A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
The V.S.C.C. Oulton Park Race Meeting (June 25th)
A CONSIDERABLE crowd gathered at the excellent Oulton Park road circuit to enjoy the variety and choice sounds which only vintage cars can provide. Where else but in the Paddock at a V.S.C.C. meeting can one see such a diversity of interesting cars or hear such noises as the tearing sound of Bugattis being revved-up, the rumble of Bentleys and the crackle of Frank Lockhart’s vee-twin Peugeot? Then there are the familiar V.S.C.C. personalities—President Neve, racing himself, ex-President Harry Bowler, in a Bentley of course, the never-ruffled Tim and Marjorie Carson, and, at Dalton, hard-working Chief Marshal J. Cunliffe and his deputy, J. Gray, while Terence Breen, tearing himself from his boat, is there to ease the task and thirst of the Press.
The big race of June 25th was the 100-kilometre Richard Seaman Memorial Trophies Race for vintage and historic racing cars. A very exciting race it was, too. A terrific field of E.R.A.s, Bugattis and Bentleys competed, and the Club had shut its eyes to the fact that Husband’s 1934 Talbot 105 was converted to a “special” only a year ago and didn’t qualify under the race rules. For ten of the 23 laps Day led in his blue R6B ex-Gerard/Ebury E.R.A., with the Hon. Peter Lindsay relentlessly chasing him in the E.R.A.”Remus,” a mere length or so behind. Then Lindsay found he was without third gear going into Druids, whieh caused him to hit the bank, shoot across the course and run up the opposite bank. Just as he expected the E.R.A. to roll over it slumped back onto four wheels but the front axle had been pushed back and that was that. Day also spun somewhere, so now Waller moved from third to first place in the ex-Scribbans R9B E.R.A., with Goodhew moving up in the E.R.A.-Delage, followed by Day, Brown in the ex-Howe/Shawe-Taylor E.R.A. R8B, Berry’s Type 35B G.P. Bugatti, McDonald going very quickly in his 4 1/2 Bentley, the Talbot, and Burton in Cooper’s fabulous blown 8-litre Bentley. The race remained extremely exciting, for Day set about erasing his mistake and was back in the lead by lap 17, while the Delage, although braked early, was set to challenge Waller and with Day “miles” ahead Goodhew took the E.R.A. coming into Knicker Brook two laps from the finish.
Berry very correctly won the Vintage section of the race, Fidler’s Type 37 Bugatti the Handicap. For the record some of the interesting cars amongst the also-rans included Grice’s ex-Eminson Type 37A Bugatti, Grice’s shoes having had the welts cut off in a vice to enable him to work its pedals, Bergel in the ex-Rivers-Fletcher Type 35T roller-bearing Bugatti, Eckersley in the ex-Kellow Type 35 Bugatti, Neve’s 2.3 blown Bugatti which was repeatedly into the pits for water, Bishop’s 2-litre T.T. C-type Aston Martin “Red Dragon” and Monk in Bell’s 1934 M.G. which has the ex-W. E. Humphries Q-type engine and J4 gearbox, now with two-stage supercharge from two cabin blowers, in a clever new chassis made entirely from M.G. parts, with de Dion rear suspension on 1/2-elliptic springs with radius arms above, and coil spring and wishbone i.f.s., the tanks being concealed within tail and headrest. Grant had a 1934 aingle-seater M.G. thought to have been raced by Paddy Johnson at Southport, the chassis being PA with Q-type gearbox and back-axle, the PA engine having some Q-type parts and four 45° S.U.s.
The Husband Talbot sports a cut-down radiator, triple S.U.s, a header-tank on the scuttle united with the engine by very long bigbore pipes, two chunky fuel tanks in the tail, battery and twin fuel pumps beside the driver, a vast Talbot preselector gearbox, 7.00 x 19 Dunlop racing rear tyres and strut type shock-absorbers, and runs on methanol.
The first race underlined vintage variety, for a 1925 Harper Bean and Eastwood’s delightfully original 1926 Austin Seven went round side by side and Charlton’s 14/40 Sunbeam tourer saw off Whowell’s 1927 Rolls-Royce cabriolet. More serious racing was done by Hall’s Type 37 Bugatti, which won from Harding’s nice 12/50 Alvis beetle-back and Lisle’s blown Austin Seven. The only Edwardian racing, Neve’s 1914 T.T. Humber, was far faster than J. Barker’s E-type 30/98.
