Veteran-Edwardian-Vintage, August 1959

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A Section Devoted to Old Car Matters

The V.S.C.C. Oulton Park Race Meeting (June 27th)

The Vintage S.C.C.’s annual race meeting at Oulton Park took place in showery weather this year and as the afternoon turned to evening the course was ringed by thunderstorms, but rain luckily fell only towards the end of the last race.

To see vintage sports cars and historic racing cars unleashed in Donington-like conditions and the grassy paddock dotted with interesting individual machinery made the long journey to Cheshire worthwhile, a good portent being a very original model-A Ford two-seater outside our hotel on our arrival in Chester!

Apart from the racing there was the attraction of a big parade of vintage and thoroughbred cars which had been judged in a Concours d’Elegance attracting 70 entries and a demonstration of giant racing cars, the latter replacing last year’s ambitious display by 1937 Type W125 and 1939 Type 163 Mercedes-Benz G.P. cars.

This demonstration was exciting to contemplate and in the event produced sights and sounds which must have awed many of the present generation. Listening to the roar of Lord Montagu’s 1920 V12 18.3-litre Sunbeam, the thunder of the 1910 10-litre chain-drive o.h.c. Fiat and the beat of the stub-exhausts and rattling side chains on Halkyard’s 1912 9-litre Mercedes Ninety, it was easy to appreciate why the crowds were thrilled at Brooklands by races between but three of these great motor-cars.

At Oulton Park Lord Montagu drove the big Sunbeam very courageously, never having unleashed it previously. After a Land Rover had started it, he got it really motoring, although discretion made him confine his experiments to second and third gears. A vintage Albion lorry gearbox has been fitted to the car since the calamity at Silverstone, necessitating a long outside lever; Lord Montagu, who was due to fly to Sweden with Lady Montagu immediately after his run, paid tribute to the long hours put in by engineer Warne in preparing the Sunbeam and Warne paid tribute to the intrepid driver, explaining that power comes in with a bang at the top-end of the limited rev. range, making the big car difficult to control. Lord Montagu, who drove up in a modern Ford, had the 1912 Coupe de l’Auto Sunbeam at Oulton, both Sunbeams being en route to Blackpool for a summer display.

Frank Lockhart drove the Fiat for Dr. Pinkerton. Hutton-Stott’s splendid 1899 5½-litre Cannstatt Daimler ran well, but slowly, in comparison with the later monsters. It was brought to Oulton Park on an ingenious self-lowering hydraulic four-wheel trailer behind his Rolls-Bentley. J. L. Goddard drove his immaculate ex-Lord Carbery 1911 10-litre Cottin et Desgouttes. Douglas Fitzpatrick drove over from Norfolk in the hybrid 1907/10 21-litre Metallurgique-Maybach, and, a truly brave effort, Cecil Clutton arrived in a rainstorm from London at the wheel of the famous 1908 12-litre G.P. Itala, attended by his Bugatti. The show was completed by John Morley’s ex-Birkin-single-seater 4½-litre “blower” Bentley, now with two-seater body, N. Powell’s splendidly turned-out 1929 white 38/250 SSK Mercedes-Benz and, an additional demonstratee, the 8-litre Barnato-Hassan-Special, unloaded from a lorry, and looking, in the event, for all the world as if it were meandering down to the Fork for Oliver Bertram to take it out for an attack on the Brooklands’ lap record. Shellenberg has most creditably turned his back on whales, and has restored the Hassan to near-original single-seater trim.

After these ten huge cars had run a slow lap they were opened up, the Bentley passing the Mercedes-Benz and Clutton catching and passing the Fiat to lead home in the Itala, a just and fitting conclusion to this ingenious display, remembering how much the renaissance of the big Edwardians is owed to Clutton’s industrious and inspired efforts before the war.

