V-E-V odds and ends

– The Rolls-Royce EC announces that among its main meetings this year will be the National event at Stowe School on September 2nd, while it will again be taking a very active part in the “Rolls-Royce On a Wheel And Wing – Eighty Years On” at Duxford Aerodrome on June 17th, when it will be working in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum, an occasion when the occupants of Rolls-Royces in nine classes by date, from 1904/1906 down to 1981/84, are encouraged to dress in costumes representing items from the appropriate era, and at which all the attending aeroplanes will have Rolls-Royce power. The Sunbeam MCC celebrates its Diamond Jubilee year with its 47th Pioneer Run for veteran motorcycles on March 18th, the route being from Epsom Downs to the Madeira Drive, Brighton, a truly traditional event.

The various regional groups of the active Morgan 3-Wheeler club are busy planning future events and we see that last year’s Night Trial, over a 120-mile route, attracted an entry of seven Matchless-engined Morgans, and a JAP-powered two-speeder, the winners being Neil Shirley / John Walters. The Austin Ten DC, another active organisation, has the novel idea of presenting this year’s Longbridge Shield for the state of the windows, glass, winders, surrounds, etc., in saloons or that of side curtains, stowages, etc. in tourers. Not that this implies a “tart-up” club, for the AIODC encourages members to use their pre-1940 Austins and over a short period recently enrolled 34 recruits, with cars ranging from Seven, 10/4 and 12/4 of 1932 to 1939 Eight and Cambridge Ten.

“Down-under”, the VSCC of Australia will be running its night trial on February 11th, its Alpine Rally on February 25th and this Club is hoping to have Bill Morris and the ERA at its summer sprint meetings.

The Sumbeam-Talbot-Darracq Register plans an anniversary event for London-made Roesch Talbots at Barlby Road, site of the old factory, on May 27th/28th and will hold its Wolverhampton Week-end, when vintage and older sunbeams return to their birthplace, on June 30th/July 1st, and its annual driving tests and Concours d’Elegance meeting at the RMA at Sandhurst on September 15th. The smaller one-make clubs are reminded that the usual Inter-Register Contests are planned to continue this year, these already listed being the Austin Vintage Register’s in May, the STD’s contribution in July and the Fiat Register’s Rally in August. From the magazine of the Lea-Francis Register, an organisation that caters for Lea-Francis of all ages (Membership Secretary: W.G. Adams, Karibu, Oxhill, Warwicks, CV35 4TT), a journal named rather delightfully The LeaFlet, we learn that there will be a Stanford Hall meeting on June 3rd. The December 1983 issue had a plan of the old Lea-Francis factory and reproduced an article from Motor Sport about C.T. Delaney’s blown Hyper Lea-Francis published in 1933, the magazine’s cover depicting a very youthful and handsome looking Delaney (he is today the Club’s President) at Brooklands in the car.

A reader recalls his father buying an Angus-Sanderson tourer around 1921, which he remembers as achieving 40 mph after noisy effort and having weak half-shafts. In 1926 it was replaced by an Oakland saloon. Another reader would like to know if any of the original Lucas-Valveless cars have survived, as his father designed them before WWI, prior to David Brown taking over. A claim to be one of the oldest Motor Clubs can be substantiated by the Somerset AC, founded in 1905 with a membership of 50, and which in 1984 has the same membership, as anyone wishing to join has to wait until an existing member either dies or resigns. The Christmas Newsletter carried some interesting details of the Club’s formative years. The STD Register hopes to attract some 80 Talbots, of the kind made between 1904 or 1938, to the old London Barlby Road Talbot factory, at its Anniversary Rally of May 26th/27th. This should be an especially nostalgic occasion because the factory, which is the first purpose-built motor factory in Britain (see “Georges Roesch and the Invincible Talbot” by Anthony Blight, Grenville 1970), is empty, and is likely to be sold and probably demolished within three years. There will be a buffet supper in the entrance hall and galleried engine-room at this Ladbroke Grove factory on May 26th, after which the cars will move on to Syon Park. Details from: Stephen Lalley, 23, Cedar Road, Berkhampsted, Herts.

