Referring to your article “Out of the Past” in the January issue of Motor Sport, and to the delightful photos on the adjoining page, I was wondering if the enclosed photos of mine would be of any interest to you?
The large photo is one of my eldest brother in his 1912 Itala. This was taken in 1922 in Ince Woods, Great Crosby, Liverpool (the main road from Liverpool to Southport passes through these woods, although now the nice flat cobble-stones have given way to tar). This car had a beautifully-made body, and served the family well for many years.
The two smaller photographs are of the same car, a 1913 Mercedes, both taken in 1923, in Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, during the family holidays. The photo shows my eldest brother again at the wheel (myself and twin brother are the ones in school caps). As you can see it was the ideal holiday car, more suited to the Anglesey roads than the Itala. This Mercedes was apparently a German staff car during the 1914-18 war, and my brother bought it in London in 1919. It then had the body you see in the photo, which had no doors and four ex-RFC aeroplane seats (leaving plenty of room for extra rear passengers to sit on the floor!). The steering wheel was a beauty, very large, with a horn ring. The handbrake and gear-lever were outside the body. The two little ventilators were not dummies, but worked. The car was very low-geared and the chassis extremely strong, and the body being so light the car was easily able to cope with these large number of passengers. The car was eventually sold in 1928 for £25 and, sad to say, ended its days as a lorry.
My present car is a 1934 Austin Seven, which is still in pristine condition, and goes extremely well. My first car was a 1920 GWK two-seater, a rather poor car, the friction-drive used to slip and the 10-h.p. Coventry Climax engine it had was prone to big end trouble (my twin brother and I bought it for £25 in 1927).
Before closing I must say how much I and my brothers enjoy Motor Sport. We have all taken it for years and hope to do so for many more to come.
Prenton, Ron Roddick.