While touring in France this year Major Dove encountered a four-cylinder 1911 Piccard-Pietet which has been in ‘use as a garage breakdown vehicle since 1921. Clifford Robins of Yeovil has been in the local papers on account of his single-seater sports car, which has a 4300-e.c. Matchless” Silver Hawk “squarefour motor-cycle engine, driving via a Borg and Beck clutch to a Triumph ” Super Seven” gearbox and Austin Seven final drive. The car cost about £70, is road-equipped and has hydraulic brakes. Alas, the owner-builder got into trouble for failing to stop after an accident and the Yeovil magistrates bade him -dismantle, sell or otherwise dispose of his .car, in return for restoring a suspended licence. An absorbing book of facts and figures, Basic Road Statistics-1948,” is available for is. from the enterprising British Road Federation, 4a, Bloomsbury Square, W.C.1, and is good value. Arthur Rusling has acquired the Riley “12/6″ ” Kestrel” saloon which was originally supplied to Raymond Mays with an R.R.A. engine installed. A normal singlecarburetter engine is now fitted and the new owner seeks an instruction book. John I3ellingham is going strong out in Ontario and has bought a 1936 straight-eight Its. Talbot with a cracked block for 18 dollars and is hot on the scent of a 3i-1itre Bentley and a Hispano-Suiza, while he hopes to buy a 1911 “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce. In Montreal Gordon Fairbanks has a 1930 straight.eight Model 125 supercharged Lycoming
• engined Auburn Speedster, bought for 70 dollars in good order but needing attention to the bodywork. The car has -an aluminium head, Rudge-type wire wheels, Bijur chassis lubrication, etc. The owner wishes to correspond with other Auburn owners and English enthusiasts -and to exchange photographs and maga2ines. His address is : 3792, Ducane Buildings, Montreal. Prices are falling— October ” lows ” included a 1,750-c.c. Alfa-Romeo saloon and a D.I. Delage -coupe for £70, a 10/28 Talbot and a 1927 sports Austin Seven for £25 and a ‘Trojan tourer for £20. Warmest congratulations to Rivers and Penny Fletcher on the arrival of their second son. P. S. de Beaumont is writing a history of the Stutz concern for the Antique Automobile Club of America and would -appreciate any information relating to this make—c/o 15, Grand Street, Stonington, Connecticut, I ‘.S.A.
Floyd Clymer has issued another of his -enterprising books describing modern -cars, in this case the 1949 Mercury, in which, amongst other things, he drove 484 miles from Omaha to Cheyenne at an average speed of 66.6 m.p.h.
G. W. Fysh, writing from Tasmania, -says that he is the fortunate possessor of -one of Lord Kenilworth’s masterpieces, a 1913″ 18 24 ” Siddeley-Deasy which has done over 90,000 miles without removal -of the cylinder heads, and which has the -original water connections, ignition cables and Lodge plugs. He sends a picture of this car in company with a friend’s 1912 “16 20” VVolseley. D. H. Strong is rebuilding a 1925-6 “Grand Sport” Salmson and requires a wiring diagram amid timing data.
John Bolster has bought Axel-Berg’s G.N. and has put in much work on it. It is now his means of daily transport, doing some 50 m.p.g., at a cruising speed of about 70 m.p.h., but it lacks something, John says, having no air-conditioning or built-in radio ! Peter Pim has discovered a 1921 sports Stoewer in quite remarkable condition, which is for sale—his own car is a 1927 Morris-Cowley two-seater that gives good service—and a 1914 hub-gear Triumph combination that deserves to be saved has come to light in Northants. S. J. Humphries has now restored to good order the 1910 Knight sleeve-valveengined 8-h.p. Rover that he purchased through NloToa SPORT’S “Register of the Unique.” A Fafnir cyclecar in showroom condition was sold recently at a London auction sale, where the unused 2-litre Schneider chassis mentioned previously in these columns turned up, now endowed with a new utility body. Prices really are falling and the secondhand market is at a
standstill so far as the older ears are concerned—recent prices were £15 for a 1923 A.C. coupe, 218 each for a 1925 Morris and a 1912, well-shod Renault chassis, £25 for a 1925 Darracq Twelve two-seater, £28 for a 1925 Austin Seven tourer, £30 for a 1929 Austin Seven saloon, 132 for a 1930 Humber Sixteen tourer in good order, and £60 for a 1921 Stower, the latter in danger of being dismantled. Yet another 1926 ” 14/40 ‘ Sunbeam tourer has turned up, for sale in Liverpool for £35, so there must be something like a dozen of these fourcylinder o.h.v. Sunbeams still intact. John Giles of Dursley is contemplating installing one of the rare “14/45″ Rover engines in a Riley Nine chassis. The 1928 ” 7/12 ” Peugeot mentioned recently is likely to be scrapped unless saved. Barker’s 1924 Lagonda has figured in news-films in a Staines cinema, and David Brown is hopeful of finding a bull-nose 1913-21 Lagonda light car, if anyone knows of one.
