Club News, February 1948

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We Hear

A Bangor garage apparently has in hand a 500-c.c. “Special” with d.t. Douglas engine and Austin Seven transmission. W. A. Wiseman has a 1920 D-type “23/60” Vauxhall (with an absolutely unchipped starter ring, incidentally!), and he hopes to restore it to very good order indeed. In 1946 he bought a 1927 Armstrong-Siddeley Fifteen tourer for £45 and in 10,000 miles the only trouble experienced was cured by the purchase of a nut and a split-pin, to secure part of the transmission. Last summer this car took four people, camping kit and a 12-gallon water tank for a 2,000-mile Continental tour, averaging 28 m.p.g. Apart from eight punctures no trouble was experienced, although the car boiled up every hill (including the Grinsell Pass), went over a certain cable bridge where automobiles are verboten, punctured in the main square of Lucerne and did 20 miles with the front wheels badly out of true after hitting a telegraph pole. Yet another Sunbeam Twenty, a tourer of 1927 vintage, has turned up in Edinburgh; it has only run 80,000 miles, having been licensed three months a year throughout its life.

Oliver Sear has acquired the “Ulster” Aston-Martin once owned by Prince “Bira,” and Bill Harris has a supercharged Salmson engine out in Australia which he believes came from the Bartlett Special. He seeks information about it, believing that the original camshafts may have been changed for others. He intends to install this engine in an i.f.s. chassis. On the subject of Salmsons, K. C. Radburn, who owns four push-rod and “G.P. Special” models, volunteers the information that the valve-timing of the latter is: inlet opens 20° b.t.d.c., exhaust valve closes 20° a.t.d.c., with ignition setting marked on flywheel, and tappet clearances .006-in. inlet, .008-in. exhaust, set cold. He believes the only external difference between a “Grand Prix” and a “G.P. Special” Salmson is the position of the oil filter, at the front of the engine on the former, but at the centre of the sump cover-plate on the latter. Dr. Ward, of Leeds, who once owned an Aston-Martin with six-cylinder Scott two-stroke engine, has acquired an ex-Ellis s.v. Aston-Martin from Alton Garage. J. Fawcett is having the wheelbase of an old Lancia shortened by two feet. The work is being undertaken by F. H. Hambling, whose prototype V8 sports car is nearing completion. F. Wright earnestly seeks an instruction book for a 1933 o.h.c. Wolseley Twelve. D. Michael, who reports that a standard Big Six Bentley is mouldering in his district — Chelmsford — hopes soon to acquire a V-twin Morgan. He mentions that he has two Scott motor-cycles at present, of 1928 and 1931 vintage. His family’s cars have included an Omega 3-wheeler, which he recalls as having semi-elliptic springs, an I-section front axle, an 8/10-h.p. J.A.P. engine under the bonnet and Morgan-style two-speed transmission. Are any Omegas still on the road, he asks? Shaws Motors, of Morecambe, are rebuilding the old Emeryson Special for Kirby of “Sunbac.” This car consists of a 1926 Frazer-Nash, originally with Anzani engine but now endowed with a 4 ED Meadows, which is to be given a Shorrock supercharger. Kirby intends to use the car in future trials and speed events in place of the Jeep he ran last season. Major Dove has had to lay up both his ex-Dawkins 1914 Rolls-Royce and his 1928 “12/40” Lea-Francis, due to the petrol cut. An Austrian Graf and Stift, resembling a typical American car of the early nineteen-thirties, has been seen in Slough.

Arrived in Kenya, Victor Axel Berg has acquired a very beautiful 1985 2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo “Zagato” with only 25,000 miles to its credit. It is the only “2.3” in Kenya, apparently, and Axel Berg knows of only one other car of this make, a blown 1 3/4-litre. He admits that American automobiles serve very well on the bad roads encountered, but says he is lucky in having a farm only four miles from the one good tarmac road. Any hints on how to lubricate the blower, whether an aluminium head is standard and the correct jet settings for an altitude of 6,070 ft. above sea level should be directed to the proud owner at Box 50, Nakaru, Kenya Colony. Steam car topics seem to crop up in these offices in regular cycles and so A. S. Wadsworth asks, hasn’t the high-pressure flash steam generator and, say, a triple-expansion all-enclosed steam engine the makings of a very effective sports-car power plant? Has it? We wouldn’t know. C. Burton has installed a 17-h.p. Hudson engine in a 1933 open S.S. In America, George C. Caswell is using a B.N.C. endowed with a Ford V8 engine and also possesses a 1921 3-litre racing Ballot which possessed a Model-A Ford engine when acquired. It is believed that the car was sent over for the 1922 Indianapolis race and all parts are stamped No. 8. If a Ballot straight-eight engine cannot be found, a Duesenberg or similar American power unit will be installed for S.C.C. of A. events.

