Club news, February 1943

We hear . . .

W. E. Wilkinson, the Bellevue Garage tuning wizard, is still in the West Country doing important aircraft work, in close company with Percy Pugh, of E.R.A.s. “Wilky” is in the Home Guard and rides a modest push-bicycle these days. Midge Wilby is running a farm by the side of Ferriscourt. D. C. Pitt does war work for which he employs his “P”-type M.G. every day, using 4.75″ x 18″ tyres, which alters the final drive ratio to 5.625 to 1 from 5.375 to 1, the change being made the better to cope with a long hill encountered on the daily journey. Pitt reports splendid service from his M.G., and says that only occasionally does his father’s ex-dernonstrator 2-litre M.G. saloon relieve it of its tasks; this is certainly an M.G. family, for Pitt also has a 1934 “N”-type Magnette 4-seater, a 1934 “J2” 2-seater and a 1933 “F” Magna. The “J2” and “F” types are to be combined to form a Shelsley special, in co-operation with a friend who had the phenomenal luck to acquire a “T” M.G. Midget for £10 ! He substituted a Marshall supercharged” TA” engine for a total expenditure of £26 and ten months’ labour, and has now done 8,000 miles in this car. Before this Pitt’s cars were two o.h.c. Morris Minors, an “M” type M.G. coupe, rebuilt as a “special,” and a somewhat non-standard “J2,” in which he did some 35,000 miles.

A supplementary burning blown 1,3/4-litre Alfa-Romeo has been noticed, running on Dunlop “Racing” tyres retreaded by the Tyresole process. A reader would like to hear from anyone who has for disposal a low mileage 1939 Lancia “Aprilia.” The closing date for the “Aero Modeller” petrol-driven model car contest has been extended to February 28th, and entry forms can be had from Allen House, Newarke Street, Leicester. The January issue of this paper contained notes on an elastic-propelled model E.R.A., looking rather like I. F. Connell’s car when its radiator was moved forward to accommodate twin superchargers.

A straight-eight open Renault is reported in Hampshire with a rear axle which has ceased to drive; it could probably be acquired for a small sum. There is also a closed Lancia “Dilambda” saloon, in reasonable trim but less tyres, in a breaker’s yard near Royston. In the same yard are reported a pre-1914 (or last war) Hupmobile tourer with acetylene lighting and a curious rear fuel tank, a 11.9-h.p. o.h. inlet side exhaust valve Lagonda coupe, and a 4-cylinder o.h.v. yellow-and-black Scripp-Booth 2-seater, of American origin and believed to be of about 3 litres capacity, with steel studded tyres. Although the two latter cars are not, strictly speaking, veterans, they are rare enough to warrant preservation, and if anyone is able to move them from what will otherwise be their last resting-place in these restricted times, he or she should hasten to do so. The condition of these cars is believed to be such that they could probably render service after the war, perhaps during a period when petrol, tyres and cash will be in insufficient supply for an immediate resumption of rapid motoring. Which reminds us that an old 11-h.p. Meteorite 2-seater, previously mentioned in these columns, is now out in the open in a Berkshire breaker’s and already becoming affected by the elements —a pity, as it is otherwise as new and has good tyres and safety glass. There is also the 1908-9 Humber tourer in a similar predicament near Cheltenham.

H. F. Hart has been invalided out of H.M. Forces and would be pleased to meet fellow enthusiasts. His address is: 1, Roundston Drive, Angmering-on-Sea, near Littlehampton. He wishes to acquire two 19-in, wheels for his 1.5-litre Singer “Le Mans,” which he is in process of rebuilding. H. L. Biggs’s famous motoring cat, which he claims to be the only cat to have travelled at over 80 m.p.h. (in the late Derek Leon’s Marshall-blown “P” M.G.) in an open car without having to be restrained from attempting to jump out, broke its tail recently, but is recovering rapidly. When we quoted the “30/98” Vauxhalls raced at Brooklands by Major Ropner and Major Coe as side-valve cars we were basing this assumption on their engine size as given in the list of lap times at the end of “Wheels Take Wings.” We have since established that Coe’s famous “Silver Arrow,” at all events, was an O.E. o.h.v. car. Ballie-Hill’s Meadows-engined H.R.G. was doing service with the N.F.S., but is now laid up, and Hanks’ Type 40 Bugatti is off the road, but carefully stored under a dust sheet, with its radiator purposely left exposed to gladden its owner’s heart. Barnard, of Napiers, has purchased the 3.5-litre Delahaye drophead coupe which the late Brian Twist road-tested for Motor Sport in 1937, and Mr. Butlin, of Butlin’s Holiday camps, who had a V12 Sports Delahaye before the war, is acquiring lots of 1.5-litre Aston Martins, presumably for a special purpose. Another Napier employee is supercharging an Alvis “Firebird ” engine with the intention of putting it in a Frazer-Nash or similar chassis. Anthony Heal has returned to his first love, in the form of a Scott 2-stroke motorcycle. Congratulations on the recent arrival of his son and heir, who should be a great enthusiast. Around Christmas Eve a 3-litre Bentley was seen going south at speed, near Scotch Corner. Some requests: O. H. Goodwin, 149, Green Lanes, Wylde Green, Warwickshire, wishes to trace a 1931 38-h.p. Mercedes-Benz drophead coupe. IP 2257, which was on the market a year or two ago. R. G. Phillips, Reatswood, All Stretton, Church Stretton, Salop, has recently acquired a 1930 “12/40” Lea-Francis and requires an instruction book. An army officer seeks a 4-seater Fiat 500 and a supercharger for one of these cars.

