K. C. Radburn, F.S.M.C., F.I.O.O. retains his keenness for Salmsons, but, conceding to his wife’s request, has purchased a “San Sebastian” coupé model. He would like owners of vintage Salmsons to communicate with him with a view to starting a Salmson Register. His address is: 67, London Avenue, Radford, Coventry. A reader who owns two 8-litre Bentleys and a 4½-litre Bentley bought a 1923 11.4-h.p. Humber two-seater at a farm auction sale, recently for £10. He now uses it for business motoring, averaging some 1,200 miles a month and wouldn’t part with it for many times the purchase price. The car is original except for well-base wheels and tyres and gives 2,000 m.p.g. of oil and 28 m.p.g. of petrol, the latter probably capable of improvement. The brakes, although merely external contracting on the rear wheels with a foot transmission brake, are quite effective. C. J. Sare has unearthed an early Adams in very nearly complete, if rusty, order and would like to exchange it for something interesting and vintage, together with his 1981 Singer Junior saloon. Colin Campbell has bought from Blake’s of Liverpool a very beautiful 1932 “100 m.p.h.” 4½-litre Invicta, two/four-seater. The car seems to be standard, apart from both friction and hydraulic shock-absorbers to both axles, but the new owner would be very glad to hear from previous owners. The car is Reg. No. NV 1061, chassis no. S 112A, engine no. 7661. The gearbox possesses a “chatter” yet appears to be in good order, but advice would be welcomed. Incidentally, Blake’s also had for sale the ex-Lace T.T. 4½-litre Invicta. W. J. Oldham has acquired a beautifully-preserved 1910, 88-h.p. Daimler. He also has an as-new 1927 Austin Twelve saloon and uses an early Austin Twenty truck on his farm. The October issue of the Hants and Berks M.C. Bulletin gave an amusing account of their Night Navigation Rally, which attracted 56 entries and is obviously a mixture of college students’ “rag” and a gala night out for motoring types — just the thing to induce a little cheer in these cheerless times, until “cheer” itself is nationalised. Anthony Curtis has been spending part of the winter doing sums. He estimates that from Easter to the end of the racing season, installing Antone public address at thirty car and motor-cycle events, he assembled over 800 loud-speakers, laid more than 30 miles of wire, equivalent to ten laps of Silverstone, and walked, as a staff of four, an aggregate of 400 miles — a real job of work and, adds Tony proudly, “not a single breakdown.” A 1928-4 “11.9” Lagonda, rusty but nearly complete, is reported at a scrapyard at Brampton, possibly useful for spares.
The Rootes Group Manufacturing Division has issued a nicely-produced book on the Rootes Group Training Schemes, which anyone concerned with the future of young people should study. It is available from Devonshire House, Piccadilly, W.1. If you want lessons on how to draw cars, racing cars in action and repose included, buy “How to Draw Cars,” by Frank A. A. Wootton (The Studio Ltd., 8s.). It is full of instructive pencil drawings of cars and some very fine completed drawings. If some of the racing cars have rather “castory” wheels and proceed in clouds of dust, their general presentation is of a high standard, which this neat little book should assist you to attain. R. Gordon Sutherland has succeeded S. C. H. Davis in the presidency of the Aston-Martin Owners’ Club.
Leyland Motors, Ltd., have drawn our attention to an article in the November issue of the Leyland Journal which describes the successful experiments of a Liverpool firm of haulage contractors in filling the tyres of their Leyland tractors with water mixed with chloride of lime, in order to obtain greater wheel adhesion. All sorts of other advantages appear to have followed this novel form of tyre inflation, so trials drivers and Monte Carlo Rally competitors may find the matter of interest. John Cooper has been elected President of the A.C. Owners Club. “Peterborough,” in the Daily Telegraph of November 3rd, announced that Lord Hartington has given the N. Midland M.C. permission to organise a Rally at Chatsworth, on April 1st next year.
