Cars In Books, April 1979

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Cars In Books

I found nothing about motoring in “Forty Years Of A Sportsman’s Life” by Sir Claude Champion De Crespigny, Bt. (Mills & Boon) in spite of the last chapter being titled “Racing By Land And Air” – it means steeplechasing and ballooning. One ballooning item caught my eye. In 1882 Simmons made a cross-Channel ascent from Maldon, covering, it is said, 170 miles in “slightly over an hour and a half”. That seems quick, even by motoring standards. The accounts of ballooning in the 1880s are worth reading (the author broke his leg in a ballooning accident); they include a description of racing by Griffith Brewer with his “Lotus” in 1908, when aviators such as Paulhan and Grahame-White were turning the author’s thoughts towards “perhaps a little aeroplaning”. …

Yet another book in which Brooklands is referred to is “By Jupiter!”, reviewed opposite, because it mentions that Roy Fedden used “to chat to pilots and aircraft engineers at the Blue Bird restaurant on the flying field in the centre of Brooklands race track”, before the First World War. Incidentally, this fascinating book also refers to the 1914 Grand Prix Mercedes that was on show in Long Acre when war was declared in August 1914 being taken to Rolls-Royce in Derby for inspection, the cylinder construction of the R-R “Eagle” aero-engines being copied from it. Some years ago we had a discussion about this in the pages of Motor Sport, as to whether the car was driven to Derby, railed there, or examined in London, and which of the victorious team cars it was, or whether it was the spare car. The author of “By Jupiter!”, Bill Gunston, says the Mercedes racing car was towed to Derby from “the showroom in Shaftesbury Avenue” behind the car of Cmdr. Wilfred Briggs, RN, Head of the RNAS Engine Division. One wonders why it couldn’t have been driven?

Another look at “Portal Of Hungerford” by Denis Richards (Heinemann, 1977) reveals that Viscount Portal’s fierce riding of a “huge motorbike” when he was a young man was remembered by at least one local resident in the Hungerford district years afterwards. The machine was presumably the 6.6 h.p. BAT, which he renewed acquaintance with when home on leave during WW1, “coming down Folly Hill into the Bath Road and roaring round the ‘Bear’ Corner …”. But as a temporary Second Lt., Motor Cycle Section, Royal Engineers (Special Reserve) in France in 1914 Portal rode Douglases, accompanied by C. G. Brocklebank (who later raced a Peugeot at Brooklands), accompanied by “Tubby” in an old Leyland lorry. Portal later became Motor Cyclist Officer, Headquarters Signal Company 1st Corps, and was in charge of all riders in this Company. On leave he had a bad motorcycle accident on the Bath Road, when a front fork broke (presumably on the BAT) and the remarkable coincidence of his parents who were following in a car to a picnic in Savenake Forest and the arrival of another car (rare in 1915) containing a doctor probably saved his life.

The house where Portal was brought up, Eddington House, dating from 1893, which stood in some 400 acres, with about 14 servants, including a butler and his wife, with more outdoor servants, might have formed the subject of one of my “Homes of the Racing Drivers”, except that by 1923, when Portal was running his 1914 Berliet at Brooklands, he was living in a “small house in Woldingham in Surrey”. Incidentally, when I remarked that if Portal saw 100 m.p.h. on the speedometer of a Ford Pilot he had after WW2 it must have been fast I had not realised that this applied to later Fords, which he ran while on the Board of the Ford Motor Company from 1949 to 1964, so may have been possible. – W. B.