V-E-V Odds & Ends, April 1985

Philip Mann, who so thoroughly restored a 1914 GP Mercedes, has sold this historic car to Charles Howard of C.A.R. Howard Ltd., dealers in fine motor cars. A Belgian reader is tracing the racing career of a local driver Arthur Legat, who started racing with a CGS Amilcar and Type 37A and 35B Bugattis from 1926. In 1948 this driver acquired a 4CM Maserati (chassis no. 6CM 1531, engine no. 4CM 1552) from a Mr Colombelli in Paris, who had bought it from Harry Schell. Legal died in 1960 and the Maserati was sold to Andre Pilette and is rumoured to have been raced by Raymond Sommer. After that it came to England and is thought to be the Rovere chassis now owned by Butti and the engine used by Joel Finn, but more detailed information is sought. Among the pre-war cars winning class awards in the Holker Hall Rally were a 1912 Delaunay-Belleville, a 1924 Morris-Cowley, a 1926 Humber, a 1933 Buick and a 1933 Talbot 75. The Model-T Ford described last September was wrongly said to have artillery wheels; in fact, as befits a sporting version, they are wire wheels. The County of Salop Steam Engine Society put on another of its celebrated Bishop’s Castle Rallies last August Bank Holiday, with a magnificent display and parade of engines, supported by many exhibits, among which old cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles were prominent. Vintage cars ranged from Austin 7 to 30/98 Vauxhall, the Editorial Calthorpe conveying us to watch, before tackling the hills via Clun on the return journey. R. James’ 1922 Austin 12/4 saloon was judged to be the best vintage car and other prize winners were a TA MG Midget, Mrs Launchbury’s 1957 Rover 60 (her husband had entered a 1939 Rover Ten), and R. Cash’s Jaguar XK140 coupe. Motorcycle prizes went to a 1914 Triumph and a 1933 Levis and the older element was represented by a 1903 Clement-Talbot, a 1911 Renault and a 1911 Minerva. We noted a nice 1922 Standard two-seater, that long-bonneted Bean with Australian connections, Emberton’s Ford Tudor saloon and lots of Austins in varying stages of pristineness or decay. It is good news that Bob Roberts is having both the Sunbeam Tiger and the Sunbeam Tigress fully restored, for display in the Midland Motor Museum. It was very sad to hear that the late S. C. H. Davis’ wife Susie, who was such a comfort to Sammy, died some time ago after a long illness. Ex-rally driver Bill Bengry, still busy preparing powerful rally cars for his son to use in the Motoring News events, like the present Opel converted from fuel injection back to twin carburetters, retains his vintage interests with a 9/15 hp Renault and a V12 Lagonda saloon. In view of our recent comments on the ambitious pre-war flying exploits of the Ellison brothers, it is interesting that Alfred Ellison, who raced the 15-litre Lorraine-Dietrich “Vieux Charles Trois” at Brooklands, called the Renault 45 saloon that he drove at Shelsley Walsh to a time of 69 sec in 1926, “Vieux Charles IV”. According to a contemporary report, the big car heeled over the corners and left in its wake dense clouds of brown dust which swirled high above the trees, hiding for a moment all objects from view, one aspect of the famous hill climb that has not been maintained. . . We have long been pressing the famous pre-war Westland test-pilot, Harald Penrose, OBE, for his autobiography, so we are glad to learn that it is scheduled for publication next spring, with the title of “Adventure with Fate”. The blower 4½-litre Bentley owned when new by the late T. G. Moore, proprietor of Motor Sport at the time, has been in America since 1952 and has remained in reasonable condition, so that its present restoration by Jim McHenry is proving an easy task, even to refurbishing the green Vanden Plas body. The award-winning exhibit at this year’s Singer National Day was a 1929 Singer Junior van belonging to A. Bartlett.

The late “Rusty” Russ-Turner’s ex-Birkin blower-4½-litre single-seater Bentley can now be seen in Michael Wilcock’s Jersey Motor Museum. — W.B.