club news, February 1939



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The Club reported at its annual general meeting that it is now in a much sounder

position than before. The following officers were elected for the cowing season :—Trials Secretary : C. S. De we-y ; Social Secretary : D. P. Kirkman ; lion. Treasurer : N. Lloyd Evans ; Chief Marshal : S. Teversham ; Press Secretary : M. W. Shepard. The President, J. Luther Dyer, was unanimously reelected and the Vice Presidents are Miss G. Caimon and E. R. Kirkman. The annual dance at Kimbells was :a great success and a novelty scronge hunt was held on January 22nd. The next event is the fifth Annual President’s Trophy Trial, on February 26th. It is open to the Ford Enthusiasts’ Club, Harrow C.C.., Kentish Border C.C., N.W. London M.C., and Mid-Surrey A.C. There will be three capacity classes, and blown ears go tip one. The classes are : up to 1,100 c.c., 1,101-1,500 c.c., and over 1,500 c.c. Entry fees are 101for Southsea members and 12/0 for members of invited clubs, closing on February 23rd. The trial will start from Petersfield Square at 10 a.m. and embrace a fifty mile course, finishing at the last hill—all competitors hope—at the top. Tea will be available at the Royal Huts Hotel, Hindhead. The awards are generous and include the President’s Challenge Trophy and replica for the best show, the Pink Challenge Cup for the best show by a member, class cups, first-class awards for the leading 90 per cent., and second-class awards for those within

80 per cent. of winning marks. In addition, the F.E.C., K.B.C.C., Harrow C.C. and Mid-Surrey A.C. are giving tankards to be wear by their own members, and there is a Team Award and an Award for fastest time in all the special tests.

Truly generous Details from and entries to : N. Lloyd Evans, 85, Nettlecombe Avenue, Southsea.


The Club ‘vi 11 hold mad her of its Rallies at the Croydon Antodromes School of Driving on Sunday, March 12th. A series of tests will be contested, the entry being divided into various categories and classes. This will be an Invitation event and a big entry is anticipated. The grounds will be open to members of the public and in the past an excellent ” gate ” has been obtained. The Club Is making an ambitious drive to increase its membership, It is seeking a pre-war model-T or other passenger Ford car to establish as its mascot— does anyone know of one about to be broken up ? W. Boddy is Nvork in as Joint lion. Secretary with Sidney Allard [Correct spelling: Sydney Allard] and Walter C. N. Norton has joined the Committee. The Club has already accepted three

invitations to other clubs’ trials this year, and constitutes good value for membership, the annual rate for which is 10/0, with an entry fee of 2/0. Details of the Croydon Rally and particulars of the Club can be obtained from S. H. Allard, 15, Millbrooke Court, Putney, London, S,W .15.


The Bugatti Owners’ Club held its annual dinner and dance at the Savoy on February 10th. Jean Bugatti had promised to attend, and a show of Club films, including the new Prescott film,

was promised after dinner. The 1938 awards were also due to be presented. Hon. Secretary : E. 14. Giles, 2, Queen Street, Mayfair, W.1.


The Mixed Trial of the Chiltern Car Club takes place on February 19th, and is open by invitation to members of the Ford Enthusiast,=’ Club, Standard owners’ Club, N.W. London M.C., J.C.C. and M.G. C.C. The event starts from Beaconsfield at 11 am., and the morning section will be devoted to hills and the afterlunch section to a series of driving tests. Three capacity classes will be recognised, sub-divided into open and closed car

classes. Details from : J. S. Webb, “Avalon,” Longfield Drive, Amersham.


The Model Car Racing Association will race its toys again on. February 12th, at ” Bunny” Dyer’s Metropolis Garage, near Olympia, at 5 p.m. onwards.


The annual film show went off very well indeed. Capt. Eyston commentated on the film of his 357 m.p.h. record runs, and George Monkhouse gave his lecture and film show on G.P. racing-. Monkhouse is another knowledgeable person who is not anxious to see a 1 i-litre International Formula introduced for 1941.


The Margate and D. M.C. will hold its annual Wye Cup Trial on Sunday, ‘March

19th. The Ford Enthusiasts’ Club is amongst those which have accepted an invitation to compete.


