The International Rally which marked the Silver Jubilee of the Veteran Car Club took place from July 6th.-10th. It consisted of rallying in pre-1917 cars from starting points at London, Cambridge, York, Chester and Bristol to Stratford-upon-Avon on the first two days, converging by two routes to Cheltenham on July 8th, from whence the competitors rallied to Longbridge for driving tests on the Saturday, to conclude their journeying at Leamington Spa on the Sunday, for a Concours d’Elegance.
All manner of attractions were enjoyed en route, and a visit was arranged to the oil refineries of the Regent Oil Company Ltd. at Stourport, who sponsored the event.
This great occasion in the annals of the V.C.C., attracted a total of 204 veteran and Edwardian motor cars, with entries from veteran car organisations in Belgium, Eire, France, Germany, Holland, Norway, Sweden, America (A.A.C.A. and V.M.C.C.A.) and our own V.S.C.C., as well as those of the V.C.C. The rally was sub-divided into classes, that for pre-1901 cars attracting ten entries, the 1901-1904 Class 66 entries, the 1905-1910 class 51 entries and the 1911-1916 category 77 entries; not all these undertook the full route.
At first sight it might seem a rather uninspiring contest, for no time-controls were in force save at the final check points and a very easy schedule was required. In fact, this proved a very sensible way of conducting such a rally, as competitors were free to stop as and when they wished and, becoming spaced out along the roads, congestion was avoided.
The start of the London contingent from Putney Heath in warm sunshine had an air of carnival about it as the brightly-painted veterans, brasswork sparkling, took to the road.
Dressing-up is prohibited by the V.C.C., so that the number of persons who saw fit to wear deerstalkers was astonishing, such headgear surely being more appropriate to bleak, wind and rain-swept moors than to motoring at modest speeds on an English summer’s day? The occupants of one 40/50 Rolls-Royce were seen to prefer sailor’s hats — or was this chauffeur’s summer attire?
Before Lord Brabazon commenced the task of flagging-off competitors with his Union Jack, R. Schimp of Belgium was in demand by Press photographers as he filled the side radiators of his 1902 6-hp. Renault, while P. J. Wellingham was taking no chances and had a very complete tool-kit aboard his 1901 41-h.p. de Dion Bouton. Attracting much comment was the Swedish entry of a 1910 10.h.p.
Key to Surrounding Illustrations
1. J. Crabb’s 1913 10. h.p. A.C.
2. J. A. G. Barchell’s 1911 15-h.p. Daimler.
3. F. H. Parker’s 1910 5/6. h.p. A.C. Sociable.
4. M. J. B. Rauck’s 1914 45/50-h.p. Mercedes.
5. F. Reece’s 1905 12/18-h.p. Spyker.
6. G. G. Edmund’s 1913 30/36-h.p. Siddley-Deasy.
7. H. R. Timmis’ 1910 15/20-h.p. Mercedes.
8. N. Manby’s 1907 12-h.p. Robinson.
9. G. McGregor-Craig’s 1904 6-h. p. de Dion Bouton.
10. W. A. L. Cook’s 1908 45/50-h.p. Mercedes.
11. P. C. Tulley’s 1914 model-T Ford and Dr. J. E. Fellows’ 1910 5/6 h.p. A.C.
12. J. M. A. Patterson’s1903 20.h.p Winton.
13. C.J. Bendall’s 1911 40:50-h.p. Rolls-Royce.
14. Mrs. H. Kitson’s 1914 8-h.p. Humberette.
Brush 2-seater by A. Soderstrom, which had the authentic tubular wooden front axle sprung on coil springs, and left-hand drive. T. W. Lightfoot’s 1902 15-h.p. Panhard-Levassor carried the name “The Monster” on its bonnet and the French-entered 1911 12/15 Panhard-Levassor of J. G. Djaniguian had a typically Panhard, slightly-vee radiator bearing the entwined “PL” emblem.
Germany’s 1912 20/30 Benz limousine driven by K. W. Ostwald was less well turned-out than most of our veterans, such as L. H. Paget’s bright yellow 1912 12-h.p. Austin. We noticed that B. S. Isquick’s 1909 Hupmobile from the U.S.A. had turned into a sizeable Delaunay-Belleville.
