Club News, August 1949

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We Hear
Lincolnshire seems to harbour early cars, and amongst those reported as seen recently are a Stellite, in daily use, an “11/22” Wolseley two-seater, a G.W.K., a Trojan “Achilles” saloon, a 1931 rear-engined Trojan, a 1921 Humber Eleven cabriolet, and a very early 20-h.p. Rolls-Royce used as a taxi. R. W. G. Newton, of Harrow Weald, commenting on our recently published picture of two Gwynne Eights, says his first experience of motoring was in a 1923 model and sagely observes, “These little cars were designed to discourage rear-seat passengers, but it was worth it to enjoy the very real performance.” Another correspondent says that a shed at a Cheshire garage has soon to be cleared out and the contents disposed of; said “contents” including a model-T Ford sedan, a 1921 Sunbeam 6-h.p. combination, a 1921 Young two-stroke solo motor-cycle and a 1924 16.5-h.p. Essex tourer. If anyone is interested this gentleman, J. A. Sutton, 2, Warren Drive, Gawsworth, Macclesfield, will gladly say where these cars are to be found. John Bolster now has the use of his hands and arms after his crash in the British Grand Prix and writes to tell us that his E.R.A. used Rolls-Royce, not Luvax, shock-absorbers, that the oil gauge was not changed just before the start of the race nor any last-minute work undertaken and that his pit stops concerned the main oil pressure, not that to the superchargers. We feel it is only fair to ourselves to say that all but the first error can be laid at the door of the R.A.C. Press Bulletins. Lt. G. H. Lagar-Chambers, R.N., has acquired a 1925 “14/40” Sunbeam, and D. J. Harrison a 1933 1 1/2-litre “Le Mans” Aston-Martin. The Aston-Martin Owners Club is contemplating an official club tie, bearing the “A.M.” motif in cream or silver on a plain maroon background — and very nice too.

R. G. Shattock tells us that as a result of an advertisement in Motor Sport he sold some Atalanta spares to E. H. Richardson, in America, who is rebuilding an Atalanta to take a Type 50 Bugatti engine. Incidentally, Shattock remarks that Richardson has a whole lot of Bugatti spares for disposal, acquired from a former Los Angeles Bugatti agency, including all parts of a Type 35C engine. Richardson himself craves such items as rev.-counter, ignition, lighting and carburation equipment, Weber-Solex carburetters, etc., suitable for his 5-litre engine. Seems like a chance for some mutual exchanges. Shattock has Richardson’s address and volunteers to put interested enquirers in touch. His address is: ” Ingleneuk,” Moor Lane, Staines, Middlesex. In America, too, Alec Ulmann recently acquired a 1948 2 1/2-litre Alfa-Romeo three-carburetter short-chassis Farina convertible. J. Taylor is contemplating purchasing a 1928 pointed-tail, flared-wings Senechal and hopes that if its Ruby engine doesn’t work he will be able to install a Singer Nine. Cdr. E. A. Read, R.N., recently completed a very enjoyable journey to and from Prague in his 1933 Talbot “105” saloon. Jose Cabral won the Eighth Circuit of Vila Real, Portugal’s most important sports car race since the war, driving an Allard two-seater. Twenty-six cars started, and the Allard was followed home by a B.M.W., Hotchkiss, Austin A90, Mercury, Healey and another Hotchkiss. The 7.2 kilometre course of 48 corners had to be lapped 20 times: Cabral averaged approximately 60 m.p.h., and his fastest lap was at approximately 62 m.p.h. Elsewhere we report a rally organised by a club formed recently in Masjd-i-Sulaiman, S. Iran, by members of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. The report came from R. A. Morrison, who is a 2-litre Lagonda enthusiast, and who was delighted to meet a fellow-employee of Anglo-Iranian who has owned three of these cars. He says that many of the employees use British saloons and that he encountered a 4 1/2-litre Lagonda and a Morgan “4/4.”