Stuart McNab has acquired an ex-N.F.S. car thought to be a Sunbeam, but with ” Darracq ” marked in various places, and wonders what it is (chassis 5421/D). Alderton is using a 1938 Trojan van as a hack, and Nevil Blow has successfully fitted a 1947 “T…’ body to a 1984 L-type M.G. Magna.
An A.C. Six, believed to be the car, or to have the engine, used for longdistance record-breaking at Montlhery by Victor Bruce, has turned up in Yorkshire, where a ” 7.5 ” Citroen engine and gearbox and other spares are available. A. 13. Demans has exchanged his Anzaniengined Bamford and Martin AstonMartin for a 1923 long-chassis ex-Askey car of the same breed, but not before he established that his car was the one raced as “Green Pea” by R. C. Morgan at Brooklands and elsewhere, although in those days it had a Hooker-Thomas engine. MOTOR SPORT recently added a Jowett Javelin saloon to its fleet comprising Vauxhall Ten, 1948 Morris Ten and 1948 Austin Sixteen cars. .41(
FLOYD CLYMER’S FILMS
The American Floyd Clymer, with his usual enterprise, put on a free motoring film show at the Park Lane Hotel on November 1st. There were three showings, each of which lasted nearly two hours. The films shown included a fine colourfilm of this year’s Horseless Carriage Club’s veteran car run, featuring gaily coloured and splendidly preserved veterans and no less gay, colourful and well-preserved ladies, pictures of midget car racing (on asphalt tracks), the Daytona 200-mile motor-cycle races, with British machines evident (a 500-c.c. Norton was second to a V-twin 750-c.c. Indian, using the regulation 8 to compression-ratio) and a motor-cycle steeplechase. These were backed by that fine Firestone film of Indianapolis, showing the 1911 winning Marmon, many speed shots and parades of old cars, a “
silent” of this year’s Indianapolis race, a really beautiful film of Clymer’s closedcar record run up Pike’s Peak, and the General Petroleum Corporation’s colourfilm of Cobb’s Land Speed Record, which Cobb himself saw again that evening.
This last-named film is quite the best we have seen of this great record. The method of starting the Railton-Mobil, the grand team-work by Taylor and his mechanics between runs, what time Cobb waited anxiously, outwardly calm, with no one to talk to because everyone was so busy, and his modest acknowledgement of a record that has brought untold prestige to Britain, are admirably portrayed. One wonders again why Cobb has not been knighted for this contribution to his country. .10
From an advert kement in a con temporary :— -” 16-11.p., over 200
A.A.C. OF A. “The Automobile” for the
“The Antique Automobile” for the second quarter of 1948, official organ of the Antique Automobile Club of America, contains some interesting matter on racing versions of the model-T Ford. William G. Cain, Junior, describes the ” hotting-up” that used to be carried out on the model-T during the ‘teens and ‘twenties, mentioning an increase in r.p.m. from 1,800 to 3,500 and in b.h.p. from 22 to 65, giving speeds of 70 to 100 m.p.h. from a car weighing Only 1,100 lb. Mr. Cain had such a Ford Special in 1928 and is re-creating two special model-Ts to-day.
