(Continued from the January issue)
THE damage proved worse than we had imagined, as the worm wheel was cracked, the balance gear case was broken, the near-side half-shaft was bent, the axle casing was split and two roller bearings chewed up. The chassis was twisted 2 in. out of true, and the engine bed had moved. A long fight with the Humber gentleman’s insurance company ensued, and as the old Lanchester had only been insured third party, I was quite determined that they were going to pay for the repairs ; furthermore, I contended that it was impossible to assess damage to a veteran on the same basis as a modern car, that the car was a valuable antique, and that as the insurance company were unable to replace it, they would have to repair it. This contention was upheld and we won the day. As a final throw the Humber gentleman contended that the Lucas oil lamp had been quite inadequate, to which Messrs. Joseph Lucas’s representative replied that it was one of their standard commercial tail lights and was guaranteed to give more light than their standard electric tail light ! So ended a most unpleasant affair, both Upton and Shanks receiving sums of money to cover their medical expenses. We were very lucky in being able to obtain a new worm wheel from Lanchesters ; the other parts had to be made, with the exception of the rear wheel hub. I had foreseen that we might want a number of parts, and had inserted, for a number of weeks, an advertisement in Exchange and Mart for spare parts for early two-cylinder Lanchesters. Nothing happened for some weeks, and then I received a letter .from Henry Hughes, of Bromsgrove, stating that he had broken up two such cars about ten years before, and that he still had some parts. I decided that the best thing to do would be to go over to Bromsgrove and see what he had. So the next Saturday Shanks and I set off, having taken the back seat out of my 21-h.p. Lanchester. We returned with the car packed to the roof— six wheels, front axle, complete countershaft with gears and clutch, two wick carburetters, two armatures and sets of magnets, six spare ignitors, boxes of ignitor and other ignition parts, two sets of brake parts and, perhaps most interesting of all, an original Lucas “King of the Road” headlamp (as illustrated in the Lanchester Manual), a pair of original oil side lamps, and a large brass horn, also a dashboard clock. These were polished up at the Guildford Plating Works before being fitted to the car. After the car had been repaired, and while it still remained in London, we had it beautifully coach-painted in the family colours of golden brown, with red wheels, and the leather front screen was re-covered in patent leather, and various external parts re-nickel phi t c(1. On April 21/t 11, 1983, I collected the car from London, drove it down to Guildford, and worked far into the night preparing it for the Veteran Car Club’s opening
Rally at Oxted the following day. Twentythree cars were entered for this event and we successfully covered 51 miles to and from this Rally. The next event was the Southampton Rally on Saturday, June 17th, for which 24 cars were entered. The Lanchester covered 107 miles in connection with this Rally and gained second highest award. This was the first event in which the car had appeared resplendent with its set of contemporary lamps and horn, also a genuine Lanchester doublenote foot gong which Upton had found among his treasures. The only trouble we had was a temporary stoppage in the water circulation on the return journey, owing to some kind person putting a large piece of chewing gum in the water tank !
Just after this Shanks, who had decided to get married, departed, as we, unfortunately, had no accommodation at the time to offer him. His place was taken by R. Messer, who had served as a fitter at the R.E. factory at Farnborough during the 1914-18 war.
The next event was the Southend-onSea Rally on August 26th. We covered 146 miles in connection with this, Messer coming with me as Upton couldn’t get away. Returning home on the Sunday afternoon we were progressing over the very rough cobbles in the Mile End Road, when the near-side track arm fractured and we were almost tipped out of the car. A large and rather ugly crowd collected almost at once. I waited with the car while Messer looked for a garage, but being Sunday they were all closed. However, we eventually found an undertaker who allowed us to put the car in his yard. Then an elderly man, who had been standing in the crowd, came forward and said he was an old steam engineer and that if we gave him the broken arm he would peg it and braze it. This he did, and we were able to complete our journey (be it confessed, very carefully), arriving in Guildford before dark. Then, on September 9th, caine the Kent Messenger Veteran Car Trial over a course starting and finishing at Maidstone and taking in Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Sheerness, Sittingbourne, Faversham and (‘haring. Twenty-six cars took part. Our certificate states that we completed the 72-mile course at an average speed of 19.91 m.p.h. We had suffered a certain amount of clutch slip throughout, hence this rather poor
performance.We won the Rootes Cup presented for the ” best kept car.” The clutch slip we subsequently discovered to be due to a grub screw lodged between the clutch housing and the cone. Next came the 1933 ” Brighton,” for which there were 81 entries. The start was again from Moon’s Garage in Buckingham Palace Road. We started No. 57, and George Lanchester, who was driving the works car, was No. 59. Upton drove throughout and he was quite determined not to be passed by George. The old car ran perfectly, and we finished 7th at an average speed of 23.12 m.p.h., the other
Lanchester coming in close behind us.
The 1934 season commenced with the V.C.C. Godstone Rally and Tilburstow Hill Climb on April 14th. We entered the Lanchester, intending to start from Torquay and cover a distance of 200 miles, but I was prevented from getting away in time to drive down to Torquay. So in the end we started from Guildford, and our route was via Petworth, Bognor Regis, Horsham and Crawley to Godstone, a distance of about 100 miles. Of the 33 entries we covered the greatest mileage to the Rally and were awarded the Cup. Our time for the hill-climb was 3 mins. 46 secs., not an outstanding performance.
Next came the V.C.C. Hyde Park Rally on May 12th. Thirty-six veterans were entered, and we had a completely uneventful run from Puttenham, taking exactly 66 mins. to cover the 32 miles, and the Motor, in their report of the event, said that the Lanchester’s brasswork rivalled the sun with its brilliance.
On July 14th the Veteran Car Club organised its first Midland Rally and Reliability Trial. There were 19 entries, and the trials’ course of about 40 miles started and finished at Leamington and included Sunrising Hill (1 in 6i) and Edge Hill. Only three cars succeeded in climbing Sunrising non-stop, the Lanchester, which completed the 40-miles course nonstop, being one of them. It gained the third award.
Then followed the Kent Messenger run on September 15th. There were 31 entries and it was described this year as a social event and not a race or reliability trial, and all cars completing the course by 4.30 p.m. were presented with a plaque. The start was at Maidstone at 10.30 a.m., the route being through Ashford to Tenterden, where drivers were entertained to lunch, then, after lunch, the cars continued via Cranbrook, Gondhurst, Pembury and Tunbridge Wells to the finish at Southborough, where the drivers were given tea and the plaques presented. The Lanchester completed the event with complete reliability, and we had an amusing tussle throughout with a 1904 Cadillac, passing and repassing each other many times. Kent Karslake, driving his 1908 Sizaire-Naudin, appeared to suffer every possible sort of breakdown, but eventually finished late, just in time for tea.