Veteran-Edwardian-Vintage, August 1957



A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters

The Vintage S.C.C. Oulton Park Meeting on August Bank Holiday will include the 100-km. Richard Seaman Memorial Trophies Race for vintage and historic racing cars, and many shorter races. There will also be a Concours d’Elegance and grand parade, which will be televised. This meeting is open to the public; V.S.C.C. members receive one free pass each on applying to Cheshire Car Circuit Ltd. on a special form.


This year’s V.S.C.C. Edwardian and Light Car Rally is due to take place on August 24th and will consist of a road section of about 30 miles and a few driving tests. The start will be from the Royal George Hotel, Birdlip, Glos., and the finish at Prescott Hill. Regulations from T. W. Carson, Brook Cottage, Bishop’s Green, Newbury, Berkshire.


On August 25th the V.S.C.C. will hold its annual Prescott Speed Hill-Climb, which is an excellent opportunity to see historic cars performing traditional feats in a very pleasant setting. This year only vintage sports cars and vintage and historic racing cars will run, p.v.t.s being out. Regulations from T. W. Carson.


The Bentley Drivers’ Club will hold its annual race meeting at Silverstone on August 3rd. Admission is by ticket.


Vintage and veteran car classes will be included in the Burnham-on-Sea M.C. Rally on August 18th. Details from Mrs. Buncombe, 2, Grove Road, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset.


On August 31st there is to be a traction-engine rally at Wilton, where the carpets come from, a few miles from Salisbury. To support this the S.W. Section of the Veteran C.C. is staging a rally and vintage cars are also welcome. Cars have to arrive at Wilton House by 12 noon and a Concours d’Elegance for souvenir plaques commences at 3.15 p.m., after inspection of Wilton House and grounds. At 3.30 p.m. a seven-mile tour will start, after which the cars will be directed into a roped-off enclosure for the edification of the public, who can be expected to arrive in small welded-up boxes. Free teas are spoken of, in spite of an absence of entry fees. Details from J. Crabb, 100, Greenwood Avenue, Laverstoke, Salisbury, Wilts.


The Vintage Motor Cycle Club’s Banbury Run on June 30th had an entry of 349, all pre-1931 machines, possibly a record for an old-timers’ event. In the Concours d’Elegance section Foxton’s 1902 Minerva won the pre-1908 Class, Dent’s 1911 Bradbury the 1908-41 Class, Hockney’s 1922 A.J.S. took first place amongst the 1915-1924 machines and Cobbing’s 1925 Ner-a-Car won the Feridax Trophy for best in the Run, as well as the 1925-30 Class. Best sidecar outfit was Robbs’ 1922 Bradbury, and of “greatest technical interest” Caunt’s 1913 Henderson.


On September 1st the R.A.C. intends to hold an interesting cavalcade representing the Age of the Motor Car. Some 150 British cars will be engaged, probably led by an 1897 Daimler, the route being between the assembly point in Battersea Park, London, and the R.A.C. Country Club at Epsom. Part of the R.A.C.’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the idea behind this ambitious cavalcade is for it to comprise representative models of famous British makes, from the veteran Edwardian, vintage and later eras. It is also intended to issue a souvenir programme describing the cars taking part and covering the development of the motor car.


On August Bank Holiday the Bedford Steam Preservation Society has an ambitious steam vehicle rally at Woburn Park, Bedford, opening at 2 p.m. At least 35 vehicles will be present, some steaming 80 miles to attend. A fair-ground organ will play.


The 10th annual Leinster M.C. Veteran Car Run took place on June 29th, over a route of 30 miles, started by the Rt. Hon. Lord Mayor of Dublin before vast crowds of spectators. There were also driving tests and a Concours d’Elegance. Five started in the up-to-1905 category, five in the 1906-10 class, ten in the 1911-12 division and four in the 1913-16 category, while the vintage class had 27 starters, from a 1918 model-T Ford to a 1929 Rover Ten, including such makes as a Zedel, Metallurgique. Deemster, Ballot, Trojan, Star, Mors, etc. Some entrants wore period costume. The President’s Trophy for the veteran coming the greatest distance in two days and finishing the run wasn’t awarded but someone might care to try this long-distance challenge next year.