It might have been better had the cars lined up before the pits so that more of the spectators could have seen them at close quarters and they could well have run another lap. It was disappointing, especially as many people came expressly to see it, that the 18.8-litre Chitty-Bang-Bang II failed to materialise, while Tubbs’ 1907 7.6-litre Gobron Brillie also defaulted, having run out of tyres. One wonders why this parade of giants wasn’t confined to cars of 10-litres and over and it was regrettable that several cars which should have appeared, and which would have delighted everyone present if they had, were absent — for example, Dick Nash’s 1912 15-litre Lorraine-Dietrich, the G.Q Parachute Company’s 24-litre Napier-Railton, the 300-h.p. Fiat “Mephistopheles,” Charles Dunn’s big Renault “Agatha,” that other Mercedes Ninety which has run at Bo’ness since the war, Eric Milner’s 200-h.p. Benz (seemingly banished to the Birmingham Museum), the V12 10½-litre Delage (what has become of it ?) and the Leyland Motor Company’s Leyland-Eight. But, this aside, the whole thing was the greatest fun and a fine spectacle. What will the V.S.C.C. substitute next year? Perhaps a race for pre-1914 racing cars and the more active of the giants.

The cars in the Concours d’Elegance park made another superb display. C. G. Duce’s 1933 Phantom Rolls-Royce was the winner, the runners-up being N. Powell’s 1929 SSK Mercedes-Benz and M. Roderick’s 1925 20/60 Sunbeam tourer. There was also a Concours d’Etat, won by A. Hopton’s 1929 4½-litre Bentley from J. Broadhead’s fabulous 1924 30/98 Vauxhall Wensum with nickel-plating even of its road springs, and Philip Mann’s well-known 3-litre Bentley. Fletcher’s big Crossley saloon had twin oil rear lamps and “F.W.B.” and “Running-in” notices, Spong’s 1927 Morris-Oxford saloon was original even to bulb horn, Amos had a touring version of the same age and make, the tyres of Woodburn’s ex-Simmons Rolls-Royce Phantom III were being treated with tyre paint in the paddock, and elsewhere Halkyard’s Mercedes Ninety was being washed in Surf. On the parade Rapaport’s fully-laden lone Bean tourer stood out, Wall’s 1931 road-equipped Type 51 Bugatti was exciting, Watson-Smyth’s 1921 model-T Ford ‘bus was driven by the man who took delivery of it from Trafford Park and was laden with people, Owen’s 1920 l.h.d. model-T Ford had a proprietory radiator, and Cowburn’s little 1909 Renault carried two model girls in Edwardian clothes, both of whom risked their open parasols in the gentle breeze of the car’s passage. Only one bull-nose Morris was entered, the most popular “Concours” make being Bentley, with ten entries. So, to the racing:–

*

The first race was a 5-lap Handicap consisting of a vintage p.v.t. and historic racing cars all-sorts. Hinchliffe’s splendidly original Ulster Austin Seven, driven by Merchant, led for three laps, when A. J. Gibson’s Lea-Francis-engined Boulogne Frazer Nash went into the lead, to win at 67.86 m.p.h. with no one else in sight. When some more cars did appear Begley’s 1934 Frazer Nash was seen to be second, Sims’ 1934 Aston Martin third. Gibson managed a lap at 70.00 m.p.h., a performance he exactly equalled in the sixth race. On lap one Peter Moores spun his 1931 Talbot 105 and was struck by Ashley’s 1930 Frazer Nash, the hope of the “Chain Gang,” both cars being eliminated. This Talbot has a single d.d. carburetter, whereas Husband’s 1934 Talbot 105, which ran its bearings, sports two. Horton’s 1934 Riley experienced severe back-axle judder but the very eyeable Mrs. Morton seemed to thoroughly enjoy her race in her husband’s B.M.W.-engined Frazer Nash. Collings raced a sedate looking 1928 3-litre Bentley saloon, Batho his familiar fabric-bodied Riley Nine tourer with drilled outside handbrake.

Next came a 5-lap Scratch Race in various capacity classes for vintage and s/c. sports cars. Morris kept his open vintage 6½-litre Bentley ahead all the way, to win at 68.74 m.p.h., lapping Hinchcliffe in the Ulster Austin a lap from home. After a great battle Quartermaine just got second place in his 1921/24 30/98 Vauxhall from B. E. Brown’s 1930 Meadows Frazer Nash, the latter closing to within feet of the 30/98 on the corners but lacking sufficient speed to pass. Morris did a lap at 70.39 m.p.h. Moffatt’s ex-Ogle short-chassis Brescia Bugatti, looking very smart, wasn’t allowed to run because it hadn’t practised and Fidler s ex-Whincop Type 43 Bugatti never had more than a few of its eight cylinders firing. The provisional results never disclosed the class winners! Morris won the big-car section, we think Clutton’s Bugatti led the 3-litre class, Brown obviously took the 1,500 c.c. division and Lisle’s ex-works Austin Seven, using u.c.l. to aid its supercharger, seems to have headed the 1,100-c.c class.

