Club News, February 1946



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We Hear
Lt. Dick Staddon, R.N.V.R., is concentrating all his energies on his Type 37 Bugatti, so he and Lt. Massey Riddle intend to sell the 7th Series Lancia “Lambda” with genuine Italian coupé body that they recently restored. Incidentally, last year their mess boasted Riddle’s “105” Talbot 2-seater, two fine 3-litre Bentleys, a 1929 open 2-litre Lagonda, two Talbot “75s,” one open, one closed; a blown 1 1/2-litre Alfa-Romeo, a “Speed Twenty” Alvis and a Morgan 4/4. Riddle may sell his Talbot, for, as he remarks, a 2-seater is not much use to a man with a wife and three kiddies. John Hay, who used to be with the Light Car, is running an Anzani Frazer-Nash. J. D. Clayton has adapted a Morris Eight back axle to fit his Fiat 500, using the Morris brakes, and he volunteers to supply data on the conversion if anyone is interested. He has sold his special Triumph and is busy running-in his brother’s Rapier 2-seater. Someone in Hull is putting a 2-litre 6-cylinder Triumph engine into a “T.T. Replica” Frazer-Nash, Jenkinson is getting excellent results from his Meadows-Frazer-Nash, Miss Worthington’s twin o.h.c. car of this make is for sale, as is a good specimen of double-blower Shelsley car, the latter in Scotland.

F/Lt. Randell drove a 1919 “16/20” Sunbeam tourer from Harrogate to London in 11 1/2 hours, before Christmas, including a puncture and several fuel-feed blockages. A. J. Freeman has bought a 1929 Tipo 6C Alfa-Romeo single o.h.c. 1 1/2-litre 2-seater, which has been stored since 1939, and is reconditioning it.

George Chaplin, who used to drive a remarkable “Chummy” Austin Seven, and later the orange T.T. Austin Seven, in high-speed trials, is using an Austin Seven saloon and a 1933 s,v. Morris Minor for business transport. During the war he served in the P.L.A. River Emergency Service and met J. Palmes, who was co-driver to Eyston at Montlhèry, on the same job. F/Lt W. L. Harbutt, R.A.A.F., has been running a 1926 D.I. 2-seater “14/40” Delage while in this country, but intends to sell it, as he will soon be returning to Australia. Cecil Clutton is back in “civvy-street,” and riding his Brough-Superior solo while awaiting his Type 49 Bugatti, which Shortt is rebuilding.

New finds in veteran cars are dealt with this month in the “Register, but we hear of a 1904 Riley Forecar, in excellent order and not for sale, in Yorkshire, an early Darraq on a farm and a 6-h.p. De Dion owned by a taxi-driver, while Major Dove, who runs a 1934 Riley “Monaco,” has located an 1899 Phoenix, 1900 Peugeot, 1907 Rolls-Royce shooting brake and a 1913 Morris-Oxford — also not for sale.

Ralph Venables, with George Denton and Stan Denyer, has found a man-sized route for the Sunbeam M.C.C. Solo Trial, due to be run off this month near Selborne. Joe Lowrey has had his 1,100-c.c. H.R.G, re-ringed and re-sprayed at the works. D. F. Allen’s special Austin Seven, which ran at Naish House and Filton, is a 1933 chassis lengthened and lowered by mounting the front spring before the radiator and flattening the rear springs. The engine has standard 1933 crankcase and crankshaft, balanced con-rods, polished ports, Wellworthy pistons and double valve springs. The head carries an additional set of plugs, 10 mm. size, in pinned and threaded solid inserts. These plugs and the normal 18-mm. set are supplied from a V-disposed double distributor comprised of two normal distributor bases welded together to accommodate twin distributor heads. Twin Amal carburetters with No. 5 needles and 110 jet, arranged downdraught and their slides actuated by Bowden cables, are used, fed from a 12-gallon rear tank. A 3/8-in. balance pipe runs between them. The exhaust manifold has four pipes entering the external silencer, and the exhaust pipe is a 1 1/2-in. diameter copper tube. The 2-seater body has an elm framework covered with 18-gauge aluminium. The windscreen is the top half of a “Chummy” screen and the wings are of 15-gauge aluminium. A potent little car.

John Grosscurth is getting good motoring from his Blackburn Frazer-Nash, and he tells us that Frazer-Nash owners who need new chains will find that the Morse chain, made by the Morse Chain Co., Letchworth, will fill the bill admirably. G. F. Lomas taxed his 3-litre “Blue Label” Bentley for December, but still has to complete the body details; he has disposed of his Morris Eight, but was anticipating a 1,100-mile journey from Scotland to Sussex and back in an elderly Standard Nine, in the new year. A. J. Butterworth is fitting an exhaust-driven supercharger to a 6 1/2-litre Bentley. As he remarks: “Anything may happen.”

