Club News, December 1945

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We Hear

J. Landsman is overhauling a 1935 T.E. Alvis “Crested Eagle” and seeks a suitable body for it, while Kenneth Neve hopes to find a 20-h.p. Rolls-Royce 2-seater mit dickey and is after a well-preserved “14/40” Delage. Lt.-Comdr. M. H. James, R.N., is getting his 9-ft. wheelbase, 100-m.p.h. Bentley — a 3-litre chassis with 4 1/2-litre engine — into good trim. J. Lowrey is having his well-known 1,100-c.c. H.R.G. overhauled at the works and has been using his 2-speed Morgan J.A.P. daily in consequence. Edward L. Mayer, the Mercédès exponent, has two “38/250s,” a coupé and an open car. Cheap cars are at a premium these days, but we hear of a sound 1924 Lanchester 21 tourer for £75.

Derek Rogers is building up an Amilcar “Special” with “San Sebastian” Salmson engine and divers other bits incorporated, and R. W. Shaw is installing a Centric-blown 14.6-h.p. Riley engine in a Frazer-Nash. K. Hutchison has bought the ex-Warburton Allard, which was Sydney Allard’s original car. Ralph Venables has sold his B.S.A. 3-wheeler and is using his Aston-Martin once again. John Dale is running a very nice 1924 S.B. “12/50” Alvis sports 4-seater, which has hardly been off the road in the whole of its 21 years, and which is still in splendid condition. A big-port engine was installed in 1925, Whitehead front brakes are used, and the wheels have been rebuilt with 21-in. rims. The facia carries nearly a dozen instruments and the whole car is a most worthy vintage candidate. There is a 1922 Galloway in use in the Huddersfield area.

Capt. Lavender, who ran several veteran cars before the war, is now back in this country. Scott-Moncrieff has been writing on motor-racing subjects for Everybody’s Weekly. L.A.C. Lipigton was able to buy a dozen 1940-41 issues of Motor Sport in a dirty little shop in the Chinese quarter in Kowloon, Hong Kong — they cost the equivalent of 7 1/2d. each. L.A.C. Cobbing has an as-new 1921 Duzmo in his collection of ancient motorcycles, and hopes to add a 1909 single cylinder, shaft-drive F.N. His only modern bicycle is a 1939 350-c.c. vertical-twin A.E.R. two-stroke, for which Stafford East is preparing a new crankshaft. D. Ackner wants to sell a 1927 3-litre Bentley saloon with a Wilson pre-selector box and 65,000 miles on the trip — price £650. J. A. Thomson intends to overhaul a 1903 De Dion Bouton for V.C.C. events. Skerman is rebuilding Boddy’s 4-cylinder, shaft-drive T.A.C. motor-cycle, circa 1911.

Some interesting old motor-cycles have come to light recently, including a belt-drive Rudge Multi, a 1921 4-valve B.S.A. raced in the T.T., and a later, belt-drive Monopole. A Bridlington breaker has a S.P.A. tourer, in rough but running condition. Ivon Adams, owner of the R.B. and an early Enfield-Alldays, is building up an A.B.C. shaft-drive motor-cycle at his Army quarters, and his friend Tom Hill dreams of steam cars, having one of his own at home, and is also very two-stroke conscious. Interest in car models grows apace. Pratley has concentrated on plans of famous racing cars; Deason has built a “solid” model of a “Brooklands” Austin Seven to a larger scale than usual; Modelcraft, Ltd., hope to commence production of racing-car models next spring; and Lawson Diggett, of Daytona, U.S.A., has a stable of some 300 “solids” of famous cars to one-twenty-fourth scale, on which he commenced work in 1914. His collection covers Land Speed Record cars of 1908-39, Brooklands and Indianapolis cars, midgets and record-breaking and G.P. cars. Less pleasing are “crash” models, showing the fate of such cars as “Babs.” Wilson’s Lorries, Ltd., of Bracknell, and Modelcraft, Ltd., offer lorry kits the latter’s plans covering A.E.C., Leyland and Sentinel vehicles.

