How the "Wensum" got it's name

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The following is the answer provided by Bill Ward of Vauxhall Motors Ltd, to a reader who owns one of these fine cars :

The 30/98 Vauxhall “Wensum” was inspired by the 30-ft. sailing-yacht, owned by the then-Vauxhall Works Manager, A.J. Hancock. He kept the yacht Wensum at Burnham-on-Crouch and often sailed it over to France. One of his sailing companions was a Mr. Arthur Brasher, the then Styling Manager for all Company-built bodies of the period : 23/60 “Kingston” tourer, 30/98 “Velox,” 74/40 “Princeton” open tourer (or titled “Kingston”!), 14/40 “Melton” open 2-seater, and 14/40 “Norfolk” saloon, the interior of which could be rearranged for sleeping.

The boat probably originated at Boulton & Paul’s, adjacent to the river Wensum, hence its name, and subsequent inspiration of the 30/98 “Wensum.” Betty Carstairs owned one. She was a great speed-boat enthusiast, which could be a clue to A.J. Hancock having a fast boat on the river Wensum at Norwich (he never owned a power boat). On the bonnet sides of her car where these joined the radiator and just under the famous Vauxhall flutes were the letters NEWG. On an occasion when the car had been in for a general tune-up, upon handing it over to her I asked the significance of the letters and if they stood for anything special. They certainly do, she said—”not entirely without grace.”

It would be more correct to say the interior of the hull of the “Wensum” body was mahogany planking. The little bit of decking at the “cruiser stern” was white pine caulked with pitch. All panels were hand-beaten.

I once accompanied A.J. Hancock and A. Brasher from Luton to Dover, into which harbour their yacht had been driven when returning from France the previous week-end. My job was to bring the car back, because Hancock’s car was at Burnham-on-Crouch. When we got to Dover they couldn’t put to sea due to a heavy sea mist, so we all slept aboard the Wensum and they sailed her round to Burnham the next day.

Vintage odds and ends

In Scotland Lord Doune has one of the rare 4 1/2-litre Ballot-built Hispano-Suiza cars. Dick Nash hopes to get his 1912 15-litre G.P. Lorraine-Dietrich, “Vieux Charles Trois,” out of retirement at Easter. A 1927 Chrysler 72 coupe is in regular use in London; when its radiator mascot was stolen recently American Chrysler dealers were circularised and a replacement, which had been serving as a paperweight in Colorado, was resilvered and forwarded to the grateful lady owner. The January issue of Rootes’ house journal Modern Motoring contained an illustrated history of the Singer car. Members of the Jowett C.C. which was founded as the Southern Jowett Club in 1923, who numbered 460 at the last count. have among their cars a 1922 Jowett sports 2-seater said to be the only one of its kind build by Jowett Cars before the war, a Weasel believed to be the prototype of this model, now owned by a lady, and a Javelin which was once used by Gerald Palmer, who designed this postwar Jowett.

The Chairman of the Trojan O.C., having taken over the Trojan which used to belong to the late G/Capt. A.F. Scroggs, has no further use for his own Trojan tourer, which was dismantled for storage some years ago, while the Club is trying to find someone in the South of England who will restore and use the prototype rear-engincd Trojan saloon which was presented to them by the Company (and so cannot be sold) and which used to be driven in M.C.C. Trials by Basil Monk, Managing Director of Trojan Ltd.—the engine runs, spares are available but the fabric body needs renovating. Details from D. Graham, to, St. John’s, Earlswood Common, Redhill, Surrey. A 1935 Daimler straight-eight Hooper limousine was laid up at the end of last year and is languishing in a Surrey garden. The old Andrews launch, re-named Alba but formerly called Eyot-Noll, to be seen on the Thames around Windsor, was salvaged in 1964 and still uses its original 1921 model-T Ford engine.

Discoveries—Last month a Crossley chassis, probably a just-post-vintage 2-litre, was seen on tow behind an XK 140 Jaguar in Bucks, so maybe another Crossley is to be rebuilt ? A 1933 Armstrong Siddeley Twelve de luxe saloon in good order is for sale in Kent. An Austin 10/4 saloon and a Gordon England cabriolet are seeking new owners, and a V-twin Humberette and ancient Austin chassis are in a Bedfordshire breaker’s.

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