We were sorry to see the last starter, G. C. Prosch’s Norwegian-entered 1912 18-h.p. Minerva tourer en panne at the roundabout on the Merton spur of the Kingston by-pass with a broken near side stub-axle, its wire wheel lying forlornly beside it.
The Brush was stationary in a garage at Esher as we closed on the earlier starters, and Wellingham’s De Dion Bouton was going well through Cobham, watched by a Pearly King.
Along the Fairmile, Lightfoot’s Panhard-Levassor was using a lot of road trying to overtake Wellingham’s De Dion, and Major Browell’s 1903 10-h.p. Siddeley seemed to be going back to London as did A.. D. Eaglefield’s 1904 12/16 Clement-Talbot on the Guildford by-pass.
The American-entered 1915 black model-T Ford tourer of D. C. White was caught up with here, the lady passenger on the right as this is a l.h.d. car. Just ahead was R. Schimp’s Renault, going nicely. R. Lucas’ 1902 6-h.p. Roy from France had some dicey moments turning onto the Hogsback, probably expecting traffic from the right to give way to him, but all was well.
In the sun on the Hogsback many competitors were enjoying a picnic lunch, including G. R. Mann in his 1908 25/30 Vinot et Deguingand, and many of the more affluent vehicles graced the car-park of the Hogsback Hotel, with Stradling’s queer-looking yellow Unic coupé very prominent. Not so M. Liber, who was “making the progress” on his 1908 8/10 2-cylinder Delahaye, followed by an Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphire saloon.
After taking lunch in Farnham we wanted to see what the long hill up past the Castle would do to the old cars. Most of them took it without a falter, but H. O. S. Bridcutt proved agile in jumping from his 1904 6-h.p. single-cylinder De Dion Benton to assist it for a short distance near the summit and our passenger did likewise from the VW to help Stewart Norrington re-start his 1908 12-h.p. Adler when, alone in the car, he had changed down too late on the final steep bit and come to rest, clutch slipping. Before this he had feared a baulk from the same entrant’s 1912 15-h.p. Charron drophead coupé, but it went up non-stop trailing a cloud of oil-smoke. The 40/50 Rolls-Royce cars of W. F. Watson (1911 limousine) and M. H. Vivian (1913 torpedo tourer) went up strongly, and so did D. C. White’s model-T Ford, although he changed into “low,” got back into “high,” but almost at once went into “low” again.
Most of the competitors left Hampshire for Berkshire soon after lunchtime, but Paget’s Austin left later than many and at 4.45 p.m. F. H. Parker’s 1910 A.C. Sociable was turf-turfing through sleepy Odiham. Incidentally, D. J. W. Penrose of Cambridge seems to have made a corner in A.C. box-vans, entering two, of differing years.
The excellent weather continued throughout the rally and on the third day, as some of the competitors visited the Regent Oil Company’s Stourport refinery and others undertook a tour of the Cotswolds, all converging just before Bishops Cleeve to run into the dignified spa town of Cheltenham for the night, conditions could not have been better.
The cars were routed along grass-verged roads which, except for their width and absence of dust, must look today much as they did when the rally cars were being built. They avoided the long climb over Winchcomb Hill, although J. H. Dowson’s 1914 Stellite had taken this route and was seen parked at the top while its owner enjoyed the view.
At 2.15 p.m. the official cars, consisting of Fidgeon’s 14/40 Sunbeam and a Bentley, went by and we met up with the veterans themselves. Many were refuelling or being tittivated in fields and garages, T. G. Wells’ 1912 10/12 Belsize was parked in the shade of a tree, but C. G. Bellingham was alone in his 1902 2-cylinder Panhard-Levassor, which was going well to a rattle of chains.
A. W. Coffin (1915 model-T Ford tourer) had come upon a 1926 one-tonner model-T Ford lorry hawking brushes and pots and pans along the Cotswold lanes and had signalled it to stop, to learn that the driver had owned it since new and that it had never missed a day’s work in all its 29 years. After a pause to photograph these two model Ts we went as far as Bishops Cleeve, noticing that J. P. Smith had the Stepney spare on the off-side front wheel of his 1904 2-cylinder 10h.p. Rolls-Royce and J. D. Parsonage elected to keep the hood up on his 1909 2-cylinder 8-h.p. Renault, in contrast to the many cars whose lady passengers wore summer frocks, even sun-tops, and were getting nicely scorched in the July sunshine — notably the lady in A. Tyler’s 1899 3 ½-h.p. Decauville, a girl in sun-top in Major Browell’s 1903 Siddeley and a very sun-tanned girl in D. Hulme’s 1912 13.9-h.p. B.S.A.