L.A.C. F. R. White tells us that Army units in Italy run their own motor-cycle scrambles and trials, and have a speed course at Bari, tuning being done by R.E.M.E. lads and some Italians. The latter use Guzzi and Benelli machines, and one Italian has a spring-heel “Inter.” Norton. Fiat “500s” run about on “borrowed” Spitfire tyres, numerous Fiat lorries of the 1921-23 period are seen, and sometimes an O.M. Diesel, parked off the road for a week awaiting new big-ends.

Butler’s “Ulster” now sports a detachable coupe top.

S.C.C. OF America

Up to last August the Sports Car Club of America had 79 members, with 116 cars between them, as follows: Mercer, 28; Mercédès, Rolls-Royce, Stutz, 13 each; Duesenberg, 11; Bugatti, 8; Packard, 5; du Pont, 4; Bentley, Lincoln, S.S., 8 each; Ford-Special, 2; Alfa-Romeo, Amilcar, Auburn, B.M.W., B.N.C., Cadillac, Cunningham, H.C.S., Hudson, Lagonda, Marmon, Minerva, Pierce-Arrow, S.P.O. and Vauxhall, 1 each.

A grand meeting and 1/4-mile speed trial at the Longshore Club, Connecticut, to celebrate the end of hostilities and abolition of gasolene rationing, was scheduled for September 22nd and 23rd. Lucky America!

Much fun and games happened at the Thomson Speedway last July — a banked 1-mile circuit of asphalt, with 15 degree bends. Weaver’s Type 51 Bugatti with 4-cylinder Peerless racing marine engine, giving 90 b.h.p. at 8,800 r.p.m.; a “Phantom I” Rolls-Royce, a “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce, a Mercer, an Austin Seven, a Type 57 Bugatti “Atalantic” coupé, the Complex and a Cord attended. Flying laps were tried, followed by a s.s. 1/4-mile sprint. In the former the best times were: Type 51 Bugatti, 38.4 sec.; Complex, 38 sec.; Mercer Type 57 Bugatti and Rolls-Royce, 40 sec.; and in the latter: Type 51 Bugatti, 22.4 sec.; Complex, 24.4 sec.; Mercer, 27 sec.

The July-August Sports Car has a reprint of L. T. C. Rolt’s article, “The Ethics of the Quality Car,” from Motor Sport, and many news items. From the latter we learn that Oliver hopes for a 500-c.c. Bugatti, and saw 22 Bugattis, a “2.3” Alfa and a “3.2” monoposto Maserati at Teillac’s in Paris, and that Caswell has a Ford V8-60 engine in his B.N.C., using three water intakes to each cylinder bank to keep it cool. Weaver is seen installing a 91.5 cub. in. straight-eight, blown Miller engine in his Type 51 Bugatti. British firms should be able to do some good trade with the S.C.C. of A., and vice versa. Excellent pictures of the Types 51 and 57 Bugattis, Martin’s very stark “38/250” Mercédès-Benz, etc., are included in their magazine.

Secretary and treasurer, A. H. Engborg, 20, Bedford Street, Lexington 73, Mass., U.S.A.

Morgan 3-Wheeler Club

This club now has over 100 members and over 40 Morgans attended the Malvern Rally on September 23rd. A monthly memorandum is issued, cheap insurance rates are arranged, and the club is affiliated to the A.U.C. and the R.A.C. Five areas are recognised : N.W., N.E., Midlands, S.E. and S.W. The secretary for the first-named is S. G. Withers, 3, Knypersley Avenue, Dailstone Lane, Stockport, and for the S.E., E. A. Woods, 22, Townsend Lane, London, N. W.9.

