A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
Hill’s 1930 Alvis Silver Eagle Wins 1968 V.S.C.C. Pomeroy Memorial Trophy
Only the Vintage S.C.C. could run this event, one feels. It was conceived by the late Laurence Pomeroy as a means of finding the best all-round touring car, from Edwardian to current model. Pomeroy’s father designed such famous fast touring cars as the Prince Henry and 30/98 Vauxhalls, and it was presumably to prove the superiority of this type of car that his son started this contest. It might seem that closed cars should be ineligible, even if a 30/98 was seen occasionally in this form and was raced as a coupé. However, the V.S.C.C. fortunately does not take itself too seriously. It has had to cut out the road section of this contest and so there are no cross-country journeys or hill-climbs to perpetuate Pomeroy’s theories, but this year the fuel-consumption test was reinstated.
There is nothing wrong with a Club which receives 61 entries and four reserves for a specialised event of this sort, involving a high-speed dice round Silverstone. Moreover, this wasn’t because members saw in it a chance to exercise modern cars at the expense of their older vehicles; the overall entry comprised 23 post-war vehicles and of the 42 pre-war cars opposing them, the oldest was Barker’s mighty 1908 Napier, backed up by Edwardian Austrian-Daimler and an actual Prince Henry Vauxhall; of the remainder, 20 were vintage, i.e., pre-1931. Well done, V.S.C.C.
Apart from those aforesaid, proficiency for happy high-speed touring was tested by a wiggle-woggle, to assess steering control, s.s. and f.s. ¼-mile runs, and a brake test, with a penalty for excessive noise, the whole handicapped under a most complicated formula.
It was bitterly cold as competitors did the steering test. Bendall’s Austrian-Daimler opened well for the Edwardians, Hill’s Silver Eagle was competent (and on this occasion wasn’t towing a horse-box), Rose’s Bentley was as usual very “Le Mans” until one noticed its shrunken back tyres, Dyer was trying really hard in his very nice 1927 4½-litre Bentley, and Conway produced wheelspin and fine sounds from his Type 43 Bugatti, Jones’ 30/98 was quick. Mather slipped in a lower speed to aid his Frazer Nash/A.C., but Black overcooked it, spinning his 8C Monza Alfa Romeo. Whereas he stalled, when Gilbart-Smith spun his A.C.-Bristol in clouds of rubber smoke he continued unabashed. Pilkington’s Lago G.S. Talbot emitted noise, smoke and smell, Pitt nearly fell out of his Willment A.C. Daytona coupé and missed the correct route, while an elusive trouble spoilt J. T. Williamson’s run in his 3/4½-litre Bentley. Lee’s 3-litre Invicta Special was very slow, Terry’s Rover 2000TC went very fast at considerable roll angles, Stretton seemed nearly to lose his Sebring Frazer Nash, Rogers was snaky but fast in his 16/70 A.C. Special, and Bowler rapid, flinging stones, in his father’s 1929 4½-litre Bentley, H. P. Bowler being ensconced in a Jensen 541R.
The lunch break gave an opportunity for looking round the Paddock. Penny Griffiths was running-in a 3.8 Jaguar engine in her Healey Silverstone, Milner now has Tim Carson’s first 30/98 Reg. No. on his Vauxhall 30/98, Giddings’ 1929 1750 Alfa Romeo Zagato has a 2.3 engine put in by the works in 1935, Gurney’s Lagonda LG45 has a remarkable hood which lifts off in one piece, Nightingale’s 1929 wooden-wheeled De Soto has been smartened up since last year, and entries ranged from Edwards’ hack Armstrong Siddeley Star Sapphire to Corner’s Ferrari GTO and two 1966 Jaguar E-types. The ex-Venables Llewellyn 1933 Silver Eagle Alvis Special with Speed 25 engine was driven by Lees-Milne.