Alan Southon has bought the ex-Birkett Type 40 Bugatti as stable companion for his H.E. A very fine Mckenzie-built 8-litre open Bentley is for disposal, as its owner, who drove it at Lewes before the war, is in Burma — it is not, of course, the Lycett car. The prototype post-strife Allard is doing very nicely, thank you. A very well-kept, early Swift Ten 2-seater and a special Riley Nine sports 2-seater were observed in Harrogate. Keith Alderton, who built the twin-Scott-engined Morgan 3-wheeler some years ago, is about to use a 1924 21-h.p. Lanchester tourer. A.C.2 Peter Reece is running a Riley “Gamecock” With “Brooklands” engine, but has as well the ex-Crozier Ford V8, a ” T.T. Replica” Aston-Martin, a “Speedy” Austin Seven, while he is rebuilding a 1929 “Brooklands” Riley Nine. Jock West has acquired an “International” Aston-Martin.

B. Blythe, the big-car enthusiast, who has a “38/250” Mercédès-Benz cabriolet, is reported to be in this country again, as chief test pilot to Lockheed’s.

E. Goss has a Rally and would like some information about this breed. Major Lambton is still in the Holy Land; he has his Type 37 Bugatti and a “20/25” open Rolls-Royce as a second string. Sgt. Hodder needs a water pump for his 1927 Sunbeam Twenty. In Australia racing at Bathurst at Easter is off, but there will be a Canberra Rally, a road race at Albury on the King’s birthday, and Bathurst racing will happen in October. And on New Year’s Day there was a big hill-climb for £75 prize money, in which Beal Pritchard was due to drive a blower Bentley. Lucky Australia! Also, in Australia, a 1931 or 1932 ex-T.T. Borzacchini Alfa-Romeo, having dropped a valve in and its owner disliking the task of reassembly, a Terraplane Six motor is being installed, and two Gwynne Eights have cropped up, going well.

In France, Constantin is getting Motor Sport again. He has owned the actual Type 575 Bugatti which was on the stand at Earls Court, and also a coupé Type 55 and four other Type 57s. Constantin also has a Fiat 500 with Siata head, a new Balilla Fiat and a 1922 rear-braked Salmson which does nearly 60 m.p.h., and is building an all independently-sprung “Special” with a Terraplane Six engine. Versatile! In Cannes he saw a Duesenberg 2-seater, and he would like hints on hotting-up the Terraplane engine.

Ansell has acquired Tongue’s 16-valve Maserati, and L. Davenport has signed up to drive for R. Parnell.

Yet another club seems about to come into being — The Hants and Berks M.C. Interested parties are invited to attend the next meeting, at the New Inn, Eversley Bridge, between Blackwater and Reading, at 7.30 p.m. on February 22nd.

The Scottish Racing Drivers’ Club held a meeting on December 5th at the Central Hotel, Glasgow, which was well attended. This club was formed in 1939, and now hopes to go right ahead. Racing events for cars and motor-cycles are to be held as soon as conditions permit and if sufficient support is forthcoming a track may be acquired in Southern Scotland — soon England will be the only country without a motor course. Hon. secretary, W. K. Stewart, 4, Blinkbonny Crescent, Edinburgh, 4.

S.C.C. OF America
Last September one of those typically American two-day meetings took place at Col. Powers’ house, 46 members staying the night. A 1-mile sprint was staged on the Sunday, in which f.t.d. was made by Exner’s 1932 ex-Indianapolis Studebaker, with a Buick “Special” a close second and 1930 Duesenberg, Talbot and 4 1/4-litre Bentley as runners-up. The club had 84 members last October, with 124 sports cars between them, newcomers including 8-litre Bentley, V12 Lagonda, 1911 Mercer and open Rolls-Bentley. The September-October Sports Car contains some excellent photographs, an article on rebuilding a Model J Duesenberg and an announcement about new sports cars. From the last-named, America obviously intends to shop in Europe as soon as she can, and clearly France has already gained useful publicity from her Boulogne races, which will influence many U.S.A. buyers. Hon. secretary, G. F. Boardman, 48, Thomson Road, W. Hartford 7, Connecticut, U.S.A.

Cover Pictures
This month’s cover picture shows that very popular and skilled driver, the late Percy Maclure, coming out of Big Tree Bend on the Crystal Palace circuit during a 1939 meeting. The car is the supercharged Riley with i.f.s. Note the twin rear wheels, six exhaust offtakes, and the driver’s scorn for goggles. The December front cover picture depicted the late Stanley Martin on the last bend but one of the Kilternan hill-climb. The photograph was taken in 1940 and the car is a Type 35 straight-eight, roller-bearing G.P. Bugatti, not a Type 37 as we stated, the Type 37 being, of course, a 4-cylinder car.