Bentley Drivers’ Club

At the general meeting at the Rembrandt last October, Stanley Sedgwick was appointed hon. secretary. In the absence of W/Cmdr. Woolf Barnato, the chair was taken by Forrest Lycett. The old committee was re-elected en bloc until early next year. Will old members contact the new secretary. New members can be accepted at 10s. and £1 subscription to the end of 1946. Old-school Bentley owners are eligible. Hon. secretary, S. Sedgwick, “The Cobb,” Stoke Close, Cobham, Surrey.

Riley M.C. — Midland Centre

The Riley Motor Club recommenced its activities last October with a rally, attended by 33 cars. A map-reading contest was won by D. A. Loseby and an acceleration and reversing test by F. R. Gerard. The new 1 1/2-litre Riley was on view, and Victor Riley addressed the gathering, after which Mrs. Victor Riley presented the prizes.


The North Midland M.C. has now appointed its officers and committee. G. C. Siddons is chairman, J. Battersby treasurer and Messrs. Siddons, Battersby, Hudson, Senior, J. Siddons and Cannum form the committee. Hon. secretary, J. H. Hudson, 19, Chatsworth Avenue, Langwith Junction, near Mansfield, Notts.


That excellent organisation, the British Racing Mechanics’ Social Club, is anxious to get going again, and requests all members to contact the secretary and submit their present addresses. G. Taylor is president, Percy Bradley, Fred Craner and Harry Edwards are vice-presidents, and Lord Howe, Sir Malcolm Campbell, Humphrey Cook, Capt. Eyston, John Cobb and Major Gardner (now Lt.-Col.) are patrons. Hon. secretary, P. W. Pugh, 11, Lea Crescent, Longlevens, Gloucester.

Watford & District M.C. & L.C.C.

Secretary, D. Wilcox, “The Cottage,” Faircross Way, St. Albans, Herts.

This club is active again, and held a motor-cycle trial in October. It hopes soon to resume car events. The trial results were as follows : –

1st Best Expert … Guilbride …350 Velocette …48 marks (maximum 50)
2nd Best 500-c.c. … “Jimmy Green” … 500 Ariel … 46 marks (maximum 50)
3rd Best 500-c.c. …Narramore … 350 B.S.A … 46 marks (maximum 50)
4th … Kennard … 500 Norton … 46 marks (maximum 50)
5th Best 250 c.c. … W. H. S. Pike … 250 Rudge … 44 marks (maximum 50)
6th … Grimmer … 350 Velocette … 44 marks (maximum 50)
Novices’ Prize … Fallowfield … 350 Ariel … 38 marks (maximum 50)

750 Club — Stop Press

We learn, as we go to press, from the 750 Club’s newly-appointed Press officer, that the next meeting will be held on December 9th, not on December 2nd — so the clash with the final “Rembrandt” meeting is avoided. Venue: Ely Hotel, Blackwater, 12.30 p.m. for 1 p.m. lunch. Mystery run by Holland Birkett at 2.30 p.m. Tickets (3s. lunch, 2s. tea) must be bought by December 7th. Hon. sec. S. H. Capon, 159, Upper Tulse Hill, London, S.W.2. Phone: Tulse Hill 6426.

Bugatti Owners’ Club

The annual dinner, after an enforced lapse of five years, will happen again, at Claridge’s Hotel, on December 7th, at 7.30 p.m. Bugantics will resume publication again next month and articles on Bugatti subjects are requested — excellent news. Hon. secretary, E. L. Giles, 2, Queen Street. Mayfair, London, W.1.

V.S.C.C. OF Aistralia

The Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia has seriously embarrassed the Editor of Motor Sport by electing him an honorary life member — see correspondence pages. [Actually, credit for the high standard of the contents of this paper during the last five years goes to those readers who have so generously responded to my begging letters requesting contributions. — Ed.

