A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
The V.S.C.C. Oulton Park Race Meeting (June 20th) The E.R.A.s vanquished by Cooper-Bristol
The Paddock at Oulton Park filled with the usual delightfully divergent and diverting machinery as another V.S.C.C. Race Meeting became due. The big question was whether the pre-war E.R.A.s could maintain supremacy as Historic Racing Cars in the Seaman Memorial Trophies Race against Connaught, Cooper-Bristol and H.W.M. opposition.
On the Saturday morning it seemed as if they might, because trouble was rife amongst the newer cars. The head was off Margulies’ Connaught, A drive-shaft was proving troublesome on Michelsen’s 1951 H.W.M., the R.R.A. with new, unpainted body, refused all efforts to make it start and the Cooper-Bristol of Brown and Connaught of Horton were absentees. On the other hand, Lindsay’s E.R.A. “Remus” had swallowed some piston rings, bits being found in the sump, nor was Schellenberg’s Barnato-Hassan ready.
In the race Wilks’ smart blue 1952 Cooper-Bristol provided a firm answer, leading from start to finish, although chased by a very determined Waller in E.R.A. R7B, the gap between them by lap 9 was so wide, that Wilks, driving superbly, eased up towards the end of the 20 laps. Brown’s E.R.A. R8B held third place from lap 4 onwards, after Margulies’ Connaught had expired with horrid noises, but came to the pits on lap 16. Syd Day’s. E.R.A. R6B was in trouble on the opening lap and retired on lap 3.
Gahagan’s 2-litre E.R.A. held 4th place until overtaken by Spence’s 3 1/2-litre Alvis-engined Frazer Nash on lap 4, but Spence drove into a Britax sign at Old Hall Corner on this lap, allowing Gahagan 3rd place behind Wilks and Waller. Kergon, in the E.R.A. “Hanuman,” had been close up on Salvage’s Connaught with Brewer’s “new” E.R.A. R4A ahead of them until it retired on lap 9 and when Salvage spun at Knicker Brook after water from an open filler cap had fluffed his engine, Kergon finished 4th, although both he and Gahagan were a lap behind. Wilks averaged 79.6 m.p.h.. with a best-lap of 81.47 m.p.h. and a new era of Historic Car Racing has been ushered in . . . although Bill Muss’ old E.R.A. lap record just survives.
The other, 12-lap, Seaman Trophies Race for Vintage Racing Cars included a number of cars not built originally for racing and a sadly depleted field, further reduced because Arnold-Forster’s Delage II was running roughly, so he felt it wise to go gently, with several visits to the pits. The race did not lack drama, however, for St. John’s beautiful Type 35B Bugatti came to its pit on lap 3 when already comfortably in the lead from the 4 1/2-litre Bentleys of Morley and Williamson, losing some 40 sec. to have its exhaust pipe refitted.
As the Delage was also in, the thing became a death-defying duel between the Bentleys’ with Williamson finally gaining mastery on lap 8 after a spirited ding-dong. Footit’s astonishing A.C./G.N. held third place, ahead of the Bugatti, followed by Morin Scott’s now bonnetless Invicta. A highlight of this race was the initial fine showing of Hill’s 1926 19/100 Austro-Daimler, which held 5th place until it lost power. Built up from three chests of parts and once owned by Peter Garnier’s father, it has the finned-sump 3-litre o.h.c. engine with twin Zeniths, a 40-gallon fuel tank, and a very nice fabric 2-seater racing body with aluminium bonnet. The brakes have been converted to rod-operation. Kitchener’s T.T. f.w.d. Alvis, now white, got away badly and gear-selection problems caused him to wander about the course in an alarming fashion later in the race. Williamson won at 73.76 m.p.h., lapping at 75.07 m.p.h. Alas, Schellenberg non-started in Sowden’s 8-litre Bentley, although it was in the Paddock, “remote-control” front shock-absorbers neatly faired in. After the finish Delage II was seen with its body removed, ‘showing theFrench-bred intimate details of its sturdy chassis.
