Veteran Edwardian Vintage, December 1980

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Veteran Edwardian Vintage

A SECTION DEVOTED TO OLD-CAR MATTERS PHIL PADDON

IN ME lit iiaries that we have been

serialising the, „ire several refereziees to meeting Phil Paddon, who was then a well-known figure in nattering cireks closely associated with the firm of Padden Brothers. the Rolls-Royce specialists, who still operate from the original premises in Knightsbridge’s Cheval Place. A feW notes may therefiire not be out of place. I

an indebted to Comdr. Hugh Keller. himself it great Rolls-Royce enthusiast and owner of an immaculate 1929 Rolls-Royce ‘Twenty Jame, Young Weymann saloon, lox his assistance. Comdr. Keller served in the Royal Navy, joining the Grand Fleet from Dartmouth in 1916. Alter the war he had it sports AC and then a 10,23 Talbot Weymann salotm. fitted with radiator-shutters. and a big trunk on the back, in which he and his sister motored to Nice. !lc wonders if this excellent little car has survived — its Reg. Ni,. Wan XY2034.

Before the First War Paddon was in partnership with Vincent Herman, who was killed in the first fatal accident at Brooklands, when his Minerva overturned in a race there during the opening season of 1907. PacIdon had founded his Company in 1905. with the celebrated aviator Tommy Sopwith. It was then known as Padden and Supwith, being situated at 1 Albemarle Street, WI where the racing-motorist Tommy Hann had offices in the 1920s I, with workshops in Pavilion Road. The link is self-explanatory when I sat that Padden was a great enthusiast for the then-popular sport of ballooning, going aloft with pilots of the calibre of the Hon. C. S. Rolls. Tommy Sopwith and Moore Brabazon, later Lord Brabazon of Tara. Indeed, he shared a balloon called “Palsop” with Sopwith. Alien one flight it landed in Regent’s Park fortunately not in a Zoo enclosure. After it had been deflated it was stored M a convenient shed, where the statue of HM Queen Victoria, which now stands near Buckingham Palace, was being completed, no the intrepid aviators had the first view nut, before it Wet formally unveiled.

In those days his Company sold all makes of cars but his friendship with Rolls gave him a preference for Rolls-Royces, in which he was later In specialise. His first sale of a 40,50 h.p. car of this make was in 1907 rein old school friend, who bought a new Twenty RollS from Paddon in 1928, and a new Phantom II in 1934. BY 1907 Sopwith had become totally immersed in aviation. so Paddon brought in his two brothers, Cecil and Stanley. The boys’ father had been a diamond merchant who. after losing most at his fortune in South Africa. was for a time chauffeur to the Earl of Dunraven. Before the 1939 war Padden had .a little 8 h.p. Renault, which he used for running about London. Neville

Minchin bought it when war broke out. Paddon then conducted his business from his cottage at Holmwood. The Renault had been u drophead coupe. but Sydney Mo, Fulham another name found in those RI:t. Dial ieso contorted it into a fixed-head coupi. It is interesting that Padden Brothers were to take a Renault franchise in 1967. The Company began its transfer to Chevul Place in 1920. into premises built in 1910 as the London Repair Dept. ol the Benz. Motor Company. This is where Segrave’s GI’ Opel was housed after the war (indeed, may have been stored throughout the war?t. The move was completed by 1928 and many extensions have been made since. During the Second World War the premises were occupied by fruit merchants and, as beliire, business was condtioed from Holmwimcl. Hugh Keller joined Paddon in 1925. when the enthusiastic amateur goher Algy Pearson and Percy Barry were Paddon’s partners, his brothers having left. Cecil to go to South Africa. Stanley to the India Stores Department where he rose to the position of Director-General. with a Knighthood, before emigrating to Canada. Padtion was very friendly with Neville Minchin who had various Rolls-Rowes with lightweight bodies and he designed and built several special bodies on Rolls-Rover chassis. One of these was made by Sydney Moss, to the pattern of the tumblesided tourer found on the 24160 Sunbeams of the early 1920s, on the 4050 h.p. Rolls-Royce ehassis 65-CE. Keller and Paddon also ‘,Meal the lightweight body of the former’s present Rolls-Royce. Paddon had a wonderful Secretary in Miss James and an excellent mechanic in Albert Etherington. who had joined him as his chauffeur in 1920. It was this chauffeur who drove Paddon

and Neville Minchin with Louis Coatalen and Segrave who were competing in Paddon, Grand Sport Delage to the 1921 French Grand Prix at Le Mans, Segrave having first driven Minchin down to Guernsey from London in one of the 1914 TT Sunbeams — obviously the can written up by Kent Karslake after the war in his “Veteran Types” series for MOTOR SPORT — fitted with a touring body, Paddon went to most of the early motor races and dealt in many racing-car sales. He died in the early 1950s, the Company being taken over by Brian Grave and his sister, Mrs. Cave.

W.B.