George Foxlee wishes to acquire a crashed or scrapped “12/50” Alvis and set of new timing wheels for this model. The sports cars on official duty at Napiers include a Type 37A Bugatti, a Type 328 B.M.W., a T.T. Replica Frazer-Nash, a 1,3/4-litre supercharged Alfa-Romeo, a 3.5-litre “Competition” Delahaye, and an Alvis-Frazer-Nash Special. Some of these cars have been mentioned here before, but are listed as an incentive to other firms to try to beat this fleet of individual fast transport. A twin-cam Salmson functions daily round West Wickham on “supplementary” and is sufficiently valuable, to its owner in his present job to have been endowed recently with a new back axle. .J. H. Fall, not. Shortt, has a 3-litre Invicta 2-seater for sale. He is seeking a D-type Bentley gearbox. Other wants are for Type 37 and 40 Bugattis and parts, “12/50” Lancia “Lambda” and similar cars.

American veteran meeting

Last summer the Veteran M.C. of America aided the United China Relief Fund by holding an old car rally. Some 50 cars competed, ranging from an 1897 Duryen to a 1916 OIdsmobile. and several races were staged, notably between a De Dion and a Locomobile of about 1898 vintage. Incidentally, the highest car present formed the subject of one of the 14 events run off. A 1908 Packard was amongst the competitors. This club is attempting to meet and entertain any British veteran car enthusiasts who may be in Boston during the war, Mr. Tollinton acting as British consul. Anyone interested should contact W.H. Leathers at 11, Beacon Street, Boston.

The New Zealand Sports and Racing Car Club

We have received the second issue of the “Bulletin” of the NZ. Sports and Racing Car Club, which contains an article on what is believed to be the only Frazer-Nash ever brought to New Zealand, by A. E. Ansell, a description of 170 miles of wartime motoring in a “Blue Label” 3-litre Bentley, by the Secretary, and notes on 3-litre Bentley, Alvis Speed 25, J.2 M.G., 2-litre M.G., M.G. Magnette, 6.5-litre Standard Six Bentley, “20/60” Vauxhall, “25/30” Rolls Royce, Kissel “White Eagle,” “Special Series” Riley “Kestrel,” and 2.5-litre S.S. cars in the S. Wairarpa area, where some old Stanley steamers are reported to be around. This club is doing excellent work in bringing together New Zealand enthusiasts, in which work we are interested, having met many such New Zealanders since the outbreak of war. Recent new members include S.A. Gibbons, of Wattganui, who rode with Hornsted in the Benz at Brooklands before the last war and used to own a “Red Label” 3-litre Bentley, and who is a friend of Douglas Hawkes (he now runs a beautiful 4.5-litre Invicta) and Trevor Wickham., who had a T.T. 3-litre Bentley and now has a 4.5-litre Bentley saloon. The club subscription is 5/- per annum and the entry fee 5/-. Hon. Sec., G. Easterbrook-Smith, 97, Campbell Street., Karori, Wellington, N.Z.

Bad words

“Reliability trials . . . had developed into a sort of mixture of joy ride and drinking bout.”—” M.T.” in The Autocar, dated January 8th, 1943.

A Motoring Brains Trust

Messrs. Rivers-Fletcher, Bill Capon and Peter Clark organised another most entertaining meeting on January 31st, when a Motoring Brains Trust, comprising Laurence Pomeroy, Raymond Mays, Peter Monkhouse, Peter Berthon and Leslie Ballamy, directed by Question Master Cecil Clutton, attended for the benefit of enthusiasts at the Rembrandt Rooms, and was fed with questions sent in by postcard. We hope to publish a full report in the March issue.


As we hinted some time ago, and can now confirm, Squadron-Leader Robin L. Hanson has been awarded the D.F.C. for his good work flying catapulted fighters from convoy ships. Then Acting Air Comdr. W. Whitney Straight, M.C., D.F.C, A.A.F, is to be congratulated not only on his escape from enemy territory recently reported, but on the award or the Norwegian War Cross; while Lt. R. B. Lakin, D.S.C., R.N., who drove Ford cars in M.C.C. trials before the war and was about to take up racing with a Bugatti, has been mentioned in all Admiralty communique as in command of a submarine of H.M. Navy which attacked and sank an enemy troop transport; off the coast of Sicily. Goodacre, incidentally, is now a flight-lieut. in the R.A.F., and as enthusiastic as ever about double camshaft Austin Sevens.