A Vintage MG Treat
WE have become accustomed to the MGCC’s “Triple-M Year Book” being a rare treat for all those who are interested in MG history and the 1983 edition, just available, is no exception. The anticipation starts on the front cover, with a big picture of the Evans’ single-seater Q-type MG Midget being wheeled out for a race at Brooklands, “Wilkie” in attendance and Kenneth Evans walking beside it, with Doreen Evans coming up behind. The book, 47 F96es measuring 111/2 in. x 8 in, is full of pictures as nostalgic as that.
Apart from Club matters, the articles include Wilson McComb’s very readable “Loose Ends at Le Mans”, clarifying MG pre-war happenings in the famous 24-hour race, Colin Butchers sorting out some Q-type history, and the reminiscences of the Evans family as recounted to Keith Hall in an interview with Kenneth Evans. Then there is Terry Holden writing about MG and the 1933 Alpine Trial and there are long articles, full of “meat”. As you get colour plates and technical tips as well, the book is excellent value, at £2.00 post free (£3.00 with overseas postage), and it is obtainable from the MG Car Club, MMM Register, c/o 3, Kenmore Close, Kew, Surrey, on mentioning MOTOR SPORT. We are told the demand for the 1982 Year Book was “incredible”, so hurry! — W.B. V-E-V Miscellany. — Little is new under the sun! It may be remembered that when the BBC was making its film about Sir Malcolm Campbell it used a large mock-up of the LSR car “Blue Bird”, which was afterwards exhibited on the roof of the Festival Hall. We were reminded the other day that another large, non-working model of “Blue Bird” in its 1935 form was constructed that year and was too large to go inside the Liverpool Museum, so had to be shown outside. A reader whose interest is mainly in steam — he has an ageing Marshall traction engine — has been researching the history of a local company, Vantage Engineering, and has discovered that rumours exist of a Wantage car, with an engine of the company’s own make. If anyone has anything to add, he would be interested. In the last instalment of our series “Motoring As It Was” we referred to O.J. lunching at Sam’s Chop House in
Manchester in 1922, remarking that presumably it has long since gone. Wrong! A reader sends a postcard saying it is still in existence, at Black Pool Fold, Chapel Walks, which is nice to know. That deserving organisation the British Racing Mechanics Club is approaching its 50th Anniversary and next February holds its Annual Dinner Dance at the Leofric Hotel, where, after the awards have been presented, we can expect the mechanics to tom the champagne on their drivers. Lucas Industries are busy setting up their own Group Archive and Museum, among which will be a comprehensive range of motoring electrical equipment down the years. Another, much smaller museum is that formed of what survived of the stock and equipment of J. B. Bowler & Sons Ltd, 1872 to 1969. This Camden Works Museum of Morford Street, Bath, where Richard Chapman, not unknown in our world, is Guide and Machinery Adviser, is mainly devoted to Victorian stock in trade and machines dating back to around 1775. But among its exhibits are a few old magnetos, and a Napier radiator thought to have come from one of the Company’s two light trucks, probably ex-1914/18 war-time ambulances. One exhibit puzzles Mr Chapman and Lucas and information is sought — it is a side-fitting, Lucas electric starter with six-bolt fitting, to its oil-tight case, six-volt, its casing stamped K657, with two insulated terminals. Its number is A930 and it is thought to be as early as 1912. If anyone knows anything, letters can be forwarded. The last issue for this year of the Magazine of the Austin Seven CA contained interesting illustrated articles on Japanese A7s and the milk delivery adaptation of the
Chummy brought out by the Austin Motor Company in 1931, of which 37 were apparently made, of which six were for export, the latter article being by the owner of just such an A7. The October issue of Historic Commercial, journal of the HCVS, carries reports of the Society’s Shugborough Hall and IoM Rallies.
Although the Model-T Ford was the car which opened up the American out-backs after 1907, in a copy of the Strand Magazine dated 1906 which has come into our possession there is an article about pioneer attempts at trans-Continental runs from San Francisco to New York or vice-versa. These included reference to the unsuccessful journey by Alexander Winton in a car of his own make in 1901, which was abandoned in the Nevada desert, although in 1903 Dr Nelson Jackson in a 20 hp Winton managed the San Francisco-New York journey, after terrible privations, such as having to conquer the Elk and Rocky mountains and walking 29 miles to obtain more petrol, in just under 65 days. At about the same time, the article informs us, E. T. Fetch was attempting the route of Mr Winton’s unsuccessful run, with a 12 hp single-cylinder Packard. It suffered awful problems, especially crossing the Sierras, but it won through, doing the 4,000 odd miles in 62 days, inclusive of a four-day rest at Denver. Shortly after this a 5 hp Oldsmobile Runabout essayed the trip, in bad weather conditions, but arrived at the Atlantic coast in 74 days. In 1904 a 10 hp Franklin driven by Mr Whitman got the San Francisco-New York time down to 33 days, the distance by their route being 5,115 miles, of which the best day’s run covered 325 miles. Now it was time to essay the reverse journey, which a 16 hp Ken did in 1906, but after being snowed up, with food supplies exhausted, on Christmas Day, having left New York in August, the car met deep mud in Mexico and abandoned the run until the weather improved. However, the crew was credited by the writer of the article, Mr F. R. Talbot, with “having broken all records in trans-Continental travel by motor-car,” so far as America was concerned, as they had already covered over 8,000 miles. They had had to repair a broken spring and stay-rod, and damaged front axle and steering. But what I want to know is why after the Reo’s radiator had frozen and had to be thawed out it, and the cylinder block, didn’t crack, as wonld have undoubtedly happened tone lesser mortals? J. R. Davy, who founded the Standard Register nearly a quarter of a century ago, has published privately a 1984 calendar depicting various Triumph cars mostly as “first-time” pictures, which he will send to Triumph enthusiasts for £1.71 post-free, or two for £3.00, on UK orders, those going by overseas airmail costing £3.00 each. Apply to him at 2a, Bilton Lane, Dunchurch, Rugby, mentioning MOTOR SPORT.