Club news, August 1943

We hear

Houldsworth, who is mentioned elsewhere in this issue in connection with Bamford & Martin Aston-Martins, is running an “International” Aston-Martin and is very anxious to find a 1 3/4-litre Alfa-Romeo. The condition is immaterial as he intends to strip it. Douglas Tubbs now has his two Astons side-by-side in a London garage and, aided by Inman-Hunter, is engaged in making a thorough examination of what he has in his 16-valve chassis. He has presented our Library with a 4 1/4-litre Bentley Instruction Book. John Cooper has added a partially-dismantled Type 38 Bugatti to his growing stable, and has recently rendered his famous “12/50” Alvis very silent, at all events as far as its exhaust note is concerned, apparently having some respect for the Leicestershire constabulary.

Of cars for sale, there is, or was, a 1926 4-speed Frazer-Nash with queer body, a single-port Lea-Francis style Meadows engine and narrow-track front axle for disposal in going order for £35 in Reading, and Harry Munday might be persuaded to part with his very perfect “Silver Eagle” AIvis 4-seater for £70 or so, but only because he has found a desirable 4 1/2-litre Bentley.

There has been a valve-dropping epidemic amongst Fleet enthusiasts, Birkett doing it first with his Type 40 Bugatti and Jenkinson more recently with his Norton, which has a 600-c.c. head on a 500-c.c. barrel and an outsize Brooklands silencer.

Excellent news – the white steamcar illustrated in the June issue has been bought for the Veteran Car Club by A. P. Farrash, who intends to restore it to sound order and steam-tightness. Hutton-Stott, who has disposed of his 1911 Indian motor-cycle to Charles Broad, of Forest Hill, did the negotiating on behalf of the club.

We greatly regret to learn that Lt. A. N. Brookes, R.N., a contributor, is a prisoner of war in Italy, and that Shortt was suddenly taken ill with appendicitis some while ago.

Major Johnson, who has sold his 1922 G.P. Sunbeam to Grosscurth, now rides a very fine 1929 S.S. 100 Brough-Superior solo; he is associated with very rapid aircraft and hopes to stay on in this country after the war and take part in our motoring events. Grosscurth’s Frazer-Nash turns out to be an Anzani-engined “Boulogne” with 4-speed transmission and wide f.w.b. front axle and a streamlined body having a full-length undershield and divers aircraft-type inspection doors. He also has a 3-litre Sunbeam in mind. Another example of defunct-marque small car safely preserved is an Eric Longden with Alpha engine, which is in safe keeping, although possibly for disposal, at Sidcup.

Last month we published a letter from Lt. Maule about his Anzani-engined Marendaz-Special with a footnote to the effect that another of these race cars had turned up in London – we were wrong, the car in question being a six-cylinder Marendaz saloon.

In the article entitled “The Fair Sex Should Race – a Defence” mention was made of Sommer’s Montlhèry lap record, which beat Mrs. Hawkes’s time. The new record was made on May 7th, 1939, presumably with an Alfa-Romeo, to the tune of 148.44 m.p.h., or 0.65 m.p.h. faster than the Miller-Derby. Mrs. Hawkes and her husband are fearfully busy these days and nights, in this country, in the cause of Nazi-extermination, by the way, and we have a hunch that what fast transport they need is looked after by Lancia “Aprilia.” On the subject of V-twin motor-bicycles, two Brough-Superiors were spotted on a recent run to the west, one a s.v. S.S. 80, the other an S.S. 100, and in Southampton there is a 1914-15 Indian with leather-covered sidecar in superb order, which could be bought for about £12. We hear that a 1904 Cadillac, belonging to a police surgeon, is carefully preserved in the same town, and a 1913 13-h.p. Isotta-Fraschini, last used in the early nineteen-twenties, is reported as safe from the breaker-folk.