After the demonstration and parade the 23-lap Richard Seaman Memorial Trophies Race started late under a threatening sky. It was a decidedly open race, because Norton’s 2-litre E.R.A. had burnt out a piston and was being worked on, to run on five cylinders, to within five seconds of flag-fall, Bill Moss, with S. J. Day’s E.R.A. was troubled by lack of oil pressure, and Douglas Hull in Jeddere Fisher’s 2-litre E.R.A. was dubious of No. 5 piston, while, to complete this tale of woe, Waller had mixture troubles on his E.R.A. Hull led away, followed by the Hon. Peter Lindsay in the E.R.A., “Remus” and Bill Moss. After a lap it was Hull, Moss, Lindsay, Waller and Norton. A lap later Moss was right on Hull’s tail, Norton’s hard work was rewarded with fourth place but soon ended in retirement, and oil on the road caused Lindsay to spin and fall right back. Three laps of the 23 and Waller’s race was run, Berry’s G.P. Bugatti holding third place.

The race became a fierce duel between Hull and Moss. Moss took the lead on laps 9 and 10, Hull regained it, but with Moss pressing him very hard, until on lap 15 the smaller E.R.A. dropped back, and came into its pit. Berry, driving steadily, thus finished second, his Bugatti a lap behind Hull’s flying E.R.A., which won at 75.07 m.p.h., this year having a bigger fuel tank so that it didn’t have to refuel. McDonald’s 4½-litre Bentley was third, and the closing laps were enlivened by a tussle between D. H. Day’s E.R.A., the back axle of which tramped violently under braking, and Goodhew’s E.R.A.-Delage, which coasted in. Neve spent the race in and out of the pits in his Bugatti, the yellow Triangle Special with blown Meadows engine was flagged in for shedding the oil, Sowman had trouble in Spero’s rebuilt 2.9 Maserati and the Ecurie T.N.C. had rotten luck, Clutton’s Amilcar Six being badly damaged in a collision. This was indeed hard, because Tozer’s Amilcar had thrown a rod and couldn’t be entered and both Amilcars are due for a rehash of their supercharger drives, to defeat anno domini. Incidentally, it was stirring to see both Rippon’s Type 37A Bugatti and Marr’s Aston Martin retarded with the aid of their outside hand brakes. Marr drove the ex-Cook twin-cam car owned by Dudley Coram and rebuilt by Marr. It looked very handsome, a charming girl student having spent much time polishing it — but didn’t it originally have a fabric body ? Hull set fastest lap, at 78.64 m.p.h. Berry won the Vintage Class at 72.78 m.p.h. from McDonald and Sibbald’s Type 37A Bugatti and Berry also won on handicap.

The fourth race was a handicap over five laps for G.N. and Frazer Nash cars, in which Barry Clarke led for a while in an early-primitive i.o.e. G.N. until Adnams’ 1932 Meadows ‘Nash got the lead, to be beaten on the final lap by Lord Dunleath’s briskly-driven vintage Meadows ‘Nash. Brown’s vintage Meadows ‘Nash was third. Lord Dunleuth averaged 67.97 m.p.h.

The meeting now began to run late, but the field was finally assembled for another mixed grill five-lap handicap, which the Hon. P. Lindsay won by a narrow margin from R. C. Symondson — 1931 blown 2.6 Alfa-Romeo beating 1936 3.3 Bugatti, but the Alfa had 20 sec. start. Charnock’s 4.3-litre Alvis Special was third. The winner averaged 69.04 m.p.h. and fastest lap was made by D. H. Day’s E.R.A., at 74.18 m.p.h.

Another of these handicaps saw Ratcliffe hunch himself up in his 1926 long-stroke Alvis 12/50 to good purpose, for he won at 55.83 m.p.h. from Barker’s Lagonda Rapier and Halkyard’s extremely impressive 1912 Mercedes. Adnams’ Frazer Nash did the quickest lap, at 61.97 m.p.h. and Clutton drove the 1908 Itala magnificently, the car, in road trim and noticeably quiet, beating a Frazer Nash on initial acceleration and challenging the 1910 Fiat, which Lockhart drove very well. Of the limit cars, McElligott’s Austin Seven Chummy, decently original save for twin carburetters, was no match for Smith’s delightfully scruffy Gwynne Eight.

