Vintage post-bag

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Royal Lanchesters

Sir,

Like Mr. Boddy, I too, was looking forward to “Royal Motoring” by J. Dewar McLinlock, and like Mr. Boddy, I was most disappointed. What a wonderful book it could have been, had royal cars the World over been included. There was the enormous Packard and the 40 h.p. Lanchester owned by Prince Chichibu of Japan just to mention two. While on the subject of Royal Lanchesters, the author states “Lanchesters were at one time popular as royal cars, not surprisingly in view of the close association between the Daimler and Lanchester concerns.”

The Duke of York, who was perhaps the only real motoring enthusiast in our Royal Family, was a Lanchester owner long before the amalgamation with Daimler in 1931. In the mid 1920’s the Duke owned two 40 h.p. cars, a limousine and landaulette and a 21 h.p. shooting brake. One of the 40s, PE 2226, was much photographed, when our Queen, as the baby Princess Elizabeth, made her first public appearance with her nurse. I enclose a photograph of this car. All these cars were of 1925-26 Vintage, and when, in 1936, they were due for renewal, the Duke refused to have Daimlers for his private use, and two special Straight-Eight Lanchesters were built, a landaulette JJ4 and a limousine JJ5. These were based on the Straight-Eight Daimler. There were a number of old Lanchester customers who also refused to order Daimlers, H. H. the Jam Sahib of Nowanagar being one. I think it would be true to say that King George VI purchased Lanchesters latterly in spite of their connection with Daimler, net because of it, as suggested by Mr. Dewar McLinlock.

Newbury. F. W. HUTTON-STOTT 

 

*     *     *

On Their Own

Sir,

I would like you to know that some vintage cars did take the road to Exeter last Boxing night.

Arriving at Slough in my 1927 Morris Oxford saloon at about 10.45 p.m. I was gratified to find two other cars assembled on the Trading Estate.

These were a 1927 Swift tourer, with hood down, and a 1929 Morris Minor tourer. Accompanying these two was a modern Fiat 600, which was to survey the route and attempt to organise things.

This diminutive cavalcade left Slough at 11 p.m. amid steadily falling snow and took the A332 through Eton and Windsor to join the A30 at Bagshot. Troubles beset everyone, as the Swift had a fuel blockage and Mr. Roy Hogg’s Morris Minor incurred a “short” on the main h.t. lead. My wiper, being a vacuum operated type, was making hard work of clearing accumulating snow which made visibility very poor.

At Basingstoke I believe the Swift took the through road whilst the Morris used the by-pass, this being the last time I saw the Swift. I would very much like to know how it fared and whether the Humber joined in at Salisbury as was planned.

Due to wiper trouble I was further delayed and found that not only had I fallen behind the “Minor” but was also on the wrong road, having unwittingly forked left onto the A34. Rather than turn back I proceeded to Winchester and thence to Stockbridge to rejoin the A30.

Proceeding farther, on roads getting more and more snowcovered, I espied an open cafe (“The Homestead”) which had, parked outside, the Morris Minor. Mr. Hogg expressed surprise on seeing my friend and I as he had thought he was well behind.

After refreshments we went to the aid of a fellow traveller whose TR2 would not start. This eventually took two hours, by which lime we had almost given up but finally managed to get it started by giving it a tow. Our lady passengers had by this time used up all the tunes in the Juke Box.

It was now 4 a.m., but as the snow had almost stopped and the wind had prevented it collecting very much on the road, we decided to press on.

Apart from stops to replenish fuel tanks from our jerry cans we had no further serious snags but encountered many modern cars vainly trying to climb slippery hills.

The hills of Chard and Yarcombe on A3o were slippery causing some wheelspin on my Oxford but the Minor took them all with ease.

Once in Devon the snow was left behind but quite severe ice was present. We followed the 1961 route card through Sidmouth and climbed Peak Hill, which had one especially icy patch, and thence on to Honiton.

After obtaining refreshments the time was past 10 o’clock and we all decided that in view of likely weather conditions it would be prudent to head back for London, forgoing the rest of the route.

Roy Hogg, after changing a wheel, due to a split in the tyre which allowed the inner-tube to protrude, departed, whilst I was delayed myself with a faulty rear lamp connection.

The journey home was uneventful but driving snow made things rather trying. A traffic pile-up on the A303 past Mere caused us to branch off and regain the A30, which we followed most of the way, finally getting home to Croydon at 7 o’clock. Here the snow was thicker than any previously encountered and I later felt relieved that the trip had not been on the following day or I might have required helicoptor aid.

All in all the drive was very satisfying, the weather having added some spice. I only hope that this year a greater number of cars will turn up. I know I will.

Croydon. GEOFFREY D. BAILEY.

[Yes, I really must try to organise it this year, unless by Boxing Night the R.A.C. and the M.O.T. have banned my ” informal ” as a pirate organised competition, one of the reasons I was dubious about issuing route-cards and laying on a café, last year

—ED.

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