750 Club
A last-minute change resulted in the venue for the December meeting being transferred to Caterham. Over 30 attended, Austin Sevens in the majority, and also Opel, Vauxhall, Ford and M.G. After lunch a run was held, but this was rather difficult to follow. It is expected that a proper trial will be held in February and a sprint in March.

The Bugatti Owners’ Club dinner last year went over very well indeed. Eric Giles announced some real news — petrol rationing or not, Prescott will reopen this year. The club’s 1946 fixtures open on March 20th with the A.G.M., followed by an opening rally on April 21st, a Prescott speed hill-climb on May 19th, a club Prescott event on June 23rd, an open Prescott meeting on July 28th and, it is hoped, an International Prescott meeting on September 22nd. The Welsh trial will, be held on October 19th and the annual dinner on December 6th. Brave show! Lord Howe remarked during the function that “something queer” is happening in respect of Brooklands Track.

Bentley Drivers’ Club
The Bentley Drivers’ Club held an informal lunch on Sunday, December 16th, at the White Lion Hotel, Cobham, Surrey.

The gathering was well attended, over 60 members and friends turning up and two dozen old Bentleys gracing the car park. This impressive array of motor cars caused many an unsuspecting motorist passing down the Portsmouth Road to look, then look again to make sure he could believe his eyes and then to pull up to inspect the parade.

Tampoe and Obeyesekere arrived early from Cambridge in an open “Speed Six,” while G. N. Richardson and a colleague, at present without Bentleys, arrived from Worcester in a Frazer-Nash. Bentleys then began arriving from all directions, including L. C. McKenzie in a blown 4 1/4 (yes, 4 1/4, not 4 1/2), R. D. Gregory wearing 9-in. tyres on the rear wheels (not an attempt to evade the “no comps” rule, but the result of his “Red Label” having done war work on the farm pulling 5 1/2-ton of trailer), and Sidney Smith, recently back from overseas, using up leave petrol in one of the half-dozen 100-m.p.h. 3-litres. Reginal Potter arrived in the special “Speed Six” saloon built for W/Cdr. Woolf Barnato. Such is the enthusiasm in spite of petrol shortage.

At the end of luncheon, Mr. Lycett, the chairman, made an announcement concerning the cancellation of the proposed visit to Brooklands. He wondered what was happening and what the members of the B.A.R.C. were going to get for the subscriptions paid during the war, and suggested that when asked to pay another year’s dues in January members should ask what they were going to get for it and when! He added that it would be even more significant if no subscriptions were asked for in 1946.

Mr. Lycett and Mr. McKenzie then performed the unenviable task of judging (1) the oldest Bentley, and (2) the best-kept Bentley present. The oldest Bentley belonged to Geoffrey Dunn — a 1922 3-litre with front brakes added and going very nicely, thank you. The beautifully turnedout 4 1/2-litre saloon belonging to Mr. A. D. Welch and his son was a popular choice for the other prize.

Messrs. Thomson & Taylor (Brooklands), Ltd., hearing that the visit to the Track had fallen through, very kindly gave permission for those present to inspect some interesting motor cars stored in a barn in the vicinity.

The Bentleys were then lined up in single file and moved off in convoy, a truly impressive sight. Those in the middle of the procession had a view of apparently endless Bentleys, both fore and aft.

The cars on view in the barn included the Barnato-Hassan, the Napier-Railton, the ex-Reggie Tongue (now Parnell) 1 1/2-litre Maserati and the Jill Thomas “2.9” Alfa.

The E.C.C. Winter Trial
The Closed Winter Trial of the E.C.C. of G.B. was held recently. The actual number of starters was 38, out of a total entry of 41.

Starters included Potter’s Allard, Clarkson’s “Grasshopper” Austin, and a very stark 2-litre F.N.-B.M.W. which was reputed to weigh 13 1/2 cwt. The rest of the entry was very varied, ranging from Grant’s Austin Seven cabriolet to Austin Molyneux’s 4 1/2-litre Lagonda, which is, incidentally, the prototype of the “Rapide” model.

The course was set amongst the Derbyshire hills, ending at the “Marquis of Granby” at Bamford, where an excellent tea was served to some 100 hungry mortals. The tests en route included a stop and restart test on Cowdale, a braking test at Monksdale, and a reversing test at Brough House. Fastest time at Monksdale was made by G. T. Hankins on a Singer Special, whilst at the reversing test, his brother, B. Hankins (S.S.100), made best time in 20 sec. — over 5 sec. better than anyone else.

The provisional prize winners were: Open cars: — B. Hankins (S.S.100), 1; G. T. Hankins (Singer Special), 2. Closed cars: — J. Currie (Ford “Prefect”). 1; I. Grant (Austin Seven cabriolet), 2.

