Vintage odds and ends

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The STD Journal of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq Register has become a professional glossy-paper magazine, the current issue of which contains articles by Anthony Heal on “Frank Bill and the Indianapolis Sunbeam”, additional to his discourse on all the Indianapolis Sunbeams in last month’s Motor Sport, Roger Carter on “Louis Coatalen’s Other 3-litre” (the 20.9 h.p. Sunbeam), B. R. Wilding on “Sunbeam Dawns” and much else besides. The Register’s opening run is to the Canal & Waterways Museum near Towcester, on April 17th, after the VSCC Silverstone Race Meeting. A reader in Huntingdon is seeking information about a 1936 Packard which he has owned for many years. Believed to have been an Embassy car, it was converted into a hearse in the 1950s and the intention is to convert it back to a saloon, if details of this Model-120-138CD Packard, eng. no. X115805, chassis no. 1090-1250, are obtainable. Can anyone help?

There are some fascinating pictures in the beautifully-produced book, the work of Barry Peters, sole surviving Founder-Member of the old West Hants & Dorset MC, and W. F. Haskins, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the George Hartwell range of Companies. Apart from many pictures of George Hartwell’s post-war rally participation, there is the original shop in Chipping Norton where it all began, in 1910, and a line-up of Fordson farm-tractors, at a time when Reginald Hartwell was supervisor for Oxfordshire for the Government ploughing-scheme during WW1. There is a picture of the garage built in Chipping Norton with a Morris Minor saloon emerging and a Hillman 14 coupé and saloon at the pumps outside. There are interior shots of the garage opened in Oxford, with 1930s Hillmans and Morris Eights in view, a team of three Alert cars lined up at the Bournemouth premises after a pre-war RAC Rally, with Charles Follett standing by an open Speed-20 with screen folded flat (the other two Alvises are saloons), the same garage-showrooms with the MG “Magic Midget” keeping company with Alvis, MG, Aston Martin and other 1930s cars, the Hartwell Austin 7 Special that George ran in Oxford UMC events, his later K3 MG Magnette racing at Brooklands, and some typical 1930’s car-advertising. The post-war pages are of equal interest but do not concern us here, although I cannot resist saying that there is a photograph of the very compact trials-special “Bluebottle”, built in Hartwell’s Oxford Road body-shop and consisting of a blown Sunbeam-Talbot 80 engine in a Hillman Minx chassis. There is also a picture of part of the Hartwell collection of historic-vehicles, those depicted being a vintage Sunbeam, a veteran Humberette and a vintage Peugeot tourer, the last-named tying-in with the Company’s Peugeot agency, — they also handle Talbot, Citroen, Renault and Dodge.

One of those commemoration ash-trays issued by AC Cars Ltd. to celebrate the fact that in 1922 an AC was the first light car to exceed 100 miles in an hour has found its way to Hamilton, New Zealand. Mr. Martin Shelley tells us that while he was working on his 1925 Rudge 500 motorcycle (4-speeds, 4-valves model) a Miss Weller, niece of the Mr. Weller of AC design fame, approached him, admired the motorcycle, and gave him the ash-tray, which her uncle had given her. She thought these ash-trays had been made from the pistons from the AC’s engine, removed when it was dismantled for official measurement after the record attempt. Lambrooke Tyres have asked us to say that they have taken in stocks of Firestone 5.25 x 21 High Speed tyres, which are made in the original moulds and should be of especial interest to Bentley owners. Thc current issue of the Frazer Nash Chain Gang Gazette contains, among other very interesting things, an exceedingly good account of the life of the late A. F. P. Fane, the great pre-war Frazer Nash and BMW racing driver. — W.B.