The cars of John Goddard

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Described to the Editor in a recent interview.

John (Jumbo to his close friends) Goddard is a versatile motoring enthusiast and competitor in sprint and vintage contests with sufficient wealth for his style to be uncramped.

His father before him was a great enthusiast, who competed in speed hill-climbs of circa 1904-1910 with Daimler cars.

The family seat was at that time at Pease Pottage (the house is now the Tilgate Forest Cottage Hotel) and here six cars were accommodated in a tiled motor-house which had central heating although the house did not. These cars consisted of three chaindriven poppet-valve Daimlers, a 15-h.p. sleeve-valve Daimler and a fine 1911 6-cylinder Knight-engined Daimler carrying an enormous Petro-Radford searchlight in front of its fluted bonnet. The sixth vehicle was an ancient Daimler, believed to have been built before 1900, used as a luggage tender. A staff of four— chauffeur, second chauffeur, mechanic and washer—attended these Daimlers, for the maintenance of which a beautifullyequipped workshop, containing 6-in. Baldwin lathe, drilling and grinding machines, etc., was available. These machine-tools were driven by a 1 10-volt electric motor for which a to-h.p. Ruston semi-diesel engine and generator in its sunken power-house, which had polished brass-handrails and the steps of which were whitewashed regularly every week, provided the current. It also lit the house, pumped water and powered an organ. All repairs, including re-metalling bearings, were carried out in this well-equipped home workshop.

Little wonder, then, that young Goddard grew up with a love of cars and all things mechanical. While still at Brighton College he acquired a 2-speed G.P. Morgan-Anzani 3-wheeler, later changed for a Morgan 13Iackburne which was tuned by Harold Beart of Kingston until eventually it possessed most of the mods. found in Beart’s well-known Brooklancis record-breaker (see page 161 of “The History a Brooklands Motor Course”).

In this trim Goddard’s Morgan developed some 6o or 70 b.h.p., weighed 5 cwt. and the back tyre lasted 6co miles. It was driven in such events as the M.C.C. High-Speed Trial at Brooklands but was very unreliable, the engine having to be taken down and rebuilt once a fortnight. The worst trouble lay in the back main bearing, which was an uncaged roller bearing in which roller chewed roller with disastrous results. There was at this time a D.O.T.-Bradshaw “oil boiler,” but Goddard’s parents frowned on two-wheels, so it was for a short time only.

John Goddard’s first new car was a 14/40 M.G., engine-turned all over, with red wings. He remembers it as a “gutless wonder.” It probably did 60 m.p.h. but driving it home from Stewart and Ardern’s in London, by the time the youthful owner had reached Egham (the family was now living in Sunningdale, golf having replaced motoring in esteem for Goddard’s father) he was thoroughly disillusioned and the climb up Egham Hill was the anti-climax. Compared to the Morgans… 

A solution was sought at a used-car vendor’s in East London, where the M.G. was swapped for a z-litre 6-cylinder Marlborough Grand Sport, the splendid dashboard of which was its own salesman! That, and the quite delightful German-silver radiator. But looks are not the whole story and the car, says Goddard, ” was deplorable—wouldn’t pull your hat off.” This Marlborough was surely one of the very few, perhaps the only one, ever sold ?Tommy Hann was associated with this T.B. Andre venture at BrooklandS. A friend who accompanied Goddard in the M.G. fell for A Nazzaro„ which was even less sensible.

To get over the disappointment over this “fantastically awful ” Marlborough, a 3-litre Bentley open 4-seater (HT 9029) was bought—a Red Label but with single Smith’s carburetter. This was soon rectified, by fitting twin S.U.s. By now Goddard was serving an apprenticeship at Thornycroft’s Woolston shipyard and he converted the Bentley’s engine to forced induction, installing, very neatly, a Cozette blower and carburetter. This engine he still has, to remind him of student days.

He also has the Bentley—its frame being Used for his 8-litre sports car (Motor Sport, October 1962, page 799), which, amongst other successes, clocked 136.15 m.p.h. over a f.s. kilometre at Antwerp last May.

From 1933 until 1938 Goddard was in Australia, where he used Ford V8s. His first had mechanical brakes that used to lock-on when the car hit a had pothole, this allowing the front axle to move too far downward. This sent the bell-cranks over-centre, so that when the spring returned, the brake-rods were that much shorter and the front brakes were locked on—cure : jack up and hammer the bell-cranks back over-centre. Eventually a permanent cure was effected by putting a heavy leather strap round the axle and a cross-member! His 1937 Ford V8 was the last soft-top utility to be made, and eminently Satisfactory. Even when it rolled over after hitting a hidden tree-stump in the desert they winched it upright with equipment carried in the vehicle and it was none the worse.

