A PLOT TO SAVE THE UNIQUE
[Reference was made to this article in Rumblings last month under the heading of “Register,” but unfortunately, owing to limitations of space, room could not be found for it in that issue.—Ed.] ARECENT pilgrimage to locate an unusual make of early small car, which ended in the discovery that it had .fallett foul of the breaker’s weapons while still in splendid order after 17 years’ faithful service, has caused a great unrest in the Editorial bosom. The unique amongst ears grows smaller in number every day, ending as so much scrap metal, broken up, be it noted, for reasons unconnected with the war effort
Veterans of real museum value, Edward ians that are still in sound running order, light cars of the early nineteentwenties that would still service the impecunious enthusiast a deal more suitably than a £10 baby car, not to mention the rarer makes and types of vintage Sports ears, ex-racing cars and damaged ehassis of these and later eraswhich would provide a valuable source of spares for still serviceable examples of their kind—such cars grow alarmingly rare. The sober thought that, once scrapped, they can never be replaced, led those keen on early cars to form the Veteran Car Club, and since 1929 over a hundred pre-1903 veterans must have been found, saved and decently restored. But what of cars of any later period ? Persons still exist who would care for them and more will, join their ranks after the war. Unfortunately, many that could be saved are heard of too late, if they are heard of at all, like the car we recently sought as a hack. Reconditioned sports cars and modern high-performance cars are advertised in the Press or are obtainable from known sources of supply. Not so many unique cars of interest to the enthusiast but possessing little (or virtually no) market value. Others are in the hands of people who take no steps to make their presence known. We have located a fine single-cylinder 1905 Rover in the stables of an obscure country hotel near Taunton, and found a Deeauville which was running as late as 1929 in a London breaker’s yard. An A .B.C. of about 1921 vintage was discovered overgrown with grass outside a Thames Ditton garage, and another, similarly overgrown, was in someone’s hack garden near Brooklands. n early o. ha:. trials Rhode was unearthed quite by chance in a small shed in the Midlands, a Humberette is reputed to lie beneath a woodpile in Peterborough, and a singlecylinder Sizaire-Naudin stands rotting at a main-road filling station. Near one of the University cities a 1911 two-cylinder Renault is likely to end its days, although it is nearly whole, and in seeking another, rotting in a field, a London-Brighton Humber was found, then not for sale, but offered recently for around E.25. There must he lots more, if they can be found in time, before some merciless breaker finishes them for good. Early sports cars, such as the s.v. Aston-Martin, Brescia Bugatti, Seneehal, Vernon-Derby, HE., and SO on, are getting very rare, and even those partially stripped would constitute a valuable source of spares. Edwardian touring and racing ears have not been unearthed in anything like the numbers that real veterans have, and several of the useful low h.p. variety, like de Dions, Renaults, Rovers, numbers, Jacksons, Swifts and Si7aires, must surely still exist. Exciting pre-1914 sports ears in (lie ” Alphonso ” Ilispano Suiza, ” Alpine ” Austro-Daimler, ” Shelsley ” Crossley and Moss category have vanished almost entirely. Small cars of the early nineteen-twenties, like the Caleott, Horstmann, G.N., G.W.K., Swift Nine, Humber Eight, Gwynne Eight, Calthorpe, Wolseley Ten and Crouch, which might represent amusing hacks to the impecunious, have become surprisingly elusive ; which, in an age of buzzing boxes, is depressing. Even Owners of ” approved ” vintage Motor cars like Bentleys, ” 19/100 ” Austro,Daimlers, ” 12/50 ” Alvis, FrazerNash, and so on, do not find the replacement parts problem altogether easy. Something should study be done about it 1 With your co-operation it will be. We propose to keep a register of ears and parts falling within the categories out lined. Some material already exists. More will be obtainable if anyone who conies across anything of interest will
first ascertain if the owner would sell and will then drop us a postcard giving brief details of exact whereabouts, make, h.p., type and a few notes on condition, especially of tyres in the case of complete ears. Very obviously, it is essential to make sure the owner is willing to receive enquiries from prospective buyers and without exaggerating the car’s actual value. It will not be possible to acknowledge these postcards, but all information received will be entered up. Thus a Register will be constituted of cars that it would otherwise be impossible to locate. U the scheme is successful, interested parties will be invited to apply for details of particular cars, or cars in the given category that interest them. There will be no charge for this service, but a stamped, addressed envelope must be enclosed. No responsibility whatsoever can be accepted for whet ensues. If a car is purchased, users of the Register will be asked to send a postcard stating that this is so, in order that the entry concerned may be amended accordingly. It must here be emphasised that the Register can only deal with unusual cars not likely to be advertised in the ordinary way. Such might be classified as (i) all cars built prior to 1915, (ii) sports cars of early and little-known make, (iii) light cars built from 1920-1927, and (iv) spares of no particular market value. Reconditiened vintage sports cars and modern high-performance ears are advertised in the motoring Press, particularly in the advertising pages of Almon SPORT and in this paper’s “Sales and Wants “cheap advertisement section. They must be regarded as outside the scope of the suggested Register, although we are always very glad to pass on such information as we receive through other channels to those seeking cars of this kind. The Register must be a means of finding queerer stuff, and if it enables impecunious amateurs to motor in interesting instead of mundane ears after the war is won it will fulfil its purpose. We look forward to your co-operation. Please address your postcards and requests to W. B., 129, Fleet Road, Cove, Hants.