The 750 Club’s suggestion for “un-blown 750-c.c.” racing next season between cars built of near-standard Austin Seven components is resulting in a lot of interest. In addition, three enthusiasts plan to run (not in these 750 Club events) three unblown 750-c.c. cars powered with Douglas “Drone” or linered-down Douglas “Sprite” light aeroplane engines. Modified pistons to give a 12 to 1 compression ratio, using J.A.P. fuel, are spoken of and early experiments have been very encouraging, and not in any way expensive.
A 1923 Deemster is being rebuilt in Sussex. Will England ever become really motor-minded? On the morning after the Lord Mayor’s Show a country school-teacher opening her paper in a London-bound train, said, “Oh dear, an accident in the Lord Mayor’s Show. Still, the casualties weren’t very serious (21 injured). But they shouldn’t have the Show in November, because of the possibility of car-skids.” Now the speed of the lethal vehicles involved was mostly 5 m.p.h., with an absolute maximum of 10 m.p.h. Heal’s Sunbeam was in bottom-gear throughout. Oh well!
Out in Wellington, D. A. Bartlett, 148, Oxford Tu Ext, Hutt City, is rebuilding a 1927 “14/40” Vauxhall and promises to write to anyone who will correspond with him about these cars. Amongst the latest “converts” to the charm of the modern Morris Minor are Stirling Moss and John Wyer. H. J. Lotery is rebuilding the 1,750-c.c. “Zagato” Alfa-Romeo illustrated in last month’s issue and would like to hear from past owners (BG0242) and G.Wilson, L.D.S. owns two 1,750-c.c. Alfa-Romeos, one believed to be a 1929 Show model, but now with a twin-cam Tipo 6C engine installed and the other a 1932 Tipo 6C four-seater drop-head. He, too, would like to learn more of these cars; registration Nos. GE 8270 and ETN 627, respectively.
The Lord Mayor’s Show
Those who risked pneumonia to watch this year’s Lord Mayor’s Show were rewarded by a fine procession of veteran, Edwardian and vintage cars. These included a 1898 Benz, the Thornycroft Steamer, Rootes’ Sunbeam-Mabley and 1907 Humber, a Riley tricar, a tiller-steered Jowett with suspiciously modern-looking distributor, a model-T Ford, Sears’ yellow “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce landaulette, a T-head Austin tourer, the 1922 Austin Seven, a 1914 a 1928 11.9 h.p.-Lagonda, the Val Doone’s 1924 “30/98” Vauxhall and Heal’s 1926 8-litre twin-cam Sunbeam driven by Wyer, with the Editor of Motor Sport as passenger. There was also a single-cylinder Rover, but it succumbed early, while the Riley stopped for a plug-change, the Jowett retired and the Austin Seven boiled. The public appeared to appreciate the old cars and it was all the greatest fun. The speed of the procession was exceedingly slow, with frequent stops — London just doesn’t seem able to get traffic through its streets quickly, even with roads closed for an occasion such as this! Note that roads can be closed for purposes such as this. And that this time it was the horses which had the accident.
The B.R.D.C. has presented T. H. Wisdom with the E.R.A. Club Trophy to commemorate his victory in the touring class of this year’s Mille Miglia, driving a Healey. It has also presented a Gold Star to Lt.-Col. “Goldie” Gardner, O.B.E., M.C., for establishing new records in Class I in his Gardner Special.
This year’s M.C.C. Exeter Trial will probably include Windout, Fingle, Simms and some new hills. Entries close on December 5th, and helpers are needed. Apply to: 26, Bloomsbury Way, W.C.1 (Holborn 7461).
Racing at Singapore
The Singapore M.C.’s Johore Grand Prix, which we reported last month, brought together some interesting cars and emphasises the world-wide interest now taken in motor-racing. H.E. the Regent of Johore opened the course in his V12 Lagonda, following which was his Type 540 K Mercedes-Benz, a 4½-litre Bentley containing Oliver Bertram, who holds the Class B Brooklands lap-record in the Barnato-Hassan at 142.6 m.p.h., and who was acting as R.A.C. Steward, and the Secretary of the Meeting’s beautiful 1912 “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce.
