Club News, August 1948

We hear

A well-preserved and very small vintage Mercedes tourer of 12-h.p. is to be seen in the Crystal Palace district. The June V.C.C. event seemed to attract vintage small cars, in addition to veterans and Edwardians. We noted a truly beautiful “10/23” Talbot two-seater, an “8/18  Talbot-Darracq two-seater, Barker’s “11.4” Lagonda coupé, which went on to the Lagonda C.C. Rally at Northampton thereafter, a bull-nose Morris-Cowley tourer and a re-vamped post-war de Dion Bouton. Another 1913 Calcott two-seater, last taxed in 1925, has turned up in Reading and a de Dion, thought to be of 1906 vintage and a pre-1914 Triumph motor-cycle with wicker sidecar, are reported from Suffolk. G. Brown of 30, Limbourne Avenue, Whalebone Lane South, Dagenham, Essex, offers information on electrical matters relating to British, Continental and American cars of the 1920-1926 era to anyone in need of such help, he having recently assisted a reader in respect of a wiring diagram for a 1922 Riley Eleven. Ted Inman Hunter, finding himself in Paris on film work, also discovered that the studio hack was a Type 57 Bugatti truck and that the studio dump contained the remains of a twin-cam Salmson engine. We hear of a well-preserved 1925 20-h.p. Rolls-Royce for sale for around £200.

E. C. Barson has been in Cape Town since 1939. His wife joined him in 1945 and the newly-married couple rebuilt in six months a 4-1/2-litre Lagonda “Rapide” that had been wrapped round a gum-tree, thereafter having much fun with it in trials, sprints and other competitions. During the last two years Barson has forsaken cars and has been building himself a house, complete with a 20′ by 25′ garage with pit and overhead crane-track. So he may one day turn to “specials” again, and, indeed,  has a 1947 1,100 c.c. o.h.v. Harley-Davidson power unit which he intends to put in a Cooper-like chassis. He reports many “specials” in Cape Town, notably two based on Lancia “Aprilias,” two on Hudsons, a G.P. Talbot with Graham Paige engine, a Le Mans Singer with i.f.s. chassis and a  “T.T. Replica”  Frazer Nash with 22-h.p. Ford V8 engine. He also reports that Motor Sport  is “widely read out here by enthusiasts, amongst whom its circulation is increasing.”  Barson’s eleventh “special” was recently advertised for sale in this country   —  it had an experimental straight-eight Alvis engine, said to have lapped Brooklands at 104 m.p.h. in a “Speed Twenty” four-seater saloon, and Barson was timed over a 1/2-mile at 117 m.p.h., and at 110 m.p.h. with four-up, at Polsmoor track. At the 1940 Table Mountain hill-climb it seems that this car unofficially broke the course record in practice and in the event was 3/5 sec. slower than Steve Chiappinni’s blown 2-1/2-litre Maserati. Barson wishes to be remembered to his old friends, naming many famous folk, “special builders all.”

Dick Bainbridge has successfully completed his journey to S. Africa in his boat “Orestes,” arriving at the beginning of June. Barker intends to thoroughly rebuild his 1924 “12/24” Lagonda coupé, when it will be an outstanding example of these largely-forgotten early British light cars. An S.S.K. MercedesBenz is in daily use near Truro, where Robert Thwaites is rebuilding a 1935 Riley Nine “Kestrel,” and a six-cylinder Hispano-Suiza on three-letter registration plates, with ambulance body, has been encountered motoring sedately along A80.

Many “7.5” Citroëns still serve faithfully in France, Belgium and Holland, some very dilapidated, others nicely restored to spick and span condition. R. K. Wright, son of Alfred Wright who was largely responsible for the business success of Metallurgique cars in this country in the early days, reports that Oscar Cüpper, driver of those cars, is in Germany and remembers vividly the old racing days. E. G. Emmett is restoring to good order his two-cylinder G.W.K. and is collecting material for a history of the G.W.K. concern; he would be pleased to hear from anyone who can contribute any information, however meagre, or who knows of other G.W.K. cars. This same enthusiast is also rebuilding a pre-Austin 1920 “25/50” Sizaire-Berwick.