Costin L. Densham, together with S/Ldr. B. H. Moir Winslett, A.R.Ae.S., has formed Wade Engineering at Gatwick in order to start production on a range of superchargers really suited to the modern racing car and its derivatives. He has with him on the staff Messrs. Roberts, Green and Young. Incidentally, besides his Brighton-age Raleighette tricar and his “14/40” Sunbeam, Densham is restoring to good order a 1914 Calcott 2-seater. R. E. Aickin has recently acquired a 1924 “Red Label” 3-litre Bentley.

N. R. Culpan, motor-cyclist, has a Healey chassis which he has endowed with a light sports body with a view to racing it this year.

Arising out of recent mention of a 1924. Lanchester Forty, J. G. Peter and Michael Taylor have, respectively, 1925 and 1929 23-h.p. cars of this make, while Keith Alderton still runs his 1924 28-h.p. open tourer. Geoffrey Frank now has in his stable a Rolls-Royce “Phantom II” coupe, 1911 “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce, 1912 “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce, 1912 Daimler, 1914 Sunbeam, “12/60” Alvis, 2-litre A.C. Competition 2-seater and Austin Ten cars, and is in pursuit of another 1911 Rolls-Royce. Gordon and Frank Nevill have rebuilt a 1934 M.G. L-type Magna and a 1936 Singer “Le Mans Special.” The registration numbers are LJ 7715 and HF 5096, and previous owners are invited to contact the Nevill brothers. We know of a Chrysler engine and other spares if any “special” builder is interested.

Edwardian Tribute

In a recent article in The Motor by D. B. Tubbs, describing his motoring experiences in 1947, and covering some of the best cars from England, America, France, Italy and Germany, it seemed evident to us that he enthused most over the Clutton/Ewen 1908 G.P. Itala. He certainly reminded us that its standing-start 1-mile time comes mid-way between that of a modern Mk. VI Bentley and a 2 1/2-litre Riley.


The Oct.-Dec. issue of the “Gazette” contains reports of recent social events and news of members’ activities. One hundred and seventy-one new members have joined the club since last March — further proof that motoring increases in popularity no matter to what Authority subjects it. The J.C.C. Council has made a grant of £725 from its British Motor Sport Fund towards the expenses of last year’s Jersey race.

Kentish Border C.C.

This once active club has every intention of carrying on with social events during the period of “no-basic,” or drought. Hon. secretary, K. P. W. Shackel, 15, Rowan Walk, Bromley Common, Kent.


The Veteran Car Club’s “Gazette” for December last contained the concluding instalment of St. John Nixon’s article “The Romance of Panhard and Levassor,” some notes on J. A. Holder’s “Forty” Mercedes depicted on the front cover, a brief account and an excellent photograph of Cecil Clutton’s 1908 “Sixty” Itala, and all the usual features, together with a survey of America’s interest in veteran cars. Hon. secretary, St. J. C. Nixon, 46, North Row, Oxford Street, London, W.1 (Mayfair 6749).

500 Club

The 500 Club expects it members to be very fully occupied in their workshops during the no-motoring-for-us era. The November issue of its journal “Iota” contained a list of members, with addresses, the total membership now standing at over 500. Of these members, 78 have cars or are known to be building. The issue was enlivened by some splendid pictures of 500-c.c. cars in action, taken by Guy Griffiths. Secretary, J. O. H. Siddall, Milford House, Lansdown, Bath.

S.C.C. of A.

The Sept.-Oct. edition of “Sports Car,” the official magazine of the Sports Car Club of America, contained a long account of the experiences of Bill Milliken when he competed in last year’s Pike’s Peak Hill Climb in his Bugatti Special, reports of recent events, an article on the 1940 Packard-Darrin, for which 108 m.p.h. and 0-60 in 11 sec. is claimed, another article on sports cars, in which a Canadian “hot-rod” Ford is claimed to have bettered the Lycett 8-litre Bentley’s best s.s. mile by 4 m.p.h.[!], and a blurb from an Englishman about his V16 Maserati. The Rolls-Royce section of Grant’s book “British Sports Cars” is quoted in full, but a query is raised as to whether the author is correct in saying that early “Silver Ghosts” had four-speed gearboxes. Actually the original “Silver Ghost” had a geared-up fourth speed, but this was dropped in 1910 and later pre-1914 “Ghosts” had three-speed boxes, with the exception of the “London-Edinburgh” model introduced in 1912. The magazine also has an account by Milliken of Cobb’s runs at Utah and its news of members’ cars under make-heading. In the latter section Pratley’s Austin Seven and V12 Sunbeam in England are mentioned.