New members of the A.A.C. of A. listed in this issue of “The Antique Automobile” number 85 and the truly immense register of members’ veteran cars, make by make, is continued. The results of the 1948 Annual Spring Outing are given, the class winners comprising a 1909 Reo, 1902 Stanley, 1913 G.P. Peugeot, 1910 Pierce Arrow, 1907 White. 1922 Mercer, 1916 Packard, 1915 Stanley, 1933 Buick and 1919 Ford. The hillclimb winners were Moyer’s Reo and Matter’s Ford. For two years in succession W. M. Weiant, Junior, won the Rio Dog Trophy for the best ‘Silver Ghost” with his 1922 Rolls-Royce, and Cameron Peck’s 1913 G.P. Peugeot, which rim at Indianapolis in its day, the Grand Award. The longest-distance prize went to C. Jackson’s 1920 Mercer, which had travelled 15o miles. Details of the Club are obtainable from :—S. E. Baily, 45, East Levering Mill Road, BalaCynwyd, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
New members continue to join the Vintage Motor Cycle Club, the latest list embracing owners of 1926 Raleigh, 1919 Douglas, 1923 T.T. Scott. 1927 Model 18 Norton, 1928 1923 Sunbeam and 1929 A.J.S. The award for the best motor-cycle at the September Joint V.M.C.C. and V.S.C.C. Bisley Rally went to C. J. H. Day’s 1914 hub-gear Triumph. On the same day F. Harrison’s J.A.P.engined 1915 Lea-Francis twin won the Allsop-leaDale Rally. The Hull M.C. Hull-Filey Old Timers Run, which attracted crowds worthy of the LondonBrighton Run, saw Day’s Triumph win the veteran motor-cycle class from C. E. Allen’s 1911 B.A.T., and Masterman’s 1928 Norton the vintage motor
cycle class from Neverson’s long-stroke Sunbeam. The Club’s ” Bulletin ” is issued monthly.
MORGAN THREE-WHEELER CLUB
Each club seems to exude its own personality and that of the Morgan Three-wheeler Club is cheery companionship. Five groups are in operation, but general details can be had from G. Evans, 19, Chestnut Walk, Worcester. Al the recent A.G.M. the oldest Morgan was a 1925 ” Aero,” the newest a 1947 “F. Super,” the best vintage model an o.h.v. Anzani and the best post-vintage model (the Club rightly accept V.S.C.C. vintage dating) a 1931 o.h.v. w/c Blackburne. Engines represented were : s.v. w/c J.A.P., o.h.v. w/c j.A.P., s.v. w/c Match
o.h.v. a/c Matchless, o.h.v. w/c Matchless, o.h.v. w/c Blackburne, o.h.v. w/c Anzani and s.v. Ford. A large Bulletin is issued Monthly.
ANOTHER NEW TRACK
The Motor Industry Research Association has completed negotiations for the use of Lindley Aerodrome, Nuneaton, as a ” proving ground.” The telephone number of the track office is Nuneaton 2221. Apart from perimeter tracks a triangular circuit is formed by runways, of which the longest is over 1,000 yards, while the total length of the longest straight, apart from the circuit, is over a mile. Whether testing facilities will be granted to non-members of the M.I.R.A. remains to be seen. Meanwhile, drivers will wish MOTOR SPORT to extend sincere thanks to the broadntindedness of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon for allowing testing at Goodwood with a minimum of officialdom, providing prior permission has been obtained. We believe that measured distances have also been marked out at Silverstone.
The Circle of Motoring Journalists caused a ver?,’ entertaining show to be put on at Goodwood Track on the last day of October. Foreign visitors and journalists, over here for the Motor Show, together with many daily-paper motoring correspondents, were driven from London to Goodwood in some of the Earls Court demonstration cars and were then invited to drive these cars round the track. Certainly an opportunity not to he missed Paul Frere was one who was in his element—he managed a drive in all but one of the test cars. The available ears included Allard, Vauxhall, the A40, A70 and A99 Anstins. the smart new i.f.s. Lea-Francis Mk. VI saloon, Jowett ” Javelin,” Humber Hawk, the new Hillman Minx, Standard “Vanguard,” the 100-m.p.h. sports Riley, Type 402 Bristol saloon, Healey roadster and ” Sportsmobile,” Triumph roadster, RollsRoyce, Mk. VI Bentley, the new Morris Minor and Oxford, the new Wolseleys, the latest 31-litre i.f.s. Mk. V Jaguar saloon, Sunbeam-Talbot, etc. No timing was allowed, but the Jaguar and Allard were most impressive, as-,was the Hffiman Minx’s cornering. Mercifully and miraculously, no accidents happened.
