As Mr. Pomeroy has not been able to rewrite the MSS. of his “Evolution of the Racing Car,” which was lost in the post around Christmas, in time for this issue, we present instead this account of a club which, from being a rather specialist organisation, developed into one of our most successful clubs, offering members an excellent programme of trials, sprint events, race meetings and socials of the sort which must be revived after the war. Cecil Clutton dealt fully last month with the club’s Edwardian activities, and this article constitutes a general account and one which, we hope, will set going drivers happy memories and recall many fine personalities, even though no attempt is made to capture the atmosphere which characterised all Vintage S.C.C. undertakings.—Ed.
The idea underlying the club nicely contained in a little verse in one of its “Bulletins”:
Changed, at twenty, down to first,
Wondered why his motor burst!
Gave him quite a nasty turn-
Buzz-box owners live and learn.
The Vintage Sports Car Club held unique position amongst the many clubs that flourished before this for extremely sound reasons. Because of those reasons and as so many known personalities belonged to this club and since recalling its events tends to disperse war-thoughts, we propose put on record a brief history of organisation. The thing began because a number of persons owning fast cars of the older type found that current productions of sports-car manufacturers offered nothing like the same charm and performance. It therefore seemed desirable to preserve as many vintage sports cars as possible and to get together for the purpose of interchanging cars, spare parts and ideas. At this time certain people were already restoring such cars to pristine order, either because they had discovered their charm in comparison with the moderns by accident or because they had owned such cars when they were new and had never grown tired their characteristics. On the other hand, many owners of such cars bought them in the first place on account of their cheapness and grew to appreciate them afterwards. So it was logical for the founders of the Vintage Sports Car Club to decide on a modest subscription rate and low entry fees for their events. It was this decision, allied to the organisation of trials suited to fast vintage cars as distinct from those of the slime-slogging and chassis-distorting variety, which resulted in a remarkable reception for the new club, and enabled it speedily to put over trials, sprints and racing events that became recognised as the best meetings in their category.
The club actually came into being towards the end of 1934, the Founder Members comprising Colin and Bruce Nicholson, Ned Lewis, Harry Bowler and Vivian Brookes, the last-named being club captain. In January, 1935, a trial had been held in the Chilterns, which attracted 27 entries and saw Powell’s Amilcar, Green’s Riley, Nicholson’s M.G., Clutton’s Frazer-Nash and Shaw’s Austin Seven win 1st class awards. The club’s second trial happened in Surrey and Donald Monro’s Invicta carried the day, largely by dint of making best time in both tests. Powell and Clutton, mounted as before, again took 1st class awards, and 2nd class awards were shared between Brooks (Morris) and Miss Marshall (G.N.). The club then got going with a new committee comprising Messrs. Tim Carson, B. Nicholson, Lewis, Alan Whiddington and Cecil Clutton, and really got under way. The first event under this new jurisdiction was a Buxton trial, in which no less a celebrity than Toulmin actually gate-crashed with his M.G. Bamford Clough defeated everyone, but Powell’s twin-gearbox Amilcar got quite a way up, and to him went the club tankard, Powys-Lybbe (Alvis) taking a 1st class award and Clutton’s Frazer-Nash a 2nd class award.
A speed trial at Howard Park, Aston Clinton, was essayed next and was an immense success. Instone’s G.N. “Martyr” set up fastest time in 18.7 secs., Baron’s rather more potent blown Bugatti suffering bad wheelspin on the gravel surface. Wintour drove the Aston-Martin “Razor Blade,” Monro’s 4.5-litre Invicta was the fastest vintage car, and Miss Wilby’s Frazer-Nash won the ladies cup in 21.5 sees. Class winners were: G. H. Walker (Frazer-Nash), Allard (Ford V8), Baron, Instone and Crowther (Frazer-Nash), while vintage awards went to Ogle (Brescia Bugatti), Clarke (Frazer-Nash), Monro (Invicta) and Bowler (H.P.B.). The 1935 season closed with the Surrey trial, for which 43 entries were received. Vintage cars showed a time 5 per cent. better than others in the acceleration test, led by Miss Wilby’s Frazer-Nash. In the end G. S. Brooks’s bull-nosed M.G. Spenser-Brooks-Special won the premier vintage award, and Clutton, his side-valve “30/98” Vauxhall relying on incredibly rapid approach to carry it over the hazards on smooth beaded-edge tyres., gained a 1st class award and Kirkman (“12/50” Alvis) a 2nd class award in the vintage category.
