VINTAGE VEER INGS
APART from the charm which those of the right mentality discover in vintage cars, owners of obsolete models get a great deal of interest from taking steps to learn as much as they Can about their cars. Often they start a scrap-book in which correspondence with others who own, or have owned, like models can be kept, along with cuttings from any old motor journals that come to hand (the original technical description of the chassis concerned and a road-test report are prizes indeed, sometimes acquirable in photostat form), photographs of other cars of the same make and type, and so on. Every endeavour will be made to lay hands on an instruction book, and if the car is an ex-racing or competition model its history will be sought via former owners (Mcrroa Soar is always willing to assist in this respect) Details of what modifications the type underwent from time to time will be eagerly absorbed. Some vintage owners will even contrive to meet the designer of their car, or others who have been intimately associated with its design, development or competition career. All this adds up to a real affection for and comprehensive knowledge of the personal Motor car from which the shining new 1951 model is, alas, immune. * * *
So many vintage ears seem to come to rest with mysterious magneto trouble, especially if they have been laid up for some appreciable time prior to being taken out, that we may be excused for returning to this topic. Many owners try to obtain a replacement magneto and if they fail to do so decide that this vintage motoring is no joy at all. As replacement magnetos are usually difficult and expensive to locate we wish to emphasise that the trouble is usually softening of the shellac in the windings of the erratic instrument and that specialist electrical firms can usually effect a complete cure. They seem to be able to rewind and find spares for the most improbable makes and vintages, too. So if your recently-acquired car has lost its sparks, do not despair. What does it cost ? In our experience a vintage magneto can be made as new for £5-10. Often, however, new points are unnecessary and re-winding and re magnetizing alone can be done for half this figure or thereabouts. The one firm of which we have had recent experience was W. D. Foster, Ltd. of Camden Town, who did an excellent job on a formerly tired 1926 Marelli ; there are, of course, others who can skilfully put your evaporated sparks back into your vintage h.t. generating machines. The V.S.C.C. Northern Section ran the Measham Rally during January. Our reporter writes of it :— This is the second year of the Meashani
Rally and there were 110 entries of which only 00 could be accepted. With the presentation of an immensely fine silver challenge trophy by Mr. G. A. Hill of the Measham Motor Sales organisation it is clearly a fixture which has come to stay.
The event started near Shrewsbury at 11 p.m. on Saturday night and competitors were due to reach Measharn around dawn on Sunday ; but several had covered many more miles than the prescribed 188 and were arriving up till about 10 a.m. The night section included time checks and one stop-and-restart which, however, only troubled people with very high bottom gears. On arrival at Measham the protagonists were invited to do a come-and-go acceleration test and finish up touching a lightly balanced bar with penalties if it came unbalanced. The cars were then impounded while their crews had breakfast, laid on by the Aleasham Motor Sales
Organisation, on whose spacious premises the subsequent tests took place by kind permission of Mr. G. A. Hill. These comprised a timed test negotiating in and out of bays ; then a weaving race in and out of a row of pylons, and finally the ” Meashain Grand Prix” consisting of two circuits Of the ground with a stop half-way when engines had to be stopped while the owner ran round the car. The results were as follows VINTAGE
SLEASEASI TROPHY: F. B. Day (4 irlitre Bentley): 2nd: P. Binrui (Olt). grd K. Miles (Riley Nine); 4th : L. J., Stratton (Kiley Nine). POST-VINTAGE 1st: P. B. Reese (11.5.0.); 2nd : J, S. Hollinpik
(Morris Bight); :ird J. Newton (Bristol); 4th : J. M. Collier (Austin Sixteen).
Now let’s empty another of those vintage-car mail bags that so aptly prove the popularity of the breed, shall we ? Sir, I have followed with interest recent correspondence on vintage Hinnbers, culminating in the proposal to form a Humber register. I regret I am not at present eligible for enrolment of such a list, but I should like to suggest to Lieut. Demans that several of these models were quite susceptible to “warming-up.” I had a modest success with at least two types-8 h.p. and the “11.9” (12/25 h.p.), and in the Glasgow area, Nevrtownmearns I think, another enthusiast-admittedly with greater expense, better resources and in some cases drastic modifications—achieved startling results. I actually owned four inlet-over-exhaust types : 8 h.p., “9/20,” 11.4 h.p. and ” 11.9 ” (12/25 h.p.), and had in addition very considerable experiences on similar cars in the hands of friends. A Humber
coterie, in fact, which existed in Belfast and Northern Ireland fifteen-to-twenty years ago. The whole thing began with the colaplete overhaul of an 8-11.p. two-seater, cheaply acquired, and therefore warranting the expenditure of some cash. It, was discovered that .060 oversize Austin Seven pistons could be used for the boredout block with an incidental and considerable increase in compression ratio. One thing led to Another—stronger valve springs, a somewhat freer exhaust than allowed for by the makers, polished head and ports, etc. (but nothing drastic), and over give-and-take country that Humber Eight was one of the quicker. things • of its day. I should have mentioned the Cox-Atmos carbtiretter earlier, perhaps, but left it for more detailed. conunent. In my experience this was one Of the best (and one of the best built). carburetters ever produced, and the late Mr. Cox, whom I afterwards had the pleasure of knowing very well, had forgotten More about the art of practical carburation than the slide-rule-pushing pundits of today are ever likely to acquire. The CoxAtmos, of course, had a number Of unusual and ingenious adjustments, and it. is safe to say that no other vaporiser clould be so completely messed-up by the uninformed or unintelligent garage hand. Properly set, and settings were available over an astonishing range of requirements —minimum consumption to maximum power—and provided that the adjustments were co-ordinated and the working of the device understood, no one could wish for a better carburetter. I still have one or two in the workshop ! It had one peculiarity: I know of no other carburetter which would stand excessive enricInnent for maximum power to the same degree, a testimonial to its real vaporising ability. But this digresses somewhat from what I set out to deal with—Humbers. The available breathing capacity of the “
12125″ was proportionately not so good as the Eight, but raised compression, copperor aluminium-sprayed head, lightened flywheel and gearing-up by fitting 6.00 by 20 (!) tyres. resulted in a very satisfactory cruising speed with liveliness in the gears.
