Veteran Edwardian Vintage, April 1974

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A section devoted to old-car matters

VSCC Pomeroy Memorial trophy contest, Silverstone (March 2nd)

This now well-established event, planned originally to discover the ideal all-round touring car to rules devised by the late Laurence Pomeroy, is the only occasion when the VSCC permits moderns to compete against the cars for which it caters. This year such notable variety ranged from the 1973 Dino Ferraris and a 1923 30/98 Vauxhall and, in the Special-Sports Cars Class, from Pilkington’s 1971 Auto-Delta T33/3 “singleseater” Alfa Romeo to Bergel’s 1936 Type 35T GP Bugatti. Both had oversize back tyres, the Alfa Romeo running on Firestone “garden rollers”. Cold but sunny weather graced the “Porn”, the first frolic of which was a high-speed “wiggle-woggle” to see which of the assembled “touring cars” ‘could corner properly, with good steering characteristics. Fastest here was Robin Rew’s Reliant Sabre Six, which must prove something or other, but Hall (Triumph Stag) and Flanagan (Ferrari Berlinetta) lost their way.

This was followed by the traditional acceleration-cum-braking test, in which drivers had to decide when it was expedient to change from the “go” to the “stop” pedal, as marks were gained for going away quickly but lost if the stop-line was overshot. It is a sad admission that, on the rather damp braking area, 22 failed to stop in time, out of 49 runners. Of those who performed properly, Hilton’s AC Cobra was excellent, Daniels’ Jaguar E-Type was very marginal, Black’s Ferrari Dino did it nicely, helped by some cadence retardation, Pollard’s Ferrari Dino was outstanding, although locking its front wheels, and Moore managed, in spite of getting his Austin-Healey 3000 a bit out of line. Harbord’s Ferrari Dino came up fast and stopped neatly just within the distance. Bird took it far more gently in his AustinHealey 3000 but only just stopped in time. Incidentally, most of the openable cars had their hoods up, for these tests, as this earned extra marks, so we were again treated to the sight of the Jenkinson/Hewitt TT Lagonda with its minimal Ards hood erect (it is supposed to collapse neatly into a tonneau cover) and I noted that Bird has a sort of sun-panel in his hood.

Racer-noises denoted that Cooper’s exciting Aston Martin DB3S was on its way and its easy-stopping act was very impressive. Mitchell’s Triumph Stag also made it look easy but it stalled its engine. Another very marginal stop was made by Millham’s Lancia Flaminia, but Ellison dabbed the brakes of his Gilburn Genie early on and had no trouble. Wood’s Morgan Plus Four SS weaved a trifle but was stopped in time, with its engine stalled, Rose (Daimler SP250) took it quietly and was o.k., Roper’s Daimler SP250 was even more genteel, while McCall’s SP250 was neat. Terry’s very smart Ford Escort RS 2000 just over-slid, and reversing back availed him nothing. Scott managed the Delahaye 135 nicely, using the external handbrake, Harben was slow-but-sure in the ex-Barnato Speed Six Bentley fabric coupe, Hugh Conway, using his second Type 43 Bugatti, having broken his other one, was fast and sure, the car emitting a nice smell, whereas it was burning rubber we smelt as Tony Jones brought his 30/98 Vauxhall to a dicey halt. He had to replace a piston and then a valve, earlier that week. Curtis in Talbot G053 locked his front wheels and “The Master”, in G052, just stopped in time, stalling the machinery.

Thompson, in a smart Mk. VI Bentley Special, dabbed the anchors on early, to good effect, after which there had to be an Alvis Special, provided by Woolstenholmes and his 4.3, which locked its back wheels, for a change. Brocklebank’s Morgan Plus Four SS came to a blippy, weaving halt, Evans’ Morgan of the same type just managed it, Rew revved hard but eased in time, Smith’s Frazer Nash did a quiet, gentlemanly run, but in spite of a juddering back axle, Russ-Turner’s Bentley Special couldn’t stop. Phillips’ 328 BMW was neat, but stopped its engine, and Sellers, sitting in his Citroën 11cv “bath”, protected from draughts by a tiny aero-screen, was quick and very good with the anchors, which locked the undriven wheels. This 1937 Citroen had a souped-up engine and a Cooper constant-mesh four-speed gearbox and if the VSCC doesn’t approve, they can blame it all on Tim Carson, who enthused over these cars before the war!

After having to concentrate on stopping, the competitors were next allowed to go, in the, again traditional, standing and flying quarter-mile tests. As these are electricallytimed, take place slightly up-hill, and the course was dry with no wind, the times are interesting.

Russ-Turner did not even complete the s.s. quarter-mile, because the linkage to the SUs which feed the out-size supercharger on the Bentley became unlatched. At the end of the run the Dinos were doing some 115 m.p.h. As the Deep Sanderson is of 2,993 c.c., against the Willment Cobra’s 4,727 c.c., Dedds probably thought his winter trip to Silverstone worthwhile!

There remained the Half-Hour High Speed Trial, taken in two doses by dividing-up the cars, in which from 15 to 20 laps of the Club circuit had to be covered. Had Clark’s 7.6-litre Lola T70 been present it would have been asked to circulate 23 times in 30 minutes, but it wasn’t. Star-turn was undoubtedly Pilkington’s Alfa Romeo, started, or so it appeared, by having a pole thrust up its rear. But although it led the field ahead of the second batch of cars, lapping in about 68 sec., it was, alas, mis-firing (its times in the acceleration thing had been 18.51 and 10.63 sec., respectively). The Delahaye, which had been properly washed in the paddock, now flung mud all over itself, after spinning beyond Beckett’s and bogging down, Roper (Daimler) had “moments” at Woodcote during the first run, and Dufiy’s AC Ace-Bristol blew a gasket. In the second run Brocklebank’s Morgan Plus-4 SS stopped suddenly with ignition trouble.

Of non-competing cars, D. B. Tubbs had come from Kent as a try-out for his recently completed side-valve Aston Martin, and I noticed a very fine cloverleaf HE and an immaculate Morris-Oxford saloon.—W.B.

Results:

Pomeroy Memorial Trophy: J. A. F. Blight (1931 Talbot 105).

Winner of Special Sports Cars Class: S. Phillips (1938 BMW 328).

First Class Awards: R. Cooper (1954 Aston Martin DB3S) 13. R. Terry (1973 Ford Escort RS2000) S. Curtis (1931 Talbot 105), R. Row (1963 Reliant Sabre Six) and H. C. Bergel (1926 Type 35T Bugatti).

Second Class Awards: C. Rose (1961 Daimler SP250). J. M. McCall (1959 Daimler SP250), H. G. Conway (1928 Type 43 Bugatti) and P. Dodds (1966 Deep Sanderson 303).

Third Class Awards: W. D. A. Black (1973 Ferrari Dinor246GT), M. T. Hilton (1964 Ferrari 2750TB), N. J. Wood (1959 Morgan Plus-4 SS) and W. Sellers (1937 Citroën It c.v.).

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