Tlie trial of the S.W. Centre, held on December 27th last, saw R. A, Macdermid win the Kimber Trophy with his T-type M.G., aided by new I,IAV ax piston-pattern shock-absorbers, amongst other things. A. B. Langley’s T-type M.G. won the Spencer Trophy and the ” Musketeer’s ” Team, the Welch Team Cup. BastoCk was, of course, the third member of the team. H. B. Woodall’s Ford Eighteugined W.13. Special made best performance by an invited member, and J. L. S. Jones took the Triangle Cup with his PB KG. Four M.G.s, including P. S. Flower’s very nicely driven elderly motor, and “Guest’s Allard-Special, gained first-class awards. Second-class awards were confined to Froat’s B.M.W., Grove’s M.G., Evans’s M.G. and Butler’s

E. 13 .-Special. The M.G.C.C. is one of the beat ran clubs and its membership is of a very grand .scale indeed.

Secretary : F. L. M. Harris, 30, Holborn, E.C.1.


In view of the fact that class divisions, which are becoming increasingly popular in trials, usually start at ” up to 1,100 c.c. ” the Austin Seven, as a 747 c.c. Sidevalve car, is apt to be outclassed in its older form, as owned by a large body of real enthusiasts. The obvious cure seems to be to found the Seven-Fifty Club, exclusively for Austin Seven owners and run sensible trials for these fascinating babies—possibly permitting entries from such things as the. inevitable MorrisCowley and the 850 c.c. M-type M.G. on occasion. Quite an interesting one-make Club should result, because so many variations of the Austin Seven exist, mostly of sports-bodied type, while probably more conversions are based on this chassis than on any other. Moreover, as the design has remained largely the same since this little car leapt at the cyclecar’s throat in 1923, members would find it possible to assist each other by interchange of bits and the passing

on of hints and tips. As there are, if anything, too many clubs now in being, the idea is Only worth proceeding with if it could get going from the commencement in a fairly big way, more particularly as no club can flourish without a healthy kitty (a sum of money, you understand, not a secretary !) and an Austin Seven club would be best served by keeping the subscription and trials fee quite small. We know of someone who would be prepared to do the secretarial work and trials organisation for the proposed Seven-Fifty Club in a quiet way, but first of all he wants to know the extent of the support likely to be forthcoming. If you are an Austin Seven enthusiast and would support such a club, provided the subs. were small and the trials good, will you please drop a postcard to this person—” W.13.,” 21, Lucien Road, London, SW 17. AS a badge may we suggest a weighing machine with seven ponies balanced by a seven cwt. weight— the weight of the original ” Chummy ” ?


In view of the opinion expressed in certain quarters in the past that cars of differing engine sizes should not continually run on the same footing in. trials, it is interesting to note that capacity classes seem to be growing in popularity. The Ford Enthusiasts’ Club used this system for its Christmas Trial and also used saloon and standard Ford categories. The Chiltern C.C. has three capacity divisions, sub-divided into open and closed car categories, in its trial of February 19th, and the Southsea M.C. will use three capacity divisions for its President’s Trophy Trial of February 26th, placing supercharged machinery one class higher. The F.E.C. abandoned the usual method of awarding first and second-class awards for doing given tasks or for coming within a certain percentage of complete victory, and worked on pure speed-trial or rare tactics, with definite placings in each

class. This certainly plays into the hands of the expert, but then they had novice’s and expert’s sub-divisions, and also the saloon and touring Ford classes. Moreover, they sought to reduce entry fees for the not-so-expert by charging an extra fee of 5/to those who wished to compete in the Best Performance placings irrespective of category. The Southsea people prefer to give a Premier award in each capacity class, but remaining awards based on a percentage basis of the winner’s marks. Actually, there are divers ways of marking trials and we should feel inclined to devote a leading article to the subject, if matters relating to bigger issues than giving awards fairly to slime-stormers did not occupy all the monthly available

