Three GNs

An interview with Stafford East

One of the articles which excited me very much when I was a small boy, reading avidly all the motoring papers I could lay my hands on, was that headed “The Fastest Cyclecar in The World!” which appeared, with nine enticing illustrations, in The Light Car & Cyclecar on June 16th, 1920. It was a description of Captain A.G. Frazer-Nash’s famous GN “Kim”, which the journal’s reporter had run to earth in the GN works at East Hill, Wandsworth. Thereafter I followed with especial attention the successes of this slim, single-seater, vee-twin racing car, although I never saw it until nearly 60 years later, after that extremely able and practical GN enthusiast, Mr. E.A. Stafford East, had meticulously resuscitated “Kim” to its 1924 form, as it was when the celebrated “Archie” Frazer-Nash last raced it.

This GN “Kim” was conceived before the first World War (it competed at the 1914 S. Harting hill-climb), using a wooden chassis, belt-drive, wire-and-bobbin steering and the special engine which H.R. Godfrey, Nash’s partner in the GN business, had designed at Hendon in 1913 for the 1914 Cyclecar Grand Prix, which never happened on account of the war. This engine had inclined push-rod-operated overhead valves, with Austro-Daimler details, two per head, the air-cooled cylinders of 84 mm. bore, with a stroke of 94 mm. (1,086 c.c.), being held down on the crankcase by four long studs, as in the standard GN engine. Much of this GN racing engine was different from standard practice. It had a ball-bearing mainshaft in a cast iron housing bolted to the back of the crankcase, the cylinder heads are believed to be the first ever made from bronze and the nickel steel valves were arranged at 90° to form hemispherical combustion chambers. Other important differences being the cam contours, the specially-lightened aluminium pistons (which replaced the lightweight steel originals), two oil-leads from the total-loss oil-tank, to crankcase and main-bearing, an unheated carburetter, an off-set magneto to enable a slightly longer chain to be used for driving it, and bronze and steel big-ends.

Ron Godfrey’s favourite overhung crankshaft was used and this engine was installed in 1919 in a steel instead of in a wood chassis, but the wire-and-bobbin steering was retained, the steering-column now emerging on the near-side instead of on the off-side. The body was an exciting pointed-nose single-seater, on the lines which that of Basil Davenport’s equally-famous “Spider’. will have made familiar to the present generation, ending in a pointed tail. In its Post-Armistice form “Kim” had a three-speed transmission on the well-known GN/Frazer Nash chain-and-dog system, giving ratios of 7, 4½ and 3 to 1, altered however to suit prevailing competition requirements, and it had the expected 1/4-elliptic springs, damped at the back by Houdaille shock-absorbers, while as a safeguard against breakage, the top spring leaves were “catcher” leaves curved over at the front to hold the axle in place should the main spring-eye break, these extra top leaves also doing some additional damping. Petrol was contained in a tank in the tail and fed by air-pressurisation, provided by a hand-pump from a shot-down war-time Fokker aeroplane, labelled “Benzine”. To prevent his foot slipping from the accelerator pedal Frazer-Nash had all three composed of rectangular GN (brake and clutch) pedals. The narrow cockpit of “Kim” had a dash carrying a Smith’s 100 m.p.h. speedometer driven from the near-side front wheel, a tachometer, and a pressure gauge. “Kim I” ran on 650 x 65 Palmer cord tyres in those days and the seat cushion was composed simply of a folded-up inner tube, suitably inflated. The Reg. No, then was MC-4490 but various different ones were to grace this GN along the years, Nash having a liking for Irish numbers. (Incidentally, I think the original photographs in The Light Car & Cyclecar of 1920 prompted Derek Dent, a later “Chain-Gang” exponent, to make in 1924 his little model of “Kim”, using Meccano clothed in aluminium, with miniature wire wheels made for him by a professional model aeroplane builder.)

At the time when this article appeared Nash undoubtedly had Brooklands’ fastest cyclecar, which would have been doing over 80 m.p.h. coming off the bankings. When the Light Car & Cyclecar’s journalist went to see it Frazer-Nash was late in arriving, as he had been to fetch his Avro 504, and he hadn’t much time for the Press because he was busy designing a house for himself; which nicely sets the scene. “Kim” did well on the Track winning two races at Whitson, the fastest at 72 m.p.h. and a sprint race at the Summer meeting, again at 72 m.p.h., although suffering a broken rocker in an MCC race. But at the 1920 BARC August Meeting, Frazer-Nash was catching up with his old rival George Bedford’s very fast 1 1/2-litre Hillman, on the damp Track, and in pulling out to pass he got into a bad skid, “Kim” going through the corrugated iron fence bordering the Railway straight. The little car was badly damaged and was brought back to the Paddock on a hand-cart, but its driver got off with cuts and a broken collar-bone.