Up to 1905: Goff Cup: J. Kavanagh (1904 Woiseley). G.B. Race Trophy: J. Moore (1897 Panhard Levassor).

1906-1910: Findlater Cup: W. Moynan (1907 N.A.G. Puch).

1911-1912: Sempier Idem Cup: J. Haughton (1911 2-cyl. Renault).

1913-1916: Briggs and McCrae Cup: D. Bowles (1914 Overland).

1917-1930: Hafner Cup: W. McVeigh (1925 12-h.p. A.C.).

N.A.A.S. Trophy (best-pre-served veteran): D. Ryder (1900 Argyll).

Ellis Trophy (best-preserved vintage car): C. Grant (1918 Ford-T).

Model-T Ford Trophy: B. O’Gorman (1912).

Hard-Luck Trophy: T. Ross-Hinds (1909 6-h.p. Briton).


Unusual to see Jimmy Skinner in anything but an early Rolls-Royce. Yet he was encountered the other day driving along the Basingstoke by-ways in a yellow 7.5 Citroen two-seater light car of about 1925 vintage.


The vintage class at Rest and Be Thankful Speed Hill-Climb was won by J. G. Lockhart’s Bentley, which vanquished the Hon. J. Bruce’s Bentley.


We had a telephone call recently from the owner of a motor-barge in which is installed an early o.h.c. B.M.W. engine. This seems to have been supplied originally by Aeromotors Ltd., which suggests it to be a 1914/18 aeroplane engine put into the barge about 1920, or was it a racing-car engine? We hope to learn more about it.


We had a visit the other day from Mr. T. G. Morris, who used to work on Lord Brabazon’s Minerva racing cars fifty years ago. He had a list of Minerva models from 1905 to 1913, with chassis numbers, in his possession.


There is available in London a rather sad Bayliss-Thames light car suitable for spares or restoration.


A one-owner 1924 7/17 Jowett two-seater in quite a fair state of preservation, still with tools and a two-gallon petrol tin under the dickey seat, was seen in a shed near Chiswick recently.


A wonderful reception was accorded to Tim Atkinson when he undertook an 8,300-mile tour across America in a 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II


A reader has sent us an interesting article from The Outspan about an attempt made by Capt. R. N. Kelsey in 1913 to drive from Cape Town to Cairo in a 25/50 Argyll fitted with a body capable of conversion into a boat. The article is by Lawrence G. Green, who states that his first car was an 1898 Benz bought for 15s. He describes the Argyll rather inaccurately as “a true Genevieve of the future London-Brighton rally,”overlooking the fact that the Brighton Run is confined to pre-1905 cars, He says that 30 Argylls of this type had been ordered by one ranch-owner in the Argentine and that Capt. Kelsey’s had the usual front-wheel-brakes of this make and 40-in. wheels to which the spares could be bolted to provide a double tread, and three fuel tanks holding 60 gallons of petrol. Before the car and crew sailed on the Balmoral Castle Angus McAskill, who was lent to the expedition by Argylls as the only man able to drive and repair the car, is said to have driven into the grounds of Buckingham Palace so that King George V could inspect the car while the expedition photographer, J. Scott-Brown, took pictures and cine-films.

Loaded, the car was said to have weighed five tons, a weight afterwards reduced to under three tons. A solid back axle caused driving shafts to break and a differential had to be sent for from Scotland. The radiator leaked but the engine gave no trouble. A Triumph motor-cycle accompanied the expedition as far as Broken Hill. The project came to an end after 2,000 miles of fearful hardship, because Capt. Kelsey died from wounds received from a leopard. The Argyll was left to rust in the bush at Kashitu.


The First Old Commercial Vehicle Rally

The first Rally, Parade and Concours d’Elegance for old commercial vehicles took place in the grounds of the Montagu Motor Museum at Beaulieu on July 14th. There was an entry of eleven 1896-1916 vehicles, 17 in the 1917-1930 class and seven in the 1931-1945 category, making a total of 35.

