Bill Boddy



Motor Sport’s Founding Editor

Rare breed
Marendaz en masse

In a pre-war breaker’s yard I saw a derelict American engine on which were the letters ‘MS’. It took me a long time to realise that the engine had come from a Marendaz Special. These cars had three external exhaust pipes and were made mostly at the ‘Jam Factory’ site in Maidenhead by Captain DMK Marendaz. Fewer than 100 were made between 1928 and 1936, of which only 23 are known to have survived, 16 in the UK; so it was remarkable that six were assembled at Banbury in September. They comprised organiser Dick Hodge’s restored ‘barnfind’ 13/70 car and Graham Skillen’s 1926 car which had taken class records at Brooklands (500km at 71.13mph with 1098cc engine).

Uphill struggle
Motor Sport helps retain car’s identity

The Bristol 405 shown in Motor Sport in the October issue and which we road-tested in 1956 (UHT 405) is still in regular use. It was discovered in a near-derelict state in Abergavenny by David Pettit five years ago and restored. It was then bought by Martin Hughes who, after a struggle with the DVLA, with the Bristol OC’s support and pictures from Motor Sport, was able to use the original registration number. He says it’s a great car to drive. When I drove it it did start easily on a 1-in-3 gradient, but in last month’s issue it is apparently about to run away down a 3-in-1 hill!

Police, camera, action – and an amicable outcome

Have you when driving been apprehended by the police but had the experience end amicably? I recall two such occasions from years ago.

I was proceeding happily in the Motor Sport Rover on that nice road between Burford and Stow-on-the-Wold when a lone constable signalled me to stop and told me to open the car’s boot. After his casual search I asked why. To make sure I had no hidden weapons, I was told. Had I been a desperate criminal with a concealed pistol his polite dismissal could have ended very differently.

The other occasion was when one of our readers, knowing my interest in aviation as well as motoring history, had told me of a memorial to a pilot and his passenger who had been killed when their Nieuport monoplane crashed near Shrewton, Wiltshire, in 1912.

Finding ourselves there one dark night, Jenks and I investigated, to discover this surprisingly elaborate memorial (right) still intact. By reversing our car into a gateway off the adjacent main road Jenks was taking a photograph of it by the light of the headlamps on full beam. It was then that another car drew up and a high-ranking policemen in civilian clothes wanted to know whatever were we doing. It ended amicably; in fact he told us that there was another memorial to another pilot who had had a fatal accident in 1913 in a Bristol monoplane, close to the road now numbered the A344 near Stonehenge, which we also went on to photograph.