Vintage Postbag, August 1968

A Doctor’s Cars


Recently my mother, aged 88, died and I had occasion to sort through numerous old papers. Amongst these I found an account of a motor tour undertaken by my father and mother in 1907. It was written in diary form and the typed copy is a word-for-word reproduction.

It is not an account written particularly from the “motoring” angle, but is nevertheless interesting as a general glimpse into those forgotten times.

I cannot remember the car in question since the events recounted took place before I was born, but I believe the Wolseley in question was a 1904 model generally similar to the little red Wolseley which used to belong to J. G. Allday, one-time president of the V.C.C., and which has taken part in many Brighton Runs. Anyway, it is clear from the account that it was a single-cylinder model, with an automatic inlet valve!

My father (Dr. B. Howlett) was a keen motorist all his life and competed in a number of M.C.C. London-Edinburghs between 1912 and 1926, winning two “Golds” and one “Silver”.

One point I cannot reconcile is the registration number of the Wolseley, quoted as P2722. My reason for this is that I have photographic evidence that an A.C. tricar, with which my father won a “Gold” in the Edinburgh of 1912, bore the registration P82, clearly a much earlier registration than the older Wolseley.

Perhaps you can offer an explanation for this apparent discrepancy? I don’t believe either car was bought new, but, even so, it seems odd. My father owned cars from 1902 (I believe) and these were (in order of ownership):

Oldsmobile, Wolseley, A.G. tricar (Sociable), Baby Peugeot, 7 h.p. de Dion Bouton (1912 model), Carden cyclecar (1920) and various 10 h.p. and 12 h.p. Swifts in the vintage period until his last car, which was a 1934 Austin 10 h.p. tourer. There were also various motorcycles, as follows: Matasocoche (Minerva engine), Swift side-car outfit (White and Pappe engine), 1913 Wall Autowheel and 1914 2¾ h.p, Douglas.

Hampton Wick. J. M. Howlett.

[The manuscript is so interesting, as portraying the freedom enjoyed by Edwardian motorists, that it is published, exactly as written, commencing on page 710. Can anyone explain the registration discrepancy?—Ed.]

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A Rare


Among the numerous makes of old cars discussed or mentioned in this section of Motor Sport over the past few years I have seen no reference to a French car called the Sidea.

My grandfather acquired one of these cars in the early 1920s and converted it into a motor winch for use in his timber yard at Haslemere.

I should be most interested to hear if any of your readers can recall details of the car or of there are any photographs showing its original form.

Bramhall. D.G. Mann.

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The Lockhart Stutz


Permit me to rectify an error in your article on “Babs”. Mr. W. Boddy refers to Frank Lockhart’s remarkable car as “a Stutz”. Though for financial reasons the name “Stutz” was painted on the scuttle, the car was in fact a Miller specially built for the world speed record attempt by Lockhart himself. The car was fitted with two 1½-litre 91 cu. in. supercharged engines geared together, within a bodywork that for beauty and streamline put to shame the G.P. Mercedes of a decade later. All reports agree that this 3-litre car was travelling at well over 200 m.p.h. when the fatal accident took place; and that probably a front tyre was cut by a sharp stone or debris.

The engines from Lockhart’s car were later fated into the Sampson Special which ran several times at Indianapolis.

Lucerne, Switzerland. Adrian M. Conan Doyle.

[Hardly an error, because I knew about the Miller engines, but an interesting extension of the bare facts I quoted.—Ed.]

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The Hodgson


About 1926 a Hodgson car was owned by a Mr. Dawson, the son of a Pontefract vet. At that time it had a narrow two-seater longtailed aluminium body, outside gear lever and handbrake. It was reputed to have raced at Southport.

In 1928 it turned up at a Pontefract garage, where I worked at the time. It had been fitted with an ugly two-seater touring body, and remained with us for some six months. The chassis rather heavy, ½-elliptic springs, rear wheel brakes only. Anzani 11.9 s.v. engine with polished ports and straight-through exhaust. Zenith triple diffuser, no starter, I think, r.h. gear change, 4-speed box (Moss?). Dash, rev. counter, oil gauge, amp. meter. No speedometer. On the road it felt pretty high geared, but quite brisk for those days. I would guess the maximum about 70 with the touring body. Later this car passed into the hands of Messrs. Ubank, a motorcycle dealer, who used it as a garage hack.

Just before the last war I was in Bradford, and on the junk heap of a garage I saw several Hodgson radiators, chassis, axles and sundry bits. I cannot remember the name of this firm or the locality. I think very few of these cars were made, or I would have heard about them, being in the “Trade”.

Leeds, 17. C. O. B. Huddart (Major).

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Items From France


First of all let me thank you for the excellent magazine you give us each month; I can assure you it is greatly appreciated by readers this side of the Channel.

Your article about the Peugeots in the June issue reminds me that a 3-litre Peugeot exists in the Bonnal Museum at Bordeaux; it was on show a few years ago at the Paris Salon de l’Auto. Speaking of this car, René Thomas, also called “Trompe la Mort” or “Fritz”, says that he won his first victory with it at the Coupe du Royal Automobile Club during the Belgium Grand Prix on the famous Circuit des Ardennes in 1912.

Now something very different: Our club, the A.A.H.A., is organising on the Montlhéry circuit a Vintage and Post-Vintage race on October 20th next. Priority shall be given to foreign entries, and no entry fee shall be asked from foreign competitors. No official regulations have yet been published, and our president, Serge Pozzoli, and myself are ready to satisfy everybody’s requirements. Could Motor Sport readers who are interested by this event please write to me, and they shall be personally advised of what shall happen. We have a good number of French cars for the moment.

May I also advise you that our country has (at last) its own Club Citroën et Panhard Levassor. With Pierre Dumont (the author of “The Time of Motorists”) for president, its address is 161, Rue Tahère, 92 Saint-Cloud.

As you can see, the recent strikes have not depressed us too much, and our 26 clubs still go on breathing, even during the elections . . .

49, Rue Petit, Paris XIXe. Thierry B. Mantoux.

President des jeunes de l’AAHA,

Vice-President du Club Citroën,

Secrétaire de Redaction de l’Anthologie Automobile,

President du C.I.A.V.A.