A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
V.S.C.C. Edwardian and Light Car Rally (July 2nd)
Some of the most intrepid V.S.C.C. dicers seem to be able to produce an innocuous vintage light-car of not more than 30 b.h.p. for the Light Car Section’s annual Edwardian and Light Car Rally. This year there was Patrick Marsh, who had gone from an ERA, to a 1926 Austin 7 saloon, whilst Freddie Giles had unchained himself from his T.T. Replica ‘Nash to pilot a 1927 Austin Chummy, and John Milner had forsaken his 30/98 for his 1926 A.C. Brian Sismey, who races a Speed 20 Alvis, was navigating Mrs. Jane Hill in her 1930 A.J.S.
The start and finish were in the beautiful setting of Nigel and Pam Arnold-Forster’s house near Swindon, and this friendliest of V.S.C.C. meetings saw 30 or so Humbers, Swifts, Talbots, Trojans, Clynos and the like parked in the sunshine on the drive for the preliminary Concours, whilst their owners drank beer and ate sandwiches on the lawn in the company of their wives, children, girl friends and motoring dogs. The four entries in the Edwardian Class lent tone to the proceedings with the two magnificent Silver Ghosts of Skinner and Barnard, though Lorch kept things in proportion with his spotless brass-radiatored 1915 Model-T Ford and Barry Clarke’s 1913 Talbot provided the Edwardian sporting Clement.
Mechanical troubles were few, though the hairy horses lurking under the bonnet of F. F. Collins’ 1927 Clyno tourer did manage to break a half-shaft towards the end of the day, and just before arriving at Salthrop House David Woodburn was remarking to his passenger in his 1925 Gwynne 8, “The thing about this car is that I never do anything to it!” when a valve decapitated itself and shamefully buried its head in a piston. This being a sports Gwynne, it seems many engine parts are slightly non-standard in an effort to get the last ounce out of that 30th horse.
After the Concours the competitors set out on a 40-mile on-aimed navigation trip through the Wiltshire lanes which taxed their ingenuity to the extreme, and involved such things as finding routes passing the maximum number of (a) churches with a tower, (b) wind-pumps, and (c) under power lines (the latter, presumably, carrying not more than 30 brake horse power).
Even the concocters of the route, Nigel Arnold-Forster and John Weeks, found it had got them a little confused, so it was not surprising that doctors featured prominently in the results — fully trained in psychology, no doubt. Nigel’s distinguished ancestor, Matthew Arnold, once wrote:
And we shall feel our powers of effort flag
And rally them for one last fight — and fail:
And we shall sink in the impossible strife,
And be astray for ever.
But it wasn’t really as bad as that because all the competitors got back to Salthrop House, and had such a thoroughly enjoyable day taking part in this unique event that everyone is looking forward to a repeat next year. — Peter Hull.
The Lady Rachel Trophy: Dr. I. R. Cardy (1925 Austin 7)
Class 1—Edwardian Cars: First Class Award: Dr. R. Barnard (1914 Rolls-Royce)
Class 2—Light Cars: First Class Awards: Dr. I. R. Cardy (1925 Austin 7), P. Diffey (1926 Humber), J, K. Milner (1926 A.C.)
Second Class Awards: G. E. Hicks (1919 Stellite), P. J. S. Jacobs (1929 Austin) Mrs. K. M. Hill (1930 A. J. S.)
Third Class Awards: R. Lear (1923 Talbot), K. J. Grainger (1925 Morris Cowley), H. H. Jarrett (1927 Riley)
V-E-V Miscellany. — A 1928 Sunbeam 16 saloon has been featuring in a strip cartoon in the Daily Express by Sydney Jordan — see also page 708. A Double-Six Daimler saloon with original sleeve-valve engine is stored in Surrey. The Industrial Locomotive Preservation Joint Committee has been appealing for funds to assist restoration of a Baguley i.c.-engined loco of the 1920s. What connection has this with old cars? Simply that it is one of the few surviving products of Baguley Cars Ltd. of Burton-on-Trent, whose Major E. E. Baguley left Baguley of Stafford in 1903 to manage the Ryknield Engine Co., moving to B.S.A. in 1911 and in that year forming his own company, which built a few cars from 1912-1920. He specialised in transmission design. and the loco has a Baguley Duplex plate-clutch and 2-speed constant-mesh gearbox. Details from C. R Weaver, 4, Queen’s Close, Kenilworth. Found in an L.B.C. brickyard, the loco was in use in 1965.
