Club News, August 1945



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Club News


Sqd/Ldr. L. Bunst.ens has had the misfortune to break a con.-rod of his 14-litre Invicta, and would be very glad to hear of another engine, or from anyone who could suggest how another make of engine might be installed. Marcus Chambers is preparing Peter Clark’s Le Mans H.R.G. for a further spell of service. Capt. C. H. M. Dobell has bought a 8carburetter Alvis “Silver Eagle “4-seater (OG 1580) and would like to hear from past owners. K. V. Baillie Hill is at Droitwich and hoping to run his H.R.G. on “basic.” H. C. Shaw has been running a “Special Series” Mk. IV open 4-seater Riley Nine, but has in store two Lea-Francis, a ” Hyper ” 4-seater, once Cozette blown but now with single Solex carburetter (GF5328), and a 2/4-seater compounded from ” Hyper ” and “12/50” parts. The registration number of the latter is TU3951, and Shaw is very anxious to trace its history ; it has a short, central remote gear-change, cycle wings and a very large external rear fuel tank.

L/Cpl. Gaudin has owned an Austin Seven ” Nippy ” since 1938, and has driven it about 38,000 miles and managed 1,000 miles in it during a recent leave. The Torrin Maserati, which did over 90 m.p.h. in 2nd gear, is likely to be seen again. Grosscarth, who is getting some excellent motoring from his 6-cylinder Frazer-Nash, is thinking of putting an engine into his 1922 G.P. Sunbeam to see how it motors, before installing the reconditioned Sunbeam unit. He recently acquired the very interesting InmanHunter, which is a ” 10/23 ” Talbot chassis with a double-rotary-valve head designed by Inman Hunter’s father.

S/Sgt. Winder congratulates Kenneth Neve on his recent “pipe dreams,” but says that a .” 12/50″ Alvis engine goes into a G.N. chassis as easily as a MorrisCowley engine, and to his mind is a better marriage—Winder had just such a car in 1929. F/Lt. G. A. Davidson is anxious to learn the past history of a blown ” Ulster ” Austin Seven, GN8198, for which he is seeking a new body. M. D. Tooley has an M.G. Magna with an Opel front axle to give i.f.s., and needs a little advice over its reassembly. Would Magna experts please contact him at St. °laves, Queen’s Road, Colchester. Major C. A. Hartridge, out in India, has acquired a 1924 “Speed Model” 8-litre Bentley, No. 412, and is putting its engine into his 1926 ” Speed Model,” No. 1208, as No. 412 has h.p. tyres which are quite irreplaceable. Capt. C. L. Clark, R.A., now has his 3-litre Bentley on the road again. Major Kenneth Richmond hopes soon to return to this country and seeks a suitable Riley, Aston or Alvis. He discovered a quite reasonable low-chassis 1929-30 2-litre Lagonda with non-standard 2-seater body, in S.E. Asia, valued by the vendor at 2,000 rupees. Christopher Brown hopes soon to be back in London and intends to devote all his energies to 750-c.c. cars—and beer ! He owns the ” Ulster ” Austin Seven which was formerly owned by the late Jimmy Adams. Incidentally, the ” Ulster ” Austin Seven is a flourishing vintage type ; we can think of at least a dozen which will soon be on the road. Brown’s brother, in the Sudan, had a

“Lambda ” Lancia, and now uses a Standard Avon in the Sudan and a 24litre S.S. here, but is seeking an ” 1,100 ” H.R.G. FILL J. 0. Breese, D.F.C., recently spent an enthralling day’s leave helping a friend get his Frazer-Nash fit for motoring again. An open 2-litre Ballot appears in the Charles Boyer film, “The Constant Nymph.” There is an extremely sound 12-h.p. Mathis Six coupe, of 1924 vintage, for sale in Leeds, which has run only about 20,000 miles. It has a Weymann body covered in leather which was specially imported from America for the purpose, and which has weathered remarkably well. Equipment includes spot lamp and a most unusual form of early direction indicator, and the tyres are very good. The car is owned by J. A. Sykes,

Alwoodly Gates,” Leeds, who also has two 44-litre Lagondas, an M.G., and several other cars. The price is around 150. C. Posthumus has now completed his 1/25th scale model ” Monoposto ” Alfa-Romeo, and his book on how to construct this model is soon to be published. He also intends to make these ” solid ” models to special order. The E.R.A. once owned by Eugene Pjornstadt, which is believed to have won the 1937 Circuit of Turin, and to have been driven by Brian Lewis in the 1986 Vanderbilt Cup race, is now in a Surrey garage ; it is now painted grey. C. A. N. May is busy with another book—the history of Shelsley Walsh.

