V-E-V odds & ends, April 1983
The matter of speed-guarantees in vintage times that we raised recently seems to have provoked much interest and we note that in 1921 Edwards & Parry of New Bond Street, W1, claimed to be the largest dealers in Horstman cars, “the first British car to finish in the 200 Mile Race”, and that they could supply replicas of these 1½-litre racing light cars guaranteed to do 70 m.p.h., and Kenneth Day, President of the Alvis OC, reminds us that in an Alvis catalogue dated December 17th, 1928, apart from using the slogan “Master of the King’s Highway.” which they used for many years, Alvis Ltd. were guaranteeing the £650 four-cylinder supercharged FWD Alvis to cover the Brooklands flying half-mile at 90 m.p.h. and their straight-eight supercharged £975 FWD car was guaranteed to do this at 100 m.p.h. In fact, both these guaranteed speeds were stated to be conservative and could be consistently exceeded. On the other matter, of durability-guarantees, the FWD Alvis chassis was guaranteed for one year. As Mr. Day says, as one of the very few British car makers to produce a 1½-litre car able to lap Brooklands at over 100 m.p.h. prior to 1930, the Company’s speed claims were presumably justified, at least in their own eyes. The first of the Inter-Register contests this year is that by the Humber Register, in Dorset, on April 24th.
The AGM of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club takes place on April 24th, in the Forte Suite of the Excelsior Hotel, Bath Road, West Drayton, Middlesex. Among the interesting exhibits in the Industrial Museum in Bradford is a two-stroke Scott-Sociable twin-track three-wheeler.
The Bean CC will hold its traditional Daffodil Run on April 17th, from Knowl Hill to Bournemouth. Going to look at a vintage 2-litre Lagonda that is being restored, with twin SC carburetters, the other day, it was interesting to find that the owner’s enthusiasm for this and many other interesting cars he has restored, including a Stutz, may have been hereditary, because his grandfather was a pioneer motorist. I was shown photographs of this gentleman driving a De Dion Bouton and the many cars he had when running a hire-business and motor-coach service in Kent. These included small Napier, Daimler and Mercedes landaulettes, what were possibly Wolseley-Siddeleys, and after the 1914 / 18 war a 45 h.p. Daimler with open rumble-home tourer body and a 40/50 h.p. Rolls-Royce. His grandmother was with early aeroplanes, Thanet aerodrome being adjacent and one old print would be interesting to those who study the history of coachbuilding, as it shows a 25 h.p. Talbot of the early 1920s with a closed body by Martin & Young of Cheltenham, a firm that may still, I believe, be making bodywork. Another photograph shows a fine all-weather body on an obviously new 23/60 h.p. Vauxhall chassis, possibly by the same coachbuilder. The coach business was started, it appears, with Lancia coaches and there is a picture of a much later Daimler coach with Weymann body, used for a fast service between Thanet and London. A week later we were looking at a very rare 1919 20 h.p. four-cylinder sleeve-valve Minerva in the English Midlands, owned by a lady who is a grand-daughter of the Citroën family who imported Minervas to England from Belgium (naturally, she used to use Citroëns), and whose father was William Holloway, who founded with his brother the Minerva Company in London. The old back-braked Minerva has been used for the five wedding receptions of the owners’ children and is at present being refurbished, being in running order. It carries a handsome dark blue coupé body with dickey-seat, the bonnet being aluminium and the original Minerva headlamp being intact. Several photographs of the Minerva team in the 1914 TT race exist, at which Mr. Holloway was present, and Committee SMM & T badges for the Motor Shows of pre-war and post-war times, including that of the combined White City and Olympia Exhibition we referred to recently. The AGM of the Classic Vehicles Clubs’ Committee which does so much to safeguard the old-vehicles movement will take place on Sunday, April 10th at 11 a.m., at a venue to be advised. A learned article on the Bugatti railcars, by H. G. Conway, FIMechE., appeared in the Chartered Mechanical Engineer for January. Which reminds us that when Hugh Conway said Ettore Bugatti bought his bowler hats in London’s Bond Street, adding “Where else?” it induced a reader to remark that St. James’s Street would be the answer, because there James Lock & Co. have been making their “Coke” headwear since 1850, when the first of these hard hats was made by them for Sir William Coke of Norfolk. Our correspondent says these hats are the best of their kind, they just look right. They became regulation wear for members of the Brigade of Guards when in mufti. Lock’s was established in St. James’s Street in 1676 but although the company keeps records of its customers it cannot say whether it ever made Cokes. or bowlers, for Ettore Bugatti. The VSCC Mendip Night Navigation Run of February 19th/20th, that replaced the Shropshire slash that in turn replaced the Measham Rally, had two dozen nocturnal supporters, of whom two retired, the Potter / Hughes 1930 12/40 h.p. Lea-Francis and the Wilsons’ 1926 Austin 7 Chummy. The winner of the Measham Trophy was veteran Peter Binns in his 1929 Riley 9, navigated by David Filsell, a fine effort, especially as it was run into by a modern car and had its chassis lozenged. The Class Two Cup was won by Cattell and Cork in a 1933 Riley Lynx 12/6, and the Jeddere-Fisher Cup by Mr. and Mrs. Threlfall in their well-used Model-A Ford sedan. Second-class awards went to Barwell / Gartshaw (1924 30/98 Vauxhall), Harris and Hill (1936 Lagonda Rapide) and Tanner and Close (1915 Rolls-Royce), third-class awards being secured by the Wickhams’ 12/50 Alvis, and the Cann / Pierce 15/95 Aston Martin. — W.B.