Miscellany, August 2003

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The ERA club magazine is of great interest to all who were inspired by the racing activities of these cars when they were upholding British prestige in voiturette racing pre-war. The owners’ reminiscences are fascinating. 2002 prize winners: Rivers Fletcher Trophy for best 2-litre performances: Mac Hulbert; Bob Gerard Trophy for best 1.5-litre results: John Ure; Anthony Mayman Trophy for speed-trials and hill-climbs: Mac Hulbert; Gordon Chapman Memorial Trophy for best Prescott time and Rupert Owen Trophy for best ERA-engined car: Bruce Spollon; Earl Howe Trophy for contributions to the ERA cause: Tim May.

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The proceedings of the Leatherhead & District Local History Society, Vol 6, No 6, have an illustrated account of the old Atlas works at Bookham and the Blackbume engines for aeroplanes, motorcycles and cars built there. But did the ABC car have such an engine? I knew Cecil Burney, who was with the company, and I used to pass the works frequently when we lived in Hampshire.

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A long article in the Singer OC’s magazine about the triple calamity which befell the new lightweight Singers in the 1935 Ards TT contains a very interesting exposé of how the scrutineers overlooked many non-production items of the new cars but insisted that the old-type steering gear be reinstated, which was done hurriedly at the Belfast Singer agents. Three of the four cars crashed as a result and the fourth was withdrawn, which dampened Singer’s intention to replace the ageing but successful Singer Le Mans sportscars with these TT Replicas. This full account of the 1935 TT reveals much new information about a confused aspect of motor racing.

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It is nice sometimes to think in terms other than of cars. The Sunbeam MCC’s annual Pioneer Run from Epsom to Brighton took place in fine weather, with 324 entries of pre-1915 motorcycles — to use the 1905 car limit would probably not produce enough bikes and, anyway, motorcycle development was less rapid than that of cars; think of the TT machines of the 1920s compared with racing cars of 1912-onwards. Of this large entry 28 non-started and 26 retired. The award winners were: R Shaw (aged 88, 1903 Rex forecar); A Nahun (1914 Douglas); Corina Norman-Smith (1910 Humber); J Guppy (original and unrestored 1913 Triumph). The Team Award went to the riders of a 1902 Tredagh, a 1907 Vindec sidecar outfit and a 1913 Wilkinson.

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The present owner of a 1925 GS Salmson, YK 7650, which he bought as his first vintage car in 1950, would like to hear of any further information on it. The car appears to be the one which F S Barnes drove at Shelsley Walsh hillclimb in 1926, achieving a time of 72.6sec.

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The VSCC is taking on the role of Tour Operator with an 11-day Pyrrenean Challenge in September, which takes in beautiful scenery, steep passes and top-class hotels. It does not appear to include historic motor racing venues or museums, although Pau and San Sebastian are on the itinerary. Restricted to 25 or 30 pre-war cars, the cost for two entrants is £1700, which includes rally books and plates, a polo-shirt and rally icon. Entries have closed but there may be a few places left; apply to Mike Stripe at the VSCC office (tel: 01608 644777).

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In the current issue of the Morris Register Joumal Harry Edwards writes of how William Morris operated illegal Daimler buses in Oxford, illustrates some rare British traffic signs and tells us that the miniskirt was introduced in 1928, as the front cover picture proves. The Register secretary is Roger Bird, PO Box 47, Woking, Surrey GU22 8WE.

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The British Salmson, much liked when I tried one in 1934 for Motor Sport, was once comparatively little known. No more! Because, to mark its 50 years, the BSOC has a wonderful Jubilee Register which leaves nothing out, including the BS aero-engines. There is data about 53 BS cars owned by BSOC members, plus 26 French Salmsons. Appendices cover 12 other cars known to exist, and 32 survivors of the 2220 imports into GB in the 1920s, production totals, drivers and cars used in rallies and trials, specifications of each British Salmson model and the leading road-test reports and write-ups, including our two 1934 tests and our 1938 factory visit. The price is £30, plus £5 p&p, from John Maddison, 8 Bartestree Close, Matchborough, East Redditch, Worcs B98 OAZ

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The May/June Alvis OC’S magazine contains a long article on the s/c 4.3-litre Clinkard Special which ran at Shelsley Walsh and in VSCC races from 1955 to 1981 in the ownership of its builder.