In autumnal sunshine everyone enjoyed themselves hugely. The of a new British economy car himself delighted with the good roadholding of the Allard, the managing tor of a firm -famous for a 11-litre saloon of advanced design lapped happily in the ” Vanguard ” and other cars, Mrs. Petre and a girl friend sampled the Magnificent,” and foreign visitors car after car, until some of them became quite confused as to which gear was where and how to find the starter of each fresh make sampled. We had passenger rides in the comfortable rear seat of the new Humber Hawk and in the Morris Minor, the latter working happily up to a speedometer reading of 60 M.p.h. or more and cornering most impressively. This Morris, we felt, might quite well be the answer to continentals like the small Renault, which further acquaintance with it will confirm or deny.
This wonderful demonstration day should certainly be repeated. If heads of industry and rival designers could try each other’s cars under such competitive circumstances, much good could result. We believe T. H. Wisdom, aided by Col. Barnes, is to be thanked for this noble entert:Iinment of our overseas friends.
We were surprised to find an article thus titled in a recent issue of Men Only. The author, who hid behind the nom-deplume of ” Robo,” expressed regret that the safe and invariably well-maintained sports car should be the prey of antimotorists, insurance companies, policemen and the public at large. He suggested a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sports-Car Owners—which might have been valuable a decade ago but is hardly necessary in the present age of Silent high-performance and enlightened mobile policemen. His snappy little article was regrettably spoilt by a crude reference to the use of cars for seduction, which should have been censored.
This Club now has 60 members and recent events have included very wellconducted driving tests (f.t.d. by G. Healey’s Ford Special, in 50.0 sec. ; best demmo. .11adfo rd’ s Ta 1 bot -Darracq racer, in 48.0 sec.) and the Regal Cup Trial. The A.G.M. will be held on December 4th, and a social is held every first Thursday, at 7.30 p.m., at the ” Windmill,” Lace Market. Details from : 11. G. Holt, 14, Upper College Street, Nottingham, who owns a 2-litre Lagonda tourer.
Bob Gerard is one of the finest British drivers in racing today—but he is unlucky over publicity. In the caption beneath Leslie Johnson’s picture in our last issue we said that Johnson made fastest practice time of any British driver at Silverstone in the E-type E.R.A. This was true of Thursday’s practice, but, as the times published elsewhere showed, on the Friday Gerard, in his older B/Ctype E.R.A., beat Johnson’s best lap-time
by 0.4 sec. Then, in the official Silverstone programme, Gerard’s record was inadvertently omitted from the account of the drivers, written, at short notice and in great haste, by the Editor of MOTOR SPORT, at the request of the R.A.C. Fortunately, Gerard’s abilities are so well known that he can afford to shrug his shoulders at such errors and omissions.
The Editor being engaged on night pursuits associated with the Hants & Berks M.C.’ Mrs. Boddy deputised for him at the Bentley Drivers’ Club dinner and dance at the Dorchester. She reports on a pleasant evening as follows :
” Scrupulous attention to detail once again made the Club’s Annual Dinner and Dance an outstandingly entertaining evening. H. Kensington Moir presented the Club’s award for the beat performance by a member during the ‘NS season to P. Mareche Enthusiasts were thrilled to be able to chat wth famous people connected with the old Bentley team, as many of them figured amongst the guests—” W. 0. ” himself, Clement, Duller and Gallop. Marmites ” Speed Six” was driven into the ballroom to the thunder of its exhaust –and subsequent applause. Other exhibits which deprived we mere women of dance-partners were Robertson Roger’s “blower 4k” chassis and an example of what Rolls-Royce consider a Bentley should be. This Club has such a pleasant way of doing things, as. for instance, the invitation to Captain Minchin (4 the Hendon Police Driving School, whose gesture in presenting a case of gin to be raffled, the proceeds of which were to compensate for the breakage of a Bentley crankshaft at the Police v. B.D.C. event, was much appreciated. Sedgwick is now President of the Club, which is no more than he deserves.”