He immediately set about rebuilding the GN, retaining the same engine, using a new steel chassis, and for a time wire-and-bobbin steering, which he said gave “a better feel”. After 1920, GN geared-steering was fitted and “Kim II” was as successful as its fore-runner. Appearing for the first time at the 1920 JCC Brooklands Meeting, it won every event for which it was entered, being timed over a flying-kilometre at 85.38 m.p.h., very fast indeed for a two-cylinder 1,100 c.c. cyclecar at that period. It won again at the Autumn meeting, averaging 78 1/2 m.p.h. in a normal handicap, and it then beat far bigger cars in winning the concluding sprint-race, at 73.84 m.p.h. However, Capt. Frazer-Nash decided it would be safer to use a longer-wheelbase GN on the Track, and “Kim II” was retired from this activity in favour of “Mowgli”, with a chain-drive o.h.-camshaft engine. “Kim” continued to appear in sprint events, permitted on public roads at that time, with devastating effect. In his great books about GN and Frazer Nash history, David Thirlby says it scored 112 firsts making f.t.d. on many of these occasions, often against far more powerful cars. I have not counted, but certainly some of the speed-trial and hill-climb victories achieved by “Kim” deserve to be listed in the accompanying table. (Until June, 1920 it seems to have been called “Moldy I”, but was then rechristened “Kim I” and then “Kim II” after the crash in August of that year.)

In the very first issue of The Brooklands Gazette (Motor Sport’s fore-runner) Capt. Frazer-Nash wrote of some of the thrills he had experienced at the wheel of “Kim”. He used to drive it long distances on the road en route for speed events, such as from Wandsworth to Sutton Bank in Yorkshire, or to the Skegness sand-races, the little car provided for the purpose with windscreen with bad-weather vision-slot, a hood that enveloped the cockpit, and brackets [the lamp brackets were left in place at speed events, perhaps as protection for “Kim’s” exposed valve stems. – W.B.] for oil (later tiny electric) lamps. Also an AA badge on its knife-edge prow.. . . Nash remembered trying to read the speedometer against that of the tachometer on his way to the Sutton Bank hill-climb — he said 3,000 r.p.m. equalled about 60 m.p.h. — when, looking up, he found he was fast approaching a right-angle turn over a bridge. The skid he experienced on braking hard spun him off the road and that which he had in the speed hill-climb was nothing in comparison! Then on another road journey there was an inversion, when “Kim” hit a bank not seen in a cloud of dust and fell into a ditch, Nash hearing the crack of a broken rib as he took the weight of the almost undamaged car. He also described the moments at Shelsley Walsh in 1922 when he almost overturned at the lower corner, “Kim” however obligingly dropping back onto all four wheels just as Archie had instinctively put out his right hand to press on the railings. He continued his climb with buckled off-side wheels and a front tyre flapping loose.

It is this famous GN that Stafford East has so painstakingly rebuilt. It had been sold by Frazer-Nash (the Directors of GN owned their own racing cars) to J.A. Hall in the summer of 1924, and then went to Lewis Humphries, and R.G. Moore ran it at Skegness in 1925. It is thought that A.C.M. Jameson, who is believed to have finally blown-up the aged engine, had it next. Ron Godfrey then bought what was left of his old brain-child. One con-rod was certainly broken but he put the barrels back on the crankcase and in this form the famous engine was exhibited at the first Racing Car Show to be held after the war, mounted on a suitable display-stand, although in fact there were no rods or pistons in it. Stafford East was at that Exhibition with Kenneth Bear’s Type 51 GP Bugatti, and, seeing the GN engine, decided he would like to see what could be done about re-creating “Kim”.

I asked him why he was so keen on doing this, his interest in GNs not seeming to be quite in keeping with his well-known association with racing Bugattis. He prepared Bear’s cars and today has a quite splendid Type 59 in his garage, fully restored, even to Stafford East respoking its complicated wire wheels (but that is another story), a 4.9-litre Type 50 Bugatti, and the ex-Col. G.M. Giles’ Type 57T Bugatti. for which brother Eric Giles designed the Bertelli body. Col. Giles named this Bugatti “Teresa” and I recall some satisfying pre-war runs in it. It was sold to Stapleton and Stafford East is its third owner; he took it to last year’s BOC Rally in Hyde Park, where he took the first prize jointly with Peter Hampton, which shows how far sighted Eric Giles was when designing the body in 1935. “So why this interest in GN cyclecars?”, I enquired.