The Chiltern trial opened the 1936 season, in which only Allason’s Frazer-Nash Succeeded in climbing Crowell and Widmere. It was on Crowell that the route-marking Frazer-Nash lost all its chains at the same time and Olley’s Morris-Cowley vanished backwards into a very prickly bush. Marcus Chambers (4.5-litre Bentley) did best in two of the tests and won the premier award, and Heal (“30/98” Vauxhall) won the Lewknor see-saw and took a 1st class award. Allason’s Frazer-Nash won the under-2 litres 1st class award, and Foxlee’s “12/50” Alvis the 2nd class award in this class. The Sussex trial was the next fixture and rain rendered the hills very severe, Kirkman’s Alvis alone climbing Begley Farm, while Clive Windsor-Richards was easily fastest in an acceleration test on the Quell, with his “30/08” Vauxhall, which took the premier award, Kirkman getting a “first” and Styles (M.G.) the only other award. Sixpence now entitled Vintage S.C.C. members to associate Membership of the Betchworth Sports Club. As a change from trials, the club next put over another Aston Clinton speed trial, and received an entry of 61. The late A. F. P. Fane won four of the racing classes with his “Shelsley” Frazer-Nash and set up a new course record of 16.7 secs.—a sports car, with twin rear wheels. Windsor-Richards, Plowman and the late Richard Bolster all managed under 20 secs. with their 1924, or earlier, “30/98” Vauxhalls, and the veterans ran for the first time. Class winners were Miss Wilby (Frazer-Nash), Whiddington (Frazer-Nash), Windsor-Richards (Vauxhall), Fane (Frazer-Nash), the late Miss Skinner (Morris), Stuart (Frazer-Nash) and Pole (Itala). Vintage awards went to Clarke (Frazer-Nash), Sumner (Sumner-J.A.P.), Chambers (Bentley) and Heal (Vauxhall). Clarke, Sumner and Fane took the cups amongst them. Inspired by this excellent day’s sport and numerous invitations to other club’s sprint events, another speed trial, in parkland surroundings over a half-mile course at Bramshill, near the club’s spiritual home at Hartley Whitney, followed. Brockelbank’s Bugatti made fastest time in 20.0 sees., Denis Evans’s M.G. taking 20.4 secs. and the Sumner-J.A.P. 20.6 sees. The class victors comprised : Evans, Baron (Bugatti), Brockelbank, Spikins (Hudson), Peters (Frazer-Nash), Fitt (Frazer Nash), Plowman (Vauxhall), Clutton (Itala), Mrs. Garstin (Bentley), Whiddington (Frazer-Nash) and Sumner. Littlestone-on-Sea became the venue for the club’s third speed trial of 1936 and some 50 cars were entered. Lemon-Burton set up fastest time in 23.4 secs., his Bugatti running even better than it had at Brighton, in spite of a strong wind. He averaged 77 m.p.h. from a standing start and must have crossed the finishing line at over 125 m.p.h. Baron put up the astonishingly fine time of 25.2 secs. with a supercharged Brescia Bugatti.
The year 1936 closed with a Cotswold trial in which Denis Clapham’s “12/50” Alvis won the vintage award and Shakespeare’s O.M. the visitor’s award, and in which 1st class awards went to Barbara Marshall’s Anzani-G.N. and Robert Peaty’s Frazer-Nash, and 2nd class awards to James Allason’s Bentley, Foxlee’s Alvis and Millar’s Frazer-Nash. There was also a Match Trial against the Harrow C.C., which the club team, composed of Allason, Chambers, Kirkman, Pitchford, Miss Marshall (in their usual cars) and Warburton (“80/98” Vauxhall) nobly lost, the penalty being the cost of a dinner at the “Mason’s Arms”.The Lycett Award for best aggregate performance went to Marcus Chambers and his 4.5-litre Bentley, and the Col. Clutton Cup to Kent Karslake for his efforts with a 1908 single-cylinder Sizaire-Naudin.