Several of the cars were driven by the ladies, such as Mrs. Kitson, who made a determined change-down on her 1914 Humberette, her hat and veil in keeping with the car, Mrs. North who was alone in her husband’s 1907 12/14 Singer tourer (was this one found at a garage between Aldershot and Guildford during the war?), Mrs. Hebden from the U.S.A. in a 1907 two-cylinder 12-h.p. Autocar runabout, she and her husband wearing tartan tam-o-shanters, and Mrs, Oakden in her 1912 Rover Twelve tourer.
D. J. W. Penrose had a lady peering out of the large box on the front of his 1912 5/6-h.p. A.C. box-van, L. G. Higham’s 1903 two-cylinder Panhard-Levassor didn’t seem at all perturbed by the rubbing noise corning from its machinery, the long central chain-drive of J. M. A. Paterson’s 1903 20-h.p. two-cylinder. Winton was impressive, and H. R. Smith’s 1911 8-h.p. Renault carried stacks of luggage.
Air Chief-Marshal Sir Alec Coryton, K.C.-B., went past in his 1903 6-h.p. Napoleon with a “pobble-pobble” noise from its single-cylinder engine, A. E. Stradling’s yellow 1913 Unic coupé appeared laden-down with badges, the Spyker “film-star” car of F. Reece (dated now as 1905) carried plenty of suit-cases, C. A. Shillan’s 1901 two-cylinder 7-h.p. Panhard-Levassor rattled its driving chains, the covered-top 1902 Renault of R. Schimp was still turf-turfing merrily along. The rear-seat occupant of J. A. Lamb’s 1909 10-h.p. Alldays and Onions had his feet up and looked supremely contented, while J. H. Woodin grappled alone with his 1903 Humberette, as did Stothert in a 1904 4 ½- h.p. Olympia Tandem.
The rear-seat passengers had a screen to themselves in R. H. Groves’ 1908 12/14 De Dion Bouton (was this original?), as had those in H. R. Timmis’ 1910 15/20 Mercedes, while the rear panel of the hood of M. Negrelli’s 1910 25-h.p. Jackson was rolled up. H. P. Ruffen (1904 7-h.p. Alldays and Onions) inquired where the next check-point was, E. S. Berry’s 1902 15-h.p. Panhard-Levassor was a very beefy machine, and we admired M. H. Vivian’s cap and his lady passenger’s white helmet as much as we did their beautiful 1913 40/50 Rolls-Royce tourer with aluminium bonnet.
M. H. Stothert’s 1910 12/20 Humber seemed to have modern wheels and tyres, made rubbing sounds and had -elliptic rear springs.
The 1907 12-h.p. Robinson of N. Manby had circular radiator and bonnet, even the back axle of H. R. Wilkins’ 1911 12-h.p. Motobloc was painted yellow, R. D. Gregory’s well-known and much-travelled 1904 Darracq Flying Fifteen sported a large headlamp and E. P. Shaw’s 1902 single-cylinder Beaufort a warning bell.
At Bishops Cleeve the school-children and mothers were out to see this cavalcade of motoring history go through and one small girl was heard to remark that it would be nice if the old cars came through every day. Here H. G. Beggs’ 1903 20-h.p. M.M.C. paused for a long time in a gateway before restarting with a very full load, including an old lady, F. H. Parker’s 1910 5/6-h.p. A. C. Sociable went by very slowly, waving a lorry on, and several competitors refuelled, while C. B. North’s 1903 6-h.p. single-cylinder De Dion Bouton had the misfortune to fail to restart and, after being pushed by no less than eight eager small boys, the inlet valve had to be removed before the pretty all-white two-seater motored on.
