Veteran edwardian vintage, February 1985

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A section devoted to old car matters

…and Maclachlan’s Lea-Francis, and Livesey’s Wolseley Hornet was best up the Test Hill (fastest lap this year, 122. 97 mph, by Penn-Hughes’ blown 2.3 GP Bugatti). This time it was the Brighton & Hove Club that won the Stanley Cup.

As with other well-established organisations, things did not change much at Brooklands – if it were not that I am too modest, I might say the same for Motor Sport – and the 1932 Inter-Club Meeting was on much the same lines as before, except that an. extra event, the Special Reserve Short H’cap, was included, to accommodate a full entry list. Enthusiasm for netting the Stanley Cup continued at a keen level, the 1932 teams being those of the holding Brighton Club, the JCC, WASA (for the all-women enthusiasts), MCC, LCC, and the Cambridge undergrads. As a throw-back to a bit of history that has distinct overtones of the present-.day VSCC, the races were won by Rayson’s Riley, Osborne’s Sports Lea-Francis (twice), Stonard’s Riley, Lloyd-Roberts’ Talbot, Miss Hedges’ Sports Talbot, R. J. Munday, now driving a Rover Speed-20, but the Team-Relay wasn’t run because of breakdowns among the individual cars of each team! Only four assayed the Test Hill frolic, B. G. Evans winning the £2-trophy with his Chrysler. This, and the ·marks earned in the race placings, gave the Stanley Cup to the Junior Car Club.

There was even more ambition to take this prestigious award in 1933, eight clubs entering teams, newcomers being the Frazer Nash CC, Mid-Surrey, and the Bugatti QC. After the excellent selection of races had produced winners from Ashton-Rigby (MG), novice Mrs Roe (Lea-Francis), Miss Allen (Bentley), Dunham (Alvis Speed-20), Gordon Casswell (Frazer Nash), Baker (Minerva), and Miss Schwedler, who won the Lightning Short Handicap to which the Inter-Club Meeting had now aspired (the sports handicaps and hill-climb had been abandoned) in the Dunham Alvis, .the Frazer Nash CC cleaning up the Team-Relay (Berry, Casswell, Dent). Indeed, the Frazer Nash “Chain-Gangers” had had a good day and won the Stanley Cup. Incidentally, you could enter the lesser races for a guinea and the programme sold for the equivalent of 2½p!

It all happened much as before, in 1934. The WASA were again among the competing clubs, putting its faith in Mesdames Hedges, Evans and Allen, and this time the racing opened with the Team-Relay, won by the Junior Racing Drivers’ team, the rest of the victors being Roy Eccles’ Frazer Nash, Mrs Gordon-Simpson’s Triumph, Parish’s blown A7, Hector Dobbs’ Riley 9, Powys-Lybbe’s 12/50 Alvis, Day in Miss Moodie’s Graham-Paige, Richardson’s Riley 9 and Boyd’s 2½-litre Maserati, the total of races up to nine, and the Maserati setting best lap, at 115.02 mph, which it repeated, to show it was no fluke. This compared to the fastest in 1933 of 122.07 mph in 1933 by Oliver Bertram in the venerable 10½-litre V12.Delage, and to show it was just as plausible he repeated this speed in his next race. One notes, though, that the prestigious “Lightning” title no longer applied to these amateur outer-circuit handicap races, and presumably because of an expanding programme the BARC dropped its Inter-Club Meeting for the 1935 season, leaving the. Stanley Cup with the JRDC, whose stalwarts had been J. R. Hodge (Singer), K. Perry (MG) and J. Hutton-Potts (MG). It was thereafter left to smaller clubs like the JCC, MCC and LCC to run events orientated towards the amateur racing drivers.

This might well have been the end of the Stanley Cup contest, had the Inter-Club idea not been transferred, alter a break in 1935, to Donington Park and the Crystal Palace circuits where in 1939, due to the outstanding driving of Fane, Leslie Johnson and “Aldy” in 328 BMWs, the Frazer Nash / BMW CC gained the Stanley Cup for all time, incidentally a day’s racing organised by Bill Aldingtop, in conjunction with the VSCC. So it is fitting that the contest is to be revived by AFN this year, even if it will be decided by a number of driving-tests and sprints, not races. – W.B.

Stanley Cup Winners
1930: Motor Cycling Club.
1931: Brighton & Hove Motor Club.
1932: Junior Car Club.
1933: Frazer Nash Car Club.
1934: Junior Racing Drivers’ Club.
1936: Oxford University MC.

Another V12 Engine

Recent articles on the older Sunbeam racing cars have shown how, but for the war, the Sunbeam Motor Car Company of Wolverhampton might have marketed the pioneer V12-cylinder private car, an honour that fell to Packard in America, after study of a V12 Sunbeam racing car. Then, from this month’s article about the career of Harry Varley, it becomes clear that Laurence Pomeroy of the Vauxhall Motor Company in Luton was working on such an engine, but that was killed off by the outbreak of war.

After the Armistice another British Vl2 engine was designed by Mr W. L. Adams of the Laxtonia Motor Company in Peterborough. It was a very compact 3 in x 5 in bore and stroke (2,892 cc) power unit, with the two cylinder blocks inclined at the narrow angle of 30 deg. The cylinder blocks were to be of light alloy, and in view of Ford’s innovative integral construction in cast iron of the blocks and upper part of the crankcase for their later famous V8 engine, it is interesting that the Adams V12 was to have this form of construction, but in aluminium. The cylinder heads were detachable and vertical overhead valves were operated by a camshaft running in an oil bath between the cylinders and mounted sufficiently high for rockers to prod the valves. Wet steel cylinder liners were used. The camshaft ran in roller bearings and was driven by spur gears at the front of the engine. The three-throw, two-bearing crankshaft had roller main and big-end bearings, lubricated by pump-fed troughs which were raised as the throttle was opened, as on a Knight-engined Daimler.

The Adams V12 had not been completed by the beginning of 1920 whereas the Lancia V12 had made its debut the previous October, at the Paris Salon; so Mr Adams had perhaps left things a bit too late… W.B.