/98; today it is more the Domain of the Delage. A 1927 magneto-ignition Austin 7 masquerading as a 1909 single-cylinder Austin turned up at an auction sale in Torquay recently; apparently it won an award at the 1963 750 M.C. Beaulieu Rally for “Unusualness,” its occupants being dressed in Edwardian garb—ugh! The article on “Technical Development of the Jowett Javelin and Jupiter Flat-Four engines,” which appeared in Motor Sport for March 1953 [I can still recall the strain of writing it !—ED] is being serialised in the magazine of the Jowett C. C. of New Zealand. Drawings and a description of the single-seater Renault 45 saloon which broke the World’s 24-hour record in 1926, and of which the Cleres Museum has built a replica, appear in this month’s issue of Model Cars

Outstanding value in books about vintage cars is offered by the new 8s. edition of “The Other Bentley Boys,” recently reprinted by Readers Union Ltd., 10-13 Bedford Street, London, WC2.

In view of the ridiculously high prices being asked for vintage Austin 7s, it is nice to know that one enthusiast is not adverse to running his original-looking “perpendicular” saloon in trials, vide the picture on the front cover of last month’s 750 M.C. Bulletin, of Paul Bradfield taking part in this year’s Salisbury Trial. A First-World-War Packard lorry, ex-Anglo American Oil Company, and a similar Karrier lorry, the latter likely to be seen in the H.C.V.C. Brighton Run on May 7th, are in process of restoration. Renault Ltd. have taken a party of ancient Renaults on a five-day visit to France as a “Return to Billancourt” outing; the cars taking part range from an 1899 1-3/4 h.p. voiturette to a 1931 PG4 camionette de depannage and include Woolley’s 1923 Renault 45. The German owner of a Maybach asks all owners of cars of this make to get in touch with him, as he thinks there may still be examples in England. Letters can be forwarded. A Lanchester Ten saloon bought for £10 is serving its new owner faithfully in Hampshire.

***

Lord Montagu’s Club Secretaries Conference

In the belief that as the veteran and vintage movement grows in strength there is need for the Secretaries of Clubs and Registers having such interests at heart to meet in conference, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, whose work in the field of historic motoring is so well known, announced last December that he was prepared to hold a series of Meetings which each Club would be invited to send a representative. Invitations have now gone out for the inaugural conference, which is to take place, followed by a lunch, at the R.A.C. on April 8th, commencing at 12.45 p.m. Any Club which feels it has been overlooked should contact the organiser immediately.

***

V.E.V. Miscellany — A 1924 A.C. Empire model is being rebuilt in Canada by someone who has apparently unearthed a tiller-steered Wall 3-wheeler with single-cylinder Precision engine. The vintage Fiat mentioned some time ago in this column was still standing in the open at Sidcup in February; it is a Type 505 tourer, circa 1927. The H.C.V.C. Brighton Run will start this year on May 7th from Battersea Park, following Police objections to the old Clapham starting point. A 1911 Pierce-Arrow lorry has been restored and has been seen standing outside a showroom in Chipping Sodbury.

The oldest surviving Standard car, the 1907 30-h.p. Roi des Beiges touring model owned by Standard-Triumph, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. It was supplied originally to a purchaser in Melbourne and was discovered in 1956 on a tobacco farm at Milawa, being restored by Standard-Triumph (Australia) Pty. Ltd. It was they who presented it to the parent company in England. What is believed to be the sole remaining Standard Swallow is in use in Birmingham. The 1967 Standard Register Rally will take place on May 20th at Packington Park near Meridan. A pre-1925 Vulcan engine and radiator have turned up in Hobart.