Tony Crook recently supplied Bristol convertibles to Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger, giving the inhabitants of Caterham a chance of getting busy with their autograph books. B. Gordon Graham is out in Ceylon pining a little for the performance of his B.M.W., but getting excellent service from a 1936 Riley “Lynx” open tourer. M. G. Trowbridge is completely overhauling a 1930 “16.9” Sunbeam coupé and badly needs an instruction book — his address is “Wringcliffe,” Famet Close, Purley, Surrey. A. Jedelene-Fisher, 2-litre Lagonda enthusiast, whose wife motors in the ex-Barker 1924 11.9-h.p. Lagonda coupé, has unearthed a 1922 11.9-h.p. model in Kent, where a hen was apparently nesting under the bonnet. We encountered a well-preserved four-seater in Manchester some years ago, another in the Cardiff Cavalcade and a rather sorry example is, or was, for sale in Southampton. Any others?

It has now transpired that Axel-Berg’s 1922 “30/98” Vauxhall referred to and illustrated in “Vintage Veerings” last month, isn’t an OE model at all, but one of the now-rare E-type side-valve cars, so that its longevity is all the more creditable and the modernisations relating to it should be read as referring to the E-type. Incidentally, the toil was done by Arthur Fisher of Brockenhurst, who can similarly convert other “30/98s” if need be. The other evening we encountered a Vernon-Derby motoring sedately along the arterial section of A30; its registration number was GW15 and we are wondering whether it is one of the four referred to last month or if this is yet another of these cars? The ex-Norton “15.9” Delaunay-Belleville coupé still serves Powell daily in the Birmingham district. Details of how to construct almost any working-type model car are described in the “Model Car Manual” by G. H. Deason (price 7s. 6d., Drysdale Press). The window of Camberley Car Services has been graced of late by a particularly fine 1903 Thorneycroft. At Keighley, Yorkshire, P. Webster has nearly completed an interesting tubular-chassis car with Buick-like i.f.s., incorporating strut-type shock-absorbers within the coil springs, i.r.s. using triangulated, tubular swing arms and a similar arrangement of coil springs and shock-absorbers, Lockheed brakes, and a 750-c.c. Harley-Davidson V-twin engine driving via a Norton clutch and gearbox to the chassis-mounted differential unit. Kick-starting is employed, and the Norton foot-change mechanism is linked to an external, hand-operated gear lever. Interesting!

Bunty Scott-Moncrieff, who has written that excellent motoring travel book, “Escape from Peace,” has sold. his A40 Austin, and his stable now includes a road-equipped Type 37A Bugatti, a “Ninety” Mercédès, and an American friend’s 1912 Rolls-Royce cabriolet, while he was hoping to add a 1925 3-litre Chenard-Walcker which has been laid-up, virtually new, for nearly a quarter-of-a-century.

Motorists Do Matter
When Mr. Renton (Lib. Nat., Huntingdon) moved a new clause in the Commons to apply the £10 car tax to all cars and not merely to those first registered since January 1st, 1947, Mr. Glenvil Hall said that the Chancellor could not make the change at the moment, because, if all vehicles were put on the £10 rate it would cost something like £5,500,000 in 1950, and he could not forgo that revenue.

Which Make? Your Guess…
According to Peterborough of the Daily Telegraph, when Martin Block, well known on the American radio, tried to order a “British roadster” for a high-speed summer tour, the makers cabled that the 170-m.p.h. model ordered was judged impractical for production now, but that they could supply the 124-m.p.h. model.

