Vintage Postbag, February 1957




I shall be most grateful if anyone can identify the make of car in the enclosed photograph. The driver is my father, the late Dr. J. H. Bayley, of Northampton. I note he and his companion have stopped where the best medicine is dispensed.

I note, too, that your Continental Correspondent is fortunate enough to live at Odiham. Over a hundred years ago my great grandfather was the village doctor. In fact, Lloyds Bank in the High Street was the family house. He is buried in the village churchyard, and in his day was a good cricketer, having bowled the first ball for Oxford against Cambridge in the first inter-varsity match, in 1827.

I am, Yours, etc., Joseph Bayley. Charlton.


I have recently discovered a (circa) 1920 Deemster 2-seater. At the time of writing I know very little about the car and have only given it a quick look over.

However, I am very keen to find out as much as possible and I wondered if you could give me any information about the marque and recommend any sources of information?

I am, Yours, etc., David R. Hiam. Streetly. 


It was with interest I noticed you are becoming a little more vintage-minded, because the trials organised by the V.S.C.C. are most suitable for the man who cannot afford to run two cars, i.e., a trials-special and a private car. Most of the trials organised are quite suitable for ordinary private cars, and even standard Austin Seven Chummys have won awards.

The picture of the Day-Leeds car reminded me of the fact that my father sold some of the first Day-Leeds cars ever made and I believe they were only made to order. The builder of these fine little cars was also a friend of my father’s and, incidentally, at that time used a 12-h.p. Rover two-seater as his private car.

The same man designed and built a machine which weighed, packed, and sealed tea in packets, and he was much more interested in this machine than in the car he produced. Incidentally, there was one of these cars being used as a light wagon up to the early part of the last war, and the firm is still in existence, i.e., Job Day & Sons Ltd., Engineers, Beeston, Leeds.

I am, Yours, etc., Chas. W. Morgan. M.I.M.I. Broseley.


Having recently acquired, in disused state, a 1928 17.9-h.p. Star fabric-bodied saloon, I am extremely anxious to obtain information concerning the model in question and a history of the firm.

I have wondered for some time why Star cars are so very seldom seen on the roads, or at various rallies. From a brief examination of my particular model it has every evidence of being of a high quality, even for vintage period. Coupled with the fabric body, and the six-cylinder engine of some 2-litres, it should be endowed with reasonable performance. The engine bears signs of Sunbeam influence, and I can’t help thinking that design personnel were enticed from one Wolverhampton factory to another.

I was somewhat disappointed to find a central ball-change, but on closer examination it is certainly a ball-change with a difference; no long piece of bent wire, but a fairly short rigid lever moving firmly and positively.

The car was found in what is now acknowledged to be the traditional resting place for disused vintage and veteran cars—a farmer’s barn, complete with straw bales and pieces of farming equipment as companions, and mice as tenants. The log book (original) reveals the car was last licensed in 1934; it is reputed to have only towed a caravan from Wiltshire to Devonshire and back since a fully-completed engine overhaul.

In conclusion, I would like to express my pleasure in noting the re-introduction of a vintage section in your excellent magazine.

I am, Yours, etc., J. R. Gray. Wootton Bassett.


I was most intrigued to see a photograph of the Storey car in the December issue. This brought back memories of my early motoring days, for my uncle also had one of these cars for a short time and seemed very pleased with it.

Before this, after the first war, he used to visit us in what I remember as a Butler-Lacey, which was, I think, a not-dissimilar car. On one occasion my mother, then unused to cars and upset by a particularly noisy gearchange produced by my uncle’s chauffeur, addressed the latter sharply, forbidding him “ever again to touch that lever.” We had to return home in what I rather fancy was bottom gear.

I wonder if any of your readers have memories of these rare cars— I cannot recall having ever seen another?

I am, Yours, etc.,  A. S. McKiernan. Churt.


I wonder if you or any of your readers can throw any light upon the whereabouts of those interesting 1½-litre straight-eight flat-iron cars built around 1926 by Parry Thomas?

Just after the war they (two) came to light in Bradley’s yard at Cricklewood (E. A. Bradley of Brooklands fame) alongside an aged 2-litre Maserati. Bradley himself cherished these cars and at the time would not part with them, although shortly after, I’m told, he emigrated to South Africa, taking only the rebuilt Maserati with him (or did Roland Dutt acquire it?).

Again I came across one stripped out at a garage at Hillingdon around 1947, since when I have not heard speak of them, but often wonder if someone will resurrect them one day for V.S.C.C. racing.

I am, Yours, etc., P. H. Black. Edgware.

[We believe that one of the straight-eight Thomas-Specials still exists in England, but with a Ford V8 engine installed, and that the other went abroad.—Ed.]


I noticed Mr. Cross’s letter about the vintage vehicle bearing the name Graf & Stift, Wien, on its radiator. I’m afraid I can’t contribute very much, but here is something which may tie in with other people’s memories.

As far as I can remember, Austria only ever produced two makes of motor car—the Austro-Daimler and the Graf and Stift, I think that the latter went out of production in 1914, but that the Austro-Daimler continued a sort of revival for a few years after 1919.

The Graf and Stift had some sort of resemblance to the Straker-Squire. I wonder if that helps Mr. Cross at all, because there are probably very few people now who ever saw a Straker-Squire. However, the last time I saw a Graf und Stift was in Vienna in 1930. It was, of course, a pre-1914 model, of the variety then called a “torpedo” body. It was an open tourer, with a hood which was held down to the front wings by long leather straps. The rear seats, well over the rear axle, were sufficiently higher than the front for the rear passengers to see over the heads of those in front, and (like many cars of the period) there was a separate folding rear windscreen.

One little point of historical interest: the Archduke of Austria and his wife were riding in a Graf und Stift when they were assassinated at Sarajevo in Montenegro in July, 1914—an event which pulled the trigger for the first World War.

I am, Yours, etc., Robert Peaty. Paris.