I am wondering whether the paragraph, following R. D. Millar’s letter “The Henderson Napier Rolls-Royce” answers a question which struck me some 50 years ago? In July 1921, while touring in Savoie, I saw in the garage of my hotel in Chambery, an unknown British car, rather striking in its appearance, and by its noise.
It was a long and low torpedo, angular styled. The bonnet was long and narrow, and from each side protruded the cylinder head of an enormous V8. No external sign could be seen, but the owner’s plate read “NASH, Cadogan Gdns., LONDON”. I may suppose this was the car you write about, a war-time chassis, Crossley by make, equipped with a V8 Hispano aero-engine. I would like to know whether there still exists any photograph of that monster, noticed half a century ago.
Still on the subject of hybrids, another special was built in 1920, in St. Etienne (Loire, France) by Mr. Grua. It was certainly one of the best known in that time, as it took part in many events, hillclimbs, standing and rolling kilometre, and so on, between 1921 and 1923. Equipped with a 300-h.p. Hispano aero engine, it was reputed to reach the speed of 125/130 m.p.h., but was unsafe.
Grua and his passenger, Rouchouse, got killed while taking part in the Camp hill-climb, near Marseilles, in March 1923. Later, a stone was erected to their memory on the course of the Planfoy hill-climb, as Grua set the record. He held it until Divo, on the 6-cylinder Delage beat it in 1925.