Charles Rayner has a rather rough 1924 aluminium-bodied “30/98” Vauxhall “Velox” and an Aston-Martin, the latter a rounded-tail 2-seater with cycle wings like the example tested by Motor Sport in 1929, and one of the oldest Bertelli Aston-Martins we have encountered for quite a while. There is a roughish s.v. Amilcar 2-seater “Grand Sport” available very cheaply in London, and Cyril Peacock, who has one of these cars, relishes the idea of a 3-litre Bentley, but is likely to devote his interests to “12/60” Alvis for a while. We know of a sound 3-carburetter Alvis “Silver Eagle” 2-seater which might possibly be sold to a good home, although its owner isn’t particularly anxious to sell it. L. F. Lomas, who has been trying to trace the 1924 Straker-Squire Six he once owned, is acquiring a “Blue Label” Bentley with a view to converting it to “Red Label” standards. Lieut. Inman-Hunter has recently bought Ellis’s 4-seater s.v. Aston-Martin (No. 1966). The Irving-Special ”Golden Arrow,” with which Segrave took the “Land Speed Record” at 231.44 m.p.h. in 1929, is said to be at L.E.P. Transport, still in its packing-case just as it was shipped back from Daytona Beach.

Ken Hutchison, who, by the way, has some very sound ideas about how trials should be run after the war, is building up a special, linered-down Ford Ten for competition work, and has had his recently-acquired Allard-Special tailored by Abbotts of Farnham. Healey, of Napiers, has bought a Type 37 Bugatti from F.O. Harmer, having sold his Riley “Imp.” He has for disposal a “Special Series” Riley Nine engine with two exhaust camshafts, reground crank and remetalled bearings. Which reminds us that someone has found a “Brooklands” Riley in Devon and bought it for £15, complete with Scintilla Vertex and twin S.U.s. F/O. Cowell has been using some of his leave petrol in a Meadows Frazer-Nash, and a modern-bodied 6 1/2-litre Bentley, Lancia “Artena” saloon, Le Mans Singer, Vale Special, 3-litre Bentley, various M.G.’s, H.R.G., a Le Mans Replica Aston-Martin, 1931 Alvis “12/50″ coupé, and a Riley ”Imp” were all seen within one week in use for official journeys. A side valve Aston-Martin, with platform body, used for H.G. duties until the rear axle failed, is rumoured in a Hampshire village – we are hot on the scent.

Those who are now forced to propel themselves from A to B on bicycles may he interested to learn that Jenkinson recently cycled from Farnborough to the Albert Hall for a Promenade Concert and back after a day’s work, averaging 17.7 m.p.h. going up. A 1913 16-h.p. Metallurgique engine, with Laystall cast-iron pistons, reground crankshaft and all bearings remetalled, which was rebuilt in 1914, run-in, and then put in storage, is offered for £10. Unfortunately the rest of the car has been scrapped. The L.G. Special, based on an open 2-litre Lagonda, but now rated at 14 h.p., still covers appreciable mileages on official journeys. J. Granville-Grenfell now has his own engineering premises again, and toys with the idea of producing a utility car bearing a famous name, when his contribution towards winning the war is no longer needed.

750 Club

The 750 Club held another of its gatherings at the “Chez August” on the first Sunday in July, and very successful it was, for these meetings, which, by the way, are open to all, are recognised as providing regular opportunity for enthusiasts to get together. On this occasion Birkett, Boddy and Jenkinson came up from Farnborough, and Houldsworth journeyed all the way from Harrogate by train. There was much talk of side-valve Aston-Martins, as Douglas Tubbs, Lieut. Inman-Hunter, Grosscurth and Houldsworth found themselves seated together.

Then P/O. Mallock, who had trained from even farther afield than Houldsworth, was seen in earnest conversation with Ballamy about his new blown Austin Seven engine, Capon, Phil Hunter, Harmer, and Ashwood were there, the last-named now with A.B.C.’s, and Birkett, Bowles and Trowbridge had much to discuss in connection with Bugattis. The service was considerably improved and it was the opinion of all those present that these meetings should continue – they will do much to enliven the coming winter. At the time of writing it is undecided whether the next meeting will be held on August 1st or 8th, but a definite announcement will be made later, and we hope the attendance will break all records. Hon. sec.: S. H. Capon, 159, Upper Tulse Hill, London, S.W.2.

