Club News, August 1941

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WE HEAR…

Johnnie Green, of the R.A.S.C., is now running the ex-Stuart-Wilton 3-litre Bentley and reports that he is very pleased with it ; he would like details of the “19/100 ” Austro-Daimler, if anyone cares to oblige. The Bentley is a 1929 “Red Label” with “D “-type gearbox, and Hardy Spicer propeller-shaft, in magnificent order. A very keen reader who is in one of the Services, after a four-years’ apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce, reports a Big Six or 8-litre Bentley coupe for sale at a yard near Rowlands Castle, Hants. It has apparently done only 57,000 miles and is very sound mechanically, tyres and body needing replacement. A 4-litre Ricardo-engined Bentley saloon was for sale in the same county recently. K. Kirton, the old-car enthusiast, is now a lieutenant in the Bomb Disposal section of the Royal Engineers. A reader with an army address reports that his somewhat tuned ” J2 ” M.G. Midget does a tuned 83 m.p.h., but rightly regards with contempt fantastic speed-claims for the marque. What few Mark V Bentleys there are, are all engaged on long-distance journeys in the national interest, which is invaluable development experience for the makers. Mr. Robotham has been heard to remark that he does not know what he would do, these hectic times, if such rapid transport were not available. Can anyone give Mr. Ashwood, Lea-Francis enthusiast, any information about a 1929 blown ” Hyper ” 2-seater, Reg. No. 0U6958, engine No. 9848, chassis No. 14119? In the same vein, does anyone know of a Type 230 Mercedes engine or chassis that is for disposal ? At the Chessington Rally we were asked the identity of a supercharged M.G. with cream body and a brief, fabric tail, once raced at Brooklands. The reader in question may be interested to know that this car is probably George Hartwell’s Magnette, which began as a special E. R. Hall M.G. Kenneth Neve has acquired a 1914 T.T. Humber, which is in original racing trim, unlike the modified car once owned by Wallbank. It was discovered in South Wales and had been raced until 1924 at Caerphilly, Pendine and other venues by a Welshman, Sgonina, who seems to have ridden in Le Mans motor-cycle

contests with the great Graham Walker. Details would be appreciated, if anyone is really well-versed in the marque. There is a beautiful 8-litre coupe de ville Bentley on A.F.S. duties in Salisbury. A reader reports seeing 4i-litre Lagonda ” Rapide,” 4i-litre 2-seater Bentley; 0.M.-radiatored ” Special” ; a “Montlhery” M.G. Midget; a beautifully-kept 3-litre Bentley 4-seater; the Thrupp and Maberley S.S. saloon owned by the managing director of

S.S. Cars Ltd.; and a pale and royal blue D.I.S.S. Delage fabric 4-seater, driven by a private, on the road last month.

Denyer recently bought another LeaFrancis, his sixth, we believe. Leslie Johnson, now riding a solo B.M.W., is becoming interested in motorcycle scrambles. Miss Brotehie is a very active member of H.M. Forces—transport section, as is Midge Wilby. Prescott has been satisfactorily let for the duration, with full authority to hold meetings there after the war, thus relieving the Council of the Bugatti Owners’ Club of a great deal of worry. There is an ” Alphonso ” Hispano chassis, with spares, for sale in Herefordshire, and also a” 10/23 ” Talbot 4-seater at £30. A “Grand Sports” Amilcar was for sale in London recently for £.8 10s., with good oversize rear-tyres and Marchell headlamps, and generally in going order. News of yet another Gwynne Eight Special comes to hand. Roddy Seys’s eldest brother used to own a special-bodied 2-seater with Rudge wheels, built-in panel by a cousin. It was rather like an early Brescia Bugatti and had an aero-screen and close-up wings. A standard Gwynne engine was put in and the car ran well until a rear-tyre burst and it overturned in a ditch at Sunningdale. The chassis then went to make up Seys’s Lea-Francis Special, the engine drives a saw-bench, and the body became the shoe of the Old Lady in the Shoe, with covering of crepe paper, at a children’s party ! There was a ” 12/50 ” LeaFrancis 2-seater in a nice shade of blue for sale near Staines recently, the figure on the screen being £30. Lots more carfolk are riding motor-cycles ; besides his 1928 o.h.c. T.T. Norton, Brymer has acquired a 1,000 c.c. “Square Four” Ariel, which he intends to ride solo. At a Hampshire breakers’ has been four.d a Precision Junior of very early vintage in indifferent condition and minus magneto and belt, but with horizontal valves operated by most curious vertical levers from the crankcase and a two-speed gear controlled by a pair of pedals on a transverse rocking lever. When announcing Capt. Cowell’s wedding we wrongly described him as owning the ex-Winterbottom Alta ; actually, his Alta was, of course, once Wakefield’s it-litre car. A Worcester reader, whose 1934 1 Hitre, pre-selector Invicta saloon has been in every way a sound car, is disposing of it, as it is somewhat heavy on petrol. He is prepared to pay a good price for a wellkept 1,100 c.c. Alta, Frazer-Nash, Brooklands” Riley Nine, ” Montlhery ” M.G. Midget, “K “-type M.G. Magnette, li-litre Bugatti, or something similar, if anyone can help. We believe Mrs. Cowell is still seeking a good Frazer-Nash and someone else wants an early small car, such as an Eric Campbell or suchlike, in running order, as a war-hack. Rodney Clarke, invalided out of the R.A.F., and now flying for A.T.A., runs a Fiat 500 and has great plans for rebuilding his two

