From START to FINISH

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From START to FINISH

T all started with looking out an old empty Chianti bottle to make a practice

“sticky ” bomb. This involved rummaging about under the garage bench, and among other debris there unearthed was a one-gallon pressure petrol tank used for sprint events. For some strange reason this tank was found to contain about half a gallm of pre-war Discol. “Let’s start the Alfa” was the natural reaction, oblivious to the fact that it was already nearly four o’clock on Sunday afternoon, and the real purpose of Fall’s presence was to prepare a Type 22 Bugatti for towing away elsewhere. Starting the Alfa meant stripping two 5.25″ x 19.0″covers from my gas-producing trailer and fitting them to the Alfa’s wheels : blowing up two 7.00′ x 21.0″ rear tyres ; finding and fitting the Brooklands

exhaust system ; improvising a floor and driving seat ; connecting up the sprint petrol tank ; putting a gallon of dirty Castrol ” R ” into the main oil tank, and finding a metric set-screw to fit the radiator drain plug. All this was duly done, the standard of pit-work being quite surprising, and after a very brief tow the Alfa burst into unhesitating song. Enthusiasts will have recognised the car as one of the few surviving 6-cylinder 3-litre push-rod o.h.v. ears, but whether mine now has the special racing engine or an ordinary “22/90.” I am afraid I really cannot say. Some parts say ” Tipo RLS ” and others

RLSS,’; so perhaps there are bits of both. It is in the most disreputable condition, and I have not yet been able to take any steps towards its restoration. The engine seems sound enough, but the gearbox is very strange indeed, chassis distortion enabling the selector arrangements to become most involved. Anyway, off went the tow-rope, Fall jumped on board, and Clark almost at

A foolish episode in which Peter Clark, who records it, was assisted

by Julian Fall once changed smartly into two gears at once, bringing matters equally smartly to an abrupt standstill. This trilling contretemps being rectified with the aid of a long tyre lever, we proceeded to call upon my neighbour, Jack Pearks, who was enter

taming to tea an eminent (and scandalised) Harley Street physician. We made a beautiful noise and smell. . . . The strange thing about the noise is that, although the engine has a longish stroke and is relatively low-revving, it makes a noise “just like an Alfa.” I suppose this perfectly logical phenomenon seems strange because, in a general way, the car feels like a Bentley or “30/98 “Vauxhall, and one is therefore inclined to forget that, unlike the typical British vintage car, it has six cylinders. Taking leave of the Pearks menage, and having some difficulty after engaging reverse in disengaging it again, we rumbled home and proceeded violently (if not exactly rapidly) to circumnavigate my house until the precious fluid was exhausted. Fall took some tricky action photographs of this. but such was his excitement (or panic) that I think he must have omitted to “cock the action,” for nothing came out. On the other hand, there may be something peculiar about my camera, for on a subsequent occasion, when I was endeavouring to

take a close-up of a glamorous female, nothing happened until I turned the thing round to see what it was a-doing of, whereupon it promptly performed and rewarded me with an out-of-focus close-up of my own ugly visage. I suppose this is what the experts mean by panning the camera. The circuit, as I was saying, started where you see the car’s rear view, and after dropping (9-in, sheer) on to the grass swept right-handed in front of the grandstand (or house). Thence it continued in a fast right-hand sweep past the goose pen, under the clothes-line and behind the aptle orchard. The latter can be seen in full luxuriant frondage on the left of the picture showing the car’s front view, and in the background is the tricky right-hand hairpin where the circuit

is completed on regaining the hard highway. Needless to say, the petrol ran out at the point furthest from the garage, leading to a laborious push over very soggy grass. Such is life !

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