The Frazer-Nash Car Club

It seems likely that after the war the Frazer-Nash Car Club may be reformed, perhaps exclusively of the B.M.W. element. Certainly enthusiasm for the marque is as alive as ever, rather particularly in the West, and unofficial Meetings of owners still occur. The person who suggested that the Chain-Gang’s motto might well be based on that famous uttering of Levassor’s when he surveyed his original crash-type gearbox is surely, in reality, a compliment, inasmuch as the Frazer-Nash transmission evades anything so crude as sliding cogs!

The N.Z. Sports and Racing Car Club

We have to acknowledge another bulletin of the New Zealand Sports and Racing Car Club. It is an excellent little effort in war-time, and proof-positive that enthusiasm out there is quite unquenchable.


We deeply regret to learn that E. R. M. Hardie, a well-known member of the Enthusiasts Car Club, died suddenly some while ago from heart failure. Hardie’s stable numbered a Bentley, blown Balilla Fiat and G.P. Bugatti. We believe that he had realised an ambition of long standing just prior to his death, having acquired a Type 55 Bugatti, and that his sad demise occurred shortly after he had taken a brief trial run in this car: the happening is all the more unexpected as Hardie had shown no signs of heart trouble. To his relatives and his many friends in the Midlands we tender our condolences.  

Bugatti Owners’ Club

The annual general meeting of the Bugatti Owners’ Club was held at the R.A.C. on July 12th. Brig.Gen. G. M. Giles, Eric Giles, K. W. Bear, Lemon-Burton, Pope, Birkett and Massey-Riddle were the only persons present. In the course of the evening’s business Eric Giles announced that the club car – a Type 51 G.P. Bugatti, kindly given to the club by Ettore Bugatti some years ago, and believed to have been built originally for the King of Spain, who found it too rapid – had recently been sold for £750. He explained that it has always been something of an embarrassment, costing £20 every time it was used, which was considered too high a figure to charge ordinary members for the privilege of racing it. Hon. sec.: E. L. Giles, 2, Queen Street, Mayfair, W.1.

Our cover picture

This month’s cover picture is of H. J. Aldington, driving a Meadows-engined Frazer-Nash in the Alpine Trial about ten years ago, this being the car which also finished 7th in the T.T. race. We believe the car also averaged over 85 m.p.h. in an M.C.C. One Hour High Speed Trial, and had a maximum speed of 92-98 m.p.h. It is now stored in Wales, its owner being a prisoner of war.

Enthusiasts’ tea party

On July 24th, Messrs. Capon and Rivers Fletcher arranged another Saturday afternoon gathering of enthusiasts at Regents Park Zoo. Although the attendance was small compared to that at Rembrandt gatherings, it was good enough to justify the efforts of the organisers; the right crowd and no crowding, in fact. Incidentally, fine weather in the Straits of Dover contributed not a little to the pleasures of the afternoon.

Nominally a car-less meeting, it was a pleasant surprise to see a quartet of sports cars appear. F/O. Cowell used some precious leave petrol to bring along an S.S. 100, and Mrs. Cowell, unwilling to be seen in such a “modern,” was towed through London in an incredibly clean Meadows Frazer-Nash. In addition, Austin and Bentley owners timed their business journeyings to pass the Zoo at the appropriate time.

In the main it was a civilian gathering, although the three Services were represented by Marcus Chambers, Walter Norton and Mallock. Clutton appeared too, on leave from the R.A.F., but had reverted to “civvies” for the occasion.

Pomeroy and Tubbs of The Motor attended, as did Baker of The Autocar. Designers Roesch and Berthon were present, while John Cooper had travelled down from Leicester for the occasion and arrived with Austin Partridge.

Happy in the belief that someone else was reporting the affair for Motor Sport, I made no attempt to list those present, but names which spring to mind are Bolster, Nixon, Gibson, Fall, Clarke, Ashworth, Merrilees, Birkett and C. Dunn.

No set programme existed for the meeting, beyond talk and the exchange of photographs, proceedings which lasted for a considerable number of hours. The party did not break up, in fact, until a Sunday School Treat crowded us out of the restaurant!

We understand that, apart from the monthly 750 Club lunches, the next motorists’ party will be a Rembrandt lunch in September. J. L.