Type 43 Bugattis and 44-litre Bentley, after the war.

750 CLUB

The 750 Club held yet another highly successful gathering on July 6th, at the Ashdown Park Hotel, Coulsdon. Twentyseven persons attended, including the Club captain, George Kipps, who made a tricky cross-country train journey to attend ; Frost, with his blown ” Ulster ” Austin Seven ; Capt. Moon’s “Nippy” Austin Seven ; Yates (Ford Eight saloon) ; Birkett’s 1934 Austin Seven saloon with later 3-bearing engine ; Childs’s Austin Seven 2-seater ; H. L. Biggs (Fiat 500) ; Mallock’s Austin Seven Special ; Gordon Woods, his well-known Frazer-Nash now fully run-in and motoring well ; Gilbert’s 1,100 c.c. H.R.G. ; Lawrence, with a “P”-type M.G. Midget ; Ashwood’s LeaFrancis ; Oram’s Austin Seven” Nippy “; Capon’s Riley ” Kestrel ” saloon ; D. S. Jenkinson, and Butler, with an “M “-type M.G. Midget. The Club again met in pleasant weather conditior s at the Ashdown Park Hotel, CouLsdon, on August 3rd. Amongst those present were Secretary Capon in his Riley ” Kestrel,” with Frost es passenger ; Mr. and Mrs. Charles (Austin 2-seater) ; Mr. and Mrs. Ashwood in their ” 12/40 ” 4-seater Lea-Francis, now with “Hyper” rearaxle ; 2nd Lieut. Mallock and Mrs. Mallock in a 4-speed Austin Special 2-seater ; Hunter and his wife in a new A.E.W. Austin 2-seater ; Lieut. Moon with his ” Nippy” Austin Seven ; Kipps and Mrs. Kipps, who arrived by train, as did McLean, over from New Zealand (his article appears in this issue) who was royally entertained by the Club ; Butler, who came with Ashwood, but later motored in an “M “-type M.G. Midget ; Lewrence (” P.A.” M.G. Midget) ; L. M. Ballamy (Marshall-blown Ford Special) ; Birkett in his wife’s special Austin Seven saloon ; Gilbert (1,100 c.c. H.R.G.); Biggs and friend (Fiat 500) ; P. Ansty (unblown “

Ulster” Austin Seven) ; a newcomer and lady friend in a” T.A.” M.G. Midget ; and Boddy with Jenkinson and blonde, in his Gwynre coupe. Capon provided tea at his flat, where some of the members’ wives were awaiting their enthusiasthusbands, after which a club meeting was held to discuss future club policy. The next meeting will be at the same venue, after lunch, on September 7th.

THE CHESSINGTON RALLY

The Chessington Rally of the Vintage, Bugatti Owners’ and E.R.A. Clubs on July 13th really was a remarkable success. There were eight famous ears on view, only the 328 B.M.W., Type 55 Bugatti and Lycett’s 4i-litre Bentley being absent. These comprised the following : S.S. Mercedes-Benz: Mr. Arbuthnot’s ” 38/250 ” 4-seater, once owned and raced

by Sir Malcolm Campbell. Its speed was quoted as 120 m.p.h. and b.h.p. as 220. It was driven to the venue, in spite of a petrol leak which no one seemed able to quell.

1914 G.P. Mercedes : Peter Clark’s very beautiful car, recently described in these pages, and seen by most people for the first time. She had been hastily finished in silver paint, following complete reconditioning, and presumably the next job will be to give her the authentic white finish. The four-cylinder 4i-litre engine has steel cylinders with welded-on waterjackets and an o.h. camshaft operating four valves per cylinder. The output is about 115 b.h.p., giving some 104 m.p.h. The gearbox has right-hand gate change and every detail of the car was worthy of prolonged study. Presumably Peter does not intend to run her on the road, as the huge asbestos-lagged exhaust system is straight through and no nonsense, although there is a silencer of sorts. New tyres have been fitted, very large section at the rear and smaller, straight-sided covers on the front wheels. 10-litre V-12 Del age : Sam Clutton’s famous single-seater, originally built about 1923 for hill-climbs, at which it was invincible, and holder of the Land Speed Record in the hands of Rene Thomas in 1924, at 143.31 m.p.h. Afterwards it came to Brooklands and was driven by John Cobb, Oliver Bertram and Mrs. Petre. We cannot trace that it ever held

the Lap Record, as claimed, but it certainly got round at over 180 m.p.h. and held the standing start lap and ladies’ lap records. It is also a most potent sprint car. The V-12 engine has push-rod actuated o.h. valves, separate cylinders, and four downdraught carburetters. The body is a high, imposing single-seater and the Delage appeared with racing tyres on the front wheels, treaded tyres on the rear, and with its radiator uncowled.