Amongst the competing cars were a lightened and tuned “TC” M.G., Lim Peng Han’s “TB” M.G./Bugatti hybrid, Kok Kum Wolfs 1,100-c.c. F.I.A.T. with F.I.A.T. “1,500” engine, Hellyer’s Singer Nine roadster, another 1,100-c.c. F.I.A.T., and a third 1,100-c.c. F.I.A.T. with, however, a Ford V8 engine. One of the smartest of the specials was J. N. K. Moncrieff’s Kudensay, with tubular chassis having F.I.A.T. “1,100” independent front suspension, a cut-down Ford back-axle on ¼-elliptic springs. a Ford V8 engine and a home-brewed monoposto body on a tubular framework. This car tied for fastest lap, 59.68 m.p.h., with Lim Peng Han’s L.A. Special, which also had a Ford V8 engine. Unfortunately the latter’s steering wheel came adrift on its splines and a mild accident resulted. The low speed is explained by the severity of the two-mile circuit on public roads, which included five right-angle corners. About 95 m.p.h. was reached along the 7/10th-mile straight. Twenty thousand people are estimated to have attended in spite of a shade temperature of 87 degrees. Good show, Singapore.
The Christmas Trial will take place on December 18th, over a route of about 25 miles, in Hertfordshire, starting at Edgware about 11 a.m. and finishing near Berkhamsted. Competitors will be confronted in the meantime with six tests and a turkey, Christmas pudding and beer luncheon. Entries have closed. Marshals are needed and will be briefed at a meeting at the “Green Man,” Edgware, at 7.80 p.m. on December 14th. Helpers should apply to Mrs. Wilson, 44, Bittacy Rise, Mill Hill, N.W.7.
The Motor Industry Research Association has issued its fourth annual report. Work at present in progress includes measurement of noise, influence of valve material on exhaust valve life with leaded fuels, design and positioning of piston rings, piston ring movement, fatigue strength of cast crankshafts, fuel sprays for i.e. engines, ventilation of public service vehicles, bending and surface fatigue of gear teeth, etc. However, what we find of greater interest is the proving ground at the R.A.F. airfield at Lindley, probably because it is “out of bounds” to racing motorists and journalists. The terms of the M.I.R.A.’s lease of Lindley include a 21-year tenancy with option to renew at 7 or 14 years, at a rental of £2,000 per annum, which also covers occupation of the control tower and three Nissen-type huts having a total floor space of 8,000 sq. ft.— how, one wonders, does this compare with the terms of lease of Silverstone to the R.A.C.? The Ministry of Food retains a few small huts. The M.I.R.A. has been able to sub-let approximately 407 acres of land to local farmers, with permission of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. This brings in an annual revenue of £588. We mention this because it gives some insight into what a test or race circuit costs in Socialised Britain.
At Lindley considerable repair and renovation of buildings and installation of new services had to be undertaken. There are various circuits marked out on the six miles or more of roadway, and photo-electric timing has been installed on the two 2,000-yard straights. A half-mile stretch of Belgian pavé has been laid and further developments may embrace “washboard” roads, a “rippled” road, a dust tunnel, a skid patch and possibly a banked circuit — most of which existed before the war at Brooklands
We have drawn attention before to the motoring flavour imparted to the American monthly True by its enthusiastic Editor, Ken. W. Purdy. In his October issue he did it again, with a long feature devoted to the Bugatti — “The Fabulous Bugatti” he called it — which included colour pictures of Type 57SC, Type 35 G.P., Type 43A and “La Royale.” Altogether an excellent thing, even if one does notice that speeds seem to go up when cars get to America, the maximum of “La Royale” being given as 142 m.p.h., for instance, while there is a suggestion that a Type 57SC electron coupé will show in the region of a speedometer 150 m.p.h.
