Club news, December 1941



Otta, /lewd

WE HEAR . . . . Roddy Clarke has disposed of his Type 43 Bugatti to the chief jailer of Brixton Prison, but still has the parts from the ex-Rayson Type 43 and has recently acquired a 5-litre Bugatti saloon, which he is contemplating giving a supercharger and a gas-producer–certainly a sane combination. G. H. G. Burton has bought, for the proverbial “liver,” a “38/250 ” Mercedes-Berm engine, complete with components, gearbox and radiator, which, put on a dynamotor, –gave off 228 kb. p. He hopes to build it up as a sprint singleseater apreshe guerre. His friad Andy is in Malta and is hoping to acquire a blown F.W.D., ex-Howe Alvis in Chichester and get it stored until his return. Peck has a hi te “38/2.0 ” Mercedes at the ” Plug and Spanner.” At Preston a twin-propeller-shaft ” 2.3 ” Alta-Romeo has had the engine transferred to a boat—is this the ex-Evans” monoposto ” ? Derek Hawkins is now with an aircraft firm near London and is building up a rather special 8-litre Bentley, for which he would like to hear of spares. He used to run a 3-litre Bentley with 4i-litre engine, and since then has owned a drophead Packard, a Morris Eight, a 01-litre ” Speed-Six ” Bentley, a Ifhitre B.M.W. and an Atalanta with an ex-Howe 3-litre racing Talbot engine installed. He now has the ” Speed-Six ” and a 1924 3-litre Bentley, the former being the car he is converting to an 8-litre. His first Bentley could do a stop-watch 105 m.p.h. and the 3/43-litre, which is now owned by an R.A.F. man, 10:3 m.p.h. The Atalanta, with six gaskets to lower the compression ratio, does 95 m.p.h. on ” Pool ” under favourable conditions. A friend of Hawkins shares with him a Standard Eight, a beautifully preserved 8-litre Bentley saloon, and an open 4i-litre Bentley. Incidentally, the ” Speed-Six ” was Gilbert Frankau’s car and has a 1935 body, They want to buy a 4A-litre Bentley, if such a car is available. Cohn Watson, who owned the afore-mentioned Talbot-engined Atalanta, now has a 2-litre

unblown Atalanta red drophead coupe.

Miss Worthington has bought a Vintage motor-cycle with a pedigree—the 250-c.c. Excelsior J.A.P. which Barrow rode in the

928 Light weight T.T. A Berkshire breaker Is preserving an absolutely as new 11-h.p. Meteorite light car of about 1920 vintage, With 1-elliptic rear springs, a chocolate body with fawn cape hood and lots of

shining brasswork everywhere. He would exchange it for an early London taxi in reasonable order—incidentally, even the original tool-kit is there. Someone who shares the Editor’s liking for early small cars is said to be preserving a new Carden, a Bleriot-Whippet and a ” hipbath “-bodied Gwynne Eight. We hear rurnours of a “Red Label” Bentley at £25, and know of a rough, small port “12/50” Alvis and a “12/40” 4-seater Alvis, if anyone needs bits ; also a clean “12/40″ 2-seater Lea-Francis at 130. A very well-preserved ” 14/40 ” Vauxhall taxi, reminiscent of a ” 30)98 ” in miniature, May be seen outside Beading Station. Norman Massey Riddel has left the Fleet Air Arm and is now in charge of an R.A.F. rescue launch. Like many other people, he craves a cheap Frazer-Nash for “on leave” journeys. Work on his S.D. ” 12/50 ” Alvis proceeds slowly, with a lowered chassis, Lancia front-end, big port head, outside exhaust and Bugattistyle alloy body. Two ” 12/50 ” 4-seater Alvis, at £25 each, were instantly snapped up recently. John Cooper seeks an L.201-type ” 12)50″ Alvis engine or a 2-litre ” Special ” ” 16/95 ” Alvis of the type Lowrey recently sold to Gregg. Work on his Alvis-engined Sahnson goes on slowly. Johnnie Wakefield’s Maserati is stored in Wales and his E.R.A. has been sold to Parnell ; Johnnie is an R.A.F. pilot and his mechanic is at Hawkers. Abecassis is a gunner in a “Halifax ” and N. G. Wilson performs the some duty in a ” Wellington.” Southby, of model car associations, is also pilot. It is rumoured that an E.R.A. has circulated at Donington recently. W. D. II. McCullough has a wellpreserved “Red Label” Bentley, which he will exchange for a. good small car, a pair of guns or a small sailing boat., etc. Address : The East India and Sports Club, S.W.1. Lt. Marcus Chambers seeks a storage place for his single-seater racing Austin, now in a public garage on the South Coast—incidentally, will he please send his vddress ? We hear of a fourcylinder F.W.D. AMR for sale, at £17 without blower or at £25 with that component, and of it 1930 11-litre Bugatti, in Liverpool, possessing good tyres, much chrome and a 1934 Cooper drophead coupe body, for around £70. There was a Tyl.) 37 Bugatti at Street & Duller’s some while ago at a similar figure. There is a

dereliet litiw -radiator Type 8 fourcylinder de Dit:trich tonneau, with immense covercl I top, at a farm near Woking.