We have been loaned a most historic cuttings-book, saved from a junk-yard by Mrs. Daphne Tolson. It was first compiled in 1897 and belonged to George Foster Pedley, who was London Manager to the Daimler Company and later, in 1900, was promoted to General Manager. The first cutting in this book is from the Daily Mail of Easter, 1897, and describe, a procession from Coventry to Birmingham arranged by Mr. Harry Lawson, who took a representative of the paper in his motor-victoria ; a Bollee is also mentioned. It is stated that round about Coventry people were used to motor-cars and not even the cows were frightened, but the procession caused excitement in the pleasant Warwickshire villages. Much interest was aroused in the” aristocratic” suburbs of Moseley and Edgbaston and that evening a dinner was held at the Grand Hotel, with “complimentary speeches and glowing prophecies.” The next cutting, dated August, 1899, refers to the arrival of the first motor-car in Walton-on-Naze, whence it arrived from Clacton on a Sunday afternoon. Many cuttings follow, relating to a run in Plymouth, when Messrs. Spooner and Co. demonstrated the first motor-car seen in that town. They had bought it, for the delivery of goods, from the London Motor Car and Wagon Company and it arrived from London, driven by Foster Pedley, on the afternoon of December 5th, 1897, having taken two days on its journey, via Bridport. The car was quoted as a Petrol Horseless Carriage, weighing 181 cwt., costing 2350 and allowing “a porterage of about a ton.” Other cuttings describe the passage of this car through Teignmouth (in which a petrol motor, four-speed and reverse
gearbox and tiller steering are mentioned), Bridport, Devonport and Honiton. All hills seem to have been successfully surmounted and the speed on the level is quoted as 9 to 16 m.p.h. Other cuttings refer to the arrival of Mr. Open.shaw’s six-seater motor-car, owned by the Blackpool Motor Company, in Lancaster, whence it had come from Blackpool, via Lytham and Preston, the year being 1897. A long account follows of a fine fuss at Westgate concerning the nuisance experienced from motor-cars plying for hire between Margate and Westgate, the date being August, 1898. An attempt to discourage the cars was made by strewing the hills with gravel, which called forth scorn from the Daily Telegraph dated August 6th, 1808, in which this attempt was likened to the building of a wall around a field by the Wise Men of Gotham to prevent a cuckoo from escaping ! The account was reprinted in the East Kent Times of August
10th, and the Thanet Times of August 12th. 1898—so the motor-car had its advoca t even in those days !
There is an account of a fine of 2s. 6d. with 10s. costs being inflicted at Margate on the driver of a horse-‘bus who drove into a motor-car and damaged it and, when asked by the car-driver for his name and number, knocked him down—it seems that Margate championed the motor-car as much’ as Westgate discouraged it. The ease was reported in the local Press in September, 1898. Two other cuttings are of interest. They describe a successful drive by Pedley in Manchester, in a van built .for Messrs. Sutton and Co., which achieved 12 m.p.h. when clear of the town (date June 4th, 1897) and of the arrival of another van, driven by Pedley, in Shaldon en route for delivery to Torquay, “where a number of similar cars will soon be running between Torquay and Paignton ” (the date appears to be December, 1898). There is also a report of a successful hill-climbing test at Richmond by a ” Parisian ” Daimler in January, 1900, by C. Johnson and
Pedley, and financial notes (1898) relating to the Daimler Company and the Leather Shod Wheel Company, etc These are truly historic clippings and it is a source of satisfaction that they have been saved.
CALLING YOUSE GUYS!
Buddies, it’s happened ! That guy whose poppa makes motor cars in little old-world Warwick has gotten bit With the Hot Rod bug and has formed a kinda club for those who prefer their autos souped-up hot and rod-like, yes, sir ! In other words, Geoffrey Healey, Donald Healey’s son, has formed The British Hot-Rod Association. His appears to be the hottest rod so far, comprising, we understand, the first Healey chassis made, into which a 3.9-litre Mercury engine, with 1 hin.-choke Stromberg carburetter, has been installed. A 3-to-1 axle ratio, 5.25 by 15 front and 6.40 by 15 rear tyres, and 11-in. Lockheed 2LS brakes figure in the specification and the weight is given as 17 cwt. This car made t.d. in the Nottingham S.C.C. driving tests but stripped some gearbox teeth, so HotRodster Geoff. had to return home by train.