The following year, 1937, commenced with a map-reading competition around Odiham and Farnham, won by Windsor-Richards in a resplendent “30/98” Vauxhall saloon, with Wrigley’s Lea-Francis runner-up. Cecil Clutton, Tim Carson, Norman McCaw, Forrest Lycett, E. T. Lewis and Harry Bowler were now working prodigiously to keep the club on its feet. S. C. H. Davis agreed to act as president, Carson as secretary, McCaw as treasurer, Lewis as captain, Bowler as competition secretary and Clutton as press secretary, while Lt.-Col. Clutton and Mr. Lycett were elected vice-presidents. That was the state of affairs in March, 1937, by which time funds permitted an ambitious fixture list and an excellently produced “Bulletin.” In spite of the splendid programme offered, the subscription was a mere 12/6 per annum (associates 7/6), with an entry fee of 5/-.
The club’s first-issued list of members contained 207 names, and the cars owned embraced thirteen “30/98” Vauxhalls, eleven old-school Bentleys, eleven Bugattis, six “12/50” Alvis, five Lancia, “Lambdas,” four Frazer-Nashes, three Alfa-Romeos, two Amilcars, two Salmsons, two Mercedes-Benz, two Austro-Daimlers, two 4.5-litre Invictas, two Sunbeams, two M.G.s, five Rileys, four Lea-Francis, three H.E.s, two Renaults, two Aston-Martins, two O.M.s, two Morrises, two large Delages, four Austin Sevens, two Lagondas, and examples of S.A.V.A., New Orleans, Itala, Fafnir, Chrysler, Leon-Bollee, Fiat, G.N., Benz, Opel, Lorraine, Leyland Thomas, Talbot “14/40,” single-cylinder Humber, Baby Peugeot, “14/40” Vauxhall, Citroen and Adler, not forgetting eight “specials.”
Truly the answer to the appeal put out to those who disliked modern ears (likened to jelly out of a blancmange mould) and who owned cars built before December 31st, 1931, was astonishingly encouraging, and that date for eligibility of vintage membership was retained until the club was disbanded on the outbreak of war. In mid-1937 the committee comprised Messrs. Marcus Chambers, Anthony Heal, Rupert Pitchford, John Seth-Smith and J. Stewart, a committee which motored, respectively, in 4.5-litre Bentley, “30/98” Vauxhall, Anzani-Frazer-Nash (and Ballot) and 2-litre Lagonda cars, Seth-Smith representing the associate members—whose cars were either non-existent or too young to qualify. Robert Waddy and G. F. Martin had been elected honorary members. In February, 1937, a Chilterns Trial was held, which attracted 24 entries and 21 starters. Widmere caused much havoc, but resulted in three clean ascents by “12/50” Alvis cars and a ditto by Pitchford’s Frazer-Nash. James Allason, with his short-chassis 4.5-litre Bentley, made fastest time in a reversing test at the foot of Maiden’s Grove, with Frazer-Nash cars 2nd and 3rd, and Parker’s 1925 90 m.p.h. Lancia “Larnbda” was quickest in both the see-saw and acceleration tests. The results showed that Clapham’s “12/50” Alvis and Robert Pitchford’s Frazer-Nash had gained firsts in the under-2 litres class and Parker’s Lancia “Lambda” a first in the over 2 litres class, 2nd class awards going to Levy’s “12/50” Alvis and Mason’s 4.5-litre Bentley.