The following five lap Handicap was a p.v.t. benefit, Hutchings’ 1937 328 B.M.W. winning from Minchin’s 1934 Mk. II Aston Martin, which has won on the Nurburgring and has a German body. Charnock’s well-known 4.3. Alvis, running sans tail, was third—all this after the apparent winner, Knight’s Riley Special, had been penalised 25 sec. for being over-eager at the start.
As last year, Morris’ fine aluminium-bodied 6 1/2 Bentley won the scratch contest for Vintage Sports Cars, by 4.8 sec. from Ashley’s very quick Meadows-Frazer Nash ” Interceptor. ” which seemed none the worse for a scored bore. Spence’s Hyper Lea-Francis Special led Chaffey’s 3-litre Bentley to third place. Moffat’s ex-Ogle Full Brescia Bugatti beat Gahagan’s later Type 37 Bugatti, while Lockhart’s splendid Peugeot-J.A.P. was going jolly well, its top speed being around 70 m.p.h. in spite of it being undergeared. As a break from racing the Concours d’Elegance entrants paraded, many exceedingly fine cars being seen, of which Broadhead’s 1924 30/98 Vauxhall Wensum deservedly won on elegance and Slater’s 1927 7/17 Jowett two-seater took the “condition” prize. An interesting newcomer was Taylor’s 1910 16/20 Hotchkiss, found in a barn and handsomely rebuilt, while Mrs. Evans drove a 1925 s.v. Aston Martin disguised with a Lea-Francis radiator. Farrington’s 1925 Daimler landaulette was not as pristine as the majority but was decently original and for such a large car the small size of the four wheel-brakes and of the sleeve-valve engine (2,648 c.c.) came as a surprise. There was a smothering of very beautiful Rolls-Royces, Rogers’ had a 1923 four-speed Calthorpe two-seater, and Brooking’s 1913 3-litre Darracq two-seater was a nice car. Stothert’s 1910 Humber was spoilt by modern tyres and a rash of plaques on its toolbox; in any case, it is not a well-balanced looking car. Bayly had brought his 1925 Armstrong Siddeley Fourteen, the first four-cylinder model of this just-defunct make.
Back to the races, H. Begley won the G.N./Frazer Nash Handicap in his Meadows-engined “Byfleet II” from St. John’s Atalanta-Gough ‘Nash, with Geoghegan’s Aston Martin-powered 1928 ‘Nash third, although at the line Gibson’s scratch car, which has a Lea-Francis engine, was very close indeed to Geoghegan.
Bill Moss then borrowed Day’s E.R.A. (which had earned him special Daily Express placards in the Paddock!) and ran right away with another mixed Handicap. Out on his own, Moss fairly threw the car round Oulton, his fastest lap of 82.97 m.p.h. beating his former historic-racing-car lap-record established in “Remus”. A long way behind came Waller’s E.R.A., about which the now very sick E.R.A.-Delage this time could do nothing, while a bit of a mix-up damaged one of Morris’ mudguards (a pity, after a charming girl in a sun-top had so carefully polished the big car!) and removed the Charnock Alvis, while Clifford’s ex-Lady Mary Grosvenor Alta, which had slipped its timing chain that morning, only covered half-a-lap. So an astonished Lisle took fourth place in his Austin.
The next race was for the same mixture of cars—vintage, p.v.t. and historic racing cars—and Maguire’s slab-tailed M-type M.G. led until Batho’s four-Amal Riley Nine tourer went by on lap 3. It looked as if this well-known Riley would win, but on the final lap St. John’s Frazer Nash went past and then Mann’s ex-Robertson Ulster Aston Martin came through from scratch to a well-driven victory. It was nice to see Crowley-Milling’s 22/90 Alfa-Romeo motoring strongly, this being a prototype car Campari drove in the 1923 Targa Florio and which Coe raced later—the only one of this type with a seven-bearing crankshaft.
Yet another of these Handicaps saw the irrepressible Moss catch Moffat’s limit Bugatti in three of the five laps in the scratch E.R.A. and gave Bill a chance to again put in a lap at 82.97 m.p.h. with all the verve, sound and smell of an E.R.A. in anger—something sadly lacking at “real” race meetings. Charnock brought his big Alvis home second and Mann clinched third place, ahead of Waller. It is to the great credit of the V.S.C.C. that its members in their ancient motor cars can put on a meeting of this kind and hold the attention of the public to the very last race. In the next issue we look forward to reporting on their last month’s Silverstone Meeting.