This year the Concours parade of clean and presentables took place before the racing and included a rare and neat 1929 12-h.p. Armstrong Siddeley tourer, a 1924 7.5 Citroën drophead, two Stars, and Sutcliffe’s, 1922 12/40 Alvis tourer. The Concours d’Elegance was won by Thorpe’s 1935 Riley; the Concours d’Etat by Terry’s 1938 Rolls-Royce. Then, following impassioned appeals for a blow-lamp and a request that oil wasn’t deposited on the grass, which it kills (a MOTOR SPORT gardening hint!), the racing commenced.
Burke won the G.N./Frazer Nash Handicap for chain-driven cars in the ex-Gibson, Connaught-Lea-Francis engined Frazer Nash Vitesse, no one else being in sight as he crossed the line. Eventually Bromley-Johnson in his Bentley-propelled Nash finished 2nd, Barton’s “proper” T.T. Replica third. We gather that there is no truth in the rumour that Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd. will now adopt chain transmission for the S3. It was nice to see two G.N.-J.A.P. vee-t wins in noisy action. Warden appeared to be holding a dog on the leash or lever; Holland’s G.N./A.C. boiled.
The next 5-lap handicap, for vintage and p.v.t. cars, produced another runaway win, for McQuire in the first production Riley Imp, with 9 to 1 c.r. The battle for second place was resolved when Hicks’ 1934 Aston Martin just got the better of Cairnes’ Speed 20 Alvis, which had a Speed 25 engine to assist it. Interesting runners included Smith’s 1934 Squire, Barry Clarke’s twin-S.U. Austin 7 Cup Model, Abraham’s noisy Singer Junior Special and Terry’s stripped March-bodied Lancia Augusta. The fourth race, another 5-lap handicap for vintage and p.v.t. cars, saw Barr’s 1932/7 4.3-litre Alvis Special take the lead on lap 2 and win very easily from Abson’s racing-bodied Lagonda Rapier, Cairnes’ big Alvis third – the handicapping was not a notable aspect of this Oulton Meeting. Balmers Speed Model Bentley looked like an outsize Corgi model. Outstanding was Hamish Moffat’s very beautiful 1923 Crossley-Bugatti with boat-type or skiff body partially decked in polished planking. It did not wear a Maltese-Cross radiator badge, which got us talking about badges generally, and wondering whether the long-chassis 3-litre Bentleys wore blue badges to indicate that they were less warm than the hot red-label Speed Models? The next, similar, handicap saw Brydson’s 3.6-litre Alvis Special take the lead, lose it to Abson’s Rapier, but recover, to win in the end. Quartermaine did some not too serious mowing in his E/OE 30/98 Vauxhall.
The All-Corners’ 5-lapper, all from scratch, was another opportunity for Wilks’ Cooper-Bristol to run away from the field, faster in this short race, at 80.08 m.p.h., but lapping a shade slower, at 81.21 m.p.h. The Hon. Patrick Lindsay borrowed Waller’s E.R.A. and joyfully caught and passed Cottam’s E.R.A. on lap 3, to finish 2nd. Burton’s 5.6-litre de Dion Bentley was 4th, so is not-yet an E.R.A.-eater! The R.R.A. was now going well to come in 5th, ahead of Williamson’s Bentley.
Three 5-lap handicaps concluded a rather chilly day’s racing. Sutton’s 1934 ex-Harrison/Grice Team Ulster Imp led from lap 2 to win the first from Cairns’ ugly but successful 2.7-litre Alvis and McEwen’s 1932 Riley Gamecock. During the next race three of Blight’s splendid Talbot 105s occupied the first three places on lap 1, but the faster cars came through, the fastest Talbot troubled by a trace of brake fade, Cottam’s E.R.A. taking the lead on lap 4, to win – again easily – from Morris in Talbot BGH3, with Bateson’s Alta right on its rail. Hutchings’ Bugatti, a good imitation of a Type 59 except for its wheels, but actually a Type 55 chassis with Marshall cabin-blown Type 57 engine, went well, but Gahagan’s E.R.A. broke an oil-pipe on the starting grid.
The last race was another victory for Barr’s p.v.t. Alvis, from Brydson’s Alvis and Masters’ M.G., the V.S.C.C. apparently not believing in re-handicaps!