A 1910 Silver Ghost Rolls-Royce that had lain under some bushes for 36 years was rescued last summer, and a Morris-Oxford ¾-coupé which had been off the road for 18 months changed hands recently. Lord Nuffield’s office is preserved unchanged in Oxford and has been written-up by the Oxford Mail. The Pre/50 American Auto Club, which publishes a monthly duplicated magazine Multicylinder, has the right ideas about saving the older American cars and fighting profiteers and speculators. Although we would prefer it to concentrate on pre-1940 cars, the majority of those with which it is concerned seem to be 30/40 models. The S.W. Area Secretary is R. Taylor, 31, Stradbrook Avenue, St. George, Bristol, and there is a motorcycle section. Incidentally, this Club has sent a donation to the H.V.C. Joint Committee.
The death at 53 from a heart attack of Harold Pratley, historian, model-maker and the man who once worked on the racing Alfa Romeo sports cars and saved, during the last war, the V12 350-h.p. Sunbeam from destruction, has caused very widespread sadness.
Rare car seen on the road was a 19305 B.S.A. saloon driven by a lady, near Newbury. The Humber Register’s Thame Rally had 26 entries this year; premier award went to a 1924 808 two-seater. A most unusual Nardi floatless carburetter has turned up in London; it was offered to General Motors in 1929 but turned down. Any clues?
Woleseley Register 1967 Rally (June 18th)
The Wolseley Register second annual Rally was held at the Eathorpe Park Hotel in unbroken sunshine. Although vintage Wolseleys and post-vintage Standards were a little thin on the ground, there was a good overall turnout of cars of both makes and a friendly air of competition prevailed throughout.
A simple set of driving tests occupied the late morning and early afternoon and the Concours d’Elegance judging, based for all classes on the Vintage Car of the Year Show, was most ably carried out by Mr. C. P. Milner (Marketing Executive/Cars — B.M.C.) and Mr. Vivian Comfort, a Register member connected with Wolseley Motors Ltd. during the vintage period.
There was an interesting display showing diagrammatically the use of the early car records in checking and dating cars, a series of coloured photographs of members’ cars, and a map showing cars recorded in England. Interest was aroused in the 1967 Wolseley 18/85 which was kindly placed on show by Messrs. Steels Ltd. of Victoria Street, Bristol, and beside which was parked an 18/85 of twenty years ago.
The Wolseley Register Annual Challenge Trophy was won for the second year running by the chairman, Mr. John Welch, with his immaculate 1924 15-h.p. A.9 tourer. The prize for the best Standard went to Mr. J. A. Butterworth with Isis 1913 9.5-h.p. “Rhyl.”
Prices are falling
It looks as if the end is in sight of the absurd prices asked in recent times for vintage cars. Lord Montagu’s Veteran & Vintage Magazine, commenting on the Woburn Used Car Fair, said that this was again apathetically supported. Reporting the veteran and vintage auction sale at Frimley last May it stated that this sale confirmed what it had suspected for some time, namely that people are no longer willing to pay silly prices for older cars. Quoting representative values, it gave £200 is quite sufficient for an “average” owner-driver 20/25 or 25/30 Rolls-Royce from the 1930s and from £150 up to £400 for Derby-Bentley Park Ward sports saloons, depending on whether they are run-of-the-mill or really good specimens.
Other prices noted were £130 for a 1928 Morris-Oxford and two 12/50 Alvis cars which went for less than £200 each. Of the p.v.t.s, a Lancia Aprilia drophead fetched £80 and a saloon £50, while in the 30/40’s category a passable early Austin 10/4 which “used to make £50” sold for £17 10s.
So it seems that now is the time to shop for the older cars. If petrol prices rise and rationing is introduced, prices will continue to fall. Note, too, that Sotheby’s veteran and vintage auction sale scheduled for last month was postponed, due to “lack of entries of sufficient quality.”