I was most interested to read in the June issue about Erik Addyman of Starbeck and his cars as for some Iwo years in the early nineteen-fifties he was my Landlord My wile and I lived first in one of the flats at Belmont and then in the Lodge during, which time I was a frequent visitor to the workshops at the White House next door.
Erik Addyman was an interesting man to talk to and he told me many tales of his exploits with gliders-his accident wa,s caused by turbulence from a thunderstorm which threw him out of the cockpit he reckoned he fell 400 feel into a snowdrift. He spoke often of his time at Heathall in Dumfries (the Arrol-Johnstone works) and of people called Thomas who lived at nearby Southwick House, I think they were Newspaper proprietors They seemed to have shared many adventures with light au cratt between the wars He rarely talked about Motor cars and seemed to regard my maintenance work on MY 1934 SS 11 with some amusement. In tact, I gained the impression that lye thought all engineering development ceased in 1918.
He did however use one car when I was there Otis was a 1910 or 1911 FIAT with two seats at the front and a kind of platform at the back covered by trapdoors that opened upwards I have no idea what they concealed Each year this car which lived under a tree on the edge of the tennis court at Belmont was started up to haul in the haycocks from the surrounding fields, starting was accomplished by pouring about a gallon of petrol into the autovac the main petrol tank was apparently unusable and relying on gravity to feed the carburettor, the handle was my task and as a reward I was taken for a ride across the fields driven by Erik Addyrnan, he steered one handed and double-declutching with his left foot he kicked the massive right-hand gear lever through the gate with the other, quite a performance!
I visited the billiard room several times in the company of Mr Addyrnan’s oldest son. It was an unusual building standing some distance from the house and was packed with gliders and parts of gliders. I saw the vee-twin engine perched on the nose of what seemed to be an ordinary glider, it did not look new to me.
The old car stood in a cornet of one of the workshops and I was told the tale about it being crashed into one of the beechtrees that lined the drive at Belmont to avoid running into the main road. I well remember the belt drive to one rear wheel and the very spindly wheels shod with completely bald b/e lyres, the windscreen was not like the photo but consisted of a piece of celluloid sandwiched between aluminium strips riveted together, it was braced to the bodywork by triangular side pieces of the same construction. The car was parity hidden by a stack of Motorcycles all quite old and I recognised Matchless Silver Hawk and Silver Arrow, an ABC complete and in running order, a number of Triumphs and others I couldn’t recognise, but as I remember, not one Scott.
I cannot imagine that more than one Vortex was ever built Erik Addyrnan talked freely about his life and adventures especially with gliders and to a lesser extent with Railway engines, yet in our many talks neither he nor his charming wife who had a fund of tales about her rather eccentric husband. ever mentioned making and selling cars.
Chesterfield A. WALLACE