A late Humber Nine saloon was for sale at a Staines garage for £100. Considerable interest was aroused in our recent note about vintage and Edwardian Rolls-Royce cars for sale, and Hugh Hunter is searching for a 1913 four-speed “Silver Ghost.”  A very fine 1928 “Silver Ghost” tourer, with only 8,000 miles to its credit, exists in Hampshire, but is not for sale. Robin Jackson’s F.I.A.T. 500 is in many ways rather special and is now rumoured to possess a Siata o.h.v. head. The Editor craves pictures for his records of his Hispano-Suiza in the V.C.C. Charterhouse event (No.53) if anyone took any.

A Clyno Nine saloon of about 1929 vintage is still in use in Hampshire and on a recent Sunday evening, amongst the almost pre-war holiday traffic returning to London along A80, we encountered an older Clyno tourer and an “11/22” Wolseley saloon.


Morgan Three-Wheeler Club

Three-wheelers are amongst the most sensible cars to run at the present time and the Club that caters for them is flourishing and issues a useful “Bulletin.” This keeps members in close contact and enables Morgan matters, not forgetting hints and tips, to be adequately ventilated. Details of the Club are available from the Secretary, G. Evans, 19, Chestnut Walk, Worcester.


Hants and Berks M.C.

A news-sheet is issued monthly containing club news and humorous articles, and this Club, besides its recent speed trial, holds social and competition events, and is again running its notorious Night Trial on the occasion of the October full moon. Hon. Sec. Charles Balmer, Farnborough Grange Hostel, Farnborough, Hants.



The Veteran Car Club is holding a Rally at Norwich on August 28th, and is cooperating with the Hull A. and L.C.C. and the Bristol M.C. and L.C.C. in staging similar events at Hull and Bristol respectively, the dates being September 26th and October 23rd. The Brighton Run for pre-1905 cars will be held on November 14th. The “Gazette” continues to appear quarterly, that for June containing much of value to autocarists, besides an informative account of the early years of the de Dion Bouton firm by St. John C. Nixon, and some very useful data appertaining to dating Leon Bollee and Coventry Motette tricycles. The description of the original Lanchester car, by George Lanchester, also concluded in that issue. Secretary: St. John C. Nixon 46, North Row, Oxford Street, W.1. (Mayfair 6749.)


Alvis Register

Paul Quiggin got going with the Register of “12/50” Alvis owners in June, thanking Motor Sport  readers for their co-operation. 22 owners are listed in the first issue, embracing eight four-seaters, five two-seaters, three saloons, three beetlebacks, three ducks’-backs, two coupés, a “12/60” saloon and a “14/75.” You Alvis enthusiasts can do far better than that, surely?  Please send details of your car or cars to the Register, quoting registration number, date of car, engine and chassis numbers, type of carburetter, type of body and any relevant remarks. Note that two-seaters, tourers and saloons are to be logged, as well as sports versions   —  and “12/60s” and  “14/75s ” seem to have got in!   With this rather humble first effort came a useful list of spares and cars available, and news of an instruction book scheme, etc., all in a pleasantly breezy style. The Register is to be amended monthly and will be sent to subscribers. Details from: P. Quiggin, 6, Greatchester Road, Cambridge.


Vintage Prescott

Good sport should be seen at Prescott on August Bank Holiday, for the V.S.C.C. event is confined to vintage and Edwardian cars. We were, however, disappointed to note that the entry fees no longer humour the impecunious, which was once the proud boast of the V.S.C.C. The entry fee was £2 2s. for an initial class entry and £1 1s. for subsequent class entries, compared with 20s. per class entry for the Bugatti Owners’ Club meeting, and 15s. for combined speed event and rally entry for the last two V.C.C. events, possibly because the V.S.C.C. had to meet a charge for use of the hill. There seems, too, to be some confusion as to what constitutes an “Edwardian,” the V.C.C. naming pre-1905 cars veterans and pre-1918 cars Edwardians, the B.O.C. accepting any pre-1915 car as a veteran, whereas the V.S.C.C. deems a pre-1916 car an Edwardian. Incidentally, we look forward to another of the always-excellent V.S.C.C. “Bulletins,” only one having been issued this year so far, while a revised list of members would seem to be overdue, the last one received being dated October, 1946. The V.S.C.C. issues a monthly advertisement circular of vintage cars for sale, charging 7s. 6d. per announcement, which is an effort to keep these increasingly rare cars within the club, although such drastic steps of ensuring this as those taken by the Australian V.S.C.C. are not, it seems, imposed.