The weather on Sunday, November 16th, at Bagshot Heath, if a little too wet for some of the car enthusiasts, gave real ” scramble ” conditions and, after officials had tried the course and made some slight alterations, the racing began with a 250-c.c. event. Not knowing the ” acramble-boys ” sufficiently to be able to recognise more than half-a-dozen of them when travelling fast, we agreed to wander round the course and watch riding tactics rather than follow the racing lap by lap from a fixed point. We fully appreciated the fact that riders had to race up gradients that would call for “observed section ends” notices at the top had they been in trials and that some of the better riders actually passed on these sections. Many spectators shook us badly by the way they waited until the riders were within a foot or two of them before they stepped back off the course ; their agility when a bike ran amok had to be seen to be believed. A 250-c.c. B.S.A., with hand-change, and “Red Panther” and N.F.S. Ariel demonstrated that one could enter these affairs with utility type motor-cycles. A StuartErhlich 2-stroke with shattering exhaust note showed surprising urge up the steep sections. The incredibly low pressures used in the rear tyres and the fact that even a worn “knobbly ” is better than a “standard ” was also noticed, as was the ability of the Amal carburetter to function quite normally when rotated through 1000 from the vertical, as when certain riders picked the wrong patch of mud. We returned to the start in time to see the finish of the 250-c.c. event and the start of the 850-c.c. class. On the flat stretch at the start, with pot holes and mud splashes everywhere, the teledraulie forks fitted to A.J.S. and Matchless were an object lesson for disbelievers, and the speeds attained through the thick, slushy mud seemed fantastic to one who has only recently become accustomed to moderate speeds on two Wheels. The 350-cc. class was won at a very high .speed, considering the conditions, by Sergeant Berry On a Triumph, with the same make second and third ; how Triumphs have dominated the sporting world recently is very noticeable at such meetings. For the Unlimited event we stationed ourselves on a very steep and slippery gradient just before the start and again watched Berry go through to win, his riding being far faster and steadier than anyone else’s. We were amused when a Velocette rider stalled halfway up and, suffering from “mud in the eye” from a passing bike, handed over to a speotator, who, after returning to the bottom of the hill, made one of the cleanest ascents of the day We noticed also the way riders seem to change their bikes as soon as they have painted a badge or name on their crash-hats—or do they interchange crash-bats? O.K. Supreme hats with Arid, and J.A.P. with Velocette were among many similar combinations. During the lull between the finish of the Unlimited event and the start of the Sidecar event we wandered round the paddock and noticed a very fine O.E.C. “Commodore,” with fullwidth Girling-brakes, an “11.51 ” B.M.W., numerous Triumph ” Speed Twins ” and “Tiger WO’s,” as well as Scott sidecar outfits. 500-c.e. H.R.D.’s were very popular, and we admired their short, straight handlebars, as well as some neat home-lirodueed levers. Having adinired a “Tiger 100 ” with Stith sidecar and remarked on the number of potent bikes On the road these days, compared to the occasional potent car, as shown by the Camshaft Nortons and Velocettes, Excelsior ” Alanxmans ” and B.M.W. present, we returned to see the start I r the Sidecar event. The entry was very interesting and a flat-twin Douglas was watched with interest, as .as a 1,000-c.c. ” SquareFour ” Ariel, wit ii spring-heel and sidecar brake worked by the passenger. Unfortunately the Douglas didn’t start and the Arid l seemed to have difficulty in finding the right gears. The badge business was now even worse; one Ariel outfit had ” Sunbeam ” on t la passenger’s crash-hat and ” J.A.P.” on the rider’s ! We moved to the steepest section and were amazed to watch a very touring P. & M. “Panther” outfit climb unassisted, whereas all the ether competitors, bar an ” International” Norton. had to be tossed. Again the spectators scented. oblivious of the weight of a sidecar otalit, but two determined gentlemen travelling fast up a hill and the efforts of the tow gang to clear a path were very successful, probably due to the move being led by a very tough merchant in a leopard skin peaked cap. What the R.A.C. would say about the lack of control of spectators doesn’t bear thinking about. The best effort on this section was by a ” Gold Star ” B.S.A. that showed at least 2′ of daylight under the front wheel and then landed safely. From a treeing point of view the event was somewhat of a farce, but as fun for riders and spectators it was a great success. The ” International ” Norton finally completed the course, with a “Red Hunter” Aridl runner up, having collected a new passenger on each lap, due to the sidecar being devoid of good ” hanging-on ” places. We greatly appreciated the aftertioon’s sport, but seerelly wished that the Triumphs. Verocettes and Ariels had been

