There are a few matters arising out of recent events which will benefit from explanation.
Plastics and paint: A reader, Mr. A. E. Heywood of Mill Hill, says he no longer has any faith in my opinions because in the same issue I said of the M.G. 1100 that I preferred leather to plastic upholstery and of the VW 1600TL that it is nice to find an honest car, the interior of which does not present veneered woods and leather upholstery to driver and occupants to lull them into a false sense of values and security. Confusing, I know. What I intended to imply was that acres of polished woodwork seem out of place in modern cars, except perhaps for the most sumptuous models. The M.G. 1100 has a wooden facia, rightly or wrongly, so leather, which I prefer anyway, is the obvious seat covering, The VW is a functional present day production, and paint and plastic suit it very well. The full combination of leather and high-class wood décor should, in my opinion, be part of the allure of vintage and p.v.t. luxurv-cars, but there have been post-war cars, big, medium and even small, in which other more important qualities have been mediocre and the snob-finish apparently as much a mask for false values as it is out of place. I like to sit on real hide but do not think tree-wood should find a place inside any but the top-bracket 1967 cars.
Brooklands Society: Last year; following the very successful Brooklands Re-Unions, I suggested that the time might be ripe for the formation of a Brooklands Society, to give news of pre-war Brooklands’ personalities, keep the spirit of the old Track and the Brooklands A.R.C. alive, and perhaps publish a simple magazine. Many enthusiastic inquiries were received, but mostly from the younger generation. If the idea is to come to fruition, reminisences, photographs, and episodes from those who were active at Brooklands when it was a racing track are essential. Until it is apparent that such would be forthcoming in considerable quantity the idea will unfortunately be still-born.
Brooklands Re-Union: For several years, in conjunction with D.G., with the blessing of Motor Sport I have, through the courtesy of Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd., been able to hold at the Track and the “Hand & Spear ” each summer this most enjoyable re-union. The idea, developed from Rex Judd’s B.M.C.R.C. re-union for Brooklands’ motorcyclists which is held annually at the aforesaid hotel, was simply a matter of inviting anyone who had any pre-1940 associations with the Track to apply for a free ticket entitling them to come and look again at the old Motor course and meet others who had known the place in the past. I had thought to give the occasion a miss this year, because the best of parties can pall if held too frequently. But before I could discuss this the Godalming Round Table had the idea of celebrating the 60th anniversary of Brooklands with a gigantic rally there, to which, rather to my surprise, Vickers and the B.A.C. have given their permission. Perhaps because I am sitting at an oblong desk I tend to approach this ambitious scheme with caution. It could be either a flop or such an enormous success that on the day the roads around Weybridge will be choked with cars. The idea is to admit the public at a charge of £1 per car and to have demonstrations of genuine ex-Brooklands racing cars and motorcycles up and down the main runway. Providing the right cars are selected and are available this should be as interesting as it was at Vickers’ own party in 1957, although they will not be running on the Track itself.
Whether the historic precincts should be used for a general motor rally with TV, radio and film-company coverage is open to debate, and it is rather unfortunate that those celebrities who came so willingly to the former Re-Unions have been announced as forming one of the ” attractions ” of this Round Table Rally. I think this might well offend, although, if charity is to benefit, maybe it doesn’t matter. Were I asked to name a suitable cause it would be Weybridge Cottage Hospital and/or the British Motor Racing Benevolent Fund.
Agreed this 60th anniversary, which strictly falls either on June 17th when the Track was opened, or July 6th, the date of the first race meeting, should not be overlooked and it is significant that the sponsorship of the proposed rally comes mostly from the younger generation who, I gather, never went to a race at Brooklands; in fact had not seen the place until very recently. They asked the V.S.C.C. to choose suitable cars for the demonstration but this was politely declined. In announcing what should be a memorable occasion, one way or another, it must be made clear that this rally has no connnection with the rather simple Brooklands Re-Unions which we have organised in the past with the blessing of Motor Sport, although our advice has been sought over the selection of suitable cars.