V-E-V Odds & Ends, April 1984

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A 1928 Stutz that was turned into a breakdown truck in 1939 after it had run only 35,000 miles, and has been laid up since 1955 in the back of a shed, may hopefully appear in VSCC events after it has been endowed with a four-seater body. Any advice on the latter, and a spare wheel, wheel spanner and a Zenith 105DC carburetter for the car are requested; letters can be forwarded.

Manchester Garages, the main Ford dealers, are holding a Model-T Ford reunion on April 22nd, to celebrate their 65th year in the business, an appropriate region for such an event, as the first British assembly plant for Model-Ts was set up at Trafford Park in 1911. All T owners are welcome: details from J. C. Lloyd, Manchester Garages Ltd, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 0JD. Also on Ford topics, the Ford Sidevalve OC has its 1984 National Sidevalve Rally on July 8th, in connection with the Pottersbury Festival of Transport and as this is the Golden Anniversary of the Ford Popular it is hoped to have a record attendance of such cars and other L-head models to commemorate “Fifty Years of Being Popular”.

A reader who has a 1928 18/80 MG salonette (WL 4440) seeks information as to its history. It is thought to have been the 1928 Show car and to have been driven in the 1929 Monte Carlo Rally by Sir Francis Samuelson. In the 1950s it is believed to have run in VSCC events, breaking down on the way home from one of them when the distributor-drive sheared, and to have been bought from a New Zealander living in this country, who has since returned to New Zealand with other MGs of this kind. Someone else asks for information about the Dublin-built Thomond cars, of circa 1925-1931.

A sad story appeared in a local newspaper in January about the 1925 Long-14 Bean tourer presented to the Black Country Museum by Bean Industries after 18 months restoration work, only for it to be crushed between a tram and a trolley-bus, presumably in the Museum, damaged being estimated at £2,000. Repairs are in hand by Chapman Refinishers of West Tividale, but German-silver headlamps and a radiator shell are required to complete the work, on a car of which only thirty are said to survive. The accident was apparently caused by overcrowding in the Museum, but it is hoped to have the Bean repaired for when the Dudley Museum reopens this month.

Back to letters from readers, we were glad to hear from Mr C. W. B. Marshall, now living in America, whose first visit to Brooklands was from the family home in Ealing in the early 1920s and who worked on Bugattis at Papworth’s from 1933-1934, going as riding mechanic to TASO Mathieson in the first Isle of Man Mannin Moar race, at the age of 22, when, he recalls, they ran into a tripe shop at the end of the Douglas Promenade when the Bugattis’s brake-compensator bevels came out of mesh…

Inspired by our article on the diesel-engined Vulcan, a reader has recalled the patented two-stroke petrol engines designed by his grandfather, Cecil Webb, the first an 894 cc motorcycle which gave 25 bhp at 3,400 rpm in 1920, which our correspondent still possesses, and a 1,798 cc water-cooled engine for which castings were supplied probably by Cowley’s of Birmingham, all machining being done at Lisburn Technical College in Ireland, where Mr Webb was the Headmaster, this engine being developed to give 20 bhp at 1,200 rpm and 31 bhp at 2,400 rpm. That was between 1923 and 1927. One engine was put into a Morris chassis (of which one small picture still exists) and after it had demonstrated excellent torque on the rural hills of Ulster it was shipped to England, circa 1924-26, and the Vulcan Company become interested, Mr Wardman coming to Lisburn to meet Mr Webb. This seems to have resulted in the Morris-Webb being sent back to England, probably early in 1927, unaccompanied. There the story stops, but our correspondent wonders if anyone, perhaps the Vulcan Register, can add anything?

Richard Peskett tells us that while researching WWI Pierce-Arrow trucks he came upon some information about a French military vehicles disposal unit on the Champs de Mars in Paris, where auction sales of discarded vehicles were held about once a week, and from which it was said that between 1917 and 1918 these sales had amounted to 2,844 touring cars, 1,826 motorcycles, 1,655 light commercial vehicles, and 1,134 heavy lorries, which with 2,145 items including parts, etc, raised the equivalent of £1,250,000, some of the more badly damaged vehicles having been repaired by Army mechanics earning 2½d a day, although after a deficiency of motor transport had been met only scrapped vehicles were sold. Among these were the Pierce-Arrow and other lorries, including a 1906 Panhard-Levassor, Latil 4WD tractors, and Purrey steam-waggons used before the war by the Say sugar-refinery for Paris deliveries. What is especially interesting is that the touring cars at this Parisian depot in 1918 ranged from a Bedelia cyclecar to one of the 1914 GP Mercedes. The latter was said to be about to change hands for £2,500, and may well have been how Count Zobrowski obtained the car he raced at Brooklands after the Track reopened in 1920. — W.B.

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