730 CLUB Another took place at Osterley

Another meeting took place at on July 1st, and amongst the cars which attended was an interesting Austin Seven with Fiat ” 500 ” bodywork. Another meeting of the committee took place on July 15th. Hon. secretary, S. H. Capon, 159, Upper Tulse Hill, London, S.W.2.


The Junior Car Club hopes to hold a big gathering of its members at Grosvenor House, London, W., next September, and it is now able to take applications for membership. A few club badges are for sale at 15s. each. Hon. secretary, H. J. Morgan, 14, Lime Grove, Ruislip, Middlesex.


R. R. Jackson, in a recent lecture on M.G. development, at Bristol : “The M.-type M.G. engine was virtually the same as that in the o.h.c. Morris Minor, ,except that care was taken to ensure that all tile compressions were equal.”


After attending a play at which the audience loudly displayed their understanding of the double-meaning humour which so frequently occurred, someone observed : “I think I now know why motor racing doesn’t catch on in this country—there is no sex in it.”


For no particular reason we present another new picture this month, It is from the Rivers-Fletcher portfolio and shows a 44-litre Le Mans Bentley team car. We confess we like it and we hope it will not unduly enrage the anti-vintagents.


It is proposed to start a club to cover the Sheffield, Chesterfield, NV’orksop, and Mansfield district if sufficient support is forthcoming. A preliminary meeting was held in ” Ye Crooked Spire” Hotel, Chesterfield, on Friday, July 13th, when it was decided to call this club the” North Midland Motor Club,” and a provisional working committee was chosen. The hon. secretary is J. H. Hudson. The purpose of the club is to foster enthusiasm in all forms of motoring. For the present, at least, only car members would be catered for, and all types of cars would be equally welcome.

A further meeting will be held in “Ye Crooked Spire” Hotel, Chesterfield, on Tuesday, August 21st, at 8 p.m., at which all who are interested will be very welcome. Anyone who is interested but cannot get to this meeting is asked to communicate with J. H. Hudson, 19, Chatsworth Avenue, Langwith Junction, near Mansfield, Notts, or with G. C. Siddons, Warren House, Loxley, near Sheffield.


It is extremely good news that the Vintage S.C.C. is to come into being again. We have received the following letter on this subject from A. S. Heal, and wish this economically-minded and go-ahead body every success in its revived form :—

Founded in 1935 the V.S.C.C. did a great deal of, work in the years before the war to arouse the Interest of the motoring public in vintage ears. The club was unique in that it ran special events for ears manufactured before the end of 1931 and, in 1939, it was rapidly developing a flourishing .section for ” Edwardians ” (cars manufactured prior to 1915). Successful events for both classes of car were organised at the Crystal Palace, Donington, Lewes and Prescott. The club shared in the organisation of the 1939 Stanley Cup Competition and a Rally for Edwardian cars was held at Pre-steigme in the spring of the same year. The V.S.C.C., it will be recalled, also organised reliability trials suitable for vintage touring ears at a time when most trials were becoming highly-speeialised mud-slinging, axlebreaking affairs.

Upon the outbreak of the war with Germany the Vintage Sports Car Club suspended its activities “for the duration.” That conflict now having been brought to a successful conclusion, a well-attended meeting of the club’s committee was held on Saturday, June 23rd—the first committee meeting held for 5+ years.

It was resolved by the committee that. a general meeting (for the purpose of electing officers of the club, etc.) should be held, and that it should be combined with a social event. An organising subcommittee was appointed, and it is hoped to hold the event in September. Members will be advised of the arrangements by circular, and it is hoped that announcements will be published in the motoring Frogs. Meanwhile, all members who have changed their addresses since the 1939 membership lists were compiled are asked to advise the acting secretary of their present whereabouts. The committee are anxious to get in touch with all old members, and the acting secretary would be pleased if members would drop him a line.

The committee want to ascertain how many members still own and drive vintage cars, and the acting secretary would be glad to receive particulars of members’ cars.

The hon. secretary, 1/0. T. W. Carson, is still serving with the R.A.F., and in his absence the post of acting secretary was undertaken. by A. S. Ilea!, Red Hill Cottage, Denham, Bucks (Tel. Denham 2710), to whom all communications should be addressed.


The club held its first social in June, and amongst the cars present were four M.G.s, including a Centric-blown P.A. and a Marshall-blown P.B., a very well-preserved 0.M., and a Blackburn-engined Frazer-Nash Six.


1). Allen’ ‘ress officer of the Robin S.M.C., is rebuilding a Lancia ” Lambda ” into a combination of 5th Series and 8th Series, with 2-seater body. He wonders whether other Lancia enthusiasts would care to contact him with a view to forming a Lancia club. His address is “The Pingles,” Eggar’s Hill, Aldershot, Surrey.