Sackcloth and Ashes 

In last month’s issue two errors occurred. In the editorial about the I.O.M. race we said that D. A. Hampshire only commenced racing in 1946, whereas, in fact, he raced a 6C Maserati at Brooklands and Crystal Palace, etc., before the war. In the programme of this year’s J.C.C. Jersey race, Hampshire was described as starting serious racing  in 1946, which, depending on what you mean by “serious racing,” is more to the point. The second error gave Gerard as heading the R.A.C. Hill-Climb Championship after Bo’ness. Actually, Gerard is unfortunately unable to compete in all the events necessary to qualify, so has not entered for the Championship, as our list of entrants made clear. After Bo’ness Poore led from Hutchison, with Mays third. We also attributed a Riley-Special of 1-3/4-litres to W. J. Coe Ltd., of Ipswich, but the car in question is actually a 1-1/2-litre.


July Quiz

We intended that last month’s Quiz should be easier than those that went before and that this was so is borne out by the number of successful solutions. The car was the famous four-wheel-driven Bugatti, seen at Chateau Thierry in 1935. The first correct solution we picked up came from H. L. Biggs of Enfield. Others who correctly identified the car (not all got the venue correct, but most recalled Jean Bugatti’s crash in practice at Shelsley Walsh) were :

C. Mollister of Swanage, R. C. Foster of Maidstone, J. Eason Gibson of London, E.C.1, F. L. Vergasa of London, N.W.1, R. Buxton of Enfield Wash, P. S. Neal of Bishops Stortford, .J. V. Lewis of Ilford, G. Smith of Worcester, R. P. Castle of Hatfield, G. Richardson of Kidderminster, A. H. Wilson, D. F. Rees of Twickenham, J. Alan Hill of Hampstead, Capt. J. Brown of Barton, R. K. Small of Beeston, G. F. Humphries of Derby, R. E. Clarke and G. Rymer of Send, P. Halion of  Co. Longford, G. Hallam of Aspley, J. K. Budleigh of Brighton, W. Eaves of Blackpool, and A. F. Rivers Fletcher of New Barnet, P. L. K. Bird of London, W.1,  A. G. Meakin of W. Bridgeford, P. D. Shanks (age 13) of Uppingham, J. G. Davies of Walsall, K. N. Teesdale of Birmingham, H. Pratley of London, E.18, G. Coustoutini of Haute-Savoie, B. N. Clark of Southall, A. D. Johns of Worcester, Dr. G. H. N. Phillips of Ware, P. Rambant of Carlisle, A. Kennedy of Stockton-on-Tees, C. H. Griffin of Rotherham, Alan Thomson of New Malden and J. D. Scheel of Berne. M. Scheel added that the car weighed 850 kilog., had a bore and stroke of 86 by 102 mm., a 2,600-mm. wheelbase, 1,250-mm. track, 28 by 5 tyres, 17 by 72 final drive and was Type 53. The only incorrect solutions were from a reader of 16, who mistook the Bugatti for the f.w.d. Miller-Derby, and from someone who suggested a modified “2.3” Bugatti.

All right, chaps. Something more difficult next time !


House of Commons M.C.

Politicians do not seem very motor-conscious in many of their utterings, but that they are big-scale car users anyone who has driven past their car park while the House is sitting, will testify.  So it is nice to learn of a House of Commons Motor Club, about which the R.A.C. says:

Increased activity, in the form of a drive for new members, is apparent in the M.P.s own motor club. The House of Commons Motor Club, which was founded in 1933, has two main objects :

(1) To provide such means of identification of members’ cars as will facilitate their passage to and from the House of Commons.

(2) To keep under consideration the interests of motorists.

Although the administrative work of the club is carried out by the Royal Automobile Club, the officers are all M.P.s. The Chairman is Mr. John Lewis and the secretary, Lt.-Col. G. B. CliftonBrown. Membership at present is 130, but this total is expected to be considerably increased in the near future.

The badge of the club is a red shield bearing a portcullis in black and white  —  from the arms of the City of Westminster  —  with the name of the club lettered in gold. It is a condition of membership that the badge, which is of the windscreen type, shall be displayed only when the member himself is in the car.


Malden and District M.C.