4-litre V-12 Sunbeam : This is the car built in 1926 for the late Sir Henry Segrave to attack the Land Speed Record, which he did successfully at Southport at 152.33 m.p.h., also reaching 140 m.p.h. on the road at Boulogne. Two cars were actually built and were afterwards considerably modified for Sir Malcolm Campbell, who won the first Mountain Championship and set the Class C Mountain lap record at 76.31 m.p.h., a record still standing. K. Don took the Brooklands Lap Record with the car in its old form at 137.58 m.p.h. The engine has twin o.h. camshafts for each bank of cylinders and is supercharged with twin, ribbed Roots blowers driven from the nose of the crankshaft. The gearbox is E.N.V. pre-selective and the brakes Lockheed, and the I-section front-axle passes above the flat-set Felliptic springs, in spite of which the chassis is very low. This is a splendid example of advanced construction British racing car.

Le Mans Lagonda : This was one of the two Lagondas which ran so splendidly, nobly to uphold British prestige, at Le Mans in 1929, finishing second and third. Subsequently, both lapped Brooklartds at over 130 m.p.h. The wide-angle V-12 4i-litre engine has four downdraught S.U. carburetters and a chain-driven o.h. camshaft for each bank of cylinders, and gives over 220 b.h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m. The oil-pressure gauge reads to 100 lb./sq. in. Front suspension is independent and the bodywork just as streamlined as the Le Mans regulations permitted. It was driven to the venue.

44-litre Darracq Monkhouse’s famous sports model, which has performed outstandingly in many events, including Brooklands lappery at 124 m.p.h. The six-cylinder engine has three downdraught carburetters and valve-actuation is by push-rods and rockers. One of the fastest road-cars in the world, typically French.

5-litre Ballot: Hears magnificently reconditioned 191.9 car, built in 101 days for Indianapolis, as described recently in MOTOR SPORT. Designed by Mons. Henri, the straight-eight, twin o.h.e., twincarburetter engine set a fashion in racingdesign for many years. Howey and Cook raced them at Brooklands, lapping at over 120 m.p.h. Heal’s car has done nearly 110 m.p.h. on the road and has cableoperated brakes and ir elliptic suspension. Continued on page 409

2-!iire Aston-Martin : The experimental streamlined saloon produced by AstonMartin Ltd., in spite of other pressing activities. The 2-1itre engine, with twin Zenith carburetters, is retained, driving through a plate clutch to a Cotal electromagnetic epieyelic gearbox. Combined body and chassis is an outstanding technical feature and there is independent front suspension of the Armstrong coil-spring variety. The body is . streamlined on modern rather than ” futuristic ” lines and the maximun speed is estimated as around 95 m.p.h.„ with excellent fuel consumption.

The rally attracted over 160 people, amongst whom were numbered IL Ashwood, Arbuthnot, H. L. Biggs, A. Brooke, J. Baldock, W. Belton, John Bolster, J. Brockmann, L. M. Ballarny, A. W. Butler, W. Boddy, Cecil Clutton, Peter Clark, W. H. C. Cook, R. Clarke, C. Campbell, S. H. Capon, Dawkins, J. E. Davies, L. H. C. Davenport, C. Dunn, I. Eastgate, Frost, J. F. Fall, Eric Giles and Mrs. Giles, D. Greig, Gibbons„, J. G. Gilbert, E. R. Greig, J. P. Grosseint h, Anthony Heal and Mrs. Heal, F. W. Hutton-Stott, C. W. P. Hampton, Harold Hastings, B. Hindes, Leslie Johnson and Mrs. Johnson, J. B. Jesty, L. Klemantaski, A. Ley, J. C. Lawrence, J. Lowrey, Lacey, H. S. Linfield, George Monkhouse, Michael May, T. McCann, L. C. McKenzie, J. S. Moon, M. R. 141allock, F. Mertens, Walter Norton, John Ogle, Laurence Pomeroy and Mrs. Pomeroy, C. II. Pringle, Mrs. Pyreroft, G. I). Pibel., N. M. Riddle, A. Rivers-Fletcher, R. Gordon Sutherland, Georges Roeseh, Short, Sedgwiek, J. M. Smith, R. Steele, F. E. Salbreux, B. ScottMoncrieff, J. Smythe, B. Salmon, Douglas Tubbs, M. Thursby-Pelham, Peter Vaughan, Eric Vereker, Gordon Wilkins, Martin Wells, Gordon Woods and his brother, J. T. Woolsey, J. A. Wells, C. A. Ward, and C. Y. Yates. After tea George Monkhouse gave his famous film-show and supper followed, the party finally breaking-up after 10 p.m. There is rumour of a repeat gathering later and we sincerely hope it comes to fruition. The war effort is materially furthered by breaks of this order, of that we are certain.