Back in England just before the war Goddard bought a blower 4 1/2 Bentley drophead for £60. His comment: “What a bundle of trouble.” In addition, that is, to an 8-m.p.g. petrol thirst.

During the war, when he was attached to the Admiralty to Engineer-in-Chief’s Department, doing experimental boat work— like putting four Bristol Hercules engines in a 110 ft. D-type Fairmile hull—he made do with a Fiat 500, which was an exasperatingly temperamental starter, and several different Morrises.

After hostilities were over, his real motoring began. First there was an open 1 1/2-litre Aston Martin—”but it wanted 150 b.h.p. on account of its weight if it was to go, and the brakes were nonexistent.” So a 328 BMW., with alloy body and “those very comfortable black leather seats,” replaced the A.M. Too few holding-down nuts for the alloy head caused lots of gasket trouble and the tappets continually slackened-off because the head moved.

But the seed was sown and Goddard invested next in another modern sports car, the ex-Whitehead Jaguar XK120, which he still has. It has been considerably modified, with full C-type engine and gearbox, Dunlop disc brakes as on an XK150, new upholstery and a well-stocked dural instrument panel. The 3.54-to-1 axle ratio is retained.

To keep this special XK120 company there is a genuine D-type Jaguar team-car, OKV 1, in which Rolt and Hamilton finished second at Le Mans in 1954. This has been modified only in respect of road-equipment, the head-rest being removed, a fullwidth screen fitted, together with a door and second seat.

Craving an Edwardian, Goddard found his 191 t 6o-h.p. chaindrive Cottin et Desgouttes at Woodbridge in very sorry condition. After partial restoration, it was run on Delage wheels, but has since been fully rebuilt by Humphries Garage at Bracknell and Jack Playford of Thornton Heath and firmed the subject of ” Veteran Types—No. XXXVIII” in Motor Sport for November 1957.

It now seemed desirable to add a G.P. Bugatti to the collection and in Braintree, where he keeps his Burrell traction engine, Goddard heard of a Type 35C and bought it for Ltoo. The oar is non-standard, having an E.N.V. pre-selector gearbox, a Type 37A radiator, and i6-in, wire wheels, shod with Michelin ” X ” tyres. For a while it was in Wales; how it got into a junkyard in Essex is a mystery. Goddard had the engine rebuilt by Kemp Place and the chassis restored by Crisps of Braintree.

Having lots of young nephews and nieces to entertain while in England, Goddard thought it would be nice to be able to take them all out together and the car for the task was Rolls-Royce Phantom II Barker Sedanea de Ville. Bought from the executors on the death of a friend of the family, this fine carriage was rebuilt and endowed with twin S.U.s and the compression ratio raised to about 7 to 1. “It goes well,” says its owner.

Wanting a vintage-style sprint car, Goddard had caused a 6 1/2-litre Bentley engine to he put into his 3-litre Bentley chassis, with other mods previously described in Motor Sport. The 6 1/2-litre, a 2-seater with dickey. Goddard had owned for many years, using it during the summer of 1932. Finding in a Salisbury breaker’s an 8-litre Bentley with the rare Y-series engine he bought it for £100, sold its tyres and P100 lamps for £50, and had the basis of the 8-litre engine which Don McKenzie prepared for the 3-litre chassis.

“What,” I asked, “will become of the 8-litre sans its engine?” “Oh,” replied Goddard, “it’s hanging up on the wall at the moment but I’ve imported from the French Railways a Bugatti Royale engine to put into it.” I can only comment ” What a man!” And what a fine white-elephant the completed car will make!

For a while Goddard ran a Type 57 Bugatti with Gangloff body that had spent the war years in the open. First, of course, he had it fully restored but the conversion to hydraulic brakes was only half completed when it was sold to Mr. Thomas of Maidenhead. “It had great personality but bad brakes,” is the comment. “It put up excellent average speeds without fuss and without exceeding 70.”

This Bugatti was sold to make room for the ex-Shuttleworth, ex-Pacey Type 51 G.P. Bugatti. This will be in original trim, with alloy wheels, when the pre-selector box is replaced by the rebuilt crash gearbox; some oil leaks are also being cured. The car has already performed well in B.O.C. sprints.

Goddard had intended to use his 1934 T.T. Replica Frazer Nash with Gough engine for hill-climbs but although the o.h.e. engine has been rebuilt by McKenzie the impossibility of materially raising the compression-ratio makes it ” rather disappointing,” so it has been laid up pending an opportunity to supercharge it. Finally, in this collection of a connoisseur, there is a 1924 fiw.b. Rolls-Royce chassis, from which a hearse body will be removed, while personal motoring in England has been supplemented by a Shorrock-blown Morris Mini Traveller with its engine bored out to 1,050 c.c. by Pippbrook Garage and a full set of instruments fitted.—W.B.

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