Allards, W.s and Al.G.s, and that the Norton sidecar that was being towed behind a saloon had been a “2.3 ” Bugatti leaving Prescott or Shelsley Walsh.


Just as varied motoring seemed to be finished for a while, things unexpectedly opened-up with it .yengeance. First, there was a truly exhilarating run in the comfortable, if narrow, back seat of a sports 2-litre, t hree-carburetter ” 16/95 ” Alvis, all the way down to Tidworth on a crisp sunny 0( tuber Sunday. That run was rendered all the more enjoyable because four enthusiasts crammed themselves into the car from Basingstoke. onwards, after a man-size lunch in that toss n. The Alvis, run for the first time for months, went really well after sundry obscure waterholes had been plugged and an H.1 1.G. had been enticed to commence on tired batteries, in order to tow it as far as a trol pump. It was a real ” dice ” thereafter, oil pressure well up, the acceleration really fierce, the gear-change delightful, I was told, and the ” dock ” giving 70 m.p.h. on the open bits and 80 m.p.h. on one occasion, speed being

maintained nicely, too, up hills. If ” Alvivacity ” implies ” lire ” slid easy speed, this 1931 Alvis possessed Alvivacity. . . • The run was over all too soon, the car sold easily to a new owner, and we had a final rapid run back to the nearest ‘bus stop, now five up, so that I couldn’t see for tears, on a perch on the back of the body, exposed to an icy wind that forecast the imminence of winter. The road-holding was a trifle hard-tried now, but the brakes still Mile on with noticeable power, it’ a thought unevenly. We got 60 m.p.h. on third, 35 in second and 20 in ffist, and, riding home in the front seats on the upper deck of a lethargic cross-country ‘bus, we decided that this Alvis would lick any ordinary 3-litre Bentley. Actually, we heard later that she was one of four ra tier special cars and there was sadness at disposing of her, albeit later acquaintance with a ” Red Label” Bentley gave rise to the impression that she was not really quite in the same category—she had a tin facia and a chrome radiator cowl, anyway. . But that day stands out as one of the best motoring days I have spent since September, 1939, and great was the excitement when e well-preserved 4-seater sports “12/50″ Alvis was observed from our lofty viewpoint on the return journey. A noteasily dispelled desire to buy some personal Real Motoring arose and may yet come to fruition. For a while the demise of our small box in getting back from Basingstoke, and its hasty abandonment in a hotel yard in order to take a Seemingly endless series of ‘bus rides to our destination, strengthened this outlook in no small measure. And it is a sober fact that a few nights later we went to retrieve the Austin in a fierce Raleigh threewheeler am’, arriving, discovered that we had forgotten to bring along the rotor and that a cork end pin work just no way at all. In the end an aged ” Chummy ” had to be energised to complete the job, on a night of intense cold, bright moonlight, searchlights and a shot-down aeroplane. The very next week-end work on a Frazer-Nash progressed so far into the night that it seemed pointless to retire to bed, and four people somehow packed themselves on to a long-suffering 2-seater Austin Seven tind left at 6 a.m. for a longish run, with a view to somehow towing in a derelict “80/98 ” Vauxhall. The Vauxhall turned out to be a very stark ” 0.111,” with two bucket seats and a colossal rear tank of the bolster variety, found, ominously, to contain—oil. The tow did not materialise, probably fortunately, so we rushed back (meeting 11. B. Symonds quite by chance outside a café and tailing for a while a 4-seater ” 12/50 ” Alvis) in order that a twin o.h.e. Anzani Frazer-Nash could be got out and run up to the Great West Road for the 750 Club meeting. It was a grand run, in the best ‘Nash tradition, ’70 m.p.h. coming up with pleasant frequency

