Club news, December 1943

We hear

Eric Vereker, who is responsible for much war-time essential road transport, has been using an “1,100” N.S.U. Fiat Balilla saloon as his latest mount and finds it very satisfactory. The gearbox came to pieces recently but has been repaired. It is interesting, perhaps significant, that much of the interior of the box, such as synchro-mesh design, method of locking gears, etc., is very reminiscent of Ford practice. A Bentley, which sounds like one of the short-chassis 100 m.p.h. 3-litres with a narrow saloon body, has come to light in Scotland and could be purchased for around £50. Ian Metcalfe has a Type 43 (blown 2.3) Bugatti with the typical 4-seater body. Grosscurth recently sold a s.v. Aston-Martin, the ex-Mrs. Dobson open 2-seater Balilla Fiat, and the ex-Ashwood Lea-Francis, in order to buy Piercey’s Blackburn-engirted Frazer-Nash Six, the owner having obtained an H.R.G., which is believed to be the original blue works demonstrator, now with outside exhaust pipe. Holland Birkett has acquired the 4.9 Bugatti which Kaye Don used to drive; it has Lockheed brakes but no engine. He has recently rebuilt his Austin Seven tricycle, using a wider rear axle and an “Ulster” engine, and is employing it professionally while he rebuilds his Type 40 Bugatti. Marcus Chambers has sold all his Bentley parts to Shortt and proposes to build an Austin Seven special and to go motoring about in a 1936 Austin Seven “Ruby” saloon. F. W. Roberts would like to hear from anyone who has for disposal a No. 8 or No. 9 Cozette supercharger and Cozette carburetter; he has a 1928 “Hyper” Lea-Francis, but some vandal has discarded the blower. It looks as if the saloon Anzani Frazer-Nash which ran in the 1928 T.T. is coming on the market, and the Editor of this paper and D.S. Jenkinson hope to share it between them. We know of a 1932 “12/60” Alvis sports saloon, with very sound and tight engine and metal body, which the owner would exchange for a 1936 Singer “Le Mans” coupé in sound order.

The 100 m.p.h. type 3-litre Bentley saloon mentioned last month was in the Edinburgh area and was to be sold for £50 or thereabouts, the balance to go to the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund. It looks as if the formidable 15/22-h.p. Brazier, at Buckingham, is saved, as Alan Smith, of Orpington, hopes to restore it. Kenyon has had bad luck lately with his Singers, but by dint of much hard work, still motors in a rather special Singer Nine “Le Mans” 2-seater; he is one of those fortunate mortals whose war-winning effort entails much long-distance motoring by day and night in all weathers. In Johannesburg, H. B. Keljkens is trying to buy the Earl Howe “3.3” G.P. Bugatti, and we were able to air-graph him to the effect that Lemon Burton has a spare crankshaft assembly for it, this component being broken as the car now stands.

Lieut. J.R. Normanton recently had the good fortune to buy at an auction sale a very, immaculate “30/98” Vauxhall – car OE44 – which has been in storage since 1933. He requests a handbook or any general information, as he is a Frazer-Nash enthusiast and has not had previous experience of the “30/98.” If anyone cares to assist, his home address is “Heathside,” Park Road, Hale, Cheshire. An R.A.F. squadron leader, who has owned some 52 cars and who says he has got to the state when he likes something about so many cars that he can no longer be trusted to buy without advice, seeks a 10-h.p. car that will cruise at 45-50 m.p.h. with reasonable economy, give good service, and not require rebuilding each month. His price-range he gives as £5 to £350, and Riley Nines and a Hotchkiss Ten occur to him; he would appreciate readers’ experiences, and would also be glad to stand beer to an enthusiast in his area (Hampshire). Letters will be forwarded.

The Sizaire-Frères mentioned in “Rumblings” last month has a 3-speed gearbox, brakes operated by enclosed cables, and Dewandre vacuum servo, push-on handbrake, o.h. camshaft driven by single roller chain, the jockey sprocket for which drives the twin ignition distributors, Gabriel dipping headlamps, and a dashboard carrying thermometer, oil gauge, clock, 120 m.p.h speedometer, ammeter and petrol gauge. With five good tyres, safety glass screen, many spares, etc., the price asked was £40; curiously, the car has no sidelamps or shock-absorbers. We were intrigued by a 4-seater Aston-Martin for sale at Rowland Smith’s, for on the facia was a small plate informing us that it finished 11th at Le Mans in 1934, covering 2,435 kilos, and that 23 cars finished out of 44 starters. The car is APC591, and apparently the one driven by Noel and Wheeler. John Morris has the big Benz safely stored in a dry barn; his personal car is now a 2-seater 3-litre Invicta. A 1902 Wolseley has been on view in Morris Garages, Oxford, and Deacon’s Garage, Dorchester, Oxon., had a 3-litre Bentley for sale, while there was a 1928 “12/50” Alvis tourer for sale for £25 in Yorkshire.

