FROM time to time readers send in cuttings or scrapbooks which provide the Editor with interesting and often nostalgic reading. Amongst such links with the past are two scrapbooks containing cuttings from motoring journals of the nineteentwenties lent to us by Major J. L. Irentonger and compiled by him when he was a schoolboy—indeed, one of his books looks suspiciously as if it was procured in the classroom !
Here we find pictures of the heroes of those days—Parry Thomas, H. 0. D. Segrave, Malcolm Campbell, T. B. Andre, C. M. Harvey, R. M. V. Sutton, A. Waite, E. C. Gordon England, Gordon Hendy, the Earl of Cottenham, Eric Longden, C. W. .Johnstone, C. Martin (the French Amilcar exponent) and many others. It was in the days %Olen Halford used the hand-brake of his Halford Special before the artificial corners in the 200-Mile Race which Segrave won at Brooklands in one of those fascinating, low-hung, straight-eight Talbots. A race in which Douglas Ilawkes (Eldridge Special), Harvey (f.w.d. Alvis) and Moeiceau (Talbot) were able to indulge in crashes without injuring themselves.
Parry Thomas is seen breaking long-distance records from 3 hours to 1,000 miles in his Leyland-Thomas, all four wheels being changed and petrol and oil replenished at spells of 1 hours, these: stops, the caption claims, being made by a team of mechanics in 18 seconds ! There are interesting pictures of the 4-litre V12 Sunbeam in French colours, with Talbot radiator, at Gaillion hill-climb, and of G. J. Jackson sand-racing at Southport in another Sunbeam. We learn from another caption that Aston Martin driver Miss H. M. Lister was formerly a Russian ballet-dancer, we are reminded that a nicelystreamlined o.h.e. Fiat Eight ran in a 200-Mile Race and given a reminder of the splendid streamlining of one of Gordon England’s later racing Austin Sevens.
There is an amusing error in it newspaper caption, where Miss Cunliffe’s Bentley is said to be cornering at Blackpool before her crash, and is seen ascending Shelsley Walsh ! There are plans which show that Djelmo was planned originally as a two-engined recordbreaker with splayed-out f-elliptic springs and a seat from which the driver wouldn’t have Seen a thing ! One cutting shows Serboli’s Chiribiri on fire in it Continental race, there is a rare racing car with Lancia front suspension [Anyone remember this one ?—En.1 apparently current with the P2 Alfa-Romeo, and a Beardmore nearly upsetting at Shelsley Walsh. Other rare cars are a G.P. 2-litre straight-eight Hiatt° for which 125 m.p.h. was said to be guaranteed, and a sports 9.5-h.p. Donnet-Zedel selling for £250. Rigal is seen filling the single seat of a 7/17 Peugeot racer in a cydeear race at Montlhery, Oscar Leblanc is found winning a 12-hour light-car race over the Guadarrama circuit at Madrid in a Sahnson, and there are lots of views of the Land Speed Record cars of Thomas, Campbell and Segrave. Alfred Moss, Stirling’s dad, is seen winning a Brooklands race in a rather spent Fronty Ford Speed Sport front which oil smoke is pouring, and there is a sports version of the Fiat Eight, said to give 32 b.h.p. at 4.000 r.p.m. and to reach 70 m.p.h. on a 5.1-to-1 top-gear ratio and 27 in. by 4.40 in. tyres—it has the most staggered seating I have ever seen, and Rudge hubs. These are just some of the interesting meinories which Major Iremonger’s scrapbooks convey.
Another interesting relic from the past, kindly sent in by a reader, is a Daily Mail dated February 10th, 1908, which carries a column on the 20,000-mile New York/Paris Motor Race. The ” intrepid motorists ” were apparently being entertained royally in New York prior to the start and were to engage in nightly races round the Hippodrome stage at 50 m.p.h. It was explained that this was the largest stage in the world, which was probably just as well ! A ” Sporting Anarchist ” in a Werner announced his intention of ” racing the race.” entering Alaska at the Skaguay Pass and branching off the Arctic shore in Siberia by way of Lena instead of following the race route to the Amadir River. Ten entries were named, a De Dion, Motobloc, Sizaire-Naudin from France, a Protos from Germany, a Thomas from America and a Brixia-Zust from Italy. Apparently later editions of the Daily Mail omitted any reference to this great motor race.
Incidentally, some idea of the appalling manner in which the value of the pound has diminished in the last 47 years can lie gleaned from the advertisements in this old newspaper—in 1908 a lady’s tweed coat cost 10s. 6d., a made-to,measure suit 305., grand pianos front £7 10s., a Panhard motor veil 3s. Md., a pair of Barrett boots 8s. fid., and a good umbrella 4s. Hid.