The next trial will take place in early April, and will be known as the Committee Trial, in which, in addition to private entries, the Committee, gladly doffing their responsibilities, will do battle in two teams of three, with two teams nominated by the Club. The organisation of the event will be presided over by Austin Molyneux, of Higher Road Garage, Urmston, Lancs.

An interim meeting is due to take place at the Carlton Restaurant, Brown St., Manchester, on February 5th. Prospective members will be welcome.

V.S.C.C. Trial

The Vintage Sports Car Club is holding its first post-war competition in the form of a 20-mile trial on February 3rd, starting from the King’s Head Hotel, Holtspur, 1 1/2 miles from Beaconsfield, at 2 p.m. All ages of car are eligible, but marks will be earned in respect of age. There will be four observed sections and two timed tests, one of these a “pit stop” in which a plug and a wheel have to be changed — which should be amusing but also instructive. Competition tyres and locked axles are barred. The finish will be at the Old Farm House, Hurley. Mr. and Mrs. Choate have kindly presented the main awards, for pre-1931 and later cars, respectively. Originally the 750 Club had booked February 3rd for their trial, but as this has been altered to a Club run, this clash in the fixture list becomes less serious. However, it is a pity it has happened, particularly in these days of little petrol and very few fixtures, and the R.A.C. must endeavour to obviate such clashes in the future.

The Motor Cycling Club’s balance sheet shows assets valued at over £4,000. The annual general meeting happened on January 26th and the club will hold a dinner-dance at the Porchester Hall on February 12th. It is hoped the Lands End will be possible at Easter, but that depends on petrol.

General Notes
Having, as recounted last month, had to abandon the 1927 “Chummy” Austin Seven in Worcester, a good friend offered to relieve us of it, which was an offer too good to refuse. But certain items of kit had to be collected, so early, very early, one Sunday, the box-like Austin set out from Harrogate. In the dark and the wet we went towards Leeds, through that city, where trams were running even at this hour, and on along the dismal route to Huddersfield. In heavy rain and mist the now familiar road over the Peak was taken, from Holmforth, and after what seemed an eternity we turned off the road to Manchester, crossed the reservoir and climbed out of the valley, halting at a level-crossing as a goods train, doubleheaded, went by along that impressively steep track. In due course Chapel-en-le-Frith, likewise familiar, came up, and then we entered Buxton. Out of this town we took the road to Leek, bleak as it rose over the moors, and the mist now really thick. Very soon it cleared and the journey became monotonous, through Stafford and Wolverhampton, to better country from Kidderminster into Worcester. It was now about lunch-time, a watery sun failing to dry the damp pavements and a Sunday morning atmosphere pervading the place. A hasty lunch served by one of those blonde waitresses and we learned that our kit had gone with the “Chummy” to a village near Gloucester. Thither we went as fast as British utility permits with safety. On the way we conceived the idea of taking another look at Shelsley Walsh. The kit collected and an Austin Seven “Special” admired, we retraced our steps down winding country lanes, being forced to pause at a delightful hand-operated swing bridge over the Severn, what time torrential rain fell, a double rainbow appeared in the sky, and two tankers, one towing a barge, dieselled majestically down the river.

It was now the time when ordinary mortals sit down to tea; we contended with a stuck traffic light in Gloucester, filled up with oil and petrol, and went to find Shelsley. After getting lost repeatedly, we knocked at the door of a country house, whereat an old Sunbeam reposed in a barn, and were at once directed to the famous hill. In the dark we ascended the narrow, exciting road up which so many good cars have gone, so very much faster. The Austin needed bottom gear practically all the way, and boiled into the bargain. We came down again, examined the timing and B.B.C. boxes, felt nostalgic, then remembered we were some 220 miles from home, with not much of the evening left. It seemed an age since we had lunched, as we ate tea in a cinema café, again in Worcester, the street lamps now aglow. Curious, how clean and span folk look, sitting in cinema cafés on Sunday evenings! After this we just motored and motored. Wolverhampton, Stafford, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Manchester — came and went. Leeds, eventually, and by 3 a.m. we were into Harrogate. The “day’s” mileage? – 453. Next, by way of a change, we went motoring again, in another Austin Seven saloon. This time on a Saturday afternoon, in search of an elusive “12/50” Alvis. At Howden a fine “14/40” Delage 2-seater was seen in the market place. In the fading light we entered the appalling town of Hull and drove over the fearful road surface beside the docks. The Alvis was not quite what we expected, but coming home we paused at Gilberdyke to enter a dilapidated shed and peer at some veteran motor cars. And so home — another 142 miles on the clock. But how one longs for the end of rationing and a faster car !