V.M.C.C.
The race for vintage motor-cycles at Haddenham in June was won by Pratt’s 348-c.c. Velocette at 54 m.p.h., from Booth’s Ariel and Wicksteed’s Douglas. Other events in which Vintage Motor Cycle Club members deported themselves recently included the Sampford Speed Trial, where f.t.d. went to Bovingdon’s o.h.c. Norton, the Chester M.C. Queensferry Sprint, where Allen’s Brough made f.t.d., and the Grimbsy M.C.C. veteran and vintage run, where Day’s 1914 Triumph and Whale’s Sunbeam won two classes. New members continue to join, the June list embracing 1911 Scott, 1930 Francis Barnett, 1921 Premier, 1912 Rex, 1901 Beeston Humber, 1928 Scott Flyer, 1927 Scott, 1915 Douglas, 1924 B.S.A., 1926 A.J.S., 1921 A.B.C., 1923 Rudge and 1928 Scott motorbicycles, also E. Damadian’s collection of veterans.

Another New Magazine
We have received a copy of a new and nicely-produced magazine, the Indian Motorist, published from 18, Free School Street (suite 12), Calcutta, 16. The first issue, however, is marred by a statement in an article by Harry Hobbs which reads: “In England, the average driver, if he knows he is in the right, may not trouble to avoid knocking people down. In 1933 this brutal attitude was discussed in the House of Lords; many instances were mentioned where no warning was given; the driver knew he was on the right side of the road and what happened to others was of slight concern to him.” How fortunate there is no such person as the average driver!

M.R. C.C.I.
Although Motor Sport does not, and never has, encouraged cinder-shifting, particularly when done with freakishly small cars, we feel that the following account of how the Midget Racing Car Club of Ireland was formed to cater for the “poor man’s motor sport” is worthy of inclusion. G. D. P. Colley, the Club Hon. Secretary, whose address is Corkagh House, Clondalkin, Co. Dublin, writes:—

“The efforts of small bands of enthusiasts throughout the country to promote unusual forms of motor sport often pass unnoticed, and indeed often fizzle out before recognition is due.

“This is the story of Midget Car Racing in Ireland, and we can proudly say that we have achieved our object in providing motor racing, almost at its best, for those who otherwise would never be able to indulge. “Some years before the last war, a small band of rabid enthusiasts, finding that motor racing was essential to life, but entirely outside their means, got together to see what could be done about it. The result was the formation of the Dublin Midget Car Racing Club. The idea was to build and race home-made cars, built to a certain formula, when and where possible — these problems to be faced when the cars were built. The formula chosen was on the lines of the present 500 Club — maximum capacity of 500 c.c., and wheelbase limited to 60 inches. In due course a small number of these cars appeared, most of them well finished and workmanlike, but all liable to mechanical troubles to be expected in unorthodox designs. Motor-cycle engines in front of the driver meant unusually long drives, and combined with rather flexible chassis, produced endless transmission troubles.

“However, many events were held, mostly on grass tracks, and the sport attracted quite a following. Then, shortly before the war, the committee in charge decided that reliability was more important than performance and that the solution was to change the formula to admit building from normal production-car chassis and engines. The formula was changed to permit a maximum capacity of 1,000 c.c. and a wheelbase of 72 inches. A suitable wheel and tyre size of 20 inches overall was found inthecatalogueofafamous manufacturer and this was chosen as the standard wheel. Building started all over again and soon nine cars materialised, all based on the famous Austin Seven, shortened by three inches and fitted with neat single-seater bodies. Grass track races were held and attracted large crowds. The little cars were remarkably lively and reliable and fully justified the committee’s decision to increase the formula.

“The coming of war put a stop to this, and it was not until early 1947 that the midgets again emerged from the corners of sheds and garages where they had spent the interval. The shortcomings of grass track racing were becoming increasingly obvious, and although many races were held, it was clear that a permanent track must be found. At this stage, one of the club members who had an interest in a greyhound track got to work on the directors, and soon magically a cinder track appeared, rough and ready, but far better than had ever been hoped and prayed for.

