Fleet "Transport through the ages" Rally

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(June 19th)

Nowadays, veteran and vintage vehicles are an attraction at so many carnivals, fetes, traction-engine rallies and what have you that I content myself with reporting on one such rally a year, and what better than the local event, especially as I had to go to it to help with the judging?

There was an excellent motorcycle entry for the traditional short preliminary run, amongst which M. J. Holben’s 1924 Seal 3-wheeler, with wheel steering but controls by external levers, and 980 c.c. J.A.P. engine, was particularly interesting. Of the cars which were attracted to this rapidly-expanding, pleasant, tree-girt, Hampshire country town (so avid for houses that its growth has been halted only because it has run out of sewers, and where I once saw a notice on a tree “Here a Church will be built to the Glory of God” changed later to “Choice houses and bungalows for sale”!) Dr. Wright brought his blown 1750 Alfa Romeo, with S.U. carburation although the original Memini instrument was on board, Try’s 1921 Charron-Laycock was 100% immaculate, only ousted for overall award by Longworth’s 1916 twin-cylinder Perry, with a Pratt’s “High Test” petrol can on its running board. Greing’s 1928 Gordon England Cup Model Austin 7 was in good “everyday” trim, Harvey’s 1929 “loydoor” Austin 7 metal saloon extremely commendable, although losing marks for a wire, ending in a Meccano collar, for sounding a second horn, while Albon’s 1927 blue Chummy Austin 7 ran it very close and the lady in nineteen-twenties costume, even to a period garter, helped it to the “Elegant Lady” award.

Nash’s Standard Big Nine saloon claimed to be just vintage and, if its engine was filthy and body brush-painted, it excused this on account of daily usage and had one original tyre. Harris and Tindell shared a nice 1924 Vanden Plas Bentley tourer, even if some “brassing” was evident under the bonnet. Soden’s 1926 12/40 Lea-Francis looked earlier and aluminium paint detracted from its engine, Capt. Kenning let his father bring a very rare car in the form of a 1923 10.8 Riley tourer, unhappily very shabby and decked out in comic notices. Wood’s Armstrong Siddeley towered over smaller cars, dazzlingly yellow and appealing for “a girl in 1936 clothes” to accompany it on the “Elegant Lady” contest, and Savill/Fitt displayed a bogus racing No. 7 on their 1934 Fiat Ballila.

Purday immodestly proclaimed, via the programme, that his Alvis Speed 25 was the best of its kind in the U.K., which failed to get it an award, and the solid-tyred 1915 Selden lorry which came on a modern truck beat a very nice Morris-Commercial truck, in spite of having a bit of polished modern S.U. about its carburetter. Moreover, Baring’s Ferrari 250 Berlinetta, for all its proclamation of racing participation, was vanquished in its class by a Triumph Vitesse. There were no 30/98s to challenge a Vauxhall Hurlingham, which took a 2nd place, from a high-chassis 4½-litre Invicta, as did a 1938 Austin 7 2-seater, in spite of too-recent headlamps and too-big tyres, the winner in this case being a fixed-head coupe 20/25 RollsRoyce with initials on its doors, flying a coloured balloon! A ribbon radiator Triumph Super Seven saloon was presented by two young enthusiasts and the arena was flanked by some big traction-engines in steam and a horizontal steam-engine busy sucking water out of a domestic bath and pumping it back again. The Carnival Queen drove the winning Foden timber-tractor, being quite unaware of the purpose of the handle on its very low-geared steering-wheel!

Results:

Overall Motorcycle winner: J. M. Heanes (1911 3½-h.p. Motorsacoehe).
Overall vintage and vetran car winner: E.D. Longworth (1914 Perry).
Veteran Motorcycles: W. Lambert (1913 770 c.c. Royal Enfield and s/car).
Vintage Motorcycles: J. R. Caswell (1922 500 c.c. Triumph and s/car).
Cars, 1904-1920: E.D. Longworth (1914 Perry).
Cars, 1921-1930: A. W. Try (1921 Charron-Laylock).
Sports cars, 1920-1939: R. A. R. Smith (1927 4½-litre Invicta).
Post-vintage cars to 1939: R. N. Trudeau (1933 20/25 Rolls-Royce).
Cars, 1940-1966: R. Dixon-Pett (1966 Triumph Vitesse).
Cars and Lady: Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Albon (1927 Austin 7)
Commercial vehicles: C. Russett (1915 Selden truck).
Steamers: Adnam (Foden timber-tractor)

A Rover-Sunbeam ambulance has turned up in New Zealand. A circa-1926 Austin 12/4 with truck body has come to light in Wales. The origin of the older garage businesses could be a profitable line of research. A Kingsclere garage used to display photographs of veteran cars on its premises but these have now gone from the showroom window. However, a garage which has changed little in appearance since its inception is the Ledbury Motor Company, formerly Ledbury Motor garage, which was established in 1906 and has been an Austin agency since 1913. It displays photographs in its windows of Daimler and other early cars serviced there in pre-1914 days. Maybe readers can provide information about other long-established garages still occupying their original premises. The Editor has been given a 1920 o.h.c. 1.7-litre Dawson engine, gearbox and radiator by a generous reader who is a 12/50 Alvis enthusiast. The gearbox has the mountings for the pivotted gear lever which was a feature of these Coventry-built cars and the valve gear is reminiscent of Hispano-Suiza. Does anyone have any further information about the Dawson car or know whether Mr. Dawson, who built it, is still alive ? A 1926 long-Chassis Jowett 2-seater was bought recently for £60 and flown to Holland by someone who is hoping to build up a 1924 short-chassis version from bits.