The absence of many of the faster cars, and of Barker’s 1908 11 1/2-litre Napier which by now we hope to have seen at Silverstone (it was at the July ”Phoenix” evening), robbed this meeting of some of the customary V.S.C.C. fire, while the anticipated vintage motorcycle race was squashed by order of the A.C.U. – W. B.
Course patrolling duties were shared by an XK120 and a vintage Bentley. The Motoring Dog, told to stay at home, was awfully cross when she heard of dogs Ioose in the Oulton enclosures!
A 1938 SS100 in one race was described by the commentator as ” very, very nice ” – perhaps he liked its non-standard Connaught disc wheels?
Tucker’s 1925 Bentley was once a long-chassis coupé but is now a shortened open car, with A-series gearbox, Masters drove an ex-Lund blown PB M.G., Simsey’s Alvis is another Speed 25-powered car, in this case a non-i.f.s. Silver Eagle, while Stephen’s 4.3-litre Alvis seemed to be continually beheaded, exposing its cluster valve springs.
Sam Glutton drove determinedly in his Type 43 Bugatti and the 1908 Itala, seeming to get hemmed in at times by slower cars. He was supported Edwardian-wise by Neves 1914 Humber – but where is “Mephistopheles”? Crowley Millings’ 1924 Targa Florio Alfa Romeo, the Norris-Special, Edwards reaching out for the handbrake lever of Coram’s 1925 Aston Martin, and Zeurer’s Type 22 Bugatti added vintage flavour. Vessey circulated in a fully-equipped Lancia Lambda, Balmer’s Bentley has dispensed with cross-shaft gears, and Tony Brooke’s Vauxhall-Villiers, and his Lago Talbot non-started. Several “vintage wives” were racing.
A BEAN C.C. RALLY (June 28th)
There are now so many rallies for old cars that to report all of them is both impossible and unnecessary. But that held by the Bean Car Club at the Royal Merchant Navy School on June 28th was unusual, in as much as four of the boys judged the condition of the cars, while their owners bought cups of tea in the Tuck Shop. A fine array of vintagery turned out on the spacious lawns, including two early Morris-Oxford 2-seaters (looking like Cowleys to the uninitiated), a Rudge-Multi motorcycle with variable belt-drive and Senspray carburetter which its owner rode, for some reason, standing on the saddle, a Morris light truck carrying an elementary display of components and led round the arena like a horse by its proud owner, Alloway’s rare Swift 14 with its generous-sized sump, a model-T Ford all-weather with proprietary radiator and 4.75 x 21 tyres on its detachable rims, a 1912 model-T pick-up full of air cadets and Capt. Hullinger’s 1935 20/25 Rolls-Royce with three horns, from bulb to a very splendid under-bonnet trumpet affair blown through tapered flexible tubing. Then there was a magneto-ignition Austin 7 Chummy, a very clean 7/17 Jowett 2-seater, several Austin 12/4s, more Rolls-Royces with Boddy’s, borrowed P2 towering over the rest, a straight-eight Railton with h.t. leads arranged like the wiring in an early radio, a Morris 10/4 and a Morris Minor suitable for O.C.C. membership, a 12/50 Alvis in need of paint, a Hampton, a Hillman 14, and one modern, in the guise of a Triumph Spitfire. Also the inevitable fire-appliances, in the form of a 3-litre Dennis from London and an o.h.c. Leyland fire-tender doing 5 m.p.g. But, remarkably, not a single Bean, even the Bean O.C. lorry being a post-war Commer.
From all these the boys chose the winners, the prizes were presented by the Headmaster’s wife, and everyone paraded round the ring before dispersing. The winning Rover was a sports model with headlamps mounted on its radiator and a spare wheel stowage cribbed from that of a duck’s-back Alvis 12/50.
VINTAGE CARS ON T.V.
It is a fairly common occurrence for vintage cars to figure in television programmes but it was clever of producer Jack Gold to have obtained authentic Morris-Cowley and Angus-Sanderson tourers for the first .episode of “Call the Gun Expert,” dealing with the murder of P.C. Gutteridge in 1927 shown on B.B.C.1 on July 2nd.
