Prescott's 35th Anniversary
The 35th Anniversary of Prescott, the hillclimb near Cheltenham which the Bugatti OC bought for its own use in 1938, was celebrated by the BOC/FOC on a gloriously sunny Saturday in June. (Strictly, it should have occupied the Sunday). There was a magnificent Bugatti entry, with almost all the more recent types running, some driven by overseas Bugatti owners who were on an International Rally to this country and were going on to look at Brooklands the next day.
The hill was opened by Cecil Clutton in the 1908 GP Itala with one of the B0C Vice-Presidents, Ronnie Symondson, AFC, as passenger. Symondson then led a Parade of Old-Timers, the "Old-Squares' DrivePast", in his Type 57S, with Raymond Mays as his passenger. The rest of this got a bit out of hand, with some Bugattis occupied by persons who could scarcely have been conceived when Prescott was born. But many old-timers from the first meeting were there. Gahagan crammed his James Young Type 57 d.h. full of us—myself beside him and Lemon-Burton, George Boyle and Peter Stubberfield in the back. Neil Corner couldn't bring ERA R4D as it was in pieces, or Mays might have been coaxed into it. But the main thing is that he was there, as were so many other pre-war Prescotteers, like Wally Hassan, Sir Clive Edwards, Peter Hampton, who came in his Larnborghini, Roy Taylor, who so nearly got Donington released for motor racing after the war, Giron, who was driving Lord Montagu's Coupe de L'Auto Sunbeam, Heal, and many more. This Parade turned out to be for Bugattis only, so I had to turn down the offer for old time's sake of a Lancia Aprilia—I drove one at a pre-war Prescott, as I regarded the road-test Aprilia as the finest car I had then driven, apart perhaps from a 4-1/4-litre Bentley. Twice I had failed to make the venue in my own cars, an ABC and a Rhode, so had to rely on road-test cars like this Lancia or my later Austin 7s. I tried the hill for Motor Sport before it was officially opened with a Fiat 1100 and took part in the Opening Rally (with a considerable advantage!) in an Aprilia. So I was glad to be given a lift up the hill, on this nostalgic occasion.
Better still, however, some brave souls were competing in a Survivors' Handicap, unfortunately relegated to the end of the programme. TASO Mathieson looked thoroughly at home in Black's Monza Alfa Romeo, Tom Rolt had both his SA and TC 12/50 Alvis cars in action, Jack Lemon-Burton, the BOC's Technical Consultant, came in his pre-war white overalls with "Bugatti" across the back and his original crash-hat (which the scrutineers wouldn't let him wear) to drive Saunders' Type 35C Bugatti, and Doc Taylor had the Caesar Special and was seen trying to persuade Dick Caesar to have a go. This class was completed by Clutton in the Itala and Symondson in his Type 57S. A memorable occasion! Now for the VSCC Prescott, on August 12th.—W.B.
V-E-V Miscellany.— Additions to the Syon Park "History On Wheels" Museum include a 1914 AC Sociable, a 1912 Norman Reeves-rebuilt Model-T Ford and a 1916 Model-T Ford racer with three-speed gearbox mated with the expected two-speed epicyclic transmission. A Marendaz Special Car Register is in process of trying to form itself, as 21 Marendaz Special cars are known to exist, embracing the 11/55, 13/70, 17/90 and 15/90 models, although no Marseel or Marseal forerunners are thought to have survived. Capt. D. M. K. Marendaz is President, the Vice-Presidents are Mrs. Aileen Moss and Raymond Mays and the Registrar is J. H. Shaw, 23 Vineries Close, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Glos.
They still come to light—among fairly recent discoveries, readers tell us of a 1924 Minerva which is being restored in Essex after some 40 years in a scrapyard, a Renault AX engine with Renault carburetter complete except for flywheel, and a Sizaire-Berwick differential unit. Last year the remains of a 1905 Yorkshire steam waggon which had been derelict on a mountainside since about 1925 were rescued and the rebuild was steamed this year, some 1914 20/30 Wolseley parts were saved from a N. Wales scrapyard, and more recently the front-end of a Clayton steam waggon and some Foden wheels were found but, alas, a Super Sentinel chassis was cut up in a Wrexham scrapyard and only one wheel saved. A 1930 Austin 7 and some parts including a magneto engine are reported to lie in a London garden and from the North of Scotland are reported a 1927/28 Sunbeam 16 chassis, and, in Orkney, an Autovia Mulliner saloon, a spare Autovia and a 1920s Albion lorry, while in Selkirkshire we learn of a 1909 5.6-litre chain-drive Albion landaulete, with body by Croall & Croall of Edinburgh, which is still in the coach-house to which it was driven originally—the last-named is not for sale. From Dealer Team Vauxhall Sporting Digest it seems that racing driver Gerry Marshall drove a 14/40 Vauxhall saloon at the recent Vauxhall Sports Spectacular that he had bought from two old ladies in the Isle of Wight; they date it as 1946 but presumably mean 1926. As they date a Silverstone meeting in the same June issue as having happened in July, we fear their calendar is up the creek. Membership of the Brooklands Society now exceeds 400.
The well-known 1923/28 4-1/2-litre Bentley four-seater of Hamish Morten's which Martin Morris drove to victory in the Seaman Vintage Trophy Race at Oulton Park last June also won the Le Mans vintage-car race—as Peter Hull remarked, one could safely say that this Bentley was exactly as raced at Le Mans! Kenneth Neve's 1914 TT Humber is about the only Edwardian racing these days. Its radiator rebuild was largely the task of Turner, Newall, not of GKN as we incorrectly stated. While on the subject of corrections, Neil Corner still has his 1914 GP Opel, which has not gone to Colin Crabbe and it wasn't Rogers' AC Special which was stolen before the VSCC Silverstone Meeting but his tow-car. Why, we query, does a sports AC require a tow-car? In writing of the 3-litre straight-eight Ballot which Jack Dunfee raced at Brooklands for so many years, we listed A. S. Heal as one of its subsequent owners; in fact Heal had a 1919 5-litre Indianapolis Ballot but Cecil Clutton was one of those who owned the GP Ballot, after it had been modified by D. B. M. K. Shipwright. The ex-Joyce, ex-Aked sixteen-valve AC single-seater has turned up in new ownership, in London.