The next fun-and-games was the Surrey Trial, shared with the Mid-Surrey A.C. and City and Guilds M.C. Denyer’s sketchy Lea-Francis made the only successful climb of Abster’s Hollow amongst vintage members, and this driver also made best time on the Quell and in the special test. Those who gained 100 marks were G. H. Robins (H.R.G.), T. W. Dargue (B.M.W.) and Denyer (Lea-Francis), and Denyer was the only person to get a Vintage S.C.C. 1st class award in the under-2 litres class, Pitchford’s Frazer-Nash taking a 2nd class avvard. In the over-2 litres class Birk’s Lancia “Lambda” and associate-member Powell’s H.R.G. took “firsts.” Peter O’Reilly enlivened things by attending with his 1920 touring G.N., which he had driven, with certain notable interludes, from London to Shelsley Walsh in 1936, and Allen competed with a “Redwing” Riley. The club next held its speed trials at Littlestone in May, the excellent course being opened by Capt. J. E. P. Howey in a 4.5-litre Bentley. The Bentleys – 4.5 and 6.5-litre – showed the “30/98” Vauxhalls the way in the sports classes, and Michael May’s Alvis went very rapidly on small wheels and 5 cylinders. Baron’s 1.5-litre Bugatti dominated the 1.5-litre racing and O’Reilly’s Anzani-G.N. “Red Biddy” went very nicely. Fastest time of the day was made by Gerald Sumner in the 10.5-litre Delage in 22.6 secs., with Bainton’s 2.3-litre blown Bugatti runner-up in 22.8 secs., and Baron’s blown 1.5-litre Bugatti 3rd in 23.9 secs. Bolster’s ” Bloody Mary” wasn’t well, but managed 25.7 secs. Class winners with vintage cars comprised Wrigley (Lea-Francis), Garstin (6.5-litre Bentley), Michael May (Alvis), Lycett (4.5-litre Bentley), Baron (Bugatti), Bolster (Bolster Special), Sumner (Delage) and Mrs. Darbishire (Bugatti). Marcus Chambers did all the organisation.
In July a Donnington club meeting was organised in conjunction with Bugatti Owners’ Club, using the manufacturer’s circuit. This was a really well supported and enjoyable day, even if Chambers did blow-up his Bentley and Carson’s Vauxhall-Special blew its gasket. Hampton made an initial appearance with his rebuilt 1922 Targa Florio Mercedes-Benz, and Swinson’s barely run-in 4.5-litre Bentley proved able to hold blown Bugattis out of the corners, although its autovac invariably dried up on the straights. The race winners were: C. L. Clark (1.5 litre Bugatti), C. W. P. Hampton (2.3-litre Bugatti). Fee Carson (4.5-litre Bentley), D.W Jackson (Riley Nine), Marcus Chambers (4.5-litre Bentley), W. I. Miller (1.5 litre Bugatti), Tim Carson (Carson Special) and Morris-Goodall (Aston-Martin). Then there was a speed trial at the Autodrome School of Driving at Croydon, in September, over which rather “circus” course John Bolster established fastest time in 32.2 secs. with his twin-engined “Bloody Mary”, Giron’s 2.3-litre Bugatti being runner-up in 34 secs., and Sumner’s Sumner-J.A.P. next, in 35.0 secs. It must be put on record that the class victors were Pigott (M.G.). Sumner, Peter Clark (H.R.G.), John Clarke (Frazer-Nash), Anthony (Aston-Martin), Michael May (Alvis), Bolster, Stedall (Batten), Miss Wilby (Frazer-Nash) and Dick Nash (Lorraine), and vintage 1st’s were won by Bassett (Riley), Miller (Frazer-Nash), John Passini (Lancia “Lambda”) and Heal (“30/98” Vauxhall). Next there was a not very well supported rally to Winterslow, which was meant for the veterans, but developed into, of all things, a treasure hunt organised by Marcus Chambers, won by Eddie Wrigley, who, with perfect sang-froid, stopped a completely strange female in a Hampshire lane and requested the gift of a garter—McKenzie and Boddy did arrive eventually in Lyeett’s 1913 “Alphonzo” Hispano-Suiza, but after everyone else had left!
