A New Aero-Engined Car
We have received the, following interesting information from Or Stuart Saunders of Canberra, Australia:
Comments in the January and February issue of MOTOR SPORT (which is my one airmail indulgence having moved to these remote parts, concerning Roger Collings plan to build a Special using a Liberty 012 engine in a pre-war chain-driven chassis, prompts me to write to you You may remember four or five years ago Hamish Moffatt and I visited you in our Type 35C Bugatti and enjoyed tea and scones the purpose being to pick your brains on MAB. You were unable to help us surprisingly. but since that time a little more information has come to light. Having for some years desired to experience an Edwardian monster and finding that they are no longer available. I decided to make one myself In a farmyard in Wagga Wagga we discovered a chain-drive chassis with the remains of a four cylinder Edwardian engine but otherwise mechanically complete, on which everything including bearings and bushes vvas manufactured by MAB; and this formed the basis. By a string of coincidences I discovered that Dennis Lucey of Portlaoise. Ireland. had contemporary catalogues and spare part manuals for MAB and I was thereby able to date the chassis as 1908 As you know. MOB stands for Malicet et Blin of Aubevilliers, south of Paris, an engineering firm who, as far as we know, did not make a complete inutor vehicle but certainly supplied all mechanical components, arid even the engine coniponents, such as remain, are similarly stamped. (Parry Ohonras made good use of some of these — Ed.) Next ensued a search for an engine, and as the owners of V-8 Hispano engines in this country were disinclined to release Mem. I eventually found an early-series Liberty (19181 with Gerry Sherman of Philadelphia having been put in touch with him by Sam Clutton. The great advantage of the Liberty, apart from being of a comfortably adequate size, is that it is a 45 -V and therefore fits neatly under a bonnet The wheelbase of the car being 10 feet, I was anxious not to alter the chassis and managed to move the engine sufficiently far back to achieve a weight distribution of 52% rear and 40°C front. From the flywheel inclusive backwards the original transmission has been used, although time has shown that the 1908 steel is inadequate for the transmission of 400 bhp and 1,000 foot-lbs of torque and we have had to remake halfshafts and differential gears in better material. The final
gearing is 53 mph per 1.000 revs and the engine will rev to 2000, quite happily.
We have now covered 2.000 miles. chiefly in two weekend trips, the size of Australia being what it is, and the car is demonstrating that what I have read about Edwardian monsters is true. As we have often heard the brakes are adequate if one thinks ahead the steering is pleasantly light although I have had to alter the gearbox ratio to produce one and three-quarter turns lock to lock, and of course the low speed torque on hills is amazing. There is still minor development work proceeding, but the engine has proved tractable and practicai in a road-going vehicle as I am sure Messrs Zborowski. Cobb and Thomas would agree Roger Collings will find it a most rewarding exercise and I confess that at times it makes Bugattis seem almost dull.
The Fate of a Marlborough Thomas
WE HAVE received from New Zealand some interesting facts about the fate of one of Parry Thomas’s Marlborough Thomas racing cars It was presumably one of the two which Thomas and Duller drove in the 1923 JCC 200 Mile Race at Brooklands. It was sent out to New Zealand around 1926,27, having been imported by Duncan Beaucop. who was manager of Leyland Trucks (NZ) Ltd. — as Parry Thomas had worked originally for Leyland Motors in Lancashire there may well have been a connection. The car arrived with many cases of spares and with four sets of wheels shod with 19′, 20”, 21″ and 23″ Dunlop track raving tyres. Mr. Beaucop raced the car for some years. and the present owner, who is now restoring it, was the owner from 1945 to 1950, being probably the last person to drive the car in its original form. Afterwards it was given various different engines. Ford V8 flat-head, Ardun-oho Ford V8, and Iota short time a Chevrolet Six power-unit. The gearbox and back axle were changed for Ford components and many body styles were used The car was last raced in 1965. Fortunately the original engine (No. 51 was last run in 1946 and was then stored, so it is in reasonably good order and relatively complete. the Thomas valve gear (with oh camshaft driven by two eccentrics, and the leaf valve springs) the two hearing crank -shaft. twin Zenith triple-diffuser carburettors feeding into long ram-pipes, one per port, and the magneto supplying one plug per cylinder, being intact, and the owner, Mr. Roycrott of Glen Murray, is now restoring the car. although the only part of the running-gear to have survived is the rectangular channel-section frarne, to each corner of which is attached a torsion-bar. Unfortunately. the “stroked” crankshaft and the original wheels and tyres have been lost. Mr. Roycroft would like to hear from those who have been associated with these cars or the Hooker Thomas engines and he hopes to meet some of them when he visits England later this year — W B