There seems to be a growing interest in America in Mercedes cars and the Sports Car for November-December last contained a history of the early racing career of this make by Alec Ulmann, pictures of the “Sixty” Mercedes engine and a cover photograph of Briggs Cunningham’s SSK, of which there are about three in the United States. Other articles covered a 1928 Mercedes-Benz rebuild and a description of the “38/250” model. The “Cutout” feature continues news of members’ cars make by make and from it we learn that Wes Cunningham now owns the Caswell 1921 racing Ballot and hopes to fit a Model A Duesenberg engine. Other makes covered include Alfa-Romeo, Bentley, B.N.C., Bugatti, Invicta, Lancia, M.G., S.S., and the Tornax Special based on the D.K.W. Indeed, the only American makes are Stutz, Mercer and Kissel, so if you are due to go to the U.S.A. you need not anticipate too much homesickness. New members include David Scott-Moncrieff from Scotland and owners in the States of 1922 Amilcar, Auburn and M.G. cars. President, R. G. Sceli, 317,Asylum Street, Hartford, 3, Conn., U.S.A.

C S.M.A.

It is interesting to note that the Civil Service Motoring Association, the membership of which was 31,410 at the end of last October and its investments over £37,841, is protesting as bitterly as any other motoring organisation about the abolition of “basic” petrol. Secretary, E. T. S. Salmon, 4, Norris Street, Haymarket, London, S.W.1.


Not the least of the pleasure the Editor derived from the numerous Christmas cards and calendars which readers kindly sent him was the sight of friends and relatives picking these up in the time-honoured manner to ascertain from whom they came and to read the nice verses therein, only to be confronted with an odd-shaped motor vehicle, frequently travelling at an unquestionably illegal velocity. For example, there was Martin Brunt’s Hooker-Thomas-Special, the Bugatti-cum-Fiat card from the Whincops, the R. C. Roland Motors’ Cisitalia coupe, C. R. Abbott’s 1904 Mercedes in action at Prescott, the Alton Garage Alvis and B.D.C. cards from the Sedgwicks and J. Bradley Hunt. Others, much appreciated, included the Scuderia Impecuniosa Talbot flat-out at Gransden, a card from the committee of the Brighton & Hove M.C., a Healey from R. A. Funnell, Leonard Potter and his passenger on a trials-hill in the Allard, Dr. and Mrs. J. R. Edisbury’s amusing interpretation of an I.A.E. ideal, that “a car should wear out simultaneously in all parts,” Heal’s 1924 G.P. Sunbeam at Shelsley Walsh with Wyer in attendance, Laurence and Mrs. Pomeroy in the “Prince Henry” Vauxhall, Bunny and Mrs. Tubbs in their Citroen above Sion, an aerodynamic H.R.G. miscellany from Ariel and Peter Clark, Rivers Fletcher in his racing M.G., Hutchison in action in his P3 Alfa-Romeo, a fine calendar from Edward Hyde, and cards from the Editor and staff of the Light Car, Mr. and Mrs. Holland Birkett, Norman Routledge, Dudley Coram, W. Husband, Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Gilbey, P. Quiggin, Car Mart, the Veteran Car Club, Harold Biggs, Jim Kentish of the Sunbeam M.C.C., and Mr. and Mrs. Allen of the Vintage M.C.C. Then there was Raymond Mays E.R.A., a very fine view of a 57 SC Bugatti coupé from Rodney Clark and Mike Oliver, “Bloody Mary” from John and Betty Bolster, a humorous folder from Nina and Goff Imhof, and cards from the Cheltenham M.C., D. W. Price & Son, Ltd., J. K. Budleigh, John S. Dixon-Spain, John Costle, Donald C. Pitt (with M.G.), the S.S. Mercedes-Benz of R. H. Johnson, and a useful calendar from the Antone Company, headed by an appropriate Brockbank cartoon, another calendar from Davies Motors, Ltd., and cards from Mr. and Mrs. Morton, John Morgan of the J.C.C., Basil Davenport, Mr. and Mrs. Anning of the W.E.M.C., S. H. Allard, Billie North of the B.D.C., Dick Packman, Mr. and Mrs. Jack M. Reiss, Recules, Ramela y Cia, Ltd., Harry C. Shaw of Joseph Lucas, Ltd., J. B. Th. Hugenholtz of Ammerstol, Julian Fall, Mr. and Mrs. Inman Hunter, Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Humphries, and Floyd Clymer, not forgetting excellent calendars from T. P. Breen, Ltd., the Bristol Aeroplane Co., Ltd. Ronald Loader, and Monaco, Ltd. To all these well-wishers we sincerely reciprocate their good wishes and hope their motoring this year will not be too diluted.

