A section devoted to old-car matters
Back to their birthplace
The S.T.D. Register made its annual pilgrimage to Wolverhampton on July 4th, supported by its Roesch Talbot members, for a police-led parade of Sunbeams through the town where they were made, and a Pride of Ownership contest in West Park, judged by Mr. Rawlings Senior, whose son Vincent had organised the event.
I was privileged to ride at the head of this unique procession in Rootes’ Sunbeam “Cub” driven by John Rowe, a full-blooded, throaty Grand Prix car running through an English town, which was an experience not to be missed. This historic 1924 super charged 2-litre Sunbeam made a similar appearance eight years ago but it has since been completely rebuilt by the Rootes Group, the engine being restored meticulously in Jack Brabham’s works, under the care of Mike Puckey. Martlett, who made the pistons found in the engine, supplied replacements, Cooper re-furbished the leather-covered steering wheel and the tyres were new racing Dunlops, most old cars being dependent on this much-appreciated service by the Dunlop Rubber Co. The car, normally on show at the Montagu Motor Museum, was towed up from Ladbroke Hall on a trailer behind a modern Sunbeam Tiger V8 and attracted much interest, while the ride through the town and a lap of West Park behind a very co-operative Wolverhampton police car was sheer joy. Naturally, the “Cub” was mostly in 2nd or 3rd gear and inclined to boil, and was fitted with mudguards for the occasion, but its appearance, sound and smell (it is lubricated with castor oil) seemed to please the citizens of the town where it was built very much indeed. The engine now has l.c. pistons to enable it to run on pump petrol and it restarted obediently with only a brief push after the cavalcade had made its customary halt outside the old Sunbeam factory in Villiers Street. At the Park, E. L. Bouts, who used to race a sister car to the “Cub” at Brooklands (D.S.J. now owns the chassis) and a 5-litre Indianapolis Sunbeam, was present to pay the ex-Guinness/Segrave car his respects.
All afternoon the crowds swarmed round the “Cub,” studying its twin-cam supercharged 6-cylinder engine, now with S.U. carburetter, its well-stocked instrument panel on which the two magnetos (one a spare) are mounted, the central gate-change gear lever with a door-hinge baulking the reverse position (a comforting thought for those lined-up behind the Sunbeam on the starting grid!) and the complex cable-runs of the braking system, which incorporates a gearbox-driven servo.
Cars ranging from Mrs. Foster’s 1912 12/16 Sunbeam to Moores’ 1936 Talbot 110 Freestone & Webb saloon with Roesch automatic clutch and pre-selector gearbox, which was on the stand at the 1936 Motor Show, took part, 33 in all.
I had a less exciting but more restful ride back to the Castlecroft Hotel in Peter Moores’ beautifully rebuilt, very lofty 1921 24 h.p. Sunbeam limousine and, after tea, my wife presented the prizes.—W. B.
Rootes Trophy (car coming the longest distance): E. H. Preston (1933 18.2 h.p. Sunbeam saloon), 289 miles.
Bill Perkins’ Trophy (most meritorious progress in restoration): D. Sankey (1931 18.2 h.p. Sunbeam saloon).
Pride of Ownership Contest:
1st: E. May (1931 23.8 h.p. Sunbeam tourer).
2nd: F. W. Joyce (1934 Sunbeam Speed 20 saloon).
3rd: S. Plant (1933 Talbot 75 saloon).
The M.C.C. at Silverstone (July 3rd)
To see cars and motorcycles competing together in short races and high-speed trials, which was a feature of the Motor Cycling Club’s Silverstone Meeting, was reminiscent of their Brooklands Meetings before the war.
The first race for solo motorcycles was ably and easily won by Clulee’s 499-c.c. Vincent, and Mahany’s 1 1/2-litre H.R.G., by grace of a credit lap, finished first in the equivalent car handicap, in which the field ranged from hot Hillman Imps to Croot’s 3.4 Jaguar-engined Allard.
The Half-Hour Trial for Sidecars and 3-wheelers attracted a fine Morgan entry (22, plus four reserves), the only other tricar being Karasek’s 1,000 Vincent Special. As is their wont, the Morgans were drawn up in a long row in the Paddock, s.v. and o.h.v., w/c. and a/c., twin and 4-cylinder, not as presentable as the motorcycles (more to clean?) but quite fascinating in their purposeful variety. They were accompanied by two immaculate and original non-competing Aero Morgans.
During the event the acrobatics of Cameron’s passenger were wonderful to behold and although some of the Morgans developed minor, and in one case major, troubles, the rest of them crackled round splendidly, a speed of 51.46 m.p.h. for 16 laps being required to gain a 1st Class Award.—W. B.
Vintage miscellany.—The Biggleswade Round Table Whitsun gala, which featured vintage cars, raised £1,500 for charity. An Edwardian Belsize tourer was discovered in a millhouse at Pontardulais, Wales, when the doors blew down, and is to be restored—and sold! R. S. G. Travis, 36, Landgate Road, Handsworth, Birmingham 21, is now General Sec. of the Lea-Francis O.C. We did David Gardner a misjustice in our stop-press V.S.C.C. Oulton Park report—his B-type Connaught was fastest through the trap, at 114 m.p.h. Its driver says this Connaught (B5) is the first of its type to appear in the post-war historic class and he blames us for luring him, at 52, onto the starting grid, when he “might have been a Mayor or Captain of my golf club!” C. Thomas, 66, Avenue Road, N.15 has taken over the Crossley Register, which has much literature of the 1910-1937 period to interest owners of Crossley cars. An early Sunbeam chassis frame, on tyre-less artillery wheels, less engine, etc., serves as a mobile truck at a garage in Kent. In searching for a Gordon cyclecar a reader has unearthed the body from some other early small car in a loft adjacent to the old Gordon works. It seems possible that it came from a Charonette. The Armstrong Siddeley O.C. is being re-organised with the support of Bristol Siddeley, and will embrace Siddeley-Deasy and Stoneleigh cars. D. Good, who started the Daimler/Lanchester O.C., is behind the re-organisation; his address is: Flat 1, 23, Broadway North, Walsall.
The V.S.C.C. may introduce a long-distance scratch race for sports/racing as distinct from historic pure-racing cars next years very good idea. The new Secretary of the Bullnose Morris Club is Robin Barraclough, 27, Oakfield Road, Rugby, Warwicks. The Club’s Oxford Rally takes place on Sept. 26th and is open to non-members. The Western Mail published recently a history of the Cardiff transport firm of S. Andrew & Son, with pictures of their one-time Robey steam wagon and Metallurgique car used as a breakdown truck.