The Editor of Motor Sport, ready to try anything once, borrowed from Trojan Limited a 1928 Trojan R.A.F. lorry and, with the aid of their Mr. Frazer, who has been driving these weird vehicles since 1926, we drove it from Croydon to Beaulieu to take part in the Parade. It was necessary to learn again, many years since my Trojan ownership, how to start the two-stroke, two-cylinder 10-h.p. engine by pulling sharply on the starting lever with the right hand, which hand also manipulates the lever controlling the absurdly-simple two-speed epicyclic gearbox and releases the apt-to-jam hand-brake. Having partially mastered an art at which Mr. Fraser is adept I re-discovered the fascination of Trojan motoring — the comfort of the long, supple springs (although ours were ½-elliptic for the solid back axle because this was a commercial chassis), the view over hedges from the lofty cab, the noise of slipping gear bands uphill if one relaxed for a moment an iron hold on the gear-lever, and the astounding ability of the engine to slog up gradients in top gear. Modern Trojans with their three-cylinder Perkins diesel engines, normal transmission and Lockheed brakes, are far faster while remaining commendably roomy and economical, but this was a “vintage Sunday” and I was happy to go bleating steadily Beaulieu-wards behind the typical bonnet and Trojan’s-head mascot of this 29-year-old version of a famous make.

Arrived at Palace House Lord Montagu entertained my wife and me to lunch, after which I studied the fine assembly of commercial ancients in one of the fields.

In Class 1 Leyland’s replica of an 1897 steam lawn-mower was running gently, but, I wondered, is this a true commercial vehicle? Surely, a farm appliance? It was rebuilt in 1955 by Leyland apprentices from one borrowed from the Reading Museum of English Rural Life. Tasker’s had their 1903 “Little Giant” tractor in steam — it was labelled “R.S.P.C.A.” and “The Horse’s Friend” because it used to pull carts up hills in the Crystal Palace area, to the relief of equestrians. The Montagu Museum 1907 Gobron Brillie fire engine was present, as was Leyland’s 1908 35-h.p. X-type 3-tonner which served Carter Paterson for 379,873 miles before being presented to them. Sir Henry Spurrier drove it himself in the Parade. George Bristow Ltd. of Kingston brought a Traffic 2-ton solid-tyred l.h.d. wooden-wheeled lorry with ribbed-top radiator, central gear-lever and dash petrol tank, its chassis rounded in front to form a primitive bumper. It was quoted as circa 1908: I would place it as nearer 1918.

A splash of colour was provided by James Neale’s 1909 two-cylinder Renault van, an ex-taxi saved from a Leeds scrap-heap in about 1952, after doing bread delivery from 1912 until World War Two. It has been painstakingly restored but the Judges passed it by. Keens (Watford) Ltd. brought their original vehicle, a 1913 l.h.d. doorless-cab model-T Ford van, very clean, but on modern tyres. Not in the programme was a very nice 1916 solid-tyred Foden steam platform lorry wearing plaques stating: “You’ve Got to be Good to be in Business over 30 Years.” It had authentic oil head and sidelamps, its laden weight being 12 tons. It seemed deserving of a prize, especially as I believe it steamed down from Sandbach, but the Judges missed this one, too.

Sparshatts of Portsmouth entered a splendid 1914 ex-W.D. Halford general-service lorry, complete with soldier in period uniform. Its radiator bore the legend “J & E Hall & Co., No. 4061, Dartford, Kent,” and I liked the huge final-drive chaincases, a vast spanner in the cab, three two-gallon petrol tins in a rack on the side, lettered “P.O.W.,” and the stencil lettering: “Load not to exceed 3-tons.” The same concern had a 1916 30-cwt. Vulcan van. Collett Of Christchurch brought a circa 1916 leather-hooded model-T Ford van, on 30 by 3½ tyres. They (and Stay of his model-T) declared its horsepower as 20, instead of 24, but then this hobby of old commercial-vehicle rallying is very young. The Traffic, Tasker’s “Little Giant” and the splendid Halford were placed 1, 2, 3 in this class.

