Any excuse is good enough for a party! The other day the phone rang and Julian Ghosh told me he had remembered that the next day was the 70th anniversary of the loM TT in which three of the Harry Ricardo-engined twin-cam Vauxhalls started and in which Payne's finished third in the big division, behind Jean Chassagne's straight-eight Sunbeam and Clement's three-litre Bentley. As Julian now has the TT Vauxhall which Templeton built-up some time ago (see MOTOR SPORT, December 1982), it seemed a good enough excuse.
So my wife and I set off, to find at the farm not only the TT Vauxhall, as guest-of-honour, but beside it the red Vauxhall-Villiers of Tony Brooke, its bonnet literally full of machinery, big supercharger sucking from three carburettors. And how nice to know that Tony had given the car a run at Loton Park on the Saturday. Seeing this formidable racing car at close quarters again reminded me of how I grappled with a full description of it for MOTOR SPORT before the war.
Also in Ghosh's barn were Brenda Rowley's Wensum 30/98, Philippa Rowley's Velox, Julian's businesslike trials 30/98 with prominent outside exhaust pipes, a car which has returned from the USA, its original body united with another chassis, and Julian's other road-going 30/98 that Alan May, Sydney Allard's brother-in-law, campaigned before the war. Quite a contrast to the Allards...
Indeed, with the 30/98s that had assembled outside in the sunshine (I counted a total of eight), were their owners, all in deep discussion over lunch, which Brenda had so thoughtfully and industriously provided - eaten off a table supported on a 30/98 chassis frame! In no particular order, David Marsh, Quartermaine, Rankin, Templeton, Caldicott and Dr and Mrs Grey, were all present, the last-named just back from a continental holiday in their 1924 Velox. An enjoyable occasion!
I had a run in the TT Vauxhall Templeton has built-up and have tried, not entirely successfully (see MOTOR SPORT, February 1983), to sort out who owned which of these desirable racing cars when they were to be seen in action in the hands of Swain, Park, Jack Barclay, Raymond Mays, Cobb, Carson and many others. They are remembered as having three-litre engines at a time when the GP limit had just been reduced to two. Anyway, any excuse is good enough for a party. W B