Miscellany, April 2000

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The popular VMCC Banbury Run for pre-1931 motorcycles returns to Banbury this year, on June 18, centred on Drayton School. I am glad to note that the ‘Banbury’ is for vintage bikes, that there was a run for those with gas lamps, and that the VMCC Founder, CE ‘Fitch’ Allen, BEM, is still active.

* * *

The VSCC of America, Inc asks me to make it clear that, founded in 1958, it catered only for vintage cars until selected pre-1955 ones were included in about 1962, later extended to those made prior to 1960.

* * *

Belatedly, but to prove that VSCC folk are very hardy, Mark Garfitt tells me that some 130 pre-war cars turned up for his Verzons Rally. The ‘Concours’ (which car would you like to take away) was won by the Rodney Felton/Sir John Venables-Llewelyn P3 Alfa Romeo (which was driven there!).

* * *

Books dealing with just one car are not frequent. Now from Beeman Jorgensen of Indianapolis USA comes A Morgan Called Red by Larry Ayers (ISBN 092975820 X, $24.99), a detailed history of the famous supercharged vee-twin three-wheeler raced at Brooklands and Donington etc, from 1933 by Henry Laird, and its subsequent career. The author restored ‘Red’ from years of neglect and his account details it all. There are a great many pictures of Morgans in races and trials, masses of data about ‘Red’s’ owners, and race by race specification and performance from the Laird notebooks.

* * *

In a TV programme about road deaths, lower speed limits were suggested. A clip showed a high performance car said to be capable of 0-60 mph in 4sec. Surely this implies that such a car can overtake effectively, which is one part of safer use of roads? I suppose that if Mr Prescott were to impose a universal 20mph limit, he would drive people onto public transport, and at the same time undermine the entire motor industry and reduce a pedestrian country to severe business losses…

* * *

The Pre-war A7 Club magazine had a piece about an A7 engine in the USA whose owner has converted it to a finned air-cooled unit for motorcycle use, which reminds me of the reverse, when years ago an air-cooled ABC had its flat-twin power unit converted to water cooling.

* * *

My recent piece about motor racing memorials brought an interesting letter from Malcolm Jeal saying that the memorial to Paul Zuccarelli on the Evreux-Monancourt road was still intact in 1999. And John Strickland informs me that the memorial to the pilot and passenger who were killed in 1912, when presumably flying from the nearby RFC aerodrome, still stands on the A344 London-Devizes road, near Airmans Corner’.

* * *

Another excellent issue of the Bugatti OC’s Bugantics, the format the same since Vol 1 in 1931, includes a report on multiple engines. I was interested also to see a picture of Angela Hucke in the 1923 Indy Bugatti, showing an FN registration; presumably Zborowski used it on the road before or after taking it to the USA.

* * *

Mark Joseland hopes to have the Frazer Nash Special ‘Terror’, that so successful methanol fuelled car of RGJ Nash, in action again this year. The car made FTD at Shelsley Walsh two years running, as long ago as 1931 and 1932, as well as holding forever the record climb of the Brooklands Test Hill in a rousing 7.45s, making a 30ft leap off the ground at the summit Its return should be exciting, to say the least…

* * *

It is good to know that a stone to commemorate the Wakefield Trophy races of 1949-1954 has been erected at the Curragh racetrack in Ireland. It carries the names of those placed in these carefree events, such as Sir Stirling Moss, Duncan Hamilton, Joe Kelly, Ian Stewart, Anthony Powys-Lybbe, and Peter Whitehead, the project undertaken by the Kildare Local History Group and sponsored by the Irish BMW Motor Import Ltd.

* * *

By February, 48 entries had been provisionally received for the London-Lisbon Classic Rally due to be run from October 14-23, and 27 more for the reliability trial part of the event. The cars range from 1929 4 1/2-litre Bentley to 1976 Triumph 2500TC. Details from Julie Eaglen, HERO, The Town House, Leigh, Worcester WR6 5LA. Entry fees are £1,650/£1,350 per car.

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