Congratulations to Robson, on engaging in matrimony. The D.P.O. looks unfavourably on his 17-h.p. 8th series Lancia “Lambda,” and he would be glad to hear of a cheap vintage sports car of twelve, or fewer, horses. Zere, of Z.N. Motors, is still building up his racing Amilcar Six, having improved the cooling, opened up the ports, lengthened the chassis and improved the streamlining, etc. He also has the ex-Brian Twist Amilcar Six, and uses an N-type M.G. Magnette with oversize tyres and K-type body as his personal car. In the Harrow Road is to be seen a slightly-battered 7th Series Lancia “Lambda” utility van – alas, it is shortly to be sent to Scotland to end its days as a workmen’s shelter. A blower 4 1/2-litre Bentley and a 2-litre “Ulster” Aston-Martin were noticed running in London last Month. If anyone has for disposal 1934 issues of The Autocar containing Nos. 1 to 9 of the “Races that Made History” series, B.A.R.C. Year Books prior to 1926, or a copy of T.H. White’s “England Have My Bones,” will they kindly write to the Editor. Foxlee is very thoroughly rebuilding a 1928 beetle-back “12/50” Alvis, and Boddy hopes soon to replace his 1928 coupé of this make by his 1924 “duck’s back” aluminium 2-seater with short wheelbase sub-frame chassis, ex-Michael May long-stroke engine with 1927 block on a 1923 crankcase and bigport head, and “Silver Eagle” front axle.

750 Club

The 750 Club sat down to a very inferior lunch on November 7th, and the promised talk on 1,000 miles a day in the States in a Ford V8 failed to materialise, due to the late hour at which members were fed. Peter Monkhouse and family, Rivers-Fletcher, Penny Fletcher, Marcus Chambers, Potter and Mrs. Potter, Douglas Tubbs, Lockwood-Marsh, Denis Jenkinson, Tubbs, W. Boddy, Nigel Orlebar and his wife, F/O. Mallock and Jesty, and many others attended. The next meeting is scheduled for December 5th.

Another Rembrandt

Another Enthusiasts’ Gathering will take place at the Rembrandt Hotel on December 12th. Luncheon tickets cost 15s. each, and attendance at the afternoon session 8s per head; the latter period will be devoted to a learned debate by famous designers on the best layout for a commercially-practical post-war sports car. Laurence Pomeroy, of The Motor, will take the chair, and we understand that such personages as W.O. Bentley, Cecil Kimber, Peter Berthon, H.R. Godfrey, W.A. Rowbotham, Cecil Clutton, etc. are being invited to participate. Orders for tickets had commenced early in November, and immediate application should be made to S.H. Capon, 159, Upper Tulse Hill, London, S.W.2, who is handling this side of the organisation for A. Rivers-Fletcher. Profits go to the Royal Armoured Corps Fund.

Midlands Enthusiasts’ Club

This club recently held most successful meetings and a dance, a substantial sum being handed to the Merchant Navy Comforts Fund as a result of the latter. Membership is hoped to exceed 100 by the new year, and the club sends seasonal greetings to all enthusiasts in the Forces overseas, especially to those in P.O.W. camps. Meetings now happen on the first Wednesday evening in each month, at the “Windsor,” Cannon Street, Birmingham. Chairman: Stewart Forrest, 7, St. Martin’s Lane, Birmingham, 5.

Enthusiasts’ Car Club

This club continues to function in the North and to issue an interesting “Bulletin” at intervals. Hon. Secretary: D.L. Gandhi, 134, Heaton Moor Road, Stockport, Lancs.

Cover picture

The cover picture this month shows H. Whitfield Semmence leaving the line at Lewes in his Semmence-Special. This car had a modified 2-litre A.C. Six engine in a Frazer-Nash chassis. The car clocked 21.16 sec. at Lewes, crossing the line at over 95 m.p.h., and 23.61 sec. at Poole, and, although it was only just getting over its teething troubles when war came, it has lapped the Mountain Circuit at 68 m.p.h. and done a s.s. 1/4-mile in 15 sec. The engine ran up to 7,500 r.p.m., and the car weighed about 11 1/4 cwt. Our photograph is taken from a rather close aspect, which makes an impressive picture; low aspects are often used also, but we prefer more natural shots. What do picture makers think?