My father was employed in the early twenties by the Allen-Bennett Motor Co. of Croydon. Although they dealt mostly in unsporting machinery, Brian Allen rode a Brough Superior at Brooklands, and it was presumably he who was responsible for marketing a tuned version of the Austin 12/4 (one of which my grandfather was prevailed upon to buy) which was apparently guaranteed to lap Brooklands at 60 m.p.h. Just what mods, were made to the vehicles, or whether they were actually tested at Brooklands prior to delivery, I am not clear. Can any reader throw any light on this?
One anecdote that my father was fond of recounting concerned one of the partners, who drove, I believe, an Armstrong-Siddeley. A heavy drinker, and frequenter of a number of pubs in the Croydon area, he was frequently brought home in a taxi, and it would fall to the lot of the younger salesmen to drive round the town the following morning in an attempt to locate the abandoned A-S, the whereabouts of which was now quite unknown to its owner!
In closing, was the Allen-Bennett Co. the first to offer an “off the shelf” tuning kit?
S. Croydon TIM HARDING