With the crowds going home and heavy rain threatening, the final 10-lap All-Comers’ Scratch Race was fought out. Hull led all the way in a race of ragged starts, pursued by Lindsay, who seems to have got the hang of driving “Remus.” Alas, on the eighth lap Lindsay overcooked it beyond Old Hall corner, letting McDonald’s Bentley into second place, after he had been racing within a length of Hull’s E.R.A. The course was now wet, the rain having proved the undoing of S. J. Day, who, on lap six, failed to correct a skid which started as he slowed for Old Hall Corner, landing him in the ditch, unhurt. It was Hull’s day — he won very easily at 73.64 m.p.h. with a lap at 77.29 m.p.h. Thomas’ exciting Bugatti Special with Type 51 engine retired and Spence in Harrison’s Speed Twenty-five Alvis-powered Frazer Nash failed to hold off Goodhew, who had crept up and passed Morris’ big Bentley. Altogether this was a most enjoyable day’s sport and vintage-car racing cannot be bettered for enthusiasm and variety. — W.B.

The winners were:– 

First 5-lap Handicap: A. J. Gibson (Frazer Nash Lea-Francis) 67.86 m.p.h.

First 5-lap Scratch Race:  M. H. Morris (Bentley) 68.74 m.p.h.

First 5-lap G.N. & Fraser Nash Handicap:  Lord Dunleath (Meadows Frazer Nash) 67.97 m.p.h.

Second 5-lap Handicap: Hon. P. Lindsay (Alfa-Romeo) 69.04 m.p.h.

Third 5-lap Handicap: H. W. Ratcliffe ( Alvis) 55.85 m.p.h.

10-lap All Comers’ Scratch Race: D. H. C. Hull (E.R.A.) 73.64 m.p.h.

Richard Seaman Memorial Trophies Race:

1st: D. H. C. Hull (E.R.A.) 75.07 m.p.h.

2nd: J. Berry (Bugatti)

3rd: G. G. McDonald (Bentley)

Fastest lap: Hull. 78.64 m.p.h.

Concours d’Elegance: C. G. Duce (1933 Rolls-Royce)

Concours d’Etat: A. Hopton (1929 Bentley)

 *

Oulton Park Asides. The Continental Correspondent would have “blown his top” had he seen the programme, which still described the W163 Mercedes-Benz which appeared last year as a 1938/39 car! It also gave the year of Goddard’s Cottin et Desgouttes as 1906, whereas 1911 is more probable. Mr. Goddard tells us he has located Lord Carbery in Africa, so hopes soon to learn more about the history of this fascinating bolster-tank car, an account of which appeared in Motor Sport in November, 1957. The owners of the “giant racers” were apparently paid about £5 starting money, whereas last year the two Mercedes-Benz drivers netted some £1,000 between them. Chief Marshal J. M. Cunliffe came in his fine 30/98 Vauxhall but the President and the Secretary favoured p.v.t. Bentleys. It is rather ironical that the programme cover contained a fine picture of George Burton’s vintage racing Bentley when this wasn’t amongst the Oulton entries.

*

A.V. Motors Ltd. are searching for an A.V. monocar or bicar to display in their new showrooms. If anyone knows of one we should be glad to hear from them.

*

The 20 Ghost Club has issued a Register of their members’ Rolls-Royce cars, ranging from 1907 to 1925, with series number, Reg. No., body type, location, and name of owner of each. This interesting record of the whereabouts of these cars is available for 5/6d. post free from the Hon. Registrar, M. Vivian, 14a, Roland Way, S. Kensington, London, S.W.7.

*

Yet another vintage Austin 12/4 has come to light, in Melbourne, this being a Second-Series car, unusual in as much as it still has beaded-edge tyres and the original brakeless front axle. See letter on page 584.