S. J. Humphreys’ 1914 Perry light-car was keeping station with M. J. B. Rauck, who, as curator of the Mercedes museum, had brought the imposing 1914 45/50 Mercedes limousine from Germany, but perhaps the most imposing car of all was W. Pollock’s 1907 Chadwick Sixty from America.
White-wall tyres were worn by D. Colley’s 1911 8-11.p. Renault, C. M. F. Judge’s 1916 11.9-h.p. Saxon displayed good acceleration, and Major J. W. Mills’ 1899 31-h.p. Star vis-à-vis was steaming mildly and bounced with every “explosion” from its single-cylinder engine. H. O. S. Bridcutt’s passenger wore a white helmet in the 1904 6-h.p. De Dion Bouton, G. G. Edmonds’ very lovely 1913 30/36 Siddeley-Deasy limousine, with Sphinx mascot on the filler cap of its scuttle radiator, was followed by a vintage 12/50 Alvis. H. S. Cleland’s 1911 8-h.p. Renault was in good form, passing other veterans in Bishops Cleeve, A. Grignard was having great fun with a loud siren on his French-entered 1906 8/10 Clement-Bayard in Cheltenham, where the French team were keeping together, M. Liber and his portly passenger going splendidly in their 1908 8/10 Delahaye.
The police coped well with traffic into Cheltenham, after the veterans had passed the time check by the racecourse manned by R. Barker, with G. J. Allday, S. E. Sears, Tom Rob, J. Sheldon and other V.C.C. celebrities in attendance. A. J. B. Baily, riding his 1904 4 ½-h.p. Phoenix Forecar alone as his passenger had jumped out before the vehicle stopped, injuring his knees, was early at the check, and C. Milner had his 1900 3 ½-h.p. Benz away on its trailer by 5.35 p.m.
Most of the competing cars made an imposing display in Imperial Square, and we were glad to see that the Norwegian Minerva had been repaired and was safely parked there. Jimmy Skinner started the engine of his immaculate 1911 Rolls-Royce tourer “on the switch.” A French entry was R. Bonnin’s 1911 6-h.p. Zebre, called “Eddy.”
As will be appreciated, theV.C.C. had put on a splendidly comprehensive cavalcade of motoring, and there remained only the driving tests at the Austin works and the Concours d’Elegance at Leamington Spa to complete a momentous event very ably put on and managed by Miss Nagle, the V.C.C. secretary. The driving tests are reported by a Motor Sport reporter, as follows: —
Veteran Car Rally, Fourth Day
The fourth day of the itinerary of the Veteran Car Club’s Silver Jubilee Rally was scheduled to include the run from Cheltenham to the Austin Motor Works at Longbridge, near Birmingham, where the competitors were to take part in some of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of that company.
Numbers of veterans were encountered at about 10 a.m. near Redditch and nearly all were motoring along happily with cheers and waves coming from the many spectators lining the route; in some cases quite rapid driving was indulged in, we followed the 1912 40/50 Rolls-Royce tourer of Major W. J. Pitt for quite some distance and felt disinclined to improve on his excellent “rate of knots” on the rather narrow roads. On reaching Longbridge competitors were asked to undergo three tests immediately upon arrival. These consisted of an agility test in which cars were parked with engines running and wheels on line A from which they had to proceed to line B, stop astride it, dismount, run round the car, remount and drive over line C without stopping. The second test involved driving on to a white spot 1 ft. in diameter with the near-side rear wheel without reversing, and for the third test cars had to start on line A, pass to the right of a fixed barrier and draw up to the kerb again without touching it. Little difficulty was encountered with these exercises, although mounting and dismounting was not altogether easy on some of the early models and others had trouble getting away from the starting line with any degree of smoothness when acceleration was demanded. After the lunch break further tests were run in which cars had to zig-zag between posts and balance on a wooden ramp while passengers had to drop potatoes in buckets without missing and without the car stopping. In these events competitors were split up into teams, some being composed of members from different sections of Britain and others from foreign countries; a team of old Austin cars was also running.
