Enthusiasm for motor sport is an intense affair, so that besides driving a good car and going to sporting fixtures, devotees like to associate themselves with motoring in various subsidiary ways, such as hanging framed pictures of cars in the study, keeping a motoring photograph album, wearing appropriate club ties and lapel badges, and using motoring table mats, hand-kerchiefs and scarves. Another very fascinating sideline is the collection of toy cars and replicas, and the serious racing of model cars driven by tiny petrol or “diesel” engines.
The latter sport has reached it very advanced state of development; 2.5,5 and 10-c.c. classes are recognised, there are tracks in many towns, and the Model Car Association (which was formed as the result of a suggestion by W. Boddy, Editor of Motor Sport) controls competitions in the same way as the R.A.C. controls real motor-racing. The M.C.A. (Sec.: G. E. Jackson, 1, Lime Grove, Chaddesden, Derby) issues certificates for officially-timed attacks on national records, these standing at present as follows:—
2.5 c.c. British ½ mile: J. R. Parker, 55.9 m.p.h.
2.5 c.c. Open ½ mile: J. R. Parker, 55.9 m.p.h.
5 c.c. Open ½ mile: R. W. Flower, 81.83 m.p.h.
5 c.c. Open ½ mile: R. W. Flower 77.80 m.p.h.
10 c.c. British ½ mile: F. G. Buck, 107.83 m.p.h.
10 c.c. Open ½ mile: W. S. Warne, 113.90 m.p.h.
10 c.c. Open ½ mile: W. S. Warne, 111.10 m.p.h.
10 c.c. Open 1 mile: J. Gascoigne, 102.80 m.p.h.
10 c.c. Open 10 mile: P. Hugo, 57.14 m.p.h.
From these speeds it will be appreciated that model-car racing is a specialised sport. The ordinary motoring enthusiast will, perhaps, be more interested in collecting commercially-obtainable replicas of actual makes of cars.
Very many years ago French toy makers put on the market some intriguing models. Citroen, Ltd., took advantage of this to offer large clockwork replicas of their 1.5 and 11.4-h.p. cars, surprisingly true-to-prototype, with proper steering and a brake. They cost only 15s. in the nineteen-twenties and if you wished to add to your stable a visit to Hamley’s would reveal similar replicas of “14/40” Delage, 13.9 Renault and Panhard, with real electric searchlight by the off-side screen pillar. There was also a larger, open toy Hispano-Suiza with real rubber tyres, and more elementary but equally charming replicas of the last of the model-T Fords, coupé, saloon and tourer. Later came those exciting 18 in.-long P2 Grand Prix Alfa-Romeos of the kind in which Ascari, Campari and Brilli Peri gained the championship of Europe in 1925. They cost 35s., with clockwork motor, detachable wire wheels, Ackermann steering, working filler-caps, etc., and if I sometimes wonder whether they had originally set out to be replicas of the 1½-litre or 2-litre Grand Prix F.I.A.T.s of the same era, nevertheless, they were very pleasing possessions. Incidentally, if anyone can find me examples of any of these old-time toys, I should be very grateful.
Jumping a couple of decades, what is there to collect to-day? Well, Chad Valley make excellent die-cast clockwork replicas of the modern Hillman Minx, Humber Super Snipe and Sunbeam-Talbot cars of the Routes Group, priced at only 5s. each, inclusive of p.t. I gather they can undertake similar replicas of current production cars and the resultant publicity should be very well worth while to any enterprising firms who take advantage of this arrangement.
The Meccano “Dinky Toy” range continues to expand, such makes as Jaguar 100, 4½-litre Lagonda, Rolls-Royce, Vauxhall, Chrysler and so on having been followed by such recent additions as Austin A40, Triumph 1,800, Vanguard and American Ford V8—real miniatures these, beautifully finished and very fascinating withal. They cost only 1s. 9d. or 2s. 6d. and Meccano, Ltd., take real pains to faithfully reproduce the lines and outstanding features of the real cars. The Editor of Motor Sport is an ardent “Dinky” collector. Down at Brooklands Scale Models, Ltd., have done astonishingly brisk trade (particularly export) with their splendid little 1/32-scale Maserati, E.R.A. and Alta model racing-cars, these now being available with spring or electric propulsion. The Scale Model Equipment Co., Ltd., of Steyning, supplies kits of parts which make up into very realistic and detailed 1/32-scale models of “3.3” G.P. Bugatti, G.P. Mercédès, E-type E.R.A., 1½-litre Alta, A6GS Maserati and Aero-dynamic H.R.G. cars, while the “Penguin” range of rather larger rubber-driven plastic replicas embraces Jowett Javelin, Riley, Ford and Armstrong-Siddeley. The simplest i.e.-engined model would appear to be the Juneero “Bantam” which, like the early racing-cyclecars, has belt-drive, and there are even jet-propelled racers, by Jetex. Incidentally, the pastime is catered for by two monthly magazines, the 6d. Model Car News and 2s. Model Cars. If it be true that man is but it boy at heart, the future of the model car is surely firmly established!—W. B.