The Vintage SCC’s annual search for The Ideal Touring Car — an exercise undertaken in memory of the early Vauxhall designer Mr L H Pomeroy — took place on February 25 at Silverstone, on the National Circuit. The event comprised, as has been its wont for some 40 years, a series of high-speed Autotests followed by a test of high-speed reliability on the track. For the autotests the shorter the time taken, the better the mark gained; for the circuit test, each car was given a target of laps which it had to meet in its allocated 40 minutes. Not achieving the target lost marks, but overachievers were not rewarded. Times were converted into marks by means of a complex handicapping factor involving a car’s age, engine size, body length, and number of brakes fitted. Thus Mike Holt’s 1913 Seabrook/RMC had to do 17 laps (an average of 42 mph) whilst John Prentice’s 1992 8-litre Chrysler Viper had to make 39 circuits an average of 96 mph), which would have been impossible on a dry day, let alone in the heavy rain with which the later reliability sessions were favoured.
In view of the weather it was not entirely surprising that the earlier-built cars, which were circulating in the dry, tended to feature in the upper parts of the results list; the exceptions being James Diffey’s 1987 Westfield which finished sixth, and Richards’ 1955 Vanguard-engined Morgan, which was tenth. Roberts’ 1953 Frazer Nash, despite being only 40 years young, got well up the awards list, but otherwise if your car was post-war you were not in the money.
The 72 participants seemed to have had a good day despite the weather, but were not tempted to linger because all Silverstone’s covered facilities were in mid-rebuild, and not available for protection. Robert Brooks kindly offered a large lean-to tent against his transporter, which was much appreciated. Unfortunately he later demolished the timing gear with his 1955 XK-SS Jaguar, which probably spoilt his day. His impromptu soup-kitchen improved the occasion for everyone else which, it is hoped, was some consolation for the poor fellow.
Pomeroy Trophy: R F Wills (Frazer Nash/ BMW).
Densham Trophy: A B Cohn (Frazer Nash).
First Class Awards: A T Pugh (Frazer Nash/ BMW), W J Roberts (Frazer Nash).
Second Class Awards: J Tomlinson (Alvis), J Diffey (Westfield), S Mann (Bentley).
Third Class Awards: K Piper (Aston Martin), S Curtis (Talbot).
Edwardian Trophy: R Barnett (Knox).88