The answer was simple. Stafford East’s first car was a GN. “In fact,” he added, “I have had a chain-drive car of one sort or another ever since.” This is borne out by the very interesting car of this kind which he built up for himself recently, as a practical road car and certainly not a replica of anything in particular. It has an original vintage long-wheelbase chassis, an AC Six engine, Frazer Nash radiator, Frazer Nash-type four-speed and reverse transmission (the chains easily accessible on lifting a floorboard, and spare chains carried in a chassis cross-member), hydraulic f.w.b., ex-Triumph, and Fiat rear brakes with ribbed, alloy drums. The body is an open two-seater which reminded me, probably incorrectly, of a similar car R.G.J. Nash made before the war, with a twin-cam four-cylinder Anzani engine.

Stafford East’s first car, then, was a 70/- GN, bought from Norman Finlayson. In fact, the 70-bob was intended to cover two GNs, but only one was delivered. A wooden body was made for it and it was used on the road for about a year. Stafford East’s father had cars but did not really trust them. Nevertheless, they ran to a 3-litre Bentley, and later a rather good i.o.e. Triumph Gloria. In 1924 the subject of his interview, as a very small boy, bullied his father, into taking him to near-by Kop Hill, in the family’s 1924 Hotchkiss-engined Morris-Cowley, where he saw “Kim” in action, and famous drivers like Parry Thomas competing, and the eradicable bug which so many of us picked up when quite young has afflicted Stafford East ever since.

His next acquisition was another GN — they used to cost from 30/- upwards — bought from an RAF chap at Halton Camp. It had a 60-deg. magneto for the 90-deg. engine and on the journey home one cylinder consequently glowed cherry-red and the engine was never much good afterwards. Another 30-bob was spent on a Morris-Cowley power unit, which went into the GN chassis, using an Alvis radiator. This was really too heavy an engine, but as the three-speed gearbox was retained there vvas great joy at engaging the second reverse and creeping forward with the prop.-shaft rotating the wrong way, or of effecting an upward gear-change in reverse! The Morris engine was changed for a much lighter 10/23 Talbot engine, but this lacked power.

Among these touring GNs, in one or other of which the young owner would drive to Brooklands and back from Chesham Bois, there was “a short burst of Austin Sevens, which I didn’t much like,” before Stafford East obtained from Bobby Pattenden the ex-Windle Boulogne Frazer Nash. It was an Anzani car, in which a Meadows 4ED engine had been installed at the works. That was retained until after World War II during which there was a much-liked AC Six and a vintage 4 1/2-Bentley. That was followed by a spell with 2-litre Lagondas, both normal and supercharged; “they made different noises but the blown ones didn’t go any faster!.” So to the Bugatti days.

True to form, Stafford East still has a touring GN, or more properly a sports GN, for his smart dark blue two-seater is a 1922 Vitesse, with the overhead camshafts, vee-twin engine in which a single exposed chain, behind the cylinders, drives the camshafts, as evolved in 1921 for Archie Frazer-Nash’s “Mowgli”, the replacement Brooklands car for “Kim II”. Godfrey told Stafford East that he had a 75 m.p.h. car in this “Vitesse” GN and I was told that this is quite correct. It will do a comfortable 70 m.p.h., and then creep up the final five m.p.h., at which speed it feels quite happy, especially as its owner knows exactly what a GN should sound and feel like, should anything begin to go amiss. This GN is registered GN-1922, Stafford East’s late wife having made him a birthday present of the number. A quickly detachable bonnet, a feature of all three GNs, spigots neatly into its wooden supports, a tip given to Stafford East by Ron Godfrey.