The High Speed Trials were largely uneventful, Williamson’s Bentley back to its customary 4,300 r.p.m. but the 1912 Austrian-Daimler now misfiring, Hutton’s Invicta being flagged-in with a trailing brake rod, and Sismey’s Alvis squealing its tyres. The Sapphire was showing its petticoats, and Mrs. Cattermull lost a core plug from her 1930 Alvis Silver Eagle with two laps to go—rotten luck! G. M. Palmer had a very satisfactory first day out with his 1924 Targa Florio Mercedes which Mays and Mather raced as a new car, apart from a little clutch slip. Pitt’s Goodyear-shod 4.7-litre A.C. Cobra was best over the f.s. ¼-mile (7.11 sec.), Corner taking 7.95 sec., and on the s.s. ¼-mile the A.C. did 12.74 sec. to the Ferrari’s 14.4 sec.
During the blustery afternoon the Hon. Patrick Lindsay arrived in a D.H. biplane and when the results of all the motoring were worked out and showed that the Pomeroy Memorial Trophy had been won by Keith Hill’s 1930 Alvis Silver Eagle tourer, while, just to show that the contest is impartial, the runner-up was Terry’s 1965 Rover 2000TC. This is a highly satisfactory outcome, because the Alvis is typical of the 30/98-era fast tourers with later vintage advantages such as six cylinders and four-wheel-brakes. It did 21.5 sec. in the steering test, against Williamson’s best time of 21.05, 7.6 sec. in the braking test, in which Pilkington’s Lago Talbot was best in 6.6 sec., 20.14 for the s.s. ¼-mile and 12.55 sec. for the f.s. ¼-mile. Incidentally, most economical of the day were Van Essen’s Railton light tourer and Mitchell’s Triumph TR.4.—W. B.
Odds and Ends
Keith Schellenberg has entered his 8-litre Bentley for the London-Sydney Marathon. It will presumably be in the category of an Edwardian Crossley saloon which competed in a pre-war R.A.C. Rally or the writer’s 1922 8/18 Talbot-Darracq which completed the course on time in the 1935 R.A.C. Rally, only to fail the quick-starting test because it had no self-starter and the officials wouldn’t allow a handle-start. It is nice to see another edition of The Vintage Austin Magazine, official organ of the Vintage Austin Register; the January issue contained an article on Austin 12s and 16s. A circa 1932 ribbon-radiator Chrysler 75 with pick-up body, which ran last in 1963, was for sale in more or less running order in Hampshire. The March V.S.C.C. Phoenix Meeting might have been held to the theme of “Where Have All the Vintage Cars Gone?” for the only one we saw was a 3-litre Bentley and the only other open cars were a 328 B.M.W. and an Aston Martin. Consequently, a smart Lanchester Ten, which might otherwise have gone unnoticed, stood out as an interesting inmate of the car park. However, Editor and Continental Correspondent plead guilty of having attended in modern gent’s conveniences, made, respectively, by Rover and Jaguar. Rob Walker’s 1927 Grand Prix Delage was unfortunately among the racing cars destroyed in a fire at his Pippbrook Garage last Month.
A Date to Note — V.S.C.C. Silverstone, April 20th
The sight of vintage and historic sports and racing cars in action appeals to others besides rabid enthusiasts. The first V.S.C.C. race meeting of 1968 takes place over the 1.6-mile Silverstone Club circuit on April 20th, and should bring a big crowd and an entertaining day’s sport. The programme is traditional, with a one-hour High Speed Trial involving two compulsory pit-stops, which is interesting for spectators and fine training for novice drivers, the 10-lap Itala Trophy Race for vintage racing cars, a 15-lap Allcomers’ Scratch Race for the Melville and Geoghegan Trophies, and a number of 5-lap Handicaps and Group Handicaps. This means that a great variety of cars from Edwardian to the early 1950s will be seen in furious action, to the accompaniment of inimitable sounds and scents. For competitors entries have closed and practice starts at 9 .a.m. and on the Friday at 2 p.m.