The afternoon tests were opened officially by the arrival of Kenneth Horne, who was the commentator, in one of the 1908 100-h.p. racing Austins. The first two cars to take up their positions on the line were the 1907 7-h.p. single-cylinder American Pope-Tribune, which is the only one running in England and is owned by Dr. J. W. E. Fellows, and a 1912 20-h.p. Austin Vitesse Phaeton; other Austin models competed against a 1902 5-11.p. single-cylinder Peugeot named “Willie Peanut.” owned by Major H. Fairhurst, and a 1901 7-11.p. two-cylinder Panhard-Levassor of C. A. Shillan; the Austin team won this contest in 4 min. 25 sec.
In the American team competing against the South-Western section were J. W. Hebden, who had crossed the Atlantic in order to be able to enter his two-cylinder 12-h.p. Autocar of 1907 vintage, W. Pollock in the 1907 six-cylinder Chadwick, an enormous car which tended to blow clouds of exhaust smoke from the rear end, B. S. Isquick in a 1909 12/14 Hupmobile, F. J. Fletcher in a 1913 15/18 Buick two-seater, a pretty car and being the only Buick represented, and finally D. C. White in a 1915 Ford model-T, one of the last brass radiator jobs.
This team was opposed by the 1913 A.C. of J. Crabb, the 1901 de Dion Bouton Voiturette. of A. D. Johns, the 1906 14/20 Renault Landaulette of E. W. Pilkington, which was once used by Queen Alexandra, and the 1915 model-T Ford of A. W. Coffin. The winners of this contest were the South-Western section in 4 min. 14.4 sec, whereas the American team took 5 min. 57 sec. Next came the NorthWestern and South-Eastern sections, the former being the ultimate winner of the event. In these groups were to be seen a 1902 Wolseley, 1912 Rover Twelve, 1910 Humber, 1905 Spyker, 1914 Perry, 1901 Progress, 1916 Morris Cowley, 1912 40/50 Rolls-Royce, 1908 Adler and 1914 Scania Vabis, the last-mentioned being in perfect order and of quite modern appearance, a credit to the manufacturers who are still producing commercial vehicles in Sweden today. In conjunction with the other veterans the Austin Motor Company produced some of their early models and a procession of these drove past the grandstands; to be seen were the 1908 100-h.p. racer, the 1910 Vitesse Phaeton, the 1910 I5-h.p. town carriage, the 1909 7-11.p. single-cylinder two-seater, one of the first 7-h.p. models, and the 1914 20-h.p. tourer. In contrast with this the latest experimental gas turbine Austin also made an appearance. Other excellent cars to be seen were the 1909 30-h.p, Thornycroft Landaulette of R. H. Morgan, the 1898 solid-tyred Stephens Dogcart of R. J. Stephens, the 1902 Beaufort of E. P. Shaw and the 1899 Decauville Voiturette of A. Tyler, the last two having bells instead of horns as warning devices.
Many other fascinating cars were present at this very colourful spectacle and veteran car enthusiasts could have spent days examining some of the entries in detail; it was unfortunate that the organisation got a little out of hand at the finish, but this only emphasizes the increasing popularity of these veteran car events. — I. G.
Regent Trophy for Best Outright Performance: J. G. Sears (1905 T.T. Replica Rolls-Royce).
Veteran Car Club Sam S. Kay Trophy, Best Overseas Competitor: W. Pollock (1907 Chadwick Tourer). U.S.A.
S.S.H. Trophy for Best Overseas Competitor up to 1904: R. Lucas (1902 Roy). France.
The 1904 S.S.H. Bexhill Trophy for Best Home Competitor up to 1904: R. G. Forster (De Dion Bouton).
Lanchester Trophy for the Best Overseas Competitor 1905 to 1916: B. S. Isquick (1910 Delaunay Belleville) U.S.A.
Shuttleworth Trophy for the Best Home Competitor 1905 to 1916: E. G. Roberts (1914 BeIsize).
James Allday Cup for the Best American Competitor: M. Negrelli (1910 Jackson Tourer).
Beaufort Trophy for the Best European Competitor: R. Schimp (1902 Renault), Belgium.
” The Motor” Team Award: The De Dion Bouton Team, P. J. Wellingham, R. G. Forster, H. O. S. Bridcutt.
The Ladies’ Trophy: Mrs. V. H. Mawer (1909 Zedel 2-seater).
The Austin Trophy for the Best Performance in the Driving Tests: G. Mawer (1901 Oldsmobile).
Prix d’Honneur: M. Manby 1907 Robinson).