The opening meeting was held in July, 1948, and drew a crowd of 6,000, who went away satisfied and determined to come again. Eight meetings were held in the season, and 19 cars were racing at the last event. This season has opened with 25 possible cars and the crowd continues to roll in. Builders have taken advantage of the litre formula to install Ford Eight engines in their Austin chassis and the performance of these is remarkable. Two of the midgets were entered in big-car sprints recently, one winning the 1,000-c.c. class with a standing half-mile in 33.2 sec., and that with the small track wheels fitted.

“Every effort has been mede to keep the sport on the amateur standing in which it started. Prize money amounts to £25 per meeting, which, while being high enough to encourage drivers, is also small enough to prevent the sport from becoming a racket. The ‘ballyhoo’ which goes with American midget racing is strongly avoided, and the racing is run on big-car lines. “The Midget Racing Car Club of Ireland, as it is now called, is justifiably proud of providing the poor man’s motor sport.'”

Maidstone & Mod-Kent M.C.
Besides its recent enjoyable race meeting at Silverstone, this club held a rally at Maidstone on July 24th and its future fixtures include the Bossom Trophy. Trial, which has attained “classic” status and counts towards the B.T.D.A. “Star,” and which will be held on October 30th, the annual dinner and dance on November 25th and the Committee Cup Trial on December 11th. Hon. Gen. Sec.: R. W. Draycon, Knowle Road, Maidstone, Kent.

Too High
The prices of the lesser pre-1931 cars still appear to be excessive, judging by the Measham Magazine. Reporting on the cash prices paid at the Measham auction sales between April 26th and May 19th last, it includes 42 cars sold for less than £100, their average year being 1933 and their average price £66.

Morgan Three-Wheeler Club
The Colwell Rally and speed event had to be cancelled, so an impromptu rally was held instead at Sutton-under-Brailes. It says much for the enthusiasm of the club that 31 Morgans entered for the Concours, of which seven were two-speeders, 14 three-speed V-twins and 10 were four-cylinder models. The oldest two-speeder was D. Evans’ 1926 “Aero” with o.h.v. Blackburne engine, the class being won by P. Davies’ 1931 “Super Sports” with o.h.v. w/c Blackburne propulsion. R. Heathcotes 1934 “Super Sports” with o.h.v. J.A.P. engine won the three-speed class, and A. H. Ashmore’s 1949 “F-Super” the four-cylinder class. Barker’s 1929 two-speeder took part in the V.M.C.C. Reliability Run. If you want to see some Morgans, the S.W. Group is due to meet at the “Ship,” Stonehouse, at 3 p.m. on August 7th. Hon. Sec.: G. Evans, 19, Chestnut Walk, Worcester.

Another Special Number
This year’s Motor Exhibition at Earls Court will open on September 28th. The October issue of Motor Sport will be published on September 28th and will be a Special Show Number.

Praiseworth
We notice that the prospectus of the Craigantlet Hill-Climb on August 27th includes a scale of the gradient of the hill, and that the regulations for the M.M.E.C. Silverstone Meeting on July 30th included an instruction that racing numbers were to be removed before driving on the public roads.

Quite the Right Idea
From the Radio Times of July 1st, but with our “own italics:—” Motor-cyclists interested in road racing — on no account to be confused with speedway — will like to know that Graham Walker and Richard North will be at Scarborough . . “

Cemian Motor Club
A very successful Gymkhana was held on Sunday, June 19th, at Messrs. Wimpey’s Sports Field. Fifty-five entrants drove through a series of six tests with the following results. Open Class: Cemian Members — 1st: I. Palmer (P.S. Special); 2nd: Dr. P. Sundt (Wolseley). Visitors: 1st: G. P. Newman (K.B.C.C. Wolseley); 2nd: K. Welfare (750-c.c. Ford/Austin). Closed Class: Cemian Members — 1st: R. A. Rivers (Morris Eight); 2nd: L. E. Mullen (Morris Eight). Visitors: 1st: F. W. M. Ruck, Wimpeys S.C. (Hillman Ten); 2nd: J. H. Appleton, N.W.L.E.C. (Ford Ten).