Before he started to rebuild “Kim” Stafford East did the same to one of the 200-Mile Race Akela GNs. When the Junior Car Club announced its ambitious Brooklands Light Car Race of this distance in 1921 the GN Company set about creating a special racing vee-twin engine with which to compete. This had overhead camshafts operating four-valves-per-cylinder and there were two sparking plugs in each bronze head. The camshafts were driven by a centre vertical shaft and a bevel-driven cross-shaft, the engine being called the “I-Swear” engine at the works, as someone thought it looked like the raised clenched-fist sign people give in Court when taking the oath! It is interesting that the overhung crank was retained for these advanced racing engines. The bore and stroke were again 84 x 98 mm., putting the Akela GN into the 1,100 c.c. class. Only the one GN was entered for the race, driven by Capt. Frazer-Nash. The neat two-seater body had a transverse cylindrical fuel tank half-sunk into the tail decking. The “radiator” was an open shell, the one-piece bonnet having a small “vee” ahead of the cylinders. The lone GN gained a very useful win, at an average speed of 71.54 m.p.h., finishing well ahead of the French four-cylinder Salmson. The Akela engine gave 33.3 m.p.g. of petrol and 80 m.p.g. of oil under these severe conditions and the GN clocked 77.45 m.p.h. on its final lap, which implies that it was doing over 80 m.p.h. flat-out.

Thus encouraged, three of these cars were entered for the 1922 200-Mile Race. The drive to the o.h.-camshafts was by a vertical shaft up the front of each cylinder on two of them but Nash used his 1921 cross-shaft engine — perhaps the third of the new Akela engines wasn’t ready in time? The older engine had been hard used and in the race it broke the near-side piston, which was believed to be of an experimental type anyway. Undeterred, Nash and his mechanic L.A. Cushman set about putting in a piston from another GN, in a matter of 35 mimutes (some reports say 42 minutes), finishing the race in fifth place, to give the GNs the Team Prize, as Godfrey was 3rd, behind the Salmsons and Hawkins fourth. Nash had averaged nearly 79 m.p.h., to take the class standing-start 50-mile record, and his overall average was still 62 m.p.h. Stafford East tells me that it would not have been all that difficult to get a “pot” off an Akela engine and that as the camshaft-drives were splined, the timing would not be lost, but I suppose it may have been a bit more tricky with the “I-Swear” motor. (Incidentally, this wasn’t the first nor the last time Frazer-Nash would do this. “Kim” cracked a piston at the 1920 Brooklands sumrner meeting but Nash fitted another one and went out to win a race later that afternoon, at 72.5 m.p.h., and when he was racing Ulster Austin Sevens Nash changed a supercharger during the 1930 “Double Twelves”.) By 1923 the GN racing team had been disbanded, but F.N. Pickett ran his Akela GN in that year’s 200-Mile Race, and again in 1924, and Pickett’s chauffeur Ringwood ran one in the “roadcircuit 1925 “200” and others to run these GNs at Brooklands were Miss Ivy Cummings, L.C.G.M. Le Champion and A.P.F. Dempster, as recounted in my book “The History of Brooklands Motor Course” (Grenville, 1980).

Stafford East got his Akela GN (Engine No. 309-6) from Basil Davenport in the mid-1950s and Davenport later built up another, which Ron Sant now has. A third is owned by Bill Craddock (see Motor Sport for September, 1964). As Sant says, out of four, or possibly five, of these cars three still exist, and five engines, so they might one day beat the record of surviving ERAs! Stafford East thinks his was probably a spare car, at the time of the 200-Mile Races. He remarks that, with their drilled chassis-frames, they must have been the lightest racing GNs but with the heaviest of the GN engines. (For the 1921 “200” Nash used but one brake.) In passing, Craddock found the “I-Swear” Akela engine in Leeds, through a Motor Sport advertisement, after it had been missing for many years. As acquired, Stafford East’s car was terribly incomplete. He thinks it was Miss Ivy Cummings’ car, later raced by E.L.F. Mucklow and then by H.B. Showell in single-seater guise. Davenport didn’t use it and indeed, by then, it had no crankcase or crankshaft and there were only a few engine bits and pieces. The indefatigable new owner set about making what was required in his own workshop, everything, as on “Kim”, being made as closely as possible to the original, except for the use of better materials in some instances. The steering boxes of these cars were of aluminium, and even the saddle-oil-tank under the floor has been made. Stafford East has put the car back into exact 200-Mile Race form, being permitted by Ron Godfrey to copy the original body drawings. The Akela GN “radiator”, unlike the single casting of the later touring GNs, had an aluminium top-section. This Stafford East cast accurately from melted-down pistons. The finishing touch was one of Ron Sant’s under bonnet GN plates — engraved with the correct engine and chassis numbers. It is so easy to write of such painstaking work, but to me it is quite incredible, and fills me with envy! Stafford East served an engineering apprenticeship and then went on to the College of Automobile Engineering at Chelsea, where he remembers that the house-warden at the Hall-of-Residence at Wimbledon used to dash about in a supercharged Austin Seven. He then ran his own well-known garage for many years and still owns the property. When he set about the other great GN rebuild, of “Kim”, he decided to have “Kim II” as it was when last used by Archie Frazer-Nash, in 1923/24. When he first thought about the project he said to Ron Godfrey that it would be a pity to have two “Kims”, but he was determined to make a reincarnation, knowing that Godfrey was thinking himself of rebuilding “Kim”. Ron then drove over in his Standard Ten to see the 200-Mile Race GN rebuild. At the time, he was making himself up a 1921 i.o.e. touring GN and said that he had no pedals for it. “If I make a set the car will have no recognition on it, because the only place where GN appeared on this model was on the pedals,” he said. So Stafford East found him a set. Godfrey responded with a present of a fine Gordon Crosby painting of a touring GN and the close friendship was cemented.

