Rumblings, April 2006

The VSCC opened its 2006 season with driving tests at Brooklands. David Marsh in his 1925 Brescia Bugatti was the best performer, but six other drivers took First Class awards, five gained Second Class, and seven Thirds. A notable performer was Charles Mill, whose 1913 Humber, the only car in its class, beat nine other cars. Old Brooklands was not too hard on those taking the tests, some on the steep Members Banking, only five retiring out of an entry of 43, but there were four non-starters.

An Australian VSCC reader has recalled the vintage Type-174S 3.8-litre sleeve-valve Peugeots of which he thinks only 208 were made from 1922-1927 plus six competition versions. One, No86, is being slowly restored there. If you did not know, or had forgotten, the epic impact which the twin-cam 16-valve GP cars had in 1912/13, you would have the successes of these later Peugeots in sportscar races to inspire you. Our correspondent sent me my MotorSport article after I had interviewed Sir Francis Samuelson, Bt, who told me his Peugeot of this kind, purchased from Sir Ralph Symonson, “would cruise at 80mph, had a genuine 90mph top pace and was commendably dependable”. Where is it now, I am asked?

I see that Steve Cropley, Editor in Chief of Autocar magazine (which I have read regularly for some 83 years, its reports of the 1924 French Grand Prix leaving a lasting impression on me. aged 11) was asked whether he had been in the motor trade by a reader who had seen a Reliant with a garage name of Cropley on. The answer was “no”. Well, a few years ago, outside the library of our nearest Welsh town, I saw a smart vehicle with the legend ‘Boddy’s Coaches’ painted on the back. But I have never been a motor-coach proprietor…

The VSCC of Australia, which was founded 60 years ago, has a full fixture list for 2006, rather like our own VSCC. A December Two-Wheel-Brake rally, to encourage cars made before front brakes were commonplace, is included. An early Model-T Ford drove the route beforehand to test for suitability. The cover of the club’s last Newsletter had a photograph of a very good-looking Prince Henry Vauxhall, nicely emphasising the spirit of the vintage movement ‘down under’.