Bill Boddy

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PUBLISHING WAS IN THE BLOOD

The loss of his father altered WB’s youthful life, but his passion for cars and racing quickly saw him find his metier Bill Boddy

y father, William Arthur Boddy, was before the Great War employed by a London publishing company, and was

happily married to Lily, my mother.

When the war broke out in 1914 and in spite of having a young wife and child (me), my father (above) decided to join the call-up for volunteers to the Front. He was a keen amateur sportsman and after waiting a short time for an accident from a cricket ball to heal, he went to war. At the age of two, I waved goodbye to him. About a year later, when my mother was entertaining some friends, she received an official telegram which stated that her husband had been killed in action — “letter will follow”. This put paid to a public school education for me, which had already been discussed, so private school would have to suffice — Belmont College. My mother bravely brought up her young son (me) and in due course I became obsessed with cars, so

she organised with a local garage in Clapham for me to take my apprenticeship. There was a fellow apprentice who owned a motorcycle, as did one of the mechanics, so in the lunch hours I used to get them to line up together and race down to the adjacent roundabout and back.

I remember when I first went to the garage I was curious as to why the foreman was going from one customer’s car to the other and revving their engines hard while they were cold. I was told he did this hoping to get the engine sufficiently worn out to require a re-bore.

During this apprenticeship I acquired some knowledge of motoring engineering, and I would take notes of the work being done on the cars and write about this on returning home. It was my job to collect spares from the West End, but having to travel in a London bus in my oily overalls annoyed me, so I did not remain long in this job. I had already decided that writing about cars and motorcycles was preferable to working on them, so I left and joined the staff of a weekly motoring journal, which launched a new career.

whose cars were Bentleys and Frazer Nashes. On July 10, 1937 the Club held its first meeting at Donington jointly with the Bugaffi Owners Club. Cecil ‘Sam’ Cluffon was the official starter and general helper; he operated the start flying the Union Jack on the running board of his Bentley coupe,

with Harry Bowler as Clerk of the Course and Anthony Heal as the ‘Broadblaster’. In 1938 they held the first Prescott Hill Climb with Joe Fry taking the Open class with 47.62sec in the ‘Freikaiserwagen’, and in the Vintage class TSGrimshaw in a Bugaffi 35C made 50.74sec. March that year saw the first VSCC Welsh Rally, covering much the same ground as this

venerable event does today. By the outbreak of war the Club had about 200 members. The club’s first President was the one and only SCH Davis, ‘Sammy’ to his friends, in 19361937. Sammy was Sports Editor of The Autocar until 1950 and was also joint founder and first President of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain from 1930 to 1934. In the 1920s he earned the reputation as a particularly fast, reliable and intelligent driver in competitions and drove many different cars at Brooklands, taking the light car class 2-, 5and 10mile, 10-lap and 50km records up to 93mph in an AC in 1921. In 1927 came his memorable victory for

Bentley at Le Mans, when he and Dudley Benjafleld nursed their 3-litre home after the White House crash.

Forrest Lyceff was the second VSCC President from 1938, and later Vice-President and President Emeritus. He also competed at Brooklands, first in 1936 in the Bentley Drivers’ Handicap, driving his well-known modified 8-litre Bentley, which he drove regularly on the road. In May 1937 he took the International and British class-B standing-kilometre records at 81.5mph and again in 1939 he raised the standing-start mile record to 92.9mph, just before the Track was closed. He presented the club with the Lyceff Trophy, awarded to the driver of a vintage car gaining most points during the year. DMunro was the first to be awarded this Trophy in 1935. It is still one of the Club’s premier Trophies today along, of course, with the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy.

., REAL” CARS OF BYGONE DAYS And a Suggestion Arising Therefrom [41633.1-1 should like to congratulate Mr. John Dixon on his interesting article, ” Those Old Masters,” in your February lath issue. It reminds one, only too forcibly, that most present-day enthusiasts are only playing at Motoring, and that the days of real cars are rapidly being forgotten. However, there are still a few genuine enthusiasts left, and I shoulerl,ke to suggest the fcirmation of a club for such owners. Membership could be confined to owners of:

(a) Genuine ex-racing cam more than five years old; (b) sports cars that are no longer in production; (c) certain types of home-built cars.

The principal aim would be to arrange meetings on the lines ..

of those held nearly twenty years ago ni a Mayfair mews, as outlined in Mr. Dixon’s article, and to attempt to create something of the atmosphere associated with motoring events Confining membership to the owners of the cars mentioned in the old days.

would result in a collection Of cars of ‘real technical worth, in many cases with historical associations. The proposed club would not interfere with the work of the Veteran Car Club as its events are restricted to machines of

pre-5904 vintage. W. l3oonv• London, S.W.ri.

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