 

A New Angle on Edwardianism

“The house was not far from the Plaza Hotel and was among other millionaires’ houses, all with porters at the door and old Renault motors before the houses. Most of the then ruling class of big estancieros had such old Renaults. My explanation is that they held on to their old motors because the old motors clearly showed that they, the millionaires, were rich already ten years ago, and were therefore no upstarts; were in fact the true old aristocracy.” — From “Fools of Choice,” by Peter de Polnay, (Robert Hale, 1955), who is describing his arrival in Buenos Aires in 1927, into which city he had been driven in “an old red, decrepit Ford racing-car, with a fast engine,” obviously a converted model-T.

The Standard Motor Company is compiling a Register of vintage Standard cars and those who own such vehicles are invited to send details to J. R. Davy, c/o The Standard Motor Company (1959) Ltd., Fletchamstead, Coventry. The first two Standards to be entered on the Register were described and illustrated in a recent issue of The Standard Car Review — J. E. C. Moorey’s 1924 Series V 11.4-h.p. Kenilworth Light Tourer and C. D. H. Elliott’s 1924 14-h.p. Warwick tourer.

*

We were surprised to see, in a recent issue of The Bulb Horn, official organ of the V.M.C.C. of America, an advertisement for the ex-Kensington Moir Brooklands Straker-Squire, offering this car for sale at 3,000 dollars and claiming that it held the Brooklands lap record at 103 m.p.h. At the time when this Straker-Squire lapped at 103 m.p.h. the Brooklands lap record stood to the credit of K. Lee Guinness (Sunbeam) at 123.39 m.p.h.

*

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu has at last been able to obtain for the Montagu Motor Museum the huge 1905 St. Petersburg-Moscow type Itala which languished for very many years in the I.O.W. He intends to restore it and is hopeful of obtaining in addition two veteran cars from the same source and possibly a “Prince Henry” Austro-Daimler once used by the wife of the Itala’s owner. Lord Montagu has also recently acquired a vintage Metallurgique.

*

A reader seeks a 1927/28 Humber 20/55 touring car. Letters can be forwarded.

*

We hear that a vintage Cluley two-seater in reasonable order has turned up in Warwick and might be for sale and that a Bean lorry in good condition has been seen carting coal in Stratford-on-Avon. There is also an L.S.D. three-wheeler, with Borne spare parts, reported from the North of England.

*

F. M. Wilcox has rebuilt his 1912 12/15 Talbot following a prang and it now looks as good as ever, with button upholstery in Connolly’s leather. He is also restoring a 1924 10/32 Talbot tourer, nor is the Swandean Garage neglecting thoroughbred matters, for Wilcox has in hand restoration of a 1938 S.S. 100 sports two-seater.

*

Vintage S.C.C. Fixtures for August comprise the Edwardian and Light Car Rally on August 22nd and the Prescott Speed Hill Climb on August 23rd. The Club has invitations this month to Notts. S.C.C. Mallory Park Race Meeting on August 2nd, where there will be a 10-lap Scratch Race for vintage and historic racing cars and a 10-lap Handicap Race for vintage sports cars, and to the Hants & Berks M.C.: Great Auclum Speed Hill Climb on August 8th, when a special prize is offered for the best performance by a V.S.C.C. member driving vintage car.

*

August will be a busy month for owners of old cars, when the following events are due, to which pre-1931 cars are invited:– Lewes and Dist. Round Table Carnival, August 1st. (details from the Hon. Sec., 23, Houndean Rise, Lewes, Sussex); Gosport Veteran and Vintage Car Rally, August 3rd (details from B. L. Ripley, 1, Admiralty Cottages, Hasler Common, Gosport, Hants); New Milton & Dist. Carnival, August 8th (details from G. R. Rawlings, Brooklyn, Silver Street, Hordle, Lymington, Hants); Burnham-on-Sea M.C. Veteran and Vintage Car Rally, August 16th (details from Mrs. M. Jones, 6, Gt. Ostry, Shepton Mallet, Som.); Lymington Town Regatta, August 19th (details from R. Montgomerie, Wits End, Lymington, Hants.)

*

It is reported that a 1928 Arrol-Aster saloon and a 1926 Cubitt tourer, the latter converted into a truck, both said to be restorable, are for sale in Shropshire. Letters can be forwarded.

No licence fees for vintage cars. The V.C.C. of S. Africa announces that the Natal Provincial Council has passed an ordinance to the effect that from next year cars over 40 years of age and used solely for exhibition purposes may, on application, be granted a Certificate of Exemption from licence fees. Who’s emigrating to Natal?