I used to watch the late Richard (Dick) Shuttleworth race at Brooklands and Donington Park. I remember him rushing frenziedly about his shed at the Track, flinging spares into his 30/98, and how he used to take off in his Comper Swift from just outside the shed instead of from the aerodrome — to Duncan Davis’ wrath!
Before that, I used to see Shuttleworth driving his de Dietrich in Brighton Runs, usually well over to the wrong side of the road as he overtook less powerful veterans on the hill past Croydon Airport; I recall the rude letter Dick received from a well-known motoring pioneer who thought he was mistreating the circa-1897 Panhard-Levassor which he had bought for 25/- and had not had enough time to restore before the 1928 Run, and I remember too Shuttleworth’s polite but acid reply. And during the war, Dick’s mother kindly gave me one of the 7hp Jowetts which her son had used as hack transport at Brooklands.
So on September 25 it was essential to attend the anniversary celebration for the foundation by his mother of the Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth Remembrance Trust at Old Warden Aerodrome, Biggleswade, though this meant a 400-mile drive.
Organised by Peter Hull, the VSCC parade of historic cars was led by the very same Paris-Amsterdam racing four-cylinder Panhard and that 1903 de Dietrich, which Dick rebodied as a “Paris-Madrid” racer and tuned until it could lap the Brooklands Mountain course at 43.65 mph. I was the honoured passenger on this pristine car, which still has exhaust-pressure petrol-feed, total-loss lubrication and a pressure gauge for the cooling system.
We were followed by a great cavalcade, and it was splendid that Henry Wessels had brought his P3 Alfa Romeo, the actual car with which Shuttleworth won the 1935 Donington Grand Prix, though he had to be circumspect on the wet Biggleswade grass! In addition, there were makes used by Dick, such as Bugatti, Railton, Alfa Romeo, FWD Alvis, Jowett and A7 (although not the actual Shuttleworth cars), and Pitt had brought along the 30/98 of which Shuttleworth made such very good use.
There was even a Clayton caterpillar tractor, representing the source of the vast Shuttleworth family fortune, and a Crossley tourer as a reminder of Royal Flying Corps staff-cars (Shuttleworth joined the RAF and was killed in 1940 in a Fairey Battle). Wilfred Hawkes, Chairman of the deserving Shuttleworth Veteran Aeroplane Society, drove an A7 Open Road tourer. We passed a fascinating line-up of aeroplanes, and I was interested to see the 34hp DH53 and 398cc English Electric Wren from the 1923 Lympne “motor-glider” trials.
The fly-past was led by the trio of DH51, DH60X and Gipsy Moth, followed by a Moth (G-AAHY) in the colours of the Brooklands School of Flying, where Shuttleworth trained. Military planes included Swordfish. Hind and Gladiator and (with the RAF’s Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster, as well as a Comper Swift, grounded by the weather, and a Simmonds Spartan by an oil-leak) the highlight of the afternoon was the arrival from Hatfield of the meticulously-rebuilt DH88 Comet (G-ACSS) which won the memorable 1934 England-Australia Race.
Among the static exhibits was the Ford Model T Huck’s starter, now used for starting other aeroplanes besides the Collection’s Bristol fighter, and in the vast car-park I saw five flat-twin Lomax three-wheelers before driving Wales-ward with a friend who worked on Shuttleworth’s Bugatti at Papworth’s before the war. An interesting day! WB