V-E-V Miscellany, February 1985, February 1985

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The official journal of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club, which incidentally now has over 5,200 members, was what used to be called a “bumper number” for the last month of 1984, the articles containing a very. interesting look-back by Bruce Main-Smith at the factories he used to visit when working for Motor Cycling, a sort of “Machines I Owned” piece, running from aged Rudge-Multi and McKenzie-Hobart to Brough-Superior and Super Sports Morgan, and a long discourse about the twilight of Harley-Davidson of Milwaukee, etc. I am also glad to see that the Frazer Nash CC’s Chain Gang Gazette has got going again after being out of circulation for a year and that it is now printed on glossy art paper, by Tony Jones. Last year this Club’s Archie Frazer-Nash Cup was won by Freddie Giles and the most prominent name in the awards list was that of G. R. Footitt. It is good, too, to know that the former Stanley Cup Inter-Club Contest is to be revived by AFN Ltd; the original cup that was competed for at Brooklands and elsewhere being put up again, together with £1,000 given by AFN to the winning team for passing on to the British Red Cross. The idea is to have a day event in the country with some driving-tests and I or sprints included, with teams of three pre-1960 cars being entered by the one-make car clubs.

The Leicester Mercury has published another newspaper style “Bygone Leicestershire” edition, which looks back in particular to the Leicestershire police force, fire and ambulance services. The fire engines depicted seem to be circa 1906 Wolseleys with the bee-hive radiators, while in 1911 the Fire Brigade ambulance was a Siddeley-Deasy with a body built at Oadby. In post WWI days the Police used a Triumph solo motorcycle, motorcycle and sidecar outfits of another make, and a Morris one-ton van; according to the drawn our attention to a coachbuilder who may have been forgotten by those interested in this side of things, namely Beddoes Moore, whose Managing Director was F. J. Barnes and whose premises were at the Oldswinford Carriage Works near Stourbridge. Among the bodies they made was the Barnes vanishing head saloon, in which the top folded back from an inclined windscreen and could be stowed out of sight in the boot. There two-door, four-seater Barnes at Stourbridge bodies were patented in Britain, France, Canada and the USA and were made on Singer Senior, Austin Sixteen and perhaps other chassis.

Those glutens for punishment, the members of the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club, or at any rate seven of them, took part in last year’s Morgan Night Trial, five in Matchless-powered Moggies, one with a JAP-engined car and one in a Ford-powered F-type, the winner being Bill Tuer / John Garside. In the 120 miles of nocturnal route one Morgan retired with gearbox trouble, one suffered from a blown head gasket on a side-valve Matchless engine which was cured with asbestos string, filched from ‘a domestic Aga’, and one competitor lost a front mudguard. Illness retired one crew but five finished the course – a good show! The Tuers won the 1984 Morgan Three-Wheeler Racing Championship, with their 8/80 Morgan-JAP, by eight points from the Bibby / Brewin similar Morgan, with the Hodgson / Lomax Ford 100E-powered Morgan third, 12 competitors entering 48 races between, them: and finishing in 37, which, as the Club’s Bulletin points out, is a 77% success factor, a high one in motor racing circles.

Clarifying the account of the firing-up of his 1921 Angus-Sanderson after its resuscitation, which we published last month, Michael Worthington-Williams tells me that all the major mechanical components of the car are original to it, only the radiator, of correct pattern, having come from another car. His 1919 model, found on Dungeness beach through a reference in Motor Sport, for which missing components have since been found, becomes Michael’s next restoration job. Incidentally, it was this car which was owned by the father of the lady who was present and it has not formed part of the 1921 rebuild. Among the 270 guests present at this firing-up, were members of both the Angus and Sanderson families.

Over Christmas vintage cars were prominent on TV, including many old American cars and a fine Springfield Rolls-Royce two-seater in a Charlie Chaplin comedy.

The Motor Cycling Club has re-acquired the very fine, enormously large Schulte Challenge Trophy presented to it in 1906 by the late Mr M. J. Schulte for the competitor making the best performance in the London-Edinburgh Trial. The Trophy was won that year by J.W. Stocks and in 1907 and 1908 by J. Platt-Betts driving an 8 hp Rover. The latter driver thus secured the Trophy for all time but his daughter-in-law has now re-presented it to the MCC. There is a picture of Platt-Betts in his Rover in the current issue of Triple the MCC magazine, showing this back-bone chassis light car to have had gas lighting and a spare tyre, not wheel, mounted up beside the driver. W.B.