The R.A.C. Brighton Run
This year the November classic, held on November 2nd, attracted 206 entries, or 30 fewer than in 1957. These included some veterans appearing for the first time in the Run, such as the 1903 8.-h.p. L’Elegante from Kidderminster and a three-cylinder Turner-Miesse steam car of 1904. There was a good International element, the Belgian V.C.C. putting in three entries consisting of an 1897 Vallee, a 1900 Georges Richard and a 1900 de Dion Bouton Quadricycle, while the Antique Automobile Club of America entered a 1903 Mercedes.
Oldest vehicle to compete was the Science Museum’s 1888 Roger-Benz three-wheeler, which was permitted to start from Hyde Park at 7 a.m., half an hour before the main contingent. It was driven by C. F. Gaunter, who crashed at Purley last year but this time arrived triumphantly, after a wet drive lasting 7¾ hours. Another Science Museum car, an 1897 Lanchester, second car of this make to be built, was prepared for the Run by the Chequers Speed Shop but had armature trouble and failed to start, its famous driver, George Lanchester, being taken to Brighton in Bird’s 1904 12-h.p. Lanchester.
This year I was offered a seat by the Rt. Hon. Lord Montagu of Beaulieu in the fine 1903 Sixty Mercedes in which he took me on the Run last year. This was not to be missed, so, in pouring rain, I left home at 5.30 a.m. to drive to London. The much publicised Chiswick fly-over road was actually badly flooded and conditions were about as miserable as could be. However, even at 6.45 a.m. enthusiasts, girls as well as men, had unfurled umbrellas and were trekking to Hyde Park to see the fun.
Even before he reached the start, Robert Glenton, who was driving Lord Montagu’s little 1903 de Dion Bouton, had a tyre explode, no doubt to the consternation of the Dunlop representative riding with him. Lord Montagu’s other car, new to the Run, in the form of the interesting 1904 6-h.p. Brushmobile, left in the care of Air-Cmdr. W. He!more, whose 1936 Rolls-Royce was following as tender car.
In the Mercedes we were five up, Barone Giorgio Franchetti, and his friend, from Italy, and another friend of Lord Montagu, being in the car. This made not the slightest difference to its performance, which is that of a good Edwardian. However, this year Lord Montagu was determined not to get ahead of schedule and extended the great car only up the hill past Croydon Aerodrome and along the Gatwick By-Pass. Most entrants felt, however, that the 20-m.p.h. average was too low and we would like to see it raised to 30 m.p.h. Peter Hampton ignored the schedule, arrived first at Brighton in his Sixty Mercedes, and was disqualified. Also disqualified was C. A. Oakden (1903 Panhard-Levassor). The first official arrival was Stanley Sears, in his 1901 Mors.
We had an entirely troublefree but very wet run, the low cloud which saturated competitors and spectators defeating the R.A.C. helicopter, which couldn’t get through to Brighton. The Baron and his friend from Italy showed immense enthusiasm, which reached its peak when an O.M. “Superba” was seen parked on the off side of the road approaching Brighton.
This year there were 15 non-starters and 9 veterans, listed in the opposite column, fell by the wayside. L. Briggs’ 1904 2¼-h.p. Humber Olympia Tandem was delayed by a wet ignition system, a Sunbeam-Mabley needed pushing at Handcross and a 1902 Arrol-Johnston dog-cart had gone onto one cylinder. R. Gilbert rode alone on his 1904 Quadrant tricar. The 1899 Hurtu and R. L. Bennett’s 1904 Panhard-Levassor had ignition maladies, and the Fotheringham-Parker 1901 4½-h.p. Renault was towed in.
The weather spoilt the afternoon parade but presented the unusual spectacle in the Pavilion at Brighton, where Lord Montagu dispensed generous hospitality, of John Bolster in his pyjamas and Robert Glenton in his underpants, drying out. — W. B.
The cars which retired were:
E. de W. S. Colver (1896 Arnold), R. S. Miles (1899 Benz). R. F. Collinson (1900 New Orleans). Hans Schoof (1901 Benz), P. Fotheringham-Parker (1901 Renault). A. Butterworth (1903 L’Elegante), A. C. Fairtlough (1904 Panhard-Levassor), A. J. L. Evans (1904 Peugeot) and W. H. S. Watson (1904 Star).
Boxing Night Informal
The Editor of Motor Sport proposes to embark on his annual “Exeter replica” on Boxing Night and invites owners of vintage light cars to join in. The affair is an informal one, without entry fee or prizes. The plan this time is to follow the route of the 1924 M.C.C. Exeter Trial, which involves starting from Staines during the evening of December 26th, travelling nearly to Exeter, attempting four hills and one restart test; although the run will not be officially marshalled, it is hoped to be able to time this restart over the same distance and at approximately the same place on Salcombe Hill as was done thirty-four years ago.
Starting time from Staines will be dependent on whether or not any cafés can be found which will be open for refreshment on Boxing Night, the aim being to return as far as possible in daylight on the Saturday. In 1924 the following makes of small car were entered for the Boxing Night Exeter Trial—Rhode, Gwynne, A.B.C., Calthorpe, G.N., Morris-Cowley, McKenzie, B.S.A., Salmson, Astral, Lagonda, Riley, Seabrook, Horstman, Singer, Rover, G.W.K., Cluley, Palladium, Schneider, Amilcar, Eric-Campbell, Eric-Longden, Talbot, Citroën. Loyd-Lord, Ariel, Bayliss-Thomas, Stoneleigh, Fiat, Clyno, Whitlock, Autocrat, Sterling, Standard, Wolseley, Matchless, Jowett, Hampton, Derby, Frazer-Nash-G.N., Lea-Francis, Straker-Squire, Waverley, Surrey, Swift, Peugeot and Mercury. It is hoped that at least some of these makes will turn out this year. If you consider Boxing Night unsuitable, we can only comment that something like 250 persons, not counting motor-cyclists, were sufficiently enthusiastic to go in 1924.
Those who want to come along can obtain the starting place and time by telephoning Mr. Boddy at MON 8944 (office) or Fleet 831 (home), preferably not later than December 15th.
Two more unearthed! Near Aldershot recently a 1912-13 Unic two-seater was discovered in a wood, where it had been standing since 1935. After the magneto had been refitted (the police had insisted on its removal during the invasion scare!) the engine started first swing and the car changed hands for £20. In Essex a 1924 12/20 Calthorpe two-seater, which was used up to a few years ago exists in good condition—this one also starts first pull-up!