For spectators the High Speed Trial commences at 12.15 p.m. The car park fee is 15s. per vehicle (7s. 6d. for V.S.C.C. members with special sticker) including all occupants (no dogs) and it is not the V.S.C.C.’s fault that the B.R.D.C. charge 2s. 6d. for a seat in the Woodcote and Pits grandstands, from which, however, a splendid view of the proceedings can be obtained. Cars finishing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in any of the races score points towards this year’s Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy, which carries substantial cash prizes, providing they comply with the V.S.C.C. definition of a pre-1940 car.
This is a meeting you must not miss, especially as some very fast “new” historic racing cars are likely to run, such as Sir Ralph Millais’ ex-Charlie Martin monoposto Alfa Romeo imported from the late Douglas Jarvis’ stable in Australia this year and Cameron Millar’s Maserati, the second 8CFT to be built, which the Equipe Lucy O’Reilly Schell ran at Indianapolis in 1940 and which has only recently returned to this country from America (see colour pictures in this month’s Pictorial Review). In addition to Sir Ralph Millais’ “new” Alfa Romeo, another monoposto is due to run, the car acquired, also from Australia, by the Hon. Patrick Lindsay. Neil Corner has-acquired the Summers’ monoposto Alfa Romeo and together these cars depict three stages of development, Corner’s car having ½-elliptic springs all round, Millais’ ½-elliptic front, reversed ¼-elliptic back springs and Lindsay’s car Dubonnet i.f.s, with reversed ¼-elliptic back springs. On April 20th Corner will run his Type 51 Bugatti but it surely won’t be long before all three monopostos appear together in the same race?
Veteran Car Club membership stands at 1,922, of whom 590 are Full Members, 1,220 are Associates and 106 are Junior Members. Forthcoming fixtures include the Mid-East Section Meeting on April 20th/21st, the London-Edinburgh Run of May 22nd-26th, the South-East Section Meeting on June 15/16th, the Prescott Hill-Climb on June 29/30th, the North-East Section Isle of Man Meeting on July 4-9th, the London Main Section Meeting on July 21st, the Midland Section Meeting on August 3rd/4th, and further Section Meetings on August 17/18th and September 8th. The Annual Dinner and Dance, the Auction Sale, and the A.G.M. were held in February.
Club’s headquarters and library remain at 14, Fitzhardinge Street, W.1., with Mrs. Dass as Secretary, and social gatherings happen every last-Wednesday at the “Marlborough Head.” Last year’s winner of the Lord Trophy, presented by the Austin Motor Co. Ltd. as the Club’s Victor Ludorum, was G. A. Estler (1904 Siddeley).
V.M.C.C. 5th S.W. Coast Run, May 12th
The Bristol Section of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club will hold this non-competitive run over some 50 miles of scenic coastal and country road between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare on May 12th, with stops for refreshments and lunch respectively at Portishead and Clevedon. Open to all vintage and veteran motorcycles and to cars and commercial vehicles of like age by invitation, this is a popular fixture, details of which are available from Colin Pask, 5, Fussell Court, Hill Street, Kingswood, Bristol.
V.E.V. Miscellany.—A 1930 Sunbeam 16.9 saloon in original condition was for sale in Hampshire. A local paper published an article about the low-priced Horley car, sometimes called the No-Name, which was built in Halcombe Road, Horley, from 1904 to 1914, at premises today partly occupied by Chequers Precision Engineering Ltd., who make components for old cars. Amongst relics unearthed there was a Horley Motor Co. wall plaque. A story of a clergyman’s adventures with a 1932 Austin 7 saloon bought for £32 10s. is not quite the sort of book we would normally recommend, as it is non-technical and very simple, but it may appeal to some 750 M.C. members and other Seven owners—the line drawings are quite good. (“A Baby called Aggie,” by Alan Stephens, Epworth Press, 25-35, City Road, London, E.C.1; 3s. 6d.) There is a Foden steam waggon, not necessarily for sale, in a yard at Galley Hill, Essex. The pilot now holding the earliest existing British licence, Capt. F. K. Keith-Davies, is still managing air transport companies in Johannesburg. A pre-war 15.9-h.p. Willys-Overland Saloon has been laid up in Scotland since 1960, and is now available.