The Vintage SCC has announced its 1984 fixtures and for those wishing to fill in the dates in their diaries, we give herewith those events to which non-members will be admitted: Silverstone Race Meeting, April 14th, Curborough Speed Trials, Lichfield, May 6th, Donington Park Race Meeting, May 7th, Wiscombe Speed Hill-Climb, Devon, May 20th, Oulton Park Race Meeting, Cheshire, June 9th, second Silverstone Race Meeting (includes a special ERA race), July 14th, Prescott Speed Hill Climb, near Cheltenham, August 5th Cadwell Park Race Meeting, Lincolnshire, August 26th. Points towards the now well-established Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy and the cash prizes linked to it will be scored by appropriate, that is pre-war, cars at the above race meetings. There will also be VSCC races at Castle Combe in Dorset on September 15th and others at Snetterton on September 30th.

Anthony Brooke, owner of the Vauxhall Villiers, would like the anonymous sender to him of a calendar with colour pictures of the car at Prescott to contact him, so that he can send thanks. The 12/50 duck’s-back Alvis which Kenneth Parker raced at Southport in the vintage period was owned for a time by WB, in the early part of WW2, when D.S.J. put a big-port engine into it, before it was sold to an RAF pilot who took it to Scotland. The current issue of the Chain Gang Gazette reminds us that, as is traditional every ten years or so, in 1983 four chain-drive Frazer Nashes set out to attempt to cover at least 1,000 miles in 24 hours. Three succeeded, the first to do so being Freddie and Robert Giles in MV 1764. There is also a long article about Frazer Nash gun-turrets, in which it is stated that Constantinesco, who invented the interrupter-gear, fitted his earlier torque converter into a GN chassis. This may be so but by 1926, he had it in a chassis with half-elliptic front suspension and a water-cooled two-cylinder two-stroke engine, with a “pot” each side of the converter.

It may not be generally known, but from an article in Advantage, the journal of the Shipping Industry, before he successfully applied his gyrostabiliser to ships, Elmer Sperry tried to interest the Motor Industry in it. In 1907 he patented his version of the gyro (although in 1904 Schlick had suggested it for ships, tried out in 1906) but when he tried to interest Packard he was told that “no gyroscope, nor anything but a block and tackle or a preserving angel” could prevent the average car from overturning. Sperry’s patent drawing shows a tourer with four separate cylinders and the gyro horizontal beneath the floor, but it may have been diagrammatic. On New Year Monday, in spite of torrential rain, the VSCC monthly meeting near Ledbury was well attended, with the prize for the driver coming the greatest distance divided between John Blake with Janet from London in their “chain gang” Frazer Nash and John Carter from Sandersfoot in Wales in his Edwardian 12/16 hp Sunbeam. As neither had a hood and whereas Carter had a hand-operated sliding windscreen wiper Blake was having some bothers with his more modern wipers, necessitating lowering the windscreen, honours were fairly well distributed. As this purely social and happy event, organised by Mark Garfitt (who came in his 318 Frazer Nash BMW), brings cars from the Principality as well as from England, it is worthwhile listing what turned up. The count this time gave seven Morgan three-wheelers, a very brave effort, a Morgan 4/4, four Riley Nines, the same number of 12/50 Alvises and Austin 7s, three vintage Frazer Nashes, two Singer Le Mans, and lone examples of Lagonda Rapier, M45 Lagonda, 18/80 MG saloon, Speed-20 Alvis, 4½-litre Bentley saloon, Humber tourer, Armstrong Siddeley, GP Salmson, Lea-Francis saloon, Model-A Ford saloon, Carter’s aforesaid Sunbeam, Southall’s 40/50 hp Rolls-Royce tourer, Armitage’s P1 and two smaller Rolls-Royces, an ohc Morris Minor with unusual body, Keith Hill’s AJS, and an Edwardian Buick. Hamish Moffatt braved the rain on his Scott, backed up by another Scott and riders of a Sunbeam and a Velocette. – WB