GENERAL NOTES

With the prospect of reduced fuel later on, motoring somehow has a background of depression these days, albeit ore carries on and contrives to enjoy every mile. For our part, there was the great run to Scotland from south-west of London in the ” Airflow ” Chrysler, and over from there to the east coast, a journey all the more pleasing as it was unexpected and, being on official duties, aroused no pangs of conscience over the quantity of fuel used. How fantastic it seemed to get right up north again, on a sunlit, perfect evening. That was Scotland seen at its very finest, dusk closing in as the speedometer trip unfolded magically from the 300th to the 400th mile I There returned that sense of deep satisfaction arisiii g fi nn hurried meals amongst the lorry folk, before climbing into the car and rest-owing the gear, with the thought that it was again evening and with 200 miles or so yet to do. That is motoringa,s we used to know it and unlikely to be experienced again for many a long day. Meanwhile, one’s thoughts turn to renal& economy cars and an escape from war-toil for a few brief hours amongst the beauty of the borne countryside, the ability of the car to transport one to fresh scenes and new cafes and hotels on a few gallons of ” basic,” offsetting dismal knowledge of how exorbitant is the cost of every precious mile. A very skeleton Austin Seven has towed a 1913 Humberette from town to a nearby garage in the heat of the July sun, thereafter making haste homewards, tiny globules of oil coming back round the “bulkhead,” that the writer could return in great form and greater dignity in his special Gwynne Eight coupe, having gone up in it that same miming immediately after finishing a fire-watch. Tlie Gwynne also provided a good run to the eminently satisfactory Chessington Rally, although one lost count of quite how many times the

arrangements had to be dried Out after negotiation of flooded roads during the morning’s thunderstorms. The Mercedes badge did vanish from the radiator, it is true, but it came back later by parcelpost as yet another jest of a memorable day. Folk are apt’ to burst into uncontrolled laughter at the sight of the Gwynne, but then, in our opinion, their bird-cage fronts are every bit as funny as our rear view. . . . As a break—what a break 1—there Was a short run in the V-12 Lagonda demonstration car, not very far from home on account of fuel-saving, but producing 90 m.p.h. on the ” clock ” once again, and a wealth of technical interest ; the sixty miles to the works and back in an ” 1,100 ” II.R.G., too, was an experience of the sort one would not miss for anything. . . .

Then, one wet evening, four persons went through some very nice scenery in what seemed to the rear scat occupants. a highly unstable threewheeler, a Bugatti in a barn being the objective. After various adventures the car was located and turned out to be none other than the long-chassis, modified Brescia which B. H. Austin once drove so successfully prior to 1924. The faired front axle, racing tyres, undershield so carefully cowling the engine, and the special aluminium body brought back memories of those early days, and Mr. Austin’s son kindly produced a scrapbook of Press cuttings from the motor journals of the early twenties that made such hazy memories really vivid. Brescia Bugatti, G.N., side-valve AstonMartin, A.C., Wolseley ” Moth,” Carden, Gwynne . • . they were all there, and many more besides. There was a letter from the great Ettore himself and the rules, in French, of a fantastic club called “La C,orrida,” which explained the wording on the Bugatti’s pear-shaped radiator. We left the barn where this once-famous racing light car keeps company with an early Hudson sedan and Some traps and motored thoughtfully and respectfully on our way. . . . Had we only been born a little earlier. Ah, well !

CORRECTIONS

In deleting a reference to the unidown G.P. Sunbeam of 1923 one sentence remained behind in ” Rumblings ” last month, which suggested that we thought the supercharged 1.924 car won the French C.P. Actually, ne have always known that it was the 1923 car which did so. The old Sunbeam owned by Myles Rothwell, in which a ” 20/25 ” Rolls Royce engine was installed, seems to have been broken up, incidentally. Was this a 1921 straight-eight chassis ? Yes, we certainly did drop a big one over that Indianapolis-start picture

EXTRACTS

From an American motor-racing paper : “The snow lining the edge of the track looked like a huge diamond bracelet, all studded with chrome-plated hub caps from every make of car ever dreamed of.” And another : The recent appearance of new racing cars . has caused a wave of uneasiness amongst the doodlebuggers . . .” We have never dared to be as rude to dirt-track aces as that !