space. We have prevailed upon Jim Brymer to deal with this Subj«-t and all he knows of trials generally in a book, but so far without success. In brief, however, we would like to see an extension of the class system, with definite race-type placings in each class, for the stiffer trials of a real mud-plugging nature, because experts prefer to compete amongst one another, yet an expert with a 750 c.c. motor should not be asked to compete against tui expert with a blown or a V8 3.6-litre motor. On the other hand, the universal standard tyre rule seems a fine opportunity to interest the novice, the enthusiast who has to enter a family car, or the hard-up builder of the leas potent sort of special. I would advocate two divisions, with separate entry fees. The first would be on an against-the-Club marking basis the second, One in which competitors ran against one another, by using sections on the hills in place of straight failures and by working on an average time for restart or other tests, instead of a prearranged minimum time allowance. This would cater for the absolute novice and very normal motor and also for the improving driver and more potent car. Simple capacity divisions could be used. Thus we should have one set of trials, short of course and very stiff in hills and tests, divided into several c.c. classes, wherein experts would compete for outright class victory and second and third places, and on a place basis in a Best Performance class. And we should have another set of trials, longer of course, easier as to hills and with several restart tests, in which novices would try to beat the Club and more advanced competitors would compete against one another, but

not for outright victory. After all, in racing you try to beat ” Ebby ” before you try to beat Richard Seaman. This brings me to a plea for a few more trials with sane hills in place of mudlanes—that is, of course, for trials in our proposed second category. Lots of organisers look aghast when I say that hills quite devoid of mud, yet not of a chassis-breaking variety, can still be stoppers. Yet, with the exception of very recently used hills, the M.C.C. has successfully used such gradients and so have the Vintage S.C.C. and Bugatti Owners’ Club. And last February I thoroughly enjoyed myself in a United Hospitals and U.L.M.C. Cotswolds Trial in which every section save one was quite—what I call—” sane.” I drove an ordinary Ford Eight saloon and was not skilful enough to bring home an award, but the issue was in doubt until late in the afternoon, and might have even then been successful had I not muffed a restart test. We saw some wonderful scenery and afterwards the car was not really muddy. Yet what a silly vehicle it would have looked in the usual Surrey, Kent or Bucks slime-storming party ! The smaller clubs should remember that, dull though this sort of trial may be to confirmed pot-hunters, rovices do not find it so. Moreover, builders of specials for use in occasional speed events or just for fast road work would often support trials of this kind, but they most certainly do not want to use low final drive ratios and mudguards set a foot from the tyres and great slab-fuel tanks placed where they Spoil fast cornering, as the trials

fan will do. So will the smaller clubs look again at hills like Ibberton, Middledown, Meerhay and Fingle Bridge, etc., and think in terms of high-placed starting lines and restart tests ? MOTOR SPORT will gladly give any publicity it can to -trials organised on these lines. We are only sorry we cannot see that United Hospitals & U.L.C. February Cotswold fixture in the 1931 Calendar. The M.C.C. classics also admirably meet this particular bill, but they cost much money to undertake and entail much time away from business.


We ar( quite unable to decide whether Air, C. M. Cooper is to be congratulated. or condoled with on winning a p -ize for having as a dance partner at a recent club party a girl who had no make-up on her eyelids, or -eyelashes, standard eyebrows, brunette hair and light eyes, no colour on her finger-nails, no foundation garments containing any form of figure eontrol, no lipstick on her lips, who wore a petticoat and had never had permanently waved hair. But we do suggest that racing motorists may not really care to subject their wives, sweethearts, girl-friends and other such partners to a contest of this nature and that it would be better left out of future

parties. Even if not many ladies at motoring functions would be eligible..


The trouble of stripped tyre valves evident in the ” Gloucester” had been largely overcome in the ” Exeter.” One well known driver apparently goes down as low as 15 lb. per square inch with. 5″ section Dunlop Freighters, and has had no trouble.


The health of a Club, is always mirrored in its annual balance sheet. The Vintage S.C.C. return for 1938 shows that membership fees brought in /19017s.1d.and badges. /35 15s. Od. Trials and speed events only cost /51 3s. 2d. to run, deducting entry fees. Badgescost /30 to buy, postage and sundries /20 Os. 9d., and printing and. stationery /63 Os. 11AL—the last item separate from the ” Bulletin,” which absorbed /51 8s. 8d. The hire of a room for the annual General Meeting, to enable it to be held in London, cost /3 3s. Od. This leaves a balance of /7 15s. 7d. Add to this sundry creditors and the 1937 balance of /31 3s. 7d. and you have assets of /68 Is. 2d. of which /53 9s. 2d. is in actual cash. Membership is nol,v greater than before and when 1989 subscriptions are in the Club should commence the 1939 season with something like /800 in hand—good for old-school enthusiasm_ A list of members’ motors is in course of preparation and members should supply particulars to the secretary not later than February 28th. His new address is : ” Egarston,” Park Lane, Basingstoke, Hants.