Motoring continues to embrace a degree of variety ! Apart from brief experience, prior to the Show, of the new A.C. saloon, the Aston-Martin test chassis and the (at the time screenless) FrazerNash ” Superleggera ” two-seater, the expectation of’ pneumonia occasioned by the latter runs proved unfounded and we even survived a real drenching, and subsequent miserable return journey in the Vauxhall Ten, at the last Prescott meeting. A week later saw us off en route for the practice at Goodwood in a 1,100-e.c. H.R.G., which car obligingly remained on all four wheels that day, only to overturn while its owner was racing it next day. Shelsley Walsh was attended partly per Austin Seven, partly in a 1948 Morris Ten saloon, to ease the coupon situation, the latter car proving pretty amazing in its ability to cruise all the way at an indicated 70 m.p.h. and to set its speedometer needle against the stop at 75 down the slightest hill. Of course, we have all heard of fast speedometers, but, even so, this Ten went astonishingly well and was also endowed with good brakes.
That over, Silverstone was attended twice in the faithful and economical Vauxhall Ten, and once, properly, by occupying the sternsheets of a very fast yet quiet open Type 44 Bugatti, the outward run notable because we became completely lost somewhere in the Alms Hill area through taking a cross-country route, and the return journey being remembered on aecount of a very fine sunset to offset the Buckinghamshire hills. Test of the wonderful little 760-c.c. rear-engined Renault followed, which included sampling the back seat during a seemingly interminable drive along country lanes in the pitch-dark of a pouring wet night. As if that wasn’t depressing enough, the following week-end we were out of bed until 5 a.m. on the Sunday on
night trial duty, which, in the case of the Hants & Berks M.C., involved a check situated on a raft in the middle of a lake, competitors taking boats to reach it ; another check upstairs in a haunted cottage ; yet another at a “treacle factory,” where none other than Eric Giles, in false beard and glasses, conducted midnight operations embracing tiny syrup tins on vast railway trucks. Further on, competitors reluctantly passed two girls who had obviously suffered a puncture returning from a dance, only to discover that these glamorous ladies were the check. If you don’t believe it, enter next year and see for yourselves.
Sunday afternoon was spent dazedly travelling from Hampshire to Berkshire and back in a beautif lly restored 1924 11.9-h.p. Lagonda coupe, our object being to try a 1909 sports-replica single-cylinder de Dion. The veteran either had insufficient fuel in its carburetter to perform or so much that it all but broke the Lagonda driver’s arm when he cranked it. But the Lagonda was fun, being snug and unhurried but notably dignified. It didn’t cruise at much over 80 m.p.h. and was somewhat vague to direct, but it had a delightful little plated remote gear-lever in a gate rather reminiscent of that of the older H.R.G., and an equally delightful fly-off hand-brake that most people think was pioneered by M.G. Moreover, the little car wasn’t unduly thirsty, and the gear-lever came back from top into 2nd gear, as in a Bugatti. Next came a fast evening run as passenger in the aforementioned Bugatti to attend a lecture in London, the return home enjoyable because a challenging M.G. had to be shaken off, and was. The following afternoon was spent on an aerodrome watching a four-wheel-drive racing car go really quickly on test, a sober 1939 Singer Ten saloon with a rather nice gear-change being used as one of the tender cars. Then off early on the Sunday, stowed somehow in the back of a trials Austin Seven, to attend a trial in Kent, in company with a ” T.T. Replica”
Frazer-Nash. On a grand October morning it was pleasant to skirt the military town of Aldershot, climb on to the Hog’s Back, then by-pass old-world Guildford to climb up past Newland’s Corner on that road which gradually changes its character as Surrey becomes Kent. You pass plumb through Dorking, approached along a tree-lined avenue, and Redhill and Godstone, travel a few yards on the London-Eastbourne highway, then turn off right and so to Westerham and Sevenoaks. Our destination was Wrotham, where we transferred to the security of a Ford “Anglia.” Trials really are great fun—we refer to the variety that use ” natural” hills in desolate country and not those concentrated on a piece of heathland. If you have never attended one, do so as soon as you can. Most clubs welcome helpers, although any job undertaken must be taken seriously, for an event is easily marred if marshals are late at their posts, or fail to take vital reports to the finish. Trials flourish in wet weather, so equip yourself adequately and your unsuspecting wife, sister or girlfriend with gum boots, appropriate clothing and a suitably shabby umbrella. Then you will enjoy the fun of driving
down back-of-beyond byways with no difficulty in finding your way if your passenger can read a route-card and spot marker-signs, of preparing your hill or special-test before competitors arrive, perhaps pushing “failures” through the mud, and of hurrying back to the cheerful tea at the finish before the queerlygarbed drivers and navigators arrive. Yes, trials are great fun and do far less harm and are less disliked than a few misinformed pessimists would have us believe. Long may the type of event I have in mind flourish in this pleasant country of ours.