Following our comments of last May, Louis Newmark Ltd., concessionaires for Breitling watches, inform us that the loss of the bezel of the Chronomat wrist stop-watch we referred to is the only fault of this kind reported to them. They state that the very nature of the bezel demands a delicate swaging of the metal to allow a precise yet free-moving action and that failure of the inner lips of the case of the watch in question was undetected on inspection of the completed assembly because the bezel covered it. As a result of our comments further checks have been instituted in Switzerland and at Louis Newmark’s London Servicing Unit.
With regard to accuracy, we were perhaps unduly harsh in reporting that a Breitling Navitimer was gaining two minutes a week, as this watch had not had the benefit of adjustment in the first few days of use. In any case, Newmark point out that Neuchatel Observatory has issued certificates of accuracy to watches which gain rather more than one minute a week. In conclusion, after a long period a Breitling Navitimer has proved 100% reliable, completely consistent and is a first-class means of timing journeys, race lap times, etc., and so the enthusiasm expressed about this range of watches in MOTOR SPORT last April, and sold here by Louis Newmark Ltd. of Gt. Portland Street, has been fully justified. – W. B.
GRAND PRIX DESIGN
In a moment of forgetfulness, when referring to disc brakes in our July issue, our caption writer automatically wrote down Dunlop. We apologise for this lapse, for the Brabham Racing Developments Limited fit Girling disc brakes on Brabliam racing cars of all formulae.
A MYSTERIOUS MORRIS-COWLEY
The 1925 Morris-Cowley advertised by an Exmouth garage for sale at £475 (not £47 10s. as I thought at first glance) poses something of a conundrum. It is stated that the car was built for and raced in the 1925 or 1926 200-Mile Race at Brooklands, which is rather droll, because no Morris was ever entered for this race and, indeed, Morris Motors Ltd. advertised that they were against racing and didn’t intend to support this race, a reproduction of this advertisement appearing in my book on the J.C.C. long-distance classic. The vendors state that in the race a 4-cylinder o.h.v. 12-valve Chapuis-Dornier engine was fitted, which, minus some rather essential parts, goes with the car. Now the only car using a Chapuis-Dornier engine in the 200-Mile Race was Heaton’s Derby, which finished sixth in the 1,100-c.c. class in 1923. The rather crude 2-seater racing body on the Morris could have come from either this Derby or Weymouth’s Derby, which was a non-starter in the 1923 race. But I can find absolutely no evidence that these French small cars had “four-seater Morris-Cowley chassis with first-series four-wheel-brakes” as quoted by the garage now in possession of the car. Indeed, a standard Derby chassis appears to have been used for the “200,” with transverse front spring, 1/4-elliptic back springs and wire wheels, whereas the Morris has 1/2-elliptic front springs, 3/4-elliptic back springs, and artillery wheels with far larger tyres than the 1923 Derbys.
This mysterious Morris, unknown to the experts of the Bullnose Morris Register, seems to have been registered in Surrey. It is said to have had only one previous owner, from 1925 to 1939, so I hope he will come forward and tell us why he dismantled a 1923 200-Mile Race Derby and apparently put its body on a later Morris-Cowley chassis. Certainly the people who are trying to dispose of the car do not seem to have much knowledge of what they are trying to sell! – W. B.
A USEFUL CASTROL LAP SPEED LOG
Castrol have issued a chart of lap speed tables covering the Silverstone Club and G.P. circuits, Snetterton, Brands Hatch Club and G.P. circuits, Aintree Club and G.P. circuits, Mallory Park, Oulton Park, Goodwood, and the Crystal Palace. Just the job for employment with a Breitling Navitimer stop-watch, this chart gives a list of International flag signals and specimen lap tables. It is obtainable free, from Castrol Ltd., Castrol House, Marylebone Road, London, N.W.1, if you mention MOTOR SPORT – if and when the Government remembers that to tamper with or delay Her Majesty’s mail is treason, or used to be, and gets to grips with making our postal service at least half as efficient as it was in the days of the 1d. post.