Towards the end of 1937 a northern section of the club was formed, which involved a small separate subscription. Ned Lewis acted as captain and chairman, Kenneth Neve as secretary, P. Lees as activities secretary, Peter Wike as treasurer, and G. Smelling as press secretary. Enthusiasm reached great heights and a “Bulletin” was issued to record the northern doings of a now thoroughly well-established club. The inaugural meet was held at Junction Hotel, Manchester, on September 23rd, and Fenn-Wiggin, Swain, Midge Wilby, Michael Rook and his wife, Raynor of the Yorkshire S.C.C., and Ledson were amongst those present,
In 1937 Rupert Pitchford presented a cup to be awarded annually for the host aggregate performance by a member driving,the same 1.5-litre car throughout, Col. Clutton and Kent Karslake presented a pre-war-class trophy, and Forrest Lycett gave a magnificent cup for the best annual performance in general.
At the A.G.M. on January 12th, 1938, it was announced that Clive Windsor-Richards had won the Annual Aggregate Trophy, C. H. Wrigley the 1.5-litre Cup and Heal the Proxime Aecessit Trophy as runner-up to Windsor-Richards. Bolster was third on marks, and Lycett, Col. Clutton and A. A. F. Mills tied for the Pre-War Cup. Forrest Lyeett was elected president, S. C. H. Davis being re-elected and Michael May elected as vice-presidents, with Col. Clutton, and Windsor-Richards beettme club captain, while the committee now comprised the late Sir John Bowen, Bt., Marcus Chambers, Heal, Pitchford, I. T. C. Rolt, Seth-Smith and Wrigley. Some 60 new members had been enrolled during the latter half of 1937, and all was set for a great 1938 season. While the desirable aim was that of decently restoring classic or unusual sports cars, not everyone who joined the club had the wherewithal to carry out such work, and the background of the club was largely made up of the ingenuity and misfortunes of those who sought to keep vintage cars on the road with a minimum of expense. These and other tales were gleefully told at rather lurid meetings at the club’s headquarters at “the Phoenix” Hartley Wintney, in the county of Hampshire, where Tim Carson presided and beer flowed freely.
To revert to the 1938 fixtures, the season opened with a trial put on by the northern section, starting from the New Bath Hotel at Matlock on January 23rd. The hills were not too difficult, the follow-my-leader system worked well, and Heal’s “30/98” Vauxhall was fastest in both the special tests. King’s Lancia “Lambda” made the best performance in the over-1.5 litre class and Clapham’s “12/50” Alvis did likewise in the under-1.5 litre category. Next the vintagents had a Chiltern trial, in March, and the hills were very easy. Many competitors suffered clutch trouble, including John Passini, whose Lancia “Lambda” carried lots of passengers and lots of dogs. Towle contrived to complete the course in a 1922 Citroen, but O’Reilly’s touring G.N. suffered a seized engine and magneto trouble going to the start and didn’t run. “Porky” Lees came all the way from the north in his 4.5-litre Bentley to assist in running this event, in which Denyer’s Lea-Francis won the under-2 litre class with Clapham’s Alvis second and Wrigley’s Lea-Francis third, while Heal’s Vauxhall took the big car class, in which Windsor-Richards (“30/98” Vauxhall) and Swainson (4.5-litre Bentley) were runners-up.
In April another Donington day was staged and various special Ford V8s vied with older machinery, while Heal brought out the now well-known 5-litre 1919 Ballot. Michael Rook again came with his 1913 8-valve Bugatti, but again it refused to function properly. The race winners were: Gerard (Riley), Stedall (L.M.B. Ford), Peter Clark (H.R.G.), Grimshaw (Bugatti), Heal (Ballot), Cooker (Riley) and Crozier (L.M.B.). Grimshaw’s blown 2-litre G.P. Bugatti actually won three races and Gerard two. The relay race was won by Clive Windsor-Richards’s team, comprising his and Whitworth’s “30/98” Vauxhalls and Stone’s 4.5-litre Bentley, and “vintage 1st’s” were gained by Hampton (Mercedes-Benz) and Whitworth (Vauxhall), who gained three and two such awards respectively.