Morgan 3-Wheeler Club

In future this club’s Midland Group will meet at 3 p.m. at the Winter Garden Restaurant, Broad Street, Birmingham, on the second Sunday each month.

G.N. Reunion Luncheon

Arrangements have now been made for this meeting of old-time drivers of twin-cylinder G.N.s to take place at the Connaught Rooms, Great Queen Street, Kingsway, London, W.C.2, on Thursday, February 26th, at 12.30 p.m., for lunch at 1 p.m. The luncheon (excluding service) will cost 14s., including coffee, but not wines.

Both the “G” and the ” N ” of the famous cyclecar will be there. F. J. (Eric) Findon, Editor of The Light Car, Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.1, to whom all inquiries should be addressed, stresses the fact that ladies, either as G.N. drivers, or as the guests of G.N. drivers, will be welcome.

Ulster A.C.

The December issue of “The Ulster Motoring Review” contained seasonal greetings to the Ulster A.C. from The Rt. Hon. the Earl Howe, P.C., C.B.E., S. C. H. Davis, F. J. Findon, W. Roddy, George Abecassis, S. H. Allard, J. V. Bolster, K. W. Bear, A. J. Butterworth, F. R. Gerard, T. C. Harrison, Raymond Mays, K. Hutchison, P. R. Monkhouse, Oscar Moore, D. C. Pitt and P. de F. C. Pycroft. This journal seems to include something for everyone, even to a particularly good report of the dresses worn by the ladies at the annual supper dance, held at the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast. Club awards for 1947 were as follows: Victor Ferguson Trophy, for best performance in reliability trials: C. S. Porter. Montgomery Cup, for the most successful lady member in competitions: Mrs. J. L. Dowling. Ex-Service Members’ Cup, for most successful serving member of R.A.F., Army, Navy or Merchant Navy Service: N. S. Robb. Miss Sydney Brice-Smith is now full-time secretary.


The Vintage Motor Cycle Club is determined to maintain the enthusiasm of its members during “the drought.” Its last Bulletin was in seasonal form, with goodwill messages from W. Boddy, M. F. Walker and Mr. and Mrs. Allen. New members listed numbered ten, with between them three Scott Squirrels, 1921 New Imperial J.A.P., 1913 Humber, 1918 Levis, 1926 Triumph, 1928 Rudge, 1930 Sunbeam, 1924 Triumph and 1929 Brough-Superior. Incidentally, in connection with Press work for the Royal Wedding, Allen covered 94 miles on his Brough at an average of over 50 m.p.h. The club arranged a visit to the Science Museum last month.

Quiz Solution

The Quiz picture in the January issue was correctly solved by P. R. Monkhouse, of Watford; A. T. Rawlinson, of Llandudno; H. L. Biggs, of Enfield; J. V. Lewis, of Ilford ; A. Thomson, of New Malden; G. E. Templar, of Cobham; Sqdn-Lr. J. Breese, R.A.F.; R. Hutt, of Kenilworth; F. L. Steers, of Belfast; R. M. Rambaut, of Carlisle; J. D. Scheel, of Copenhagen; R. D. Bate, of Manchester; T. V. Brettell, of Alresford; C. Posthumus, of Sunbury; Dr. J. D. F. Thornton, of Macclesfield; Paul Frere, of Brussels; H. Pringsheim, of Ilford; V. Barlow, of Elmdon; R. Buxton, of Enfield Wash; D. H. Mateer, of Kingston; K. N. Teasdale, of Birmingham; J. K. Hall, of Tulse Hill; L, Tallis, of Coventry; T. A S. Mathieson, of London, W.1; and Tom H. Brahmer of Sweden.