Fifty members and friends attended an informal supper and dance on June 17th. Members were asked to voice their feelings as to the Club’s future and it was decided that to increase the activities a bigger membership was needed. On Sunday, June 20th, the first run since the return of pleasure petrol was held in the Reigate area and was well supported. Hon. Sec.: H. W. Dicker, 53, Raeburn Avenue, Surbiton, Surrey.


General Notes

Now that Mr. Gaitskell has wisely “thought again” we can chronicle journeys made not entirely for business purposes. Thus the well-worn Austin Seven has been directed into those pleasant parts of Hampshire which lie around Alton, Odiham and Basingstoke and we have enjoyed again aimless drives through such pleasantly-named villages as Greywell, Long Sutton, Mapledurwell, Up Nately, Nately Scures and Dogmersfield, where it is possible to forget that Cobb has done 400 m.p.h., or that flying machines are propelled by jet.

Then there was the run to Brighton for the hill-climb, with its taste of the Downs near Lewes, reminiscent of speed-trial days of before the war, and the return journey in company with a Bugatti that was being run-in, its tail light only vanishing into the distance up the long climb out of Guildford on to the Hogs Back as we were nearly home. The humble Austin was to some extent excused on that occasion because, whereas it commenced with a touch of the starter, the Bugatti, its carburation from a triple-diffuser Zenith not yet correct, needed much pushing, nor had the car a spare wheel. Matters levelled up to some extent later, when the Austin trailed its rear lamp and number plate behind it, a calamity remedied with the aid of much common-or-garden string.

The Bugatti, a Type 40, came into the picture a few evenings later for a run to Bletchingly, which entailed climbing up -past Newlands Corner and down to the road through Abinger Hammer to Dorking and Leatherhead, the lights of towns twinkling in the gloom of thunder clouds during the homeward journey.

Next came much motoring in a flat-twin Bradford Utility, including a brisk flip from Worcester to Cheltenham between a Shelsley Walsh and a Prescott, which enabled one to appreciate the difference between the scenery near these two famous towns. And, returning on the Sunday evening, we espied, quite by chance, in the dusk somewhere near Reading, a yard containing, of all things, a 1913 Calcott, besides a 1925 M.G. Salonette and a “14/40” Vauxhall tourer. One evening, too, the Bradford took us up to London and, leaving late, came back down the Kingston By-pass (deserted then, but quite “pre-war” now on week-end evenings) and out to Hampton Court beside the Thames to Shepperton and over Chertsey Bridge. From here a bit of dodging about took us over the level-crossing in Chertsey and up to a right-hand turning into a delightful country road which eventually joined the better known road into Chobham, after which it was a case of winding our willing little vehicle round the many bends to that dangerous cross-roads beyond the Gordon Boys’ Home and then across the open commonland, uphill past Red Road and along a bumpy bit of going to drop down to Frimley. Even then we were not home, for this is Surrey and Hampshire lay beyond, at Farnborough, where Cody flew, and where we merely took a familiar route across the common for home. A few days later came some grappling with “Alphonse,” the 1913 Hispano-Suiza, who behaved not too badly on the occasion of the V.C:C. event and provided a quite stirring ride home along local roads in a manner of which we shall never tire.

