Australian veteran and vintage
A flying accident has resulted in a long letter from Leading Aircraftman Nigel Pugh, of New South Wales, Australia, whose 7/9 h.p. Indian V-twin-engined "special," built while he was at school, was referred to by Robert Hood, of the B.A.A.F., in Motor Sport last May. Pugh's present car is a T.T. Austin Seven, believed to be the actual orange team car with which S.C.H. Davis won the 1930 500 Mile Race at 83.41 m.p.h. and a sister car to that owned by Tom Lush in this country. Pugh 's car was capable of just over 80 m.p.h. when he had it, and he was attempting to improve on this when the crankshaft broke—he would be very glad to hear of a spare one. He will probably rebuild the car as a Roots-blown hill climb job, but realises the handicap of a 3-speed gearbox, low seating, and possible lack of stability at plus-80 speeds. He mentions some interesting cars in Australia, notably a pre-1914 Metallurgique, of Renault-like aspect, which lived at his college and was in great demand on boatrace days. running seemingly without oil, until banned by the college dean. Pugh goes on to describe a 1910 Mercedes, which is said to have been raced in this country in 1906 [Probably at Brooklands in 1907.—Ed.] and to have been driven also in hill climbs. Its maximum speed in those days is quoted as 105 m.p.h., which is not beyond the realms of possibility, and its mileage as 10,000. During the last war a Mr. Cornwall is said to have bought this Mercedes and a Napier, and to have presented them patriotically to the Australian Government. Guns were mounted on them and they were sent to Egypt, only to be returned as unsuitable for military service. Someone else bought the car and spent from 1918 to 1941 restoring and modifying it, and it is now owned by Mr. Duekett. Some magneto trouble has been experienced, but last October it was due for some motoring at any moment. Pugh mentions that his cousin, Alf. Barrett, owns the supercharged 2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo which A. P. Hamilton used to race—not a car, he remarks, designed for the sort of Italians met in Libya ! The suspension is apparently not suited to Australian going. Pugh wishes to correct the impression that all Australian racing has been of the cinder-shifting variety--all the circuit races were run over proper road courses.