V-E-V Odds & Ends.— In view of the present attention being paid to the older garages, it is of interest that some time back the Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser published an old photograph of the former Morrey Garage which used to stand in Market Drayton High Street. displaying its Fgrd Dealership signs, with a Model-A Ford saloon and four Ford trucks, one used by T. Healey, Building Contractor, standing outside. The garage faced the pharmacy business founded by George Morrey before the turn of the century, now occupied by a branch of Sketchleys. His son Sydney took over in 1914 and it was his brothers Stanley and Ewert who opened the garage, which their father had taken over from a cousin who had started an ironmongery on the site They also had a garage at the top of Phoenix Bank, but Woolworth’s took over the one in the High Street. The Mulliner A7 Register. covering Austins made between 1927 and 1931 with bodywork by that coachbuilder, now has 36 members, with 20 saloons. 12 sports models two coupes (which have long ago memories for me). a van and a WD model if any more are known about please inform the Registrar: M. H. Tebbett, Little Wynch, Upper Colwell, near Malvern, Worcs, WR13 6PL, who is rebuilding a 1924 Speed Model Bentley. In connection with the reference in the February issue to the Ford dealers, the Hendy Lennox Group in Hampshire. Tony Hutchings who is doing research into the topography of Brooklands Track and its buildings, has shown me copies of some Into resting correspondence which Gordon Hendy had with Mr L. J. Spaulding of the Redline Motor Spirit Company who had been invited to ride as mechanic to Mr Hodder in the Lea Francis entered by Hendy for the 1930 JCC “Double-Twelve” race at Brooklands, F. A. Hendy & Co. Ltd. being Lea-Francis agents. In those days Spaulding drove a five-ton Dennis lorry out of the Redline Glico depot at Fulham and Hodder was a Redline representative. Another Brooklands landmark has gone — the Eric Fernihough garage flanking the Fork entrance, demolished to make way for a new service station and showrooms for Tony Brooks.
The Light Car & Edwardian Section of the VSCC holds its annual Welsh weekend, with driving tests and a trial. on March 5th 6th, competitors staying at Llanwrtyd Wells on the Saturday night, when the Section dinner takes place, and finishing at the New Inn” at Newbridge-on-Wye at lunchtime on the Sunday. The latest book catalogue issued by Motormedia contains an article on non-fictional books dealing with Brooklands Track.
It was good to learn from Gerald Burgess, who is the UK Delegate for the Association Internationale Des Rlotes Du Rallye de Monte Carlo that at the January gathering they were delighted to see Petre Cnstea from Bucharest and his former co-driver Ion Zampfirescu, now living in West Germany, both agile and still full of enthusiasm who were the first Rumanians ever to win the Monte Carlo, when they started from Athens in 1936 with a Ford V8.
There will be an exhibition of transport paintings at the Colleton House Gallery, Bath, up to April 26th, admission free, The Wolstenholmes have a new catalogue of their car trimmings and accessories supplied by Woolies”, Northfields Industrial Estate, Market Deeping. near Peterborough. F’E6 8LD, which is available for 75p. UK post-free and which will be of use to others besides those equipping vintage cars.
The Austin Ten DC, which continues to recruit a healthy number of new members, and whose slogan for the year is “Drive and Mix in ’86”, has its National Austin Rally at Hatfield House. Hertfordshire, on July 12th 13th This year the Inter-Register contests continue, with the Fiat event in Kent on April 27th, the Austin Ten DC’s contribution in the Beds,Herts area on May 18th. the Humber Register having theirs in Dorset on July 20th. the Sunbeam STD people coming in on August 17th in Derbyshire, with September 14th being fixed for the Crossley Register contest, and the 12/50 Alvis Register probably having theirs in October — quite an event to try to win, and a team effort. A reader who has owned the Ulster Aston Martin Reg No BXF 433 for the past 60 years wonders what became of P. L. Donkin, who drove it before the war. There will be an exhibition of transport paintings (under the old MOTOR SPORT sub-heading of “Land-Sea-Air” as it were) at the Colleton House Gallery. Bath. from March 6th to Apr 126th. admission free. — W B