When Stafford East asked if he could borrow one of the precious bronze (Thirlby says brass) cylinder heads of “Kim’s” engine, in order to copy it, Godfrey readily lent it. He was, by then, retired from his HRG activities, was living at Bramley, and had completed the water-wheel at his mill-house so that he could be independent of mains electricity. Unfortunately, he became ill and told Stafford-East he could have “Kim”. Recovering for a time, he changed his mind, but promised to leave “Kim” to Stafford East in his will. However, when Godfrey next called on Stafford East he saw the pattern for casting a “Kim” cylinder head and, recognising that here was someone who know exactly how to proceed, told Stafford East to come over with his van and collect the aged racer. . . not long afterwards Godfrey died.

Not much was left of “Kim II”. Apparently three sets of engine castings had been made in 1913 but one of the sets and all the bronze heads had been lost during World War 1 and the other set, discovered under a workbench, was used with cast iron heads and parallel o.h.v., for Godfrey’s GN “Bluebottle”, a belt-drive racer. Here I must digress to tell you how that GN got its name. Apparently at the “Elms”, Frazer-Nash’s mother’s place at Hendon, the first GN drawing-office, stores, and “argument room” there was a hay-loft in the stables. Up there Nash and Godfrey would get out two old deck-chairs and sit in contemplation, until Nash pulled out his revolver to shoot at bluebottles on the ceiling. He never hit one, but Godfrey worked out that, a crack shot, he always planted a bullet exactly where a fly had settled. The bluebottles had better acceleration than the bullets, so this was the logical name for this lightweight single-seater GN, thought at the time to possess better pick-up over the first ten yards even than “Kim”. Godfrey said he used to “adjust the driving-belts to a nicety,” which enabled them to do all the slipping as he banged in the clutch. He used to Seccotine the tyres to the rims (this in the pre-Bostic days) to make sure these did not slip, pulling the valve out, or come off. To prevent slip Frazer-Nash used to tie a rope round the clutch pedal, bring this along the side of the cockpit, and haul on it with his left hand when making a sprint start – “the Frazer-Nash Rope Trick”. It can be said that Frazer-Nash was very clever with cam-contours to gain more power, whereas Ron Godfrey believed in drilling holes for lightness. They also tended to go for high “gear” ratios rather than high engine speeds. Those were some of the things we talked about, as we discussed “Kim’s” rebuild.

How, for instance, Godfrey would take a specially good magneto into his office, intending to keep it for his own car, only to find that Archie had taken it after all, of how Nash once called on Godfrey after they had retired and Ron showed his old partner a fine clock in many pieces, which he was going to put together, another of his hobbies. To Ron’s surprise Archie took little notice, nor did he on his next visit. But when Ron was reassembling the timepiece he was troubled to find one gear wheel too many – unseen, on his second visit Archie had dropped one from a useless alarm-clock into the bowl containing the dismantled parts! How Davenport, having built up a 1922 touring GN, decided to drive down from Macclesfield in it and visit some of his old friends. Calling at Frazer-Nash’s house, he told the maid he had bought the car new from her master but wasn’t pleased with it and had come to complain – which the girl believed as she announced the visitor, confronted with the 40-year-old GN. . . . ! Of how Godfrey, opening the bonnet of his Standard Ten, said to Stafford East, “Look at all those wires. I don’t know what they do. We used two feet of wire, one foot to each plug, on a GN and it went just as well!”