The club goes from strength to strength and at the end of September had 78 members, with many more expected. Peter Clark has joined on the strength of his Type 40 Bugatti, and interesting cars owned by members include no fewer than 17 “30/98” Vauxhalls, three of which are E-types and four old-school Bentleys, comprising a Speed-Six, a 4 1/2-litre and two “red badge” 3-litres. Rain literally washed-out a proposed speed trial, to which Clark had motored the Bugatti 125 miles from Jarvis Bay and someone else an Alvis “2/50” 75 miles from Burragorang. But a big progiamme is planned for 1946, especially as petrol rationing is expected to be abandoned by Christmas (Great Britain, please copy!) and the tyre situation is easier. An “Alphonso” Hispano-Suiza, a twin-o.h.c. 3-litre Sunbeam and another “12/50” Alvis turned up recently. The Vintage Car appears each month and is a fine effort.

Hon. secretary, R. Beal Pritchett, 1, Phillip Street, Neutral Bay, N.S.W.

Chester M.C.

In the first post-war trial held by the Chester M.C. the best car performance was made by A. G. Imhof (Singer), with G. Tyrer (Frazer-Nash B.M.W.) as runner-up. The best show by a lady driver was that of Mrs. A. Needham (Lancia).

Cover Picture

This month’s cover picture shows that admirable motor-car, the Type 37 Grand Prix Bugatti, cornering at one of those desirable club meetings we used to enjoy before the war. Unfortunately, we cannot trace who sent us this excellent photograph.


The North London Enthusiasts’ Car Club visit to Heal’s studio of veteran racing cars was a great success. Noel Shorrock and “Stainless Stephen” were amongst the guests — Shorrock’s brother, by the way, drove the 5-litre Ballot into fifth place at Indianapolis in 1919. A film show and a supper dance were scheduled for last month. Hon. secretary, G. Bance, 15, King’s Avenue, Muswell Hill, London, N.10.


An American midget racing car driver, now using a Ford V8/60 engine, states that he is sure a British engine would suit him better. He seeks a 4- or 6-cylinder, push-rod o.h.v. engine with four or six exhaust and four or six inlet ports, preferably with inclined valves and domed pistons. It must have a light alloy crankcase, separate block and run clockwise. Capacity up to 100 cub. in. There may be business in this for someone. The enquirer is E. R. Wendt, 1523, 94th Avenue, Oakland, California, U.S.A.

Great Days!

From an article entitled “Barnstormers of the Air” in the October-November issue of that excellent magazine Air Review: “One of the smaller firms typical of the period was By Air, Ltd., formed by Messrs. T. T. Laker an L. C. M. G. Le Champion, who used to fly a BE2E from a small field at Baginton, near Coventry. A few months after their formation in the early part of 1919, Le Champion crashed the B.E. on the old aerodrome at Lilbourne, and two D.H. Sixes were bought with the insurance money.” Was this the same Le Champion who afterwards ran the Isotta-Maybach at Brooklands? Grand days! But then bureaucracy was scarcely born, then … Incidentally, where is Moller Le Champion now?

General Notes

A postcard relating to an old Sunbeam saw us off one clear, sunlit afternoon in the Austin to investigate. A nice run through some of Yorkshire’s softer scenery came to a halt when a flat tyre and two old cars in a roadside field happened at one and the same time. Investigation proved a blue, stripped chassis reminiscent of Nazzaro’s 1907 G.P. Fiat, but now towing farm implements, to be merely a “10/15” of that make finishing its days on the land, while the car beside a haystack was a 1925 “Chummy” Austin Seven, alas, not for sale. In course of conversation it was related that another “10/15” Fiat was about in these parts, and certainly we encountered one going really well in that area some days later — but this is anticipating and, had we known it, many journeys up and down this road were to be our lot ere the Sunbeam was brought home. That night we came home in a fog and, after much involved telephoning, set off on the same 50-mile run some days later. This time the Austin chose to blow its gasket some miles from Middlesbrough, our destination, but we coaxed it into that grim town and found the Sunbeam’s owner amid many imposing ships’ compasses. A ride in a Ford van followed and garage doors were thrown open, to reveal a very well-preserved 1919 “16/20” Sunbeam tourer — massive car of an age now past. We fell for her on the spot, especially as a sad fate seemed likely to await her. She had belonged to the present owner’s father, and when he died his son thought to put the big 80-bore, 4-cylinder engine into a launch, its bronze water-pump having been duly noted. The project fell through, and here she was — astonishingly clean, paint and upholstery sound, reasonably shod and with hood, side curtains, electric lighting and starting, and even an electric horn and screen wiper — ours to save or scorn. A deal was quickly completed and we pushed her into the road, that the Ford could tow her to a garage. Here she was made to function, but the light had nearly gone and she had no battery, so we reluctantly returned her whence she had come, to motor rapidly in the Ford, and then painfully slowly in the stricken Austin towards home.