The R.A.C. seems unlikely to issue any permits for racing until the Japanese war is won. We sincerely hope that they will permit us a few trials before then. Meanwhile, there was a motor-cycle race over the Ards Circuit scheduled for July 14th!


So many events are happening again that we have difficulty in listing them all. But we must record that a committee meeting of the Bentley Drivers’ Club was due to be held at Forrest Lycett’s house early last month. Those interested in this club should contact C. J. L. Mertens,

The Red House, 8, King’s End, Ruislip, Middlesex (Ruislip 5119), who is acting hon. secretary.


Restoration of ” basic ” makes it possible to once again recount divers motoring wanderings in the form, as it were, of a sort of personal diary. Certainly not much time was wasted before we got off the mark. Feeling a good fuel consumption to be of paramount importance in the days ahead, thoughts turned longingly to a certain rather wellkept 1934 4-speed Austin Seven saloon with but two previous owners, and one of these a sedate girl-driver, who, nevertheless, had driven it to Wales, Scotland and Switzerland during two years’ ownership. We had seen the Austin stored in a garage at Petts Wood, in Kent, at the close of 1939 and, up in Harrogate, now fought a loathing for little tin boxes with the logic that it would constitute an admirable second car, and be extremely useful as one wife’s conveyance, a process fairly easily cultivated after many years of none too economic and sometimes recalcitrant-to-start, though otherwise faithful, Alvis. Having ascertained that the Austin could be bought, a Monday approaching the ” basic ” era saw us board the only fast train of the day with a few moments to spare and arrive, hungry and bored, in London six hours later. Preliminary investigation revealed that the Austin’s battery had succumbed to frost, but everything else seemed in order and,

when inflated, the quite respectable, if horrifyingly small-section, Dunlop “90s ” stayed up. Good friends in the Trade produced a new battery and put in on charge, the licence and petrol book came, and time in the small garage passed quickly enough. A water leak where the outlet pipe on the head had corroded had to be cured and, of course, a stud broke. However, the head was removed, the local N.F.S. kindly produced an electric drill and a tap, a decoke was thrown in, and back went the head. As an interlude we attended a 750 Club meeting by train and Underground, and while there, nearly bought a Lancia ” Lambda ” saloon, refusing it only because its immense length seemed likely to give rise to garaging problems in our overcrowded Yorkshire spa. In order to see the Lancia we went with Birkett in his Type 30 Bugatti, first attending a motor-cycle grass-track meeting in company with Julian Fall on his Veloeette, F/Lt. Mallock in his Austin Seven ” Ruby ” saloon, and Lush in his orange T.T. Austin—lively procession. Mallock and Lush subsequently left on. their long run to Harrogate, and the Bugatti found an arterial road and settled at 70, small saloons, venturing out and all over the road on their first gallon of pleasure petrol, being overtaken as if they were standing still, the wind all but closing one’s eyes, unprotected as we were with the screen folded fiat. The Type 30 handled splendidly, as one would expect, and proved to have very useful, though at the moment embarrassingly noisy, brakes. In town it proved unsuited to

low speed work, in spite of its straighteight engine, but it subsequently made light of a back-route journey from Bayswater to Croydon and back into S.W. London. There is no denying that this sort of motoring represents the ultimate in satisfaction to the enthusiast. Modern power units may develop as much or more power, mass-produced chassis may handle quite well if you get to know them, and many cars have as much performance with less temperament. The fact remains that as we reluctantly climbed out of the Type 80 as rain began to fall, and watched Birkett commence his rapid summer evening’s run back to Fleet, we would have rather changed place with him than with the driver of any other car out that day.

That interlude over, we had to contemplate a return by train to our bread-andbutter exile ; so much do we dislike railway travel that we almost decided to buy the aforementioned ” Lambda ” at the last moment We even got as far as the Bayswater mews where it lived, but, alas 1 its owner was away. Then befell a most fortunate coincidence. John Grosscurth hailed us, and it appeared that he had a free afternoon, some” basic” and a trustworthy open Morris Eight. He kindly offered to see if the Austin would respond to a tow, so off we went to Petts Wood again, after the Morris had been appeased for running over its own front bumper, and we had inspected a very fine 4i-litre Bentley 2-seater (the ex-Marcus car) in Hyde Park and investigated Inman-Hunter’s ingenious twin-rotary-valve head, en route. The Austin responded, and we ran in company as far as the Great West Road, where the Morris departed for home and we to collect some MOTOR SPORT records from Fleet, the Metropolis being re-entered subsequently in the early morning. Next day there was a pleasing run up A.1, commenced in congested London traffic about 10 a.m., and terminating in the early evening at the exile spa. No particularly difficult conditions were encountered apart from heavy rain ; we lunched at the Haycock, where the

Bugatti O.C. once rallied, had tea in Bawtry, and progressed generally in a state of undistinguished dependability. The road-repairing methods for some miles near Grantham must seriously concern those who value their tyres, incidentally.