Class 2 contained Reg Baker’s 1921 Burrell Showman’s Loco, Guy Motors’ 1922 model-J 25-cwt. Guy platform lorry which had been in regular use in Aldershot until six years ago, Robin Guy driving it in the parade, and Lord Montagu’s 1921 30-h.p. sleeve-valve Daimler Bass-bottle van, surely a private-car chassis? Taskers’ put in a 1922 “Little Giant,” Wadham Bros. of Southsea a very nice 1924 Morris One-Tonner van, Sparshatt their 1924 Daimler 2-ton solid-tyred dropside truck, Harrison a 1926 Morris One-Ton covered truck and Cyril Peacock Trojan’s ex-service van, a 1926 Traveller’s Brougham, on wire wheels and 6.50 by 19 tyres.

Guy Motors put in their 1928 model-0 30-cwt. chassis, used with furniture-van body by one owner for 24 years, and Stinson had a 1928 11.9 flat-radiator Morris10-cwt. van. I did not see Sparshatt’s 1930 Dennis and was sorry to discover that the 1928 Morris One-Ton covered lorry entered by A. Gray of Windsor, whose suggestion inspired the rally, was decorated with all manner of advertisements and notices, his baby’s photograph, bits of what looked like a brass bedstead and part of a carved fireplace, and that it was decidedly scruffy into the bargain. Prizewinner in this class was R. B. Stay’s 1923 model-T Ford van, brought from the Isle of Wight on the morning ferry and beautifully restored and painted by his firm, Frank Cheverton Ltd. However, its brass radiator is incorrect for a Ford of this year — either the Judges didn’t bother about original condition, or didn’t they know? This entry was also awarded the Rootes Cup for the best vehicle present. Second prize went to a very well-restored 1920 model-L, Larce street-sweeper, the model-J Guy taking third prize. Not in the prograrnme was a brass-radiator model-T Ford country-‘bus with Baico chain-drive extension and solid back tyres (a very period exhibit!) belonging to J. Hirst & Sons, while an ex-Brooke Bond’s Trojan van arrived late — score: Morris 5, Trojan 4, Ford 3, because in Class 3 Denman ran a 1937 Morris ex-G.P.O. 8-h.p. van and the Rev. Atkinson another 1938 Brooke Bond Trojan van. Two of the Trojans bore notices proclaiming them service vehicles to the Trojan Owners’ Club — a nice gesture. The Howell’s well-known 1932 Foden D-type steam tractor from Andover was the winner here, followed by a 1935 A.E.C. Matador and trailer which has done over one million miles, third prize being given to a scruffy late-model Leyland coach which wasn’t in the programme and appeared to have come in by mistake. Also-rans were a yellow 1920 Scammell mechanical-horse and a 1937 Austin Utility van which had run 250,000 miles.

The parade was fun for competitors and spectators alike, and in the heavy traffic I was glad of Trojan simplicity, pushing or pulling the gear lever sufficing to inch us forward or to call a halt as required. The Beaulieu Constabulary displayed extreme lack of sportsmanship in holding up this gay, varied and harmless procession to check on licences.

During the afternoon a provisional Committee was formed to look into the possibility of forming a club for owners of ancient commercial vehicles; it consists of Sir Henry Spurrier of Leyland Motors as Chairman, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and Messrs. Atkinson, Sec, Trojan O.C., Adams of G. Bristow Ltd., Fuller of Taskers, Gray, and Mackenzie Junner, Editor of The Commercial Motor. It seems to me there are three major points to be considered: (a) the limiting age for a vintage commercial vehicle — 1945 seems much too recent, (b) whether steam traction engines and tractors should be admitted in view of the many rallies and organisations already catering for them — although steam lorries seem quite appropriate, and (c) the desirability of banning private-car chassis endowed with van and lorry bodies.

The pioneer Rally ended in sunshine on an optimistic note.-W.B.

The main prizewinners were:

Class 1: 1896-1916: “Commercial Motor” Cup: A. Adams (1908(?) Traffic 2-ton truck).

Class 2: 1917-1930: “Motor Transport” Cup: R. B. Stay (1923 model-T Ford 10-cwt. van).

Class 3: 1931-1945: “Commercial Vehicles” Cup: G. Howell (1932 D-type Foden steam tractor).

The Rootes Cop for best vehicle, all classes: R. B. Stay’s Ford.