Midnight saw a 1925 “Chummy” Austin Seven loaded with tools, and off we set, again over that same road, in the wet and dark; 2 a.m. is a grim time to arrive in a sodden seaport town, even if it does enable one to see blast furnaces at their best. But we walked about the town, after the Sunbeam’s lamps had failed to light, awaiting the dawn, spirits not unduly low, especially after tea and hospitality from the omnibus garage. Incidentally, by this time we were so dirty and unkempt that dockers going to work (or to strike?) quite naturally addressed us as “Mate.” As soon as it was sufficiently light, the old car was hitched to the Austin and towed clear of the town, our passage obviously entertaining the bus queues. In open country, we filled the elegant radiator from a stream, flooded the tiny Claudel carburetter that hangs from the beautiful water-jacketted copper manifold and engaged a gear. Mightily the Austin towed the big car, and in a matter of feet the music of the long-stroke 3-litre engine broke out. Rope undone, we were away, leather cone clutch getting her off well on a 11.9-to-1 bottom gear. Soon she was rolling along on her 3.59-to-1 top ratio, engine just audible, lots of power in reserve. Discoveries were made – the gear change down was remarkably easy, though the lever travelled an immense distance, the foot transmission brake was very light and best released before the car finally came to rest, and the steering was positive enough. Although not a true Edwardian by quite a number of years, the Sunbeam had all the merits of cars of that period — a high, essentially comfortable driving seat, adequate suspension, and a distinctly pre-1914 manner of going.

We progressed at 30-40 m.p.h. with dignity, even negotiating quite heavy traffic without embarrassment. Then “Pool-gum” did its stuff and the motor refused to respond to the throttle. Although the petrol filler cap, unscrewed by a special tool, is so large that the late owner, as a youngster with a motorcycle, used to rob his father of petrol by lowering a milk bottle into the tank, our efforts to clear the obstruction were unsuccessful. So was the diminutive Austin when we came to a hill, so the Sunbeam had to be temporarily abandoned. A country garage towed it in and kept it for two nights for the commendably modest charge of 10s. We collected it, three up to start with on the front seat of a modern Morris Eight open tourer, which ran surprisingly smoothly and held a very even keel round the twisty bits. The run, on a beautiful autumn afternoon, was enlivened by a low-chassis 2-litre Lagonda saloon seen outside Thirsk racecourse, and by a visit to a breaker’s, where many early Rolls-Royce and a Lanchester Forty were investigated, and where lots of A.R.P. vehicles, notably old Sunbeams, had found a last resting-place. We even bought a spare 820 by 120 cover from one of the Sunbeams for 30s. Then our own Sunbeam was tied on and we were away, but not before our garageman had taken us up to his loft to see what appeared to be the remains of a very early Benz car, and into a shed to see an ex-T.T. B.S.A. motor-cycle. The run home was notable for intense cold, a runaway horse (bad for the transmission brake) and a modernish Peugeot 601 saloon snappily driven by a girl.

The veteran habit seems to predominate of late, for next morning, in the third Austin Seven that week, we went to a town 15 miles away and found, in a cellar entered by candle-light, a beltdrive V-twin Rudge Multi, which a friend bought for 25s., together with two brand new tyres for 10s. apiece. Grand fun, this unearthing of the ancients!