In the dim and (list ant !ges von could write a letter to the motor papers saying that you would like the world to know that you had got -a certain sort of automobile from A to B in x hours and y minutes and it would be published. Then an anti-motoring Government broadcast accident statistics and Horeb-Elisha ascended to the throne and it became taboo to say how rapidly you motored about the public roads in the printed page of the respectable motor paper. Just lately, however, other nations have been broadcasting road consciousness and speed with safety has become a more popular topic again, and even officialdom has decreed that speeds of over 100 m.p.h. on British public roads are not a criminal offence under the right con ditions. Indeed, so popular has the average speed subject again become that the older and more conservative of our two leading weekly motoring papers has recently published several articles on the actual speeds attained over long distances on test runs, and the other journal has included such data in road-test reports. Actually, the More conservative of -these papers has, up to now, put up lowish averages, but what of the latest—it has carried out three runs of 120 miles each over the route Staines Bridge to BridpOrt and has averaged 43.9 m.p.h. with a Sunbeam-Talbot saloon, 47.37 m.p.h. with a 41-litre Nash-engined Jensen saloon, and 48.98 m.p.h. with a 2-litre two-four-seater Aston Martin. Over the stretch Grim’s Dyke Café to Tarrant Hinton these cars respectively averaged 53.3, 66.6 and 66.6 m.p.h. for the 11.1 miles. Which is good .going. Actually, isolated cases of average speed mean nothing very much. A small family death-box may put up a truly sensational average because of lucky conditions, or dangerous driving, or a combination of both. It would be futile to argue from such a performance on Matters Of road layout, time of day, type of car, area of country, corners, contours and safety in their relation to point to point average speed. But when the same driver, over the same route, at the same time of day and year, does such runs, something can he learned of these factors, and of the cars concerned, allowing perhaps 2 to 3 m.p.h. over 100 miles for incalculable and unavoidable discrepancies. However you look at it, taking note of average speed is excellent fun and of no harm at all, provided you do not let dangerous or careless driving gradually intrude to influence the speed, and do not say too much about what a usefully quick vehicle the modern car can be for getting from A to B in front of antimotoring folk—because, over $0 m.p.h. per hour they will never believe you are not a criminal lunatic. Even if nothing concrete about divers sides of the question can be deduced from occasional recordings, the figures are interesting and it may be said that a car must be a good car, even an exceptional car, if it averages over 40 m.p.h. and is of family or luxury type and over 45 m.p.h. if of sports type—unless the conditions are exceptionally favourable, the distance absurdly short or the driver a menace to other road users—which can only be determined by going on the run in question. But if regular readings are taken and correctly checked by map and stop-watch you gain a useful idea of a given car’s abilities, because almost every usable factor is embraced, and you learn how long to allow for particular journeys, in future. Anyhow, without labouring the matter too much, let us see what we of MOTOR SPORT have done in the way of rapid, ordinary journeys, as outlined in past road-test reports. There was the run last year from London. to J ohn o’Groats with a 41-litre Bentley, at 46 m.p.h. overall average or 50,5 m.p.h. running time average—running time including all stops and delays for road hazards in the distance of 702 miles. Coming home the :387 miles from Strathaven to London was done at a running average of 51.2 m.p.h., the only pause being a brief one for refuelling, and it was on this run that the water recorded his biggest mileage so far accomplished in one hour-56-and his best half-hour’s run, of :31 miles. Incidentally, the previous ” best hour ” had stood at 51 miles, with a T-type M.G. Midget, on the Great North Road, starting just clear of London’s outskirts. MOTOR SPORT undertook a similar run in 1930, when a straight-eight Delage saloon was driven from London to Gretna

Green at an average of 50 m.p.h. and hack to London at .a somewhat lower speed-600 miles in a day. Incidentally, the fuel consumption was some 3 to 4 m.p.g. heavier than that of the modern Bentley.