But the outstanding feature of these -cars was the impeccable worknuinshipi chassis and body, and the excellence of materials. The ” bedplate ” unit construction of engine and gearbox peculiar to the make, the consequent accessibility and commonsense of the design and the beautiful gearboxes overshadow (in my memory anyhow) the not-so-silky cone clutches. Treatment of the male member by cutting slots with a hacksaw and giving, a leading-edge effect was only partially successful .and (rather like the Alfa-Romeo I use today) a smooth take-off was the prerogative of “experts only.” The later ” 14/40 ” (which 1 often regret I never owned) had a completely new design of plate clutch. I am inclined to think that this model offers the best-scope for a little judicious niprovei neat. Quite irrelevantly, might I also put in a good word for the contemporary Gwynne Eights (and earlier Tens) of which another coterie existed at the same time and the same place. I drove lots of them, although never an owner, and still think that these two small cars, the Givynne and Humber Eights were the most insidiously likeable little cars ever
One more irrelevance—in the November ” Chain Chatter” reference is made (and quite rightly) to the performance of 1V. II. Peacock in the International Six Days with a” 350 “Matchless and sidecar. But does anyone besides myself recall the performances-t lie almost monotonously successful performances—Of F. W. Giles and his ” 350 ” A.J.S. with sidecar in the days of long ago ? Those. WERE the days. I am, Yours, etc.,
Banbury. JOHN A. K. FERGIE. * * * Sir, I was very intrigued to find that the presence of my Humber in Nile, in October, had been thought worthy of notice. I must admit that when, earlier III the year, there WAN some correspondence regarding Humbers of this vintage, I was tempted to write, you and blow My car’s horn. (See photograph below.—ED.) The car is the typical open tourer, 1925 11.9 o.h. inlet, a exhaust, and has done in my hands since 1945 .about
80,000 miles. The trip on the continent involved Calais to Geneva via Reims and Besancon, then Route des Grande Alpes (including Gabbier) to Nice. From Nice to Marseilles and then a tour through the Tarn Gorges and the Massif Centmle to Paris and home. Average speed WAN 30 m.p.h.; consumption 27 m.p.g., and I haven’t put any more oil in since Nice !
I have had immense fun out of the car. including becoming slightly notorious On I he Croydon to Brighton road for ruiunag her with two earburetters in series-one with petrol ira It IR! ot her with water ! I ant, Yours, etc.,
F. C. CAiteEsrmic. Carslialt * * * Sir,
In last. month’s ” Vintage Veerings ” you mention 11r. Denne’s beautifully (turned 00 1912 Humber ; I am afraid that this was never a ” real racer,” but I was guilty of disguising it as one: I found this car in a farmyard in 1942 apparently much weathered ; and after the war 1 took off the remains of the body and proceeded to ” hot-rod ” the Humber in 1912 style by raking the steering, boring out to 09 mm. (stroke 120 mm.), raising the compression by altering the valve Caps, fitting a clutch stop and taking quite a lot of pounds off the flywheel. All very wicked, but the car in its original form was, according to a contemporary road report, a remarkably feeble performer.
To Mr. Denne is due all the credit fOr the Ilumber’s splendid turn-out and also for the intrepid way in which he drives this desperately exposed little car to distant meetings in typically frightful Vintage weather.
A ” works ” edition of this Humber, or rather the 1913 130 mm. stroke model. used to lap Brooklands at 70 m.p.h., so Mr. berme has still something to aim at.. I am. Yours, etc.,
Lingfleld II. M. SAMUELSON’. * * *
I wonder if any of your readers can assist. cue in my search for an instruction book and also a radiator thermometer for my 1924 Morris-Cowley ? Apart from this latter item the car is complete and in its original condition.. It is in daily use and t he I lotchkias.engine never gives the slightest trouble. Recently I attained a speed of 67 m.p.h. on the flat, but at the normal cruising speed of 30-35 m.p.h. the engine is almost silent, and 28 m.p.g. is the general rule on long IUDs.
This car is so reliable and such a delight to drive that I plan to take it touring abroad next summer. I am,Yours, etc., Add hightail. JonN Strrurbri. * * *
The V.S.C.C. is introducing a section for owners of vintage small cars— see page 68.
2th NK120 Jaguar was given away free at the Fourth Annual National Hot-Rod and Motor Sport Show at Los Angeles.