A fine October Saturday was occupied in helping test the exciting four-wheeldrive, air-cooled A.J.B. racing car at Goodwood, the tow there cold and comfortless, for we occupied the cockpit of the racing car and discovered that, if it steered delightfully, its suspension was very hard indeed—it would constitute an admirable means of indicating to local surveyors which roads are breaking up ! Some of the bruises we still carry can, for example, be blamed on the stretch coming from Farnham into Farnborough. But a sandwich lunch before the fire in a country ‘ pub was an excellent preliminary to an afternoon in the delightful surroundings of the J.C.C.’s new track, accompanied by a shopting party, horseriders, interested locals and the inevitable small boys, the Duke’s Bristol and a Mk. VI Bentley lapping majestically between our test-rums. It was as good a way of spending an idle Saturday as any we know and adequate compensation for the even-colder return tow, behind a raucous but lackadaisical Riley Nine tourer.
The next day we traversed the same route in a new Jowett “Javelin,” still in process of running-in, the aforesaid road irregularities this time being damped out by the ” Javelin’s ” supple suspension.
Very enjoyable, too, was an afternoon run well off the beaten track in Berkshire, thanks to careful consultation of the appropriate Ordnance Survey map, in cold but glorious weather, the car the aforementioned special Austin Seven, tea being taken at the delightful country town of Newbury and the run home in the dark enlivened by Guy Fawkes bonfires and firework displays. There was also a cold afternoon when a 1922 American-built 40/50-h.p. “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce tourer swept into the village, as fine a sight as you could wish to see after some of the shapes encountered at Earls Court. This intrtieular car was all the more entertaining for having recently been driven home, with suitable adventure, from Palestine by a young Army major—it still bore distinctly odd registration-plates: Naturally, we went for a run in it, even tried to drive it, in the course of visiting the Phoenix Green Garage to admire a ” 20/60 ” Sunbeam we had espied there. The only clues to the Royce’s American origin were the unexpectedly-long r.h. gear-lever, working, however, in the usual open gate, the ribbon-pattern “speed meter,” an enlarged oil filler, and a Bosch in place of a Watford distributor. The suspension was pleasing, the brakes largely non-existent (although application of the r.h. and rather inaccessible handlever produced a fine metal-to-metal sound) and mighty explosions shook the floor-boards on the overrun, because much of the silencing arrangements had been destroyed in a wadi during the epic homeward journey. For this reason a healthy exhaust-note foreign to these ears was also present. But the big car was well-shod and worked up happily to 55 m.p.h. or so on no throttle at all, was willing to do almost everything in top gear, although running on coil alone, and was grand fun to handle, the small steering wheel juddering in. one’s hands on the end of its long, unenelosed and unsupported column, while the view down on to that shapely yellow bonnet of vast length will not easily be forgotten. The gear-change would have become easy with a little more experience and the clutch was delightfully smooth if not. especially light. The smooth steering was not so high-geared as expected, albeit the very length of the car made it interesting to conduct down winding lanes. On one occasion it ceased altogether, but the trouble was quickly traced to a detached battery terminal and, that replaced, we resumed our regal progress, more than ample charge being registered on behalf of the vast belt-driven generating set we were told was beneath our seat, while fuel pressure, assisted by a hand-pump on starting, remained obligingly at 21b./sq. in., maintained mechanically, and oilpressure was satisfactory. As the car qualifies for the £10 tax it should find a good home with someone, and we will wager that whoever acquires it will get quite tired of the chant “They used to •
make ’em in those days, sir.”
Perhaps one day we shall get to that fireside, with that book . . .