These motoring features in True are truly pleasing, and must help materially to foster and maintain enthusiasm for the right sort of cars, in the States. If we lived there we should certainly place an order, so as not to miss any of Purdy’s motoring articles. In this same October issue he even has an amusing story about our Joan and Bob Gerard — but Peter Hampton saw it first and is going to reproduce it in Bugantics, so we will play fair and let that one remain the property of members of the Bugatti Owners’ Club.
The Vintage Motor Cycle Club’s Rex Judd Trophy for the best speed performances during the year has been won by F. D. Booth (1930 Ariel). On October 9th a rally was held to Leeds to inspect the wonderful collection of vintage cars and motor-cycles owned by John Ellis. Derek Pickering won a prize for his ride from Coventry on his 1912 Premier, and a special award was presented to Mr. Reed, who is 75 years of age and who rode his 1919 two-speed Scott from York. Earlier this year he covered 340 miles in a day on this machine, and in the rain, too! New members continue to be enrolled, the latest cluster being owners of 1909 Triumph, 1920 Scott, 1920 A.B.C., 1924 Velocette, 1925 Triumph, 1925 and 1926 Scotts, 1926 and 1927 Sunbeams, 1928 Norton, 1928 Ariel, 1929 Scott Flyer, etc. The October “Bulletin” contained articles on “Overhauling an A.B.C.” by “Torrens,” and on “The Story of the Fastest Side-Valve Single” by V. C. Tait (it was Loweth’s 1931 Norton, which did 96 m.p.h.). Gen. Sec.: R. A. Beecroft, 65a, Wembley Park Drive, Wembley, Middlesex.
The Annual General Meeting was held following the M.C.C. Trial at Buxton.
The attendance of some 60 members created a record in this direction and a very enthusiastic meeting followed.
With a membership of 112 before the meeting, 16 new members were accepted during the course of the evening.
With three vacancies on the Committee, the following were elected: Mr. J. Twyford, of Manchester; Mr. K. Rawlings, of Birmingham; Mr. F. D. Dent, of London, which makes a Committee for the coming year of 12 representatives: Mr. M. Toulmin (Chairman); Mr. J. Masters (Hon. Treasurer); Mr. J. H. Appleton; Mr. L. O. Bartlett; Mr. K. E. Burgess; Mr. R. K. N. Clarkson; Mr. R. E. Holt; Mr. G. Warburton; Mr. D. G. Flather (Hon. Secretary).
Another matter of interest which arose was the offer of the Association to assist members who were considering participation in Continental events, such as the Monte Carlo Rally and the “Alpine,” and to this end Monte Carlo Rally regulations had been obtained and were distributed at the meeting, and all members who had queries in this connection were asked to approach the Hon. Secretary for possible assistance.
It was also stated that the B.T.D.A. had presented an award to the Monte Carlo authorities to be given to the highest placed of their members in the Rally. Hon. Sec.: D. G. Flather, Standard Steel Works, Tinsley, Sheffield.
The Huddersfield M.C. run almost exclusively for motor-cyclists, is considering forming a car section, and running the less barbaric sporting events. Details from: P. Mellor, 2, Arnold Street, Birkby, Huddersfield.
The Public Schools M.C. will meet at 7.80 p.m., at the “Brunswick Arms,” Stamford Street, S.E.1, on December 12th. G. H. R. Rice, Plough Inn, Coldharbour, Surrey (Tel.: Dorking 782931) is the hon. secretary.
The new Welsh Counties C.C. appears to be doing very well. It has only been in existence about six months, but has held “nogs and natters,” a scavenge hunt, a talk on Bentleys by Joe Grant, and fortnightly socials. On November 5th they held a gymkhana at Cardiff airport, H. L. Sackson’s Austin Sheerline making best performance. Membership is over 70 and new members are welcome at the “Carpenter’s Arms,” Rumney, any Monday evening or can obtain details from I. D. Williams, “Bryntirion,” Hollybush Road, Cyncoed, Cardiff. There is to be a talk on fuels by Mr. Harris of Shell on December 5th, and a rally and hillclimb on Boxing Day. Nice work, Wales!