The Surrey trial, again in conjunction with the Mid-Surrey A.C., was poorly supported by vintage members. It was won by Baille-Hill’s H.R.G., and Kirkham’s shortened “12/50” Alvis put up best vintage performance.
Yet another Donington meeting happened in May, notable for Craig and Stedall lapping at over 73 m.p.h., for Craig’s sensational skid and the excellent showing of Gerard’s white 1.5-litre Riley, which won the 10-lap handicap at 77.11 m.p.h. The race winners were Baille-Hill (H.R.G.), Craig (4.9-litre blown Bugatti), Mansell (M.G.), Derek Matthew (Alfa-Romeo), Collie (Invicta-Ford), Peter Clark (Austin Seven) and Gerard (Riley).
The next event was a Lewes speed trial, in which Harry Bowler’s electrical timing was successfully used for the first time. Whitfield Semmence did very well to make fastest time of the day with his unblown 2-litre A.C.-engined Semmence-Special in 22.0 secs. John Bolster tried out the new four-engined “special” built by Richard Bolster, Barker ran his supercharged 3-litre Sunbeam, Windsor-Richards brought the 5-litre Delage which we described in some detail last October, and the Sumner-J.A.P. ran well. Winterbottom had a sensational skid in his Alta when the transmission locked-up, and Guy Griffiths did some wild runs in a now-temperamental Anzani-Nash, one of them in 22.6 secs. Class results are too many to quote, but Windsor-Richards made fastest unlimited vintage sports car time with his “30/98” Vauxhall in 25.4 sees., Whincop best vintage time with a car of under 3 litres, his Type 43 Bugatti, in 27.4 secs., and the most rapid car over 12 years of age was Heal’s 1910 Fiat, in the astounding time of 24.8 secs.
At the end of the season the club co-operated with the Bugatti Owners’ Club and ran a speed hill-climb at Prescott, at which Grimshaw’s Bugatti took Forrest Lycett’s award for the fastest vintage climb (50.74 secs.) and Craig won Heal’s prize for the fastest Bugatti with his 3.3-litre G.P. Fry’s Freikaiserwagen clocked 47.62 secs., Vaughan got the Becke-Powerplus up in 50.99 Secs., and Roy Cutler did a prodigious run in his unblown Meadows-Frazer-Nash in 52.44 secs.
At the end of November a trial was run in Gloucestershire, in which Gipsy Lane and Laverton caused much bother. The competitors ranged from Barbara Marshall’s Anzani-G.N. to Lind-Walker’s 1.5-litre G.P. Bugatti on racing dope. In the acceleration test both Windsor-Richards and Heal in “30/98” Vauxhalls vanquished Biggs’s blown 2-litre B.M.W. In the end J. Biggs’s B.M.W. made best performance, Denyer’s Lea-Francis best vintage performance, and Harris (M.G.) and Claridge (Frazer-Nash) took 1st class awards. The Vintage S.C.C. team, composed of Barbara Marshall, Heal and Denyer, won the S.C.H. Davis Team Award by one mark from the Harrow C.C. team, and Miss Marshall, Heal and Badderley (Austin) got “seconds”, and Wrigley (Lea-Francis)„ Lind-Walker and Peck (Austro-Daimler) 3rd class awards. Right at the end of 1938 the northern contingent put over a speed-judging contest, which Porter Hargreaves, who was the only competitor who admitted having stopped at more than one public-house on the run, won in a blown Aston-Martin, from Darewski in an “18/80” M.G. ahead of three “12/50” Alvises and a Lancia “Lambda”. Sharrott actually ran his 1908 Daimler. So ended another season of highly enjoyable events. The year closed with some 350 members on the books, of whom 120 took an active part in club competitions. Windsor-Richards, using the 5-litre Delage and his “30/98” Vauxhalls, won the Lycett Trophy, Heal and Denver and Grimshaw being runners-up, and the Pitchford Cup went to Denyer, with Wrigley runner-up. Heal deservedly won the Veteran Trophy.
