Vintage Postbag, December 1992

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Ulster Austin

Sir,
I was interested in your paragraph “Ulster Urge” in the July issue regarding Austin 7s owned by the late Harry Ferguson.
I enclose a picture of Harry Ferguson closing the roads at the 1927 Ulster Grand Prix motorcycle race, on the old Clady circuit.
The photograph was taken at Rectory corner and shows the narrow and dusty roads. Those were the days of real motorcycle racing.
Ian HR Hamilton
Bangor, Co. Down
What a spendid picture: It shows Ferguson’s GE Brooklands Super Sport A7 which he had before his Ulster A7 – WB.

Brooklands Society

Sir,
Through your excellent magazine I would like to apprise your readers of the latest position regarding the Brooklands Society, as I see it, being an ordinary member and in attendance at the Society’s last A G M. The Brooklands Society was founded by the then-Editor of Motor Sport, Bill Boddy, in 1958 with the aim of saving as much of the Brooklands site as possible and assisting with restoration projects.
Without doubt the Brooklands Society has saved Brooklands as we know it today.
The Brooklands Museum Trust was formed in 1987 and has renovated the Club House (paid for by Gallaghers, surely? WB), among other things. Initially the Club House was transformed into a Museum complete with Brooklands period racing cars and motor cycles and automobiles. However the Trust has run into financial difficulties and it will be noted the Club House, in the main, has been transformed into a tearoom and restaurant. The Trust then formed ‘The Friends of Brooklands’ — quite why when the ‘Brooklands Society’ existed one does not know! Over time politics has reared its ugly head and when the Society wanted to amalgamate with the ‘Friends’ and the joint bodies elect members to the Trust, it was not found possible, as some members of the Trust, apparently concerned with their own status and ego, wanted the Brooklands Society to change its name and almost disappear in a cloud of exhaust gas!
It is with some surprise, when you note that the Trust is a registered Charity, that it refused the offer from the Brooklands Society of a large amount of money and its extensive collection of Brooklands memorabilia. My conclusion is that the Brooklands Society should retain its identity, continue its excellent work, and invite the ‘Friends’ of the Museum to amalgamate, both bodies sharing each others membership benefits. After all there would have been no Trust or ‘Friends of the Trust’ without all the effort of the Society over the last 25 years.
One may also wonder why the Trust was founded; could not the Society have done its work, being well blessed financially? One of the benefits of membership of the Brooklands Society is attending its Annual Reunion held at Brooklands, together with a most excellent quarterly magazine and, for those who live locally, film shows, not forgetting the Annual Dinner. The Secretary of the Brooklands Society, Len Battyll, welcomes further members; readers may write to him for details at Cleeve College, Cobham Way, East Horsley, Surrey KT24 5BH.

Paul T Herzell Moody
Bourton-on-the-Water, Glos.

Radley of Rolls-Royce

Sir,
I was interested to see from your article “Ghostly Sport” in the September issue that reference was made to James Radley and his Rolls Royce. My uncle Sidney Gauntlett, now an active ninety-year-old, was a friend and neighbour of Radley when they lived in the New Forest. Although Mr Radley was retired at the time, he was still very energetic in his well-equipped workshop. In addition to his skills with machinery, he made beautiful furniture and a magnificent example of his work in the form of a dining table and chairs are proudly used by my uncle.
My uncle told me that Radley claimed that he drove for Rolls-Royce virtually as a Works Driver and apparently when they declined to enter further races and trials, he had their permission to prepare his own car, which proved to be very successful as this was eventually adapted by the firm as a prototype for the Silver Ghost. My uncle also described how Radley instigated the design of the motorised gun which evolved into the armoured car and the tank, and probably the M T B.
I am wondering whether anyone is able to add anything further to what appears to be the history of a remarkable man, who apparently was a great influence to the motorised world at that time. In closing, I would like to thank you for many years enjoyable reading, and trust that you will continue writing your most interesting articles for many years to come.
David Hedworth
Bridport, Dorset.

Radio Rhode

Sir,
I have read a very interesting article in Motor Sport concerning the Rhode motor car.
Recently I came into possession of photograph albums kept by my mother during 1916 up to the late 1920’s and I enclose a photostat of one page containing photographs of a 9.5 Rhode fitted with a radio — the first in the South of Scotland — in 1923. The man wearing a cap and looking into the car is my father who I fancy drove the car during the tests. A few days ago I was chatting to Mr Barstow at a Crankhandle Club get together in Cape Town and he said that you might be interested in the foregoing.
Basil T D Cochrane
Tokai, S Africa.

A One-off Royce

Sir,
I was interested to read your recent article about Rolls-Royce motor cars in racing. I am fortunate to own the ex-Fitzpatrick supercharged Phantom I (74 SC), and before his death Fitzpatrick often told me of racing and hill-climbing exploits in the car and showed me photographs of these events, but, unfortunately, these photographs and records were destroyed after his death. I wonder if you or any of your readers can shed light on these events, as they are a gap in my not inconsiderable history of the car.
For those who remember the car, I rebuilt it about ten years ago and it gives considerable pleasure, being powerful and fast with excellent brakes and manners. I own the supercharger but it is not fitted. The car does retain its “wild” camshaft, high compression engine and it is fed through the two gain S U carbs originally fitted to the Metallurgique with the 21-litre Maybach engine. The gearbox is a close-ratio affair with a very high third and the rear axle is one of only two 3.2 to 1 manufactured (the other is on EX (03). The car will cruise comfortably at 85 mph but I like to think it will achieve that magic 100mph!
Alan Carter,
Cambridge.

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