The M.G. C.C. (S.W. Centre) held its A.G.M. on November 5th. John Thornley attended and presented Morrish with the Slade Challenge Cup for his gymkhana success. The Kimber Trophy Trial will be held in the Mendips on Boxing Day. Hon. Sec.: R. White-Smith, Winterbourne, Gloucester.
Alan Hess points out, in fairness to Stuart. and Richards, that his book on the Indianapolis records was not subsidised by Austin. A. F. Rivers Fletcher has been appointed Public Relations Officer of the Owen Organisation, which includes Rubery Owen and Co., Ltd., well-known in the motoring world. Dudley Folland’s Aston-Martin is being rebuilt at Monaco for next year’s sports-car racing, a new body reminiscent of that on the 2-litre Ferrari he raced this year being fabricated, the rear of the chassis provided with extra cross-members, and the 2-litre engine with. its four Amals being re-tuned; it gives over 100 b.h.p.
Rex Mays, the famous American driver, was killed last month in a race in California. The S.C.C. of America hopes to hold a sports-car race at West Palm Beach., Florida, on January 2nd. Len Parker has re-built his well-known V12 trials car as a rear-engined vehicle. The November issue of the V.S.C.C. “Bulletin,” beautifully produced as usual, effectively captures the Club’s enthusiasm for old cars, and contains Clutton’s inimitable account of the Earls Court Show. The Point-to-Point run on November 6th by the A.C. Owners and Hants & Berks M.C. was won by Eric Giles (Vauxhall), with Bulmer (Frazer-Nash) second and Birkett (Bugatti) third. The Lagonda C.C. will stage a display of Monkhouse films on German racing (very good, these!) at the “Prince of Wales” tavern, Drury Lane on December 7th, at 7.80 p.m.
The Citroën Car Club has issued an attractive magazine, The Citroenian.
Words of Vintage Wisdon
It is with great pleasure that we quote the following paragraphs from an excellent little article by Paul Jennings, which appeared in the Observer last October. We defy anyone to despise the vintage cult and deny that it is gaining ground, now that a paper of the status of the Observer has printed such an obviously genuine tribute: —
“If there are any critics in the next century, the impersonal age of Aldous Huxley and Orwell, it is possible that they will talk about motor cars as we now talk about cathedrals. Just as experts to-day say that the plain spire at Chartres is ‘pure’ and the ornate one is ‘decadent,’ so these motor critics will speak of the ‘great’ period of the twenties.
My car, a 1928 Austin Seven whose number plate bears the apt monosyllable UB, belongs to this period. It is a ‘pure’ car. Decadence begins when function is overlaid and concealed, when the car ceases to be a system of steel and rubber for getting from A to B and tries to become something else — a flatlet, or a small cocktail bar, with carpets and radio. In UB one never forgets that one is in a car. Large pieces of the classically simple engine project companionably through the floorboards. The oil gauge is a button which comes out on the dashboard (the dashboard, not the baroque ‘instrument panel’). You press this button in, and if it comes out again the oil is all right; in fact the oil is so all right that it squeezes past the button and drips slowly down on to my trousers unless I periodically wipe it away.
“I can thus never become dangerously absent-minded on the road; I am always reminded that I am in a machine. But it is a machine perfectly capable of taking me all round France, where the garagists would drop work on the shiny limousines of Belgians and crowd round saying: ‘Ah, c’est un Rosingarde.‘ I used to think this was a poetic allusion to the steed of some legendary hero until found that the Rosengart is a French make of car, now defunct. I am admitted to the brotherhood of garages everywhere.” Incidentally, a keen Austin Seven owner sent us this clipping. He is using the fifteenth Austin Seven in his family, a 1938 “Ruby” saloon, and expresses the hope that the new Austin Seven will soon appear, so that “we will be able to save face amongst the Morris Minor clan.” He would like to see more speed, 50 m.p.g., a less-sudden clutch, better steering and hydraulic brakes when the new Austin Seven does appear. And there is news that it may quite possibly be at the 1950 Motor Show . . .
SOME MORE FROM THE VINTAGE POSTBAG, October 1950
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