Actually we showed Manfred von Brauchitsch winning the Avus Grand Prix in May, 1932 (many readers voted it 1938) with a specially-streamlined SSKL “38-250” Mercedes-Benz — the car with the large “elephant” supercharger.

Not all these people got the driver correctly, Caracciola being a favourite, but we deem a solution correct if make and type of car are right. Apart from the driver, not everyone got their race result correct and one reader mistook the car for a more streamlined version of the later 3-litre cars. The incorrect solutions were Paul’s 3-litre Delage of 1939, Benz and the streamlined 3 2-litre Alfa-Romeo.

Another “Quiz-picture” will appear next month — after we have pulled up our socks and looked to our laurels.

The 1948 Rembrandt

The sixteenth “Rembrandt” Saturday, February 14th, commencing 12 noon. Cocktail party and Exhibition of motor racing photographs, followed by buffet luncheon. Chairman The Rt. Hon. The Earl Howe, P.C. In the afternoon there will be “question time” — a brains trust feature with Rodney Walkerley as Question Master, and a team of eight experts to answer your questions on any matter relating to motoring sport. Tickets price 21s. each. Please apply early from A.F. Rivers Fletcher, “Noddings,” 4, Eversleigh Road, New Barnet, Herts. Questions can be put to the Question Master on the day, or if you prefer it, can be sent in writing to A. F. Rivers Fletcher beforehand.

North-West London M.C.

The Annual Dinner and Dance will take place at Chez Auguste, Old Compton Street, W.1, on Thursday, February 19th, 1948. Evening dress optional. Tickets at £1 each are obtainable from the Hon. Secretary, J. H. Appleton, 99, Goldhawk Road, W.12.

Lagonda C.C Social

The Lagonda Car Club held its first social event since its formation, in the form of a Buffet-Dance at the Dorchester Hotel last month. It was most gratifying to the organisers to have an attendance of some one hundred people, in view of the prevailing transport problems. Speeches were impromptu, but the Chairman said a few words, as did Major Ainsworth, while W. H. Oates, who raced the 11.9-h.p. Lagonda at Brooklands in the early twenties, was also present and recalled that his Lagonda associations date back to about 1905, when he owned a 3-wheeled vehicle of that make. The dance organisation was a credit to the Committee and to Mrs. V. I. Davies, the Club’s Hon. Secretary, and the atmosphere of the whole evening was one of comfort and pre-war enthusiasm, so that the members and guests finally dispersed, looking forward with great keenness to the next Lagonda Car Club social.


Stenor Ltd., of Kewfoot Road, Richmond, Surrey, have issued an interesting booklet dealing with their vulcanizers, containing hints on getting the best results. Copies are available free on mention of Motor Sport.


It is a long time since we have read a detective novel, but we must confess to having recently finished just such a story, entitled “N.7.” The reason? Because it features Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Renault, Ford and Benz cars — indeed, there is an exciting chase of a criminal, driven by a pre-1914 racing driver in a 1925 “40/50” Rolls-Royce limousine, by the hero and detectives in a Bentley and a “Phantom” Rolls-Royce, respectively. There is also reference to Brooklands trophies and the 1914 French Grand Prix, and to Gordon Crosby’s painting of the latter, showing “the P.L.M. express crossing the bridge at Givors, and, below, Boillot, driving like a demon, fourteen seconds behind and chasing the German on that last lap, which Boillot was destined never to finish.” This would have surprised us very much had not the book been sent to us by G. R. N. Minchin, whose experience with 149 personal cars was described in Motor Sport last month. Minchin, as you may have guessed, was the author, dedicating his book to “R., thanks to whose genius I had so many pleasant journeys in Rolls-Royce cars on Route Nationale Number 7 . . .” It is a good, straightforward mystery story, with accurate motoring references; in fact, one of the clues embraces a most subtle feature of a Rolls-Royce’s minor controls. Over and above that, those who know France and the Riviera will enjoy the descriptions of famous towns and hotels, and of the route along N.7.

“N.7” is, we believe, out of print, but those who collect motoring books and who deign to include fiction — and there have been some good motoring novels, such as “All Out” and “Sicilian Circuit,” by Cottenham, “Christopher Strong,” by Gilbert Frankau, the “Lightning Conductor” and other stories centering round early motoring by the Williamsons, and Pierre Frondaie’s “L’Homrne a l’Hispano” — in their libraries, will find it worth while to search for a copy of Minchin’s mystery, which was published in 1930 by Arthur H. Stockwell, Ltd., of London. — W. B.