Up to the war, 1939 was a very busy season. The northern folk opened things with a trial around Buxton in February, nine starting and “12/50” Alvis predominating. Ashton’s 3-litre Bentley made best time in the go-stop-reverse-go test and Rayner’s “30/98” Vauxhall was fastest in an acceleration test on the same hill, with Ackemly’s Vauxhall-engined Bugatti in second place. The results proved Ashton’s Bentley the winner, Buck’s Alvis taking a 2nd class, and Winder’s Alvis a 3rd class award. Rayner’s “30/98” would have won, but he was disqualified for inadvertently carrying Ackemly up one hill after the latter’s B.M.V. had lost its transmission- proof that the Vintage S.C.C. ran its events in a properly conducted manner. A most ambitious event followed, in the form of a rally to Presteigne, in Wales, and divers contests when you had got there. The veteran side, perhaps the more important, was dealt with in Clutton’s recent article, but of the others, Clive Windsor-Richards’s “30/08” Vauxhall won the Swinson Special Award for best aggregate performance in rally, beauty contest and trial, with Joan Richmond’s 1928 Lancia “Lambda” second, Prince’s Austin Seven third, and Fitzpatrick’s supercharged “Phantom I” Rolls-Royce fourth. Of the associate members, Dawkins was first with a 1931 Talbot.
April 15th was a red-letter day for the club, for the Stanley Cup Meeting was run off at the Crystal Palace road circuit in conjunction with the Frazer-Nash and B.M.W. C.C. some 2,000 people paying to spectate.
Frazer-Nash and B.M.W. cars generally shared the spoils, and highlights of a most successful meeting were the time showing of McKenzie’s blue 4.5-litre Bentley, the performance and stability of Fotheringham-Parker’s Lancia “Lambda” and the excellent running of Peck’s “19/100” T.T. Austro-Daimler and Ellis’s blown Lea-Francis amongst the vintage cars. Less pleasant was John Morris’s overturning act when the Benz’s throttle stuck open, and Barsoll’s accident with John Clark’s independently front suspended Frazer-Nash, but no one was badly hurt. Forrest Lycett did a much appreciated tour d’honneur in the 8-litre Bentley, reaching some 93 m.p.h. on the bottom straight. The Stanley Cup went to the Frazer-Nash and B.M.W. C.C.. from the N.W. London M.C. and J.C.C., the Vintage S.C.C. being seventh out of 10 entrants. The race winners were: Barson (Frazer-Nash), Ellis (Lea-Francis), McKenzie (Bentley), Johnson (Frazer-Nash), Cutler (Fraser-Nash), McKenzie (Bentley), Johnson (B.M.W.), H. Aldington (B.M.W.), Crozier ( Frazer-Nash ), Fane (B.M.W.), Johnson (yet again) (B.M.W.), and Hurst (M.G.). Altogether it was a grand afternoon’s sport, and we hope that just such events will be organised by the clubs when racing is resumed after the war.
Another Lewes Speed Trial happened in July, organised impeccably, like the previous Vintage S.C.C. events, by Harry Bowler. Fastest time was made by Stuart Wilton with his M.G., in 21.6 secs. Windsor-Richards drove a big assortment of big cars, of which the 5-litre Delage went up in 23.33 secs., and Heal did his monumental veteran run in the Fiat in 23.52 secs. McKenzie, now using a D-type gearbox in his Bentley, managed 23.9 secs., Bagratouni’s Alfa-Romeo 22.4, Cowell’s Alta 23.19, Symonds R-type M.G. 23.62, Dick Nash’s Nash Union Special 22.95, and Allard’s Allard-Special 22.12 secs. The class winners were Wilton, Miss Dobson (Frazer-Nash), Crozier (Bugatti), Burton (Talbot), Bagratouni (Alfa-Romeo), Silcock (Allard), Allard (Allard), Windsor-Richards (Delage). Miss Wilby (Atalanta) and Heal (Fiat), and vintage 1st’s also went to Smith (Aston-Martin), Danks (Lancia “Lambda”), Whincop (Bugatti), Windsor-Richards (Bentley) and McKenzie (Bentley). Interesting competitors were Samuelson ‘s 1914 6.5-litre Peugeot, Kidston’s Type 57C Bugatti coupe, Fitzpatrick’s blown Rolls-Royce and Southon’s H.E., while an 1899 New Orleans also ran. Again the right kind of meetings, and plenty or awards.