There must obviously be some reaction to the purchase of a saloon Austin Seven, and the very next evening we motored to a dressmaker’s in Bradford, became thoroughly depressed by the cobbled roads, went on to Batley, and there bought a 1926 “Grand Sport” Amilcar to offset repression. Going again to Bradford a week later, and discovering that one with whom we wished to discuss three-wheeler Scott Sociables had passed on some years ago, we struck the bright idea of towing home the Amilcar. This we did, an ex-3-litre Bentley owner installed happily behind the V-screen and cord-bound wheel. We even came through Leeds unmolested

and, apart from setting a front brake well and truly on fire on a long downhill stretch, and just beating a deflating back tyre on the Austin, we came in without incident, the Austin even getting the Amilcar up Humphrey Bank, outside Harrogate, in bottom gear. The following evening Edward Hyde kindly let us drive his immaculate Lancia ” Aprilia ” over the beautiful winding road out to Bolton Abbey, and we discovered just how much we have become disused to handling a fast car and were reminded just how incredible is the ” Aprilia ” for a 13-h.p. car and how well it handles, given a sufficiently ambitious driver. Perhaps we dined too well at the “Black Bull,” at Blubberhouses, for we felt anything but well on the Sunday, when we were aroused at 5 a.m. to endeavour to attend the 750 Club A.G.M. in Alallock’s sports Austin Seven. A Sidcot-suited crew of three duly got under way, but total loss of oil pressure 80011 called a halt. The sump plug had fallen out, so we had, perforce, to return slowly to Harrogate to acquire another, and more oil. At 6.30 a.m. we were off again, but after some fast going, misfiring set in. We crawled through Doncaster and subsequently removed the head, which necessitated unrnounting the Marshall supercharger, which was fitted but not coupledup, and =clamping the manifolds, which were attached in a manner surely inviting the father and mother of all air leaks. This attention resulted in some improvement, but later the trouble recurred, and as Mallock was supposed to be flying in Gloucestershire that night, we decided to return, a process which involved 12 miles’ glorious dice, followed by progression at 3 m.p.h. on one cylinder as the engine became hot. Mallock was eventually put on a train at Leeds, after exciting clutchless negotiation of that grim city, and we brought the car home to Harrogate during one of its better spells. It handled rather sloppily, as Austin Specials sometimes seem to do, yet actually could be placed accurately Continued on page 163

and cornered well, while it had excellent acceleration and good brakes, so that it was not at all unpleasant to drive. The snappy gear-change, the minute clutch movement and the ready revs, available in 3rd brought, momentarily, nostalgic memories of a series of personal Austin Seven “specials.” The little car kindly remained fairly fit until Humphrey Bank had been climbed, but thereafter just wouldn’t open up, crawling back in disgrace to be garaged beside an ” Ulster ” and a “Ruby.” We didn’t exactly owe it a grudge for we, at least, were home, whereas the 5.50 p.m. from King’s Cross wouldn’t have been in until midnight.

Next there was a half-hour ride in a police Wolseley Twelve, in connection with a local Safety First Week. The driver obviously could not teach experienced drivers very much, and we were shocked when be quoted the air raid/road toll figures to us (thus does the false propaganda broadblast by the B.B.C. take root), but it is praiseworthy that the West Riding Constabulary is so reasonably motor-minded–their local Safety First exhibitions include a 1 is-litre M.G. chassis which they have sectioned themselves, and an 1898 Humber. Thereafter we used the Austin as a ” basic ” motorist should, exploring sleepy local lanes joining such happily-named villages as Kirkby Overblow and Lower Rigton.

Somewhat further afield, there was the splendid country around Appletreewick and Hebden, and we climbed a very rough track between stone walls beyond Middlesmoor, a quite “Edinburgh “-observed section leading down to the reservoir that helps to supply the townsfolk of Hradford. Near Bolton Bridge we came upon a black Model-T Ford coupe of about 1920 vintage, like one seen earlier in a garage at Gilberdyke, but beautifully preserved. It stood beside a stone schoolhouse and is presumably in daily use ; somehow it added to the sleepy scene, and any minute one expected a Cluley or a Calcott to round the bend, its occupants regarding the Austin as people in war-time car advertisements look at future models. A ” 105 “Talbot saloon with J.C.C. badge brought us back to 1945.