V-E-V Odds & Ends, December 1985

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First, some corrections to errors that crept in last month. In my article about David Harrison’s 1907 Renault it should be emphasised that when Anthony Heal drove this in the 1939 VSCC Presteigne Rally he made fastest time in the hill-climb, not “STD” as published, and one of the motorcycles lent to the Brooklands Museum is a Revere, which somehow got changed into a Rover – there is quite a difference, because the former was made in Coventry; with a Villiers engine, between 1915 and 1922, whereas Rover motorcycles saw the light of day in 1902, also in Coventry, and lasted until 1925. Then, the wrong photograph having been used on page 1255, the car shown is the Jensen referred to in Mr Hulme’s letter, not the Isotta-Fraschini. And the wins in the Cheltenham MC’s Economy Run by Buckler were at 86.6 mpg in 1953, 91.023 in 1954, and not as given in the Buckler article.

On the Brooklands front, there was an article by Mike Winney in the New Civil Engineer, magazine of the ICE, which could be seen as an attack on Gallaher’s treatment of this historic site (300 metres of banking obliterated in return for 80 metres restored), and it now seems that the Trafalgar House Group may purchase the Byfleet side of the Track for industrial purposes, it is rumoured, for close to £40-million. Incidentally, all the original calculations used by Mouchel before constructing the ferro-concrete bridge taking the Members’ banking over the River Wey still exist and part of them were used to illustrate the aforesaid article. In connection with last October’s article on three-wheelers I asked for postcards relating to any that developed into four-wheelers and Kerri Dobbins of Stockport cites the Bambini, and also the Czechoslovakian SAM, the latter driven in hill-climbs. He has a definite interest in the Bambini because he is restoring a 1920 version of this Italian three-wheeler, which has a vee-twin 1,077 cc side-valve engine driving to the back axle through a car-type transmission with three-speed and reverse gearbox, the single front wheel steering. And from the Science Museum comes a postcard telling me what I should have remembered, that the Berkeley was the theme in reverse, as it were, having started as a four-wheeler before becoming a trike…

More than one reader has sent clippings of a very interesting item that appeared in The Banbury Guardian. It concerns an accident to a big Napier near the Brymbo works on a country road at Hook Norton. The car was being driven by racing driver Frank Newton of Brooklands fame and the car looks to have been a very large six-cylinder Napier equipped with four bucket seats. The date of the crash is thought to have been 1912 and presumably Newton was going to his mother, who lived at the “Old Pottery,” and he was taken to his sister’s house on an improvised stretcher made by taking a gate off its hinges. The car was heard passing St Peter’s Church on a Sunday evening, before the accident was discovered. The person who found the photographs in a family album is surprised that a driver who survived driving the 90 hp Napier “Samson” round Brooklands, could lose control on an ordinary road but, alas, racing drivers have been killed in such happenings. A reader seeks information about the Bridgwater car, produced in small numbers by the Bridgwater Motor Co of Monmouth Street, Bridgwater, using a 16/20 hp Ballot engine, Malicet et Blin frame, gearbox and axles supplied by the Chassis Construction Co of Taunton, and body by Raworth, a local coachbuilder. Letters can be forwarded. WB