(300 r.p.m. 73 m.p.h.), and third being held for unbelievably long spells, so that we left behind one member of the party, now mounted on a recently-acquired 500-c.c. Marton. Coming home, a little bother in Staines necessitated areturn to ” base ” with the Norton,. that one of the trustworthy Austins could be brought up in the blackout to tow the ‘Nash in— result ing in a triumphant, if cold, arrival Lt I .30 :A.111. on the Monday, not one member of the crew looking anything like a civil servant.. ‘1 he following Sunday a motor-cycle scramble was attended in a friend’s 11.11.G., after a very fine run to London to inspect a nicely-preserved last-war Singer Ten. Four up under the hood, the H.R.G. travelled largely at 00 m.p.h. and went tip to 73 m.p.h. when asked, the change in the exhaust note, when top was taken after hard acceleration to 4,500 ap.m. in third, being truly pleasing and somewhat reminiscent of that of the R A.F.’s Hotehhisses. Torrential rain during the event so upset a Fiat ” 500,” in which a friend and his wife had come down from town, that we had to return in haste and get out the most spartan of the Austins, the only functionable thing in the stable, to do a rescue job before darkness fell. Meanwhile the Fiat had cured and commenced itself, so we indulged in a long-overdue mudstorm, the abbreviated wings and hick of a screen ensuring so effective a mud-bath that a troops canteen (” war toilers also fed “) regarded us with unconce.i led surprise and got us to repair a ftulty petrol pump forthwith, and. another café flung us out altogether. Even then life could not sober down, for the next spell of spare time found three of us in the rear seat pf an extremely fine Park Ward-bodied open “Red Label” 3-litre Bentley, motoring to a breaker’s to view Alvis and other bits and bobs. Once more, in wintry sunshine, 80 m.p.h. was reached and held, perhaps a trifle snaily, and the joy of real motoring experienced in full measure, rev.-counter needle low down its scale a 2,500 r.p.m. in spite of the high cruising gait, or up to 2,800 ap.m. in third, r. h. gear lever moving with merely a click from notch to notch, the exhaust thunderous and Le Mans proud as the Bentley accelerated out of sinuous or built-up areas. Yes, there is much for which to toil and sweat. Curiously, the breaker’s best exhibit was an early Meteorite small car, as only recently Sam Clutton passed on to the writer a dashboard plate from one of these rare cars. A motor-cycle speed hill climb, friends and fresh air drew the Austin out again on the Sunday, and that. afternoon it took two people not a few miles to view a 1926 Alvis, which may yet restore the degenerative appearance of the writer’s present stable. That night, quite late, three persons decided to try to get the Austin up Red Roads. Perhaps the mud of the previous week had upset it ; anyway, all the amps. ran out and it was early a.m. again before that expedition concluded. Yet, life isn’t bad. . . . Indeed, one Saturday Lfternoon during this, for these days, hectic period we were able to give the recently acquired veteran Delage, variously estimated as 1908-1913 and declared by the taxation authorities to be of 10.4 h.p. (we thought it was a twelve), a brief airing. The engine started easily enough, but it was some time before top could be engaged, which, however, it eventually was, the rear of the car lifting characteristically. Not, however, before the countryside had suffered a most astounding smoke screen from oil that had seeped for many years down into the sump, through the hum of which curious soldiers could be seen spread across the road, staring. Only the transmission brake was working, operated by the pushon hand-lever, but it proved able to slow the car adequately for corners, round which we went in style once the amount of control over the small wooden-rimmed wheel on its long, unsupported column had been judged. There was momentary panic that oil was not descending from the shapely scuttle tank to the drilled crankshaft, which it does by gravity flow, but inspection showed that the scavenge pump had nearly filled the tank with much more than the little Essolube we had put in. The niceties of a quadrant change were soon mastered, although each alteration of ratio was rather vague, in spite of a little button on the lever to locate each new position ; the huge exposed cone clutch proved very smooth, except for engaging the highest speed. People’s faces were a study, incidentally, and the surprise registered was better even than the sneers occasioned by the ” trials ” Austin or the pleasure occasioned by the Bentley. The cold air, or

perhaps a choking jet, resulted in an inability to run unchoked after a while, so that the passenger had to sit out on the near-side mudguard and apply a rag to the intake of the French Claudel carburetter. Even so, she came up the rise out of Hartley Wintney on to the Hartford Bridge Flats not so slowly, the indirects howling loudly and worked up to something like 40 in comparative silence thereafter, before turning left just before the “Ely,” where other veterans reside. Assuredly, this old-time motoring is the finest there is, and our desire now is to exchange the Delage for a Renault or de Dion two-cylinder of 7 h.p., that we may experience it more frequently. No, life is not too bad. . . .