Below are the main winners :—
Seaman Trophies 100-km Race:
1st: S.L. Day (E.R.A.) 75.48 m.p.h.
2nd: J. Goodhew (E.R.A.-Delage)
3rd: P. Waller (E.R.A.)
First Vintage/P.V.T./H.R.C. Handicap:
1st: D. Hale (Bugatti) 64.74 m.p.h.
Second Vintage/P.V.T./H.R.C. Handicap:
1st: R.A. Hutchins (B.M.W.) 68.49 m.p.h.
Third Vintage/P.V.T./H.R.C. Handicap:
1st: W.F. Moss (E.R.A. 81.63 m.p.h.
Fourth Vintage/P.V.T./H.R.C. Handicap:
1st: H. Mann (Aston Martin) 67.01 m.p.h.
Fifth Vintage/P.V.T./H.R.C. Handicap:
1st: W.F. Moss (E.R.A.) 81.90 m.p.h.
Vintage Sports Car Scratch Race:
1st: M.H. Morris (Bentley) 68.59 m.p.h.
V.M.C.C. 12th Banbury Run (June 26th)
The annual Banbury Run for veteran and vintage motorcycles leaves even the Brighton Run in the shade, for its entry list this year totalled 345 machines, ranging from the 1901 models to motorcycles of the late-vintage era. After being scrutineered by W. Boddy, Editor of Motor Sport and other enthusiasts, the majority of these entrants set off in warm weather to cover either a 30 or a 60-mile course depending on the age of their mounts.
The start was from an ample runway on Honeybourne Aerodrome near Broadway and, according to class, average speeds of from 12 to 24 m.p.h. had to be maintained. The condition of the competing motorcycles ranged from pristine to “everyday.” L. Matthews had camped at the start overnight; his 1914 Warrwick tricar was seen to be in trouble in Broadway. Mrs. Offord appropriately rode a Ladies-Model 1922 Velocette and Miss Ward, finding her 1915 W.D. Sunbeam rather difficult to start, explained that it gets temperamental before a crowd. Very sporting were P. Adorian’s 1926 996-c.c. McEvoy-Anzani, G. Ashenden’s 1924 89 m.p.h. Henley-Blackburne, J. Andrews’ 1925 Triumph with contemporary Derrington exhaust system, O’Neal’s 1923 T.T. Scott sidecar outfit, F. Farrington’s 1926 Norton racing sidecar outfit, J. Churchill’s 1927 actual works Senior T.T. Triumph and J. Moore’s 1920 model 9 T.T. Norton. Impossible to describe them all!
There is an excellent “Banbury” rule that to gain a Concours d’ Elegance award a machine must first have completed the course. This year three-wheelers were represented by two Morgans, C. Grout’s 1927 water-cooled Aero-J.A.P. and R. Meadow’s 1929 Family Model, M. Holben’s 1925 Seal, the Warrwick and K. Blake’s astonishing 1905 1.6-litre Etna tricycle. R. Taylor’s passenger had space to spare in the roomy sidecar of his 1922 996-c.c. Matchless, one of the big passenger machines, and W. Bates rode a 1913 Zenith Gradua, recalling for the Editor his first ever motor vehicle. Some of the principal award winners :
The Feridax Trophy: G.W. Hockney (1922 A.J.S.).
Best Sidecar: R. Rawlins (1923 Scott).
The Sheldon Trophy: M. J. Holben (1925 Seal).
The Joe Tite Memorial Trophy: R. Green (1922 Bradbury).
The Rotherham Cup: Mrs. Ann Offord (1922 Velocette).
The Percy Wheeler Memorial Trophy: W. Moore (1901 Dart).
While in Scotland recently we saw an early bull-nose Morris with truck body, presumably still in use, near Loch Ness.
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Two vintage Vauxhalls in the news—when a Sheffield garage held an economy run for owners of modern cars of this make a 1926 14/40 tourer took part, averaging 26 m.p.g., while a very fine 23/60 Vauxhall tourer belonging to the Chester Engineering Co. Ltd. was used in a Road Safety Exhibition this firm staged last month in Chester.
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Mistaken identification? When a weekly contemporary introduced an advertisement feature headed “Connoisseurs, Vintage and Veteran Cars Illustrated,” the only insert the first week related to a 1945 Rolls-Royce Wraith !