That brought us to Bo’ness, preceded on the Thursday morning by a run, domestically, from Hampshire to Kent, before going down to Essex. From there the next morning an early start was made for Scotland, a modern Austin Ten being used and a new o.h.v. Austin Sixteen being left, reluctantly, in the garage in deference to petrol rationing. The run up was largely uneventful, if one overlooks the detour we made inadvertently, in a sudden inspiration to avoid Edinburgh. We had started by following an A.A. route issued pre-war for a holiday in those happy unrestricted days and found ourselves inevitably on the Great North Road above Huntingdon. We lunched satisfactorily at the “Angel” at Catterick, to the accompaniment of a gloomy Test Match commentary and reached the border at 3.45 p.m.  Incidentally, high-performance cars have to go very rapidly nowadays to “keep their end up,” for nothing had passed the Austin and it actually averaged 44 m.p.h. for the first five hours’ driving, including a lengthy stop at Hopperton level-crossing (where temporary gates were in use) and a petrol stop and much loss of time after taking a wrong fork beyond Doncaster.  And 46 miles were packed into our “best” hour. It was beyond Galashiels, that town that lies below the main road, that we decided to detour, with a far-from-adequate map. Beyond Peebles and Carnwath we wandered about the byways, past isolated small coal mines and through forbidding Scottish towns of stone-built dwellings, before picking up a road that brought us into Bo’ness via Linlithgow. We must have gone well into the back o’ beyond, for we actually encountered a model-T Ford (a lengthened Bacio lorry type) in one town we passed through. After practice was over at the hill we went on to Edinburgh, seeing the Forth Bridge from a new angle on the way. The town proved full to capacity, for H.M. the King was coming up the following day, but eventually the Barton Hotel, just outside the town, put us up for the night most comfortably and courteously. Bo’ness over we got into the Austin and wandered by the far from direct, but interesting, route Carlops, Mid-Calder and Bathgate, into Glasgow, encountering on the way a Triumph roadster that had argued with an aged lorry  —   which gave rise to some thoughts re visibility in modern cars—and, in quick succession, an Amilcar and a 3-litre Sunbeam, which shows that vintagery is practised north o’ the Border. Glasgow was its usual Saturday-night self and we tarried only long enough to fortify ourselves at the Adelphi against an all-night drive south with our Stop-Press story. Indeed, we were careless as to how we left this straggling city, which soon lay, a dark conglomeration of roofs, chimneys and an occasional crane or derrick, behind us. It seemed an eternity since we had photographed a train on the Forth Bridge, inspected a quaint cable railway near South Queensferry and explored Bo’ness with its docks and timber yards. However, London-wards it had to be and a most pleasing road was taken, via Kilmarnock, Mauchline, Cumnock, Sanquhar, Enterkinfoot, Thornhill and New Bridge into Dumfries. The surrounding country was satisfying without being extreme and beside the deserted road a single-track railway ran straight as a die, to vanish and appear again as we took the corners. Glimpses of isolated buildings, ruins and hill-side tracks added an air of mystery as night closed in ahead of us while the sky behind remained bright with the late Scottish sunset. Lights on, we ran fast down the West Coast road, via Annan, Carlisle, Penrith and up over Shap to Kendal, where a nail deflated a back tyre. It was then 1.15 a.m. and, that trouble dispersed, we came across via  Settle and Skipton to the middle of England, and through a for-once empty Bradford and Wakefield on to A1 above Doncaster. By 7.25 a.m. we were back in Essex, a run of 265 miles from Kendal. The Austin had averaged 33 m.p.g., had suffered merely one puncture and a loose exhaust-pipe flange, and had required a pint of oil and no water, which really is rather good going for an inexpensive 10-h.p. saloon with over 30,000 hard miles to its credit. Even now motoring didn’t exactly cease, for, the Bo’ness report written, the aged Austin Seven was energised and in it we entered the East-end of London  —  contrast with Scotland indescribable  —  ran through the Blackwall Tunnel lost ourselves in such places as Woolwich, Charlton and Blackheath, made West Wickham, had tea, and then contrived to go into Croydon and Mitcham, and finally to follow the same route home to Hampshire as we had, a fortnight earlier, taken in the Bradford. For us, that spell of motoring finished at 0.30 p.m.

Yes, this freedom is certainly enjoyable. Even before Gaitskell repented there was fun within reason. For instance, a 1948  f.w.d. Citroën demonstrated its covetable qualities one evening in a fast run to Midhurst and other Surrey beauty-spots, and a Vauxhall Ten offered quick transport from Bovingdon to London after we had written the Jersey race report in a Dakota, the actual time from Jersey Airport to City Road, E.C., being 2h. 23 min., including a  “pit stop”  to replenish the car’s radiator. Then the Isle of Man trip embraced a drive to Croydon in the afore-mentioned trustworthy Austin Ten, a take-off in a Percival “Proctor I” in what Control, haggling about no radio and a single engine, called  “Q.B.I.”  but we should have described as bright sunshine. negotiation of a ruin-storm over Birmingham, and a landing at Ronaldsway after 2 h. 10 Min. rather bumpy dying. We went to Douglas in an old Austin Twenty landaulette taxi, the return journey after the race next day, in a Wolseley taxi, demonstrating the advances made in rear-seat comfort of recent years. The Proctor got us non-stop to Croydon, through increasingly bad weather, in 2 h. 5 min., the lights of what was formerly Waddon Airport, seen at 9.35 p.m. in rain and darkness, being both impressive and decidedly comforting!