There were no drawings of “Kim” – probably there never had been any. So innumerable photographs had to be consulted in rebuilding it, the wheelbase settled by the chassis, as this had been standard GN. Many bits of the engine were missing, but this isn’t the sort of thing to deter Stafford East. He cast a new crankcase and made much of the rest of the car, using original GN components wherever possible. Body, fuel-tank and so on were made in the home workshop, the former from the correct-gauge aluminium, and even the little “Benzine” label wasn’t overlooked. (Thirlby says that after “Kim’s” crash the body was repaired and used for “Kim II” but this isn’t what Frazer-Nash said and is why, I think, Dent copied the 1920 photographs for his previously-mentioned model of “Kim”, but using the front axle apron sometimes fitted in 1923. To me “Kim II” seems to have a higher nose, more as on “Spider”.) Godfrey had supplied lots of parts, including a big bronze sprocket, which is probably the one used for taking the Test Hill record at Brooklands. To use a standard GN steering box in the single-seater, an extended shaft to the drop-arm was used, keeping the column and box central. Stafford East has reproduced this correctly, of course. Godfrey asked him to promise to run the car only on straight-sided tyres, so it is on 26” x 3” motorcycle covers, otherwise beaded-edge tyres would have been fitted. When all was completed, a most commendable resurrection, Cushman was invited to look over “Kim” as he had done the Akela GN, and he couldn’t fault either of them. By the way, this was “Cushy” who in 1922 went through that 200-Mile Race lying down on a mattress under a tonneaux cover, in the GN, this giving rise to that immortal Cushman remark, after Frazer-Nash had announced that there was nothing in the race-regulations to say the mechanic had to sit upright: “and they don’t say he has to be alive at the finish of the race, either. . . !” Cushman, who went to GNs from the Martinsyde aeroplane factory, and after leaving Frazer-Nash Ltd., to Invicta’s and Railton’s, once beat Nash’s time with a 1,500 c.c. GN up the Test Hill, in a 1,100 c.c. GN, and was told “Not to do it again or you will get the sack!” This did not prevent Cushman setting the cyclecar record for the Brooklands Test Hill to 8.6 sec. in 1923, in “Kim” – perhaps he had proved his point.

Enquiring what machine-tools Stafford East had, for remaking “Kim”, Godfrey said “You can make it all on a 6” lathe – We did!” One thing that took a long time to find for the car was the right size of Houdaille shock-absorbers for the back axle – the normal ones were too big. Eventually a pair the correct size was found in France by Ralph Wilde, late of Dunlop’s who owns a Vitesse GN, Nash apparently having used the smaller Continental Houdailles in 1920. The engine has a compression-ratio of about 5 to 1 and uses a Zenith carburettor.

With this careful resuscitation completed, it only remained to apply for the correct Registration number – IT-327 being the one usually associated with “Kim II”. This was no problem, after a policeman had called to inspect the car, asking about “The MG,” as he had never heard of a GN. After which, mudguards were fitted and “Kim” was taxed. Stafford East tells a nice story of taking the racing GN back to Kop Hill, for a nostalgic run up the one-time sprint venue. On arriving here, he encountered a Police Panda car. He told the occupants what he was about, saying that the car was legal but that it might be a bit more noisy than a modern car, as it sets up a decent crackle. The young policemen raised no objection. In fact, they asked for a postponement while the local baker was fetched, as they knew he had seen this very car in action on the hill in the old days, before they were born.

Since then “Kim”, still wearing its AA badge, has been to a Brooklands Re-Union, where it attracted the attention it deserves. That might be the cue on which to end this article. But I must just say that, unbelievable as it may seem, Stafford East’s interests do not rest with these GNs, his road-equipped Special, and the Bugattis. He used to ride an SS80 Brough-Superior in trials, made a torpedo-bodied sidecar for it, found he could not corner it properly with the Bentley and Draper spring-frame, so fitted a matching B and D sidecar-chassis. His late wife used to ride a 4-valve Rudge special and needless to say he keeps both these machines in pristine order. Nor is this the end of his motorcycling activities. In addition, he has a number of others, some awaiting restoration, some immaculate, including a 996 c.c. J.A.P.KTOR Coventry-Eagle solo, an overhead-valve 350 c.c. vintage Humber , a Scott, a Rudge Multi, a 1908 Motosacoche, and a New Hudson. “Motoring enthusiasm personified” seems a weak label to apply to this modest and very capable engineer. – W.B.