A copy of The Scots Magazine published last summer contained a long article by a lady about ownership in Scotland of a 1905 Arrol-Johnston landaulette, which remained in service until replaced in 1922 by a Fiat. In the same issue it is mentioned that the great brain-surgeon, Professor Norman Dott, O.B.E., likes fast open cars and used to drive at night from his home in Edinburgh to fishing expeditions farther north in his Alvis, the hood of which would never be raised.
The Austin 7 Swallow Register now knows of 61 Swallow-bodied cars, comprising 40 saloons and 21 two-seaters, three of them overseas, which is pretty remarkable considering that production only ran from 1927 to 1932. Jaguar Cars Ltd. donated a Swallow Trophy; won last year by a Mk. II saloon, and it is hoped that this will be competed for at the Beaulieu Austin 7 Rally on July 7th, and that Swallows will congregate at the Bristol Austin 7 Club’s Longleat Rally on August 18th. The Register publishes information of value to those restoring Swallow Austin 7s; details from D. A. Doughty, The Rockery, Church Lane, Chaldon, Caterham, Surrey.
A Lammas-Graham has been seen in a Welsh breaker’s yard. The Austin Seven Advocate for February, duplicated journal of the Austin 7 Register, carried an article on how Austin 7s have been bought and sold recently in the West Country for sums around £10, including a Nippy in running order and taxed for £5, and that splendidly appropriate Castrol advertisement depicting a Chummy and its lubrication chant. A 1924 sleeve-valve 20-h.p. Daimler that had been in the Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry for 13 years was put back on the road after 1½ hours’ work last year. Someone who worked for 35 years as a body-finisher at Longbridge has been thinking of disposing of the 1932 Austin 12/4 saloon which he bought for £80 when it was only six months old and which has stopped involuntarily only twice in 110,000 miles, when the magneto spring broke in 1935 and when a tyre punctured in 1961.
Mr. Smith in Rhodesia (no, not that Smith) seeks dating information about an Adler with 11.8-h.p. 78 x 88-mm. 4-cvlinder 1,5000-c.c. engine, tube radiator, 3-speed gearbox and artillery wheels shod with 32 x 3 tyres, which was bought secondhand in London during a honeymoon in 1912. Still they turn up—a 1923 s.v. Aston Martin, which was stored in pieces in a barn in 1932, is now for sale. A 1926 Armstrong Siddeley 14 tourer has been unearthed in Australia. Atkinson Vehicles Ltd. are anxious to discover and restore one of their pre-1933 commercial vehicles, but have been unable to locate one, although their 1916 prototype steam waggon worked until 1934, a steam tractor served in Liverpool until 1953, several Atkinson locos lasted into the 1950s and an early diesel lorry was running until a few years ago. If anyone can help, we can put them in couch with the Company.
Prices of vintage cars may be dropping; recently a garage advertised a 1928 Citroën described as being in good running order but with untidy body for £15. D. Edwards is building up another 16-valve twin-cam vintage Aston Martin racer, the car used by the Eyston brothers, with the engine G. E. T. Eyston used in his racing boat “Miss Olga.” The Spring issue of the duplicated Journal of the Morris Eight O.C. contains details, with diagrams, of radiators used on Morris cars from vintage o.h.c. Minor to just-pre-war 25-h.p. The public will be welcome at this year’s National Alvis Day at the Crystal Palace on May 19th, when at least 300 of these cars should be present.
H.C.V.C. London-Brighton Run
The Historic Commercial Vehicle Club will, after all, have a London start for their annual run to Brighton on May 5th. The first of the 180 starters will leave Battersea Park at 6 a.m.