Other high spots from the road-test log-book embrace a run from London to Paignton„ via Chiswick, Stockbridge, and Salisbury, three up in an M.C;. Magnette on Boxing Day, 1934, when these 197 miles were accomplished in 41 hours, and home again the same day, and a drive of 53 miles in one hour early the next year in a 34-litre Alvis saloon, with 100 miles put away in just over the two hours, mostly in rain and darkness, over giveand-take roads, observing 30 m.p.h. limits. Back in 1933 an S.S.I. saloon covered 41 miles in 50 minutes, a speed of just over 49 and three years ago a 4i-1itre open Lagouda managed 44 m.p.h. over 20 miles of truly twisty going, checked by stop-watch and ordnance map. Another 4i-litre Lagonda —an open ” Rapide “—accomplished 56 miles in one hour, from Shelford to Marble Arch, before the 30 m.p.h. limits were enforced, but driven carefully and not really hard. Way back in 1927 an Amilcar Grand Sport frequently averaged over 40 m.p.h. on short 50 mile journeys, and a blown 2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo, tested in 1936, averaged 48 m.p.h. over 100 very wet, but very steady, miles. Croydon Aerodrome to Lewes, in Sussex, was done at just over 45 m.p.h. on a summer evening last year in a 12/70 Alvis saloon, and on a winter afternoon at 40 m.p.h. in a small D.K.W. A Fiat Balilla saloon took us from Hanger Hill, Western Avenue, to Prescott at 45.05 m.p.h., doing 47.5 miles in the best hour, though the average would have been higher had we relied on the accuracy of the car’s milometer and not checked things with a map—and there you have a most vital moral. A Vauxhall 25 saloon has done London to Donington, from Finchley Road via Towcester and Ashby, at 38 m.p.h. average. Mr. Lycett showed us an average of 51.5 m.p.h. in his 8-litre Bentley from Salisbury to Brooklands, putting 53 miles into an hour, with no attempt at hustling: And only last month I proved that a late-type Austin Seven saloon will average around 35 m.p.h. on a short run over not very favourable roads, including some town work, and put well over 40 miles into the best hour, provided you are really prepared to drive it. I do not know what these figures will prove, but ” average speed ” is a pastime that you and I can attempt anywhere at any time and with some degree of satisfaction no matter what the motor is. So it may be useful to have some figures by way of comparison. All I ask is that you do not do anything

dangerous, stupid or detrimental to our interests, in driving not only with your eye on the speedometer, but on the milometer and watch as well. So far as ordinary motoring adventure is concerned, a Christmas Card Christmas was spent in discovering how nicely the modern Ford Eight saloon handles on slippery stuff, even if it hasn’t quite the ” feel,” perhaps not quite the same absolute stability, of the Continental small cars. That we had to dig ourselves out of several hundred yards of snowdrift between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Boxing Night was not the car’s fault, but was attributable to a wish to explore Kent trials hills at the most

inopportune time. Our task led to great appreciation of Monte Carlo Rally crews and for two members of the B.B.C. staff from the nearby ” book-up ” receiving station, who worked hard to help us before grappling with their own problems of getting onto the main road in their fluid-flywheel Singer saloon. While we worked, a silent aircraft beacon flashed its beam weirdly over the snowbound fields around us. Turning to warmer things, there was a run to look for a veteran car at a breaker’s in Sussex, in whose combined yard and pigsty we found a big Renault landaulette used as a home for a number of white doves and a war-time Talbot, also a very badly dilapidated Windsor, the engine of which our gypsy-like friend, the breaker, insisted was a racing unit. A later research near the East Coast had much better results, and we found a big yard containing many exciting things, the unusual cars including Star, Seabrook, Palladium, Galloway, and several air cooled flat-twin Rover Eights. And, of really -early vintage, a most imposing Renault, with huge bonnet and an immense mottled-paint landaulette body, an Austin Twenty landaulette and a small Delage. The Austin had oil lighting and a delightful T head four-cylinder engine with each cylinder separate from

its fellow. It had been in use quite recently, probably as a taxi. As to the Delage, it was a Type R4, series 10, 11 h.p. two-seater of distinctly sporting aspect and, in spite of dubious-looking American plugs and an exposed-type magneto, it started quite easily. We fell for it at once and by the time these words are read it may well be at home in London, and will doubtless provide plenty of material for future reminiscences. As it was, we all had appointMents in London in the early evening, so the engineer was parted gently from a heap of rusting cylinder blocks, where he was trying to determine the identity Of a small six-cylinder single sleeve-valve assembly, and the Austin Seven saloon was SOOTI engaged. on a fast non-stop run home through a dismal county and an even more dismal entry to London itself in the sort of rain which seems a natural commencement of the English New Year.

Cre Editor invites Club Secretaries to send details of their fixtures, sporting and socialtforpublication in these columns.