Rare Makes

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148

Sir,

V-E-V and The War Time Diaries of an RFC Officer in the November 1979 issue of Motor Sport are of particular interest to me for both write-ups mention makes which I have known in years gone by.

In the middle ‘thirties there were several SCAT and Ceirano cars to be seen on the roads of Europe. And, of course, there were several of the latter marketed in the UK as Newton-Ceirano from 1925. Examples of these makes were also seen during my travels in India and Egypt; a solitary SCAT had ended its days and was rotting away in Angola. Two or three Newton Bennetts were still working in 1933 and one of this marque, a very smart two-seater, was seen in 1938.

Your illustration of John Newton and his wife is well known to me. The car is a 1913 SCAT. This actual photograph was offered to me by the late Noel B. Newton for my private collection but I did not accept this. In its place I had a picture of a 1914 tourer, which I still have. One of my illustrations is of a 1908 SCAT chassis which is fitted with a Harper compressed air starter.

Now to the Diaries. Mention is made of a Mitchell, a make which is indeed rare even in America. However, the car illustrated is a 1910 model which is fortunately still in very good condition, it is quite well known to members of The Society of Automotive Historians and to members of several old time automobile clubs. The car mentioned may have been a later model for the Mitchell was built until 1923; it could have been of 1912, ’13 or even ’14, for during these years American cars were coming into the UK in ever-increasing numbers. I never saw a Mitchell in this country but did come across about half a dozen in India, which was an open market for all without governmental restrictions. With scores of Maharajahs and Rajahs, Nawabs, etc., not to mention other wealthy zemindars and merchants, always ready to go one better than the next man, it is not surprising to know that cars from every manufacturing nation (except Russia=, were seen before 1927.

I hope this letter may be of interest to your readers, the majority of whom may not have been fortunate enough to have seen any of the old makes mentioned.

Hayes, Maurice A. Harrison