By now the prospect of war was exerting its loathsome influence, but a Donington meeting was managed in August, marred because Sir John Bower was killed when his 1.5-litre Maserati overturned at high speed. Parnell’s driving of the B.M.W. was outstanding; he won one race at 82 m.p.h. and set up a record lap for the Inner Circuit. Wicksteed’s Aston-Martin also created a most favourable impression. The race winners were: Parnell (B.M.W.) – 3 events; Wicksteed (Aston-Martin) – 2 events; and Clark (Bugatti). Vintage winners numbered Tomkinson (Bentley) and Peck (Austro-Daimler). Right on the eve of war—August 26th, to be precise— the club ran a very wet meeting at Prescott, with Bachelier timing apparatus and moderate entry fees. Peter Vaughan with the old Becke-Powerplus, made the fastest time of the day in 56.07 sees., Darbishire’s Bugatti being only a split-second slower. The class winners were: Tipper (Fiat), Dowson (Dowson-Special), Miss Wilby (Frazer-Nash), Roy Cutler (Frazer-Nash), Vaughan (Becke-Powerplus), Darbishire (Bugatti), Allard (Allard), Mrs. Darbishire (Bugatti) and Heal (Fiat).
So ended five extremely successful seasons of a now very famous organisation. At least 100 new members were enrolled in 1939, and at the outbreak of war membership was in the region of 400 or more, so that this rather specialised body catering for pre-1932 motor-cars owed nothing on this count to the general trials-running and competition-promoting clubs. In 1939 the Lycett Trophy went to Clive Windsor-Richards, and a runner-up trophy, also given by Mr. Lycett, to Anthony Heal, who also took the Edwardian Trophy from Col. Clutton. Roy Cutler won the 1.5-litre Trophy, being 3rd on aggregate marks, just ahead of L. G. McKenzie, in which division Vaughan was 2nd and Peter Hampton 3rd.
Just before war came the club’s president, Forrest Lycett, took the British Class B standing mile record at Brooklands with his 8-litre Bentley at 92.9 m.p.h., the car, which had not been down for some 20,000 miles, going over the line at 132 m.p.h. Clutton was motoring in his 3-litre Bentley coupe prepared by Marcus Chambers, Carson was working on an Amilcar, Harry Bowler was driving about in a 3-litre Lagonda, Col. Clutton still had his 1909 Fafnir, Kent Karslake, who did so much to popularise veteran cars through the medium of this paper, had been elected a vice-president, Michael Mays’s 6-cylinder Alvis was motoring as rapidly as ever, and the vintage outlook was set fair. For some time members had been upholding the prestige of the older cars in various events, not excluding those more classic than the meetings run by their own club.
Interest in Edwardian cars had developed most satisfactorily, and some members had become interested in really early cars, so that the Vintage S.C.C. was well represented in veteran events, notably the classic Brighton Run, from the last of which Bradley, Bradshaw, Sharratt and Wike drove home 300 miles to Preston in a 1906 10.5-litre Daimler, after coaxing an 1895 Benz, a 1902 de Dion and an 1898 Daimler through the event. Then the deluge burst. The country needed just such apparently wild and irresponsible young men and women as once came along to the club’s events, and they answered the call nobly. Tim Carson went out to the Far East with the R.A.F., and the club, obviously, had to be wound-up “‘for the duration”, although Clutton and Heal have ably assisted in the running of some notable general wartime motoring gatherings. Assuredly, when peace returns enthusiasts for real motoring will remember this club, which achieved success by reason of low subscription, modest entry fees and the organising of varied first-class events, and will clamour for its re-establishment. We shall expert the Vintage Sports Car Club to go from strength to strength thereafter.